Bad Elf - Ridgeway Brewing

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Bad ElfBad Elf

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243 Reviews
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Reviews: 243
Hads: 408
Avg: 3.59
pDev: 14.21%
Wants: 5
Gots: 16 | FT: 1
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:
Beer added by: Loki on 11-26-2003

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 243 | Hads: 408
Photo of Pencible
2.53/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This poured a clear, light gold with white head. It smelled like sweet yeast and lemon hops, with a bit of caramel malt. It tasted much the same, like lemon hops and sweet yeast with earthy caramel malt. It was watery with a bit of carbonation, and had a bitter aftertaste. Overall this was a very basic beer that wasn't bad, but was a bit dirty tasting. It wasn't crisp or clean, and had a mediocre body. This was barely worth finishing the glass, much less ever trying again.

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Photo of jmdrpi
2.83/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

500ml brown bottle.

color is clear and golden, frothy white head. makes it clear that it's not a traditional "Winter Ale". good lacing though.

not a real strong aroma, just a little citrus hops.

again, not a typical spiced winter ale. although I also don't think it's much like an IPA as indicated. not very hoppy, just kinda bland and generic ale.

lighter body, higher carbonation. disapointing for the cost. I guess they rely on the gimmick of the labeling.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.6/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Distinctive Half-Litre brown glass bottle that has a wide body and a tall long thin neck sealed with a standard looking brass crown cap. My label resembles the one shown here on BA.

“Bad Elf” is described on the label as “6.0% Alc.Vol. Winter’s Ale”

Appearance: Soft orange amber torso with a light golden body. Nice rising dirty white head on the pour. The creamy head soon relaxes the froth and settles down a thin covering. Gentle lacing rings as you work your way down the Pint. Streamers fill the body. Fine tuned carbonation is at a level that is cask like.

Nose: Malts and a floral hop character. Middling strength with a nice projection of the hops in the aromas nonetheless. Some grapefruit and lemon rind in there too.

Taste: Malt in the beginning is earthy with a little spice. Soon the hops have a more dominant role and pull through a citric sharpness. Finish has a clean ending with a decent grapefruit hop tang. Fruity at times and nicely put together.

Mouthfeel: No sign of the alcohol, it drinks below its fighting weight and this does allow the flavors more leeway. Above average feel but the base is a little thin at times. The conditioning lends a smooth creamy texture though which takes it up a notch.

Drinkability: A decent quaffer with an attractive profile. The malt adds a depth to the base whilst the hops add fruits and some spices. Clean sharp grapefruits and a hint of lemon make this a very refreshing brew to tackle.

Overall: Originally a little hoppier I recall, this years seems a tad more malty to the palate, but this is still a solid brew, despite the fact that I don’t really consider this to be a traditional Winter Ale by any definition. That said, this is by far the best of the “Elf range” of beers from Ridgeway, for my money the Very Bad, Seriously Bad and Criminally Bad just get worse with strength. Bad Elf is the original and harks back to its roots and doing what Ridgeway do best. More of a premium hoppy English Bitter than anything to do with Christmas or Winter – a little expensive but a pleasant brew overall.

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Photo of Gmann
2.93/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal clear light copper color with a small white head that dissipated into a small ring. The smell was almost non existant; perhaps some light hop action. The taste was of very light caramel malt, has a slightly odd sourness to it. No real hop or winter warmer spicy flavor to this brew. The feel is light but not watery, soft carbonation, finishes neutral. A very disappointing brew as an EIPA or winter warmer but a very sessionable brew with no off-putting flavors.

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Photo of cokes
4.18/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ah, they've turned the tables on us.
Plenty of USA-brewed "english" IPAs. Now comes the Union Jack posing as Uncle Sam.

Well, not quite. But close.

Hazy goldenrod with a miniature cream-colored topping.
Nose of shaven lemons and wet iron.
Initially, this screams Cali. Loads of citrus. Orange peels, lemon peels, lime peels and grapfruit peels. Sticky-fingered Mary Jane.
Oh yeah, there's a toasty caramel, bready malt backing.

But Dude/Chap, screw the malts on this one. For real. They're there. They work. Whatever. Good enough.

Back to the hops. Citric hues shift more and more towards lemon as this warms. Buttery hues arrise, but are staved off acidicly. Suddenly this returns to its heritage. A large slap of mineral-laden water. Hopping surges towards bitter, savory herbs and cold steel. It sticks here, and rides itself out, with minor relapses of Americana.

For you main-lining hopheads that thought the UK couldn't brew something to cure your hop-induced tremors. Find this.

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Photo of Suds
3.27/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew is an orange color with a moderately sized white head. The liquid is very clear. The aroma is citric (decidedly, and almost sourly, grapefruit) and give the impression of freshness. There’s a little grain and malt underneath, but they’re hidden far behind the hops. The taste is similar to the aroma…serious citric hoppiness with a faint undertone of malt. It’s a little grainy, fairly dry, and decently carbonated. It’s refreshing and cleansing, to be sure, but I thought that this one could have been helped by a little more sweetness and balance. It’s drinkable and worth a glass. I wouldn’t call it an English-style IPA though…it sure seems to take its inspiration from the West Coast.

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Photo of scottfrie
2.91/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

500ml bottle into imperial pint glass.

A: Pours a clear light golden with a finger of bubbly bright white head that faded into a fuzzy collar that left patches of soapy lace down the glass.
S: Toasted malts and English style grain bill mixed with earthy and leafy noble hops and a touch of spice. Bready and light smelling.
T: Bready, crackery malts, light mild hops, earthy, spicy, leafy, and peppery hop flavors, sour mash in the finish, slightly fruity aftertaste. Overall pretty standard flavors if not a bit below average. Faint apple juice.
M: Medium body with a chewy mouthfeel. Drinks clean and easy. Fizzy carbonation but it’s soft and nonintrusive.
O: Fizzy carbonation and sour mash and apple juice flavors put this one at below average for me. It wasn’t terrible, just not something I was that in to.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.15/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

163rd review on BA
bottle to mug

Stocking stuffer from the wife

App- A little darker than drawn butter in a bowl. One finger head that went away quickly. Not at all how I thought this would pour.

Smell- A faint citrus with some hops, spice and a touch earthy.

Taste- A very off taste. Has a malty bite to it but it's a bit flat. Had a spice/herb note that just didn't sit well to me.

Mouth- A bit chewy with a lighter medium body and a medium carbonation.

Drink- A little off to me but wasn't too bad. A gift from the wife. At least she tried.

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Photo of UncleJimbo
4.13/5  rDev +15%
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.

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Photo of Vancer
3.1/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

First of the Elves, only a bad one.

Clear amber orange pour with a frothy ivory head. Sticky laces.

Clove and coriander in the sniff, then the quaff – semi-lame taste of light winter spices with a decent kick of hops. But this ain’t some bad arse winter ale, and at $4.50 a 500ml, not to good of a buy. If someone offers a freebie, grab it, but I’m not looking for this elf again.

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Photo of tgbljb
4.47/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a perfectly crystal clear medium amber color. Head is a slightly creamy off-white and has slowly fallen to a thick ring with light surface coating. Nice creamy lacing on the side of the glass. Smell is hoppy with many citrus and piney notes to be found. Some summer fruitiness also present to form a nice combination with thhops. Initial taste is a medium bitterness that almost immediately fades to allow some fruity maltiness to show through. Very smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Finish is a moderate dry bitterness that definitely beckons for another taste, whicj I will gladly satisfy. Some alcohol also begins to show itself at the ending with a nice warm feeling in the mouth. Very drinkable and superbly enjoyable. This is really an excellent beer. (And the label is nice too)

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.15/5  rDev +15.6%
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.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.9/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Clear clear honey, not much head, spotty consistent lace. Ring for head.

S - Small malt flavor, even smaller citrus notes behind it. Whiff of hop.

T - Nice light malt, citrus and hops as small players. Not unpleasant.

M - Light body, good carb, fair balance.

D - Very easy going, very easy drinker.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bad Elf has a very thin, soap-bubble white head and a clear (a little hazy once the dregs are swished & poured), orange appearance, with lacing. The aroma is peppery, citrusy, and bready, and the taste is hop forward- citrus hops, sweet bread, bitterness, and cracker. The mouthfeel is light and watery, and Bad Elf finishes crisp, clean, refreshing, and mostly dry. The drinkability with this is ultra high. Overall, this is very good, and I recommend it.


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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured into the glass clear light amber golden with a white and low head which fizzed lightly then retreated to the edges of the surface to try and lace the glass.

The aroma was caramel malt with some slight earthy hop presence.

The flavor was mostly caramel with hop bittering being very slightly resinous, but present and containing a metallic twang. The flavor seemed almost, yet not quite citrusy, but certainly pine and there was almost a spice flavor present.

The finish was dry with lasting pine flavor and low caramel into the aftertaste. The body was medium and the carbonation was very low leaving the mouthfeel a bit on the thin side. My second experience with this had more Elf'in magic to my palate the first time than this time.

16.9 ounce bottle.

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Photo of allengarvin
4.17/5  rDev +16.2%
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.

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Photo of WanderingFool
3.32/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bad Elf pours a clear golden color with some orange hues mixed in. A small, thin white head on top quickly disappears to nothing leaving no lace on the glass. The aroma is floral hops with notes of orange and lemon citrus.

This medium bodied beer is smooth, with a soft mouthfeel. The flavor has a nice balance of crisp toasted malt and citrus hops with a hint of pine. It finishes somewhat sweet and dry leaving behind some of the pine hop notes when gone.

I thought this beer was quite drinkable and did not overpower you with the hops. Very well balanced and the crisp toasted malt reminded me somewhat of a lager.

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.43/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

A 500ml bottle with a BB of Feb 2014. ABV stated as 4.5%. Despite being a Christmas brew, I actully picked this up during the Sainbury's Beer Hunt back in September. Some bad punning on the label - should come with an 'elf warning....

Poured into a tulip pint glass. Bottle conditioned. A hazy amber colour with visible sediment and low carbonation. Forms a small head of white foam that disappears within a minute or so. Aroma of light caramel malt with notes of lemony citrus, grass/hay, earthy yeast, stewed hops and faint grain. Quite dry.

Tastes of light caramel malt with a hoppy character and a dry, bitter finish. Notes of citrus, grass/hay, earthy yeast, grain and stewed hops. Dry and slightly spicy. A restrained bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth and tingly, with decent body. Wouldn't hurt to be slightly more effervescent. Somewhat astringent, with an aftertaste of grassy hops, yeast and a twinge of citrus.

This is actually a pretty good beer, and certainly drinkable. Nice hop presence and good balance. But who the hell brews a hoppy pale ale as a Christmas brew?! It just doesn't seem right - there's nothing linking it to the season other than the branding. I've marked it down slightly as a result; would probably be better in summer. Worth trying, but if you're expecting warmth or spices then you'll be disappointed.

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Photo of CRJMellor
3.58/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear depp golden color with a big puffy white head that leaves some lace.
Aroma of pale and crystal malts with some underlying bread, grass and hay. Also noted were some resiny, herbal hop notes.
Flavor of biscuit, pale malt and hint of citrus and strong herbal tones.
Mouthfeel starts sweet with a bready/biscuity middle and finishes with a citrus and herbal hop presence.
Drinkability is solid. Traditional English Ale well done for the most part but underlying note of sulfur and mineral water is slightly off-putting.

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Photo of micromaniac129
3/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Yeah, I really didn't dig this beer at all. it has style issues: looks like a blonde, smells like a sour and dinks like a pils. Go figure.
Pours golden in color with a fizzy white head with no carbonation.
Aroma was funky and skunky some malts and tart.
Taste seems like a pils in that it was dry and sharp.
Bought a couple of these down at the craft beer outlet and I'm a bit disappointed.

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.57/5  rDev +27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had a small sample of this beer from what was left in the firkin after the big opening of Saturnalia last night at Rich-O's. The beer poured a nice yellowed golden color with a nice figer or two of head with some retention. The nose was full of grapefruit hop and some very earthy undertones as well. The flavor was really nice, with a great hop profile with grapefruit and caramel from the malts. How nice. The beer was moderate to thick and creamy. Nice. Overall, this is a fantastic brew, and I think I enjoyed it more on cask better than from the bottle.

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Photo of Pegasus
3.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pale amber in color, with a touch of haze, a small white head, with good retention, thin lacing, little carbonation.

Aroma: Strong herbal hops and grassy notes dominate, with sweet malt notes beneath, struggling to assert.

Taste: Opens with a slight toasted malt note, with more than ample citrus and pine hops and grassy notes as well. Towards the middle a bit of the malt character comes through with some caramel notes. Finishes dry with a tea-like hop note.

Mouth feel: Smooth, and pleasant, but seemed a touch thin.

Drinkability/notes: Overall, pleasant, but seems an odd choice of style for a winter beer, with which I associate a higher alcoholic content and greater malt character.

Presentation: Packaged in a custom sixteen ounce glass bottle with a pop-off crown, served in a standard pint tap glass.

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Photo of BigBry
3.77/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle, from "A Rather Curious Collection of Holiday Ales" - label as pictured above. 6% alc Winter's Ale.
Pours dark gold with a large, off-white head. Foam shrinks to a floating cap, leaving some thin lacing.
The smell has pale ale hoppiness, floral and herbs. The taste has the same herbal hops with a good malt base. Crisp, dry finish. Medium body, slightly oily. A nice English IPA, just named a Winter Ale to help with marketing.
This was the favorite of the 4.

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Photo of dsa7783
4.07/5  rDev +13.4%
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...

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Photo of ADR
3.8/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lighter amber color, fairly transparent. Two fingers of pale head and average lasting-power. Laces fairly nicely, tendrils and incomplete rings. Hoppy aroma, leans on citrus with some impression of fresh gum turpentine. Light/medium mouthfeel, decently lively carbonation. Straightforward flavor, skewed toward the hops, fairly fresh and bracing with enough fruitiness to keep it from being overly dry. Decent but unremarkable malt balance, caramel and powdered sugar. Pleasant enough beer, drinkable, somewhat North American in many flavor aspects.

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Bad Elf from Ridgeway Brewing
81 out of 100 based on 243 ratings.