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: 946 | Ratings: 3,065
Photo of Joeynocturnum
4.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to LongBeachHopHead for hand bottling this beauty so that I could taste the hype, and this is a case where I can believe the hype.

A- Bright glowing orange hue with a white head that was a little less than half a finger.

S- Hoppy-citrus and piney, could have inhaled this beer all night.

T- Sweet Citrus hop-bomb with hints of floral taste, 11% ABV was expertly hidden.

M- Crisp and refreshing, perfectly balanced carbonation no one taste overpowered.

D- Wish I had a growler, but was glad to have any. I probably would have been a mess, but if I had a growler I surely would have finished it in one night.

I have had Dreadnaught, the Elder, Hopslam, Sculpin and a few others in the last two weeks and I could see why PtY is clearly the CHAMP.

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

Used 5 tickets to sample at the ABF. This is a combining of the notes I took each time..

How'd it look?: hazy honey yellow body with frothy head.

Olfactory Rating: Foresty Citrus Fresh Baked Sweet Bread. This beer is almost as confusing in the amount of smells it provides as any I've sampled. Was first, third, fifith, and then seventh and eigth samples I tried Friday night. Glad I tried it so many times up front, as it was gone fairly fast, and I could smell more layers in the beer than I might have later on.

Taste Buds say: sweet, almost amzingly so, as the nose doesn't hint that is the first thing you'll taste. Malt sits up front and Vinnie's use of sugar in the brews to up alch % and add sweetness comes through. Then, the hops explode - and the alchohol slowly works it way down the throat. The hops are almost like chewing on a piece of grapefruit covered in pine tar. Very intense, and the only other beer I've had that compares, is Dreadnaught. Alch flavor is there, but not highly present. Simply stunned, these taste buds are.

Mouthfeel: Very rich taste, covers the tongue, and attaches to the top of the palette.

Despite an 11% abv...this is one drinkable beer.

Finally found my notes from that weekend in Boston and am adding in reviews as I can.

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

After calling Russian River, the distributor, and driving over an hour in Philly, I finally experienced the Younger. The hype, travel, and effort were well worth it.

Appearance: Nice, golden, white head, but it lacked a little bit, could have been thicker and had better retention.

Smell: The perfect smell. Strong hop aroma with hint of grapfruit, pine, lemon, citrus

Taste: Perfect. Such a nice hop taste, but so perfectly balanced that it isn't overpowering, but still enough to give it that great hop taste. Nice and crisp, medium body.

Mouthfeel: Again, perfect. Carbonation was right one (not sure what happened with the head, though), medium body was perfect.

Overall: Again, head lacked a tad. Aroma was perfect, taste was perfect. This is a very hoppy IIPA but is so perfectly balanced as to not overpower, giving it the perfect taste.

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Photo of schuey1010
4.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Was lucky enough to be at Pizza Port San Clemente on Valentines night and got talking to the bartender. Great beer there as always. Well, the bartender told me they had two five gallon kegs waiting to go on tap. He didn't tell me it would be on at opening, but he also didn't think they would put it on later in the day.

So this guy spent the night sleeping in front of the door waiting for them to open. The wife and I walked in and gave the secret handshake and were presented with two, maybe 8 or 10 oz. pours of this luscious, amazing elixir.

I drank my first in less than two minutes because I didn't want them to run out. (There were only three other people in the bar). I was able to have four myself as well as the four my wife had.

I am very much able to handle strong beers, but let me tell you, these four youngers really did a number on my Monday.
Then I think back and wonder if the two jack and cokes I had before PP had anything to do with it.

Overall, I will say that this batch is as good as any of the others I have tried. It goes down well, and the alcohol is virtually unnoticed until a few hours later when it's time for a nap.

Enjoy it if you can...

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

A: Beautiful in the glass, nice and golden orange with a slight white foam head. The lacing was perfect in my glass as well.

S: Powerful citrus and pine aroma, makes the knees weak.

T: Ka-pow! My palate didn't know what hit it. Lots of pine and grapefruit flavors here, super fresh on the hop taste.

M: Good bitterness, feels pretty light for the amount of hops and alcohol.

D: Amazing flavors with a light balance makes it hard to have just one. I was lucky and got 3 glasses... and definitely felt like I had 3 glasses of it.

Overall it is an incredible beer. I don't think it would be so popular if it were readily available every year. But honestly, part of the enjoyment of this beer was the hunt... and kill.

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Photo of rudeboy916
4.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into an eight ounce glass. It appears medium bodied gold with only a thin layer of white foam.

I get an herbal grapefruit like smell to the beer. There is a bit of a grassy pine like smell as well. All you can smell in this beer are strong fresh dank hops.

It tastes initially very citrus like. I get a bit of a grapefruit flavor. There is a strong pine like dank flavor. There is a grassy hop flavor as well. I detect almost no malt presence in this beer. Hops are the star of this beer (obviously). The beer attacks the palate with a strong but pleasant bitterness. The herbal, slightly citrus, pine like and bitter quality of the hops all linger on for quite a while. This is a very clean and smooth tasting beer. In many ways this beer shows constraint and is not over the top (though the craziness surrounding this beer is).

The carbonation is moderate. There is a crisp mouthfeel to this beer.

The drinkability for being 11 percent is pretty good. It goes down quite easy but due to how flavorful it is this beer is a sipper. I could drink a few glasses of this if given the opportunity.

Overall a nearly flawless beer. I think the hype surrounding this beer is insane but the beer really is amazingly good. The cleanest, most flavorful (yet restrained) double/ triple IPA I have had.

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Photo of Jmoore50
4.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I truly believe that not enough good things can be said about this beer. I had it on-tap at the release day. I also split a growler of it with friends the day after the release. Very fortunate to write this review.

The appearance is a light honey colored nectar that pours with a one and a half finger head. The head is white and sticky, but leaves after a while due to the ABV. The brew itself is as thick as honey, the carbonation bubbles struggle to make their way to the top of the brew. Leaves a thick alcoholic leg all around the glass. Also leaves a medium lacing on the sides. A beautiful beer with the greatest color and gravity, this thing is thick!

The smell is the best hop smell I have ever experienced. It reminds me of rubbing wet hops together in my hands at my local homebrew store. It has a hop bitterness with underlying citrus notes that bring two big characteristics together. No ABV is present anywhere in this beer, and it makes it dangerous. There is a marijuana smell that a lot of my beer tasting friends picked up, so this beer brings together my favorite smells in an IPA and intensifies them by ten.

The taste is of extremely bitter hops with a very strong malt backbone. It is balanced so well that the hops just explode with different flavors. What I love about Russian Rivers IPA's is that they have more of a pine characteristic than overly sweet. This pairs pine hops with sweet undertones in the taste. I had a growler at a bar last night and gave samples to about four different people, some that do not always drink craft beer. Everyone knew without the background of Younger that this was a very special beer.

The mouthfeel is a palate destroyer! The oils in this beer coat your entire mouth with hop bitterness, creating the best mouthfeel for a hop focused beer. Nothing tastes the same after this, for your palate is in fatigue after just a few sips.

The drinkability is dangerously high, I would of given this a six out of five if possible. Once you start, you cannot stop at all. I had about eight pours of this on the actual release, needless to say I got out of bed the next day at around noon. There is no surprise here that the taps ran out on the same day. Once you get to taste it, you just don't want to stop.

This was a true pleasure to try for I will never forget this weekend. A truly exceptional beer thats hype is well deserved. Cheers to Vinnie and Natalie at Russian River

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

Pliny the Younger.

As a casual observer for the last few years the hysteria surrounding this beer was been overwhelming and something of a fascination for me. Horror stories of waiting in horrendous lines just for a chance to sample, amusing tirades by local barkeeps, hostile bartenders, etc. This has been something of a turn off to say the least. Was there a beer worthy of such insanity? Well I made a last minute decision to head over to Vine Street pub in Denver yesterday, 3/1/2012 to find out...if I was fortunate enough to score an elusive ticket. Parking was atrocious and knowing they were tapping the keg at 4:20, the short drive from the office to pub seemed an eternity. I was able to get one of the last 20 tickets at the pub. The place was busier than I have ever seen it and you could feel the apprehension of all these beer geeks (myself included) watching the clock tick ever so slowly. Cameras were out all over the bar just taking pictures of the tap handle! The comical looks at some of the dining patrons who clearly had no idea what was happening was rather amusing. One lady even asked her partner, "What the f*ck is going on!?" My friend was rolling down 17th to join me as they continued handing out tickets. 15 tickets left! 10 tickets left! 5 tickets left! 3 tickets left! They were disappearing at an alarming rate! I called him up and told he he needed to get his ass to the bar! Stuck in traffic? Throw that jeep up on the curb and get here! As he drove by the window "2 tickets!" PARK IN THE FIRE LANE! He dashed in right as they were calling LAST TICKET! We did everything in our power to get noticed, bam! He was awarded the last ticket! But wait, the manager promised the ticket to someone else! WTF!? In the end everything worked out ok and we both scored a 10 ounce pour of Pliny the Younger. The keg flowed non-stop for what was probably 15-20 minutes until kicked, much to the chagrin of the beer geeks who let out a resounding sigh of disappointment as the keg died. Easily the most stressful beer chase in my life, was it worth it!? On to the review:

The beer was poured to a 10 ounce wine glass with extreme care by the army of employees Vine Street had on hand. They had an assembly line of workers to distribute the beer, fascinating. As the keg was tapped and the glasses filled the entire bar was filled with a billowing aroma of sweet citrus and piney hops. The power of the aroma was glorious! It was like swimming in a cloud of hops and I didn't even have my beer yet! Finally my glass, the beer is a crystal clear yellow golden amber color with a smaller 1/2 finger white head. Good retention and lacing. The staff was very observant of not spilling a drop and filling each glass with extreme care, nice, and odd and unlike anything I have ever seen. The aroma of the beer in my hand was even more impressive than what I experienced as it flowed from the keg. Huge hop character with hints of tangerine, pineapple, orange, pine, and grapefruit along with a distinct sweetness clearly evident in the nose. The most impressive aroma of any IPA I've experienced, it knocks you in the face and reminds you who you're dealing with. The flavor is equally impressive with an initial surge of the hops. Medium bitter the hops and caramel fruity sweetness actually balance the beer very well. Absolutely no hint of the high abv whatsoever and extremely drinkable. Full bodied with a perfect amount of carbonation. The beer drinks like a meal, chewy, with hop resins that linger on the palette well after the sweetness has faded. The flavor lasts on the tongue longer than any beer I've ever had, easily. Well crafted brew.

Overall, to say I really enjoyed the experience would be an understatement. Worthy of the hype? Tough call. The beer is amazing. To be honest the whole experience while stressful and chaotic in hindsight was actually a lot of fun! The whol ordeal is something I won't soon forget and perhaps that factors into the rating of the beer. As one of a couple triple IPA's I've had, this is hands down the winner... by a landslide. I now understand and respect the hysteria surrounding this beer and feel most fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience Pliny the Younger.

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Photo of Smokesnotes
4.98/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Just happened to be in San Fran during the brewery release week so I made the drive up and waited in line. Was in line about 2 hours and got a seat at the bar. Its hard for a beer to live up to this much hype, but I was in no way disappointed. Its extremely hoppy yet sneaky smooth for being such a high ABV. Its like PtE but cranked up hop flavor and bitterness. I would definitely recommend. Really had a great time at the brewery and was really happy to try this bucket list beer.

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Photo of ThePaleRider
4.98/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Had this white whale on tap at Hamiltons in San Diego

Great IPA appearance and fragrance. What sets this IIIPA apart from others is the fact that it's 10.25% and still drinks as smoothly as a pale ale. Goes down really well. Didn't give a perfect rating because the body is a little light. This brew feels and almost drinks just like the Elder, but packs more of a punch. Was it worth waiting in line for? YES.

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Photo of MitchD14
4.98/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I had this beer on tap in a 12 oz glass at Bailey's Taproom in Portland. I must say, it lives up to the hype. I believe this keg was 10.5% ABV but it was not too hoppy to enjoy even with the high alcohol content. It has a beautiful translucent golden color and goes down extremely smoothly.

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Photo of grrrah
4.98/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

On tap at brewery, February 2012

A: Clear golden. Not much head as the pour was pretty much to top of glass.
S: Lots of tropical fruits and pines
T: Perfect, big hops, fruity, and perfect balance. Does not taste like a triple IPA
M: almost perfect. A little resiny in the mouth, but not nearly as much as one would expect from a 10+% IPA.
O: Still the best IPA I have ever had.

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Photo of JRscott24
4.98/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This treat was being served on Valentines day at a local bar in Danville, CA. 2 full kegs tapped out in 43 Mins. Once again, this beer did not disappoint. A full-bodied brew with a powerful hop aroma and lingering taste. It is the perfect example of a triple IPA. Incredibly smooth. Incredibly strong. Memorable flavor.

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Photo of De_Nada_Brewing
4.98/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Had this last year at Haven Gastropub in Orange. Was alittle skeptical at first when I had to wait 2 hours but it was well worth it!

The smell is amazing, a straight hop bomb.

Appearance is like pliny

Both taste and mouthfeel are amazing, not at all bitter.

Can't wait until next year when I try this again!

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Photo of Turst3Since1987
4.98/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

First and foremost I just want to say that I did not intend to get drunk off younger but the opportunity to have as many glasses as I wished drove me to have my fill of it. And for the first time trying it, it was no less then amazing.

Golden, deep orange and minimum head, almost completely flat.

From the moment I had my first glass without putting my nose to it the smell found me, amazing sweetness deceptively covering the amount of hops it contains.

Mouthfeel was medium body, creamy silk, light oil consistency that made it one easy beer to drink and make u forget its actually 11%

Overall worth the wait and having a beer like this makes me appreciate perfectly crafted beer and has me searching for anything that can tap into the heels of this amazing brew, at least untill next year.

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Photo of mpavao71
4.99/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is an outstanding beer. Although on the East Coast, I have been lucky enough to be in the Bay Area during its limited release. I have not missed an opportunity to have one, or two or four!

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Photo of GetMeAnIPA
4.99/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was lucky enough to get two glasses this year.

A - golden crystal clear yellow with almost zero head. There is no head retention because of all the hop oil. Great alcohol legs.

S - the smell knocked me off my feet. So piney and hoppy. I could smell the beer from the table. Almost didn't want to drink it because it smelt that good.

T - perfectly balanced and smooth. Classic RR IPA with the piney, citrus flavored but just the right amount of malt backbone. Some warming but no burn.

O - if this beer was more widely available it would be easily the best beer around. Lives up to the hype and has inspired me to finally make the trek to RR next year for the PtY release.

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Photo of tbauer1134
4.99/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Drank this right after the Elder. First impression was pretty good. Then I went back to the Elder and it tasted watery. Blown away by that. Ate some bread to cleanse the palate and went back to the Younger. Obviously as the score indicates it was incredible. Pine, Dank, Grapefruit, Resin all X 2. Seek it out and wait in line for an hour for this beer. You won’t be disappointed.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.99/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Comes in looking a yellow with 1/4" white head. Aroma is just massive waves of amarillo dry hopping it seems. Just massive and delicious.

Taste wise drops a ton of hops without being overly aggressive bitterness wise, you get a plethora of the usual descriptors, citrus, pine, grass, tropical fruit (lesser extent). Amazing it its ability to be light, dry and massively strong without letting you know it in the taste.

I give Lagunitas Waldo's a nod above it even though its basically the same beer. That is available in bottles, this is draft only with lines unless you go to the dipa festival.

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Photo of Cooper925
4.99/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look-glassy Amber feel with a delicate head and a light body

Smell-flushed juicy hops, tree fruit

Taste-aggressive hops, sweet and a subtle dry finish

Feel- Expertly crafted to be inviting yet complex with rolling waves of laminar smoothness

Overall-first class, worth the trip. its detrimental to your well being to miss this opportunity.

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Photo of itsThatBoyE
4.99/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this on opening day Feb 6, 2015. Waited from 5:00 AM around 70th in line. Had 3 10oz pours. This beer definitely lived up to the hype. I've had plenty of triple IPAs and this was hands down the best. And much better than similar ABV double IPAs. The balance of malty backbone with bitter hops was perfection. 0 alcohol whatsoever. Each sip made you desperate for more. Definitely going back.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.99/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Consumed on tap at the brewery on release day 2/4/2011.

This glowing honey-amber liquid was served in a 10oz nonic glass. I wouldn't expect much of a head on a pour like this but what thin collar is there left great sheets of lacing down the glass. The smell is just the most wonderful bouquet of sweet floral, fruity and piney hops. This goes for the flavor as well. Overall the hops are full of fruit nectar, honey, and a touch of grapefruit and pine bitterness. Elder is a little bit more potent in the nose, with a bigger blast of grass, pine, and marijuana, but Younger is more fruity, sweet and nectary. The bitterness for this beer is also so well integrated, and it doesn't overwhelm or fatigue the palate at all.

The mouthfeel is everything I want in a beer. This is crazy smooth! There is NO trace of alcohol, and this is a 10.5% beer. Nor is this beer heavy, syrupy or thick. At all. The carbonation is just perfect, and one could quite literally drink this all day. By far this is the best mouthfeel on a beer I've ever had. Basically, this is one of the world's most easy-to-drink beers, and definitely one of the best beers I've ever had. Well well well worth the hype!

EDIT: Consuming this beer during the weeks of the 2012 release solidified this beer as my favorite of all time. There are many other amazing beer in this style and others, but this beer is the best. I love you Vinnie, I love you Russian River!

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.99/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After 3000 miles traveled. After 4 hours waiting in line. I finally try The Younger.

A-Pours vibrant and rather clear. Thin, creamy head leaves wavy stains of lacing. I detect the lightest essence of haze in the body. Its color is a divinely illuminated shade of sunset orange. I am shocked by its clarity.

S-The wettest, ripest, juiciest and most concentrated display of hops I have ever experienced. Pine and a fist-full of grass ripped from the lawn. Then there is a cornucopia of topical fruit. Hop perfume, hop nectar, hop extract. I can smell it from a foot away.

T-The intensity and complexity of the flavors is like nothing I have ever experienced. It got better and better as it warmed. At its perfect temperature, the flavors I experienced were stunning. Peach, mango, cantaloupe, tangerine, nectarine, guava and pineapple. A liquefied sweet-dough malt embraces the hops but is absolutely overpowered. The flavors couldn't have been richer.

M-I have never had a beer with such a long aftertaste. I could literally taste it several minutes after a sip. I could taste it an hour after my final sip as well. Incredibly juicy and resinous. Like chewing on a hop. Drinks with far too much ease.

O/D-Worth the countrywide trip. Never have I experienced a beer with such a combination of power and finesse. The Jim Brown of beer. I am quite sure no beer can ever surpass this. Every beer I try after this can only hope to find a place on the same tier as Pliny The Younger...

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Photo of Buzzerben
4.99/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Fortunate to be in Denver at the Cheeky Monk for a tapping.

Appearance: Clear, crisp orange hued. Akin to most kiler DIPAs/TIPAs
Smell: Citrusy sweet from 3 feet away
Taste: Enamel-busting sticky grapefuit
Mouthfeel: Suave suave suave.

Overalll: I was very impressed with this beer. I feel lucky to have had it. It most certainly lives up to the hype.

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

On tap at RRBC on Tuesday the 8th and again on Friday the 11th.
Trying very hard not to get caught up in the hype but couldn't help it.
This is one amazing beer. The perfect balance between flowery smoothness and hoppy essence you want from a DIPA.
It just tastes sooo good!
Thanks for the memories RRBC! My new gold standard to measure all others.

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Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
4.67 out of 5 based on 3,065 ratings.
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