Criminally Bad Elf Barleywine-Style Ale | Ridgeway Brewing

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Criminally Bad Elf Barleywine-Style AleCriminally Bad Elf Barleywine-Style Ale
326 Ratings
Criminally Bad Elf Barleywine-Style AleCriminally Bad Elf Barleywine-Style Ale

Brewed by:
Ridgeway Brewing
England, United Kingdom

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by jwc215 on 11-08-2006

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 326 |  Reviews: 204
Photo of jaidenjb
5/5  rDev +45.3%

Photo of beerdoc1
5/5  rDev +45.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a classic Abbott Ale, lower half dimpled, Plimsole lined, pint glass.

Clear amber; tight 1/4" head which lasted to the final sip. Good lace.

Dried vine fruit, background diacetyl and warming alcohol in the nose.

Full, rich, fruit, malt and appropriate alcohol for this big beer. Dangerously more-ish. This is my second "Elf" beer. Loved them both.

This reminds me not one whit of the justly famous and lauded Brakespeare Bitter. I was fortunate to have toured the brewery in a CAMRA guided, bicycle brewery and pub hejira many moons ago. Thrilled to see the spirit lives on!

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

Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.71/5  rDev +36.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Ridgeway Criminally Bad Elf has a very thick, frothy, cream-colored head, a somewhat hazy, yet brilliant, orange-amber appearance, and fairly significant lacing left on the glass. The aroma is strong, and I could smell it from a considerable distance. One will pick up a pungent, very sweet, syrupy, sugary, fruity, caramel. Taste is of rich, sweet, caramel, black pepper, unusual fruit components, bread, bread crust, celery, peanut butter, and even a shade of nuts. Mouthfeel is fairly light, and Ridgeway Criminally Bad Elf finishes wet, rich, sweet, and delicious. I recommend this in the strongest way!


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Photo of Blwissler
4.53/5  rDev +31.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of matjack85
4.5/5  rDev +30.8%

Photo of Pskiv
4.5/5  rDev +30.8%

Photo of Wiedemann
4.5/5  rDev +30.8%

Photo of kvnstfrd
4.5/5  rDev +30.8%

Photo of Scepter
4.5/5  rDev +30.8%

Photo of BeerManDan
4.42/5  rDev +28.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It poured semi thick and the color was a reddish copper with very little foam that disapated within seconds. The smell had an aroma of roasted malts, candy, spice and fruit too! A complex ale with all the sweet smells.

The taste was of a mild bitter/sweet, roasted malts, spice and fruit on the palate. Fruit as in rasins and spice as in coriander and candy as in caramel. Nice pleasant surprise for this Ridgeway Barleywine Ale.

Also, the warmer you leave it get, the more the complex flavor. I finding this out with most British Ales!

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4.32/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fun holiday themed beer continues this year with this offering. Pours to a perfect honey colored body with a light tan head that fades from 2 inches to a quarter inch with some lace. Very sweet nose with notes of red liqurice, toffee, malt and earthy vanilla. Enters the mouth very smooth and flat out delicious. Slightly sweet with woodsy richness. Long mineral tones on the finish. Amazingly well hidden alchol untill it hits the belly. Leaves a thick mouthfeel. Very enjoyable, cant wait to have another.

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Photo of JoeAmerican77
4.25/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Copper colored off white head...

Smells of tums light cocoa brown sugar and malty yeast

Wow, on the tongue malt, belgian candy/yeast and booze all in a few seconds, some fruity ice pop flavors, grape, and dark cherry

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and creamy, warmed by the alcohol

Overall this was a great purchase, huge flavor, not sure why the belgian elements have been so prominent from this brewery but then again i haven't checked their website or anything... only paid three bucks for the bomber

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Photo of DreaminBeer
4.25/5  rDev +23.5%

Photo of Anvilfarm
4.25/5  rDev +23.5%

Photo of jaycar06
4.25/5  rDev +23.5%

Photo of ajs4bd
4.25/5  rDev +23.5%

Photo of peternemeth
4.25/5  rDev +23.5%

Photo of Bouleboubier
4.23/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

(on cask 2 nights ago at Victoria Freehouse - served at about room temp in a snifter)

L: clear amber-garnet liquid, holds a thick 1/2" head till the end... very minimal lacing, however

S: spicy, pleasant mild phenols... fruit jam atop a huge bed of caramel... lovely, overall, though not a waking intensity even in a snifter

T: caramel and fruit brandy, with its booze trailing on the end as well... brute malt, with a soft side... lil bit of hop and phenol bitter in the finish

F: smooth and still... pillow soft... delicate boozy flare in the finish, comforting warmth in the belly

O: it took me sitting down at the computer and looking at the specs here to realize this was 10.5%... had no idea - one would never know... quite nice, but now I feel like I have to try a bottle of it to compare... it never ends...

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Photo of adamette
4.22/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Live review. Poured from the 50 cl bottle that I bought at Reider's in Painesville last week. This is the second of four in a series from Ridgeway Brewing Company focusing on Christmas that I will be tasting and rating. Poured into my Great Lakes Brewing Company Christmas Ale goblet glass. F11 223 stamped on bottom of back label.

A Golden orange translucent body glows even without being held up to direct light. Nice light brown creamy head that sticks around for about 3 minutes. 3.5

S Nice, gentle sweetness hit me first. Repeated sniffs reveal a nice, earthy malt sweetness with a near absence of hop smell. I like the smell of this English Barleywine. I do not smell any alcohol. 4.0

T The nice malt sweetness carries right over into the taste. I certainly pick up the alcohol in the taste where I did not perceive it in the smell but it is not at levels suggested by the ABV on the label of 10.5%. Very nicely hidden. Tastes like maybe a 7.0%. There are, of course, more tastes than just malt sweetness and a bit of alcohol. There is a nearly sugar like sweetness that stays on the lips well after the last sip. I do pick up some distant hops too and some barley as well. This is simply a really good tasting beer. 4.5

M The Candy sugar sweetness that stays on my lips, the very well hidden ABV and a slight syrupy stickiness make this feel very good indeed. 4.5

D Good for the style, great for the 10.5% ABV. 4.0

Notes: This is a nicely done English beer. The Christmas themed bottle is very gimmicky but inside is a finely crafted beer. I would certainly pick this one up again and it is my favorite from The Ridgeway Brewing Company.

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Photo of russpowell
4.14/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours amber with 1/2" of of off-white head. Good head retention & lacing

S: Fruitty, bready with dry candied fruits & honey

T: Fruitty, bready & boozey up front. A bit of smokeyness as this warms along with plums, apricots, honey & much sweetness & dryness. Finishes with loads of honey taste & touch of lemony hops

MF: Syruppy, chewy with low carbonation & a bit too much dryness

Drinks a bit slow because of the intense dryness, but a solid winter warmer

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Photo of acrawf6
4.1/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours out a clear dark orange amber with a thick white head.

Smell. Has a potent malty sweetness thats nice. Has a very strong apple fruityness in the aroma with a nice hint of a honey character.

Taste. The apples stick through nicely from the aroma. Has a strong sweetness like a light brown sugar that leaves my lips quite sticky after each sip. Balanced well with the hops for being more of a malt bomb. Leaves my mouth warm after each swallow.

Mouthfeel. I really like this aspect of the beer a whole bunch. Body is quite full, with a presence of carbonation that really struggles to make it known in the beer. Because of this, it leaves the body with a very thick and creamy texture, which i thought was very nice.

Overall, I really enjoy this beer. I liked their other 2 Christmas beers, but this one i think stands out very well. Certainly one to look out for next season.

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Photo of Stoneman78
4.09/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Duvel tulip glass
A- Pours a clear light orange hue, head is a thinner layer of creamy white bubbles that dissipate, very slight lacing on the glass
S- Nose is mostly dark fruits, sweet bread malts, alcohol, and apples, some slighter tones of brown sugar, caramel, oak, and winter spices
T- Initial taste is sweet malts and apples, interesting transition to a creamy, fluffy light chocolate marshmallow in concert with some dark fruits, finishes with a stiff alcohol warming
M- Medium-bodied, creamy texture is very pleasant, prickly carbonation
D- This is one interesting barleywine that has a very unique creamy texture, the alcohol is present but not overwhelming, this is an interesting one-shot but I am luke warm about a possible repeat performance
Buy again? Undecided
Personal score- 80/100

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Photo of rajendra82
4.08/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

The beer came in a light brown bottle that proudly exhibited the bad elf behind bars. The generous 50 cl. size and the 10.5% ABV meant a serious session ahead for this solo drinker. As I cracked it open and poured into an oversized wine glass, the clarity of the pale amber body surprised me. The beer also looked thinner and more fluid than a typical barleywine. The aroma, although mild, was distinctive with a balance between spicy hops and orange marmalade like malt sweetness. The taste was well crafted with neither of the bitter, spicy, and sweet flavors dominating the others. The finish was dry and dusty, and the alcohol was notably absent throughout. The only fault I could find is the lack of richness in the thin body. But considering the drinkability of the concoction, this was but a minor quibble.

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Photo of DCon
4.07/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought a bottle of this @ Lukas Liquor in Ellisville, MO for $6-7 (can't remember because it was over 5 months ago). Has a cool cap with the Elf Skiing! Poured into my Schlafly Tulip Glass and has a date of F12 239?

Aroma- Begins with a sharp malty and spice combination with a slight bubblegum aroma. Very bready as well. Light alcohol smell and very surprised!

Appearance- Pours a clear, copper color body with 1 finger of white, bubbly head that dies down quickly. Has nice thick lace on the sides afterwards.

Flavor- Very sweet from the start, has tons of different flavors and spices and an alcohol flavor that is huge! Afterwards, has a bubblegum flavor that is light but easily found. Low bitterness but has a definite alcohol finish.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied, Very thin but then leaves a hint of rum on the palate and a rich maltiness. Medium carbonation but doesn't have the chewy attribute I was looking for...

Overall Impression- While aged for at least half a year (one of my first aged beers I've opened), this was great! I'm wondering if this is a beer people should age because my experience was awesome with it! Could drink 1 or 2 in a night and certainly was rich, complexed, and had a lot of character! Something you should look for!

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Criminally Bad Elf Barleywine-Style Ale from Ridgeway Brewing
Beer rating: 3.44 out of 5 with 326 ratings