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Hopslam Ale - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
Hopslam AleHopslam Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,269 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 3,269
Hads: 11,749
Avg: 4.45
pDev: 17.98%
Wants: 2,494
Gots: 2,704 | FT: 63
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: beernbbq on 04-14-2004

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.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Hopslam Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 3,269 | Hads: 11,749
Photo of OrangeCharlie
2.7/5  rDev -39.3%
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 -38.9%
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 beerindex
2.81/5  rDev -36.9%
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 -36.6%
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 -36.4%
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 -36.2%
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 -36%
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.


*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 -35.5%
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 Ryan011235
2.93/5  rDev -34.2%
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 -33.7%
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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Photo of DaveAnderson
2.96/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This is one of the most inconsistent beers I have ever rated. I liked almost everything about 2009 and 2010, except the honey aroma.

Everything changed in 2011, though. Suddenly, I was drinking a near-perfect DIPA. Abundant pine and citrus on the nose, and balance on the tongue.

Too bad I am reviewing 2012, then. I found very little to like about this beer. It looked great in the glass.

But that's where the fun ended. I took a whiff, and was happy to note the absence of honey. But where was the rest? This beer is supposed to smell like *something*, for crying out loud. I was halfway through this beer with my nose buried in the glass before I could sense anything at all.

And where was the balance? There's no sweetnes to balance the bitterness. This might have been OK in an aromatic beer, but not in this one.


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Photo of Cujo65
2.98/5  rDev -33%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I look forward this ale every year and while the appearance and pour hinted of its usual, solid taste and finish, I was very disappointed with the batch this year.

The initial taste was underwhelming and it finished like wet cardboard - having to wait a year something I will no longer do especially while other craft brewers are brewing theirs regularly and not have their sit through a pretentious wait...I'd rather spend the extra money and have some Myrcenary from Odell's shipped to me.

Sorry Bell's, my group of friends and I were sadly disappointed. Good luck.

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Photo of Phinner
2.98/5  rDev -33%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had this and Founders Double Trouble the same night. No real comparison. Hopslam delivers the hops for sure, but the balance was not right. Its not smooth whatsoever; the hops seemed to generate a heat sensation and other off flavors that weren't quite right.

Overall, its a fair DIPA, but definitely not worthy of the hype.

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Photo of bevoduz
3/5  rDev -32.6%

I'm basing this rating off when it was fresh. Unfortunately, I feel like this beer has declined greatly year after year. 5 years ago, off the chart, now, I'm not sure I'll even buy it next year. Too bad, it used to be a great beer!

I'd assume it was a change in my taste buds that makes it less than it used to be, but everyone I know that has drank it for years feels the same way I do, so I don't think it's me.

It's just not woth $20 a six pack anymore.

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Photo of Minkybut
3/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured this brew into my tumbler at 50 degrees. The beer was musty smelling and had a really thin head. The beer was a little bit cloudy and smelled really hoppy. It tasted really hoppy also as it is suppose to. I thought it was kinda grassy tasting. I did not like the beer but hop heads will go for it for sure. A great crisp summertime hop beer if you like that kinda thing. Not buy again

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Photo of beerlove82
3.03/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pours like dark honey with some darker amber tones. Nice two finger head that seems to want to stay for a bit.

S: Hops Hops Hops! And a hint of honey.

T: Don't taste any of the honey, its overtaken by hops, Alcohol is high in this one (10%) but the hops hide it well. Don't like the hops so much and a tart unpleasant aftertaste. A pine needle note im getting.

M: Dry finish carbonation is right on.

D: Everyone is raving about this beer its not a bad brew just not my taste.

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Photo of drgarage
3.03/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled three bottles from a sixer in Michigan bottled on Jan. 9.

A: Nice, golden IPA, nice head with minimal lacing. Pretty much what you look for, but nothing spectacular.

S: Nice citrus hops, but a bit faint for my liking. Pales next to Lagunitas Sucks, for example.

T: Big and sticky and lacking in complexity. I get no honey at all, and the hops just don't come together in any interesting way. It stuns me that many have rated this higher than both Younger and Elder, each of which is significantly superior. I am impressed with how successfully the high ABV is hidden.

M: A bit thin. Good carbonation, nothing to write home about.

O: A good solid DIPA, but nothing to write home about. I'm from Michigan, so I was ready to have my socks knocked off. I can only conclude that anyone rating this above the best west-coast IPAs, Heady Topper, etc., have never had any of those fresh. This just isn't terribly special. Disappointing.

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Photo of Philousa
3.04/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear honey gold with little head. Pretty typical for a Triple IPA. Very Grassy, piney hops. Sweet honey kissed biscuit with an alcohol tinge at the end. Very dank. Hop resin sums up this beer in two words. That's nearly all you need to know. Sweet, chewy white bread malt turns bitter grassy, then very alcoholic bitter aftertaste. Lingers very plasticky, band-aidy in the mouth. On the syrupy side, very dry finish.

I really liked the aroma, but that phenolic plastic aftertaste really buried this one for me. I got this in a trade, so I'm really hoping this one was sitting in the sun or something because this has a lot of potential. FYI, I wouldn't normally give something I suspect to be "damaged goods" a review, but I really don't have any other means by which to review this beer. This is more for my notes so i can go back and try it fresh in Chicago one day to compare. Gotta say though, even with the plastic phenol taken away, it's pretty syrupy. After the DIPA fest, I can say I've had several beers that lack this characteristic that still fit the TIPA style. So I guess I'm saying that my below average review is still warranted in my eyes.

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Photo of Solomon420
3.08/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I chose to list the serving type as "On Tap" since the beer was poured from a 5 liter mini keg. Appearance was darker honey color. Not as nice looking as most DIPAs I prefer. I like a DIPA that has an orange hue rather than a reddish amber hue. Smell was too sweet for me, I am a hop head and like really hop-forward beers. The smell for me was too malty and not enough hops. Taste followed the aroma...way too sweet and malty for a good DIPA. The hops were not forward enough for me to enjoy this. It reminds me of an English style IPA more than a hop-forward DIPA. I guess I was expecting a better beer, but I get spoiled living in California, and expect the higher rated DIPAs to taste as good as the ones here do. To each his own, I guess.

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Photo of bowersdm
3.08/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a german pilsner glass. This beer was fresh from the distributor

A - rust color with a 2cm head.

S - sweet, with the usual floral, citrus notes of hops (I'm new to hops, so can't really go into detail about them.)

T - sweet beginning and then a ton of hops are shot at me. whoa! That's a lot of hops. Too much for me, I think. Again, floral and citrusy.

M - it's a fresh Bells beer.

D - too many hops for me. I may have jumped to the DIPAs a little too quickly.

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Photo of dmsohyea
3.08/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy from Kadonny, thanks! Poured from 12 oz bottle into pint glass.

Appearance is dark yellow with half finger off-white head. Significantly lighter than an average DIPA.

Smell is of strong honey and brown sugar. Some bready malt is noticeable with some east coast hops in the background.

Taste is pure honey, I'm not sure this isn't a hoppy mead beer. Some piny bitterness mid palate, with an alcoholic finish.

Mouthfeel is soupy and somewhat astringent. Feels like an iced tea that had too much honey added. I would have preferred a more dry mouthfeel.

Overall I feel like I either got a bad bottle, or maybe this beer is a bit over rated. I can think of many IIPA's I would rather have over this one. Too sweet for me, maybe I'll be able to try this fresh off the tap some day.

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Photo of ibbjamin
3.1/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

REVIEW FROM 01-26-2011 05:16:58
I last reviewed this in May of 2009, but later found that it was almost a half a year after bottling, so I attributed my high rDev to faded hops. I just didn't understand how everyone sweated this beer. Don't get me wrong, I love Bells, just didn't understand the Hopslam. Well I thank Dee from Bobby's Liquor in San Jose, CA for graciously hooking me up with a fresh 12oz bottle from the 2011 bottling. I'm tasting this one fresh and pouring into a large snifter to review.

Yields a small quarter inch head after a somewhat aggressive pour. The head dissipates quickly leaving little retention. Cloudy golden orange in color. Good lacing.

First smell impression: sweet, hoppy and balanced.
Lots of hops with some grapefruit and pine, but these are held up with some hefty hops as well. Hinting towards an east coaster, but this one is a no-coaster! Honey sweetness also detected.

Taste is quite sweet with lots of balanced hoppy flavor. I do detect a bit of the booze from this 10% DIPA monster. I'm getting an almost off flavor of rubbing alcohol as well. Not so sure about this one, certainly overrated.

Medium body with good levels of carbonation. Long balanced hoppy and honey sweet finish.

I don't think the hops fade as quickly or noticeably as PtE for example. I also don't think it is fair to the best DIPAs to put this in the same discussion. They nailed it with their Two Hearted, but I'm in the minority to say they missed it with the Hopslam.

REVIEW FROM 05-20-2009 02:31:19
Paid $14.99 for a six pack of 12oz bottles from Discount Liquor in Milwaukee, WI. I'm reviewing on the last bottle of the second six pack I've drank in the last couple months, so I am rather familiar with this brew. My bottle has the numbers 8907 on it. I pour into a snifter.

Light, fizzy, off-white head of about a half inch after a fairly aggressive pour which dissipates very quickly. Cloudy deep orange/brown in color with some transparency. OK lacing.

Strong, boozy, hoppy, sweet and malty all at once. Sweetness of honey with a strong malt backbone and a healthy dose of somewhat subdued hops.

Sweet honey, light malts and resinous, oily hops dominate the mouth. Nothing is used lightly in this beer. As described on the back of the bottle; "A biting, bitter, tongue bruiser of an ale."

The mouth is thick and moderately creamy. Resinous oils from the hops lead to a long, long finish. Full bodied and very lightly carbonated. Goes down pretty smooth.

My main complaints are the lack of a real distinguishable hop character. The hops are overly balanced with sweet honey malt and the alcohol could be better contained. A good beer, but not at the top of its class which I am in the minority in saying. To me this would be a malt lover's DIPA of choice. At first I thought I did not have a fresh batch, but after purchasing a different pack from a different store that tasted similar, I ixnayed that idea. Ah well, to each his own.

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Photo of Rchap1
3.11/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had on tap at Bell's in Kalamazoo.

A: Looked about like you'd expect a DIPA to look, deep gold color, not a huge head on it, nor did the head stick around for very long. Minimal lacing.
S: Again, about like you'd expect; strong floral hop tones, very minimal malt, maybe a hint of juniper in there. Made me think of gin.
T: To be very honest, this just didn't do it for me. It hardly tasted like a DIPA in my opinion. I suppose to the beer's credit, the alcohol is very well hidden, but otherwise it just seemed like a run of the mill IPA. Started with a little malt, moved into a sweet hop range, and finished with some decent bitterness.
M: Fairly full, the bitterness definitely stuck around a bit.
D: Again, with the alcohol being fairly hidden, I would bet that you could put a couple of these down at a time. But for me, at $6 for a 12 oz. glass, just not worth it.

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Photo of B33R501
3.12/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Second (re) review Friday nite after my cheesteak and my sharp cheese you know what drinking my last 2 hopslams this beer doesn't have much going on tonite at all, kinda bland and tasteless, doesn't pare well with dinner at all. Give me a celebration all day, yea that goes well with everything.
Well. Ok I get it the hype and the demand for this beer. But, honestly, for me, this year is just like last year, I'm glad I got my 6, and enjoyed it, but it doesn't make my favorite list and it's not one of those beers I miss when its gone. For my money, here's hoping Hop 15 makes it to distribution this February, time to bug the brewer as I call it. And 9 month old Central Waters Illumination blows this away, that's the beer I'm looking forward to this year, gotta try it fresh, yea I'm one of that "niche" who doesn't mind aged ipas. And the best thing about this beer is i got my sixer for $17, yes $17 dollars, I got a case @Shangys for $69 and sold 3 sixes to a retailer for $52 cost. I don't need any $$$ from this, I'm happy to pay the $ 17, last year i paid $28 for my sixer,
ridiculous. All that being said ...

Pours beautiful hazy golden, big bitter smell of citrus hops with a little alcohol. Taste follows, grapefruit, lemon, orange hops with a nice bitter orange peel aftertaste. Very drinkable, the boozy finish does not bother me at all, I'm a boozehead. I'm on my 3rd, hammered, and this beer actually (like most alcohol) gets better as you go.

If I'm reviewing the first beer today, it's way overhyped, now on the 3rd, well, let's just say I'm glad I paid $17 not $28 for this sixer. If I could let one sit for 6 months in the frig I'd love to see what its like then.

Overall its good, but not necessarily better than many other less hyped beers.

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Photo of TCbrewz
3.13/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours a copper color with a rather creamy looking white head, carbonation is evident. Very slightly opaque as far as clarity goes. Head is retained until the end. Smells almost as hoppy as the name implies; more earthy and spicy notes than floral. Malt aroma is almost undetectable, but overall a rather appealing smell. Flavor is very hop forward as expected, almost too overwhelming on the tongue to pick apart. Finish starts with pronounced bitterness, followed by a not unflattering pine resin(y) taste accompanied by an almost barlywine-like malt flavor with a bit of alcohol in the nose. Lacks balance in my opinion. For a beer that looked rather over carbonated after pouring, I have to say the mouth feel was great. Good viscosity, and definitely not over-carbonated. I realize with a name like hop slam, that some intense hoppyness should be expected. But more goes into a great beer than a ridiculous amount of hops. I've had quite a few IPA's that did a much better job of showcasing the hops used. Anyway, hop slam is alright, nothing great though.

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Hopslam Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
99 out of 100 based on 3,269 ratings.