Big Hoppy Monster
Terrapin Beer Company

Big Hoppy MonsterBig Hoppy Monster
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
American Imperial Red Ale
4.07 | pDev: 10.81%
Terrapin Beer Company
Georgia, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Big Hoppy MonsterBig Hoppy Monster
Notes: Imperial Red Ale.
Reviews: 592 | Ratings: 867 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.44/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was poured into a snifter. The appearance was a nice looking bronzed orange color with a decent one and a half finger white foamy head that dissipated within about a minute. There was some light lacing that slid into the beer. The aroma had some grapefruity/citrusy notes that lent a decent amount of pine entering in as it warmed. The taste had a nice sweet citrusy aspect running over my taste buds. On the palate, this one sat at/about a nice light to medium in body. It proved itself to be somewhat sessionable. The carbonation was somewhat sharp but not overbearing. Overall, I say this was a decent DIPA.

 615 characters

Photo of whitetale
4.54/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As others have said, this is a very good beer. The malt flavor and sugar flavor and mild hops really mix into a very complex and multi-layered beer. Mouthfeel is wonderful. I would definitely buy this again. Worth a try. Overall: a great job.

 242 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.92/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Wowcoolman for sharing this one at jmgrub's tasting.

Pours a murky orange-brown with a foamy beige head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small streaks and dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down either. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, and some mild herbal hop aromas. Taste is much the same with a sweet flavor on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty and easy to drink.

 592 characters

Photo of dsigmon
4.17/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had one of these on draft and took a growler home with me after :)

A: Gorgeous deep amber but little to no head retention.

S: Excuse me for being slightly congested but I caught the sweet malty smell with a nice touch of pine and oranges...need to get over this cold.

T: The first thing I noticed was how well balanced this beer was. A perfect combination of sweet malts and slightly bitter hoppiness, not overwhelming as the name may suggest. A nice finish of vanilla and oranges.

M: Terrapin has something good going with this. I love the thicker mouthfeel and how it layers the tongue.

 595 characters

Photo of AgentMunky
3.73/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into an BrewDog cervoise glass. I am surprised I've not reviewed this before. Unfortunately, this bottle is a little more than a year old. Vintage 2011.

A: Pours very dark, with little to no head. In direct light, it's only lightly translucent, being a pretty solid ruddy brown. Some effervescence, but almost no lacing.

S: Malty-bitter-sweet. Brown sugar and citrusy hops.

T: Very good! Age has hardly diminished the appeal of this imperial amber. It has all the round, fruity maltiness, but with a wicked bitter twist of abundant hops. The aftertaste is smooth and wet, but the hops and the ABV impart a modicum of dryness.

M: Light carbonation, thin body, sticky finish.

O: A good, high-powered beer and excellent amber. Powerful but well-balanced. Recommended; would enjoy again.

 818 characters

Photo of jtd1969
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: - Dark dark, deep amber color, excellent carbonation but no or extremely slight lacing

S - Mainly malt with some burnt sugar and a twist of citrus(very light)

T - Tons of deep sweet burnt sugary caramel style malt with a smooth that bites(Hops linger onto a peppery finish). (Almost like a "light" Barleywine.)

M - Full bodied with medium carbonation and a peppery hops that lingers after the over abundance of deep medium malts

O - Delicious, I highly recommend if you like the style!!!

 494 characters

Photo of TBoneJones
4.58/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2011- scored this while in Florida, early July.
Pours a deep amber, lush thick-finger of a head. Particles of varying size are visible floating in my glass.
Smells fresh and piney, some floral.
Wow nice hoppy bite and thick tasting beer, immediately it balances out with the malt finish. Not usually a fan of "red" ales, but this one certainly is tasting fine. Whatever is going on here to meld the caramel and hop presence is doing it extremely well.
Again this is thick, and the hop bitterness sticks out again, blended well but never to go unnoticed, carbonation great, finishes nicely.
I think I realize why I like this compared with other reds I've tasted: It was sweet just right. I like this type of beer sweet. And it also doesn't hurt that it's somewhat reminiscent of a big IPA. Paired well with a small bowl of ground beef seasoned Mexican-style.  I expected something different, and I wish I had purchased second bottle to try aging this a bit.

 969 characters

Photo of turnerk3
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a delectable deep amber color with a subtle eggshell white head. Unfortunately, the retention is noticeably lacking. However, it should be noted that I am reviewing a batch from 2010. It is always hard to predict what two years of aging will do to a brew.

S: A sweet malty essences comes across rather forcibly. There is a barley-wine similarity. Again, this is probably do to the aging since the ingredients have had more time to combine thoroughly.

T: Exceedingly unique malty sweetness provide a caramel, toffee, sugary flavor which combines nicely with the hops to provide a taste similar to that of a barley-wine combined with a amber ale.

M: Even with the barley-wine sweetness from the malts, it does not finish like a barley-wine. The hops work nicely to eliminate that thickness associated with most barley-wines. This is probably the closest aspect to a true amber ale.

O: After aging for two years, this oddly comes across much different than its original counterpart. It is highly complex and is definitely a beer worth the appreciation.

 1,063 characters

Photo of cwguy5
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - cloudy rusty color with a thin light caramel head that faded quickly to a very thin cap; fair amount of spotty lacing

S - brown sugar, nuts, sweet malts, some hops in background

T - lots of sweet malts with a hoppy bitter edge; some caramel and brown sugar

M - medium bodied with a rich, creamy mouthfeel; a mild bitter aftertaste and moderate linger

O - solid balanced amber. a bit on the sweet side but that doesn't bother me. nice hops profile. recommended!

 468 characters

Photo of CaptCleveland
3.87/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, 2011 vintage as labeled. Thanks zac16125.

Pours a red-maroon, clear elixir, thin tan head remains throughout tasting. Not much lacing.

The hops have left with Elvis. Sweet caramel, sugary, ripened fruits, barleywine action.

Yep, a bit of age on this one. The alcohol has settled and now much barlywine flavor. Nice, though, alcohol sugar esters, caramel, raisin, fig.

A bit under carbonated, smooth.

Have noted this change with DH Double Crooked Tree. Would prefer fresh so the "big hoppy" part of the brew could be appreciated.

 546 characters

Photo of zac16125
4.45/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass
2011 Vintage

A: Pours a hazy mahogany brown, with just under 2 fingers width of khaki colored head.  Fine particulate sedimentation can be seen suspended in the glass. The head dissipates down at a moderately slow rate.  Leaves a good amount of lacing throughout the drink.  

S: Candied sugars, citrusy hops, caramel malt, dark fruits in the form of raisin and fig.  Really nice, but not much hops and doesn't follow the style.  Smells like a Belgium quad, or a barley wine.  I like it though, a lot.  

T: Interesting flavor profile, and actually quite complex. Like the nose there is ton of sweetness in the taste.  Caramel, burnt sugars, dark fruits.  Hop presence is light, and what is there is mostly just some piney bitterness on the backend.  Again, has the flavor profile of a barleywine or old ale.  Excellent taste, as long as you are ok with a beer that doesn't fit the standard amber ale profile (which I am).

M/D: On the lighter side of full bodied.  Moderate carbonation.  Sticky mouthfeel to the point of almost becoming a touch syrupy.  ABV is very well masked, and drinkability is impressively high.

O: Overall, what a nice surprise.  Nothing at all what I expected, or what the name implies, but I really enjoyed this beer and was thoroughly impressed.   It's hard to compare to others in the style, as it's completely different, but I will say IMO its loads better than Nugget Nectar (or really any other amber ale I've had) which I think says something.  I would really like to try one of these fresh.  It still drinks awesomely, but I have a feeling that the palate profile would be very different if it weren't 8-9months old.  If I wouldn't have traded away my other one I would have saved it to do a side by side with a fresh 2012.  I think I'll try to grab some extras of this years to do that in the future. Highly recommend.  

 1,916 characters

Photo of MargaritavilleOH
4.95/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Hands down my favorite beer.

Excellent balance. Not over-hopped, but still bitter. Perfect complement to malt, especially when fresh. The malt is sweeter than I expected, but it really pairs well with the citrusy, bitter hops. The sweetness really comes out if you have a will strong enough to let it age (I prefer the balance provided by the fresh hop character). Beautiful golden amber color and excellent head retension, providing potent citrusy aroma through the entire pint. Head and aroma are perfectly accenuated by a goblet or tulip glass.

Bold in flavor, aroma and alcohol content. Definitely not a session beer. Perfect with pork or beef. Or possibly spicy chicken.

 677 characters

Photo of mvanaskie13
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle at beer heaven, just checked and this is a vintage 2010 brew...

Poured into a tulip shaped pint glass, color is pretty dense, darker amber, I did not decant so there is some residual floating yeast. Head is light tan, pretty frothy, sits well on top with a little lacing.

Smell is pretty vinuous, lots of raisan and muddled fruits with some bittering hops in the background but the malt is mostly upfront.

Taste is odd, I know this is supposed to be a big hoppy amber ale, but it comes through pretty fruity towards something more of a hoppy barleywine. I'm not nocking those things, its still a very tasty beer as the the bit of aging has let some vinous, raisainy qualities to come out - hop bitterness is present but the maltiness overpowers the hop notes i'm triying to pin point.

Mouthfeel is pretty strong on the tongue, edging on cloying but somewhat expected from an aged hoppy beer that presents with some vinous sweet qualities. carbonation has lingered long enough to keep flavors popping after a taste.

Overall, a bit of a surprise beer but the aging and qualities that come through are pretty good - not something i could have several of but a nice beer to taste.

 1,200 characters

Photo of inlimbo77
3.53/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from the 2011 Vintage. Poured into a Deschutes tulip.

A: Pours a very deep dark amber reddish color. Half finger off white head. Fades pretty quickly to a ring around the outside of the glass. Looks like good carbonation. Some alcohol feet are present at that 8%+ level.

S: Smells of bready malts and earthy hops. It's an imperial so not ready to call it old, but smells rather bready. I wish the hops were a little more pronounced.

T: Bready malty mess at this point. Mind you, I am drinking this after a Sculpin, Furious, and Aorta Ale. This just doesn't measure up on the hop scale for me. It's very malt loaded, to the point where that is almost all that I get. There is some hop bitterness at the close of the brew, so you know it's an IPA or imperial.

M: Medium bodied.

M: Medium

 802 characters

Photo of evilkalla
3.92/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving: Bottle into an ale glass.

A: Slightly cloudy amber/brown with a quarter inch of head which vanished pretty quickly. Low level of carbonation.

S: Brown malts with hints of citrus and piney hops. Very IPA-like. Nice.

T: Very malty, with quite a bit of sweetness up front. Bitter hops on the finish. I would like this more if it was a little drier, but it's still pretty good.

M: Has a thick, heavy mouthfeel.

O: I think this would be much improved if it wasn't quite as sweet. Still, not bad.

 505 characters

Photo of wsantas
3.33/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark amber. Slightly translucent.

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

T: Hops, Alcohol, Oak, Bitter, Butterscotch

M: Creamy, heavy, slight burn

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

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

 309 characters

Photo of PatDreadful
4.36/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Victory Tulip.

Appearance: The pour is gorgeous! As the dark chestnut brew hits the glass a wonderful three finger tan head rises up. The retention on this thing is amazing and it laces throughout.

Smell: I really expected to find some more hops here based on the name but was welcomed by the slightest hint of citrus mixed with a combination of sweetness and toastiness. Very good.

Taste: Again I am surprised to find that the hops are not the featured flavor. I was first hit by with the caramel malt which slowly gives way to some earthy tasting hops. Next the huge malt backbone really takes over and you get the flavors that one would look for in a great red ale. All of this ends with the slightest bitter sweetness from the hops.

Mouthfeel: This is interesting. It has a very medium body but tastes very full in the mouth. There is a really nice warming effect that never crosses the line into "hot".

Drinkability: This is a really drinkable brew especially on a cold winter evening. I could easily put a few back without realizing it.

 1,082 characters

Photo of BeerLover99
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: brown/dirty orange, trace tan head,
patchy lacing

S: huge RYE nose, pine, grapefruit, mild spices

T: grapefruit, BIG rye, malt, pine, slick bitter

M: med/heavy body, big oily/sticky mouth

O: POW! Nice one by Terrapin. Will
get again and highly recommend it.


 294 characters

Photo of sidetracked
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby, amber red with a dark cream head. Head dissipates quickly, but lingers around the edges. Clear, but with some very fine particulates.

Aroma is sweet caramel malt, brown sugar, tropical fruit and piney hops with a little alcohol presence. Fairly sweet with a hint of bitterness.

Taste upfront is sweet fruity and piney hops mixed with toasted caramel malts and rye. Sweet caramel malt middle. More bitterness and hops come through at the finish--mix of pine and caramel. The flavor is very similar to the aroma.

Medium body and syrupy with low carbonation. Thick.

Kind of drinks like a lighter barley wine--malty and thick with a good hop presence. Well balanced flavor.


 704 characters

Photo of muletrane
4.07/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Bruery tulip.

A: Pours a murky plum colour. 1 finger of light tan head with tight bubbles and good retention. Decent lacing.

S: Big caramel malt notes dominate the nose. Just a touch of citrusy hop aroma. Smells quite nice.

T: Once again big caramel malt flavor up front with a nice citrus hop flavor on the back end. The finish is a little on the sweet side with a touch of alcohol.

M: Slick mouthfeel overall. Heavy body with low carbonation. Slightly sticky as well.

Overall this is not the "Big Hoppy Monster" I was hoping for. BUT this is still a tasty brew and worth a try!

 631 characters

Photo of TechTriumph
4.17/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage; Poured in a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass.

A - 1/2" of creamy, light tan head that recedes pretty quickly; Dark mahogany/reddish amber color; Cloudy appearance; A little bit of lacing

S - Good, balanced nose here; Piney and citrusy hops along with a big dose of sugar, and a lesser amount of caramel and toasted toffee

T - Very malt forward in the taste, which was unexpected; Loads of sugary malts; A bit of caramel, toasted toffee, molasses, figs, and raisins, with just a faint touch of licorice; Very subtle taste of piney and citrusy hops; The taste overall is very sweet with a bit of bitterness mixed in

M - Low to medium carbonation; A notch above medium bodied; Semi-dry finish; A little warmth from the alcohol

O - Although this beer took me by surprise with the taste, it was highly enjoyable. After taking in the aroma, I was prepared for some big time hoppy flavor. Instead, I was greeted with sweet, dominating malts which had many different flavors that worked well together. The hops may have been more in the background, but they still played a nice part in the overall flavor and weren't too subtle. In the end, the name may have been misleading, but it won't keep me from buying this delicious beer again.

 1,242 characters

Photo of Smakawhat
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
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 keanex
3.55/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a bottle stating vintage 2011. Poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

A: Murky red with sediment in the body. Thin tan head which quickly disappears.

S: Warm and inviting, caramel and toffee notes slight dark fruits in this as well. Very sweet.

T: Caramel and toffee are huge through this, without much hop presence which surprised me considering the name. Sweet and malty, and very warming.

M: Medium to thick bodied with fizzy carbonation coating my tongue.

O: I was expecting something completely different given the name. This is still a good beer, though I feel it will mellow with time and age decently.

 613 characters

Photo of harrymel
3.48/5  rDev -14.5%
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.

 641 characters

Photo of tdm168
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
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

Big Hoppy Monster from Terrapin Beer Company
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 867 ratings