Beer and Pavement

Hopslam Vertical

Posted in Beer by Zac on January 26, 2011

I recorded a Hopslam vertical for posterity. Check the images and read my commentary afterwards.

Batch numbers 9501 and 10115.

I admit it. I love the new caps.

There's more red in the '10 and the '11 is cloudier.

This is where the fresh Hopslam dominates (in the nose).

I fully recognize that a hopbomb like Bell’s Hopslam should not sit around in one’s cellar for a year, nullifying said beer’s hop presence. Still, I ended up with a case of the stuff last year and figured it would be fun to sample a sixer throughout the year. Prior to Saturday’s vertical experiment, I found the beer pleasant with the honey coming out stronger with each tasting. It’s been maybe 4-5 months since I’ve cracked open a Hopslam, so this one is quite a jump from the rest.

First, the 2010 Hopslam demonstrates almost no hoppiness at all. This does not mean that it’s a bad beer. There’s a huge malt presence, almost like a mash smell. Grainy, bready, it’s covered. The residual sweetness from the honey is there, but it’s not pronounced. This beer reminds me of Bell’s 25th Anniversary Ale, making me think that Bell’s just bottled old Hopslam in hopes of passing it as their anniversary ale. Of course, I know this can’t be true. Still, it’s an interesting discovery.

The bitterness of the hops were still there…That is, until I sipped more and more from the ’11. The huge hop presence of the fresh beer overtook any residual hoppiness in the cellared beer. Eventually, the ’10 didn’t seem bitter at all. It began to taste like an American strong ale, a la Rogue’s Double Dead Guy.

This brings me to this year’s masterpiece. All the hoppy goodness is still there, but the beer actually tastes like freshly-cut grass when placed next to it’s elder.  If anything, this vertical made me appreciate the beauty of the fresh beer even more. There’s no way I’ll hold onto a Hopslam for an entire year ever again. My only six-pack will last maybe a week. Then, I’ll return to pining for next year’s edition.

Still, it was a worthy experiment. If there’s anything to be learned here, it’s that you should always drink your IPA’s and DIPA’s as fresh as possible.

(Sorry for all the beer talk, mostly surrounding one beer, as of late. I’ll get back to more diversity in coming posts.)

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5 Responses

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  1. Abby said, on January 26, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Man, you are living the life! Love it. I love how you’ve subverted the classroom-based compare and contrast essay.

    I enjoyed the top five post as well. It didn’t make me so much wish to develop my own lists, it more compelled me to try and become your neighbor.

    The best beer I had recently was a Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, on tap at a local pizza place. There’s so much good beer here that I didn’t even realize we don’t get Bell’s until I visited Ohio. And now I miss it, of course…Anyway, blog on!

    • builderofcoalitions said, on January 26, 2011 at 10:14 am

      I “subverted the classroom-based compare and contrast essay?” I had no idea.

      Yes, we’d like you to be our neighbor as well. However, there might not be any jobs. Sot, that probably won’t work. The Bourbon County Stouts are delicious. They’re expensive, but delicious. Look out for Nightstalker. It’s their BCS only without the bourbon barrel aging. Plus, they have several bombers of variations on the style that can get pricy but are worth the occasional extravagance.

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lucas Hassemer and COMOBeerEnthusiasts, Zac Early. Zac Early said: Hopslam Vertical: http://j.mp/hgw2tK #hopslam #craftbeer #cbe [...]

  3. David Thiessen said, on February 3, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    I’m sure you don’t remember me, but we sat next to each other this summer at Ragtag when they had a cask of dry hopped Schlafly APA and talked about beer and my upcoming move to North Carolina. Anyways, I’m extremely jealous of a Hopslam vertical tasting. I had to wait at my beer shop here in Durham, NC at 7am for 40 minutes to get one six-pack, but it was worth it. I’d love to taste it next to 2010. I don’t know how you resisted to urge to drink all of last year’s batch.

    • builderofcoalitions said, on February 3, 2011 at 8:48 pm

      I do remember you. How’s it going? I don’t think I’ll ever hold onto a Hopslam for an entire year. So, you didn’t miss anything. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.


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