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Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

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very good

3,485 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,485
Reviews: 1,200
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 15.5%
Wants: 194
Gots: 749 | FT: 23
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: 3,485 | Reviews: 1,200 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CuriousMonk
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle into dimpled mug. Pours a flat amber with a fizzy white head, which diminishes fairly steadily. Has a good aroma of cherry and malts with a touch of hoppiness. Has a medium body with a slick texture. Has a lively carbonation. A good duration with a slightly metalic chalky finish. This brew hides the 11% very well. Has hints of a Belguim.

Photo of cvm4
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours amber with a white head to it.

S - The cherry comes through a lot, with bready malts and sweet yeast.

T - A nice spiciness that leads into cherries and sweet malts. I'm surprised at how well hidden the abv is.

M - Medium body & carbonation.

O - Really good, crisp on the palette.

Photo of Zaccone
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Smells like cherries, especially while still in the bottle. After pouring (into a snazzy Mad Elf chalice) smells yeasty and spicy - just as someone else said, like a hefeweizen.

Looks almost iridescent - coppery-red and very inviting. I must say, despite my qualms with drinking more than one bottle at once, if you let me smell it and look at it long enough I'll probably drink it anyway.

M&D: The 11% alcohol owns the aftertaste. Medium-chewy.

finally, Taste.. really a good beer - on occasion, there are times it hits the spot and I call it excellent. The sour-hefeweizen thing is in the background. Very sugary beer, and the cherries are noticeable.

So, seems to taste like a high-alcohol, oversweetened hefeweizen. Very seldom do I enjoy sweet beer, but this one makes my mouth and tummy happy. Though I'll admit to fantasizing about a drier version of the Elf...

Photo of Martin2D
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Deep burgundy red with a small whitish head

S - Alcohol and cherries

T - Alcohol on the forefront with a slight cherry aftertaste. Tartness is noted on the aftertaste.

M - Low carbonation and thin on the mouthfeel

D - Pretty strong on the alcohol, so this is to drink a lot of. One and done for me.

Photo of mj71
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a red-twinged dark gold. Almost no head, which completely disappears quickly. Zero lacing.

S- Almost cough-syrupy. Alcohol fights with cherries for dominance

T- Cherries start and finish the sip with honey poking through as the carbonation flares. Very alcoholic, slightly spicy back-end.

M- As the beer warms the maltiness comes to the forefront. Not many hops detected

D- High ABV limits the sheer volume you'd want to down, but as a sipping beer, the complexity and originality make it a winner.

Photo of Celtics76
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a Red Hook Limited glass.

Appearance is dark ruby red yet transparent. Wow very little aroma to this. There's no head or lacing either. Interesting. As for taste - somewhat boozy - I can really feel the 11% ABV here. Not necessarily a bad thing though. The honey/cherry flavors eventually rise to the surface after multiple sips. Good stuff.

I'll look forward to having 2-3 of these around the holidays every year.

Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've had a few of the Troegs beers in recent months, and all of them have been quite enjoyable. Between that and the worth of mouth that other users said about this brew, I was pretty excited when this came into my liquor store a few weeks ago. After drinking it, however, I was a bit let down...

Don't get me wrong, this is a fine brew. Poured a nice mahogany reddish-brown, about a finger and a half worth of head that quickly settled down. The taste was very maltly and bready, with hints of banana and cherry as well. Can't quite taste the honey in this, and the 11% ABV is hardly noticable either. It's quite drinkable, with a fairly filling aftertaste and a lacing that gently slid down the glass after I took each sip; although the beer itself could have been a bit less thin.

I was led to believe that the $13.99 price for the 6-pack and the supposed ruby red color would make this a standout, but the Mad Elf seems to be better suited as just the only American version of a Belgian Strong Ale that I've ever seen or drank. With my experiences with Troegs in the past, the bar for this was set quite high, and even though I was a bit disappointed, I enjoyed this beer and look forward to their other offerings that I haven't tried yet. Worth a shot but not worth the price in my opinion...

Photo of meatyard
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The appearance is a very pretty, clear, red-amber color. A hard pour delivers a short head that disappears in a few seconds and no lacing.
The smell is of raisins, a hint of cherry and malt.
The taste is cherry, honey and the yeast with a slight bit of alcohol.
Mouthfeel is on the thin side but has noticeable carbonation feel on the tip of the tongue.
Drinkability is pretty good though the 11% alcohol would limit me to two at a time.

Photo of coldmeat23
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

GLASS: Chimay Goblet
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 50 degrees
Thanks to sholland119 for this one

Pours a clear ruby-red with copper highlights. About half a finger of foam that dissipates quickly. Lacing is minimal, but okay.

The smell of cherries dominates this one. Seconds after opening the bottle, the cherry scent hit me. Inhaling over the glass gets lots more cherry with a touch of honey and some caramely malt notes. Slight sourness, not unlike a Geuze. Nice spice notes and hints of Belgian yeast. Nice banana and grape notes. Hints of dark fruit, as well. Minimal earthiness.

Cherries are here, in the taste, but not as dominant as in the nose. Hints of spices and Belgian yeast notes. Candy sugars and bananas. Hints of dark fruits. Slight booziness. Hints of honey help to make a nice smooth finish.

Nice medium body, closing in on full-bodied. A little heavy on the carbonation, I think. It's so close to being thick, but not quite there.

The 11% ABV, while not completely out in the open, certainly does make it's presence felt as the bottle goes down. Because of this, I'd say that one would be enough in a sitting.
This is a tasty brew, and I'm quite glad to have had the opportunity to try it.

Photo of rhinos00
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter.

A- Dark amber, color almost verging on red. Virtually no head, the little that was there disappeared almost immediately.

S- Initially, I got a nice whiff of oats, biscuits, and malt with a hint of honey. After swirling the glass and letting the beer warm up, traces of cherry and other fruit smells came forward.

T- Follows the nose. Honey, oats, and yeast hit the palate, followed by sweetness of cherries.

M- Seemed almost thin bodied. Cherry taste coated the tongue nicely as the beer was consumed.

D- Initially I never bothered to look at the ABV % of this beer. Now I know why I had slight buzz. At 11%, this beer far from sessionable, but still a very nice brew for the upcoming holiday season.

Photo of jlb307
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A friend of mine brought this to my Super Bowl party. When he said he was bringing me a bottle, I didn't expect him to bring the 0.8 gallon! Everyone got to enjoy this, because there was definitely any room in my fridge for it!

A: Deck the halls! The deep red color was very fitting for a Christmas brew. The head was gone almost as soon as the glasses were filled.

S: You can definitely smell the cherries and honey boasted on the label. Slightly sour but good

T: Started off kind of tart but the honey mellowed it out with the sweetness. Short finish on the palate.

M: Maybe it was just that particular bottle, but it could use some more carbonation, as evidenced by the lack of head. It wasn't bad, but felt like it had been sitting out for a while.

D: It was very good and smooth on its way down. I'd definitely have it again, but not sure that I would pick it over some other holidays I've had.

Photo of facundoCNB
3.81/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

a ruby red pour with a finger of head, kind of hypnotizing purplish hue. a finger of head, not much lacing - but a beautiful color.
smells of cherry, chocolate, bready caramel grain bill. the flavor is a bit medicinal.. lots of fruity, wheat bread, toasty, nutty, biscuity.. this is fantastic. full body, medium carbonation.. this hits you pretty hard right away. a heavy, true to the definition of winter warmer, this beer heats you up quick - heavy but delicious.

Photo of weasbri
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep amber color with a short bubble head that didn't last or lace. Now that I'm over my cold, I can pick up a whiff of cherry and some alcohol. The taste does have a bit of honey to it (as the label suggests), and that same cherry that was in the smell. The alcohol is pleasantly not overpowering, even at the advertised 11%, leading to a drinkable brew. It adds a touch of bitterness to go with the tart cherry and sweetish honey. Still, the aroma is a big part of this beer, so I'm glad I waited to review it at a time I could savor it.

Photo of mikey711
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: A nice reddish color with a white head on top. Very good lacing.

S: Very fruity and estery. The cherries come through very well and there is lots of bubble gum notes too.

T: Very sweet with the tiniest bit of funk. The cherries. Pretty big on the bubblegum and fruitiness. Very mellow tasting. A bit of holiday spicing is present too. A little bit of soapiness too.

M: This certainly has mellowed out alot since the winter. There is still a bit of heat but it is not intense at all.

D: Pretty easy to put down, but not the best

Photo of Zottens1
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of strictly4DK
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured into a Weyerbacher tulip glass.

A - Pours a translucent amber, head amounts to a thin film and recedes to nothing. No lacing.

S - Just as advertised, scent is primarily sweet honey, spicy, slightly tart cherries. Phenolic but not medicinal.

T - Up front is sweet honey, candied sugar, cherries, and possibly some raisins. Mid-palate it makes a big shift. Cloves and belgian spice bridges the gap to dry, tannic finish. Hints of fusel alcohol but not too hot.

M - Light bodied and slightly thin. Astringent due to the tannic finish but honey and some spice also remain on the palate.

D - This is a decent holiday seasonal but not sure it holds up to many other beers of the Belgian Strong Dark style. Tannins nicely balance how sweet this is upfront. Probably won't pick up another unless it's got some age.

Photo of Treyliff
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- pours a clear ruby red color with a small creamy white head that reduces to a ring around the glass with some short lasting lace.

S- ripe cherries with some other dark fruits, slightly medicinal, twizzler candy, sweet honey, and a bit leathery.

T- slightly tart cherry juice up front with some dark fruit notes, transitions into some sweet honey with some peppery spice, medicinal notes creep in afterword. Finish is sweet-yet-dry and warming. Definitely a sipping beer!

M- medium body, low carbonation, a bit heavy in the palate, creamy mouthfeel and velvety finish. Slightly warming on the throat, but hides the alcohol quite well.

O- a string beer that will sneak up on you, however the alcohol is hidden quite well and the cherries make it an enjoyable sipper.

Photo of MmmIPA
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ruby red body with no head what so ever,there is a small ring around my glass.The smell is phenols, I believe and maybe some candy sugars and some cherry.I taste tart cherry in the first of the mouthful then leads to a honey taste seems creamy and coats the back of my tongue.Smooth texture and a bit thin and the carbonation is the norm for the type of beer.Alcohol is hidden pretty well.I cant see why this is a "Winter" beer,the same goes with SN Celebration.This could be a year round beer with a different name.I look forward to to saving the other five beers and aging them.


2006 bottle

I heard this was doing good about now so I decided to try it.I had it at Capone's about 6 months ago and it was superb.

4.5-A-Still ruby red with a small head.

4.0-S-Notes of alcohol with yeast also present.Sour cherry is also noted.I don't think the smell has toned down any.

3.0-T-Sweet.I cant see how either.Thin mouthful,seems to be going down hill.It still has that alcohol to it.Tart cherry taste.

3.0-M-Very thin and once it leaves your mouth,its clean sailing from there.

3.5-D-I would say drink this up soon.It may be how Ive taken care of them.My cellar fluctuates about 20 degrees over the year and they are stored in the dark.

Photo of JuMa44
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of damndirtyape
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Bottling date is from 2011-2012, but most of the date stamp is rubbed off.

Appearance: Mostly clear coppery red. White head after pouring disappeared pretty quickly after pouring. No lacing and what may appear after a swirl is gone pretty fast. Noticed about halfway into the pour that all of the sediment was along for the ride as well, and I can just barely make it out as a finely dispersed solid in the beer when held up to the light. I suspect this would be a brighter beer if the sediment had not come along.

Smell: Fresh tart cherries, mild yeast with some mustiness, and some phenol notes. Smells much like a Belgian with cherries as part of the mix - not Lambic cherry strong, but cherry does indeed define the smell.

Taste: Simple blend of cherry, some spicy notes, and maybe the barest hint of phenol. The honey is not really notable, and despite the high ABV, the alcohol is completely hidden.

Mouthfeel: Quite mild carbonation, a tiny bit sticky, but strangely, a bit watery. Nothing special.

Overall / Drinkability: Nice, and glad I tried, but not sure why this beer is all the rage. Maybe it's better when all the sediment stays behind (I do wish the brewer would warn you about bottle conditioned beers to pour slowly), but this is just okay. Smells good, tastes good, good color, but kind of unremarkable after that. Is indeed a warming beer though by the end of the glass with that higher ABV, so for the winter holidays, good for warming you up, but beyond that, I don't think I'll go out of my way to purchase again, but if offered, I would certainly drink it.

Photo of ensmejon
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Photo of ssznyter
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Red with a thin layer of foam on top that quickly disappeared. Really enjoyed how just the look of this one was enough to put anyone in the holiday spirit.
Smell: Hint of cherry and a nice Belgian yeast. Sweet and sour.
Taste: Really great. You can definitely taste the alcohol but its not as strong as expected at 11%. The cherry flavor really comes out, especially as it warms up. A nice yeast finish.
Mouthfeel: Light carbonation but pretty good for the beer. I felt like the lower carbonation definitely helps bring out the cherries.
Overall: Great seasonal from Troegs. I'll definitely seek this one out every holiday season both for taste and novelty. Definitely a conversation piece when broken out at holiday get-togethers, and with the 11% alcohol content it definitely helps to warm you up on even the coldest winter nights.

Photo of byronic
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of Goldopelgt
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First time I've had this one from Troegs, I've had a few others from them before, and, overall, have been pleasentely surprised.

A- Amber to ruby hues...thin, whitish head with minimal lacing

S- Very interesting...definitely pick up some spice right away, but nothing in particular is jumping out at me...somewhat sweet and floral (but not in a bad way!), not necessarily what I was expecting from "an ale brewed with honey and cherries."

T- Again, kind of just like it smells...some spiciness and sweetness, yet nothing too overpowering, crisp, nice...and oh, yeah, at 11% you almost forget what you're drinking.

M- Medium bodied, minimal carbonation...surprisingly enough, you really can't taste alcohol even 11%

D- Overall, not my personal favorite, but not a bad beer by any means. Troegs doesn't disappoint with this one, and offers a dangerously easy drinker that, at 11%, could definitely get you in some trouble!

Photo of Hopheadhiker
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%

Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 3,485 ratings.