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Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

1,192 Reviews
THE BROS
85
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,192
Hads: 3,591
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 12.69%
Wants: 215
Gots: 870 | 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: 1,192 | Hads: 3,591
Photo of necoadam
4.4/5  rDev +14%
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! (671 characters)

Photo of IronCitySteve
4.4/5  rDev +14%
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. (670 characters)

Photo of phisig137
4.4/5  rDev +14%
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. (1,339 characters)

Photo of chefhatt
4.4/5  rDev +14%
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. (337 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.4/5  rDev +14%
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! (1,793 characters)

Photo of gregO59
4.41/5  rDev +14.2%
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 (525 characters)

Photo of edskirk3
4.41/5  rDev +14.2%
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. (752 characters)

Photo of BeerSox
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
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). (1,331 characters)

Photo of Bills453
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
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. (731 characters)

Photo of Gusler
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
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. (772 characters)

Photo of VaTechHopHead
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
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. (1,057 characters)

Photo of HappyHourHero
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
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. (430 characters)

Photo of IPhantom
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
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. (1,269 characters)

Photo of Irish212
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
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. (312 characters)

Photo of doughanson78
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
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). (594 characters)

Photo of Phatz
4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
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.

---
EDIT
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.
Cheers! (2,531 characters)

Photo of BeerCon5
4.44/5  rDev +15%
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. (355 characters)

Photo of degerbah
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
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. (472 characters)

Photo of djbow
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
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. (529 characters)

Photo of paco1029384756
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
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. (495 characters)

Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel tulip from a 12 oz bottle, with a low off-white head forming and quickly residing. Color was a gorgeous ruby-amber, radiant and crystal clear. The most noticeable aroma was candied cherry, with qualities of dry cherry Jell-O mix...very nice and wonderfully lush despite the reference to Jell-O. Joining the cherry was a subtle and sweetish malt aroma, and just the slightest hint of alcohol, as it warmed. Tasting the beer revealed a satisfying cherry-malt sweetness, retaining the complexities of fresh cherries. Brandy-like cherry flavors washed over my palate, hitting all of my taste senses with a pleasant warmness. An appropriate level of bitterness rounds out the finish, with some cherry and subtler honey aromatics lingering. Sweetness does not remain in the finish, to its credit. Mouthfeel was full and smooth, although the carbonation level was a tad low. This could have been caused by mishandling/freezing temps on its journey to my fridge. Alcohol was very well hidden in the nose and taste, and was only noticeable by its warming qualities. I found this to be a delightful and rich winter warmer, to be enjoyed by the fire. It opened up and improved dramatically as it warmed. Big thanks to PintOfAle and Beergeek279...whom together made it possible for me to enjoy another after this review. (1,328 characters)

Photo of Jarod
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured into the glass a ruby/red/garnet color that sparkled when held to the light. The head was white no lace and did not last, only a film was left. The aroma was fruit and alcohol. Nose of cherries, spices, plums, malt and alcohol were all present at different points on my tongue. The tastes were of spices, fruit (mostly cherries) alcohol and malt. Slightly sweet and tart but not overpowering. I rather enjoyed this beer, it surprised me after my first sip, I was imagining some different flavors then I received. The flavors intensified as this brew warmed. (574 characters)

Photo of cooch69
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This Mad Elf beer pours an astonishing deep amber with a one finger pure white head. This head only lasts for a bit and eventually leaves nothing.

Very spicy nose which resembles a bit of a heavy Weizen beer. There are cherries, apples and sour raspberries present. I'm only detecting a little alcohol in the nose, and even less in the taste. There is a very sharp sweetness and a slight sourness in the smell.

This a very warm and spicy beer full of phenols, spiciness, and a crystalazid maltiness. It's finish brings back memories of Christmas spiced bread.

Pretty full bodied with minimum carbonation. This slightly sweet and syrupy beer should be a welcome adition to anyone's winter celebration. (706 characters)

Photo of WilliamPhilaPa
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark, almost black color with ruby-red highlights, with a tan colored head, leaves a good lace. On the nose there are whiffs of alcohol, good hop malt balance in the aroma. On the palate there is exotic spices, dark fruits, hints of dried cherries, rich malt flavors, slight sweetness, slight bitterness as well, the alcohol comes through a bit in the finish-11% abv…very good winter brew though… (406 characters)

Photo of erica
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Mad Elf made me happy! I like the label on the bottle, a great drawing of a 'mad elf'... The beer was a great dark red colour, with a head that disappears almost instantly. It doesn't look carbonated then but it is, just enough for a tingly feel. It smelled great- spicy, boozy, and fruity, but without the banana that sometimes you get with a beer like this.

I tasted it.... I loved it! It wasn't too thick but also not thin... It tasted a lot like it smelled, sweet, honey-ish, fruity, but no banana, and no real taste of the alcohol either, which for me can be dangerous with something as yummy as this, because I'll just want to drink more and forget what I'm drinking, and.... become a Mad Elf myself! However, I didnt, I just drank, and smiled, and went to buy 2 more bottles 2 days later! (798 characters)

Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,192 ratings.