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Feb
23

Stone Ruination IPA

By Andy Murphy
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“A liquid poem to the glory of the hop.”
- from the Ruination IPA bottle

ipa-mondayIPA Monday, how I love you. You are attentive, appearing just as I need you most, always at the conclusion of the week’s first workday. But you never fail to light up my life by being both a reliable constant, and a constant surprise.

For example, take today’s amazing Double IPA from Stone Brewing Company — the Ruination IPA.

I expected — and received — an amazing hoppiness. But I did not expect the malt, or how the taste mixed with the hops to create a sort of herbal candy swirling through my mouth and clinging in flavored swaths to my gums.

The sensory excitement begins long before you taste the beer. The Ruination IPA bottle doesn’t have a label in the traditional sense — it’s screen printed, resulting in a rough, stubbled texture like a statue carved from stone. The feeling reminds me of running my hands along gargoyles atop Notre Dame de Paris — no accident on Stone’s part, I’m sure.

After touch comes sight. I lifted the cap on the bottle, holding the vessel and my expectant glass up to the light — to better judge the color and enjoy the action of the pour. But what a surprise — before a single drop came from the bottle, wispy fumes flowed from the mouth. Whether from an angry genie or a haunted brewhouse, the fumes couldn’t quite reach the bottom of the glass before dissolving away.

Chasing the lost fumes was a pale gold beer that frothed into a thin white head. It sent out a steady wave of sweet malt and hops, with light herbal and lemon qualities, inviting.

Malt took me by surprise. I had braced myself for some ruinous bitterness, but the overwhelming character of that first sip was malt, sweet with a touch of lemon-rind citrus.

A quick cross-fade ensued, with the malt fading through the swallow and a gradual bitterness warming through. Imagine a refreshing, frothy wave hitting the beach and rushing past you before sucking back and fading away, leaving you salty and wanting another surge.

The bottle boasts a 100 IBU rating, but the flavor has all the bragging rights. The herbal, oily hops radiate flavor, not attacking your taste buds as much as converting them en mass.

The effect on your tongue is prolonged. According to the label, this is all by design, explaining the “Ruination” name thus:

So called because of the immediate ruinous effect on your palate. The moment after the first swallow, all other food and drink items suddenly become substantially more bland than they were just seconds before. By the time you develop a taste for this IPA, you may find that you are permanently ruined from being able to enjoy lesser brews. Good . . . “Your welcome.”

Any way you slice it, this is a fantastic beer that should be known not for its IBU, but for its flavor. Floral, hoppy, malty and strong.

It’s easy to see how this beer can spoil you. But it’s good to be spoiled.

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Categories : Beer a Day, IPA Monday

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