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Pliny The Younger - Russian River Brewing Company

Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,126 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2126
Reviews: 835
rAvg: 4.69
pDev: 8.53%

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)
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Ratings: 2,126 | Reviews: 835 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Homebrewpat

New Jersey

4.84/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Was abosolutely thrilled to get this beer on draft at the Bishops collar in Philly. Unfortunately they only ended up giving out % oz samples. Still great to try. Nose is Elder on steroids more pine, more tropical. As perfect a mouthfeel as I've had from an IPA. Taste is sublime. Amazingly balanced between bitter hops and biscuit y malt. hope to get a full glass soon.

Serving type: on-tap

03-12-2013 01:29:32 | More by Homebrewpat
Photo of smakawhat


4.61/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured on tap at Monk's Cafe into a wine glass for the charity event Alex's Lemonade stand. 2 1/2 hours of waiting in line, good chats, and good crowded insane times!

Glass poured ahead of time. Pale brass yellow to bronze amber body. Very clear and crystal, not much noticeable carbonation. Given with only a thin off tan to white soapy collar that never lets up. Very pretty looking IPA, with some matching spider like lacing.

Nose is familiar. A great wet sense of juicy hop orange and tangerine. There's a honey sweetness behind this also, it really reminds me of hopslam, and a very dry heat that come off of it. Not boozy smelling at all. Clean, but doesn't give me the sense of a big body coming.

Palate hits hop front hard. Big juicy but still wet body, not unlike Zombie Dust, but with a quenching almost pilsner crispness. Hop explosive notes of hinted orange from the nose, but the body is far more tropical with giant fruits of mango, maybe peach, but giant fruit punch tropics. Incredibily dry finish, almost getting into brut champagne territory, with pine hop complimenting the arid quality nicely. There is just a touch though, a peck of grainy character on this in the swallow.

It's very memorable, and hardly contains any alcohol boozy heat. I completely forgot this just barely kicks in over ten percent abv, it sure doesn't feel like it at all. It personally for myself is just missing that hint of bigger body, and oomph, and a certain "wow" factor. It's so close but it's a great beer. I'll never forget it.

Serving type: on-tap

03-11-2013 22:36:46 | More by smakawhat
Photo of Doc_Hops


4.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This was released this morning at my local bottle shop. It was released at eleven am, I was the eleventh person in line, the beer is eleven percent abv, and it was gone in eleven minutes.... crazy.

A- Pliny the Younger pour a glowing deep yellow with practically no head at all, which is okay for me.

S- As I take a big whiff I smell loads of pine all the way. There's also a big burst of citrus as well, just as I expected.

T- Crazy amount of hop bitterness to start. More piny notes continue to come through with lots and lots of grapefruit citrus notes as well.

M- It's actually a bit light bodied than I expected. Very medium bodied with a bit of tingly carbonation. It leaves a very interesting alcohol coating as I swallow. A bit hard to describe but still incredible.

O- Very glad I got to try this. Absolutely incredible! Very complex, super hoppy and all around goodness. I don't think it's overrated, I don't think it's underrated. I think it's spot on!

Serving type- On tap poured into a 10oz snifter. Thanks for reading.

Serving type: on-tap

03-11-2013 02:55:31 | More by Doc_Hops
Photo of justintcoons


4.69/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

8oz pour at the Hulmeville Inn.

Pale gold with hardly any head. Excellent clarity with very low carbonation.

Pineapple, pine, mango and honey.

Pineapple, pine resin, mango, candied orange and lemon. Caramel, honey and pale candy sugars. Resinous pine, lemon zest and tangerine in the finish.

Medium-full bodied, oily and smooth.

Yeah...it kind of lives up to its reputation.

Serving type: on-tap

03-10-2013 19:35:45 | More by justintcoons
Photo of t8s8l8


4.49/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

At the bar on my phone so won't make this too long

Pliny has this great dank aroma subtle fruitiness some mango, a little catiness. The thing I love about a lot of rr beers is they all fo.ish dry. The hop bit number the middle of the tongue a bit. Great clarity. A bit malty but definitely need ING with this beer beer. Wasn't sure what too expect. Though I would not wait in line for a taste I would seek out. Glad I had it in 10 oz Serving.

Serving type: on-tap

03-10-2013 16:19:02 | More by t8s8l8
Photo of bkeach


4.89/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This Beer IS AWESOME. I wont go into all my tasting notes because there are tons already. The only reason I give it a sub perfect score is because the hype does not meet the beer in my opinion. Its a bigger version of Elder. But many beers are equally enjoyable to me. Great beer, must try, should be WAY more available.

Serving type: on-tap

03-08-2013 18:40:30 | More by bkeach
Photo of writerLJBerg


4.15/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap @ Wildwood last night. 8 oz pour.

A: Melted gold coloration. Very thin head. Translucent. Clear demarcation of the legs on the glass.

N: I can smell this while holding it at chest level. Intense pineapple notes, mango, passionfruit, and a smattering of grapefruit. Caramel sweetness. Very worthy nose.

T: Massive interplay between sweet and bitter. Grapefruit gives way to some onion that is eventually defeated by earth, pine, conifer, and ash. Bitterness is a 10 on a 10 scale. This is the hoppiest beast on the market. Has the caramel of a good bourbon and some honey melon.

M: Dry and desiccating as a desert. Very sticky and washes around in the mouth. Sublime.

O: A beer like this is worth the effort of the chase if you haven't had it. Clearly, this is true. Yet, as I drank the 8oz, the desire for another one diminished with each sip. I've had it 5 times now, and I don't see much reason to continue tracking it down year after year.

Serving type: on-tap

03-06-2013 21:28:40 | More by writerLJBerg
Photo of MusicaleMike


4.31/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Served in a tulip glass.

Good ol' Pliny the Younger. This is my 3rd time with this beer. This came out to me with a half inch white cap of crisp white head on top of a golden amber body that had great clarity which showed off the lazy carbonation. The head eventually faded to nothing, but left a sticky lacing on the side of the glass.

The smell wafts out of the glass with hints of mango, bruised pineapple, butterscotch, and a sweet hint of berries underneath. Fairly strong aroma, and certainly appetizing, though it fades a bit too quickly for me to rate this higher.

Very hop-forward beer for sure, with plenty of tropical fruit in the flavor and a sweet, boozy quality that is present throughout. While a beer like Heady Topper is a master of disguise, hiding all that alcohol behind the Hop Curtain, Pliny the Younger is unabashed by being an 11% alcohol by volume DIPA. The complexity here is the mix of hops and alcohol, with a nice sweet malt backbone.

The carbonation is crisp, the body is strong, a little on the viscous side. Superb mouthfeel...

I think this is a great beer. It would be hard to write about Pliny the Younger without talking about the train of hype that precedes this beer: people freak out about this beer. A bar announces this beer bring tapped, and if they don't announce it, its considered a "strategy." The hype is not worth it though. There are better double IPA's out there...that said, this is a great beer that people won't be disappointed in. I tracked this beer down this year to give it a review, but next year, I won't be on the hunt.

Serving type: on-tap

03-06-2013 14:27:18 | More by MusicaleMike
Photo of MitchD14


4.98/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I had this beer on tap in a 12 oz glass at Bailey's Taproom in Portland. I must say, it lives up to the hype. I believe this keg was 10.5% ABV but it was not too hoppy to enjoy even with the high alcohol content. It has a beautiful translucent golden color and goes down extremely smoothly.

Serving type: on-tap

03-06-2013 03:19:15 | More by MitchD14
Photo of CommanderOfAwesome


3.99/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Had during SF beer week at Bobby G's in Berkeley CA. Had with a PtE side by side.

A: Pours golden color with great clarity. 1 finger white fluffy head.

S: Mango, pineapple grapefruit, sweetness lingering with hops.

T: Hop forward, very sweet citrus fruit. Hides the alcohol well behind a well balanced malt backbone.

M: Well carbonated medium bodied with a bitter dry sweet finish.

O: A good beer that is no where close to the hype. I waited about an hour for this beer which is on the low end, and honestly I would much rather have a TIPA from Knee Deep over this one. Glad to have it once and say I've had it but for this to top in the top 10 beers is all hype based IMO.

Serving type: on-tap

03-05-2013 22:34:02 | More by CommanderOfAwesome
Photo of baybum


4.61/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at TJ's in Paoli. Poured into a 10oz snifter glass.

A - Beautiful. Small white head with colors of orange but not as dark as I thought it might appear.

S - this beer smells absolutely wonderful. Hops and citrus abound. As it warms up the aroma is even better.

T - so smooth! Actually a little too smooth at 11%. But the flavor is a little disappointing for such a high ipa. No bitter bite at all. As this warms up the taste increases as did the smell.

O - I think this beer might fall a little short of the hype. Don't get me wrong I did love this beer. But I actually preferred Citra from a bottle then pty on draft. I would seek this out again and recommend it to any ipa lover. But you won't see me waiting 3 hours in line to drink it. Pte is as good and usually easier to find.

Serving type: on-tap

03-05-2013 19:25:37 | More by baybum
Photo of dafla67


4.95/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served in a tulip glass.

A: Golden orange with little head.

S: citrusy (grapefruit), piney and sweet. Each aroma balanced very nicely.

T: At first, there is the sweetness with a slow conversion, like a gentle walk, to the hops bitterness.

M: so very smooth. The finish is a bit dry and sticky. No harshness like with some 11% abv.

O: An incredible DIPA. PTY earned every bit of its lofty reputation and status.

Serving type: on-tap

03-05-2013 18:49:11 | More by dafla67
Photo of PalatePilot


4.06/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

First pour into my glass at Boulder Strong Ale Festival at Avery Brewing

A- Golden, almost orange. not a lot of head.

S- Piney, strong citrus, and slight alcohol

T- Great Malt bill for the hops, i found the hops to be a bit astringent. A really unique flavor, I guess thats why its so popular, I have never had a beer that tasted like it. It was different, but I cant say I loved the flavor. A little Resinous.

M- a little syrupy, chewy. I tried to love it. tried to see what it was all about. found the mouthfeel average for a IIPA

O- I just don't get it, I guess. It was a great beer, like I sai, very unique, just not the best IIPA I have ever had.

Serving type: on-tap

03-04-2013 22:15:44 | More by PalatePilot
Photo of jwhancher


4.95/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Decided to fight the crowds & try me some Younger on tap at Local 44. $8 for a tulip glass. Nice white head delivered upon the pour. Crystal clear gold color. Amazing considering how much hops go into it. Smells of dank hop resin. Attractive lemon rind & notes of melon, mango, orange zest, and some vanilla. Tastes amazing. All the hop characters in the nose in the flavor. Nice firm bitterness. Not pungent or astringent. Dangerously drinkable. Alcohol doesn't seem noticeable except I can tell it's there since I haven't eaten lunch yet. (This is my lunch.). Dry tasting. I love this beer. So glad I decided to come out for it. Only reason I didn't score this a perfect score is due to the extremely limited availability.

This one lives up to its hype. Fantastic beer by Vinnie. He's my hero.

Serving type: on-tap

03-04-2013 17:08:34 | More by jwhancher
Photo of StoutOfHiawatha

New Jersey

4.85/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Beautiful, deep golden IPA appearance with a tiny strip of white head. Had it in a 5-ounce sampler at Capone's in Norristown, Pa.

S: pine, sweet malt, slight grapefruit, wonderful.

T: Had a chance to have this paired with the Elder. And while I've had and loved the Elder before, the Younger just blows it away. So much more complex.

M: Thick and oily, but so very nice. Just feels ... right

O: Lived up to the hype for me, and well worth an hour wait outside in the morning cold. The ABV is so amazingly hidden. You'd never know. But I can't really say anything negative. AMazing nose, really great mouthfeel, beautifully complex. So much going on. Blows your taste buds away. Can't wait to have it again.

Serving type: on-tap

03-03-2013 13:23:48 | More by StoutOfHiawatha
Photo of Holland


4.11/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: viscous looking IPA with some small white head on top

S: pine, citrus, alcohol, and malt sweetness; this doesn't all mix well.

T: more of that odd mixture. The taste of all of these ingredients should be good, and is, but the mixture doesn't come together well enough to be the best DIPA out there.

M: thick even for the style, with decent but somewhat lacking carbonation.

O: misses the mark, though still excellent. I wonder if other batches or having this fresher would have made a difference (it's a month after the release and it just showed up in Philly). Reminds me of a Heady Topper, but doesn't strike the balance right. It's not dry enough, but at the same time there's too much alcohol. This beer just tried to be too big. For all of the negative things here, it's still on par with deliciousness like Simtra, but it's a step below Heady, and probably not as good as the Elder.

Serving type: on-tap

03-03-2013 00:16:03 | More by Holland
Photo of anteater


4.74/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

8oz pour at Wildwood

A: Clear and golden, beautiful

S: Powerful citrus and pine

T: Enormous and pure blast of hops explodes at the first sip, more citrus, pine and tropical fruit. No burn, just the right amount of bitterness.There is no lingering of unwanted bitterness or malt that you would find in most other IPAs of this strength, this is like a perfectly painted portrait of hops.

M: Cloud like, in that once you swallow its almost like the liquid was never in your mouth in the first place. The flavor makes a tremendous impact but the beer is so ridiculously light and drinkable.

O: Best IPA out there? Maybe. It was my favorite back to back with blind pig, the elder, rpm, hop venom, notorious (barely) and sucks. It takes a lot to stand out in that crowd. Hype = justified.

Serving type: on-tap

03-02-2013 21:07:24 | More by anteater
Photo of spoony


4.51/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Cheeky Monk into a tulip-style glass.

A-This brew looks like a IIPA, i.e., very little head and a clear brew with a orange-tinted, slightly off-pale coloring.

S-The smell is intense and complex. I detect citrus flavors ranging from grapefruit to orange to lemon. I also detect a honey and pepper. This brew is on the fruit forward end of things, but there is still a light whiff of dank pine and sage.

T-The taste is not a complete fruit bomb like the smell. I still get grapefruit and other citrus as dominant, but there is more chalky, earthy, oily, dank flavor from the hops that moves on the stage here. I also pick up a hint of caramel malt, which makes for a nice balance. The concentration of flavor and balance of hop and malt are impressive.

M-The feel is mildly slick and oily. The carbonation is low and the weight is medium bodied.

O-It is hard for a brew like this to live up to the hype, and I'm not sure it did, but this is a damn good beer. The impressive thing here is the balance of malt and hops (and ABV, which is nearly imperceptible) combined with such an intensely strong flavor. Other brews that strive for intensity come of as overly bitter or one-trick ponies, but this brew does a great job of drinking well at 11.0% while maintaining full flavor force.

Serving type: on-tap

03-01-2013 04:42:26 | More by spoony
Photo of Buzzerben


4.99/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Fortunate to be in Denver at the Cheeky Monk for a tapping.

Appearance: Clear, crisp orange hued. Akin to most kiler DIPAs/TIPAs
Smell: Citrusy sweet from 3 feet away
Taste: Enamel-busting sticky grapefuit
Mouthfeel: Suave suave suave.

Overalll: I was very impressed with this beer. I feel lucky to have had it. It most certainly lives up to the hype.

Serving type: on-tap

03-01-2013 02:46:32 | More by Buzzerben
Photo of falc0n2600


4.96/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I'm a fan of Russian River, and Pliny the Elder is amazing, but I've always had even more love for their sours,. But I HAD to try the Younger, so we decided on a whim to drive from Sacramento to Santa Rosa on day 2 of the Younger's release. We got in line at 4:45, and were finally drinking the Younger around 9:45. They were out by 10:30. Apparently, some had waited seven or eight hours before us. Three weeks later, I managed to try it again in Sacramento at the Pour House. We got there forty minutes early and it sold out in twenty minutes.

The beer had a thin white head, with an instantly noticeable big splash of hop aromas, mostly intensely sweet but with some obvious pine as well. Medium carbonation, not intense or biting but not at all flat. The most obviously different part about the experience was how the flavor stays in your mouth for a couple of minutes after you have a sip. Incredibly sweet and pure like fruit in the middle of summertime. There's not really any bitterness, but hoppy, alpine-flavored dryness complements the sweet hop flavors perfectly. You can pick out the sweet and the piney notes individually. It really coats your mouth. No alcohol taste, but my stomach quickly warmed up. There's also a nice malty background that adds to the experience. When I had it again three weeks later, the only difference was that there was a much larger head that was very light, like foamy cotton candy. Best beer ever? I don't know, but it was definitely the best beer I've ever had, by a long shot.

Serving type: on-tap

02-26-2013 05:51:36 | More by falc0n2600
Photo of SirBentham


4.89/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance – Nice golden color. Minimal head on my pour.

Smell – really impressive nose. Similar to the Elder, but smelled a little sweeter.

Taste – Huge hops are incredibly well balanced with a sweet malt. More balanced than the Elder. I can't believe this is over 10%

Mouthfeel – Perfect amount of carbonation. Medium body.

Overall – This lived up to the hype. on par with the Heady Topper for me.

Serving type: on-tap

02-25-2013 19:05:54 | More by SirBentham
Photo of SalisburySteak


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

Amazing beer. This year is better than 2012. Also incredible to taste this side by side with Pliny the Elder and seeing how much better it tastes given that Elder is a great beer as well.

Had it on tap at Russian River and at the City Beer Store in SF.

Serving type: on-tap

02-25-2013 04:37:32 | More by SalisburySteak
Photo of TaySuth


4.85/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Serving Type: On-tap at Breakwater Brewery poured into a half pint glass.

Appearance: Golden amber in color with a pure white head and great lacing. The head was minimal but this could have been due to the fact that they had pre-poured a number of glasses in order to move the line as quickly as possible. Amazing lacing.

Smell: My first impression was that it was not as aromatic as I was expecting for a "Triple IPA." After really delving into the smell though, I was immediately impressed by the balance between citrus, fruit, and pine backed up by a pale malt scent. Usually, I find that one hop aroma dominates the nose but this beer was beautifully balanced in a way rarely seen.

Taste: As the first sip hit my mouth, it was as if a flavor bomb went off, immediately coating every surface it came into contact with. The balance of the smell transitioned beautifully into the taste as notes of citrus, fruit, pine, and earth (which I did not notice in the aroma). The hops were also in perfect balance with the malt sweetness and it finished with the cleanest, strongest bitter I have ever experienced.

Mouthfeel: Perfectly done. Medium body. Semi-sweet. Nice carbonation. No room for improvement.

Overall: This was just a fantastic experience overall. Although Breakwater Brewery was packed for a Thursday afternoon, there was no five hour wait. I only arrived an hour early and was able to scope out a spot to get one of the first pours. The beer was amazing and I hope to be lucky enough to enjoy it again next year.

Serving type: on-tap

02-22-2013 19:44:26 | More by TaySuth
Photo of Dirtstylez


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

First of all I just wanted to say I am not one of these guys who went to beer college and pretends to know anything about beer. I know what I like and I know that Russian River has a huge hype behind them...But its the real deal. Pliny the Younger has been on my radar for a long time and finally got a chance to get a taste this past weekend at Harrys Hofbrau. It did NOT disappoint. From the second I got the beer in my hand(4oz pour) I swirled it around in my glass for what seemed like 10 minutes smelling the hell out of it. I wanted to stick it up my nose and breathe it in forever...It was refreshing. Its definitely got a huge scent and taste of grape fruit. Super smooth, much more than the Elder but amazing. Well worth the wait in line and wish it wasnt so hard to get...But I see why it is. If this beer isnt on your bucket list revise that list today! Cheers

Serving type: on-tap

02-22-2013 17:52:44 | More by Dirtstylez
Photo of BreweryRun


4.63/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Smells strong but with a light citrus note, overall smells fantastic. Pours very light but golden with a very small hint of orange, relatively small head. Initial taste is dominated by bitterness but rounds out with a small amount of citrus, finishes pretty dry. Doesn't scorch your tongue with bitterness. Virtually no alcohol character which is impressive considering the %age. Overall it's the epitome of a triple IPA, a dominate hop bitterness flavor that is balanced nicely and allows you to drink more without any problem.

Serving type: on-tap

02-22-2013 05:39:04 | More by BreweryRun
Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,126 ratings.