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Tröegs Mad Elf | Tröegs Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
87
very good
1,240 Reviews
BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,240
Ratings:
3,806
Avg:
3.86
pDev:
26.68%
 
 
Wants:
226
Gots:
1,054
For Trade:
20
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Tröegs Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States | website

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

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

Added by WilliamPhilaPa on 12-14-2002

User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,240 | Ratings: 3,806
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.

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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.

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Photo of Bebum
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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Photo of DanJan
4.28/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

One of my favorite seasonal offerings. Doesn't feel like Christmas without it. Pours a beautiful amber with ruby accents and a little bit of head with some lacing. Almost looks likes the holidays in a glass. The smell is dark fruits, dominated by cherries with a hint of the alcohol to come. Tastes like a mix between a strong wheat beer and a sour cherry beer which is exactly what you'd expect from the info on the label. Just enough of an alcohol burn to remind you of the ABV but it really balances it out nicely. The tartness of the finish allows you to enjoy the coating on your tongue before going for another sip. I plan on aging one or two this time and seeing how they mellow in a year.

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Photo of drink_like_a_wahoo
4.49/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2014 Mad Elf from bottle served in a snifter.

Look - Golden red
Smell - Dark cherries with hints of honey
Taste - Black cherry sweetness up front that fades into a smooth, less sweet belgian yeast finish
Feel - Smooth and light in the mouth

I have had this beer from multiple years at various ages. My absolute favorite was the 2014 at 14 months, but really everything after 8 months has been delightful. Aging really smooths it out and rings in the up front sweetness that younger bottles carry. One of my favorites

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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.

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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.

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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....

...

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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.

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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.

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Photo of shealoftus14
3.87/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is obviously a darker beer coming it at 11.0% alcohol percentage. Therefore you get your money's worth and don't have to drink a lot of them to get the job done. For people who enjoy pilsner's I wouldn't recommend this but for the heavy drinkers this is right up your ally. It pours a very dark color and leaves a potent aftertaste in your mouth, but I have no problem with it. When I'm looking for a dark beer to give me a little buzz and to go well with my meal I go with Mad Elf.

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Photo of BigTomZ
1.82/5  rDev -52.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A - Pours a nice looking red with decent white creamy head that stayed around.

S - Smells like sweaty ball sack, with some cherry notes.

T - Taste was like cherry cough syrup with pennies and band-aids in it.

M - Mouthfeel was thick and syrupy.

O - That thick mouthfeel combined with the sweetness and metallic taste did not make for an enjoyable beer. I really enjoy most beers from Troegs, but not this one.

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Photo of TheDudeBeers
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Orangish-Purple in color. No real head to report
S - Fruit and perhaps some clove and other spices
T - Apricot, citrus fruit, cherries up front with the spices coming late in the taste.
M - A little heavy for a winter warmer but I like that. Thick on the tongue with low carbonation.
D - I usually don't like Winter Warmers. It's just not my favorite style but I think this is pretty drinkable.

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Photo of Lordsloth
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle received from Scott84golf(IIRC). I opened my second bottle, and I need some more!

Appearance is a deep, dark red/brown, but still quite crisp and clear. Smells like dark cherries and dark malt. Taste is amazing. Very clean taste, almost no aftertaste to speak of. Dark malt and the aforementioned cherry. Mouthfeel is good, light and apealing, but there is a bit of alcohol bite to it. Drinkability is very good. I could go for more. Currently my favorite style.

Send me some more, somebody! :)

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

Poured into a pint glass with a small head that disappeared almost immediatly.

Nice red orange color, nothing about the small is overwhelming, just a brief whiff of hops.

First mouthful is tart, might be the carbonation, medium mouthfeel, no hint of hotness from the whopping 11% ABV.Very crisp, good balance, I would think this beer would smooth out and more flavors will come out with ageing.

Just a hint of honey and cherries, but obviously they were the big reason the ABV is high as it's not a malt monster of a beer. It's kinda wierd the ABV is high and the beer is not dark at all.

Very drinkable - very warming - 3 beers and I wouldn't recommend driving! I was hoping I'd like it more, but it's ok. The more I drink, the more I like. It reminds me of a barleywine more than anything else.

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Photo of devo1980
4.41/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

This looks and smells amazing. As suggested, drank out of an oversized wine goblet. Strong and smooth. Does have a faint cough-syrup aftertaste, so sadly the "taste" category is its lowest. However, i would gladly drink this beer at any winter-time holiday.

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Photo of Lafe
3.69/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The color of this beer is a beautiful, rich, reddish, amber. The aroma is sweet, with heavy overtones of honey and fruit (cherry), and an undertone of alcohol.

The first taste screams "sweet!" A burst of cherry and honey is followed by a most subtle bitterness, that doesn't quite balance the dominance of the sugars. The lack of assertive bitterness is almost made up for in the bite of alcohol that follows. The salvation of this beer is that the alcohol bite makes its appearance in a very pleasant, and probably planned, way.

There is no head to speak of, nor is there any lace. This beer, however, doesn't really seem to need it. It is outstanding for a cold winter evening, sitting and reading reviews on beeradvocate.com!

Also, I have to give out props for the artwork on the bottles and six-pack cardboard. Very nice.

As I finish the beer, the alcohol content really stands out in the flavor.

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Photo of rhythmguitartz88
3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The appearance was nice although the head did disapear quite quickly. The smell was hard to find but once found it was pleasent some bitter-esque qualities coming through the smell but overall nice. The taste was nice with a strong finish that stays on your tongue. The mouth feel was above average.

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

Wayyy past the season, but I picked up one of the last bottles and had to try it anyway

A: Red. I haven't ever seen a pure red beer before so I give it high marks. Average head and lacing for a high gravity ale.

S: Bavarian banana yeasts. Super yeasty.

T: A mad array of flavors. The cherry is pronounced but the honey is subdued. Banana phenol yeasty flavors dominate. I can barely taste the delicate honey flavors. Unbelievably sweet for such a high abv. The alcohol is masked wonderfully. German Hallertau and Saaz hops make an entrance late. The aftertaste is a bit cloying and slightly medicinal.

M: Dextrinous but not too heavy.

D: Tastes more like 8% abv than 11%. Give me a whole six pack of this and I would be wasted immediately.

Complex and maddening. Definitely a Belgian ale.

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Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,240 ratings.