poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. It was bottled on 1/17/14 and
came as part of a six-pack for $18.99 ($3.17 per bottle or $0.26 per
Appearance: Hazy shade of orange/amber. Some carbonation visible. Pours
to a large, off-white, foamy head which laces and retains well.
Smell: Strong hop aroma of resin and stone fruit (strawberries?), with minor alcohol present.
Taste: I first tried Bell’s Hopslam back in 2010 and have not had the
opportunity to drink it again until now. It’s not quite as I remembered,
though I’d venture to guess the recipe has evolved over time so it’s
probably a different brew every year. And while this beer garners a lot
of acclaim (read: hype), I don’t think it’s quite the 100/100 beer it
scores on ratebeer.com. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a very good beer,
but there are better ones.
Since this is a big-bodied beer, it’s no surprise there’s a discernible
malt character right away. Plenty of pale/amber malts as well as a
strong honey component create for a rich, almost sticky sweetness right
off the bat. There’s some orange juice concentrate as well, coupled with
a strong, but gentle alcohol warmth. Through the middle and on the
finish the hops come rushing in full force. They’re of the piney/resiny
type, or some kind of citrus extract as they’re more dank and chewy than
crisp and tart. They leave a dry, starchy aftertaste, which is also
accentuated by the alcohol. I’m not sure why this beer has to be this
huge, though. I’d think a slightly leaner version would be a little more
palatable, but this is still a great example of the double IPA style.
Drinkability: Weighing in at 10% ABV, Bell’s Hopslam is not a beer to be
taken lightly. Though it’s definitely lighter and more drinkable than
you’d think. The mouthfeel is thick and soft, but with a smooth texture
that goes down surprisingly easy. The alcohol is a definite factor to
this beer’s character, but it’s not distracting. This is a beer to enjoy
as the annual treat that it is.