1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. 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

2,952 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,952
Reviews: 1,149
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 15.54%
Wants: 142
Gots: 424 | 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: 2,952 | Reviews: 1,149 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BostonBrewins


4.18/5  rDev +8.3%

A - Pours a not quite clear but not quite hazy deep ruby. Offwhite head dissipates rather quickly. Love the color.

S - Very strong nose, extremely sweet. A wonderful aroma of cherries and honey. Heavenly.

T - A super sweet bomb, not for the weak of heart. Honey and cherries overtones lead the way with undertones of sweet bread and stick buns. Slight metallic twang in the finish, most likely a byproduct of the munich malt. Very boozy.

M - Mouthfeel is syrupy, very brandy like. Definitely a sipper.

) - A perfect choice to be enjoyed after a big winter meal. One of my favorite winter beers.

11-12-2011 23:43:32 | More by BostonBrewins
Photo of MDDMD


3.78/5  rDev -2.1%

A-red amber in color with a off-white head which quickly dissipates, minimal lacing

S-malt, honey and cough syrup aroma

T-sweet malt and yeast flavor with cherry cough syrup finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, alcohol not obvious given 11% content

O-a holiday ale with good flavor and balance

11-12-2011 00:47:48 | More by MDDMD
Photo of MicEp

New Jersey

3.8/5  rDev -1.6%

Poured this bottle according to instructions, down the middle of the glass to unleash the cherry aroma. It poured a very nice deep red color. The nose was not what i expected, very little cherry.

The taste also did not really exude cherry as i expected but it did start with a very nice smooth and clean malt taste followed by spice and ended with faint honey notes.

For an 11% abv beer it is very smooth and the alcohol is hidden very well behind the spice and honey after taste.

All in all Mad Elf is a very good beer and I would highly recommend anyone to give it a try around the holidays. Its around $16 a six pack but if you can find a single bottle its a must buy.

11-11-2011 21:35:57 | More by MicEp
Photo of Hopfenpeter


4/5  rDev +3.6%

Bought this bottle as a start for the Christmas season. It poured a clear amber/mahogany gold with little white head building about half a finger high. Little retention and little lacing.
The smell is of cherries, malt and spice.
Testing the beer this flavors are confirmed in order. First the cherry fruit flavor, being met by malt and honey notes, than some decent hops and spice to finish the beer. Good balance and very drinkable. The alcohol is noticeable, but well hidden! Great Winterbeer!

11-11-2011 03:47:17 | More by Hopfenpeter
Photo of Crossmd


4.03/5  rDev +4.4%

Poured 55 degrees Fahrenheit into a Dalmore whisky glass. Smudged born date.

Poured a lucid tea color or light ruby red. Slight head, dissipated quickly. No lacing to speak of.

Smells of belgian yeast, bananas and a hint of cherry. Not well projected.

Taste is a just slightly tart, effervescent blend of spiced fruit and honey. The balance between honeyed sweetness and cherried tart really is perfect here, and I can't believe that the blend works as well as it does though. I can see some however, potentially finding this a little bit like cough syrup. It stops just short of synthetic for me, but more sensitive palates or supertasters may have a hard time with this one. Plenty effervescent, lot of boozy cherry in on the background, as those tertiary flavors take off into the drydown.

Overall, really a unique beer that stands alone next to a slew of dark, stouty winter seasonals. I started off not liking it initially, as it was just so vast different from anything that I was used to, but working my way through the bottle really had me enjoying it at the end. Overall, a fantastic offering.


11-10-2011 23:42:27 | More by Crossmd
Photo of josefnewsong

New York

4.8/5  rDev +24.4%

This is a seasonal favorite of mine...just picked up my first sixer of the winter so I figured a review was in order...
A - red, clear, dark, little head
S - cherries, honey, boozyness, belgian yeast
T - all of the above, and more...this beer is more than the sum of its parts. Cherries dominate and honey is behind with alcohol present but concealed just enough...but there is something else that I can only describe of as 'mad elf' flavor. Perfect.
M - a bit syrupy but aside from that is medium bodied, which works perfectly for this beer...
O - exceptional brew. Might need to grab another...11%? really?

11-09-2011 05:12:19 | More by josefnewsong
Photo of justintcoons


3.65/5  rDev -5.4%

Poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a brilliant ruby red with a thin head that dissipates quickly to a whispy head. Thin webbed lacing and moderate carbonation.

N: Clove, banana and booze. Cherry and honey in the background.

T: Fig, honey and candy sugar upfront. Dates, banana, horse blanket, cherry Jolly Rancher and tobacco mid-palette. Coriander, clove and peppercorn in the finish. Sweet and sugary throughout.

M: Medium-full bodied, chewy, smooth, sticky and dry.

O: The booze is apparent but it's not too overpowering. Very sweet and sugary. Really showcases the Belgian yeast strain and candy sugars. Honey and cherry just make an appearance in the background.

11-08-2011 23:38:29 | More by justintcoons
Photo of ciachef1212


3.8/5  rDev -1.6%

This is a very interesting beer. Almost red in color with tones of carbonation. Smells of spices from the belgian yeast and slight cherry notes. The flavors are of cherries and spice and everything nice. Couldn't tell it is 11% ABV. This is a really different beer and I really like it. Be careful for 11% it is really drink able.


11-08-2011 20:38:14 | More by ciachef1212
Photo of FLOglida

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +3.6%

Troegs is by far one of my favorite breweries, they are consistent with their beers and they know how to do things different. The mad elf is no exception. Very strong with booze and fruit in both the nose and the taste. I usually dont like the overly fruity beers but whatever type of cherries they used in this are amazing. At 11 percent you can definately get warmed up by this one. i love winter warmers, i love beer

11-08-2011 17:40:25 | More by FLOglida
Photo of SpdKilz


3.9/5  rDev +1%

A big thanks to DSlim71 for this great extra. Cheers!

Appearance – Pours a very clear ruby color into a tulip with just a hint of head and slight lacing.

Smell – Definite honey, cherries, spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, and slight clove. Finishes with a sweet caramel aroma.

Taste – Interesting. The Belgian characteristics are immediately apparent. Cherries are prevalent as is the honey (which makes the finish quite dry). Bready malts, slight tartness, and a hint of alcohol.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, moderate carbonation.

Overall – A decent Belgian strong ale. It kind of reminds me of Three Philosophers (but sadly not quite as good). A solid beer, and one that is keeping me nice and warm on this chilly night.

11-06-2011 03:12:54 | More by SpdKilz
Photo of smakawhat


3.55/5  rDev -8%

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass. Getting a head start on Christmas I guess.

A real nice ruby and clear red body, but with a very fast and falling foamy off tan brown head. Lots of noticeable sounding carbonation as well. Barely a collar manages to hang on shortly after and leaves barely a whisp of a top.

Nose is big on Belgian like candi sweetness and some sense of cough drop cherry. A real sense that something sweet is coming.

A kind of juicy light jammy cherry sense on the palate, mixing in with a little bit of bready malts. Surprisingly not as sweet as I thought it might be coming from the nose. Texture actually feels pretty solid, this very nice juicy body almost jammy.

Overall not too bad, nothing real crazy that I am getting excited about though either. For eleven percent abv, it doesn't feel like a boozy mess or hard to drink, which is a nice surprise. However, I am not finding myself really drawn to this.

11-06-2011 00:39:00 | More by smakawhat
Photo of eslemarc


3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Bomber in a Mad Elf tulip glass.

The beer pours with an off-white cream colored head, maybe a finger tall at most, deep amber color and fully transparent with visible carbonation. Little lacing from each sip.

There is a strong scent of cherries and a little honey sweetness. Some alcohol is present, similar to the alcohol presence in a red wine. Slight hints of a malt breadiness with a clear hop balance to keep from being too sweet.

Relatively lighter mouthfeel than I would have imagined, a fair carbonation leads to a clear taste of cherries and maybe some banana. Tastes clearly boozy, but deceptive to the 11%abv.

The beer seems more like a digestif, very comforting and warming post dinner to substitute a port wine. The sweetness would work well with dessert. A fine beer as a great winter warmer.

11-05-2011 17:52:20 | More by eslemarc
Photo of TheMultiYeast


3.51/5  rDev -9.1%

Pours a clear dark amber/ruby with a small white head that fades away. Some spotty lacing.

Smell is dominated by sweetness with and holiday spices. Cherries are pretty strong with a hint of booze.

Taste is pretty sweet as well. Honey, cherries and more spices dominate with very little bitterness and alcohol.

Mouthfeel is a bit sticky and syrupy.

This seems to be one of the most accessible Holiday beers because it's sweet and high in alcohol. A bit too syrupy for me.

11-05-2011 17:06:37 | More by TheMultiYeast
Photo of aorloski


3.9/5  rDev +1%

Appearance - Pours a very rich and lavish deep amber color. About a fingers worth of off white head on this one and great carbonation at 11%

Smell - Smells like an over sweetened quad, in a good way. Ripe fruit, cherries, raisins, some brown sugar in the backbone.

Taste - I must say, at 11% the alcohol is hidden ridiculously well. An incredibly sweet beer but once again in the best sense of the word. Cherries and dark fruits dominate this one, absolutely no bitterness just all sweet malts, molasses and some carmel notes. Great stuff.

Mouthfeel - Whoa this one coats the mouth, after drinking one the flavors seem to just sit in your cheeks.

Overall - This is a very well rendered beer, it is missing some of the "funk" from a belgian style dark but i dont think this is intended to be like that. This tastes more like an over sweetened quad but an incredibly delicious beer for sure.

11-05-2011 00:12:12 | More by aorloski
Photo of railman

New York

4.28/5  rDev +10.9%

I love this beer! The color the label everything! Picked this up after a suggestion last year.
Happened to see it on display at a local beer distributor. Had to get it.

Poured from a 12oz bottle. No freshness date.

This brew pours a nice burnt amber / ruby red color.
Virtually no head or lacing noticed. Almost no carbonation.

Smells a little on the sweet side with little cherry on the nose. Almost no hops detected.

Tastes sweet but not overdone. Minimal cherry flavor.

Feels somewhat syrupy but again not overdone. Medium to full bodied brew.
I really like this brew. Too bad its 11% cause I can suck these down all night.


11-04-2011 23:58:52 | More by railman
Photo of kennylopez

New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: a slightly hazy reddish dark amber color that pours about a finger thick worth of fine white head that fades to practically a film and leaves tiny spot of lacing.

Smells: almost like a barleywine in my opinion, but a lot sweeter. There is a slight honey smell but it is mellow with the cherries.

Tastes: I taste a lot more honey than I smelled, but it is sweet and cherry note come through the Belgian yeast backbone.

Mouthfeel: for weighting in at 11% this ale is quite a punch...at least a lot of solid little jabs(every sip) because it is easy on the burn and well carbonated despite the appearance.

Overall: I picked up a six pack and enjoyed the first couple, I was going to see how the rest age, but I am going to buy another case because it will disappear and I know I will drink it for the holidays.

11-04-2011 22:12:05 | More by kennylopez
Photo of Scourge07


3.98/5  rDev +3.1%

A: Poured into pint glass from bottle. Had about a finger of head that dissipated down a bit, but maintained retention. It's not as red colored as it appears in some of the pictures online. It's more of a rich, clear copper color.

S: Spicy yeast - very Belgian. Very sweet smell with a touch of honey. Cherries not as apparent, in my opinion.

T: Honey, sweet malts/yeast. Slight hint of cherries in the aftertaste. Very sweet with practically no bitterness.

M: Easy drinkin' for 11% Only a slight alcohol burn in the aftertaste. Full/syrupy mouthfeel

O: This is definitely a great Belgian-style ale, and perfect for the holiday's. However, I was expecting the honey and cherry flavors to stand out more, since they were advertised on the bottle. Unfortunately, they were quite subtle. Not something I would buy again, but definitely worth trying!

11-04-2011 04:56:34 | More by Scourge07
Photo of Koufax21

New Mexico

3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Poured a 12 oz. Bottle into a snifter. It pours a beautiful transparent ruby liquid with 1/2" head that quickly disappears. Smells of spice; clove is what I’m getting with some peppery accent. Tastes of sweet fruits. Clove, fig, and cherry. The cherry was not as pronounced as I imagined it. The honey adds another layer of complexity. Very smooth for 11%. Mildly carbonated and medium bodied. This is definitely a cold weather beer. After 6 oz. I can feel the warming effects.

11-03-2011 04:40:26 | More by Koufax21
Photo of nas5755


3.93/5  rDev +1.8%

Mad Elf '09, at just about 2. 12oz bottle

Cellar temp

A: Head is present, nice retention. Kinda surprised. Wasnt expecting much.

S: Bready malts, honey, cherries, less bubblegum and fruit than a fresh version. spice is subdued.

T: So smooth, cherries are really beginning to shine. The bubblegum flavors have mellowed and the cherries are taking over, very smooth on the finish with honey and lots of bready malts are present throughout providing a solid backbone. Very nice.

M: Smooth, I was expecting more carbonation based on the pour. On the low end.

Overall: I love this beer and time brings out the better qualities. More cherries and more honey, less yeast spice and less bubblegum. A very fantastic experience. I still have 3 or 4 left in the cellar and I am gonna see what happens over the next few years.

11-03-2011 01:44:56 | More by nas5755
Photo of keanex

New Jersey

3.98/5  rDev +3.1%

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Crystal clear red with some carbonation bubbles. Thin white creamy looking head.

S: Yeasty with cherry scent meets booze. Strong scent with cherries being smelled from a foot or so away. Good scent.

T: Boozy up front with a yeasty spicy cherry flavor laced throughout. Slightly syrupy, but rather clean.

M: Creamy with a medium body and light-medium carbonation.

O: A decent beer, but it's a bit overhyped. I don't think it deserves the huge hype it gets, with stores being very sneaky hiding it and such, but it's a good beer. I don't think I would buy this again though, it's not balanced enough, too much of a booze flavor.

11-01-2011 03:39:57 | More by keanex
Photo of BeerLover99


3.98/5  rDev +3.1%

A: ruby red/shiny body, no head,

S: honey, cherries, spices, malt

T: honey, cherries, malt, plenty of
alcohol warmth, spicy semi-crisp finish

M: med/heavy body, smooth, low
carbonation, light oily mouth

O: Very nice Winter offering. Great
to see an American craft brewery take
on a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Wish
it had a little more body and head.
I will get this again and recommend to others.


10-31-2011 17:50:42 | More by BeerLover99
Photo of chodinheaven


3.78/5  rDev -2.1%

Color of a dark cherry, good clarity. Looks like a port, maybe a little lighter. Virtually no head, even on a medium-heavy pour. Basically no lacing as you sip. Honey and sweet ripe cherries do come to mind as well as a touch of booze. Malted barley rounds it out. A little like cough syrup in aroma actually, but somehow not really to its detriment.

Sweetness of the cherries and the honey are combined with a warming alcohol presence to bring out a very nice sipper of a dessert beer. Maybe a touch too boozy and a touch too sweet, but with the right setting, this is a decent selection. The pilsner malt and munich malts contribute to a malty backbone that keeps it just hearty enough to work. Spicy yeast is welcome as it adds a prickly mouthfeel that compliments the low-medium carbonation level. Actually without this little spiciness, this beer would be thrown out of whack and lose the continuity that makes it all gel together. Surprisingly light in body and finishes bone-dry.

Would have to be in the mood for this one as it is pretty sweet and a little boozy. But the two flavors work well together and make for a good holiday after-dinner sipper.

10-30-2011 03:26:13 | More by chodinheaven
Photo of stephenjmoore


4.03/5  rDev +4.4%

A- A cross between red, orange and pink. Virtually no head, looks very interesting.

S- Cherries and honey hit up front. Notes of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and some dried fruits).

T- Very complex. Spicy notes in the front, the cherry and honey is pretty subtle compared to the smell. Tastes very similar to a fruit forward Belgian ale but a little more subtle.

M- Light carbonation and mouthfeel. Very slight alcohol burn.

O- Very interesting beer. Very drinkable for an 11% beer. The complexity is unique and I am sure would change even more with some age.

10-29-2011 01:22:22 | More by stephenjmoore
Photo of smerrell


4.1/5  rDev +6.2%

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.

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


3.48/5  rDev -9.8%

12oz bottle

A. Deep ruby red with bubbly head

S. Honey, and assorted fruits with tart fragrance.

M. Medium to syrupy with spot on carbonation.

T. Cherry, Honey, and assorted fruits with alcohol burn pulling through and alcohol taste lingering.

O. Great on a cold fall or winter day, but not an everyday drinker or something I crave too often but still a nice holiday treat to have around.

10-28-2011 07:43:59 | More by Centennial
Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,952 ratings.