Stone RuinTen
Stone: RuinTen IPA (USA: IIPA: 10.8% ABV)

Visual: Clear bronzed gold. Large brown to yellow froth and tight bubbled head.

Nose: Resin. Apricot. Hops. Crushed custard cream biscuits. vanilla. Bitter. Crushed milk digestive biscuits. Toffee. Smoke.

Body: Big bitterness. Big sweetness. Grapefruit. Gooseberry. Thick texture. Golden syrup. Hint of booze, like smooth malt liquor, is that a thing? Vanilla. Froths up easily with a custard like note.

Finish: Apricot. Bitter with tons of hops. green grapes. Dry touch of oaken style. Resin and hop oils. Dry mango. Smoke. Bitter malt chocolate.

Conclusion: Is it a bad sign, that despite this being an intense motherflipper of a beer, that I am eternally disappointed that it has not, in fact, ruined me? Stone, false advertising, for shame!

Then again, I fear for the world hop shortage that would occur if they even turned out a beer that could constantly ruin the many hop heads world wide. (Then again, they could just reduce the malt backbone that contrasts the hops and make them manageable, but that would just be cheating, and probably not a very good beer)

I don’t know what causes it, but what stands out to me here isn’t the huge, rising bitterness – I kind of expected that. What stands out instead is the slightly smoky character that comes with it – it adds another layer of intensity to an already big beer.

At its base it its Ruination IPA in essence – I’ve revisited that beer a few times over the years. and yep, this is definitely made from the same base DNA. Same big hop character, some use of fruit hops and backing malt sweetness.

This is, quintessentially, the USA IPA written large. Big hops, brash apricot, fresh tart hop notes and vanilla and digestive sweetness – all rounded out with more sweetness that has been pushed up so strong it gets golden syrup styled, and with an alcohol feel that is like malt liquor, but without the bad taste or burn. Somehow.

It is a huge IPA, even I found the bitterness growling by the end, weighing down on everything throughout. If you are not into bitter beers, avoid this. However I still hold it is not ruinous. Oh no. Resinous, yes. Hop oils, yes – but everything is still within the range of expected kick for an IIPA, if at the high end of that scale.

Now good as it is, it isn’t an “Enjoy By IPA” level good beer – then again, I didn’t try this as fresh as that one – so the comparison may be unfair. Based on what I drank though, this is still an awesome beer – one track minded assault IPA, huge, unbalanced, but still worth it, and the fact that Stone has turned out a better IIPA should not be held against it.

Background: A brewed up version of Ruination IPA. More hops and more malt – described on the bottle as “A stage dive into a mosh pit of hops”. How could any hop head not love that description? This was originally brewed on the tenth anniversary of the brewing of Ruination IPA, and then each year after, this being the 2014 version. Ruination IPA was one of the first huge bitterness IPAs I tried, so I have a fond memory of it. This was drink while listening to Against Me!’s Transgender Dysphoria Blues – an awesome album. Then my Bad Religion catalogue on random. Yes I took a long time drinking this, it is 660ml and over 10%. I am not that insane.