Violin Monster
Arbor Brewing Company

Violin MonsterViolin Monster
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Wheat Beer - American Dark
3.81 | pDev: 14.96%
Arbor Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Violin MonsterViolin Monster
Notes: A geographical approach to the werewolf legends results in identification of a major werewolf area stretching from mid-Germany into the Netherlands and Belgium.

With this in mind, we have created a strong, dark, spice ale using ingredients from those regions.

Brewed with Midnight Wheat, warming spices, and a hint of brown sugar, the Violin Monster is black as night and packs a punch at 9.5%.

Unleash your inner beast with Violin Monster Dark Ale, but finishes with a bite!
Reviews: 20 | Ratings: 120 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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Quackershnoc from Michigan

4.04/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: really black; creamy, dark khaki head that hangs around

Aroma: lots of spice-big clove, nutmeg; slight nuttiness; roasty malt backbone; hint of banana

Taste: starts with some roasty notes; a bit of chocolate; moves into nice malt spine-like brown baked bread; spices kick in here; a little earthiness; ends with light notes of banana; a little more malt; big spice-clove, nutmeg, cinnamon; more light earthy notes; aftertaste of spice, wheat, and dark chocolate

Mouthfeel: creamy; viscous; medium bodied

Overall Impression: this is a cool beer; there is a lot going on in there-much more complex than I was anticipating; it’s pretty spice heavy so I don’t think I could drink a lot of these back to back, but on a cold fall evening it’s really nice; I will definitely buy this again

From notes taken 11/04/2014

Mar 12, 2018
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BenHoppy from Michigan

5/5  rDev +31.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It's surprising that reviews aren't higher for this beer. I'm sure most who reviewed never had a Dark wheat style before, I know its my first one. But this beer is beautiful in every way.
When fresh the beer pours as a stout but smells like a red wine with its dark, nutty fruity aroma. The taste is also a bit like wine although you know it's a beer. It has flavors of barley, malt, red grape, berries, nuts, molasses, and nutmeg. Not very impressive fresh. It's a hard one to take down and the alcohol presence is rough. However put some away to age for a year or longer and you will see it turn into a totally different beer.

Aged 1 year this beer turns into a stout with strong flavors of chocolate, vanilla, caramel, and coffee. There is still some wine, grape, berry presence but it moreso has a creamy chocolatey, vanilla, coffee taste. Don't knock on this beer until you age it. Haven't read one review on here as to how this tastes with a year on it and let me be the first to say it ages gracefully. So therefore I give this beer a perfect score.

Nov 19, 2017
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DrainBamage from Michigan

3.24/5  rDev -15%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3

Pours dark a slight head in the center and around the edge of the glass. Smells of fermented berries, quite strong. There is bitterness on the tongue, but otherwise smooth going down. Tastes like fermented nuts and berries. Average beer, but first I've had in this style, so a little hard to judge.

Sep 29, 2016
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Brutaltruth from Ohio

3.77/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From a growler via Jungle Jim's in a snifter. This unique Autumn ale pours a deep
murky black with a nice light brown head of foam that subsides to a thick ring, thin
pool, and light lacing. Nose of pumpkin spices of clove, nutmeg, and allspice notes
mixed in with dark sweet malts. Flavors flow off the charts with nutmeg and clove
blasting in the front and rear of the taste, some dark malt notes strike a tone of light
black strap molasses and toffee mixed with a subtle bitter orange note and herbal hops
melding into the rear but still overtaken by the spices. Nice mouth feel, warming, smooth,
nice wheat mouth feel, full, and a finish that is well spiced.

Overall this is a good ale, yet more than one is more than enough to get the hint. Some of
the spices are extremely forward and could use a good dose of balance.

Violin Monster is a feller from the Michigan Area who is well....a violin monster....and pretty good
from the youtube clips I saw.


Sep 18, 2016
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bushbeer75 from Michigan

4.07/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz brown bottle - not dated

Arbor Violin Monsters' body is almost black in hue. A 2-finger bubbly chocolate milkshake like head was produced. The head sank to form a collar of foam with hit and miss lacing clinging to my tulip glass. The nose detected the smell of toasted malt, followed by sweet caramel/toffee, and a light somewhat peppery spice, The taste is very similar to the nose with the addition of chocolate along with a dash of sweetness from brown sugar. The mouth feel is creamy with a medium carbonation and a high-medium to full body. The finish is lightly bitter and warming from the alcohol.

Violin Monster makes a nice Fall/Winter drink. This ale is one of my favorite Arbor Brewing beers.

Mar 28, 2016
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G-CraftBeer4life from Michigan

3.16/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 2.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Its close to an aged wine... It's very full body and you can taste that initial fruity kick but then it dies down only to pick back up in the end with a kick that you know its not messing around.

Feb 21, 2016
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breakingbland from Michigan

3.94/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Sava's.

Pours virtually black with a foam ring. The aroma was sweet and spicy as was the taste. The sweetness in the taste, though, was almost cloying -- to the extent that this beer might be best served alone rather than pairing with food. While the mouthfeel might be appropriate for this style, it seemed to be a bit on the thin side. Carbonation was a bit light.

A good beer: I'll look for it again.

Dec 20, 2015
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hardysf from Michigan

3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Should of read the label before buying. Got good reviews and thought I should try it. I will say this though, they got what they were going for, just not my cup of tea.

Pours a dark brown. There are quite a few spices in this, maybe some nutmeg, cinnamon and other fall notes. Strong aroma. Sweet malt base with a prevalence of chocolate. Belgian strain of yeast is also not for me.

I can see how others like this though. Brewers got it right, not my style.

Nov 17, 2015
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StoutHunter from Michigan

3.52/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a bottle of Arbor's Violin Monster a few weeks ago at Boyne Country Provisions. I've been meaning to try this beer and since I was I able to track it down I knew I had to to try it, so lets see how it goes. 2015 Vintage. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks nice, it goes great with the name and it's eye catching just like the actual Violin Monster. It poured a dark brown color that took on more of black color when held to the light with just a little bit of tan head that died down to a pretty thin ring that faded away and it left some patchy lacing behind. This is a pretty nice looking beer, but I wish it had a little better head retention.

S- The aroma starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness with yeast being the first to show up and it's imparts a big ripe banana aroma and it's the aspects that sticks out the most about this beer. Up next comes some candied sugar like aroma with some dark malts showing up imparting a little bit of a chocolate like aroma along with a little more sweetness. This beer has a nice aroma, but I thought the yeast was just a little too dominating.

T- The taste seems to be similar to the aroma and it starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness with that banana yeast still being the first to show up and it still sticks out the most. It's followed by some of those dark malts which impart a light roasted and chocolate flavors with a little more sweetness coming through on the finish along with a slight bit of bitterness and a noticeable boozy flavor with some more of the yeast showing up in the aftertaste. this is a nice tasting beer, but I still think the yeast is too dominating and the alcohol could have been hidden a little better.

M- A little smooth, a little boozy, slightly crisp, a little velvety, on the lighter side of being full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. The mouthfeel is nice, but I wish it was a little smoother.

Overall I thought this beer was nice and it's a nice example of the style, but when it came down to it there wasn't really as much balance as I was hoping for and it seemed like the yeast got a little carried away. This beer had ok drinkability, one glass would be enough, it's too much to drink another one in a row. What I like the most about this beer is the appearance, it's a pretty nice looking beer. What I like the least about this beer is the balance, the yeast was just a little too overpowering. I might get this beer again and I wouldn't turn one down. It's not a must try, but if you really like the style I think it's worth a shot. All in all I felt like this beer came pretty close to falling in the middle, it wasn't bad by any means, but it didn't have anything that set it apart and made it memorable besides the label. It's not a favorite Arbor beer and it's just a little above average for the style. Nice job guys, but with s a little more work I think this could be a great beer.

Nov 09, 2015
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Vogie from Michigan

3.67/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Is this a stout or a wheat? When I ordered this it looked like a dark stout but had the aroma and flavor of a dark wheat. Definitely an interesting brew that challenges the definition of a wheat beer.

Sep 20, 2015
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Raime from Greenland

4.38/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Arbor Brewing Violin Monster.

Usually Arbor Brewing leads me right. And needless to say a nearly ten percent uhh...dark..wheat ale piqued my interest unlike many other brews ever have. I am quite excited as dark wheats are a completely new style to me and that I'll go to bed quite intoxicated due to the ABV.

Look - Pours a deep, Dark impenetrable black with a half finger of mocha head that receeds to a small cap on the top of the beer. Carbonation is completely unreadable due to the dark abyss of this look. Y'know for not being a stout I'd say this is an exceptional look. 4.5.

Smell - Oh boy, I have a feeling I may be in for a treat with this one. Wheaty goodness with a nice dosage of dark chocolates and a bit of espresso. Alcoholic fumes engulf the nose on the tale end. A bit of a Belgian yeasty aspect as well. 4.

Taste - Bubblegum and rich chocolate notes are the dominant players upon initial sip followed by the noticeable wheat with just a smidge of espresso like coffee and a small, though noticeable alcohol presence. 4.5.

Feel - Rather light bodied with a good dosage of creamyness. Carbonation is light though existent with a noticeable tingle of alcohol. Allowing the beer to sit open mouthed and breathing allows for the welcoming of some ginger spice flavorings that linger around. 4.5.

Overall - * Ding ding ding * We have a winner with this one. A highly drinkable large ABV monster with some unique and quite well balanced flavors. This is probably my favorite fall beer of all time. If I had to complain, it would be that the body could have fived with more thickness. And I see I am the tenth review on this little guy. Here ya go bro, now you officially have a well deserved number. 4.5.

Aug 19, 2015
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michiganmatt from California

4.16/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - 4.75/5
Pours an initial 2.5 fingers of delicous chocolate-brown head. Eventually dissipates down to about 1cm. Color looks midnight black. If you hold it up to an extremely bright light, you can see it's really the darkest shade of brown possible, but for practical purposes, it's basically midnight black. Overall a great look which fits the name of the beer.

Smell - 4.3/5
A delicious toasty chocolate smell, along with some strong nutmeg and brown sugar scents, and maybe some faint hops. Smells delicious.

Taste - 3.85/5
Moderately sweet. A rich and creamy chocolate taste combined with strong smokiness, and the nutmeg. Some hops detectable as well, more towards the end of the sip. Overall, the flavor is okay. I would have like the hops and smokiness to be a little less intense, and for the fall spices to be brought out more. Leaves a slightly-less-than-pleasant smoky-hoppy aftertaste on the tongue.

Mouthfeel - 4.5/5
The beer is medium-bodied, and extremely creamy. The carbonation is light to medium. I love the creaminess of the beer, and is was the first thing I noticed during my first sip of this beer. The creaminess makes this beer extremely smooth, with the 9.5% ABV being barely detectable. This is the creamiest beer I remember.

Overall - 4.4/5
While I would tweak the flavor in some large ways, with regards to all the other aspects, this beer is near perfect. I know it's a Fall beer, but it seems like it would make a great beer for the beginning of winter. It has the fall spice of a Fall beer, but the smokiness and creaminess that would be found in a winter stout. Overall, a great beer by ABC.

Jan 08, 2015
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TreyIsWilson from Michigan

3.77/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a dark brown with a two-finger tan head. The head dissapates quickly leaving a very light lacing.

S - Aromas of clove, nutmeg, and banana.

T - The taste is a combination of roasted malts, vanilla, and spices(clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg). The finish has some dark chocolate and coffee that produce a nice bitterness.

M - Full bodied with medium carbonation. Mouthfeel is syrupy with a sticky finish.

O - This beer is weird mix of a stout and Belgian dark ale. Defiently an interesting sipper for the colder months.

Dec 03, 2014
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superspak from Michigan

4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter; no bottle dating, but is a recent release. Pours pitch black color with a 2 finger fairly dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big chocolate, cocoa, coffee, dark bread, wheat, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, light banana, and herbal spice earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roast malts and spice notes; with good strength. Taste of chocolate, cocoa, coffee, wheat, dark bread, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, light banana, and herbal spice earthiness. Fair amount of earthy spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, cocoa, coffee, dark bread, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, light banana, and spice earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice complexity and robustness of dark/roasted malt and spice flavors; with a great malt/spice balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a smooth and moderately creamy/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent spiced dark wheat ale. All around great balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt and spice flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

Oct 07, 2014
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Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

4.25/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Nice label art! Who knew that mythical carnivores had a soft side?

The beer appears black with a thick, fizzy tan cap. The aroma brings autumn spices, to include cinnamon, nutmeg. Additional notes of pie crust, squash, malt, brown bread, raked leaves, footballs, flannel. The flavor follows the aroma. This is pretty tasty! Grandiose spiced profile without the customary cloying sweetness. Although the abv is approaching double digits, the drinkability is just fine.

Man, I've been using this organic deodorant and this hit ain't cutting it. I just took a shower a few hours ago and I smell like a bunch of adolescent boy scouts at a jamboree. Gonna have to change it up.

Anyhow, this beverage is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Chocolate pumpkin pie. Some English porter characteristics. A solid beer. I'm drinking this out of season because your mom.

Mar 17, 2014
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biegaman from Canada

4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Violin Monster looks as though it were poured from a pot of French Roast: flat, opaque, and it tends to look more muddied brown than black at most angles. It's certainly not the most handsome of ales but the appearance is at least as beastly as its name suggests.

The aroma is abundant with clove and black licorice, slick coffee oils and chocolate brownie bits. There's also esters that smack of bruised banana and purple fruits. Hints of tree bark too. Yeast, malt and spices all have starring roles in this unusual bouquet, each performance magnificent.

Violin Monster has a flavour that combines pumpkin pie spices with chocolate cake. It has a roasted maltiness that smacks of fudge brownies and also flashes of vanilla, but also a heavy dousing of baking spices and brown sugar. It is earthy, savoury, and somewhat decadent. And for something that's 9.5%, it doesn't last long (the liquid that is, the aftertaste is another story).

It's possible that this ale may be the ultimate autumn treat. It combines so many quintessential fall-time flavours: pumpkin pie (cinnamon-nutmeg), caramel apple, tootsie-roll and chocolate, and is dark, hearty and warming. The initial impressions of clove and black licorice linger the longest.

Violin Monster has a unique name, label art and history, but it's an awfully interesting beer in its own right. It perfectly blends German Weizenbock and American Stout with just a pinch of Belgian Dark Ale to create a supernatural symphony of spicy and rich flavours; it's not of this world. The $2.39 was well worth the price of admission to this concerto.

Oct 27, 2013
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71CrazyOtto from Michigan

3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

One of the highest ABV% versions of this style of beer you will find.

The dark roasted malt conceals this high ABV very well so be carefull drinking this well crafted beauty that is reasonably priced IMO.

Like reviewed by another here a perfect fall beer when the weather chills.

A very easy drinking American Dunkel by Arbor Brewing and this coming from a longtime German beer drinker and Weihenstephaner regular imbiber.

My only dislike would be this beer could use a little more spice to hit my old taste buds. One of Arbor Brewing best efforts.

Faring thee well now :-)

Sep 14, 2013
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drbenderdo from Michigan

4.17/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Poured from bottle into tulip glass. Beautiful, rich, dark chocolate color with a 1/2 inch head that lingers nicely for a minute or two.

S: Fall spices, nutmeg, clove, roasted malt. Not picking up on the pumpkin.

T: Best part of the beer. Rich, fall spices, nice boozy finish.

M: Full bodied. Definitely one to sip and savor.

O: Great addition to Arbor's lineup. Nice, complex, warming sipper for cool fall nights! Will surely have more of this one!

Sep 08, 2013
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SportsandJorts from Virginia

3.22/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: a weird look, pours almost like melted chocolate. I've never really seen a beer like it and it isn't too appetizing. a small brown head that leaves nothing behind.

Smell: i get a very weird smell too, faint alcohol, spices associated with cooking pumpkin, and yeast

Taste: not like the smell but slightly better. opens up with a pumpkin/ yeasty taste. spices are fairly strong and unconventional. backend has some alcohol

Mouthfeel: a little heavy, not quite warming. not good drinkability due to the unconventional tastes

Overall: just an odd beer to me that isn't delicious. I love arbor brewing, but i don't like ann arbor's violin monster and I don't think this beer quite cuts it

Sep 07, 2013
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TheBrewo from New York

4.35/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

We pour a brew of the muddiest ruby brown coloring into our Bell’s Weizen glasses. It holds a one and a half finger tall head of medium brown bubbles, showing nice retention. Cloudy waves of lacing are left etched along the glass as it slowly wafts away. A thick haze cuts clarity, but no sediment is noted. Carbonation appears to be moderately active. The aroma sings of autumn, with roasted chocolate and soured brown malts, warm pumpernickel bread, metallic wheatiness, light bubblegum esters, pumpkin and gingerbread spice, light vanilla twang, brash licorice, burnt brown sugar, and dark cherry syrups. The sweetness enhances with warmth, giving more of a cloying maraschino cherry sweetness, oily walnut, fresh cranberries, sweet booze, green tree sap, evergreen pine, and a light smoky leather to top things off. Our first impression is that there is a blast of nice fall spiciness, and this works beautifully over the deep, dark, roasty, and smoked malt base. As we sip, the taste opens with heavy chocolate malts, stark licorice blackness, molasses, thick char and smoke, gingerbread, pumpkin, and black pepper spiciness, baker’s yeast, bubblegum esters, green bananas, warming brown sugar sweetness, and roasty, toasty wheaty seriousness. The middle is smooth and balanced, predominated by notes of dark chocolate syrups, continued pumpkin spice, cinnamon, grainy and gritty roastiness, lightly citric and grassy hops, walnut bitters, and toffee candy sweetness. The ending wash is definitively sweeter, with banana bread coolness, vanilla ice cream, soft bubblegum, cinnamon sticks soaked in warm apple cider, wheaty char, roasted chocolates, raw leathers, molasses cookies, strawberry fruit leather, dried cranberry fruitiness, fig, and black cherry bitterness to balance. The aftertaste breathes of bittered rye and wheat, graphite and pencil eraser, chalky metallics of yeast, cooling plastic phenols, light booziness, corn husk, brown banana mash, raw cocoa, cinnamon-sugar sweetness, black pepper, gingerbread, coffee grounds, and the faintest grassy hop. The body is full, and the carbonation is medium, with most of the prickle striking at the peak of the swallow. Slurp and smack are nice, with cream and froth only slightly lesser than what you would desire. Finishing pop is syrupy and wet, leaving somewhat of a sugary mustache to be dealt with. The mouth is oiled, eventually dripping into pucker from the booze and char, without any major astringency or chalkiness to dry. The abv is high for the style, but you would never know, as the beer sips and flows like a brook.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this beer was its aroma, and its taste, which was not too far behind. This beer is a bit tough to summarize, but it seems to be a nice blend between a roasty, charcoal stout and a warming, spicy pumpkin beer, making it perfect for the change of seasons. The aroma is wheaty, endlessly dark, and sticky, helped along by sweet esters, dank fruits, and a cook’s cabinet of spice. These all translate seamlessly into the flavoring, where the heaviness hits up front, blending and softening to a sweeter, easier beer at the end of the sip. The aftertaste shows a revival of the bitterness, for a pleasant, balanced breath. The feel is thick and suits the beer well. This guy definitely took us off our feet, surprising us at every turn. Although it is still a touch warm out now, we simply cannot wait until the breeze cools, and we can wrap ourselves in blankets, head out to the porch with the rest of the six pack, and watch the trees change colors at dusk.

Aug 31, 2013
Violin Monster from Arbor Brewing Company
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 120 ratings