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Pliny The Younger - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

2,349 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,349
Reviews: 843
rAvg: 4.69
pDev: 8.74%
Wants: 4,288
Gots: 110 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
Pliny the Younger, the man, was Pliny the Elder’s nephew and adopted son. They lived nearly 2,000 years ago! Pliny the Elder is our Double IPA, so we felt it was fitting to name our Triple IPA after his son. It is almost a true Triple IPA with triple the amount of hops as a regular I.P.A. That said, it is extremely difficult, time and space consuming, and very expensive to make. And that is why we don’t make it more often! This beer is very full-bodied with tons of hop character in the nose and throughout. It is also deceptively well-balanced and smooth.

(Beer added by: xlperro on 01-27-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,349 | Reviews: 843 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bobbyc881
4.93/5  rDev +5.1%

HUGE THANKS to todd1 for this growler. You are a god among men, sir.

Pours out crystal clear, thin white head. Golden/copper in color. Not much carbonation to be seen... maybe since it's from a growler. Nice lacing whilst drinking.

Absolutely amazing hop aromas going on here. Very citrusy, bold American hops. Perfect for the style.

Taste absolutely lives up to reputation. Bold hop flavor, not overly bitter or aggressive. Sticky, citrus flavors... incredibly smooth and balanced. Strong malt backbone. Honestly, the most well-balanced DIPA I've ever had. As this warmed, the hops became even more prevalent.

Mouthfeel is wonderfully full. Nice hop-stickiness across the palate. I think this brew lost a bit of the carbonation being in a growler for a week before I opened it, but it's still very nice.

I didn't notice that this was 11% ABV until I was polishing it off. So smooth and tasty... masks the strong alcohol admirably.

bobbyc881, Apr 26, 2007
Photo of
4.53/5  rDev -3.4%

On tap at Capone's 4/18/07.

Clear, true-gold in color. Modest, off-white head. Lacing minimal, some legs.

Aroma is grapefruit, peaches and honey. Smelled pine in my growler of Elder a few months ago, but didn't get that as much here. Tasting this side by side with Elder, and Younger doesn't smell as sweet.

Taste was grapefruit, big time. Younger has stronger hop bite than Elder. Biscuity, but covered in grapefruit jam. Well balanced, but still screams with hops, if that makes any sense. A bit sweeter than the Elder, and a more noticeable ABV. Grass and pepper at finish.

Medium to medium + in body. Carbonation seemed medium. Immediate feel of alcohol warming in Elder, alcohol warming with Younger when you pick up the glass...

Very, very good. If I wasn't drinking it side by side with Elder, I would probably have no complaints at all. As it stands, it is a touch sweeter and, to my taste, quite a bit hotter. I would happily drink this until I fell over, but when it came time to fill my growler, I took the Elder home with me.

, Apr 25, 2007
Photo of jsbrendle
4.78/5  rDev +1.9%

Second of a group of growlers donated by kind hosts to the beer-sampling cause after being retrieved by a long road trip several days prior. Carbonation levels somewhat lower due to this treatment. Still sampled in reasonable condition and without having to take a personal trip down to Philly to have some.

After a minor cuisine-related mishap that had me thinking this somewhat bland and watery (see my tasting notes for the Elder for details), I came back to this beer to be quite pleasantly surprised. Suddenly, tasted on a palate no longer swamped with spice, I had something big and broadly hoppy and quite enjoyable.

Appearance was a clear deep amber. Due to conditions, there wasn't any obvious head without swirling up whatever little was still there, in which case there could still be some little bit of white bubbles. Big, broad, full nose of hops. Not so much a focused blast of grapefruit as in the Elder, more of a solid wide symphony of hops. Flavor was complex with a sort of mild start, then more of the hops shining through along side some syrupy-sweet caramel malt notes and then the 2x4 of the high alcohol to the side of the head. Wow. Needs to be treated with respect, but quite delicious. Again, quite similar to some other DIPAs that I'm fond of, but I prefer a more direct hop slightly lower alcohol/malt version so I will have to so that I prefer the Elder slightly. No matter, quite a wonderful beer.

jsbrendle, Apr 25, 2007
Photo of jmalex
4.93/5  rDev +5.1%

Sampled on-tap at Capone's in Norristown, PA on 4-18-07 as part of a side by side comparison with Pliny the Elder. This review is from notes taken that night.

APPEARANCE: Amber with gold highlights. Nice head with incredible lacing.

SMELL: Huge grapefruit and other citrus. Very raw hops flavors. Smells like the hops were just picked off the plant.

TASTE: It starts out so malty, you don't expect what's to come. But serious grapefruity hops come really hard, and last. The finish is nice and clean. An absolutely perfect beer.

MOUTHFEEL: Not very carbonated, but feels really smooth. Not syrupy like its Elder counterpart.

DRINKABILITY: Like the Elder, I'm blown away by this. No IPA can come close.

The Younger was my preferred Pliny of the night. I'm glad I had the opportunity to try it.

jmalex, Apr 22, 2007
Photo of Enola
4.2/5  rDev -10.4%

Many thanks to redwoodgeorge and mntlover for making this possible.

This beer is like Elder on steroids. The beer looks the same, smells much the same but there are some differences. The higher abv of the younger is evident. This takes just a touch from the drinkability because caution is needed. Much like the Elder, this beer is worthy of the hype and and I will likely try and get some more in the future.

Enola, Apr 19, 2007
Photo of wcudwight
4.28/5  rDev -8.7%

Pours a clear copper/golden color with a solid inch off-white sticky head. I honestly didn't spend much time eyeing this one as the aroma when the bottle cap was popped kind of put me into a trance. Wonderful punget hoppy aroma. The aroma almost dares you and invites you at the same time.
Taste is much like the Elder. Hops are more agressive and the alchohol is more noticable in the finish. Still a marvelous tasting beer.
Mouthfeel is full, sticky and numbing. The Younger attacks the palate and leaves no doubt that he was there.
As much as I like this beer, and I LIKE this beer. IMHO, the Elder is better. I could drink the Younger often, but only a pint at a time. I could spend a happy life drinking nothing but the Elder. Both are excellent examples of thier respective styles by a top notch brewery and a very tallented brewer.
Thanks to RedwoodGeorge for not only providing the beers, but for the experience.

wcudwight, Apr 16, 2007
Photo of alohaC
4.08/5  rDev -13%

On tap at the Toronado. After drinking Pliny the Elder too many times to count, I finally came across the much heralded and harder to find Pliny the Younger on tap. Like the Elder, the Younger pours beautifully with a clean, coppery orange and a nice two-finger head. The smell is pungent with citrus/grapefruit hops, but with less of the sweet pine and floral character you sometimes find in the other good IIPAs. Not a bad thing - just different and you know this one is going to hit you big time with the bitter end of the hops. Flavor is dominated by grapefruity bitterness, but kept in check with a biscuity malt. Mouthfeel is medium and fairly smooth for such a big beer. My only real complaint is I find this beer to be a little more astringent and hot with alcohol on the finish than I like. Where the Elder is the epitome of balance for me, I find this one a bit unbalanced. Some like this, but to me it makes this a "have a pint and then I’m done with it" kinda beer. Another excellent effort by Vinnie, the Yoda of IPAs, but I’d rather hook myself up to an I.V. of the Elder for the night!

alohaC, Apr 05, 2007
Photo of JFazekas
4.45/5  rDev -5.1%

Presentation: Standard pint from tap

Appearance: Golden yellow in color, minus points for looking strangely like urine

Smell: Nothing overpowering with a light hop and medium malt smell.

Taste: A balanced malt flavor straight from the start quickly blends with a balanced hop charactor and a alcohol flavor. Finishes at first with a strong alcohol flavor that is mildly covered with the hops. The alcohol flavor quickly vanishes as the glass empties, because it starts to get you tipsy.

Overall: An excellent offering, but I didn't buy into the hype. I like the elder much more. I think with a little more time the alcohol would have aged into a more balanced beer. I finish still in search of a beer I would put in my all time top 10.

JFazekas, Mar 27, 2007
Photo of jasonjlewis
4.7/5  rDev +0.2%

Advertised as a triple ipa at hollingshead's. Nice hoppiness on the nose and mouth. The hop level is high, but the cascades (with another hop that I don't know) make it citrusy and easy to drink. A lot of ipas are just hop bombs with nothing else. This beer is a hop monster, but has enough malting (especially a delicate caramel malting) behind it to not just be hop oil. The alcohol presence is also not too extreme even though this an 11 percent abv beer. This beer is a work of art and you need to go out and drink it. Stop reading my review and go drink it NOW!

jasonjlewis, Mar 13, 2007
Photo of Phatz
4.68/5  rDev -0.2%

I have had this beer four separate times. I have in front of me four separate pages of notes and my head is swirling with how to put this all together. Twice I did a side by side with the Elder and the Younger. Clearly these are two, TERRIFIC beers! The Younger is the strong muscular, steroid juicing aggressive loud ostentatious, sibling to the more refined, Elder brother. Pliny The Younger gets right in your face and smacks you around until you pay attention. Wow!

Appearance: pours light liquid gold into my snifter glass. A white frothy head rises moderately in this beer (more in the first growler than the second.) The carbonation in this beer is very tight. A few swirls and the wall of the glass are lined with lace though it does not stick. Very attractive brew.

Smell: The aroma is extremely poignant and yet quite complex. The bold resinous hops spray hop juice directly up the nose. When we opened the growler you could notice it across the table. There is a sweetness as well. A tropical fruit attribute that brings to mind pineapples and apricot along with the glorious grapefruit. The sweet sugary sticky backbone does present it self, and then is followed by a noticeable alcoholic rum-like presence as well.

Taste: Where do I even start. Again this is much more aggressive than the Elder. It is intensely hoped with grapefruit, pine, lemon, orange-rind, tangerine, pineapple, and pepper scorching the mouth and then peach, apricot, melon, and loads of sweet sugar, malts caramel and cookie-dough pull this back into harmony creating a nice balanced MONSTROUS beer. The alcohol plays a role in there too.

Mouthfeel: It is a rough prickly roller-coaster of sensations on the palate. It is hard to describe because the hops bite at you while the sugars ooze through the palate slow and sticky. It is sweet and full in the mouth but then the warming alcohol and the bitterness leave you feeling more of the bite than the sticky caramel sweetness.

Drinkability: This Monster is an EXTREME IPA! There is no two ways about it. It is not friendly or approachable, it is impressive. A magnificent display of what can be done when you give a great brewer the chance to show off. I suggest sipping this beer! =) I also discovered that you really do need to let it warm. Bars serve it too cold. Order it before your meal and drink it after; and I hope you enjoy as much as I did.

Hope this is helpful.
Cheers!

---
EDIT
DIPA, IIPA, ... No. This one is certainly an 'Extreme IPA' as coined my akorsak. To Adam, Chancellor, Extreme IPA! ;-)
---

Phatz, Mar 04, 2007
Photo of IntriqKen
4.4/5  rDev -6.2%

On tap at Hollingshead Deli in Orange County, CA.
Poured a golden yellow with a white half finger head that melted slowly to top covering, very sticky lacing. Beautiful.
Lots of hops and a little brown sugar amber malt in the aroma.
Very balanced with it's sweet amber malt and fresh grapefruit peel bitter hops...nothing really fighting anything...just two very strong, impressive opposites complementing each other very well.
Great DIPA from a great West Coast Brewer.
Wish they would bottle this stuff.

IntriqKen, Mar 03, 2007
Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.45/5  rDev -5.1%

On tap at Union Jack's on the Manatawny. Presented in a wine glass. Appears a rich golden amber-yellow with a finger of fluffy white head. Smells of grapefruit, apricot, pineapple and sweet malt. Tastes of the same fruits evident in the nose, predominantly grapefruit, alcohol. Just about the perfect balance of piney, fruity hops, and rich caramel malt. Finish is very dry. Moderate in both body and carbonation. What a sublime DIPA.

ClockworkOrange, Mar 01, 2007
Photo of Slatetank
4.94/5  rDev +5.3%

A growler filled at the Union Jack's Inn On The Manatawny. Thanks to Phatz for sharing it.
A- Light amber with ample white head

S - Extremely Hoppy aroma -floral, citrus and heaps of pine abound

T - Kicks and envelopes taste buds with hop acidity, malt sweetness creeps in at the finish

M - Full round and substantial with sharp hop edges

D - Less than average drinkability due to over the top hops, alcoholic strength, but a delightful taste nonetheless

Edit -prior ratings A 4, S 4.5, T-4, M 4.5, D-4 from Growler

I went to the release this year and had it on tap -2014 I want to update since I was so impressed with the difference having it fresh from the source.

Start with appearance- the color is spot on with light haze and lasting head with fine bead. Smelling this- The smell is phenomenal, I don't think I have smelled hops as fragrant or clean with tropical fruit citrus and sweet floral odors in an Imperial IPA before -just incredible and wonderful in every way. The feel is equally great -practically no alcohol and lots hop resins with mild sweetness and semi high carbonation with moderate bitterness and semi-dry finish.

The flavor is great just embodies everything good about an Imperial IPA, Hops are the star but nice amount of malt body to support and the smooth flavor is seemless without much alcohol taste at all and I had this on an empty stomach/clean palate. Overall extremely drinkable for 10%+ and worth the time it took to try it on tap at the brewpub which I was skeptical of but recommend having this fresh to appreciate the true glory that is Pliny the Younger.

Slatetank, Feb 27, 2007
Photo of jcdiflorio
4.97/5  rDev +6%

poured into a flaired gold rimmed tulip glass from a growler at Phatz's Pliny Project 2.

Light coppery color with a slight haze.Very tiny compressed bubbles as the glass swirls. Once the aroma hit my nose i kinda forgot the check the color of the head. It was very creamy and left a good 1/2" coating through out.

The aroma was very intense Piney/Grapefruity. Fruity,very pineappley with sweet carmell trying to cut through all the hoppiness.
Awesome hop nose,the only way I could describe it is like crushing a handfull of fresh hops in you hands and totally covering your entire face with your hands full of the freshly crushed hops. The hop aromas were crisp and clean,fresh just awesome. The best hop aroma of anything i've ever smelled.

Intense grapefruit flavors lots of pine with a great sweet carmell taste. Just a hint of alcohol for 11% the taste was so good i forgot all about the alcohol. An amazing balance for all the hoppiness my mouth just kept watering for more.

Extra creamy,airy feel,syrupy with slick hop oilyness, juicy, just an awesome mouthfeel
The drinkabily was unbeliveable,enjoyed it so much didn't want to stop drinking it. I can't stop thinking about this beer. I want to thank Phatz's again for giving me the chance to taste this amazing beer.
If you ever get a chance to try this beer don't pass it up. I'm glad i didn't

jcdiflorio, Feb 26, 2007
Photo of akorsak
4.6/5  rDev -1.9%

A growler filled at the Union Jack's Inn On The Manatawny. Thanks to Phatz for sharing it.

A: The ale has a vibrant golden color that nicely blends orange and yellow tones. The head has held up nicely, coming in thick and billowy on each pour.

S: The aroma is this thick with big juicy hops. Aromas include grapefruit, apricot and soapiness. The malts are big too, caramelly and big.

T: This IPA is incredible. The hops are thick and powerful from the first sip to the last, providing apricot, pineapple, grapefruit and lemon rind flavors. The malts don't shy away from the hops either. They are big and chewy, full of caramel and biscuit. The strength of the malts is enough to push this into barleywine territory (but that is another argument for another day).

M: The mouthfeel is intense from start to finish, showcasing an incredible array of hops and a big malty profile.

D: If only this beer weren't 11%... The ale is delicious with a great hop profile that refuses to let go of your tastebuds.

akorsak, Feb 25, 2007
Photo of Sammy
3.7/5  rDev -21.1%

on-tap at Pizza Port Carlesblad. The more aggressive version of the elder in a side-by-side tasting. Hop attack of the palate, and a lot of malt. Powerful hop attack, common amoung the double IPAs I have had, is not satisfying to me. The elder is much smoother, and now my favorite. White head. You don't detect the alcohol in the taste, but it's there!

Sammy, Feb 09, 2007
Photo of mikesgroove
4.7/5  rDev +0.2%

Much thanks to jgaston for the growler!

Pours an ever so slightly hazed pale amber with a big frothy head that qucikly faded to reveal a ton of swirly lace that clung all the way to the bottom.

Smell was, how do you say, HOPS! Must intense frwsh hop smell, almost burned the nose hairs, this is gonna be good.

The taste, everything I expected and more. So bitter it brings tear to the eye, huge pine hops, very fresh tasting, no balance here, none needed. Absolutly intense, slight warming from the alcohol and a very dry finish.

This was right on the money and at 11%abv, its a doozy to say the least. This lived up to the hype for me at least, a true double, dare I say almost a triple IPA, wonderful wonderful brew!

mikesgroove, Feb 08, 2007
Photo of dbalsock
3.83/5  rDev -18.3%

Appearance: Light amber/golden color and very clear with smallish white head that stays around and provides some slight lacing.

Smell: Floral and citrusy, all I can smell are hops and sweet fruits. The aroma is very intense.

Taste: tastes like it smells, with grapefruit coming in and a pine forest on the aftertaste. The malt base isn't as deep as I expected and this is not as balanced as the Elder, but the amount of hops is quite impressive. This is a hop-heads dream. There's also some alcohol, but for 11% it's covered very well by the intense hopiness.

Mouthfeel: Very bitter, especially as one keeps drinking it. It seems to magnify the bitterness with each sip.

Drinkability: For the amount of alcohol in this, it is way to easy to drink. It goes down the throat and is bitter enough to keep someone gulping. I'm very impressed and although it's not quite balanced enough for my tastes, I can see why this is so highly regarded.

dbalsock, Feb 07, 2007
Photo of sleazo
4.33/5  rDev -7.7%

On tap at the Liars Club. Served in a 10 oz snifter. This is a true hop heads dream. the smell is strongly of west coast hops, piney, citrusy. The hops dominate the smell as they do the taste. you dont get too much of the malt here but the hops are what you are looking for in a 2XIPA. This just tastes like fresh hops smell. The alcohol is there, but not in a bad way. I could get really drunk by dowining alot of these

sleazo, Feb 07, 2007
Photo of SacoDeToro
5/5  rDev +6.6%

I've had every batch of Pliny the Younger and I wasn't about to miss out on this latest one.

The beer poured a rich golden color with a small white head that quickly turned into a small lace.

The aroma of this beer was bursting with amazingly fresh hops. Pine and heavy citrus (tangerine, grapefruit, and pineapple) were there in abundance. The alcohol was there to help carry the aroma up and away.

The flavor of the beer had an intense, yet incredibly rounded hop profile that blended many hop flavors. A myriad of citrus fruits were there, but tangerine was the heaviest. Many double IPAs have hop profiles that are good, but one dimensional. PTY had a multi-dimensional hop flavor. The malt profile was clean and sweet. Mostly 2 row pale malt with some light notes of caramel malt.

The mouthfeel was medium/light with a rich creaminess that worked so well for this beer. I'm assuming corn sugar and Carapils malts were used in this beer which made it crisp and dry, yet still dextrinous enough to never be thin.

The carbonation was fine and tight.

This beer is a masterpiece. This latest batch seems like the finest to me. The hop profile is a little different and improved from previous batches. I'm fortunate enough to live close to several places that have this beauty tapped. Life is good.

SacoDeToro, Feb 05, 2007
Photo of Bierguy5
4.6/5  rDev -1.9%

Again, big thanks to mcallister and pixel for having us over and letting me sample this prize. Much of this review compares the younger to the elder. Younger again is gold in color, maybe a bit lighter. Nice thick white head, which held together very well. Great piney aroma, not quite as much citrus as the elder. Very sweet, a huge malt backbone. Piney and citrusy hops, but without as much peach flavor as the elder. Nice full body. Big, but not boozy, the alcohol is very well hidden. This is very enjoyable, and I understand why this is rated so highly.

Bierguy5, Jan 28, 2007
Photo of brewcrew76
4.93/5  rDev +5.1%

A - Pours a brilliantly clear golden orange with a 2-3 finger white head and spotty lacing through the finish.

S - Sweet juicy hops! Citrus, pine, tropical fruits, grapefruit, floral bouquet. Just about every great hop aroma I have come across is in this beer.

T - Intense pine, citrus, grapefruit and pineapple. Very hoppy upfront but I was surprised by the malt balance. That all changed. After each swallow the hops just built and built to a mouth puckering superb hop bomb. The bitterness is also present but sneaks up on you.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and creamy. Hint of oily hop resin present and a dry finish that builds after each sip.

D - Initially I was expecting more from this one but with every sip I took it built itself up to this massive, tasty, beautiful DIPA. The ABV is well hidden and 2/3 of the way through the growler, I can feel it sneaking up on me but it is still a truly tasty and highly drinkable DIPA. I can not wait until I get to CA and taste it straight from the brewpub.

brewcrew76, Jan 28, 2007
Photo of mcallister
4.33/5  rDev -7.7%

Good looking indeed. Nicely carbonated with a large white and fluffy head that leaves some sticky lace behind.

Piney and very fruity hops with a sweet aroma of malt. Good bit of alcohol in the nose with more citrusy fruit aromas than the elder. Sweet and very floral and very hard too pull your nose out of.

Again balanced, but more sweetness and slightly more body and balls. Alcohol adds a dimension not found in the Elder. Not as balanced but more piney hops on the finish which is also much longer yet lacking the lush creamy mouthfeel. Not as drinkable because of the drying hop finish and the alcohol content but quite drinkable and delicious.

mcallister, Jan 28, 2007
Photo of CharlesDarwin
4.43/5  rDev -5.5%

Originally reviewed on February 10, 2005. Handbottle. Aroma is fuming blast of acidic fresh spritizing strong and sour citrus of grapefruit, fresh spruce and a hint of perfumy essence. Pour is a oranged yellow rimmed clear pour, with a lacy spotted sheets on the class of clean white. Flavor is a sweet fresh grapefruit, lime and cilantro. Savory and gushing with a gentle sweet maltness that superbly comforts and carries the hops as a delicate and sumptumous hop elixir. A true ambrosia. If the malt lent a little more character, and the hops were a little more transformed into that mouth warming bready goodness, this would be a top 10. Nonetheless, it’s an astoundingly drinkable high alcohol brew, with all those flavors carried perfectly, yet not leaving a harsh impression on the palate. Finishes actually quite sweet and floral, as opposed to typical dry grass, instead with lemongrass and a sweet cinnamon candy.

CharlesDarwin, Dec 07, 2006
Photo of Callenak
3.6/5  rDev -23.2%

Served on Cask at Naja's Place in Redondo Beach.

This is the second time I've tried the younger, once on tap and once on cask. I've had the elder many times and will be drinking some tonight for MNF. I had to try the younger again before I reviewed it to give it a second chance. So many people say that it's better than the elder I thought it deserved a second go-around.

Pours a pale gold with a big head. Took the bartender a lot of pumping to get this one poured just right. The head subdues rather quickly. Not sure if that's the cask or the ABV.

The smell is of course hops plus a good dose of alcohol. The beer is 11% after all. The alcohol is almost dominant.

The taste is overload. Tons of hops and lots of alcohol burn. I'm sure there is sugar used in the brewing of both the elder and the younger. I like a good, strong beer, but the alcohol is almost to much.

If you are going to compare the Younger to something it might as well be the Elder. I had an Elder right afterwards and reaffirmed my preference. The Elder is perfection. Taste completely unique in a time when every brewer is brewing a DIPA. The Younger reminds me of several other DIPA's I've had. The hops are great in it, but I just don't care for the alcohol burn.

Callenak, Sep 18, 2006
Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,349 ratings.