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Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

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BA SCORE
87
very good

2,742 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2742
Reviews: 1146
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 15.54%


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: 2,742 | Reviews: 1,146 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of DrJay
DrJay

Massachusetts

3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Though it produced only a thin cap of fine bubbles off a moderately hard pour, the beer itself was a clear, brilliant red. The head retention was decent, with a solid ring settling into place, and the off-white bubbles were a bit sticky and spotty. The nose was a combination of fruit and spices, backed up by a rich maltiness, with notes of banana, tropical fruits, and cloves. The taste was pretty good - very fruity, mostly juicy rather than dried, with lots of banana and berry, plus a pleasant bread character and a balanced spiciness. Full bodied with lightish carbonation that was well integrated into the texture. It was palate coating, yet just short of being sticky, with a mild warmth. Pretty good stuff overall and a tasty Xmas treat. I did find it just a little too sweet though.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2008 01:35:18 | More by DrJay
Photo of glid02
glid02

Georgia

4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Sunswick in Astoria, NY.

Pours a clear copper color with a half-finger white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of sweet caramel malts with hints of medium to dark fruits - cherries with hints of figs - and a good deal of spices.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sweet and crisp caramel malt flavors up front are joined by mild amounts of spices almost immediately. Midway through the sip lightly tart cherry flavors enter into things and carry through to a crisp and sweet finish. As the beer warms the malt flavors intensify and the spices dissipate a bit.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with lighter than average carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and could have had another.

Overall this seems to be a somewhat polarizing beer however I found everything to be present in good amounts and nothing seemed overpowering. Worth a shot.

Serving type: on-tap

01-08-2010 18:39:45 | More by glid02
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On draft at Zella's in Baltimore, MD. Served in a Chimay goblet.

A: Virtually flat. Perhaps 1/16 inch head that left no lacing. The color is a pretty ruby-tinged brown. The beer is light enough to see through easily, which I found rather surprising.

S: cherries, sweet malt, Belgian yeast, alcohol

T: A delicious take on a Belgian Strong Dark beer, this brew has an assertive sweet cherry flavor. Belgian yeast and a pleasant malty taste make this an enjoyable beverage. The beer definitely has an alcohol kick, though it is surprisingly not harsh. Well done.

M: more carbonation needed. ABV hidden fairly well

D: A bit too sweet for me to drink more than one. Also, the cherries, while great, would become excessive after a while.

Serving type: on-tap

02-22-2010 00:31:03 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of Gusler
Gusler

Arizona

4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The color a limpid luxurious ruby on the pour with a smallish head that is frothy in texture, light tan in color and as it disperses rather quickly the resultant lace forms a rather thin velum like sheet that just does cover the glass. The aroma of over ripe fruit, such as pineapple greets you first, hints of fusel alcohol along with the malted grains brings up the rear, bubble gum like tones also present with the start ambrosial and rich in malt with the top middling to almost full in feel. Finish is vinous, sternly acidic, the hops delectable in their spicy bite, desert dry and somewhat tart aftertaste that leaves you longing for another sip. Quite a pleasure to drink, big time tummy warmer, a great “Winter Warmer”, and one I wish was more readily available.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2003 22:33:53 | More by Gusler
Photo of Slatetank
Slatetank

Pennsylvania

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

I had a pint of this on tap at Brewhouse grille in Lemoyne, PA.

A - A very clear bright crimson w/ amber highlights and a very thin white cap w/ ultra fine bead. The clarity is very transparent w/ carbonation visible as it quickly rises

S - the smell is sweet and honey-like w/ an aroma that has mild fruit notes and subtle malt aroma. The mild hint of alcohol is apparent

M - A srong vinous feel w/ smooth full and thick body w/ slight alcohol warmth and moderate carbonation w/ gentle sweetness

T - A crisp, fruit taste at first followed by a slight honey flavor and strong alcohol flavor w/ a mild creamy malt taste. There is very light cherry tinges which are dry and have a mild tannic element w/ honey-like sweetness that coats the palate after the glass is drained

D - Let's be honest this is a strong beer and the taste only hides it slightly w/ little real fruit flavor to speak of and lots of alcohol which isn't something I personally find to be all that drinkable. I admit it is pretty smooth for the abv, with honey not overpowering, but too much for more than 1 IMO.

Serving type: on-tap

12-28-2009 17:56:08 | More by Slatetank
Photo of JohnGalt1
JohnGalt1

Idaho

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

Edit: Please read this entire review before making any decisions about the worth of Mad Elf.

***

Tonight is a big night for me thanks to Hophead101 ... I was lucky enough to win the Mad Elf LIF that contained a solid 4 year vertical of the much sought after Mad Elf. I am too big a pussy to try all 4 years side by side... soooo.. tonight I am gonna do an '08 and an '05 together. The '08 is in my trusty New Belgium snifter.. the older brother is in a nearly as trusty Chimay goblet.

The pour on both were identical... the sediment stuck alot better on the '05... both had a very short lasting 3/4" head.. both have very clear deep amber red brew (sediment was left in the bottle).. no appreciable difference in appearance. (3.5)

The '08:

Nose: clean belgian ale with fruitiness that may be identified as cherries... but I'm having a time.. lite pale malts and slight but definitely there spicy EtOH... actually really very mild. (3.5)

Palate: Really pretty standard BSDA flavors with a sorta punch of cherry essence mid palate with I guess what could be described as a honey sweetness that has a fairly mild fruity finish.. interesting but not what I would say is something that I would really hunt down.. a little too phenolic toward the end... as it warms.. the cherries show up quite a bit more.. and the honey notes really meld better.. but it still leaves something to be desired. (3.5)

Body: lite side for a brew this big.. belgian or not.. carbonation is surprisingly lite with a more smooth small bubble envelope... (3.5)

Drinkability: Honesty.. I could easily drink "one" or two of these relatively easily.. but again, I wouldn't go out of my way.. easy drinking for a beer of this magnitude.. but it would smack me in the brain fairly quickly. (3.5)

The '05:

Nose: Bready and estery.. slightly oxidized in a good way.. sorta like a fruity tawny port.. toasty.. (4)

Palate: The flavor is much more complex.. MUCH. and amazingly the cherry is much more pronounced.. sorta like a refined Maraschino essence.. like a tablespoon of kirsch in a nice goblet of a good BSDA.. very nice.. the phenolic aspect of the '08 is nearly gone.. the alcohol component is also pretty much completely melded into a much more complex brew.. the finish is more dry with a nice lingering cherry smack (4.5)

Body: The body even feels more refined.. pretty much the same viscosity with a delicate bubbliness (word?) .. (4)

Drinkability: The drinkability actually takes a hit (in theory) with some age.. only because I wanna savor it more.. very nice.. much much more of a sippin beer.. (3.5)

***

Wow.. this was a lesson in beer aging.. Huge thanks Greg.. this seriously made me think.. had I thrown in the '06 and '07, I think the differences would have gotten lost in translation.. this is one of the most generous LIF's that I've seen.. again.. thanks.

I don't know how to review this one.. I have to do the fresh review, but if I had this locally.. I would buy 6 or 12 every year and have a few and probably cellar the rest and not touch them for at least a couple of years.. remarkable what some time can do.

Had I reviewed the '05 here is the standing at 2:00 am MST on 1/28/09

A- / 4.05
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | drink: 3.5
rDev: +3.2%

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2009 08:49:34 | More by JohnGalt1
Photo of Georgiabeer
Georgiabeer

Georgia

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

Pours amber with just a slight head. Smells of sour cherries and sweet malt with some oak tannins on the back end. Tastes quite tannic with a lip puckering bitterness that carries through to the finish when more sour cherries kick in and help balance the tannins. Not quite what I was expecting, but unusual enough to be enjoyable and interesting.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2011 15:37:35 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of smakawhat
smakawhat

Maryland

3.55/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass. Getting a head start on Christmas I guess.

A real nice ruby and clear red body, but with a very fast and falling foamy off tan brown head. Lots of noticeable sounding carbonation as well. Barely a collar manages to hang on shortly after and leaves barely a whisp of a top.

Nose is big on Belgian like candi sweetness and some sense of cough drop cherry. A real sense that something sweet is coming.

A kind of juicy light jammy cherry sense on the palate, mixing in with a little bit of bready malts. Surprisingly not as sweet as I thought it might be coming from the nose. Texture actually feels pretty solid, this very nice juicy body almost jammy.

Overall not too bad, nothing real crazy that I am getting excited about though either. For eleven percent abv, it doesn't feel like a boozy mess or hard to drink, which is a nice surprise. However, I am not finding myself really drawn to this.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2011 00:39:00 | More by smakawhat
Photo of HopHead84
HopHead84

California

3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark ruby red with a 1.5 finger head. The head lasts under a minute and there is no lacing. The aroma is of alcohol, sweet malt, and light fruits, mainly cherry. There is some sugary sweetness in the aroma which I attribute to the honey. Flavor is sweet honey initially and the alcohol is noticeable. There is a medicinal quality that I can't quite put my finger on. I like the cherry flavor. It's not overdone and adds a nice and subtle fruitiness to this already sweet beer. Medium - full bodied with okay carbonation. Definitely a holiday beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2008 05:17:23 | More by HopHead84
Photo of mothman
mothman

United Kingdom (Wales)

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

2008 Vintage

Poured into town hall chalice.

Pours hardly and khaki tan head. Fades down fast. Color is a ruby red copper.

Aroma: Cherries right away. Then I get some spice notes. I'd have to say it is ginger. A nice dose of honey with some biscuit flavored malts. This is a perfect holiday beer.

Taste: Lots of cherries and honey up front. Ginger and spice notes. Bready malts. Maybe some plums and molasses as well. This is a great treat for the holidays.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and refreshingly creamy. A very hint of heat. Medium bodied with a lower amount of carbonation, but that is fine since it is a year old. Ends pretty dry though.

Overall, I was impressed with this one and very drinkable for the abv and the little hint of booze that showed. I really enjoyed this one and it is a great seasonal.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2009 00:10:36 | More by mothman
Photo of superspak
superspak

Michigan

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

22 ounce bottle into snifter. Pours crystal clear ruby color with a fairly dense 1 finger off white head with decent retention. Aromas of dark fruits, cherries, honey, molasses, and spices. Taste of cherries, spices, honey, and some other dark fruits. Alcohol is really well hidden here, nothing noticed until the finish, which has some alcohol warming afterward. Really malty with no real bitterness noticed. Medium carbonation and body. Overall this is an extremely drinkable ale, not too complex however, but the flavors are pretty well put together. Definitely has a lot of flavor in it as was expected at 11%. A very good Christmas seasonal beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2011 21:51:19 | More by superspak
Photo of dbrauneis
dbrauneis

North Carolina

3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served on-tap at Rattle N Hum in New York, NY

A: Pours a clear dark copper in color with some amber highlights and moderate amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall light beige head that reduces to a ver thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of cherries and dark fruit with some light notes of spices.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of malts with some dark fruit sweetness and cherries. Additionally, there are notes of honey contributing to the overall sweetness and a light to moderate amount of spice. Very light amounts of bitterness in the finish which fade quickly.

M: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Light hints of dryness in the finish.

O: This beer is pretty easy to drink due to the fact that the rather high ABV is well hidden. This is a good sipping beer, with a decent amount of complexity but too strong for anything other than slowly sipping.

Serving type: on-tap

04-14-2013 17:50:05 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of ccrida
ccrida

Oregon

3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle, cellared 1 year, poured into my Mad Elf snifter. I've had this beer way to many times, from bottles and draft, but this is the first time I've had one with any significant age.

Appearance is a bright, clear dark ruby, with a 1 finger light khaki, large bubbled head quickly recedes to a decent collar, leaving moderate lace. I'm impressed with the amount of effervescence it still has, and I love the color.

Aroma is dark fruit, classic BSDA, but more figgy then the bright cherry it exhibits when young. Sweet honey like with the slightest bit of a metallic tinge to it, as well as a punch of alcohol. Overall, very sweet and thick.

Taste is incredibly rich, but I'm immediately struck by how rounded out this has become, in a most enjoyable way. Seems likes it's gotten softer yet thicker. There's still a nice spicy yeast character...young, I though it tasted a lot like Dupont's yeast, but now I'm leaning more abbey, with the mild phenols. I'll have to reassess that when I have this year's...While I like the punch from the cherries when fresh, I'm really like how it's softened, but I think it's still got more potential to run. Luckily I've got quite a few left! Overall, I really like the complexity, in spite of the fact that it's really quite assessable for a big ass Belgian style noel. Still, the richness dominates, although paradoxically, it seems less so as it warms, where the fig morphs into more grapelike notes. Strange though, since I served this at cellar temps! The alcohol warms the back of the throat and lingers on the tongue, but is easily lost in the depth of taste.

Mouthfeel is very thick, in spite of the spritz and lighter color. Very cloying from the honey, which is not really my style. Belgians should be digestible, and that's probably the biggest knock here, especially as I think it's thickened with age. But again, as it warms it seems to lighten up, crazy. Guess I'll get to know for sure soon enough, when I visit my folks for the holidays...This cellar sample tonight has got me in an xmas state of mind...bring on the noel's!

Drinkability is fairly low, in spite of how much I really enjoy this special treat, as it's so thick and rich. You don't want to rush it, and you probably shouldn't have more then one, or maybe 3! That being said, when I lived in Pittsburgh and it was readily available, I pigged out on it more then once, and it still has a fond spot in my heart...So I'll say average.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2007 09:53:59 | More by ccrida
Photo of dirtylou
dirtylou

Washington

3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

split 12oz with some sam adams schwillin dude, named blackie

appearance: a full amber, cranberry, bubbly white head with bubbly lacing around the rim...bright and lively

smell: very floral, belgian yeast characteristics, sweet and fruity, light cinnamon and other holiday spices

taste: pretty nice...alcohol noticeable but not offensive, bursting with sugary sweet fruit...apple, plum, grape. lightly toasted malt, light yeast, some tart cherry, a touch of chocolate, slight cinnamon, holiday spice

mouthfeel: medium bodied, well carbonated, slick, not as full as I'd like

drinkability: for the style, a little above average

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2006 03:18:53 | More by dirtylou
Photo of thagr81us
thagr81us

South Carolina

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

Big thanks to bs870621345 for this one as a part of a thanks box! Serve from bottle into a Delirium Tremens snifter. Poured a brilliant red-orange with a one finger off-white head to a half finger slowly. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma is comprised of sweet malt, honey, cherries, bananas, and alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, banana, honey, slight cherries, and very subtle alcohol. It had a light feel on the palate with low-mild carbonation. Overall this was a pretty excellent brew. I can't believe this thing is 11%! Excellent aroma and nice flavor that was balanced quite nicely. Definitely a nice fruit aspect going on here to mask the alcohol. This is a must try without a doubt.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2010 14:23:22 | More by thagr81us
Photo of OWSLEY069
OWSLEY069

Pennsylvania

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

Pours a clean orange-ish/ amber color with a tan head. In the aroma, cherries and a small honey and alcohol hint. In the taste, honey/ more sugar thean clove, and sweet dark cherries. A smooth, medium bodied mouthfeel and a small honey and cherry mixture in the aftertaste. Good flavor, small alcohol in the nose, and quite easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2007 20:28:41 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of tavernjef
tavernjef

Minnesota

3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clearish glowing coppery red color, small ivory head that diminishes quickly leaving no lacing. Aroma has a fresh rose semi sweet malty tingle with light phenol and cleaning alcohol notes. Taste has a mild malty start with some slight fruityness that builds into the middle where the fruityness of cherry becomes evident mixed with light raisin and fig, finishing with a slight spicy burn of alcohol which unleashes some more sweet fruityness with nice dry molasses and a slight touch of phenolic yeast and spice notes. Simple in taste but effective in its layering keeping a certain level of complexity. Feel is close to full but falls off quickly, some light chewy and sticky smoothness and malty sweetness throughout with a nice mix of light cake-like drying aspects and even lighter spices and phenols. A nice warmer-upper and actually pretty drinkable even with its 11% due to its smoothness and milder tone.
Thanks to feloniousmonk for saving me a bottle!

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2004 03:24:24 | More by tavernjef
Photo of avalon07
avalon07

South Carolina

3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a goblet. Had a ruby color and a cloudy consistency. Almost no head to speak of. Very little lacing either.

S: Lots of cherry in the aroma, along with yeast as well.

T: Tasted of malt, cherries, yeast, and some indeterminate spices. This is a very boozy beer - especially in the finish - and it almost derails the flavor.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a harsh (because of the alcohol) finish. Full-bodied.

O: An uneven beer, to say the least. It has some good qualities, but others are less impressive.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2012 13:10:25 | More by avalon07
Photo of largadeer
largadeer

California

2.58/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle received from dyan in our latest trade. Thanks.

Appearance: Auburn in color, good clarity, reddish highlights. The head disappears within seconds of pouring, a byproduct of the 11% ABV and cherries I'd guess.

Smell: Fruity, sweet, bready, and a bit yeasty and medicinal. There's a touch of cherry, but it blends in with the malt and yeast.

Taste & mouthfeel: Malty sweetness paired with fairly reigned-in fruity esters. Cherry is evident in the taste but actually well balanced with the malt, more a subtlety than a dominant flavor, lending a mild tartness as well. This tastes like a bastardized Belgian quad. Some spicy phenols appear in the finish. Very medicinal and cough syrup-like. Bitterness is non-existent. Pretty tough to drink, not my favorite Troegs beer by a long stretch.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2008 03:40:27 | More by largadeer
Photo of twiggamortis420
twiggamortis420

Texas

3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle of the 2008 vintage...so this one is maybe a little older than 4 years. Pours a hazed crimson-copper color with a small, limpid tan head. No lacing and retention fails at this age.

Nose is fairly oxidized at this point but the cherries are still prevalent. Caramel and toffee are the main malt contributors.

Taste is definitely past its prime at this point, but I am surprised at how long the cherries have held on. Malts are somewhere in between a Belgian dubbel and a carmely barleywine. The yeast makes its mark and is a good choice for this beer, feels very 'Belgian' with more age. The alcohol is well disguised and well integrated with the heavy malt. I like this beer better when around the 1-2 year mark, but this was a fun experiment nonetheless. This beer seems to have plenty of detractors, but I find it to be quite delicious at any point in the aging cycle.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2013 02:14:41 | More by twiggamortis420
Photo of BeerFMAndy
BeerFMAndy

Wisconsin

4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.
11% ABV, 2007 Vintage, Serve in chalice or tulip at 50-55° F

Thanks Onenote81! I've been hanging onto this one for a while!

A - Minor rust has developed around the cap but it's no cause for alarm as this beer pours, without sediment, a mostly clear ruby amber color with a fleeting ivory head. It comes as no surprise the head disappears with how high in alcohol this is. Dots of lace delicately cling to the glass above the ring of loose bubbles.

S - Despite it's aged, this 2007 vintage of Mad Elf remains aromatic and nearly without degradation. Faint oxidation for a five year-old beer is somewhat noticeable though the robust aroma of smooth caramel and biscuit malt which builds a base below the floral clove honey nuances and faint tart cherry skin notes but doesn't quite distract from the joy within. And while the beer has mellowed, spicy alcohol still manages to break free with undertones of earthy clay and clove yeast esters behind.

T - Thick maltiness seems to have diminished in oomph slightly, offering a light caramel drizzled nutty biscuit flavor that's quickly overwhelmed by the beer's developing complexity of fruit and spice. Faint noble hop herbal qualities and smooth yeast esters encourage notes of clove (along with the sweet honey), clay, and white pepper with a touch of solvent alcohol peeking through, but even with age, the focus seems on the cherries, both sweet and tart!

M - Smooth feeling with a voluptuous, full body that's not cloying or syrupy, this hearty holiday ale has a delicate carbonation tickle and complimentary alcohol dryness that maintains balance with a kiss of tart cherry skins on the finish. Alcohol is perceived in retro-nasal breathing but, due to it's age, it's rather smooth, producing a wonderfully satisfying warmth in the belly!

O - An absolutely fantastic holiday treat, Tröegs Mad Elf is a masterful concoction of subtle Belgian yeast that produces spice nuances without the straight addition of spice. Honey sweetness never becomes cloying but adds a little something extra with the delicate cherry tartness. Just as exceptional fresh, age continues to do this strong beer favors, developing into a delectable and soothing winter sipper.

Serving type: on-tap

12-23-2012 17:26:41 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of RoyalT
RoyalT

Ohio

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

Appearance – Clear and bright orangish-red in color with a very shallow head, probably from the high ABV.

Smell – Big mix of cherry and orange juice, mostly cherry, with a dash of cranberry and yeast. There’s a noticeable but very easy whiff of alcohol as well.

Taste – The yeast comes out more at the taste and mixes well with the cherry juice and booze. This is a sipping ale in every sense. Some spices come out at the finish, making this one a very complex and interesting ale.

Mouthfeel – This one is light for a BSDA but with a strong alcohol sting, probably too much for most. It is smooth as glass though, so watch out!

Drinkability – I enjoyed this one, as did many of my BA Bros, but I wouldn’t offer this to a friend unless they can appreciate the style interpretation. This is for the serious-minded only, but if you’re up for it it’s one hell of an experience.

Comments – OldFrothingSlosh sent this one to me out of the blue, and boy was I ever glad that he did. A big THANX for getting this one out to me – BeerAdvocates rule!

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2004 03:28:55 | More by RoyalT
Photo of bluejacket74
bluejacket74

Ohio

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

22 ounce bottle from 2008. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a dark ruby red color with about a quarter inch off-white head that went away pretty quickly. Not much lacing, either. Aroma is fruity and sweet, it smells like cherries, honey, and a bit of yeast and spice (cinnamon). The taste is similar to the aroma, but with the addition of some chocolate and a little bit of booze. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit coating and has low carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's smooth and goes down easy. For the most part the 11% ABV is well hidden. It does catch up to you after a while, but that's to be expected. This brew has aged well, I like it better with a year of age on it compared to drinking it fresh.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2009 21:22:49 | More by bluejacket74
Photo of DrDemento456
DrDemento456

Pennsylvania

4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A new year and got myself a growler fill of this perfect winter warmer.

A - A nice solid ruby read poured heavily as instructed on the side of a box I saw to unlock the hidden flavors. This resulted in an inch of head which is amazing for the ABV.

S - Warming alcohol with some sweet herbal cherries and tons of honey put in for good measure.

T - The first sip starts off intense with the alcohol burn start followed by a sort of herbal not sweet cherries and honey backbone finish rounding out the burn

M - The warming feeling of this is pretty intense but after the second glass it felt so right.

D - I struggled to finish the growler myself so get some help damn it! Taking a whopping 3 1/2 hours to get the whole thing down by the 4th it actually felt like the night before Christmas and Santa was waiting for me with gifts, to describe the giddiness was the true definition of a winter warmer. Enjoy this with friends and family!

Serving type: growler

12-07-2010 19:26:20 | More by DrDemento456
Photo of ZAP
ZAP

Minnesota

4.68/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Fantastic brew....pours a cherrywood color...nose is spicy..body is medium...carbonation seems low....very few hints of the high ABV...extremely drinkable....some spicy alcohol notes on the flavor... Taste is very interesting...kind of an experimental Belgian Dubbel with soft sweet cherry notes...the cherry is not overdone which would have wrecked the beer....instead it adds a subtle elegance to the final product...also hints of oak, and brown sugar in the flavor...

This is outstanding....this is what all breweries should put out for their winter beers....On my dream tap list this would occupy one of the season lines during the winter months....a must try...lived up to its considerable hype ..

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2004 23:29:25 | More by ZAP
Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,742 ratings.