Pliny The Younger | Russian River Brewing Company

Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger
BA SCORE
98.6%
Liked This Beer
4.7 w/ 3,091 ratings
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
Ranking:
#8
Reviews:
946
Ratings:
3,091
Liked:
3,048
Avg:
4.7/5
pDev:
7.45%
Alströms:
0
 
 
Wants:
6,512
Gots:
510
Trade:
1
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 3,091 |  Reviews: 946
Photo of rolltide8425
4.5/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of JAHMUR
4.5/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of BEER88
4.56/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of imperialking
5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of imbibehour
4.61/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured on tap at Monk's Cafe into a wine glass for the charity event Alex's Lemonade stand. 2 1/2 hours of waiting in line, good chats, and good crowded insane times!

Glass poured ahead of time. Pale brass yellow to bronze amber body. Very clear and crystal, not much noticeable carbonation. Given with only a thin off tan to white soapy collar that never lets up. Very pretty looking IPA, with some matching spider like lacing.

Nose is familiar. A great wet sense of juicy hop orange and tangerine. There's a honey sweetness behind this also, it really reminds me of hopslam, and a very dry heat that come off of it. Not boozy smelling at all. Clean, but doesn't give me the sense of a big body coming.

Palate hits hop front hard. Big juicy but still wet body, not unlike Zombie Dust, but with a quenching almost pilsner crispness. Hop explosive notes of hinted orange from the nose, but the body is far more tropical with giant fruits of mango, maybe peach, but giant fruit punch tropics. Incredibily dry finish, almost getting into brut champagne territory, with pine hop complimenting the arid quality nicely. There is just a touch though, a peck of grainy character on this in the swallow.

It's very memorable, and hardly contains any alcohol boozy heat. I completely forgot this just barely kicks in over ten percent abv, it sure doesn't feel like it at all. It personally for myself is just missing that hint of bigger body, and oomph, and a certain "wow" factor. It's so close but it's a great beer. I'll never forget it.

 1,534 characters

Photo of 22Blue
4.35/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of SadMachine
4.25/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of mklisz
4.49/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of IrishColonial
4.25/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of malfunxion
5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of t2grogan
3.25/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

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

once poured from the growler, the brew slipped over the lip of the pint, and I had to suck up some...pre-inspection, I'm wowed by this beer! Holy dribble cup, Batman!

Clear golden/ pale peach appearance, with an excellent cup of lacey, snow -white froth on top. Very attractive IPA, so far.

Nose is all pine, hints of pineapple and other tropical fruit, pineapple, peach, apricot, banana, lemon...braces of bitterness, but all of it pleasing to the hophead. Just heavenly!

Taste: all those good things and more, the tropical and citric fruit blaze over the palate, bright and luscious, hoppy, bitter, but overwhelmingly pleasant and tasty...the extra liquor doesn't click in right away, but makes itself felt eventually...11%?? Hooo, daddy!

There's enough malt here that it's not a raw hop blitzkrieg overpowering anything else in the brew, but hops are king here, as if there were ever any doubt. Damn, Zam-Bam-A-Lam!! this is a true killer-diller, not for the weak of heart or palate!


much thanks to Axisjones for the growler!

 1,045 characters

Photo of GClarkage
4.9/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

01/27/05- Purchased at the Toronado on tap. I need to mark this date in my palm pilot as the day I had the best beer ever created by a human.

Presentation- 12 oz tulip glass poured from the tap.

Appearance- Nice 1/2-3/4 inch white ultra creamy head. Beautiful cloudy golden pour with excellent lacing.

Smell- I could not stop smelling this glass. Even when it was empty I would go back and literally try to wedge my nose into the glass. If it were possible this glass would become and appendage from my nose. A very sweet smelling hop presence. Lots of grapefurit and pine, but in a sweet floral manner. Didn't have that astringent bitter make your head fly back scent. This one just glided down with the greatest of ease.

Taste- This is truly God's elixer. The first thing I thought of was...how soon before I can find this bad boy on the shelves. Then I realized that it's probably not going to be bottled :( So,...how soon until I can get a growler of this stuff. Reminds me of Dogfish 90, but sweeter and with more character. Lots of frutiy and floral hops, but not overporing. Tons of flavor and a sweetness that works perfect..with at least my taste buds. You can detect the alcohol though. I had three beers of 9%, 11% and 6% and I am done for the day. Gimme that water!!!

Mouthfeel- Light carbonation, plus the sweetness make this super easy to send down the pipe.

Drinkability- According to the Toronado, this beer is the first triple IPA. I went to their website and they don't even show it as one of their current beers. So, I am going to email them and find out for sure. The bartender originally told me it was 13%, which threw my head back pretty damn quick. All I can tell you is that the first thing I thought of after my first sip was...I am going to buy a kegerator and order a keg of this. It's absolutely incredible. A pure pleasure to drink.

 1,881 characters

Photo of MasterSki
4.68/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

An incredibly huge thanks to Adam (Nanoslug) for sending a fresh growler of this to me. Served in my Kuhnhenn tulip.

A - Three fingers of creamy-white foam, with incredible retention and gorgeous lacing. Semi-transparent gold, with tiny bubbles slowly & lazily rising upwards. This is the standard by which DIPAs are measured.

S - Huge, complex bouquet of flavors - mossy pine, fresh-cut grass, tangerine, Braeburn apple, grapefruit, and a touch of pineapple. Mild touch of malt in the background, but this is a huge hopbomb.

T - Incredible balance - great fresh hoppiness and sweet tropical fruit flavors, but also more malt than the smell lets on. Sweet and hoppy aftertaste that keeps me reaching for the glass. Only the tiniest hint of the 11% ABV.

M - Medium viscosity, reasonable carbonation. Smooth and creamy, with just a touch of tingling. Leaves a sticky resinous feeling after swallowing. Not sure what else I can ask for in a DIPA.

D - This is the most drinkable 11% beer I've ever had. The only thing that would keep me from filling up my glass is passing out.

This is incredible stuff - it takes all the things I love about Pliny the Elder but to the nth degree. This is a must try for all lovers of beer.

 1,225 characters

Photo of Cynic-ale
4.5/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of IPAchris
5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of Gavage
4.57/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: light orange in color with a short 1/4" head that broke down quickly. No lace devlops.

Smell: grapefruit, loads of hop bitterness, and a hint of sweetness creates a nice aroma.

Taste: big malt profile with a finely balanced sharp bitterness. Loads of grapefruit, caramel, ripe fruit, and a bit of lemon are most dominant. The bitterness does not overwhelm. Alcohol levels are not even noticable.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy in body. Lightly crisp throughout with dryness late. Aftertaste is long as the flavors linger in the mouth.

Drinkability: this beer went down rather quicky despite the big flavor profile. Is this beer the best in the world ? I still think Westy 12 would be my choice in a heads up competition, but this is one great beer. Special thanks to the Hulmeville Inn for getting this beer in house.

 826 characters

Photo of redfox405
4.5/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Gobzilla
4.7/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally caught up with pliny the elder's nephew

A: poured a glowing golden orange in color with yellow highlights and had a nice tight finger of head with good retention but left plenty of frothy lacing sticking to the glass.

S: upfront had an incredible hoppy aroma kinda like smelling fresh hops alongside grassy, nice piney, orange citrusy notes and some good sweetness I believe are from the malts but not a very noticeable amount of booze.

T: it definitely had a hop profile second to none which was very clean crispy but with a nice hop punch. It had piney, grassy, candi sugar accents but had citrus grapefruit flavor that helped out the bitterness. Super well balance with just a prefect amount of sweetness coming through to control the hoppy blast.

M: the brew was light to medium in body with a perfect amount of carbonation which had a citrusy, sweet, grassy, piney, hoppy blast, and bitter finish that lingered on the palate; very well balanced

D: very very drinkable with the ABV truly hidden really well in the hop heaven and what has to be one of the best TIPA on the planet. Another west coast hop bomb which is definitely a treat if you can catch up with him.

 1,182 characters

Photo of drabmuh
5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

REVIEW 500!

I slayed a growler of this last night with the help of the other Matt. Weapon of choice was my Stone IPA tulip. I obtained a growler in a trade with great BA. As a result of our heroic undertaking, my mind is still not firing on all cylinders, but this is the best DIPA I've ever had and only my second straight 5.

Beer poured from a Russian River growler into a Stone IPA tulip. Beer is yellow to orange and CLEAR! The pour forms a white head about an inch to a half an inch in thickness that falls away leaving some lacing on the glass. Carbonation is moderate to high and really steady. The bubbles nucleate at the bottom of the glass mostly, beginning small but rise slowly increasing in size as they rise to the head. The head retention is good. No chill haze, beautiful color, good head dynamics, nice level of carbonation, its a beautiful beer.

Aroma is primarily a lot of hops....a lot of hops. Very citrusy with some pine notes in there. There is some sweetness, its a dominate aroma component. Its difficult but sometimes I think I can smell some alcohol but mostly I can not. For being such a huge beer, I really can't tell based on the aroma at all. The aroma is also huge. I can smell it from across the table. I found myself not even drinking it just smelling it, very complex, very big, very wonderful.

Taste time, balance. This beer hits all the parts of the palate, forward, middle and back. Obviously there is hop bitterness in the back, there is some sweetness up front, but no alcohol. Beer is medium bodied, definitely not a malt bomb like some DIPAs tend to be. There are almost fruit notes in the mid-palate. Some sweet orange or almost lime flavors. Beer finishes cleanly, leaving no aftertaste. Bitterness grows as it does with most big hoppy beers, but it does not interfere with the other flavors or drinkability.

I was going to originally rate the drinkability as a 4.5 for this beer. But I had some food between my pints of it and after some food a blew through my second pint. It is an amazingly balanced and completely wonderful IPA. At 11%, it is unlikely that I would make it my daily drinker, but it is the most dangerously drinkable 11% beer I've ever had.

EDIT: I had this again at EBF (4 ounce pour) and compared it side by side with Pliney the Elder. I realized as Matt and I were drinking this growler that it was an important but absent variable in my review is comparing it to another beer. We drug out an Exponential Hoppiness for comparison but it wasn't the right thing to do.

At the fest I had 4 ounces of each next to each other. My wife and I both tasted each and agreed that Younger was better than Elder. It was sweeter and thicker, had more fruit notes on the palate and smells were uncomparable. The hop aroma on Younger blew the hop aroma on Elder out of the water. I'm not going to write an additional review of this beer on draft, I just thought I would include these thoughts in my present review.

 2,971 characters

Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of ShanePB
4.3/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a 6 oz mini snifter glass at Capones in Norristown. After waiting in line for 1.5 hours, let's see if this was worth the wait...

A: Crystal clear honey-orange body with an extremely tiny, almost non-present, white foam head. Some moderate to low lacing, actually - no retention really, either.

S: Sweet and prickly pine sap notes and pink grapefruit up front. Slightly bitter, with some lemongrass and a very faint whiff of honey in the back end. Really an outstanding smelling beer.

T: Up front are some rather harsh pine notes, a slight bitterness though not as much as I was expecting from an 11% IIPA. Melon sweetness, generic citrus qualities and prominent orange flavors complete this bitter to sweet flavor profile.

M: Smooth and creamy, low carbonation (strange) but overall, pleasant. Not as wonderful as the mouth feel I got with Pliny the Elder.

If I'm being completely honest, this was very good but wasn't worth the 1.5 hour wait in line for. I was fortunate enough to get two pours of this beer, totaling around 12 oz, but this doesn't really need all the hype surrounding it. In my opinion, Pliny the Elder wins the battle against Younger, although I was hoping it would be the opposite. Oh well.

 1,228 characters

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.66/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Falling rock had this on tap, and I didn't want to miss it. served in small snifter at the half pint volume.
Bright ruby and amber brew, really likes the light and shines like a lantern. Good dense, white, and foamed head. Great lacing after every sip and quick swirls...all the way to the end.
Mild hops aroma, yet complex. The alcohol is well concealed. Some floral and vanilla seem to be present as well.
Balanced taste to it. For as much hops as this thing has, the malt is present just at the beginning and a bit in the end. Smooth and sharp. Not bitter, buy very dry.
Deceiving beer with the abv. Dangerous, but very nice.

Update:
This is my third PyT review, the other two being in 06 and 09.
Falling Rock tapped this tonight and I got in on the first of 3 kegs.

Clear, clean light copper pour. A 1 finger white head foamed up. Lacing was thin, a quick swirl brought about the head again, yet lacing didn't quite stick.
A good blend in the aroma of citrus hops, some butteriness, pine and faint biscuit.
A rather lack luster taste. A soft citrus body develops with thin pine and an aftertaste of malt. But that doesn't last long. The body is thin, the bite is quiet and the balance is easily overlooked. At 11% abv, it is very easy drinking. I'm a bit disappointed in this one this year. Still good, but not world class, imho.
Update the update: 2011 sample. I dunno, the taste just isn't meeting the nose (i've upped the smell score). Doesn't seem as juicy as I remember or expected based on the aroma. The appearance today wasn't all that good...no head...but that was due to the pour
Averaged out the scores above
Update: On tap at Backcountry Pizza in Boulder, Feb 11 2012. This version seems thinner. The nose is softer and less hoppy. Nothing bad about it. The feel is drier without the bite. It just kind of evaporates and leaves the palate quickly.
Update: 2016 tapping at FRTH. Appearance and aroma are more than good, but still not great. Boozey a bit, but this one seems a bit more balanced. For a triple IPA the bitterness is light. Sure, it's an IPA...but it seems the "triple" part is only for abv. Finishes really light and evaporative.

 2,168 characters

Photo of afsdan
4.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of WesWes
4.57/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The beer pours a beautiful golden color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is outstanding. It's your typical West Coast DIPA, but done to perfection. It has your standard pale malt base which seems to provide adequate balance. The hop aroma is sublime. It's citrusy with hints of pine. It's very bitter, yet not as much as I thought it would be. The taste is great; so smooth and drinkable. The alcohol is nowhere to be found. What there is , is a damn tasty beer that's relatively light and loaded with hops. This is a thing of beauty. The mouthfeel is great as well. It's a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. The drinkability of this beer is off the charts. There's not heat whatsoever, just heavenly golden nectar.

 768 characters

Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 98.6% out of 100 with 3,091 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.