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Pliny The Younger - Russian River Brewing Company

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Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger

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2,469 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,469
Reviews: 846
rAvg: 4.68
pDev: 8.97%
Wants: 4,821
Gots: 155 | 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: 2,469 | Reviews: 846 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of
4.53/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Capone's 4/18/07.

Clear, true-gold in color. Modest, off-white head. Lacing minimal, some legs.

Aroma is grapefruit, peaches and honey. Smelled pine in my growler of Elder a few months ago, but didn't get that as much here. Tasting this side by side with Elder, and Younger doesn't smell as sweet.

Taste was grapefruit, big time. Younger has stronger hop bite than Elder. Biscuity, but covered in grapefruit jam. Well balanced, but still screams with hops, if that makes any sense. A bit sweeter than the Elder, and a more noticeable ABV. Grass and pepper at finish.

Medium to medium + in body. Carbonation seemed medium. Immediate feel of alcohol warming in Elder, alcohol warming with Younger when you pick up the glass...

Very, very good. If I wasn't drinking it side by side with Elder, I would probably have no complaints at all. As it stands, it is a touch sweeter and, to my taste, quite a bit hotter. I would happily drink this until I fell over, but when it came time to fill my growler, I took the Elder home with me.

Photo of spicelab
4.54/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Day 1 of the Younger Release@Russian River, 3rd Feb. Reviewed from notes cobbled together the next day in a somewhat hungover state.

Clear apricot with a steady bead and minimal head - however the half-pint serving vessels filled to the rim all but exclude a reasonable head assessment.

Dark, brooding aromas of rockmelon, orange, guava, passionfruit and pineapple.

Flavours follow the nose, but become more animated - especially from the 3rd glass on. Bitterness hits early but the magnitude of the flavours makes it seem quite sane. The bizarrest part is that it seems to become more drinkable and moreish with each glass.

The hop oils provide a delightful chewiness, yet the mouthfeel is generally middle of the road in all respects - carbonation, bitterness and evenness.

Amazing how well it works. Ordeal by hops that is devilishly addictive. The more you have the more you want. Started out not super impressed with this, but by the 6th glass I felt increasingly like a dog with a bone. Lacks just a little complexity in my eyes to be truly mindblowing.

Photo of baiser
4.54/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was pretty excited when I saw this on tap at the Toronado towards the end of their barleywine fest. Pours a hazy golden copper body, with a white fluffy head. Tremendous aroma, delicious west coast style hops. peachy, grapefruit, intense. First taste, so smooth, you don't notice the 11% abv at all. Tremendous beer, probably the best DIPA I've ever had.

Photo of Orangevango
4.54/5  rDev -3%
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 JohnParadee
4.54/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

6 ounce pour into short tulip glass, enjoyed during PtY tapping event at Side Bar in West Chester (shout out to my man, Brendan, the ever friendly bartender at this awesome establishment). PtY was not hazy, as I had anticipated, but rather clear. Slim collar and decent lacing, although both head and retention were likely compromised by nature of event (servings were pre-poured before I got to the bar rail). In any event, the nose was incredibly flamboyant/expressive, with sweet piney hops evident. In the palate, the experience was at first extremely hoppy, followed by a mango/papaya floral fruit note, and finally, a sticky piney/citrus burn.

Loved this, though it was hard to match the hype.

Had PtY again, a couple weeks later, at a surprise tapping hosted by Monk's Cafe which was announced via e-mail blast. I just happened to be in Philly that afternoon, having lunch 6 blocks away. Needless to say, I dropped my fork and SPRINTED to Monk's, where I was fortunate to enjoy two full pours before the keg kicked an hour later. Must say, it was better than I had remembered. Would now give it 4.75. Cheers!

Photo of homebrew311
4.54/5  rDev -3%
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!

Photo of joepais
4.54/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to errantnight for hooking me up with this long time want.
Growler poured into a Sam Adams Pint glass produced a finger worth of white head, that goes to a nice ring of lace that slides down the glass. The body of the brew is a clear golden yellow to orange in color.

The first thing I notice at the cracking of the growler, was the hiss and the aromas of fresh hops. Big pine and cat piss (LOL) along with citrus and grasses. There is a wide rage of hop aromas coming from this one. One of the best noses from a DIPA I have ever smelled.
The flavor can best be described as Elder on steroids. I don't know if it's the malts that add balanced to this hop forward brew, or the alcohol warmth. There is a nice light orange flavor sweetness coming from the elixir. With the hop dryness holding back the alcohol warmth in the end. The brew has a medium feel to it with surprisingly good carbonation to it for a growler. A true testament to Derek stately care of this one.

Well I have a growler of this one to cherish for the whole day, and I didn't even have to stand in line at the EBF for it. I will make a few calls to see if anyone want to help finish this but I won't be to sad if I cant find anyone ;-)
I do know I won't be driving too much today though. Final thoughts... As an east coast guy I wish it was a little more balanced, but it is true to form for an west coast DIPA

Photo of Igotmypistola
4.54/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of deapokid
4.54/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Tried this rarity for the first time during a special 20-person morning session at Resurrection Ale House. Beer was served with a smile in a medium-sized tulip.

Packing a soft, short head and low carbonation, this brew is a nearly translucent gold, with flecks of red and orange. A bit more carbonation was excepted, but there's nothing on display here to take away from its hefty reputation.

Aromas are quite strong, walking the line somewhere between alpha hops and sour citrus. It's a pleasing and lively stink, reminding me of warm weather and summer fun, something which is miles away from the arctic tundra of Philadelphia. A beautiful bouquet of lovely scents.

The flavor is a bit surprising. I initially expected a pronounced hop scratchiness that would melt the taste buds right off of my tongue. Pleasantly, this offers up the best of both worlds, magnificently balancing a powerful hoppiness with a sunny and delicate amber sweetness. It's exceptionally light for its strength, masking the alcohol well and giving off a fresh and floral vibe. I also caught a mild roasted quality amongst the concluding flavors.

The liquid carries a warmth, despite the fact that it is rather thin and quite easy to consume. The hop character wakes up the tongue, but never overwhelms it, allowing other characteristics to poke out their heads. It's also dangerously drinkable, never even hinting at its raging 11% ABV.

This brew truly deserves the overwhelming acclaim. It's an exceptional DIPA and it certainly shouldn't be sequestered to holidays and special occasions.

Photo of BieresDesMoines
4.54/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours with a small but solid head with a good effervescence. The beer couldn't smell more like pine, just wonderful like walking in a pinewood forest. I love aromatic beers and I could smell this one five feet away when the growler was opened. This is one of the driest hoppy beers I have ever tried, and now I fear I am going to crave it constantly. The beer is bracingly bitter and piney with some great complimentary mango and very mild citrus flavors that lend a hand in the complexity, this is not to say that the fruit notes sweeten the beer at all. There is just not a trace of the huge alcohol , just one remarkably well put together beer.

Photo of OStrungT
4.55/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

After months of patience, I finally got the chance to try this fine beer. I had it on tap at the Liars Club. All I can say is wow.

This beer pours a golden yellow with a thick fluffy off white head. The head fades slowly leaving thick laces all around the glass.

This beer has a hoppy aroma, but it is n ot overbearing like similar beers. I was surprised at how balanced the aroma was. It smells grassy. Also, I can detect a citurs aroma. A very slight piney aroma mixes in making this beer smell incredable.

This beer has a grassy hoppy flavor. It tastes hoppier than it smells. It has a plesent citrus, grapefruitlike flavor to it. It also has a strong piney flavor. I can detect some alcohol flavor in the finish.

This beer is very full bodied. It has a very aggressive, yet also quite pleasent flavor. It is carbonated well. It leaves a grassy aftertaste.

I dont know how good of a session beer this would make. 11% ABV is a little high. Also, the flavor is quite aggressive. I am sad that I am not at the Liar's Club still to drink some more. I hope to get another chance to sample this beer again soon.

Photo of spark3148857
4.55/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Toronado

Pours clear pale golden color with little to no head to speak of. Aroma is pretty much spot on with the Elder, super balanced, super hoppy, with notes of pine and citrus. Taste is like taking a fistful of fresh whole cone hops and shoving them in your mouth. Huge vegetal, piney, slight citrus, but mostly just a ton of hop oil that coats the mouth and pretty much destroys the palate. Younger really shines on the mouthfeel. Smooth, silky, with absolutely no boozyness to speak of. Practically unheard of! Am I glad I stood in line for 30 min at Toronado? Yes. Is it the best triple IPA I've had? No. I would probably prefer having the Elder over the Younger on a regular basis but wow what a great triple IPA.

Photo of deschutes_fan
4.55/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of oregone
4.55/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

From (brief) notes:
Beautiful copper color with light head receding to solid and persistant lacing.

Smells of citrus and pine. Strong aroma taht you certainly don't have to stick your face into, but want to. Complex.

Tastes like hops up front. Citrus, pine, very resinous and then the backbone kicks in and lays the foundation for a looong and deliciously balanced finish.

Mouthfeel is superb. Lightly sticky, but not detractingly so. Fills the mouth with a silky layer of flavor that stays.

Kills it on drinkability. As drinkable as any regular ipa I've had. Just stupid easy. This really is the magic here. Such a big strong beer and flavor experience but I could drink this waaaay too quickly and easily.

Photo of haazer
4.55/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

First beer(of course) at the Blue Dog event.

A- very pretty golden brew, orange highlights and loads of bubbles. Good carbonation. Lacing all over the glass.

S- Very fruity. Mango, pineapple, pine sap, kiwi. Incredible nose. No malt in here! Aggressive hop aroma all throughout.

T- Its a toss up here between the nose. Very bitter, biting hop flavor. The fruit is orange peel, mango and some honeydo. Sticky syrup, strong pine needles. The hops blend very to me as floral and earthy in profile. No abv detected.

M- Ever so smooth and crisp. Light to medium body and high carbonation. Sticky mouthfeel, coating my teeth. The best part of the beer for me.

O- Two four oz pours didn't do this justice. Incredibly drinkable. What sets this apart from other beers I feel is it really has no flaws. Is it the best beer in the world? I'd say no, better then elder? That's a toss up. Grateful I got to try this though. Blue Dog handled this event very well.

Photo of JoeySchlitz
4.55/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

After countless attempts to get a glass of this in 2011, my diligence was finally rewarded with a couple glasses of the Younger.

A tulip glass sits in front of me with a half inch of egg-white frothy head over an almost iridescent, rich golden orange color body. A light stream of small bubbles cascade up the sides of the glass. Nothing overly-remarkable here as it looks like other quality double / triple IPA's.

A rich, almost concentrated, freshly pressed hop aroma spills over the top of the glass. The pungent aroma of weed along with a good citrus note lingers after a lengthy smell. Very similar to the Elder but a bit stronger.

The first gulp (have to admit I breezed through the first glass, the second was savored for awhile) fills your mouth with a mix of hops, grapefruit juice, and a mild malt sweetness. A sharp, bitter bite quickly follows, but doesn't linger and there's no sign of the 11% ABV. It seems that this years version is not as malt forward as in the past and tends towards a bit less balanced in terms of flavor. Reminds me of the Elder if it were on steroids.

Low carbonation works well, as it allows for more of the flavor to shine through with a good medium viscosity. Spot on for a beer of this style. What is really impressive about this, given the ingredients and ABV, is how easy it is to drink a couple (or more) of these.

Overall this is a really good triple IPA, but I don't think this years was as good as past, and I don't think that it's worth the hype and efforts to track down a glass. I am glad that RR keeps on making this every year (and changed the growler policy), but there are plenty of others which are readily available that can satisfy the hop enthusiasts out there.

Photo of Sean9689
4.55/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Growler shared by Dave (dukedevil0), thank you sir! Poured into a tasting glass a couple of times.

A - Pours a golden/orange/copper color with a small white head. There's lots of lacing around the sides of the glass, sticky stuff! There's some head here and there on top of the beer, but just a hint here and there.

S - Very complex with lots going on here! Tropical fruit, smokey malts, straight-forward citrus, sweetness.

T - Mostly a malty sweetness mixed with a large amount of hops. The hops are def there, but it's not overdone. A nice bitter finish.

M - Light, smooth, clean finish. Nice carbonation, just frothy enough to let you know it's there but not enough to take away from the beer itself.

D - So so easy to drink, it's scary! Probably won't have another glass until 2011 unless I get lucky again.

I wasn't totally blown away by this beer as some others are. It's as good as Elder, probably neck and neck. Would have been nice to have them both for a side by side. I think I prefer Elder to Younger...

Photo of jethrodium
4.55/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Russian River on February 5, 2011. Pours a golden amber with a small white head leaving a ridiculous amount of lacing on the glass for the alcohol content. Aroma is ridiculous with resinous pine hops, loads of floral hops, and hints of pineapple and grapefruit. Barely any malt coming through in the aroma. Initial taste is huge pine hops going into some more floral hops with just enough malt to balance it. A bit of grapefruit comes through as well. Great bitterness on the finish, but not too much. Medium body. Medium carbonation. Amazingly not overly sweet or syrupy for a beer of its size like many DIPAs. Amazingly drinkable as well. Barely a trace of the 11%. This could very easily put you on the floor very quickly. Just an amazingly good beer. Worthy of all the hype it gets. 5/5/4.5/4.5/5

On tap at Bobby G's. 2012 edition. Pours a clear golden with a small white head that settles to a ring and leaves some light lacing on the glass. The aroma is big pine, grapefruit, dank, hints of pineapple, orange, and some light caramel. Smells quite bitter. The initial taste is bitter with pine and grapefruit. Quite dank and sticky. There is also orange and pineapple. Just enough caramel malt to give some balance to the huge amounts of hops. The finish is very bitter and dry with just a bit of alcohol. Medium body. Dry. Medium carbonation. Just an amazing beer. There is no other double or triple IPA this big that still manages to be dry. 4.5/4.5/4.5/5/4.5

Photo of mrbiando
4.56/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of Dtroia
4.56/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of FiremanChris
4.56/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of akorsak
4.57/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A growler filled at the Union Jack's Inn On The Manatawny. Thanks to Phatz for sharing it.

A: The ale has a vibrant golden color that nicely blends orange and yellow tones. The head has held up nicely, coming in thick and billowy on each pour.

S: The aroma is this thick with big juicy hops. Aromas include grapefruit, apricot and soapiness. The malts are big too, caramelly and big.

T: This IPA is incredible. The hops are thick and powerful from the first sip to the last, providing apricot, pineapple, grapefruit and lemon rind flavors. The malts don't shy away from the hops either. They are big and chewy, full of caramel and biscuit. The strength of the malts is enough to push this into barleywine territory (but that is another argument for another day).

M: The mouthfeel is intense from start to finish, showcasing an incredible array of hops and a big malty profile.

D: If only this beer weren't 11%... The ale is delicious with a great hop profile that refuses to let go of your tastebuds.

Photo of DennyCrane
4.57/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had this on tap in SF at Toronado. $6 for what looked to be an 8oz pour.

Minimal head, wonderful appearance. The color was magnificent. Definitely got me excited.

Smell was great. Somewhat similar to the Elder. Definitely good.

Taste was awesome. First few sips, i swooshed it around in my mouth. Really good stuff. Very crisp and drinkable for a "triple IPA".

Mouthfeel was like a normal APA, not a big hop bomb. Very crisp.

Overall I really enjoyed this beer and am very glad that I got to try it. I hit RR in Santa Rosa on Sunday night around 9 PM hoping I could sneak in and get a glass before the end of the day allotment but I missed out by 10 minutes. As much as I enjoyed this beer, I am very glad that I didnt wait 6 hours in line like alot of people.

If you can get this beer without too much hassle, go for it. It is great but not worth the madness. I suppose nothing really is...

Photo of riored4v
4.57/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

8oz pour in to a tulip glass. Clear, caramel colored body with a thin head.

Aroma was dank, delicious hops. Full of floral and citrus hops. Awesome, malty and caramely sweetness. Strong grapefruit.

Taste is excellent and worth the hype. Big, bold beer but with an excellent flavor profile. Strong citrus and resiny hop flavor. Lots of grapefruit with some pine in the background. Good caramel flavor with a perfect malty sweetness to back up the massive hop flavor. Notes of honey as well.

Mouthfeel is very good. Medium body, medium/high darn and very dry finish that leaves a resiny hop flavor.

Drinkability is surprisingly good. Probably too good. Almost no signs of ABV. BIG hop flavor but the sweetness tones it down.

Excellent brew overall. Worth the hype and glad I finally got to try it. If you love hops and a well crafted big ipa...this is it

Photo of jdhowe
4.57/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Bobby G's Pizzeria in Berkeley, CA.

A: Pours a crystal clear golden orange with little to no bubbly white head and a fine, thin, white ring of head around the glass. Continuous bubbling is visible from the base of the glass.

S: Super sweet and syrupy. Resinous hop character of pine, earth dankness, grapefruit, peach, and stone fruit. Tons of malt sweetness. Lots going on in this beer.

T/M: Really full medium mouthfeel with carbonation that feels low, but only because of how syrupy and resinous the beer tastes. Completely smooth with tons of hop resin coating the mouth. Prickly carbonation up front with a surprisingly subtle hop bitterness that isn't really harsh at all gives way to super resinous hop character, primarily citrus. Tons of malt sweetness provide waves of juicy stone fruit and candy. Finish is smooth, juicy, coating, and moderately bitter. Alcohol is well hidden.

O: This is a really excellent beer. It's hardly worth the trouble to get to enjoy it, but it's really quite nice. The abundance of flavor is almost too much, though; it's so thick and flavorful that after even a few ounces I feel pretty satisfied. I probably wouldn't drink this daily given the chance, but am glad I've gotten to enjoy it a couple times and would definitely do it again if it wasn't so much of a pain to get.

Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,469 ratings.