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Terrapin Big Hoppy Monster - Terrapin Beer Company

Not Rated.
Terrapin Big Hoppy MonsterTerrapin Big Hoppy Monster

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

851 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 851
Reviews: 590
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 10.84%
Wants: 163
Gots: 40 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Terrapin Beer Company visit their website
Georgia, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  8.30% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Imperial Red Ale.

(Beer added by: rajendra82 on 10-09-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 851 | Reviews: 590 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of donkeyrunner
3.18/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

trade via brentk56

Pours a beautiful see-through ruby red color. Large tan head with good retention that left several lace rings.

Smells of floral and piney hops with dark cherry. Alcoholic fig smell.

Very syrupy. Dark cherry and orange syrup with some piney and herbal hops. Warm alcoholic "giddiness." Body could have been thicker.

donkeyrunner, Jan 08, 2009
Photo of wedgie9
3.2/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tasted from twelve ounce bottle. Pours dark amber, almost brown, with a red tinted off-white head that is thin, but the lace lasts. The aroma is a biscuity malt with alcohol heat and hops as an afterthought. There is also somewhat of a cherry pie sweetness. The same pie crust flavor comes through on the front palate with sweetness and fruitiness on the middle. The back of the palate is where the hops kick in with a bitter finish. On the palate, this beer is average with a medium full body. The finish is medium with hops bitterness. I think that many would say that this beer is over the hill, in bottle for too long, with the hops really faded and taking a back seat. I enjoy the beer, but it is missing that hops kick that I expected given the name.

wedgie9, May 11, 2010
Photo of bookem
3.2/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tried at Wisteria Tavern. Served in a standard pint glass.

The tavern was limited in their selection of hoppy tap beers because they were in transition with adding more taps and had just blown their last keg of Bell's Two Hearted Ale. I asked the helpful server for a hoppy bottled beer. He recommended a bottle of BHM.

A - I requested that the beer be served in a room temperature glass. The server poured the contents with his back to me and presented the beer with little to no head. The beer had a thick dark brown, murky, unfiltered look to it. Minimal lacing down the glass.
S - Although the hops are evident in the nose what really stands out is the malty molasses.
T- Similar to the smell, very malty, sweet with fig and prume overtones.
M- Thick, substantial, smooth for such a high ABV beer.
D- I could drink this again but would be inclined not to simply because its not my preferred style. The name can be misleading although the bottom of the label reads imperial red ale. In all fairness had I poured the beer or had it been fresher it might have opened up more and the experience may have been somewhat different. I would recommend this for someone who prefers a maltier, sweeter style.

bookem, Dec 05, 2010
Photo of tpd975
3.2/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours a ruby red color with a big bubbly foamy white head and tons of lacing.

S - Sweet caramel malt and biscuit. Not much when it comes to hops. Sweet malts is what this one is all about.

T - Tons of gooey sweet melted caramel, toasted pine nuts, butter and biscuity malt. There are no hops to speak of at all in this brew. Sweet, Sweet, and more sweetness here.

M - Medium body and with an insane amount of malt.

D - One of the maltiest beers I have ever had, no trace of hops.

Overall: I love Terrapin fist and foremost. This one has a little age as it's now pushing one year old. The malt punch in this one is out of sight. If you are a lover of malt this is the one for you. That being said I am not. I appreciate it for what it is but give me a RyePA any day.

tpd975, Jan 22, 2008
Photo of sweemzander
3.23/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into a nonic. Thanks to beerwolf77 for this one!

(A)- Pours a dark and cloudy mahogany color that produced a light tan head. Bits of lacing here and there.

(S)- A damp woody pine up front. Bits of lemon with a caramel-like sweetness.

(T)- Same as the smell only with bits of a fig and prune-like background as well.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. Rather malty with an aged hop feel to it. Rather thick and almost chewy too.

(D)- I can see how the name would fit this if it were fresher, but now it is more of a malt monster; still a unique and new take on the style.

sweemzander, Sep 22, 2010
Photo of Travcofarms
3.25/5  rDev -20%

Travcofarms, Mar 09, 2013
Photo of Murchmac
3.25/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to ncvbc for this brew.

Looks Great, Dark reds, deep, foam which disappears.

Immediately smells of caramel and toasted breads! Love it already, from two feet away.

Tastes bready, spicy, malty, not much hops left now. Its a 2007 vintatge though. It must have been a a great beer in its day. Now it kinda tastes like a malty, alcohol mess.

Bitter aftertaste, If this were a barleywine it would pass though.

The 2007 version of this beer is like Meg Ryan, pretty in it's prime, scary looking now.

Murchmac, Jun 27, 2008
Photo of TheodorHerzl
3.25/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received from NCSUdo in Week2 Powerball. Thank you!

Pours a very dark copper color with deep ruby accents when held to the light. A very thin layer of off-white head leaves spotty lacing on the walls of my pint glass. The is extremely malt dominated with heavy scents of dark fruits (figs, plums, and raisins) with only a slight pine scent rushing to the nose. It is not as hop dominated as I thought, but I am assuming the age on this beer is contributing to that. I taste the hops more upfront, but is still rather subtle. The hop profile is a combination of pine and light citrus fruit that is almost earthy with a mineral water quality to it. The malt however steps up the plate and takes over where the hop profile falls flat. The malt tastes of caramelized soaked doughy uncooked bread and sweet toffee. The malt profile is very tasty, but doesn't have much zing without the hops. The mouthfeel is creamy with low carbonation. I certainly would drink this beer again, but it would have to available locally.

TheodorHerzl, Apr 16, 2008
Photo of illidurit
3.25/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a crystal clear maroon with a modest tan head. Leaves plenty of lacing with substantial retention.

Malt is the overriding aroma, with a huge dose of burnt brown sugar and a hint of booze. There are some subdued hop notes that manifest as herbal tinges.

Taste isn't really true to this beer's name. Malt is clearly the dominant flavor, with hops playing a minor role. The burnt character comes out in the flavor as well as the aroma. The hops come out in the finish as a bitter, tannic, tea-like note.

This beer is way overcarbonated, and not hoppy enough. Alcohol comes out with warmth and makes this the second (of two) Terrapin beers that I find overrated.

illidurit, Feb 21, 2008
Photo of abuono
3.25/5  rDev -20%

abuono, Apr 10, 2014
Photo of Florida9
3.25/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Murky, faintly transparent, deep brown in color. Barely forms a head on an aggressive pour. What does form is yellowish tan in color and hugs the edges of the glass.

S: Lots of earthy hops and caramel malt with some brighter citrus notes and alcoholic heat.

T: Heavy on both the hops and malt. Heavy caramel malt, some roasted malt, toffee with a strong dose of earthy, dank, bitter hops. Alcohol is prevalent on the finish. Kind of just tastes "muddy."

M: On the heavier side with an astringent bitterness.

O: Really too much of everything keeps this beer from being balanced in anything. Thick malts, earthy hops, dirty tasting and rather boozy for just 8.3% ABV.

Florida9, Apr 07, 2011
Photo of BeerMark
3.28/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark copper in color, this one is a lovely shade. Smell is of malts, hops, and unfortunately... alcohol. Taste is exactly the same as the aroma. It's malty sweet with hops but there's this alcohol sensation that I'm not liking here. After reading some other reviews I find that this sensation is a "medicinal" flavor in this beer. I must agree with these reviewers. So much potential for a great beer lost due to some off flavors. I really love American Ambers but I guess I don't love the Imperial versions. I'll try other Imperial Ambers but probably won't seek this one out again.

BeerMark, Jan 11, 2010
Photo of flexabull
3.3/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2006 bottle.

Beer pours a rather cloudy brownish amber color with a small head.

Aromas are of caramel, grape nuts, and a bit of booze.

Flavors seem flat and slightly muted to me. Maybe this beer is past it's prime? Don't know... There is a crisp and a very subtle hop flavor up front, flavors then settle in and this eventually finishes with a non sweet thick caramel like quality, it's a touch tart as well. Not really noticing much in the way of hops, on this "Big Hoppy Monster". It seems like it's all malts, and there is a definite balance problem here. It's not a bad tasting beer, but it fails if the brewer was looking for a hoppy tasting beer.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, it has a nice full body, and a good finish.

Drinkability is ok. Either this just isn't for me, or maybe it's just gotten a bit dated.

Thanks for sending this beer my way mikesgroove. (courtesy of the B'day 07 BIF)

flexabull, Mar 29, 2007
Photo of Gorgoroth
3.3/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received as an extra in a trade with Mike3865. Thanks! Shared with BA mermatinger. From notes taken on 01/14/11.

Presentation: Typical brown 12oz bottle with kind of goofy, cartoonish artwork. I gathered from the label that this beer is contract-brewed for Terrapin, which I found surprising. I was also unable to figure out a date for this beer because the "best by" field was blank.

Appearance: Poured into my oversize 24oz snifter, this beer is ruby brown, with a frothy, rocky, one fingerwidth cappuccino-colored head which dissipates quickly to a soap, spotty layer over the whole surface. There is little visible carbonation and mild, spotty lacing.

Smell: Well, without needing a "best by" date I can tell this is not fresh. The smell is malty, bready and raisiny but there are no hops. So far, nothing big or hoppy about this beer.

Taste: There is a pervasive celery-like flavor, much like a past-date pilsner. Mostly it is caramely and raisiny with a very slight hoppy flavor on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Light-to-medium body with sparkly carbonation on the tongue. Not much else to say about mouthfeel, unfortunately.

Drinkability & Final Thoughts: Okay, I have no doubt that this beer is really good when it's fresh. I'm reviewing the only bottle of this that I got and I can't imagine that it is fresh. It's not tainted or infected, just past its prime, and that's a shame. As such, it is not a very good beer. I sort of felt bad reviewing it, but if there is one past-due bottle out there, there are probably more and thus a review of one seems appropriate. I guess the lesson here is to try this beer fresh, which I would still like to do some day. It was not a repulsive tasting experience, but it was a bit of a let down, especially seeing how highly many others have rated this beer.

Gorgoroth, Jan 17, 2011
Photo of wsantas
3.3/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark amber. Slightly translucent.

S: Hops, Citrus, Maple, Hints of coffee, sweet

T: Hops, Alcohol, Oak, Bitter, Butterscotch

M: Creamy, heavy, slight burn

O: Big Bold flavors. Alcohol taste and biterness leave a long ending. Didn't love.

I would most likely liked this beer more after a little aging.

wsantas, Feb 20, 2012
Photo of TheFightfan1
3.33/5  rDev -18%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass. Pours a murky brown with a decent beige colored head.Flat and very heavy looking.

Smell is mostly caramel malts with a kind of spicey mixture. Not getting much out of this beer at all.

Taste of a burnt malt and soggy bread. Good hop bitterness but a heavy alcohol flavor.

Mouth is full bodied with a decent carbonation tingle on the tongue. A little heavy and warm in the mouth though.

A decent Red ale but nothing special.

TheFightfan1, Dec 14, 2010
Photo of Adamdc
3.33/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up 4-pack at Total Wine in Naples, FL. Must preface that this beer was bottled in Aug. '09 so I'm drinking it about 6 months old.

Pour yielded a thin tan head that diminshed quickly and left good lacing throughout. Deep brown color.

Aroma was minimal hops and maximum malt and toffee. Amazed at how much caramel is in the aroma. Also some dark fruit and tobacco. Not much citrus hop aroma to speak of.

Taste follows aroma very well. Some hop bitterness in the middle but overall a very 'malt-forward' beer. Lots of toffee and caramel. Reminds me a lot of a scotch ale. Not what I expected at all.

Mouthfeel is this beer's strong suit. Very thick and creamy.

Drinkability is pretty high due to the mouthfeel and there's not much alcohol bite to speak of.

Overall not a bad beer by any means. When I read 'Imperial Amber Ale' and 'Hoppy Monster' I'm expecting something along the lines of Nugget Nectar or Hop Head Red not Founders Dirty Bastard. Maybe it's just a matter of different expectations. Had this been billed as a hoppy scotch ale I may have rated it higher. Maybe when had fresher this is a different beer also. I'll try to land a fresh bottle next year.

Adamdc, Feb 23, 2010
Photo of BrewCrew2010
3.33/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: This beer pours a cloudy mahogany color. Although it is an extremely murky beer, you can just see tons and tons of carbonation. A creamy tan head that starts off about 2 fingers worth, slowly disappears to a pin stripe and island like foam. Decent lacing and head retention.

S: It's hard to tell if there are any hops in this beer. Sweet malts are extremely powerful in the aroma along with brown sugar, caramel, and toffee notes. In the background you can pick up some floral hops, but they are most definately hidden.

T: One thing for sure, the warmer the beer the better in this case. An extremely sweet malty beginning is taken over by a floral & bittering hops bite in the middle. A dry coffee finish with caramel & chocolate notes. There is also a little warming from the booze throughout the tasting.

M: A medium to full body beer with a ton of carbonation and a juicy texture.

D: I haven't had a lot of red ales, so I have nothing to compare this to. What I do know is that I'm not a huge fan, so I wouldn't go out and buy this again. BUT if someone offered it to me, I would drink it again. Not a bad beer.

BrewCrew2010, Aug 27, 2010
Photo of JesteR14
3.33/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Very dark amber, cloudy so that you cant see through it. Not black, but a very dark camel color. Very nice and great to see. Nice redness in this beer that leaves it a great appearance!

S- I get a lot of toasted malts when i smell this. Mild hopness for this hoppy monster. Should be big malty monster!!

T- Woah. This one has a very different flavor than what im used to. Lots of malts and a light hop bitterness. This surprises me... Over the top malts....

M- Smooth brew, and not that strong of a flavor, despite the strong alcohol level. I would still sip on tis one..

D- Not my favorite from terrapin. Its got a good, smooth imperial red ale taste, but just not my thing!

Not the most hoppy beer, which is a surprise to me. Its boozy and malty, but still a well done sipping beer.

JesteR14, Mar 10, 2011
Photo of wangbruins
3.35/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark amber brown that I couldn't see through if I tried and a nice thick head with good lacing

S- Dark grapes and cherries, almost like a red wine, with a little of a flowery scent

T- The flower taste really comes through but not the fruit that I smelled. Plums, rather, come to be present

M- Very thin and watery with a prevelant aftertaste that is just okay

D- You could have a bunch of these but it's more of a sampler unless it's a type you prefer

wangbruins, Jan 17, 2010
Photo of corby112
3.35/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep dark ruby red/copper almost brown color with golden ruby edges and a two finger frothy yellowish-beige head that has excellent retention, only very slowly fading into a thin cap and lasting ring that coats the glass with lacing on it's way down.

Nice citrus hop aroma with a large pine presence and a very prominent caramel malt and rye. This rye and caramel malt unfortunately take away from the hops but they're still there.

Earthy bitter and dry hops up front that are immediately countered by the sweet malt and rye backbone. Slightly smokey with a bit of roasty chocolate and caramel as well as some nice alcohol warmth. The bitterness does linger over the thick medium body into a very dry finish but this beer is a bit too malty for it's own good. It tastes more like a hoppy old ale or barleywine. Very dry piny finish is nice though.

corby112, Sep 25, 2009
Photo of brewcrew76
3.35/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 Vintage

A - Pours a ruby orange with a thin white head and no lacing.

S - Sweet caramel malt and biscuit. Not much in hop aroma but if you search deep you find some piney earthy resin.

T - Sweet caramel, toasted nuts, biscuit and a slightly buttery. A touch of bitter piney hops but this one is on the sweet side.

M - Medium body and slightly creamy.

D - Maltier than the 2006 I had. I had a hard time finding the hops in this one.

brewcrew76, Nov 09, 2007
Photo of Dreadnaught33
3.35/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had this on tap a while ago at Paradiso in Old Town Alexandria, VA.

A: Reddish brown with almost no head and almost no lacing to speak of. Opaque nice look though.

Barley any smell. Some sugary malt comes through, some wheat, my brain might be implying hops but i have to struggle. Some taffy coated hop esters.

The taste is better but still not amazing. Much more sugary wheaty malt than hops, with a definite alcohol sweetness. Some bitter ending hop presence, but man I think it should have more as an Imperial.

Mouth is average and drinkability is good.

Dreadnaught33, Jan 21, 2011
Photo of ShogoKawada
3.35/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz into White Birch tulip. Awesome!

A- A burnt marshmallow head on a rusty brown body. Nice head, settles slowly and has moderate lacing.Scratch that... great lacing as the pint goes down. Like rings on an oak tree.

S- Hops! Overload from piny/citrus hops and a big bucket o' caramel malt to bring up the rear.

T_ Caramel base comes through stronger than the hops. Still ctric/lemony.. but the malt base is the main event. For a hoppy red, I can't knock it.

M- good carbonation.. borderline overbearing caramel malt.. for a red it'd not a sin.. but more than I'd like.

D- More caramel malt and less hops.. perhaps I came into this with the wrong mindset but it didn't live up to the name. I won't seek this out.

ShogoKawada, Apr 25, 2010
Photo of Reaper16
3.4/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Quick hits review.
Served on-tap @ Wilhagan's, Tuscaloosa, AL, into a pint glass

Pours a really nice rusty amber color. The head is pretty dark too; 2+ fingers of lion's pelt foam sit on top. The head is pretty filmy, taking on a consistency near that of the head on nitro-tap beers. It laces in gorgeous notches.

With a name like "Big Hoppy Monster," you'd expect this beer to slam you with hops. It doesn't do that, but that doesn't mean it is a poor effort. Think of the phrase "Imperial Red Ale" and whatever aromas come to mind are probably what this beer smells like. Lots of malty, grainy aromas. Lots of tobacco leaf or loose-leaf tea; an earthy quality abounds. There are hops: grapefruit pith and distant pine are present but get swallowed up by the doughy, grainy, earthy malts.

The flavor of this beer follows the nose to a T. The hops do get to linger on the finish, but you have to go into this beer ready to taste a malt-bomb. This should instead be named Big Malty Monster.

Mouthfeel and drinkability are nothing special. The beer is too thin in body size for all the malty flavors it brings. It's ABV% of 8.3 is felt pretty quickly for some reason.

Big Hoppy Monster is entirely worth a shot, especially if you enjoy Ambers and Reds. I don't care for either much, but I found this offering from Terrapin one of the best in Ambers/Reds I've ever had. Really solid beer.

Reaper16, Nov 12, 2010
Terrapin Big Hoppy Monster from Terrapin Beer Company
91 out of 100 based on 851 ratings.