Just 24-hours after the local release of Sierra Nevada’s Hoptimum, Hampton Roads was once again ablaze with Twitter and Facebook updates proclaiming the limited availability of Bell’s ultra-rare HopSlam, the 3rd-ranked American Double / Imperial IPA in the world (Beer Advocate). The news came late in the afternoon and admittedly I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to get my hands on some before stockpiles were depleted. Thankfully, Lucien came through in the clutch with a 6-pack from our home-away-from-home, T-Dub. With the Hoptimum review fresh in our minds, the stage was set for yet another collab critique of this much-celebrated brew…
Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a snifter.
A - Golden in color; semi-clear with slight haziness; a vibrant white, one-finger head; head is thick and frothy; beer appears to be well-carbonated. Looks good.
S - Wow! Popped the cap on the bottle and got hit with hops right away (bottle was about two feet away) - freakin’ awesome! Hyper hoppy Simcoe on the nose; a bit spicy; floral hints.
T - More hops, but less pungent than on the nose; very well-balanced; piney and floral with hints of grapefruit; smooth bitterness on the finish; little-to-no linger; no heat despite ABV. Wow, this is a super smooth drink!
M - Medium-bodied; minimal head, but retains well; foamy head has great mouthfeel; mild carbonation (despite initial appearance).
D - Very drinkable despite availability; not sessionable due to ABV; overall very smooth and well-balanced.
A- / 4.2
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | drink: 4.5
There’s a reason why HopSlam is so widely regarded amongst Hop Heads the world over. It’s a veritable atomic explosion of hops in your face and needless to say we absolutely felt hopslammed during and after our review. But, for me, the hyper pungent aromatics simply overpowered the other subtle nuances of the beer. Afterwards, I couldn’t help but feel like the Hoptimum allowed for my palate to pick up on more of what was going on within the beer itself. Despite this, HopSlam still received high scores from Lucien and myself. Very fun, very smooth and highly recommended.
P.S. Later this week I’ll be doing a bottle-to-bottle, side-by-side Battle Royal Review of Hoptimum and HopSlam, so stay tuned for that. I would also like to thank Kevin at G&G for holding a 6-pack of HopSlam for me overnight! Thanks, dude!
For those of you that enjoy clone recipes, I’ve put together what I feel is the best Bell’s Two-Hearted clone recipe on the internet. It’s the culmination of various Two-Hearted clones with a little trial-and-error mixed in.
This batch is currently fermenting…
Clone: Bell’s Two Hearted (American IPA)
Batch Size (gallons): 5.5
OG: 1.062 — FG: 1.015
OG: 1.055 — FG: 1.014
13lbs of grain; 3 gallons, 1 quart
Water in first (165 degrees)
Mash for 60 minutes @ 150 degrees
Sparge (200 degrees; 5-gallons)
Sparge: 75-90min (~ballpark)
Boiling time: 60 min; add Dextrine
6.5 gallons to start wort (1.5 gallons per 15 minutes)
10 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain
2 lbs Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) Grain
8.0 oz Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM) Grain
8.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 20L (20.0 SRM) Grain
1.0oz@60m (Pellets) - Centennial
1.0oz Dry Hop (Leaf) - Centennial
Yeast: Safale US-05
Primary Fermentation: 4 weeks @ 65 degrees; dry-hop 2w
Ox Strong Brewing Co., © 2010