1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

2,743 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2743
Reviews: 1146
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 15.54%


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 Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Tröegs Mad Elf Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,743 | Reviews: 1,146 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of sporr
sporr

Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is my all time favorite beer. I refer to it as "The Closer" especially from a night of tasteing other quality craft beer. This beeer always is a pleasure to drink and usually puts me in that special place. If you haven't had this then you really are missing something special.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2013 03:04:25 | More by sporr
Photo of RummyRedbeard
RummyRedbeard

Massachusetts

4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

(copied from blog - written January 12, 2013)

Appearance – Pours a transparent dark ruby red/amber.
Smell – Very sweet, like cherries dipped in honey (obviously).
Taste – You can taste the sweetness of cherries and honey upfront. Some sort of spiciness hits the tongue. Chocolate in the aftertaste.

This year was the first time I had the pleasure of enjoying Mad Elf, when I tasted it at a craft beer tasting. After that I had bought the six pack once, and since it’s so damn expensive I never cared to do it again regardless of how good it is. That was probably two months ago. Tonight however my lovely girlfriend was in the mood for it so I’m drinking it at her expense (thanks baby)! Anyway, this ale is like a mead or a sweet wine and very appropriate on bitter cold winter nights to warm the blood pleasantly. It has a gorgeous color and a wonderful aroma to be appreciated for a while before you actually indulge in to the liquid itself. Its taste is kind of like cocktail cherries with honey laced in between, and a hint of liquor. The inclusion of chocolate malts leave a chocolaty aftertaste with a spiciness on the tongue that I can’t put my finger on. This is a heavy beer with a high ABV that should be consumed slowly, and enjoyed to its fullest, perhaps even shared with a friend.

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2013 00:19:21 | More by RummyRedbeard
Photo of Immortale25
Immortale25

North Carolina

4.24/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Dogfish signature snifter. No freshness date.

A- Pours a ruby color with a 1/2 inch off white head that retains a bit before fizzing away to a thin ring around the edge of the glass and a thin patch of surface foam. Lacing is sparse and non-resilient.

S- Has a sweet, fumy Belgian candi sugar smell with some dark fruit notes.

T- The Belgian characteristics of this beer have become more apparent since the last time I've had this which was years ago. More dark fruit notes like plum, raisin and cherry than the cloying honey/cranberry sweetness I remember. Alcohol is still masterfully concealed though. The cloying sweetness I remember becomes more apparent as the beer warms.

M- Medium-low carbonation keeps things toned down which is expected from a BSDA with such a high ABV. Slightly syrupy feel with a medium-heavy body.

O- I think I just realized that this was the first BSDA I ever fell in love with. So easy to drink with such high alcohol content. I'm sorry, but that's just a winner for me. Such a shame it doesn't have a higher average BA score.

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2013 01:38:42 | More by Immortale25
Photo of dbrauneis
dbrauneis

North Carolina

3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served on-tap at Rattle N Hum in New York, NY

A: Pours a clear dark copper in color with some amber highlights and moderate amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall light beige head that reduces to a ver thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of cherries and dark fruit with some light notes of spices.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of malts with some dark fruit sweetness and cherries. Additionally, there are notes of honey contributing to the overall sweetness and a light to moderate amount of spice. Very light amounts of bitterness in the finish which fade quickly.

M: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Light hints of dryness in the finish.

O: This beer is pretty easy to drink due to the fact that the rather high ABV is well hidden. This is a good sipping beer, with a decent amount of complexity but too strong for anything other than slowly sipping.

Serving type: on-tap

04-14-2013 17:50:05 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of stckhndlr
stckhndlr

Virginia

3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

A- I love the color of this beer. Literally the same color as the label. A dark pinkish maroon color. Poured into a tulip glass and it developed a good 2 inch head on top that doesn't stick around too long.

S- Great cherry smell all the way. Hints of honey round this out. Just a nice sweet and pleasant smell, hints of spice.

T- slightly acidic like tart cherries. you can also pick up the spice at the end, almost mixed with some cloves.

M- A little bit over carbonated but not too much. Still very drinkable.

O- I want with longing for the end of fall to get here to get this beer each year. It is still one of my favorites. It's a sweet beer and very drinkable. However at 11% you have to force yourself to take it slow. Great winter beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2013 17:59:47 | More by stckhndlr
Photo of Mertzy81
Mertzy81

Maryland

4.09/5  rDev +6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours a murky brownish-red with a decent head of off-white, coarse bubbles. No retention or lacing.

S: Aggressive nose of syrupy cherries. Hints of vinous grape, a bit of lactic acid, and sugary fruit juice.

T: Juicy cherries hit the palate, along with a smooth blend of spices, sweet and grainy malt, and Belgian yeast. Hints at cloying cough syrup but is pulled back by the malt and yeast. Bit of a smooth, medicinal honey sweetness. Fruity Belgian esters mix well with the cherries and honey. A bit of alcohol in the finish, but it's barely perceivable.

M: Relatively full body and fine carbonation.

O: This definitely grew on me as the glass drained. Can get a little cloying, but ultimately it's pretty balanced, and the hiddenness of the alcohol is remarkable for 11%.

Serving type: on-tap

03-01-2013 08:50:12 | More by Mertzy81
Photo of alex_hart
alex_hart

Oklahoma

4.74/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Belgian Strong Dark Ales are by far my favorite style of brew, so when I saw that a beer at 11% abv was on tap, and was this style, i knew I couldn't turn away.

This was love at first taste. Dark cherries, spice, and caramel. It looked dark and foreboding (which is what I like), but it was soft, smooth, and delicious. The smell threw me off a little bit and made me nervous before the first sip, but that is the only negative thing I could say about it. This is one of those beers I could drink every day for the rest of my life and be content, though my organs would fail.

Serving type: on-tap

02-28-2013 05:41:31 | More by alex_hart
Photo of twiggamortis420
twiggamortis420

Texas

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 popery
popery

California

3.29/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

From notes, 1/28/11. Bottle. This beer is a bit of a sweet mess. It certainly drinks smoother than its 11% abv, but that’s the best thing about it. It pours a very red amber color with a small off-white head. The aroma is sugar cane, cherries, honey and some fruity Belgian yeast notes. The taste is sweet with a somewhat cloyingly sweet finish. It’s just a bit of a mess. The flavors don’t really clash, but it’s cloying upon cloying. It’s actually a lot like what I imagine an elf would drink, a sort of fruity beer nectar. Mouthfeel is sticky but otherwise fine. I’m being a bit harsh, but it’s just too over-the-top for me. Lots of sweet flavors in this one.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2013 07:38:09 | More by popery
Photo of JudoJeff
JudoJeff

New York

4.75/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

From tap, this was dark, burgandy/amber color. It smelled and tasted of dark but sweet cherries with mulling-type spices. Neither the sweetness nor spice was overpowering as in some other similar strong dark ales. Drinking this is very much like drinking Christmas, back before it became commercialized.

Serving type: on-tap

01-20-2013 01:39:38 | More by JudoJeff
Photo of thlayli87
thlayli87

New Jersey

3.55/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear ruby color with two fingers of head that quickly recedes. No lacing.

S - Belgian funkiness, fruity.

T - I definitely get the cherry flavor immediately. Very sweet. Caramel and dark candied fruits. Yeasty.

M - Slightly syrupy. Full bodied with medium carbonation.

O - This is definitely a sipping beer due to the sweetness and high ABV. Unique mixture of flavors. I would get this again.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2013 23:26:49 | More by thlayli87
Photo of sDon
sDon


4.53/5  rDev +17.4%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

01-11-2013 23:28:58 | More by sDon
Photo of LTaylor
LTaylor


4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Sweet and spicy, a mouthful of Christmas cheer - it's my favorite winter seasonal beer. It's flavorful and complex, but doesn't sit heavy in your stomach, plus the high alcohol content puts you in a nice place if you're with family that drives you nuts during the holidays.

I personally like sweet beers, and this one (with honey, cherries, and chocolate flavors) is definitely on the sweet side, so the subtle spice may not be enough to balance it out for those who prefer more spice and hoppy flavors.

You're supposed to drink Mad Elf out of a glass or chalice, but I had it straight from the bottle on this occasion. I recommend using a glass, because I couldn't smell the beer as well. I got a decent mouthful of both honey and cherry flavor when I tasted it (with moderate carbonation) and the spicy flavors lingered on my tongue, which I enjoyed.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2013 19:06:50 | More by LTaylor
Photo of Andrew61923
Andrew61923

California

2.88/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 12 oz bottle into Portsmouth Brewery tulip. Sat out of fridge for ten minutes before opening. Picked this up a few months ago and figured it was time to drink it, even though the holidays have passed.

A: Pours a deep ruby with a quickly dissipating off-white head, which forms a thin halo. Lots of floaties in the glass, which I was not expecting. Not terrible, but I would have liked this to be more filtered.

S: Clove, bubble gum, and cherries. True to the style, but not things I usually want in my beer. It doesn't smell bad by any means, but I can tell this isn't going to be my favorite.

T: Sweet with the same notes of bubble gum and cherries. Again, not my thing.

M: The ABV is high and you can tell. There is a pretty substantial burn at the end of each sip down my throat. I had thought about sitting on this for a year and, while I doubt I would like the flavor that much more, this would have probably improved. As is, however, I'm not a fan.

O: In hindsight, I'm not sure why I bought this beer. I'm not a huge fan of the style and I tried as much as possible to enjoy it, but it's just not growing on me as I drink it more. At least I know to pass on buying it next year and I'm thankful I only got one.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2013 02:14:16 | More by Andrew61923
Photo of dexterk1
dexterk1

Illinois

3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Being the Christmas season I picked up a bottle of this last week. Poured into a pint glass with a dark reddish/amber color. Head disappears quickly.
Odor is sweet and malty. Some fruitiness as well. Smells like cherries and some spice.
Taste is sweet and strong. Flavor is big and there until the end. Cherry and other berries are the predominant flavors. Some maltyness as well and a little lingering alcohol note. Mouth feel is full and rich. Lingers until the end when the alcohol comes through a bit. No hop bitterness at all really.
Overall, not a bad holiday beer. I enjoyed it, however this time of year is the only time.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2012 21:33:38 | More by dexterk1
Photo of Oakenator
Oakenator

Pennsylvania

4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber to red with just a bit of head that disappates quickly. Little lacing left on the glass. Aroma is cherries and sweet honey - easily detectable. Taste is strong - slight alcohol presence but not surprising at this strength. Reinforces much of the nose - cherries are slightly sour and present up front through the middle where the honey takes over on the finish.

Serving type: on-tap

12-29-2012 01:59:28 | More by Oakenator
Photo of Kenmo1985
Kenmo1985


4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A very strong Belgium ale that as a sweet taste that counteracts the alcohol taste very well, a slight hint of cherry flavoring, which is nice, unlike other Cherry Flavored beers that can be to overpowering and taste like cough syrup. the smell is sweet and robust. mouthfeel is smooth as it enters your lips. overall i gave the beer a 5 and i highly suggesst that you get this beer it is very much a winner in my book.

Serving type: on-tap

12-27-2012 21:40:57 | More by Kenmo1985
Photo of inlimbo77
inlimbo77

Delaware

4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz, 2012
Snifter

A: Nice color on this: reddish amber. Fairly filtered and clear. About a quarter finger of bright white head. Turns into ring around edges.

S: Belgian spices. Candied sugar sweetness. Honey sweetness. Smell those cherries. Tartness is there.

T: Tip of the tongue, spice. Holiday spice notes. Sweet honey sweetness. Those cherries blend in nicely. Get some of that tartness on the palate. Somewhat dry tart finish.

M: Big medium.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2012 14:44:07 | More by inlimbo77
Photo of sommersb
sommersb

Tennessee

4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted On: 12-26-2012
Freshness: 2012 Vintage
Packaging: 12 oz. brown bottle, pry-cap
Glassware: Goblet
Purchased: Received in a trade

It's the day after Christmas, so a little Mad Elf seemed appropriate...

This beer isn't much to look at -- pours a semi-clear reddish-brown with very little head to speak of. The head disappears quickly and leaves no lacing behind.

Smells are malty and sweet, with big fruit and cherry notes. I also get some complex holiday spice aromas such as cinnamon and clove. I think I can also detect the added honey, but maybe that's just because I read it on the label...

Full-flavored ale here, sweet and of dark, ripened fruits like raspberry and cherry. Bitterness is low if not non-existent.

Mouthfeel is full in body with carbonation in the medium range. Finish is fruity and sweet, with a lingering spice flavor. The 11% makes itself known with some pleasing alcohol warmth.

Overall an enjoyable spiced holiday ale. The appearance left something to be desired, but other than that was a brew I'd recommend to anyone who likes malt-forward spiced holiday beers.

Thanks to baybum for this one!

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2012 04:57:44 | More by sommersb
Photo of tobelerone
tobelerone

Connecticut

3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Murky reddish brown body with a small quickly sinking head and some nice slippery lacing. Aroma packed full of yeasty Belgian esters that are both spicy and quite fruity; vague honey notes and booze follow. For me the flavor was much the same, a big punch of yeast esters bringing lots of fruit and spice, with a late arriving wave of honey sweetness and warming alcohol. Decent grainy malt base, cherries overwhelmed by both yeast and booze and fail to bring much in the way of tartness that would clean things up a bit and cut the syrupy character of the beer a bit.

Medium body, medium carbonation that's pretty much right on target for a Belgian style brew. Moderately smooth and sticky. In the end this is a pretty solid take on a dark Belgian but its a bit sweet for my tastes and doesn't surpass the better iterations from overseas.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2012 04:46:00 | More by tobelerone
Photo of LeRose
LeRose

Massachusetts

3.25/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle to snifter.

Aroma seems to lack any cherry. Smells boozy, hint of honey like sweetness.

Pours dark honey brown with reddish hues. No appreciable head, but plenty of bubbles. Attractive looking.

Initial taste get the alcohol burn, not getting the cherry. Dry finish, sweetness and honey notes. Still not finding the cherry taste at all despite some medicinal hints. Surprisingly bitter. The honey and sweetness seemed to build, then a bit of sourness after a few minutes. Coats a bit with lingering sweetness.

Overall, a little disappointed but this is quite warming and it is pretty cold here today. Will keep sippin on it, but nothing I would rush out to buy again.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2012 18:36:05 | More by LeRose
Photo of StretchZep
StretchZep

Ohio

4.73/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Awesome just the right amount of "heat" and sweet! Wish I had picked up two of these. Got it in the bomber bottle and am three sips into it and bumming out about has little is left. It is the good! Lots of smooth maktyness and a nice bitey cherry finish! Merry Christmas!!

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2012 23:45:28 | More by StretchZep
Photo of Treyliff
Treyliff

West Virginia

3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2012 02:22:54 | More by Treyliff
Photo of brewskifan55
brewskifan55

Mississippi

3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2012 15:51:48 | More by brewskifan55
Photo of cvm4
cvm4

Mississippi

3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2012 00:54:02 | More by cvm4
Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,743 ratings.