Hopslam Ale | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

3,523 Reviews
Hopslam AleHopslam Ale

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

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

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Reviews: 3,523 | Ratings: 12,980
Photo of ALLISON01
3.17/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I look forward to it every year it's on of the best double ipa's out. I wish I could get it all year long.It's just awesome from the smell to its taste. But it's drinkibility is dangerous at 10 percent.I try to get a keg every year but no luck yet.maybe next year.just tried 2014 version not real impressed not much smell or taste really boozy I've had way better ipa's for less money it's over rated I don't know what they are doin different very dissapointed

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Photo of dnolan36
3.18/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I was lucky that the beer buyer at a local store called me to let me know he was holding a 6-pack of it for me. I was excited to try it for the first time. However, I wish the hype on this beer was not so high as I do not think it completely lived up to my expectations.

When I opened it I poured it into my Bell's Tulip. It was a nice golden honey color in my glass with a decent fluffy head.

It had a very strong citrus note up front followed by a strong pine scent. The aroma was decent.

The citrus taste was very strong followed by a heavy malt character as well. It was very bitter up front with a smooth finish.

Overall I am glad I tried it. However, in the future I may not hunt it down like I did this time. It is a decent IIPA but by far not may favorite.

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Photo of Cfred371
3.19/5  rDev -28%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

First time drinker of Hopslam, and came into this one looking forward to a well regarded double. This can was packaged 1/19/2016, so 13 days old and pretty fresh. I let the can sit out for 30 or so minutes to serve around 45-50 degrees. Drank from a tulip glass.

Look: The beer pours a nice golden color, producing a nice inch or so slightly off white head. The beer isn't crystal clear, but light does penetrate through, and is by no means hazy. The carbonation on Hopslam seems to be solid.

Smell: I thought the smell was pretty average: hop dominant with some citrus shining through, and a little bit of sweetness from the malt/honey. There is some earthy/dank aromas in here as well. The smell of Hopslam didn't differentiate itself much, to me, from any other double I've encountered, and was rather disappointing

Taste: The taste is initially the hops making a statement with some slight citrus, the dank flavors, and then the honey and malt start to take over around the middle, balancing the hops quite nicely. I note a little bit of the alcohol, but at 10%, that is expected.

Feel: I was pleased with how full the mouth feel on this beer is, carbonation assisting in a nice smooth, thick beer. Hopslam certainly has some bitterness in the finish, but is balanced with some sweetness at the beginning of the finish.

Overall: This is an OK beer, if not overly sweet. I wouldn't suggest seeking it out.

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Photo of jeffthecheff
3.21/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks Greg for the bottle.

Poured in to a tulip, its medium gold in color and quite hazy. On top sits a white head with good consistency. It starts off as one finger large and then recedes into a solid cap.

The aroma is weaker than I expected. It really isn't that intense at all. It has a general citrus and pine aroma, I would guess it uses Centennial and Simcoe in the hop bill. It's balanced more towards the pine, with just a touch of peach. It's a nice aroma, but it's on the weak side as far as DIPA's go.

The flavor of the beer is mostly focused on being brutally bitter. It is similar to licking the peel of a very bitter grapefruit. It's a bit harsh, but in a way that makes me want more. The sweetness to this beer is vague. There is no caramel, and the honey doesn't add enough for it to be recognized blindly. I can tell however that this beer uses highly fermentable sugars like honey, because the malt has no impact and lets the hops do their thing. Besides bitterness, the hops add a slight grapefruit flavor and some pine and menthol notes on the finish. There is also a touch of alcohol.

The palate is medium bodied with a relatively high carbonation. As it went on, I felt it was too much. I enjoyed the beer, but it needs more hop aroma and flavor....which isn't a good thing to be saying about a DIPA. I usually prefer aromatic DIPA's, and can care less about bitterness, so this isn't a favorite of mine.

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Photo of richkrull
3.22/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a dark orangish color with a good amount of white head on it. Smell is very heavy citrus with some honey and floral notes coming through - this is a very good smelling beer. The taste however left a bit to be desired for me. Nice bitterness from the hops but the honey and grapefruit flavor really turned me off. I don't know if it was too much sweetness for me or what. Mouthfeel was alright, light-medium. Overall I was pretty disappointed in this beer. After reading all the hype about it on this site, I was really excited to try it. I've had a few other IIPAs that I think are a lot better than this. I'd give it another shot down the road but until my taste changes, I won't be buying another 6-pack, that's for sure.

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Photo of Floydster
3.22/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle acquired in a trade from MuenchenerKindl, thanks for giving me the opportunity to try this beer

Poured into my Duvel tulip glass with a golden orange color that was very murky and an impressive 3/4 white foamy head that settled rather quickly, left some lacing but not enough to get excited about

Smell was full of sweet citrus, unfortunately could barely smell any signs of hoppiness, could smell some toffee notes and sweet malt though

Taste was not what I was expecting and was a disappointment for the most part, I do not know how old this bottle was but the dry hop profile was gone, there was nothing but fruity flavors that consisted of oranges, lemons, grapefruit, tangerine, and pineapple, got sweeter as it warmed and in the finish, the aftertaste made this hard to drink and enjoy its faint DIPA qualities, wish this one had some bitterness left, it desperately needs it to balance out the excess of rich malt

Average amount of carbonation and the body was pretty syrupy making it thick for this style of beer, pretty good mouthfeel

This is one is definitely a sipper, the alcohol is not hidden well and is too sweet making it heavy on the stomach and not allowing you to drink much of it, a bottle or two would definitely be enogh for me

I am guessing this bottle was close to a year old since it is released at the beginning of every year, and the beer might taste completely different when it is more fresh, not by favorite beers from Bell's but still glad I tried since it is the top one hundred beers, recommended if curious but there are much better IPAs out there right now

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Photo of padan7
3.23/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Hopslam once a great beer...now a bitter disappointment.
Used to think that Hopslam was the cat's meow now I think it tastes like...

I had this on tap 2/16/13 and drank a bottle on 2/15/13 (bottled on 1/2/13). The review was similar.

It looks like the old Hopslam. Nice looking IPA golden with a nice head.

The smell- not the same amount of pineapple citrus in the nose as before not bad but the aroma has been turned down.

The taste- could not find that wonderful balance of citrus/pineapple/honey/hops. Could barely taste the citrus and the taste was more bland and average than before. What a letdown. Looking for the wonderful

Mouthfeel- thinner and less savory than before.

Overall- I called Bells looking for someone to talk to. Ryan said "I'm not aware of any quality issues." I thought I might have gotten a bad 6-pack but the draft the next night tasted the same. Three other friends all agree this is not as good as it used to be.

Lagunitas Sucks, Hoptimum, Nugget Nectar are all better more cost effective choices to me now.

My number 1 IPA is fresh(30 days or less) Zombie Dust.

If you don't like spending $18 for a 6-pack of just ok tasting beer than pass on Hopslam this year.

If you feel like have been Hopslammed like me call Bell's and ask for Ryan. You can be sure
your complaint won't be the first.

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Photo of cabsandking
3.25/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Hazy golden/copper color and a spotty off white cap that actually has some stick to it. The nose is fruity, spicy hops, citric, grapefruit and a strong alcohol tinge. Tastes of bitter, dry, spicy hops, pithy fruit characters, and an impenetrable alcohol burn. Barley malt balance, piney, and some resiny turpentine notes. Full body and medium mouthfeel has some chew to it followed by some cloying. The finish is good with fruity, peppery character but much of the alcohol carried over is a little overwhelming. Flavor is good but the alcohol burn makes this a hard one to drink more than one.

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Photo of MNishCT77
3.25/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle from six pack purchased in the greater Washington D.C. area, poured into a 16 oz. pint glass, dated 1/15/13, drank 2/6-7/13 over several hours.

A: 3.5 - clearer than most for style (no hop haze), straw/yellow-orange color, 1 finger head lingered for >2 hours and remained lacing rim, no alcohol legs

S: 3.5 - honey, honey, honey... fig, passionfruit (papaya, mango)

T: 3.0 - confusing variation of flavors depending on the sip but invariable astrigency and BITTERNESS on the anterior tongue, unpleasant lingering bitterness, minimal booziness

M: 3.0 - slightly watery for an imperial IPA; again, overwhelming bitterness impedes mouthfeel development

O: 3.0 - very disappointed for my first experience with Bell's Hopslam, which I have been hunting down in the greater Washington D.C. area for > 1 month and purchased for $21.99/six pack; obviously, I have read the reports of several others that this is a bad batch, which I'm certainly willing to entertain. I tasted it side-by-side with Lagunitas Sucks DIPA, which is clearly the superior beer in 2013. For the exorbitant price and hype, Hopslam will probably be my biggest disappointment in 2013. I won't be purchasing it again until encountering other reviews that attest to a world-class batch.

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Photo of chetw
3.26/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I just had the 2013 release of Hopslam I was not overly impressed this year. Appearance and color where the same as other years but the aroma and taste were lacking compared to last year. I will still look for this on draft where I think it is much better. I must note that I did think the beer had a good flavor and my less than perfect review could be that my tastes are leaning more to hop forward beers and I would say I found this beer more balanced than I remember and not the Hopslam that I remember.

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Photo of WrathsU
3.27/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Golden clear body with orange hues. Moderately small white head with good lacing. Head recedes quickly and sticks to edges of glass.

S - Big bouquet of floral up front. Heavy doses of malt and honey intertwine with a slight citrus (orange, tropical) aroma.

T - Greets the tongue with bitterness followed by a pungent and citrusy flavor. Big alcohol presence noticeable. A bit minerally tasting throughout. Assertive hops help cut through the high malt flavors from the grains and honey.

M - Medium boided with good carbonation level and only a slight alcohol burn which is nice since the alcohol is noticeable in the taste.

O - Not as good as years past (this is 2012), but still a decent DIPA. A bit harsh this year, might mellow out better with some time.

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Photo of schellsbeer
3.28/5  rDev -26%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to my friend Jim for buying me a pint at WB's this evening. Nice to find on tap here in our home town. Now, to the review...

A - Very nice. Pale yellow in coloring with a nice head.

S - Fruit and hops. Sweet smelling. A nice IPA but not the best.

T - Fruit with hops. I like a bitter IPA and this was a sweet IPA. Double IPA???? Not sure. According to BA, it is a double IPA but only because of the ABV was very high...not because of the flavor. Fruit dominates this beer. Bananas and Pineapple are very noticeable. Too much so if you ask me. Also, hops was not up to par. Hop Slam....not for me. More like a hop spittle. Was on tap so it was ultra fresh but not something that was over the top like most Imperial IPAs for sure.

M - Clean and refreshing but other than that....just good in my book.

D - High ABV and not that much hops, just average for me. Also, since this is only brewed on a seasonal level, not that impressive. I have had better. Sorry.

Now, before I get slammed from other BAs, remember this review is my opinion and not any one elses. I love bitter IPAs and this was not that bitter. Good at best. Will I seek this out? No, especially since I can get better IPAs at a much lower price. Just average in my book.

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Photo of Liberatiscioli
3.28/5  rDev -26%
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 fx20736
3.29/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Bought a 6 pack of cans from Consumer's Beverages in Kenmore NY, Feb 2016. Poured into a Duvel tulip at fridge temp.

Look: Opaque apricot, thick white head head, nice lacing.

Smell: Tropical fruit; guavas in syrup?

Taste: Bittersweet, like Orange Marmalade

Feel: a little syrupy

Overall: too sweet and syrupy.

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Photo of Thecherryman
3.29/5  rDev -25.7%
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 -25.5%
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 -25.1%
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 -25.1%
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 curtisjoseph
3.34/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

16 oz draft poured into a Budweiser pint glass of all things.

This is the first review I've written and unfortunately it's not going to be a favorable one. I saw this beer briefly in stock but ended up opting not getting it and regretted it since. Local bar ended up having it on draft, it was expensive but I decide what the hell since I had heard good things about Bells annual release and thought I had missed out. Not sure if it's just this year, but this is what I was served:

Appearance: Beautiful golden, opaque glass of beer with an almost peache colored head that remained about a millimeter thick.

Smell: Very fruity, pleasant aroma. No real sense of the alcohol from the smell, fairly mild with hints of peach and mango.

Taste: Alcohol. Alcohol. Alcohol. A quick bit of sweetness as the syrup hits and then you get the sensation that you just downed a shot of liqour. Not what I was expecting at all. Finishes off with some bitterness from the hops but doesn't even approach IPA let alone DIPA like this is supposedly styled as. I can't get a feel for what this beer is going for, let alone what style this should be. If I had to guess this should be more of a strong ale than anything else. Syrup, alcohol, tinge of bitterness.

Feel: Full bodied beer, mild carbonation, overall goes down extremely well.

Overall: They definitely tried to make something different here, but it is honestly one of my less favorite things that i've tried. Would be interested in comparing this to a previous release to see if this is a new direction or if this is what Hopslam is supposed to be. Try it if you can find it for a decent price, would highly advise against spending $8 on it at a bar.

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Photo of heresy22
3.35/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a can.

Very sweet. Surprisingly so. Somewhat off-putting.
The alcohol is not hidden. Booze in the smell and taste.
Thick mouth feel. Again, somewhat off-putting.

I am glad I finally got to try it, but I was not impressed. I will give it another shot if I see it again, but I will not seek it out.

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Photo of Sabtos
3.36/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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, which I think is more accurately the honey with some wheat toast. There is also spiced tangerine, butterscotch and hot pine, and 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. I think it's best to let this chill in the fridge for a month or so, as it sweetens out with the honey, develops some melon, and still keeps that tangerine. I also get the butterscotch and hot pine in flavor, or is that booze?

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. However the honey does provide a hefty hit of sweetness to try to tamp it down.

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Photo of ltjska04
3.36/5  rDev -24.2%
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 -23.9%
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 -23.9%
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 -23.7%
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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Hopslam Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.43 out of 5 based on 12,980 ratings.
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