Ard Ri | Upland Brewing Company

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Ard RiArd Ri
142 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 142 |  Reviews: 77
Reviews by coldmeat23:
Photo of coldmeat23
3.38/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 50 degrees

This pours a slightly dark shade of amber with some nice crimson highlights. The eggshell colored foam head is almost a full fingers worth thick. The retention is good, leaving a nicely thick, surface covering, foamy film. The lacing is great, but very slippery.

BIG notes of caramel malt sweetness are mildly balanced by the bitternes of hops. Light hints of buttery toffee.
Overall, the nose is rather mild, as far as components.

I was looking forward to a maltbomb, from all of the things that I've heard about this one. The nose tried to give that indication. Sadly, there is just way too much hop bitterness in this one. This should be a lot more malt forward.
Caramel and toffee malt notes are here, but they are overshadowed by pine and citrus hop notes.

Medium-to-full bodied beer with a nice light-to-medium level of carbonation. Very smooth and has a good touch of creaminess to it.

I don't know. It's okay. Nothing that I really want again though.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume II, Issue IV:

Bubbly eggshell-colored head rises and leaves a healthy-looking lacing on the glass. Cloudy red color, cloudy to the point of not being able to see through to the other side, though most of it cleared up when the beer warmed a little due to it being chilled. Malty buttery aroma, lots of butter. Bread and caramel with a ripe fruitiness in the nose as well. Full, creamy smooth body. Pungent to start with a hop bitterness twang and biscuity maltiness. Big caramel flavor from the malt and a butter tone from the yeast take over the palate in the middle. Hop flavor plays off of that a little bit but does not make a big impact. Fruity with suggestions of rhubarb and ripe honeydew melon. Finishes sweet with caramelized sugar, bread and vague hop flavor.

Not bad at all, perhaps a bit too sweet, fruity and buttery, but that is the path that was taken with this Imperial Red Ale. Great for anyone that digs malt bombs.

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Photo of dsauter
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
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 imbuckeye
4/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of cokes
3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Medium ruby-auburn with and modest sandy head. It leaves decent lacework even as it quickly evaporates.
The aroma brings plums, black cherries, brown bags, caramel, spruce, pine, herbs, oxidized copper, and a good dollop of booze. It smells a bit aged or old, even though it isn't.
Toffee enters the mouth first, expanding to plum and caramel. The minerally bitterness cuts it short. It's hops from now on. Metallic. Piney. Iron-rich and blood-like. Pulpy herbals. Weathered. Booze is noticed in the taste, but lacks defining characteristics.
The build is a fleecy full-ish, masked a bit by the carbonation. It's built to be drank.
The balance is here, but it's off. The maltiness begs to be featured but the less-sure hops grab the stage. They bring a necessary bitterness, but the flavor is askew. It seems way older than it is.

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Photo of Sammy
3.73/5  rDev +0.8%
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 BrewIndy
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep deep red bordering on brown. I over poured this, my second over pour of the night! The head dissipated into a nice off white frothy head.

Smell: Carmel and vanilla notes hit you right away. Sweetness and alcohol are very present in the nose of this Ard Ri.

Taste: Vanilla is up front on this one. Very tasty and immediately makes me wonder what this aged in oak barrels or even on cask would taste like. A little bit of bitter but not much but some great sweet carmel flavour is present. The alcohol is very present in this one. Just to let you know, alcohol to me is a sweet flavour in my beers. This isn't true for everyone though.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy what else did you expect? Perhaps a little bit of bitterness on the back end but balanced all the same.

Drinkability: At 9.3% I don't know how much you really want to drink. This one is great to split with a friend(s) and enjoy. For an imperial red ale Upland really out did themselves. I'm disappointed I only have one as I'd love to taste this after getting some age on it. If you can find it pick it up as you won't be disappointed.

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Photo of FalconA
3/5  rDev -18.9%

Photo of Kegatron
3.23/5  rDev -12.7%
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 thagr81us
4.05/5  rDev +9.5%
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 nesta
4.08/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer is powerful! In both flavor and alcohol, this beer is strong.

Rich, caramel and toffee flavors from the malt, with a spicy, earthy hop character that is extremely present but not overwhelming.

The smell and flavor both are delightful, but I'm a little confused by it being labelled an "imperial red ale." I have never heard of this category of beer before, and while it is a makeshift name and a suitable name, it has no characteristics for which I could distinguish it from a barleywine. Color, flavor, aroma, strength, everything points to barleywine. I hate to suspect the style name is a gimmick to lure in adventurous beer guzzlers, but the beer is good enough that even if this is the case it's forgivable. I may buy another six pack of this to cellar, I suspect it would age quite well.

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Photo of innuendobrewskiman63
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of emerge077
4.13/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Heorot & Fickle Peach in Muncie, IN.

Pint arrived with a small cap of reddish tan foam, the color was an opaque reddish brown. Intense malty aroma, with some light floral things in the background. Visually it looked like a very hearty beer.

Rich malt flavor, some inkling of grapefruit rind is there, but it's mainly a steamroller of full-bodied malty goodness. Elements of Scotch ale are present too, but not especially sweet or smoky. It's abv is well hidden, and i'd imagine a few of these could wreck you easily.

Fun fact: The photo on the label is from a larger scene of Stan from the Heorot with his pet wolves. There is a banner above the bar at the Heorot.

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Photo of machostacos
4.07/5  rDev +10%
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 jsh420
3.56/5  rDev -3.8%
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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4.48/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This Upland brew is one I have wanted to try for years. I am enjoying it in celebration of Saint Patties day.

Nearly three fingers of biscuity tan head has nice retention and leaves waves of lace as it fades. Body is a perfect brownish amber that almost glows. Nose is minerally and nicely toasted with sweet malts and marmalade like citrus hops. Complexity is noted off the bat as you take first sip and malts and hops mingle together wonderfully. I get notes of rye, caramelized nutty malts and a mineral and citrus based hop profile. This beer really reminds me of Nugget Nectar and Rye Squared both of which I love. Minerals, sticky hops and a slight nuttiness make up the mouthfeel. Exceptional drinkability. Probably my favorite from Upland.

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Photo of tesla92
4/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of charlesw
3.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pale amber/red. Smallish head of tiny little off-white bubbles that are still around next Tuesday. Needs to be a bit darker, eh?

Smells like caramel malts and cascade hops.

Wow. Wow. HS. Wow. Amber ale my ass. Since when is an amber at 9.5%? It's huge. i guess I didn't quite realize what I was getting into as a last beer before bed. All the heck over the mouth. And 9.5%? Dang. So, yeah. I'll have to file a change on this one. Then you'll think my comments odd and out of place. But maybe the beer will score better because it will actually be in a category where it fits, eh? It's huge on flavor. All over the mouth. Really a "wow" experience. Not really well balanced in flavors but the sweetness (of which there is a lot) is balanced out by a healthy dose of bitterness. And if I speak of the flavors that way it's because there's something a little off. Like, well, maybe tobacco juice or something. Actually, that seems like a pretty good way of putting it. Tobacco juice. So a little smoked and a lot bitter. Very sweet. That big citrus smell and citrus burp (but oddly little to no citrus flavor).

Right. So now I'm going to have to say what style it is in order to properly review it and to justify my numbers. Well, let's ask the bjcp, shall we? Oh. Well. Duh. It's an old ale or barleywine. Well, I think I'll post the change as an old ale because the category is much broader in interpretation and this could be really good there. For a barleywine I'd tag it for low color and low aroma, at least. Ah. But it would be interesting. Well, if I got and reviewed another I'd have time to think about that. As it is now I've only got this one and it's obviously not an amber ale. Like, hello.

Edit: well, it's probably an American barleywine. The flavor is a little weird and includes some strange things (oxidation?) but the bitterness is really way too high for an old ale. Let's think about the scores... No, this still seems pretty close.

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Photo of jmarsh123
3.49/5  rDev -5.7%
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 mikesgroove
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
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 buschbeer
3.73/5  rDev +0.8%
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 hopkrid
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of cleonile2000
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of claspada
3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
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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Ard Ri from Upland Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.7 out of 5 with 142 ratings