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Bad King John - Ridgeway Brewing

Not Rated.
Bad King JohnBad King John

Educational use only; do not reuse.

54 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 54
Hads: 110
Avg: 3.69
pDev: 10.57%
Wants: 6
Gots: 13 | 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:
Beer added by: Suds on 06-02-2008

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 54 | Hads: 110
Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.6/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

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Photo of ForWhatAlesYou
3.73/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review #100
500 ml bottle into a pint glass

A: Extremely dark brown, nearly pitch black. Pours a modest head that takes on a light mocha color. No lace.

S: A little skunky initially. Underneath that is chocolate malt, licorice, some playful esthers.

T: A little modest, but good. A lot like a Guinness but with deeper bitterness and much more nuance in the flavor profile. Coffee grounds, rye toast, burnt nuts.

M: Lingering, viscous, a little chewy. Good level (medium) carbonation.

D: In no way do I find this one sessionable but who says that's a bad thing... A very nice brew to end my day with.

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Photo of ramseye4
3.31/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've never heard of this beer before, but picked it up while deciding to try something new, plus the bottle has a great label. Dark brown wood colored body, big fluffy head that holds for a few minutes before gradually fading away. Great looking beer. Smells a bit weak, mostly malt in the aroma, unimpressive. Roasted malt comes up first in the taste, a faint metallic presence is there as well. faint bitterness, a bit of cocoa is present in the finish. Very, very average. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, a tad over carbonated. Drinkability is good, the simple taste and medium body help it out.

Not bad, not great. I wouldn't mind having this periodically, but I'm not disappointed that this isn't readily available where I live.

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Photo of gfreed
3.67/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Photo of dedrinker
3.45/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Darkest wood veneer with a thin white-ish head.

Faint aroma of roasted malts and some hints of dark fruit.

The flavor was a light roasty malt with some bitterness. I would say that if it was a little dark chocolate and black coffee I perceived, then it was an inferior brand of chocolate and coffee - Hershey's and Maxwell House instant.

Not bad though overall, just a lot less than I was being lead to expect.

Medium/full body with a dry, lightly burnt malt bitterness on the finish.

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Photo of metter98
3.82/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear dark amber in color and has a thin layer of beige bubbles on the surface.
S: Aromas of dark fruits stand out in the nose.
T: The taste is dominated by flavors of roasted barley while the finish is rather fruity with notes of cherries.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and is very smooth.
D: I could easily drink a few of these in one sitting.

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Photo of rtepiak
4.15/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a unigue experience that separates the english stout from the export. mild but no diluted. good retention. supriseingly fruit but backbone of malt molasses. the palate is clean and not creamy... but broad. vanilla, cocoa, molasses, and a lot of blackberry. fantastic. mild but not basic.

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Photo of levifunk
2.93/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

a - black liquid, but partially see through. light tan head.

s - smells like a light stout. mostly smoked malts.

t - smoked malts. a very faint prune flavor. can taste the alcohol and it tastes like cough syrup. there is a rye dryness.

m - medium body. decent carbonation.

overall - not really that great of a beer. wouldn't recommend this one.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.93/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a nonic pint glass at ChurchKey.

Yeah, let's live pessimistically in the past, Ridgeway...let's keep dredging up John and dragging his name in the mud. Real mature. This brew pours a very dark brown topped by a sad excuse for a bubbly head (it's not its fault, though...the cask affects performance). The nose comprises figs, black grapes, light maple syrup, and some light strawberries. The taste holds notes of chocolate powder, light maple syrup, figs, dates, red grapes, and a hint of oak. Wow, didn't see all o' that comin'. The body is a solid medium, with no real carbonation and a very smooth feel. Overall, a better time is had with this beer than was had under the watchful eye of the eponymous ruler. Word.

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Photo of omnigrits
3.35/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a perfect pint glass.

Nice dark colour with ruby highlights around the edges, but little in the way of head or lace.

There's some coffee and chocolate in the aroma, but already I can tell that this one's a bit thin.

The taste backs up my suspicions. What's there is good but there's not much of it. Distinctly underwhelming. There's a nice roasted malt flavour with more coffee and chocolate, and a decent bitter finish to it. Not much sweetness, which is to my taste because I prefer a drier stout.

The body is seriously lacking.

Despite all the faults it's a fairly decent and quite drinkable session stout if you're not looking to wreck your palate with a roasted malt bomb or get hammered with a 10% RIS.

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Photo of jopper
3.53/5  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.

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Photo of WYVYRN527
3.92/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This brew pours very dark brown, but some light still shines through. Head is light tan and not very thick, although lacing is decent.
The smell has some characteristics of a stout. Some coffee and chocolate, as well as caramel. Taste is much better. Roasty, with chocolate and coffee, and hops give the beer a pleasant, bitter finish.
Mouthfeel is a bit thin, and not as creamy as I would have liked it to be. Overall, though, it is rather smooth. This beer is drinkable by all means. I wouldn't really call it a stout, however. More of an English Strong Dark Ale.

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Photo of oberon
3.73/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

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Photo of beer2day
3.63/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a khaki head. The aroma is pretty subtle with roasted malts and a little smoke. The flavor is more of the same with roasted malt being the most predominant flavor component. The hops may add a tad bit of bitterness but if they do, it is not much. Not very complex but it is enjoyable. Medium mouthfeel and carbonation.

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Photo of Bung
3.95/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A very tansluscent black pour. Sufficient off white head creating a nice contrast. Aroma is a bit mild. Subtle roast malt, nut and peat. Flavor is a bit stronger, roast malt and smoked nut again. Bitter tobacco, coffee a little piney hops. Body is a little tinner, but still medium and gets creamier as it warms. Finish is just a little coffee and anise. A good drinking dark brew.
I would have considered this something else other than a stout, maybe a dark mild but it is not real mild or just and English strong ale. Still a very good English ale.

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Photo of Kristing
3.7/5  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.

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Photo of Sammy
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From Premiere Gourmet. Good example of English sublety, nothing too bold just the balance of a little roast, a little Shwartzbier black, a bit above mouthfeel, a bit of licorice as in a porter. Pours black, nothing harsh, delightful with a meal. Really a shwartbier.

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Photo of champ103
3.21/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a dark brown color. A one finger beige head forms and leaves some sticky lace.
S: Not very aromatic. Some nondescript roasted malt. Some lactic milk/cream. Nothing else really.
T: There is a little more flavor. Some roasted malt, bitter chocolate, and sweet caramel.
M/D: A light body that is thin and watery. Very under carbonated. Not hard to drink. I am having no problems finishing the bottle, but nothing I would want to drink again.

This does not do it for me. Just kind of bland. Nothing bad, but there are much better stouts out there.

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.18/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep brown in color bordering on black. Minor tan colored head on top. Low aroma-some minor nutty notes as well as a tinge of cocoa. Killer malty and mildly roasted flavor. Slight graininess that brings out the roasted quality even more. Slight chocolate and espresso flavors. Mild hop presence. Very well balanced flavor wise. Good mouthfeel. Nice lingering dry taste. Very very drinkable. I love the whole package.

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Photo of selecter70
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very nice purchase from a great little shop in Cambridge, Liquor World. I always can go for a nice dark ale & chose such to follow up some other fruity-session ales, which posed some potential risk of shocking the system. However, such was not the case! A nice, smooth chocolate-brown pour to black, blocking out any light, with a full 2-finger reddish tan head and nice lace retention. The aroma was mild, some chocolate & malt-cookie. The flavor was a bit more smoky, with roasted malt & bitter hop edges. Dark chocolate presence without being overwhelming. Medium body & very drinkable as a porter-ale. Definitely a repeat purchase!

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Photo of Suds
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.28/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

"Bad King John is black...bitter...intense...like the ruthless man it honours. Do not come here looking for subtlety!"
So the label says...it says other things, too...forget about that, I'm gonna drink it!

Dark brown body, slightly crimson at the edges...lush cocoa head atop
Beautiful aroma, nice and roasty-toasty...just bitter enough, yet creamyand inviting. Nice balance of hops and malt here.

Drink it!
Dark and rich, deep and malty...black,cocoa flavors,some espresso tinges, dark essences dwell beneath...darkness always licks up from below...Full bodied, long,malty, rich and tasty finish...really well-balanced, everything is in order here.

A beer fit for a bad king, that's for sure. I'd have more if it weren't so damned expensive.

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Photo of nick76
2.66/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

The aroma is like burnt malt with cream and coffee. The appearance is black with an average head. The flavor is like the aroma. The palate is too thin for a stout. I am not very fond of this one. I can't really say that there is any one fault with this one. Overall it's just not that good.

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Photo of morebeergood
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

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Bad King John from Ridgeway Brewing
83 out of 100 based on 54 ratings.