Pliny The Younger | Russian River Brewing Company

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Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger
3,165 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
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Ratings: 3,165 |  Reviews: 963
Photo of quirkzoo
4.94/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Special thanks to Paul for getting a ticket and sharing his pour.

The first time I had Elder on tap it was the first 5 I gave for appearance, it was a brilliant glowing orange. The snifter of Younger was a bit duller, still looked good, I just couldn't give it a 5.

The smell, oh the smell. Straight hops. Just like opening a bag of hops to brew with. Tons of bright citrus and pine, Lemons, grapefruit, citrus, just a touch of dank-ness. So complex, so much going on, so strong. This is really nice. From memory it seems just a bit more intense than Elder but only fractionally so.

The taste. How do they do that? All the hops from the aroma with a strong bracing bitterness and a dryness that cleanses the palate. The hop flavor is so pure, no vegetalness or any other flavor that detracts from the hops.

The mouthfeel. For me, this is what separates this beer from others. 11% and it drinks like 3%. I could sip on this all day long. No harsh characteristics or burn, just easy drinking hop juice.

Overall a phenomenal beer. Definitely better than elder but elder is so good it is hard to be much better. I was glad to take off work a bit early to enjoy this but in my opinion it is not so much better than elder that it justifies the type of crazy things people do to try it. Very grateful I got the chance to try it.

 1,326 characters

Photo of cocoapuph
5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of yuriruley
4.5/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of Knapp85
4.67/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well... It took a few years to get it but I finally did and I'm honestly glad that I did. Not only was I able to have the Younger but I had the Elder to pair with which was perfect. This beer poured out as a really nice looking golden copper color with a thin white head on top. The lacing isn't too sticky on this which I was surprised. The smell of the beer is loaded up with tropical fruits, pine and other forms of hop aromas. There isn't much in the way of malt coming off this bad boy on the nose. The taste of this beer is big. It's much easier to taste the massive different between the Younger & Elder when having them side by side. Younger lingers on the tongue for a very extended amount of time which keeps the beer in the glass for a longer period of time (which I personally enjoy). The flavors of pine and tingling hop flavors just cut into your taste buds leaving you with cotton mouth almost immediately after the first sip. The mouthfeel of this beer is a bit heavier than the Elder. It's little bit more oily too. Overall this beer is something that I'm proud to say that I got to try finally. I'm even more glad that I compare the two with each other. I can see now why people like the Elder better than the Younger simply based on the drinkablity. The younger is something that needs to be enjoyed over a good amount of time where the Elder is more session-able even though it's not. I wouldn't decline either Pliny on any day, I enjoy both beer a lot and I look forward to the next time I get to have this beer again.

 1,539 characters

Photo of keanlacrosse
4.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of tomfneph
4.83/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I was in San Diego for a conference and I dragged my wife to Toronado's for valentine's day. (she doesn't really like beer). The place was packed and I noticed everyone was drinking the same thing. I saw the Pliny the Younger tap and laughed a little to my wife about it. The bartender said it was no joke, they had it unadvertised. Talk about serendipity!!!! We drank it from wine glasses. (yes, even my non beer drinking spouse liked this one!). It did not have a head. The beer is a beautifully distinctive strawberry blond color. The aroma is citrusy hops. The taste is the same. This beer is the essence of west coast hops but it is not bitter. (this is why the girls like it and other enthusiasts like the elder better). How do they get all that hop flavor without the bitterness? This is the genius if this brew. I favor stout beers so this won't be the best in the world for me, but it is damn good, and probably is the best in it's class. Drink it if you can get it!!!

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Photo of b2611
5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of haazer
4.55/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

First beer(of course) at the Blue Dog event.

A- very pretty golden brew, orange highlights and loads of bubbles. Good carbonation. Lacing all over the glass.

S- Very fruity. Mango, pineapple, pine sap, kiwi. Incredible nose. No malt in here! Aggressive hop aroma all throughout.

T- Its a toss up here between the nose. Very bitter, biting hop flavor. The fruit is orange peel, mango and some honeydo. Sticky syrup, strong pine needles. The hops blend very to me as floral and earthy in profile. No abv detected.

M- Ever so smooth and crisp. Light to medium body and high carbonation. Sticky mouthfeel, coating my teeth. The best part of the beer for me.

O- Two four oz pours didn't do this justice. Incredibly drinkable. What sets this apart from other beers I feel is it really has no flaws. Is it the best beer in the world? I'd say no, better then elder? That's a toss up. Grateful I got to try this though. Blue Dog handled this event very well.

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Photo of 72hw
4.44/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

So Pliny The Younger... is it worth the hype? Maybe. Do I like Pliny The Elder better? Absolutely.

So why? Even though the Younger is triple hopped, the flavors and character of the Elder come through much more loud and clear. Pliny The Younger is a remarkable beer for its smoothness and crisp finish, but it lacks the unique Something that The Elder has in spades.

Does The Younger deserve the 100 rating from Beer Advocate? A reserved YES. The Younger is by far one of the best beers I have ever drank, but the score of 100 needs to be measured against The Elder which is far and away the better brew IMHO.

How do I justify the rating? If not for the high alcohol content, this would be my perfect sessionable beer bar none. No lingering taste, no overwhelming breath, ample flavor and a delightful feel from lip to throat - The Younger is truly a World Class Beer as far as I am concerned.

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Photo of roblund
4.5/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of drnoodles
5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of spdyfire83
4.89/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

200th Review
Served in a Fuller's half pint tulip
500mL flip top bottle

HUGE thanks to ricoch3t for bottling this up and sending it across the pond - you are a true gentleman and scholar my friend (especially considering how much I miss proper American DIPAs)!

In order to properly review this beer (again), I had to get "dressed up" for the occasion - i.e. putting on my PtY work shirt that I scored from RR while visiting last May. This definitely added to the experience since I was enjoying the beer alone since I couldn't convince anyone in Dublin to meet up.

A: Bright apple juice color. A few soft bubbles, but no real head per se on a vigorous pour. I assume that has something to do with the 10-day trek from the Rockies to the Emerald Isle.

S: Heavenly! Hop oils, pine, citrus, and more hops.

T: Burst of hops from the start followed by oily/piney middle to back with very nice citrus fruit. So, so excellent!

M: Fully bodied with almost no carbonation. Thick and chewy. The greatness sticks around for a bit which is awesome!

O: Standing ovation...still! I was a bit nervous about how this would hold up over the journey of 4,000+ miles from Denver to Dublin, but it made the trip just fine and came out swinging. If you haven't tried this, make it happen! It is worth the sacrifice and search. If you can make it happen, you will not be disappointed. If you are, send the rest to me!

 1,403 characters

Photo of tlbarsh
4.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of kbhess
5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of Giantspace
4.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of UncleBumpy
5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of egshaun
4.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of spicelab
4.54/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Day 1 of the Younger [email protected] River, 3rd Feb. Reviewed from notes cobbled together the next day in a somewhat hungover state.

Clear apricot with a steady bead and minimal head - however the half-pint serving vessels filled to the rim all but exclude a reasonable head assessment.

Dark, brooding aromas of rockmelon, orange, guava, passionfruit and pineapple.

Flavours follow the nose, but become more animated - especially from the 3rd glass on. Bitterness hits early but the magnitude of the flavours makes it seem quite sane. The bizarrest part is that it seems to become more drinkable and moreish with each glass.

The hop oils provide a delightful chewiness, yet the mouthfeel is generally middle of the road in all respects - carbonation, bitterness and evenness.

Amazing how well it works. Ordeal by hops that is devilishly addictive. The more you have the more you want. Started out not super impressed with this, but by the 6th glass I felt increasingly like a dog with a bone. Lacks just a little complexity in my eyes to be truly mindblowing.

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Photo of islandboi8204
4.7/5  rDev 0%
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 Hopnug
5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of kdb150
4.16/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had twice on tap in Philly. Really glad I got to try it twice. Went into it not buying the hype, and while it exceeded my expectations, it's nowhere close to the best beer in the world. Review is based mainly on the 8 oz. tulip of Younger I scored at Resurrection Ale House. Kudos to Brendan and Leigh for doing it right!

A - pale orange, with a bit of white head, which quickly receded to a mere ring, although lacing was somewhat impressive given the lack of retention. Carbonation was what you would expect from a beer this big.

S - this is where Younger really shines. Slight bit of bitter hops gives way to a wonderful citrus hop aroma, accentuated by a nectary, honey note in the background. Strong and balanced, the insane amount of dry hopping has a definite payoff in the aroma. Well done.

T - flavor follows the nose. Massive citrus notes blend well with the honey and malt backbone. There isn't much bad to say about the flavor, but it didn't wow me the way you'd expect from all the hype. The overall lack of cloying bitterness was a welcome surprise considering this is a west coast IPA, but since I'm used to a maltier, more balanced IPA experience here on the east coast, this isn't anything new to me. Good for sure, but not a revelation by any means.

M - a bit thin, as is typical for a big IPA, though it did leave a lasting film on the tongue which gave it a pleasant aftertaste, for a while. It became less pleasant as it lingered.

O - A very good beer, but not quite world class. Not up to the hype by any means, but worth seeking out if you can score a pour without elbowing your way through a crowd.

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

Had on-tap at Monk's in Philadelphia, PA. Poured a clear golden orange color with a whispy/fluffy thin white head that receded fairly fast, leaving streaky lacing on the glass. The aroma was pretty heavenly. Tropical fruits, citrus, pine...very enticing. Taste starts off sweet with a strong taste of grapefruit/mango/citrus, and finishes a bit dry with a resinous taste. It is bitter/dry, but not overly so and the hop profile is VERY well-balanced and IMO damn near perfect. Drinks pretty well considering the ABV. Medium in body...honestly, worth the hype.

I had this side-by-side with Blind Pig and Pliny the Elder and honestly I preferred Pliny the Younger. It's a unique, delicious beer that I hope to enjoy again next year.

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Photo of Rconn006
4.5/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of jorgemir
5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of hpthebull
4.5/5  rDev -4.3%

Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.7 out of 5 with 3,165 ratings