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 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 ChainGangGuy
2.14/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

16.9 ounce bottle - $5.99 at Bullock's Wine & Spirits in Marietta, Georgia.

Appearance: Clear, light copper body with a smallish, short-lived, white head.

Smell: If blind-folded and given this to smell, I'd have guessed it was possibly malt liquor from Melanie Brewing. Not just notable, but completely glaring alcohol and sweet-scented, faux apple notes. 16.9 ounces, eh? It's going to be a grueling, uphill battle as I lost interest around the 1.69 ounce mark.

Taste: Woof! Sweet, all-too sharp alcohol with some vague fermented honey tones and a fruity hint of all-natural apple flavoring. Good grief, Ridgeway. Not much hop character, and what's there is stymied by all this coarse alcohol and unnecessary sweet. That alcohol never lets up, searing the tongue like cheap mouthwash. Sweet, lightly fruity, grotesquely alcohol finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-light carbonation.

Drinkability: The relatively okay-ness of Very Bad Elf had inspired me to give the rest of these goofy beers a 'go', but after the seriously poor showing of Seriously Bad Elf, this may be it for me and Ridgeway's Christmastime line-up.

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Photo of counselor
2.35/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a coppery brown with a thin head. The beer has some odd aromas of funky hops and muddled spice. I can't discern the smells, but they are neither pleasant, nor offensive. the beer is without any defining flavors, odd for a winter strong ale. No heavy bready british malt flavor, no estery appley yeast flavors and no strong hop profile. It is almost like a muddy brew that just goes down the hatch. Not an offensive brew, but not one to crow about.

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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 beerguy101
2.42/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This English Strong Ale pours a medium orange color from a 50cl bottle. Medium sized white foamy head. Aroma is caramel and sweet with a touch of hops. A medium bodied English Strong Ale. The malts are caramel, fruity and sweet. The hops are slightly earthy and floral. A weird tasting beer, there is a lot of orange peel and spices, but there are also a bunch of stuff that tastes like vegetables, grain and something that might be better left unidentified. What’s even more distressing is the bad flavors intensify as it warms. Again one can’t help but wonder if Hepworth spent as time in designing the beer as the label design and marketing the name, if they would have a better product. I still buy them -once- and am usually disappointed, but I still buy them. Yet again another ho hum, bah humbug beer. Ah well one more to go. The beer is a little watery and a touch thin as well as that weird taste. Mouthfeel is thin. Finish is crisp and clean. Aftertaste is slightly sweet and a touch vegetative.

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Photo of albern
2.5/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I approached this beer with an open mind, considering that many BA reviewers pretty much panned this beer. I now know why. The beer pours a very clear light amber with a frothy white head that does lace quite well. The smell is spicy, malty candyish, and okay. The taste goes downhill from there. There is a spicy tartness, a cloying sweetness to this beer, and this god awful candy taste from the malts. There is plenty of carbonation, and the consistency is largely medium bodied. The beer doesn't hide the alcohol well, although the aftertaste is light for a beer with 9 ABV. This beer is a supreme disappointment considering the other Ridgeway beers have been quite good. I will refrain from the discussion about what style this beer properly belongs to, its a beer not worth revisiting regardless of its designation.

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Photo of tonistruth
2.5/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A- crystal clear copper brew under a 2 finger white head with good retention

S- strong fruity esters, candied banana, floral hops

T- starts candy sweet then finishes on a sharp and dry wheat note, lightly toasted grains in the middle, sneaking alcohol in background

M- medium body with a coarse and dry finish

D- intriguing aroma and interesting flavor, though it doesn't interest me enough to come back or recommend this to anyone, overall not enjoyable for me

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.51/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Glassy, brassy tangerine. Atop the beer is a three finger beige cap that looks acceptable enough. The initially rapid rate of bubble poppage slows down before the entire cap has entered the atmosphere. Dribs and drabs and speckles and freckles of lace decorate the glass.

My impressions of the nose are general impressions at best. Malt-dominant... musky hops... generic fruit... minimal alcohol. I was hoping this English strong ale would be better than the average (Eastern European) Euro strong ale, but now I wonder.

Seriously Bad Elf suffers from a serious identity crisis. The BA designation has already been noted. Add to that the fact that the label reads 'English Double Ale' and Shelton Brothers says that it's a 'very English interpretation of a Belgian tripel'. Hmmm... let's see what my taste buds say.

Ain't no way this is a dubbel (or a double) and it's a pretty lousy version if it's a tripel. I say BA is right. Actually, the more I drink, the more SBE tastes like some sort of high-octane malt liquor. I know that's redundant, but alcohol is less well-buried here than it is most American malt liquors that I've run across.

An Imperial maibock works as well. I've never met a beer that lacked personality to such an extent that it could fit into so many styles. The flavor profile consists of pale malt and apples macerated in rubbing alcohol. Tongue numbing prevents me from delving any deeper.

Who knows what sort of mouthfeel a 'what the hell style is this again?' beer should have. It's medium to medium-full with a granite-like firmness and an ethanol rawness that vagrants the world over know and love.

It's past time for this experiment in increasingly big beer and increasingly nasty elves to end. Bad Elf and Very Bad Elf were pretty good. After that... fuggediboutit. Unless you need to sterilize a laceration and then numb yourself afterward, stay away from Seriously Bad Elf. Seriously.

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
2.53/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

This beer is bad elf all over again. pours a slight bit darker with less head. nose is the same ridgeway funkiness. Tastes just like bad elf loaded with liquor. First taste is funky maltiness. almost a rotten hop or citrus flavor to it. The finish is dominated by alcohol. the mouthfeel is good and creamy, but still odd. Drinkability is not there for me at all.

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Photo of cubedbee
2.54/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

500 ml bottle poured into a nonic. Pours a slightly hazy copper with a finger of off-white head that vanishes fast, some slight lacing on the glass. Nose is a weird off-putting sourness, rather strong, at second whiff there is some bready malt for a sort of sourdough effect, but must too sour. Taste is better, a light butterscotch malt, some slight citrus and green apple, but the sourness still rears it's head, not nearly as offputting as the smell, but still enough to detract from the taste. Slightly bitter grassy hop finish with a hint of the alcohol. Mouthfeel is medium with a low carbonation level. This is an all around stinker--tasted better when I held my nose, but that's not the way beer is to be drunk. I could only finish half the bottle before I poured this. Something's seriously wrong with this beer--I checked other reviews to see if I may have received a mishandled bottle, but I'm not alone--I won't be duped into buying this again just based on the amusing bottle.

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Photo of budgood1
2.58/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

pours out of the half litre bottle a clear copper colour. a big off white head appears and sticks around a bit. it eventually dies down to nothing with minimal to zero lacing. a barely there sweet malty aroma is a bit fruity, but wholly nondescript. it tastes like the very bad elf i sampled prior but with an amped up pale malt sweetness and ABV. reminds me of a local maibock we have here in our state. alcohol spice, more solvent than spicy and a light smattering of floral hops is all i can take out of this. this one is sweet, sticky and one dimensional although a bit warming. the mouthfeel is pretty smooth but the overall body seems lacking for such a high ABV brew. not very drinkable due to the fact that it's just not that tasty of a strong ale.

definitely not worth the $$$ paid for a single, and not something i would revisit again in the future. at least i got the bottle with that scary elf shooting x-mas decorations at santas sleigh and reindeer. pretty funny.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
2.59/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

No freshness date. Pours a slightly hazy amber orange color with a huge two finger head. Plenty of lacing and retention lasts all the way down the glass.

Aroma is sort of a sour smell with some dirty diaper tossed in there. Sour smelling malt liquor aromas. Not too pleasing.

Flavor is filled with apple tart and basement and wet cardboard. Toss in rubber surgeons gloves and you have the whole kit and kaboodle.

I will certainly pass on this beer. Tastes almost exactly like the Very Bad Elf with more alcohol. This one seems less balanced and more flawed. Surprisingly, the alcohol is pretty well hidden but the overall taste isnt good and lends a low drinkabilty in my opinion. Perhaps I am in the wrong mood but this one really missed.

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Photo of Calico
2.66/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a pint bottle into a tulip glass.

The thing I noticed most about this beer was the aroma. I first described it to the person with whom I split the bottle as smelling like gasoline, very solventy and a little fruity (overripe peaches, perhaps).

Taste was so-so. I could not quite call this an English strong - seemed a bit hoppy for the style. Seems to straddle the line between English strong and Imperial IPA. Mouthfeel was fairly good, round and warming. The finish was unmemorable. I would not buy another bottle of this. I've had the Bad Elf and the Very Bad Elf and like them both more, with I think the Very Bad Elf being my favorite of the three.

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Photo of far333
2.68/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Faint honey color with a full inch of frothy lumpy bright white foam that slowly throws up big popping bubbles.

Low aroma of sweet corny malt, some grassy floral notes.

Rich and cloying flavor of bready malt, alcoholic vapors warming the mouth. Very grassy, not too complex. Tastes like an imperial Budweiser (start with Budweiser, add rubbing alcohol and some sugar).

Slick and syrupy mouthfeel. Low drinkability, I predict that half the bottle will find the sink.

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Photo of sauron681
2.7/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours clear coppery color with next to no head and hardly any lacing. Fairly light carbonation that is hard to pick up. A slight fruity aroma, and that was all i could get from it.

Medium light bodied in the mouth. Slight lemony flavor, no hops, hint of spice, and an overpowering alcohol aftertaste. They definetly got the "strong" part of the ale.

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Photo of wangbruins
2.75/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- Extremely light golden yellow with a decent head- pretty generic really

S- Lots of lemon and fairly yeasty, very light smelling and not too overpowering

T- Lemon and yeast mostly, very plain without much aftertaste

M- Thin and oily and goes down easy, not as bold as I expected

D- High ABV but not as bold as I like. It's okay for the one or two and the novelty, but that's about it

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Photo of JohnGalt1
2.76/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Traditional English bottle purchased at New Vintage Wine Shop in Meridian for about $5.60/bottle. Poured into a my standard red wine glass while listening to the latter portion of Josh Wink's "Left Above the Clouds".

Crystal clear light amber/orange pour with nice 1/2" off white head that sticks around for a while... actually a pretty nice looking beer.

Aroma is a muddy mix of caramel and light earthy/grassy/catty hops topped off by a touch of burning alcohol.

Taste is definately more complex with yeast fruitiness with caramel apples and warming alcohol ... Just muddy, this Elf prances into a bunch of beer styles, and it ends with a light but still screwy "English" diacetyl finish. Mouthfeel is Ok... more than enough carbonation that just barely cuts through the sweetness.

I haven't had many "English Strong Ales", but this is not what what I was expecting nor did I really enjoy it ... just toooo sweet. I am glad I am finally getting a chance to try the Ridgeway Xmas brews, but hopefully this isn't the benchmark. I will buy it again, just not this year or probably the next; I really think if Ridgeway latched on to just one style, this brew could be probably pretty good.

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Photo of jwc215
2.79/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours deep golden with a large, fluffy/pillowy white head that leaves lacing in its slow descent. Great retention, especially for abv.

The smell is of some carmelized graininess with a vague English hop touch. Some fruity alcohol comes through.

The taste is of raw, fruity alcohol with some additional sweetness from carmelized grainy maltiness. There is some vague hop bitterness to keep the sweetness somewhat balanced. Tastes like an American malt liquor with an English character. Boozy without much flavour to keep up with alcohol. Some is there, but not enough.

Body has something of a slickness to it. Ample carbonation, even bordering "too much" for the style. Some body is there, but not enough to keep up with the alcohol.

Not "seriously bad", but "seriously not good", I would say. No real reason to drink unless you want to drink for the elf-theme, or you want a carmelized boozy drink. This elf needs help. Nice appearance, though.

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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 Minkybut
2.8/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured this beer into my tumbler at 50 degrees. The beer was a golden yellow color. The taste was rather sweet and several people tooka taste of it and did not care for this beer. It was high alcohol and was just not very tasty to all that sampled. I will not buy again.

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Photo of doubleipa
2.81/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Creamy, off-white head. Ligh clear color. Aroma was just plain sweet - very, very sweet. Maybe a hint of lemon and apple. As with the aroma, the taste was quite sweet. It tasted better as it warmed up. At 9% can really taste the alcohol. There were a couple of other "elf's" at Bullock's, but I won't buy any more.

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Photo of jjayjaye
2.81/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a slightly hazy amber color with a full finger white head that fades very quickly. No lacing present.

After the initial 'odor', one can smell a spicy lemon grassy aroma.

The mouth feel is quite dynamic; immediate lemon bitterness and effervescence establishes a light body.

The flavor is light citrus fruit and spice.

Too much going on for me with this one. Quite a bit lighter than i had anticipated. Seriously... poured.

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Photo of brentk56
2.83/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy honey color with a modest head that manages to leave a few drapes of lace

Smell: Strong acetaldehyde (green apple) aroma, but very sweet, almost like juicy friut gum

Taste: Starts out with an apple flavor that becomes increasingly tart by mid-palate, when some alcohol starts to come through; after the swallow, the acetaldehyde impression builds and just leaves a seriously bad impression on the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Just not very beckoning

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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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Photo of smcolw
2.85/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Given the smells and flavor, it is surprisingly light--dark gold and clear. Moderate head with some lasting power; light spotty lace.

Strong sweet caramel aroma.

Coyingly sweet with a strong bitter punch at the end. The aftertaste is similar to having a sweet hard candy. The body is very full, like whole milk.

This is interesting but too extreme on the upfront sweetness.

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