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Terrapin Big Hoppy Monster - Terrapin Beer Company

Not Rated.
Terrapin Big Hoppy MonsterTerrapin Big Hoppy Monster

Educational use only; do not reuse.

591 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 591
Hads: 865
Avg: 4.06
pDev: 13.05%
Wants: 164
Gots: 49 | 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:
Beer added by: rajendra82 on 10-09-2004

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Imperial Red Ale.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Terrapin Big Hoppy Monster Alström Bros
Reviews: 591 | Hads: 865
Photo of prototypic
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to kkipple for this southern gem. You hooked me up, Dan, and I won't forget it. Much appreciated.

Big Hoppy Monster pours a gorgeous cherry wood color. It's fairly clear and has really nice garnet highlights. Sitting on top is an off-white head that's a couple of fingers deep. It took its time receding and left thick, sticky waves of lace clinging to the glass. Very impressive.

The nose smells very sweet and chock full of caramel malt. It's sugary in a brown sugar sort of way. The hop aspect of it is interesting. Remnants of citrus hops are noted. They've certainly faded a little, but some grapefruit and pineapple notes remain. Pretty impressive. There's an earthy quality here, as well, that's perhaps attributable to the hops. Today, this is a good smelling beer. In its prime, I have little doubt that this beast approached world class. Some dark fruit notes emerge late. Smells like a mix of raisin and prune. That's a subtle aspect of the nose. I'm not picking up any alcohol at all.

Yeah, this is really good stuff. It is very sweet and malty up front. It has a really nice caramel and toffee flavor that's complemented by a touch of brown sugar. It is somewhat earthy. I'm unsure of the hop bill, but it certainly had some floral and citric varieties. Grapefruit and pineapple flavors are noted, but they're a little muted. I suspect that the hop flavor has deteriorated to some degree. But, not totally. Again, this stuff has to be nothing short of excellent in its prime. It holds up very well with a little time under its belt. There are some dark fruit flavors of raisin and plum. They're not extremely pronounced, but they're easily noted. Alcohol is blended very well and is faint in flavor. It finishes sweet and a little bitter. Once again, the hops prove they haven't totally faded.

It has a medium body that's nice and smooth. Carbonation is relatively light. It's smooth, but not quite creamy or lush. Very good in any event. Drinkability is very high. The flavor is very good and it goes down way too easy for a beer that's 8.3% abv. It presents itself as much tamer than that. If I didn't know better, I might attempt to take down quite a few of these over a single night. Yeah, it's that good.

Big Hoppy Monster is damn good beer. The hops have faded to some degree in this bottle. I guess that makes it Big Monster. I'll buy that. The flavor here may have taken on a different character than a fresh bottle, but it's still very impressive. I really like this stuff. It's well-rounded and doesn't have any glaring flaws out all. I'd like to see Terrapin distributed in Ohio. Maybe someone can spread the word. Find a few bottles. Very good stuff. In fact, find a bunch of Terrapin. You won't be sorry.

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Photo of jsh420
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

thanks to coreyfmcdonald for this extra

pours murky copper with some orange flames shooting up from the bottom of my glass - 1+ finger head that covered my glass with lacing

smells of rich caramel malts and big piney hops

taste - wow i am not big of amber ales but this is world class - this beer reminds me of SN Bigfoot but with a more biscuit malt flavor - yes lots of hops but the malts steal the show

mouthfeel is medium/heavy with great carbonation for this thicker beer - creamy yet crisp

drinkability - yet another terrapin seasonal that will be a yearly trade must - i have yet to have a nugget nectar but this one stands king of the ambers for now

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

many thanks to Tilley4 for this beer.

12oz bottle, Vintage '07, served in a standard pint glass.

A - slightly hazy, reddish/brown color with a tan head of fuzzy bubbles that thinned to a ring/light layer, leaving some bits of tiny bubble lacing.

S - sweet fig/date fruit notes, rich maltiness.

T - wow! what a good tasting brew. sweetness of malts balanced with some good bitterness finishing sweet.

M - medium bodied with good carbonation feel.

D - enjoyable and easy to drink.

Final Note: Thanks, Jason!

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Photo of ffejherb
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Brass Rail Deli on 12/17/09.

A - Cloudy, almost smokey, rusdy reddish/copper-tinged body with a minimal beige head that diminished to a thin mesh-like retention but deposited lots of sticky lace around the glass.

S - Nose is a moderate blend of equal parts citrus and pine with a waft of heavy alcohol after the liquid warmed up a bit.

T - Potent kick of spicy malt with citrus and pine hop notes as well as burnt sugars and caramel malt added to sweeten the pot.

M - Medium bodied with an oily texture and fair amount of carbonation. Quite sticky around the lips. Finishes dry with a moderate lingering bitterness on the palate.

D - Aptly named, I suppose. It's big... it's hoppy... I guess it's a monster. This is one monster that packs a bold hop punch, though.

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Photo of wedge
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Attractive, clear crimson in color with fine, even carbonation - creamy, milky off-white head leaves some irregular webby lacing. Smells dank and deliciously hoppy...oh yeah, its got that great DIPA smell. Citrusy, flowery, piney...leans mostly toward the fruity hops. Tasting it, this seems to have more balance in the flavor. Loads of big, juicy, resinous hops like the smell, but with a hefty brown-sugary sweet malt firmness. The result is a big, sticky, hoppy treat. Nice medium-full mouthfeel is solidly bitter.

This is fantastic stuff...certainly among the top-notch DIPAs. This is the real deal.

Appropriate for review # 300!

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Photo of merlin48
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 bottle pours a hazy dark coppery brown with a thick beige head that scatters a lot of patchy lace on the glass.

Aroma is bold. Lots of bready malts exude notes of toffee and molasses. All kinds of fruity esters going on. Orange and pineapple hints are underneath.

Mouthfeel is almost chewy and close to full bodied. Low medium carbonation.

Taste is complex. Chewy caramel and toffee are prevalent all the way through. Pineapple marmalade hints open the fruit profile, followed quickly by orange and lemon. Hop bitterness somehow manages to balance out the huge malt bill.

Very satisfying. Any more maltiness and this might be cloying. I'd love to try a new bottle and see how fresher hops come through here.

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Photo of Vancer
4.48/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

What an awesome pour – deep mahogany red oak topped with a lip smacking ivory head that laces quite nicely. That lil’ yeast sludge on the bottom always rates extra points. Top notch pour.

Good aroma of woody rye, then the quaff – deep pop of earthy hopsickel. Solid taste of malt and rye, a very nice combination for a brew. Try this one and this style – I luv it.

A big thanks goes to blackie in North Carolina for this treat! This guy is a topper!

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Photo of Deuane
3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Deep amber red with a medium off-white head.

S-Lots of malty sweetness with a background hint of hops.

T-Caramel sweetness and enough hops to provide decent balance. Certainly a malt forward beer.

M-A big dose of malt to chew on gives this beer a great chewy texture, with a hop backup. A real pleasure in the mouth.

D-While the mouthfeel is the strength of this beer the maltiness wears on me after awhile. I am a hop forward guy and this just is not that. Certainly a good beer but not made for me.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - reddish caramel color, a thin light mocha cover. Thin lacing.

Aroma - deep fruity, DIPA-like aroma. Slightly boozy with notes of caramel.

Taste - sweet, caramel malts, mild fruitiness. The hops have a quick, citrusy bite just before some coffee notes hit at the swallow. The finish stays roasty and coffee-like.

Mouthfeel - thin, a decent and sturdy body, carbonation is average.

Drinkability - a dangerous drinkable red ale. Thanks to kkipple for bringing me one of these at DLD08.

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Photo of msubulldog25
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12 oz. bottle, "2005 Monster Beer Tour" edition. "WATCH OUT THIS MONSTER BITES!" warn brewers Spike & John on the side label, next to some slick-looking artwork of hot-rodding, cigar-chomping turtle. Poured to a standard pint glass.

A: Murky chestnut brown that looks fairly unappealing until held to light, where it glows with ruby richness and garnet highlights. A one-finger tall creamy/soapy ivory head which winnows to a thin silky cap. Some lace, but nothing to get excited about.

S: Mouth-watering sweet malty aroma, spicy/citrus hops, light hints of cocoa and some boozy fruity nose-tingling warmth.

T: Juicy citrus (orange & lemon pith) with upfront fusel alcohol. Some sweet carmel malts coupled with hoppy flavors of cut grass and an herbal & medicinal bitter finish. Wood, vanilla and a light sour oxidation...sounds like a bit of a mess, but it all comes together nicely in a pretty damn flavorful DIPA.

M: Bold fuller mouthfeel, some carbonation. A bit of cloying stickiness and notably hot alcoholic warmth (8.3% abv isn't too well hidden).

D: Not one I'd have everyday, but a pretty tasty ale nonetheless. One I'd recommend and would seek out again. Confusing use of the term "Imperial Red Ale" on the label when this beer is being considered as an "Imperial IPA" in reviews...oh well.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

received this as an awesome extra in my trade with CrellMoset. Thank you!

A- Body is a beautiful dark cherry red hue and is perfectly transparent. Thin fizzy tan head fades immediately after the pour to a thin collar-which retains well and leaves behind no lacing in the glass.

S-Nose is light and very spicy. What comes through is a balance of spicy hops and sweet caramel malt.

T-Flavor is mostly faint caramel malt and a hint of spicy and grapefruit hops upfront. The spiciness of the hops really comes through in the finish with a hint of pine in the back of the throat, and a faint minimal bitterness. Hints of spiciness linger.

M- Medium carbonation and medium weight body, somewhat oily.

D- This beer is awesome. I haven't had a beer with this much of an accent on spicy hop flavor without the generally associated bitterness. Imperial Reds are growing on me and I am finding more and more that I really like. ABV is undetectable in this also. Not quite Nugget Nectar or Winter Yulesmith-but definately one of my favorite red ales. Thanks again to CrellMoset for the opportunity to try this.

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Photo of Tucquan
3.99/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on 2010-02-28 at Rivermont Pizza in Lynchburg, VA

A - he ale poured a beautiful cloudy chestnut with a one-finger head.

S - Excellent smell of piney resin, citrus and fruit.

T - Complex tastes including pine resin, smoke, licorice, leather, fig, plum, caramel, chocolate, alcohol and lots of citrus but not overbearingly hoppy despite the name. The piney-hops are strong on the nose and the initial taste but fade nicely into the rich malt. I enjoyed the complex taste but the blend had a bit too much licorice and smoke.

The mouthfeel is medium-thick and the carbonation is medium.

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Photo of koopa
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rec'd in trade with JourdanUGA thanks for the hopportunity :)

Appearance: Dark garnet with a slightly beige head. A bit medicinal in appearance. Minimal head retention and lacing.

Smell: Oh this smells deliciously fun. Lots of malt presence with some pine sap, cherry, and grapefruit.

Taste: Medium body, slightly oily, extremely well balanced and smooth. Lots of sweet caramel coupled with a dash of hop bitterness. This red makes a heavy malt brew delicious for me.

Mouthfeel: I tiny bit on the syrupy side but a light syrup at that. Adequate carbonation and a medium body.

Drinkability: Extremely drinkable for over 8% abv. This is a big red by all means and I'll be coming back to it often.

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Photo of MacQ32
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a right mahogany with a might mocha colored finger of head. Superiors lacing, decent retention as well

S - Strong malt/caramel and dark fruit (raisin/prune). Hoppy aromas as well but they are well dominated by the malt.

T - Cherries, raisins, serious maltyness up front and a strong citrusy/spicy hop presence at the finish. Some alcohol obvious, but in a good way.. a nice robust brew

M - I don't know if I'd drink 4 of these at once. Heavier bodied, thick, low carbonation, and fairly potent. Delicious though

O - Overall this beer is delicious, more of a sipper for sure but always a treat when I have the opportunity to bring some home. Great brew

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Photo of harrymel
3.48/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5


Dark brownish red with flecks of yeast cycling around in the ale with three fingers of persistent caramel foam. Strong sheet of lace. Smells good and malty, some toffee, tea and hints of mushrooms. Also smelling some brown sugar.

Nice malty, sweet ale with some nougat tones and some nice white cake flavor. Nothing particularly complex, but the yeast seems to add a nice nutty element and this one is dangerously drinkable. Wish there were some spicy bittering from hops, but hey, can't always have it all.

Decent enough brew. I like the malt profile on this beer, but I like a little more hop character in my Red/Impy reds.

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Photo of Monkeyknife
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Again, thanks to 7ways for another treat from Terrapin.

Poured from the bottle a bright clear ruby red color with two fingers of foamy beige head.

Aroma of big grapefruit and piney hops along with caramel malts, spices, and brown sugar.

This one tastes so good. Grapefruit and piney hops along with the caramel malts, ripe fruit and a warming alcohol buzz.

Medium bodied, smooth and creamy, and moderately carbonated.

This is now one of my favorite red ales. Well balanced, smooth and creamy, with a big hoppy punch. A must try.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.37/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer arrived on the bar cloudy and milky dark amber brown with a tan and lasting head that never failed to coat the glass.

The aroma was strongly of citrus and contained a strong fruity impression. The strong fruit and malt aromas erupted beneath the head with a slight grassy character.

The flavor was malty with a nice hop complement. The malt added a nice sweetness to the flavor that was coupled with caramel. The citrusy hop bittering and flavor work well to dry out the beer. The hops were also grassy and resinous but those two characteristics were somewhat muted.

The finish was dry with lasting malt and hop flavors into the aftertaste. The body was medium full and well done. The hop belches from the Monster were magnificent. Some slight alcohol warming was notable after consumption.

10 ounce draft at Summits in Cumming, GA.

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Photo of flexabull
3.34/5  rDev -17.7%
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)

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.91/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In just the first few seconds of the pour, this reveals itself as a tremendous looking beer. The color is a hypnotizing dark ruby with a dirty-white/light-tan head, which doesn't stay thick and fluffy long but sure looks nice while it lasts. It remains a thin layer during the session.

Aroma gives some caramel-like malts, some candy-apple sweetness and juicy hops, but it doesn't smell very "imperial" to me, despite a little booziness as it warms.

Flavor is a bit unusual, with slightly burnt tasting malt, a kind of bubblegum in the hops, some cherry, some pipe tobacco...and slight heat from the alcohol.

Ultimately this a real good beer, just don't expect an easy stylistic placement. That's what I love about this imperial trend, and about U.S. brewers in general: it keeps you guessing, and it continues to challenge the norm.

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.45/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this bottle at cellar temp and poured into a pint glass. The beer pours a hazy mahogany color with a small beige head foaming up about 1 cm. Aroma is grainy malt with some caramel as well. Herbal and sappy hops come through but dont over power. First sip reveals a soft smooth texture and average body, very mild carbonation that caresses my palate. Flavor is similar to nose, some caramel and grainy almost husky malt followed by slightly bitter sappy and grassy hops. There is no real hint of the 8% and that is nice. The beer drinks easy, but I didnt find it to have the hops to be a "double" IPA. Good enough as a beer though.

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Photo of Floydster
3.08/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Provided as an extra from RustyDiamond, thanks for giving me the chance to try this east coast brew

12 ounce bottle, 2007 edition, split with my roommate, poured into my Flying Dog pint glass

A-Deep brownish red color, 3/4 inch light tan head that did not settle for a while, decent retention, some lacing

S-Crazy amounts of malt, figs, prunes, tons of caramel, toffee, very faint hoppy aroma, some floral accents, maple syrup, and brown sugar

T-Too sweet, expected a huge piney hop profile and it is definitely missing, wonder if the few months of age really played a role, dark roasted malt at the beginning with a little bitterness in the middle, ended very sweet with malt and a hint of smokiness, caramel and maple brown sugar were dominant, not balanced, not a hoppy monster in any respect, too much malt for me

M-Smoky and sweet mouthfeel, full body, not enough carbonation, could have used some more hops, taste lingered too long

D-Probably could not even finish a bottle of this by myself, so heavy, high ABV at around eight percent, not smooth at all

First beer from Terrapin, let me down to be honest, hope their Wake-n-bake is better than this one, far too malty and sweet for my liking, probably will not drink again, I guess it is worth trying if you are a fan of imperial reds

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Photo of ncstateplaya
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: This beer poured a two fingered head that appeared soft and foamy with the color of raw chocolate chip cookie dough. The ale itself is a bright red with fine particulates in suspension. Tiny bubbles of carbonation continuously rising to the surface. A pretty decent amount of lacing throughout my unfortunately empty glass.

Smell: The most abundant aroma has to be hops, citrusy hops. There was a caramel like malt smell that is very inviting. There were also undertones of sweetness, almost like fresh oven baked cookies.

Taste: The hoppy bitterness and grapefruit flavor is tamed by the creaminess of the malts. Slightly sweet but not overbearing. In reference to the label illustration, the hoppiness drives this GA hot rod, but the malty characteristics keep this baby on the road. I like it, a lot!!!

Mouthfeel: The BHM has a great body, in your mouth it feels smooth and velvety, on the verge but not quite chewy. The carbonation accentuates the body of this brew.

Drinkability: Being over 8%, this beer could get me into trouble. Extremely easy drinking, very enjoyable, and simply delicious. I am truely a fan of Terrapin Beer Co.

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Photo of Chaney
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I eyeball this one in the store every time, but have never taken the plunge.... until now.

A: Very cloudy, red/brown/burgundy color with moderate amount of carbonation, and a head that formed very rapidly after a hard pour and all the contents were situated in the glass. The head retention is great and has a bit of a reddish hue. Great look!

S: Caramel upfront, almost the type that I typically get from American Barleywines. Mild candy sweetness, fruity, and with a tingle of yeast.

T: I know this is in the same style class as the Nugget Nectar, but it is not even close to the same to of beer IMO. This is very caramel-filled, sweet, with dark maltiness, and less grapefruity. It leans more on the side of the Barleywine, and less on the bitter, citrusy DIPA one. This is a red ale through and through! In that regard, this is divine!

M: Very well balanced, not too bitter or sweet, and the carbonation is very comfortable. There was a little lacing left on the glass, but I never found the mouth coating cloying in any way.

D: I'm so glad we get Terrapin distribution out here now. This beer had a great reputation and did not disappoint.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.21/5  rDev -20.9%
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.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Terrapin- Big Hoppy Monster

Big thanks go out to BarefootBrewer for this 1.

A- Deep amber with a smooth frothy head.
S- Sweet slighty burnt sugar and caramel.
T- Thick caramel malt, brown sugar, & marzipan make up the body and a pungent green oily hop kick in the end.
M- Sweet and thick with a dry oily strong hop presence in the back end. Alc. pops up in the aftertaste.

Overall- Delicious. An excellent session beer.

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Terrapin Big Hoppy Monster from Terrapin Beer Company
91 out of 100 based on 591 ratings.