Saturday, January 16, 2010

200. Bell’s Hopslam

Lucky number nine from Bell’s: we’ve had Cherry Stout, Sparkling Ale, Winter White, Christmas Ale, Third Coast, Oberon, Octoberfest, and Two Hearted. As well, the release of Hopslam is always a special time of year, and if you don’t know why, then you need to go voluntarily slam your head in a car door for several minutes, and then reconsider the question. If that doesn’t help, maybe you should stick with wine coolers. Or become an accountant. Your call.

Hopslam starts with citrus and pine hop aroma, both in large quantities, with almost no discernable malt aroma. The golden copper color is clear and bright, with an ivory head that laces the glass well. Hopslam begins with a lightly bready malt, but the hoppiness takes over quickly, both in terms of the bitterness and the pine, citrus, and tangerine flavors. All of these linger nicely in the mouth through the end of the beer, with small amounts of sweetness rounding out the profile. Deceptively light bodied for a 10% ABV beer; Bell’s is particularly skilled at hiding their alcohol, due in part in this beer to the honey used to build up the alcohol content. Carbonation is crisp and well-placed, helping round out an extremely well-balanced beer—one of the many strengths of Hopslam is the big hop flavor and aroma punch with a lower level of accompanying bitterness. This is part of what makes Hopslam so eminently quaffable—I’ve hurt myself on more than one occasion with this beer by forgetting about its potency. It is also very bright and light for a supposedly heavy beer. In terms of big beers, this one is at the top of the pile—it drinks far lighter than several of the IPAs we’ve had thus far this year. It’s also another of our Top 10 Best contenders.

From the Bell’s website: “A biting, bitter, tongue bruiser of an ale. With a name like Hopslam, what did you expect?”

ABV: 10%
OG: 1.087


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