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Pliny The Younger is a Triple IPA brewed by Russian River Brewing Company and released every year in February. Usually only available on draft, it was bottled for the first time in 2020, and is considered a "white whale" by many craft beer drinkers. Like Pliny the Elder this beer is a huge hit with hop heads, but unlike Elder, Younger is a much more difficult beer to come by, which is one of the reasons it's kept its whale status for so long.
Before it was bottled, small number of kegs would be sent out to select accounts, and beer drinkers in the Bay Area would scramble to every year around San Francisco's Craft Beer Week to find a place to get a taste. It's so sought after that it's common for establishments who do get Younger to ration it out, either through special events or by limiting the number of pours each individual could buy.
When RRBC decided to bottled Younger for first time in 2020, it was only available in person at their Windsor and Santa Rosa tap rooms. This Triple IPA is one of my favorite beers, and I have a feeling that's a shared opinion for a number of people who have had it.
PS - Don't forget to check out my review of Pliny The Elder as well!
Name: Pliny The Younger
Brewed by: Russian River Brewing Company
Style: Triple IPA
Availability: Released Annually in February
I find that most beers that claim to be Triple IPAs simply aren't. That doesn't mean they're bad, they just end up tasting more like barelywines (ex: 120 Minute from Dogfish Head). This beer is one of the few I've thought could truly claim the style, and damn does it deliver. Younger clocks in just above 10%, and given the amount of malt and hops, is strangely well-balanced.
Younger pours a very clear golden-yellow, with white lacing that sticks to the glass throughout your session.
Tons of hops in the nose with a strong mix of piney with a good mix of citrus, strawberry, and spice.
Crazy well-balanced with a dry, lingering, bitter finish. You get just enough alcohol tinge without it being overwhelming.
A bit more than medium-bodied with average carbonation. It's clean, crisp, refreshing, and leaves you ready for the next sip.
There are three ways to get your hands on Pliny The Younger.
If you're a beer trader, you can try and get one of your partners to send you some, but given how rare it is, expect to need to pony up some good beer in exchange.
If you're in the Bay Area (or located near one of their few accounts outside of CA) you can usually do some research and find out what restaurants and bars are getting some. If you go this route, expect it to be a bit stressful since it sells out so fast, and also be prepared to wait in lines.
My personal recommendation is to take a trip to one of their locations in Windsor or Santa Rosa and make a weekend out of it. I know that's not possible for everyone, but if you're able to, it's 100% the way to do it. I've done it multiple times, and there is something really special about getting Younger right from the source and surrounded by other awesome beer people. Not to mention, the food (in both locations) is stellar. You will need to wait in line, but it's worth it. Grab a chair, get there as early as possible, and sip some coffee.
P.S. - I help run an annual charity rare beer raffle called Whales for Wishes, and Younger has been known to show up there if you're looking to score some.
This is one of my favorite beers, and my favorite Triple IPA hands-down. I think it very much lives up to the hype, and the fact that it's still so highly rated and sought after after all this years is a testament to the team at RRBC.
Please, if you can, make the trip to one of the locations and make an event out of it. I promise it will be one of your favorite craft beer memories.
I am not paid by anyone to review beers, and I don’t accept free beer from breweries to review. I co-founded and still maintain both TheBeerExchnage.io and WhalesforWishes.com.
I want to hear from you. Are there beers you want me to try? Local or not, I’d love to hear it so let me know!