1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Pliny The Younger - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

2,349 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,349
Reviews: 843
rAvg: 4.69
pDev: 8.74%
Wants: 4,290
Gots: 110 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Pliny The Younger Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,349 | Reviews: 843 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of LuckySevens82
5/5  rDev +6.6%

Huge-ass growler courtesy of RedwoodGeorge. You are a prince among men.

Pours a hazy coppery color with a very nice, thick, almost injection molded, pure white head. Lacing and retention are both spectacular. This beer just screams drink me from the moment it hits the glass.
Smell is a hop head's wet dream. Nothing but hops, pure, unadulterated hop aroma. Well balanced and just superb. Piny, citrusy, and just a bit earthy. Some alcohol in the nose, but at 11% it's not surprising. Everything is balanced out nicely with just a hint of toffee.
Taste, again, is just amazing. This is hop juice pure and simple. What starts off slightly sweet, and a little caramelly, easly blends into a piny, bitter and downright great taste. Loads of hops in this one, that's for sure, and yet it doesn't seem overdone. I've had some DIPAs that are just acrid with hops where as this beer blends everything together so nicely it's hard to find fault. There is, of course, a slight (very slight) alcohol warming sensation as this one goes gleefully down my throat.
Mouthfeel is just what I want from a DIPA, not tooth enamel stripping, but not something that is going to feel like water going down. With the amount of hops in this it's amazing that the former isn't the case.
Drinkability is insane for the alcohol content. I could easily drink this beer all night and not have any complaints. Of course, the next morning might be a problem, but I'm sure it would be a fun night.
Overall, this is easily one of the best IPAs if not one of the best beers I've ever had. It stands to style, and takes it just one or 10 steps further than you would have thought possible. An impeccable beer from an even more impeccable brewery.

LuckySevens82, Oct 01, 2005
Photo of bca115
5/5  rDev +6.6%

bca115, Feb 26, 2013
Photo of neorunner
4.5/5  rDev -4.1%

neorunner, Sep 12, 2013
Photo of trappistlover
4.33/5  rDev -7.7%

(had this from draught). Pours orange with white head. Aroma of grapefruit, wood/resin dominate. Taste is sweet with a nice hop end. Full bodied with oily texture. This is a really nice DIPA that hides the abv well and is well balanced. Quite drinkable. I'm looking forward to the next time.

trappistlover, Jun 27, 2011
Photo of jdklks
5/5  rDev +6.6%

Believe the hype... that's all that really needs to be said about this beer. perfection.

pours a deep golden almost amber color that is truly something special to behold. a small off white head rests atop the body of liquid awesomeness, lacing the glass minimally, and leaving only the slightest trace of itself. The smell is super piny, citrusy, hops all over, with a hint of cannibus. the quintessential aroma for an ipa.

The flavor is so overwhelmingly amazing it's hard to put words to. citrusy and piney, tons of hops. earthy and bitter as all hell. a little honey flavor. bitter grapefruit and alcohol in the finish. amazing. a palate destroyer for sure.

The mouthfeel is oily with hop resin and nice and thick on the palate. wonderfully, perfectly carbonated. The drinkability for an 11% beer is equal to the most drinkable single ipa available. incredible.

jdklks, Feb 07, 2010
Photo of randomdanger
5/5  rDev +6.6%

randomdanger, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of JSkone09
5/5  rDev +6.6%

JSkone09, Jun 06, 2012
Photo of vma
4.5/5  rDev -4.1%

vma, Mar 24, 2014
Photo of UA8
4.22/5  rDev -10%

Pours a light orangey amber color with minimal head

Big grapefruit notes on the nose with a light background of caramel.

The taste while cool is dominated by bitter pine hops however as it warms semi sweet grapefruit comes to the front with hints of a very minimal malt presence. Not very complex.

Mouthfeel is somewhat thin especially for a beer sitting at 11%. Carbonation is moderate yet somewhat coarse.

Overall just like elder overly hyped. The beer is solid but far from the best dipa I've had. There are several dipas that are much more easily acquired with much less hoopla than this. I will say that as it warms it does improve significantly. Oh well now I've had it and won't have to feel like I've been missing out.

UA8, Mar 03, 2011
Photo of DJButters
5/5  rDev +6.6%

DJButters, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of AApparel
4.75/5  rDev +1.3%

AApparel, Mar 25, 2012
Photo of jackmax
4.5/5  rDev -4.1%

jackmax, Nov 14, 2013
Photo of olympuszymurgus
4.43/5  rDev -5.5%

after a year...finally we meet again.
this nearly clear golen beverage is wanted. a fine floral aroma like the garden of eden - BUT - do not taste of the fruit of the tree in the middle! oh dear god, i did. it is too smooth. an intensity of bitterness and hop flavor, but not quite the shapness of the elder. a little citrus fruit in the nose and mouth. so nice for 11, doesn't feel like it, so little sweetness for an imperial. i wish i could drink it, but i put the 8 oz glass in a museum instead. ahh, posterity.

olympuszymurgus, Mar 11, 2010
Photo of mattsander
4.78/5  rDev +1.9%

Enjoyed 3 tulips of the 2012 Younger at Monks Kettle in San Francisco (and a couple at Russian River in Santa Rosa).

Appearance: Finally, a DIPA that is actually pale! Not orange, not red. I'd guess 8 srm, almost the same color as the Elder.

Smell: Resinous, pine, cat pee, tangerine, peach. Enormous. The freshest hop aroma I've ever experienced. No malt character detected.

Taste: Echoing the aroma with massive fruitiness and a potent overarching bitterness. Pine lingers in the mouth long after swallowing. A very distinct smoothness similar to Elder, signature Russian River.

Mouthfeel: Chewy & sexy. The use of sugars really helps to keep this drinkable, it never feels bogged down by malt. Keep DIPA's pale!

Believe the hype, DIPA doesn't get any better than this. I think the exclusivity of Younger really helps to promote the importance of FRESHNESS in this style. Even after a short time in bottles, a beer like this will lose some of it's magic. Get it on tap in Santa Rosa.

mattsander, Feb 21, 2012
Photo of dbalsock
3.83/5  rDev -18.3%

Appearance: Light amber/golden color and very clear with smallish white head that stays around and provides some slight lacing.

Smell: Floral and citrusy, all I can smell are hops and sweet fruits. The aroma is very intense.

Taste: tastes like it smells, with grapefruit coming in and a pine forest on the aftertaste. The malt base isn't as deep as I expected and this is not as balanced as the Elder, but the amount of hops is quite impressive. This is a hop-heads dream. There's also some alcohol, but for 11% it's covered very well by the intense hopiness.

Mouthfeel: Very bitter, especially as one keeps drinking it. It seems to magnify the bitterness with each sip.

Drinkability: For the amount of alcohol in this, it is way to easy to drink. It goes down the throat and is bitter enough to keep someone gulping. I'm very impressed and although it's not quite balanced enough for my tastes, I can see why this is so highly regarded.

dbalsock, Feb 07, 2007
Photo of CosmoHopHead
5/5  rDev +6.6%

CosmoHopHead, May 21, 2013
Photo of MusicaleMike
4.31/5  rDev -8.1%

Served in a tulip glass.

Good ol' Pliny the Younger. This is my 3rd time with this beer. This came out to me with a half inch white cap of crisp white head on top of a golden amber body that had great clarity which showed off the lazy carbonation. The head eventually faded to nothing, but left a sticky lacing on the side of the glass.

The smell wafts out of the glass with hints of mango, bruised pineapple, butterscotch, and a sweet hint of berries underneath. Fairly strong aroma, and certainly appetizing, though it fades a bit too quickly for me to rate this higher.

Very hop-forward beer for sure, with plenty of tropical fruit in the flavor and a sweet, boozy quality that is present throughout. While a beer like Heady Topper is a master of disguise, hiding all that alcohol behind the Hop Curtain, Pliny the Younger is unabashed by being an 11% alcohol by volume DIPA. The complexity here is the mix of hops and alcohol, with a nice sweet malt backbone.

The carbonation is crisp, the body is strong, a little on the viscous side. Superb mouthfeel...

I think this is a great beer. It would be hard to write about Pliny the Younger without talking about the train of hype that precedes this beer: people freak out about this beer. A bar announces this beer bring tapped, and if they don't announce it, its considered a "strategy." The hype is not worth it though. There are better double IPA's out there...that said, this is a great beer that people won't be disappointed in. I tracked this beer down this year to give it a review, but next year, I won't be on the hunt.

MusicaleMike, Mar 06, 2013
Photo of TenHornsProud
4.9/5  rDev +4.5%

Pours a clear, orange-burnt orange with a small white head that laces.

Dank hop with fruity notes, tropical fruit that meets pine/earthy and grapefruit. Just a huge aroma that is complex and covers the hop spectrum.

Taste is tropical fruit up front that fades into a big fruit middle--BIG, oily hops with notes of malt honey and sweetness. Really balanced yet bitter. The oily hop finish lasts and lasts. Perfect hop taste. Like drinking hop juice.

Medium to heavy body with medium carbonation, extremely smooth.

Just a big, hop masterpiece. Perfect for the style and what it says it will in a subtle way. The perfect craftsmanship of this beer is what sets it apart from similar brews.

TenHornsProud, Feb 27, 2012
Photo of muchloveforhops3
4.5/5  rDev -4.1%

muchloveforhops3, Apr 04, 2012
Photo of KevT
4.5/5  rDev -4.1%

KevT, Jul 03, 2013
Photo of humulusphile
4.75/5  rDev +1.3%

humulusphile, Dec 11, 2013
Photo of rkhaze
4.88/5  rDev +4.1%

Poured a hazy golden buutterscotch color with a creamy white head. Sheets of lace down the glass.
Big resinous grapefruit rind aroma. Floral and perfumey with some malt and a bit of caramel.
Sweet floral tastes. Lots of sweet malt with toffee undertones helps balance the inpending hop onslaught. Does a good job of it too.The hop profile came in fresh and floral with citrus rind & juice flavors, a bit of pepper and hints of pineapple and vanilla in the finish. Great balance and the alcohol was almost non existent. It was almost on the verge of being a little cloying. Absolutely a glassful of nectar!
Medium bodied with a velvety smooth, creamy and slightly oily mouthfeel. Perfect!
Exceptional, almost laughable drinkability for such a huge beer.
If you find it...try it! Highly recommended.

rkhaze, Feb 02, 2005
Photo of ScreamForMe
5/5  rDev +6.6%

ScreamForMe, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of CommanderOfAwesome
3.99/5  rDev -14.9%

Had during SF beer week at Bobby G's in Berkeley CA. Had with a PtE side by side.

A: Pours golden color with great clarity. 1 finger white fluffy head.

S: Mango, pineapple grapefruit, sweetness lingering with hops.

T: Hop forward, very sweet citrus fruit. Hides the alcohol well behind a well balanced malt backbone.

M: Well carbonated medium bodied with a bitter dry sweet finish.

O: A good beer that is no where close to the hype. I waited about an hour for this beer which is on the low end, and honestly I would much rather have a TIPA from Knee Deep over this one. Glad to have it once and say I've had it but for this to top in the top 10 beers is all hype based IMO.

CommanderOfAwesome, Mar 05, 2013
Photo of SMITHAND
5/5  rDev +6.6%

SMITHAND, Feb 08, 2014
Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,349 ratings.