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Pliny The Younger - Russian River Brewing Company

Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger

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2,117 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2117
Reviews: 833
rAvg: 4.69
pDev: 8.53%

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
Ratings: 2,117 | Reviews: 833 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Trilogy31


4.89/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Been. Long time since I logged in, wanted to hate it but its worth reviewing. Had it at Marriott SF drank 6 10oz pours trying it for my first time. Absolute pure clarity on that yellow gold with a finger of foam. Smashing citrus and pine in your face almost a bit of resin, literally I cracked a smile. Drying but not cloying at all. With rich citrus and forest maybe apricots and a deep bitterness that was clean no sweetness. One dimensional but pure perfection not a pliny fan but fing amazing for what it is at that abv.

Serving type: on-tap

02-13-2014 03:23:21 | More by Trilogy31
Photo of smanrob


4.7/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Showed up at 6:30AM on 2/7/14 (opening day). We ended up getting the very last table of the first set of people in. All things considered, I think we ended up having some good timing. They opened the doors around 10:30 and we were in by 10:50. Overall, we waited in line for just over 4 hours and spent about 3 hours in the pub enjoying the Younger and a few of their other gems.

This is our third pilgrimage for the Younger, and while it's always worth the wait, I'm sad to say that relatively speaking, I think this is their first strike. Last year I walked out knowing that "this is a top 2" beer... this year I left having to debate about whether or not it's a top 5 beer. Why??? Hop balance is ineradicable as to be expected, but this year there seemed to be an overpowering of Warrior hops and the Simco hop flavor that is so distinct may have been overwhelmed by the Chinook. Not to take anything away from the final balance, and I know that this is like nitpicking the Mona Lisa, but that was just my opinion.

*Only getting to enjoy the beer on on day each year may lead to inaccurate recollection, so I thought I'd get this review down ASAP. Additionally, it is hard not to hype up a beer just to self-justify the long line and waiting in inclement weather.

Serving type: on-tap

02-09-2014 17:28:36 | More by smanrob
Photo of Jevers


4.84/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Came to Santa Rosa for the PtY release, waited in line for six hours in the rain, and this was worth it.

Appearance-Bright gold, served with little head, little lacing down the glass.

Smell-beautiful piney, resinous hop aroma

Taste-Awesome hop bite, but with a really good malt back

Mouthfeel-Dry, but really good on the palette


Serving type: on-tap

02-07-2014 22:17:25 | More by Jevers
Photo of BierJager89


4.78/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Hazy orange with a white head.

S:Tons of orange, mango, papaya, tropical fruit in the nose.

T: Fresh orange, mango, papaya, pine, tropical fruit, a touch of alcohol.

M: Full bodied and very smooth especially for an IPA.

O: This beer hit a ceiling for me (I generally don't like IPAs as much as I like stouts, so I score them lower) that a few others (namely Blind Pig, Double Jack and Enjoy By) have hit. If I liked hoppy beers like I do bourbon barrel aged imperial stouts, I would probably give this a 100. To my taste, I'd give it a 95 or 96.

Note: Tasted four days after release. Go on a week day if possible. I only had a 20 minute wait.

Serving type: on-tap

01-05-2014 19:15:58 | More by BierJager89
Photo of De_Nada_Brewing


4.98/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Had this last year at Haven Gastropub in Orange. Was alittle skeptical at first when I had to wait 2 hours but it was well worth it!

The smell is amazing, a straight hop bomb.

Appearance is like pliny

Both taste and mouthfeel are amazing, not at all bitter.

Can't wait until next year when I try this again!

Serving type: on-tap

12-09-2013 05:34:55 | More by De_Nada_Brewing
Photo of Darth_Ryan


4.95/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Long live the "Younger". This double IPA is as smooth as good as it gets. The hops give this beer a refreshing taste. I didnt think the Elder could be duplicated, but this beer is a refined elder. The bitterness is perfect in this beer. Unfortunately unless you live by the brewery its pretty hard to get more than a pint or two in February. This beer should be tasted by all.

Serving type: on-tap

11-14-2013 23:42:46 | More by Darth_Ryan
Photo of xmorgan


5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have enjoyed this beer at RR and the Bistro in Hayward. It is big bold and awesome.

For those that say it is not worth the hype, I disagree, it is the best of Triple IPAs and as such belongs at the top!

Pliny the Younger was born in Novum Comum (Como, Northern Italy), the son of Lucius Caecilius Cilo, born there, and wife Plinia Marcella, a sister of Pliny the Elder. It is assumed Pliny was writing about him being the first to write about hops. This is debatable as his "lupus salictarium" Willow Wolf, may or may not have been the hop plant. This description makes reference on how the mentioned plant can drag down a tree by it's weight, similar as to a pack of wolves dragging down a large elk, by the weight of t's numbers, a pack of wolves drag down the larger beast, so does this plant by growing up its sides and over time, dropping said tree or plant.

This beer is hop goodness and the smell is devine hop goodness with a bitter brite grapefruit and uber happiness that should be contemplative over time rather volume.

Serving type: on-tap

11-11-2013 01:21:17 | More by xmorgan
Photo of MCG_WC


4.78/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Had this beer in Folsom CA, and it did not disappoint. They don't sell this in my neck of the woods, so it was great that it lived up to the hype when I actually got to try it.

Great nose, better taste, IPA perfection! Looking forward to trying Pliny the Elder as soon as I can!

Serving type: on-tap

10-29-2013 20:13:49 | More by MCG_WC
Photo of LessMyth


5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Filtered deep golden beer with frothy head.

S: Citrus, spice and honey.

T: Best in class. The flavor unfolds wonderfully, the hops and high ABV somehow not overpowering, the finish smooth but sharp.

M: Standard for a triple. This is one place the high abv can be noticed.

O: This beer's scarcity is its one (terrible) fault. Pliny the younger may be delicious but is not in the same league.

Serving type: on-tap

09-02-2013 04:06:59 | More by LessMyth
Photo of JackDempsy


5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Better than Pliny the Elder, but very hard to get.

This brewery makes the best beer that I have tasted - hands down. The bar is full, day and night. It is so crowded, that it ALMOST takes away from the beer. I have never walked away without a smile on my face.

Serving type: on-tap

08-23-2013 15:49:15 | More by JackDempsy
Photo of Smurf2055


4.3/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Uber, 2012.

Pours an amber color with very little head.

Lots of pine in the smell, grapefruit and citrus also present.

Taste is sweet, mellow, a bit chalky. Pine and grapefruit are present, as well as pineapple and mango. Everything about IPA’s rolled in to one. Very smooth, very drinkable. Only the tiniest bit of alcohol present.

An incredible beer, and right up there as the best IPA I’ve ever had. Is it worth the hype? No, not really. Is it a great beer? Yes, absolutely. Should someone seek it out? If you haven’t had it before, and you have the chance to, yes.

Serving type: on-tap

07-15-2013 04:52:18 | More by Smurf2055
Photo of Celismisser


4.54/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Stood in line for 3 hours, got my ticket, and had this at my home brewery...Tustin Brewing Company.

Not many beers I would wait 3 hours for...and only waited that long because my beer drinking buddy was adamant that this is the best beer ever created in the history of mankind. Usually when someone tells you something is the best you end up disappointed...not this time.

Great beer, you can tell it has high content but it is still very easy to drink with a great high hop flavor.

Best thing I can say...I will be standing in line to get my ticket again next year.

Serving type: on-tap

06-19-2013 21:46:49 | More by Celismisser
Photo of JRO


4.98/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is one of the few that is worth the hype. Had it on a sample flight that included Row-two, Blind Pig, The Elder, and The Younger: all exceptional beers, but the Younger sort of blew them away compared side to side.
Incredible aroma, so smooth and well balanced....really hard to believe this is an 11% beer. Can't really say anything bad about it. If you get a chance, it's worth the wait.

Serving type: on-tap

06-11-2013 17:39:19 | More by JRO
Photo of IHeartE30s


4.05/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The release of the Younger the last two years was fun; waiting in line with good friends, bars having special food and "IPA tap takeover." That was the highlights though, the Younger is good but I wouldnt wait for it alone especially at 6$ for 4oz's.

It has a lot of complexity and doesnt have that west cost IBU BOOM but it just wasnt for me. At the bar we went to this last year they had plenty of other IPA's I enjoyed more, some of which were very rare in California, like Sculpin Habenaro IPA and Dogfish 120minute on TAP! If it were something readily available like the Elder I could see myself buying it every now and then but I probably wont be waiting in the long lines for a taster any more.

I'd say, its definitely worth a try and find a pub that has an event for the tapping. I wouldnt rank it in the top 25 though.

Serving type: on-tap

06-01-2013 23:43:02 | More by IHeartE30s
Photo of tastyville


5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this beer about a dozen times in February and twice in March. I write this review now from notes I had written on my notepad app in my phone. I think this review deserves the complete journey I took from La Habra to Santa Rosa on a chilly evening in February. I drove seven and a half hours to get to Russian River and arrived a bit past 10:30pm. My girlfriend and I ordered a couple glasses of Pliny the Younger. What I saw was a small glass with a clear, obviously filtered, golden beer and a nice head. The aroma was enticing to me, not so much my girlfriend. "It smells like pine cones!" She was not a beer enthusiast like me but I agreed with her- "It also smells like citrus and in very good balance. Not one more than the other." So we drank. Poof! Like a memory it was there and it was gone- it vanished, it evaporated. It was so easy to drink I had to keep the second gulp in my mouth, swish it around and chew it a bit to get the complete experience. I was dumbfounded. "Isn't this supposed to be nearly 12%?" I asked my girlfriend. By this time she was done and ordered another. This was a woman that barely got the hang of Leinenkugel not two months before. As I watched her drink it, swish it around and chew a few times (like I told her to) she would close her eyes and "Mmmm! This is SO good." This was probably the fifth or sixth kind of beer she has ever tried. The aggressive amounts of ABV with the intense aroma and smooth flavor and the subtlety by which the flavors develop in your mouth which is such a rich dynamic from a hop punch in front to a sweet tang of citrus to the back which completely masks the amount of alcohol in addition to being filtered- this beer is quite frankly dangerously delicious and I can't wait for my next journey in February!

Serving type: on-tap

05-07-2013 06:04:10 | More by tastyville
Photo of akang


5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had some at the brewery and liked it so much that I tracked it down at a couple places in San Diego (Hamilton's Tavern, SD TapRoom).

A - Rich orange-gold with minimal head.

S - Strong pine but citrus comes through as well.

T - It's an elevated version of PtE. There is a stronger citrus flavor that is able to hide the higher alcohol content. The overall balance is incredible.

M - Amazing smoothness that makes it so easy to drink.

O - This is my favorite beer so I am biased when I say that this is deserving of the hype. I probably wasted way too much time tracking this in February/March, but I imagine I will be doing the same thing next year.

Serving type: on-tap

05-03-2013 02:04:39 | More by akang
Photo of Dowlers


4.75/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This beer definitely lives up to the legend.

Appearance) Beautiful straw gold colour.

Smell) rich citrusy grapefruit aroma

Taste) Sweet citrus and grapefruit hops. Rich smooth malty aftertaste. High alcohol content well hidden.

Mouthfeel) Oh so smooth. Unbelievable smoothness considering the amount of flavor packed into the taste

Overall) The outstanding example of its style. For once the hype is justified.

Serving type: on-tap

04-29-2013 00:58:30 | More by Dowlers
Photo of gmartinez


5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Great brew, I wish it was bottled and year round. It taste like a concentrated glass of grapefruit and pine. I've had heady topper, and I know this would rank higher if it were more readily available outside of California. I also think that this blows heady topper out if the water.

Serving type: on-tap

04-28-2013 05:42:39 | More by gmartinez
Photo of LSx


5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sampled at the pub several times in 2011 & 2012

Best IPA in every regard.

Pours with practically no head and is a perfectly clear, bright orange-gold color.

Balance is the key with this beer, nothing overpowers and the high abv is hidden very well - all the traditional west coast IPA notes with the citrus, pine, sweetness...just everything is bigger and yet so well balanced. Not enough can be said about just how good this beer is, I set this as my standard to compare all IPA/DIPA's against.

Serving type: on-tap

04-24-2013 17:49:56 | More by LSx
Photo of chrisgalvin


5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

World Class Beer. I wish there wasn't so much hype around this beer because I really hate waiting in line to drink. I'm lucky enough to live really close to some of the best craft beer bars in the San Francisco Bay Area and there's always some place that has a keg once released.

The combination of hops, malt character and finish make this a world class beer. Well done, Vinny.

Serving type: on-tap

04-01-2013 04:10:36 | More by chrisgalvin
Photo of Dreadnaught33

District of Columbia

4.65/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is a beer which, like so many of us beer nerds, I've wanted to try for a long, long time. I am a huge hophead, so this was a nice treat for me. Had this yesterday on tap at Varga bar in Philly for the black tie event. I managed to grab two 6 oz pours so I got a pretty good idea of this beer.

A: Almost clear orange/gold color with ample bubbles rising up to a ring of white head, pretty nice lacing.

S: Not the most pungent smelling triple IPA ever, but what is there is all resiny tropical and pine hops, weed, bitters, a crisp and clean aroma overall.

T/M: Really nice composed flavor, this is supremely balanced for a beer of this ABV. Floral and vegetal hops, tropical fruits abound with pineapple and papaya fruits for me shining through. This is very clearly the next step of elder as it has a nice dry finish, resiny front, and clean mouthfeel and the same sort of hop bill, but just more. Some honey soaked malts and a slight spicy note pervades as well- this accents the hops very well and contributes nicely to the feel overall. The taste lingers very nicely long after tasting it, which is always the mark of a great beer.

Overall, this is a great beer, and it is worth most of the hype. Did it blow me away? No. Is it still awesome? Yes. Would I drive to Philly from DC to and from in one day for it again? No. What I learned from trying this beer, is I need to take my hat off to it in that we wouldn't have beers like Boneyard Notorious, Alpine Expo Hoppiness, HF Ephraim, or even my local DC Brau OTWOA if it wasn't for this beer and it's "Elder" version. This beer seems like it would have blown the doors off the barn if I had it like 4-5 years ago, but now there are many comparable beers which maybe makes it seem less magical than it might have been before. As a saxophone player, it seems to me almost like having to appreciate Lester Young and Charlie Parker so that you can really enjoy Michael Brecker and Chris Potter etc meaning that you have to pay your dues to the ones who innovated first so you can see where the 'newer' things have grown out of. I tip my hat to Russian River and this beer for blazing the trail to the yet even crazier beers we have today.

Serving type: on-tap

03-26-2013 02:09:32 | More by Dreadnaught33
Photo of Turst3Since1987


4.98/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

First and foremost I just want to say that I did not intend to get drunk off younger but the opportunity to have as many glasses as I wished drove me to have my fill of it. And for the first time trying it, it was no less then amazing.

Golden, deep orange and minimum head, almost completely flat.

From the moment I had my first glass without putting my nose to it the smell found me, amazing sweetness deceptively covering the amount of hops it contains.

Mouthfeel was medium body, creamy silk, light oil consistency that made it one easy beer to drink and make u forget its actually 11%

Overall worth the wait and having a beer like this makes me appreciate perfectly crafted beer and has me searching for anything that can tap into the heels of this amazing brew, at least untill next year.

Serving type: on-tap

03-23-2013 01:30:38 | More by Turst3Since1987
Photo of GetMeAnIPA


4.99/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was lucky enough to get two glasses this year.

A - golden crystal clear yellow with almost zero head. There is no head retention because of all the hop oil. Great alcohol legs.

S - the smell knocked me off my feet. So piney and hoppy. I could smell the beer from the table. Almost didn't want to drink it because it smelt that good.

T - perfectly balanced and smooth. Classic RR IPA with the piney, citrus flavored but just the right amount of malt backbone. Some warming but no burn.

O - if this beer was more widely available it would be easily the best beer around. Lives up to the hype and has inspired me to finally make the trek to RR next year for the PtY release.

Serving type: on-tap

03-21-2013 19:32:00 | More by GetMeAnIPA
Photo of bluz4frank


5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Can I say anything more about this beer than has already been published? Sat next to Vinnie during the day we were there. He mentioned he thought it was the best batch so far. I agree. My fourth year attending and it was definitely the best. A good friend is a photographer for the Santa Rosa Press Democratn who has done dozens of stories about Vinnie and his beer. Even HE said it was the best batch ever.

Serving type: on-tap

03-21-2013 03:46:46 | More by bluz4frank
Photo of jmaharaj


4.68/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Stood in line at Sidecar in Philly for a couple hours to get a pour of this. Was very much worth it.
The beer was lighter in color than I would have expected, but it had a beautiful white frothy head. The aroma was thick. Big hop notes of citrus with hints of tropical fruit, sitting over a big malt base that seems to thrust the hops into your nostrils. The hops and malt seem wonderfully cohesive and you can already tell this is going to be a juggernaut of a beer. The taste is equally satisfying. Thick malt and resinous hops roll across the tongue while a wonderfully complex hop profile opens us with orange, lemon and grapefriut flavors, some deeper notes of tabacco and chalk and the occasional swirl of malts keep this long, complex and drinkable. Wonderfully balanced and surprisingly easy to throw down. For those looking for a grapefruit fix, something like Maharaja might be better, but thsi has got to be one of the most well crafted and tastiest beers out there.

Serving type: on-tap

03-14-2013 17:44:22 | More by jmaharaj
Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,117 ratings.