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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

3,025 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,025
Reviews: 1,151
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 15.8%
Wants: 165
Gots: 461 | 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: 3,025 | Reviews: 1,151 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beernut
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

pours a reddish color with no head at all. minimal carbobation. aroma of cherries and honey heavy throughout. Taste is tad malty, syrupy with cherries and honey. Goes down really smooth, a really really good beer. Wouln't be able to drink many 11%abv. I gots a buzz already.

beernut, Nov 15, 2008
Photo of repeal06
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a rather non-descript amber, with no significant head.

Smelled of cherries, grapes, and honey. Very pleasant.

Taste was well balanced. The sweetness of the honey and cherries was nicely counterbalanced by the maltiness. Slightly syrupy cherry taste. Definitely could not tell this was 11% ABV.

Mouthfeel was nothing spectacular. Somewhat creamy, light carbonation.

Easily drinkable. Dangerously so, given the ABV of this beer. Could make for a very warm and fuzzy holiday evening.

repeal06, Nov 14, 2008
Photo of blakesell
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the 12oz bottle into a traditional weizen glass.

Appearance- Beer pours a dark amber light brown with a thin half finger of head that quickly dies to a milky wisp across the top. Lacing is hardly existent nor are any legs. Is this really 11%? From the visual look of it I sure can't tell.

Smell- Oooh, now this is nice. Rich cherry, figs and grapes with a very nice warming alcoholic scent. Malts are very balanced and even, and this even smells to me like a Belgian strong dark, which is very hard for us Americans to nail down. Light spices, a creamy cinnamon nutmeg scent. I like the way this one smells.

Taste- Whoa. Wow this is a good beer. A near krieklike cherry flavor with a light syrupy backing with much malt and oh, so sweet. This is the sort of beer that I got excited about when I heard that Troegs was coming to Ohio. Actually hop pocket was the main beer, but this is a great one as well. Hops and bittering agents are low to none here, this beer actually makes me think of Christmastime.

Mouthfeel- Warming, creamy, lightly spicy, chewy, full bodied, and medium high in carbonation.

Drinkability- For something this alcoholic and warming. I could see myself attempting to put down a whole six pack. I doubt if I could get the whole way through them, but I sure as hell could try.

blakesell, Nov 14, 2008
Photo of Buebie
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a 1 year old cellard bottle. Bottling date is 11/24/07. Received in a trade, cant recall who, but thanks.

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a brandy snifter. Head is 1 finger, white with fluffy bubbles. Quickly receeds living a ring of retention around the outer edge. Whatever lace sticks, quickly slides back into the beer.
Color is a hazy redish amber.

Aroma is a cherry pie, with wonderful pie crust aroma. Mild alcahol at the knose off a swirl. Brown sugar, wheat bread, sweet fruity aroma.
As its warmed the alcahol at the nose has become a bit more strong.

Taste is so sweet and thick with a malty dominance. More sweet and sour cherry flavors. Its like drinking cherry pie. Low key carbonation, bit of lemon/ lime citric flavor. It basically starts out sweet, thick and malty, then becomes increasingly sour with a dry finish. Nothing from the hops, but it is a 1 year old bottle.
Warming has aroused flavors from the yeast, this hacome a bit more bready and less citric and sour.

Very delicious brew!

Buebie, Nov 14, 2008
Photo of xpimptastikx
4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to mikereaser for the trade.

Pours a thick dark caramel color with no head. Smells sweet, like cherries obviously, but other dark fruits seem to be there. Taste is sweet of honey with a nice cherry. It smelled of a tripel, but definitely tastes like a dark ale. Very drinkable for the abv.
I'm happy to have an extra to lay down for a year by mike's advice.

Edit: This beer becomes so much more with a year on it. A little too messy fresh, but it melds well with age.

xpimptastikx, Nov 11, 2008
Photo of Goldopelgt
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First time I've had this one from Troegs, I've had a few others from them before, and, overall, have been pleasentely surprised.

A- Amber to ruby hues...thin, whitish head with minimal lacing

S- Very interesting...definitely pick up some spice right away, but nothing in particular is jumping out at me...somewhat sweet and floral (but not in a bad way!), not necessarily what I was expecting from "an ale brewed with honey and cherries."

T- Again, kind of just like it smells...some spiciness and sweetness, yet nothing too overpowering, crisp, nice...and oh, yeah, at 11% you almost forget what you're drinking.

M- Medium bodied, minimal carbonation...surprisingly enough, you really can't taste alcohol even 11%

D- Overall, not my personal favorite, but not a bad beer by any means. Troegs doesn't disappoint with this one, and offers a dangerously easy drinker that, at 11%, could definitely get you in some trouble!

Goldopelgt, Nov 10, 2008
Photo of Buggies
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark red. Small finger width head which quickly faded to nothing. No lacing at all either.

Smell: Smelled really sweet with a hint of cherries. Alcohol is also apparent. Some other spices that I'm not familiar with are there as well.

Taste: Tastes pretty sweet to me. No hops to finish off the sweetness, so the sweet sticks to your mouth which leaves a pleasant aftertaste. This beer claims to have been brewed with cherries and honey, but the taste is pleasantly dominated by this spice that is unfamiliar to me. I'm glad the cherry or honey isn't over the top.

Drinkability: My first in the Belgium styles. Very pleasant tasting beer. I will definitely make this an annual purchase. Another good beer from Tröegs.

Buggies, Nov 10, 2008
Photo of cooncat
3.6/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage decanted into my Stone RIS tulip crystal glass.

On the pour, you get a garnet, ruby, or reddish dark copper (take your choice) colored beer, with a small foamy head, which is short lived (to be expected at this abv). Some lacing evident on the swirl, but very minimal stickage. (again, expected at this abv)

Interesting nose. I'm definitely getting a spiciness I can't quite put my finger on. It's almost allspice, but sharper and more pungent. I also get a light cherry presence, along with some fusel alcohol (not unexpected) The most interesting aspect is the spiciness.

Taste pretty much follows the nose. The spiciness was driving me crazy, not being able to identify it, so I went to my spice rack and started opening different spices until I came up with a close match. Best I can describe it is Allspice with a touch of Nutmeg ... yeah, that's it. The light cherry flavor remains in the background to the spiciness. Some sweet maltiness is also detectable, but the main flavor is the allspice/nutmeg. The 11% abv definitely makes its presence known. I wouldn't call it 'hot', but it is warming, on the tongue and in the stomach. Mouthfeel is medium, and probably rightly so, as if it were any bigger, this might be considered syrupy and cloyingly sweet. As is, it's neither. Drinkability? Forget it .. one of these bad boys is a session! This is a sipper, and an enjoyable one, but definitely not a session beer.

An interesting holiday seasonal, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I can recommended it as well. I'd like to hold on to at least one or 2 bottles to see how they cellar, and try them again at this time next year. I've a feeling that the aging would be a very good thing on this beer. Well done Troegs! A most enjoyable seasonal.

Na Zdravje!

cooncat, Nov 10, 2008
Photo of Cavalier92
3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a solid holiday offering from Troeg's, but by no means a super star. They sell it as containing honey and cherries and being ruby red in color, but mine was coppery brown and tasted more like a strong golden ale.

It's got a spicy nose from the Belgian yeast and it finishes smoothly for an beverage with 11% ABV. The sweetness and alcohol hide any hops or yeast notes.

Cavalier92, Nov 09, 2008
Photo of thain709
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - A very nice ruby color...a faint head

S - A sweet smelling ale with cherry notes

T - The taste follows the nose as it is very sweet...cherry, honey, and roasted malts

M - A heavy body...the alcohol doesn't come through as much as expected

D - With the alcohol not coming through too much it makes this a very enjoyable beer...but watch out for that 11%!

thain709, Nov 09, 2008
Photo of calise1122
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Late night kindle kept burning by Khiasmus.

Mad Elf, poured into a goblet while listening to Creed by STP.

A: A harsh pour yields a small cap of head hovering over a dark copper, oak stained brown colored beer in the glass. It's clear... in fact it actually magnifies... but with bubbles. Inviting? Yes.

S: Lots of that Belgium yeast that itches me the right way... berries, maybe cherries, but definitely something that ends in "ies". I always have trouble describing this smell... I want to say it smells earthy and musty, but not like the earthy musty beer that I lean on... a differnt smell I suppose, damnit... I guess I just can't pin it down. It may be my poor palate, it could be my lack of vocabulary... I can definitely say that it smells good.

T: Smells like it tastes and tastes like it smells... with a nice burn of alcohol. It has some honey, absolutely has some honey... and the cherry kind of parks itself in my cheeks. It is almost as if the cherries are trying to knock the crap out of the honey, but the honey backs itself into the corner and rope-a-dope's its way into a fair match. I am nearly positive that makes no sense, but that is how it feels.

M: Honestly, at this point... no matter what beer I poured it would be my last. If I started with this, it could go a long way. Is it drinkable in respect to a good session beer?... no, but it is drinkable and I have would never turn down the offer to have another.

D: See above!

calise1122, Nov 09, 2008
Photo of israel
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- opaque, reddish brown in appearance with a slight tan head that clings to the sides of my glass..

S - cherry cough drops with a kick..

T- mellow with a caramel flavor with some cherries and a heavy dose of honey in the aftertaste. for as much alcohol that's in this brew I really couldn't detect it like I would expect.

M- resinous with a nice amount of carbonation ad quite a bit of residual sweetness in the end.

D- undecided on this one, but the amount of alcohol in this it wasn't very noticeable which could make this a really good winter warmer to enjoy at home on a cool evening..

israel, Nov 09, 2008
Photo of JoshW
4.63/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep ruby/amber color, with the text book perfect finger head.

Smell was sweet, cherries were overpowered by 11% alcohol.

For as strong of a beer as this one is, mouthfeel is thin, honey flavor coats the tongue, cherries and alcohol follow up, someone mentioned "dusty" I think that fits pretty well also.

Drinkability was way too easy for me, started off with one bottle, ended up finishing all 6....


JoshW, Nov 08, 2008
Photo of Pencible
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This poured a clear auburn with a bit of light tan head. It smelled like lots of sour cherry, almost tannic like a red wine, with lots of wild yeast, and some burnt barley hops and molasses. It tasted like potent and succulent sour cherry with wild honey malt and lemon hops. As it warmed, the taste of wild yeast became more and more prominent. It was quite thick with no carbonation, and had a lasting tart aftertaste. Overall this was a very flavorful beer, reminiscent of Three Philosophers. It had that unique cherry Belgian flavor that takes a while to get used to, but can be fairly enjoyable. It definitely had clean taste and great body. Most notable was how well it hid the 11% alcohol, which I could barely notice under all that cherry and yeast. If aging this beer brought more honey sweetness to balance the cherry and yeast, this could be a fantastic drink.

Pencible, Nov 07, 2008
Photo of mikereaser
4.88/5  rDev +26.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass


A - pours a deep reddish brown with a little bit of foam that quickly dissipates into little bubbles on the surface

S - a strong boozy aroma with malts and cherry

T - the taste as was expected from the aroma, very cherry flavor with malty background. The booziness is a little strong but not too overpowering

M/D - Just the right amount of carbonation to make this very drinkable. It is a little boozy but the flavor makes me want more. At 11% I will probably get into trouble.

I tried an aged 2007 and there is quite a difference. All that booziness is gone and it is quite a smooth drink with a year on it.

mikereaser, Nov 07, 2008
Photo of bonkers
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I poured a 12 ounce bottle into a tulip glass. This elf pours a pleasant shade of red with a small white head. The 11% ABV is obvious from the smell. The alcohol is overpowering with a hint of cherries. The taste is a bit to medicinal, the cherries are present, but are overpowered by the alcohol. The beer is a bit of a sipper, medium bodied and lots of alcohol. I was a bit disappointed, there were a few threads singing its praises, but for me it did not measure up.

bonkers, Nov 06, 2008
Photo of kasper
3.55/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a murky copper color with strong auburn. highlights. Heavy, slightly creamy minimalist head that quickly reduces to a ring and swirls, producing some spotted lacing.

S: Strong aromas of bubblegum -- the kind you used to find in the back of Topps baseball card packs. I attribute this to the Belgian yeasts. Aside from that, some honey and tad of sweet fruit.

T: Taste is more of the bubblegum, honey, some grenadine and tad of alcoholic bite, but overall pretty damn smooth.

M: Medium to heavy, but not overwhelmingly so. Lighter than expected. Really mild carbonation, slightly sticky, but overall pretty smooth.

D: This is a strong winter warmer. Too sweet to drink all night. Overall, an interesting brew but I'm not sure I'd seek this one out on my own accord.

kasper, Nov 05, 2008
Photo of EAKovac
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of my favorite winter seasonal brews, as well as one of my favorite brews from Troegs. A true "winter warmer".

Had a bottle at the bar the other night and quickly remembered why I look forward to "Mad Elf Season" every year. This ruby red brew is full of hints of honey and stronger hints of cherries. It has a higher ABV percentage, but hides the taste of a higher ABV well.

If you enjoy winter seasonals, cherries, and good strong beer, this 11% ABV brew is a definite must!

EAKovac, Nov 03, 2008
Photo of Clydesdale
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark reddish-brown with a rather small, creamy white head with average retention. Some lacing here and there.

S: Some sweet malts and cherries, along with a spicy/yeasty phenolic quality. Notes of alcohol definitely present as well.

T: Juicy, sweet cherry flavor is notable, along with a dusty, spicy phenolic nature. Hints of honey, yeast, and alcohol. A bit of drying graininess at the finish. Not too much in the hops department.

M: Very full-bodied. A bit rugged and alcoholic, with a somewhat dry finish.

D: Definitely interesting and tasty. I would have liked to see a more pronounced spice/hop presence to balance out some of the sweetness, but it's still a very nice winter offering.

Clydesdale, Nov 01, 2008
Photo of Dodo2step
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

P- Markey Cross Pub in Carlisle

A- pours a deep red cherry color with a nice fluffy head. a good two fingers with a nice lacing on my glass to boot.

S- cherries and honey dominate the scent and then there is alcohol with some bittererness to top it off. Great smell and very enticing.

T- some strong phenols/alcohol. Cherries and honey come to the forefront with the grainyness to round it out.

M- Alcohol and fruity. Feels like i bit into a huge cherry and then took a shot of liquor.

D- A nice relaxing brew. This will knock you on your ass but you wouldnt know it from the taste. Goes down smooth and clean.

Dodo2step, Oct 31, 2008
Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear reddish color with no head sticking around when I find my chair. Smell is fruity, and I'm getting a bit more yeast out of this than I was expecting. Taste is very nice. Incredibly smooth and non-cloying. Plenty of cherry flavor makes this very enjoyable. You have no idea while drinking this that it is 11%. It is so easy drinking that you must force yourself to make it a sipper. Can't wait to pick up some more of this to drink throughout the holidays.

FtownThrowDown, Oct 30, 2008
Photo of rhinos00
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter.

A- Dark amber, color almost verging on red. Virtually no head, the little that was there disappeared almost immediately.

S- Initially, I got a nice whiff of oats, biscuits, and malt with a hint of honey. After swirling the glass and letting the beer warm up, traces of cherry and other fruit smells came forward.

T- Follows the nose. Honey, oats, and yeast hit the palate, followed by sweetness of cherries.

M- Seemed almost thin bodied. Cherry taste coated the tongue nicely as the beer was consumed.

D- Initially I never bothered to look at the ABV % of this beer. Now I know why I had slight buzz. At 11%, this beer far from sessionable, but still a very nice brew for the upcoming holiday season.

rhinos00, Oct 29, 2008
Photo of nasty15108
3.05/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a pint glass.

A - Poured a clear amber/orange color with slightly off white head that quickly dissappeared.

S - Slight aroma of chocolate covered cherries with lots of alcohol.

T - More of the same. Lots of alcholic heat and a bitter/tart finish.

MF&D - I think it would be little tough to drink this all night.

nasty15108, Oct 28, 2008
Photo of macster
4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a 2007 vintage at Somerville Supersaver on recent trip to NJ.

Pours a beautiful amber/burgundy color with a slight haze. Produces just a paper thin off-white head with no lacing noted.

Pleasant fruity aromas of red cherry, pear, green apple, candy sugar and some Belgian yeast fill the nose. A good dose of alcohol amps the aromas nicely.

Palate was a bit soda pop-like with a disappointing thiness and fizziness.

Flavors start out very sweet and sugary with notes of cherry syrup, apricot, clover honey and pear. Transitions nicely into a slightly tart black cherry, currants and alcohol finish. Would be a great holiday brew in the dead of a nothern winter to warm up the innards.

macster, Oct 27, 2008
Photo of therica
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in a glass stein.

A= deep cherry-amber, very slight white head which quickly faded, modest white lacing.

S= upon opening the bottle it smelled briefly like someone's dirty socks or smelly feet (probably the cherries and yeast settling in), but thankfully that disappeared quickly upon airing and pouring. Light but style-typical scent obvious, sour cherry and biscuit, live yeast and slight hints of alcohol.

T= sweet syrup, yeast, malts, cherry and alcohol. Decent for a holiday beer. Somewhat reminds me of a Belgian Ale or even a cherry Lambic but much better. It's even better if you let it age for 1-2 years, speaking from experience-- it matures to a fantastic treasure.

M= light alcohol traits, slightly watery honey sweetness and sweet-cherry tartness on the tongue.

D= probably one or two per sitting is all I could handle as far as ABV. Otherwise very drinkable. A definite must-try if you have the opportunity. Buy a few at holiday and stock them for a few years later for a great celebration.

therica, Oct 25, 2008
Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 3,025 ratings.