Pliny The Younger | Russian River Brewing Company

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Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger
3,137 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: 3,137 |  Reviews: 958
Photo of BeerShman
5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of ritter57
5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of ineva
5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of deebo
4.43/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The reason it took a bit of a wait to get into the brew pub on a Monday night. Not a big fan of the style but had to see what all the fuss is about.

A-Lively carbonation with a ring of white foam. A little bit of haze in this orange/golden colored hop bomb.

S-Tons of hops, apricot and bittering pummel the olfactory faculties.

T-Lots of hop but also lots of pale malt and a touch of honey. Obviously hop forward but surprising not overpoweringly so.

M-Full bodied, more so than Hopslam as a comparison. This one hangs on but not overly bitter. Alcohol is beautifully covered up.

D-Not meant for the long run. Goes really well with the spicy cheddar and jalapeno beer bites at RR.

O-A really solid beer. I guess I can understand why people wait in line for a few hours for a taste. Lots of everything in this beer-hops obviously are the star of the show, but full bodied with plenty of malty goodness. I prefer this one to the elder, has more malt and sweetness to better balance the hops and doesn't leave you feeling like you just sucked on a pine tree.

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Photo of phishsihq
4.92/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It seems that Pliny the Younger comes and goes quicker with each passing year. The beer has been much sought over since being named the Best Beer in America a few years ago. A line formed at 8am at Oskar Blues Homemade Liquid & Solids yesterday for the tapping at 1pm, and easily sold out to the lucky 50 folks that grabbed a ticket. We were among the lucky few, and always are in appreciation of the GREAT hospitality, service, and friendliness of the GREAT folks at Liquid & Solids!

Pliny the Younger pours a very light and crisp golden color, with some amber hues noticeable near the edges. A tiny wisp of white head quickly dissipates, although a clingy lace is present throughout. A rich and powerful bouquet of citrus and piney hop aromas, as well as some grass, become more pronounced as the beer warms, and a certain sweetness encourages you to take that first sip. A wallop of hops hits the pallet immediately, but is very smooth and well-balanced. Grapefruit and other citrusy rinds come to mind, with that sweetness for the nose providing an exceptionally smooth balance, really where the Younger shines through. The body and carbonation are both relatively low, really letting the hoppy gloriness shine through in the 10.75% ABV masterpiece. Russian River is possibly the best brewery in the US right now, with the artfulness of their use of the magical hop and amazing lineup of sour beers. Get this one if you can!

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Photo of basilcrow
5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of Boz12
5/5  rDev +6.4%

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

On-tap at Last Drop Bottle Shop. Seattle, WA. February 18th, 2012.

A: Younger pours a golden orange color with a thin head of creamy white foam. Strong lacing clings to the sides of the glass throughout.

S: The beer has a strong aroma of citrus hops, pine and a small bit of cat urine. Slight bit of caramel malt present, but alcohol is not noticeable in the nose.

T: The initial taste is very fruity citrus hops: grapefruit, orange rind and just a bit of apricot. It's almost like Pliny the Elder turned up to 11. This initial fruit flavor explosion melds into a bit of bitter pine hops and some nice sweet malt. Extremely well-balanced.

M: The beer has a medium mouthful with average carbonation for an IPA. As I stated when discussing the aroma, the alcohol is incredibly well-masked. Unlike 120 Minute IPA, you don't taste the booziness. There is no lingering ethanol here. This beer is so well-balanced that it's hard to pace yourself.

O: Yes, there is hype surrounding this beer. However, it's still a damn good beer. I honestly think it's a slightly more extreme version of Elder flavor and aroma-wise. I don't think it's worth five hours of your life standing in line, but it's still an incredible beer that everyone should try once or twice.

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Photo of Docrock
3.77/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Russian River taproom at 2012 release. Served in a 10 oz glass. Had very high expectations given the hype.

App- No head whatsoever. Color is a nearly transparent gold. Other than the lack of head it was an attractive beer

Sm- Full citrus aroma. Fresh and clean, pleasant but not too heavy hop fragrance.

T- Well balanced hops, citrus, some bitterness and orange peel.Very little sense of the alcohol content. Bitter aftertaste but a good finish overall.

Mf- Smooth, but little sense of any carbonation, seemed a bit thin on the finish. Flavor was appealing.

Ov- A good beer. Not sure if it's worth all the hype. My mates were a bit dissapointed as well but it's still a good beer. Enjoyed the experience and the atmosphere. I would try it again if I could find it, but probaably won't make the 2000 mile trek again. Fortunately ties it into a business trip

I was a little sketchy of the hype and while it's not the best beer in the world by any means, it's still good and the experience and atmosphere was great, a lot of great beer talk at Russian River.


reviewed from personal notes..

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Photo of Thingus
4.43/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Live tasting, on tap @ Barley and Hops Olde Worlde Family Tavern... 10oz. Pour into a mini pint glass..

Appearance; pours a gorgeous, crisp clear golden color, head non-existent but that could be due to the line and be fact that they are preparing the beers in advance... The gold color of this beer is perfect, as if Younger knows it's the #1 beer in the world...

Smell; grapefruit, orange rinds, citrus in general... Not as heavy on the tropical fruit as Pliny the Elder..

Taste; exceptionally smooth, launches right into grapefruit and citrus rinds.. Quite bitter on the finish, moreso than Elder, but certainly not comically so... Good resins and a nice bitter finish. Hides 11% exceptionally well... Smooth and no hints of alcohol or alcohol burn.

Mouthfeel; this is where younger exceeds... Perfect amount of carbonation, but you can definitely sink your teeth into this one... On the lighter side of full bodied... Bitterness plays into the finish beautifully...

Overall; a great beer, and certainly one that I am glad to have experienced, although I don't know that it was worth $1/ounce and a 45 minute wait... I can easily get Pliny the Elder and I feel like Elder is every bit as solid of a beer, and given the price and accessibility is even more enjoyable although I certainly had a great ... I feel like Younger is a great beer, but I am certainly spoiled by the availability of Elder in my area... The experience is awesome, definitely glad i tried it, had some amazing times with friends in line however I don't know I'd endure the madness to try this again...

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Photo of Forb
4.92/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured on-tap at Russian River Brewpub - Santa Rosa, CA...

Appearance: Thin to no head in this 10oz glass. Color is a deep golden just barely capable of being considered translucent. A film of alcohol coats the glass when tilted side to side. Sticky, sticky, sticky is this one.

Smell/Taste: Pliny the Younger packs a PUNCH! in both respects! Lupulin hops come through to the nose with intense vigor letting you prepare for the intensity of the hops within this moderate portion. Citrus, fresh cut grass, and pine blast through. First taste packs a pucker of a hop kick as if to expect a harsh and unsettling finish but this is where Younger proves it's glory and shows you that the finish is surreallyyy smooth!! No compromise whatsoever! Alcohol comes in for a brief moment at the finish but only momentarily at almost 11% ABV.

Mouthfeel: It will definitely take over your palate - so be ready. I know it's Younger and you may worry about it disappearing quickly but maybe grab a brew or two prior just to savor the plethora of goodness on-tap at this location. Full hop body overwhelms the taste buds with the most intensely delicious hop aroma one can possibly imagine - finishing on a level of smooth which can be claimed as easily unparalleled.

Overall: This brewpub is an A++ and this beer stands true to it's reverence. Hop heads rejoice for the beauty that is the Elder's son. Be prepared to have "smooth" redefined!

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Photo of kspongeworthy
5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of huhl23
5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of aliving1
5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of Pwnzilla
5/5  rDev +6.4%

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

Imbibed on tap at The Bistro Double IPA Fest 2/11/12.

Poured a pale golden color, similar to Pliny the Elder with a nice thick head that laces well. Great clarity. Aroma is super piney with citrus notes. Not very floral. Tons of hop oil, but it's not too overwhelming. This beer is most definitely about the hops and it's not afraid to say so. Taste is nothing but hop bitterness at first and a bit of fresh hop oil. Then sweetness comes in to balance things out. The malt is sweet, but not sickly sweet. I got lots of honey biscuit flavor. This is surprisingly well balanced considering the amount of alcohol, malt, and hops that went into it. I could drink this all day.

Wow, this is one beer that lived up to the hype. I'm obviously a huge fan of PtE, so it should come as no surprise that I love PtY as well. But it did come as a surprise, because of all the hype. Even if you didn't know anything about the hype, the scarcity alone would have hyped this beer a little. It's inherent. I was hoping for more of a floral/nectar aroma, but the balance of this beer makes me not care much. This is definitely the best TIPA I've had so far. While I could drink an IPA every day of the week, I don't think I could drink this most days. It's a special beer. And at 11%, it should be treated as such.

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Photo of tjfinkle
3/5  rDev -36.2%

Photo of shwillivanilli
4/5  rDev -14.9%

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

Finally got to try the big one at The Rose & Crown on 2/15. SF Beer Week has been ridiculously epic thus far.

Pours a deep gold, almost amber color that has a nice glow and a finger of white bubbly head with oily lacing.

Smell is dominated by piney and citrusy scents of lemon zest, grapefruit, pineapple and a good bit more dank hops than Elder, with less prominent floral aromas. Alcohol is present but not nearly what ABV would suggest.

First taste is an explosion of pine, earth and spicy hops, followed by lemon, orange, grapefruit, crisp apple, pineapple and salmonberries. Malt imparts only a bit of sweetness. Finishes quite dank and resiny, less floral than expected. ABV is well hidden but noticable. Bitterness builds slowly until the tongue is destroyed but it keeps you coming back for more.

Mouthfeel is probably my favorite part. Nice full body similar to Hopslam but the alcohol gives just enough heat to back up the huge flavors. Finish is semi-dry, a bit slick with just enough sweetness.

It's hard to keep an open mind when trying the most highly hyped beer after spending 45 mins in line to get it, but it really delivers in different ways than I expected. Incredibly drinkable for its bitterness level and ABV. Hard to imagine a hoppy beer getting much better.

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Photo of leschkie
4/5  rDev -14.9%

Photo of HoppySuds
5/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of seanmonaghan13
4.5/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of RViator325
3/5  rDev -36.2%

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

Enjoyed on tap at the Parkway Tavern on 2/16/12. An awesome night for beer lovers with the Elder and the Younger on tap, and the Younger was free!

Appearance: Bright, translucent gold color with small white head.

Smell: Citrus hops jumped out of the glass with a sense of freshness that had me ready for my first taste of this elusive beer. No alcohol detected by my nose.

Taste: As expected, citrus hops jumped at me on the front end, with a bigger hop profile than the Elder and intense grapefruit/orange flavor. Despite the hop dominance, this mellowed rather quickly for me due to its superb balance. Finished crisp, dry, and left some bitterness on my tongue that wasn't puckering.

Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel that had appropriate carbonation for this style. The thing that sticks out to me is how well the alcohol is masked. It's drinkability had me wanting to pick the glass up right after I had set it down after each sip. Really had to pace myself and savor it.

Overall: While there is always going to be some degree of "hype" associated with something that is brewed once a year with extremely limited distribution, this beer does not disappoint. This is a special concoction that is worth getting a taste of, especially if you are an IPA lover.

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Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.7 out of 5 with 3,137 ratings