Pliny The Younger | Russian River Brewing Company

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger
3,112 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 3,112 |  Reviews: 949
Photo of BG24
4.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of kkrez
5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of ThePaleRider
4.98/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Had this white whale on tap at Hamiltons in San Diego

Great IPA appearance and fragrance. What sets this IIIPA apart from others is the fact that it's 10.25% and still drinks as smoothly as a pale ale. Goes down really well. Didn't give a perfect rating because the body is a little light. This brew feels and almost drinks just like the Elder, but packs more of a punch. Was it worth waiting in line for? YES.

 411 characters

Photo of cantal
4.54/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Xandrose
4.62/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Bobbydigi
5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of BierJager89
4.78/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Hazy orange with a white head.

S:Tons of orange, mango, papaya, tropical fruit in the nose.

T: Fresh orange, mango, papaya, pine, tropical fruit, a touch of alcohol.

M: Full bodied and very smooth especially for an IPA.

O: This beer hit a ceiling for me (I generally don't like IPAs as much as I like stouts, so I score them lower) that a few others (namely Blind Pig, Double Jack and Enjoy By) have hit. If I liked hoppy beers like I do bourbon barrel aged imperial stouts, I would probably give this a 100. To my taste, I'd give it a 95 or 96.

Note: Tasted four days after release. Go on a week day if possible. I only had a 20 minute wait.

 650 characters

Photo of IceAce
4.52/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Billed as a Triple IPA with an ABV of 11.0% according to the taphandle.

Pours orange / copper in color with excellent clarity for an IPA of any type. The nose is seductively fruity sweet with a very strong backdrop of resinous floral hops.

The foretaste scrubs the front of the tongue with 'just right' carbonation while the hops perform a vise-like grip the full length of the sides of the tongue. Even the midtaste is dominated by the aggressive hopping while the elevated ABV begins to show a warming effect toward the aft of the mouth. The finish is thick with the generous grain bill while the hops begin a slow, slow exit stage right.

Mouthfeel is thick-n-chewy and only the over the top alcohol content reduces drinkability by ½ point.

Pliney the Younger is a big, complex beer and well worth almost any journey in an effort to seek out its hoppy goodness.

 877 characters

Photo of waltonc
4.37/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap tonight at Monk's Kettle.

A: Pours clear golden color with a moderate white head.
S: Very fresh citrus, pine, and floral hop notes. Really good smell to this.
T: Again, the citrus, pine, and floral hop qualities dominate the taste, but are somewhat balanced with the malts. Still an out-of-control hop bomb, but far better than most, and probably the best California IPA I've had.
M: Mouthfeel is spot on for the style. Not too heavy, not too light, and the carbonation is perfect.
D: High ABV and out of control hops hamper drinkability, but this is very good.

 570 characters

Photo of saxclar123
4.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of ellswrth
4.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.72/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A huge thanks to treyrab for sharing some of his growler with me! Couldn't wait to dig into this one after all I had heard about it and was eager to see what this beer was all about. Poured into my tulip glass...

A: Pours a rich copper color with minimal bubbles during a fairly aggressive pour. The head is slow to develop and it bubbles up from the depths of this beer to form a somewhat coarse half-finger head. The head lingers for a little while then completely vaporizes. Lacing comes in spiderweb-like patterns.

S: This beer is a masterpiece of hop use. Burying my nose in my glass, there is not even a slight hint of grassy or piney hops. My nose is inundated by huge citrus notes and mounds of bitterness. Grapefruit and orange dominate the aroma, coupled with a bitterness and balance that is nothing short of incredible.

T: The taste is almost the same as the aroma, with the notable exception that the taste also incorporates a piney hop bitterness in the finish. The grapefruit is really striking here, and it takes some of the focus away from the orangey hops. Alcohol is completely imperceptible. You couldn't hide it better if you tried.

M/D: As might be expected after the notable hop profile, the feel is somewhat sticky, syrupy, and resinous with hops. Incredibly smooth, this beer is very surprising. I didn't think that such a hopped-up beer could be so drinkable and balanced. The bitterness isn't overwhelming, and Russian River strikes a delicate balance between the bitter character of the hops and the flavors that they impart to the beer.

Overall an incredible beer.

 1,598 characters

Photo of socalbrewlvr
4.5/5  rDev -4.3%

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

Served on-tap at the Toronado on 2/2/08.

A: Pours a bright orangish color with a thick white head. Tons of sticky sweet lacing all over the glass. Even the color in the brew screams out "citrus"!

S: The best nose in an DIPA that I've ever had the pleasure of enjoying. It bursts out with fresh hops. An absolute wallop of fresh citrus fruit in the form of grapefruit, orange, and other tropical fruits. Of course, the woodsy pine is also present.

T: An incredibly well crafted and delicious DIPA. The best I've ever had. An explosion of hops, but not at all over the top and always in perfect harmony with the slightly sweet and light underlying malts. It's really the perfect DIPA in my book, an explosion of citrus hops, a wonderful bitter pine aftertaste, and always in prefect balance and harmony with the malt backbone.

M: Another perfect, for the mouthfeel in this is sublime. Just ever so slightly thick with an active carbonation. Perfect amount of body.

D: Well, this beer sure did have a lot of hype and I wasn't sure if it could live up to it. Not only did it live up to the hype, it exceeded it. Probably my favorite beer of all time. It's really ever thing that I look for in my favorite style, the DIPA. It's a shame that it's only releases once a year but I would go the ends of the earth to sip this one again.

 1,331 characters

Photo of jcdiflorio
4.97/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

poured into a flaired gold rimmed tulip glass from a growler at Phatz's Pliny Project 2.

Light coppery color with a slight haze.Very tiny compressed bubbles as the glass swirls. Once the aroma hit my nose i kinda forgot the check the color of the head. It was very creamy and left a good 1/2" coating through out.

The aroma was very intense Piney/Grapefruity. Fruity,very pineappley with sweet carmell trying to cut through all the hoppiness.
Awesome hop nose,the only way I could describe it is like crushing a handfull of fresh hops in you hands and totally covering your entire face with your hands full of the freshly crushed hops. The hop aromas were crisp and clean,fresh just awesome. The best hop aroma of anything i've ever smelled.

Intense grapefruit flavors lots of pine with a great sweet carmell taste. Just a hint of alcohol for 11% the taste was so good i forgot all about the alcohol. An amazing balance for all the hoppiness my mouth just kept watering for more.

Extra creamy,airy feel,syrupy with slick hop oilyness, juicy, just an awesome mouthfeel
The drinkabily was unbeliveable,enjoyed it so much didn't want to stop drinking it. I can't stop thinking about this beer. I want to thank Phatz's again for giving me the chance to taste this amazing beer.
If you ever get a chance to try this beer don't pass it up. I'm glad i didn't

 1,366 characters

Photo of beachbum1975
4.62/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

HUGE thanks goes out to bifrostguard for this and his FIRST trade! Delivered on my doorstep on Saturday 2/7/2009 and shared with pwoods (<-- this guys owes me a shit ton! Just kidding), DrewOSU and Ftownthrowdown.

Poured from the flip-top Russian River growler into my traditional pint glass at around 40-45 degrees. Pours a clear, brass orange with an average tan head. Nice sticky lacing seen rolling up the edge of my glass. White, creamy halo of foam seen, as well.

You can smell this beer from the neighboring room! The nose on this beer is so intense. Huge, pounding of floral hops, ammonia (likely from the simcoe hops), sweet malts, orange citrus, grapefruit, grass, pepper, earth all mixed around a big slap of alcohol - basically the entire spectrum of hops all over the nose - holy shit, world class.

This is a MASSIVE freggin' beer! Starting on the drink was a huge wave of bittering hops. Medium bodied and FULL flavored. Finishes with a sweet, at time creamy finish. Waxiness on my tongue. This is a big, extremely tasty beer. Pine on the aftertaste lingers in my mouth. My palate is official shot for the remainder of the night. Soo much going on here. A plethora of hops and lightly balanced, semi-sweet malts, masterfully blended. Crisp and very dry, yet waxy finish. It's almost like a super-hopped strong ale.


A million thanks go out to bifrostguard again - cheers!

 1,399 characters

Photo of ggaughan
4.82/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Tria in Philadelphia, served in a 13 oz tulip glass. The beer poured a vibrant copper color, clear and with a thick off white head that disapated slowly and gave way to a nice ring around the end and a swirly island in the middle. The aroma was a strong pine and citrus nose that was similar to the Elder but kicked up a bit and more pure and extreme but enjoyable. The taste was very similar to the taste. There was the initial hoppy, piney taste with some citrus, grapefruit and a touch of sweet caramel. The mouth feel was very smooth with a nice alcohol burn on the way down that tells you this is a 11% beer. What a smooth ride the Younger was. I was expecting this to be hard to handle but found this very enjoyable and drinkable. I had 2 in this sitting and will go back for more wherever I can find it. Another RR hit and it has been a long time that I have waited to try this.

 895 characters

Photo of brywhite
4.46/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

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

Appearance: Copper/orange in color, kind of a glowing hue to it, appearance is very similar to PtE, no head when the beer was brought to me but from what was there it looked as if it would have a really light, airy, fluffy, bubbly head to it, lacing left on the glass looks awesome, seems as if it is running down the glass instead of sticking, this beer is insanely clear, and there's just something about this beer when you look at it that a lot of time and detail went into this beer and that it will be amazing!

Aroma: Big pine, some dank hops, slight caramel from the malt, it's really hard to make out what citrus/tropical fruits are present because it is blended together so well, the citrus/tropical fruit presence is almost as present as the pine, some orange and grapefruit stand out just barely, you can smell some bitterness and can tell this will finish a little dry. The aroma of this beer will fill any surrounding area you are at instantly, once I was within 10 feet from the outside patio I could smell this beer. The strength and powerful presence of the aroma was incredible and the aroma this beer has is absolutely incredible!

T: Slammed with pine up front and then hit with a rush of dank citrus/tropical fruits that matches the aroma perfectly, in the middle you're hit with a pleasant mildly dry bitterness quickly followed with a perfect balance of pine and the citrus/tropical fruits as well as a perfect amount of the sweet caramel noticed from the nose, the amount of caramel present is just enough to balance the flavors perfectly, then finishes with a perfect dank citrus/tropical and pine combo and slight warmth from the 10.25% ABV as it goes down. This beer is so well balanced in every aspect, and every flavor that you can notice only compliments and enhances other flavors and nuances that you can notice. Great diversity of hops as well, smooth pine, dank, brash, citrus/tropical. They all blend so well together as well. It is almost unreal how this beer can be so out going, and yet so refined and balanced. This definitely ousts Heady Topper and King Sue for me and takes the No.1 for IPA's in my book!

M: This is probably the best aspect of this beer. The slight pine and dank citrus/tropical hop combo lingers for about 10 seconds and then finishes clean not even leaving a trace that you just drank it. It's light-medium bodied, crisp, and finishes just slightly dry leaving you a little thirsty for more. This beer is smooth and drinkable that without the little warmth from ABV you would never know this beer was 10.25% ABV. This will probably be the best finishing IPA I will ever have.

O: If you thought PtE was missing something or needed a little improvement, PtY will not only fulfill those gray areas, it will surpass PtE by miles.

 2,787 characters

Photo of Devi0us
5/5  rDev +6.4%

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

Many Thanks to a very generous trader for hooking me up with this one. I can't thank you enough (!), especially with all the craziness surrounding the release. I split this side by side with Elder (bottled 1/14) with my homie Jeff the other night.

Pours a surprisingly clear orangey amber. Darker than elder, but still has a bit of chill haze. Sturdy white-ish foam has better retention than elder (surprisingly), good spottyish lacing. Very attractive, such an innocent looking beer for a concoction of this magnitude both in its abv and flavor profile. Some of the final pours from the growler sent (hop?) particles into suspension.

Hop aromas are mostly sappy, sticky pine, but a definite woodiness to it (not oak though), first noted by my fellow taster, Jeff. Some tropical fruit and juicy grapefruit. A little booze in the nose is undeniable as it warms with just the slightest sweet malt note through the back. Still, this subtle alcohol note is nowhere near enough to indicate its 11% strength. I really liked the hop profile, but I was expecting it to be slightly more pungent. I'm sure it's a little better on tap at the source, but this was still an excellent aroma. Compared to elder, it was a similar hop profile, but there was actually more caramel in elder's aroma.

Taste is just as great. Very firm bitterness lasts throughout. Great, expressive hop flavor with juicy citrus and pineapple. The most surprising thing about this beer is the mouthfeel. It is substantial as fuck. It would be a 6 if possible. Great and chewy and just so unlike any other DIPA. So naturally, with that amount of residual sugar, there is some caramel malt sweetness mid palate - but it is at times easily overshadowed by the hop blast. Booze is less apparent than in the aroma, but still just hinted at. Once again, nowhere near the 11% which is very impressive. The lasting hop bitterness outplays any booze that might have otherwise been able to linger.

Really drinkable. As soon as I took my first sip I was questioning the 11%, and still questioned it during the last glass I poured. Such a pleasant experience and overall just really an amazing beer. Vinnie continues to amaze the craft beer world with masterful brews like this one. I look forward to trying this in future years and hopefully at the source one day. I am very lucky to have been able to try it and will have to try and find a way to pay back the generous trader who sent it out. Cheers!

 2,459 characters

Photo of Greels
4.36/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of StoneTSR
4.94/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Finally had my first pour of this delicious beer at the Vine Street Pub in Denver back on March 1. It took all of 11 minutes to blow through the 1/6 barrel and the staff there handled it very well - they were awesome.

APPEARANCE: Light, pale and yellow. Slightly lighter than both Blind Pig and Pliny the Elder. The head was perfectly proportioned and very thick and creamy looking, almost like a Boddington's. The lacing was minimal.

SMELL: Grapefruit is the first and most noticeable aroma, but the Younger is very nicely rounded out with some pine, floral notes and a bit of tropical fruit lingering behind it all. The aroma is also strong and according to my notes, perfect.

TASTE: This beer is on the sweet side up front and gently moves towards the bitter end throughout the sip. At no point, however, is this beer overstated in either direction and despite the change in balance, both bitterness and sweetness remain intact for the whole sip. Grapefruit, pine, passion fruit, tropical fruit, everything good about an IPA is packed into this beer.

MOUTHFEEL: Pliny the Younger starts out slightly creamy, but slowly bubbles up to a nice, solid tickly sparkle. It is neither too sweet nor too dry. The finish is a little bitter, but very clean.

OVERALL: This beer lived up to the hype for me. Somehow it is everything a beer should be all at the same time even when it contradicts itself. There is not much to say other than this beer cannot be improved in any category with the minor exception of the appearance; I would have liked to have seen some more lacing and a darker color. When I had the good fortune to come across a second pour at Cheeky Monk, I tasted the Elder next to it and the word that came to mind to describe how Younger is different was "brighter". Pliny the Younger is just a brighter, more alive and even happier beer than the Elder. This was one of the best beers I have ever tasted.

 1,919 characters

Photo of tedgelee
4.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of jh1982
5/5  rDev +6.4%

Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.7 out of 5 with 3,112 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded 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.