Nose: Hops. Citrus and Pine.
Mouth: Medium body. Tart and bitter, hoppy. Strong pine notes, like balsamic fir. Hints of citrus. Doesn’t finish clean. After taste is odd. Leaves a film in your mouth. Talks back too.
Stone Ruination. They say it’s supposed to be a “massive hop monster” and that it “has a wonderfully delicious and intensely bitter flavor on a refreshing malt base”. I have to stifle laughter at this. I also have to stifle laughter at the 95 it gets on one of those other review sites. If I were hops and I heard that this was supposed to be “a liquid poem to the glory of the hop”, I’d be rather insulted.
Look, Stone, really, balance can be achieved with a very strong hop character and it doesn’t have to ruin the beer. My palate is not destroyed here at all. It’s mostly disappointed. Then again, the name of this brew is appropriate since something is ruined. Fortunately for me, it’s not my palate.
So why don’t I like this beer? Oh, c’mon, if you read those first couple paragrahs and thought I actually liked this…wow. Like wow, dude. Anyway, this beer, there are a few issues I have here. It is a massive hop monster but that’s not a good thing. I have had other hop monsters that are far better than this. I’m not even going to bother to name them. You’ve seen reviews on a couple here already. The only “massive” part I will agree with here is that this is a potent beer at 7.7% ABV. It’ll get ya drunk.
However, I would like to know where this “refreshing malt base” is because all I get is this overabundance of hop character in the nose, the mouth and the aftertaste. There are only two or three profiles here as well. It seems like all three C’s are present but Stone says it’s just two of them. The citrusy aroma of Centennial is there without a doubt. It’s strong, almost eye wateringly strong. This beer though, it’s thick but not creamy. It’s almost syrupy. That’s probably likely due to the excessive amounts of Columbus hops. It tends to have a resiny characteristic to it. It’s also where all the pine and fir notes come from. The malt though? It’s not there. I can feel it and see it in the glass but I can’t smell or taste it.
Oh, and that odd after taste and “talking back” I mentioned? It took me a while to figure it out but I got it. Grass clippings. Wet grass clippings is what it reminds me of. Also, the talking back in the after taste and any burps…let me esplain here for a moment. See, when I was a Boy Scout, I spent a good deal of time at summer camp both as a scout and as a camp counselor. So I got to stand in fields of grass in sweltering summer heat with the sun beating down on me and everything around me. Unmanicured grass fields, like a Boy Scout Camp Parade Field, have a unique aroma to them. It’s bitter and pungent. It’s strong and distinctive. It always brings back plesant memories of my times in the Scouts in my youth. I can only stand it for so long though because whatever compounds make up those musty, stifling aromas, they give me a headache and I have to go somewhere else after a short while. When I burp after drinking Stone Ruination, the aromas that waft up through my sinuses remind me of a hot parade field.
I think the biggest problem here is that this is trying for shock value. There is no balance here and there is way too much Columbus hops in here. There is no sweet to balance out the bitter at all. What you end up with is a brew that is more of a hop tea. A blend at that and it seems to be belnded with a sledgehammer. I almost wish there was some of the third C (Cascade) in here to help cut the Columbus a bit.
I’m not even adverse to hops either. Weyerbacher’s Double Simcoe is one of my favorites. That has a rather complex and robust hops bouquet. But it’s balanced and there actually is a malt profile there. So if anybody tries to pull the “you don’t like hops” malarkey, get bent, ok? This is just poorly balanced and it sends the brew way off kilter. I cannot understand how people can blindly praise this brew so much so that it gets such rave ratings. It makes me wonder about the sincerity of the beer snobbery and if that many people actually know what they are talking about or if some hipster suffers through this to seem cool and the sheeple all take the bait, hook line and sinker.