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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Ratings: 206 |  Reviews: 131
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 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 BlaiseDemon
4.05/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was a fine winter ale. It has a typically high alcohol content as many winter brews, however, it was extremely drinkable. Reminiscent of an IPA, yet without as much of a bitter edge. The after-taste was pleasant and non-offensive. The color was a true amber (not yellow, not exactly orange) and with no cloudiness. I enjoyed this bottle very much. I have bought a few more of these, even though the price tag for the 21 oz. bottle was a bit spendy. The more I had it though, the magic seemed to fizzle. It was worth the time and effort but I have re-evaluated my assessment after trying additional fine English ales since.

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Photo of BeerManDan
3.77/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a medium dark amber with some foam and also a little lace on the side of the glass. The smell of spices and a hint of vanilla, was a surprise being that this is a English Strong Ale. The flavor of spices was a little weak, not like the aroma. Little bitterness and sweetness had a decent balance, but, a very short finnish. Not what I was expecting from the ale!

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Photo of Gmann
2.93/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear golden straw color with a large soapy white head (after a rather hard pour) that left some nice lacing on the glass. The smell is faint, I pick up some sweet caramel malt and perhaps some alcohol. The taste starts off sweet and boozy and has a cherry cough drop characteristic. Has a slight hop bitterness in the end. The feel is light and almost watery, fizzy carbonation, and finishes slick, sticky, and boozy. This beer is what I imagine English malt liquor would taste like. The malt presence is not big enough to handle the strong ABV of this brew and the sweetness is almost cloying. Not something that I would seek out again.

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Photo of Traquairlover
4.4/5  rDev +30.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

50cl bottle poured into a pint glass. This may be a seriously bad elf, but it's a seriously good beer.

A = Beautiful golden, amber color. Great head. Nice bubbling, carbonation throughout. Light lacing.

S = Caramel, hay, fruits, floral scents. A lovely boquet (grading within class, this is not comparable to really floral hoppy or herbal beers). Much more floral and interesting than I am used to an English ale being.

T = Caramel, very light hops, sweet tropical fruits underlie the malty taste.

D = I could drink this over and over again if it weren't so pricey and I could drink it all night if it weren't so strong. The only reason I marked this lower in drinkability than the other factors was becasue of its strength. Otherwise I think it is just an outstanding beer.

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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 oelergud
4.48/5  rDev +32.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Dark brown pint sized bottle in typical english shape, gold cap and a bad elf firing christmas ornaments by slingshot either at Santa as he is taking off or at the house below.
The beer is a clear golden honey color and topped with a light tan head of small to medium bubbles. Decent retention and great lace.
Strong malty scent in an english mild mannered way with a hint of peppermint and hard candy, the kind you find in tin cans with powdered sugar. Interesting and very different.
Strong malty and alcoholic flavors, well hopped with a resin kick. Meaty and dense, earth, nuts, dark ripe fruit, cherries, bananas and maybe some currant. Mild aftertaste of hops, earth and just a touch of licorice.
Medium to full body, slight coating. Warm sensation from the alcohol which is very pleasant on these cold days.
Highly drinkable. Strong yet mild as the real english.


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Photo of BeerSox
3.91/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle into nonic.

Crystal clear honey amber with an off-white one finger frothy pillowy head that lasts a while and settles to an even thin cap. The lacing left behind is solid.

Basic malt aroma with a little bit of hoppiness. The alcohol isn't as well perceived as I expected.

Malty with only a slight amount of hop bitterness. A bit of a fruity presence is there. The alcohol is present here, but only slightly. Medium bodied with average carbonation. The finish is mostly lingering grain.

Not a bad Pale Ale. The label says it's an English Double Ale, which I guess can also be called an English Strong Ale. Recommended.

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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 Gusler
3.22/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Upon its pour from the 500ml bottle it appears a golden amber color with an average white creamy head that disappears rather quickly leaving a patchy bit of lace. Nose is malt dominated with a fair bit of spice, also hints of alcohol, crisp and clean. Start has a light to moderate grain presence, slightly sweet with a hint of bitterness; the top is moderate to light in feel. Finish crisply acidic, the hops adequate in their spiciness, the alcohol pokes through along with the dry aftertaste, “Strong Ale or English Double Ale”, seems more like a malty macro lager?

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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 Toddv29424
3.64/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a traditional amber color with little to no head. The smell is malty with a hint of spice, very nice. The taste takes shape as the beer is about 3/4ths of the way down, and takes on a sourness with a taste of yeast. The malt never really has time to develop on the tongue as it is quickly whisked away by the carbonation. The lingering taste is like a pleasant cider and lasts for a long time. I don't know if this beer is worthy of the name "seriously bad", but its definitely a decent beer.

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

Seriously Bad Elf pours a clear light copper color with a fair amount of bubble streams rising to the surface. On top, the thin small white foam head quickly dissolves to a ring around the surface leaving behind a few spots of lace on the glass. The aroma is fruity with a strong scent of apple cider. Mixed in are some notes of grapes, yeast and alcohol.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is smooth and creamy on the palate. A mild carbonated tingle touches the tip of the tongue and brings out a lot of the flavor. The taste of this beer is rather fruity with notes of apple and pear. Mixed in is a pungent spice like juniper (maybe currant). In the background is found some sweet malt that balances out the fruity flavors quite nicely. At the end some bitter citrus hop notes poke through. It finishes with an alcohol taste, but once gone some of the apple flavors linger on the palate.

This beer sort of reminds me of a mild barleywine or a spiced cider.

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Photo of rajendra82
3.42/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The 500 ml. bottle of Seriously Bad Elf poured out quite similar looking to the Very Bad Elf I tied yesterday. About the same orange amber color, but carbonation was more active in this one. The smell of this beer let me know that this was a different animal altogether. The aroma was significantly stronger here as a result of more hop presence and more alcohol. The taste was closer to the other beer than the aroma indicated, but it was less sour, and more bitter, which made it taste a touch better. The metallic tinge however was still very jarring on the taste buds. I also did not find this to be as rich and soothing in texture as the weaker sibling. Better overall beer, but not worth purposefully seeking out at full price no matter how bad the elves get.

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Photo of mattd017
3.98/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16.9 oz bottle, chilled in the freezer for 5 minutes, poured into a english pint glass. Pours a hazy golden liquid with a one finger thick head that leaves a good ring around the glass. Heavy malt smells with a great undertone of dark fruits, maybe blackberry or blueberry. Slight hop aromas rise from the thick fluid. Tastes of sweet malts with an alcohol backbone, sour fruit flavors hit the tongue chased by a weak hop bitterness. Thick, smooth, but not syrupy fluid, but perhaps with too much carbonation. Tasty drink, good job covering the big alcohol without making it syrupy. For a beer that I saw and thought was a joke, these elfs certainly are worth a revisit

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Photo of Phatz
3.87/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for sharing Mark, by the time I tried to get my hands on it, it was gone from everywhere.

Half liter bottle shared among friends.
Served after warming for a bit in my tasting snifter.

Appearance: Pours an orange copper color with a fizzy white head that quickly falls flat.

Smell: Fruity malts, sugars, apple, bread, and very dull hops. A hint of alcohol.

Taste: Like the nose it is mildly sweet, with apples and grains, and tea like dry-ness with a boozy attribute as well, ( a splash of rum and orange flavored vodka). Spices show mostly in the back end.

Mouthfeel: medium / light carbonation and warm alcohol in the finish.

Drinkability: This is a sipping beer. Interesting. Worth a try.

Hope this is helpful.

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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 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 Metalmonk
4.15/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a big rocky head that lasts almost five minutes before minimizing, on top of an insanely clear ruby/amber with a variety of bubble sizes and speeds.

Malty nose brings in mellow spices, and something smells like freshly churned butter. Hops are present in the background. Also a kind of wet algae I losing it and having an acid flashback, or does this smell odd? I do like it.

Flavorwise, hops are in abundance, while the malt tries to offset them. But wow, this is a bitter, spicy ale, with a good fruity background that keeps things from getting too intense. The finish is a bruiser: acidic fruits that linger a long while. All through the drinking it recalls puckery sour green apples.

Mouthfeel is buttery and very well-carbonated, maybe a bit thin compared to those aggressive flavors.

Nothing wrong with this one, unless you're not into wild, spikey, spicy brews. It's definitely not an every day go-to beer, but I found it unique and interesting, and it gives the whole true-to-style thing the finger. Yeah, a seriously bad elf.

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Photo of jcdiflorio
3.3/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served from a 16.9oz.brown bottle into a large tulip glass,not recommended,but worked out good. A serious glass for a serious beer,love the label an elf with a slingshot shooting at santa and his reindeer.On with the review.

Clear,a very slight cloudiness a golden/coppery color with a white 1" creamy head,good retention with some slight spotty lacing.

A pleasing moderate aroma clean,very fruitty with hints of fresh apples,a bit floral,slightly perfumy with some light citrus notes. No alcohol in the nose for a 9% beer.

Very fruitty tasting with some hot boozy sweet carmell in there. A nice apple taste gets quickly buried by a quick blast of alcohol. A nicely balanced brew,a clean mid taste,finishes very citrusy,boozy,a sweet,tart, taste. A good taste overall,just a bit boozy for me,wish the alcohol was just a bit more hidden,this is fitting for the style though.

A medium mouthfeel,very creamy the alcohol makes for a bit of roughness on the palate. A good beer overall,if you don't mind the alcohol tastes this is a very good beer. This beer went down very good even with the alcohol taste. I would drink another,but that would be it. A creeping alcohol effect to this beer. I'd recomend this beer if you like em strong,

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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 Hollister
3.06/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm not going to lie - this beer kind of reminds me of heineken. And I don't know what that means considering it's an English Double Ale. It'd be a good heineken though, but that's not a glowing review from me - not a big heineken fan, and I've had heineke on draft in Holland, so I think I gave it an honest try. This Seriously Bad Elf, is actually seriously bad. Granted, it has some nice features... the appearance is pleasant, clean, and crisp and has a nice thick foamy head. The 9% is well-balanced too and there are some other characteristics consistent with the style - but it's missing something. I don't know, maybe my bottle was old, but the head retention and clarity makes me think that that was not the case. I didn't think that this was a very creative product outside of the name.

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Photo of tavernjef
3.71/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slightly muted, clearish brassy gold with a beatifully stacked, medium to large sized head of off-whitish firm and frothy foam. Keeps a good lather always lapping at the sides and laces in lumps and clumps and strings and things.

Aroma is mildly sweet and tender of malts, slightly off in a old red apple and pear-like sweetening sense. Hops are floating around with leafyness and light floral aspects.

Taste is a bit heated within its malt presense which is sweet and firm with a touch of tropical sense and dull, old apples, touch of grassyness, dried grains, and straw to it as well. Hops enduce a bit of weakened bite and floral bitterness late after the appleness resides to the back, but this stays mainly malty.

Feel is decent, mediumish body, as the malts stay smooth and slightly sticky with the flavors riding well from beginning to end with a good amount of heat and warmth throughtout making the 9% evident enough.

An OK to good Strong ale to enjoy, mild, and English toned all the way.

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