1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Bad Elf - Ridgeway Brewing

Not Rated.
Bad ElfBad Elf

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
81
good

365 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 365
Reviews: 236
rAvg: 3.56
pDev: 15.17%
Wants: 3
Gots: 5 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Ridgeway Brewing visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English India Pale Ale (IPA) |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Loki on 11-26-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 365 | Reviews: 236 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of battlekow
4.22/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bad Elf initially smells like it's trying desperately to express some malts, tyrannically oppressed by the evil floral hops. The nose mellows and balances as the beer warms a bit, allowing a scent of spiced apples to escape. Tastes quite crisp, lots of hop flavor with, as they say, a strong malt backbone. A slightly unpleasant "off" flavor in the finish.

I've never had any aged SN Celebration, but Bad Elf seems like what I figure a few years would do to that beer, mellowing it out. I like it. Quite drinkable.

battlekow, Nov 05, 2005
Photo of russpowell
4.2/5  rDev +18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours gloden/bronze with a 3 fingers of fluffy offwhite head. Some lacing & fair head retention

S: Grapefruitty hops

T: Citrussy & piney hops up front, then fruittness fill in around the hops. As this warms I get breadyness. Hops profile melows as this continues to warm. Finishes with honey malt, citric hops & fruittyness

MF: Low carbonation, good balance & medium bodied

Drank very easy, a bit pricey at $6 a pint. One of the better UK imports I've hade in a long while

russpowell, Jan 25, 2007
Photo of scaliasux
4.2/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Clear amber. Tall slightly off-white head with some staying power. Pretty good.

Smell - Moderately strong floral hop aroma dominates.

Taste - Moderately sweet malt that melts into a nice sour hop finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium to full body, smooth. Very nice.

Drinkability - Good beer. Finds a nice balance, not too sweet, not overly hoppy. Plus it has plenty of alchol for a long winter's night. Mildly amusing Chrismas theme is a plus.

scaliasux, Feb 25, 2007
Photo of allengarvin
4.2/5  rDev +18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear copper color, low head and very slight lacing. Quite estery aroma, with a touch of spicy hops as well. Sweet malt and a large hop bouquet meet on the first taste; hops taste nutty, pine-like, slightly citrus. Moderately-high bitterness and a well-rounded fruitiness are also present. The finish is noticibly dry. Carbonation is a bit low, giving a thin mouthfeel, but this is typical for many English beers.

A high quality beer. I'd love to try a cask-conditioned version of this.

allengarvin, Jan 02, 2006
Photo of ngandhi
4.2/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sweet citric melon nose and palette reminiscent of some very select Australian (and occassionally New Zealand) Sauvignon Blancs. There's a latent Amarillo/Cascade meets Styrian Goldings finish and bittering with a pleasant hint of grain. This brew is notorious for its high hopping rate, but I can tell you for certain that it's mostly late-boil. The result is a medium-light bodied, fruity British-style ale that balances the grain heartiness of a late fall harvest with the delicate scents of spring.

Relax, relax.
ng

ngandhi, Dec 01, 2003
Photo of peabody
4.18/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I might be rating this a little high cause I have had some pretty bad beers lately.
Pours out a cloudy amber with 2 fingers of off-white suds and nice lacing.
Smell of fresh lime and orange peel abound here.The Hops are a hoppin' and the ginger snap aroma is here. Mabey just a tad of alcohol is present.
Overall a great beer and a very nice presentation.
I like it a lot.

peabody, Jan 01, 2007
Photo of acrawf6
4.18/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out a rich goldish-orange with a creamy half inch head that is slight yellowish.

Smells lightly hoppy with lemon citrus notes. I cant smell too much from it, but my allergies are kicking up, so im sure that has a lot to do with it.

Taste is quite refreshing. its a light american ipa. Citrusy hops jump right out. I cant help but think of a hefe-weisse while i drink this. I can even taste a touch of cloves in this. Such a delicate, crisp flavor that i certainly could have cravings for when i dont want hops in my face.

Mouthfeel is interesting and nice. A light carbonation to this that i think helps with the crisp flavor. I can let it sit on my tongue all day.

Overall, I did can really dig this beer. But at almost $5 a bottle, i might pass in the future. Also, saying a winter's ale on the bottle made me think it was a winter warmer, which it is not. I think i would enjoy this more on a hot day.

acrawf6, Jan 10, 2006
Photo of ellisdee97
4.18/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a light perfectly clear brown with tinges of yellow and orange. A nice column of bubbles rise within and a nice light white head quickly dissipates leaving a nice bubbly ring. Very sticky lacing lingers through to the end.

S: Nice floral hop aroma up front. Orange peel and lemon zest. Some toasted malt and slight fruit.

T: Taste is reminiscent of a nicely hopped lager. Sweet toasted malt, and a taste of orange sherbert. Spicy hops with hints of orange and lemon zest.

M: Full bodied almost syrupy, with a sweet dry finish.

D:Excellent cold weather brew.

ellisdee97, Jan 16, 2007
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.15/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - a hazy orange topaz color. Maybe 4 fingers of head of suds up top. Took several minutes to squeeze the rest of the bottle into the glass. Finally, there's about a finger's worth of stiff foam resting above the glass like a crown. My bottle rested a while so the yeast was fairly caked on the bottom, allowing minimal sediment into my glass.

Aroma - orange and pine with a spicy, peppery bite.

Taste - robust hop flavor, full of citrus and pine without much bitterness. After the swallow, the taste turns grapefruit and lemon rind, showing some typical dry bitterness on the finish.

Mouthfeel - smooth and crisp, not very oily or resinous.

Drinkability - a great beer that would be tasty any time of year.

brewdlyhooked13, Dec 16, 2004
Photo of cleverbeername
4.15/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

dimpled beer goblet

55-60*

A lagerish look, not sort of true gold color with mini swirls of oj color (reminds me of *sp blanche de brussels). avg. head, very white

S wit, dry, citrus notes of tangerine and orange zest. nice hop character.

T hoppy, dry, sweet and sour. Sour dough bread notes. its sort of perplexing, and takes awhile to pinpoint whats going on, but in a good way.

M sits pretty nice in the palate, but not super impressive for style

D Im going to want one of these yearly around dec. Im looking forward to trying the rest. its a nice package.

cleverbeername, Jan 10, 2010
Photo of oberon
4.13/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poures a light golden with a orange hue to it with a huge fluffy that sticks like glue to the sides of my pint glass that was a little unexpected,big aroma of lemon rind and some leafy hoppness very fresh and vibrant definently bold.A really dry brew some spearament notes and some grean leafy elements a big crisp dry malt backbone holds up well with the big bitterness of this beer.A real English IPA highly hopped but not over the top by any means dry and crisp a real drinker I wish I had more.

oberon, Oct 21, 2004
Photo of bark
4.13/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The colour is pale copper with a hint of amber; the liquid is clear. The two finger head is white, compact and firm, it builds a fine crater. Some lacing occurs.

The smell is dominated by a clean bitterness with some dry metallic flavours. I noticed some dried fruits and hints of yeast and caramel too.

The taste is complex with clean bitter notes and a touch of minerals that blends with sweet malty flavours of apples, kiwis and raisins. The aftertaste adds some mild yeast, fresh lettuce (!) and a touch of fizzy painkiller tablets (!!) and a declining bitterness that makes room for sweet malt and caramel flavours.

The carbonation is mild to medium; lots of small bubbles. The liquid is light and smooth.

Although one can argue if this is a “Christmas beer” or not, it is a very drinkable and well crafted IPA.

bark, Nov 29, 2007
Photo of UncleJimbo
4.13/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16.9 oz bottle. 2005-2006 vintage.

This ale poured a clear, golden-amber color with white foam that settled and clung to the glass a bit. The smell was a bit sweet and malty, somewhat reminiscent of a Belgian tripel. The taste was a little sweet and malty, and like the smell, it reminded me of a Belgian ale. The hoppiness seemed low for an IPA, but it came out a bit in the finish. The mouthfeel was smooth with medium-full body and modest carbonation. It was relatively clean. This was a very nice, drinkable ale, and the 6% ABV was not apparent.

UncleJimbo, Jan 20, 2007
Photo of IntriqKen
4.1/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a slightly cloudy dark amber orange (golden) with a nice full finger white head that melts to really sticky top covering lacing.
Aromas are typical sweet english amber malts with a bit of citrus hops following.
Taste is lightly toasted amber malts and slightly sharp hops following making it a mild IPA.
Finishes very clean in the mouth....not really drying like a typical IPA (american) but clean and fresh.
Without a doubt the best English IPA I've had.

IntriqKen, Jan 12, 2007
Photo of ElGordo
4.1/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden-amber color topped by a smallish creamy white head that descends into a small halo quite quickly. Aroma of crisp English hops, lightly fruity malt, and a touch of light fruit (primarily apricot). Palate is nice and typical of a good English IPA - crisp fruity hops, light fruity malt, overall a nice tart fruitiness. Medium body has a pleasant creamy character to it. I could drink a lot of this if it weren't for the rather high price.

ElGordo, Nov 22, 2006
Photo of steveh
4.1/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I liked the Very Bad Elf so much I thought I'd sample the others in the series -- going back to the start.

Not sure just what style this may be, 6% Winter's Ale on the label. Since the Very Bad was much like an ESB to my palate, I'm wondering if this might be a Special Bitter, though 6% is a bit high.

A -- Pours a clear, golden color with a thick, off-white head.

S -- Light biscuit malt character with some mild toffee and a light floral fruitiness, some earthiness with warming.

T -- Initial dryness, seemingly from hops because of the quick blend through sweetish biscuit malts into a very dry bitterness. The in-between sweetness is cookie and fruitcake like, though not so luscious that it becomes sickly sweet. And the bitterness is there at the finish to help balance anything out. The aftertaste becomes a bit resiny, but never to a point of palate-stunting.

M -- Mouthfeel is smooth to dry with a light medium body.

O -- Yes, I would definitely slot this into an English IPA and recommend it to anyone who likes the American cousin and would be interested in trying one brewed on original soil. The neat balance between biscuit malt and fruity to dry bitter hops is very appetizing.

steveh, Dec 19, 2011
Photo of BeerBuilder
4.1/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours to a deep golden color with a white head that leaves good lacing. The aroma is full of fresh, juicy hops…resiny and citric. The flavor is malty and spicy with a resiny hop flavor throughout. It is a drying brew that is medium in body. A very different English brew because it is so hoppy. A decent beer.

Sampled 12/31/03

BeerBuilder, Apr 08, 2004
Photo of wl0307
4.1/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

BBE 07/03/07.
A: pours a clear, amber hue with strong dark orangey hint, the white beer head is fluffy and dissipates rather fast, leaving sparse lacing on the sides of the glass; fairly lively body with constant streams of mini-bubbles ascending.
S: fruit-esters prevail from the first second onwards…exotic fruity (incl. orange), spicy (coriander seed-like) and yeasty with a touch of candy-sugar almost like a lesser version of an aromatic Belgian pale ale(!), while a deeply malty overtone assumes at the back with lots of honeyish aroma buttressing it. Overall the aroma is not explosive, but at a closer sniff all the complex elements of aroma quietly but surely assert themselves. Excellent!
T: semi-thick texture of juicy pale malts come hand in hand with an initially spicy, piney, and dried tea-leaf like bitterness upfront, immediately followed by a flow of magnifying, slightly oily, orange-fruity hoppyness flooding all over the palate, causing a slightly pungent bite and dryish mouthfeel felt strongly esp. on the wings of the deep end of the tongue. The lingering, hard (by standards of English ales), and only faintly fruity hoppyness, combined with the underlying bitterness, makes an everlasting semi-tannic and slightly tangy aftertaste almost like chewing a mouthful of a kind of Chinese fruit snack--dried, lightly-sweetened citrus zest, plus a pinch of bitter herbs.
M&D: the initially smooth mouthfeel is balanced with the subsequent overwhelming bitterness and hops. Very satisfyingly hoppy strong ale, though I’d expect its body to be a bit more rounded and better-balanced with more assertive malts, suppose in one more year of ageing it could just be like that?! Shall buy another bottle and age it. Solid brew!

wl0307, Dec 03, 2005
Photo of twiggamortis420
4.08/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Spaten tulip glass an uber-clear deep golden color with a fluffy white 2-finger head. Nice retention and lacing.

I smell minerals, raisins, plums, red grapes and sweet light malts. Smells good, but different and lighter than most winter warmers (as the label indicates). Hops get lost in the shuffle and the maltiness is light and tangy rather than dark and roasty.

Flavors are heavy on the light fruits...pears and grapes especially. I get some honey in there as well. Has the typical low carbonation of an English ale. Finishes clean and dry, but the taste is not really that bitter, more of a balancing hop presence. Damn close to having a soured beer flavor with all the fruits and acidity (thats a good thing for me). Thin bodied, but is a very relaxing and yummy beer. Appears to be a bit of Belgian influence here. A solid beer, but I dont like the 'winter warmer' claim on the label.

twiggamortis420, Jan 24, 2009
Photo of dsa7783
4.08/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Although marketed as a "winter ale", this is certainly an IPA... Pours a hazy, straw-colored hue with minimal frothy head that soon dissipated... Smell was noticeably an IPA... replete with hops, vanilla, and slight caramel... taste strongly complemented the aroma, with ultra-fresh hops, grains, citrus, and a noticeable bitter-sweet aftertaste that was rich, thick, and satisfying... first-ever brew from this English company, and I must admit that I was very satisfied... This 1 pint .9 fl oz was pretty pricey at almost $5 at a local store in Short Hills, but I didn't recognize the label or brewery, so I wanted to give it a try... all in all, an excellent IPA that really stood out due to its pure and fresh flavor... definitely better than the average depiction of the style... Definitely recommended...

dsa7783, Jan 31, 2008
Photo of wknight167
4.08/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Apearance - Pours a clear orange copper with a one finger white head with little staying power and some lacing.

Nose- Grapefruit and pine hops at levels that remind me of a conservative west coast brew.

Palate- Starts off sweet with pineapple notes then dries out with the hops mentioned before. Well balanced.

Mouthfeel- Medium body and carbonation

Drinkability- Quite tasty and easy drinking.

Overall- I'm a little bummed this in only a winter offering.

wknight167, Jan 30, 2010
Photo of champ103
4.05/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a clear golden straw color. A white head forms and leaves some light sticky lace.
S: Fruity hops up front, but it is not overly bitter. Oranges, apples, pears, and other citrus aromas. Some sweet doughy malt.
T: Again a nice hoppy bite up front. Oranges, apples, pears with a hint of grapefruit. Just the right amount of bitterness for an English IPA. Sweet caramel and doughy malt.
M/D: A medium body that is creamy and well carbonated. Very smooth and easy to drink.

I like this beer. Not overly complex, but very tasty. Something I could drink more of.

champ103, Dec 07, 2008
Photo of crookedhalo
4.05/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

50 cl bottle. Pours a straw gold color with some deeper golden highlights. Fluffy eggshell colored, rocky head. Fresh, flowery/oily hop aroma; notably Cascade. Hop bitterness that is herbal/vegetal and citrusy and lasts into the finish and lingers afterwards. Light maltiness, but only a glimpse that manifests itself as tea-like tannins that meld well with the hop bitterness. Minerally water portion. Lower carbonation allows the hops to shine through without becoming too acidic. Finely crafted and highly enjoyable for those that like hoppy ales.

crookedhalo, Dec 02, 2004
Photo of clayrock81
4.05/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a seethru orange-tinted gold with one-finger head that slowly receeds. A smell of mostly herbal and citric hops along with hints of bread and roasted malts, and possibly some caramel. A juicy, fruit-flavor bursting light body of lemon, pear, apple comprises part of the taste. A smooth and slick beer that finishes clean and has some minor sweet/chewiness from bread/biscuity maltiness. Also some minor spicing on the backend warms up the tongue a little. A simple beer but I could have this anytime; I really enjoyed it.

clayrock81, Mar 26, 2009
Photo of Gusler
4.03/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Upon the pour from the 500ml brown bottle, the beer appears a slightly hazy golden amber with a modest off white head that settles quickly, leaving a thin coating of lace upon the glass. Nose has a nice sweet malt aroma, with a pleasant hop flowery tone, citrus like crispness, also a wee bit of bread dough. Front has a delightful malt presence, the hops as spicy as any American IPA, top is medium in feel. Finish has a brisk acidity, the hops pound your taste buds, and the dry aftertaste coats your palate, a “Damn Good” IPA.

Gusler, Oct 22, 2007
Bad Elf from Ridgeway Brewing
81 out of 100 based on 365 ratings.