Barrel Works Series: Monstrosus
Southern Tier Brewing Company

Barrel Works Series: MonstrosusBarrel Works Series: Monstrosus
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Southern Tier Brewing Company
New York, United States
Stout - American Imperial
4.35 | pDev: 5.52%
Sep 13, 2021
Apr 10, 2017
Barrel Works Series: MonstrosusBarrel Works Series: Monstrosus
Notes: None
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Photo of EMV
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by EMV from Pennsylvania

Poured from a bomber into a Dogfish Head tulip. 2017 bottling date

L: Black pour. Minimal mocha colored head and a thin rim of lacing. Low carbonation.

S: Roast and sweets... booze and bourbon. Vanilla, oak, and more booze.

T.F: Just like it smells. Sweet and boozy... caramel, vanilla, oak, and bourbon. Good roast character gives a little balance, but definitely on the sweet/boozy side. Low carbonation... medium bodied (expected it to be thicker really). Strong bourbon even after 4 years in the cellar.

O: A really well done BBA stout, and a great effort from Southern Tier. That 14.7% is dangerous.

Sep 13, 2021
Photo of Oh_Dark_Star
4.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by Oh_Dark_Star from Washington

L: Midnight black brew with a half finger espresso cream head, fading to a wide ring with great retention, and a single wide band like a dragon around the glass.

S: Some complexity here. Darks roasts, molasses, baker’s chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, oak, and leather.

T: All the nose with a good carbonation and lingering large in flavor. A bit sweet for my taste. Could have been more bitter, but it’s fantastic.

F: A weighty, but not too syrupy mouthfeel.

O: Southern tier can start out bold and rough around the edges. With monstrosus I elected to age this one a while and share with a friend, now, nearly a year into Covid I folded and cracked’er open 41 months in my cellar.
And wow it aged better than I would have guessed. They should say “Like a fine stout!”

Nov 15, 2020
4.56 by BLPasch from Michigan on Nov 15, 2020
Photo of CaptainHate
4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by CaptainHate from Ohio

When I bought this July 2017 22 ouncer, well before I started cellaring things in earnest, the guy at the grocery store said this would be good to age for a while. And here we are!

Pours a dark brownish color with very little head in the tulip. For whatever reason, the smell is the weak point of this. When first poured after 50 degree cellar temperature I couldn't smell anything significant. I was thinking WTF because, although I don't consider myself anything other than a regular guy when it comes to olfactory sensitivities, I usually detect something worth commenting on. Maybe it's seasonal allergies. When it warmed up some boozy chocolate and vanilla sweetness came to the fore. But the taste, dear God! A very thick malty mashup of sweet flavors (Southern Tier never scrimps on the sweetness) along with incredibly well hid booze and the barrel. A near perfect taste experience. The mouthfeel was up there too, thick but well carbonated too.

A very pleasant experience (plus somewhat esoteric music is sounding great). Too bad it was so damn expensive or I'd have bought more.

Aug 11, 2019
4.25 by BeerBucks from New York on Mar 09, 2019
Photo of jlindros
4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25
by jlindros from Massachusetts

Smaller fizzy dark bubbly head, low retention, good legs, pitch black

Nose loads of chocolate, dark choc and cocoa, fudgey, little nutty, caramel, toasted oak barrel, little vanilla, light bourbon, thicker caramel as it warms

Taste thick fudgey dark chocolate, cocoa, little syrupy fair sweet, mild warming alcohol but fairly smooth, lush chewy, big caramel, little nutty, cocoa dust and candy syrup, creamy oatmeal, little roasty, mild bourbon, little vanilla barrel, toasted oak, barrel is fairly light overall

Mouth is full bod, rich creamy thick lush, mild warming alcohol, decent carb

Overall not bad, base beer is good except little too sweet, nice mouth thickness, wish the barrel was more

Feb 04, 2019
Photo of Vidblain
3.86/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
by Vidblain from Minnesota

An attractive dark pour with a pleasant nut brown head - quite fragrant. It's thick and quite heavy, and in spite of age, it's still fairly hot. Tremendously sweet. I'm not getting much in the way of barrels.

It's a very big beer, but nothing much stands out to me - it's boozy and hot and sweet as hell, and finishes a little dirty. It's fine but not particularly memorable.

Jan 28, 2019
4.59 by GregSemenza from Connecticut on Jan 11, 2019
Photo of Reggie_Dunlop
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by Reggie_Dunlop from Pennsylvania

Now that is more like it!

Dec 15, 2018
4.02 by Gaddabble from Ohio on Nov 01, 2018
4.84 by JamesBondGA from Georgia on Oct 31, 2018
4.48 by ian_graf from Minnesota on Oct 28, 2018
4.97 by ummswimmin from New Jersey on Oct 11, 2018
4.71 by gasanesthesia from Georgia on Oct 09, 2018
4.36 by DruC4 from Michigan on Sep 06, 2018
Photo of LiquidAmber
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by LiquidAmber from Washington

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Properly cellared 1 year old bottle. Pours a very dark mahogany brown, appearing nearly opaque black in the glass with a half finger dark khaki head that dissipates slowly to thick patches with light lacing. Aroma of dark toasted malt, bourbon, plum, dates, a hint of cherry and ethanol. Flavor is dark toasted malt with slight char, plums, dates, raisins, oaky vanilla and lots of bourbon. Finishes hot with notes of caramel, cocoa and more bourbon. Medium bodied with light creaminess and good mouthfeel. A monster of an imperial stout that is closer in profile to a strong ale due to the very nice dark fruit notes. Like a lot of Southern Tier brews, a touch sweet, but well withing the style for a big stout or strong ale.Too huge to be a classic imperial stout, but a damned fine bit strong barrelled stout with good bourbon flavor. Aptly named, but it's a good monster. Very enjoyable.

Aug 06, 2018
4.3 by BAsbill from California on Jul 17, 2018
4.41 by buzzy from Pennsylvania on Jun 18, 2018
4.73 by Dougwillhike from New Jersey on May 13, 2018
Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
by MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

Poured from 22oz bottle into glass. Version bottled in July 2017 (detail on label).
Black colored body, with a thin edge of brown when presented to light. Tan head, with swirling islands fed by carbonated bubbles. No lacing.
Aroma has bourbon barrel notes, chocolate notes, and boozy burn.
Taste has alcohol burn, oak bourbon barrel, chocolate, toffee. Behind the alcohol is dark fruit, such as prunes and figs. Dark bready malts. Low hop bitterness.
Totally has a coating and heavy mouth feel, which exposes all aroma and taste aspects.
High alcohol, heavy barrel influence stout. Quite the show with the rising small bubbles reinforcing the cap islands; the islands swirl about. Overall sweet but slammed with the barrel and high ABV.

Apr 15, 2018
Photo of arizcards
4.26/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
by arizcards from North Carolina

One of a handful of cases that made its way to Arizona last fall with one landing at the Craft Beer Hop Stop. Picked up a bomber bottled in July 2017 for $19.99.

Nose is roasted malts, vanilla, and some bourbon.

Initial sips were very warming. Roasted malts, vanilla, and bourbon are featured. Hopping is pretty adequate but it does finish a tad bit sweet.

Mouthfeel is full and creamy, very satisfying.

Overall a very enjoyable beer. Definitely playing in the league of BCBS and Parabola, just lacking some of the nuances those beers offer. Cheers!

Apr 15, 2018
Photo of SLeffler27
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
by SLeffler27 from New York

Pours black, very black. Dark walnut highlights at the rim with a thin, quick, fine dark chestnut head. Rings of lace top legs on the walls of a Dogfish Head Snifter.

The aroma is initially strong bourbon with dark chocolate. This is followed by light chili and cinnamon notes, all quite rich. Faint, yet undeniable smokiness comes out of a charred malt.

The flavor opens with bourbon and vanilla atop a mild bitterness. The middle presents bittersweet chocolate, figs, plum pudding, and a chocolate char. Alcohol returns to draw out and lengthen the finish with late sweetness. Warmth allows this beer to mellow very well.

The palate is creamy and smooth with a velvet texture. The dense body is perforated by fine carbonation. Alcohol is as expected, though with a mild heat. Warmth draws out creaminess.

This is an excellent match for a dim, soft, snowy day. All is quiet and warm inside while a puppy beckons to play.

Mar 11, 2018
Photo of MacMalt
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by MacMalt from New Jersey

Bottled July 2017. Poured from 22 oz. bottle into tulip glass. It pours jet black with a half finger of creamy, mocha-colored head and lacing. It's a very attractive pour. Lots of bourbon on the nose, along with roasted malt, chocolate, anise, char, tobacco, and a slight oakiness. The bourbon is evident in the first sip but it doesn't overwhelm the other flavors: dark chocolate, burnt coffee grounds, oak, tobacco, raisin, and fig. The dark fruit is outstanding! This stout has a creamy, fairly viscous mouth feel with light carbonation, and there's no escaping the 14.7% ABV, which is clearly evident from the first sip. It's best to share the bottle! Overall, I'm very impressed. Southern Tier sometimes brews gimmicky beers but this is a solid barrel-aged Imperial Stout.

Mar 04, 2018
4.19 by DoubleSimcoe from Pennsylvania on Mar 03, 2018
Photo of q33jeff
4.51/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by q33jeff from New Jersey


Bottle to snifter.

Look: thick black appearance. Super thick. Almost no head, Just a Touch of lacing at the edges. Jostling the beer just gives a little bit of extra lacing in the middle Butthead does not form.

Aroma: heavy malt, mold, licorice, vegetable. Lots of cool malty smells, not usually found together.

Taste: beef stew, charred malt, smooth whiskey. Raisin, fig, dates. Dark fruit. Lots of oak here too. Coffee, chocolate, yeast, mold. Seemingly Infinite tasting notes. Unique, I dare say.

Feel: that a word...little carbonation, but not really needed as this drinks like a meal.

Really interesting stout. So much going on. Not perfect, but awesome in a lot of ways. Wasn't sure about this one, but I am officially impressed.


Mar 02, 2018
Photo of superspak
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
by superspak from North Carolina

22 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled in 7/2017. Pours dense pitch black color with a small fairly dense tan head with decent retention, that reduces to a thin ring of lace that lingers. Slight spotty lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, fudge, marshmallow, molasses, vanilla, bourbon, toasted oak, and dark/brown bread; with lighter notes of coconut, coffee, smoke, char, licorice, raisin, date, pepper, leather, and roast/oak earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malt and bourbon barrel notes; with good strength. Mild increasing booze in the aromas as it warms, but not overwhelming. Taste of huge milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, fudge, marshmallow, molasses, vanilla, bourbon, toasted oak, and dark/brown bread; with lighter notes of coconut, coffee, smoke, char, licorice, raisin, date, pepper, leather, and roast/oak earthiness. Very mild roast bitterness and bourbon/oak tannin spiciness on the finish. Lingering notes of milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, fudge, marshmallow, molasses, vanilla, bourbon, toasted oak, dark bread, light smoke/char, dark fruit, pepper, leather, and roast/oak earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and bourbon barrel flavors; with a great roasted bitter/sweet and bourbon/oak spiciness balance; with zero cloying/acrid flavors after the finish. Lightly increasing dryness from roast bitterness and bourbon/oak spiciness. Light-medium carbonation and very full body; with a smooth, creamy, silky, velvety, and rich mouthfeel that is fantastic. Mild slickness, stickiness, chalky roast, and oak tannins. Mildly increasing warmth of 14.7%, minimal barrel booziness. Overall this is a fantastic BBA imperial stout! All around outstanding complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and bourbon barrel flavors; very smooth and dangerously easy to sip on for the huge ABV with the mildly bitter/tannic/drying finish. Pretty similar to most of the Bruery stouts on flavor profile. Not as deeply roasty or charred on black/roasted malts like some others; but still extremely rich and complex. Outstanding barrel integration and balance; without feeling overly boozy, tannic, or drying. A highly enjoyable offering.

Feb 24, 2018
Photo of Ozzylizard
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania

$ 18.00(Including tax)/bomber ($ 0.818/oz) from Franklin Beer, Franklin, PA.
Undated bottle, stored at 42 degrees and served at 60 degrees in a hand washed and dried Jester King snifter.
Appearance – 4.
Body – Black, opaque, lively but thin effervescence.
Head – Small (Maximum 1.5 cm, aggressive pour), brown, fizzy, rapidly diminishing to a 0.5mm partial ring fed by effervescence. No layer, no lacing.
Lacing – None, as expected for a high alcohol (14.7% ABV) barrel-aged product.
Pour – Dark brown, clear.
Aroma – 4 – Chocolate, figs, dates.
Flavor – 4 – Begins with alcohol cresting over the semi-sweet chocolate and dark fruit. Ends withalcohol and the start of a gastric alcohol burn. No hops, no barrel, no diacetyl, no dimethylsulfide.
Palate – 4 – Full, almost syrupy, soft carbonation.
Impression and summation – 4.25 - Certainly better than expected from Southern Tier. I was pleasantly surprised by the absence of the cloying sweetness that I expect from ST non-IPA products. The flavor is not bad; it just lacks any trace of barrel. Nor is the flavor anything markedly outstanding. Although a mild gastric burn starts, it never progresses beyond mild and may be better described as warming. The appearance, aroma, and palate are consistent with better barrel-aged imperial stouts. One and done.

Feb 23, 2018
4.43 by rab53 from Washington on Feb 09, 2018
4.5 by petrusek23 from Ohio on Jan 29, 2018
4.29 by thoglund from New York on Jan 21, 2018
4.29 by BeerForMuscle from New Jersey on Jan 13, 2018
Photo of bluejacket74
4.26/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
by bluejacket74 from Ohio

22 ounce bottle, label says July 2017 but I don't think this was released until October 2017. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch tan head. Head retention is good, and there's a small amount of lacing. I like the aroma, the brew smells like dark fruit, roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, bourbon, molasses and vanilla. For the most part I think the taste is similar to the aroma, with dark fruit, roasted malt, molasses, bittersweet and milk chocolate, caramel, woody, bourbon and vanilla flavors. The dark fruit flavors in this are stronger than I thought (not that it's a bad thing). Mouthfeel/body is full, it's chewy and slick with a moderate amount of carbonation. It's a little boozy, but it's still easy enough to drink especially for being 14.7% ABV. I thought this was a good imperial stout, certainly worth picking up if you've never had it before. $19.99 a bomber.

Jan 13, 2018
4.42 by Dodger88 from Connecticut on Jan 09, 2018
4.71 by lupercmda from North Carolina on Jan 07, 2018
4.12 by buzzedup from Pennsylvania on Jan 06, 2018
4.34 by heddar33 from Pennsylvania on Jan 03, 2018
Photo of darktronica
4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by darktronica from Indiana

A big BBA stout that some are framing as a BCBS-killer. I was skeptical of the high price point and Southern Tier's tradition of cloyingly sweet high-gravity stouts, but fortunately, this one delivers. Slightly vinous, with good barrel character and strong dark chocolate, bitter-roasted grains, and a boozy heat that still comes across as somewhat restrained despite the 14.7% abv. Good times to be had.

Jan 01, 2018
Photo of Buck89
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by Buck89 from Tennessee

Poured into a snifter. A viscous and opaque dark brown color with a small and fleeting tan head. Rare wispy laces in the glass. Mainly rich bourbon on the nose, with some vanilla and chocolate. On the palate, this was a rich, chocolatey, barrel aged beer. Great balance with nice vanilla and whiskey notes. Warm on the finish but in line for a 15% beer. Full bodied but not overly sweet. Liked this one.

Dec 31, 2017
Photo of TuMadre
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by TuMadre from North Carolina

Poured from a cold bomber into a tulip. A thick oil slick came forth with very little tan head lacing the perimeter of the glass. The Bourbon is strong on the nose but not overbearing - the taste is similar - very boozy throughout the mouth, but surprisingly smooth for a brew pushing 15% ABV. This is a one-time release heart-breaker. I bought out my local package store.

Dec 29, 2017
3.7 by Bdel34 from Pennsylvania on Dec 27, 2017
Barrel Works Series: Monstrosus from Southern Tier Brewing Company
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 67 ratings