Hop*A*Potamus | Great River Brewery

very good
28 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Great River Brewery
Iowa, United States

Style: Rye Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Hop*A*Potamus is a double dark rye pale ale made with a ton of pale and six kinds of rye malt for a "full" body. This double dark rye pale ale is fiercely hopped with a Northwest blend for a stampede of flavor and aroma.

Added by mynie on 12-25-2011

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Reviews: 28 | Ratings: 100
Photo of IPAGeorge
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a can into a pint.

A. A nice rich brown with some red tint, 70% opaque. Khaki 1" head that sticks around. Really nice lacing.

S. Aromas of caramel and rye malts and a mixture of hops. Getting some pine. Sweet biscuit. Smells very nice and complex.

T. Right away I get that rye and caramel sweet biscuit then a bitter punch in the mouth. This beer does have bitterness! Not getting that pine so much anymore. Grassy green leaf aftertatse.

M. Nice body. Creamy. Porter like. FInishes slightly dry.

O. A good beer. The aroma was a little misdirecting. The flavor doesn't jive with it. But neither are bad. They are both good. Quite a bit of bitterness. I've had other 100 IBU but the bitterness on this one is more pronounced. Would like one of these every once in a while. It's different. But Idk if i'd do a whole 4 pack in a sitting.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
3.29/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a dark red with a thin, creamy head. Pungent smell. Dark rye very strong with hops and rye dominating the malty Carmel taste resulting in an bold hoppy taste that lingers for a while.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.44/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml aluminum can with interesting label art reminiscent of Diamond Knot brewing acquired in a trade with the very generous Duff27 and served into a conical Samuel Smith's pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are average; this is me first beer from this brewery (I think). 99 IBUs. "Double Dark Rye Pale Ale." 9% ABV confirmed.

Served straight from the fridge and side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

I'm really in the mood for a good pale ale (dark though it may be...). I loved the rye in say, Alpine Nelson so I'm excited for this.

A: Pours a luscious two finger mocha-khaki colour head of great cream, great thickness, and fantastic (8+ minute) retention for the high ABV. Body colour is a surprisingly dark, rich amber colour. Translucent. Semitransparent. Nice lacing as the head recedes. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. I'm not sure what I expected, but this is very interesting. Boy, that head is gorgeous. Soft and inviting. I can't wait to try it.

Sm: Caramel, evocative full rye grains, light rye bread, cream, amber malts, pale malts, light buried citrus, biscuit malt, and strangely executed nectary and light piney hops. It's a strangely built, yet seemingly balanced aroma. I'm not quite on board with it, but only because it's new to me. Quite grainy. An above average strength aroma. It's not unpleasant, just somewhat foreign - like somewhere between a lightly hopped amber and a black IPA. Curious. I'm intrigued. The rye notes here are surprisingly deep; I don't usually pick up on rye but I do get it here. This is one of the few beers brewed with rye that you could hand me blind and I'd bet that I actually would pick up on the rye. Though it's more hoppy than, say, a German style roggenbier. I think the combination of the hops and the grains is what has me puzzled; it's not quite seamless but it's definitely well balanced. No yeast character or alcohol is detectable.

T: Hm. I like it, but it's not easy to file into a clear category. There's definite hop flavour here, with some grassy hops, light floral hop character, and more dank light oily hops. I like the hop character overall; I'm glad I don't get the pine or nectar of the aroma. But it's still missing something. On the malty end, you've got lots of grainy character and light cereals. Rye is in there, along with touches of rye bread. Caramel is quite forward here. Light amber and biscuit malts fill out the body and give it a bit more complexity. I'm not getting any yeasty character or alcohol, which is a good thing. It's nicely creamy, too. It's got notable complexity, but I'm more impressed with the subtle interaction between the dank somewhat oily hops and the thick bready grains; they go really well together. Balance is good. The finish is heavy rye; the hops have faded by that point. It's an interesting beer. I'm not sure I've had one quite like it before. Some of the best use of rye I've experienced, to be sure. Really liking this one, but it's not bringing as much flavour or complexity to the table as it would need to to really be great. Not too bitter nor too sweet.

Mf: Chewy. Moderately thick. Good smoothness and wetness, but there's enough coarseness to let the flavours come through. Slightly overcarbonated, but there's no sharpness or bite to it. Good body and depth of flavour. Good presence on the palate. Nicely soft. I'd stop short of refreshing, but it's pleasant to drink. Love the creaminess especially. Complements the flavour profile quite well.

Dr: A welcome oddity from Great River - a brewery I intend to investigate more. ABV is quite well hidden here and it's very drinkable. I'll enjoy killing the whole point by myself. Don't expect a pale ale when you crack this one open; the rye really distances it from that designation. Still, it's not a roggenbier in the traditional sense. Not sure where to classify this one - and I think that's a good thing. Love the experimentation. I'd recommend this to friends, but I wouldn't know how to adequately explain what it is. Any fan of trying different beers would do well to give this one a spin. I owe Duff27 for the opportunity to try it.

High B-

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Photo of barnzy78
3.61/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

3rd try with this one, and as much as I want to like it more, I can't. It's still good though.

16oz can, pours ruby/chestnut in color with a foamy tan head that holds great retention and leaves thick, chunky lacing on the glass - impressive. Aromas are malty caramel, peppery rye, citric hop. Tastes seem to be muddled, very earthy, rye, herbal, fresh dank hops, resinous citrus & evergreen. Full bodied, creamy and smooth, rather chewy, yet oily and resinous. Alcohol is very well concealed for 9%. Overall, like I said earlier: I want to like this more. I feel like the hops could be brighter and stand out more. It just seems to be too one note for me. It's not bad at all, but just seems to be missing something.

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Photo of dbossman
3.2/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Reddish brown hue with an enormous cream-colored head

S: The rye and the hops not surprisingly steal the show: some grapefruit and pine and weed--more the latter of the two with the spicy slightly malty grains and rye sneaking up behind

T: Something is not quite right here; I like the rye and the piney hop resin is there too and that's good but there is a medicinal and slightly buttery flavor in the finish--not to mention the prevalent alcohol flavors that make this beer finish in a way it shouldn't

F: Sticky and oily like it should be with medium overall body

O: This is a strange beer; I love Great River and I love everything about this beer except it's taste...but that's a pretty important part--there's just something not quite right for my taste here

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

Poured from 16oz tallboy into Globe glass.

A. Pours 2 fingers of off white head. Thick lacing. Good retention. color is very dark brown.

S. Rye, hops, caramel, brown sugar. Smell is sweet with piney hops. Interesting aroma, complex and intriguing.

T. Taste is a pretty nice balance of full rye caramel malt with some piney hop taste. Get a really rich flavor from this beer. Has a nice earthy quality to it.

M. Full bodied. Medium carbonation. Lingering sweetness and a little bitterness.

O. This is the 4th beer I have had in the 4pack, and the one I am reviewing. I have to say this beer has kinda grown on me. Its something different, which at first I didn't like but now I have to say I do.

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Photo of Pintofbrown
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this hip-hop-a-topamus in a shaker pint.

Appearance- This frothy and beige head grows to an impressive two fingers before settling in at about one. The lid is velvety smooth with very few bubbles.

The depths of this body are a dark ruby with some caramel highlights that shine at the edges of the glass, a very nice looking beer.

Smell- This rye beer exhibits an earthy, almost peaty sweet quality. I also pick up a caramel sweetness that blends with an herbal tea flavor. I like the smell of this one, different.

Taste- The smooth caramel sweetness makes up the backbone of this offering. Then the waves of hop flavors start to smash-up the palate. There is resin, herbal tea, and a little earthiness.

As for bitterness, that hits about mid-drink and carries well into the finish. I think it is well done, and seems big for 99 IBU's.

Mouth feel- This one is smooth. Oh so smooth! It has a big medium body, which I love in hoppy pales. The dryness is also well done.

Overall- This beer is different. The herbal quality and the sweetness do go hand in hand to make a unique palate of flavors. I feel this beer would be hit or miss with most people. If you want to try a hoppy pale, why not Hop A Potamus?

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.69/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Great river brewery hopapotamus - pours a very dark, clear, chestnut brown with red edges and a bubbly light brown head. The nose is interesting, it's a bit light but there is some notes of chocolate and roasted malts. There is a nice rye spice between the malt and hop transition as oily, resinous, citric hop. The taste has the pronounced rye with chocolate malts accompanying. Fairly roasted with a lighter hop presence than the nose. Basically just a light citrus and faint bitterness. A bit thick and syrupy with a lighter carb but soft feel. Pretty enjoyable balance here.

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Photo of kawilliams81
4.04/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16 oz can into a Bell's tulip.

A- pours a dark amber with a 1 finger tan head. Minimal lacing on the glass.

S- tons of citrus and amazing rye spices.

T- rye spice with some citrus.

M- medium body and carbonation. Some dryness at finish.

O- aroma raised expectations but flavor was a let down.

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Photo of mothman
3.57/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a finger of tan head. Good retention. Color is a dark mahogany brown.

Aroma: A big amount of rye and spice. Biscuit flavored. Floral and earthy hops. This thing is very hoppy. Orange citrus as well. Caramel with some chocolate.

Taste: Mimics the nose, but much more hoppy. Very juicy and hop resiny. Also a bit more caramel malt.

Mouthfeel: Bitter and sticky. Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Ends sticky.

Overall, a pretty solid rye beer. Definitely drinks like a dipa. Very hoppy. I dig it. One can at a time, however. Too sticky.

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Photo of Scotchboy
3.76/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pint can (awesomeness) poured into a Sam Smith pint glass - another beer sent from Aaron (thanks man).

A: Very dark brown and red...great lacing from a perfectly tightly-bubbled creamy tan head.

S: Lots and lots of rye here...toasted grain, and bready...piney, herbal hops, touch of sweeter alcohol and even some dark fruits.

T: Dank earthy hops, spices and spicy rye malt, bready, herbal...hints of wood and nuts as well. Unique brew.

MF: Nearly full bodied in its creamy and chewiness. Spicy and moderately bitter.

O: Labeled correctly as a rye beer instead of an IPA/DIPA; the hops, though they mix well with the spicy malts, aren't really at the forefront on my palate. Nice beer anyways.

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Photo of FreshHawk
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep, slightly murky garnet brown. Full, thick, large, pillowy, cake batter, off white head. Very nice retention leaving a nice sticky lace.

S - Interesting mix of fruity and citrus pine with a dark malt. A bit of a dark fruit and subtle fruitiness. A bit of a rye and earthiness as well. Hard to place exactly the style and aromas.

T - Strong pine flavor with some grapefruit/citrus. Slightly juicy flavors. There is a slight dark malt, earthy rye kind of flavor. Caramel malt and a slight sweetness.

M - Medium body with below average carbonation. Somewhat thin with a bit of a stickiness.

D - Pretty nice drinkability. Doesn't fit any style really, but there is a nice mix of dark/rye and hops. Lingering bitterness.

Notes: Interesting beer. Doesn't fit perfectly in a style for me but it is enjoyable. Mouthfeel is a little off, but it doesn't detract too much from enjoying the beer.

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Photo of maximum12
3.3/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

All tingly to find a new rye beer showing up in Minnesota, especially one that might be around with some regularity. Now, it just can get all Scott Klingenbeck on me. Nice juicy 16 oz. can.

Poured into a gallon-holding snifter, the brew is a deep red bordering on light black. Nose almost smells like a wort in progress, very rye, unvarnished, The advertised hops are missing.

Hop*A*Potamus doesn't shadow the nose at all. First comes a huge mouthful of earthy dampness that eats the hops & rye alive. The rye gets disgested & shat out by the dankness, with spare breadiness & a flash of spice. The hops bite but are creamed over quickly. Hops do reassert themselves on the finish, but only as a middling bitterness with flavor lacking. The soiliness looms over all.

Not bad, but not what I was hoping for; the can tells a great tale that the beer doesn't back up. Too much farmland soil for me; pretty good, but won't be a repeat buy.

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Photo of yamar68
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a copper red with a healthy cap of tan head. Slow, steady beading and good lacing. The nose is earthy with layers of citrus, like fresh squeezed tangerine all smothered in caramel. There's quite a pine bite on the tongue that transitions through rye and toasted grains. Drawn out, bitter afterburn. Overall, this beer isn't perfect but it's complex enough to keep things exciting.

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

from a pint can

A- pours a clear but dark mahogany color with garnet hues, a tan head and sticky lacing

S- rye, hops and malts

T- rye first with piney citrus hops, nice spice additions malts and bread, a great taste

M- good carbonation with with nice rye and hops its rich and creamy but not a heavy brew

O- very drinkable with the ABV well hidden its rich and hoppy with loads of rye hops and spices, well done delicious

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Photo of match1112
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

massive three finger tan head sits atop a reddish brown body. retention and lacing are slightly better than average. smell is mostly rye. hop flavors come out on the tongue. wanna say citrus and pine in there, but taste is dominated by spice from the rye. mouthfeel is kinda thin and almost watery, which is weird with the amount of carbonation in this can. a little oily and a dry spice finish. overall this is a decent rye beer that i will probably buy again.

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Photo of Tuey13
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a nonic pint glass from a 16oz can with some eye catching artwork.

Appearance - a very dark brown color that looks to have a deep crimson color when held up to the light. A nice thick one finger head that sticks around for a while.

Smell - I definitely smell that this is a rye beer as that is the first thing that dominates, then the piney and citrus of the hops come through. I also smell a sweet caramel with a little chocolate.. Some dark fruitiness as well. The smells seem complex and changing. Seems to be much going on here in my opinion.

Taste - I just love the taste, a great rye flavor with a perfect amount oh hops to make this a very well balanced beer. A hint of sweetness goes well with the bitterness from the hops and the earthy taste of rye. Love this combination!

Mouthfeel - Rich, creamy, and smooth... Not too thick or heavy but more than an average pale ale. Leaves that oily richness in my mouth afterwards.

Overall - I was impressed. Such a complex meld of flavors gave me a very pleasant experience! I will definitely be getting more if possible. If you love hops.. Try this! Something unique!

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.15/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to AndrewK for sharing this one at jmgrub’s tasting.

Pours a clear brown with a foamy tan head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, rye, and spice notes. Taste is the same with some herbal and medicinal hop flavors. There is a medium amount of bitterness with each sip. This beer has a low level of carbonation with an almost flat mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty average beer with a very muddled and somewhat dirty taste.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16 oz. can poured into a shaker pint. Thanks to GraniteSkunk for a 4 pack of this one.

Appearance - Pours a dark brown with reddish tint through the light. Not much of a head, so it actually fits in my glass. Still manages to sustain some good lacing.

Smell - I get hops, but the rye smell is dominant. Heavy rye character. The malt almost smells raw, if that makes sense. Reminds me of the smell of a brewery.

Taste - Much hoppier in the flavor than the smell. Pine and grapefruit, but it again takes a backseat to the rye flavor. Solid rye flavor all the way through. Finishes with a heavy dark malt caramel flavor that verges on chocolate. Medium bitter finish.

Mouthfeel - Slick and kinda heavy. Definitely doesn't drink like a pale ale, as it is labeled. Much more a heavy brown ale with tons of rye. The bitter finish maybe lightens it a bit, but it's still a slow one.

Overall - This was previously categorized as an IPA here, which is totally wrong, no matter what the can says. This is a heavier rye beer that's hopped, not an IPA with rye. Solid rye flavor and a decent hop back, but it's not anything special.

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Photo of morimech
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a dark crimson color with two fingers of head that had good retention before settling to a thick cap. Moderate amount of sticky lacing is left on the glass. Funny, it does not look pale. WTF were they thinking with the Double Dark Pale Ale discriptor?

Smells like 4:20 at the local high school. Dank and earthy hops dominate. Muted rye makes its appearance as well.

Very hop forward flavor. Dank and bitter is prevalent. Some rye spice and more earthyness from hops. I would of liked more rye and less hops here. Lingering bitter, dank aftertaste. No sign of the ABV.

The poorest carbonated Great River beer. Do not know what they were going for or what went wrong with the canning. Just poor life in this beer. Big bodied, bitter beer. Does not excite the palate.

Certainly not the best rye beer on the shelves. But no others are priced $6.99 for four pints either.

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Photo of jjanega08
4.43/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

No freshness dating.

A= Pours a deep deep brown color almost a black. when held to the light it's a nice deep amber mahogony color with a head on it that holds some solid retention at a finger high and some nice sticky lacing on the side of the glass.

S= The smell is a nice pungent hop aroma with a floral character to it and a citrus bite. The rye comes through in the nose in a beautiful way with some nice character. One of the best plain rye smells I've come across besides Summits unchained rye.

T= The flavor follows the nose very well. FIrst a ton of hops hit you bringing a somewhat crushing bitterenss before a smooth creamy rye character comes through. The finish is all rye and the taste lingers with a hop bite mixed with rye on the back of the tongue. A really nice mix of the two characters.

M= Tight and creamy. Not something I ususally find well done in an IPA unless it's on cask. This is carbonated great.

O= This beer is a home run. I wish it were easier to find because I would be drinking this a looot more often. Came out of the blue and I picked it up on a whim because the can looked cool and the unusual sticker over a plain can feel. Works very nicely and I hope to be able to find some more of this sometime.

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Photo of bennetj17
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark mahogany with hues of amber. Thick, lasting tan foam with sticky lace. The nose is fairly hoppy but what jumps out is a tangy fruit bite, almost raisiny with some berry qualities. It's interesting but I'm sure sure I dig it that much. I'm getting some Chinook character and the malty backbone makes it smell like an Imperial Red Ale. I don't really sense the rye but hopefully the flavor will be there.

Rich, dark, bready malt taste. Doughy but without being very sweet. The hop flavor is not the dominant feature here, but there is definitely alot of bitterness imparted. The rye does come through nicely and helps leave that dry finish. Not much alcohol flavor. Lightly chewy mouthfeel with adequate carbonation.

From the name I was expecting a pure hop monster, but instead this is a malt attack with a big hop balance. I like that it's hefty without being too sweet, although it still could be a bit more refined. Not sure the price on this thing since my buddy sent it to me, but I imagine it's a good bang for your buck. Actually, thinking about it more this beer reminds me alot of Arrogant Bastard. If you like that then you will probably like this.

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Photo of jera1350
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cool name and cool label art. The description of this one sounds like it's right up my alley so I had to try it.

Very dark crimson color that lets some light through. Is is just me or do canned beers tend to have really fluffy soft heads full of foam? I mean that in a good way. This one is no different and it comes in a light khaki color.

Very complex nose that is filled with dark fruits. Prune, plum, blueberry, raisin, fig, candi sugar and rye. The hops seem to take a bit of a back seat to everything else or maybe they are creating some of them?

Such a pleasant flavor. So very approachable with the above mentioned dark fruits, but more of the rye comes into play here. It adds spice and roast to the flavor. The malt seems to have an equal balance with the hops here which add a nice resiny pine flavor.

Medium bodied, but the carbonation is just velvety soft on the tongue. It adds a nice pillowy/creamy feel to the beer.

This is a very impressive beer. It fits nicely into the Rye IPA field (or in this case Rye IIPA) and it's drinkability is terrific. There is not possible way I would have guessed this was 9%. Drinks more like a 6-7% beer. Both of the beers I have had from this brewery have been outstanding. They are putting out some very impressive things and I look forward to trying more.

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving type: 16-ounce can. No freshness date.

Appearance: Poured into a nonic pint glass. The color is dark caramel. The beer is very carbonated and lively, and three fingers of slightly tanned head dissipated slowly.

Smell: It is a brown/pale hybrid with some rye mixed in. It is pretty spicy and neither the malts nor hops stand out; everything blends well. Caramel, chocolate, muted grapefruit citrus, dark fruits, and bready rye.

Taste: The mouthfeel is not “full” bodied as the label advertises but it is pretty smooth. Weighing in at 99 IBU and 9 percent ABV, I was expecting a powerful punch. However, Hop•A•Potamus is very balanced and tame. Sweet caramel, chocolate, cherry, raspberry, plum, toffee, grapefruit citrus, metallic hops, and a little rye. The bitterness comes on slowly; it is definitely a “creeper.” The alcohol is completely hidden. Completely. There is not a single hint of it.

Drinkability: The can says Hop•A•Potamus will charge if provoked. Frankly, I think that is more of a recommendation than a warning. This is definitely a beer you want to provoke.

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Photo of Beerlover
5/5  rDev +29.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a beast of a beer, just like the creature it's named after! Smells oddly sweet for an i.p.a. Has a medium reddish brown color with a beautiful off white head. Initial taste slightly hopped with wallops of rye. Feels lightly carbonated and semi smooth on the mouth. taste like nothing i've ever had b4... like a mindblowing expirience! Aftertaste is phenominal! All the ingrediants in this beer are perfectly balanced and its hard to believe this has an alchohol content of 9%! Great gloriousness from Iowa, chalk another one up next to their "Redband coffee stout"! I love it!!favorite beer of the year (thus far prolly till surly's "wet" comes out). amazing.

p.s. tried this againg a few months later to see how it had aged.... not bad but not nearly as good! DRINK THIS FRESH!!!

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Hop*A*Potamus from Great River Brewery
3.85 out of 5 based on 100 ratings.
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