Saturday, March 15, 2014

Bell's Hopslam Ale (2014 re-review)

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (1067) - Albany, New York, USA - MAR 15, 2014
I 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 ounce).

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 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. 
Grade: 8/10

NOTE: read and watch my 2010 original review here: 

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