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 rajendra82
4.94/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pliny the Younger made the journey across the country in a 22 oz. bomber, bottled from a 5 liter keg using a counterpressure filler by BA RedwoodGeorge. While the bottling was unofficial, the beer coming out of bomber was in a very good shape. The head was one finger thick, which is a little small for the style, but it did stay put for a good little while. The underlying body was clear pale orange, and well carbonated. The looks were classic DIPA, while aroma took the style up a few notches. The smell was enticingly grapefruity, and peppery, with a very sweet smelling malt backbone. The juiciness of the smell was certainly mouth watering, and the taste did not disappoint. Quite citric and pungent, the hop laden flavor was cut by a lot of malt sweetness. The low perceived bitterness and well hidden alcohol made for an easy to drink brew. The mouthfeel was sticky, minerally, and thick, with a peppercorn zest in the aftertaste. With so much to enjoy in each sip, there was nothing to complain about the time that I had draining my imperial pint. The alcohol only became evident as the beer came near room temperature, but never did it feel like an obtrusive spoilsport. This drank much easier than the 10.5% strength it possessed would have suggested. A craft brewing masterpiece that deserves all the hype it gets. This beer was big, but still in a very delicate state of balance. Muscular, clean, and beautiful, there was none of the sloppy flab in here found in so many big beers. A Charlize Theron among beers.

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Photo of BOLTZ7555
4.95/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Sparky27 for the tip on this. Tried at Hollingshead Deli along side it’s older brother. Let’s just say that it’s good to be young!!! This rating would be insignificant but it is my 50th rating in the top 100!!! What a beer to mark being half-way there!!! Bright orange peel, lemon zest, and floral aroma with hints on evergreen. Huge 2-inch tight white foam with an amazing blaze orange body. Lacing clinging mightily to the inside of the glass, a fond memory of the sip that just transpired. Flavor is incredible...definitely more aggressive and profound than it’s older sibling. Orchard fresh nectarine, Ponderosa pine, and a bit of grapefruit rind tartness in the finish. Coating yet not cloying mouthfeel. AN INCREDIBLE SPECIMEN!!!

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

By the time we got to the bar to ask for growlers. They told us it was gonna be a while but here's a couple glasses to enjoy while you wait.

Appearance is dark copper with a nice head that recedes....but with the huge volume of people there I don't think they were worrying about perfect pours.

The smell was off the charts...this beer stinks of deliciousness.... You get your piney/citrusy hops, caramel for a second, more malty goodness, alcohol... a smack in the face vision....

When it enters your mouth you know you're on to some good stuff. The hops and malt blend together in a perfect cacophony of deliciousness. Up front hitting hard with the pine and citrus and then blending together with the malt and a bit of alcohol warmth.

Had the correct amount of carbonation, a nice resiny feel to it as it lingers for a good while, sticky, verrah niiice.

The beer is beyond drinkable, but at some point you'll pass out. So that should be considered your limit ha ha.

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

so, after a couple of years of wanting to try this I get a growler courtesy of a gracious CA BA. Intense yet not brackish bitter piney resinous hop heaven! Smooth, so easy to drink. Wow. This one lives up to the hype. I don't know how they pack all that hop into one beer but it's well worth it. Funny note from day 2 on the growler. I popped the top and was greeted by the most insane rush of pine. It was mind boggling.

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

From a keg almost seven weeks following the release, poured into a snifter glass.

A: Beautiful golden orange color, very clear. Great string of bubbles swirling up from the center of the glass. Nice white head that lingers nicely on the edge of the glass.

S: Ahhhh. I think this is easily PtE and PtY's strongest characteristic. Huge piney, resiny, sticky hops. I'm very partial to that hop smell, so more is always better and PtY delivers. I would have been happy to stop at the smell (okay, not really).

T: Yes, the hops continue into the taste. Incredibly balanced. For a 10%+ beer that is considered a triple, it does not carry any of the overly sticky, sweet tastes that some big DIPA/TIPAs have (umm, DFH120, for example). The flavor of the hops (more green, pine, resin flavors) continue through the taste without being overly bitter. The taste lingers for a long time (minutes), but seems less bitter than some local IPAs. Just a touch of warming from the alcohol, but man this goes down easy. I don't really notice many typical malty flavors as I'm enjoying the hops too much!

M: Medium carbonation, medium to big body, but not unexpected or out of style. Felt very smooth in the mouth with very little oilyness. It was there, but come on, it's a triple IPA.

D: Excellent. Actually above expectations. This was tasted next to PtE and it's the first time that I felt PtE did not shine. PtE seems harsh and out of balance in comparison. Stuck on a desert island, PtE would likely be a better choice as it's hard to imagine drinking too many PtY's. But I certainly wish this beer was available a little more frequently. It deserves the hype, even seven weeks after release.

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

On tap at Belmont Station on 3.19.11 with hopburster.

10oz pour, followed by Elder and Bling Pig.

A - Beautiful bright light orange, crystal clear with a nice white fluffy head.

S - Pine, pine, pine, and then some citrus notes.

T - Smoth piney hops followed by silky citrus flavors.

D - Nicely carbonated, with no bitterness at all, zero.

O - I was afraid that the hype would let me down, but this is one of the best beers I will ever taste. I can not wait to try it again.

Seperately it would have been hard to tell the difference between Elder and Younger, but following the Younger I could detect some slight differences. I would never turn down either, ever!

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

Served out of a fine wine glass 2x

Had this on tap at Higgins as well. Never had it before, but wanted to try it in its freshest form possible (in Oregon) and Higgins was the first to tap it. I have had PtE from kegs, as well as fresh bottles, and the fresh version is almost a different beer to me. My friend had PtY from a keg that was stored for a few months and said the fresh version was infinitely better as well...thus my desire to try it as soon as it hit town.

First off, I was fully prepared to be disappointed. Not that I thought it wouldnt be good (of course it would be!), but that it wouldnt measure up to the hype. Even with that in mind, this is the best beer I have ever had. The smell alone was amazing. Citrusy, grapefruit, a little funk, and almost tropical. Only fresh PtE compares in initial smell.

First taste did its aroma justice. Hard to believe this is an IPA. Little-to-no bitterness, a touch of citrusy sweetness but not the kind of sweetness that can come with other high alcohol beer. Finishes sooo clean and leaves no hint of alcohol on the tongue. The hop resin and pine aroma comes through but blends in perfectly. I could have drank 10 of these.

The appearance was golden with a head of about 1/4 inch that held on through the first couple sips.

Overall I was very impressed and thoroughly enjoyed this beer. The great part was that there was no line, no commotion, and no BS auction system. Just a moderately full bar of people enjoying a truly great beer. My friend that was with me mentioned how much better this fresh version was compared to some he had a a festival that had been sitting in a keg for 3 months. I would reccomend that if you plan on trying this beer that you get it as soon as it comes out.

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

One must plan ahead to enjoy this highly craved nectar of the gods. Fresh on tap in the proper stemmed glass is the only way

Best be at that tap early because it wont last long

Last had it at Pi Bar during 2013
(previously 2011) SF beer week. Have enjoyed prior vintages at Toronado
('10, '08, 06) and the brewery in SR ('07).

Clear golden color.
Ambrosia for a hop head...slightly sweet, intense floral hop experience. Different vintages have slight nuances

I've not found anyone who didn't go gaga over it.

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Photo of GJ40
4.95/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sampled from a growler in my Double Mountain tulip pint glass.

A - RR has a pretty outstanding growler. I really thought a genie was going to come out. The beer itself is golden and quite clear with a thick white head and nice lacing.

S - Wonderful floral and citrusy hops. It was everything I expected from RR.

T - Loads of hop presence. It starts with a strong attack of hops oils and rich hop flavor but a citrusy bitterness increases over time. The alcohol is always lurking in the background but the hops keep it at bay (until the next morning). I had high expectations for this one and it certainly lived up to them.

M - Good consistency with an almost oily quality that makes it slide right down. Nice carbonation with a moderate level of very fine bubbles.

D - A powerful and compelling beer. I found it comparable to Hop Slam yet very unique. And all of this from a growler shipped across the country. I can only imagine how good it is straight out of the tap.

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Photo of jwhancher
4.95/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Decided to fight the crowds & try me some Younger on tap at Local 44. $8 for a tulip glass. Nice white head delivered upon the pour. Crystal clear gold color. Amazing considering how much hops go into it. Smells of dank hop resin. Attractive lemon rind & notes of melon, mango, orange zest, and some vanilla. Tastes amazing. All the hop characters in the nose in the flavor. Nice firm bitterness. Not pungent or astringent. Dangerously drinkable. Alcohol doesn't seem noticeable except I can tell it's there since I haven't eaten lunch yet. (This is my lunch.). Dry tasting. I love this beer. So glad I decided to come out for it. Only reason I didn't score this a perfect score is due to the extremely limited availability.

This one lives up to its hype. Fantastic beer by Vinnie. He's my hero.

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

Had this on tap at a special release RR taste at falling rock. What do i need to say, THis is possibly the best us beer around. take reg pliny and give it a boost of awesome and that is PTY. I had to knock a half point just cuz i cant give a perfect rating. nobodys perfect but this dam close. also leaded at 11% it will get you tanked fast before you know it. BEWARE!

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