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 Seanibus
4.47/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear with a slight head. Aroma is powerful , fragrant, with strong grapefruit and lily and jasmine. Flavor is huge: hops, grapefuit and lily, with a sugary malt backbone. The mouthfeel is prickly and sharp. The bitterness is slow and sweetish, like a bitter tea. Alcohol is totally hidden, making this a quiet killer.

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Photo of flannelman808
4.47/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 batch...

PTY:  2/16/12 ( I think it's been released for ~12 days)

A:  pale yellow amber and quite clear,  just a tiny bit of haze (i think id actually like to see more).  A thin stark white foam tops it off clinging to the glass fairly well along the way.


S: fallen pine needle and citrus peel are ever present.  Tangerine juice and grapefruit pith.  There is a hint of iced doughnut for me as well.


T:  huge and sticky this shows a sweet candied orange sweetness and Soft zesty bitterness.  along with the citrus pith suggestions, this carries a "green" quality usually reserved for green flash descriptions.  Some forest floor carries out in the mid palate.  Some astringent alcohol in the finish with a sense of its strength but in a dry sort of way (think old raj).  


M:  bright prickly and sticky all at once.  Medium finish.  Lengthily drying out the palate.


O:  not unlike biting into a honey tangerine through the skin.  But don't sweat what ya heard kid.  This is great stuff, if they brewed it all the time I think I would still be popular.  Not something worth waiting in a long line for however.  That said this beer is somewhat unique in its balance of flavors.  It doesn't register too sweet (120 min, brass knuckle, ect...) nor does it fall into a bitter hop head bomb ala Dreadnaught.  No, this one is balanced, well except for that pesky alcohol on the finish.


WOW I finally got to try it! WOOOHOOOO! man this beer is EVERYTHING everyone makes it out to be. or is it?

to try it at an IPA fest at NAJA's place in Redondo Beach (If you live in LA and haven't been I recommend trying Najas out).

Pours a dark amber color and has sticky head retention.

Smells like what one would expect of a big IPA, Lots of citrus and piney notes. Grapefruit aromas lead the way.

There is a hop and flavor explosion once this stuff is on your tongue. Wow I kept going back for more despite the high ABV. This is just an amazing beer tons of balance and complexity, yet it leaves a high note of bitterness to sooth the hophead in me. If you see this beer ever, buy all of them! Of course this will never be bottled so good luck.

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Photo of Reagan1984
4.47/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

BIG, Huge Thanks to Abecall98 for providing this in a recent trade. AWESOME trader... Growler sent from CA

Well, here goes... I get a little excited reviewing some of these special beers.

Pours with a nice foamy white head that fades fairly quickly. Clear Orange/Amber color with the slightest amount of visible carbonation. Nice rings of lacing left behind in the glass . Nice looking beer.

Aroma is fantastic. Big, fresh, pine, pine, pine. Have I mentioned pine? Almost a touch of lemon... very light though. There is the slightest sense of some light malt.... But I mean real light.

Very interesting. You can easily detect the higher ABV. Some light mint. Pine resin..
Moment of sweetness in the middle, but it then is slammed away from the hops. If you are not a hop head... just stay away. Good thing I'm a lifetime member of that club.
Some citrus, but this is really about the pine to me. Lingering hop bitterness does not begin to describe the finish. Touch of honey.

Mouth feel is medium bodied, just under sticky and definitely a lot of hop resin/oil....

My God, this beer packs a punch. Drink multiple at your own risk...

A very, very good beer. Bordering on classic. I think I liked Pliny the Elder better.

Am I a heretic?

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Photo of deereless
4.47/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted up at Oskar Blues Home Made Liquid and Solids in Longmont, CO. A: Medium to dark copper colored, lacy spotting on the surface of the beer and sides of the glass, very clear - 4.50, S: Wonderfully fragrant, intense aromas of peach and pineapple, a thick and syrupy sweetness overwhelms the nose, possibly one of the finest smelling beers I've ever encountered - 5.00, T: Strong grapefruit and bitter pine assault the palate, a medium sweetness as well as some mild tropical fruits in the background, slight alcohol burn - 4.50, M: Medium mouthfeel, slight effervescence perceivable on the tongue - 4.00, D: Very drinkable for a 10.75% beer, sharper bitterness on the palate than the nose lets on, all around an excellent beer - 4.00

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Photo of pmccallum86
4.47/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber gold with a thin bubbly off white head. Retention is average, nothing special.

Smell is of massive hops, big pine and citrus noes come through. Pretty much all hops, with a little sweet malt coming through lightly.

Big, bitter, tongue bruising and beautiful. Tons of grapefruit and pine flavors. One of the more bitter DIPAs I have to date. A little bit of caramel malt comes through. Lots of alpha acids and hops, hops, hops.

Full bodied , acidic. Bitterness lingers on the tongue for hours.

Good drinkability for a beer this big. Overall a great DIPA, maybe not worthy of all the hype, but still a terrific beer.

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Photo of 1fortypoint6
4.46/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.46/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

on tap after a 5 hour wait. Pour is a clear golden orange with a tight white head. The nose is light for the size, heaviest on citrus with notes of pine and hop resign.
The taste is much bigger, very balanced and nice. Not as sweet as I thought it would be, heavy pine and citrus, smooth creamy feel on a big body. Fairly dry with a rather assertive bitterness that lingers for quite some time. The citrus Is prominent with a strong gust of perfume coming in towards the back of the palate. Notes of grapefruit as well

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Photo of philbe311
4.45/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Capone's...

A - A glowing mellow orange amber color... Slight cloud like white head with minimal retention... Minimal lacing... A sticky syrupy glaze clings to the glass...

S - Wonderful mix of hop aromas, but not overpowering... Piney and citrusy both at the same time... Floral scents... Malt... Burnt sugar... Tropical fruits...

T - Lovely blend of hops... Partly piney, partly citrus... A very solid malt backbone... Toasted almonds... Hint of candied sugar... Wonderful balance and complexity...

M - Smooth... Clean... Crisp... Light jto medium bodied... Mild carbonation... A faint syrupy stickiness... Elegant...

D - Clean and sophisticated... Delicate yet powerful... The craftsmanship is exquisite... The hops are abundant, but not overpowering... Quite similar to the Elder with more of a malt presence and less of a dry finish... The 11% ABV is hidden beautifully... A gem in the world of craft beer...

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Photo of jsunj
4.45/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pliny the Younger. Oh how I've longed to try you over the years since entering the craft beer world. Finally had the opportunity to try this beer on tap at Lucky Baldwins in Old Town Pasadena earlier in February this year, side by side with PtE might I add. This beer definitely deserves its place on the BA top 250. Piney, floral, boozy, yet still retaining its balance.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.45/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to jrallen34 who let me share his growler with him.

A - Very attractive looking beer, slightly dark, golden color, can see clear through on it. Bubbles cascade toward the top, bit of a head, that dissipated, left some bubbles on the side but not really much in the way of lacing. Growler opened with a pop, but it was 15 days in there so guessing there would have been a bigger head on a fresh one.

S - Smelled the pine notes from 3 feet out, but when I got to actually inspecting the nose it was not nearly as strong as I was anticipating. Pine dominates, no real citrus hops like I would have guessed. The pine is not overpoweringly bad like some of hop bombs though, it fades away to a nice sweet malt.

T - Pine and bitter right off the front end which fades into a decent sweetness before coming back with a some more piney hops and fading to a dry finish. Very complex, usually I consider a 3 stage beer a good thing, this one is a solid 4, maybe 5 if you count the return of the hops once the beer is gone from the mouth. Very nicely done. After a few swallows the bitterness is gone, and it's just piney and sweet, no real citrus that I can find though.

M - Smooth, nice finish. Carbonation was a little light, but assuming this is due to the growler.

D - 11%? Seriously? Could destroy this all day, don't even taste the alcohol. Dangerous, way too drinkable for the abv.

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Photo of objectivemonkey
4.45/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From my notes on recent trip, poured into a sampling glass.

I have to say, I was excited about this one... a west coast double IPA straight from the source, went at it first.

Pours a fuzzy light golden amber with a decent head and lacing here and there down the glass. Aroma is floral with hops, grapefruit.. my favorite smell.. and piny as the hops dominate. Taste is likewise, and I'm not complaining, and covers up the ABV... 11%!... good mouth. I want to bring a case home!

This one hid the alcohol so well, I had to slow down after the first one.. I drank it so fast, I was so excited:)

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Photo of K4550
4.45/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Went to the tapping at the South Philly Taproom in Philadelphia. Full blown blizzard, everyone was out of work for the day. The line wasn't too bad, only about 30 people at 930ish for a 10am tapping (the line grew a ton in the last 10 minutes however). Pours were $10, first come first serve, keg was kicked in 19 minutes. Color was a beautiful orange-y gold, head was thin. Served (unfortunately) in a skinny taster glass so I couldn't get much in the way of the nose (or maybe it was because I waited outside forever in the freezing cold). Taste was a little dank, but with some citrus. Sticky but had a fresh bouquet of hops on the back end that balanced everything out. Was tasty and I can see what the hype is about, but I don't think I'd be willing to stand in line for more than an hr to get a pour. Definitely a bucket list/BA Top 250 experience though for anyone who hasn't tried it yet.

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Photo of DrJay
4.45/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear orange with a thin, cream coloured head. Spotty lacing was evident from the fine bubbles, which showed excellent retention. The aroma was all hops - powdery, floral, tangerine, pine, and grapefruit, not necessarily all at the same time though. There was a lot of malt sweetness up front, but a very strong bitterness hits at the same time. Floral and citrusy hop flavour fills the midsection, with mild pine, orange and tangerine. Spicy alcohol appears towards the end and grapefruit bitterness really lingers. Full bodied served with moderately low carbonation and significant alcohol warmth and numbing. Drying hop finish with slight stickiness. This is really good, really powerful. Highly drinkable for such a big beer. Everything is just turned up on this beer - a lot. I think I prefer the Elder as a beer I could drink on a regular basis - this one seems to be fit more for special occasions. I'd be a happy dude if I could get either on a regular basis...

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Photo of MuddyFeet
4.45/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served on-tap at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia in a 10-ounce tulip-type glass.

Poured a clear and shiny brass color. Not too much head but was an incredible amount of layered, wedding cake-like lace. Nose is full of pungent and wet wood and hops.

Flavor was hop bitterness but not bitingly painful. More of a sour citrus suchs as grapefruit flavor. Little hint of vanilla. Where is the heat from the alcohol--very nicely concealed. Slightly dry but there were lots of oils from the hops. Amazingly simple but still complex DIPA. They don't try to do too much here but create a solid beer.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.45/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Union Jack's on the Manatawny. Presented in a wine glass. Appears a rich golden amber-yellow with a finger of fluffy white head. Smells of grapefruit, apricot, pineapple and sweet malt. Tastes of the same fruits evident in the nose, predominantly grapefruit, alcohol. Just about the perfect balance of piney, fruity hops, and rich caramel malt. Finish is very dry. Moderate in both body and carbonation. What a sublime DIPA.

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Photo of Estocker
4.45/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I could smell this baby before I even had a chance to step into the brewpub. Aroma of pine and citrus waft out from the door. The aroma is enticing and I had to smell it for 2 hours while I waited to get in!

Finally got a chance to try this bad-boy, and it is exactly what I expected. It's Elder on steroids, yet just as smooth. Smell is slightly muted in comparison, I believe. Still a nice burst of pine emanating from the glass and into my noseholes. Although the ABV is hard to taste, I can feel it creeping up on me as I finish the glass.

Tastes like a maltier, thicker Elder. It's more balanced, and doesn't have quite the same dry mouthfeel.

Although this is a great beer I feel that I don't need to have it more than once. Then again, I'm not much of a fan of big ABV beers. I'll have a Gaffers bitter instead, thank you.

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Photo of siege06nd
4.45/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed at Capone's with IrishColonial on March 3rd. Reviewed from notes.

A. Pours a light golden orange color with some subtle hazing. Quarter finger of crisp white head with some excellent lacing. The most striking thing about Younger is its color: it practically glows in my glass. Beauty fermented.

S. Just a metric crap-ton of tropical fruit flavors, including pineapple, mango, and tangerine. Good dose of pine resin and grassy notes. Orange zest and honey provide a wonderful smoothness to the entire affair. A smooth, sweet, light bouquet. Loads of honey and tropical scents. Top notch.

T. Lots of floral, citrusy, and grassy hops. The initial flavor is sweetness, but not sticky-like. This beer slowly grows and warms to you, with the citrus and floral notes yielding to some bitter and earthy grassy/piney flavors providing a bitter finish. Touch of alcohol on the back-end. The most striking facet of the beer is how smooth yet hoppy it is. The strong caramel malt really balances out the bitterness. Malt, pine resin, and minerality combine with sweet honey and floral presence to create a flavor profile that is quite pleasing.

M. Drinks a little too smooth and light for a Triple IPA. Not a hop-ocalpyse by any means as the bitterness is mellowed near perfectly by the malt.

O. Shockingly smooth for all the hop flavor packed into this. A very well-crafted beer. ABV of 11.0%? Could have fooled me with how smooth this is. It's not the be all end all that the hype-storm would lead you to believe. Would I drive to Philly again to try it? Probably not. But if you haven't had this, will you be disappointed investing a lot of time and/or money into getting a taste? I don't think so. It's a delicious beer and worthy of mention as a top notch IPA.

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Photo of beerNmusic
4.45/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - served in a tulip glass, clear just the right head, like fabulous

S - Very hoppy, citrus and floral very inviting

T - First sip was too cold, let beer warm for about 20 minutes and then TADA, tasted hops and orange...great representation of style

M - after it warmed it was incredible, balanced from start to finish, no acidity or aftertaste

D - excellent beer, i am not a hop head, but this beer could convert me. I get why it is so well regarded

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Photo of Antnego
4.45/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

So today, I got to try super-rare Pliny the Younger at Slater's 50/50 in Anaheim Hills. I'll put this into perspective: I'm a fan of Russian River's beers. Elder, Consecration and Blind Pig are among my all-time favorite beers. Do I think the Younger is worth a three-hour wait? If just for the beer itself? No. However, It was a great opportunity to socialize with other beer-lovers.

Is the Younger a damn good beer? You bet it is. It's rich, citrusy, piney flavor is beautifully balanced by a syrup-thick mouthfeel and malty milkshake-sweetness that's absolutely superb. I'm not debating the quality of the beer here. It's the hype behind it, and the trouble people go to obtaining it. You'd think Younger was made from white truffles and 24k solid gold by how crazy people go over it.

There are so many great beers out there that are underrated, that many people don't know about. You can obtain Trappistes Rochefort 8 from BevMo, and it's an equally good, if not better brew than Younger. If you're ever out in Denver, Colorado, Odessa Brewing Company makes a mean double IPA that hangs with the best of 'em. There are German selections out there that are just tops.

So if you don't make a Younger tasting, you're simply missing out on only one great beer in an endless sea of great beers. It's good, but it's not the "best ever," as some make it out to be. You could sit at home with an easily-had Rochefort or Grapefruit Sculpin, and enjoy yourself without all the stress and chaos. Cheers!

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Photo of hophopandaway
4.44/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

After trying the Elder and blind pig and being massively underwhelmed, I was not expecting much from this beer. What an incredible surprise.
The look is much the same as other DIPA's and there isn't much to differentiate in this department but from there on in it just got better.
Wonderful floral hops are the dominant falvour but they are well balanced with some citrus all coming off the head that actually stuck around.
My first sip revealed a wonderful creamy silk texture that I haven't had from anothr DIPA and the sweetness balanced with the turbo-charged bitter hops that linger and dance on your palate long after the gulp of beer is gone.
This is a real belter of a beer, it tastes fantastic and slips down nicely for something as strong as it is. The only problem for me is that the alcohol is still a little dominant and IPA is not my favourite style of beer so not the best beer in the world for me, but certainly one of the best in its class for sure.

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Photo of weeare138
4.44/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Much thanks to hopdog for this hand filled bottle...don't know if/when I would ever see it on draft around here.
Appears a light gold with a small off-white head that slowly fades out. Scattered spots of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of bready, biscuits, citrus, rich resinous hoppy pine, and vanilla. Much like The Elder.
Taste is of the same and very delicious with a touch of caramel standing out.
Mouthfeel is slightly sugary and mildly piney, woody, and candy.
Drinkability is decent with some ABV that's noticable.

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Photo of pepsican
4.44/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

othing. Seriously, this was a nice treat. Pours gold with a thin white head. Juicy hop and citrus aroma. Flavor was very fresh with the with sticky pine and floral hops dominating and citrus fruits coming up in a close second. Slightly sweeter than expected, but it still has a nice dry bitter finish. This was very nice.

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Photo of alcstradamus
4.44/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice clear golden pour with two fingers of sticky head. The smell is an absolutely blistering assault on the senses. Sinus cleansing levels of hops. Huge floral and pine notes with an underlying orange peel citrus aroma. This takes the bar set by other west coast IPAs and throws it like a javelin through the heart of restraint.

The taste follows suit. Gigantic hop flavor envelops every crevice of my mouth with pine resin and earthy bitterness. There is no attempt at subtlety, nor do I imagine there should be. This beer is designed to showcase the hop, and it does so as though it would be the beer we gave to alien visitors to help them understand the wonders of our planet. But does it separate itself from the rest of the pack? It is certainly a tough task considering the sheer number of beers just like it that come from the West Coast. I'm not really sure it accomplishes that separation.

The body is full/medium and carbonation is at good levels. I was surprised to find that this washed down very clean, I was expecting a much higher level of stickiness.

Drinkability is solid for an 11% beer. Overall this is definitely one of the top 10 DIPA's I've had. A hophead's dream, I'm sure. To me, simply a great beer.

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Photo of rawthar
4.44/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Just got back home from the PtY event at Tria this afternoon, was one of the lucky ones who got in before the keg kicked. Review based on my notes.

A- I was expecting red, but this was a nondistinct gold. The head was fairly impressive, a finger of very creamy white that hung out for a long a time, and when it was finally tamed, still left some pretty lacing.

S- Unmistakably hoppy. This was the first hint at the greatness of PtY. It was all citrus from the hops, with a subtle malty balance that kept it from going full on bitter. Impressive.

T- And this is where PtY becomes significant. Just the kind of citrusy, hoppy, well balanced flavor that the smell and the hype made me expect, but there was something else going on here that I had never detected before. Maybe it was umami, the fifth taste, maybe it was the hop concentration taking the flavor to a whole other level, but the middle of this beer's flavor was one of the most unique beer tastes I've ever had. Hard to put the finger on it, but in a blind taste test, I'll never have a problem picking this one out of a lineup. Bangin'.

M- As creamy as it looked, but with a light character, and a really sweet tingle on the tongue. Awesome.

D- There was a one per customer limit in effect (though I cheated with my wife's beer when she was in the bathroom) - wish I could have gone back for a second. Could I drink this all day? I think it would ruin my appreciation of just about every other beer. The rarity is definitely part of the equation here.

So did it live up to the hype? Yes, I think so. It was transcendental as far as beer goes, but it did not necessarily transcend beer. But who can really ask for anything more than that? Maybe I'll have it again next year, but in the meantime, I can't say that Nugget Nectar is much of a drop off.

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Photo of sessycuban
4.44/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at the 9th Annual Double IPA Festival at the Bistro in Hayward.

A - The beer poured a copper color. I had the beer in a festival tasting glass so not much to talk about in terms of head and lacing.

S - Pine, grapefruit, citrus, floral. Everything you'd expect from Vinnie.

T - An explosion of hops, but also surprisingly malty. For such a big beer, it's not at all hot.

M - Fairly viscous, but incredibly balanced for such an aggressive beer.

D - I could have pint after pint but I'd be drunk as a skunk before I knew it.

I'm glad I got to try it. I'd like to drink it again, although I'm not going to go to great lengths to get it. Inevitably, this one is going to be compared to the Elder, and I have to side with the old guy.

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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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