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Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

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very good

1,193 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,193
Hads: 3,597
Avg: 3.85
pDev: 15.32%
Wants: 215
Gots: 882 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Tröegs Mad Elf Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,193 | Hads: 3,597
Photo of ts183
3.15/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Out of a bottle, pours a dark amber hue with minimal head that dwindled to nothing. No lacing.

Smell is sweet and malty with a hint of fruitiness and booze.

Taste is more of the same. The cherries take on more of a dark fruity taste that's very faint, which is a good thing. As it goes down the alcohol makes a strong presence.

Interesting but not a beer I would grab again.

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Photo of tayner
3.15/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle with date on neck of bottle

pretty amber colored brew with fast rising white head that all but disappears quickly leaving no lacing behind and no ring.. nothing.

bready smell with a hint of fruit, cherries. not very strong

taste is bready yeast up front followed by some semisweet cherry flavor which to me is almost medicinal in quality. then the finish is a warm alcohol flavor. for 11% it is not bad though.

Seems a little under carbonated for me, makes it hard to drink.

I think this might be a better brew, for me, without the cherries. I am not fond of the medincinal quality the fruit lended in this particular brew, i dont think the cherries did the belgian yeast any favors. just my opinion.

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Photo of doppelmeup
3.15/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Light reddish pour into a chalice with a half inch head that faded quickly to a ring of lace. Very clear brew.

Tart pie cherries lead the way, just as advertised, with a slight cough syrup feel. Reminds me of Three Philosophers.

Kind of odd flavor. Slightly tart cherries prevail, pretty much drowning out any other flavors. Very one dimensional.

Dry, sticky mouthfeel. High ABV well hidden. Fizzy.

Overall, IMO this is a mediocre beer, kind of gimmicky. Lots of marketing but little substance. Not recommended.

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Photo of mcallister
3.15/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Fiery earthy orange/ruby/scarlet pour. No head except for some minimal traces around the edges of a tan formation.

Very belgain spice driven aromas and something in there I'm just not crazy about but also I'm not sure what it is. Bing cherry, orange marmalade, belgian yeast, herbal suggestions as well. Fruits and lively aromas.

Lots of evaporating alcohol on the tongue and the chest. Medium bodied to slightly thin especially for the style. Some cherry, spicey, herbal, earthy belgian yeasty aspects. Nothing says "stand out" about this beer. Just seems like an everyday run of the mill American brewed belgian style beer. However it is not a bad beer by any means.

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Photo of Redwood21
3.15/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer is one of the few that I've tried that has a prominent aroma. It smells sweet, and of fruit, which since its made with cherries and honey makes sense. I wouldnt say its a smell that really reminds me of beer, but i do like it. It has this nice amber color with very little head. It has an almost sugary sweet taste, which is a little too sweet for my taste. It's worth a try.

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Photo of BrewerB
3.15/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Thanks goes out to TwinsDaddy for trading this beer my way. Cheers!

Poured into a globe glass, this beer showcases lots of carbonation but head formation/retention seems poor. Hazy and dark amber in color with a thin off-white head that dissipated quickly. Spices and cherries mix with bready malts in the nose. Cherries carry through into the taste but tend to lie beneath the richer, bready malts. Lacking in complexity I'd expect from this style. Bitterness is moderate though the tart cherries help carry balance. Medium/medium-full bodied with a moderate-high level of carbonation. Overall, not that impressed with the execution on this beer. Perhaps I'm drinking an old bottle but I'd certainly not order a second.

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Photo of greenmonstah
3.15/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into Allagash chalice

A - Very aggressive pour eked out a one finger head, tan in color. Red-amber in color with plenty of bubbles pouring up from the bottom.

S - Sweet cherry. Belgian yeast producing some banana esters. A bit of cinnamon spices the beer. Not picking up much honey.

T - Cripplingly sweet, even overly so. Booze is powerful, but covered largely by the sweetness. Tons of cherry. Sweet sweet cherry, not dark. Cherry cough syrup. Way too medicinal for my tastes.

M - Medium to full in body, with a slight dryness in the back of the mouth at the finish. Wet and sticky otherwise.

O - Overall I just don't love to drink it. It tastes far too medicinal. The alcohol and the cherry juice drown everything else out and keep me from really enjoying this one.

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Photo of cannabanaceae
3.13/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Look was ruby red, small ring of head around rim stayed almost the whole way through.

Smell was belgium yeast, sweetness from the malt, red wine,big red bubble gum, and a bannana clove hefe smell.

Taste started like a triple, yeast was milder than expected from the nose, honey played a mellow roll in smoothing out the yeast. Alcohol is well hidden. The cherries turn up in the end, finishing like a flat cola. Medium body, with a tart mouthfeel.

A mellow sipper, pretty good, not in your face. Still with that said, I think a couple years in the cellar would improve the overall flavor.

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Photo of stercomm
3.12/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a bomber into a big tulip glass

A - Coppery orange in color, extremely big and thick 3 finger tan head that receded slowly

S - Very bold and strong can smell it from far away. Get honey and biscuits, some spice.

T - Honey, alcohol and cherries, definitely taste the alcohol

M - medium bodied and medium carbonation

O - A bit too heavy for me, strong profile

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Photo of lunarbrew
3.11/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Ahh, the thin line between a drain pour and a creative beer. This toes it close.

Beer pours red with little head and thin lacing. Smells like very little. Highly generic nose. Some faint cherries and sugary malt. A general "beer" scent. It's a little like cracking a coors. Tastes like fake cherries and brown sugar. Very sweet. Not too pleasing, but I'm trying to get through it. Consistency is slick, syrupy, and sticky. Pretty flat. This didn't quite work, imo. It's interesting, but ultimately a flop in my eyes.

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Photo of psuKinger
3.08/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Had this bottle in my fridge for a little over a year, I believe it comes from Christmas 2009, which should make it roughly ~14-15 months old. The black ink markings on the bottle say something about "TRACK #090814", which doesn't make much sense to me, as this beer couldn't have been brewed in September of 2014 unless it was sent to me from the future... I'll record that little piece of info here, as perhaps some day on down the line I will understand what that bottle stamp means/meant.

Bottle will be poured into my New Belgium globe glass. In general I enjoy cherry flavored beers, but I've never been overwhelmed by the Mad Elf (despite being a pretty big fan of the brewery as a whole). I'll try to do this review unbiased and "start from scratch".

A: Pours a ruby red, vaguely/barely clear color with a light frothy head on top. Not "thick", but not "thin" either. A nice carbonation level for a beer that's sat in my fridge for so long.

S: Spicey yeasty notes and cherry shine through, dominating the nose.

T: Taste follows the nose. Spicy yeast notes announce there presence early, a very mild layer of hops steps up to say hello for second, before the cherry takes over and dominates the finish. Knowing that they use hallertau hops makes total sense to me here, as that traditional german "pilsner bitterness" is what I get from the hops here. Alcohol bite is present, but not as potently as it could be for a beer of such magnitude. Well done by Troegs to mask this giant.

What I find odd is that this beer is classified as a "Belgian Dark", but I pick up more spiciness that I associate with Pales and Triples than I do the dark fruits that I associate with Darks and Quads.

M: Light, spicy, and zesty throughout, this beer does not drink "heavily", and it doesn't leave a lot of coating on the tongue.

D: Many of my friends love this beer, but it's just not a personal favorite of mine. I don't hate it, but I certainly don't crave it.

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Photo of WillieBeamen
3.08/5  rDev -20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Tastes a bit too much like fermented cherry juice topped off with vodka for my taste but an interesting beer that some people love for its uniqueness and holiday festivity

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Photo of andrewinski1
3.08/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into my Mad Elf tulip. Thanks Ben! Pours a clear dark amber almost pomegranate. Just a very little bit of head.

Nice sweet aroma. The cherry flavor reminds me of a cough drop. Not too bad, especially for the unique concoction.

The taste starts and finishes sweet. The only bitterness is in the aftertaste. I do get a hint of yeast spiciness similar to that of a tripel. The point is, this is sweet through and through.

Mouthfeel is average. This is an okay sipper. Very unique, but nothing I'd go out of my way to have again.

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Photo of mzwolinski
3.07/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Hazy red in color, with a thin uneven top.

The aroma is sweet and malty. Cherries and honey are understated at first, but give signs of a bit too much sweetness down the road.

The flavor is not bad right out of the fridge. A bit sweet with hints of cherry and very little in the way of hops. Alcohol almost completely undetectable. Nothing terribly stand-out about it, but certainly drinkable

As it warms, the malt and alcohol combine to give the beer a cinnamon-bread character. This is one of the more pleasant aspects of the beer.

As it continues to warm, however, the beer becomes a bit cough-syrupy … too sweet and sticky in the throat. And the warmer it gets, the worse it gets. Even at 55 degrees, it's pretty awful.

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Photo of brewsclues
3.07/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Deep crimson that is perfectly clear with no head or lacing at all.

Sort of a standard Belgian-style smell (nothing to complain about here) with plenty of cherry, phenols, bananas and banana bread, and some cloves. I get some chilli peppers in there, too - certainly some nice spice to it.

Some good Belgian flavors and some good spice at the back on the mouth at the finish. Big cherry flavor with it hits the tongue - not particularly subtle. Not really sure what all the fuss is about though. The alcohol taste is prominent, and smacks a little bit like cough syrup. In comparison to other strong ales, this is average at best.

A flat mouth feel to it - didn't like it compared to other strong Belgian ales. Little carbonation, and a flat, watery finish to it is below average.

I like Troegs, just not sure that the Mad Elf is all it's cracked up to be. For such a strong beer, it leaves the palette unfulfilled and tastes a bit too much like cherry cough syrup. Average at best.

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Photo of kiddynamite920
3.07/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Doesn't pour as red as expected, with so much emphasis of the cherry on the bottle. Poured it extra rough to generate some head, since my last bottle yielded nothing with the traditional pour. The head built, but was gone quickly. It's a golden amber color and I notice a minimal amount of streaming bubbles. I smell cherries and banana and clove. Not overly impressive. Smells of Belgian yeast. Not picking up any hops on the nose. I have a feeling this beer would taste much better with a deep chill on it. It lacks the crispness that carries important flavors, so maybe the chill of refrigeration could help. I get a breadiness at first, and on the exhale the alcohol kicks in. Some cherries are very present as well. Mouthfeel fails here for me. Carbonation would send this beer over the edge, but without it I feel like I'm drinking a malty syrup. The beer is flavorful, but after two it's time to move on to something else.

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Photo of joeboe2001
3.06/5  rDev -20.5%
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!

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Photo of nasty15108
3.06/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a pint glass.

A - Poured a clear amber/orange color with slightly off white head that quickly dissappeared.

S - Slight aroma of chocolate covered cherries with lots of alcohol.

T - More of the same. Lots of alcholic heat and a bitter/tart finish.

MF&D - I think it would be little tough to drink this all night.

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Photo of grego
3.06/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer was from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Poured very red with not much head that didn't last long. the smell is malty with some spicyness to it - hard to describe for me. The taste is the same sweet, cherries, cinnamon. Mouthfeel is very dry. I like Troeg's beers a lot but this one is not a style I prefer. If you like a stronger holiday style beer then I imagine this would be great, just not my thing.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.05/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz. bottle poured into a tulip. No bottled date found. Huge thanks to mb2696 for the bottle!

(A)- Pours a clear pale ruby color that produced an off-white head that dissipated quickly.

(S)- Lots of cherries with a honey sweetness. Very much like a cherry pie with honey drizzled on it.

(T)- Tart cherries with a big honey sweetness.

(M)- A low carbonation level. Rather sweet & syrup like. A huge fruitiness. Much too syrupy & sweet for the style as well as my tastes. It gets more & more bitter the further into the bottle I went.

(D)- Tastes good, but is far too sweet & syrup-like to enjoy more than a glass in one sitting. Especially disappointing considering the style it is classified under. Seems much more like a fruit beer than a belgain strong dark.

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Photo of zeledonia
3.05/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2011-2012 vintage. Tasted 24 November 2011, reviewed from notes.

Pours a very dark brownish amber, a warm tone with slight reddish hints. About a half-finger of light yellowish-tan head, decent retention and lacing.

Smell has sweetness galore: cherry and honey. On the upside, the alcohol doesn't come through, which to me makes it much more pleasant than the taste.

Taste is similar to the smell, with a fair amount of cherry and a distinct honey sweetness. Quite sweet, and spiced with fruit and honey. I liked it up to this point, but then it turned over to a rough alcohol sharpness that I really didn't like.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy body, quite syrupy and thick. Medium-low carbonation, with a long bitter finish.

This is almost a very tasty beer. I'd say it has most of the elements of a very tasty beer. But the alcohol brings a pronounced sharp bitterness, which I find quite unpleasant. Okay, the ABV is high, but it's not well-hidden at all. And it's not like a pleasant kick, but rather a grinding, grating scrape of the mouth. Boo.

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Photo of kenpo23
3.05/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

oh christmas beer oh christmas beer....

A: pretty flat, with no head. pretty red color that some irish red ales dont even have.

S: nice fruity smell. i can smell the cherry (and it doesnt smell like cough medicine to me) and honey.

T: wow, smooth. i can't taste the honey at all but my other half, the super taster, is amazed that i can't taste it. the alcohol taste didn't really hit me.

D: sip away. i cant imagine trying to pound one of these.

nothing extra special about this beer. its very much got a holiday flavor to it though. i bought one for christmas and i will do the same next year, but no more than one for me.

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Photo of scottyg354
3.05/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Pour almost Cherry Wood in color with a short lasting head. Not much lacing with this beer. Just a nice color

S: Cherry and Maltiness with a slight spice and sweetness.

T: Cherry Cough Syrup w/ malt. Not to good at all.

M:Smooth but lacking in carbonation.

O: Not sure why so many people actually enjoy this beer. Oh well, to each there own. Much better holiday seasonals out there.

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Photo of barknee
3.05/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Mad Elf pours a medium mahogany red; just like Birch Beer. Active carbonation on the pour gives ya' a "weffer thin" head. Wow.. the nose is actually like birch beer soda or sarsaparilla, having a structured root beer element to it. But this stuff ain't for kids! Though the aromatics are in the forefront, there is no denying the absolute Belgian component to this brew. As all these flavors and aromatics are wrapped around candy sugar and Belgian like yeast strains; banana, allspice , and clove, these are indeed the Triad of Belgian nose candy.
An original and well made beer!

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Photo of hustlesworth
3.02/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- fizzy and vigorous buff colored head shrinks down quickly to a nare-nutta not much at all. similar to cola actually. no lace on a very clean tulip. body however is striking ruby red and rusty burnt sienna but due to its mega abv looks flat and disappointing.

S- smells very belgian, hints of chocolate, dark fruits like raisins, prunes, figs, dates, mineral water, spicy clove and banana yeast, pepper, blackberry, some wet dog, sweet honey, floral alcohol, but mostly yeasty and pale pilsener aromas with a fruity background.

T- more mineral water and a fresh grainy cereal flavor that is very appealing. there's a continual underlying fruity sweetness but i can't quite say that cherries or honey stand out. sweetness is not distinguishable from the rock candy syrup (or any other high sucrose simple syrup) that i typically associate with run of the mill belgian knock offs. more notes of milk chocolate and a clean floral hop bitterness but the most exciting part of this one for me is the taste of fresh lightly toasted grain and flavorful, albeit generic, yeast spiciness. finishes sweet with a little bit of residual dired cherry-sherry-wine tannin flavors and my beloved graininess lingers along with it. i will say however that the whopping 11% abv is very well hidden by fruity notes, sugar, and yeast esters.

MF- sugary acidic honey feeling, in this aspect the honey really reveals itself. more grain feeling as well. medium-low carbonation and an almost full slightly syrupy body. alcohol finally becomes evident as i burp and get a flash of heartburn, as well as a sugared dryness as finishing flavors diminish.

D- without being a dick, i'm glad i didn't save this elf til christmas eve. more than subtle, the special ingredients were totally subdued and could have been achieved merely with the magic of yeast, malt and hops, and a lil bit of rock candy. im treating it more like a generic wine than a really good belgian.

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Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,193 ratings.