Stone Ruination Tenth Anniversary IPA
I think it goes without saying that Stone loves their hops. Pretty much every beer they make, even their smoked porter, is relatively hop forward so it comes as no surprise that Ruination is one of their most popular beers. Personally, I think it’s a bit earthy and dirty and doesn’t shine as brightly as many other west coast IPAs, but Sublimely Self Righteous is probably my favorite black IPA, striking a perfect balance of roast and bitter, citrusy hops. I decided to give this one a whirl after hearing some good things, many people even comparing it to Pliny the Younger. (PS, it’s nothing like Younger). The beer pours a really nice copper color, hints of light amber and orange peel when held to the light. Atop the beer sits about 2 fingers of stark white head, loose bubbles that has moderate retention but leaves behind really nice lacing around the glass. The aroma is actually really great, I was expecting the same earthiness and grassiness readily apparent in Ruination, but was pleased to find an abundance of fruit and citrus forward hops. A great floral bouquet pops out in the middle which transitions to astringent alcohol and sweet caramel malts. The nose is quite inviting, and despite the highly apparent alcohol, doesn’t come across as too abrasive. The flavors match nicely, starts with a big juicy blast of tropical fruits, pineapple and mangos, a great grapefruit kick hits right at the end of the fruit flavors, a bit of pine comes out as well, nice balance between the bright citrus, fruit and floral notes and the more bitter pine flavors. The alcohol really comes out in the flavor, a bit more than I’d like, even from Stone, it definitely cuts the brightness a bit at the finish and punishes your tongue. The body is great, big, full and juicy, super sticky at the finish with a nice dry bite.
Verdict: This is pretty excellent stuff, definitely a palate wrecker, which is certainly the intended mission. The high alcohol could probably be hidden a bit better, but the brightness and floral elements are really pristine. (4.15/5)