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 NiceTaps
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A- clean and clear amber color with a minimal head, jacket lacing to start ,then minimal retention. A light stream of bubbles.

S- Sweet caramel malts and dark friuts, plum, grape. A bit medicinal.

T- Dark malt, chocolate and caramel. Bitter flowery hops.

M- There's body, but not much carbonation in the sips. Bitter chocolatey finish. Some lingering hop bite.

O-The abv is toned down in this barleywine, but the profile is pretty strong.

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Photo of poop_brew
3.02/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Poured from a 12oz bottle. A caramel brown with a fleeting .5" head. No legging as I drank.

S: A dark and robust barley with subtle tones of caramel

T: A predominant bite towards the back of the mouth.

M: Feels quite light, with a good amount of carbonation, but no overwhelming. Leaves a airy feeling.

O: Definitely would purchase and drink again. I can say you will recognize a new taste every sip in this beer. It is quite a treat.

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Photo of FickleBeast
3.03/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a murky brown color with a thin ring of foam at the top. Aroma is malty, plum, boozy, toffee.

First sip is quite understated actually. There doesn't seem to be much flavor here, just a thin bodied (for the style) beer, with minimal residual sweetness. I'm really suprised - this is quite thin, almost watery, and seriously lacking flavor. There is a hint of hop bitterness, and some very faint crystal malt flavors, but for the most part this is exceedingly bland.

Well, this is a pretty big disappointment. This feels like a watered down representation of the style.

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Photo of MoreThanWine
3/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a 1" beige head which faded fast, and the body also exhauseted the effervescence too quickly. The body is Sienna brown in masstone but more of an amber held to the light. It smells of malt and caramel. The taste does mirror the smell but on a much lighter scale, and likewise the weight of the body is very weak, especially for a barleywine. Buttery aftertaste. Probably the easiest drinking barleywine I've had, but a lightweight all around.

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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 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 Slatetank
3.06/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I picked this up at Thirsty's in York, poured chilled into a tulip and allowed to warm gradually.

The color is ruby with brilliant clarity and thick sand colored cream cap with about two fingers that holds well. The bead is fine and inchworms of lace decorate the glass. the smell is pretty high in the buttery realm, almost toffee-like and sweet aroma with some floral hops, but practically like bread with some diacetyl augmenting. The feel is very high in carbonation for the style with moderately low malt texture, perhaps a strong yeast element is distracting with a slightly slick and moderately bitter finish with mild alcohol.

The taste has subtle toasted cracker and spice with the diacetyl pretty dominant. The flavor of the malt comes and goes with the carbonation washing most of the taste clean except as the beer is swallowed a slightly astringent and mildly piney hop flavor emerges. The beer is neither good nor bad, it just is IMO. The problem is it has the diacetyl too forward and there is not enough malt with the yeast and hops taking over the flavor. I would not buy this again most likely as it lacks a good malt body which is what I look for in a good barleywine.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.2/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to my brother for this bottle.

A: Pours a deep ruby/brown color with a small tan head that fades quickly and leaves behind thin and sporadic lacing.

S: Lots of caramel and candied sugar with a little bit of dark fruit - some raisins and prunes.

T: Similar to the aroma, but comes of a little bland for style. Some caramelized malt and a little bit of non-descript dark fruit.

M: Medium bodied, but seems a little thin for style. Medium carbonation.

O: Have had some pretty good beers from Rock Art, but this one was a bit if a disappointment.

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Photo of IronLover
3.41/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tea-like brownish red in color with good clarity. Poured with a think beige foam that quickly reduced to thin wisps. Smooth buttery feel with light, lazy carbonation. Sweet toasted and english malt and toffee aromas with a hint of light floral hops in the background. Light floral english hops from beginning to end. Toasted malt and toffee flavors similar to aromas. Finished semi-dry with a lingering floral bitter aftertaste. This is an English ale without a doubt. Probably the lightest barleywine I've tried, but was good nonetheless.

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Photo of jaasen64
3.67/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First beer from Rock Art Mixed 12. You know it's a fairly small scale brewery when they include a sticker and a typed note as the first thing you see in the box.

A- Dark slightly golden brown, translucent. Little head that dissipates fast. Lots of carbonation can hear it sizzling for a couple of minutes after pouring.

S- Floral, bready, oats + barley, malty smell, with light hops.

T- Lightly sweet with tastes of caramel, light chocolate, oats, and malts. Light sweet caramel oat/barley aftertaste.

M- Medium bodied, easy to drink, well balanced. Alcohol nicely hidden.

O- A little bit less boozey and sweet then most of the Barleywines I've had and not as much of a wine taste. Not a bad beer, but not one of my favorites.

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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 SickGnar
3.78/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark amber – just shy of brown with an extremely light tan small cap of foam. Clear with a couple streams of lazy, large bubbles. It keeps a ring and leaves pretty good curtains of lace.

S: Malty, bread crust, toffee, caramel, some sweetness. Lots of character, but not very aromatic. No hops found.

T: Sweet, bread crusty malts, caramel & toffee sweetness up front with some hints of roast increasing in the backend. Melanoidan & biscuit malt base with some toasty grain. Lightest & vaguest hint of dark fruits. Roast really grows as it warms and as consumed. Balancing hop bitterness. Nice earthy, herbal, & resiny character. Hops are all middle to end and into the finish – virtually no hops on the front end. Good depth and richnessl, but not all that complex.

M: A fair hair over medium, under matched & soft carbonation. Lots of texture from dextrins, sugars, and hop tannins. Starts quite sweet and stays a bit sticky. Good, big feel for its gravity.

D: Big on taste rather than heft. It has enough girth, but is a rather tasty and easy drinking barley wine. Almost the quaffing version. At the lower end for the style it may not compare to apple to apples with some of the monsters out there. However, as a milder version it is a very approachable and drinkable brew.

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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 tobelerone
3.33/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brown, almost caramel colored beer with a fluffy off white head that has both good retention and lacing. Nearly opaque.

Nose is somewhat modest; sweetness is noticed first, with a little vanilla and spice. Caramel malt, faint trace of hops in the background.

The flavor of this beer is a little light for a barleywine, which when combined with the lower ABV makes it easier to drink than most. There’s not a lot of depth here; again, it’s mostly sweet, caramel maltiness, very little in the way of hops, and some light vanilla and spice notes. Trace of bourbon perhaps? Not all that profound.

The carbonation is medium low and the body is right in the middle, moderately full and decently smooth. Finish is fairly short for the style. Alcohol goes unnoticed.

Kind of boring in the end. I’ve had this both on tap and in the bottle and I don’t really see the need to go back any more in the future really. A barleywine that’s easy to drink and perhaps a good introduction to the style but certainly not emblematic of it. Middling.

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Photo of berliner07
3.58/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I have enjoyed this beer many times in the past. Good availability right over the border. The malt profile is substantial I do wish there was more interesting hop profile in this beer though. I always find the hops bitter, not pleasant. Maybe some new hop selections would make a difference here?

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.8/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

caramel in color with a light, off white head on top that comes to about a half an inch in this glass, but has incredible staying power. Caps the top just about right before it settles down into a subtle, yet defined broken crown that clings to the sides of the glass throughout the rest of the session. Classic look here.

Aroma is light, hints of vanilla, light leather and bourbon are the most pronounced. Really rich smelling and the alcohol is coming through clearly. Evidence of the malts dominates everything, this is a good thing and even an hour into this bottle, that sweet vanilla aroma is mixing with an almost toffee like touch and a hint of plum. Smooth, rich flavor washes across the tongue

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Photo of Kinsman
3.78/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Murky dark brown color with a fluffy ecru colored head that fills the upper third if the glass.

Initial aroma certainly suggest a more traditional malt-forward barleywine with plenty of caramelized malts and only faint hints of citrusy cascade hops in the background.

Tastewise, sweet biscuity malts and slight hints of cocoa tell the story here. Hops add just a bit of bittering and some floral and fruity character to offset the malt.

Mouthfeel is lighter than expected but still plenty of body for this barleywine. Smooth with a slightly warming finish. Overall not a bad beer at all and certainly a nice change of pace from the hop-forward barelywines that seem to dominate the market now.

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Photo of jondeelee
3.7/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ridge Runner does not start off resembling a Barleywine, lacking the sugary sweetness that usually accompanies these beers. Instead, its notes are partly sweet--brown sugars and vanillas--but partly earthy, including loam and toasted nuts.

On the tongue, the beer begins with a smack of toasted nut and earthiness that is quite pronounced, balanced by a good amount of malt sweetness that resembles brown sugar. Light fig, plum, and apricot fruit esters swirl in the background, as well as a coffee-with-heavy-cream runnel. Lychee nut flavors round out the citrusy notes, here brought by a good handful or two of hops, which further bring a rosewater thread to the brew. The aftertaste is largely toasted nuts and roasted malts, and lasts for a good while. Mouthfeel is medium-light, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, while this does not resemble a Barleywine as I'm familiar with the style--and at 7.5% ABV, is one of the weaker of the lot, which usually run 8-12%--it is still a delicious beer, having excellent flavors that are well balanced and finely nuanced. Many of the low scores I give in this review are simply a result of the brew not resembling the style it purports to be, and thus appearing mislabeled.

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Photo of Allpe45
3.29/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle
Can't understand the bottling date. There's a notch on January and another notch on August. Numbers on left and right sides are 28 and 19

Appears reddish opaque dark brown, fluffy off-white head with great retention and lacing.

Somewhat muted nose. Earthy hops and sweet caramel malts, some fruity esters, toffee and sweet breat.

Tastes like grassy/earthy hops up front, with sweet bready malt and caramel in the middle, more earthy hops and faint bitterness in the finish. Not very bold flavor profile.

Thick/syrupy, very smooth with low carbonation.

Something seems strange about this. Off base for the style.

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Photo of cbutova
3.75/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Dark red-brown body with a light tan head. Retention and size are both pretty good. Nice coat of creamy lace around the glass.

S- Caramel, dark dried fruit and bread come off the strongest. Nutty, slightly roast and general hop hints also come through.

T- Sweet caramel, brown sugar, nutty, roast and grainy notes make up a mostly malty beer flavor profile. There is also a bit of bread and spice from the yeast. Dark fruit/raisin is big as well.

MF- Moderately thick body with silky carbonation. Carb level is right down the middle. Tiny amount of hop bitterness, mostly malt finishes.

One of the smaller feeling Barleywines I have come across but no real off flavors or major flaws. It has a nice malt profile and a decent yeast compliment. Certainly worth a shot in a mix a six or mixed 12 pack.

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle with a Bottled On Date notched at Feb. Pours a murky, dirty copper dark red color with a very small head. Zero lacing. Aroma is earthy with some booze, dark fruits, caramel, and butter. Taste is buttery with dark fruit flavor. Slight bitterness to it along with some breadiness. Kind of tastes like the caramel popcorn you get in those decorative tins during Xmas. It's nice to get a barleywine in a mix 12 pack but this one is just alright. Not bad, but it's no very boozey for a barleywine. Overall, it fits perfectly in this pack. I wouldn't seek it out but its not a bad beer.

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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 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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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.2/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

$6.50 at Redbones, Somerville MA

Bad pour day at Redbones because all the beers at our table had no head (they were guillotined) except for a Southern Tier 2XIPA. Despite the bad pour several lacey meanderings were left by a thin collar. Dark brown and auburn colored beer.

Aroma is Cinnabon cinnamon bun and plum. Aroma is good, just faint. Taste features more cinnamon bun brown sugar, plum, and a little dark bread. In confluence with the aroma and taste, the body is on the lighter side.

It's like a light barleywine. Decent in it's own right.

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Photo of jlindros
3.46/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a frothy 1 finger head that fades at a medium pace, with a bit of lacing, over clear mahogany molasses brown color.

Nose has some reddish malts, some dark malts, a bit of crystal, lots of herbal earthy hoppy Hedgerow UK hop aromas, a bit of a molasses like syrupy aroma. Not much there either, kinda flat, a slight bit of fruits.

Taste brings more of the herbal UK Hedgerow bittering hops, with some light minerality flavors, that herbal hop flavor dominates (not my favorite) with a slight bit of minerality and a plasticy like taste, then come the malts, lots of medium reddish to darker malts, crystal malts some light syrupy flavors, and a hint of dark fruit. Finishes with some sweetness but dries some from the initial sweetness, with a lingering crystal malt flavor and some herbal hops, as well as more minerality.

Mouth is medium to a little heavier bodied with decent carbonation.

Drink is so-so, not much by way of booze, but the minerality combined with the herbal hop flavors and a sticky finish give it a bit of trouble.

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