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Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

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very good

3,550 Ratings
very good

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Ratings: 3,550
Reviews: 1,218
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 15.25%
Wants: 204
Gots: 809 | 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: 3,550 | Reviews: 1,218
Photo of theghost3
3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to billab914 for this.

Pours a translucent reddish with a 1-finger beige head. The smell is biscuity malts, cherries, and alcohol phenols. Flavor is subdued cherries up front with some cold weather fruit, spices, sweet caramel malts, and slight citrus malts at the end. Mouthfeel is smooth and somewhat sticky at the end.

This is a drinkable Belgian Strong Dark. I expected the cherries and honey to be a little more prevalent. Went nicely with Christmas dinner; particularly the ham and sweet potato casserole.

Photo of u2carew
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz long neck. Consumed 01/09/10

A) Pours with a finger thick head. Settles slightly. Lacing is thin and sticky. The body is absolutely transparent with active upward carbonation. Amber in color with just a bit more red than usual. This has got to be one of the best beer presentations I have seen in a longer - nearly perfect!
S) Sweet - caramel, toffee. Notes of alcohol. Mild citrus notes. Black pepper.
T) Malty and alcohol up front. Hints of dark fruit - cherries and apples in the mix. Malty sweet all the way through. Finishes with just a hint of hops. The aftertaste is sweet banana and alcohol effervescence.
M) Very mellow fizziness. Medium body with a little bit of girth. Slight syrupy feel.
D) A nice Belgian in style. Was hoping for something unusual / unique that would make this a standout... oh well, still a good brew.

Photo of taez555
3.97/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a reddish tinted amber hazy body with a small white head.

Nose is a rich simple overly strong mall smell reminisce of those AB attempts at strong beers a first. As it wams u start to get loads of malt, nutmeg and biscuit. There's a strong sweetness with an american belgian yeast smell with touches of honey and sweet fruit.

Taste is thick, but not milkshake thick. There's a predominant cherry, banana yeast and big grain malt taste. Its not overly belgian, even though it hints at that, nor is anywhere near a barelywine. The honey adds a nice dry quality as well as a sticky slickness on the tongue. Not overly bitter with just enough earth and bitterness to give it a touch of balance.

A good beer, but not blown away by it. Malty and fruity, but not in your face. A good Amer-belgian-strong-malty-beer.

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

Poured into a Pint glass from a bottle.

Appearance is nice and pretty typical for the style I think.

Nice malty flavor, somewhat sweet with a nice cherry flavor. Should be nice during the winter, could be a nice drink for Christmas time. The belgian spiceness becomes more apparent as this warms up a bit.

Aroma is more or less the same as the flavor. Pretty nice.

I seem to detect a bit of a banana aroma and flavor in this which is kind of interesting.

Mouthfeel was good.

In conclusion, this is quite a good beer but not mind blowing.

Photo of Amalak
3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had off the tap at the Burger Shoppe in Downtown Manhattan. It has a red/copper color, clear, bubbly, with a good tan head and some lacing. Slight hoppy scent.

It's very malty and has a strong alcohol taste. Very biting. I think this would do better aged, but it's extremely flavorful. Aftertaste is sourish...kind of detracts.

Photo of glid02
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Sunswick in Astoria, NY.

Pours a clear copper color with a half-finger white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of sweet caramel malts with hints of medium to dark fruits - cherries with hints of figs - and a good deal of spices.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sweet and crisp caramel malt flavors up front are joined by mild amounts of spices almost immediately. Midway through the sip lightly tart cherry flavors enter into things and carry through to a crisp and sweet finish. As the beer warms the malt flavors intensify and the spices dissipate a bit.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with lighter than average carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and could have had another.

Overall this seems to be a somewhat polarizing beer however I found everything to be present in good amounts and nothing seemed overpowering. Worth a shot.

Photo of sbw138
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought a bottle from The Foodery, poured into a snifter.

Appearance - A nice deep deep amber/brown color. No signs of carbonation, a nice creamy very light brown head of a little more than one finger. A good looking beer.

Smell - A very yeasty smell right off the bat. Also picked up some darks fruits, almost a plum/prune scent.

Taste - Very sweet, with a combination of the malts thrown in. You can really taste the cherries at the end.

Mouthfeel - The overly sweetness gives it a little too thick of a consistency, but it is super smooth.

Drinkability - Good drinkability. Not one I would drink over and over again. I'd consider it almost a dessert beer.

Serving type: bottle

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

Poured into a Duvel glass.

A: Thin, quickly dissipating off white head, mohagany reddish brew.

S: Sweet, dark cherries and honey...

T: Malty sweetness, cherries, brown sugar, dark fruits and descent alcohol presence.

M: Thick and smooth.

D: This is a nice one or two glass brew. Very complex taste, which is well worthy of savoring. A very good winter time brew and overall a good take on the style. Give it a try...

Photo of Beejay
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A deep mahogany brown, and crystal clear. A nice slightly tan head to top it off. This is a pretty beer.

S: Fruity, yeasty, with lots of cloves, and some banana. Possibly Figs and warm bread as well.

T: Sweet and fruity.. A little bit yeasty, and at the finish there is a bit of a bite from the cherries, as well as the alcohol. Pretty tasty. There is something else in the finish that I am not sure if I am in love with.

M: A little on this thick and syrupy side, but only slightly. Carbonation seems to be about right.

D: One was good for me. A nice brew to try, but not something I am going to drink all night.. Would be very interesting in a tasting session.

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

Clean, deep amber with decent off-white head and moderate lace.

Bitter hops, fragrant fruit and some caramel malt in the nose.

Flavors of sweet caramel malt, some citrusy hops and a spicy clove flavor from yeast. Very belgian-esque with some faint tart cherry in background.

Mouthfeel is light-medium with lots of carbonation.

Overall, this brew is refreshing and pretty drinkable, though I'm not sure it's worth the sixteen dollars for a six-pack.

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

Poured from a 22oz bottle. no expiration date on bottle.

Pours a nice reddish amber head but only yields a half finger head that quickly fades to nothing and leaves no lacing down the glass.

smells sweet, dark fruits and caramel. a bit of alcohol, not too much tho.

Taste is of malt sweetness. cherry, dark fruits. has slight amount of noticeable alcohol that is nice. warming.

mouthfeel is a bit syrupy, it coats the mouth with the flavors.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Candied fruits woven in soft, caramelized grains is a breif descriptor. Alcohol strength providing the power to fuel the malts and esters. This beer shares a lot of similarities to Ommegang's Three Philosophers with it's candied cherry additions, higher alcohols, all leading into a fruit cake meets cough syrup taste; just tempered into a malty flavor that lures beer lovers like moths to flames. This beer begins with a bright copper color, low head formation and retention, with lacing substitued by legging. A real Barleywine appearance. Aromas are chocked full of esters and alcohol sweetness. Cherries make a definate impact along with notes of rum, roses, and delicate nectar sweetness. All that trancends nicely into taste with malt sweetness becomming the forefront elements- soft, bready, caramelly, and flavorful. Alcoholic heat makes the transition from flavor to body an easy one. Malty and sweet, this beer again takes on Barleywine proportions. The low hop character screams English Barleywine even though the maltiness is subtle and delicate. What a lovely beer that displays a lot of character from sweet to spicy; floral to alcoholic; fruity to bready;... the complexity descriptors can go on and on.

Thanks ShadesOfGray!

Photo of runningjoke
4.84/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into tulip glass with a nice amber color and a thick foamy head.
Smelled delicious with honey upfront followed with the spicy hops.
Tastes of tart cherries, honey, and spice. It fills the whole mouth with flavors. Sweetness on the tip of the tongue with tart, mouthwatering element in back. Alcohol fills the sinuses as the beer goes down (one of my favorite qualities).
It feels light in the mouth and goes down smooth.
This beer could be dangerous,as I could drink this all night, and I probably will.
Can't wait for next years release...it gives me something to look forward to.

Photo of crhensel
4.52/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

(Bottle into tulip) This beer came very highly recommended over the past 2 holiday seasons, but I had a hack of a time finding it until this year, and I frankly have been saving this one in anticipation. I was NOT disappointed!! Poured a nice red color but with little to no head that was gone in a heartbeat. The nose was heavy with the honey and cherry as advertised, as well as a background of the alcohol. Lively carbonation on the tongue and the drink itself is very smooth. The taste was very surprising, however, as I was expecting more sweetness based on the aromas. There was some sweet there, but also a nice spicy bite (nutmeg?) that lingered, giving that warm holiday feeling and a fine finish. I will definitely be on the lookout for more next year!!

Photo of COBeerBuff
3.43/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received via SS '09 from Petroos...

Appearance: Very vigorous pour yields a half-finger of white head crowning a reddish-amber liquid. Definitely has a decent carbonation as you can hear the bubbles from a few feet away. Head dissipates quickly leaving a light ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell: The nose is all cherry sweetness. I expected a more subtle cherry aroma, but what I'm getting is straight away cherry. It smells almost like SA Cherry Wheat. There also are some spices hidden in the background, but the cherry overpowers my nose enough that I can't pick them out.

Taste: This is a very sweet beer, almost cloyingly so. The tartness of the cherries is the first thing to hit the palate, and it almost dominates everything else. A little of the spiciness of the yeast is there along with some toastiness in the malts makes its way through.

Mouthfeel: This has a medium mouthfeel. The sweetness makes for some stickiness, but overall, this is a much lighter beer than I had imagined.

Drinkability: This beer drinks very smoothly, which is frightening considering the present nature of the alcohol in this beer. Definitely meant to be a winter sipper. I will enjoy this beer as the snow continues to fall here in Kansas.

Photo of righthereisay
3.62/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this at a Christmas party. I noticed the 11% so I took it easy on the drink.

Dark amber, not much head at all, plenty of lacing.

Lots of fruity notes. Maybe lemon and cherry? I've read maybe some honey. I don't know. Not really like a beer. Kind of like a mixed drink. Not really my thang.

In reality, you shouldn't have more than 2 of these. It would hit you too quick. At Christmas time, with all the parties, you need to be able to drink all night. Not going to happen with this.

Sure, it is smooth, but the 11% kills it. Have 1 if you are going out to a bar and need to save some cash.

Photo of Augustiner719
3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had on tap at THE OFFICE in Summit, NJ.

Appearance: Crystal clear, mahogony, ruby red brown color. Very small 1 finger head dwindled down to nothing quickly. Zero lacing.

Smell: Smells like a bit of ludents cough drops, slight alcohol aroma and some deep malty, light chocolatly aromas.

Taste: Tastes very smooth for the 11% abv. Very little alcohol burn. Cherry juice, slightly medicinal and malty backbone.

Mouthfeel: Nicely carbonated. Not overly cloyingly sweet. Good viscoscity. Nice and round on the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Great winter style beer. I wouldnt have more than 1, maybe 2 of these because this is a very strong high abv beer. Nice though.

Photo of keifffff
3.3/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

No frills yet not bad either. Lots of cherry flavor and holiday cheer. Good seasonal brew to look forward to. No head what so ever though. No pun intended. Will look forward to this delivery each season, but not one of the best from Troegs though. Do not let that discourage you from trying it. It is still a good ale.

Photo of srandycarter
3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Rich amber clear, not much head nor lace.

S- Big malty smell, almost cloying in nature. Interesting, though.

T - Big malt beer. Not so much of the Belgian attributes that I am used to, but nice.

M - Medium, good carb, ok balance.

D - Did not really touch me.

Photo of Metalmonk
3.52/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer seems a clear tribute to Ridgeway's Elf beers (Bad Elf, Criminally Bad Elf, Insanely Bad Elf, etc.)...let's see what mischief the Troegs brothers have up their sleeves this holiday season...

Pours an orange-leaning rust color, with slow-moving bubbles reaching a non-head at the top. Well, there is a dirty white head at first, but it settles down in less than a minute to a soapy crown. Expected, at 11%...

Cherries and yeast are at the forefront of the aroma. Certainly a Belgian character to the yeast, with the fruitiness being thankfully natural in character and well-behaved in strength.

Flavor is a mad ball of tart cherry, spicy yeast, and alcohol. Core beer components, malt and hops, seem to take a back seat to these other elements. A little honey creeps in as well, but basically this is the Spice/Cherry/Yeast/Booze Show. Alcohol lingers into the finish, where an aggressively carbonated texture attacks the taste buds in a not entirely unpleasant way. A fairly syrupy body helps offset that crazy tingle. Ultimately the booze-flavored cherry candy vibe of the beer detracts from its drinkability.

First time I had this was about a week ago, on tap at the Blue Tusk in Syracuse, NY. My palate might have been wrecked by that point in the evening, but it seemed like a strong/spiced English ale then...aroma-wise, it definitely has more Belgian character than anything, but I still feel like the medicinal, unsubtle vibe of Mad Elf is reminiscent of big spiced English holiday ales, and evidence beyond just name and label that this is indeed a tribute to Ridgeway's Bad Elf stuff. Glad to have tried it twice now, but not super-anxious to return.

Photo of Dodt
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

finally decide to crack this one open on new years eve.

poured from the 22 0z bottle into a wine glass.
apperance the lacing quickly goes away its color is amber in color.
smell a blend of cherries and bread malt flavor with a hint of coriander with honey notes.
some what syrupy in taste but not to bad thought .
for my first try into this style i feel a little overwhelmed but i do like it and wish to try other beers from this style.

Photo of sisuspeed
3.47/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a crisp, clear, amber color with a big fizzy head that quickly disappears.

Lots of cherry and funky booze on the nose. Some swirling brings out a sweet honey smell and a bit of spice. Smells like many other beers in this style with a large addition of cherries. Kind of like cough syrup.

Booze and sweet, bready malts hit the mouth on the first sip. The finish brings out a nice cherry flavor. Coriander and a bit of orange peel are noticeable as well. Honey comes in and out. Overall, very sweet, boozy and fruity.

The mouthfeel is smooth with light carbonation, but seems to be lacking the body that usually accompanies an 11% ABV beer. The body that is there is somewhat syrupy.

Drinkability is above average, but not by much. The high ABV and sweetness make this a one bottle beer, tops.

Overall, this is a good holiday beer. It goes along with the festive atmosphere, but the excessive sweetness and cherries are a bit too much for me.

Photo of abuliarose
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass, revealing ruby-toned clear body with an airy yellowed head that dies fast. Lightly bubbling body reminds me a lot of champagne. Smells like fruity hops and cherry cough syrup with hints of farmhouse funk. Intriguing.

Tastes sweet... very like a Belgian in character, with some funk and some blossoming floral flavor that dies into a fruity cherry (like cough syrup, I swear) light malty aftertaste. Alcohol makes its presence known and overall texture is smooth and a little dry, but I don't know if I would describe it as strong. Medium-bodied. Drinks like a water. Carbonation nucleates very small and slightly tingly on the tongue, dying quickly so as not to add much to the overall body. The aftertaste seriously reminds me of how my mouth feels after cough syrup. So, I'm not sure what this makes me, but it's quite drinkable. Don't know if I'd want more than one glass, though.

A yummy one-off strong dark. I'd get one next Christmas.

Photo of BTPete
3.58/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle recieved in Mahar's advent. Not my first time sampling this beer as I've had multiple bottles and tap pours this holiday season. This is in regards to this bottle though. Poured into a Portsmouth tulip.

A: Clear golden with a reddish hue. Minimal head on the pour.

S: Sweet cherries and honey. Fruity overall and certainly sweet smelling.

T: Very sweet but seemes balanced. I get sweet cherries, but not a natural cherry flavor, more of a syrupy or candy cherry flavor.

M: bubbly and medium bodied. Clean.

D: A little sweet for me. I'm not a huge cherry flavor fan. I like to eat cherries but would never drink cherry syrup in something. This reminds me of cherry syrup. Not bad though as I have had it a bunch of time so I will certianly drink it.

Photo of strictly4DK
3.77/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured into a Weyerbacher tulip glass.

A - Pours a translucent amber, head amounts to a thin film and recedes to nothing. No lacing.

S - Just as advertised, scent is primarily sweet honey, spicy, slightly tart cherries. Phenolic but not medicinal.

T - Up front is sweet honey, candied sugar, cherries, and possibly some raisins. Mid-palate it makes a big shift. Cloves and belgian spice bridges the gap to dry, tannic finish. Hints of fusel alcohol but not too hot.

M - Light bodied and slightly thin. Astringent due to the tannic finish but honey and some spice also remain on the palate.

D - This is a decent holiday seasonal but not sure it holds up to many other beers of the Belgian Strong Dark style. Tannins nicely balance how sweet this is upfront. Probably won't pick up another unless it's got some age.

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Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 3,550 ratings.