I'm headed to the birthday party of a beer-loving buddy and deciding what to bring. I logged onto our blog here to check out today's traffic stats and I saw a funny tweet in our Twitter widget feed. It reads: "It's that good: you can have Ruination 10 at a bar next to Jar-Jar Binks and not mind being next to Jar-Jar Binks." I love it! Good one, Alemonger.
Indeed, Ruination 10 is a special celebratory incarnation of Stone's much-lauded double IPA. Here, Stone amps the hops ("five pounds of hops instead of 2.5") and juices the alcohol from 7.7% to 10.8%. The results are devastating - devastatingly good and devastating to your palate. Ruinous, perhaps. This Ruination strikes a slightly softer initial blow due to the added malts, but ultimately slaughters the palate more wickedly than standard Ruination.
It's like Chinese water torture with hop cones. Actually, it's more akin to being sprayed in the face moments before a hop waterboarding. I'd say the Tenth Anniversary is a bit spicier than the standard, but still carries that robust, resiny pineyness that overrides some secondary but sharp citrus bite. A pale amber, it's a rather stern and rugged-looking brew, with a solid foamy top. The carbonation gives it a gratifyingly coarse mouthfeel.
Ruination has been one of my favorite beers since my first try, in the fall of 2008, when Hopleaf snuck in a keg. Despite having had several other beers beforehand that evening, the Ruination seized my palate with its fierce hop attack but remarkable complexity. This marked the birth of a bad romance with hops. From then on, I became an IPA lover, a Stone acolyte, and, soon thereafter, a regular beer writer. I wouldn't call Ruination exactly a turning point; it was more of a 10,000 volt directional arrow pointing me toward the hop highway HOV lane. Tonight that highway's taking me straight to Evolution to get my Tenth Anniversary Ruination for the party. It may be my pal's birthday but he can kiss his palate goodbye! (Muhahahahah! Or insert sundry evil laugh.)
4.7 of 5 stars.