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: 202 | Ratings: 414
Photo of nkeckhar
1.55/5  rDev -55.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Picked this up on a whim as a barley wine I've never tried

A: Hazy Brown

S: Doesn't smell as expected - dark fruit, sweet

T: Plum and raisiny with not much else.

M: Very light.

Overall not a pleasant experience with the light mouthfeel and one note taste, but am glad to have tried a new beer and like other Rock Art stuff, but will not purchase this one again.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
1.62/5  rDev -53%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Bottle: Poured a deep clear amber color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma consists of sweet with loads of overcooked vegetables. Taste is also dominated by some overcooked vegetables with some oversweet malt. Body is really thin with some good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. I thought there was way too many brewing flaws in this beer.

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Photo of aasher
1.77/5  rDev -48.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

This beer was received as an extra from Shaggy9356, thanks Matt! It poured a dark burnt, stained woodlike amber with a quickly dissipating off white head. It smells like a bland macro amber. I can't quite put my finger on which beer it's most similar to but it may be along the lines of Fat Tire. For a barleywine, this tastes nothing like it. It's very malty and has something flat going on. It has a strange funkiness to it. It's not only not impressive it's pretty bad. This is near a drain pour as it leaves a downright odd aftertaste in your mouth. It drinks smoothly enough. To be honest though, I'm having a tough time drinking this. It's smooth, I guess, but it's other lackings are so distracting. At least I got to try it.

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Photo of woosterbill
2.12/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12oz bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Deep, clear persimmon body under a finger of fine tan head. Ok retention and lacing; attractive.

S: Weak sauce. Cocoa, chocolate malt, bread, and some dull vegetal hops. It smells like a mediocre brown ale, never a barleywine. Thin and disappointing for the style.

T: Maybe a touch better than the smell, with some light toffee joining the breadiness and cocoa. Thin graininess comes in on the finish, though, negating whatever richness came before. Inoffensive but thoroughly disappointing.

M: There's a nice, moderate amount of fine, creamy carbonation, but sadly it's stuck within a depressingly thin, watery body.

O: I'd score this significantly higher if it were called a Brown Ale, an Amber Ale, or maybe even a Scotch Ale. As a Barleywine, though, it's an utter failure. Don't expect this beer to be rich, sweet, hoppy, or satisfying in the least. Note to Rock Art: please stop getting people's hopes up by calling this a Barleywine.

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Photo of Gogol
2.16/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

(0005) Reviewed: 02/08/06.

A 12 oz. bottle purchased in VT approximately 3 days prior to this review, and provided to me by fellow BA eanderson. “Bottled on” date on bottle: May 2005. Bottle not stored for any significant time after receipt, but sampled/reviewed same day (evening of date listed above). Held in the basement, and then popped it in the ‘fridge for about an hour to chill it. Pour temp: 54 oF.

Appearance: Average (0.5-inch), off-white head that slowly descended into the body of the beverage. Color a clear, reddish-brown, with deeper red (almost cherry) tint. No lace to speak of.

Smell: Light whiff of bready malt, slight piney hops. No alcohol, none of the expected complexity.

Taste: Quick malt sweetness, overwritten by hop bitterness. Both petered out at the end, leaving a weak sweet/bitter, almost metallic aftertaste. Definitely not as complex as the style is renowned for.

Mouthfeel: Way too thin for the style. It actually seemed to get thinner as the beer warmed up to room temperature.

Drinkability: Fairly good, despite the aftertaste, and thin body.

Overall: in my humble opinion, this beer is not to style. Perhaps it would serve as an example of another style (Irish Red ale?), but not the deeply complex, warmingly alcohol-laden barleywine style.

Based on comparison with other BA reviews, it may be that bottling this beverage degrades it (reviews of on-tap servings tend to rank higher). Or, it may be that a bad bottling run was encountered (barleywines ought to be able to stand “laying down” for the indicated nine (9) months). eanderson’s sample came from same batch; see his review for comparison.

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Photo of craytonic
2.16/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pour is a crimson amber, decent enough head. Weird dark-malt nose, the smell, taste, and mouthfeel are a bit thin an there is something off. Very strong coffee taste/aroma throughout. It just isn't very good and it isn't worth going into detail about it, too much wrong here. I poured it out and moved on, skip this if you see it.

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Photo of Gilgemesh
2.32/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Look - Pours a nice deep copper with a foamy white head. Nice looking carbonation.

Smell - Nice start with barley and fruit undertones, completely overpowered by the strong alcohol finish.

Taste - A good strong flavor that never develops any undertones or highlights. It is a bit flat.

Mouthfeel - Feels quite a bit watery. Then you are slammed with the alcohol. While having Alcohol is good, I don't like being slammed by it.

Drinkability - I'd probably stay away from this one next time.

Packaging: A nice earthy looking label. The Kokopeli and the large Vermont on the label gave me a good idea of what to expect from this beer. What are they marketing, a place, or a brew?

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Photo of UnionMade
2.33/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

My bottle was labelled as a barleywine, and this definitely does not taste like one.
The beer poured a deep mahogany, reddish brown. Very dark, with a thin misting of head. A little bit of head clinging to the glass, but not much.
Aroma is weak and maildly malty. It smells like a barleywine, but very watered down. Very little hops, moderate esteriness, a touch of sugary caramel, and mild alcohol.
Flavor is also weak and watery. Very thin taste, with perhaps a medium body at best. Moderate carbonation. Slight caramel/roastiness to the malts. Light alcohol in the finish. Slightly slick mouthfeel. I wasn't very impressed with this beer, even after aging the bottle for a year or so.

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Photo of ms11781
2.38/5  rDev -31%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottled in September 2010. 12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a cloudy, brownish color, maybe mahogany, with almost no head. At most a very, very thin white ring around the glass.

Nose is unlike any barleywine I've had. There's a little bit of sweetness and earthiness. It's definitely very malty but there is an off scent that I can't quite put my finger on. The closest thing I can come up with is the peat characteristics I get from a good scotch ale. But this isn't quite that either. Not sure if it's pleasant or not. Not really bad but not great either.

Taste isn't the same as the nose but there still seems to be that off flavor. Very earthy with some toffee and some smokiness. But really I keep coming back to that peat-like character that I can't quite wrap my head around.

Mouthfeel is on the border between thin and medium. Very low carbonation.

Drinkability is low on this one. Goes down very smooth with the thin/medium body and low carbonation but the flavors really aren't that pleasant.

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Photo of jwhancher
2.41/5  rDev -30.1%
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.

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Photo of brentk56
2.48/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Even with a hard pour I could barely raise a head on this amber colored beer; no lacing, either

Smell: Caramel, tea and cooked vegetal aromatics

Taste: Very strange opening, with a bit of toffee and some herbal elements; perhaps some dusty chocolate underneath; grainy throughout, with a vague brown sugar element in the finish

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, rather aqueous; very low carbonation

Drinkability: Not undrinkable, but why waste the time; this is the most insipid barleywine I have encountered

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Photo of assurbanipaul
2.53/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours rather dark for a barleywine, a cloudy mahogany with a thin head/ring. Aroma is malty and syrupy but with noticeable hops.

Taste is only faintly malty, more roasted flavors like a stout. Lots of hops bitterness, quite dry. No alcohol flavors but that isn't surprising; it is just barely within the style guidelines.

Mouthfeel is rather watery, especially for what is intended as a barleywine. Not knowing, I might call this a fairly robust porter. I'm not sure this one works for me.

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Photo of corby112
2.56/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle sampled from a rock art variety pack.

Pours a clear amber color with thin head. Aroma of malts, hops and alcohol but all less prominent than in your average barley wine. Flavor again is similar to a barleywine yet much weaker. Niot a strong alcohol presence with more of a malty taste. Dissapointing.

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Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
2.58/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I've tried this one on tap before, unfortunatley the 22 ounce bomber serving is not much better. Not enitrely sure where the brewer is trying to go with this. It's kind of a cross between a mildly hopped Pale Ale and ground water. It does pour a very nice deep ruby colr, with absolutley no head. At 7.5 it's pretty easy to get down for a "Barley Wine".

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Photo of CharlesDarwin
2.6/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Originally reviewed on May 21, 2006. Julios Spring Beer Festival. Pour of clear brown, fringed with tan. A distant sweet nutty aroma. Vacant flavor of distant rum and touch of tannins. Light nuttiness and a hint of sugars. This is weak. Palate is biting and bitterly dry. Hops? Overly thin bodied, not enough alcohol to carry flavor and the flavors that are present are mildly offensive.

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Photo of ncvbc
2.6/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark copper color...shades of brown and red. Massive carbonation but not much head at all. Smell is light but not too offensive. Softly sweet of caramel and fruit with bready, doughy undertones. Taste is kind of bland. Sweet, bready, hints of chocolate. Light hop presence. No alcohol noted but watery. Mouthfeel is about medium but super thin. Not a favorite.

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Photo of brdc
2.63/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Small capped bottle, poured into a snifter.

Reddish brown in color, with a thin off white head that shows no retention, average lacing.
I actually went back to check the bottle to make sure this was a barleywine; both aroma and flavor are quite "weak", seeming more like an amped up amber than a barleywine.
Malty with caramel and toffee, and a very slight grassy hoppiness. Thin on the palate.
Quite disappointing, it seems that someone skimped on the ingredients. Does not taste bad, it just lacks flavor.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
2.63/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - a dark crimson barleywine, with a three-quarter finger tan head, with no visible carbonation or sediment

S - more sour than any barleywine i have ever smelled, with a background thats like an agave sour/sweetness

T - weakes barleywine also, thin bodied, not very sweet, and not thick enough, need higher ABV. nice taste for an english ale

M - smooth and easy to down due to the thin body

D - easy to down for the same reason, plus the lower ABV

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Photo of jmdrpi
2.64/5  rDev -23.5%
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.

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Photo of ffejherb
2.68/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz. bottle into Mad Elf challice on 1/16/08.

A - Poured a deep cola-colored body with chestnut and auburn hues. Half-finger of light brown head that diminished into a patchy film and spotty lacing. Fair amount of carbonation visible.

S - Lots of dark, bitter chocolate in the nose, as well as some grainy malt. Earthy, yeasty aroma with decent amount of smoke and dust in the aroma... a bit musty, if you will. Moderate herbal hoppiness as well. Some booze sneaks in as the liquid warmed up.

T - Starts off OK, with a smokey flavor and some chocolate notes. Finish is odd, with a kind of burnt, almost charcoal flavor reminiscent of something stuck to the grill. Overall, the smokey flavor persists and is finally paired with a bitter coffee aspect in the finish.

M - Light to medium body for a barleywine, with a pretty thin, watery mouthfeel. Good amount of carbonation, but not overbearing. Burnt, smokiness and bitterness lingers on the palate. Just a tad salty as well.

D - I find barleywines to be hit or miss with me, and this one borders on a miss. Could use a bit more sweetness to counter the bitter and smokey aspects, and perhaps a thicker, beefier body.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
2.74/5  rDev -20.6%
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.

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Photo of Shaw
2.74/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is a deep, deep ruby color with a foamy off-white head. It looks very nice.

It has a slight malty aroma, no hops noticeable.

The taste is very malty with notes of roasted bread. This beer tastes like a porter, not at all like any barley wine I've ever had.

The mouthfeel is average at best. Decent body, but I'd want more. Its drinkability is decent.

Overall, this is no barley wine. I'm disappointed. It is far too weak.

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Photo of scottbrew4u
2.76/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Just brought this one home and had to try it right off. Poured out with a nice one finger, tan, foamy head. Color is dark amber, coppery with some garnet hints. Brilliant clarity.

Smell of roasted malt, burnt sugar, and herbal hops not real fresh though.

A bit slick on the tongue and a little watery for a barley wine. Good carbonation level.

Semi- sweet roasted malt are not real complex. Some bitterness lets you know the hops are there but not in a fresh flavor. A bit metallic tasting in the aftertaste. The alcohol makes itself known but not over powering. Overall this is drinkable but not fulfilling like a barley wine should be. Not a strong malt profile to speak of and the mouthfeel was watery.

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Photo of Chico1985
2.81/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

From a mix-a-six, notches indicate a bottling date of Nov. 19th.

Pours a hazy brown with orange highlights, lots of visible flecks float about. Off-white head forms to a ring and slight cap pretty quickly, leaves spots of lace.

Weirdness in the smell mostly...dark fruit, tartness, green grape, apple, sweet malts, mint? Some alcohol.

Taste is of similar oddness but a slight improvement over the scent. Some dark fruit, cola, sweet toffee malts, lots of herbal hops, odd tartness. A jumble of flavors that doesn't really resemble a barleywine, not quite bad but barely hangs onto the 3 to be honest.

Mouthfeel is messy feeling as well, lacks smoothness, highish carbonation, not much booze though.

Meh, not horrible but it's a mess, probably one of the most underwhelming "barleywines" I've had.

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Photo of jwinship83
2.81/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

12oz bottle picked up while in boston for EBF/NotB. drank out of my samuel adams perfect pint glass. this is my first beer from this brewery.

A- this one pours out a dark amber colored body under a rather small khaki colored head. the head fades pretty fast and leaves behind very little as far as lacing goes.

S- the nose is very subtle for a barleywine. slight whiffs of sweet caramel malts and vague fruitiness. some earthy hops at the end.

T- the taste is just as weak as the smell is. very surprising for a barleywine. it starts out with some sweet caramel malts and then moves onto some fruits. raisins and plums. after that theres a hint of alcohol and some earthy hops at the end.

M- medium bodied. the carbonation is pretty high for an english barleywine. very slight warming from the alcohol.

D- meh, this is a pretty weak example of the style. its nice to see an english barleywine sold in a six pack, but i dont think this is what i wanted. i dont see myself seeking this one out again.

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Ridge Runner from Rock Art Brewery
3.45 out of 5 based on 414 ratings.
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