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Criminally Bad Elf - Ridgeway Brewing

Not Rated.
Criminally Bad ElfCriminally Bad Elf

Educational use only; do not reuse.

299 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 299
Reviews: 196
rAvg: 3.42
pDev: 16.37%
Wants: 3
Gots: 20 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Ridgeway Brewing visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: jwc215 on 11-08-2006

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 299 | Reviews: 196
Photo of jrodvog148
1.51/5  rDev -55.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Has a cool bottle with an elf behind bars is what first caught my attention. Has an alcohol percent of 10.5 which lets you know this is no push over drink.

Upon opening I was not fond of the strong smell. Had good amberish color going into glass. Taste was fruity and a little bit of oats. Like cereal with bananas. Has a bit of an after taste that didn't sit well in my mouth.

If you never tried a barleywine ale before, i would not start with this one. I wouldn't buy it again, but at least I got a cool bottle for my collection.

Photo of ChadQuest
1.8/5  rDev -47.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours a clear light amber color and does have good head with decent lacing, but at first whif you get some dark cherry, like cherry nyquil, and then you drink it and yup, some medicinal notes, with quite a bit of sweetness that is rather cloying as the sweetness lingers quite awhile on the finish. cherry and fruit, with a bit of caramel malt, but the medicine and sweetness cover up most notes.
medium syrupy with a sticky sweetness that makes you want to brush your teeth after every sip.

Photo of Lodisgrisen
1.88/5  rDev -45%

Photo of ryan1788a5
1.93/5  rDev -43.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

1pt .9oz bottle poured into a New Belgium globe.

A: Orange with a brilliant clarity. One-inch white head quickly sputters into nothing. Not too surprising given the high abv. Very spotty lacing. Looks to be rather fragile and thin in body.

S: Very fruity on the nose. Smells young. Heavy pear/green apple esters. Apple juice. Maybe some plum and grape too. Light scent of English hops. Not much malt depth on the nose. Light buttery biscuit and some caramel notes. Very disappointing.

T: Follows the nose. Very estery with lots of apple, pear, and green raisins. Grassy English hops with a light citric edge. Fusel alcohol is a bit harsh. Some chewy caramel. A bit of bready and nutty malt with a slight hint of cocoa comes out in the finish. Lacks a sturdy malt backbone.

M: Rather thin and light for the style. Not at all full and robust as it should be. It is somewhat syrupy. Coats the mouth. Alcohol burn is just a bit too harsh. Lacks cohesiveness.

D: I was immediately turned off by this beer.

Notes: Just not a good representation of the style. Young for sure, but even time in the cellar won't fix this beer. Lacks body and malt depth; two very essential parts of the style. I didn't enjoy this one at all.

Photo of BGsWo22
2/5  rDev -41.5%

Photo of CJS
2/5  rDev -41.5%

Photo of BeerLoverCRM
2/5  rDev -41.5%

Photo of SilentSabre
2/5  rDev -41.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Honestly, I felt this was below average in every category. While not a terrible ale in its own right, as far as being an English Barleywine, this was certainly not. Poured up a light orange/amber colour with a two finger thick white head that vanished in about 40 seconds. This didn't even look like any English Barelywine I had ever seen. Smell was a bit boozy and had more attributes expected of any number of Belgian varieties than what it was supposed to be. There was, however, a trace of the sweet malt aroma so closely associated with this style. Taste begins in the mouth pleasantly sweet with some unidentified maltiness which quickly turns both bitter as well as assertively warm from the booze. All around a disaster, IMO. This hardly resembles what the brewers were clearly going for. I absolutely do not care for this at all, and honestly, I'm rather disappointed.

Photo of heygeebee
2.02/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

BB 10 13 - from Platinum

Pours a cloudy amber/copper. The one finger head dies to leave no film , no lace, no nothing.

Aromas or apricots, prunes and a whole lot of moonshine-like booze.

Taste is a booze-fuelled journey into bad and dulled malt-land. Some apricots cut thru but the whole is very dull and quite muddled. Dear dear.

Mouthfeel is watery, which is really quite some feat given the 10% plus ABV. Little carbonation.

Overall, quite clearly a bad bottle, and badly travelled.

I need a scotch! The only Criminally Bad element of this is what is in the bottle not on the label.

Photo of goochpunch
2.16/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours out a honey-caramel with lots of bubbles racing to the thinnish head. Leaves some streaks of lace on the glass. Smells of vague sweet, bubblegum, spicy alcohol, and not much else. Flavor is a yawn. Big, sweet, syrupy malts with an odd bitter finish. This is like simple syrup mixed with booze and weird esters/phenols/whatever. Mouthfeel is a little thin, considering the sweet and booze. This is weak. Drain pour.

Photo of paco1029384756
2.16/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Pours a golden brown color with a decent head.

Scent of honey, cinnamon, and copper. One of the more offensive scents I have come across, even compared to an American Macro Lager.

Taste is no better, strong sweetness with more cinnamon and copper. Finishes with a strong presence of alcohol, too much for me.

Mouthfeel is crisp, at least there is one redeeming quality of this beer.

This was very hard for me to drink.

I will never purchase this beer again, but if offered I may try it to see if the bottle I purchased was bad.

Photo of Sooch222
2.25/5  rDev -34.2%

Photo of Jerzdevil1116
2.38/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

1 pt. .9 oz bottle. Purchased at joe Canal's on Fire Rd. In E.H.T., NJ.

Appearance: Very pale copper. Clear, with minimal carbonation. fluffy white head disiipated after a few minutes. Lacing left on the height of the glass.

Smell: Very sweet and malty with some alcohol.

Taste: Sweet maltiness, hints of toffee and apples. Strong alcohol in the finish and brief after taste.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied. Alcohol fueled warmth.

Drinkability: Very average. Not sure i'd drink this one again.

Photo of dirkchivers
2.42/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

poured with the mosher method... which doesnt work well with sedimented bottles.

A. tight white lace, slight haze, orange/amber.
S. phenolic, alcohol, banana, very wheaty, mild cleaning solution smell.
T. pretty flat for an english barleywine, i expect more character. there's some nice sweet malt going on, but no complexity. slight unpleasant bitterness and metallic taste on the finish.
m. very soft, lightly carbonated, a bit more would do.
D. pretty drinkable for 10.5, can't say i would buy again.

Photo of jmdrpi
2.43/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

500mL bottle, into nonic pint glass. bottle stamped F12 239. Best by 239th day of 2012? assumed to be bottled last Fall.

clear dark golden color, with 1/2" off white head that fades quickly into soapy covering.

fairly tame aroma. a bit fruity, a little malt, and mild grassy hops. tastes like a watered down barleywine. it's got none of the bold malty flavor that I'd expect out of the style. way too thin for the style. okay carbonation.

overall - I continue to be disapointed by this "Elf" series. they seem like more of a gimmick.

Photo of Hopswagger
2.48/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

P: Clear copper body with a short lives crown that rests to a nice thin white film.

S: Vanilla, French oak, booze, banana taffy, sweet toffee, acidic, candied malt, Christmas spices, barley is present but faint. Very malty and syrupy.

T/M: Heavy malt base with almost a dairy creamer taste. Super sweet candy, banana snow cone syrup, and toffee. Again barley is not really a player and faintly bitter apple peel hops. Thick chewy body with little carbonation and a spicy finish.

O: I see why they callbthis Criminally Bad Elf because IT IS crininally bad. Not what I expect from a barley wine style brew. This is more of a winter warmer with banana influence. A search and rescue team is required to find the barley and the overall delivery is not great. I think this beer is confused on what it wants to be. I can honestly say I would not purchase this again.

Photo of jzeilinger
2.48/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A - Pours a clear toffee color and mild to moderate carbonation. The foam is large bubbled and very soapy looking.

S - Light on the aroma with fruit, toffee, and somewhat boozy.

T - Echoes the nose with fruit, light caramel malt, and alcohol presence. Malt breadiness is in the form of "diet bread"...pretty bland. Alcohol warming on the way down stays in the throat for several minutes afterwards.

M - The first thing I noticed was the unusually thin and watery body for a barleywine, needs more substance. Lighty sticky on the lips.

O - Unfortunately, this one falls flat on its face, I unfortunately couldn't finish the bottle. I will definitely give this one another try next year to see if it changes and will revise my reviews accordingly.

Photo of pumptrick
2.5/5  rDev -26.9%

Photo of harpus
2.5/5  rDev -26.9%

Photo of 2beerdogs
2.5/5  rDev -26.9%

Photo of Crosling
2.52/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Deep tawny in color with a small white head. Powerfully aromatic, with hints of raisins, toffee, prunes, caramel, red apple. Not a complex or deeply satisfying aroma, but it is powerful. Flavors are really dull and muted. It’s lacking depth and describable character.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.53/5  rDev -26%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearnace: Pours a light copper body with a medium-sized beige head. Spotty lacing.

Smell: A distinct, piercing aroma of banana slices and bubblegum along with all kinds of Christmas-type spices and yeasty notes.

Taste: A heavily sweet raisin and spiced fruit flavor that dries out quickly to an alcholic bitter finish. There's a noticeable plastic that is hard not to dwell on.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. A bit watery, too.

Drinkability: Mediocre at best. To me, a flimsy body and a weak flavor doesn't make for a good English barleywine.

Photo of magictrokini
2.54/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Another bust from Ridgeway. Pours light brown with red highlights. Small white head with partial lacing. Vanilla, bubblegum, caramel, and peaches. Sickeningly sweet, spicy flavor, with molasses, dates, and something like a cigarette in the finish. This beer is a mess. This one got me to quit Ridgeway, permanently.

Photo of Knapp85
2.58/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Prior to this beer the only other barley wine I had tried was Skull Splitter from Scotland. I found that this brew wasn't as good nut it could have been much worse. This beer offers up a big time abv that surely tells you this is not a walk in the park. The taste is boozie and fairly strong with malts througout. The color was on the amberish side. All in all, not my favorite Barley Wine, nut it's worth giving it a try.

Photo of WVbeergeek
2.61/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep orange copper hue into my chalice glass with an off white head forming thick and even with fine detailed lacing. Aromatics offer up some fusel alcohol notes with a light citrus booze character going on. Hops have a creamy floral and citric aspect coating the whole experience. Some sweet dark fruit notes blend in as well, they just seem to take a back seat next to the rest of the party going on. Flavor provides a deep sweet cereal honey tone with slight syrup notes and deep raisin and caramel malts wafting in. Big bitter backing from the English perspective the citrus and tobacco toned hop profile adds a good amount of bitterness to a typically hoppy American style. Mouthfeel is a bit cloying with thick layers of residual sugars sitting around on the palate carbonation is mellow but it doesn't carry the big body around too well. Drinkability overall is pretty poor in both body and flavor characteristics, maybe next time I will dig the beers from this seasonal brewery.

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Criminally Bad Elf from Ridgeway Brewing
78 out of 100 based on 299 ratings.