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Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

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

2,966 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,966
Reviews: 1,149
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 15.54%
Wants: 148
Gots: 435 | 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: 2,966 | Reviews: 1,149 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jwhancher
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear ruby colored red with soapy-like head that fades down to nothing. Smells of cherries with some hot alcohol burn. The alcohol notes increase as it warms. Tastes of cherries dipped in syrupy chocolate. Some brown sugar notes and a tad of spicy notes likely from the yeast. I get the honey a little bit. Tastes surprisingly light bodied. Rather even balanced in bitterness. Nice on a winter night.

jwhancher, Aug 02, 2011
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.

Lukafer, Feb 18, 2011
Photo of C2H5
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

C2H5, Jan 05, 2013
Photo of phisig137
4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2006 bottle pours a brilliantly clear orange/copper color, with red highlights. Thin 1/2 finger head rises and falls quickly, leaving nothing behind. Not surprising considering the ABV.

Aroma is sweet. A lot of grain aromas are present, as well as the honey. Very little else is present on the nose beside the alcohol. Very solvent like.

The flavor is far better though. Malt sweetness (crystal malt), and honey are present in huge quantities. Subtle cherry flavor (most likely large bing cherries) in the background is a nice touch, but not overpowering. Fairly sweet from the start to the finish, but not cloying at all. For something this extreme, I'd consider it to be fairly well balanced. Mouthfeel is smooth and heavy. Drinkability is dangerously drinkable. This is one of those beers that you have to be careful with. You never notice the 11% abv, and before you know it, you've polished off a few of them. It's almost as if you bring home a six pack of this, and before the end of the night, someone is going to end up naked or arrested.... it's that drinkable.

Another solid winner from Troegs, who never disappoint. This is one that I look forward to each winter, and this year is just as good as the others. Just be warned, sip them slowly.... the mad elf can quickly smack you around if you're not paying attention.

phisig137, Nov 08, 2006
Photo of jp312
2/5  rDev -48.2%

jp312, Oct 13, 2013
Photo of hopswap1
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

hopswap1, Apr 14, 2013
Photo of KimenTshom
4/5  rDev +3.6%

KimenTshom, Jan 17, 2012
Photo of GaryMarkle84
4/5  rDev +3.6%

GaryMarkle84, Aug 12, 2012
Photo of mountdew1
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Color was a darker amber orange that was nicely translucent. Head was very thin, slighty off white that left a small ring around the top. Aroma was sweet, slightly licorice hints. Taste was slightly sweet, hints of fruit, and a tad of spicy vanilla. Felt good in the mouth, was just slightly sticky so it coated well, and just a tad of carbonation. Pleasant to drink. Hid the ABV extremely well.

mountdew1, Mar 15, 2011
Photo of pschul4
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks for this one Alex!

Shared with Bigbobo before doing our Econ homework (Shoutouts to Marcus Casey!)

A- Pours a caramely brown with little head that recedes almost immediately leaving very little lacing

S- Strong dark fruits with some alcohol kick in the background

T- Cherries and some honey in the back but the dark fruits steal the show. Plums and figs kick your palate around but in a good way. Slight burn on the back end

M- A little too much carbonation for my liking. Not over the top but it could be a little smoother

O- I'm very impressed. I generally dislike BSDAs but this one is a winner. Can't wait to determine my cost/benefit analysis of drinking this beer

pschul4, Feb 18, 2012
Photo of Yabev15
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Yabev15, Dec 22, 2012
Photo of beerme626
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

beerme626, Dec 13, 2011
Photo of SolipsismalCat
3.6/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass. Reviewed alongside Gouden Carolus Classic.

A: Clear red-amber with one-finger, off-white, creamy head that lasted a minute. Not much lacing.

S: Belgian yeast and some dark fruit.

T: Moderate sweetness and light bitterness. Tart and spicy. Some honey and cherries.

M: Medium bodied with fizzy carbonation. Dry and alcoholic. Kind of smooth.

O: Not much of a head. Smells okay, but the mouthfeel is dry. Too much alcohol to enjoy this beer. I liked the Gouden Carolus Classic better.

SolipsismalCat, Dec 17, 2011
Photo of nhindian
3.63/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a Delirium Tulip.

Just had this released in my local stores last week and jumped on the opportunity to pick up a 6-pack. At $15, it's a bit more than I'm used to from Troegs, but for such a high ABV seasonal release, I don't see it out of the ordinary.

A - Straight out of the gate I was a bit surprised by this beer. I'm not sure if Troegs used artificial coloring or what to achieve the beautiful, deep blood red, ruby color for the body, but it really is fantastic looking and unique. Crystal clear and numerous bubbles rise to replenish the 1-finger head, but ultimately lose the fight as the head crumbles only minutes later to be reduced to a thin ring around the edges. Absolutely no lacing to be had.

S - Smell is also different than I would've assumed based both on the style of this beer and this color. Essentially I'm getting strong vapors of what I would normally attribute to a Belgian Strong Pale such as grape bubblegum, lighter fruits, strong Belgian yeast, and spices. Most notable is the appearance of honey and tart cherries in the nose, which certainly aren't Belgian Pale qualities, but definitely adds to the complexity of this beer and gives it another delicious layer. Finally, rounding out the bouquet is some moderate alcohol heat character that gives it a bit of depth and foreboding.

T - The taste is incredibly faithful to the nose. Initial flavors are almost all bubblegum, banana, Belgian spicy characteristics. The next wave brings the sweet honey and just the slightest hint of cherries. The only complaint I have with this beer is the back-end balance. The transition between the fruits and sweet honey is tremendous, but after being held back for so long, the alcohol strikes with vengeance and kind of muddles the end of the sip and the aftertaste. Supposedly a few months aging does wonders to mellow this out, and I can only imagine how great this will be then.

M - Mouthfeel is relatively heavy and mildly carbonated. Not getting much activity on the palate as it rests, but some alcohol warming is definitely present after swallowing.

D - Drinkability is moderate. I didn't find myself drinking this really quickly, but that is mostly as a result of the relatively hot finish. Assuming all is right and some age can reduce this, I could find this being a great drinking beer a few months down the road. As of now, however, this is a pretty decent sipper that packs quite a punch.

nhindian, Nov 08, 2010
Photo of Jonada
4.24/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle. 2012 vintage. Served in a snifter.

Appearance: Pours a murky dark red color with one finger of head, which dissipates quickly to a slightly off white collar. Body is hazy with quite a bit of suspended sediment.

Smell: Cherry, clove, dark fruits, honey and some light medicinal notes.

Taste: Spicy Belgian yeast, cherry, dark fruit, pepper, sweet bread. Insanely drinkable for 11%.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, slightly heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is medium and ideal for this particular beer. Finish is lightly sweet with medium alcohol warmth.

Overall: Extremely tasty and very unique beer. One of my favorite winter seasonal beers and always worth seeking out a 6 pack when it's released.

Jonada, Jun 19, 2013
Photo of OUJayhawk1799
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

OUJayhawk1799, Dec 09, 2013
Photo of madtowndmb1
4/5  rDev +3.6%

madtowndmb1, Nov 30, 2011
Photo of s1ckboy
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

s1ckboy, Jan 20, 2012
Photo of vwbus7
4.75/5  rDev +23.1%

vwbus7, Jun 26, 2014
Photo of fizzyted
4/5  rDev +3.6%

fizzyted, Dec 21, 2011
Photo of lic217
2.5/5  rDev -35.2%

lic217, Nov 12, 2013
Photo of mitch3114
4.34/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured 12 oz. bottle into snifter glass

A- Nice brown color with a slight reddish hue

S- I smell the cherries! I also smell Belgian yeast and alcohol. This smells a bit like cleaning solvent...with a hint of banana.

T- Well, it certainly doesn't TASTE like cleaning solvent. I can taste the Belgian yeast. It's more subtle than I thought. I taste sugar cherries and alcohol. Maybe some spices.

M- Mouthfeel is great. It's smooth and has just the right "prickly" with the carbonation. It's not too thick, and it's not cloying.

O- This is a unique beer. I am glad I finally got to try it and I got to try a fresh one. I think I will pick up a 6 pack and lay some down. I think when some of the heat burns off, even more of the subtle flavors will come out. I can see why this is a holiday favorite!

mitch3114, Nov 07, 2013
Photo of Schmuckles
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Schmuckles, Jan 13, 2013
Photo of shirfan
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ruby-copper in color, quickly vanishing head.

Aroma is mild cherry flavoring, sugar, and a hint of yeast.

Flavor is smooth malt and maybe candi sugar with hints of cherries and floral undertones. Not very estery. A touch of maple in the background. Sugary flavor without being overly sweet, if that makes sense.

Light on the tongue and easy to drink with no alcohol burn, this is one smooth operator for its ABV. Sort of like a mild-mannered relative of Three Philosophers.

shirfan, Dec 01, 2008
Photo of GOBLIN
3.99/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Troegs Mad Elf

The only thing I really don't like about this beer is the creepy lil' elf on the label.

Poured into pint glass

A: moughany

S: cherries are solid on the nose.

T: slightly boozy taste but at 11% it's not really an issue. Well done Troegs Brothers !

M: full and decent amount of carbination

O: I always look for this around Christmas time as it is a favorite of mine. Get a little extra whenever you see it and age it a year . . . The honey will really come through and add a new dimension to this brew. Perfect for those cold winter months.

GOBLIN, Feb 11, 2014
Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,966 ratings.