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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

1,193 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,193
Hads: 3,597
Avg: 3.85
pDev: 15.32%
Wants: 215
Gots: 882 | FT: 21
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
Reviews: 1,193 | Hads: 3,597
Photo of microbrewlover
4.39/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours a dark almost ruby red color with a 1/2 inch mocha head and thin lacing.

The smell is strong on cherries and kind of a wheat/wet hay smell. Sweet malts, honey and some type of spice. Possibly peppery hops.

The taste is a sip of heaven, sweet cherries, wheat, sweet malts and honey. There is also some type of spice which I can not identify. The cherries are the dominant taste throughout however the other flavors are well balanced.

The mothfeel is very smooth and creamy. A spicey residue remains on the tounge after swallowing.

This is a very spicey and sweet winter warmer. I would never guess that this brew is 11% ABV, one can not taste the alcohol at all. Everthing mixes nicely, and the 11% alcohol, along with the spice, gives a warming feeling. I could easily drink a case of these.

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Photo of jakester
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I got this as a single from UJ's on the Manatawny. I drank it in a pilsner glass.

Pours a brilliant amber/red with a 1/2 finger short lived head of, I swear, Pinkish white foam. The head quickly falls to scant islands and a ring, with very scant lacing on the glass.

Aroma is strong cherries, phenolic-y, Belgian-y almost, bubble gum and spices like black pepper, cloves, nutmeg, and cinammon. Smells "festive".

Flavor is scrumptious cherry juice, bubblegum, spices as above. Lightly phenolic, sweet, tart, and light malt late. You can pick up faint alcohol as it warms, but the alcohol is very well hidden.Aftertaste is cherries out the ass, spices, and phenolics.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a soft carbonation. Finish is sweet and tart and rich.

This beer is hard to believe. It's so full of cherry and spice character, the alcohol is very well hidden, and the malt supports it very well. Get a case of this right now!

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.
11% ABV, 2007 Vintage, Serve in chalice or tulip at 50-55° F

Thanks Onenote81! I've been hanging onto this one for a while!

A - Minor rust has developed around the cap but it's no cause for alarm as this beer pours, without sediment, a mostly clear ruby amber color with a fleeting ivory head. It comes as no surprise the head disappears with how high in alcohol this is. Dots of lace delicately cling to the glass above the ring of loose bubbles.

S - Despite it's aged, this 2007 vintage of Mad Elf remains aromatic and nearly without degradation. Faint oxidation for a five year-old beer is somewhat noticeable though the robust aroma of smooth caramel and biscuit malt which builds a base below the floral clove honey nuances and faint tart cherry skin notes but doesn't quite distract from the joy within. And while the beer has mellowed, spicy alcohol still manages to break free with undertones of earthy clay and clove yeast esters behind.

T - Thick maltiness seems to have diminished in oomph slightly, offering a light caramel drizzled nutty biscuit flavor that's quickly overwhelmed by the beer's developing complexity of fruit and spice. Faint noble hop herbal qualities and smooth yeast esters encourage notes of clove (along with the sweet honey), clay, and white pepper with a touch of solvent alcohol peeking through, but even with age, the focus seems on the cherries, both sweet and tart!

M - Smooth feeling with a voluptuous, full body that's not cloying or syrupy, this hearty holiday ale has a delicate carbonation tickle and complimentary alcohol dryness that maintains balance with a kiss of tart cherry skins on the finish. Alcohol is perceived in retro-nasal breathing but, due to it's age, it's rather smooth, producing a wonderfully satisfying warmth in the belly!

O - An absolutely fantastic holiday treat, Tröegs Mad Elf is a masterful concoction of subtle Belgian yeast that produces spice nuances without the straight addition of spice. Honey sweetness never becomes cloying but adds a little something extra with the delicate cherry tartness. Just as exceptional fresh, age continues to do this strong beer favors, developing into a delectable and soothing winter sipper.

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Photo of arguemaniac
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a deep, reddish copper color with a fairly robust head and generous lace (especially for 11% ABV). Fruity and alcoholic aromas in the nose. The very malty flavor features a multi-layered estery, fruity character (primarily cherry), a pleasantly sour tartness, and well-masked alcohol bite. Mostly grain with a distinct touch of fruitiness in the finish. A creamy mouthfeel with mildly active carbonation.

For an 11% ABV brew this one is very drinkable; you would never guess how alcoholic it really is. Add that to really tasty sweet and tart flavor with a somewhat silky mouthfeel and it’s clear that Mad Elf is one of those beers that can get you into a bit of trouble. Highly recommended, but imbibe carefully….

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle - 2006 edition

Pours a clear cherry red with a small white head that vanished. A few specks of lacing here and there on the glass. Very pretty color.

Smell is bready and yeasty with a light tart cherry aroma and a mild hint of honey.

Malty taste upfront with a nice Belgian bready/yeasty flavor. This leads into some mild tart cherry flavors and just a touch of honey. Finishes rather clean and dry with only a slight hint of the big boozy backbone.

Full body, light carbonation.

Dangerously drinkable at 11% ABV. This beer has the characteristics of a monster tripel with just enough cherry and honey to add some additional complexity without becoming distracting. In my opinion, this is the best version of this beer to date.

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Photo of necoadam
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured out a darker shade of amber with a nice head that settled down eventually.

Smell consisted of lots of fruit (cherries mostly) with some light sweet malts. Not overpowering by any strech and quite welcoming actually. Some yeast and brown sugar can also be detected.

Taste was wonderful. Cherries, honey, soft malts, some sugar but not overpowering with sweetness. Towards the middle and the end. No trace of hops to be found in this brew. This is downright excellent.

11% is a little to laugh at, this was more like a 7-9% with all the flavors hitting the palate. Loved every drop of this brew.

Big thanks to Pisskynights for this brew, thanks a bunch!

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Photo of IronCitySteve
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Probably one of my favorite sit by the fires during christmas beers. Helps pass the holidays with bickering in-laws.

A: A clear, bright amber color. A small foam head that quickly dissipates. No lacing.

S: The smell draws you in. Lots of honey and cherry flavors blended together. A good amount of yeast, malt and some sugar scents as well.

T: A crisp flavor of cherries, honey, sugar, biscuit and a very small amount of alcohol. Really blends well, not one flavor extremely predominant.

M: A medium body beer. Leaves a creamy smooth taste on the tongue and lips.

D: A high ABV of 11% keeps this from being a session beer obviously, but it is a great holiday beer.

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Photo of phisig137
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2006 bottle pours a brilliantly clear orange/copper color, with red highlights. Thin 1/2 finger head rises and falls quickly, leaving nothing behind. Not surprising considering the ABV.

Aroma is sweet. A lot of grain aromas are present, as well as the honey. Very little else is present on the nose beside the alcohol. Very solvent like.

The flavor is far better though. Malt sweetness (crystal malt), and honey are present in huge quantities. Subtle cherry flavor (most likely large bing cherries) in the background is a nice touch, but not overpowering. Fairly sweet from the start to the finish, but not cloying at all. For something this extreme, I'd consider it to be fairly well balanced. Mouthfeel is smooth and heavy. Drinkability is dangerously drinkable. This is one of those beers that you have to be careful with. You never notice the 11% abv, and before you know it, you've polished off a few of them. It's almost as if you bring home a six pack of this, and before the end of the night, someone is going to end up naked or arrested.... it's that drinkable.

Another solid winner from Troegs, who never disappoint. This is one that I look forward to each winter, and this year is just as good as the others. Just be warned, sip them slowly.... the mad elf can quickly smack you around if you're not paying attention.

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Photo of chefhatt
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I poured it into a snifter, i had a nice redidish color with a nice thin whitehead that disaptes to a nice thin lace around the edge of glass. The aroma is sweet of cherries and honey. The taste is sweet but strong of fruit and cherries and a hint of honey. I think it is has a nice mouth feel to it and is very drinkable for a cold day.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've had two beers in a row this Christmas Eve that feature that smiling sap Santy Claus on the label and it's about time to genuflect in honor of the unrecognized working class hero, in this case, a certain Demented Dwarf!
So, let's to it!
Appearance: a brilliant bright and shiny crimson color...gorgeous! And adorned with a fuzzy, cream-toned head that's lives too briefly.
Aroma: big on the fruit, but never too sweet, somehow, and damned interesting, feeling like it's rife with spices, and I can pick up the honey hinted at on the label, and the cherry factor is flowing over, in much abundance and joined with a brandyish character, ushering in the full effect of the alcohol content...oh, yeah, 11%, how about that, huh?
So, let's taste!
Dark, rich, fruity, utterly alcohol-drenched cherry goodness! The booze is king here, and it's sublimely delicious! Malt is in command in this beer, and I don't believe hops have a word to say, it's not their show tonight, malt and booze is all, but the sweetness never cloys somehow, and balance is acheived, but not if you account for the monstrous alcoholic component.
Sadly, the mouthfeel gets a bit thin in the middle, and I wish the body was fuller, but that rich, delicious taste seems to redeem any/everything...and then, the booze kicks in for real, and nothing has no excuse! That's how a Mad Elf is born!
My second bottle downed, and this review is done "live" while drinking it and referencing my notes, however scribbly, from the last taste. And I'm nothing short of wowed by this amazing creation! These guys got guts! I've had other Troeg's beers that were commendable and tasty, but not overwhelming and utterly incredible! I really, really, really like this beer!
Domo Arigato, Mr. ManekiNeko for getting this beer to me!

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Photo of gregO59
4.41/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Mad elf back on shelves. Always a treat.. Troegs is a never miss product. Found it 1st for 17 .50 a six, 2nd time for 15.50 a six to watch giants game.

appearance- held up to light its like looking at a stoplight

smell- honey, cherries , chocolate , coffee

taste- mixture of same

mouthfeel- light a little sweet

overall- really like it as a diversion from an RIS for the difference to the taste buds . Something

to have when you want to go beyond the usual. Hard not to buy when available .

11% gives off a nice buzz

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Photo of edskirk3
4.41/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been saving this for a while and today I was thirsty enough to drink it.Just one bottle (12 ounces) from Holiday Season 2006. Served in a Cognac glass.

Pours an attractive red (like a sunset).Off-white head that tries to stay around but doesn't, instead leaving cirrus-like whisps on the surface. Nice aroma of cherries laced with alcohol.

The palate is sweet and malty. Quite delicious if I must say. Like drinking candy. It starts off like what I can best describe as a hard candy, which then gives way to a note of alcohol before finally getting to the bready part. I'm really enjoying the whole thing. Honestly, the alcohol is barely there at this point. Mad Elf was worth the wait and I really wish I had bought more than one right now.

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Photo of BeerSox
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into nonic (OOPS!)

It's hard to guage the appearance of this one considering I poured it into the wrong type of glass. I had no idea which style this was, I guess if I don't know I should check beforehand. The color is a deep and clear red wine hue. The head did show up, but quickly settled. I think being in a nonic didn't help this. I gave it a four, which I think is what I would give it if I put it in the correct glass.

Again, the nonic is probably going to affect the aroma. A sweet malt base with fruity yeast esters are dominant. The spice and honey do show up to add some good complexity. The alcohol is well detected. Phenols are low.

The honey shows up at first in the taste, along with some of the spices. The malts are syrupy and sweet, and a slightly tart flavor (probably the phenols) balance things out. The alcohol shows up at the end. The finish is mostly the sweeter flavors with some of the spices lingering.

Despite being in the wrong glass, this one was still pretty good. I tried to adjust the scores as if they were in the correct glass (I feel I have enough experience to be able to do this). Overall, it's a tasty beer with a lower amount of phenolic qualities, which is what I prefer. The alcohol makes its presence known though. Recommended (especially when it's in the correct glass).

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Photo of Bills453
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into my Duvel tulip glass.

This is a year aged 2011 edition...very curious to see how it aged!

Appearance - bright orange-red, off white head. Full of delicious sediment!

Smell - cherries very prominent, can smell the alcohol packed into this one too. Heavenly!

Taste - cherries and honey mix together so deliciously in this beer, it is always one of my favorite winter releases. The aging really worked well! Recently tried frosted frog by hoppin frog, just too much with the cinnamon and nutmeg, Mad Elf is what Xmas brews is all about!

Mouthfeel - nice

Overall - like I said, one of my very favorite winter/Xmas offerings...keep up the good work Troegs Brothers! Again aging works nicely in this brew.

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Photo of Gusler
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The color a limpid luxurious ruby on the pour with a smallish head that is frothy in texture, light tan in color and as it disperses rather quickly the resultant lace forms a rather thin velum like sheet that just does cover the glass. The aroma of over ripe fruit, such as pineapple greets you first, hints of fusel alcohol along with the malted grains brings up the rear, bubble gum like tones also present with the start ambrosial and rich in malt with the top middling to almost full in feel. Finish is vinous, sternly acidic, the hops delectable in their spicy bite, desert dry and somewhat tart aftertaste that leaves you longing for another sip. Quite a pleasure to drink, big time tummy warmer, a great “Winter Warmer”, and one I wish was more readily available.

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Photo of VaTechHopHead
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this one more times than I can count...figured I should finally review it.

A - Pours a brilliant deep ruby red, crystal clear. The head fades rather quickly and leaves little trace of lacing.

S - The wild cherries are more prevalent and the sweetness of the honey adds to the overall aroma. The malts are virtually undetectable and some belgian sugar can be smelled as well.

T - Tart cherries at first but then the thick honey flavor kicks in. There's a slight alcohol feel but no flavor from it. It smooths out as the sip continues and finishes with a light cherry juice and tangy tartness.

M - Medium to heavy body with just enough carbonation. Definitely a sipper because of the thickness and alcohol content and the aftertaste lasts a while. Easy to drink and very enjoyable.

O - Troegs knows this beer is successful and the recipe doesn't deviate from year to year. I look forward to it every holiday season and try to keep it around the entire year. Definitely goes off the path for the style guidelines but the combination just simply works.

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Photo of HappyHourHero
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Stored in the closet for about 8 months. Doughy fruity (cherry) aroma with a hint of alcohol. Opaque, ruby chestnut colored beer. Small, froathy dark cream colored head fades to a broken film. Small, scattered patches of lace cling to the glass. Mellow, creamy vanilla up front with a pinch of cherry, a bit of alcohol takes it into the finish. Nice solid beer, but not very sticky, easy to drink. Damn tasty, I wish I had a case.

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Photo of IPhantom
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A PA Christmastime classic, sought out all over the eastern seaboard, and mythological for the supposition that you're only legally allowed to serve 2 pints of it (more on that later).

Pours a sort of cordovan into a fluted pint glass. Quickly dissipating head, but that may be because I poured it too cold. Smell is Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee, dried cherries, dark chocolate, artificial maple syrup, little bit of leather, pumpernickel bread. The taste is winey up front, big lush dark fruits, raisins plums and prunes oh my, fading through a grainy phase of rye crispness, finishing up with some mildly grapefruity tang and a faint bit of burn. I mean faint...that 11% is lethal to the unfamiliar. There's really nothing like it, as far as Belgian stylings filtered through American ingenuity goes. Mouthfeel is about a 3.5 on the syrupy--carbonated scale...this one can get heavy to some people. It's not particularly sessionable for obvious reasons, but the second one would be that. Nonetheless...some of us try.

Overall, even if for fairly sentimental reasons, this is one of my favorite Christmas beers. I always look forward to getting Elf'd up. One of the prime features from the Brothers Trogner, and I dare say one of the best American Belgians overall.

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Photo of Irish212
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Clear & Golden with a small amount of head.

S: Mixture of a spicy and fruity aroma.

T: Solid taste of cherry with a faint honey taste, falls on the sweet side.

M: Very smooth

D: I really like this beer, but probably couldn't drink more than two of these in one setting between the high ABV and sweetness.

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Photo of doughanson78
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter. Received this from trxxpaxxs in the Locals only BIF.

A: Very nice red color. Super clear. One finger white head with OK retention and minimal lacing.

S: Banana, clove. Big Belgian yeast. Cherries. Honey. Nice sweet smell but not over done.

T: Sweet honey upfront. Cherries, clove, banana, and yeast in the middle. The clove and honey get stronger in the finish and help to tame the light traces of alcohol.

M: Light bodied. Medium high carbonation. Crisp and really dry.

O: Very good Belgian. One of the best if not the best I've had (which is not many).

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Photo of Phatz
4.43/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

What a treat! Although I am new to this beer, this year, it is now a beer I will look for every holiday season; it’s a new personal favorite and was very well received by my family at thanksgiving. We also had it around through the Christmas season.

Appearance: This beer pours cherry red with a small frothy head. Served in my snifter. It has a unique ruby glow to it that just simply does not look like beer. In fact the first time I had this beer was at a friends house with dinner. The table was set and a snifter was at my place setting. There were wine bottles on the table and I assumed it was wine in my glass before I picked it up. This is a very unique beer!

Smell: Cherries! First and foremost is the obvious aroma of sweet cherries. It smells a lot like a wine with the hints of alcohol seeping into the back of your nose. I also detected some spices like cinnamon and nutmeg in there. It’s very pleasant and yet not overwhelming.

Taste: It tastes as good as it smells (infact similar to the smell). It is cherry up front followed by the gentle malts and as you swallow a very cinnamon taste with an ever so subtle hint of hops and alcohol hanging in your mouth for a moment to finish it off. It is so gentle on the palate that I believe this beer could accompany almost any horderves, meal, or desert.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is a bit lighter than I'd prefer; but it is very crisp, very refreshing, and pleasantly carbonated. It has somewhat of an 'apple cider meets the spiced Christmas punch' feel to it. It just slips right past your mouth and into you bloodstream before you know it.

Drinkability: This is PROBLEM ZONE drinkable. Wow! You would never know that it has an 11.00% ABV until you stand up after the third or fourth one. It is so easy to drink you almost need to drink it while you are distracted with dinner or something, or you may get hurt. I have now picked up several 6-packs of this stuff, intending to review it. Every time I was ready to review it I realized I'm all out again. I think that even many non-beer-drinkers would enjoy this beer. It is a perfect choice for all of your holiday events.

I went back to by 6-packs of this so many times I should have just bought a few cases. My brother in-law loved this beer as well as my sister-in-law who only drinks wine (says she doesn’t like beer). There is such a wide appeal Tröegs Mad Elf I am absolutely astonished. Way to go Tröegs this beer is a fantastic success.

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of BeerCon5
4.44/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark amber color with a small amount of off white head.

The scent is of sweet malts, cherries and alcohol.

Up front the sweetness of cherries is evident. It is somewhat spicy with a strong alcohol component.

Medium bodied, verry smooth, good carbonation.

This is a very tasty beer, though it is difficult to drink more than two in one sitting.

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Photo of degerbah
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Split a bottle with a friend that we found when we were cleaning out his beer fridge (over 120 loose beers left over from tastings and parties)couldn't believe the thicknessor the amazing taste. A great winter warmer type of beer,. A slow drinker and a little boozy but I really could have used this a week ago when we got random snow on opening day. Fantastic and would definitely buy now that troeggs distributes to my area and i don't have to drive to get some from PA.

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Photo of djbow
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Mad Elf is one of my favorite seasonal brews. This beer pours a clear red color with a head that dissipates quickly. As it color and smell indicates, the taste of this beer is a pronounced cherry with a hint of honey flavor. Mad Elf drinks very easy and goes down smooth. Here in lies the problem for those unaware of the 12% alcohol content. The fact that they sell this high powered beer in a 3 Liter format as a special item to accompany the 12 and 22 oz formats is truly MAD. Enjoy!

Serving Temp = 47 F.

Glass = Pint Glass.

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Photo of paco1029384756
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle thanks to ericwo.

Pours a great ruby orange color with very little head and a nice ring of lacing.

Scent of candi sugar, cherries and yeast. Sweet and pungent with well hidden alcohol, I like it.

Taste is a bit more subdued, candi sugar, yeast, grain, cherries, and honey. Finishes malty with hints of sugars. Alcohol is hidden superbly, I would never guess this beer is 11% without being told.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, but a bit flat.

Drinkability is high considering the strength.

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Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,193 ratings.