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Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

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very good

2,887 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,887
Reviews: 1,148
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 15.54%
Wants: 137
Gots: 400 | 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: 2,887 | Reviews: 1,148 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of readbaron


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

Purs out a murky red with a tiny ring of white foam.

Smells like a dark belgian ale with some additional sweetness and a hint of cherry - lots of spicy yeast.

Tastes very similar to how it smells - cherry - some farmyard yeast - a bit of honey. Quite pleasant. I'm typically not a big fan of the style, but this is good.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, medium carbonation, and a bit sticky, yet still refreshing.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2011 03:59:32 | More by readbaron
Photo of Lukafer


3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jdefont for this one!

Pours a surprisingly transparent ruby with a fingers worth of white head that leaves decent lacing. I smell some oxidation right away, followed by some yeast, slight fruit and malts. The first thing I taste is oxidation, immediately followed by cherries, and a lot of sweet malts. I think the oxidation is a bit much, more than the last time I had this beer, for sure. Mouthfeel is sticky with medium carb, probably on the low end. Drinkability is good, especially for the ABV. A good beer that I've enjoyed in the past a little more than this one, but still solid.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2011 05:37:39 | More by Lukafer
Photo of gkunkle


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

This beer really took me by surprise. I wasn't sure what I thought of it, but after I tasted it I was hooked. the beer pours an amber color with a white head about 1 finger tall. Head doesn't last long and there is no lacing, but that cones with the territory of 11% ABV beers. Smell is of honey and cherries. If it didn't say honey and cherries on the label I would have described it as a sweet malt and dark fruit smell. Taste starts sweet then finishes with slight honey taste, there are sweet malts throughout. Thickness is about right, no carbonation though (comes with the 11% territory). Overall, despite the 11% ABV I really dig this beer. I got this in a trade with slvrmon82 and will definitely have to send him some more quality beers in order to get some more of this. I honestly would not have suspected this to be 11%, I could taste a little bit of alcohol, but it wasn't strong.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2011 04:35:38 | More by gkunkle
Photo of joshuaburge


4.83/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A nice red tinted looking beer with little head. It smells of cherry and honey. Tastes of honey and also cherries, very sweet. Loads of alcohol flavor a alcohol %. Can put down a few due to it being very drinkable. An enjoyable beer for the holiday season. Also, is better when aged for a long period of time.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2011 00:12:26 | More by joshuaburge
Photo of OakedCanuck


2.93/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into tulip

A - pours a reddish amber, clear. White to off white head that left almost immediately, minor lacing

S - Dark fruits, cherries and a sugar sweetness (caramel) that is very strong, makes me nervous

T - Dang sweet! Very caramelly/toffee sweet malt. Dominates this beer. The cherries, plum and honey seem to be in there as an after thought

M - Medium body, very sticky, medium alcohol burn

D - It is an okay beer, just the sweetness and alcohol dominate the palate too much.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2011 02:20:00 | More by OakedCanuck
Photo of brew3crew


4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage poured into tasting glass.

A-translucent amber/red with white lacing around the edges
S-very suprising. Almost a banana smell to it. Light honey.
T-tastes a lot like it smells. Spicy banana. Really suprising here. Did not expect this at all.
M-medium bodied and smooth
D-very drinkable. Especially for abv.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2011 03:06:36 | More by brew3crew
Photo of BeerAndBourbon


2.98/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A. Looks pretty good. Orange with a red tinge with a white foam cap.

S. Cinnamon with yeasty malt. Banana eaters come out as it warms.

T. Sweet malt with honey and spiciness. Some cherry
, but it might just be the label influencing me.

M. Medium mouthfeel with creamy carbonation.

D. I'm not a big fan of spiced ales and this is no exception.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2011 02:11:11 | More by BeerAndBourbon
Photo of Urbancaver


3.28/5  rDev -15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours amber red with a decent amount of head that dissipates quickly. Smells really strongly of cherries and spice. Honestly... Doesn't smell that good. Tastes spicy and a bit tart/sour. Its got a lot of yeasty tastes to it too... It has a solid mouthfeel and is fairly drinkable but it doesn't really do that much for me.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2011 01:48:39 | More by Urbancaver
Photo of Jesstyr


3.2/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Was excited to try this beer, and enjoyed it in a Palm tulip and some great cheese.

Overall very disappointing. Looks great, ruby red with a thin bubbly head that remains throughout the drink. Nose definitely shows off the honey and cherry, but its not particularly full or well rounded.

Which leads to a similar flavor - it essentially comes off as a flavored beer, without the depth of Three Philosophers, which is the closest comparison I can think of. The body is too thin for the style and there seems to the raisin/chocolate sweetness you like to see in a strong dark. Overall this is a decent dessert beer, but not much else.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2011 16:32:46 | More by Jesstyr
Photo of jmdrpi


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

12oz bottle, stamped 2010/2011.

appears a bright clear ruby red color. the color is brilliant, but there is little head.

strong cherry aroma, and the cherry and honey flavors dominate the taste. very sweet.

just a little too syrupy for me, maybe it could use more carbonation?

not too boozy, but the sweetness hurts the drinkability a bit.

****update a year later from same batch

appearance is the same. aroma and taste is not as cloyingly sweet. Body seems to have thinned a bit, as I don't have the same "syrupy" complaint. Overall, an improvement.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2011 04:19:07 | More by jmdrpi
Photo of harrymel


1.55/5  rDev -59.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Thanks again to Chaney and Steelerx for setting me up with this as an extra! One for now, one for later!

Poured to NB globe.

A: Orange amber ale with little to no head. Surface is simply the pinnacle of the beer. Not even edge bubbling. No lacing. Unimpressive.

S: Sweet, alcoholic. Reminds me of a malt beverage (as noted on label), but not really getting the honey and cherries as I had hoped...Stand corrected, slight sweetened cherries in the mid point.

T: Very alcoholic. Very sweet. Wish I could sense the crastsmanship in this drink. I am having a hard time finishing this one. Wow, I was sent two of these, I will probably send the other out in a trade as an extra if I have space to fill. Horrible. Astringent.

M: think, medium carb. Very average.

D: This is unlike anything else I've had from Troegs: intolerable. I had a hard time finishing this one.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2011 20:02:50 | More by harrymel
Photo of ms11781


3.28/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a tulip.

Pours a slightly hazy, deep red color. Looks like it wants to be a brownish red or rust color but every way I look at it, including holding it up to light, it's red. The thinnest of an off white head shows up and its gone almost instantly.

Smell is of ripe, dark fruit up front. Think cherries more than raisins or plums. The ripe fruit aroma is followed by a slight sweetness. The smallest amount of alcohol is detected at the end.

Taste is surprisingly sweet. The fruit flavors are still there but there is a sweetness that seems to ride underneath the rest of the flavors. Sweet up front with a fruity taste in the middle. Finishes mellow with an almost honey and sugar flavor. Sugar isn't the dark/brown sugar that is consistent with the style. As with the nose, the slightest hint of alcohol comes through in the finish.

Smoother mouthfeel due to a medium body and low carbonation. Beer really is smooth all the way through and finishes even smoother with the honey at the end.

Drinability is ok. At 11% ABV a 12oz bottle is enough. However, even if I was to move on to another one it would be something else.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2011 05:46:37 | More by ms11781
Photo of Stockfan42


3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had a few of these at the Tavern at the end of the world.

Poures a dark red body (it was dark in the room so couldn't tell ya if it really is a lighter beer) and thin white head.

Aroma smells of cherrys with a bit of a malty undertone and you can easily smell the alchahol.

A pretty tasty beer that let's you know it's 11% right away. Alchahol is the first thing I taste almost instantly, followed by a sweet malty sugary flavor, cherrys, a little bit of hops and a spicy bite that reminds me of hop devil.

Mouthfeel has a bite of alchahol and spice, not something I could sit and drink all evening but a very tasty brew indeed.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2011 21:36:33 | More by Stockfan42
Photo of CuriousMonk


3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle into dimpled mug. Pours a flat amber with a fizzy white head, which diminishes fairly steadily. Has a good aroma of cherry and malts with a touch of hoppiness. Has a medium body with a slick texture. Has a lively carbonation. A good duration with a slightly metalic chalky finish. This brew hides the 11% very well. Has hints of a Belguim.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2011 22:37:34 | More by CuriousMonk
Photo of ryan1788a5


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

12oz bottle poured into a New Belgium globe.

A: Bright, clear red/orange with a two-inch white head. The head settles quickly and leaves thin lacing.

S: Cherries, cherry juice, Belgian yeast, vague spices, slight herbal hops.

T: Opens with a slight tartness and lots of cherry juice. Typical Belgian yeast taste. Faint taste of spicy alcohol. Cherries somewhat mask the fruity esters coming from the Belgian yeast. Candied cherries and a faint graininess, and maybe a dash of chocolate in the dry finish.

M: Medium bodied, slightly syrupy from the residual sugars. Mild warming alcohol.

D: Drink very well for its strength. One would never guess that it is 11% abv.

Notes: Pretty decent. A tad one-dimensional though. The Belgian yeast seems to be under-utilized, and the cherries hog too much of the spotlight.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2011 01:46:04 | More by ryan1788a5
Photo of oline73


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

2009 bottle from the cellar poured into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Pours an almost clear red amber with a 1/8 inch layer of off white head. Head dissipates almost immediately.

Smell: Very sweet with cherries and hints of honey and brown sugar. Not much alcohol to be found here.

Taste: Cherry and sweet malt and honey dominate. After that I pick up some caramel and a bit of alcohol, which isn't surprising given the ABV.

Mouthfeel: This one is on the thick side of medium body. The carbonation is low and the finish is slick on the tongue.

Drinkability: Admittedly, this is one of my favorite Christmas beers. It has held up well to a year in the cellar. Good beer for a cold night and I'll keep coming back to this one.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2011 22:39:38 | More by oline73
Photo of ElliotNess


4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had a bottle last night for the first time, my initial glance at the bottle as i poured it into a glass was the ABV of 11%. I was surprised to see that a christmas ale would be this high. But the taste and drinkability, did not hint at the level of high alcohol. The taste gave a cherry flavor upfront and finished smooth like a good ale does. A very unique flavor unlike other cherry beers I've tasted, and would conclude that i hope to find some around town before the season ends.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2011 22:27:00 | More by ElliotNess
Photo of Arinthos

New York

1.5/5  rDev -61.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

I had this brew at a christmas eve party out if a 24 or so oz. bottle. The break down goes something like this

A- This was a great dark ruby red aboslutelly th best part of this otherwise >>>>>> beer.

S- unfortunatelly the only smell was of bad alcohol kinda like a old english on steriods.

T- unfortunatelly the only taste was of bad alcohol kinda like a old english on steriods

M- Decent carbonation, but way overpowering alcohol burn in the throat horrible burn felt like a cheap cheap booze.

D- never again this was a really bad expierence didn't even finish it.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2011 22:48:25 | More by Arinthos
Photo of Pecafaced


3.28/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a snifter glass. Allowed to warm up to about cellar temperature.

A- There appeared to be an instant color change during the pour. Initially it appeared to come out slightly light and golden but then became ruby red upon the completion of the pour. The head was very thin and quickly dissipated after the pour.

S- instant smell of sour cherries and a sweetness possibly attributed to the honey. Also hints of spice or cloves can be detected.

T- The taste is sweet with some hints of the sour cherry and the spice from the yeast. Not overly sweet though. The alcohol is present at 11% but not overwhelming.

M- Decent carbonation, a bit dry on the finish.

D- Overall a good holiday beer. Definitely good to drink during the cold months. Not overwhelming with the alcohol and not too sweet for my palate. Would definitely get again.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2011 02:21:51 | More by Pecafaced
Photo of Rickythejeweler


3.3/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2009 Vintage Keg on-tap at Hudson Street Stackhouse 1/18/11

A - Clear ruby, almost no head nor lacing.

S - Sour cherry.

T - Cherry, bread, belgian yeast, and other wierd but welcomed flavours that I couldn't sort out.

M - Thick, slightly syrupy, low carbonation.

D - The alcohol was hidden very well, but the sweetness got to me a bit more than I would have liked.

Serving type: on-tap

01-19-2011 21:28:07 | More by Rickythejeweler
Photo of Jimmys


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

A: bright clear amber red. bubbly bright head. some tiny bubbles trickle to the surface.

S: sweet sugar and alcohol. definitely get the tart/sweet cherries as well. a little woodiness as well.

T: definitely get a serious warming factor from both the alcohol as well as the candied syrup that they most likely added and did not completely ferment. marshmellows.

M: really soft carbonation on a solid medium bodied beer. good fit for the style.

D: a solid wintertime brew that I look forward to every year. definitely worth a look.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2011 03:29:47 | More by Jimmys
Photo of HeyItsChili


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

Picked this up at GBX.

A - Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass. Pours transparent amber with golden highlights and a thin white head that quickly dissipates to but a ring around the edge of the glass.

S - Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, Belgian trippely brown sugar, medium roasted malts, and a sort of coppery bitter hops essence.

T - Belgian brown sugary flavor, cherries, honey, cinnamon, wintery spices and what have you, sweet alcohol finish.

M - Light bodied yet syrupy.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2011 02:35:57 | More by HeyItsChili
Photo of chcfan


3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into Mad Elf tulip (double that guy!)

Dark red in color. Head dissipates quickly, which apparently isn't correct for the catch-all that is Belgian Strong Dark Ale. It's not really dark in color, but I'm not sure what other label you could give it as it's way too strong to be a dubbel.

The aroma is mostly cherry with a little bit of Belgian yeast. I do get some of that cough syrup that people talk about, but it isn't huge turnoff.

Taste is on the sweet side: big cherry, Belgian candy, a skosh of honey.

Mad Elf is definitely one of the most drinkable-whilst-fresh 11% ever. No heat at all. One in a long line of seasonal treats from Troegs.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2011 01:58:55 | More by chcfan
Photo of bminor7

New York

3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz from Hoosick in Troy. Saw this one around a lot but the goofy elf put me off. Silly.

A - nice ruby color. good head formation initially but not enough to keep it around.

S - if someone offered this to me in a blind 'sniffing'...I would think this was brewed by Unibroue. Definitely a belgian touch. spicy yeast and maybe a hint of cherries.

T - malty up front with a cherry, belgian yeast and cherry. the alcohol is not really detectable. i was really surprised when i read the bottle to see 11%. lots of belgian character including the sugar.

M - fitting, could use more carbonation, maybe.

D - could have about 3 on a good day, but otherwise, not so much.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2011 17:28:05 | More by bminor7
Photo of Bendurgin


3.23/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a tulip. Thanks Andy for sharing your Christmas gift from me! Poured into a tulip. The beer pours a dark cranberry color with about an inch of white head that vanishes almost immediately. The body is clear and transparent. The aroma is full of dark cherries and malt. It kind of has a medicinal aroma to it also. Again, cherry flavor right up front. It kind of rounds out with vanilla and oak. Again though, it's kind of medicinal; like a cherry cough drop. The feel is fair. It's kind of dry. It seems to have tannins like a red wine. It's drinks fair, I'm glad I've tried it, but I probably won't grab this unique beer again.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2011 05:49:45 | More by Bendurgin
Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,887 ratings.