The Vermonster | Rock Art Brewery

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The VermonsterThe Vermonster
Very Good
614 Ratings
The VermonsterThe Vermonster

Brewed by:
Rock Art Brewery
Vermont, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

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.

Added by BeerBeing on 09-23-2007

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 614 |  Reviews: 245
Reviews by Fluke828:
Photo of Fluke828
3.72/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Cigar CIty Snifter.
A-> Pours a super dark color that only when held up to light does it resemble a deep, burnt copper/amber color. Head is not quite two fingers with an off-white color and solid lacing.

S-> Smells immediately of dark fruits and very sweet caramel malts. A bit of heat is detected in the nose but is paired with orange rind, floral fruityness coming through from the hops. A wonderful bouquet of balance.

T-> Caramel hits in the face with the malts initially but is checked by the floral and pine form the hops almost immediately. Dark fruits take over the palate towards the middle and it finishes with a bit of booze and a hop bite.

M-> Very full body with the bitterness and alcohol warmth taking center stage with decent carbonation.

O-> I reallyloved the taste right off the bat however once it warmed this became a bit of a struggle to finish. As others have said it took me well over an hour to finish by myself. Not a detracting factor per se, but I will be sharing this with several others in the future. Overall a pretty solid b-wine.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Lone_Freighter
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
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 Holderness
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
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 Mac19872
5/5  rDev +28.9%

Photo of Tiernan
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

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.

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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.

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Photo of cjbinvt
5/5  rDev +28.9%

Photo of DWolf
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

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.

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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.

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Photo of megamass
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of mctizzz
1.75/5  rDev -54.9%

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.

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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.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of williamjbauer
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%

Photo of InfernoBoss
3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

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The Vermonster from Rock Art Brewery
Beer rating: 3.88 out of 5 with 614 ratings