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Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,859 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,859
Reviews: 1,148
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 15.54%
Wants: 135
Gots: 390 | FT: 20
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:
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 added by: WilliamPhilaPa on 12-14-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Tröegs Mad Elf Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,859 | Reviews: 1,148 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of u2carew


3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz long neck. Consumed 01/09/10

A) Pours with a finger thick head. Settles slightly. Lacing is thin and sticky. The body is absolutely transparent with active upward carbonation. Amber in color with just a bit more red than usual. This has got to be one of the best beer presentations I have seen in a longer - nearly perfect!
S) Sweet - caramel, toffee. Notes of alcohol. Mild citrus notes. Black pepper.
T) Malty and alcohol up front. Hints of dark fruit - cherries and apples in the mix. Malty sweet all the way through. Finishes with just a hint of hops. The aftertaste is sweet banana and alcohol effervescence.
M) Very mellow fizziness. Medium body with a little bit of girth. Slight syrupy feel.
D) A nice Belgian in style. Was hoping for something unusual / unique that would make this a standout... oh well, still a good brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2010 00:21:39 | More by u2carew
Photo of daythree16


3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a wine glass. Clear honey-amber color with a 1" head.

Very winy aromas. Sweetness with a touch of cherry, though I don't know if I would have noticed it if I hadn't read the label first. Taste is sweet and piney with a lot of alcohol heat. Just a hint of sourness from the cherries.

Mouthfeel is medium and drinkability is decent, but the noticeable alcohol kills it a bit for me.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2009 06:55:33 | More by daythree16
Photo of DarthKostrizer


3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Alucard4 for sharing this one with me

Look: Reddish brown in color and partially translucent with a 1/8 inch head an no retention

Smell: Cherries and Cherries

Taste: The flavor is not as much of a 1 way street as the nose is but it is pretty close. Again upfront is some cherries and they are just a bit tart and behind that is just a touch of figs

Mouthfeel: Medium body and very little carbonation and a bit syrupy

Overall: This is beer is pretty much what it claims to be. A Belgian dark ale brewed with cherries so if that is your thing and you love cherries you will love this truth be told I could do without ever drinking this again. The 11% alcohol is very well hidden

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2012 05:28:30 | More by DarthKostrizer
Photo of Ezekiel81923


3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Also picked up at Capones. Want to see if its worth buying the case.

Appearance: Red/Amber in color. Crystal clear. Not much head to speak of, and what did rise up receded very quickly. Not much for lacing either.

Smell: Predominantly honey and cherries, as the bottle indicated. Big malt aroma behind that as well as a bit of spiciness underneath.

Taste: Honey and cherries are there, but there is more to this beer than that. Big malty backbone is also there. There is some additional spiciness to this one, mainly I find hints of clove, nutmeg and some bubblegum at the beginning. Finishes quite sweet, most likely the honey. Not much bitterness to speak of. The 11% shows itself though, I think this is one that definitely benefits from some age.

Mouthfeel: Medium-Full bodied with minimum carbonation. Very smooth and sweet.

Drinkability: A little to warm on the alcohol for my tastes. No problem finishing the 12oz'er, but a 2008 would probably taste amazing. I'm gonna buy a few more and drink them over the next few months to see how this develops.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2009 16:38:21 | More by Ezekiel81923
Photo of cordelia3310


3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

2007 Winter Release

A: Not what I've come to expect out of Troegs. Absolutely no head or lacing throughout the glass. A deep amber color, almost red.

S: Exactly what they advertise on the bottle, lots of cherries and some honey. Actually a very nice smelling beer.

T: A tasty brew with honey and cherries. Also some caramel as well as peanut flavors come out.

M: The mouthfeel is my biggest problem with this beer. Very weak with some carbonation.

D: The drinkability is very good in a bad way. Because this beer is so thin it's very easy to down beer after beer. Hell mad elf is so thin and drinkable it could almost be a session beer. Overall not impressed.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2007 17:34:37 | More by cordelia3310
Photo of bundy462


3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Amber in color, zero head.

S: Sweet malt body with a heavy yeast presence. Honey and cherries.

T: Lots of yeast up front with a smooth malty body. Warming booze throughout with a hint of honey. There is a slight bittering hop in the finish, but it can't really fight through the yeast.

M: Smooth with very low carbonation.

O: Interesting brew, surprisingly drinkable considering the ABV. The sweetness hides the booze well.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2010 23:56:38 | More by bundy462
Photo of bosco7


3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Very pretty ruby-brown color topped with a foamy head that sticks around a bit.

Cough syrup cherry, banana, some yeast, and alcohol in the nose.

Nice tripelesque flavors backed with some cherry. I pick up a lot of lemon zest, earth, and banana. The cherry hides in back and is quite dry.

Drinkability takes a hit because of the fruit and alcohol becomes a little tiresome on the palate. Overall a nice little beer that is truly warming.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2007 03:55:35 | More by bosco7
Photo of UDbeernut

New York

3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

My 100th review, on tap poured into a pint glass, not the correct glass wear

a: nice dark amber color, translucent with slight carbonation. When it arrived at my table, there was no head but lots of sticky lacing.

s: alchohol and cheery

t: cherry sweatness dominates flavor. Also taste alchohol. I think I taste a bit of honey too.

m&d: full bodied beer, very nice beer but i would not drink more than one during a session.


Serving type: on-tap

12-27-2008 15:50:33 | More by UDbeernut
Photo of jahred


3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 11/3, tasted 5/19/04. Many thanks to beerluvr and BIF 6.0 for this bottle!

Pours a bright orange-brown color with a nicely sized tan head. There's some lace on the glass as I drink, but not an overwhelming amount.

The scent is sweet - there's going to be plenty of of malt, lemon and alcohol in this beer.

The first taste I get is vanilla, with an orange/fruity malty flavor following, and a biting, trailing alcohol aftertaste. As the beer wars, the sweetness continues to come out. Also a bit of spice - is it nutmeg? Clove? Or just something coming from the hops? I can't tell ...

I couldn't quite place that fruity taste, so as I finished up this beer, I looked through previous reviews. Yes - that was it... Cherry, most definitely!

Oddly enough, the Mad Elf had the unfortunate combination of being a little too thin for my taste, along with having too much of an alcohol flavor, with the 11% being very poorly hidden. Though still quite tasty and interesting, I have a feeling this needed to sit for another year to settle down a bit.

Serving type: bottle

05-20-2004 01:57:41 | More by jahred
Photo of number1bum


3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear ruby color with only a half finger of off-white head. Even with a vigorous pour it struggles to get much head, and retention is pretty poor. Not much lace or stick. Disappointing in that regard.

Smells quite boozy and fruity, with the cherries they use coming through along with some malt sweetness.

Taste is also very boozy, and the alcohol is a bit strong until it starts to warm. Warming is key here as the flavors smooth out and it's really very tasty. Tastes very fruity and sweet, with lots of malt sweetness, honey flavor and delicious cherry. There is a belgian yeast character to it that is noticeable throughout, as well. The sweetness starts to get cloying and bothersome for me the more I drink.

As hefty as this beer is the mouthfeel is a bit thin. I'd expect a much fuller body, but it's not. Still, it's smooth on the palate with very light carbonation, and is drying through the finish.

This is a really tasty beer, but as I said you must let it warm. It's the only way to let the flavor shine through the booze. It's a little rough around the edges, but the flavor is nice. The sweetness starts to get cloying, and I have trouble getting through more than one. Still, a tasty brew that is very nice around Christmas.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2007 03:15:16 | More by number1bum
Photo of srandycarter


3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Rich amber clear, not much head nor lace.

S- Big malty smell, almost cloying in nature. Interesting, though.

T - Big malt beer. Not so much of the Belgian attributes that I am used to, but nice.

M - Medium, good carb, ok balance.

D - Did not really touch me.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2010 08:28:58 | More by srandycarter
Photo of MuddyFeet

North Carolina

3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a rich and vibrant brown. Slight red hue. Thin white head that receded to an even thinner film. Some lace. Nose is sweet and spicy with molasses, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Flavor is strong in the spices. Cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and a shot of pepper for good measure. Slightly malty sweet at first but then quickly followed by the spice. Bits of molasses and honey. Lots of heat from the alcohol. Enough to make this a nice slow sipping drink, like a scotch. Lighter mouthfeel than I was expecting but I think that was from the alcohol. A nice beer to drink one bottle of but more than one bottle is asking for a rough morning.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2006 01:28:50 | More by MuddyFeet
Photo of tpd975


3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

At local tasting via kiefdog

A: Pours a nice copper hue with a rather small white head. Little retention and lace.

S: Nice sweet cherry aromas with hints of honey and spice.

T: Very similar to aroma. Light cherry with a bold honey sweetness. A touch of clove to round things out.

M: Medium in body, smooth with pretty good carbonation.

D: Not bad, a tasty brew.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2009 20:51:47 | More by tpd975
Photo of drabmuh


3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Beer poured from a bottle into a tulip. Beer is amber / brown in color, forms a thin off white head of medium to small bubbles. Head falls away leaving some lacing.

Beer smells sweet, carmel, some cherries? a little tartness. Smells inviting. Really sweet smelling.

Strong honey taste, really strong. Its front and back with honey. There is a slight aftertaste. Sweet, some caramel. Some alcohol comes through as well. This is a fine beer but unfortunately not my favorite.

EDIT: the more I drink this the more it seems like an imperial hefeweizen....i like it.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2009 04:49:09 | More by drabmuh
Photo of pwoods


3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've gotten 3 of these as extras in trades so thanks you guys!

12oz brown bottle poured into a pint. No visible dating.

A: Pours a cinnamon brown with good visibility. Maybe 1 finger of off white head that dies quickly to a thin skim. No lacing.

S: Yeasty and bread-y. Undertones of clove and banana. Bottle says Honey and Cherries, though I can't detect any, maybe due to it having a pretty soft scent. No detection of alcohol(11%? really?)

T/M: Not bad at all for a Belgian strong dark... not normally my favorite style but this is very manageable. Yeast isn't overpowering but holds its own. Bananas and black cherries. Sweetness is definitely honey. Mouthfeel is just slightly on the light side. Alcohol is present but adds warmth instead of burn. Dry throughout.

D: 1 of this style is enough for me, though this one is very tasty. 11% also restricts the possibility for a session, too. Easy of consumption still helps.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2007 02:11:31 | More by pwoods
Photo of twiggamortis420


3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle of the 2008 vintage...so this one is maybe a little older than 4 years. Pours a hazed crimson-copper color with a small, limpid tan head. No lacing and retention fails at this age.

Nose is fairly oxidized at this point but the cherries are still prevalent. Caramel and toffee are the main malt contributors.

Taste is definitely past its prime at this point, but I am surprised at how long the cherries have held on. Malts are somewhere in between a Belgian dubbel and a carmely barleywine. The yeast makes its mark and is a good choice for this beer, feels very 'Belgian' with more age. The alcohol is well disguised and well integrated with the heavy malt. I like this beer better when around the 1-2 year mark, but this was a fun experiment nonetheless. This beer seems to have plenty of detractors, but I find it to be quite delicious at any point in the aging cycle.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2013 02:14:41 | More by twiggamortis420
Photo of Lafe


3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The color of this beer is a beautiful, rich, reddish, amber. The aroma is sweet, with heavy overtones of honey and fruit (cherry), and an undertone of alcohol.

The first taste screams "sweet!" A burst of cherry and honey is followed by a most subtle bitterness, that doesn't quite balance the dominance of the sugars. The lack of assertive bitterness is almost made up for in the bite of alcohol that follows. The salvation of this beer is that the alcohol bite makes its appearance in a very pleasant, and probably planned, way.

There is no head to speak of, nor is there any lace. This beer, however, doesn't really seem to need it. It is outstanding for a cold winter evening, sitting and reading reviews on beeradvocate.com!

Also, I have to give out props for the artwork on the bottles and six-pack cardboard. Very nice.

As I finish the beer, the alcohol content really stands out in the flavor.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2003 04:51:40 | More by Lafe
Photo of sfoley333


3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle(thanks ahatcher78). Poured a red ruby clear color with a thin white head. Smell is super sweet cherry bubblegum, corriander and a whiff of alcohol. Taste is cherry cough syrup with a sweet honey spice flavor and herbal alcohol finish. Mouthfeel is sticky and smooth. Its a very interesting beer but hardly a session beer more like an after dinner drink.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2008 08:32:23 | More by sfoley333
Photo of Dodt


3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

finally decide to crack this one open on new years eve.

poured from the 22 0z bottle into a wine glass.
apperance the lacing quickly goes away its color is amber in color.
smell a blend of cherries and bread malt flavor with a hint of coriander with honey notes.
some what syrupy in taste but not to bad thought .
for my first try into this style i feel a little overwhelmed but i do like it and wish to try other beers from this style.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2010 05:51:28 | More by Dodt
Photo of John_M


3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Max's during their X-mas in July last night. This was the first beer of the evening for me, which was a good thing, as I never would have been able to appreciate it after a couple of imperial stouts and barlywine.

The beer pours an interesting red mahogany color, but without a great deal of head retention and only adequate lacing. I don't really get a lot on the nose, just some cherry medicine and some noticeable alcohol. On the palate this is pure cherry cough drop, but with some navel orange and grapefruit on the finish. The beer is sweet, but not overly so, and it really doesn't come across as a big beer (despite the abv.). Still, the alcohol is certainly noticeable, and the beer seems to lose something in the finish. I'm almost wondering if the beer has lost something with age, as it really seems a bit lighter then what I recall from previous samples. As the beer sits in the glass the sweetness turns a bit cloying, with more honey and cherry flavor. The drinkability is still pretty impressive for such a big beer, but I have to say I'm not as impressed with this beer as I thought I would be.

A good beer, but not a great one.

Serving type: on-tap

07-18-2007 15:42:43 | More by John_M
Photo of thain709


3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - A very nice ruby color...a faint head

S - A sweet smelling ale with cherry notes

T - The taste follows the nose as it is very sweet...cherry, honey, and roasted malts

M - A heavy body...the alcohol doesn't come through as much as expected

D - With the alcohol not coming through too much it makes this a very enjoyable beer...but watch out for that 11%!

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2008 23:40:04 | More by thain709
Photo of Thickfreakness

New York

3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a fairly clear cherry amber red. No head at all, decent carbonation from my DFH signature glass, no real lacing. Just kinda flat.

S- Alcohol right up front, sweet cherries, honey, sweet maltiness and just a hint of bitter hops. A little cinnamon, allspice, clove and yeast.

T- Smacked in the mouth with alcohol... I like that! Sweet and a bit spicy. Dried cherries, clove, nutmeg, allspice and honey. Has a nice little bit of banana yeastiness as it warms up.

M- A ton of alcohol bite on the tongue. Very sweet with a nice yeastiness. The cherry and honey blend nicely with the peppery spices. A little bit sticky, definately sweet, and just a hint of bitterness on the roof of my mouth.

O- Really nice. I've always liked this seasonal. Probably not something I'd buy year round, but I do get my share when winter approaches. Wish it had more carbonation, more REAL cherry depth, and hid the alcohol just a bit more.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2011 00:08:32 | More by Thickfreakness
Photo of NEhophead


3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 fl oz brown bottle served in a chalice.
Vintage 2012-2013, batch #120913.

Tea-tinted oak in color. Carbonation-filled off-white head that disappears to a broken sheet after only a moment leaving no lasting lace.

Sweet, Belgian candied sugar marry beautifully with the cherry, fig, raisin, and plum fruity esters. Spicy anise, brown sugar, and nutmeg add another layer of depth to the already deep aromas.

Slightly tart fruit flavors: orange and cherry, come through initially. The Belgian candied sugar is a bit heavy with a touch of an artificial taste. The yeast adds a hefty dose of spiciness along with the strong anise flavor. All of the individual flavors are bold and do not quite make for a balanced sip; including a hefty alcohol presence.

A full, medium in body. The body, much like the flavor, is a bit out of balanced creating a rather slick, slightly unpleasant mouthfeel particularly for the style.

A bold ale in more ways than one. I can really envision this one only improving with age, allowing the flavors and alcohol character to mellow.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2012 02:13:58 | More by NEhophead
Photo of Stunner97

New Jersey

3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- amber and crystal clear in color, small bubbles at first stream glass and slowly fade away, white head starts moderate and quickly dissipates to only white lacing around the rim of the glass,

Smell- definitely can pick up the cherry and honey sweetness on the nose, nice strong Belgian style spiced nose, very malty,

Taste- i originally probably served the beer to cold and some of the flavors opened up nicely with a little time, nice malty beer, certainly very faint hint of cherries and honey as advertised, slight Belgian malty, very long sweet finish, very slightly bitter finish of hops and spices,

Mouthfeel- I actually did very much enjoy the mouth feel of this beer, its not quite as heavy as you would think rather very smooth and soft,

Drinkability- definitely a sipper but not as much as I might have expected considering its 11 percent, its actually a very drinkable ale, I would definitely be curious to see how this would do with a little bit of age on it, overall a decent beer that gives you enough bang for your buck to justify the slightly high price, worth a seasonal look

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2009 05:25:26 | More by Stunner97
Photo of Kendo

New York

3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to BA caminiti for picking up the sixer at Halftime. Nearly 20 bucks?!?!? I think he's skimming some off the top. Let's see if it's worth it. . . .

A: Poured into a Chimay chalice. Body is clear reddish-amber with a small white head and some slow-rising bubbles. Absent those bubbles it looks a bit like cherry cough medicine.

S: Cherries evident right away, along with alcohol.

T: Candied fruit and sugar. Cherry sweetness on the front of the tongue -- and the back too. Heat is evident on the back end of the sip and in the belly. Slightly medicinal overall taste.

M: Good spritzy-ness makes it feel lighter than expected. Call it medium in weight.

D: OK. Too sweet and too hot to want a lot of this, but on the other hand, the 12 oz portion went down pretty quickly for a beer of this strength.

**** Edit, about 1 yr later (12-3-09) ***

Beer has lost that dominant cherry taste. Still hot, however, and still a nice fizzy feel. I'd probably give it all 4's a year out. . . .

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2008 20:42:49 | More by Kendo
Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,859 ratings.