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Insanely Bad Elf - Ridgeway Brewing

Not Rated.
Insanely Bad ElfInsanely Bad Elf

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

257 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 257
Reviews: 167
rAvg: 3.38
pDev: 20.12%
Wants: 4
Gots: 8 | FT: 0
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: 257 | Reviews: 167 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of brewdlyhooked13


3.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance - a reddish gold beer with crystal clarity. Foamy head, off-white, is short-lived but manages some thin patches of lace. Active bead makes for one nice looking brew.

Aroma - cherries, brandy-laced fruitcake, a muted whiff of grain.

Taste - rather sweet grain. Very warm abv feel, quite warm in the belly. This has shades of a malt liquor with the poorly masked alcohol, but there is a grander overall flavor that takes it well out of that realm. It's a sweet, fruity taste, sort of like a children's cough syrup. Didn't taste anything in the way of hops. It's not much of a red ale in the stylistic sense but it'll sure keep me warm this cold February evening.

Mouthfeel - just shy of heavy, carbonation is wisely elevated to make those flavors jump.

Drinkability - a most enjoyable sipper, but the abv is too high and overtakes the beer instead of enhancing it. I'd rather have more beer flavor, less hootch.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2008 03:33:27 | More by brewdlyhooked13
Photo of Vancer


3.13/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This critter pours a clear copper, nice tan head that surprisingly lays down some decent lacing - even with the 11.2% trying to pull it down.

Aroma reminded me of an English Barleywine, lots of a woody caramel present. But the quaff is a quandary, the BW aspect tries to make the scene, but the sweet cherry medicine oil dominates more than needed. A touch of bourbon helps to tone down this semi-oily brew, but the overall cloying nature of it drags it down.

Too darn expensive to be a regular in the DBF, enjoyable for a one and done.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2008 13:57:59 | More by Vancer
Photo of beerking1


3.95/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep golden-amber color. Small but persistent head. Nice lace down the glass. Aroma is malty, caramelly, with notes of licorice and hints of soft alcohol. Flavor is a very nice malt sweetness, with significant licorice liquor character. Very sweet, but not cloying. Aftertaste is pleasant sweetness, but balanced by the dryness of the alcohol. By far the best of the Elf series!

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2008 03:20:22 | More by beerking1
Photo of scruffwhor


4.4/5  rDev +30.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Looks medium brown from the top f the beer, when held to the light it looks like a syrupy amber with a little ruby mixed in. Loomkssort of a barley wine The aroma has lots of dark, deep fruits. Figs, brown sugar, and plums. The first sip gives off notes of plums, prunes, and frozen grapes. Lots of carmelized malts and sweet syrup. The alcohol intgrates very well with the sweet flavors in this beer. A little nutty sweet on the finish with a very smooth warmth. Great sipping beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2008 07:14:34 | More by scruffwhor
Photo of slvrmon82


3.5/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I grabbed this one because it was the last bottle on the shelf (usually a good sign).

A - Poured a very nice thick red ale. A medium to darker red.

S - Almost like a Barleywine. Sweet at first then very alcoholic at the end.

T - Wow. It was amazing. Very rich and sweet upfront with a little hops then very alcoholic. Not a hidden alcohol at all.

M - Again very heavy. Very heavy. Not a lot of carbonation. Not impressed.

D - Not very much. It was $5.99 and I would maybe have 2 but that's it. I would rather find another beer for that price.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2008 23:41:52 | More by slvrmon82
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 Gehrig


4.13/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Excellent presentation, with a finger of white head topping a ruby red body--tap three times and there's no place like home. Lots of English hops, cherry, spice, and other fruit dominate the nose, though none is too prominent to take control of this beast. This is smooth and flavorful, but needs something to step forward and set the tone. It could use a little more complexity.

For a very high ABV, this is smooth, delicious, and easy to drink at a fast clip. It's impressive, delicious, and a bit dangerous. I was hoping for a bit more character. Yet this is still very tasty, and well worth buying.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2008 03:17:02 | More by Gehrig
Photo of pittvkyle7


3.65/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- coperish orange with small white head that fades to a small ring with no lacing

S- Spicy and fruity like oranges. Some alcohol comes through too.

T- Very malty, biscuty, spicy, slightly hot from the alcohol, orange peels, almost no hop flavor or bitterness untill the very end, but what does come through in the hop category is not very appitizing.

M- Low carbonation, medium mouthfeel.

D- good drinkablility for 11.2%. But the sweetness can become cloying and the hop bitterness is not very good.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2008 02:54:32 | More by pittvkyle7
Photo of bashiba


4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a clear ruby red with a thick and creamy off white head, lightly sticky on the glass.

Big sweet candi sugar and dark fruit smell with hints of alcohol and cedar.

Big sweet flavor with hints of molasses, candi sugar, alcohol, and oak. Very much like a super strenght dopelbock.

Mouthfeel is slightly oily and thick with a suprisingly dry finish and some warming.

Very easy to drink for such a big beer. Might have to stash a couple of these in the cellar.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2008 02:39:36 | More by bashiba
Photo of Slynger


3.65/5  rDev +8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear, light reddish copper color with a slim off-white head which drops quickly.
Smells slightly sweet of caramel malts, green apples, grapes, and raisins. A little bit of leafy hops and definite alcohol presence.
The taste is sweet of honey, grapes, raisins, and caramel. A syrupy alcoholic warming finishes this bad elf.
The mouthfeel is syrupy also with a modest amount of carbonation that lifts it up a bit.
I could personally use the alcohol dialed down a few notches, and the hops upped just for good measure to even out this strong brew a little bit more. Not bad, not great.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2008 18:42:52 | More by Slynger
Photo of Hautacam


3.5/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Deep, very clear orange...head drops quickly and is gone.
Lots of berry aroma...strawberry, raspberry...others. Hint of vanilla.
Very sweet and a bit sour at the same time. Vanilla really jumps out...a bit oaky and lots of fruits like plums and berries. A surprizing dryness toward the finish. The alcohol isn't very apparent until it warms up a bit.
Syrupy dense...like a barleywine..and low carbonation.
Good brew, but too intensely sweet and cloying to drink more than one.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2008 01:29:52 | More by Hautacam
Photo of russpowell


4.28/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an effervescent copper with 1 pinky of off-white head. Head vanishes quickly, viscous & just a trace of lacing

S: Some fruitty & bready notes

T: Honey, dryness, oranges & passion fruit up front. A bit of black cherry, plums & a little peach as this warms along with some leafy hops & a whisper of booze. Finishes dry with treacle, pineapple & more honey (orange blossom) & bit of scotch whiskey (peatyness & sweetness)

MF: Syrupy & chewy, reminds me of mead

Drinks pretty easy for the abv. I could see sucking back a few by the fire or with my dessert or cheese course. Solid English strong ale

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2008 04:34:54 | More by russpowell
Photo of BlaiseDemon


3.7/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Imperial Red Ale pours an amber-orange color and has sweet notes of malt with including prune, raisin, molasses, an almost barleywine flavor which is unexpected when the color is considered. Some hoppy bitterness towards the end but is smooth going down. Not a session brew and a little disappointing after the Seriously Bad Elf experience (which I found enjoyable). Not a typical English brew in my experience. A bit too pricey for the quality but good for a quick, strong buzz without a wine or harder beverage and easily drinkable considering the 11.2%; Great label

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2007 05:30:22 | More by BlaiseDemon
Photo of jwc215


2.75/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours light orange-amber/reddish with a thin white head.

The smell is of caramel and booze.

The taste is of sweet caramel candy. Sugar sweetness dominates with maraschino cherry. Slightly metallic with plenty of fruity alcohol.

Near full-bodied and syrupy, this is strong stuff. I'm not complaining about the strength, but would like more balance and depth to accompany it. Gimmicky. Not a fan of this one.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2007 14:00:16 | More by jwc215
Photo of Blakaeris


4.53/5  rDev +34%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours clear red-copper with only slight carbonation. Head is crisp and white with decent lacing.

Aroma is sweet, bready caramel malt. Juicy with light fruit, and understated earthy nuttiness and only a mild alcohol sting.

Taste is sticky sweet. Brown sugar and toasted malt. Light fruit bathed in rum. Mild earthy hops bring balance. Finish is a little spicy with a pleasant alcohol warmth.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied. Soft and smooth.

This beer really surprised me. Great quality. Flavors are unified with no harshness at all. The alcohol is amazingly well hidden making this one so easy to drink. This is a winner.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2007 00:44:44 | More by Blakaeris
Photo of AKBelgianBeast


3.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I guess i have to go insane to enjoy the bad elf series. I beleive this one to be the best by far of the series. Pours ruby red and tranparent with a decent head. The nose does have the ridgeway funk, but its not as prominent. You can actually taste things in this one. It is quite a bit nuttier than the other elves. Strong nut flavors, and i can actually taste some hops on the finish in this one! sugary residue on the lips isnt as rotten as the other elves. A decent brew. worth a try, but i wouldnt keep one in my cellar.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2007 07:43:05 | More by AKBelgianBeast
Photo of DogFood11


3.25/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Ok...this is the nightcapper before a long trip to Northeastern Canada for a long vacation. I've been looking forward to this brew. Nothing like getting a good buzz on before a trip to spend 11 days with the in-laws.

It has a golden/amber type hue to it. Highly filtered opaque density and there are large carbonation snapping to the top. Head retention is minimal. I would have to say the overall intensity of smell is low. There are dark fruits, grapes, plumbs and a bit of apple juice. It translates to the taste well. This lays on the sticky side of the mouthfeel. I couldn't see having more than one of these in a sitting and I'm not taking ABV into consideration. Its just not something I would have other than a nightcap. There is no follow up to it.

Notes: Once again with ridgeway...in my opinion for the price per value scale this falls short. It has a barleywine feel to it mixed with a belgian fruity profile in a nutshell. I'm slowly but surely souring on the whole import portfolio. There is just too much good beer out our backdoors now. Average.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2007 06:56:07 | More by DogFood11
Photo of peabody


3.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours out a very clear Ice tea color with two fingers of very big white suds.
Smell is mellow caramel with pungent yeast and nice hoppiness.
Mabey a slight raisin/pluma aroma here too.
Taste is fruity at first and no alcohol present then the back of the throat warms up and 'whew', don't light a match.
Other than a slight sweetness like a brandy(and the warmth to match) very little other flavors are here. Still, a very pleasant drink.Meant to be sipped for sure.
Very clean and if it weren't so darn 'warm' I could see drinking a couple of these, however, with the 5.50 cost per bottle, I would rather spend my money elsewhere for mass quantities.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2007 00:40:59 | More by peabody
Photo of Gmann

New York

3.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is the last of the naughty elf brews on me list. Pours a clear golden amber color with a smallish tan head that dissipated into a ring around the glass. The smell is very faint, almost non-existant, perhaps a very light caramel malt scent. The taste starts off with a big sweet caramel/honey blast, it is followed by some nutty and wine like flavors. The feel is moderate with light carbonation, finishes slick, almost like a dessert liquor. You can sense the alcohol but the 11.2% doesn't burn the buds. The finish feels like you have just had about 5 lollipops, so needless to say the sweetness can be cloying. An average brew and worth a go to get the bottle into my collection. I must say the Very Bad Elf has been my favorite.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2007 02:52:45 | More by Gmann
Photo of Gusler


3.93/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer departs the 330ml bottle a crystalline golden amber with a smallish creamy white head that erodes quickly leaving a thin coating of lace upon the glass. Nose has a malt sweet aroma, a bit of alcohol also present, a tad bit of hops, spicy and earthy, crisp and pleasant. Start is sweet with a nice malt profile, alcohol bitter at the back with a medium feel. Finish has a stern acidity, the hops present, but overpowered by the 11.20 ABV, dry sweet aftertaste, and a definite tummy warmer this one, and a real “Hoot”!

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2007 20:29:07 | More by Gusler
Photo of GClarkage


3.98/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12/12/07- Purchased at Beverages and More in San Mateo, CA.

Presentation- 11.2oz bottle with no freshness information listed. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Light copper-amber coloring in the pour. 1/2 inch quickly receding head. Leaves light lace marking.

Smell- Caramel, toffee and some light dark fruit whiffs. Light alcohol fumes as well.

Taste- At first, the taste is rather shall I say, boring? But as it opens up, it becomes a very nice flavored brew. The caramel gets more intense and the malt flavor really opens up. Even some sugary citrus notes develop. Hops are pretty much no-existant here. Alcohol taste it there, but not as large as expected.

Mouthfeel- Smooth with a mid range carbonation level. Slight sugary coating.

Drinkability- The over 11% abv is very well hidden. Drink this at room temp and let it decant for a good 30 minutes. Overall it's a very good brew and would have it again. Although it's $4.99 price tag was too steep for what you get. How about $3 and you bot yourself a deal.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2007 20:22:05 | More by GClarkage
Photo of ElGordo


4.25/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the 12oz bottle into a Maudite snifter. Body is a reddish orange color topped by a thin ring of off-white head, with light yet persistent carbonation. Aroma of sweet, biscuity malt, fruity hops, and faint notes of tropical fruit and bubble gum. Palate is rich and sweet up front, with notes of fruity hops and bready malt. The fruitiness lingers all the way through the finish, which is also full of nice warming - but not burning - alcohol.
Body is smooth and full, not too dense and not too foamy. This is a complex yet approachable beer, and certainly a pleasure to drink. Possibly my favorite of the holiday "Elf" series.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2007 07:43:02 | More by ElGordo
Photo of warmstorage


4.28/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 ounce bottle, $5.99 (I think?) from Brown Jug Warehouse, Anchorage, Alaska. Bottle states Vintage 2007.

Appearance: bright clear deep orange with visible small carbonation bubbles.

Aroma: caramel sweetness and sugary candy sweet. Very slightly metallic.

Taste: deep tangy sweet fruity, and sweet, and candy, and sweet caramel. Full and spicy and tangy and sweet all at the same time, an delicious.

Mouth: Bright sharp warm alcohol, but not necessarily as hot as one might think for 11.2%. Almost syrup mouth competes with the tingly heat. Nice.

Overall: Delicious, full, warm, sweet English style barleywine with a strong sweetness. Very, very nice and something I'd absolutely buy again, even at a very high price per bottle.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2007 05:23:53 | More by warmstorage
Photo of IntriqKen


3.7/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice golden amber with a half finger of white that melts quickly leaving little to nothing in it's wake.

Aromas are dark candied fruit...plums...prunes....as well as a light alcohol aroma.

Flavor is sugary amber malt with dark fruits as in the aroma, finishing to an alcohol flavor and warmth.

Aftertaste is slightly sweet sugary malts as in the original taste but with nothing else to muddle the flavors.

Nice mouthfeel...this one works as an Imperial Red as advertised....too sweet and sugary to pass as an American Strong Ale....way too much syrup to pass as an English Strong Ale.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2007 03:57:25 | More by IntriqKen
Photo of OWSLEY069


3.88/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a orange-ish/ copper color, with a light tan head. In the aroma, plum and a small sweet alcohol presence. In the taste, again plum, yet dry and a bigger alcohol presence. A smooth malty alcohol mouthfeel and a dry darkk fruit alcohol aftertaste. Big in alcohol and quite plummish. Thank god for a 12oz not a half liter like the rest.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2007 17:07:30 | More by OWSLEY069
Insanely Bad Elf from Ridgeway Brewing
77 out of 100 based on 257 ratings.