Hopslam Ale | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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BA SCORE
98
world-class
3,430 Reviews
BEER STATS
Reviews:
3,430
Ratings:
12,507
Avg:
4.44
pDev:
18.24%
 
 
Wants:
2,591
Gots:
3,324
For Trade:
65
Hopslam AleHopslam Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Starting with six different hop varietals added to the brew kettle & culminating with a massive dry-hop addition of Simcoe hops, Bell's Hopslam Ale possesses the most complex hopping schedule in the Bell's repertoire. Selected specifically because of their aromatic qualities, these Pacific Northwest varieties contribute a pungent blend of grapefruit, stone fruit, and floral notes. A generous malt bill and a solid dollop of honey provide just enough body to keep the balance in check, resulting in a remarkably drinkable rendition of the Double India Pale Ale style.

Added by beernbbq on 04-14-2004

User Reviews
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Reviews: 3,430 | Ratings: 12,507
Photo of mwa423
2/5  rDev -55%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

a - pours a slightly hazy burnt orange with no head to speak of.

S -orange bitters, lots of alcohol and hints of hopslam's citrus glory.

T - incredibly barleywine like with overwhelming alcohol and a harsh biting bitterness that cloys to the back of the throat.

M - mouthfeel is overly rich, biting and slides down the throat like slime.

Overall, avoid the cask. What is amazing in bottles and life changing on tap is actually awful to drink.

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Photo of JohnnyMc
2.01/5  rDev -54.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

Appearance is a golden orange with a bright, white head.

Aroma is very sweet and malt forward. Honey, caramel, toffee and some bready sweetness. Hints of grapefruit.

The taste is also dominated by the malt and not the hops (Hopslam?). Very sweet upfront with toffee, caramel and honey. Bit of grapefruit and light pine. Not very hoppy, especially for a DIPA.

Medium bodied with a sticky sweet mouthfeel and slight alcohol notes that grow more apparent as it warms.

A sweet, boozy, mess of a DIPA. Not very hoppy and too malty of the style. Disappointing.

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Photo of sgameroz
2.3/5  rDev -48.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

Bitter without body. Piney without character. Underwhelming to be nice. Can't judge fairly being from SoCal with everything else we have access to, but you can tell t's an attempt at being something it aspires to be. Hopslam is overhyped and glorified Stone IPA...maybe even closer to a Sierra Nevada pale ale.

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Photo of sween100
2.36/5  rDev -46.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

Obviously a very hoppy beer. Can smell and taste the hops instantly. Opaque golden in color with a good size head. Hints of both citrus and wheat could be tasted in this beer. Very high alcohol content, but almost can't taste it due to the other strong flavors. This beer was a smooth beer to drink. I enjoy hops but this beer just had too much for me.

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Photo of Webzombie
2.42/5  rDev -45.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

I do not think this is a fair review because of my taste in beers, but I do not get what all the fuss (and the premium price) is about. It smells good, but was so alcohol forward could barely taste the hops. I prefer the APA and milder IPAs where you can actually taste hops and not get overwhelmed with the booze flavor. Doesn't taste like beer; would rather drink vodka. Glad I was able to buy as a single can, was only able to finish 1/4th of it. As a general disclaimer my wife liked it.

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Photo of afoltz2
2.46/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I'm one of the few that wasn't head over heels for this brew, and the reason is very simple - Hopslam has a very strong mango flavor to it, and I don't care for mango. That flavor even comes through in the smell, which I confirmed from another person before I poured it out of the bottle.

I liked the way the brew felt due to the hoppiness, but the end of each sip proved too citrusy for me. The beer, despite a high ABV, did not have a strong alcohol taste, which was nice, and had a good appearance in the glass.

HopHeads who love this beer and appreciate the citrus flavor rightly make this their beer of choice, my brew taste just runs towards ambers & stouts.

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Photo of stimulus
2.48/5  rDev -44.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12 ounce bottle.
Batch #9470, bottled in December of 2009.

A: Pours a slightly hazy orange with light white lacing.

S: Aromas of melon and hops are prominent.

T: Melon and other citrus flavors show up, but they are absolutely dominated by the hop bitterness and alcohol burn, which linger.

M: Medium bodied and sticky with very high carbonation.

D: This is not a very drinkable brew, imo. Knowing this was a hop bomb, I tried aging it about 9 months, and it's been 8. That didn't help this brew one bit, as the hop profile STILL annihilates any semblance of a malty balance, and not to my liking. After having and enjoying beers like Ruination and Arrogant Bastard, and even any of the DFH DIPA's, I feel like all of them are very well balanced, but this was not. Bad batch perhaps, but I have been unable to find any indication of the sort. Note: compared side by side with DFH 90 Minute and Double Trouble, both of which showed balance in comparison.

2/26/11 Edit: After going through a fresh six pack, I feel like the beer was a bit past its prime when I initially rated it, but I feel like the beer still suffers from a lack of balance. I tasted a lot of honey rather than melon, but the honey never blends well with the hop character and the malt bill is just not enough to keep this beer from being overly harsh. At one point, I compared this to a Troegs Nugget Nectar, and the difference was remarkable: The NN tastes like a finished product while the Hopslam is still a mess.

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Photo of SpinachEater
2.5/5  rDev -43.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Batch # 9471. I am not sure what is going on with this batch. My local store usually carries outdated beer so I had to double check the batch number on Bell's site to make sure this wasn't last years batch. It is fresh...packaged on 21 of Dec 09.

Huh...the reason why I checked was because this batch has no bitterness to it. None. I have been a huge fan of Hopslam but it seems like it has been getting weeker and weeker over the years. Twohearted is way more hoppier than what I am drinking right now. This seems to be roughly the same bitterness level as a Sam Adams (~32 IBU)...enough to dry the palate but not enough to produce any bite.

A few years back this beer was thick, dark orange, malty as fudge, and supercharged with IBUs. You seriously felt like the dude in the picture when the hops kicked your butt. Last year it seems like they backed off on the IBUs (perhaps because of the hops shortage?) but it still filled the room with hops aroma.

This year I get only a small hint of hops in the nose. It is mostly just honey that I smell. The taste is really sweet as well. Way too much honey and residual sweetness for my ideal DIPA. This is more of a mead than an IPA, for sure not a double IPA/Imperial IPA.

I am pretty disappointed with this batch. I honestly think that I have a batch that they forgot to add the bittering hops to. So sorry Bells...I wouldn't recommend Hopslam to anyone if they are looking for a good DIPA.

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Photo of rawhydes1
2.55/5  rDev -42.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Was really looking forward to having a "rare" Hopslam. So maybe I'm just feeling let down.

This beer seems extremely unbalanced to me. Nothing but HOPS, as the name suggests. Over the top piney flavor.

Bitter, syrupy, sticky finish.

Not impressed.

I would much rather have a SN, Nectar, DFH.

Maybe just TOO EXTREME for my taste.

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Photo of Phoenix2443
2.61/5  rDev -41.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Slightly hazy orange with very little lacing.

Smell: Hops, Piney, Strong smell of alcohol (not good)

Taste: Overpowering taste of hops and just pure alcohol. I know this is a hop bomb but jeez, a little balance would've been nice.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and sticky.

Overall: Not in my top 10 choices for a DIPA, I would like to see more malt to balance this out as everyone has said the honey does wonders but I didn't see it in this serving. I had a six of this and didn't really enjoy them, not worth the search IMO.

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Photo of masstransplant
2.65/5  rDev -40.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A-Clear, pale orange with a thin head

S-Aside from the hops, which was not overwhelming, some pine, citrus and ginger. Very nice, however the pine reminded me of a christmas candle. As the beer warmed the smell grew more intense and more pleasant. I spent a long 30 minutes finishing the last half of the glass, mostly because I enjoyed the aroma.

T- Sweet at first, and sweet in the end, but with strong, bitter hops in between. Finished with some notes of orange peel. Very tasty.

M-Decent carbonation; smooth finish

D-A great beer to linger over....I look forward to drinking this as the weather warms as I think it will be very refreshing.

Overall an excellent Imperial IPA. Not my favorite Bells offering but I will drink this again and recommend it to friends.

Edited after finishing the 6 pack...I looked less and less forward to each beer in this 6-pack, anticipating the ever-present Yankee Candle Christmas Pine-Tree aroma. As I compared it with other beers in my fridge, I found it the least appealing and by beer number 5, was looking forward to saying goodbye. I've at least learned to appreciate good balance in a beer and will probably not favor too many of the high-hops choices that are out there. No more Hopslam for me.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
2.65/5  rDev -40.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

A - Very hazy golden copper brew with about one finger of foamy white head that dissipates in about a minute leaving decent rings of lacing in its wake. Streaks of lacing up and down the glass. A pretty beer.

S - HOPS!!! Very strong. It practically fills teh room with hop aroma. Grapefruit pith and a strong, but soft pine (simcoe hops possibly, or one of its ancestors). The smell is strongly of resin. A bit of white peach. Alcohol is a little noticable at higher temperatures (If the mouthfeel wasn't so caustic, I would have drank this much faster and I never would have found this out).

T - The flavor is actually pretty mild. It has a bit of a pine and grapefruit flavor upfront that shifts into a mild pine bitterness aftertaset with a touch of grapefruit pith. The alcohol is very detectable in the back of the mouth. Pretty boozy. This isn't even very bitter really. Where are the 106 IBUs? I don't think this could be about 65. I really expected more flavor out of this beer.

M - Drying (partially from the alcohol) to the point of it being hard to swallow. I am having trouble drinking this with a glass of water. Seriously, this beer goes down about as smoothly as a shot of cheap vodka. Ridiculous. On top of that the carbonation makes it a bit harsh.

D - I love hops, but this mouthfeel is unbearable. A beer that I can barely choke down with a huge glass of water is not a drinkable beer by any standards. I don't think I will have this again. It is definitely not sessionable. It might go with some foods since it has a somewhat mild flavor. All and all a beer I don't care for - it makes your breath and burps smell very nice though.

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Photo of OrangeCharlie
2.7/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Poured a nice deep golden, almost copper color.

S: The nose is great...pretty much all hops. Good blend of earthy, pungent with a touch of citrusy strains in there too.

T: Way too dry for the hop level, way off balance. Bitterness is just harsh and overpowering. Very hot and boozy on the swallow. I know the beer is 10% ABV, but I really think you can brew a much smoother beer at this level.
Too much honey...it doesn't add anything but dryness. And too much at that. I can see what they were trying to accomplish, but it was just too dry for the hop level. Overall, the beer just comes off as an overly bitter, one note flavor.

M: Nice body, good carbonation level. Everything is OK here.

D: Again, the booziness and bitterness make this beer tough to throw back. I like DIPA's...I've even had very quaffable ones that are around 9-10%. But I put this beer down after two sips and a friend took over.

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Photo of alucardswordlol
2.72/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5

Was very excited to try this beer but unfortunately a big let down for me.

Ok appearance, great smell and a nondescript mouthfeel. I just got way too much honey and it really muted what smelled like a great hopped up beer.

After trying this beer and having other beers of the same style I have to say this beer is mediocre and really a victim of its hype.

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Photo of Sparty21
2.81/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3

As someone who isn't a hop lover, this beer wasn't THAT bad. There were hints of vanilla and oak, so the beer was surprisingly well balanced, with oakey notes and vanilla. The beer was a golden color.

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Photo of beerindex
2.81/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Pours a hazy orange-brown color (almost cider-like) with a modest and quickly fleeting white head that left a respectable lace behind. Smell though was this beer's best selling point. The aroma was heavenly, perhaps the best I've come across of any beer. The smell was of citrus fruits, mostly lemon and pineapple, with a bit of honey too.

With respect to the beer's taste, it wasn't anything to write home about. I picked up a bottle because it is cheap and local, and most people seem to love it. As much of a hops fan as I am, this simply didn't do anything for me. I couldn't detect the honey it was supposedly brewed with. Instead, it had an odd medicinal sort of taste that was bitter in a way I don't expect with this style.

Not something I'd care to drink again, especially when Bell's has much better beers in their line-up, and even better locals brews exist (see: most stuff from Founders).

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Photo of ViveLaChouffe
2.82/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

It pours a clear orangey copper with a frothy ivory head. Lots of fine spiderweb lacing. Beautiful smell. Floral and sweet citrusy hops. Hints of tangerine and apricot, orange rind and a hint of alcohol.

In the mouth, the alcohol is quite apparent. Quite hot actually. It is quite sweet but the malt provides very little body to offset the copious amounts of bitingly bitter hops. The hops are pretty unpleasant actually without the malt to offset the spice. It comes off exceedingly harsh. And thin! Long hoppy aftertaste.

Wow, really lacking as a double IPA. It's kind of a mess. Horrendously overrated. A fantastic brewery (the best brewer of stouts in America in my estimation) but this is a beer that is surprisingly lacking in craftmanship and taste. Miss it.

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Photo of jminsc76
2.83/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

And that friend alex3891 is referring to (i.e., me) gives the HopSlam a comparable rating and review.

It pours a very impressive, large head - thick and bubbly - giving one the impression they may be about to experience something spectacular. The hops swirl and dance as you pour. Excellent lacing down the glass as the head dissipates. The body is a slightly reddish orange and quite attractive. The carbonation dances as you open it up.

The taste anticipation is heightened as the smell is fresh and hoppy, with hints of vanilla and butterscotch. Malty aromas as well. But then I taste it, and, well, not much. As I continue sipping, I hope more will come through than the slightly hoppy and malty flavors that match the characteristics of the aromas, but not the aromas' intensity. It's hoppy, it's bitter, but there isn't a lot of oomph! to it. The taste exists, and that's all it does. There's no punch-in-the mouth the way an Imperial IPA typically delivers.

The sight is exceptional, the smell is as well, but the taste is, well, nada mucho. The only thing truly redeeming this beer from total disappointment is how I feel from its 10% ABV. That makes me rather feel rather benign. And similar to alex3891's review, I too am trying to understand how this beer received the ratings it did. Did he and I drink a bad batch or something?

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Photo of guinnessfan
2.84/5  rDev -36%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Tried on 3 separate occasions and finally decided to review.

A: Clouded copper color, with thousands of floaties. Small head, no retention, but decent lacing.

S: Pine and citrus hop smell.

T: Too medicinal and boozy. Sweet and bitter at the same time. It's not the hops, because I love hops, it's that astringent taste that's nasty.

M: Stinging carbonation bubbles from a constant flow in the glass.

D: Not very good. Reminds me of hop-flavored Nyquil.

Major disappointment to me.

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Photo of RaulMondesi
2.85/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Wow... Wow... Did Raul just get himself a diet Stone? Mild aroma, thin-ish textures on the tongue, and a taste about as inspiring as a Kardashian having a baby. Raul was stoked on getting hooked up on this through a trade, but for now he will be looking forward to Zombie Dust.

Peace!

*Raul would like to revisit this one. He was just settling into the craft game, and although Raul does remember not enjoying this in the least, he'd like to try it again as his palate had no turned into platinum

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Photo of mattm77777
2.87/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 12 oz bottle, packaged on 1/11.

A: Very nice orange color. Clear with little sediment. Catches the light nicely.

S: This is where the beer began to disappoint. I pick up an almost vegetable-like odor, rather than the pine, citrus, or even hops I was expecting. There's also an almost formaldehyde-like scent lurking unpleasantly in the background.

T: I like the taste. If this was some sort of an American IPA, or just a regular $7.99 6 pack, I'd happily rate this higher. A nice balance of hops and fruit up front. Unfortunately, as I experience with Two-Hearted, there is the hint of a REALLY bad taste at the end. Like a really poorly balanced alcohol taste, reminding me a bit of nail polish.

M: Feels a little bit like cold milk, nothing extraordinary.

O: A relatively high quality beer. For all the hype, and a $17 price tag for 6, I was extremely disappointed. As my first review, also a little disappointed to have to disagree so drastically with a community that has led me to some outstanding beers I never would have tried otherwise. Bell's Brewery really just hasn't been in my wheelhouse. As referenced above, I always get either some off-flavors or smells with each of the 5-6 beers I've tried.

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Photo of Torps
2.89/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 5l mini keg dated 1/28/16 from deciccos in Ardsley.

Wow. Extremely underwhelming. Pours a nice honey amber with decent lacing. Three finger head. Smells almost like wet caulk or paint. Some fruit.. Apricot? Boozy Boozy. Barely picking up any hops and this is only about a month old. I know the hops are there because the bitterness is fully apparent in the aftertaste. I guess this is malt forward.. Sweet.. Can taste the honey. All I can wonder is if I got a dud... Smooth syrupy mouth feel.

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Photo of Alex_Hams
2.89/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

2016 vintage poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

Ooooohhh boy. This one's a bit of a mess. A big, sweet, syrupy mess.

The best part of this beer is the appearance. It pours golden orange with a heathy head that is retained for a while and which leaves a bunch of lacing in my glass.

Things start going wrong in the nose. It's sickly sweet. Like simple syrup or honey with a hint of hop bitterness.

The initial flavors are bracingly bitter (which is nice) but that's quickly followed up with honey sweetness. The problem with this one is the ABV. To achieve this ABV you have to use so much honey or malt and that detracts from the hops in my opinion. Also, at 10% it's hard to enjoy this one. It's boozy and hot. Goes straight to your head. I don't mind a RIS or Barleywine weighing in at 10%+ ABV because I can cellar them for a bit to mellow. This beer is meant to be drank fresh and at 10% that's a bit rough.

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Photo of Ryan011235
2.93/5  rDev -34%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a Delirium snifter on 1/21/13

11645 Pkgd 1/03/13

Slightly hazy and browned honey color with a one finger head that starts a quick decline. Soapy retention and some drippy, sandy lace; neither holds up over by the end of the glass.

Hop oils and alcohol are strong on the nose; apricot, peach, pollen, hints of grapefruit and a vague notion of lemongrass. The malts are fairly neutral but in abundance, so there's a lot of sweet cracker and biscuit coming through.

The taste leads off with a moderate pine bitterness which is peppered with citric pith and rind. The hop oils ooze together; picking out distinct flavors is laborious and largely pointless. Similarly, the malts become part of the whole lending a sweetness to the concoction. Tropical booze lasts long on the finish.

Oily. The feel is so oily. It clings across the palate every which way. The body is on the high end of medium but the hop oils weight it down. The carbonation is capable; lively in conjunction with the hops but not sharp.

The first few times I had this I loved it, but year after year I try Hopslam and I keep coming to the same conclusion that it is simply ok. I like to have a pint and a bottle or two each year just for kicks, but plopping down close to $20 for a six pack just ain't gonna happen.

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Photo of timobkg
2.95/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured into a small chalice.

Pale golden with a thin layer of foam.

Aroma is strong pine, like I just crushed a handful of pine needles in my hand.

The flavor is piney, and very bitter. I'm surprised as this has the least IBUs of any DIPA I've had, paired to some of the most alcohol. And yet, to me, it tasted overwhelmingly bitter. Maybe it was served too cold, and didn't warm up enough, but I didn't get any honey sweetness from it.

The mouthfeel is very thick, and chewy. Combined with the aroma and flavor, it made me feel like I was chewing on pine needles.

I was really excited to try this beer, as it sounded like a DIPA that I'd love. Sadly, it tasted too bitter and piney, and overall disappointing..

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Hopslam Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
98 out of 100 based on 3,430 ratings.