Rude Elf's Reserve (formerly Rudolph's Reserve) | Fegley's Bethlehem Brew Works

very good
96 Reviews
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Rude Elf's Reserve (formerly Rudolph's Reserve)Rude Elf's Reserve (formerly Rudolph's Reserve)

Brewed by:
Fegley's Bethlehem Brew Works
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by goindownsouth on 12-08-2002

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Reviews: 96 | Ratings: 213
Photo of BeerCon5
2.38/5  rDev -38.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours a slightly hazy reddish brown color with a nice foamy white head that dissipates quickly.

The scent was dominant of both alcohol and very sweet cherry.

The taste was overwhelmed by alcohol, the only other thing I could taste was the incredibly sweet cherry flavor.

Medium body, very crisp and a little chewy, high carbonation.

This beer was ruined by the overbearing alcohol presence. The flavor was way out of balance, it was difficult to finish one of these.

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Photo of nomad
2.53/5  rDev -35%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured a deep red with a wonderful glow and luster. Had a sliver of a bubbly off-white head, showing not much lace or stain. Smelled of cherries, peppery cinnamon, and a strange banana-like scent. Opened to a slew of spices that were muddled together. Also, some sweet estery alcohol scents wafted about, but not endearing ones to my nose. Tasted of a big mess of spices on top of creamy hops and a large cherry-like flavored smooth but face-curling alcohol. This was a train wreck of flavors to get through with an unappealing finish, mostly from the smash of not-so-tasty cream accents, cherry alcohol flavors, and the mess of spices.

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Photo of ppoitras
2.91/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle from BeerBeing as part of UTBIF. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 3/4" beige head above the clear copper brew. Dense head lasts well, with lots of doughy lacing everywhere. Aroma is spiced so much, it reminds me of those specialty ginger beers that kick your taste buds, not usually what I'm looking for in a beer. Taste starts with over the top spicing, lets a bit of the bready malt flavor through for a moment, and then the spices take over again. I know this is advertised as a spiced brew, but this is just doesn't leave enough room for the beer flavors to come through. Glad I tried it, won't be back.

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Photo of tempest
2.95/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On-tap at the Allentown Brew Works. Maybe it was brewed in Allentown, but its the same beer. Served in a goblet it appears a dark brown.

This beer has a lot of good flavors, but frankly it's a mess. They don't work. Nutmeg and cinnamon compete with dried cherries and a strong clove taste. This beer would be okay without the clove phenols, but they really throw a wrench into the works. For the strength, the body is otherwise drinkable, but I won't be returning to this beer. No thanks.

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Photo of number1bum
3.17/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at Purv's in Peckville. Comes in a pint glass, reddish copper color with absolutely no head whatsoever. Completely still.

Smell is extremely spicy with lots of cinnamon and clove. It's also sweet and quite boozy. Some dark fruits peek in. Smells like an overspiced winter warmer so far...and those aren't really my thing...

Taste is also exceptionally spicy and boozy. Wow are there a lot of spices in this beer. Cinnamon, clove, and not sure what else. Some caramel too and a lot of sweetness. As it warms some dark fruit, cherries especially, come in, as does some vanilla which is actually the flavor I am enjoying most. Some good flavors here but this beer is all over the place. I wouldn't call it complex; I'd call it messy.

Mouthfeel is a medium-full body but is very flat. Sticky sweetness to the beer, but needs some creamy carbonation.

Eh, this beer has some potential but it's all over the place. Lots of components but they don't mesh. It's a mess to be honest. I really like the vanilla actually, but the spices need to be toned down a bit and it all needs to meld a bit more. At the end of the glass I feel tipsy and nothing more...

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Photo of BeerImmediately
3.19/5  rDev -18%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into wine-style glass.

Pours with a short, tan head the fizzles quickly to a film. Body is clear, like a dark iced tea.

Aromas are heavy on the banana, with some clove, allspice, and sort of cordial-like as it warmed. Lots of caramel sweetness.

Flavors were dominated by ripe banana peel, a fair amount of spice (but not thick), and a lite citrus in the way back. Very one-dimentional.

Pretty creamy mouthfeel at first, but lack of carbonation causes it to become pretty cloying. Becomes a bit harsh as it warms to around 60 degrees.

Little too thick and cloying for the style which brings down the drinkability score.

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Photo of BigMike
3.2/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Orange with a reddish tint. Clear with a small of bubbles. Head is soapy and pretty white.

S: lots of spice on the nose. Cinnamon, nutmeg, Ginger. Not sure if this is brewed with cherries or not but I get a sour cherry smell. Almost smells like it's going to be sour.

T: Ok so nothing sour about this beer. In fact it's almost cloyingly sweet. All the spices from the nose are present and counted for. Also a strong alcohol note. Some banana in the background.

M: Full bodied and thick. Very sweet and almost syrupy. This knocks drinkability down.

Overall: not as enjoyable as Tröegs Mad Elf. This one is too sweet and heavy.

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Photo of magine
3.27/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Duvel glass.

Pours a dark caramel color with a fast to fade light tan head. Head is nearly non existent. Lace settles to a rim around the glass. No lace remains to speak of. Very average looks.

Brew smells very fruity; dark fruits, yeasts. Very sweet smelling brew. The brew borders on candy like sweetness in the nose. Potent nose, doesn't smell like beer. Decent nose.

This brew is sweet and smooth. Has a peppery bite and finishes dry and bitter. Big alcohol presence tasted. The brew has dark fruits in there as well; cherries, berries etc., This brew has a decent taste, not among the better half of brews of this style for me though. The cadny like sweetness and booze are too overpowering. This brew would have done better with a more yeasty flavor. OK taste.

This is a decent Strong Belgian, but unfortunately the brew lacks the mouthfeel and is too sweet and boozy for me. There are just two many better examples of the style to go to this one.

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Photo of boralyl
3.33/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a 1/2 inch of light tan head that settles fairly quickly. The beer is a deep red with ruby highlights when held to the light.

S - The spices (nutmeg and cinnamon) stand out the most in the nose. There is also a Belgian yeast character and some dark fruit.

M - Medium in body with moderate carbonation. There is some alcohol burn present.

T - The beer begins sweet with light caramel notes followed by dark fruit. A little booze shows up mid-taste followed by the spices detected in the nose. It finishes with an almost brandy like sweetness.

Not a bad beer by any means, but it doesn't do it for me. The booze and the spices are a bit much in my opinion. I'm glad I got to try it, but I won't seek it out again.

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.35/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle.

Pours a clear copper color with wome reddish highlights. Has a thin tan head that thins even more. Spottly lacing on the glass.

Very spicy aroma on top of a fruity Belgian backdrop. Nice aromas of sweet malt and bread are woven to make this smell like a holiday treat.

Sweet malt upfront with a nice Belgian yeasty flavor. The spices quickly rush in and dominate and a slight hop bitterness becomes present. Washes away sweet with a lingering spice aftertaste. A bit cloying.

Carbonation is good, body is well rounded.

Eh. It's drinkable, but just not very balanced.

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Photo of muletrane
3.37/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

2010 Vintage

Poured from a 12oz bottle (no dates) into a snifter.

A: Pours a deep plum colour with red/orange hues. 1 finger of ivory head dissapates quickly leaving some lace.

S: The highlight of this beer. Lots of spiciness in the nose. Spices don't seem to have faded at all. Nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, clove, yeast. Very nice, smells like Xmas.

T: Didn't quite deliver from the great nose. Some spiciness up front and Belgian yeast notes on the backend. Finishes dry with some lingering spicy notes.

M: Not alot of carbonation here. Moderate body. Slick feel overall. Not the most pleasant mouthfeel here. Maybe do to the age.

Overall this beer is all about the nose. It smells fantastic! It just doesn't deliver in the flavor category. I wasn't a fan of it fresh and the aged bottle is only slightly better IMO.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.38/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Poured into a tulip glass a clear deep copper reddish color with a very small bubbled 1 finger head of off white. Very pungent aroma of spices; namely allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Almost has a pumpkin pie like aroma. Medium mouthfeel. Dark fruit like flavors mixed with lots of spice. The booze, even while pretty cold, is pretty evident at the end. The booze semi burns at the end and has a mix of the spice in it. An interesting beer. Dial the booze back a bit and it would probably be a nice drinking beer.

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Photo of wampahoofus
3.4/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Light amber brown. Head faded to nothing right away. Very little lacing. Not unusual with this style.

Smell: Lots of spice. Cinnamon. A bit of sweetness in the background

Taste: Holiday spices are well balanced and blend in with the belgian esters nicely. Some fruit and a tang at the end.

Mouthfeel: The beer is sweet and mellow for its style. The spices are well balanced and do not take over.

Drinkability: This is a decent holiday warmer. Not sure if I'm ready to drink more than one, but it was worth a try.

I think that BBW is being a bit "rude" with the naming. I think it is clear that they are honing in on Trogg's "Bad Elf" from just down the road in Harrisburg. I will stick with the Troggs if I have a choice

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Photo of turnstile
3.48/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours reddish-brown with orange and ruby highlights. Only a ring of carbonation to stand in as the head; two thin strips of lacing are visible.

Smell: Cinnamon, Belgian yeast spiciness, brown sugar, molasses, and a bit of clove and orange zest. Alcohol aroma noticeable.

Taste: Alcohol-forward; spicing carries through to the palate with cinnamon and nutmeg apparent. Fairly clean with caramel malt flavors and Belgian yeast lingering in the finish. Mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied with little carbonations; sort of flat. Way too syrupy for my liking.

Overall: I'm not really impressed. It's fairly one-dimensional and kind of a struggle to finish.

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Photo of MrBlueShirt
3.48/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Rude Elf's Reserve was brought to my attention to be an "alternative" to the ever so popular Troegs Mad Elf. I was also informed it has a similar ABV and was about $15 less a case. I was intrigured and within a few hours of discovering I had a case in my possesion.

Poured from a bottle into pint glass. I was first impressed with the red color and mild head that did dissipate upon enjoying.

The smell was that of a your typical spicy, holiday insipired brews. Enjoyable and comforting.

The taste was impressive and complex. Cinnamon, cloves, or as my friend put it "Tastes like Christmas"

Mouthfeel was heavier and slighty sugary.

Now to drinkability... The only reason I gave it a low score is because after 1 the taste becomes a bit much and the high ABV gives you decent buzz even for a seasoned drinker.

Overall it's a good beer in low quantites too much and you'll probably be hurting. While initaled presented as an alternative I believe it's a whole different beer in itself.

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Photo of SickGnar
3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Bright yet dark orangey amber. Barely super light tan head of moderate size. Okay lacing, but it keeps sliding back down the glass.

S: Fruity and spicy in a Belgian yeast way. Nutmeg and possibly other spices. Toasty and caramel malts. Potent and sweet.

T: Prunes and plums and stone fruits (hinting at cherries) and even raisins all contribute to the sweet, fruity, booze-soaked (dark rum / bourbon) core of the flavors. Some lighter candied tropical fruit notes also poke through. Just a tad too far in the background are some toasty, caramel and lighter toffee malts with sugar cookie sweetness. Any hops are well hidden by everything else that is going on. There is vanilla aspect - possibly oaky (but not tannic or woody) - that comes in mid-way and like the fruits has boozy overtones. Spices are nutmeg and allspice, lighter cloves (more phenolic than spice), and some soft & muted cinnamon that grows as the brew warms. Spice level is nice - a sort of refined complement to the overall fruity, sweet, boozy character. Somewhat heavy handed booze with out the robust malts to back it hurts the palate a bit.

M: Just barely below full with a lively carbonation to match against the heft and make it seem a little less dangerous than it is. Almost creamy. Abv is obvious, but not quite so much as expected at 10.5 percent.

D: This is a sipper. A distinctly rich and interesting fireside desert beer. Obviously, yet dangerously strong. While not overly Belgian, it is a flavorful experience. None the less, it is a bit too intense, boozy, and thickly sweet to truly be highly drinkable.

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Photo of oline73
3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass. I'm pretty sure this is a 2010 bottle.

Appearance: Pours a mostly clear red amber with a finger of off white head. The head fades to a layer on top of the glass.

Smell: Very sweet and malty with some Belgian spice and fruity cherry like notes. I'm picking up some brown sugar and spices as well.

Taste: Sweet and a bit syrupy. Some spices and cherry like fruit notes along with lots of sweet malt. The finish is sweet with some spices. Smooth.

Mouthfeel: The body is a bit syrupy with smooth carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This is a solid beer. I would have liked the taste to be a bit more refined, but I still enjoyed it.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Rude elf pours out as a reddish orange color. The head is a creamy white color with a decent lacing. The smell is of Christmas spices and berries, some Belgian yeast and some booze. The taste has some strong cinnamon there with a boozey Belgian yeast flavor and some berries in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is a little bubbly and dry. Overall it's a pretty good holiday brew. I enjoy it during the season.

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Photo of thain709
3.55/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2010 vintage

A - The body was a clear, darker shade of copper...small, creamy, light tan head...showed great retention with lots of carbonation bubbles...some lacing

S - The nose was pretty's loaded with spices (cinammon and nutmeg)...I picked up a bubblegum presence...a lot of sweetness provided by a caramel/toffee aroma...alcohol is evident at the end

T - Heavy spices right off the bat...that spice profile was a little overwhelming to be up front...a blast of sweetness featuring caramel and toffee flavors...the sweetness is able to tame the spices but it lingers for the remainder of the beer to the point of almost cloying...warming alcohol again is in the finish

M - Medium bodied...creamy, sweet, smooth, alcohol burn

D - Rude Elf, for me, was heavily spiced then slightly (not overly) sweetened...I feel the spices and the 10.5% ABV really hinder me from having more than one of these...I didn't want to make the comparision but I prefer Mad Elf

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Photo of confer
3.55/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Brown and clear, no head.
S- The smell is sweet and boozy.
T- Taste is the same as the smell. The sweet is like cherry cough drops. There is a boozy burn following.
MD-This beer has a very creamy feel. It is cerainaly a sipping beer. Nice for the colder months.

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Photo of sprackops
3.57/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12oz brown bottle with no freshness date. Poured this one into a chalice.

Appearance: Hazy brown with red highlights. Low head, not much more than a thin film.

Smell: Orange, banana, clove, and nutmeg come together as the pleasant scent of spiced fruit. Dark molasses and alcohol round it out.

Taste: Quite sweet with brown sugar, cinnamon, and the usual array of holiday spices coming through loud and clear. Phenols come to the party in the form of alcoholic bananas. Quite sweet finish with a lasting aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Nearly flat, slick body. Some residual sugar stickiness.

Drinkability/comments: One of the better nearly local spiced up high ABV beers I've had recently. Not outstanding, but worth trying.

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Photo of flexabull
3.61/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle is really ridiculous looking. Label could use a redesign... an elf looking right at me, with earrings, a big nose, and sticking his tounge out? Looks really amature hour to me.

Anyways, on to the beer. The brew is a nice clear dark amber color with a good looking head, and nice carbonation noted.

Aromas reek of nutmeg. I notice it from foot away while pouring the beer. When I stick my nose really close, I notice more nutmeg, and a very distinct bubble gum like smell. Kind of odd... not sure if I like it.

Flavors are interesting. Taste is clean up front, settles in with some alcohol notes, and then finishes with the spices... nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and coriander are all noticed, but none are too overpowering.

Mouthfeel is lighter than I expected, but still decent.

You certainly can't judge a beer by it's label. This is pretty good. I don't think I could sit around and drink more than one of these. But this one bottle was definitely interesting and enjoyable enough.

Thanks for sending this aprilluvsbeer!

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Photo of ColdWaffles
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Reviewed from notes of stuff I've had over the past month or so.

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a standard pint.

Appearance: Deep red ale with a nice but short lived head.

Smell: Clove, cinnamon, all spice and icing. "Sugar, spice and everything nice." Back of the package recipe gingerbread cookies. Cheap holiday cookies. Smells good, if a little... cheesy. (And not like actual cheese.)

Taste: This seems like they made all of their baked goods for the season and then brewed up a decent Belgian strong ale and dumped all of the leftover spices into the ale. How they mix with the ale isn't bad, but it's not exquisite either.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodies with appropriate carbonation. Lightly sticky afterward.

This isn't a BAD beer. In fact, I didn't mind my experience with it at all. However, I wouldn't want it again for an entire year and a single 12 oz will do. The fruit cake of beer.

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Photo of yourefragile
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2006/07 12 oz bottle

A: Pours a cloudy, dark amber/reddish color with a thick off white head that quickly dissipates with little lacing.
S: Very strong and spicy, nutmeg, cinnamon, a little vanilla, some alcohol coming through too.
T: This brew isn't as spicy as it was a year ago, as the flavor and the alcohol have mellowed out a lot. I enjoy this more a year later as I thought it had a little too much going on when it was fresh and the alcohol was a little too potent.
M: Medium body, high carbonation and very smooth (much more so than I remembered). Much smoother and creamier than I remembered.
D: Much better than it was a year ago, before you knew you were drinking a 9% abv and it has now mellowed out nicely. However, this is still very spicy and sweet and difficult to drink more than one at a time. I also had the 2007 on tap a few times, though I haven't reviewed it, I personally prefer the 2006 (fresh or aged) more so.

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Photo of coalcracker
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a dark ruby color. Head retention stands up well initially, though falls away fairly quickly.

Smell: Very interesting. The spices are quite evident- clove, cinnamon are obvious. The spices mute out any malt aroma.

Taste: Good lord! Spices jump out right at you. Sweet malt is there but is really overwhelmed by the the cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg (among others. An alcohol presence is also evident, though not overpowering.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied brew.

Drinkability: Between the strength of the beer and its character, I would only have one of these boys at a time, pairing with food would also be a challenge.

Overall: An interesting and different strong ale. Will cellar these guys for a while to see if these spicy tones mellow out a bit.

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Rude Elf's Reserve (formerly Rudolph's Reserve) from Fegley's Bethlehem Brew Works
3.89 out of 5 based on 213 ratings.
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