The Vermonster
Rock Art Brewery

The VermonsterThe Vermonster
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American Barleywine
Ranked #245
Ranked #13,863
3.9 | pDev: 10.77%
Rock Art Brewery
Vermont, United States
Very Good
The VermonsterThe Vermonster
Notes: We brewed The Vermonster with 110 pounds of malt per barrel and jacked up the pour into a wide mouth thin glass goblet.
Reviews: 246 | Ratings: 618 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Tony210
3.34/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a very dark caramel color, almost a red ale. Very malty aroma. Overly bitter beer, not my favorite. At one time, in 2010, I thought this was the best beer ever. Then 6000 breweries opened up. I can’t believe they still brew this stuff. Time to evolve...

Bomber, no date
3 rating

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Photo of Lone_Freighter
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a chalice, the appearance was a nice dark ruby red/rugged brown color with a finger's worth of white foamy head that glistened as it slid off. Sliding stringy lace.
The aroma had a nice blend of tobacco leaf, earthy to grassy hops, smooth caramel/toffee malts, a hint of vanilla, light cocoa powder, light raisins, a whiff of dates and ended with a little bit of black cherries.
The flavor was gently sweet with the expected dryness of the malts from that "tobacco leafy" yet expected taste. Which all came together to follow through into the aftertaste.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a fair sipping quality about it. Normal dryness from those hops distracted the mobility of the smoothness along my tongue. Carbonation and ABV felt as projected.
Overall, very well done American styled barleywine brewed by an American brewer that actually holds up longer in one's cellar than a lot of other American Barleywines.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
3.74/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2013 bottle. Pine, milk chocolate, and roasted barley. Earthy malt profile. Large amount of bitterness, but it's fairly reigned in. Definitely toned down with age. Semi dry finish. Like this more with a bit of age on it. Too harsh Fresh.

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Photo of Holderness
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very turbid brown with visible particulate floating in the heavily carbonation. Three finger bubbly off-white head dissipates to a half finger sudsy layer. Minimal lacing. The smell is primarily of citric and floral hops with notes of smokey malts, pine resin, booze, and caramel. Flavors are earthier, with lots of pine, grains, and smoke. Given the 100 IBU rating, I was expecting something overwhelmingly bitter, but was pleasantly surprised by a well balanced profile. This has real aging potential.


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Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
3.74/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From the bottle, it pours a hazy dark amber with a moderate head. Lacing. Hops evident in the nose, along with alcohol and caramel. Sharp taste, boozy. Enjoyable.

2018 update: Yum!

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Photo of ScaryEd
3.96/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber color with a small off-white head. Decent lacing.

Aroma brings some piney hops with light caramel and booze.

Hops are surprisingly subtle on the flavor. I get lots of caramel and dough as well as some toffee.

Feel is medium bodied with light carbonation. Slightl burn from the alcohol. A bit sticky.

Overall, a pretty good and well balanced beer. Slightly on the sweet side but still quite good.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.19/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Dark brown pour, thin off white 1/4" head on it. Sometimes this beer labeled itself a double ipa, sometimes a barleywine, but its definitely looks more barleywine than dipa. Aroma was totally heavy on the malt. I realize there's a ton of hops in here, but the malt and booze is what came through in the smells.

Taste dropped lots more booze and malt, strong bitterness. Big breathy beer. Bready too. Amount of hops and malt kinda destroys the nuances. Just a big, but unskilled kind of beer.

Have been aging them, but as I drank them, they haven't really improved or evolved. One left.

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Photo of mr-jj
3.79/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From 8/20/15 notes. Poured into a snifter from a 12 oz bottle brought back from Vermont.

Dark mahogany with a thin khaki head. Aroma is quite hoppy with citrus and light fruit. Flavor is hoppy with a good malt background. Finish is mildly bitter. Overall, a good barleywine, but a very hoppy one. I wish I'd drank it a little fresher, now that I know more about the hop profile.

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Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.19/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Dark brown, with reddish highlights, tan head, persistent, and big, very sticky lacing.

S - The primary element is pine. A bright hop note, with a definite malt aspect.

T - The pine is present, along with pith and a mild grapefruit note, coupled with heavily steeped tea. Underneath, the caramel and toffee aspect is present but dialed not to cloy or overpower. The tail is mildly bitter and trails for a while.

M - Some mild drying in the close, a touch of crunchy hop and a subtle build.

O - This may be a barleywine, but it is a very bright and highly hopped one. The result is similar to an American Strong, delivering more bitter pine and less toffee. It is not that the butterscotch and caramel note is absent, but it does not dominate. And in this case, as much as I love those things, the brewer has proved the value of the approach. Delicious.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Doopie had this one and shared it on beer night a while back. Cheers!

From a bomber into a snifter
IBU: 100
Ridge Runner's big brother

APPEARANCE: Pours a 2+ finger, medium looking, slightly foamy, off-white head with good retention. A clear rust orange or red in color with no carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a full cap and leaves some nice foamy lacing down the glass. A good wisp remains until the end of the show leaving lots of sticky lacing down the glass. Looks good.

SMELL: Lots of grapefruit, citrus, lemon, honeydew melon, watermelon and some light caramel on the nose. Very hop forward but there's a solid malt base under there.

TASTE: Grapefruit and citrus hops up front with grassy notes as well. A hint of caramel but the hops steal the show here. A big finish of grapefruit, lemon, grassy hops and some caramel sweetness as well. Very hop forward with plenty of bitterness lingering on the palate. Yummy.

PALATE: Medium-full body with medium levels of carbonation. Creamy on the palate, goes down fine and finishes somewhat dry. Bitterness lingers.

OVERALL: Quite good. Not really a barleywine per se, as the FG is probably a bit too low and the hops really play the leading role here. This might be close to what some people are calling a triple IPA. In any case, this is a good brew no matter the style, with a solid strong ale base and piles of hop bitterness and flavor. Very much enjoyed this one. Thanks again Doops!

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Photo of Borkman18
4.66/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Little bit of sediment floating around. Pours doo doo brown in color. Taste is fantastic! Malty and lots of barley character. First beer I had in Vermont on my vacation last week.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle served in a tulip. Poured vigorously and completely; I saw a lot of sediment whoosh out with the dregs. 08814A11708 is printed on the bottom of the bottle; the side of the label as a sequence of months preceded by 28 and followed by 19. I don't know what the numbers mean, but there is a notch on the 28 and between the May and June months.

Pours cloudy, dark dingy brown, medium sized but very dense head that just seems to solidify and sit there. Lots of fine, slow carbonation. Smell is barleywine. Alcohol, wood. Slight yeast, overripe dark fruit.

Taste is surprisingly hoppy. Bright bitter flash up front, followed by woody astringency, a bit boozy. Strong, long bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is a little thin and water, as is sometimes the case with barleywines. Overall, pretty good, but not great.

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Photo of mick303
4.06/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very dark barleywine, with great lacing. Aromas of sweet treacle and a lot of hops come through on this adding resiny citrus and pine notes. A satisfying sipping barleywine, with a really great complex array of bready malt notes, coffee, a subtle sweetness matched by a serious hop contribution. Very nice, and would recommend it for sure. A rich satisfying brew.

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Photo of scotorum
4/5  rDev +2.6%

a: Clear dark ruby with a finger thick offwhite head which receded to patchy surface foam and spotty lacing.

s: Dark ripe fruit

t: Dark ripe fruit followed by a powerful hop bite. Bitterness lingers at the sides of the tongue and alcohol burns the upper throat. Dry to bitter finish. Some ash notes emerge later.

m: Medium with good body and moderate carbonation tingle.

o: A true hoppy barleywine Vermonster. 100 IBUs in a good dark fruity base.

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Photo of GPHarris
3.99/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 vintage

A- poured a one finger thick light tan head into a snifter. The body is a dark, ruddy brown.
S- toffee, caramel, some chocolate.
T- toffee, caramel, slight spiciness in the finish and there is still a little heat.
M- creamy and slick.
O- nice take on this style, good complexity.

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Photo of tippiecanoes
2/5  rDev -48.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This is one of those beers where it gets a high score, but to the everyday beer drinker in America it tastes like the inside of a perfume bottle. It's pretty rough on the taste buds. I also got a migraine headache after drinking this one. Maybe the hops in it were a bit much for me to handle? Seemingly so. But there obviously are people that enjoy this beer. Enjoy, but I think I'll move on and drink the Grado Plato Chocarrubica instead.

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Photo of utopiajane
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours the color of dark brown sugar with a deep ruby hue. Good clarity and a fat tan head of foam from a vigorous pour that fell quickly. Nose is lovely. A light bit of crusty bread, some sweet caramel and a smidgen of toffee. A hop floral and fruitiness that starts with a tropical note and subsides into an earthy citrusy note. Dark fruit. Taste is layers of rich and intense malt. it seems to unfold broadly yet stay very friendly to the palate. The caramel is soft and simple, the toffee is light over that. The bread crust makes it homey. The fruit is vibrant and at times with the hop floral it's very fresh with some pine as well. The citrus seems to peek out every now and then with a bit of earthiness. It's strong and has a bit of peppery alcohol to finish it with a lingering hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is silken and not the least bit heavy but it is full and soft. There are even some tea like qualities that develop as it warms. The alcohol is a bit of warmth and a touch of flavor on the very back end.

I really liked it. Layers of malt flavors accented by some dynamic hops. This one is dramatic but in way that's a bit slow. it unfolds and you realize it as it does. Then you think on it a bit and it makes you smile because it's forceful and it doesn't seem so.

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Photo of Flounder57
3.82/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22 oz beer was poured into a snifter.

Appearance: This beer poured a one finger head that reduced to a small layer. It is a dark mahogany color with vision of tiny bubbles coming up the side of the glass.Super nice lacing as the beer was drank.

Smell: Caramel, toffee, fruity, floral, and citrus.

Taste: Citrus, earthy, resiny hops with caramel and toffee in the rear. All followed by lingering bitterness. Some tea like characteristics from the dry hops too.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth, lingering tingly bitterness, a little boozy, low carbonation, and medium bodied.

Overall: A good barleywine. You can definitely notice the 100 IBU's.

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Photo of SpasmWaiter
4.57/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Fresh. Fresh. Fresh. Fresh. Fresh. Fresh. Fresh. Fresh. Fresh. Fresh. Fresh. Fresh. Fresh. Fresh. Fresh.

Thats the key to this beer. I know Barleywines typically age well, and that holds true with this beer. But the awesome dry-hop this beer gets is too awesome to let go to waste. I love this beer no matter what age, but if its super fresh (3 months or less), it rivals among my favorites. My review lies with these conditions in mind.

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Photo of neophilus
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dark chocolate brown, tawny highlights, off white head. Cloudy with sediment swirling around from the bottom of the bottle.

Earthy aroma mixed with malty sweetness, some toffy and caramel. Sticky hop resin on the nose as well.

Flavor is stiff bitterness on top of strong malt base. Earthy, piney hops with some sticky resin, baked bread malt flavor with a spicy rye like finish.

Finishes clean, medium to heavy body carries the stiff biterness but doesn't linger too long in the aftertaste. Hop bitterness sticks with each sip and hangs around briefly at the end keeping the drinkability up a bit. Aggressive bitterness doesn't make this a slow sipper as much as it braces your taste buds to handle the heavy malt punch without flinching.

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Photo of DesMoinesMike
3.96/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bought at the store in Wanooski as a reward for my upcoming half-marathon.

This truly is a monster of a beer. The cloudy brown look is a bit intimidating, and the aroma of hops and darker malts almost makes me almost afraid to drink it, as if Champ would likely jump out of the glass and chase me. The taste was just mind-blowingly potent. Full of hops with their acidity balancing the malts, taming the beast. Try tackling this monster, if you dare.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.92/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a shaker pint, the beer is a dark caramel-amber coloring with a frothy, foamy, cream colored head that settles into a retaining surface coat. Nose of cedar and pine tassels, rich and resiny hops, and toffee sweetness. Flavors are rich and robust, with a decent balance throughout. Hoppy forward, with citrus and tropical fruit notes on a toffee rich backbone. Notes of booze highlight, as well as some earthy tones. The aftertaste is peppery, bitter, and toffee sweet. Well balanced. Bittersweet, slightly drying finish. Heavy brew.

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Photo of metter98
3.92/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

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Photo of TriggerFingers
3.54/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A- Its a nice opaque brown with a quickly disappearing head. Some floaters in there....not sure if its hop debris or yeast. I am guessing the latter.

S- Very malty on the nose. Its got a black tea component that is quite nice.

T- I am not sure how fresh this is, but it doesn't "rip" my head off. The tea component continues in the taste for a strong "one note" flavor. This beer is actually quite pleasant and the bitterness is nearly non-existent to my taste buds. Again, as it stands its interesting for a Barleywine. However, not sure how "fresh" it is-- Bottle is from December 2012.

M- Good

O- Not my favorite Barleywine, but this is pretty tasty. Its not overly complex but I think what it does, it does well. I have a feeling that in a flight with other Barleywines this would come up a little short on complexity, but would score high on drinkability. Its worth a taste.

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Photo of Ryan011235
2.99/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a Darkness tulip on 9/26/11

Split with MbpBugeye

Pours a dull, faded, pond-watery light brown and settles a dark, muddy brown. Not a very pleasant color. The head is almost two fingers tall and drops to a skim and a thicker patch of bubbles. Some ring retention, too. Decent, scattered lace.

The aroma is terse and dry instead of overly sweet. Heck, it doesn't smell very sweet at all. Earthy, leafy hops sit atop notes of caramel, raisins, plum, dry bread and fruit esters. Fairly light overall. It gets a little sweeter as it starts to warm. Toffee and candied malts. Not boozy.

Ugh, this must be in an awkward transitional period between hoppy fresh and malty aged. Dry, piney, earthy bitterness; very one-dimensional. Tastes a bit dirty. Toasted bread middle. Undercurrents of plum, raisins and candi sugar. The taste is not bad but, as is, it's rather disjointed. Perhaps it could come together with more age.

Medium-full body. Carbonation is lively and keeps each sip on the tip of the tongue. Kind of gritty, too. The alcohol is well-hidden aside from a slight slickness.

Most everything going on is something I like in beer but they are not exactly befitting the style. I'd like to try this fresh or aged.

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The Vermonster from Rock Art Brewery
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 618 ratings