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