Pliny The Younger
Russian River Brewing Company

Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger
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IPA - Imperial
Ranked #1
Ranked #6
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: 1,020 | Ratings: 3,469 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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eppie82 from Illinois

4.54/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

From bottle. This pours a beautiful amber-yellow in appearance with good bit of foam upon aggressive pour. Citrusy aromas burst which make their way into the initial flavor profile before the familiar onslaught of piney and bitter notes come in for the end. It's a top tier West Coast DIPA.... and it drinks like it, in spite of higher than expected abv. It does not come across as strong or boozy. It somehow maintains a 'smoother than expected' feel. It's a fantastic beer, and I look forward to trying this on draft one day.

Apr 12, 2021
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zeff80 from Missouri

4.87/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

500ml bottle sent to me by a friend that works at RR. Poured out a clear, golden amber color with a good-sized, rocky head of foam. It smelled dank, fruity, piney with a caramel sweetness. Orange and grapefruit taste with a sharp piney bitterness. Rich caramel and toffee backbone.

Apr 10, 2021
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5toutman75 from Illinois

4.64/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 2/3/21
Consumed 3/12/21

I’m so excited to have won the lottery and after paying over $100 in shipping in total to get everything to Chicago, I finally get to try it! I feel like these whales have an edge in ratings (especially bc I’ve paid so much) but there’s no denying this is a great beer. It’s bold and old school as I knew it would be. Unlike a Hopslam though, the alcohol doesn’t overwhelm for a 10.25% beer. It’s there for sure but I love it all the more because Of it. I feel like these old school beers lose out on the smell versus the newer hazies and milkshake IPAs. Not that I want it to smell sweet, but there’s just less coming out of my glass for me to smell than the more modern beers. It smells like a piny old school triple IPA. A non beer nerd would probably hate this and that’s partly why I love it. It’s TOO much for most people but balanced for the seasoned beer nerd. Is it worth standing in line for hours and hours? Hell no. Is it worth the hype? Sure, for an Imperial IPA. My love is still for hazies lately with an occasional change of pace with an old school. If this were available round the calendar, I’d be buying it once in awhile regularly. I’ll be sharing my other 3 bottles and hope to land it again next year.

Mar 13, 2021
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SierraNevallagash from Maine

4.49/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A world-and-a-half of thanks to jrc1093 for this. What an absolute privilege, and I am eternally grateful for it. Thank you.

510ml bottle - dated 02/03/21 - poured into a Speigeleau IPA glass at fridge temp.

Pours a brilliant, unfiltered clarity honey golden blonde - impressively light for a triple IPA. The elixir is topped with a big, dense head of off-white foam, with pretty fair retention, eventually receding to a thick, bubbly collar, with some spotty lacing. Slow, but constant effervescence.

Nose: That classic Pliny spirit is so evident. Beautifully composed malt, with some toasty caramel, sweet honey, and clean grain, with just a touch of fresh Italian bread. The hops are Pliny to a T - bursting with floral aromas of magnolia, lilac, and gardenia, lemon blossoms, and some sweet pine sap. There's some sweet fruity influence, with apricot jam, marmalade, and a thin thread of white grape, gooseberry, and fresh grass. A touch of grapefruit pith, and just a hint of that subtle boiled Simcoe dankness. Saturated and cohesive.

Palate: Pliny The Younger greets the palate with a sweet malt foundation, with a nice grainy backbone. Some honey and fresh bread lay down a base for the swift flood of hops. Sweet, almost candied notes of grapefruit, tangerine, marmalade, and a touch of sweet white grape, while some brighter citrusy lemon and lime define the high end. In typical Pliny fashion, some floral, flowery hop notes emerge before an oily, resinous hop bite cuts in with bitter pine sap and pithy bite, quickly drying out the malt sweetness. The finish is resinous, moderately bitter, with potpourri, pith, and grains lingering.

Mouthfeel/Body: For such a big, imposing imperial IPA, the beer drinks absolutely beautifully. Medium-bodied, with a soft, smooth malty backbone, and a bright, fluid crispness that allows it to remain exceptionally drinkable. Effervescence is soft, restrained, but ample and very present, providing just the right amount of lift and sparkle. Never cloying, and the hops dry it out beautifully, finishing with an oily, resinous, almost waxy cling that adheres to the palate, and let's those pithy notes really dig in.

Overall: This is one of those larger-than-life beers, and it can often be difficult to maintain realistic expectations. All of Pliny The Elder's influence is here, and it's strong. It really is an amped up Pliny The Elder. Now, of course it isn't worth spending a fortune on secondary, or,investing your life in, but for a classic triple IPA, it's supremely drinkable, remarkably balanced, and 100% Pliny to its core. A little more docile than some might expect, but a truly delightful beer in every aspect.

Mar 07, 2021
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jrc1093 from Connecticut

4.47/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 2/3/21; consumed on 3/3/21

Pours a deep, glistening, clear honey-gold body topped with multiple fingers of dense, fluffy, eggshell-white foam; good head retention fades to barely a half-finger of equally thick cap, a moderate, frothy collar, and a firm, chunky veil of lacing caked comprehensively around the walls of the glass.

Aroma offers a distinctly balanced array of nuanced contrasts, moving seamlessly from dank mango and ripe gooseberry, to apricot skins and orange marmalade/chutney readily apparent; an unflinching, flaky malt backdrop supports a deft dosing of pungent, waxy dankness moving seamlessly into wet moss, floral pine, and pink grapefruit zest on the back end of the bouquet.

Taste opens with pink grapefruit brightening a dense conifer medley as it meshes with candied lime peel for a uniquely sweet potpourri undercurrent; clementine and sharp grassiness over the mid-palate leads into tangerine juice saturation with fading white grape and waxy, dank characteristics through the back end and finish.

Mouthfeel presents a nimble, medium body met with a fluffy spritz of moderate carbonation, inviting and dispersing a subtly building resin steadily clinging to the palate; the back end produces a taut, tingly bitterness paired with a drying contrast to a deft, distantly sticky texture as a pure, crisp peak marks the finish with barely a hint of booziness.

A slight yet thoughtful amplification of Pliny the Elder, this is dangerously drinkable and every bit as supremely crafted as its DIPA counterpart; the sweetness of a TIPA is lulled with distant conifer for the most palatable charge of hop resin, equal yet uniquely defined parts bitter, sweet, and malty; the comprehensive hoppy sipper.

Mar 04, 2021
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dar482 from New York

4.49/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

The beer comes in a light to medium gold color with a light chill haze, medium head with great lacing and medium minus sustain.

The aroma offers dried pineapple, peach jelly rings, cantaloupe, rich green weed, green grass, potted soil, and cat pee.

The flavor hits upfront with that candied melon and tropical sweetness, with a layered earthy soil and weed base tone through the entire experience. Bitterness is medium to medium plus with earthy notes. Drinkability and smoothness is insanely high without any caramel sweetness and a hit of alcohol on the back and on the way down.

This is relevant to many dry West Coast brews. Boneyard is my closest comparison. It's definitely not worth the hunt and the almost decade it took me to review this, but it sure is aromatic, drinkable, and dry.

Feb 19, 2021
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stuffandthings from California

4.32/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Haven't had this one in over a year but always worth checking in a classic like this! Worth the hours-long wait in the rain just for the experience alone. Even got a sweet Pliny the Younger poncho to boot!

Jan 02, 2021
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IBU_Hunter from California

4.93/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The best beer I have tasted. Amazing balance, hides alcohol so well! So much, 10 times better than Pliny the Elder (which in my view is over hyped).
Pliny the Younger = Best balanced Triple IPA. Best Beer. No words.

Dec 29, 2020
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sp_jalego from California

4.25/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I'm not the biggest fan of IPAs, but living near-ish to the Russian River brewery and experiencing the hype every year, I just had to go to their location in Windsor with a couple friends to try this back in February (gotta love pre-pandemic times). Got it on-tap while there, as well as in bottled form for later. Color was slightly cloudy but mostly clear, and it poured a very small head.

I've had Pliny the Elder so I expected something along those lines, but it was much stronger and bolder than that. Very prominent hop taste and smell, as expected, but it wasn't especially bitter for such a hoppy beer, and the main notes I got were pine and citrus. It was incredibly crisp, and the flavor is very strong – each sip is meant to be savored, so you definitely won't just go through a pint of this.

I wasn't sure what to expect since I don't love IPAs, but I definitely could appreciate this one. Sure enough, the IPA-loving friend I was with absolutely adored it, while the other, who doesn't really drink IPAs, didn't especially like it. I get why the hype around it exists, and if you have a chance, it's worth it.

Nov 27, 2020
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Craftbeerfan666 from Norway

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

This is one of the sickest IPAs out there! As if Elder is not good enough, this one takes an even cleaner, smoother approach than the mentioned one. Absolutely delicious!

Nov 17, 2020
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JBowenGeorgia from Georgia

4.5/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just realized I didn't check this one in on 2/19, reviewed from notes.
Just an overall excellent expression of West coast hops, piney, citrus, super clean and smooth. Worthy of the hype.

Jul 18, 2020
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mytone from California

4.84/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L: Slight opaque honey yellow haze with minimal head
S: Light delecate pine scent, no pungent alcohol smell for a triple IPA.
T&F: Very delicate dissolving starfruit and pine taste with slightly slick mouth feel and a clean finish. Where is the booziness? Is this juice?
O: Its hard not to have hundreds of questions of how they made such a world class beer, but one must accept it and enjoy the moment. This is the legend! Its a privilege to have the opportunity to taste it. Its worth all the hype and more!

Jul 11, 2020
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wvfish from North Carolina

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

Excellent annual brew from RRBC. Has a clear fresh look and hoppy aroma with a surprisingly smooth and light taste for a Triple IPA. Stood in line for 4.5 hours with my wife at the downtown brewery on Valentine Day and then for 1.5 hours the next day with some friends. It was definitely worth it each time. Recommend making the trip to the brewery for some “Younger“ if you’re an IPA fan.

Jul 04, 2020
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gcamparone from Rhode Island

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.

Apr 28, 2020
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WanderingUlysses from Pennsylvania

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.

Apr 28, 2020
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DEZ01301960 from Illinois

4.31/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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.

Apr 05, 2020
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woosterbill from Kentucky

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.


Apr 05, 2020
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njcraftguy from New Jersey

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.

Mar 24, 2020
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RNbeerfan from New York

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.

Mar 23, 2020
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EdHinPasadena from California

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.

Mar 17, 2020
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Kdouble from Tennessee

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.

Mar 15, 2020
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neenerzig from Ohio

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!

Mar 14, 2020
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REVZEB from Illinois

4.59/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | 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 aromas bouquet. 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 and gasp, nuance, to a big triple ipa.

Mar 12, 2020
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sjrider from California

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.

Mar 09, 2020
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Trapist007 from California

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.

Mar 06, 2020
Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 3469 ratings