Bell’s Hopslam Ale, renowned among Double IPAs, presents itself as a crystal-clear concoction, oscillating between deep orange and light amber hues. The dense, off-white foam sits atop with a rocky, whipped texture, offering a visually appealing introduction.


Upon uncorking the 12 oz. can, the olfactory journey begins with a burst of zesty orange peel, evolving seamlessly into a perpetual dance of Mandarin orange notes. As the elixir warms, the aroma transforms into a sweeter sensation reminiscent of glazed orange rum cake—a truly outstanding olfactory experience.


The initial sip unveils the beer’s unabashed potency, with a pronounced white alcohol presence, immediately declaring its 10% alcohol by volume. Mid-palate, the profile unfolds with spicy alcohol and assertive bitterness focused on orange peel. In isolation, the brew feels a bit coarse and boozy, with bitterness taking a prominent role at 8 out of 10. Contrary to its reputation for sweetness and maltiness, this Hopslam variation exhibits a more restrained sweetness, hovering around a modest 5 out of 10. Notably, the beer finds redemption when paired with food—particularly, aged cheddar—as the richness and sweetness beautifully complement the onslaught of citrus peel bitterness.


The beer’s redemption lies in its mouthfeel, boasting a silky-smooth texture that amplifies the enjoyment of intense citrus oils, akin to the bitterness of tree sap. This attention to detail becomes evident as the beer warms, evolving into a dessert-like character, culminating in the previously noted glazed orange rum cake experience.


While Hopslam stands as a stalwart in the realm of Double IPAs, it doesn’t escape scrutiny. The beer, despite its undeniable strengths, falls victim to a monotonous flavor profile—Mandarin orange citrus dominates both the nose and palate. In an era where passion fruit and pineapple-forward Double IPAs command attention, Hopslam’s singular focus may appear somewhat uninteresting. Yet, where it truly distinguishes itself is in its robust malt foundation and impeccable mouthfeel.

In the grand tapestry of Double IPAs, mastering the craft remains a challenge. Even the purported “best” in the contemporary landscape hover just above the 8% mark, resembling slightly elevated versions of successful hazy IPA recipes. However, Hopslam carves its niche as a clear, old-school, high ABV contender that stands out for its drinkability and enjoyment in a crowded field.