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Ard Ri | Upland Brewing Company

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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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 77 | Ratings: 142
Photo of AllFineThings
4.5/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a semi-cloudy, deep dark orange/red hues when held up to the light. Has over a inch thick head which settles down after a while and leaves a lot of lacing throughout.

Tastes like a mixture between a Barleywine and an Imperial Red, some alcohol presence, but is pretty well hidden-which translates into easy drinking-watch out-LOL!

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4.48/5  rDev +20.4%
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 iconoklaztor
4.28/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow, what a great offereing from Upland. Its a fucking fantastic beer.

The color of this beer is a rich red and with a small head. The smell is nice and bold but not overpowering

The taste is one of the best from this brewery. I really like this brew.

Overall, this is possibly the best brew from upland. I'm picking up a growler hopefully tomorrow.

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Photo of JamesS
4.28/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is more of an Imperial Red, as it's brewed a lot stronger than normal reds. It has an excellent look to it, a very beautiful burnt red/copper color. It had an excellent head and great lacing. Not only did it have a good red ale scent, nice and almost-sweet, but it also had a wonderful hoppy aroma with it. It had an excellent taste, but much more hoppy than the usual red ale, with a bit of a bitter aftertaste. It goes down fairly smooth, with just a bit of roughness from the high ABV. Excellent imperial and red ale mix.

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Photo of bassmantin
4.23/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I saw this new release at my local beer store and picked it up especially for St. Patrick's Day. Looking forward to trying my first Imperial Red Ale.

I poured it ito a tulip glass, and the appearance is beautiful. Very full red/brown with a nice fine white head. This beer seems to glow, and there is a good bit of carbonation bubbling up through it.

The hops make the nose quite appealing with a good deal of sweetness in the backbone as well. The taste is much different than I expected. It has a good strong alcohol burn throughout (which I enjoy), with a great sweetness at the end (almost Belgian in a way). Plus, the hops are very well done; a bit subdued, but very delicious.

Overall: This beer is incredibly well balanced. Probably the best beer I've ever had from Upland.

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Photo of emerge077
4.13/5  rDev +11%
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 chilidog
4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Ard Ri, Bottled, I found in a Fort Wayne beer store for a pricey $14 plus a six is really my first upland. I've been wanting to get ahold of some Uplands, but oddly enough this limited St. Patty brew was the only offering.

So I start at the top, Imperial Red. It pours a nice dark, slight hazed red. On top, A nice, light tan inch&half head. Lace does web the glass.

The aroma stirs at the nose with a mild but sure fired hop.

The taste is hopped but really well balanced so its not as bitter. The malts calm this 9.6% abv. brew and sweet'n things enough to allow this brew to be enjoyed and drank easy. Easy dose it, 9.6, you would never guess its that strong. Very smooth.

The mouthfeel feels soft, not chewy. The body i would say is heavy medium or a shy full.
Drinkability, pretty easy with a slight hop dryness toward the finih.

Well worth the money!

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Photo of tmoneyba
4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Keg Liquor.

Poured clear rddish copper color with an average frothy off-white head that was mostly lasting with excellent lacing. Moderate citrus hop and toasted malt aroma. Medium to full body with a slick smooth texture and soft carbonation. Moderate to heavy bittersweet flavor with a medium to heavy bittersweet finish of moderate duration.

My expectations where more then met.

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Photo of cnally
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

just missed this on tap when I was in bloomington. bottle will have to do.

the color is a grand red burst. fluffy white head with plenty of sticktuitiveness. really grand looking beer.

really sweet smell. malty, fruity, almost like a fruit basket with rye.

a very good flavor. I am impressed. malt takes a back seat to the hops and, damn! a great hop kick right up front. the apricot/grape fruit flavor comes second. balanced, strong and very punchy with the alcohol.

creamy, great mouthfeel. a real treat to taste. just a loaded brew.

I am really impressed. I have had problems with Upland's bottling before with the bad elmer's and dragonfly (and the wheat, ugh). it is great to see a well bottled beer representative of the tap beer you get in bloomington. and, what a different take on the red! stronger, delicious.

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Photo of nesta
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
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 Bitterbill
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this in a trade with joe1510. Thanks Joe!

This pours a hazy reddish colour with a 1 finger head of foam and some good sticky lacing.

The smell is mostly citrus hops with a dash of sweet and roasted malt there as well.

The taste...umm...it's big. The first thing I notice is huge notes of caramel and roasted malt that brings on the sweet but doesn't go too far in that direction; some nice hoppy flavours, grass and some slight citrus stop it in its tracks and brings on some good balance. I also get a sense of some fruit. Nice.

Hey, this is hefty son of a gun at 9.5%abv and I do feel some warming after the swallow but that's about it and I'd better keep just sipping on it or I'll be in trouble. ;^)

It has a medium mouthfeel, the carbonation is fairly light, and it finishes with another nice carress of roasted malt and grass. This is a darned good Red Ale

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

Poured from a 12 oz, bottle says "imperial red" in small type- whatevs.

Pours bright copper with red hues, small off-white head that leaves behind a nice crust of lacing. Smells fruity, kind of reminds me of gratitude. Some citrus, pear, apple pie, marshmallow, vanilla, beet. Tastes mild, flavors up front are fruity malt, some hop bitter with a follow up of coffee- which is not expected by the way. Interesting for sure, this brew is off-dry which is contrary to the malt bomb smell. Contradictory comes to mind if I had to describe this in one word. Smooth and mellow with tannins bringing up the rear, the coffee bitter cuts whatever sweetness down. The style for this should be imperial red, as bwine does not do this interesting beer justice.

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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 tykees88
4.05/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at upland brewery.

Appearance- Comes out with a very appealing amber red color with a finger of head.

Smell- Malty, and somewhat of some hops, and I can smell the alcohol.

Taste- It is malty right off the bat. I get maybe some vanilla in there, the hops used in this are very minimal in the taste, much like the smell i taste the alcohol.

Mouthfeel- Big beer here, the carbonation is good, it's a little on the thicker side, but it works well here.

Drinkability- For a high abv, it drinks well, I would drink at least another one, if you split a sixer with ur bud then that would be about all you could handle.

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Photo of waltonc
4.03/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Received this as an extra in a trade a few months ago. I didn't realize there was such delicious beer awaiting me in the bottle, as I've never had a red ale I liked.

A: hazy caramel color with white head.
S: some what subdued smell - malty but not much else.
T: Delicious taste - sweet malts, caramel, a tinge of floral notes, not much hops. Flavor isn't too complex, but sure is good.
M: Pretty thick, sticky, medium carbonation.
D: High ABV and sugar knocks down drinkability.

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Photo of brdc
4.03/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks splitgrin for this unexpected bonus.

Let's start stating the obvious - this is not an amber ale, by any stretch of the imagination.
Poured from the small capped bottle into a snifter, it shows a beer somewhere between copper and amber, with a tan head that dissipates quickly, but the collar hold all the way to the end, and leaves nice lacing.
Aroma is the only weak link of the beer, quite pleasant, with herbal, caramel and piney notes, but could use a bit more strength. Later on, as the beer warms up, it shows a bit more punch.
Nearly full bodied, it changes nicely, improving as it warms. Exquisitely well balanced, it shows some sweet caramel, a bready substance, piney hoppiness without being overly bitter, closing out dry.
A very nice beer, somewhat closer to a barleywine, easy to drink for such a high ABV.

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Photo of joe1510
4.02/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle
$10.99 6-Pack
Big Red Bloomington

Bottled 2/08

This is an Irish-style imperial red ale. A somewhat aggressive pour produces a fingers worth of dirty white head over the top of a rusty red body. The body has some haze to it and the head leaves some thin patchy lacing on its way down. Not a bad looking brew.

I can't pick up much in the nose until I swirl and it comes alive for a minute or two until the next swirl awakens it again. You don't usually hear it too often from Irish-style reds but this is robust. Caramel drizzled biscuity malt is big throughout. Somewhere in the middle a sweet bread of some sort pushes its way in but fades just as quickly. There is some sugary pineapple hoppiness on the backend but it's faint and comes through just enough for some balance. There's a ghost like alcohol on the finish.

The flavor follows the nose in stride. Toasty, biscuity, and caramel malts all mesh together nicely. Some of the pineapple and citric hoppiness show up mid-palate through the finish but just to balance things out. I have to give Upland credit. There is zero alcohol noticeable in the flavor, which is quite an accomplishment for a beer weighing in at over 9%.

Healthy carbonation gives this beer an incredibly fluffy, velvety mouthfeel that's unusual for such a monster. The body is on the bigger side of medium and really fits things nicely.

Ard Ri goes down far too easy for such a big beer. The mouthfeel makes this a pleasure to imbibe. This drinks like a standard Irish red. Watch out, these could catch up to you in a hurry!

Ard Ri ended up being a solid seasonal (St. Paddy's Day) release. I'd pick this up again. I just wish I would have had it on St. Patrick's Day, would have made the night even more fun!

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

Pours a deep copper color with a nice head that recedes to an equally nice foamy film. The aroma is a sweet toasted crystal and caramel malt. The hop add a dose of orange zest and mint. Heavy toasted, sweet malt anda syrupy malt balances very well with the hopping. The orange zest and pepperminty. Very nice tasing and feeling beer. Great to look at and enjoy.

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Photo of SuperNova777
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle in to a imperial pint glass

A:Semi dark ruby red with highlights when held up to the light, half a finger worth of head that quickly resides with not much lacing

S:Sweet malt smelling with a tiny hint of hops as well

T:Those sweet malts come thru up front with a tiny hint of some dark fruits in there as well, nice coating on the palate with the malts and fruits. Also has a slight alcohol burn on the backburner

M:Medium bodied with good carbonation

D:Not bad at all, fairly easy to drink for the ABV and the price is right at $5 for a bomber. Upland seems to actually be stepping up the game with their imperial series lately definitly digging it

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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 grub
3.98/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Viggo shared this one. thanks eric!

12oz bottle. sampled oct 11/09.

pours hazy deep orange, almost red and actually shows a nice ruby colour when held to the light. a small very fine white head forms, quickly dropping to a ring around the glass and leaving a bunch of spotty lace as it falls.

aroma is nice. light alcohol. caramel. touch of butterscotch. bit of pine and grapefruit. multi-grain bread and biscuit. bit of cracker. bit of orange and tangerine too.

taste is good. medium bitterness level. lightly warming alcohol. biscuit. multi-grain bread. bit of cracker. grapefruit and pine. bit of orange and tangerine. caramel and light toffee.

mouthfeel is good. medium-large body. very fine carbonation, just under medium level.

drinkability is great. nicely balanced. decent depth to the malt profile. as it warms the alcohol starts to pull through a little more, but it still works ok. a solid barleywine, which seems to fit the beer better than the "imperial red" indicated on the label.

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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 roadhouse
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appears a mostly clear copper red color with a one inch off-white head. Leaves some moderate lacing behind.

Aroma is some sweet caramel with a bit of a buttery toffee note, a fruitiness that can't really be nailed down to anything in particular, and some citric hops.

Taste is sweet up front with that caramel and buttery toffee taste that lasts throughout. Midway through we get a good amount of citrus hops coming through but it's a balanced bitterness. Finishes with lingering citrus hop flavors.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with an extremely creamy feel to it that I really like. Decent drinkability, but I wouldn't really want more than one in a row myself.

This one is actually one of the better brews I've had from Upland. Solid stuff and a good representative of the style.

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Photo of MichaelinFishers
3.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured cold from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Enough carmel-colored head to cover the top, but not much more. Perhaps should have let it warm up some more. Head retention and lacing were good though. Hold it up to the light and the beer is a very clear, deep red. Appearance lives up to the "imperial red" moniker.

Aroma and taste are both very malty, with good, but not strong hop presence. For a style that's supposed to emphasize the malt, it's about right. The bulk of the hops here are in the bittering. More on that later. A fair amount of alcohol flavor also comes through.

Mouthfeel is quite full, more so even than some stouts. Creamy, and (again) malty are the word that come to mind.

The finish is an alcohol kick followed by a deep hops bitterness that clings for a while.

All in all, this is a good beer that is what you would expect from the somewhat made up "imperial red" style. I've had two bottles from my six-pack and am going to cellar the rest for a few months to see if the alcohol and bitterness mellow.

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