Lump Of Coal | Ridgeway Brewing

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Lump Of CoalLump Of Coal

Brewed by:
Ridgeway Brewing
England, United Kingdom

Style: Foreign / Export Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by ybnorml on 11-25-2004

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Reviews: 366 | Ratings: 613
Photo of Mitchster
1.29/5  rDev -62.6%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Pours out to a clear deep ruby...not black, and hardly even dark brown. Forms a small light tan head with poor retention and no lacing. The aroma is all English, which in short is "Yuck" in my book...tons of butter, butterscotch, caramel, toffee, rotting melon, and hops that smell of wet cardboard. No roasted grains, no coffee, no chocolate....nothing of what I would expect for a stout, let alone a "Dark Holiday Stout". Weakly carbonated. The mouthfeel is flimsy despite the 8.0% ABV...probably lots of sucrose in this one. The taste?....repugnant. Sour metals, like pennies soaked in vinegar mixed with vodka, rubbing alcohol, and sweetened cherry syrup.

I won't even waste my time with the rest of a review. Disgusting swill.

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Photo of zjungleist
1.64/5  rDev -52.5%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

I guess I was naughty last year. There was something very wrong with this beer. It was totally sour and gross. Maybe that was the point, or some infection was the culprit. The beer was black, but the head was more like a white haze on the top. There was next to no smell, and the flavor was like sour milk. I guess there was nothing wrong with the mouthfeel, exept being thin for the style. Oh well. DNF.

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Photo of yelterdow
1.65/5  rDev -52.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Served in an imperial pint glass at almost cellar temperature. No freshness date.

Appearance- The bottle proclaims, "this beer is as dark as it gets"... not true. Not even a little bit. Ruby at best, and quite thin. On a rough pour, we struggle to get a creamy, one finger head that settles to a decent film. Lacing is sparse, and also creamy.

Smell- Very English... I get a hazelnut aroma beneath the sweet stout character. Some roasted malt is present, but a bready note lingers in the nose and leaves its mark.

Taste- Oh God... what have we here... this has turned horribly wrong. Sour, pungent, and undrinkable. Batteries left for years in an old flashlight, and then placed directly in the mouth. Gahhh! I thought that stouts are built to withstand a few months of refrigeration... this goes down the sink now.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- I am daring myself to go further... nope, ain't gonna happen. The harsh, acidic attack in the mouth leaves no place for texture. I am trying, but this beer needs serious help! Goodbye, Lump of Coal... I certainly did not deserve this punishment this winter.

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Photo of adamette
1.95/5  rDev -43.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Live review. Poured from the 50 cl bottle that I bought at Reider's in Painesville last week. This is the fourth and final of four in a series from Ridgeway Brewing Company focusing on Christmas that I will be tasting and rating. Poured into my Great Lakes Brewing Company Christmas Ale goblet glass. F11 257 stamped on bottom of back label. Also on the back label: "....This brew is as dark as it gets, as black as the lump of coal you'll be getting for Christmas. Because, let's face it, you've been pretty bad this year."

A 2 inch frothy light brown head over dark body but not completely black as claimed on the label. There is plenty of mohagany light glowing in front of direct light. I like the nice head but am dissapointed that the body is not black as claimed in addition to the name of the beer indicated a very black beer. 2.5

S Very little smell. Repeated sips reveal some dark roast malt and that is about it. That is found in this style but really it is not very fragrant at all. 2.5

T Not even a satisfying dark roast malt, more of a light porter taste of medium roast malt and no hops really. This is a rather shallow tasting beer and not true to the stated style either. On top of all of that, there is a slightly rotted barley presence that is kind of gross. 1.5

M Much too thin for the style although the creamy head helps soften it a bit. 2.0

D Not good since the taste is so objectionable and I am highly dissapointed with the lack of dark roast malt presence. 2.0

Notes: The weakest of the 4 Ridgeway Brewing Company beers that I tasted and rated this week.

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Photo of SteveO1231
2.08/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Fat 1/2 liter brown bottle. Pours black with a nice tan head that settles to nothing after a few sips. No lacing. Aroma of pale, chocolate, caramel, rye, and roasted malts. There is fruity alcohol aroma that's a bit different. Full bodied, slick mouth feel. Honey sweetness up front, with a large fruit character that I can't quite put my finger on, almost like an cherries or something. Light roasted malt character behind the strange fruitiness. Finish is pretty bland, toasted dry aftertaste and that weird artificial sweetener taste is still hanging around. Perhaps this was a spoiled bottle but this one was way too sweet and fruity for my stout liking. I guess I really was bad.


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Photo of nlmartin
2.11/5  rDev -38.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

The beer was poured from the bottle into a pub glass.

Appearance: The beer poured black with a ruby opaqueness to light. There was a thin head after a hard pour. The head quickly resolved. No lacing noted on the glass.

Smell: The smell was of a cheap overly roasted burnt coffee consistency. There is an overly roasted malt smell about the beer with puffs of chocolate.

Taste: The beer predominately has an astringent taste. The coffee taste is of cheap road stop coffee that has burnt all night long in a unwashed coffee pot. There is a bit of chocolate peaking out. Really this taste like it was filtered through a lump of coal.

Mouthfeel: The beer is light bodied. There is a unpleasant oilyness to the beer.

Drinkability: This beer was dam near a drain pour. I dont know if I drank it to late and it expired. To many other good stouts out there to waste time or money on this.

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Photo of Winter
2.2/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Pours black with a thin bubbly tan head. Aroma consists of cocoa, chocolate, roasted malt. It's a tad vinous with a whiff of alcohol. Disappointingly thin mouthfeel. Thin raisin and roasted malt front. Flavor turns a little sour and bitter in the middle. Feint hints of cocoa follow. Weak, bitter vinous finish.

This is a lame stout that's not very impressive at all. Save your $5.50 and spend it on something else.

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Photo of BWH3
2.23/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Lump of Coal Dark Holiday Stout English Pint Bottle
Drinking Vessel: Goblet
Temp: 50 F allowed to warm and breathe

Appearance: A rich black with a hint of ruby red covered by a thin white head. Carbonation was appropriately light, but head retention was minimal.

Scent: Surprisingly hoppy with light coffee and a sweet malt aroma. I found the hop aroma not to be the most appealing when combined with the coffee scent.

Taste: The palate is dominated by dried dark fruit and an alcohol taste. The taste is not very smooth. More roasted barely might smooth this brew out or perhaps a few more months in the cellar. The dark fruit seemed to remind me of a Dubbel which I thought was unusual for a stout, but maybe it is okay for a holiday stout.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied but runs freely off the tongue.

Drinkability: Below average. One and done. I was glad to finish this beer off. Not to mention an above average price makes this beer less palatable.

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Photo of mdcrouser
2.26/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

One of the few beers that upon the pour, I can actually hear the carbonation churning, popping. Not quite coal black, but nearly so. The head starts at about an inch, but pocks down to provide only a light tan cover.

Roastiness and alcohol come through on the nose, but little else.

Tastes much like my homebrew imperial stout, though with the addition of an exceptional smoothness. That translates to mean that it is definitely a stout, with characteristic roasted notes, but little else is going on.

Smooth and percolating on the tongue - good mouthfeel, but with little that it pleasing to the mouth.

Meh - in the future, I'll leave this one in my stocking.

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Photo of 100floods
2.26/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Meets the stout visual 'standards': black hue, two finger tan head. Roast-like aroma's burst out of the bottle upon its opening. Smells like an amber ale. What? Thin body, malty but not roasty. Noticeable carbonation. Definitely leaning towards darker flavors. Sweet, bitter milk chocolate. Roasted after taste. The body to this beer definitely effects the presentation of this beer's taste. I can't help but noticing that taste a lot like cola with roasted malt. It's refreshing to have a beer that isn't trying to knock you off your seat, but that doesn't save this beer. If I were to have this on cask I think I might like this a little more. It just tasted watered down.

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Photo of magictrokini
2.27/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

The best part of this beer is how it looks. Midnight black pour with a short-lived brown head. It goes downhill from there. Sour, fake-malt aroma with dank wood and grain. Thin, watery mouthfeel. The taste is not like any stout I have ever had. Corn, grain, sour hops, metal, and burnt malt, but in a bad way. The worst is yet to come: a Jelly Belly popcorn aftertaste. Seems like a gimmick name for a bad, overpriced beer.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
2.29/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2

Reddish brown in color. Tinge of red towards the top where the light penetrates. This is the Christmas equivalent of getting coal in your stocking as a kid. It's bland and virtually flavorless. Sweet, dry malt. Ho ho ho, Awful.

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Photo of popery
2.3/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Yowza. That is one sweet beer. Unfortunately, that's not a compliment. It's cloying and syrupy. It tastes like someone dumped a load of sugar into the wort or whatever the right term is. I really need to start home brewing, so I don't sound like a moron on here. I like a big, sweet, malty English beer, but this tastes more like a Werther's Orignal than delicious malted barley. The color is a very, very dark amber with a good head and some lacing. The nose is malty, a tiny bit spicy and slightly hoppy. The flavor is much too sweet. It's malt with a ton of sugar thrown on top. Chocolate, butterscotch, toffee, syrup and honey dominate the flavor profile. The feel is syrupy and way over the top sweetness. I could not finish a full 50cl bottle. The name would lose its intended irony for me if I were receive this bottle in my stocking.

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Photo of Beaver13
2.33/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

500 ml bottle. Pours ruby brown with a medium frothy light tan head that goes to a thin film and laces the glass.

The aroma is sweet roasted oaty chocolate and caramel.

The flavor is sweet sugary dark fruits, roasted grainy chocolate malts with some black licorice and ashy bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation and a bit watery.

Overall, it's overly sweet, grainy and ashy.

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Photo of SerialHiker
2.36/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: Pours a deep, dark reddish brown…not overly transparent…some nice khaki colored head about an inch thick form and stuck around…nice and appetizing…(4/5)

Smell: Sweet candy, with some holiday spice…caramel malts, roasted malts, toffee, alcohol heat, dark fruits, cherry, some earthy hops…tons of alcohol heat…(3/5)

Taste: Roasted malt and barley in the beginning accented by sweet, cherry candy and holiday spices…earthy, piney hops and dark fruit flavor show up in the middle rounding out the malty beginning…tons of alcohol heat in the flavor, kinda dominant, does detract from overall taste…(2/5)

Mouthfeel: Medium body, with light carbonation…it is a bit watery and alcoholy…roasted malt and barley flavor coats tongue…(2/5)

Overall: The idea of a Christmas stout is interesting, but this brew doesn’t live up to expectations…it’s got the makings of a holiday ale or lager, but there is plenty left to be desired, like a thicker disposition…while it is warming my belly, I think most of that is from the higher ABV and not necessarily the cinnamon and clove…the spices are not crisp, leaving a slightly heavy, overdone taste in my mouth…I’ll finish this one, but don’t think I’ll be looking for another…there are better choices for a holiday brew…(2/5)

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2.37/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

An aggressive pour into a nonic glass brought out a slight head that did a quick vanishing act and left some lace here and there. A very dark ruby colored ale but not the black of a stout or porter.

Smells odd? I get a whiff of cheap bear like Natty Boe then sweet and fruity aromas, ( Cherry? ) very two dimensional.

Fair mouthfeel, lightly carbonated, thin for stout, hell thin for a porter, not bad just again no complexity.

Taste? This was the worst part. Reminds me of what Dr Pepper would taste like if it were a beer. The "skunkiness" mentioned by others is the first perceived taste, then sweet like cola with hints of cherry. No toasted malts/coffee/chocolate/bread flavors and no bitterness to speak of.

For almost $7 a pint this was a huge disappointment.

FYI.--- I am a porter and stout lover and this offering missed the style by a mile.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
2.37/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

I have had these beers for a couple years, but I assume that has done nothing but HELP a dark stout that is 8%ABV. I know that I always seek out the Old Rasputin that has dust on it. I hope that this is similar in that it is sitting gleefully in its prime right now. Let's see...

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown color with a tiny head of tan bubbles after a pretty aggressive pour. The bottle is shaped that the first part of the pour is a pain, but once you get some air in the bottle, it goes OK. The head was gone really quickly. There was a little bit of lace on the side of the glass after swirling.

Aroma: I initially got some sweet caramel malts mixed with some mild oxidation, and a very reserved dark malt profile. As the beer sits and starts to warm up, it is becoming much more nutty and is starting to lean toward what I would think a southern British Brown would be like, though I have never tried one. There is a bit of toffee also coming out as the beer warms, that is nice, but unusual for anything that says "Stout".

Taste: The flavor is quite syrupy with very little carbonation that makes things worse. There is a little bit of roast, but it is mixing with the oxidation to give the beer a pretty hefty astringency. It is sweet syrupy stickiness pretty much the whole sip. The finish is pretty harsh with a dry, almost irritating, tightness left on the back of the throat from the blend of the off flavors. Most unpleasant!

Opinion: Well, this beer is going to make a lasting impression on me with just the one sip I have had so far. It is pretty rough to say the least. The aroma was OK, but man, once you get into the is a ride for the palate and I am not saying that it is a pleasant one. I would steer clear of this one if I were you.

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Photo of Pintofbrown
2.46/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I had my Lump of Coal in a shaker pint.

Appearance- The khaki colored head is very filmy, not much substance to it, barely enough to cover the lid.

The body is almost black with slight, mocha highlights in the bottom of the glass.

Smell- I liked the bread malt scent I got at first, then I remembered this is supposed to be a stout, not a brown or a winter warmer. There is also a little herbal spiciness and earthy quality.

Taste- A slight toasted malt presence is at the front of the drink. There is a bunch of hops, and grainy flavors in the middle of the drink and into the finish.

Again, I do not think you can really call this a stout. There is no roasted malt, and no dark fruit quality. There is some general sweet maltiness and then grassy hops.

Mouth feel- This is pretty creamy and has okay mouth coating. Unfortunately, it is leaving behind a long, alcohol-estery flavor and hop bitterness.

Overall- I really did get a lump of coal for Christmas with this beer. It has almost no characteristics of a stout.

Maybe if you count the sweet malt and general grassy hops that are overdone. Blegh.

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Photo of biglite351
2.46/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A - light through center of glass. Tall creamy light tan head.

S - very mild malts with prune finish.

T - mild roasted malts with chocolate and dried fruit with a touch of smoke in the finish.

M - very light coating with no real tingle.

O - relatively boring. Would sooner pick many other brews before this one.

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Photo of jp32
2.46/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2

Dark in color, but pours thin and mostly transparent into the glass. A decent-sized cream-colored head sits on top but fades relatively quickly. Aroma of roasted malts with some sugary fruits in the background. The body is thin, but nicely carbonated. I wouldn't call it watery, but I am definitely calling it thin. These euro stouts just never seem to man up to american made stouts in terms of body and depth. It's flavor is obviously malt-forward (as it should be) and is slightly sweet up front before giving way to a more charred, burnt, tart, finish. It's not a bad tasting beer, so I shouldn't be describing it as such, but it's just not very exciting and seems lacking in a few areas.

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Photo of bedford
2.49/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

The first thing I noticed about this beer was the nonexistent head. I poured a second glass, and the same thing happened. Sometimes the head fades rapidly, but this one didn't even appear in the first place. This beer is very dark, even darker than most stouts. At first I thought this was a good thing. Some notes of spice are present, but there isn't really anything that stands out. Moreover, the flavor overall is too cloying and sweet, which makes it rather a chore to drink.

This is a very mediocre beer with good marketing behind it. There are far better holiday brews out there.

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Photo of Rainintheface
2.5/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

16.9oz bottle poured into SA glass.

A: black with minimal tan head that ends up thinly ringing the glass

S: chocolate and dark molasses also has hints of toffee

T: very similar to aroma but nothing stands out

M: rather thin and watery, sweet with some fizzy carbonation

D: I can drink it but.. bleh This is one lump of coal I didn't deserve

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Photo of emerge077
2.55/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured into a large .5L mug. "F11 257" on label.

Right off the bat it looks very thin for a stout, reddish brown transparency more like a porter or dunkel. A thin cap of foam that doesn't stick around at all. A tiny clump of bubbles is left floating in the center. Ruby glint in the light, definitely not opaque.

Aroma is grainy, sweetish wort. A little musty, cooked veggies like a bad euro lager. Taste is the same... this is no stout. Sweet and musty, overcooked grain. Astringent and stale. Just offensive really. Is this a bad joke? Lump of coal, hur hur I get it.

I'm glad this was a gift because i'd never spend money on it. Shame on Shelton for bringing in this crap from a sub-par brewer.

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Photo of dirkchivers
2.57/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A. Dark with a light colored and thick head that diminishes quickly
S. Roasty and malty, with a hint of soy sauce?
T. Chocolate syrup and molasses. This was a good stout and it seems like it was thinned out with soft water.
M. Fairly flat, needs more carbonation, its like distilled water. Syrupy.
D. Wouldn't buy it again. could have been a good stout, but its not export stout.

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Photo of mfreire212
2.58/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I saved this one for a few weeks, with the intention of having it on Christmas Eve. So much for that! I decided that it was close enough and I could always get another one for the 24th if need be.

Anyway, I saw the 8 percent alcohol and braced myself for a strong tasting stout. It was strong, for sure.

A: Poured a dark brown, nearly black from the large bottle, into a standard pint glass. Surprised that there wasn't much of a head (maybe one finger which dissipated quickly) and very little, if any, lacing.

S: Very strong alcohol smell and not much else.

T: Much like the smell, the first and most dominant taste is the alcohol. Once that subsides, I detected some bitter coffee notes and a metallic aftertaste.

M: A thin offering that left a lingering bitterness on the palate.

D: I like most stouts, but I was disappointed with this one. Not that it isn't drinkable, but the alcohol overpowers any of the other flavors that may be present. It certainly warms you up well and would make a solid choice after spending some time outside in the cold (unfortunately, I am in Florida).

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Lump Of Coal from Ridgeway Brewing
3.45 out of 5 based on 613 ratings.
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