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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

1,209 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,209
Hads: 3,650
Avg: 3.85
pDev: 26.75%
Wants: 224
Gots: 932 | 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: 1,209 | Hads: 3,650
Photo of gregO59
4.41/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Mad elf back on shelves. Always a treat.. Troegs is a never miss product. Found it 1st for 17 .50 a six, 2nd time for 15.50 a six to watch giants game.

appearance- held up to light its like looking at a stoplight

smell- honey, cherries , chocolate , coffee

taste- mixture of same

mouthfeel- light a little sweet

overall- really like it as a diversion from an RIS for the difference to the taste buds . Something

to have when you want to go beyond the usual. Hard not to buy when available .

11% gives off a nice buzz

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Photo of delta490
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A- a beautiful, clear ruby color with a fizzier off-white head. Nice retention and a small but steady stream of carbonation is visible.

S- rich and fruity with a hint of Christmas spice.

T- the taste closely mirrors the aroma, with a nice fruity sweetness of the opening and hints of spices on the finish.

M-thinner than it's bigger aroma and taste would indicate. But not unpleasant at all.

O- a really good Holiday/Christmas ale. No one aspect overpowers but it all blends together quite nicely.

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Photo of lunarbrew
3.11/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Ahh, the thin line between a drain pour and a creative beer. This toes it close.

Beer pours red with little head and thin lacing. Smells like very little. Highly generic nose. Some faint cherries and sugary malt. A general "beer" scent. It's a little like cracking a coors. Tastes like fake cherries and brown sugar. Very sweet. Not too pleasing, but I'm trying to get through it. Consistency is slick, syrupy, and sticky. Pretty flat. This didn't quite work, imo. It's interesting, but ultimately a flop in my eyes.

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Photo of mitch3114
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured 12 oz. bottle into snifter glass

A- Nice brown color with a slight reddish hue

S- I smell the cherries! I also smell Belgian yeast and alcohol. This smells a bit like cleaning solvent...with a hint of banana.

T- Well, it certainly doesn't TASTE like cleaning solvent. I can taste the Belgian yeast. It's more subtle than I thought. I taste sugar cherries and alcohol. Maybe some spices.

M- Mouthfeel is great. It's smooth and has just the right "prickly" with the carbonation. It's not too thick, and it's not cloying.

O- This is a unique beer. I am glad I finally got to try it and I got to try a fresh one. I think I will pick up a 6 pack and lay some down. I think when some of the heat burns off, even more of the subtle flavors will come out. I can see why this is a holiday favorite!

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

Bottle pour into a turbinator.

A nice dark red. off white head dissipates to a thin disk. not over carbed.

S: cherries, strong dark phenolics. lemon, slight bready yeast.

T: Some mild yeasts and some neutral sweet notes led by tart cherries. Some spicy booze, mild dark malts and tart dark fruits. Hint of bitter chocolate. Dry.

M: creamy due to carbonation. Dry malty finish with volatile dark fruit notes. spicy. boozy at ultimate finish.

O: Not terribly complex, a straightforward example of the style. Would not turn down.

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Photo of tkdchampxi
3.64/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This beer is better on draft than in the bottle. Sometimes it comes off a little too boozy, but it has nice holiday flavors, and there are some good citrus, orange, and spice notes.

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Photo of Glennlawless
3.42/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a 16oz Tulip.

A - Nice one one finger head, amber and see through and color and lots of bubbles. really good looking beer.

S - Smell cherry right away...and dark fruits and some hidden booze.

T - very dry and Super sweet. just cherries in the beggining and all the carbonation and spiciness of the brew hits you here...it finishes with a kiss of alcohol and lingering cherry. Not bitter at all and no noticable hop presence actually breaks through. not noticing the honey. maybe its balancing out the alcohol at the end possibly?

M - Very dry and super carbonated.

Overall this was a pretty good beer. It definetley would not be my first pic but its a super talked about beer in the winter time so i figured it was time to pop the mad elf cherry haha. This beer is a definite sipper, and you can somewhat tell its 11%abv. just a ton of sweetness( probably the honey now that i think about it, duh...) and a ton of cherry. with some very mild heat from the alcohol. its a pretty nice beer. I wouldnt get it again, but id never turn it down.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a reddish chestnut color with amazing clarity for the style. The head is a two finger cream shade. Retention is *very* good for an 11%'er, but it's thin, soapy texture means it leaves no lacing on the glass. What it does leave behind are alcohol legs, and lots of them. I'm disappointed that there aren't any dregs from the bottom of the bottle, though. Still, despite those reservations, it looks superb in a glass.

S: It's spicy at first, with a sweetness that is reminiscent of gingerbread. After opening up, cherries start appearing on the nose. The sweet qualities help cover up the alcohol. Mostly very impressive in general, but the slight touches of medicine I pick up occasionally keep it from being a 4.

T: Immediately, I notice its sweetness on the palate. Cherry sweetness appears first before giving way to a spicy middle. Strong honey notes finish it off. There isn't a significant booze presence; and even still, what can be tasted is properly defined and spicy, if just a tad harsh. Only two complaints here: complexity is low, and the sweetness can get overwhelming after about 2/3rds of the bottle is consumed.

M: While it's body is somewhat thin for the style, its creamy feel makes up for it. It's also very well carbonated and dry finishing as the style dictates. Alcohol can't really be tasted on the palate, but it can be felt tingling the tongue and warming the orifices...and wow, does it ever warm the orifices. Despite that, it's shockingly drinkable - only the high level of sweetness is preventing me from gulping this down.

O: As a BSDA, it's really good but not quite my favorite of the style. As a general sweet-and-boozy monster, though, it's excellent. About the only thing I can complain about is how sweet it is - and this problem can be solved simply by getting the 6-packs or a 12 oz single instead of a bomber.

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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 UCLABrewN84
3.71/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle pour at mrbubbler's tasting.

Pours a clear dark honey orange with a foamy bone head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, honey, cherry, and cherry syrup aromas. Taste is much the same with sweet malt and cherry flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of toasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is tasty but fairly syrupy and sweet.

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Photo of nsheehan
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle to Duvel Tulip
11% ABV
Bottled 110719 (maybe?)
Given to me in December 2011

A – Poured medium strength into a Duvel tulip. One finger of head that dissipates quickly, I think it’s my soap’s fault. A lot of yeasties floating around, giving it a hazy look, like a strange snowglobe. Color is a dark amber with a tinge of orange. It’s quite opaque, but still has a slight warmth to it; light is getting through but my hand can barely induce a shadow.

S – A nice, sweet, earthy Belgian smell with some spice and dark fruit. Also some alcohol nip. The sweet Belgian smell is apparent, and paired up with other smells that don’t shirk away. I’d like to see it play a slightly larger role. It seems equal to the alcohol, spice, and dark fruit smell (part of which may come from the yeast, but still). For being a BSDA holiday ale brewed with spices and cherries, I think it’s very well done; so many holiday ales go too far. When I gently swirl the beer, I pick up banana, slight bubble gum, cherries, and dates, in that order, with alcohol wrapped around every one.

T – The Belgian flavor plays a slightly larger role in the taste than the smell, which is to my liking. The alcohol is the second flavor, which is OK, but not ideal. The fruit is apparent on the swallow, and I pick out some dark fruits, like cherry, and also cantaloupe. Weird, but welcome. The spices are there, but hang out in the back of each taste, which is great. Comes across as a good, boozy BSDA.

M – A light medium, which is surprising but OK. Makes it easier to drink on a day like today (though I’m currently inside). The carbonation seems to have kept well for about two years (what I can tell from swirling it), but high ABV BSDAs tend to be low on the carbonation spectrum. This one is soft and a tiny bit chewy, but as mentioned, has a slightly lighter than expected body. It sticks pretty close to the tongue, and the finish is pretty wet, except for your inner cheeks, where I think the alcohol has a drying effect.

D – I am looking forward to trying this fresh sometime, but for now I am happy I saved it for 1.5-2 years. It is soft and seems to have retained flavor without oxidizing.
4, 4, 4, 4.25, 4; ~4.04

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Photo of apr3940
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Tis the season for a nice full flavor beer. Troegs Mad Elf has a wonderful taste combination of Cherries, Honey, Dark Chocolate, and spice. This beer has a nice red appearance, and should be enjoyed responsibly. (I've sampled more then one on a occasion or two.) Another beer that is limited supply, and can run out faster then it comes in. Most distributors and bottle shops are kept in the loop to how much, and when they can receive it. (So make good friends with your local beer guy!)

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Photo of gillagorilla
3.48/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber (from notes)

A: Reddish brown with a big head.

S: Malty, sweet with cherry and honey.

T: Mild and plain sweetness.

M: Slightly crisp with even bubbles. A bit viscous.

O: Ok, but I couldn't finish. It was a weird combination of flavors.

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

Amber reddish color with a thin head with low retention.
Aroma of cherries, caramel, molasses, dark fruits and honey.
Nice balanced flavor of honey, red fruits and molasses. Hints of Belgian yeast
Full body with adequate carbonation. Alcohol of 11% ABV is well hidden among its malty base and several flavors.
A great winter warmer, perfect timing for this cold day in the southern hemisphere.

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Photo of Jonada
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle. 2012 vintage. Served in a snifter.

Appearance: Pours a murky dark red color with one finger of head, which dissipates quickly to a slightly off white collar. Body is hazy with quite a bit of suspended sediment.

Smell: Cherry, clove, dark fruits, honey and some light medicinal notes.

Taste: Spicy Belgian yeast, cherry, dark fruit, pepper, sweet bread. Insanely drinkable for 11%.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, slightly heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is medium and ideal for this particular beer. Finish is lightly sweet with medium alcohol warmth.

Overall: Extremely tasty and very unique beer. One of my favorite winter seasonal beers and always worth seeking out a 6 pack when it's released.

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Photo of sporr
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is my all time favorite beer. I refer to it as "The Closer" especially from a night of tasteing other quality craft beer. This beeer always is a pleasure to drink and usually puts me in that special place. If you haven't had this then you really are missing something special.

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Photo of RummyRedbeard
4.04/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

(copied from blog - written January 12, 2013)

Appearance – Pours a transparent dark ruby red/amber.
Smell – Very sweet, like cherries dipped in honey (obviously).
Taste – You can taste the sweetness of cherries and honey upfront. Some sort of spiciness hits the tongue. Chocolate in the aftertaste.

This year was the first time I had the pleasure of enjoying Mad Elf, when I tasted it at a craft beer tasting. After that I had bought the six pack once, and since it’s so damn expensive I never cared to do it again regardless of how good it is. That was probably two months ago. Tonight however my lovely girlfriend was in the mood for it so I’m drinking it at her expense (thanks baby)! Anyway, this ale is like a mead or a sweet wine and very appropriate on bitter cold winter nights to warm the blood pleasantly. It has a gorgeous color and a wonderful aroma to be appreciated for a while before you actually indulge in to the liquid itself. Its taste is kind of like cocktail cherries with honey laced in between, and a hint of liquor. The inclusion of chocolate malts leave a chocolaty aftertaste with a spiciness on the tongue that I can’t put my finger on. This is a heavy beer with a high ABV that should be consumed slowly, and enjoyed to its fullest, perhaps even shared with a friend.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.24/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Dogfish signature snifter. No freshness date.

A- Pours a ruby color with a 1/2 inch off white head that retains a bit before fizzing away to a thin ring around the edge of the glass and a thin patch of surface foam. Lacing is sparse and non-resilient.

S- Has a sweet, fumy Belgian candi sugar smell with some dark fruit notes.

T- The Belgian characteristics of this beer have become more apparent since the last time I've had this which was years ago. More dark fruit notes like plum, raisin and cherry than the cloying honey/cranberry sweetness I remember. Alcohol is still masterfully concealed though. The cloying sweetness I remember becomes more apparent as the beer warms.

M- Medium-low carbonation keeps things toned down which is expected from a BSDA with such a high ABV. Slightly syrupy feel with a medium-heavy body.

O- I think I just realized that this was the first BSDA I ever fell in love with. So easy to drink with such high alcohol content. I'm sorry, but that's just a winner for me. Such a shame it doesn't have a higher average BA score.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.84/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

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Photo of stckhndlr
3.66/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

A- I love the color of this beer. Literally the same color as the label. A dark pinkish maroon color. Poured into a tulip glass and it developed a good 2 inch head on top that doesn't stick around too long.

S- Great cherry smell all the way. Hints of honey round this out. Just a nice sweet and pleasant smell, hints of spice.

T- slightly acidic like tart cherries. you can also pick up the spice at the end, almost mixed with some cloves.

M- A little bit over carbonated but not too much. Still very drinkable.

O- I want with longing for the end of fall to get here to get this beer each year. It is still one of my favorites. It's a sweet beer and very drinkable. However at 11% you have to force yourself to take it slow. Great winter beer.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.38/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Half Pint Pub in Rochester, NY.

A huge seasonal favorite around here, but one I don't really understand the hype for.

Pours a bright copper red, with a one inch head and not much lacing.

Smells like cherry juice/extract, Belgian yeast esters, and alcohol.

This one's sweet as hell. So much medicinal cherry flavor packed in, it's cloying and syrupy. There's not much else here, tons of yeasty esters come into play, which don't help, given they give off similar cherry-like flavors, anyway.

Medium bodied, syrup, thick and sweet mouthfeel. The best thing that can be said is the beer hides the alcohol fairly well, considering everything.

I guess it's just me, people love this, it's a pass for me.

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Photo of Mertzy81
4.07/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours a murky brownish-red with a decent head of off-white, coarse bubbles. No retention or lacing.

S: Aggressive nose of syrupy cherries. Hints of vinous grape, a bit of lactic acid, and sugary fruit juice.

T: Juicy cherries hit the palate, along with a smooth blend of spices, sweet and grainy malt, and Belgian yeast. Hints at cloying cough syrup but is pulled back by the malt and yeast. Bit of a smooth, medicinal honey sweetness. Fruity Belgian esters mix well with the cherries and honey. A bit of alcohol in the finish, but it's barely perceivable.

M: Relatively full body and fine carbonation.

O: This definitely grew on me as the glass drained. Can get a little cloying, but ultimately it's pretty balanced, and the hiddenness of the alcohol is remarkable for 11%.

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Photo of alex_hart
4.69/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Belgian Strong Dark Ales are by far my favorite style of brew, so when I saw that a beer at 11% abv was on tap, and was this style, i knew I couldn't turn away.

This was love at first taste. Dark cherries, spice, and caramel. It looked dark and foreboding (which is what I like), but it was soft, smooth, and delicious. The smell threw me off a little bit and made me nervous before the first sip, but that is the only negative thing I could say about it. This is one of those beers I could drink every day for the rest of my life and be content, though my organs would fail.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.66/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

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Photo of popery
3.29/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

From notes, 1/28/11. Bottle. This beer is a bit of a sweet mess. It certainly drinks smoother than its 11% abv, but that’s the best thing about it. It pours a very red amber color with a small off-white head. The aroma is sugar cane, cherries, honey and some fruity Belgian yeast notes. The taste is sweet with a somewhat cloyingly sweet finish. It’s just a bit of a mess. The flavors don’t really clash, but it’s cloying upon cloying. It’s actually a lot like what I imagine an elf would drink, a sort of fruity beer nectar. Mouthfeel is sticky but otherwise fine. I’m being a bit harsh, but it’s just too over-the-top for me. Lots of sweet flavors in this one.

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Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,209 ratings.