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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: 112
Avg: 3.69
pDev: 15.72%
Wants: 6
Gots: 16 | 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.
View: Beers (29) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 54 | Hads: 112
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%
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!"


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.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.05/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11/9/08- Purchased at Bottle Barn, in Santa Rosa, CA. $5.49 price tag.

Presentation- 500ml bottle, did not check for freshness info. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Black, but not as black as I have seen in a stout. Beyond full one in plus some head. Good 1/2 inch remains for the duration. Leaves some small chunks and some pacthwork of lace.

Smell- Beyond roasted malts. Deep burnt chocolate, frangrant bitter hops and a charcoal-campfire smokey nose.

Taste- First few sips reveal a light metallic note. Quickly fades though. Nice bitter and lasting hoppy flavor with added burnt smores campfire like dark chocolate.
Melds together nicely, but the hops play the main role.

Mouthfeel- Very smooth with a medium to lighter carbonation. Long lasting bitter lashing. Lightly creamy.

Drinkability- Very nice english stout. Do away with that metallic beginning and lower the carbonation a touch lower and you have almost world class. Very drinkable as is though.

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Photo of evanackerman
4.23/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

beer pours a nice dark black color with a tan head

aroma is prunes and roasted malt

taste is delicious roasted malt with a nice slight bitter finish, hints

mouthfeel is medium bodied, and very very smooth, light carbonation.

overall, this beer is quite delicious. Described as a "black ale" on the bottle, it is as fine an example of a british stout as I've tasted. worth a try.

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Photo of Offa
4.52/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is deep, dark red-brown, almost black, a little bubbly in the body, with a big, rich tan head that slwoly shrinks to a foamy ring and leaves some decent lace.

The aroma is very nice, fairly strong but smooth and pleasant. It has toasted brown bread, stewed prunes, hay, and hints of chocolate and port.

The taste is quite interesting, flavourful, and complex. Up front it starts smoothly with sweet fruit, especially prunes, toasted brown bread, a hint of fruitcake. This gradually transforms into a drier, toastier character with gradually increasing bitterness including pepper and spice (licorice, perhaps), and light hints of bitter chocolate and unsweetened coffee. The change is smooth and gradual, to a lightly bitter, dry finish containing the pepper, etc. The bitterness lingers, slowly getting a little stronger to fill the mouth before fading. Hwoever, nothing is sharp or burn tasting, the bitterness is not clinging or unpleasant (it stops just short of getting unpleasant), and it has a nice spicey-coffee character. The whole experience is enjoyable, engaging, interesting, very flavourful from start to finish, and the beer is quite drinkable.

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