Criminally Bad Elf Barleywine-Style Ale | Ridgeway Brewing

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Criminally Bad Elf Barleywine-Style AleCriminally Bad Elf Barleywine-Style Ale
BA SCORE
3.44/5
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332 Ratings
Criminally Bad Elf Barleywine-Style AleCriminally Bad Elf Barleywine-Style Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Ridgeway Brewing
England, United Kingdom
ridgewaybrewery.co.uk

Style: British Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#41,533
Reviews:
208
Ratings:
332
pDev:
15.99%
 
 
Wants:
3
Gots:
28
Trade:
0
HISTOGRAM
 
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Ratings: 332 |  Reviews: 208
Photo of Premo88
3.82/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

16.9 oz. bottle poured into snifter tulip
(XX)

L: bronze-copper, some amber in it but not a ton, with an almost 1/2-inch head of offwhite foam that dissipates quickly; keeps a week but noticeable collar of loose bubbles; no sticking/lacing

S: super sweet honey, peach, lilac ... the floral sweetness is so strong it's like an air freshner or laundry detergent/fabric softener

T: sweet honey and apricot, almost braggot-level sweetness but with a pretty stern bit of earthy hops to offer at least some balance; a slight bit of medicinal alcohol burn builds in the aftertaste when I drink it fast ... it's not overpowering but there's also no mistaken this for a session beer

F: solid midweight, decent crispness from the carbonation despite an arguably flat look at times

O: not nearly as good as Ridgeway's Reindeer Revolt or their Lump of Coal but still plenty tasty and easy to sip for so big a beer; considering it's 10.5% ABV, I'd personally like a bit more of something, but that might be my anti-barleywine bias speaking out ... it's hard to put a finger on but the malt doesn't quite have the same pop as the other two Ridgeway beers, and in a barleywine I'd expect the malt to pop big time; the earthy hop buildup is a nice touch and keeps the beer from coming off like a sugary syrup

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Photo of patre_tim
3.76/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Copper filtered, with moderate carbonation and a half finger of off white head.

Smells of crème brûlée toasted malts and vanilla pudding.

Taste of crème brûlée, toasted Malts and candy apple candy.

Medium, Syrupy body, with moderate carbonation.

I got this at world market and I’m drinking in Redding December 21, 2018.

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Photo of Suds
3.75/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From a large bottle, this brew is a golden amber color. Slim white head. The aroma is malty and sweet-smelling. Small in fruit and a little toasted notes. This brew is full, sweet, boozy, and interesting. It's not an over-the-top brew, but is subtle and drinkable.

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Photo of RayCannata
2.78/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Photo of Ozzylizard
3.44/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

$ 7.47 (Including tax)/500 mL bottle ($ 0.441) from World Market, The Forum, Live Oak, TX. Reviewed 11/22/18.
Bottle marked “F20 225” on back of label. On shelf in store, stored at 42 degrees at home and served at 60 degrees in a hand washed and dried Jester King snifter.
Appearance – 3.5.
Body – Light orange, clear.
Head – Average (Maximum three cm, aggressive center pour), off-white, creamy, short duration diminishing to a partial one-bubble ring and no layer.
Lacing – None.
First pour – Light amber, clear.
Aroma –3.25 - Sweet, caramel malt, weak.
Flavor – 3.5 – Sweet and malty, mostly caramel. Ends with a bit of bitterness, not much, just enough to notice. No alcohol (10.5% ABV), no diacetyl, no dimethylsulfide.
Palate – 3.5 – Medium, syrupy, soft carbonation.
Impression and interpretation – 3.5 – An OK brit barley wine. The initial sweetness is balanced by the ending bitterness. The flavor is rather one-dimensional, being that of caramel malt, which is surprising since the brew contains barley, wheat, rye, and oats. Several minutes after you finish drinking, the alcohol produces a mild gastric burn.

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Photo of JeffSK
3.43/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of rudiecantfail
3.73/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

50 cl bottle poured into a tulip glass.

L---Clear, light copper color. Nice off white head that. had little retention, fizzling down to a film quickly. Actually left quite nice lacing

S---Boozy. Alcohol is clearly there. Raisins and dark fruit.

T---Followed the nose. Booziness is there, but not at all overwhelming, which is nice from such a potent beer, Some cherry & plum. Raisin is in the forefront.

F---Nowhere near as heavy or cloying as I was expecting from such a high ABV. Actually feels more wet than astringent. There's even a touch of creaminess.

O---Very nice effort by the brewers. This was a gift from someone a few states away, so I don't know if I'll ever see it near me, but if I do, I'll definitely pick it up.

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Photo of brittanylicious
3.5/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of heysuz
3.5/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of 1971bernat
3/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of Cpmitchno1
3.65/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Bartpatton
3.68/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Retroman40
3.54/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a straw color with a fleeting head. Very strong malt smell with some hints of alcoholic heat. Taste follows and is very malt forward with minimal hop note. While smooth, the finish certainly gives some hint to the high alcoholic strength. Low carbonation rate makes for a very neutral mouthfeel experience other than the slightly dry finish. Overall this is a decent enough beer but I am not certain I can justify recommending it to anyone at the rather high (6.99 US for a 50cl (16.9oz) bottle.

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Photo of OzmanBey
5/5  rDev +45.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of woodychandler
2.96/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I am continuing my 2017 Christmas in July celebration, inspired by the good peeps at The FGBS who held Christmas in July on Tuesday. I had meant to drink these on Christmas day 2016, but I got rather blotto early on & set them aside as part of The Bottle Backlog at Chez Woody. Today is my series of entries for New Elf Christmas Beer in July Sunday (Week 649).

From the bottle: "One of our range of very special Christmas beers brewed in England for the USA. We all know of course, that Santa is really from Lapland!"; "It turned out to be a case of mistaken identity, of course - wrong place at the wrong time, but Claus was soon back on the street with the polite apologies of the authorities - no questions asked. All's well that ends well, surely, but still, the reporters wanted to know ... it takes its toll, doesn't it? 'Indeed,' sighed Claus, 'my elf is going crazy and I fear I shall soon go crazy as well.' And with that he hoisted a great flagon of his favorite Barleywine-style ale, silently contemplating the future and straining to remember why he got into this particular line of work in the first place. [undersigned] Peter Scholey (Brewer)".

I Pop!ped the cap with a bit of a cringe. 50 cl of 10.5% ABV Barleywine?!? It seems criminal to me. I poured it very gently & followed that up with an in-glass swirl to raise two-plus fingers of foamy, fizzy, tawny head with modest retention. Color was Deep Amber/Light Copper to Copper (SRM = > 13, < 17) with NE-quality clarity. Nose was rather faint, honey-like in its sweetness, but making no attempt to hide its fusel alcohol quality. Phew! Mouthfeel was thin-to-medium, not watery, but definitely thin for this style. The taste was simply boozy, very hot, but lacking depth or perceptible taste. Finish was dry, hot & boozy, but that was about it. This lacked depth, character or anything much to redeem it, especially for its style as proclaimed on the label. At least, it was a fairly inexpensive drink, but beyond that, there was little to redeem it.

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle into snifter, bottled on 9/16/2016. Pours fairly crystal clear deep orange/light copper color with a 1 finger dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a light amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big golden raisin, peach, apricot, plum, cherry, berry, orange, pear, apple, honey, brown sugar, caramel, toasted bread, light nuttiness/toffee, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of fruity yeast, dark/bready malt, and light earthy hop notes; with great strength. Bit of diacetyl, but not overwhelming. Taste of big golden raisin, peach, apricot, plum, cherry, berry, orange, pear, apple, honey, brown sugar, caramel, toasted bread, light nuttiness/toffee, herbal, light pepper/pine, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Light pine/herbal/spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of golden raisin, peach, apricot, plum, cherry, berry, orange, pear, apple, honey, brown sugar, caramel, toasted bread, light nuttiness/toffee, herbal, and yeast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity yeast, dark/bready malt, and light earthy hop flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance, and no cloying sweetness after the finish. Light dryness from bitterness, lightly increasing through the glass. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a smooth, creamy/silky, and lightly slick/sticky balanced mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden; a mild warmth, with zero booziness lingering after the finish. Overall this is a very nice English barelywine. All around nice complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity yeast, dark/bready malt, and light earthy hop flavors; very smooth, clean, and easy to drink for the big ABV. Very well balanced with well rounded malt/yeast complexity for the style; without being bitter or boozy. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of bbtkd
3.28/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Ridgeway Criminally Bad Elf, 10.5% ABV. Pours thin and light orange, just a little white head. Nose is alcohol, fruit, and sweetness. Taste follows, with a slight bitter close. Poor mouthfeel since it went flat quickly, and overall extremely meh. Actually better than expected and better than previous barleywines, though nothing to write home about.

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Photo of Drknight
3.59/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of GreesyFizeek
2.99/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

On tap at the Tap and Mallet in Rochester, NY.

This one pours a clear ruby red, with no head or lacing. Looks pretty still.

This smells like booze spoked cherries and raisins, caramel, more booze, and fruitcake.

This is quite boozy and sweet, with a lack of depth of flavor that I usually look for in barleywines. It's mainly fruity sweetness, just feel like liquid boozy fruitcake. I wish this had more malt complexity.

This is light bodied, a bit too thin for the style. There is very little carbonation..

This is a pretty poor example of the style.

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Photo of JohnTurano
3.87/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of hopkrid
3.06/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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

Wayyyyy better than I thought it'd be. My wife picked it up by the register at World Market since it was cute. Pretty tasty.

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Photo of Sexmortus
2.84/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

The more I drank it, the worse it got.

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Photo of Pegasus
3.5/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Light amber in color,rather clear, with as modest white head, somewhat coarse, which soon fades to a coarse ring about the glass walls. The lacing is ultra-fine in character.

Aroma: Vinous alcohol and caramel dominate the aroma. Dark bread, bitter apple rind and raisins add to the aroma. The alcohol has a hot, solvent quality.

Taste: Begins with somewhat hot alcohol, caramel, and toasted dark bread. Soon after, dark fruits rise, particularly raisins and plums. Sweet alcohol is a persistent undercurrent throughout the taste.Late in the the taste, some earthy and herbal hop flavors appear, helping to bring the taste to a balanced close.

Mouth feel: Smooth, and pleasant, full and soft.

Drinkability/notes: A bit boozy, but not bad. Definitely a nightcap beer.

Presentation: Packaged in a custom sixteen ounce glass bottle with a pop-off crown, served in a standard pint tap glass.

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Photo of Thrifty101091
4.02/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

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Criminally Bad Elf Barleywine-Style Ale from Ridgeway Brewing
Beer rating: 3.44 out of 5 with 332 ratings