Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

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Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

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BA SCORE
87
very good

1,191 Reviews
THE BROS
85
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,191
Hads: 3,582
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 12.95%
Wants: 213
Gots: 861 | FT: 21
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:
Beer added by: WilliamPhilaPa on 12-14-2002

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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,191 | Hads: 3,582
Photo of MaxBrewell
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a ruby-red color with a thin layer of an off-white head.

S- Spicy Belgian yeast mixed with sweet cherry, and maybe a bit of dark fruits.

T- Follows the nose with spicy yeast and cherry. Sweetness that finishes with warmth from the alcohol.

M- Medium-light bodied with average carbonation.

D- A pleasant variation on a winter warmer. The spicy yeast and the cherries are something that I look forward to each Winter. (431 characters)

Photo of ellisdee97
3.4/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Light amber with a thin bubbly off white head, which leaves a nice ring. Bubbly lacing clings to the glass.

S: Deep mix of cherry, honey and alcohol. Toasted malt, a slight hint of hops and saccharin sweetness.

T: Very sugary sweet cherry and honey. Toast and warm alcohol. The cherry right now is too sweet but some age should help. Last year definitely had more of a deep chocolate base, which they coincidentally removed from the labels description.

M: Sweet, sticky and sugary. High carbonation.

D: Some age will help but right now it is too sweet. But a nice sipper overall. (594 characters)

Photo of poundboy
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Obtained this bottle in a trade with GCBrewingCO. Thanks much for the opertunity.

Appearance: Red, not amber like a red ale, but red like toasted cherries. Minimal head as is common in high alcohol brews. Just the sort of ruby treasure you can imagine finding in a Mad Elf's cellar.

Nose: Indentifiable fruit scents, Alcohol undertones, A mild floral hoppiness and hints of sweet malt.

Taste: Begins with a sweet maltiness combined with the fruity spicy character I associate with trappist ales. True to its name, one sip begins to warm you right up. Finishes with the slighest hint of spice. Neither my finace or I could taste cherries.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, pleasant carbonation, creamy despite not being all that thick.

Drinkability: I could pound these back until I could no longer stand up, which would proabably be after say 2.5.

Overall a damn good brew. Perhaps not a classic but certainly one to seek out. (935 characters)

Photo of jscondon
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours with little head, but the ring along the snifter stays present throughout. the amber color is deep and very red, while the nose has a strong alcohol scent emenating cherries and a slight maltiness. this is a think mouthy beer having an immense flavor, a very subtle cherry flavor that is not over bearing nicely balanced with hops. i really like this beer, and it will store! (381 characters)

Photo of gromis
3.86/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a holiday favorite, as the brewery is nearby. Every year people wait for this to come out.

It pours a dark gold/amber color. Hardly any carbonation to speak of.

Smell is nothing out of the ordinary.

Taste: To me, the honey comes through. I really can't pick out the cherries that are supposed to be in this one. Very pleasant taste, bites a bit of alcohol.

Since I've been brewing my own beer, I've made the statement that commercial beers now taste like "Lite" beers to me. After having a Mad Elf, I had one of my homebrews and my homebrew tasted like a Lite beer. HEH! (583 characters)

Photo of Mertzy81
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
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%. (781 characters)

Photo of calise1122
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Late night kindle kept burning by Khiasmus.

Mad Elf, poured into a goblet while listening to Creed by STP.

A: A harsh pour yields a small cap of head hovering over a dark copper, oak stained brown colored beer in the glass. It's clear... in fact it actually magnifies... but with bubbles. Inviting? Yes.

S: Lots of that Belgium yeast that itches me the right way... berries, maybe cherries, but definitely something that ends in "ies". I always have trouble describing this smell... I want to say it smells earthy and musty, but not like the earthy musty beer that I lean on... a differnt smell I suppose, damnit... I guess I just can't pin it down. It may be my poor palate, it could be my lack of vocabulary... I can definitely say that it smells good.

T: Smells like it tastes and tastes like it smells... with a nice burn of alcohol. It has some honey, absolutely has some honey... and the cherry kind of parks itself in my cheeks. It is almost as if the cherries are trying to knock the crap out of the honey, but the honey backs itself into the corner and rope-a-dope's its way into a fair match. I am nearly positive that makes no sense, but that is how it feels.

M: Honestly, at this point... no matter what beer I poured it would be my last. If I started with this, it could go a long way. Is it drinkable in respect to a good session beer?... no, but it is drinkable and I have would never turn down the offer to have another.

D: See above! (1,456 characters)

Photo of brianlg
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Finally had the chance to try this beer, although I wish it were snowing outside right now as I drink this. It pours a reddish brown with a small head. The head dissolves quickly. The beer smelled like honey, nuts, alcohol, and cherries. Upon first sip I was surprised how well the alcohol taste is hidden. This is very ell for a 11& ABV. Next thing you know, my pint glass is finished. IT tasted just like it smelled, honey, nuts, and subtle taste of sweet cherries. The store I purchased from has planty of these left, I will probably be back soon to buy another. After finishing the 1pint 6oz bottle I already feel it!

Great beer, can't wait to have this next Christmas! (675 characters)

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

A: Poured a very nice amber/ocher color with a 1 finger head that lasted only a few minutes. No lacing.
S: Wow. I really like the smell on this brew. I get apricots somehow as well as nutmeg or cinnamon. The honey comes through as an excellent balance to the slight undertones of malt and hops.
T: A sweet beer, but that's to be expected with the honey and the holiday style. I still get apricot with a bit of a cherry note.
M: Good carbonation. A slick, almost buttery consistency with a nice spicy finish.
D: I'm usually not a big fan of the taste of spiced or fruit infused beers, but this is a nice balance. It is a bit sweet for me, but not nearly as sweet as many of the belgians I've had lately. I will probably make this part of my holiday beer mix next year. (768 characters)

Photo of boblinneman
4.23/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Maybe a little young, but this barley wine is good. Dark ruby color looks great when held to light. Smells of sweet cherry and alcohol. The sweet honey/cherry flavor is balanced well with hops. Very clean finish with a lingering alcohol warmth. Wish the beer was bottled so I could age some. (291 characters)

Photo of Brouwerij78
4.92/5  rDev +27.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a delicious seasonal ale! A dark, cherry colored and fragrant ale worthy of the higher price tag. I bought this in a 6-pack (which is much more economical than the large bottle sold) and really enjoyed it's fruity, rich and slightly sweet flavor. This beer is a thicker style and is best enjoyed chilled in a thin baloon style wine glass to be sipped, savored and enjoyed! A treat indeed! (396 characters)

Photo of Brewsky29
3.25/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a transparent red with quarter inch of fizzy head that dissipated quickly.

Smells of cherries,honey and spicy yeast.

The taste is very sweet honey fruity with alcohol warmth and a slightly fruity aftertaste.

Feels very fizzy, highly carbonated, warm. Almost wine like.

Overall its a nice change of pace. It is a little sweet for my taste, and I'm not sure if I would pick this one up again. Maybe just a single. (431 characters)

Photo of stageseven
3.91/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Ap - The beer pours a deep reddish-brown, that's clear with few bubbles in the glass. It has an off-white head that's 1 finger thick from a very vigorous pour, but it quickly dissipated to leave just a little head on the brew.

Ar - is pleasant and fills the area quickly. From a distance, the smell is sweet and dominated by cherry. Closer in there's a malty grain smell that's maybe a little on the grassy side. I also noted hints of alcohol that reveals some of the 11% ABV. The sweet smell of honey is also present.

T - is sweet especially at first, I definitely noticed malt & honey. Not getting any bitterness really, just a light warm sensation on the tongue. The cherry is muted at first, but comes through a little more as it sits in the mouth. It's really more of a cherry liquor flavor, you can taste some of the alcohol in this one. I think I'm also getting just a touch of vanilla in the aftertaste, although I don't know why. This beer is actually reminiscent to me of the bottle of mead I purchased a while back. Probably mostly from the honey that is used in the brewing of Mad Elf. Unfortunately the honey lends a somewhat medicinal taste to the beer as well, but not so much that I would turn down a glass. I'm also a little reminded of Chimay Blue when I drink it, but I'm not sure why. The flavors also come out a bit as I go through the glass. The cherry got a little more tart and stronger.

M - of this beer is just great. It's got a medium body with a nice balance of carbonation for just the right amount of tingle. It coats the mouth lightly, leaving just a trace of smoothness on the teeth. It's warming, not too wet or dry going down, but a little more on the dry side. A little more rounded feel than crisp.

D - of this beer is not the highest. The taste is a little bit on the sweet side, so one at a time is enough. Still, it is good and even better as the glass progresses, and it's putting me in a festive mood. (1,946 characters)

Photo of Arinthos
1.59/5  rDev -58.8%
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. (590 characters)

Photo of obireidkenobi
3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Notes from Growler Tasting -12/12/09

Growler purchased at brewery, Harrisburg, PA

Wow. Lots to talk about with this beer.

Smell - Honey and malts

Flavor - Honey, malts, cherry, some candy. Sweet notes covering the higher alcohol finish. It's a bit like fruit cake, but one you actually want.

Very drinkable, but don't drink much. It's a heavy hitter. Unless the Christmas party is that bad, lol. (402 characters)

Photo of mfc
2.34/5  rDev -39.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Let me first off say, they get one full point for their label art. Pretty cool. Sadly, the rest of it wasn't so great.

A: It looked decent. Dark orange, almost red with a hint of cherry color. Almost no carbonation (I assume because of how alcohol-heavy it is?)

N: Lots of cherry, syrupy

T: No bueno. Sorry. It is flat and alcohol city, USA. Reminds me of cherry schnapps.

M: Flat flat flat and way too heavy on the booze without any balance or attempt to mask.

Addendum: Reading other people's reviews, I think I may have gotten a bad bottle. Mine had nearly zero carbonation. I'm going to bump the mouthfeel up to 2 for that, but I stand by the fact that it is too syrupy and tastes a bit like cherry cough syrup. (720 characters)

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

The mad elf enters the glass.A beautiful pour,red-hued,lovely. With an off white head full of active little bubbles.The scent of yeast, malt, and a restrained cherry sweetnes.I think I should taste it.A nice honey seetness encased in alcohol.Awonderful creamy mouthfeel.The cherry arrives ,gently though still accompanied by alcohol.The finish is nice ,slightly sour, fading gently away.This is nice.
Although eleven percent the Elf is amazingly drinkable.I had expected something more intense but instead have a rounded entertaining holiday ale in the glass( now more than half empty):)
Kudos to the one and only Feloniousmonk for introducing me to my new mad friend. (674 characters)

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

Pours a nice red color. Fruity nose. Cherries. Pours with a thick red head. interesting. I have 5 bottles aging. I can't wait to see what they will taste like in a year. This beer was so fresh. Really enjoyable. Interesting flavors. Lots of fruit. I enjoyed this beer. Had this at Andy's too. (292 characters)

Photo of Walsar
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A nice effort by the Troeg brothers -- the Mad Elf Ale is a definite winter warmer at 11% abv.

Tasty - cherry - not too sweet -- drink at 50 or 55 degrees out of a big ole wine glass and you will enjoy the experience.

I would recommend this ale - but watch out as they pack a wallop (288 characters)

Photo of drinknewbelgium
3.62/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

pours deep red to mahagony forms little head at the top smells of spices cinnamon, nutmeg and hints of cherries tastes of holiday spices cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and a subtle hint of cherries with alcohol present filles thinner in my mouth than i would expect and i dont know i believe one of these would do it for me very strong beer but very spiced if you liked holiday spiced beer this one here is the right beer for you (423 characters)

Photo of beer1018
2.56/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Picked this up because of a recomendation by a friend. 6 pack of bottles poured into a tulip glass.

Small head that keeps a small layer on top for awhile. I would say it is close to ruby red but has allot of brown in it as well.

Smell is all spicy bitter phenols with a touch of cherries and malt.

The first thing i taste is the spicy phenols and some sour cherry. I am not a fan of how spicy this is though. I wish they would have used a diffrent yeast strain for this beer. I also get a unplesent sour taste as well.

Mouthfeel is good as the carbonation isnt to strong.

Drink is low just because i am not a fan of the flavor at this point and dont want to drink more then one.
I am going to celler the rest of my pack and re visit them thorughout the year. Also at over $17 a 6 pack here in Ohio i wishi would have got a single instead. (845 characters)

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

A- Pours a deep amber/cherry color, with minimal to no head, appears to be very lightly carbonated.

S- Scent is fairly sweet, spicy, and lightly floral. The label promises cherries and honey, they both show but the cherries are king here.

T- Sweet Cherries, alcoholic, woody. The kind of flavor that brings back memories of Christmas past.

M- Feels more carbonated than it appears, slightly sticky consistency, warming.

D- This is a sipper, but as far as a Winter Warmer goes it does it's job well. (503 characters)

Photo of JoshW
4.65/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep ruby/amber color, with the text book perfect finger head.

Smell was sweet, cherries were overpowered by 11% alcohol.

For as strong of a beer as this one is, mouthfeel is thin, honey flavor coats the tongue, cherries and alcohol follow up, someone mentioned "dusty" I think that fits pretty well also.

Drinkability was way too easy for me, started off with one bottle, ended up finishing all 6....

... (419 characters)

Photo of BrianOhio
4.14/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pour is a ruby red with little to no head, even with an aggressive pour.

Aroma is sweet like you get from a Belgian, but then you pick up the sweeter cherry notes, with some subtle Christmas spice.

Taste follows the aroma...initially that of a Belgian, but then you pick up the cherry, and very light cinnamon and clove. The finish is a warming boozy sweetness.

This is not a beer I want every day, but in the winter warmer category, this is absolutely one of my favorites. The perfect beer for a cold, snowy night. (523 characters)

Photo of Ty1erC
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

*12 oz bottle poured into a snifter glass.*

a: it's a reddish-amber color, with a touch of orange. the head dies away quickly, and there is an ever-so-slight amount of lacing.

s: the beer smells of honey, cherries, alcohol, unripe bananas, citrus, and spice.

t: tastes of sweet malt, honey, and cherries... there's a lot going on here.

m: it's somewhat syrupy, with low-moderate carbonation.

d: drinks pretty smoothly for strong ale. i'll seek it out again next winter. (474 characters)

Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,191 ratings.