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Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,743 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2743
Reviews: 1146
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 15.54%

Brewed by:
Tröegs Brewing Company visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
Hop Bitterness (IBU's) : 15
Color (SRM) : Ruby Red
Availability: Seasonal, 12 oz. & 3L bottles, 1/2 and 1/6 kegs (contact your local retailer to pre-order)
Malts: Pilsner, Munich, Chocolate
Hops: Saaz, Hallertau
Yeast: Spicy Yeast
Pennsylvania Honey West Coast Cherries

(Beer added by: WilliamPhilaPa on 12-14-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,743 | Reviews: 1,146 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of ThickNStout


3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from GreenMonster12 (thanks Jay!). Bottled 9/13/12. Served in a goblet.

Pours a ruby hued chestnut with about one finger of pale cream head that quickly receds to a thin cap before disappearing completely without leaving any lace.

Aromas of cherry skins, raisin, caramel and a yeasty apple-like note.

Flavors of bright cherry preserves, bitter fruit skin, dark fruit, caramel, Belgian yeast, a little honey and a pretty healthy dose of alcohol. The booze blends a little better as it warms up. Pretty good

Medium body with fairly sharp carbonation. Boozey finish with cherry skin, caramel and yeast.

While I think 1 is plenty for me in a sitting, this is a decent American take on the Belgian strong dark ale style. The cherry and honey additions give it character that helps elevate Mad Elf above other similar brews. I won't go hunting more but this is something I would certainly enjoy again someday.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2014 23:32:52 | More by ThickNStout
Photo of Goblinmunkey7


2.68/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Uh thanks angrybabboon?

Appearance: Mostly clear brick reddish copper. Heamalt a very dirty white. Bubbly and thick, settles to a small cap and slightly larger bubbly collar. Minimal lacing and carbonation.

Smell: Alcohol, honey, cherry skin and some juicy cherry flesh. Syrupy with some bready caramelized malts. A bit of clover and some sweet malt base. Almost malt syrup sweetness. Cherry juice. Fruit leather. Pretty sweet. Yup.

Taste: Cherry leather fruit syrup with a serious honey drizzle. Sweet, cherry flesh, mildly tannic. Some other vague dark fruit. A touch grassy in the back. Cherry sweetness. Slightly roasted malt with some caramelized malt sweetness. Honey drizzle. Sweet, but not cloying. Borders on it though. Warming amps up booze and honey sweetness. Cherry starts to run medicinal as well. Hyper boozy.

Mouthfeel: A bit syrupy up front and then hits a bit thin on the finish. Moderate carbonation and surprisingly clean.

Overall: Buddy is a better elf.

Sweet cherry fruit leather with honey. Maybe an ounce or two with a bit more refinement.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2014 22:34:24 | More by Goblinmunkey7
Photo of angrybabboon

Rhode Island

3.18/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Split with Goblinmunkey7

Consumed 3/25/14

Appearance: Clear, ruby red - pours with a medium-sized, off-white head - fades to a wispy cap, leaves a few streaks of lacing

Smell: Dark malts and a ton of cherries - cherries to the max, kind of like a cross between cherry preserves and cherry-flavored cough syrup - some honey, but it's more of a straight-up sugar - some Belgian yeast, with some spices, clove, banana, and bubblegum - very sweet and very boozy overall

Taste: Sweet, boozy, spicy - apparently this is a winter warmer of sorts that was meant to be slowly sipped over the course of a multi-day snowstorm - a borderline absurd amount of cherry, with a side of cherry cough syrup - lots of honey flavor - like with the cherry, there's a bit too much honey - Belgian yeast, with some serious clove, banana, bubblegum, and a big dose of phenols - some dark caramel malts, with more sugar - the sweet malts, cherry flavor, and phenolic yeast create something that definitely tastes reminiscent of some kind of medicine

Mouthfeel: More or less a full body, with some syrupy stickiness, finishes with booze

Overall: Elf medicine, engineered to cure sobriety (may cause diabetes)

Cherries, honey, and Belgian yeast are all good things. But in excess, I can't say I'd recommend it. I'm glad I didn't have to drink the whole bomber.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2014 22:32:03 | More by angrybabboon
Photo of jdhowe


3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage poured into a Firestone Walker tulip.

A: Pours a slightly hazy red amber with 1 finger of straw-colored head that dissipates to a foamy ring.

S: Cherry, wheaty malt, corn, honey, and a hint of alcohol.

T/M: Prickly carbonation up front with a medium mouthfeel. Up front is honey and malt sweetness with a slight bitterness. Plenty of malt sweetness accompanied by a very mild bitterness throughout. Cherry is not very prominent. Finish is coating, almost a little drying, with a bittersweet lingering flavor.

O: While reviewing this, it strikes me that my opinions of it are not really all that high on this beer in individual metrics, and yet I quite like the beer. Really a nice, unique holiday ale that doesn't overdo its "holiday" flavors, while doing a really nice job of dealing with its 11abv. Drinks much closer to 9, but with a little bit of heat. Bumping this up a bit in overall for that reason; I think this beer comes together quite nicely.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2014 02:48:53 | More by jdhowe
Photo of GOBLIN


3.99/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Troegs Mad Elf

The only thing I really don't like about this beer is the creepy lil' elf on the label.

Poured into pint glass

A: moughany

S: cherries are solid on the nose.

T: slightly boozy taste but at 11% it's not really an issue. Well done Troegs Brothers !

M: full and decent amount of carbination

O: I always look for this around Christmas time as it is a favorite of mine. Get a little extra whenever you see it and age it a year . . . The honey will really come through and add a new dimension to this brew. Perfect for those cold winter months.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2014 16:54:12 | More by GOBLIN
Photo of CGiusti23


3.6/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 3.75

I really enjoyed Troegs Mad Elf. It had a great after taste and for having a high ABV, it was pretty smooth. The only problem I found with it, as well as others around my have said, is that it's one of those beers you could only have one or two in one sitting. Overall a great beer for the holidays.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2014 04:03:46 | More by CGiusti23
Photo of hotpauko

South Carolina

3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a tough beer, but good one. Meaning it is very yeasty strong, be prepared. I put one of these down before a night out, and I don't remember making it back home. It is mad elfy, holiday spicy, very strong alcohol, very yeast...can't stress that enough... Split this beer with someone else, one bottle is pretty strong. It very much tastes like a Troeg beer. Try one bottle before proceeding for more. I think you will like the strong holiday flavor, but prob not much more than one.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2014 02:03:05 | More by hotpauko
Photo of RVigz


4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: The appearance of this beer is a ruby red color with about a quarter inch of head that dissipates quickly.

S: the smell is a sweet cherry and malty smell

T: the taste is similar to the smell, with a prominent cherry taste upfront with a slightly malty/alcoholic aftertaste. slight vanilla chocolate aftertaste that fades out with honey. very delicious. I drank this beer from a tulip glass.

M: mouthfeel was very smooth and not too carbonated, sweetness overpowered alcohol.

Serving type: on-tap

01-27-2014 23:35:53 | More by RVigz
Photo of KTCamm

New Jersey

4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a bottle into a tulip glass. 1/14

Pours crimson red with very little foam. Cranberry juice appearance. Cherry oak nose. Honey too. Pickly taste, oaky back. Firm alcohol pop. Sips great, and packs a sneaky wallop. Earth bitter in back. Great for a cold day. Excellent.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2014 14:33:30 | More by KTCamm
Photo of BMMillsy


3.6/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Got this as an extra but forget from who. Thanks awesome trader. Bottle says 2010-2011 so I assume this has been in a cellar for a while. Pours murky amber colored with nearly no head at all. A nice aroma of super sweet caramel, cherries, honey, some booze, maybe some Belgian yeast influence. Flavor is bready malt with a bit of yeast spice, definite sweet cherry presence, caramel, plums, figs. Big heavy slick mouthfeel with low carbonation. Definitely on the sweet side but pretty enjoyable. A bit of oxidization has settled in but that's ok. I would have this again.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2014 00:07:09 | More by BMMillsy
Photo of TreyIsWilson


3.79/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a deep red with a very thin white head. The head dissipates extremely quickl.

S - Cherries and yeast with some maltiness.

T - Cherries right upfront with lots o banana, clove, and bubblegum flavors. There is also a good alcohol in the finish.

M - Medium body with high carbonation. Sticky mouthfeel.

O - Nice holiday beer. Definetly a sipper.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2014 03:01:46 | More by TreyIsWilson
Photo of HattedClassic


3.81/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The beer pours a fairly light and off white head that dissipates quickly. The beer itself is a beautiful and clear ruby red. The smell has strong hints of honey and a fruity yeast smell but very little else. The cherries also come out and mix very well with the other smells. The taste has strong cherry and honey taste with a hop and fruity taste from the yeast. The combination of the ingredients also create a slightly strawberry flavor as well. The taste comes out a little bit medicine like with the cherries but not too much. Slight hint of booze. The feel is a little bit flat with almost no carbonation. Creamy feel. Overall, a decent beer and nice on a cold night.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2014 23:27:58 | More by HattedClassic
Photo of MacQ32

South Carolina

3.99/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage

A - pours a cloudy amber brown with a finger of tan colored head, OK retention and pretty decent but loose lacing.

S - Sweet cherries, honey, slightly sour, oaky booze aromas.

T - sweet honey and light boozyness, cherries. A little Mediciny due to the cherry+booze combo but very nice. Quite well balanced/tame

M - minimally carbonated, smooth, silky and nicely drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2014 01:29:25 | More by MacQ32
Photo of Damian


3.84/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Drank from a 12 fl.oz. bottle
Served in a goblet

The gorgeous, crystal clear, ruby colored liquid was capped by a super creamy, bubbly and tight, light tan crown that billowed over the top of the goblet. With time, the head faded to a thick collar. Drippy patches of lacing trickled down the glass.

The nose was quite punchy and sweet. Fruity esters from the Belgian yeast notes were immediately apparent. Intense cherry notes. I picked up hints of apple and pear as well. The yeast also contributed a mild powderyness. As the beer warmed, the cherry presence became sweeter and more intense.

The flavor profile was pleasant initially but became somewhat cloying with time. Lots of sweet cherry notes. Hints of apples and strawberries were also detectible. Like in the nose, the Belgian yeast notes lent the beer strong fruity esters. Caramel and dark candi sugar came through as well. Rich and malty. Spicy with hints of clove. As the beer sat, the cherry flavor became progressively stronger and sweeter, and it eventually reminded me of cherry cough syrup.

On the palate, the beer felt quite flat. The liquid contained a super fine and mild carbonation that was rather uncharacteristic for the style. Slightly creamy.

Although this beer was tasty and hid its high alcohol presence remarkably well, I found the syrupy cherry flavor to be overdone and the resulting beer to be rather cloying. I would love to see how this beer tastes without the addition of honey, as it certainly does not need it.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2014 22:36:37 | More by Damian
Photo of vette2006c5r


3.76/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.5

Mad Elf pours a reddish color with no head. There are strong Belgian candy flavors, with good hints of cherries. The taste has strong cherry flavors, lots of Belgian candy notes, and a yeasty like aftertaste. Very full body, and full flavors. Overall its a sweet and spicy beer.

Serving type: on-tap

01-01-2014 01:26:15 | More by vette2006c5r
Photo of MadCat

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Very clear brown, good head, no lacing

Smell: Cherries and malt

Taste: Cherries up front, then maltiness, with some interesting yeast flavors that could use a little toning down. Could be fantastic with age.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, low carbonation. A little boozy on the finish

Overall: Good ice cold, gets worse as it warms. I think with some age it could be way better, the flavors need to marry a bit better.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2013 01:11:02 | More by MadCat
Photo of WheelsPSU

New York

3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bought a single 12 ounce bottle from the local beer shop. Cracked it open with the future Mrs. two days before Christmas.

I drank this straight from the bottle so I can't tell much about the color. Sacrilege, I know.

The beer produced a very light scent of candied cherries and medication. But not like cough syrup because it didn't have an artificial scent.

The taste was sweet cherry upfront followed by cream and honey which ends with a sour cherry twang. That was the enjoyable part. The taste that I did not care for was spicy Belgian yeast. Totally ruined the beer for me.

I preferred this beer a lot more as it warmed. Possibly because the honey becomes more pronounced. The alcohol is extremely well concealed. I would have had no idea this was 11% without the checking the label.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2013 15:25:48 | More by WheelsPSU
Photo of WunderLlama


4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into glass

Ruby red with faint carbonation. Two finger white foam cap quickly settles into a fizzy layer with no lacings.

Aroma of spices, cloves, pepper and hint of cherry and alcohol.

Smooth start. Sweet malt, bubblegum, slight carbonation. Medium mouthfeel.

Visited the Troegs brewery last week and had Mad Elf on tap, excellent. Bottled version is very good, sweet winter warmer with a deceptive alcohol kick. At 11% abv! it sneaks up on you. Very good beer and worthy if stocking up the fridge for those long, cold winter nights.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2013 02:17:37 | More by WunderLlama
Photo of RandomExile


3.51/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: ruby/amber, translucent; scant light brown head almost immediately becoming a film, scattered or no lacing
S: deeply yeasty, . fruity
T: bubblegum and cherry, banana, clove/spice, yeasty, definite banana aftertaste
M: thin but coating; most of the bite surprisingly seems to come from carbonation rather than the high abv, although there's a bit of an alcohol follow-on
O: A little too sweet/candyish, but overall decent. Not worth seeking out.

12oz / Tulip Glass / Victoria Gastro Pub, Columbia, MD

Serving type: on-tap

12-23-2013 23:00:50 | More by RandomExile
Photo of farrago

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The head is on the thin side, a semi-deep tan color, not very dense and evaporates swiftly, average lacing without much stick. The liquid is an attractive coppery red with a dark orange tint, large amount of super tiny bubbles swirl about inside, excellent clarity does not weaken the richness of hue, handsome. The nose is full but not soft, filled with sweet honey, molasses, baking spices , candied orange peel and a mix of cola and chocolate, the cherries come through clearly, consistent and unambiguous, no secrets hidden. Full-bodied, Walks at a good pacing, not brisk, but on no leisurely stroll either, the carbonation fluffs it up when needed. The citrus is mixed but helps temper the honey, caramel, chocolate stuff. The cherry fruit base pulled in opposing directions by plum and strawberry flavors. Cola, maybe licorice, there is a sweet smokiness to it as well. Not really as well spiced as one might hope for a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, maybe more like a Winter Warmer. The length is so-so. In a fun and convivial environment you could easily through 3-4 of these back in spite of the ABV, alone at home, one, maybe two. There’s no intellectual hook.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2013 01:29:25 | More by farrago
Photo of zookerman182


3.36/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is a ruby red with a one finger off white head.
Aroma is cherries and yeast.
Flavor is cherries, somewhat salty and has a soy saucy after taste.
Not boozy at all but just off flavors not bitter, just cherries.
Mouthfeel is ok, flavor goes away fast.
Not my favorite holiday beer just not horrible by any means.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2013 00:04:17 | More by zookerman182
Photo of kevintaraross


3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Had this on draft in Lancaster, PA (near this Brewer) over the weekend. Very Good in a warm pint glass.

Had this today in a big-boy bottle - much better - more flaverful - less head/less holding "power" BUT better mouth "feel" than on draft.

Would buy the bottle and draft again.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2013 23:27:47 | More by kevintaraross
Photo of tillmac62

South Carolina

4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a beautiful ruby amber with a reasonable head and lacing. The nose is of cherries against a slight chocolate coupled with a typical Belgian yeast aroma. It also has hints of sweetness and alcohol. Almost medium body with good carbonation. Nice slick mouthfeel. A superbly balanced beer, with a flavor profile similar to the nose. Tart cherry over a nice sweetness with a chocolate background. For an 11% alcohol brew, this one hides it well - but you get the nice burn all the way through. Crisp finish with a burst of flavor from the carbonation that brings the spice flavor to the forefront. The finish is also where the alcohol becomes more evident as the beer nears room temperature.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2013 21:16:17 | More by tillmac62
Photo of joeboe2001


3.05/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Is there something different--and I don't mean better--about ME2013? My wife and I eagerly ordered pints last night at our favorite watering hole. We have enjoyed ME annually since about 2002, and eagerly anticipate it's release each year. But this year--at least last night, In Chester, MD--it tasted like a different brew. Very malty, as usual, but a distinct lack of the cinnamon, cardamom, anise, and other wintry spices we thought we were used to. Still drinkable, but we did not go back for seconds!

Serving type: on-tap

12-12-2013 19:49:47 | More by joeboe2001
Photo of mattbk

New York

3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A: Nice amber red color, good color for a holiday ale. Appears well carbonated, but bubbles are moving fairly lazily through the drink, indicating this may be a bit viscous. Nice creamy head as well.
S: Interesting aroma - quite tart, fruity. underlying dark fruit, raisiney, pruney almost. I guess it could be cherry. Almost molasses as well. Not very aromatic, but whats there is very interesting.
T: Wow, very interesting. Very fruity, dark fruit, but not in a traditional way - probably because there is actually fruit in here. I think prunes (maybe even stewed) is the best description - which doesn't make the beer sound too appealing. There is something Belgian about the beer, some esters or funk kicked off. I would guess this is a Trappist yeast used, the flavor is familiar to an American-made dubbel. I like this, it's not delicious or anything like that - but it is very interesting. I don't think I could have more than one of these.
M: Adding to the lack of wanting more is the heavy mouthfeel. The beer definitely tends toward the sweet side. It is bordering on syrupy.
O: A fascinating beer, one for in front of the fireplace. A sipper. Share a bottle with a few friends.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2013 03:06:06 | More by mattbk
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Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,743 ratings.