1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

3,141 Ratings
THE BROS
86
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,141
Reviews: 1,161
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 15.76%
Wants: 183
Gots: 519 | FT: 20
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
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 3,141 | Reviews: 1,161 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by DaveHS:
Photo of DaveHS
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2009

A-Pours the color of watered down cranberry juice with a thin, brilliant white head.

S-Honey, plum, cherries, rum soaked raisins, fruitcake.

T/M-Honey is the dominant component of Mad elf. Big, earthy honey sweetness with notes of cherry, plum, prune, brown sugar, fruitcake and more honey. Like a Belgian Christmas ale blended with a mead. Full bodied and rich, but never gets too sweet.

O-Brings back fond memories of Pennsylvania.

DaveHS, Oct 08, 2011
More User Reviews:
Photo of threeviews
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

12oz bottle (BOD: 09/25/14) into a Rastal Teku 2.0 glass...absolutely fresh!

A- Pours a beautifully clear, ruby red with <1/2 finger of a white head which disappears as quickly as it forms. (4.0)

S- Sweet, heady aromas of chocolate, stone fruits (cherry, plum, raisin), banana, honey and clove-like spice are all represented which blend very well. (4.5)

T- The fruity components are noticed first followed by a milk chocolate flavor across the palate. The finish is long and lingering, but far from cloying. (4.5)

M- Despite the lingering milk chocolate sweetness, it finishes quite dry, making this full-bodied beer easy to consume. Although not much head formed, the beer's carbonation is near-perfect. (4.75)

O- Regardless of category, this is a well-crafted beer...and perhaps one of the best in Troegs' profile. It blurs the lines between a Belgian Quadruple, Belgian Dark Ale, Fruit Beer and English Strong Ale. Very Unique and again, very well executed. If you have a love for big Belgian inspired beers, this is a must try! (4.5)

threeviews, Oct 22, 2014
Photo of oberon
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice find last night at the Spring House Drafting Room,pours a nice ruby red with a nice creamy,sticky head,aroma is spicey with a light smoky tinge to it.I got the flavors of spiced cherries with tha light smokey flavor with some alcohol note as it warms.Troegs is one of my favorite PA brewers and this offering reinforces that thought.

oberon, Dec 30, 2003
Photo of RoyalT
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – Clear and bright orangish-red in color with a very shallow head, probably from the high ABV.

Smell – Big mix of cherry and orange juice, mostly cherry, with a dash of cranberry and yeast. There’s a noticeable but very easy whiff of alcohol as well.

Taste – The yeast comes out more at the taste and mixes well with the cherry juice and booze. This is a sipping ale in every sense. Some spices come out at the finish, making this one a very complex and interesting ale.

Mouthfeel – This one is light for a BSDA but with a strong alcohol sting, probably too much for most. It is smooth as glass though, so watch out!

Drinkability – I enjoyed this one, as did many of my BA Bros, but I wouldn’t offer this to a friend unless they can appreciate the style interpretation. This is for the serious-minded only, but if you’re up for it it’s one hell of an experience.

Comments – OldFrothingSlosh sent this one to me out of the blue, and boy was I ever glad that he did. A big THANX for getting this one out to me – BeerAdvocates rule!

RoyalT, Jan 22, 2004
Photo of CavemanRamblin
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

CavemanRamblin, Nov 12, 2014
Photo of JudgeRoughneck
2.2/5  rDev -43.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Mad Elf is dark maple colored brew with a thin tan head. It is strongly perfumed with an aroma of cherry-flavored cough syrup that quickly overwhelms faint wisps of hop.

Taste opens spicy with phenols, then sweet malt kept in check by cherry vapors and alcoholic burn. I get a slight tartness in the background and possibly a banana note. The mouthfeel is viscous, thick, flat and syrupy, but I was only able to feel that once my tounge had been numbed to the scorching alcohol.

This is a valient attempt at a new take on x-mas beer but I am not into it. I have been very impressed with the other Troegs beers I've tried, but find Mad Elf a little to close to Mad Dog.

JudgeRoughneck, Nov 28, 2007
Photo of tbryan5
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

tbryan5, May 30, 2013
Photo of GameOfBeers
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

What is this beer?

Pours a ruby red, light head, terrific lacing.

Tastes like cherries and spice (go figure) but there is a deeper fruit profile I am still working on. A little sweet but not too sweet.

Smells of sweet cherries again.

Crisp and satisfying but not overpowering on the alcohol. Very balanced.

Overall, fantastic. Not exactly what I think of as a winter beer, but it has its moments. Definitely buying this again.

GameOfBeers, Nov 04, 2014
Photo of dcurrin
3/5  rDev -22.5%

dcurrin, Dec 17, 2011
Photo of sgoodship
3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one came to me from the great generosity of Hophead101. A holiday brew but I wanted to drink it tonight before the weather gets warm. One last look back at winter before I throw myself into the summer spirit.

A: Poured from a 12oz bottle, it didn't deliver much of a head. Dissipated almost immediately to a ring. Color is a lovely dark cherry amber.

S: I think I detect honey. Mostly, I catch a whiff of malt and a powerful mix of berry like smell. There is cherry there but it smells more of tart cranberry. Boozy smell too.

T: I was trying to pick out the flavors and there is definitely a mix of the things I smelled. The trouble was that I could help but focus on the the high alcohol manifesting itself in a sherry type taste that wasn't that appealing to me. The mix of sherry and diacetyl was just too much.

M: Light and clean body. Medium fine carbonation.

D: The finish and aftertaste is dry and makes you want to continue drinking this beer. Unfortunately, this one just wasn't for me at all. I'd like to re-visit it around holiday time but I think Great Lakes Christmas Ale is still my go-to festive brew.

sgoodship, May 22, 2009
Photo of SkiBum22
4/5  rDev +3.4%

SkiBum22, Mar 05, 2014
Photo of JacobMutberg
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

JacobMutberg, Oct 09, 2012
Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.6/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #47 (Dec 2010):

A cult classic among, beer geeks in the know. From the label to the ingredients it screams Christmas. Crystal-clear red color garners a thin white lacing. Yeasty phenols to cherries to ripe fruit to spice, an amazing nose. Creamy mouthfeel with a bit of crispness to lift the full body. Alcohol chimes in first with lots of warmth, spice and rose water. Cherry juice, candied fruit and faint medicinal flavors hit the middle with a small tartness within. Spice picks up middle to end, making way for the alcohol to really warm. Sweet, spicy finish. This is one of those slow- sipping nightcap brews--after a long day of holiday bustling, you'll probably need one of these.

BeerAdvocate, Mar 08, 2011
Photo of steelerguy
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Very clear amber with some ruby tones. Nice head that faded to a covering quickly, and low carbonation.

S - Belgian phenols and spiciness, cherry bubblegum, and a touch of red licorice.

T - Clean malt flavors up front, the dark cherry flavor then comes on but not overpowering at all, nor does it have the sourness of a lambic. It then ends with some light banana flavors.

M - Moderate body, was expecting it to be a touch lighter. Leaves a little coating on your mouth, would like a touch more carbonation to clean that up. The alcohol warmth is noticeable and nice.

D - For such a high alcohol beer this is pretty damn drinkable. Does NOT drink like a Stong Dark Ale, in fact, I don't think it is one. More of a Belgian Specially Ale. Not stellar, but certainly a good drinking brew.

steelerguy, Nov 23, 2010
Photo of tuckevalastin
3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Redish amber with a small and quickly disappearing head

S: A fruity tone with a hint of spice

T: A strong cherry flavor with some honey taste coming through. Lots of spice on the back end. Lots of malt and very little hops. The alcohol hides alot.

M: Thick and sticky from the fruit but very smooth. Not much heat to speak of.

D: For 11% alcohol this is certainly very drinkable. A little too thick to want to drink outside of winter.

Having not read the reviews before trying this I was a bit surprised. It's a little too fruity, has a little too much spice for the fruitness, is a little too alcoholic, but has a little too little alcholic flavor showing.... yet it's a decent beer and one I'd drink again this winter.

tuckevalastin, Jan 13, 2010
Photo of orbitalr0x
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've been hanging onto this one and can't wait to try it. Departs the bottle a wonderful golden red with hints of pink even along with a nice off white head. Sweet cherry Lifesaver aroma wafts up into my nose along with some earthy yeasty notes. Mmmm...lovely aroma.

First sip is a mix of honey/cherry sweet malty goodness along with a nice helping of barnyard/earthy yeast tones. There's a nice spiciness that's running through here too..maybe some nutmeg...I can't pick it out. A damn tasty belgian style winter brew!

Nice creamy, full mouthfeel with good carbonation. No complaints from me. Drinkability is good, as this is a tasty brew I could have a few of. Many thanks to blitheringidiot and merlin48 for hooking me up with some bottles of this!

orbitalr0x, Jan 08, 2005
Photo of blitz134
3.4/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First real cold night of the year...pulled this out of the closet for a nightcap...one wiff told me that this one might definately put me out. This is last years version, so not fresh...

Appearance is a perfectly transparent caramel (not ruby red as the website says). Thin white head on the pour which disappeared to a small ring around the edge of the glass. Not the usual head of a belgian although I'm not sure if this is really true to the belgian style to begin with.

Aroma is a bit sweet with a little acidic funk to it. Alcoholic notes swirl readily from the glass. A slight cherry aroma comes around if you are really looking for it. A strong aroma, but somewhat non descript.

Again, I think the taste doesn't have much that really stands out, except for the alcohol. Taste is mainly malty with a touch of mildly sweet fruit in the background. I don't really detect any of the honey and cherries in any particular flavor. Although you can pick out the alcohol in this it isn't overwhelming, either in taste or effects of sitting on the stomach.

Mouthfeel is a little thin in my opinion, could be a bit thicker. Drinkability is okay for the high abv. The flavor or aroma doesn't really offer anything which I find particularly intriguing which would make me really desire this in the future. Maybe the flavors don't hold up for very long, I'm not sure. I have one more bottle to sample though.

blitz134, Nov 11, 2005
Photo of supa0525
4/5  rDev +3.4%

supa0525, Dec 24, 2013
Photo of Outchillen
4.7/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ive had this on tap, and bottles

A: Nice ruby color. Clear with thin white head

S: Banana and clove belgian yeast, Honey and cherries

T: Sweet honey and cherries, a little clovey yeast, little boozey finish

M: Light to medium body. Medium carbonation.

O: Great winter warmer Belgian beer, sweet and silky smooth, one of my favorites of the year

Outchillen, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of Kjanisch7
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Kjanisch7, Jul 15, 2013
Photo of chOAKbarrell
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lucky me, I found Troegs Mad Elf in a store that lets you mix a six pack. I've heard a lot about this beer, and wanted to try it, but didnt know if I'd like it enough to buy an entire 6 pack.

Upon first whiff of this beer, you can definitely tell it is Belgian-style. The saison yeast is front & center.

The beer is a lovely reddish amber color with a good medium sized head. It leaves a small amount of lacing around the glass.

Wow, the taste. You'd be hard pressed to tell that this is an 11% beer. I would have guessed 6-7% if it hadn't said on the bottle. So obviously the strong alcohol is very well disguised. This has a very pleasant, almost mild flavor, considering it is a Belgian strong ale.

The mouthfeel is strong and outstanding as well.

I would happily have 2 more of Troegs Mad Elf (and I'm sure they'd make me even happier). I plan to pick up some more very soon.

chOAKbarrell, Nov 11, 2005
Photo of JasonA
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle from Corridor Wine and Spirits in Laurel MD. I picked up quite a few since Ive read such good things about this winter release.

Pours a beautiful clear reddish copper. Tiny head, little lacing, but staying power.

Smell is pretty perfect. Very surprised this small bottle of beer packs such a power boquet. Sweet, malty, fruit. Maybe raisin, cherry. Tough for my amateur nose to tell.

Yummy. Thin, with not much body. Does this beer need to cellar? Dried fruit maybe. Alcohol finish. The alcohol ending is really nice though. No bite really, solid alcohol flavor.

Solid carbonation. Sits nice. No real staying power, but the boquet does stay which is nice.

I voted pretty high on the drinkinability because I think this beers presentation and overall experience makes it very good to drink for a good period of time.

JasonA, Dec 02, 2006
Photo of warnerry
3.55/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes: Bottle 8/19/10 consumed 12/24/10

A Christmas Eve treat? We'll see...

A - Pours a beautiful clear reddish brown with one and a half fingers of off white head. The head dissipates rather quickly.

S - A sweet cherry smell predominates, with some honey also coming through. A rather faint hoppy aroma is present as well, along with a decent amount of malt.

T - Sweet cherries up front. Some faint hop presence followed by malt and more cherries. Has some of the faintly medicinal taste on the finish that often comes with cherries.

M - Nice full mouthfell, but not overly heavy.

O - the ABV and heavy cherry presence reduce drinkability a bit, but still rather easy drinking. I saw someone taking down a 6-pack of this at the MSU-PSU football game last fall, which I definitely don't recommend, but I would have this again.

warnerry, Jul 31, 2011
Photo of BK2084
4/5  rDev +3.4%

BK2084, Aug 25, 2012
Photo of sponberg
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great color - a bright/dark ruby with a thinnish tan head that left trails down the side of the glass. Definitely some cherries and alcohol joining in the aroma; the same could be said for Robitussin, but this one was thankfully different - very clean.

This one lets you know up front that it means business, as there's a pleasant, balanced warming surge o' alcohol throughout. Rather dryish, with cherries, some hints of spice, and chocolatey flavors that are more mildly tart than sweet - really interesting flavors going on. As it goes down, some of the tartness dissipates and an oak cask sort of flavor briefly appears. It gets even better as it warms, with the alcohol heading into the background even further. Medium bodied, with a more dry than sweet mouthfeel. A very tasty barleywine.

sponberg, Jan 15, 2003
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 3,141 ratings.