Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Hop-off: Hopslam VS. Dreadnaught

I'm just starting to get on the IPA band wagon. I figured the best way to get into hops was to go for the best. Dreadnaught and Hopslam are both Imperial IPAs with 100 ratings at These are arguably two of the best examples of their styles brewed here in the Midwest, and I'm lucky enough  to have them both in glasses next to me.

They pour out the same damn color. There's no noticeable difference as far as I can tell. I held them to the light, to the dark and in front of my monitor. The Dreadnaught does seem to be a bit more clear than the Hopslam, but not by much. The most noticeable difference is the head retention. Dreadnaught is hanging around, while Hopslam has just become slight lacing.

The aroma on both of them is heavy with citrus hops, but the Three Floyd's has more sweet fruit scents while the Bell's seems to fade away.

Taste is hard. These are both notorious for wrecking your taste buds. I have notes on both of them from drinking them by themselves earlier, and now I'm drinking them side by side with pita chips to cleanse my pallet. Hopslam is totally sweeter than the Dreadnaught. Dreadnaught has an almost grapefruit flavor with some citrus peel and Hopslam is more of a blend of orange, grapefruit and pine. The blend of hops really makes Hopslam such a big win for me. The Dreadnaught has more of a bready back bone where the Hopslam seems to have almost a honey or syrupy sweetness. They are both high alcohol content beers, but with the heavy hops you really can't tell. Halfway through my taste buds are starting to hurt. It's like eating a sour patch kid then a lemon head over and over again.

  • Hopslam is a bit sweeter
  • Dreadnaught has 100 IBUs and Hopslam only has 70 IBUs
  • Dreadnaught has 9.5% abv and Hopslam has 10% abv
  • Head retention was way better on Dreadnaught 
  • Dreadnaught comes in a 22 oz bomber bottle and that is a BIG plus, who wants just 12 oz of this!!!

Hopslam has the higher rating on beeradvocate. I think I agree with their take. The sweetness balances out all of the big bitter American hops. All in, I think that Hopslam is just a more balanced brew. The beer has a start, a middle and a finish all of which are very pronounced and super tasty. Dreadnaught's sweeter flavors started to come out a little bit more as the beer warmed up. I wanted to like Dreadnaught better because it is a good ol' Indiana beer, but the heart wants what the heart wants.

I give the Hopslam a 4.5

I give the Dreadnaught a 4.25 (we don't actually give out that rating but for this one I think I have to)

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