Pliny The Younger
Russian River Brewing Company

Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger
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American Imperial IPA
Ranked #1
Ranked #7
4.75 | pDev: 7.16%
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States
Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger
Notes: 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.
Reviews: 1,007 | Ratings: 3,382 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of gcamparone
4.6/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After 8 years of hunting this beer, I finally got to experience it via bottle! Thank you RR for bottling this for us east coasters!

Pours a clear effervescent body, a nice frothy head that leaves excellent retention and lacing. Nice looking beer.

Aromas are west-coast forward, pine and resinous, dank hops, minimal alcohol. On the tongue is easy, flavorful, crisp, piney, grapefruit, citrus, all the good west coast characteristics while being incredibly balanced. Crisp mouthfeel, medium body.

Worth the hype! A true west coast classic. I'd drink a lot of this if I had access to it.

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Photo of WanderingUlysses
4.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

10 oz pour from a keg at Monk's Cafe during Pliny Week.

Clearer than I expected, a deep amber with a thin head.

Fresh, hoppy, clear.

Better than the smell, a balance of crisp up front and hop bitterness on the back.

Lighter than I expected, a very mellow pale ale with a light body.

As advertised. A perfect pale ale, with such a beautiful and well-balanced hop profile that you understand why they cannot brew it all the time.

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Photo of DEZ01301960
4.38/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Finally got to try this whale. It was very good, however the hype around this beer killed it. I have tried many IPA'S that I consider better than Pliny the Younger. I would never again pay the premium for this beer. One and done.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

500ml bottle into a tulip. Huge thanks to my friend Scott for hooking me up with this long-time dream beer!

L: A finger of dense white foam atop a bright orange-amber body. While far from cloudy by today's standards, there's a good amount of hop haze. Head retention and lacing are excellent, especially for such a big beer.

S: Hugely aromatic, with a complex interplay of citrus and pine. The resin actually takes a back seat for me, with orange and tangerine notes really jumping out. Not much ethanol, but it's definitely a big step up in intensity from PtE, and decidedly more fruit-forward than that classic. I'm a fan, but it's actually more restrained than I was anticipating. I can dig that.

T: Hops, hops, hops. The tangerine from the nose pops right away, with herbal/piney resin filling in midway through. Big, flavorful hoppiness throughout. The finish is what really shines, though, as the perfect amount of bitterness combines with an astonishing dryness that somehow manages not to be harsh or boozy in the least. I've never had a hoppy beer this strong that was even in the same ballpark of drinkability. I could happily drink several pints of this. Dangerous, delicious stuff.

F: On the light side of medium-bodied with a perfect level of soft carbonation and a mouth-watering dryness. Excellent.

O: Through no fault of its own, this beer is almost inevitably overrated no matter how good it actually is. It's very, very, very good. There were elements of it that were truly striking, and definitely put it on the shortlist for best in its style, but at no point did I feel like I was having the best beer of my life, which is pretty much what the pedigree and legend demand for it not to be disappointing. I fully expected that going in, though, so I was much more impressed and appreciative than anything else. PtY is a justifiably famous brew, and I hope to get the change to enjoy it again someday.


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Photo of njcraftguy
4.79/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Def lived up to the Hype, exactly as I expected. Super smooth n drinkable. Lottsa flavor and extremely well balanced. Was worth the effort to get. I hope they bottle it every year.

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Photo of RNbeerfan
4.27/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: Orange. Opaque but not hazy. Less than a finger white head
S: Pine, some citrus. Hop resin
T: Huge hit of pine up front. There is some citrus. This does hide the ABV well. Finishes smooth and dry
F: Good carb level with a light to medium body
O: This is a great west coast IPA. It is very similar to the Elder but it does finish a little smoother with slightly more citrus.

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Photo of EdHinPasadena
5/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Never wrote my review for this. Got a chance to sample on Monday, March 2nd following a Pliny event locally. Enjoyed it so much I ordered another, and had a third the next day.
Not sure what to add after all that has been said but I'm definitely on the side of those who've raved about this. I thought The Elder was my favorite IPA, then I had The Younger. A gorgeous golden color, with the most pleasant, honey and citrus tinged aroma. The taste was something else: an incredible collection of honey, piney, citrusy and hoppiness all rolled into one incredible brew. Fantastic aftertaste, and I must add I didn't notice the alcohol until after I consumed my second.
Already looking forward to next year's offering. Just hoping they decide to expand the bottlings to include Southern California as well.

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Photo of Kdouble
4.92/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

First year it has been bottled and my first time getting it. Bottle date 2-14-2020 poured into a tulip glass.

Look- A clean orange-yellow mix with over one finger of thick white head. Great lacing around the glass and a thin head lingered for a long time.

Smell- Floral aroma with piney tones mixed. A light aroma of citrus comes through as it aired out.

Taste- A nice citrus floral mix with a nice hop bite that reminded me it was over 10% ABV. So good!

Mouthfeel- The carbonation was mild to medium and it worked great.

Overall- Believe the hype. This brew is amazingly well done and you would not guess where the ABV is at. Definitely get it if you can.

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Photo of neenerzig
4.65/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Stoked to finally get to try this one. My best friend Jon Passow has some friends in California who sent him a bottle of this that he is kind enough to share with me. Poured into a tulip glass, this beer pours a mainly clear, just slightly cloudy/hazy, light to medium golden color with a nice white head that's about an inch thick when first poured. Settles to a thick ring lining the inside of the glass at the beer's surface and there's also a thick cluster swirl of foam in the middle of the beer's surface and good, but not phenomenal, lacing. Aromas of some crisp, slightly zesty malts along with melon, citrus, floral, earthy, dank hops. Quite the bouquet of different hop aromas here. The flavor is pretty much on point to the aroma, with some somewhat bready, slightly zesty malts that are followed by all the aforementioned hop flavors cascading over my palate. Fruity hop notes of melon, grapefruit and oranges, a hint apricot, piney, and earthy hop notes with a hint of spice, and some floral hops as well that give nice hop bitterness. This is nicely, aggressively hopped and fairly bitter, but not overbearingly so. The hops really do dominate though, and come out more as the beer sits and warms up a bit. Such an excellent, very complex hop flavor profile. Has a fairly crisp, also smooth, slightly oily and resinous,medium bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Has a clean finish and all the aforementioned hop flavors linger on my palate for a long time after each sip. A fantastic beer all around!

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Photo of REVZEB
4.48/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap. How exciting, both the older and younger on the same trip to CA! Oh yeah! Orangey yellow active pour, plenty of lacing, two fingers of foam. Piney hops, hop resin, lemon, grapefruit, white grape, honey, flowers, and orange zest. Taste still holds up over all these years: zesty citrus, floral and piney hops, honey, white peach, mandarin orange and a kiss of white grape. Feel is hoppy, resinous, bright, surprisingly carbonated and has a sense of booziness behind it though not tasted or smelled. Nice balance to a big triple ipa.

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Photo of sjrider
4.83/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle- not quite clear golden honey color with white head leaving bubbly lacing. Nose is piney with sweet floral notes,aroma is obvious as soon as bottles were opened. Taste follows with a fine hop balance and a moderate bitterness. Finish is very smooth -this is a fine brew that disguises the abv with flavor.

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Photo of Trapist007
4.06/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L - The pour is golden with an orange tint and medium-light carbonation. The head and lacing were on the light side.
S - The smell is piney and sweet, with floral notes, and light malt.
T - The taste is clean, bitter, citrusy, and sweet. No alcohol noticed. The mouth feel is medium-light. There wasn’t much malt favor to be found.
O - This is a more refined beer than Pliney the Elder, clean, crisp, and refreshing. A well executed WC IPA. I personally am not a fan of the citrus rind finish.

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Photo of Vidblain
4.64/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2020 vintage bottle - a tremendously generous gift from a BIF friend.

Beautiful pour - a lovely semi-transparent light orange with a clean white head. Nose is lightly piney and sweet. The taste and mouthfeel are clean malty, sweet, a bit hoppy, and not super bitter. Given the ABV, it's very smooth - no residual booze or hop burn. Very well-executed.

Pretty excellent overall. I think that Pliny has been eclipsed by other triple IPAs, but this classic still shines.

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Photo of Thomas_Wikman
4.86/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I did a comparison taste test between Pliny the Younger and Pliny the Elder. The flavor profiles were pretty similar but Pliny the Younger was hoppier/more bitter and had a bit less of malt flavor. Both are light to medium bodied, easy drinking, and not a hint of the alcohol in my opinion. They also look very similar and smell similar. I thought they were both great in their own way. I cannot say which I liked better.

Look: yellow with an inch thick chalk white head

Aroma: a wonderful floral/piney aroma

Taste: moderate biscuit malt flavor, tart and bitter pine/grapefruit flavor.

Body/Overall: light to medium body.

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Photo of enzolauuu
4.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Done a fantastic job to hide the taste of alcohol even though it is 10.25% ABV.
It is a lot smoother than Pliny The Elder.

Definitely justify the hype around it.
Would be great if there is something similar that is more accessible.

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Photo of jhavs
4.73/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle, 2/5/20, poured into RR PGW chalice.

Slightly cloudy golden straw, off white foamy head settles into thin cap with loads of sticky lacing.

Bright fruity hops jump out of the glass, hint of piney resins.

Flavor is in your face layers of hops, hint of malty sweetness, balanced and clean for a high octane brew. Citrus lightly lingers behind fruity hops and earthy pine resins.

Moderate carbonation and just over medium body.

Very happy to try and glad they put into bottles this year. Also glad someone sent me one! I’ll make it there one year.

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Photo of brewme
5/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked-up in a trade with ColterB (for 1 King Jjjulius & Juice Machine). My second brew from these guys (had PTE). I live in NE, so have a high bar (Tree House, Hill Farmstead, Trillium, etc.). This is the best brew that I have ever had.

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Photo of BayAreaJoe
4.88/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A friend won a Younger lottery at a local bbq - we both went in with guarded expectations maybe expecting a letdown from all the hype. Well, PtY definitely surpassed all of our expectations in every way. Seemed smoother and easier to drink than even Elder. Whatever hop combo they used, everything comes together in perfect harmony, every sniff and sip is such a treat. Had a couple of other solid triple IPAs afterwards which just cemented in our minds how far PtY is above the rest.

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Photo of FriedSlug
5/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Light hold with a long lasting head. Smells like grapefruit, pine with a hint of bright lemon like scents. Tastes sweet, fruity and bitter. Finishes clean and lemony with bitter pine. Just a great beer.

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Photo of MJSFS
5/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

500ml bottle dated 2/5/20 poured into an RRBC Pub Glass.

Possibly the perfect Imperial IPA ( or beer for that matter). Smooth, clean, and balanced in aroma, flavor, and mouthfeel. Bitter up front, sweet in the back, with a clean crisp finish. Surprisingly light and airy body for such a high ABV.

If this was the standard “beer”, what a world it would be. I can’t imagine ever getting tired of drinking this.

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Photo of Zpacalypse
4.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Dang good brew. Not good at getting specify using a ton of adjectives or anything. This is simply a good beer. Had it on tap and in bottle several times this year. It's different than year passed. A little smoother finish this year.

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Photo of Prager62
4.63/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Parry's Pizzeria & Taphouse in Northglenn CO on 02/22/20 served in a shaker pint glass.

A syrupy looking dark gold pour with a couple centimeters of creamy white foam. Some thick lacing graces the glass. A heavy herbal/spicy smell dominates along with some malt and mildly cheesy yeast. The taste is dank and herbal with a slight onion like spice that yields to subtle floral and resiny pine. A hearty dose of sticky malt brings up the finish. The feel is syrupy with medium bitterness.

My experience with triple IPA's is limited and most of them have been forgettable. This one is worthy of all the notoriety it has garnered over the years. A nice balance between resinous hops, sticky malt and bitterness. Lawsons Triple Sunshine comes the closest to it in my opinion.

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Photo of LarryMyers
5/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've been wanting to try this beer for years but refused to wait in line. My first impression is an outstanding IPA, but then to realize that it is 10.25% and you can't detect the ABV is absolutely incredible. Outstanding!

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Photo of jheimbigner
4.33/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 2/5/2020 opened from fridge temp on 2/20/20
Pours a golden hue with head that dissipates and leaves minimal lacing. Nose of caramel, hops, pine, citrus well balanced but not very strong. Taste follows the nose, bitter, pine, citrus, malt. Feel is light and crisp, excellent! Overall, does not deserve the hype it gets, but a good TIPA. Don't know if it needed to be fresher, but wish the bitterness stood out a little more but the beer is exceptionally well balanced. Hides the 10% well

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Photo of pmarlowe
4.59/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled 02/05/20 (first year bottled), a week and a half ago.

A: Pours orange gold, very good clarity, with a half inch of dense, foamy, bright white head. Excellent retention and generous lacing.

S: Honey, tangerine, endless dried flowers and a bit of herbs, bready and crackery malt, a little ethanol.

T: Dried flowers, citrus (orange, tangerine) and citrus pith, light honey on fresh lightly toasted bread, ample pale malt. Moderate sweetness, the malty heft of which is cut with a moderate bitterness on a long, elegant finish. Fairly dry. Very drinkable.

M: Medium-full body with medium carbonation. Alcohol completely hidden.

O: Hefty, old school TIPA that is clearly kin to Pliny the Elder. Well executed and highly drinkable. Seems somewhat quaint in light of more modern styles of IPA (this beats 90% of modern TIPAs), but a dry TIPA is appreciated for a change of pace.

It was a treat to finally try this. I turned down the opportunity to try this back in 2011 at Hamilton’s or O’Brien’s (?)—daytime drinking not being my thing—and have regretted it since. Just barely missed it in Pasadena in 2013.

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Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 3382 ratings