Terrapin Gamma Ray | Terrapin Beer Company

Terrapin Gamma RayTerrapin Gamma Ray
Liked This Beer
3.77 w/ 471 ratings
Terrapin Gamma RayTerrapin Gamma Ray

Brewed by:
Terrapin Beer Company
Georgia, United States

Style: Wheatwine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
Originally Side Project #3 released in 22oz bottles, now the summer seasonal on Terrapin's Monster beer tour and available in 12 oz bottles by the 4 pack.

Added by Georgiabeer on 10-09-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 471 |  Reviews: 353
Photo of dpodratsky3
3.45/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Golden amber and honey color with almost no head, just some film

S: Almost like an intense and spicy dunkelweizen, banana dominates big, but it is spicy/hot from the alcohol and yeast

T: Again like the smell, but super super super sweet, pretty much banana dessert in a glass, like banana nut bread kind off, the honey is the main influence here to the sweetness in addition to the banana flavor

M: Not thick, slightly dry, not really good or bad, just there

D: The sweetness makes it a sipper

Notes: For me this beer was way to sweet. It isn't just kind of honey like, it tastes like drinking straight from a bottle of honey. The flavors are very interesting and I would definitely recommend trying a bottle if you can, but I'm glad it only comes in a 4 pack, because I can barely finish one.

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Photo of Seanibus
3.35/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I am going to do do something I have never done before and that is completely scrap my initial review and start again. Normally, if I change my mind, I leave the old review and just add an update to explain any new scores. In this case, however, I think I got it so profoundly wrong, I need to start fresh.

Initially, I gave this beer a D+ and said it had a terrible solvent-like kick.

But on better acquaintance, I am reconsidering. Not that it doesn't have a solvent-like character, but I think I didn't have the flavor context to judge accurately.

Pours a viscous amber, like thinned honey, with a decent fluffy head and decent set of trailers from the bottom, though the head falls quickly and leaves little lacing.

The aroma does have a bit of solvent, a sharp, medicinal element. But it also has orange and spice, heavy on the cloves.

The flavor has a strong bitter orange backbone, with clove, allspice, perhaps some cinnamon, some jasmine and overripe tropical flowers. It's sweet, but that doesn't hide the alcohol kick completely. There is a strong cereal element - and I mean that literally - there is more than a little Cheerio-O in this flavor, and the finish does have a wheaty taste, like after eating a bowl of cereal. This sounds unpleasant but it isn't. It's just strange and takes some getting used to.

The mouthfeel is fairly thin considering the heavy duty flavor. It clings just enough to leave that cereal flavor hanging there.

I am still ambivalent about this beer. It is not one that is for the faint of heart and I hesitate to recommend it. But if you do try it, be very sure to give it a second chance - it rewards deeper experience.

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Photo of PSUDREW
4.02/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

$5.50 for a 4-pak, is a pretty good deal. Pours a nice solid orange color. Little head, no real retention. Smell of honey smacks you in the face right off the bat, and mix in some bananas as well. best way to describe this is if a barleywine and a hefe shacked up and had a kid. The stiff barleywine presence is there, but there is that sweet hefe finish. there is enough of a hop punch to show that barelywine heritage, but it is the finish that really means its hefe-rific. not a lot of carbonation, though the mouthfeel is syrupy. I like this beer. Not "wow, knock me pants off", but this is an interesting brew, and worth the price, no doubt.

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Photo of BarrelO
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a goblet. Best if enjoyed by the fourth week of February. 10.8% ABV.

A: Light orange body with a 1.5 finger head that leaves some lacing.

S: Bananas and honey.

T: Again, bananas and honey. A hint of nutty malt in the background. Remarkably, alcohol is undetectable.

M: Heavy and syrupy.

D: A heavy hitter that stops just short of being cloying. Like a cross between an English barleywine and a hefe on steroids. Probably best enjoyed in spirit-sized measures. If you pick up a bottle, you should probably split it.

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Photo of olympuszymurgus
3.93/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

everyone loves gold! and a beautiful head clinging, effervescence gurgling from the bottom of my glass and a solid layer of yeast sitting at the bottom of the bottle. foolishly i forgot about it and washed it out. foolishly! banana stands out on the nose, little wheat and honey too. nice flavor, little alcohol presence, sweet with a touch of hop bitterness and banana dipped in vanilla on the back. adorable. oh wait, little bit more alcohol at the very end. tasty, substantive, very quality. first offering from these chaps was a good one.

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.06/5  rDev -45.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Chilled 12oz bottle into a glass. Courtesy of steelersxl. Thanks Joe!

A: Pours a slightly hazy goldenrod body in the snifter. It develops a short-lived cream head, retreating essentially into nothingness; even the collar is almost nonexistent. Hmm.

S: Strong honey, there's no mistaking that. A nicely fruity aroma that reminds me of apricots, pears, and other orchard fruits. A general malty sweetness. And... dry-erase marker. I wish I were kidding, but once that comparison was made, it became bright as day.

T: Strong honey up front, and it defines the taste pulls well into the finish and aftertaste. Lots of fruitiness throughout: pears, apricots, apples. It reminds me of a Belgian-style pale, frankly; I kept looking for spice, but I didn't find anything. I had a hard time tasting the wheat, but I did taste that dry-erase marker I smelled in the nose. Kind of off-putting.

M: Fluffy and light-bodied. Moderate carbonation. A fairly lingering finish that, despite the honey, isn't too cloying. Of course, the dry-erase marker / solvent is a deal-breaker.

D: This was not a great beer.

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Photo of crossovert
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, the seasonal version, not the retired one.

Pours into my snifter with a hazy cider/honey color and a nice white head with tiny little bubbles. There are a lot of bubbles floating to the top, it really looks like a cloudy apfelwein in first or second fermentation. The lacing is very nice.

Smell is sweet and fruity, with some typical wheat characteristics. THe alcohol can be noticed with the nose with a slight burn. The yeast is there as well.

The mouthfeel is is decently syrupy with a prickly but not very biting carbonation. The taste is sweet with hints of honey, tastes like a mix of barleywine and weizenbock. The alcohol is a bit hot but not in the way at all. That being said it isn't the most drinkable brew. On first drink there was som metallic flavor but it has mellowed.

Overall a pretty good beer, perhaps the best thing I have had from Terrapin.

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Photo of rapidsequence
4.47/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle. I bought it at the Cheese Shop (Wine and Cheese?-- cant remember) in Williamsburg after having it on draft at Green Leaf the night before.

Appearance: A clear, dark golden color. The head is thin and spotty, and leaves something to be desired. Rapidly falling curtains of lace and wine-like legs. It looks pretty good overall in my snifter.

Smell: My first sniff said "bubblegum." It smells very sweet and very fruity. Sweet light colored fruits of all kinds including banana, apples, pears, etc. Almost like a belgian with the yeasty breadiness removed. I really like it.

Taste: Again very sweet and fruity. Tastes like it smells. Some bitterness in the middle, and very full malty sweetness all the way through the finish

Mouthfeel: This is a thick, sticky, syrupy beer. I've read to be carefull brewing with honey because it can cause thinning of mouthfeel. I guess thats more than offset by huge amounts of wheat and malt.

Drinkability: This would be a great beer to sit and sip. Its complex and there's lots to appreciate. For some reason though, I can't stop taking big gulps of it. Really good. Why the hell is this a summer seasonal?

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Photo of JayQue
3.92/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An unusual beer to say the least. There are both Belgian and Hefeweizen aspects to this one. Poured a slightly hazy light orange color into my RJ Rocker Capital Ale House pint glass. Very small carbonated white head that faces fast. No lacing to speak of.

Smell of Belgian yeast and sweet fruit. Taste has wheat bitterness, sweetness from honey, Belgian yeast and Hefeweizen cloves, banana and astringency. A lot going on here but it all seems to work.

Mouthfeel is fairly light but not watery. A mild alcohol bite and fairly smooth.

Drinkability is good for this octane level. I could enjoy a few of these. Might be even better as a summertime nightcap because of the Hefe-like qualities.

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Photo of sidetracked
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a Terrapin pint glass.

Pours an amber color with a thin white head that dissipated quickly. Appears thick and syrupy in consistency.

Smells sweet of honey, wheat, and a bit floraly.

Up front, the taste appears tame and wheaty. That is, until the sweetness and alcohol hit you. The finish is a HUGE honey flavor... almost overpowering.

Very smooth. The honey lingers a bit after each sip. I think it would be difficult to have another due to the strong honey taste--but that could easily be a positive attribute to others.

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Photo of mikey711
3.2/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Cloudy golden color with a big fluffy white head. Decent head retention but no lacing.

S: Lots of bubble gum esters and flaked wheat. No booze. Not much else.

T: Lots of bubble gum esters from the wheat and a bit of sugary sweetness.

M: Slightly rough but there is a redeemable creaminess to it. No booze for such s big beer.

D: This is much more on the hefe side than I was expecting. The whole glass was slightly tough to drink and I dont really feel the need to try it again.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rich honey gold with bumblebee borders. An attractive chunk of ivory colored cream sits atop the sunshine bright liquid, melts in fine fashion and graces the glass with tattered sheets of sea foam lace. This is exactly how a honey-added wheatwine should look.

The nose is reminiscent of a Belgian tripel without the Belgian yeast esters. It's ripe golden fruity and pale malty sweet, with a good bit of herbal-earthy hoppiness (courtesy of Perle and Mt. Hood hops). 40 IBUs is more than respectable. Despite the addition of 700 lbs of Tupelo and Sourwood honey, honey isn't appreciated per se. Here's hoping it makes an appearance on the palate.

In addition to esterless tripel, several other comparisons come to mind: high-quality malt liquor, high-quality Euro strong lager and pale-malted barleywine. Each of those is to be expected given the ingredients and the ABV. Honey adds a candi sugar-like sweetness... and still doesn't bowl me over in terms of flavor.

Specifics include pears and apples soaking in their respective fruit brandies, a surprising hint of tangy wheat and a dollop of honey. Even though there isn't a ton of character here, I tend to like this general blueprint better than some others. Check to make sure your Big Beer Lovers membership is paid up before taking the bomber home.

Alcohol is a part of the flavor profile, but it isn't raw or hot in the least. Maybe the time that has passed since the release has had something to do with that. Interestingly, the Terrapin website says that GR is now (or will be) one of their new summer seasonals. It isn't exactly a lawnmower beer, now is it?

The mouthfeel is medium-full with a hint of viscosity and a respectable amount of hang-on. The bubbles do their thing without making a nuisance of themselves. The result is no rough edges and as much smoothness as the ABV will allow.

Regarding the Side Project Series of beers, neither RoggenRauchBier (Volume 2) nor Dos Cocoas Chocolate Porter (Volume 4) impressed me. Gamma Ray (Volume 3) is more in line with the rest of the Terrapin lineup in terms of quality. It won't be everyone's cup of tea, but I'm getting a fair amount of enjoyment out of the bomber.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.29/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. 10.8% ABV, Best by Mo. 2, Wk 4 Notched on the label.

Huge thank-yous to senior Onenote81 for this beer!

A - The Gamma Ray poured out with vigor giving it a low white head. Also low is the retention with a white ring above the totally hazed deep golden-honey color.

S - A crisp wheat aroma and a heavy-handed helping of barley burst out in the nose all complimented by a rich honey sweetness. A spicy and fruity yeasty ester aroma adds to the complexity of this beer. Light mango and strawberry with bubble gum banana and a lemony citrus from a low, crisp hops too. Deeply complex and inviting aroma from this beer.

T - There is the booze. I was wondering where it was hiding. Not too hot or solventy at all, it's a touch warm and a nice addition to the complexities of this brew. A lot of sweet honey. Natural though, not artificial in flavor. Wheat and rich pale malts too. The yeast again creates some esters of spiciness and fruit. Mango and melon with that light banana bubblegum too. A tiny kiss of hops at the finish adds the complementary lemony citrus zest. It's a deep beer with fantastic flavor.

M - Sweet and full-bodied , it's borderline syrupy with a rich and full mouthfeel that turns spicy and war at the end. It foes down smooth despite it's ample carbonation.

D - A great wheatwine and a complex, fun example of the style, this beer has me saying, "I like turtles." Seriously, it's a good wheatwine that'll go down well but knock your socks off. Well done Terrapin! Also, I love the comic book art to the bottle [Not the one shown]. Very cool!

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Photo of qchic
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a bright amber with peach highlights. The head dissipates considerably, but not surprisingly for a wheat wine. Smells big and wheaty, with plenty of earthy tang, herby citrus, and clove. Also in the aroma are sweet apple and pears. The pear and clove are the first flavors that jump out at me. The honey sweetness border on being syrupy, but at 11%, that is to be anticipated. If you're planning on having one beer, this is certainly a way to make it count. Alcohol is hidden well in the flavor, but does give the beer a warming effect. The heft and lower carbonation keep the drinkability in check. Enjoyable and satisfying in moderation. Worth trying to mix things up a bit.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.4/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this as an extra in a recent shipment from hopsleeroy. Thanks Lee!

Poured into an 8oz. snifter.

Appearance: Looks oily and very cloudy. Body is a mix of honey and apricot in terms of color. A small white head formed initially, but is hardly worth mentioning as it disappeared within seconds. Faint streams of carbonation can be seen around the edges of the glass. No lacing.

Smell: Loads of honey and wheat! Holy crap! Banana and alcohol esters find their places in there as well, but they're much milder. Pretty damn strong; almost like potpourri. Not all too pleasant unfortunately.

Taste: That's better. Honey and wheat combine together pretty nicely in the taste - not too overpowering. Clove and banana add to the mix, and the beer finishes with a spicy alcoholic kick. This is pretty good, but the hops are absent and it's too much like a hefeweizen in my opinion.

Mouthfeel: Oily and fairly heavy with velvety carbonation. Nice mouth coating with just the right amount of alcoholic dryness. Some good prickliness to boot. This is definitely my favorite part of the beer.

Drinkability: Too wheaty for a wheat wine. I know that sounds funny, but I felt like I was drinking an imperial hefeweizen. I would have loved some more hops and barley wine characteristics. Wouldn't buy again.

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Photo of aubuc1
4.07/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle in to a goblet. Pours a hazy orangy brown with a thin head.

Smell is a big sweet grapey and banana.

Taste is a smooth wheaty beer with banana and bubble gum. No alcohol taste.

Thick mouthfeeland very high drinkability considering the booze. Very impressed with this beer. I didn't expect too much but was wrong.

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Photo of dukedevil0
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this as an extra in a recent trade with Murchmac, thanks man!

A: Pours a slightly hazy orangy shade of yellow with not much white bubbly head that settles down to just a rim.

S: Lots of honey, wheat, candi sugar, bubblegum, bananas

T: It's acutally a pretty unique blend of flavors, similar to the smell, a lot of honey and wheat with subtleties of candi sugar, bubblegum and banana

M: Nice and full bodied, but a little lower carbonation than I expected, which wasn't bad

D: A little sweet to be amazingly drinkable, but the flavor is good and there's no alcohol in the flavor if you ask me....over time it just gets a little too much for me

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Photo of JohnQVegas
3.72/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into Sam Adams sensory glass.

Pours a very hazy golden-straw color, with a thin but persistent off-white cap on top. Very nice stickage.

Nose is packed with cloves, some banana, vanilla, lots of higher alcohols and some clearly present honey sweetness as well, and just a bit of graham cracker. Like a heavily spiced banana-pudding. From what I've seen there are two takes on wheatwines - one is to make a barleywine with yeast, one is a super-strength weizenbock-like beer with a heavy emphasis on the German yeast flavors. This is certainly in the latter category.

Taste is unexpected. Leading off is the big vanilla presence laced with cloves, lots of spicy alcohol, and a metric ton of honey sweetness, though with a lightness from how fermentable the honey is. Not cloying, but not exactly balanced either. Not as impressive as I had hoped from the aroma.

Mouthfeel is undercarbonated and a bit syrupy. Could use a nice boost in that area. Probably the weakest aspect of the beer for me.

Drinkability, between the big alcohol, the flat-ish mouthfeel, and the sweetness is a bit hindered. This strikes me as an odd choice for a summer seasonal.

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Photo of CampusCrew
2.42/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

appearance: nice copper orange, no head lasted at all.

smell: honey and other sweet baked goods

taste: WTF... this weak and honey aspect was horrible. overpowered and had no wheat body whats so ever.

mouthfeel: heavy and thick

drinkability: It's too expensive not to finish but not looking forward to the rest of the glass.

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Photo of unclejimbay
3.05/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Terrapin Gamma Ray
Terrapin Beer Company
Style: Wheatwine
ABV: 11.00 %
reviewed 10/26/09 bottle > snifter glass

Label states "wheatwine ale brewed with honey" 12oz bottle from a "monster beer tour" 4 pack.

I must state a few things related to this review to help the reader. I am a big fan of wheat brews in general and have reviewed more wheat beers than most others styles to date. I am also a homebrewer who brews wheat, honey wheat and wheatwine style ales. I have created some pretty solid honey wheat ales and wheatwines with consistency. This is my first review of a commercially available wheatwine, but I do know what is a good example of the style from homebrew experience and judging (in examples up to 10% abv). This terrapin offering missed the mark a bit IMHO. It's a bit to boozy, could use a bit more wheat backbone and possible some more hops to balance the subtle cloying profile. It's not a bad brew, but it is not the best example of the style in my opinion. I do respect Terrapin for making this style as it seems pretty rare and it's one of my personal favorties styles.

This one surprisingly has a lot in common with OBP2 - "OBP Squared". It seem more Pilsner like than wheat based. I would have expected more wheat character. I later learned that Weyerbacher 14 is a much better example than what I was expecting (14 is my next review).

On to the review....
A 3.0 - Nice and clear golden honey color. 1 finger foamy head that is gone quick, short retention and no lace (perhaps the abv?). I would expect more head retention from a wheat and have seen great retention in wheatwines up to 10% abv, just not in this one...
S 3.0 - Subtle on aromas. Mild boozy-ness along with sweet malt aromas, seems very similiar to malt liquor in aromas (Abita Andygator, OBP2)
T 3.0 - Tastes as it smells. Malty/honey sweetness with some hints of spice and boozy-ness on palate. Possibly a bit to sweet for some, subtle cloying to my palate. There are no standout "bad" tastes, possibly a wee bit over done in sweetness and abv. I would prefer to taste more wheat and citrus/hop spicyness.
MF 3.5 Med-thin body for this "big" beer. Very honey slick mouthfeel on palate with medium carbonation. Slickness works well IMHO for this beer.
Drinkability is a 3.0. This beer is not a bad brew, it's just not a good example of the style in my opinion.

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Photo of avalon07
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a snifter. Had a somewhat orangey color and a slightly cloudy consistency. There was almost no head or lacing to speak of.

S: A sweet smell of citrus, malt and honey.

T: Tasted of malt, banana and citrus up front, with lots of honey in the finish. Very sweet, almost doesn't taste like a wheatwine. Alcohol is not very noticable.

M: An OK amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Light- to medium-bodied.

D: A nice, drinkable beer that wasn't exactly what I expected.

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Photo of dpittard
4.22/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served from a bottle into a pint glass. Pours cloudy golden to cloudy amber depending on the light with a white head that vanishes pretty quickly.

The nose contains spices, fruit (citrus and banana) and sweetness -- probably from the honey!

Banana and citrus rushes the palate immediately followed by bitterness and sweetness. It is quite the tasting contrast to be honest! Gamma Ray finishes with a slight bitterness that asks to be satiated with the next draw.

Overall, the beer is average to slightly above average. If I were in the mood for a bitter/sweet, crisp beer, I would definitely consider this beer again!

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy ruby tinted red/orange with a small head and little lace. An intense honey and caramel malt smell, tad bit of roasted, along with yeast/wheat twang and some citric hops. Excellent combo as this beer is light bodied with a very smooth flow - has a yeasty, nutty taste like a wheat beer as well as fruit notes including some citric hopiness and clove spiciness with some honey in it as well such as a farmhouse ale with sweet malts like caramel in there as well. A great sipper to have at least once.

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Photo of Mavajo
4.24/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pours a brilliant gold with a thin head that fades almost immediately. No lacing.

Nose - Sweet. Wheat, honey, banana, light fruit.

Taste - The banana is front and center, with hints of wheat, honey and other light fruits. Definite sweetness. Definite aftertaste that I'm not entirely crazy about.

Mouthfeel - Fairly thin. Light carbonation.

Drinkability - I found this expceptionally drinkable, especially considering the ABV! Goes down very easily.

All in all, I enjoyed this beer immensely. One of the most drinkable high ABV beers I've ever had. If I ever find this available, I intend to keep a few on hand. I was higly impressed. Reminds me of a sweet white wine.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a standard pint glass. Beer is cloudy and yellow with a white head that falls away leaving lacing on the glass. Carbonation medium to low.

Aroma is strong and full of banana esters. Very overwhelming. Sweetness, some honey, and some wheat.

Beer is full bodied, kind of surprising. The flavor is really really sweet. There is some wheat based bitterness, nothing in the way of hops or anything else. The beer hits all sections of the palate, drinkability not so much. The high alcohol is not warming as you'd expect but the overall sweetness makes it difficult to drink. My first wheatwine, overall an OK beer.

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Terrapin Gamma Ray from Terrapin Beer Company
Beer rating: 62.2% out of 100 with 471 ratings
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