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Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,208 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,208
Hads: 3,648
Avg: 3.85
pDev: 26.75%
Wants: 224
Gots: 930 | FT: 24
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
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Reviews: 1,208 | Hads: 3,648
Photo of PatrickCT
3.16/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12 once bottle into a tulip.

a: Festive Ruby colored body. Like a cherry gold color more specifically. 2 1/2 finger slightly off white head. Disappears quickly. Little lace.

s: Faint malts, honey, Cherry juice, alcohol, wormwood.

t: The Cherry and alcohol overpower everything. The combination of the two make the beer taste like it has an overdose of cherry bitters.

mf: Medium body. Medium carbonation. Thin finish with a slight alcohol burn.

o: I don't like slamming beers but this isn't for me. On a personal note I get too much bitters flavor from the cherry, spicy yeast, alcohol heat combination. I like bitters in cocktails but a few drops.
On a style note, aside from being high in alcohol, this is not reminiscent of a Belgian Strong Dark to me.

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Photo of PA-hunter
3.81/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured 12oz bottle into snifter glass. 11% abv

Appearance- Pours a deep red, with a brownish tint. One finger head with some lacing. Quite hazy.

Smell- Dark fruit; prune and cherry. Medicinal smell, similar to a Belgian yeast

Taste- Sweet grainy flavor turns even sweeter with Belgian yeast notes. Fruit comes full on, notes of cherry especially meet the palate, not only being sweet but a fair amount of tartness as well. The beer finishes sweet from the cherry flavor but also has a fresh honey flavor that comes in with just a hint of pepper.

Mouthfeel- Medium heavy in body with active carbonation. Alcohol burn.

Overall- A fine strong ale of Belgian inspiration. The cherry and honey additions make this beer unique and stand out. Despite the alcohol burn this is a fine beer, but that is part of the novelty of this brew. Worth a try.

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Photo of MacMalt
4.04/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass. It's a really pretty red-amber in color with a two-finger, frothy, milk-colored head and nice lacing. It's a very attractive pour. The smell is primarily nutmeg, coriander, yeast, and some subtle cherry. The first taste sensation is the cherry and malt, with a lot of pepper and spice, and a tart, slightly bitter finish. For an ale, it is full-bodied, nicely carbonated, and while the 11% ABV is definitely noticeable, it's not overpowering. Overall, this is a really good Belgian Ale. I'll definitely have some of this on hand for the holiday.

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Photo of HamdenHector
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

A: crystal clear; deep amber in color; 1 finger moussy light tan head that receded to a thin collar; OK lacing;

S: dark fruit, sweet malt, candi sugar, coriander and black pepper; a little perfumy;

T: dark fruit up front; sweeter in the middle and that lasts through the finish; mild to moderate bitterness in the aftertaste;

M: medium to full bodied - a little creamy; ABV is smooth and warming;

O: really good; dangerously smooth;

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Photo of Marraybay
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Look: Red amber: About a finger of white foam on top.

Smell: Egg Nog believe it or not, presumably from sweet alcohol notes (rum) and
spice (nutmeg).

Taste: Sweet fruit upfront, with an occasional- but not constant- hint of tartness, presumably
from the cherries. Definitely very "spicey / peppery" on the tongue, with the slightest hint of
hops near the close.

Feel: Spicy, slick

Overall: A fun / festive beer. The sweetness(honey) and cherries are definitely a hoot and of course the punch it packs @11ABV screams celebration. Not sure I would relish one every single day of the "12 days of Christmas," but having it indiscriminately scattered about the holiday period would certainly be a welcome addition to the seasonal beer rotation .

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.94/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed form a growler via Jungle Jim's in a snifter. This nice warmer pours a nice ruby red with a touch of brown, a decent head of white foam that subsides to a thin ring and nice lacing. Nose of sweet candy sugar, medium strong yeast, spice, and strong alcohol. Flavors exceed the nose with brown sugars to the front, cherries to the sides, and a touch of spicy herbal hops to the rear to cut through the sweetness. Slick mouth feel, full body, and warming alcohol on the sides and rear. What's not to like? An excellent brew from an excellent brewery.


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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.62/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 09/29/15 at 45 degrees into plastic hotel glass
$ 16.90/six pack (Includes tax) ($ 0.234/oz) at Denny’s Beer Barrel in Clearfield
Aroma – kind of yeasty, horned directly from bottle
Head small (< two cm, aggressive pour), off white, fizzy, diminishing to two mm ring and partial layer
Lacing – none, but the plastic may be why
Body medium reddish-brown, clear
Flavor starts sweet, no cherry in either nose or palate, just on the thinner side of syrupy, ends with a hint of medicine or cough syrup; no hops, no malt, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium, almost syrupy, soft carbonation

Appearance 3.5, Aroma 4, Flavor 3.5, Palate 3.5, Overall 3.5

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Photo of devo1980
4.41/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

This looks and smells amazing. As suggested, drank out of an oversized wine goblet. Strong and smooth. Does have a faint cough-syrup aftertaste, so sadly the "taste" category is its lowest. However, i would gladly drink this beer at any winter-time holiday.

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Photo of thebeers
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Clear reddish amber with a finger and a half of tan head that's quick to dissipate. Medicinal cherry, dry yeast and some honey sweetness on the nose. They all carry over to the taste, along with some pepper, subtle Christmas spices like nutmeg and warming alcohol. Thin, slightly oily mouthfeel. Pretty good.

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Photo of VFBeerman
4.37/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pretty much every year I consider this my first Christmas present.

Pours a lovely reddish color fitting of the holiday season. You can actually smell the warming character on the nose - definitely yeasty, but in a good way. All the typical qualities of a really nice Belgian but with the wonderful flavor imparted by the cherries and honey.

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Photo of FriedSlug
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Red like a glass of cherry juice with a head that doesn't stay around. The smell is boozy with yeasty tones. Musty, earthy, cherry and honey with dark fruits and clove. The taste is typically belgian with clove, yeast and banna bread flavors but with the sweetness from the honey and the taste of cherries at the end. It is a little boozy and slightly thick. Pretty decent holiday beer that is a great cold night sipper.

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Photo of astrocreep2000
2/5  rDev -48.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

dunno how this beer is so highly rated. this beer tastes like cherry cough syrup, or nyquil. however, it looks nice in the glass and its 11 percent. overall i cannot recommend.

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Photo of Chickenhawk9932
3.89/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a rich Amber with a slight tan head that quickly dissipates.

Smells of yeasty malt, raisin, fig, plumb, and a musty earthiness.

A rich tasty malt bomb with notes of fig, plumb, and raisin. A lively carbonation keeps the flavors moving balanced by some bitter herb and oaky dryness.

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Photo of Bone53
4.09/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2015 bottle

Appearance: Clear ruby red color with a thin off white head that dissipates quickly

Smell: fruity belgian yeast esters, cherry, honey

Taste: A blast of those fruity esters with cherry and honey undertones

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied; Velvety smooth goin down with the alcohol hidden very well for 11% abv.

Overall: This is a sweet belgian, but i like sweet so im not bothered by it. Big fruity belgian yeast esters with nice cherry and honey notes. I was worried the cherry may be over the top and come off syrupy, but that wasnt the case. I put the other five bottles in my basement to see how they age

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Photo of drink_like_a_wahoo
4.49/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2014 Mad Elf from bottle served in a snifter.

Look - Golden red
Smell - Dark cherries with hints of honey
Taste - Black cherry sweetness up front that fades into a smooth, less sweet belgian yeast finish
Feel - Smooth and light in the mouth

I have had this beer from multiple years at various ages. My absolute favorite was the 2014 at 14 months, but really everything after 8 months has been delightful. Aging really smooths it out and rings in the up front sweetness that younger bottles carry. One of my favorites

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Photo of emyers
3.62/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Great Lakes snifter.

Appearance: Pours clear ruby-red with a thin white head. Not much lacing. Looks very nice.

Smell: Honey and medicinal cherry up front with a floral component and distinct alcohol presence. The combination of artificial cherry aroma and the sweetness imparted from the honey gives it a definite medicinal character which I'm not wild about.

Taste: While the underlying components are similar to the aroma, flavor-wise it is much more polished. Cherry is once again notable up front but does not come off nearly as artificial here and is overall more balanced with the rest of the profile. Bready malt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and honey are all present. Finish is still fairly sweet, but not nearly as sweet as the nose would suggest. Actually quite mellow and drinkable given the abv.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, medium body. Quite smooth.

Overall: This one is somewhat tough to review - it's very unique and the flavor is quite nice. If only the nose was as good...unfortunately it detracts a bit from the overall experience.

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Photo of I_imbibe
4.51/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bought this December 2012. Aged in a dark cellar. Over a few years your Elf will mellow and impart deeper cherry and mahogany flavor. It is delicious fresh, of course, but save a sixer for around 3 years! Drink it in the summer, too. Why the hell not?

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Photo of madelfonatree
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Look - Unfiltered red body. Head is gone quickly but light tan. No lacing.

Smell - Strong cherry. Faint honey. Slight dank hop.

Taste - Wheat beer with Christmas spice. Cherry. Honey. Stronger than desired alcohol taste, but drinkable.

Feel - Chewy. Heavy. Carbonation comes through where it doesn't in the look.

Overall - Part of my namesake. One of the first beers that moved me to high ABV. I always get a few of these each Christmas (and same some for the Summer).

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Photo of EKahler17
4.76/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

First off the appearance catches your eye with the golden red color. Then you smell the sweetness of the honey and hing of cherries. Once you you taste it the cherries really come out and have a clean smooth finish especially for 11%!!

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Photo of rorykanderson
4.24/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Amazing that 11% ABV can be so subtle. High marks for the beer's ability to subdue any hints of burn with a great balance of flavors from cherries to cinnamon to bready malt. A seasonal treat that could be enjoyed all year.

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Photo of Trombone69
3.23/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Beautiful Reddish amber. Small head in my pint glass. No Lacing to speak of.
This is the 3rd time of had it. This time I taste the cherry - big, right up front. I love cherries, but this is a bit much. Strong and full flavored. Syrupy sweet, and alcoholic. A bit overpowering, and a challenge to drink. I'm not looking for a beer to challenge me very often. I don't think I'll look for again. Not terrible, I don't hate it.

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Photo of IPAlmighty
4.52/5  rDev +17.4%
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.

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Photo of Beerwolf666
4.71/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

What a Fantastic Brew! this is one of those Beers, that as soon as you pop that top and smell it,your heart starts racing,and you just know it is going to be something very special ~and Indeed it is,the nose is sweet,with Honey and a hint of Cherries and malts,~the taste pretty much follows the nose,sweet[but not cloying] you pick up the Honey and though you do get a nice Cherry note, it is more in the background then in your face,and does not have that "Cough Drop" Medicinal taste you get with a beer like "Sam Adams Cherry Wheat"~taste more like fresh cherries,and it IS Tasty as Hell,also would never know this Beer is 11% A.B.V.,Because I do not ever get that alcohol burn or boozy tatse,but perhaps that is Because I drink a lot of High A.B.V. Strong Beer's and Ales~this is not a Beer you knock back with your buddies while watching the Game or playing Poker,this is a Top Notch [IMHO] World Class Brew,it is a Beer you Savor and take your time to enjoy it's Amazing Flavors and the brewer's Art,what a BEER! Cheers 2 All;]

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Photo of Bebum
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Clear medium amber, no lace. Medium body, moderate flavor, high heat, avg length, fruity finish.
Sweet but enough bitterrness to keep it from being cloying.
Barley candy flavor, coca-cola.
Rich, enjoyable.

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Photo of dd43
3.96/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

One of the better beers I've had in the "holiday" genre. Pleasantly spiced and sporting a serious malt bill. I would have liked the noble hop bite to be more assertive, the spice notes I detected were more Belgian yeast than saaz peppery spice. Cherries and clove/cinnamon up front, with brown sugar on the back. This will be something I look forward to every winter.

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Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,208 ratings.