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Tröegs Mad Elf | Tröegs Brewing Company

very good
1,240 Reviews
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Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

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: 3,802
Photo of BethanyB
3.82/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A flurry of fizz gathers to create a creamy tan head which starts out strong, but is quick to melt. I was surprised by the excellent clarity. The color is lighter than expected--a medium copper.

On the nose, pale malt clashes with chocolate-covered cherries and sticky sweet honey. The flavors promised by the label are unmistakable in the bouquet, but are too saccharine to be truly appetizing. A hint of nutmeg and cinnamon adds some lively variety.

The honey plays a starring role in the taste, glomming onto the other starring flavors which include dates, pears, and yes--cherries. It's a nice, fairly well-balanced combination platter, but the overt sweetness mixed with the tartness of the cherries has the potential to get a bit tiresome.

Medium-bodied with medium carbonation, the refreshing feel for a beer this dark and with such a high ABV is impressive. It's dangerous, of course, as the crisp qualities make it easier to throw down the hatch.

Overall, a tasty brew that lives up to its description. Still, as that description tends to suggest, it could be too cloying for some.

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Photo of SussexMan
4.63/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Nothing says "Winter is Here" like a Mad Elf. And when I say this, I love the beer after Thanksgiving when the cold air comes into town, this full body beer with a punch warms my nicely next to the fire. This ruby red red beer pours nicely and the strong alcohol content is kept behind a closed curtain (trust me, it is there). The cherry and the chocolate flavors are strong and I cannot help but smile after I finish one of these.

This beer makes Thanksgiving for me.

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Photo of THSdrummer
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep ruby red, with a thin beige head that disappears rather quickly. No lacing left behind. Coriander and honey hit the nose with a strong malty presence in the background. Coriander, banana, cloves blend with a bit of honey and sweet malty presence behind it to form a tasty brew. Mouth feel is a little above average. Good filling nature, but a little harsh on the carbonation. Overall, a tasty brew that has some good sweet notes in the taste and aroma. Very pleasant to drink.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

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Photo of seedyone
3.49/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

From bottle at home. Coppery, brown ale color with virtually no head or lacing. The cough syrup aroma is redolent of cherries...black cherries. The texture is far from syrpy...actually a bit disappointing. That being said this is a true wintery treat.

I was introduced to it as a blend w/Troegs Dream Weaver in a 80/20 mix, The Elf adding a very pleasant balance to the wheat beer dryness of the Weaver.

OK on it's own, at the right rime of year, but since we're running about 15F+ on the year, this might find it hard to become a preferred quaff...but the marriage works very well.

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Photo of stevoj
3.84/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from my brother. Dark pit fruit, dubbel like characteristics, with a healthy dose of malts make for a nice, thick, chewy brew. I like that its not "winter spice"-ey like so many others.

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Photo of q33jeff
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

** 12/02/2013
Aroma Is honey, spice, Dr Pepper. Clear reddish brown color. Taste is sweet cherry, yeast, 11% alcohol is well masked. Really good, although a bit sweet, and tough to drink more than one in a row.
Finished 4th of 19 Winter Seasonal Beers in Blind Tasting. (6th on my list)
I stashed one away to age for 2016 Christmastime.

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Photo of pbass0
3.04/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

I was not a fan of this beer. If you love cherry this is for you though. If it tastes like cough syrup (at first it really did) then it is too cold. SERVE THIS BEER WARM. I am serious, it will bring out the cinnamon and honey much more. But it couldn't sway me even warm.

I am shocked at how well it masked the alcohol though.

UPDATE: I kept 4 of these that I bought from December in my basement and late April I tried one and the overpowering cherry taste was balanced better and it was still surprisingly carbonated. Not bad

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Photo of Schulzie
4.51/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Look it, I'm paying $2 a pint for this because no one likes it, and they want empty the keg. I just won the friggin lotto. It's a damn Belgian people, enjoy!

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Photo of ivehadthatbrew
4.46/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look: This beer seems interesting right from the start. A beautiful ruby red hue. There's a nice white/tan head making this beer look extremely inviting.

Smell: Chocolate, figs, cheeries, honey and a nice smelling warming booze aroma coming off this brew. It's pretty beautiful.

Taste: A perfect balance of tart, caramel, fruit, bready and spicy flavors. The only thing setting it off balance is the big booze flavor, which is actually nice.

Feel: Just like I said, the big booze flavor is very nice mostly because it warms you up! It's the perfect seasonal beer. It is sort of cry at the end, but other then that it's nice.

Overall: If there was one beer I could drink during cold weather the rest of my life, this would be it. It's almost exactly how I'd want my brew to be. Beautifully done.

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Photo of Jacobob10
3.62/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle.

2015 Mad Elf shows a beautiful ruby red color beneath a small, off-white head. The aroma is sweet and spicy, combining honey, chocolate, cherries, and alcohol. Heavy malt creates sweetness in the flavor that's aided by the honey and cherries and culminates in a long-lasting, spicy finish. The alcohol is not hidden and will warm you up as you drink it.

Always a unique treat around the holidays. I'm throwing a couple of bottles in the cellar just to experiment.

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Photo of AndreRus
4.69/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Beautiful red/amber color. Wonderful hint of cherries. Just the right amount. Not overwhelming. Definitely something to look for around Christmas time

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Photo of tlema1
3.89/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L: deep copper/ruby red, with a thin head
S: sweet, Belgian yeast
T: little sweet, boozy, some honey
F: full body, great mouthfeel
O: great overall brew

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Photo of cyclonece09
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured on tap into a chalice. Pours copper red with a small white head. Smells of Belgian yeast with wheat. Tastes of banana and berries with slight wheat taste. Beer is full bodied but still very drinkable, good carbonation. Overall a very good beer.

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Photo of Apellonious
4.11/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2014 version from a 32 oz growler from TBG poured into a tulip glass.

A - Dark ruby red with slight brown and orange highlights. Little head on the pour that disappears to nothing immediately.

S - Banana bread. Cherries. Booze.

T - Very much the same as the nose, honey is apparent on the finish, with some chocolate notes. Not as much booze as on the nose.

M - Carbonation low, heavy feel but not sticky.

O - Can see this as a good post meal sipper in the winter.

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Photo of jcipa88
4.49/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew at 11% will put hair on your chest. It's absolutely delicious, but relax wen you get it, you'll be dying to try, just take a step back. Let it sit on the counter for 10 min. Then open it, let it sit another 10min. Then either pour into any glass you want, who cares! Then just smell, great malty / cherry aroma. The head is white and it's lovely. Now have a Cape Cod potato chip and have another taste. Just a great to have during those chilly days / nights. Cheers

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Photo of Wiffler27
4.46/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

pours a mahogany color with a solid white head.

smell is unique. has some of that Belgian yeast candy aroma. smell is sweet, the cherries are present as well. great aroma!

taste is sweet up front, almost some char to it. finishes with some bitterness to it. fruit taste to it, the cherries are present again. goes down smooth, nice sipper. it finishes bitter as well.

overall this is pretty good. not a bad winter seasonal. has a full and unique flavor. it has a nice balance of sweetness, char, fruit, and bitterness to it. glad i picked this up

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

I purchased a growler of this beer from Consumer's Beverages in Buffalo. Very nice dark amber colour. You think there might be more of a honey flavour, but the alcohol balances the sweetness. Excellent dark ale that warms you up on a cold winter day. Appropriately named as well. Absolutely recommend this beer.

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Photo of classixIII
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This is my favorite beer season and Mad Elf is one of the many reasons why.
Poured a dark amber with little to no head. Amazing smell of fruits, cherries right out there. Honey, grains and a hint of alcohol. Very smooth, minimal carbonation. Dry finish with a hint of bitterness and just enough alcohol.
I need more!

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Photo of puck1225
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On draft at the Public House in west Erie, PA. A deep red gold color with a thin head and nice lacing. Nice sweet and spicy smell and taste. Gingerbread, honey and nutmeg. Went great with the smoked wings!

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Photo of DanJan
4.28/5  rDev +11.2%
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 20holmbrew
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Ruby red with a thin off-white head.

S: dark fruit and cherries. Reminds me a little bit like cough syrup.

T: malty sweetness and honey. Cherries, as expected

M: medium body with low carb. Silky smooth

O: just picked up one in a mixed six pack. I am not a big cherry fan but wanted to try anyway. I can see the appeal for some but not really up my alley. Worth a try.

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Photo of Myotus
3.76/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured at 47°F from a 22oz bottle (2014) into a tulip.
LOOK: Pours with a half finger of khaki foam that dissipates into a line within 25 seconds. Ruby in color with a moderate amount of cloudiness. Rising bubbles are small in size and very subtle in quantity. Lacing is thin and very subtle.
SMELL: Strong aromas of honey are backed by mild aromas of sweet cherries (I personally hate sweet cherries so my rating will reflect that), toasted malts, cloves, earthy yeast, and subtle aromas of alcohol.
TASTE: Strong sweet cherry and honey flavors enter initially and are immediately followed by mild clove and earthy yeast flavors. Mild flavors of caramel along with subtle toasted malt and alcohol flavors lastly as all previous flavors persist, except for honey and cherry, which fade to mild.
FEEL: Medium-bodied and subtly carbonated. Goes down smooth. Finishes with a subtle dryness.
NOTE: An objective review, but a subjective rating. I don't like sweet cherries at all. I'm more of a tart cherry kind of guy. This was very sweet cherry forward. If you love sweet cherries and Belgian Ales, this is your beer.

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Photo of Bwise73
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I would suggest drinking this as troegs suggests between 45-55* . I had it really cold and rather warm and didn't like it. I've had it as they suggested and love it!!

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Photo of bmeehan
4.41/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Mad Elf is now my favorite winter beer, as it does so much more to stand apart from the rest of the winter ale lineup than anything else I've had does. It smells like cherry and honey, which are both included in the brewing (read the label!) and it has a spicy sweetness that feels great on the tongue.

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Photo of mlockman
3.27/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This beer is crazy vinous, it is almost like drinking a wine, to be honest. Definitely not my favorite, but wasn't horrible overall; I really don't understand why it is in the Belgian Strong Dark Ale category.

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