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

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Reviews: 243 | Ratings: 587
Photo of tippiecanoes
2/5  rDev -48.5%
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 Katahdin
2.05/5  rDev -47.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Where to start other than to say never, ever again As big of a fan as I am of Barleywine I had high hopes for this based on its apperance in the glass and its pleasant aroma but I was quickly dispapointed with the first sip.

Very, very bitter with an overwhelming hop taste that couples with pine resin flavor to drown out any hints of the carmel that appears in the aroma. The texture was horrible, I have never had such a chewy beer before, and the thin carbonation only exacerbated the problem. The body was jsut too big to deliver any semblance of drinkability, and for the first time in 25 years I had to cut it 3:1 with water.

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Photo of maximum12
2.23/5  rDev -42.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I'm having a not-great run with beer. After having perhaps one oxided beer in my entire life, this is the third I've had in the past two weeks that tastes like it's been compromised. What gives?

Vermonster pours a nice, deep, ruby-esque amber (& I don't mean Jack). Smells is sweet, fruity.

This beer is badly oxidized. The sweet dark fruits & malts give way instantly to a nasty wet cardboard taste permeating the senses. I believe there might be a good beer under here...

Blech. Like to try this again fresher, but this bottle ain't that old.

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Photo of Thorpe429
2.31/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Picked this up at Julio's last March before KTG. Figured Id give it a try after all the press.

Pours a moderate copper with an off white head. Smell is sweet malt, red fruits, alcohol, and a touch of caramel. Taste goes quite a bit downhill with some astringencies and a bit of a metallic flavor. The sweetness comes through, but that's about it. Mouthfeel is slightly boozy and off-puttingly dry. Poor drinkability, which is disappointing as I was quite looking forward to breaking this out with the cool weather.

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Photo of Jimmys
2.48/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A: a solid brown. initial pour includes a large creamy tan head that has reasonable retention and great lacing.

S: nose is pretty sweet/hot. deep rich sugary fruits. plums, raisins. molasses in there for sure. maybe even some chocolate. there is some resiny hop aroma in there as well. each time i go to the glass it seems to be picking a side.

T: the first sip starts very hot. correction, all the sips start very hot. i wish i could find a bottling date on this sucker, but it must have been recent. a bunch of sweetness in there comes out after the booze. tastes like caramelized sugar. figs. ant get any hop flavor is this malt/booze bomb.

M: pretty smooth as far as mouthfeel is concerned. huge body.

D: i really dont know what to think of this one besides that it needs more time. too much heat really detracts from some other good flavors. not sure if i got a bad bottle or what cause other reviews are much more favorable. however, gotta go with what's in my glass.

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Photo of russwbeck
2.63/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: It pours out of the bottle a viscous brown/red color with sadly some sediment. A few fingers of off-white head, that laces pretty nicely.

S: The aroma consists of dark fruits, roast, malts, some booze, and a slight hop bitterness. I can't say it smells more like a Barleywine or an Imperial IPA. Either way, it's not great.

T: The taste is pretty interesting, but pretty poor overall. Like a hoppy maple syrup. Deep malt characteristics: roast and malt. Yet it has a really big hop note, both in bitterness and fruit. It's disjointed and odd.

MF: Thick body with a nice amount of carbonation. Not all that drinkable.

O: I thought this was an IPA, but turns out it's a Barleywine. Probably my least favorite I've ever tried. It's just very strange and not well put together.

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Photo of BARFLYB
2.75/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Bottle poured into a snifter a few times over a couple hours, purchased on a tip from a BA buddy. I tried to hold out on drinking this alone, but nobody bit so here goes,

Vermonster, a dark brown barleywine that looks like it means business, a deep dark brown that sheds some lighter colors(burnt red) up to a light. A nice pillow like condensed dark tan head raises a inch, looking scrumptious. It dies, but is brought back with swirls, loose spider web lacing, weak legs.

The name implies a monster and Rock Art brings it on the nose with caramel, dark malts, toffee and some faint dark fruits with extensive warming. With 135IBU's running through this, piney resiny hops burst through with vigor. A faint sense of alcohol as well, but that's expected in this style.

The taste takes a dwindle in score because it's brought down by the feel which is lacking. All the Barleywine qualities are there but they could be boosted a hell of a lot more with a bigger body, but I digress. Tastes include caramel, toffee, nuts. muted hops with pine, not so much citrus, and a dash of strong alcohol in this 10%er. The alcohol does not bother me, it's well hidden.

The feel on this is a bummer and the worst part of this monster. When Vermonster 1st entered my palete, i was like this is going to be good, then I swirled it around in my mouth and I noticed that the hop kick of 135IBU's was muted, then when I swallowed it, I started to scratch my head. The beer looks healthy and alive in appearance but is dead flat in feel. After 10oz's or so I started to shake my head. Dare I say the weakest feel in a barleywine ever, dissapointing. Also had a muddy feel on the way down and a very watery. It's taking away from what should be a great Bwine.

The drinkability should be higher but I cannot justify it. I will say that the 2nd half of the bottle was better and a bit fuller when some of the dregs made it's way into the glass. The yeast helped to liven things up a bit. I should of just dumped the 1st half and worked with the 2nd half. I'll try it again down the road and revise if I see fit as I see that another reviewer from PA had the same problem in feel. This monster was not scary at all, It did not even startle me.

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Photo of claspada
2.87/5  rDev -26%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Purchased in October 2010; cellared for anlittle over a year. No bottle date.

Pours a clearish mahogany-hued body with a small, creamy, light beige head.

Aromas begin with sharp lemon, pine hop nose with, as it warms a tad, some basic caramel malt notes coming through.

Th tastes begin with caramel malts with a fairly restrained sweetness. Citrus and pine resin shoot forward with the hops delivering a caustic, citric bitterness. The alcohol really starts to but up against the other flavors. Dry, heat-packed finish with a prolonged, lingering bitterness.

The mouthfeel is medium to heavy bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Finish is a palate wrecking disaster due to the overwhelming alcohol and bitterness.

Overall this was a huge miss for me. The drinkability is low because of the alcohol and brash, overdone bitterness, leaving this one a slow, grumpy sipper. Little malt depth, hop character, and just tons of coarse bitterness and booze. Not my cup of tea.

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Photo of ChadQuest
2.88/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Body is a dark reddish amber color, some lacing.

The aroma is still pungently hoppy, this smells like a black ipa. I always get a weird(not bad, just weird) hot blacktop aroma from black ipas, and i note that aroma in here.
The flavors are more traditionally composed of a bunch of big C hops and citrus and pine, with some caramel from the malt bill, more dry all around.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, fades a bit fast as it is a dryer barleywine.

I like this enough that i would drink it again, falls a bit below average, but is worth drinking when you just want to open something on any occasion.

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Photo of Ryan011235
2.99/5  rDev -22.9%
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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Photo of ppoitras
3.05/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle purchased as a single from Julio's, Marlboro, MA.

Poured into a heavy glass chalice, formed a scant 1/4" tan head over the clear burgundy brew. Head is down to an uneven swirly layer of bubbles promptly, with slow-falling lacing. Aroma is sweet, fruity, and alcoholic. Taste is similar to the nose, with the strong alcohol in the latter half dominating and being of the sharp, rubbing alcohol type. Mouthfeel is good until the alcohol over-achieves, and drinkability is limited by same. Probably not one I'd search out again.

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Photo of DrJay
3.08/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Got this one from cburian in a BIF. Thanks!
Very clear with a deep reddish hue and burnt orange tint. Soapy beige bubbles formed a thick collar and a fine skim laced the top of the beer. The foam was just a bit sticky and spotty on the glass. Rich caramel and toffee aroma with citrusy hops in the background and prominent alcohol. Some dried fruit notes as well. Moderate bitterness and quite sweet up front, lots of toffee and caramel, with a little citrus and bread character, plus ripe fruits. Alcohol dominated the end though and was fairly aggressive considering the abv, lingering long on the palate and giving it a bit of an acrid flavour. Citrus and malt were present in the finish, but were overshadowed by the alcohol. Medium to full bodied with slightly coarse carbonation. Drinkability wasn't great. The alcohol was on the hot side and bordered on solventy. This one just didn't quite come together for me.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.11/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Forgot who sent me this as an extra...thanks to whoever you are!

A - Pours brown, thin collar, darker cream-colored head, wisps.

S - Pine, slight dankness, booze, sugary syrup sweetness.

T - Huge hoppy bitterness mixed in with a large dose of malty sweetness. This beer is big in every way. Big boozy alcohol notes. Syrupy sweet finish followed by an onslaught of hoppy bitterness. A bit too much for me.

M - Medium to full, good carbonation, very syrupy.

O - Not really a fan of this one. Big on booze, sweetness, and hops with no real balance. Just a monster of a beer that I can't get through. Average, at best. Pass.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.16/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clear, mahogany-hued body with a small, creamy, light beige head.

Smell: Sharp lemon, pine hop nose with, as it warms a tad, some basic caramel malt notes coming through.

Taste: Caramel malts with a fairly restrained sweetness. Citrus and pine resin shoot forward with the hops delivering a caustic, citric bitterness. The alcohol really starts to but up against the other flavors. Dry, heat-packed finish with a prolonged, lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: Low drinkability brought on primarily by both the apparent alcohol and brash, overdone bitterness, leaving this one a slow, grumpy sipper. Exhibits an alarming trend in American barleywines. Little malt depth, hop character, and just tons of coarse bitterness and booze. Bartender, can I get a water?

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.19/5  rDev -17.8%
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 sprucetip
3.28/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From notes. Clear, mahogany, thin tan head that doesn't last long. Spotty lacing. Nice looking but not exceptional.

Piny more than floral for fruity, boozy, with mostly buried malt bill trying to be noticed. Mostly hops and booze. Even an American barley wine should be maltier than this.

Bitterness and booze overwhelm the malt. I barely notice any sweetness at all. Bitterness lingers way past the finish and is kind of San Diego style tongue lashing harsh.

Low carbonation, medium full body is hard to detect compared to the rough, astringent bitterness. Moderately strong warming.

I really wanted to like this more, but it's way too dry for my taste. Too harshly bitter and unbalanced. The surely prodigious malty body just isn't sturdy enough to compete.

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Photo of meatyard
3.3/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This poured a finger and 1/2 of light brown, dense head. Retention is good, the body is a dark, hazed caramel and lacing is sparse.

The smell is hops, alcohol and dark roasty malt.

The taste is much the same as the aroma with a strong astringent taste and finishes with mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel is dry and on the thicker side.

Drinkability is not so hot in my opinion. I don't get where the 100 IBUs are hiding (I don't think this is old, I just bought it from a reputable place). The alcohol is always noticeable and there's not too much happening in the taste.

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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 RedChrome
3.38/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A very dark tea colored liquid. White froth held a few minutes an inch high. Can't notice any carbonation. Sticky patches on the side of the glass.

A very hop forward aroma of pine needles. Slight resin aroma. Malt does pick up on the back of the nose and is very biscuit like with a buttery hint.

A very strong bitterness and a strong alcohol presence on the first sip. Malt from the body retains the aromas, but strength is a bit diminished. Tasty but weak.

A very nice feel on the mouth. Carbonation is just strong enough to push through the thickness.

A decent brew. Good to sip by a fire on a fall night. Not the top beer in the style, but a good bridge beer for those uninitiated to barleywines. Worth a shot.

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Photo of Brez07
3.4/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a tulip

A: Nutty brown with a 2 finger sand colored head. Fairly good retention for the first half of the glass

S: Very hop forward. Nice blend of pine, citrus, honey and raisin/fig with a tinge of alcohol. This one probably improves with age

T: Again, hops at the fore front, bringing with it a rather bitter taste. Very dry. No sweetness to speak of

M: Fairly thin, which caught me off guard a bit. Somewhat smooth with a bitter finish that overwhelms the palate

D: I had higher hopes for this one, but in the end I'd say it's a fairly average barleywine. On the plus side the alcohol is hidden well. Would like to see how it ages

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Photo of MbpBugeye
3.4/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Shared by Ryan011235

The beer is a dark, ruddy purple. It looks quite muddy, but not fully opaque. There is a short head leaving crackly lace.

The aroma starts off figgy and fruity, but not bright and vibrant levels of fruity ale yeast. There is some brown sugar peppered in as well. Oxidation comes around, bringing aromas of dying, dried hops.

The flavor starts out with aged, oxidized notes that simply seem like staled malts and hops. The back half of the flavor is quite bitter. There are notions of pine and citrus, but the flavors are muffled and seem faded. Caramel and brown sugar lends a malty base .

Full bodied and somewhat sticky. The carbonation is a healthy medium. The dry finish is the best part.

A decent barleywine, but ultimately fairly typical. I can tell this has a little age on it, but perhaps not enough age. It could have been in that awkward phase barlewine geeks so often talk about. Enjoyable nonetheless, even though I prefer less bitterness in my barleywines.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.43/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass. Nothing notched for dating, bottle was purchased though at the brewery so no excuses here. I assume it's quite recent.

Off the pour a real big head, three fingers deep with a large marshmallow like consistency, off white. Body color is a dull brown/red amber body, fairly opaque. Pretty big head for a barleywine there.

Subtle and small nose, faint toasted cinnamon and malt sugars. Clean with a mellow hop angle. Fairly simple, but a little buried, but nothing too bad.

Palate hits with a huge hop presence. Dry needle like pine and faint resin hit in the mid palate. Swallow is filled with lots of earth and dirt. Light bodied palate feel with a somewhat wet consistency. Woody, with lots of hop oil finish and aftertaste, quite extreme.

Overall it's an interesting take on a barleywine and extremely hop forward so if that's your thing you'll probably like it, but where is the malt presence and depth on this? I am not into sugar rushes, but even I would want a little bit of sweetness and caramel on this compared to most barleywines.

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Photo of taez555
3.44/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a ruby brown, mildly coca cola colored body with a small off-white head. I wasn't expecting a beer this dark. :-)

Nose is surprisingly subdued. Lots of rich caramel and sugary syrup with only faint whiffs of resin and alcohol burn in the background. There's a slight vegetable smell as well.

Taste is just barely full bodied with an immediate big malt taste. Lots of caramel and a strong fireplace brick chalkiness. The hop taste and bitterness are strong in the back-end of this beer. Strong grassy hop followed by citrus peel and lots of resin. As it warms dark fruits start to come out. Some faint dates, raisin or even figs. Finish is surprisingly tame, although there's definite hop bitterness, it's not completely in your face. This is more a hop flavor vs a hop bitterness beer. As it warms, a mild anise flavor start to come out. Finish is bitter, but doesn't linger forever.

100 IBU's? Either I'm completely numb to hops or this so well brewed that the IBU's are hidden, either way, this is not your typical 100 IBU hop monster. It's almost the wasabi for hop monsters. Burns for a second, then it's over. Interesting.

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Photo of russellaaron69
3.45/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark ruby into a tulip style glass. Solid finger and a half of head with decent lacing. Smell is quite hoppy w/ strong notes of pine. Slight hint of malt comes though if u look for it. Taste was hoppy w/ a definite pine oil & citrus taste up front. As the beer warms it begins to show its malt & caramel sweetness. Mouthfeel was slightly lacking in my personal opinion. I like barelywines w/ a full mouthfeel & this has a medium mouthfeel at best. The drinkability was good. Every sip went down smoothly & it hides the alcohol content rather well. All together this is not a bad beer by anymeans. It just doesn't stand up to some of the other American barelywines out there.

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Photo of seeswo
3.48/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown color with a large tan head. Smells of hops and a bit of Ethel alcohol. What is this beer again (I rechecked the bottle)? Tastes more like a dipa with characteristics of a barleywine than a hop-forward american barleywine to me. Not to belabor the point, but other hop forward american barleywines have often been clearly barleywines - this, not so much. If you told me it was a funky dipa, I would be in. Stronger than expected carbonation as a barleywine carries all the way through. As a dipa, this is expected and enjoyed, as does the big hop and malt characteristics. Either way, the taste is good, not great. Its definitely not the most drinkable beer as a dipa or an american barleywine - its a bit like throwing the kitchen sink into the style. There is little in the way of subtlety or balance in there, just lots.

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The Vermonster from Rock Art Brewery
3.88 out of 5 based on 587 ratings.
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