Seriously Bad Elf | Ridgeway Brewing

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Seriously Bad ElfSeriously Bad Elf

Brewed by:
Ridgeway Brewing
England, United Kingdom

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by ADR on 11-11-2005

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Reviews: 131 | Ratings: 206
Photo of gandres
3.1/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

From 50cL (centiliter)=500mL bottle to wine glass, around 50F
Appearance: pale yellow, clear, medium head that quickly dissappears
Aroma: malty smell, not hoppy,
Taste: mildly bitter with sweet after taste
Mouth feel: fizzy
Overall: Beer is not bad, no boozy smell even at 9% alcohol

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Photo of superspak
3.41/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 9/2/2011. Pours crystal clear bright orange/amber color with a 1 finger dense white head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of honey, caramel, brown sugar, biscuit, light nuttiness, golden raisin, plum, apricot, apple, herbal, light pepper, and yeast earthiness. Okay aromas with solid balance and complexity of bready malt, fruity yeast, and light earthy hop notes; with solid strength. A bit too fruity on aromas. Taste of honey, caramel, brown sugar, biscuit, light nuttiness, golden raisin, plum, apricot, apple, herbal, light pepper, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Light herbal/spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of honey, caramel, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, golden raisin, plum, apricot, apple, and herbal/yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Good robustness, balance, and solid complexity of bready malt, fruity yeast, and light earthy hop flavors; with a good malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a smooth and fairly creamy/silky mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is well hidden with only a slight warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is a solid English strong ale. All around good balance, robustness, and solid complexity of bready malt, fruity yeast, and light earthy hop flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. I was expecting more overall malt complexity given the ABV, but this was still fairly enjoyable. Tastes like an imperial version of English pale ale.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.28/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Best before 9/10/16.

Pours a clear orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, honey, candied fruit, and alcohol aromas. Taste is much the same with apple cider, honey, candied fruit, and toast flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of 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 I am getting a distinct apple cider flavor that I wasn't expecting.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Pours clear copper amber under a clingy 2” cream colored foam collar. S: Flowery alcohol aromas. T: Malty, biscuit, alcoholic sweetened lightly by caramel and balanced by a moderate dose of spicy hops. F: Medium body, below average carbonation, warming. O: A big strong beer.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.71/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed from the bottle in a snifter glass. This interesting little strong ale pours a very bright, clear, light amber with a thin ring of foam and light lacing. Nose of toffee, caramel malts, citrus zest of orange and lemon, moderate bittering and pine hops, and strong booze. Flavors are sweet caramel malts up front that give way to citrus notes of lemon and orange to the sides and back, and then fading into a sticky piney citrus hopped flavor. Ale finishes moderately dry with smooth drinkability and slick mouth feel with strong alcohol warmth coming in on the back. A unique take on a strong ale. Pretty nice really.


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Photo of DoubleJ
2.8/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.25

When the label depicts an elf with his slingshot aimed at Santa Claus and his reindeer, you know you have a bad elf. Let's bring 500 ml of strong ale to the table. On to the beer:

The beer has a glossy orange amber color to it and is translucent. The head forms an inch thick before dropping to a patchy lace. I can smell the stink of hops a foot away just after the beer was poured into a glass. Time helps evaporate some of the stink, and out comes a big smack of butterscotch and diacetyl. It smells fine to me.

Seriously Bad Elf has some noticeable hop damage, meaning the hops taste like they've been spoiled and bring an unpleasant sting to the palate. Compounding the problem is that this stinging flavor pounces onto the palate first. That's too bad, because underneath that the beer itself has a pleasurable flavor. I can taste orange, diacetyl, butterscotch, and vague citrus juice. The beer feels nearly full bodied and does have lower intensity carbonation, giving the beer a smooth feel. Adding to the feel is that the 9% alcohol is hidden well.

There's brewing talent that's waiting to be tasted out of this bottle, but it's tainted by a bad case of hops. I would have thought a strong ale like this would have held up until late February.

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Photo of WhiteHillsStore
3.54/5  rDev +5%

Pours a straw golden yellow with a little bit of a red hue. The smell had a bit of the alcohol in it but also had some dark fruits and apple scents to it as well. The taste was semi-sweet with almost no alcohol burn till the finish and even then it paired well enough with the other flavors.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.66/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ridgeway Seriously Bad Elf has an extremely thin, white head, a very crystal-clear, old gold appearance, some bubble streams, and virtually no lacing left behind. The aroma is of sweet toffee, sweet bread, whiskey, butter, and a slight nuttiness. Taste is of citrus peel, toffee, alcohol, grain husk, white bread, and a somewhat pine-oriented bitterness. Mouthfeel is mostly heavy and syrupy, and Ridgeway Seriously Bad Elf finishes mostly dry and sip-able. Overall, this is really nice, and the only detractor is the unusual citrus note, which doesn’t seem to fit. It’s good stuff, though.


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Photo of ckollias
3.79/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed this bottle out of a Belgian tulip glass.

A: Pours a clear golden orange hue with a thin, 2-finger, white head that very quickly dissipates in to a non-existent lace with no trail down the glass.

S: Sweet deep caramel aroma with citrus buttery aroma.

T: Very sweet malty with caramel and some dark fruit flavors. Alcohol present but masked but the malt nicely.

M: Medium body and minimal carbonation.

O: Interesting strong ale. Very malty – not my favorite brew buy worth a try.

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Photo of Zraly
1.98/5  rDev -41.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a clear yellow with a minimal white head. Smells of fruit, corn, and bubblegum. Faint hint of floral perfume. If you did not see anyone pour this, you could assume it was an adjunct lager from afar.

Overly sweet and sugary. Tastes like canned corn and high fructose corn syrup. Honey. Medium-bodied and sufficiently carbonated. Overly malty and faint wisp of earthy hops; not enough to round this ale out, though. Not at all what I hoped for or anticipated. It reminds me of a high-octane lager that has gone bad -- or was bad to start. Alcohol is overly present.

I am not finishing the bottle and am not purchasing this again. Just drinking a few ounces of this makes me think I might have a headache tomorrow. If this wasn't so expensive, I'd say it could be enjoyed underneath a bridge, paper bag and all. (No offense to winos or the homeless.)

Seriously Bad indeed.

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Photo of beergoot
3.35/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Crystal clear, golden yellow body a a decent yet thin white head. Rich, mellow grainy malt aroma; some corn. Heavy cracker flavor initially, mild malt; kind of boozy halfway through; somewhat bitter. Medium-light body; a bit fizzy; dry.

An okay but rather blah strong ale. The alcohol presence comes across as the most distinctive characteristic which, for my preferences, I'd rather go with a bourbon. A more malt-like profile with a more distinctive yeast character would go a long way in improving this beer. Not bad per se, and drinkable, but hardly memorable.

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Photo of metter98
3.33/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear yellowish amber in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: There are sweet aromas of apples and grapes in the nose; this becomes a little boozy as the beer warms up.
T: Like the smell, the taste is both sweet and fruity and also has some hints of caramel with a very slight amount of bitterness. There are some hints of scotch.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied and a bit smooth and syrupy on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There is a little bit of alcohol warming in the finish.
O: This is a nice beer to sip but this is something that needs to be done slowly because it’s rather strong and there are some notes of alcohol in the taste.

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Photo of CHickman
3.79/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer notes from Christmas 2011: pours clear gold with a foamy 1 finger white head that faded and left decent lacing.

Smells sweet and malty, like toffee, caramel, toasted grains, cinnamon, spices and alcohol; a very sweet nose overall that smells like a holiday treat.

Tastes of sweet malt, brown sugar, toffee, caramel, toasted grains, yeast, coriander, cinnamon, spices like pepper and cumin, tea leaf and alcohol that gives it some heat; malty, sweet and just spicy enough to make the ABV tolerable.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and almost slick, with a watery feel, no carbonation and a medium body. Goes down easy considering the heat and ABV, this is a nice winter warmer. Perfect for washing down the Christmas feast with a little bit of British humor.

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Photo of jaasen64
3.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml sized bottle poured into a 22oz glass.

A- reddish gold, translucent, about a finger of white head, average carbonation.

S- Cinnamon, some spices, slightly floral, sweet.

T- Sweet, lightly spiced, some barley. Slightly sweet aftertaste.

M- Average carbonation, medium bodied, slightly syrupy, drinkable, alcohol decently well hidden.

O- This beer wasn't bad for a strong ale. It was a little bit too much on the sweet side and a little bit too syrupy however at least these characteristics hid the alcohol fairly well. Overall not bad, would have again but probably wouldn't purchase again.

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Photo of Cozzatoad
3.08/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

500ml bottle

A- Transparent dark gold/honey colour. One finger, soft looking white head. Decent retention at first, though it completely disappears after a couple of sips. Near to lacing on the glass

S- Caramel and honey malts with a strong boozy feel. A hint of spiciness from the esters

T- Strong boozy feel throughout the whole tasting experience, with some plain alcohol notes that have not really melded with the beer's flavours. Biscuity and caramel malts with a faint hint of roastiness while swallowing. Some fruity hints (apple maybe), a thouch of herbal bitterness, some spicy notes (pepper) show up at times. Overall quite tasty, but a bit of a boozy mess

M- Medium body and carbonation. Decently smooth, feels nicely warming

O- Not a really, really bad beer but not even close to be good. It has a bit of a nice warming feel and has some flavour range, but it's a mess, and it's not that much drinkable either

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
3.28/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Serving type: 500 ml bottle. There is a code printed on the label but no clear freshness date. Boo!

Appearance: Straight pour into a pint glass. The color is clean and clear honey. Two fingers of white head dissipated slowly to leave a billowy/spotted cap and foamy ring around the edge.

Smell: During the pour I could smell the alcohol, but when I put my nose to it the booze had faded. Pale malts, sweet caramel, toffee, honey, apple cider, green grapes, and musty basement.

Taste: The first sip offers sharp booziness, which serves as a fitting prelude for the rest of the pint. The alcohol is not completely overpowering — it fades after a bit — but it is very noticeable throughout. There are flavors of grapes, pale malts, apple cider, light caramel and toffee, honey, raisins, and lemon citrus.

Drinkability: It is okay. Not seriously good but not seriously bad. Seriously, though, I doubt I will ever buy it again.

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Photo of steveh
3.88/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Number three in what's been a pretty good tasting run of beers. English Strong Ale, eh? Not sure if that would be an Old Ale, or what. 9% -- perfect for the first day of Winter.

A -- Clear golden with a thick, lightly off-white head that holds up well and leaves good lacing in my imperial pint.

S -- Light fusel alcohol, a mellow fruit cake/cookie aroma. Sweet, no hoppiness.

T -- Up front taste is a luscious, fruity blend that folds into sweet, nearly unattenuated biscuit malts. The finish is toffee-like and lightly sweet with just a touch of bitterness in the aftertaste. From start to finish there is a backbone of spicy, peppery alcohol that let's you know it's there, but doesn't overpower the richer flavors.

M -- Mouthfeel is syrupy to dry in the finish with a light-medium body.

O -- Someone think light colored beers can't be strong and characterful? Hand 'em one'a these! A smooth, cold weather sipper. The strong alcohol is present, but it doesn't hit you over the head to let you know it's there. This is a perfect sipper for a cold winter's evening.

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Photo of jayhawk73
2.98/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a medium gold color w/ a one finger white head. The head quickly disappears. Not much lacing on my snifter glass. This beer is fairly clear in appearance- you can see right through it. The nose has grain, malt, apple, and a slight honey smell as well. Improves as it warms, but not much more than average here. Wow- The taste is completely different than the nose. Big malt and honey take over here- a little better than the nose. I don't really get any of the 9% ABV in the taste at all. Feel is light, syrupy, and carbonated w/ a hops bite on the aftertaste. Overall, this is a style I haven't had before- and I'm glad I got to try one. I probably won't buy this again though. Cheers.

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Photo of OttoPeeWee
3.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I got this beer for a good price and have never had a british beer with 9% abv, so I figured I'd give it a try. The pour is pretty standard with more of a soapy head that dissipates. It is a golden beer. The smell is faint honey and grain, not bad. The taste is subtle grain, malt, medicinal and more honey. I am actually surprised I don't taste much alcohol in this beer. Pretty good, I would just prefer a bit more esters to spice up the flavors a bit. Worth a try if you like british and belgium beer.

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Photo of obrendano
3.25/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

mostly drank this out of a cup, but finally found a good clean glass to view in

A - beer pours a cidery gold with champagne bubbliness. head is good at first, but I think is hindered by the alcohol. not exactly what I look for in a "strong ale"

S - fruity esthers, very slight, thin malt, and a faint scent of the alcohol. a musty wine note also comes through

T - big on esther notes, grapes mostly, rough booze taste and pale malt dominate afterwards

M - a little odd and sticky in a bad way

D - to me, this is a lot like drinking a very alcoholic ale version of most big time industrial lager brews. before you put it up to your nose to smell it, the lingering odor in the air is of generic "beer". this is not a horrible beer, though, and is great as the kickoff to a good session, but other than that and getting knocked onto your ass, that may be all it's good for.

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Photo of jmdrpi
2.42/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

500mL bottle

appears a bright clear golden color, with bright white head. the lacing clings the sides of the glass.

smells of pale malt and grass. reminds me of the aroma of a cheap adjuct lager. not good.

taste is sweet and malty, no hops that I can detect. fruity and boozy in the finish. just kinda boring overall. an average moutfeel.

same batch, after a year in the cellar.

appearance the same. aroma and taste have softened. no longer boozy. improved, but still not a good beer.

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Photo of ElGordo
3.42/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pretty orange color with a very light lace of white head that fades instantly. Just a touch of faint carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass. Sweet aroma of pale and caramel malts, some fruity esters from the hops, and more than a little treacle.
Palate is sweet and fruity up front, lots of tropical fruit and apple notes. The decent pale malt backbone keeps it from being overwhelmingly fruity, but the treacly sweetness comes through towards the swallow. Finish is drier than one would expect for a beer this big and sweet (hence low attenuation), but it is much more subtle than the rest of the palate.
Body is somewhat creamy, not bubbly, but still a bit thinner than is usually expected from a high-alcohol beer. The sweetness is a bit overwhelming, but does help mask the alcohol content. I am kind of glad that I split the bottle with my wife, but it's not exactly a chore to drink. Maybe not the most festive holiday ale, though.

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Photo of Erish
3.95/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I poured this 1 pt. 9 oz. bottle into a wine glass.

A: clear honey gold color, light egg shell colored head quickly falls into a light cap with decent lacing.

S: cherries, raisins, sweet malt.

T: much like how it smells, fruit up front, ester-laden and boozy in the middle, and oaky, herbal/floral hop finish.

M: medium-bodied, silky to oily texture, light carbonation.

D: a very nice strong ale. Happy Christmas!

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.03/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This Elf is definately serious in it's alcoholic impact and the impression of flavor that it lays on the palate. Total Engligh-like through and through, the beer has a Belgian-like dryness and spiciness that only fuels the intrigue.

Seriously Bad Elf pours a rich golden or light amber color with steady streams of carbonation and near-clear appearances. A creamy blanket of foam coates the glass and clings to the sides for intermitten lacing. A very solid look throughout.

Aromas of biscuit malt, honey/honey suckle, and highly estery fruitiness rule the nose with spicy alcohols (almost boozy), with oranges, cherries, and red licorice. Rich and assertive aromas that amplify as the beer warms.

Flavors of caramels, doughy breads, sugar cookies, and light rum set the stage. Then there are layers of peppery spice, fruity esters, herbal/earthy bitterness, jam-like sweetness, and boozy alcohols that continue to give new impressions to the beer, wave after wave.

Medium weighted early, muted because of the higher than expected attenuation, high abv., and abundant carbonation. But as the carbonation subsides, the alcoholic warmth and light sugary feel weighs on the mouth for a dry but sweetly finish.

With a lot of flavors borrowed from both a English Pale Ale and an English Barlwyine with with more flavor and feel than the Pale but with less syrupiness than Barleywines. The beer does a good job of straddling the fence.

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Photo of stcules
2.83/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bright amber color, very beautiful. Copper edges. One and a half finger of decent head.
Malty smell, with light biscuit notes. And light spicy notes, too, peppery. And then hints of hop, quite musky.
Malty taste, with sweet and sugary notes, and some hop in the back.
Spices? I don't think.
Anyway, a bit cloying and heavy.
Nothing to remember.

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Seriously Bad Elf from Ridgeway Brewing
3.37 out of 5 based on 206 ratings.
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