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Terrapin Big Hoppy Monster | Terrapin Beer Company

591 Reviews
Terrapin Big Hoppy MonsterTerrapin Big Hoppy Monster

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

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.30%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Imperial Red Ale.

Added by rajendra82 on 10-09-2004

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 591 | Ratings: 865
Photo of wedge
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Attractive, clear crimson in color with fine, even carbonation - creamy, milky off-white head leaves some irregular webby lacing. Smells dank and deliciously hoppy...oh yeah, its got that great DIPA smell. Citrusy, flowery, piney...leans mostly toward the fruity hops. Tasting it, this seems to have more balance in the flavor. Loads of big, juicy, resinous hops like the smell, but with a hefty brown-sugary sweet malt firmness. The result is a big, sticky, hoppy treat. Nice medium-full mouthfeel is solidly bitter.

This is fantastic stuff...certainly among the top-notch DIPAs. This is the real deal.

Appropriate for review # 300!

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

Deep amber-chestnut color with a amazing clarity, an off-white that settles to a thin cap, and tons of wispy lace.

Very aromatic with slightly burnt caramel and toasted grain. Big hop aroma with citrus and herbal notes. A hint of dark fruit rounds things out adding fig and plum.

Sweet malt up front with caramel, toasted bread, and biscuity malt. Hops step in to balance the sweetness and add great flavors and bitterness - citrus and floral. Alcohol is slightly warming but otherwise hidden. Towards the end there is a final touch of caramel and a hint of fruitiness with fig, plum, and berry. Finishes with a lingering soft bitterness. Very well balanced.

Medium to full in body. Smooth, rich, and chewy. Easy to drink - I can see having a few of these, even with the higher abv. Great flavor and balance.

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Photo of adam42381
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Edition

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a New Belgium globe. Best before date reads Vintage 10AA.

Appearance: Pours a murky dark caramel color with light barely creeping through around the top and featuring a 1-2 finger creamy tan head. Excellent lacing.

Smell: Floral, grapefruit and pineapple hops with candied fruit and sweet caramel malt. Just a hint of alcohol in the background. Smells delicious.

Taste: Floral and citrus flavors up front followed by caramel malt in the middle then a punch of grapefruit hops at the finish. Aftertaste is bitter but not harsh. There's an excellent balance between the malt and hops. The alcohol is very well masked in the flavor.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Very creamy.

Drinkability: Very high drinkability. This is is kind of a sipper because of the elevated ABV combined with the creamy mouthfeel. You wouldn't want to drink too many, but you'll really enjoy the ones you do drink.

Overall: Excellent beer overall. I would highly recommend this. This, along with Lagunitas Lucky 13, is one of the best high alcohol amber ales I've ever had.

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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.

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

Thanks UncleFlip!

Beautiful pour... Dark, deep amber with a 1/2" white head with staying power. Great lacing and stick.

Aroma is wonderful. Hoppy with floral, strawberry, pine, grass... a joy to whiff. Some slight ditchweed, but very slight.

Creamy and citrusy. Very well-done. Not so bitter that you couldn't drink more than one and balanced enough. Some nice sweet tones in this beer. Berry and grapefruit on the drink.

Again, well-done.

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

Heavily hazy body of dark oranged teak wood. Potholed styrofoamed top of lightly yellowed froth that stands nearly an inch. Keeps forever and day while leaving a whole heaping mess of lace across the glass in thick intricate weaves of strings, tiny pin holes, spots, and sheets.

Aroma is lofty and nose welcoming with an unexpectedly sweet tone of citrus, cherry fruity dryness mixed with a deep alluring caramel/toffee twist and a pine-sided loft of spruce wood and needles. As it warms it tenederizes the pine into a lightly fluffy-like grapefruit peel zest, yet maintains its overall woody effect and sweetness.

Taste is big and balanced well with a very nice sweetness of rounded fruity stuff and soft caramel. Overall this sucker is quite smooth with just the right amount of balance in the hops. Complexingly subtle and big with lovely balanced flavors. Descriptively hard to distinguish as it grows in acceptance quickly across the palate. The sweetness is quite nice and more jam and jelly-like but of cookie dough likeness then anything. Fruity and cherryish with dripping caramel drops, vanilla, and brown sugar. Hops are delicate but forward with a simple and subtle balance within with a smallish citrus puff of dried grapefruit, a pile of pine backs up the finish with an ever so faintly placed amount of dryness and barely a nudge of any bitterness. Only a bit of hop oil warmth remains late while the sweetness lingers.

Body is medium to full, smooth, quick, and round. Balanced very well with the sweetness keeping the overall element of flavor letting the hops make their mark when needed. Nearly perfect; as I was hoping for a bit bit more in hop complexity. None the less, this is a spectacular beer built by Terrapin. And wholey drinkable by many empty bottles sitting around.

Thanks again to cashew70 for the hook up of Terrapin!

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Photo of chilidog
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got this fall release via trade, Thanks cashew70. Enjoying this Big Hoppy, with the smoke'n hot rod label, watch'n talla-nascar.

It pours a nice dark ruby red. The head wasn't comm'n to life so I poured alittle harder. A three-quarter inch tan head was formed. Nice retention, nice ring type lace.

The aroma is more sweet malts than hop. Hints of molasses and brown sugar.

The taste is of sweet roasted malts. molasesses, some hop bitterness, carmalized brown sugar, caramel and alcohol. A hint of pepper and spice finish this brew.

The mouth is so smooth. its full bodied, chewy,
bread like, no syrup, with a nice alcohol note from start to finish.

Drinkability, oh ya. very smooth, goes well with food. Not so hoppy to distroy the palate, but more alcohol notes than the name implies. Get some if you can, very nice.

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Photo of Yetiman420
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks RustyDiamond for including this as an extra.

My preference is for my hoppy beers to be unbalanced to the hoppy side with less malt profile. I took that attitude going into this beer and this beer has changed my attitude.

Pours wonderfully foamy and the suds stay consistent during consumption. Excellent mouth feel and the balance of hops to malt is very intriguing and enjoyable.

Very smooth and enjoyable for a higher ABV beer.

A beer, and a brewery, I look forward to visiting with in the future.

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Photo of MSchae1017
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was tasted in a pint glass from a bottle

The beer pours a deep amber with a good sized tan head that fades after a while but leaves a good film the whole way down that laces nicely. The smell is a great mixture of citrusy and piney hops aromas and some malt aromas that are hinting at dark berry fruits (maybe cherries), caramel, and honey. The taste hits you first with the flavor and bitterness of the hops and then finishes out with the malty flavor again with caramel, honey, and fruit. The mouthfeel has a good thickness and a good carbonation and not too dry. Overall, a highly drinkable beer that is in perfect balance.

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

Thanks to hoppedup for this one.

Pours a deep red hue... much darker than the typical DIPAs I'm used to, which may be why they called this an Imperial Red. Nice, thick head which refuses to disipate... light khaki in color. Lots of lacing around the glass.

Huge grapefruit notes complemented by a nice piney aroma... the hops are definitely dominant in this one.... a barely perceptable caramel malt lingers in the back, and becomes slight more dominant as the beer warms.

Wonderfully balanced this one is! I was expecting a hop drop-kick to the palate, and indeed, I got one... but along with it was a solid malty backbone that pushes through the wild citrusy hop to make its presence known. Delicious.

Hop tightness on the tongue, with moderate thickness and moderate carbonation.... creamy and nice.

The 8% is fairly noticeable, but not in a bad way... this just tastes like a big beer... and I love it. Extremely well balanced...I wish Terrapin distributed to Winston... I would buy this one frequently.

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

Poured into a seidel mug.

Pours a cloudy very dark tea color; red tinted brown. Very good looking color. Huge off white head. Head sticks and settles to a two finger wide depth. Massive lace coats and sticks to the entire glass all the way down. The head settles to a nice fluffy island as you drink. Excellent.

Brew smells of big flavors. Huge hops; floral, fruit and earthy/piney hops. Then come the caramel, chocolate maltiness. Wow what a great smelling brew.

Brew is very smooth and balanced. Exceptional mix of big flavors. Big chewy malts here; caramel, chocolate, roasted earthy nuts and grains. Then you get the mulitplie flavors of hops here; floral, earthy, grapefruit and citrus maybe. Brew finishes only slightly bitter. Wow - excellent stuff here.

This is a big tasty brew that looks awesome, tastes awesome and drinks easy. At over 8% alcohol.. look out. Stellar stuff.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.49/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautifully clear ruby-brown color with a fine-bubbled lingering tan head. A nice looking beer.

Mmmmm, smells great! A citrusy hop explosion. This has gotta be dry hopped. Has a large malty backbone, but is still just reeks of grapefruit, lemon, pancakes and clover honey.

Definitely a hoppy monster. Uber-fresh and crisp. Plenty of maltiness, but the hops shine sooo brightly like polaris! Kind of reminds me of Lagunitas lucky 13. Just a fantastic beer...well done Terrapin!

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Photo of morimech
4.48/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks to HeadyHops81 for this beer. I love hopped up red ales and this one certainly did not disapoint. Pours a dark reddish brown color with a big tan head that had excellant retention. The head eventually settles to a thick cap. Moderate amount of spotty lacing is left on the glass. You can tell that this has a large malt bill but it is all overpowered by the hops. I detect citrus, mainly grapefruit, pine, and a touch of herbal medicinal qualites as well. The malt comes more into play in the flavor. Starts sweet with touches of caramel and molassas but then all the hops they put into this beer come alive. Grapefruit and pine elements compliment the malt. Finishes sweet which I do not typically like but I enjoyed the overall effect. Alcohol is detected and is warming stopping just short of hot. Has a bigger body with a creamy, smooth texture. Just enough carbonation to give it life. This beer does not lack flavor from malt or hops. You do not have to have one or the other, but both in one wonderful package. The big nature of this beer and the high ABV are the only limiting factors in drinking this beer. Outstanding!

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Photo of hoppyhobby
4.48/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours to a beautiful opaque reddish-brown color with a course amber head. Great lacing.

S- A sweet floral hoppy aroma.

T - Loaded with hops with a bit of a bite. Hop lovers like me will love this one. A robust body lets you know that you have grabbed a beer with alot of character.

M - Thick and sweet mouthefeel.

D _ A great beer to have on a cold wintery day while taking in a football game. As you finish the first you will probably hope that you have a second on hand, however you probably need to take it slow as a couple these could probably sneak up on you.

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Photo of Vancer
4.48/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

What an awesome pour – deep mahogany red oak topped with a lip smacking ivory head that laces quite nicely. That lil’ yeast sludge on the bottom always rates extra points. Top notch pour.

Good aroma of woody rye, then the quaff – deep pop of earthy hopsickel. Solid taste of malt and rye, a very nice combination for a brew. Try this one and this style – I luv it.

A big thanks goes to blackie in North Carolina for this treat! This guy is a topper!

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.48/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A very murky red/amber body, no secrets revealed here, topped by two level fingers of light beige foam. Good lace.

Candy sugar aroma offers a promise of alcohol, surrounded by a strong sense of bakery bread.

A blast of semi-sweet caramel, with a suggestion of chocolate, careens down the tongue. Earthy hops arrive and build canal walls along the mouth, to contain the bitter smash. Burst of juicy fruit. The alcohol in the nose remains well hidden on the tongue.

Its a full mouthfeel, as in the mouth feels full with this beer. Its a beer that pushes slow movers in a crowded pub aside.

Great drinkability considering the size of it all. Ready for another now.

I love big reds and this is a goody! Seek it out.

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Photo of Stigs
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz poured into DFH snifter

A - yielded an impressive, clean, dense, two fingers of light khaki foam. clinging and lacing as it falls. beer is a cloudy deep burnt amber color. has the appearance of a monster of a beer.

S - clean floral and citrus hops. slight caramel & brown sugar underneath, but the hops are the star, and damn do they smell good!

T - huge hop bitterness right away, then an absolutely massive amount of the caramel malts. some spiciness joins the fray mid sip. love how it starts off as a hop bomb DIPA and ends as a formidable amber, with some barleywine notes along the way.

M - perfectly carbonated to contribute to the flavors, nice and sticky all the way down the mouth and throat. kind of a chewy aftertaste.

D - slowly sipping on it just because there's so much to savor. certainly not getting bored with the "3 in 1" style.

a wonderful offering from one of my favorite breweries. anytime i'm in the mood for a well hopped but balanced sipper with a lot of unique characteristics...this will be one i go to. kudos to Terrapin yet again.

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Photo of blackie
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: The pour yields a 0.5" dark khaki head that gradually recedes. The beer looks brown, but to me seems like a deep, rich red with some brown tones. The label hails it as an Imperial Red Ale, so that's how I'll review it.

smell: Rich red, toffee, and toasted malts upfront with a backing of big, muddy hops and a touch of ethanol. I get a hint of creamy, sugary vanilla, not unlike the cream of a Cadbury egg....though very subtle. Notes of dark cherries in syrup and dark chocolate are found. Smells solid and balanced, yet nice and rich.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is a smooth, low medium. The body is also smooth, silky on the tongue and pretty heavy in weight.

taste: Definately has flavors of a red ale, only jacked up. Rich toffee malts with lighter notes of roasted and toasted malts. There's an earthy flavor as well. Big dull hop flavor with a big, astringent bitterness that increases in strength after the swallow, lingering for a very long time with some dark grainy flavors.

drinkability: Easy to drink, and a nice beer. The alcohol is very well hidden.

4-pack from Whole Foods Raleigh...a best by date of 06407 is printed on the label

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Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass. Pours out a hazy maple syrup brown color. An aggressive pour pulls out a orange creamcicle colored head with various different sized bubbles. After a few sips (or gulps) this beer shows a nice sheet of lacing all around the glass. After it settles for a little bit it almost looks like muddy water from a distance, which is why it didn't get a slightly higher score.

Smell is awesome, biiig time hoppy. Mostly grapefuit citrus and sappy pine, it's all good here. The hoppy aromas certainly back up the name of this beer; but don't be fooled, there's quite a bit of malt going on here. Smells pretty sweet too, certainly plenty of roasted caramel malts, almost a warm sugar smell.

Taste is as equally excellent as the smell. Grapfruitiness again in the taste, but also some additional orange zest. Plenty of pine flavors as well. Name is certainly backed up in the flavor as well, but this brew still has a big malt backbone. So much roasted caramel malted barley here. It doesn't taste bready, but there's sort of an liquor soaked citrus pound cake. So it's stilll pretty sweet after the initial bitter bite. I know I mentioned it, but a slight boozy flavor that's not overwhelming.

Certainly a full bodied beer and surprisingly rich and smooth. Well balanced and BIG on both ends. The yeast particles are visible but not as easily detectable in the the mouthfeel. Very drinkable but I recommend this one to be a sipper. Even though the alcohol is present, the 8.3 ABV is deceiving. Overall this is quite an awesome brew. Only my second Terrapin brew, but I want more!

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep red in color-almost blood like in appearance. Huge, piney and resiny aroma-almost has an intoxicating effect. Big hop favor with a very, very solid malt backbone behind it all. The piney/citrusy quality of the hops is great against the malty, sweet flavor. Great body-velvety smooth. Damn fine beer. Borders more on a US barleywine then a double IPA for me. I sure hope Terrapin comes to MD like the rumor says. Excellent. Thanks to cashew70.

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Photo of gford217
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally get around to rating this local gem.

Pours a deep copper with a short-lived tan head that leaves bit of lacing.

The aroma has a big pine hops kick up front but immediately gives way to a big sweet caramel malt backbone. Interesting nose.

The taste is just as interesting and complex as the aroma. The floral hops and sweet caramel malts fight for dominance in the taste - pine and caramel in a death match for the benefit of my tongue...nice. Great taste.

The mouthfeel is sticky with hops and the malt sweetness with good carbonation.

I've been drinking this for years and have just now gotten around to reviewing it, but this is great, great stuff. I'm going to stock my fridge right now...

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Photo of eclipse54
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 12 ounce bottle from jyounger30; thank you very much for this delicious brew! A 2011 bottling into an Alaskan pint glass...

The pour is a gorgeous, dark mahogany/amber color. Brown and ruby hues dance throughout the body as it sits beneath a centimeter thick layer of cream-colored bubbles that constitute the head. It dissipates slightly faster than I'd hoped, but that's a minor gripe.

The smell begins the wonderful experience that is the Big Hoppy Monster. The toasted malt, toffee, caramel, brown sugar, and bit of hoppy citrus immediately inform me that this is my type of amber.

The taste follows through with caramel, toffee, plenty of toasted malt, some orange citrus, and a subtle hoppy finish (read slightly piney and bitter). The alcohol is completely hidden. While my brian knows that this one should probably be sipped, by mouth prevents that from being possible. This thing was gone before I knew it, and I was very sad.

The mouthfeel is phenomenal; very smooth throughout, and the additional hop presence prevents it from becoming too sticky or sweet on the finish.

This is a very well done amber, and my favorite to date. I probably should have rated it higher still, but I wanted to leave room should I discover something else on/above this level. My only complaint with it is that I cannot buy it locally, for this would be a staple of my fridge. Jay, I cannot thank you enough for this one!

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Photo of goschool
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I received this in a trade from blitz134.

The pour is deep crimson with a thin, spotty head. The nose is loaded with pine along with grapefruit and caramel malts. The hops don't slap you in the face, but this beer has plenty of grapefruit and pine to go around and the caramel malts help give this a sticky, resin taste. This has a lot of what I like in double IPA's. It's too bad this didn't make it out to LA, but hey, I've got one more delicious bottle left! Thanks Chris.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got this bottle in a trade wit...err...this is the one bottle that I moved around and I'm not certain who I got it from. I (think* it was RustyDiamond but if I'm wrong, let me know and I'll give proper credit.

This pours from 12oz bottle a clear deep amber with about a 1 finger head of foam that does shrink some but by the end of session, there's still a good 1/2" layer there. Nice.

The smell is nice and hoppy(citrus) fruity, and there's a good touch of caramel malt there as well.

The taste has a nice hoppy flavour of citrus that isn't overly bitter along with a more than ample caramel malt and some toasted grain tatses. Very nice, particulary with the hops; the ones they are using bring something different to the table as I say, again, there's a very fruity flavour to them and they aren't what I'm used to. Well done indeed.

It has a nice thickish mouthfeel to it and the carbonation is on the low side; it finishes bittersweet and lingers on some time after the swallow.Yikes! This is 8.3%abv?? You could have fooled me as there's almost no trace of it during my session. Very drinkable and a brew I'd love to visit again.

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Photo of matdot
4.46/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Whoa is right with this one. This is a "big" brew in my opinion, hence its name.

Pours a thick creamy head and has a dark brown color with hints of amber. The taste ha, thick hops in here. Think of biting into a big juicy fruit. Terrapin comes out strong with this seasonal. Taste of alcohol is well hidden, but will creap up on you in a hurry.

I have found this most of the year for some reason. I guess they distributed alot of it in the Atlanta area.

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