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Lump Of Coal - Ridgeway Brewing

Not Rated.
Lump Of CoalLump Of Coal

Educational use only; do not reuse.

539 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 539
Reviews: 347
rAvg: 3.45
pDev: 15.07%
Wants: 7
Gots: 40 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Ridgeway Brewing visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Foreign / Export Stout |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ybnorml on 11-25-2004

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 539 | Reviews: 347 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.18/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well it seems Ridgeway has put out another winner. I recalled liking their "Santa's Butt" very much, and when I saw this one I had to grab it (unlike Santa's real butt!).

It pours an almost-black mahogany body beneath a super frothy head of light tan foam. The retention s quite good, and it leaves some very nice, clingy lace in its wake.

The nose is limited, but there's a touch of dark caramel, a sublime fruitiness, and a very subtle roastiness to it; and it's remarkably clean beyond that.

In the mouth it's remarkably smooth, as any good English ale worth its weight should be, and it has a medium-light body, and a gentle, moderate carbonation.

The flavor expresses a well-melded combination of yeasty fruitiness (berries, cherry, apple) and softly sweet malt with a hint of darkness that suggests both chocolate and underlying roastiness. A cusp of polished firm bitterness keeps it in hand, and it finishes short and dry with just a flourish of yeasty fruitiness and a cusp of scorched dark caramel.

Not everything has to hit you over the head to be brilliant! Like so many other fine English ales, what this beer lacks in full-frontal assault of flavor, it more than makes up for in intrinsic value and balance. It's freakin' bloody drinkable, is what it is!!! The pleasant notes of sublime dark chocolate and yeasty fruitiness just keep popping their heads up here and there. A thread of roastiness runs through it, again and again, at its base. Darkly caramelized sugar throws its arms out to the world every now and again... yet it remains quite confident and concerned with itself - oh so British in nature!!!

For any fan of British ales, this is a must-try. For fans of porter or stout, don't miss this! And for your everyday average beer lovers in general, what a charm this is!

Photo of budgood1
3.32/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours out of the half litre bottle a dark brown colour, not nearly opaque with mahogany tints. nice tan foamy head dies down to a thin layer of lace. understated hints of dark chocolate in the aroma, maybe some licorice and a sour note. taste is sweet blackened maltiness...dark chocolate, some burnt notes, and charred yeast covered sour cherries. some bitterness both from the ashen malts and above average hoppiness. no hint of the 8% alcohol. creamy smooth mouthfeel is held up by a body bordering on ample. quite quaffable...i could sip on this all night should the weather be disagreeable and the temperature cold.

this is a nice stout, holiday stout or whatever-style-of -stout it is. i'd revisit this one.

Photo of HopDerek
3.8/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appears as the same suggests, dark like coal, though light enough to see some dark red hues. Little head. Smells of smokey malt. Tastes of dark malts with some hoppy dryness. Not a watery beer, but not as creamy as many other stouts. Very drinkable, though kinda expensive. Worth grabbing a Christmas variety pack during the holidays though for a Lump of Coal.

Photo of terrabyte
2.66/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark brown, with a small tan head that quickly disappears.

Aroma is quite muted. All I can pick up is a hint of roasted malts and a hint of black licorice.

Flavor is pretty weak as well, bordering on bad. It has an aftertaste that is welcoming in the fact that some flavor can finally be registered, but disappointing that it's a bit bitter. After letting this beer warm up, it mellowed out to be much more quaffable. I can pick up some sweet raisins, some bitter chocolate, and some rough flavors like ashtrays.

Mouthful was much better after warming up. Very little carbonation, a little watery, and a very dry finish.

Not very drinkable. When cold, there was no flavor. Once it was warmed up, the flavors intensified, but so did the bitterness and dry finish. This beer is not worth $5. However, this beer was a little bit better than I was expecting, because I think this beer was created as a joke. And as a joke it works quite well. Know someone that likes beer, but you want to poke fun at? Lump of Coal: "Much More Than You Deserve for Xmas This Year". I got one for my father-in-law.

Photo of ReebShorts
3.47/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into an orval chalice, dark brown, almost black. Had a slight head with a somewhat aggressive pour that faded away promptly.

Aroma of cherry, gingerbread, sweetened chocolate, malts.

Nothing too remarkable here. It's a smooth drinker, and there is nothing offensive about it, it's just mild and kind of boring and I was expecting more from this rather pricy holiday stout. Also, it seemed rather thin for the style, but that could be partly due to a lack of carbonation.

Photo of TheLiterati
3.31/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Rich, deep brownish-black color, with a finger high toffee colored-head. Smells of chocolate, a little coffee, roasted malts, and lots of molasses.

Taste sweet, but with a nice body of blended chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts – just like it smells.

Mouthfeel was full and smooth with a nice amount of carbonation, and not chalky or syrupy like some stouts I’ve sampled.

A nice, drinkable holiday stout.

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.83/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this one last night. Took it out of the fridge, I think it was too cold. The pour produced little head. Black as coal, though, in the body. Would have liked some head.
Smell perked up a bit after it warmed. Some roasted malt, raisin, black berries and chocolate.
Taste, more of chocolate and roasted malt. Some coffee tones come through, but not very strong. Sticky sweet, and the dry hops finish it off pretty well. It became a better brew once it warmed up. Easy drinking. Can use another one.

Photo of psinderson
3.43/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into pint glass.

Appearance: Nice and black, but the head dissipated quickly.

Smell: Not much here...seemed to be missing some of that good roasty stout goodness.

Taste: Nothing too offensive here, but not too complex either. There was a slight sour tinge to this. I also detected a bit of strong molasses flavor.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly thin to me. When I order a stout, I just assume it will be a full-bodied, food-like beer.

Drinkability: The best part of this beer is how well it hides it's alcohol. With the relatively clean taste, this is any easy beer to drink.

Photo of dgallina
3.35/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer arrives in a good-looking 500ml brown bottle with coded best-before date.

Pours nearly black dark-brown with red edges. Forms a miniscule head that rapidly dissolves to thin lace. Doesn't smell like very much when poured at cellar temperature; fleeting powdered cocoa, alcohol, and dark-toasted malts. Tastes somewhat better than that. There's little initial flavor, but the center develops dark fruits and toasted malt heft. The finish becomes powdery and dry with chocolate and bitter medicinal alcohol. A rich and creamy sipping beer in the mouth. The beer becomes unexpectedly heady over time. Warming, but not especially good.

Photo of longarm
4.12/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Fluffy brownish-yellow head starts strong and fades quickly. Rim of milky foam clings to the side of the glass. Deep darkness as expected with a stout.

Aroma: An enticing milk chocolate aroma dominates the nose with a hint of cherry. Some hop aroma appears at the end of each whiff. As it warms, some spices begin to shine through, but it's difficult to determine what they are.

Flavor: Less of the chocolate character shines through in the flavor. Dark roasted maltiness without roasted barley bitterness. Still, there's a slight balancing bitterness that hits on the finish but not overwhelming.

Mouthfeel: Relatively smooth beer. Light hops and spices clean the palate, but still a little sticky-sweet.

Overall: There's enough complexity to keep this intriguing for a holiday warmer, but it's not weird or overly spicy. It definitely should be warmed just a bit before serving to bring-out some of this complexity. I wish I had a bit of cheesecake or some chocolate covered fruit to bring-out the flavors in different ways. It's hard to drink a lot of them, but that's really not necessary anyway for an 8% a.b.v. brew anyway.

Photo of BitteBier
3.8/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very dark, though enough light gets through to reveal some crimson highlights around the edges. The coppery head is fine but lacking in both quantity and staying power. Nose is pleasantly malted with only hints of roasty smokiness. The strongest point of this stout is its taste, with semi-dark malts ruling the day but some dryness there as well. The mouthfeel is good too--not as full/creamy/chewy as many stouts but not at all watery. This was nice and went down very easily.

Photo of brentk56
2.88/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a dark brown color with garnet highlights; the head was tan and retained well, leaving a nice pattern of lace on the glass

Smell: Fruity licorice aroma dominates, along with a touch of coffee

Taste: Starts with an initial milk chocolate flavor that is quickly overtaken by fruity licorice elements; there is some sulphur in there too that is quite unpleasant; after the swallow, there is a bad phenolic flavor that is medicinal tasting and reeks of alcohol

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied (way too thin for a stout) with low carbonation

Drinkability: Really pretty poor, with some serious off flavors

Photo of Dizzy
4.1/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours almost black with garnett highlights. Light tan head which quickly dissipates to a thin film. Aroma is chocolate and coffee. Taste is initially chocolates, then roasted malts, fruitiness in the finish. Seems medium bodied, lighter carbonation and some alcohol burn at the end. This is a pretty good stout, I'll probably get this again.

Photo of cjgator3
3.7/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"Much More Than You Deserve for Xmas This Year..." is transcribed on the front of the bottle.

Pours a dark black with a sticky light tan head. The aroma is faint with some nice notes of sweet chocolate and coffee. I was surprised by the taste after the faint aroma. The flavor is really nice and roasted dark malts with some chocolate. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with a medium amount of carbonation. Overall, while this is a far stretch from being an "excellent" beer, it is certainly a decent one. This is really not something I would seek out again especially considering the high pricetag of $5.85 for the bottle.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.02/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A fitting name for a beer that opens with a distinct charcoal aroma from roasted dark grains. Though these aromas dominate, there is a Schwarzbier malt, ferment, and hop character to back it up. Looks opaque black and viscous. Flavors are again dominated by black roasted malts with a follow up of toasted malts, light cocoa, and light coffee. An underlying sweetness boarders on lactose and / or oats. Accompanying this sweetness is a velvety, almost oily texture that mellows the beer and rounds off the rough alcohol edges. Well melded and easy to drink for such strong flavors.

Photo of UncleJimbo
3.37/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

500-mL bottle.

This stout poured black as coal with sudsy, brown foam that settled fairly quickly. The smell was dark roasted malt and barley with a hint off sweetness. The taste was richly malty with a touch of sweetness. There was modest hoppiness. Overall it was a bit overly sour and tangy. The mouthfeel was smooth with medium-full body with modest carbonation. This was an OK stout, though a bit sour. (The other beers in this bottled set were not sour.)

Photo of ggaughan
3.15/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured a fairly deep brown, not quite black color with a think tan head into my pint glass. The nose is a roasted malt and coffee mix that is pleasing. The taste is roasted as well and although I enjoy the initial blast of the coffee flavor, it does not linger long enough to really enjoy it.

Photo of jhammerly
3/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Though it is not dark as coal, the blackness lets in some light around the edges. A light cocoa head made a brief appearance and quickly left leaving a trace around the edges of the surface.

Semi-sweet nose with a touch of chocolate, and later on into the beer, a scent of alcohol was prevalent. Same goes for taste. A nice start, but a strange alcohol-like flavor lingered on after the beer went down the hatch. Some roastiness in there but not much.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin for my liking. I couldn't handle drinking more than one, and I may not even finish this one. It's not hoorrible, but the alcohol aftertaste is a killjoy and kind of ruins the experience for me.

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.51/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - very dark, backlight will show some brown and/or ruby tones. Didn't build much of a head, a vigorous pour got maybe a finger of cocoa-colored foam which was at a thin cover a minute later. Leaves some notable lace behind.

Aroma - grainy, too grainy, with an initial burst of chocolate. The chocolate fades fast, the residual aroma is a letdown.

Taste - first impression is that of Guinness. Average malty start. It earns some character about mid-palate to swallow where some sweet chocolate appears along with some low-key but tasty alcohol for a nice Kahlua effect. A flash of hops, nothing significant, just a background of dry bitterness on the finish. A good stout once you get into it.

Mouthfeel - Guinness-like smoothness, low carbonation, pretty impressive statement for a non-nitro product.

Drinkability - a weak start but a solid stout where it matters.

Photo of yelterdow
1.65/5  rDev -52.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Served in an imperial pint glass at almost cellar temperature. No freshness date.

Appearance- The bottle proclaims, "this beer is as dark as it gets"... not true. Not even a little bit. Ruby at best, and quite thin. On a rough pour, we struggle to get a creamy, one finger head that settles to a decent film. Lacing is sparse, and also creamy.

Smell- Very English... I get a hazelnut aroma beneath the sweet stout character. Some roasted malt is present, but a bready note lingers in the nose and leaves its mark.

Taste- Oh God... what have we here... this has turned horribly wrong. Sour, pungent, and undrinkable. Batteries left for years in an old flashlight, and then placed directly in the mouth. Gahhh! I thought that stouts are built to withstand a few months of refrigeration... this goes down the sink now.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- I am daring myself to go further... nope, ain't gonna happen. The harsh, acidic attack in the mouth leaves no place for texture. I am trying, but this beer needs serious help! Goodbye, Lump of Coal... I certainly did not deserve this punishment this winter.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.42/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Served in an imperial pint glass)

A- This beer has a deep black opaque body that looks like it has a slight hint of brown. The head is a big mat of soapy bubbles on top of a thin film of creamy light tan foam.

S- The smell of roasted malt and black malt has a dark coffee bean note to them. Nice and earthy in the roasted qualities with a hint of coffee with cream as it warms, but no note of hops.

T- This beer starts of with a dark black roasted malt flavor that is nice and dry. It is quickly followed by a sharp sour/tart note at the finish. The tart note is really big and bright with a hint of cherries so I don't think it is an off-flavor as it warms it give more of a cider flavor. The finish has a coffee bean flavor that is soft and dry.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a hint of astringency that makes my jaws tighten up a bit.

D- This had some nice roasted dark malt aromas but it sour/ tart cidery taste is really dominating the finish. I'm not sure if because this is a holiday brew that this is on purpose or if this is a bad bottle. It doesn't have notes of oxidation or any other signs of infection such as over carbonation or mold floaters.

Photo of nlmartin
2.11/5  rDev -38.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

The beer was poured from the bottle into a pub glass.

Appearance: The beer poured black with a ruby opaqueness to light. There was a thin head after a hard pour. The head quickly resolved. No lacing noted on the glass.

Smell: The smell was of a cheap overly roasted burnt coffee consistency. There is an overly roasted malt smell about the beer with puffs of chocolate.

Taste: The beer predominately has an astringent taste. The coffee taste is of cheap road stop coffee that has burnt all night long in a unwashed coffee pot. There is a bit of chocolate peaking out. Really this taste like it was filtered through a lump of coal.

Mouthfeel: The beer is light bodied. There is a unpleasant oilyness to the beer.

Drinkability: This beer was dam near a drain pour. I dont know if I drank it to late and it expired. To many other good stouts out there to waste time or money on this.

Photo of Citadel82
3.53/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark garnet with a coarsely bubbled tan head that compacts quickly to a fine creamy head and then shinks to a thin wafer of nougat that leaves sheets of sticky tan lace on the glass...nice.

Aroma is faintly sweet malts some chocolate a touch of coffee.

Taste is typical. Sweet malts up front a dryish middle and then bitter charcoal and french roast coffee at the tail.

Hmmmm...overall not too shabby this one. I like it. There is some definite butteryness in there... is this the diacetyl that one attributes to Ringwood Yeast? Overwhelmingly coffee and hardwood charcoal dominate the middle along with bitteresweet chocolate...and some alcohol. I was bad, very bad...Santa bring it on.

Mouthfeel is slightly on the thin side considering the gravity of this brew. How did we get to 8% ABV and still keep it so thin...adjuncts?

Overall this is a very drinkable brew. I will buy again.

Photo of maxpower
2.85/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle pours a reddish black color with a small brown head that quickly disappears that does leave some lacing in my glass. Chocolate aromas, cola, chocolate and coffee flavors, not much carbonation gives this a watery mouthfeel, alcohol aftertaste. Not a very flavorful stout.

Photo of EStreet20
2.98/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Well I've read the rave (read shitty) reviews of this one but the clever Christmas time name plus my desire to try a couple of new beers tonight before the season premiere of The Shield tempted me to go for it. Either way I'm going in for this one the way I do every new beer I try, with an open mind.

1 pt. .9 fl oz bottle poured into a Samuel Smith nonic pint glass.

A - Pours as black as the ngiht with a one+ finger off white head. Not a bad look at all. The head thins out to a capper buit sticks around rather nicelay and laces the glass well. Has the look of a Guinness poured well from a nitro tap. Not a bad look at all.

S - Has a sweet smell with a bit of a roasted malt character. Nothing to rave about but nothing too bad. The smell of a decent dry stout.

T - Well the roasted character disappers altogether and it leaves a pretty bland taste. This beer really does falter a lot here. Some yeasty taste actually but really nothing coming to the forefront. Basically like black water. I;m again thinking of draft Guinness, the kind you get in a bar that has Bud Coors Miller and Guinness, so you order Guinness just to get something with a flavor. Not impressed.

M - Very thin and watery, Not a rich flavor like a stout should have.

D - Well, my guinness comparisons hold true here. Not bad but basically a watery beer with no real distinguishable characteristics other than maybe "it's dark" by someone who knows nothing about beer. Nothing very interesting to keep you coming back, but drinkable in the sense that it's not offensive.

Well they can't all be homeruns. Probably good for a guy who drinks Guinness at bars but doesn't have much experience with craft beers.

Lump Of Coal from Ridgeway Brewing
79 out of 100 based on 539 ratings.