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 Cresant
2.73/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured this 12 oz. brown bottle into a Sierra Nevada hops glass. Bottled on "F 09". The body was cloudy and deep golden. The mild head settled to a creamy cap.

Smell was sweet marmalade. Malty. Floral.

Taste reflected the aroma, only there was a strong alcohol presence in the taste. Not as good as I had hoped.

Mouthfeel was full bodied with less than expected carbonation.

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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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Photo of Sean9689
2.94/5  rDev -21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Jason for this one. 22oz bomber poured into tulip.

A - Pours a copper reddish color, nice off-white head, lots of sticky lacing along the sides of the glass, thick ring around the glass, thin cap on top.

S - Huge malt bomb, lots of sweetness, caramel.

T - A shit-load of malts, huge sweetness, caramel, woody notes, alcohol, tons of rye, harsh overly oaked finish that's not so good.

M - Medium, soft carbonation.

O - Meh, not a good BW or Red Ale. The finish is overly oaky and harsh and the rye is overpowering. Can't say I'd have it again.

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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 WhiteRiverSuds
3.13/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a reddish/copper color. There was very little head even w/ an aggressive pour. Minimal lacing. Faint smells of caramel, toffee, malt & alcohol warmth. The taste is a malt and candy sweetness that quickly turns to a persistent and oily bitterness. The mouthfeel is slick with light carbonation. I thought this beer was fairly smooth, but a bit thin for me. Based on reviews from previous years/batches, I'd like to taste a different batch to compare with.

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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 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 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 jrallen34
3.26/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle poured in my Narke glass... The body is a dark but bright copper. The head is fantastic, a bright off white that forms a great cap, and outstanding lacing that hands a full half finger above the base... A simple aroma, mostly malty with a hint of spice. Whopper malt, and toffee. I'm intrigued to see where this goes... The taste is a rye bomb, just dominating and makes its undrinkable, especially on the finish. A nice sweet malt note on the front is nice, but then its all downhill. Was this aged in an old oak tree?

I wouldn't have again.

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Photo of Mistofminn
3.29/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this bottle as an extra from heliosphann. Thanks Scott!

Pours a beautiful red color with a nice tan one finger head with decent retention. Leaves sheets of lacing all over. Slow and laboring carbonation. I really like the color, hence the score.

The nose on this is the most defined "biscuity" character I've ever smelled. It literally smells like the Dough Boy just cooked up some rolls, blended them up and threw them in my beer. Other than the biscuityness, there is a caramel malt backbone, light hops and bready characters.

The taste is very very malty. A nice fruity character arises that I wasn't expecting, followed by a defined breadyness. A touch of alcohol in the end, followed by a lingering bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, definitely not what I was expecting. I was expecting a bite from hops, a more sharp mouthfeel, instead I got a smooth and creamy, easy drinking brew.

Overall, not quite sure about this one. I had no problem finishing my 12 oz, but I just wasn't feeling it. Maybe this isn't the freshest, and maybe this is supposed to be hopped up, but I gotta call it like it is. This is a malt bomb, and I'm not a fan of malt bombs in Red Ales.

Not a bad beer, just not something I would have again. Thanks Scott for the chance!

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Photo of salvo
3.35/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had a tulip off the tap at Black Sparrow on St. Patrick's Day.

Ard Ri hoppy red ale is rich and tart with just enough sweetness to hold the bitter herbal hops upright. Smells beautifully of ripe red rye malt with a hint of sugary clover honey. That honey is way in the background and subordinated to the hard rye and medicinal hops. Taste is bitter bitter bitter and keeps me upright with it's astringency and bitterness. Finishes long and clean like a strait-razor.

This is by far the best Upland offering I have tasted. I generally appreciate Upland, I'm grateful it exists, and I'm happy it has its fans. But I rarely enjoy and really never crave Upland's recipes the way I think about and long for Three Floyds, and Sun King, and (I'm finding, more and more, the new local) People's. Just doesn't compare to Mad River's Imperial Red.

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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 coldmeat23
3.38/5  rDev -9.1%
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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Photo of paco1029384756
3.4/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to heliosphann for the bottle.

Pours a cloudy ruby orange color with one finger of white head.

Scent of caramel, sugars, faint hops, and a hint of alcohol. Not really a whole lot here, but it is a satisfying scent.

Taste of caramel primarily, alcohol, and light fruit flavors. It has a decent flavor, but there is too much alcohol and very little hop bitterness at this point.

Mouthfeel is medium light bodied with good carbonation.

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

This is an interesting brew! I had a little of my Dragonfly IPA left when they brought me this. It was a beautiful deep red served in a snifter (so I knew it would be something different). The smell was rich with malt and hop aromas. The first taste seemed sweet compared to my IPA, but after awhile it seemed quite bitter. The bitterness and high ABV (9.0) made this a challenge to finish after about the first half. Still, this was a nicely done brew and I would definitely try it again. One at a time though, no six packs.

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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 TheBierBand
3.45/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this on-tap at the Heorot in Muncie, IN. It arrived in a pint glass with almost no head.... so there was no lacing and no head retention. The color was a deep amber and clear.

The nose was of sweet malt and a hint of floral hops.

Taste: fairly mild for such a high abv beer. I barely got any warming sensation. I believe that the prominant taste was as toasted malt that left more sweetness and fruitiness on the tongue. The hops were barely noticeable. I think that they were more of an aromatic nature.

Mouthfeel: A bit flat. Could have used a bit more carbonation to provide body. This could have been a terrific beer... it had the potential... just a little more body please.

Drinkability: It seems that I could have a few of these... I didn't really notice the alcohol. I may give this one another try.... maybe in a bottle... IF I want to spend the bucks.

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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 BeerAdvocate
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
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 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 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 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 brentk56
3.56/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy amber color with a nice head that retains well, and leaves plenty of lacing behind

Smell: Malty caramel aroma with piney herbacious hops

Taste: Tastes much like it smells with a big caramel malt bill up front, in the middle, the hops add an herbaciously piney bitterness that builds but does not dominate the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Not really my thing as it leans to the sweetness and the hop bill is not among my favorites

Thanks, jonallen, for the chance to re-visit - better than I remembered but not among my favorites from this brewery

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Photo of cokes
3.58/5  rDev -3.8%
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 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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Ard Ri from Upland Brewing Company
3.72 out of 5 based on 142 ratings.
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