Terrapin Big Hoppy Monster | Terrapin Beer Company

591 Reviews
Terrapin Big Hoppy MonsterTerrapin Big Hoppy Monster

Brewed by:
Terrapin Beer Company
Georgia, United States

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.

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Reviews: 591 | Ratings: 866
Photo of MargaritavilleOH
4.95/5  rDev +21.9%
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.

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Photo of UnionMade
4.92/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thank to UncleFlip for the bottle. An unexpected treat!
Pours a hazy mahogany, nearly opaque, topped with a modest almond colored head. Good head retention, lace clinging to the glass in large blobs. Surprising aroma. Very deep, earthy hoppiness, glinting with citrus and pine. Fudge drizzled with caramel, and a bit of apple crisp. I've never had a combination similar to this that really worked well, but this feels seamless, all the scents mingling together effortlessly. The flavor follows suit, the first sip instantly taking hold of the tastebuds, finally letting go long, long after the glass is drained. A slick, almost oily body coats the tongue with cake frosting sugariness. Chocolatey, but mostly caramel, a vague, undefined roasty character. Earthy, orange citrus hop juice gushing everywhere. Apple pie, or probably more accurately apple crisp fruitness. Hints of peach and something like...russian dressing? Sounds wierd, but that's what I'm getting. Good thing I'm a fan. Kinda meaty, too. Incredibly complex for such a hop driven beer. The finish retains some sweetness, moving into a more toffee like character than up front, blistering with hops, hops and more hops. Bitterness is high, but within reason, juicy as hell with a spicy, citric, piney, woody feel. Pretty much runs the gamut of hop flavors. Finishes with a lick of booze, the hop flavor coating the tongue long after the beer is finished. Reserved carbonation forges through the heavy body adequately, without being too nervous about the job. It keeps a very smooth, surprisingly soft and drinkable feel, while packing in the maximum amount of flavor in 12 ounces of big hoppy joy. Goddam this is great shit.
I'd heard this was good from a variety of folks, but it's really a stunning beer. I'd say one of the best, richest brews I've had in a long, long time, certainly of this style. Apparently R.E.M. isn't the only treasure to come out of Athens, GA. Completely boss. The tops. I can't speak highly enough.

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Photo of chaz410
4.85/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

OH my god this is an amazing beer! First point of buisness, Thanks a million to Dustin from the Terrapin marketing team for letting us try this and also the 2007 version, I am honored to drink your beer!
OK lets just say this beer pours like a perfect beer. It is Dark, Amber, Light head that's defined but not overwhelming.
The nose is amazing! It is an amazingly sweet Hoppy smell without the bitter notes and a smooth underlining malty note that really lets the smell sustain for a while.
THe taste is unique to say the least. It has a high palate barlywine-like sweetness but really sends home the hops with a nice blend of malts so it hits all the wonderful notes of spicy hoppyness without venturing into the bitterness. The malts really round out the flavor. In the 07 version it is nearly impossible to say there's a "spike" of hops but more so a wonderful rise of spice with a good smooth rounding from the malt (fantastic).
The drinkability is for everyone but I would recommend it for anyone who is a decently well developed beer fan

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Photo of DeaconBluez
4.84/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I heard so much about this brew through the fellows at free the hops, i had to check this one out. glad i did...

it pours a very brownish-amber. the head on this was very, very thin.

the smell: pine, hops, and some cintrus (orange and tangerine and grapefruit)...and more hops and pine. i could sit here and smell this brew for a while.

taste- the hops slams you pretty good on this one. alcohol is pretty evident on this, which may turn some away, but doesn't really bother me. the pine and oranges and grapefruit come back for appearance on the taste as well.

mouthfeel: i love love the way this is kind of oily and creamy in the mouth. it coats the mouth, leaving you tasting the hops on this for awhile after you sip this.

drinkability: i could drink this beer all night. this is by far one of the best double ipas i have had in long time. i am glad atlanta's so close to birmingham because i will be making several trips over to have this one frequently. a definite must have for ipa/hop lovers.

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Photo of Emerson1310
4.83/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

These just showed up at TW here in Springfield. Terrapin is rapidly becoming a favorite brewery of mine!

A: coppery-red in glass, clear, not foggy, 4-finger golden brown head and when glass is tilted the lacing is solid. Very active carbonation.

S: Caramel malts, some grapefruit, pine and resin-hops.

T: Delicious!! Little to no bitterness, but very smooth throughout!! Definite strong hop-flavor, combined with some citrus, resin, tannins and tobacco. Finish is super smooth, and no hop build-up or bitterness build-up.

M: Fairly creamy-thick and pleasant.

O: I bought five 4-packs of this stuff after tasting it, and as with all their other brews, this will be a repeat offender!! Another great beer from the turtle!!

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Photo of KevinBrewer
4.82/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Hazy brownish red with a big creamy tan head that lasts, leaving spidery lacing.

N- Smells like a bourbon-barrel-aged beer. Big vanilla aroma meshes with a mouth-watering oaky booziness. A touch of dark herbal hops and bready malt in there as well. And way in the back, there is the faintest whisper of roasted grain husk.

T- Big sweet toasted caramel malt with an nice oaky booziness to it. Just a hint of roasted grain in the background. Surprisingly smooth. Not much in the way of bitterness, just enough to balance the huge malt base. The hops really play a supporting roll, with dark herbal tones adding complexity to oak. Finish is fairly long, pleasantly boozy and oaky with a soft clean bitterness. A touch of grain husk in the aftertaste.

M- Medium bodied, very creamy, silky mouthfeel. Moderate carbonation with a bittersweet finish.

D- Overall, a fantastic brew. Really polished and elegant. The hops are definitely a highlight, but the emphasis in the name should be on 'monster.' Although, this is vintage 2010, so I'm curious to see what it would taste like fresh.

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Photo of RustyDiamond
4.8/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had a pint yesterday at the Brick Store Pub. Simply gorgeous in the glass. Very dark reddish brown with a glowing tan brown head. Aromas of molasses/toffee & grassy hops. Syrupy fresh hop nose hit me first, then the super balanced semi-sweet malt. Perhaps cocoa? Great lacing in the glass. Noticeable twinge of alcohol in the cheeks. Like the name implies, monster hoppy finish.

Hard to describe how much I loved this beer yesterday! My favorite version to date. Definitely one to drink, and drink again on draft. Totally different ballgame than it's cousin in the bottle, as most great beers are.

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Photo of NuclearDolphin
4.8/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a 12oz Tumbler Glass; Beer Courtesy of a beer mail I received VIA beer swap

Appearance - Extremely Cloudy Dark Brown color with no variation in color throughout the glass. Heads is around 1 finger width with an aggressive pour. The head itself is slightly brown with a filmy look to it that looks very inviting.

Smell - There's a Rum Raisin smell with some caramel, maple & brown sugar, along with some mild floral hops There's a very slight spicy scent to it, which gives the beer a distinct feel. It's a pretty sweet smelling beer.

Taste - The malt is very strong with this one, probably one of the strongest malty backbones I've ever tasting. There are so many flavors going on here at once. There's the very sweet Rum Raisin at the front, followed by the brown sugar and caramel. The floral hops are slightly more prominent in here as well. There's a spicy twang to the flavor, which warms you up almost immediately.

Mouthfeel - It's fairly heavy bodied but the carbonation is well regulated so it adds more to the flavor. It feels fairly creamy but the word "smooth" better describes the overall mouthfeel.

Overall - While it's not the "Big Hoppy Monster" that it claims to be, this is still easily one of the tastiest beers I've ever had! The flavor is rich and complex, the aroma is very inviting and it's relatively easy to drink. Beer conessiours of all backgrounds will find something to like about this.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.8/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The 2006 version reviewed on the day of the release. I did not realized how much I missed this. Rich, deep red color, and a decent head give this beer a stately apperance. The smell is mild for a DIPA, but that is not due to a lack of hops in the nose. Instead the caramel malts just seem to smooth things over more than normal. The taste is a little more hoppy than last year, and this seems to make this a more brilliant creation. Love the way this just glides across the tongue. Scary drinkability for a beer so strong. Before I finished my first bottle, I had to get the second one out of the fridge and warming a bit. I am not sure I will be drinking anything else for a while. For those of you that were able to cellar this, you have more restraint than I. Once this monster is in the house, I seem to be drawn to it.

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Photo of Langston
4.79/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'd had Terrapin's Rye Pale Ale and liked it. Saw this one and was, at first attracted to the alcohol content. The red color surprised me. Fantastic hoppy bouquet. The taste was an even bigger surprise, though a pleasant one. It filled my mouth... and my heart with joy.

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Photo of 0tt0
4.76/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 edition poured into a Duvel glass...

Pours a dark, ruby red, almost like a richer cranberry. The head is a loosely-bubbled cap that slowly diminishes down to nothing, but a quick swirl of the glass and it's right back up again. The nose is very exciting, with rich, bready malt quickly apparent and a tingly hop note of pine and citrus coming through. Amazing... The first taste is beautifully malty (a hint of chocolate?) giving way to a snappy bitter finish. One of the most amazingly balanced big beers I've tasted. Mouthfeel is luscious and tongue clinging. A true accomplishment!

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Photo of B891
4.75/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a gorgeous dark brown with two fingers of beige head. Smells of hops and fruit. Dark roasted coffee and chocolate notes as well. Leaves an nice lacing around my glass.

The chocolate/coffee notes envelope the tongue as the pungent hoppiness settles around the mouth. There is definitely sweetness to balance the bitter: a very good blend there. The mouthfeel is quite good. It feels heavy and creamy with the right amount of bitter bite from the hops. A little alcohol is present. A quarter of the way through drinking it a thin layer of head remains, and above that is artful lacing.

There is a strong malty/toffee aftertaste that compliments the beer as it leaves the palate.

This is an excellent beer. It was around $10 for a four pack, but well worth it.

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Photo of ryrust5301
4.75/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer has a bit of everything and it's all good. Dark mahogany color which almost gives it a strong ale or imperial red look. Thin layer of hop induced head shot up on top. Deep malt with sweet flavors only adds to the rye and hops that are up front. Very well layered beer, as it manages to remain crisp and smooth in the mouthfeel, all the while maintaining a nice medium body. The taste is just what i'd want from a malty red ale. Nice bit of spiciness mixed in with the hops. Flows together perfectly into a sweet sticky caramel malt that coats the tongue. A great beer that is extremely drnkable on a cool fall night.

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Photo of JayS2629
4.73/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Deep dark mahogany, murky with one inch thick creamy tan head that leaves beautiful creamy sea foam lacing.

S- Biscuit, caramel malts with grassy whiffs and sugary notes. Deep resiny pine tones with hints of citrus.

T- Deliciously sweet caramel and toffee on the front. Rich honey notes and biscuity middle with a nicely bittered grapefruit, citrus, and pine finish. Very well balanced. With sweet malts in front and a nice hoppy finish you get the best of both worlds. The sweet isn't cloying, it is nice and mellow and while it tries to hang on it slowly fades into a mellow hop finish. Amazing!

M- Mouthfeel is pleasant, but thick and creamy. Take your time.

D- High in ABV, thick and creamy makes it a sipper. Delicious taste makes it one to be careful with. Very enjoyable and easy to drink.

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Photo of Thickfreakness
4.72/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thank you Brewcrew2010 (Jared & Danielle) for the trade at the Glens Falls Brew Fest)

A- A two finger tan head sits atop a Mahogany/Red brew. Beautiful lacing drips away and never leaves. Sticky, foamy, and thick! This is an Imperial Red?

S- Sweet caramel, toffee, coffee, dark chocolate, figs and roasted/candied pecans. This is a 2009 vintage so the Hops are all but gone.

T- Still a touch of citrus in the taste... but really gets covered up by the sweetness of the roasted barley. WOW!!! I'm really digging the coffee, caramel and roasted nuts!!! I've never had an Imperial Red like this! It's fantastic with age on it... wish I had a fresh one to compare it to.

M- More like a porter or honey brown ale in mouthfeel! Really coats the tongue! A touch of coffee/hoppy bitterness on the tongue, but the sweetness is where it's at with this one! Pair this one with something as simple as coffee cake, or with a decadant 7 layer chocolate cake!

O- This is fantastic!!! I was thinking something completely different before I poured, smelled, and tasted this one! What a nice surprise!

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Photo of hopsaplenty
4.7/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beautiful rubied amber beer is topped with a modest tan head comprised of small and medium bubbles. The head slowly settles leaving decent lacing. There are bountiful carbonation streams with lazy bubbles rising to the surface. The smell is boldly of fruity, crisp hops. The taste is also of these same big, juicy hops up front, but closing with a malt sweetness. There is a spicy/peppery note in the finish as well. Big body and smooth, fine almost non-existent carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel. The hops don’t linger too long. There is absolutely no hint of the 8.3% alcohol. Dangerously drinkable, and well balanced. This was wonderful. Thanks to Ding for the opportunity.

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Photo of doppelmeup
4.7/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was very pleasantly surprised by this beer. I bought a four pack for a trade, and had a couple left so I decided sample one of these higly rated brews for myself.

Listed on BA as a double IPA, I was expecting a bright orange grapefruit/pine/hop bomb. I don't think this style is correct for this beer. The label describes it as an Imperial Red Ale, and this is right on the money.

The beer pours a dark amber red into a pint glass with a rich, thick head that slowly fades and leaves great lacing all the way doen the glass.

Aromas are full of cut grass and chocolate malt. A strong rye presence and some citrus balance this out. Very multidimensional.

The taste is absolutely awesome! There are so many flavors it's hard to list them all. Chocolate, rye, spicy hops, fruity. Very hoppy yes, but definitely not a hop bomb. This is one of the best beers I've had!

Mouthfeel is both hoppy and dry and slick and malty at the same time. The high ABV is completely hidden.

Overall, this is one of the best beers I've had. It just screams DRINK ME! Don't pass this by if you see it on the shelves!

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Photo of rapidsequence
4.7/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle.

Appearance: Hazy reddish brown. The head is 1 finger or so at first and fades very slowly. The lacing in my snifter is incredible. I can tell from the way this beer looks alone that it does not belong in the "amber ale" category.

Smell: If you blindly smelled this, amber ale would be nowhere in your mind. It smells incredible and complex. Big, huge caramel malts and grapefruity, piney hops.

Taste: Big flavor. Bitter hops with almost sweet grapefruit and pine. The malt backbone is huge, sweet, and caramelly. The bitterness almost completely fades by in the back and the finish is long, sweet, and malty.

Mouthfeel: Pretty full and thick. A little creamy.

Drinkability: Its great. Limited only by the ABV. Again, its unfair to call this an amber or a red. But its a delicious beer no matter what you call it.

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Photo of GruvisHops
4.7/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: 12 oz. brown bottle with the turtle I know and love wielding the controls of a smokin'-ass Hot Rod. A clear, deep, dark red liquid rests beneath a glut of off-white foam that leaves nice patches of lace down the glass.

S: The nose is fantastic. Hoppy citrus and pine up front with a truckload of caramel maltiness coming in right behind it.

T: The malt profile exudes caramel with some bready notes intermingled. This beer is loaded with big malty flavors, however, the hops aren't hidden one iota. The balance is perfect. The piney, citrus hop flavors and bitterness come through beautifully. Right now, I can't think of a better balanced beer off the top of my head. Brown sugar lingers on the tongue in the finish.

M: Medium-Full

D: Huge on the malts + huge on the hops = Goes down very quickly? YES! Very smooth and wonderful balance make it possible. This is a hophead's delight.

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Photo of NCBeernut
4.7/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep reddish brown, with a one-finger head that settled to a paper thin layer leaving a more prominent ring. Carmel apple smell with big resinous slightly piny simcoe aroma. This is much more balanced than I was expecting from the name, but definitely lots of American hop aroma and flavor, and not lacking in bitterness. Carmel apple taste up front, with toffee and a tiny bit of chocolate near the end, all balanced by some hoppy bitterness that never really takes over. All kinds of hop flavors going on - more on the piney and earthy side, but with some notes of citrus. Doesn't seem like 8 percent at all. Goes down smooth. I could drink plenty of these, no problem. Great job by Terrapin. I plan on buying more of this for sure....on a side note, I really don't think this should be classified as a DIPA.

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Photo of brdc
4.69/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks markgugs for this 2007 version, small capped bottle poured into a pint glass.

Dark orange with crimson highlights, it has a foamy white head that dissipates rather quickly leaving little to no lacing; perhaps its only significant flaw.
Intense, rich aroma that starts fruity, floral and hoppy, rapidly evolving into sugary maltiness, with an abundance of caramel and brown sugar.
Full bodied, yet amazingly easy to drink for such a big beer, this is what I had in mind when I had imperial red ale; bitter and hoppy, but well balanced by a fairly sweet caramel maltiness.
An amazingly well balanced, easy to drink yet rich brew. Wish I had more.

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Photo of umustdrink
4.67/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks go to RustyDiamond for this brew...

A - Deep brown color, red around the edges. Head is light brown and fades to a quarter inch. Head is very strong, sticks almost everywhere right after the pour; sticks in small bubbles and thick streaks otherwise.

S - Sweet, citrus fruity and piney hop smell with a very spicy malt balance. Malt are also very caramely with hints of dark fruit. When agitated the aroma becomes very bready and cinnamon-y. Perfect score!

T - Starts dark and fruity, bready, like a dark Belgian. From there it gets thin and oily with bitter hops and dark bready malts. Finish is bready and malty with citrusy hops in the background.

M - Medium consistency and medium to minimal carbonation.

D - This beer is awesome. Smell is amazing, taste is slightly less amazing but still very good. Overall a VERY smooth drinking beer, and very complex. Thank you Rusty!

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Photo of karst
4.65/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Cracking the lid on 2005 Monster Beer Tour Big Hopped Monster Imperial Red Ale has put me atop a latter picking fresh cascade and centenial hops. I am reminded also of Bear Republic's Hop Rod Red.

Pours redish tea with a handsome head of dense persistent beige foam that reaches up the Samuel Smith sniffer sides with attractive lace shapes.
Citrusy grapefruit hops and caramelized 90+ minute boil of a big malty grain bill make this a fine flavored Imperial Red. You have to love the rye. This flavor puts me back in the basement with Joe brewing Mid-Night Red Rye. Damned near perfect hop-grain balance. Mouthfeel and body you expect from 5 lbs of rye in the 15 lb malt bill.

The Tortoise and the Hare

The hare was once boasting of his speed before the other animals. "I have never yet been beaten," said he, "when I put forth my full speed. I challenge anyone here to race with me."

The tortoise said quietly, "I accept your challenge."

"That is a good joke," said the hare. "I could dance around you all the way."

"Keep your boasting until you've beaten," answered the tortoise. "Shall we race?"

So a course was fixed and a start was made. The hare darted almost out of sight at once, but soon stopped and, to show his contempt for the tortoise, lay down to have a nap. The tortoise plodded on and plodded on, and when the hare awoke from his nap, he saw the tortoise nearing the finish line, and he could not catch up in time to save the race.

Moral: Terrapin's Big Hoppy monster wins the race.

Don't be left behind . . . its a winner!!

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Photo of BeerDawgs
4.65/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A vintage 2009 12 oz bottle pored into a terrapin pint glass

A - a cloudy dark amber red. It looks creamy, with a nice head and lace retention.

A - very sweet. Caramel malts overwhelm here. Citrus hops are very present too. Smells amazing

T - Like it smells, the sweets malts are very upfront. Caramel, toffee malts kick in hard and fast. It is then balanced out by the hops. Surpringly, it is not as hoppy as I expected. The hops compliment the crystal malts perfectly.

M - Medium bodied and lightly carbonated. Very smooth.

D - very high drinkability. This is one of my favorite beers, and is the one that turned me onto Terrapin. One of my favorite releases that I look forward too every year!

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Photo of jdg204
4.63/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

During my weekly trek to Abe's Cold Beer in Bethlehem I was thrilled to see they'd restocked on some beers I'd missed out on the past few weeks. One of those was Big Hoppy Monster, my third from the recently arrived Terrapin Beer Co.

Appearance: Lovely dark reddish-brown body with a plump, light beige head that stuck around and left good lacing.

S: Loads of pine, citrus, and dark caramel which are all very well balanced.

T: Starts with a nice dark toffee/ caramel which is then quickly followed by a lovely floral, pine, and citrus support. Very well balanced in the finish with a very healthy yet subtle hop presence.

M: Medium-bodied with goodcarbonation, a very smooth drinker.

D: Quite a brew for my third fantastic experience with Terrapin (Coffee Oatmeal and Depth Charge being the other two). After a series of good red ales, this one definitely set the standard in my book (though I still prefer Nugget Nectar in the Amber Style). This was an incredibley flavorful, balanced, and smooth drinking beer, a true tour de force. Go out and get this brew immediately.

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Terrapin Big Hoppy Monster from Terrapin Beer Company
4.06 out of 5 based on 866 ratings.
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