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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: 13.06%
Wants: 5,705
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.
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Reviews: 894 | Hads: 2,761
Photo of sleazo
4.32/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Liars Club. Served in a 10 oz snifter. This is a true hop heads dream. the smell is strongly of west coast hops, piney, citrusy. The hops dominate the smell as they do the taste. you dont get too much of the malt here but the hops are what you are looking for in a 2XIPA. This just tastes like fresh hops smell. The alcohol is there, but not in a bad way. I could get really drunk by dowining alot of these

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

I've had every batch of Pliny the Younger and I wasn't about to miss out on this latest one.

The beer poured a rich golden color with a small white head that quickly turned into a small lace.

The aroma of this beer was bursting with amazingly fresh hops. Pine and heavy citrus (tangerine, grapefruit, and pineapple) were there in abundance. The alcohol was there to help carry the aroma up and away.

The flavor of the beer had an intense, yet incredibly rounded hop profile that blended many hop flavors. A myriad of citrus fruits were there, but tangerine was the heaviest. Many double IPAs have hop profiles that are good, but one dimensional. PTY had a multi-dimensional hop flavor. The malt profile was clean and sweet. Mostly 2 row pale malt with some light notes of caramel malt.

The mouthfeel was medium/light with a rich creaminess that worked so well for this beer. I'm assuming corn sugar and Carapils malts were used in this beer which made it crisp and dry, yet still dextrinous enough to never be thin.

The carbonation was fine and tight.

This beer is a masterpiece. This latest batch seems like the finest to me. The hop profile is a little different and improved from previous batches. I'm fortunate enough to live close to several places that have this beauty tapped. Life is good.

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Photo of Bierguy5
4.6/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Again, big thanks to mcallister and pixel for having us over and letting me sample this prize. Much of this review compares the younger to the elder. Younger again is gold in color, maybe a bit lighter. Nice thick white head, which held together very well. Great piney aroma, not quite as much citrus as the elder. Very sweet, a huge malt backbone. Piney and citrusy hops, but without as much peach flavor as the elder. Nice full body. Big, but not boozy, the alcohol is very well hidden. This is very enjoyable, and I understand why this is rated so highly.

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Photo of brewcrew76
4.92/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Pours a brilliantly clear golden orange with a 2-3 finger white head and spotty lacing through the finish.

S - Sweet juicy hops! Citrus, pine, tropical fruits, grapefruit, floral bouquet. Just about every great hop aroma I have come across is in this beer.

T - Intense pine, citrus, grapefruit and pineapple. Very hoppy upfront but I was surprised by the malt balance. That all changed. After each swallow the hops just built and built to a mouth puckering superb hop bomb. The bitterness is also present but sneaks up on you.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and creamy. Hint of oily hop resin present and a dry finish that builds after each sip.

D - Initially I was expecting more from this one but with every sip I took it built itself up to this massive, tasty, beautiful DIPA. The ABV is well hidden and 2/3 of the way through the growler, I can feel it sneaking up on me but it is still a truly tasty and highly drinkable DIPA. I can not wait until I get to CA and taste it straight from the brewpub.

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Photo of mcallister
4.32/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good looking indeed. Nicely carbonated with a large white and fluffy head that leaves some sticky lace behind.

Piney and very fruity hops with a sweet aroma of malt. Good bit of alcohol in the nose with more citrusy fruit aromas than the elder. Sweet and very floral and very hard too pull your nose out of.

Again balanced, but more sweetness and slightly more body and balls. Alcohol adds a dimension not found in the Elder. Not as balanced but more piney hops on the finish which is also much longer yet lacking the lush creamy mouthfeel. Not as drinkable because of the drying hop finish and the alcohol content but quite drinkable and delicious.

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Photo of CharlesDarwin
4.4/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Originally reviewed on February 10, 2005. Handbottle. Aroma is fuming blast of acidic fresh spritizing strong and sour citrus of grapefruit, fresh spruce and a hint of perfumy essence. Pour is a oranged yellow rimmed clear pour, with a lacy spotted sheets on the class of clean white. Flavor is a sweet fresh grapefruit, lime and cilantro. Savory and gushing with a gentle sweet maltness that superbly comforts and carries the hops as a delicate and sumptumous hop elixir. A true ambrosia. If the malt lent a little more character, and the hops were a little more transformed into that mouth warming bready goodness, this would be a top 10. Nonetheless, it’s an astoundingly drinkable high alcohol brew, with all those flavors carried perfectly, yet not leaving a harsh impression on the palate. Finishes actually quite sweet and floral, as opposed to typical dry grass, instead with lemongrass and a sweet cinnamon candy.

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Photo of Callenak
3.63/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served on Cask at Naja's Place in Redondo Beach.

This is the second time I've tried the younger, once on tap and once on cask. I've had the elder many times and will be drinking some tonight for MNF. I had to try the younger again before I reviewed it to give it a second chance. So many people say that it's better than the elder I thought it deserved a second go-around.

Pours a pale gold with a big head. Took the bartender a lot of pumping to get this one poured just right. The head subdues rather quickly. Not sure if that's the cask or the ABV.

The smell is of course hops plus a good dose of alcohol. The beer is 11% after all. The alcohol is almost dominant.

The taste is overload. Tons of hops and lots of alcohol burn. I'm sure there is sugar used in the brewing of both the elder and the younger. I like a good, strong beer, but the alcohol is almost to much.

If you are going to compare the Younger to something it might as well be the Elder. I had an Elder right afterwards and reaffirmed my preference. The Elder is perfection. Taste completely unique in a time when every brewer is brewing a DIPA. The Younger reminds me of several other DIPA's I've had. The hops are great in it, but I just don't care for the alcohol burn.

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Photo of Rumrunner
4.73/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow! On cask this beer takes a different form. I love it from the tap, but I find it difficult to drink more than one. From the cask, the smoothness allows for many pints. The ABV does not.

I had a few pints of PLY at Naja's Place. The bartenders were working that hand pump.

It pours a beautiful dusky gold. A nice frothy head. The scents are crisp and fresh. A very clean scent. Some nice hops, but not too bitter on the nose. The scents are bold but not overwhelming.

The flavors are extremely clean. A great mix of bitterness, but not so much that there is no barley. There is a nice barley back-bone to this beer. I am very impressed. I don't find this IPA to be very fruity, which I am very happy about. It has more of a sour and bitter flavor. The flavors compliment each other and do not fight for dominance. The bitterness previals, but the malts find a way to exert themselves. This beer has no bad aftertaste.

From the cask this beer is perfect. It is silk and velvet down the throat. What a treat. I cannot convey how the cask has made this beer so succulant and easy drinking. It is smooth like a like pure ice.

From the cask this IPA is a great blend of flavors and smoothness. It is still bold, but the smoothness is just phenomenal. Drink it if you get the chance. Keep them coming Russian River.

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

Served on-tap at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia in a 10-ounce tulip-type glass.

Poured a clear and shiny brass color. Not too much head but was an incredible amount of layered, wedding cake-like lace. Nose is full of pungent and wet wood and hops.

Flavor was hop bitterness but not bitingly painful. More of a sour citrus suchs as grapefruit flavor. Little hint of vanilla. Where is the heat from the alcohol--very nicely concealed. Slightly dry but there were lots of oils from the hops. Amazingly simple but still complex DIPA. They don't try to do too much here but create a solid beer.

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Photo of NoLiberty
4.25/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was lucky enough to have this delicious beer at the Grey Lodge in Northeast Philadelphia. Props to them for bringing in the goods. I must admit that I had a pint of the Younger immediately after a pint of the Elder, so my palate was certainly well worked over. However...

The appearance is beautiful, it pours a deep golden orange. Clear and thick with low lacing and a mild to no head.

The aroma is warm or alcohol and herbacious with hops. Sweet and spicy but not as piney as the Elder, more floral.

The taste hits you up front with a big hop bite and strong alcohol tingle. It's big, deep and rich in the middle and incredibly well balanced for the alcohol content. It has a deeper, subtler flavor than the elder with almost erverse characteristics.

The mouthfeel is thick with alcohol, slightly syrupy but pleasant all around. Good carb and nice mouthfill.

This is a big beer but could go for two in a row, sure another one!

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.27/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is based on notes from The Drafting Room and The Grey Lodge.

This beer came a very foggy simple copper and gold with a wide collar of head.

Smelled of a beautiful honey and oats with a slight marshmallow. There was also a slight candied apple, dehydrated pineapple, and grapefruit. The blend of smells here is exquisite.

Tastes of a sweet pizza dough, powdered sugar and honey which is engulfed in a long lingering dry crisp pine that stings my tongue. Where malt ends and hops begin, no one knows. I'm impressed.

The mouth feel is heavy and viscous with a tiny smooth carbonation.

This is a really impressive beer, but I wouldn't want more than one.

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

Clear orange with a thin, cream coloured head. Spotty lacing was evident from the fine bubbles, which showed excellent retention. The aroma was all hops - powdery, floral, tangerine, pine, and grapefruit, not necessarily all at the same time though. There was a lot of malt sweetness up front, but a very strong bitterness hits at the same time. Floral and citrusy hop flavour fills the midsection, with mild pine, orange and tangerine. Spicy alcohol appears towards the end and grapefruit bitterness really lingers. Full bodied served with moderately low carbonation and significant alcohol warmth and numbing. Drying hop finish with slight stickiness. This is really good, really powerful. Highly drinkable for such a big beer. Everything is just turned up on this beer - a lot. I think I prefer the Elder as a beer I could drink on a regular basis - this one seems to be fit more for special occasions. I'd be a happy dude if I could get either on a regular basis...

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Photo of Imstillthegman
4.17/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on-tap at The Drafting Room. My glass was filled with a golden copper color liquid with a thin white head. Some lacing was left but not like the amount left by the Elder. The aroma was filled with pine and citrus from the hops and a sweet caramel / tofffee scent. The flavor followed the smell. Hops were there but so was the sweetness. Somewhere in between a 90 min. and a 120 min. with the sweetness. Very smooth and not as bitter IMO as the Elder. The abv in this one (11%) limited me to only two glasses but they were tasty. Great brew, but I think the Elder comes out on top.

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Photo of memory
4/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap. Appeared copper color with a grapefruit smell and taste. The alcohol wasn't overwhelming at 11 percent and I considered it very drinkable. .
Advertised as a triple, I wasn't blown away though. There are local tripals in my area of SE Pa. that are on par with this in my opinion. I don't think it is that far above them. However, this is very nice to drink. Is it possible to give a review after drinking just one?

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Photo of ggaughan
4.82/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Tria in Philadelphia, served in a 13 oz tulip glass. The beer poured a vibrant copper color, clear and with a thick off white head that disapated slowly and gave way to a nice ring around the end and a swirly island in the middle. The aroma was a strong pine and citrus nose that was similar to the Elder but kicked up a bit and more pure and extreme but enjoyable. The taste was very similar to the taste. There was the initial hoppy, piney taste with some citrus, grapefruit and a touch of sweet caramel. The mouth feel was very smooth with a nice alcohol burn on the way down that tells you this is a 11% beer. What a smooth ride the Younger was. I was expecting this to be hard to handle but found this very enjoyable and drinkable. I had 2 in this sitting and will go back for more wherever I can find it. Another RR hit and it has been a long time that I have waited to try this.

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Photo of egajdzis
4.35/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a bright golden color with a medium sized, creamy, white head that left nice lacing on the glass. Aroma of piney hops, citrus fruits, tons of resin, caramel malts, and light alcohol. Strong pine in the taste, more citrus fruits, bitter grapefruits, with some sweet malts, and alcohol in the finish. Much more enjoyable than DFH 120.

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Photo of benito
3.82/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Despairing over not being able to get this on tap at the RR brewpub, I was overjoyed to find it on tap at Toronado in San Francisco.

A: An unmoving copper with a thin head. Still waters run deep, right?

S: Earthy hops--grass and cedar with a touch of sweeter fruit, maybe strawberry. This is certainly one of the strongest hop bouquets I've ever smelled.

T: An ode to the hop. The overall flavor is strong enough on malt and hops that it could pass as a barley wine (especially if Avery were making it), but it emphasizes on bitterness, from start to finish. The molasses like malty flavors up front give way to a dry and bitter finish, with hints of pine, grass, and alcohol.

M: I suppose that the quality of mouthfeel depends on how much you love the hop. The 'balance' is about as good as one might expect from a so-called triple IPA (which I will insist is not truly its own style); nonetheless, the residual bitterness is a little too much for my palate.

D: For sipping. 'Nuf said.

Overall, this is an ambitious and aggressive brew, significantly stronger than its (wonderful) uncle Pliny the Elder. It seems that RR isn't going for a beer that's going to please anyone other than the most die-hard of hop heads; while that may mean the beer won't be universally acclaimed, it's probably that kind of an attitude that helps make forward progress in the US craft brew industry.


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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.3/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap at Naja's in Redondo Beach. It was presented in a tumbler, and had a pale orange color with a thin foam comprised of big bubbles. The beer was very clear which I guess I didn't expect.

The aroma is massively hoppy, and of course the flavor also. Actually I compared this with the Pliny the Elder and I prefer the Elder because it seems a little more complex, kind of more malt in the flavor it seems to me. But that's just what I took out of it.

Drinkability is pretty high, even though this is pretty alcoholic. I think the hops weren't so excessive as to kill my tastebuds.

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Photo of weeare138
4.44/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Much thanks to hopdog for this hand filled bottle...don't know if/when I would ever see it on draft around here.
Appears a light gold with a small off-white head that slowly fades out. Scattered spots of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of bready, biscuits, citrus, rich resinous hoppy pine, and vanilla. Much like The Elder.
Taste is of the same and very delicious with a touch of caramel standing out.
Mouthfeel is slightly sugary and mildly piney, woody, and candy.
Drinkability is decent with some ABV that's noticable.

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Photo of baiser
4.54/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

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

From my notes on recent trip, poured into a sampling glass.

I have to say, I was excited about this one... a west coast double IPA straight from the source, went at it first.

Pours a fuzzy light golden amber with a decent head and lacing here and there down the glass. Aroma is floral with hops, grapefruit.. my favorite smell.. and piny as the hops dominate. Taste is likewise, and I'm not complaining, and covers up the ABV... 11%!... good mouth. I want to bring a case home!

This one hid the alcohol so well, I had to slow down after the first one.. I drank it so fast, I was so excited:)

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Photo of brentk56
4.65/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Arrives at the table with a hazy light amber body, a solid head and lots of splashy lacing

Smell: A wondeful grapefruit and floral aroma beckons the drinker

Taste: Sweet biscuity foreground which is joined by a magnificent combination of bitter grapefruit and sweet floral flavors which persist well into the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation\

Drinkability: A truly engaging and refreshing concoction

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Photo of goodbyeohio
4.12/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

thx george

glowing orange and clear in my brooklyn snifter. cloudy patterns of bubble haze gather and swirl on the surface. lacing sticks all about the glass... romantic in its appearance.

smells harshly of orange liqueur.. oily alcohol and crystalline caramel sugars. opening of the nostrils allows a steady flow of near-noxious ethyl gases. citrusey and sweet but with consequences. rocket fueled ipa for sure.

feels silky and syrupy.. comforting and warming going down. taste is along the line of behemoth BW, but this beer manages to hop itself into next week and maintain the double ipa thing. a new dimension of hops dominated by orange essence does its best to mask the abv. very little tart grapefruity hops.. this is more sweet, sweet, and sweet fruitiness. nice twist on the style with acidic fresh mcintosh apple skin crispness. some elements of the spicing here are extremely floral, rose and honeysuckle accenting the final product.

this is good, but overall way too huge for my current tastes. that said, i can totally respect its uniqueness and think that despite my personal opinions this is a really fuckin good beer.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle obtained via trade with RedwoodGeorge. Thanks for the opportunity... Brewed 1/3/2006, hand-bottled via counter-pressure system 1/19/06.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 3/8" off-white head over the clear light amber brew. Head fades reasonably quickly, with plentiful lacing. Aroma is a twinge of tangerine, and then christmas tree pine aroma that dominates it all. Flavor is as the nose indicates, with a fruitiness upfront that is quickly shouted down by the piney-yet-somewhat-fruity hops explosion. I can feel enamel dripping off my teeth, and it's great! Mouthfeel is amazing, that for all the hops power, it still has discernable flavors, and drinkability is superb for the style, not just another bottle of hops with a grain hull or two for color. Worth the hype. Thank goodness for "George's Unauthorized Home Bottling Project".

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.82/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to RedwoodGeorge for this handbottled bomber, counterpressure filled from a keg and sent off to me. Pliny The Younger pours from the bomber an amazingly clear bright orange/peach color with a half inch of frothy bubbly white head on top. Slow carbonation rises up to meet some sticky lacing. Aromas of beautiful, vibrant hop cones attack my senses with bold citrus, grapefruit and pine needle aromas. A sweet, slighty doughy caramel undercurrent is present as well. Quite possibly hop nirvana. Green, leafy, floral and quite simply enchanting. Wow.

First sip brings a rush of intense piney and citric hop oils across the palate. Bitterness establishes itself from the get go as the resinous hops relentlessly attack the palate. The underlying caramel, mildly doughy maltiness does a good job of holding things together. Such an awe inspiring amalgamation of wonderful hop flavors. Green, intense and vibrant, like sucking on a fresh hop cone. One awesomely hoppy, incredibly tasty brew, no doubt about it.

Mouthfeel is smooth, medium bodied and creamy with the perfect amount of carbonation. This beer is a joy to drink. Honestly, the only hinderance to the drinkability here is the high abv, otherwise I could sit and enjoy this fabulously hoppy brew all day long. A hopheads dream come true, I only hope to have the chance to sample this again someday. Guess it's time to plan that trip to California, so I can sit and adore this one at the source. Russian River strikes again!

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