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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: 930 | Ratings: 2,973
Photo of joebrewinesq
4.95/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I enjoyed this fine brew on tap at the Blind Lady Ale House in Normal Heights at the 5 o'clock release. Taped out in an hour and I was lucky enough to have 2. One in a 10 oz (.25 L) flute and the other in a 10 oz snifter. The first was paired with .4L of Elder.

Magnificent aroma and was so incredible it put PTE to shame.

Aroma was extremely citrusy and reeked (in a good way) of simco.

The mouth was very sweet and delicious. A mouthful of pine trees.

It was worth the wait and can't wait for next year.

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Photo of stuckonhops
4.95/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Devil's Den in Philadelphia. My first visit there and certainly not my last.

A-- Pours a bit hazy deep to mild orange depending on how the lighting is. Nice creamy head that lingers for a while. Great sticky lacing.

S-- smells of pineapple, grapefruit, pinecones and all the resiny goodness you would expect from a high alcohol DIPA. Malts peek there head out to say hello then disappear until the beers has a chnace to warm a bit.

T-- mmm...hops...first sip gives me a great taste of grapefruit that almost compares with hopslam's grapefruit character but not quite. The hops also have a pine and pineapple flavors in this bad boy. alcohol adds some fruity esters which is very nice. malts once again come in to help out in keeping this beer drinkable..a bit bready from malts...very very delicious...

M-- smooth and a little sticky...goes down really easy...

D-- had 3 of these with now problem at i believe was a 11 oz pour...could easily of had a few more without passing out or anything close...great beer...just dont chug it...i will kick you if you chug this beer...

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Photo of Gerad_12
4.96/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Stood in line back in February at Samuel Hornes in Folsom, Ca. The 2 hour wait was well worth it. Amazing IPA. Great nose, feel, and taste is incredible especially considering the 11%

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

Very good, very strong. Don't drink before your wait in line, otherwize you will be the silly person. If you are that person, it's ok. My friend James thought he was drugged, there is a limit for a reason. Also, Younger is a masterpiece of the modern style. Check out the current champ on a weeknight and you'll only have to wait a half hour or so.

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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 falc0n2600
4.96/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I'm a fan of Russian River, and Pliny the Elder is amazing, but I've always had even more love for their sours,. But I HAD to try the Younger, so we decided on a whim to drive from Sacramento to Santa Rosa on day 2 of the Younger's release. We got in line at 4:45, and were finally drinking the Younger around 9:45. They were out by 10:30. Apparently, some had waited seven or eight hours before us. Three weeks later, I managed to try it again in Sacramento at the Pour House. We got there forty minutes early and it sold out in twenty minutes.

The beer had a thin white head, with an instantly noticeable big splash of hop aromas, mostly intensely sweet but with some obvious pine as well. Medium carbonation, not intense or biting but not at all flat. The most obviously different part about the experience was how the flavor stays in your mouth for a couple of minutes after you have a sip. Incredibly sweet and pure like fruit in the middle of summertime. There's not really any bitterness, but hoppy, alpine-flavored dryness complements the sweet hop flavors perfectly. You can pick out the sweet and the piney notes individually. It really coats your mouth. No alcohol taste, but my stomach quickly warmed up. There's also a nice malty background that adds to the experience. When I had it again three weeks later, the only difference was that there was a much larger head that was very light, like foamy cotton candy. Best beer ever? I don't know, but it was definitely the best beer I've ever had, by a long shot.

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

Had serious doubts that this beer would live up to the hype, but it did. First few sips started off a little slow for me, but after the first ounce or so this beer was close to perfection and only got better sip after sip. Ambrosia in a glass.

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Photo of newk340
4.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Finally got to try after waiting for 3 years! On-tap at Churchill's 3/3.

A: A gorgeous translucent pale gold, a thin fluffy white head and beautiful lacing...

S: Gentle hop aromas grace the nose, nothing overpowering with some hints of lemongrass.

T: Extremely pleasant taste of hops straight off, but quickly fades into faint citrus flavors. A fantastic balance of flavors.

MF/D: Wow, this beer goes down extremely smoothly for the ABV. Faint bubbles dance across the mouth dispersing the flavors equally. Definitely worth the wait and lived up to my hype. Can't wait for it again next year!

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

poured into a flaired gold rimmed tulip glass from a growler at Phatz's Pliny Project 2.

Light coppery color with a slight haze.Very tiny compressed bubbles as the glass swirls. Once the aroma hit my nose i kinda forgot the check the color of the head. It was very creamy and left a good 1/2" coating through out.

The aroma was very intense Piney/Grapefruity. Fruity,very pineappley with sweet carmell trying to cut through all the hoppiness.
Awesome hop nose,the only way I could describe it is like crushing a handfull of fresh hops in you hands and totally covering your entire face with your hands full of the freshly crushed hops. The hop aromas were crisp and clean,fresh just awesome. The best hop aroma of anything i've ever smelled.

Intense grapefruit flavors lots of pine with a great sweet carmell taste. Just a hint of alcohol for 11% the taste was so good i forgot all about the alcohol. An amazing balance for all the hoppiness my mouth just kept watering for more.

Extra creamy,airy feel,syrupy with slick hop oilyness, juicy, just an awesome mouthfeel
The drinkabily was unbeliveable,enjoyed it so much didn't want to stop drinking it. I can't stop thinking about this beer. I want to thank Phatz's again for giving me the chance to taste this amazing beer.
If you ever get a chance to try this beer don't pass it up. I'm glad i didn't

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Photo of glid02
4.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this courtesy of gford217 - thanks!

Pours a slightly hazy honey copper color with a thick off-white head. The head sticks around for quite a while before settling into a large-bubbled crown leaving solid lacing.

Smells great. Hops and more hops are front and center - citrus, tropical, floral, and pine hop aromas. This really is every hop aroma under the sun.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though with more of a malt backbone. The malt doesn't really have a flavor, just more of a setpoint from which to judge the huge amounts of hops. The bitterness sneaks up on you - managing to get stronger and stronger with each sip, but never so overpowering to hamper the hop flavors. The ABV is there, but it's as well hidden as any non-stout I've had with this high of a percentage.

Mouthfeel is good - good thickness with grainy carbonation make this one glide down my gullet.

Drinkability is great. I could drink not one, but multiple growlers of this - just so easy to drink.

Overall this beer did not disappoint. Everything is done exceptionally well and I hope everyone gets the chance to try this at one point or another.

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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 ramnuts
4.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A very generous growler gift from my pal, Arbitrator! Thanks a million, my friend...

The waxed lever top popped off and released a heady aroma of tropical fruit and resiny pine. Like Hop Stoopid, I could just sit here and sniff the bottle for awhile, no need to drink right away. My wife asked if am drinking Pine Sol. She sniffed the tulip a bit closer and said, "Wow!". The smell alone is intoxicating.

It poured a very generous foamy head and spread nearly perfect lacing around the glass interior. The foam dissipated quickly. It struck me as very dry, despite the fruit aroma overtones.

Massive hop bite, almost to the point of mint. The alcohol is clearly there but is cleverly masked by the herbal overlay. Thinner and less viscuous than expected but delivers a solid mouthfeel, nearly creamy. Not chewy like some I know...(Amnesia's and Laurelwood's products come to mind). Some scary level drinkability for an 11%er. Could put me on my ass easily.

I love the resin taste. A bit more honey than I usually prefer but it does add a nice compliment to the dry character. Vinnie really nailed the balance on this big boy. Crisp and spicy with just enough earthy balance in there to even things out. Sticky but not sappy. An amazing bit of brewing magic - well worth the hype.

Really a one of a kind Imperial/TIPA. Astounding.

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

Had 8oz pour on-tap at Falling Rock Taphouse on 2/26/10 as part of their special tapping the night before the Boulder SourFest. Place was packed so glad that ummagum and I got there 1.5 hrs early and got a table. It was a slightly hazy golden orange color. Had slight carb streams. Couldn't tell how soon after pouring that we got it since it was a mass delivery but it still had a 1/8" foam cap that stayed there for the duration (especially as I kept swirling it to kick up the awesome aromas). My glass had good lacing and not much sticking but my friend's had great lacing and lots of sticking so I used his as the lacing reference and chalked mine up to washing issues.

The aroma was exceptional. One of, if not, the best hoppy aromas out there. Lots of pine, c-hops, grapefruit with a great malt backbone. Very well balanced. A constant sniffer. The taste matched the aroma perfectly. Loads of hop flavor from start to finish with the malt coming in at the end to smooth it out. Great balance and one of the smoothest hoppy beers out there. My buddy and I kept remarking on how smooth it was. The ABV never came into play. Couldn't smell it or taste it and didn't really feel it. I could drink this stuff all day. Mouthfeel was medium to full with good carb levels and a great finish.

Overall, this is one amazing beer. After having so many of the top ranked ones and being disappointed (and wondering if the rarity was making it high ranked) I was so glad that this one held up. Worthy of the hype, rankings, etc and most highly recommend. I'd need to try it again at least 1 or 2 times to say for sure but this might be my favorite beer of all time. If not it's still pretty damn close. Rotation - not avail here in TX and is tap only so road trips are only hope. If avail here, my fridge would always be stocked with this.

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

On Tap @ Monk's Cafe

Look: Deep golden, slightly amber color, clear, with a medium head and great lacing

Smell: Powerful citrus & pine hops, malt, caramel and toffee

Taste: Up Front: Grapefruit, then pineapple, then apricot. Finish: Malt, with hops picking up steam along the way

Mouthfeel: Medium body, incredibly smooth, balanced, and a stickiness that coats the tongue and palate

Drinkability: Alcohol is well hidden, and it's uber-drinkable!

Overall Impression: This is the most hyped beer on the planet at this time. With all the hype surrounding this beer I was concerned that I might be underwhelmed. I was not, and the hype is warranted. However, this turned out to be my second favorite Double IPA of the day, which would make it my 3rd favorite of all time. Simply amazing!

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

10oz pour at Monk's Cafe, tapped for their Russian River Mad Monday. I got the first retail pour (not to brag), so I'm kind of a big deal.

A- I have to say that it had a glow about it, sort of a halo, an aura. But seriously, regardless of how it felt to finally have a glass of this beast in my hand, it really did stand out in appearance. Golden with a slight orange hue, impeccable clarity, 1-finger fluffy white head leaving a sticky lacing, but not uncharacteristically think lacing by any means.

S- Great sweet citrus (more orange than grapefruit) with a slight fruitiness of another variety, possibly even bubblegum. It is slightly piney, but the other aromas stood out much more, especially when compared to the Elder, which I find to be dominated by the piney/forest aroma. This definitely has a more complex and layered aroma. Once you really get your nose down in there, the aroma is also of bitter grapefruit.)

T- Huge floral flavor with intense grapefruit and a slight bitter orange rind in the finish. The floral taste is much more similar to the piney ("f*cked in the face by a pinecone" as I have seen some term it) aroma that I expected based on its Elder brother. Really a sensational brew. I found it surprising that with some of the sweetness, it is slight more reminiscent of Hopslam than Pliny which lacks a lot of the citral aromas and flavors I have mentioned.

MF- Nice and sticky on the palate with a slick, oily finish. In some ways, I expected something different on the mouthfeel here, maybe a bit more "chewy," though I am not sure that would be desirable in an IPA. I guess it is equally impressive that it wasn't that much different than the Elder or other great IPAs, yet packed 10.5% abv and a hop profile that could demolish the rest.

D- This beer is absurdly drinkable. I think that is a lot of what makes it such a masterpiece. Granted, if it was 5%, I would like it just as much, but there is something to be said for a beer that drinks like every other IPA yet packs a decidedly greater punch. The closest comparison I often here is Hopslam, but this really does it without the slight residual sweetness making it that much more amazing. Really, a spectacular beer that I feel very fortunate to have sampled.

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

Paid $6.25 for a 12oz pour into a pint glass at the Englander in San Leandro, CA.

Small white head with minimal retention and excellent lacing. Glowing orange DIPA color.

Nose is an overwhelming hop bouquet. Grapefruit citrus all the way. I thought this was less piney but more hoppy than the Elder which was my favorite beer up until today.

Taste is unrelentlessly bitter and hoppy. Very pungent of grapefruit and citrus. Puckeringly delicious.

Not quite as creamy and smooth as the Elder, but still quite nice. A long hoppy finish that keeps you wanting more and more. Absolutely no hints of the high ABV which slowly sneaks up on you. So drinkable it is scary. Meduim body and perfectly carbonated.

Easily my new favorite beer. The bar only let you have two 12oz pours, so my third beer was an Elder and it seemed somewhat tame and more malty to me after having the Younger.

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Photo of gbbass16
4.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Well I finally was able to try this one! I am surely not gonna say anything that hasn't been said already so I will not go into gory detail. All I will say is what a wonderful beer with all the elements. Perfect color, nose, mouthfeel and taste. More on the taste...silky, citrus, and oh yeah the hop profile is perfection. Was able to do side by side with elder. In compassion, elder has more wood and less hops. Younger pours a more golden yellow than elder. A huge highlight getting to sample this! Perfection!!!

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

holy crap i never thought i would ever get to try this but after a six hour drive and a 2 hour wait at the bar and here i am

hold crap is this beer good its just like a hop explosion, every thing you can think of there huge smell and taste of bitter grape fruit and pine. Then there is this malt to unlike any IPA i have ever had not like an acrid sweet but like a balancing biscuity sweetness that is again followed by the biggest hop kick i have ever experienced this beer is not for light hearted but holy crap is it one of the best i have ever had

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

Waited in line this year at the brewery. Two hours later we were in the door with the Younger in our hands. The journey, pursuit, and anticipation made this beer all the better. I was expecting a boozy malt bomb but was pleasantly surprised to find neither to be the case. Worth the hype and wait. Get it while it lasts.

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

22oz bottle obtained via trade with RedwoodGeorge. Thanks for the opportunity... Brewed 1/3/2006, hand-bottled via counter-pressure system 1/19/06.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 3/8" off-white head over the clear light amber brew. Head fades reasonably quickly, with plentiful lacing. Aroma is a twinge of tangerine, and then christmas tree pine aroma that dominates it all. Flavor is as the nose indicates, with a fruitiness upfront that is quickly shouted down by the piney-yet-somewhat-fruity hops explosion. I can feel enamel dripping off my teeth, and it's great! Mouthfeel is amazing, that for all the hops power, it still has discernable flavors, and drinkability is superb for the style, not just another bottle of hops with a grain hull or two for color. Worth the hype. Thank goodness for "George's Unauthorized Home Bottling Project".

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

A: A beautiful clear golden color with a nice foamy head that quickly drops to a few off white bubbles on top of the beer.

S: Unbelievable. Smells a lot like the other Pliny, but with a little bit of a tropical flare. Lots of piney hops, some mango, apricot and a lot of pineapple.

T: I was expecting this to just be a bigger version of PTE, but as other have said, it doesn't taste "bigger," just better. The balance in this beer is uncanny. Citrus hops and grapefruit hit the palette first along with a sharp peppery bite and then it gets mellowed by the malts and finishes pretty crisply. It takes all of the rough edges that PTE has and polishes them into a masterpiece. One of the best beers I've ever had.

D: After a few half pints I don't remember getting back to the hotel, but I don't remember drinking a strong beer either. Awesome!

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Photo of Bubba83
4.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm scoring this from when I had it on tap at the 2010 friday release at Russian River. I am going to pick out the aroma/flavors from a growler pour at home during this review, but I wanted to give it the on-tap score because the mouthfeel is better on-tap.

Body color is an enticing light orange, with some hues of dark yellow. Clarity is really good. Bright white 2-finger head with spiderweb lacing. The head is quite creamy looking. Retention is good, but it does mellow quicker than Elder down into a thin ring that stays until the bottom of the glass.

Initial smell is all pine, that's really the chief characteristic, and it's beautiful. Underneath the absurd amounts of pine there's some grapefruit pith and an underlying sweet caramel aroma. I smell no alcohol despite the fact that this is a fresh 11%er.

First sip tastes of the caramel I got in the nose, but quickly transforms, first into lemon, then grapefruit, then pine needles as the bitterness starts to creep up. Finishes up with a little bit of a spicy peppery kick with some faint alcohol in the background. I can't envision any hoppy beer ever surpassing this in the taste department.

Big chewy mouthfeel, while remaining oily and extremely smooth. The creamy head will bathe your upper lip and give you a hop mustache :) Somehow despite being pretty thick, it has a lot of small bubbles that remain active. This is the big difference of having it on tap. I still achieved a good amount of head from my growler, but the body of the beer did not retain the small bubbles that kept the beer popping in my mouth. The growler pour is more like a 4.0 in mouthfeel because of this.

Drinks EXTREMELY well. I should qualify that statement by saying that being a hophead is required though. Frankly, my lupulin threshold has shifted to such a point where I don't get any real bitterness here and I just taste all the delicious hop qualities instead. It's so damn smooth. There is absolutely no alcohol bite at all, and I don't get how that's possible. I could go on and on about this beer for days, but I'll stop so you can continue onto the next review.

A heart-felt thank you goes out to Vinnie and Natalie for all their hard work over the years to make beers like this a reality.

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

On tap at Monk's amidst the chaos. Here we go!

Poured into a tulip glass, the color of honey. Vanilla head diminishes slowly, leaving a sticky coating of lacing - serious lacing.

Smells like hops, hops and more hops. Pine, pineapple, not too much citrus, more other tropical fruits like mango, banana, peach - pretty glorious.

Now for the real test...how does the Younger taste?
Answer: Freakin great. Hops, hops and more hops! Round 2! Sticky and sweet, absolutely demolishes my palate. Good luck tasting another beer after this guy. Though it is a hop fiend, I'm surprised by the amount of maltiness the Younger brings. It is more balanced that I expected, but don't expect a complex, deeply layered beer here. Pliny the Younger is predominantly a hop bomb, and I couldn't be happier.

Mouthfeel is great, decent carbonation, sticky and full on the tongue. Just the right amount of bitterness that lingers for days. Good, good stuff.

I'm not sure if this is the best beer in the world. It is the best I've had thus far but my beer journey is far from over. However I will say this: I had the highest expectations for this beer, and those expectations were blown into millions of tiny hop pellets. Bravo, Vinnie. Bravo, Russian River. And thank you Monks for giving me the opportunity to taste one of the best.

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

Oh YEA!! This was all it was purported to be. Had it on tap at Russian River last week. Poured (in a 10 oz. glass) to a bright orange-red color with good head and lacing. Strong nose of hoppy citrusy grapefruit hit me as the waitress approached. As I nursed it along, the 11% abv also became much more noticeable. Mouthfeel was very full and slightly tingly, and the taste was a very dominant bitter grapefruit blended perfectly with alcohol and a touch of malt to round things out. I sipped toward the finish, which was long, very smooth and warming.

A GREAT beer.

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

On tap at Local 44 and Memphis Taproom in Philly yesterday.

The beer pours a striking golden peach color with good head retention and lacing. On the nose... this beer is just heaven. There is a huge blast of pine and dry bitter citrus, with a hop presence so intense that it imparts almost a slight skunky, marijuana aroma. Have seen this in a few over the top wet hop bombs in the NW, but suffice it to say that such an intense, gorgeous nose is extremely unusual and impressive. The flavors on the palate replicate the nose, except there is an intensity of flavor that is just astonishing. Tried this side by side with the elder - the elder was almost light and watery by comparison!!! The finish just goes on and on in this beer, and there is an underlying creamy smooth mouthfeel to this beer that is, once again, astonishing.

At 11% alcohol, drinkability is of course a problem, but this great beer carries its alcohol very well. Ended up drinking three 10 ounce glasses of this great beer, before I was finally worn out. For a hophead like myself, this beer is a wet dream in a glass. Fabulous stuff!

Edit from 2/11. Was fortunate enough to have several glasses (three if the truth be known) at the brewpub on the release date (friday). Nothing really to add to my review, except to note what an incredible treat it was to have this beer so fresh. Fresh at the site; a couple weeks old in Portland; roughly a month old in SEPA... younger is consistently excellent and delicious.

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Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
4.67 out of 5 based on 2,973 ratings.
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