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Monday, December 6, 2021

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AbsoluteXtracts SuperCritical Vape Cartridges

These hop-based blends haven’t earned their thrice cheers yet.

There’s nothing like a nice one cold beer, but with the release of AbsoluteXtracts’ SuperCritical vape cartridges there is now a way to get two vices for the price of one.

As you may recall, beloved Petaluma brewing colossus Lagunitas released a limited edition beer last year, made in collaboration with AbsoluteXtracts. Also known as SuperCritical Ale, it contained cannabis terpenes to create a brew that contained no THC but had a lot of flavor, plucked straight from everyone’s favorite crop.

As a novelty, SuperCritical was a must try, but it was hard to imagine ever craving a six-pack — unless you’ve always had the chance to drink an alcoholic bunch. As an experiment, however, it was a resounding success. No doubt, this was a beer that tasted like weed.

Now the other leaf has fallen with the release of AbsoluteXtracts’ vape cartridges, which incorporate hop terpenes such as Mosaic and Citra in two new blends that add a taste of beer to your cravings. While it would be intriguing enough to add generic hop terpenes, it should be noted that AbsoluteXtract has gone a step further by treating these terpenes with Lagunitas’ proprietary recipes in an attempt to make them taste like the concoctions many of us in North America enjoy. -Know and love California.

So did she succeed?

In a word: usually. The first cartridge, “Hop Cannon”, bills itself as a recipe for the IPA fan. This means that the hop aroma is stronger, and of the two, the taste is definitely more noticeable here. I think part of how strong you taste the hops depends on how deep you take a hit. Given the high potency of both “Hop Cannon” and “Stereoterpical” – more on that in a moment – this means that if you want the full experience, you may need to keep your schedule clear before getting started.

If you’re willing to take on this beer adventure, you’re sure to get hints of Lagunitas’ signature IPA, with notes of malt and caramel. They don’t linger after inhalation, but the experience is quite remarkable – not least because it’s nice to have a science project that you can smoke.

The other entry in the series is the puntastic “Stereoterpical,” which focuses on crunchy, citrus-forward ales. There are plenty of fish in the fruit-flavored vape cartridge sea, so my initial reaction was one of skepticism. It’s enough to get hints of hops in a product that mainly tastes like marijuana, but to get fruity notes in those hops without burying the lede?

Unfortunately, “Stereoterpical” doesn’t quite live up to the challenge. On several taste tests, I found the hops and citrus notes confused. While they might be quite noticeable in one puff, they were hard to detect the next. When the flavor was more dominant, it had a hint of sweetness mixed with the hops, a profile reminiscent of Lagunitas’ limited-release “Citrusineensis” Pale Ale.

However, it feels like you don’t have to work so hard to find the flavor in something marketed so specifically for how it tastes. I fully understand that there are limitations to what can be done with terpenes and the process by which cartridge concentrates are made, but sometimes great ideas just don’t come through. The good news is that many cannabis users love the taste of the original, so while efforts like these two blends from AbsoluteXtracts are enticing, it’s not that the terpene profiles built into quality marijuana should be changed in the first place.

Still, it’s reasonable to assume that more taste experiments will come as the industry continues to diversify its offerings. AbsoluteXtracts has to be commended for choosing a beloved brewery like Lagunitas for this inaugural release. Let’s hope that as the recipe continues to refine, the flavors bring us closer to a day when we can actually drink our favorite suds.

Rating:

“Hop cannon”: 3/5

“Stereotrope”: 2.5/5



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