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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
Photo of brandoman63
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of adamb0719
4/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of drpdaddy
4/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of tsauce2
3.37/5  rDev -8.9%
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 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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Photo of drpimento
3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
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 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 mikereaser
3.76/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky brownish red with 3 inches of off white foam that slowly fades and leaves a nice amount of lacing down the glass. Not much aroma, mainly just some caramel malts. Taste is unique, caramel and toffee, hints of chocolate maybe, a bit of roastiness as well. I think i'm picking out some citrus also. There is a nice amount of hoppy bitterness to this and it makes me want to come back for more. Nicely carbonated and easy to drink. It might not be a multiple bottle a night beer, but it is very enjoyable to drink.

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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 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 nrbw23
3.43/5  rDev -7.3%
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 robwestcott
3.56/5  rDev -3.8%
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 Wisconsinality
3.03/5  rDev -18.1%
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 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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Photo of AgentZero
2.78/5  rDev -24.9%
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 jrallen34
3.26/5  rDev -11.9%
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 -20.5%
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 -9.5%
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 +3.2%
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 -7.3%
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 +2.7%
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 +10%
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 +4.9%
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 +21.6%
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 +0.5%
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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Ard Ri from Upland Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.7 out of 5 with 142 ratings
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