Criminally Bad Elf Barleywine-Style Ale | Ridgeway Brewing

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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

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Ratings: 318 |  Reviews: 202
Photo of woodychandler
2.96/5  rDev -13.7%
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.

 2,022 characters

Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +13.7%
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.

 1,986 characters

Photo of bbtkd
3.28/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

 350 characters

Photo of Drknight
3.59/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of GreesyFizeek
2.99/5  rDev -12.8%
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.

 557 characters

Photo of JohnTurano
3.87/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of hopkrid
3.06/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Photo of ruzzal
4/5  rDev +16.6%
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.

124 characters

Photo of Sexmortus
2.84/5  rDev -17.2%
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 +2%
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 +17.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Photo of cozmo
4/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of rolltide8425
3.47/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of JayKay412
3/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of Blwissler
4.53/5  rDev +32.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.43/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best before 8/27/16.

Pours a clear dark orange with a foamy tan head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, candied fruit, honey, and slight nail polish remover aromas. Taste is much the same with toast, candied fruit, honey, and earthy hop flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of toast and hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that tastes solid, but the nail polish remover scent only dissipates somewhat as the beer warms up.

Serving type: bottle.

 689 characters

Photo of LloydDobler
3.95/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Pours brilliant crystal clear copper amber crowned by a clingy 1” white foam collar that dissipates quickly. S: raisin, dried fruit aroma T: Big mouthful of delicious malt with caramel, fruit and boozy alcoholic warmth and tastes on the end rounded out by a spicy hop bitterness. F: Medium body and medium low carbonation. O: Has big alcohol and flavor but is a little light for a barleywine.

 397 characters

Photo of Heeenrik
3.46/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of DrDemento456
3.37/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

My beer store was clearing these out for 6 bucks. Seeing the reviews lacking I still will drink it.

A - The beer actually looks good bright clear amber brown deep hue with a 1/4 inch of head that doesn't fizz out super fast and actually makes for a good lace ring.
S - Slightly sour but loaded with sweet malts and little ethanol smell which is good. I am not expecting much.
T - Very little actual barley wine notes I agree with others it taste like a sweeter/maltier malt liquor. Slightly sour vinegar notes make it unpleasant.
M - Slightly smooth stingy alcohol notes but drinks light.

Overall I regret buying this but will finish it since I am not a pussy. Don't buy this unless you prefer craft malt liquor.

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Photo of Hugh37
3.01/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Photo of nelsonk87
3.56/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Smells sweet and looks like fire. Overall nothing terribly special.

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Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.27/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of hreb
3.03/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

50cl bottle served in a wine glass. Deep amber, tinged with brown, with minimal head formation, and crystal clear, revealing ultrafine carbonation. Aroma, however, is all apple juice. It smells like this is going to be way sweet. The flavor itself is not so much sweet as it is strong. If I were feeling charitable, I'd point out the flavors of fresh grape juice, lightly toasted white bread, and the off-dry finish. Or I could admit this is just overly strong, somewhat adjunct-y, and tastes of malt liquor, i.e. alcohol. Basically, this delivers all of the alcohol I want in an English Barleywine, but hits none of the flavor notes. Drinkable, but not recommended.

 674 characters

Photo of JoeLacy
3.89/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

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Criminally Bad Elf Barleywine-Style Ale from Ridgeway Brewing
3.43 out of 5 based on 318 ratings.
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