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Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

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

2,744 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2744
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
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Ratings: 2,744 | Reviews: 1,146 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Arinthos
Arinthos

New York

1.5/5  rDev -61.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2011 22:48:25 | More by Arinthos
Photo of harrymel
harrymel

Washington

1.55/5  rDev -59.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2011 20:02:50 | More by harrymel
Photo of jamesdr1968
jamesdr1968

Pennsylvania

1.6/5  rDev -58.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2005 00:34:19 | More by jamesdr1968
Photo of Uniobrew31
Uniobrew31

Pennsylvania

1.63/5  rDev -57.8%
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

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2012 02:34:57 | More by Uniobrew31
Photo of airohead2001
airohead2001

Illinois

1.73/5  rDev -55.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2011 21:13:21 | More by airohead2001
Photo of johnshuster
johnshuster

Massachusetts

1.78/5  rDev -53.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2005 20:20:29 | More by johnshuster
Photo of goochpunch
goochpunch

Texas

1.78/5  rDev -53.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2007 22:52:16 | More by goochpunch
Photo of JRed
JRed

New Jersey

1.78/5  rDev -53.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2008 23:29:51 | More by JRed
Photo of BigTomZ
BigTomZ

Virginia

1.78/5  rDev -53.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2011 07:25:39 | More by BigTomZ
Photo of Spica66
Spica66

Indiana

1.93/5  rDev -50%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2010 15:28:43 | More by Spica66
Photo of Overlord
Overlord

California

2.03/5  rDev -47.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2010 09:04:33 | More by Overlord
Photo of JudgeRoughneck
JudgeRoughneck

Louisiana

2.2/5  rDev -43%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2007 05:27:41 | More by JudgeRoughneck
Photo of nrbw23
nrbw23

Ohio

2.23/5  rDev -42.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2009 22:09:11 | More by nrbw23
Photo of Hophead717
Hophead717

Pennsylvania

2.23/5  rDev -42.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2011 01:52:28 | More by Hophead717
Photo of mfc
mfc


2.3/5  rDev -40.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2012 17:03:10 | More by mfc
Photo of ChrisBowers
ChrisBowers

Virginia

2.33/5  rDev -39.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2004 21:48:29 | More by ChrisBowers
Photo of claspada
claspada

New Jersey

2.33/5  rDev -39.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2011 19:27:39 | More by claspada
Photo of goldbot
goldbot

District of Columbia

2.38/5  rDev -38.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2011 00:00:48 | More by goldbot
Photo of donkeyrunner
donkeyrunner

Massachusetts

2.4/5  rDev -37.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2010 12:48:48 | More by donkeyrunner
Photo of eggplantwiz
eggplantwiz

New Hampshire

2.4/5  rDev -37.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2011 20:28:06 | More by eggplantwiz
Photo of bubseymour
bubseymour

Maryland

2.48/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Appearance - 1 finger head and best that quickly disappears. Clear ruby red hue.

Smell - sweet and fruity. Definitely cherry notes.

Taste - Not as bad as I would have thought for an 11% cherry beer but still too boozy and heavy to really enjoy. Not quite cough syrup but just a tad below it.

Mouthfeel - full bodied

Overall - Sorry, I drainpoured about 1/3 of it. Not completely horrible but also extremely challenging to drink and be refreshed. Basically its a great tasting cough syrup..but unpleasant beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2011 23:36:09 | More by bubseymour
Photo of beer1018
beer1018

Ohio

2.5/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Picked this up because of a recomendation by a friend. 6 pack of bottles poured into a tulip glass.

Small head that keeps a small layer on top for awhile. I would say it is close to ruby red but has allot of brown in it as well.

Smell is all spicy bitter phenols with a touch of cherries and malt.

The first thing i taste is the spicy phenols and some sour cherry. I am not a fan of how spicy this is though. I wish they would have used a diffrent yeast strain for this beer. I also get a unplesent sour taste as well.

Mouthfeel is good as the carbonation isnt to strong.

Drink is low just because i am not a fan of the flavor at this point and dont want to drink more then one.
I am going to celler the rest of my pack and re visit them thorughout the year. Also at over $17 a 6 pack here in Ohio i wishi would have got a single instead.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2010 02:11:07 | More by beer1018
Photo of ratedz
ratedz

Kansas

2.5/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Pours a hazy dark amber with minimal off-white head. The little head that it did have was gone in the matter of seconds and didn't leave any lacing on the glass.

The nose is full of cherries along with a bit of sweetness, which I would assume is from the honey. There is some definite spiciness going on in there too, which gives it a familiar Belgian aroma.

To me, this one tastes like a Belgian ale (a tripel, maybe?) with a splash of cherry syrup. Some sweetness on the back end before the tart cherries and spicy Belgian yest come back in the aftertaste, which lingers for quite some time.

Mouth feel is fairly thick and creamy, which was a bit of a surprise. Very little carbonation combined with the thick body made this feel like cough syrup going down because it coats the inside of your mouth and throat. The lack of carbonation seemed way off from other Belgian ales that I've had.

Drinkability was below average because all I could think about was cough syrup. I'd heard a lot about this one and was looking forward to trying it for the first time, but it certainly didn't live up to the hype. Definitely a disappointment in my book.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2011 01:42:57 | More by ratedz
Photo of PretzelCity
PretzelCity

California

2.53/5  rDev -34.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2008 19:19:14 | More by PretzelCity
Photo of Spider889
Spider889

Ohio

2.53/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Had on tap at winking Lizard last month, review from notes.

To be honest, this one did not live up to the hype in the slightest. There seems to be a really strong following of this one, but I found it to be lackluster and undesirable for future sessions.

Appearance is a cloudy pinkish red color. Not much in the way of head or lace.

Smelled faintly like a triple - it has that slightly sweet yeasty Belgian character. Other scents: a sour cidery quality, clove, and ginger.

The taste was fairly one dimensional and stunted imo. Tart cherries and an apparent sweetness dominate. Not much in the way of other spices, but ginger once more makes a brief appearance.

Too low on carbonation. In fact, on further retrospection the carbonation was way too low considering that this is a Belgian style ale.

Again, I won't be paying for this again. There's been an increasingly large influx of new Christmas beers every year, and that coupled with the old staples that always wow will ensure that I always have many better options for my seasonal fix. The one bump I do give to drinkability is that the 11% abv was very well hidden considering.

Serving type: on-tap

01-04-2011 19:46:55 | More by Spider889
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Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,744 ratings.