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: 3,580
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 7.51%
Wants: 213
Gots: 860 | 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: 3,580
Photo of MadElf25
4.28/5  rDev +10.9%
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 (344 characters)

Photo of willPS21
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
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... (952 characters)

Photo of ciachef1212
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

Cheers, (339 characters)

Photo of TastyFoodAndDrink
3.91/5  rDev +1.3%
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. (1,382 characters)

Photo of stephendedalus
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
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! (1,330 characters)

Photo of mj71
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
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. (511 characters)

Photo of rlparker3
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
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. (362 characters)

Photo of codyw
3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
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. (832 characters)

Photo of Jeff3918
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
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. (156 characters)

Photo of deanwilson
4.85/5  rDev +25.6%
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. (338 characters)

Photo of whiterascal
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
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. (259 characters)

Photo of ProLiquorMan
3.19/5  rDev -17.4%
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. (672 characters)

Photo of weirdohappy
4.75/5  rDev +23.1%

Vary, vary guut beer. reminds me of something. But not sure what. Beautiful amber color. Smells of wine? Like a chardonnay. But an amber chardonnay. And also called a beer. (172 characters)

Photo of grego
3.06/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer was from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Poured very red with not much head that didn't last long. the smell is malty with some spicyness to it - hard to describe for me. The taste is the same sweet, cherries, cinnamon. Mouthfeel is very dry. I like Troeg's beers a lot but this one is not a style I prefer. If you like a stronger holiday style beer then I imagine this would be great, just not my thing. (415 characters)

Photo of padan7
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This review is for the on-tap product. I have had the bottle twice and find it too sweet to be enjoyable. And would give the bottle a c+ rating.

This is a beautiful looking beer. The redish color make it quite appealing.

The smell is also quite pleasing with hints of the cherries & honey.

Taste is sweet but not as much as the bottle. I found the honey seemed cloying in the bottle.

This is something that I can enjoy when in the mood for a sweet holiday beer.

Mouthful is good but I would have preferred more carbonation.

The drink hides the alcohol well. (564 characters)

Photo of deathdealer666
2.71/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip.

A deep amber color with no head.

Smells like a penny and sweat. Kind of mineraly.
Not pleasant.

The only geat thing about this beer is you cant taste the cherries. There's a wierd kind of nothingness it.

It really coats your mouth I don't know what it is but it stays with you.

And then there's the booze. You never would of guessed it at first impression, but alas, yes it is 11%. Now I'm gonna go take my kid trick or treating. Half drunk. Thanks for nothing Troegs. (515 characters)

Photo of 2x10
4.51/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a hazy brown with a lovely red tint which makes its appearance very enticing.

Tastes of chocolate, honey, and apple with a very bready nose.

as the beer warms, the cherries become very evident and a true warming feeling comes across. The alcohol is truely hidden in the taste, but is felt throughout the body after about 2.

This is by far, my wife and I's favorite beer because of the combination of belgian strong ale, the fresh cherry honey flavor and the fact that its not a beer that compares to the "winter" versions of other beers. You can drink this one year round and we LOVE to save it for the summer time.
This beer also gets better with age and can be stored for several years and is surprising refreshing aged and great in any weather.

Its unfortunate that the mix and match beer stores are buying it all up and limiting the cases that can be bought. It just came out last week and is pretty much sold out in pittsburgh or is being hidden in the back of distributors for special customers.
Get it while you can and savor the yummy goodness that it brings. (1,077 characters)

Photo of ElliotNess
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had a bottle last night for the first time, my initial glance at the bottle as i poured it into a glass was the ABV of 11%. I was surprised to see that a christmas ale would be this high. But the taste and drinkability, did not hint at the level of high alcohol. The taste gave a cherry flavor upfront and finished smooth like a good ale does. A very unique flavor unlike other cherry beers I've tasted, and would conclude that i hope to find some around town before the season ends. (485 characters)

Photo of jamesdr1968
1.72/5  rDev -55.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

This beer poured a beautiful dark ruby red color with a nice, creamy head. The taste was a smorgasbord of cherries, vanilla and honey --- an extremely sweet beer, but unfortunately it reminded me too much of cough syrup. I would like to try this on tap to see if there is much of a difference. Great appearance, but the taste was too overwhelming. (347 characters)

Photo of drea0695
3.51/5  rDev -9.1%
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! (600 characters)

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

Yet another courtesy of the frog. 2006 season, drank September 2007.

Poured a beautiful reddish amber with a nice two finger, semi-dense head. Truly an outstanding looking beer. I am a sucker for a red-tinted beer.

The smell was no surprise. Cherry and honey. Neither was a overpowering aroma, which was a relief.

It had a medium body, and felt very smooth in the mouth. There was a bit of alcohol feel to it, which is the only reason this one didn't rate even higher.

Tasted simply of a decent, medium bodied beer, with a bit of cherry and honey. Aftertaste was the same, only the cherry and honey seemed to stick around just a bit longer. So ridiculously simple, but extraordinary. I wish I had more to say about this one, but I don't. It is what it is, and it is a mighty fine beer. Unfortunately, with the ABV being so high, drinkability suffers. I could easily drink MANY of these, would it not kill me.

Despite the steep cost, I will be purchasing either a case or a sixtel of this one when it comes out the end of next month. This is a top-notch beer. I love it. (1,074 characters)

Photo of Tombomb
4.37/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Reddish amber. Clear. very little head

S: some hops and fruit, very little malt.

T: Tart cherries with some subtle alcohol.

M: very light an about water in texture

D: Way too easy to drink this one! at 11% you could run into probles very easily.

I got this in a beer club as a 'big" beer. This was the biggest and one of the most drinkable (347 characters)

Photo of sDon
4.54/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A friend recommended this beer to me, and I was not disappointed.

The beer was dark and served from tap in a 16 oz pint glass. It has instant sweetness in its taste -- cherries and almonds -- that is not too intense and blends well with the general dark beer flavor. Nothing about it seems artificial or forced, as can be the case with some flavored beers.

The ABV was a bit too high and prevented long term drinking, but perhaps this cannot be avoided. I hope that I drink it again. (487 characters)

Photo of mtbikeguru
3.48/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Gotta love the nice red label that depicts a tipsy elf hanging on the Troëgs name. The 11% ABV would make anyone tipsy if they had enough of these guys.

This bier has a very nice glowing ruby red color and a substantial bone-colored head during the pour, which is surprising considering the ABV, but the head did subsided quickly. Very, very fine carbonation

One would think that the alcohol would be very prominent on smelling this brew but it is very balanced with the cherry, pale malt, subtle spiciness, and some other fruity kind of banana esters to come to the front.

Very drinkable bier so be careful because this mad elf will smack you around if you drink to many of his buddies. (699 characters)

Photo of briscott99
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a nice dark reddish brown. A white head of about two fingers. A little bit of lacing on the glass.

Smell: Smells substantial.... bready, yeasty, but also a bit of sweet honey in there. Says it's brewed with cherries, but I'm not picking up that scent on the nose.

Taste: Cherries show up in the taste, but only slightly for me. SPICE... there is a big holiday spice component to this beer... shows up in the aftertaste. Nutmeg? This beer is really malty sweet. I don't detect much hop character at all... maybe a little bittering, but it's definitely overshadowed by the sweetness. This is almost like liquid candy. And for being 11% ABV I don't detect much alcohol in the taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a light carbonation.

Drinkability: I couldn't do more than one of these in a sitting. It's definitely interesting and leaves you with a lot to ponder, but I just wish it were a little less sweet.

Not my favorite, but definitely worth a try. It definitely tastes like the holidays to me. (1,032 characters)

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