Insanely Bad Elf Imperial Red Ale | Ridgeway Brewing

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Insanely Bad Elf Imperial Red AleInsanely Bad Elf Imperial Red Ale
308 Ratings
Insanely Bad Elf Imperial Red AleInsanely Bad Elf Imperial Red Ale

Brewed by:
Ridgeway Brewing
England, United Kingdom

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.20%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by fartingdog on 11-18-2007

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 308 |  Reviews: 185
Photo of paulish
4/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of TheBeerMaster1
3.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of antman27
2.44/5  rDev -28%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

Photo of digitalflood
4.18/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2016 Vintage Reserve
Aged one year
Malt cookies with boozy after taste. Very good.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.56/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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!"; "'My goodness,' muttered Claus recalling his visit to the Institute, 'the restrictive outerwear, the padded room - even padded Christmas tree ornaments. Horrifying! Yet the little chap seems happier than he's ever been,' Claus took a thoughtful sip of a most warming red ale. 'Perhaps sanity is over-rated ... Ho, ho, ho!' [undersigned] Peter Scholey (Brewer)".

A Pop! of the cap and the Insanity was released & had begun! I was as gentle on my pour as Mrs. Bates was with the fly that showed up at the end of "Psycho". I am not insane, just misunderstood! My in-glass swirl raised a finger of light, foamy, tawny head that seemed to run off in fear, quickly becoming mere wisps. Color was a solid Amber (SRM = > 7, < 9) with NE-quality clarity. Ah, those visits to my beloved Midwest ... It is that intense, insane cold that gives rise to such doings as "Fargo" & my old running mate from WI, Ed Gein. What fun! Visits to Iowa farms with my "In Cold Blood" pals are the stuff of dreams. The nose on this one should have been cut off when we had the chance, I mean, smelled like ripe berries in the summertime. It was actually quite sweet with the scent of mixed berries. Mouthfeel was thin-to-medium, not watery, but not many steps above. Speaking of steps, have you ever been in Francis Dolarhyde's basement? He has it arranged so that you do not experience the deliciousness of his setup on the descent of the cellar stairs, but once down there, it is magnificent! I only wish that the taste was equally magnificent. It was sweet, but undefined, rather hot and boozy & perhaps needing additional time to smooth out like one of Hannibal Lecter's chiantis. My, but that fellow is a gourmet cook & a gourmand! On my last visit, we supped on this lovely kidney, liver & fava bean dish that he had simmered in a crock pot. He gets the freshest ingredients & I am always envious. Finish remained hot & dry, still quite boozy, lacking refinement. I think that I may try to score an extra bottle on my next opportunity to set aside for some aging. In the meantime, the lovely attendant is summoning me to don my evening apparel, a close-fitting I-Love-Me jacket with my name embroidered above the left breast. It makes for an intimate meal as I hug myself while they spoon feed me, but what can you do when you have been judged Insanely Bad? "There is a pleasure, sure, in being mad, that none but madmen know." John Dryden, The Spanish Friar (II.i). Sleep well!

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Photo of minterro
3.17/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Photo of superspak
3.63/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330 ml bottle into snifter, bottled on 9/21/2016. Pours fairly crystal clear medium orange/amber color with a small dense white head with good retention, that reduces to a thin spotty lace cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings on the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of raisin, plum, peach, cherry, orange, melon, apricot, pear, apple, honey, light caramel, toasted rye bread, pepper, herbal, tea, floral, and yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of fruity yeast, earthy hops, and moderate bready malt sweetness; with solid strength. Taste of big raisin, plum, peach, cherry, orange, melon, apricot, pear, apple, honey, light caramel, toasted rye bread, pepper, herbal, tea, floral, and yeast earthiness. Moderate herbal/spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, plum, peach, cherry, orange, melon, apricot, pear, apple, honey, toasted rye bread, pepper, herbal, tea, floral, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Nice complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity yeast, earthy hops, and moderate bready malt sweetness; with a nice malt/bitterness balance; and light lingering hop astringency after the finish. Light-moderate dryness from bitterness, increasing through the glass. Light carbonation and medium-full body; with a smooth, creamy/bready/grainy/sticky, and lightly slick/syrupy balanced mouthfeel that is good. A little rough from the lingering bitterness. Alcohol is fairly well hidden; a small warming and a touch of booziness lingering after the finish. Overall this is a pretty nice English strong ale. All around good complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity yeast, earthy hops, and moderate bready malt sweetness; smooth and easy to sip on for the big ABV. A little rough and astringent going down, but otherwise had some nice balanced complexities; and was nicely enjoyable all around.

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Photo of sweemzander
2.96/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3

Photo of dcotom
3.71/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Based on the description of the English Strong Ale, this one seems to be on target. Clear, deep coppery color. Aromas and flavors of bready malt, orange, citrus zest, and banana. Alcohol is very prominent ont he nose and the palate. Moderately bitter finish, with some oily citrus zest lingering on the aftertaste. Not a stand-alone sipper in my book. Would be a good pairing with foods like cheese or fatty meats, which would mitigate the extreme alcoholic character of this beer.

 481 characters

Photo of 13tido
3.54/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of krome
4.25/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of BlackBeerPirate
3.71/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Taste: had a big boozy barley malts with some hops. Golden in color, clear, with a nice delicate lattice. Medium to full body, big alcohol warm finish.

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Photo of BeerSamurai34
3.52/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

THis might just be because it's not my favorite style, but I just really did not enjoy this. It drinks super boozy, and the flavor profile just doesn't seem to work.

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Photo of TheStoutLord
2.8/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3

L: Brownish red, but I wouldn't exactly call it copper quite yet. Lacey head, some bubbling. Looks thin and clear.

S: Faint smell, a little malty. You can get a hint of the high ABV.

T: There dominant flavor is the alcohol. No holding punches, not really any supporting flavors besides the maltiness of the beer. Its in your face and kind of drowning out any subtle or seasonal spices that may have tried to make an appearance in this beer.

F: I hate the feel. Its a thick kind of sticky that keeps the potent alcohol texture. Very characteristic of an Imperial Ale, especially a Red.

O: Not something I'd buy again. It was on sale as the season ended so I grabbed it. Nice for high ABV, but definitely not something I'm a huge fan of.

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Photo of BeerBobber
2.24/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This one poured a copper color with some bubbles and a head that just quickly dissipated.

The smell was just a very sugary sweet smell.

Taste was just freaking awful. Sorry but at this point I could not continue my review! This had the most awful sickly treacly taste that in my mind screamed, "Steel Reserve High Gravity!!!" Now I know that all taste buds are different but I really could not continue at this point. Drain pour or shotgun and God Pray For My Soul!

I went for the shotgun. Now that got some laughs from the kids, watching Dad crying in pain that is. Seriously this may be for some folks but I am so sorry to say this is one damned Elf I wish to beat his sorry ass into submission and send him back to Santa for a proper spanking.

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Photo of scaliasux
3.19/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Photo of BlakeH215
2.47/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

Photo of Rivarol
3.82/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of huysmans
3.94/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of kkmiller76
3.51/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Chico1985
2.62/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Oooo baby, you know Xmas is around the corner when the Ridgeway elves come out to play. This is the 2013 vintage, so a bit over 2 years old at this point. Best by date is 9-16-23. Calls itself an 'imperial red ale' on the label.

A - 330ml bottle pour to a snifter, color leans more towards an orangey-amber than red. A small off-white head forms, by the end a thin ring and some lace-bits remain.

S - Honey, toffee, vague fruitiness, bread, touch of fusel alcohol. Obviously malt-centric but really not a whole lot going on, surprisingly faint as well given the ABV.

T - Taste seems a bit more potent flavor-wise but still quite bland on the whole. Sweet malt doesn't even necessarily bring to mind caramel/toffee/molasses/whathaveyou, it's kinda just like. Sweet Malt, Inc. An odd green grape presence, weak orange marmalade, underwhelming liqueur, generic graininess.

M - Big but smooth+malty feel with low-end carbonation and really not much alcohol warmth, maybe age has tamed it a bit. Mouthfeel is pretty decent other than the impressive lack of actual flavor.

O - This has gotta be one of the blandest strong ales/barleywines I've ever had. No offensive flavors per say, actually kinda easy-drinking for the style+ABV, but yeah. Just a real lack of flavors here. A faceless high-ABV malt bomb of mediocrity.

 1,320 characters

Photo of John_Beeryman
3.75/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of UCLABrewN84
2.98/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2015 vintage ale. Best before 8/12/25.

Pours a clear golden-orange with a foamy beige head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. A foamy curtain of lace coats the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, rye, earth, alcohol, and skunk aromas. Taste is much the same with malt, fruit, honey, and earth flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of earth and hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an average beer that is fairly drinkable, but the aroma is pretty poor and doesn't make me want to drink much of this one.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of Heeenrik
3.65/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Lodisgrisen
3.78/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

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Insanely Bad Elf Imperial Red Ale from Ridgeway Brewing
Beer rating: 3.39 out of 5 with 308 ratings