1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Rude Elf's Reserve (formerly Rudolph's Reserve) - Bethlehem Brew Works

Not Rated.
Rude Elf's Reserve (formerly Rudolph's Reserve)Rude Elf's Reserve (formerly Rudolph's Reserve)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

192 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 192
Reviews: 94
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 15.75%
Wants: 14
Gots: 26 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Bethlehem Brew Works visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: goindownsouth on 12-08-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view more.
Ratings: 192 | Reviews: 94
Photo of jneiswender
4.75/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Nice ale. Thick off white head ...nice carbonation....candied fruit...chalky and minerals...I would seek this out again

Photo of Shade1951
4/5  rDev +5%

Strange brew! But only at first. I had been drinking Mad Elf by Troegs the couple weeks prior to trying this one. When I first poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a standard beer glass and took a sip, I was slightly put off. Where Mad Elf is "fruity," Rude Elf is spicy. It was a bit of a shock. Cinnamon is, by far, the dominant smell AND flavor of this ale. And while I like cinnamon well enough, my first impression was that it didn't belong in a beer. I regretted having bought an entire case at the quite steep price of $60.

But then, by the time I got to the final ounce, my palate had adjusted. The cinnamon tasted warm and toasty rather than cloying. Definite flavors of "the season" - baked goods. The question that remained was - Would I enjoy the next one?

Well, that evening I tried another. And this time there was no shock to the palate. It just tasted good! The smell which has first bothered me a bit was now pleasant and welcome. The flavor continued being quite pleasant - and though the booze is high, I didn't feel any alcohol burn going down.

How does Rude Elf compare to Mad Elf? I cannot even compare, as they are really quite different from each other, despite the "Elf" in both names. They are both quite good, but in different ways. And of that, I am glad.

Photo of 57md
3.79/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a brownish copper with a finger of off-white head. The head dissipates rather quickly. The most pronounced note in the nose is nutmeg. Spices and malt blend together in the flavor profile. This offering finishes with a definite and not altogether pleasant essence of alcohol. The alcohol becomes more pronounced as the beer warms. The body is a touch light for the style.

I have sampled this offering over many Christmas seasons and it has seemed to have gotten lighter with a slightly muted flavor profile as the years go by. This is still a good holiday treat, but certainly not the best Christmas ale available.

Photo of ColdWaffles
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Reviewed from notes of stuff I've had over the past month or so.

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a standard pint.

Appearance: Deep red ale with a nice but short lived head.

Smell: Clove, cinnamon, all spice and icing. "Sugar, spice and everything nice." Back of the package recipe gingerbread cookies. Cheap holiday cookies. Smells good, if a little... cheesy. (And not like actual cheese.)

Taste: This seems like they made all of their baked goods for the season and then brewed up a decent Belgian strong ale and dumped all of the leftover spices into the ale. How they mix with the ale isn't bad, but it's not exquisite either.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodies with appropriate carbonation. Lightly sticky afterward.

This isn't a BAD beer. In fact, I didn't mind my experience with it at all. However, I wouldn't want it again for an entire year and a single 12 oz will do. The fruit cake of beer.

Photo of Darkmagus82
3.97/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a 10 oz chalice glass

Appearance – The beer is served a ruby red color with a small white head. The head fades very fast to leave a lingering film and a small level of lacing.

Smell- The aroma is heaviest of spice notes mixed with some fruit and sugar. Cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom are all prevalent and mix nicely with a candied sugar and light dark fruit aroma.

Taste – The spices make their presence known upfront in the taste as they did in the nose. Cinnamon and cardamom mix with a dark fruit and malty base of the brew. Soon other spices of nutmeg enter as well as some flavors of a brown sugar and apple. A light yeast taste enters the tongue, more toward the end, along with a light alcohol and citrus flavor. From the mix of the spice and alcohol, a pleasant warming taste is left to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel- The body of the beer is on the medium side in terms of its thickness with a carbonation level that is slightly on the higher side. The high carbonation is god for the drinkability while the medium body is a good compromise from keeping it too easy to drink, but yet still being god for the spice and the fruit flavors.

Overall – A tasty spiced Belgian style ale. A very drinkable (and dangerous at 10.5 % abv.) and wonderful winter style brew to sit back and sip in the company of friends. A good on to try if you get the chance.

Photo of FickleBeast
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at George street alehouse in new Brunswick. Arrives in a pint glass with a finger of foam with nice lacing. Aroma is moderate with holiday spices like Clove and cinnamon.

This is much better than what I had in the bottle last year. Decently sweet with a strong spice profile. A touch boozy but to be expected in a beer this size. A bit too spiced for my preference but not overpowering.

This is a bargain at 6 bucks for a pint of this high octane beer at the GS alehouse. I'm glad I gave this another shot, as it is head and shoulders better than the bottle I had previously.

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

When i poured this beer into a pint glass, it has a dark reddish color body with a little head that layed down to a thin lace. The smell is of cinnamon, nutmeg.
The taste is malty and spicy,of cinnamon, nutmeg and some allspice, then the hops come on the back of the tongue. Very nice mouth feel, and overall a really good beer.

Photo of TheFightfan1
3.94/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On Tap at Isaac Newton's. Just missed PTE. Poured into a tulip. Cloudy amber hue with, nice creamy looking heading off white in color. Left some lacing, but turned flat after a little bit.

Spicey as hell. At first whiff I get the christmas spice lineup. Nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon. Then at second whiff I get alot of Belgian notes of candy sugar , coriander , clove. Very complex.

Taste almost matches up to the big aroma billing but does fall short. Heavy malty backbone with an extremely sugary blast. A nice spicey, doughy mixture that does make me think of the christmas holidays and gingerbread man.

Full bodied, decent carbonation and excellent balance.

The name pretty much sums up what this beer is Rude Elf. A perfect beer for the holidays.

Photo of UDbeernut
3.77/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Part of the mixed case from my sister. Pours a glorious red amber hue into my snifter capped by a foamy head with very little retention. Nose is strong with banana. Taste is trending sweet with burnt sugar, banana, clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Alcohol is banging down the front door and emjoyably warming on this cold day. Mouth is think and syrupy, a true sipping beer .

Photo of turnstile
3.48/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours reddish-brown with orange and ruby highlights. Only a ring of carbonation to stand in as the head; two thin strips of lacing are visible.

Smell: Cinnamon, Belgian yeast spiciness, brown sugar, molasses, and a bit of clove and orange zest. Alcohol aroma noticeable.

Taste: Alcohol-forward; spicing carries through to the palate with cinnamon and nutmeg apparent. Fairly clean with caramel malt flavors and Belgian yeast lingering in the finish. Mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied with little carbonations; sort of flat. Way too syrupy for my liking.

Overall: I'm not really impressed. It's fairly one-dimensional and kind of a struggle to finish.

Photo of happy4hoppybeer
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at restaurant.

From notes:

Luscious ruby-red, fairly dark. With very thin, minimal head. Almost no lacing to speak of.

Notes of spice, a little cinnamon and a dominant alcoholic component. A little malt sweetness here and there.

Medium mouth, light carbonation with flavors of spice, sweetness and alcohol. Not bad.

Photo of VaTechHopHead
4.02/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - medium red with a thin head. Not much lacing and crystal clear

S - Very spicy with hints of cinnamon and clove. Not much hop profile and a nice caramel sweet aroma

T - Follows the aroma with spices, mostly cinnamon. Sweet tang in the middle and an alcohol presence towards the end. Finishes spicy and a warm boost flavor.

M - medium body and good carbonation. Palate finishes semi dry with a hint of alcohol

O - a very nice Christmas beer and the spices are blended very well. Definitely a seeker over the holidays

Photo of BuxMontBeerLover
3.87/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle was part of a mix-n-match 6pk my friend picked up for a recent tasting. Thanks, Pat!

Poured and enjoyed in a DFH Signature Glass

A - Pours a very dark reddish/amber color. A very small head on the initial pour. A small amount of lacing left after enjoying.

S - A mix of spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and clove. The smell of alcohol as well.

T - Wow, this is a sipper for sure. Lots of booziness on the initial sip. The taste is that of a traditional Christmas spice beer - nutmeg, cinnamon and clove mixed with the taste of a yeasty Belgian-style beer. The alcohol is really noticeable. I assume this is a fresh bottle since no dating is on the bottle. Aging this probably would calm down the booze.

M - A rather thick consistency with very little carbonation. A boozy sweetness coats your mouth.

O - A brew that is a one a night beer, IMO. The booze and the overall heaviness of the beer make this a beer to sit back and slowly enjoy by the fire. A decent Christmas beer that I'd enjoying having again.

Cheers!

Photo of oline73
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass. I'm pretty sure this is a 2010 bottle.

Appearance: Pours a mostly clear red amber with a finger of off white head. The head fades to a layer on top of the glass.

Smell: Very sweet and malty with some Belgian spice and fruity cherry like notes. I'm picking up some brown sugar and spices as well.

Taste: Sweet and a bit syrupy. Some spices and cherry like fruit notes along with lots of sweet malt. The finish is sweet with some spices. Smooth.

Mouthfeel: The body is a bit syrupy with smooth carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This is a solid beer. I would have liked the taste to be a bit more refined, but I still enjoyed it.

Photo of muletrane
3.37/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

2010 Vintage

Poured from a 12oz bottle (no dates) into a snifter.

A: Pours a deep plum colour with red/orange hues. 1 finger of ivory head dissapates quickly leaving some lace.

S: The highlight of this beer. Lots of spiciness in the nose. Spices don't seem to have faded at all. Nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, clove, yeast. Very nice, smells like Xmas.

T: Didn't quite deliver from the great nose. Some spiciness up front and Belgian yeast notes on the backend. Finishes dry with some lingering spicy notes.

M: Not alot of carbonation here. Moderate body. Slick feel overall. Not the most pleasant mouthfeel here. Maybe do to the age.

Overall this beer is all about the nose. It smells fantastic! It just doesn't deliver in the flavor category. I wasn't a fan of it fresh and the aged bottle is only slightly better IMO.

Photo of Jef59
3.87/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Pours an clear orangey-red with a off-white/beige head that starts at about 1.5" but fizzles out quickly to nothing.

S - You can smell huge notes of banana as it pours out the bottle. In the glass, a lot of spice is noticeable. Hints of caramel and vanilla are also present. A little booze.

T - following the nose, banana is the most noticeable flavor followed by clove, coriander, and all spice. Flavors of sweet bread - like a pound cake come to mind. Its a little cidery. Caramel and vanilla are also in there with a crisp, but subtle hop finish.

M - A little under carbonated, but still enjoyable. Slightly on the syrupy side, but not as much as some beers with such an abv.

O - good holiday beer. I'd buy it again.

Photo of patm1986
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

#50

reddish-brown, cherry wood color. half-inch, cream-colored head. retains itself well. really nice lacing and residue around the rims: speckled.

good ol' holiday blend: nutmeg, coriander, cinnamon, clove, a little anise, and a slight ginger appearance. some metallic phenol aromas as well.

a lot of nutmeg, cinnamon, orange, anise, and a really subtle toasty malt character underlining the blend. a solid herbal combination rounds out the spice blend nicely.

it's thin and has enough of a dry finish that it doesn't linger and overload the palate with the spice combination. i really like that.

i've always enjoyed mad elf, but on christmas eve last year, my girlfriend gave me a new growler filled with this, and i loved it, enjoying it more than the troegs classic. this year, i think the rude elf has taken another length in the race for misbehaving elves. the 10.5% is not nearly as present as it should be. truly rude when you're least expecting it.
cheers

Photo of boralyl
3.33/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a 1/2 inch of light tan head that settles fairly quickly. The beer is a deep red with ruby highlights when held to the light.

S - The spices (nutmeg and cinnamon) stand out the most in the nose. There is also a Belgian yeast character and some dark fruit.

M - Medium in body with moderate carbonation. There is some alcohol burn present.

T - The beer begins sweet with light caramel notes followed by dark fruit. A little booze shows up mid-taste followed by the spices detected in the nose. It finishes with an almost brandy like sweetness.

Not a bad beer by any means, but it doesn't do it for me. The booze and the spices are a bit much in my opinion. I'm glad I got to try it, but I won't seek it out again.

Photo of Knapp85
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Rude elf pours out as a reddish orange color. The head is a creamy white color with a decent lacing. The smell is of Christmas spices and berries, some Belgian yeast and some booze. The taste has some strong cinnamon there with a boozey Belgian yeast flavor and some berries in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is a little bubbly and dry. Overall it's a pretty good holiday brew. I enjoy it during the season.

Photo of SickGnar
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Bright yet dark orangey amber. Barely super light tan head of moderate size. Okay lacing, but it keeps sliding back down the glass.

S: Fruity and spicy in a Belgian yeast way. Nutmeg and possibly other spices. Toasty and caramel malts. Potent and sweet.

T: Prunes and plums and stone fruits (hinting at cherries) and even raisins all contribute to the sweet, fruity, booze-soaked (dark rum / bourbon) core of the flavors. Some lighter candied tropical fruit notes also poke through. Just a tad too far in the background are some toasty, caramel and lighter toffee malts with sugar cookie sweetness. Any hops are well hidden by everything else that is going on. There is vanilla aspect - possibly oaky (but not tannic or woody) - that comes in mid-way and like the fruits has boozy overtones. Spices are nutmeg and allspice, lighter cloves (more phenolic than spice), and some soft & muted cinnamon that grows as the brew warms. Spice level is nice - a sort of refined complement to the overall fruity, sweet, boozy character. Somewhat heavy handed booze with out the robust malts to back it hurts the palate a bit.

M: Just barely below full with a lively carbonation to match against the heft and make it seem a little less dangerous than it is. Almost creamy. Abv is obvious, but not quite so much as expected at 10.5 percent.

D: This is a sipper. A distinctly rich and interesting fireside desert beer. Obviously, yet dangerously strong. While not overly Belgian, it is a flavorful experience. None the less, it is a bit too intense, boozy, and thickly sweet to truly be highly drinkable.

Photo of thain709
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2010 vintage

A - The body was a clear, darker shade of copper...small, creamy, light tan head...showed great retention with lots of carbonation bubbles...some lacing

S - The nose was pretty big...it's loaded with spices (cinammon and nutmeg)...I picked up a bubblegum presence...a lot of sweetness provided by a caramel/toffee aroma...alcohol is evident at the end

T - Heavy spices right off the bat...that spice profile was a little overwhelming to be up front...a blast of sweetness featuring caramel and toffee flavors...the sweetness is able to tame the spices but it lingers for the remainder of the beer to the point of almost cloying...warming alcohol again is in the finish

M - Medium bodied...creamy, sweet, smooth, alcohol burn

D - Rude Elf, for me, was heavily spiced then slightly (not overly) sweetened...I feel the spices and the 10.5% ABV really hinder me from having more than one of these...I didn't want to make the comparision but I prefer Mad Elf

Photo of kbutler1
3.38/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Poured into a tulip glass a clear deep copper reddish color with a very small bubbled 1 finger head of off white. Very pungent aroma of spices; namely allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Almost has a pumpkin pie like aroma. Medium mouthfeel. Dark fruit like flavors mixed with lots of spice. The booze, even while pretty cold, is pretty evident at the end. The booze semi burns at the end and has a mix of the spice in it. An interesting beer. Dial the booze back a bit and it would probably be a nice drinking beer.

Photo of BeerCon5
2.38/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours a slightly hazy reddish brown color with a nice foamy white head that dissipates quickly.

The scent was dominant of both alcohol and very sweet cherry.

The taste was overwhelmed by alcohol, the only other thing I could taste was the incredibly sweet cherry flavor.

Medium body, very crisp and a little chewy, high carbonation.

This beer was ruined by the overbearing alcohol presence. The flavor was way out of balance, it was difficult to finish one of these.

Photo of wampahoofus
3.4/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Light amber brown. Head faded to nothing right away. Very little lacing. Not unusual with this style.

Smell: Lots of spice. Cinnamon. A bit of sweetness in the background

Taste: Holiday spices are well balanced and blend in with the belgian esters nicely. Some fruit and a tang at the end.

Mouthfeel: The beer is sweet and mellow for its style. The spices are well balanced and do not take over.

Drinkability: This is a decent holiday warmer. Not sure if I'm ready to drink more than one, but it was worth a try.

I think that BBW is being a bit "rude" with the naming. I think it is clear that they are honing in on Trogg's "Bad Elf" from just down the road in Harrisburg. I will stick with the Troggs if I have a choice

Photo of MrBlueShirt
3.48/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Rude Elf's Reserve was brought to my attention to be an "alternative" to the ever so popular Troegs Mad Elf. I was also informed it has a similar ABV and was about $15 less a case. I was intrigured and within a few hours of discovering I had a case in my possesion.

Poured from a bottle into pint glass. I was first impressed with the red color and mild head that did dissipate upon enjoying.

The smell was that of a your typical spicy, holiday insipired brews. Enjoyable and comforting.

The taste was impressive and complex. Cinnamon, cloves, or as my friend put it "Tastes like Christmas"

Mouthfeel was heavier and slighty sugary.

Now to drinkability... The only reason I gave it a low score is because after 1 the taste becomes a bit much and the high ABV gives you decent buzz even for a seasoned drinker.

Overall it's a good beer in low quantites too much and you'll probably be hurting. While initaled presented as an alternative I believe it's a whole different beer in itself.

to view more.
Rude Elf's Reserve (formerly Rudolph's Reserve) from Bethlehem Brew Works
86 out of 100 based on 192 ratings.