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Bad King John - Ridgeway Brewing

Not Rated.
Bad King JohnBad King John

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

92 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 92
Reviews: 49
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 10.16%
Wants: 6
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Ridgeway Brewing visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Stout |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Suds on 06-02-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 92 | Reviews: 49 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"Bad King John is black... bitter... intense... like the ruthless man it honours. Do not come here looking for subtlety!"

--label

Bad King John must be a badass since the above quote is next to a drawing of a black haired woman in a white dress who is hanging from a noose. Has any 6.0% English ale ever been intense? Compared to what? Let's find out whether Ridgeway's boasting holds any water.

Pecan brown with generous orange and amber highlights (on the coaster)... dusky cranberry (when backlit). Since the brewery calls BKJ a 'black ale', might they mean schwarzbier rather than stout? A lack of opacity makes the question a valid one. The sand colored crown is a mass of sticky bubbles that does a pretty good job of glass decoration.

The nose is... subtle (honest, I didn't come here looking for it). Roasted barley leads the way, followed by a hint of herbal hoppiness. Bitter should trump sweet, although I have no illusions that the bitterness will be *intense*. King John better start channeling his inner badness on the palate.

Label hyperbole aside, this is better than average beer that's more bitter than average (given its country of origin), but it's far from special. Even though English stouts are fully capable of being this light, I'm thinking that schwarzbier is a more appropriate style choice.

Flavors include bitter dark chocolate shavings mixed with a generous handful of hop cones and black tea leaves. The relative shortage of malt means that depth, complexity and flavor linger are in short supply. The finish is impressively dry and could almost be considered crisp.

Regarding the body/mouthfeel... as an American stout it would be a 2.5. As an English stout it would be a 3.0. As a schwarzbier (which is what I've settled on) it's a 3.5. Short version: light, no creaminess, acceptable carbonation.

Ridgeway Bad King John isn't bad (in a good way) and it isn't bad (in a bad way). It's a slightly better than average black beer that is more bitter than most. That's probably the only reason why this hophead is giving it above average scores. No how, no way is it worth $6.09.

BuckeyeNation, Dec 04, 2008
Photo of Lgarciaosuna
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%

Lgarciaosuna, Apr 11, 2014
Photo of tempest
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Tap and Table. Appeared just barely black with red highlights. This stout was drinkable and true to style, but uninspiring. The character is flat and lacks depth. There's just a roasted barley taste with a touch of dark chocolate. Yes, it nice. Yes, I'm a little tough on this beer. But there's a lot of potential for this style.

tempest, Mar 19, 2011
Photo of tvv375ia
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured from 500ml bottle into imperial pint glass

A-more of a dark ruby color with about a finger of head that faded wuickly with a little lacing

S- a little coffee and some roasted malt smell

T-some coffee and dark fruits with a finish of some carmel

M-a little on the thin side for a stout, I like mine a little creamier

O-A lot of potential but not quite there maybe a stout light

tvv375ia, Oct 17, 2011
Photo of morebeergood
3.55/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Deep Ellum this past weekend. Served in a standard pint glass. Dark brown color to the body. Decent sized head. Not a lot of aroma noticed. Roasted barley flavor was there, but not a lot else. Pretty smooth beer so I found quite easy to drink. But honestly, this beer did nothing for me and seemed run of the mill. Didn't stand out in any which way.

morebeergood, Jan 14, 2009
Photo of jopper
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Has a nice look, ours almost black with thin quickly receding head even with a strong pour

Smell - a distant dark malt

Taste - A nice clean slightly bitter with a dry finish

Mouthfeel - a nice wieght with the right amount carbonation

Drinkability - no problems finishing this one... could have cracked a few a more.

jopper, May 26, 2010
Photo of Knapp85
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer was a thin looking deep brown color with just a bit of fan head across the top. The lacing was nonexistent. The smell of the beer had some nice roasted malt aromas but they weren't overly strong. The taste was pleasantly light and had some flavors in it that I was having trouble pinpointing. The mouthfeel was thin but I didn't mind for some reason. Overall I thought it was a pretty good stout but still just about average in my opinion.

Knapp85, Jun 20, 2011
Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I picked this beer up the other day at the downtown Spec's. From reading the bottle I am expecting something like Arrogant Bastard, but I don't know that an English beer can be that aggressive. Let's see...

Appearance: Pours a very dark color that looks like it would be pretty clear if you held a bright enough light up to it. There was a small head of tan bubbles after a pretty aggressive pour. After a minute or so, there was still a pretty solid ring of cream around the top of the beer at the glass. there is a pretty decent amount of lace left on the glass after drinking, so it is a pretty good looking beer overall.

Aroma: My initial impression was of a toffee drink with a shot of vodka in it. Man, that can't be good. Going back in, I don't get that like I did right after the pour. Now there is some earthy British hops starting to come out to mix with the sweet malt that is still dominating. As the beer is starting to warm, I am getting roasted pecans. Interesting.

Taste: The beer overall is pretty thin bodied and this is one of the first things you notice about the sip. There are dark caramel malts giving a bit of a toffee impression, but the malts have a bit darker edge to them than the aroma alluded to so they are a bit acidic when mixing with the hops in the finish. There is a little contribution from the alcohol and it really just adds some heat and dryness to the finish that it didn't really need because of the attenuation and the hops.

Opinion: This is an OK beer and probably one of the best that I have had from this brewery yet. I don't know what that is saying, but there you have it. The beer itself is a bit harsh on the finish, but it has a decent amount of flavor. Would I drink it again?...probably. Would I seek it out? No, the Bastard is much better.

SkeeterHawk, Feb 24, 2011
Photo of jondeelee
3.63/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bad King John sports a medium-heavy nose, full of complex aromas that begin with cognac and Irish Cream, and move from there into more subtle hints of caramel, apple, and chocolate malt.

On the tongue, the beer is less flavorful than the nose would imply, but still bears a good amount of malty goodness, with caramels, fresh-baked breads, and a good smattering of chocolate malts dominating. Very subtle hints of tobacco and ash rest beneath the surface, and the whole brew has a creamy texture, much like milk or a good oatmeal stout. The aftertaste is predominantly darker flavors, such as chocolate malt and ash, and lasts for a while. Subsequent mouthfuls result in a slightly diminished taste profile. Mouthfeel is quite light for a black ale--medium-light on the larger scale--and carbonation is medium.

Overall, I found the flavors in this brew good, but was disappointed in not only what I thought was a missed opportunity at larger flavors, but also thicker mouthfeel. Still, this might be a good introduction to black ales for newcomers, as it does provide all of the requisite flavors, albeit in a lighter format.

jondeelee, Aug 03, 2011
Photo of Samp01
3.63/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A dark clear brown with a small short lived brown head on the pour. Aroma and Taste of roasted caramel malt, some coffee and dark fruit, with some liquorice notes and light bitterness. Palate is a medium body with moderate carbonation. Finish is a sweet roasted caramel malt, cacao, espresso with some light liquorice flavor and some bitterness on the end for balance. Both the aroma and flavor become more pronounced as it warms up. Overall a good tasty brew.

Samp01, Apr 06, 2012
Photo of beer2day
3.63/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours very dark, near black with some reddish tint coming through. Nice, fluffy 2-finger head atop my impy pint glass. Decent retention, too, lasting all the way through to the bottom of the pint.

Sweet malt and roast malt dominate the nose. Getting anise and caramel underneath. Slightly sour milk rounds things out.

Taste is a little milder than expected, but grows on you. Slight sweetness in the hit, but goes a little bitter mid tongue and finishes with a nice dry coffee bitterness.

Body is also a little thinner than expected, but that makes for a very drinkable stout. While the flavor profile would definitely satisfy on a cold night, the body makes this light enough to drink on a warmer early spring day.

If you like English dry stout, this is worth checking out. Can be a little pricey for a bottle, though.

beer2day, Feb 02, 2010
Photo of StJamesGate
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Russet-tinged black with steady beige head that leaves few trailers. Blackberry and ash on the nose with a bit of Band-aid.
Dark roast coffee, melted brown sugar, dates, hints of dark chocolate and cola-type caramel, then an assertively bitter hop ending made mostly of branch and autumn leaf.
Sweet comeback, dry linger. Medium, oily, chewy, slick, no burn.

Maybe a bit sugary and simple; not huge depth here. But good roasty notes; more oily than most. Oil and sugar do contrive to be a cloyingly bittersweet after a while, but at this strength you're not sessioning it anyway.

I'd been ready to write off Ridgeway based on rep and some very average beers, this earns them a stay of execution.

StJamesGate, Jan 29, 2012
Photo of Suds
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 500 ml bottle, this beer pours as a nearly solid black color (with brown highlights in the shallows if held to the light). It presents a tightly packed brownish-tan head, and makes for an impressive beer. The brew has a nice roasted malt aroma...chocolate, biscuit, and grain in front of a backdrop of English hops. The malt is front and center in this beer. There's also a notable yeast flavor and aroma in the brew. Occasional fruity qualities appear and fade, particularly raisin and plum-like. Fairly clean, moderately light in body, with a bitterness that comes in in the mid-taste. Fairly sweet as well, more than expected. This is a satisfying and very enjoyable brew.

Suds, Mar 14, 2009
Photo of gfreed
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It seems to me that the good brewers at Ridgeway have been trading copy-editing notes with their counterparts at Stone. The over-the-top blather on the label has nothing to do with the beer inside the bottle. This beer is most definitely *not* big and bad, black and bitter, or anything near "ruthless." It is, however, subtle and tasty. The ruby color is inviting; the roasted aroma is appealing, and the taste is complex without requiring too much contemplation or philosophy to decode. The body is surprisingly thin for the style, however, and for that I think Ridgeway should have their collective heads mounted on pikes.

Well, not really.

This beer is worth bringing home, but be wary of the marketeers.

gfreed, Jan 04, 2011
Photo of Pegasus
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Opaque dark brown body, crowned by a moderate, dense, dark tan head, which retains fairly well. The lacing is utterly glass-coating, and quite superb.

Aroma: Lots of roasted barley up front, followed by a fairly strong dark fruit presence, possibly dark plums, or figs.

Taste: Opens with bitter cocoa, and a sharp infusion of earthy hops. As the taste progresses, the hops reach ascendency, while the bitter cocoa is drawn out to a strong and lingering presence. Finishes with a lingering,earthy and bitter hop presence.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, and very pleasant.

Drinkability/notes: Would have benefit ted from a more moderate hop selection, the hops were simply too earthy.

Presentation: packaged in a custom 19.9 ounce (500 ml) brown glass bottle with a pry-off crown, served in a New Belgium brewing chalice.

Pegasus, May 19, 2013
Photo of oberon
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I have to say the label has caught my eye in the past but I never pulled the trigger until today,BBC magazine called him the worst Briton of the 13th century,now thats sayin something.Poured more of a cola color than black,alot of reddish tint,a thinner but well retained slight off white head atop.Fruity malt,iron,and light bitter chocolate in the nose,its full on English malt.A little thin in the mouth,but it goes down real easy.Flavors are not intense,at least not for the American craft palate,but its got decent complexity.Some bitter chocolate and fruity flavors meld into a pretty good earthy finish,intense finish maybe for the Brits.I actually think its decent,not intense,not great.

oberon, Mar 03, 2010
Photo of Kristing
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The colour is black with some red tones and their is barely any head. In my opinion, it looks more like a porter than a stout. The aroma is full of roasted malt and some smokiness. The taste is mellow and slightly bitter, with a roasted finish. Eventually, a tone of coffee presents itself that is rather enjoyable. Their is also a deal of smokiness.

I feel that this beer tastes and looks more like a porter than a stout. Even though it is a good beer, it is a bit flat. I was a bit disappointed actually, at least when considering the high price it cost at my local pub.

Kristing, Oct 23, 2009
Photo of standardcherry
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%

standardcherry, Sep 18, 2012
Photo of raythealeman
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%

raythealeman, Jun 26, 2012
Photo of nmann08
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%

nmann08, Apr 30, 2014
Photo of InspectorBob
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%

InspectorBob, Jul 28, 2013
Photo of treque
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: a deep brown with amber tints, clear, traslucent, thick creamy, long lasting, tant head, waste left behind on the glass

S: some roast, toast malts aroma

T: sweet malts, well balanced, toast, bitterness at the end, long final, medium body, moderate carbonation, residual sweetness

treque, Aug 19, 2011
Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%

t0rin0, Dec 17, 2012
Photo of MarkyMOD
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%

MarkyMOD, Aug 15, 2012
Photo of hopley
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%

hopley, Jun 16, 2014
Bad King John from Ridgeway Brewing
84 out of 100 based on 92 ratings.