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Russian River Pliny the Younger, Beer Predators Always Seem to Go After the Younger Ones

Boy oh boy, have we really come to this? A week ago we were drinking Rolling Rock and now we are sipping on the world’s highest ranked beer with careless abandon. Let’s rattle off some facts about this legendary (triple?) DIPA. First off, they don’t even bottle this beast because it single handedly submarined the Greek economy. Second, it is only available around groundhog day at a few choice locations, and only on draft. In fact, this beer is in an elite cadre of Draft Only No Growler (DONG) beers. So grab your dongs and let’s see if the hype is worth it in today’s epic review, written in dactyllic hexameter, JK!

When you see Pliny, especially in Younger form, YOU DOUBLE FIST. No questions asked.

Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States
American Double / Imperial IPA | 11.00% ABV

Here’s what the brewery has to say about this elusive hopmonster:

“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.”

A: It looks like bright, translucent, molten brass with a deceptive clarity to the sheen. The carbonation, at least every time that I have had it, has been minimal and presents a hilarious little pencil lead head to garnish your hop-torn mouth. Did you really come into Pliny the Younger to look at it though? If so, maybe you are doing it wrong. Maybe Pizza Port just didn’t clean their glasses correctly, or maybe people from South Carolina take Boyking reviews too seriously, who IS TO SAY?

On the left, Pliny the Younger, on the right, immature craft beer palate.

S: This smells like the inside of a 8th grade stoner’s backpack. It has a deep resinous pine character that lends to a poplar, aserose, maple, and a sweetness that reminds me of the toasted orange rind garnish you commonly find on old fashioneds. However, as this beer warms, it lets some of the fruits loose to amble around the verdant meadows, and we are all edified as a result.

T: This has much more malt than it’s “older” bretheren and some people prefer that complexity. The bready and cornbread sweetness is damn near mandatory to buttress the hop bill that they have in this hop Basilisk, turning beer nerd pants to stone. The taste echoes the pine and foresty adventures of the nose but presents a new hat trick that reminds me of eating sweet rolls after a long day of raking pine needles. The creaminess of the taste really masks the ABV of this staggering giant and the entire interplay is really something to tip your hat to in the street, downright genteel.

This beer is a reason to lovingly long for Groundhog and Valentine’s day. A sweet solace to the horrible month of February.

M: The mouthfeel, despite the low carbonation, boasts a huge hop profile that works in tandem with the malts to continue the project that Pliny the Elder started, but takes it to absurd new heights. To some, this (D)IPA might come across as a new style altogether, shouldered with Ephraim, Devil Dancer, Knuckle Sandwich etc. however, this is deep down as Imperial as the Chinese shipping empires, and the hops resonate like a street basketball game.

D: Reviews like these are always tough to do, first because I have very little constructive criticism to coast the jokes upon due to the fact that the beer is just too damn good. Then again, I don’t want to knock this beer on accessibility alone, since that is an intentional decision. This is dangerously drinkable and you can’t help but wonder why others have failed to attempt this ambitious undertaking. Is it worth seeking out? Absolutely. Is this beer worth standing in line for 90 minutes and being shut out? No. Is it worth belonging to a mug club or stupid passport promotion to drink? Absolutely not. Is it worth buying $50 of charity raffle tickets only to lose on all of them and be denied access to this beer? No.

Is this one of the best T/D IPAs out there? The answer is a resounding “ya bruh.”

HEY LISTEN, I know you want PtY, but could you not post in forums about getting it in bottles? It makes you look like a shithead. Thanks.

Narrative: The boats bobbed softly in the bay of Naples and Pliny dipped his quill assiduously into the inkwell and felt mild vibrations through the legs of the Poplar table. “I must write in haste, for I fear that I have gone too far in my botanical pursuits this time.” The grumble of the dormant volcanic god, Pompeii, rumbled in the east. “In my quest for taxonomy and discovering different strains of the ‘wolf plant’ I appear to have cross-polinated in a manner repugnant to the soil itself.” The tremors became steadily more severe and Pliny’s hands shook with anticipation. “I seem to have created a strain of hops that defies belief, the root system is so charged with ‘aether’ that is has shifted the contents of the lower core, the oils are just too powerful!” The dirt-floored home shook violently and cast the aging octagenarian to the floor, a copy of Aristotle’s metaphysics lay open at his knees. “Please, tell my kin to abandon this deep curse, may the Gods take pity on my efforts at the River of Sty-” The Pompeiian mountain erupted, unleashing the hot hoppy fury of the wolf plant upon the teeming Romans below. Magma was truly the hottest DIPA that they had ever encountered, bitter coating sheets of obsidian and molten rock were bitter beyond belief. [FN1]

[FN1] entire entry reviewed for historical accuracy