Hopslam Ale | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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BA SCORE
98
world-class
3,441 Reviews
Hopslam AleHopslam Ale
BEER INFO

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

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

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

Added by beernbbq on 04-14-2004

BEER STATS
Reviews:
3,441
Ratings:
12,594
Avg:
4.44
pDev:
18.24%
 
 
Wants:
2,631
Gots:
3,365
For Trade:
62
User Reviews
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Reviews: 3,441 | Ratings: 12,594
Photo of masstransplant
2.65/5  rDev -40.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A-Clear, pale orange with a thin head

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

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

M-Decent carbonation; smooth finish

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tried on 3 separate occasions and finally decided to review.

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

S: Pine and citrus hop smell.

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

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

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

Major disappointment to me.

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

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

Peace!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2016 vintage poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

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

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

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

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

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

Poured into a Delirium snifter on 1/21/13

11645 Pkgd 1/03/13

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poured into a small chalice.

Pale golden with a thin layer of foam.

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

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

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

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

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Photo of Sabtos
2.96/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Re-rating as my outlook on this has changed over the years.

The appearance of this beer to me is the most impressive aspect of it. A cloudy yellow to orange top to bottom, it's like a hazy tequila sunrise. A sturdy white, impressive and persistent amount of head too.

There is a slight hint of pineapple on the nose, then some dog breath. As it warms, straw and oatmeal come forward.

There is no dog breath in the flavor, but pretty bitter and spicy hops do take over, the straw and oatmeal notes smooth it out a bit. Not too much dankness present, but it's there in a delicate way, if you can call it that.

In the past when I had this, I sort of wanted to just spit it out and rub cold lunchmeat on my tongue. These days, a heavy use of hops has become more tolerable to me in certain respects, but this is still a bit overboard. I still think these kinds of beers are on the extreme and a little more balance is my preferred approach.

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Photo of DaveAnderson
2.96/5  rDev -33.3%
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.

Blech.

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Photo of Cujo65
2.98/5  rDev -32.9%
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 -32.9%
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 markcp
3/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Copper in color, a little hazy, foamy head. Not much on the nose--mostly suds, with a hint of pine. First flavor that hits is the booze---I can really taste the 10%. Strong malt backbone, some piney hop bitterness, a little honey on the finish. I don't really get the acclaim for this beer.

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Photo of bevoduz
3/5  rDev -32.4%

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 -32.4%
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 -31.8%
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 -31.8%
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 -31.5%
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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Hopslam Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
98 out of 100 based on 3,441 ratings.
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