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Mountain Ale | The Shed Brewery

very good
80 Reviews
For Trade:
Mountain AleMountain Ale

Brewed by:
The Shed Brewery
Vermont, United States | website

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
An English-style strong ale. This brown ale has great malt depth and drinks like a session beer.

Added by Jason on 05-07-2012

User Reviews
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Reviews: 80 | Ratings: 564
Photo of BoldRulerVT
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed directly from the bottle on a warm summer evening in Vermont.
Smells rich and malty.
Tastes really nice for a brown ale. Solid maltiness with decent hop bitterness on my tongue as it goes down.
Mouthfeel is fine. Not too thin or thick.
Overall, this is a well crafted and tasty beer.

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Photo of Jonbearr
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have to admit that brown ale is among my favorite beer varieties, and I am therefor biased. However, even among a genre of which I am inclined, this beer sticks out. Its flavor is not only rich, but it is distinct among brown ales. It is not too harsh , and is remarkably smooth for such a strong flavor. I usually like to explore new beers and breweries, and don't often buy the same thing twice, however, this will certainly be an exception.

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Photo of gestyr
3.74/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a deep amber/lt brown with a beige head that goes away quickly
S:Malt, roast malt, dark fruits and slightly sweet. Not much hops aroma
T: The taste follows the smell. You do get a bit of an alcohol aftertaste.
M: Light to medium bodied with a warming sensation
O: A good strong/old ale. Nice and warming. I will buy this one again next time I am in New England

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Photo of dank203
3.74/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

pours less than brown, almost a burnt / amber orange brown. small amt of sudsy khaki colored head. slight hop and burnt malt aroma. flavors are well balanced, some burnt spicy peppery notes with a touch of citrusy hops, and some roast in the back end

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Photo of ThisLadyLovesBeer
3.69/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A = A deep, clear, maple syrup amber tone. A short-lived head with minimal lacing.

S = Nice and malty, with a slight alcohol lift courtesy of the 7.4% level.

T = A rich ale, with a slight malty sweetness and an agreeable hop finish.

M = As expected, smooth and a bit chewy, but clean on the palate due to the 7.4% alcohol.

O = I like this one and would drink again. I wish there was a website for the brewer, Otter Creek, so I could read their take on this ale, but it's currently "under construction." I would enjoy this again occasionally and can imagine it pairing with a hearty beef stew and crusty dark bread.

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Photo of PA-hunter
3.84/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured bottle into a glass. I bought a whole case. At first I was unsure since I never had a brown ale, but I'm glad I made the choice. Solid Brew.

Appearance- Very dark, chocolate colored brown with a thick head.

Smell- Malty with caramel tones.

Taste- Malty taste, with a honey like smoothness. Has a roasted quality to the taste, a very fine undertone of chocolate as well. Followed by a bit of hoppy bitterness to the finish. Just enough to give an impression of hops, but indeed noticeable. A nice dual start/finish of tastes.

Mouthfeel- Heavy body, creamy, chewy feel.

Overall- Great ale, I'm glad I took a risk and bought a case. Very easy drinking. For a beer with 7.4 abv, the price was fair too. Personally, I feel this is well suited for the Winter. Give it a try!

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.44/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25


A deep amber color with a bit of reddish hues. Tough, thick lace from the off-white creamy foam cap.

A minty, smokey and earthy hop pops out first with a hard wood and maple syrup malt with a touch of cedar aroma.

A very full, and hearty feel, Smooth going down and the 2", well-retained foam cap continues to provide extra fluff and smoothness going down. dry in the finish.

A wonderful balance of slightly smokey, woody, light maple malt, light smoke and wild honey. Pretty darn complex here. The hops keep it earthy, crisp, dry and slightly tangy, earthy, medium-level bitterness, dry in the end.

Complex with an easy-breezy vibe.

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Photo of stella77artois
3.86/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a chilled pint glass.

A - Pours a dark ruby-brown. Just a hint of carbonation noticeable. A thick 2-fingered width head showed. It dissipated slowly. Just a small amount of lacing noticeable. Very nice looking beer.

S - Overall light, but pleasant. Hints of roasted malt, bits of cocoa and suprisingly, a touch of hops floated through.

T - After the aroma, I was expected a similar light taste. Not so. Lot's of malt noticeable right off. Mostly dark malts, as the cocoa was noticed as well a general "dark" taste. Some hoppy bitterness was noticed in the aftertaste. Not much fruit or pine from them, but the bitterness was there. Not hugely complex, but a good tasting beer.

F - Dangerously drinkable for a Strong Ale. It's a tad thick, but was easy on the stomach. No dryness (I don't like dry beers).

O - A solid English Strong ale. American Strong Ale's are more my style, but this is a good beer. A good amount of flavor, albeit not real complex. Dangerously drinkable at over 7% ABV. Paired this with (very) hot wings, and it was an outstanding combo. Certainly recommend this beer.

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.82/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Picked this up in Totowa last week without ever having a beer from The Shed or even knowing that they relocated recently and were not brewed in Middlebury. I thought this would be a Brown Ale based on what I saw on the bottle but this indeed fir the profile of an English Strong Ale and had a bit more bite than a Brown Ale would. This was not outstanding but there was enough to like here, with the alcohol remaining well hidden from start to finish.

The pour to this was a somewhat dark brown with a hint of garnet thrown in for good measure. A nice head combined with beautiful rings of lacing helped the appearance of this beer out to the point that it was its most memorable feature. The aroma of nuts, esters, and brown sugar and all of those were more pronounced in the mouthfeel. A nice malty backbone, some candied sugar, and booze all kicked in once I gave this a sip and put the "strong" into the style of this beer. The hops weren't terribly present but the caramel stickiness that characterize a Brown Ale weren't present here. Instead, this had a reserved strength to it that came out once I finished the bottle off.

While not a session beer, it would be possible to have more than one in a sitting just because there's enough going on here. As the favors faded into a anisette/licorice combination in the end, I couldn't help but notice that I hadn't quite had anything like this before. If there was such a thing as an Imperial Brown Ale, this would be a good example of how to brew it right. This isn't a pushover beer but at the same time, it's hard to imagine anyone being offended by what's going on here.

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Photo of drinkpink
3.61/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours dark brown in low/medium light and ruby red/amber in direct light. unfiltered muddy in appearance, but I like this because I prefer beers that I can see and smell.. best served for me at 58 deg. F. - lower temps from the store at 40 deg. shows no head and this is a different tasting beer at colder temps.

Smell: caramel, toasty smoked piney nuts.

Taste: a very smooth malty beer with some very subtle hop flavors, chocolate sweet roasted nut tones, and Vermont maple syrup (maybe?). this is not hop happy for the info of us hoppers. the 7.4 ABV is underlying. I do not taste any fruity overtones.

Mouth Feel: good feel for a quality medium bodied brown ale. correct temp. to desired level, will change the character and taste of this beer. suggest slightly warmer at 58 deg. F. at correct temp. the head shows a nice creamy appearance with good lacing.

Overall: this is a very drinkable smooth malty sweet brown/red ale. I look forward to the colder days when this beer will taste even better - aka Vermont. - by the way, I use a fluted wine glass to drink all my high quality beers like this one.

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Photo of DrJay
3.71/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Clear chestnut body with a thin light beige cap. Modest head retention with a bit of short-lived lacing. Malty aroma, toffee was dominant with fainter brown sugar and nuts. Hints of alcohol, butter, and toast appeared as the beer warmed. Same malty character in the flavour, but with moderate bitterness and more pronounced nuttiness. Faint cola, herbal, and alcohol notes towards the finish. Decent texture, medium bodied with lively carbonation. Overall, a pleasant beer that drinks easier than the abv would lead you to believe.

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Photo of Thads324
3.81/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

A : pours a deep brown with ruby hues. Medium sizes head with loud popping bubble that fizz to a thin ring around the edges.
S : lots of different malts here. Caramel and muted toffee, toasted nuts and syrupy sugar. A bit of dried stone fruit and even a hint of breakfast blend coffee. A hint of chocolate too. Very deep aroma.
T : starts very sweet, caramel flavor with some light wheat bread flavor. A hint of chocolate and a mild and pleasant coffee as well. Hop bitterness towards the beginning of the second half. The hops are fruity and vibrant. Cuts the extreme sweetness up front down nicely. Finishes with some dried raisin and cherry type flavor. Hop bitterness lingers nicely.
M : higher end of medium bodied. Hides the alcohol extremely well. Low effervescence allows for a smooth feel that isn't oily.

At first the taste is cloyingly sweet, but by the third sip the hops become much more apparent and aggressive. Surprising how drinkable this is. Very tasty, possibly dangerous. Happy to have had it!

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Photo of Cylinsier
4.34/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz.

Pours a slightly hazy medium brown with a little bit of white lacing.

Smells of caramel, vanilla, cocoa, and buttered toast.

Flavor is of light cocoa, vanilla, molasses, and a little bit of maple with a nutty oakey bitterness that is very mild.

Medium to full body with prickly carbonation on the tongue.

This is a really good tasty brown ale, very nice balance and flavor, goes down smooth, a definite must-try.

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Photo of HattedClassic
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The beer has some light head that does not last very long. The beer itself is a dark, red copper that seems to have hints of brown.

The beer smells smoky and a bit roasted. However, underneath all of that, there is the sweetness of caramel malts that seems to dominate the smell.

Caramel sweetness dominates the taste buds. Underneath it are smoky notes and roastedness. The beer has some interesting undertones such a tea-like and honey combination but not strong enough to be very noticeable except to the most careful drinker.

Medium bodied but feels a little bit watery. Still good though.

A decent English style beer and worthwhile. I'm glad that my roommate shared this with me.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.09/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Really nice looking brew, dark copper red, with walnut brown hints and a real ruby hue. Head is creamy off white and light tan, almost coffee like in appearance. Settles to a good one finger puck and nicely coats and clumps the glass.

Faint biscuit, and chewy walnuts and hazelnut like aromas. Very dense biscuity malts and sweet brown sugar and dough. Almost like a dark cookie. Smells real solid.

Palate coats slightly watery but with plenty of coating action on the palate. Low carbonation with a big mix of toasty malts and nuts. Clean but large finish, and semi-dry. Creamy like sweetness just a bit with the sugar angles kind of buried. A nice mix of floral and faint tea like herbality on this also.

Overall, pretty decent and real easy drinking for 7.4% also.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.67/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: An orangish-brown exit sits a dark ice tea coloring in the glass. Creamy-frothy tan head is an inch high with good standing. Carbonation creeps up along the inner walls at a moderate pace. Lace coverage is about half volume.

S: Roasty dark nuttiness, nice maltiness with some dried tree bark. Some natural tea grind earthiness.

T: Roasty flavor with a fresh nuttiness, dried walnuts and almonds and some caramel toast nut. Earthy tea, dried spruce and some spicy hops with a sweetness of dried honey-toffee. Tea like leave, woody cardamon with a slight hint of dried cypress.

M: creamy, light-medium malt base with a warm nuttiness and tea grinds on the hold. Some presence of carbonation.

O: Overall warm nuttiness with earthy silty tea stands out making this pretty good. decent complexity.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.99/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

definitely one of the better American browns ive come across in awhile. this, from right across the lake in Vermont, is a hopped up version like few ive had. it pours as red as it does brown, especially in the light. its got over an inch off tan head, but the retention is rather poor. still, a creamy rich liquid beckons. the nose is a great balance between sweeter English and American malts, and fresh east coast hops, with mild acidity. a little woody, a little sweet, and a lot yummy. the taste is the best parts of the nose, rich chocolate and caramel malts do their thing, while the beer finished on the bitter end of the spectrum with a wide variety of hop flavors and feels, including pine and sticky ganja. easy drinking for a beer of this alcoholic strength, its fuller in body and the carbonation is pretty good. its got a creamy texture and seems like a nitro tap would make this elite. I like this better than the shed ipa, and I look forward to more of their beers. this is excellent, and its even better on tap.

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Photo of Lawl3ss
3.46/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Lightly chilled 12 oz bottle into a 33cl snifter. No visible bottling date, but it's been in my fridge for at least six months.

Look- Clear amber-brown with three fingers of off-white head that falls quickly. Bottle declares it's unfiltered, and the sediment in the bottle backs this up. Nice webbed lacing.

Smell- Mild, nutty, dark bread. Nondescript but pleasant.

Taste- Similar to the nose - pretty standard, even plain, but well done. Toasted biscuit and moderate yeasty breadiness, light fruitiness as it warms, subtle spice.

Mouthfeel- Medium body, light carbonation. Light warming on the back, but fairly light feel for 7.5%.

Overall- A pretty nice brown ale, nice flavor. Nothing too flashy but a decent easy-drinking robust brown ale.

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Photo of Etan
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz into an MBC tumbler.

A: Pours a honey-hued amber with a thick off-white head.

S: Yeasty, dried fruit esters, apricot, brown sugar, multigrain bread, slightly buttery.

T: Caramelized grain, fruity British yeastiness, very light roastiness, toffee, a hint of alcohol, plum.

M: Medium-bodied with active carbonation.

O: This is ok. A very yeasty English brown ale.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

One of the beers I obtained on an Easter Sunday beer swap.

Dark hazelnut to auburn in color with a thin beige head. Horseshoe shaped retention.

Smells like pumpernickel. Brownie batter peaks out a little as it warms.

Bread crust and orange rind with a swamp hop tea finish. Burnt brownie edges emerge after it's been sitting in my glass awhile. A 7.4% it's a big brown and it's got a big brown body. Full and creamy and just plain thicker than most browns.

Toasty and tea-like like a Northern English brown but big and full like an American brown. Neat genre straddler but not something I'd buy again. Or buy in the first place technically.

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Photo of metter98
3.67/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear but very dark reddish brown in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation when it is held up to a bright light (but appears black when viewed from afar). It poured with a finger and a half high dense beige head that gradually died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles on the surface, a collar around the edge, and lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of dark and nutty malts are present in the nose along with notes of dark fruits.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has a light amount of bitterness and bits of initial malty sweetness. Plums seem to stand out in particular among the flavors of dark fruits.
M: It feels medium-bodied, a little smooth and a bit creamy on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This wouldn’t be a bad beer to sip on a cold day. It definitely lives up to being described as "a rugged brown ale" on the label.

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Photo of micromaniac129
3.69/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A pretty desent beer here in all catagories. It has a nice looking appearance with a brownish amber. The head is small though and there is no carbs. Aroma is nutty malts and biscuit malts though the nose doesn't jump out at you. Still not bad. Taste is all malts. Rich and sweet with a nuttiness too. In the aftertaste it sweetens up a bit. I don't notice much hops in the taste. It is semi dry and slightly bitter in the aftertaste.
All in all a good beer but not one I'd care to have again.

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Photo of Chico1985
3.77/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Described on the label as a 'rugged brown ale'.

Poured to my Shed pint glass. Darkish brown with bright orange highlights, nice color. Beige head retains as a mostly-full thick cap with some lace left behind.

Nutty and roasty malts stick out most in the scent, with some light caramel and molasses backing. Some earthy and leafy hops.

Taste - nutty malts, roasty toasty malts, caramel, candied dark fruits, hints of cocoa, some dark bread and earthy hops - less hoppy than expected, nice malt profile. Some booze.

Malty and oily mouthfeel, medium carbonation, a little boozy.

Good, an interesting beer with some nice complexities, reminded me of a doppelbock kinda.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Another of my local, in-person trader, tone77's latest drop-off.

From the bottle: "A deep Stowe, Vermont heritage, this small batch classic now makes its home in Middlebury, Vermont. Smooth, malty overtones with a pronounced hop finish."; "Born in Stowe, Vermont at the legendary Shed Restaurant & Brewery, moved to Midddlebury to to raise up a family of Vermont ales."; "Unfiltered, Brewed fresh since 1995, established in Stowe, Vermont, a rugged brown ale."

It is early, so I decided to go with a heavy-handed pour that ended up producing some cascading action in the glass. It also produced two-plus fingers of dense, foamy deep-tan head with good retention. Color was a deep-brown with burnt orange highlights and just a touch of haze in terms of clarity. Nose had an interesting mix of chocolate malt and minty, evergreen hops. It is Girl Scout cookie season and this made me think of Thin Mints. The lacing that had begun to form was wonderfully sticky. Mouthfeel was medium, approaching full and the chocolate malt was immediate on the tongue with the minty hops following as I breathed in. This was really good, much more than I was expecting and the finish really did have a Thin Mint cookie quality to it. I will be recommending this one to others.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.72/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Nice label.

Don't see enough brown ales out there. Not that I'd really be rushing out to get them anyways.

This is a pretty nice one. Decent body, flavor is bringing something, though it's slightly too tangy. Just a wee bit. Carbonation is a bit too high as well. Overall a pretty good brew. Glad to be able to try something from a new (to me) brewery. Will keep an eye out for more from them.

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Mountain Ale from The Shed Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 80 ratings.