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Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

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very good

3,539 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,539
Reviews: 1,216
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 15.25%
Wants: 204
Gots: 795 | 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: 3,539 | Reviews: 1,216 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of billab914
4.01/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. Poured a deep mahogany color with a little cherry redness coming through in the light. It had a thin spotty white lacing floating on the top of the beer for a head, with a little more concentrated around the edges.

The aroma shows a lot of the sweet honey and cherry flavor. I'm getting a little malty, caramel, dark fruit and a slight alcohol aroma as well. As it warmed I seemed to get a little more spicy, cinnamon or nutmeg aroma from it. Very nice aroma, I like the cherries in it a lot.

The taste is a lot like the nose suggests in that the cherries and honey really come through in helping to give it a moderate sweet fruity taste. The malt also helps give it a strong base and brings some caramel and dark fruit flavors of it's own. The alcohol shows a little in the finish but that I guess is expected in an 11% beer. Like the nose some spices started showing up the more it warmed.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation being on the lower side. Drinkability is very good for being 11% abv. I really liked the cherry flavors in it, and I love cherries in general so this is a very drinkable beer for me. I will note that I actually liked it better when it was colder. It seemed to have more of a sweet cherry flavor when colder and it gained more of a malty, spicy almost Christmasy flavor when warmed. It wasn't bad warmer I just liked the cherry flavor when I first opened it better.

Photo of Arbitrator
2.5/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

When I first had this beer, I really hated it and I had trouble finishing the 12oz. This second review is off a bomber -- a generous extra from boatshoes -- and the experience was so different that I felt a re-review was appropriate.

A: Pours a clear reddish amber color with an inch of off-white head. After a few minutes there is almost no trace of carbonation left except for a thin head at the edges. It's not an effervescent brew, that's for sure. I expect much more life out of a BSDA...

S: A nicely pungent aroma of cherries, spicy honey, and some booze. The booze actually makes it smell a little medicinal, like cherry cough syrup.

T: The taste is not bad, though. I guess the honey is all fermented out; it's quite a dry beer, delivering only some light honey flavor but mostly cherry, dark fruit, brown sugar, and spice. A firm alcohol bite in the finish.

M: Light-bodied. It's quite dry. Low carbonation, and a booze bite.

D: Eh... It's ok. I didn't hate it this time, and unlike last time I managed to finish not only 12, but a full 22 oz. It's drinkable, but I won't go after it again.

Photo of BrewerB
3.15/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Thanks goes out to TwinsDaddy for trading this beer my way. Cheers!

Poured into a globe glass, this beer showcases lots of carbonation but head formation/retention seems poor. Hazy and dark amber in color with a thin off-white head that dissipated quickly. Spices and cherries mix with bready malts in the nose. Cherries carry through into the taste but tend to lie beneath the richer, bready malts. Lacking in complexity I'd expect from this style. Bitterness is moderate though the tart cherries help carry balance. Medium/medium-full bodied with a moderate-high level of carbonation. Overall, not that impressed with the execution on this beer. Perhaps I'm drinking an old bottle but I'd certainly not order a second.

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

22oz. bottle poured into a tulip. No bottled date found. Huge thanks to mb2696 for the bottle!

(A)- Pours a clear pale ruby color that produced an off-white head that dissipated quickly.

(S)- Lots of cherries with a honey sweetness. Very much like a cherry pie with honey drizzled on it.

(T)- Tart cherries with a big honey sweetness.

(M)- A low carbonation level. Rather sweet & syrup like. A huge fruitiness. Much too syrupy & sweet for the style as well as my tastes. It gets more & more bitter the further into the bottle I went.

(D)- Tastes good, but is far too sweet & syrup-like to enjoy more than a glass in one sitting. Especially disappointing considering the style it is classified under. Seems much more like a fruit beer than a belgain strong dark.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to slasher007 for sharing this bottle. This is the second time I have tried the beer but the first time I have reviewed it.

The beer pours a medium red color with a white head. The aroma is honey and tart cherries. The flavor is more of the same: Heavy on the honey with some tart cherries as well. This is one of the first beers I have had that you can really smell and taste the honey in. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of Irish212
4.42/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Clear & Golden with a small amount of head.

S: Mixture of a spicy and fruity aroma.

T: Solid taste of cherry with a faint honey taste, falls on the sweet side.

M: Very smooth

D: I really like this beer, but probably couldn't drink more than two of these in one setting between the high ABV and sweetness.

Photo of coalcracker
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark golden hue with light but activation carbonation.
Smell: Aroma is spicy and a bit sweet. Fruity aroma of cherry and dark fruits also noted. Very complex aroma.
Taste: Bready malt base first noted, then a wave of sweet cherry and dark fruits hits soon after. Candi sugars lead the way in the sweetness department. Finish is a little boozy and warming but smooth.
Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel but very smooth and warming at the end.
Drinkability: Not so drinkable by ABV. An enjoyable beer meant to be sipped. Might be a little too sweet for some.

Overall- probably one of the more complex beers I've ever had, which is a good thing. Good seasonal brew in a class of its own.

Photo of Tombomb
4.37/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Reddish amber. Clear. very little head

S: some hops and fruit, very little malt.

T: Tart cherries with some subtle alcohol.

M: very light an about water in texture

D: Way too easy to drink this one! at 11% you could run into probles very easily.

I got this in a beer club as a 'big" beer. This was the biggest and one of the most drinkable

Photo of sdj5
4.07/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Reddish-brown. Clear. Darker than white head.

S: Cherry, mostly.

T: Very much like cherries, bread and alcohol.

M: On the thinner side. Average amount of carbonation.

D: I couldn't drink a ton of this, but it's enjoyable in small quantities.

Photo of travduke
3.32/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz poured into a Duvel Tulip.

Look: Dark amber/mahogany body with a thin head that quickily dissipates. No real lacing.

Smell: Sweet caramel malts, honey, alcohol detected.

Taste: This is really sweet. Honey, candy, cherry. A little hot on the alcohol.

Mouth/Drink: Thin mouthfeel, drinkability for me is low due to how sweet this is. Overrated? I think so. Its not a bad beer, but not a "WOW"ing brew.

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

Look: 8.5
Clear reddish color, hardly any head, light lacing

Smell: 9
Caramel, malt, cherry candy

Taste: 8.5
Up Front: Sweet, malty, cherry, spicy. Finish: Toffee, candied fruit, chocolate, slight alcohol

Mouthfeel: 8.5
Smooth and dry

Drinkability: 8.5
I'm not a big cherry fan; it kind of reminds me of cherry cough syrup, without the medicinal taste. Almost taste like a light cherry brandy. Almost no alcohol taste, and at 11%, this is definitely a one and done.

Overall Impression: This is Troegs Christmas offering and it is a very unique brew. It's not cheap for the budget conscious, but it is worth a try. After sipping this Mad Elf, I'm one happy Elf!

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

Thanks to TroyG2352 for sending a bottle of this in a recent trade.

A: The pour is a clear amber color with a thin off-white head and nothing in the way of lacing.

S: There's a heavy spice component to the nose along with some fruity Belgian esters and alcohol.

T: The spice is once again very strong along with a very noticeable sweet pear flavor. The sweet caramel malt and a light sugary flavor provide some additional sweetness.

M: I was surprised by the fact that this is fairly light and crisp on the tongue.

D: Unfortunately, this beer didn't seem to be all put together. Luckily, the flavor is better than the nose, but not amazing in any sense.

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.84/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On draft at Zella's in Baltimore, MD. Served in a Chimay goblet.

A: Virtually flat. Perhaps 1/16 inch head that left no lacing. The color is a pretty ruby-tinged brown. The beer is light enough to see through easily, which I found rather surprising.

S: cherries, sweet malt, Belgian yeast, alcohol

T: A delicious take on a Belgian Strong Dark beer, this brew has an assertive sweet cherry flavor. Belgian yeast and a pleasant malty taste make this an enjoyable beverage. The beer definitely has an alcohol kick, though it is surprisingly not harsh. Well done.

M: more carbonation needed. ABV hidden fairly well

D: A bit too sweet for me to drink more than one. Also, the cherries, while great, would become excessive after a while.

Photo of willPS21
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very, very surprising beer!! One I had passed by plenty of times due to the gimmicky-looking packaging/name. But that changed when the guy in the store had me at "11%, cherry flavored." Wow. I've never had a single beer that disguised it's 11% punch this well, and I doubt I ever will again, it's amazing. I almost want to call "bs" and do some kind of test on it, it's very hard to believe. The beer is so light overall. It's not chewey or very viscous and actually finishes pretty clean. I get more tart than sweet from the cherry, which I like. The color in my snifter does have a nice reddish hue. The head was dense, foamy and 1/3", and dissipated fairly quickly. Other than that, it's just good, something you could picture chicks liking. It's not an all day beer but I could do it several day out of the week. I have a newfound respect for Troegs for pulling off the Mad Elf.

Ahhh now I feel the two beers that were in the half-22 I just had...

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

Tröegs Mad Elf is a very clear and dense, coppery red ale with a thin, sand colored head that fades to a film and leaves decent lacing on the glass. It has a very strong, sweet aroma of cherries. Deeper in the nose is a medicinal note. It's pretty full bodied and syrupy with a slightly sticky finish. It has a pretty sweet flavor. Cherries are prominent but so is resiny wood. A little green bitterness comes in at the finish, along with black pepper. The aftertaste is kind of oaky and spicy. This would be great Christmas party beer. Is this a braggot?

Photo of EkimGram
4.11/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Almost looks like wine. Rose-coloured, very bright but opaque. Very thin head, lots of carbonation. Can hear the bubbles at it sits.

Smell: Very fruity aroma with hints of alcohol. Some cherries as well.

Taste: Lots of bready, yeasty flavourrs. The alcohol is not very prominent in the taste, cherries are mild but there as well.

Mouthfeel: Thick, almost syrupy. Very full bodied, not overwhelming. Leaves a bit of residue not in the mouth but on the lips. Has a little bit of a kick to it when sipped quickly.

Drinkability: At 11% ABV this is definitely a nice treat. Great for sipping and warming up with some spice and fruit. One of the better winter seasonals out there in my opinion.

Photo of HopNuggets
3.92/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a 12oz bottle into a snifter. Thanks to jlindros for meeting up a few months ago at KJ Baarons in Worcester and bringing the unstocked Mad Elf to me.

A - Pours nicely with minimal head that dissipates to nearly nothing to leave barely any lacing. Color is brick red where you can't see your hand through the glass. As you tip the glass it lightens up to a clear bourbon caramel color.

S - Honey and cherries definately stand out in the aroma with a slight scent of booze.

T - Definite alcohol taste in this 11% brew with cherries up front and slight bitterness as the aftertaste almost like sour cherries or the bite of cherry.

M - Feels light with quite a lot of carbonation for a beer with no head.

D - For the Belgian Strong Dark Ale it doesn't drink like one. It's just not as smooth as I expected it to be, but at 11% it does go down pretty easily.

Photo of chiefgtx
4.67/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I love this one. everything you should expect in a seasonal winter beer. All the fruity spicy hearty flavor. A glass of this is a meal. I am thinking about buying the last 6 pack up the street just to have it for myself! I can't really think of any reason it's not a 5 all around actually. Of the 162 I have tasted in the last 6 weeks...it is in my top ten! If you see it ...give it a chance! Delicious.

Photo of aubuc1
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured in to a goblet.

Smell is clovey, banana, cherries and a belgian yeasty finnish.

Taste is a sweet, cherryish banana with a nice malty finish.

Mouthfeel is good, and the booze does not overpower to affect the drinkability.

A very good beer that is different than most belgian style beers because of the banana flavors.

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

A little late for the holidays but I am sure that will not make this any less enjoyable. Poured from a bomber.

Pours a clear, dark red color with a small white head that did not last long. The head settles to a thin skim of suds. Minimal spotty lacing is left on the glass.

Interesting that I find the honey much more noticeable than the cherries in the aroma. After the honey and cherries, I smell some yeasty phenols and a touch of alcohol.

Although the cherries are noticealbe in the flavor, it does not dominate. The cherries and honey give a solid base, complimented by spice from the yeast. Although the alcohol is noticeable, it did not seem to overpower the flavor as others have noted.

Has a peculiar mouthfeel that honey infused beers seem to possess. Sort of sticky and cloying. Otherwise the body is substantial and nicely carbonated.

An interesting beer, a good beer for a cold winter day. Quite a bit of alcohol to consume so that limits drinkability.

Photo of dogfishandi
4.11/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle at about cellar temp. pours a clear red/orange copper color with a quickly dissapaiting head that left just a ring. small amount of lacing. definately not your typical hazy looking big fluffy headed belgian appearence.

however, the belgian aroma is there for sure (as well as the belgian taste). sweet malts, flouride like yeast, solvent alcohol, cherries, phenols, spiciness, bubblegum. smells authentic.

wonderful complex taste as well. sweet malts, tart cherries, a nice spicy, phenolic yeast. not much in the way of honey flavors as suggested, but a wonderful tasting belgian non the less.

nice crisp carbonation that settles to a minimum carb towards the end. medium to heavy mouthfeel. easy drinking for 11%, hardly noticable, wouldve guessed 7-8%. nice beer, other than the appearence, this is a very good example of a belgian, close to the real thing. warms you up on those cold winter nights, i highly suggest you seek this out.

Photo of stakem
4.02/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Second review of mad elf for the year, this time on tap.

Pours a very clear orange color with a bit of redness about it and a minimal amount of white head that is quick to dissapear. Nose is your typical belgian including phenols, clove, spice, fruity sweetness and a warming kick of alcohol astringency in the end. Where this beer deters from the normal belgian is in the sweetness of the aroma. It is quite reminescent more of honey and cherry. Taste includes just about everything you would expect from the aroma: a bit of clove and spice, sweetness exaggerated by cherry/honey and a quite warming finish. Feel of this beer is light and moderately carbed. Overall it is a nice sipper and I enjoy this beer while looking forward to it again each holiday.

The noticable differnces from this beer on tap verse the bottle is that the mouthfeel is significantly lighter but that is probably mostly in part due to the higher level of carb than the bottle version.

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

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a duvel tulip. Pours a deep amber with very litte head or lacing to speak of, but the head is reddish tan and fades quickly. The aroma is sour cherries and the spices. A very good representation of a BSDA here even if the color is a little light for the style. The sour cherries and spicy yeast really come through. No honey flavor to speak of except maybe in the slightly sweet finish. The 11% abv is very well hidden here, very smooth drinking. Another great beer from Troegs. I would love to try this beer with a bit of age on it and i just may.

Photo of mrandypandy
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle courtesy of a co-worker. Thanks Miles!

A- Pours a crystal clear ruby red. Miniscule white head quickly disappears to nothing. Looks kind of like cranberry juice.
S- Struggling to get much of anything. A vigorous swirl yields a faint belgian fruitness/yeast. Not much else.
T- Strong belgian yeast dominates with sweet fruits (cherries) at the end. Tasty. You get a bit of the alcohol as the beer warms.
D- The more I drink this beer, the more I like it. The hint of cherry sweetness is a nice touch and makes me come back for more.

Overall - A sipper, but a good brew nonetheless. A good take on a Belgian Strong Ale and I can see this being good fresh and with some age on it.

Photo of Stimack
4.29/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brew poured to a copper color with some reddish highlights. Small light tan head that breaks down quickly. The aroma is a mix of berries, cherries, slight spice and alcohol - simply a lovely aroma. Flavors of cherries which give a slight tart feel, nice malt character, no real hop presence noticed. Alcohol flavor is there and leaves a nice hot feel in the back of the mouth. Though the alcohol is there is does not stand out, and I think that is due to a sweet finish. Though there was not much of a head the carbonation was good, went well with the beer. This brew is a surprise as it weighs in art 11 ABV, does not have that feel as the alcohol is hidden quite well. Though this is a sipper it goes down remarkably smoothly.

Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 3,539 ratings.