Pliny The Younger | Russian River Brewing Company

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Pliny The YoungerPliny The Younger

Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.25%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Pliny the Younger, the man, was Pliny the Elder’s nephew and adopted son. They lived nearly 2,000 years ago! Pliny the Elder is our Double IPA, so we felt it was fitting to name our Triple IPA after his son. It is almost a true Triple IPA with triple the amount of hops as a regular I.P.A. That said, it is extremely difficult, time and space consuming, and very expensive to make. And that is why we don’t make it more often! This beer is very full-bodied with tons of hop character in the nose and throughout. It is also deceptively well-balanced and smooth.

Added by xlperro on 01-27-2005

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,080 |  Reviews: 946
Photo of banger7
5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of homebrewhawk
4.37/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Growler shared by mreusch. Thanks! Served in a Boulevard Tank 7 glass. Poured a deep gold with a thin white head. Massive piney hop aroma. Flavor is dominated by hop bitterness as you would expect, but there is a solid malt base without being sweet. Very drinkable for the abv, alcohol was not very evident. Lots of hops without being too green in the flavor. Nice mouthfeel, medium to full bodied. Believe the hype.

 416 characters

Photo of mgbickel
4.75/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of SurlyDuff
4.61/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Okay,so this is one of those great hype beers, the father of all IIPAs, etc., etc.

I've had it at OBF and some other tastings here and there, but a trip down to Sonoma gave me the perfect chance to actually review it, the whole pint of it (well half pint). Reviewing a sampler just isn't my style. A faintly hazy amber tangerine. The head was super sticky, with the lacing affixing itself all over the sides of the glass.

Blast of hops in the aroma. Sticky, syrupy and oily. The malt ismingled with the hops, providing sweetness to the hops but not adding any distinctivly malty flavors. The alcohol does the same. It doesn't contrast to the hops, it adds to the illusion of spiciness 'in' the hops. Interesting. If this beer got into any orfice other than my mouth, it would burn.

The taste is surprisingly balanced. Ooh, look, here's the malt! This isn't a tooth disintegrating, cheek numbing, hop bomb of an iipa like some out there. It's got actual balance. Sure the hops are stong enough to blast your palate and drown out any milder beers for the rest of the night, but this ain't Ruination. It's balanced. Pine tips, grapefruit, and other great hop characteristics abound. This is a great brew, and a great recipe. Let this not be a benchmark for IIPA's, otherwise too many other beers would suck. Instead let this be a plateau that other iipas continue to climb towards. There's plenty of room up here on the top for more good iipas!

 1,446 characters

Photo of SirBentham
4.82/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance – Nice golden color. Minimal head on my pour.

Smell – impressive nose. Similar to the Elder, but smelled a little sweeter.

Taste – Huge hops are incredibly well balanced with a sweet malt. More balanced than the Elder. I can't believe this is over 10%

Mouthfeel – Perfect amount of carbonation. Medium body.

Overall – This lived up to the hype. on par with the Heady Topper for me.

 408 characters

Photo of HippieDave56
4.75/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of DrewShalvoy
4.34/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of BradMacMullin
4.7/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Had at Burgers n Brew in Davis. Waited 3 hours to get this - missing church been 26 years since I was in church....I blame beer. Pours a typical Amber with modest head and lacing. So tropical and fruity....but so overwhelmingly smooth - hard to believe this is 10%. Such a great triple IPA. What also makes this beer better is that Mike and Chris haven't had it...which makes them inferior beer drinkers

 415 characters

Photo of khiasmus
4.52/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Many, many thanks to Wespatrick for sharing this gem. Had at a tasting last night, Feb 13th. Reviewed from notes.

"Well, here we are then, gents. It's officially.. well, apparently, the best in the land."
"Go ON then, let's have at it!"
A hissy-pop and up swings the cap, as the aroma already begins to waft about the room, blending with the cheese-and-crackers upon the table, and making quite a name for itself, though we have yet to tilt it.
A glug-glug and it's in the glass in front of me, and the seriousness of evaluating comes due.
There's an almost-clear orange with tiny specks afloat throughout... "What is that?" "What?" "The specks there." "I don't see them." "Don your glassies then, old man!" "Ah... I suppose just a lack of filtering, then, and perhaps tiny hop-pebbles." "Lovely."
A finger-thick head rises up but settles quickly, at first gives the illusion of lace, but then shows itself to be sliding down after every savory sip.
A long, enjoyable whif, and the loads of grapefruit and resin come out. "Gents, it smells just like Sculpin!" "Ah, come off it, not just like Sculpin!" "No. Really."
The aroma and flavour are both monstrously grapefruity, with just a bit of resin thrown in... "Come along fellows, let us be honest, all of us know what a grapefruit tastes like, but when was the last time you chewed pine needles?" "Ah... what time is it? About... eight hours ago." Guffaws all round.
The percentage really does little to show itself except in a bit of warming after each swallow. The carbonation is medium-high, the body is rather thin, it's a tad boozy. But just a tad. "Really though? Have you ever had an 11% that was so drinkable?" "Yes sir. Unearthly." "Ah. Touche."
It only makes sense, as Wes pointed out, that this be the number one DIPA on the site, with Sculpin being the number 1 IPA. I could not get it out of my head that this beer is precisely imperial Sculpin. Just the same dangerous drinkability (As in, if a drinkability scale could go higher than five, this beer would be there), the exact same grapefruit-dominant hop profile, an excellent and well-crafted beer. The best DIPA? Not to my palate, but obviously well-deserving.

 2,181 characters

Photo of n00blar
5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of leodarko
4.5/5  rDev -3.6%

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

A- Tangerine colored brew pours with a light head which dissapates fairly quickly with some lacing.

S- Smell is very piney, some deep sweet malt notes, reminescent of Pliny the Elder but much bigger with hints of alcohol.

T- Taste is phenomenal. A very complex IPA, a boquet of piney, floral hops, big malt backbone, hard to describe but everything you could ask for in a triple IPA and more.

M- Mouthfeel is thick with carbonation a bit on the low side which suits this brew.

D- I could honestly drink this beer until I passed out. One of my favorite beers, bar none, and I don't say that a lot.

 601 characters

Photo of Lukafer
5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of wlynch
4.57/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

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

A huge thanks goes out to my buddy Ryan for hooking me up with this. After two years gone by of PtY trades falling through, Ryan stepped up big, not to mention the best packaging job I've ever seen on a growler.

The top of the growler pops with a nice hiss and white smoke. Aroma literally pours out of the growler.

A: This pours a thick, sticky, resiny light copper with a nice one finger head. For the ABV and size of this beer, I was expecting it to be a bit darker, but this was fairly light (similar in color to Sculpin). The head surprisingly lasts a while and has mediocre lacing. Great carbonation streaming slowly from the base of the glass.

S: Unfrigginbelieveable. Imagine your head inside a bucket of fresh orange, pineapple, apricot, and grapefruit and you will successfully simulate the PtY aroma experience. This is the best smelling DIPA (or is it TIPA) that I have ever had. The blast of citrus is unbelievable. As it warms up, some alcohol aroma is apparent, but it is really masked by the citrus hops. No pine or grassy hops detected whatsoever. Also not much caramel or malt backing detected in the smell. Straight up citrus explosion.

T: Tasted cold, this was smooth as hell, with the citrus flavors subdued. It coats your entire mouth with thick, sticky, hop resin goodness. As it warms, the beer gets exponentially better. The alcohol comes out, but seems to enhance the citrus and hop experience. I preferred it better a little warmer.

M/D: This is a thick and sticky DIPA. I found myself continually going back to the growler though, hoping more would appear.

Overall, this lived up to the hype. Best DIPA I have had? I would probably say not, but it is damn close.

 1,698 characters

Photo of JackNip
4.25/5  rDev -9%

Photo of teddyarrowhead
5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of KornWallace
4.75/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of DutchcdnTEXAN
4.87/5  rDev +4.3%

Photo of cwelsh55
4.75/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of auroracrisis
4.82/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a growler into my Duvel tulip thanks to Evan, thanks again brah! I owe you big time!

A - Orange with yellow highlights. Tiny head with big bubbles and a small head as you sip down the brew.

S - Big time hops with alcohol and malt mixed in. Hard to describe but it's outstanding! Some citrus, lots of pine too. Whatever Vinny did here is working.

T - Hops, hops and more hops. It basically owns your entire palate with an assortment of hops. It's a controlled chaos though, you can find balance in the big malts in the brew. A fantastic array of flavor. I can't really describe it. I guess from what I know it's like Hopslam without the honey. It's more aggressive than Hopslam, ti's not as mellowed out.

M - Low carbonation on the heavier side of medium.

D - High. It's not necessarily perfect but the flavors don't keep your lips far from the glass. As it warms, the alcohol becomes a tad more apparent but it's still masked well.

Overall, I'd say this beer is almost an exercise in perfection. A complete expression of perfection on the higher alcoholic version of a DIPA. Great job, Russian River and thanks again for the taste Evan!

 1,155 characters

Photo of VictorsValiant
4.66/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of mooseo
4.5/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Jose Pistolas in Philly, poured into a pint glass. 

A - Clear orange amber, with a small white head.

S - Grapefruit, orange peel, pine needle, honey. 

T - Huge, flavorful tropical grapefruit character. Very complex. Earthy pine and other citrus hops in mid-palate. Finishes with a nice light malty sweetness and hop bitterness.

M - Smooth, medium bodied, not much carbonation. A little sticky with a dry finish.

O - Delicious triple IPA. Super smooth,  refreshing, and highly drinkable. The alcohol is masked well and sneaks up fast. An excellent brew worthy of high praise.

 596 characters

Photo of Bp123
4.75/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of dhbiker0889
4.25/5  rDev -9%

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