Last spring, Stone Brewing announced that they were retiring their Ruination double IPA after 13 years. This news led to some serious resistance by fans of this hop bomb, however, it was to be replaced with a bigger and better version of its previous self, Ruination 2.0. This version promised to have an updated hop profile that used hops that weren’t available back when the first one came out over a decade ago. Stone has an entire blog post about Ruination 2.0, but if that’s too long for you to read, here’s a more succinct summary:
Stone Ruination IPA was the first full-time brewed and bottled West Coast double IPA on the planet. As craft beer has evolved over the years, so too have techniques for maximizing hop flavors and aromas. For the second incarnation of our groundbreaking India pale ale, we employed dry hopping and hop bursting to squeeze every last drop of piney, citrusy, tropical essence from the hops that give this beer its incredible character. We’ve also updated the name to reflect the imperial-level intensity that’s evident in every sip. Join us in cheering this, the second stanza in our “Liquid Poem to the Glory of the Hop.”
Ruination 2.0 is brewed with Centennial, Magnum, Citra, Simcoe and Azacca hops, the last three of which weren’t even available back in 2002 when the original launched. They also changed up some of the hopping techniques to include hop bursting, which is when you add the vast majority of the hops after the boil, so that those wonderful hop oils don’t boil off, leaving you with the great flavor and aroma, and less bitterness. Stone has also stamped the bottles with both the bottled on and enjoy by dates, which I think is great. They implore you to drink this beer within 90 days of bottling, so now you don’t have to guess on either date. This beer is available in both 6-packs and 22-oz bombers.
Ruination 2.0 pours a beautiful orange color with a slightly off-white head that contrasts nicely with the beer. The clarity is great on this one, which is something I’ve come to expect from Stone. The initial aroma is that of tropical fruit: I get a healthy dose of mango and pineapple on the nose. There are more tropical flavors coming through in the flavor, but with the addition of pine and resinous hops. The mouthfeel is on the medium side, and the hops coat your tongue to let you know they are there. It finishes with a slightly bitter kick, with a touch of alcohol heat. This beer weighs in at 8.5% and you know it. I find that the 12 ounce serving is just about perfect for this one. A 22-oz bomber gets to be a bit much toward the end of the bottle.
All in all, I enjoy this one more than the original. The original had even more back end bitterness and was a bit grainy to me. I really like that this is available in 6-packs, and it is one of the better double IPAs that you can find with regular success in our market. There are better seasonal and one offs around, but often times those aren’t available, or some of the other good double IPAs on the shelves are older than dirt (Endeavour and Timber Beast, I’m looking at you). I think Stone’s 19th Anniversary, Thunderstruck IPA, is better than Ruination 2.0, but again, that’s a one time brew that we won’t see again any time soon. The new batch of Stone’s Enjoy By IPA should be hitting shelves next week, so hopefully we’ll get another great Stone double IPA soon.