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 n2185
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Definitely doesn't pour like a typical amber. It pours a chocolaty brown with a finger of tan head. Head retention is fairly good and it leaves a nice lacing on the glass.

S: Some caramel malt with dark fruits up front like raisins up front followed by some pine hop aromas.

T: Similar to the smell, there's a blast of caramel malt and dark fruit up front. Then the hops kick in, providing a good amount of pine with some bitterness in the aftertaste. The sweet malt also sticks around in the aftertaste.

M: Medium body with some light-medium carbonation.

D: This drinks more like a light barleywine than an amber ale. This bottle might have some age on it, which could contribute to that. Goes down very smooth with a nice mix of malt and hops.

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Photo of glid02
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Original Review 10/2008 - Got an especially fresh 4-pack of this while I was up in Athens from Five Points.

Pours a completely clear, dark ruby color with a one-finger tan head. The head sticks around for a while before dissipating into a wispy layer of bubbles on top and a medium-sized ring around the glass. Not much lacing, but I'm very impressed by the color.

Smells good. Big floral hop aroma up front that's joined by mild citrus and sweet malt smells. As the beer warms the sweet malt gets more robust, and near the end of the beer there's a faint smell of alcohol.

Tastes good. Big sweet malt taste followed shortly by a piney flavor and ending in a solid amount of bitterness. The sweet malt gains steam as the beer warms, but the bitterness is constant. There's just the mildest hint of the alcohol.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a very good thickness, and the carbonation is just intense enough. It goes down very smoothly.

Drinkability is great. I could easily drink a ton of these - it goes down so easily.

Overall this beer lives up to the name, but it's not too over the top. I'm looking forward to partaking in one of the supposed Oak Aged kegs of this. However, oak aged or not, this one is definitely worth your time and money.

EDIT: Four-pack from Green's on Ponce - This year's smells and tastes as though there are even more hops than previously, bumping both up a notch. Great job by Terrapin.

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.73/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into an BrewDog cervoise glass. I am surprised I've not reviewed this before. Unfortunately, this bottle is a little more than a year old. Vintage 2011.

A: Pours very dark, with little to no head. In direct light, it's only lightly translucent, being a pretty solid ruddy brown. Some effervescence, but almost no lacing.

S: Malty-bitter-sweet. Brown sugar and citrusy hops.

T: Very good! Age has hardly diminished the appeal of this imperial amber. It has all the round, fruity maltiness, but with a wicked bitter twist of abundant hops. The aftertaste is smooth and wet, but the hops and the ABV impart a modicum of dryness.

M: Light carbonation, thin body, sticky finish.

O: A good, high-powered beer and excellent amber. Powerful but well-balanced. Recommended; would enjoy again.

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

12oz bottle received as an extra from Ding (thanks!). I poured this monster into a pint glass. The smell was hoppy. The color was dark, dark, red-brown with a substantial, pillowy cream head. The taste was really good with the malts showing up more than the hops. I thought this had almost a barleywine characteristic to it. Very good brew.

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Photo of mynie
3.86/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hugely pretty dark, candy red. Like a beautiful woman's fake hair. Just--I've never seen a beer that was this goddamn red. It's really a sight.

Smells of like ten different hops all at once, all very strong. Funk hops, citrus hops, lemony hops, and very light gooey pine hops. Nice.

Tastes of very strong, varied hops, middle of the road strong, syrupy malt, and an unfortunately off aftertaste that's a little bit like a wet animal. This happens sometimes with very hoppy beers, and it's a damn shame.

Good but imperfect.

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

12oz single, shipped courtesy of Blackie

appearance: poured into large mouth wine glass...garnet-chestnut body, light beige head with nice bubbly lacing...obviously a dark and rich body for what is classified as a DIPA, but of course the brewer calls it an imperial red

smell: rich and syrupy aromas, molasses, bitter pine/citrus hops apparent in the background but not overpowering in the aroma, sweet and smooth caramel malt

taste: I like this, but im a little baffled on its 91 rating, especially classified as a dipa...flavour is caramel/molasses malt dominated in my opinion, caramel apple, bitter pine hops come through, light boozy nature...pretty good but not much of a dipa by my definition of the style

mouthfeel: smooth and rich, light bitterness

drinkability: good

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Photo of Pencible
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured a clear, dark copper with tan head. It smelled like caramel malt and copper hops, with bready yeast and a bit of prune. It tasted like earthy copper hops and roasted barley, with some caramel and yeast and a bit of floral hops. It was oily and somewhat thick, with a bit of carbonation and a bittersweet aftertaste. Overall this wasn't the hoppy monster I was expecting, but it did have a nice malty taste for an amber ale. The flavor wasn't terribly clean, although that might improve with some age? Of course, that would fade the hops that the brewers probably intended to showcase. Very confusing. Either way, it had nice body and hid the alcohol very well, so it was surprisingly easy to drink. This doesn't hold a candle to Nugget Nectar, but it's still an enjoyable beer in its own right.

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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 Cyberkedi
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, opaque, slightly reddish brown, almost mahogany, with a thick and fine-bubbled pale tan head. Hoppy aroma has just a hint of cloves. Flavor is quite hoppy but not too bitter, rather lip-smacking, with a spicy hint. Texture is tingly, fizzy and lively and leaves a pleasantly hoppy finish.

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

This bottled brew pours into the pint glass at room temperature for a deep dark rosey mahogany color with a giant oatmeal colored head and gobs of lacing. The aroma is hearty nutty malt and fruity pine hops. My first taste brings a thick malt and sweet piney rye. It's mid-bodied plus with a nice grainy tone, warm and full flavored, vaguely resinous. It's quite drinkable for an imperial but there is a hint of alcohol that gives it some warmth and gusto. A delicious taste experience. Bravo.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.49/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautifully clear ruby-brown color with a fine-bubbled lingering tan head. A nice looking beer.

Mmmmm, smells great! A citrusy hop explosion. This has gotta be dry hopped. Has a large malty backbone, but is still just reeks of grapefruit, lemon, pancakes and clover honey.

Definitely a hoppy monster. Uber-fresh and crisp. Plenty of maltiness, but the hops shine sooo brightly like polaris! Kind of reminds me of Lagunitas lucky 13. Just a fantastic beer...well done Terrapin!

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Photo of morimech
4.48/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks to HeadyHops81 for this beer. I love hopped up red ales and this one certainly did not disapoint. Pours a dark reddish brown color with a big tan head that had excellant retention. The head eventually settles to a thick cap. Moderate amount of spotty lacing is left on the glass. You can tell that this has a large malt bill but it is all overpowered by the hops. I detect citrus, mainly grapefruit, pine, and a touch of herbal medicinal qualites as well. The malt comes more into play in the flavor. Starts sweet with touches of caramel and molassas but then all the hops they put into this beer come alive. Grapefruit and pine elements compliment the malt. Finishes sweet which I do not typically like but I enjoyed the overall effect. Alcohol is detected and is warming stopping just short of hot. Has a bigger body with a creamy, smooth texture. Just enough carbonation to give it life. This beer does not lack flavor from malt or hops. You do not have to have one or the other, but both in one wonderful package. The big nature of this beer and the high ABV are the only limiting factors in drinking this beer. Outstanding!

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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 OWSLEY069
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber color with a tan head. Aromas of hops and a small sweet malt too. In the taste, a mellow hop presence and a nice maltiness as well. A nice smooth mouthfeel and a dry, sweet small hoppy aftertaste. Big hoppy nose, but not too much hop in taste which makes it nice and smooth. Hides the 8.3% ABV very well, never would have guessed. A very nice beer.

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

Heavily hazy body of dark oranged teak wood. Potholed styrofoamed top of lightly yellowed froth that stands nearly an inch. Keeps forever and day while leaving a whole heaping mess of lace across the glass in thick intricate weaves of strings, tiny pin holes, spots, and sheets.

Aroma is lofty and nose welcoming with an unexpectedly sweet tone of citrus, cherry fruity dryness mixed with a deep alluring caramel/toffee twist and a pine-sided loft of spruce wood and needles. As it warms it tenederizes the pine into a lightly fluffy-like grapefruit peel zest, yet maintains its overall woody effect and sweetness.

Taste is big and balanced well with a very nice sweetness of rounded fruity stuff and soft caramel. Overall this sucker is quite smooth with just the right amount of balance in the hops. Complexingly subtle and big with lovely balanced flavors. Descriptively hard to distinguish as it grows in acceptance quickly across the palate. The sweetness is quite nice and more jam and jelly-like but of cookie dough likeness then anything. Fruity and cherryish with dripping caramel drops, vanilla, and brown sugar. Hops are delicate but forward with a simple and subtle balance within with a smallish citrus puff of dried grapefruit, a pile of pine backs up the finish with an ever so faintly placed amount of dryness and barely a nudge of any bitterness. Only a bit of hop oil warmth remains late while the sweetness lingers.

Body is medium to full, smooth, quick, and round. Balanced very well with the sweetness keeping the overall element of flavor letting the hops make their mark when needed. Nearly perfect; as I was hoping for a bit bit more in hop complexity. None the less, this is a spectacular beer built by Terrapin. And wholey drinkable by many empty bottles sitting around.

Thanks again to cashew70 for the hook up of Terrapin!

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

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a Duvel tulip. No freshness date. Single purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $2.95.

A: Amber with 2-finger foamy head with good retention and scattered lace.

S: Sticky sweet maple with big pine and grapefruit hops aromas

T: The maltload of this brew must be huge and the sticky sweet maple, brown sugar maltiness plays a huge role in bringing big flavor in this brew. The hops cut through with mostly pine and a bit of grapefruit.

M: Medium-full body with low carbonation and long, hoppy pine aftertaste.

D: A better-than-average brew with big hops and malt flavor. I wish the hops were a bit more varied in complexity, but this beer still is enjoyable.

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Photo of gford217
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally get around to rating this local gem.

Pours a deep copper with a short-lived tan head that leaves bit of lacing.

The aroma has a big pine hops kick up front but immediately gives way to a big sweet caramel malt backbone. Interesting nose.

The taste is just as interesting and complex as the aroma. The floral hops and sweet caramel malts fight for dominance in the taste - pine and caramel in a death match for the benefit of my tongue...nice. Great taste.

The mouthfeel is sticky with hops and the malt sweetness with good carbonation.

I've been drinking this for years and have just now gotten around to reviewing it, but this is great, great stuff. I'm going to stock my fridge right now...

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Photo of illidurit
3.28/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a crystal clear maroon with a modest tan head. Leaves plenty of lacing with substantial retention.

Malt is the overriding aroma, with a huge dose of burnt brown sugar and a hint of booze. There are some subdued hop notes that manifest as herbal tinges.

Taste isn't really true to this beer's name. Malt is clearly the dominant flavor, with hops playing a minor role. The burnt character comes out in the flavor as well as the aroma. The hops come out in the finish as a bitter, tannic, tea-like note.

This beer is way overcarbonated, and not hoppy enough. Alcohol comes out with warmth and makes this the second (of two) Terrapin beers that I find overrated.

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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 birchstick
3.68/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - pours a reddish brown, more brown than red

S - smells of sweet caramel malt and toffee. Not a ton going on here; there isn't a "tantalizing hop aroma" that the bottle suggests.

T - taste follows the nose. I got a ton of sugary, caramel malt, sticky toffee on the front of the palate. Once it moves to the back, I started getting a lot of burnt malt, almost some coffee flavors and very slight spice and pine hop presence. This almost seemed like a dopplebock - very interesting flavor profile. I don't think the name is very fitting of the beer, however I wish I had more. This is a malt bomb that is really good.

M - a little thin bodied, but really nice carbonation that tickles your tongue as it goes down.

D - This is a really good beer. Very interesting in its flavor (as far as its deviation from its name). I think it I would have enjoyed it a tad bit more if its profile fit its name, just for the sole reason that I was looking forward to a Big Hoppy Monster. I will definitely settle for a Big Malty Monster, just not what I was expecting / in the mood for.

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

Attractive, clear crimson in color with fine, even carbonation - creamy, milky off-white head leaves some irregular webby lacing. Smells dank and deliciously hoppy...oh yeah, its got that great DIPA smell. Citrusy, flowery, piney...leans mostly toward the fruity hops. Tasting it, this seems to have more balance in the flavor. Loads of big, juicy, resinous hops like the smell, but with a hefty brown-sugary sweet malt firmness. The result is a big, sticky, hoppy treat. Nice medium-full mouthfeel is solidly bitter.

This is fantastic stuff...certainly among the top-notch DIPAs. This is the real deal.

Appropriate for review # 300!

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Photo of Reagan1984
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to bhalter8 for providing this in a trade. I'm happy to have had the opportunity to try this.

Even with an aggressive pour there was only a scant finger head that formed atop this beer. It faded rather quickly and left a very small amount of foam on top. The beer was a deep ruby colored brew with some nice clarity. Some sparse carbonation and equally sparse lacing.

The aroma was a nice mixture of fruit and sweet grains. Some pineapple. Smells like a red.. I'm not sure what that means, but it does. Slight spice... cinnamon

My first impression was that it's sweeter than I had anticipated. However, the flavor grew on me and I'm intrigued by the caramel malt flavors that come in towards the end of the flavor profile. Some grain, cracker flavors and deep caramel. The lingering flavors are both some hop notes and also a bread like tone. You can sense the higher alcohol level.

Nice beer, just not quite as Hoppy as I would have imagined given the beer's name.

Mouth feel is just short if syrupy due to the sweetness. Carbonation is very muted

Nicely drinkable

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Photo of Tucquan
3.99/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on 2010-02-28 at Rivermont Pizza in Lynchburg, VA

A - he ale poured a beautiful cloudy chestnut with a one-finger head.

S - Excellent smell of piney resin, citrus and fruit.

T - Complex tastes including pine resin, smoke, licorice, leather, fig, plum, caramel, chocolate, alcohol and lots of citrus but not overbearingly hoppy despite the name. The piney-hops are strong on the nose and the initial taste but fade nicely into the rich malt. I enjoyed the complex taste but the blend had a bit too much licorice and smoke.

The mouthfeel is medium-thick and the carbonation is medium.

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

Many thanks to kkipple for this southern gem. You hooked me up, Dan, and I won't forget it. Much appreciated.

Big Hoppy Monster pours a gorgeous cherry wood color. It's fairly clear and has really nice garnet highlights. Sitting on top is an off-white head that's a couple of fingers deep. It took its time receding and left thick, sticky waves of lace clinging to the glass. Very impressive.

The nose smells very sweet and chock full of caramel malt. It's sugary in a brown sugar sort of way. The hop aspect of it is interesting. Remnants of citrus hops are noted. They've certainly faded a little, but some grapefruit and pineapple notes remain. Pretty impressive. There's an earthy quality here, as well, that's perhaps attributable to the hops. Today, this is a good smelling beer. In its prime, I have little doubt that this beast approached world class. Some dark fruit notes emerge late. Smells like a mix of raisin and prune. That's a subtle aspect of the nose. I'm not picking up any alcohol at all.

Yeah, this is really good stuff. It is very sweet and malty up front. It has a really nice caramel and toffee flavor that's complemented by a touch of brown sugar. It is somewhat earthy. I'm unsure of the hop bill, but it certainly had some floral and citric varieties. Grapefruit and pineapple flavors are noted, but they're a little muted. I suspect that the hop flavor has deteriorated to some degree. But, not totally. Again, this stuff has to be nothing short of excellent in its prime. It holds up very well with a little time under its belt. There are some dark fruit flavors of raisin and plum. They're not extremely pronounced, but they're easily noted. Alcohol is blended very well and is faint in flavor. It finishes sweet and a little bitter. Once again, the hops prove they haven't totally faded.

It has a medium body that's nice and smooth. Carbonation is relatively light. It's smooth, but not quite creamy or lush. Very good in any event. Drinkability is very high. The flavor is very good and it goes down way too easy for a beer that's 8.3% abv. It presents itself as much tamer than that. If I didn't know better, I might attempt to take down quite a few of these over a single night. Yeah, it's that good.

Big Hoppy Monster is damn good beer. The hops have faded to some degree in this bottle. I guess that makes it Big Monster. I'll buy that. The flavor here may have taken on a different character than a fresh bottle, but it's still very impressive. I really like this stuff. It's well-rounded and doesn't have any glaring flaws out all. I'd like to see Terrapin distributed in Ohio. Maybe someone can spread the word. Find a few bottles. Very good stuff. In fact, find a bunch of Terrapin. You won't be sorry.

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Photo of blackie
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: The pour yields a 0.5" dark khaki head that gradually recedes. The beer looks brown, but to me seems like a deep, rich red with some brown tones. The label hails it as an Imperial Red Ale, so that's how I'll review it.

smell: Rich red, toffee, and toasted malts upfront with a backing of big, muddy hops and a touch of ethanol. I get a hint of creamy, sugary vanilla, not unlike the cream of a Cadbury egg....though very subtle. Notes of dark cherries in syrup and dark chocolate are found. Smells solid and balanced, yet nice and rich.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is a smooth, low medium. The body is also smooth, silky on the tongue and pretty heavy in weight.

taste: Definately has flavors of a red ale, only jacked up. Rich toffee malts with lighter notes of roasted and toasted malts. There's an earthy flavor as well. Big dull hop flavor with a big, astringent bitterness that increases in strength after the swallow, lingering for a very long time with some dark grainy flavors.

drinkability: Easy to drink, and a nice beer. The alcohol is very well hidden.

4-pack from Whole Foods Raleigh...a best by date of 06407 is printed on the label

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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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