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Ridge Runner | Rock Art Brewery

197 Reviews
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Ridge RunnerRidge Runner

Brewed by:
Rock Art Brewery
Vermont, United States | website

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.20%

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.

Added by Murph on 08-07-2002

User Reviews
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Reviews: 197 | Ratings: 395
Photo of jaasen64
3.67/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First beer from Rock Art Mixed 12. You know it's a fairly small scale brewery when they include a sticker and a typed note as the first thing you see in the box.

A- Dark slightly golden brown, translucent. Little head that dissipates fast. Lots of carbonation can hear it sizzling for a couple of minutes after pouring.

S- Floral, bready, oats + barley, malty smell, with light hops.

T- Lightly sweet with tastes of caramel, light chocolate, oats, and malts. Light sweet caramel oat/barley aftertaste.

M- Medium bodied, easy to drink, well balanced. Alcohol nicely hidden.

O- A little bit less boozey and sweet then most of the Barleywines I've had and not as much of a wine taste. Not a bad beer, but not one of my favorites.

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Photo of woosterbill
2.12/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12oz bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Deep, clear persimmon body under a finger of fine tan head. Ok retention and lacing; attractive.

S: Weak sauce. Cocoa, chocolate malt, bread, and some dull vegetal hops. It smells like a mediocre brown ale, never a barleywine. Thin and disappointing for the style.

T: Maybe a touch better than the smell, with some light toffee joining the breadiness and cocoa. Thin graininess comes in on the finish, though, negating whatever richness came before. Inoffensive but thoroughly disappointing.

M: There's a nice, moderate amount of fine, creamy carbonation, but sadly it's stuck within a depressingly thin, watery body.

O: I'd score this significantly higher if it were called a Brown Ale, an Amber Ale, or maybe even a Scotch Ale. As a Barleywine, though, it's an utter failure. Don't expect this beer to be rich, sweet, hoppy, or satisfying in the least. Note to Rock Art: please stop getting people's hopes up by calling this a Barleywine.

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Photo of SickGnar
3.78/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark amber – just shy of brown with an extremely light tan small cap of foam. Clear with a couple streams of lazy, large bubbles. It keeps a ring and leaves pretty good curtains of lace.

S: Malty, bread crust, toffee, caramel, some sweetness. Lots of character, but not very aromatic. No hops found.

T: Sweet, bread crusty malts, caramel & toffee sweetness up front with some hints of roast increasing in the backend. Melanoidan & biscuit malt base with some toasty grain. Lightest & vaguest hint of dark fruits. Roast really grows as it warms and as consumed. Balancing hop bitterness. Nice earthy, herbal, & resiny character. Hops are all middle to end and into the finish – virtually no hops on the front end. Good depth and richnessl, but not all that complex.

M: A fair hair over medium, under matched & soft carbonation. Lots of texture from dextrins, sugars, and hop tannins. Starts quite sweet and stays a bit sticky. Good, big feel for its gravity.

D: Big on taste rather than heft. It has enough girth, but is a rather tasty and easy drinking barley wine. Almost the quaffing version. At the lower end for the style it may not compare to apple to apples with some of the monsters out there. However, as a milder version it is a very approachable and drinkable brew.

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Photo of tzieser
4/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from a 12oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

a: dark brown in color with a thick haze. fairly thin one finger white head. not much else. looks nice.

s: rich malty aroma. notes of darkened fruit and barley. very nice.

t: sweet caramel flavors up front quickly followed by some mild orange-like fruitiness (maris otter? is that you??). very mild bitterness. well hidden abv. probably the weakest barleywine i have tasted, but still delicious to drink.

m: smooth mouthfeel.

i'm surprised that Rock Art could pull off a barley wine this flavorful with such a low ABV. great idea! way to think outside the box.

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Photo of tobelerone
3.33/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brown, almost caramel colored beer with a fluffy off white head that has both good retention and lacing. Nearly opaque.

Nose is somewhat modest; sweetness is noticed first, with a little vanilla and spice. Caramel malt, faint trace of hops in the background.

The flavor of this beer is a little light for a barleywine, which when combined with the lower ABV makes it easier to drink than most. There’s not a lot of depth here; again, it’s mostly sweet, caramel maltiness, very little in the way of hops, and some light vanilla and spice notes. Trace of bourbon perhaps? Not all that profound.

The carbonation is medium low and the body is right in the middle, moderately full and decently smooth. Finish is fairly short for the style. Alcohol goes unnoticed.

Kind of boring in the end. I’ve had this both on tap and in the bottle and I don’t really see the need to go back any more in the future really. A barleywine that’s easy to drink and perhaps a good introduction to the style but certainly not emblematic of it. Middling.

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Photo of berliner07
3.58/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I have enjoyed this beer many times in the past. Good availability right over the border. The malt profile is substantial I do wish there was more interesting hop profile in this beer though. I always find the hops bitter, not pleasant. Maybe some new hop selections would make a difference here?

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.8/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

caramel in color with a light, off white head on top that comes to about a half an inch in this glass, but has incredible staying power. Caps the top just about right before it settles down into a subtle, yet defined broken crown that clings to the sides of the glass throughout the rest of the session. Classic look here.

Aroma is light, hints of vanilla, light leather and bourbon are the most pronounced. Really rich smelling and the alcohol is coming through clearly. Evidence of the malts dominates everything, this is a good thing and even an hour into this bottle, that sweet vanilla aroma is mixing with an almost toffee like touch and a hint of plum. Smooth, rich flavor washes across the tongue

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Photo of Kinsman
3.78/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Murky dark brown color with a fluffy ecru colored head that fills the upper third if the glass.

Initial aroma certainly suggest a more traditional malt-forward barleywine with plenty of caramelized malts and only faint hints of citrusy cascade hops in the background.

Tastewise, sweet biscuity malts and slight hints of cocoa tell the story here. Hops add just a bit of bittering and some floral and fruity character to offset the malt.

Mouthfeel is lighter than expected but still plenty of body for this barleywine. Smooth with a slightly warming finish. Overall not a bad beer at all and certainly a nice change of pace from the hop-forward barelywines that seem to dominate the market now.

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Photo of jondeelee
3.7/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ridge Runner does not start off resembling a Barleywine, lacking the sugary sweetness that usually accompanies these beers. Instead, its notes are partly sweet--brown sugars and vanillas--but partly earthy, including loam and toasted nuts.

On the tongue, the beer begins with a smack of toasted nut and earthiness that is quite pronounced, balanced by a good amount of malt sweetness that resembles brown sugar. Light fig, plum, and apricot fruit esters swirl in the background, as well as a coffee-with-heavy-cream runnel. Lychee nut flavors round out the citrusy notes, here brought by a good handful or two of hops, which further bring a rosewater thread to the brew. The aftertaste is largely toasted nuts and roasted malts, and lasts for a good while. Mouthfeel is medium-light, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, while this does not resemble a Barleywine as I'm familiar with the style--and at 7.5% ABV, is one of the weaker of the lot, which usually run 8-12%--it is still a delicious beer, having excellent flavors that are well balanced and finely nuanced. Many of the low scores I give in this review are simply a result of the brew not resembling the style it purports to be, and thus appearing mislabeled.

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Photo of Allpe45
3.29/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle
Can't understand the bottling date. There's a notch on January and another notch on August. Numbers on left and right sides are 28 and 19

Appears reddish opaque dark brown, fluffy off-white head with great retention and lacing.

Somewhat muted nose. Earthy hops and sweet caramel malts, some fruity esters, toffee and sweet breat.

Tastes like grassy/earthy hops up front, with sweet bready malt and caramel in the middle, more earthy hops and faint bitterness in the finish. Not very bold flavor profile.

Thick/syrupy, very smooth with low carbonation.

Something seems strange about this. Off base for the style.

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Photo of cbutova
3.75/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Dark red-brown body with a light tan head. Retention and size are both pretty good. Nice coat of creamy lace around the glass.

S- Caramel, dark dried fruit and bread come off the strongest. Nutty, slightly roast and general hop hints also come through.

T- Sweet caramel, brown sugar, nutty, roast and grainy notes make up a mostly malty beer flavor profile. There is also a bit of bread and spice from the yeast. Dark fruit/raisin is big as well.

MF- Moderately thick body with silky carbonation. Carb level is right down the middle. Tiny amount of hop bitterness, mostly malt finishes.

One of the smaller feeling Barleywines I have come across but no real off flavors or major flaws. It has a nice malt profile and a decent yeast compliment. Certainly worth a shot in a mix a six or mixed 12 pack.

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle with a Bottled On Date notched at Feb. Pours a murky, dirty copper dark red color with a very small head. Zero lacing. Aroma is earthy with some booze, dark fruits, caramel, and butter. Taste is buttery with dark fruit flavor. Slight bitterness to it along with some breadiness. Kind of tastes like the caramel popcorn you get in those decorative tins during Xmas. It's nice to get a barleywine in a mix 12 pack but this one is just alright. Not bad, but it's no very boozey for a barleywine. Overall, it fits perfectly in this pack. I wouldn't seek it out but its not a bad beer.

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Photo of Duhast500
4.37/5  rDev +26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the 12oz. bottle into an over sized wine glass.

The color is a dark maroon with a slight wisp of a head and little lacing on the glass.

The smell is dark fruits with some raisins and figs in the aroma. There is some sweetness there that is syrup-like and is a little like sour cherry.

The taste is subtle at first, nothing jumps out at first to say barelywine but there is a warm sensation toward the end. There is a grape flavor that is mixed in with more dark fruit flavor. There are some figs, dates and some over-ripe banana that is giving this beer a laid back fruity character. Some sweetness is just at an arms-length in the background, you sense it and it seems to back off and then it happens again before this beer goes down.

The feel of this beer is big, and at times, it can’t hide it. It is smooth but complex and seems to have some hidden facets to it as you go along for the ride.

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Photo of jwinship83
2.81/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

12oz bottle picked up while in boston for EBF/NotB. drank out of my samuel adams perfect pint glass. this is my first beer from this brewery.

A- this one pours out a dark amber colored body under a rather small khaki colored head. the head fades pretty fast and leaves behind very little as far as lacing goes.

S- the nose is very subtle for a barleywine. slight whiffs of sweet caramel malts and vague fruitiness. some earthy hops at the end.

T- the taste is just as weak as the smell is. very surprising for a barleywine. it starts out with some sweet caramel malts and then moves onto some fruits. raisins and plums. after that theres a hint of alcohol and some earthy hops at the end.

M- medium bodied. the carbonation is pretty high for an english barleywine. very slight warming from the alcohol.

D- meh, this is a pretty weak example of the style. its nice to see an english barleywine sold in a six pack, but i dont think this is what i wanted. i dont see myself seeking this one out again.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.2/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

$6.50 at Redbones, Somerville MA

Bad pour day at Redbones because all the beers at our table had no head (they were guillotined) except for a Southern Tier 2XIPA. Despite the bad pour several lacey meanderings were left by a thin collar. Dark brown and auburn colored beer.

Aroma is Cinnabon cinnamon bun and plum. Aroma is good, just faint. Taste features more cinnamon bun brown sugar, plum, and a little dark bread. In confluence with the aroma and taste, the body is on the lighter side.

It's like a light barleywine. Decent in it's own right.

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Photo of jlindros
3.46/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a frothy 1 finger head that fades at a medium pace, with a bit of lacing, over clear mahogany molasses brown color.

Nose has some reddish malts, some dark malts, a bit of crystal, lots of herbal earthy hoppy Hedgerow UK hop aromas, a bit of a molasses like syrupy aroma. Not much there either, kinda flat, a slight bit of fruits.

Taste brings more of the herbal UK Hedgerow bittering hops, with some light minerality flavors, that herbal hop flavor dominates (not my favorite) with a slight bit of minerality and a plasticy like taste, then come the malts, lots of medium reddish to darker malts, crystal malts some light syrupy flavors, and a hint of dark fruit. Finishes with some sweetness but dries some from the initial sweetness, with a lingering crystal malt flavor and some herbal hops, as well as more minerality.

Mouth is medium to a little heavier bodied with decent carbonation.

Drink is so-so, not much by way of booze, but the minerality combined with the herbal hop flavors and a sticky finish give it a bit of trouble.

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Photo of ms11781
2.38/5  rDev -31%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottled in September 2010. 12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a cloudy, brownish color, maybe mahogany, with almost no head. At most a very, very thin white ring around the glass.

Nose is unlike any barleywine I've had. There's a little bit of sweetness and earthiness. It's definitely very malty but there is an off scent that I can't quite put my finger on. The closest thing I can come up with is the peat characteristics I get from a good scotch ale. But this isn't quite that either. Not sure if it's pleasant or not. Not really bad but not great either.

Taste isn't the same as the nose but there still seems to be that off flavor. Very earthy with some toffee and some smokiness. But really I keep coming back to that peat-like character that I can't quite wrap my head around.

Mouthfeel is on the border between thin and medium. Very low carbonation.

Drinkability is low on this one. Goes down very smooth with the thin/medium body and low carbonation but the flavors really aren't that pleasant.

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Photo of aasher
1.77/5  rDev -48.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

This beer was received as an extra from Shaggy9356, thanks Matt! It poured a dark burnt, stained woodlike amber with a quickly dissipating off white head. It smells like a bland macro amber. I can't quite put my finger on which beer it's most similar to but it may be along the lines of Fat Tire. For a barleywine, this tastes nothing like it. It's very malty and has something flat going on. It has a strange funkiness to it. It's not only not impressive it's pretty bad. This is near a drain pour as it leaves a downright odd aftertaste in your mouth. It drinks smoothly enough. To be honest though, I'm having a tough time drinking this. It's smooth, I guess, but it's other lackings are so distracting. At least I got to try it.

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Photo of claspada
3.7/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aromas are quite subdued for the style. Some caramelized malts, bitter chocolate and cocoa. Can't identify much in the way of hop aroma here. Maybe some light dark fruits, but I could be embellishing just to add smells.

The taste is nothing like any barleywine I have had, much more like a dobbelbock. You get some chocolate malt initially with some slight roastiness. No decernable hop flavor that I can detect. Not bitter or strong like your typical Barleywine; decent flavor but not what I've come to recognize. The mouthfeel is medium bodied. No residual bitterness or cloying flavors.

Overall this is just a good beer, a bad english barleywine, but still a really tasty beer worth trying, especially for the low price point. I like when breweries don't brew to style so I probably appreciate this more than others might.

Dr: Medium. Good flavor, although nothing overly noteworthy, makes this fairly easy drinking. I just think I'd move on to something more exciting & flavorful after one.

Comments: This was ok, but a bit bland for a barleywine. I knoe Rock Art's hands are a bit tied with VT's restriction on ABV (I think 8% is the max) in beer. That would certainly limit their potential, but I would not have produced this if in such circumstances. A barelywine is usually more fuller flavored & bodied that this. This is ok, but closer to a

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.33/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a tulip shaped glass late at night watching some shit.. Vermonster's little brother??

Ridge runs into a dark bronze kinda brownish kinda orange/red in color with a head, if you can call it that. Nothing left on the glass. This does look barleywine esque, but the lack of head on a seven point fiver baffles me. Smells include MMMAAALLLTTT, alot of malt, caramel, toffee, but some piney hops from the fresh botle, faint dark fruit, that about sums it up. Taste include caramel, slight sugar, coconut, dark fruit, earthy hops, toast, YEP! Feel is mediumish with low carb, kinda deadish but ah well, I drank it, I thanked it, I super ranked it(?), good for a gander.

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Photo of ClassicBrad
4/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep mahogany with a finger or so head that lasts briefly before becoming little islands of foam.

Smell is that of rich malt and spicy hops; grassy and sweet.

So much flavor but without any overwhelming cloy that might film the palate. Surprisingly crisp while not sacrificing flavor.

Mouthfeel is what sticks out in this brew. It doesn't have that overwhelming sensation that so many barleywines have. Very well carbonated and refreshing.

Drinkability is another high point for this beer. While it is on the low side for the style (alcohol-wise), it is also an easy drinker.

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Photo of smcolw
3.61/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Moderate lace but it leaves a lot of ring and stringy lace. Cloudy beer with a dark amber/light brown color.

Sweet aroma of concentrated malt syrup.

Very good dollop of hops to the otherwise malty (and mildly sweet) beer. Low alcohol presence for the style. Accurate body and carbonation.

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Photo of BeerMasterD
3.23/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Cloudy dark amber/brown color. Two-finger head that receedes at a moderate pace and leaves some sticky borken lacing.
S Aromas are hoppy and fruity, grassy/floral.
T- Bitter and sweet, some spiciness.
M- Light for a barleywine, smooth.
O- Enjoyed it, but not blown away.

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Photo of silentjay
3.2/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

pours pretty red with a small tan head that retains well and laces decently.

very english aroma of herbal hops, toffee, and caramel. eh.

flavor is kinda weak, but of caramel, toffee, cereal and toast. very little in terms of hops, but what is there is herbal. there is also some weird black pepper spiciness.

mouthfeel is pretty light for the style, with very little stickiness left on the palate and light carbonation.

goes down ok. kinda weak in flavor and body, but its not gross, just kind of bland.

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Photo of u2carew
3.41/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. Longneck
A) Pours with a two finger head. Tight and creamy. Settles a bit. Mahogany in color. Lacing is thin and sticky.
S) Toffee. Maple syrup. Spicy notes. Aroma overall is robust.
T) Flavors not as bold as the aroma. Caramel. Toasty. Hints of smoked grain. In the finish a pleasant hop bite. The taste is well balanced and isn't too sweet.
M) Full body. Chewy. Fairly smooth. Bitter in the finish.
D) A decent barleywine.

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Ridge Runner from Rock Art Brewery
79 out of 100 based on 197 ratings.