I admittedly couldn't handle Stone's Ruination IPA. (See prior post: 5/4/08) Simply too much. Even for a self proclaimed hop head like myself. But as mentioned, Stone Brewing Company makes a series of incredible brews. My favorite selection from the variety of Stone beers I've sampled is their traditional IPA.
First off, the smell is very pungent. The aroma is so powerful it reminds me of the few occasions where I have decided to sample and actually eat a small amount of the straight hops I used in my home-brews. A very raw and fresh scent. Despite this remarkably strong smell, the beer is quite smooth to drink. Don't get me wrong, this is a hoppy beer. If you let it sit on your tongue your taste buds will start to sting. But for how hoppy this brew is, it is so smooth down the gullet. Very impressible. Obviously surprisingly drinkable for an IPA.
As the beer warms up a little you definitely start to notice a malty aspect to this beer. Which is always surpising for how hoppy it smells and tastes. I think the malt presence is ultimatley what is helping with the smooth drinkability.
The aftertaste has an herbal hop feel and if you happen to belch after a few sips you'll notice how your mouth cannot escape the hop resin flavors. But that's what most people are probably looking for in an IPA anyway. Cheers.