Hopslam Ale - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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Hopslam AleHopslam Ale

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3,260 Reviews

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Reviews: 3,260
Hads: 11,639
rAvg: 4.45
pDev: 8.54%
Wants: 2,391
Gots: 2,635 | FT: 62
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: 3,260 | Hads: 11,639
Photo of biegaman
4.09/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A cloudy, deep golden colour, Hopslam looks like honey. It has little carbonation and can appear almost sludgy depending on the angle. No head ever forms. The highlighting is dulled too, despite that it is light enough to allow moderate transparency.

Some IPAs simulate the effect of sniffing a baggie of hops; this IPA simulates standing dead center of a hop farm. You'd think you were submerged under an entire Pacific Northwest harvest. I don't like taking my nose out of the glass - I'll need a snorkel if I'm to drink this again. It is minty, herbal, and showcasing a lot of lime fruit.

The taste has pungency and a good amount of spice. That said, it is considerably less bitter than it let's on. The honey is surprisingly appreciable. Flavors of honeycomb and toffee are, believe it or not, more pronounced than the hops' contributions of leaf, lime, and pine. There's as much toasted caramel as there is grapefruit or flower petal.

The mouth feels privy to a lot of bark, rind, and resin - all goods features so far as IPAs are concerned. It is dry and to the uninitiated might feel like pine flavored sand paper as it runs over the palate. There's a dosage of alcohol esters noted as well, but they aren't entirely distracting. Still, it's not exactly what I'd call refreshing, all things considered.

As much as I have always enjoyed Bell's Hopslam, I can't help but say of it that it's the right size but the wrong shape. What I mean by that is that it has the right amount of bitter, tropical, herbal hoppiness but it all falls way to an overall toasty, sweet, and malty persona. Relative to similar stock in Bells lineup (and hype), it falls short of expectation. (1,683 characters)

Photo of blindtiger24
4.09/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Golden orange with lacing. Faint and pine citrus on the nose with noticeable honey. Sticky sweet. Good malt flavor. Will want to try again with a fresher bottle. Think it was missing some of the intended hop punch. (214 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.09/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

with all the hype around this I wanted it to floor me just like heady did, and just like the younger did, but it didn't. I mean, its a great beer don't get me wrong, but it didn't stand out to me as something worthy of the absurd praise its received. the pour is a nice hazy honey color with a creamy white head with fine retention, beautiful. the nose is oily hops, high alpha semisweet fruity hops, with some pollen character from the honey and a subtle but complimentary yeast strain. the flavor is boldly hoppy, both bitter as hell and oily sticky danky. its a beer with plenty of motion, moving from a fruity sort of vibe to a really gnarly bitter bomb. the sweetness of the honey is hard to pick out, and the alcohol is shockingly well hidden. you would never know this was 10% abv until you drank 3 or 4 of them and it walloped you! great mouthfeel with groovy carbonation and a fuller medium body. there is a great resinous feel left after the swallow. overall an outstanding imperial ipa, one of the better ones ive had honestly, but it just didn't blow my mind the way it has for others. (1,097 characters)

Photo of bkilpatr
4.09/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. 02/21/08. Batch 8277

When I bought this, the guy at the store said this one is "very hoppy, very strong". The bottle lists it at 10% ABV, so he's right on at least one part.

Poured an orange-amber color, with about a finger and a half of head that quickly dissipated. Intense smell of hops, very fresh and smells crisp.

The taste is of even more hops. VERY hoppy beer, probably the hoppiest beer I've had. Store guy is 2/2 now. Light citrus taste, but overpowered by the hops. Low to medium carbonation, very bitter, and I can taste the alcohol. Drinkability is alright, but definitely not something I could drink more than one of.

I'm not usually one for overly hoppy beers, but for what it is, this one is pretty decent. (771 characters)

Photo of KDawg
4.08/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured from bottle into a tulip. Pours a solid orange color with a nice and small head

Rich and aromatic with aromas of hops, pine resin, citrus aromas with some spice

Excellent feel with good flavors, but there is a slight bit of booziness on the end. Very good flavors of hops, pine resin, citrus and booze flavors on the back end

This is what I'd more expect from a hopslam. I had an "aged" one from tap a few months back and it was very boozy. this one is very fresh (12/29/11) and tastes like i would expect. (516 characters)

Photo of Number45forever
4.08/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tasted side by side with Heady Topper...yeah, my life is hard.

Appearance is a deep golden orange, with a nice fluffy white head that disappears quickly enough. Left with some good visible carbonation and a nice lace of white head.

Smells, shockingly, like hops. Pine is right there. There is NO DOUBT what this beer is: a HUGE IPA. There's very little maltiness in the smell...you get hops, hops, and more hops. A slam of hops, if you will. (Do I detect a slight green onion kind of smell?)

Tastes incredible. This is what an IPA should be. Sharp, sharp hops. Much bigger bitter aftertaste than Heady Topper, it leaves you wanting more and more! There's not much in the way of sweet malty balance. For a 10% ABV IPA, I'd expect this to be much sweeter. Nope, it's a hop SLAM.

Mouthfeel is the best part of this beer. It has perfect carbonation and goes down easy. This is scary drinkable. Love it. It tastes amazing.

Overall, I love this beer. It's not as good as Heady Topper - it's more one or two note than the symphony of Heady. But this is a very good beer. I'd buy this all the time if it was available here in Vermont.


Note: I could not detect any honey whatsoever. (1,189 characters)

Photo of thehbchemistry
4.08/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Lucky enough to get this brew in a trade!

A- Amazing. Pours beautifully into my tulip glass with little head. Appears to look amber/gold and delicious.

S- Smells sweet and citrusy. Definitely notes of honey.

T- Tastes of honey, spices, and a little bite. Super citrusy and great tasting for an abv of 10%.

M- Dangerously clean. Really faint alcohol in the background

D- This beer is a great imperial IPA. Super easy to drink and enjoy. (440 characters)

Photo of AgentZero
4.08/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Hazy orangish/amber with a nice foamy head. Good retention and sticky lacing on the sides.

S - Tons of hops, citrusy, grassy, even a little earthy if you look real hard. Malt backbone, and a sweet smell comes from it. Alcohol cuts through, can really smell it.

T - Very nice, sweet pine/grapefruit/grassy hops with a subtle light malt backbone. Nicely bitter, but not overpoweringly so.

M - Creamy and medium bodied. Nice carbonation compliment.

D - Easy to drink, the high ABV is slightly noticable and will kick your ass if you try too many. (551 characters)

Photo of Douglas14
4.08/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper color with a pretty nice slightly off-white head that has awesome retention and leaves great lacing. The aroma is fresh, pungent, American hops. The taste has its own hop blast but it is matched with a nice maltiness. It is one of the piney-est beers I have ever had and has considerable bitterness. It feels much lighter in the mouth than its relative strength. Its got a medium body and finishes smoothly. Awesome beer! (442 characters)

Photo of mpcrump
4.08/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A: Good bright and clear amber color with a two finger head.

S: Good strong citrus hops smell. If there can be a 'light' smell this seems to have it. Strong but not lingering or overpowering.

T: Starts with honey and then moves on to grapefruit.

M: Carbonation was light to medium. The taste lingers on after you have stopped.

D: For 10% ABV I think this goes down very easy. Can be dangerous! (440 characters)

Photo of Drazzamatazz
4.08/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been finishing a six pack I picked up while in Florida for spring break, its interesting to see how quickly this beer has changed in the month I'd had them.
Bottle # 9502
Poured into Sam Adams Perfect Pint.

A - Light amber, comes through as clear in certain areas when held up to a light. Moderate head that resides quickly.

S - Pineapple, fresh pine, papaya, and many floral notes. A clear hint of honey in every whiff. Of course it lives up to its name, there's hops through-and-through.

T - This isn't what I'd imagined it taste like, but I might say it's better. There's a lot more balance going on here then I would have expected given it's moniker. Sure there's hops, but the honey lends a balancing sweetness. Plenty of lemongrass and grapefruit upfront, which slowly go to floral and then lastly honeycomb. No alcohol to note for a 10% alcohol beer.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. For the sweet taste it is still quite dry in the mouth.

D - This doesn't drink like a 10% alcohol beer. I had three one night, and while I certainly felt the affects I never noticed them. (1,093 characters)

Photo of MadCat
4.08/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look: Pours a nice clear golden color with a good fluffy white head that leaves good lacing

Smell: Piney, resinous hops. In your face. Nothing you can do about it otherwise

Taste: Again, more piney, resinous hops, good bitterness, light malts that don't really bring any balance to the game

Feel: Medium body, good carbonation

Overall: Good, but entirely overwhelming. Needs a little more malt to bring some balance to all of the hops. Not worth the hype (462 characters)

Photo of marksto
4.08/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a medium amber color, very cloudy and hazy. Small whitish head falls quickly. Aroma displays a honeyish sweetness followed by some hoppy, piney notes. Faint aromas of apricot and citrus are there too. I didn't find the aroma to be that big compared to other great DIPA's.

Flavor displays big malt and lots of hop flavor and bitterness. The honey does not come through here, it's in the nose but masked by the hop complexity in flavor. The usual american hop essences come through, pine and citrus.

I suspected this bottle might have a bit of age to it. Checking the Bell's website I see a feature allowing one to enter the batch number. How cool! This was brewed in January 08, so it's got a little under a year on it. Not as old as I thought it might be. This is certainly a good DIPA, but there are better ones out there. Try it if you get a chance. (860 characters)

Photo of Pintofbrown
4.08/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had Hopslam in a shaker pint.

Appearance- A hard pour produces two fingers of off-white, dense foam. The lid is smooth and has a nice smattering of big, bursting bubbles. Retention is good, and sheet lace clings hardily to the side of the pint glass.

The same transparent, copper-orange body has a few tiny carbonation bubbles.

Smell- The nose does not seem quite as sweet as it did when I had it on-tap. I detect pear, pink grapefruit, lemon, and a musty herbalness.

Taste- Bitterness is barely present until the finish, when it finally decides to stick a little to the roof of the mouth. Hopslam has that same herbal mustiness to start, almost like a Columbus hop flavor.

This is followed by the citrus qualities, all grapefruit and lemon. The finish is a little grainy, has a touch of sweetness from the honey, and some hop oil keeping things bitter.

Mouth feel- The feel from the bottle offering is almost as good as it was on tap, a little more watered down and not quite so creamy. Otherwise, still solid and very easy to drink.

No booze here affecting the feel.

Overall- The bottle I reviewed is two weeks old, and maybe this is already starting to be past the prime of what Hopslam should be enjoyed at. The main difference is it is not quite as punchy with the sweetness from the malt, and it is a little less boozy.

It really makes the herbalness stand out more in the nose and on the palate. The bitterness is also working a little differently. Instead of starting to overwhelm the palate and then backing off, it just sits on the roof of the mouth in the finish. (1,586 characters)

Photo of Tromba
4.08/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a rich gold, with just a hint of red. White head dissipates quickly and leaves a very thin layer remaining. No lacing.

S: Faint alcohol sweetness with a little bit of hops and roses.

T: An unexpected sweetness up front, followed by tons of hops. Some grapefruit notes, with a lingering bitter finish.

M: Medium body with moderate to light carbonation. A little syrupy, but characteristic for a double IPA.

D: Despite the very high ABV this double IPA is not too overbearing and pleasure to drink! (536 characters)

Photo of JBHayden
4.08/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. Bottle into a snifter.

A- love the deep gold color with a one finger head that leaves a solid lace trail.

S- an uppercut of hops right away that turns into citrus. Honey is also detectable.

T- bitter bite from first sip that is balanced slightly with the malt. Citrus and alcohol both somewhat detectable.

M- medium carbonation makes this one smooth across the palate.

O- glad I bought the sixer. I will not be sharing. (431 characters)

Photo of mjpolzin
4.08/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a really, really good beer and I and really like IPAs so I may tend to rate this style a little higher than most. One of my top beers on this site though is Central Waters Double IPA so I made sure to have a Hopslam and a CW DIPA back to back to make sure I could compare to the Hopslam to the "gold standard" (for me at least) of IPAs.

This beer had a nice amber look to it as I poured with some nice carbonation and a small white head.

I could smell the welcome scents of an IPA: hops, citrus and pine all came through.

It had a really good taste with the expected bitterness of an IPA followed up with grapefruit and other citrus fruits. The mouthfeel was very good but nothing special.

So I really liked this beer and my guess is that it's score will put it amongst my top 10 but when compared to Central Water's Double IPA, this will probably rank as my second favorite IPA. (893 characters)

Photo of Treebs
4.08/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle served in a Founders snifter. Bottled 12/29/11.

A: Pours a clear amber color with a one inch, pure white head forming on the pour. The retention was very nice and drawn out. It subsided slowly to a thin film and thick collar that left some sudsy and soapy lace.

S: Very nice smells are wafting out of the glass. Notes of citrus and tropical fruits with a subtle pine and dankness as well. There is a slight bready malt and a touch of sweet honey on the backend.

T: The taste really follows the nose. Great citrus fruit notes, mostly grapefruit, come through with a slight bittering hop in the middle. There is a slight floral quality to it as well. The finish is rounded out with a sweet honey. The bready malts take a back seat to the hops in this one.

M: Light bodied, but surprisingly sticky in nature. The ABV is well hidden in this, very dangerous. The carbonation is great and it has a nice sweet finish that feels very clean and refreshing.

O: Very well balanced and the honey sweetness really adds a nice touch that rounds out the beer. It's a shame this comes out in the winter as I would love to drink this during the warmer months, but it certainly is a treat none the less. (1,204 characters)

Photo of deapokid
4.08/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a nice, off-white foamy head. Glass is covered in beautiful lacing and the beer itself is a crisp golden color with moderate carbonation. Visually, it's pretty unique for a DIPA.

Aromatically, hop stink is the big deal here, with strong and citrusy hops standing at the forefront. Unfortunately, the honey mentioned on the bottle isn't evident in the scent, which would have acted as a nice balance.

Ooh, here comes that honey sweetness I was dying for. I really love how this beer bucks conventions and allows the hop flavor to take on a more subdued roll. It plays well alongside the honey and a slight maltiness shows up on the backend, adding body to the brew.

Being a subdued hop brew, the dry scratchy conclusion isn't on display, which is usually the draw, but wouldn't work well with that big honey flavor. It's a rather smooth brew with a fizzly carbonated conclusion that dances on the tastebuds.

As for drinkability, I seriously don't believe that this is 10% alcohol. If so, this stuff is positively dangerous. It's not heavy whatsoever and the addition of honey totally levels out any hop bitterness that would hint at the profound booziness.

This is definitely a big league effort from Bell's and will please the hop head seeking originality over brute force. (1,284 characters)

Photo of Suds_Suds
4.08/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had the chance to try it both on bottle and on tap at Bells on the same day. It's markedly better fresh on tap, the nose has distinct citrus & tropical notes. Some of that nose was lost in the bottle and the malt sweetness and the bitterness dominated. Still, a good beer nonetheless. Felt like the 2014 batch was better though. (328 characters)

Photo of hops202
4.08/5  rDev -8.3%

Poured into Dogfish spiegelau glass.

First look is a light amber color with some haze. Smells very inviting with with floral honey and a citrus mix - I am going to say clementine and tangelo. Taste is very sweet - very prevalent organic raw honey. Still very tasty. Apparently this years release is not up to par when compared to previous years but I still think it is a great beer! (384 characters)

Photo of TheyCallMeYukon
4.08/5  rDev -8.3%

Would love to try this one again. The bottle I had shared from was well past its prime and the hops had definitely faded. Honey was still present and was balanced well. (170 characters)

Photo of phishgator
4.08/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Another hit from Bell's. This brew has a great golden-orange hue with a big white head. The aroma is fresh citrus blossoms and the taste is good. There is a little too strong of a mouth coating that never goes away; sometimes that's a good thing and other times it's annoying. It definately leaves you excited about the next time. (330 characters)

Photo of jbwimer
4.08/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a sixer from Whole Foods in Wexford. That was the limit. I remember really enjoying last years batch, though I only had two bottles, one of which was not ideally fresh. Freshness is not an issue here. Bottled 1/16/2014.

A- Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Great Lakes snifter/tulip thing. A finger of creamy off-white head dissipates quickly. A slightly hazy golden/burnt orange color. Really nice. Spotty lacing.

S- Pretty good hop presence. Faint pine, heavier on the tropical fruits, with mostly grapefruit and orange coming through. Unmistakable malty and sweet. Almost candy-like. Maybe a little too much so, especially for an IPA. Booze is able to push its way through. Not overwhelmingly so, but it's quite obvious. Evens out as it warms. Not amazing, but not bad at all.

T- Underwhelming. It's good, but I don't think it's fantastic. Doesn't quite have the lunch I would expect. Very tame hop presence. A little too sweet for my taste. Alcohol is too evident. I expected more.

M- Well done. Medium carbonation. Medium mouthfeel. Goes down smooth enough. Light alcohol burn.

O- I like this beer, but I want to like it more. I'm not crazy about it. There are many other IPAs I would rather drink. That being said, it is good. Just didn't live up to the hype for me. Maybe it was this year's batch? Not sure... Will gladly finish of this six-pack, but won't go out of my way to get it again. (1,418 characters)

Photo of RexBanner
4.08/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice amber color with a foamy off white head. Lots of carbonation in the glass.
Aromas of orange zest, grapefruit and very mild pine stand out.
Taste follows the nose very close, with the addition of maybe baked bread. Sweet upfront followed by a piney, maybe tropical taste in the middle before its all washed away by a mild bitterness. Finishes semi-dry.
Overall: With a name like "Hopslam" I was expecting to have the top of my head blown clean off with an overabundance of hops. That was not the case. Instead, I found this beer to be sweet and bubbly and very mild in the hops department. Although this beer was very enjoyable from start to finish I was not slammed by any hops.
P.S. I also feel that with a $3.50 price tag per bottle this was my last "Hopslam". (772 characters)

Hopslam Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
99 out of 100 based on 3,260 ratings.