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Pliny The Younger - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger

Educational use only; do not reuse.

890 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 890
Hads: 2,793
Avg: 4.67
pDev: 13.06%
Wants: 5,990
Gots: 339 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 890 | Hads: 2,793
Photo of dahlen22
4.66/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Monk's Café in Philadelphia on 3/11/14:

Appearance: Golden color with a bigger than expected head (guy pouring out of keg was busy, so...)

Aroma: Face full of crazy fruit hops.

Taste: Clean, hoppy taste , fruit that is in the nose, pine, and the alcohol is well hidden. Very balanced.

Overall: Stood in line for 90 minutes in 42 degrees with a wind chill. Pretty much knew from the start that each person was getting one 7oz. glass. Was this beer good? Yes. Would I ever wait in line again for 7 ounces at $15.00? NOPE. IMO, this beer is very over-hyped, and that was the general consensus at the bar. Had two Elders afterwards, and was quite content with that. Glad I tried it, and I recommend people do the same, but prepare for lines and inflation. Cheers!!

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Photo of Treyliff
4.82/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Monk's Cafe Mad Monday, 6 oz pour into a small wine glass

A- Pours a slightly hazy golden color with a small creamy white head that reduces to a small layer, leaving a touch of lace behind

S- citrus explosion with lots of grapefruit, orange peel, cantaloupe, guava and passionfruit. I could literally smell this from about three feet away

T- raw danky hops are front are so clean and showcased, to a degree that i've only experienced in a few DIPA's. A clean malty sweetness compliments perfecty, hemp and fresh clean mint close it out. The finish is very similar to Elder, only a bit hoppier

M- medium body and mouthfeel leads to a creamy mouthfeel and a clean hoppy finish. Alcohol is hidden nearly perfectly

O- this one lived up to the hype for me, it has many characteristics as Pliny the Elder, just more hoppy goodness packed in. I had to stand in line for a long time to try this, but it was worth being able to say that I've sampled this legend.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.36/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

(combination of samplings consecutive days at City Tap House and Monk's Cafe, respectively)

I'll just start off by stating that this is one of, if not, the most well-balanced, elegantly-crafted hoppy ale(s) I've come across. A true example of brewing art. That said, the taste is quite fine but perhaps a bit underwhelming for more seasoned hop heads.

The liquid is a fiery orange hue with a jewel-like glow, faint haze, and nearly pure white, sticky-cottony foam that stands for a bit before being overcome by lip oils and/or the alcohol level. Looks nice, but nothing out of the ordinary.

The smell is somewhat, somehow restrained, but has one of the most well-defined, 3D aromatic representations of a handful of newly-dried hop cones in the palm of one's hand - dirty/earthy with a ghostly, subtle, spirit-lifting, mildly-mineral, tonic alcohol delivering it to the sinuses... mild orange-citrus undertones... once again, nice, but requiring a few healthy, deep inhales to take it in.

The flavor is ridiculously refined - it is easily seen that this is PtE, attenuated, flattened-out. Tastes about the same, just the depth and definition found in PtE is lacking in this. One would guess, however, that the alcohol would jump out a bit more in PtY and, yet, it doesn't at all. It's amazing how well-hidden it is, though a sense of quiet warmth rises by the last couple sips. Perception of bitterness is minimal, if at all a factor. Extremely well-balanced, but nearly brut-champagne-like in its dryness - the hops (flavor) and malt are too quiet.

Where this beer really captured my attention and imagination was in its absolutely feather-light body. It's as if the carbonation was the only thing that indicated to my senses that I had beer in my mouth. I wouldn't be surprised if this beer finishes at down close to 1.002-1.004. While I attempted to savor it at CTH, at Monk's (owing partly to the excellent special draft list) I powered through it in 3-4 sips. Sooo easy to drink. Dangerous.

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Photo of bonkers
3.94/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Second time having younger, this time at monks, 6 ounce pour in a goblet. Pale yellow, no head, poured ahead of time for at least 100 people. The aroma was light pine. Taste was pine, citrus and alcohol, slightly bitter. The carbonation was good, full bodied. I was very disappointed younger, all 5 of us agreed elder was a far superior brew. Younger is good, but not as good as the hype.

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Photo of socon67
4.42/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured at Monk's Mad Monday event.

A - Golden pour with a clear look. Foam head settled fast (*these were poured rapidly for 100+ people). Slight lacing rides down the glass.

S - Strong scents of pine, some pineapple & mango tropical fruit smell, and hop resin that gives some lingering tobacco notes.

T - Rich flavors of tropical fruit at the front. There is an intense malt presence that keeps the high IBU's tempered. It is not a hop bomb at all.

M - This cannot be any better. Balance on a triple IPA can only be matches, not improved. The body of Younger feels rich on the palate.

O - Now that this is ticked on the bucket list, I can say that PtY is a work of brewing art. Vinny made an inspirational beer that seems less impressive as more heavily hopped & well balanced beers are made. This is the original, and still iconic beer.

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Photo of Keananmichael5
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is as good as it gets! A very balanced triple IPA that is very very smooth. This is the most drinkable and delicious TIPA there is for sure. I have gone up to Russian River the past two years to get this and will continue to do so!

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Photo of BeerZombies1
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had it on tap at the Escondido ale house. Waiting only about an hour with my wife and some really great craft beer strangers. Beer was truly nectar of the gods. Lived up to the hype and the experience overall made it that much better! Can not wait until next year to get my hands on another pint.

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Photo of peacemakers48
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is my favorite beer now, just a bit better than the heady topper. This is the smoothest sweetest tasting IPA I have ever had. It doesn't even taste like alcohol. The aftertaste is second to none. I tried it twice and still cannot believe how good it is.

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Photo of Oakenator
4.9/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Straw yellow color. Clean filtered.

S: Piney, molasses, leafy.

T: Abundently bitter. Leafy, arugula to pepper spice. More depth of flavor than expected with this extreme hopping.

M: On a five ounce pour leaves a tingle on lips and tongue enhancing the subtle spice.

O: Worth the 10 minute wait in line. Different than expected.

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Photo of tkdchampxi
4.9/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: not as cloudy as Heady Topper, but a beautiful burnt amber orange with 60% opacity. Thin, fluffy head with a sea-foam look and 1-2cm rise.

S: not as hoppy as I expected; more malt and biscuit with sweet aromas and almost a tinge of smoked grain. The finish on the aroma is familiar american hop oil, with citrus notes.

T: A perfect balance of citrusy hops with strong malt backbone. This is not the hop-bomb that some beers are (like Boulder Hazed and Infused), but there is a much stronger malt balance to this that makes the beer level nicely. The hops are certainly there, without being overwhelmingly tropical, sweet, or citrusy. There is thickness to the flavor. There is complexity to the flavor. There be dragons here.

M: A perfect amount of carbonation that can be described as smooth without being flat, carbonated softly without being pillowy, and with bubbles that are crisp without biting.

O: This beer lives up to its hype. I had two back to the back, and the second one was better than the first. Each was served in a different glass, and for whatever reason, the second was able to open up to the air more and provide a better flavor/ aroma base. Either way, this was an excellent beer that is as well-balanced and delicious as an IPA can get. Only Heady Topper is (arguably) better by a difference of the slightest degrees. You cannot tell that this beer is 11% ABV.

Here is a shout-out to Memphis Taproom in Philadelphia for providing an amazing, courteous, and well-organized PtY event!

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Photo of CWO
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this beer for the first time today on tap at the Memphis Tavern in Philadelphia. I now understand what the hoopla is all about. Although my mainstay is Belgian style beers as I'm not generally a fan of hop forward beers, this creation was excellent. Look forward to more of the same from Russian River.

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Photo of rickrem
4.72/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

6 oz pours in wine glasses. Not much but at least a try.

Nice big flavor with the pine and a touch of sweetness coming through.

Well balanced, big mouthfeel, heavy but not too syrupy. High ABV adds to the body without the alcohol jumping out at you.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.54/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appears a clear gold with thick white head that leaves tons of lacing. Nose is full of tropical aroma, citrus, grapefruit, and pine come through the strongest. Taste is expertly balanced with plenty of piney hops. To a of apricot and grapefruit throughout with bitter undertones. Mouthfeel is surprisngly light and had a slightly creamy feel. This is truly well balanced and the alcohol is nearly undetectable. Very good!

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Photo of Beerswag
4.72/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

On tap at pour house sacto, ca..looks a clear 24k, vibrant tiny bubbles from the bottom of the tulip glass, lots of micro bubble action..smell is pine, apricot, and white grape, some sweet fruit juice as well. Taste is exactly as the smell suggest, pine, bitter-floral hop profile, very smooth and tasty..nice punch of hops without the lingering resinous sticky feeling of beers in this same style...mouthfeel is perfect, light creamy carbonation, with slight micro bubble action on the front of the tongue which smooths out quickly on the palate.. overall a well executed and dialed in iiipa. Food paring is: savory and mild- spicy foods, suxh as indian food, lamb lollipops with basil or mint sauce, or some heavily salted/seasoned nuts.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
4.32/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Had on tap @ Final Gravity in Roseville, CA

Appearance - Pours a crystal clear, pure golden hue, served up in a 10 oz glass with a white, half finger of head. Fair retention leads to a broken layer of suds across the surface with a thick ring around the edge of the glass. Moderate lacing that's spotty with good stick.

Smell - Dominant grapefruit pith along with a light pine resin. Clean, simple aroma.

Taste - Follows the nose. Grapefruit pith and citrus oils, with lesser notes of pine resin.

Mouthfeel - Full body with moderate carbonation. Incredibly smooth with a crisp, clean finish.

Overall - Awesome beer, but hard to distinguish from the Elder. In fact, if you were to hand this to me and tell me it was PtE, I wouldn't give it a second thought. This one's got just a tad more body, but all the other sensory qualities are basically identical. Glad I was able to walk right up to the counter and order this; if I had to stand in line I would've been greatly disappointed. It's certainly not worth the hype and the hours of line waiting that happens every year. Just grab the Elder. I promise you they're nigh indistinguishable.

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Photo of pkalix
4.52/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

well, I finally got to try it. bought the raffle tickets at Beachwood BBQ so didn't have to wait in the line. $40 in raffle tickets produced one pint=a deal better than waiting in that long line and with the weather lately, that works.
much creamier head than I expected, and much more fuller and thicker, too! lots of pine, lots of sweet aroma; even the family said it smelled sweet from their prospective locations at the table! malty, bready, pine-y, sweet and bitter finish. not too much like The Elder, as others have said, but very good. in fact, not even close to Elder when considering the volume of different DIPAs and (T)IPAs out there and the amount of differing flavors of them (and the Blind Pig after, I thought, was much more stable and tastier!). nice lacing down the sides.
overall, I finally tried it! I would drink it again, but without the lines and the raffle tickets. I would very much prefer to sit at the pub and line them all up- the Plinys, Blind Pig, the Row 2, etc.... and just taste them all altogether. and then, of course, come back the next day and do all the wild ales...! but saying that I would drink it again without the lines says so much, doesn't it? it's good, but not worth the lines.

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Photo of abrethanson
4.42/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Scored 8oz pour on tap at Crow Bar 2014 release.

A: Looks like an IPA - pours a tight 1 finger white head with beautifully golden color and crisp clarity.

S: I have no sense of smell - wife thoughts - very piney and tad citrus. Pine stood proud.

T: Big clean pine and citrus hops flavors & more resin than most IPAs. Tasted like an evergreen forest grew in my mouth with a few tropical fruit trees sneaking into the sunlit areas. Alcohol apparent but well balanced with hops. Impressed with how unique it tasted - something different than other big IPAs. As great as it was, did not feel I wanted more than (1) glass. Someone poured a Heady Topper and we preferred PtY. The clean taste and clarity felt like a fountain of youth.

O: Worth the hype at least once. Everyone knows this is an epic beer and I am only posting this to feel cool about actually getting the opportunity.

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Photo of Benm1024
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got to try the beer at a local restaurant that got a couple kegs of it. 10 oz pour.
I was going into trying the beer with an expectation of it being good, and it did not disappoint. I was very surprised at how well the beer came together as more than just a better Pliny the Elder. It was more citrusy as opposed to piney, and it did not at all taste like 11% alcohol. I cannot give it anything other than perfect scores because there is nothing more I could possibly ask for in a beer.

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Photo of Selbyg
4.48/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

The younger... What can I say this beer lives up the the hype. I've never had a triple IPA that was this clean. I had it on 2/24/2014 so it's my first dive in. I had to wait in a long line and take the afternoon off work to try this beer. Let me just say it was worth it. If you can get your hands on it, do. If not you can always stumble upon the elder also a great beer and is close to the taste of the younger.

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Photo of Hoptometrist
4.85/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served on tap into a goblet.

A- Poured a clear dark golden color with a white head with big bubbles that left no lace.

S- Big tropical fruit, passion fruit, peach, and pineapple notes. Very juicy and hop forward aroma.

T- Giant passion fruit, orange marmalade, juicy tropical notes, peach, pineapple, grapefruit, and mango. Very pungent hop character, some dankness, and high hop bitterness.

M- Very smooth, some nice warming, prickly carbonation, dry and a little creamy. The drinkability on this triple IPA is incredible.

O- It lives up to the hype, not saying I would wait in line for 5 hours for it. I am glad I bought a ticket and got to try it. This is an incredibly complex and tropical triple IPA with incredible drinkability, mouthfeel, and manages to have an incredible juicy hop profile and high bitterness that work perfectly.

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Photo of gueuzedreg
4.28/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From notes on 3 pours yesterday at Falling Rock side-by-side with Elder on tap

A- Golden, crisp. Minimal carbonation, more transparent than Elder. Thin lacing.

S- Some grapefruit, citrus out of the nose. Minimal hops. This has more of a fruit character.

T- I think this is really well balanced. Elder tastes like it has more abv than younger. Younger has less of a presence.

M- Pretty thin, some cream. Medium amount of carbonation follows.

O- Massive hype on this one. You could have told me that this was some random Colorado IPA and I would have believed it. No out of body experience for me. I liked Elder on tap more.

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Photo of fatmusic14
4.33/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Falling Rock on 2/22 (and again at Backcountry on 2/23)

While I don't think any beer is worth waiting 5 hours for, this was on my "must try" list, and I wasn't too hungover to wake up at 6AM. Headed to the taphouse at 7:30am, in line at 7:45, and surprisingly, was not first. Nice little gathering, people drinking coffee, playing board games, and enjoying each others company waiting for the doors to open.

A - pours a lovely hue, somewhere between golden and amber. Other beers of similar stature have a better pour (i.e. Hopslam), but the color is not why I was there.

S - Holy Moly. If someone finds a way to harness the scent of this thing, please let me know. I would pay handsomely for it. Literally spent the first 2 or 3 minutes just smelling it. Everything you would expect from something in the IPA family (layer upon layer of hops, grapefruit), but jesus, was this a step in the right direction.

T - everything I was hoping for. So much going on in this pour, every sip makes your brain spin trying to wrap your head around the complexity. Piney, earthy, boozy. The one downside, the booze. I did not feel that the ABV was very well hidden. Still delicious, and I had 3 of them, but it was a TINY bit overpowering.

M - beautiful

O - Look. If you can get some friends together, and the weather is nice, go ahead. Its worth it for the experience and frankly, the beer also. Is it really #2? Eh, probably not. I am glad I went, and would absolutely drink it again if it were available, but I probably will not be attending another release day.

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Photo of ThaddeusGhostal
4.89/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Had this beer at a keg tap at toronado in san Diego. Three glasses down and I was feeling a really good buzz. Waited an hour and a half to get it with two extra glasses on top. Totally worth it. The mouthfeel is so intense, it goes down like a creamy citrus sparkly firework. The taste is very similar to pliny the elder with a lot more mouthfeel and even smoother which is odd but I'll take it! Had a great time waiting in line and drinking with the people I met in line. Totally worth it. It's the experience coupled with great beer that just makes it all come together for a hell of a time. Any true beer fan should aspire to taste this beer. Til next year, cheers!

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Photo of tylerstravis
4.21/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The holy grail of beer right? Well, no, not really. Sure it's a more hopped up version of Pliny the Younger, but it honestly does away with the biggest strength that Pliny The Elder has and that is balance. I found Pliny The Younger to be too much. I much prefer Pliny the Elder to Pliny the Younger and find no need to search this out again, though the party was fun :)

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Photo of JSEg
4.92/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I really enjoyed this beer. Worth waiting 8 hours? Probably not. But what beer is worth 8 hours? Overhyped? Not by a long shot. Russian River really put a ton of work into this beer and it shows. The smell was incredible; intense grapefruit which I love. This beer is 10% but is not boozy what-so-ever. In fact, almost no alcohol taste and very easy to drink. I think everyone owes it themselves to at least experience this beer once.

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Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 890 ratings.