Pliny The Younger | Russian River Brewing Company

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Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger

Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.25%

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.

Added by xlperro on 01-27-2005

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Reviews: 946 | Ratings: 3,065
Photo of Smokesnotes
4.98/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Just happened to be in San Fran during the brewery release week so I made the drive up and waited in line. Was in line about 2 hours and got a seat at the bar. Its hard for a beer to live up to this much hype, but I was in no way disappointed. Its extremely hoppy yet sneaky smooth for being such a high ABV. Its like PtE but cranked up hop flavor and bitterness. I would definitely recommend. Really had a great time at the brewery and was really happy to try this bucket list beer.

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Photo of MHurley
4.65/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

First year trying younger and to me it was just a little more dry then elder. Get Ipa none the less but its way to hyped due to its limits. Had this on tap at churchills pub and grill at there bottle release party.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.66/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Russian River Brewing Co. "Pliny The Younger"

Well this is interesting. After much ado in recent days about Pliny The Younger's return to Philadelphia, where I chose not to go because of the crowds and having to wait in line, I came across some old notes from 2010. I don't remember where I had it, but it was on tap, and I had the Redemption and Sanctification as well. I think it might have been at the now closed Grace Tavern. Anyway...

Notes: Clear deep gold body beneath a short head of white. Very fine bubbles can be seen steadily rising which suggests that there's some body to it. Good head retention, but better lacing - it left a solid ring at the outset, and then spots throughout the glass. The aroma is resinous as in hop resins, not pine resin, but it's also softly piney. It's tropical/citrusy with what I think of as orange peel, and some peach, apricot, pineapple, and mango. Some grassiness as well. The flavor is honeyish with a tangerine note, and a little bit of everything suggested by the aroma. It's full bodied, and the dextrinous golden malt is rich, but not sweet. It supports the hops and balances the bitterness, or vice versa. It's a solid bitterness, but not brash. It's actually very refined. The alcohol plays a part in the flavor profile but doesn't stand out on its own. So much richer and fuller than the Elder, and more about balance than "wow".

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Photo of Erikshegda1994
4.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Light golden color with little to know head on draught. It has a nice floral hoppy smell. Tastes crisp with a nice hoppy bitter finish with such a great balance making this beer so smooth and easy to drink that I drank two in less than an hour. Great west coast IPA and easy to see why this beer is in the top ten.

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Photo of IvoryFoxhole
4.6/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Bru Craft & Wurst in Philadelphia and we can cross this off the old bucket list. 6 oz. pour. Should be noted they had problems getting the keg going and they had to pour into a pitcher, let the head/foam die back a bit, and then pour into snifters.

L: Minimal head left by the time the glasses got to us, just a thin ring. Beer is a deep, clear golden.

S: All orange, pineapple, and mango, but in a West Coast restrained way rather than FRUITBOMB. A little bit of light malt and some earthy dankness.

T: Follows nose. Lots of pineapple, orange, tropical fruit from beginning to end. Light malt. No alcohol detectable.

F: Medium to full bodied, light to medium carbonation. Good drying via ABV and carbonation mix. Absolutely the best construction and balance I have ever experienced, thus I believe this is the first 5 I have ever handed out for mouthfeel and it is well deserved.

O: It lives up to billing, is the best way I can put it. Is it worth the extended effort to get it? That's up to you. If they made more, it probably wouldn't be as good. Would I love to set it alongside Kane's Third Reef and Ocelot's Throwing Backwards and really give it a test? Yes. In any case, I'm glad I got to try it out.

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Photo of YodersBeerEmporium
4.57/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Finally able to track down this thorn in my side beer! Tons of hop aroma on the nose and on the palate but a little too west coast malty for my can almost taste the OVER!

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Photo of Oneguy73
4.91/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Got Lucky and was on business the last day of the 2017 Younger release.
It punches you in the mouth with hops - in a good way! Very tasty, not bitter. Also very strong. I was an hour away from my motel so I only had two of the three 8oz servings that I was allowed.

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Photo of detgfrsh
4.72/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I'm not usually one to buy into the hype, but my local bar got a keg of this and I couldn't resist. (Thanks Hop Grenade!) Pours an orange color with a lacing of bubbles. Creamy citrus smell. Resin-y feel with a touch of carbonation. Taste is pretty much all hops, smooth citrus and pine flavors with no harshness. The impressive thing about this is that the smell and taste are all hops, but it's so smooth and less bitter even than many single IPAs. You would never know this is a 10.25% ABV either, it hides the alcohol well. Overall, it's a great beer. I'm glad I got to try it, but I don't know that I'd stand in line for hours to have it again. For my money, I think Westvleteren 8 is better.

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Photo of brewaddict
4.86/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

On Tap at the RRBC 2/14/17

L: Slightly hazy amber orange with a thin half finger head that dissipated fairly quickly.
S: I expected the smell to be a little more pungent. Still a nice blend of oranges, mango, and a little lemon followed by some subtle sweetness.
T: For me, this beer is all about the malt. Yeah, it's a hop bomb. But, I don't think the hops stand out more than in Pliny the Elder. You get a fair amount of resinous pine bite upon first sip and then this flood of malty sweetness to quell the bite. This lets some of the citrus flavors come out without it being juicy. I imagine candied oranges. I've had a number of triple IPA's that have a bit of ethanol tang on the finish. This was totally absent in PtY.
F: Smooth. Very Smooth. Almost buttery. Great mouth feel and very drinkable. Perfect carbonation.
O: Oh yeah. It's that good.

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Photo of Bum4ever
4.9/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had on tap at RRBC on 2/9/2017,

L: Clear Yellow with a good amount of head.
S: Orange and maybe mango, some other citrus smells, then definitely hops to finish it off but not over powering.
T: Huge amount of hops up front, but very smooth at the same time. Nice fruit flavors to balance the hops.
F: Exactly how a triple IPA should feel.
O: This is as good as everyone says. Waited 3 hours in the rain to try it and it did not disappoint. This was my first year making the trip, but it will not be my last.

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Photo of The_Epopt
4.9/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Far too drinkable at 10.25%. If you were walking through a fruit orchard that had all the best fruit trees in it, and a warm breeze blew all the scents into your nose at once, that's the smell. The taste that follows is similar, but add in notes of pine and nutmeg to go with apricot, mango, tangerine, peach, and who knows what. Smooth across the palate, and wonderful to drink

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

Superb, excellent, stupendous, OMG, any great adjectives this beer deserves. I love this and am glad I came out 1000 mikes for a taste. 2 & 1/2 hours wait was all with it. Everything good you've read....IT IS BETTER

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Photo of mpavao71
4.99/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is an outstanding beer. Although on the East Coast, I have been lucky enough to be in the Bay Area during its limited release. I have not missed an opportunity to have one, or two or four!

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Photo of beerrater101
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Well what can I say that hasn't already been said. A giant among beers. Waited for three hours in rain for this damn beer and it did not dissapoint. Exceptional.

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Photo of Drvitlkeyustolit80
4.82/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had 2/29/16 at The Pour House. I was the first person there for the release. I had a car full of friends drive down just for this beer. I was the first person to receive their pour, and the only person in an extremely crowded bar to receive three pours.

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Photo of nathanmiller
4.84/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Drank 3/7/16 at Monk's Cafe. Incredibly smooth. Sweet aroma. Light first taste, dry finish. I didn't expect this to live up to the hype, but it did. Truly special.

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

Ooo baby. Watch this guy strut. Pliny the Younger's man-parts walk into a room and commands the attention of all the occupants a good five minutes before the man himself arrives. It snaps and yells and gets everyone to stand up in salute, looking astute and respectful as the man himself is about to enter. And the man? He himself is just a bunch of man-parts stitched together with the precision of the best cosmetic surgeon ramped up on the stress and the pressure of knowing his (or her) creation is set to be on every adult website one day. Looked at in high-definition 4k, 8k, retina display, 180-degree SBS VR technology. Gawked, ogled, eyes-gaped by thousands in the privacy of their home doing to themselves things in ways only they know they enjoy. The work has got to be perfect and indeed it is. Pliny the Younger takes no prisioners, makes no promises, and yet is promoted again and again to high legendary status. Some scoff at the hype, deeming themselves too cool for truth, banishing themselves to lesser beers deluded into thinking they still have their pride. Pliny the Younger strips these hip-types to the nude and laughs at their single excuse for a man-part. You can't even please men with those parts, he says. Your women must thirst for more every night, he goes on, waking you up at all hours in disbelief that it's over. They want more says Pliny the Younger. And when they get their heads on straight your women, he says, come to drink from one of my many abundant man-parts all stitched to me like a Picasso meets Rembrandt. And he laughs and laughs, bellowed out from deep inside, hearty and foul putting Santa on the naughty list and driving Satan to the hills of heaven. That's Pliny the Younger. And it's number 1.

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Photo of Lochnessmonster
4.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A big, hoppy, slightly boozy wallop of TIPA! It definitely stands on the shoulders of Pliny the Elder, but not by quite as much as I thought it would.

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Photo of Its_a_Daniel_Life
4.52/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had in Philly back in March. We had an 8oz pour that I nursed for about 45 minutes. This was the 3rd time I had it. The taste does not live up to the hype. After sitting and warming up it became more complex and really developed into a much better beer. If I was sitting down and had to choose between the Elder, Younger, or Blind Pig - Yes I would take the younger but only because it comes out once a year. With that being said I prefer the Blind Pig

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Photo of professorchow
4.85/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Monk's in Philadelphia. Had this before the hype escalated to the point of long lines or lottery tickets. Just a beer I'd seen was rated highly (but not then top 5). So, obviously, this rating comes years after the drinking, which is probably not legit, but it also mean my response was not prompted by any circusy hoopla or the allure of scarcity. I didn't even know at the time that the Younger was hard to find. I just happened to be at Monk's. So I write, belatedly to say: this beer was a revelation, an epiphany. And I think that's where much of the hype comes from, which is to say I think it's at least partially justified. The way Pliny combined maximal hops intensity without any harshness to the bitterness, the complex shifts among pine, citrus, grass, the way 10% alcohol could be so hard to detect--it's not only that I'd never had anything quite like that, but that I had never had a beer that tasted so amazing. Unlike many fine beers I have sought and had in the decade since, I remember the first sip with complete clarity and detail. So, yeah, look, nose, mouthfeel were all excellent, but the taste--from that first sip through the bottom of the second glass--was extraordinary. While there are very good IPAs of DIPAs whose ratings seem to me to be much inflated by the difficulty of snagging the beer (Heady Topper, e.g.), I don't think this is one of them.

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Photo of thampel09
4.38/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

While I believe this is better than elder I do think there is a lot of hype behind it. Not as big and juicy of a nose as one would expect and there was such an alcohol burn

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Photo of Artmcd88
4.32/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap at blue dog event. Had right after HF Susan and Legitimacy. I must say, I am very impressed. Yes, it’s overrated. Yes, it’s west coast. But yes, it’s awesome and worth the hype in some respects. This is the OG hop bomb. Pours a clear golden orange with a white head. Aromas of grapefruit, candies, orange, dank hops, alcohol. Taste is not crazy bitter, there is some hop flavors in there followed by some strange piney smokiness then there’s a tad of alcohol heat. I can see why this came to the top of our beloved RB list and has remained there simply out of respect. On to the next one...

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.99/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Comes in looking a yellow with 1/4" white head. Aroma is just massive waves of amarillo dry hopping it seems. Just massive and delicious.

Taste wise drops a ton of hops without being overly aggressive bitterness wise, you get a plethora of the usual descriptors, citrus, pine, grass, tropical fruit (lesser extent). Amazing it its ability to be light, dry and massively strong without letting you know it in the taste.

I give Lagunitas Waldo's a nod above it even though its basically the same beer. That is available in bottles, this is draft only with lines unless you go to the dipa festival.

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Photo of dee_el
3.79/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

had last years batch at obriens in san diego. about 30 people for one keg. everyone got as much as they wanted, real chill atmosphere with people enjoying the nice san diego weather.

not much to talk about, really hoppy. I prefer elder over the younger, and prefer many other ipas over the elder.
don't believe the hype

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Photo of mattmarch
4.74/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I was fortunate enough to be visiting friends in the Bay area so drove myself up to RR for the first morning of release. 3 Hour Line around the block but very worth it. Easily the best IPA I have had so far. So well balanced, the fresh hop oils are my favorite part, and just an excellent mouthfeel. Very resiny but the high abv is hardly noticeable. I very much enjoyed every drop of all 3 pours.

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Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
4.67 out of 5 based on 3,065 ratings.
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