1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

3,139 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,139
Reviews: 1,161
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 15.76%
Wants: 183
Gots: 517 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Tröegs Mad Elf Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,139 | Reviews: 1,161 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jdauria
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

jdauria, Dec 19, 2011
Photo of brez8791
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

brez8791, Dec 19, 2011
Photo of Yvaithe
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Yvaithe, Dec 19, 2011
Photo of locke459
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

locke459, Dec 19, 2011
Photo of TMoney2591
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter.

Thanks to VDubb86 for sharing these bottles!

After enjoying this stuff a bunch back in my NoVa days, I was stoked to get to try some more, thanks to my boy VDubb, who cracked some '07 and '08 bottles. This stuff pours a clear sunrise amber topped by a half-finger of relatively short-lived off-white foam. The nose comprises cherry, honey, fig, dates, caramel, light biscuit, and mandarin orange. The taste brings in more of the same, along with a pinch of black pepper and nutmeg. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a slick-ish feel. Overall, a rather enjoyable brew, one that doesn't overdo the spices and/or fruit, which many winter brews have a tendency to do. Good times.

TMoney2591, Dec 19, 2011
Photo of duff247
4/5  rDev +3.4%

duff247, Dec 19, 2011
Photo of GarrettMD
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep orange, almost amber in color with a thin layer of off white head that disappears into a ring of bubbles around the edge almost immediately.

S - Cherries, honey, caramel, a touch of alcohol, also a lot of aromas similar to a saison (lemon, peppercorn, belgian candi sugar, belgian yeast). Very complex aroma, very unique and I like it a lot.

T - Flavor follows the aroma pretty close. Same basic flavors, cherries definitely dominate along with the background caramel malts. Honey makes it's way in along with the bubblegum and lemon flavors associated with the saison I find in this. Once again, very complex, very well blended, I find myself going back for sip after sip trying to find new ways to describe the flavor.

M - Medium body, slightly sticky mouthfeel. Finish is sweet and sticky with flavors of cherries, honey, and bubblegum. Lasts a while too.

O - Well balanced, complex flavors, very interesting beer to try. I don't know that I would be able to drink too many, but the ABv isn't noticeable at all. Will definitely buy again.

GarrettMD, Dec 19, 2011
Photo of HopsYeast
3.43/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a-pours a clear dark reddish amber with a 1/4 finger pale white head that quickly fads and leaves no lacing.

s-honey, cherries, raisens, heavy alcohol smell, and also has a somewhat sour smell thats a bit of a turn off.

t-taste is a reverse of the smell. a nice warm alcohol flavor mixed in with dark fruits, maltiness, and the slightest hops. lots of dark fruit flavor is preset.

m-somewhat syrupy with very minimal carbonation.

o-well i think im starting to finally get this beer. year after year i tried it and it turned me off completely. this was the first time on tap so it may have been the difference. its deep flavor and warming sensation bought on by the alcohol makes it a good fit for the cold holiday season.

HopsYeast, Dec 19, 2011
Photo of fester71
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

fester71, Dec 19, 2011
Photo of B967ierhunter177
4.83/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a clear, ruby red with minimal head or lace. The aroma is of honey, vanilla, and dark cherries. The flavor is very well balanced with honey, cherry, and spice notes, particularly ginger. There's a pleasant malt sweetness with just a hint of hops. It's very smooth, warms nicely, and gets better as it warms. The mouthfeel is full. Troegs Mad Elf is an outstanding beer, a great way to wash down made from scratch chocolate chip cookies. Highly recommended!

B967ierhunter177, Dec 19, 2011
Photo of RossCain
4.47/5  rDev +15.5%
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.

RossCain, Dec 19, 2011
Photo of Ralphs66
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Ralphs66, Dec 18, 2011
Photo of jatinkee
2.5/5  rDev -35.4%

jatinkee, Dec 18, 2011
Photo of DaveBlack
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Really a beautiful dark brownish-red color. Almost no head at all and certainly no lacing.

S: Belgian yeast, alcoholic phenols and cherries are the main aromas that I am picking up. Almost smells like cherry brandy.

T: Really an interesting tasting beer. The nose doesn't really prepare you for the onslaught of flavors. Candied sugar and alcohol hit first, along with the taste of cherries. As the initial favor fades there's a lot of spice and a slight pepperiness, as well as some balancing bitterness.

M: Much creamier than the look would suggest, with a fair amount of carbonation to keep it from being too syrupy.

O: I saw this beer on a "must have holiday beer list," and I am surprised at how much i like it. The flavors are complex and balanced, if trending towards the sweet side of things, and the alcohol is nicely warming. A good beer.

DaveBlack, Dec 18, 2011
Photo of kbuzz
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a vintage 2010 22oz bottle into my Troegs Mad Elf tulip glass.

A: Pours hazy and fizzy. Is caramel, burnt orange/rust in color. A finger of head quickly fades, but not for lack of carbonation...tons of bubbles streaming up through the glass.

S: A touch of sweet fig. Some biscuity/breadiness. Faint cherry notes...not much at all.

T/M: A ton of fruit...cherries still very noticeable even after a year of aging. Caramel malt sweetness and yeast breadiness as well. No booze to be found here whatsoever...but provides a pleasant warming effect. Age definitely did this beer some good in that regard. Carbonation is not as high as I would have thought...and the flow of bubbles has slowed since the initial pour. Medium/full bodied. Not quite as heavy on the palate as I'd like...just a touch thin maybe.

O: The year of age has helped this along nicely. It is definitely boozier fresh - and I can barely detect it at all in this bottle. If not for the warming, I'd never guess this was a double digit ABV offering. Definitely sweet, but not overly so. The cherries are an obvious addition here, but certainly aren;t overwhelming. A pretty solid example of a Belgian-style American Quad/Strong...

kbuzz, Dec 18, 2011
Photo of AlexM
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

AlexM, Dec 18, 2011
Photo of PhillyBrownEyes
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

PhillyBrownEyes, Dec 18, 2011
Photo of WassailWilly
4/5  rDev +3.4%

WassailWilly, Dec 17, 2011
Photo of miked234
4/5  rDev +3.4%

miked234, Dec 17, 2011
Photo of dcurrin
3/5  rDev -22.5%

dcurrin, Dec 17, 2011
Photo of LampLighter26
5/5  rDev +29.2%

LampLighter26, Dec 17, 2011
Photo of IPhantom
4.43/5  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.

IPhantom, Dec 17, 2011
Photo of SolipsismalCat
3.6/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass. Reviewed alongside Gouden Carolus Classic.

A: Clear red-amber with one-finger, off-white, creamy head that lasted a minute. Not much lacing.

S: Belgian yeast and some dark fruit.

T: Moderate sweetness and light bitterness. Tart and spicy. Some honey and cherries.

M: Medium bodied with fizzy carbonation. Dry and alcoholic. Kind of smooth.

O: Not much of a head. Smells okay, but the mouthfeel is dry. Too much alcohol to enjoy this beer. I liked the Gouden Carolus Classic better.

SolipsismalCat, Dec 17, 2011
Photo of ckollias
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
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.

ckollias, Dec 17, 2011
Photo of CFHMagnet
3.33/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

My 100th review :)
I started out with an average pour and ended up getting a little more aggressive when no head seemed to form. I got a half finger of very active bubbly head that was gone in 30 seconds. The beer now sits there with nothing other than a ring atop the body, which definitely fits the "ruby" description.

The yeast hits the nose first, and is quickly followed up by the unapologetic smell of booze. Notes that linger after are malt, cherries, dark fruit and spice.

The taste is very underwhelming. With the nose being what it was, I was unprepared for what would be a serious search through the nuances of flavor. Up front I taste a bit of yeast, heavy spice and some honey, with a little cherry tucked in for support. Unfortunately the alcohol takes over after that, and in combination with the cherry flavor, it tastes like cough syrup for a little while there. Once this mellows out, malt and spice come back out to say goodbye.

Medium bodied, it has enough carbonation to hustle it over your tongue pretty quickly. It doesn't coat very much, nor does it dry, but it does sting your tongue a little, seemingly a little from the carbonation and a little from the alcohol. A strong burn builds up in the back of the throat.

CFHMagnet, Dec 16, 2011
Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 3,139 ratings.