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 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 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 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 zrab11
3.82/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a nice cloudy red with a cream head. Has nice lacing

S-Has a strong grapefruit and booze smell with some carmel notes to.

T- Has a strong boozey taste upfront. Has nice maltyness and toffee feel to it.

M-Medium bodied with ok Carbonation

D- This is a tasty beer but slightly unbalanced. Alittle too boozy for me but still a nice beer. Would try this again.

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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 gtgood
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Trying for the first time. Upland just released a new batch (02/2011).

I've never had an "Imperial Red Ale" before, so I wasn't sure what to expect (especially since it's listed as a barleywine on BA). I was pleasantly surprised. It's smooth, with a hint of something fruity and sweet, and has a rather bitter aftertaste. It reminds me of past experiences with strong ales (which further adds to my style confusion). Overall, it's quite tasty and surprisingly drinkable. I hope it sticks around for a while because I will definitely be drinking it again. Another one of Upland's better offerings, in my opinion.

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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 GregSVT
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber into a snifter - bottled on 2/2010

A: Pours very cloudy red with an off-white head that fades to a ring leaving lacing on the glass. There are some floaties in the beer which was to be expected of a hopped up beer this age.

S: The nose is grapefruit hops, sweet caramel malts, and an alcohol bite in the background.

T: The taste is like an aged american barleywine with big notes of hops in the form of grapefruit and a nice malt backbone with flavors of caramel and toffee. The hops are what take center stage here though. Alcohol is also present here as well but it's not that bad.

M: The feel is medium bodied and creamy with a very nice amount of carbonation.

D: This is tasty but I'd like to try it fresh. Even though this is aged it has held up quite nicely. While the alcohol may be a bit high it didn't stop me from drinking the bomber.

I wasn't going to review this due to it's age till I saw it was classified as a barleywine instead of an imperial amber and I'd have to agree.

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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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Photo of katan
3.72/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz into a pint

A- Pours a deep dark red color. Lots of suspended yeast, very opaque. Head formation is strong, lightly off white and 1/2" in size.

S- Whoa is a malt bomb - huge amounts of caramel, toffee, sugary malts. Perhaps even a bit nutty. Hops are there, but are very muted.

T- Starts off with a combination of caramel and nutty roasted malts. Becomes even more roasted as it transitions into a bitter mid-stream, with light hopping. The rye graininess starts to dominate. Finishes with a somewhat grainy astringency and lots of alcohol warmth.

M - Moderate beer body, somewhat creamy. Carbonation is noticeable, but not out of balance for the beer. As noted in the taste, extremely hot alcohol taste. Finishes with a sugary cling.

D - Not sure how to define drinkability here. This is probably a one and done. High alcohol, lots of bready sugars, not meant for more than a session. Almost a dessert beer.

As far as barleywines go, this is decent. Wish they could mask the alcohol better.

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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 billshmeinke
3.6/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz poured into a pint glass. Bottled said imperial red, but yes, this is certainly a barleywine.

Murky amber body with half an inch of off white head.

Smells of caramel, hints of toffee, and ripe dark fruits. Just a touch of oxidation.

Tastes of dark fruits only present in a barleywine, some toffee, and bitter resin.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, but rather slippery for a barleywine if it wasn't for the resinous hop character. Well carbonated, quite bitter.

Honestly, a bit similar to gratitude, but way less nice (more bitter, less smooth, mouthfeel is not nearly as good.

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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 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 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 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 Lukafer
3.83/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours 2 fingers light tan head. There is some sediment, and it's a reddish-beige. Smells of dark fruits, and malts. A lot of malt. Taste is malty with some hops, and a slight nutty flavor. I may taste some oxidation as well. It is slightly sticky, with a decent amount of carb. This is a sipper, but the ABV is well-hidden. Tasty beverage, I would drink it again, especially at $5.00 a bomber!

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

A - The color of amber extract syrup. Nice dense .5 inch head, leaves fast to disk. Some cling lace all around.

S - Bandaids in the first whiff, metallic smell as background to deep malt and some hop notes.

T - Nice rich malt center, mellows with hops to pretty close to neutral by finish.

M - Creamy, medium to heavy body, coating and nice carb and balance.

D - Big flavors and high abv make this not very sessionable.

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Photo of beachbum1975
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I had a 10 oz. snifter pour of this at the Upland Brewery on May 1st. This was the first beer I had.

It poured a dark brown with ruby highlights when put up to the light. The head was mocha, moderately thick and stuck around for a bit.

I get biscuit, earthy hops and vanilla on the nose. It's actually hard to get alot off of it because the beer was poured rather cold.

Medium hop bitterness followed by a solid malt presence. The alcohol is well hidden. This is a tasty beer with full flavor.

Nice starter! Too bad the ABV is so high or I'd have more.

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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 BrewIndy
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
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 kylehayworth
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my first review, although I have had many different styles and brews, trying to articulate it is another thing. But here we go...

Appearance: Its a deep and robust red. The head started out nice then dissipated fairly quick.

Smell: It smells like caramel at first, then fades into slight vanilla with some hops at the tail end.

Taste: It starts off sweet, then has a good hop kick to it. The finish is a slight alcohol tingle with some bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Its very nice on the palate. Easy drinking smooth and frothy. It seems to take up more room in your mouth the longer it sits.

Drinkability: The ABV is high, but is very well hidden, it only shows up a little on the finish. I would drink this 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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Ard Ri from Upland Brewing Company
3.72 out of 5 based on 142 ratings.
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