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Insanely Bad Elf - Ridgeway Brewing

Insanely Bad ElfInsanely Bad Elf

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

249 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 249
Reviews: 166
rAvg: 3.38
pDev: 20.41%

Brewed by:
Ridgeway Brewing visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Strong Ale |  11.20% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: fartingdog on 11-18-2007)
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Ratings: 249 | Reviews: 166 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of DarthKostrizer


1.78/5  rDev -47.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Vintage 2010

Look: Candy orange color with no head on a hard pour

Smell: The nose has some caramel malt and some alcohol

Taste: Weird orange candy flavor with quite a bit of alcohol on the back end

Mouthfeel: Thin body and no carbonation

Overall: This beer is honestly a hot mess

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2011 08:47:09 | More by DarthKostrizer
Photo of jgap


1.8/5  rDev -46.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Consumed on 12/18/08. This beer is insanely bad! So bad, in fact, that after joining BA almost a year ago without any motivation for reviewing, it motivated me to start simply to warn my fellow beer connoisseurs. I almost grabbed the barleywine from this series and i wish i had instead of this one because i doubt it could be worse than this. I'll be the first to say, 'to each his own' and there are plenty of things I do contrary to popular opinion on this site (ie aging maharaja) but in my personal opinion, this beer is simply really bad. The appearance is dark brown-red with virtually no head. The smell is nothing particularly unique, rich in malt and alcohol. But the taste is simple, flat, and completely unimaginative. I'll admit the alcohol burn was very slight which is pretty impressive for something this big. But the complete and utter lack of carbonation (which I didn't even think I would care about) and the foul aftertaste of stale beer are quite enough to motivate me to write this review. I truly hope this is helpful and while I have not tried the other beers from this brewer, I'm willing to bet that they are better than this. Moral of the story: get the barleywine.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2009 02:04:33 | More by jgap
Photo of beerwolf77


1.88/5  rDev -44.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Time to notch another style of the list. Picked this up during the holidays. 2010 vintage. Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A: Crystal clear golden amber. Solid three finger off white head. Good retention. Thick sticky lace clings to the glass.

S: Sweet spicy malt greets me initially. Once past that the booze comes on strong. Hints of dark fruit and bread crusts.

T: Sharp bitterness is only cut by the full on hot alcohol burn. This must be what wood stain tastes like. Maybe a touch of dark fruit in the finish. Although it's awfully hard to pick out.

M: Thin and lightly carbonated body.

O: I would like to try another beer in this style to see if this is what it should taste like. Something tells me this is just a very poor representation.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2011 23:37:06 | More by beerwolf77
Photo of KCHopHead


1.9/5  rDev -43.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Appearance - Interesting. Completely transparent amber with almost no head.
Smell - Alcohol and candy.
Taste - Very sweet. Tastes like wine with a mix of hard alcohol and beer.
Mouthfeel - Very thin and flat.
Drinkability - Poop. This "beer" needs an overhaul.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2009 19:10:36 | More by KCHopHead
Photo of dnichols


1.98/5  rDev -41.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

I poured a 12 ounce capped bottle into a chilled chalice.

A: It poured a clear red hue with barely any head that produced no lacing.

S: It had a yeasty aroma with a strong almost sticky cherry fruit aroma. Quite frankly it reminded me of children's cough medicine more than a fine barley wine.

T: It is all about the sticky sweet cherry and ripe fruit flavors. It has a strong medicine flavor that is high in alcohol and sticky syrup.

M: A moderate bodied brew dominated by sticky sweet mouth feel. It had a fairly clean and warm finish but it was hard to shake the cherry syrup flavor that lingered long after the drink was finished.

D: Good marketing that is pushing a beer that is difficult to tolerate even as a sipper and never more than one in a holiday season. It is insanely bad...I'd almost prefer a health dose of cough syrup.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2007 04:10:04 | More by dnichols
Photo of xsists


2.05/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

A - Deep dark amber color. Small amount of head that dissipates quickly.

S - Sweet alcoholly scent. I get a lot of grape smell, almost like champagne.

T - Very sweet. Loads of malt in this one. I get a grapey citruis taste and it follows through to the finish.

M - Thick and sugary. Carbonation is present as well.

D - I did not like this. I actually did not drink it all the way through. Will not look this direction again.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2009 03:34:42 | More by xsists
Photo of TAMU99


2.05/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a reddish/amber with a thin head. Had a bit of a syrupy appearance on the pour. Thin to no head, minimal lace. Smell is non-existent, maybe some alcohol in there. Taste is slap-yo-mama alcohol. Whoa. Astringent and bitter, but not a good hop bitter. Kinda chemically. As for mouthfeel, remember that syrupy pour? It kinda coats your mouth. There are malt and hops in there, but the thick mouthfeel and overpowering alcohol make this red difficult to drink, so in the end you just don't care about the rest.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2010 21:47:04 | More by TAMU99
Photo of Mora2000


2.05/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

The beer pours a yellow-gold color with a white head. The aroma is full of grain and something that resembles dirty socks. Not a nice combination. The flavor is not any better. There is some grain and malt sweetness, as well as some grass from the hops. Unfortunately, the dirty sock quality is still present. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2012 02:58:13 | More by Mora2000
Photo of aasher


2.1/5  rDev -37.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This beer pours a bright amber in color with a light white lacing around my snifter and is very translucent. The nose is of cinnamon, nutmeg, and I initially got some smoke. The alcohol isn't present at all but the aromas themselves are muted. It tastes of watered down spices mixed with honey tea. It is just a weird mix. The alcohol again isn't present at all and I'm hard pressed to believe that this is really 11.2%. It drinks light in body and is overly sweet. This beer just isn't worth my time. It's a drain pour, just an overmalted simple winter warmer.

Serving type: bottle

06-07-2011 02:58:27 | More by aasher
Photo of Overlord


2.15/5  rDev -36.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Drain pour. Only the third or fourth time that's happened with the hundreds of beers I've purchased with the intent to review.

Pours a moderately attractive deeply reddish amber. No real head, just half an inch or so of white foam.

Smells okay, sweet malt and a sweet, sweet fruit smell. Almost like cherry extract. The taste is horridly sweet. Overly cloying with syrupy grenadine-esque cherry flavoring and/or plums, malt that reminds me of candy caramel, and a raw booze background. The mouthfeel was decently thick.

This beer needed carbonation and some balance to it.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2008 08:32:42 | More by Overlord
Photo of stcules


2.17/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Deep red color, bright. It has an average white foam.
In the smell it tends to be malty, and oily. Sunflower seeds, too!
Overall, heavy and boring.
Ok, it has 11.2 ABV, yes, but it is too alcoholic, with fusels, pear. In the end, quite boring, and not easy too drink.
Winter beer, yes, it warms, yes. But not too pleasantly.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2009 20:43:41 | More by stcules
Photo of IHC


2.17/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Appearance- For a red ale it certainly didn't pour very red. It had a slight red hue, but it was more of a golden or amber color.
Smell- right off the bat you can smell the booze, when you sniff this beer the alcohol is immediately present and the taste follows the aroma.
Taste-very heavy on the booze and I feel that it heavly takes away from what could have been a great beer.
Mouthfeel/drinkability- while I still managed to finish the bottle I would not recommend this beer to anyone who wasn't a big beer drinker. I love all kinds of beer especially strong ones but this beer was just too much, its not very drinkable and its mouthfeel is not that enjoyable. Disappointed for the first time by ridgeway

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2011 05:31:57 | More by IHC
Photo of RedneckBeerz


2.2/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Amazingly high abv., higher than most Barleywines that I am use to. Trying this one in between a comparison of Founder's Breakfast Stout and Old Rasputin (yeah I KNOW, they are different styles).

Label stamped 33F06 C9 2!

Poured a 12 oz. bottle into a Lagunitas mason jar/pint glass and the brew was a clear reddish amber color with a small off white head producing a slippery lacing on the glass.

The smell is amber malts and rye, a nice aroma.

Cough, hack, cough !! Syrupy, alcoholy, medicinal, harsh, thick. This is waaay out of bounds for this style and perhaps outside the bounds of Beer in general.

It reminds me of a nasty cough medicine that had harsh herbs and a couple of tablespoons of kerosene added to it.

The mouthfeel is harsh, thick and cloying.

After 6 sips I will bury this one into the depths of the Greensboro Water Treatment Plant. This is a solid D brew for me, and hoping that I never walk this way again.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2011 11:03:35 | More by RedneckBeerz
Photo of jbphoto88


2.23/5  rDev -34%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Insanely bad elf (vintage 2010) pours very clear with a nonexistent head. The beer is apricot in color and has some fizzy bubbles working their way up from the bottom.

The nose is like a cheap white wine. Crisp, fruity with barely a hint of grain or hop. In fact there is nothing here that really inspires me to take a sip. Hopefully the taste will brighten thing up.

Disappointing. The same crisp and fruity flavors in the nose compound themselves in the taste. A mix of apple cider and white grape juice bludgeon any flavor presence from the booze soaked grains. It's overly sweet and has a finish like a dessert wine. Yuck.

The mouthfeel is very slick and doesn't add any plesure to the drinking experience. This beer is a boozy wine flavored mess and the only insane thing about it is someone calling it a good beer. This one is a pass and almost drain pour.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2010 16:56:45 | More by jbphoto88
Photo of donmonkey1


2.3/5  rDev -32%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Appearance: Nice clear amber But the head dissapears in no time.

Smell: Molasses

Taste: Unbelievably sweet. Like molasses, but not nearly as strong. Kind of like really sweet caramel.

Mouthfeel: Water

Drinkability: Too sweet.

This is a crappy beer. It isn't terribly offensive, but definately sucks.

Serving type: bottle

07-07-2009 22:58:07 | More by donmonkey1
Photo of harrymel


2.3/5  rDev -32%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Reviewed from notes: 12/20/10
12oz bottle for $4 at Huck's in Spokane, WA

Vintage 2007

Poured from bottle to Sam Adams signature glass.

A: Orange, red ale with excellent clarity. No head - as expected. No yeast in glass or bottle - must have been micro-filtered and forced carbonated.

S: Cherries, malt, orange, orange pekoe tea dominate the nose on this one. Not bad. Reminiscent of Imperial Red style. Sweeter malt background.

T: The sweetness of the malt is painted with herbal hop notes, earthy. Unfortunate copper, iron, chemical flavors seem to dominate this beer. Little to no hop flavor.

M: Medium body, low carbonation. Standard aged ale feel here.

D: I'm glad I only picked up one of these. Doesn't meet my expectations for a well aged beer. Quite the let down.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2010 16:48:23 | More by harrymel
Photo of Wespatrick

South Carolina

2.33/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle 2009 vintage
Label says Imperial Red. Color is a little lighter than I expected. Nice orange color, but no red highlights even.
Smell is boozy. I definitely get the imperial part. Not very interesting or complex in the nose. Really just some malt sweetness and alchohol.
Taste is not good! Insanely bad in fact. Something in the finish is foul: kinda sour or astringent.
I am afraid I am going to have to drain pour this one. At over $4 for a 11.2 oz beer this is a major disappointment.
The elf beers may be fun stocking stuffers or holiday novelties, but if you're buying it for the beer inside, they are a waste.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2010 19:51:50 | More by Wespatrick
Photo of DawnL

New York

2.4/5  rDev -29%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Nice brown color with minimal head that dissipated at first to sticky lace and then nothing. It was a 2007 vintage, so I figured the carbonation would be a little less on top of the high abv.

The aroma was heavily alcohol driven with a sweet backdrop that was hard to discern.

The taste was of caramel or butterscotch mixed with cherry cola. It was very sweet with equally sweet cherry character.

The mouthfeel was pretty average. Not too much carbonation, but definitely not flat.

The drinkability was poor. It was tough getting through the 6oz pour. Good thing I shared the bottle - there was no way I could have finished 12oz.

I would not purchase this beer again.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2009 23:53:49 | More by DawnL
Photo of SaCkErZ9


2.48/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from an 11.5 oz bottle into a pint glass. Emerges clear and amber in color. A decent sized white head forms put is quite thin and disappears abruptly, becoming small bubbles on the surface.

Aroma is sweet and alcoholic. Smells like a cheap malt liquor. Malt liquor with more caramel and more fruitiness. Bleh.

More malt liquor on the flavor. Very sweet and very fruity. Not overly hot as far as the alcohol is concerned. Definitely taste the alcohol and it is quite warming.

If you like sweet and alcoholic, thin feeling beers, this is up your alley. Thin on the mouthfeel and the alcohol is very evident. Think Fruit punch with everclear and a touch of "caramel sweetness". Really didnt like this one.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2008 20:13:42 | More by SaCkErZ9
Photo of FrognutUnl


2.48/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A - Deep amber in color. Crystal clear with ½ inch white head. No lacing

S - Smells citrusy, somewhat floral and a little sour. The smell kind of makes me excited

T - Not much of the nose makes its way into my mouth, which is a shame as I was kind of excited. Taste is very syrupy sweet and the alcohol is extremely present. There is also a slight spiciness in the finish.

M - Syrupy thick.

D - Not terribly fond of this. It is extremely out of balance. Way to sweet, almost no hops, and an alcoholic burning that might have been ok except for my first two complaints.

EDIT: I let my wife have a sip, her reaction was that of a cat that just ate the most terrible thing ever followed by "Who killed a bison an threw it in a beer". Priceless.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2009 02:10:04 | More by FrognutUnl
Photo of budgood1


2.5/5  rDev -26%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

pours out of the 33cl. bottle a clear, vibrant bronze colour, with pretty thin fizzy head. sweet malty aroma...a bit leathery, medicinal, and fruity. taste is of sweet ripened fruitcake with subtle woody hints. a hint of spice, maybe some rye notes. it's boozy sweet with a hint of some herbal hop leaf bitterness. the mouthfeel is slick and sticky sweet, like liquid candy. the overall body seems lacking for an ale of this ABV, but if this really an imperial red ale, i suppose this could pass. i think. for an english strong ale, i think one could expect more body and soul. regardless, the fact that this concoction seems raw and too sweet, without any bottle conditioning, makes for an out of balance sticky mess. one bottle of this and my curiousity has been satisfied.

maybe some cellaring would smooth it out? i dunno.

can't recommend, but i suppose it's worth trying once. and maybe worth cellaring just to see what happens.

oh yeah, and you get another x-mas themed bottle with a disturbed looking elf in a straightjacket. awesome.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2007 00:33:33 | More by budgood1
Photo of joepais


2.58/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Enron for this one. Bottle poured into a strait pint glass produced a short lived white head on a clear red body brew. The head left no lacing at all it just went away to nothing.

This this smelled like sweet malts right out of the gate no hop profile at all.the flavor matched the nose just sweet and sugary. I was wished there was even some alcohol heat on this to off set it. There was little carbonation after the initial pour and the feel was a solid medium in my mouth.

This brew was very one definitional sweet. I think it was to coy to drink more than one. This one was a one and done for me

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2010 15:05:10 | More by joepais
Photo of SuperSpy


2.58/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a pint glass from a 12oz brown bottle with a best before date of 20 September 2020. The bottle also says vintage 2010, so yes it's a little young. I'll revisit this in another year or two.

A - The beer is a crystal clear copper with a three-finger head that dies rather quickly but clings to everything it passes.

S - This is an incredibly weak aroma for the style. There is plenty of alcohol in the aroma but the only other smells are a little bit of sweet malt and a hint of toffee. They're there but they're almost undetectable.

T/M - Incredibly sweet, fruity and bready. I taste cherry, apple, pear, white grape and fig. The sweet fruit flavors dominate, but sit atop bready, biscuity malt and a warming alcohol flavor/sensation. All of the sweetness is followed by a bit of bitterness from the hops, but the hops stand no chance against this much sweet malt. The full bodied beer has so much unfermented sugar that my lips keep sticking together like I've been chugging syrup. Ridiculously sweet and the alcohol is stronger than most of the other flavors.

D - Not so sure this is worth the price. However, I think this will be much better in a year or two. I will keep a few bottles of the 2010 batch around and try to open one around Christmas 2011 and 2012.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2011 01:28:29 | More by SuperSpy
Photo of pinotboy007


2.63/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Purchased as a single at Thorpe's in East Greenwich, RI.

A - Nice mahogany color with decent, khaki-colored cap that fades. No lacing or visible carbonation.

S - Sweet vanilla, oak, leather, malt.

T/M - Obviously not my style. Liquid candy sweet with oak, malt, some hops and sweet syrup. The alcohol is there but doesn't overwhelm and the carbonation is quite good, lending a touch of fizz to the rather soft mouthfeel.

D - Probably after a meal by the fire on a cool evening. Would never buy this again nor serve it with food. It would work with cigars, however.

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2008 22:48:50 | More by pinotboy007
Photo of BeerImmediately


2.73/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

33cl into wine style beer glass.

Poured a sparkly orange-to-amber color body w/ 1f head that fades quickly to a ring.

Red wine-like aromas with some cherry soda and plenty of booze.

Flavors of rich, over-ripened dark fruits, with plenty of liquer - Mad Dog style.

Hot breath from the alcohol, and pretty cloying without much carbonation to break up the syrup. Even for the style, I had to go low on the score.

Drinkable for the style, but not something I will seek out again, unless I'm starting a cellar of Christmas Ales or having a tasting of 10+ Christmas ales.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2010 01:32:18 | More by BeerImmediately
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Insanely Bad Elf from Ridgeway Brewing
77 out of 100 based on 249 ratings.