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 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 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 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 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 zeff80
3.33/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a clear, bubbly, orange/gold color with a small, very bubbly, off-white head. It left some thin trails of lace.

S - It smelled very fruity, sweet, malty and boozy.

T - It tasted of very, very sweet maltiness with a boozy alcohol flavor. Caramel and toffee flavors underly the sweet booziness.

M - It was soft and smooth. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a very sweet brew. It was a little difficult to drink because of the sweetness.

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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 oberon
3.65/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a nice deep bronze color with a thinner white head,big sour green apple in the aromas really hit the nose with a band also picked up some underlying caramel as well.Flavors start out with that green apple elemant up front but gets caramelly sweet with brown suger as late to the point that after awhile it got somewhat cloying.Nice flavors dont get me wrong a good sipper and after meal beer to savor but it is quite sweet,the alcohol is nicely hidden for 9% alc as well.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.9/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Clear, brass-colored with a deep-amber cast beneath a creamy head of off-white that holds alright before dropping to an average collar. Some walls of thin, vine-like streaks and spots are left at the outset, but there's not much after that.
Smell: Malty, bready, fruity, yeasty, very mildly hoppy. "Ale", basically. Clean. Not impressive nor unimpressive.
Taste: A straw-like maltiness with a firm, light-caramel edge dominates. A yeasty fruitiness of dull apples, both red and gold, livens it a bit. Alcohol steps in. Firm bitterness. Dry with leafy, muddy-grassy hops in the finish.
Mouthfeel: Medium-full bodied with a soft caress on the tongue that leaves it smooth across the palate. Just enough to awaken the taste buds.
Drinkability: It's quite nice at first, but not really out of the ordinary. It's very straightforward in its maltiness, and there's not much yeasty fruitiness either - almost like a strong, malty lager. !? It's clean and well-balanced, but not that exciting; and that's where it falters. It's an enjoyable brew for the first pint, but with the strength that it carries and the flavor it delivers, I'd probably stop at one.

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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 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 russpowell
3.84/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an efferevescent bronze with a thumb of offwhite head. Not a lot of head retention or lacing

S: Bready malt & aged or old hops. Alcohol honey & lemon as this warms.

T: Fruity & bready up front along with serious dryness & a hint of grapefruitty hops. Honey malts follow with some warming alcohol. I catch a hint of brown sugar as this warms. Finished dry, warming & hoppy

MF: Oily, slick & a little more carbonation than you'd expect

Drinks very easy for the abv, this beer seems to have north american influnces on it, most strong english ales skew much more malty to me. Pretty good one to enjoy a pint or 2, pass that, night, night!!

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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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Photo of mikesgroove
3.56/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ok so I am working my way through the elves and decided to drop on this one last night. I thought a double English ale sounded rather interesting to be honest, so I had to move forward and try this one out. The pour was pretty decent, offering me a nice cloudy and hazy golden amber liquid that was full of carbonation and chains of bubbles could be scene streaking skyward. Nice three inch head formed on the top, but quickly faded, leaving behind only the slightest bit of foam on the top and a decent amount of side glass lace throughout the session.

The aroma was definitely that of an English ale, just a very very big one for sure! Loaded down on the alcohol, which came through very clearly on this one, there was a really strong malty base on this one that really shone through. Not much in the way of hops coming through on the nose, maybe some earthy grass like notes, but that was about it, nothing really spectacular as far as aroma. The flavor was decidedly different then anything I had had previously. It had that really clear English ale like flavor, but was really damn strong! Lots of bready and grain like taste in this one, with what almost was a grape like fruit taste in there as well, rather strong, and definitely not like and American double. Strong on the alcohol flavor, there was definitely no hiding that with a very bitter finish and a strong malty profile, this was definitely interesting. As it warmed it got a little lighter on the overall alcohol, however it was still noticeably there, just hiding a tad behind an increased presence of light grassy flavors. A nice smooth medium-bodied feel was a nice touch, as this definitely did not feel like a lightweight, and it stayed very well carbonated until the end. I am not sure though if I would throw down more then one of these, this was rather strong, and you could definitely feel it that was for sure.

Overall, not bad, and definitely a different take on what I was used to. This style actually intrigues me, and if it were a little sweeter, I think it would have turned out much better for me overall. But still I cannot say it was bad at all, pretty cool actually and would be a good call for sure.

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Photo of Billolick
3.92/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

on tap at the Blind tiger in the neighborhood of my childhood in lower NYC, I'm gonna miss this place, but enough sentimentality...this pours semi cloudy, medium golden with an off white head, not much lacing noticed. Nose here is of hoppy spicy goodness. Tasty, aggresivly hopped British brew, quite dry and flavorful up front , then more spice and citrus in the middle and finish, cant say this one is balanced, but for a Brit brew this one will please the hop and flavorful brew fans. worth a try, especially if yoiu see it on tap.

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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 Wasatch
4/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this one at the Bayou, SLC, UT

Pours a nice clear/clean golden yellow/orange color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy white head, with some nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, sweet, with some light spice. The taste is sweet, malty, with some spice. Medium body. Drinkable, not a bad beer at all. Recommend.

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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 Gueuzedude
3.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a brilliantly clear, reddish-tinged, amber color. the head is thin, frothy, quickly disappearing, tan colored head. The aroma certainly has a certain richness to it, it reminds me a bit of rum soaked raisins and even has some interesting spicy notes that remind me of cinnamon. There is also a note of green grapes here, but I keep coming back to that striking finish; there really is a note of cinnamon here.

The beer has a certain heft to it as it rests in my mouth, but is certainly not heavy. It is a bit viscous, though not overly sweet. It is quite fruity as well; a mix between green grapes, raisins, a bit of plum and a finish that, in combination with the alcohol, reminds me a bit of rum. There is a bit of hoppiness here, though not much; a bit of herbal hop character with a hint of mint and a light bitterness in the finish. In the end the beer seems a bit thin in the finish, the meat of flavors of this beer disappears way to quickly and all that is left is some flabby malt and a bit of alcohol, which lingers on in the finish.

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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 jdhilt
3.95/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a one finger off-white head that fades to a thin layer leaving traces of lace. Cloudy amber color. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Chocolate/toffee nose. Flavor sweet and sour hints of toffee, high ABV is not noticeable. $5.49 for a 500ml bottle from John's Grocery Iowa City, IA.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.31/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Poured a brilliantly clear tangerine orange with a monstrous 2 finger, frothy dirty golden-beige colored head that displayed exellent retention lasting for nearly 5 minutes. A lustrious thick band lacing encircles the glass vessel.

S: Fresh oranges with a light floral hopping. Pretty basic and not much of a showing here with a faint nature.

T: The flavor opens up with some tart tangerines, grapefruit and lemons. A perfumy hopping with acetaldehyde (green apples) and butterscotch notes. Dried honey, melons with a touch of floral hopping. A spicy alcohol nature closes things out along with a lingering caramel orange fade.

M: The carbonation was nice, while the texture was very smooth. Light viscosity with a spicy alcohol fade off the tongue.

D: average. A beer by description that sounds complex, though drinks rather mundanely.

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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 rhoadsrage
3.53/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a dimple mug)

A- This beer pours a golden orange crystal clear body with a thick soft peaked light tan head supported for a bit by a strong carbonation of tiny bubbles.

S- This beer has a clean soft bitter green note followed by a faint light caramel malt smell that grows as the beer warms.

T- This beer has a soft cloying flavor that is faintly of circus peanuts and cloves. There is a sweet malt flavor that goes along with that taste. The finish is green spices with a soft cidery note and some nougat qualities. There is also a hint of sulfur in the finish aswell.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a soft fusel alcohol heat this increases as the beer warms but becomes overpowered by the big prickly fizz in the finish.

D- This beer has some full flavor but they all taste a bit off and clash together. There are no real malt flavors and it is a bit of a mess. Maybe time could help pull things together but I don't know if there are other flavors underneath that would come through.

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up in the Binny's discount bin for $3.99

Appearance- Poured a very lack luster head if that's what you'd cal it. No head remained after drinking. Very sunshine amber with sum sluggish lacing rising form the middle of the glass.

Smell- Not a lot to gather from. Everything I could pick up was very subdued or maybe their was nothinh their to smell. After some swirling of the brew, all I could make out was malt first, then hops, and last some alcohol.

Taste- A slightly orange-like malt flavor. With some decent hopping thrown into the mix. Ending with a little alcohol.

Mouthfeel- Felt a very subdued yet very textural malt on the palate. The alcohol aded a very warming sensation to the overall enjoyment of the beer.

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