Hopslam Ale | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

BA SCORE
98
world-class
13,048 Ratings
Hopslam AleHopslam Ale
BEER INFO

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

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
Ratings:
13,048
Reviews:
3,530
Avg:
4.43
pDev:
9.71%
 
 
Wants:
2,670
Gots:
3,635
For Trade:
69
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 13,048 |  Reviews: 3,530
Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

lots of initial head on pour on orangey brown. I grabbed this as an IPA, and then I find out quickly its a double hophead and higher alcohol than I expected. Its a bitter, sucking the leaf sucking the lime hop delivery that works and is satisfying aftertaste, not in your face or substantial malting as in other DIPA. My tongue was frozen later on. Good carbonation. Good but overated.

 385 characters

Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -21%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of kylehay2004
4.95/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This moderately carbonated, spicy/hoppy IPA is a favorite among many. Though I feel the taste is exceptional, the aroma is one of the strongest aspects of this brew. The aroma and taste are near perfectly paired. It pours with a one to two finger head and finishes with a sharp feel which tapers rapidly. This one I keep stocked for as long as I can't find it available.

 370 characters

Photo of jaydoc
4.28/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of GRG1313
5/5  rDev +12.9%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.39/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to ehammond1 for sharing this one at MrVonzipper's tasting!

Bottled 1/6/12.

Pours a slightly hazy orange with an off-white head that fades to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of grapefruit, citrus zest, tropical fruit, and some sweet honey. Taste is of grapefruit, citrus zest, tropical fruit, honey, alcohol, and malt. There is a sweet candy flavor on the aftertaste with a mid bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp but slightly sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is an extremely good DIPA that lives up to the hype surrounding it.

 660 characters

Photo of spycow
4.23/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a Duvel Tulip.

A: Pours a copper color with a slight haze. Leaves a small head with a nice lacing in the glass.

S: Unbelievable smell. No doubt the hoppiness is there. Strong smell of fruits and herbals. Something tropical, citricy and slightly sour (but pleasant).

T: Absolutely lives up to its name. You can really taste the earthy hops, the citrus and tropical notes, with a hint of a nuttiness. Tastes complex but very smooth and the strong alcohol does not overwhelm the taste. Typical of a good hoppy IPA it leaves an unbelievable aftertaste after each sip getting better and better.

M&D: It really coats your mouth with a smooth, oily like feel. Excellent feeling as its not that carbonated and really just right. For an imperial IPA it is very drinkable. You could easily drink several but the strong alcohol could sneak up on you if you are not careful. Easily that good.

An excellent version of the imperial IPA. A little pricy $15.99 for a 6-pack but well worth the price if you like a hoppy IPA. Highly recommended. Like many of the other Bell products...all really well brewed.

 1,123 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.09/5  rDev -7.7%
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 kjkinsey
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of djrn2
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Knapp85
4.57/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow, what a beer this is! Beautiful in color, pours out a light golden copper with a head the sticks around till the last drop. The flavors are so luscious of fresh hops and honey the are juicy up front that dry you out making crave more. This is one great IPA!

 261 characters

Photo of t0rin0
3.9/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle brought by azagthoth yesterday.

Pours a very pale color and moderately hazy, not a good start. Also, nice tall white head, decent retention and lacing.

Aroma is very nice but at the same time a bit offensive. There is a ton of grapefruit but also a good amount of alcohol in the nose. Also, some sugary smells are apparent but I don't think that's malt.

Flavor was interesting for sure. Very sweet and hoppy but moderately boozy as well. I'm guessing the sweetness is pale malt and honey but when you get that much hops in a beer it can be sweet as well. Lots of grapefruit again, medium/high bitterness for a DIPA.

Body was reasonably heavy and sticky, medium carbonation, drinkabale because of the good taste but very boozy.

 743 characters

Photo of nmann08
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4/5  rDev -9.7%

Photo of metter98
4.45/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

A: The beer is hazy pale yellow in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high white head that only died down a little, consistently leaving a thin head covering the surface.
S: Moderately strong aromas of citrusy hops are present in the nose - grapefruit seems to stand out in particular - along with some hints of honey.
T: Like the smell, the taste is citrusy with flavors of orange and has some hints of honey. There is a moderate amount of bitterness.
M: It feels a little more than medium-bodied and somewhat crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There are some bits of warming from the alcohol in the finish.
O: This beer is rather easy to drink considering its strength because the alcohol is well masked from the taste. There's enough bitterness to prevent this from becoming sweet, especially since it has honey in it.

 899 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.63/5  rDev +4.5%
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 biboergosum
4/5  rDev -9.7%
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 kojevergas
4.03/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

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-

***
01/21/17 impression from a can ($24 per 6 pack in New York - yikes!):

Delicate honey. Glimmer of honeydew melon.

Balanced through and through, with pale malt sweetness just present enough to take the bitter edge of the heavily floral hopping.

Ludicrously drinkable for 10% ABV (I think the kids are saying "crushable" these days).

Surprisingly light-bodied. Nice push-pull between coarseness and smoothness, tugging towards the coarse side without being dragging or rough. Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, or scratchy.

A fine imperial IPA, though I remembered it better. Call it batch variation, can vs bottle variation, or call it me being inconsistent, but my impressions this time around aren't quite as favorable - good though this undeniably is.

B / GOOD

***
01/22/17 CAN:

Glowing gold-copper body. Obviously filtered. White frothy head.

Aroma entices with hints of fresh honey, bright floral notes, nectary hops, and resins alongside a kiss of citrus. Surprisingly mild aromatically, but attractive and suggestive of a balanced brew.

Ludicrously drinkable owing to its impeccable balance, with delicate subtle fresh honey sweetness joining pale malts to oppose any hop bitterness. The result is a terrific brew that hides all hop bitterness yet retains all hop flavours, showcasing its hops wonderfully and finishing coating and a little sweet without ever feeling syrupy or cloying. Finishes with an impression of hop oils.

Dangerously good. I find myself inhaling it, its 10% ABV of no consequence. Terrific work from very talented brewers.

B+ / VERY GOOD

 4,972 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.33/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2017: 4.33
Bright clarity with a sheet of lace down the opposite side of the glass.
Aroma is nice out of the gate, dank hops with some signature sweet pineapple.
Taste is moderately bitter with a clover honey aftertaste minus any sweetness.
A touch boozy, sticky on the lips but not overly sweet at all.
Overall seems a touch dialed down, but could be a fatigued palate. Will try again soon.

2016:
Great as ever, punchy tropical pineapple flavor, light sweetness.

2011: 4.59
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...

 1,414 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.47/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with a white, foamy head that leaves splotches of lace

Smell: Honeybell tangelo aroma

Taste: The honeybell citrus flavor jumps out almost immediately, even before the caramel backbone gets set; after the swallow the bitter citrus flavors intensify and there is a little honey-like sweetness on the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: One of those terrific citrus hop bombs that leave you ready for another

 490 characters

Photo of oline73
4.51/5  rDev +1.8%
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 SocalKicks
3.9/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of dmorgan310
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Hopslam Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
4.43 out of 5 based on 13,048 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.