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The Vermonster - Rock Art Brewery

Not Rated.
The VermonsterThe Vermonster

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

470 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 470
Reviews: 232
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 11.83%
Wants: 37
Gots: 50 | 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:
We brewed The Vermonster with 110 pounds of malt per barrel and jacked up the pour into a wide mouth thin glass goblet.

(Beer added by: BeerBeing on 09-23-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 470 | Reviews: 232 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2008 23:21:09 | More by Sammy
Photo of t0rin0


3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

12-17-2012 04:00:39 | More by t0rin0
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.6/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle pour at the bottle share hosted by Adam Fine Wine & Liquor held at Sophie’s Place in Redondo Beach, CA.

Pours a murky brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a thin cap on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, caramel, and some fruity aromas. Taste is much the same with a sweet flavor and a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is drinkable but I think it smells better than it tastes.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2012 03:38:20 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of djrn2

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +2.8%

12-01-2011 19:52:19 | More by djrn2
Photo of Thorpe429


2.25/5  rDev -42.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Picked this up at Julio's last March before KTG. Figured Id give it a try after all the press.

Pours a moderate copper with an off white head. Smell is sweet malt, red fruits, alcohol, and a touch of caramel. Taste goes quite a bit downhill with some astringencies and a bit of a metallic flavor. The sweetness comes through, but that's about it. Mouthfeel is slightly boozy and off-puttingly dry. Poor drinkability, which is disappointing as I was quite looking forward to breaking this out with the cool weather.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2010 12:42:56 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

"Fantasy, abandoned by reason, produces impossible monsters; united with it, she is the mother of the arts and the origin of marvels."


Slightly more burnt orange than brick red, with gemstone-like clarity. The beer is capped with several fingers of sandstone colored foam that has hundreds of glassy bubbles piled on top. Those bubbles transfer themselves to the glass as sticky lace, thereby adding to an already wonderful look.

The nose is malt-dominant, is somewhat orange fruity and does a pretty good job of hiding the alcohol. Unfortunately, it's a bit lacking when it comes to power and personality. Hopes are still high that the beer will come through with flying colors on the palate.

Well, maybe not flying colors, but they aren't exactly earthbound either. Interestingly, I'm reminded of Stone Old Guardian, which isn't a bad beer to pattern one's barleywine after. My best guess is that this bomber is from 2007 (that's when the bottle was manufactured). If so, then the still hot alcohol is inexcusable. Thankfully, it isn't a deal breaker, especially since it calms down as the beer continues to warm.

There must have been a ton of hops initially (Rock Art claims 100 IBUs) because there's still plenty of bitterness to counteract the considerable malt sweetness. The flavor profile includes rock candy, steely caramel, orange oil, toasted white oak and white rum. I'm pretty sure the beer never saw the inside of a barrel, but it tastes like it.

The mouthfeel gets it done in fine fashion. It's medium-full for the style and is as smooth as possible given the raspiness imparted by lots of alpha acids and an unmasked alcohol bite. Actually, at mid-bomber, mouthfeel is turning into mouth(can't)feel. Are we sure the ABV isn't a few percentage points higher?

Vermonster is a pretty cool name for a barleywine brewed in The Green Mountain State. Trouble is, the beer is hot rather than cool, even at almost 2 years of age. Time to slow down so that my brain doesn't become as numb as my tongue. Thanks Vermonthiker.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2009 22:24:53 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of metter98

New York

3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: The beer is very hazy brownish red in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation around the sides of the glass. It poured with a half finger high light beige head that died down and consistently left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and a thick collar around the edge.
S: The aroma is rather boozy and has some notes of caramel malts and hints of pine resin hops.
T: Like the smell, the initial taste has flavors of caramel malts and some hints of sweetness, but this quickly transitions to a light to moderate amount of bitterness from the underlying hops that lingers into the finish. Hints of pine resin from the hops are noticeable.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. A significant amount of warming from the alcohol is present.
O: This beer masks its alcohol very well from the taste and is also rather drinkable for the style because it's packed with lots of hop bitterness that prevent this from being too malty or sweet.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2013 03:01:18 | More by metter98
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a burnt caramel color with a full, creamy head that leaves sheets of lace

Smell: Rich caramel aroma, with significant piney bitter tones; tobacco and spearmint, too

Taste: Although there is a rich caramel flavor from the get go, it doesn't take too long for the resinous, piney hops to make an entrance, bringing the tobacco and spearmint flavors with them; after the swallow, the chocolate minty flavors take over but the pithy, piney flavors linger into the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation and considerable warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: Though the flavor is complex and the mouthfeel is fine, the assault on the tastebuds limits the drinkability of this beer

Though it has aged about a year since imagineiii sent it to me, this beer still has a lot of hoppy bitterness going for it; thanks for the opportunity

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2009 01:46:51 | More by brentk56
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

brown, though you can see some light through it, no head and a nice lace top it off. Smell is hopped for sure, but with a subtle sugary undertone, and a hint of alcohol too. Taste is not very strong at all. There is the natural piney hoppness you would expect from a barley wine, but not too strong, there is also a sugary, nuttiness about it as well. The alcohol is there, and that keeps this a sipper. It is actually nicely carbonated, and not harsh going down, has the warm feeling on the way. Overall this was a good brew,

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2011 16:00:08 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of nmann08

District of Columbia

4/5  rDev +2.8%

11-28-2011 22:38:30 | More by nmann08
Photo of BEERchitect


4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Undoubtedly the feel-good story of 2009 with the controversy over the naming rights of the beer. But does the beer live up to the notoriety?

Vermonster begins with a deep mohogany-deep brown color and an uncertain level of haze. Great head formation reduced to a thick blanket then hold firm through the session. Lacing is incredible.

Aromas of deeply toasted malts should hold their own, but the hops (with no uncertainty) dominate the nose. Perfumy, boquet, and citrus come to mind as the hop oil aroma hits the olfactories. Flowery, pungent, and spicy, the aroma is very complex.

Flavors also favor the hops, but with a shift. Those softer more floral notes turn to the taste of citrus rinds, grapefruit, pine resin, and fresh-cut grasses. Toasty malts with some melanoidins create the malty balance against the aggressive bittering hops. Deep toffee and bread crusts give the impression of Scottish Wee Heavies but the hops say otherwise. The aggressive taste of hops and toast begin my comparisons to Arrogant Bastard Ale.

The body is full and creamy up front with a malty froathiness that stops shy of chewy. For a Barleywine, this beer is firmly attenuated, leaving little sweetness against the hop onslaught. Finishes with a malty-dry texture and with no appologies.

Vermonster is a beer worth fighting for its name. The beer is caught somewhere between an American Barleywine, American Strong Ale, and a Wee Heavy- a testiment to creativity and complexity. Job well done.

Thanks indiapaleale!

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2010 04:30:38 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of acurtis

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -10%

03-03-2013 00:13:06 | More by acurtis
Photo of ChainGangGuy


3.15/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clear, mahogany-hued body with a small, creamy, light beige head.

Smell: Sharp lemon, pine hop nose with, as it warms a tad, some basic caramel malt notes coming through.

Taste: Caramel malts with a fairly restrained sweetness. Citrus and pine resin shoot forward with the hops delivering a caustic, citric bitterness. The alcohol really starts to but up against the other flavors. Dry, heat-packed finish with a prolonged, lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: Low drinkability brought on primarily by both the apparent alcohol and brash, overdone bitterness, leaving this one a slow, grumpy sipper. Exhibits an alarming trend in American barleywines. Little malt depth, hop character, and just tons of coarse bitterness and booze. Bartender, can I get a water?

Serving type: on-tap

12-05-2008 00:11:50 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of Knapp85


3.5/5  rDev -10%

12-05-2013 20:00:47 | More by Knapp85
Photo of emerge077


4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shared this over the weekend with a few BA's. Sadly my notes went through the wash, but i've salvaged enough for a coherent review...

Ah, the infamous Vermonster. Thanks to makdeco for tossing this my way awhile back!

It poured a dark orange with a reddish ruby glint to it in the light. A crown of sticky lace capped the beer off nicely.

Some potent fruit and green herbal hop notes in the aroma, nestled in on a giant pillow of caramel malt. Flavor was rich with a substantial green hop character and bitterness. Big caramel/toffee flavor, fairly balanced malt/hops even though they both have a huge presence. Rich, but easy to drink and not overly sweet, it has a firmly bitter and dry aftertaste. A definite sipper that is probably best shared.

Thanks again Mark!

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2010 00:49:37 | More by emerge077
Photo of JAHMUR


3.5/5  rDev -10%

01-02-2012 18:03:28 | More by JAHMUR
Photo of largadeer


4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An extra from craytonic, thanks! Surprisingly, I haven't tried this one before.

Murky in the pour, a rusty copper hue. A small off-white head tops the body, quickly settling to a collar. Not the most appetizing looking barleywine.

The aroma exhudes caramelized malts, dates and resiny hops, fruit preserves. It has a slight sherry quality to it.

Unexpectedly delicious, this has a big caramel malt flavor to it with undertones of dark fruit and sherry, reminding me of traditional English barleywines, only with significantly more hops. The malt character is rich without lending excessive sweetness, almost nutty in character. Full-bodied with a long resiny finish, plenty complex but easy to sip on; this is one of the finer American barleywines I've had this year.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2010 06:13:12 | More by largadeer
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr


4/5  rDev +2.8%

01-09-2013 23:02:25 | More by westcoastbeerlvr
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.43/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a snifter glass.

A: The beer is a dark brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, floral hops, brown sugar and some fruit.

T: The taste starts out with sweet flavors of brown sugar, caramel and a little bit of fruit. Then a nice strong grassy hops bitterness follows. The malt character is hearty and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down dangerously easy, not too filling, strong kick, very good representation of style, this is a very solid Barleywine to drink for as long as you can handle it.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2012 03:52:11 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of russpowell


4.13/5  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

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2011 13:36:23 | More by russpowell
Photo of Slatetank


3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

05-21-2013 14:11:37 | More by Slatetank
Photo of Mora2000


4.33/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2009 06:34:13 | More by Mora2000
Photo of mdfb79

New York

3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 12/31/10 notes. Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Thanks to nmann08 for sharing this one; thanks Nate.

a - Pours a deep mahogany color with one inch of off white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of hops, dark fruit, caramel malts, sweet fruit and sugar, and bready malts.

t - Tastes of fruity hops and malts, alcohol, and caramel malts.

m - Medium body and low carbonation.

d - A pretty nice barleywine. Would like to try again sometime.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2011 23:59:16 | More by mdfb79
Photo of oline73


3.45/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a dark amber with just a layer of light tan head. The head fades to a ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell: Sweet caramel malt and dark fruit with a hint of alcohol. There is some bitter hops in there as well.

Taste: The bitterness really dominates every thing else. The malt was there, but it was completely overshadowed. The finish was very bitter citrus peel and grassy hops along with some warm alcohol.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thick side of medium. The carbonation is tingly and the finish is mildly dry.

Overall: The smell was very nice, but the malt really disappeared behind the hops. Tasted more like an ipa than a barleywine. Good but not great.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2011 01:38:10 | More by oline73
Photo of jwc215


3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle, poured into snifter:

Pours dark amber/burgundy with an off-white head that is nice at the start, though settles to a thin swirl. A thick ring leaves some thin lines of lacing that become spots. I was between scores, but the color is nice and the head isn't bad for style/abv, so I gave it the higher of the two scores.

The smell is of caramel/toffee with a bit of brown sugar. Citric fruitiness and a touch of pine come through, as does a whiff of warming alcohol.

The taste is of a caramel/toffee sweetness that is almost overrun by bitterness at the start - citrus, some pine, a touch of aspirin, but connect and balance out nicely not long into the progression. Glad I didn't share this one, as I enjoyed it the more it went along. The warming alcohol is there, but reasonably well-covered for abv and not raw or sharp. Finishes with a bitter dryness.

Seems fuller than I remember the Ridge Runner (the brewery's other barleywine) being, though honestly that's not saying a whole lot, as it was on the thinner side of the style). Still, this could still be even thicker/richer for the style. But, it does help drinkability, which is easy for the style/abv. Drinks well for a 10% brew. This is a solid choice for a barleywine that lands on the bitter side of the spectrum, and for only four bucks and change for a 22 ounce bottle.

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2008 12:31:34 | More by jwc215
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The Vermonster from Rock Art Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 470 ratings.