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 | website

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: 929 | Ratings: 2,970
Photo of Ironstutz
4.91/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

oh what a beer! had 6 on tap out in the source on Saturday night! Had my 3 and my fiancee's 3 and they were so great

L- Similar to his Elder, clear and filtered, sort of a dark copper color
S- I mean it is all really its Elder squared, the citrus and pine stand out. maybe more pine than citrus even, but overall a wonderful balance.
T- Dinalingadingdong! citrus, mango, pine, loveliness
F- nice mouthfeel, crisp but still present, a good west coast mouth on this
O - I mean, we all know it is amazing, anyone who hates is obviously just a hater. If you ever get the chance to enjoy this beer, do it!

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Photo of mschantz
4.4/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on tap at Small Bar - thanks to cuz for cluing me into this under the radar tapping. Pours a beautiful bright hazy mandarin color - much richer in color than Elder. The nose is huge citrus fruit and pine. Taste is citrus and juniper but drier than expected. Really interesting and complex. Crisp finish.

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Photo of Flip4beers
4.64/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The hype just got real. It was released from a few local bars and pubs that make this beer worth the effort to find . This makes it worth living in SoCal for the amount of good beer, but overall its pretty damn triple ipa. I personally don't crave ipas as my go to but having this opportunity to drink it, is a dream come true. Overall it's worth the hype. It's indescribably good, to what you imagine it would be. Balanced, tropical notes, controlled bitterness, easy to drink and so much complexity.

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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 simcoeluv
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have been attending the Pliny the Younger release for several years. I have never rated the beer before. It has always been very, very good.

2015 is the most balanced Younger I have tasted.

It is great. There are no competitors.


Hint - ask for a tulip glass, pour the Younger in it and let Younger warm for 15 or 30 minutes - it will be better than you even imagined.

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

Best beer ever. Had the 2015 edition. Drove 9 hours to the Russian River Brew Pub and got lucky with only a 2 hour wait time on a Saturday to get in. Totally worth all the hype. So amazingly drinkable its scary. It almost hurts to say but I prefer it over Pliny The Elder.

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Photo of RyanK252
4.71/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Onot tap at Russian River

A: Pours deep golden orange amber with a frothy white head that settles and laces nicely.

S: Tropical fruit and caramel malt sweetness followed by pine and citrus, especially grapefruit but some orange, a little dankness, and a touch of alcohol.

T: Tropical fruit up front, mango and pineapple, followed by citrus, grapefruit that lingers answer a bit of tangerine, a big hit of pine and little dankness, well backed with caramel malt sweetness, with a touch of alcohol.

M: Medium body with moderate carbonation that keeps it from getting syrupy thick like so many other big IPAs. Dangerously drinkable for 11%.

O: Outstanding beer, I have no regrets about waiting in line for 6 hours to try this legend. That being said, and though it may be sacrilege, I think I like the Elder a little bit more. The whole experience that comes with this beer is unbelievable.

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Photo of SonnyK85
4.78/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Finally got the chance to try PtY after being shut out in Philadelphia last year. Relocated to denver this year and fortunately there are about 10 kegs shipped here yearly! Showed up at a bar around 3:45 PM, 60 guaranteed tickets were passed out at 4pm. I was one of the lucky recipients. Sipped on victory dirtwolf and Pliny the elder while we waited..

Firstly.. It was worth the wait. Poured into a 250mL chalice, with the pour easily exceeding the 250 mL mark.

Look: hard to believe, but very similar to PtE. A light orange color that is very translucent. Poured with about 1" foam that easily maintained its lacing until the final sip

Smell: had to wait a few sips to appreciate the smell in a chalice. Very citrusy, with the main fruit smell being Orange. Didn't detect any of the Pine odor commonly found in PtE. Very minimal, if any, alcohol despite being 10.25% this year. Capsule detect a sweet malt backbone. Incredible balance.

Taste: very similar to the smell. The only thing I would add is that this beer is drier than most DIPA's. This definitely keeps the taste stuck to your cheeks throughout enjoying this beer.

Feel: again, see taste. Drier mouthfeel. Very citrusy(mainly orange), some sweet malt backbone, minimal alcohol (if any), lacking any pine.

Overall: if you can get your hands on this.. Do NOT hesitate. I really enjoy PtE, but this is my preference. More of a full mouthfeel with a drier aftertaste. You don't get as many hop aromas, but the drink ability is unlike anything I've tried. Very, very hard to believe this comes in at 10.25%. Exceptionally well balanced. I was blown away.. Best of luck getting your hands on it!

Edit: Was able to get PtY 2 days later, this time in a 6oz Pour. The only critique I would change is the "smell and taste" portion. I read quite a few reviews.. You are able to smell and taste some very well balanced Pine in this beer. I can't emphasize enough how well balanced this beer is, despite being 10.25% abv. It's a testament to Vinnie's craft..

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

I used to live on the east coast and I've had plenty of cases of Heady Topper. Pliny the Younger is a different beer, but one that I prefer more than Heady. This beer is certainly worth the hype and four hour wait.

I could bloviate about smell, taste, mouthfeel, etc... But instead I'll just be blunt: this is a heavy, syrupy hop-bomb that is refreshingly clear and easy drinking. It is nothing short of poetry in a bubble glass.

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Photo of TychoNDC
4.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Exceedingly clean, well balanced. Transparent with a light head. Definitely a bit more of a kick than PtE, though not in the nose. Its a classic and deservedly so. But dont expect quite the same overwhelming hop bomb you may find in other imperial IPAs.

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

Appearance: Copper/orange in color, kind of a glowing hue to it, appearance is very similar to PtE, no head when the beer was brought to me but from what was there it looked as if it would have a really light, airy, fluffy, bubbly head to it, lacing left on the glass looks awesome, seems as if it is running down the glass instead of sticking, this beer is insanely clear, and there's just something about this beer when you look at it that a lot of time and detail went into this beer and that it will be amazing!

Aroma: Big pine, some dank hops, slight caramel from the malt, it's really hard to make out what citrus/tropical fruits are present because it is blended together so well, the citrus/tropical fruit presence is almost as present as the pine, some orange and grapefruit stand out just barely, you can smell some bitterness and can tell this will finish a little dry. The aroma of this beer will fill any surrounding area you are at instantly, once I was within 10 feet from the outside patio I could smell this beer. The strength and powerful presence of the aroma was incredible and the aroma this beer has is absolutely incredible!

T: Slammed with pine up front and then hit with a rush of dank citrus/tropical fruits that matches the aroma perfectly, in the middle you're hit with a pleasant mildly dry bitterness quickly followed with a perfect balance of pine and the citrus/tropical fruits as well as a perfect amount of the sweet caramel noticed from the nose, the amount of caramel present is just enough to balance the flavors perfectly, then finishes with a perfect dank citrus/tropical and pine combo and slight warmth from the 10.25% ABV as it goes down. This beer is so well balanced in every aspect, and every flavor that you can notice only compliments and enhances other flavors and nuances that you can notice. Great diversity of hops as well, smooth pine, dank, brash, citrus/tropical. They all blend so well together as well. It is almost unreal how this beer can be so out going, and yet so refined and balanced. This definitely ousts Heady Topper and King Sue for me and takes the No.1 for IPA's in my book!

M: This is probably the best aspect of this beer. The slight pine and dank citrus/tropical hop combo lingers for about 10 seconds and then finishes clean not even leaving a trace that you just drank it. It's light-medium bodied, crisp, and finishes just slightly dry leaving you a little thirsty for more. This beer is smooth and drinkable that without the little warmth from ABV you would never know this beer was 10.25% ABV. This will probably be the best finishing IPA I will ever have.

O: If you thought PtE was missing something or needed a little improvement, PtY will not only fulfill those gray areas, it will surpass PtE by miles.

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

Absolute blast at Russian River this year, younger is nothing short of amazing
Sweet nectar - big bold body and it's heavy for sure. somehow Russian River did their magic to Younger and made it Elder on steroids.. all the qualities of Elder are boldly doubled or tripled or whatever to make this creation. Totally hidden alcohol, just sweet perfection

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Photo of MalibuKenny
4.73/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Draft tap pour at Toronado SD into tulip glass

L: once the condensation cleared, so did the IPA. 100% visibility, with thin but lingering ring, lightly clinging to the glass

S: I'm so surprised there is not a distinct smell to this iconic IIPA. If you blindfold me i would say this is Elder

T: They said "It gets better with age," but let me tell you there is a clear winner between Younger and Elder. Malt and hop ratio, uninterrupted.

F: That medium malt start the show, for the headline hops to bring the crowd (taste buds) to climax.

O: With every sip, the feel reenforce your belief, that all the anticipation and the eagerness while waiting in line, has been awarded properly.

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

Simply the best beer I've ever had, amazingly smooth just right the amount of bitterness. It feels easier to drink than the elder which surprised me, considering it has a higher alcohol content. I was worried by all the hype but it was completely justified to me due to how great it was.

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

Finally hit our city of San Diego. Had the pleasure of drinking 3 of these bad boys. Was also comparing it side by side with Pliny the Elder. Pretty amazing how RR can make the Younger taste like Elder and pack in 5% more ABV. Excellent beer!

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

this was by far the greatest beer I have ever tasted in my life the smell was of nothing but tropical fruits papaya pineapple passion fruit mangos some grapefruit the flavor was of the same nothing but tropical fruits and so so so smooth what an amazing beer Russian River the wait was worth it

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Photo of E1337JERK
4.92/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Amazing beer. cool I got some only wait a little over 3 hrs with good company. Like having my mouth ran trew a forest and calling me back for more best beer ive ever had.

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Photo of PacNWDad
4.48/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Two glasses at the Bistro's 15th Annual Double IPA Festival. An excellent beer, and extremely well-balanced. Great mouthfeel, like silk. That said, I think the rarity is partly responsible for such high ratings.

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Photo of MisSigsFan
4.54/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A really really well made and balanced TIPA. The hype kind of ruined it for me. It was good, but there are many "triple" IPAs that you can get that are just as good or better. Simtra, Hoparillo, and RuinTen come to mind immediately. Younger might have been the first of its kind, but these days there's not much to separate it from the rest of the crowd. Like Elder, it showcases a similar piney/grapefruity character and honestly if I didn't know it was 10.25% I wouldn't have known. The sweet malts hint at the higher ABV but there is no booziness to it at all. I think I waited about 30 minutes to try it, and I'm glad I got to try it, but probably not worth it again.

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Photo of PabloSanDiego
4.86/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Drinking it now at Stone Escondido for the second straight year. The hype is over the top but it really almost lives up to the hype. It's perfectly balanced and not sweet or malty despite the high ABV. And the hops aren't overpowering. Just really well done.

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Photo of fenixtx423
4.85/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Truly a phenomenal beer. More sticky hop flavor than the Elder, but just as drinkable. Younger had more pine/earth/spice flavors than Elder, and a bit less Simcoe tropical fruit flavor. The kicker with this beer is really the smooth low body palate cleansing drinkability combined with over the top delicious hop flavors and ABV. The only thing that keys you in to the ABV with this beer is a slight warming sensation about 5 seconds after each sip.

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Photo of Gachnar
4.8/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

May not be worth standing in the rain for 12 hours, but it is a perfect example of a strong IPA. Think of Pliny the elder, but more rounded with even brighter hop profile. Beautiful nose, and extremely smooth considering the ABV. The legend may be exaggerated, but not by much.

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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 smb
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Notes from my time at the bar with The Younger:

L: Pours a beautiful crystal clear gold with 1/4" micro bubbly, fluffy head and sticky lace that lingers on the glass. Huge legs.

S: Massive waves of intensely fresh hops and pine permeate the air around the glass, with some very slight tropical aroma coming through, as well as some subtle crackery/biscuity malt.

T: Taste follows the aroma... cleansing and pristine pine-fresh hops, slight citrus and lemongrass with a strong bready malt base that hits at the back of the tongue. The balance between all of the flavors is really nothing short of incredible.

M: Crisp and dry, with no booze detectable whatsoever (at 11%!), perfectly highlights the flavor balance.

Overall: PtY checks all boxes and then some. The perfect and benchmark imperial/triple IPA. Lupulin Threshold Shift be damned.

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Photo of DudeBeerYaBro
5/5  rDev +7.1%

smell: like a brighter version of elder. hops up front, giving way to more hops...residual sweetness.
taste: booyah. piny, earthy hops up front. quick burst of citrus fruit in the middle, finish long and dry with a pleasant balanced bitterness.

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Pliny The Younger from Russian River Brewing Company
4.67 out of 5 based on 2,970 ratings.
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