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Pliny The Younger - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,460 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,460
Reviews: 845
rAvg: 4.68
pDev: 9.62%
Wants: 4,646
Gots: 142 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

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

Availability: Winter

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

(Beer added by: xlperro on 01-27-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,460 | Reviews: 845 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of matt2591
5/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of bostonbeans
5/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of sdpaul
5/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of djbreezy
5/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2010 on tap at the Horse Brass Pub and Saraveza in Portland, OR
2011 on tap at Saraveza in Portland, OR

appearance - pours a transparent amber with a one finger head and heavy lacing that lingers in long strings on the glass

smell - hop forward with fruit and citrus

taste - very hoppy but balanced considering the abv, floral and citrus hops, pine, the freshest IPA I've ever tasted, hops mask the massive alcohol in a way unseen

mouthfeel - very smooth, almost cask conditioned smooth

drinkability - very drinkable, the alcohol will sneak up on you...it's a creeper

Photo of Andrew_T
5/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of RhodyNative
5/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of TRingelstein
5/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of BuckeyeNation
5/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Received from the BA's BA, RedwoodGeorge, as part of his recent Home Bottling Project. Thanks a million George for bringing smiles to this hoppy beer lover, along with many others.

Electric tangerine with juicy pineapple edges. The French vanilla canopy is three fingers in height and looks incredibly thick, rich and creamy. There's been very little deflation in the several minutes since the pour and it appears as if the head will last forever. I don't have forever, though, because I'm dying to take a sip. It eventually melts just enough to reveal a thick, sticky coat of lace with a few dots of visible glass. I prefer dirty, hop-flecked DIPAs, but this one is more than superb.

The nose is, without question, one of the best in all of beerdom. I was pretty sure that it would be pure hoppy bliss... and it is. And then some. There's an incandescent, brain-filling explosion of the sweetest, juiciest hops imaginable each time I venture anywhere near the glass. Thankfully, the malt is buried without a trace, allowing the hops to work their incredible, lupulinirific magic. One of the best of all-time.

Pliny The Younger is a gorgeous, unbelievably delicious Double IPA. There's no question in my mind that this style should be all about the hops. Those that favor the caramel malty, more balanced side of the DIPA continuum, edging into barleywine territory, miss the opportunity to brew transcendent, explosively hop-centric beer, the likes of which is sitting before me right now. Make no mistake, this one is all about the hops. And hops. And more hops.

There's a solid, sugar cookie-like maltiness that lays down an unshakable base and provides support for whatever tonnage of hoppage that may be thrown its way. The trick is in laying off any hint of toastedness or caramel-like flavors that would dilute or mask the citric hoppiness. Lightly (and I do mean lightly) brown sugar-crusted candied grapefruit peel abounds, along with a blissful bitterness that is unrelenting in its pithy intensity.

I may be able to appreciate the slightest hint of bitter orange, but white grapefruit is front, center and side-to-side. I'd love to know what varieties comprise the hop bill, but it's pretty obvious that the best hops in the known universe (one or more of the 4-Cs) are represented in a major way. I just can't get over the liquid candy-like, sweet and bitter, unalloyed nature of the hoppiness. Pliny is everything that you've heard it is and is everything that I hoped it would be.

It's nearly impossible to completely bury a 10.5% ABV, but Russian River has given it a Hurculean effort. I'm not sure that I'd want the alcohol to be completely absent since it provides a power and presence that lets you know that this is a serious beer that must be respected. Hell, I repect it for the flavor alone. Maybe it's my elation at the out-of-this-world taste, but I'm halfway through the bomber and I'm barely feeling it. This is the most drinkable 10.5%'er ever!

The mouthfeel is simply perfect. Mouthfillingly full with an incredible lasting stickiness after the swallow. Lushly sappy is my favorite sort of DIPA mouthfeel and this beer fits that descripton to a 'T'. When it comes to the carbonation, I have to give credit to RedwoodGeorge for the amazing re-bottling effort. I had some qualms that PTY would be over-carbonated, but that hasn't been borne out in the actual drinking. It's perfect: enlivening without being the least bit spritzy, fading to muted by the second half of the bomber.

I held off on contacting RedwoodGeorge for a trade that would have brought me a growler of Pliny The Younger because I knew that I would love this beer more than any other that I've ever had and wanted to experience it in Santa Rosa, as it should (ideally) be experienced. When the opportunity came my way, however, thanks entirely to George's incredible generosity, I just couldn't turn down the chance to try one of the world's best.

Before cracking the crown, I told myself that there was no way I could give perfect scores to a beer that had been re-bottled from a keg, no matter how outstanding. I'm glad to report that I was wrong. Pliny The Younger is a remarkable beer that transcends any attempt on my part to put its magnificence into words. I still plan to make it out to Santa Rosa some day. When I do, I'm going to ask the Alstroms to come up with a rating scale that includes sixes, 'cause I'm gonna need 'em.

Photo of chickencoop
5/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of biertrinkenja
5/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of popery
5/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wonderful. It's chock full of hop flavor. I've had a number of DIPAs, and this beer expresses hop flavor better than any beer that I've ever tasted.

I'm currently tasting this beer against Pliny the Elder and Blind Pig. It's an interesting comparison, but the flavor profiles are quite similar. Pliny the Younger tastes a lot like Pliny the Elder, just as Blind Pig tastes like Pliny the Elder. Each beer steps up the strength and intensity of hop flavor. Blind Pig to Pliny the Elder is a smaller step than Elder to Younger but not substantially so.

Hops are the star in the flavor department. They are citric, piny and very floral. The citrus is grapefruit, orange and tangerine mixed with pineapple. The pine is dark and resiny, like sap. I don't know flowers well enough to identify the floral aspect beyond wonderful wildflowers.

There is a strong malt backbone that allows this much hop flavor to come through. Is this beer balanced? I would say so, but the malt does not express the same complexity and assertiveness of the hops. That is not to say the malt isn't strong or is bad. The malt is actually wonderful. It's like a caramel cookie swirled into a fine hop tea.

The alcohol is in this beer is exceptionally well-hidden. I'm giving this beer a perfect score, in part, because I can't imagine a way that this beer could be differ and be better for it. I say that because I can't imagine this beer without the same strength. I guess the alcohol is present, but it's not unpleasant in any way.

The color is very close to Elder and Blind Pig, which is to say golden-amber and wonderful. The aroma is very hoppy, with the flavors as previously described. The feel is also exceptional, almost oily with hop essence. Sorry, just trying to get through the other categories.

I should probably end this as I just finished my second glass out of the growler (not to mention some Blind Pig and Elder), and I can certainly feel it. It's a great beer. Try it if you can. I hope that they start bottling it. I can't imagine that they couldn't turn a profit on bottles. I know it's expensive to produce, but you can charge a pretty penny nowadays for a bottle of beer. Anyway, great beer.

Photo of TallGuyCM
5/5  rDev +6.8%

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5/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of BlakeMatt
5/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of javroch
5/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of KAF
5/5  rDev +6.8%

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5/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of LaHabraBeerClub
5/5  rDev +6.8%

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5/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of Tim81883
5/5  rDev +6.8%

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5/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of Mister_Joshy
5/5  rDev +6.8%

5/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of ShogoKawada
5/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

Photo of HoppySuds
5/5  rDev +6.8%

Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,460 ratings.