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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.
BA SCORE
87
very good

2,888 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,888
Reviews: 1,148
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 15.54%
Wants: 137
Gots: 400 | 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: 2,888 | Reviews: 1,148 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of barleywinebrewer
barleywinebrewer

New Hampshire

4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I assume this brew was last winters release. No date on the bottle to indicate otherwise.

A - orangish brown in color with a small off white head
S - sweet almost vinous brown sugar malts, honey and cherries.
T - similar to the aroma but with a honey softened effect. Kind of like the edge was taken off and an injection of warmth added. Quite tasty.
M - medium to full bodied, mildly carbonated smooth
D - at 11% this one hides the abv deceptively well. Aging nicely and was great as an evening relaxing drink.

I would buy this every season. quite a treat.

Serving type: bottle

09-06-2007 15:36:12 | More by barleywinebrewer
Photo of alexgash
alexgash

Connecticut

3.33/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Tawny orange-copper body with golden edges, sparkling bubbles, and a dense, creamy, concave, dirty off-khaki head. Nice. Rich nose of sweet yet tangy fruits (melons, tropical fruits, pears). Noticeable cooked vegetable aroma makes for an interesting mix. Notes of honey, spice, and alcohol too.

Taste starts off with hints of toasted malts and moves quickly to cherry and tropical fruit sweetness with a tart edge. Detectable alcohol burn early on as well, which is not a good thing. Tart fruits and vinous flavors dry out early sweetness near the finish. Medium-full body dissipates in the finish with a shot of alcohol warmth. A little too ethanol-y. A pretty good beer up until the rough, boozy finish.

Serving type: bottle

09-06-2007 02:20:35 | More by alexgash
Photo of John_M
John_M

Oregon

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

Had this on tap at Max's during their X-mas in July last night. This was the first beer of the evening for me, which was a good thing, as I never would have been able to appreciate it after a couple of imperial stouts and barlywine.

The beer pours an interesting red mahogany color, but without a great deal of head retention and only adequate lacing. I don't really get a lot on the nose, just some cherry medicine and some noticeable alcohol. On the palate this is pure cherry cough drop, but with some navel orange and grapefruit on the finish. The beer is sweet, but not overly so, and it really doesn't come across as a big beer (despite the abv.). Still, the alcohol is certainly noticeable, and the beer seems to lose something in the finish. I'm almost wondering if the beer has lost something with age, as it really seems a bit lighter then what I recall from previous samples. As the beer sits in the glass the sweetness turns a bit cloying, with more honey and cherry flavor. The drinkability is still pretty impressive for such a big beer, but I have to say I'm not as impressed with this beer as I thought I would be.

A good beer, but not a great one.

Serving type: on-tap

07-18-2007 15:42:43 | More by John_M
Photo of mcallister
mcallister

Ohio

3.13/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Fiery earthy orange/ruby/scarlet pour. No head except for some minimal traces around the edges of a tan formation.

Very belgain spice driven aromas and something in there I'm just not crazy about but also I'm not sure what it is. Bing cherry, orange marmalade, belgian yeast, herbal suggestions as well. Fruits and lively aromas.

Lots of evaporating alcohol on the tongue and the chest. Medium bodied to slightly thin especially for the style. Some cherry, spicey, herbal, earthy belgian yeasty aspects. Nothing says "stand out" about this beer. Just seems like an everyday run of the mill American brewed belgian style beer. However it is not a bad beer by any means.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2007 19:44:00 | More by mcallister
Photo of bort11
bort11

Missouri

3.6/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to DuqTroops for this one. He got me a 2005 and a 2006 in a trade. I had these one after another, starting with the '05

12 oz bottle, 2006 vintage poured into a Duvel tulip. Thin white head that recedes to a thin ring. Color is a clear reddish tint, a lot lighter than the 05. Smell still has a distinct Belgium yeast aroma, with a slight hint of the cherries. The cherry taste is more prominent but is still blended well with the honey sweetness. The yeast gives it a bit of tartness as well.
Mouthfeel is is a bit thinner but still a solid medium body. Mild carbonation.
This is still a pretty drinkable beer, but I think the 05 really benefited from the aging.

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2007 03:42:29 | More by bort11
Photo of Tyrawlings
Tyrawlings

Ohio

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

12 oz. Bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Dark ruby red in color with muted copper hues. Dense off white head pours two fingers thick. Some retention. Thin sticky lacing.

S: Bread like malts. Hints of cherry. Sweet honey. Bitter phenols and warm alcohol.

T: Big, sweet bready malts are followed by a splash of cherries and honey. Clean and soft hop presence is taken over by tastes of raw husk and bitter phenols. Wet earth and a touch of citrus juice are finished off by a spicy warming alcohol.

M: Smooth and full bodied. Moderate carbonation. Warm and dry.

D: An altogether different interpretation for the style. The cherry and honey are blended in perfectly. Dangerously drinkable for the high alcohol content. Recommended.

*EDIT* Jan. 21,2010: Recently sampled perfectly aged 2007 batch and this brew is specatcular.

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2007 22:59:45 | More by Tyrawlings
Photo of atsprings
atsprings

North Carolina

4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired in a trade with ThomasHardy. The beer pours a crisp red amber with a thin head that quickly diminishes to a ring. The aroma is dominated by cherries and sweet malts. The taste is an extremely unique blend of cherries, sweet fruits, and even a touch of caramel. The beer is medium bodied and the alcohol warms, but is altogether well hidden. I must say, this is a truly unique beer that can be enjoyed any time of year. I look forward to trying some next year and see if enjoying it in the winter makes it taste even better.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2007 01:17:48 | More by atsprings
Photo of TurdFurgison
TurdFurgison

Ohio

4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I tried this from a 3L bottle on Dark Lord Day (thanks Todd). This is one of only 2 beers I'll rate from that day (out of God knows how many others I tried "splashes" of), because it really stood out and I was able to get a decent sized glass of it...

Deep brown color with a wispy almost-foam on top (bearing in mind it was poured into a cognac glass). Delicious aroma of cherries and dark fruits, not unlike a lightly muted Trois Pistoles but with a spice component. The flavor was much better than I'd hoped, lots of fruit and fruity esters, definitely cherry comes to mind.

The beer was thick enough to coat my mouth and keep the flavor long after each sip. Outstanding, I was really glad to have tried it.

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2007 12:21:50 | More by TurdFurgison
Photo of emerge077
emerge077

Illinois

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

Thanks to Akorsak at Dark Lord day for this one...

Pours a translucent red, with a finger of foam.

Aroma is spicy, and lightly sweet and spritzy. A little bit of bubblegum.

Taste seems balanced, with a nice residual pepper & spice in the aftertaste. Label states that honey and cherries are added. Honey is there in raw form, not especially sweet, and not much cherry. Deceptive ABV, never would have guessed it's 11%.

Nice carbonation carries it along, fairly easy to drink, but watch out, that elf looks pretty crazy.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2007 07:31:02 | More by emerge077
Photo of PBRstreetgang
PBRstreetgang

Ohio

4.28/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to FroggyFrog for the sample! Pours a clear amber hue with a fizzy, pale tan head of two fingers. Dismal retention and no lacing but thats forgivable given the ABV. Wild berry and tropical fruit phenols; more alcoholic than Belgian. Vanilla bean and toasted malt aromas in the background, with undertones of champagne yeast and honey. First sip is sweet with toasty pale malt, a touch of caramel, and some errant dextrins. A flash of zesty marachino cherry, reminiscent of a young Kreik. Subdued Belgian Phenolics are more tart than funky, and combines with the other flavors to mask the alcohol very well. The aftertaste is a little boozey, and further dries out the palate after the mild hop bitterness balances the malts. The mouthfeel is ultimately well-balanced, dancing from sweet, to tart, to dry, and finally a clean alcoholic heat with all flavors receeding- leaving no cloying or residual sugar. The medium-light body is well-attentuated and well-carbonated- thus giving the mouthfeel a light and spritzy character- capable of lifting the powerful elements displayed. Finishes surprisingly mellow, as the malt, alcohol and yeast profile seem to apex, then fade away rapidly leaving only faint white-wine notes on the tounge for the last few swigs. Solid drinkability given the high alcohol, and an impressive interpretation of the style.

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2007 05:14:52 | More by PBRstreetgang
Photo of edskirk3
edskirk3

Pennsylvania

4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been saving this for a while and today I was thirsty enough to drink it.Just one bottle (12 ounces) from Holiday Season 2006. Served in a Cognac glass.

Pours an attractive red (like a sunset).Off-white head that tries to stay around but doesn't, instead leaving cirrus-like whisps on the surface. Nice aroma of cherries laced with alcohol.

The palate is sweet and malty. Quite delicious if I must say. Like drinking candy. It starts off like what I can best describe as a hard candy, which then gives way to a note of alcohol before finally getting to the bready part. I'm really enjoying the whole thing. Honestly, the alcohol is barely there at this point. Mad Elf was worth the wait and I really wish I had bought more than one right now.

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2007 01:05:08 | More by edskirk3
Photo of scott
scott

Ohio

3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

V.06 - Thanks Tony...
Deep red pour with a medium rocky head of tan. Fair amount of passive carbonation happening.
Smells of raisin, cherry, bread.
Sweet interpretation of the aroma on the tongue. Full-bodied & creamy, well balanced & clean. Great mouthfeel. Finishes very nice.
Easy to drink, and the alcohol is barely noticeble as it warms.
Recommended.
Pulled this from the cellar (not remembering the style, only that it was a seasonal) and on the first sip, I thought I was drinking Chimay.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2007 20:13:21 | More by scott
Photo of rhythmguitartz88
rhythmguitartz88

New York

3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The appearance was nice although the head did disapear quite quickly. The smell was hard to find but once found it was pleasent some bitter-esque qualities coming through the smell but overall nice. The taste was nice with a strong finish that stays on your tongue. The mouth feel was above average.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2007 03:30:19 | More by rhythmguitartz88
Photo of klewis
klewis

Ohio

3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Extra thanks to ThomasHardy for providing this extra.

A: Pours a clear reddish caramel color with no head or lacing.

S: Smells sweet with generic fruity aromas, cheap red wine, and alcohol.

T: Fruity malt taste with a prominent cherry flavor and a bit from the honey in the back. Sweet and a bit cloying, but interesting.

M: Full-bodied, sticky, and syrupy. Much less carbonation than your average Belgian style beer.

D: Decent, but one bottle is enough. Worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2007 22:21:12 | More by klewis
Photo of BeerIsland
BeerIsland

Pennsylvania

3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thought I'd celebrate the end of winter with a 2006. Head's totally gone in a few minutes; looks OK otherwise. Not a lot of aroma left in this one. Tastes great all the way through; oogles of complexity, well balanced, nice carbonation, pleasant lingering finish.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2007 19:54:37 | More by BeerIsland
Photo of Redwood21
Redwood21

Virginia

3.13/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer is one of the few that I've tried that has a prominent aroma. It smells sweet, and of fruit, which since its made with cherries and honey makes sense. I wouldnt say its a smell that really reminds me of beer, but i do like it. It has this nice amber color with very little head. It has an almost sugary sweet taste, which is a little too sweet for my taste. It's worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2007 06:49:29 | More by Redwood21
Photo of cichief
cichief

Virginia

4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beers a deep amber, with a thin off-white head. It smelled of fruit, although cherries and honey are used in the brewing, I couldn't say it was cherry. It tasted fruity, sweet and warm. It was smooth, not at all over carbonated. At 11% alcohol, I wouldn't drink too much of it.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2007 01:28:02 | More by cichief
Photo of MmmIPA
MmmIPA

Pennsylvania

3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ruby red body with no head what so ever,there is a small ring around my glass.The smell is phenols, I believe and maybe some candy sugars and some cherry.I taste tart cherry in the first of the mouthful then leads to a honey taste seems creamy and coats the back of my tongue.Smooth texture and a bit thin and the carbonation is the norm for the type of beer.Alcohol is hidden pretty well.I cant see why this is a "Winter" beer,the same goes with SN Celebration.This could be a year round beer with a different name.I look forward to to saving the other five beers and aging them.

09/01/08

2006 bottle

I heard this was doing good about now so I decided to try it.I had it at Capone's about 6 months ago and it was superb.

4.5-A-Still ruby red with a small head.

4.0-S-Notes of alcohol with yeast also present.Sour cherry is also noted.I don't think the smell has toned down any.

3.0-T-Sweet.I cant see how either.Thin mouthful,seems to be going down hill.It still has that alcohol to it.Tart cherry taste.

3.0-M-Very thin and once it leaves your mouth,its clean sailing from there.

3.5-D-I would say drink this up soon.It may be how Ive taken care of them.My cellar fluctuates about 20 degrees over the year and they are stored in the dark.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2007 16:11:07 | More by MmmIPA
Photo of kpantz
kpantz

Pennsylvania

4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Executive Summary: I'm consistently amazed by the quality of the stuff coming from the Troegs brothers. The Mad Elf, year in and year out, is one of those "must buy a case or two" seasonals for me. As my 2006 supply runs out, I look forward to August, when it's been brewed again and I can start the countdown to late autumn when I can get my grubby paws on it.

2006 version.

Appearance: Ruby-amber pour into my chalice with very little head. Barely even a film remains...more of a ring. The color sure is purdy, however...

Smell: Belgian yeasts and cherries. The honey is present as well. Smelling this just reminds me of decorating for Christmas.

Taste: Sweet and tart at the same time. Definitely can discern the pilsener malt as well as both the honey and the cherries. Warming alcohol to finish. Not much in the way of hop presence, but what is there is nice - Czech, I would imagine. A great add-on strategy for a Belgian base. The flavor combinations work wonderfully.

Mouthfeel: Moderate and tight carbonation - very pleasant, enhancing the flavors. It's a sweet brew, but manages not to be sticky.

Drinkability: Unfortunately for my wife, my toilet, and eventually my liver, this is one damn drinkable beer. I could easily put back a full sixer of these in a session. Hopefully I'm done decorating the tree by then. ;)

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2007 04:01:16 | More by kpantz
Photo of objectivemonkey
objectivemonkey

Minnesota

4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Into a ping glass, pours a nice reep red, clear as water, red going on copper slightly, with little beginning whitish head and none later, just a ring around the collar, and no lacing. Aroma is pretty nifty, all kind of stuff in here, a little confusing, but ultimately neat. As the label says, the cherry is evident, the honey not so much, more subtle, theres a bit of brandy in here, some Xmas spices, fruity malts, and some brown sugar if i'm not mistaken.

Taste is equally crazy, if much more delicious. And ater it warms, it shines. Theres a whole lot of subtle warming going on here, a carefully hidden 11% I'd say, and its reaaaally smooth, a thick, sweet, warmness, like drinking the essesnce of being cozied up in front of a fireplace. The malts are just as fruity as the nose suggests, a little tart, a wholey yummy. Thankfully, no hops in this, they would only detract.

The mouth is good, good carbonation and quite smooth and velvety on the tongue. I though it started a bit thin, but it was about right as it warmed. Overall, after letting it warm, this turned into a very delightful beer, and I have mad props to give to leftmindedrighty for the chance at this one. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2007 23:26:25 | More by objectivemonkey
Photo of stereosforgeeks
stereosforgeeks

Virginia

4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A nice rube red color filled my pint glass. Nice head but there was little retention to speak of.

Smell: Well as advertised there are the cherries and honey, but there are also hints of some spices, mild floral hops, and maybe some plums.

Taste: Where is the alcohol? You certainly cant taste it. The honey sweetness comes through first but soon following are the cherries and spices. The spice lingers on the tongue after each sip.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied beer that manages to be sweet without cloying to your mouth with thickness. Mild carbonation is present.

Drinkability: I enjoy these on nice cold winter nights. Warms you up while still managing to be sweet and drinkable.

Serving type: on-tap

02-19-2007 23:36:13 | More by stereosforgeeks
Photo of tempest
tempest

Pennsylvania

4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Not sure what to expect at first, but this sure smells belgian. Lots of spicey aroma up front. I'm used to this being in the paler belgians, but I guess this one might be in the middle. More spice (corriander? in the flavor mixed with the honey and cherries and a little earthy bitterness that blends with the fruit. This is certainly different. It kicks outs at the end with a cherry tang and a hint, albeit an unsubtle one, at the alcohol. Definately not my favorite, but I recommend giving it try. It's worth it.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2007 05:01:50 | More by tempest
Photo of ByTor2112
ByTor2112

North Carolina

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

This was the 2006 edition.

Pours a beautiful reddish amber. Great color held to the light. head is non-existent except for a good swirl.
Aroma-Tart sour notes, almost like red wine vinegar. a little sweetness from the honey is barely detectable.
Mouthfeel-Just like the 2005, this tastes nothing like the aroma! Wonderfully sweet. The cherry flavors are there and the honey sweetness is the dominant flavor characteristic. Alcohol is noticeable, but warming with no sting. A nice froth on the palate sweetens it up and releases the alcohol a bit more. Finishes quite clean. This brew will give you a warm fuzzy. The 2005 I drank had aged for a year and really mellowed. This brew is good fresh and also ages well. Troeg's does it again! Cheers.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2007 14:34:28 | More by ByTor2112
Photo of bjohnson
bjohnson

Massachusetts

3.6/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to fitzIPAtrick for letting me snag this from this cellar.

A: Pours a ruby red color--almost like a cran-grape color with a cream colored head that dissipates slowly. Not much retention on this.
S: Cherries, strawberries, and raspberries all coated in honey. Sweet sugary presence.
T/M: Syrupy cherries and strawberries. Sweet fruit notes mixed in well with yeasty and spicy belgian esters. Thick and juicy fruit bursting in the mouth. An interesting brew with a nice blend of flavors. Dry yeastyness in the finish coupled with thick and juicy fruits. Almost too sweet for me.
D: A good change of pace for me with this brew as I would possibly only pull this out once a year during the holidays. Nice and warming in the chest with the high abv.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2007 02:28:18 | More by bjohnson
Photo of akorsak
akorsak

Pennsylvania

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

A 10oz serving as part of the Belgian dinner at Iron Hill's Belgium Comes to West Chester. Appearance and smell are copied from an earlier growler review.

A: The ale is a copper color with some distinct orange highlights. The head is big on pour but does not retain very well.

S: The aroma is cherries and honey with a bit of medicinal tartness.

T: The ale, served fresh, has a stronger alcohol character. That warmth assists the cherry flavors in coming out. As the ale continues to warm, the cherry character becomes more sour, losing a sweeter character that is present when the ale is cold.

M: The alcohol and cherry pair nicely together and were a nice compliment to the salmon carpaccio that it was served with. The sweet cherry and honey in the beer were a nice fit with the honey-topped salmon and pepper.

D: Well made, the cherry is a nice component that adds strong character. I never imagined that this would pair well with a seafood dish, but it does and is worth a look.

Serving type: on-tap

01-28-2007 01:59:31 | More by akorsak
Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,888 ratings.