1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

2,744 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2744
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
Ratings: 2,744 | Reviews: 1,146 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of LuckySevens82
LuckySevens82

Florida

2.6/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle courtesy of Dithyramb
Pours a pale, slightly hazy rose color with a small, but well formed white head. Retention is a bit lacking, but the lacing and collar are nice.
Smell is cherries, slight honey, some hops, a bit of caramel, definitely wine like in character, with just a hint of cough syrup.
Taste is a bit bitter up front, with some residual sweetness. Cherry cough drops come to mind. Bitter hops finish this one out. It seriously tastes like Vicks Cherry cough drops. Which I like, but not in my beer. I was hoping that this would be a lot sweeter than it actually is.
Mouthfeel is okay, carbonation is nice, and it's not particularly hard to drink.
Overall, wow, I was really hoping that this would be better. Nevertheless, I'm not very fond of it and I probably won't have much more of it.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2005 01:56:02 | More by LuckySevens82
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
brewdlyhooked13

Ohio

3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Obtained via massive hand trade with most accommodating of BAs, merlin48. Thanks buddy.

Appearance - pours a festive reddish amber. Fizzy short-lived head lasts but a few seconds. Great start, a little lacking overall though.

Aroma - spicy nose of cinnamon and allspice, abates after a minute or two, revealing some bready malt and potent alcohol.

Taste - malt and booze, vaguely similar to Beelzebub but softer on the palate. The spices fight to get through and have only limited success. The spices linger on the swallow as the alcohol fades. The finish is sweet, tasty, and warm. A lighter alcohol level would allow more spice development and would improve the profile.

Mouthfeel - smooth, fairly heavy and coating, average carbonation, all working well together.

Drinkability - a good beer that improves as it warms but could use more holiday spice flavor sooner. Still, if I had access to this it could be an annual tradition.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2005 19:10:13 | More by brewdlyhooked13
Photo of walleye
walleye

Michigan

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

from the bottle. poured a nice amber, with no head. aroma, at 1st I got a sourness when it was 1st poured thanafter it sat for a couple of minutes the sourness went away, got honey, malts, cherries, chocolate, yeast, alcohol. flavor, tart cherries, fruits, orange, choclate, and a nice touch of alcohol not tobad of a beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2005 02:59:39 | More by walleye
Photo of rajendra82
rajendra82

Georgia

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

From the cellar meat package by pentathlete, the Mad Elf came out deep amber red with a smallish head. The beer looked slippery, and the dissipating head left little lacing. The aroma was filled with holiday spices like nutmeg, ginger, and I could also smell orange peel. The taste was sweet and spicy with a cheerfully light body that was backed by rum like alcohol warmth. Although clearly a strong concoction, the 11% alcohol was well poised. The mouthfeel was airy and inviting. The aftertaste was a citric and sweet tang and a faint note of hop bitterness. Warmth of alcohol lingered long after the beer was gone.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2005 04:46:24 | More by rajendra82
Photo of watermelonman
watermelonman

California

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 tgbljb
tgbljb

Pennsylvania

4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Christmas in April, whay not? 2004 edition. Poured a delightful clear cherry color with slight head that left minimal ring. Smell is of cinnamon and spice and all things nice.Alcohol well hidden. Taste is superb with a hint of dryness in the back of the throat. Left a nice fruity taste in the mouth. at 11% very drinkable. Next taste will be Christmas in July.

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2005 02:46:36 | More by tgbljb
Photo of PatandDavid
PatandDavid

Massachusetts

3/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Cloudy copperiness. Somewhat tan head. I get candied yeastiness, but sadly some soapiness in the aroma. Taste is a bit muddied, malty, yeasty, spicey, and some soapiness in there as well. Ends a bit citrusy. Mouthfeel is medium, carbonation is somewhat low.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2005 23:40:00 | More by PatandDavid
Photo of garymuchow
garymuchow

Minnesota

3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to pezoids for this sample as a part of secret santa '04.
Aroma presents with a high phenol quality. Sweet. Fruity. Clove. Alcohol. Nice and bold. (cherry).
Rich red amber. Clear. Fast and quick head.
Phenols supported with a strong malt base. Fruity qualitites are persistent. Touch of alcohol. Nicely complex. In time finishes dry.
Fully carbonated. Leaves an oily coating on tongue. Medium feel to a little less.
This pretty good. It loses it's punch in time. But I like the initial presentation a lot. I like the spicey sour aspects of the flavor.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2005 13:53:55 | More by garymuchow
Photo of yeagerbm
yeagerbm

Pennsylvania

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

Poured into a big ol wine glass, this unique ale appears brilliantly red with a small frothy white head. The aroma is spicy with phenols. First flavors to come across are the fruity cherries with the floral sweetness of honey. The sweetness is balanced by a nice of spicy esters and refreshing bitterness with a slightly hot alcohol finish. The mouthfeel of this beer is relatively light for the ABV due to the use of honey to thin it out, which makes this brew very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2005 03:49:00 | More by yeagerbm
Photo of blitheringidiot
blitheringidiot

Pennsylvania

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

Pours a rich crystal clear amber hued pour with dissapating head cap to a collar in a goblet. with a tight rising middle carbonation.

Bold brilliant scents of cinnamon, rum and ginger snap fig. Dark fruit prevails. Aromatically powerful.

First swigs: Dry cherry schnapps. Cider infused rummy hot. Clean finish with a touch of cherry soda.

Frothy light bodied. Sticky sweet lip smacker.

Last swigs: This is the Nobel Peace prize for Winter Warmer brew. Especially, locally. Go Chris & John Trogner. Glas that I bought a case with Stingo.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2005 07:19:22 | More by blitheringidiot
Photo of Truh
Truh

New Hampshire

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

Deliberately messed up some toys for the good girls and boys with this one on 3/8/2005. 12-oz. bottle very graciously offered to me by JayT poured in a shaker glass; closer to 11-oz. in order to keep the sediment in check.

Some initial frothiness with a piling of big bubbles in the middle which all just settles to a wash. Light orange hue with just a touch of red and haze, likely from sediment, and very little slow action. Cherry sweetness on nose, raspberry pulp and a bit of light heat. Candy cane sweetness with cherry pie thrown in, but quite light; malt presence is refined with a woody oak character that lightly touches. Very pleasant offering that I wish I had access to on a regular, or at least seasonal, basis.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2005 12:08:20 | More by Truh
Photo of kmo1030
kmo1030

Massachusetts

4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pinkish coppery color with very thin head that a lighter version of the same color. sweet ripe cherry aroma, with honey, a subtle spiciness, and light caramel maltiness. a good amount of alcohol is also present along with some subtle typical belgian aromas of banana, clove. cinnamon as it warmsthe taste is very much like it smells, with the cherries and malts more pronounced. there is a nice warming alcohol quality at the finish. reasonably full bodied with delicate carbonation. very drinkable, but definitely one to let warm up to near room temperature. i'm glad i had a chance to pick this up, i wish it was available a little closer to home.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2005 02:43:43 | More by kmo1030
Photo of oelergud
oelergud

Virginia

3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Mildly hazed red copper body, tan head without much retention or lace and moderate carbonation.
Malt and cherry scents up front mingled with a clear hints of alcohol.
Cherries and spiced honey very apparent. Aftertaste is surprisingly mild and holds notes of alcohol. After warming up a little the cherries fade somewhat in the background and the honey flavors become much more apparent.
Chewable maltiness and thick coating left behind by this brew.
Flavorwise very drinkable but ABV is too high for indulgence.
Beware of the Elf, it'll make you mad!

-Oelergud

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2005 19:39:41 | More by oelergud
Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
OldFrothingSlosh

Pennsylvania

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

This is actually a bottle from last year's batch that I've had in the DBF.

Lovely clear ruby in color with a respectable layer of tan-colored head that died off to a lasting "edge of the glass" ring. Surprising quantities of lace on the glass. Nose initially was mostly cherries, but as it warmed, other smells were noted: honey, sweetness from the malt, some medicinal alcohol, and spices. Flavor was delicious...and this coming from an avid hater of cherries. Melded nicely into the overall fabric of the beer, the cherry notes were not overbearing or anything. The spices and honey become more apparent as it warmed. The alcohol content makes itself known towards the end and the finish is quite clean. Mouthfeel, overall, is good and given the masked ABV, insanely drinkable. Thank goodness I can seek out the Elf here in Richmond every winter!

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2005 12:36:00 | More by OldFrothingSlosh
Photo of shapudding
shapudding

Pennsylvania

4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

No dating on the bottle, but this is 2004 batch. Georgeous pouring with such a show! Everything is just shooting all over the place like fireworks! When that is done I am looking at a glass of clear amber topped with a think whitish, creamy, frothy layer. Scents of marachino cherries, so candy sweet! Bit of clove spiciness coming up from the glass. Can feel the carbination, even hear it when you swirl the glass a bit. But it is very well done IMHO, not too much at all, just a good amount without whacking you with froth. God this is just good stuff. The cherry flavor is not too strong at all, I mean, it is there, trust me. But it is not like you have a lambic in front of you. Bit of the honey sweetness left on your tongue after each sip. Very ripe bing cherries, more like dried bings actually, or dried cranberries, where you get that candied sweetnes from the fruit. Some port in the aftertaste. The sweetnes is not cloying, just very nice. The alcohol is very well hidden, can't taste the percentage in this, it is so nicely drinkable. Just another lovely one from the brothers.
Fun one in the case splitting extravaganza with Stingo, BrewAngel, and The BlitheringIdiot.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2005 02:06:17 | More by shapudding
Photo of orbitalr0x
orbitalr0x

Illinois

4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've been hanging onto this one and can't wait to try it. Departs the bottle a wonderful golden red with hints of pink even along with a nice off white head. Sweet cherry Lifesaver aroma wafts up into my nose along with some earthy yeasty notes. Mmmm...lovely aroma.

First sip is a mix of honey/cherry sweet malty goodness along with a nice helping of barnyard/earthy yeast tones. There's a nice spiciness that's running through here too..maybe some nutmeg...I can't pick it out. A damn tasty belgian style winter brew!

Nice creamy, full mouthfeel with good carbonation. No complaints from me. Drinkability is good, as this is a tasty brew I could have a few of. Many thanks to blitheringidiot and merlin48 for hooking me up with some bottles of this!

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2005 05:54:26 | More by orbitalr0x
Photo of aracauna
aracauna

Georgia

3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Now this had the character that Old Fezziwig was missing. Beautiful red color that catches the light nicely with a smallish white head. A good bit of bubblegum in the aroma, a touch of clove (yeast or spice?), coriander, peppery alcohol and a touch of malt. The flavor carries on with a little less complexity than the aroma, but with just a touch of cherries. 11%? I couldn’t tell. Fun beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2005 03:01:33 | More by aracauna
Photo of GClarkage
GClarkage

California

4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12/28/04- Received via trade with Santoslhalper.

Presentation- 12 oz bottle with a freaky lookin' elf on it. No expiration date. Poured into my Westmalle chalice.

Appearance- Nice head at first, but rapidly disentigrates. Very little if and lace. Nice deep ruby red color.

Smell- Ultra sweet malt. Sweet fruityness, (cherries)? Plus there is definite alcohol fumes.

Taste- Taste like a really malted and liquored up Kriek. Heavy sweet malts and cherries. Plus a large alcohol kick towards the end of your swallow. Maybe a bourbon taste? Whatever it is, it's pretty tasty.

Mouthfeel- I was expecting a thicker and more full mouthfeel on this one due to the high ABV. Low carbonation. Still goes down smooth with that little alcohol warming sensation going down.

Drinkability- I'm already feeling it after half this beer. I have another one left that I am going to age and maybe try next winter and see if it thickens up a bit. Thanks very much to by BA bud Santoslhalper who has sent me several brews I have yet to try. This one scores pretty well though. Quite tasty, even if I did have it with Boston Market take out. Probably would have been paired better with something else.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2004 00:15:11 | More by GClarkage
Photo of AlexJ
AlexJ

North Carolina

4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

We shared a 12 oz bottle between a few people at a Xmas party. Hazy, amber/orange colored with a dense white head. Spicy-sweet malt aromas complimented by a fruity, definately-Belgian yeasty, biscuity note. Taste is surprisingly less sweet than anticipated. Triple-like in character with a pleasantly subdued cherry/berry flavor balanced out by a spicy malt and hop profile. Big mouthfeel and moderate carbonation. Extremely enjoyable. I was expecting an overly sweet, cherry flavor, but this is very nice. PS-I have a feeling that this bottle is a year or two old, althought the host of the party doesn't remember.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2004 16:57:08 | More by AlexJ
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear red/amber color with a small head that quickly dissipates and leaves just a little bit of lacing

Smell: Clove, bananas and honey predominate in the nose; malts and cherry in the background

Taste: Quite complex; starts out with a blast of alcohol which then reveals a variety of fruit flavors; more candied fruit with bananas than cherry at the outset; in the middle, the tongue starts to tingle from the carbonation and then it winds up finishing with clove, cherry and honey flavors - very subtle

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a bit of carbonation; warmth in the gullet from the ABV

Drinkability: A nice sipper to drink once it has warmed and opens up

Thanks, Shaggy9356, for the chance to re-visit

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2004 23:34:43 | More by brentk56
Photo of Bierman9
Bierman9

New Hampshire

4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a glowing ruby red/chestnut color...quite intriguing. Carbonation is slow and steady within the clear liquid. Head is a thin layer of fine, tan beads, with a smidge of lacework sticking to the glass. Nose is potent, laced with alcohol and cinnamon-like aspects, with some malty sweetness and cherry notes. Body is a solid medium, and carbonation as it applies to the mouthfeel is low, allowing for a smooth passage over the tongue. Pleasantly sweet flavor abounds, with just a hint of the cherry noted on the label. I get more notes of sweetness from the honey, plus a fine melding of spices, dark fruit and alcohol warmth. A fine bier to warm-up with in the midst of the cold-weather season. Thnx to BierReise for the sample!

Zum Wohl!!

overall: 4
appearance: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4

780

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2004 19:57:40 | More by Bierman9
Photo of Zraly
Zraly

Virginia

3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep pink with orange tints. Little to no head. Smells of cherries and bread dough. Pleasant.

The flavor is tremendous. Rich, sweet malts accompanied by the flavors of cherries and bread. A complimentary flavor of clovey spice and fruit rounds of the yeasty presence. You can taste the alcohol...period. But it gives this ale a wonderful complexity in terms of the taste department.

This is an interesting brew but not entirely approachable. It seems a bit "raw" in some way. Once you get past that quality, you find an eccentric character lurking about as a strong ale.

A nice night cap.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2004 22:30:48 | More by Zraly
Photo of ChrisBowers
ChrisBowers

Virginia

2.33/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Maybe this thing needs to be cellared for awhile but I am not a fan. It reminds me of Robotussin. In the words of Chris Rock "Out of Tussin? Put water in the bottle and shake it up, More tussin!" It definitely has a lot of stuff going on, I'll give it that. Tons of alcohol in this one with a big malty sweetness. The cherry aftertaste though is horrid. Truely horrid. A very unbalanced beer, the alcohol is very evident and makes it an unpleasent, if warming, drinking experience. Lots of people seem to like this so maybe my tastebuds are tweaked the wrong way but this stuff tastes like cough medicine to me.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2004 21:48:29 | More by ChrisBowers
Photo of clvand0
clvand0

Kentucky

4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to meathookjones for the bottle of this. I've been waiting to try it. Pours an amber/red color with a very small head. The aroma is excellent. Aromas of cherries, honey, spices. Very nice. The flavor is odd in a very good way. The honey and cherries meld together for a great flavor. There is a spice there to ... possibly from a belgian yeast. Very drinkable. This is one that could easily sneak up on you. Dangerous.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2004 17:51:21 | More by clvand0
Photo of kmpitz2
kmpitz2

Tennessee

4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This one pours a nice deep amber color with just a coating of head over top of the beer. The nose is very belgian in character, some spiceyness from the yeast and lots of sweetness, hints of cherries. Smells good. It tastes of goodness. The first thing I get is a nice peppery spice, followed by sweet malt and finished with a nice honey sweetness that goes over the front of my tongue. Wow. Not a hint of the alcohol in there. The feel is nice and thick, leaving a coating of beer in my mouth after swallowing. Drinkability is nice on this one as well. For a big ass beer, its easy drinking and smooth. I like it. Thanks to clvand0 for sharing this with me.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2004 00:56:59 | More by kmpitz2
Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,744 ratings.