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 KnowYourCraft
5/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

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Photo of M_chav
4.84/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Absolute blast at Russian River this year, younger is nothing short of amazing
Sweet nectar - big bold body and it's heavy for sure. somehow Russian River did their magic to Younger and made it Elder on steroids.. all the qualities of Elder are boldly doubled or tripled or whatever to make this creation. Totally hidden alcohol, just sweet perfection

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Photo of MalibuKenny
4.73/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Draft tap pour at Toronado SD into tulip glass

L: once the condensation cleared, so did the IPA. 100% visibility, with thin but lingering ring, lightly clinging to the glass

S: I'm so surprised there is not a distinct smell to this iconic IIPA. If you blindfold me i would say this is Elder

T: They said "It gets better with age," but let me tell you there is a clear winner between Younger and Elder. Malt and hop ratio, uninterrupted.

F: That medium malt start the show, for the headline hops to bring the crowd (taste buds) to climax.

O: With every sip, the feel reenforce your belief, that all the anticipation and the eagerness while waiting in line, has been awarded properly.

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

Simply the best beer I've ever had, amazingly smooth just right the amount of bitterness. It feels easier to drink than the elder which surprised me, considering it has a higher alcohol content. I was worried by all the hype but it was completely justified to me due to how great it was.

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

Finally hit our city of San Diego. Had the pleasure of drinking 3 of these bad boys. Was also comparing it side by side with Pliny the Elder. Pretty amazing how RR can make the Younger taste like Elder and pack in 5% more ABV. Excellent beer!

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

this was by far the greatest beer I have ever tasted in my life the smell was of nothing but tropical fruits papaya pineapple passion fruit mangos some grapefruit the flavor was of the same nothing but tropical fruits and so so so smooth what an amazing beer Russian River the wait was worth it

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Photo of E1337JERK
4.92/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Amazing beer. cool I got some only wait a little over 3 hrs with good company. Like having my mouth ran trew a forest and calling me back for more best beer ive ever had.

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

Two glasses at the Bistro's 15th Annual Double IPA Festival. An excellent beer, and extremely well-balanced. Great mouthfeel, like silk. That said, I think the rarity is partly responsible for such high ratings.

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Photo of MisSigsFan
4.54/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A really really well made and balanced TIPA. The hype kind of ruined it for me. It was good, but there are many "triple" IPAs that you can get that are just as good or better. Simtra, Hoparillo, and RuinTen come to mind immediately. Younger might have been the first of its kind, but these days there's not much to separate it from the rest of the crowd. Like Elder, it showcases a similar piney/grapefruity character and honestly if I didn't know it was 10.25% I wouldn't have known. The sweet malts hint at the higher ABV but there is no booziness to it at all. I think I waited about 30 minutes to try it, and I'm glad I got to try it, but probably not worth it again.

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Photo of PabloSanDiego
4.86/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Drinking it now at Stone Escondido for the second straight year. The hype is over the top but it really almost lives up to the hype. It's perfectly balanced and not sweet or malty despite the high ABV. And the hops aren't overpowering. Just really well done.

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Photo of fenixtx423
4.85/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Truly a phenomenal beer. More sticky hop flavor than the Elder, but just as drinkable. Younger had more pine/earth/spice flavors than Elder, and a bit less Simcoe tropical fruit flavor. The kicker with this beer is really the smooth low body palate cleansing drinkability combined with over the top delicious hop flavors and ABV. The only thing that keys you in to the ABV with this beer is a slight warming sensation about 5 seconds after each sip.

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

May not be worth standing in the rain for 12 hours, but it is a perfect example of a strong IPA. Think of Pliny the elder, but more rounded with even brighter hop profile. Beautiful nose, and extremely smooth considering the ABV. The legend may be exaggerated, but not by much.

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Photo of ESCO138
4.96/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Lives up to the hype in every aspect, unfortunately the hype and wait makes it hard to taste for nearly everyone. The only TIPA I can consume with ease.

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

Best IPA I've ever tasted. I've had a lot of IPA's over the years and nothing comes close to Younger (imo) it could be my Cali bias but you can not beat the fresh hop taste of this one.

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Photo of mig100
4.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Notes from my time at the bar with The Younger:

L: Pours a beautiful slightly cloudy gold with 1/4" micro bubbly, fluffy head that settles to a small bubbly ring around the glass. Sticky lace and huge legs linger on the glass.

S: Massive waves of intensely fresh hops and pine permeate the air around the glass, with some very slight tropical aroma coming through, as well as some subtle crackery/biscuity malt.

T: Taste follows the aroma... cleansing and pristine pine-fresh hops, slight citrus and lemongrass with a strong bready malt base that hits at the back of the tongue. The balance between all of the flavors is really nothing short of incredible.

M: Crisp and dry, with no booze detectable whatsoever (at 11%!), perfectly highlights the flavor balance.

Overall: A more realized and brighter version of Elder. PtY checks all boxes and then some. The benchmark imperial/triple IPA. 'Lupulin Threshold Shift' be damned.

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Photo of DudeBeerYaBro
5/5  rDev +7.1%

smell: like a brighter version of elder. hops up front, giving way to more hops...residual sweetness.
taste: booyah. piny, earthy hops up front. quick burst of citrus fruit in the middle, finish long and dry with a pleasant balanced bitterness.

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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 tom_ogasawara
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a perfect beer for IPA lovers. The Younger is to the Elder as the Elder is to Sierra Nevada. (I'm not saying Sierra Nevada is bad; RR is just in a different league.) The beer is perfectly carbonated with such a deep and complex flavor that it should by all rights be undrinkable, yet the mouth feel is so smooth and luxurious you'd think you were drinking a stout or something.

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Photo of BarrelAgedG
4.83/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had in a bottle at my house.. Hardee har har.. I stood in line for 6 hours on Monday Feb 17th.. Had to save my notes for this to be the 100th beer.

A: perfect hazy orange color that only left a little bit of head by the time my glasses got to me

S: smells of citrus and a small amount of pine.. I would argue that this is the exact smell that any "IPA" should shoot for

T: same as the smell.. Citrus and a little pine.. Very smooth and well balanced

M: I would say medium.. Ideal mouthfeel for IPA

O: obviously 1 of the highest rated IPA's and after getting to try it very well deserved.. Was lucky enough to have a non-drinking buddy that lives in CA take me and get 6 instead of the mandated 3.. Also lucky that he was cool enough to run to another bar and grab us burgers while we were in line or I would have been in trouble.. Big shout out to the coolest guy I know.. Thanks again Z!! Probably won't do it again cuz the wait was unrealistic but if you haven't had it it is worth doing once.. Very well done Russian River

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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 SaucedBoss
4.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I was very excited to try this beer. I may have been too excited and ended up building it up too much in my head. While this is a great beer, it is not worth the effort off waiting in long lines to try it. I actually prefer the elder more than the younger. I'm glad I tried it and obviously I recommend anyone who hasn't tried it to do so. But next year I'll stick with the elder.

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

Drank at the bar at Russian River on superbowl Monday! The wait on Sunday was eight hours, Monday night I walked right in and sat at the bar.

Tasting against Pliny the Elder, Pliny the Younger is crisp, somehow light?, and just delicious. It is amazing that it has so much alcohol. Compare too against the syruping, nearly chewy 120 minute Dogfish head IPA - Pliny the Younger is clear and good and just so, so drinkable.

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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 mdlb44
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the perfect imperial IPA in my opinion. It deserves a 5 for so many reasons. Perfectly balanced, great mouth feel, with that perfect TIPA kick at the end. Hop forward but nice and smooth. Perfect

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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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Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
4.67 out of 5 based on 3,054 ratings.
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