Bell’s Hopslam Review and Rogue Maple Bacon Doughnut Order Details
With the Avery Strong Ale Festival only a few days away, I thought I should get my palate in shape and open a high abv beer tonight as a warm up. OK, you’re right, I’m just using that as an excuse to pop a big beer. Whatever. The kids are in bed and Daddy’s thirsty!
So tonight I reached for a bottle of Bell’s Hopslam. Bell’s has been brewing beer since 1985 and are located in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Hopslam is their 10% Double IPA and one of their current seasonals. It’s also currently ranked as one of the top 25 beers on the planet. Since this is the first review I’ve done in the blog, it also gives me a chance to show you how I taste a beer.
Whenever, I taste a beer, I begin with the pour and observation. Hopslam comes in a 12oz. bottle and I poured it into a Bell’s tulip glass. The beer was a pefectly clear, deep orange color. The creamy, snow white head, rested about the height of two fingers resting on top of each other. A steady, moderate flow of carbonation bubbled away in the glass. I waited for some of the head to fade away and it left intricate patterns behind on the glass. These patterns are referred to as “lacing” or sometimes “Belgian lacing”. Hopslam had no problem leaving stringy, snowflake-like lacing on the edges of the glass.
After the pour, I take a minute or three to smell the beer. I usually give it a swirl like the fancy pants wine-o’s do with their wine. This will give it a chance to open up and allow all of the aromas to seep out. Somebody, somewhere at some point in time, told me that 90% of what we taste, comes from what we smell. Hopslam opens up with grapefruit, tangerines and other citrus fruit, followed by pine, fresh grains and finishes with a touch of sweet malt. Smells awesome!
Now comes the good part, let’s give it a taste! Hopslam is a bitter, tongue lashing for your mouth. Thank you sir, may I have another?!?! Big, explosive hop flavor, plenty of bitterness but wraps up with a stream of honey and the slightest touch of caramel. This bit of sweetness is what makes this beer so highly drinkable. The honey tames the hoppy bitterness and really smoothes the beer out. The 10% abv is well hidden. Once your tongue goes numb, this beer goes down way too easily.
Hopslam finishes up with a long, drawn-out bitterness that sticks around in your mouth for a long time. The mouthfeel is thick and leaves behind a wave of hops on your tongue. It’s not syrupy, but let’s just say it’s hearty, and that’s not a bad thing.
A fantastic beer and is someting you’re going to want to track down if you’re a card carrying hophead. Since Colorado doesn’t fall into the Bell’s distribution footprint, I had to trade for my bottles. I did a little research and this is the fourth year in a row I’ve traded for Hopslam. My first review of this beer was on 3/9/08. Yeah, it’s good and worth the trouble. It should also be noted that I pulled the beer out of the fridge about 15 minutes before I started the review. Allowing the beer to warm up a bit, will help to open up all the aromas and flavors. Try it, you might be surprised.
Before I wrap this up, I recently posted some info on the Brewtally Insane Facebook page about Rogue selling bottles of their Voodoo Doughnut Maple Bacon beer through their webstore. A couple of you commented on my offer of making a group purchase in order to bring down the shipping costs. I’ve been thinking about it and if the interest is there, I might be willing to go in on a case purchase. You probably know Rogue and if you don’t know Voodoo, you’re missing out. Patti and I visited these geniuses last year and couldn’t believe how good their sweet creations were.
So if you’re interested, send me a message on the facebook page or leave a comment on there and I’ll get in touch with the details. Dude, it’s BACON! Enough said. Cheers!