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Heady Topper vs Ruination vs Pliny vs Hop Stoopid

I have had all the titled IIPAs within the past week, often two at the same time in separate glasses (for science). Thought I would post my thoughts…

If I could compare a more commonly available IIPA to the Pliny, I would definitely compare it to Ruination. Ruination and Pliny are absolutely equal in quality and hoppyness. Really, the only noticeable difference between the two is the hop choice – Ruination is more towards Centennial, whereas Pliny is more varied in its hops, a combination of west-coast hoppyness.

Heady Topper is more of a raw IPA. It has the most hop aroma out of the four, out of any IPA I’ve ever had for that matter, but it is un refined due to the lack of a clarification process. It’s cloudy, like can’t see your finger on the other side of the glass cloudy. This leads to more hop character, but it also leads to a gritty texture, raw hop flavor, and poor head retention. But Heady Topper is more balanced and the easiest to drink out of the four. That fact amazes me, the beer has so little biterness and astringency. If they do something about the clarification and refine the beer, but still retain its balance and drinkability, it would be the best IIPA in the world.

Hop Stoopid, and other IPAs from Laganitus, are hoppy in aroma and flavor, but less so than the others. They also seem to suffer from too much hop astringency.

Given that, I’d put the four in this order:

#1) Pliny & Ruination
#2) Heady Topper
#3) Hop Stoopid

[quote=“alanzo”]I have had all the titled IIPAs within the past week, often two at the same time in separate glasses (for science). Thought I would post my thoughts…

If I could compare a more commonly available IIPA to the Pliny, I would definitely compare it to Ruination. Ruination and Pliny are absolutely equal in quality and hoppyness. Really, the only noticeable difference between the two is the hop choice – Ruination is more towards Centennial, whereas Pliny is more varied in its hops, a combination of west-coast hoppyness.

Heady Topper is more of a raw IPA. It has the most hop aroma out of the four, out of any IPA I’ve ever had for that matter, but it is un refined due to the lack of a clarification process. It’s cloudy, like can’t see your finger on the other side of the glass cloudy. This leads to more hop character, but it also leads to a gritty texture, raw hop flavor, and poor head retention. But Heady Topper is more balanced and the easiest to drink out of the four. That fact amazes me, the beer has so little biterness and astringency. If they do something about the clarification and refine the beer, but still retain its balance and drinkability, it would be the best IIPA in the world.

Hop Stoopid, and other IPAs from Laganitus, are hoppy in aroma and flavor, but less so than the others. They also seem to suffer from too much hop astringency.

Given that, I’d put the four in this order:

#1) Pliny & Ruination
#2) Heady Topper
#3) Hop Stoopid[/quote]

now go try them blind and see if the results are the same.
I have only had pliny a few times but it was much different than ruination imo

I didn’t say that Pliny is the same as Ruination, rather they are of the same quality and malt character. Where they differ is the hop choice, primarily. My point was that it’s not worth seeking out Pliny if you can get Ruination.

thats fine, Is aw very little comparison in them and thats just personal taste. I am the opposite on that. I can get ruination, cant get pliny. I can get pliny but it is more work than just driving to a LS I would take pliny over it anyday

[quote=“grainbelt”]
I would take pliny over it anyday[/quote]

I would too until I got bored with Pliny and went back to runination and then back to pliny and then back to runination. :wink: They’re both equally amazing IIPAs, it’s only a matter of preference.

Ruination is too harsh and bitter for me.

Agreed, I find Pliny much easier to drink than Ruination. Haven’t tried Heady Topper.

Agreed, I find Pliny much easier to drink than Ruination. Haven’t tried Heady Topper.[/quote]

I didn’t get that as much, maybe it was just my palate at the time. But if you guys find Pliny easy to drink, you should try Heady Topper. Even my wife liked it and she hates “bitter beer”.

I don’t mind bitter so much but Ruination is a bit harsh for me. I haven’t had it in awhile so I probably need to pick up a bomber and see if my palate has changed. I could sit and drink pints of Pliny all night.

Heady Topper isn’t distributed here so I’d probably have to trade for it to get it. Not much of a trader but I’ll keep an eye out.

I’m a big fan of Firestone Walker Double Jack. That is a fantastic IIPA IMO.

[quote=“Lynux”]
I’m a big fan of Firestone Walker Double Jack. That is a fantastic IIPA IMO.[/quote]

great IIPA! union jack is my favorite IPA

Had Pliny before - didn’t care for it. First couple swigs tasted good but then it just became a “hop burn” after that. Had Hop Stoopid before - didn’t care for it. Maybe I got a bad bottle but I didn’t find it to be all that hoppy. Ruination - meh, decent when I could get it but they don’t distribute around here any more.

One of the better IIPAs I can get around here is Pearl Street’s Dankenstein.

I’ve never had Pliney, but I’ve had Ruination and lots of Hop Stoopid.

Without checking the stats, my impression is that Hop Stoopid is perhaps a little smaller and certainly more drinkable than Ruination, and maybe that’s why some people find it a little underwhelming. It’s got plenty of aroma to my nose, though. I love it and even better, it’s a tremendous value at < $5 for a bomber.

I liked Ruination OK, but I don’t think I’ve ever had another IPA that was so “pineappley”. I didn’t mind it, but it seemed so extreme I’m not sure I could even fairly compare it to other IIPAs because it’s so unique, in my experience…

Based on everything said here, I have to assume the OP doesn’t get fresh, optimal-condition Pliney or Ruination. They would seem more similar if the hop aroma was subdued due to age/sub-optimal storage conditions.

Given the option, I prefer “Pure Hoppiness” from a tiny San Diego-area brewery called “Alpine.”

[quote=“skyler”]Based on everything said here, I have to assume the OP doesn’t get fresh, optimal-condition Pliney or Ruination. They would seem more similar if the hop aroma was subdued due to age/sub-optimal storage conditions.

Given the option, I prefer “Pure Hoppiness” from a tiny San Diego-area brewery called “Alpine.”[/quote]

Shipped right from CA. I drank it only a couple weeks after its bottling date.

What I wonder is what temperature it was kept at while it got to you. It’s just that from my perspective (and I live about an hour from RR), the beer so greatly exceeds Ruination in terms of aroma and is also far far less harsh… that it is difficult for me to imagine someone perceiving the beers as similar unless the hops had “aged out” of both of them. I even feel like the Stone beers (particularly Ruination) I get here in Northern CA aren’t fresh compared with how they tasted when I was in San Diego, so it seems natural to me that RR and Stone beers wouldn’t travel well cross-country. That said, taste is subjective…

^yup, I think Skylar in on it. I’ve only had Ruination a couple times, and it seemed to be pretty fresh when I had it, but not having had the guaranteed-fresh local stuff, who can tell?

I know that I’ve had good and bad 6ers of Stone IPA where the difference was clearly the shipping and storage, so it certainly follows that this will have at least as significant an impact with Ruination.

I can’t get RR around here, sadly, but I assume the same is true there.

I will say that Green Flash WCIPA has been EXTREMELY aromatic and absolutely wonderful every time I’ve had it, but again that probably says more about the distributor than the brewer…

…By the way I just drank a bomber of Firestone Double Jack for the first time, and I liked it a lot. Not mind-blowing for an IIPA, but solid and very respectable…

Freshness is important. Comparing them is fine, but its a bit like comparing apples to oranges IMO. In the cases of both Pliny and Heady Topper, the packages clearly state their intent to have their beers served as fresh as possible. Yes Head Topper is hazy- on purpose- not for lack of refinement; these aren’t beers meant for long-distance distribution under unknown handling conditions. I tend to drink the freshest pale ales available to me- which happen to be the ones I brew.

I don’t really see much in common between pliny and ruination

ruination has a much more sweet caramel and body than the bone dry pliny

I really like both but my personal favorite is Firestone Walker Double Jack

wow what a beer

haven’t had the headdy topper so not much info there

hop stoopid is a solid beer and really cheap here in Oregon but im not sure it is in the competition exactly. I do admit it is a great beer it is considerably less complex than the others mentioned here.

another solid iipa is black diamond rampage if you can find a fresh one that beer can be fantastic

I love me some Heady Topper. The Alchemist brew pub got wiped out in Hurricane Irene (?) but the cannery is still running. Anyone have the collaboration between The Alchemist and Stone? Sorry for the hijack.

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