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: 303 |  Reviews: 184
Photo of jaidenjb
5/5  rDev +47.1%

Photo of gungoat
4.75/5  rDev +39.7%

Photo of Blakaeris
4.52/5  rDev +32.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours clear red-copper with only slight carbonation. Head is crisp and white with decent lacing.

Aroma is sweet, bready caramel malt. Juicy with light fruit, and understated earthy nuttiness and only a mild alcohol sting.

Taste is sticky sweet. Brown sugar and toasted malt. Light fruit bathed in rum. Mild earthy hops bring balance. Finish is a little spicy with a pleasant alcohol warmth.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied. Soft and smooth.

This beer really surprised me. Great quality. Flavors are unified with no harshness at all. The alcohol is amazingly well hidden making this one so easy to drink. This is a winner.

 620 characters

Photo of Pskiv
4.5/5  rDev +32.4%

Photo of MisledTitan
4.5/5  rDev +32.4%

Photo of flyers68
4.5/5  rDev +32.4%

Photo of BEERchitect
4.47/5  rDev +31.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The latest in the 'Bad Elf' series, and likely the best. The previous Elf's became more cluttered and rough as the alcohol increased and the flavors intensified. But this one is different. A sweet, bready, toasty aroma shows no hint of higher alcohols or abrasion. Flavors are malty sweet, but the toasty character keeps the beer from cloying sweetness. Hopped for a bitter balance and little sweetness -- but never competes with the complex malt profile. As the beer warms, a sweet rum-like alcohols adds to the mix in favorable light. Well melded fruitiness complement the heavy malts well. Never fusal, phenolic, and moderately estery. Smoothly textured, but not without strong malt textures, and alcohol warming. Finishes toasty-sweet and warm. A very good beer, despite the intimidating namesake.

 801 characters

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

Pours a two finger cream head that fades slowly to a ring leaving some lace. Nice crystal clear reddish amber color. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Caramel nose. Flavor is sweet caramel but it is balanced with hops, not cloying, clean finish. High ABV is hidden but is warming. Best before Sep 2020. $5.00 for a 330ml bottle from Tully's Beer and Wine Wells, ME.

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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 RonaldTheriot
4.37/5  rDev +28.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Ridgeway Insanely Bad Elf has a somewhat thinnish, off-white head, a mostly clear, brilliant, amber appearance, a few bubble streams, and not really any lacing. The aroma is of toffee, booze, sweetness, and a touch of fruit. Taste is of sweetness, a nice, peppery bitterness, syrup, fruit, candi sugar, and bread. Mouthfeel is light to medium, and Ridgeway Insanely Bad Elf finishes on the dry side, rich, and quite drinkable. It’s another winner from Ridgeway!


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Photo of scruffwhor
4.37/5  rDev +28.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Looks medium brown from the top f the beer, when held to the light it looks like a syrupy amber with a little ruby mixed in. Loomkssort of a barley wine The aroma has lots of dark, deep fruits. Figs, brown sugar, and plums. The first sip gives off notes of plums, prunes, and frozen grapes. Lots of carmelized malts and sweet syrup. The alcohol intgrates very well with the sweet flavors in this beer. A little nutty sweet on the finish with a very smooth warmth. Great sipping beer.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.35/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After having had the other bad elf beers, I had to try this one. As it turns out, it's my favorite one; and it's reminded me of how much I enjoy English ales (I've been drinking mainly hoppy American ales lately).

I opened it on a chilly night (20F) after returning home from work. It poured a clear copper body with a reddish cast and orange highlights beneath a short head of creamy white froth. The head retention was good, and it left a thick ring of creamy lace at the outset of the pint.

In the nose it's got a delightful fruitiness that includes juicy red apples and hints of soft berries. There's a rich, lightly caramelish maltiness to it, and a delicate bit of spiciness as well.

In the mouth it's full bodied and creamy smooth with lots of dextrins and just a delicate caress from the very-fine bubbled moderate carbonation.

The flavor is just as the nose suggests, with a sugary fruitiness atop a soft, sweet maltiness. The yeasty fruitiness helps give an edge to the malt, cutting through it in a way, and it's got a tickle of spiciness that helps as well. Behind that there's a flutter of leafy and softly grassy hops, and a moderate bitterness that's not really perceived until the swallow when the huge maltiness has gone. Surprisingly, it never becomes cloying. There's so much malt there, but then it fades and the earthy and leafy hop flavor remains. Of course it is also a sipper, so you're leaving the palate some time to clear before you go back for more. And that leads me to...

Drinkability. I really enjoyed the Insanely Bad Elf, and I'm going to go pick up another few bottles for the holidays (it is kind of pricey). I'm not sure I'd have two in a row, but I might. I certainly enjoyed it enough that I'd consider doing so. That said, for me, the drinkability was high. It's the kind of beer that I love to nip at while reading before bed. Quite enjoyable!

 1,888 characters

Photo of BeerManDan
4.35/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite Christmas Ale's. The color was a reddish mahogany color with no foam and not a drop of lace. But, the roasted malty caramel flavor made up for it. Along with a hint of sour apple and just a well balanced strong ale. It didn't have that alcohol bite even with the 11 plus percent alcohol content. Expesensive, but well worth the price.

 353 characters

Photo of becktone
4.35/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes 12-22-08

Eye: As I smell the beer I look at the pillow on my bed...created by wrinkles and a stain (beer, sweat, I dunno) it looks like the Daredevil....interesting. Bottle states vintage 2007. Real nice on the eyes. Perfectly clear and lively looking as bubbles continusously race to the top of this amber/red ale. Head formation was nice, but retention could use some work. It has settled to a thin blanket over the brew. Lacing is a solid wall, thicker where the beer rests for a minute between sips.

Nose: Spicy, malty and sweet. This one has a great aroma. Very nice aroma, something very familiar, yet I can't put a finger on it. Candy like almost, like candied apples. I'll wager that some kind of sugar was used to brew this, only that can give a beer this its logical, high abv, good aroma. Damn, it right there, on the front of my brain, can't nail down that aroma, some fruity tones in there as well. Maybe the aroma of Queen Anne's chocolate covered cherries, though toned down a bit, less chocolate more cherry, well pretty much no chocolate. Really nice though, pretty potent, don't have to work to get anything out of this one. Very pleasing and appetizing.

Tongue: Sweet malt character is dominant, that aroma I can't identify is in the flavor as well. Alcohol is noticable and helps to balance the brew. Hop bitterness is noticable and helps along with alcohol to balance the huge malt profile of this brew. Hop flavor is in here as well. Citrusy and grapefruit are what I get, however their flavor plays behind the alcohol flavor when it comes to balancing. This is a really nice brew. Can't get enough of it. Some diacetyl in there, but its taken me half the glass to pick up, just a hint, which adds some depth to the brew, slight notes of butterscotch.

Feel and Drinkability: Low carbonation and a medium body, a bit warming as it goes down. Very nice brew, well crafted and well drunk. The finish doesn't last that long, whole lot of nothing after its swallowed, it leaves the palate feeling empty and dry, there is very little if any flavor that lasts after it is swallowed. The finish isn't dry, but the lack of any lasting flavor gives a weird sensation that I've not encountered before-maybe a swollen tongue but not swollen because its parched, a full throat, like all the muscles are a bit larger...this isn't a bad thing, it just makes me want to take another drink. This is one that I'll most definitely buy again, a great beer, give it a shot.

 2,505 characters

Photo of RoyalT
4.32/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - This is a bright but thick orangish-brown in color with a very modest head, not surprisingly.

Smell - The rotten prunes, overripe dates, and mashed raisins are huge at the nose. I can get some light orange and cherry along with a touch of the caramel malt base, but mostly it's those dates, prunes, and maybe figs.

Taste - The dark, fruity flavors explode in the mouth. Just a few drops on the tongue are enough to make you say "wow". This has a very heavy, rotten fruit taste and is totally awesome.

Mouthfeel - This medium-bodied ESA is dead in the mouth but so flavorful that you just can't stop salivating.

Drinkability - This sipping ale is so big and flavorful that it might even be too much for the novice. The biggest ESA I've had to date.

 764 characters

Photo of smakawhat
4.32/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Bottle marked as Vintage 2010.

A two finger head off white, kind of small, foamy, sits on a simple dark amber body. Some rising carbonation, crystal clear pretty straightforward looking.

Bouquet is a sweet a little sugared soft apple (red). Cherries, and strong malt presence. Clove spices and a bit of heat. Very nice.

Taste brings a real juicy palate. Nicely big cherry palate, chewy bursting fruit juice. Heat of barleywine sense, and rich malts also. Texture is almost velvety, rich and silky with no sense of carbonation it seems. Honey on the finish sweetness but nothing cloying.

A very good English strong ale, very enjoyable hope the others in the series are just as good.

 733 characters

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

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

2007 vintage

pours a light reddish brown with off white head, notes of good lacing

aromas of spice, hops, caramel, mild fruit (raisins?) barleywine-esque

good malty body upfront with caramel, slight spices like cloves and faint nutmeg, slight piney hops on the finish, slight sweet fruit finish as well

a bit sugary but seems that lot is going on, kinda hard to pick through it all. Really quite smooth for the 11.2 ABV, albeit a bit sugary, but not hot on the mouth. finish quietly lingers pleasantly. nice warming effect as well

really quite smooth, id say its more like a barleywine than a red, not dry or hoppy like most American red ales, but there's a lot going on and its fun to try to decipher it all. good malty body, interesting spices, good fruit, definitely original. Overall, smooth but it could still use a bit more time for the sugars to die down, but I would drink another in a flash, 3.99 for 11.2ABV and I look forward to putting a few away.

 964 characters

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 muchloveforhops3
4.25/5  rDev +25%

Photo of baos
4.25/5  rDev +25%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

TGS bought this for EEK for Christmas!!
12 ounce bottle into Falstaff goblet.

A: Nice deep copper color with a 1 finger head on the pour. That dwindles down the slightest little film. Bits of lacing here and there but not much.

S: Nice malty and dark fruit preserves notes. Maybe a hint of fruit liqueur.

T: Lots of malts in there with a yeasty cherry pie spice to it at the get go then it goes to hints of cherry liqueur then if you sit a bit and let it mellow on your palette it dries out and you get a bit of hops and a nice dry finish. A really enjoyable robust beer!

M: Nice medium to full body on this bad little elf.

D: At almost 12%, one warmed me up rather nicely, but I could muster four or five if a celebration was in order!

 741 characters

Photo of ssjkyle
4.25/5  rDev +25%

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.23/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

appearance: Very nice red, absolutely clear with a reasonable creamy head (for a +11%). Not sure what an 'Imperial Red' is but it ought to look like this.
smell: malty, spicy, that buttery edge a good barleywine or aged ale sometimes has.
taste: As the nose advertised, but...surprisingly (given the creepy nutso elf and the Santa visiting the asylum read on the bottle) it's a little subdued.
mouthfeel: medium creamy with moderate carbonation.
drinkability: Amazing here. Alcohol is really masked. Maybe the insanity starts after downing a few.

 548 characters

Photo of warmstorage
4.23/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 ounce bottle, $5.99 (I think?) from Brown Jug Warehouse, Anchorage, Alaska. Bottle states Vintage 2007.

Appearance: bright clear deep orange with visible small carbonation bubbles.

Aroma: caramel sweetness and sugary candy sweet. Very slightly metallic.

Taste: deep tangy sweet fruity, and sweet, and candy, and sweet caramel. Full and spicy and tangy and sweet all at the same time, an delicious.

Mouth: Bright sharp warm alcohol, but not necessarily as hot as one might think for 11.2%. Almost syrup mouth competes with the tingly heat. Nice.

Overall: Delicious, full, warm, sweet English style barleywine with a strong sweetness. Very, very nice and something I'd absolutely buy again, even at a very high price per bottle.

 741 characters

Photo of ElGordo
4.22/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the 12oz bottle into a Maudite snifter. Body is a reddish orange color topped by a thin ring of off-white head, with light yet persistent carbonation. Aroma of sweet, biscuity malt, fruity hops, and faint notes of tropical fruit and bubble gum. Palate is rich and sweet up front, with notes of fruity hops and bready malt. The fruitiness lingers all the way through the finish, which is also full of nice warming - but not burning - alcohol.
Body is smooth and full, not too dense and not too foamy. This is a complex yet approachable beer, and certainly a pleasure to drink. Possibly my favorite of the holiday "Elf" series.

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Insanely Bad Elf from Ridgeway Brewing
3.4 out of 5 based on 303 ratings.
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