Terrapin Big Hoppy Monster | Terrapin Beer Company

591 Reviews
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Terrapin Big Hoppy MonsterTerrapin Big Hoppy Monster

Brewed by:
Terrapin Beer Company
Georgia, United States | website

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.30%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Imperial Red Ale.

Added by rajendra82 on 10-09-2004

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Reviews
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Reviews: 591 | Ratings: 865
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed on 12/21/2009. Bottle. Pours an amber brown with a thick off-white head. Aroma of sweet apple, caramel malt, citrus and tropical fruits, and a touch of cinnamon (?). Flavor is quite malty with some fruity notes upfront and a bready malt (particularly pretzel malt) finish. Not your typical IIPA but quite good with some interesting malt flavors. I don't get the sweet/sticky notes that other raters have reported.

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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 Florida9
3.27/5  rDev -19.5%
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.

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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 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 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 n2185
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Definitely doesn't pour like a typical amber. It pours a chocolaty brown with a finger of tan head. Head retention is fairly good and it leaves a nice lacing on the glass.

S: Some caramel malt with dark fruits up front like raisins up front followed by some pine hop aromas.

T: Similar to the smell, there's a blast of caramel malt and dark fruit up front. Then the hops kick in, providing a good amount of pine with some bitterness in the aftertaste. The sweet malt also sticks around in the aftertaste.

M: Medium body with some light-medium carbonation.

D: This drinks more like a light barleywine than an amber ale. This bottle might have some age on it, which could contribute to that. Goes down very smooth with a nice mix of malt and hops.

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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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 richkrull
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a darker reddish brown color with some beige head and lots of lacing.

Smell is malty and spicy. Very nice.

Taste is pleasant. Lots of malt throughout with sone nice spice in the finish. Not much hop flavor to speak of.

Mouthfeel is medium-full especially for an amber. Smooth drinking beer though.

Overall a very good beer. I really enjoyed it. I'd definitely buy/ trade for it again.

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

On-tap at the Flying Saucer in Nashville.
Pours a clear, dark reddish brown color, off-white head. The head dissipates into a thin floating cap of foam, thin lace ring around the glass. Smell has lots of pine and floral hops.
Tastes much like the smell, lots of resiny pine met with a good dose of malt flavor, and bitter finish. Nice thick mouthfeel, good level of carbonation. Drinkability is very good, especially for a big beer. The flavors are well balanced, easily enjoyed.

Note to Self: Ranked #3 American Amber / Red Ale when I tried it.
Oct 2012 has fallen to #13

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Photo of JayQue
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one is impressive. Tastes like a barleywine more than a red ale. Drank from a Bud Select pilsner glass. Dense mahogany brown with a yellow opaque look at the bottom of the pilsner glass. Medium size white head, average retention. No lacing. Smell give a hint of both floral hops and sweet caramel malts.

The flavor is the best part !!! BIG barleywine flavor. Hops up front and sweet malts to follow. The flavors are strong and exagerated but the hops are not as over t he top as a fresh Bigfoot.

Overall mouthfeel is rich and crisp, the hops are there but fairly civilized and smooth.

Drinkability is good. I could do about 2 12 ouncers of this beer. Nice!!!!

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