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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User Reviews
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Reviews: 243 | Ratings: 589
Photo of negroobserver
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle purchased in Vermont in late July.

Appearance is a medium brown color with a sticky thick cream colored head.

Smells malty and sweet.

Resiny bitterness at the back end, which lingers in the mouth for a few seconds.

Mouthfeel is nice. Not too dense or thin. Not a very smooth texture either but it's acceptable.

Overall it's a decent beer, however it's not top tier stuff. This is a bit amateurish.

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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.

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Photo of lovindahops
3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Guess I reached for this in the cellar as the cowboys went down 24-7 to the bears. Life is hard for cowboys fans.

A- a decadent black appearance embodies my alchemist stemless tulip with a wave of foam rushing up to the sides. A certain hearty look burst forth

S- rich malt, sugar, and raisins are immediate. Sweet caramel galvanizes it

T- a warming coated nutty flavor is presented as a sweet over tone of cashews and solid flavor. A syrup flavor slightly coates the exit. Very warming and positioning itself to be a warming Vermont strong ale

M- a sloppy feel pushes for with some carbonation to make a good feel

O- Not a bad exhibition of a beastly brew but I really wanted some more character

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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 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 UCLABrewN84
3.62/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle pour at the bottle share hosted by Adam Fine Wine & Liquor held at Sophie’s Place in Redondo Beach, CA.

Pours a murky brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a thin cap on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, caramel, and some fruity aromas. Taste is much the same with a sweet flavor and a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is drinkable but I think it smells better than it tastes.

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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.

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Photo of zachary80
3.78/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz, No date. Recently purchased in Vermont. 100IBU. Poured into a tulip.

Huge rocky sand colored head leaves thick lacing. Body is darker than average for a barleywine, an opaque dark mahogany.

Aroma seems muted. Light metallic note. Some sweet malts come through but nothing is strong.

Flavor is much more bold than the aroma. Deep bitterness throughout that lingers for a long time. Light amount of sweetness from the malts up front but I really like the relatively less sweet profile of this one. Not as complex as some others but I feel it works well with the profile.

You can feel the alcohol on this one, but it isn't overly rough. Body is average for the style, carbonation seems appropriate.

I really like the Veromonster; not sure why the aroma was such a let down. Otherwise a great barleywine. I wish I had another I could cellar for a while.

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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.

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Photo of SawDog505
4.23/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a 16 oz snifter, bottle date looks like the 273 day of 2011. Pours a orange red with a huge 3 inch head off white with loads sticky lace. Smell is big carmel, fruity esters, pine, grapefruit, and biscuit. Taste is larger, but amazingly balanced. Body is medium large, plenty of carbonation, less dry than you expect from this style, and excellent drinkability for its size. This is very impressive, a fan for sure.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.27/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the 22 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on June 11, 2012. It pours an amber, copper tone with a tremendous beige head that lasts and lasts. The colors are seen through a bit of a haze. Aromatic for sure with a fabulous collection of sweet caramel malts, wild berries, earthy/piney hops, and just a touch of yeast to meld everything together. Topnotch on the nose. The body is medium to bold but overall smooth. The hops are upfront on the taste with a sweetness taking a slight back seat but never disappearing.I had this one fairly fresh and I like to let Barleywines sit for a bit before consuming. This was incredibly easy to drink and totally enjoyable.

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Photo of andrewinski1
3.52/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a tulip. The color is dark brown; appearing black at a quick glance. There is a nice one inch fluffy light tan head.

The aroma has a lot of melony hops. There are caramel and plum fruit undertones as well.

The taste starts out with grapefruit rind, with a subtle followup of malt flavor. I feel like the malt isn't quite enough to hold off the intense bitterness.

This is medium bodied with lots of carbonation.

Not bad, but not great either.

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Photo of Bendurgin
3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint tulip. This one pours a dark brown with a little bit of a reddish tint to it. Small cap of beige head.

The aroma is a little bit of the grape side with some hints of toffee. Very sweet on the aroma with a little bit of a grassy hop aroma in the background but this just reminds me of grape juice at the end of this. The flavor is hoppier than I had anticipated. Bitter grassy hops through this one with hints of sweet toffee in the background.

The body is medium with sharp carbonation. Overall this one is solid. The aroma puts me off a little bit but I'll enjoy it enough this time.

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Photo of BeerKangaroo
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After investing in a beer chalice a couple days ago, I decided to get "the Vermonster" ready to be had.

Into my chalice:

A: brown/red colored body with a purple hazy bottom. There wasn't any head even after several aggressive pours. Since I am new to barleywines and the chalice served beers, I am unsure if a head is supposed to surface or not. The carbonation is very light and there are no rings down the sides of the glass. The lacing is very light and spotty. I did notice some sediment at the bottom once the beer was done.

S: some dark fruits, malts and a light roasted chocolate.

T: slightly bitter through hops that come out fairly strong. I taste some of the malts again. The chocolate is pretty non-existent in the taste.

M: medium, subdued carbonation helps to make pretty drinkable.

O: I really can't say too much because this is my first barleywine. Its got the hops characteristics of an IPA, yet some of the malts of a strong ale. I would have this again and would like to explore the barleywine style a bit more to see how others compare to Rock Art's.

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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 movingtrain
3.92/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Label on the bottom of the bottle reads: 7-2010.

Pours amber-red with a thin white head clinging to the edges of the glass.

The aroma is potent, floating from the glass. Notes of cinnamon, wet wood, white grapes, molasses/maple syrup, brown sugar, wet oats, and hard candy. There are some smokey notes in the aroma, too, with notes of vanilla around the edges of that smoke.

Flavor starts bittersweet, with some light smoke, actually. Behind that are notes of caramel, cinnamon spiced hard candy, dried figs, vanilla, and some bitter hops. This also has a bit of a sulphate note on the tongue, a bit chalky and, perhaps, a bit funky.

In terms of mouthfeel, this beer, while hefty in alcohol, seems a bit weak in substance. The beer feels watery and hollow.

Overall, this is, indeed, a monster. It is a bit drier of a beer, and the hop profile has added a unique bitterness to the beer set up against a roasty and sweet malt bill. I'm not sure of the water that is used in this beer, but there is certainly something unique added by it--something that gives this hefty ale a neat, interesting character.

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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 2378GCGTG
3.96/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: 1.5 inch off white head over a red-brown body with great lacing.

Nose: Roasted/toasty malt, piney hops and dark fruits fading into nuts and spice (almost like a cinnamon note)

Taste: Dark fruits predominate, with malts and bittering and piney hops, there are definitely some spices here I cannot identify.

Mouthfeel: Flows on the palate, bitter with excellent malt support and a great supportive carbonation.

Overall: A good barley wine, I would certainly drink it again. Might be nice to age one and see what happens to the spice.

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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.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice dark amber color with a tiny head that has decent retention

S: Big on the hops, malt, and booze. Not really too much behind, but this is going to be a monster for sure

T: Surprisingly tame compared to the smell. Starts off with some herbal hops along with some sweet maltiness. Alcohol is evident, but it doesn't seem like a 10%er at all. Everything goes well together even though it is so extreme

M: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Some nice hop resin-y stickiness is present, but still goes down easy

O: A very solid American Barleywine that pushes the limits and enjoys being extreme. If you enjoy hoppy barleywines, look no further. Very nice price point, too, and always available (at least in this area)

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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!

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle, no date.

appears a dark clear copper color. massive pillowy white head. head reduces to 1/2" cover that stays. great retention and clumps of lacing. huge hoppy aroma - pine, a little floral.

tastes of sweet caramel, toasted malt, combined with a big hop bite. hops are earthy. not hint of the high abv. medium thickness, higher carbonation. surprisingly easy to drink.

overall , a solid barleywine, and reasonably priced.

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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 vfgccp
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A – Plum mahogany body with ice tea highlights. Bone white head has great retention and lace.

S – Sweet malt, hint of cranberry, caramel, and Riesen chocolates. Fairly restrained for a barleywine.

T – Mellow opening of malt and a nice, light caramel sweetness. The center brings out a woody bitterness wrapped around toasty malt. Alcohol gently warms the finish.

M – Super smooth. Rich, medium-full body with a warm and lightly bitter backend.

O – One of the more drinkable barleywines straight off the shelf, especially at 10%.

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Photo of TabulaRasa
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this beer after a long day at work - and it hit the spot perfectly. For 10%, an absolutely tasty brew, no taste or hint of high ABV at all. Leaves a beautiful film on the glass. A great winter brew - will enjoy more once we get some more snow... Shout out to FrankLloydMike for buying as a house, er, apartment warming gift. Perhaps I will more intently review this beer sometime when I haven't already had a glass of it...

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The Vermonster from Rock Art Brewery
3.88 out of 5 based on 589 ratings.
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