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Hopslam Ale - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
Hopslam AleHopslam Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,303 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 3,303
Hads: 11,947
Avg: 4.44
pDev: 18.02%
Wants: 2,584
Gots: 2,872 | FT: 59
Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States | website

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
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Reviews: 3,303 | Hads: 11,947
Photo of Liberatiscioli
3.28/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Too much honey felt like I needed to drink a gallon of water afterwords. Honey overpowered the hops. Big and boozy. Lot of people like it but way too sweet and bone dry for me.

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Photo of Thecherryman
3.29/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The specific hopslam I came into contact with has a really boozy taste. This doesn't taste anything like it did last year, which is pretty sad, I was looking forward to this. Heady topper takes this to the cleaners. If you haven't tried heady topper, get your hands on it.

Aroma: Smells pretty good, citrusy/piney

appearance is exactly like everyone else said it looked like.

Taste: It had a really boozy flavor, very unbalanced, which is very suprising for this beer. For 10.5% you can definatley tell it.

Overall: This is overhyped this year, and wouldn't purchase more than one six pack.

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Photo of MLDucky
3.3/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

All aboard, next stop hypeville. I wanted so badly to love this beer, I absolutely love bells. The color and aroma were nice, but for my personal taste the hop profile did not support the maltiness that was present. I expect some sweetness and malt given the abv but not at the expense of the hops. Oh well, still glad I was able to try it.

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Photo of Maurizio
3.32/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nose is medium strength, more dank spectrum than fruity. Taste is sharp hoppiness, mixed dank with some fruity notes. Honey is very present, much more than I was expecting, and I don't particularly care for the sweetness it contributes. Wanted to really like this beer, but the honey and the hop profile were both disappointing. Very smooth for a 10% ABV beer, though.

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Photo of LCB_Hostage
3.32/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

OK, and with this, I'm officially done with Bell's.

Sure I'll still pick up a sixer of Oberon in the summer, but I'll never expend any special effort, or get my hopes up to try a Bell's beer again. Much like Two-hearted and Expedition, this is a perfectly nice beer, but a rating of 100???? Give me an effin break! I know everyone's taste is different, but I can name a dozen DIPAs off the top of my head that I find to be equal or superior to Hopslam. But, I suppose I owe it the courtesy to at least get into the specific reasons for my disappointment.

A: Fine. Nothing special, nothing inadequate. A modest head. A somewhat lighter orange cast than I would have expected from a beer rumored to be so flavorful.

S: The first sign that I was going to be disappointed. I can't think of any word to describe it but bland. A bit of citrus, a bit of pine, but nothing memorable.

T: Again, nothing distinctive. A sweetness that I suppose might have been the honey, but it tasted more like unbalanced alcohol to me. I've read reviews where people wax rhapsodic over the big, bold, punch you in the face citrus notes. Well, I guess they must have gotten all of mine.

M: A bit on the slick side. No real carbonation or sparkle. Again, the sense that there was more alcohol than they knew what to do with.

O: Meh. Again, not a bad beer by any stretch, but it doesn't come a country mile within living up to its hype. But, as mentioned above, that's been my response to most Bell's products, so maybe it's just me. For those who fight over this every year, you'll be happy to know you have one less person to compete with.

And just for the record, the bottle I just drank was packaged 1/16/14 -- or less than two weeks ago. So, it's not like there was any drop off -- or if there was in that short a time, shame on Bell's.

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Photo of ltjska04
3.36/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the can, Hopslam is a nice burnt orange with sticky white head that lasts til the bottom of the glass. It is much hazier than I remember; there's no seeing through the glass. The aroma has medium ripe mango, pineapple, and sticky, resiny pine backed up by a seemingly strong malt backbone with low caramel notes. It doesn't exactly leap out of the glass but definitely smells nice.

The flavor leads with fleeting fruity hops that quickly fade and become replaced with a medium-strong bitterness that lingers. The malt makes its presence known but mostly stays out of the way. Unfortunately the hops don't really pop for me... they're there then they're not. It's a bit of a muddled hop flavor, which could be a result of what the brewery calls "the most complex hopping schedule in the Bell's repertoire." I tend to favor two or three character hops personally so it could just be my bias but I remember this being more hop forward in the past.

The mouthfeel is full with a medium dry finish that is enhanced by the lingering bitterness. A hint of alcohol is detectable but never overpowering. The beer lays a bit heavy on the palate and is filling over the course of a serving; pair that with the double digit alcohol and this isn't exactly a beer to have several of during a drinking session. Overall Hopslam is still a good Imperial IPA but the recipe is showing its age. It hearkens back to an era of bigger, sweeter hop monsters or what I used to refer to as Midwest DIPAs (bigger body, lower bitterness than West Coast DIPAs). For me this was a nice throwback but I'm not exactly chomping at the bit to get to the other five cans.

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Photo of RodBurg
3.37/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thehand hooked me up with this bottle. Thanks thehand!

Pours an orange/amber color with a small creamy head. Little retention, which is a bummer.

Very floral in the hop department. Orange blossoms and grapefruit scents mingle with a caramel malt backbone.

Starts with a caramel malt sweetness coupled with flowery hops. Finishes creamy sweet with mandarin and honey notes.

I'm thinking this would have been outstanding had it been fresh and on tap. The addition of honey almost gives off a sweet hop flavor. Hop ice cream. Yum.

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Photo of LanguedocRocks
3.37/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25


Way too sweet for my liking. It's not a bad beer, but it's nothing special. I would much prefer to drink the local DIPA's around VA/MD/DC then this. Maybe if the price comes down it will taste better.

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Photo of organicbrewer
3.38/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Batch 9470

A-Full gold. Huge cloudlike head, fairly compact bubbles. slight haze.

S-Candied orange. Slight honey aroma. Not too much else. Maybe this is past its prime.

T-Farily bitter, but the malt sweetness balances it off. Moderate pine and citrus.

M-Fairly thick for an IIPA. I like mine a bit drier. Medium carbonation.

D-at 3.5 or so months old this seems to have lost its hop punch. Still has some citrus aroma with the hop flavor, but it isn't "a bruiser of an ale." Also would like this a bit drier, the beer lingers on the palate too long.

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Photo of jasonjlewis
3.38/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to MuenchnerKindl for the sample

Pours a decent head with good retention. Pale orange color that is fairly cloudy.

Smell is of plum and grape. Hops do not attack the nose. I can smell some crystal and caramel malt, but overally the nose is weak. Slight perfumyness as the beer warms. Alcohol is strong on the smell.

Nice hoppy backbone to balance a nice rich maltiness. Hoppy astringenncy and alcohol astringency. way too boozy. Fruty plum and grapes come out as the beer warms.

Some alcohol astringency comes out, but the body of the beer is full and smooth.

A little astringent, but still good.

If this beer could be less boozy and warm it might be a lot better.

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Photo of twelvsies
3.38/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Batch #8907, bottled in January according to the website, drank in April. Had high hopes for this one but not initially floored as I thought I might be. It's only 3 months old, but perhaps it's starting to fade a bit. My question is, should a beer lose it's quality that quickly? I dunno... but I will definitely seek out an uber fresh sample of this when available and compare it with these notes. As is this beer pours a sturdy looking amber color, darkish, with a small head fading pretty quickly. Smell is hoppy, citrus mostly, orange peel, but then dominated by a sweet maltyness. Very heavy on the malt as well in the taste. I'm not getting destroyed by the hops here. A vanilla sweetness and an orange citrus flavor prevail over everything else. Perhaps a little too sweet from the added honey. And a little boozy to be honest. If there was a bigger hop presence this may be covered up but it's just not holding up. Malty, sweet, sticky, chewy, kind of clumsy. Not trying to knock this beer as I may not have the freshest example (but I did have three bottles to make sure) but it isn't world class in my book.

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Photo of donteatpoop
3.38/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a re-review. I've purchased a bottle this year and found my prior review to be way off from my current tastes. But that's what happens when we expand our palets, tastes change.

Anyway, this poured a nice pale amber color with a thick white head atop the brew. Smelled of pine and wildflowers.

Very hoppy, as to be expected. I split it with my wife and she liked it a lot, but for me the hops were almost too much and took on an almost soapy characteristic.

I get what all the ravings are about though, for hop heads this is like a dream beer. I'm a fan of hops, but not to the extent that I'd be seeking this out again... though maybe.

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Photo of benito
3.38/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

From the bottle, a recent (76--) batch.

A: Hazy amber with a thin head that laces well but doesn't show the rockiness I'd expect from this style. Still without any signs of carbonation.

S: From several feet away, the hop aromas are strong. Grapefruit and pine are especially predominant.

T: The back of the bottle says "biting, bitter, and bruising" and that it is. Grapefruit dominates, almost mercilessly, but is kept barely in check by a piney, resiny finish. Clear alcohol warming flavors as well.

M: An ode to the hop that forgets to back it up with a good malt sidekick. Though it's refreshing and actually fairly light bodied for a DIPA, it's ultimately too one-sided and the metallic 'alcohol' notes really go unchecked across the back of the tongue.

Overall, this is a strong and agressive beer with a few major flaws. I love that Bell's is going for something strong that isn't a stout, but they seem to have abandoned their golden rule (maximum realization of style, rather than experimentation with style) and ended up with a less stellar product than I would have expected.

Worth a look once or twice, but it's too much like spiked grapefruit juice to be a great beer.

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Photo of OhYesILoveBeer
3.38/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bell's HopSlam, 12oz's into personalized "K" snifter. Pours clear and golden, 1" off white head dissipates rather quickly into a thin film, slight lacing left behind. Nose is too sweet for my preference in DIPA's, but considering the abv %, I was expecting something in these lines. Floral, citrus like hops shine through a bit, fighting the sweet residual malt character for the lead. Taste is of a hyped up Two Hearted, nothing more, nothing less. This beer is Two Hearted on steroids, boost the centennial's, boost the pale and crystal, and you've got HopSlam. Overall I'm not too impressed by this beer at all. Bell's has a cult following, and I honestly think they could wizz in a batch, label it PissSlam, then stick a $14.99 price tag on a 6'er, and everyone would harp about how good it is. It just doesn't live up to everyone's hype, but seeing as Ive got 17 bottles left after it hit GA three months ago, I'll be cellaring plenty! Overall, grab one or two if you see it @ a reasonable price, but I wouldn't go too far to find it. I'd rather rock a Lagunitas Hop-Stoopid for $3.49 a bomber. Cheers all!

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Photo of CrookedStill
3.39/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Batch 10196, bottled Feb. 8, '11.

Pours a light amber with a finger thick white head.

Lots of citrus upfront. Grapefruit. There's a sweetness to it behind the citrus that's heavy of honey. Really enjoyable aroma.

Sweetness really takes hold first. Can really taste honey (tons honey malt I'm guessing). Hops come towards the end but the sweetness doesn't leave much room for them to shine and ends slightly bitter but it's the sweetness that lingers. There's a small amount of burn from the alcohol but overall the 10% is masked fairly well.

Pretty average for the the style. A medium body that's mildly carbonated.

I had my hopes up with this one. I've enjoyed many of Bell's offerings (Two Hearted and Expedition are at the top of my list) but this one just falls flat. The sweetness, near cloying, leaves this brew far off balanced and while I enjoyed parts of it, the sweetness was hard to get passed. The aroma is really were this beer shined and I wish it had carried into the taste. I'm glad I got to try it but if I had to choose between Hopslam or Two Hearted, it's Two Heated I'm buying.

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Photo of vitALEity
3.39/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First off, this is a review from a 4 month old bottle dated 1/14.

A: orange/amber in color. Somewhat cloudy which I like. Medium head that settles to a small white top with minimal lacing.

S: Honey, flowers, pine, caramel

T: Maybe it's because this is 4 months old but it has an unwelcome and unpleasant dry/bitter finish in the back of my throat after an initial and brief hit of floral hops and honey. Its hard to keep sipping on this to be honest.

M: Medium-Full, creamy, mild carbonation. Kind of astringent.

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Photo of A-lex-ander
3.39/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Pours dark golden slightly hazy with a foamy head that disappears quickly, leaves small amounts of lacing at top of glass.

Smell- Smells strongly of honey, very subtle aromas of citrus, almost as if it was a citrus flavored honey.

Taste- Strong hops upfront but mellows after a moment into a slightly citrusy slightly piney taste but not a lot of either, disappointed in the lack of honey coming through after such a strong smell, ultimately nothing special just a standard IPA.

Mouthfeel- Has a nice hop zing like many IPA's, but an unpleasant lingering film that persists long after the final sip.

Overall- Is similar to many other IPA's the two defining characteristics seem to be the very forward honey on the noes, and the unpleasant filminess. With a very middle of the road taste and the lack of followthrough on the honey I wouldn't go out of my way to have it again, but not bad by any means.

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Photo of Beldark
3.4/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12oz bottle packaged on 1/28/2014. My buddy and I went through a lot to get this beer (he really was really captivated by the hype) and I'm excited to try it.

A: Seemingly a bit less carbonation than expected. Had to pour with some vigor towards the end, but a good one-and-a-half-finger head developed after I finished the pour. Lacing is okay. Color is a very nice amber color - perhaps one or two SRM darker than expected - with that sort of vague opacity that looks clear until you see that everything behind the glass is a big blur.

S: Not the citrus bomb I expected, like Enjoy By or Hop Ranch - but that is not to say that this beer has no citrus aroma. The usual lemon/orange are there (no grapefruit) - but it's backed by a sort of herbal quality, too. There might be some strawberry in there. It comes together as a sort of sour-sweet aroma; not a malty sweetness, and not at all unpleasant, though not very exciting, either.

T: Uh-oh... my first reaction is that this is just a tad hot. There is no masking the ethanol here. Little malt flavor besides that, and the hop profile is frankly odd. There is a nicely balanced bubblegummy/strawberry note in there (sounds odd, but I personally get that a lot in these massively hopped DIPAs). That flows into the usual citrus, and the grapefruit is here in the palate - but also a bit of spice that has a synergistic effect with the heat, and not in a good way. There is zero west-coast piney resin to balance out this bit of spice. It just doesn't seem well-balanced to me at all. As it warms, the boozey heat comes out much quicker than it should.

M: Probably the best part of this beer. A wonderful froth when swished in the mouth due to what I now see is a perfect volume of carbonation. Definitely fits with the gravity of the beer.

O: I must conclude that this beer is hugely overrated. Every aspect of it reminds me of Enjoy By, except it's not done as well. It is by no means a bad beer, and I am of the opinion that nothing can live up to the amount of buzz behind a beer like this - I quickly learned this lesson with Pliny. I would not drive 35 minutes away on my hour-long lunch break to pay $22 for a six-pack of this again, but I would definitely buy it again if I stumbled upon it at my local store - not that that will ever happen.

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Photo of thebigbambino
3.4/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

lucky enough to have found 2 bottles of this at my local brew store, one for me and one to share with my pops. hope it lives up to its billing?

appearance: pours smooth like gold nectar with very little head

smell: very hop forward, hence the name, herbal and citrus notes abound

taste: smooth with moderate carbonation, extreme hops, notes of honey, bitter aftertaste

mouthfeel: rich and tingling to the palate but a bit too much carbonation

overall: very hoppy but not enough malt to balance out the bitterness. did not live up to its hype. there are much better offerings out there for beer of this style. would much rather have a GUBNA, Hoptimum or Hercules.

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Photo of labattblueribbon
3.41/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Unfortuately i've had this beer on two different occasions, one incredibly fresh, one not so much, both disappointed. This beer just hasn't had the the flavor to stack up against other great DIPAS. Very drinkable though.

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Photo of southend
3.41/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Tasted like I was at a party and someone poured Jim Beam's American Honey into my IPA. Overly hyped, would drink again though.

Smell: Mary Kay and Heaven Hill

Taste: Light and tasty at first, then the Hills of Kentucky open up in your mouth. And you're like, fuck did we take shots? No impossible I'm at home alone, watching home alone.

Then Macaulay Culkin hands you a Hopslam. Shit just got real.

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Photo of adammills
3.42/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured this beer into a pint glass to find a body copper in color and cloudy. It is capped with a two finger head that had some staying power. It leaves chunks of foam on the sides of the glass as you drink. The aroma is outrageous, truly amazing. At first it was all strawberry to me, then some mango and other citrusy notes. Complex and wonderful in aroma. It is a great tasting beer! A citrusy sweetness backed with solid bittering hops. A tad acidic in its bitterness in the end. It is well carbonated and smooth in the mouth. There may be the slightest alcohol warming going on at the end, but I tend to think that it is the spiciness from the hops. Very drinkable, very crisp. Amazing the way the 9% is hidden, very. Excellent beer.

Edit 2/5/09

A: Deep golden to copper. 3/4 inch off white head with fine bubbles that form a rather rocky cap.

S: Grapefruit, sweet almost strawberry, with a touch of grassyness that is appropriate to style. Classic American hop aroma, excellent.

T: Clean hop bitterness is the initial driving force. Following that is what seems to me to be a sweetness that is not quite cloying, but gets in the way of the hop showcase. Citrusy hop flavor coats the mouth. Hop resins coat the mouth.

M: Medium light body, alcohol is present it helps to balance the beer. Another balancing agent is the resinous hops. Appropriate moderate carbonation levels.

D: This beers only drawback is that the impression of too much residual sugar dings this beer in its drinkablity.

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Photo of pweis909
3.43/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle, batch # 8912, which was born of Jan 13, according to the website. So, over three months. The beer is underwhelming. Aroma is hoppy, possibly a little solventy/resiny. Taste is sweet, almost to the point of cloying. There is a bitter grapefruit rind finish. I believe this is my first DIPA and I find it oddly disappointing. Given my anticipation of bitterness, I thought I would welcome a sweet malty backbone more. But it might actually be too sweet. 10% alcohol? That will be a hoot when I try to stand up.

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Photo of musicforairports
3.45/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 1/26. Reviewed Feb. 7.

Golden in color, lightly hazy. Some hop sediment visible. Minor lacing.

Smell is sweet grapefruit and pineapple. On first smell the hop notes are quite nice, but a heavy sweetness takes over.

Flavor is tropical hops and some seriously sweet malt. Notes of pineapple, grapefruit and light pine. They are matched by a heavy, syrupy-sweet stickiness. This is not a dry beer, by any means. I think I can taste the honey. Booze is noticeable, but not too much.

Mouthfeel is medium-thick for the style, with the thick body leaving sticky sweet notes on the palate.

Overall, this really didn't strike me as much better than many other East Coast DIPAs--way too sweet for my liking. I've heard complaints about this year's version, but I haven't had it in past years, so I can't compare. I will say that the bottles in the case I bought seem to vary in sweetness and hop character, to my tastes. All in all, I went out of my way to procure a case of this beer, and in the future I will not do so. I love a lot of Bell's beers--and Two Hearted is one of my favorite IPAs--but the hype for this one seems unwarranted to me.

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Photo of koutkid41
3.46/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Golden orange with two fingers of white head. Nice lacing.

S: Piney and herbal hop aromas. Hint caramel and honey.

T: Caramel sweetness upfront with some honey undertones and some pine in the background.

M: Medium body. Pretty sweet.

O: I think either my palate has evolved over the last year or this beer has less hop pungency and flavor then the year before, not as good as I remember.

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Hopslam Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
98 out of 100 based on 3,303 ratings.