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 jsh420
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

thanks to coreyfmcdonald for this extra

pours murky copper with some orange flames shooting up from the bottom of my glass - 1+ finger head that covered my glass with lacing

smells of rich caramel malts and big piney hops

taste - wow i am not big of amber ales but this is world class - this beer reminds me of SN Bigfoot but with a more biscuit malt flavor - yes lots of hops but the malts steal the show

mouthfeel is medium/heavy with great carbonation for this thicker beer - creamy yet crisp

drinkability - yet another terrapin seasonal that will be a yearly trade must - i have yet to have a nugget nectar but this one stands king of the ambers for now

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Photo of cadaugherty
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes 10/15- extra from TheBrodie

Appearance- Dark Caramel with a nice fluffy head. Great lacing.

Smell- Floral hops and some caramel malt. Really an amazing combination and by far the best part of this beer.

Taste- The caramel/chocolaty malts jump out immediately. After a few sips the hops begin to present themselves and there is a refreshing bitter note at the end of the taste.

Mouth/Drink- Decent. Not to thick, not overly thin. I could drink another one after and this one went down pretty quick.

Another solid beer from Terrapin.

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

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

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

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

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

A decent Red ale but nothing special.

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Photo of beerwolf77
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another Terrapin beer I received from several trade partners. Thanks guys. Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A: Dark amber red. About a finger of light beige head. Sticky lace, solid retention, small cap.

S: Sweet and hoppy. Mild hints of caramel malt and spices. Toffee drizzled hop cones.

T: Mild hop bite with a good amount of caramel malt. Spices and a hint of coffee in the finish. Complex and rich.

M: Medium body. Light carbonation. I'm glad I have several bottles.

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

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

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

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

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

A= Dark near black amber in a Snifter at Sharp Edge in Crafton PA. Modest off-white head.

S= Bold nose, a nice hops bouquet with caramel molasses.

T= Rich start, hops are more floral than bitter but still in the IPA range. Interesting on the finish, slowly introducing a sort of dry-straw flavor reminiscent of a grassy field on a hot summer day. Less potent overall than one would expect from the scent and appearance but still a very worthy contribution.

M= somewhat dry, with light molasses malts and floral hops plus the grassy notes.

D= very drinkable if you can find and afford it, I could have had another or more if there hadn't been so many other on-tap offerings to explore.

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Photo of LiquidBread219
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A= Poured amber in color with some red highlights in it. Tan head sticks around for awhile and some lacing.

S= I smell hops and sweet carmal malt backbone in this one really strong in the nose.

T= To me the hops come out more in the taste and the carmel malt is a nice backbone in this pretty good.

M= I think this beer is pretty thin for whats going on in it.

D= Pretty drinkable wouldn't mind having a few of these. Would try it again.

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Photo of armock
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a brown with red high lights color with a tan head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is a nose full of hops with a sweet caramel malt backing

T - Like the smell starts out hoppy then the sweet caramel malt comes through

M - This beer has a medium body with higher carbonation to it

D - This is a very good beer I love hoppy reds and this one does the job for me the great taste makes this one a little too easy to drink worth hunting down to try

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

I eyeball this one in the store every time, but have never taken the plunge.... until now.

A: Very cloudy, red/brown/burgundy color with moderate amount of carbonation, and a head that formed very rapidly after a hard pour and all the contents were situated in the glass. The head retention is great and has a bit of a reddish hue. Great look!

S: Caramel upfront, almost the type that I typically get from American Barleywines. Mild candy sweetness, fruity, and with a tingle of yeast.

T: I know this is in the same style class as the Nugget Nectar, but it is not even close to the same to of beer IMO. This is very caramel-filled, sweet, with dark maltiness, and less grapefruity. It leans more on the side of the Barleywine, and less on the bitter, citrusy DIPA one. This is a red ale through and through! In that regard, this is divine!

M: Very well balanced, not too bitter or sweet, and the carbonation is very comfortable. There was a little lacing left on the glass, but I never found the mouth coating cloying in any way.

D: I'm so glad we get Terrapin distribution out here now. This beer had a great reputation and did not disappoint.

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Photo of axeman9182
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, marked "Vintage 10" on the bottle, poured into my Duvel tulip.

Big Hoppy Monster pours a deep, hazy red. I'd say it's dark enough to be bordering on brown. The cream colored head forms and hits three fingers in height. Head retention is great, and there are rings of lacing trailing down the glass as the cap finally does fade. The aroma is pungent as all hell, an absolute shotgun blast of bitter grapoefruit with some resinous hop notes present as well. There's plenty of caramel to back it all up as well. The flavor starts off the same, a big swirl of caramel. A wave of bitterness crashes over my palate next, before grapefruit comes in to close things out. The hop balance is tilted a little bit too much towards bitter and away from flavor for my liking, but it doesn't miss the mark by much. The body is as viscous as one might expect from a beer with this much caramel flavor and ABV, but the carbonation is a bit too low and dull. A bit more might have helped the hop flavors shine through more, and avoided the slightly syrupy quality BHM has as a result. Big Hoppy Monster is a very good beer, probably just short of Terrapin's Oatmeal Stout as my favorite of their seasonal releases.

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

A: A deep burgundy-rose color with a pie crust tinted head that lapsed rather quickly with a clean glass void of lacing. Rather tame and laid back appearance for something called big hoppy monster but coloring is nice.

S: Alcohol is prominent at first along with flowery hops of modest intentions. The alcohol seems to be the main focus here along with some toasted breadiness and lemon juice.

T: Once again the alcohol plays a key role. Husky graininess, toasted bread and dry flowery hops with an overlay of pine and semi-dry lemons come out rather strong. The malt base is humongous, while the finish finds what seems to be Amarillo hops lacing the tongue. Nice example of hop usage and maltiness. The complexity of flavors is rather limited though its balance of malts and hops and body substance makes up for such.

M: Bready mouthful with a full bodied maltiness. The texture is slippery with a bit of syrupy feel and some alcohol warmth coming on followed by a flowery coating on the tongue.

D: Alcohol fueled, a bit warmer then expected per 8.3% abv, but worthy of its name and drinks really well by the bottle being easily handled.

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Photo of claspada
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Aromas are pretty darn good. A juicy blend of citrus hops accompanied by a nice floral presence. There's a solid malt backbone as well; notes of rather sweet caramel and some subtle hints of biscuit.

The tastes remind me a lot of the Rye Squared but a tad more malty and less bitter. Floral & citrus juiciness throughout. Malts are fairly prominent but aren't he main focus by a long shot. Caramels mostly, with some hints of biscuit/breadiness.

A little bit more than medium bodied; it has a penchant for sticky resin (a great deal of grittiness, also). Alcohol is appreciable, but not cloying; more a general warming sensation that anything. Caramel & a modest bitterness linger.

Mouthfeel is fairly syrupy, but expected because of the ABV. Overall, I really enjoyed this beer but don't need to have it again. Probably the best "heavy" red ale I have had. Terrapin really knows what they are doing and understands what it takes to make good balanced beers and this is no exception.

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

A : Very dark reddish caramel brown with a solid finger tan head. A deep look reveals streams of bubbles slowly rising through the thickness.

S : Pine and caramel all over, with some sweetness. Huge potency to this one.

T : Straight after the nose. Big hop note on the front, followed by a wave of caramel malt. This is really just a big amber beast.

M : Thick, and tacky.

D : A huge sippable beer. Not overly a "hop monster" because of the large balance of malt.

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

12oz bottle, best by August 6, 2011, assuming August 6, 2010 bottling date. Relatively fresh.

Pours murky red/brown with a two finger light brown head that leaves webs of lacing and holds a light cap and ring.

Aroma is caramel malt, dark fruit, good citrus, pine, and grassy hops, a little toffee and chocolate, quite complex. Good strength.

The hops are stronger in the flavor with more citrus shining through along with the caramel malt, dark fruits, moderate sweetness and moderate bitterness balance each other out.

Full mouthfeel, low to medium carbonation.

Finally getting around to trying this bad boy...always passed it up in the past waiting on a fresher sample. Great stuff...an excellent Imperial Red, in fact the best Red Ale I've had to date. Only bought a single but I'm gonna hafta go back and get me a 4-pack.

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

12 oz. bottle at 42* into a Stone IRS tulip.

A: This pours murky brown with a red tint and half a finger of light tan fluffiness. The lace holds very well down the glass.

S: It features aromas of piney hops, mild citrus, rye, and a background of caramel and chocolate.

T: We have more rye, piney and floral hops, caramel, berry sweetness, and a hint of chocolate.

M: This has a thick body with long-lasting flavor.

D: This is a terrific brew. It tastes like a GD Hercules with a rye influence.

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Photo of SFLpunk
4.11/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown-glass pry-top bottle. Vintage 10 AA. Purchased at Bruisin' Ales in Asheville, NC. Brewed at Flying Dog (MD) for Terrapin.

Pours a murky brown with some red hues around the edges and thick cappuccino-colored head. Nose is split between a cappuccino aroma and hoppy citrus! Not roasty, but close to coffee with cream.

Flavors are bright and crisp and it tastes like Coffee Candy (like those imported caffeinated hard candies) plus some chewy sticky hops. Citrus like lemon zest and grapefruit hide behind a roasty malt body. Finish is unbalanced, meaning it goes back and forth between malt and hops.

Notes: A seriously interesting beer and definitely a unique interpretation of the Red Ale. I usually don't like Reds due to some over-roasted malt profile thing, but this keeps that roasting in check and the hops help round things out.

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Photo of cpanossian
3.65/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Powerful piny lemony hop fresh hay aroma. Poured deep red/brown color with a generous 2-3 finger light brown head. Powerful boozy astringent taste - almost to strong for my tastes. I think the 8.0% alcohol amps up the bitterness and diminishes the malty sweetness. Not the best balance for me. Also, there is little chance I could drink a second one an keep a straight face - not a session beer. Maybe good to sip with a dinner meal.

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Photo of theghost3
4.24/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark reddish brown, slightly hazy with a 2-finger light brown head.

The smell is piney hops and brown sugar malts. The taste is smooth--piney hops with lemongrass, caramel & brown sugar malts, sour yeast. Mouthfeel is smooth, thick-bodied with just a hint of acidity in the end.

This is a drinkable brew. It's well-balanced, but the ABV is rather apparent.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from tap into a standard shaker. Poured a dark red brown with a two finger off-white almost tan head. Maintained phenomanal lacing throughout. The aroma was comprised of big sweet malt, caramel, and subtle hop. The flavor was of massive caramel malt, subtle dark chocolate, subtle cream, and subtle sweet hop on the followthrough. It had a medium feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was an excellent brew to put it simply. The flavors were really well balanced with the malt and all of the other bitter flavors that show up toward the end. Goes down nice and easy as well. This is a must try for any Red Ale or IPA fan out there.

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Photo of rwf08
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Extra in on a trade. Thanks cpinto6!

A: Dark reddish-brown. Looks clean and clear but so dark light can't get through well. Reddish-white head that leaves some okay lacing and a head that sticks around but is thin.

S: Piney hops with some citrus and a good malty caramel back bone. Some raisin too.

T: Get more hops in the flavor. Clean bitterness with the pine. Good balance with the caramel malt. Just a good easy drinking beer.

M: Fairly full plumy body. Smooth with some crisp carbonation. Not too dry finish.

D: This is a good beer that enjoy alone and just savor. I would drink more of these if I had them.

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

Aggressively poured from a bottle into a Sam Adams Boston Lager Glass. Huge, creamy, rootbeer colored head with unbelievable lacing. Unfiltered dark amber color. A monster looking beer that lives up to its looks.

The smell is caramel malts and megahops, but is dwarfed by the taste. This beer is malty and hoppy to the extreme, but to call it balanced would be misleading because everything about this beer is huge. The alcohol is easily hidden by the almost overwhelming flavor.

A one of a kind beer that I enjoy with great regularity. I rarely drink more than one Big Hoppy Monster at a time. My normal routine when this beer is in season is to have a pale ale or IPA then top the session off with a Big Hoppy Monster. It complements a strong Cuban or Nicaraguan cigar perfectly, but overwhelms any Dominican I can think of.

The mouthfeel is huge but still drinkable if you're in the mood for something BIG. To me it's bigger than any porter or stout and even approaches the best doppelbock.

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

review from 2-20-10

reddish brown body with off-white, yellowy head. great retention.

surprisingly this has a strong coffee aroma. piney hops come next, then honey, maple, and more pine.

taste consists mostly of pine, with coffee taking a backseat. as it warms, the coffee becomes more and more present and is dominant in the aftertaste.

poofy carbonation, full body, thick but not viscous.


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Photo of wvsabbath
3.76/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving type - Bottle

Appearance - thick dark brown, unfiltered, not much head

Smell - Not strong smell, some hops and spices,

Taste - Ah yes, Imperial red ale = hops! Well, not this beer, it really features malts. Really enjoyed the malt thickness and mild hop bite. Very smooth for being so high in alcohol. Doesnt ruin palette, you can enjoy all the spices too!

Mouthfeel - A pleasure to taste. Coats mouth nicely and treats tounge to sweet bold malts. Not much aftertaste. Your tastebuds are fine after a drink.

Drinkabilty - If it wasnt 8.3%, i swear i could drink 4-5 of these. SHould be called malt monster, not hop monster though. I bought this for hops and got malts. So it lost some points in that reguard. Its really smooth and mild for what it is. Glad i got a 4- pack. Will drink 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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