Pliny the Younger (Russian River Brewing)

Back in February my roommate and I were kicking around the idea of making the drive to Santa Rosa, California for the release of PLINY THE YOUNGER. Due to timing and financial reasons we weren’t able to make the trip. Cut to a couple of weeks ago and I started hearing about The Younger popping up in the LA area, but I always kept just missing out (tickets were sold out, heard about the event the day after, etc.). Finally, I caught wind of Pliny the Younger being on tap at Lucky Baldwin’s in Pasadena and we could actually attend! So yesterday we drove to Pasadena at 10 in the morning got a table, one hour later we had our tickets, two hours after that we finally had glasses of Pliny the Younger. Did it live up to the hype?

Pliny the Younger is the #1 beer in the world according to Beer Advocate. This Triple IPA (aka Imperial IPA) is extremely rare, has an unknown amount of IBUs and a beefy 11% ABV.

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.

PtY arrived at my table in a tulip glass and topped with a massive bubbly head. The beer is a clearish orange-gold color and darker than its brethren Pliny the Elder. Head eventually fades to a mere wisp, but thick runny lacing is left clinging to the side of the glass.

I took my first whiff expecting to blown out of my seat, but the nose was surprisingly mellow. However, there were some noticeable smells of hop resin, pine needles, citrus and orange marmalade. An odd doughy-saltiness was faint in there, but was bullied out-of-the-way by the bigger IPA flavors.

After years of waiting I finally had Pliny the Younger in my hand and I must admit I was hesitant to take the first sip. Mind you, I has extremely excited to finally get to try a beer that is widely referred to as one of, if not the best in the world, but I was also worried that it might not live up to the hype. Finally, I took my first sip…

The flavor is balanced and smooth. Big hops hit first and fade from pine to a slightly more muted citrus as it cascades down your tongue. This transition from pine to citrus is so expertly crafted that the flavors never step over each other or seem out of place. Malts come through in the middle with a balancing biscuit flavor before sliding into a toffee-like sweetness. As the beer warms up it evens out splendidly; there’s not as big of a hop smash at the forefront, but it doesn’t lose any flavor.

The Younger is one of the thicker IPAs I’ve had before with the mouthfeel verging on being thick. It goes down easy enough, but coats the throat and leaves behind a thick hoppy resin. This is definitely an IPA mouthfeel, with hops seeming to dance around your gums. The odd part is it almost seems to thicken up as it warms, hmmm.

I must say that Pliny the Younger lives up to the hype. This beer was put together for a reason, not just big for the sake of being big. Pine, citrus, toffee, biscuit are all present and each flavor is noticeable and used to its fullest extent. I really enjoyed this beer and can honestly say I was more impressed with the Younger than I was with the Elder the first time I tried it. If you can I would HIGHLY recommend trying this beer.

*In honor of this beer I am officially creating the category “TRIPLE IPA” for my beer reviews*

Overall: 9.5 out of 10

As a TRIPLE IPA: 9.5 out of 10



1 Comment

Filed under Triple IPA

One response to “Pliny the Younger (Russian River Brewing)

  1. Pingback: Citra Double IPA (Kern River Brewing Company) | Ales In Comparison

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