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

snagged this in NJ earlier today.

a - opened the bottle and filled my E snifter. poured a nice rich reddish orange with a generous almost yellow white head. head hung out a while and was fairly chunky.

s - hops mixed with brown sugar. has an almost brown ale smell to it.

t - much like the nose, brown sugar but not too hoppy. in fact leads with the malt.

m - thick and creamy. kind of dopplebock like. smooth and easy to drink. no real bite.

o - overall very solid beer, but not so much a big hoppy monster, more of a big malty monster. imperial red is exactly what you get with this one.

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

A: dark reddish orange and brown color with off-white head that rises an inch off the beer. Some cloudiness, minimal lacing. and a sticky ring on the edge of the glass.

S: smells of spicy hops and yeast creating a pepper-like scent along with citrus, pine, and some sweet malt and caramel.

T: caramel malt balances with the hop bitterness and bite as well as that spicy flavor, which isn't as prevalent. Delicious. Leaves a fruity/malty flavor.

M: as expected for an "imperial" red ale, it's decently thick feeling and smooth, but it also has decent carbonation.

O: drinkable, if a little thick. Glad to have found one at Tipple's in Gainesville. Would buy again.

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Photo of suspect
3.84/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Samuel Adams Perfect Pint glass. Thanks to my pal Audi for bringing this up from Georgia. 2011 vintage.

A. Hazy copper color. I thought I poured this one properly but I ended up without any head at all. No lacing to speak of. A little more head would make this beer prettier.

S. strong piney hop presence with strong caramel malt undertones. The hefty ABV certainly makes itself known here as well.

T. Bitter hop profile mixed with huge sweet caramel and toffee notes mixed yet again with a whiskey presence that comes directly from the abv. Probably with time the booze will fade away leaving a really nice malt profile.

M. Carbonation is low in this brew. Medium body. Abv shows up here in the form of a nice warming feeling in the mouth, lips and belly.

O. This is a solid amber ale. It was unexpectedly strong but really complex and nicely balanced.

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

Pours dark red, almost brown with large foamy khaki head that lasts. Smells of earth, spices, nutmeg, faint chocolate, and vegetation. Booze is noticeable at first, and then an array of grass and veggies merges with spice and cocoa and a sharp alcohol note finishes the drink and lingers. Medium bodied with light carbonation. A slick mouthfeel that is quite medicinal. Tasty, warming, a big beer worth sipping on.

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

A: Hazy dark amber color with a thick tan colored head. Good lacing on glass.

S: A nice mix of citrus hops and toasted caramel malts.

T: More of the same. There is a huge citrus hop flavor up front that is balanced out by sweet toasted malts. The finish is not as bitter as I would have imagined, it's actually more sweet than bitter.

M: A heavier feel and low carbonation. Felt it could use a little more carbonation.

O: It is a nice beer, big flavors, but maybe too big at the moment. I'd like to see how the hop mellows with age. Might be a little more smooth in a year.

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Photo of hmf05
4.11/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear deep ruby red with a one finger head. The aroma is the opposite of what I expected. With a name like Big Hoppy Monster, I was expecting hops (duh). Instead I get big notes of bread and toffee. This sort of smells like doppelbock. I honestly do not sense a single hop note in the aroma. The taste is similar to the nose, only I get some citrus and cherry notes. It starts out sweet (cherries and toffee) and bready, then turns into a subtle bitterness mixed with toffee. The mouthfeel is creamy and carbonation isn't overpowering. Overall, delicious. Although the name is horrible (due to the fact that this isn't a hop bomb), the beer fits the Imperial Red Ale style well. If you are looking for a hop fix, this isn't your brew. This is a malt lover's delight and a delicious interpretation of an amber ale. Try it!

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Photo of Nugganooch
3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Notes form 10/12/11
2011 Vintage - no date
*12oz bottle to pint glass

My first Terrapin brew. Big thanks to mdfb79 – Cheers Dan!

A: B.H.M. pours a dark and hazy amber color that picks up some ruby tones when held up to the light. A thin beige cap of head formed, demonstrating some diligent lacing.

S: Smells pungently spicy with hops. Pine resin. And a caramelized toffee sweetness takes over from there.

T: Big caramel chew. Moderately high hop bitterness in the forms of pine and citrus but this one is more about the malts. A rich caramel character brings a nutty chocolate bread undertone to the brew which is nice. Slight alcohol flavs. Nice lingering bitterness. Finishes a touch sweet.

M: Very creamy and smooth in texture with a resinous coating. Moderate to higher range in body. Carbonation seems lowered with the thicker body but manages a slightly crisp finish.

D: A bit filling on the drink. This Imperial Red has some big robust malt flavors and decent hop bitterness that do come into a nice balance. Alcohol present but not unpleasant.

I guess my biggest issue is probably the name. It is kind of hoppy but this beer is more about the big rich caramel malts expected in an Imperial Red. Should have called it Big Malty Monster.

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

Appearance: Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Snifter, half a finger of creamy head that quickly fades to nothing, nice lacing, Red Color Hue.

Smell: Malty Caramel with a Citris Background, Sweet Honey smell.

Taste: Bittering Hops up front quickly followed by a malty caramel, slightly hoppy wave of goodness. Big Beer Taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium Body, nice for a almost 9%ABV Beer.

Drinkability: It's a Big Beer, A Sipper not a chugger if you will. It would be a waste to drink this before it warmed up a bit anyway. The Warming of the beer only brings out the flavors more, let it sit for a bit before drinking. Very Drinkable for a Imperial Beer.

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Photo of ezperkins2
3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Terrapin – Big Hoppy Monster (2011 vintage)
Poured from a 12 oz into a tulip – 10/10/11

A: Beautiful burnt orange with a nice frothy light brown head. Head sticks around for a while with average lacing.

S: I was expecting a hop bomb with a name like Hoppy Monster and was caught a little of guard by the bready aroma. Sweet breads with a hint of a yeasty funk. It smelled a bit like strong sourdough bread.

T: Again I was expecting more hops to come through and it was a blast of malty sweetness with a touch of caramel. The first taste is the biscuity malts quickly followed by a caramel or honey sweetness and finishes with a bitter hop. There was also a hint of oranges as well throughout. The finish lingers with all three components present.

M: Nice soft carbonation with a slightly creamy yet oily mouth feel. The finish is much dryer than the initial taste.

O: Let me start by saying I was very excited to get my hands on this beer. I grabbed a four pack from http://www.luekens.com since Terrapin isn’t something you can’t find in Ca. This beer reminds me of Stones double bastard in a weird way. In your face malt bomb with a sneaky hoppy finish. Overall I did expect a bit more of the hop flavors through out but it was still a very good beer. I might not drop the $30 on a four pack again but if I find my self east of Ca I will definitely keep an eye out for it.

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Photo of nandemo1
3.55/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a hazy amber with a small off white head that disappeared quickly. Left a lot of sticky lacing.

Smell is of sweet roasted malts with some orange notes. Taste is very similar to a 90 minute that's been sitting around awhile. Big maltiness with far less bitterness than I expected. Lots of caramel and breadiness.

Mouthfeel is fairly smooth yet sticky.

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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 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 engagechad
3.73/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased as a single from Wine and Beer Westpark in Glen Allen, VA - DFH snifter glass

Pours a nice dark burnt orange.. er.. red.. ha. Head was just okay and lacing was minimal. Smells slightly hoppy but mostly of wet bread. It actually wasn't that pleasant on the nose or the buds. Taste was nice but a slight funk. Mouthfeel was nice though so overall this was a pleasant beer but not really worth the price tag and I'd take a NN or a G'night over this.

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Photo of Emerson1310
4.83/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

These just showed up at TW here in Springfield. Terrapin is rapidly becoming a favorite brewery of mine!

A: coppery-red in glass, clear, not foggy, 4-finger golden brown head and when glass is tilted the lacing is solid. Very active carbonation.

S: Caramel malts, some grapefruit, pine and resin-hops.

T: Delicious!! Little to no bitterness, but very smooth throughout!! Definite strong hop-flavor, combined with some citrus, resin, tannins and tobacco. Finish is super smooth, and no hop build-up or bitterness build-up.

M: Fairly creamy-thick and pleasant.

O: I bought five 4-packs of this stuff after tasting it, and as with all their other brews, this will be a repeat offender!! Another great beer from the turtle!!

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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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Terrapin Big Hoppy Monster from Terrapin Beer Company
4.06 out of 5 based on 866 ratings.
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