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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: 355 | Ratings: 593
Photo of superspak
3.63/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle into snifter, bottled on 10/5/2012. Pours clear nearly pitch black color with a 1 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of milk chocolate, cocoa, coffee, molasses, toffee, toast, dark bread, raisin, plum, fig, licorice, light smoke/char, and roast/yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt and fruity/earthy yeast ester notes; with solid strength. Taste of milk chocolate, cocoa, coffee, molasses, toffee, toast, dark bread, raisin, plum, fig, licorice, light smoke/char, and roast/yeast earthiness. Fair amount of roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of milk chocolate, cocoa, coffee, molasses, toffee, toast, dark bread, raisin, plum, fig, licorice, light smoke/char, and roast/yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Nice complexity and robustness of dark/roasted malt and moderate fruity/earthy yeast flavors; with a good roasted bitterness/sweetness balance and no cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth and fairly creamy/chalky mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a nice Foreign stout style. All around good complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roasted malt and moderate fruity/earthy yeast ester flavors; and very smooth to drink for the ABV. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Josh012012
3.42/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

This has been in the cellar since I impulse bought last x mas.. blind tasting

Stout my ass.. Tastes like Old Ale, Baltic Porter, Quad, and Stout all mixed together. Way malty... yes is complex in the fact that there are a lot of different flavors...but not in a good way. IMO.

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Photo of barczar
3.66/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

At least 3 years old, so...

Pours a brilliant deep brown with garnet highlights and a modest khaki head that dissipates to remnants of foam.

Aroma is boozy and fruity, reminiscent of rum. There's a sweet treacle note, along with artificial cherry. A nutty malt backbone is good contrast.

Flavor reveals oxidized notes of sherry, which counter the moderately roasty and deeply toasted caramelized malt well. There's a bit of cherry cough syrup that is offputting. Rum soaked raisins emerge as it warms, which is redeeming.

Body is moderate, with carbonation on the low side.

I like the malt profile. The sherry character is likely attributable to age, but it neither adds nor detracts, really. I'm not digging the fake cherry, though. Misses a lot of body and malt for a stout.

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Photo of beertunes
3.44/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Found this in one of my boxes 'o beer I've got stashed at my friend Justin's (BA OKComputer) house. Don't remember buying it, may have had it up to 4 years. Bottle code: F14-206. Poured into straight pint glass. Poured a clean, clear, translucent reddish-mahogany color with just a thin cap of tan head that quickly dissipated. While this is a very attractive beer, it doesn't look like a Stout, but more like Strong Ale or Barleywine. Think North Coast Old Stock ale.

A bit of sweetness is at the front of the scent, with some malt and grain showing through. After that, hints of tobacco and leather were apparent. On the tongue the beer was the same, a bit malty sweet, and some earth and leather notes. The finish had a tangy tobacco aspect.

The body was thin, if you consider this a Stout, but right on for a Strong/Old ale. Smooth all across the tongue, with a semi dry finish. Overall, a very good brew, one that I will certainly grab again if I see it, and I think it's worth your time as well.

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Photo of Maxwell
3.6/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

The beer pours a dark, chocolate brown with a nice fluffy head of light tan, sandy bubbles and a great retention. The head leaves a medium-thick, sheet-like lacing. In body, the beer is clear of particles and clean, but with a dark coloring that makes the beer nearly opaque. 3/3
On the nose, the beer smells of stale, dark breads, touches of milk chocolate, instant coffee, and bakers chocolate. Low amounts of diacetyl seem to be present as well with a light, buttered popcorn character. Touches of spicy licorice occasionally brush against the nostrils, but they are light. On the tongue, the beer tastes bready sweet, with a mild bitter roast, touches of coffee-like acidity, and the briefest of alcoholic pops just at the close. Hop bitterness builds as you sip the beer, and eventually hits slightly unbalanced levels. The finish is drier with a mild bitter roast. In flavor, the beer begins as softly chary coffee, moving into roast grains and toasted bread. The middle and finish carry lots of herbal and medicinal bitters that hurt other flavors in the beer. Touches of licorice, bakers chocolate, and caramel touch across the tongue, but are kept light due to the mildly aggressive bitter flavoring that mingles with slight char flavors. In the mouth, the beer feels on the heavier side of medium in body, with a middling, soft carbonation, and a slightly watery, smooth, and almost-creamy mouthfeel. The bitters give the mouth a slightly sharp feeling, which is off with the rest of the beer. Overall, this is an average Export Stout that suffers from a bad blending of its bitters with the other rich flavors of the beer. It is not overly bitter by any means, but just feels a touch too bitter for the style. For a “Dark Holiday Stout,” I was also expecting more rich malt character, but it was fairly mellow with it malt character. This beer is not horrible, but is rather forgettable in the grand scheme of things. I liked it more as I drank more of it. It hides its 8% nicely. I would advise serving this at room temperature.

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Photo of Kuaff
3.89/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Lump of Coal in a snifter at cellar temperature.

This has a one to two-finger, VERY creamy-looking beige head, and while it's close to black, it's definitely not opaque black like coal. There's some transparency.

It smells very good, with a pretty strong aroma of raisins, vanilla, and roasty chocolate.

There's a lot of dark fruitiness in the flavor. It has a pretty light roasted malt finish for an 8% ABV stout. Still tasty though.

It feels a little over-carbonated. I don't think a stout should be quite so effervescent.

I just realized it: this resembles a Belgian strong dark ale more than any stout, in color, smell, carbonation, and even flavor. It's not terribly complex, but at least it appeals to my affinity for dark Belgian ales.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
3.26/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Lump of coal pours a black color with a small white lacing head. There is a weak toffee aroma. The taste also is weak, lots of toffee, with a very dry aftertaste. Weak watery flavors. Overall its decent, weak and watery, but in no ways horrible, a bit borring.

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Photo of davey101
3.48/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle into a tulip glass. The neck reads "F12 279 02:53" which I can only assume is a date code meaning its from October 5th, 2012.

Pours a nearly black body that appears clear dark red under the light with a fingers worth of khaki foam. Looks good. Leaves behind some patches of foam and some nice lacing. Smell is awfully mundane. Sweet milk chocolate, faint vanilla, bitter roasted malts and not much else. Taste follows the nose with the addition of smoke smoke and a plasticy finish. Like a muted rauchbier with some artificial vanilla. Why is it so roasty? The saving grace here is the mouth feel which is full and creamy. Not a big fan of this one. The light smokey thing it has going on is less than welcome in my opinion.

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Photo of tone77
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 16.9 oz. bottle. Has a cola color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is mild, a bit of coffee. Taste is coffee, some chocolate, alcohol is well hidden. smooth and easy drinking. Feels a bit creamy in the mouth and overall is a solid beer.

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Photo of Ilafan
3.04/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Either my nose doesn't work, or this awesomely named and cleverly labeled beer has no discernible smell. It pours very dark with a centimeter high, fast-dissolving whitish head. Its coloring is very dark, as it should given its name, right? But when stuffing my schnozz into my glass, I could barely detect a faint sweet aroma of ... what? I don't know. The taste is lighter than I thought it would be, too. I still like it; the roasted bean with a hint of caramel is pleasing. But the relatively high alcohol content of 8% isn't balanced as well with flavoring like other similar stouts.

Still, I am charmed by this beer, and of various holiday offerings I have tried, this ranks in the upper echelon. Nice beer for a cold Minnesota winter's night.

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Photo of MaximalC
3.45/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

*This bottle is well over a year old, and I have no idea if this beer ages, so take this review with a grain of salt.

Pours molasses in color with caramel highlights and a modest, khaki head. Smells of molasses, caramel, a hint of chocolate, and some alcohol. The flavor is surprisingly mild compared to the aroma, with far less sweetness than I expected and a decent dose of hop bitterness to counter. There's a roasted character that evokes burnt sugar, but the character of the malt is otherwise difficult to pin down. Warming allows some dark fruit to come through as well. An acrid taste lingers on the back of the tongue as the hop finish inelegantly presents itself. The mouthfeel is slick and sticky, with that stickiness lingering palpably on the lips. I will say that the 8% ABV is adeptly concealed. Unfortunately, that which conceals it is not especially impressive in its own right.

Export stouts are my least preferred stout, so it's hard for me to find one that impresses me, and this is no exception. This brew is drinkable but perfectly forgettable in my estimation.

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.39/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

A 500ml bottle with a BB of Oct 2014. Picked up from Booths about a month ago. Described on the label as a dark holiday stout - this is the second Christmas brew that I've had from Ridgeway recently. Lots of grains on the ingredient list.

Poured into a tulip pint glass. Bottle conditioned. A very deep ruby hue that appears black in the glass. Low carbonation. Produces a large head of creamy off-white foam that lasts for a few minutes before subsiding. Aroma of sweet, fruity malt with notes of prunes, dried fruit, molasses, mild roasted grain, subtle coffee, chocolate, faint smoke and yeast esters. Well-rounded but holds back on the roastiness that many stouts have.

Tastes of fruity malt with a dry finish. Notes of dried fruit, molasses, fruit cake, mild roasted grain, chocolate, faint coffee, leather, earthy yeast, a twinge of smokiness and stewed hops. Slightly sweet. A subtle bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth, spicy and lightly tingly, with good body but a lack of carbonation. Mildly astringent, with an aftertaste of fruity malt and earthy yeast. The flavour doesn't linger much.

Not bad, though it seems like more of a porter than a stout. The strength doesn't show either - it's an 8% brew that drinks like a 4%. Looks alright and the aroma is decent, but the flavour seems rather muted. Some more roasted malt notes/bitterness would be nice. Body is OK, if a little flat. I guess for the ABV I expected a more complex flavour profile and a longer finish. A reasonable Christmas beer that doesn't quite live up to expectations. Worth trying but no need to seek it out.

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Photo of vkv822
3.22/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

16.9oz : tulip

Pours black with deep mahogany highlights when held to light, has a bubbly light brown head that dissipates to leave some lacing and a sparse, bubbly foam.

Some cocoa pleasant cocoa notes, fairly one dimensional in the aroma.

Roast is more prominent in the taste than the nose, with some cocoa coming through as well.

Fairly standard mouthfeel for the style with a medium body and bubbly, medium carbonation.

Nothing too memorable, but an enjoyable Export Stout overall.

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Photo of mschind
3.37/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Not exactly dark as a lump of coal, more like a clear dark brown with reddish notes. Two finger mocha colored head that gradually dissipated leaving some lacing around the glass.

S- Pleasant aroma, more like a quad than a stout. Brown sugar, vanilla and dark fruit.

T- Sweet up front with a moderately bitter finish from the roasted malt. Not much in the way of hops. The alcohol is noticeable in the back.

M- A bit thin with a slightly rough edge imparted by the alcohol.

O- An interesting novelty beer. Not sure what makes this a holiday brew other than the sweetness. An average sweet stout with an above average aroma and a funny story on the label.

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Photo of KajII
3.57/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

[Suggested Glassware: Snifter]

The pour was a very dark cola brown with an average (1-2 finger) light tan creamy head that was mostly diminishing, down to a thin puddled film and medium collar with excellent sticky sheets of lacing,

The aroma was of roasted dark bread malts and a bold leathery yeast with notes of bitter dark chocolate, dark roasted coffee, dark fruit (prunes and plums) and a hint of smoke.

The taste was very roasty and a bit malty with a slight dark fruit sweetness and a note of bitter chocolate from the start, becoming a tad bitterer with a big coffee presence and a touch of smoke right at the end. The flavor lasted a nice long time preceding the swallow, with a bold creamy, bitter, smoky taste left lying on the taste buds.

Mouthfeel was a few steps past medium in body with a thin creamy texture and a nice soft carbonation.

Overall this is a very enjoyable brew with a good fruity and chocolaty feel along with a bold bitter roastiness, now add a wisp of smoke and you have a very good tasting and easy to drink brew...


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Photo of Fatehunter
3.73/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Two fingers of head, almost black colored body.
Smell is the roasted malt, dark chocolate and coffee. Strong and bold.
Big roasted malt flavor with moderate bitterness. Nice balance that maintains a strong "dark" taste.
Medium body with moderate carbonation.
The darkness reigns in this beer.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.1/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 500 ml bottle into a New Belgium Globe glass.

Appearance: Pours a very dark blackish brown with a slight hint of ruby. Moderate amount of bubbles and about two fingers of light tan head that recede into a thin patchy layer. Leaves a decent amount of spotty lacing around the glass.

Smell: A roasty and sweet dark aroma. Roasted malts with hints of chocolate, coffee, burnt caramel, toffee, and hazel nut. Mild hint of smoke. Also some light undertones of dark fruit including prune and raisin. Sweet scents of brown sugar. Hop scent is very light. A pretty nice roasty and burnt aroma.

Taste: Like the aroma hints, a nice roasty and sweet mix of dark malt flavor. Dark roasted malts with a taste of chocolate, burnt caramel, toffee, hazelnut, coffee, burnt toast, and a little smoke. Burnt sugars add some sweetness. Light taste of dark raisin, fig, and prune. Subtle earthy hops in the background. A pretty nice roasted taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy and somewhat slick. Moderately drying finish. Alcohol is hidden pretty well.

Overall: Pretty good for a smaller English Stout. Nice roasty flavors and balanced sweetness.

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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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Photo of kaufmaal
3.07/5  rDev -11%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Looks can be deceiving. "A Dark Holiday Stout" is what the label reads, and while there are some anise aromas, there's little else that reminds me of other holiday treats (beers). While it is not as dark as a lump of coal as the label also notes, it is on the darker side of some porters, or root beers.

The head fizzled out right quick, and only a faint trace of one was left. No lacing here at all. Sweet scents, a bit of a maple aroma, but that's all for me. The taste is also sweet, but because the body is very light (again, more like a porter), it is not cloyingly sticky and syrupy. Woody tasting, some smoke, and more rummy sweetness. Very mild carbonation, which was a welcome element.

One that I might get again, though I won't seek it out.

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Photo of brewdude1982
3.95/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was a bomber poured into a snifter.

A: 4.0  lighter dark pour with red undertones
S: 4.0 dark malts and slight hops
T: 4.0 light dark malt taste and very little hops
MF: 3.5 light on the body but bigger on taste
O: 4.0 this a very pleasant beer with a nice finish. I would recommend to friends and family. I could even see doing this beer as a session beer if it were on tap somewhere

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Photo of tdm168
3.23/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - dark brown with a reddish hue and a short, brown head

S - toffee, faint chocolate, faint roasted malts

T - toffee, cola, roasted malts, chocolate, faint bitterness

M - medium bodied, crisp, a bit overcarbonated

This was a pretty disappointing beer. Everything was a bit watered down. None of the flavors were pronounced or forward. It also had a distinct cola-like flavor that I'm really not fond of in my beer. This is a beer I will pass up in the future.

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Photo of BeerLover99
3.08/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: dark brown/mahogany shimmer, trace khaki head, solid lacing

S: mild chocolate, toffee, nutty, hint of booze

T: hint of black licorice, sugary roasted black coffee,
firm bready middle, long boozy finish

M: med body, smooth/mild creamy mouth

O: To celebrate International Stout Day saw this at
my new local beer shop. Not bad, probably not get it again.
Love beers from British Isles.


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Photo of WastingFreetime
3.53/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pours out a very dark brown color with ruby highlights, two fingers of tan colored craggy head lasts for two minutes and leaves medium amounts of lacing behind on the glass. Heavier body and lighter carbonation.

Smells of licorice, a splash of black coffee, and a light amount of char roast. Tastes of both milk and dark chocolate, with a lesser amount of licorice than the nose, and a hint of burnt fruitiness around the edges of the other flavors that amplifies as the glass warms up. My token criticism is that I would have liked for that fruitiness and roasted character to show up at a higher level / depth than what I received.

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

Review from 1/2010 notes. Poured into a Caracole small snifter. Pours a dark brown, appearing black. Faint aroma of light malt and dark fruits. Flavors are typical English dry stout. Light toasted malt and a hint of burnt coffee, dark fruit. Flavor is fairly subdued. Light to medium bodied. Pleasant, but not a great stout. Still one of the better Ridgeways, which tend to be rather bland in flavor, IMHO.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.61/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown with a tan bubbly head that clings to the edge of the glass. Nice lacing. Pretty beer.

Chocolate covered cherries anyone? A strong ale mixed with a splash of stout. Not much of a stout nose, but I'm rating what I smell, which is sweet, toasted fruit filled malt.

Lots of character here. If a blind taste test existed for this, I'd never pick stout as an option, except for the finish. Big cherry and woody flavors, with sweet tawny malt up front. Light bitter in the middle, and here comes the dark roasted malt and light bitter finish. What a wild ride! Low grades because people want this to be something else. It is a miss-mash of flavors, but they work.

Fuller bodied, sllck and mouth coating.

Overall, a one and done. You can't do 2 of these one after the other. Rich and sweet/bitter. Good complexity, but not a true stout. I liked this, but not enough to go after this as a must have. I like the complexity and the quality of the brew. My advice -- share this.

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Lump Of Coal from Ridgeway Brewing
3.45 out of 5 based on 593 ratings.
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