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Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

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BA SCORE
87
very good

2,742 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2742
Reviews: 1146
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 15.54%


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: 2,742 | Reviews: 1,146 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of RVigz
RVigz

Pennsylvania

4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: The appearance of this beer is a ruby red color with about a quarter inch of head that dissipates quickly.

S: the smell is a sweet cherry and malty smell

T: the taste is similar to the smell, with a prominent cherry taste upfront with a slightly malty/alcoholic aftertaste. slight vanilla chocolate aftertaste that fades out with honey. very delicious. I drank this beer from a tulip glass.

M: mouthfeel was very smooth and not too carbonated, sweetness overpowered alcohol.

Serving type: on-tap

01-27-2014 23:35:53 | More by RVigz
Photo of vette2006c5r
vette2006c5r

Minnesota

3.76/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.5

Mad Elf pours a reddish color with no head. There are strong Belgian candy flavors, with good hints of cherries. The taste has strong cherry flavors, lots of Belgian candy notes, and a yeasty like aftertaste. Very full body, and full flavors. Overall its a sweet and spicy beer.

Serving type: on-tap

01-01-2014 01:26:15 | More by vette2006c5r
Photo of RandomExile
RandomExile

Maryland

3.51/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: ruby/amber, translucent; scant light brown head almost immediately becoming a film, scattered or no lacing
S: deeply yeasty, . fruity
T: bubblegum and cherry, banana, clove/spice, yeasty, definite banana aftertaste
M: thin but coating; most of the bite surprisingly seems to come from carbonation rather than the high abv, although there's a bit of an alcohol follow-on
O: A little too sweet/candyish, but overall decent. Not worth seeking out.

12oz / Tulip Glass / Victoria Gastro Pub, Columbia, MD

Serving type: on-tap

12-23-2013 23:00:50 | More by RandomExile
Photo of joeboe2001
joeboe2001

Maryland

3.05/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Is there something different--and I don't mean better--about ME2013? My wife and I eagerly ordered pints last night at our favorite watering hole. We have enjoyed ME annually since about 2002, and eagerly anticipate it's release each year. But this year--at least last night, In Chester, MD--it tasted like a different brew. Very malty, as usual, but a distinct lack of the cinnamon, cardamom, anise, and other wintry spices we thought we were used to. Still drinkable, but we did not go back for seconds!

Serving type: on-tap

12-12-2013 19:49:47 | More by joeboe2001
Photo of dbrauneis
dbrauneis

North Carolina

3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served on-tap at Rattle N Hum in New York, NY

A: Pours a clear dark copper in color with some amber highlights and moderate amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall light beige head that reduces to a ver thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of cherries and dark fruit with some light notes of spices.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of malts with some dark fruit sweetness and cherries. Additionally, there are notes of honey contributing to the overall sweetness and a light to moderate amount of spice. Very light amounts of bitterness in the finish which fade quickly.

M: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Light hints of dryness in the finish.

O: This beer is pretty easy to drink due to the fact that the rather high ABV is well hidden. This is a good sipping beer, with a decent amount of complexity but too strong for anything other than slowly sipping.

Serving type: on-tap

04-14-2013 17:50:05 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of Mertzy81
Mertzy81

Maryland

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 alex_hart
alex_hart

Oklahoma

4.74/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Belgian Strong Dark Ales are by far my favorite style of brew, so when I saw that a beer at 11% abv was on tap, and was this style, i knew I couldn't turn away.

This was love at first taste. Dark cherries, spice, and caramel. It looked dark and foreboding (which is what I like), but it was soft, smooth, and delicious. The smell threw me off a little bit and made me nervous before the first sip, but that is the only negative thing I could say about it. This is one of those beers I could drink every day for the rest of my life and be content, though my organs would fail.

Serving type: on-tap

02-28-2013 05:41:31 | More by alex_hart
Photo of JudoJeff
JudoJeff

New York

4.75/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

From tap, this was dark, burgandy/amber color. It smelled and tasted of dark but sweet cherries with mulling-type spices. Neither the sweetness nor spice was overpowering as in some other similar strong dark ales. Drinking this is very much like drinking Christmas, back before it became commercialized.

Serving type: on-tap

01-20-2013 01:39:38 | More by JudoJeff
Photo of sDon
sDon


4.53/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A friend recommended this beer to me, and I was not disappointed.

The beer was dark and served from tap in a 16 oz pint glass. It has instant sweetness in its taste -- cherries and almonds -- that is not too intense and blends well with the general dark beer flavor. Nothing about it seems artificial or forced, as can be the case with some flavored beers.

The ABV was a bit too high and prevented long term drinking, but perhaps this cannot be avoided. I hope that I drink it again.

Serving type: on-tap

01-11-2013 23:28:58 | More by sDon
Photo of Oakenator
Oakenator

Pennsylvania

4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber to red with just a bit of head that disappates quickly. Little lacing left on the glass. Aroma is cherries and sweet honey - easily detectable. Taste is strong - slight alcohol presence but not surprising at this strength. Reinforces much of the nose - cherries are slightly sour and present up front through the middle where the honey takes over on the finish.

Serving type: on-tap

12-29-2012 01:59:28 | More by Oakenator
Photo of Kenmo1985
Kenmo1985


4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A very strong Belgium ale that as a sweet taste that counteracts the alcohol taste very well, a slight hint of cherry flavoring, which is nice, unlike other Cherry Flavored beers that can be to overpowering and taste like cough syrup. the smell is sweet and robust. mouthfeel is smooth as it enters your lips. overall i gave the beer a 5 and i highly suggesst that you get this beer it is very much a winner in my book.

Serving type: on-tap

12-27-2012 21:40:57 | More by Kenmo1985
Photo of BeerFMAndy
BeerFMAndy

Wisconsin

4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.
11% ABV, 2007 Vintage, Serve in chalice or tulip at 50-55° F

Thanks Onenote81! I've been hanging onto this one for a while!

A - Minor rust has developed around the cap but it's no cause for alarm as this beer pours, without sediment, a mostly clear ruby amber color with a fleeting ivory head. It comes as no surprise the head disappears with how high in alcohol this is. Dots of lace delicately cling to the glass above the ring of loose bubbles.

S - Despite it's aged, this 2007 vintage of Mad Elf remains aromatic and nearly without degradation. Faint oxidation for a five year-old beer is somewhat noticeable though the robust aroma of smooth caramel and biscuit malt which builds a base below the floral clove honey nuances and faint tart cherry skin notes but doesn't quite distract from the joy within. And while the beer has mellowed, spicy alcohol still manages to break free with undertones of earthy clay and clove yeast esters behind.

T - Thick maltiness seems to have diminished in oomph slightly, offering a light caramel drizzled nutty biscuit flavor that's quickly overwhelmed by the beer's developing complexity of fruit and spice. Faint noble hop herbal qualities and smooth yeast esters encourage notes of clove (along with the sweet honey), clay, and white pepper with a touch of solvent alcohol peeking through, but even with age, the focus seems on the cherries, both sweet and tart!

M - Smooth feeling with a voluptuous, full body that's not cloying or syrupy, this hearty holiday ale has a delicate carbonation tickle and complimentary alcohol dryness that maintains balance with a kiss of tart cherry skins on the finish. Alcohol is perceived in retro-nasal breathing but, due to it's age, it's rather smooth, producing a wonderfully satisfying warmth in the belly!

O - An absolutely fantastic holiday treat, Tröegs Mad Elf is a masterful concoction of subtle Belgian yeast that produces spice nuances without the straight addition of spice. Honey sweetness never becomes cloying but adds a little something extra with the delicate cherry tartness. Just as exceptional fresh, age continues to do this strong beer favors, developing into a delectable and soothing winter sipper.

Serving type: on-tap

12-23-2012 17:26:41 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of socon67
socon67

New York

4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Bobbique in Patchogue, NY

A - Orange color with some light red tint. White foam is bubbly and lively. Slight lacing.

S - Semlls of belgian yeast, candied fruit, and cherries. A bit of acidic phenols is present as it lingers. Has a scent of holiday spices (pine and cranberry).

T - Tart initial taste that switches gears and has a sweet cherry flavor. There is a slight warming feel at the end, as if warning the drinker of the high potency. Very similar to Ommegang Three Philosophers even though they are different styles.

M - Insanely drinkable for the style and boozy feel. Really would be best as a sipper after a heavy meal.

O - Troegs nailed this one. I'd love to get two bottles and cellar each for different periods. This is a great holiday beer to share.

Serving type: on-tap

08-15-2012 23:26:57 | More by socon67
Photo of mdfb79
mdfb79

New York

3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Have had this a few times but most recently this weekend at Eatonville in DC. Served in a mason jar type glass.

a - Pours a reddish amber color with one inch of off white head and low carbonation evident.

s - Smells of Belgian yeast, cherries, sweet dark fruits, spices, bready malts, bananas, and light sugar. Pretty nice nose.

t - Tastes of cherries, light dark fruits, Belgian yeast, light spice, and bready malts. Taste is a slight step down from the nose. Not as much fruit or as strong as the nose.

m - Medium body and low to moderate carbonation. Smooth and doesn't feel like 11% ABV at all.

o - Overall a pretty nice Belgian Strong Dark. Nose is very nice and full of cherries, though the taste wasn't quite as fruity. Definitely didn't feel like 11% ABV, would have it again next winter.

Serving type: on-tap

03-07-2012 17:09:21 | More by mdfb79
Photo of Louski
Louski

Pennsylvania

4.65/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-Tap Poured into Standard Pint at Brady's in Feasterville, PA.

Appears a nice red-auburn color with immediate smells of cinnamon, cherry, allspice and clove. The taste actually reminds you of the holidays. A warm sensation is felt with the fruitiness and array of spices that mask the high alcohol content really well. I look forward to this beer's release every year and make certain to store at least a 6-pack of bottles for Christmas in July. A must-drink during the holidays both for its great taste and its ability to make shopping interesting after just one or two.

Serving type: on-tap

03-02-2012 01:28:46 | More by Louski
Photo of BuxMontBeerLover
BuxMontBeerLover

Pennsylvania

3.48/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was on-tap at Revivals Restaurant in Perkasie, PA.

Severed in a standard pint glass.

A - A deep, reddish brown color when presented with the brew. Mostly opaque. Little to no head on the beer. Moderate lacing left on the glass.

S - A slightly alcohol smell mixed with a fruity sweetness.

T - A decent beer. A mix of dark fruits like figs and cherries along with a caramel-like sweetness. The alcohol is pretty noticeable. I savored this for about a half-hour. Not a beer to be rushed through.

M - A pretty heavy beer. A heavier consistency.

O - I liked this beer but not something I'd return to. I like trying all sorts of beers but this isn't quite good enough for me to drink if I come across it again.

Cheers!

Serving type: on-tap

02-11-2012 20:37:11 | More by BuxMontBeerLover
Photo of CraftBeerTastic
CraftBeerTastic

Pennsylvania

2.68/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ba Review #123
Served On: 02/05/2012
Glassware: Plastic Pilsner Glass
Labeled ABV: -
Date/ Code: -

Got this on tap from the Tröegs kiosk at a Hershey Bears game on Super bowl Sunday. Was not expecting this particular offering to be at a hockey game. All I can figure is they are trying to get rid of this season's batch.

Look: The beer was surprisingly clear and was a dark copper with a reddish hue. There was no real head, but a sticky film was present and hung around the entire time.

Smell: I noticed the Belgian yeast esters first. Then some sweet fruitiness. I want to say Lambic qualities - maybe?

Taste: The palate was hit with a medicinal sweetness at first. Then the Belgian funk set in. Things seemed to thin out in the middle with a residual sweetness and a dry finish starting to set in. The alcohol seemed well masked until the end. Also as the beer warmed, I noticed more heat.

This was a good brew. The higher ABV was incorporated very well. This was not like any Belgian Strong I’ve ever had before. Not a real fan of fruit-themed beers.

Serving type: on-tap

02-08-2012 18:03:59 | More by CraftBeerTastic
Photo of cosmo4u
cosmo4u

New York

3.45/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

tap takeover at holy smoke

Tröegs Mad Elf is a very clear and dense, coppery red ale with a thin, sand colored head that fades to a film and leaves decent lacing on the glass. It has a very strong, sweet aroma of cherries. Deeper in the nose is a medicinal note. It’s pretty full bodied and syrupy with a slightly sticky finish. It has a pretty sweet flavor. Cherries are prominent but so is resiny wood. A little green bitterness comes in at the finish, along with black pepper. The aftertaste is kind of oaky and spicy.

Serving type: on-tap

01-29-2012 15:05:57 | More by cosmo4u
Photo of Infamous7100
Infamous7100

Ohio

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 drummerjon2112
drummerjon2112

Pennsylvania

4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a very good beer. They say they brew it with honey and cherries, but when drinking it you don't really get the honey notes as much as you get the cherry notes. Overall a great holiday beer and with the ABV being 11% it is sure to keep you warm on those cold winter days!

Serving type: on-tap

01-18-2012 05:04:58 | More by drummerjon2112
Photo of wingman14
wingman14

Ohio

3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark red/copper with a small off white head that didn't stay for long. The smell is sweet and yeasty with cherry and malt. The taste is very sweet, the yeast and fruit are very pronounced, but just a sweet beer overall. The high ABV is noticeable while sipping, but doesn't detract from the beer or mouthfeel. A medium body, good carbonation, and decent flavor balance. If the sweetness was taken down a bit this could be a top notch beer, but overall enjoyable.

Serving type: on-tap

01-14-2012 03:46:41 | More by wingman14
Photo of iBeer16
iBeer16

New York

4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed in a pint glass.
A: pours a copperish red color with a Tan head. Can see carbonation clearly. Leaves

S: cherries and slight hops, nice mallty aroma as well.

T: wow, smooth sweet cherry flavor all the way through, nice malty flavor as well.

M: carbonation is great, looks heavy but is not. Great body.
Overall, great beer

Serving type: on-tap

01-11-2012 20:02:03 | More by iBeer16
Photo of jneiswender
jneiswender

Massachusetts

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 AdamBear
AdamBear

Pennsylvania

3.35/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-dark reddish amber with a nice cream colored head that thins out pretty quickly.

S-spicy belgian sugars. molasses. slightly smoked and burnt, yet sweet and syrupy.

T-comes in with a dog breath creaminess with a spoiled taste of belgian sugars. ends with a warming taste of caramelized sugars and smoked burnt taste. pretty forms a matching long lasting after-taste with some bread malts. complex but not exactly well balanced. quite boozy.

M-syrupy heavy low carbonation with a dry finish

O-its difficult to drink more than a pint of this. it hits quickly. the tastes just don't hold up well. you can tell its not brewed in belgium. too much heat, and artificial tasting flavors that don't mix well. honestly i think people get this because its a lower priced alternative to the belgian christmas beers, but just buy them instead. don't save your money by getting this instead.

Serving type: on-tap

12-29-2011 03:51:10 | More by AdamBear
Photo of thecheapies
thecheapies

Pennsylvania

3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap and in a snifter glass. Elegant pour yields a receding inch of head. An antiquated amber-orange color with some kind of mystique. No lacing to speak of, as of yet.

Boozy, sour cherry in the far distance, clover honey... very pale, some juicy mandarin, a little bit of soured white wine and a whole lot of clove/banana Belgian yeast character.

Honey in the front, tart cherry/berry in the middle-end, and spicy yeast and alcohol strength on the finish. Estery in a muddled sort of way. Very hot. Lively and a little woody. A sureshot sipper.

A bit thick and raisiny. Sticky and coating. Low carbonation leaves a syrupy mouthfeel, moreso than the beer is actually that thick. A holiday warmer.

A classic, especially out here in PA. Got more at home in the cellar.

Serving type: on-tap

12-24-2011 02:49:33 | More by thecheapies
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Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,742 ratings.