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Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

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very good

3,551 Ratings
very good

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Ratings: 3,551
Reviews: 1,218
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 15.25%
Wants: 204
Gots: 810 | FT: 24
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: 3,551 | Reviews: 1,218
Photo of LiquidBread219
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A= It's got a nice Red color head fades fast.

S= The nose is really good you really get the cherries in this one, I also smell some malt, spices, it smells a little sweet very nice nose.

T= Really don't get the alcohol taste like many say, Really get cherries and spice nice malt backbone very nice beer.

M= Right amount of carbonation, and I would say medium in body.

D= Very good beer but it sneaks up on you with a 11% ABV I probably wouldn't want to drink more than a double deuce.

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

My last 2010 bottle (that isn't going in the cellar), and since I've some how avoided reviewing it, this sounds like a good time.

Poured into my Duvel tulip aggressively, has a kind of ruby-amber body to it with 2 fingers of white head that quickly fade away. Predominantly cherries and some sweet characteristics (honey / caramel), maybe even some yeast scents. A nice cherry kick upfront, also some bananas / clove / yeast flavors...a hint of alcohol, but faint considering the ABV. Medium bodied and lighter on the carbonation - really drinkable given the alcohol in this beer.

Its not my favorite beer, or even my favorite Troegs offering, but I really look forward to this in the winter months and during the holiday season. I do prefer this with about 12 months on it, and always lay down a sixer and a few bombers each year, so perhaps ill add some notes when I drink something with some age on it.

Photo of haazer
4.04/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served at 55 degrees in a chalice.

A- Faintest amount of egg shell head forms on top and dissapates quickly. Brew is an interesting red, strawberry color with maroon and violet undertones.

S- The smell is the strong point of this beer for me. Upfront is wheat beer characteristics with banana and clove. Next is juicy ripe cherries, which plenty have been thrown in to the making of this beer. The biggest scent though is the spicy yeast strain, deffinitely belgian and phenolic in character. A sweet honey drip rounds out the nose.

T- Similar with the nose, however slightly rearranaged. The banana is upfront, then the strong spicy yeast kicks in and warms. I think the cherries really help the flavor profile of this beer as the yeast is not the best of the BSDA variety. Last flavor to come through is the clove. Honey is only present in the form of a sweet aftertaste.

M- Mouthfeel is between light and medium. A sweet tooth certainly helps enjoy this one, but this is not cloying. Somewhat acidic but doesn't hinder much. Warming in the throat.

D- One thing I've always said about Mad Elf and what it should be known for is how well the 11% is masked. For something that high you'd think this is 5 or 6%, no exaggeration. This beer is kind of special to me because this was actually the first craft beer case I ever bought to myself a little over a year ago. Back then I thought it was the best beer ever, and now of course my palatte has changed tremendously. Still I'll always look forward to Mad Elf releases. Another good seasonal release from Troegs.

Photo of Spider889
2.55/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Had on tap at winking Lizard last month, review from notes.

To be honest, this one did not live up to the hype in the slightest. There seems to be a really strong following of this one, but I found it to be lackluster and undesirable for future sessions.

Appearance is a cloudy pinkish red color. Not much in the way of head or lace.

Smelled faintly like a triple - it has that slightly sweet yeasty Belgian character. Other scents: a sour cidery quality, clove, and ginger.

The taste was fairly one dimensional and stunted imo. Tart cherries and an apparent sweetness dominate. Not much in the way of other spices, but ginger once more makes a brief appearance.

Too low on carbonation. In fact, on further retrospection the carbonation was way too low considering that this is a Belgian style ale.

Again, I won't be paying for this again. There's been an increasingly large influx of new Christmas beers every year, and that coupled with the old staples that always wow will ensure that I always have many better options for my seasonal fix. The one bump I do give to drinkability is that the 11% abv was very well hidden considering.

Photo of thetomG
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear reddish amber color. Not much head and very little lacing.

Aroma is quite boozy with just a tad of underlying cherry fruitiness.

Flavor carries some nice spicy elements with more tart cherry coming through and warmth from the alcohol in the finish.

Mouthfeel is smooth, but the bite from the alcohol takes a little getting used to, and the drinnkability suffers because of this.

Still, a tasty beer - just maybe a bit too boozy - I would try it again though.

Photo of Ty1erC
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

*12 oz bottle poured into a snifter glass.*

a: it's a reddish-amber color, with a touch of orange. the head dies away quickly, and there is an ever-so-slight amount of lacing.

s: the beer smells of honey, cherries, alcohol, unripe bananas, citrus, and spice.

t: tastes of sweet malt, honey, and cherries... there's a lot going on here.

m: it's somewhat syrupy, with low-moderate carbonation.

d: drinks pretty smoothly for strong ale. i'll seek it out again next winter.

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.


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Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 3,551 ratings.