1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Ridge Runner - Rock Art Brewery

Not Rated.
Ridge RunnerRidge Runner

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

354 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 354
Reviews: 190
rAvg: 3.42
pDev: 16.67%
Wants: 4
Gots: 14 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 354 | Reviews: 190 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cbl2
2.93/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

6/18/2007 $3.25 22 oz. 7.50% No best by date.


Pours a deep dark brown tinged with claret and topped by large circumference tan head that settles fairly rapidly.


Caramelized sugar with hints of smoked peat, and a grape-like aroma.


Thin watery body, with not enough carbonation. Off dark fruit flavors (fig, overripe plum) and subtle notes of caramel. This is another mess from Rock Art with no coherency between the flavors. Not bad, but if this stood toe-to-toe with any other beer in the style, it would get smacked silly. I've seen this priced at $9.99/bottle, and I can't express how happy I was to have only paid $3.25. I won't be trying this again.

Photo of bort11
3.2/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Vermonthiker for the extra

22 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. White fingers width of head that keeps up a spotty lacing. Color is a dark ruby red/black.
Smell is malty with a sweetness that has a fruity quality. Taste is equally sweet with a mild bitter finish.
Mouthfeel is almost watery and thin. Not really what you would expect with a barleywine. It is drinkable, but not very interesting.

Photo of Contra
3.13/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Appearance - Dark brown, with a mild reddish hue.

Smell - Really not much to say here.

Taste - Is this even a barely-wine? It tastes more like a lager with, specifically, porter charactoristics. Still, it's not a bad flavor, Fairly malty with a mild smoked flavor.

Mouthfeel - Ugh, what is going on here? Much too thin for a barley-wine. Almost no body present. Also, there is a bit of a bitter aftertaste, but not the good kind of bitter.

Drinkability - Not bad, not great.

Reading some of the other reviews, it sounds like Rock Art is limited to a 8% abv content because of Vermont's laws. Ok, not all barely-wines need to be a hefty 12%. But if I were given this without knowledge of it being called a barely-wine, I'd never even guess this would be classified as it is. Terrible for the style, but it's actually a decent beer.

Photo of JMD71
3.08/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sampled & reveiwed 3/4/07:

Ap: Pours ruby red/light brown. Thick, solid, creamy head which sticks around a while. Decent carbonation. Very clear.

Ar: Malty, bitter chocolate & cocoa. No hop aroma detected whatsoever. Maybe some prune & plum notes.

Ta: Chocolate malt hits me immediately & follows through the middle with slight roastiness. No hop flavor detected. Not bitter or strong as other barleywines I've tasted. Decent flavor but not what I've come to recognize in barleywine. Possibly due to VT's limitation on ABV in beer.

Mo: Medium bodied. Palette clean after each sip. No residual bitterness or cloying flavors.

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 brown ale or alt.

Photo of Phatz
3.85/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a caramel brown color with a big ivory head and some lace.

Smell: Fruity caramel and honey scents followed by a browned butter and burnt sugar grain aroma and bread with a pine hop attribute as well.

Taste: The dark fruit and smoky flavors lead into a nice hops element but the aftertaste was odd to me. I can't say good or bad just different. It made me think of bubble gum sweetness left behind. Interesting.

Mouthfeel: A touch light for a barley wine but the spicy flavor and the warm alcohol compensate for some mouthfeel issues.

Drinkability: This is not my favorite Barley wine but I could drink a bottle.

Hope this is helpful.

Photo of biegaman
3.55/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nothing like a bomber of barleywine, especially by the fireplace - thanks Grub!

No head, a very dark appearance, far from clear (hardly enough clarity to see the shadow of my finger on the other side). Very dull and murky, with highlights of burgundy and flashes of ruby.

A very nice aroma packed with a big malt punch. Actually, a little closer to a dopplebock than barleywine. A chocolate caramel malt combo is really what dominates, and I like it.

The body drinks rather 'interesting' for a barleywine, which is to say it carries itself much closer to a lager. Flavours carry a hint of (artificial) cherry. Most of the malts seem to disappear half through the glass. Warming up did little to improve things...

It did, initially, have some of the qualities of a barleywine, in that I saw myself sitting there, sipping it for sometime, inspecting its colours to the light, sniffing that delicious malt aroma... however what I ended up with was a lager. No hops to smack my palate, no malts that ring out on my tongue, and certainly no alcohol to burn my mouth.

I really like the water they've used but unfortunately that's what I taste the most of. A very quiet 7% with very low bitterness. It wasn't all bad, I did enjoy it make no mistake about it, but this is what I'd expect if AB or Coors put out a barleywine.

Photo of woodychandler
4.1/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow! I called Matt about this one to find out how long it might have been awiting consumption. Based on the notching, July of 2004 when I was attending the Vermont Brewer's Festival. Now, 2 1/2 years later, how would it fare? It began with two fingers of mocha-tan head that reduced to cloudiness, but not wispiness. Nose had a mild smokiness to it. Color was a deep brown with gorgeous ruby highlights as well as NE-quality clarity. Mouthfeel was full and soft with a lot of carbonation presnt on the tongue. Matt had told me that this was intended to be an English-style barleywine and indeed, the malt and the hops were somewhat subdued on the tongue. The best part was the finish, which left an aftertaste of malted cocoa, like you might get from Quik or PDQ. It had a slightly burnt quality to it, but in the best way. Man, if this is what English barleywines are all about, I may make them a routine stop.

Photo of grub
3.13/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

got this bottle in a recent trade with crwills. thanks craig!

650ml bottle with a sticker on the bottom reading june 27 2006.

pours deep reddish brown with a thin head of fine white bubbles. drops quickly and leaves a bit of spotty lace.

aroma is nice. toasty caramel. just a hint of alcohol. bit of earthy hops. smells a little like a lager, almost dopplebock-ish. the initially light aroma seems to disappear pretty quick.

taste is nice. low bitterness. that lager character again. bit of earthy hops. no noticeable alcohol. bit of mineral character. really seems to be lacking body and a proper malt base. initially i wondered if this one was just a little too cold and needed to warm, but not much new came through as it warmed.

mouthfeel is ok. light bodied and fairly dry finish. low carbonation works well, but the body just feels off for a barleywine.

drinkability is good. it's nice and smooth, with no noticeable alcohol, but it's just not a barleywine to me. if you called this an english brown ale i'd think it's a decent representation of the style, but a barleywine it is not. jan said "this is what you'd get if A-B put out a barleywine", and that seems to hit the mark perfectly. it's got definite lager character, fairly light bodied, and just too mild and uninteresting.

Photo of jdg204
3.9/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice brew that I had at a nice little restaurant in Jeffersonville, VT (a state that always has local brews in abundance).

Appearance - Very nice dark color with a touch of red undertone.

Smell - Pleasant but not overwhelming smoked/ roasted/ coffee odor comes through.

Taste - Really enjoyed this flavor a lot, which was a big change from my previous barleywine experiences. Very deep flavor with chocolate and coffee coming through nicely and a nice cherry undertone which was quite pleasant. Hardly and hops and bitterness which I thought worked for this brew, but isn't really what this type is famous for.

Mouthfeel - Very satisfying with a nice consistency and a pleasant aftertaste.

Drinkability - Gotta say I thought this one was a longshot but it came through with flying colors. Really enjoyed the brew and it went great with the meal. While maybe not the prototypical barleywine, this brew is worth a try.

Photo of foureyedgeek
3.18/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottled in May 2006 (no year tick, so I assume as much) received in a trade with malthead.

Pours a deep mahogany with red highlights, frothy off-white head that falls to a small cap of foam, big bubbles. Minimal lacing.

Smells sweet, like brown sugar, wood, vanilla though the aroma is somewhat repressed. Some dark fruits. Fairly aromatic.

Taste is slightly oxidized and sadly this beer doesn't have the flavor profile or higher ABV to have that help. Flavors of brown sugar and malty sweetness and sadly cardboard. Finishes with a slight bitterness.

Mouthfeel is rather on the thin side and a tad watery.

Drinkability is ok, though this beer doesn't have enough good things going for it to make it very drinkable. Some folks call this a good intro barleywine, though I think if I tried this one first, I'd be somewhat turned off to the style.

Photo of ericj551
3.78/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4.5

Ridgerunner pours a deep orange. Smell is good, dark fruits with a nice maltiness and a hint of bitter hops. Taste is decent, very dry for a barleywine, slightly fruity with a bitter finish. The beer is well balenced, but very light for the style. It is also very thin for a barleywine. Overall I like this beer, but it doesn't quite hold up to my expectations of a barleywine.

Photo of warmstorage
2.95/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, $2 (as a single) from Paradise Market in Warren, Vermont.

Pours deep ruby, with a vigorous dense tan head, leaves medium to significant lacing. Head sticks around for a while. Honestly, a little long for the style (which is often higher alcohol, even English style barleywine.

Aroma is slightly spicy, warming alcohol, but a little muted, especially for style.

Taste is caramel, very slight hop body, a little tiny bit of roast. A little candy in the finish. Generally very muted for the style, and like the last times I've had this, a pretty significant disappointment.

Overall, a very easily drinkable beer, but way, way too much a session beer for the barley wine style.

Photo of jwc215
2.8/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown with a thin head.

Pours brown with a thin head.

The smell is almost undetectable. Some caramel and fruitiness is there. Nothing offensive - just too mild, esp. for style.

Very thin flavor - lacks typical characteristics. Thin body - even as it warms. Some sweet grains. A hint of earthy hops. Alcohol is not too noticeable for abv. Not necessarily bad tasting - just lacking.

Spritzy carbonation is noticeable in the feel. The body is too watery for style. I've had chilled and at complete room temperature - Drink warm for some hints at a body - still not enough though. Flavors (what little there were) barely hang on.

Light and goes down easily. Still-in-all, doesn't fit style and nothing really noteworthy. I noticed that it has something of an aftertaste that is common in other beers of this brewery. Bottom line - needs more body and complexity.

Photo of CharlesDarwin
2.58/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Originally reviewed on May 21, 2006. Julios Spring Beer Festival. Pour of clear brown, fringed with tan. A distant sweet nutty aroma. Vacant flavor of distant rum and touch of tannins. Light nuttiness and a hint of sugars. This is weak. Palate is biting and bitterly dry. Hops? Overly thin bodied, not enough alcohol to carry flavor and the flavors that are present are mildly offensive.

Photo of Shaw
2.73/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is a deep, deep ruby color with a foamy off-white head. It looks very nice.

It has a slight malty aroma, no hops noticeable.

The taste is very malty with notes of roasted bread. This beer tastes like a porter, not at all like any barley wine I've ever had.

The mouthfeel is average at best. Decent body, but I'd want more. Its drinkability is decent.

Overall, this is no barley wine. I'm disappointed. It is far too weak.

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.03/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Rock Art- Ridge Runner Barlewine

My 3rd of 3 beers I purchased from the Rock Art line-up.

Appearance- Hazy/ cloudy brown with a small whipped head.
Smell- Caramel malt with a burnt/ roasted hop aroma.
Taste- Like a weak stout. Smooth smokey malt with a light roasted oily hop flavor.
Mouthfeel- Creamy and velvety smooth up front with a mild dry oily flavor.

Overall- This is a Barleywine?! I would of sworn this was a weak stout. Well, it was decent though!

Photo of mcallister
3.53/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Crystal clear burnt caramel with an off white head. Small and quickly fading with no prevelant lace.

Very rich aroma of hazlenut. Sweet toffee malt as well. An in your face smell yet somewhat subdued.

Too sweeet and thin. Very simple. Could have benefited from any addition of hop. A hazlenut, brown sugar, toffee malt bomb very simple and nothing says Barleywine about this brew.

Photo of Freshie
3.18/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep brown and amber colourt with small head.

Aromoa is mildly sweet and a bit malty with no alcohol bite.

The taste is sweet and clean, with slight alcohol warming in the aftermath. Caramel, and some fruityness in this one.

No enough kick for me in this style category. Though a quality made ale.

Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
2.53/5  rDev -26%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I've tried this one on tap before, unfortunatley the 22 ounce bomber serving is not much better. Not enitrely sure where the brewer is trying to go with this. It's kind of a cross between a mildly hopped Pale Ale and ground water. It does pour a very nice deep ruby colr, with absolutley no head. At 7.5 it's pretty easy to get down for a "Barley Wine".

Photo of medic25
3.53/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from a bottle; deep mahogany brownish-red color. Malty aroma. Taste is a burnt caramel flavor; little hoppiness, but mostly straight malt. Very little alcohol flavor; certainly much milder than other barley wines I've tried. Drinkable, but not something I'd go out and seek at a beer store. Certainly not the best in it's class.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.83/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

"In Pueblo myths, Kokopelli carries in his hump, seeds, babies and blankets to offer to maidens that he seduces. As a fertility symbol, he was welcome during corn planting season and was sought after by barren wives, although avoided by shy maidens."

--from 'Kokopelli, Flute Player Images in Rock Art'

Dusky cranberry that becomes glowing crimson with any sort of backlighting. The sandstone cap isn't especially creamy or firm--it's more whipped and frothy--but it looks great as it drops below the upper edge of the snifter, collapsing in sections and leaving beautiful arching bird wings of lace on the glass.

Maybe it has something to do with the low ABV for the style, but the nose isn't all that powerful, nor is it very barleywine-like. It's dark maltier than most and leans toward the fruity side of things. Hops don't make much of an impression; too bad since Cascade, Challenger, Crystal and Perle would have made for a compelling nose if they had been the focal point. A mere 18 months in the bottle shouldn't have reined them in to this degree.

Ridge Runner is one of the wimpiest... no, make that the absolute wimpiest... barleywine that I've ever had. I thought that at 7.5% it would be a less aggressive version, but I had no idea that it would wave the white flag so vigorously from the word go. What's the point of adding six varieties of malt when the total malt load is this pathetically light?

Chocolate and black malt in a barleywine don't strike me as especially good design choices. Hard telling how it might have turned out in a well-brewed beer though. Cocoa and dark fruit continue to lead the way with no other flavors interested in following along behind. With a body this incredibly aqueous, complexity and depth of flavor simply isn't possible.

The mouthfeel improves just enough when the final few ounces are added to the glass to pull it out of laughable territory, although I'm still snickering each time I take a sip. I can't believe that Rock Art even calls this beer a barleywine when the mouthfeel is this vapid. In order to be taken seriously, it needs double the malt; maybe even triple.

Kokopelli deserves a much better beer than Ridge Runner. Not only that, but if he hopes to remove a few buckskin dresses along the way, he'll require a more enticing, more inebriating brew than this.

Photo of assurbanipaul
2.48/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours rather dark for a barleywine, a cloudy mahogany with a thin head/ring. Aroma is malty and syrupy but with noticeable hops.

Taste is only faintly malty, more roasted flavors like a stout. Lots of hops bitterness, quite dry. No alcohol flavors but that isn't surprising; it is just barely within the style guidelines.

Mouthfeel is rather watery, especially for what is intended as a barleywine. Not knowing, I might call this a fairly robust porter. I'm not sure this one works for me.

Photo of DrJay
3.18/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Clear chestnut with a dark tan head composed of fine bubbles. Not much lacing stuck to the glass from the thin cap of foam, but the head retention was pretty good. Mild malty aroma with some chocolate and a quick flash of citrusy hops. Balanced bitterness with some caramel and toffee, fruity hops, a bit of chocolate and sour cherries. There was a light tartness throughout. Medium bodied with moderate carbonation and some dryness from the dark grain. This is a decent beer, but it lacks the depth of maltiness that I expect from a top-notch barleywine. Perhaps if the brewer didn't advertise it as a BW, I'd be able to score it higher. As it is, I liked it but think it misses the style by quite a bit.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.33/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a reddish brown, with a thin tan head that fades very quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: Caramelized malt is the prime component of the aroma. It also contains tea, spice, a bit of fruit, some hops and a hint of smoke (which is quite different for the style).

T: The taste seems quite weak, mainly consisting of caramelized malt, some dark fruit and some smokiness. There almost no hops flavor at all. Overall, the taste really isn’t bad; there just isn’t much of it.

M: Mouthfeel is watery and thin, light-to-medium body, medium-to-high carbonation, dry finish.

D: This beer is easy-to-drink, but only because there really isn’t anything special about it. I could drink this beer for a long time, but only if there wasn’t much of anything else to choose from.

Photo of Franchise
3/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark chocolate brown that has a clear body with a thick tan head. The nose is weak very faint fruit consisting of plum, orange, very weak nose alcohal is pretty appearant. The taste starts boozey, very malty, brings forth a caramel sour feel on the palate. Not much going on with this brew surprised no real hop presence usually found in a barleywines but can sometimes go either way in terms of heavy fruit or hops presence but nothing stands out with this barleywine. IMO another lackluster performance from Rock Art.

Ridge Runner from Rock Art Brewery
79 out of 100 based on 354 ratings.