A LIQUID POEM TO THE GLORY OF THE HOP:
STONE’S RUNINATION DOUBLE IPA 2.0
Stone Brewing Ruination Double IPA 2.0 Abv 8.5
We applaud brewers who, in the never-ending struggle to brew a beer that’s different from the brewery across town—or increasingly across the street—get more smarter about brewing actual beer rather than dump in some new ingredient no one could have imagined. (OK – an exception is tomorrow’s beaver butt beer, that actually worked.) Stone has tried almost everything to maintain its reputation as an innovator, but it does its best work when it takes a great beer and improves it.
The 2.0 Ruination is a tad stronger in alcohol than the version we first tasted at the Brickskeller in 2002, but the big difference comes in the hopping. While the new version does continue with the Magnum and Centennial, both rather innovative for their time, it adds Simcoe, Citra and Azacca to bring the profile up to date. Perhaps more importantly, it employs “hop bursting”—the practice of adding essentially wastefully massive amounts of hops very late in the boil. The enormous hop load achieves the IBUs that fewer hops with a longer boil could provide, but the bitterness is softer and the flavors of the hops are more evident.
If Stone were in New England, maybe they’d tinker around a bit more and can it and have a new cult beer, but this one seemed to us to be a bit more polished, though certainly not short on flavor.
Tasting notes: The very rich malt and a good thing indeed and manages, barely, to more or less support the yuge deeply dank hops wave. Some citrus peel shows but spicy and earthy notes share the spotlight in a thick, almost syrupy, oily and resiny hop profusion.
Food Pairings: Stone’s website gives unusually detailed suggestions for its beers. These guys have fun but take their beer very seriously. Many of the suggestions point south of the border (mahi-mahi tacos and guacamole, are two of the many suggestions. We’re most intrigued by the suggestion of Sag Paneer. This massive and somewhat distant cousin of beers of the British troops in India is a far cry from the tepid Kingfisher that you expect in a Indian Restaurant; we may have to cook the dish at home to get a chance to try the pairing. Review #0071 20170223
Tomorrow: Beaverbrau? Castorale? Nope– it’s Olde Mother’s Tainted Love– giving a whole new meaning to “Bottoms Up.” (Strangeways Ape Armegeddon coming soon)