Hop-a-lot-amus | River Horse Brewing Co.

137 Reviews
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Brewed by:
River Horse Brewing Co.
New Jersey, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by AltBock on 12-03-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 137 | Ratings: 389
Photo of jtierney89
2/5  rDev -45.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a dark amber/copper color with about a 1half finger head which seems to retain and stick well. Lots of floral hops on the nose. Medium to big body with lots of carbonation and graininess. Hops are the star of this show, very subtle malt sweetness up front but not much. The hops taste is nice but there isn't much else going on. Some herbal spiciness is also present. Bitterness is high for those that are into that type of thing. It builds slightly but not as bad as others I've had. Didn't live up to my expectations.

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Photo of microbrewlover
2.03/5  rDev -44.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

This brew pours a nice deep copper color. There is a one finger head which takes a few minuets to disspate and lacing which stays on the glass till the end.

The smell is of floral hops, some grapefruit, I could not detect anything else.

The mouthfeel is light, mostly creamy, a bit bready.

The taste starts out with floral hops and grapefruit then that is it. This brew calls itself a double IPA but I did not detect enough hops for this beer to be a single IPA. No subtle flavors, no malts, fruits or spices, nothing but a slight grapefruit taste then the hop oils sit on the tounge leaving hop bitterness without the hop flavor.

I was very dissapointed by this beer. I had heard good things about River Horse and the Double IPA moniker had left me expecting a hop feast and instead I got a hop meh. I hate to say, this brew was just weak.

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Photo of HeroicDoses
2.08/5  rDev -42.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

I'd equate Hop-A-Lotamus to the moment in the movie Slap Shot when the second the puck is dropped to start a game, a massive brawl erupts. "Too much...too soon." I believe is the line at that point, and this beer is the same thing. Just too many f'ing hops for my taste. One is great, but by the end of it it becomes obnoxious. Completely overpowering and uber-sticky. If that's your thing, then this is your holy grail. If it's not (or even slightly not), this is like drinking hop flavored cement. There is no balance or smooth finish with this beer, it's as advertised, an f'ing ton of hops.

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Photo of jeffthecheff
2.7/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Thanks steve for the bottle. No freshness date.

Like the bottle says, this is certainly unfiltered. It has a reddish copper color that is completely opaque. The head is white and forms with good lacing.

The aroma reminded me of a barleywine. There is a good amount of malts in the nose that creates a sweet, candy like aroma with a good amount of yeasty fruitiness. The hops fight through and are detectable in the nose, but its not as hoppy as your typical DIPA. There is a good amount of pine. I like the aroma, but it doesn't fit the profile of a DIPA.

The flavor is very sweet, very bitter, and has an intense finish of alcohol and strong bitterness. Some dark caramel malts are in this beer that provide the dark sweetness. The hop flavor is kind of confusing because it battles so much with the huge bite of bitter and sweet. This is an intense ale, and reminds me more of a decent tasting barleywine than a DIPA.

The body on this beer could be a little drier, even if they were going for the so called "balanced DIPA." You can feel the bitterness before you even swallow, and once you do, its all you remember in both the flavor and the mouthfeel. I would keep away from this if your looking for a hoppy DIPA. Even if I graded this as a barleywine, its still not all that great. I really don't want to finish this glass....

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Photo of DmanGTR
2.78/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A - Poured hazy burnt orange with a well formed 1" white head that left ample lacing in the tulip. This is an unfiltered beer, hence the haziness. Looks lovely to me! 4.5

S - Huge malt backbone of cereal grains, caramel, and deep fruits. Hops balance well with the malts with tones of passionfruit, pineapple, and a bit of "tropical fruit" smell. Maybe the hops could use a little boost in terms of intensity. 4.0

T - Wow this is bitter. Very bitter. It kind of caught me off guard, as I was expecting a burst of fruity and citrusy hop flavor. Instead all I get is a one-dimensional caramel and bitterness slap in the face. To boot, all flavors die nearly immediately except for bitterness, which lingers like bitter medicine. This is rather off-putting... 2.0

M - Medium bodied, moderately carbonated and prickles the palate. 3.5

D - The taste is really hindering this. 2.0

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Photo of Kegatron
2.83/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a deep hazy copper, with 2-3 fingers of very foamy eggshell-white head. This retains with a rigid 1/4 finger of rich froth that slathers the sides of the glass with thick sticky lacing. The aroma has a deep earthy tang, that is full of herbal accents and sweet fruits, along with a very spicy smelling edge to it that gives this some sharpness in the nose. Backing malts have a stiff graininess to them.

The taste majorly bitter and spicy, to much so in fact, with citrus rings and (to a lesser extent) pine spreading across the back of the throat. Tropical fruits, toasted grainy sweetness, and some darker earthy character try to soften some of the intensity from the hops but the drying bitterness of this just gets to be too much. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a mellow creaminess and slick feel but some sharpness from the heavy hops spices definitely adds a intermingling prickle to this as well. For an 8.5% beer, the alcohol isn't out of control or anything but there is just enough to help intensify that bitterness to the point where it hinders the drinkibility.

Wow, this ended up just being one disappointing hot mess of a DIPA. If unbalanced out-of-control spice and bitterness are your thing then I say go for it but I personally didn't even want to finish the bottle. Just not my thing.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.84/5  rDev -22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

"The fabled Hop-a-lot-amus is a mythical creature. The heavy hop character of this Double IPA is as subtle as a 'river horse' in your lap, but finishes like a hippo in a tutu."

--rear label

Beautifully blurry dark persimmon with bright orange accents along the edges. The upper third of the pint glass is filled with a whipped creamy crown of golden ecru colored foam that isn't shy about laying down lace. What a gorgeous DIPA.

Caramel malt is too prominent in the nose. As a result, the hoppiness isn't anywhere near powerful enough for the style. The less than classic hop lineup includes Perle, Cluster and Cascade. A faint citrusiness isn't enough to cover a vegetal-metallic character that better not appear on the palate or this will be a long 12 ounces.

Hop-a-lot-amus is not a very good DIPA as far as this hophead is concerned. There's too much flavor from caramel malt, the hops add more bitterness than flavor, and there's a solvent-like quality that is never found in good beer. Yeah, there may be a-lot-a IBUs, but that means nothing in isolation. Make that less than nothing.

A still impressive bitterness suggests that this bottle isn't old. River Horse now brews this DIPA year-round, so age is impossible to estimate. That's important because the beer tastes worn out and rough around the edges, though it's probably just poorly conceived and constructed. Specifics include steely caramel, orange oil, pine resin, metal shavings, tea leaves and a shot of grain alcohol.

The mouthfeel isn't bad, as long as one is successful in filtering out what's happening on the taste buds. It's at least medium for the style, has a smoothness born of soft-edged carbonation and is faintly sticky on the finish.

Hop-a-lot-amus has a great name and a pretty cool label. Unfortunately, that is where the positives end. River Horse has never impressed me and this sad sack DIPA does absolutely nothing to change that. What a hippo-sized disappointment.

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Photo of rawhydes1
2.9/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Cloudy amber color, with average head and retention.

Smells of pine, with very pine, resiny, oily mouthfeel.

Due to it's oily viscosity, not the most drinkable beer.

This beer did not impress me at first, but I will say, however, that the second beer did grow on me a bit.

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Photo of stellashay
2.9/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: cloudy, amber colored with plenty of sediment evident (since it is an unfiltered IPA). About a one inch head that dissipated fairly quickly.

S: sweeter than I would have expected this type of beer to smell, and definitely a sweeter scent than your typical IPA.

T: As the beer first rolls over your tongue it tastes seriously malty and slightly sweet, but finishes with a bitter taste that seems to coat the tongue and leaves you wanting to try that whole sip thing again.

M: Thick in consistency but not syrupy. Light, but enough, carbonation.

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Photo of TheDudeRules
2.92/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into my Founders Snifter. Pretty sure my Darkness snifter is getting jealous.

Got this as a random from Groove. I think he emptied out his fridge and sent me all his bunk juice. It's a tick nontheless.

Pours an apricot/burnt honey color. Thick pillowy finger of off white head. Two dark brown spots lay in there like lonely islands. The bottle sediment from being unfiltered. Lacing is rather prominent and cemented to my glass.

Lots of sweet in the nose. Citrus, malt. I even get a little sugar cookie in there.

Jesus. That is a mouthful of weird. Biting hops that immediately cuts to dry. The malt and biscuit try to come through but can't. Thank the lord. This is pretty awful. A dry flavorless dipa.

Thanks for the tick, but keep the bunk in your own fridge

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
2.96/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a brown orange with not much head but good lacing. It says its unfiltered but it doesn't look it. I was expecting it to be a bit more cloudy body.
Aroma is of malts. Smells like a macro trying to be micro.
Taste is malty up front but has a bitter hoppy sweet and fruity but lacks some real personality.
Slightly bitter but the alcohol is hidden nice.
Overall, its drinkable but not a great example of what a dipa should be. I wouldn't buy again.

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Photo of aglose45
2.98/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a hazy, ruby/golden brown color, with an ivory colored head.

S: Smells of sweet fruity esters and maltyness.

T: Minimal amount of cirrus hop flavor and too much sweet malt. While there is a limited amount of hop flavor, there is however some hop bitterness. Fruity esters also play a role in the flavor.

M: Medium bodied, minimal amount of hop resin, and good carbonation.

D: Ehh. Not bad, not good..it's average...

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Photo of justintcoons
3/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a slightly hazed burnt amber with 3 fingers of foamy off-white head that dissipates slowly. Moderate carbonation.

N: Pine, navel orange, tangerine, lemon, rich caramel and light fruity esters.

T: Pine, lemon zest and tangerine upfront followed by pine needles and rich caramel that is bordering toffee. Finishes with lemon zest, orange cream and pine.

M: Medium-full bodied, chewy, creamy, sticky and dry.

O: Rich with hops and caramel but comes off a bit astringent and almost cloying. Tastes bigger than it is in a negative way. Just not balanced enough for me.

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Photo of number1bum
3.01/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a hazy amber color with a chunky, thick light beige head. It's pretty cloudy, and keeps a thin but mostly full lace and some webbing on the sides.

Smell is very malt forward, with a buttery caramel aroma in particular. Hops lend some sweet fruit with a subtle juiciness that is nice, but that's really about it. For a DIPA this is very much lacking in hop aromas.

At first I get a couple of off flavors that are not very enjoyable at all. Has a medicinal sort of fruity sweetness to it, followed by a harsh, bitter, metallic bite that is not very pleasant. Luckily those give way to some juicy, fruity sweetness, still somewhat medicinal but not as bothersome as originally, with some bitter citrus peel and sweet caramel. As it warms the hop bitterness becomes more prominent and very intense. It ends up tasting decent at times, but like the smell I think it's still short in the hop department, and it's definitely rough around the edges and occasionally unpleasant. A bit of a mess.

Mouthfeel is medium-full in body and is pretty creamy, although not terribly smooth owing to the harsh bitterness mentioned earlier. On the bright side the alcohol is pretty well hidden.

Overall I would call this a pretty poor DIPA and not something I could see myself coming back to. It's too malt forward and rough around the edges, and at times it's downright unpleasant. At other times it shows some flashes, with some nice juiciness, but it's still not very good.

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Photo of Dewey0603
3.06/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a cloudy orange amber color with a giant tan frothy head. Great lacing that lasts forever make this a very nice looking beer. The smell is pungent with bread yeast and citrus hops being strong. The taste has a very bitter hop harshness to it with some bread yeast and alcohol. The m/f is medium with flavors not mixing all that well. This is a beer that I think could use some cellaring.

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Photo of thecarster1
3.08/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

a- bottle poured into a snifter, one finger, bubbly, hazy chesnut coloring.

s- nice hop aroma, fruity, somewhat dry, theres a bit of spice here i can't put my finger on, sweet.

t- sweet, interesting - wonder which hops are in this? fruity, herbal, little kick shows the strength, vanilla? pepper, not the best for a dipa.

m- medium.

d- okay, i wouldn't seek this one out again, mainly just because it had a couple off flavors and wasn't overly hopped for a dipa.

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Photo of coalcracker
3.08/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a dark, slightly cloudy gold with some degree of head retention. A small degree of lacing through the tasting.
Smell: Light aroma of citrus hops, a little grassy in nature as well.
Taste: Quick cresendo to the hop kick- piney and grassy hop notes with a malt background that is quite bready. The hops do take the lead in this tasting over the malts, but not by much. The bitterness lasts through to the end of the taste, also resulting in a fairly dry finish. The alcohol in this beer appears about halfway through with a subtle warmth.
Mouthfeel: Medium body and feel; the hoppy bitterness keeps the taste buds on edge.
Drinkability: The bitterness and higher ABV will limit consumption. More geared toward the hop lover.

Overall- Probably not the best DIPA- but not bad. Personally, I tend to prefer better-balanced DIPAs. Quality effort by River Horse.

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Photo of NoLeafClover44
3.16/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a shaped dogfish pint.

A - This is an unfiltered DIPA and it looks like it. Very cloudy auburn. It is entirely opaque. A large white-ish head that sticks around. Leaves a beautiful lacing all the way down the glass.

S - Pine and citrus with a sweet malt backbone. Not much hops on the nose, very sweet.

T - Sweet malt followed by an overwhelming taste of pine and floral notes. Finishes with a stanky acidic hop character that coats the tongue. It isn't terribly unbalanced, but not perfect.

M - Decent carbonation, medium thickness. I think its a bit too syrupy for the style, although the cloudy look suggested it may be.

O - I picked it up in a mix-a-six because I like hippos and hops. Sometimes that's all it takes for a beer to end up in my six pack. It is not bad, but not worth the 11.99/4 pack regular price that it has at Wegmans.

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Photo of mikey711
3.18/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ahhh New Jersey beer...

A: a murky amber, with ok lacing, very cloudy.

S: Some earthy and pine notes. Not much in terms of citrus. Would have like a more pungent aroma.

T: Mild Citrus and pine notes. I would have liked a bit more sweetness to balance it out. It seemed a bit water.

M: Slightly creamy not much acidity or booziness.

D: Very drinkable, no problem putting back quite a few of these.

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Photo of david18
3.18/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had a twelve ounce glass of this at the Amsterdam Ale House on Manhattan's upper west side. This beer struck me as many east coast double ipa's do. It was a little all over the place. Hops not present enough, too much alcohol flavor. Too much malt.

The color was a cloudy copper with a bunch of carbonation. Actually looked pretty good coming up from the bottom of the glass. Aroma was weak for a double ipa, a little malty, not much hops. Flavor, as said earlier, was a little on the strong side, not enough hops and intense on the malt.

At 8.5 percent alcohol, it was able to drink a glass without feeling wasted but in general it was not what I called a great double india pale ale.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.18/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Very nice looking beer. Deep orangish brown color. Cloudy, beautiful three finger head that very slowly dissipated with decent lacing on the sides.

S - Smelled this one as soon as I popped open the bottle. Very nice, sweet grains and malts, some resin, hops come through very nicely on this one.

T - Wow, nothing subtle here. Starts a little sweet and then goes bitter bitter bitter through the rest. Bitterness sticks in the back of my throat on this one and my mouth puckers a little bit.

M - Kind of strange, my tongue almost felt weighted down by this brew somehow. Medium light bodied beer feels heavier by the taste somehow. Carbonation is nicely present.

D - Decently good, but just too bitter for me. Can't do a whole lot of this.

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Photo of JunkYardJake
3.2/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into tulip glass.
Hazy orange color with a finger of head. Smell is of alcohol and herbal and spicy hops. Interesting. Taste is quite bitter and boozy. Some citrus flavors and some spicy hop flavor. Mouthfeel is fluid and crisp with a dry finish. Overall, an average DIPA. Too bitter and not a whole lot of hop flavor.

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Photo of nickfl
3.23/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours with two fingers of white foam on top of a slightly hazy, dark copper colored body. The head settles slowly and leaves nice, thick lace on the glass.

S - Spicy hops with a hint of pine and caramel.

T - Caramel malt up front with some red apple. Pine and sweaty hop flavors come out in the middle and are pushed aside by thick, bready malt as the finish settles in. Lingering fruity yeast and soapy hop bitterness.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate bitterness, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - Thick, malty and kind of overbearing. The hops are excessively muddy and kind of get lost in the malt. I didn't really care for this one.

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Photo of irishking1977
3.24/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: The colour of this one is reminiscent of the inside of a grapefruit. Pinkish/amber/red and clear with a massive head that sticks around leaving a bunch of lacing.

S: Woah. Hops. Holy crap this one has a lot of them I gather just from the smell. It didn't make my eyes water, but it came pretty damn close.

T: The hops in this one used my tongue, and my palate for that matter, as a punching bag. This is one of the hoppier brews I've had. Citrusy and fruity in the background, but those hops completely dominate. I'm sure most beer lovers here in the United States would like this one alot, since many of them really like their hopped up brews. This beer is on hops with steroids. They must have put in a heroic dose of hops in this one. Personally, this is good, but the hops are a bit overwhelming.

M: Extremely oily and a bit chalky. Good carbonation.

D: The human palate supposedly can only detect bitterness, in beer sense, in the range of 100 or so IBU. This one is rated as having an IBU rating of 93. Feels like 193, though I wouldn't really know according to hop experts. This is a good beer, though, and hopheads are sure to like this one regardless of how over the top it is. For someone who is a "middle of the road" hoppy beer drinker such as myself, I'd say this one just might obliterate your palate.

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Photo of ommegangpbr
3.3/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

While I have yet to be wowed by something from River Horse, with a name like Hop-A-Lot-Amus I had to give it a try.
The pour isn't very exciting. Not a whole lot of head forms and nothing in the way of lacing is left behind. The body is a hazy amber color.
Scent and flavor profiles make me think more along the lines of an imperial amber ale than an imperial IPA. Notes are sweet tea with some pine resin flavor and bitterness. Nothing off putting, just a bit muddy.
Pretty easy to drink overall. The level of carbonation makes this reasonably refreshing and the lingering bitterness is appropriate.
The hop burps are pretty pleasing. The gimmick is great, the recipe could use some work.

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Hop-a-lot-amus from River Horse Brewing Co.
3.64 out of 5 based on 389 ratings.
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