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Insanely Bad Elf - Ridgeway Brewing

Not Rated.
Insanely Bad ElfInsanely Bad Elf

Educational use only; do not reuse.

176 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 176
Hads: 285
Avg: 3.41
pDev: 24.63%
Wants: 6
Gots: 17 | 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:
Beer added by: fartingdog on 11-18-2007

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (29) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 176 | Hads: 285
Photo of harrymel
2.34/5  rDev -31.4%
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.

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Photo of Erish
3.87/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I poured this 11.2 oz. bottle into a Nonic pint glass.

A: clear reddish amber, an aggressive pour produced a thin one-finger head, the cap and lacing are above average.

S: raisin bread, ester-like yeast aroma, port-like oaky aroma.

T: the raisin bread, cherry, brown sugar, and a strong alcohol note are up front, loads of caramel, vanilla, and estery yeast are in the middle, and the finish has dried fruit, nuttiness, a hint of nutmeg, and and just a kiss of hop bitterness.

M: full bodied, almost syrupy, light-moderate carbonation, mouth-coating.

D: This is a full-bodied, warming, and quite delicious English Ale. Top-notch! Does that make me insane? Maybe.

[edit] after allowing this beer to warm up to proper ale temperature, it has taken on a VERY boozy character. It is still good, but this does affect my impression of taste and drinkability negatively.

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Photo of jhammel01
3.59/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a caramel goldish color. Head quickly dissipates with some lacing.

Scent is pretty interesting; grapes, hops, grain, cereal and something that is very sweet..almost like green apple.

Tastes very yeasty, lots of green apple, belgian yeast, hops and white grape. Finishes very biscuity. Overall mouthfeel is a bit watery not thats not off putting in anyway. Very complex

A very nice ale from Ridgeway. I'd buy again! Perfect for the colder weather.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.41/5  rDev +29.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a two finger cream head that fades slowly to a ring leaving some lace. Nice crystal clear reddish amber color. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Caramel nose. Flavor is sweet caramel but it is balanced with hops, not cloying, clean finish. High ABV is hidden but is warming. Best before Sep 2020. $5.00 for a 330ml bottle from Tully's Beer and Wine Wells, ME.

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Photo of scoobybrew
4/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - clear deep golden color with a modest head that settles into a lacing

S - yeasty esters with sweet malt scents, faint earthy hop

T - very sweet malt up front followed quickly by yeast characteristics (mostly esters, but some mild phenols), hops are faint but present on the finish

M - full body, moderate-low carbonation, hop and alcohol astringency lingers in the finish

D - This a decent version of an English-style barleywine. It is complex, but not overly so. The yeast is probably the most prominent star here, but the pale malts are rich and have their own sort of complexity. Watch out though, this one will grab you quickly.

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Photo of smcolw
2.89/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Big bubbled head that dies to nothing--no bubbles and no lace. The color is an attractive dirty copper and is crystal clear.

Oily alcohol aroma; lots of caramel sweetness.

The taste of maple syrup--very sweet. Overwhelmingly cloy; it's like a drinking the beverage, Malta with two or three shots of vodka. The body is very rich and the carbonation is low.

Egads, it's too much alcohol, too much sugar, too much richness. I find it difficult to finish.

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Photo of despainmakesbeer
3.67/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage. Very thick in pouring, so head or any signs of bubbles to come at pour, microscopic ring at edge of glass; even looks syrupy when it moves in the glass. Has a bright sour aroma with malt immediately following and subtle hint of roasta little after the first sweeter malt aroma. Apple also in aroma. With warmth, alcohol becomes very very present, with almost a small roasty note. Thick brownish cider color. Heavy at start, moderate carbonation. Syrupy feel when sloshing it around, but doesn't sit as heavy as I was expecting. mild to medium dry finish, slightly appley aftertaste, but aftertaste doesn't have the alcohol I was expecting it to have. Warmth bring a metallic taste to the end of a drink, more alcohol on middle and end and a little more malty sweetness to the beginning. Did enjoy the smooth finish and the ability to hide the alcohol content.

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Photo of champ103
2.71/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Pours a perfectly clear red color. A one finger bubbly white head forms at first, but recedes in a second. Light lace.
S: Sweet malt, some raisins, and lots of alcohol.
T: Follows the nose. Really sweet. Caramel and sugar are a bit cloying. Some alcohol drenched raisins as well.
M/D: A medium body that is sticky and syrupy. Hard to drink, I could not finish the bottle without the help of a friend. Not something I am coming back to soon.

Sweet malt, alcohol, and raisins. There is nothing else here. The alcohol and sweetness gets to be really over barring as I get deeper into this. Not something I would recommend.

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Photo of lou50rp
3/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Amber colored brew with a white head that quickly dissipates.
A malty sweet smell with a touch of alcohol.
Taste is sweet, fruity, a bit syrupy with hints of alcohol and hops at the end.
Medium to syrupy feel.
A decent sipping beer, but one is definitely enough.

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Photo of SickPythons
3.72/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

So I picked up this beer because I don't have the cap in my collection.

Poured into a stemmed tulip glass (the wife broke my goblet)

A nice light colored head let out a sweet aroma of vanilla, wheat, and some fruitiness.

The taste is boosey but not over the top. I am surprised at how good they made alcohol taste. A bit of caramel and vanilla play with some hop bitterness. The alcohol lingers for a while giving you that warm fuzzy feeling all over.

As for drinkablity, its a little strong to chain them together. Overall though, I was pleased and would definitely enjoy another with a friend.

On a side note, my wife even said, "not horrible." Which is a huge step up from most beers.

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Photo of TAMU99
2.06/5  rDev -39.6%
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.

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Photo of jbphoto88
2.26/5  rDev -33.7%
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.

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Photo of steve8robin
4.17/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried this last year and loved it. Haven't done the official review yet. 2010 version, 12oz bottle...

A: A medium bronze iced tea color with a 1/2 white head that fades at a decent pace. It leaves a lace on top of the brew. Decent.

S: I get sweet sugary bready malt upfront with hints of caramel and vanilla followed. Good.

T: Tastes like a long island iced tea upfront. Very strong sugary tea flavors with a boozy bite. Some sweet malt sugars in the middle with some breadiness hidden on the backend. Very good.

M: Full bodied with a perfect carbonation balance. Ok finish. Good.

D: Once you get past the sweet booze bite, this goes down. Good.

All in all, this is a good brew. I'd definitely try it again. It's not perfect, but a good winter brew to have at least once every season. If you don't like sweet beers, then don't bother.

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Photo of tone77
3.63/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a brown 11.2 oz. bottle. Has an amber color with a small head. Smell is very fruity, somewhat sweet. Taste also has a mixture of fruits, alcohol is present, just a bit of sweetness. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and has average drinkability. Overall this is a good quality beer.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a mug. 2007 vintage.

3.5 A: Clear orange amber color. A little more than one finger of fizzy/frothy off-white head. Average retention given the ABV and not really any lacing.

4.0 S: Brandy, apple juice, muscat grape. It's a bit like DFH Midas Touch in a way. Some cake frosting, plenty of fruitiness, and a bit of alcohol. I'd classify the malts as bready, but only slightly so.

3.5 T: The taste is too much like the nose in that it doesn't have enough "beer aspect" to it. Tastes like a mead or brandy. Apple brandy is plentiful with some underlying grape again. Light caramel and sugary with perhaps a bit too much sweetness overall. This could really benefit from a few more IBUs. Given the ABV, the alcohol is pretty well hidden.

3.5 M: Medium body, but a bit cloying. Carbonation is a bit low (not unlike a mead), but good enough. Average here.

3.5 D: Not bad, but you need to be in a certain type of mood to drink this beer. I wouldn't want one of these too often. Not really that complex in taste. This offers apple brandy and too much sugar. Worth a try, but not much else.

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Photo of david18
4/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ive been hearing about these beers for a while and was glad to see it in my local bottle shop. I'm not sure what the difference is between an English Strong Ale and and English IPA but I liked this a lot. A lot of flavor character while not being to overwhelming in any area. Also a very good beer to mix with others. I look forward to getting this one again.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.23/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

appearance: Very nice red, absolutely clear with a reasonable creamy head (for a +11%). Not sure what an 'Imperial Red' is but it ought to look like this.
smell: malty, spicy, that buttery edge a good barleywine or aged ale sometimes has.
taste: As the nose advertised, but...surprisingly (given the creepy nutso elf and the Santa visiting the asylum read on the bottle) it's a little subdued.
mouthfeel: medium creamy with moderate carbonation.
drinkability: Amazing here. Alcohol is really masked. Maybe the insanity starts after downing a few.

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Photo of joepais
2.58/5  rDev -24.3%
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

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Photo of evilkalla
2.86/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle into an ale glass.

A - poured a light red color. No head, very little carbonation.

S - Has a sort of sweet smell to it.

T - Definitely warm with alcohol. Large fruitiness, some figs and cherries.

M - not really much carbonation presence in this beer. It has a syrupy, thick feel in the mouth.

D - It was fun to try but I didn't finish it. The taste and moreso the syrup-ness was too overwhelming. I don't think I would try this one again.

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Photo of beer2day
4/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a gold with strong red tints. A very thin layer of head is present, but it doesn't last long. Very clear color with active carbonation. Viscous enough to leave thick, but temporary, lace.

Nose is very sweet, in a sticky gooey kind of way. Malt is very apparent, as is alcohol. Candy sugar and bitter cherries round things out.

Taste is very sweet. Strong liquer presence, with brandied cherries. Strong malt body, gets bitter in the finish but mainly from alcohol. You can really taste and feel the 11%.

Feel matches the taste and nose.

Nice to sip, but one is plenty and preferably shared.

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Photo of BeerImmediately
2.75/5  rDev -19.4%
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.

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Photo of Lldeegan
2.9/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

It is a 2007 vintage from Ridgeway Brewing in South Stoke, UK.
It pours a copper amber that is crystal clear, not much head, but as an English Strong Ale, I didn't expect too much foam. It has a strong boozy smell, light fruity esters like apricot, maybe red apple, some nut aroma and molasses notes.
The beer is very sweet upfront with a barleywine type syprupy booze sliding over the tastebuds followed up by some fruity yeast tones. Apple and brown sugar flavors follow with a carmelized residual sweetness.
It is pretty straightforward as I find many English style beers to be. Mostly it is sweet alcohol, fruity in the middle with a sweet finish.

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Photo of gatorhophead
3.65/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2007 vintage poured into a 13oz snifter

A.)Aggressive pour yielded very little had and leaves a very thin lacing that sticks around for a while. Color is light orange red, not what I expected from an imperial red

S.) Very sweet, mostly apples some figs, followed by booze

T.) Pretty much the same as the smell, stars out with sweet fruit and finishes with warming alcohol all that's felt all the way down to the belly

M.) Very little carbonation as expected but that it is a good thing for this beer as it's a little chewy and coats the taste buds rather nicely

D.) It's a sippah

I'd classify this more as a barelywine, with its sweetness and ABV

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

Bottle received during Mahar's Advent of Beer. Bottle poured to tulip.

A: See through, reddish hues. Light bubbles with a small head.

S: Boozy, spicy, and phenolic.

T: Similar to smell, starts smooth but has a big spicy alcoholic bite to it.

M: low carb, medium bodied. The carb seems to fit the ABV.

D: Not highly drinkable. Boozy and sweet. A combo that doesn't really appeal much to me.

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Photo of Wespatrick
2.35/5  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.

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Insanely Bad Elf from Ridgeway Brewing
78 out of 100 based on 176 ratings.