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Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,203 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,203
Hads: 3,635
Avg: 3.85
pDev: 26.75%
Wants: 221
Gots: 920 | FT: 24
Brewed by:
Tröegs Brewing Company visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: WilliamPhilaPa on 12-14-2002

Hop Bitterness (IBU's) : 15
Color (SRM) : Ruby Red
Availability: Seasonal, 12 oz. & 3L bottles, 1/2 and 1/6 kegs (contact your local retailer to pre-order)
Malts: Pilsner, Munich, Chocolate
Hops: Saaz, Hallertau
Yeast: Spicy Yeast
Pennsylvania Honey West Coast Cherries
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Tröegs Mad Elf Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,203 | Hads: 3,635
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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Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
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.

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Photo of Jarod
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
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.

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Photo of cooch69
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
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.

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Photo of WilliamPhilaPa
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
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…

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Photo of erica
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
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!

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Photo of BB1313
4.46/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.25 | 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.

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Photo of frank4sail
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
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 ....

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Photo of Bi0hazrd
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
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.

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Photo of meathookjones
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
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.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
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.

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Photo of kwakwhore
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
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.

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Photo of MetalHopHead6
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
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.

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Photo of ElliotNess
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
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.

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Photo of RossCain
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
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.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
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.

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Photo of atsprings
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
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.

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