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Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

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very good

3,157 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,157
Reviews: 1,163
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 15.76%
Wants: 184
Gots: 529 | 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: 3,157 | Reviews: 1,163 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TheFightfan1
4.18/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I had this at the Hulmeville Inn. Poured into a snifter. Pours an amber color with a white heading. Globs of lacing a present throughout the tasting.

Smell is very sweet,biscuity as well with the slightest fruit aroma on the backend.

Taste again is very sweet,a chocolate taste as well. A type of souriness kind of kicks in the middle and a cherry taste kicks you in the mouth in the end.

Mouth is full bodied great carbonation.Leaves a nice spicy tingle on the tongue.

Drink is excellent very drinkable 11%ABV this shocked me the most. Easy to go down and a few more but not too many or you will be down and out. Rather quickly.

TheFightfan1, Jul 17, 2009
Photo of Deuane
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mad Elf....no review---WTF! On tap at Grey Lodge Pub during the Christmas in July celebration. I wonder how many pints of this I have drank over the years?

A-Brilliant, almost glowing ruby red with a thin white head that reduces to a thin ring and leaves zero lace.

S-Sweet biscuit and caramel malts with a splash of cherries and some dark roasted notes.

T-Sweet, luscious smoothness...if you can taste smoothness! Cherries come into the background with a tart little bite. Ends with a touch of spicy bitterness and honey smooth sweetness....again!

M-Medium-light bodied honey, silky smooth and viscous.

D-This is 11%--really? I know it is sweet but...I cant help myself. I find this to be one of my indulgent treats each and every holiday season (and out of season when available!) Honey goodness with a light cherry pop...and then the ABV kicks you in the head after your third pint!

Deuane, Jul 16, 2009
Photo of shroompod
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a slightly red clear tint. Small head , no lacing.

Aroma of sharp and sweet cherries.

Taste of sweet malts , a sharp cherry and alcohol finish.

Mouthfeel is thick , good carbonation.

Overall a different tasting Belgian style that's pretty tasty.

shroompod, Jul 16, 2009
Photo of BitterPachyderm
2.95/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Got this 12 oz. little gem from tprokop7. Thanks! The vintage date here, seems to elude me.

Poured into an oversized wine glass (new glassware, PLEASE!). There was almost no head at all, like a date with the girl who preaches abstinence...and what head there is, is gone within sixty seconds. It has a deep mahogany body and seemed somewhat lifeless. This isn't looking too good.

The aroma was a bit bready and phenolic. There is a dirty cherry smell here, but not overbearing. The bubblegum smell here is a bit of a turnoff. No Belgian smells noted.

You can get a tick of cherry midpalate if you really try. It reminds me of a cheap wine or maybe even a cough syrup from my childhood. The honey comes through as it warms...a stale honey. Is there some pine in here? I have to question it's Belgian categorization once again!

The mouthfeel is flat...from first sip to last sip. There is almost no body and it coats your mouth in an oily slickness.

Drinkability? Not without any body!

Overall, I'm just going to chalk this one up to being aged too long or bad storage conditions. I've heard too many good things about Troegs to be turned off by one possibly bad beer. I will revisit this beer in the winter if possible.

BitterPachyderm, May 28, 2009
Photo of sgoodship
3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one came to me from the great generosity of Hophead101. A holiday brew but I wanted to drink it tonight before the weather gets warm. One last look back at winter before I throw myself into the summer spirit.

A: Poured from a 12oz bottle, it didn't deliver much of a head. Dissipated almost immediately to a ring. Color is a lovely dark cherry amber.

S: I think I detect honey. Mostly, I catch a whiff of malt and a powerful mix of berry like smell. There is cherry there but it smells more of tart cranberry. Boozy smell too.

T: I was trying to pick out the flavors and there is definitely a mix of the things I smelled. The trouble was that I could help but focus on the the high alcohol manifesting itself in a sherry type taste that wasn't that appealing to me. The mix of sherry and diacetyl was just too much.

M: Light and clean body. Medium fine carbonation.

D: The finish and aftertaste is dry and makes you want to continue drinking this beer. Unfortunately, this one just wasn't for me at all. I'd like to re-visit it around holiday time but I think Great Lakes Christmas Ale is still my go-to festive brew.

sgoodship, May 22, 2009
Photo of angelmonster
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this beer in the Nobody wants to see a beer geek naked BIF

Pours a small one finger white head and dark amber body with dark red highlights. Head retention and lacing are above average

The smell is light alcohol and malt, not much else

Taste is of cherry with fruity yeast. Also some peppery phenols. The cherry flavor of this beer is way better than Sam adams Cherry wheat, the only other cherry beer i've had. Alot less artificial and syrup tasting. Hops and alcohol arent present much

Mouth feel is a bit over carbonated. There is a light to medium body. All in all not too great

The drink ability is great. Alcohol is hidden extremely well for a 11 percent beer. Would love to have again, too bad it is not distributed in Colorado

Update! - A year and a half later I had the opportunity to try a fresh bottle of this beer and I found it to be more rough around the edges with more alcohol. The one I reviewed was at least 5 months old and I enjoyed it much more

angelmonster, May 21, 2009
Photo of brewandbbq
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle at 56 degrees.

Pours burgundy red with a copper hue and sparkling clarity. A one inch head of white quickly fizzled out to a placid surface with zero lacework.

Aromatics lead off with clove-studded dried cherries, boozy fusels, and rounded honey. A hint of tangerine steps forward as well as cough syrup.

On the full side of medium bodied with a syrupy mouthfeel. A bit thin and slick in the finish.

Mild cherry notes with numbing alcohol and bubblegum start the palate. A slight medicinal note pulls through along with a mild bitterness.

Finishes with lingering fruit, boozy alcohol, and a wave of sweet honey.

Not really coming across as really big in the cherry department, but there is plenty of warming alcohol. A bit limp and flat in the end and certainly does not seem a good cellar candidate.

brewandbbq, May 20, 2009
Photo of MurphyMacManus
3.65/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Bottle into snifter

A: Mahogany with a short-lived off-white head. It does stick to the sides of the glass, but I can't get it to form much of a head to start with.

S: Cherry candy, Belgian yeast, and alcohol...in that order.

T: Slight malty sweetness, spicy yeast -- typical Belgian dark flavors. But then there's this mix of cherry candy and medicinal alcohol that, depending on the temperature and the glassware, can be either awesome or revolting. So it either tastes like a Belgian strong dark with cherries or malty cough syrup. Snifter/cellar temperature seems to be ideal for getting it towards the "awesome" side.

M: The only word that came to mind when I thought about mouthfeel was "syrupy." It's not highly carbonated, and that actually helps. If this beer were to be highly carbonated, it could be easily confused with cherry soda.

D: Goes down easy when kept at proper temperature in appropriate glassware. But it's also 11% ABV, so it will knock you on your ass pretty much without warning. For that quality alone, I do not recommend this as a session beer.

MurphyMacManus, May 17, 2009
Photo of beerman207
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Reddish brown with a nice white head that hangs around for a short while leading to some nice swirling on top.

S - Cherries, honey, clove, and some yeasty bread coming through the nose.

T - Cherry, honey, clove coming through in the taste and in the backend the alcohol comes through and warms my throat and stomach - nice.

M - Moderate carbonation and a real nice feel that has no drying effect on the palate - excellent mouthfeel.

D -I'm not sure that this beer is sessionable but it sure is good. Thanks goes out to CrazyNelson at Hyde Park for recommending this one to me in my most recent visit. Glad to have included this in my mix of brews.


beerman207, May 17, 2009
Photo of jdhilt
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a three finger white head that fades quickly leaving traces of lace. Clear amber/red color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Honey nose. Flavor is sweet honey with hints of cherry. Smooth honey finish. High ABV is totally hidden, is it really 11% ABV?? $3.25 for a 12oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, MA.

jdhilt, May 07, 2009
Photo of Lothore
3.28/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a clear, crimson hue with a fizzy 2 finger head which dissipates fairly quickly.

S- Smells very sweet and yeasty, lots of clove and banana.

T- Taste is follows the nose with a huge amount of clove and mixed light fruit with a strong undercurrent of belgian yeast.

M- Thick with quite a bit of carbonation (and this bottle is over a year old!)

D- This is a very sweet beer. The alcohol is hidden well but I find the banana flavor to be a little runtesque (like the candy ...). I don't know if i could handle more than one of these in a sitting but it is a good nightcap.

Lothore, May 07, 2009
Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My last Mad Elf until next winter. A 12 ounce bottle of 2008 vintage Elf poured into a snifter. Appears a crystal clear pure copper color akin to cream soda with a quickly fading half inch of off white foam. The head leaves no lacing on my glass. Smells of cherries, malty, sweet and fruity. Tastes of brandy soaked cherries, sweet biscuity malts, plums, figs, alcohol, a hint of cocoa, and dark raisins. This ale is a notch or two above medium in body with ample carbonation. After only a few months in the bottle the alcohol is still quite noticeable making this a sipper/ nightcap beer.

ClockworkOrange, May 03, 2009
Photo of degerbah
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Split a bottle with a friend that we found when we were cleaning out his beer fridge (over 120 loose beers left over from tastings and parties)couldn't believe the thicknessor the amazing taste. A great winter warmer type of beer,. A slow drinker and a little boozy but I really could have used this a week ago when we got random snow on opening day. Fantastic and would definitely buy now that troeggs distributes to my area and i don't have to drive to get some from PA.

degerbah, Apr 12, 2009
Photo of ballewblake
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into my Duvel tulip.

One finger tan head that receded almost instantly. Dark amber body. Nose is honey and dark malts. Taste reminds me of a Unibroue, maybe Trois Pistoles? Great heavy body, rich malt flavors, sweet, honey comes out more for me than the cherries. Good carbonation, better as it warms, sort of typical. :)
Thanks to pebkac for the brew!

ballewblake, Apr 11, 2009
Photo of tr4nc3d
2.95/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured this into my tulip. Pours a ruby red color with an off-white two finger head that leaves a small island of foam in the middle and on the edges.

Smell is of honey, lemon drops, belgian yeast, spices.

Taste of cherries, honey, and slight spices come through. Its kinda of lacking flavors and more depth.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with good amounts of carbonation. Slight cherry cough drop aftertaste is left in the mouth.

I wouldnt manage to drink another one of these. This beer didnt live up to my expectations and is nothing special to seek out.

tr4nc3d, Apr 06, 2009
Photo of Martin2D
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Deep burgundy red with a small whitish head

S - Alcohol and cherries

T - Alcohol on the forefront with a slight cherry aftertaste. Tartness is noted on the aftertaste.

M - Low carbonation and thin on the mouthfeel

D - Pretty strong on the alcohol, so this is to drink a lot of. One and done for me.

Martin2D, Apr 06, 2009
Photo of Kopp
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Another review split between my roommate and I, he picked this beer up for us at a small liquor store the town over from our school.

A: Reddish clear color, clear with a small head that vanishes immediately, no residue sticking to the glass

S: Sweet scent, but not saccharine... Fruity scent

T: Overall has a taste of cherries, with the flavor of honey that is tasted in the back of the throat. The bite of the elevated alcohol content is noticeable, particularly in the finish

M: Smooth, low level of carbonation, not sticky or gummy

D: Taste and mouthfeel is very pleasant, a bit sweet, but the alcohol content of 11% does not lend it to a session beer

Overall: It's a good beer that we enjoyed splitting. It was a bit sweet for my tastes, but Tim enjoyed it a lot. It was a fine beer that we both recommend, but it's more for a night in than a night out.

Kopp, Apr 06, 2009
Photo of nrbw23
2.23/5  rDev -42.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A- Pours a pretty, clear dark red with an off white head. Head has decent retention, forms a thin layer of bubbles and leaves some nice lacing.

S- Smells of raisins, figs and quite a bit of spices (ginger and cinnamon). Cherries are also pretty strong here as well.

T- Tastes way too sweet!! Other than that a ton of booze, sweetened cherries give way to a yeasty aftertaste and also the honey just adds to the sweetness.

M- Medium body, maybe a touch on the watery side and low carbonation.

D- Tried this one a couple of times and no thanks I'll pass on this one.

nrbw23, Apr 05, 2009
Photo of beerfanbill
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

dark red/amber... had on tap
smell very good, strong cherry and honey taste/smell. im still a novice at picking up all the subtle smells and flavors of a beer so for these ones to stick out they must be pretty strong.
as far as taste, i was suprised to find out its 11% abv. i couldnt have told that while drinking it although it did give me the burning stomach of a higher alcohol brew. great taste while in the mouth and went down smooth.
not my favorite troegs, but very good beer nonetheless

beerfanbill, Mar 23, 2009
Photo of AleWerks
4.72/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Great ruby red color with good carbonation.
S: Cherries and honey are obvious with fruits coming through late.
T: Cherry and honey again with dark malt, plum, fruit, crystal sugar, and ending with a sweet finish.
M: Rich and full mouthfeel with balanced carbonation.
D: For an %11 ABV beer this one sure goes down easy. A really nice beer.

AleWerks, Mar 17, 2009
Photo of colts9016
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Recieved this beer from mday thank you for this bottle.

Poured into a goblet at 47 degrees.

Appearance: A dark copper color with a reddish hue. I pour a bit aggressive hoping for a head, all I got was a foamy light tan quarter inch head without retention. There is effervescence in the beer. The clarity of the beer is clear and brilliant.

Nose: A very deep rich toasted malt with cherries (duh) and honey. There is a nice rich spiciness to the beer, like cinnamon and nutmeg. There are some citrus esters and floral hints in the background of the beer.

Taste: A very nice toasted malt with cherries and the honey sweetness. In the background of the beer there is cinnamon, floral and citrus esters. I could also taste the yeast in the beer which gave it a bready feel.

Overall: The mouth feel is carbonated and creamy. The body of the beer is medium full and the finish linger on the palate. I really didn't know what to expect from this beer. When I read cherries I was expecting a tartness in the beer but it was subtle. The flavors in this beer are expressive and evil. It hides the alcohol content very very well. I was disappointed not to see a head but the taste made up for it. I would say it need a touch more malt to the body of the beer to give it a wonderful complex flavor.

colts9016, Mar 16, 2009
Photo of tai4ji2x
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on-tap at the publick house in brookline, ma. served in small chalice.

dark, brownish gemstone amber. head fades to wisps and thin ring, then eventually almost nothing. lacing doesn't stick.

aroma of caramel and spice (nutmeg, anise) with port and apple brandy tones. trace of leafy hop, but the malty caramel lasts throughout.

similar sweetness in the flavor. less malt/caramel and more on the port and apple brandy. mild to moderate bitterness to the hops with faint grassy/herbal note. the hints of herbs and spices proceed to gentle phenols.

light to moderate carbonation helps to bring out a peak in the middle of flavors overall. some light syrup feel.

tai4ji2x, Mar 15, 2009
Photo of whitehouse50
4.18/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured this into my snifter. It has the color of dark reddish and ruby appearances. Aromas of sweet fruit with a slight bite to it. On the first sip you can notice the alcohol but that quickly fades as you can taste more sweet fruity flavors, definitely the cherries with hints of honey. Mouthfeel gets a slightly gummy or sticky after a few tastes but overall not bad. This one goes down relatively smooth considering its so high in alcohol. This is one of my favorite winter beers.

whitehouse50, Mar 11, 2009
Photo of alovesupreme
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter this beer had a great head but faded to a ring quickly. An excellent light ruby hue is the main attraction for this appetizing beer.
Big cherries are obvious in the nose as well as the belgian yeast. Their is also a peppery character to this beer.
A sweet fruity beer. Lots of syrupy cherry character. A bready yeast is also noticeable which contributes to an excellent malt finish.
A very solid beer that I will probably try again next year. I would like to put some aside since I think the sweetness would mellow and the mouthfeel would soften.

alovesupreme, Mar 11, 2009
Photo of woodske1
3.08/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Great logo on the bottle and a great name. I am not impressed with the taste though. They went too over the top with spices in my opinion.

What it does do is offer a wonderful aroma. It smells like christmas inside that bottle. The taste however makes it not very high on drinkability.

woodske1, Mar 02, 2009
Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 3,157 ratings.