Bell's Hopslam IIPA

Hopslam... pretty much says it all

Hopslam is a Bells seasonal release Imperial IPA (IIPA) that is just ridiculously bursting with hop aroma and flavor. If you're a hop lover, this is like candy. And, at around 9% alcohol, it's easy to get carried away (perhaps literally) with this fine beer.
The hop flavor and aroma in Hopslam is definitely of the American variety with lots of citrus and a notice soft peach. There are lots of finishing and late hops in this one as the hop profile, although very very bitter, is quite round and complete, all things considered. The malt bill is on the lighter side and, while framing the hop flavors nicely, does not step to the front by any means.

The Beer

I have been unable to find much more than a tidbit here or there on people trying to clone Hopslam, so I am going at this recipe like a detective. Here's what I (think I) know about this beer:



The hop bill is positioned at the beginning of the boil to give use our base hoppiness, and the bulk of the hops are saved until the end to preserve those flavorful and aromatic oils that make this beer so great. It's an interesting combination of American citrus hops and Noble or noble-like hops at the end that may make this beer so interesting. The malt bill should be non-obtrusive and simple, and the use of 3lb. of plain table sugar (or 4 lb. of Honey - but not both) should help provide the alcohol while not leaving too much residual sweetness that would make this beer cloying and hard to drink.

The temperature at which you ferment this beer is also very important. With this much adjunct sugar and alcohol-producing maltoses, the yeast could have quite the frenzy if the right amount is pitched (see the recipe.) So, to avoid high/fusel alcohols that would make this beer unpleasant, you need to regulate your fermentation activity to be between no higher than 68 degrees. Too high and you'll have nasty tastes (and hangovers) - too low, especially toward the end of fermentation, and your yeast will quit on you and you'll have a sweet beer that you will not want much of. Either use a refrigerator with a controller or use soda bottles filled with ice inside a cooler (and a lot of attention) and I think you efforts would be rewarded.

Now, with all this being said, I haven't tried this one yet ... purely a work-in-progress at this point. If you were to try this out, I'd really like to hear how it turns out and how you might change it. Please let me know your thoughts on this. I will update this point in the page with any appropriate feedback.

Notes:
  * Added Honey as an alternative to Table Sugar as your adjunct. Need more honey as the Potential SG yield value of honey is 1.035 compared to a value of 1.046 for table sugar.



All Grain Recipe - Bells Hopslam ::: 1.089/1.020 (6.5 Gal)

Grain Bill (75% Efficiency assumed)

13 lbs. - Maris Otter Malt
2 lb. - Munich Malt
1 lb. - Aromatic Malt
1/2 lb. - CaraPils
3 lbs. - Table Sugar *OR* 4 lbs. - Honey (end of boil)

Hop Schedule (93 IBU)

2 oz. - Simcoe [13%] (75 min.)
1 oz. - Glacier [5.6%] (60 min.)
1.5 oz. - Centennial [10%] (20 min.)
1 oz. - Glacier [5.6%] (15 min.)
1 oz. - Vanguard [5.5%](10 min.)
1 oz. - Crystal [3.5%] (1 min.)
1 oz. - Hallertau [4%] (1 min.)
2 oz. - Simcoe (Dry Hop in Secondary 1 week)

Yeast

1.3L starter of WLP001 or WY1056 IF you have a stirplate.
If you do not have a striplate, make a pale ale or something below 1.050
with WLP001 or 1056 and use 200 ml of that yeast for this beer.
If you choose Safale S-05 use 2 properly hydrated packs.

Mash/Sparge/Boil

Mash at 150° to 152° for 75 min.
Sparge as usual
Cool and ferment at 68° (make sure you control your temp!)

Another Take

Bill Hamilton wrote me about this recipe and had a different take on this recipe that he formulated and 'found to be very close to the taste of the real Bell's Hopslam'. First off, he uses Corn Sugar instead of Table Sugar or Honey because he feels it does not give a 'funny citrus taste.' More importanly, Bill explored a completely different hop bill. He writes that "Your original had recipe had about 136.2 IBUs [perhaps a different calculation - ed.] and 14.1% aromatic oils (assuming fresh hops). This recipe uses more common hops (at least on the West Coast) with about 138.2 IBUs and 32% aromatic oils. This allow the hoppy taste to be predominate with a more textured mouth feel and olfactory favorable like the original."

With his permission I have included his recipe:



Bill Hamilton's Bells Hopslam 1.086/1.029 (6.5 Gal)

Grain Bill

6 lbs. - American 6-Row Pale Malt
2 lb. - Munich Malt
2 lbs. - Aromatic Malt
1/2 lb. - CaraPils
3 lbs. - Corn Sugar

Hop Schedule (136 IBU)

2 Oz Chinook - 13.0 IBUs (75 Min)
1 Oz Santiam - 6.1 IBUs (60 Min)
1 Oz Cascade - 5.75 IBUs (20 Min)
1 Oz Santiam - 6.1 IBUs (15 Min)
1 Oz Golding-US - 4.4 IBUs (10 Min)
2 Oz Golding-US - 4.4 IBUs (1 Min)
2 Oz Chinook (10-14 days dry hoping in secondary)

Yeast

Wyeast American Ale (1056) - Ferment at 68F

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