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 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 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 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 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 Thorpe429
3.77/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a moderate red color with a bit of a white head and not too much lacing. The nose brings out some caramel, sugar, light citrus and pine hops, and a bit of fruits. The taste is a bit sweet without too much of a hoppy character. Some caramel, bread, and sweet cake underneath. Moderate body with a decent amount of bitterness. Drinks fairly well and is a pretty good offering from them.

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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 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 womencantsail
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Mark for this one. Shared with some fellow BAs this past weekend.

A: The pour is a dark copper color with a fluffy off-white head and plenty of visible carbonation bubbles in the glass.

S: A nice balance of sweet, caramel malts and citrus hop notes. Just a touch of pine is in there as well. Perhaps some vanilla and fruit.

T: The hop flavor is solid and nicely compliments the maltiness. A bit of brown sugar, caramel, and vanilla. Grapefruit comes through from the hops as does a mild bitterness.

M: The body is medium with a fairly substantial carbonation for a barleywine/imperial red.

D: There's nothing bad to say about this one, really. Good balanced flavors, nicely bittered and enjoyable all around.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Killian's nonic pint glass.

Big thanks to brundo4 for this guy!

One of the highlights of my Spring BIF box. It pours a clear crimson amber topped by some minor ecru micro-foam. The nose comprises cherries, molasses, sharp florals, and nutmeg. The taste is very similar, though the cherries are somewhat subdued and the florals provide a good amount of bitterness. The body is kinda hefty, with moderate carbonation and a thick, chewy feel and a slight oral coating. So this is what an imperial Irish red is like...I'm game!

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Photo of MasterSki
3.83/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to heliosphann for tossing me one of these at the KBS release party. Served in a mug.

A - One finger of creamy off white foam with excellent retention and solid lacing. Hazed rich brown color with a hint of red to it.

S - Malty, with breadiness and rye, along with a hint of citrus hoppiness. This is a long way from Nugget Nectar. Kind of understated in the smell department, and not super complex.

T - The taste is much more interesting! Brown sugar, bread, and a nice rye bite and some hop bitterness at the back end. There's also a bit of alcohol harshness that keeps it from being outstanding.

M - Nice medium body with loads of creaminess and a nice hint of carbonation. Easily the best part about this brew.

D - I think that one of these is more than enough - the aftertaste gets a little sour and bitter, and the ABV is pretty high as well.

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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 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'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 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 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 Viggo
3.72/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, again thanks to SPLITGRIN for sending my way in the Gentlemans Club BIF.

Pours a clear dark orange, some reddish highlights, medium sized off white head forms and quickly settles to a thin ring, few lace spots stick. Smell is nice, very caramelized, brown sugar, grapefruit, some floral, lightly fruity, alcohol, a bit woodsy, not bad. Taste is similar, big and malty, caramel/toffee, some buttered bread, biscuits, fruit, grapefruit, alcohol, along the same profile as Rad Red, but bigger. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with medium carbonation, some warmth but alcohol is hidden pretty well. Not too bad. Thanks Michael!

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