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Hopslam Ale - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
Hopslam AleHopslam Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
99
world-class

3,266 Reviews
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 3,266
Hads: 11,680
rAvg: 4.45
pDev: 8.54%
Wants: 2,428
Gots: 2,664 | FT: 64
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
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Reviews: 3,266 | Hads: 11,680
Photo of BEERchitect
4.63/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Icredibly smooth yet deceptively powerful, the beer's highly aromatic hops are balanced with honey for a true Midwest-style IPA, dressed up in imperial clothes. Its ease to see why Hopslam is among the best of all American beers.

Hopslam pours with a bright golden hue and the slightest of haze. The beer nearly sparkles in the glass. A very foamy head caps the beer with a white whipped topping, looking nearly like a meringue dessert. Strong retention and broken lace reaffirms the beer's substantial appearance.

Grapefruit and honey rise to the nose in such a scent that it seems like an array of citrus fruit has been dipped in honey. Savory and mouth whetting, the ale is rich and inviting throughout. Oranges, strawberries, and caramel malt play into the highly aromatic mix.

It's outrageous taste starts sweet with thin caramel malt and complex honey flavor. Citrusy ruby red grapefruit and tangerines begin to poke through the malty veil and adds a brightly flavored fruit note to the candied sweetness. Mild cannabis, marmalade, pine needles, and strawberry jam notes provide a slightly herbal and rosy taste that rides along side of the sharper citrus notes. The finish of honey and citrus bitterness is even keel and very very smooth. Its balanced taste a far cry from the usually preferred drier versions, but the honey-dipped notion here is something magical.

With the honey flavor on the palate, the beer provides a medium weighted texture to the mouth, but only a medium body because the honey plays lighter on the palate than malts do. Embedded carbonation gives a creamy feel early on. But as the carbonation settles out, the citrus infused malts saturate the middle palate and allows the hops to develop a deeply resinous dryness without gripping the throat with bitterness, excessive alcohol heat, or hop-derived astringency.

Hopslam is a culprit of many of the pitfalls that I warn against when it comes to hoppy American ales- its balance should not render the IPA-forward flavors in this positive of a manner. But its intangibles in taste and textures far exceed what's expected for the style and its overall flavor profile cannot be ignored. (2,170 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.44/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of IMtheOptimator: Poured a slightly hazy yellow color ale with a huge foamy head with great retention and lacing. Aroma of citrusy hops is well balance with sweet caramel malt – the smell of this beer is really great and I can only compare with 3F dreadnaught in term of greatness. Taste is such a well balance mix between sweet caramel malt, bitter and citrusy hops and a great floral aspect to hold it all together. This is definitely something I will want and drink some more. (497 characters)

Photo of largadeer
4.5/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Burnt orange with great clarity and an off-white one-inch head. Solid head retention.

Smell - Honey-like sweetness mixed with pungent, boozy tropical fruit and citrus.

Taste and mouthfeel - Very balanced and actually fairly sweet, especially compared to the West Coast IPAs I'm used to. Medium-bodied. I wouldn't have thought to add honey to an IPA, but it actually works wonderfully; the subtle sweetness of the honey blends perfectly with the grapefruit-like bitterness from the hops. Bittering hops appear more in the finish, coating the palate but not entirely overpowering the malt. A hint of alcohol is present as well, reminding me that this is strong stuff.

Notes - I find it very hard to fault this beer in any way. Exceptional stuff. (759 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
4/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle at the Oak Cafe in Wyandotte, Michigan.

This beer pours a clear medium golden hue, with two fat fingers of tight foamy eggshell white head, which leaves a wall of honeycomb lace around the glass. It smells of caramel/toffee malt, and citrus, pine, and pineapple hops. The taste is caramel malt, earthy honey, bitter citrus, pine, and a bit of booze. The carbonation is fairly low, the body medium weight and as smooth as possible. It finishes with not unexpected uptick in overbearing hoppiness, blotting out the now underperforming malt.

Maybe this is a sort of aged bottle, but it's still quite good, but not that wow, holy shit, head shaking way I was stupidly awaiting. Oh well. All that aside, a good DIPA, especially given the big, basically undetectable ABV. (779 characters)

Photo of emerge077
4.59/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011: It's been over 4 years, time to re-review.
How palate's have changed. This is pretty much hop crack, can't get enough. Sweet citrusy aroma, purely intoxicating... tropical hints of mango, and candied pineapple. Hugely resiny hop flavor, sweet and bitter with pineapple, mango, and cantaloupe notes. Firmly bitter aftertaste, very drying too from the 10%, yet no trace of the ABV in the taste. Dangerously drinkable for sure.

11-29-2006 A 4.1
Hazy yellow-orange pour, unfiltered with suspended particles. Lots of foam, which recedes to a frothy sheet on the sides of the glass. Smells potent, of concentrated pine and floral hops.

Taste is bracing at first, but not a whole lot more bitter than the Alpha King I just had. Hopslam feels a bit more slick and resiny, with notes of pine and bright grapefruit.

Overall, IPA's aren't the first thing i'll reach for, but this is very approachable. A great new offering from Bell's... (938 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.89/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Radiant ripe tangerine with a sparse cloud of fine particulates and a few larger flakes that I hope are hop leaves (the beer murks up considerably with the final pour). The tight-bubbled cap is ivory in color with a faint orange tint picked up from the beer beneath. While there's nothing spectacular about the appearance, it's definitely solid.

The nose is amazing! How in the world does Bell's create beer that smells like hop juice? The aroma is one of the brightest and most purely citric that I've ever experienced in a beer of this style. In addition to orange and grapefruit, pineapple and other assorted tropical fruits burst out of the glass. I'm betting that Amarillo and/or Simcoe are members of the hop bill, along with one or more of the C-hops.

HopSlam is a DIPA as DIPAs were meant to be. In other words, it's a jacked-up, hopped to the gills, high-ABV IPA. There's no caramel malt to contend with and no way to confuse what's in my glass with an American barleywine. I knew Larry wouldn't let us hopheads down. As Two Hearted has proved for years, the man knows his way around a hop cone.

Where to start? The sugar cookie-like pale malt backbone is just big enough and no bigger. It provides a firmness and a solidity that is barely able to withstand the lupulin assault. I think fresh Two Hearted is more witheringly hoppy, but it's a close call. Even so, the 106 IBUs are easy to believe. How can a beer this powerful be this mellow?

Whatever the hop bill consists of, I approve in a big way. I tried my best to determine which varieties are used, to no avail. I don't care if Mr. Bell wants to keep the specific ingredients a secret, as long as he continues to brew this hop nectar; year-round would be preferable. Bitter orange zest, white grapefruit pith, pineapple... they're all still present and accounted for. I haven't had a more drinkable DIPA in a very long time.

The mouthfeel isn't quite as full or as viscous as one might expect for an ale that weighs in at nearly 10%. It's amazingly velvety smooth, though, and I think I prefer it just as it is. In fact, the mouthfeel is one of the biggest reasons why the beer is so damn downable. It's hard to believe that 10 of the 12 ounces have disappeared so far.

HopSlam is a grand slam of a DIPA. It may not be the biggest, the hoppiest, or the most bitter version that I've ever let flood my taste buds, but it's one of the most drinkable. Anyone who considers hops to be the soul of beer, as I do, owes it to himself to seek this one out. I am in awe. (2,535 characters)

Photo of zeff80
4.87/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Pours out a copper color with a large, foamy white head. Leaves lacing.

S - Smells of grapefruit, some honey, pine and bubblegum sweetness. There is a mild caramel nose, too.

T - Big hoppy bitterness but not puckering because the honey mellows things out. It has a great grapefruit taste from the hops and some sweet caramel maltiness to accompany it.

M - It is crisp and sharp. A medium-bodied DIPA that is SO easy to drink..

D - An amazing beer. I've never had a beer with such a strong hop preence matched by a strong sweet presence until now. (554 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.62/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pored a cloudy,hazy pale amber with a huge white head that did not fade. Smell was off the charts cirus hops, thought I was in an orange grove. Taste was well you can probably oimagin, fantastic. Deep citrus and Pine, but not overwhelming at all. Complex dry finsh. Not overly carbonated. This is very drinkable as the ABV is well hidden and I could probably end up drinking too many before I knew it. Oh how I cannot wait for all these Bell's to be in NC!! (457 characters)

Photo of oberon
4.47/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Andrew (orfeu) your the man giving this beer to me I thought I was gonna have to wait until May when Iam back home to try to get my hands on this.Poures a hazed peachy color with a tight well formed sticky white head,holy cow fresh hop aromas citrus fruit with underlying pine it really wakes up the sences thats for sure just amazing.Oh man just hop goodness here resiny but bright and flavorful citric fruitiness combined with pine/resin dryness just great hop balance....malt nowhere to be found but thats fine with me.Liquid gold here for a hophead its bright and flavorful with awesome hop complexity,again thanks alot Andrew this kicks serious arss. (655 characters)

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.47/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy orangish sunrise with a small white head which fades quickly to some sparse bubbles around the edge. Gobs of grapefruit, citrus, tangerine, pineapple, and honey flowers dominate the nose. So nice. Bitter citrus hoppy flavors really zing the tongue. Oh so dry but fresh, crisp, and clean. A standout for sure. Very well done. (337 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
4.47/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks go to cvaypai for this one.

A: Cloudy orangish-amber color. Not much head to speak of, but pretty good lacing.

S: You can really pick up the honey and the citrus (orange) of the hops.

T: Excellent hop flavor, again, more orange than anything. Nice sweetness too from the malt and the honey. Some bitterness on the finish.

M: Very smooth, medium body. Not much carbonation, but enough to keep things fairly light.

D: Very drinkable. The 10% ABV is hardly noticeable in this. (485 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.47/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a translucent, orangey body with a full, foamy white head.

Smell: Wow, they ain't kidding. Redolent scent stinking of fresh grapefruit, pineapple, and passion fruit.

Taste: Malts are obscured, perhaps rightly so, by the extreme hoppiness. Tons of intense, juicy fruit hop flavors with a moderate kick of bitterness. The 10% abv is very well hidden. Bittersweet finish with a lingering tropical fruitiness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Distinct oily juiciness to the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Extremely hoppy, but it still displays a relatively good balance. (595 characters)

Photo of nickfl
4.67/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - One and a half fingers of bone white head on top of a slightly hazy, copper colored body. The head settles slowly and leaves a thick layer of lace clinging to the glass.

S - Strong mint, citrus, licorice hop aroma, very juicy and sweet. With some effort, one can detect a strong, sweet malt backbone behind the hops.

T - Intense tropical fruit flavors from the hops, complimented by the fruity sweetness from the malt and yeast. Spicy hop notes surface in the middle and help to balance out the immense malt sweetness that imparts light grape notes and darker plum like sweetness. Strong, but not overwhelming, bitterness appears in the finish and darkens the character of the hops with notes of cedar and tobacco.

M - Thick body, medium-high carbonation, and a somewhat sweet finish.

D - A huge, yet quite drinkable beer. This is a very well balanced beer, which is quite a feat considering the huge loads of hop flavor and malt sweetness that had to be carefully kept in check. The flavor is wonderful, but the real star in the aroma which is nothing short of spectacular with an exceptional variety of hop aromas. Surprisingly, this beer more than lives up to the hype. (1,180 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
4.28/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Devil's Backbone willibecher.

Big thanks to Wedge421 for hooking me up here!

Pours a clear copper, close to a light amber, with a thick frothy head that leaves some minor lacing as it dies away. The nose is grapefruit, mandarin oranges, pine, and lime. This hops-on-steroids smell is echoed in the taste, which showcases citrus, ruby red grapefruits, tart blood oranges, the basic essence of 50/50, and a deep backbone of light caramel and buttery toffee. This seems like the epitome of the DIPA flavor profile. The body is fairly light, with medium carbonation and a crisp finish that leaves the tongue rather moist, refreshed. I can't find much bad to say about this brew...worthy of the hype it receives. (721 characters)

Photo of oline73
4.51/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with one finger of off white head which goes away just leaving a very small layer.

Smell: Sweet citrus hops dominate. I thought there would be more of a smell than there is.

Taste: Initially there is a strong citrus hop bitterness. Next I'm picking up quite a bit of malt sweetness and some honey, which complements the bitterness quite nicely. At the end there is still some bitterness and also some alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with delicate and smooth carbonation. There could have been a little bit more carbonation. The finish is dry.

Drinkability: I've had this several times and it's always wonderful. I'll definitely be having more in the future. (743 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.49/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Two thoughts here. #1 - Whoah! Like chewing on a hop!!!!, and #2 - Whoah! Like chewing on a hop! Absolutely bright, vivid and in-your-face! Grapefruit! Pineapple! Pine-needles! All Pac northwest! One of the best, if not THE best, big-assed citrusy hop beers. Drinkability suffers a little bit, sure, but that's the trade-off for such a massively beautiful rendition of dripping, citrusy and piney hops in a glass. Hop-hazy as expected in the glass; dropping head. Alcohol can be inhibiting to drinkability, but never really exhibits itself throughout the first serving. Beautiful!!!!, but perhaps only for the initiated. Regardless, worth trying for the experience. (665 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
4.18/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap @ Al's of Hampdem (Enola, PA) on 1/21/11. Served in a Bell's tulip glass.

Pours a crystal clear copper, with a thin ½ finger of cap of bright-white head. Swirling keeps this rich in the glass (to a near finger) and throw up some thick foamy swathes of lacing which slowly creep down the sides of the glass. This has a big floral and spicy feel to it which is layered on top of sharp notes of grapefruit and pine. Tropical fruit and sweet malt are pushed to the background, as the hops mostly control this. I'm also picking up some alcohol heat that runs through the middle of the nose and takes away from some of the sweeter aspects of this a bit as well.

Bright hop flavors explode in the mouth, with grapefruit, pine, and spice ripping the tongue before being tempered with notes juicy tropical fruits, honey, and toasted biscuits. As usual, the honey totally makes this beer, as it adds a sweet softness across the back of the profile that adds to the general deliciousness of this. The finish is fairly aggressive with a bitter rind and spice that linger with a steady forceful dryness. The mouthfeel is medium to fuller bodied, with an easy soft crisp creaminess that sits on top of some alcohol beef. There is some definitely warmth to the body and it never does quite reach that stinging point, but it does get a little borderline at times.

What can you say, it's Hopslam and it rocks! I've had this many, many times out of the bottle but I do believe that this is first time that I've bothered grabbing some on draft. My only real issue besides the heavy warmth of the feel but that the nose seemed a little hop and alcohol heavy this time around. Still though, if you're looking for a DIPA that offers a little more than just a hoppy fix, this is great beer. (1,781 characters)

Photo of jlindros
4.12/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to COBeerBuff for this gem. Poured from bottle into oversized snifter.

A: Golden orange amber copper color, slight reddish hue, very hazy, slight head that slowly fades.

N: Nose has some nice noble hops, some floral and grassy aromas, slight citrus, an interesting crystal malt and touch of honey finish off the light nose

T: Starts pretty sweet, some crystal malt but lots of honey, a grassy floral hops taste adds more character, a slight spicey and chewy hop, the sweetness and honey is very prevalent, a very slight alcohol as it hides it pretty well, it has a somewhat candy bar taste with the sweet honey, caramel malts, and floral chewy hops which build the more I drink

M: A little chewy and stick, pretty light otherwise, light carbonation, a little creamy

F: It gets pretty bitter but not huge. It starts sweet and honey taste but finishes pretty dry. The bitter hops fade pretty quickly leaving the candy bar taste as well as a biscuity malt taste and slight earthiness making it pretty drinkable, and nice fresh hop taste on the finish as well. It also seems to leave a metallic taste in the mouth

Final thoughts: This beer seems to be pretty highly acclaimed but I'm a little disappointed. Its a pretty big hop bomb with a slight malt base and lots of sweet honey. The candybar taste adds a nice touch but its a little too much honey and sweet taste for me, and the hops don't come through the way I would have expected. (1,446 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.59/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired via trade from northertimber, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him.
Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light gold color with a thin white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is an excellent blend of intense hops and extra sweet citrus, very pleasant smell.

T: A heavy hops burst starts out and is abruptly followed a sweet citrus malt flavor. Both of the flavors alternate for dominance as a mild alcohol burn washes over you. The after-taste has the hops bitterness winning out, but the citrus sweetness sticks around as well.

M: Very crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, clean finish.

D: Very tasty, goes down easy for a beer with 9.30% ABV, not too filling, it’s a little too intense to be a good pounder, I could still put a away few rather quickly and enjoy it quite a bit. I got exactly what I expected from this beer which was Two Hearted Ale with more hops and more alcohol. However, more doesn’t necessarily mean better. Two Hearted Ale is one of the best beers I’ve ever had and the extra hops and alcohol don’t make this beer better than Two Hearted Ale, just more hardcore. This is an excellent beer overall though. (1,254 characters)

Photo of drewone
4.28/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1/9/2012 bottle date. In a tulip. Thanks nrs207!

Deep golden orange color. Small head, dissipates quickly.

Sweet hoppiness - honey scent comes through, floral

Sweet and hoppy. alcohol is well hidden, slight burn on the finish. Relativly well balances but on the sweet side. Would like to know what the OG is. Some bitterness on the finish

Rounded - not that dry, almost slick.

Very enjoyable. First bottle I had I really enjoyed, this bottle I had right after a elder and that was a hard beer to follow. (508 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
4.65/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I had this on tap last evening at Brass Rail Deli in Campbelltown, PA. Served in a pint glass.

A - A slightly burnished golden shade w/ mild haziness - still able to see carbonation rising somewhat rapidly in the liquid. The head is approx 1 inch and snowy colored. The bead is very fine and a film of lace holds on the glass

S - lots of hop fruitiness w/ tropical, citrus and slight herbal notes. There is a mellow malt sweetness as well as interesting floral note in the background.

M- The feel is great - bitter up front w/ spicy hops and resinous floral character w/ a moderately high level of bitterness throughout and more than medium body w/ mild sweetness to anchor the hops w/ a significant yet well placed alcohol texture and semi dry finish

T - The taste is a blend of all things hoppy-pine and citrus like tangerine with a tinge of lychee, and grapefruity bitter tastes. The beer is slightly herbal, bordering on grassy, but clean with lemony tang that leads to a sweet honey tinge of malt much like green tea with the honey soaked sweet edge. The flavor has plenty of citrus peel which also seems to give off a piney aspect with a moderate alcohol taste in the finish

D - A well rounded IIPA, so tasty yet not extremely drinkable since by the end of the pint you feel, well...hopslammed. The beer is great fresh and I prefer it to the bottle, but should be approached with a reasonable amount of caution as it tastes similar to many beers well below its level of abv (1,484 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.15/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky orange with a decent off white head. Nose is strong citrus hops. Flavor is so much grapefruit, it took me back a bit. Those thick citrus flavors are combined with firm hop tones. Feel is smooth on liquid and carbonation and it goes down easy. Nice to drink, though the citrus is a bit high. I am not sure if I remember it being like this when I had it on bottles a while ago. (389 characters)

Photo of russpowell
4.73/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This one comes courtesy of BARLEYWINEO, cheers! Date code of 4711

Pours a hazed amber/peach tea with 2 fingers+ of cream-colored head. Very good head retention & lacing

S: Huge breadyness & piney hops

T: Large honey cake/breadyness, dryness, boozey warmth & pineyness. Warms with lemony & grapefruitty hopy, plus honey malt. Finishes with huge oily hops, warming booze, caramel & a little bit of dates/figs fruittyness

MF: Chewy& oily , medium carbonation & superb balance

Drinks too damn easy, a great balanced DIPA! (534 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
4.32/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First had: bottle from Capone's beer garden, Norristown, PA

Pours a clear golden-orange with a thin, wispy, white head that lingers as a ringlet, but still leaves some doily lacing on the glass. Aroma of citrusy hops and toasted bread. Taste is bursting with hops: citrusy-orange-grapefruit zest and a bit of pithy bitterness, tropical fruits, pine needles, and a nice sensation of honey-drizzled toasted bread coming through for a very nice balance. Medium mouthfeel, quite smooth and extremely drinkable for the style (where's the alcohol?).

I've had plenty of IPAs similar to this one, so I wouldn't really say it's a trade item, or worth going out of the way for, as some people make it out to be, but it's definitely nice to have when it's around. (754 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
4.11/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a conical Samuel Smith's pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are extremely high given its incredible reputation. 10% ABV confirmed. Bottled 01/02/13 (11 days old). Thanks to Britta for bringing the bottle from Ann Arbor.

Served straight from the fridge and allowed to warm slightly over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger beige colour head of slight cream, fair thickness, and incredible retention for the high ABV (~5 minutes). Body colour is a transparent copper; it's not particularly vibrant but I wouldn't call it dull. Translucent. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show . It's par for the style, but it isn't as appealing as other beers in the style I've seen.

Sm: Hops: nectary, floral, pine, grapefruit, honey, effervescent crystal malt, perfumey hop oil, bright fruit (mango and some light tropical fruit), caramel. There's a lot going on here, and the hop bitterness is well concealed. Lots of depth and diversity. No yeast character is detectable, nor is any alcohol. I'd like more of the oily hop notes. A bit of grassy character emerges on the climax, joining the fruit. The honey comes off very raw; it's not at all too sweet. A fairly strong aroma, and a pleasant appealing one. Definitely different from the aromas I'm used to in beers of the style, but I don't know that it's necessarily an improvement. I can't wait to try it.

T: Ah. A perfect balance of honey and pale malt sweetness with nectary hop notes, bright fruit, and floral character. Sticky and sweet - but never overly so. Nectary hop notes dominate. I'd like more pine from it, but what little is there is well balanced. Not as heavy on the grapefruit as many beers in the style - and rightly so; it works to ensure the hop bitterness is well concealed. A bit grassy and oily. Light caramel rides beneath. Bold pale malts give it the refreshing effective body it needs. No alcohol comes through until the warmth hits me in the stomach; this one is dangerously drinkable. Not at all soapy like many problematic beers in the style; they brought this out of primary just in time. I expected a bitter hop bomb, but Bell's remembered to balance the flavours, and the result is a great Double IPA. Loads of complexity and seamless subtlety make this one a real treat.

Mf: Sticky, nectary, slick, and coating. Perfect thickness and carbonation. Quite oily. Feels custom-tailored to the flavour profile. Smooth and wet. Near perfect execution; bravo, Bells.

Dr: Dangerously drinkable for the high ABV. It delivers hops, but more importantly it delivers balance. I could down it all night, and I'd be happily knackered by night's end. This Double IPA will satisfy hop cravings, but it isn't the bitter hop bomb it markets itself as. It is in fact a balanced, very enjoyable Double IPA that I'd love to have again (preferably on-draught). Does it live up to its reputation? I'm not floored, but it is fantastic. It's not the best beer I've had in the style, but it's certainly one of them. Well priced in Michigan at $18 a six pack. Constructively, it could use more depth of flavour, but I'm nitpicking.

Would pair incredibly well with spicy food.

Lowish A- (3,375 characters)

Hopslam Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
99 out of 100 based on 3,266 ratings.