Stone Ruination 10th Anniversary IPA. / Tony Gibersonfirstname.lastname@example.org
How does one tinker with perfection? I suppose the argument may be made that nothing is ever truly perfect, but find a beverage that suits your sensibilities, meets and then exceeds its requirements for style while satisfying both palate and thirst … well, you’re about as close to perfection as allowable by law.
So when the 10th anniversary of Stone Brewing’s Ruination Ale was coming up, the company wisely decided to celebrate the occasion by giving its beer the old “Rocky” routine. This is where a beloved fighter goes into training to become even better than he was; running down the beach with Carl Lewis whilst wearing short shorts that should have been highly illegal, punching gummy sides of bloody beef in a meat locker, growing a beard that’d make a hipster jealous and then running up the side of a Russian mountain.
The folks at Stone probably did none of the above (although the brewery’s CEO, Greg Koch, is rocking the “I’m gonna take down Ivan Drago for my dead friend” facial hair), but the “taking things to the next level” spirit of Rocky Balboa is all over its anniversary edition of Ruination.
Ruination Ale was already one of the first double IPAs on the market. Call it double, extra or Imperial, the general consensus is that for an IPA to qualify it must exceed 7 percent alcohol. For ale to do so, sugar content must be higher in the original wort. To up the sugar would be to have a malt-forward beer that cancels out the hop presence and the entire point of India Pale Ale is to have a higher than average hop content. Therefore, double IPA, especially so with Ruination, are ridiculously hoppy.
Everything about Ruination 10th Anniversary is pumped up, oiled, brawny and ready to win the heavyweight belt. Cue the “Eye of the Tiger” on the stereo and pour some of this gorgeous brassy-gold beer into a tulip glass. Watch as a massive head of snow-white foam slowly recedes and leaves very sticky lacing behind. Enormous scents pull a three-punch-combination on your nose with resinous pine, grapefruit rind and tropical fruits. Turning up the alcohol from 7.7 to 10.8 percent runs the risk of being out of balance flavor-wise. Absolutely not so here. This beer is perfectly balanced between chewy pineapple, tangerine and piney hops with a sweet malt backbone keeping the bitterness from spiraling out of control, an amazing feat.