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: 945 | Ratings: 3,054
Photo of evbask1
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've saved my first review to review the younger. I was there on feb 4 2011 waited five hours and will say well worth the wait!!!

Im going to just say apperance smell taste was all 5s

my overall of the younger is that its the best beer ever point blank!

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Photo of calir1
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5


Tasted again for the 10th time during the last release. I loved every bit of it. Wish there was more to go around.

The hugeness of the aroma and flavor is such a blast to the senses. I loved it.

Way to go Russian River, Please make more next year.

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

this was the best beer i ever had. belive the hype. full bodied, very smooth with a high abv. creamy head on top. very hard to get. waited an hour and a half and luckily was still on tap. would definitely do it again. i have tried almost all the top beers and this definitely my favorite of them all.

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

Served from a tap in San Francisco during the launch week. Pours just like any other IPA of it's style; Crisp, golden and clear. A sniff brings about a lot of similar notes as Pliny the Elder, but I get a lot less pine and more of that malty sweetness on the head, especially as the beer warms. Citrus, a subtle grapefruit and some bitters all present. The taste, like the Elder, stay true to it's smell, and the abundant hop character comes right out at the front, with a consistent, malty undertone that slowly takes the focus as it goes down, leaving a very palatable taste in your mouth. This beer hides its alcohol just as good as any I've had. It really gets lost in the sweetness from the malt, and I wouldn't have pegged it as a >10% beer if I wasn't already aware that it was. The style of hops that are used really compliment the malt well, so there isn't a flavor that dominates the taste of this beer. It's smooth and the tiniest bit more creamy than a usual IPA. This beer really has the same taste as the Elder, but with a sweeter backing to balance well with the additional hops. Not as malty as a 120-minute, but not an overloaded hop-bomb either. You can tell it has been meticulously balanced.

In the end, this beer is really just an IPA. There no special ingredient or process that goes into it's production. It hasn't been fused with anything extra or aged in special barrels for extended periods of time. It's just an IPA, and that's all it will taste like. That being said though, after sipping on it for awhile, it's hard not to appreciate how drinkable it is for a triple. If anything, the alcoholic will sneak up on you before you want to stop drinking this beer. On one hand, it's hard to give all 5's to any beer, but on the other, give Vinnie credit where credit is due for cramming such a large hop bill into as remarkably well-balanced and drinkable a beer as any. 5/5.

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

From Russian River brewery at 11.30 am on Monday morning. This is the earliest I've had a drink in years.

Appearance: Golden honey amber color. Younger is glowing in the glass. It's slightly. Not much a head though my wife's glass did have a thin creamy head that laced up the glass with it's sticky residue.

Smell:The aroma is a resiny dank hop opera. It is big and bold in all the right ways. This ale smells so fresh. I pick up big lemony citrus and peach.

Taste: The taste is immediately bitter but this bitterness isn't cloying at all. It's smooth, menthol-like and refreshing. The bitterness vanishes in a subtle way. The tropical fruit flavors linger on my tongue. Bright grapefruit. Slight grassy notes in the secondary. I can't taste the alcohol. Amazingly played Russian River.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is smooth,resfreshing and creamy. Full flavored but light and drinkable. This is a real bold ale.

Overall: Pliny the Younger taste terrific. The balance between a high ABV and ridiculous bitterness is managed perfectly. The price is good at $4.50 for a 10 oz. snifter and the wait wasn't even long. A must drink ale for any northern, CA hophead.


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Photo of aglose45
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Union Jack's in Boyertown, Pa as part of Easter Hopfest '09. Served in a tulip; 10.5 oz. serving.

A: Beautiful golden, copper color. Off-white/ ivory head that dissipates in about a minute or so. Left great lacing on the glass as the beer consumed.

S: White grapefruit up front, taken over pleasantly by the sweeter, more tropical fruit smell of pineapple as the beer warms a bit. Maybe a hint of maple syrup offered as a malt backbone, but very minimal.

T: This is the most interesting and complex beer that I have ever tasted. In addition to an exquisite flavor, I loved the fact that this beer had a "3 Phase" taste to it. The first phase consisted of a huge grapefruit punch. The second phase was the big grapefruit flavor giving way to a sweet pineapple flavor. This only lasts briefly, but is extremely pleasant and is the perfect balance for the grapefruit. The third phase consisted of more grapefruit taste, but this time a more tart grapefruit. The aftertaste lasts a minimum of 10-15 seconds post-swallow, before it heads the way of a nice and dry finish.

M: Smooth, medium bodied, with a bit of oiliness/ stickiness left on the tongue from the massive amount of hops used to make this fine brew.

D: I am forcing myself to drink this slowly, which is hard to do since it packs so much flavor. I would love to drink this every time I have a beer. IIPA's are my favorite style of beer, and PtY has everything I could ever want, and more, in a beer.

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

Had on tap at Toronados

A: A beautiful clear golden color with a nice foamy head that quickly drops to a few off white bubbles on top of the beer.

S: Unbelievable. Smells a lot like the other Pliny, but with a little bit of a tropical flare. Lots of piney hops, some mango, apricot and a lot of pineapple. As the beer warms, an earthy smell appears and some bitter hop resins.

T: I was expecting this to just be a bigger version of PTE, but as other have said, it doesn't taste "bigger," just better. The balance in this beer is uncanny. Citrus hops and grapefruit hit the palette first along with a sharp peppery bite and then it gets mellowed by the malts and finishes pretty crisply. It takes all of the rough edges that PTE has and polishes them into a masterpiece. One of the best beers I've ever had.

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Photo of Jedimaster1
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Drank on-tap at Stone Brewing (Just freakin' 8oz pint glass. I want BIGGER!!!).

A: A cloudy golden color. Very hazy with a head that lasts for the duration of the brew.

S: Hops and malt. Nice sweet smell that lets you know what's to come.

T: All I need to say is, WOW! The balance between the hops and the malt is exceptional. Great use of them to make this the best brew I have had yet.

M: Nice.

D: Too easy for an 11% abv brew. I could drink 10 of these if it weren't for the fact I knew about the alcohol contained here. It is masked exceptionally well.

Conclusion: I like this one better than the Elder, but not by much. These are the two best brews I have ever had! Got to try it if you haven't already! Good stuff.

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

World Class Beer. I wish there wasn't so much hype around this beer because I really hate waiting in line to drink. I'm lucky enough to live really close to some of the best craft beer bars in the San Francisco Bay Area and there's always some place that has a keg once released.

The combination of hops, malt character and finish make this a world class beer. Well done, Vinny.

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Photo of Dgc3043
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The 2015 batch was significantly better than the 2014, in my opinion. In 2014 my friends and I enjoyed younger but wouldn't have put it as a top beer, however, in 2015 the experience was completely different. The floral smell at the start told us this was a different brew. It was smooth with an overall amazing taste. Hard to believe it was over 10%. By far, the best beer I've had.

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Photo of Duhast500
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Finally got a chance to try the newest number one on

Poured from the tap into a tasting glass.

The color is a deep dark orange, is clear with a nice finger or two head. Some nice lacing on the glass.

The smell is just hoppy from the start. The is some nice grapefruit and pineapple that comes out first to welcome the aroma into sweet and delicious hop dream.

The taste is pretty hoppy but even balanced with a mellow fruity flavor. There are just a few fruits that cam into mind as I tasted this. A nice banana flavor with some grapefruit flavor mixed with a bit of melon. A wonderful fruit experience.

The feel of this beer is pretty mellow. There is a few points that come out to pronounce themselves but there seems to be less of a kick to the Younger than the Elder and I was really happy to say I was a able to take my time with this beer and enjoy it. Worth the wait and the hype.

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

I am not into overhyped beers, but PtY really is as strong as the reviews indicate. Straight 5's fromm me.

I have had it three times over the years and most recently had it for the first time in a quite a few years. My pallate is more refined, I've seen more, I've done more. This beer still took me by surprise. I didn't even take a sip for ten minutes, I just smelled it. This beer is a style defining beer in my opinion. Forget about putting the Coke recipe in Fort Knox, lock this baby up.

Trade for it, beg for it, travel for it. Just make sure you try it before you die.

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

Body is a clear gold poured from draft to about a half-inch head. White foam dissipates pretty quickly to a cap and ring. Leaves trace lacing on the glass, which is motile and does not stick.

Aroma of light malt, floral and fruity hops--green grass and grapefruit, pine. Somewhat resiny. Hops are present across the palate, and begins with sweet malt and caramel. Mid-palate and in the finish, there is a pleasant hop burn on the tongue.

Body is medium with pleasing carbonation, producing a very creamy mouthfeel.

This is a great tasting, pleasant drinking ale. ABV at 11% is well masked by the big flavor. Excellent beer, but should be consumed responsibly.

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

Presentation: A Growler freshly plundered and expertly filled at Hollingshead Deli in Orange this past weekend.

Appearance: A massive thrupp resounded from the RRBC Growler, only the proper Growler for this one! Hey this is a little darker than I recall from earlier rounds of this one, though that was in Bars and my mind can play tricks on me. Fiercely examined at close quarters with a sober light, this has a soft lush fettered peach skeleton with a nectarine body that exhibits some faded gold wedding ring flashes. Shear white head, rises boldly, it will fight you if you want. Nice off-white lacing and fresh carbonation lend a lively “young” feel to this one. Gentle swirls reveal the true nature of this brew. A milky mélange settles out to reveal the dog’s hoppy bollocks. Hard to knock.

Nose: Mmmm, I just burnt out my Septum…..4 lines of Pliny the Younger and that’s it. Dilated nostrils and hop oils trickle down the back of my throat. Fresh cut ferociously rubbed hops straight from the vine rubbed in the palms. I’ll whiff this one for weeks…..least I hope so.

Taste: The bell tolls and I am sure I get my lights punched out way before the ringing in my ears dissipates. The hops are intense, but unlike other “hop bombs” the overt yet fine-tuned balance is shattering in its perfect balance. The malts lay under the see-saw and act like the ideal fulcrum for the alcohol and bitterness. The piney Pliny has the hoppiness, but it’s in check, and it just pumps you relentlessly. I love it.

Mouthfeel: Now you’re playing with the Big Boys. A Wolf in Fairies clothing of sorts. Hard but soft. “Oh my Grandma, what big hairy balls you have”, “All the better to fuck you senseless with my dear….”. This one will get you, even if you ain’t wearing a red hood.

Drinkability: Half the Growler has gone and it’s getting to 1pm, I better leave the rest of this one for later… I really should,…..I must not drink any more……work tomorrow……Growler back in fridge…..must go to Bed…..don’t clean teeth…taste and dream HOPS…..I am so fucking tempted to drain this Growler and take a day off work tomorrow!! What’s the bet that I wake up on the Sofa at 5am with an empty Growler!?

Overall: My first Review of this marvel was for a Pub based experience, far from accurate I am sure, but I just wanted to record and portray the experience rather than the technicalities. But now, sat at home with my very own Russian River Growler that started life with Deification barely 6 weeks ago, it is now staring at me like a corner-hanging panty waving crack whore touting for business. I can’t think of anything except, what is wrong with this, what could be better?! (The beer that is not the whore). Well, it could be easier to get a hold of for a start, and, erm, well that’s it. I’m sure this has just got better since I last tried it too.

Perfect!? I….think……..but why do I feel reluctant when I type that? Perhaps because it means the end of a beer journey in a way maybe!? Well not quite, I’m sure that today’s 5.0 will be tomorrows 4.75 when the next marvelous Ambrosia to come out of Santa Rosa appears and realigns the envelope. Change is the only constant, but right now I’d settle for this being a constant in my life.

Utterly Remarkable, Staggeringly Brilliant and Classically Definitive!!

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

On tap at Stone 1/10/11

PTY arrived in a 8oz glass with a one finger layer of dense white foam atop it. The head bubbled away quickly leaving a small ring around the outside of the glass. The beer is a clear golden orange color, beautiful! The nose is huge citrus and floral notes with a good dose of pine, very nice! The taste. Is. Incredible! Orange, tangerine, and grapefruit play across my tastebuds. The malt manifests itself as a sugar cookie sweetness. The most amazing characteristic of this beer is the balance it exhibits. The ABV is completly hidden. It is the perfect blend of sweet biscuity malt and citrusy, piney bitterness. In a word, exquisite! Mouthfeel is medium with an appropriate level of carbonation. It's creamy, smooth and perfect. Drinkability is over the top. No trace of the 10+ABVis noticeable at all. This beer is the pinnacle of IPA evolution. A must try for any hophead.

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

Amazing beer. This year is better than 2012. Also incredible to taste this side by side with Pliny the Elder and seeing how much better it tastes given that Elder is a great beer as well.

Had it on tap at Russian River and at the City Beer Store in SF.

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

Got some today at the taproom San Diego. Best thing I've ever seen, smelled, or tasted. Words just can't do it justice so I won't even try. Ill just say that world class is quite an understatement.

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

Lucky enough to catch the 2nd keg before it tapped out at Toronado. No wait in line made this even better than last year. It's that time of year when I stalk my social media accounts waiting to see where it may or may not get tapped. I hope to try a couple more times before this season is over.

The appearance is bright with citrus. Smell is juicy. Taste is smooth as can be, hard to believe it's a triple. Feel makes me think the trouble to try this beer is worth it. Overall happy to say I had one but I'll be happier if I can find a couple more.

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Photo of Martin2D
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Classic IPA coloration of amberish golden

S - Another definite hop bomb

T - Taste was right on with the nose. This beer smelled like hoppy citrus and couldn't have delivered any better. Not the hoppiest beer I've ever had, but close to it, yet still maintains a balance of delicate undertones

M - Medium in carbonation and body

D - While this is crazily hopped, I could drink it just for sheer appreciation of its beauty. This is by and far the best beer I have ever tasted. I have had a lot of beers that haven't lived up to the hype, but this one did.

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

Walked into one of favorite bars and there it was. I was very happy.

A- Orange, amber with a beauty of a white 2 finger head. I was surprised I did not see hops floating in the beer.

S- Huge pine, citrus (tangerine, grapefruit, orange) and hops.

T- Hops tons, a touch sweet and balanced very well with the malt backbone, resiney. A touch of alcohol that burns slighty. Amazing tasting beer.

M- Nice medium body with perfect carbonation that coats the mouth wonderfully.

D- 11%, no problem I threw back two of these in an hour and was ready for more. It was so smooth for what this is. Very easy to drink.

Overall this is one of my favorite beers. Amazing, and glad I got to try this one. A hop lovers wet dream.

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

To me, this is the perfect beer. I've since had 7 growlers of it from Hollingshead and am finally reviewing.

A - a rich honeyish amber color with a little apricot with a creamy smallish egg white head. Many little buggles dance in my goblet.
S - solid wall of floral pine assail my nose. Very crisp and present aroma that opens up as the beer warms down a bit. Scent does punch you in the nose in a good teasing way... oh this teasing.
T - the scent segues to a delicious meadow of flowery citrus that says hops, pine and grapefruit live here. Enter if you dare, and you do. Strongly hopped but remarkably balanced per se. The malt backbone allows the hops to really shine, like salt added to cookie dough. There is a faint hint of alcohol that is hidden very well so watch out.
M&Dr - nicely carbonated and a bit viscous, ambrosia i say. This is one aggressive beer not for the faint hearted and definitely meant to be appreciated. Sip this with delight.

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

Sometimes a beer kept in such high regard can falter when actually faced with reality. This beer somehow became even better than the old stories I had heard for years befor having the chance to try it out.

The same DNA as the "Elder" but richer, velvity, and the best finish I've ever experienced with a beer ever. Aroma is also lifting, needed as the light in color beer is still huge in style and hop weight. Magic hops maybe? There is no other way to explain it. Please please please bottle this beer!!

This tasting note is from O'Briens Pub in San Diego back when this was released in Feb or March. That's how memorable it was. And with the Elder to be bottled very shortly, Pliny "Elder" will finally be available to the masses. For good or bad?!

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

Deserves it's reputation. Was lucky enough to have a lot of it this past year including the unannounced tap at Hamiltons in SD. Truly an awesome beer. Beautiful pour, color, burn, bitterness, balance, finish. Ahhhh, wish I had some right now. I know some people like to compare it to exponential hoppiness, but to me there is no comparison. Younger is the far more polished triple IPA.

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

I was in Santa Rosa a week after Pliny the Younger was tapped. I knew I wasn't going to get PTY at Russian River or anywhere else for that matter, or so I thought. After spending the day in San Francisco we made a stop at Beer Revolution in Oakland. As we ordered our beers we were told that PTY was on tap. I couldn't believe I was actually drinking this beer. WOW! Knowing the chance of never having it again I savored every drop. The aroma and taste of the hops were unbelievable. One of my top three beers.

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Photo of DudeBeerYaBro
5/5  rDev +7.1%

smell: like a brighter version of elder. hops up front, giving way to more hops...residual sweetness.
taste: booyah. piny, earthy hops up front. quick burst of citrus fruit in the middle, finish long and dry with a pleasant balanced bitterness.

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Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
4.67 out of 5 based on 3,054 ratings.
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