Barrel Works Series: Monstrosus
Southern Tier Brewing Company

Barrel Works Series: MonstrosusBarrel Works Series: Monstrosus
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Stout - American Imperial
4.34 | pDev: 5.76%
Southern Tier Brewing Company
New York, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Barrel Works Series: MonstrosusBarrel Works Series: Monstrosus
Reviews: 26 | Ratings: 66 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Oh_Dark_Star
Oh_Dark_Star from Washington

4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

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
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CaptainHate from Ohio

4.29/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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
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jlindros from Massachusetts

4.29/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

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
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Vidblain from Minnesota

3.86/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

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
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LiquidAmber from Washington

4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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
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MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

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
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arizcards from North Carolina

4.26/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

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
SLeffler27 from New York

4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

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
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MacMalt from New Jersey

4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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
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q33jeff from New Jersey

4.51/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


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
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superspak from Ohio

4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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
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Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

$ 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
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bluejacket74 from Ohio

4.26/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

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
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darktronica from Indiana

4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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
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Buck89 from Tennessee

4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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
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TuMadre from North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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
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GetTheYayo from Pennsylvania

4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had to check this one out due to how surprised I was with Sapsquatch. This is a big, thick, oily one. Not for the kind hearted, especially at 14.1%. Posers leave now. Smells of booze, chocolate, caramel, barrel, band aid (in a good BA way). Pours with decent carbo but settles down. Big mouthfeel. If big BA stouts are your thing this is definitely one worth picking up. Been sipping on 17 BCBS lately and this is right there. Cheers Southern Tier.

Dec 14, 2017
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pubscout from New Jersey

4.85/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Ten-Fidy, KBS, and Founders— move over and make some room on your pedestals for Monstrosus. Black , viscous and oily, though just a hair less so than Ten Fidy. The nose is redolent of bourbon, coffee, chocolate and vanilla cream, and those same flavors appear with great vigor on the palate. Despite its 14.7% ABV, this doesn’t taste or smell boozy at all, and it’s smooth as silk going down. Perfect for those bitter cold winter nights, Monstrosus will complement most any dessert, but especially those with chocolate and raspberry in them. But it went marvelously with my wife’s homemade chicken soup and garlic bread, too. Pours like engine oil, but tastes likes a Bit of Heaven, and it’s guaranteed to get your motor running. No wonder it’s “terrifying the townspeople.” Big props to STBC for producing what should be an instant classic.

Dec 08, 2017
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GreesyFizeek from New York

4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This one pours a pretty dark black, with a small white head, and a little bit of lacing.

This smells pretty great- there's not much booze on the nose, with sweet chocolate, sweet caramel, bourbon, oak, and vanilla cream.

This beer isn't that overtly boozy, but it's a beer that certainly slows you down. It's super thick and intense, and the 14.7% makes itself known as you progressively gets fuzzier and fuzzier on your insides. There's a cool barrel character to this, with sweet bourbon and light toasted oak, along with the massively sweet stout base you expect from Southern Tier- very little roast and tons of chocolate and vanilla cream.

This is pretty thick, and fairly chewy, with a good level of carbonation for the style.

This is one of the best new Southern Tier beers in a few years, and honestly might be one of their career highlights.

Dec 04, 2017
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DeaconWhite82 from Pennsylvania

4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got a bomber, was not cheap. A tremendous bourbon barrel aged stout. Heavy bourbon aroma. Surprisingly a smooth complex taste. Gives you a great warm, relaxed buzz. A nice sipping beer. This is not a everyday beer. Great for college football championship Saturday

Dec 02, 2017
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tigg924 from Massachusetts

4.09/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours opaque, dark black in color with 1/4 inch head. Taste is huge bourbon, with oak, char, and vanilla. Heavy bodied, medium carbonation, sweet and roasty. Wow this is bourbon forward...Well executed, knock your socks off, clean bourbon blast. I prefer the other barrel works, but if you want a good, straightforward bourbon stout, this is your beer.

Nov 23, 2017
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lordofthewiens from New Mexico

4.41/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It is pitch black with just a thin film of a head.
Nice aroma. A lot of booze, some sweet chocolate, and some vanilla.
Bourbon taste up front, followed by sweet chocolate and vanilla.
Very smooth and easy to drink. The alcohol is complimentary and not dominating.
A great beer! For you bourbon barrel aged RIS aficionados, this is the beer for you

Nov 05, 2017
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jzeilinger from Pennsylvania

4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pitch black pour with a thin toffee colored lacing, and very viscous on the sides of the glass. Nice legs.

S - Very boozy aroma with big dark chocolate, light char, bourbon, oak, vanilla, and syrupy.

T - Heavy oak, chocolate, bourbon, and vanilla.

M - Full bodied and thick.

O - Knocks on the door of Bourbon County. Worth checking out.

Nov 01, 2017
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Knapp85 from Pennsylvania

4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a jet black color with little to no lacing or head retention. The smell of the beer is packed with bourbon and wood aroma. The taste of the beer is sweet with some definite bourbon flavors, Wood and vanilla in the mix. The feel of beer is medium bodied. Overall a very well done beer.

Oct 31, 2017
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BEERMILER12 from Maine

4.24/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a pitch black color with a fingers worth of head that fades down to a thin cap

S: Lots of roast, dark chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, and oak up front. Some caramel, brown sugar, and molasses in there as well

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with a mix of roasted malt, dark chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, coconut, caramel, and oak. Big and bold right out of the gate. Bourbon definitely hits hard, but is kept under control. Goes into some of the molasses notes that also help to level out the bourbon and alcohol kick. Finishes with lingering bourbon, caramel, and barrel tones

M: Full bodied with low-moderate carbonation. Slick and on the drier side

O: Holy hell. You can definitely tell they aged this for a year in those bourbon barrels. Bourbon and barrel influence aplenty and certainly not skimping. The 14.7% is obviously quite present, but makes for a great sipper. Perfect for the weather today (dreary, cold, and rainy with whipping winds reaching 50+ mph)

Oct 30, 2017
Barrel Works Series: Monstrosus from Southern Tier Brewing Company
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 66 ratings