Friday, June 29, 2012

Stone Brewing Co. - Ruination Tenth Anniversary IPA

When I was first getting into craft beer a few years ago, my friend, Kenny, introduced me to Ruination IPA. I had tried a very small number of IPAs (and no Double IPAs) before Ruination and had convinced myself that I would never like the style because it was "too bitter." Somehow, Kenny talked me into trying Ruination anyways, and I'm very glad he did. I absolutely loved Ruination and it became a total gateway beer for me. I haven't been able to get enough hops since then.

As it turns out, Ruination turned 10 years old this month. In a way, beer lovers owe a lot to this beer as it was one of the first Double IPAs to be bottled and sold commercially. To mark the anniversary, Stone decided to brew a special batch of Ruination, doubling the hop load and bumping the ABV up from 7.7% to 10.8%. This sounded way too intriguing to pass up, so I got a bottle and tried it last week.

Ruination Tenth Anniversary pours a clear, deep golden color with a fluffy one finger tan head. The appearance coming out of the bottle was a bit syrupy, so I could already tell that this was going to be a big beer. If the appearance didn't give that away, the smell definitely did. As soon as I started pouring the beer, I could smell waves and waves of pine and grapefruit hop aromas. Tons of sticky hop resin was evident as well.

As expected, the taste is big. Really big. I got tons of aggressive piney hop notes with a good amount of grapefruit pith and loads of resin. There's a touch of mango and pineapple on the periphery of this one, but the star of the show here is definitely the hops. The finish brings a touch of bready malt, followed by a ton of (you guessed it) hop resin. The mouthfeel is noticeably heavier than the standard version, but this beer actually hides the high alcohol really well. If you're not a big fan of hops, stay far away from this one. But if you love hops as much as I do, I think you'll find that this is a pretty fantastic beer and a fitting tribute to one of Stone's finest beer.

Final Grade: A

Top 100 Beers Tasted: 38

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