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Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

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very good

3,550 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,550
Reviews: 1,218
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 15.25%
Wants: 204
Gots: 809 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,550 | Reviews: 1,218
Photo of OnThenIn
4.07/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance:I had troubles getting some carbonation out of this beer. I got at most a half finger of head that dissipated, and this was after a very aggressive pour. The color of the head was white, while the beer was a beautiful ruby red, with orange hues.

Smell: This definitely smells like a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. I get a great deal of spiceness and honey in the nose. It reminds me of cloves and dark fruits. Definitely sour cherries in this one. It makes me think of a cherry hefeweizen, but with more depth. There is not even a hint of alcohol, which is surprising considering the 11% abv.

Taste: Wow this has A LOT of flavor to it. I get a little bit of alcohol in the back end, but it is so well hidden and interplays with the other flavors so well that I wouldn't have noticed it if I didn't look for it. The beer opens up with honey and spice, which is slowly taken over by a sweet, but not cloyingly so, flavor at the same time as the cherry flavor hits. The finish is all about the mix of the cherries and spice flavors, with just a hint of alcohol.

Mouthfeel: This is a full bodied beer with enough carbonation so it doesn't taste flat, but not enough to get a nice head. This lack of carbonation actually works for this beer, making it a nice sipper.

Drinkability: I think it would be very easy to drink way too much mad elf way too fast. Really delicious beer, but one that I can only take in moderation due to the bold flavors and the high level of sweetness. I also find an 8 dollar bomber a little bit pricey for what it brought to the table, but I would still considering buying another.

Photo of goatgoat
4.07/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear brassy amber with lots of trails of carbonation. A fizzy head foams up while pouring and disappears immediately. No lacing.

Aroma is heavy malt with noticeable alcohol. Caramel, slight dark honey, and lots of dark fruit. Maybe a slight hop spice, or perhaps that's the alcohol.

Taste is very malt forward. Caramel, a bare hint the chocolate malts in there. No clear separate hop notes but decently balanced from a spicy character. Very clean taste for such a malt heavy beer. Moderately dry finish with alcohol warming.

Medium body with lots of soft fizzy carbonation. Almost sody pop kind of carbonation but without the harshness.

I can't pick out the cherries, but that doesn't diminish my enjoyment. Not my typical brew, but a really nice foray into malt territory.

Photo of alpinebryant
4.07/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pour is a clear cherry copper with a tiny head of white at the edges.

S: Aroma of ripe cherries, fruit punch , belgian spices and yeast, honey

T: Right there with the aromas, this is hitting hard with cherry and honey. The belgian flavors are slightly subdued, but definitely there. Plenty of noble hopping in order to balance out the extreme sweetness of cherries and honey; I would say that this was accomplished pretty well.

M: Very light in mouthfeel for a BSDA , I would say this is the weak part of this beer but only because of the category that this is in. At 11% abv, this shouldnt come as a surprise, but it is a little lighter than I would have expected for the style.

O: Very tasty Belgian Strong Dark ale and my favorite beer yet from Troegs. I may have to get some more of these to throw in the cellar for next year and compare a few years.

Photo of paulozanello
4.07/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I was waiting for this one! Got me a six-pack for 13.99 here in DC.

A- Mad Elf Ale pours a ruby brown hazy color and forms a one finger beige head that dissipates quickly leaving just a ring of foam around the glass. Lacing is below what is expected for the style.

S- Right of the bat I get a lot of red fruits, specially the cherries. You can definitely smell the chocolate malts and the spicy belgian yeast caracter later.

T- Starts very sweet with a caramel malt, honey and chocolate. Then the sweet/sour cherries kick in (not overpowering at all) to round out and complement the malt/honey sweetness. It ends with yeast esters, typically belgian, and reminds me of Rochefort 8 and Chimay Blue.

M/D- Medium body and dangerously pleasant mouthfeel. Alcohol is well-hidden behind the many flavors of this beer. But much like every other BSDA this is a complex beer that you can just drink too fast, so the drinkability is not that high. Carbonation is quite high according to style.

Overall another great beer from Troegs and it gets better as it gets warmer. Go and get it while it lasts.

Photo of Wren
4.07/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Got my growler filled at the brewery Wed 11-15

Pours a nice ruby red with a little bit of brown showing throught
Ample creamy dense head that takes on a little of the ruby/brown hue, loads of carbonation in this one

Aroma was first of black peppery then sweet cherry honey, alcohol finish with tart fruit - smells like Holiday Cheer

Taste - This is my third year trying the elf, and this years batch had a stronger black pepper/spice note up front which moved into tart cherries and sweet malt, finished off with warm alchohol starting in the back of my mouth and slowing warming all the way down, very pleaseant - not at all harsh
The extra pepper kick I got upfront balanced the sweetness of the beer, I thought last years elf was a little on the overly sweet side

Mouthfeel on this one is great - fluffy head, heavy carbonation, thcik sweet beer and alcholol thiness all combine in great balance

Tough to down multiple glasses of this with the 11% ABV, but I'd never pass up a pint

Photo of grayburn
4.07/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a ruby-orange with a minimal head that fades quickly.

The smell and taste are both hot and boozy but the cherries and honey add enough interesting notes to the malt backbone to bring everything together. There might be a little spiciness from the hops, or it could be from the yeast, either way, it works.

The beer finishes dryer than expected with such a big body, I'm impressed, the honey really brought this together well...this also leads to scary drinkability, be careful but imbibe.

Photo of jjanega08
4.07/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

2008 Vintage

A= Pours a nice hazy dark amber color with a ring around the glass head on it. The lack of head is expected from being two years old and an already huge beer.

S= The smell is a little spicy from the yeast and very mellowed. The cherries come through quite a bit for the age. Sort of has a marciano cherry smell to it. Very similar to a pie.

T= The taste is also very similar to a cherry pie. I'm suprised the pie has stuck around so much after the years. Super smooth and mellow. No oxidation coming from it. The yeast spice is there but somewhat subdued.

M= Super smooth and clean. Not much of a mouth on it.

D= This beer is super drinkable for the strength of it. Tastes like cherry pie and finishes clean as hell. Worth checking out.

Photo of AnitaBrewski
4.06/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Tasteseeker
4.06/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of dmarch
4.06/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow, the appearance alone is worth making the purshase for. Deep ruby color with a fluffy off-white head. Aroma is more sugary than malty, must be from the honey, Taste is much of the same. Surprisingly, the cherry isn't as distinct as you would think. It is presant though and gives this a drinkability that you wouldn't expect from a 11% beer.

Photo of Liverpool08
4.06/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow. Yummy! Pours a ruby red with just a thin whit head. Not much aroma, a little cherry and candy. The taste is incredible. Rich sweet malt and cherry. Plus that nice spicy yeast just adds to the mix. There is also a nice honey tone that keeps the cherries from overpowering. This is the way to brew with cherries. The beer keeps the sweetness without the medicinal/cough syrup that a lot of cherry brews have. This is just a great winter brew. There is no way you would ever guess it was a 11% ABV beer. SUPER drinkible! One of my new favorites.

Photo of spointon
4.06/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of canoehornpoint
4.06/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The only beer my wife really likes and it's nearly impossible to find, even in season. This pours a deep amber with a nice rich head that lasts longer than most. The aroma is a fruitiness that is not really discernable but pleasant. If you didn't know it was cherry, you would just think "fruity". Nothing is overpowering in this beer. the cherries, malt and hops blend together for a fruity wine taste that is pleasant, even for a guy who doesn't want fruit in beer. this hits the lips light and finishes full. I was pleasantly surprised and will try to homebrew something close.

Photo of BeerBeast
4.06/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Jeffreysan
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2013 edition, 12 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, cloudy, amber/mahogany color with a half of a finger of white head that quickly dissolved away into a halo of foam that gripped the sides of the glass and formed a few wispy clouds that settled over the top of the beer.

Aroma: Tons of fruit and yeast. Strong notes of cherries, and figs, followed by some spices of clove, honey, brown sugar and toasted malt, imparting notes of freshly baked fruit cake. Reminds me of a very fruity Belgian dubbel.

Taste: Delicious! Exactly like a very fruity Belgian dubbel. Strong notes of stone fruit, such as cherries, plums, prunes and figs, followed by some barn-yard notes of Belgian yeast and malt, finished with some toffee and brown sugar-like sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Chewy, with just a touch of carbonation to make an appearance. With and ABV of 11%, there is a significant amount of alcohol on the palate, imparting a very pleasant warmth.

Overall: This an excellent beer! I love the fruit and malt, which is balanced beautifully with the Belgian yeast. Strong bold flavors. Great Christmas beer! Hell, great beer period!

Photo of BeerBuzzGuy
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of cubedbee
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a bright brick red with a small off-white head that neverthless has good retetention and leaves some moderate lacing. Nose is nice natural cherries, not syrupy, a honey sweetness, and a slight clovelike spiciness. Taste is a nice smooth cherry with some other pear/apple fruitiness, a nice bready malt, and a decent spicey and hoppy finish. Mouthfeel is medium/full with a nice smoothness. Overall this is a really nice beer, hides the alcohol well, nice to sip on a cold day.

Photo of LennyV
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark coppor color into my Maudite snifter. Small one finger head which leaves quickly. Little to no lacing

No overpowering smell. Faint sweetness with some cherry.

Tastes of sweet cherrys and malt. The alcohol is masked very well.

Medium body more like a "heavy medium" Slight carbonation.

This is a great sipper. Something to hold and enjoy the evening with. It is so very smooth and easy to drink that at 11% abv I could easily ruin the next morning if I am not careful.

Photo of PearlJam1221
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this in a snifter at Good Dog bar in Philadelphia.

I ordered this knowing nothing about the beer (I know, that's unacceptable for a BA from Philly, but please bear with me). Fantastic smell, slight cherry, malt, and hops come through in the end. Head was minimal and disappeared quickly. I was surprised by the taste, cherries came through rather strongly, then some alcohol,
Mouthfeel was a little thicker than I prefer or expected, but good for the style. I appreciated that it wasn't sticky and very little alcohol burn. I couldn't believe that the beer was 11% when I checked BA on my phone as I finished the beer. I could easily see ordering a 2nd, but I hadn't eaten yet!

Photo of Roy3268
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4.5

S- many different things detected from the smell of this beer. Had a mild cherry scent with honey which created a bubble gum like aroma.

T- not ovely hoppy like many of the Troge brew. like the smell had a bubble gum taste to it.

M- had a bit of a syrupy mouth sensation to it, but not enough to gag you. perfect sipping beer

D- highly recommended..Rather pricey (52.00 for a case) one of those beers that you buy around the winter holidays too heavy for a summer drink

Photo of Stillmakingnoise
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of hellcatsjg
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark ruby red, with a thin layer of head that lasts throughout the glass.

Smell: Spicy, sweet cherry, along with a decent malty aroma.

Taste: Just like the nose, you get a sweet and spicy cherry flavor up front. As that fades a bit, you start to taste the malt. There is an underlying malt flavor that increases as the beer warms. The alcohol is also quite prevalent as you go along and gives you a bit of warmth in the back as it goes down.

Mouthfeel: Nice thickness, good smoothness. The slightly sweet flavor lasts for quite a while after each sip. The alcohol warmth is also quite nice on a cold winter evening.

Drinkability: Very good beer that is most enjoyable during the cold weather. Spicy and warming, this is a great winter seasonal. Slightly high ABV could limit how many you may want.

Photo of Crosling
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shared at a tasting with ratebeerians Ernest amd Aubrey.


Aroma of sweet malts, grapes, cherries, alcohol and honey.

Dark fruits, honey, cherries, toasted malts and subtle chocolate. I like how the cherries do not play a large role but instead, are in the backround letting you know that they are there but not screaming obscenities at your mother.

Anyway, this was a good one.

Photo of sloejams
4.04/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Kadonny for this one - CA-PA BIF

Tröegs has long been known as 2 words in my head: Nugget Nectar. Oh I knew they made other beers, I just didnt know what they were and how they tasted.

Mad Elf turned that around for me. Pours and smells like one of those Unibroue "ale on lee's". Oh I like those. Their Terrible, maybe? Thick molasses, brown sugars, honey and the cherry, described on the bottle - stick out on this bad boy. Drinks well, some candied fruit tastes linger in there. I was sticker shocked to see it was 11% - well hidden.

Photo of Patrick4434
4.04/5  rDev +4.4%

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Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 3,550 ratings.