Pliny The Younger - Russian River Brewing Company

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Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger

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2,723 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,723
Reviews: 925
rAvg: 4.69
pDev: 8.74%
Wants: 5,395
Gots: 274 | 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.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,723 | Reviews: 925
Photo of jow_42
4.78/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

8oz pour @ Pizza Port Carlsbad during the Younger tapping

A - Pours a dark amber color. No head on the glass we got since they were pouring and walking them out to us. It had dissipated by the time we got it. Looks very similar to Elder.

S - Sweet hops. Tropical fruits, pine. The 11% is no where to be found.

T - I must say this is the smoothest triple I have ever had. Again, sweet hops up front, lots of pineapple, underneath the sweetness is a piney, resinous, dank note. People say its like Elder cranked up, and I can see that. As it warmed, much more bitterness came out, as well as some candied orange.

O - Did this live up to the hype? Yes. Its delicious. Best triple I have had. Would I wait hours on hours for a small pour of this? Probably not.

Photo of walows
4.97/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Oh my!! This beer was hands down the most amazing beer i have ever had. This beer sent me to beer heaven. I feel really bad for the beers that i haven't tried yet because they don't stand a chance!

Appearance: I wonderful golden color, with a very night tight white head that was about an inch thick. It laced all the way down.
Smell: This beer was so pungent! It smelled of those wonderful little hop flowers and lots of them! First comes the malty sweetness, like caramel and the hops come in, which smelled like if you blended a grapefruit and a pine tree together.
Taste: Tasted just how it smelled, tasted as if you blended grapefruit and pine needles together. It had a wonderful sweet caramel malty taste and the hops come running in, it was so wonderfully bitter! Following this wonderful parade was a nice alcohol hotness. The aftertaste was my favorite part of this beer, the hops just got stuck all over my mouth and it was such a great experience.
Mouthfeel: This beer sat on my palette just so amazing. It was so thick and sticky with hops! You could chew this beer!
Drinkability: Even though this beer was very high in alcohol and was so thick and sticky, this beer was very drinkable, it was scary easy to drink. What an amazing beer!

I thought that i total lost my chance to try this beer, but i got so lucky and was a the right place at the right time and got the the first pour off the freshly tapped keg. I thought that this beer was all hype, but i was so wrong! This beer was AMAZING!

Photo of crazyjoedivola
4.94/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at falling rock taphouse.

Appearance is a clear golden orange with good carbonation but surprisingly very little head. No sign of what's to come.

Smell is wonderful! Hops, with lots of hops and more hops. Scents ranging from tropical fruit to huge pine aromas some grassy hops.

Taste just keeps getting better. At first it opens with a fairly soft balanced sweet maltiness. As the glass warms however the hops emerge and the flavor gains miles of depth. Sweet malts play with the tropical fruit and resinous piney hops to create a wonderfully balanced composition. No trace of alcohol.

Mouthfeel at first fairly thin but after a few drinks i noticed that the mouthfeel changed and thickened. After about half of the glass I ran my tounge across my teeth and inside my mouth and found that the inside of my mouth was coated with resinous oils from hops.

Overall, aside from the head (which i suspect is the bar trying to prevent any waste by overflow) this is a perfect beer. Easily the best I've ever had. Well worth the travel and expense.

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.

Photo of 1fortypoint6
4.46/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

Photo of JFazekas
4.44/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Standard pint from tap

Appearance: Golden yellow in color, minus points for looking strangely like urine

Smell: Nothing overpowering with a light hop and medium malt smell.

Taste: A balanced malt flavor straight from the start quickly blends with a balanced hop charactor and a alcohol flavor. Finishes at first with a strong alcohol flavor that is mildly covered with the hops. The alcohol flavor quickly vanishes as the glass empties, because it starts to get you tipsy.

Overall: An excellent offering, but I didn't buy into the hype. I like the elder much more. I think with a little more time the alcohol would have aged into a more balanced beer. I finish still in search of a beer I would put in my all time top 10.

Photo of mjstern70
5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Perfection. Flavor a mile deep.

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

Live review from the toronado (sf)

The younger is so smooth! Silky smooth. It smells good and is absolutely delicious.

The hops are exceptionly balanced; and the alcohol is too well hidden.

It deserves all the credit and hype!

A very welcome surprise, I didn't expect it to on tap. It the king of beers!

Photo of Joeynocturnum
4.97/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to LongBeachHopHead for hand bottling this beauty so that I could taste the hype, and this is a case where I can believe the hype.

A- Bright glowing orange hue with a white head that was a little less than half a finger.

S- Hoppy-citrus and piney, could have inhaled this beer all night.

T- Sweet Citrus hop-bomb with hints of floral taste, 11% ABV was expertly hidden.

M- Crisp and refreshing, perfectly balanced carbonation no one taste overpowered.

D- Wish I had a growler, but was glad to have any. I probably would have been a mess, but if I had a growler I surely would have finished it in one night.

I have had Dreadnaught, the Elder, Hopslam, Sculpin and a few others in the last two weeks and I could see why PtY is clearly the CHAMP.

Photo of Radiodred
4.97/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Huge fan of Vinnie and Russain River. I went to the TION night at O'briens and the line to get a tast was out the door, to the street, then down to the back of O'briens, and almost to the restroom. No joke!
It doesn't get any better than this.
Looks good, smells great, taste like heaven, smooth with a punch!

Photo of shortysdude285
4.88/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Long time BA, but a first time reviewer. I think I've chosen a fairly worthy beer for my first review.

I was able to get my hands on a 10 oz. at the brewpub on 2/5/10 and I also picked up a growler of the Younger while I was there. This review is of the growler.

A - It's a beaut. Dark for an IPA but a little lighter than a red. It's just asking you to drink it.

S - I don't have the best sense of smell but this one's a winner. Hoppy to the extent that it smells almost like weed. Honestly a perfect smell. It retains a smell of an intense yet perfectly balanced hop profile that wants to be challenged.

T - Again a winner. Somehow the taste catches you off guard with its quality despite your fair warning with the smell. If I were to guess without prior knowledge, I'd say the beer was a 7.5% as it hides the 11% quite well.

M - If you don't like IPAs or hops in general, avoid this sucker. If you've been bitten by the hop fever this one's a must. I've been a longtime fan of the Ruination but this one begs of a more strong adjective as it left my tongue completely numb.

D - On top of the totally intense profile this beer pushes, I could drink it all night if I had the chance (I've only got 1 growler so I'm forced to ration it as much as possible). If this beer was given the distribution of Pliny the Elder (my previous favorite beer) I'd need some convincing to buy anything else on the shelves. Despite its "gobs" of IBUS and 11%+ ABV, I'd drink this beer all night every night I could.

Simply put, this is the best beer I've ever tasted. The mini imperial pint glass at the brewpup served it well but I've found my snifter to accentuate its characteristics to their maximum potentials. My advice: line up before 11am when it's released next year; this one's not worth missing.

Photo of pennywhistle
3.95/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

It smelled VERY strongly of hops. My nose is not fancy enough to decipher the different scents - to me, it was just super hoppy. It was light amber/gold, with no real head to speak of. It was sweet and watery when sipped, but had a syrupy feel on my lips afterward. It was nice, sweet, and subtle. Overall, the first half of the glass was really nice. However, after just stopped being all that great. Maybe the hops killed my palate, I don't know. But it's not a beer I would drink a lot of.

Photo of Schmit
4.74/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

It doesn't take a beer geek to recognize excellence. I had this beer once on tap one upon a springtime in Seattle, on my first visit to the Stumbling Monk. I'd never heard of Pliny at the time but since it was the strongest IPA on tap I requested it. The bartender didn't really play it up, so I was amazed when I got the beer in front of me. The luminous golden cup in front of me bore a heady, floral aroma of citrus and conifer. I remember really tasting the grapefruit in it, and being impressed by both its richness and balance. After a beer this strong I wouldn't usually feel like another one, but this was an exception. I knew at the time that it was easily the best beer I'd ever had, and I haven't found a better one since. The Holy Grail of IPAs.

Photo of gpatt55
5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On Tap @ Father's Office Santa Monica 2/11(From memory)

After waiting 1.5 hours and getting denied at the cluster that was Surly Goat the night before, I was happy to catch FOI's twitter feed the next night and have 20oz of the 15 gallons they released rather quietly.

Whether all the hype added to my immense enjoyment of this divine nectar is inconsequential. Long story short I can't think of a better beer that's ever passed my lips.

Poured a hazy straw/light orange color with a thin head. Incredible kaleidoscopic nose that combines the powerful skunky simcoe dispensary nose of Elder with a concentrated, almost delicate note of pure bright candied apricot fruit. WOW.

On the palate this beer is even smoother than Elder, if I had to guess the ABV blind I'd say 7-8%, it's that well hidden. There is an incredibly zen balance to the taste of this beer that I can only compare to the best Grand Cru Burgundy. Absolutely etheral, even though it's more concentrated, I'd say this is more drinkable than Elder. IBUs are off the chart. I get what they mean by Lupulin threshold shift. Definitely more purely concentrated hoppy than anything I've ever had. But the balance of this beer just swaddles the bitterness in cashmere. The fact that Vinnie makes an 11% ABV beer this balanced is a high wire act that I've never seen surpassed. Cheers. See you next year Younger!

Photo of BrewsoBrewco
4.23/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my first official BA review. PtY on tap at the Bier Stein in Eugene OR.

A- Great golden almost orange appearance. No great head but the color was fantastic.

Smell- After being poured it was very piney with a good citrus note. Delicious hop smell that can be smelled from distance. Can tell that a hop punch is going to come with the taste.

Taste- First sip the citrus comes out very clearly with a still piney/ fruit hop aftertaste. Delicious. After it started to warm up the pine settled and the a lot more tree fruit comes out. I got green apple and pear.

M-Good mouth feel for an IIPA. Much better then the elder which I feel lacks in mouth-feel. Really felt as if something was going down.

O- I think it is a great IIPA. Best beer in the world...EEHH? It really does mask the alcohol incredibly and tastes great. Since we only had one 8oz pour and this is my first taste I don't think I can have the same review as people who have had it multiple time. Great beer. Would definitely have it again? Yes. Would i fight huge mobs of people. Probably not, unless it was from the source.

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.

Photo of Gachnar
4.8/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

Photo of rudimon
4.74/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

on tap at pizza port solana beach 2012ish

Photo of yuichituba
4.08/5  rDev -13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I got this on tap at Pi Bar here in San Francisco.
I had to try me some and find out what all the rave was about.

SO ya, pretty darn good! Some strong citrus and pine action happening to this beer. The booziness is more apparent in this beer, but that is somewhat expected in a 11% beer. Overall (if you're a hop head) a very smooth, drinkable beer.

I personally wasn't blown away with though, honestly. My personal opinion as far as why this beer is highly rated is due to how scarce it is, the hype people create from it, as well as how its older brother Pliny the Elder has left a legend in craft beer history pretty much. Don't get me wrong, this is an excellent double/triple IPA, but I think Pliny the Elder is better and enjoyable to drink.

Beer Tuber:

Photo of alohaC
4.1/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Toronado. After drinking Pliny the Elder too many times to count, I finally came across the much heralded and harder to find Pliny the Younger on tap. Like the Elder, the Younger pours beautifully with a clean, coppery orange and a nice two-finger head. The smell is pungent with citrus/grapefruit hops, but with less of the sweet pine and floral character you sometimes find in the other good IIPAs. Not a bad thing - just different and you know this one is going to hit you big time with the bitter end of the hops. Flavor is dominated by grapefruity bitterness, but kept in check with a biscuity malt. Mouthfeel is medium and fairly smooth for such a big beer. My only real complaint is I find this beer to be a little more astringent and hot with alcohol on the finish than I like. Where the Elder is the epitome of balance for me, I find this one a bit unbalanced. Some like this, but to me it makes this a "have a pint and then I’m done with it" kinda beer. Another excellent effort by Vinnie, the Yoda of IPAs, but I’d rather hook myself up to an I.V. of the Elder for the night!

Photo of mpensworth
4.97/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Beautiful in the glass, nice and golden orange with a slight white foam head. The lacing was perfect in my glass as well.

S: Powerful citrus and pine aroma, makes the knees weak.

T: Ka-pow! My palate didn't know what hit it. Lots of pine and grapefruit flavors here, super fresh on the hop taste.

M: Good bitterness, feels pretty light for the amount of hops and alcohol.

D: Amazing flavors with a light balance makes it hard to have just one. I was lucky and got 3 glasses... and definitely felt like I had 3 glasses of it.

Overall it is an incredible beer. I don't think it would be so popular if it were readily available every year. But honestly, part of the enjoyment of this beer was the hunt... and kill.

Photo of fenixtx423
4.85/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

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

A prefect 10. No 5. 10! Waiting in line for 5 hrs to try it only made it that much sweeter. Dog fish head was coors-like afterwards

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

Stood in line for 1.5 hours before getting in to the brewery an immediately finding a seat at the bar.

A: Pours a beautiful honey, hazy orange with very little head. In fan]ct, looking across the bar, there are no heads at all on the youngers being poured... slightly disappointing!

S: Very pleasant, lots of citrus.

T: Well balances, good carbonation, hides the alcohol well thought it's present.

O: This is an excellent beer, a must try if you can. In my opinion though, I prefer the elder.... IMO, This beer is a little too boozy and misses out on some of the aspects that I really enjoy about the elder. Still a great brew though.

Photo of oddb0d
4.37/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I might be one of the few who at least from the 2013 batch of PTE think that it wasn't as good as other beers that I have had. The beer reminded me of a apple or cider after taste. It wasn't as hoppy as I personally would like and it's very smooth. Reminds me of a cross of Apple Cider and Chardonnay and an IPA.

I have heard that 2013 was different from previous years. I prefer Pliny the Younger. Glad I got to try it at Russian River Brewing.

Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,723 ratings.