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 cps98
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chilled slightly and poured into a fresh pint glass.

A – Dark brown with reddish hues when brought up to the light. Single finger off white head that tapered off to a nice ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.

S – Heavy malt sweetness followed by light citrus notes from the hops…at 100 IBU’s I expected more hops up front in the nose.

T – Definitely sweet and malty, as light bitterness from the hops and again at 100IBU’s I expected more bitterness.

M – On the heavier side but not too bad. Carbonation was good.

O – At 10%ABV the alcohol balanced well with the malt. Nothing exciting about this beer.

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Photo of y2jrock60
3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Cloudy brown with an off white head the fades quickly while leaving behind moderate lacing.

S- Mild pine hops that turns into a dark toffee bittersweet smell.

T- Up front piney hops that lingers till the next sip. Bittersweet aftertaste that reminds me of a water downed brandy. It's hard to distinguish the taste of this brew. The hops are one dimensional and so is the aftertaste.

M- Heavy bodied with high carbonation.

D- I think a 22oz pounder will be more than enough.

This is my first barleywine, so I'm not very accustomed to the style. It's not bad, I really like the 100ibu bitterness. But it lacks depth and character to me. I'm kind of disappointed, the guy at the brew shop talked this one up. Maybe this is an excellent barleywine, I'm not sure. I will definitely try more barleywines in the futures to compare.

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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!

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Photo of RandyV
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice dark tea,ruby brown color with a two finger head on the pour. Smell skews bready malt, fruit and mild floral hops.

The malt character is forward, taste of grape, mint and grapefruit rind bitterness round out the flavors. The alcohol is everpresent, but not overwhelming. It has a dry finish.

It is interesting to me that a 100 IBU ale can be slightly malt centric. Full disclosure, I am a West Coast DIPA fan (Stone Ruination sets the standard for me), so I am a hophead for sure. Nonetheless, this is a solid, respectful ale from a stellar East Coast brewer. Rock on, Rock Art!

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Photo of ocelot2500
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep red brown with a tight, light tan head that leaves little chunks of lacing.

Smells of fruity and sweet malts.

Tastes of a good wave of hops with a big malty base. Hops lead off with a citrus and pine character. Bitterness is moderate, but nothing outlandish. The malt base makes an appearance midway through and gives some brown sugar, caramel, and a tobacco like note. Malts also feel substantial with a bread like presence. Some fruits come in and give a bit of raisin and currants. Alcohol is noticeable, but I would not call it hot.

Mouthfeel is full with a creamy amount of carbonation.

Overall, another solid part of the Rock Art lineup that can stand up to most Barleywines.

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Photo of russpowell
4.12/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one from Timmush, cheers Tim!

Pours an effervescent copper with 2+ fingers of tan head. Murks up a bit, above average head retention & lacing

S: Much breadyness, some apricot & figs, some pineyness once warm

T: Follows the nose, huge malt backbone, dryness & a touch of brown sugar & shortbread up front.
Subtle herbal & woody hops, some cakeyness, grapefruit & orange rind as this warms. Finishes with woody & herbal hops, breadyness that thins out just a bit at the very end

MF: Chewy, fairly firm carbonation, & great balance, nice warming sensation

Very nice, skews malty, but in my wheel house, yum

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Photo of SickGnar
4.22/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Ruby brown - super dark amber when backlit. Huge khaki head that turns rocky and retains quite well but does not leave much for lace.

S: Robust malty sweetness – scorched sugars (like the edges of slightly overdone cookies), toffee, breadcrust, and some toasty grain. Dark fruits – esp. plum & raisin. Estery alcohol with just a touch of spicy kick – not too boozy though. For 100 IBUs the hops are rather shy –some resin and rind push though and are really well integrated and somehow dark like the rest. Rich malts really carry the nose.

T: Wow. Like the nose, but even more rich, robust, and complex. And the hops come out to just ever so slighty over match the malts. Firm bitterness throughout. Hops start off with loads of citrus dominated by grapefruit and rind. Through the middle – pine & mint mix with medicinal/herbal & spicy notes. Resin dominates the end and lingers on for ages. Resin starts with nuances of tobacco and wood, then it gets earthy, and as it lingers on you start to think of pitch – even tar. Like the nose, the malts is rich and complex and robust. Toasty, slightly nutty, malty base grain plays a little bit bigger role. Toffee and over-backed cookie provide sweetness. The richness is expanded by breadcrusty melanoidans that hint at but never truly get roasty. Raisin and plum dark fruits blend with the estery/floral and spicy alcohol that gets just softly boozy as it warms.

M: A ways over medium, but not too thick (not syrupy at all). CO2 is adequate to help carry this big puppy. Lots of dextrins, hop oils, tannins, and some sticky, lip-coating residual sugars. NO alcohol bite, but quite warming indeed. Resinous hops and alcohol work hard to take this one almost drying.

D: Thank you Vermonster, may I have another. Actually, another would put me under the table with this bews amazingly camouflaged 10% abv. Very robust and flavorful. Nice toasty and very rich malts with incredibly resinous and complex hops. The heft does slow you down with works well for all the character this one has. For the price (in VT) this is superb.

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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 SpdKilz
3.7/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A big thanks to Drazzamatazz for this beer. Reviewed from notes. I’ve always wanted to try this due to the fact I read about the trademark issue Monster drinks had with it (this happened during an IP law course I was taking a couple years ago).

Appearance – Pours into a tulip with a nice deep red color. About a finger of off white head is achieved with a normal pour that dissipates slowly.

Smell – Heavy caramel and candied sugars, slight hoppy pine presence, dark fruits like plums and raisins, and slight nuttiness.

Taste – The candied sugars hit up front mixed with floral, piney hops. The flavor really does just continue to be quite sweet and cloying to be honest. The dark fruits come through midway but are almost encapsulated by the candied flavors. Finishes with a hint of alcohol and bitterness from the hops.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, lower carbonation, slightly creamy.

Overall – Not my favorite barleywine by a long shot, but again, am glad I was able to try this. Somewhat one dimensional to me. Way too sweet.

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

22oz bottle -> american pint

Dark hazelnut with scarlet streaks. Creamy thick mocha head. Thick cliffs of ringed lace

Nose: Sweet candy caramels and resiny hop float

Thick creamy body that explodes. Malts are heavy sweet and undeniable, even with the hop blast that leaves a resiny bitter taste lingering for the duration.

Loved It. Go 'Lers

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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 BeerLover99
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: deep tan/amber cloudy body, trace head, nice lacing

S: big malt, barley, ripe fruit, figs, toffee, nuts

T: sweet nuts, toffee, ripe fruits, pine, long slow bitter finish

M: med/heavy, smooth, sticky

O: Delicious; do your taste buds a favor
go out and get this beer or other Rock Art brews.
I will be seeking out more of these beers.
I love barleywines; they seem to be a rare breed.


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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 dragonWhale
3.56/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up for like 3.99 in VT, which blew my mind. Held onto it for a while, shipped a bottle to my brew partner who told me it was delicious. So on this eve of destruction and flooding, the monster awakens.
Murky vague autumnal color with a creamy head that eventually dissolves to nothingness as I await on this beer to warm.
Ethanol, melanoidin, some pine in the aroma. The alcohol aroma is deep and rich, actually quite pleasant and not biting despite its evident presence.
Starts caramel malty with strong bitterness and finishes with some astringency and pine.
A little sweet but overall not bad, especially for the price. Should I see this again, yes, probably, yes.

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Photo of Digimaika2
4.07/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep mahogany red colour with a solid finger of creamy beige coloured head. Recedes promptly leaving an attractive thin blanket on top.

S: Pine, caramel, toffee, tart grapefruit, some dark fruits (like figs, dates, cherries), and some slight nut-like aromas. Quite agreeable.

T: Loads of bitter piney hops with a dominant caramel/toffee malt taste. Wasn't expecting such a strong malt profile. Slight walnut notes coupled with a sea salt taste (?), albeit strangely not a bad thing. Grapefruit faintly presents itself near the finish, along with an intense bitter and dry taste.

M: Incredibly oily with a maple syrup-like texture and average carbonation for the style. Quite oily but it seems to work OK.

O: Good barleywine that I will be picking up again when in Vt. especially when offered at such a fair price (~$5). Quite an easy-drinking barleywine for a style which I usually find myself struggling to finish.

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Photo of tdexterc
4.27/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured slowly, this beer produced a one finger, khaki head which sat atop a super hazy, deep redish brown body. The head had decent retention, and stuck well together in a ring at the edge of the glass.

S- The first hit is of deep toffee malts. Definite esters in here as well. At 100 IBU’s, you’re also sure to get a hop profile, and this is no exception. Clear piney hops come off with a bit of earthy character to them.

T- A big earthy caramel/toffee malt profile is able to make it through at first, but it is quickly subdued by a wallop of piney, resinous hops and a wave… nay… a tsunami of bitterness!

M- Surprisingly smooth for how big this beer is. Obviously there’s an imbalance in hops and malt, but for how bitter this beer is, the malts still manage to show themselves pretty damn well. I’d love to try aging this behemoth. Too bad it would never last long enough in my house.

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Photo of OakedCanuck
3.7/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into snifter. 2010 vintage I believe

A - This beer pours a lighter brown with a rusty orange outer edges. Very minor off white head.

S - Lots of pine hops on the nose with accenting caramel and toffee. There is a certain musty earthiness to it.

T - Quite hoppy flavour profile (pine, grass) for being I am guessing about a year old. Caramel, brown sugar and Belgian sugars provide a nice malt profile. Some minor oxidation, but I like that.

M - Drying, sticky sweet, noticeable ABV heat.

O - A good standard barleywine. Slightly hot but some age should mellow that out. I liked it, above average.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.89/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

brown, though you can see some light through it, no head and a nice lace top it off. Smell is hopped for sure, but with a subtle sugary undertone, and a hint of alcohol too. Taste is not very strong at all. There is the natural piney hoppness you would expect from a barley wine, but not too strong, there is also a sugary, nuttiness about it as well. The alcohol is there, and that keeps this a sipper. It is actually nicely carbonated, and not harsh going down, has the warm feeling on the way. Overall this was a good brew,

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Photo of Pinto21
4.12/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a caramel brown. Just about the same as the bottle actually. A 2 finger head that fades fairly quick to a layer on top and lacing down the sides.
Smell up front is citrus hop, followed by a big helping of caramel sweetness.
Pretty nice complex taste. Assaulted by piney hops right off the bat. As that fades, the sweet malt comes in to save your taste buds, then the toasted malts finish it off, even though there is bitterness still around to battle back.
mouth is good for a BW and its not too boozey

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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.

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Photo of oline73
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a dark amber with just a layer of light tan head. The head fades to a ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell: Sweet caramel malt and dark fruit with a hint of alcohol. There is some bitter hops in there as well.

Taste: The bitterness really dominates every thing else. The malt was there, but it was completely overshadowed. The finish was very bitter citrus peel and grassy hops along with some warm alcohol.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thick side of medium. The carbonation is tingly and the finish is mildly dry.

Overall: The smell was very nice, but the malt really disappeared behind the hops. Tasted more like an ipa than a barleywine. Good but not great.

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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!


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Photo of billab914
4.07/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into a Shipyard pint glass. Deep mahogany in color with a thin, sticky white head barely covering the top of the beer. Decent head retention and very nice lacing as I drank it.

The aroma shows a lot of American style hoppiness to it with grapefruit and a little pineapple coming out. The sweeter, malty, caramel flavors are there as well and mix nicely with the citrusy hops. Very nice and flavorful aroma overall.

The taste has more of the hoppy, citrusy, juicy flavors to it up front. Midway and through the finish I get more of the malty, caramel like flavors to it. Grapefruit and pine come back in the finish as well. Not a ton of depth to the maltiness, but it mixes with the hoppiness pretty well.

The mouthfeel is about average for the style and carbonation is a little above average. Overall it was a very nice beer. It was definitely a very hop forward version of the style, but it worked well for it. Very flavorful and easy drinking for the style and a very good beer overall.

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Photo of MattyV
3.77/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cola brown in colour, auburn highlights, dense creamy light beige head. Sweet, floral, slightly spicy aroma. Caramel, slightly roasty malts are big up front, yet still restrained, as spicy piney hops start to dominate and yield a pithy bitter finish. Full bodied and warming on the way down. Surprisingly balanced considering the quoted ABV. The hops sometimes come off as slightly overpowering and detracting from the beer's overall complexity. Still, an enjoyable take on a style I'm unfortunately not all that familiar with.

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

22oz bottle thanks to my Mother

Into a tulip glass at fridge temp

No date on bottle but I've had it in the fridge for a year so it's at least that old.

A- Pours a dark brown with some really nice reddish hues. On top is a fluffy 2 finger off white head that sticks around and leaves decent retention on the side of the glass.

S- Even for being a year old it smells like a double IPA. Tons of earthy citrus hops with a sweet caramel malt background. Alcohol is hidden very well, doesn't come through even when it warms.

T- Just like the aroma. Bitter earthy hops up front with a nice touch of orange, citrus and resin. Behind that is some sweet caramel malts and a spiciness that I can't put my hands on but blends really nicely with the alcohol.

M- Medium bodied with moderate carbonation and a nice strong bitter finish.

Overall if I didn't know this was a barley wine I would believe it to be a DIPA. The hops are insane on this one but definitely make it one hell of a beast. Solid brew from such a small brewery.


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