Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

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Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

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BA SCORE
87
very good

3,571 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,571
Reviews: 1,223
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 15.25%
Wants: 210
Gots: 855 | 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:
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: 3,571 | Reviews: 1,223
Photo of jhollick
4.59/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured a murky dull red color with some copper and caramel coloring. No head, but lacing clings to the glass as I swirl.

Smell: Strong cherry aroma; also lots of honey and sweet malt. It is very thick smelling if that makes any sense. Some spice comes through as well. Awesome smelling beer.

Mouthfeel: Thick, heavy, viscous. Very little carbonation.

Taste: Ohhh mama! A year in the cellar has mellowed this to perfection. The bite and slightly green flavor is gone. No hops that I can discern, but at 15 IBU that is no surprise. That isn't what this beer is about anyway. The slick and juicy sweet flavors roll all around the mouth, with the cherries exhibiting both tarnessa nd sweetness. The malts and honey give body and additional sweetness, almost giving it the consistency of a mead. A bit of spicing rounds out the flavor and keeps things from going over the top on the sweetness scale. There is some dryness at the back, presumably because of the intense amount of alcohol.

Drinkability: What can I say? Somehow this 11.25% monster is drinkable...very drinkable. Don't drink too many, as you will be red faced and making a fool of yourself. The sweetness is very high and tart and dry are the only balancing factors, but I still can't get enough.

Overall: Given sufficient time to mature, this is one of the most drinkable, comples, and fun winter beers around. Tip of the cap to the Brothers Trogner.

Photo of little_star
4.59/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Good holiday feelings in a glass. I look forward to this beer every year.

Photo of goblue3509
4.58/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an reddish ruby color with a one finger head. The beer gives way to little or no lacing. The smell is of roasted malts, with some fruit tones to it. The taste is fantastic, it taste of malt with cherry overtones and a honey note to smooth out the flavor. This beer is full bodied and moderately carbonated. The overall drinkability on this beer is very high, even with the high alcohol content the taste isn't overly alcohol and it is very very smooth, overall an a+ all around.

Photo of UnionMade
4.58/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a bright, sunset red. Hazy, but the color is luminous. Very impressive. A thick, creamy froth of ivory head pillows up with a vigorous pour, dropping as quickly as it came. The head settles into a scattered, striated mist, bordered by a thick collar. Upon close inspection, the bubbles in the collar are miniscule, almost microscopic. Sheets of lace cling to the glass, a collar of head begrudgingly holding on throughout.
The aroma is very complex, the honey and cherry immediately apparent. Rich, luscious malt cradles a very sweet maraschino cherry scent. Loads of caramel and toasty sweetness, with shovelfuls of candi sugar. Plenty of fruitiness, of course tons of cherry, with lighter, more subtle notes of raisin, plum, date and red grape. A bit of sneaky alcohol flits through the shadows.
The flavor starts with a very sweet, caramel drizzled toastiness. Sticky gobs of honey enter in immediately, lending a softness to the overall feel. Maraschino cherry creeps in early, ushering in a rich, full fruitiness. A bushel of raisin, date, plum and red apple is dumped on the palate, some sourish red grape and raspberry easing the way into the finish. A pleasant, barely balancing fruity sourness tames the malt somewhat, vague hints of earthy, herbal hops assisting. Great spiciness from the yeast. Soft clove and medicinal astringency, doing it's best to bury the alcohol content in the end. Interestingly, a distinct cherry cough syrup taste creeps in with warmth. A faint sting of booze sits on the tip of the tongue after every sip, beating back the sugary horde. The aftertaste is very sweet, with a pronounced honey-dipped cherry. Very mild, yet active carbonation supports a full, syrupy mouthfeel, vesseled in a very full body.
Really awesome stuff. I'm usually not a fan of stuff being added to beer, especially adding two sweet things to an already sweet style. These folks at Troeg's really pulled it off, though. The malt is easily tempered by the sour spiciness in the finish. I really liked the carbonation, how it gently carried the beer with just enough to get the job done, yet still retain that bouyant belgian feel. Please bottle this again.
Thanks to Sulldaddy for the bottle!!

Photo of RichBadger
4.58/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This delightful beer packs more of punch than you may expect! Enjoy!

Photo of marburg
4.55/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Prismatic body, shifting browns and reds. Interestingly small-ish but tight head. Bits and pieces of honey-slathered white toast float around in the aroma. The more I work at it, the more I pick out something cherry-ish, but it's nothing more than a faint hint of a cherry product, not cherries themselves.

Very spritzy up front and fruitier, sweeter at the finish. Manages to avoid tasting sugary despite this odd dynamic. Mild cherry flavor with spacklings of sugar-free strawberry candies -- those hard ones. Naturally, the cherries express themselves a great deal more as it warms. Feels a bit like a warm jello mold -- squishy beer.

The alcohol here is mild but clearly present. Gives it a distinctly classy feeling and that Belgian-esque complexity. Fruit flavors linger for a few moments after its gone. Sampled this evening thanks to Putnam's generosity.

Photo of jayrod20
4.54/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle a ruby red with a small amount of head and scents of sweet fruit and alcohol taste has a bit of sweet cherries and honey with a backing of some belly warming alcohol. A winter warmer indeed but not an all night beer just a couple and I'm good. A great night cap.

An addictive beverage that you want in succession.

Photo of sDon
4.54/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A friend recommended this beer to me, and I was not disappointed.

The beer was dark and served from tap in a 16 oz pint glass. It has instant sweetness in its taste -- cherries and almonds -- that is not too intense and blends well with the general dark beer flavor. Nothing about it seems artificial or forced, as can be the case with some flavored beers.

The ABV was a bit too high and prevented long term drinking, but perhaps this cannot be avoided. I hope that I drink it again.

Photo of WMEugene
4.54/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass. Current vintage.

A - Pours a deep ruby red color with minimal head which quickly dissipates into a thin ring. Minor lacing on the glass.

S - I smell the bready yeast, cherries, and malt right off the bat. A very sweet and delightful smell.

T - Very sweet and a little tart. Strong notes of cherry, honey, alcohol, and assorted fruits. In the background is the malted and yeast flavors commonly found in Belgian-style beers. Very delicious, but you better like sweet beers.

M - Full bodied, almost syrupy. Carbonation levels are ok. A little boozy.

O - The Mad Elf is a delightful seasonal take on a Belgian-style beer. It is sweet and boozy, so it's not a beer to take lightly. If you like sweet beers, give this one a try.

Photo of sickpuppy
4.53/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a dark amber to almost crimson red color. The aroma is malt and cherries but the cherry aromoa is faint to me. As far as the flavor I agree with the cough syrup taste however it is not a bad thing as I think of it more as a fruit backing of cherries. Overall I would not drink this beer on a regular basis however this is a great beer for an occassional quaffing!

Photo of bob3701
4.53/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was not sure what to expect with this beer and considering the steep price for a 6-pack, I hesitated. I am now happy I picked it up, it was fruity and spicy and more perfect for the holiday season than I thought it would be. A very unique beer.
Head disapates quickly and not much lacing but a great aroma that hints of what is to come. You can feel the alcohol in this one but it is very drinkable. This made my mouth very happy and after two the rest of me was pretty happy too.

Photo of Edwin
4.53/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on tap at the Troeg's Brewery during their release party.

Appearance - A nice, deep brownish-red. Some initial head that disappears fast, similar to all Troeg's beers.

Smell - Smells like the holidays. Some sour notes with a cherry smell is evident in there. Hints of spices throughout.

Taste - Not for everyone, but will definitely satisfy most. Taste of sweet/sour on the entry and a leftover display of cherry, spice, and some other fruits I can't quite put my finger on. Definitely a different beer than anything I have ever tasted.

Mouthfeel - Strong yet smooth. A very powerful feel on the tongue. After two of these bad boys, it gets easier and easier to send down to the stomach.

Drinkability - It is very drinkable on a cold day. Reminds me of Christmas in frnt of a warm fire. Be careful...at 11% alcohol, this one will turn your Happy Holidays into 8 Crazy Nights if you aren't careful!

Photo of wrx2ndregime
4.52/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a- pour is dark red in appearence, very little head from the 2007, considerable down from the 2006.

S- dark cherries, lialac flowers, warm honey.

t- the 2007 I just drank it from aging it about 7 months from last season, the taste didn't improve much from aging it. deffinatly can taste cherries and honey. 2006 was much better from memory.

m- very warming alcohol sensation, bold, and sweet.

d- I've only ever had 3 at a time, and I was pretty much done after 3 of them. It's great on a cold night to sit and savor.

2006 was better then the 2007, I can't wait to get my shipment of 2008 in this year.

Photo of sonicdescent
4.52/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Oh double dear, this is too damn drinkable for the amount of alcohol in it. Pours a nice gold with scents of honey and sweet malt. Taste is dangerously good and smooth with a
Medium body that coats the Mouth with it's honey goodness. I could drink this all night and that's why this beer scares the he'll out of me.

Photo of IPAlmighty
4.52/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Great on tap, but if you buy it bottled it needs to be aged. Get a six and cellar it for a year or two. Solid for a cold winter night, a sipper of the first order.

Photo of crhensel
4.52/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

(Bottle into tulip) This beer came very highly recommended over the past 2 holiday seasons, but I had a hack of a time finding it until this year, and I frankly have been saving this one in anticipation. I was NOT disappointed!! Poured a nice red color but with little to no head that was gone in a heartbeat. The nose was heavy with the honey and cherry as advertised, as well as a background of the alcohol. Lively carbonation on the tongue and the drink itself is very smooth. The taste was very surprising, however, as I was expecting more sweetness based on the aromas. There was some sweet there, but also a nice spicy bite (nutmeg?) that lingered, giving that warm holiday feeling and a fine finish. I will definitely be on the lookout for more next year!!

Photo of tenant
4.52/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sweet cherry and yeasty banana play well against eachother in the nose. The color is a reddish amber topped off with a ring of white around the edge of the glass. Tight, almost abrasive carbonation gives the tongue a heads up while a rush of tastes enliven the palette. Noble hop aromas, carmelized cherries, subtle malt sweetness, along with a complex, spicy dimension typical of Belgian strong ales combine to express qualities of licorice and bubblegum. The high alcohol content is gracefully hidden in the taste, revealing itself with a warming sensation in the chest. This is a big beer that most certainly must be consumed in moderation. I am more than impressed with the Elf, however Mad he may be. This years version easily lives up to all the hype.

Photo of 2x10
4.51/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a hazy brown with a lovely red tint which makes its appearance very enticing.

Tastes of chocolate, honey, and apple with a very bready nose.

as the beer warms, the cherries become very evident and a true warming feeling comes across. The alcohol is truely hidden in the taste, but is felt throughout the body after about 2.

This is by far, my wife and I's favorite beer because of the combination of belgian strong ale, the fresh cherry honey flavor and the fact that its not a beer that compares to the "winter" versions of other beers. You can drink this one year round and we LOVE to save it for the summer time.
This beer also gets better with age and can be stored for several years and is surprising refreshing aged and great in any weather.

Its unfortunate that the mix and match beer stores are buying it all up and limiting the cases that can be bought. It just came out last week and is pretty much sold out in pittsburgh or is being hidden in the back of distributors for special customers.
Get it while you can and savor the yummy goodness that it brings.

Photo of BlindPig
4.51/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Cheers to Todd1 for hooking me up with a bottle of this.

A- Thin off white head on a clear deep amber body. Has a tint of orange in it too.
S- Big cherry aromas. Other candy like fruits also. Maybe some candyish sugar? Light spices, not much hop aroma, and a little pale malt in the back ground.
T- Some big cherries come up front right away which then fades into a more subtle sweetness with honey and some mellow spices. That then changes to a very light bitterness with the warming of alcohol at the same time. Maybe just a tad harsh on the warming but is still a nice touch. They do very well on covering up the alcohol in the taste.
M- Full body (maybe just a tad on the medium side) and low carbonation.
D- It is a very interesting and different brew. I really like it and probably would get it if I could. It is nice and complex and a lot of different levels of flavor.

Photo of pavandal
4.51/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Beer poured into my tulip glass from a growler purchased today. It poured a nice honey - red color with a 1 inch head. Honestly, the most inviting beer I've ever had. lacing left a nice bubbly coating on the glass as I drank.

Smell began with some bready smells, but as the head disolved, it turned to honey and cherries, with alchohol behind it.

As the beer hits your tongue, the first flavor you taste is a bitey sweetness. this is probably due to the cherries involved in the brew. I also taste a lot of bready notes. The high ABV can't be tasted, as far as I can tell. This is a very great tasting brew.

I can see this beer getting dangerous to those that aren't familiar with it. This beer feels great in the mouth, light enough to make you want more, but it has some weight behind it to make you know you're drinking something.

I really, really dig this ale. if the ABV wasn't so high, this would be a constant (as much as it could be, given it's limited run) for me. I don't know why people have said that this tastes like cough syrup, because I sure can't taste it.

Photo of Heatwave33
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle to a Dogfish Head Snifter.

Color: Amber with an off white head.

Smell: Cherries, hops, malts and honey.

Taste: Cherries, hops, malts, honey, slight alcohol presence.

Mouthfeel: Great carbonation, smooth and slighlty dry.

Overall: Very well balanced! Couldn't tell it is 11% ABV. As it warmed up the alcohol was present but still very tastey. A great winter brew. Cheers!

Photo of santoslhalper
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep, glowing dark red with a thin head. A tiny bit of carbonation bubbles up. Chocolates and cherries burst through the smell of this beer. A nice warming scent of alchohol as well. This is a suprisingly malty tasting brew. Very sweet and fruity with a small but pleseant amount of hops coming through in the back. A beautiful holiday beer. This is going to be one of my "12 beers of christmas" this year. The best offering from Troeg's I've had. This is one of those beers that you won't forget for a long time. Highly, highly recommended.

Photo of Natanel
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

amazing and complex flavor, slightly sweet though the cherry flavor is rather subtle

Photo of Dantes
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Package: 12oz. brown, longneck, crowned bottle. Great holiday red label depicts a tipsy elf hanging on the Troëgs name. Blurb describes beer as an”ale brewed with honey & cherries.” 11% ABV. No information about bottling date or specific year, but I know it to be from Holiday 2003.

Cost: $2.25 per single at Gary’s

Presentation: Snifter at ~60º

Appearance: An absolutely beautiful glowing ruby red that formed a substantial bone-colored head during the pour, which subsided quickly. Obvious gunsmoke on opening. Interestingly, the beer poured brown, but was definitely red in the snifter. The carbonation was so fine, requiring close examination under a halogen desk lamp to detect it.

Smell: I was pleasantly surprised by the multi-dimensional aspect of the aroma. No cough syrup cherry here! Alcohol is very restrained, allowing sweet cherry, pale malt, subtle spiciness, and some other fruity esters to come to the fore.

Taste: Obviously the cherries and honey are the stars here, but this beer isn’t overly sweet. Impressively, the cherries don’t impart the sweetness of maraschinos, but more of a dark, morello cherry depth. A little more dark malt toastiness might have been a nice counterpart. Some phenolic “burn” and yeastiness also cuts the sweetness nicely. Very warming, but with a relatively light finish for such a big beer.

Mouthfeel: Deserves special mention here. I just don’t know how they did it. This is a heavy, warming beer, that manages to be light on the tongue and palate. As mentioned above, the carbonation is spectacular: ultra-tiny bubbles run through this beer, helping cut the sweetness and alcohol, while providing a creamy texture. The carbonation is definite and long-lasting, while being very subtle. Much like a ballet dancer, it combines grace and delicacy with the strength of an all-pro linebacker. Unique in my experience amongst barley wines and other high ABV brews.

Drinkability: So drinkable, it probably ought to be illegal to sell this! The alcohol is subtle and the flavors full but not overwhelming. Dangerous!

I don’t know how I haven’t reviewed this yet. According to my records, I bought 4 of these. I drank one almost right away, and pulled this one yesterday. That means that there should be 2 more in my cellar. I think I must have drunk the first one too cold as I don’t remember its making this kind of impression. Heeding VENOM’s warning, I served this one warm (but not quite room temperature as I expected it to warm further). Great advice, but next time I will probably start drinking this a touch colder, as it warms quickly and the sweetness begins to dominate. This is an impressive achievement, combining complexity, depth of flavor, warming alcohol, and an impressive texture in one great beer. A bargain considering the product. I’m only sorry I didn’t get more. Next year, I’ll be buying much more if I can get it.

Photo of ckollias
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this 12oz bottle out of a large snifter glass.

A: Pours a clear reddish-amber hue with a white ½-finger head that quickly dissipates in to a wispy lace.

S: Sweet cherry and fruit aroma with an alcoholic twinge.

T: Flavor is very sweet with an alcoholic punch to face. Very fruity – cherry is definitely present and dominate. This is almost wine-like.

M: Very strong and boozy. Medium body and minimal carbonation

O: Wow – this beer was great! Definitely a sipper at 11% abv. It wallops quite an alcoholic punch but is easily drinkable.

Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 3,571 ratings.