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The Beer Circle » Beer, Bell's Brewery, Imperial IPA » Bell’s Hopslam Ale Bottle, Cask, On-Tap

Bell’s Hopslam Ale Bottle, Cask, On-Tap

Once a year a Michigan brewery graces the Eastern United States with an Imperial IPA so popular, it nearly breaks the internet. That very time of year is upon us as fresh Bell’s Hopslam is sitting in fridges across the country. A friend of mine tipped me off to a store that got an absurd amount of cases in, and I jumped at the opportunity to pick up a sixer. Shortly after, Churchkey in DC had a very special Bell’s event which included Hopslam on Cask and Tap, along with their Rye Stout and Sparkling Ale. For my review, I present three different varieties of Hopslam. Which will be the best?

Bell’s Hopslam Bottle
Appearancewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Clear orange pour that hints towards yellow along the edges. About a finger of white head builds up and recedes rather quickly. The thin wisps of lacing cling to the side of my Bell's Tulip glass, and a nice amount of bubbles rise slowly from the depths.
Aromawww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The sweetness from the honey and the piney, citrus hops play wonderfully together. Just a match made in heaven. Sweet, bitter, hints of fruit.
Tastewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Every time I taste this I'm reminded how wonderful a beer this is. The honey takes a surprising forefront, followed by citrus. The finish hints towards boozy, but the sweetness and hop bitterness blend to put up a nice fight against it.
Mouthfeel/Drinkabilitywww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Low carbonation, light to medium body. To me, this was honestly a bit boozy.
Valuewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Problem is this costs $21.99 for a six-pack in Northern VA. I can't say it's worth that, but dammit I'll pay it every year.
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Bottle date of 1/9/12, reviewed on 1/25/12. Overall this beer is phenomenal. Easily one of my favorite Imperial IPAs. This bottle seemed to be a bit boozy and sweet, but the hops are quite nice. Delicious.

Beer Stats
Style: Imperial IPA
Serving: Bottle
Size: 12oz
ABV: 10.00%
BA Score: 99
RB Score: 100
Bell’s Hopslam Cask
Appearancewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Hazy yellow pour with a few fingers of white head. The lacing sticks to the glass, and the retention is fine.
Aromawww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Getting some hops on the aroma, but the honey and booze sort of take over.
Tastewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The taste is muted. Balanced and smooth, sure, but overall muted. The alcohol is toned down a bit, but the hops just don't seem to be there. Sort of disappointed this wasn't more hoppy.
Mouthfeel/Drinkabilitywww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Medium body with a low carbonation. I will say this is damn drinkable. It went down quickly.
Valuewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
This was the least expensive of the three, at $7 for a 10oz glass. I was actually surprised it didn't cost more.
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Not as good as I had hoped for. It is my least favorite of the three varieties of Hopslam I've had this year.

Beer Stats
Style: Imperial IPA
Serving: Cask
Size: 10oz
ABV: 10.00%
BA Score: 99
RB Score: 100
Bell’s Hopslam On-Tap
Appearancewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Yellow pour with three or four fingers of white head. Less lacing and retention than the cask offering, which surprised me.
Aromawww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The hops are BIG on the aroma. Piney, mixed with booze and only a slight amount of honey. Really hop forward this time.
Tastewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The hops are equally as big when you drink it. Finally! This is delicious. Hoppy, sort of boozy, hints of sweetness from the honey, bitter, out of control good. This is what I've been craving from this beer.
Mouthfeel/Drinkabilitywww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Light, carbonated well, sinfully drinkable.
Valuewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
$9 for 10oz was worth it. Again, I was ready to pay above $1/oz.
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
This is the best variety of this beer I've come across. Certainly beats the cask version, and I definitely think it's better on-tap than out of the bottle. Track this down if you can find it.

Beer Stats
Style: Imperial IPA
Serving: On-Tap
Size: 10oz
ABV: 10.00%
BA Score: 99
RB Score: 100

Overall, I thought the on-tap version was hands down the best. Couple that with Jeff’s review from earlier this week on aged Hopslam, I’d say that the best way to enjoy this Bell’s offering is on-tap, the second the keg gets to the bar.

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Written by Russ Beck

Russ can trace his beginnings in craft beer to sitting in Zeno’s Pub in State College drinking various craft beer options from across Pennsylvania. Since then, he has never faltered in finding new brews, whether they’re rare, delicious, or hopefully both. Russ will be writing on a large variety of subjects, including but not limited to: reviews, homebrewing, and how to take labels off of beer bottles. He’ll drink just about anything, but prefers a nice Stout, IPA, or Weizenbock. Find Russ Beck on Google Plus

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