Ridge Runner
Rock Art Brewery

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Barleywine - English
Ranked #243
Ranked #47,537
3.47 | pDev: 15.85%
Rock Art Brewery
Vermont, United States
Ridge RunnerRidge Runner
Notes: "Robust, Dark and Smooth, hold on to your hat cause you’ll lose your feet on this one!" Brewed with pale, dark crystal, Munich, flaked barley, black and chocolate malts. Hops include Cascade, Crystal, Challenger and Perle.
Reviews: 207 | Ratings: 433 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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howardnss from Pennsylvania

3.82/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Not considered by the brewery as a barley wine any longer because of the ABV. The brewery now calls this a bold Vermont ale instead of a barley wine.

Aug 31, 2019
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m9b from Vermont

3.63/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

i liked reading these reviews but was initially disappointed by the ok rating (as it is my drink of choice) a few key points to rehash - unfiltered (good) bold (good) vermont ale is the cans self descriptor. Also good is the only 9.99 asking price per 4 pk. So its 7.2 and in a 4 pack 27 ibu but still hopped yes they mention malts and it comes to mind in the pour. I saw one reviewer mentioning this beer being not the experience itself but i do feel the need to mention mine in Ridge runners acquisition. So i wanted rock art and the beer "king" only had the maple wheat. Another big store had everything but (its far away ie not walking distance) so the third option was the only one to have this and its a find at its price if you are looking for the brand which you may on occasion. No-one is touting this as a run out and get; but on a day that you do! :)

May 09, 2019
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Rlhj from New Hampshire

3.55/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A weak barleywine. My can said "bold Vermont ale". I couldn't put my finger on it but it's more a weak, weak barleywine.

Good but not great. I'd drink it again but not seek it out.

Jun 29, 2018
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argock from Virginia

2.61/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 oz brown btottle into a clear glass snifter. Bottled on Jun 28 2015 is my guess (no date) but could easily be earlier (see below).

A: Very clear amber with 1 finger beige head with decent retention and a few spots of lacing.

S: A weird chemical rum raisin extract kind of aroma leapt from the glass with a bit of light caramel and weird grassiness.

T: Flavor is poor to start with and gets worse with each sip. No caramel really to speak of with a bunch of cardboard and weird vegetable flavors. They need some oxygen control as this beer should hold up and is 3 years old at most. Little other flavors come through. No infection flavors per se but tons of oxidation.

M: Super thin and carbonation is medium.

O: Maybe a bad bottle but won't try again.

Jul 31, 2017
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Lone_Freighter from Vermont

2.78/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

This was poured into a chalice. The appearance was a dark hazy amber color with a slim quarter finger’s worth of white foamy head that dissipated within seconds. The smell starts off with a semi-sweet cooked caramel malt trying to blend with light vanilla and herbal/tea-like qualities running over some light cooked cocoa tones. The taste pretty much copies the aroma decently. There’s no aftertaste but it does have a slight smooth semi-dry finish. On the palate, this one sat about a medium on the body with a decent sipping quality about it. Carbonation hits just a tad harder than other Barleywines I’ve had. Overall, a bit different as an English Barleywine, not exactly sure about this one. I'll stick with Vermonster by these guys.

Jul 19, 2017
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bibo_ergo_sum from New York

4.36/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

As I've found with most of this brewery's stuff, this beer is kind of a throwback, or better yet, a time machine, embracing a milder, more drinkable and less assertive style of barleywine than what we're normally used to. This is your father's barleywine and that's a good thing.

The beer is a lovely deep amber color. It is fairly clear. It smells like someone dipped banana bread in rum, like toast and toasted nuts. These aromas are carried through in the flavor. It is a malty, nutty, sweet beer. Where this beer might let you down is in terms of mouth feel. It is pretty thin. But, as I made my way through a few of them, this defect actually grew into an asset; you can drink a LOT of these because the beer doesn't stick in your mouth -- it finishes relatively cleanly.

My overall impression this beer is that it is best thought of as a campfire companion or a ski-lodge favorite. It is something that tastes really really good, that you can drink a lot of, and has no pretensions of being a "total work of art." It is a beer intended to compliment an already wonderful experience, not be the experience itself.

Apr 08, 2017
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jwhancher from Pennsylvania

2.41/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.25

From Rock Art's website this is considered a mild barley wine by today's standards. When I picked this up last week in Vermont I didn't know what the heck this beer was trying to be. Canned on date of 12/13/16. Pours a dark clear Amber with head that faded quick. Some suspended particles float around but far from a cloudy or hazy beer. Smells of crystal, toasted , and some roast malts. I get some diacetyl in the nose. Hops aren't apparent in the aroma.

Taste: Upfront shot of bitterness with a chalky, roasty, slightly astringency. Some light caramel , some coffee that finished very dry. Thin bodied for 7.2% alcohol. I think they should raise the mash temps and let more body shine through. Noticeable alcohol warmth in the throat. Drinkable yes, but pleasurable not so much.

At $15 a 4-pack I was left vastly disappointed in this beer. Would not seek out again.

Feb 07, 2017
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BeerAndGasMasks from Virginia

3.43/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From the can, it pours a solid darker amber with a small head, quickly dissipating. Very light nose. The mouth gets the maltiness with some slight bitterness.

Oct 05, 2016
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DirtyDawg10 from Connecticut

3.36/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a dark brown color with a thin white head that dissipates quickly. The nose is light with some maltiness and a bit of prune or fig. The taste is quite malty with a hint of banana and dark fruit. The mouthfeel is lighter than expected for a barley wine. Overall I would say this is a light barley wine, almost a brown ale in flavor.

Jun 23, 2016
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fitzy84 from Massachusetts

3.84/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bought a bottle up at a cider mill store in Waterbury, Vermont. Beer pours with a murky, dark brown color and a thin head. Aromas include roasted malt, vanilla, and some dark fruit. Taste follows the nose with a bit richer complexity, especially with the aftertaste that had hints of plums and raisins wrapped in a sweet, warm vanilla malt flavor. Mouthfeel does a decent job making this drink creamy, but with a good carbonation. Overall, not too bad; the flavoring was the best attribute to this beer for me.

May 30, 2016
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NotAlcoholicJustAHobby from Vermont

3.46/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Canned 02/15/16

L-Pours a dark caramel with 3 finger cream colored head. The head recedes quickly down to a thin film. Lacing is moderate at first, but quickly disappears.
S- The nose is pretty muted on this which I find disappointing. There is some crackery maltiness up front, finishing with a bit of dark fruit like plum.
T- The taste is much like the nose in that you get mostly the malt before a small amount of dark fruitiness bobs to the surface. Unfortunately the mild hop bitterness in the finish quickly pushes the dark fruit back into the depths of the brew. I expect I may like this beer with a bit more age on it.
F-Carbonation is very light after the initial pour, and the mouthfeel is medium.
O- Overall I find this beer to be a bit disappointing. It may improve with some more age, but I've had better barleywines from a couple of different sources. Unless it improves dramatically over time, I wouldn't rebuy.

Feb 28, 2016
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CayseyW from Connecticut

3.6/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer really shouldn't be classified as an English barleywine; it's something totally different. When this first dropped I was really impressed, but times have changed and so has my palate. That said, I still find this to be a beer worthy of drinking occasionally. Nice nose, decent fruity taste, but the mouthfeel becomes daunting after a while because the aftertaste gets sickeningly sweet. Try one.

Dec 26, 2015
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whynot44 from Missouri

3.6/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear copper-brown brew with a modest tan head that disappears quickly.

The aroma is malt, caramel and plums.

The taste is caramel malt, raisins, bread and a touch of grassy hops.

Medium bodied, light for a barleywine, but smooth and easily drinkable.

Altogether a decent brew, not really heavy or complex, but still worthwhile.

Nov 02, 2015
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Gajo74 from New York

3.65/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Look- poured a dark brown, hint of ruby red, minimal head that quickly disapates and left no lace.
Smell- roasted malts, dark fruits, some coffee. Smells a bit like a stout.
Taste- roasted malt with semi bitter hops profile. There is a mineral water backbone that detracts from the flavor a bit.
Feel- body feels a bit thin. Lightly carbonated and drinkable enough.
Not so bad, but the thin body and not so complex taste did not impress me.

Oct 23, 2015
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puboflyons from New Hampshire

3.69/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

From the12 fl. oz bottle. 2019 expiration date. Sampled on October 12, 2015.

The pour is a slightly hazy brow with red hues. Little to no head.

Sweet roasted malt and dark fruit aroma. It has many of the esters I expect in a Barleywine.

Light mouthfeel.

The taste is not as forward but it does have that toasted and cracker barley malt sweetness with a slight dark fruit bite. Mild bitterness to finish.

Oct 13, 2015
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57md from Pennsylvania

3.56/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brownish copper with almost a finger of head. The nose has an odd note - spruce, maybe? The flavor profile is somewhat malty and bready with hints of caramel. The body is a bit thin and the finish is dry.

Jul 30, 2015
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scotorum from Massachusetts

3.81/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottled October 28th (2014)(?).

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into an Innis & Gunn stemmed tulip.

a: Clear copper with a finger thick offwhite head which receded to even surface foam and a little spotty lacing.

s: Caramel malt and dark fruit.

t: Follows the nose with first emphasis on caramel malt followed by strong prune notes and some hop bite, bitterness lingering slightly on the sweetish finish. Soon both the caramel malt and prune notes fade to a more mellow ripe dark fruit heavy on carbonation.

m: Light to moderate, good body and carbonation tingle.

o: A good barleywine, drinkable for the style and refreshing.

Jun 05, 2015
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RichJamz from Vermont

3.28/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - Poured into a brandy snifter. Barely a quarter finger head, but it remained constant for quite some time. Great dark color, almost a brown-red.

S - Whiffs of burned sugar, almost like caramel. Seems to be a bit overbearing on that front honestly, since the rest seems muted.

T - Full frontal assault of the caramel flavor hinted at in the scent, but quickly dissipating to a simple syrupy flavor with a dash of figs. Not as complex as I was hoping for, but enjoyable.

M - Warm, but not as warm as I have come to expect from a Barleywine. Smooth, however it was tainted with slight carbonation.

O - Okay beer. Most likely not one that I will pick up again.

Aug 03, 2014
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Haydn-Juby from Vermont

3.43/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A very deep copper color in my tulip. Very minimal white head shows up but leave that much of a trace after each sip. Looks very similar to a deep amber maple syrup honestly. Enticing enough.

S: Malts. I thought I would get a bit of hops but its pretty sweet malt oriented, which is fine just not what I expected. I also detect a bit of what I would perceive as oxidation (The cardboardy sherry type smell) but that's okay as it's except-able for the style IMO.

T: Once again very malty but the bitterness backs it up nicely. I really don't get all that much complexity out of it but its nice. Some heavily cooked raisin notes come through along with some bread like flavors. That oxidation is there as well but its not over the top and perhaps adds another interesting element the beer in a strange sense. A touch of fruity esters, really just a touch. alcohol comes through a bit but not much. Hops ? I didn't get any.

M: Very low carbonation, which is great a barley wine should be this level carbonation and makes it a great slow sipper even though the ABV might not make it one entirely I guess. Moderately thick body and a bit creamy I suppose as well.

O: A good beer. Not really a barley wine by my definition but none the less drinkable and pretty decent IMO.

Apr 17, 2014
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nukem5 from Pennsylvania

3.09/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A: Pours a great dark rich cola color with a nice thick foamy head.

S: Aroma is of rich malty carmel and roasty malts.

T: Taste is of much the same with the addition of some dark fruits(figs plums prunes and raisins.

M: Mouthfeel is a medium to full bodied deliciousness slight lacing down glass.

O: Very decent beer, like the fact that you can drink more than one with a slightly lower ABV % than most barley wines

Nov 21, 2013
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jmdrpi from Pennsylvania

2.64/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

12 oz bottle, label is notched June.

appears chesnutt brown, clear. very thin off white head that fades. smells stale, oxidized, slightly sweet. taste is malty, a touch of raisin flavor. not real great flavor. medium body and lower carbonation. overall - a disappointment, and I don't think strong enough to call a barleywine.

Oct 30, 2013
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.59/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

good not great, this English style barleywine is nice and smooth, coppery and caramel malt forward, but not quite ad big and bold as I have come to expect the style to be, even the English versions. nice amber color, darker, red brown, with a half inch of creamy tan head that fades after just a minute. aromatics of well toasted cereal grains, red malt, caramel that's just a touch burnt, and warming alcohol. the flavor follows the nose, but I am impressed how the sweetness does not pollute the flavor or feel of this beer. the residual sugars are short lived on the tongue, which allows the grains to be tasted for what they are. English malt is obvious here. mix of American and English hops. not much carbonation, but I suppose it suits the style. I also like that its not even 8% abv, usually bigger barleywines are one and done, but I see why they sell this one in a sixpack. gets better and better as it warms up too. a great evening slow sipper with a good book.

Aug 27, 2013
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VelvetExtract from Massachusetts

2.89/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-Pours close to copper. Solid head.

S-Malty with some dark fruits. No point of the nose really stands out. Its more of a combination of restrained malty notes. Caramel, toffee, maybe a tickle of dead hops?

T-More of the same. The most modest of Barleywines. Sweet, syrupy caramel and brown sugar with some toast.

M-The feel fits with the flavors. Rather thin.

O/D-This one is a miss for me. Won't be going back to this beer.

Jun 11, 2013
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johnnnniee from New Hampshire

3.52/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a medium reddish copper color with a smallish off white head that quickly dissipates to a ring on top. Smells of caramel toffee and light bready grainy malt. Light sulfur and a hint of earth with a light butterscotch round out the nose. The flavor is biscuity bready grainy maltiness with bits of toffee and butterscotch. Light earthy hops flavor with a bit of sulfur provides a counter the the malty sweetness. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a sweet slick mouthfeel. Nice enough barleywine, the bready maltiness is nice but the toffee butterscotch is a bit too much on my palette.

May 15, 2013
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ryan1788a5 from Massachusetts

2.74/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle poured into a New Belgium globe. This beer is about two years old at the time of consumption. Though it isn't a very big Barleywine, I still decided to experiment with aging a few bottles. I still left them in the cellar far longer than I intended, but we'll see what happens.

A: Brown in color with hues of orange and ruby. Chill haze is apparent. A half an inch of white head is short lived. Spotty and whispy patches of lacing. Small bits of sediment in suspension.

S: Very dry chocolatey scent. Bakers chocolate and cocoa powder. Rich scents of caramel, toffee, and toasted bread crust. A touch earthy and woody. Chocolate covered raisins and raspberries. As it warms, it is obvious that time has taken its toll. Cardboard and tart fruit aromas suggest that this beer is well past its prime.

T: Tart, slightly soured tastes of raspberry and cherry. Oxidation is apparent as that wet cardboard and spicy sherry taste comes out. Caramel and toasted bread crust. Lots of dry chocolate. A touch woody. Raisin and plum. Touch of spicy hops have been all but ironed out. Nice, lingering dry chocolatey finish.

M: Heavy in body. There's some heft to it, but it isn't too weighty. Chewy and creamy. Little to no carbonation. Good mouthfeel.

O: So Ridge Runner is definitely not a good candidate for extended aging. Though Barleywine is normally a style that blossoms with age, this one is on the small side of the style's spectrum, and just couldn't stand up to time. I'll have to do a re-review sometime, as this is a beer I've had fresh many times and find to be quite pleasing.

Jan 24, 2013
Ridge Runner from Rock Art Brewery
Beer rating: 80 out of 100 with 433 ratings