The Vermonster - Rock Art Brewery

Not Rated.
The VermonsterThe Vermonster

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

542 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 542
Reviews: 238
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 11.34%
Wants: 43
Gots: 77 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Rock Art Brewery visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerBeing on 09-23-2007

We brewed The Vermonster with 110 pounds of malt per barrel and jacked up the pour into a wide mouth thin glass goblet.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 542 | Reviews: 238
Reviews by flexabull:
Photo of flexabull
3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle courtesy of beertruth, thanks again!

Pours a deep amber, almost brown color, with a very nice off white head. Looks good, but not a typical looking barleywine.

Smells pretty hoppy, like a DIPA. Notes of hard candies, sugars, and pine. There are also hints of nuts and dark fruits.

Taste starts out with notes of cola, brown sugar, light nuttiness, caramel and dark fruits. Finish is a bit earthy, warm, and slightly bitter. Beer is tasty enough, but it's subtle.

Mouthfeel is smooth, soft, with lighter carbonation and body.

Overall, a pretty nice beer. Fits more on the British side of barleywines to me.

More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate magazine Vol. II Issue IX:

We can't see why 10 percent ABV and 100 IBUs can't live up to the name. Extreme lives in Vermont!

Head retention performs very well, with a good amount of stickage from a sizable head. Weathered copper color, good clarity as long as you leave the sediment in the bottle, obviously. A big aroma here, wildflowers, citrus peel, pine sap and spearmint come from the hops, with a smattering of alcoholic fruitiness and malt sweetness underneath. So smooth and full bodied with a bitty character solely from the massive amount of hops used. Hop bitterness is, without a doubt, strong but never to the point of absolute overkill; it's always on top with this tagalong tangerine/orange flavor. The alcohol has no problem pushing the taste buds around with a handful of fruity esters and a mild, clean solvent character. Hops drop a load of flavors, chocolate mint, evergreen, blonde tobacco and tangerine zest. While balance is not even on the table, the malt backbone holds together quite well with both toasted grain and caramel flavors in the middle. Finishes with a long, lingering hop bitterness and steers toward dry.

Wow, is this Bigfoot's uncle? Not for the faint of palate as this beer rips across the taste buds. However, a must for the hophead and a great find for the typical beer geek. As for cellaring, don't. Drink it fresh and let the hops take you for a ride.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.23/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In a tulip glass this beer was a dark red/brown color with a thick tan head and a good bit of lace.
Aroma of fruit and caramel.
Interesting taste: raisin, caramel, and tobacco. They went really well together. A bite of hops at the end.
Alcohol was certainly noticeable, but did nothing to detract from the beer.
Very nice to drink.

Photo of euroslvt
3.94/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to my friend Jake for this one. Poured from a 22oz bomber into my Duvel glass.

A: Pours a dark copped color. Although once held up to the light a light amber is revealed. A firm 2 finger head lasts for a few minutes, small ring of lacing is left after.

S: Mostly hops, some malt. Not your typical hop bomb smell. Maybe a small amount of alcohol at the end.

T: Orange peels and pine. A suprising amount of balancing malt. Little alcohol while you swallow.

M: Slightly thick, not too chewy. Low carbonation, with a nice warming.

D: I think 1 bomber is enough, but for the style I think that it's expected. I think after this my tastebuds will not be too happy for a different beer. 10% is not noticed so it's not hard to drink the bomber. A good American Barleywine.

Photo of glaze0101
3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It is a BIG BEER!! The Rock Art Brewery's Vermonster is a BIG FUN beer, also quite strong on the alcohol level (as I'm getting a little buzzed as I write this).
So, the hops overpower the malts. Interesting that the advertising of the beer talks more about malts than hops. This is a problem, you know I keep talking about the balance of beers. This beer is not balanced. It is a barleywine, it is supposed to be strong, and it is.

Photo of Mora2000
4.32/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to sinstaineddemon for trading this one to me.

Pours a dark brown color with a small white head. The first whiff is strong on the hops, specifically a strong piney aroma. You also get a little caramel malt and alcohol in the aroma. The taste is a lot of pine and grapefruit hops up front, with a strong caramel backbone later in the taste. When the beer is cold, it is very unbalanced and hoppy. The beer gets much more balanced as it warms up, although the alcohol stays present throughout. Not really sure how close this fits the American Barleywine style since it is so hoppy, but it is very good regardless. Recommended.

Photo of SkinnyElvis
3.7/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Purchased at the Foodery in Northern Liberties. Dark amber in appearance. Smells hoppy for a barley wine. A ton of pine hops in taste without a lot of malt behind it. The hops are a tad harsh and the alcohol burn is noticeable. A pretty good beer but nor really a barleywine IMO. I wonder what aging would do for it.


Photo of Cavanaghty
4.04/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Dark reddish copper color with a tan colored head. The head lasted about 5 minutes and left trace lacing on the glass.

Smell: sweet smelling, with some malts and carmel, the sweet smell was the strongest.

Mouthfeel/Taste: Medium bodied, not smooth. Taste sweet, but as sweet as I had expected. Left a dry feeling in my mouth. A good hoppy bitterness to it, with a bitter aftertaste. I could taste alcohol.

Overall: Not a bad brew, I'm glad I bought this one to try once, it was enjoyable. Probably won't buy it again though.

Photo of kingcrowing
4.55/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured in a sampling glass.

Pours a deep amber with small head and some lacing. Nose is very sweet, malty and strong, very nice.

One of the best barleywines I've ever had, easily. Very sweet and malty rich and sharp. Super hoppy at 100IBUs but goves very will with the huge malt bill, extremely well balanced and very drinkable for such a big beer.

Also, nothing like Monster energy drink... incase you were confused.

Photo of boatshoes
3.53/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received this in a trade with TheRowan. Excited to try it after all the fuss raised by Annheiser/Inbev over the name! Thanks Rowan!

Appearance- Pours a very dark but not opaque shade of brown with about a half finger of lightly tanned head rising up. Head dies fairly quickly, leaving some lacing however, though not as much as I expect necessarily for a barleywine.

Smell- Interesting, and I can tell this will be on the hoppier side of barleywine. Lots of big sweet caramel malts up front. However, this is balanced out surprisingly evenly with a good dollop of resiny hops which are also very evident on the nose. They provide a bit of a bite, and there is just a touch of astringent alcohol noticeable as well.

Taste- Here, it is hops, then malt for me. The first thing I notice is the presence of a good deal of piney hop bitterness, followed then by a healthy amount of malt sweetness. I find that the flavors are both nice but don't blend together as well as they could, with both a fairly distinct bitterness, then followed by a fairly distinct sweetness. This may just be me but I think they could blend together a touch nicer.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Good levels of carbonation, though I find that the mouthfeel is neither as substantial or as slick in the mouth as I like in a solid barleywine. The lack of flavor integration also hurts this beer a bit on drinkability.

Overall, a pretty okay barleywine. Glad I got a chance to try it but I can't say it was my particular cup o' tea.

Photo of far333
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ruddy caramel colored with an inch-high head of dimpled frothy foam. Good retention.

Low aroma of sweet malt, not cloying, and a mixture of floral and faint citrus hops.

Flavor initially of grapefruit rind hops, followed by some malt sweetness, but the malt is dominated by the hops. Some grainy brown sugar tries to work its way in, but is quickly squashed by the alcholic vapors and warmth that wraps around the mouth. A bit of caramel/toffee emerges in the finish, but seems subdued for the style. Style seems to straddle DIPA and barleywine.

Excellent mouthfeel, full and creamy, rich and satisfying. Good sipper, pretty drinkable, but this one definitely has some strength to it.

Photo of skivtjerry
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep brown with a head that disappears quickly.

Smell: Heavy malt and alcohol overpowers the big hop aroma. Smells of dried fruit, with almost meaty tones.

Taste: Big malt and big hop flavor have not blended yet. A lot of good stuff happening, but way too young. Alcohol is a tad harsh but should mellow out with age.

Mouthfeel: Chewy, in a good way. The heaviness of all that malt and the hop bitterness balance out well, though both are a little rough.

Drinkability: An enjoyable old ale/English barleywine. I think this brew has tremendous potential for ageing. A lot of flavors reminiscent of a very young Thomas Hardy's. Should be 5's across the board in a year or two. Ironically, the first true 'extreme' beer from RA does not carry the label that they have plastered on so many beers. One possible problem: there are already some oxidized sherrylike notes so this might not be as long-lived as I'd hope.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.38/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Calls itself a dipa, and while I was looking at the dark brown color and taking the beer in, I was thinking this was more like a barleywine in every way. Glad to see it is classified as such on this website.

The aroma was bready, doughy. The regular barleywine of theirs seemed to have a higher degree of chocolate to it than most, that was not present here so much, just a massive malt bill (110lbs per barrel!) that soaked up pretty much a lot of the abv and hops, balance achieved. Couldn't really pick up any hop mouthfeel out of this, no citrus, pine etc. . . just a bit of bitterness, that was tempered. Big on toffee, low on carbonation (not to the degree is was problematic though). No idea how fresh or old this was, picked up at Sun Devil liquors where you need to bring some carbon dating equipment judging solely by the dust on the beer.

Decent price, but probably wouldn't purchase again without some knowledge as to the age of the beer.

Photo of whoneeds8
4.17/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Vermonthiker for this extra!!!

Poured into a New Belgium glass dark mahagony brown. The scent is of strong malted sweetness, with chocolate notes. The taste is rather smooth for a barleywine. Very well balanced of hops and malts, no over use that shocks the toungue. The mouthfeel doesn't have any noticable alcohol burn for this amount of abv. This is overall a very nice barleywine, and very drinkable.

Photo of BetterDarker
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bomber poured into a snifter, left the yeast behind.

A- Dark brown with a white head, good carbonation with solid retention. Hard to tell if it is clear or cloudy because it is quite dark. A great looking beer.

S- Smells fantastic, nice malt aroma with earthy hops. Smells like a sweet IPA.

T- Initial sweet taste with strong hop presence at the end. Solid bitter but not over kill. Minor caramel flavor in the back ground. Tastes great.

M- Perfect carbonation.

D- This is an aggressive beer, a slow sipper for me, I will have another but at a later date.

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber > Chimay Goblet. My first above 8% abv Vermont brewed beer (in a bottle)

Dark brown amber with red hues in direct light. Even a gentle pour creates a 3", massive, thick and partially smooth crown with a slow dissipation. There's a bunch of foam left over from the fall and remains really creamy textured throughout.

The aroma would all wrong if I was rating this as a Barleywine but I'm not going to go by "style" on this one because the aroma is really nice otherwise. Very sweet and fruity hops, smells very much like a DIPA too me, strawberries and mandarin oranges. The sweet malt aroma is very nice, not as powerful and complex as some but mild caramel and honey is detected. The hops are wet and musty earth notes.

The flavor that attacks first is a bold explosion of hops, first it's spicey and peppery with a quick bitter bite but then, citric fruits, cucumber and a subtle tartness. mellow, sweet fruits pop out later with mostly wild raspberry hints and as the liquid warms, sweeter more bold fruit flavor's emerge. There is wonderful balance of powerful hops and a buttery light malt that you can really feel going down. This is on the crispy side of medium-bodied with a big, smooth finsih. THe hop complexity is my favorite aspect because it achieves all three big flavor ellements, big fruit, citric and earthy all in perfect harmony.

Keep this stuff comming Vermont!! This was easily the most complex and intesnse brew I've had come out of VT since Ray Mcneill's "Bucksnort" Barleywine.

Photo of RomanW70
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours cloudy brown with minimal tan lacing. Aroma of toffee, alcohol, caramel, coffee. Taste of caramel, toffee, coffee, dark fruits with a strong bitter finish of cocoa and alcohol. Medium mouthfeel with low carbonation. Overall, a very interesting beer with some charecter that hides its alcohol well in some places.

Photo of GilGarp
4.15/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for the trade! As per your suggestion, I sat on this one over a year before enjoying. Let's see how my patience paid off.

Served cool into a wine glass, Vermonster is a deep ruby-brown color with considerable haze. The tan head towers above, settles slowly, and leaves lots of spotty lace.

Aroma is classic American Barleywine. Huge hoppiness is evident right away but it's obvious they've had time to mellow out. Nice carmelize sugar and toasted malts come through here as well.

Flavor is very nice although surprisingly roasty! Clearly there was a ton of hops thrown into this beer. It has a great hop bitterness that carries through from beginning to end. It's very unique in the sense of that roasty malt. It's almost like stout was blended in before it was bottled. Unusual but enjoyabale.

Mouthfeel is medium-plus body with lowish carbonation. Very bitter but I think that's the point.

Overall really nice but now I wish I could try it fresh!

Photo of nkersten
3.57/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Flight got canceled, was happy to find this at the gas station across from the hotel. Poured into hotel water glass, hazy brown liquid with reddish brown hues. Tiny off white head fades to collar with minimal lacing. Smells of sweet malts and some sugar, caramel, and toffee. Some spicy hops as well. Taste is a balance of bitter hops and caramal malts, sweet with a very bitter finish. Mouthfeel is medium heavy with a medium/light carbonation. Good but not great, this is a fine hoppy barleywine. This bottle wasnt as hoppy as some of the other Vermonsters I have had and prefer (very possible it had been sitting out/not well stored at the gas station for a while), but good regardless.

Photo of Sammy
4.15/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A great barleywine. Hoppy and balanced, and surprising 100 IBU, certainly can't taste it. Aroma is very nice. Big soapy white head on a brown body, inviting. Good bitterness. Dry hopping, leads to dry and pleasant hopped finish. Very drinkable.Medium mouthfeel.

Photo of hreb
3.6/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Cold 22oz bottle poured into wide-mouth snifter. Beer pours deep, dark brown with a medium chestnut-brown head, which quickly falls. Aroma is pleasing: sweet burnt caramel and a light citrus note.

First sip is immediately sharp/bitter. The flavor profile says american barleywine, but the depth of the hops says double IPA. Indeed, the label claims 100 IBUs. Although loaded with malt, none of the malt flavors make an impression in the flavor the way they do in the smell. It's just hoppy and dry.

Unfortunately, as the beer warms, the main component that comes out is the strength of the alcohol. I wouldn't call this balanced, nor particularly drinkable.

Photo of dahlen22
4.32/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have a soft spot in my heart for Vermont and it is not just becuase of great skiing, great cheese, and maple syrup...they brew good beer up that way!! This beer is good as well.

Appearance: Dark amber.

Aroma: Not much going on here...a bit of hops and malts.

Taste: This beers is BIG. It has pine, raisins, toffee and a nice balance of floral hops and malts.

Drinkability: I find it easy to drink.

Overall: Nice big beer with a lot of alcohol that is not overbearing. Like the label says, "allow yourself to retreat into your happy spot" and enjoy.

Photo of mikey711
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Split a bottle after a lacrosse game tonight.

A: Pours a murky brown that has little transparency. No lacing at all and just a thin layer of head on top.

S: Boozy and caramel. Not much else going on, maybe a mild hint of hops

T: Rich caramel and toffee backbone. A sense of booziness prevades for sure. The hops provide a slight bitterness. I wouldnt say its balance but it is rather enjoyable

M: Booze. Other than that is it very nice, full bodied, mild creaminess.

D: Fairly easy to forget this on is so big despite the booze. Great to share but could easily have this bomber on my own

Photo of russpowell
4.12/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one from Timmush, cheers Tim!

Pours an effervescent copper with 2+ fingers of tan head. Murks up a bit, above average head retention & lacing

S: Much breadyness, some apricot & figs, some pineyness once warm

T: Follows the nose, huge malt backbone, dryness & a touch of brown sugar & shortbread up front.
Subtle herbal & woody hops, some cakeyness, grapefruit & orange rind as this warms. Finishes with woody & herbal hops, breadyness that thins out just a bit at the very end

MF: Chewy, fairly firm carbonation, & great balance, nice warming sensation

Very nice, skews malty, but in my wheel house, yum

Photo of seedsofchaos
3.7/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received this from a "Pint Pals" (think pen pals with beer) beer trade that I'm involved in. With this beer I've found that I'm a lot more inclined to enjoy an English Barleywine over American Barleywine. Regardless...

Vermonster is an infamous beer. This creature pours an almost perfect tea brown with a highly carbonated off-white head that borders on being able to claim yellow. Head is quick settling and fully composed of large carbonation bubbles. Not much lacing to speak of. This barleywine definitely leans towards the dark side. Aroma is, without a doubt, malt forward. The bouquet bursts with sweetness and dark malts swirling around with wine-like qualities, delicate fruity esters, earthy scents and floral hops. A nuance here and there of cider or acidic fruits but nothing overwhelming.

A bit of a bitter bomb for a barleywine, it is aggressively hopped like only Americans would do with this style. In my opinion, it takes a bit away from the beer as it draws away from delicate flavors such as tobacco and fresh baked sweets. Instead, one is given a healthy helping of sweet malts and bitterness that seem to make up the bulk of the taste. Mouthfeel is full and rich and this brew is quite drinkable.

All in all, a solid barleywine. I think that as far as my tastes go in barleywines that a few years on this bottle could tone down that hop bitterness quite significantly. I find American barleywines lacking in the tobacco-esque / light smoke flavors that I pick up on in English barleywines and enjoy so much. I don't know that I'd drink a bomber of Vermonster by myself ever and at 10% it's not exactly sessionable. Good to drink with a buddy and definitely worth a try.

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The Vermonster from Rock Art Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 542 ratings.