Friday, July 27, 2012

Stone Ruination Tenth Anniversary IPA

This is a beer I was sure would never make it to my neck of the woods here in upstate NY. And if it did I figured it'd be old by that time. Thankfully my local beer store was able to get a whopping two cases of this so I picked up to bottles at $9 a piece. EVERYONE (except Ding) has been raving about this one. Would it live up to the hype?

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Chad9976 (701) - Albany, New York, USA - JUL 25, 2012
I poured a 22oz bomber into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Opaque dark orange hue with no carbonation bubbles visible. Forms a large, eggshell, frothy head which laces and retains very well.

Smell: Almost identical to regular Ruination, but somehow even sweeter. Juicy tropical fruits and slight syrupy fragrance is very inviting.

Taste: I don’t know how, but Stone definitely has taken their classic Ruination double IPA and made it even bigger and bolder while remaining very true to the source material. There’s a very specific subset of West Coast double/imperial IPA styles that I love and this beer definitely falls within it. Strong bitterness throughout while at the same time remaining quite sweet with an authentic juicy taste. In fact, there’s even a moment in the palate where it’s as refreshing as tropical fruit juice. There’s few beers that can be simultaneously bitter and refreshing and this is one of them.

I might almost fault the beer for being too bitter, but considering the name, the brewery, and the target audience I think that’s rather illogical and perhaps a bit redundant. The juicy core is eventually enveloped by the intense dry bitterness of the hops. What starts out sweet and syrupy becomes remarkably dry through the bitterness. The hops don’t linger at first, but they do eventually and does saturate the palate. Still, an effect like that is what you’d expect of this beer and if paired with the proper food it would be a great combination. However, drinking it alone is a pleasurable enough experience.

Drinkability: I was actually a little hesitant to drink an entire 22oz bottle of this by myself considering it weighs in pretty hefty at 10.8% ABV. Yet, even as an after-dinner beer Stone Ruination Tenth Anniversary IPA didn’t fill me up or overwhelm me. It certainly dried out my mouth, but call me a masochist because I actually liked it in this case. There’s almost no alcohol presence aside from a slight rum-like character imparting a hint of vanilla and subtle warmth. It’s a very comfortable mouthfeel with a smooth finish and a beer that’s actually difficult to sip and savor - even though I know I should because it’s (as of this writing) a rarity. Glad I have another bottle in the fridge!

Grade: 10/10

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