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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,080 |  Reviews: 946
Photo of BlakeMatt
5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of zchall23
5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of John11486
5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of SDDanC
4.73/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Toronado SD. 10oz pour into goblet. Pours a hazy, golden color with think silky head. Moderate lacing. Nose is fresh pine, but not the pungent bitter pine expected. Sticky resinous character in the nose, primarily alongside the sweet caramel smell. Citrus notes, grapefruit and lemon, some melon. Taste is much the same, instantly bitter upfront but unarguably fleeting in character. Bitterness subsides to resinous pine, almost like young pine bud. Caramel sweetness coats the mouth while the alcohol warmness becomes apparent. What a fantastic balance of strong piney hop flavors with the sweet alcohol layer. Carbonation is moderate, the amount is juuuust right. Slightly astringent. But ever so slight it is. Mouthfeel is sticky and a tad dry. Overall, lives up to the hype as a very, very good triple ipa. Excellent proportions of piney hop abundance and sweet malty layers.

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Photo of geoffsm12
4.5/5  rDev -3.6%

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

From Russian River brewery at 11.30 am on Monday morning. This is the earliest I've had a drink in years.

Appearance: Golden honey amber color. Younger is glowing in the glass. It's slightly. Not much a head though my wife's glass did have a thin creamy head that laced up the glass with it's sticky residue.

Smell:The aroma is a resiny dank hop opera. It is big and bold in all the right ways. This ale smells so fresh. I pick up big lemony citrus and peach.

Taste: The taste is immediately bitter but this bitterness isn't cloying at all. It's smooth, menthol-like and refreshing. The bitterness vanishes in a subtle way. The tropical fruit flavors linger on my tongue. Bright grapefruit. Slight grassy notes in the secondary. I can't taste the alcohol. Amazingly played Russian River.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is smooth,resfreshing and creamy. Full flavored but light and drinkable. This is a real bold ale.

Overall: Pliny the Younger taste terrific. The balance between a high ABV and ridiculous bitterness is managed perfectly. The price is good at $4.50 for a 10 oz. snifter and the wait wasn't even long. A must drink ale for any northern, CA hophead.


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Photo of angelmonster
4.57/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes on phone, feb 2011 at Freshcraft in Denver

Pours a golden yellow straw colored body, with a 1 finger white head. Lacing is outstanding and head retention is good.

Smell is of intense pine, resinous marijuana, tropical fruits like pineapple and mango. Also some sweet malts and for 11 percent no alcohol was detected. A year later I can still remember the amazing aroma that filled the somewhat small bar as dozens of glasses of Younger were simultaneously poured.

Taste is complex, full on hops though. First there's resinous floral weed, then pineapple and citrus juice, followed by bitter lime and ending with sweet malts and faint booze.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and well carbonated. Head was present for abit and had some substance.

Drinkability is very good. Went through glass fast, this is a hop heads wet dream. Just enough malt and booze to counter the bitterness. One of the best hop forward beers made, just wish it wasnt such a hassle to get, looking forward to trying some soon

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

Tasted this on Superbowl Sunday (Feb 4th) at 11:00 am, only waited in line for 1.5 hours so I feel lucky.

A- beautiful amber color, hazed slightly, with minimal head due to glasses were filled to the top.

S- Tons of hops, sweet smelling citrus, loved the aroma on this beer.

T- Very smooth, not bitter, and hints of citrus, and very hoppy.

M- smooth bodied, full bodied.

O - Wow, all the hype about this beer is true. The best beer I've ever drank. I was stunned at how such a strong beer can be so smooth and tasty and loaded with hops. The aroma lingers on and on...

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Photo of tewaris
4.04/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


On tap at Russian River, poured into a 10 oz nonic pint glass. 2012 release.

Amber colored with some haze that disappears with temperature, and an off-white head with good retention and great lacing. Looks and feels very sticky and sugary, but taste is a different story. Aroma is sweet tropical fruit, with some sweetness lent by alcohol.

Taste fruity but very restrained in its sweetness, with a tropical profile and high bitterness, especially towards the end. Very clean for its huge body, mostly because of its hoppiness. A long and very bittering (pleasantly so) finish. Smooth and silky, clean but not crisp, with the alcohol very well masked. Very good, if not the most aggressive DIPA.

4.5, 3, 4.5, 4.5, 4

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Photo of tony223366
4.94/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Beautiful golden amber color. Clarity is spot on. Nice action from the carbonation in a thin stream. Can't comment on the head unfortunately because of the near full pour (thanks!) but there's ton of sticky lacing.

S: Tons of inviting citrus is jumping out of the glass. Malt is present, more so than PtE. Lots of caramel and fairly dank.

T: Huge, bright citrus. It's so floral it's amazing. It practically perfectly rolls into the rich caramel malts. Lots of sweetness from the malts turns into a really even bitterness. As balanced as PtE is, this beer is bigger in every way... but still perfectly balanced.

M: Great carbonation that is needed for this huge hop/malt bomb. Very slick and astringent.

O: Another amazing beer from RR that took a very careful artists touch. When you're dealing with this much hops and malts you can swing in either direction so easily. Albeit I'm not going to compare it with PtE because they're different beasts. This is much more of a sipper. It's hands down the best 9-11% DIPA I've ever had. It's decadent in a way I've only described Russian Imperial Stouts before. Well worth the praise it receives but maybe not the 4 hour wait it took to be served on the release day!

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

First year that I have been back local in the past 3. Made sure I set aside a day to spend at RR enjoying this amazing beer. Had it in 2010 in CO, and in 2008 at RR.

A: Pale with a faint tint of Orange. Awesome clarity. Awesome lacing, I would post a picture if I could.

S: Fruity, tart, Citrus, Hops, Hops, Hops. Not like the 11% ABV that this beer is. Didn't last long smelling it before I took the first sip.

T: Everything it smelled like except for the Hops, Hops and more Hops. Just as drinkable as I remembered. No harsh after taste like some big IPAs. Smooth, fruity, hoppy and balanced!

M: Magic! How do they fit 11% in there without it tasting or feeling anything like syrup? Mouthfeel is like any great IPA, Smooth light and Crisp!

O: This beer is #1 for a reason!

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Photo of kevanb
4.67/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on Feb 4, 2012 at RR in Santa Rosa.

It pours a beautiful copper color, surprisingly crystal clear but no bubbles to be seen. There is a TINY head that lasts for about 2 seconds but does leave a stark white ring of film around the circumference of the glass, and a tiny soapy layer on top of the beer. The aroma is incredible, big citrus notes, notably grapefruit and bitter lemon rind, some tropical fruits like pineapple add sweetness, while some mango-like fruit adds some bitterness. A nice earthy element is there too, strong resinous pine that adds some nice depth of flavor, but adds to the considerable bitterness. The flavors are tremendous, juicy citrus and pineapple, mangos and papaya flavors lead into the bitter elements, where the strong sappy pine flavors take over with some light grassy notes at the end. The malt is almost non existant although some caramel flavors from the high alcohol come through. Alcohol is only a faint afterthought to the big bold citrus which is quite remarkable, the finish is super smooth, dry to the bone and the grassy flavors really bring out that bitterness, the one downside is that it is a palate destroyer. The beer is so bitter it really makes it a challenge to get a full grasp on the flavor or all subsequent food or drink, best saved for last.

Verdict: A triumph. This beer pushes the limits of what an IPA can be without losing any of the integrity and core of a west coats IPA. The flavors are great, the bitterness is perfect, and the body is exceptional. Try it all costs, even if you have to wait over 4 hours in line like I did.

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Photo of eawolff99
5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of BenHesk12
4.77/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on a sunny Monday afternoon at the 2012 Younger Days at Russian River brewpub, Santa Rosa, CA.

A - looks like any good imperial IPA with thick copper hues.

S - extremely pungent. I could smell this beer while it was still sitting on the bar. Dense citrus / hops smell sparks your interest immediately.

T - hop and citrus overload, but in a good way. The bitterness, alcohol, and hop/citrus flavors have been utilized to the utmost extreme, and are perfectly balanced.

M - above average for an imperial IPA, it's one that you like to take a small sip and swish around in your mouth

Overall, I can understand the hype. This beer takes Pliny the Elder to another level. I understand that it's extremely hard to make but I wish they could find a way to have it available year round.

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Photo of evbask1
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've saved my first review to review the younger. I was there on feb 4 2011 waited five hours and will say well worth the wait!!!

Im going to just say apperance smell taste was all 5s

my overall of the younger is that its the best beer ever point blank!

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Photo of archey
5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of theempire
5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of ales4baldo
4.85/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A-This beer is incredibly clear. Not a cloudy as the Elder. Has a nice shiny golden look. Maybe some slight orange. Didnt have any head but didnt need any.

S-You have to really sink your nose into this one as its so freaken subtle. You get a sweet alcohol presence and pure hops. All three of them. Lots of pineapple on this one. Really nice.

T-Initally you get a ton of hops upfront with tons of fruits. Lots of pineapple, grapefruit, green grapes, orange, just really nice sweet fruits. On the back end is the alcohol. Lingers around for a little bit but incredible how subtle it is. Mind you this is an 11% brew.

M-Medium bodied with lots of character. Smooth man, really smooth. You take something so strong and abundant in this beer and it just settles nicely. Carbonation is good, there isnt an heat from the beer, and the hops are sweet.

O-Just an incrdible brew. Simply amazing. Best part about this is how well rounded and smooth and balanced it is for a bomb of a beer. Bliss.

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Photo of WillCarrera
4.84/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

On-tap at Russian River brewery. Poured into a 10 oz. nonic mini-pint glass.

A- Pours a clear bright golden color with a thin layer of sticky white head.

S- Massive pine hop aroma, some malt and alcohol sweetness, some honey.

T- Hop explosion. One of the most bitter beers I've ever had. On the first sip all I get is huge bitterness, it takes a few sips to get used to it. Big enormous pine sap flavor, underneath is a dense layer of fruit, grapefruit, mango, some pineapple and orange. Alcohol is extremely well-hidden, it starts to provide some warmth as the beer warms. Light, sweet cookie malt. Sticky, slightly dry on the end with a long dandelion bitter finish that actually lasts for minutes.

M- Full-bodied, carbonation is spot on, smooth, slightly sticky feel, drinkability is pretty damn good for such an intense beer.

O- What a beer! This is what a big American IPA should be, the hops are taken to the absolute max, the layers of flavor are hugely complex and take a pretty long time to unravel, alcohol does a number but is kept under good control, this beer is really incredible.

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Photo of xraided81
4/5  rDev -14.3%

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

Enjoyed on tap the release day at 10:30 am.

A- golden, not as hazy as the elder, small head.

S- HOPS. the smell is awesome. I wish I could of had it in a tulip/snifter. Slight maltiness, mango, pine, and grapefruit.

T- hopy goodness. So far it lived up to the hype. I get a sweettart candy flavor. The alcohol is hidden very well. I thought it was going to be a little less bitter than the elder but it was about the same. (supposedly it was a more bitter batch this year). Very subtle maltiness with great tropical fruitiness

M- Full bodied with subtle carbonation. Bitterness lingers a bit

O- this beer was worth getting to the pub at 7:30 am. I enjoyed it thoroughly and I will be definitely going back the next two weeks for more. I am a big fan of the elder and this beer just steps it up to a whole nother level of flavor/aroma. Thanks Vinnie.

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Photo of avaldivia
5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of tigrstylz
4.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of drgarage
5/5  rDev +7.1%

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

Had this in a pint at the Brewery, loved it so much got a growler also served into pint glasses (6)

A - Slightly hazy golden with one finger white head with good lacing and good head retention.

S - Great hop profile with balance of citrus and pine and a bit of malt sweetness.

T - Smooth and balancde beginning to end, amazing hops grapefruit, orange, lemon, pine, with a sweet malt and the best dry bitter finish I've had in an IPA. Nice alcohol flavor as well.

M - Full body, medium carbonation.

O - Best IPA I have ever had. This is my favorite style. This is among my favorite beers. DRINK IT!

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Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
4.67 out of 5 based on 3,080 ratings.
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