Insanely Bad Elf | Ridgeway Brewing

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Insanely Bad ElfInsanely Bad Elf

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

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Ratings: 302 |  Reviews: 184
Photo of superspak
3.63/5  rDev +6.8%
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 -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3

Photo of dcotom
3.71/5  rDev +9.1%
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.

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Photo of 13tido
3.54/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of krome
4.25/5  rDev +25%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of BlackBeerPirate
3.71/5  rDev +9.1%
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.

 151 characters

Photo of BeerSamurai34
3.52/5  rDev +3.5%
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 -17.6%
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 -34.1%
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 -6.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Photo of BlakeH215
2.47/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

Photo of Rivarol
3.82/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of huysmans
3.94/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of kkmiller76
3.51/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Chico1985
2.62/5  rDev -22.9%
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 +10.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of UCLABrewN84
2.98/5  rDev -12.4%
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 +7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Lodisgrisen
3.78/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of PennSteve
4.3/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ALC82
4.41/5  rDev +29.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


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Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Pours garnet amber with a slight chill haze under a thin white film of foam. S: fruit and alcohol. T: Rich malt, plum, light fruit, light dose of hops, alcohol. F: Chewy, medium low carbonation, alcohol warming. O: A potent little beer.

 240 characters

Photo of Eziel
3.48/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of BostonJustin
4.04/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of damndirtyape
3.66/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle, 2013 vintage. Served in a Gordon Highland Scotch Ale thistle glass.

Appearance: Bright coppery amber, very thin skin of foam across the top and ring at the edge. Some occasional fine strands of lacing that slowly slid down the glass.

Smell: Some fruity notes, a hint of toffee, and some hints of alcohol. Surprisingly mild in aroma intensity.

Taste: Toffee and then a strong hit of alcohol that lingers from right after the sip to well after the finish. The finish also has some hoppy notes, mostly English style bittering Kent Golding but there is a hint of pine at the finish as well.

Mouthfeel: Light carbonation, and what at first feels like it would be a nice thickness that gets ruined a bit by the alcohol burn.

Overall / Drinkability: A very slow sipper and the alcohol shows up right away, not at all hidden. I let this warm up quite a bit to see if it would get better, and it is still unbalanced. The alcohol is potent and dominates the flavors, aroma, and mouthfeel of this beer. It's an okay sipping beer, and maybe if it was colder outside I would appreciate it more. Otherwise it's just okay because of the unbalancing. If the toffee and hops were more prominent and the alcohol tamped down a bit, I think this beer would be much better. I can see why the beer doesn't get very high ratings. I also think it fits better into the English Barleywine style due to the high ABV rather than English Strong Ale. But that's my opinion anyway.

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Insanely Bad Elf from Ridgeway Brewing
3.4 out of 5 based on 302 ratings.
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