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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: 3,590
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 7.51%
Wants: 215
Gots: 866 | 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: 3,590
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)

Photo of frank4sail
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was very lucky to get the last of these at The Beer Yard. Yes quite a drive for me and always worth it.. (Matt is the man).. Jcalbi told me this beer was a must try "by any means get your hands on some". So here goes.. out of my Westmalle goblet: (one of the best labels i have ever seen on a holiday beer!)

Deep bright red sparkle colors swirl in the glass. A nice tan snow head on the pour this then leaves the glass quickly (ABV?). Wonderful crystral ruby look. Sweet cherry hop sharpness to the nose. Initial big bready, yeasty (belgian quality) to the taste. This sharp base then is smoothed by honey and hints of cherry on the tongue. Great balence for a big beer. Your mouth is left slightly dry and wanting more. The beer is not overly fruity or sweet at all, but that hint of honey and cherry skins hypnotise the palate. This is really a treat. If you shut your eyes you would think you were sitting in a bar in Brugge next to Jingle and Jangle (Santa's elfs in A year without a Santa Clause). I would buy more if I could!

PS.. caution after three or four of these you will have full conversations with Jingle... thanks Jcalbi (jim) for the heads up on this brew .... (1,185 characters)

Photo of Bi0hazrd
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: ruby red with a 1 finger head and minimal lacing.

S: cherries and malt

T: cherries, honey and sweet malt

M: very smooth with a nice medium carbonation

D: very tasty and easy to drink but not sessionable due to the high ABV. Two of these and I was quite buzzed. (268 characters)

Photo of meathookjones
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I originally had this when I was first getting into craft brew and thought it was quite interesting but not my cup of tea at the time. Seeing as it came out the same did I was picking up some other beers I decided to give it a try again. This pours out a cherry juice red with a decent beige head that eventually falls to a coating of bubbles. Decent lacing was left around the glass as this was consumed. Aroma was a bit sweet with a bit of cherries and a bit of spiciness. Alcohol was evident but it mixed well and added positively to the smell. The taste starts off with a sweet maltiness that had notes of cherries and other fruits with a touch of honey. There was a good amount of spice as well. Aftertaste was a lingering sweetness. Mouthfeel was about medium with a slick and warming feel to it. Pretty damn good drinkability here with the large alcohol being hidden really well. It did warm me up quite a bit as I drank it. Overall this is a very interesting and tasty beer that I would recommend if you haven’t had it already. Oh and Venom’s suggestion to have it warm was spot on. (1,092 characters)

Photo of ppoitras
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle obtained via trade with Pisskynights. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed 3/4" of beige head, which laced nicely, over the reddish copper brew. Aroma is of cherries and malts. Taste is not the tartness one might expect from the cherry aroma, but malts upfront, combined with a deep sweet cherry flavor, which is not overdone, as could easily be a problem, but just right. Alcohol kind of creeps in at the end, in a nice kind of way. Mouthfeel excellent, just like a Belgian dark that you would expect, and the drinkability is excellent, in that even if you aren't interested in another straightaway, the character of the brew will make you return at another time. Excellent holiday brew. (739 characters)

Photo of kwakwhore
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jcdiflorio for this bottle.
Pours dark red with a very small head which quickly subsides into a small ring of bubbles around the edge of the snifter.Not much in the way of lacing either.
The first, second, and third thing that I smell are fruits, fruits, and more fruits. Cherries and a hint of banana and finally, a bit of Belgian spiciness from the yeast.
Flavors are similar, mostly sweet fruit and a bit of spice, with just a hint of hop bitterness at the end to balance things out a bit. Flavors become quite a bit more complex as the beer warms a bit. The hops and spice become more prominent.
The mouthfeel is pleasant and quite refreshing for such strong beer.
For 11% abv this is amazingly easy to drink. A delightful mid winter treat and a really delicious nightcap. I will definitely be looking for this one come next Christmas. (852 characters)

Photo of MetalHopHead6
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tröegs Mad Elf poured deep amber, with red highlights when poured and held to light. There was no head and very little lace. The color was very striking.

The smell and taste were very sweet, tart, and fruity, like dried cherries. The feel was thick, bitter, and aggressive. There was a strong warmth from alcohol. This was far too enjoyable for the alcohol content.

Tröegs Mad Elf is a sweet and delicious cold weather treat. (429 characters)

Photo of ElliotNess
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had a bottle last night for the first time, my initial glance at the bottle as i poured it into a glass was the ABV of 11%. I was surprised to see that a christmas ale would be this high. But the taste and drinkability, did not hint at the level of high alcohol. The taste gave a cherry flavor upfront and finished smooth like a good ale does. A very unique flavor unlike other cherry beers I've tasted, and would conclude that i hope to find some around town before the season ends. (485 characters)

Photo of RossCain
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from dated 2011 12oz bottle into a chalice

A: Pours a soft and translucent ruby red with a small fizzy head that sticks around for all of 2 seconds before completely fading. Rather vinous looking in the glass with legs running down the sides upon each sip. Looks like a good strong dark ale!

S: Sweet notes of candied sugars and spicy Belgian yeast play a dominant role in the nose, backed by a few nice nuances of tart cherries. Complex and inviting.

T: Hits the tongue with a rush of flavors: clove and banana yeast character, sweet notes of brown sugar, bubblegum. Finishes with juicy tart notes of bing cherries dried by tantalizingly sweet honey. Alcoholic heat in the aftertaste but it is not overwhelming and actually plays well with the tartness of the cherry notes. Lots of flavors that are all very well balanced! The beer opens up even more as it warms.

M: Full bodied with a slick, vinous feel as it passes over the palate. Light carbonated and finishes slightly dry with a welcome amount of alcohol warmth. Very easy to sip upon, but the 11% abv will get to you soon enough.

O: I thoroughly enjoyed Troeg's Mad Elf and I believe it is well deserving of its acclaim. The cast of flavors work very well together and the beer makes for a great slow sipping experience in the winter months. (1,313 characters)

Photo of PittBeerGirl
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Beautiful translucent dark red body. The body is brilliant when held up to light and screams "Christmas." I have had several of these over the holiday season and experimented pouring into two different tulip glasses and a chalice. This beer produces a very thin, creamy, off-white head that fades rather quickly and leaves a thin collar. No lacing is left behind in the glass.

S- Belgian spicy yeast upfront with a well-balanced mix of cherries, honey, and alcohol in the background.

T- Cherries and honey upfront with a massive bready yeast background. The alcohol and spiciness comes forth for the swallow. What lingers on the palate is hints of cherries, and plenty of spicy Belgian yeast wrapped in a warm blanket of alcohol.

M- Medium carbonation and smooth body with an alcohol slickness.

D- This is my favorite winter seasonal so far. This is a twist on Belgian Christmas ales -most I have had experience with have a licorice or anise presence while this PA representation does not. This is a great ale by Troegs. The summer naked elf is similar to this one-but does not have the complexity. (1,105 characters)

Photo of atsprings
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired in a trade with ThomasHardy. The beer pours a crisp red amber with a thin head that quickly diminishes to a ring. The aroma is dominated by cherries and sweet malts. The taste is an extremely unique blend of cherries, sweet fruits, and even a touch of caramel. The beer is medium bodied and the alcohol warms, but is altogether well hidden. I must say, this is a truly unique beer that can be enjoyed any time of year. I look forward to trying some next year and see if enjoying it in the winter makes it taste even better. (532 characters)

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I tried this from a 3L bottle on Dark Lord Day (thanks Todd). This is one of only 2 beers I'll rate from that day (out of God knows how many others I tried "splashes" of), because it really stood out and I was able to get a decent sized glass of it...

Deep brown color with a wispy almost-foam on top (bearing in mind it was poured into a cognac glass). Delicious aroma of cherries and dark fruits, not unlike a lightly muted Trois Pistoles but with a spice component. The flavor was much better than I'd hoped, lots of fruit and fruity esters, definitely cherry comes to mind.

The beer was thick enough to coat my mouth and keep the flavor long after each sip. Outstanding, I was really glad to have tried it. (716 characters)

Photo of KTCamm
4.48/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a bottle into a tulip glass. 1/14

Pours crimson red with very little foam. Cranberry juice appearance. Cherry oak nose. Honey too. Pickly taste, oaky back. Firm alcohol pop. Sips great, and packs a sneaky wallop. Earth bitter in back. Great for a cold day. Excellent. (280 characters)

Photo of BB1313
4.48/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. Pours a beautiful transparent ruby red on the darker side. Nice white head w/ decent lacing. The smell is superior w/ the cherries coming through harmoniously w/ the malts and grains. There is a slight hint of chocolate I think I'm getting, I could be wrong.. the main focus is on the cherries. The taste matches w/ the full flavor of the cherries meshing w/ the sweet honey; not spicy. The flavors are very clean and refreshing. Although it's full-bodied, it seems pretty thin. Carbonation is right on; nothing offensive at all. The alcohol is well hidden, making the drinkability exceptional! Dangerously drinkable, so definitely respect the Mad Elf.

This beer is a pure winner. I look forward to this one every year and I could definitely drink it every day. This is Troegs best beer, IMHO. (842 characters)

Photo of sublimesipping
4.48/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

There are many good things about living in the city of Brotherly Love. Finding Mad Elf on tap unexpectedly would be one of them. This may be my favorite holiday beer. I love the color, ruby red. Elegant, sophisticated, like the taste. Beer tastes more like a cordial, essence of berry, a warm brandy like effect. Excellent balance and mouthfeel make this beer dangerously drinkable, even for some of my non-beer friends. The big suprise being that is has a decidedly strong kick to it(11% can defintiely sneak up on you..)A wonderful, happy glass of holiday cheer, a way to keep the holday spirit alive through cold winter nights. If you can find it on tap, it is worth it! Drink it with someone you love. (705 characters)

Photo of kmpitz2
4.48/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This one pours a nice deep amber color with just a coating of head over top of the beer. The nose is very belgian in character, some spiceyness from the yeast and lots of sweetness, hints of cherries. Smells good. It tastes of goodness. The first thing I get is a nice peppery spice, followed by sweet malt and finished with a nice honey sweetness that goes over the front of my tongue. Wow. Not a hint of the alcohol in there. The feel is nice and thick, leaving a coating of beer in my mouth after swallowing. Drinkability is nice on this one as well. For a big ass beer, its easy drinking and smooth. I like it. Thanks to clvand0 for sharing this with me. (658 characters)

Photo of cvfish
4.48/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rated the #1 christmas beer in Don Russell's book

A - Poured a cloudy red color that produced a fluffy white head that retained well and left a nice lacing around the glass

S - Strong scents of cherries and sweet honey with some spicy backgrounds, possibly cinnamon

T - A sweet cherry and honey flavor that mix well with the spicy flavors of cinnamon and malty goodness

M - Medium bodied with fair amount of carbonation

D - Very good Christmas beer, well earned reputation (477 characters)

Photo of Heatwave33
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle to a Dogfish Head Snifter.

Color: Amber with an off white head.

Smell: Cherries, hops, malts and honey.

Taste: Cherries, hops, malts, honey, slight alcohol presence.

Mouthfeel: Great carbonation, smooth and slighlty dry.

Overall: Very well balanced! Couldn't tell it is 11% ABV. As it warmed up the alcohol was present but still very tastey. A great winter brew. Cheers! (401 characters)

Photo of santoslhalper
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep, glowing dark red with a thin head. A tiny bit of carbonation bubbles up. Chocolates and cherries burst through the smell of this beer. A nice warming scent of alchohol as well. This is a suprisingly malty tasting brew. Very sweet and fruity with a small but pleseant amount of hops coming through in the back. A beautiful holiday beer. This is going to be one of my "12 beers of christmas" this year. The best offering from Troeg's I've had. This is one of those beers that you won't forget for a long time. Highly, highly recommended. (549 characters)

Photo of Dantes
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Package: 12oz. brown, longneck, crowned bottle. Great holiday red label depicts a tipsy elf hanging on the Troëgs name. Blurb describes beer as an”ale brewed with honey & cherries.” 11% ABV. No information about bottling date or specific year, but I know it to be from Holiday 2003.

Cost: $2.25 per single at Gary’s

Presentation: Snifter at ~60º

Appearance: An absolutely beautiful glowing ruby red that formed a substantial bone-colored head during the pour, which subsided quickly. Obvious gunsmoke on opening. Interestingly, the beer poured brown, but was definitely red in the snifter. The carbonation was so fine, requiring close examination under a halogen desk lamp to detect it.

Smell: I was pleasantly surprised by the multi-dimensional aspect of the aroma. No cough syrup cherry here! Alcohol is very restrained, allowing sweet cherry, pale malt, subtle spiciness, and some other fruity esters to come to the fore.

Taste: Obviously the cherries and honey are the stars here, but this beer isn’t overly sweet. Impressively, the cherries don’t impart the sweetness of maraschinos, but more of a dark, morello cherry depth. A little more dark malt toastiness might have been a nice counterpart. Some phenolic “burn” and yeastiness also cuts the sweetness nicely. Very warming, but with a relatively light finish for such a big beer.

Mouthfeel: Deserves special mention here. I just don’t know how they did it. This is a heavy, warming beer, that manages to be light on the tongue and palate. As mentioned above, the carbonation is spectacular: ultra-tiny bubbles run through this beer, helping cut the sweetness and alcohol, while providing a creamy texture. The carbonation is definite and long-lasting, while being very subtle. Much like a ballet dancer, it combines grace and delicacy with the strength of an all-pro linebacker. Unique in my experience amongst barley wines and other high ABV brews.

Drinkability: So drinkable, it probably ought to be illegal to sell this! The alcohol is subtle and the flavors full but not overwhelming. Dangerous!

I don’t know how I haven’t reviewed this yet. According to my records, I bought 4 of these. I drank one almost right away, and pulled this one yesterday. That means that there should be 2 more in my cellar. I think I must have drunk the first one too cold as I don’t remember its making this kind of impression. Heeding VENOM’s warning, I served this one warm (but not quite room temperature as I expected it to warm further). Great advice, but next time I will probably start drinking this a touch colder, as it warms quickly and the sweetness begins to dominate. This is an impressive achievement, combining complexity, depth of flavor, warming alcohol, and an impressive texture in one great beer. A bargain considering the product. I’m only sorry I didn’t get more. Next year, I’ll be buying much more if I can get it. (3,002 characters)

Photo of ckollias
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this 12oz bottle out of a large snifter glass.

A: Pours a clear reddish-amber hue with a white ½-finger head that quickly dissipates in to a wispy lace.

S: Sweet cherry and fruit aroma with an alcoholic twinge.

T: Flavor is very sweet with an alcoholic punch to face. Very fruity – cherry is definitely present and dominate. This is almost wine-like.

M: Very strong and boozy. Medium body and minimal carbonation

O: Wow – this beer was great! Definitely a sipper at 11% abv. It wallops quite an alcoholic punch but is easily drinkable. (555 characters)

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