Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

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Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

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BA SCORE
87
very good

1,191 Reviews
THE BROS
85
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,191
Hads: 3,580
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 7.51%
Wants: 213
Gots: 860 | FT: 21
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:
Beer added by: WilliamPhilaPa on 12-14-2002

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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,191 | Hads: 3,580
Photo of Lunaa
5/5  rDev +29.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love Mad Elf! when the holidays get near, I'm one of the first in line for 2 cases :)
Its even better on Tap. I personally can not get enough of it. (150 characters)

Photo of JayS2629
5/5  rDev +29.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My favorite beer ever so far. Only the Rochefort 10 gives it competition in complexity.

A- A ruby amber with a slim tan head. Slightly translucent, but a rich deep color.

S- Sweet with a strong belgian yeast at the front. Hints of rich dark cherry and spices. A slight apple and honey smell. Very nice.

T- The honey outweighs the cherry, but it is ver nice. A bit heavy with a slight apple taste. The spice is strong and similar to chai. You can tell its strong, but its masked well with sweetness. Smooth when cold.

M- Full bodied. A bit heavy, but masked so well when cold it goes down to easy to be 11%. Great Christmas beer.

D- full of soul. So smooth when cold you would never guess the alcohol content. Slight burn at the back of throat just to let you know you aren't messing around. Overall sweet and spicy. Absolutely delicious. (842 characters)

Photo of Stanhagen
5/5  rDev +29.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Quite simply my favorite beer on earth. I used to look forward to Santa showing up for christmas, now i look forward to the Mad Elf's arrival. Santa used to bring me chocolate covered cherries, now I get to drink a liquid form of the sweet treat with alcohol added. (265 characters)

Photo of Beastcpa
5/5  rDev +29.5%

This is the beer that made a mixed drink person a beer person. It is the best holiday beer in the world, period.

Hold it for up to 5 years, as it only gets better. Have a case in my basement from 2013 for 2014 and beyond. Drink 3 of these and you will be stone cold drunk and happy. (284 characters)

Photo of theFLZA
5/5  rDev +29.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Mad Elf didn't start out as one of my favorites, but over the past 5 years I've enjoyed it more and more each year. It is now my most anticipated seasonal release of any brewer.

It is described perfectly by Troegs on the beer's own label: "brewed with honey and cherries".

It tastes like it is capable of creating life and ending wars. It's that good.

I love high ABV beers (like Mad Elf) that don't taste as strong as they really are. In addition, this beer is delicious and continually drinkable at any temperature, with no bad aftertaste whatsoever.

Troegs hit it on the head, as far as my own personal tastes go. Favorite beer of all time.

Thanks for everything! (675 characters)

Photo of Brouwerij78
4.92/5  rDev +27.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a delicious seasonal ale! A dark, cherry colored and fragrant ale worthy of the higher price tag. I bought this in a 6-pack (which is much more economical than the large bottle sold) and really enjoyed it's fruity, rich and slightly sweet flavor. This beer is a thicker style and is best enjoyed chilled in a thin baloon style wine glass to be sipped, savored and enjoyed! A treat indeed! (396 characters)

Photo of jmerloni
4.9/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Mahogany to ruby in coloration, with a small but heavy cream-colored head that laces fairly lacklusterly. But this is one of the only beers whose color I haven't been able to quite describe. It's a color I've never seen and I guess it's special in that way.

S - Incredible smell. Light, FRESH maltiness, dark fruits which you can already tell are perfectly acidic and perfectly sweet in all the perfect, balanced places.

T - Off the charts delicious. Tastes like how an 11% beer should taste without all the alcohol. Achieves a very impressive flavor profile between malt and and hop. Really, really impressed by the flavors here. They're really pleasant. Cherries! Honey malts. Fresh, west coast IPA hops. An incredible mix. Almost just jawdropping.

M - Medium to light bodied, not very carbonated. Incrediblly profession makeup of each sip in this beer, though.

D - One of the only beers I've ever tried that is just unmistakably elite. And one of the only beers I've ever encountered where a brewery just set out to make it great. It doesn't fit any real description nor style. Troegs just set out to make a great, elite beer, and they have with Mad Elf, they absolutely have. Try this if you haven't, and you'll understand what I mean. (1,248 characters)

Photo of deanwilson
4.85/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A. Rich reddish copper

S. Alive with fruit, especially cherries and bananas.

T. Flavorfull from start to finish. Honey and cherry upfront, with a touch of sweetness, then a hoppy, citus, dry banana finish.

M. Suprisingly un-syrupy given the high alcohol content.

D. Very easy to sip on. Seems to taste well with just about any food. (338 characters)

Photo of dacrza1
4.85/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark ruby red, beguilingly opaque with a simmering white ring of head that holds steady when the glass is swished--intimidating... robust floral aroma with pine accents and cinnamon present as well--some fruity esthers join in... smooth--and slightly oily--light on the tongue, with little aftertaste that barely qualifies this as medium-bodied... approached bourbon in taste, sweet and malty at the throat but consistent and respectfully fruitful at its midpoint... WHERE is the 11% ABV?! this being brother Bob's gateway beer to the level above Miller Lite, Mad Elf continues to warm and wow--an instant mood uplifter without gimicky injected flavors or false advertising--as easy-drinking a winter brew as I have found, deserving of its big things in little packages moniker... (780 characters)

Photo of mikereaser
4.85/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass

2008

A - pours a deep reddish brown with a little bit of foam that quickly dissipates into little bubbles on the surface

S - a strong boozy aroma with malts and cherry

T - the taste as was expected from the aroma, very cherry flavor with malty background. The booziness is a little strong but not too overpowering

M/D - Just the right amount of carbonation to make this very drinkable. It is a little boozy but the flavor makes me want more. At 11% I will probably get into trouble.

I tried an aged 2007 and there is quite a difference. All that booziness is gone and it is quite a smooth drink with a year on it. (665 characters)

Photo of runningjoke
4.84/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into tulip glass with a nice amber color and a thick foamy head.
Smelled delicious with honey upfront followed with the spicy hops.
Tastes of tart cherries, honey, and spice. It fills the whole mouth with flavors. Sweetness on the tip of the tongue with tart, mouthwatering element in back. Alcohol fills the sinuses as the beer goes down (one of my favorite qualities).
It feels light in the mouth and goes down smooth.
This beer could be dangerous,as I could drink this all night, and I probably will.
Can't wait for next years release...it gives me something to look forward to. (589 characters)

Photo of Svejk
4.83/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First off, I have to send out a huge thank you to Froggyfrog for providing this beer in trade. Not only did he give me a bottle of the 2007 Mad Elf, but he threw in a 2006 bottle as well.

What a great vertical tasting. This beer really benefits from a year of aging. My brother and I opened both bottles at the same time and were able to taste the difference immediately. We tasted the 2006 bottle first, and the complexity of flavor was amazing. It was hard to identify the cherries and honey flavors that are mentioned on the bottle, but we really thought it was a fantastic beer. When we tried the 2007 bottle, we were able to identify the flavors more easily, and the alcohol was much more evident, but it was still great.

This beer goes from great to fantastic in twelve months. (786 characters)

Photo of tjd112
4.82/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation - Poured into Southampton pint glass

Appearance - Vermillion copper body, white half-finger head, spotty lacing

Smell - bananas, plums, cherries, and ever a bit of honey for good measure

Taste - A very chocolate and bananas taste up front and mid-palate, with a slightly warm, boozy aftertaste

Mouthfeel - Medium body with a sweet alcoholic finish

Drinkability - Goes down really well

Overall - A masterpiece from Troegs, I'll drink the Doppelbock 11 months out of the year, but this is my new fave from them. (528 characters)

Photo of talkinghatrack
4.82/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sometimes you can't forget your first.

My first Mad Elf was on a bitingly cold Sunday morning. My brother and I were in a parking lot, tailgating at an annual Eagles game and waiting for some steak to cook while huddling over our plastic cups of beer. After several Coors Lights (no shame there - great tailgate beer), my bro pulls out two Mad Elf's and tells me I have to try this stuff.

Wow. Loved it. Still do.

(2007 bottle, poured 1/5/09)

A dark reddy brew with a nice but quickly dissapating head, the sweet cherry-themed bready aroma invites you into each sip. Sure, there is a hint of alcohol in the nose and taste but we're talking about an 11% alcohol content here. After a few sips you stop noticing.

Smooth enough to drink fast but who would want to waste it? Great malty mouthfeel yet a light/medium body. A slighty high carbonation keeps pace with the other elements and dissipates quickly on the tongue. Love the tangy sweet finish in the back and sides of the tongue and the pleasant warming sensation as it travels down the throat.

If you can stand to let it age, it only gets better. I'm tempted to crack into my few remaining 2006 bottles but willpower has held out so far. (1,197 characters)

Photo of joshuaburge
4.82/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A nice red tinted looking beer with little head. It smells of cherry and honey. Tastes of honey and also cherries, very sweet. Loads of alcohol flavor a alcohol %. Can put down a few due to it being very drinkable. An enjoyable beer for the holiday season. Also, is better when aged for a long period of time. (309 characters)

Photo of B967ierhunter177
4.8/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a clear, ruby red with minimal head or lace. The aroma is of honey, vanilla, and dark cherries. The flavor is very well balanced with honey, cherry, and spice notes, particularly ginger. There's a pleasant malt sweetness with just a hint of hops. It's very smooth, warms nicely, and gets better as it warms. The mouthfeel is full. Troegs Mad Elf is an outstanding beer, a great way to wash down made from scratch chocolate chip cookies. Highly recommended! (472 characters)

Photo of alexk307
4.78/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Ruby Red

S: Cherries, cherries, and more cherries

T: Very sweet but not overpoweringly sweet. Sweet cherries and apples finishing off with some malt. Not much alcohol smell present despite the 11 ABV

M: Thick, carbonated, and syrupy

O: One of my favorite beers to drink in the winter time. Quite boozy at 11 ABV and it'll definitely sneak up on you. (356 characters)

Photo of josefnewsong
4.77/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a seasonal favorite of mine...just picked up my first sixer of the winter so I figured a review was in order...
A - red, clear, dark, little head
S - cherries, honey, boozyness, belgian yeast
T - all of the above, and more...this beer is more than the sum of its parts. Cherries dominate and honey is behind with alcohol present but concealed just enough...but there is something else that I can only describe of as 'mad elf' flavor. Perfect.
M - a bit syrupy but aside from that is medium bodied, which works perfectly for this beer...
O - exceptional brew. Might need to grab another...11%? really? (608 characters)

Photo of EKahler17
4.76/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

First off the appearance catches your eye with the golden red color. Then you smell the sweetness of the honey and hing of cherries. Once you you taste it the cherries really come out and have a clean smooth finish especially for 11%!! (235 characters)

Photo of weirdohappy
4.75/5  rDev +23.1%

Vary, vary guut beer. reminds me of something. But not sure what. Beautiful amber color. Smells of wine? Like a chardonnay. But an amber chardonnay. And also called a beer. (172 characters)

Photo of JudoJeff
4.75/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

From tap, this was dark, burgandy/amber color. It smelled and tasted of dark but sweet cherries with mulling-type spices. Neither the sweetness nor spice was overpowering as in some other similar strong dark ales. Drinking this is very much like drinking Christmas, back before it became commercialized. (303 characters)

Photo of WorldWideStout
4.75/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Its body is the color of burnished copper. No head to speak of. A few small trails of bubbles come up to the surface.

S: Lots of honey, some fruit in there too, including but not limited to cherry, which is faintly tart. Maybe it's because I'm thinking toast spreads, but I'm getting some marmalade. A bit of spice and alcoholic esters.

T: Lots of honey, but it's a better honey taste than I've had in any other beer. After the rush of honey, the marmalade and cherry flavors come in the middle, along with some spice, and then become equals with the honey at the end. There's a bit of alcohol taste in the middle if you really concentrate, but again it's not unpleasant. The more I drink this, the more I notice the cherry flavors, though it's been at room temperature the whole time. Perhaps all beers could be improved upon, but for what I think this beer set out to do, it's wonderful, so I'm giving taste a 5.

M: It's nothing special, but I think it works well with the flavors. Carbonation levels are appropriate, and I wouldn't want it to be much thicker; the taste of the honey is big enough already, I don't think having a similar viscosity would be a positive.

D: As someone who usually likes honey in beer, this is very drinkable for me. Alcohol isn't noticeable, despite strong flavors it's well-balanced, and the mouthfeel isn't too thick to slow you down much either.

This is one of my absolute favorite beers. If you like honey and/or cherries in your beers, you absolutely must try this. If you're not as big a fan of them, you should probably try it anyways. (1,585 characters)

Photo of Outchillen
4.72/5  rDev +22.3%
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 (350 characters)

Photo of merlin48
4.72/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The Elf pours a clear and bright reddish copper body with lots of active carbonation to be seen, as hundreds of microbubbles rush to the surface. Head is offwhite in color, minimal in size, quickly falling into a persistent collar. Very little lacing, but none was really expected given the stated abv.
Aroma is heavenly. Cherries, clover honey, a hint of sweet chocolate malt, and an unusual yeast presence of fresh forest mushrooms(morels) that I've picked up only in a couple of other Belgian yeast strains.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation and none of the expected alcohol.
The taste is an adventure. Sweet and sour cherries hit the palate first, followed by a sweet malt smoothness. Yeast presence is noted, and evokes the fresh mushrooms of the aroma. Lovely! Herbal hops add a welcome bitterness and seem to be of the noble variety. A hint of clover honey and a dash of nutmeg add to the delight. I keep waiting for the fusel alcohol to hit home but it never does. Quite amazing that such a high volume of alcohol can be so cleverly disguised. Very well balanced and a real pleasure to sip.
This is a perfect winter seasonal that I could enjoy any time of the year. Drinkability is dangerous, given the hidden alcohol claimed by the label. Exceptional brew from an excellent brewery. A huge thank you to mtnlover for bringing this nectar my way. (1,379 characters)

Photo of Beerwolf666
4.71/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

What a Fantastic Brew! this is one of those Beers, that as soon as you pop that top and smell it,your heart starts racing,and you just know it is going to be something very special ~and Indeed it is,the nose is sweet,with Honey and a hint of Cherries and malts,~the taste pretty much follows the nose,sweet[but not cloying] you pick up the Honey and though you do get a nice Cherry note, it is more in the background then in your face,and does not have that "Cough Drop" Medicinal taste you get with a beer like "Sam Adams Cherry Wheat"~taste more like fresh cherries,and it IS Tasty as Hell,also would never know this Beer is 11% A.B.V.,Because I do not ever get that alcohol burn or boozy tatse,but perhaps that is Because I drink a lot of High A.B.V. Strong Beer's and Ales~this is not a Beer you knock back with your buddies while watching the Game or playing Poker,this is a Top Notch [IMHO] World Class Brew,it is a Beer you Savor and take your time to enjoy it's Amazing Flavors and the brewer's Art,what a BEER! Cheers 2 All;] (1,035 characters)

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Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,191 ratings.