Your monster slaying adventure begins here
A Review of Big Hoppy Monster by Terrapin Beer
Posted on 8/25/2011 by Chops
As a big fan of imperial red ales, I get especially excited when August rolls around. This is when Terrapin releases their ass kicking summer seasonal: the Big Hoppy Monster Imperial Red Ale. It's really odd to find a brewery that releases such a big beer in the summer. Usually breweries are hard at work on their blondes and wheats. But Terrapin and their adventurous spirit says, ''screw that, let's unleash a summer beast.''

With a name like Big Hoppy Monster, this beer has you on your toes before the cap comes off. In the glass, this beer has a rich brown coloration with a slight reddish hue. It's also quite clear with no visible sediment. This might come as a shock to you, but the aroma is... well, hoppy. But, it's also nicely balanced with the sweet malt and savory fruit smells common with strong reds. There is also a very big brown sugar smell that wraps everything up in a cozy blanket. You have an array of very powerful smells on both sides of the spectrum just daring you to take that first sip.

Oddly enough, taste is not the front runner once you dive in. The mouthfeel is very full and thick, almost like a hearty Belgian quad. Once you get used to the mouthfeel, all those aromas start to appear as flavor notes, only backwards. The brown sugar comes first and coats your mouth with a layer of sweetness. Then lightly roasted malts and pungent fruits enter the fray, namely dates and charred citrus. Following up the flavor train are the hops, which actually add a more tangy flavor note rather than bitter. The finish is surprisingly light and leaves a sweetened malty aftertaste rather than bitter. Considering all the different flavor characters, it's remarkable that this beer even works. It's very smooth for an imperial and all the flavor notes stand on their own. This is a very fun beer to study.

Overall, Terrapin's Big Hoppy Monster Imperial Red Ale is a fabulous brew. As imperial reds go, it tends to live on the edge as a wild interpretation. But all the base characteristics that make a quality imperial red are present. I'm confident that fans of big beers will adore Big Hoppy Monster as a brave and delicious variation. Regardless of it's sweet and savory character, I still can't recommend this brew to a novice. The flavors are too rich and aggressive to properly enjoy without a honed palate. But for those of you who appreciate beer with a backbone, your monster slaying adventure begins here.

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Big Hoppy Monster by Terrapin Beer
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