Ridge Runner | Rock Art Brewery

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Ridge RunnerRidge Runner

Brewed by:
Rock Art Brewery
Vermont, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
"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.

Added by Murph on 08-07-2002

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Reviews: 201 | Ratings: 413
Photo of scottum
4.65/5  rDev +34.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

$2.50 pint at Nectar's

An interesting deep dark amber color with a nice offwhite head. A great Strong beer, this is what I order almost everytime I go out to a bar. One of Vermont's best beers when served right off draft. Order a pint if you see this on tap.

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Photo of sjohansen
4.38/5  rDev +27%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

We had a houseguest from Jeffersonville, VT that brought a sampler pack of some Rock Art to PA. I love these kinds of houseguests; they can stay as long as they want.

Pours with a one finger slightly off-white head. It quickly dissipates leaving only a small bead of foam floating around the top of the glass. That too, would eventually disappear. The brew looks thick and opaque, it's very cloudy and the color is brownish red or reddish brown. Not a whole lot in the realm of lace.

Big notes in the nose. Lots of floral hops, to the point it almost smells like a florist shop. Very soft fruity yeast. And chocolate... dark chocolate. As it warms, the chocolate takes over and becomes sweeter.

This beer has a great hop smack to it. The kind that makes you lick your lips after every sip. Strong peppery alcohol. Some yeast that hints of a Belgian, giving off some sweet apple and pear. Sweeter on the front of the palate as it warms. The malts take over the front of the experience, and produce an almost Old Ale style quality. Sweet and grainy, a bit dirty (in a good way.) Still get the hop smack in the end, and it's as powerful during the last sip as it was in the first.

Full mouthfeel. Lots of body, nice prickly carbonation. Slick and oily, it feels like it coats the tongue, and then disappears as I place the glass down. The mouthfeel is really wonderful. Kind of gives you the best parts of an IPA, Malty Scotch Ale, and sweet Oktoberfest all in one.

This is a great barleywine ale style. More importantly, it's a full flavored brew that I will definitely try again when given the opportunity.

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Photo of tigg924
4.37/5  rDev +26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: 1/4 inch head, clear, dark brown in color, small carbonation

Smell: toasted malt, chocolate, caramel, and a hint of coffee

Taste: toasted malt, chocolate, caramel, touch of hops, and a hint of earth and pepper at the end

Mouthfeel: low carbonation, slick, smooth, semi-sweet, medium bodied

Drinkability: This is my new favorite in this style. I like the maltiness. This has touches of a good porter and Wee Heavy. The taste is complexand is about as sessionable as a barleywine can be. My favorite from Rock Art.

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Photo of Duhast500
4.37/5  rDev +26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the 12oz. bottle into an over sized wine glass.

The color is a dark maroon with a slight wisp of a head and little lacing on the glass.

The smell is dark fruits with some raisins and figs in the aroma. There is some sweetness there that is syrup-like and is a little like sour cherry.

The taste is subtle at first, nothing jumps out at first to say barelywine but there is a warm sensation toward the end. There is a grape flavor that is mixed in with more dark fruit flavor. There are some figs, dates and some over-ripe banana that is giving this beer a laid back fruity character. Some sweetness is just at an arms-length in the background, you sense it and it seems to back off and then it happens again before this beer goes down.

The feel of this beer is big, and at times, it can’t hide it. It is smooth but complex and seems to have some hidden facets to it as you go along for the ride.

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Photo of Tim2000
4.37/5  rDev +26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz. brown bottle,

Dark reddish-brown with a thin, fine head. Label indicates bottling date about a month ago

Very malty aroma, nutty and slightly roasted. Hints of fruit.

Malty from the beginning, with nuts and burnt sugar. Black tea and molasses come through towards the middle and the hops pick up towards the end with a lingering, slightly grassy finish. Alcohol is well hidden.

Creamy and smooth, but not syrupy like some barley wines. Carbonation is moderately low.

Very drinkable, maybe because it's quite dry for a barley wine.

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Photo of abriggs1
4.32/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A lot of people seem to think this is not a true barleywine and i tend to agree with that. I'll call it a hybrid. I think 7.5% abv is still in the beer range, but it's pretty close. To me a barleywine is a drink that must be sipped as they are supposed to be more intense and un-smooth by nature. This doesn't quite have the thinkness of a true barleywine. That being said, this is an excellent beer that goes down much smoother than a 7.5% beer should and it's a good thing there's only three of these in the sampler pack I bought because this stuff could get me into real trouble real quick. It is a beautifully balanced brew that has a sharp start and a subtle finish. It's amazing how this beer seems to magically change in your mouth; going from sharp and bitter to mellow and smooth in a matter of seconds.

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Photo of strengthdoc
4.3/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured out of the bottle to reveal a deep amber almost mohogany color. The aroma was nice and malty with a hint of apricot. The first taste was malty and mildly fruity, but that gives way to a mild hop bitterness as the beer hits the back of the tongue. It finishes with a mild bitterness to make you want another taste. The mouthfeel is medium in nature and what you would expect from the style.

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Photo of theo871
4.27/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

from a 22 ounce bomber purchased at the source!

pours a dark copper color, with fingernail thick head with lots of lacing on sides of pint glass. smells of maltiness, slight hoppiness. taste is sweet, malty. the mouthfeel is surprisingly smooth and not a lot of carbonation, just the perfect amount for the style. for a barleywine this is quite drinkable, although not quite as strong as i would like. if there is such a thing as a session barleywine, this is it!

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Photo of Brad007
4.25/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish-brown color with a thin head. Taste is strong, sweet and malty at once. Not as much hop bitterness here. Some people claim this isn't a real barleywine but I digress. Another whiff detects raisin/currant flavors with some fruitiness. Hey, my nose is the boss here.

Anyway, taste is strong upfront with the raisin/currant flavors fading into a smooth aftertaste. A second sip confirms only slight malt bitterness and more of the fruitiness in this ale. I can detect an aftertaste that is very bready as well.

You know, I've had this beer plenty of times in the past and I've never reviewed it. Now that I am reviewing it, I can tell things that I never noticed before.

I would say that this ia a pretty complex ale for me to describe. Perhaps with some aging, the flavors might mellow more. The alcohol is deceptively hidden though (I can see why it's so popular with some of my friends).

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Photo of njmoons
4.23/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

An excellent beer, not a big barleywine. I think they call it a mild barleywine, but other than the style question I really liked this.

A - Deep Red, light carbonation which laced well down the glass. Looked tasty

S - Sweet, malty with a hint of cherry

T - Great, malty with a slight sweetness that balances well. The western us hops seemed a little harsh with the overall mellowness of the beer, or I would have scored it higher.

M - Light for style, but very pleasant.

D - At 7.5% this is too strong for a session beer, but that is the only thing to keep me from knocking back one after the other.

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Photo of ecoboy
4.23/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Is there such thing as a mildly flavored barleywine? Yes, yes there is.

Beautiful deep mahogany color with full, thick, mixed-bubble head.

Rich syrupy malt nose, fairly sweet with alcohol as a contrast note.

Flavor is not overpowering, which is a welcome thing, after so many overly rude strong ales. This one is all polite balance, sweetness, and alcohol flavors. I am a big fan of "complex, but understated," as another reviewer suggests below.

Mouthfeel not nearly as chewy as the nose and abv might suggest- mouthfeel actually is more like a traditional brown ale. Bubbles are fine, for a non-aggressive carbonation feel.

Very drinkable for style.

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Photo of jaluria
4.22/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown color with a soft head that remained intact and left behind loads of lacing. Aromas of dates, toasted malt, sugar candy, and cream. The taste was similiar to the scent, but not as complex. Smooth finish with a creamy texture that lends itself to be had again and again.

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Photo of tgbljb
4.18/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep copper color with moderate off-white head. Attractive lacing noted.
Smell is minimal with a slight malty sweetness present.
Taste is superb, with a strong maltiness and no alcohol present.
Finish is a bit thin, but still leaves a nice taste in the mouth.
Extremely drinkable for 7.5% beer. great beer.

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Photo of williamherbert
4.17/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep but clear cherry red. A finger of rose-white head. Depth of a red wine. Slow carbonation.

An initial gritty whiff of scotch ale-like grain. Second whiff of sweet grape and coffee/mocha. A barleywine mixed with a porter. Bitter but not brutal. Smoky.

The taste is burnt porter-like malt bitterness; a secondary hit of dark grape and berry. Thick tobacco leaf. It's unusually bitter; closer in flavor to a dark porter than a barleywine.

Ashy and smooth both. A bit dry/ashy for style though. A deep, rich, dry and bitter barleywine ale. Coffee + grape + tobacco.

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Photo of board45
4.15/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A copper color w/ a thick creamy head. Very sweet smell to it. Malt, hops, some yeast there too. Take a sip!! Warming and sweet. Tons of fruits and malts. This beer finishes w/ a slight shot of hops. I could drink loads of this beer. Very easy barley wine.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.1/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle, served chilled, in a chalice.

A - murky, deep amber color with a slight tan head that thinned to a light, bubbly layer, leaving some small globs of lace.

S - sweet English barley malt and raisin aromas.

T - nice taste transition from sweet to bitter, back to sweet.

M - light/medium bodied with mild carbonation fizz.

D - a 'lighter' Barleywine, very easy to drink.

Final Note: This is an all around good brew. Anyone who appreciates a good English Ale should like this Barleywine.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.09/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow! I called Matt about this one to find out how long it might have been awiting consumption. Based on the notching, July of 2004 when I was attending the Vermont Brewer's Festival. Now, 2 1/2 years later, how would it fare? It began with two fingers of mocha-tan head that reduced to cloudiness, but not wispiness. Nose had a mild smokiness to it. Color was a deep brown with gorgeous ruby highlights as well as NE-quality clarity. Mouthfeel was full and soft with a lot of carbonation presnt on the tongue. Matt had told me that this was intended to be an English-style barleywine and indeed, the malt and the hops were somewhat subdued on the tongue. The best part was the finish, which left an aftertaste of malted cocoa, like you might get from Quik or PDQ. It had a slightly burnt quality to it, but in the best way. Man, if this is what English barleywines are all about, I may make them a routine stop.

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Photo of currysage1
4.08/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours a healthy one finger heavy cream color creamy consistancy head, topping a beet juice red liquid.

Smell is of caramel dark malt, old-time candy (rootbeer barrels) slight hop presence but its definately more about the malt in the nose.

Taste is at first fresh seaweed, slightly salty and earthy, moves quickly into lightly bittered roasted malt. Better hop presence in the taste than in the nose. Definate stale black pepper flavors, some dried fruits that I can't really place.

Feel could certainly use some bulking up, much to thin for the style and the carbonation reflects the style well I feel.

Totaly drinkable, have had many nights with this one, and one drunken wedding as well.

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Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.07/5  rDev +18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ridge Runner was served from a 12 oz. bottle. In a pint glass, the beer was a murky, apple cidery orange brown color and was topped by a thin whitish head. The nose offered a rich, almost nutty, roasty-woody, bourbon-soaked pear maltiness. On the palate, a woody, sort of mushroomy, roasty pear-tinged coffeeish malt base opened up with zippy earth-resiny hop notes that rode the carbonation into the lightly roasty/astringent, somewhat citric-piney, woody bitter, bourbon (sans alcohol) essence-laced finish. Lingering woody-piney pear notes remained. The smooth-medium body and energetic carbonation worked well for the character of the beer. Ridge Runner was an easy going, though tasty and balanced wintery brew that offered numerous complexities and great satisfying finish. This one will grow on you!

Note: Noticably better on tap, for some reason.

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Photo of 454onbeerss
4.02/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I haven't seen too many Rock Art beers outside of Vermont so I was excited to score this barleywine in a mix pack I found at a new store in Plymouth,MA. Not a real strong barleywine as far as alcohol but great taste and afforability make up for it. I have been impressed with all Rock Art products.

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Photo of Viggo
4.01/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, hooked up by Pamola in a recent trade.

Pours a clear dark orange, light brown hue, thick and rocky light tan head forms, drops a pretty solid amount of lace on its way down, good retention. Smell is nice, caramel and raisins, lightly fruity, biscuit and toast, some citrus/orange peel hopping, nice and malty if a little basic. Taste is similar, lots of caramel and brown sugar, biscuits, raisins, very fruity, strawberries and melon, spicy bitterness and orange peel finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation. Pretty decent stuff, I like it. Smooth going down and some nice flavours, very drinkable. Thanks Kyle!

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a bottle 10 months old:

This basic barleywine is very English in style. It's more about malt than hops, and very reminiscent of a dark mild.

It pours a short head of light tan foam atop a clear, dark-chestnut body. The head retention is fair, and it leaves tiny spots of lace about the glass.

The nose offers deeply caramelized malt and a smear of leafy and minty hops, as well as the occassional whiff of gently fruity yeastiness.

It's lighter in the mouth than one might suspect (again, quite English in character), and it's remarkably smooth with a low-level carbonation.

The heavily caramelized malt is not as pronounced as the aroma suggests, and appears to be more of the result of a long boil than the use of crystal malts (although that could be due to the use of a very small amount of roasty malt like Paul's Chocolate, or even some black malt). I really like the underlying almost-burnt caramel character, but it's kind of lost as it's entwined in leafy, earthy, and minty hop flavors (once again, possibly due to a long boil). Some yeasty fruitiness does peek through now and again, and it's also really well-balanced. The alcohol is superbly cloaked, and if it wasn't at 7.5% this could easily be a session ale.

Unique and enjoyable!

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Photo of tzieser
4/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from a 12oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

a: dark brown in color with a thick haze. fairly thin one finger white head. not much else. looks nice.

s: rich malty aroma. notes of darkened fruit and barley. very nice.

t: sweet caramel flavors up front quickly followed by some mild orange-like fruitiness (maris otter? is that you??). very mild bitterness. well hidden abv. probably the weakest barleywine i have tasted, but still delicious to drink.

m: smooth mouthfeel.

i'm surprised that Rock Art could pull off a barley wine this flavorful with such a low ABV. great idea! way to think outside the box.

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Photo of ClassicBrad
4/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep mahogany with a finger or so head that lasts briefly before becoming little islands of foam.

Smell is that of rich malt and spicy hops; grassy and sweet.

So much flavor but without any overwhelming cloy that might film the palate. Surprisingly crisp while not sacrificing flavor.

Mouthfeel is what sticks out in this brew. It doesn't have that overwhelming sensation that so many barleywines have. Very well carbonated and refreshing.

Drinkability is another high point for this beer. While it is on the low side for the style (alcohol-wise), it is also an easy drinker.

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Photo of crwills
4/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this bomber sitting around for a while, and decided on a whim to open it this weekend.

Poured a dark reddish brown with a solid off-white head that sticks around a bit. Nice looking beer when held up to the light. Aroma is restrained, but definitely on the hoppy side. Citrus and pine notes, coupled with some foresty or earthy aromas and hints of something sweeter, like powdered chocolate.

Flavour leans way more into the malt zone, but remains balanced. This is a fairly small, lighter-bodied barleywine, but I don't think that detracts from it at all. Alcohol is very well hidden (in fact, undetectable). Roasted malts, a little bit of that dry chocolate again, some tart fruity notes, and a relatively dry aftertaste. Mouthfeel is heavy and not oily.

I still haven't decided whether I prefer the English or American style barley wines, but this was certainly a pleasant change from my usual summer line-up nonetheless!

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Ridge Runner from Rock Art Brewery
3.45 out of 5 based on 413 ratings.
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