So after a week of stouts from New York, we go for something quite the opposite - an imperial IPA from the west coast. Stone Ruination IPA is one of the most requested beers viewers ask me to review. To make it even more interesting I paired this with spicy jambalaya in ode to Mark from http://youtube.com/VideoBeerReviews
4.1AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Stone Brewing is one of, is not THE brewery that put West Coast-style IPAs on the map. That style being huge hop bombs of beer with mega citrus aromas and flavors, plus an explosion of bitterness. Stone Ruination IPA is the epitome of the style (although not necessarily the best if that makes any sense).
NOTE: The closest I could find to a fresh bottle was a 22oz bomber just a few weeks past its expiration date. It’s impossible to find fresh Stone beers in the northeastern states.
Appearance: A bright orange color with a hazy body. It produces a bright white, frothy head that maintains retention very well and dirties up my glass with lacing.
Smell: Grapefruit and flowers and a scent akin to Fruity Pebbles cereal. The regular Stone IPA smells almost identical, although this seems a little less "clean" and more dry to me.
Taste: It’s actually amazing a beer can be both extremely bitter and extremely flavorful at the same time. Ruination gets its name from the fact it is over 100 IBUs and the bottle literature indicates it will ruin your palate with hop bitterness once you drink it. I think this is only true if you drink an entire 22oz bomber by yourself without any food pairing.
That being said, Ruination is very tasty with a distinct citrus tartness at first, followed by a sugary cereal-like sweetness across the middle. The backend and aftertaste are very dry. In fact, the dryness becomes a little cloying after a while. The best remedy is to take another swig because the citrus taste is surprisingly refreshing.
Mouthfeel: While I was able to almost eradicate the CO2 with a vigorous pour, there’s still a liveliness to the mouthfeel due to the hoppy palate. It’s definitely very crisp, impressively so in fact, considering this is a double IPA.
Drinkability: I don’t think there could be a more perfect beer to pair with a spicy meal than this one. The strong hop presence will complement any spice. And yet, it’s a good beer to enjoy on its own (in moderate quantity). It’s very smooth for such a hoppy beer, although it does wear down your palate and dry out the mouth.
Overall, one of my favorite IPAs, but because it’s a little obnoxious (intentionally so), I can’t quite consider it among the upper echelon of beers. That’s okay because it’s still very tasty and fun to drink.