Ridge Runner | Rock Art Brewery

417 Ratings
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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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Ratings: 417 |  Reviews: 203
Photo of rfgetz
3.45/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours an amberish brown color with cream colore dhead, minimal retention but ok lacing. Smell is forward of semi-sweet carmely malts, decent hop background. Taste is of semi-sweet carmely malts, some earthy nuttyness to it, decent sized punch of hops for the style with a lingering touch of booze. Medium bodied, moderate to heavy carbonation, fairly smooth. Not sure whats going on here but lacks much of the charachter of a traditional barleywine, most of my review notes lead more towards an amber or lager... decent beer yes, but out of style.

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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 matty
3.18/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brownish-amber colored beer with a rapidly fading head.Aroma is cocoa and caramel.Taste is toffee and caramel malts.The flavor of this beer is pretty weak and boring.I don't think there is anything awful about this beer but it's not something I would purchase again any time soon.

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

12 oz. bottle.

Pours a brownish garnet with the slightest haze. Creamy, dense blanket of dirty beige head. Good lacing. Nose features a good dose of cookie dough malts, caramel, cola, and a little rummy fruit. Toasted malts up front. Scorched caramel and toffee follow. Grainy coffee bitterness in the background. Some fruity sweetness mid-palate. Toffee cookie dough near the finish. Mildly bitter herbal hop flavors provide some balance, but this is definitely on the maltier side. Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation. Perhaps a bit weak and thin for the style. Still, not bad, and pretty drinkable!

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Photo of kingcrowing
3.93/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass at Manhattans Pizza

Pours a rich deep amber with some slight ruby notes. Nose is light and bitter with some smooth hops to finish it off.

Taste is a perfect combination of sweet, bitter and smooth. It's really drinkable and and awesome somewhat tame barleywine. It's a good gateway to bigger beers like the Vermonster!

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Photo of wagenvolks
3.52/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a Corsendonk tulip. Props to Huey782 for the wicked extra!

Ridge Runner looks murkier than your average English Barleywine, with a rosy, copper-brick hue capped by a thin crown of khaki bubbles. The head retreats to a thick, clingy ring that leaves slight lacing along the inside of the tulip. Sweet, toffee-rich aroma is heavy on the amber malts, with a hint of apricot and fig. Not much hops in the nose, but the maltiness is a welcome change from over-hopped American Barleywines.

Flavor matches the aroma closely, but I was honestly expecting more of a malt-bomb. Instead, I'm greeted with a slightly over-carbonated, thin-bodied barleywine that, despite packing a nice wooden/piny hop bite on the finish, has a thinly-veiled malty sweetness that suggests sugar-free toffee. Slight improvement as Ridge Runner warms, but it is too little too late. Thin (for the style), bubbly mouthfeel with a drying finish. Not the greatest example of the style, but it'll do in a pinch.

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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 treehugger02010
3.37/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I found this in the Rock Art Brewery variety case that I bought at Bryn Mawr Beverage in Bryn Mawr, PA. I poured it into a pint glass.
Appearance: The body is a deep brown almost completely opaque color. The head is relatively small, a finger or so, light tan, very small bubbles, sporatic lacing, ok retention.
Smell: The aromas are roasted malt, earthy hops and toffee.
Taste: The flavors are earth hops, lots of toffee and toast.
Mouthfeel: The body is very thin but has a nice bite.
Drinkabily: This beer is certainly not bad.
Don't drink and review.

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Photo of BeerPhan86
3.48/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Dark brown and hazy with a very small tan head that quickly dissipates.

S - Barley, alcohol, and sweet malts. Smells toasty. Aroma is not that intense.

T - Grainy, tastes like a strong brown ale. Bready and malty. Has a nutty taste to it as well, perhaps hazelnut. Hints of raisins and chocolate.

M - Pretty smooth, fullbodied mouthfeel on this one with light carbonation.

D - Too sweet and potent for me to session but it was nice to start the night off with.

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Photo of TLove
3.92/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(From Notes)

22 oz bomber to collins glass.

Lets be honest. The Vermonster is the Ridge Runner's better half. Nevertheless, this is a solid barleywine and comparable in structure to a mixture between the Dogfish Indian Brown Ale and a sour American IPA.

The color is a deep orange-brown with a substantial, beige head and a moderate to heavy carbonation. The body is not at all syrupy, but nor is it thin by any stretch. Does not possess the smokiness or substance of an english barleywine, so it is a bit suspect that it is labelled that way. However, the smell and taste are pervasive with maltiness, sour mash and a touch of green raisin. Spices of cinnamon and clove render some flavor as well.

There is a definitively smooth finish. This beer is very drinkable. It is smooth, refreshing, consistent all the way through. Soft on the back end, there is a certain absinthe spiciness to the way the alcohol tinge flows down the throat and to the bloodstream. There is a soft smokiness on the tip of the tongue.

I think I'll have another sip. Or two. Or four. Oops. Its gone!

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Photo of Suds
3.23/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a deep brown color with reddish highlights. A nice frothy head sits on top of the liquid. Nice aroma on this one. Lots of roasted and nutty characteristics. A little wood, toasted and dark malts, a hint of alcohol, and some wet earth. Not bad. The taste is a little bit of a let-down after the smell. It's modestly sweet, and very restrained. It's reasonably good, but it lacks a fullness and intense barleywine-style taste. A little grainy and hollow. Lighter than it should be mouthfeel. Not bad, but not a great barleywine.

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Photo of SLeffler27
3.52/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

What we have here is a dark, ruddy, chestnut ale with a frothy, taupe, one-finger head that drops a fine coating of lace on my Three Philosophers snifter glass. Nice red highlights are produced when presented to the light.

Rum raisin ice cream is pronounced with whole wheat bread, a touch of pine sap, some fig, black tea and even sirloin steak. This puppy really opens up as it warms, even revealing the aroma of cashews.

Nuts! Sadly, the flavor profile falls short of the aroma. All I am pulling from this are raisins and tea as it almost immediately goes to a light bitter finish. This is rather disappointing, given its three years in the cellar.

This barleywine has a light body with fizzy carbonation. It is dry and cleansing, yet lacks a presence of alcohol.

Ridge Runner is easy to consume, and more fitting to an afternoon with friends than what I am seeking in a barleywine. To me, this more closely resembles a tricked-out brown ale and is still enjoyable, just not what I was looking for.

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Photo of Yeastcakes
3.9/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving notes - cellar temp, snifter glass.
A - full barley aroma with some alcohol notes.
A - Off white head billows up when poured but quickly dissipates. Opaque dark black-red hue.
M - Full body with low carbonation. Some alcohol warmth.
T - Nice dark malty flavor. Some light chocolate, no roast. Some hops very subdued in the background.
D - This is a very easy drinking barleywine, I could easily drink a second one of these.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.73/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to brothercannon for this bottle. Poured into my standard shaker glass, Ridge Runner appears a clear amber chestnut color with about a finger of light tan foam. Nose and flavor are of caramel, orange essence, medium toasted bread, more mild citrus, floral, toffee. Smooth medium body with adequate carbonation. Thanks again Tim!

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

A - Light cola with off white small head reduces to ring. Not much lacing.

S - Straight up roasty malts. Can't discern much else.

T - Grainy, bitter finish. Not bad, but clearly not my favorite.

M - Medium to light body, fair balance, pretty light for the style IMO.

D - Easy enough, but would tire of the taste after a few.

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

22oz. bomber: This one poured an opaque caramel color. There was a small tan head on it that dropped away immediately. I'm surprised that a Barley Wine is only 7.5% ABV. I guess that explains the lighter aroma. Some caramel malt, fruits and surprisingly alcohol to the nose. Definitely thin on the tongue for a barley wine. Just a hint of sweetness to the taste, followed by some dryness. A bit smoky and roasty up front, followed by some caramel and dark fruits. Not bad, but not what I'd consider a Barley Wine.

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Photo of BeardedBoffin
3.72/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A dark amber color with a thin head that reduced to an even thinner ring around that hugged the glass. The aroma is sweet malt, fruit, toffee with a little bit hops in the background. The palate is light for a barley wine with some carbonation. Sweet but snappy in the flavor, similar to the aroma. It finishes with some bitterness from the hops which provides some balance. A nice little barleywine, but perhaps a little light for the style.

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Photo of BretSikkink
3.63/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Red highlights throughout a brown beer with a pretty nice tight cap of orange-tinted head that lasts a while and leaves some nice lace.

The nose is possibly hidden deeply below the foam, but I never really got a good whiff. Some fruit, more floral than tropical, lacking substance. Caramel malt with notes of toffee on the malt bill.

The taste is lighter than a barleywine should be. There is more of a roasted, patent malt flavor than most American versions, but that alone wouldn't be a little bit of a problem. There's just not enough of a malt bill to back it up: although notes of caramel and toffee appear and throw in a little fruitiness, it's just not enough to get me excited.

The hops are nice choices as far as varietals, but not used with a heavy enough hand. Oddly, I've never found Rock Art to have that problem...

The mouthfeel is not too bad, although I don't understand the need for such a light overall beer. That's a choice Rock Art made with the Ridge Runner, and that's okay, but I much prefer the Vermonster, with its fiery alpha acids and big caramel sweetness.

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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 Gambrinus1184
3.78/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12-ounce bottle into a Bud pint glass (yikes!).

A: Poured a medium golden-amber color with a tight two-finger head of ivory-white foam. Carbonation is a bit lax, but the brew has some visible character to it.

S: Smells sweet, malted and fruity with a bit of herbal hop resin in the background.

T: Taste is slightly fruity sweet up front with a sticky meeting of hop resin and roasted caramel malt. The alcohol here is not exactly masked 100%, but it's barely noticeable next to this admirable balance of sweet and spicy qualities.

M: Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied but not quite the sipper you'd expect from a typical English barleywine.

D: Drinkability is great for a barelywine, which can be good and bad. It's great that despite the ABV and apparent ethyl taste to it, it's a sessionable ale. Unfortunatley, this can get you in trouble, because the strength is deceptive. On a style note, it also means the brewery made a good, strong session ale, but maybe missed the head on what a true English barleywine flavor should be.

One of my favorite out of the mix pack and a must-try from this brewery. That said, look to outher examples of the style to be blown away, but stick with this one of you want to pass the time with a higher ABV, palatable winter ale.

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Photo of DIM
3.1/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

a: This was a clear, dark mahogany color. It poured with a short lived, big bubbled light tan head.

s: Mild aromas of toffee and vanilla.

t: Moderately charred toffee flavors and a bitter, somewhat floral, finish.

m: This is a smaller barleywine and it is reflected in the body of this one. Thin and gently fizzy carbonation.

d: Not bad, just bland. I did like Vermonster though.

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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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Ridge Runner from Rock Art Brewery
3.45 out of 5 based on 417 ratings.
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