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Pliny The Younger - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger

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894 Reviews
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Reviews: 894
Hads: 2,761
Avg: 4.67
pDev: 7.28%
Wants: 5,708
Gots: 304 | FT: 1
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 894 | Hads: 2,761
Photo of PacNWDad
4.48/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Two glasses at the Bistro's 15th Annual Double IPA Festival. An excellent beer, and extremely well-balanced. Great mouthfeel, like silk. That said, I think the rarity is partly responsible for such high ratings.

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

A really really well made and balanced TIPA. The hype kind of ruined it for me. It was good, but there are many "triple" IPAs that you can get that are just as good or better. Simtra, Hoparillo, and RuinTen come to mind immediately. Younger might have been the first of its kind, but these days there's not much to separate it from the rest of the crowd. Like Elder, it showcases a similar piney/grapefruity character and honestly if I didn't know it was 10.25% I wouldn't have known. The sweet malts hint at the higher ABV but there is no booziness to it at all. I think I waited about 30 minutes to try it, and I'm glad I got to try it, but probably not worth it again.

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Photo of PabloSanDiego
4.86/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Drinking it now at Stone Escondido for the second straight year. The hype is over the top but it really almost lives up to the hype. It's perfectly balanced and not sweet or malty despite the high ABV. And the hops aren't overpowering. Just really well done.

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Photo of fenixtx423
4.85/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Truly a phenomenal beer. More sticky hop flavor than the Elder, but just as drinkable. Younger had more pine/earth/spice flavors than Elder, and a bit less Simcoe tropical fruit flavor. The kicker with this beer is really the smooth low body palate cleansing drinkability combined with over the top delicious hop flavors and ABV. The only thing that keys you in to the ABV with this beer is a slight warming sensation about 5 seconds after each sip.

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Photo of Gachnar
4.8/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

May not be worth standing in the rain for 12 hours, but it is a perfect example of a strong IPA. Think of Pliny the elder, but more rounded with even brighter hop profile. Beautiful nose, and extremely smooth considering the ABV. The legend may be exaggerated, but not by much.

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Photo of ESCO138
4.96/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Lives up to the hype in every aspect, unfortunately the hype and wait makes it hard to taste for nearly everyone. The only TIPA I can consume with ease.

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Photo of DudeBeerYaBro
5/5  rDev +7.1%

smell: like a brighter version of elder. hops up front, giving way to more hops...residual sweetness.
taste: booyah. piny, earthy hops up front. quick burst of citrus fruit in the middle, finish long and dry with a pleasant balanced bitterness.

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Photo of Rastacola
4.5/5  rDev -3.6%

A phenomenal beer. A little sweet, but that sweetness carefully balances the beer and the high ABV. This beer is very hyped up and very deserving of it. I'd love to sit and drink multiple in a calm setting rather than a hectic Philly bar.

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

This is a perfect beer for IPA lovers. The Younger is to the Elder as the Elder is to Sierra Nevada. (I'm not saying Sierra Nevada is bad; RR is just in a different league.) The beer is perfectly carbonated with such a deep and complex flavor that it should by all rights be undrinkable, yet the mouth feel is so smooth and luxurious you'd think you were drinking a stout or something.

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Photo of BarrelAgedG
4.83/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had in a bottle at my house.. Hardee har har.. I stood in line for 6 hours on Monday Feb 17th.. Had to save my notes for this to be the 100th beer.

A: perfect hazy orange color that only left a little bit of head by the time my glasses got to me

S: smells of citrus and a small amount of pine.. I would argue that this is the exact smell that any "IPA" should shoot for

T: same as the smell.. Citrus and a little pine.. Very smooth and well balanced

M: I would say medium.. Ideal mouthfeel for IPA

O: obviously 1 of the highest rated IPA's and after getting to try it very well deserved.. Was lucky enough to have a non-drinking buddy that lives in CA take me and get 6 instead of the mandated 3.. Also lucky that he was cool enough to run to another bar and grab us burgers while we were in line or I would have been in trouble.. Big shout out to the coolest guy I know.. Thanks again Z!! Probably won't do it again cuz the wait was unrealistic but if you haven't had it it is worth doing once.. Very well done Russian River

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Photo of 1fortypoint6
4.46/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After nearly four months of planning finally had the chance to do a reasonably timed " side by side" review vs heady. While a secretly hoped the my results would lean PiY I cam safely say heady is the superior brew. While PIY is amazing, it seems to be more of a hop bomb than heady. When compared side by side, heady to me seems to be a better planned beer. The only other drawback with PIY is the buttery feel others have reported here which I definitely experienced and found distraction. Either way two great experiences with heady taking a distinctive edge.

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Photo of SaucedBoss
4.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I was very excited to try this beer. I may have been too excited and ended up building it up too much in my head. While this is a great beer, it is not worth the effort off waiting in long lines to try it. I actually prefer the elder more than the younger. I'm glad I tried it and obviously I recommend anyone who hasn't tried it to do so. But next year I'll stick with the elder.

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

Drank at the bar at Russian River on superbowl Monday! The wait on Sunday was eight hours, Monday night I walked right in and sat at the bar.

Tasting against Pliny the Elder, Pliny the Younger is crisp, somehow light?, and just delicious. It is amazing that it has so much alcohol. Compare too against the syruping, nearly chewy 120 minute Dogfish head IPA - Pliny the Younger is clear and good and just so, so drinkable.

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Photo of CraftyJoseph
4.8/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Had it on tap at Tustin Brewing During the Pliny the Younger Week!

This was my second time having this beer within 2 years and I have to say this batch was the best thus far.

A: Like Elder

T: Amazing hoppy goodness!

Overall: I did not find much of a flaw in this beer

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Photo of mdlb44
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the perfect imperial IPA in my opinion. It deserves a 5 for so many reasons. Perfectly balanced, great mouth feel, with that perfect TIPA kick at the end. Hop forward but nice and smooth. Perfect

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Photo of jsunj
4.45/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pliny the Younger. Oh how I've longed to try you over the years since entering the craft beer world. Finally had the opportunity to try this beer on tap at Lucky Baldwins in Old Town Pasadena earlier in February this year, side by side with PtE might I add. This beer definitely deserves its place on the BA top 250. Piney, floral, boozy, yet still retaining its balance.

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Photo of Kramerwtmf
4.8/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This review is based on my experience about two months ago. Pliny the younger is an amped up version of the elder. It's a little bit sweeter than the elder but I think it masks the 10.25% really well. Such a great beer but I've come to expect that from Russian river.

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

this was the best beer i ever had. belive the hype. full bodied, very smooth with a high abv. creamy head on top. very hard to get. waited an hour and a half and luckily was still on tap. would definitely do it again. i have tried almost all the top beers and this definitely my favorite of them all.

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Photo of Detroit_Velvet_Smooth
4.88/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Had 2 10oz pours about a month ago at Falling Rock Tap house in Denver, CO. First time trying it, extremely smooth with the perfect balance of bitterness and floral/citrus, extremely drinkable and crisp. Beautiful rich amber color, and the smell contained everything from fresh wild flowers, to tropical fruit, to earthy. Lucky I got to have a second!

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Photo of Ancalagon
4.59/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Been living in Santa Rosa for a while now and had heard all the hype but never gone down to Russian River to try it. Wish I had gone sooner. The Elder is great, but this is better. The first thing you notice is the color. Like liquid gold. Very thin head. Smells strongly like citrus along with pine and some tropical notes. Taste is exceptional. Not as hoppy as the elder. Great balance of hops and malt. Real thickness in flavor. Perfect amount of carbonation. Felt smooth. Overall this beer lives up to the hype.

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

When I heard about Pliny The Younger, I was at my infancy stage of beer enjoyment. I had read many reviews and often thought, "how the hell can any beer be as good as people rate this to be??!!" So, I decided to break Vinnie's rule and enjoy this beer at a local watering hole weeks after "it should have been enjoyed." Well, Vinnie, I can't imagine how this wonderful contribution to the beer world could get any better, even after sitting through a coast to coast joyride, over many wonderful brew towns in this great place of freedom to brew whatever the heck you want to! All I can say is thank you. One day I will enjoy this citrine jewel in the location of its birth, until then...

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Photo of JohnParadee
4.54/5  rDev -2.8%
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!

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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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Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 894 ratings.