This beer wasn’t originally on the schedule. Double Jack was supposed to be the next beer I brewed, but that changed after a trip to San Diego in mid-June. Stone had just released their 10th Anniversary Ruination, and I tracked down a few bottles while I was in town. This special release of Ruination has exactly twice the hops(5lbs/bbl) and more alcohol(10.8%) than the standard Ruination. After my first sip, I knew I needed to try to clone this beer. It’s definitely one of the best Imperial IPAs I’ve ever had.
So quite literally the same night I tried the beer for the first time, I put together a clone recipe. The first things we know about the beer are that it’s 10.8% ABV, and Stone uses 2-Row and C15 for the malts. The hops are CTZ, Centennial, and Citra. They use 5lbs/bbl of hops total, with one pound each of Centennial and Citra in the dry hop. That’s just about everything we need to put together a recipe. I degassed a sample of the beer and measured the FG at 1.014, which puts the OG at 1.096 or so. Ruination is around a 95%/5% split of 2-row/C15, so that was pretty easy. For the hops, I planned every addition at 1lb/bbl, which is 3.2oz. So CTZ for bittering, Centennial at 30 and 0, and finally Centennial and Citra dry hopped.
This is obviously a gigantic IPA. 1.096 is really getting up there in terms of gravity, especially for an all-malt beer that needs to attenuate very low. This beer to me was actually a bigger challenge than brewing PTY, since there is no sugar in the recipe to dry things out, and bump the efficiency. The recipe is very Stone-like, in that the malt and hop bills are very simple. Stone is rumored to use WLP007 as their house yeast, so that was the easy choice. Yeast health on a beer like this is absolutely paramount. A massive pitch of healthy yeast, pitched and fermented at the proper temperature is critical for this beer to turn out correctly. Considering the only specialty malt is C15, I might as well get the same malt from the same maltster they do. When I took their tour I saw that they use Great Western Crystal 15, so I bought some online.
I’ve now got my electric brewing system quasi functioning, so Greg and I both have systems to brew on. My last batch was on his system, but today, considering it’s 113* outside, I’m brewing indoors. Everything went fairly smooth during the brew day. My friend Adrian came over to check out the brew process and lend a hand. We did a 75 minute mash, and a 90 minute boil. After the boil there was a 15 minute whirlpool before we started to chill the wort. For some reason, the wort chiller clogged half way through the whirlpool. Thankfully switching the hoses around to reverse the flow fixed the issue, and we only lost a few drops of wort in the process. The OG was 3 points low at 1.093, which isn’t a big deal. I can’t imagine I’ll notice a difference. I chilled the batch to 65*, pitched a decanted 5QT starter of WLP007, and set the ferment fridge at 65* as well. This batch took off like a rocket, and was mostly fermented out in under three days.
Dry Hopped: 07/11/12
IBU: Probably around 95-100 actual
21.5 lbs 2-row
14oz Crystal 15
Mash @ 148*
3.2oz CTZ @ 90
3.2oz Centennial @ 30
3.2oz Centennial @ 0
Fermented with WLP007 (5QT starter) fermented at 65F
Dry Hop 1: 1.6oz ea Centennial and Citra for 5 days
Dry Hop 2: 1.6oz ea Centennial and Citra added 5 days after the first addition for 7 days
This beer under attenuated, which is a bit of a bummer. I missed the OG by three points, and the FG by three points as well. That leaves the beer around 0.8% lower ABV than expected. The body of the beer isn’t too full, which tells me the attenuation issue wasn’t mash-related. The aroma and flavor tell the story: it’s just a little too sweet.
Drinking this beer on it’s own, it’s extremely reminiscent of the real thing, but there’s a slight candy/caramel like sweetness in the aroma and flavor. When I tasted the beers side-by-side it became ever apparent; my batch simply under-attenuated because the yeast gave out. With that said, it’s still a fantastic beer, but it has too much of an American Barleywine character to be an excellent Imperial IPA.
I wouldn’t hesitate to say the recipe is dead on, as this beer would be cloned if it weren’t for the extra sweetness. So there’s two things I’m taking away from this beer:
– A. I’ll probably use this hop-scheme again, but in a standard strength IPA. I like the aggressiveness CTZ has as a bittering hop, and the dry hop character from Centennial and Citra is incredible.
– B. It’s time to invest in an oxygen regulator and aeration wand, especially for big beers like this. I can’t help but think that blasting this beer with oxygen would have gotten the job done.
So we’ll chalk this one up as semi-cloned. My beer was pretty damn close. Close enough where you could say it tasted just like Stone’s 10th anniversary Ruination, just a little sweeter. I’d also call it semi-cloned because I still feel the recipe is dead-on. I just missed the mark on fermentation.
UPDATE: Turns out stone uses 4% C15 in this beer rather than 5.5% like I thought. It won’t make a huge difference, but for anyone planning to brew this, use 14oz C15 rather than 20oz. I’ll update the recipe up top to reflect this to avoid confusion.