Bad Elf Winter's Ale
Ridgeway Brewing

Bad Elf Winter's AleBad Elf Winter's Ale
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IPA - English
Ranked #269
Ranked #45,091
3.55 | pDev: 14.65%
Ridgeway Brewing
England, United Kingdom
Bad Elf Winter's AleBad Elf Winter's Ale
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Reviews: 260 | Ratings: 459 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of burnerfinger
burnerfinger from Texas

3.93/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

poured from the pint bottle:

1.5 fingers of bone white head: very heavy lacing (nice!)
off-=amber colored brew - more than a bit cloudy:

s: as much there as not. looks like they defintely PASSED on the dry hopping! I get nuthin at all to the nose: rated S at 2.5 (halfway from zero to 5)

T VERY NICE BITE! hard to call it hops though- but I do really like this.

M nice very full body and very full flavor.; in that way this is like meatloaf!

D "Swallow at Will"

Jan 18, 2020
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scootny from New York

3.86/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

I'm thinking that the barely there head is a result of a colder temp. Those is a true English cellar temperature ale. Slight haze, lighter amber hue and spots of lace.

Noise is delightfully hoppy with a toasted malty base. A bit of yeasty dough with a touch of sugar.

Taste is solid and delicious. Light sweet malts are a broad platform for ,an atypical for English ales, hoppy assertiveness. Lots of pine and dryness. Clean finish had some hop oils lingering in a refreshing way. Not quite minty but close.

Feel is lightly bodied and carbonated. Like a gravity cask. Crisp, easy drinking, smooth and quenching.

More that the sum of its parts. Low abv makes this a PERFECT hoppy holiday season ale. I could drink many of these.

Jan 01, 2020
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Bluecrow from New York

3.62/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

-clear, pale amber bottle pour with a mere wisp of foam. The aroma and flavor are of woody hop notes and and mellow malt. The finish is crisp and dry. This is light and pleasant. (and the 4.5% abv version)

Dec 27, 2019
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.55/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

there appear to be a couple of versions under this basic bad santa name, a series of holiday beers i havent spent much time with over the years, despite fun packaging and reasonable prices, maybe this is my year. this one is at only 4.5% abv, not the listed 6%, there maybe be two versions, please inform if you know. this one is golden from the bottle with a really lazy head that i have to pour high and hard to even get a few bubbles, nearly still after a minute, but nice clarity and shine, almost an apple juice color to it. i smell some english ale yeast, real old timey, and a big bunch of hops, way more intense there than anticipated, but still english to me. the malt is light too, and this appears to be a christmas beer in name only, no spices, no added sugars of any kind, nothing to make it festive, its just an okay english pale or ipa type to me. the flavor is good, with a lot more bitterness than i thought it might have, really pops in here, and even comes across as somewhat fresh, a lot less hop flavor, but a little herbal greenness to it, some grassy character, and a light floral wrinkle. the malt is basic, tastes a bit like honey, and has very little body. the english yeast a perhaps overwhelmed some by the hops, but its still classic to me. its flat in feel, very little carbonation here, like it never conditioned up in the bottle very well, and that kind of drags the apparent quality of this down for me, but its still light and drinkable if you dont mind all the hops. somewhat lackluster on the whole, and an odd fit at holiday time, ill hope that the other ones scratch my christmas beer itch a little better as i work through them. if there is a 6% abv version of this, i hope to source that as well and will update when i do...

Dec 23, 2019
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JonnoWillsteed from England

2.95/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

L- Quite deep amber with fine/thick 5mm white head.
S- Quite a bright richness.
T- Somewhat dry'ish on the front, rather a thin flavour and hoppy dry into the finish.
F- Carbonation in the mouth is low, lower than I'd like. It's quite hoppy/dry, not really the 'winter beer' suggested by the name.
O- Underwhelming, but then a 4.5%ABV 'winter ale' was always likely to face a challenge to prove itself.
500ml bottle from Wholefoods, London W8 £2.99 BBE (stamped on lable) 20/06/21.

Dec 13, 2019
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tone77 from Pennsylvania

3.47/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 16.9 oz. bottle that looks identical to the one pictured, except mine says 4.5% abv. Dammit man! Has a copper color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, malts and hops are present. Taste is balanced malts and hops, very mild bitterness. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is an easy drinking beer.

Aug 12, 2019
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jlindros from Massachusetts

3.48/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Decedent foamy smaller head, nice retention and lacing, clear golden pale color

Nose big hops, floral herbal, little earthly, no real malt

Taste very bitter, medium high bitterness, floral earthy herbal hops turning spicy, almost no malt, dry finish

Mouth is med to lighter bod, descent but lighter carb, little astringent

Overall meh, not enough malt to support, to bitter

Mar 25, 2019
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patre_tim from Thailand

3.11/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Copper with almost no carbonation, no head, and clear filtered.

Smells of skunk, skunk and a hint of caramel.

Tastes of hard water, toasted malt, a hint citrus and dull bitterness on the end.

Light body with little carbonation.

The taste is okay for a non-winter warmer British style ale, the label festive, everything else is sub par. Can't believe I spent $7 for this at World Market. Drinking in Redding, December 18th, 2018.

Dec 19, 2018
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rudiecantfail from Pennsylvania

3.62/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Imperial pint poured into an imperial pint glass.

L---Dark golden color. Thick, puffy white head that stuck around for a while but left minimal lacing.

S---Hops are noticable but not dominant. They are played on by spices.

T---Really nicely balanced. Nothing is dominant, but many things come together nicely. Malts and hops are expertly balanced against each other.

F---Creamy & wet. Well carbonated.

O---A very nice beer. Well suited for the season, but would easily travel to warmer climes. I wish I had more than the one.

Jan 02, 2018
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BeerAndGasMasks from Virginia

3.57/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From the bottle, it pours a clear amber with a modest head. Some malt and hops in the nose. The same for the mouth, although it was heavier in the malt department. Enjoyable!

Dec 19, 2017
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JacobusFavier23 from Texas

3.6/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L-Deep amber gold beer with a minuscule lacy head. Slight carbonation.
S-Malty, sweet, seasonaly spicy beer by the aroma.
T-Sweet, slightly hoppy and malty. There is a slight bit of seasonal spice in addition. Pleasant flavor.
MF-Slight carbonation.
O-Once again a very pleasant English ipa and seasonal beer. I would have this again for sure.

Dec 06, 2017
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woodychandler from Pennsylvania

3.81/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I am continuing my 2017 Christmas in July celebration, inspired by the good peeps at The FGBS who held Christmas in July on Tuesday. I had meant to drink these on Christmas day 2016, but I got rather blotto early on & set them aside as part of The Bottle Backlog at Chez Woody. Today is my series of entries for New Elf Christmas Beer in July Sunday (Week 6xx).

From the bottle: "One of our range of very special Christmas beers brewed in England for the USA. We all know of course, that Santa is really from Lapland!"; "'Tis a heavy hand what adds the hops to this festive golden ale. Truth be told, there's near to three pounds of fresh hops in every barrel of this treasured brew. Pull up a sturdy chair, let's fill up your best flagon with the season's finest natural ale, and I'll tell you a dark tale of elf and woe. 'Ere's to your elf! [undersigned] Peter Scholey (Brewer)".

I Pop!ped the cap & began a slow, gentle pour so as not to rile the Bad Elf within. I was rather surprised by his color - Deep Amber/Light Copper to Copper (SRM = > 13, < 17) with NE-quality clarity. I do not know what I was expecting, but this was not it! An in-glass swirl raised two fingers of rocky, foamy, light-tan head with moderate retention. Nose was earthy, both from the malt and the hops. It had a biscuity dryness along with a freshly-turned soil smell, very evocative of a wet hop ale. Mouthfeel was medium. The taste was lightly bitter, very earthy, biscuity sweet with a touch of honey-like sweetness. I remember, as a budding hophead, drinking an EIPA & being really disappointed by its lack of inherent bitterness. I was a novice, clearly, because this is proof that an IPA can be palatable without being overwhelming. This was not "Bad" at all. In fact, it was quite good & very easy-drinking. I think that what I liked most about it was its restraint - it was neither too bitter nor too sweet, coming down solidly in the middle of the road. Finish was semi-dry with the honey, biscuity earthiness lingering well past the swallow. IIRC, the price point on this was rather inexpensive, making it all the more attractive. YMMV.

Jul 30, 2017
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Beginner2 from Illinois

3.7/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It actually was refreshing to drink an IPA that was not all hopped-up. I could eat bland food with an IPA !
Looks copper. Smells like spices of the season and malt.
Tastes pretty much like it Smells (to me, most IPAs hops come on too strong... but not Bad Elf.)
Feel is decent. Overall, I like having an IPA that doesn't make me end with spicy food.

May 10, 2017
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superspak from Michigan

3.78/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle into pint glass, bottled on 9/17/2016. Pours fairly crystal clear medium orange/amber/light copper color with a 1-2 finger dense white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of lemon, orange, peach, plum, pear, apple, honey, light caramel, toasted biscuit, herbal, floral, grass, light pepper, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and light-moderate earthy hop notes; with solid strength. Bit of diacetyl in the aromas, but not overpowering. Taste of big lemon, orange, peach, plum, pear, apple, honey, light caramel, toasted biscuit, herbal, floral, grass, light pepper, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Light-moderate herbal/grassy/spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of lemon, orange, peach, plum, pear, apple, honey, light caramel, toasted biscuit, herbal, floral, grass, pepper, and yeast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and light-moderate earthy hop flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance, and zero astringent hop flavors after the finish. Light dryness from lingering bitterness, increasing through the glass. Light-medium carbonation and medium body; with a very smooth, moderately creamy/bready/grainy, and lightly sticky balanced mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is fairly well hidden with a bit of warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is a very nice English strong ale. All around nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and light-moderate earthy hop flavors; very smooth and easy to drink. Very well balanced and a great style example. A very enjoyable offering.

Mar 25, 2017
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drdiesel9483 from Ohio

2.86/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Look - copper color, pretty thin and head that went away quick
Smell - spices and malts, not much hops but it's the end of march so I might have held on to this for to long
Taste - a lot like the scent, caramel malts and slight spice
Feel - syrupy water
Overall - not good

Mar 24, 2017
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gandres from Philippines

2.78/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

From 50 cL bottle to wine glass
Appearance: Copper pinkish color close to rose, minimal head, some lacing
Aroma: not a lot
Taste: Taste no really good
Mouthfeel: fizzy
Overall: No a really good beer, sour aftertaste, reminds me of Heineken. Not dark, which is usually expected of winter ales

Jan 10, 2016
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DrMullet from Florida

3.56/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber/copper. Aroma is a mild citrus hop. Taste presents herbal with a mild grassy citrus flavor. This is a balanced English IPA. Not bad.

Dec 27, 2015
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pat61 from Minnesota

4.02/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Crystal clear gold topped by a 2” foam collar that quickly dissipates to ¼” but good lacing. S: Fruity, estery aromas T: Fairly dry, fruit, some biscuit with lingering hop bitterness and spice. F: Very creamy, medium light body, medium low carbonation. O: Very drinkable, nicely hopped and well balanced.

Jul 22, 2015
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Foxybrau from Louisiana

3.87/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Probably not a good way to start, but I bought this beer on clearance. $0.98 per bottle a couple months after Christmas. Going to stock up after tasting it. Bad Elf pours a very interesting orange color and smell and taste are both bright and floral. I appreciate this IPA for being less hop and citrus and more spice and rose. I found it quite interesting and fun to drink. Perhaps it's the season getting ready to change, but the beer speaks more of springtime than Christmas to me, although I suppose the spice may come through nicely during the Holidays. Overall a unique an easy drinking brew, loved it.

Feb 09, 2015
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damndirtyape from Ohio

3.7/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

1pt, 0.9oz bottle (no date) served in a Tulip stout glass.

Appearance: Clear gold amber. Initial 1/8" white foam died back to a very thin ring at the edge and the barest skin across the top. Some occasional strands of lacing noted.

Smell: Nicely hoppy - citrus, herbal, floral. As it warms up though it gets a little leafy and grassy and it loses some of the citrus notes.

Taste: Bitter at first, grassy and herbal, then a bit of malt which is biscuit-like, quickly followed by light notes of pine, more herbal and floral flavors, and some Goldings-style hop bitterness at the finish which lingers a bit.

Mouthfeel: Prickly carbonation and a bit spicy which lingers a bit. Some stickiness of the hop oils on the teeth. A bit watery under it all.

Overall / Drinkability: Not an amazing beer, but definitely one that works to be drank in a full pint. Any less and I think I would have missed something. Works very nicely with food (cabbage and noodles). I would not mind another small serving but I don't think I would want another full bottle.

Dec 27, 2014
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Kuaff from Alaska

4.26/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

In my imperial pint glass, after receiving it as a gift on Christmas eve and using a Starship Enterprise bottle opener (also gift) to open it. About cellar temperature.

It looks respectably nice for being a bad elf! A beautiful rich orange color, crystal clear. Not much of any head action, but no matter.

Smells like an English ale for sure. You got a bit of marmalade, biscuits and bread, honey, light citrus, and a little pine.

Really well-integrated flavor here. Nothing overwhelming, but just right. Lemony, limey citrus, sweet bread, and a clean, malty finish that hints at some piney astringency.

A pleasantly full body. This is a substantial elf.

You're actually a pretty good elf. Or a tasty elf, at least.

Dec 25, 2014
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UCLABrewN84 from California

3.28/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a hazy dark orange with a foamy beige head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, cardboard, earth, and herbal hop aromas. Taste is much the same with grain, pepper, and apple skin flavors on the finish. There is a very mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an above average beer that is drinkable, but nothing very memorable to me.

Serving type: bottle.

Dec 25, 2014
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Brutaltruth from Ohio

3.43/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A nice little Christmas gift from a friend, this English ale pours a bright amber golden with nice thick white bubbles that dissipates quickly to leave a thin layer of foam and good lacing. Nose of citrus hops, light spice cake, pepper, bread, and sweet caramel malts. Flavors of sweet malts are offset by bittering and citrus hops. Light peppery aftertaste mingling with bittering hops. For being a "winter warmer" it is closer to many American IPA's out there. Decently balanced, and crisp good carbonation makes this a good gift for most good ale drinkers, especially those who like their IPA's with a bit of a bite.
Happy Holidays----Cheers!

Dec 18, 2014
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WhiteHillsStore from Connecticut

3.4/5  rDev -4.2%

Pours a thin straw yellow with a little head that leaves a trail on the glass. The smell has citrus and bread scents running through. The taste was a bit underwhelming but the warmth from the alcohol was nice with the citrus from the hops. Not a bad beer to have during the winter months.

Nov 14, 2014
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scottfrie from California

2.91/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

500ml bottle into imperial pint glass.

A: Pours a clear light golden with a finger of bubbly bright white head that faded into a fuzzy collar that left patches of soapy lace down the glass.
S: Toasted malts and English style grain bill mixed with earthy and leafy noble hops and a touch of spice. Bready and light smelling.
T: Bready, crackery malts, light mild hops, earthy, spicy, leafy, and peppery hop flavors, sour mash in the finish, slightly fruity aftertaste. Overall pretty standard flavors if not a bit below average. Faint apple juice.
M: Medium body with a chewy mouthfeel. Drinks clean and easy. Fizzy carbonation but it’s soft and nonintrusive.
O: Fizzy carbonation and sour mash and apple juice flavors put this one at below average for me. It wasn’t terrible, just not something I was that in to.

Feb 17, 2014
Bad Elf Winter's Ale from Ridgeway Brewing
Beer rating: 81 out of 100 with 459 ratings