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: 929 | Ratings: 2,970
Photo of Gargamel92886
4.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

At first I was concerned this beer would not live up to the hype. It did.

A: Straw colored, clear with thin white head

S: mild, citrusy

T: hoppy, not overly bitter

M: nice, crisp, fine carbonation

D: very drinkable. The alcohol hides so nicely within the beer, I didn't notice it until I stood up.

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Photo of HatTrick
4.15/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Was able to do a nice vertical of the Blind Pig, Pliny the Elder, and Pliny the Younger.

A: Nice garnet hue with no head. Swirling it around in my glass - it looks rather thick.

S: Smells sweet and syrupy, reminds me of stone fruit.

T: Nice sweet aftertaste of cherries. Overall it was very sour - you can taste the hops. Unfortunately the bar where I had this has sat on the keg for a few weeks before taping it. When I had this about a month ago in Portland it was really splendid - a nice and fresh taste of hops hops hops! The color was a bit lighter and the aroma very citrusy and fruity. Although it wasn't as fantastic this last time it still was an exceptional IPA.

M: Nicely carbonated. A good balance.

D: Not too bad to drink but the 11% abv was a bit much for me - can't drink too much! But in small quantities for those of us with lighter-alcohol tolerances it was quite grand! Personally I don't adore lots of hops but that is just me. I don't think this is the best beer ever and rather liked PTE don't shoot me for it! But I can see why others think it is a gift from the beer gods. Great beer though!

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Photo of ThoreauLikeAGirl
4.48/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer a couple of times at tappings throughout the Philadelphia area.
Review is based off of memory - which I have retained very well due to the amazingness of this beer.

Poured from tap into a tulip glass. About a 10 oz pour.
The color of this beer is amazing. Looks like liquid gold - orange and bright. Not any real head to this. no lacing.

Smell was of very strong citrus fruits, pineapple and whole leaf hops. The citrus was dominating. Very pleasant. Could smell the thing immediately when placed in front of me from 2 feet away.

Taste was glorious. I have NO IDEA how this beer is 11% abv. Dangerous. No real indication of alcohol burn in this, that you would expect from a beer this high in abv. Citrus hops, bitter, but very well-balanced bitterness. A bit of malt in the background.

Overall, this is the best triple IPA out there. Very enjoyable, and mandatory try for any hophead. Definitely worth the hype.

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Photo of Rastacola
4.5/5  rDev -3.6%

A phenomenal beer. A little sweet, but that sweetness carefully balances the beer and the high ABV. This beer is very hyped up and very deserving of it. I'd love to sit and drink multiple in a calm setting rather than a hectic Philly bar.

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Photo of jow_42
4.78/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

8oz pour @ Pizza Port Carlsbad during the Younger tapping

A - Pours a dark amber color. No head on the glass we got since they were pouring and walking them out to us. It had dissipated by the time we got it. Looks very similar to Elder.

S - Sweet hops. Tropical fruits, pine. The 11% is no where to be found.

T - I must say this is the smoothest triple I have ever had. Again, sweet hops up front, lots of pineapple, underneath the sweetness is a piney, resinous, dank note. People say its like Elder cranked up, and I can see that. As it warmed, much more bitterness came out, as well as some candied orange.

O - Did this live up to the hype? Yes. Its delicious. Best triple I have had. Would I wait hours on hours for a small pour of this? Probably not.

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Photo of Jbagel1
4.69/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This was my first time having the Pliny the Younger. We've all heard about how great this beer was, but many of us haven't had the chance to have one.. Some would say its not worth the lines you'd have to wait for a glass or its price. Maybe some would hate on its hype. This beer is worth all its hype! its such a light triple IPA. Nothing like any other 10% beer I've had before. Looks and smells amazing. its darker then I thought it would be. The hype is so real.

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

After missing my chance at this brew last year and the year before, I finally committed to making a trip to the source. I waited in line exactly seven hours to get in.

A - A golden, yellow color that looks exactly how a great IPA should.

S - Not quite as aromatic or strong as I imagined it would be, considering how Pliny the Elder really has a powerful aroma. Still, you get a strong sense of piney hops and citrus.

T - I don't think a beer this strong could taste any better or go down any smoother. No surprise that this brew is an absolute hop bomb, so if that's not your thing, I wouldn't....well no, even if you don't like hoppy brews, you should still try this one. By the time I got to my third glass, however, the taste of the alcohol began to get stronger and a bit overpowering, so take your time and enjoy the first few you have.

M - Not so thick that you can't drink them quickly, but not so thin that you can pound them down without savoring them.

As I was drinking, I began to wonder if I could be even critical of any beer that I waited in line seven hours for, as it might be too depressing. But no, this beer is deserving of the hype. If you have a day to kill, get there early and bring a book, you don't want to go your whole life without trying this beer.

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

On draught at Oskar Blue's Liquids and Solids in Longmont, Co. Poured into an 8oz snifter.

A: Deep gold with amber hues but more on the bright side of amber then the dark. Solid head retention that fades into a spiderweb like lacing on the glass.

S: Massive piney hops is the first aroma to hit your senses. It's as if you too a wiff of the biggest pine tree in existance and let the flavor wash over you. Touches of citrus grapefruit also take shape behind the chronic and pine notes.

T: Massive pine to match the nose. Comes across somewhat sticky and resinous but the bitter is truly there. Citrus fruit such as mango and pineapple are present but pine and chronic flavors are dominate. The malt is solid and doesn't subdue the hops but instead balances them very well.

M: Because of the prefect malt backbone this beer weighs heavy on the palate. Top of mouth is coated but the bitterness creeps from the back of the palate to the front. Citrus notes linger on the middel of the tongue and the finish just doesn't stop. Almost no booziness present.

D: Having the oppurtunity to taste this beer is up there with getting superbowl tickets. It's worth the time, effort, and money. It's exceptional in all standings for what an Imperial IPA should be. It's not over hopped nor is it over malted, it's perfectly balanced- just like all the beers RR does. I only wish it were made more often or in higher quantities because 8oz's is just not enough.

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Photo of islandboi8204
4.7/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Bishop's Collar.

Pours clear golden orange color, fluffy white head that recedes quickly. Streaky lacing down the glass.

Smells like pine, fresh-cut grass, tangerine, apples, grapefruit, and a little mango, pineapple. A ton of hops with some malt in the background.

Tastes like fresh hops, sweet tropical fruit flavors, but also malt to balance. Alcohol well masked, nice and dry. The finish is incredibly long and lingering. Wonderful.

Mouthfeel is medium viscosity, reasonable carbonation. Smooth and creamy, with a little stickiness.

Overall, this met the hype for me. I had this alongside Hopslam, and while Hopslam had more tropical fruit/pineapple notes, it was way too sweet and syrupy compared to PtY. Very drinkable, so smooth, everything I love about Pliny the Elder but more extreme. I hope to enjoy this again next year.

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Photo of Rfunk
4.92/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Had on draft at RRBC last Friday. Served on-draft and into a 10oz Nonic tumbler.

A- Light golden, but not quite straw colored, and commercial clear, which surprised me for the amount of hops used. (no hop haze) Very impressed with the clarity.

SM- So much going on on the nose. Tons of citrus fruit; lemon, and grapefruit mostly, followed by a resin and piney finish. Little to no malt character is picked up in the aroma.

T- Very good balance between the malts and hops, but the malt flavors are the first to come through. Very light sweet, followed by a long linger of hop flavor and bitterness on the back end of things. Definitely get tons of Centennial and Simcoe in there.

MF- Smooth, crisp and clean. As usual with Vinnie's IPA's...

OA- Was really hoping it would not be a let down, especially after a 2.5 hour drive and then 3.5 hours in line, and it was not. Very clean and refreshing mouthfeel, tons of hop bouquet on the nose with mixes of citrus and pine, and a great malt presence that hides the alcohol and balnces the bitter backbone very well. A must try!

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Photo of ThaddeusGhostal
4.89/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Had this beer at a keg tap at toronado in san Diego. Three glasses down and I was feeling a really good buzz. Waited an hour and a half to get it with two extra glasses on top. Totally worth it. The mouthfeel is so intense, it goes down like a creamy citrus sparkly firework. The taste is very similar to pliny the elder with a lot more mouthfeel and even smoother which is odd but I'll take it! Had a great time waiting in line and drinking with the people I met in line. Totally worth it. It's the experience coupled with great beer that just makes it all come together for a hell of a time. Any true beer fan should aspire to taste this beer. Til next year, cheers!

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Photo of Benjo87
4.8/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

On tap at tornado, San Fransisco. For an Aussie, this feels like I've hit the holy grail.

Look - looks like liquid gold in a glass. Minimal head. Fairly clear golden colour

Smell - wow. You don't even need to put your nose to the glass. Juicy juicy hops. No alcohol at all present. Smells amazingly juicy.

Taste - smooth smooth smooth. You'd never know how strong it was. So well balanced. Not a dry beer at all. The taste lingers. All in all it definitely lived up to expectation. Amazingly well balanced beer.

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Photo of chefscott79
4.87/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

So I finally got to try this at hollingshead

apperance..a deep gold with touches of orange head goes away easily...

smell...good lord I love the smell of this beer smells like super fresh hops and super citrusy

taste...just like the smell...I want more now as I type this review

drinkabliity...well I could drink this all day....well if I had a higher alcohol tolerence

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Photo of ajsdad06
4.74/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler sent by joeneugs (the last year they sold growlers-rating from notes)

Pours a clear dark golden/orange color with a medium sized off white head. There was a big pop when we opened the growler.

The aroma was everything I would want in a DIPA: an explosion of hops containing pine, pineapple, clementine, apricot, resin, ...! Some touches of caramel malt sweetness, but this is about the hops.

The flavor brings much of the same: pine, resin, citrus, lemon, grapefruit, pineapple, and caramel malts to try and off-set the bitterness. The alcohol remains hidden throughout. Medium, somewhat oily texture, dry, so easy to drink; great mouthfeel.

I had wanted to try this since I joined the site and it did not disappoint. This is everything a DIPA should be and more. My next step is to make it out to the San Fran area when it is on tap and have it as fresh as possible.

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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 Habmike
4.77/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to klevelandrocks, marshalzhukov, and craytonic for all sharing growlers with me this year!

reviewed 2/8/10

beautiful golden with great clarity, bubbles, head retention. White frothy head.

Wicked citrus and hoppy aroma. Smells like cali bud.

Invasive and penetrating hops ninjas entering my chest cavity. Tastes similar to hopslam after it drank the ooze. Little to no heat whatsoever. Great drink! Really glad this one wasn't a let down in flavor.

A bit oily in the mouth (expected). Syrupy and carbonated. Without the carbonation it would come down below a 4 in mouthfeel but it helps a bunch.

This one goes deep and stays there, great drink!

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

At long last. Enjoyed a half pint on tap at Falling Rock. It was worth the wait. Pours a beautiful golden color with a nice, frothy head. It almost smelled better than it tasted, extremely fragrant floral, piney aroma.

Great mouthfeel, lots of body, somewhat sticky. Taste is a flavor explosion, strong notes of citrus fruit and pine. This is the most well-balanced beer I've ever tasted. The alcohol was extremely well hidden, and virtually undetectable. A beer that you could literally drink all day..dangerous.

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Photo of Samichlaus82
3.78/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is clear, light amber in color, with a thin white head that leaves minimal lacing around the glass. Aroma is bursting with grapefruit and hops, with notes of sweet honey, caramel & fruit. Taste is sweet caramel malt upfront, mildly piney in the mid-palate, with a slightly bitter hop finish. Not too hoppy though. Very rich & well balanced. Mouthfeel is light in body, smooth, & again slightly bitter in the finish. Overall, is it the best Imperial IPA in the world? That’s subjective; I see how people could think so. I think it’s pretty damn good, but I tried it in a blind tasting among other DIPA’s, and it certainly wasn’t my favorite. The hype plays a lot into this. Still, extremely glad I got to try this!

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Photo of Homebrewpat
4.84/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Was abosolutely thrilled to get this beer on draft at the Bishops collar in Philly. Unfortunately they only ended up giving out % oz samples. Still great to try. Nose is Elder on steroids more pine, more tropical. As perfect a mouthfeel as I've had from an IPA. Taste is sublime. Amazingly balanced between bitter hops and biscuit y malt. hope to get a full glass soon.

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Photo of remingtonsteele1987
4.85/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had the Younger on two separate occasions at the same establishment with consistent results limited to two 5oz tulip tasting glasses. Clear, light amber color with little head. Sweet vanilla, orange and papaya nose with just the slightest, slightest hint of barnyard animal aromas, but in a good way. Creamy, rounded and well balanced flavors of vanilla, citrus and tropical fruit with just the right amount of hops. Had a pint of the Elder next to the Younger for comparison purposes and I can say the Younger is no comparison. Big, big triple IPA with smooth and delicate features. Delicious!

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Photo of Orangevango
4.54/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Quite clear with a smallish head that dissipates quickly leaving a little bit of foam around the edge of the glass. This beer smells fabulous. To quote a friend "if hops had a vagina this is what it would smell like" The fresh, grassy, grapefruity, cleanliness of this aroma is what I want to reek of when I get out of the shower. (even though I would probably find myself only able to attract middle-aged fat and/or balding men with beards). The flavor follows the smell, though it is not as complex or nearly so orgasmic. Super-dry and bracingly bitter, I would even say that the bitterness is a bit over the top, but only a bit. The mouthfeel is unremarkable, acceptable levels of carbonation... not tannic or anything.

I kinda stopped taking notes at this point because I got enthralled by actually consuming this beer. It is made for drinking, that much is for sure, but my two glasses sent me straight to bed... yummy stuff.

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Photo of JRO
4.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is one of the few that is worth the hype. Had it on a sample flight that included Row-two, Blind Pig, The Elder, and The Younger: all exceptional beers, but the Younger sort of blew them away compared side to side.
Incredible aroma, so smooth and well balanced....really hard to believe this is an 11% beer. Can't really say anything bad about it. If you get a chance, it's worth the wait.

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Photo of CraftyJoseph
4.8/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Had it on tap at Tustin Brewing During the Pliny the Younger Week!

This was my second time having this beer within 2 years and I have to say this batch was the best thus far.

A: Like Elder

T: Amazing hoppy goodness!

Overall: I did not find much of a flaw in this beer

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Photo of pkasten
4.32/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this one on tap at the Horse Brass pub in Portland.

a: bright golden color with a slight haze to it

s: bright, piney and floral hop character, but not as agressively hoppy as expected.

t: surprisingly well balanced. big hop flavors, but with enough malt that it's not at all overly hoppy. expected this to be a bit hot at 11%, but just a little hint of warmth.

m: medium bodied, fairly sticky, with the agressive hop coating lingering on the palate for several minutes.

d: again, better than expected for such a huge beer, but I don't think I would want more than one in a sitting.

overall: a really excellent imperial IPA, but I'm not so sure it's deserving of such hype. I felt that batch one of this year's Deschutes Hop Henge was stickier, prettier, and generally more agressive.

if this wasn't so rare and expensive, I'd happily have one now and then, but given the extreme hype and price tag, I don't think this is something I'd seek out again.

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Photo of t8s8l8
4.48/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

At the bar on my phone so won't make this too long

Pliny has this great dank aroma subtle fruitiness some mango, a little catiness. The thing I love about a lot of rr beers is they all fo.ish dry. The hop bit number the middle of the tongue a bit. Great clarity. A bit malty but definitely need ING with this beer beer. Wasn't sure what too expect. Though I would not wait in line for a taste I would seek out. Glad I had it in 10 oz Serving.

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Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
4.67 out of 5 based on 2,970 ratings.
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