Lump Of Coal Dark Holiday Stout | Ridgeway Brewing

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Lump Of Coal Dark Holiday StoutLump Of Coal Dark Holiday Stout
638 Ratings
Lump Of Coal Dark Holiday StoutLump Of Coal Dark Holiday Stout

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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Ratings: 638 |  Reviews: 375
Photo of numenor1
3.92/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark brown, certainly not opaque. Smell is quite fruity, black cherry, actually smells very much like a nice dopplebock. Odd, but perhaps not bad. Upfront on the palate is a quick stab of roast then mild chocolate and a large fruitiness that then backs away as earthiness evolves through the finish. Not overly complex, but a good flavor, albeit insipid and a bit watery for an 8% stout. Medium low carbonation, and extremely drinkable if nothing else. Not even a hint of the 8% here.

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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 Vancer
3.09/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Oh no, an aggressive pour only produced a quick-dying large bubble head - a bad start. Nice black brew with some decent chocolate malts in the aroma.

The taste? Well, mighty weak in the malts, poor for the style, with a noticeable hoppy finish. Couple hints of charcoal & burnt toast - but just hints The whole bottle was thin and watery, and the harshness lasted throughout. I suppose one could say this was drinkable, but the price (over $5) for a 500ml bottle would keep me away for any serious session work. Just not much character to be found.

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Photo of canucklehead
2.83/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours black alright but the disturbing thing about this sample and seemingly a few other BA's is the vinous sourness that suggests to me lactobacillus infection. The beer was much too sour for the style and all the roasty notes were covered up with the sourness. Tasted like an ok watery stout that somehow picked up an infection.

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

Another interestingly named christmas brew.

Appearance: pours a clear black color with a 1/2" tan colored head. A spot or two of lace stuck to the glass.

Smell: the aroma is very faint, as some coffee and bitter chocolate are tough to pick up.

Taste: the flavor was of roasted malts, molasses, weak coffee, and bitter chocolate. But overall this was wimpy and weak for the tastebuds.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp and somewhat smooth. Aftertaste is short on the roasted malts and molasses. Very light in body for a stout.

Drinkability: very average at best. I like a winter brew to warm me up during the cold months, but this was a stout that would work well in the summer heat since it is so light.

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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 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 Bierguy5
3.3/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark brown color, with some ruby edges. Thick egg-white creamy head. Head disappeared quickly, leaving a very thin layer of foam. Soft roasty, and chocolate notes in the aroma. Floral hop aroma. Flavor starts off roasty, dry then vinous. At the back end, the flavor profile seems to fall off. Warming alcohol presence. Slight earthy hop flavor. Low carbonation. It started off fairly well, but really falls apart at the end. Disappointing.

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Photo of crookedhalo
3.31/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep mahogany brown with a soapy tan head. Subdued roasty aromas with a slight earthiness. Very malty upfront with a light resiny, molasses-like finish with lingering spiciness. The English stout characteristics are pronounced, maybe stepped up a notch. Still, kind of watery, but not taking away from the whole experience. Not the greatest stout to come from across the pond, but certainly no sloucher. Pairs up nicely with it snowin' like a mofo outside right now.

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Photo of GuinnessSmurf
3.91/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pour is a super dark black/purple color with a small milky foamed head around the rim. No light is passing through this one, thats for sure.

Smell: Very rich aroma. Malty and sweet overall with a fruity belgian sugar element as well.

Taste: This beer is very balanced; the smell mislead me to think it would be overly sweet, but in fact it is a very roasty, well crafted mix. There is still a sweet element in there, but is coupled with dark and roasted malts in a way that just seems to fit.

Mouthfeel: I generally prefer a stout to be a little thicker in body, but it seems heavy enough to carry a lot of flavor, so I suppose I can't fault it. It goes down very smoothly.

Drinkability: This is a good beer for savoring, mostly because of price. Otherwise, I could destroy a 6pk of it.

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Photo of mntlover
3.49/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark dark brown, or a light black with lots of brown/ red showing thru a small brown head no real lace left. Sure doesn't look like a lump of coal.

Aroma is dark roasted malts lots of coffee aromas some minerial hints underneath light coco and piney hop aromas. Aroma is nice smells like a good stout.

Taste is lighter then I thought it would be for an 8% stout not bad just lighter. Some roasted malt flavors coffee dominating again noticing metalic like flavors which are actually not bad just interesting as they mingled with a herbal like hop flavor. Finish is lingering coffee bitterness mixed with hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium with nice mellow carbonation. As stated earlier it is lighter then a bigger stout should be.

Drinkability is well its good but for the price wouldn't purchase again as I could be drinking something better for the money.

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Photo of Dewey0603
3.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A very dark color,but the head was small and left wat too soon.The smell is very faint with only a hint of roasted malt.The taste is a little light,but you can taste both coffee and chocolate.The m/f is light/medium and not as balanced as I would like.This is a pretty good stout,but I would try a different one next time just because this is so expensive.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.8/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Before imbibing, I must say, this label doesn't like me very much. "Much more than you deserve for XMas this year." Actually, well, I have been awfully naughty...I will take my lumps and hope I enjoy them....

Deep, dark appearance, nearly black, with ruby tinges at the sides, and bottom, with a very small, thin, disappearing head.

Aroma is sweetish, mild, lightly roasty....malty, but rather shy for such a boastful beer...

Taste: lightly roasty, bittersweet a bit, but...not quite so rich or thick as we'd like. Rather ordinary. It has a full body, yes, but we want something extra, and if it has it, it hides it. The 8% abv seems well-hidden, at first, though...

Cointinues brighter and fruitier, ...sweeter, syrup-ier....

not bad, but not great...and worth the $5.89 I paid for the 25 ounce bottle?...not?...

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Photo of juzy
3.43/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

In my glass is an opaque liquid with tints of ruby around the edges. Not much for head, what there was disappated quickly.
The nose is unmistakably English; musty, dusty, old books. Some rum and raisins swirling around in there as well.
My first sip I notice a creamy, vanilla finish. I think the hops were a little out of balance, but not critically. Warming alcohol with peppery, spicy notes. Like the aroma there is some rum-soaked raisins on the palate. For the most part, though, it seems one-dimensional. Not very complex at all. I think I expected more complexity from a holiday stout.
As far as mouthfeel goes, I like something with a heavier body for holiday beers. Carbonation is medium.
I wouldn't want to drink many of these at 8%. It's an "okay" end to the day. But I can think of other holiday beers that I'd pick over this one.

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Photo of SwillinBrew
3.58/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Saw this at Bevmo in Orange and had to give it a try.

A - a dark brown on the port side filled my glass with a very little tannish head that faded rather quickly.
S - Some roasted grains and a little chocolate waft thru my nose. Somewhat subdued.
T - Coffee, prunes and roastiness come to mind with alcohol in the background. A little light on the taste.
M&Dr - A little light on the carbonation and somewhat of a light body, not what i was expecting. It was smooth and nicely balanced to be sure but i like my stouts to be more of a stout. I may have needed to let this warm up a bit to open the bouquet and taste.

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Photo of Naes
3.05/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

An almost black stout with ruby highlights. There is little to no head.
The aroma is mild, but has hints of chocolate and coffee.
The flavor starts out with a raisin tone then becomes slightly roasty with hints of chocolate near the finish. The alcohol is also slightly noticeable.
Light bodied for a stout and low on the carbonation as well.

This is an alright brew, but there are better ones out there for the money.

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Photo of Ego
3.32/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

what says "tis the season" more than a lump of sh.. coal ! yeah, that's it. Figured I would give this one a spin being the cynical type I am...

pretty dark, not opaque, but close... small off white head fanning out to the rims of the glass, carbonation noticed but looks subdued, dog hair.. oops.. damn dog, anyway, a nice well rounded looking stout, better than average, nothing outstanding.

I spy alcohol, covered by chocolate dipped raisins, some roasted malt, a hair of cinnamon twinge, after the initial alky blast this mellows out to be more pleasant, some nice things going on here, in some wierd way it reminds me of Rochefort 10 but not as intense... good.

taste etc...
thin.. but very smooth and creamy (not uber creamy), way smoother than a lump of coal (couldnt resist), the alcohol isnt as apparent in the mouth but does warm the gullet, the dark fruits seem to take the lead here (mildly) with some roast (also mild) on the back end of the buds, the smell was more interesting than the actual brew unfortunately. the alcohol is masked well but this isnt thrilling all in all.

I wont go out of my way to find this one again. It isnt terrible but there is much better stuff out there for the same/comparable price.

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Photo of oberon
4.08/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours not quite a lump of coal dark but close with some nice ruby tint thru out with an off white head that is gone quite quickly.deeply roasted malt and dark fruit in the nose with a hint of milk chocolate,big robust flavors for a big stout tarry and fruity roasted of course with a light smoky flavor in the finish.Wow I really like theis holiday stout big and complex and quite quaffable to boot.

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Photo of wl0307
4.01/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this beer from the Pitfield Beer Shop, the BBE date is 07/03/07.
A: pours into a goblet an almost jet black hue, with a little reddish hint against light. The head is very restrained, without the help of force-pour, forming just a thin layer of sparse big bubbles. Quite static it looks.
S: lightly sweetish dark chocolaty note upfront, followed by woody and a little black ink-like note, plus, yeah, a hint of char-coal!! just like what it says on the bottle... the coal-ish note is mixed with a slight hint of smokiness as well, quite enticing, and as it's understated so the influence is welcomed. Also at the back is a deeper aroma of dark fruit esters.
T: chewy, roasted maltiness upfront bringing on board a flow of delicious chocolaty and slightly smoky flavour, a flat-textured crushed dark grains attached to the tongue, and lively texture of earthy hops stays at the back; a semi-sweetish dark fruitiness follows, but rather restrained compared with the roastiness, while the foretaste quickly brings up a warmish alcoholic feel to the tongue and throat. Finished with mild roasted-nutty overtone of malts, and more residual taste of lightly bitter, coffeeish roasted-barley--ending quite light on the palate.
M: on balance it's very smooth on the mouthfeel throughout but a bit thin. I didn't expect this 8%abv stout could be this light-bodied, while at the deep end of the palate the alc. strength hides very well.
D: overall this is a quite delicious and deceptively drinkable stout. Not quite like other "traditional" English stouts I've tried, this one bears some resemblance to "foreign stout" IMO. Interestingly, from the several so-called foreign stouts I've tried, despite their high alc. strength, somehow they're mostly thin-bodied~~ I really wonder why?

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Photo of isubsmith
3.64/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark black. Not as dense or opaque as expected, but still right up there. Almost no head despite a vigorous pour.

Smell: Fruity chocolate. Maybe bananas? Some of the 8% ABV is there. Very interesting.

Taste: No hiding the 8% in the taste. Definately there. Roasted, smoky taste. Some of the chocolate/coffee taste, but not as much as one would expect. Body is a little light. Smooth. Relatively low carbonation

Overall, an interesting beer. Perhaps a little less "stouty" than I'd like and the alcohol is a bit too up front. But, definately worth a try.

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Photo of whynot44
3.65/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark chestnut color, not quite opague, but close, with a modest fizzy chocolate colored head that disappeared way too fast to leave any lace.

The aroma is fruity, malty with a hint of coffee and chocolate.

The taste is also very fruity up front - figs, apples, pears? The middle brings in more of the roasty malt flavors with weak coffee and chocolate hints. The coffee comes on a little stronger in the somewhat dry sour finish. Only traces of hops, not really significant.

Medium/full bodied. Reasonably smooth and easy to drink. Well balanced but not really strong on anything. Very low carbonation and well hidden alcohol content.

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Photo of AndoBrew
2.96/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

*did not like would not buy*

Appearance: Very dark black with a pissy sudsy head. The head ran away quickly, but left a small suds layer throughout the glass.

Smell: WOW, this is strange! Light berry fruity smells dominate the bouquet. So wierd, no smell of a stout, CANT WAIT TO SIP!!

Taste: Again, wow, compared to the smell, it is all dark smoke-flavored malt.. roasty toasty malt, very smokey compared to others in its class, not much at all of the coffee or cocoa flavors.

Mouthfeel: A miss! I like my stouts thicker and creamier. This is spritzy and watery for my stout preference.

Drinkability: Hmm, I think this bottle would wear out its welcome, kinda like the bad holiday guests in the story on the back label. It is good at masking the 8% but who cares?

Notes: Not for me, not bad, not good, I demand excellence... This is not it. But I do love all the stories on the label.

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Photo of ADR
3.4/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark but not opaque, mahogany highlights shine through. Tannish head head is not big but leaves collars for lace on the glass. Aroma is reserved, mostly pale caramelized sugar, not much special. Flattish mouthfeel and not that pleasant, not coating or creamy. Flavors show some aspects of generic fruit-flavored gum, transitioning into mild and weak coffee but without an overall hard-roasted bitterness. This beer has the alcohol content to verge on Imperial or Double in strength, but compare it to Samuel Smith Imperial and its easy to see that it doesn't have nearly the interest. Sweet and unidimensional, maybe cantelope flavors are most obvious.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.68/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the glass black with a ruby highlight and a cascading brown head which rose very tall and moussy and fell slowly to lace the glass.

The aroma was fruity when first poured with and estery aromatic. The fruity aromas were followed with chocolate and a nice roasty aroma that was no overdone.

The flavor was chocolate and coffee with a low roastiness and smooth chocolate flavor with a light fruitiness. The flavor was not bitter and was smooth for an 8% stout.

The finish was just dry and fruity with a light chocolate and coffee into the afteraste. The body was medium full and the carbonation was low. The beer was not very complex but had a nice flavor. It could have certainly been more roasty and less estery.

16.9 ounce bottle. $4.99 at Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville, VA..

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.88/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'd love to be able to call the color 'anthracite' in keeping with the coal theme, but it's really much closer to mahogany with generous ruby-amber highlights at the margins. The dense, light chocolate brown head is creamysoft rather than stiff. I'm not expecting much lace, but I'm willing to be pleasantly surprised (note: I wasn't). A good, not an exceptional, stout look.

While the previous sentence applies to the aroma as well, it isn't quite as good in a relative sense. Roasted malt is uppermost, but could be more roasted yet. I detect faint aromas of carob and watered-down coffee, along with some musty fruit. The nose needs an injection of stoutiness for sure.

Upon tasting... we're back on track. The flavor profile consists of well-roasted malt, dark chocolate and coffee with cream. There's a little brown sugar flavor as well, with a wee bit of vanilla, but the beer isn't all that sweet. English hops play a bit part at best. Sweet, sour and bitter are all present in roughly equal proportions and tend to cancel one another out, resulting in a fairly well-balanced beer.

The body isn't big and bad, but it is full enough and creamy enough to be enjoyable (and is a great fit with the flavor profile). It's firming up nicely with warming, but is still a long way away from chewy. The 8% ABV is on the generous side for a (non-Imperial) stout, so it's a good thing that it's well-buried.

Lump of Coal is the final member of the 'holiday quadruplets' from Ridgeway Brewing, joining Santa's Butt, Bad Elf and Very Bad Elf. It isn't the best member of that group, but that probably has more to do with my affection for hoppy beer than anything else. It's a solid effort that I'd be more than happy to drink at Christmas or any other time of the year. I certainly wouldn't mind getting a Lump of Coal in my stocking this December 25th.

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Lump Of Coal Dark Holiday Stout from Ridgeway Brewing
Beer rating: 3.45 out of 5 with 638 ratings