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Very Bad Elf - Ridgeway Brewing

Not Rated.
Very Bad ElfVery Bad Elf

Educational use only; do not reuse.

165 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 165
Hads: 275
Avg: 3.51
pDev: 16.81%
Wants: 7
Gots: 13 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Ridgeway Brewing visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Pale Ale |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Kookiekwan on 11-17-2004

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (27) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 165 | Hads: 275
Photo of superspak
3.48/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 9/10/2011. Pours slightly hazy/cloudy deep orange/copper color with a 1 finger dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of caramel, toffee, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, light nuttiness, plum, pear, herbal, floral, light pepper, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and earthy hop notes; with solid strength. Taste of caramel, toffee, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, light nuttiness, plum, pear, apple, herbal, floral, light pepper, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Light-moderate herbal/spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toffee, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, light nuttiness, light fruits, and herbal/yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Good complexity, balance, and solid robustness of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and earthy hop flavors; with a good malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied; with a very smooth and lightly creamy/silky/buttery mouthfeel that is okay. Feels too thin for an English ale of this ABV. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a solid English strong ale style. All around good complexity, balance, and solid robustness of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and earthy hop flavors; and very smooth and easy to drink for the ABV. A pleasantly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: A brilliant garnet tinted amber liquid fills the glass crowned by a thin, clingy, sudsy dirty white foam collar. S: Biscuit and fruit aromas with a dash of spice. T: Moderate hops, biscuit, toffee and a surprisingly dry finish. F: Medium body and medium light carbonation O: A very easy to drink, satisfying beer.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.23/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Wow, just perfection. Deep perfect bronze dark and golden looking body, super bright and crystal clear with some faint carbonation. Thick creamy three finger head, with whipped up retention and light lacing, and a soft white appearance. Just a gorgeous looking beer, and looks like a superior English Pale Ale.

Big aroma. Creamy sensing malts and some light toasty notes. Lots of thick cream aromas, with this incredibly sense of dense biscuit like malts. Slight sweetness but not overboard, and a mild floral hop sense. Very inviting.

Palate subdues a bit but gives way to much sweet notes but in control. BIg blast of honey on the front, with a bit of bile bitterness which quickly disappears. Mid palate just loads with a honey coating feel but not a huge syrup rush. Light hop pine to herbal like finish, but tiny, through a thick malt backbone. Hint of mixing biscuit, hop, and liquid sweetness.

A fun brew, and certainly one to keep in mind every year.

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Photo of arizcards
3.59/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Da Boss picked up a bottle for me at Cost Plus for $5.99. Bottling code F16 - 225 - whatever that is.

Beer poured golden orange with a nice white head upon the initial pour.

Nose is light pear and apple with some toasted grains.

Taste is a bit uneven, nice notes of pear and apple with toasted grains. Initially I was thinking this is like Fat Tire's big brother. Finish is odd, an abrasive toasted pine lingers on the palate long after the sip.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, not overly smooth nor refreshing.

Overall not a bad beer, just that aftertaste that throws the balance of the beer off.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.43/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear dark orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, earth, pepper, and herbal hop aromas. Taste is much the same with toast, caramel, nut, and herbal hop flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with solid caramel and nut qualities that are interesting along with the herbal hop aspects.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.77/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle marked F16 226 B at 50 degrees into imperial pint
Aroma of faint apples, grain
Head large (6.5 cm, aggressive pour), off white, frothy, slooowly diminishing to 4 mm ring with plateaued layer
Lacing good – partial rings of moderately thick foam
Body golden yellow, clear
Flavor slightly grainy; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate light to medium, creamy, soft carbonation

Appearance 4, Aroma 3.75, Flavor 3.75, Palate 3.75, Overall 3.75

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Photo of Darkmagus82
2.91/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance – The beer pours a golden amber color with a big three finger head of white foam. The head has a great level of retention, slowly fading to leave a tons of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the beer is rather strong of a more grainy and wheat like aroma with some other smells of a light sugar sweetness. Along with these smells are some notes of a lighter fruit nature as well as a light hop smell of an earthy aroma.

Taste – The taste begins quite bready and doughty with a moderate level of sweetness upfront. The sweetness is mainly of a caramel flavor but contains flavors of some light fruits of pear and peach. As the taste advances the sweeter flavor fade some, with an even greater doughy taste developing. All while the doughy taste builds some spice flavors come to the tongue. Some grassy and herbal hop tastes come at the end of the taste, and with the loss of fruit, the increase in doughy and bready tastes, and bit of spice, one is left with a sorta odd and slightly unbalanced taste to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the thicker and creamier side with a carbonation level that is very low. The thick feel was rather nice, but the lack of carbonation was a poor for the spice and herbal and grassy tastes, giving them too much potency and making them somewhat overwhelming for the tastes.

Overall – The look was fantastic, but other than that, this was a fairly unbalanced and slightly off putting brew. Not one I will go to again.

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Photo of WhiteHillsStore
3.68/5  rDev +4.8%

Pours a light orange color with a little bit of lacing. The smell had a lot of spice such as pepper to it as well as pear and apple scents. The taste starts off strong with dark fruits like plum and apple with pepper and vanilla flavors coming in at the end. The alcohol flavor was definitely there but was not overpowering to the rest of the beer. A little forgettable but not a bad beer by any means.

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Photo of seedyone
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%

01/02/13 On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. Definitely like Aventinus' little sibling. Less sweet & a tad more toasty, but having seen the light it reflects a bit dim.

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Photo of Chico1985
3.56/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pour is very pale, dull orange; full clarity. White head retains pretty well while leaving bits of lace.

Lots of herbal/earthy hops with some light grapefruit perhaps. Toffee malts and buttered bread. Decent overall. Definitely English stuff goin' on.

Taste is similar, a bit hoppier maybe, surprisingly so for its non-IPA categorization. Mostly herbal and leafy flavors and light fruitiness there along with a tea-like presence. Bread, diacetyl, toffee-like sweetness and grains provide a big malty finish. Seems to be some minor off-flavors in there.

Smooth mouthfeel with light bitterness and lower-end carbonation. Just a bit of booze there.

A decent English pale, it's big on the herbal hops and buttery malts which is always kind of an 'eh' flavor combo for me, but really not a bad beer.

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Photo of Captain_Komamura
3.68/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - a light amber color, with not much of a head.

Smell - it is a piney/hops smell, with a bit of sweetness.

Taste - like the smell, pine/hops bitterness.

Mouthfeel - perfect carbonation and a good body.

Overall - It is a pretty decent English pale ale.

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Photo of beertunes
3.73/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Thanks to OKComputer for this one. Poured into flute. Poured a lightly hazy honey-gold color, with just a thin cap of white head that almost immediately dissipated into a thin ring.

The aroma was mostly sweet malts, with just a bit of gentle, earthy hops in the background. The flavors mostly featured the same components, but the hops were a bit spicier towards the end of the tongue.

The body was full and even, and not quite full. Drinkability was very good, I could easily drain a couple bottles of this. Overall, a very good beer, certainly worth grabbingif you see it, perhaps even a bit of effort to find.

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Photo of rand
4.05/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From 500mL bottle to nonic pint glass

The brew reveals a medium complexion on the pour, copper-tan in color and forms a tiny, wispy head that never fully recedes. A malty, bready bouquet is quite easily detected, followed by touches of of honey-sweetness and a citrus snap. Earthy, tea-like scents are noted. The flavors are malt-forward as well, but just barely, as tones of floral and earthy hops quickly balance the profile. A little boozier than expected, the warming alcohol works to accent the ripe fruit notes detected toward the end of the sip. Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation, the brew finishes quickly with lingering bitterness.

Very Bad Elf is actually Very Easy to Drink. Subtle layers of citrus and toffee sweetness without the chalkiness you might expect from an English pale. Quite balanced and smooth, but I noticed the tightly wrapped layers loosen up a bit as the beer warms. Drink cold.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.8/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Pours a clear, golden orange with a white, finger width head. Average retention. Leaves behind spotty lacing with fair stick.

Smell - Aroma hits on strong toffee and lesser notes of caramel, with some fruity esters, red apple and slight citrus, lingering off in the distance.

Taste - Follows the nose. Malts are upfront, ranging from bread to sweet toffee and caramel character. Hops come through near the finish, delivering a grassy and slightly citric bite with modest bitterness. Moderate apple note in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with fair carbonation. Tingles more down the esophagus than it does on the tongue. Smooth, with a touch of buttery creaminess.

Overall - Classic English pale. Solid all-around. It's not worth the high asking price ($7-8 for approx. 17 ounces) considering it is, at best, a very good but not remarkable EPA. I got it at closeout for $2.99 though, so I can't be too miffed.

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Photo of schoolboy
4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

We split one of these three ways over Thanksgiving. it looks like ginger ale with bubbles on the bottom.

It has a unique skunky aroma. It's bitter but not too dark.

It had a fresh taste and was very drinkable. We will be sampling several other elves soon including A well aged barleywine. Based on this I really look forward to that treat.

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Photo of kaufmaal
3.7/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Honey amber color, some bready, yeasty aromas. The initial taste was sweetened grapefruit, then a bit of fruity anise. Perhaps a bit too sweet for an English IPA as it approached a dubbel-like quality. It didn't warm well - the flavors became muddled. Still, a good tasting beer at a decent price.

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Photo of Cylinsier
3.83/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

50 cl

Pours a clear deep golden with a white film of a head.

Mild pine hops and caramel with a hint of citrus in the aroma.

Bready caramel malts with some coppery elements and moderate element of slightly bitter piney hops.

Medium to full body with light tingles of carbonation.

A pretty decent ale, nothing spectacular but I have no problems with it. Glad to have it, wouldn't turn it down in the future. Drinks pretty easy given it's slightly above-average abv.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.38/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Amber Candi sugar colored, near white head that leaves quickly. Little spotty cling lace.

S - Light Tropical fruits, sugary malt, bittering spicy surroundings.

T - Lighter than expected. Almost like Belgian yeast meets Pale ale hops. Some fruitiness and spiciness.

M - Creamy, fat in the center, bittering at finish. Good carb.

D - Not my favorite, but an interesting beer for sure.

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Photo of WastingFreetime
3.8/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours out a lightly hazed orangish-amber color with a single finger of white foamy head that lasts for several minutes and leaves behind fairly nice lacing patterns on the glass. Lighter side of medium carbonation levels and body thickness, a touch of creamy texture.

Wouldn't you know it, Very Bad Elf is pretty much exactly what you'd think a higher gravity version of Bad Elf would be. It has aromas of pithy, citric, and spicy hopping over a medium leveled booze and caramel / toffee malt component which also shows up in the flavor teamed up with some stone fruits (reds and purples) and the same noble hopping finish teamed up with some mildly rising boozey warmth for a nice level of dryness.

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.48/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 16.9 ounce bottle into a New England Brewing Co. into glass.

A: Medium copper-amber color beneath a thin veil of tan foam. Great clarity with loose spirals of carbonation throughout.

S: Slightly musty, fruity aroma with bits of date, peat moss and orange peel.

T: A shock of boozy, sweet malt flavors with hints of dried fruit, bitter herbal hops approaching towards mid-palate and slightly harsh alcohol notes in the finish. There's a little watering down before the finish, which dulls the maltiness a bit.

M: Sharp and a little hot from the 7.5% ABV, but strangely watered-down around the middle. Not the most satisfying English pale.

O: The look and buzz are about the only highlights of this brew. The 7.5% ABV is bracing and warms the soul on a wintery night, but it lacks true complexity or balance expected in an English pale. Not terrible, but I probably wouldn;t pick it up on its own.

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Photo of bnes09
2.72/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Light amber transparent ale. Weak soda-like head with no retention and zero lacing.

Spicy alcoholic aroma. Some bread grains and spoiled hops.

Bready with wheat character. Bitter earthy hops. Corn syrup sweetness. Can't taste the alcohol too much. Nothing exciting.

Light to medium bodied without much texture. Descent carbonation.

Not a good beer. Definitely expected a lot more.

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

Pours a lucozade colour which leaves a two finger creamy head and just a rim of lacing,the smell is boozy alcohol,toffee and dried apricots,the mouthfeel is medium bodied and has tastes of brandy,xmas cake,fruity hops,caramel and toffee,with the finish being quite sweet like port and overall its not bad and would be great for xmas but since thats over id say its a nice nightcap.

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Photo of tvv375ia
3.78/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 500ml bottle into imperial pint glass

A-clear copper with about a finger of head that leaves a little lacing as it fades

S-Carmel malt and some sweet fruits, apple, pear

T-not as good as the smell more bread and yeast than the smell and none of the fruit

M-good carbonation

O-I liked the smell, I wish more of that carried over into the flavors but a pretty good beer anyway

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Photo of goldbot
3.27/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours crystal clear, copper-colored with minimal carbonation and thin, off-white head that dissipates pretty quickly. Aroma of sweet caramel and bready malts with an ample amount of floral hops and a touch of cherry and raisin fruit. The flavor comes on malty with grainy bread and caramel notes. Just a hint of floral, fruity hops comes through. The aftertaste is smoky at the end, overshadowed by a rather intense bitterness. Smooth but thin mouthfeel, becoming entirely too bitter and rough with a strong ethanol burn as it warms.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.58/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a tumbler pint, the beer is a vibrant copper coloring, slightly hazed, with no head. The nose is a syrupy caramel malt with toffee highlights. Very sweet aromas. The beer's flavors are roasted and toasty, with a solid hops presence in the backbone that is peppery and resiny. Very well balanced flavors. Some highlights of juniper and berry. The aftertaste is mostly toffee, with a slight hopping, and the finish is slick and smooth. Tasty beer, and the booze presence is minimal, serving more as a highlight throughout. Good brew.

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Very Bad Elf from Ridgeway Brewing
80 out of 100 based on 165 ratings.