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 flexabull
3.34/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2006 bottle.

Beer pours a rather cloudy brownish amber color with a small head.

Aromas are of caramel, grape nuts, and a bit of booze.

Flavors seem flat and slightly muted to me. Maybe this beer is past it's prime? Don't know... There is a crisp and a very subtle hop flavor up front, flavors then settle in and this eventually finishes with a non sweet thick caramel like quality, it's a touch tart as well. Not really noticing much in the way of hops, on this "Big Hoppy Monster". It seems like it's all malts, and there is a definite balance problem here. It's not a bad tasting beer, but it fails if the brewer was looking for a hoppy tasting beer.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, it has a nice full body, and a good finish.

Drinkability is ok. Either this just isn't for me, or maybe it's just gotten a bit dated.

Thanks for sending this beer my way mikesgroove. (courtesy of the B'day 07 BIF)

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Photo of corby112
3.34/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep dark ruby red/copper almost brown color with golden ruby edges and a two finger frothy yellowish-beige head that has excellent retention, only very slowly fading into a thin cap and lasting ring that coats the glass with lacing on it's way down.

Nice citrus hop aroma with a large pine presence and a very prominent caramel malt and rye. This rye and caramel malt unfortunately take away from the hops but they're still there.

Earthy bitter and dry hops up front that are immediately countered by the sweet malt and rye backbone. Slightly smokey with a bit of roasty chocolate and caramel as well as some nice alcohol warmth. The bitterness does linger over the thick medium body into a very dry finish but this beer is a bit too malty for it's own good. It tastes more like a hoppy old ale or barleywine. Very dry piny finish is nice though.

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Photo of Adamdc
3.35/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up 4-pack at Total Wine in Naples, FL. Must preface that this beer was bottled in Aug. '09 so I'm drinking it about 6 months old.

Pour yielded a thin tan head that diminshed quickly and left good lacing throughout. Deep brown color.

Aroma was minimal hops and maximum malt and toffee. Amazed at how much caramel is in the aroma. Also some dark fruit and tobacco. Not much citrus hop aroma to speak of.

Taste follows aroma very well. Some hop bitterness in the middle but overall a very 'malt-forward' beer. Lots of toffee and caramel. Reminds me a lot of a scotch ale. Not what I expected at all.

Mouthfeel is this beer's strong suit. Very thick and creamy.

Drinkability is pretty high due to the mouthfeel and there's not much alcohol bite to speak of.

Overall not a bad beer by any means. When I read 'Imperial Amber Ale' and 'Hoppy Monster' I'm expecting something along the lines of Nugget Nectar or Hop Head Red not Founders Dirty Bastard. Maybe it's just a matter of different expectations. Had this been billed as a hoppy scotch ale I may have rated it higher. Maybe when had fresher this is a different beer also. I'll try to land a fresh bottle next year.

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Photo of ShogoKawada
3.36/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz into White Birch tulip. Awesome!

A- A burnt marshmallow head on a rusty brown body. Nice head, settles slowly and has moderate lacing.Scratch that... great lacing as the pint goes down. Like rings on an oak tree.

S- Hops! Overload from piny/citrus hops and a big bucket o' caramel malt to bring up the rear.

T_ Caramel base comes through stronger than the hops. Still ctric/lemony.. but the malt base is the main event. For a hoppy red, I can't knock it.

M- good carbonation.. borderline overbearing caramel malt.. for a red it'd not a sin.. but more than I'd like.

D- More caramel malt and less hops.. perhaps I came into this with the wrong mindset but it didn't live up to the name. I won't seek this out.

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Photo of BrewCrew2010
3.37/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: This beer pours a cloudy mahogany color. Although it is an extremely murky beer, you can just see tons and tons of carbonation. A creamy tan head that starts off about 2 fingers worth, slowly disappears to a pin stripe and island like foam. Decent lacing and head retention.

S: It's hard to tell if there are any hops in this beer. Sweet malts are extremely powerful in the aroma along with brown sugar, caramel, and toffee notes. In the background you can pick up some floral hops, but they are most definately hidden.

T: One thing for sure, the warmer the beer the better in this case. An extremely sweet malty beginning is taken over by a floral & bittering hops bite in the middle. A dry coffee finish with caramel & chocolate notes. There is also a little warming from the booze throughout the tasting.

M: A medium to full body beer with a ton of carbonation and a juicy texture.

D: I haven't had a lot of red ales, so I have nothing to compare this to. What I do know is that I'm not a huge fan, so I wouldn't go out and buy this again. BUT if someone offered it to me, I would drink it again. Not a bad beer.

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Photo of YonderWanderer
3.38/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review #100.

2006 Edition.

A: Pours a dark, dark reddish copper with a quickly dissipating head.

S: Some alcohol notes, a bit of hoppiness, and a bit of sweetness. Not much for an aroma. No really noticeable hops.

T: This reminds me of a lighter version of the Stone 10 after it had sat for a year. A big caramel malt backbone with some hot alcohol mixed in. The hops have largely faded. I wonder what this would be like fresh!

M: Smooth and crisp, with a nice bite at the end.

D: Again, I can imagine when this is fresh it must be great. Even aged a year though, it's still pretty tasty - just not what you'd expect from a beer called Big Hoppy Monster.

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Photo of brewcrew76
3.38/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 Vintage

A - Pours a ruby orange with a thin white head and no lacing.

S - Sweet caramel malt and biscuit. Not much in hop aroma but if you search deep you find some piney earthy resin.

T - Sweet caramel, toasted nuts, biscuit and a slightly buttery. A touch of bitter piney hops but this one is on the sweet side.

M - Medium body and slightly creamy.

D - Maltier than the 2006 I had. I had a hard time finding the hops in this one.

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Photo of wangbruins
3.4/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark amber brown that I couldn't see through if I tried and a nice thick head with good lacing

S- Dark grapes and cherries, almost like a red wine, with a little of a flowery scent

T- The flower taste really comes through but not the fruit that I smelled. Plums, rather, come to be present

M- Very thin and watery with a prevelant aftertaste that is just okay

D- You could have a bunch of these but it's more of a sampler unless it's a type you prefer

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Photo of Reaper16
3.41/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Quick hits review.
Served on-tap @ Wilhagan's, Tuscaloosa, AL, into a pint glass

Pours a really nice rusty amber color. The head is pretty dark too; 2+ fingers of lion's pelt foam sit on top. The head is pretty filmy, taking on a consistency near that of the head on nitro-tap beers. It laces in gorgeous notches.

With a name like "Big Hoppy Monster," you'd expect this beer to slam you with hops. It doesn't do that, but that doesn't mean it is a poor effort. Think of the phrase "Imperial Red Ale" and whatever aromas come to mind are probably what this beer smells like. Lots of malty, grainy aromas. Lots of tobacco leaf or loose-leaf tea; an earthy quality abounds. There are hops: grapefruit pith and distant pine are present but get swallowed up by the doughy, grainy, earthy malts.

The flavor of this beer follows the nose to a T. The hops do get to linger on the finish, but you have to go into this beer ready to taste a malt-bomb. This should instead be named Big Malty Monster.

Mouthfeel and drinkability are nothing special. The beer is too thin in body size for all the malty flavors it brings. It's ABV% of 8.3 is felt pretty quickly for some reason.

Big Hoppy Monster is entirely worth a shot, especially if you enjoy Ambers and Reds. I don't care for either much, but I found this offering from Terrapin one of the best in Ambers/Reds I've ever had. Really solid beer.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.41/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A-Couldy and very dark amber color
S-very faint with hints of sweet malt and some citrus
T-sweet caramel malt up front, citrus hops with hints of piney resign and a very smooth mouthfeel.
D-very smooth and hides the alcohol well, a little syrupy and thick

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Photo of UnDeadly
3.43/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, Glass stein

Appearance - Hard to tell because of the dark crimson color, but the beer seemed rather hazy. Good, 1.5 finger foam with small bubbles, but not sustaining. Moderate lacing.

Smell - Oak notes are very dominant, with subtle notes of rum and pine. Nice, but nothing great.

Taste - Very gentle spice notes in the front give to a big oak and plum flavor in the middle. Bitterness kicks in the aftertaste and definitely favor the spice and pine notes.

Mouth Feel - Probably my favorite thing about the beer. A very nice, creamy mouthfeel that coats the mouth well. Carbonation is well done without any sting.

Drinkability - A solid beer with some good notes, and would be very interesting on tap. High-ish ABV and cost would prevent having any more than a second.

OK, so with a name like Big Hoppy Monster...I was expecting lots of hops. And I really did not get that from this beer. OK, let's just set the name aside. As an amber? Closer, though I really think the oak notes were a touch too dominant. Yes they were nice, but I think it really threw things out of balance, in a style that should epitomize a balance of malt and hops. Is the beer good? Certainly, and maybe with some age it will balance out, but right now it did not blow me away.

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Photo of Onibubba
3.43/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2006 Monsters of Beer Tour. Had this in a side by side with DFH 90 Minute. A good looking amber DIPA with little to no head. Aroma is knock you out of the park citrusy hops. Nearly overpowering. This is also evident in the taste. There is some malt in there, but not nearly enough to tame this. Nice carbonation. This is a bit harsh going down. Alcohol is evident and the hops burn.

Not a bad beer at all, but a bit of an ass kicker. I'm not sure I'd really want to drink more than one of these a night. If you like a DIPA with a serious hop bite, you may want to take a look at this one.

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Photo of tr4nc3d
3.43/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12fl oz bottle poured into my pint glass

Appearance was that of of a dark copper like color(almost black looking, or dark brown) with a two inch slightly tan head. Good head retention with minimal lacing.

Aroma was that of a mix between malts and hops. Very slightly citrus smells try to show up with ruby grapefruit being the main one. Malts show up with caramel, toffee, biscuit and cracker like malts. Some alcohol can be detected in the aroma as well.

Taste upfront is that of a slightly citrus flavor, maybe tangerines. Following is an onslaught of malts with the likes of caramel and toffee being first, midway is cracker like malts and finishing is biscuit along with a hop bitterness

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with high carbonation.

Overall a decent beer worth trying once but nothing I would buy again

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.45/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this bottle at cellar temp and poured into a pint glass. The beer pours a hazy mahogany color with a small beige head foaming up about 1 cm. Aroma is grainy malt with some caramel as well. Herbal and sappy hops come through but dont over power. First sip reveals a soft smooth texture and average body, very mild carbonation that caresses my palate. Flavor is similar to nose, some caramel and grainy almost husky malt followed by slightly bitter sappy and grassy hops. There is no real hint of the 8% and that is nice. The beer drinks easy, but I didnt find it to have the hops to be a "double" IPA. Good enough as a beer though.

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Photo of swid
3.45/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A big shout-out to tpd975 for sending me a selection of FL/GA beers. Thanks!

Big Hoppy Monster pours a deep ruby/near-brown color into my glass. A 1/4" tan head appears and then disappears nearly instantly. Low carbonation, virtually no lacing. The aroma is dominated by the hop elements, with pine and citrus being most notable. Only after the beer warms up after a while does any appreciable malty caramel aroma become apparent.

The taste of this beer is, once again, initially dominated by a pine and citrus hop bitterness. After about a second, a strong caramel maltiness comes through. A hint of dry alcoholic heat is detectable, but is remarkably well hidden for a beer of this ABV. Mouthfeel is light and dry. Finishes with a warm, citrusy bitterness.

Overall, an enjoyable beer, but one that's a bit too "extreme" for the American Amber style. If a Double Red/Amber style existed, Big Hoppy Monster would be a near-perfect example. Oh well, a man can dream...

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.46/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Taken from notes on 3.24.11

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours a deep reddish-brown with a thick, bubbly medium tan head.

S - Malts, and sugars.

T - Sweet malts, slightly hoppy, with a coffee finish.

D - Pretty sweet, no booze flavor or burn.

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Photo of maximum12
3.46/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to sholland119 for throwing this into our most recent spring trade. This one's been on my want list for quite a while - what hop head doesn't want to get into a BIG HOPPY MONSTER? Well, I do, at least. Onwards.

Big H. is a deep, clear red, & I've always liked redheads. Smell is surprisingly lacking in hops, just a head-clearing sweetness.

This brew is big & brawny. Despite the moniker, the malt is in the front row with a battering ram. It's very thick, on par with some Russian Imperials, but lacking the cloying sweetness I don't enjoy on malt heavy beers; perhaps the rearguard of hops are evening things out. I'm having some trouble with the taste subtexts here, but they're nice.

Just a wee bit on the heavy side. Only about 1/4 of the bottle is gone, & my stomach is already beginning to fill up.

The advertised hoppiness seemed to be almost completely absent, but it's in line with everything I've enjoyed from Terrapin, that is to say, very good.

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

Many thanks to Mdaschaf for the chance to taste this one. I'm a bug fan of Terrapin, and don't get a chance to drink their beers too often. Bottle labled "2011 vintage". Pours from bottle into my Brooklyn tulip. For an imperial red, this has a crazy dark color. Dark dark amber. I wasn't expecting it to look this way. Smell- citrus hops, but definetely some roastiness to it. a chalky scent as well. Taste- raisins, a hoppy bitterness, at the end, a sweetness to it. I am not sure I like this too much. Its boozy, a little off balance, and just not at all what I was expecting for the style. My barometer for this kind of beer is Gordon...and Gordon is a much better beer than this.

Based on my experience with this one, this might be a beer that can improve with age.

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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 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 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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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 changeup45
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle says Monster 2007 Beer Tour. Pours a dark brown, amber tinted color with a decent head that settles down a bit. There's still some frothy lacing. The aroma is fruity hops with a touch of candy and brown sugar. The flavor starts with a sugary malt note then turns to a dark fruity hop bite but it's somewhat mild. Imperial IPA? Let's just call it Hoppy Monster. Uhhh, nah, that still doesn't sound right. Little or semi-hoppy monster. The hops really don't bite hard here. Anyways, this beer really is pretty good and I enjoyed it but by no means is it a "Big Hoppy Monster".

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

Rusty reddish amber color with a khaki head.

Aromas of caramel malt and piney hops.

The flavor dances back and forth between the fruity sweetness of the caramel malts and the piney hoppiness. It's not quite a hoppy monster, but a monster of a fight between caramel malt sweetness and hops.

medium-full body, some alcohol flavor comes up, and the seriosuly fruity-sweet-caramel malt goes fighting on down to the last with the piney hops for a bitter-sweet finish.

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

A- red deep amber in color. Finger of off white head.

S- rich caramel malty aromas up front with a toasted characteristic. Woody piney hop aromas in the middle. Alchohol on the finish.

T- caramel with a note of toffee at first. Very toasted with abtut more of an alchohol presence than average. Piney woody hop bite on the finish with a warming touch.

MF- sticky slightly syrupy mouthfeel with a full body and average carbonation.

D- one that you would take your time with. Ok drinkability.

Overall a solid imperial red.

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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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