Insanely Bad Elf Imperial Red Ale | Ridgeway Brewing

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Insanely Bad Elf Imperial Red AleInsanely Bad Elf Imperial Red Ale
304 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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Ratings: 304 |  Reviews: 185
Photo of becktone
4.35/5  rDev +28.3%
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.

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Photo of Lexluthor33
3.63/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Orange amber with a reddish tint.Small head and thin lace.
The aroma was just malts,sweet and alcohol.

The taste starts sweet with rich malts and very subtle hops ending with some alcohol warmth that gets a little hotter as it warms.
The overall feel was low carbonation,medium body and a smooth,sweet low burn.

Notes: This brew was just a little unbalanced in the finish. Nothing to get crazy about,yet this beer to me felt like a strong ale and nothing else. Perhaps not the greatest English strong ale,but a good one. The finish could have been better though and that may have hurt the rating. It just tasted out of order towards the end and the solvent taste of the alcohol made this one a slow sipper in the final moments of this beer.

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Photo of WorldWideStout
4.14/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance is like that of an amber ale, no head really.

Smell is very sweet and malty; you also notice the alcohol's presence, a bit of a medicinal smell like you get in some barleywines, and there's a bit of cherries in there as well.

Taste is fairly similar to the smell - sweet and malty. It is a bit tart right at the start, but that soons dissipates. The middle is all sweetness, and the finish is similar, with a bit of an alcoholic hint.

Mouthfeel is pretty regular, which is surprising considering the beer's strength.

For its alcohol level this beer is quite light and easy to drink.

I don't think I will buy this again if I have to spend $7, but I enjoyed it. It reminded me of the same brewery's beer Lump of Coal. Stay away from this beer if you don't like sweet!

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Photo of Tone
3.4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber color. 1/5 inch head with slight retention and slight lacing. Smells sweet, of rye, and some muted grass aromas. Fits the style of an English Strong Ale, I guess. Mouth feel is smooth and slightly thick. Low carbonation level present. Tastes very tart up front, then the alcohol comes through strongly. Slight hop bitterness is noticeable and some sweetness from caramel (maybe) is present. Once your past the alcohol and tartness the beer is pretty good. The sweetness is balanced by the hop bitterness for a good finish. Overall, it's just too hard to get past the initial flavors. To its credit, the beer's tartness does wane as you progress and increases its quality of taste.

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Photo of cswhitehorse
3.48/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The Insanely Bad Elf looked to be mis-understood by a number of previous posters and for the style of the beer it is not too bad. It poured a tiny foam head with not much in the way of lacing. I suppose that can be expected with the high abv and concentration of flavors. On the bottle it says Imperial Red Ale brewed in 2007.

The nose of the beer is fruity with some esters rolling up. You also get some solvent like smell as well. The taste is sweet and of caramel. It has a little bit of hop bitterness on the finish and the high alcohol volume is smoothed out by the sweetness. Overall for the what the beer is, not too bad.

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Photo of jgap
1.94/5  rDev -42.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Consumed on 12/18/08. This beer is insanely bad! So bad, in fact, that after joining BA almost a year ago without any motivation for reviewing, it motivated me to start simply to warn my fellow beer connoisseurs. I almost grabbed the barleywine from this series and i wish i had instead of this one because i doubt it could be worse than this. I'll be the first to say, 'to each his own' and there are plenty of things I do contrary to popular opinion on this site (ie aging maharaja) but in my personal opinion, this beer is simply really bad. The appearance is dark brown-red with virtually no head. The smell is nothing particularly unique, rich in malt and alcohol. But the taste is simple, flat, and completely unimaginative. I'll admit the alcohol burn was very slight which is pretty impressive for something this big. But the complete and utter lack of carbonation (which I didn't even think I would care about) and the foul aftertaste of stale beer are quite enough to motivate me to write this review. I truly hope this is helpful and while I have not tried the other beers from this brewer, I'm willing to bet that they are better than this. Moral of the story: get the barleywine.

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Photo of xsists
2.15/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

A - Deep dark amber color. Small amount of head that dissipates quickly.

S - Sweet alcoholly scent. I get a lot of grape smell, almost like champagne.

T - Very sweet. Loads of malt in this one. I get a grapey citruis taste and it follows through to the finish.

M - Thick and sugary. Carbonation is present as well.

D - I did not like this. I actually did not drink it all the way through. Will not look this direction again.

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Photo of Zorro
3.25/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Clear deeply amber colored ale with a thin tan colored head, mostly a ring really.

Smell is melon and citrus with butter and wood scent. Slight mint scent and cooked veggies aroma.

At the start the taste is sweet with fruity taste and a bitter aftertaste. Melon and peaches with a woody bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is thick.

Don't really like this one that much, the fruity taste just clashes with the melon and bitterness.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.73/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, appealing reddish-amber with a little bit of white head. Aroma is strong and more fruity than malty, like a strong cider or brandy. Flavor is surprisingly sweet, but not cloying; fruity, mainly apple, and lacking the kind of alcohol bite I expected from such a high-gravity beer. Texture is tingly and lively, and it leaves a pleasingly sweet aftertaste with just a hint of alcohol bitterness.

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Photo of Gyges
3.87/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Nice attractive amber color, o.k. head, but it didn't stick around for too long

S- A little bit of fruit, but mostly malt

T- Sweet with lots of malt, no detectable hops, but a definite underscore of vanilla. A bit of warmth at the end, but nothing unpleasant.

M- Thick but not quite syrupy.

D- I wouldn't want to have more than one a night, but one is nice way to end a cold winters day.


Served at cellar temperature in a goblet. I'm not sure why this is in the Strong Ales and not in either the Winter Warmer, Barley Wine, or Old Ale categories. It's not quite any over those three, but it's closer to them than a Strong Ale.
If you're looking for any sort of hops, get another beer. If your looking for something more akin to Brandy or Sherry, this would be a nice yearly treat.

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Photo of stcules
2.21/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Deep red color, bright. It has an average white foam.
In the smell it tends to be malty, and oily. Sunflower seeds, too!
Overall, heavy and boring.
Ok, it has 11.2 ABV, yes, but it is too alcoholic, with fusels, pear. In the end, quite boring, and not easy too drink.
Winter beer, yes, it warms, yes. But not too pleasantly.

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Photo of MTNboy
4.05/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It poured in to my glass a hazy brown color and then turned a beautiful shade of dark red. The head and bubbles started from the middle and worked their way to the top before settling. The head went fast but formed a nice tight lace. It has a sweet candy and malt aroma with some fruity esters. The taste is almost all malt. There is virtually no bitter flavor to this beer at all. It has a slick and smooth mouthfeel. There is some fizz in the feel but I would not call it bite. I like it. It is incredibly smooth for the amount of alcohol.

 541 characters

Photo of FrognutUnl
2.57/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A - Deep amber in color. Crystal clear with ½ inch white head. No lacing

S - Smells citrusy, somewhat floral and a little sour. The smell kind of makes me excited

T - Not much of the nose makes its way into my mouth, which is a shame as I was kind of excited. Taste is very syrupy sweet and the alcohol is extremely present. There is also a slight spiciness in the finish.

M - Syrupy thick.

D - Not terribly fond of this. It is extremely out of balance. Way to sweet, almost no hops, and an alcoholic burning that might have been ok except for my first two complaints.

EDIT: I let my wife have a sip, her reaction was that of a cat that just ate the most terrible thing ever followed by "Who killed a bison an threw it in a beer". Priceless.

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Photo of edchicma
3.65/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear copper with a minimal head. Smell is malty and slightly fruity. Taste is sweet, but the alcohol presnece is a bit too harsh. Mouthfeel is viscuous and dry due to alcohol. Drinkability is ok, after all it IS a sipper, but I've had smoother even with high abvs.

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Photo of colts9016
3.63/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an English Pint glass at about 40 degrees.

Appearance: is a rich golden color with a copper reddish hue. there was a one finger foamy head. The head dissipated to a foamy whit ring around the glass. The beer has carbonation bubbles coming from the bottom of the glass. The clarity of the beer is very clear.

Nose: A rich roasted malt, caramel, citrus, and floral. There are notes of solvent and some dried fruit.

Taste: A rich roasted malt with caramel, citrus, and floral. It is bready, yeasty, a sweet honey, and kinda fruity.

Overall: The beer is syrupy, and overall sweet. The mouth feel is warming from the alcohol. The finish is slightly bitter. You can taste the alcohol in the beer. The beer is very strong and solvent like. The beer is not to bad and very strong in the alcohol department. I think I would like the beer if it wasn't so syrupy. The finish does linger on the palate for a little bit. I would like the beer to be more refined and not so syrupy. I like the beer although.

 1,013 characters

Photo of caminiti
3.68/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip glass a dark orange absent any head and lacing. Has a strong smell of fruit, and I think maple? A bit thin and a strong aftertaste of "sweet" and alcohol. A decent beer to try once in a while but not one that I would have more than one of, or likley to drop $5 on a bottle of again...

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Photo of scootny
3.51/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A clear copperish amber brew that produces a nice one finger head of off white slightly sticky foam. A decent retention and lacing on the glass.

Smell is faint sweet malt and a subtle vinous quality.

Taste is very sweet with alcohol and dinner rolls. A mild hop bitterness tries to cut the sugar train off but the train keeps rolling. A light banana accented tropical fruitiness as I swallow. The finish is hot and fusel with a drying quality. A sweet breadiness lingers in my mouth.

Mouthfeel is the best part. Somewhat thick and chewy with a tingly carbonation that leads to a light creamy component.

Drinkability is pretty good considering the booziness. Still, you are not gonna kill a bunch of these and one was fine for me.

A good brew for holiday sipping by a fire and sharing family stories.

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Photo of avalon07
3.58/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a yellowish-brown color and a clear consistency. There was a thin layer of head and some decent lacing.

S: Aroma had a sweet, malty quality to it.

T: Tasted of roasted malt up front and caramel in the finish. Alcohol is very much present. Not bad.

M: A fairly well-carbonated beer with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

D: On the whole, this isn't a bad beer. It's pretty well made, but didn't blow me away.

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Photo of spycow
3.41/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Found a line of Ridgeway Beers visiting my family over the holiday which is surprising. Drank from a american pint glass.

A - Nice amber/copper color. Poors easy. Very little carbonation or head.

S - Tries to smell like a brandy but more of molasses and sweet.

T - Starts off well. Taste like many of the strong ales I've had. Definitely a sweet taste with a hint of fruit. Even though you can taste the alcohol in the finish it still wasn't harsh on your palette.

M - Feels heavy but drinkable. Leaves an aftertaste of the alcohol but doesn't stay long. Closer to a full body finish.

D - Drinkable for this type of ale. Better than some I've had before.

Would try it again and recommend if you like english strong ales.

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Photo of sholland119
2.98/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Picked this up at State Line a few weeks ago. Seems appropriate for Christmas Eve Eve.

A-A clear light honey amber with no head to speak of.

S-Smells like brandy, sweet and laden with hot alcohol.

T-Pretty good in the front. Sweet but not cloying. Honey and dark fruit and a hint of biscuity malt. Unfortunately, way too much alcohol in the finish for my liking.

M-Oily and viscous. Too much booziness hangs around.

D-Not sure I can finish this one. Too hot.


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Photo of baos
4.25/5  rDev +25.4%
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!

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
2.47/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from an 11.5 oz bottle into a pint glass. Emerges clear and amber in color. A decent sized white head forms put is quite thin and disappears abruptly, becoming small bubbles on the surface.

Aroma is sweet and alcoholic. Smells like a cheap malt liquor. Malt liquor with more caramel and more fruitiness. Bleh.

More malt liquor on the flavor. Very sweet and very fruity. Not overly hot as far as the alcohol is concerned. Definitely taste the alcohol and it is quite warming.

If you like sweet and alcoholic, thin feeling beers, this is up your alley. Thin on the mouthfeel and the alcohol is very evident. Think Fruit punch with everclear and a touch of "caramel sweetness". Really didnt like this one.

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Photo of zeff80
3.33/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Poured out a clear, orange/amber color with a small, tan, foamy head. It left some lace.

S - It smelled very boozy and full of alcohol. There was a biscuity caramel maltiness in the nose, too.

T - It tasted of alcohol and very sweet caramel malt. There were some notes of vanilla and oak.

M - It was soft and very smooth. It was medium-bodied and surprisingly easy drinking despite the high ABV.

D - This comes across just too sweet and boozy to rank much higher on the drinkability scale. It was worth a try one, but I don't think I'll need another.

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Photo of HeyItsChili
3.48/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a clear amber with virtually no head. An extremely thin string of white foam clings to the edge of the glass.

S - I'm getting mostly caramel and malt.

T - Sweet with honey, vanilla, sweet warm malts, a little bit of bitterness from hops towards the finish.

M - Almost no carbonation, medium bodied.

D - Maybe a little on the too-sweet side for my taste.

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Photo of Dirty1
3.72/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I bought one of these at Bev Max in Stamford. Its a 12 oz. bottle with 2007 vintage on the label. Pour into a pint glass.

A- Pours a clear redish orange color with no head to speak off at all. No lace rings present and seemed to go flat rather quickly.

S- Sweet malt! Has hints of vanilla and bourbon with under tones of toffee and brown sugar. No hops to speak of.

T- Sweet vanilla and candy with hints of bourbon and honey. Slight fruity under tones with no hops to speak of. Nice warming alcohol that is very well hidden by the sweetness.

M- Syrupy sweet mouthfeel with very little carbonation. Like drinking maple syrup.

D- Very sweet and syurpy, definatly a slow sipper. Very interesting taste that would make me have again. Good on a cold night but not an every day drinker. Cheers!

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Insanely Bad Elf Imperial Red Ale from Ridgeway Brewing
Beer rating: 3.39 out of 5 with 304 ratings
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