Stone: Ruination IPA 2.0 (USA: IIPA: 8.5% ABV)
Visual: Clear thick gold. Some carbonation. An inch of bubbled creamy head that leaves suds.
Nose: Lemon. Crisp clean hops. Sweet meringue. Gooseberry. Creamy. Floral notes.
Body: Creamy. Prickly and full of hop oils. Good bitterness. Apricot and peach syrup. Pineapple. Shortbread. Nettles. Moderately dry.
Finish: Solid hop oils. Apricot and good hop bitterness that rises. Nettles. Light custard sweetness. Resin. Long lasting.
Conclusion: Ok – version 2.0. Unpatched but updated. How does it do? Very interestingly actually. It is a lot drier than the original. There seems to be a trend of dry, attenuated feeling IIPAs at the moment – and this, like those others, catches my attention and my respect. The style makes for a very clean hop delivery system and they end up very easily drinkable for that.
Initially with this you just get that clean hop bitterness, lots of hop oils, resin and growling bitterness along with a prickling that rises. While the aroma hints at tarter notes and lemon, the body comes in initially as a simple hop delivery system. Still not ruining, but much clearer defined that 1.0 and actually gives a very clean bitter kick in the finish.
Now, here comes the contradiction in this beer – it is very dry styled, but despite that there is a very present creaminess that gets layered over that without diminishing it. Odd eh? This creaminess goes on to become full on peach and apricot fruit that grows out of it. It is that sweet aspect hidden at the core around which the dry main character lies. Kind of like a cream centre in bitter chocolate cream egg. If such a thing existed. And was made with hops.
It doesn’t quite beat Restorative Beverage as my favourite dry IIPA, but it brings more clear bitterness, while Restorative is more complex. Compared to 1.0? Well this doesn’t feel as rough edged, but despite that feels like it delivers more weight and actual bitterness.
Overall – I am impressed. Very well crafted, very smooth edged bitter kicking beer. Far too easy to drink for the abv, and far to easy to drink for such a hop assault. Stone know how to use the hops!
Background: Those of you who keep an eye on my twitter feed will notice I’ve been making some “patch” jokes already about this due to its 2.0 moniker. Never let it be said I don’t run a joke into the ground. Anyway, this is a new recipe version of Ruination IPA – I beer had come to enjoy even more over the years since first trying. I had grabbed it from Brewdog’s Guest Beer selection when it popped up as I thought it would be interesting to try. Drunk while listening to Jim Sterling’s ..erm.. interview with Digital Homicide. Well, it was a thing, I have to give Jim Sterling credit for his patience.