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Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,944 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,944
Reviews: 1,149
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 15.54%
Wants: 141
Gots: 424 | FT: 20
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: 2,944 | Reviews: 1,149 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Stunner97

New Jersey

3.68/5  rDev -4.7%

Appearance- amber and crystal clear in color, small bubbles at first stream glass and slowly fade away, white head starts moderate and quickly dissipates to only white lacing around the rim of the glass,

Smell- definitely can pick up the cherry and honey sweetness on the nose, nice strong Belgian style spiced nose, very malty,

Taste- i originally probably served the beer to cold and some of the flavors opened up nicely with a little time, nice malty beer, certainly very faint hint of cherries and honey as advertised, slight Belgian malty, very long sweet finish, very slightly bitter finish of hops and spices,

Mouthfeel- I actually did very much enjoy the mouth feel of this beer, its not quite as heavy as you would think rather very smooth and soft,

Drinkability- definitely a sipper but not as much as I might have expected considering its 11 percent, its actually a very drinkable ale, I would definitely be curious to see how this would do with a little bit of age on it, overall a decent beer that gives you enough bang for your buck to justify the slightly high price, worth a seasonal look

11-16-2009 05:25:26 | More by Stunner97
Photo of Zaccone


3.83/5  rDev -0.8%

Smells like cherries, especially while still in the bottle. After pouring (into a snazzy Mad Elf chalice) smells yeasty and spicy - just as someone else said, like a hefeweizen.

Looks almost iridescent - coppery-red and very inviting. I must say, despite my qualms with drinking more than one bottle at once, if you let me smell it and look at it long enough I'll probably drink it anyway.

M&D: The 11% alcohol owns the aftertaste. Medium-chewy.

finally, Taste.. really a good beer - on occasion, there are times it hits the spot and I call it excellent. The sour-hefeweizen thing is in the background. Very sugary beer, and the cherries are noticeable.

So, seems to taste like a high-alcohol, oversweetened hefeweizen. Very seldom do I enjoy sweet beer, but this one makes my mouth and tummy happy. Though I'll admit to fantasizing about a drier version of the Elf...

11-16-2009 02:21:09 | More by Zaccone
Photo of WanderingFool


3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Mad Elf pours a still, clear ruby color with a thin off white head on top. The foam dissolves quickly leaving no lace on the glass.

The aroma is faint with sweet notes of bubblegum, clove and cherry. Reminds me of a hefeweizen. As the beer warms the aroma becomes more apparent, but still not too strong.

Each sip of this medium to full bodied beer has a sharp fizz on the tip of the tongue and a light syrup feel on the palate. The flavor is sweet with a balance of spice. It begins with cherry and bubblegum, spicy notes of clove, cinnamon and pepper appear in the middle and it finishes with a touch of alcohol and oak(?). Once gone the cherry and bubblegum flavor lingers on the palate.

For 11% abv this is a quite drinkable beer, however the alcohol sneaks up on you pretty quick. The flat appearance is a bit of a drag, but the complex flavor makes up for any faults.

11-15-2009 21:39:33 | More by WanderingFool
Photo of krisandajt


3.98/5  rDev +3.1%

I asked the wife to pick this one up in response to me doing her homework. It was a fair trade...

Appearance: Pours a clear, rich amber color. I was expecting more of a reddish tinge since this brew is made with cherries, but I was wrong. Virtually no head despite the rough pour. With the lack of head also comes a lack of lacing.

Smell: Has a nice, light kind of sweetness to it. There's some cherries mixed in, which gives the brew a very pleasant, holiday like nose. Very nice...another delightful surprise.

Taste: Wow, I wasn't expecting this. A much stronger hint of sweet honey and cherry than I expected. There's just the right amount of holiday spice bite that really makes this brew stand out. It all comes together nicely, but the flavors are just a bit stronger than what I expected.

Mouthfeel: A nice medium body, smooth going down. It's got a nice bite to it that reminds you that you are drinking an 11% ABV brew.

Drinkability: This will be a brew that I will revisit again. After all, that was what the 6 pack was invented for. I would love to see what some time does to this brew.

To be continued...

11-15-2009 04:19:00 | More by krisandajt
Photo of ProLiquorMan


3.18/5  rDev -17.6%

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.

11-12-2009 18:43:05 | More by ProLiquorMan
Photo of jrallen34


4.1/5  rDev +6.2%

I drank this from the bottle into a chalice.

The beer pours a bright amber that is unbelievably clear. The head is white, doesn't have much retention or lacing.

The aroma is great, it smells like alcohol and christmas. Lots of spice, nutmeg and cinammon.

The taste is surprsingly light and refreshing for a seasonal. I can't believe you can't taste the alcohol considering how high it is.

The mouthfeel is light and the drinkability is very high.

11-12-2009 03:35:25 | More by jrallen34
Photo of scottbrew4u


4.18/5  rDev +8.3%

A: Reddish- copper with a red glow through the brilliant clarity. Poured a thin off-white head that dissipated quickly.

S: Sweet molasses, honey, candi sugar, and port aromas. Complex dark ripe fruit esters with roasted malt underneath. Hop aroma not noticeable. Fusel alcohol aroma present.

T: Dark cherries smoothly mix with a malty sweet complexity. Malts have a bready, toffee, honey, brown sugar flavor. Yeast is peppery and spicy which combines well with the fruit flavors. A hit of alcohol comes into play as well, not deterring the flavor.

M: Medium body with mellow but crisp carbonation. Definitely some alcohol warmth with the sweet finish.

D: Oh yeah, this beer has got holiday cheer written all over it! Spicy yeast, cherries, candi sugar, and alcohol make a very drinkable beer. Be careful though for too many will KYA!!

11-12-2009 02:17:17 | More by scottbrew4u
Photo of TheViolator666


3.88/5  rDev +0.5%

12 fl. oz. bottle poured into snifter.

A: Poured with a beautiful ruby red hue topped by an unfortunate thin white head. Head retention was very low and faded to a thin ring around the edge of the glass after about 30 seconds. Great clarity. No lacing.

S: Big aroma of very tart cherries and various "holiday spices", some alcohol. Honey sweetness in the background.

T: Wasn't expecting this much yeast! Tastes very Belgian, if you will, with tons and tons of spicy yeast character. Very vinous, sweet like honey and a bit tart. Some rich toasted malts. Alcohol definitely comes through, tons of warming down the throat. No hops, as expected. Finishes dry.

M/D: Mouthfeel is nice, medium-full. Carbonation is moderate. Alcohol could be hidden better.

I can see why people age this stuff for years! I might pick another up to keep for quite some time to let it mellow out.

11-10-2009 21:55:56 | More by TheViolator666
Photo of ShadesOfGray


4/5  rDev +3.6%

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into my Ommegang short glass. Color is reddish...only slightly hazy, with not much of a head. Aroma very much reminds me of a pumpkin beer...a lot of spices.
Taste continues the spice adventure. Taste cinnamin, honey, nutmeg...and of course...the cherries. Not very carbonated...which I like, and for 11% abv...very well hidden.
A great winter seasonal.

11-10-2009 04:27:10 | More by ShadesOfGray
Photo of biophiliadude


4.22/5  rDev +9.3%

Bottle to tulip glass

A: deep reddish brown, to bourbon orange. small white head that disappears quickly. No lacing.

S: Spice, malt, alcohol.

T: Spicy maltiness, sourness of the cherry at the end. Warmth of the alcohol too. It all mixes well, nothing overpowering anything else.

M: Bubbles, smooth malt.

D: I could drink these all night. Certainly the best Winter Beer I've had this year. Smooth, and the high alcohol is almost unnoticeable as it works well to bring out the warm malts, substantial body of the honey, tart cherries, and collective holiday spices. Highly recommended.

11-10-2009 00:35:46 | More by biophiliadude
Photo of Jwale73

Rhode Island

3.55/5  rDev -8%

Review #700. 22oz. bottle served in my Bruery tulip. Poured a translucent mahogany with a one inch, bubbly, off-white head that eventually settles into a skim and a band of bubbles; no lacing on this one. Nose smells like cherry cough syrup. Taste consistent with nose - yep, cherry cough syrup. Mouthfeel is medium-light with a consistent background carbonation just shy of prickly; finishes somewhat dry. Interesting, but not what I expected. Seems to be missing some of the complexity of the style; although I have to say that the alcohol is very well-hidden on this one. Glad I gave it a try, but wasn't blown away by this one.

11-09-2009 00:45:44 | More by Jwale73
Photo of schoolboy


4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

I picked this up based on my previous good experiences with Troegs and my love of strong and flavored brews. It did not disappoint in any way except the price ($16-17 a six pack, didn't they hear about the economic issues?).

This is a strong Belgian style that will hit you hard with taste and alcohol. But the balance is great, so the booziness is way under the full flavor.

Unlike some monster beers, when you are done, you aren't done, you want another. If I hadn't sworn off stocking my aging bin and the price of this weren't so high, I'd want to try some aged a year. I think it would mellow out quite a bit.

11-08-2009 23:19:45 | More by schoolboy
Photo of organicbrewer


3.28/5  rDev -15%

A-Light Ruby with a two finger tan head that quickly dissapates Clear

S-Belgiany esters. Some Cherry (no pit) and honey. In one sniff it is really nice but then it gets to be too much, then nice again.

T-Fairly sweet. Some cherry, more honey. No hop bitterness. Kindof all over the place. Not unpleasant though.

M-Sweet! Could use more carbonation to give the perception of dryness or to lift the sweetness off the palate

D-A bit too sweet and alcoholic for me to drink much. Took me a while to finish one bottle. Still not a bad way to warm up when it's cold outside.

11-08-2009 02:22:21 | More by organicbrewer
Photo of deaconoflove


3.73/5  rDev -3.4%

Ap. Color is a fantastic red amber and clear as can be. I love the color. Unfortunately, there is NO head and almost no lacing. Too bad.
Sm. Spicy, cloves?, nutty, malty, kind of medicine-like aroma, but not unplesant.
Ta. Sweet, spicy, and sour bitterness all rolled into one. Some cherry or cranberry in there. Definitely a cold weather sipping beer. Duh!
Mf. Coats very well and stays. I would like some carbonation. The sweetness lingers.
Dr. Probably best as an after dinner dessert beer. Bought a case (it's PA after all) and now I'm wondering if it was a wise use of $58. Ah well, I'm in no hurry. It's in the beer closet.

11-05-2009 22:06:27 | More by deaconoflove
Photo of tigg924


3.83/5  rDev -0.8%

Appearance: reddish brown in color, 1/3 inch head, clear, moderate carbonation

Smell: big whiff of cherries, some oak

Taste: big sweet and tart cherries, alcohol, some oak, and honey in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: dry, medium heavy bodied, moderately high carbonation, semi-sweet

Drinkability: I liked this better on tap. It tastes like an enhanced farmhouse ale to me. The alcohol to me is dominate, but the cherry flavor is nice as well. A very good holiday treat, I will have this again.

11-04-2009 18:14:07 | More by tigg924
Photo of erz316


3.3/5  rDev -14.5%

12 oz bottle into westmalle chalice

no head on the beer at all! how odd for a belgian. the body is a very nice black tea colour, and completely diaphanous and transparent. the nose is fairly strong, even more so when pouring and there is some foam. the nose is a good combo of fermented cherries, sweetness (the honey I'm guessing), and an elusive malt body-- one second it is quite strong, the next I can't find it. the only way I could tell this is a dark strong is from the intense boozy fruit, but no other real belgian characteristics. the taste is lacking quite a lot as well, too sweet, no spice, no booze, no real fruity characgter, just kind of a honey-sweet malt mixture. the feel is decent, a bit under carbonated; the drinkability is not, it is too sweet and not anything close to the way I imagine the style.

11-03-2009 03:46:53 | More by erz316
Photo of MetalHopHead6


4.47/5  rDev +15.8%

Tröegs Mad Elf poured deep amber, with red highlights when poured and held to light. There was no head and very little lace. The color was very striking.

The smell and taste were very sweet, tart, and fruity, like dried cherries. The feel was thick, bitter, and aggressive. There was a strong warmth from alcohol. This was far too enjoyable for the alcohol content.

Tröegs Mad Elf is a sweet and delicious cold weather treat.

11-02-2009 19:10:47 | More by MetalHopHead6
Photo of jlindros


3.63/5  rDev -6%

Heard a lot of good things about this beer, so figured I better review it.

A: A light head develops of about 1/2 inch. It's brilliantly clear with an amber orange brown color with a big bright reddish hue, really presenting those cherries.

N: A very Belgian strong ale nose, with lots of sweet Belgian malts, slight yeast, and a big alcohol kick. Some light toasty bread malts trickle through, and hints of cherry beckon at you in a nice subtle way. Perhaps a slight spice and other things nice (see what i did there?)

T: Very much of a Belgian strong to start. Lots of Belgian malts, sweet malts and some sugar, some yeasty flavors. A big alcohol taste dominates too. Spicy flavors and warming alcohol. Some spicy flavors, possibly from the Belgian yeasts. A slight tangy fruit also comes through, but I don't get much for cherry anymore, unless that's the tangy fruit. I think I do get a little honey, and that probably shows on the dry finish... Ah, I got some dry cherries finally. It's pretty light but I finally got some.

M: Super warmth and alcohol burn. The alcohol is somewhat like bourbon in it's burn. It has very light carbonation and is pretty light.

F: Finishes really dry and really rips the paint, er skin off your tongue. The alcohol is so heavy and tastes like burning. You can feel it all the way down the throat. Some light sweet Belgian sugars stick around a bit, and the slight yeasty flavors also linger for a bit. Overall not a light finish, but not too bad all things considered.

Final thoughts: A pretty nice Belgian strong ale, lots of Belgian sweets and malts and yeast, etc. Some spices, little honey, tangy fruit, not much on the cherry front. The only issue I see is that the alcohol is a little too overbearing. I think that could have been throttled back a bit. Otherwise a nice beer, sippin beer.

11-02-2009 01:49:53 | More by jlindros
Photo of wchesak

South Carolina

4.18/5  rDev +8.3%

Poured into an Abbaye du Val-Dieu glass

A- about the same color as a rose, very little head - thin, wispy, faded quickly, leaving a very small half rim of white head

S - sweet honey and sweet cherries, slightly boozy background

T - like a cherry soda at first, that gives way to warm honey, and eventually some slight heat like from a cherry brandy

M - on the light side of medium bodied, really the way that the beer coats the inside of your mouth keeps it from being light bodied, slightly under carbonated

D - i know its 11% but it is really not noticeable, however I think one bomber is just right, esp with the fruit/sweet of the beer that I usually can not take too much of; also, this is not a belgian strong dark ale

11-01-2009 03:37:58 | More by wchesak
Photo of deathdealer666

New York

2.75/5  rDev -28.8%

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.

10-31-2009 15:48:18 | More by deathdealer666
Photo of IceTrey9785


3.3/5  rDev -14.5%

Bought a six-pack for $13.99 at the Total Wine & More in McLean...

A: This beer looks great. I poured it relatively fast to develop a larger head, but it didn't really take. The beer seemed a little flat, with small amounts of lacing. The rich red color is fantastic...I couldn't wait to take a sip.

S: A rush of malty sweetness, faint hint of hops, but the cherry/honey in the brew gives off reminders of a cold weather medicine (maybe a lozenge or something...). Slightly oily on the nose, and a mild burn from the alcohol. I figured it might be around 10% -- 11% isn't too far out of the realm.

T&M: Excellent carbonation and creaminess -- the beer really fills your mouth, and engages the palate. The cherries hit about midway through the palate. Little to no hops, but the alcohol does the job of cutting the sweet aroma. A lot drier than I anticipated, and much more flavorful too. A nice tart cherry finish.

Overall I really like this beer. I don't want to drink two in a row, but perhaps with a nice dessert, it would be most welcome. Definitely a little too warm out for a beer of this magnitude -- on a cold winter day by a fire, and I think this beer would come alive. Highly recommended, especially given how much complexity this beer brewed with fruit really has.

10-31-2009 01:13:22 | More by IceTrey9785
Photo of ShogoKawada

Rhode Island

4.38/5  rDev +13.5%

22oz bomber, split with my roommate. It's a celebration, as I just moved out my ex-GF from hell. Let's get it on!

A- A nice caramel, ruby red, robust coloration with a fizzy, but nice head. For 11%, it's fantastic.

S- Caramel, cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin pie, alcohol.

T- Very flavorful; Like drinking cider/potpourri/maple syrup/pumpkin pie. An orgy of spices, mild alcohol noted. Very tasty. Puts me in the Christmas mood, alright.

M- A bit boozy, but nowhere near the 11%. A bit hot, due to the spiced aspect... very nice. A winter warmer on steroids.

D- I'd have a whole bomber to myself, I love this beer. My first time trying it; I will be buying more for sure. Not the cheapest winter beer, but for sure one of the best. Very well done.

Note- Doesn't strike me as a Belgian Strong Dark... maybe a Belgian Spiced Amber, if such a category existed. Whatever it is... it's fantastic!

10-31-2009 00:19:30 | More by ShogoKawada
Photo of Jayli


3.88/5  rDev +0.5%

Consumed 10/29/09

A: This beer poured a crystal clear amber with a slight ruby hue to it. A 1/4 inch of offwhite head forms that disappears immediately. No lacing to speak of with this beer.

S: Nose is sweet and spicey - notes of honey, cherries, caramel, and hints of clove.

T: The alcohol on this one hits you up front that is quickly replaced by sweet cherry and honey flavoring. The finish on this another wallop of malt sweetness and smack of alcohol again.

M: Medium body, low carbonation, coats your tongue with a slightly sweet aftertaste. Finish is sticky.

D: This is a nice beer, and as it warms it gets better. Even though the alcohol is detectable, it doesn't distract you from everything else that's going on.

10-30-2009 23:30:59 | More by Jayli
Photo of BeerisfoodLLC


4.13/5  rDev +7%

A - Red tinged beer with a thin head that disappears fast.

S - Fruity with the classic Belgian yeast scents. Can smell the cherries right away.

T - Packed with taste, the fruit & spice tastes are strong and overshadow any hops. The maltiness blends very well with the fruit.

M - This is very heavy bodied. Downright chewy. Light carbonation.

D - Great sipping beer but the high ABV doesnt make it very conducive to having more than one or two.

10-29-2009 20:54:57 | More by BeerisfoodLLC
Photo of craftaholic

New York

3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Appearance: Poured from a 12 oz into a snifter. Has a light ruby red hue with just a lacing of head.

Smell: The smell is faint but there is a prominent belgian yeast with touches of cherries and other dark fruits. There is a faint sweetness of malt and honey.

Taste: The taste is light and crisp yet has a yeast backbone. The sweetness is the sidekick in this one as the cherry and honey really add a gentle kick here. Alcohol is noticeable and does detract from the flavor as a whole, they could have done without such a high abv in this one.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and light, the aftertaste is sweet and leaves a definate deposit of intense sweetness on the tip of your tongue.

Drinkability: Could easily celebrate the holidays all night with this one, the abv is nowhere near what I expected.

Overall: I am a fan of this and will be checking back to report on how it fairs with some age. The honey isn't too prevalent but it is still a nice flavorful brew nonetheless with just the right amount of yeast coming through.

10-29-2009 12:28:50 | More by craftaholic
Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,944 ratings.