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Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

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very good

2,861 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,861
Reviews: 1,148
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 15.54%
Wants: 135
Gots: 392 | FT: 20
Brewed by:
Tröegs Brewing Company visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
Hop Bitterness (IBU's) : 15
Color (SRM) : Ruby Red
Availability: Seasonal, 12 oz. & 3L bottles, 1/2 and 1/6 kegs (contact your local retailer to pre-order)
Malts: Pilsner, Munich, Chocolate
Hops: Saaz, Hallertau
Yeast: Spicy Yeast
Pennsylvania Honey West Coast Cherries

(Beer added by: WilliamPhilaPa on 12-14-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,861 | Reviews: 1,148 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of watermelonman


4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This poured to a nice and surprisingly light amber with hints of yellow and red. The head quickly reduced to a ring and left minimal lace.

Flavors are of light malt up front and quickly switch to a bit of cherry with just a hint of honey. The smell is decent enough but the taste is quite good, especially as it warms. It's alarmingly easy to drink for the alcohol content.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2005 14:10:06 | More by watermelonman
Photo of silver0rlead

North Carolina

4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a somewhat indistinct hazy amber with a thin off-white head that dissapates quickly. The aroma is intriguing, with notes of cherry, honey, belgian yeast, some chocolate, toasted bread, alcohol and some mineraly hops. The flavor is surprisingly subtle for a beer of this magnitude, with notes of cherry, dark fruits, honey, toasted bread, fruity esters, chocolate and some earthy, mineraly hops. The mouthfeel is medium with light carbonation, and drinkability is quite impressive considering the massive abv. An interesting beer from Troegs, kind of an american/belgian hybrid...tasty and complex and the alcohol is incredibly well hidden.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2005 02:40:08 | More by silver0rlead
Photo of Infamous7100


4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a near copper, mostly clear with a nice two finger head. Lighter than most Belgian darks.
S: some dark fruit and certainly cherries. I am getting hints of honey, but I belieive its being a tad overshadowed by the malt. Not as much spice or evergreen notes as most holiday ales.
T: follows closey to tne nose. Not quite as much dark fruit flavor as most traditonal Belgian darks, but still very good. A tad more boozy/sweet than one might like, but I can't complain.
M: Lighter than one would think and not nearly as harsh as an an 11% abv would lead you to believe. Its a sipper, but it is smooth.
O: a great beer, not just a great holiday beer. It is expensive, but worth it. Age one if you get the chance.

Serving type: on-tap

01-20-2012 04:55:13 | More by Infamous7100
Photo of Proteus93


4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Reddish brown... more of a vibrant, deep red than anything, with just over a finger of quickly diminishing head, leaving just wisp of lacing.

S + T: Brewed with honey and cherries, and that's exactly what it both smells and tastes like to my senses. A good whiff of alcohol is apparent, but the flavour masks it fairly well, with just a little peppery warmth towards the finish. A touch of breadiness. Fortunately, the cherry flavours do not come across as being too fake or medicinal or heavy. Nicely balanced, with a little bit of a perfumey taste as it warms a little. It's quite nicely done in that sense.

M + D: A nice sipper, well suited for a cold winter evening. Rather crisp, which is nice for a bigger ABV brew. A nice medium body, with that snap of carbonatio. You'll certainly feel it, but it'll go down without much troubles!

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2008 05:19:22 | More by Proteus93
Photo of chadspivey


4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

thanks to akorsak for the growler shipped overnight. poured into my st. bernardus oversized goblet.

A: pours a clear red amber color. Head dissipates really fast, but I like the way it settles, with the bigger bubbles.

S: dark fruits and belgian yeast. spices, dark maltiness

T: grapes, alcohol, belgian yeast, very faint apples. dark maltiness present .

M: medium body. Would have expected it to be thicker considering the class of beer and the alcohol content. still seems to compliment the taste really nicely. slightly velvety.

D: pretty sweet beer, but I'm getting pretty buzzed off just the one. If it werent for the drunkenness, I'd have more.

couldn't decide between 4.0 and 4.5 on the taste. I think I changed it about 4 times. I decided it was closer to 4.5.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2006 05:25:06 | More by chadspivey
Photo of troysoy2


4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked a six pack up with my good friend and drinking buddy. Belgian dark ales aren't really my thing usually, but I may as well try.

Poured into a pint glass. Small white head quickly retreats to the edge of the glass. It's a nice, cherry-tinged copper color.

The smell is very deep, like a bottomless pit of cherries. Haha, a cherry pit pun. But seriously, lots of cherries, a little honey, just like the label says. Dark Belgian fruit and a bit of alcohol. It smells sticky and intense.

It's quite sweet, but then again, what were you expecting? Surprisingly drinkable, especially considering how I don't always care for beers of this style. It's quite spicy on the finish, yet almost devoid of bitterness. Cherry comes out nicely, and the surprisingly prickly mouthfeel is an interesting feature. Not too drying, not too cloying. Overall, enjoyable.

It's complex, yet not the most complex thing ever. Palate pleasing, a little dangerous with its high ABV, but hey, the elf on the label seems to be having a good time. I wouldn't drink a ton of it, but it's a nice break from my usual selection. Cheers.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2011 05:26:53 | More by troysoy2
Photo of jdg204


4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm from Central PA and had tried this on tap while visiting family and enjoyed it so much that I had to get a 6 pack for Christmas at home.

Appearance - Gorgeous ruby color with a nice head, incredible that you can still clearly see through the beer with that tint.

Smell - Cherries and honey (as they bottle states) are the most evident wonderful holiday smells, also has some nice spice aromas.

Taste - Very sweet, again cherries and honey were the order of the day, along with a bit of spice which frankly I expect a bit more of when having this type of brew. Still, this flavor will put you in that holiday spirit.

Mouthfeel - It was a bit thick and heavy (but hey look at the ingredients) to be honest, but still quite enjoyable. Definetly a sipping beer, but hey isn't that what you want sitting by the fire waiting for St. Nick ;).

Drinkability - Good brew though a bit sweet and not quite spiced enough for my liking. However, my wife who's less of a beer drinker LOVED it, so I recco this for all guys looking to get their wife to join them in a brew around the holidays. This will definetly put everyone in the holiday spirit.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2007 05:04:31 | More by jdg204
Photo of lackenhauser


4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an absolutely gorgeous reddish amber color.Very slight head and carbonation.Slight aroma of cherries-some citrus,malt and a backround yeasty-ness.Malty sweetness dominates the flavor with a hint of cherries.The 11% ABV is very well disguised.Wonderful mouthfeel-really smooth and full bodied.What a great beer I must say.I have not been a Troegs fan in the past-just didnt think they were as good and "special" as some of the others out there.I'll take that back with this beer however.Some of this will definately be getting "laid down"-ENJOY!!!

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2003 21:58:34 | More by lackenhauser
Photo of LTaylor

4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Sweet and spicy, a mouthful of Christmas cheer - it's my favorite winter seasonal beer. It's flavorful and complex, but doesn't sit heavy in your stomach, plus the high alcohol content puts you in a nice place if you're with family that drives you nuts during the holidays.

I personally like sweet beers, and this one (with honey, cherries, and chocolate flavors) is definitely on the sweet side, so the subtle spice may not be enough to balance it out for those who prefer more spice and hoppy flavors.

You're supposed to drink Mad Elf out of a glass or chalice, but I had it straight from the bottle on this occasion. I recommend using a glass, because I couldn't smell the beer as well. I got a decent mouthful of both honey and cherry flavor when I tasted it (with moderate carbonation) and the spicy flavors lingered on my tongue, which I enjoyed.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2013 19:06:50 | More by LTaylor
Photo of steve8robin


4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Have not had a whole lot from Troegs. Let's see how this is. 12oz bottle...

A: A nice clear red color with a small tan head that fades quickly to a lace atop the brew. Good.

S: A nice bready and sweet caramel malt scent upfront with some faint cherry in the middle. Some more sweet malt on the back. Decent.

T: A nice faint sweet cherry upfront with some acidic sweetness in the middle blended with some nutty / bready malt. A faint bitterness on the backend. Alcohol not evident at all! Very good.

M: Full body with a good carbonation. A sweet finish. Decent.

O: All in all, this is a very solid beer. I was surprised since fruit beers are hard to make and make well. This has a faint cherry, but just enough to add a nice accent. Try if you like sweet, boozy beers where the booze is well hidden.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2011 02:17:47 | More by steve8robin
Photo of paulozanello


4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I was waiting for this one! Got me a six-pack for 13.99 here in DC.

A- Mad Elf Ale pours a ruby brown hazy color and forms a one finger beige head that dissipates quickly leaving just a ring of foam around the glass. Lacing is below what is expected for the style.

S- Right of the bat I get a lot of red fruits, specially the cherries. You can definitely smell the chocolate malts and the spicy belgian yeast caracter later.

T- Starts very sweet with a caramel malt, honey and chocolate. Then the sweet/sour cherries kick in (not overpowering at all) to round out and complement the malt/honey sweetness. It ends with yeast esters, typically belgian, and reminds me of Rochefort 8 and Chimay Blue.

M/D- Medium body and dangerously pleasant mouthfeel. Alcohol is well-hidden behind the many flavors of this beer. But much like every other BSDA this is a complex beer that you can just drink too fast, so the drinkability is not that high. Carbonation is quite high according to style.

Overall another great beer from Troegs and it gets better as it gets warmer. Go and get it while it lasts.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2010 03:20:38 | More by paulozanello
Photo of steorn


4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The mad elf enters the glass.A beautiful pour,red-hued,lovely. With an off white head full of active little bubbles.The scent of yeast, malt, and a restrained cherry sweetnes.I think I should taste it.A nice honey seetness encased in alcohol.Awonderful creamy mouthfeel.The cherry arrives ,gently though still accompanied by alcohol.The finish is nice ,slightly sour, fading gently away.This is nice.
Although eleven percent the Elf is amazingly drinkable.I had expected something more intense but instead have a rounded entertaining holiday ale in the glass( now more than half empty):)
Kudos to the one and only Feloniousmonk for introducing me to my new mad friend.

Serving type: bottle

02-29-2004 19:55:11 | More by steorn
Photo of grayburn

South Carolina

4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a ruby-orange with a minimal head that fades quickly.

The smell and taste are both hot and boozy but the cherries and honey add enough interesting notes to the malt backbone to bring everything together. There might be a little spiciness from the hops, or it could be from the yeast, either way, it works.

The beer finishes dryer than expected with such a big body, I'm impressed, the honey really brought this together well...this also leads to scary drinkability, be careful but imbibe.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2009 02:29:57 | More by grayburn
Photo of Gambrinus1184


4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22-ounce bottle into a pint glass.

A: Ruby red-amber in color with good clarity and sparse carbonation building to a two-finger head of dense, white foam which left some decent lacing.

S: Whiffs of honey, cherries, spicy yeast, fruity esters and phenol alcohol in the nose.

T: Very smooth and clean malt bill with spicy and grainy wheat and yeast flavors underlying the malty sweetness. Honey is soft and drying while the semisweet and tart cherries add a bit to the fruitiness. No alcohol really noted, which makes this brew sort of dangerous at 11% ABV. Nice, spicy, somewhat bitter, cherry Tussin finish.

M: Full-bodied clean and smooth with a very quaffable finish.

D: A nice, spiced strong Belgian ale for the holidays. Very clean, smooth and spicy flavors blend nicely with the hints of honey and cherry. The seemingly subdued alcohol also makes it a dangerous brew, as noted earlier because of the ABV. It might be a bit much to handle all day, but after dinner, it's a nice treat.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2010 21:18:00 | More by Gambrinus1184
Photo of jjanega08


4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

2008 Vintage

A= Pours a nice hazy dark amber color with a ring around the glass head on it. The lack of head is expected from being two years old and an already huge beer.

S= The smell is a little spicy from the yeast and very mellowed. The cherries come through quite a bit for the age. Sort of has a marciano cherry smell to it. Very similar to a pie.

T= The taste is also very similar to a cherry pie. I'm suprised the pie has stuck around so much after the years. Super smooth and mellow. No oxidation coming from it. The yeast spice is there but somewhat subdued.

M= Super smooth and clean. Not much of a mouth on it.

D= This beer is super drinkable for the strength of it. Tastes like cherry pie and finishes clean as hell. Worth checking out.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2010 04:42:56 | More by jjanega08
Photo of Mertzy81


4.09/5  rDev +6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours a murky brownish-red with a decent head of off-white, coarse bubbles. No retention or lacing.

S: Aggressive nose of syrupy cherries. Hints of vinous grape, a bit of lactic acid, and sugary fruit juice.

T: Juicy cherries hit the palate, along with a smooth blend of spices, sweet and grainy malt, and Belgian yeast. Hints at cloying cough syrup but is pulled back by the malt and yeast. Bit of a smooth, medicinal honey sweetness. Fruity Belgian esters mix well with the cherries and honey. A bit of alcohol in the finish, but it's barely perceivable.

M: Relatively full body and fine carbonation.

O: This definitely grew on me as the glass drained. Can get a little cloying, but ultimately it's pretty balanced, and the hiddenness of the alcohol is remarkable for 11%.

Serving type: on-tap

03-01-2013 08:50:12 | More by Mertzy81
Photo of generallee

New York

4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: The body has a deep reddish brown to orange amber color with a light haze. On top is a small off white head which quickly fades from a one inch cap to just a thin light ring of lace. Only a few spots of lace stick to the glass.

Smell: Its aroma is full of big fruity notes with dark cherry notes standing out. It also brings a heavy sweet bready maltiness with some hints of wild flower honey. The big 11% abv is also quite noticeable as well.

Taste/Palate: The flavor comes close to the aroma with a big sweet, warm (boozy) and malty character. In it are lots of fruity notes, bready malts, and spicy yeast which adds a touch of clove like and white pepper like spiciness. It also has big boozy warmth which adds some grain and honey mead like character to the finish. The carbonation is mellow and the palate feels smooth.

Notes: This is a big beer and it lets you know it.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2011 16:51:20 | More by generallee
Photo of Dodo2step


4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

P- Markey Cross Pub in Carlisle

A- pours a deep red cherry color with a nice fluffy head. a good two fingers with a nice lacing on my glass to boot.

S- cherries and honey dominate the scent and then there is alcohol with some bittererness to top it off. Great smell and very enticing.

T- some strong phenols/alcohol. Cherries and honey come to the forefront with the grainyness to round it out.

M- Alcohol and fruity. Feels like i bit into a huge cherry and then took a shot of liquor.

D- A nice relaxing brew. This will knock you on your ass but you wouldnt know it from the taste. Goes down smooth and clean.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2008 21:38:04 | More by Dodo2step
Photo of Axic10

New Jersey

4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz bottle into a snifter. 2010 Vintage.

Appearance: Pours a dark ruby red with a small ring of foam around the outside of the glass.

Smell: Sweet candied fruit - apples, pears and cherries, some honey sweetness, sugary sweetness, Belgian yeast, and slight alcohol burn.

Taste: Candied fruit, honey, malt, sugar, not that much of a boozy taste despite the alcohol content.

Mouthfeel: Felt a little thin, but was very smooth and the alcohol is hidden nicely. Previous years' the it felt a lot thicker.

Drinkability: This is my new winter tradition after moving from Cleveland two years ago (although I still miss endless amounts of Christmas Ale). I get this on draft whenever I see it around and usually pick up quite a few bottles. I really enjoy this beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2010 02:14:07 | More by Axic10
Photo of smerrell


4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - translucent red, the head dissipates quickly

Smell - Strong alcohol, candy-sweet smell that dissipates quickly

taste: like a black cherry Belgian beer. Hops are barely noticeable and you don't taste the alcohol until after you swallow

Mouthfeel: high carbonation, the soft finish coats the tongue and stays with you

Overall: This is a great seasonal beer, with a great, unique taste. If you are a fan of Belgians, this is a great change of pace. high in alcohol, you shouldn't (couldn't) drink more than 2 of these easily, but this is a terrific Christmas beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2011 00:06:43 | More by smerrell
Photo of jneiswender


4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this beer at the Brass Rail Deli in Cambelltown. Served in a tulip glass. Cool. Pours a nice fluffy white head and a roan color body. Smells of cherries Nice balance of fruit, grain, hop and yeast. Spritzy on the palate and refreshing. Some booze ending to the sip. I have to say that I had been avoiding this beer for awhile. I just didn't trust the beer given the number of beers who screw this beer up. I would go for this over and over again. Great beer.

Serving type: on-tap

01-05-2012 00:23:14 | More by jneiswender
Photo of TheHoppiest


4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into an oversized wine goblet. Pours a honey-amber, with a thin soapy head that quickly disapates.

Has a sweet, fruity aroma, like apple juice or fresh pears. Honey and mild malt can also be detected.

Smooth, sweet, and slightly malty, this beer hides its alcohol well. It also holds its age well, as this ia a 2009 vintage that I'm having tonight. Definite honey, candied cherry (think almost maraschino), green apple, nectarine, and sweet malt, with a whisper of mild tartness to end it. Mild yeast is also present. Well balanced even after a year.

Mouthfeel is thin to medium, and belies its heavy alcohol content.

All in all, one of my favorite holiday beers to quaff. Why not have a little Christmas in October?

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2010 01:34:46 | More by TheHoppiest
Photo of vwcraig


4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 edition of Mad Elf

Poured a beautiful ruby-red color into a goblet. Head disappears into a tiny ring around the outside of the glass. Slow stream of carbonation rising from bottom of glass.

Smells of honey and unsweetened cherries. Faint alcohol smell.

Tastes just like Troegs claims it does; like honey, cherries and light spices. Also slightly detectable alcohol but well concealed at 11% abv.

Good mouthfeel with little carbonation. Kinda viscous. Actually clings to and coats inside of glass.

Never had more than one of these at a time due to high abv. Could see pushing the number higher though to trundle through the holiday season...

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2006 19:50:24 | More by vwcraig
Photo of WunderLlama


4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into glass

Ruby red with faint carbonation. Two finger white foam cap quickly settles into a fizzy layer with no lacings.

Aroma of spices, cloves, pepper and hint of cherry and alcohol.

Smooth start. Sweet malt, bubblegum, slight carbonation. Medium mouthfeel.

Visited the Troegs brewery last week and had Mad Elf on tap, excellent. Bottled version is very good, sweet winter warmer with a deceptive alcohol kick. At 11% abv! it sneaks up on you. Very good beer and worthy if stocking up the fridge for those long, cold winter nights.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2013 02:17:37 | More by WunderLlama
Photo of HotHands


4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into Chimay chalice.

A - pours a deep translucent ruby with a small white head.

S - cherries are the predominant aroma, with some honey, candied orange, and spicy notes.

T - honey and cherries up front with some other fruit notes - apricots, currants, and raisins, with some good spiciness from the hops and the yeast. The yeast certainly tastes like a Belgian. A mild chocolate taste is present as well. Finish is a mild cherry taste. The sweetness is at a good level - not too much or too little. I didn't really detect much booziness, which I like.

M - carbonation is fine. Medium body. Feel is just a bit syrupy but the finish is dry.

D - hides its eleven percent ABV quite well. That sneaky elf!

This is a solid, interesting seasonal from Troeg's that is worth trying at least once. It seems to be a bit polarizing but I enjoy what they've done. The flavors are balanced and nothing feels out of place.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2010 04:23:21 | More by HotHands
Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,861 ratings.