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 Durge
4.15/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A hazy amber color with a very nice white fuzz cap and decent lacing. The aroma is heavy flowery hops with some sweet malt hiding in the background. The flavor confirms the intense floral hops but a few mouthfuls eventually reveal the attempt to balance this brew with a touch of brown sugar and salty malt. Full bodied and lightly carbonated. I don't see this as a session beer with such thick constitution and heavy hops. But this a quality hop concoction. This was pretty heavy handed in the hops so it might take a couple tries to entirely warm up to it, a price I am happy to pay. Don't miss giving it a try!

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Photo of demuzik
4.15/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deceptive gold with a hint of amber; moderate to low head.

This beer is hoppy - surprised? The hops in this year's brew are varied giving it a complex hop taste, personally can't pick out the varieties used. Quite bitter though not strong on the pine; more spice, and brunt bitter on the tongue.

The honey traces across the tongue and the entire beer lingers in the mouth; if I didn't see it say 10% ABV on the bottle, I'd never believe it.

Last half of the glass/bottle finds it hop heavy, the seesaw heavily weighed on the hoppy side. To compare to others in the genre, I prefer Pliny for it's balance and pine-ey ness; this is definitely not a West coast beer, it makes perfect sense its a Midwest beer since I find it tasting somewhere in between Pliny and Dogfish Head.

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Photo of JK4Stout
4.15/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured into pint glass.

A: Looks like a good IPA should. A bit darker than your standard pale ale, and very inviting and bubbly to look at.

S: Not bad. I was expecting a bit more form all the hype and the name, but still a good tangy aroma with a little sweetness on the tale end. Honeslty reminds my a bit of the hookah bar.

T: NICE! Still not as bitter as I was expecting, but the blend is subtle and pleasant. I really dig the sweet hint of honey in there. and the aftertaste isn't bitter like many IPA's, but a tingling fruitiness.

M: I kinda wish this was a little more carbonated, but then I'm not entirely sure what the brewer's were going for. I just think a little more bubble may bring that aroma and taste out to a better level. Still light in body.

D: Other than the price, this is a really good football beer. It had better be anyway...the super bowl is on. ALso at ten percent it kinda sneaks in and doesn't let you know how big it really is. Be careful with this one. Drink it at home or with a DD.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.15/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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Photo of juhl31
4.15/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

-good golden color with a nice head to it

-a bit of a citrusy hop smell to it. some sweetness coming in as well

-hops in the forefront and then comes the sweet, a bit bitey, aspect that i'm sure is coming from the honey. some decent malt backbone in there as well. not overly bitter

-for a 10% ipa, this beer is extremely crisp and refreshing. excellent hot day, wanna have a big beer type

-based on the mouthfeel rating alone is what makes this beer so enjoyable

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Photo of FBarber
4.15/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had on draft.

Poured a nice orange-ish color with a one finger white head that quickly dissipated.

Smell was a nice bouquet of tropical fruits, floral notes and pine with undertones of perhaps mango? Very fragrant, just a bit hard to discern individual aromas.

Taste followed the nose with a nice array of tropical fruits initially before giving way to a piney, sappy bitterness on the finish. Prominent malt backbone to this beer provided flavors of caramel malts with a slight honey sweetness. Personally this is a one or two and done kind of DIPA for me. Lots of hop character really taxed my palate pretty quick. Not a knock on this beer, just not one I can drink a lot of.

Feel was nice, bit of thickness from the honey and malts, but not overly so.

Oerall a really nice DIPA. Not my personal favorite, but I can see why so many people swear by it.

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Photo of kbutler1
4.15/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Draft and bottle on numerous occasions but for this review, draft. Pours a very nice looking amber color with a nice 1 finger white head. Good lace already. Nice floral and citrus rind hop aromas in the nose. Slightly sweet up front mostly I would think from the honey and then there is a strong hop presence on your tongue. Citrus rind, grapefruit and a touch of pine. Nice medium mouthfeel. When fresh this is one of the best IPA's around.

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Photo of khiasmus
4.15/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A long time in coming, this one. I wish the ground would look like the top of this beer in the morning, but one can always wish, it's been the same since childhood. I've seen snow but a few times in my life. It reminds me though. The thick sheet of lacing, like the window from inside a car. A cloudy orange, the glow from our wood stove as I was growing up. A ranch-style house, I think it sucked more heat out, that was the only warm room. It drops off after a couple minutes, looks like soap-bubble-jello, wiggling in the glass as I tap on the keyboard.
And there it is, an immensely piney aroma, the christmas trees back before flame retardants, they used to crackle and pop merrily, looking for all the world like this glowing liquid in front of me, and the smell... so green, so pure... there's some citrus there, but mostly just that intense christmas-tree green, a note of soft alcohol and some sweetness in the back... honey, like the herbal tea as we watched dad shove the branches in.
Funny how the house gets more cozy as the air outside cools. Were it this temperature in the summer, I would be hot. As it is, I'm happy... But the flavor disappoints a little after the nose. The hops arent as balanced... they come out as an intense bitterness, a flash of resin, but the alcohol is hotter than the nose suggested, it takes over the finish. The honey is sweeter as well, lending an imbalance in flavors (though not impressions).
Thick. Thick and syrupy-sweet as it rolls down the throat and gives way to a warm, almost sickly finish. It's just too much. The ten percent is far too obvious. The honey is too in your face. The hops are imbalanced. I've had this beer three times, and each time I've been disappointed. Unearthly, as a strong IPA, destroys this oh-so-highly-rated beer. I don't dislike strong flavors, but this one does not come together well. It's not going to snow. I'm going to wake up to just another bleary day with some specks of ice on the bushes. And go to work.

EDITED after drinking a 9 day old bottle. I must say that she comes together much better. Still a little high on the sweetness and alcohol both, but it is a much more drinkable brew. Still not a 4.4 beer though. Adjusted score accordingly.

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Photo of rawfish
4.15/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smooth pour nets a one finger head of tight white bubbles. Amber in color with great clarity and lacing that renews with each turn of the glass. Head retention was minimal, I could have been more vigorous with the pour.

Copious amounts of bready malt and honey match the bright pine and grapefruit pith hops. RIsing amounts of stone fruit and guava add a touch of tropical complexity. Alcohol rises from the glass as well, preparing you for the slam.

Thick malt base is bready with toffee and honey soaked sweetness. Pine and dark citrus creeps out of the malt shadow evolving to a more floral quality late in the drink. Alcohol provides more of a body slam than bitterness. Finishes with a sweet honey malt with tingling pine.

Average DIPA body with appropriate carbonation. Does a good job of drying despite the quantity and sweetness of the malt. Alcohol is very present but at least the bitterness is not overdone.

Beer geek legend, glad I got to finally try this one. The craft movement really has done a number on what is needed to make a beer shine out from the pack. Hopslam is a well integrated hop, booze and malt bomb with limited outstanding qualities. This is a classic and despite craft evolution it will continue to impress through reputation and respect.

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Photo of THECPJ
4.15/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes 1/25/2011

A: citrus hops, sweetness, hint of grapefruit

Ap: golden-orange with a 1 fingher white head, nice lacing

B/T: mild carbonation, well-balanced, smooth

Af: citrus hops and malty sweetness, the taste does not stick around very long

O: hopped up/sweeter version of Bell's Two Hearted.

Cheers!
The CPJ

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Photo of tai4ji2x
4.15/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this poor bottle had a protracted wait, as it took FOREVER for my trade with jnn4v to come through (was originally expecting arrival in early march, but ended up having to wait until MID-MAY). some of his reasons were understandable, some not as much. supposedly it was kept in the fridge most of the time though.

12oz bottle w batch code 8913. tasted in mid/late may 2009.

orangey honey amber. slightly hazy despite decanting. 1.5-finger foamy off-white head, gradually fades to constant thin wispy layer. great lacing, curtain-like in the 2nd half.

aroma: piney, citrus rind hops, still decently fresh, with citrus fruit notes, although starting to get dull and resinous. caramelized malt underneath but focus remain on the hops, even now.

taste: still quite hoppy and relatively fresh, just not uber-fresh like i remember from the tap. a bit more towards the resinous side of the spectrum, with pine and citrus rind, and less of the floral and citrus zest characters. doesn't blend as well with the honey and caramelized malt as a result, the way the fresh draft version did. moderate to boldly bitter, with resinous tones. hints of apple esters.

medium body, smooth, almost syrupy. punctuated by resinous astringency. prickly, moderate carbonation helps with creamy texture.

part of this score will be influenced by my impressions of the draft keg i had multiple samples of at EBF 09. one of the highlights of that event, actually.

a shame that the hops are so fragile. will have to seek a more timely trade next year.

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Photo of SanDiegoBeerLove
4.15/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle Batch #10093. Reviewed Today out of a Tulip glass.

A - Clear Copper color with a finger of off white head that faded at a normal speed.

S - Smell of Honey, Grapefruit, Citrus Flowers, Grass, Pine, and Hops.

T - Tastes of Caramel, Honey, Pineapple, Grapefruit, Pine Sap, and Citrus Rind.

M - Sticky, Heavy Bitter, Alcoholic, and Sweeter than expected.

D - This is a better batch than last year inwhich i did not review since i probably would have given it a C.

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Photo of CliffBrake
4.15/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fairly bright orange color with modest head and good lacing.

Great aroma with very prominent tangerine and grapefruit and just a touch of pine.

Citrus hops dominate the initial taste and merge into a sweetness that seems to reflect the use of honey in the recipe. A pleasant, astringent hop bitterness shows on the finish and subsides into a lingering sweetness.

Juicy, round mouthfeel with a body that seems light for the alchohol content. Dangerously drinkable for the alcohol, but the sweetness builds to overtake the experience and forms a natural brake on drinking this beer too quickly.

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Photo of CrellMoset
4.15/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Beer Run. Always nice to try a beer like this on tap and see how it stacks up to the bottled version. Served in a 10 oz. brandy snifter.

Appearance: Pours a clear, crisp, golden orange bodied brew, capped by a slightly off-white, foamy head of above-average retention. Fine bubbled and sparse carbonation is evident if you hold it up to the light, creeping slowly upwards. The lacing is similarly impressive, spongy and sheetlike, and very attractive.

Aroma: Huge hops, but did you expect anything different? Enormous, juicy pineapple and ruby red grapefruit notes, backed up by gigantic spicy pine, hints of mint and earthy herbal notes, and a sweet, earthy, syrupy malt backbone. The honey definitely comes through, complete with hints of a clove-like spice. A faint kiss of darker roast in the finish.

Taste: Moderate to moderately-heavy bitterness, in case you were wondering what 100+ IBUs tastes like. A beautiful spicy pine and lightly tart grapefruit zest combo, honey-like and pale malts, a faint bready, doughy roast, orange zest, and other miscellaneous tart notes round it out. Delicious.

Mouthfeel: Not as thick as it probably should be, given that it's made with enough honey and malt to back up the hop schedule while still being drinkable. There's plenty of prickly, light effervescence, too, resulting in a slightly crisp but slightly uneven mouth.

Drinkability: At 10.0% abv, this one's (of course) not one to take lightly, but no need for me to tell you that - the flavors make that known easily enough. One of the classics, and deservedly - it's a tasty, aromatic hop monster, surprisingly quaffable, gorgeous, and a delight to the senses. Try it.

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Photo of sarahspat
4.14/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

For my first real beer review, I'm taking pains to make sure I get everything right: correct glassware (properly cleaned and air dried), right temperature (approximated as best as I can), and an earnest attempt to completely cleanse my palate before I start. I have had some very good experiences with this beer in the past, and I want to do it justice and write the best review I can. I'm nervous and excited to get to work!

Thanks to the handy "batch search" on bellsbeer.com, I was able to deduce that this particular bottle of Hopslam was brewed on January 20, 2009, which is almost exactly 2 months prior to today's date.

Upon opening the bottle, I am immediately greeted (treated) to whiffs of sweet candied pineapple. There is a huge bone white head that prevents me from pouring the whole bottle into my tulip glass at once. The appearance of the beer is a beautiful light/medium light orange; it's not what I would call incredibly cloudy, but not it's really not transparent either, just in between.

The nose is amazing, almost overpoweringly fruity, but in a good way. I love fruit! Candied pineapple and grapefruit, mostly, with a little caramel to round it out, and a nice floral undercurrent. A lot of beers have these kinds of aromas, but none to the degree of Hopslam. I mean, you cannot miss the bouquet of fruit here, due simply to its sheer force. I have to say, the smell is my favorite part of this beer. Every time I go in for another sip (and consequently have to stick my nose in the glass), almost want to exclaim "Oh my dear Lord!" out loud. It just smells that good, even towards the end of the glass!

Spice hits the tongue hard. At the start of the sip, bitterness is predominant. After the swallow, you can finally taste that sought after sweet, sweet pineapple, citrus and a bit of caramel, then the floral flavor and more bitterness on the finish and a bit of a bite from the alcohol. This beer asserts itself and lets you know who you're dealing with. This is a nice, complex ale. Hopslam is right up there with the best DIPAs I've ever tried, however it seems that with this sampling, the smell is better than the taste for me. I don't remember the alcohol flavor being this strong in previous Hopslams I've enjoyed. Then again, I don't think I've ever had it at the proper temperature before. At about the halfway mark, this thing is hitting me pretty hard. This is a serious beer! I would not recommend drinking it on a day when you have something important to do. And, when drinking it, be sure to keep a glass of water close at hand, because this little guy's gonna make you very thirsty. And you better pace yourself if you're planning on drinking 12 oz. or more!

Medium mouthfeel: not too weak, but not too chewy, seems just about right for the style.

I've had more "drinkable" Hopslams in the past, but that was probably because it was served at too cold of a temperature. You can really feel the 10% ABV at 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The strong alcohol flavor is the only thing that is compelling me to deduct a couple of points for drinkability, but it's making a good argument. But, oh! Those sweet, sweet pineapples! I love it!

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Photo of turfy
4.14/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this beauty in a trade with rhodeska. Poured into a SN tulip glass, with a mostly clear, orange color with a thinnish head and light lacing. The smell was one of strong orange and pineapple with a touch of grapefruit. My first thoughts on tasting were 'sweet' and 'orange', which was followed with a nice balance of bitterness. A moderate to heavy mouthfeel, perhaps because of the sweetness. Fairly drinkable, although it may take me a few to get used to the sweeter than normal taste of most of the brews I enjoy. Definitely a Top 100 brew and glad I was able to finally enjoy it!

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Photo of DAllspaw
4.14/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into tulip. Lighter golden color and white head, certainly lighter than expected.
The aroma was unlike anything I've had before. The sheer volume of citrus, esp. grapefruit, and pine is truly unbelievable. I'm talking grapefruit smoothie. Great taste, the honey helps round out the malt, perhaps too much and just a bit too sweet for my liking, but nonetheless a pretty special beer.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.14/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Props to Jeff at Case and Keg in Boca.
Slightly hazy copper color. Off-white head is there, but unassuming.

Interesting...I thought I would smell just a hop explosion, but I also get plenty of malts and the honey is readily apparent as well. Hints of clover, grapes, figs and grape-nuts cereal. Smells like a fresh grapefruity barleywine.

What crazy combination of hops is this? Awesome. Loads of alcohol, but it is hidden pretty well for 10%. Just the right amount of honey makes a great combination with the bitterness. Hints of raw carrots and figs.

Very unique, very strong and very tasty! This one gets better as it warms too.

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Photo of ChrisPro
4.14/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle probably about 8 months old. Pours hazy dark gold with very little head. Aroma of honey and lavender. Incredibly sweet caramel and honey flavor followed by an almost stinging bitter finsh. Medium body with quite a bit of activity on the tongue. Very complex and almost reminiscent of a west coast barley wine. Would love to taste it fresh. ABV is hidden extremely well!

Rerate on 1/21/10 for 2010 12oz bottle batch 9470. Ppurs clear golden yellow, small white head, fantastic lacing. Aroma is dominated by pineapple with hints of peach, vanilla, and a little raspberry. Definitely the fruitiest non-citrus aroma I've ever smelled from an ipa. Taste is just mild sweetness, then a huge clean bitterness, with a feeling of a bitter tea finish. Good carb with great effervescence and incredibly drinkable for the ABV. Definitely way better fresh.

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Photo of klikger
4.14/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle served in a Goose Island IPA tulip

A - Golden with a slight amount of haze, small white head which shrinks quickly, and good lacing

S - Grapefruit, pineapple, and honey --> floral hops and a little orange

T - Orange peel, pine and floral hops --> juicy, fresh grapefruit, smooth caramel --> bitter citrus hops and sweet honey

M - Decent carb, thick mouthfeel for an IPA, and pretty sticky

D - A sipper of a DIPA, but more than one is probably doable given time.

This is a tasty beer and much different (and better) fresh vs. aged. Although there is a hop barrage no doubt, the malts hold their own, and keep this from being as bitter as it could be. For me, that negatively impacts the drinkability and mouthfeel. That having been said, this tastes great and is definitely worth an annual purchase, if only of a couple bottles.

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Photo of robbyc1
4.14/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice head, very clear yellow, head leaves some lace but nothing special.

Wow, a grapefruit bomb! Nice hop nose, no sent of malt, but it must be there.

It tastes like a hop bomb, but the backbone malt holds it up. I still like the taste of Two Hearted better, but this is pretty well balanced.

Nice heaviness, good bitterness, and it's got nice carbonation.

Easy to drink despite the big hops, no real sign of the 10% abv, too easy to have.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.14/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a fine big hoppy IPA. I don't know what it is about many of these "fresh" hop strong ales I've had, but they all seem to share similar, if not the very same, hop flavors/aromas/characteristics. Hopslam is no exception. Same hops? - DFH 90 Min and Victory Hop Wallop are other examples I look to that seem nearly indistinguishable from a hop profile standpoint.

That said, the hops show tremendous depth and expanse in the smell - 3D! Flowery - as in nose-deep in a handful of hop flowers - with fairly pungent/spicy grapefruit tones. Blended quite nicely with that is the thick biscuity malt and more than a hint of honey. The honey may largely be responsible for the cruddy head and retention and sunny golden honey glow. Tiny chill haze (or just plain haze).

The taste pretty much closely mirrors the smell, but with the presence of the malts coming more into balance with the assertive bitterness of the hops. What I love about Hop Wallop is that it's somewhat clean and dry from start to finish - the feel of this is tipped quite in the other direction, however, not to its detriment. I'm even surprised how much I dug the thickish (but a bit short of viscous), silky-smooth roll this has on the palate.

By the end, though, the hoppy/malty goodness began to show signs of building to a fever pitch, not of extra goodness, but of cheap kiddie perfume and animal urine. Thus, it wouldn't be a stretch for me to guess that another bottle wouldn't have pleased. Plus, the 10% which is all but masked throughout, decides to kick in and pickle ya. Liked it all-in-all, though, and I'd try it again. Hopheads love it, I'm sure.

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Photo of diemilio
4.14/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A little bit disappointed with this one. With all the hype I thought it was going to be something out of this world, but honestly, it didn't really delivered what I would have expected from a world-class beer. Still excellent, just not sure it deserves such a high rating.

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Photo of joeylopes15
4.14/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Doesn't live up to the hype, stone brewing enjoy by 3.14.15 blew it out of the water, however it is a delightful beer. I will drink it again next year because it is plentiful around me, but I will not go out of my way for it.

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Photo of JAXSON
4.14/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Fresh 2011 bottle. Pours a clear golden orange with a fluffy white cap. Nose is huge on pine, some citrus rind perhaps a touch of sap. Effective hopping on the nose. Caramel malt on the front palate, then a large wash of piney hops that lasts for a good 40 seconds. Hot on the back end. As with previous batches, this has an awesome nose but the mouth is a bit off balance. The hot finish is akin to a splash of vodka.

As weird as it sounds, the best bottle of Hopslam I've had was a 2009 batch about 9 months after the release. I'll probably drink a few of these fresh and sit on a couple to see if that round, peachy profile will develop again.

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Hopslam Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
98 out of 100 based on 3,441 ratings.
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