Apr 18, 2018

Stone Brewing VirtuALE IPA

Hop extracts have been used for years in brewing. The technologies behind the processes by which extracts are made, however, are always evolving. The same goopy stuff used in Lagunitas’ Hop Stoopid may not be that much different than the stuff employed today, but with new techniques and methods, the flavors and aromas derived are worlds apart. Which brings us to Stone Brewing’s VirtuALE IPA, a 7.7% ABV (72 IBU) beer that utilizes a new trademarked method called INCOGNITO™ — developed by John I. Haas (he has several trademarked processes for hop extracts).

Now, I’m no scientist so I can’t speak to the specifics of this new technique, but I do like a good IPA. And VirtuALE IPA is pretty damn good. Stone utilized this new process along with hop pellets to develop a beer that pulls at my own heartstrings. The beer provides an old school flavor and drinking experience derived by modern technology, a fact that I particularly dig.

The aroma and flavors are resinous and pungent with plenty of pine, orangey citrus, grapefruit and floral notes to please just about any IPA fan. A good bit of dankness and touch of cattiness present themselves, as well while everything builds smoothly toward a moderate-to-high level of hop bitterness. Eventually, all elements fade leaving a playful hop tingle on the tongue long into the lightly drying finish, exiting cleanly and ready for the next swallow.

I’m a big fan of VirtuALE IPA. The old school persona that delivers that pungent hop character is something that I miss dearly in your prototypical, modern IPA. The sample bottle that I received is tagged with an “Ultra Limited” label on the neck, but if this thing were more readily available, it would be a top choice for becoming my go-to IPA. I’m an old dog who doesn’t really like learning new tricks and, as such, I like my IPAs dank with a good amount of bitterness. Stone VitruALE IPA delivers just that.

This is a review of a promotional sample.