Sunday, June 24, 2012

June 24th, 2012 - Ruined Again

Good afternoon!!  The Meista here... pairing Stone Ruination IPA and one of my favorites: Black Sabbath's "Born Again."  I paired these for several reasons but specifically for the imagery (album cover and painted bottle image) and for the aggresiveness and complexities of the two.

Ruination IPA is a big and brutal India Pale for probably the more progressive and seasoned IPA drinkers.  Called Ruination due to the "immediate ruinous effect on your palate" from the bitterness, this brew is one very big and very bitter monster!  Coming in at 7.7% alchohol by volume and 100+ IBUs (International Bitterness Units), this is probably the most bitter and most aggressive IPA I've had in a very long time... maybe ever!  And I'm loving it.  But, and as the bottle warns, the hoppiness is explosive and almost overwhelming, even for a "hop head" like me!  It pours a beautiful caramel amber with a frothy 1.5-2 finger head with strong and sustained lacing.  The nose is very floral (thanks to that aromatic and lovely little green flower).  Underneath the pungent and hoppy aroma you will find a sweet and slightly sour maltiness like that of fresh sourdough bread.  The bitterness of the beer is profound and lingering.  There are notes of grapefruit, oregano, and juniper.  Masked underneath the hop-bomb flavor you will find subtle and understated (yet satisfying) malts. 

In 1983 Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler found themselves without a singer or drummer for Black Sabbath as Ronnie James Dio and Vinnie Appice had left the band due to infighting.  One night they found themselves drinking pints at the pub with Deep Purple frontman, Ian Gillan.  After having all had a few, they decided Ian should join the band (as he was between projects) for what would become a wonderful (but much overlooked) and appropriately named album.  Saddly this was the only album Gillan would do with Black Sabbath, but it is a gem.  Also, "Born Again" saw the return of original drummer Bill Ward who would play on the album but not tour due to health issues.  Opening with the fast-paced "Trashed," a song about the dangers of drunk driving (definitley a perfect pairing for Ruination!),  "Born Again" is an aggressive Sabbath project.  With a distinct sound, the Gillan incarnation of Black Sabbath delivers a complete and utterly profound tour de force.  The tongue-in-cheek "Disturbing The Priest," the anthem, "Zero The Hero," and straight ahead rockers "Digital Bitch," and "Hot Line" perfectly pair with the agressive nature of the Ruination IPA while the fanastic "Born Again" and the grooving "Keep It Warm"  (along with the whole integrity of the album) match up beautifully with the complexities of the beer.  Even the short instrumental interludes: "Stonehenge" and "The Dark" seem to have been written specifically for enjoying a craft beer such as the Ruination IPA.  Ian's voice is fantastic on this album, but a bit of a departure from his Deep Purple days... his signature range and screams are there, but much more "metal" and "evil."  Geeze and Ward are as solid a rhythm section as ever and Iommi brings his always wonderful guitar work, but here he seems a little more stripped down than during the Dio-era Sabbath, a little more youthful and angry... kinda like Ruination!

So now that my ears are bleeding and all I can taste is bitter hops, I leave you so you can go check out Stone Ruination IPA (and all Stone's other great beers for that matter) at  And if you don't have a copy of "Born Again," due yourself a huge favor and pick it up TODAY!  Cheers, hails, and horns!!  \m/  \m/

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