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Afternoon Beer Break: Bell’s Hopslam Ale

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I know that in the past few editions of the Afternoon Beer Break, I’ve been focusing in on some lower ABV beers, generally carrying the “session” label. That’s a good mix to have for the summer, but sometimes, you might be on the search for something a bit stronger. Well, in that case, something like Bell’s Hopslam Ale may be what you’re looking for.

I’ve been familiar with Bell’s, but it was not a brand that I really searched for when I stopped in at the shop. One day, I had a buddy recommend the Bell’s Hopslam Ale to me, and it so happened that I ran across it later that day. So, one bit of sticker shock later (spoiler: pricing runs closer to $20 for a six-pack), I had it in my fridge cooling.

When you’re getting into an IPA that has an ABV at 10% (that’s what we have here) , you can be all-but-sure that the beer is a double IPA. And, voila, that’s precisely what the Bell’s Hopslam Ale is. Poured into a glass, you will be greeted with a rich honey color (funnily enough, honey is in the ingredient list). On the nose, you have some mild fruity notes, and when the first sip passes your lips, you’ll note a slightly thicker mouthfeel than you might otherwise expect for a beer. While the overall flavor profile was one I found to be quite pleasant, there were a couple of oddities I ended up noting. For all the sweeter fruit notes, I did pick up a mild sour one, or a tartness, further back on my tongue. Additionally, I noted a sharpness to it as it hit the back of my throat. Not unpleasant, either of those, just another dimension to the pour.

While the Bell’s Hopslam Ale is perhaps not one I would pick up with any regularity (mainly due to the higher pricing) this is one that could be a welcome change-of-pace to have hanging out in your fridge for a calmer evening where you’re looking to have “just one” of a slow-sipping variety. bellsbeer.com

Tasting Notes

  • Honey color
  • Thicker mouthfeel
  • Decent head
  • Mild fruity nose
  • A mild sour note – or perhaps tartness – further back on the tongue
  • Sharpness at back of throat

Details from Bell’s

  • Alcohol By Volume: 10.00%
  • Original Gravity: 1.087
  • Shelf Life: 3 Months
  • NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION (PER 12 OZ. SERVING)
    • Calories: 294
    • Carbs: 22
  • Overview:
    • 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.
    • Hopslam is best enjoyed as fresh as possible.

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