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Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

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very good

3,161 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,161
Reviews: 1,163
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 15.76%
Wants: 184
Gots: 531 | 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: 3,161 | Reviews: 1,163 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bbothen
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber/copper color with a small 1 finger deep head. Little to no lacing or webbing left on glass.

Smells of booze, sweet cherries, sharp, malty.

Tastes sweet & malty, tart, booze, spicy, the cherries come through. Alcohol soaked tart cherries. Interesting.

Smooth, creamy, low carbonation, thick, lingering tartness.

Could handle a couple of these with no problem.

Interesting brew for the holidays. Recommended.

bbothen, Nov 19, 2008
Photo of easement
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours amber red/garnet with a small off-white head. little head retention. no lacing.

S- Honey and spices. I detect sweet fruit.

T- Fruits and sweetness. notes of maple and honey. Hints of cherry, but it's not overwhelming.

M- Very smooth. Small amounts of carbonation. Very syurpy.

D- Surprisingly drinkable for 11%. I could drink a few.

Serving type: bottle

easement, Nov 19, 2008
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle. Pours a clear amber with no head. Aroma of honey, melon, and sweet malt. Flavor of sweet fruits, honey, yeast, and melon with sweet cherry in the finish kind of like a cherry slushie. A little sweet but drinkable.
Appearance: 3/5
Aroma: 6/10
Palate: 3/5
Flavor: 6/10
Overall: 13/20

LilBeerDoctor, Nov 18, 2008
Photo of philipquarles
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours an orange-red with minimal head that disappears to nothing.

Smells of sour cherries, spices, malt, some Belgian-esque yeast, and alcohol. This carries on to the flavor; sweet malt and sour fruit at first, but soon overpowered by the alcohol. It would be nicer if it were masked a bit better. That said, it gives a nice warming sensation.

The mouthfeel is nothing special really; somewhat thick and a bit syrupy. All-in-all, I'm somewhat disappointed after hearing all of the praise. Certainly not bad though.

philipquarles, Nov 18, 2008
Photo of RickKrumenacker
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours to a light red with a small off-white head.

S- Immediate honey and alcohol. Cherries near the end.

T- Lots of flavors. Starts with a light cherry. A little bit of your winter spices - cloves and nutmeg. I thought that there would be more of an alcohol presence at 11%. It was there, but only slightly. I've had beers at half the ABV that tasted like it they had more than this brew.

M- Very smooth. Moderate carbonation that felt just about right.

D- Very good beer. I don't think that I've had a beer with this high an ABV that I felt that I could drink multiples without a problem. Although, you probably shouldn't drink much more than a single.

RickKrumenacker, Nov 17, 2008
Photo of deanwilson
4.88/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A. Rich reddish copper

S. Alive with fruit, especially cherries and bananas.

T. Flavorfull from start to finish. Honey and cherry upfront, with a touch of sweetness, then a hoppy, citus, dry banana finish.

M. Suprisingly un-syrupy given the high alcohol content.

D. Very easy to sip on. Seems to taste well with just about any food.

deanwilson, Nov 16, 2008
Photo of Gmann
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pretty ruby red color with a smallish egg-shell colored head that settled into a ring. The aroma is yeasty and sweet. Some banana and bubble gum aromas as well as some earthy spice. The taste is a subdued version of the aroma; some banana and bubble gum. What is different is the honey and the cherry, more so on the cherry. Slight hint of hops in the end. The feel is a tad thin for such a sweet brew, it has prickly carbonation to prevent it from becoming sticky or slick. The honey adds a nice smooth feel. Alcohol is scarily well hidden. Quite a good BSDA, I appreciate that it strays away from the red wine flavors that most BSDAs do have.

Gmann, Nov 16, 2008
Photo of mikesgroove
3.48/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this one up as an extra in a trade late in the summer and have had it in the fridge waiting to be cleared out for a while. Decided to use this one as a solid nightcap last night. Served chilled and poured into my newly acquired darkness snifter. This was consumed on 11/12/2008.

The pour was rather nice. A honey colored amber coming forward with a good amount of haze to it. Nice carbonation could be seen trickling up from the bottom of the glass and the overall look was very similar to some meads that I have had. Nice touch of white popped up on the top and settled down gracefully, capping off the package very well.

The aroma hit me right off the bat. Nice touch of honey and a small bit of sweet fruit, I am guessing cherries here by looking at the label, though a bit too sweet for my tastes. Interesting mix now of a very grainy base coming through as it warms. I have to admit though it was a bit too sweet and a touch light for me. The flavor was more of the same. Light touches of grain and malty flavors making up the base, but the honey and sweet fruit notes were all very much there and very easily detectable. Lots of honey and mead like flavor in the finish with a light spike of alcohol coming through at the end. Decent carbonation on this medium bodied ale as it felt just about right in consistency. Alcohol well hidden for as strong as it was, though I will admit the sweetness took its toll on me after a while.

Overall not a bad beer, but not what I was hoping to get into. A little bit rough on the sweetness and just not enough balance and tart fruit flavor to counteract it. Still though a solid effort and not something I would turn my nose up at if offered.

mikesgroove, Nov 16, 2008
Photo of riversider76
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice copper with a thin white head. Good retention and nice lacing. Aroma is of sweet cherry,honey and dark fruit. Body is medium with some carbonation. Taste is of sweet ripe fruits with cherry up front. Bread and honey in the finish. Excellent!!

riversider76, Nov 16, 2008
Photo of vtfan77
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a nice ruby red with a half inch of light tan head that only lasts a few seconds.

S- Aromas of cloves and sweet grain stand out, with a hint of sour cherries also noticeable.

T- More cloves and husky grains dominate the flavor, which is quite dry at the start. The sweetness comes out in the finish, with a honey-like sweetness and a burst of tart cherries. Bitterness is light and the alcohol is hidden quite well.

M- Medium-bodied with a good active carbonation that's not too strong.

D- Not bad. As I said before, the alcohol is hidden well, so that's a point in its favor. I still don't think I'd want to drink a lot of it. One is definitely enough.

This is a good American-made Belgian-style ale. Still, it could do more to stand out in a crowded field. At no point did I think that it was particularly unique or interesting. The cherries are a nice touch, but they aren't prominent enough to really give the beer much character. All that being said, this is still a solid beer, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys the style.

vtfan77, Nov 16, 2008
Photo of TheBlackMallard
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I almost cracked open Sloth tonight, but couldn't bring myself to do it. I settled on Mad Elf instead.

Pours a dark copper with crimson highlights into my snifter. Minimal head and leaving behind some lacing.

Smell: Cherries, Fermented Honey, and Belgian yeast.

Taste: Sweet and malty with some maraschino cherries in the background. A bit of alcohol. Nice dry finish.

TheBlackMallard, Nov 15, 2008
Photo of beernut
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

pours a reddish color with no head at all. minimal carbobation. aroma of cherries and honey heavy throughout. Taste is tad malty, syrupy with cherries and honey. Goes down really smooth, a really really good beer. Wouln't be able to drink many 11%abv. I gots a buzz already.

beernut, Nov 15, 2008
Photo of repeal06
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a rather non-descript amber, with no significant head.

Smelled of cherries, grapes, and honey. Very pleasant.

Taste was well balanced. The sweetness of the honey and cherries was nicely counterbalanced by the maltiness. Slightly syrupy cherry taste. Definitely could not tell this was 11% ABV.

Mouthfeel was nothing spectacular. Somewhat creamy, light carbonation.

Easily drinkable. Dangerously so, given the ABV of this beer. Could make for a very warm and fuzzy holiday evening.

repeal06, Nov 14, 2008
Photo of blakesell
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the 12oz bottle into a traditional weizen glass.

Appearance- Beer pours a dark amber light brown with a thin half finger of head that quickly dies to a milky wisp across the top. Lacing is hardly existent nor are any legs. Is this really 11%? From the visual look of it I sure can't tell.

Smell- Oooh, now this is nice. Rich cherry, figs and grapes with a very nice warming alcoholic scent. Malts are very balanced and even, and this even smells to me like a Belgian strong dark, which is very hard for us Americans to nail down. Light spices, a creamy cinnamon nutmeg scent. I like the way this one smells.

Taste- Whoa. Wow this is a good beer. A near krieklike cherry flavor with a light syrupy backing with much malt and oh, so sweet. This is the sort of beer that I got excited about when I heard that Troegs was coming to Ohio. Actually hop pocket was the main beer, but this is a great one as well. Hops and bittering agents are low to none here, this beer actually makes me think of Christmastime.

Mouthfeel- Warming, creamy, lightly spicy, chewy, full bodied, and medium high in carbonation.

Drinkability- For something this alcoholic and warming. I could see myself attempting to put down a whole six pack. I doubt if I could get the whole way through them, but I sure as hell could try.

blakesell, Nov 14, 2008
Photo of Buebie
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a 1 year old cellard bottle. Bottling date is 11/24/07. Received in a trade, cant recall who, but thanks.

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a brandy snifter. Head is 1 finger, white with fluffy bubbles. Quickly receeds living a ring of retention around the outer edge. Whatever lace sticks, quickly slides back into the beer.
Color is a hazy redish amber.

Aroma is a cherry pie, with wonderful pie crust aroma. Mild alcahol at the knose off a swirl. Brown sugar, wheat bread, sweet fruity aroma.
As its warmed the alcahol at the nose has become a bit more strong.

Taste is so sweet and thick with a malty dominance. More sweet and sour cherry flavors. Its like drinking cherry pie. Low key carbonation, bit of lemon/ lime citric flavor. It basically starts out sweet, thick and malty, then becomes increasingly sour with a dry finish. Nothing from the hops, but it is a 1 year old bottle.
Warming has aroused flavors from the yeast, this hacome a bit more bready and less citric and sour.

Very delicious brew!

Buebie, Nov 14, 2008
Photo of xpimptastikx
4.18/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to mikereaser for the trade.

Pours a thick dark caramel color with no head. Smells sweet, like cherries obviously, but other dark fruits seem to be there. Taste is sweet of honey with a nice cherry. It smelled of a tripel, but definitely tastes like a dark ale. Very drinkable for the abv.
I'm happy to have an extra to lay down for a year by mike's advice.

Edit: This beer becomes so much more with a year on it. A little too messy fresh, but it melds well with age.

xpimptastikx, Nov 11, 2008
Photo of Goldopelgt
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First time I've had this one from Troegs, I've had a few others from them before, and, overall, have been pleasentely surprised.

A- Amber to ruby hues...thin, whitish head with minimal lacing

S- Very interesting...definitely pick up some spice right away, but nothing in particular is jumping out at me...somewhat sweet and floral (but not in a bad way!), not necessarily what I was expecting from "an ale brewed with honey and cherries."

T- Again, kind of just like it smells...some spiciness and sweetness, yet nothing too overpowering, crisp, nice...and oh, yeah, at 11% you almost forget what you're drinking.

M- Medium bodied, minimal carbonation...surprisingly enough, you really can't taste alcohol even 11%

D- Overall, not my personal favorite, but not a bad beer by any means. Troegs doesn't disappoint with this one, and offers a dangerously easy drinker that, at 11%, could definitely get you in some trouble!

Goldopelgt, Nov 10, 2008
Photo of Buggies
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark red. Small finger width head which quickly faded to nothing. No lacing at all either.

Smell: Smelled really sweet with a hint of cherries. Alcohol is also apparent. Some other spices that I'm not familiar with are there as well.

Taste: Tastes pretty sweet to me. No hops to finish off the sweetness, so the sweet sticks to your mouth which leaves a pleasant aftertaste. This beer claims to have been brewed with cherries and honey, but the taste is pleasantly dominated by this spice that is unfamiliar to me. I'm glad the cherry or honey isn't over the top.

Drinkability: My first in the Belgium styles. Very pleasant tasting beer. I will definitely make this an annual purchase. Another good beer from Tröegs.

Buggies, Nov 10, 2008
Photo of cooncat
3.6/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage decanted into my Stone RIS tulip crystal glass.

On the pour, you get a garnet, ruby, or reddish dark copper (take your choice) colored beer, with a small foamy head, which is short lived (to be expected at this abv). Some lacing evident on the swirl, but very minimal stickage. (again, expected at this abv)

Interesting nose. I'm definitely getting a spiciness I can't quite put my finger on. It's almost allspice, but sharper and more pungent. I also get a light cherry presence, along with some fusel alcohol (not unexpected) The most interesting aspect is the spiciness.

Taste pretty much follows the nose. The spiciness was driving me crazy, not being able to identify it, so I went to my spice rack and started opening different spices until I came up with a close match. Best I can describe it is Allspice with a touch of Nutmeg ... yeah, that's it. The light cherry flavor remains in the background to the spiciness. Some sweet maltiness is also detectable, but the main flavor is the allspice/nutmeg. The 11% abv definitely makes its presence known. I wouldn't call it 'hot', but it is warming, on the tongue and in the stomach. Mouthfeel is medium, and probably rightly so, as if it were any bigger, this might be considered syrupy and cloyingly sweet. As is, it's neither. Drinkability? Forget it .. one of these bad boys is a session! This is a sipper, and an enjoyable one, but definitely not a session beer.

An interesting holiday seasonal, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I can recommended it as well. I'd like to hold on to at least one or 2 bottles to see how they cellar, and try them again at this time next year. I've a feeling that the aging would be a very good thing on this beer. Well done Troegs! A most enjoyable seasonal.

Na Zdravje!

cooncat, Nov 10, 2008
Photo of Cavalier92
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a solid holiday offering from Troeg's, but by no means a super star. They sell it as containing honey and cherries and being ruby red in color, but mine was coppery brown and tasted more like a strong golden ale.

It's got a spicy nose from the Belgian yeast and it finishes smoothly for an beverage with 11% ABV. The sweetness and alcohol hide any hops or yeast notes.

Cavalier92, Nov 09, 2008
Photo of thain709
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - A very nice ruby color...a faint head

S - A sweet smelling ale with cherry notes

T - The taste follows the nose as it is very sweet...cherry, honey, and roasted malts

M - A heavy body...the alcohol doesn't come through as much as expected

D - With the alcohol not coming through too much it makes this a very enjoyable beer...but watch out for that 11%!

thain709, Nov 09, 2008
Photo of calise1122
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Late night kindle kept burning by Khiasmus.

Mad Elf, poured into a goblet while listening to Creed by STP.

A: A harsh pour yields a small cap of head hovering over a dark copper, oak stained brown colored beer in the glass. It's clear... in fact it actually magnifies... but with bubbles. Inviting? Yes.

S: Lots of that Belgium yeast that itches me the right way... berries, maybe cherries, but definitely something that ends in "ies". I always have trouble describing this smell... I want to say it smells earthy and musty, but not like the earthy musty beer that I lean on... a differnt smell I suppose, damnit... I guess I just can't pin it down. It may be my poor palate, it could be my lack of vocabulary... I can definitely say that it smells good.

T: Smells like it tastes and tastes like it smells... with a nice burn of alcohol. It has some honey, absolutely has some honey... and the cherry kind of parks itself in my cheeks. It is almost as if the cherries are trying to knock the crap out of the honey, but the honey backs itself into the corner and rope-a-dope's its way into a fair match. I am nearly positive that makes no sense, but that is how it feels.

M: Honestly, at this point... no matter what beer I poured it would be my last. If I started with this, it could go a long way. Is it drinkable in respect to a good session beer?... no, but it is drinkable and I have would never turn down the offer to have another.

D: See above!

calise1122, Nov 09, 2008
Photo of israel
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- opaque, reddish brown in appearance with a slight tan head that clings to the sides of my glass..

S - cherry cough drops with a kick..

T- mellow with a caramel flavor with some cherries and a heavy dose of honey in the aftertaste. for as much alcohol that's in this brew I really couldn't detect it like I would expect.

M- resinous with a nice amount of carbonation ad quite a bit of residual sweetness in the end.

D- undecided on this one, but the amount of alcohol in this it wasn't very noticeable which could make this a really good winter warmer to enjoy at home on a cool evening..

israel, Nov 09, 2008
Photo of JoshW
4.63/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep ruby/amber color, with the text book perfect finger head.

Smell was sweet, cherries were overpowered by 11% alcohol.

For as strong of a beer as this one is, mouthfeel is thin, honey flavor coats the tongue, cherries and alcohol follow up, someone mentioned "dusty" I think that fits pretty well also.

Drinkability was way too easy for me, started off with one bottle, ended up finishing all 6....


JoshW, Nov 08, 2008
Photo of Pencible
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This poured a clear auburn with a bit of light tan head. It smelled like lots of sour cherry, almost tannic like a red wine, with lots of wild yeast, and some burnt barley hops and molasses. It tasted like potent and succulent sour cherry with wild honey malt and lemon hops. As it warmed, the taste of wild yeast became more and more prominent. It was quite thick with no carbonation, and had a lasting tart aftertaste. Overall this was a very flavorful beer, reminiscent of Three Philosophers. It had that unique cherry Belgian flavor that takes a while to get used to, but can be fairly enjoyable. It definitely had clean taste and great body. Most notable was how well it hid the 11% alcohol, which I could barely notice under all that cherry and yeast. If aging this beer brought more honey sweetness to balance the cherry and yeast, this could be a fantastic drink.

Pencible, Nov 07, 2008
Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 3,161 ratings.