The Vermonster | Rock Art Brewery

very good
243 Reviews
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 243 | Ratings: 589
Photo of Avagadro
5/5  rDev +28.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've had the pleasure to enjoy this brew on two seperate occasions and I can't help but give it a perfect review. It has a perfect rusty red color with low head retention. The aroma is out if this world with intense American hops, dried fruits, malt sweetness, and ethanol spice. The flavor lives up to the promise of the aroma, and delivers a delightfully complex array of flavors. The mouthfeel is oily, as is expected from a high gravity brew. This is by far one of the most enjoyable barleywine ales I have ever had the pleasure to sample. This is a must-try to any barleywine fan.

 585 characters

Photo of ZimZamZoom
4.92/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a beautiful, deeep amber color, with lovely scarlet red highlights...very clear. Slight tan head does stay for a few moments and then really fades to nothing, with just a little ring around the glass where the beer makes contact. Seriously noticeable viscosity as I swirl. I have smelled and taken a little sip...everything about the aroma and taste of this beer allows for there to be no head. I don't know...a head would almost detract from this beer knowing all its other characteristics.

Oh boy this baby smells big and boozy, thick with malt and buzzing with hops. On the spicy fruitcake side of things.

Great alcohol-infused spicy flavor to this, with an almost bourbon-like character. This beer has great depth and is incredibly well balanced.

Big bodied, smooth with a nice bubbly tingle in the finish. Just an all-around great beer!

 850 characters

Photo of GJMcG
4.83/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Traveling through Vermont,I had to pick up the local offering. As far as I know it only comes in a 22 OZ bomber. The taste, pour and smell are exceptional. A great cookout out or gathering beer. My favorite of a long list of trials. I highly recommend this beer.

 262 characters

Photo of chumba526
4.77/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to JPWV for this great beer.

It appears deep brown with a thin light tan head.

It smells of citrusy hops and grassy hops. I get a strong toffee malt flavor with coffee overtones. I also get a mild brown bread malt.

I initially get a mild caramel and toffee like malt flavor. The sweet malt flavor is balanced with a bit of a dark bread like malty flavor. There is a strong citrus like hop flavor. I also get a very slight pine like hop flavor as well. The beer ends with a substantial amount of bitterness.

There is a moderate low carbonation and there is a somewhat thick mouthfeel to this barleywine.

Overall this is the best barleywine I have had. It showcases both dry and sweet aspects of malts. I t also showcases pine like, citrus like, grassy and bitter elements of hops. This is a very balanced and complex beer. I wish I could find this beer locally.

 873 characters

Photo of Borkman18
4.66/5  rDev +20.1%
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.

 180 characters

Photo of Brad007
4.57/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked up two bottles, aging one bottle and trying this one fresh.

Pours a medium brown color with a thick brown head and lacing. Aroma is very hoppy upfront and reminds me of an american strong ale at first. Some fruitiness and plum/raisin aromas beneath the hops. Taste is very hoppy as well with a decent bitterness that's somewhat overpowering at first. Plum/raisin and fruit abound in the taste. Hop bitterness is nice towards the back of the throat. There's a nice dryness as well that compliments it. A second sip encounters some creaminess as well as that hop bitterness.

It definitely feels like more of a barleywine than Ridge Runner. Feels somewhat more balanced. Keep in mind though, this is a young version of a beer that definitely should be cellared. I fully expect the bottle I have stashed away to mature over time. Hopefully, the hops will not be as strong up front and it will taste more balanced.

A very decent crack at a barleywine. I look forward to reviewing this again in a year or two.

 1,014 characters

Photo of paco1029384756
4.57/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle thanks to jlindros.

Pours deep dark crimson color with one finger of off white head.

Scent of bitter hops, sugars, caramel, sweet fruit, and a hint of earth. The alcohol is masked perfectly and the spicy hops and sweet malts blend very well.

Taste of sugars, some dark fruit, bitter leafy hops, tea, and a hint of alcohol. Finishes with dry grain and more hops. An awesome Barleywine, I don't know how this will age, but this stuff is marvelous fresh. This has quickly become one of my favorite American Barleywines.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and oily with a sharp bite of carbonation.

Extremely drinkable, this stuff goes down way too easily.

 656 characters

Photo of SpasmWaiter
4.57/5  rDev +17.8%
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.

 439 characters

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.

 432 characters

Photo of jtierney89
4.5/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very hazy deep brown. Good white head for a barely wine but it recedes kind of quickly. Super super hazy. lacing is superb.

Smells like a 120 minute ipa oddly enough. Lots of minty citric, grapefruit, and passion fruit hops. A really nice bouquet actually, very floral and herbal as well. Slight malt presence comes through on the nose as the beer warms as well as some alcohol.


For a barely wine, hop presence is monstrous. Bitterness lingers on the back of the tongue. Extreme beer, as it's name implies.

On the top of the tongue it tastes like orange marmalade covered in dark mint-chocolate. It's bizarre. Huge fizzy chewy body with some dark malts present in the middle of the mouth. The beer finishes with a huge hop presence. It doesn't really balance the beer out, but instead interrupts the flavor receptors and takes over with citric, piney, and minty hops. Tons of flavors, not exactly layered the best but all are really good.

First barley wine i've had that I've truly enjoyed a lot. Probably wouldn't be able to drink more than one but the flavors are so good. The only problem is I dont know on what occasion I'd bust another one of these out. I also want to know how this would taste after some aging. Can't wait to cellar a few.

I'm glad I got past the terrible bottle art and gave this try (Also 5.99 for a 10% abv bomber) amazing!

 1,368 characters

Photo of Franchise
4.5/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This special release from Rock Art poured a deep chestnut brown leaving a thick tan head with a lace that clings to the side of the glass. The aroma is sweet cooked sugar with a faint alcohol in the background, the herbal, sweet vanilla, fruit nose is fantastic.

The taste is hot upfront, yeasty, boozey, caramel, spicy hops, bring a balancing bitterness to this beer but is dominated by the hoppy, pine, aspect. The finish is smooth a great barleywine that heats up the body on a cold winter day.

 498 characters

Photo of YouSkeete
4.47/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Thick and quite opaque brownish mahogany. White head, some lacing.

S: Hard notes of candied fruit, vanilla beans, toffee, and roasted coffee beans. Hints of kitchen spices and pepper make their way to the surface.

T: Not too far off from the smell. Sugared (both lighter and darker) fruits and caramel sweetness in the initial sip. aged wood and lots of hop flavors follow soon afterwards. Not much flavor in the aftertaste, which is surprising.

M: Sweet and sticky. Spectacularly full flavor with medium carbonation.

D: Definitely would have this guy again. Gotta love Vermont.

 585 characters

Photo of BeerdedEric
4.47/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Light to golden edges, orangey red to a darker red in the center. Light creamy tan head. The head leaves some sticky foamy lacing on the glass.

Very sweet malt. Bread, caramelized sugar, vanilla, some nutty characteristics show as well. Smells really nice.

This is mostly sweet up front, some fruits, some pine, bread, burnt sugar and a dry bitterness at the end. Quite tasty and the 10% abv. is faintly noticeable.

Creamy medium body. Fills the mouth nicely. Carbonation is on the light side but is noticeable. Ends dry. Alcohol heat isn't really noticeable.

This is a BIG BEER! Sweet and then bitter at the end. Very tasty! If you're a IPA fan, you'll enjoy this even though it's a Barleywine. It reminds me of a Imperial IPA. Although, this is a 100 IBU monster, a lot of the bitterness is subdued by the sweetness, making this very well balanced.

 854 characters

Photo of VTaler
4.45/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Very cloudy, dark brown. Looks kind of like ice tear. Small head that goes away very quickly
S - Candy, sweet malt. Kind of a caramel smell. Hops are there but the malt takes over.
T - Caramel & hops, Hops come first, bitter citrus hops. If you are a malt and hops lover this is heaven for you. Nice warm feeling malt. Can hardly taste the alcohol. For 100 IBUs it is not overly bitter. Very well balanced. Though the malt tasted great it could have been a bit more complex
M - pretty heave mouthfeel with medium carbonation
D - For barelywine, Dangerously drinkable

 570 characters

Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.44/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Ruth (aka duchessedubourg) for bringing this to the first Southern Maine Beer Drinkers Club meeting. This was the first thing that was tapped and a great way to start out the night.

Pours a cloudy rusty brown color, good amount of head in the small pour, leaves a bit of lacing.

Smell is holy cow hoppy! It certainly caught me off guard and I was not expecting it to have such a presence.

Taste is much more balanced, but the piney hops are still around but mingles with the malt rather than stealing the show, some heat but not nearly as much as I would expect from some fresh barleywine.

I've been wanting to try some Vermonster for awhile now, glad I finally got the chance.

 695 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.42/5  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.

 767 characters

Photo of mentor
4.42/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a finger and a half of light tan head over cloudy brown liquid. Smells piney and lemony hops with caramel and vanilla carried on a clean alcohol. Wow, that fruity alcohol waft was really yummy. Could use a bit more complexity, but it was enticing.

Tastes potent piney hop flavor with supporting malt sweet, and clean hop bitter. Clean stingy alcohol mixed with fine sharp carbonation. Hop flavor is strong pine, mild pith, and a hint of lemon. Malt is caramel and brown. Esters are cherry (without the sour), watermelon, and blackberry. Wow this beer is wonderful, I bet it would be fantastic with a year or two in the cellar. Great sherry-like oxidation potential. Md-thick body with medium, fine, carbonation.

Highly recommended!

 739 characters

Photo of Kerin
4.39/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I think this is going to become a staple in my fridge, and at $7 a bottle that's saying something. The Vermonster is a viciously satisfying barleywine, with sharply flavorful hops and a sweet, rich, nectar-like aroma that has enough depth to be talked about at length.

The appearance of the beer is its weakest link. There's nothing wrong with it, certainly, but it isn't remarkable to look at in any way.

The flavor and mouthfeel of the Vermonster is what really sell it, though. It's carbonated without being fizzy, and the flavor is complex without being indecipherable. Sweetness is on the front, and around the time the ale reaches the back of your tongue the intensely hoppy bitterness strikes. It isn't floral in the slightest, which is a refreshing change from the whims of the craft industry at present; it is a little piney, quite bitter, and utterly pleasant.

If you haven't had the Vermonster yet and you are happy, it is because you have never truly lived.

 972 characters

Photo of macrosmatic
4.38/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to ActonBrewer for this one. Poured from bomber into CCB pint glass.

A: Pours a very dark brown that is a bit hazy and not quite opaque. Nice off-white head that fades relatively quickly.

S: Roasted malts, sweet, bitter hops. Hints of Christmas-y spices?

T: Very nicely balanced on the tongue with hop bitterness, malt sweetness and the spiciness. Really nice flavor.

M: Nice smooth, thick mouthfeel for a barleywine. Huge alcohol content is very well hidden.

O: I thought this was a very solid barleywine, and one that I would come back to frequently if it was more easily available. My biggest complaint is that I can't find a bottling date or a "drink by" on the bottle anywhere. I didn't perceive this one to be anywhere close to the 100 IBU claimed on the label, so I'm suspicious that the bottle may have some age on it and the hops have faded. Whatever the situation, it was very good, but I would be interested to compare to a bottle that I knew to be fresh.

 979 characters

Photo of ATLbeerDog
4.38/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap from a 1/6 barrel keg freshly filled the day before. Pours a simply beautiful dark reddish brown with a thick 1 inch beige-off white head. Heavy, sticky, sweet lacing clings lovingly to the side of the glass. Smells of spicy hops dominate the rich malts. First sip is a hoppy bitterness that is both tangy and biting. The massive hops are paired with a complimenting strong malt backbone creating a creamy milkshake like mouthfeel. Very Nice - Seek this one on tap.

 472 characters

Photo of lackenhauser
4.35/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pale mahogany in color. Small, tight, tan head. Moderate aroma-has a mellow oakey/vanilla thing to it. Very floral and somewhat caramel like. Big malty flavor. Good level of hops going on. Again a faint oak/vanilla flavor. Long lingering bitterness. Gets a tad boozy as it warms and towards the end of the glass. Very nice mouthfeel-at times an almost creamy smoothness. The boozy/alcohol tinge gives it a faint acrid bite. Very enjoyable and satisfying. I nursed this over a solid hour and it just got better. Well balanced and the best Rock Art beer I have had.

 563 characters

Photo of threeviews
4.35/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass...

A-Pours a dark bronze, almost opaque with a white head that diminishes quickly. However the lacing is quite strong, perhaps due to the ABV...

S-Hops and caramel overwhelm but wood and dark fruits (cherries, plums) titivate my olfactory hues. I'm not sure, but if Rock Art is marketing this brew as a hoppy barleywine, then they have a corner on this market.

T-Hoppy barelywine with a bit of wood is how I would describe it. Dry finish to a brew that is to the taste as true to its nose...well done!

M-Moderate carbonation, with a somewhat dry finish...almost as if the brew has had some time in a wooden vessel...very nice and complex.

O-Although this is my first sampling from Rock Art, I am very impressed. A complex brew for sure, but one that fuses disparate styles (barleywine and DIPA) with excellent results.

For those who appreciate a challenge, check this one won't be disappointed!


 961 characters

Photo of mass4beer2dude0
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at the Brattleboro Food Co-op on 7/22/12. Poured into 8oz tulip glass.

A. Pours a deep amber, caramel color with a nice creamy foamy lingering head. The beer contains large, eye pleasing sediments floating throughout.

S. A very nice hoppy and sweet smell.

T. A sweet and slighty malty taste with a little bit of bitterness to it.

M. Very dry and lingering and full flavored. Definetely makes you want to take another sip.

O. Overall a great beer that is very easy drinking considering its 100 IBU's and 10% ABV. Worth seeking out.

 546 characters

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.

 633 characters

Photo of dahlen22
4.32/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have a soft spot in my heart for Vermont and it is not just becuase of great skiing, great cheese, and maple syrup...they brew good beer up that way!! This beer is good as well.

Appearance: Dark amber.

Aroma: Not much going on here...a bit of hops and malts.

Taste: This beers is BIG. It has pine, raisins, toffee and a nice balance of floral hops and malts.

Drinkability: I find it easy to drink.

Overall: Nice big beer with a lot of alcohol that is not overbearing. Like the label says, "allow yourself to retreat into your happy spot" and enjoy.

 555 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
The Vermonster from Rock Art Brewery
3.88 out of 5 based on 589 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.