Lilja's Hop Nest Monster | Sand Creek Brewing Company

105 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Lilja's Hop Nest MonsterLilja's Hop Nest Monster

Brewed by:
Sand Creek Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Nest is NOT a typo.

Added by feloniousmonk on 01-14-2009

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 105 | Ratings: 192
Photo of EwaldEichstaett
2.77/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A: Amazing creamy white head and excellent lacing. The beer is colored straw golden. Strangely lighter than most IPA's.

S: At first piney floral and citrusy hops... after a few minutes the smell becomes much more bitter and sharp.

T: The first taste of this beer was wonderful but after sitting for a few minutes the hops loose their depth and character. Like the smell, the taste becomes unpleasant and sharply bitter, perhaps chemically :(

M/D: feels all-right in the mouth, but I can't get over how the flavor changed so drastically... Bad bottle??

 554 characters

Photo of Soonami
3.9/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lilja's Hop Nest Monster is a beer I've never heard of or seen before, but a single was available at my local bottle shop, so I gave it a shot.

The beer is surprisingly pale, a hazy straw color that you would expect for find in a pilsner. The white head was frothy and irregular with really nice cling, supported by a nice stream of bubbles. The aroma was grassy and earthy more like German noble or Continental hops than American C-hops typical in IPA's with a good bit of bready malt presence, as well a the DMS aroma (canned corn, generally considered a fault, but I personally like it). On the tongue, it is surprisingly bitter, more so than I had expected. The bitterness is not in the typical pine or grapefruit (although I get some of this) it is very herbal, like bitter melon or kale. The finish is pretty sweet, which I do not normally like, but I attribute as an artifact due to the high bitterness. Though sweet, the beer is not too thick and has a pleasant, light body.

I think that this is enjoyable beer that doesn't quite fit the American Pale/IPA style. It's a bit too bitter, not enough hop flavor and aroma, sweet in the finish, however, it was a pleasure to drink and I happily drank the entire bottle's worth

 1,233 characters

Photo of ZAP
3.3/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a light golden...creamy white head

S-Grassy hop aroma...more floral than fruity but nothing real impressive..a bit of doughy malt

T-Pretty strong grapefruit rind first it seemed to be .lacking malt backbone and appeared one sided with too much pure bitterness. But after having a couple more the malt seems to standup just fine...doughy notes complement.

M-Medium bodied...ample carbonation.

D-A little too one sided and first but closes off as a nice drinkable IPA leaning into DIPA area.

 524 characters

Photo of Morey
3.71/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This Ipa pours a pale yellow-orange color and has an ever so slight haze to it. Lots of bubbles from carbonation and really impressive head retention.

The aroma is on the mild side for an Ipa, but there's a pretty good mix of grassy hops and sweet malts in the nose.

Taste is bitey and bitter up front and then the malts come in, but the bitterness lingers on the back end for a hoppy finish.

Good medium mouthfeel with a nice carbonation level. I thought that this one was going to be overcarbonated, but it's really not.

I could easily drink a sixer of this Ipa, although I'm not sure of the ABV?

Morey's Bottom Line: A nice Ipa. My only criticism is that it's rather one dimensional. Nothing really jumps out at you. Reminds me a bit of Weyerbacher's Fresh Hop Ale.

 773 characters

Photo of Cresant
4.42/5  rDev +31.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured this 12 oz. brown bottle into a Sam Adams glass. No date. The body was clear pale yellow with a creamy white head. The tall head left significant lacing.

Smell was citrusy, spicy, and sweet. There was a nice grassy hops aroma.

Taste exceeded expectations. There was a nice grassy bitterness that lingered a long time. Sweet but more than enough bitterness. Tropical fruit and apricots. Citrus rind bitterness. Super tasty.

Mouthfeel was medium bodied with adequate carbonation.

 490 characters

Photo of silentjay
2.44/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

picked up a single of this on a recent trip to Michigan as this is nothing I've seen nor heard of in Massachusetts.

A quick note about the bottle: terrible, terrible label design, layout, artwork and fonts used. Way too much going on and it becomes a jumbled mess.

pours a rather clear bright yellowish copper with a dense off-white head that retains well, but leaves little lacing on the glass.

very pungent with bready malts and earthy, herbal hops dominating the nose. also a dank marijuana smell contributes a bit of the earthiness in the nose. almost reminds me of an english bitter with a bit more earthy hops added in the aroma.

taste is a bit more what I expected, but only by a bit. biscuity and white-bread tasting malts are apparent throughout though the herbal, earthy hops come through and are accompanied by a hint of piney and grassy hops as well as some bitter citrus rind.

I can't complain about the carbonation or body. almost medium bodied with an ample amount of prickly carbonation that works well to accentuate the good aspects of this beer.

not a great drinking beer for me. an odd blend of aromas and flavors seem to fight rather than work together. astringency is there throughout, though I'm not sure if its from the alcohol content or the combination of flavors.

 1,297 characters

Photo of Augustiner719
3.78/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured from a 12oz bottle into my SA perfect pint.

Pours a slightly orange, mostly honey yellow color with some hop haze and a big fluffy head. very pale for and IPA, very nice head retention. Smells a bit on the light side, some mild floral components, a touch of breadyness. Flavor is spot on for this ipa. really has a nice balance without going over the top. transition between bitter and malty is nice. taste is floral, with a tinge of lemon peel. mouthfeel is perfect, carbonation lasts for 45 minutes through the session, great semi dry finish. Drinkability is spot on too, great session beer for sure.

 610 characters

Photo of Tone
3.74/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, golden color. 1/2 inch head of a white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of citrus hops, sweet malt, slight pine, and floral hops. Fits the style of an American IPA. Mouth feel is smooth and clean with an average carbonation level. There is a noticeably high bitterness level. Tastes of floral hops, citrus hops, sweet malt, and a hint of pine. Overall, not too complex, but great appearance, and good blend.

 436 characters

Photo of Bendurgin
2.71/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Got this from a generous mid-west BA. Poured in into a tulip. Pours a hazy golden honey color with a fluffy white head about the size of one finger. Good head retention. Initially it smells pretty good. Lots of citrus aromas. It really reminds me of Tropicana pineapple orange juice. After a couple whiffs I'm still trying to find some hops and eventually I find a trace of grassy hops. Unfortunately, I really had to reach for them. Tastes like it smells; citrus flavor, mostly pineapple orange juice. A little bit of hop bittering, but not as much as I'd expected. The juiciness eventually because a little sickeningly sweet. After a couple sips I felt like this was more of a fruit juice than a beer. I like fruit juice, but I wanted a beer. Fair enough mouth feel, the carbonation was good but I felt like this was heavy. Really thick and syrupy. It took me a while to drink this. Probably because it was so sweet. I generally like a good juicy IPA but this was too much. I think I would have found it more refreshing had it been a little less sweet and had a little bit more of a lighter body.

 1,098 characters

Photo of Kegatron
3.58/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a clear gold, with at least 2 fingers of rich and foamy bright-white head. Retains with a thin yet creamy layer of froth that flares up quite robustly and coats the sides of the glass with some sticky patchy lacing. The aroma is floral and earthy, with some herbal accents, bitter grapefruit, and gentle spice coming out as well. Bready notes and some lighter caramel mix in with the hops, giving this a danky smelling tang in the back of the nostrils.

The taste is aggressive with hops, as resins, spice, earthy green citrus, and gritty bitter citrus rind all being very assertive and lingering strongly on the palate with an intense dry feel. The malts feel more on the Paler side here, blending with the fruitier aspects of the citrus flavors to help provide some balancing sweetness. The moutfeel is meduim bodied, with a slick and creamy texture in the mouth, keeping this easier feeling than it probably should be. Some light alcohol is present but it's less tasted than it does help strengthen the bitterness of the hops.

Well there were certainly no shortage of hops in this, even if their character was a bit all over the place at times. The aggressiveness got a little out of hand but there was just enough balance here to keep things in check and the easy body on this kept the drinkibility up for the most part.

 1,368 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.81/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy golden color with a massive head that just sits there and does a nice job on that lace front, when asked

Smell: Biscuity malt and piney hops interplay with one another (not the greatest aromatic combination)

Taste: Biscuity malt, up front, that grows even sweeter before the pine, pith and bitter grassy flavors (vaguely Germanic) enter the fray; after the swallow, the bitter flavors continue to develop, though the malt bill never backs down

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Certainly a different sort of a beer for the style and not all to my liking, but still a worthwhile effort

Thanks, brewandbbq, for the opportunity

 693 characters

Photo of mikey711
3.41/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to beersis81 for the extra!

A: Bright yellow/goldish color with great transparency, tons of rising carbonation and a nice fluffy white head that leaves really great lacing. Head retention is very good as well. The only flaw was the pour had a bit too much carbonation otherwise this is very asthetically appealing

S: Very grassy and herbal, smells mostly like german hops. No citrus but there is some floralness and pine. Also a little bit of caramel is present in the background.

T: Not the mega citrus bomb that I usuall go for but the floral and herbal quality are actually quite nice. a good amount of pine is present but it has a slight astringent quality to it. A bit of sweetness is present as well too

M: Slightly rough around the edges with a bit of astringency.

D: I wouldnt want to have this on a regular basis but it was a nice change up from my usual IPA habits

 887 characters

Photo of lholub
3.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a shaker.

A: Amber body with a small head lingers. Fair amount of carbonation
S: Slightly hoppy, no flavors really pop.
T: Hint of grapefruit.
M: Smooth mothful, rather froathy
D: Easy to drink for an IPA but nothing exceptional, would have again if better options didn't present themselves.

 311 characters

Photo of dudemuskie
3.52/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked up a single at a mix-a-sixer shelf at an Ashland, Ohio Buehler's grocery store.

Appearance- Hazy straw with faded orange highlights. Tight, almost creamy off white head grows to about 1.5 fingers, then slowly fades to a lingering half finger. Some light sediment in bottle.

Aroma- Big pine and citrus hop aromatics mingle with light toasty/biscuity malt and a hint of burnt sugar. A kiss of yeast and a touch of apricot fruitiness soften the nose a little. Nice complex aroma without being too overwhelming.

Flavor- Mellow sweet maltiness leads quickly to an intense hop bitterness that fills the mouth. Piney, herbal, resinous, and slightly citrusy hop notes explode into the middle and tail end of the brew. Some dark/burnt sugar flavors and warming alcohol provide a little balance for the onslaught of hoptasticness. Tongue coating, almost pungent hop bitterness that lingers through the finish and for quite some time after I finish the beer- aggressive, and I kinda like it!

Mouthfeel- Moderate CO2, very hop-centric with a little balancing malt complexity. Medium body, but mouthfeel definitely enhanced by mouthcoating hop pungency. Low residual sugar. Slightly warming alcohol.

Overall- Definitely an aggressive brew! Loads of hops with just enough balancing malt to keep it from being undrinkable. Drinkability takes a bit of a hit with this brew because of its aggressive nature, but sometimes punishment can be fun?! Pungent, lingering finish would make this beer an excellent contrasting pair for a big funky cheese, anything spicy as hell, or a big fat slice of spicy carrot cake with gooey cream cheese icing....

 1,643 characters

Photo of chaz01
3.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tasting size portion at a local beer tasting event. Served in a plastic cup.

A: Pale amber in color, cloudy, with a small creamy head.

S: Piney hop aroma.

T: Little bit of a piney hop flavor with caramel malts. Not as hoppy as the name of the beer would indicate, but it does finish with a mild pleasant bitter aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied, good carbonation levels.

D: Reminded more of a pale ale compared to an IPA. Of the beers I tasted from the brewery, this one was the most enjoyable.

 494 characters

Photo of jmich24
2.83/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle.

A: Light gold with orange hues. One finger head stays around for the entire glass. Nice carbonation from etched glass. Nice lacing
S: Grainy nose with light grassy hop smell.
T: Slightly sweet maltiness. Some hop bitterness more floral than anything, some pine.
M: Crisp, high carbonation, light/medium mouth feel.
D: Drinkability is fine. Just nothing outstanding going on here.

This is just not that good. Everything here is just average in terms of IPAs (My favorite Style) Will not purchase again or take a suggestion from the guy at the beer store.

 582 characters

Photo of brewandbbq
3.68/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle.

Pours clear gold with plenty of frothy carbonation. A one inch head of rocky foam settled nicely to reveal ringed lacing throughout the glass and a solid skim coat.

Aromatics lead off with grassy hops, faint malt, and crackery husks. Hopping is subdued and is limited to notes of cut grass and hints of celery and lemon.

Medium bodied with a crisp, tackish edge. The mouthfeel is lively with a good dose of carbonation.

Bitter and drying right up front on the palate, with lemony, herbal hops stepping forward. Grassy and peppery with barely a trace of husky malt.

Finishes with a lingering, bone-dry character, spicy hops, and a bit of warmth.

A very different approach to the hops in this one. Subdued and spicy and similar to a Belgian IPA in that regard.

 777 characters

Photo of jsh420
3.93/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours semi cloudy yellow orange with a 2 finger head that left spotted lacing

smells of some fruity hops but malts for the most part

taste is good - reminds me of a stronger snpa - richer sweeter carmel/crystal malts and fruity hops - i would rate this higher if it were a pale ale but ipa is stretch

mouthfeel is light crisp and creamy

drinkability - very good session beer although the abv is unknown

 406 characters

Photo of scruffwhor
3.63/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, light copper with pretty good bubbling. Theres a nice film o' foam and some Brussel's lacing stuck to my glass, a good sign.

The aroma is a crisp orange and grapefruit peel citrus. Not much malt noticed in the smell though.

Lots of crisp grassy malts topple the tongue first. Then the bitter oarnge peel and a few other citric hop flavors dominate the flavor profile. The finish has a more pronounced malt compared to the front and middle of the palate. This is a bitter beer overall, but not a hop bomb by any means. This is a bitter session beer. Hop flavors from start to finish with just a little balancing malt.

Pretty good beer overall.

 662 characters

Photo of tempest
3.16/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Keith for sharing this. There was a doughy malt background behind standard citrus and pine hops. While this beer is technically fine (no flaws), it's also fairly unremarkable. The hops aren't very big for an IPA, this comes off more like a thick pale ale.

 265 characters

Photo of meatyard
3.11/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a cloudy, pale, golden/yellow with a dense, 2 to 3-finger, white head that has good retention and lacing. Seems too light in color for an IPA but not too big a deal.
The smell is grassy and orange hops with a light, sweet malt following.
This beer starts to fall apart with the taste for me. It starts off bitter, stays bitter while providing some minor malt flavor.
Mouthfeel is thin but improves some as it warms, finishes dry.
Not particularly drinkable as an IPA. As it warms, over normal IPA temps, the malts come forward more in aroma & taste but not the hops. Who knows when this was bottled, Another case of a hop style beer possibly losing score value due to being past it's prime without any indication of bottle date. To me, this beer has some good qualities but taste & aroma need some tweaking. I'm glad to see another Wisconsin beer show up in Philly, though I hope their other beers are better.

 915 characters

Photo of pacothrash
1.85/5  rDev -44.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

This is one of the worst beers I have ever had. It poured a piss yellow color and has a frothy very light head. I should have not paid the $8.99 price for 6 of these beers. I cannot compare this beer to any other IPA's I have every had. I enjoy a good American IPA and this does not cut it. I think I will have a Clipper City Heavy Sea's IPA after cleaning my palate with some water.

 383 characters

Photo of saccro
3.42/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - nice lasting foam. white. dense. Melted butter color. Tons of suspended sediment.

S - grassy. sweet malt in the background. Slight balance towards hops. a little orange citrus.

T - sweet at first with some bitterness. followed by strong harsh aftertaste of bitterness. Flavor is pretty balance with sweet malt and hops.

M - very carbonated. medium bodied.

D - not bad. a little harsh with the bitterness. The sediment is a bit of a turn off.

 449 characters

Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.63/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A single 12 ounce bottle picked up at the Beer Stop for $1.75. Poured into my nonic pint glass. Hop Nest appears a hazy muted peach color with about a finger of off white foam. The head leaves a size-able lace on the inside of my glass. Nose and flavors consist of pine, bready malt, some caramel, grass, lemon. Decent medium+ body with adequate carbonation. Pretty tasty, but - "hop nest monster"? Really? That is certainly a myth in this case...

 447 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"Men heap together the mistakes of their lives, and create a monster they call Destiny."

--John Oliver Hobbes

Polished 24-karat gold with sunshine colored highlights. A vigorous pour produced four full fingers of eggshell colored foam that has a mousse-like texture. The lid melts in attractive fashion and is leaving the glass festooned with a generous amount of delicate lace.

The nose is more Imperial pils than American IPA, thanks to a musky-earthy grassiness reminiscent of Saaz and its ilk. One source says that Amarillo hops are in use. It's odd that their typical orange zestiness isn't apparent. Warming makes things more pungent and more pleasing.

Lilja's Hop Nest Monster tastes like an IPA... to which one or more of the German/Czech nobles were added. Classic Saaz flavor. It's also pretty hoppy-bitter, so this must be a fairly fresh bottle. Some sort of dating would still be nice (for all craft beer).

It looks and smells and tastes like nothing darker than pale malt is present. That allows the focus to be where the focus should be in an IPA. Hop flavor is clean and pithy and biting. It's mostly white grapefruit pith, with bitter grasses and lemon zest close behind. I'd love to know the hop bill.

The mouthful is more APA than IPA. On second thought, a more full creaminess would require more malt, and that would not be a good thing. Actually, it's fine the way it is. Sparkly carbonation adds just the right amount of mouth energy.

Lilja's Hop Nest Monster isn't as good as Sand Creek's best beer (Wild Ride IPA), but it's a wonderful effort in its own right. It you like the European hops as much as the American ones, give this one a go... and satiate your inner hop monster.

 1,708 characters

Lilja's Hop Nest Monster from Sand Creek Brewing Company
3.35 out of 5 based on 192 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.