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

Oregon

4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my tulip glass a dark amber hue with ruby highlights, topped by an inch of bright white head that decides only to make a brief appearance. Inviting aroma of Belgian yeast, biscuit, cherry, a touch of piney hops, and a good deal of alcohol. Palate is wonderfully complex - sweet malt with honey, some dark cherries, light spicy hops, Belgian yeast, and a bit of astringency. The alcohol makes itself known, providing a nice warming finish. The body is fully and slightly creamy, about perfect for the style. This is only the second beer I've been able to acquire from Troegs, and I have to say they do pretty well with their Belgian styles. Wish I'd gotten more than one bottle.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2005 04:24:00 | More by ElGordo
Photo of mrasskicktastic
mrasskicktastic

New Jersey

3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Auburn/red with no visible carbonation. No head, no lacing.

S - Odor is faint. Mostly malt with a little spice. I can't descern anything over the smell of carbonated water. Since there is no real carbonation, that doesn't say much for the smell.

T - Slightly sour, from the cherries I'd guess, a little spice is detectable, nutmeg and maybe a tiny bit of allspice. It has a strange bitterness, but it mostly masked. I cannot detect any alcohol. It isn't really covered up though, since the taste isn't very strong. I don't know where they hid it, but it is hidden. Aside from the disappearing abv, nothing is too impressive about the taste.

M - Very thick and smooth. Refreshing.

D - There is not a single negative aspect to this beer, but there is nothing great either. I am surprised. It is good, in the sense that it does not offend and is easy to drink. I would sooner have many other holiday brews. Maybe it was the hype, but this Troegs beer is a bit of a disappointment.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2005 03:55:18 | More by mrasskicktastic
Photo of silver0rlead
silver0rlead

North Carolina

4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a somewhat indistinct hazy amber with a thin off-white head that dissapates quickly. The aroma is intriguing, with notes of cherry, honey, belgian yeast, some chocolate, toasted bread, alcohol and some mineraly hops. The flavor is surprisingly subtle for a beer of this magnitude, with notes of cherry, dark fruits, honey, toasted bread, fruity esters, chocolate and some earthy, mineraly hops. The mouthfeel is medium with light carbonation, and drinkability is quite impressive considering the massive abv. An interesting beer from Troegs, kind of an american/belgian hybrid...tasty and complex and the alcohol is incredibly well hidden.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2005 02:40:08 | More by silver0rlead
Photo of veggiemafia
veggiemafia

Pennsylvania

4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Joe Mama's, sadly served in a po' boy pint.

Very Christmasy looking red color, slick looking with the only trace of head being a thin ring of light reddish khaki bubbles around the rim of the glass.

Smells really great, lots of Belgian malt and some yeasty notes but mostly the smell is honey sweetness and dark cherry and maybe some plummy things. Almost no alcohol in the nose, which is kind of nice, but kind of weird for a beer this big.

Taste is just like the smell with some added phenols in there. Shockingly even after this had set on our table for a good 45 minutes, the alcohol still didn't really make itself known. It seems like a lot of Belgians have a kind of sickly sweet alcohol presence that I don't really dig, but this just stays sweet and fruity throughout.

Mouthfeel is very slick, very low carbonation, but it's sweet enough that it almost leaves kind of a film in your mouth like skittles or something. There was a lingering component to this that I thought was less than amazing.

Drinkability for an 11% beer is downright scary. As drinkable as Double Bastard, and just as drunkifying. I personally wouldn't drink more than two in any sitting, but man, this is one worth letting creep up on you.

Just don't drive anywhere, in anything after two of these.

Serving type: on-tap

12-01-2005 04:16:07 | More by veggiemafia
Photo of goodbyeohio
goodbyeohio

Oregon

4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

last bottle i had of this was bad, or something.. maybe last year's batch wasn't my cup of tea. regardless, consistent positive vibes from other troegs brews demands a re-review.. and boy am i glad i did it.

christmasy red, clear with no head. some bubbles. big nose of belgian malt with silky accents from the honey. reminiscent of other american belgian-style ales in its overabundance of malt without accompanying fruity-sweetness. flavor is complex and very smooth for 11%. starts off with mild cherry hints, more of the maraschino variety than sour red. follows up immediately with some band-aid (ok, alot of band-aid) and spicy heat. the abv was bound to resurface somewhere, and here it is. peppery, finishes with a big cherry juice blast. speaking of maraschino, its reminiscent of the water they pack those cherries in- like a beery shirley temple (or is it rob roy, i never remember). last bottle i had felt more cough syrup cherry than juicy cherry, and this is a vast improvement. nice holiday sipper although you can gulp it. malts are a little 'dirty' (corny?) and for a fruit/spiced brew it comes off awfully plain. still, freshness makes this elf a very good one.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2005 23:27:11 | More by goodbyeohio
Photo of CJfromPhilly
CJfromPhilly

Pennsylvania

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

Poured from the bottle a rusty reddish-brown with very little head that quickly dissolved to light lacing on the top & edges. Light carbonation, just a few bubbles rising in the glass. There's a dry maltiness/fruitiness in the aroma. Taste is initially of dry, chocolate covered cherries with malt & a touch of honey on the finish. Mouthfeel is lively & bubbly. I get pretty much NO hint of this clocking in at 11% abv, no alcohol burning or bitterness. This could sneak up & bite you if you're not careful. Overall, a nice winter warmer, well worth the wait, and a nice addition to the holiday tradition. BTW, for those of you complaining about the price, $38.99 @ Total Wine & More in Claymont, DE. Get there anyway you can while they last!!!

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2005 20:24:40 | More by CJfromPhilly
Photo of ggaughan
ggaughan

Pennsylvania

4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005 bottle. Although I have tried all 3 years of Mad Elf, I have not done a vertical of them yet but plan on doing in the future. Maybe around Christmas.

The 2005 poured a nice shiny amber color with a medium thickness light brown head that disipated pretty quickly after completing the pour into the Mad Elf glass. And what a lovely glass it is.

You can pick up the spice notes in this beer upon smelling it and even more spice (nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon?) once you get a good taste. The cherry taste is not overly noticeable but still adds a nice touch to this stellar beer.

It is hard to tell that this baby is 11% abv with how suprisingly smooth it is and goes down. That is why I like it so much and go back each year to try some.

Can't wait to get my hands on a 3litre of this for the holidays.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2005 02:48:04 | More by ggaughan
Photo of phnphilly
phnphilly

Pennsylvania

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

Beer pours an amber reddish color and with a vigorous poor only had about a 3/4 inch head. The head dissipated quickly and before I had a chance to take the first sip was completely gone. Beer smells sweet with a lot of cherry flavor coming through. The beer tastes similar to the aroma with a lot of cherry flavor, sweetness from the honey, and almost no hop aroma or taste to speak of (surprising for a Troegs Brew). There wasn't a lot of carbonation and to my surprise almost no alcohol warming for an 11 percent ABV brew. This beer was very drinkable and I haven't been able to have just one yet. I wish Troegs would add a small amount of hops to balance the sweetness of this beer which is something I would never thought I'd say about a Troegs beer. In all however this is a very tasty beer and is perfect for the Holidays (especially Thanksgiving dinner).

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2005 19:12:17 | More by phnphilly
Photo of TheDeuce
TheDeuce

New York

4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy red amber color, minimal head but big crackling bubbles. It says on the front that it is brewed with honey and cherries; both flavors come in immediately along with Belgian sugar and meaty hop shots. Alcohol is felt but not tasted, though as it is known if you have too many of these you will keel over. Suprisingly subdued finish adds to drinkability, I hate cherries and honey, yet actually enjoy this beer, the Brothers have done it again.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2005 22:58:24 | More by TheDeuce
Photo of Foxman
Foxman

New Jersey

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

It pours a clear, bubbly deep amber, aspiring almost to ruby. A finger and a half of matte white head dwindles gradually to a frothy toile veil. Pips and flits of lacing meander on the inside of the glass.

The aroma emits a malt and honey sweetness backed by a tart cherry note and a yeasty sourness. It's all mitigated by a haze of blended spice. A distant alcohol hint loiters covertly, reminiscent of vanilla extract.

The first sip tenders a sweet splash of toasted malt and drippy honey, not cloying, but strongly present. A cherry fruit tartness lines the sides of the tongue, while a mild melange of spices lays across the back. The sweetness clings as things proceed, still dueling with the sour and tart character, but joined by a mellow yeasty dough trace near the close. The finish sees sweet and sour slip into a rounded dry spice memory. Noticeably absent is any really overt alcohol reference, short of a comfortable warming body-wide.

Medium bodied, the sweet toothiness and carbonation combine to deliver a fine palatal experience.

Increasingly eagerly awaited each holiday season, it certainly should be this year. All the elements envelop the senses and seem to exist just for your enjoyment. It's a winter warmer that wraps you in sweet holiday cheer. The ABV is felt rather than tasted, but it is very real, and not to be forgotten. Still, I can't imagine a time when the first wouldn't lead to a second. Hell, you can keep your egg nog; mad elves make good beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2005 16:55:53 | More by Foxman
Photo of Nutleybeer
Nutleybeer

New Jersey

4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

After 2 years or so of trying, finally I got my chance to sample Troegs' infamous Mad Elf. Apparently, in the past they never brewed enough and it sold out at once. This year, they must have learned their lesson though...I actually found Mad Elf sold in north Jersey; which is a first.

At $13 a six pack, the cost is quite high. Thankfully, at my local store, they sold Mad Elf by the bottle too. At $3 a bottle, while still high, it is a bit more affordable to be sampled.

The smell as you pop open the bottle is distinctive Belgian with a pleasant, somewhat spicy scent. With a reddish copper color, it made for a nice pour with a mild head. The taste was smooth. Not to sweet, but with a subtle hint of cherries. Not as sweet as I imagined it to be.

For those of you interested but unable to find Mad Elf, you can also try Ommegang's Three Philosophers, which is in the same lines (thanks to the guys in Red Bank's Spirits for pointing that out in the past).

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2005 12:42:33 | More by Nutleybeer
Photo of warriorsoul
warriorsoul

Pennsylvania

3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Pentathlete for this one...not the most recent release.
Pours a bright mahogany color with less than 1/2 a finger of bright white head...most disappears quite rapidly and a small amount of lace produced.
Nice aromas filled with cherries, citrus, raisins, sugarcane and a hint of alcohol...a lot going on here.
The taste is where the honey comes into play, sweetening it up a bit...an obvious cherry bomb with a hefty dose of malt and a decent hop bitterness for being less than fresh. A dry finish with some of the alcohol coming through...not overly distracting, but adding a slight medicinal feel that goes away a few seconds after each sip.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied...not syrupy or cloying and the carbonation is where I like to see it.
A sipper for me...no doubt, one to enjoy as the temps dip below freezing tonight. I will look to pick up a fresh bottle to compare, but can't imagine it will change that much in the time that has passed. Another nice offering from Troeg's even if it is not one of my favorites...recommend giving it a try, just maybe not snagging a case without tasting it first.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2005 01:25:51 | More by warriorsoul
Photo of neonbrown82
neonbrown82

Nebraska

2.75/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

This bottle was provided in trade from GCBrewingCo. It's been a while since the trade, but I figured this one would be better saved for the first snowfall of the year at the very least. It surely has enough staying power at 11% considering that it's the 2004 release, but this beer is quite questionable to say the least.

Pours to a very dark burgandy brown with absolutely no head. I put some serious distance between the bottle and the tulip glass while pouring, but all I got were a few clear air bubbles. Obviously no lacing, and the carbonation couldn't be seen if it were there. This isn't necessarily surprising with such a high ABV brew, but I usually get at least a head-like film.

The nose is absolutely saturated with a raisin and fig aroma with a bit of ginger and/or allspice and cinamon. The cherries are also evident behind all the figs.

The beer tastes like molasses, honey and cherries, with aforementioned spicing. A bit piney even. Not one of my favorite mixtures of flavor. It seems like they took all of the flavors associated with christmas and went overboard trying to cram as much of that shit as they could into a 12 ounce bottle. The results are quite devastating to the tastebuds, and I'm not one to rate a beer well based on style even though I thought it was utter shite.

The mouthfeel is water and distant. What does this "distant" nonsense mean in terms of mouthfeel? Well, I can't seem to taste much of anything but mild sour cherries until I swallow, and then the burst of flavors hits all at once, confusing the palate. The finish is dry and lingers like a port wine, grape flavor and all.

I feel like I've been duped. This is a wine, not a beer! No offense to GCBrewingCo, if he happens to be reading this (I've already thoroughly enjoyed everything else from that trade), but I am not impressed at all by this beer. In fact, this is the type of thing that put me off from holiday beers last year, but I am going to stay the course for this year.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2005 08:53:40 | More by neonbrown82
Photo of orsulacp
orsulacp

Pennsylvania

3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I tried this too cold and I wasn't that impressed, so tonight I am trying it at room temp and it is much better. The big difference is the smell; I get a big whiff of apples, dates, figs, and a bready backbone. It has a clear amber color with a small tan head. The flavor starts with cherries, then a bit of the apples, and then the bready malt. The mouthfeel is medium, not creamy like I was expecting. The alcohol warming sets in after the second sip. It finishes somewhat dry from the high carbonation. This beer is way too drinkable considering the 11% abv. I recently had a Chimay Blue and the Elf is like that turned down a notch or two in body and taste, which isn't a bad thing.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2005 01:27:16 | More by orsulacp
Photo of NolanGTI
NolanGTI

Pennsylvania

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

This one was a real eye opener for me, not at all what I expected. It pours a nice clear brown, slight amber. One finger cream head. Light nose, not nearly what I expected from an 11% brew. The kick was well hidden.

The taste was exceptionally smooth and not overly pince coney or spicey, probably a bit more tame than I would have hoped for. All in all, a very nice beer but one that you can drink far too much of far too quickly, so be careful.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2005 20:21:38 | More by NolanGTI
Photo of chOAKbarrell
chOAKbarrell

Maryland

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

Lucky me, I found Troegs Mad Elf in a store that lets you mix a six pack. I've heard a lot about this beer, and wanted to try it, but didnt know if I'd like it enough to buy an entire 6 pack.

Upon first whiff of this beer, you can definitely tell it is Belgian-style. The saison yeast is front & center.

The beer is a lovely reddish amber color with a good medium sized head. It leaves a small amount of lacing around the glass.

Wow, the taste. You'd be hard pressed to tell that this is an 11% beer. I would have guessed 6-7% if it hadn't said on the bottle. So obviously the strong alcohol is very well disguised. This has a very pleasant, almost mild flavor, considering it is a Belgian strong ale.

The mouthfeel is strong and outstanding as well.

I would happily have 2 more of Troegs Mad Elf (and I'm sure they'd make me even happier). I plan to pick up some more very soon.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2005 23:27:17 | More by chOAKbarrell
Photo of kegerator
kegerator

Maryland

2.95/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

hmm. nothign special about this one in my opinion.
pours out a deep copper/bron color with hints of ruby. a small head develops and sticks around for a decent amount of time and leaves a little lacing behind.
smell was yeasty spiciness with hints of cherries.
taste was sweet, with hints of cherry and some slight spice from the yeast.
mouthfeel was very very weak. for a so called 11% abv belgian strong it was quite watery and did not coat the tongue at all.
all the aromas and flavor were fairly weak but detectable. as it warmed the flavor became a bit more pronounced but barely.
overall not bad but definitely nothing to write home about

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2005 16:18:39 | More by kegerator
Photo of blitz134
blitz134

California

3.4/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First real cold night of the year...pulled this out of the closet for a nightcap...one wiff told me that this one might definately put me out. This is last years version, so not fresh...

Appearance is a perfectly transparent caramel (not ruby red as the website says). Thin white head on the pour which disappeared to a small ring around the edge of the glass. Not the usual head of a belgian although I'm not sure if this is really true to the belgian style to begin with.

Aroma is a bit sweet with a little acidic funk to it. Alcoholic notes swirl readily from the glass. A slight cherry aroma comes around if you are really looking for it. A strong aroma, but somewhat non descript.

Again, I think the taste doesn't have much that really stands out, except for the alcohol. Taste is mainly malty with a touch of mildly sweet fruit in the background. I don't really detect any of the honey and cherries in any particular flavor. Although you can pick out the alcohol in this it isn't overwhelming, either in taste or effects of sitting on the stomach.

Mouthfeel is a little thin in my opinion, could be a bit thicker. Drinkability is okay for the high abv. The flavor or aroma doesn't really offer anything which I find particularly intriguing which would make me really desire this in the future. Maybe the flavors don't hold up for very long, I'm not sure. I have one more bottle to sample though.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2005 05:17:34 | More by blitz134
Photo of jakester
jakester

Pennsylvania

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

I got this as a single from UJ's on the Manatawny. I drank it in a pilsner glass.

Pours a brilliant amber/red with a 1/2 finger short lived head of, I swear, Pinkish white foam. The head quickly falls to scant islands and a ring, with very scant lacing on the glass.

Aroma is strong cherries, phenolic-y, Belgian-y almost, bubble gum and spices like black pepper, cloves, nutmeg, and cinammon. Smells "festive".

Flavor is scrumptious cherry juice, bubblegum, spices as above. Lightly phenolic, sweet, tart, and light malt late. You can pick up faint alcohol as it warms, but the alcohol is very well hidden.Aftertaste is cherries out the ass, spices, and phenolics.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a soft carbonation. Finish is sweet and tart and rich.

This beer is hard to believe. It's so full of cherry and spice character, the alcohol is very well hidden, and the malt supports it very well. Get a case of this right now!

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2005 17:56:01 | More by jakester
Photo of hopsaplenty
hopsaplenty

Virginia

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

2005 release

The deep amber, ruby-highlighted Elf raised only a short, quickly dissipating head of tiny tan bubbles that left no lacing. The smell is of dry cherries, sweet honey, hints of clove, and touches of alcohol. It has a medium mouthfeel with a fairly light body and light carbonation. It has a sweet, dry cherry finish. There are hints of cinnamon as well, coupled with the malts. The alcohol is stealthily cloaked behind the cherries. Extremely well balanced, this is a wonderful beer. It would be easy to enjoy several in a row before noticing how potent they are.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2005 12:18:37 | More by hopsaplenty
Photo of drumstik
drumstik

Maryland

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

First Elf of the Season. I love the ruby red label with the off white and green colors. Of course there is the trademark yellow Troegs cap on top that makes this bottle stand out from the rest.

Pours the a lovely red/amber. This years might even have a little bit more of a dark red hue to it.

Smells of deep rich cherries and plum with lots of malty goodness and a hint of sweetness.

Taste hits with a great malty sweetness with a hint of cherries. Just a touch of spicyness and a tiny hint of hops. As you sip it coats your mouth and throat (perhaps from the honey?) as it slides down with just the right amount of carbonation. Finishes sweet and spicy and a subtle hint of alcohol.

A fantastic beer that lives up to all the hoopla that surrounds it. A great late night sipper to send you off to dreamland. Grab it while you can or you will be regretting it later!

Last year I discovered Mad Elf and I couldn't get enough of it. This year it is wonderful yet again and has inspired me to write my first review here on BA. Hopefully many more to come!

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2005 05:31:59 | More by drumstik
Photo of Fish113d
Fish113d

Pennsylvania

4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005 edition: Poured from a growler brought home from the brewery and into a Mad Elf tulip glass.

Pours a reddish copper color with a nice dense 1 1/2" beige head that slowly fizzles to a nice creamy looking surface layer of about 1/8" with some very nice cling on the sides of the glass.

Aroma is mostly of holiday cherries along with some very floral aromas. Not as spiced as the first year's release. Some maltiness comes through as well, and a tiny bit of alcohol on the nose.

Sipping, I notice sweet and a little tartness of the cherries along with a slightly floral flavor I think from the yeast. Hops are not very apparant. A bit of drying hits at the end with a twang of alcohol hitting my tongue on the finish. Not as complex as previous years, but a wonderfully tasting brew. I've waited 12 months for this, and it's heavenly!

Lightly carbonated, full-bodied. A bit of alcohol hits at the finish, but is mild considering the 11% its marked as.

Overall, very drinkable at 11%!!! It's a wonder that people can drink a 6-pack of it, get sick, and pass out by the halftime of the Super Bowl (inside joke)!

Serving type: growler

11-05-2005 19:16:31 | More by Fish113d
Photo of froggyfrog
froggyfrog

Pennsylvania

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

Love the Elf.

I've been waiting for this beer to come out for months and it has been worth the wait.

This particular serving is from a bottle purchased three days ago on the day '05 ME was released.

The View:

An exciting warm red and amber marble. Very "Belgian-looking" if that makes sense to anyone but me.

The Scent:

Lots of estery components to be had. Olfactoraly reminiscent of a mead. The cherries read like a Luden's wild cherry cough drop.

The Flavor and the Tactile Experience:

Nice and smooth. This brew is rich in flavour but light on the tongue. The taste of prickly honey dances through the mouth as the liquid passes. An effervescent burning sensation is there and gone so quickly that it never really existed. Or did it? The fruit flavours add to the complexity of the Elf but are so wonderfully muted that this beer could never be mislabeled as "fruit beer".

The alcohol is well hidden. The main tastes are of dry honey and fruity Belgian esters.

Guzzlability:

Actually it is hard not to suck these down in rapid succession because they taste so damn good. Add to that a hidden 11% ABV in a super-smooth liquid bullet train and you have a potential recipe for disaster.

Final Notes:

I highly recommend this beer. I feel that it is very approachable and quite tasty. If you happen not to like it, um, good, more for me!

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2005 06:59:34 | More by froggyfrog
Photo of stephendedalus
stephendedalus

Pennsylvania

3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Ahhh...Autumn and winter brews--some of my favorites, and Mad Elf is no exception. While this is not the best example of a Belgian Strong or a holiday ale, it is remarkably smooth, packs a festive punch (11% ABV), and is available for a limited time only. So...

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle decorated with our friend the mad elf. Color is a nice amber-red with gentle carbonation evident. A decent head at first--nice and white, but faded quickly. That said, the Mad Elf does lace better than some other high ABV ales.

Spicy aroma. Alcohol is definitely present, as is a malty sweetness--and yes, you can detect some fruitiness, although it is sortof difficult to pin the aroma as "cherry" regardless of what the bottle says. The cherries do come through a little more in the taste, however, as does a well-balanced malt bill (mostly light, but just enough roasted or chocolate...to be interesting enough. Some spiciness-pepper due to the alcohol. All in all, however, very drinkable.

A bit thin in mouthfeel, but this is easily overlooked. Due to the decently masked ABV, accessable flavor profile, and of course, the picture of the mad elf himself, this is a nice beer to be enjoyed with friends around the holidays--or as an introductory beer for someone who may not ordinarily give beer a fair shake. Happy glugging!

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2005 21:02:12 | More by stephendedalus
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Px2GrafX

Virginia

3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

presentation: 12 oz. bottle with an overly holiday red label. tan oval in the center of the label with a "troegs" banner across the middle. "the mad elf" on the top of the oval with "holiday ale, ale brewed with honey & cherries" on the bottom. there's this crazy lookin' elf spillin' a goblet of troegs' holiday ale over the bannner in the center. cherries are all over the rest of the label. "hand crafted by two brothers". 11%abv displayed, but no freshness date.

appearance: pours a beautiful clear scarlet red with bright kool-aid red highlights in a tulip glass. head was a half inch off white, but dropped to a ring around the glass fairly quickly. lotsa bubbles. color is beautiful.

smell: aroma is sweet with malted grains and a hint of fruit. you can detect cherries, but only if you read the label. alcohol aromas as well.

taste: mild in the flavor department. malty sweet with a wash of cherry. grainy with some spiciness and a touch of ambrosia. hop character is mild at best with almost no bitterness. only real bitterness is from yeast in the finish. alcohol is evident and warming but not overwhelming. finishes sweet with alcohol spiciness.

mouthfeel: very little carbonation. light-medium body that rolls around and swallows well. a little disappointing, though.

drinkability: very drinkable. there's not much to stop you here. alcohol is there but well masked at first. mouthfeel makes this is drinkable as the kool-aid it looks like. after a while the alcohol kicks in and is intoxicating and warming, so be careful.

overall: hmmm...this is just an average belgian strong dark. mildly flavorful with cherry and alcohol flavors taking center stage. dangerously drinkable, but the mouthfeel is lacking. if you want an easy to drink, intoxicating, belgian with just a hint of belgian spices and phenols and splashes of cherry, then oddly, this is your brew. otherwise, just average.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2005 00:14:12 | More by Px2GrafX
Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,742 ratings.