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Pliny The Younger - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger

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2,611 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,611
Reviews: 898
rAvg: 4.69
pDev: 8.74%
Wants: 5,008
Gots: 225 | 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:
Beer added by: xlperro on 01-27-2005

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.
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Ratings: 2,611 | Reviews: 898 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ramnuts
4.97/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A very generous growler gift from my pal, Arbitrator! Thanks a million, my friend...

The waxed lever top popped off and released a heady aroma of tropical fruit and resiny pine. Like Hop Stoopid, I could just sit here and sniff the bottle for awhile, no need to drink right away. My wife asked if am drinking Pine Sol. She sniffed the tulip a bit closer and said, "Wow!". The smell alone is intoxicating.

It poured a very generous foamy head and spread nearly perfect lacing around the glass interior. The foam dissipated quickly. It struck me as very dry, despite the fruit aroma overtones.

Massive hop bite, almost to the point of mint. The alcohol is clearly there but is cleverly masked by the herbal overlay. Thinner and less viscuous than expected but delivers a solid mouthfeel, nearly creamy. Not chewy like some I know...(Amnesia's and Laurelwood's products come to mind). Some scary level drinkability for an 11%er. Could put me on my ass easily.

I love the resin taste. A bit more honey than I usually prefer but it does add a nice compliment to the dry character. Vinnie really nailed the balance on this big boy. Crisp and spicy with just enough earthy balance in there to even things out. Sticky but not sappy. An amazing bit of brewing magic - well worth the hype.

Really a one of a kind Imperial/TIPA. Astounding.

Photo of garbercury
3.83/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Lucky enough to have this on tap on a visit to Russian River.

Mmmmm. PTY, taste the hype.

A---Good looking beer, no doubt about it, not a ton of head but well laced with a awesome orange hue.

S---Yep, this has some hops in it, lots of pine and some fruit esters.

T---Complex with a lot going on besides the hops, citrus of course, mango? Pineapple? For being a hop-bomb, this has a very nice flavor and finish.

M---dry and tart with the hops finish

D---I will say up front, hop-bombs are not really my thing. I have had this beer on two separate occasions and if you are a hop-head, this is a very solid choice, I like it much more than the Elder, which pretty much reminds me of Pine-sol. I guess that is what is funny about styles, Pty is treated like it is the second coming of Jesus or something, it is not. Dont trade away your first born to get this, but certainly make an effort to get some if you enjoy this style!

Photo of BetterDarker
4.82/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler from my sister who has relocated to Napa who happened upon the event per my begging.

A- As has been stated before, much lighter than I expected, looks like liquid gold. 1 finger head with great lacing. Nice carbonation, especially considering it spent a week on it's way across the country.

S- Hop smack to the face, I went cross eyed and laughed. Amazing aroma. Pine with fruit and floral notes.

T- Heavy citrus hops on the front. Some tropical in the middle with a nice pine in the finish. Slightly boozy. I hop orgasm.

M- Remarkably dry for a beer this big, great carbonation even from a growler.

D- I got pretty silly pretty quick, not sure if it was the excitement, the hops ripping through my system, or the 11% ABV. None the less, if this beer was available year round, I'm not sure I would drink anything else.

Photo of realmpel
4.58/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Father's Office. I had three of these nice little guys before the bar was even half full. I greatly appreciate the bar abstaining from doing a hyped-up Pliny the Younger night. Much nicer in my opinion to bust this thing out quietly.

The beer is nice to look at, has a nice fresh floral scent, and is at the same time a hop explosion and a well-balanced beer. I find it quite refreshing. You don't taste much of the 11% ABV. It's remarkable that a beer can be his hoppy, yet balanced and big.

Photo of jbone78
4.41/5  rDev -6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tasted this tonight at a local tasting. My buddy Keith got this through a trade and he is awesome enough to share with us. Pours a really clear yellow to light orange with some Hop residue in my glass, yep hops I say. I am not a great smeller, but I do smell a ton of hops. So, for a normal person, you would smell a mega ton, I bet. The taste is very floral and not over bittering, which is great in my book. I am not a bitter freak, I like hop flavors. Wish we could get this in Florida year round.


Photo of WOTO97
4.35/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Pizza Port San Clemente

A: translucent gold with thin white head and decent lacing

N: tons of citrus, primarily orange with some grapefruit, noticeable fresh pine in the background, fair amount of alcohol

T: big hit of hops right away, loads of citrus, passing note of mint, loads of hop bite (literally coating the cheeks with a warm bitterness), finishes with a faint fresh herb note, very dry, ABV very noticeable

M: extremely dense feel straight away, very round, mellow body, very fresh and clean

D: incredible, only planned on one but had to get a second,

Photo of jampics2
5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Review #200.

Something I never thought I'd get to try. Big HUGE thanks to Chad for the growler. Huge appreciation and beer karma headed your way! Thanks buddy!!

My inner hop head is mad at me. It's like he showed me this really cool club, vouched for me at the door, and introduced me to everyone. But now a days, I'm too busy hanging out with the Stouts and Wilds to even wave when I see him out. After this experience, I remember how much fun things used to be and I promise to spend more time and effort on the types of beer than got me into craft in the first place.

Which brings us to the actual review. A beautiful growler served cold, poured into open mouth tasting glasses.

Liquid gold in color, small white film of a head.

Smell is amazing. Hops rule this roost - citrus (grapefruit, orange, pineapple) and a touch of mint and alcohol. I could smell this all day; wow is this making my mouth water!

Best hoppy taste ever. A citrus punch in the face - earthy, peachy, pine, grapefruit - fades into a bitter lingering taste that is surprisingly NOT devastating but does score a significant blow on the palette. But the finesse between the hops and linger, and the levels of explosive flavor make this the best hoppy tasting beer I've had. Extreme and refined all in one - a brilliant tight-rope walk.

Mouthfeel was surprising on this one. It had appropriate lack of density and thin viscosity for the style but also felt significant. The carb was perfect and felt sharp when it needed to and creamy when it needed to.

Drinkability - OK, if this is 11%, Vinny is a magician. One sip begs for another. Almost sessionable in its appeal and how quickly the glasses disappear.

After 200 ratings, I guess I'm one of those who aren't afraid to award 5's (in fact, one other beer got a perfect score across the board from me). But this is one of the best 2 beers I've ever had and certainly the best DIPA on the planet. We sat around after a pour and discussed - what could be this beer's flaw. Sure it's strong, but a DIPA should be. It's just so well crafted and the appearance, smell, and taste are so spot-on that it deserves to be rewarded. I'm sure our paths will cross again, Younger!

Cheers and here's to the next 200!

Photo of lpayette
4.77/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've waited about 4 years to get a chance to try this beer, and am very glad to be able to do so just a few days after it took the top spot.

Appearance- Growler was full to the brim which was a nice thing because it seems little if any carbonation was allowed to escape. The color is what I would describe as gold with suggestions of caramelization that create some orange hues. Color-wise, this is is light for the style, especially considering the massive 11% ABV. The head is really dependent upon the pour, and being a growler fill I was pleasantly surprised with the results. Some lacing, but I'd like to see a bit more.

Smell- This is probably where PtY performs the best. The smell is incredible. It's dry hopped 4 times, and it shows. The main aromas in order of prevalance are grapefruit, orange, pine, and alcohol. In the background it seems there are faint traces of crystal and biscuity malts which offer up just a little bit of sweetness. I can pull vanilla bean out of the aroma too but it's a stretch, and I'm not sure where/what ingredient that's coming from.

Taste- Blistering bitterness. This is one of the most bitter beers that I can remember, keeping in mind that taste buds change from day to day, the only beer that I can think of that comes close in this respect is The Great Divide's Hercules DIPA (which I didn't like, but will try again). This beer is extemely hop-forward as a double or triple (as Russian River claims) IPA. There's still a good bit of malt to make moments sweet. I'm still surprised at the number of reviews that talk about how inperceivable the alcohol is in this... seriously? It's 11% or 22 proof, and not meant to be aged. If it were aged I suspect it would mellow out nicely, but that would defeat the purpose and the insane hop presence would fade quickly now wouldn't it? There are some complexities here with odd notes of vanilla coming through, but not quite as good complex to me as the Elder was.

Mouthfeel- Well... Full. Excellent carbonation for a growler fill.

Drinkability- I had no problem drinking this. A wonderful beer that I wish was more readily available. Well worth the wait.

Photo of MisterClean
4.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to concourse for the share on this one. Very interested to see if it lives up to the hype.

A - Pours copper-gold with 2 fingers of off-white head. Dissipates slow and leaves nice lacing.

S/T - Honey and caramel up front. Surprisingly malty for a 2X IPA. Notes of grapefruit and resiny pine on the finish. Very well-balanced, a good beer.

M - Full-bodied and well-balanced. Surprise that there is no alcohol feel in a 10.75% ABV beer.

D - Great overall, worthy of the #1 spot? No, worthy of a top-25? Definitely. Dangerously sessionable. The resininess is a bit much, but the malt feel is truly dynamic.

Photo of mightyj
5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On-tap at Tustin Brewery (8oz pour)

This was ridiculous. The 2 5-gallon kegs were empty in 20 minutes. They were pouring it as fast as they possibly could.

A - orange hue with a good amount of head.

S - very piney and floral in smell. doesn't have a alcohol scent to it.

T - very well balanced. like elder but more complex. too bad they wont bottle this.

M - clean and crisp, the hops cleans the palate so your longing for the next sip

D - if they didn't limit to 1 pour and had more of it i'd definitely have had another. hats off to RR

Photo of Bajasith
4.52/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Making a 125 mile trip worthwhile. Feb 13, 2010 was the start of a brew tour beginning at Port Brewing to grab some Red Poppy Ale and Angels Share Grand Cru.
Later spent the afternoon at Stone Brew and Bistro for some 2010 Baleywine and other famous Stone brews. Stone Brewerie had PtY on tap Thursday and were all out Saturday. I was told a local pub would have it on tap later in the evening.... I am there...
After 18 months I was able to have some Pliny the Younger in my hands so here it goes...
A: Pours radiant golden color with slight copper haze around the edges. Small frothy head that dissipated rather quick with nice lacing.
S: Very similar to PtE with a stronger smell of thick hops hanging around the fizz of alcohol. Reminds me of a thick forest after a rain.
T: Very well balanced. I am not sure if alcohol content of PtY helps balance the bitterness of the hops but let me tell you, it felt like a sweet tinge at the end.
M: Heavier and almost chewy compared to PtE.
D: Have to be carefull with this one. High ABV can hit you rather quickly since there is no end with PtY. Lighter ABV would make this brew highly drikable one after another.
Overall, PtY is the best DIPA I have had (for now)...

Photo of beagle75
4.3/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Draft serving in a 0.5 L mug at Hollingshead.

A: Slightly hazy, rich golden color with less than one finger of diminishing white foam head. Minimal lacing left on the glass.

S: Moderate sweet floral and pine hops smell. No hint of alcohol. I was expecting a more overwhelming smell to this beer.

T: Intense pine hops flavor with increasing bitterness as the aromatic flavors fade. The flavor is surprisingly balanced for what this beer is, yet the alcohol is not at the forefront. It tickles my palate in a most satisfying way and makes me smile at the thought of another sip.

M: Medium-bodied texture and light to moderate carbonation is noticed, but not distracting in any way. Seems appropriate for the style, similar to other RR IPAs.

D: Any hophead could endure more than a healthy portion of this beer, yet the abv is a limiting factor. This beer is a fine double IPA although not really in a class by itself, save for the high abv. It makes me recall a tulip of Deschutes Hop Henge reserve batch that I enjoyed at their Portland pub during Summer, 2009--another carefully crafted double IPA with a definite pine flavor and aroma. Perhaps the most notable attribute of this beer is the hype that surrounds it. Having just returned from a neighborhood deli where it was standing-room-only, the sky currently seems to be the limit. Russian River would be wise to preserve this feature of their beer, although the masses may clamber for more.

Photo of pnkRed
5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I want to do a standard review, but this deserves so much more. I'll start with appearance. This beer poured a burnt orange color that was lightly effervescent, but had great lacing and head retention. Smell was slightly piney, but more florally and citrusy. This is bitter. And not a harsh and spicey bitter, but a citrusy and floraly bitter. The younger gives it smell every cent it's worth. Hints of diacetyl on the malt. This is very well balanced. More on the hoppy side, but the malt gives the perfect smootheness to it that makes it so drinkable. Hops sit on the palate and fills the nose with that perfumy floral hops. I had a 17 oz pour and I've become a philosopher. Amazing beer. Never had better.

Photo of Joeynocturnum
4.97/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to LongBeachHopHead for hand bottling this beauty so that I could taste the hype, and this is a case where I can believe the hype.

A- Bright glowing orange hue with a white head that was a little less than half a finger.

S- Hoppy-citrus and piney, could have inhaled this beer all night.

T- Sweet Citrus hop-bomb with hints of floral taste, 11% ABV was expertly hidden.

M- Crisp and refreshing, perfectly balanced carbonation no one taste overpowered.

D- Wish I had a growler, but was glad to have any. I probably would have been a mess, but if I had a growler I surely would have finished it in one night.

I have had Dreadnaught, the Elder, Hopslam, Sculpin and a few others in the last two weeks and I could see why PtY is clearly the CHAMP.

Photo of erosier
4.82/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A huge thanks to tzanio for this one!

L: Pours a clear bright orange-yellow color with a big and fluffy off-white colored head that sticks around for some time and leaves a nice amount of lacing down the glass.
S: Smells of sweet malts, a whole bunch of citrus - grapefruit, mostly - then a huge earthy, citrus-y, and piney hop aroma.
T: Not what I was expecting from the nose. I was expecting a hop bomb, but this was not it, not even close. The hops were there for sure, but they did not overpower the beer with one kind of hop flavor. It was a mix of earthy, piney, citrusy, and floral all mixed expertly together for that perfect IPA taste. The beer was balanced out expertly with the malt base and the flavors were excellent.
M: Very crisp, fresh, refreshing, perfect amount of carbonation, lighter feeling than I thought it would be.
D: Very drinkable, I split the growler with some friends (all beer lovers) and we all loved it. The growler was gone in no time and we were wishing for more.

Photo of koopa
4.62/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


I've been seeking this brew for 2 years now, so it is an appropriate choice for my 400th review! Growler received in a trade with nick717 who is da man! Growler shared with beerloco, mrsbeerloco, and StonyB.

Appearance: Pours a radiant brilliant goldfish orange with a slight haze. The crown is a slightly buttery white, very frothy/frappy, shows medium retention and lots of lace.

Smell: In the words of Will Ferrels movie "Semi-Pro" its time to get tropical! LOADS of perfectly balanced grapefruit, pine resin, and a medley of hops which seems (to my novice palate) to be simcoe, columbus, centennial, etc. A whisper of alcohol rounds out the flavor and seems like it belongs (different from PTE).

Taste: Same as nose...slightly sweet pale malt, hints of biscuit, a pungent bouquet of fruity resinous hops, etc. The juiciness of the hops counterbalances the bitterness perfectly.

Mouthfeel: Same as PTE only a touch more chewy.

Drinkability: It is wasn't for the 11% abv I'd score it at a 5.0 because this is an extremely drinkabile triple ipa.

PTY lives up to the hype.

Photo of brdc
3.68/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks a million to alcstradamus for his generosity.

So this is it, the new number 1! Opening the growler produces a loud hiss, which is obviously a great sign.
Poured into an Allagash tulip-type glass, it is a fairly clear golden orange body capped by a white fluffy head. It shows good retention, and produces sheets of lace on its way down. After several minutes I am left with a thin collar and a decprated glass.
Nice aroma, with a combination of multiple tropical fruits, pineapple and grapefruit at the forefront, with caramel malts and cookie dough coming out from time to time.
I have to disagree with buckeyenation here, as this one feels a lot closer to barleywine than a pure hopbomb. Yes, the flavor shows a hop explosion, with all the above mentioned fruity hoppiness, grtapefruit and pineapple, and fortunately, the grapefruit is noit overpowering, but maltiness is clearly present.
Caramel and cookies are there, and there are some sweet traces on the palate.
Nice carbonation, lending a smooth consistency.
This is a good beer, but IMHO, far from #1.
I am very glad I had this opportunity, thanks again to alcstradamus, but I believe Hopslam and Dreadnaught are better.

OBS: As I finished my review, and a new average is made, it is now at #2. Westy is back on top.

Photo of Orangevango
4.54/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Quite clear with a smallish head that dissipates quickly leaving a little bit of foam around the edge of the glass. This beer smells fabulous. To quote a friend "if hops had a vagina this is what it would smell like" The fresh, grassy, grapefruity, cleanliness of this aroma is what I want to reek of when I get out of the shower. (even though I would probably find myself only able to attract middle-aged fat and/or balding men with beards). The flavor follows the smell, though it is not as complex or nearly so orgasmic. Super-dry and bracingly bitter, I would even say that the bitterness is a bit over the top, but only a bit. The mouthfeel is unremarkable, acceptable levels of carbonation... not tannic or anything.

I kinda stopped taking notes at this point because I got enthralled by actually consuming this beer. It is made for drinking, that much is for sure, but my two glasses sent me straight to bed... yummy stuff.

Photo of dougofthefuture
4.77/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Much thanks to Sugit for providing this growler. This was definitely an experience, and we drank it on the very day (2/13/10) it takes the BA #1 spot. There isn't much that hasn't already been said, but here are my thoughts.

A - Pours a light amber, golden color (lighter than expected) with impressive 2 finger head. Impressive, of course, because of the 11% ABV and the week's time spent in the growler. Interestingly, there were many tiny flecks apparent when looking closely at the glass. Are these hop chunks?

S - For a hop lover, this is worth the price alone. It was overpowering in a very good way. If you try really hard, you can tell there are some malts in the beer. You'd never be able to tell there was any alcohol though. How did that happen??

T&M - We had a chance to drink this at the same time as Pliny the Elder. It made Elder taste like Pliny Lite. They were similar, with Younger being everything Elder was, only amped up. Of course, the hops are on a whole different level, but the malt backbone in Younger compared to Elder is quite a bit more pronounced, especially as the beer warms. Still a lighter mouthfeel compared to others in the IIPA/IIIPA category, even with the added malt backbone.

D - This is the third time I've said this, but where is the alcohol? At first, I was sure the 11% was a lie. Then, the kink I had in my back faded away, along with all the world's troubles. It was a good thing the growler was the size it was. I had no power to stop drinking this on my own. See you next year, hopefully!

Photo of khiasmus
4.52/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Many, many thanks to Wespatrick for sharing this gem. Had at a tasting last night, Feb 13th. Reviewed from notes.

"Well, here we are then, gents. It's officially.. well, apparently, the best in the land."
"Go ON then, let's have at it!"
A hissy-pop and up swings the cap, as the aroma already begins to waft about the room, blending with the cheese-and-crackers upon the table, and making quite a name for itself, though we have yet to tilt it.
A glug-glug and it's in the glass in front of me, and the seriousness of evaluating comes due.
There's an almost-clear orange with tiny specks afloat throughout... "What is that?" "What?" "The specks there." "I don't see them." "Don your glassies then, old man!" "Ah... I suppose just a lack of filtering, then, and perhaps tiny hop-pebbles." "Lovely."
A finger-thick head rises up but settles quickly, at first gives the illusion of lace, but then shows itself to be sliding down after every savory sip.
A long, enjoyable whif, and the loads of grapefruit and resin come out. "Gents, it smells just like Sculpin!" "Ah, come off it, not just like Sculpin!" "No. Really."
The aroma and flavour are both monstrously grapefruity, with just a bit of resin thrown in... "Come along fellows, let us be honest, all of us know what a grapefruit tastes like, but when was the last time you chewed pine needles?" "Ah... what time is it? About... eight hours ago." Guffaws all round.
The percentage really does little to show itself except in a bit of warming after each swallow. The carbonation is medium-high, the body is rather thin, it's a tad boozy. But just a tad. "Really though? Have you ever had an 11% that was so drinkable?" "Yes sir. Unearthly." "Ah. Touche."
It only makes sense, as Wes pointed out, that this be the number one DIPA on the site, with Sculpin being the number 1 IPA. I could not get it out of my head that this beer is precisely imperial Sculpin. Just the same dangerous drinkability (As in, if a drinkability scale could go higher than five, this beer would be there), the exact same grapefruit-dominant hop profile, an excellent and well-crafted beer. The best DIPA? Not to my palate, but obviously well-deserving.

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After tap, now on to the growler courtesy of Grabbin2nd.
Growler popped loud and we all scream YESSS!Poured a nice golden orangish color with great carbonation and nice white head. Nose is pine, grapefruit, booze, perhaps hint of ornage peel. Taste is pine, grapefruit murdering the palate with hops, bittering medium way with floral, citrus and hop oils coming out, caramel and booze being pretty subdued by all the damn flavors. Mouthfeel is light booze, stinging, oils but dry at the same time, pine. Drinkability, best enjoyed with many friends.

Photo of 59071240749
5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

TaNgerine hued copper, slight haze--yeast or dry hopping?
Slight offwhite head. Struggling carbonation. Gorgeous
from the looks this is a substancial beverage...it sits in a Belgian tulip glass ready to pounce like a massive orange tiger.

Get anywhere within a few feet of this beverage and you'll be treated to a blast of dank citrusy floral spicy deliciousness.
Pure hop oils pulsating, filling the air and your nostrils in a way that no other dipa can do. Put your nose to the glass and it smells like opening vacuum sealed packets of all the finest
american hop varieties put together in a symphony of perfection.
Such amazing hop design going on here.

Drinking it unloads this symphony of aroma into your mouth. Take a sip and you'll quickly want a gulp--this is 11% abv but somehow it drinks like a session beer. Flavor is rich sticky resiny hops balanced with tropical fruit citrus pine dank garlic
spicy herbal. The resins just coat your mouth and suck you in

how does a beer this big with so much ibu and dry hopping finish so dry? I can't figure it out. Insanely good and my favorite double ipa of all time. Year after year Russian river kicks total ass with this one

Photo of Ineedabeerhere
4.68/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Many Thanks to a very generous trader for hooking me up with this one. I can't thank you enough (!), especially with all the craziness surrounding the release. I split this side by side with Elder (bottled 1/14) with my homie Jeff the other night.

Pours a surprisingly clear orangey amber. Darker than elder, but still has a bit of chill haze. Sturdy white-ish foam has better retention than elder (surprisingly), good spottyish lacing. Very attractive, such an innocent looking beer for a concoction of this magnitude both in its abv and flavor profile. Some of the final pours from the growler sent (hop?) particles into suspension.

Hop aromas are mostly sappy, sticky pine, but a definite woodiness to it (not oak though), first noted by my fellow taster, Jeff. Some tropical fruit and juicy grapefruit. A little booze in the nose is undeniable as it warms with just the slightest sweet malt note through the back. Still, this subtle alcohol note is nowhere near enough to indicate its 11% strength. I really liked the hop profile, but I was expecting it to be slightly more pungent. I'm sure it's a little better on tap at the source, but this was still an excellent aroma. Compared to elder, it was a similar hop profile, but there was actually more caramel in elder's aroma.

Taste is just as great. Very firm bitterness lasts throughout. Great, expressive hop flavor with juicy citrus and pineapple. The most surprising thing about this beer is the mouthfeel. It is substantial as fuck. It would be a 6 if possible. Great and chewy and just so unlike any other DIPA. So naturally, with that amount of residual sugar, there is some caramel malt sweetness mid palate - but it is at times easily overshadowed by the hop blast. Booze is less apparent than in the aroma, but still just hinted at. Once again, nowhere near the 11% which is very impressive. The lasting hop bitterness outplays any booze that might have otherwise been able to linger.

Really drinkable. As soon as I took my first sip I was questioning the 11%, and still questioned it during the last glass I poured. Such a pleasant experience and overall just really an amazing beer. Vinnie continues to amaze the craft beer world with masterful brews like this one. I look forward to trying this in future years and hopefully at the source one day. I am very lucky to have been able to try it and will have to try and find a way to pay back the generous trader who sent it out. Cheers!

Photo of heliosphann
4.87/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

HUGE thanks to Chad, a fellow Hoosier that's been transplanted to California. 64oz swing-top growler from the brewery. Served in an oversized tulip and shared with fellow BA infestaxion.

A: Pours a magnificent looking crystal golden orange. A finger plus of white, pitted fluff sits on top, taking it's sweet time to fade. Lacing is fantastic, leaving patchy white remnants all over the glass.

S: The first thing that comes to me is this is the United Nations of hops. There is big juicy citrus and tropical fruit notes, mango, papaya, pineapple and tangerines. Underneath that bouquet is some dirty, grassy hops that impart a decent amount of pine. When I popped the growler and poured the first glass, my friend could smell the beer from 7-8 feet away. Yea, it's that good.

T: Pure hoppy bliss. Much of what I detailed above transfers over to the taste. The hops and malts mesh perfectly, providing some nice bitterness and counter balancing sweetness. Most impressive is the finish, which imparts a level of complexity I've not had in a DIPA before. The aftertaste also leaves a great hoppy presence and a big damn smile on your face.

M: Thick, creamy, smooth, silky, sexy, beefy and not overly sticky. Carbonation is about a perfect as you can get. Bottom line is this is everything you want in a big, fresh Double IPA.

D: If this wasn't already listed as 11% ABV, I wouldn't have believed it. There is very little trace of heat or booze present. The bitterness and sweetness do add up over multiple servings, but for such a big hoppy beer it doesn't get much more drinkable than this.

This is one of those beers that certainly lives up to the hype. Vinnie and Russian River have delivered what has to be one of the best Double IPA's on the planet. I'm really glad I had the chance to sample this fantastic brew. Hopefully down the road when they have the capacity, RR will bottle this beer and more people will have a chance to try it.

Photo of ShogoKawada
5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Growler from augustgarage. Many thanks!

Poured into my Firestone Walker pint glass.

A- Lighter than expected.. golden honey in color. 3-finger head that laces impossibly well for an 11% beer. Must be the hops, lol. There's a half-finger of head that refuses to go away.. carbonation looks like it held up well in the cross-country trek.

I've never seen a beer over 10% that has head retention like this.. especially a week-old growler. Damn. Creamy as all hell... lacing is fire-extinguisher-esque in body.

S- Hop assault. Piny, fruity, floral. Similar to Pliny the Elder, just a bit more behind it.

T- Citrus hops, full-throttle. Tangerine/grapefruit and a bit of pineapple. Some tropical mango/papaya. Some pine hops, which come through as 'new-growth' with a bit of an octane quality. A bit of booze and a bit of a peppery note in the finish. This beer is incredibly fresh.

M- Where's the ABV? Choked out by the hops. Phenomenal. I cannot believe this is 11%. Dry.. and I can't believe how much the sweetness of an 11% DIPA is in check. I've had 8% beers that have more cloying sweetness to them.

D- Insane. Growler was no problem. This beer lives up to any and all hype. Takes everything I love about Pliny the Elder and fucking doubles down. Whoa. Excuse the profanity.. the stealth ABV must be creeping in.

I've reviewed 300+ beers and enjoyed probably close to 500 beers since joining beeradvocate. This is, by leaps and bounds, the best beer I've had. And here I thought I was getting sick of DIPAs. Holy. shit.

For those of you living vicariously through reviews, PtE and Alpine Pure Hoppiness are close flavor-wise.

Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,611 ratings.