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Elves seem to be a popular choice for beer names/images this time of year though, oddly enough, few if any seemed poised to make the Nice list.  I figured I’d start out on that particular theme with perhaps the naughtiest of the lot.

Beer Name: Insanely Bad Elf

Brewery: Ridgeway Brewing (Oxfordshire, United Kingdom)

Style: Imperial Red Ale

ABV: 11.2%

Description: I couldn’t find any details on this, so I’ll just give you the story the brewers put on the label:

“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!”

Appearance: Translucent reddish/copper body with no head either on the pour or as the beer settled.

Smell: Caramel malts with warm, boozy undertones.

Taste: Very sweet upfront, with brown sugar and the candy-like Belgian yeast coming in right from the start.  Toffee and a bit of lightly toasted malt came in around mid-sip with a warming bit of alcohol paired with subtle spice (and maybe a bit of vanilla) on the end.

Mouthfeel: The body was just shy of thick with a moderate level of carbonation.

Hype: This was one of the first beers I picked up for my holiday series, so I was a bit excited about it for that.  Beyond that I had no idea what to expect from this brewery or what this style meant to them.

Overall: This was a heavy, warming brew that really grew on me as the glass went on.  I was caught totally off-guard by the first sip, but by the third I knew I was in for something tasty.  It came close to be too sweet at times, but the light toastiness and warmth always seemed to pull it back from that edge.  I’m glad it came in a small bottle, but I would definitely look for this again on a cold night.