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Ridge Runner - Rock Art Brewery

Not Rated.
Ridge RunnerRidge Runner

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

348 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 348
Reviews: 190
rAvg: 3.42
pDev: 16.67%
Wants: 3
Gots: 13 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Rock Art Brewery visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  7.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
"Robust, Dark and Smooth, hold on to your hat cause you’ll lose your feet on this one!" Brewed with pale, dark crystal, Munich, flaked barley, black and chocolate malts. Hops include Cascade, Crystal, Challenger and Perle.

(Beer added by: Murph on 08-07-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 348 | Reviews: 190 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BeardedBoffin
3.7/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A dark amber color with a thin head that reduced to an even thinner ring around that hugged the glass. The aroma is sweet malt, fruit, toffee with a little bit hops in the background. The palate is light for a barley wine with some carbonation. Sweet but snappy in the flavor, similar to the aroma. It finishes with some bitterness from the hops which provides some balance. A nice little barleywine, but perhaps a little light for the style.

BeardedBoffin, Feb 15, 2009
Photo of BretSikkink
3.63/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Red highlights throughout a brown beer with a pretty nice tight cap of orange-tinted head that lasts a while and leaves some nice lace.

The nose is possibly hidden deeply below the foam, but I never really got a good whiff. Some fruit, more floral than tropical, lacking substance. Caramel malt with notes of toffee on the malt bill.

The taste is lighter than a barleywine should be. There is more of a roasted, patent malt flavor than most American versions, but that alone wouldn't be a little bit of a problem. There's just not enough of a malt bill to back it up: although notes of caramel and toffee appear and throw in a little fruitiness, it's just not enough to get me excited.

The hops are nice choices as far as varietals, but not used with a heavy enough hand. Oddly, I've never found Rock Art to have that problem...

The mouthfeel is not too bad, although I don't understand the need for such a light overall beer. That's a choice Rock Art made with the Ridge Runner, and that's okay, but I much prefer the Vermonster, with its fiery alpha acids and big caramel sweetness.

BretSikkink, Feb 11, 2009
Photo of williamherbert
4.15/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep but clear cherry red. A finger of rose-white head. Depth of a red wine. Slow carbonation.

An initial gritty whiff of scotch ale-like grain. Second whiff of sweet grape and coffee/mocha. A barleywine mixed with a porter. Bitter but not brutal. Smoky.

The taste is burnt porter-like malt bitterness; a secondary hit of dark grape and berry. Thick tobacco leaf. It's unusually bitter; closer in flavor to a dark porter than a barleywine.

Ashy and smooth both. A bit dry/ashy for style though. A deep, rich, dry and bitter barleywine ale. Coffee + grape + tobacco.

williamherbert, Feb 06, 2009
Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.8/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12-ounce bottle into a Bud pint glass (yikes!).

A: Poured a medium golden-amber color with a tight two-finger head of ivory-white foam. Carbonation is a bit lax, but the brew has some visible character to it.

S: Smells sweet, malted and fruity with a bit of herbal hop resin in the background.

T: Taste is slightly fruity sweet up front with a sticky meeting of hop resin and roasted caramel malt. The alcohol here is not exactly masked 100%, but it's barely noticeable next to this admirable balance of sweet and spicy qualities.

M: Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied but not quite the sipper you'd expect from a typical English barleywine.

D: Drinkability is great for a barelywine, which can be good and bad. It's great that despite the ABV and apparent ethyl taste to it, it's a sessionable ale. Unfortunatley, this can get you in trouble, because the strength is deceptive. On a style note, it also means the brewery made a good, strong session ale, but maybe missed the head on what a true English barleywine flavor should be.

One of my favorite out of the mix pack and a must-try from this brewery. That said, look to outher examples of the style to be blown away, but stick with this one of you want to pass the time with a higher ABV, palatable winter ale.

Gambrinus1184, Jan 23, 2009
Photo of DIM
3.08/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

a: This was a clear, dark mahogany color. It poured with a short lived, big bubbled light tan head.

s: Mild aromas of toffee and vanilla.

t: Moderately charred toffee flavors and a bitter, somewhat floral, finish.

m: This is a smaller barleywine and it is reflected in the body of this one. Thin and gently fizzy carbonation.

d: Not bad, just bland. I did like Vermonster though.

DIM, Jan 03, 2009
Photo of sjohansen
4.4/5  rDev +28.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

We had a houseguest from Jeffersonville, VT that brought a sampler pack of some Rock Art to PA. I love these kinds of houseguests; they can stay as long as they want.

Pours with a one finger slightly off-white head. It quickly dissipates leaving only a small bead of foam floating around the top of the glass. That too, would eventually disappear. The brew looks thick and opaque, it's very cloudy and the color is brownish red or reddish brown. Not a whole lot in the realm of lace.

Big notes in the nose. Lots of floral hops, to the point it almost smells like a florist shop. Very soft fruity yeast. And chocolate... dark chocolate. As it warms, the chocolate takes over and becomes sweeter.

This beer has a great hop smack to it. The kind that makes you lick your lips after every sip. Strong peppery alcohol. Some yeast that hints of a Belgian, giving off some sweet apple and pear. Sweeter on the front of the palate as it warms. The malts take over the front of the experience, and produce an almost Old Ale style quality. Sweet and grainy, a bit dirty (in a good way.) Still get the hop smack in the end, and it's as powerful during the last sip as it was in the first.

Full mouthfeel. Lots of body, nice prickly carbonation. Slick and oily, it feels like it coats the tongue, and then disappears as I place the glass down. The mouthfeel is really wonderful. Kind of gives you the best parts of an IPA, Malty Scotch Ale, and sweet Oktoberfest all in one.

This is a great barleywine ale style. More importantly, it's a full flavored brew that I will definitely try again when given the opportunity.

sjohansen, Dec 13, 2008
Photo of BenZ
3.78/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Much less hoppy then most barleywines I have tried recently. Flavors dominated by malt and fruit. Sweet, but not cloying in the yeast. Negligible alcohol aroma/taste. Dark for a barleywine and somewhat cloudy. Very subdued and easy to drink. Mouthfeel perfect at first, but starts to get just the slightest bit too watery near the end. If it was labled as an American amber or red ale, it might get better reviews.

BenZ, Nov 29, 2008
Photo of corby112
2.58/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle sampled from a rock art variety pack.

Pours a clear amber color with thin head. Aroma of malts, hops and alcohol but all less prominent than in your average barley wine. Flavor again is similar to a barleywine yet much weaker. Niot a strong alcohol presence with more of a malty taste. Dissapointing.

corby112, Nov 27, 2008
Photo of currysage1
4.13/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours a healthy one finger heavy cream color creamy consistancy head, topping a beet juice red liquid.

Smell is of caramel dark malt, old-time candy (rootbeer barrels) slight hop presence but its definately more about the malt in the nose.

Taste is at first fresh seaweed, slightly salty and earthy, moves quickly into lightly bittered roasted malt. Better hop presence in the taste than in the nose. Definate stale black pepper flavors, some dried fruits that I can't really place.

Feel could certainly use some bulking up, much to thin for the style and the carbonation reflects the style well I feel.

Totaly drinkable, have had many nights with this one, and one drunken wedding as well.

currysage1, Oct 18, 2008
Photo of Atron67
3.85/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- pours a dark copper with a wisp of head that stayed exactly at a thin film the entire drink. clear body. deep red through the light.

S- big malty scents. loads of residual sweetness all over. light hops, very much an english style barleywine.

T- kind of bready malt flavor at the start. decently strong malt flavors centered around this unusual biscuit bready malt flavor. smooth malt scents slowly fading. clean finish.

M- for an 'imperial' style its kind of light, but its still pretty solid all around. medium carbonation

D- goes down pretty smooth all over. flavorful tasty, a person trying to get into barleywines would benefit from trying this

Atron67, Oct 12, 2008
Photo of oriolesfan4
3.2/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This was the oddest barleywine I've had up to this point in my life.

First off, it was only $7.99/6, which is the cheapest barleywine I've ever seen. Second, it's 7.5% ABV makes it the weakest barleywine I've seen, can't recall any in the single digits actually.

I didn't detect any hops taste at all in this one, which made me think it is more of a stout. Very low carbonation and not much for flavor/taste. But, it is smooth and goes down easy.. just a little boring as it goes down.

oriolesfan4, Oct 01, 2008
Photo of barleywinefiend
3.03/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got this in trade from Yamar18
Poured a deep amber color with a dirty white and rocky head. Nose was molasses, brown sugar and some fruits. Taste was rather bland and weak for bwine. I was expecting more hops and more malts. taste was ok but it just tasted rather weak, not bad but not what i expected from an English bwine.Mouthfeel was nice, easy drinkig, a little bitter at times. Drinkability is average. There are many bwines out there who provide stiff competetion. Though good it was not special. I believe with some age this will fill out. Lucky me for getting 2 bottles.

barleywinefiend, Sep 19, 2008
Photo of Tim2000
4.35/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz. brown bottle,

Dark reddish-brown with a thin, fine head. Label indicates bottling date about a month ago

Very malty aroma, nutty and slightly roasted. Hints of fruit.

Malty from the beginning, with nuts and burnt sugar. Black tea and molasses come through towards the middle and the hops pick up towards the end with a lingering, slightly grassy finish. Alcohol is well hidden.

Creamy and smooth, but not syrupy like some barley wines. Carbonation is moderately low.

Very drinkable, maybe because it's quite dry for a barley wine.

Tim2000, Sep 07, 2008
Photo of Phyl21ca
1.6/5  rDev -53.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Bottle: Poured a deep clear amber color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma consists of sweet with loads of overcooked vegetables. Taste is also dominated by some overcooked vegetables with some oversweet malt. Body is really thin with some good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. I thought there was way too many brewing flaws in this beer.

Phyl21ca, Sep 04, 2008
Photo of almychristopher
3.3/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

this beer pours a dark amber color with an off white almost tan head. the thin miniscus of lace persists with a lot of malt aroma floating above it... a bit of hops in the background but it smells like a good english barley wine to me. the taste follows suite with a lot of roasted barley taste and a bit of a dry hop finish, but the malt and alcohol don't really say barleywine to me. a medium body and good carbonation combined with the "low" alcohol makes this a very drinkable barleywine.

almychristopher, Sep 03, 2008
Photo of sstackho
3.85/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Single 12oz bottle, consumed in August 08, purchased back in April 08 - I think it was from Charles Street Liquors in Boston. They are known to have some pretty old stock sometimes, and this one is difficult to place. The side label has a notch beside March, but no year listed. So with that out of the way, what do we have here. We have a very dark brown pour with little head. Pretty nice aroma - a little sweet, and I'm oddly getting some coffee notes. First taste follows the nose - and it's pretty good. A bit of sweetness, but certainly not too sweet as I find some barleywines. And there's certainly a lot of roasty coffee flavours here. I'm no barleywine expert, but I wasn't expecting that from the style. This is more along the lines of a stout, in my opinion. Which is just fine for me, since there are a lot of barleywines that are not to my liking. Not what I was expecting, but pretty good.

sstackho, Aug 23, 2008
Photo of thekevlarkid
3.85/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sweet, barley aroma. Dark, wood-stain color. Decent head but no lacing. Lightly carbonated and smooth. Deceptive. A lot more potent (ALC 7.5%) than it tastes! Well balanced, a little sour/tangy in the middle like sourdough but a pleasant, long finish reminiscent of coffee. Toasted and smoked flavors. Mouthfeel is rather thin. Not really like a real barley wine; not a brew to be sipped, for example. An interesting beer, but not an outstanding one. Still worth a try but not worth a session.

thekevlarkid, Aug 20, 2008
Photo of dacrza1
3.53/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Hazy dark purple body with little sediment; an iced tea-like white head, thin and scattered... decidedly hoppy and robust--yet a doen thrust of malt vying for balance--spruce and pine aromas... a bit thin for a barleywine--medium-bodied would be generous... plays well through the mouth--not aggressive but substantial--smoother by mid-bottle... hard hops with a slight warmth at the throat--mouth watering! hints of malt, but not as pronounced as in the aroma... solid--and although the day's weather (a muggy June evening) hasn't provided the optimal barleywine setting, this is a nice, flavorful end to the sampler, the most intriguing of the mix...

dacrza1, Jun 14, 2008
Photo of mobud
3.23/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Cola colored with a fizzy head that disappears.

S- Very malty and somewhat earthy.

T- Smooth and easy with a spicy follow thru. Not what I have had in past for a barleywine. Alcohol is noticable, but not overwhelming.

M- Very strong medium. Not overly thick, but some body is there.

D- A nice change, but not a goto for me.

mobud, Jun 08, 2008
Photo of Gilgemesh
2.3/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Look - Pours a nice deep copper with a foamy white head. Nice looking carbonation.

Smell - Nice start with barley and fruit undertones, completely overpowered by the strong alcohol finish.

Taste - A good strong flavor that never develops any undertones or highlights. It is a bit flat.

Mouthfeel - Feels quite a bit watery. Then you are slammed with the alcohol. While having Alcohol is good, I don't like being slammed by it.

Drinkability - I'd probably stay away from this one next time.

Packaging: A nice earthy looking label. The Kokopeli and the large Vermont on the label gave me a good idea of what to expect from this beer. What are they marketing, a place, or a brew?

Gilgemesh, May 18, 2008
Photo of Scottasaurus
3.7/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

First thing I noticed about this beer was its intense smell: clean, grapes, grain, dates, and nuts. Pours with a 1.5 finger light amber head. Color is a sediment-free dark amber/brown. The higher 7.5% content is well hidden by tangy yeast, bitter fruit and a light coffee aftertaste. Mouthfeel is sub par. Too watery for my tastes. Although this brew isn't too heavy, it's flavor may be strong enough to discourage back-to-back bottles for some.

Scottasaurus, May 12, 2008
Photo of Durge
3.58/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is a clear but very dark mahogany colored barleywine with a medium sized off-white head and lots of lace. A nice aroma combining raisin, licorice and chocolate, very palatable. A fizzy somewhat thin brew but the flavor brings out some charcoal and more raisin/licorice. There is an orange citrus hint that holds on your tongue. Pretty drinkable, not too strong, but maybe a little too thin bodied. Overall a good brew.

Durge, May 04, 2008
Photo of ncvbc
2.58/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark copper color...shades of brown and red. Massive carbonation but not much head at all. Smell is light but not too offensive. Softly sweet of caramel and fruit with bready, doughy undertones. Taste is kind of bland. Sweet, bready, hints of chocolate. Light hop presence. No alcohol noted but watery. Mouthfeel is about medium but super thin. Not a favorite.

ncvbc, Apr 17, 2008
Photo of scottbrew4u
2.73/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Just brought this one home and had to try it right off. Poured out with a nice one finger, tan, foamy head. Color is dark amber, coppery with some garnet hints. Brilliant clarity.

Smell of roasted malt, burnt sugar, and herbal hops not real fresh though.

A bit slick on the tongue and a little watery for a barley wine. Good carbonation level.

Semi- sweet roasted malt are not real complex. Some bitterness lets you know the hops are there but not in a fresh flavor. A bit metallic tasting in the aftertaste. The alcohol makes itself known but not over powering. Overall this is drinkable but not fulfilling like a barley wine should be. Not a strong malt profile to speak of and the mouthfeel was watery.

scottbrew4u, Apr 09, 2008
Photo of halfP1NT
3.45/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed this beer on 3/7/08.

Looks black at first in the glass, but becomes ruby colored and cloudy when held up to the light. Off white head dissipates after a couple of minutes.

Smells malty, musty, bitter. Slight smells of dark fruit and bitter chocolate, alcohol comes through.

Taste-malty, smoky, a little dry, roasted malt. Hops make it a little interesting.

Bit of a thin mouthfeel, but nicely carbonated. Somewhat drinkable, a good sipping beer, but I think there are better representations of barleywines.

halfP1NT, Mar 19, 2008
Ridge Runner from Rock Art Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 348 ratings.