Pliny The Younger - Russian River Brewing Company

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Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger

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BA SCORE
100
world-class

2,723 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,723
Reviews: 925
rAvg: 4.69
pDev: 8.74%
Wants: 5,400
Gots: 274 | 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.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,723 | Reviews: 925
Photo of callmemickey
4.82/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

$7.70 for a full Chimay chalice worth of Pliny the Younger at Local 44 for their Russian River Philadelphia Beer Week Event.

A: Light golden, with some straw tones... solid white head, quality retention and lacing... when I walked into the bar they had just started pouring this... nearly everyone went right for the younger (also had elder, consecration, blind pig, damnation, salvation, and rejection on draft)... you can spot this beer across the bar and its so appetizing... ordered it up and waited for the keg to kick in roughly a half hour

S: Powerful citrus hop blast, mostly grapefruit but hints of tangerine... not as much pine as the elder, but certainly in abundance

T: Incredibly balanced... sure the hops are crazy strong with intense pine and grapefruit, with a nice resiny bite, but this beer has the smoothest flavoring ever... the malt is soft, slightly sweet, and has a real nice character to it...

M: Absurd. Super smooth. Crisp finish. Dry hop bite.

O: Out of this world. I looked down after about five minutes and I was halfway through my glass.

Edit: I've had this a a few times since my original sampling... I am down grading it a bit from what was once a 5.0/5.0 beer. The score reflects my current opinion.

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

Enjoyed this one several times throughout the week of it hitting seattle. First was at collins pub

Pours a golden orange-ish color with a small head that leaves a sticky lacing as i drink it down.

Smell is phenomenal slightly sweet with a huge hop nose and grapefruit

Taste is hops (of course), grapefruit, pine and slight sweetness. The 11% is well hidden, but i could see how a few of these could put you away. especially on an empty tummy.

Mouth is medium body with perfect carbonation. the aftertaste of the hops lingers on the tongue for a loonggg time.. =)

Drink is very high the only reason i didn't give it a 5 is becase of how damn hard it is to find this. (Some people might disagree with my reasoning but it's my review so screw you)

Photo of neckarmueller
4.9/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had on-tap at Belmont Station in Portland, OR (they had it on tap for only one day during their IPA week)

Wow, wow, WOW. I have to agree with the bros that it's one of the best brews on the planet.

A: Beautiful. Honey-amber color with creamy head that disappears after about a minute.

N: Three things: Hops, hops, and hops. Seriously, has some great pine and citrus notes; altogether, great fruity quality to the bouquet. Very bright and exciting.

T: Three things: Hops, hops, and hops. Same comments as nose.

M: Smooth, medium carbonation, just about right.

D: Hides the alcohol very well, but dang, you really feel it in the head after just one 10 oz glass!

A+. Gotta take a road trip to Santa Rosa sometime (with a stop at North Coast and a half-dozen other breweries on the way)...

[Note: PTY and PTE are very sought-after beers around here. I've been looking for both for weeks at every little local place that has a good selection of beers in town, and today is the first day I've found both. Belmont Station got in a small quantity of PTE bottles as well as PTY on tap. Within minutes of getting there, their whole stock of PTE was wiped out. Managed to get 2 bottles for later.]

Photo of steadydose
4.48/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Served at Obriens $5 for a 10 oz. tumbler.

A: amber-copper, small cap white fluffy head, disspates quickly. High clarity, bright color.

S: lots of pine, citrus.

T: Large dose of hops. Piney, w/ a long bitter finish like eating grapefruit.

M: Heavy, silky, velvet. Very smooth.

D: Fantastic beer. High ABV kept me from drinking more than 30 oz.

Pliny the younger is a great beer. Have had it side by side with blind pig, and pliny the elder. To my taste the younger and elder have similar characteristics, in taste and smell, although the younger just takes it too the next level. The mouthfeel of the younger is creamier, and smoother w/ less fizz.

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

Enjoyed on-tap at Uber Tavern in Seattle, WA as my first beer of the night (clean palate!)

A: Golden citrus in color with diamond like clarity. No skimping in the head department, this one yields (similar to Pliny) a huge fluffy off white head. Lots of curtainous "ringed" lacing.

S: Light floral hops, huge citrus nose!

T: Fantastic! Huge citrus blast, some candy like sweetness, floral hops, piney, but not as much as Elder...not nearly as much...which is GREAT. This is really a superbly refined and well balanced DIPA. Hats off you to RR.

M: Smooth, medium bodied beer that just wants to love your mouth.

D: High ABV will limit physical tolerance and overall drinkability, but damn if I don't want to risk it all and try anyway!

Photo of GilGarp
4.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served cold, in a pint glass, on tap at Catalyst in Fort Collins, Colorado.

It has a golden orange color with just a skim layer of white head on top. It has very good clarity for a beer of this style. Nice lacing is left behind but I can't stop swirling to get that great aroma out!

It's huge and hoppy with floral fruity goodness in the nose. One of the best smelling beers I've ever had.

There is big hoppy bitter flavors but not (quite) overpowering. It's very similar to the Elder but with the hops turned up to 11. Sticky resiny hops and just a bit of sweetness to offset the bitterness. It certainy has the same hop profile as the Elder.

Sticky mouth-coating stuff with big body and a sticky dry/bitter finish. The alcohol burn is more noticible as it warms.

Drinkability is limited simply because of the strength and bitterness. It's definately a great double IPA but I find the Elder to be more enjoyable overall. A great hop fix!

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

On tap at O'Brien's, once again. Served in 10oz. glasses, a brilliant yellow gold with pristene clarity and a pure white 1/4" foam head.
It looks so inviting, especially when you know what your getting into.

Sweet hoppiness greets the nose. Citrus nectar of grapefruit, tangelo, honeysuckle, pine and peppermint, permeate the nose. The best hop smell in an ale, ever!

The taste is unlike any 2X IPA, once you get to know it. Sweet hoppiness reigns with tangy citrus and somewhat sappy pine leading the way. In steps a slight malt note, followed by a fresh peppermint and lightly bitter finish. Balanced and clean throughout...best hop flavor ever.

Medium bodied with the alcohol burried within the complex flavor. The carbonation is subtle yet perfect...refreshing as cool spring water. This brew is way too drinkable...there will never be to much hype put on this ale, it's the best in it's class, bar none.

Photo of MickeyHops
4.79/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

3/6/09 10 oz pour at O'Briens (x2).

Dark golden appearance with almost no head.

Smells like a hop monster.

Tastes like a hop monster. Similar to Pliny the Elder but a little "thicker". That said, mouthfeel is full but as light as an 11% ABV beer can be. Alcohol is well hiddn but starts to become apparent after about half a glass.

Overall, an excellent brew. It is definitely the Elder taken to the next level. As one would expect, the high ABV limits drinkability. It may be overhyped, but this is still a great beer that any hop head needs to try.

Photo of ElGordo
4.49/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

10oz glass poured on draft at Bailey's Taproom. Color somewhere between golden and amber, without much in the way of a head. Aroma of sharp, floral, piny hops, with notes of pineapple and cannabis. Palate is a straight-up hop bomb, possibly the hoppiest beer I've had outside of fresh hop season here in Oregon. Grass, pineapple, and cannabis notes peek through the sticky, syrupy, hoppy backbone, while a touch of bready malt comes through to balance things out on the finish, only to be overtaken by a serious grapefruit character that lingers long after the swallow. A fantastic offering, although somewhat brutal on the palate. But, if you love hops like I do, you've got to try it.

Photo of rye726
4.8/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

For sure one of the best IPA's in the world. Pours an orangish brown with a silky beige head.

The nose has a bouquet citrus and pine over bready malts, caramel and toffee.

A perfectly balanced palate features sweet malts and fresh bitter hops.

Body is crips yet full and compliments the brew very well. I could enjoy this any time.

Photo of olmatty
4.72/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Orange Amber liquid with a fluffy off white head

Smell- Freshly herbaceous and flowery hops

Taste- Lush, verdant, piney hops up front, middle and last give this beer a uniquely "live" charatcter. Malt backbone is substantial, yet clearly overwhelmed by massive hops. Big alcohol presence is nicely masked by big flavor

Mouthfeel- Moderate smooth carbonation, medium bodied, but seemingly sticky with hops resins

Drinkability- A very big beer and quite extraordinary. High ABV detracts slightly from drinkability.

Photo of sonicdescent
4.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tons of cheers to Beerzebub for this one.

Pours a very nice golden with surprisingly thick and well laced head. Carbonation is active and this looks thick.

Scent is the elder on crack. Citrus out the ass.

Taste is...so bitter yet clean. Tropical but not really sweet. Fruity but only in spots. Bitey but not dry. Alcohol well hidden. Really great.

Mouth body and carbonation are medium, and this is very drinkable and good, but so so difficult to get. I'll savor every drop of this growler.

Photo of jkendrick
4.72/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: That same hazy golden-orange color of the Elder with the same cloud-white head. the head sticks around for a while and leaves nice lacing on the glass.

Aroma: For my money, this is the best nose I have ever experienced. There is tons of grapefruit, but the marijuana smell really sets this apart. The bready malt is also there as well, but all of this exists in perfect balance avoiding anything that could be described as overly sweet.

Mouthfeel: Oily and syrupy, this one just coats your mouth. The absolutely perfect carbonation helps to accent and trigger (for lack of better word) the flavors to bloom.

Taste: Wow! How can this possibly be 11%!?! The hops are just note perfect. it is like the best grapefruit juice you've ever had... in beer form! The bready malt is there, though subdued, to give it the perfect balance without any cloying sweetness.

Overall impression: I drank two half pints, but that was probably overdoing it. It is very drinkable, but that alcohol, though very well hidden, will get you. If the Tap House had not run out of the Elder, I would have switched to that. The buzz is somewhat stoney as well. I love love LOVE this beer, but I'd have to give the slight nod to the Elder, simply due to its lower abv.

Photo of bunnyhustle
4.22/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Fathers Office in Santa Monica, CA. A nice suprise on a recent trip there. Pours copper, looks virtually clear, with creamy head and decent lacing and retention (note: bar lighting was not the best so this is the best I can get to the look). Smell was superb. A nice kick of piney hops with some caramel maltiness. There is a presence of alcohol but nothing terrible. Taste was great as well. A strong citric kick to it, stong tastes of pineapple and grapefruit I thought. Strong malt backbone, a bit of a sweet caramel taste. Warming on the way down and leaves behind a nice hop bitterness to it. The first sip is pretty intense I must say. The mouthfeel was perfect I thought. Very smooth, somewhat silky...just great. Not too light or thin, but not too thick or creamy. Overall a great beer, not that anyone is suprised. I could easily have a couple in a sitting. I, unfortunately, had to drive so I could just enjoy the one. But between a great beer and a great bar, this was an amazing beer experience.

Photo of tpd975
5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have long since given up on milestone beers. That being said this beer is a milestone all on its own so I am going to make it review 900. It has been my holy grail for the past year or so and a great big fucking thanks goes out to Talisker for once again hooking a brother up!

I owe you.

Being the good guy I am I took it to the local tasting group for all to enjoy.

A: Pours an ultra clear golden hue that is actually fairly light for the style. Bold creamy head quickly rises to a nice solid cap. Good retention, lots of lace and fizz when swirled. This one begs to be drank.

S: Holy hops batman! This baby is pure hop juice. Huge hop aroma with wonderful scents jumping out at you. Juicy orange and sweet apricot play well with peach and grapefruit. Green grass cuts through along with an absolute bouquet of flowers.

T: The malt in this beer must be ridiculous for the balance to be so spot on despite the insane amount of hops. Nice sweet caramel malt peeks through but trust me there is much more going on here in the malt department. That being said it has no chance to shine. The hops plow through with the malt doing its best just to provide balance... which it does quite nicely. The hop flavors are like nothing I have ever tasted. Sweet, Citrus, and Floral are all there. Sun sweet apricot and peach really stand out with notes of sweet mango. The green grass cuts through and seems to duel with sweet orange and bitter grapefruit. To call this beer complex would be an understatement. To call it great would be a crime. It is sooo much more and even better I could ever imagine.

M: Full bodied, rich, thick, smooth. It coats the mouth and throat with sweet and bitter fruit that just lingers and lingers. Pure sex in a bottle.

D: I had two full glasses and if there had been more I would have had a third. That being said I was fine drinking all the beers at the tasting. When finished with this one I was bombed, yet there was no hint of the ABV in the flavor.

Huge aromas, and out of this world flavor. This is one many will try to duplicate but will no doubt fall short.

It is worthy of that holy grail title. The best beer in the world? I would say so at least for now. The good news is my boy ibrew2or3 brought a growler home with him from his trip to Cali. I get a second round with this bad boy tomorrow. Life could not be better.

Give an arm, a leg, your first born. Get this one you will be glad you did. Talisker you rock man, I owe you big time!

Photo of sessycuban
4.44/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at the 9th Annual Double IPA Festival at the Bistro in Hayward.

A - The beer poured a copper color. I had the beer in a festival tasting glass so not much to talk about in terms of head and lacing.

S - Pine, grapefruit, citrus, floral. Everything you'd expect from Vinnie.

T - An explosion of hops, but also surprisingly malty. For such a big beer, it's not at all hot.

M - Fairly viscous, but incredibly balanced for such an aggressive beer.

D - I could have pint after pint but I'd be drunk as a skunk before I knew it.

I'm glad I got to try it. I'd like to drink it again, although I'm not going to go to great lengths to get it. Inevitably, this one is going to be compared to the Elder, and I have to side with the old guy.

Photo of pkasten
4.32/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this one on tap at the Horse Brass pub in Portland.

a: bright golden color with a slight haze to it

s: bright, piney and floral hop character, but not as agressively hoppy as expected.

t: surprisingly well balanced. big hop flavors, but with enough malt that it's not at all overly hoppy. expected this to be a bit hot at 11%, but just a little hint of warmth.

m: medium bodied, fairly sticky, with the agressive hop coating lingering on the palate for several minutes.

d: again, better than expected for such a huge beer, but I don't think I would want more than one in a sitting.

overall: a really excellent imperial IPA, but I'm not so sure it's deserving of such hype. I felt that batch one of this year's Deschutes Hop Henge was stickier, prettier, and generally more agressive.

if this wasn't so rare and expensive, I'd happily have one now and then, but given the extreme hype and price tag, I don't think this is something I'd seek out again.

Photo of CPTJack
4.92/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I finally got the chance to try Pliney the Younger at the Falling Rock Tap House in Denver and it was well worth the wait.

A - The 8 ounce pour was a coppery-amber color that was clear with a nice head.

S - From the first sniff this beer is all business. Very hoppy aroma that beacons you to take a sip.

T - The Younger is similar to the Elder, but the higher ABV off-sets the smack of the 100+ IBUs.

M - The IBUs hit you from the beginning and linger long after the last sip.

D - The Younger is a very drinkable balance of malt and hops, each complimenting the other which leaves you wanting another one after you finish the first.

Definitely one of the best beers I've ever had. Highly recommended if you ever get the opportunity to try it.

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.75/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Falling rock had this on tap, and I didn't want to miss it. served in small snifter at the half pint volume.
Bright ruby and amber brew, really likes the light and shines like a lantern. Good dense, white, and foamed head. Great lacing after every sip and quick swirls...all the way to the end.
Mild hops aroma, yet complex. The alcohol is well concealed. Some floral and vanilla seem to be present as well.
Balanced taste to it. For as much hops as this thing has, the malt is present just at the beginning and a bit in the end. Smooth and sharp. Not bitter, buy very dry.
Deceiving beer with the abv. Dangerous, but very nice.

Update:
This is my third PyT review, the other two being in 06 and 09.
Falling Rock tapped this tonight and I got in on the first of 3 kegs.

Clear, clean light copper pour. A 1 finger white head foamed up. Lacing was thin, a quick swirl brought about the head again, yet lacing didn't quite stick.
A good blend in the aroma of citrus hops, some butteriness, pine and faint biscuit.
A rather lack luster taste. A soft citrus body develops with thin pine and an aftertaste of malt. But that doesn't last long. The body is thin, the bite is quiet and the balance is easily overlooked. At 11% abv, it is very easy drinking. I'm a bit disappointed in this one this year. Still good, but not world class, imho.
Update the update: 2011 sample. I dunno, the taste just isn't meeting the nose (i've upped the smell score). Doesn't seem as juicy as I remember or expected based on the aroma. The appearance today wasn't all that good...no head...but that was due to the pour
Averaged out the scores above
Update: On tap at Backcountry Pizza in Boulder, Feb 11 2012. This version seems thinner. The nose is softer and less hoppy. Nothing bad about it. The feel is drier without the bite. It just kind of evaporates and leaves the palate quickly.

Photo of glid02
4.97/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this courtesy of gford217 - thanks!

Pours a slightly hazy honey copper color with a thick off-white head. The head sticks around for quite a while before settling into a large-bubbled crown leaving solid lacing.

Smells great. Hops and more hops are front and center - citrus, tropical, floral, and pine hop aromas. This really is every hop aroma under the sun.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though with more of a malt backbone. The malt doesn't really have a flavor, just more of a setpoint from which to judge the huge amounts of hops. The bitterness sneaks up on you - managing to get stronger and stronger with each sip, but never so overpowering to hamper the hop flavors. The ABV is there, but it's as well hidden as any non-stout I've had with this high of a percentage.

Mouthfeel is good - good thickness with grainy carbonation make this one glide down my gullet.

Drinkability is great. I could drink not one, but multiple growlers of this - just so easy to drink.

Overall this beer did not disappoint. Everything is done exceptionally well and I hope everyone gets the chance to try this at one point or another.

Photo of ArrogantB
4/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Falling Rock $7 per 1/2 pint, wow. Served in a wine glass, nice orange color, smells amazingly hoppy like Pliny the Elder. Tastes bitter, hoppy, stronger. Honestly I think the Elder is better. This didn't seem to add hoppy value, only alcohol. A delicious IPA but the elder is better as far as I'm concerned.

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

Evan, who works at Brewbakers in Huntington and is a regular at Beachwood, popped in and was nice enough to trade me some of the Abyss '07 I had just bought for a few pours from one of his RR Growlers of the newest PtY batch. Many thanks to him for allowing me to finally try Younger - it was worth it.

Appearance: Poured with a translucent, "juicy" deep tree sap amber color. Head was fairly non-existent, but that could be more a consequence of this being in a growler. The lacing was pretty spectacular, canvassing-type stuff, which stayed for some time. Looks appetizing.

Smell: Deep, deep grapefruit, followed by basically the entire flavor spectrum of citrus fruits. Slight pine on the back end. Maltiness is there, expressing itself in a slight honey-like sweetness on the back end. Smells powerful, but not too powerful. Mega hoppy, but not in a detracting way. Just something else. Really is perfume-like, and makes you want to keep your nose in it for some time. It's less about complexity and more about simultaneous strength and balance.

Taste: Taste is similar to the smell. There is just an incredible balance here that only Elder can really compare to. It's basically the finest hop specimen I've tasted. Believe the hype.

Mouthfeel: Chewy, chewy, chewy. Juicy.

Drinkability: Intensely drinkable. I would basically take issue with anyone who said that Elder somehow is much more so.

Photo of squaremile
4.59/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Memorable Quality: The smell is an out of this world basket of hops, the hops punched me in the face like I have never experienced from a beer before. I felt like I was chewing a hop plant. I thought about this beer for days after I drank it, thoroughly deserving of the hype, the best hoppy beer on the planet.

EDIT: This thing actually haunted me for months. No beers could get close to it. Amazing.

Photo of drunkmonk
4.74/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours from growler golden honey, substantial head dissapates to in impressive thin bubbly swirling lace that refuses to fade. Not expecting this with a brew of such girth. Rings of lace cling to the snifter. Pungent citrus hop aromas of grapefruit, pineapple, and sticky sappy pine needles. It's hard to keep your nose out of the glass on this one. Taste is again a rush of citrus hops with a nice piney bitterness. Some very lite honey like malts sneak in mid way. Mouth is smooth but somewhat sticky. Finishes with a slight boozy warmth that coats the mouth with some apricot and again piney bitterness. The 11%abv was extremely well hidden and way to easy to drink. This was simply fantastic. Thanks so much Chris, for the unbelevable opportunity to try this from the source.

Photo of Dajtai007
4.92/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It was on tap at Collin's Pub Seattle

I've been waiting for this beer for quite some time now, and there I was.
The aroma was so divine, deep ruby red grapefruit with a wonderful floral bouquet.
Taste was amazing. More so than the Elder. In a way that its more complex, lasting and bright.
I could drink this all night long, and I did!

One truly amazing DIPA. A fine example of RR excellence to world class beers!

Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,723 ratings.