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Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

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very good

3,532 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,532
Reviews: 1,215
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 15.25%
Wants: 203
Gots: 791 | FT: 22
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: 3,532 | Reviews: 1,215 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of joshuaburge
4.82/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A nice red tinted looking beer with little head. It smells of cherry and honey. Tastes of honey and also cherries, very sweet. Loads of alcohol flavor a alcohol %. Can put down a few due to it being very drinkable. An enjoyable beer for the holiday season. Also, is better when aged for a long period of time.

Photo of OakedCanuck
2.92/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into tulip

A - pours a reddish amber, clear. White to off white head that left almost immediately, minor lacing

S - Dark fruits, cherries and a sugar sweetness (caramel) that is very strong, makes me nervous

T - Dang sweet! Very caramelly/toffee sweet malt. Dominates this beer. The cherries, plum and honey seem to be in there as an after thought

M - Medium body, very sticky, medium alcohol burn

D - It is an okay beer, just the sweetness and alcohol dominate the palate too much.

Photo of brew3crew
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage poured into tasting glass.

A-translucent amber/red with white lacing around the edges
S-very suprising. Almost a banana smell to it. Light honey.
T-tastes a lot like it smells. Spicy banana. Really suprising here. Did not expect this at all.
M-medium bodied and smooth
D-very drinkable. Especially for abv.

Photo of BeerAndBourbon
2.96/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A. Looks pretty good. Orange with a red tinge with a white foam cap.

S. Cinnamon with yeasty malt. Banana eaters come out as it warms.

T. Sweet malt with honey and spiciness. Some cherry
, but it might just be the label influencing me.

M. Medium mouthfeel with creamy carbonation.

D. I'm not a big fan of spiced ales and this is no exception.

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

Pours amber red with a decent amount of head that dissipates quickly. Smells really strongly of cherries and spice. Honestly... Doesn't smell that good. Tastes spicy and a bit tart/sour. Its got a lot of yeasty tastes to it too... It has a solid mouthfeel and is fairly drinkable but it doesn't really do that much for me.

Photo of Jesstyr
3.23/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Was excited to try this beer, and enjoyed it in a Palm tulip and some great cheese.

Overall very disappointing. Looks great, ruby red with a thin bubbly head that remains throughout the drink. Nose definitely shows off the honey and cherry, but its not particularly full or well rounded.

Which leads to a similar flavor - it essentially comes off as a flavored beer, without the depth of Three Philosophers, which is the closest comparison I can think of. The body is too thin for the style and there seems to the raisin/chocolate sweetness you like to see in a strong dark. Overall this is a decent dessert beer, but not much else.

Photo of jmdrpi
3.35/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle, stamped 2010/2011.

appears a bright clear ruby red color. the color is brilliant, but there is little head.

strong cherry aroma, and the cherry and honey flavors dominate the taste. very sweet.

just a little too syrupy for me, maybe it could use more carbonation?

not too boozy, but the sweetness hurts the drinkability a bit.

****update a year later from same batch

appearance is the same. aroma and taste is not as cloyingly sweet. Body seems to have thinned a bit, as I don't have the same "syrupy" complaint. Overall, an improvement.

Photo of harrymel
1.6/5  rDev -58.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Thanks again to Chaney and Steelerx for setting me up with this as an extra! One for now, one for later!

Poured to NB globe.

A: Orange amber ale with little to no head. Surface is simply the pinnacle of the beer. Not even edge bubbling. No lacing. Unimpressive.

S: Sweet, alcoholic. Reminds me of a malt beverage (as noted on label), but not really getting the honey and cherries as I had hoped...Stand corrected, slight sweetened cherries in the mid point.

T: Very alcoholic. Very sweet. Wish I could sense the crastsmanship in this drink. I am having a hard time finishing this one. Wow, I was sent two of these, I will probably send the other out in a trade as an extra if I have space to fill. Horrible. Astringent.

M: think, medium carb. Very average.

D: This is unlike anything else I've had from Troegs: intolerable. I had a hard time finishing this one.

Photo of ms11781
3.3/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a tulip.

Pours a slightly hazy, deep red color. Looks like it wants to be a brownish red or rust color but every way I look at it, including holding it up to light, it's red. The thinnest of an off white head shows up and its gone almost instantly.

Smell is of ripe, dark fruit up front. Think cherries more than raisins or plums. The ripe fruit aroma is followed by a slight sweetness. The smallest amount of alcohol is detected at the end.

Taste is surprisingly sweet. The fruit flavors are still there but there is a sweetness that seems to ride underneath the rest of the flavors. Sweet up front with a fruity taste in the middle. Finishes mellow with an almost honey and sugar flavor. Sugar isn't the dark/brown sugar that is consistent with the style. As with the nose, the slightest hint of alcohol comes through in the finish.

Smoother mouthfeel due to a medium body and low carbonation. Beer really is smooth all the way through and finishes even smoother with the honey at the end.

Drinability is ok. At 11% ABV a 12oz bottle is enough. However, even if I was to move on to another one it would be something else.

Photo of Stockfan42
3.87/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had a few of these at the Tavern at the end of the world.

Poures a dark red body (it was dark in the room so couldn't tell ya if it really is a lighter beer) and thin white head.

Aroma smells of cherrys with a bit of a malty undertone and you can easily smell the alchahol.

A pretty tasty beer that let's you know it's 11% right away. Alchahol is the first thing I taste almost instantly, followed by a sweet malty sugary flavor, cherrys, a little bit of hops and a spicy bite that reminds me of hop devil.

Mouthfeel has a bite of alchahol and spice, not something I could sit and drink all evening but a very tasty brew indeed.

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

Poured from 12 oz bottle into dimpled mug. Pours a flat amber with a fizzy white head, which diminishes fairly steadily. Has a good aroma of cherry and malts with a touch of hoppiness. Has a medium body with a slick texture. Has a lively carbonation. A good duration with a slightly metalic chalky finish. This brew hides the 11% very well. Has hints of a Belguim.

Photo of ryan1788a5
3.92/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a New Belgium globe.

A: Bright, clear red/orange with a two-inch white head. The head settles quickly and leaves thin lacing.

S: Cherries, cherry juice, Belgian yeast, vague spices, slight herbal hops.

T: Opens with a slight tartness and lots of cherry juice. Typical Belgian yeast taste. Faint taste of spicy alcohol. Cherries somewhat mask the fruity esters coming from the Belgian yeast. Candied cherries and a faint graininess, and maybe a dash of chocolate in the dry finish.

M: Medium bodied, slightly syrupy from the residual sugars. Mild warming alcohol.

D: Drink very well for its strength. One would never guess that it is 11% abv.

Notes: Pretty decent. A tad one-dimensional though. The Belgian yeast seems to be under-utilized, and the cherries hog too much of the spotlight.

Photo of oline73
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 bottle from the cellar poured into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Pours an almost clear red amber with a 1/8 inch layer of off white head. Head dissipates almost immediately.

Smell: Very sweet with cherries and hints of honey and brown sugar. Not much alcohol to be found here.

Taste: Cherry and sweet malt and honey dominate. After that I pick up some caramel and a bit of alcohol, which isn't surprising given the ABV.

Mouthfeel: This one is on the thick side of medium body. The carbonation is low and the finish is slick on the tongue.

Drinkability: Admittedly, this is one of my favorite Christmas beers. It has held up well to a year in the cellar. Good beer for a cold night and I'll keep coming back to this one.

Photo of ElliotNess
4.47/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had a bottle last night for the first time, my initial glance at the bottle as i poured it into a glass was the ABV of 11%. I was surprised to see that a christmas ale would be this high. But the taste and drinkability, did not hint at the level of high alcohol. The taste gave a cherry flavor upfront and finished smooth like a good ale does. A very unique flavor unlike other cherry beers I've tasted, and would conclude that i hope to find some around town before the season ends.

Photo of Arinthos
1.59/5  rDev -58.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

I had this brew at a christmas eve party out if a 24 or so oz. bottle. The break down goes something like this

A- This was a great dark ruby red aboslutelly th best part of this otherwise >>>>>> beer.

S- unfortunatelly the only smell was of bad alcohol kinda like a old english on steriods.

T- unfortunatelly the only taste was of bad alcohol kinda like a old english on steriods

M- Decent carbonation, but way overpowering alcohol burn in the throat horrible burn felt like a cheap cheap booze.

D- never again this was a really bad expierence didn't even finish it.

Photo of Pecafaced
3.26/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a snifter glass. Allowed to warm up to about cellar temperature.

A- There appeared to be an instant color change during the pour. Initially it appeared to come out slightly light and golden but then became ruby red upon the completion of the pour. The head was very thin and quickly dissipated after the pour.

S- instant smell of sour cherries and a sweetness possibly attributed to the honey. Also hints of spice or cloves can be detected.

T- The taste is sweet with some hints of the sour cherry and the spice from the yeast. Not overly sweet though. The alcohol is present at 11% but not overwhelming.

M- Decent carbonation, a bit dry on the finish.

D- Overall a good holiday beer. Definitely good to drink during the cold months. Not overwhelming with the alcohol and not too sweet for my palate. Would definitely get again.

Photo of Rickythejeweler
3.28/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2009 Vintage Keg on-tap at Hudson Street Stackhouse 1/18/11

A - Clear ruby, almost no head nor lacing.

S - Sour cherry.

T - Cherry, bread, belgian yeast, and other wierd but welcomed flavours that I couldn't sort out.

M - Thick, slightly syrupy, low carbonation.

D - The alcohol was hidden very well, but the sweetness got to me a bit more than I would have liked.

Photo of Jimmys
3.94/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: bright clear amber red. bubbly bright head. some tiny bubbles trickle to the surface.

S: sweet sugar and alcohol. definitely get the tart/sweet cherries as well. a little woodiness as well.

T: definitely get a serious warming factor from both the alcohol as well as the candied syrup that they most likely added and did not completely ferment. marshmellows.

M: really soft carbonation on a solid medium bodied beer. good fit for the style.

D: a solid wintertime brew that I look forward to every year. definitely worth a look.

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

Picked this up at GBX.

A - Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass. Pours transparent amber with golden highlights and a thin white head that quickly dissipates to but a ring around the edge of the glass.

S - Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, Belgian trippely brown sugar, medium roasted malts, and a sort of coppery bitter hops essence.

T - Belgian brown sugary flavor, cherries, honey, cinnamon, wintery spices and what have you, sweet alcohol finish.

M - Light bodied yet syrupy.

Photo of bminor7
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz from Hoosick in Troy. Saw this one around a lot but the goofy elf put me off. Silly.

A - nice ruby color. good head formation initially but not enough to keep it around.

S - if someone offered this to me in a blind 'sniffing'...I would think this was brewed by Unibroue. Definitely a belgian touch. spicy yeast and maybe a hint of cherries.

T - malty up front with a cherry, belgian yeast and cherry. the alcohol is not really detectable. i was really surprised when i read the bottle to see 11%. lots of belgian character including the sugar.

M - fitting, could use more carbonation, maybe.

D - could have about 3 on a good day, but otherwise, not so much.

Photo of Bendurgin
3.2/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a tulip. Thanks Andy for sharing your Christmas gift from me! Poured into a tulip. The beer pours a dark cranberry color with about an inch of white head that vanishes almost immediately. The body is clear and transparent. The aroma is full of dark cherries and malt. It kind of has a medicinal aroma to it also. Again, cherry flavor right up front. It kind of rounds out with vanilla and oak. Again though, it's kind of medicinal; like a cherry cough drop. The feel is fair. It's kind of dry. It seems to have tannins like a red wine. It's drinks fair, I'm glad I've tried it, but I probably won't grab this unique beer again.

Photo of andrewinski1
3.08/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into my Mad Elf tulip. Thanks Ben! Pours a clear dark amber almost pomegranate. Just a very little bit of head.

Nice sweet aroma. The cherry flavor reminds me of a cough drop. Not too bad, especially for the unique concoction.

The taste starts and finishes sweet. The only bitterness is in the aftertaste. I do get a hint of yeast spiciness similar to that of a tripel. The point is, this is sweet through and through.

Mouthfeel is average. This is an okay sipper. Very unique, but nothing I'd go out of my way to have again.

Photo of alkemy
4.27/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The color is a crystal clear ruby/burnt orange. I believe the head was off-white, but to be honest, it didn't last long enough for me to get a real good look. Smells sweet and boozy. Cherries are predominant, but a bit complex in that maraschino cherries are discernable as well as dried black cherries. Banana, vanilla, and alcohol round things out. Taste is very reflective of the aroma, although the vanilla note seems replaced by a touch of bitter chocolate and honey. Otherwise cherries are dominant. Alcohol is far more present in the nose than on the palate. The finish is somewhat reminiscent of a cherry cough syrup, but finishes much cleaner than one would suspect. Feel is slightly viscous and resiny. Incredibly easy to drink.

Photo of eggplantwiz
2.47/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an ommegang goblet.

A: No real lacing, no / minimal carbonation. Flat-ish amber appearance.

S: Overwhelmingly sweet, honey and cherries come out. This is the strongest point for this beer.

T: A little bit unexciting really. Sure, I taste the honey and cherries, but it's almost cloyingly sweet with negligible complexity. I'm not sure why this beer gets such good reviews.

M: Smooth enough mouthfeel, medium to light bodied.

D: Surprisingly drinkable for 11% -- the alcohol is well hidden here, no booziness at all, really. Very smooth, but still not exciting.

Overall, a below average beer, but pleasant enough. I don't think I'd seek this out again.

Photo of plfahey
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a wine glass.

Appearance-Amber to copper hue, with a slight reddish tint. Quite clear. Moderate beige head with fair retention and some lacing.

Aroma-Tart cherries, light biscuit and caramel malt, and low to no hop aroma. Some floral honey aromas present. Perfumy, rosewater, and peppery alcohols are present in the background.

Flavor-Brown sugar, molasses, licorice, and dark candi sugar. Light sour cherries, hint of vanilla. Hop bitterness is low, but the sweet flavors are somewhat dried out by moderate floral alcohols. That said, it has some definite residual sugar, and the brown/dark sugar lingers on well into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel-Moderately feel mouthfeel, moderate carbonation. Some decent alcohol warmth. Quite smooth.

Very tasty, but I'm satisfied with one bottle-I wouldn't want to drink a ton of this. Haven't had very much from Troegs, but I'm glad I got a chance to try this while I was out on the east coast.

Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 3,532 ratings.