Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

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: 10.84%
Wants: 165
Gots: 48 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Terrapin Beer Company
Georgia, United States | website

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 feloniousmonk
4.54/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Clear crimson hue, solid slab of creamy off-whitish foam above, slim but staying...

Aroma: wide-open, huge flowering of piney hop aromatics, just the kind I love! Grapefruit, and other citrus are at play, but pine needles are largest in the overall profile...sweet, and slightly bitter, stuff here! Very nice! I could just smell
his and smell this all day long! Rich, resiny, resonant.

Taste, already...bitter, but extra-sweet and fruity, a huge expansion in the mouth, a blast on the senses...a fierce delivery of flavor...huge, immense...big and beautiful...humbling...delicious...wonderful play on the tongue, bitterness, fruit, and more, keeping the senses busy with all the flavors at the ready.

Full-bodied, incredibly flavored, assuredly pleasurable for hopheads like me...dang it, but this is great stuff!
Let all hopheads know that they must bow to the direction of Athens once in awhile,too...and genuflect to the folks at Terrapin. This is amazing stuff!

"truly unique in taste in complexity", says the label. Well, I've had other beers like this, but they're so few and far between that it's useful to recognize each one that comes cross our path.

A humdinger from the Peach State! Cheers!

 1,220 characters

Photo of MasterSki
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this as a throw-in from TempsPerdu. Thanks! Vintage 2008, served in my usual Surly pint glass.

A - It's red (coppery)! One finger of reddish-tinged tan foam that dissipates quickly. Not much in the way of lace. A few bubbles lazily rise to the top.

S - There's the obligatory citrus hops - largely tangerine-grapefruit, but there's also a pretty heaping malt backbone on this one that evokes a maple and bready character. There's also a slight booziness which evokes cough syrup a little. Not all that potent.

T - Bitter - there's a lot of grapefruit in the flavor. The taste starts on the sweet malty side with a touch of citrus, but slowly the hops overpower this as it moves through the mouth. Leaves a fairly bitter aftertaste as well. It's good but a little unbalanced - I was kind of surprised after the amount of malt presence in the smell.

M - Good viscosity and carbonation. There's a lot of tingle on my upper lip which is actually kind of refreshing. Very smooth.

D - It's a little bloaty and the bitterness can get a little overwhelming. I guess I shouldn't be overly surprised by a beer called Big Hoppy Monster. The ABV isn't overly obvious in the taste and mouthfeel. It's probably for the best that this comes in 12oz bottles - not sure if I could handle a bomber. That being said this glass went down pretty quick.

 1,340 characters

Photo of jwc215
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep reddish-brown with a thin, lasting head.

The smell is of floral citrus with roasted grain and a hint of toffee.

The taste is of citrusy orange peel and grapefruit immediately supported by a thick, rich malt. Sweet brown sugar and caramel cut into the bitterness, but leave the citrus taste in control. Very balanced for the style, while clearly remaining a double IPA. The chewy, citrusy hops remain solidly pronounced, but a good malt backbone gives it a nice body and complex flavors.

It feels creamy, rich and chewy. The body remains steadfast. Thick, yet incredibly smooth. Just the right amount of carbonation to make it glide along the tongue, leaving the body intact and plenty of flavors in the mouth.

Incredibly drinkable, almost too much so, as the undetectable alcohol can creep in. Unfortunately, I only had this one or I would have easily been tempted to grab more. A smooth, delicious drink to say the least.

Thanks to SilentSabre for sending me this enjoyable brew!

 1,008 characters

Photo of stakem
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an amber red color that has a little bit of yeast haze. It has a finger and a half of tanned head that is actually more orange in color than tan... Lacing is all over the place and clinging to just about everything it touches. Aroma of this beer is a pungent blast of hops ranging from fruity citrus to pine and spice. Blending well with the hop character is the malt sweetness that flirts with being almost like caramel. Taking a sip, you get a wack of malty sweet goodness and a lingering taste of the spicey hop bitterness. As the beer warms, the alcohol comes through more in both the aroma and the taste but it is a welcomed addition that pairs well adding complexity without overpowering the other features. Feel of this beer is quite heavy and carb is a perfect middle of the road. The lingering aftertaste changes from bitter to sweet with each sip. This beer was really enjoyable and is very drinkable. It really increases my fondness of imperial reds.

 967 characters

Photo of billab914
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into my Dogfish shaped pint glass. Appearance is a dark amber,almost brown color. Smell is dominated by the citrus from the hops. The caramel maltiness really comes through in the taste followed by the hoppyness. Good mouthfeel and drinkability. I really enjoy this one and have purchased a few 4 packs of it now.

 340 characters

Photo of drabmuh
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a goblet. I never comment on the labels of beer bottles in reviews but I'm totally a lover of the Terrapin labels, this one is excellent. There is no indicated freshness label on the bottle though. Beer is maroon, dark red almost brown. Forms a thin yellowish head that falls away almost immediately, minimal lacing on the glass. Carbonation moderate, beer appears to be thick.

This beer smells EXACTLY like a Imperial IPA. The label indicates that it is an Imperial Red ale (even though this really isn't a widely recognized style) and its CALLED the big hoppy monster, I would expect it to smell this way, but why not just make another IIPA? Tons of malt, alcohol, and hops. There is some funk in the smell as well, if you've had their Indian brown ale, then you know what I'm talking about. Here we go.

Surprisingly smooth. Feels acidic in the back of the mouth. Lots of hops bitterness, some sweetness up front but its less than I expected. I can't taste the alcohol of this one, and I thought I would. Second taste time. Finishes completely, almost no aftertaste. Some of the alcohol comes a millisecond after I swallow but it fades. That funk in the smell is in the front of the mouth in the flavor but it is not distracting and does not detract from the beer at all.

Drinkability is high, especially taking into consideration the ABV of this particular beer. It is completely unoffensive and well balanced. As far as how it fits into its style catagory, this is definitely an outsider, an interesting deviation from traditional "Amber Ale" but this is one of those beers that cannot be pigeon holed into a single style. I would recommend it and drink it again. Cheers!

 1,713 characters

Photo of tdm168
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep, haxy amber with a quarter inch of off white head that has great retention. Smells of bready malt and piny, faintly citrusy hops. Tastes like heavy barley malt with undertones of caramel, pineapple, and faint citrus. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with light carbonation.

This is a very smooth, easy to drink beer with a relatively high ABV. The malt content reminds me of fresh Bigfoot or 90 Minute, but the hop character is a little more subdued and pineapple-like. Delicious; I'd get another one in a heartbeat.

 536 characters

Photo of GClarkage
3.89/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

07/09/07- Received from BA Talisker as a generous gift...plus three other beers to be had later!

Presentation- 12oz bottle with no freshness code, but has vintage 2006 on the neck label. Poured into my Full Sail pint glass.

Appearance- Murky reddish-brown in hue. 3/4 inch head upon pour with a light ring afterwards. Very light lace trails left behind.

Smell- Granted it doesn't smell like a DIPA to me, but it smells more like an English Barleywine, which I love. Super rich caramel scent with a minor in the hops dept.

Taste- Sweet and bready caramel malt flavor with a light faded and muted pine hop taste.

Mouthfeel- Thicker, chewy and sinewy. Medium carbonation level. Slightly creamy going down as well. Suprising bitter aftertaste, considering you can't taste the hops while drinking.

Drinkability- Good tasting beer for what it has become. Big Hoppy Monster after a year of aging becomes Big Malty Monster. Tastes pretty good this way, but I would loved to have had some hop action to go with it.

 1,024 characters

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

The beer pours a hazy ruby red color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great! It has a kick ass malt punch that boasts of burnt toffee and bisquit malts. It's breadlike with a ton of hop in there as well. The taste is awesome. This is a thick and tastey brew with lots of caramel malts and a nice hop balance. It goes down smooth and finishes a bit warm and bitter. The mouthfeel is great. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a wonderful brew with a ton of flavor and hop character; a fine drinking beer.

 570 characters

Photo of smakawhat
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Vintage 2011.

A one finger light tan foamy head is presented off the pour, but at least it stays. Body color is a very dark indian red with ruby and red hues towards the edges. It looks a little frozen and lifeless.

Nose is strong ale smelling. Big malts and a little bit of heat. There is a hint of piney hop wanting to creep out behind this thick malt booze however.

Taste is like a chewy strong ale, with a faint chocolate bitter. This doesn't feel much different than a typical American Strong Ale. Rich malts with a thick body that is certainly tolerable. Hop angle on this is pretty much non existent. There is a certain tobacco like dry finish on this which is kind of interesting, sort of a "tickle" in the back of the throat.

It's a very good beer, not worth of it's name, maybe I have an old one, but it's too much in strong ale territory, however, it doesn't taste particularly boozy either for an 8 abv. I do enjoy it for what it is, just the name hints to me of some disappointment.

 1,047 characters

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I struggled on whether to review this but decided to anyway. This beer was bottled Fall 2008 and consumed Dec. 9, 2009. I doubt this was what the brewer intended the beer to taste like but it was still enjoyable.

Pours reddish-brown with a dark, creamy head. Aroma is strong caramel malt, with a sweet smell. The aroma has a tea-like quality to it. The taste is heavy on the caramel malt and very boozy. Lots of malt sweetness and the tea-like attributes are in the flavor as well. Little to no hops are evident in the flavor or the aroma. Similar to a barleywine due to the sweetness. Very drinkable beer with a medium mouthfeel and low carbonation.

 651 characters

Photo of Billolick
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ouncer Best enjoyed Before dating on the label "Vintage 08 BB" huh? Oh well they are trying to give the good beer consumer some info, just need to work out the bugs and make things more user friendly somehow... Pours cloudy dark reddish amber slight dark tan head, quickly goes to a thin film and the lace left on the glass is best described as simply minor. Grainy hop nose. I love hoppy brew and this is shows its hoppy character, not in the aroma or hop flavor department, but just slightly later in the experience in the bitterness area. This offering is crunchingly bitter. Quite an enjoyable experience when the sweet early malts are added to the equation. . Nice stuff, a ballsy high octane beer.

 706 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown with ruby highlights when held up to the light. Has a smallish head that disappears quickly. Aroma is surprisingly malty with caramel and biscuit aromas as well as a citrus hop aroma. I was expecting an over the top hop bomb. Taste is more caramel and bitter resinous citrusy hops. Very well balanced beer. Another great brew from Terrapin, my favorite brewery from Georgia.

 393 characters

Photo of BARFLYB
3.01/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a Founder's pint glass. Excited to try this although I see it's contract brewed.

Thick. slightly viscous looking liquid with a hazy brownish gold out of the bottle becoming a bold copper red in the glass, almost like a oddly painted barnhouse. Alot of force on the pour only gave way to a half inch of caramel colored foam on top. Small spots of lacing.

This is not a very big hoppy monster I can tell by smelling it. There is some hop sense in a grassy earthy way but citrus is what the nose is lacking. Some grapefruit and pine if you search for it. Caramel malt is up front with a dash of honey.

The malt is just getting in the way here, it overpowers any hops in here. Seeing that this is an amber I would venture to say that it tastes like a Imperial amber/red with the bigness here, to bad the wrong ingredient takes the lead here, malts galore. It goes like this, malts, caramel, a dash of dark fruit and than some lingering bitterness from small hoppage, barely nothing.

The feel on this is big, a bit to big in fact, I feel this is a chore for me to drink with the diminishing returns. The body needs to be lighter, the hops need to be boosted, this is a typical example of a East coast amber. Give me a Nugget Nectar anyday over this. Medium bodied, kind of surupy, kind of bland.

Well, this was a miss for me, but I got through it. It's not a bad beer but it's lackluster as fuck. It doesent taste bad, it just does not taste as advertised. I will re review when I try this at Terrapin, I hope this is a contract brewed issue.

 1,562 characters

Photo of tempest
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I dont know about "hoppy monster," but this is still a pretty good beer. It's a hazy red with tan head a nice lacing. Smells and tastes of sweetened fruit, cherries and raspberries, with a citrus twist. Tastes like there might be some rye in there too. The hops aren't too big, but still have a pleasant lingering quality. A smooth drink, not too heavy for the abv. This is what I'd call a nice example of a big American beer.

 426 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a brilliantly clear, deep ruby reddish color. It pours pretty viscously and produces a light brown tinged tan colored head that is initially about one-finger thick. The aroma is of course over the top hoppy. Notes of grapefruit leap out of the glass, it is joined by a bit of raw herbal hop character and a bit of malt even manages to peek through after some extending sniffing of the aroma. The malt aromatics are quite dry and toasty, but overall the aroma is sweet, the unnoticed sweet caramel notes tend to only accentuate the citrus aromas that dominate this beer.

The taste is medium full, with a noticeable sweetness up front. The sweetness amplifies the fruity citrus character, but there is a lot of other hop notes in this beer. This thing has a fairly aggressive raw hoppiness to it that make the tongue start to tingle, and eventually just coats the mouth with a lingeringly astringent bitterness. Amazingly enough this beer is pretty well balanced, a ton of malt character was packed into this beer as well. It is not all that noticeable, but it really helps to contain the hops, which otherwise would make it seem like by tongue had been repeatedly flagellated with ripe hop bines. The more I think about it, the more I realize that the malt character in this beer is huge, this beer is definitely approaching a Barley Wine. As the beer warms a bit it begins to pick up some candied orange peel like notes

I was hankering for a hop fix this evening and this beer certainly hit the spot. Both the hops and malt character are so well integrated here, at least for a self-proclaimed over the top hop monster, which this beer certainly is. The hop character is ample and all over the place, but it is held in check just enough that it does not become too raw and abrasive. While I do like the balance between malt and hop, I would have to say that my one complaint is that this beer is a bit too thick. I prefer my double IPAs to be a bit lighter, and easy drinking. This beer is damn tasty though, so that is only a minor nit.

 2,049 characters

Photo of yourefragile
4.31/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz 2008 bottle poured into a nonic.

A: Pours a slightly darker than expected clear deep amber, reddish color with a dark tan, yellowed thick head. Great retention on head and tremendous thick sticky webs of lacing. Lots of tiny bubbles of carbonation.
S: Citrusy hops almost overpowered by sticky caramel sweetness with a slight background of alcohol.
T: Very full, creamy body with light bitterness and carbonation. Very chewy and rich with a lingering sweetness in the finish. Very strong grainy, malt smooth body with not quite as strong a hoppy punch as expected, but I'm not complaining, very nicely balanced. My favorite beer from Terrapin so far, too bad I can't regular find any of these beers.

 707 characters

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.01/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a. 12 oz bottle - pint glass. A stunning ruby red with some offwhite head and fine lace.

s. Bready smell from the yeast and malt. Some very faint earthy hops.

t. Nice hoppy taste with a honey like sweetness from the malts. Mead like at times but just a ton of hops and roasted tones. The hops are enough to keep the sweetness down, and it takes alot of sweetness to balance the hops. Alcohol esters present but overall not unpleasant. Hops are a mixture of grapefruit, pine, earth and lemon.

M. Smooth and creamy, very carbonated. Finishes bittersweet, literally.

D. This is one strong, flavorful ale. A nice red, and a hop head classic. The high abv limits its drinkability a bit, but in a perfect world this beer would be a staple.

 738 characters

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

Sampled through the efforts of DeaconBluez and the BCG BIF.

Pours an extremely dark beer for the style. Coke a cola brown with ruby highlights when held up to the light. A clear beer with no head formation.

Smell is light and VERY fruity to the nose. Aroma of menthol, pines and plums are the strongest. Lesser aromas of citrus rinds and brown sugar. Fairly spicy too mostly black pepper and cinnamon.

Taste is sweet malty and fruity with brown sugar and hops in the first sip. Good hops flavor behind the wall of sweetness. Lots of grapefruit and pine with a brisk lime bitter snap at the end. Long lasting bitter after taste without any of the usual woodiness. Lighter flavors of hops are in this too most unusually is lemon and lime in the sweet part of the taste.

Mouthfeel is good.

A very drinkable strong IPA. Probably too bitter for a regular beer drinker this is still good.

 899 characters

Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to blitz134 for this one.

Pours a dark amber color, nice carbonation, nice small foamy tan head which lasts awhile, nice islands/sticky lacing around the edges. The nose is pretty hoppy with some sweet malts/slight citrus and a nice touch of caramel. The taste pretty much stays with the nose, hoppy/sweet malty, with a nice bitter bite in the finish. Medium body, well rounded brew. Very drinkable, a very nice offering from Terrapin. Thanks again for this one Chris.

 478 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz EXTRA received in an already fantastic trade with GeezLynn.. No need Geoff, but truly appreciated!! Poured into my Delirium goblet.

2 finger head dies back and leaves very nice drapes of lace.. the brew is deep and dark amber..

Nose begins beautifully with great citrus hops but melts into thick and complex maltiness... caramel and subtle cocoa..

Flavor has a great bitterness with bunches of surprising malts that are abundant and somehow each independent.. citric hops and a bit of resinous pine.. burnt caramel and some chocolate malt.. very complex.. this is verging on Barleywine territory certainly... VERY American.. tons of hops and yet very balanced by the terrific malts.. body is medium with a smooth carbonation..

I've had this brew a bunch of times over the years, but the first time for sure that I've taken the time to review it.. I forgot how much I love the Terrapin goodness... Digging the handywork that is happening South of the Mason-Dixon.

Thanks again Geoff... proper trade! and a great trader who should be welcome with open arms and an eye for gots.

All 4's

 1,094 characters

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is the 2006 version of Big Hoppy Monster I'm reviewing.

Pours a dark garnet color wwith a fairly short head.

The smell is fruity and beefy, with spicy hops and rich malt.

The taste is rich and very grainy and filling- like drinking a grain soup with malt and hop accents. Richer in malt but less hoppy than past versions.

Mouthfeel is big, rich and creamy.

A little heavy to drink many of.

 409 characters

Photo of plaid75
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep murky amber hue with a one and a half finger creamy thick off-white head. There was very good retention and good sticky lacing.

The smell featured a heavy earthy oily hop aroma with a sweet caramel malt element.

The taste consisted of an upfront citrus and spicy hop with an equally potent caramel malt. Very slight warming alcohol.

The mouthfeel was full with a relatively dry finish.

Overall a very good DIPA. High drinkability here despite the hefty ABV. Thanks to Aprilluvsbeer.

 508 characters

Photo of weeare138
4.02/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to hopdog for this...
Appears a reddish tone with spotty lacing being left behind.
Smell is of pine and citrus and sweet malt.
Taste is of caramel and sugary dough with nice hops coming through.
Mouthfeel is sticky with hop resin and sugary standing out.
Drinkability...very nice brew.

 297 characters

Photo of John_M
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep amber red color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is pretty attractive, consisting of some light sweet malt and some pretty significant, perfumy hoppy citrus. Flavors aren't quite as attractive as the nose, though I still enjoyed the moderately sweet malt, cherry and baked apple, with some nice hoppy bitterness in the finish. There is also a bit of roastiness in the flavor profile, which I find to be generally typical for style. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, and drinkability is really pretty good for the abv.

This is a very easy to drink, uncomplicated, easty to appreciate hoppy red ale from Terrapin.

 651 characters

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