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Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

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BA SCORE
87
very good

3,346 Ratings
THE BROS
86
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,346
Reviews: 1,174
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 15.5%
Wants: 191
Gots: 636 | 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: 3,346 | Reviews: 1,174 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JamnesCameron
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a New Holland Pint glass.

A - not very dark. More of an amber color. Very little head, leaves a thin wisp after about a minute. Not very close to style for a belgian dark ale, even taking liberties with the fruit and honey added.

S - Cherry pits. Sweet, honey, and malt. The cherry really dominates.

T - Cherries, cherry pits, and sweet honey. Don't taste anything particularly belgian about this or dark ale, but it is very "good" - just don't taste the underlying style.

M - mouthfeel is medium, some fruit tannins, dryness from the fruit pits, mildly astringent. Some tartness builds up after a few sips.

D - I wouldn't call this representative of any particular style, much less belgian strong dark ale. But it is very "good." Very pleasent drinkability, almost dangerous.

Photo of kbeals
3.4/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

brees6221 sent this to me a while back when he hooked me up with plenty of Troegs brews.

A- Dark, murky orange in appearance with a finger of off-white, fizzy head. Head sticks to the side of the glass leaving an array of lacing. Good head retention as well.

S- Smells of apples and sugary sweet honey. No real hint of cherries to be found in the aroma. Maybe it's been sitting for a little too long?

T- Once again, apples and honey, a touch of sweet cherries comes through as well but it is pretty muted compared to the other flavors. Also has a bit of a yeasty taste too it. A little too sweet in my opinion.

M- Medium bodied with soft, bubbly carbonation.

D- Pretty drinkable despite the sweetness. The ABV doesn't really make itself known very well. A good brew, but I probably wouldn't seek it out again.

Thanks agains brees6221!

Photo of homebrew311
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: pours a deep orangeish red with a small head, minimal lacing

S: candied fruits on the front, notes of cherries and grapes, some honey in there along with banana. Smells quite nice

T: the front is sweet with cherries and grapes, this gives way to a bitterness in the middle which seems out of balance with the delicate sweet flavors on the front. The finish has some spicy notes and a long finish

MF: very light for the ABV, carbonation seems on par

D: this is a great BSDA, the aroma promised something better than what I tasted, but overall it is not bad. The abv is very well hidden, this drinks more like a 7-8% brew.

Photo of maximum12
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to three different BAs who have sent me bottles of this brew in both big & small bottle format. Splitting this 22 ounces with my wife in our stylin' New Holland glasses.

The pour & the smell remind me, both in ways good, bad, & nostalgic, of Bartles & James Wine Cooler in the early 1990's. Smell is pure strain cherries leavened with a healthy shot of alcohol. Tinged a borderline orange/red despite the obvious addition of barrels of cherries.

This is a very sweet beer. The cherries have only a hint of tartness to them, which is quickly whacked into submission by the sweet fruit & roaring current of honey. There is a medicinal quality to the brew too, but strangely, it's attractive rather than repulsive, which it usually is for me. Candied Belgian sugars push this further into lush tooth-rotting category, & a good push of alcohol rounds out the experience. However...one glass is clearly going to be enough.

This would seem to all be too much, but somehow the whole thing, with sweet piled upon sweet & almost no balancing characteristics, works well. Perhaps it's the post-sip 11% bite that reminds me I'm not sucking off a sippy cup of Welch's Cherry juice.

Very good beer. Unique, & a little mad, but I completely understand why one would want to sip this around the Yule log. Cherries forever!

Photo of bonsreeb85
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Special thanks are in order for G311. Thanks again Vince!

The color is a ruby red with a slight haze, featuring a quickly fading minimal head.

The smell is full of dark fruits, black cherries, spice and a sort of medicinal scent.

Although it's drys out near the end, this is initially quite sweet but is balanced by a delicate spicyness and even slighter tartness. Dark fruits and typical belgian yeast flavors are in the forefront, but the honey and cherries are definately in the mix(as the bottle states)and add a nice dimension to this flavorful brew. THe alcohol peaks it's head out a bit but never really gets hot.

THe feel is medium bodied and a smooth texture and moderate level of carbonation. Good stuff. I wish I could get this here. Very drinkable for such a rich and high gravity beer.

Photo of emmasdad
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark orange-brown color, crystal clear, with a nice big white head which dissipates rather quickly. Aromas of cherries, honey and cloves. Nicely sweet, with flavors of cherries, brown sugar, honey and brown spices. Lightly carbonated and somewhat dry with a lingering, boozy finish.

Photo of GregSVT
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a deep mahogany with a small white head that fades leaving no lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is full of cherries, red apples, and yeasty/bready aromas.

T: The taste is definitely Belgian. Loads of cherries, other fruits, malt, yeast, and biscuity bread flavors. I guess I'm not getting much of the honey that this is supposedly brewed with but I'm sure it just adds to the sweetness of the brew.

M: The feel is creamy and medium bodied. The finish lasts for a while.

D: Not a bad belgian beer. The ABV is pretty high and will definitely make me think twice about grabbing another in the same night.

Not what I expect when the holidays roll around but it's a good beer. Recommended if you like big fruity belgian beers.

Photo of billab914
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. Poured a deep mahogany color with a little cherry redness coming through in the light. It had a thin spotty white lacing floating on the top of the beer for a head, with a little more concentrated around the edges.

The aroma shows a lot of the sweet honey and cherry flavor. I'm getting a little malty, caramel, dark fruit and a slight alcohol aroma as well. As it warmed I seemed to get a little more spicy, cinnamon or nutmeg aroma from it. Very nice aroma, I like the cherries in it a lot.

The taste is a lot like the nose suggests in that the cherries and honey really come through in helping to give it a moderate sweet fruity taste. The malt also helps give it a strong base and brings some caramel and dark fruit flavors of it's own. The alcohol shows a little in the finish but that I guess is expected in an 11% beer. Like the nose some spices started showing up the more it warmed.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation being on the lower side. Drinkability is very good for being 11% abv. I really liked the cherry flavors in it, and I love cherries in general so this is a very drinkable beer for me. I will note that I actually liked it better when it was colder. It seemed to have more of a sweet cherry flavor when colder and it gained more of a malty, spicy almost Christmasy flavor when warmed. It wasn't bad warmer I just liked the cherry flavor when I first opened it better.

Photo of Arbitrator
2.55/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

When I first had this beer, I really hated it and I had trouble finishing the 12oz. This second review is off a bomber -- a generous extra from boatshoes -- and the experience was so different that I felt a re-review was appropriate.

A: Pours a clear reddish amber color with an inch of off-white head. After a few minutes there is almost no trace of carbonation left except for a thin head at the edges. It's not an effervescent brew, that's for sure. I expect much more life out of a BSDA...

S: A nicely pungent aroma of cherries, spicy honey, and some booze. The booze actually makes it smell a little medicinal, like cherry cough syrup.

T: The taste is not bad, though. I guess the honey is all fermented out; it's quite a dry beer, delivering only some light honey flavor but mostly cherry, dark fruit, brown sugar, and spice. A firm alcohol bite in the finish.

M: Light-bodied. It's quite dry. Low carbonation, and a booze bite.

D: Eh... It's ok. I didn't hate it this time, and unlike last time I managed to finish not only 12, but a full 22 oz. It's drinkable, but I won't go after it again.

Photo of BrewerB
3.13/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Thanks goes out to TwinsDaddy for trading this beer my way. Cheers!

Poured into a globe glass, this beer showcases lots of carbonation but head formation/retention seems poor. Hazy and dark amber in color with a thin off-white head that dissipated quickly. Spices and cherries mix with bready malts in the nose. Cherries carry through into the taste but tend to lie beneath the richer, bready malts. Lacking in complexity I'd expect from this style. Bitterness is moderate though the tart cherries help carry balance. Medium/medium-full bodied with a moderate-high level of carbonation. Overall, not that impressed with the execution on this beer. Perhaps I'm drinking an old bottle but I'd certainly not order a second.

Photo of sweemzander
3.08/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz. bottle poured into a tulip. No bottled date found. Huge thanks to mb2696 for the bottle!

(A)- Pours a clear pale ruby color that produced an off-white head that dissipated quickly.

(S)- Lots of cherries with a honey sweetness. Very much like a cherry pie with honey drizzled on it.

(T)- Tart cherries with a big honey sweetness.

(M)- A low carbonation level. Rather sweet & syrup like. A huge fruitiness. Much too syrupy & sweet for the style as well as my tastes. It gets more & more bitter the further into the bottle I went.

(D)- Tastes good, but is far too sweet & syrup-like to enjoy more than a glass in one sitting. Especially disappointing considering the style it is classified under. Seems much more like a fruit beer than a belgain strong dark.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to slasher007 for sharing this bottle. This is the second time I have tried the beer but the first time I have reviewed it.

The beer pours a medium red color with a white head. The aroma is honey and tart cherries. The flavor is more of the same: Heavy on the honey with some tart cherries as well. This is one of the first beers I have had that you can really smell and taste the honey in. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of Irish212
4.43/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Clear & Golden with a small amount of head.

S: Mixture of a spicy and fruity aroma.

T: Solid taste of cherry with a faint honey taste, falls on the sweet side.

M: Very smooth

D: I really like this beer, but probably couldn't drink more than two of these in one setting between the high ABV and sweetness.

Photo of coalcracker
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark golden hue with light but activation carbonation.
Smell: Aroma is spicy and a bit sweet. Fruity aroma of cherry and dark fruits also noted. Very complex aroma.
Taste: Bready malt base first noted, then a wave of sweet cherry and dark fruits hits soon after. Candi sugars lead the way in the sweetness department. Finish is a little boozy and warming but smooth.
Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel but very smooth and warming at the end.
Drinkability: Not so drinkable by ABV. An enjoyable beer meant to be sipped. Might be a little too sweet for some.

Overall- probably one of the more complex beers I've ever had, which is a good thing. Good seasonal brew in a class of its own.

Photo of Tombomb
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Reddish amber. Clear. very little head

S: some hops and fruit, very little malt.

T: Tart cherries with some subtle alcohol.

M: very light an about water in texture

D: Way too easy to drink this one! at 11% you could run into probles very easily.

I got this in a beer club as a 'big" beer. This was the biggest and one of the most drinkable

Photo of sdj5
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Reddish-brown. Clear. Darker than white head.

S: Cherry, mostly.

T: Very much like cherries, bread and alcohol.

M: On the thinner side. Average amount of carbonation.

D: I couldn't drink a ton of this, but it's enjoyable in small quantities.

Photo of travduke
3.33/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz poured into a Duvel Tulip.

Look: Dark amber/mahogany body with a thin head that quickily dissipates. No real lacing.

Smell: Sweet caramel malts, honey, alcohol detected.

Taste: This is really sweet. Honey, candy, cherry. A little hot on the alcohol.

Mouth/Drink: Thin mouthfeel, drinkability for me is low due to how sweet this is. Overrated? I think so. Its not a bad beer, but not a "WOW"ing brew.

Photo of BeerGodz
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: 8.5
Clear reddish color, hardly any head, light lacing

Smell: 9
Caramel, malt, cherry candy

Taste: 8.5
Up Front: Sweet, malty, cherry, spicy. Finish: Toffee, candied fruit, chocolate, slight alcohol

Mouthfeel: 8.5
Smooth and dry

Drinkability: 8.5
I'm not a big cherry fan; it kind of reminds me of cherry cough syrup, without the medicinal taste. Almost taste like a light cherry brandy. Almost no alcohol taste, and at 11%, this is definitely a one and done.

Overall Impression: This is Troegs Christmas offering and it is a very unique brew. It's not cheap for the budget conscious, but it is worth a try. After sipping this Mad Elf, I'm one happy Elf!

Photo of womencantsail
3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to TroyG2352 for sending a bottle of this in a recent trade.

A: The pour is a clear amber color with a thin off-white head and nothing in the way of lacing.

S: There's a heavy spice component to the nose along with some fruity Belgian esters and alcohol.

T: The spice is once again very strong along with a very noticeable sweet pear flavor. The sweet caramel malt and a light sugary flavor provide some additional sweetness.

M: I was surprised by the fact that this is fairly light and crisp on the tongue.

D: Unfortunately, this beer didn't seem to be all put together. Luckily, the flavor is better than the nose, but not amazing in any sense.

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On draft at Zella's in Baltimore, MD. Served in a Chimay goblet.

A: Virtually flat. Perhaps 1/16 inch head that left no lacing. The color is a pretty ruby-tinged brown. The beer is light enough to see through easily, which I found rather surprising.

S: cherries, sweet malt, Belgian yeast, alcohol

T: A delicious take on a Belgian Strong Dark beer, this brew has an assertive sweet cherry flavor. Belgian yeast and a pleasant malty taste make this an enjoyable beverage. The beer definitely has an alcohol kick, though it is surprisingly not harsh. Well done.

M: more carbonation needed. ABV hidden fairly well

D: A bit too sweet for me to drink more than one. Also, the cherries, while great, would become excessive after a while.

Photo of willPS21
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very, very surprising beer!! One I had passed by plenty of times due to the gimmicky-looking packaging/name. But that changed when the guy in the store had me at "11%, cherry flavored." Wow. I've never had a single beer that disguised it's 11% punch this well, and I doubt I ever will again, it's amazing. I almost want to call "bs" and do some kind of test on it, it's very hard to believe. The beer is so light overall. It's not chewey or very viscous and actually finishes pretty clean. I get more tart than sweet from the cherry, which I like. The color in my snifter does have a nice reddish hue. The head was dense, foamy and 1/3", and dissipated fairly quickly. Other than that, it's just good, something you could picture chicks liking. It's not an all day beer but I could do it several day out of the week. I have a newfound respect for Troegs for pulling off the Mad Elf.

Ahhh now I feel the two beers that were in the half-22 I just had...

Photo of yesyouam
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tröegs Mad Elf is a very clear and dense, coppery red ale with a thin, sand colored head that fades to a film and leaves decent lacing on the glass. It has a very strong, sweet aroma of cherries. Deeper in the nose is a medicinal note. It's pretty full bodied and syrupy with a slightly sticky finish. It has a pretty sweet flavor. Cherries are prominent but so is resiny wood. A little green bitterness comes in at the finish, along with black pepper. The aftertaste is kind of oaky and spicy. This would be great Christmas party beer. Is this a braggot?

Photo of EkimGram
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Almost looks like wine. Rose-coloured, very bright but opaque. Very thin head, lots of carbonation. Can hear the bubbles at it sits.

Smell: Very fruity aroma with hints of alcohol. Some cherries as well.

Taste: Lots of bready, yeasty flavourrs. The alcohol is not very prominent in the taste, cherries are mild but there as well.

Mouthfeel: Thick, almost syrupy. Very full bodied, not overwhelming. Leaves a bit of residue not in the mouth but on the lips. Has a little bit of a kick to it when sipped quickly.

Drinkability: At 11% ABV this is definitely a nice treat. Great for sipping and warming up with some spice and fruit. One of the better winter seasonals out there in my opinion.

Photo of HopNuggets
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a 12oz bottle into a snifter. Thanks to jlindros for meeting up a few months ago at KJ Baarons in Worcester and bringing the unstocked Mad Elf to me.

A - Pours nicely with minimal head that dissipates to nearly nothing to leave barely any lacing. Color is brick red where you can't see your hand through the glass. As you tip the glass it lightens up to a clear bourbon caramel color.

S - Honey and cherries definately stand out in the aroma with a slight scent of booze.

T - Definite alcohol taste in this 11% brew with cherries up front and slight bitterness as the aftertaste almost like sour cherries or the bite of cherry.

M - Feels light with quite a lot of carbonation for a beer with no head.

D - For the Belgian Strong Dark Ale it doesn't drink like one. It's just not as smooth as I expected it to be, but at 11% it does go down pretty easily.

Photo of chiefgtx
4.65/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I love this one. everything you should expect in a seasonal winter beer. All the fruity spicy hearty flavor. A glass of this is a meal. I am thinking about buying the last 6 pack up the street just to have it for myself! I can't really think of any reason it's not a 5 all around actually. Of the 162 I have tasted in the last 6 weeks...it is in my top ten! If you see it ...give it a chance! Delicious.

Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 3,346 ratings.