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 mvanaskie13
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of inlimbo77
3.53/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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

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

M: Medium bodied.

M: Medium

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Photo of evilkalla
3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving: Bottle into an ale glass.

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

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

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

M: Has a thick, heavy mouthfeel.

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

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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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Photo of PatDreadful
4.36/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of BeerLover99
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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


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Photo of sidetracked
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

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

Medium body and syrupy with low carbonation. Thick.

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


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Photo of muletrane
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Bruery tulip.

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of TechTriumph
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of smakawhat
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Vintage 2011.

A one finger light tan foamy head is presented off the pour, but at least it stays. Body color is a very dark indian red with ruby and red hues towards the edges. It looks a little frozen and lifeless.

Nose is strong ale smelling. Big malts and a little bit of heat. There is a hint of piney hop wanting to creep out behind this thick malt booze however.

Taste is like a chewy strong ale, with a faint chocolate bitter. This doesn't feel much different than a typical American Strong Ale. Rich malts with a thick body that is certainly tolerable. Hop angle on this is pretty much non existent. There is a certain tobacco like dry finish on this which is kind of interesting, sort of a "tickle" in the back of the throat.

It's a very good beer, not worth of it's name, maybe I have an old one, but it's too much in strong ale territory, however, it doesn't taste particularly boozy either for an 8 abv. I do enjoy it for what it is, just the name hints to me of some disappointment.

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Photo of keanex
3.55/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Dark brownish red with flecks of yeast cycling around in the ale with three fingers of persistent caramel foam. Strong sheet of lace. Smells good and malty, some toffee, tea and hints of mushrooms. Also smelling some brown sugar.

Nice malty, sweet ale with some nougat tones and some nice white cake flavor. Nothing particularly complex, but the yeast seems to add a nice nutty element and this one is dangerously drinkable. Wish there were some spicy bittering from hops, but hey, can't always have it all.

Decent enough brew. I like the malt profile on this beer, but I like a little more hop character in my Red/Impy reds.

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Photo of tdm168
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep, haxy amber with a quarter inch of off white head that has great retention. Smells of bready malt and piny, faintly citrusy hops. Tastes like heavy barley malt with undertones of caramel, pineapple, and faint citrus. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with light carbonation.

This is a very smooth, easy to drink beer with a relatively high ABV. The malt content reminds me of fresh Bigfoot or 90 Minute, but the hop character is a little more subdued and pineapple-like. Delicious; I'd get another one in a heartbeat.

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Photo of soulfly1492
3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma: Bold, intense aroma. Sweet dark malts and crisp hops. Caramel, honey, fig, chocolate, citrus. The malts unquestionably overpower the hops.

Appearance: Dark brown with red highlights. Cloudy when held up to a bright light. Pours a tall medium brown head, but only since the pour was high above the glass. Wonderful head retention. Intense, sticky lacing.

Taste: Sweet raisins, molasses, mild chocolate, definitely some alcohol. Some mild piney hops. Nice bold flavor, although my expectations were sky-high from the aroma.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body. Very oily, although the hops and alcohol give a mild drying sensation. A bit warming. No carbonation. Alcohol is present, but is not hot.

Overall: Nice bold malt flavor here. The dark fruity flavor is also savory. Reminiscent of a good Strong Ale, except that it has less hops, and more dark fruits. I hate to even mention it since this is an impressive brew, but the stylistic accuracy is a bit off. The only (minor) complaint here is the large presence of alcohol.

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Photo of Nachojon
3.55/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Great looking beer. Hazy deep wood amber, red. Really thin layer of head that dissipates quite quickly.

S- Some hops, and some nice sweet notes, like a raspberry with a little tart.

T- WOAH. I'd say Big Malty Monster to start. Like big brown figs, raisin and even some chocolate. There are some hops in the finish, it's balance is on the malt side, however.

M- Thick. It's not hot, but not overly drinkable in my opinion. Some residue left on tongue.

O- Good, but not my favorite. I would love to try some more beer from Terrapin.

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

Review input from notes.
Thanks to Ryan for this bottle.

Rusted brown colored body. The beer is fairly clear, this is a slight haze noted. Two finger frothy cinnamon colored head floats atop. The head recedes back slowly leaving a healthy dose of lacing.

The aroma balances the warm malt and sticky hops rather well. Toasted malt base followed by a substantial amount of caramel. The aroma gets a bit deeper with the addition of some cocoa scents. Resinous pine and sweet citrus hop aromas provide a counterpoint to the sizable malt bill.

The flavor begins rather malt forward. Heavy on the caramel malt, warm bread and a soft dark chocolate flavor develop moving back. Piny hop flavor melds with the dark malt to display a somewhat earthy flavor. Citrus flavor emerge from beneath lightening the flavor a bit. Very smooth bitterness

Medium bodied Imperial Red. The carbonation is moderate and appropriate. Very soft gentle feel on the tongue. The finish comes up just short of being long.

Very enjoyable beer. The flavors layer rather well creating a beer that is not only tasty but interesting. Very well balanced, drinkability is rather high.

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

A- Poured into a Duvel tulip... a finger+ thick mostly creamy head erupts with very nice lacing and retention. Beer is a dark copper color, ruby when held up to the light with a fair amount of sediment

S- Dry citrusy hops. I don't get alot of the other figs, raisons, and what not. Maybe a hit of some sweet malt, but not much

T- Guess my nose is just off... sweet malts along with figs, raison, and caramel come through stronger than that of the citrusy hops. They're there, but not as substancial as I thought they'd be. Alcohol is very well masked

M- Medium body with medium carbonation

O- Another solid beer from Terrapin. Great all around beer. Way more drinkable than it should be at 8.3% abv


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

This brew pours a beautiful red-orange color. If you hold the beer to the light, there is the slightest bit of cloudiness. Based on there being a vintage date, I am guessing there might be some yeast in the bottle?

Aroma is intense. It is balanced between fig and caramel. In all honesty this reminds me of a Belgian dubbel. Smells like it has some alcohol in it.

Warming alcohol flavor throughout. With that said, the alcohol becomes just a little harsh as the beer warms. Raisin, fig, and brown sugar are the predominate flavors now that it has warmed a little. When the brew was right out of the fridge, there was the fainted hint of citrus.

Overall a great beer for a cold day. The harshness of the alcohol is just a little too much for me. Anyone who likes a good red ale should give this one a shot.

Thanks to the trader who shared it with me


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Photo of brewcore
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Edited to add: From notes.

On draught at Pizza Joint in Augusta, GA for $3.25 a pint! Poured into a pint glass.

A: Dark copper in color with a super creamy two finger white head. Great head retention. Tons of lacing.

S: Strong of toasted malts. Sweet molasses aromas stand out. Smells of thick syrup. Citrusy hops.

T: Fantastic! Taste follows the nose. Sweet toasted malts. Subtle hop bittering comes through the maltiness but is nowhere near as hoppy as the name would suggest. Surprisingly the alcohol is well hidden for an 8.3% beer.

M: Medium mouthfeel. Smooth and slightly creamy but not syrupy. Moderate carbonation.

O: Best high gravity amber I have had to date. Decent drinkability. I don't think I could have more than two or three but at 8.30% I shouldn't... Be sure to go out and get this one.

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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 Immortale25
4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a Shiner Bock pint glass. No readable freshness date.

A- Pours a deep, dark amber color with a 1/4 inch head that quickly resolves to a paper-thin ring around the edge of the glass with mold-patterned surface bubbles that indicate healthy yeast. Tiny lace bubbles stick to the glass inconsistently.

S- Smells of malt with potent alcohol fumes that, together, are balanced enough. So sweet, it smells almost like a barleywine. Some maple, oak and astringency wafts.

T- So many things coming on at once. First there's a blast of malty sweetness but then, immediately after, a considerable hop bite. These two sudden tastes spiral down to an aftertaste that honestly reminds me of Japanese food. That being said, I want to pair this one with some sushi.

M- Medium carbonation with a sharp, lingering bitterness from the intense hop profile. A bit thick due to the combination of hop oils and overt malt usage as well as some prickly twangs of booze that are not a problem at all.

O- At first, I didn't like this brew. I thought it was just another overzealous attempt at greatness for Terrapin. Glad I had a couple of bottles prior to reviewing it because, now that I've fully analyzed it, I see that this is a great beer that's multi-layered and full of depth.

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3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a large sniffter

Appearance : dark cloudy amber in color almost brown. Not alot of carbonation or head on this one even after a vigorous pour. A small ring of of bubbles is all this one can muster.

Smell : Smells like a big ipa not a red ale. Alot of typical hop aroms resinous evergreen and pine abound

Taste : subtle hop flavor profile. Very strong malt backbone. The alcohol is very present. Not much bitterness on the end.

Overall : I did enjoy this beer and would like another

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Photo of BennyL1
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a NB globe

Deep reddish brown in color with a slowly fading tan head. Good lacing on this beer as well. Strong and sweet caramel malt aroma. Solid amount of hops too, good all around smell.

Taste is fairly well balanced between hops and the caramel malt. Tiny bit of booziness on the finish along with lingering hops. This brew has a medium body with the same carbonation and smooth.

OK brew, just not my cup of tea.

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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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