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Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

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Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

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very good

3,484 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,484
Reviews: 1,200
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 15.5%
Wants: 194
Gots: 747 | FT: 22
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: 3,484 | Reviews: 1,200 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Doctor_Bogenbroom
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Now, be good little boys and girls, and take your medicine! I was told I'd be knocked off my seat once I tried Mad Elf. Well, that didn't happen, and Mad Elf was a lot milder than I expected, but I will tell you, it definitely tastes like medicine. The cherry and the alcohol both hit your tongue right away. Even the dark cherry color reminds me of something medicinal. There is a definite cough-syrupy finish that I wouldn't say I hate, but it didn't do me any favors either. Overall, this is an acceptable brew in small quantities. I wouldn't want to drink too much of it, and I definitely wouldn't want it all the time.

Photo of stephendedalus
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Ahhh...Autumn and winter brews--some of my favorites, and Mad Elf is no exception. While this is not the best example of a Belgian Strong or a holiday ale, it is remarkably smooth, packs a festive punch (11% ABV), and is available for a limited time only. So...

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle decorated with our friend the mad elf. Color is a nice amber-red with gentle carbonation evident. A decent head at first--nice and white, but faded quickly. That said, the Mad Elf does lace better than some other high ABV ales.

Spicy aroma. Alcohol is definitely present, as is a malty sweetness--and yes, you can detect some fruitiness, although it is sortof difficult to pin the aroma as "cherry" regardless of what the bottle says. The cherries do come through a little more in the taste, however, as does a well-balanced malt bill (mostly light, but just enough roasted or chocolate...to be interesting enough. Some spiciness-pepper due to the alcohol. All in all, however, very drinkable.

A bit thin in mouthfeel, but this is easily overlooked. Due to the decently masked ABV, accessable flavor profile, and of course, the picture of the mad elf himself, this is a nice beer to be enjoyed with friends around the holidays--or as an introductory beer for someone who may not ordinarily give beer a fair shake. Happy glugging!

Photo of RyanAU
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of Jayli
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Consumed 10/29/09

A: This beer poured a crystal clear amber with a slight ruby hue to it. A 1/4 inch of offwhite head forms that disappears immediately. No lacing to speak of with this beer.

S: Nose is sweet and spicey - notes of honey, cherries, caramel, and hints of clove.

T: The alcohol on this one hits you up front that is quickly replaced by sweet cherry and honey flavoring. The finish on this another wallop of malt sweetness and smack of alcohol again.

M: Medium body, low carbonation, coats your tongue with a slightly sweet aftertaste. Finish is sticky.

D: This is a nice beer, and as it warms it gets better. Even though the alcohol is detectable, it doesn't distract you from everything else that's going on.

Photo of prsguitarsr4me
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Interesting beer. Got this as an extra in a trade - thanks jophish17! Nice dark amber color, not much head, and no retention. Aroma is a little sour to me - maybe a bit too much sweet fruit - almost like bananas. Taste is similar but definitely better - smooth and sweet - a little spicy, which I definitely like. I can't believe that the alcohol is 11%. It tastes like 5-6%. I would've liked a little more alcohol presence in the taste and aroma. Feel is smooth - goes down nicely and I could drink several if I had them. Definitely an interesting take on a Belgian strong ale - the alcohol is a little too hidden for my tastes.

Photo of Lukafer
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jdefont for this one!

Pours a surprisingly transparent ruby with a fingers worth of white head that leaves decent lacing. I smell some oxidation right away, followed by some yeast, slight fruit and malts. The first thing I taste is oxidation, immediately followed by cherries, and a lot of sweet malts. I think the oxidation is a bit much, more than the last time I had this beer, for sure. Mouthfeel is sticky with medium carb, probably on the low end. Drinkability is good, especially for the ABV. A good beer that I've enjoyed in the past a little more than this one, but still solid.

Photo of jwhancher
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear ruby colored red with soapy-like head that fades down to nothing. Smells of cherries with some hot alcohol burn. The alcohol notes increase as it warms. Tastes of cherries dipped in syrupy chocolate. Some brown sugar notes and a tad of spicy notes likely from the yeast. I get the honey a little bit. Tastes surprisingly light bodied. Rather even balanced in bitterness. Nice on a winter night.

Photo of shirfan
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ruby-copper in color, quickly vanishing head.

Aroma is mild cherry flavoring, sugar, and a hint of yeast.

Flavor is smooth malt and maybe candi sugar with hints of cherries and floral undertones. Not very estery. A touch of maple in the background. Sugary flavor without being overly sweet, if that makes sense.

Light on the tongue and easy to drink with no alcohol burn, this is one smooth operator for its ABV. Sort of like a mild-mannered relative of Three Philosophers.

Photo of tavernjef
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clearish glowing coppery red color, small ivory head that diminishes quickly leaving no lacing. Aroma has a fresh rose semi sweet malty tingle with light phenol and cleaning alcohol notes. Taste has a mild malty start with some slight fruityness that builds into the middle where the fruityness of cherry becomes evident mixed with light raisin and fig, finishing with a slight spicy burn of alcohol which unleashes some more sweet fruityness with nice dry molasses and a slight touch of phenolic yeast and spice notes. Simple in taste but effective in its layering keeping a certain level of complexity. Feel is close to full but falls off quickly, some light chewy and sticky smoothness and malty sweetness throughout with a nice mix of light cake-like drying aspects and even lighter spices and phenols. A nice warmer-upper and actually pretty drinkable even with its 11% due to its smoothness and milder tone.
Thanks to feloniousmonk for saving me a bottle!

Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My last Mad Elf until next winter. A 12 ounce bottle of 2008 vintage Elf poured into a snifter. Appears a crystal clear pure copper color akin to cream soda with a quickly fading half inch of off white foam. The head leaves no lacing on my glass. Smells of cherries, malty, sweet and fruity. Tastes of brandy soaked cherries, sweet biscuity malts, plums, figs, alcohol, a hint of cocoa, and dark raisins. This ale is a notch or two above medium in body with ample carbonation. After only a few months in the bottle the alcohol is still quite noticeable making this a sipper/ nightcap beer.

Photo of barczar
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Honey dominates the aroma, followed by booze, medicinal phenols, musty yeast and a touch of cherry.

Flavor reveals a lightly tart cherry character throughout, which is complemented by pear and banana yeast esters in the aftertaste. Honey sweetness lingers. Thankfully, not as medicinal in flavor as aroma.

Alcohol doesn't hide much in this beast. Had it years ago and loved it, but I think it was aged a bit. Nope to revisit this vintage in a few years.

Photo of beerbutcher
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours deep gold/amber with little white head.

aromas are of cherries and honey. also slight traces of belg, yeast influence, warming esters, and scarcely malty.

on the palate the beer is quite full. theres a little honey character, though it's rinsed out by the cherry flavor. there's a nice light lift of fruity acidity which keeps this big beer refreshing. dangerous. tasting nothing like 11 %

mouthfeel is rich and intense but dry enough. the fruit keeps this beer together.

overall, dangerously drinkable.

Photo of GregSVT
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a deep mahogany with a small white head that fades leaving no lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is full of cherries, red apples, and yeasty/bready aromas.

T: The taste is definitely Belgian. Loads of cherries, other fruits, malt, yeast, and biscuity bread flavors. I guess I'm not getting much of the honey that this is supposedly brewed with but I'm sure it just adds to the sweetness of the brew.

M: The feel is creamy and medium bodied. The finish lasts for a while.

D: Not a bad belgian beer. The ABV is pretty high and will definitely make me think twice about grabbing another in the same night.

Not what I expect when the holidays roll around but it's a good beer. Recommended if you like big fruity belgian beers.

Photo of jcartamdg
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an amber cherry color with very little head and no lacing at all. Aroma of cherries, bananas and spicy Belgian yeast with alcohol in the back. Taste follows more sweetness and cherries. Smooth and silky mouthfeel. This is a tasty complex beer, I really like it!

Photo of Hibernator
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tröegs Mad Elf
22 oz brown bottles
Served in a 20 oz tulip glass

Pours a chestnut brown with ruby highlights. Decent head at first, but that disappears leaving no sticky lacings.

Malty nose with some whiffs of spice and dark fruit.

Malty backbone with a cinnamon or allspice quality, brown sugar and honey giving this beer a nice sweetness and smoothness. Also I detect some medicinal with a band-aid type flavor.

The carbonation level is very low and the 11% ABV is very well hidden.

Photo of BrewCrew2010
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours a coppery-red body and a small white crown with a short head retention.

S: Aroma is a subtle cherry smell with notes of spices, booze, honey, & caramel malts.

T: Upfront sweetness from honey, candy sugar, and a hint of tart black cherries. Some clove, other spices, sweet malts, and yeast are noticeable as well, but the high ABV is well hidden.

M: Light body; light-medium carbonation; mouth coating and almost syrupy texture.

O: I love this one for the holidays. Not a bad price makes it a cute gift. Otherwise, high ABV makes it a 1-2 bottle drinkability and a nice take on the style.

Photo of ChrisR123
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of brewskifan55
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a New Belgium chalice at cvm4's holiday sampling. Thanks for the trade, Gus!

A: Opaque, ice tea amber with a half finger head that scampers quickly. Few bubbles.

S: Dark fruits, particularly cherries. Sweet, honey, leather.

T: Cherry sweet, caramel, malts, honey. Robust. A very easy drinker.

M: Medium. Bubbles like crazy.

O: Very festive. Alcohol is well hidden. More malts pop through as it warms. A mad elf worth catching.

Photo of TheViolator666
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 fl. oz. bottle poured into snifter.

A: Poured with a beautiful ruby red hue topped by an unfortunate thin white head. Head retention was very low and faded to a thin ring around the edge of the glass after about 30 seconds. Great clarity. No lacing.

S: Big aroma of very tart cherries and various "holiday spices", some alcohol. Honey sweetness in the background.

T: Wasn't expecting this much yeast! Tastes very Belgian, if you will, with tons and tons of spicy yeast character. Very vinous, sweet like honey and a bit tart. Some rich toasted malts. Alcohol definitely comes through, tons of warming down the throat. No hops, as expected. Finishes dry.

M/D: Mouthfeel is nice, medium-full. Carbonation is moderate. Alcohol could be hidden better.

I can see why people age this stuff for years! I might pick another up to keep for quite some time to let it mellow out.

Photo of craigdb
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of allergictomacros
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A very Christmassy brew this. Very fruity, which makes some sense with a rich cherry aroma, but with something else as well - a wheaty twang in the nose. Sweet, rich and flavourful for sure. Alcohol is well hidden, but still manages to give a hint of complexity. Very fruity and nary a hop to be tasted - well maybe a bit in the finish, but this is a big, malty, fruity brew. Color is an appropriate copper, and carbonation a bit muted. Soft, creamy body is nice as well. As for the honey... well, I don't taste it. I suppose the cherry is that much stronger a flavour. Pretty drinkable for a big beer. Worth trying, but like most fruit beers, not a regular in my beer fridge.

Photo of Gkruszewski
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of kzoobrew
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reddish tinged amber body, clear no sign of sediment. One finger soft white head sits atop momentarily. The head recedes back to a slim cap. Slight lacing left behind.

Cherry Starburst flavor pours from the glass. The cherry is very sweet and candylike. It takes a bit of work to dig beneath the fruit up front. Sweet malt can be noticed, some soft yeast characteristics. The smell is pleasant though fairly one dimensional.

The flavor is an improvement from the aroma. The cherry flavor is not as dominant and much less artificial. Sweet, dark cherry flavor melds with an earthy honey flavor. Very strong belgian style dark ale notes are displayed below. Dark fruit and chocolate flavors compliment the cherry up front. There is a decent amount of heat in this beer. It is not out of place, but it is a little more than what I would like.

Medium to full bodied beer. Moderate carbonation, appropriate for the style. Heavy sweetness coats the tongue making for a long finish.

I like this beer, very appropriate holiday beer. The flavors work well together creating an interesting interpretation of a belgian style beer. Mad Elf is a little boozey but not to the point of being off putting. I would like to drink this again, preferably when there is snow on the ground.

Photo of Roland45s
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Reddish ale with a 1" head,

S: Smells fruity with a hint of cherry/honey

T: Smooth, honey flavored fruity goodness.

M: Clean, Crisp, carbonated and not too much bite at 11%

Overall: This was a first try and this beer was really good. Even at $20 for a 6 pack (whole foods) or $15 at (total Bev)

Photo of informaticsDoc
3.86/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 3,484 ratings.