1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

2,947 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,947
Reviews: 1,149
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 15.54%
Wants: 141
Gots: 424 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Tröegs Mad Elf Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,947 | Reviews: 1,149 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of albo
albo

Pennsylvania

4.28/5  rDev +10.9%

I wait for the Christmas Season just so that I can get a case of the Elf. It truly does bring joy to my heart.

Anyway, on to the review.

Pours with little head that last a few seconds before disappearing.

Color is a brilliant, deep red.

Smell is traditionallly Belgian with faint hints of cherry.

The mouthfeel is smooth as silk like a great full-bodied wine.

The boys at Troegs have been tweaking the recipe nearly every year since its inception, but it seems as though they have finally hit the consistency that they have been shooting for. The bottom line is, it's a great beer for an equally great season!

12-20-2006 04:11:38 | More by albo
Photo of jhicks12
jhicks12

Pennsylvania

4.33/5  rDev +12.2%

Poured this beer into a pint glass, first thing I notice was the glowing ruby red color and white head. Beer had a sweet cherry aroma with just a slight honey nose. First taste really got a lot of cherry not some much sour on first taste but more so as I drank. Slight alcohol warming. Not as much as I would have expected from an 11%. Very drinkable and a nice beer to warm you up with out being too overpowering.

12-19-2006 23:15:08 | More by jhicks12
Photo of Wasatch
Wasatch

Utah

3.98/5  rDev +3.1%

Thanks to Foxman for this one.

Pours a clear dark amber color, nice carbonation, small head, nice lacing afterwards. The nose is of sweet malts, grassy/wheat, dark fruits (Cherries), belgian yeast, and caramel. The taste is sweet/malty, grassy, with a slightly dry finish, ABV hidden very well. Medium body, a complex brew. Very drinkable, does not remind me of an Belgian Strong Dark Ale at all, more like a Strong Pale Ale or WeizenBock.

12-17-2006 22:51:59 | More by Wasatch
Photo of EStreet20
EStreet20

New Jersey

3.63/5  rDev -6%

Last year I reviewed this on Christmas Day. Can't wait that long for this year's edition.

12 ounce bottle poured into an oversized wine glass.

A - The beer pours out as red as a ruby with a compact off white head. The red color really is pretty.

S - Big fruit smell along with the distinct smell of Belgian yeast. Some alcohol character and some dark bready smell.

T - The initial sip is sweet but a tartness comes over this beer. I definitely get the cherries in there as well. Alcohol on the finish.

M - A bit of a lighter body than I expect for the style.

D - Intriguing, a lot of sour characteristics that I didn't expect yet are still welcome

12-16-2006 07:31:27 | More by EStreet20
Photo of briscott99
briscott99

Maryland

3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Appearance: Pours a nice dark reddish brown. A white head of about two fingers. A little bit of lacing on the glass.

Smell: Smells substantial.... bready, yeasty, but also a bit of sweet honey in there. Says it's brewed with cherries, but I'm not picking up that scent on the nose.

Taste: Cherries show up in the taste, but only slightly for me. SPICE... there is a big holiday spice component to this beer... shows up in the aftertaste. Nutmeg? This beer is really malty sweet. I don't detect much hop character at all... maybe a little bittering, but it's definitely overshadowed by the sweetness. This is almost like liquid candy. And for being 11% ABV I don't detect much alcohol in the taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a light carbonation.

Drinkability: I couldn't do more than one of these in a sitting. It's definitely interesting and leaves you with a lot to ponder, but I just wish it were a little less sweet.

Not my favorite, but definitely worth a try. It definitely tastes like the holidays to me.

12-15-2006 02:45:59 | More by briscott99
Photo of ellisdee97
ellisdee97

Pennsylvania

3.4/5  rDev -11.9%

A: Light amber with a thin bubbly off white head, which leaves a nice ring. Bubbly lacing clings to the glass.

S: Deep mix of cherry, honey and alcohol. Toasted malt, a slight hint of hops and saccharin sweetness.

T: Very sugary sweet cherry and honey. Toast and warm alcohol. The cherry right now is too sweet but some age should help. Last year definitely had more of a deep chocolate base, which they coincidentally removed from the labels description.

M: Sweet, sticky and sugary. High carbonation.

D: Some age will help but right now it is too sweet. But a nice sipper overall.

12-14-2006 16:36:47 | More by ellisdee97
Photo of chadspivey
chadspivey

Texas

4.08/5  rDev +5.7%

thanks to akorsak for the growler shipped overnight. poured into my st. bernardus oversized goblet.

A: pours a clear red amber color. Head dissipates really fast, but I like the way it settles, with the bigger bubbles.

S: dark fruits and belgian yeast. spices, dark maltiness

T: grapes, alcohol, belgian yeast, very faint apples. dark maltiness present .

M: medium body. Would have expected it to be thicker considering the class of beer and the alcohol content. still seems to compliment the taste really nicely. slightly velvety.

D: pretty sweet beer, but I'm getting pretty buzzed off just the one. If it werent for the drunkenness, I'd have more.

couldn't decide between 4.0 and 4.5 on the taste. I think I changed it about 4 times. I decided it was closer to 4.5.

12-13-2006 05:25:06 | More by chadspivey
Photo of TheManiacalOne
TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.65/5  rDev +20.5%

Acquired via trade from Silent Sabre, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him.
Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright copper color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of dark fruit (cherries & raisins) and caramelized malt, with a faint touch of Belgian yeast.

T: Flavors of dark fruit & Belgian yeast hit you up front and are pretty much the dominant flavors throughout. There’s a subdued malt character and the 11.00% ABV is no where to be found. After-taste is fruity.

M: Extremely smooth, light carbonation, light-to-medium body, clean finish.

D: Very tasty, not filling at all, goes down very easily. I’m not sure how the high ABV gets hidden so well in a beer that’s as light as this one, but it makes this beer dangerously drinkable. This is an excellent beer. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

12-08-2006 03:15:01 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Bottle courtesy of adrian910ss: Poured a medium amber color ale with a small foamy head with average retention and lacing. Aroma of light cherry with some subtle spices and sweet malt. Taste is semi-sweet with cherry and sweet malt. Body is a bit light but alcohol is very well hidden. I was probably expecting a bit much from this beer, which is far from being bad but just not as complex as I had hoped.

12-05-2006 19:39:07 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of wesblount
wesblount

Pennsylvania

4.2/5  rDev +8.8%

A: Pours a nice reddish/amber color with about an eighth inch head that dissipates somewhat quickly

S: Has a nice fruity smell

T: Smooth, fruity (cherry) taste combined with a typical ale taste. Dominate alcohol aftertaste with hints of cherry.

M: Crisp, clean and refreshing

D: This is one of my favorite beers. Highly recommended!

12-05-2006 06:19:01 | More by wesblount
Photo of flexabull
flexabull

California

3.95/5  rDev +2.3%

Pours dark amber with a decent head. Looks pretty good.

Beer smells like sour cherries with a bit of alcohol. Not bad... interesting aroma.

The flavor of this beer was a bit surprising. Reading that it was brewed with cherries I was thinking strong fruit notes. But in this one, the fruit definitely takes a back seat to the traditional beer flavors.. This one really reminds me of a strong Belgian ale. But instead of the apple flavors I usually taste from this style, the cherries show up just a bit, but they certainly aren't obvious. Interesting... it is almost like the cherry flavors were made without the addition of the cherries, they are that subtle. Very well made.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, but just a bit above average.

I was pleasantly surprised by this beer. Seeing that it was brewed with cherries, I was bit reluctant. (I am not a big fruit beer fan) But this is a very well made and enjoyable beer.

Thanks for the unique tasting beer Foxman!

12-04-2006 05:41:05 | More by flexabull
Photo of ArrogantB
ArrogantB

Colorado

3.35/5  rDev -13.2%

12 oz. Bottle thanks to zrrbrrt. The bottle features an elf who looks like he got a little crunk before Christmas and brought the cherries with him. I poured this one into a Chimay glass and the head dissipated super fast. The color is red and reminds me a little of cheery 7-up (only a little). It smells slightly syrupy and sweet with hints of cherry. I can barely taste the honey but the cherries are there. This definitely feels like a sipper and is probably going to take awhile. A decent beer but i could not drink more than one in a sitting.

12-03-2006 02:32:46 | More by ArrogantB
Photo of JasonA
JasonA

Massachusetts

4.2/5  rDev +8.8%

12oz bottle from Corridor Wine and Spirits in Laurel MD. I picked up quite a few since Ive read such good things about this winter release.

Pours a beautiful clear reddish copper. Tiny head, little lacing, but staying power.

Smell is pretty perfect. Very surprised this small bottle of beer packs such a power boquet. Sweet, malty, fruit. Maybe raisin, cherry. Tough for my amateur nose to tell.

Yummy. Thin, with not much body. Does this beer need to cellar? Dried fruit maybe. Alcohol finish. The alcohol ending is really nice though. No bite really, solid alcohol flavor.

Solid carbonation. Sits nice. No real staying power, but the boquet does stay which is nice.

I voted pretty high on the drinkinability because I think this beers presentation and overall experience makes it very good to drink for a good period of time.

12-02-2006 01:50:18 | More by JasonA
Photo of gixxerman
gixxerman

Pennsylvania

4.22/5  rDev +9.3%

Great seasonal brew, but a tad on the expensive side. Poured out of the bottle aggressily into a tall glass unleashed a spicy aroma, and gave a nice thick 2 inch head, which quickly disappears. The high alcohol content is not overwhelming while enjoying the brew, but it will sneak up on you after a few. The cherry/honey/spicy flavor is one of a kind. It seemed to taste better after it warmed up a bit. I took a few out of the fridge and drank them at about 50-55 degrees - I would personally call this the ideal temperature for this ale. I will probably grab a few more cases before they are gone.

12-01-2006 00:28:02 | More by gixxerman
Photo of bigdeuce
bigdeuce

Pennsylvania

3.93/5  rDev +1.8%

Leaves some decent lacing but not as much as a real belgian..but other than that, this is a world class beer. Pours an amber/red color with a fast disapating head. Tastes of fruity plums, honey, and cherries. Finishes dry with a rummy note at the end. Is light and crisp and very hard to detect it's strength. Glad I got a case of this one.

12-01-2006 00:19:14 | More by bigdeuce
Photo of pavandal
pavandal

Pennsylvania

4.53/5  rDev +17.4%

Beer poured into my tulip glass from a growler purchased today. It poured a nice honey - red color with a 1 inch head. Honestly, the most inviting beer I've ever had. lacing left a nice bubbly coating on the glass as I drank.

Smell began with some bready smells, but as the head disolved, it turned to honey and cherries, with alchohol behind it.

As the beer hits your tongue, the first flavor you taste is a bitey sweetness. this is probably due to the cherries involved in the brew. I also taste a lot of bready notes. The high ABV can't be tasted, as far as I can tell. This is a very great tasting brew.

I can see this beer getting dangerous to those that aren't familiar with it. This beer feels great in the mouth, light enough to make you want more, but it has some weight behind it to make you know you're drinking something.

I really, really dig this ale. if the ABV wasn't so high, this would be a constant (as much as it could be, given it's limited run) for me. I don't know why people have said that this tastes like cough syrup, because I sure can't taste it.

11-30-2006 02:49:22 | More by pavandal
Photo of hoppymeal
hoppymeal

Michigan

3.78/5  rDev -2.1%

2006 vintage. Pours copper and clear with a small loose cream head that quickly recedes to a ring. Aroma shows some cherry, some tartness and behind this a deeper light sweetness. The alcohol is present in the aroma as a fairly rich booziness. There is a dry white wine character in the aroma as well. There is a mix of tartness and a light sweetness and cherries up front in the taste, followed by a nice breadiness and finishing with a slightly dry small alcohol bite. Body is fairly light and thin. The alcohol although present is fairly well balanced for its strength and its light body. Not something I'd drink a few of back to back, but I look forward to aging some and seeing how it develops. Nice festive beer, I enjoyed the tartness which mixed well with the slight dryness and alcohol in the finish.

11-30-2006 00:35:47 | More by hoppymeal
Photo of weasbri
weasbri

Virginia

3.8/5  rDev -1.6%

Deep amber color with a short bubble head that didn't last or lace. Now that I'm over my cold, I can pick up a whiff of cherry and some alcohol. The taste does have a bit of honey to it (as the label suggests), and that same cherry that was in the smell. The alcohol is pleasantly not overpowering, even at the advertised 11%, leading to a drinkable brew. It adds a touch of bitterness to go with the tart cherry and sweetish honey. Still, the aroma is a big part of this beer, so I'm glad I waited to review it at a time I could savor it.

11-30-2006 00:07:39 | More by weasbri
Photo of mjc410
mjc410

Vermont

3.98/5  rDev +3.1%

The pour into my La Moneuse glass raises a a lovely cream-tan one finger head that quickly falls to surface bubbles and a glass ring. It leaves some sparse and slick lacing when the glass is tilted. The beer's body is a slightly transparent cherry red, tinted gold just a bit. The nose is very forward with cherry and estery fruit notes, as well as strong yeastiness. There's a note of spiciness, which I know must come largely from the alcohol, but seems to indicate hops as well. The aroma doesn't exactly leap from the glass, though. The taste is at first very sweet and cherry flavored, but it quickly moves into a characteristic flavor of Belgian yeast. It then exhibits a distinct breadiness. It lingers in the mouth with an acidic bread note. Alcohol is well hidden, so long as you don't sip too much or too often. Considering this beer's heft, the mouthfeel is somewhat light, which makes it an easy drinker. Carbonation is slight, too.

11-27-2006 21:21:46 | More by mjc410
Photo of FightingEntropy
FightingEntropy

Minnesota

4.33/5  rDev +12.2%

Very beautiful dark cherry color beer with a lot of alcohol (not surprising at 11%) in the nose along with dark fruits, cherry, fig. Very nice spicy character in the nose as well. Could not conjure up an head at all and no lace down the side. Very sweet oily character with cherry, and very sweet. Since I like sweet, no worries, but some would probably describe it as cloying. Strong yeast character as well. Hops is listed on the website as only 15 IBUs, which seems true with no hop character, so the yeast is the main component for the spicy notes. Very cool, fun beer with lots of character and punch. Not overly complex, but a very good beer overall.

11-23-2006 20:48:52 | More by FightingEntropy
Photo of IntriqKen
IntriqKen

California

3.9/5  rDev +1%

This was fun. I'm not used to Belgium's being made with additional fruits or spices. Silly Americans. hahaha
Sort of a tea color in the tulip with a smallish head that disappeared completely.
Aromas of apples and cherries.
Taste of sweet malt followed immediately with cherries that melt to a honey smoothness killing the sour cherry before it has a chance to take over. A nice evolution of flavors and exactly as advertised...something very rare.
Aftertaste is mostly honey but not sticky or cloying.
The 11% ABV is totally lost and hidden in here.

11-18-2006 04:45:27 | More by IntriqKen
Photo of


3.85/5  rDev -0.3%

12oz. bottle.

Clear gold, with a definate crimson tint. Medium sized light tan head, which faded, but was easily stirred up again.

Aroma had lots of cherries and honey - big surprise. Almost Belgian like - yeast and spices, coriander? Hops were floral. Alcohol was there, but pretty faint. Honey aroma really picked up as the beer warmed.

First impression is that it is very sweet - mainly honey like. Then the hops kick in, and you have a pretty nice balance of bitter. The cherries help with this as well, in that they lend a nice tart character. Balance shifts towards more sweet than tart as it warms. Alcohol is there, but not to the degree you would expect from an 11% ABV. Pepper and spice in finish.

Thick, full bodied, chewy. Carbonation is medium +, which is needed with body. Quite drying, despite sweetness. Alcohol delivers full body warming.

Overall, very enjoyable. Kinda like a barleywine. A sipper for sure.

11-17-2006 15:36:39 | More by
Photo of Wren
Wren

Pennsylvania

4.05/5  rDev +4.9%

Got my growler filled at the brewery Wed 11-15

Pours a nice ruby red with a little bit of brown showing throught
Ample creamy dense head that takes on a little of the ruby/brown hue, loads of carbonation in this one

Aroma was first of black peppery then sweet cherry honey, alcohol finish with tart fruit - smells like Holiday Cheer

Taste - This is my third year trying the elf, and this years batch had a stronger black pepper/spice note up front which moved into tart cherries and sweet malt, finished off with warm alchohol starting in the back of my mouth and slowing warming all the way down, very pleaseant - not at all harsh
The extra pepper kick I got upfront balanced the sweetness of the beer, I thought last years elf was a little on the overly sweet side

Mouthfeel on this one is great - fluffy head, heavy carbonation, thcik sweet beer and alcholol thiness all combine in great balance

Tough to down multiple glasses of this with the 11% ABV, but I'd never pass up a pint

11-16-2006 13:10:21 | More by Wren
Photo of grego
grego

Maryland

3.05/5  rDev -21%

This beer was from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Poured very red with not much head that didn't last long. the smell is malty with some spicyness to it - hard to describe for me. The taste is the same sweet, cherries, cinnamon. Mouthfeel is very dry. I like Troeg's beers a lot but this one is not a style I prefer. If you like a stronger holiday style beer then I imagine this would be great, just not my thing.

11-15-2006 23:53:08 | More by grego
Photo of drinknewbelgium
drinknewbelgium

Pennsylvania

3.63/5  rDev -6%

pours deep red to mahagony forms little head at the top smells of spices cinnamon, nutmeg and hints of cherries tastes of holiday spices cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and a subtle hint of cherries with alcohol present filles thinner in my mouth than i would expect and i dont know i believe one of these would do it for me very strong beer but very spiced if you liked holiday spiced beer this one here is the right beer for you

11-14-2006 14:21:50 | More by drinknewbelgium
Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,947 ratings.