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 Sammy
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Captain Couger. Pours Reddish with restrained but noticeable foam, in my anti-gravity glass.Very very smooth, though hoppy. Alcohol hits you without noticing in taste. Malty, satisfying, though not overly complex.Some toasted malt and sugar. Well balanced.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.48/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out as a nice looking red color with a yellowish white color. The head was a little on the fizzy side, the lacing wasn't too strong on this one. The smell was hoppy with a little sweet malts in the back end. The taste has some caramel malts up front giving off a sweet flavor that's quickly attacked by the bitterness of the hops. Mouthfeel is a bit tingly. Overall it's not a bad brew and probably worth trying again.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I really like the Amber Ales hopped up to IPA proportions. They are much more malty, bready, toasty, and bold. The trick is balancing the hops (and adding enough of them) to stand out above the richer malt character. This beer does so beautifully. An unwavering malt base holds together from the initial sip, through the flavor, through the firmness, and well into the finish. The hops show flavorful and aromatic citrus and pine qualities, then intensify into a pleasant and dominating bitterness. Never any sharpness, weakening, or graininess at any point. Alcoholic heat and power shows up late, but does not deter. Much like a North Coast Red Seal, but amped up quite a bit.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of shp555: Poured a deep slightly hazy brown color ale with a big foamy head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of sweet caramel malt with some light citrus hops is quite interesting. Taste is sweeter then expected with some great caramel malt and a medium bitter finish. Body is above average with some medium carbonation and no alcohol was discernable. I was expecting more of a citrus bitter ending but I’m not complaining about the balance but maybe I should re-rate with a more fresh bottle next year.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark crimson with a nice off-white head.

S: Plenty of piney, floral, and earthy hops alongside some pretty sweet amber malt.

T: Some definite malt sweetness comes into play here alongside the strong bitterness of piney, earthy hops.

M: Good balance between the dryness of the hops and the sweetness of the malts. Probably a bit too sweet for a DIPA, but well within the good range for an India Red Ale.

D: A bit thick and heavy at times, but very tasty. Something I'll definitely grab a four-pack of each year.

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Photo of mothman
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to pmccallum86 for sharing this one tonight!

vintage 2009

Poured into a pint glass.
Pours a fairly large near 2 finger beige head. Decent retention with some lacing. Color is a dark coppery hued ruby brown.

Aroma: Right of the top I get a lot of sweet caramel malt. This is a big malty beer. Some floral notes with a bit of citrus flavors. Not to much in the hop profile so far, but interesting.

Taste: This beer had a massive malt backbone, but it does bring some bitterness with it. I think the hops are faded, but there are some floral and leafy residual left with some light citrus flavors. The malt category is very unique. It is bready and sweet. Some caramel notes. A bit of alcohol shows. A big red ale.

Mouthfeel: Creamy with a slight amount of bitterness. Medium bodied, but big for the style, with a good amount of carbonation. Ends malty, dry, and sweet. Not bad.

Overall, a decent imperial red but I would like to have it fresh. It is pretty easy drinking, but very malty. Another decent beer from Terrapin. Thanks Peter for sharing this one!

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Photo of nickfl
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with one finger of light brown head that rests on top of a hazy, amber-brown body. The foam settles at a moderate pace and leaves nice, thick rings of foam on the glass.

S - An aroma of toffee and caramel malt with just a hint of chocolate thrown in. Fairly strong pine hops assert themselves and blend with the dark malts to create a spicy, mustard-like aroma that is characteristic of this sort of dark, hoppy brew.

T - Sweet caramel and toffee malt up front with a hint of rummy molasses. Some spicy hops appear in the middle with notes of pine and citrus. The dark malt character continues through the finish with lots of molasses, some chocolate, and a hint of coffee. Strong hops help to balance the sweet finish and work with the malt to create a barleywine-like pine and molasses flavor.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a somewhat sweet finish.

D - This is an interesting beer, and I enjoy it ever time I have it, but I have always had a hard time classifying it. It has many barleywine-like characteristics that come from its combination of rich caramel malt and aggressive hopping, but it a little too dark and doesn't quite get up to standard American Barleywine levels of tongue numbing bitterness. I suppose that would make it an "Imperial Red Ale", but there is something about this beer, and that description, that doesn't quite seem fully realized to me. It has a lot of good points and no major flaws, but suffers from failing to fully commit to being either a malt bomb or a hop bomb. It is quite well balanced, but balance isn't as flattering for a beer this big as it is in a session beer. It is a good beer, but it might be a great beer if it went a little further towards either the malt or hop end of the spectrum.

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Photo of oberon
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear rich amber with a creamy-like reddish tinted head that leaves a sheet of lace behind,boatloads of grass and pine in the aromas with an underlying butteriness but the massive hops steal the show.A sublime creamy mouthfeel a touch chewey this glides down very easily,a big hoppy monster this is very resiny and piney there is some balance to this monster though a sweeter brown sugar flavor really comes thru not as big sas the intense hops but very noticable and appreciated by me.A damn good DIPA here big and balanced a hop heads dream here.

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Photo of superspak
3.53/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip, 2011 vintage, but no bottle date. Pours hazy red orange color with a fairly dense 1 finger light tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lacing cap. A bit of nice lacing sticks to the glass as well. Aromas of big orange, grapefruit, caramel, and tropical fruit; with a bit of pine, spices, and alcohol. Fairly sweet aromas here with good strength. Taste of big orange, grapefruit, caramel, pine, toasted malt, and spiciness. Nice amount of bitterness present on the finish, with lingering notes of caramel, pine, citrus, and a bit of spice. Pretty large amount of sweetness in comparison to bitterness. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied, with a fairly creamy and slightly slick mouthfeel. Alcohol is well hidden, with only a warming on the finish noticed. Decent drinkability for the level of alcohol, but it was still somewhat of a sipper. Overall a decent imperial red ale, but maybe it is better when it is fresh. This may have bit a bit too old.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a clear dark amber with a finger width of caramel colored foam. The head retains very nicely and leaves nice sticky lacing down the sides of the glass. The aroma is very pungent with a smooth smelling mix of fresh hop citrus, sweet caramel, spices, and heat.

The taste is strong up front with a big bready body of sweet malt that gives way to a mix of hoppy pine resin, citrus zest, and spices. The mouthfeel is a fairly heavy medium with an almost viscous nature to it. Alcohol is present but not distracting, adding even more beef to the body.

I look foward to this beer every Fall. Everything about it is big and bold yet it still remains smooth and easily drinkable. Another great beer from Terrapin.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired via trade from cashew70, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep reddish brown color with a short beige head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of hops, tea, caramel and a touch of citrus.

T: The taste is well-balanced and starts out very malty with flavors of caramel, tea and some fruit. The malt character completely over-shadows the hops presence in this beer and with a name like “Big Hoppy Monster” you wouldn’t expect that. However, it’s still very good. The after-taste is sweet and slightly hoppy.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: Very tasty, goes down easily, not very filling, good kick to it, this would be a perfect beer for me to stick with for a whole evening as I could drink several of them. My only problem with this beer is its name. If you’re going to tell me the beer is a “Big Hoppy Monster” and make me expect a hop bomb, then deliver a hop bomb. This beer is more of an Irish Red Ale on steroids than it is an IPA on steroids; however I still enjoyed it quite a bit.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: bottle at Eulogy, Philadelphia, PA

Somewhat resembled a Scottish ale or barleywine. Not bad. Poured out reddish-brown with a small beige head that left an oily lace. Lots of pine and citrus hops in the nose, caramel malts and some light fruits. Sweet with caramel in the taste, earthy, with citrusy hops flowing through mid-palate; pine and sugar, and a bit of noticeable alcohol taste. Medium mouthfeel, and a bit filmy. Overall quite drinkable.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.28/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

(2007 vintage)

Appearance: Pours a dark reddish-brown body with a small, light beige head.

Smell: Plenty of pine, citrus, dark caramel, chocolate, and booze in the nose. The aroma is well-balanced, with every component blended harmoniously together.

Taste: Dark caramel upfront with a pleasant, earthy sweetness and a very light note of chocolate. Flavors of pine and candied orange zest follow, as does a mild, vague fruitiness. Bitterness remains quite mild (I dare say it's the mildest, in terms of bitterness, of the past three years). The gentle bitterness carries over into the finish alongside that hint of chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: I bought a 4-pack, poured myself a glass, took a sip, said "hey cool", and gulped it down. To me, it was better than last year's version. If only I had an '05 to pit it against.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.6/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Dusky cherry with luminous, rose colored edges; an absolutely gorgeous color that is more consistent with an Imperial Red (as the brewery claims) than a DIPA. The golden beige head is beginning to melt like a milkshake in the midday sun. An impressive amount of sea foam lace is arrayed on the glass, with more sure to follow at low tide.

The nose is outstanding. It's mega-hoppy (grapefruit peel and pine sap) with no shortage of caramel malt (brown sugar). The hop bill consists of Ahtanum, Cascade, Centennial, Simcoe and Magnum... an absolutely killer lineup if I've ever seen one. Those boys at Terrapin know their hops and they love to use them with reckless abandon.

This is amazingly delicious beer. Not that I doubted it for a second (I've been a Terrapin fan ever since I tasted Rye P.A.). Big Hoppy Monster, in addition to being true to its name, is true to the Imperial Red style. There probably isn't much difference between this beer and a DIPA, but I still think it's a valid distinction.

The malt backbone is Mastadon huge and provides loads of sweet, sticky toffee pudding-like flavor. That's usually a negative in my book since all that malt tends to get in the way of the hop flavor and bitterness. Not so here. There's such a massive hop load that their flavor and bitterness survive unscathed.

There's no way to pick out the contributions from the various hops. Pink grapefruit juice leads the way, followed closely by sticky spruce juice. Since Ahtanum is similar to Cascade, there isn't one of these hops that I don't love. It still takes skill to combine them in the creation of a tongue-ruffling, ass kicking beer and Terrapin has shown how it can and should be done.

The finish is so long the flavor doesn't fade completely by the next sip. Of course, it doesn't have a chance since the sips are coming fast and furious. If there's any beer that begs to be released in bombers, this is it. Make that wax-dipped 750s. Given the massive quantity of ingredients, how could the mouthfeel be anything less than fantastically full and lush?

Big Hoppy Monster is big, it's hoppy and it's a (hop) monster of truly epic proportions. The label states that it's the 'inaugural brew' of the Terrapin Monster Beer Tour. Let's hope that doesn't mean it'll only be brewed once. It deserves to be a regular release so that hopheads will never be without one of the boldest and hoppiest beers the South has yet produced.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to VG for sending this my way!

A: Pours a murky red/amber with a one finger tan head that reduces a little, but a 1/2 finger head lasts for most of the rest of the time drinking this beer. Some foamy lacing formed around the entire glass.

S: Certainly hoppy, not sure if its a hop monster (will let the taste judge that aspect). Nice combination of pine and some orange as well as a little bit of spice, almost cinnamon. Pretty good dose of toffee and caramel as well.

T: Quite like it, not hoppy like an IPA, but a well done hoppy red ale, which was the goal. A little bit of bready malt, caramel and sugar as well as some pine and orange. A slightly bitter finish that is more on the sweet side.

M: Medium to full bodied, nice carbonation level giving it a bit of a creamy feel to it.

O: A well done beer, doesn't quite live up to some of the other hopped up american amber/red ales, but this one holds its own.

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Photo of russpowell
4.06/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 version

Pours ruddy brown with 2 fingers of sand colored head. Very good head retention & lacing

S: Biscuitty, brown sugar & later

T: Bready with brown sugar & earthy hops. Follows dry with maple syrup. Finishes dry with subtle & earthy/lemon hops+ biscuitty malts, more hops please

MF: Chewy with low carbonation & medium/heavy body. Skews hoppy still. but more hops throughout

Drinks much better than previous try, not for hopheads

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 Edition

A - Poured a nice reddish amber with a good one inch plus head which faded slightly only leaving behind about a quarter inch layer accross the top. Very nice side glass lace and carbonation gave it a very full look.

S - Very hoppy. Unlike last years this had quite the bitter piney hoppiness to it. Lots of orange and pine resin aromas took over. Definatly a malted back though, as it warmed soem of the more sweet notes started to come out, very well balanced indeed,

T - Very nice. Not an IPA by any means, but a highly hopped red ale. Lots of orange and pine resin mixed in with a decent amount of sweetness. Lots of sugar and a candy apple like taste.

M - Very nice. It was definatly thick, but ample carbonation helped to offset it somewhat. Had a good lingering aftertaste and the overall feel was much fuller then last year.

D - Super, this my kind of session ale. It was hoppy enough to keep my intrest, but at the same time not overbearing. Really no hint of the alcohol at all.

Overall this was much better to me then last year. I really thought this was living up to its reputation this year as a hop monster. A really great brew and something I am glad I can get alot of around here

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Photo of billab914
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into my Dogfish shaped pint glass. Appearance is a dark amber,almost brown color. Smell is dominated by the citrus from the hops. The caramel maltiness really comes through in the taste followed by the hoppyness. Good mouthfeel and drinkability. I really enjoy this one and have purchased a few 4 packs of it now.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Cobblestone's on 1/6/10.

A - A gently hazed dark copper/bronze w/ thick pale cream. The beading is tight w/ a speckling of lace that holds on the glass

S - An earthy pine hop aroma w/ slighly fruity ester -dried cherry aroma w/ mild yeasty odor. The nose has a mild malt and alcohol influence

M - A mildly sweet and moderately high bitterness in the feel w/ moderate carbonation and semi-dry finish

T - A strong piney hop taste w/ subtle fruity yeast which is supported well by the light caramel mal backing. The taste has subtle pepper and mild alcohol influence. It seems lightly nutty w/ a caramel hint in the finish

D - A solid ale, it is satisfying, but the sweetness/alcohol might get to me in multiples as it is 8.3%

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Photo of Jason
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Lots of tiny tan bubbles, I poured this one hard. There has to be some body to this brew as the bubbles are rising a bit slower than expected. Amazing head retention, deep chestnut color with a good clarity. Big aromatics from this ale, malt drops a semi-burnt caramel tone with toasted grain and the hops bring herbal and citric tones. A hint of fruit in the nose of figs and plums. Big creamy full body hold a bit of smoothness from the moderate amount of carbonation. Lush malt up front with deep caramel, toasted bread and dried hay flavors. Hops jump in quick with a very balancing bitterness, mellow citric is strewn everywhere with a hints of wild flowers and blond tobacco. Alcohol is warming but not hot at all, fruity with fig and dried plum flavors. Finishes bittersweet but a bit more sweet than bitter.

Yeah, its contract brewed but not for long as they are waiting for their license. Terrapin has proved over the years, as well as other beer marketing companies, that good beer can be produced through contract brewing. Big Hoppy Monster is a perfect example of that, very well balanced but enough hops to go around. I was a bit surprised of the size of the malt backbone, in a good way as well. This is one brewer to watch in the years to come.

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Photo of womencantsail
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to TroyG2352 for hooking it up with this one in a recent trade. As an extra, no less!

A: The pour is a hazy, dark amber color with a thin layer of off-white foam.

S: The nose has some nice notes of grapefruit with a slight pine to it. There's quite a bit of caramel, toffee, and brown sugar, however.

T: The same grapefruit character is present with a bit more in terms of bitter pine than the nose had to offer. The sweetness of a red ale is there as well, with plenty of caramel and brown sugar.

M: The body is medium with a moderate level of carbonation.

D: This beer seemed to be conflicted as to whether it wanted to be hoppy or malty. I prefer my reds with more bitterness, so this missed the mark a bit.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.68/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Bell's tulip. Received as an extra from cwguy5; thanks man. Not sure of a bottling date but bottle says 2011 vintage.

a - Pours a dark reddish brown color with two inches of off white head and moderate carbonation. Light lacing and an inch of retention throughout.

s - Smells of caramel malts, bready malts, fruity malts, and light citrus hops. Very malty, with some light hops, but nice.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, fruity malts, bready malts, toasted malts, alcohol, and light citrus hops. Again, very malty.

m - Medium body and low to moderate carbonation. Pretty smooth but a tiny bit of alcohol come through here.

o - Overall a pretty good red ale. Very malty and not as hoppy as I would have thought, but still very nice. Would have it again.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.53/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Devil's Backbone willibecher.

If I didn't know any better, I'd say VDubb, through these directive, is tryin' to booze me up. Hm. Oh well. This one pours a swampy garnet-tinged brown topped by a half-finger or so of ecru foam. The nose comprises buttery biscuits, cinnamon, some light flowers, and a hint of salad greens. The taste has all of the above going on, along with a fairly strong infusion of citrus hops. The body is a very light medium, with a light carbonation and a fairly smooth feel. Overall, a pretty good brew, but nothing all that special. Pretty tasty, though.

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Photo of stakem
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an amber red color that has a little bit of yeast haze. It has a finger and a half of tanned head that is actually more orange in color than tan... Lacing is all over the place and clinging to just about everything it touches. Aroma of this beer is a pungent blast of hops ranging from fruity citrus to pine and spice. Blending well with the hop character is the malt sweetness that flirts with being almost like caramel. Taking a sip, you get a wack of malty sweet goodness and a lingering taste of the spicey hop bitterness. As the beer warms, the alcohol comes through more in both the aroma and the taste but it is a welcomed addition that pairs well adding complexity without overpowering the other features. Feel of this beer is quite heavy and carb is a perfect middle of the road. The lingering aftertaste changes from bitter to sweet with each sip. This beer was really enjoyable and is very drinkable. It really increases my fondness of imperial reds.

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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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