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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

2,900 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,900
Reviews: 1,148
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 15.54%
Wants: 138
Gots: 407 | 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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Tröegs Mad Elf Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,900 | Reviews: 1,148 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of corby112


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

Pours a nice dark amber with a slight white head. Aroma of cherries, honey and alcohol. Although the abv is 11% the alcohol is masked very well making this a smooth beer. The cherries and honey give this beer a nice sweetness that is balanced out by a slight maltiness.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2008 09:04:00 | More by corby112
Photo of kshankar

District of Columbia

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

Appearance: Pours a reddish/copper color. Little lacing, decent foam.

Aroma: Yeast, cherry, sweetness from the honey.

Taste: Interesting. The yeast is similar of a wheat. Some bitterness, balanced out by the sweetness of the cherries and the honey

Mouthfeel: On the lighter side. Somewhat syrupy because of the honey. Carbonation isn't that much

Drinkability: Tastes good, has good mouthfeel, and goes down well. Good enough for me

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2008 01:23:19 | More by kshankar
Photo of wiseguy142

New York

2.88/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Wtf this is a weird one. Had at the Tap and Mallet in Rochester. It's sort of a mix of a hefeweizen, belgian, and american amber. Really big banana and clove notes.. almost sickening, with a good amount of unfermentables underneath providing it with some sweetness. Nice orange color with good lacing. I had to give half the beer away because I couldn't finish it.. it was just too wacky. I'm not a Belgian expert, but I've had Chimay before and know what I look for in the flavor from the yeast and this just went way overboard IMO. It's probably not a bad beer, but it's just not for me.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2008 23:45:51 | More by wiseguy142
Photo of SeanRedd

New Jersey

2.73/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Ruby red syrup turns pomegranite booze. No head, low carbonation. Copper oil washes in powdered sugar, giving way to a collage of incoherent flavors. Cherries, plums, honey, and rum clash to create Robitussen. Sweet turned skunked Leffe Blonde. Quite gross.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2008 23:30:32 | More by SeanRedd
Photo of JRed

New Jersey

1.78/5  rDev -53.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Pours a dark red color with no head to speak of which is quite a turn-off. The scent makes up for dull appearances with a strong cherry, sweet aroma. There's some false advertising going on here, the cover is way more pleasant than the book. An initial stale fruit gives way to rotting plums and cough medicine. Don't get me wrong, there's a ton of flavor here but I can't imagine a palate that would enjoy this for more than one sip. Either this elf really is crazy or I've been bad all year cause he just brought me coal in a bottle.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2008 23:29:51 | More by JRed
Photo of BirdFlu

New Jersey

3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tasted like a common dark belgian witha faint cherry sweetness. It has a meade-like viscosity and leaves a coated feeling in your mouth, which is where the honey really shows through. Not much aroma, just a hint of sweetness. Its ok, but nothing amazing.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2008 04:51:06 | More by BirdFlu
Photo of LennyV

New York

4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark coppor color into my Maudite snifter. Small one finger head which leaves quickly. Little to no lacing

No overpowering smell. Faint sweetness with some cherry.

Tastes of sweet cherrys and malt. The alcohol is masked very well.

Medium body more like a "heavy medium" Slight carbonation.

This is a great sipper. Something to hold and enjoy the evening with. It is so very smooth and easy to drink that at 11% abv I could easily ruin the next morning if I am not careful.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2008 03:10:58 | More by LennyV
Photo of Proteus93


4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Reddish brown... more of a vibrant, deep red than anything, with just over a finger of quickly diminishing head, leaving just wisp of lacing.

S + T: Brewed with honey and cherries, and that's exactly what it both smells and tastes like to my senses. A good whiff of alcohol is apparent, but the flavour masks it fairly well, with just a little peppery warmth towards the finish. A touch of breadiness. Fortunately, the cherry flavours do not come across as being too fake or medicinal or heavy. Nicely balanced, with a little bit of a perfumey taste as it warms a little. It's quite nicely done in that sense.

M + D: A nice sipper, well suited for a cold winter evening. Rather crisp, which is nice for a bigger ABV brew. A nice medium body, with that snap of carbonatio. You'll certainly feel it, but it'll go down without much troubles!

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2008 05:19:22 | More by Proteus93
Photo of prototypic


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

Appearance: It's very clear and an attractive dark copper/bronze color. A forceful pour yielded a head that's roughly a finger and a half deep. The head's vanilla in color and didn't stick around too long. A very light coat of lace stuck to the glass.

Smell: The nose comes across as surprisingly tame. Primarily, it's spicy and features some really nice clove and orange peel notes. It is malty and sweet smelling. There's a nice earthy scent to it, but it's not exactly grainy. There is a light fruity scent to it that I can't quite place. Alcohol smells a little strong. I guess it's hard to hide 11%. Above average, but needs a little work.

Taste: The flavor profile is definitely better. Clove, light pepper, and a little orange peel seem to be the focal point. It has a nice malty backbone. Definitely sweet and sugary. There is a distinct honey flavor to it that's a nice touch. There is a nice cherry flavor to it. It's actually very well done. It there just a little more, I might think I'm drinking some sort of cough syrup. As it is, I like it. It's very lightly hopped. Alcohol is strong and has a slight warming effect. Finishes sweet and spicy.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's medium bodied and features a nice smooth body. It'd be silky if it were just a little thicker, but it's nice. Drinkability is good, but a little limited by the high abv. At 11%, one 12 oz. bottle's enough for me in a sitting.

Mad Elf's a unique Christmas release. I can't think of any others off the top of my head anything like it. All of the happy elves are primarily winter warmers, but Mad Elf is one pissed off, spicy Belgian ale. Gotta love that. It's a good beer and I have no reservations recommending it. The nose could use a little work. That's it's only notable flaw.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2008 02:40:11 | More by prototypic
Photo of sleazo

New York

3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A_Pours a clear chestnut colour with a smallish off white head. Staying power and lacing are nto strong points.

S_Sour and sweet cherries dominate the smell. There is also a decent ammount of carmel malt.

T_Cherries hit huge up front, mildly sour but mostly sweet. This is followed by a healthy dose of caramel. The finish is dominated by a spicy yeast character which unveils flavours of pepper, bread dough and and even a bit of wine must. A minor hint of alcohol heat in the aftertaste doesn't distract

M_Slightly viscous with a small bubbled but tight carbonation.

D_The cherries are a bit too strong here and make the whole beverage a bit cloying. If there was a bit more sourness I like this better. That said, this is probably what they going for and this is clearly a well made brew. For a brew of this strength the alcohol is almost completely hidden.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2008 00:04:02 | More by sleazo
Photo of BeerZack

North Carolina

3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to ericwo for this 12oz bottle!

Clear amber or light mahogany color with very little head

Caramel, honey and fruit (cherry), bit of spicy wheaty bubblgegum smell. Some alcohol as it warms, but its very soft.

Tastes pretty fruity up front, slightly sweet and chewy but with a thinner sugary finish that is more Belgian ale than fruit beer. I really enjoy the fruit beeriness up front and can appreciate the balance overall as well.

Feels fairly weighty up front but finishes with a thinner, light-medium feel.

Pretty drinkable for 11%. Would have guessed more like 9 or even 8%.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2008 06:05:09 | More by BeerZack
Photo of ommegangpbr

New York

3.4/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Not too shabby at all, it just happens to be of a style that is associated with so many world class brews. As an American take on a Belgian strong dark ale this is pretty enjoyable.
The flavor profile is pretty typical- fermented dark fruits, dark cherry speaking up the most because of purposefully added cherry in the brewing process. Making this a little less typical is rather roasted type flavor that one usually expects from stouts or porters. It makes for an edge of bitterness that isn't exactly offputting but needs to tempered with some sort of food pairing to maximize enjoyment.
For American brewed Belgian ales there are better options but this is worth trying.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2008 02:53:03 | More by ommegangpbr
Photo of djeffbee


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

A- Pours a deep reddish amber with a thin tan head that dissipates quickly - some lacing remains on the glass as it warms

S- Sour cherries, cloves, maybe orange peel?

T- A dry start with honey and cherries quickly becoming prominent with sweetness. No real harshness or alcohol burn.

M- Medium-bodied with medium carbonation. Balanced nicely.

D- Alcohol is hidden well, but you need to be aware. The fruity flavor may make this appealing, but I'd have to stop at one.

I look forward to this one every holiday season, then I may only have one or two. 11% for this one is a bit scary, but all in all, it's a nice beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2008 02:17:03 | More by djeffbee
Photo of drseamus

New York

4.28/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice deep red body. Crystal clear. Thin white head was there initially but disappeared quickly.

S: Tons of yeasty aromas and some cherry. There is some banana in the nose from the yeast.

T: MMM. It is indeed good. Cherry up front with a nice smooth sweetness. The honey is only slightly noticeable in the sweetness but it is great none the less. For 11% ABV, the smoothness is impressive.

M: Very smooth with great balance.

D: This is an amazing beer. I could drink it all day long although at 11% I would be surely drunk by the end of that day.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2008 02:10:29 | More by drseamus
Photo of bbothen


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

Pours a clear amber/copper color with a small 1 finger deep head. Little to no lacing or webbing left on glass.

Smells of booze, sweet cherries, sharp, malty.

Tastes sweet & malty, tart, booze, spicy, the cherries come through. Alcohol soaked tart cherries. Interesting.

Smooth, creamy, low carbonation, thick, lingering tartness.

Could handle a couple of these with no problem.

Interesting brew for the holidays. Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2008 01:11:41 | More by bbothen
Photo of easement


4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours amber red/garnet with a small off-white head. little head retention. no lacing.

S- Honey and spices. I detect sweet fruit.

T- Fruits and sweetness. notes of maple and honey. Hints of cherry, but it's not overwhelming.

M- Very smooth. Small amounts of carbonation. Very syurpy.

D- Surprisingly drinkable for 11%. I could drink a few.

Serving type: bottle

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2008 00:45:58 | More by easement
Photo of LilBeerDoctor

New York

3/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle. Pours a clear amber with no head. Aroma of honey, melon, and sweet malt. Flavor of sweet fruits, honey, yeast, and melon with sweet cherry in the finish kind of like a cherry slushie. A little sweet but drinkable.
Appearance: 3/5
Aroma: 6/10
Palate: 3/5
Flavor: 6/10
Overall: 13/20

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2008 22:49:46 | More by LilBeerDoctor
Photo of philipquarles


3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours an orange-red with minimal head that disappears to nothing.

Smells of sour cherries, spices, malt, some Belgian-esque yeast, and alcohol. This carries on to the flavor; sweet malt and sour fruit at first, but soon overpowered by the alcohol. It would be nicer if it were masked a bit better. That said, it gives a nice warming sensation.

The mouthfeel is nothing special really; somewhat thick and a bit syrupy. All-in-all, I'm somewhat disappointed after hearing all of the praise. Certainly not bad though.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2008 02:23:40 | More by philipquarles
Photo of RickKrumenacker


4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours to a light red with a small off-white head.

S- Immediate honey and alcohol. Cherries near the end.

T- Lots of flavors. Starts with a light cherry. A little bit of your winter spices - cloves and nutmeg. I thought that there would be more of an alcohol presence at 11%. It was there, but only slightly. I've had beers at half the ABV that tasted like it they had more than this brew.

M- Very smooth. Moderate carbonation that felt just about right.

D- Very good beer. I don't think that I've had a beer with this high an ABV that I felt that I could drink multiples without a problem. Although, you probably shouldn't drink much more than a single.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2008 01:03:36 | More by RickKrumenacker
Photo of deanwilson

New Jersey

4.88/5  rDev +26.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A. Rich reddish copper

S. Alive with fruit, especially cherries and bananas.

T. Flavorfull from start to finish. Honey and cherry upfront, with a touch of sweetness, then a hoppy, citus, dry banana finish.

M. Suprisingly un-syrupy given the high alcohol content.

D. Very easy to sip on. Seems to taste well with just about any food.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2008 22:48:39 | More by deanwilson
Photo of Gmann

New York

3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pretty ruby red color with a smallish egg-shell colored head that settled into a ring. The aroma is yeasty and sweet. Some banana and bubble gum aromas as well as some earthy spice. The taste is a subdued version of the aroma; some banana and bubble gum. What is different is the honey and the cherry, more so on the cherry. Slight hint of hops in the end. The feel is a tad thin for such a sweet brew, it has prickly carbonation to prevent it from becoming sticky or slick. The honey adds a nice smooth feel. Alcohol is scarily well hidden. Quite a good BSDA, I appreciate that it strays away from the red wine flavors that most BSDAs do have.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2008 03:28:36 | More by Gmann
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

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

Picked this one up as an extra in a trade late in the summer and have had it in the fridge waiting to be cleared out for a while. Decided to use this one as a solid nightcap last night. Served chilled and poured into my newly acquired darkness snifter. This was consumed on 11/12/2008.

The pour was rather nice. A honey colored amber coming forward with a good amount of haze to it. Nice carbonation could be seen trickling up from the bottom of the glass and the overall look was very similar to some meads that I have had. Nice touch of white popped up on the top and settled down gracefully, capping off the package very well.

The aroma hit me right off the bat. Nice touch of honey and a small bit of sweet fruit, I am guessing cherries here by looking at the label, though a bit too sweet for my tastes. Interesting mix now of a very grainy base coming through as it warms. I have to admit though it was a bit too sweet and a touch light for me. The flavor was more of the same. Light touches of grain and malty flavors making up the base, but the honey and sweet fruit notes were all very much there and very easily detectable. Lots of honey and mead like flavor in the finish with a light spike of alcohol coming through at the end. Decent carbonation on this medium bodied ale as it felt just about right in consistency. Alcohol well hidden for as strong as it was, though I will admit the sweetness took its toll on me after a while.

Overall not a bad beer, but not what I was hoping to get into. A little bit rough on the sweetness and just not enough balance and tart fruit flavor to counteract it. Still though a solid effort and not something I would turn my nose up at if offered.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2008 01:38:53 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of riversider76

New York

4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice copper with a thin white head. Good retention and nice lacing. Aroma is of sweet cherry,honey and dark fruit. Body is medium with some carbonation. Taste is of sweet ripe fruits with cherry up front. Bread and honey in the finish. Excellent!!

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2008 00:20:36 | More by riversider76
Photo of vtfan77


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

A- Pours a nice ruby red with a half inch of light tan head that only lasts a few seconds.

S- Aromas of cloves and sweet grain stand out, with a hint of sour cherries also noticeable.

T- More cloves and husky grains dominate the flavor, which is quite dry at the start. The sweetness comes out in the finish, with a honey-like sweetness and a burst of tart cherries. Bitterness is light and the alcohol is hidden quite well.

M- Medium-bodied with a good active carbonation that's not too strong.

D- Not bad. As I said before, the alcohol is hidden well, so that's a point in its favor. I still don't think I'd want to drink a lot of it. One is definitely enough.

This is a good American-made Belgian-style ale. Still, it could do more to stand out in a crowded field. At no point did I think that it was particularly unique or interesting. The cherries are a nice touch, but they aren't prominent enough to really give the beer much character. All that being said, this is still a solid beer, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys the style.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2008 00:14:19 | More by vtfan77
Photo of TheBlackMallard


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

I almost cracked open Sloth tonight, but couldn't bring myself to do it. I settled on Mad Elf instead.

Pours a dark copper with crimson highlights into my snifter. Minimal head and leaving behind some lacing.

Smell: Cherries, Fermented Honey, and Belgian yeast.

Taste: Sweet and malty with some maraschino cherries in the background. A bit of alcohol. Nice dry finish.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2008 07:07:30 | More by TheBlackMallard
Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,900 ratings.