07.08.05 RBSG Orange-amber pour, sticky head. Nose is surprisingly ketchup-like, banana, spicey hops, some spruce. Thin body and very dry. Flavor is not at all what I hoped it would be. Must have been better a few years ago.
Fills the room with hop aroma when you pop this one. Not very good balance in this though. A little to over the top. But then big IPA's have never really been a favorite. The bigger is better hop lovers might find this appealing though.
Well, I'm all set for this bad-boy: a clean palate, my hand-washed and air-dried Ruination pint glass, and a thirst for something rare and different. After much internal debate, I settled on popping open one the best beers in my cellar: Stone 5th Aniversary IPA (dated: Sept 2001).
After a touch of foam-spewing, things calmed down enough to pour a nice pint glass worth of hop nectar, with a hugely complex head of foam (what would be considered to be, in homebrewing terms, a "rocky head").
First sniff of the aroma, and this beer's parentage of one of my favorite all-time hopmonsters (Ruination) becomes obvious. But it's not to say this is nothing more than an older and less refined version of Ruination (even though that may be partially true). Nay, this is it's own beer, and like the silk-screen label says, it has "a Disturbingly Cavalier Disregard for Common Sense"!
At first sip, the hops are present, that's for sure! But to be honest, I expected actually more hops than this. Maybe this was the be-all and end-all of hoppiness a long, long time ago (2001...!), but compared to Stone Ruination, Three Floyd's Dreadnaught Imperial IPA, Dogfish Head 90- and 120-Minute IPA's, and my own over-the-top Cross-Eyed Mary Double IPA's, the 5th Aniversary doesn't neccesarily hold the crown anymore. Rather, it abdicated to it's younger and more versatile offspring, the almighty Stone Ruination. The King Is Dead -- Long Live The King!
But, as ussual, I digress! Putting aside the hops for a second or two (but not much longer!), there is a background vibe with this beer that I didn't quite pick up on when I first had it in 2001. An almost exotic Belgian-esqe feel to the malt and alcohol presence. Could this be more along the lines of a Duvel with a metric shit-load of American hops, or am I getting dellusional? Regardless, the malt-bill definately does not disappoint, and in fact gives this beer even more complexity and character.
All told, this beer is unique, in that it is definately both the grandfather of modern-day Ruination; and yet, at the same time, difficult to pidgeon-hole into any modern-day frame-of-references. It's almost as if it was created and aged in a vacume..., a time-capsule for "all the way back" to 2001, when extremely hoppy beers were brewed once in a blue moon (or, in this case, an aniversary).
An exceptional beer that I will probably never see again -- but will always remember fondly...!
Medium gold color. Medium head. Aroma is floral hops, piney hops, resiny hops and hoppy hops, with some maltyness. A BIG West Coast IPA. Very hoppy (resiny, piney, floral, grapefruity..) you name the hop and it there. With all those hops it still a well-balanced beer. Very smooth taste. Big grapefruit and citrus flavor. Mellow. Some yeastiness. Hides the alcohol well. Nice beer. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter.
Wow, I wish I had the previous 4 years so that I could be prepared for the tremendous amount of hops. Bad news though, this is the last year they are making it. If anyone wants to know what pure hopps taste like have this. Its got more hopps than michael jordan. This is the most powerful beer for taste and smell. They should sell it at dairy queen cause its a freakin treat. Ok, I have a great comparison here. If you have ever tasted the sediment at the bottom of a homebrew , that is kind of what this tastes like, and if you have ever made a homebrew, it smells exactly like it does when you first start cooking the hopps.
On to the good stuff. Big earthy taste, like a dried fruit salad. Orange, lime and peaches were prodominate here. Follow that up with a molasses yeast thing. Finish was a nice smoked apricot and chocolate. Can’t wait to bust open the 3L now. Re-rated off of the 3L. Much of the same flavors with a less oxidized taste than the 22 oz.
Off-white head with everlasting lacing. Deep golden color. Imagine this, it smells hoppy and citrussy (is that a word?) The flavor is wonderful with a high bitterness, not overdone. According to the bottle, generous dry hopping, and I believe it. May be my best IPA tried so far, but I'll keep looking.