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.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 591 | Ratings: 866
Photo of HopHeadRyan
2.47/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A - Deep cloudy brownish red

S - Sweet Sweet Malts...NO HOPS HERE AT ALL...if there were...they are long gone...so far not a Monster of any kind...maybe a MALTY MONSTER

T - Redicoulously malty sweet...cloying candied fruit killing my taste buds with only a hint of bitterness...No hops here either...

M - Good carbonation...Full bodied candied syrupy liquid...its like drinking coca cola syrup I imagine

Overall - Unless you can get this one straight from the brewery and super fresh...don't bother...

"Drink local or don't bother" (is my new slogan)!

Freshness is everything with any hoppy beer!


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Photo of MrMcGibblets
2.51/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: deep amber/mahogany w/reddish highlights. the color of red stained wood. very hazy and cloudy. decent light brown head and lacing.
S: not getting the hops in this, either they faded or just weren't there in the nose. rummy, boozy caramel and toffee malts dominate.
T: more rum soaked caramel and dark fruit, moderately sweet with a medium spicy hop bitterness underneath. finishes a bit sweet and spicy.
M: almost full bodied. viscous, but also being well-carbonated is the saving grace here.
D: not so much. very hot and boozy for an 8.3% hoppy (supposedly) red ale.

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Photo of praufs01
2.85/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance – Dark ruby red with an off-white head and decent lacing.

Aroma – Malty and piney.

Palate – Lively carbonation.

Flavor – Toffee and burnt sugar taste with a light citrus hop aftertaste.

Final thoughts – Not a beer that could drink a lot of as it lacks depth of flavor.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.03/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle purchased in Raleigh, $3. This beer was much darker than expected, more brown than amber. The smell and taste were also more barleywine than amber ale or DIPA or whatever it says on the label. I suppose there was a huge malt bill balancing the large amount of hops used on this, and the result was more similar to Bigfoot or other hoppy barleywines than it was to an amber ale (even a hopped up amber ale). I guess I'm in the minority that didn't care for this beer too much.

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Photo of Floydster
3.08/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Provided as an extra from RustyDiamond, thanks for giving me the chance to try this east coast brew

12 ounce bottle, 2007 edition, split with my roommate, poured into my Flying Dog pint glass

A-Deep brownish red color, 3/4 inch light tan head that did not settle for a while, decent retention, some lacing

S-Crazy amounts of malt, figs, prunes, tons of caramel, toffee, very faint hoppy aroma, some floral accents, maple syrup, and brown sugar

T-Too sweet, expected a huge piney hop profile and it is definitely missing, wonder if the few months of age really played a role, dark roasted malt at the beginning with a little bitterness in the middle, ended very sweet with malt and a hint of smokiness, caramel and maple brown sugar were dominant, not balanced, not a hoppy monster in any respect, too much malt for me

M-Smoky and sweet mouthfeel, full body, not enough carbonation, could have used some more hops, taste lingered too long

D-Probably could not even finish a bottle of this by myself, so heavy, high ABV at around eight percent, not smooth at all

First beer from Terrapin, let me down to be honest, hope their Wake-n-bake is better than this one, far too malty and sweet for my liking, probably will not drink again, I guess it is worth trying if you are a fan of imperial reds

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Photo of NYCWheatFanSC
3.08/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours a dark malty brown, with some hints of amber. Pours rather flat, with a fast receding head. Little lacing

S - Not too much of anything going on here. Some notes of light hops, and a bit of roastiness.

T - Strong roasted malt backbone, only lightly accented with a hop profile that leaves a lot to be desired. Again, not too much to write about here as its rather bland.

M - Very slick and oily, although comes off with a little more carbonation than it appeared. Very frothy indeed.

D - Not one I would seek out again, but glad I got to try another of Terrapin's offerings.

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Photo of jmarsh123
3.1/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Sent to me in a trade (Thanks Kevin!)

Pours a very very dark red. Almost brown/copper color. Very thin white head that goes away fast.

Smells of raisins and other dark fruits with some sweet malt/caramel. Very little hop profile in the nose as malts dominate.

Taste is very malt forward. For something called Big Hoppy Monster the hops are nowhere near the malts on this. More raisins and sweet caramel in the taste. Almost a profile of more of a slightly hoppier Belgian than an American red.

Mouthfeel is a little bit low considering the sweetness of the brew. Carbonation levels are med-low.

Really kind of disappointed in this. It's not bad, but I'd expect something with this name to be considerably hoppier than it is and not a fan of the dark fruit profile. I've got some other Terrapin brews that I hope I'll like better.

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Photo of bboven
3.15/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Blood-red, clear body with very little head and no lacing. The color is the exquisite part of this category for sure.

Big, high alpha bitter hop aroma evened out with a biscuity sweet malt balance. I wish there were more aroma hop presence, but still pretty good.

The taste is slightly medicinal and hugely bitter. Again, there's a lot of high-alpha hops going on, but I wish there was some mellower, more flavorful hops happening. The alcohol is pretty well hidden but very warming all the way down. The malt is a little low in the flavor, though.

Slightly, slightly over-carbonated, but I think this one would be really sticky if that wasn't the case. A tiny bit drying and a tiny bit coating, except that it really sticks to the back of your throat.

The medicinal taste and too-singular hop aroma and taste make this one a bit less appealing. Couple that with the price and I don't think I would drink this too often. I may buy one more to let it age a bit and see if the hops mellow and let the malt shine a little more in the flavor as it does in the smell.

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.16/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I'm reviewing this as advertised - DIPA. Call it an Imp red or such and it would improve dramatically.

A - Rich ruby red brew, nice billowy head.
S - Rich malts, candi sugar, ripe fruit and a touch of hops.
T - dark belgian candi sugar, ripe fruit with a mild unertone of citrus hops.
M - rich swirling flavors, smooth drinking and mildly carbonated.
D - very drinkable. ABV is subtle and does not overwhelm this brew.

Like I started, a tasty brew no question. A DIPA or hops monster it isn't.

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Photo of bookem
3.17/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tried at Wisteria Tavern. Served in a standard pint glass.

The tavern was limited in their selection of hoppy tap beers because they were in transition with adding more taps and had just blown their last keg of Bell's Two Hearted Ale. I asked the helpful server for a hoppy bottled beer. He recommended a bottle of BHM.

A - I requested that the beer be served in a room temperature glass. The server poured the contents with his back to me and presented the beer with little to no head. The beer had a thick dark brown, murky, unfiltered look to it. Minimal lacing down the glass.
S - Although the hops are evident in the nose what really stands out is the malty molasses.
T- Similar to the smell, very malty, sweet with fig and prume overtones.
M- Thick, substantial, smooth for such a high ABV beer.
D- I could drink this again but would be inclined not to simply because its not my preferred style. The name can be misleading although the bottom of the label reads imperial red ale. In all fairness had I poured the beer or had it been fresher it might have opened up more and the experience may have been somewhat different. I would recommend this for someone who prefers a maltier, sweeter style.

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Photo of wedgie9
3.2/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tasted from twelve ounce bottle. Pours dark amber, almost brown, with a red tinted off-white head that is thin, but the lace lasts. The aroma is a biscuity malt with alcohol heat and hops as an afterthought. There is also somewhat of a cherry pie sweetness. The same pie crust flavor comes through on the front palate with sweetness and fruitiness on the middle. The back of the palate is where the hops kick in with a bitter finish. On the palate, this beer is average with a medium full body. The finish is medium with hops bitterness. I think that many would say that this beer is over the hill, in bottle for too long, with the hops really faded and taking a back seat. I enjoy the beer, but it is missing that hops kick that I expected given the name.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.21/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

trade via brentk56

Pours a beautiful see-through ruby red color. Large tan head with good retention that left several lace rings.

Smells of floral and piney hops with dark cherry. Alcoholic fig smell.

Very syrupy. Dark cherry and orange syrup with some piney and herbal hops. Warm alcoholic "giddiness." Body could have been thicker.

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Photo of tpd975
3.23/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours a ruby red color with a big bubbly foamy white head and tons of lacing.

S - Sweet caramel malt and biscuit. Not much when it comes to hops. Sweet malts is what this one is all about.

T - Tons of gooey sweet melted caramel, toasted pine nuts, butter and biscuity malt. There are no hops to speak of at all in this brew. Sweet, Sweet, and more sweetness here.

M - Medium body and with an insane amount of malt.

D - One of the maltiest beers I have ever had, no trace of hops.

Overall: I love Terrapin fist and foremost. This one has a little age as it's now pushing one year old. The malt punch in this one is out of sight. If you are a lover of malt this is the one for you. That being said I am not. I appreciate it for what it is but give me a RyePA any day.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.25/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into a nonic. Thanks to beerwolf77 for this one!

(A)- Pours a dark and cloudy mahogany color that produced a light tan head. Bits of lacing here and there.

(S)- A damp woody pine up front. Bits of lemon with a caramel-like sweetness.

(T)- Same as the smell only with bits of a fig and prune-like background as well.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. Rather malty with an aged hop feel to it. Rather thick and almost chewy too.

(D)- I can see how the name would fit this if it were fresher, but now it is more of a malt monster; still a unique and new take on the style.

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Photo of TheodorHerzl
3.26/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received from NCSUdo in Week2 Powerball. Thank you!

Pours a very dark copper color with deep ruby accents when held to the light. A very thin layer of off-white head leaves spotty lacing on the walls of my pint glass. The is extremely malt dominated with heavy scents of dark fruits (figs, plums, and raisins) with only a slight pine scent rushing to the nose. It is not as hop dominated as I thought, but I am assuming the age on this beer is contributing to that. I taste the hops more upfront, but is still rather subtle. The hop profile is a combination of pine and light citrus fruit that is almost earthy with a mineral water quality to it. The malt however steps up the plate and takes over where the hop profile falls flat. The malt tastes of caramelized soaked doughy uncooked bread and sweet toffee. The malt profile is very tasty, but doesn't have much zing without the hops. The mouthfeel is creamy with low carbonation. I certainly would drink this beer again, but it would have to available locally.

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Photo of BeerMark
3.26/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark copper in color, this one is a lovely shade. Smell is of malts, hops, and unfortunately... alcohol. Taste is exactly the same as the aroma. It's malty sweet with hops but there's this alcohol sensation that I'm not liking here. After reading some other reviews I find that this sensation is a "medicinal" flavor in this beer. I must agree with these reviewers. So much potential for a great beer lost due to some off flavors. I really love American Ambers but I guess I don't love the Imperial versions. I'll try other Imperial Ambers but probably won't seek this one out again.

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Photo of Florida9
3.27/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Murky, faintly transparent, deep brown in color. Barely forms a head on an aggressive pour. What does form is yellowish tan in color and hugs the edges of the glass.

S: Lots of earthy hops and caramel malt with some brighter citrus notes and alcoholic heat.

T: Heavy on both the hops and malt. Heavy caramel malt, some roasted malt, toffee with a strong dose of earthy, dank, bitter hops. Alcohol is prevalent on the finish. Kind of just tastes "muddy."

M: On the heavier side with an astringent bitterness.

O: Really too much of everything keeps this beer from being balanced in anything. Thick malts, earthy hops, dirty tasting and rather boozy for just 8.3% ABV.

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Photo of illidurit
3.28/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a crystal clear maroon with a modest tan head. Leaves plenty of lacing with substantial retention.

Malt is the overriding aroma, with a huge dose of burnt brown sugar and a hint of booze. There are some subdued hop notes that manifest as herbal tinges.

Taste isn't really true to this beer's name. Malt is clearly the dominant flavor, with hops playing a minor role. The burnt character comes out in the flavor as well as the aroma. The hops come out in the finish as a bitter, tannic, tea-like note.

This beer is way overcarbonated, and not hoppy enough. Alcohol comes out with warmth and makes this the second (of two) Terrapin beers that I find overrated.

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Photo of Murchmac
3.3/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to ncvbc for this brew.

Looks Great, Dark reds, deep, foam which disappears.

Immediately smells of caramel and toasted breads! Love it already, from two feet away.

Tastes bready, spicy, malty, not much hops left now. Its a 2007 vintatge though. It must have been a a great beer in its day. Now it kinda tastes like a malty, alcohol mess.

Bitter aftertaste, If this were a barleywine it would pass though.

The 2007 version of this beer is like Meg Ryan, pretty in it's prime, scary looking now.

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
3.31/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had this on tap a while ago at Paradiso in Old Town Alexandria, VA.

A: Reddish brown with almost no head and almost no lacing to speak of. Opaque nice look though.

Barley any smell. Some sugary malt comes through, some wheat, my brain might be implying hops but i have to struggle. Some taffy coated hop esters.

The taste is better but still not amazing. Much more sugary wheaty malt than hops, with a definite alcohol sweetness. Some bitter ending hop presence, but man I think it should have more as an Imperial.

Mouth is average and drinkability is good.

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Photo of JesteR14
3.31/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Very dark amber, cloudy so that you cant see through it. Not black, but a very dark camel color. Very nice and great to see. Nice redness in this beer that leaves it a great appearance!

S- I get a lot of toasted malts when i smell this. Mild hopness for this hoppy monster. Should be big malty monster!!

T- Woah. This one has a very different flavor than what im used to. Lots of malts and a light hop bitterness. This surprises me... Over the top malts....

M- Smooth brew, and not that strong of a flavor, despite the strong alcohol level. I would still sip on tis one..

D- Not my favorite from terrapin. Its got a good, smooth imperial red ale taste, but just not my thing!

Not the most hoppy beer, which is a surprise to me. Its boozy and malty, but still a well done sipping beer.

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Photo of TheFightfan1
3.32/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass. Pours a murky brown with a decent beige colored head.Flat and very heavy looking.

Smell is mostly caramel malts with a kind of spicey mixture. Not getting much out of this beer at all.

Taste of a burnt malt and soggy bread. Good hop bitterness but a heavy alcohol flavor.

Mouth is full bodied with a decent carbonation tingle on the tongue. A little heavy and warm in the mouth though.

A decent Red ale but nothing special.

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Photo of Gorgoroth
3.33/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received as an extra in a trade with Mike3865. Thanks! Shared with BA mermatinger. From notes taken on 01/14/11.

Presentation: Typical brown 12oz bottle with kind of goofy, cartoonish artwork. I gathered from the label that this beer is contract-brewed for Terrapin, which I found surprising. I was also unable to figure out a date for this beer because the "best by" field was blank.

Appearance: Poured into my oversize 24oz snifter, this beer is ruby brown, with a frothy, rocky, one fingerwidth cappuccino-colored head which dissipates quickly to a soap, spotty layer over the whole surface. There is little visible carbonation and mild, spotty lacing.

Smell: Well, without needing a "best by" date I can tell this is not fresh. The smell is malty, bready and raisiny but there are no hops. So far, nothing big or hoppy about this beer.

Taste: There is a pervasive celery-like flavor, much like a past-date pilsner. Mostly it is caramely and raisiny with a very slight hoppy flavor on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Light-to-medium body with sparkly carbonation on the tongue. Not much else to say about mouthfeel, unfortunately.

Drinkability & Final Thoughts: Okay, I have no doubt that this beer is really good when it's fresh. I'm reviewing the only bottle of this that I got and I can't imagine that it is fresh. It's not tainted or infected, just past its prime, and that's a shame. As such, it is not a very good beer. I sort of felt bad reviewing it, but if there is one past-due bottle out there, there are probably more and thus a review of one seems appropriate. I guess the lesson here is to try this beer fresh, which I would still like to do some day. It was not a repulsive tasting experience, but it was a bit of a let down, especially seeing how highly many others have rated this beer.

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Photo of wsantas
3.33/5  rDev -18%
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.

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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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