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Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

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Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

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very good

3,495 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,495
Reviews: 1,205
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 15.25%
Wants: 194
Gots: 754 | FT: 23
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:
Beer added by: WilliamPhilaPa on 12-14-2002

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,495 | Reviews: 1,205 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of claspada
2.44/5  rDev -37%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Aromas of layers of sweet cherries and some sublter Belgian yeast funk smell, with lesser bananas and clove esters.

The taste is a complete flop for me. Simply put it tastes like a cherry cough syrup which was fermented with Belgian yeast. Way too sweet as well from the honey I presume. This isn't beer in my opinion but a mead/lambic hybrid mess.

The only saving grace is that the mouthfeel isn't totally syrupy and cloying; medium bodied and very good level of carbonation.

Overall this is a miss for me, too alcoholic, unpleasant and even ended up being a drainpour. Will not revisit ever again, even for free.

Photo of TheDudeBeers
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Orangish-Purple in color. No real head to report
S - Fruit and perhaps some clove and other spices
T - Apricot, citrus fruit, cherries up front with the spices coming late in the taste.
M - A little heavy for a winter warmer but I like that. Thick on the tongue with low carbonation.
D - I usually don't like Winter Warmers. It's just not my favorite style but I think this is pretty drinkable.

Photo of mbusster88
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz 2010 bottle.

A: Dark red color with small white head. No carbonation noticeable in the body. Very thick on the side of the glass, definitely a syrup like consistency in terms of stickiness.

S: Get cherry notes right away on the nose. Then get some like booze notes. Lastly get big sweet characters and some yeast notes as well.

T/M: Right away yeast and cherry flavor. Very sweet. Little alcohol notes but not very much. Very good mouth feel and not much by way of thickness. However, this is very syrup like with the stickiness.

D: Very drinkable for 11% and tastes great. Good winter beer and might do well with some age. However, this one is great right away so I would pick some up if you can.

Photo of vfgccp
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Medium grade maple syrup

S - Bright but not overpowering. Raspberry, citrus hops, clove.

T - A fun beer. The flavors are interesting and meld into each other surprisingly well. There isn't any one flavor that stands up and smacks you in the face. Primary flavors are clove, allspice, and brown breads. Touch of bitter melon and bananas deep in the profile.

M - Light body but not overly so. Smooth mouth feel. Finishes sweet with a touch of warm alcohol.

D - Very drinkable. Spice profile isn't overwhelming and there's enough flavor to keep you coming back.

Photo of david131
4.17/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- A deep, dark crystal clear orange liquid with some red highlights. The bone white head is very thin and splotchy.

S- Bananas, clove, bubble gum, caramel, cherries, apples, and pears. A malty, fruity, Belgian bomb.

T- Bananas, clove, cherries, bubble gum, fruit, and caramel. Sweet but not overly rich.

M- A bit sticky and syrupy with some smooth carbonation. the alcohol only provides some warmth and is very well hidden.

D- A bit of a sipper, but it is very enjoyable and the alcohol is well hidden. Worthy of its legendary reputation.

Photo of Chincino
3.92/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this beer a couple of times during a recent trip to Philadelphia. I first had it at the Troegs brewery in Harrisburg as part of a beer sampler of the beers that were on tap that day (8). I also had this beer from a bottle at the Standard Tap in Philly.

A friend of a friend commented that the Mad Elf was a "big beer" which was very true. This Christmas Belgian Ale was had a spicy aroma and really smelled both spicy and sweet at the same time. I wouldn't say this was one of my favorite beers, but it was a good seasonal beer and worth checking out in my book.

Photo of kenpo23
3.05/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

oh christmas beer oh christmas beer....

A: pretty flat, with no head. pretty red color that some irish red ales dont even have.

S: nice fruity smell. i can smell the cherry (and it doesnt smell like cough medicine to me) and honey.

T: wow, smooth. i can't taste the honey at all but my other half, the super taster, is amazed that i can't taste it. the alcohol taste didn't really hit me.

D: sip away. i cant imagine trying to pound one of these.

nothing extra special about this beer. its very much got a holiday flavor to it though. i bought one for christmas and i will do the same next year, but no more than one for me.

Photo of Bmoyer0301
3.29/5  rDev -15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


Poured into a standard snifter at O'Riley's pub in Harrisburg. Very Thin bright white head that is fading very quickly as I write. When I hold it up to the light appears to be crystal clear ruby red/ pinkish with absolutely no haze or yeast chunk. Very Very pretty looking. As I give a little swirl I notice the viscosity is pretty heavy but not quite syrupy.


Right off the start I am pulling out the cherries, black licorice, sugar honey like sweetness, some medicinal notes that remind of of some cough drops or children cherry cough syrup. Maybe some menthol ? There is some heat alcohol in the finish.


Bright honey sweetness, cherries and yeasty phenolic funk are the front and center stage here. Some sour apples, cloves, bananas and absolutely no hops to mention of. This is sweet but not cloyingly overdone. As I keep going cider notes are coming through and I hate to say this maybe pencil shavings?


I LOVE Troegs but this is one of those beers that never does it for me. I usually have one or two a year just to see how the batch came out and I really should try aging some. I might have better results. Good beer, just not for me for 12% it drinks dangerously smooth.

Photo of thagr81us
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to bs870621345 for this one as a part of a thanks box! Serve from bottle into a Delirium Tremens snifter. Poured a brilliant red-orange with a one finger off-white head to a half finger slowly. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma is comprised of sweet malt, honey, cherries, bananas, and alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, banana, honey, slight cherries, and very subtle alcohol. It had a light feel on the palate with low-mild carbonation. Overall this was a pretty excellent brew. I can't believe this thing is 11%! Excellent aroma and nice flavor that was balanced quite nicely. Definitely a nice fruit aspect going on here to mask the alcohol. This is a must try without a doubt.

Photo of Brez07
3/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2010 vintage. 12oz bottle poured into a Chimay glass

A: Pours relatively flat, leaving just a hint of head. Ruby red color, very translucent

S: Maraschino cherry, candied sugar. Very sweet smelling beer. Some alcohol making it's way through

T: Dark cherry with some chocolate. Reminds me of those Cellas cherries. This is brief though. After that it's just tons of cherry juice with some hoppy characteristics. Almost like a cough drop. Finishes with an alcohol presence

M: Medium bodied. Fairly weak carbonation. Slightly dry, crisp finish

D: Just a sweet boozy brew right now. I'm not a fan of this fresh. I've heard it ages well so glad to have a few in the cellar

Photo of Gambrinus1184
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22-ounce bottle into a pint glass.

A: Ruby red-amber in color with good clarity and sparse carbonation building to a two-finger head of dense, white foam which left some decent lacing.

S: Whiffs of honey, cherries, spicy yeast, fruity esters and phenol alcohol in the nose.

T: Very smooth and clean malt bill with spicy and grainy wheat and yeast flavors underlying the malty sweetness. Honey is soft and drying while the semisweet and tart cherries add a bit to the fruitiness. No alcohol really noted, which makes this brew sort of dangerous at 11% ABV. Nice, spicy, somewhat bitter, cherry Tussin finish.

M: Full-bodied clean and smooth with a very quaffable finish.

D: A nice, spiced strong Belgian ale for the holidays. Very clean, smooth and spicy flavors blend nicely with the hints of honey and cherry. The seemingly subdued alcohol also makes it a dangerous brew, as noted earlier because of the ABV. It might be a bit much to handle all day, but after dinner, it's a nice treat.

Photo of JoeBloe
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

i've not been liking this too much in it''s $18.99/6pk form - but I'm working a growler on a snowy day today-
pours an almost clear reddish golden orange and puts up a 1/2 finger head of quickly dissipated head -lack of lacing belies its slick high abv character - smells pretty nice and sweet, I'm picking up those dark cherrries - taste is sweet up front with a spicy/bitter finish, cherries/prunes/ and sweet honey - mouthfeel is as if this was mixed directly with honey - thick and slick, in an 'ok' way -
this fresh growler is certainly more evenly balanced than the bottled version, yum - drinkability is real good, even though i should know better...

Photo of dragonWhale
3.82/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

pours with no carb, hazy ruby with bubbles rising. malty, thick sugar sweetness with a brilliant touch of cherries and some spiciness. the cherries don't really come off in the nose but in the flavor they are subtle and perfectly in balance with the heavy malt notes. love the choice of yeast here. some strong phenols. overall, pretty damn good, beautiful mouthfeel and fairly drinkable.

Photo of ztaylor1
2.82/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance- hazy dark gold, no head to speak of...

Smell- sweet caramel, honey, and grapes. There citrus notes, but they are faint.

Taste- cherries are very dominant. Alcohol is present. Very potent.

Mouthfeel-light body with little carbonation

Drinkability-too strong for me to even finish this bomber.

Photo of jsanford
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into my Mad Elf tulip.

A - Pours a ruddy reddish-amber with a thin, quickly dissipating white head.
S - Spicy Belgian-style yeast dominates. Cherries and honey make themselves known as the beer warms, as does a touch of coriander.
T - The yeast dominates again, very spicy and complex. More cherries and honey along with a bit of amber candi sugar, coriander, and ripe banana character.
M - Slick and slightly oily with a medium body and low carbonation. ABV is hidden well, leaving just the slightest warming sensation in the chest.
D - Definitely a sipper, but an excellent one. One of the beers I look forward to every year, Christmas isn't the same without it.

Photo of EgadBananas
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a very dark auburn, with a very thin off white head that doesnt stick around, but would be expected with the ABV.

Aroma is sweet, like cherries, with a hint of tart and yeasty characters.

Taste is also sweet, with those cherries, not as much tart, but there is some belgo yeast funk to it that leaves a lingering aftertaste. The finish is ripe with booze.

Feel is nearing medium, with a slick quality, and some active carbonation.

The drink is ok, but booze affects it's sessionability.

Photo of curasowa
3.76/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a copper color with a thin cap of head that fades quickly to a ring. The cherries are really pronounced in the aroma, reminding me of cough syrup. There's also some medicinal notes along with hints of sweet, toasted malt. Thick, syrupy and sticky sweet, this beer is creamy and full bodied. Some mild bitterness comes through on the back end to help cut some of the sweetness. The finish is actually fairly fast and astringent, with some hot alcohol showing up. Drinkability is good for such a big, sweet beer. A tasty one, but given its price it's kinda hard to justify more than one.

Photo of mjaskula
3.87/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a sniffer. The Beer is a beautiful clear and dark copper red. Unfortunately there is no head to speak of, it comes across visually as more of a port than a beer.

The aroma is sweet and thick and fruity, the cherry come across well as does the alcohol content. I also get some dark fruits. The complex flavor follows the nose a bit and the belgian yeast character comes through. There's some banana flavor from the yeast and the cherry is there as well. The alcohol is well hidden.

The mouthfeel isn't overly viscous and the carbonation is higher than expected given the lack of head. Overall I like this and will look forward to it again next year.

Photo of Arenbeer
3.58/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22oz bottle from THECPJ into a snifter glass. Thanks a lot man!

It's the day before Christmas eve and i figure what's a better time than now for this beer!

A- Pours a nice dark golden brown with a really thin off white head that doesn't stick around at all just leaves some bubbles in the around the edge of the glass.Thin lacing but definitely there.

S- Sweet honey and a lots and lots of cherry's that smells intensely sour! Some alcohol as it warms but not bad, very inviting still.

T- Just like the smell. Creamy and insanely smooth malts with a nice sweetness from the honey. After it goes down your left with a strong cherry flavor and tartness. A good amount of alcohol as well as it warms creating a nice fullness.

M- Medium bodied with moderate carbonation and slight bitter finish but not bad.


Photo of BuckeyeSlim
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle poured into a brandy snifter.

A - One-finger off-white foamy head that dissipates quickly, leaving a ring of big-bubble foam around the edge. Sunset golden-red in color and clear. Just sitting in the snifters on a table by the fire, this beer looks very inviting.

S - Honey, maraschino cherries, and malt all float into the nose on a pleasant pillow of subtle alcohol. As it warms in the glass, the fruit flavors grow more complex.

T - Very similar to the nose, although the cherriness is more subdued and not cloyingly sweet. Excellent slightly toasted malts dominate along with compliments of caramel and just a hint of spices for the finish.

M - Creamy at first, then very smooth as it's sipped. Just the right amount of carbonation to give it some structure.

D - A delicious winter warmer to be savored and enjoyed. The alcohol is nicely hidden behind the malts, sugars, and fruits, but there to make it drink more like a brandy than a beer. I would have opened a second bomber had I bought one.

Photo of SASN
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: beautiful red-golden color-one of the prettiest beers I've seen

S: very nice, sweet, cherry aroma but not overly sweet

T: initial sweetnss with cherry notes followed by a touch of bitterness

M: medium, nice body

D: the high alcohol limits the drinkability, also the more you drink, the more you notice the sweetness-it can become too much

Conclusion: a great seasonal, winter beer. Mad Elf= holiday time

Photo of drea0695
3.51/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: what a pretty beer! Poured into an over sized wine glass, a gorgeous cranberry color.

S: Tart cherries. Not overwhelming but just enough to make your mouth pucker up in anticipation

T: cherries, and a nice biscuity malt, almost like a tart cherry pie and as it warms just a hint of alcohol.

M: light carbonation which definitely helps break up the potential for a syrup bomb.

D: probably too drinkable for an 11%. But it's Christmas! Just don't drive.

I really think this beer is a great addition to the holiday season. It's so flavorful and complex. Pick it up you won't be disappointed!

Photo of GilGarp
3.97/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 vintage served cellar temperature into a goblet. The sediment is kept in the bottle for now.

Mad Elf is a bright ruby red color with good clarity when held to the light. The head is short and settles quickly with no lacing.

Aroma is sweet and boozy with a lot of tart cherries. It's a little like English old ale mixed with port wine.

Flavor is strong but very smooth. The base beer is rich and malty with a nice caramel sweetness. The cherries come through very nicely, not artificial at all. A real dark cherry flavor that goes well with the Belgian dark ale foundation.

Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with almost no carbonation at all. The alcohol is fairly well-hidden, considering the strength.

Overall a good holiday beer but not a great version of a Belgian strong dark ale. Taken at face value though, I enjoy it as a nice slow sipper.

Photo of wampahoofus
3.92/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: A maroon to slightly amber beer. A bit of carbonation. Some cream-colored head that fades very fast with little or no lacing.

Smell: Reminders of brandy to the nose. The cherries are there but are not overwhelming. A bit of alcohol.

Taste: Let it warm up. About 55F. Now the flavor is coming out! Lots of fruit, alcohol, nice rounded malt. Just a bit of tartness at the end, but not sour.

Mouthfeel: Has a bit of a lager feel. Tastes like an ale, but has a clean finish for a mouthfeel.

Drinkability: This is a delicious ale. The cherries add a festive quality and the sweetness blends with the alcohol nicely.

This is my Christmas beer for the year. I will be enjoying this beer in my snifter by the fire while watching the snow fly.

Photo of Pellinore1
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to CaptinRedBeard for sending this bottle.

Pours deep amber into a tuilp, producing about half a finger of light tan head.

Smells of malts, Belgian yeast, honey, and perhaps a bit of fruit.

This beer begins with flavors of malts and bread, and finishes with Belgian yeast, spices, a hint of banana, and just a little alcohol warmth.

Mad Elf is medium-bodied and smooth, with minimal carbonation. Even at 11%, the alcohol is just barely noticeable, making for a nicely drinkable beer.

Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 3,495 ratings.