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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

1,203 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,203
Hads: 3,635
Avg: 3.85
pDev: 26.75%
Wants: 221
Gots: 923 | 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: 1,203 | Hads: 3,635
Photo of JooJooEyeballs
1.24/5  rDev -67.8%
look: 2 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Amount of Honey used is over-the-top with the amount of Cherries being over-the-top-of-the-top. A simply ridiculous beer by the master brewer Chris Troeg!

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Photo of Arinthos
1.59/5  rDev -58.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

I had this brew at a christmas eve party out if a 24 or so oz. bottle. The break down goes something like this

A- This was a great dark ruby red aboslutelly th best part of this otherwise >>>>>> beer.

S- unfortunatelly the only smell was of bad alcohol kinda like a old english on steriods.

T- unfortunatelly the only taste was of bad alcohol kinda like a old english on steriods

M- Decent carbonation, but way overpowering alcohol burn in the throat horrible burn felt like a cheap cheap booze.

D- never again this was a really bad expierence didn't even finish it.

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Photo of harrymel
1.6/5  rDev -58.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Thanks again to Chaney and Steelerx for setting me up with this as an extra! One for now, one for later!

Poured to NB globe.

A: Orange amber ale with little to no head. Surface is simply the pinnacle of the beer. Not even edge bubbling. No lacing. Unimpressive.

S: Sweet, alcoholic. Reminds me of a malt beverage (as noted on label), but not really getting the honey and cherries as I had hoped...Stand corrected, slight sweetened cherries in the mid point.

T: Very alcoholic. Very sweet. Wish I could sense the crastsmanship in this drink. I am having a hard time finishing this one. Wow, I was sent two of these, I will probably send the other out in a trade as an extra if I have space to fill. Horrible. Astringent.

M: think, medium carb. Very average.

D: This is unlike anything else I've had from Troegs: intolerable. I had a hard time finishing this one.

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Photo of jamesdr1968
1.72/5  rDev -55.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

This beer poured a beautiful dark ruby red color with a nice, creamy head. The taste was a smorgasbord of cherries, vanilla and honey --- an extremely sweet beer, but unfortunately it reminded me too much of cough syrup. I would like to try this on tap to see if there is much of a difference. Great appearance, but the taste was too overwhelming.

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Photo of airohead2001
1.75/5  rDev -54.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Split this with glazeman in Buffalo.

Appearance looks like apple cider - flat and dark. Smell is of apples, clove, cinnamon, and allspice. Taste is the same. Really this is just another bad Christmas beer that tastes like cloves and cinnamon. Finish is thin and biscuity, like Miller Lite. No cherries. No honey.

Very disappointing brew from an excellent brewery - not what I expected from Troegs.

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Photo of Uniobrew31
1.75/5  rDev -54.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

This is the most over rated beer going right now. I have never been so disapointed in my life in a beer purchase. I have never met anyone who actually enjoys this. I love belgian beers and winter beers but this one just doesn't qualify as either. do yourself a favor and leave it on the shelf

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Photo of johnshuster
1.82/5  rDev -52.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

So, having finished those tasty draughts at the pub I went out the next day to pick up a case of the Mad Elf at the local distributor. That nicked me for almost 50 bucks-you pay for the ABV in there, to say the least.

To my dismay, the Mad Elf is a shadow of its tap greatness when coming from a bottle...at least that's my take.

The bottle itself looks cool-brown glass with a little elf that apparently has a nice buzz going himself. For me, the bottle is the best part of this beer.

The smell is much more concentrated and pungent from the bottle. Note that I drank out of the bottle, not a glass. This may affect what I experienced. Gone were the pleasantly sweet and cherry-like scents. Think more along the lines of cherry robotussin.

The taste was much worse from the bottle than the tap. The beer was far thicker, and the alcohol pervaded the taste throughout drinking, whereas when I had this ontap you only got a slight sensation of the ABV in the aftertaste. This stuff for me was just way too thick and sweet out of the bottle.

Mouthfeel wasn't great either-very heavy and not much carbonation. I am not a big heavy beer drinker, so anything that is thick is not my cup of tea. This stuff's pretty thick, but maybe that's your thing.

Drinkability-Getting one of these down takes a while. There was no possibility of chugging or gulping this stuff-slow sipper only baby, unless youhave powers far greater than mine.

I want to like this beer due to its high ABV and local relevance (went to school near where it's made) but I just can't get the stuff down from the bottle. On tap though, ooo yeah that's the stuff.

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Photo of BigTomZ
1.82/5  rDev -52.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A - Pours a nice looking red with decent white creamy head that stayed around.

S - Smells like sweaty ball sack, with some cherry notes.

T - Taste was like cherry cough syrup with pennies and band-aids in it.

M - Mouthfeel was thick and syrupy.

O - That thick mouthfeel combined with the sweetness and metallic taste did not make for an enjoyable beer. I really enjoy most beers from Troegs, but not this one.

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Photo of goochpunch
1.84/5  rDev -52.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Pours out a hazelnut/maple syrup color with a still body and just a ring of white bubbles. Smells terribly grainy with tons of honey and cherry cough syrup. Candyish sweetness explodes in the nose. Tastes of, yes, candy sweetness, overripe fruit on the verge of rot, Belgian banana esters going wild, cough medicine, and hot alcohol. Mouthfeel is slick, viscous, syrupy, is harsh with bubbles. Drain poured this since I didn't want to get ROBO-FRIED. This is a prime example of an American craft brewery totally messing up a Belgian-style beer. I'd take a Bud over this, please.

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Photo of JRed
1.92/5  rDev -50.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Pours a dark red color with no head to speak of which is quite a turn-off. The scent makes up for dull appearances with a strong cherry, sweet aroma. There's some false advertising going on here, the cover is way more pleasant than the book. An initial stale fruit gives way to rotting plums and cough medicine. Don't get me wrong, there's a ton of flavor here but I can't imagine a palate that would enjoy this for more than one sip. Either this elf really is crazy or I've been bad all year cause he just brought me coal in a bottle.

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Photo of Spica66
1.96/5  rDev -49.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Got this as an extra from gumppette. Thank you, Christine!

Poured into a tulip and shared with gwuilliums after bottling and racking.

A: Medium red color with decent head formation and retention.

S: Funky fruitiness. Musty like a sweaty horse blanket. I look at the bottle and realize that this probably uses Belgian yeast.

T: I should not have opened this beer. I do not like the funky flavors that Belgian yeast gives. Sour cherry cough syrup. gwuilliums would not take more than one drink.

M: Medium body and very good level of carbonation.

D: Too funky in the nose and on the tongue.

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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 Overlord
2.04/5  rDev -47%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Thanks to a generous trader!

Pours a dark amber, slightly ruddy color. No head, just a thin white crust around the borders. Pretty color, worried that it has no carbonation. Then again, upon checking the ABV, it's 11%. That surprised me.

Smells like sweet malt (no honey, just really sweet). That's about it. Maybe a vague fruitiness. Cherries, perhaps, or maybe just an indistinct dark fruitiness.

Taste is a blistering assault of sugar. Whoa. A tinge of cherries, but mostly just straight up sugary malt. Lots of bread-y yeast. I can feel my teeth dying from the sugar. The sensation I get is cherry listerine or cough syrup.

Flat. Super boozy.

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Photo of JudgeRoughneck
2.22/5  rDev -42.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Mad Elf is dark maple colored brew with a thin tan head. It is strongly perfumed with an aroma of cherry-flavored cough syrup that quickly overwhelms faint wisps of hop.

Taste opens spicy with phenols, then sweet malt kept in check by cherry vapors and alcoholic burn. I get a slight tartness in the background and possibly a banana note. The mouthfeel is viscous, thick, flat and syrupy, but I was only able to feel that once my tounge had been numbed to the scorching alcohol.

This is a valient attempt at a new take on x-mas beer but I am not into it. I have been very impressed with the other Troegs beers I've tried, but find Mad Elf a little to close to Mad Dog.

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Photo of nrbw23
2.26/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A- Pours a pretty, clear dark red with an off white head. Head has decent retention, forms a thin layer of bubbles and leaves some nice lacing.

S- Smells of raisins, figs and quite a bit of spices (ginger and cinnamon). Cherries are also pretty strong here as well.

T- Tastes way too sweet!! Other than that a ton of booze, sweetened cherries give way to a yeasty aftertaste and also the honey just adds to the sweetness.

M- Medium body, maybe a touch on the watery side and low carbonation.

D- Tried this one a couple of times and no thanks I'll pass on this one.

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Photo of goldbot
2.3/5  rDev -40.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a deep, brilliant, ruby red; clear, with essentially no head - which isn't too surprising. Any aroma is very subdued at first - just a barely detectable hint of malt and dark cherries and raisins. Seriously, how does this beer have almost no aroma? There is some flavor, at least. Malty and sweet but lacking any complexity. Hints of bread, raisin, cherry. A subtle, spicy yeast flavor tries to come out but is held back. There's flavor but not very much of it. Somehow the alcohol is very well hidden but I don't know how. Slight bitterness; full bodied but with a thin, watery mouthfeel. Maybe I'm doing it wrong but this beer lacks any character whatsoever. Alcoholic malt water.

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Photo of Hophead717
2.33/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

A fresh 2011 12 ounce bottle, poured into a DFH Signature Glass.

A: A deep, pretty ruby red, with a thin head that entirely dissipates almost instantly.

S: Sweet malt and dark cherries rush at the nose, with notes of honey and hints of spice also making themselves known. this beer is overwhelmingly sweet (not in a bad way). smells almost like candy.

T: Dark cherry upfront, with a strong sweetness to the beer. Unfortunately, the cherry flavor comes across is an identificably medicinal flavor. The more I sip, the more I notice. You're left with the same medicinal taste after the finish. There are some slight hints of spice from the Belgian yeast, but my palate is having a hard time picking them out over the medicinal flavor. I wanted to like this beer...but did not.

M: Nicely carbonated and surprisingly thin for a 11%. Mouthfeel is fine.

O: Definitely disappointed. This is a beer I've heard a lot about and was excited for. Oh well. I have five more that I'll age for a bit and we'll see what happens. Expectations are low.

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Photo of mfc
2.34/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Let me first off say, they get one full point for their label art. Pretty cool. Sadly, the rest of it wasn't so great.

A: It looked decent. Dark orange, almost red with a hint of cherry color. Almost no carbonation (I assume because of how alcohol-heavy it is?)

N: Lots of cherry, syrupy

T: No bueno. Sorry. It is flat and alcohol city, USA. Reminds me of cherry schnapps.

M: Flat flat flat and way too heavy on the booze without any balance or attempt to mask.

Addendum: Reading other people's reviews, I think I may have gotten a bad bottle. Mine had nearly zero carbonation. I'm going to bump the mouthfeel up to 2 for that, but I stand by the fact that it is too syrupy and tastes a bit like cherry cough syrup.

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Photo of ChrisBowers
2.4/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Maybe this thing needs to be cellared for awhile but I am not a fan. It reminds me of Robotussin. In the words of Chris Rock "Out of Tussin? Put water in the bottle and shake it up, More tussin!" It definitely has a lot of stuff going on, I'll give it that. Tons of alcohol in this one with a big malty sweetness. The cherry aftertaste though is horrid. Truely horrid. A very unbalanced beer, the alcohol is very evident and makes it an unpleasent, if warming, drinking experience. Lots of people seem to like this so maybe my tastebuds are tweaked the wrong way but this stuff tastes like cough medicine to me.

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Photo of claspada
2.44/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Aromas of layers of sweet cherries and some sublter Belgian yeast funk smell, with lesser bananas and clove esters.

The taste is a complete flop for me. Simply put it tastes like a cherry cough syrup which was fermented with Belgian yeast. Way too sweet as well from the honey I presume. This isn't beer in my opinion but a mead/lambic hybrid mess.

The only saving grace is that the mouthfeel isn't totally syrupy and cloying; medium bodied and very good level of carbonation.

Overall this is a miss for me, too alcoholic, unpleasant and even ended up being a drainpour. Will not revisit ever again, even for free.

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Photo of eggplantwiz
2.47/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an ommegang goblet.

A: No real lacing, no / minimal carbonation. Flat-ish amber appearance.

S: Overwhelmingly sweet, honey and cherries come out. This is the strongest point for this beer.

T: A little bit unexciting really. Sure, I taste the honey and cherries, but it's almost cloyingly sweet with negligible complexity. I'm not sure why this beer gets such good reviews.

M: Smooth enough mouthfeel, medium to light bodied.

D: Surprisingly drinkable for 11% -- the alcohol is well hidden here, no booziness at all, really. Very smooth, but still not exciting.

Overall, a below average beer, but pleasant enough. I don't think I'd seek this out again.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
2.47/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

$6 @ Gulu-Gulu, Salem MA

Arrived at the table a beatiful ruby color but with not even trace amount of foam. I'll assume a bad pour. Came in a big boy glass which was nice because Boston seems to be trending towards even remotely big beers in miniscule pours.

Smelled of light grain and thick, sweet cherry juice. I guess you get what you ask for. Taste is syrupy medicinal cherry with a boozey slickness. Bleh. I couldn't finish it.

For some reason I feel the addition of juniper would greatly improve this beer. Get on that Troegs. Thank you.

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.5/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

When I first had this beer, I really hated it and I had trouble finishing the 12oz. This second review is off a bomber -- a generous extra from boatshoes -- and the experience was so different that I felt a re-review was appropriate.

A: Pours a clear reddish amber color with an inch of off-white head. After a few minutes there is almost no trace of carbonation left except for a thin head at the edges. It's not an effervescent brew, that's for sure. I expect much more life out of a BSDA...

S: A nicely pungent aroma of cherries, spicy honey, and some booze. The booze actually makes it smell a little medicinal, like cherry cough syrup.

T: The taste is not bad, though. I guess the honey is all fermented out; it's quite a dry beer, delivering only some light honey flavor but mostly cherry, dark fruit, brown sugar, and spice. A firm alcohol bite in the finish.

M: Light-bodied. It's quite dry. Low carbonation, and a booze bite.

D: Eh... It's ok. I didn't hate it this time, and unlike last time I managed to finish not only 12, but a full 22 oz. It's drinkable, but I won't go after it again.

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Photo of djmichaelk
2.52/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle into a snifter.

A - Pours a slightly hazy dark amber, with little to no head, and no lacing. Not especially encouraging.

S - Sweet and pretty forward with the cherries. Very much like a typical BSDA, but the cherries are not doing it any favors.

T - The closest I can compare to would be St. Bernardus. It's got that same Belgian spicy yeast, then the cherries really take over. The sweetness is a little cloying. I'm having trouble getting through the glass.

M - Strange. Carbonation is almost too aggressive, making it seem a bit harsh. At the same time, it has such a sweet finish that it almost seems syrupy. I'll give it a pass since they both almost cancel each other out.

O - I wanted to like this, but to be honest it was a struggle to get through the entire beer. I can't say that I'd seek this out again.

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Photo of PretzelCity
2.53/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This was my third and final attempt at trying to figure out why people seem to enjoy this beer. That being said it poured a nice copper red into my glass with a one finger white head. The smell was mostly alcohol with a hint of cherry. The taste, for me, was lacking. It says right on the bottle "ale brewed with honey and cherries". Not typically a phrase that leads me to purchase a beer but I've had some great brews that were made with cherries. This is not one of them. The cherry flavor is weak and seems artificial, like Ludens Cough Drops. I know this is not a sour but I'm still underwhelmed. Mouthfeel and drinkability are low due to the medicine/alcohol traits. Overall,the third time wasn't a charm. Although it did get a little better each time it never turned into a good beer. Being from Pennsylvania I did want to like this beer but it seems to me it's all hype.

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Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,203 ratings.