Ard Ri | Upland Brewing Company

77 Reviews
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Ard RiArd Ri

Brewed by:
Upland Brewing Company
Indiana, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
"High King" is an Imperial Red Ale

Added by Bitterbill on 10-09-2007

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Reviews: 77 | Ratings: 142
Photo of buschbeer
3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

1 Pint 6 Fluid Ounce bottle
Served in an imperial nonic glass

A - It has a rust colored appearance with amber highlights. It is topped with two inches of mocha head.

S - It has a floral, tea smell. Some bread smell wafts from it, as well.

T - That tea and floral hops is also in the taste. I get a little alcohol from time to time, and a bit of caramel malt.

M - Medium with a chalky coating on my tongue.

O - As far as imperial reds go this is on the malty end of the spectrum. It has decent flavor, and the alcohol is noticeable. This is better than year round offering that I have had from Upland.

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Photo of macrosmatic
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Thanks to Matt for sending this one down! Reviewed from notes. Poured from bomber into a Russian River pint glass.

A: Hazy copper, with a finger of off-white head and relatively low visible carbonation.

S: Sweet toasted malts and light pine hops - but there's minimal aroma overall.

T: Boozy hit on the first sip. There's a lot of flavorless bitterness here with the toasted rich malts. Finishes with a moderate bitterness from the hops. This doesn't have any complex flavors.

M: A nice roundness and heft to the body. Average levels of carbonation, and the alcohol is noticeable.

O: I'm not impressed with this one. Definitely needs some more dry-hopping, which would give the beer a lot more depth of flavor, as well as aroma. There's nothing terribly off about it, but it's not something I'd be in a hurry to repeat.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A- Pours a murky, dark rust color. Body is pretty dark amber to brown towards the middle, but the edges have a fair amount of light getting through, promoting a red look. Medium to thick, tan colored head forms and retains very well. Lacing is also pretty good.

S- Some caramel malts and other semi-sweet, yet bready/biscuit scents. Hops are very noticeable, through and with the caramel malts. Reminds me of the scent of a Stone beer, specifically Levitation.

T- Starts with a dull, less sweet flavor of caramel malts. The caramel is somewhat bitter and morphs into a bread/biscuit flavor about midway through. Really dry with the bready flavors before a low to moderate hop profile kicks in with a little bit of bite. Strong by no means, the hops balance the somewhat dry caramel flavors into a succinct finish with little lingering flavors.

M- Quite light for an "imperial." Medium level of carbonation, with the body being moderately thick. About as smooth as average for a red ale, maintaining its ease of drinking.

Overall, an above average effort from Upland. It's no Brian Boru from Three Floyds, but for $5.99 a bomber, it's an acceptable substitute.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a dimple mug)
Bottled in Feb ‘13
A- This beer pours a slightly dense body of reddish-brown with a deep beige head that is supported by lots of big bubbles.

S- The slightly woody toffee note to the clean aroma takes on some woody pine hops in the finish that take on an enamel paint quality as it opens.

T- The sweet toffee note has a slight buttery quality to it that is cut by a dry pungent pine hop finish there is a pungent bitterness that lingers.

M- The medium-light mouthfeel has a gentle fizz and no alcohol heat noticed.

O- The woody hops compliment the malt nicely but the big bitter pungent hops start to dominate the other flavors and there isn’t much depth in the malt to begin with. It would help to have more hop flavor and less bitterness.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

a very enjoyable hoppy red ale, that drinks like its 5% abv. pours clear amber in color with lots of rising carbonation and a frothy white head with decent retention. lots of bitter citric hops on the front end, totally overpowering any gentle malt sweetness that might exist in the background. fortunately, the malt does come in a lot more in the taste, tempering the hops just a bit. the hops also take on a pine tree flavor, and there is some metallic quality to the finish. the finish is long, with the malt sugar and the hop bitter going back and forth. I cant find the alcohol in this hardly at all either, which is dangerous with an entire growler here before us. I love the mouthfeel, its like the aerated milk they but on a good cappuccino. very light and delicate for how big this beer is. its also a unique format for a beer so hoppy, where thick sticky brews are the order of the day. overall this is a creative and well executed brew, freakishly easy to drink, and as fresh as it gets. the red malts might figure a little more prominently in the flavor, but this is more than adequate in its current form.

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Photo of WastingFreetime
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


Bottled Feb 2011, cellared at ambient basement temperature in Wisconsin, consumed Sept 2012.

Pours out a murky clouded copper color with a single finger of off-white fine foam for a head that sticks around for about three minutes, leaving concentric rings of lacing. Semi-sticky full body, light carbonation levels.

Smells and tastes of plenty of sweet toffee / caramel , pine resin, and grapefruit pith with a minimal level of oxidation... Yet honestly, it hasn't really gotten any better with aging. Even though all of the boozey hotness has been removed, the interesting roasted and nutty malt aspects have been removed as well... and there's not quite enough complexity or new traits developing with this (last) bottle to justify the cost of further experimentation with more bottles. I seem to have started with something just simple enough to be appealing, and inadvertently dumbed it down until it became -boring-.

I think I'm going to just call it a 'learning experience" and move on from here.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.23/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a deep clear ruby, with a finger of rich and creamy off-white head. This retains with a frothy ½ finger which leaves back a robust cascade of sticky lacing. The aroma smells dark and sticky in the nose, with roast, caramel, and green citrus all mixed in while ripe tropical notes and herbal character sits along the back. Some pine and leafy accents hang on the edges.

The taste is a sticky mix of toffee and tropical fruit, punctuated by a green citric bitterness that then segues into more of a roasty backend. The finish is dry and resinous with some lingering bitter pith and then a touch of sticky sweetness and char on the very end. The mouthfeel is medium to fuller bodied with some sharpness on the tongue but does get a bit more slick and creamy as this spreads out in the mouth. This does have some heady warmth to it that really sticks those hops to the palate and is overall getting a wee bit distracting at times.

This really came off as more of an Imperial Red Ale than a Barleywine and while I did appreciate the overall brashness of this in spots, the strong flavors of alcohol, bitterness, and roast just clashed a bit too much with each other to really keep this approachable. This was decent but I’ve seen the style done much better before.

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Photo of hopfacebrew
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bomber to pint glass the beer arrives a deep amber ruby color and a bit hazy, nice 2 finger white cap with good retention and lacing. The nose is caramel sweet with hints of toasted malt and nice piney hops. The flavor is more hop dominated with a nice sweet caramel sweet base and a hint of toast. Medium bitter. Enjoyable. Finishes dry with a long lingering sweet hop. Medium bodied and well carbonated.Hadn't heard of this beer and received in a trade. Evidently I enjoyed it more than other BA's, lol. The label clearly reads Imperial Red Ale.

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

Picked up at an unknown liquor store while headed home from 3 Floyds.

Poured into a FFF pint glass.

Pours a slightly hazed reddish/orange. There is less than a fingers worth of white head. Not too much lacing.

The nose is certainly malty and has a good amount of sweet caramel and biscuit-like malt. Some more bready malts make way to a bit of dark fruits.

The taste is also malt forward and has a lot of sweetness to it. There is a ton of bread/biscuit malts that when added to the sweetness have a great dessert-like taste. Lots of sweetness, not cloying, a bit robust with a bit of roasted malts.

The mouthfeel is medium-heavy with a lighter amount of carbonation. Creamy.

Overall, this is a decent brew for sure. I would have liked to see a bit more hop presence though.

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Photo of jmarsh123
3.49/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep red with a 1.5 finger off-white head with good retention and awesome lacing.

Smells of sweet caramel malts with a little bit of an earthy/spicy hop presence.

Sweet caramel malts throughout with a bit of an earthy hop presence near the end. Definitely malt forward.

Thick and creamy without being too sweet. Medium carbonation.

I haven't had this in two years and it's not quite as good as I remember, but still a solid brew.

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Photo of liamt07
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle shared by Sammy, 22oz bottle into a tulip. Bottled February 2011.

Poured a reddish brown, some orange shades around the edges. Cream coloured head, thing film of retention and some spotty lace. Nose has some very sweet malts, bread, berry fruits and toffee. Taste is quite fruit-y (as per its nose), more berries, sweet malt and toffee notes. Dry breadiness, with a solid bitterness in the finish. Dry, sweet (almost cloyingly so), with a medium body and carbonation. Fairly plain and uninteresting for the better part. Surprised to see this listed as an American Barleywine, initially took this to be an Imperial Irish/American Red of sorts.

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Photo of peensteen
3.58/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep red colour with a collar of white head, light lace with quite a bit of floaties swimming around. Smell is malt driven all the way, cherry and leather, some darker fruits and booze. Taste is malty, light toffee, generous hop profile, citrus, quite fruity with under ripe cherry coming through. Light carbonation, medium feel, medium body, solid enough feel. This wasn't bad and thankfully much better tasting than the nose would let you believe but still didn't quite do it for me.

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Photo of Sammy
3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Very good malting, with a good bitterness in the finish. Light red bodied,caramel,a little brown sugar, a big bubbly head. Lacey. Interesting and decent drinkability, but not overally complex.Really an irish beer and not a barleywine.Also 8.7% abv.Above average carbonation.

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Photo of tsauce2
3.37/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

P: 22 fl oz bottle in to an imperial pint

A: SRM is amber/brick red. Hazy. Head is off white, 1 in., fluffy, dissipates to line rim of glass. Light lacing.

S: Malt and carmel notes come through, followed by hops.

T: Initially malty, but followed by heavy hop notes and a touch of sweetness. Bitter aftertaste. The ABV is very well hidden.

M: Maltiness gives a very appealing mf at first, but hops seem to counter rather than compliment. Bitterness of aftertaste sticks to the sides and back of palate.

O: A hopped up imperial version of a traditional red ale. The maltiness was spot on, but the hops detracted from the overall taste instead of complimenting this beer. Upland did a fantastic job of making this beer 9.5% without being boozy.

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Photo of claspada
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Awesome extra courtesy of rwinzing. Bottled February 2011.
Pours a slightly hazy amber color with a nice eggshell head that retains well, and leaves plenty of sticky/spotty lacing behind; lots of nice tiny bubbles.
Aromas begin with toffee and caramel maltiness. I also get some nice citrus hops but they aren't dominant or prevalent enough to discern exactly. Some more sweeter butterscotch is also present.
The tastes begin with big caramel and toffee maltiness once again with some stone and citrus fruitiness. As it warms you get more of the buttered bread/biscuity maltiness and some light grapefruit hops and light alcohol notes.
Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with plenty of balanced medium level carbonation. The buttery malty flavors and sticky citrus hops linger for a nice pleasant and no where near offensive finish.
Overall I enjoyed this. It is kind of unbalanced and a bit too malty but I enjoy it because it's trying to be different by creating an Imperial Red Ale. I would have probably enjoyed this more if the hops were more floral and traditional for an Irish Red style; even if they were amped up real high. I just feel the dark caramel/toffee flavors don't meld well with American citrus hops. I love Imperial Red Ales don't get me wrong, but when then flavors go beyond the simple bready and caramel flavors and creep into dark toffee it kind of clashes. It's why I hate Black IPAs, anyway. Definitely good and worth a go if you stumble across it, but no need to seek out.

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

Let the bottle warm out of the fridge. Poured with a nice cream colored head that settled out out and good lacing. Color is a hazy medium amber. Aroma is malt, hops caramel. Body is good and so is carbonation. Finish is like flavor and has good length. Fairly hoppy for an Irish. Could be a session.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

burnt ruby amber. Very intresting hue as the reddish tint was very noticeable even though the haze made it almost opaque. A one inch head formed on the top upon pour, that faded almost immediatly. What was left was a thin film of decent quality lace that circle around the glass. Smell was very sweet, caramel sugars hitting almost immediatly. The deeper smell after some warming indicated a nice bready, earthy malt back with a hint of alcohol, which at 9%abv and being a barleywine should be expected. The taste for me was just too light. I expect barleywines to make me sit down and to be a definite sipper, but this just did not have the fullness I would have expected. The finish on it was very dry, and did last a good bit though. The taste itself was very hoppy, with piney flavors the most noticeable, a slight malt back was trying to form with flavors of grain and bread, but was just too thin to really be noticed.

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Photo of mikereaser
3.76/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky brownish red with 3 inches of off white foam that slowly fades and leaves a nice amount of lacing down the glass. Not much aroma, mainly just some caramel malts. Taste is unique, caramel and toffee, hints of chocolate maybe, a bit of roastiness as well. I think i'm picking out some citrus also. There is a nice amount of hoppy bitterness to this and it makes me want to come back for more. Nicely carbonated and easy to drink. It might not be a multiple bottle a night beer, but it is very enjoyable to drink.

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Photo of machostacos
4.07/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled February '11 - poured from bomber into my favorite tulip glass.

A: Hazy reddish copper with an inch of creamy tan head that gives way to a ring around the glass. Nice lacing.

S: Toasted caramel, toffee, milk chocolate, herbal-y floral hops with a little citrus tang thrown in for good measure. A little boozy, though it's incorporated well. Very nice aroma.

T: Sweet crystal malty goodness - caramel and chocolaty toffee with a good bit of astringency from the roasted barley and hops thrown in the mix along with a little alcohol bite. The hops cut through with a fine grassy, herbal, and grapefruit citrusy character. More lingering bitterness than expected - I fear the roasted barley used may have lent a little more than just color to this brew (meaning tannins.) However the bitterness mellows a bit as the beer warms and your palate becomes accustomed to it.

M: Full-bodied but a tad too carbonated - the carbonation accentuates the astringency that is already very prevalent. I imagine this would be outstanding on cask.

O: A very nice example of an Imperial Red. I tend to like my Irish Reds a little more on the malty/sweet side, and this brew has hops & other bittering agents in spades (though in good taste, I suppose.) Definitely more a hopped-up Red, though that's not a great surprise from the "Imperial" moniker. I'm drinking this a little young, too - I imagine it after 6 months to a year this would be absolutely lovely.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.05/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks goes out to robwestcott for sending me this one as an extra in a past trade! Bottled February 2011! Served from bottle into a Green Man snifter. Poured a deep reddish-brown with a two finger off-white head that subsided to one finger slowly. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, citrus, and alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, citrus, caramel, citrus hop, and sweet alcohol. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a pretty tasty brew. Not the best Barleywine I've ever had, but definitely not near the bottom either. I really liked the citrus aspect that was going on in this one, but I think it was still a little to 'hot' when I had it. I could see this one really shining in a year or so when the alcohol has a chance to mellow out slightly. Definitely worth trying at least once even if it is fresh or aged.

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Photo of nrbw23
3.43/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Pours a dark red maybe brown color with an off white head. Head is gone in a flash and leaves little lacing.

S- Picking up carmel and vanilla at first. Quite a bit of malts here, sweet and some booze.

T- Malt bomb going on here for sure. Alcohol warmth here too. Bready, caramel, vanilla and toffee.

M- Medium in body and a good amount of carbonation.

O- Wife is a much bigger fan of this one than I. A bit of a sipper.

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Photo of robwestcott
3.56/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

cold from the tap to 12oz goblet at the brewpub a deep caramel reddish brown with a big foamy two finger long lasting off white head that's leaving lace to the rim.

subtle hoppy aroma followed by sweet malts and caramels (?)

fairly big bitter hops up front and all over the tongue. slowly fading to caramelly sweet. but really, the hops are big. as the beer warms a bit the bitter settles and the sweet character is more present.

big bodied, big bitter, creamy smooth.

drinkable - one or two.

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Photo of Wisconsinality
3.03/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bomber poured into standard pint.

A- Pours a deep amber with a decent amount of haze to it. There is a decent sized head, about two finger's. The head sticks around for a while and leaves some good lacing on the side of the glass.

S- The sweet malt dominates the nose. There is a little bit of hop presence buried in there as well. A little bit of alcohol peaks out at the end.

T- The malt again, dominates the taste. There is a little sweetness to it as well. There is a better hop presence than in the nose. A slight bitterness and not much else.

M- Medium bodied with pillowy carbonation. There is a slight dryness on the tail end.

O- Not a bad beer but nothing that really sticks out about it. It says Imperial Red on the bottle which I get but it says American Barleywine on here which I can also see. Hops are a little lacking though.

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Photo of jsh420
3.56/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours bright reddish amber brown with a tiny bit of sediment big 2 finger head that left lacing all down the glass

smells brown sugar and nutty malts

taste is along the same lines of the nose - sweet caramel biscuit malts but i also detect some fruity hops

mouthfeel is a full heavy body that is a tad sticky - decent carbonation - very smooth

overall - i am not the biggest fan of red ales but this was enjoyable

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Photo of AgentZero
2.78/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Reddish-brown beer that yellows on the edges. Small head with no real retention, sides left clean.

S - Lots of rye, some malts, big caramel. Smells like a big red ale.

T - Bitter with hops, there is a lot of caramel that becomes very sour. This beer gets progressively worse tasting as you go.

M - Medium bodied, lower carbonation.

O - Really hard to drink, didn't like this, taste is strong, but it's not a good thing.

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Ard Ri from Upland Brewing Company
3.72 out of 5 based on 142 ratings.
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