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Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,209 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,209
Hads: 3,650
Avg: 3.85
pDev: 26.75%
Wants: 224
Gots: 932 | FT: 24
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Tröegs Mad Elf Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,209 | Hads: 3,650
Photo of runningjoke
4.84/5  rDev +25.7%
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.

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Photo of Svejk
4.83/5  rDev +25.5%
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.

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Photo of tjd112
4.82/5  rDev +25.2%
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.

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Photo of talkinghatrack
4.82/5  rDev +25.2%
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.

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Photo of joshuaburge
4.82/5  rDev +25.2%
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.

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Photo of B967ierhunter177
4.8/5  rDev +24.7%
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!

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Photo of alexk307
4.78/5  rDev +24.2%
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.

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Photo of josefnewsong
4.77/5  rDev +23.9%
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?

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Photo of EKahler17
4.76/5  rDev +23.6%
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%!!

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Photo of weirdohappy
4.75/5  rDev +23.4%

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.

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Photo of JudoJeff
4.75/5  rDev +23.4%
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.

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Photo of WorldWideStout
4.75/5  rDev +23.4%
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.

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Photo of Outchillen
4.72/5  rDev +22.6%
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

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Photo of merlin48
4.72/5  rDev +22.6%
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.

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Photo of Beerwolf666
4.71/5  rDev +22.3%
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;]

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Photo of AleWerks
4.7/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Great ruby red color with good carbonation.
S: Cherries and honey are obvious with fruits coming through late.
T: Cherry and honey again with dark malt, plum, fruit, crystal sugar, and ending with a sweet finish.
M: Rich and full mouthfeel with balanced carbonation.
D: For an %11 ABV beer this one sure goes down easy. A really nice beer.

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Photo of JohnnyM2002
4.7/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter at 52 degrees

A - Beautiful, clear red color with a small head; lacing stuck around until the end, though. Medium carbonation helped illuminate the wonderful red hue.

S - Cherries dominate the aroma, but they are accompanied by powerful combination of sweet alcohol. There is definitely a spice background to the scent, but it is dominated by the other flavors.

T - Wow. At first, the cherries pack a punch, but as soon as their flavor dissipates, the sweet honey-alcohol combo kicks in. As it goes down, I get almost a nutty-vanilla aftertaste; the more I drank, the more I noticed this accompaniment. By the time I was 3/4 through the bottle, the initial flavor was a perfect vanilla/cherry mix with a nutty aftertaste. It's actually hard to put this into words...a perfect result for the extremely complex - but wonderful - taste.

M - Very thick body with medium carbonation. The complex flavors actually finish extremely smoothly and mask the alcohol very well - you can definitely taste the high ABV, but it all comes together so nicely (for a lack of better words). Also, this is a very creamy brew...it's not heavy in the mouth; it's the perfect combination!

D - I wouldn't drink more than one - not because of the ABV (well, not completely..), just because I'd be afraid of ruining the experience! Everything just comes together so perfectly, I'd hate to hurt that effect by overindulging. I'm so very lucky to live 8 minutes from the Troegs Brewery...I want to enjoy this all year, but it seems more special to wait until early November to begin drinking some!

Chris & John - thank you so much for this wonderful selection!

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Photo of alex_hart
4.69/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Belgian Strong Dark Ales are by far my favorite style of brew, so when I saw that a beer at 11% abv was on tap, and was this style, i knew I couldn't turn away.

This was love at first taste. Dark cherries, spice, and caramel. It looked dark and foreboding (which is what I like), but it was soft, smooth, and delicious. The smell threw me off a little bit and made me nervous before the first sip, but that is the only negative thing I could say about it. This is one of those beers I could drink every day for the rest of my life and be content, though my organs would fail.

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Photo of hdofu
4.68/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

For such a monster beer it sure had quite a tan head on top a mahogany color brew. Smell is sweet and heavy of cherry. Taste is sweet and honey. It has a finish of spices like nutmeg, cinnamon cloves and other spices. The beer is pretty smooth with a noticeable but not overwhelming alcohol burn which warms the tongue and the soul. It goes down too easy but put visions of sugar plumbs dancing in my head way quicker then I'd feel comfortable cracking another bottle open for at this point.

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Photo of ZAP
4.68/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Fantastic brew....pours a cherrywood color...nose is spicy..body is medium...carbonation seems low....very few hints of the high ABV...extremely drinkable....some spicy alcohol notes on the flavor... Taste is very interesting...kind of an experimental Belgian Dubbel with soft sweet cherry notes...the cherry is not overdone which would have wrecked the beer....instead it adds a subtle elegance to the final product...also hints of oak, and brown sugar in the flavor...

This is outstanding....this is what all breweries should put out for their winter beers....On my dream tap list this would occupy one of the season lines during the winter months....a must try...lived up to its considerable hype ..

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Photo of Roose13
4.68/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

22oz bomber poured into a glass

A: A dark ruby red with a two-finger off-white foamy head.

S: Smells like cherries, yeasty

T: Cherries, some honey flavoring. Very malty as well.

M: Crisp, carbonated and hides the 11%

Overall: This was a first try and this beer was amazing. Wow!

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Photo of StretchZep
4.67/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Awesome just the right amount of "heat" and sweet! Wish I had picked up two of these. Got it in the bomber bottle and am three sips into it and bumming out about has little is left. It is the good! Lots of smooth maktyness and a nice bitey cherry finish! Merry Christmas!!

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Photo of chiefgtx
4.67/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I love this one. everything you should expect in a seasonal winter beer. All the fruity spicy hearty flavor. A glass of this is a meal. I am thinking about buying the last 6 pack up the street just to have it for myself! I can't really think of any reason it's not a 5 all around actually. Of the 162 I have tasted in the last 6 weeks...it is in my top ten! If you see it ...give it a chance! Delicious.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.66/5  rDev +21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Clear deep scarlet red hue. A medium sized beige head literally fizzes away in seconds. Not even a thin coating is left. Only a creamy edging that leaves sparse lace. The aroma is really quite remarkable. Beautiful belgian yeastiness, breadiness and mustiness. Sweet brown sugar. And delicate cherry notes. I love it. Oh man, this is one dangerous brew. The taste is fine. The mouthfeel is luscious. And the alcohol is nowhere to be found. This all adds up to an exceptional drinkability. The flavors are subtle, but quite discernable. Chocolate covered cherries. Bready yeastiness. Dark belgian malts. Raisin and rum. A little sweet honey. But I can hardly find a hint of alcohol here. And it's 11%?!? Damn. Maybe just a bit of a lingering bitterness on the aftertaste derived from EtOH. The beer feels like silk in the mouth and the body is medium at best. I understand the "Mad Elf" hysteria now. This is damn good.

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Photo of whoneeds8
4.65/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a westmalle chalice a dark amber with a very small head that disapated quickly. Smell is very sweet, with a very small hint of alcohol. The sweet cherry taste hits you up front, with a mellow sweetness from the honey that follows. Very malty with very little hop bite to it. Carbonation is just right. Very smooth beer for 11%abv. Overall, the cherries bring a very unique flavor to this style beer. A flavor I think I like.

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Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,209 ratings.