Pliny The Younger | Russian River Brewing Company

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Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States
rrbeer.com

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
3,080
Reviews:
946
Avg:
4.67
pDev:
7.49%
 
 
Wants:
6,483
Gots:
507
For Trade:
1
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,080 |  Reviews: 946
Photo of ygtbsm94
4.5/5  rDev -3.6%

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

On tap @ Union Jack's (Boyertown, PA) on 4/11/09. Part of the '09 Easter Hopfest.
Served in a tulip glass.

Pours a beautiful crystal clear copper with a 1/2 finger of creamy brite-white head. Retention is just fantastic, continuing to bubble during the duration of the glass. Huge flare-up when swirled gets this back to it's original head level immediately, leaving a great looking smattering of lacing back. Just a top notch look here. The aroma on this beer just OOZES hops and tropical fruits. Floral notes, spices, piney residues, grapefruit, pineapple, and mango. If it's associated with West Coast hops, it's crammed in here. Thick bread and caramel add an extra layer to the nose, mixing with the citrus to impart a robust tang. There's also a touch of alcohol beef to the proceedings but it in no way infringes on the other smells in this. Overall quite fantastic and I could sit here and sniff this all day!

The first thing I think of upon my first sip is how well balanced this is. Huge spicy and piney hops up front that are immediately cut and evened out by a slick backbone of caramel, bread, and tropical fruits that just explodes in the middle, before settling into a exceedingly bitter finish that lays a dry feel and lingering warmth on the palate. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with an overall creamier feeling carbonation but there is a definite sharp prickle to it as well as you swallow. Of course, probably the highlight of this beer is the magnificently hidden ABV. At 11%, there is absolutely some alcohol beef to the overall profile but it stays warming, never gets stinging, and fits in with the general hugeness of the beer.

Hands down, this is a hoppy masterpiece. The exceptional balance, flavors, and most of all drinkbility of their flagship Pliny the Elder taken to a new level. Seek it out.

 1,832 characters

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

On tap tonight at Father's Office in Santa Monica. Enjoyed a relaxing 3 10oz pours with no lines, hassles, or assholes.

Pours an orange haze with a thin white head which fades rapidly. Falling face first into a vat of fresh hops and jammed into your nose. Grapefruit, citrus dominates. Hops and more hops, followed by waves of more hops. Ending in a crescendo of... hops. So well balanced, smooth, perfectly bitter and singular like a clarion call. Still hiccuping frothy hops as I type. The ABV is well hidden until it creeps up on you. Wham! Bam!! Hype or no hype, this is an amazing triple IPA. Well done. I'll be counting the days till February 2012.

 655 characters

Photo of Rifugium
4.12/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Monk's, Philly, PA

Does it live up to the hype? Well, kinda. At least it did in 2011 and earlier. Are there local beers that are just as good that you won't wait in ridiculous lines for and pay upwards of $20 a pour for? Sure. Still, no real complaints about PtY here.

2011 batch. Poured a golden peach color, nicely carbonated, with an attractive, fluffy white head that laced well. I expected just a really good IPA here, but no, it's much more. Big hops in the nose, and a medley of light fruits and citrus, with a noticeable sweetness. The hop bitterness and the fruit tastes complemented themselves pretty much perfectly. Lots of floral and citrus hops, juicy fruits of all kind: mango, grapefruit, orange, grapes, pineapples, apricots... Just so much going on here, and all great. Medium mouthfeel, smooth and delicious, and highly drinkable...if you can find it.
Rating: 4.35-4.5

2012 batch....meh....very underwhelming. Notably different. More bitterness, more hype, less fruit, less flavor. Supposedly this lapse was due to a Simcoe/Amarillo hop shortage, and the subsequent replacement of Chinooks in the recipe. Makes sense if true. Still a solid beer, but no better than "okay."

2013 batch. About the same as 2012. I guess they changed the recipe after all. Oh well.

 1,303 characters

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 mendvicdog
5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of billab914
4.79/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to a very generous BA for dealing with the madness at the release and shipping through one of the worst storms DC has ever seen to get this to me. It's been a long weekend of driving up and back to Buffalo and I've been looking forward to opening this growler.

Poured from a growler into my Russian River tulip glass. Pours an amber orange color with a one finger white head. The head settled and clung to the sides of the glass where it left excellent lacing on the sides.

Aroma pretty hoppy with citrus, grapefruit, pineapple and pine all present in the nose. It also has a somewhat sweet aroma to it which I really like. It smells so fresh and delicious, it really showcases the hops better then any other beer I have had.

The taste is just as hoppy as the nose lets on. It has a good amount of pineapple and grapefruit flavors up front with more of a pine finish. There is a sweetness to it that is stronger up front and then is somewhat balanced out by the bitter pine finish. The alcohol is a little present in the finish, and it definitely gives you a warming feeling after a glass. They really do an excellent job on both this one and elder at getting that sweet flavor but also balance it out with the bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is good especially for the abv. It's a very good tasting and smooth drinking beer which makes it very drinkable. It is pretty high in alcohol content and that is quite evident after drinking one glass so there is a definite limit on how much of this I want to drink.

 1,583 characters

Photo of mdaschaf
4.73/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

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

Received from the BA's BA, RedwoodGeorge, as part of his recent Home Bottling Project. Thanks a million George for bringing smiles to this hoppy beer lover, along with many others.

Electric tangerine with juicy pineapple edges. The French vanilla canopy is three fingers in height and looks incredibly thick, rich and creamy. There's been very little deflation in the several minutes since the pour and it appears as if the head will last forever. I don't have forever, though, because I'm dying to take a sip. It eventually melts just enough to reveal a thick, sticky coat of lace with a few dots of visible glass. I prefer dirty, hop-flecked DIPAs, but this one is more than superb.

The nose is, without question, one of the best in all of beerdom. I was pretty sure that it would be pure hoppy bliss... and it is. And then some. There's an incandescent, brain-filling explosion of the sweetest, juiciest hops imaginable each time I venture anywhere near the glass. Thankfully, the malt is buried without a trace, allowing the hops to work their incredible, lupulinirific magic. One of the best of all-time.

Pliny The Younger is a gorgeous, unbelievably delicious Double IPA. There's no question in my mind that this style should be all about the hops. Those that favor the caramel malty, more balanced side of the DIPA continuum, edging into barleywine territory, miss the opportunity to brew transcendent, explosively hop-centric beer, the likes of which is sitting before me right now. Make no mistake, this one is all about the hops. And hops. And more hops.

There's a solid, sugar cookie-like maltiness that lays down an unshakable base and provides support for whatever tonnage of hoppage that may be thrown its way. The trick is in laying off any hint of toastedness or caramel-like flavors that would dilute or mask the citric hoppiness. Lightly (and I do mean lightly) brown sugar-crusted candied grapefruit peel abounds, along with a blissful bitterness that is unrelenting in its pithy intensity.

I may be able to appreciate the slightest hint of bitter orange, but white grapefruit is front, center and side-to-side. I'd love to know what varieties comprise the hop bill, but it's pretty obvious that the best hops in the known universe (one or more of the 4-Cs) are represented in a major way. I just can't get over the liquid candy-like, sweet and bitter, unalloyed nature of the hoppiness. Pliny is everything that you've heard it is and is everything that I hoped it would be.

It's nearly impossible to completely bury a 10.5% ABV, but Russian River has given it a Hurculean effort. I'm not sure that I'd want the alcohol to be completely absent since it provides a power and presence that lets you know that this is a serious beer that must be respected. Hell, I repect it for the flavor alone. Maybe it's my elation at the out-of-this-world taste, but I'm halfway through the bomber and I'm barely feeling it. This is the most drinkable 10.5%'er ever!

The mouthfeel is simply perfect. Mouthfillingly full with an incredible lasting stickiness after the swallow. Lushly sappy is my favorite sort of DIPA mouthfeel and this beer fits that descripton to a 'T'. When it comes to the carbonation, I have to give credit to RedwoodGeorge for the amazing re-bottling effort. I had some qualms that PTY would be over-carbonated, but that hasn't been borne out in the actual drinking. It's perfect: enlivening without being the least bit spritzy, fading to muted by the second half of the bomber.

I held off on contacting RedwoodGeorge for a trade that would have brought me a growler of Pliny The Younger because I knew that I would love this beer more than any other that I've ever had and wanted to experience it in Santa Rosa, as it should (ideally) be experienced. When the opportunity came my way, however, thanks entirely to George's incredible generosity, I just couldn't turn down the chance to try one of the world's best.

Before cracking the crown, I told myself that there was no way I could give perfect scores to a beer that had been re-bottled from a keg, no matter how outstanding. I'm glad to report that I was wrong. Pliny The Younger is a remarkable beer that transcends any attempt on my part to put its magnificence into words. I still plan to make it out to Santa Rosa some day. When I do, I'm going to ask the Alstroms to come up with a rating scale that includes sixes, 'cause I'm gonna need 'em.

 4,440 characters

Photo of vfgccp
4.75/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of drewone
4.92/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at the daily pint, served in a tulip glass.

Crisp orange color, medium head, super sticky lacing.

Oh! the smell! Really amazing! Very bright fruity with some grass - you could smell it from a foot away.

Tastes like liquid candy - rush of citrus hoppiness - amazing balance - super hoppy yet also sweet and some bitterness, left with a linger hop flavor in my mouth. Very little alchol presence - it would be easy to drink way to much.

Good amount of carbonation, get a slight burn.

As good as I remembered it, really outstanding.

 542 characters

Photo of Jason
4.25/5  rDev -9%

Photo of millerbuffoon
5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of mikesgroove
4.67/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Much thanks to jgaston for the growler!

Pours an ever so slightly hazed pale amber with a big frothy head that qucikly faded to reveal a ton of swirly lace that clung all the way to the bottom.

Smell was, how do you say, HOPS! Must intense frwsh hop smell, almost burned the nose hairs, this is gonna be good.

The taste, everything I expected and more. So bitter it brings tear to the eye, huge pine hops, very fresh tasting, no balance here, none needed. Absolutly intense, slight warming from the alcohol and a very dry finish.

This was right on the money and at 11%abv, its a doozy to say the least. This lived up to the hype for me at least, a true double, dare I say almost a triple IPA, wonderful wonderful brew!

 730 characters

Photo of Slatetank
4.94/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A growler filled at the Union Jack's Inn On The Manatawny. Thanks to Phatz for sharing it.
A- Light amber with ample white head

S - Extremely Hoppy aroma -floral, citrus and heaps of pine abound

T - Kicks and envelopes taste buds with hop acidity, malt sweetness creeps in at the finish

M - Full round and substantial with sharp hop edges

D - Less than average drinkability due to over the top hops, alcoholic strength, but a delightful taste nonetheless

Edit -prior ratings A 4, S 4.5, T-4, M 4.5, D-4 from Growler

I went to the release this year and had it on tap -2014 I want to update since I was so impressed with the difference having it fresh from the source.

Start with appearance- the color is spot on with light haze and lasting head with fine bead. Smelling this- The smell is phenomenal, I don't think I have smelled hops as fragrant or clean with tropical fruit citrus and sweet floral odors in an Imperial IPA before -just incredible and wonderful in every way. The feel is equally great -practically no alcohol and lots hop resins with mild sweetness and semi high carbonation with moderate bitterness and semi-dry finish.

The flavor is great just embodies everything good about an Imperial IPA, Hops are the star but nice amount of malt body to support and the smooth flavor is seemless without much alcohol taste at all and I had this on an empty stomach/clean palate. Overall extremely drinkable for 10%+ and worth the time it took to try it on tap at the brewpub which I was skeptical of but recommend having this fresh to appreciate the true glory that is Pliny the Younger.

 1,604 characters

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

After standing in line for that long, just about anything would taste good. So I had several glasses to make sure my judgement was clear.

A: The pour is a slightly hazed golden, amber color with a finger's worth of white foam that sticks around forever and leaves some nice lacing.

S: I think it's pretty obvious how this one smells. The hops are amazingly intense with aromas of bitter grapefruit and pine. The malt is there in a sense, but it's more mixed in with the incredibly bitter nose.

T: The flavor is pure resinous, bitter, pine with plenty of bitter grapefruit. The alcohol is not at all present (despite the beer being 11%). The bitterness starts before the beer even hits your lips and lasts all the way until the next sip.

M: The body is full with a moderate level of carbonation. The bitterness lingers on the palate but it really just makes you want some more.

D: This is an absolutely amazing beer. Despite its strength and intense bitterness, you just want to have more and more. I had at least 30 to 40 ounces of this and could have had plenty more.

 1,073 characters

Photo of orangesol
4.73/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Had this one on-tap at the pub a few times over the course of SF Beer Week '14 and I am adjusting my scores up a bit. Really an incredible DIPA when it is this fresh.

---
Old Review...

Served on-tap at Monk's on Russian River Monday. Finally captured the dragon.

A - Pours clear golden orange with a fluffy one finger tall white head leaving thin sheets of lace down the glass. A very nice looking beer.

S - Smells of fresh cut grapefruits, apricots, pine needles, pungent citric hops and a touch of sweetness creeping in as it warms up. The balance of aromas is very well maintained throughout.

T - Starts off with a ton of tropical fruits - mostly grapefruits, mangos and pineapples - quickly giving way to a mix of strong, bitter citric hops, fresh cut pine and a bit of sweet malt. The balance of this beer is amazing for how big it really is. Finish has plenty of lingering bitterness, clinging to the pallet long after the finish.

M - Medium-Light body with a well balanced flavor and moderate carbonation. Bitterness is surprisingly mild, lingering on the pallet for quite awhile.

O - What more is there to say that hasn't already been said? This one is easily one of the best beers I have ever had. I could drink this one all day, and that is saying something.

 1,275 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.27/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A beer I thought I'd never get to try. 64 oz. growler poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Clear orange body with a small white head. A few wisps on the surface and a thin collar.

Smell - Orange. Some pine hops. Lots of caramel malt, but doesn't smell all that sugary.

Taste - Tastes like an amped up Pliny. Orange hops up front. Sweet pale malts. A touch of booze. Pine hops build in the back end with a moderate bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Medium heavy. Not a sugar bomb, which I was afraid of. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Glad I got to try it. It's very good. I'd take a lot of things over it, especially if it avoids a trip to CA to get a taste.

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Photo of MarkyMOD
4.25/5  rDev -9%

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

A huge thanks to Matt (drabmuh) for sharing his growler with me!

Served in my Russian River pint glass.

A: Remarkably clear, beautifully light in color, effervescent, white fluffy head that leaves generous amounts of sticky lacing

S: Huge hop aroma with grapefruit, citrus, floral notes. Alcohol virtually non-detectable in the nose.

T: This beer is worth all the hype. Wow! Unbelievably smooth. Huge hops, no astringency, the bitterness and sweetness walk a tightrope of perfection. The taste hits you initially with smooth hops, then transitions to a sweet, sticky deliciousness that coats the palate, and finishes with a wonderful bitterness that begs to begin the sequence again.

M: Everything is perfect here - carbonation, freshness, this beer is phenomenal.

D: At 11%, this beer kicked my ass, and I loved it. I finished three pints, and would've hurt myself even worse if we didn't run out.

 906 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
4.17/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes: Sampled at EBF 2010. Pours a murky pale golden color with a stingy off white head that dissipates quickly. Wonderfully complex hop aroma, lots of citrus grapefruit and orange being in the forefront. The flavor is big with lots of caramel offset with plenty of hop flavor mostly of the peach/grapefruit/orange vein. Medium body with a light level of carbonation and a sweet resinous mouthfeel. Very nice big IPA that I waited much to long in line to taste. I’m glad I got to try this its a great beer, but I think I prefer the elder.

 546 characters

Photo of InspectorBob
4.75/5  rDev +1.7%

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

Review from notes taken on 3/20/10 during TJ's: Younger and Elite friends event.

Presented in a 12oz snifter, served a bit too cold but was enjoyed throughout a long enough duration to let it warm up to an acceptable temp. Younger appears a little hazy golden yellow/orange-like color with a white creamy head. Slick amount of lace clings to the glass in a wall at places and legs droopy along other parts. The aroma of this beer has a piercing amount of hops. It is like a frontal assault of awesomeness in the form of scents and smells. Fruity nose of grapefruit, citrus, and a sweetness almost like cotton candy. Taste is a blend of the same malty sweetness reminding me of smooth cotton candy meets a ton of floral-like and super flavorful hops. Partially grassy and spicey and as it warms there are notes of bubblegum that comes out in the nose. For 11% seriously where is the alcohol? The presence of alcohol is noticeable in both warmth and taste but relatively compared it is so minor, smooth and just unlike any other beer I've had at over 10 abv. This beer is so hoppy but it is a flavorful hoppy not just all bitterness. Medium to light feel with a moderate amount of carbonation. This beer is so drinkable, I would love to have more but I am thankful and appreciative that we are limited to one serving. Slightly acidic in the finish with the way it starts to burn the back of the mouth/throat.

This was my second experience with the younger. The first time I had it was a month prior and I refused to take notes and just savor every sip. There is an evident change in this beer from just a month of time passing. However, overall this beer is absolutely awesome and a must try. For the greatest enjoyment and complexity of the experience, it should be enjoyed as fresh as possible.

 1,797 characters

Photo of JAHMUR
4.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of rolltide8425
4.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
4.67 out of 5 based on 3,080 ratings.
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