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Insanely Bad Elf - Ridgeway Brewing

Not Rated.
Insanely Bad ElfInsanely Bad Elf

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

265 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 265
Reviews: 171
rAvg: 3.38
pDev: 20.12%
Wants: 4
Gots: 11 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 265 | Reviews: 171 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mhewes
4.22/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A : Pours a nice reddish amber color with a nice little head

S : Fruity with some strong malt aroma

T : Good malt flavors, picked up some apple also. Don't really taste the alcohol that much

M : Creamy and smooth

D : I really liked this one and would drink it again.

Photo of Wasatch
4.1/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very nice clean/clear golden orange/amber color, nice carbonation, nice litte fizzy off-white head, which does leave some minimal sticky lacing. The nose is very nice, malty, some dark fruits especially cherries, slight spices, and caramel. The taste is sweet, malty, sour (cherries), and some caramel. Medium body. The alcohol is hidden very well for a brew this high in ABV, very well. Drinkable, this is a very tasty brew, recommended for sure.

Photo of CH3CH2OH
3.75/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a mahogany with very little head. Earthy aroma, very little hop, definite alcohol effect. Taste is sweet with a bit of carbonic bite and alcohol. Nice smooth and round mouthfeel. Drinkable for this level of alcohol. Reminds me a bit of DFH 120 Minute. Good but not exceptional - another Ridgeway beer that triumphs through marketing rather than taste.

Photo of hoegaardenhero
3.55/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a: clear burgundy body with a little bit of off-white head that quickly fizzles out; no surprise considering ABV

s: very malty; sweet caramel malts; apples and pears; some toffee

t: very heavy on the sweet caramel malts; some sweet red and sour green apple flavors; a faint smokiness; some maple syrup; buttery toffee; hints of alcohol; masks the alcohol very well

m: interesting since it is very syrupy and thick but very tiny carbonated bubbles balance it quite well

d: kind of like thomas hardy's but with more sweet malts; definitely an interesting beer that has a lot of complex flavors; worth trying

Photo of tonistruth
2.9/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- clear and bubbly amber/auburn with a little ring of foam that holds well enough

S- very fruity, toasted grains, some caramel and alcohol

T- malty, toasted grains, sour apples, rich toffee with sweet alcohol at finish

M- sticky and chewy full body with a hot aftertaste

D- hands down the best of the elf series, but still not something that i'd recommend.

Photo of Dukeofearl
4.08/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 ounce bottle, 11.2% ABV- coincidence? I think not! Purchased at Redlands, CA BevMo in December 2008; price not recorded. Tasted in February 2008.

The label sez it's an Imperial Red Ale, I guess BA does not have that category- this is certainly the first of the style for me.

Pours a surpisingly clear reddish amber with, as my wife said, an "extremely fizzy" body in my Delerium Tremens goblet. A touch of head covers part of the beer, but it's more cola-like bubbles hitting the top of the beer and popping.

Aroma is somewhat fruity, light easy malts, not much else to say.

Flavor- this has a lot going on. Some of it quite interesting, some quite scary. By this I mean that the alcohol burn is quite strong. But I digress- that's not taste. A sherry-like fruitiness (mulled dark berries), some cola notes, some light hop weed kisses, and some honey-coated toast as the malt base.

But a lot of alcohol heat- right up on the gums. That really is the dominant thing here. And this beer is a real sipper beacuse of it.

I have mixed feelings on this- the flavor profile, and the complexity of it, is pretty interesting, but the alcohol burn (that's the third time I've mentioned it) is overpowering and worrisome. But he fact that I have written this much means that generally, I like it. Good stuff.

Photo of RoyalT
4.35/5  rDev +28.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - This is a bright but thick orangish-brown in color with a very modest head, not surprisingly.

Smell - The rotten prunes, overripe dates, and mashed raisins are huge at the nose. I can get some light orange and cherry along with a touch of the caramel malt base, but mostly it's those dates, prunes, and maybe figs.

Taste - The dark, fruity flavors explode in the mouth. Just a few drops on the tongue are enough to make you say "wow". This has a very heavy, rotten fruit taste and is totally awesome.

Mouthfeel - This medium-bodied ESA is dead in the mouth but so flavorful that you just can't stop salivating.

Drinkability - This sipping ale is so big and flavorful that it might even be too much for the novice. The biggest ESA I've had to date.

Photo of sulldaddy
3.58/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I split a bottle with Stopper at cellar temp poured into a snifter.
The beer pours a clear bright chestnut and ruby color with creamy beige surface layer of head. Aroma is fairly sweet with brown sugar, dark fruit, raisins and berries mixing nicely.
First sip reveals an average body with some syrupy texture and very mild carbonation. Smooth and easy to drink the flavor brings out some red vinous grape mixing with brown sugar and general sweetness. The sweetness is almost too much and I am glad to have split the bottle. Some boozy peppery alcohol on the finish. The sweetness and booziness hurt the drinkability a bit but overall a nice winter brew.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Insanely Bad Elf from Ridgeway Brewing
78 out of 100 based on 265 ratings.