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Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,204 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,204
Hads: 3,638
Avg: 3.85
pDev: 26.75%
Wants: 222
Gots: 923 | FT: 24
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Tröegs Mad Elf Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,204 | Hads: 3,638
Photo of casemw
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this beer in a 12 oz bottle.

A-Pours a rich amber color with 1/4" head that fades pretty quick.
S-Smells of Cherry and Honey, very little alcohol considering its abv%.
T-Alcohol is fairly subtle; cherries and honey dominate. Tastes like a strong amber ale.
M-Mouthfeel has decent carbonation, sweetness lingers.
D-Suprisingly drinkable at 11%abv. Could drink a couple of these brews without much problem at all.

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Photo of alexhammond
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

pours a nice looking redish-orange color with a very thin head. smells of cherry and honey, but this is clearly noted on the label so maybe it's just because I'm looking for these scents. a bit of orange and cinnamon are also noticeable.
the taste is a little too sweet, but I really enjoy the mixture of flavors, and the extra sweetness (especially with the cherry) was kind of a nice surprise as I was expecting a much spicier/darker brew.
very light carbonation, served it at almost room temperature, and I think this is probably the best way to drink it in order to really bring out the full range of flavors. the high ABV and sweetness make this beer something I would probably only have one of at a time, or even split a bottle with someone. a sipping beverage for sure. all in all, definitely a great beer for the holiday season, as it warms the insides, and caters to being shared with good friends or family.

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Photo of matridium
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%


this beer would get a 5 but I think if it was just a little lower in alcohol
flavor is right no for a festive brew for the holidays.

Nice for a cold winters night!

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Photo of onechordwonder
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A must buy every Christmas for me. Great beer on a cold night, especially considering the sneaky 11%abv. Beautiful ruby color, not a ton of lacing. Flavor is sweet at first, with cherry as the predominant flavor. Malt rounds it out and finishes slightly dry. Could be a little more balanced, but overall a great beer.

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Photo of ryandurka
3.62/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this strong beer is from pa and that makes me proud. it taste like a beer from easton, but unlike the beer i wont mention , this one doesnt give me a head ache. mad elf is seasonal so get it if you can find it. its worth seeking out and the price is low considering it is on par with beers imported from euroland.

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Photo of JudoJeff
4.75/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

From tap, this was dark, burgandy/amber color. It smelled and tasted of dark but sweet cherries with mulling-type spices. Neither the sweetness nor spice was overpowering as in some other similar strong dark ales. Drinking this is very much like drinking Christmas, back before it became commercialized.

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Photo of astrocreep2000
2/5  rDev -48.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

dunno how this beer is so highly rated. this beer tastes like cherry cough syrup, or nyquil. however, it looks nice in the glass and its 11 percent. overall i cannot recommend.

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Photo of Cavalier92
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a solid holiday offering from Troeg's, but by no means a super star. They sell it as containing honey and cherries and being ruby red in color, but mine was coppery brown and tasted more like a strong golden ale.

It's got a spicy nose from the Belgian yeast and it finishes smoothly for an beverage with 11% ABV. The sweetness and alcohol hide any hops or yeast notes.

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Photo of Scourge07
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured into pint glass from bottle. Had about a finger of head that dissipated down a bit, but maintained retention. It's not as red colored as it appears in some of the pictures online. It's more of a rich, clear copper color.

S: Spicy yeast - very Belgian. Very sweet smell with a touch of honey. Cherries not as apparent, in my opinion.

T: Honey, sweet malts/yeast. Slight hint of cherries in the aftertaste. Very sweet with practically no bitterness.

M: Easy drinkin' for 11% Only a slight alcohol burn in the aftertaste. Full/syrupy mouthfeel

O: This is definitely a great Belgian-style ale, and perfect for the holiday's. However, I was expecting the honey and cherry flavors to stand out more, since they were advertised on the bottle. Unfortunately, they were quite subtle. Not something I would buy again, but definitely worth trying!

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Photo of eslemarc
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber in a Mad Elf tulip glass.

The beer pours with an off-white cream colored head, maybe a finger tall at most, deep amber color and fully transparent with visible carbonation. Little lacing from each sip.

There is a strong scent of cherries and a little honey sweetness. Some alcohol is present, similar to the alcohol presence in a red wine. Slight hints of a malt breadiness with a clear hop balance to keep from being too sweet.

Relatively lighter mouthfeel than I would have imagined, a fair carbonation leads to a clear taste of cherries and maybe some banana. Tastes clearly boozy, but deceptive to the 11%abv.

The beer seems more like a digestif, very comforting and warming post dinner to substitute a port wine. The sweetness would work well with dessert. A fine beer as a great winter warmer.

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Photo of joeboe2001
3.06/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Is there something different--and I don't mean better--about ME2013? My wife and I eagerly ordered pints last night at our favorite watering hole. We have enjoyed ME annually since about 2002, and eagerly anticipate it's release each year. But this year--at least last night, In Chester, MD--it tasted like a different brew. Very malty, as usual, but a distinct lack of the cinnamon, cardamom, anise, and other wintry spices we thought we were used to. Still drinkable, but we did not go back for seconds!

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Photo of MadElf25
4.28/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A. Served in a cognyac glass with a ruby red coloring made me think of Christmas Morning.

S. A Sweet aroma, i really smell the Cherry Flavor.

T. Sweet yet tangy with heavy tates of cherry, i gave it a 4 due to a little bit of an after taste.

M. Very smooth going down, light and airy.

D. It is Definatly a beer i could enjoy again and again

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Photo of willPS21
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very, very surprising beer!! One I had passed by plenty of times due to the gimmicky-looking packaging/name. But that changed when the guy in the store had me at "11%, cherry flavored." Wow. I've never had a single beer that disguised it's 11% punch this well, and I doubt I ever will again, it's amazing. I almost want to call "bs" and do some kind of test on it, it's very hard to believe. The beer is so light overall. It's not chewey or very viscous and actually finishes pretty clean. I get more tart than sweet from the cherry, which I like. The color in my snifter does have a nice reddish hue. The head was dense, foamy and 1/3", and dissipated fairly quickly. Other than that, it's just good, something you could picture chicks liking. It's not an all day beer but I could do it several day out of the week. I have a newfound respect for Troegs for pulling off the Mad Elf.

Ahhh now I feel the two beers that were in the half-22 I just had...

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Photo of ciachef1212
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a very interesting beer. Almost red in color with tones of carbonation. Smells of spices from the belgian yeast and slight cherry notes. The flavors are of cherries and spice and everything nice. Couldn't tell it is 11% ABV. This is a really different beer and I really like it. Be careful for 11% it is really drink able.


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Photo of TastyFoodAndDrink
3.91/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pouring a red-orange hue, Tröegs Mad Elf has an incredibly pungent smell of sour cherry coming from the start. After getting past the cherry, Mad Elf pounds banana, clove, bubblegum, caramel, toffee, and honey through in powerful doses. All of the smells are slightly soured, and made of what seems like pure explosiveness. There are subtle odors, but it’s mostly funk, earth, and chocolate. Even with these smells though, it’s more like picking out a subtle scent than anything actually subtle. Tröegs Mad Elf seems to made up of nothing but deep, aggressive smells.

On the palate Tröegs Mad Elf is amazingly smooth for a beer sitting at 11% alcohol. The mouthfeel is heavy, but not as thick as one might expect. The flavor of cherry is pervasive and powerful. The background notes aren’t really background notes so much as competitors, like banana, clove, bubblegum, brown sugar, molasses, and dates. The flavors are all laced with a deep amount of funk, and the body hits with a huge amount of acidity. Honey is buried somewhere in there, but this is a powerful brew, and it ends powerfully as well, adding a subtle smokiness to the cherry flavor. The funk, clove, banana, and other elements keep driving it forward, long after you finish it.

Overall though, I just find it a little too intense to keep up with. Tasty yes, but hard to have more than one of.

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Photo of Jeff3918
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Maybe not for everyone and tasted better out of the tap. Cherries jump out at you and grab it when you first see it as it doesn't stay on shelves too long.

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Photo of stephendedalus
3.85/5  rDev 0%
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!

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Photo of mj71
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a red-twinged dark gold. Almost no head, which completely disappears quickly. Zero lacing.

S- Almost cough-syrupy. Alcohol fights with cherries for dominance

T- Cherries start and finish the sip with honey poking through as the carbonation flares. Very alcoholic, slightly spicy back-end.

M- As the beer warms the maltiness comes to the forefront. Not many hops detected

D- High ABV limits the sheer volume you'd want to down, but as a sipping beer, the complexity and originality make it a winner.

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Photo of rlparker3
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

9-Jan-2009 Home

Pours a reddish brown with a slight beige head which quickly fades to nothing. Aroma of Cherries and possible milk chocolate. The taste is a slightly sour cherry which quickly becomes strong cherries then a pleasant malt and spice finish. The beer leaves a thin syrupy (but pleasant) residue. This is a fine beer but I never crave more than one.

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Photo of codyw
3.38/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Almost no head. Nice Deep amber appearance with a ruby hue.

S: Strong cherry smell. Also some brown sugar. Can definitely smell the alcohol.

T: Definite presence of cherries. I feel like the alcohol could be hidden a little more. At times it felt just like a slightly carbonated cherry wine. I think a little more hop and malt character would have helped balance out the overwhelming presence of cherries. Definitely a sweet beer. Not as complex as some belgian imports.

M: Smooth at first, but then the high ABV really hits you. I wish it was covered a bit more. I think it could used a little more carbonation. Perhaps my bottle was bottled poorly, because I recall a previous one having more carbonation.

D: You could definitely get drunk from a few of these. Not a bad beer, but I think there are better drinks out there.

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Photo of Bebum
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Clear medium amber, no lace. Medium body, moderate flavor, high heat, avg length, fruity finish.
Sweet but enough bitterrness to keep it from being cloying.
Barley candy flavor, coca-cola.
Rich, enjoyable.

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Photo of drea0695
3.51/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: what a pretty beer! Poured into an over sized wine glass, a gorgeous cranberry color.

S: Tart cherries. Not overwhelming but just enough to make your mouth pucker up in anticipation

T: cherries, and a nice biscuity malt, almost like a tart cherry pie and as it warms just a hint of alcohol.

M: light carbonation which definitely helps break up the potential for a syrup bomb.

D: probably too drinkable for an 11%. But it's Christmas! Just don't drive.

I really think this beer is a great addition to the holiday season. It's so flavorful and complex. Pick it up you won't be disappointed!

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Photo of deanwilson
4.85/5  rDev +26%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A. Rich reddish copper

S. Alive with fruit, especially cherries and bananas.

T. Flavorfull from start to finish. Honey and cherry upfront, with a touch of sweetness, then a hoppy, citus, dry banana finish.

M. Suprisingly un-syrupy given the high alcohol content.

D. Very easy to sip on. Seems to taste well with just about any food.

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Photo of whiterascal
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: muted reddish brown, no head
S: a little cherry scent, and some raisins, honey.
T: wow. Unexpected. Just a little hint of cherries. Sweetness. I can definitely taste the honey. A bready finish.
M: slippery
D: great beer, but I'd stick with one for tonight.

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Photo of ProLiquorMan
3.19/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: What a beautiful color! I'm going to call this color red amber. Very little head. But this could be because I don't know how to properly pour beer.

Smell: The only thing I'm getting is some citrus smell. Think about a grapefruit without the sourness and bitterness.

Taste: The taste is very similar to the smell. Again, all I got was some citrus/grapefruit taste. Was expecting more flavors.

Mouthfeel: It was a very "clean" beer.

I was disappointed with this one. There is nothing wrong with it, but it certainly wasn't worth the $16 for 6 bottles. The bottle claims to have some cherry and honey notes. I didn't get any of those. It really lacks flavor.

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Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,204 ratings.