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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

2,963 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,963
Reviews: 1,149
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 15.54%
Wants: 147
Gots: 433 | 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: 2,963 | Reviews: 1,149 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of lackenhauser
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%

Pours an absolutely gorgeous reddish amber color.Very slight head and carbonation.Slight aroma of cherries-some citrus,malt and a backround yeasty-ness.Malty sweetness dominates the flavor with a hint of cherries.The 11% ABV is very well disguised.Wonderful mouthfeel-really smooth and full bodied.What a great beer I must say.I have not been a Troegs fan in the past-just didnt think they were as good and "special" as some of the others out there.I'll take that back with this beer however.Some of this will definately be getting "laid down"-ENJOY!!!

lackenhauser, Dec 28, 2003
Photo of drewbage
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%

Sampled after a long Xmas day to celebrate my glorious victory in our Annual Bloodmatch Trivial Pursuit Game. 12 oz brown bottle provided courtesy of PisskyNights. (Thanks!)

Beer was sampled cool at first (~55F) and allowed to warm up over the course of an hour.

Beer drops into the glass with a thud and no carbonation. As it settles in the glass the drinker is presented with a deep red leather colored beer.

As the beer comes up to room temperature, the cherries and spicing becomes stronger melding with a very evident alcohol presence.

The flavor is filled with cherries and a bit of honeyed sweetness. As the beer lolls on the tongue, the combination of alcohol and cinnamon begin to sweep the thickiness of this beer form the palate.

Decent warming beer for the occasional slow sipper during the winter time.

drewbage, Dec 27, 2003
Photo of Gusler
4.43/5  rDev +14.8%

The color a limpid luxurious ruby on the pour with a smallish head that is frothy in texture, light tan in color and as it disperses rather quickly the resultant lace forms a rather thin velum like sheet that just does cover the glass. The aroma of over ripe fruit, such as pineapple greets you first, hints of fusel alcohol along with the malted grains brings up the rear, bubble gum like tones also present with the start ambrosial and rich in malt with the top middling to almost full in feel. Finish is vinous, sternly acidic, the hops delectable in their spicy bite, desert dry and somewhat tart aftertaste that leaves you longing for another sip. Quite a pleasure to drink, big time tummy warmer, a great “Winter Warmer”, and one I wish was more readily available.

Gusler, Dec 25, 2003
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.43/5  rDev +14.8%

I've had two beers in a row this Christmas Eve that feature that smiling sap Santy Claus on the label and it's about time to genuflect in honor of the unrecognized working class hero, in this case, a certain Demented Dwarf!
So, let's to it!
Appearance: a brilliant bright and shiny crimson color...gorgeous! And adorned with a fuzzy, cream-toned head that's lives too briefly.
Aroma: big on the fruit, but never too sweet, somehow, and damned interesting, feeling like it's rife with spices, and I can pick up the honey hinted at on the label, and the cherry factor is flowing over, in much abundance and joined with a brandyish character, ushering in the full effect of the alcohol content...oh, yeah, 11%, how about that, huh?
So, let's taste!
Dark, rich, fruity, utterly alcohol-drenched cherry goodness! The booze is king here, and it's sublimely delicious! Malt is in command in this beer, and I don't believe hops have a word to say, it's not their show tonight, malt and booze is all, but the sweetness never cloys somehow, and balance is acheived, but not if you account for the monstrous alcoholic component.
Sadly, the mouthfeel gets a bit thin in the middle, and I wish the body was fuller, but that rich, delicious taste seems to redeem any/everything...and then, the booze kicks in for real, and nothing has no excuse! That's how a Mad Elf is born!
My second bottle downed, and this review is done "live" while drinking it and referencing my notes, however scribbly, from the last taste. And I'm nothing short of wowed by this amazing creation! These guys got guts! I've had other Troeg's beers that were commendable and tasty, but not overwhelming and utterly incredible! I really, really, really like this beer!
Domo Arigato, Mr. ManekiNeko for getting this beer to me!

feloniousmonk, Dec 25, 2003
Photo of sulldaddy
4.28/5  rDev +10.9%

WOW! I finally score some of this treat. I had a case waiting for me when I got to Harrisburg area for the holidays. I split about 10 of them with some friends tonite.

I drank mine at room temp since I have heard/read that they are better that way.

The brew pours a amber/red color with a pinkish head foaming up nicely. The aroma is all cherries and alcohol. No hop presence at all.

The first sip reveals an off sweetness and cherry undertones are evident. The alcohol is only faint on the swallow with some belly warming action occurring. The body is medium thickness with some vinous characteristics, maybe a little viscous. Overall very drinkable. I actually had three of the bottles tonite over a 2 hour span and definitely feel the alcohol a little by the 3rd even if I didnt taste it. this beer is definitely worth the wait. Hopefully you have tried some and if not try to get it and good luck!

sulldaddy, Dec 25, 2003
Photo of Globetrotter
3.45/5  rDev -10.6%

Hand delivered from the Washington area to Moscow as part of a fiver set of U.S. winter brews. Definitely not my favorite of the five, although I had entertained very high hopes. Poured clear copper under a thin tan head that fades quickly. The nose is mildly sweet, with a touch of cherry. The mouth is fairly flat and heavy with sweetness and fruit. The taste opens with mostly sweet cherries, backed by malt and a touch of honey. I could detect no hops anywhere, but there is some alcohol burn in the finish. The aftertaste is all cherry. It's OK, but I'm not thrilled.

Globetrotter, Dec 20, 2003
Photo of Bighuge
4.65/5  rDev +20.5%

Clear deep scarlet red hue. A medium sized beige head literally fizzes away in seconds. Not even a thin coating is left. Only a creamy edging that leaves sparse lace. The aroma is really quite remarkable. Beautiful belgian yeastiness, breadiness and mustiness. Sweet brown sugar. And delicate cherry notes. I love it. Oh man, this is one dangerous brew. The taste is fine. The mouthfeel is luscious. And the alcohol is nowhere to be found. This all adds up to an exceptional drinkability. The flavors are subtle, but quite discernable. Chocolate covered cherries. Bready yeastiness. Dark belgian malts. Raisin and rum. A little sweet honey. But I can hardly find a hint of alcohol here. And it's 11%?!? Damn. Maybe just a bit of a lingering bitterness on the aftertaste derived from EtOH. The beer feels like silk in the mouth and the body is medium at best. I understand the "Mad Elf" hysteria now. This is damn good.

Bighuge, Dec 19, 2003
Photo of yankeeheel
3.23/5  rDev -16.3%

Served at cellar temp, which here in Maine is a wee bit cold. Poured a cough syrup red with a reddish head that was gone in 20 seconds. Smells very medicinal.

The taste is somewhat akin to cough syrup with a lot of xtra alcohol. Really sweet up front with a thin middle and alcohol/medicine burn at the end. Not really all that incredible. Just kind of big with alcohol and thin on flavor. I have anoher bottle that I'm going to let cellar for a while and I'll re-visit it.

Thanks to PisskyNights for the hook-up.

yankeeheel, Dec 18, 2003
Photo of pbrian
3.23/5  rDev -16.3%

Cellar temp to start. Deep reddish brown, I missed the color of the head it dissappeared so quick. Had to splash the beer around to get an aroma. Oh, there it is- cherries. Anything else? I don't know, I got sick of having to work for it. Taste was sickly sweet up front, cherry juice with minimal spicy hints. Quite thin for such a high abv beer. Lots of candi sugars? Finish was a bit drier with hot alcohol hits. Overall, just an average attempt IMO, yes, even warm.

pbrian, Dec 16, 2003
Photo of soulfly967
4.38/5  rDev +13.5%

I had this on tap at Fat Heads in the Southside of Pittsburgh. Poured a ruby red, very little head that quickly vanished. The smell was of cherries and a bit of alcohol. The taste was amazing. Cherries, alcohol, and a hint of chocolate. A very exellent beer for the holiday season, I only wish that they would have made more of it... maybe next year. Beware, that 11% abv will come back to haunt you in the morning, but it's well worth it.

soulfly967, Dec 15, 2003
Photo of HossMcGraw
4.28/5  rDev +10.9%

Pours a great looking burgundy color with moderate tan head. Aroma is sweet cherry. Taste is more of the same. Very sweet, but not cloying. Mouthfeel is quite smooth
. Drinkability is pretty good despite ABV, although I'm ready for a nap after one of these.

HossMcGraw, Dec 14, 2003
Photo of crookedhalo
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%

2003.
Reddish crimsony color with the tracest white head. Carbonation very sparse. Alcohol is evident in the nose as well as sweet and sour aromas, brandy, candied green maraschino cherries and fresh black cherry, too. Tastes fantastic! Biscuity and nutty malt in the front, a touch o' fermented honey, and cut then by the 11% ABV; finished like a Rodenbach Grand Cru, fruity with a slight soury dryness. Very impressed.

2004.
Sampled this years version and not quite as impressed. Lacked the high notes that last years had. Cherry and honey present. Seemed too alcoholic, synthetic and sweet; and the nose was more yeasty and nutty, with perfuminess looming. Not as impressed compared to last years.

crookedhalo, Dec 13, 2003
Photo of CRJMellor
4.18/5  rDev +8.3%

Ah the Elf ! Thanks to Brluvr (Ted) for making it happen. I haven't been this excited about a beer for some time, I even bought a Mad Elf goblet/chalice from the brewery for the occasion.

Pours a beautiful reddish brown color with small head that is very intricately laced. Carbonation looks very lively.

Aroma is much deeper and complex than color would indicate.
Immediate is hit was a little licorice, followed by some honey and other complex malt flavors, I only got a very subtle cheery note after some time warming. Almost had a Trippel aroma to me.

Let sit for about 30 minutes before opening and 10 minutes after pouring (based on recent discussion about best temperature)

Here comes the first taste. . . .
Boy that's good. Excellent powerful malt taste upfront with just a hint of sweet cherries on the aftertaste and slight bitterness. Mouthfeel is very full and smooth yet you know you are drinking a high gravity beer. Reminds of a gentler Piraat with some nice fruit undertones. Ingredient bill says chocolate malt and I only got them as the beer really warmed up and the flavors really opened. i'm going to drink another at room temp (at least high 60's) and see what other flavors may open.
first experience with Troeg's, have a feeling I have to go on a pilgrimage at some point.

Great beer, I think 2 would be my limit.

CRJMellor, Dec 11, 2003
Photo of RonfromJersey
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%

A snap, crackle, pop accompanies the head, with bubbles bursting at the surface. Soon settles down into an off-white table top. Very nice lacing stretching across the glass. Body is a deep, clear red. Cherries shine thru the aroma, as soon as I started to pour. Taste features prominently everything mentioned on the label: cherries, honey, alcohol, and also the malt and hops don't get lost. The malt, honey, and the sense of alcohol create a sort of dopplebock quality, and the cherries are well balanced into the mix, featured but not overwhelming. I feel if you left the cherries out, you would still have a good beer. But I'm not suggesting that. I think the honey is really pulling everything together, balancing flavors, rounding the mouthfeel. I have never been a big fruit beer fan, but I am pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this. The stock is going fast, but give it a try if you have the opportunity. Tröegs continues to impress.

RonfromJersey, Dec 07, 2003
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%

Found on draft at Mad Mex the Robinson location, I was just excited to see at tap handle from Troeg's. Appearance: Ruby tinted thin creamy white head little lacing alcohol wards this off. Aroma: Cherries soaked in alcohol with a mild tartness in the air, spices bringing more Christmas cheer, and the malts used a much more complex than bringing out a caramel / mild cocoa scent. Taste: Is comparable to a cherry liquer massive alcohol note sweeps the palate, very warming spicy with tart sweetness and a soft finish this one ties it together. Mouthfeel: Troeg's went MAD this beer has crazy amount of alcohol kicking, full syrupy mouthfeel definitely a one glass at a time type brew. Drinkability: Didn't get tired of the rich tones thought it would be overbearing I was served sixteen ounces of this fine nectar for six bucks not a bad deal.

WVbeergeek, Dec 05, 2003
Photo of frank4sail
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%

I was very lucky to get the last of these at The Beer Yard. Yes quite a drive for me and always worth it.. (Matt is the man).. Jcalbi told me this beer was a must try "by any means get your hands on some". So here goes.. out of my Westmalle goblet: (one of the best labels i have ever seen on a holiday beer!)

Deep bright red sparkle colors swirl in the glass. A nice tan snow head on the pour this then leaves the glass quickly (ABV?). Wonderful crystral ruby look. Sweet cherry hop sharpness to the nose. Initial big bready, yeasty (belgian quality) to the taste. This sharp base then is smoothed by honey and hints of cherry on the tongue. Great balence for a big beer. Your mouth is left slightly dry and wanting more. The beer is not overly fruity or sweet at all, but that hint of honey and cherry skins hypnotise the palate. This is really a treat. If you shut your eyes you would think you were sitting in a bar in Brugge next to Jingle and Jangle (Santa's elfs in A year without a Santa Clause). I would buy more if I could!

PS.. caution after three or four of these you will have full conversations with Jingle... thanks Jcalbi (jim) for the heads up on this brew ....

frank4sail, Dec 04, 2003
Photo of Maestro
4.18/5  rDev +8.3%

This is a neat one. I am not a big fan of Belgian-style ales. I just don't get into the sweet stuff. But the cherries balance that out for me and this ale is nice because of that. The head is very thin but stays around for the duration of the glass. There is a nice lacing left on the glass. The first taste brings a warming feeling that is quite similar to a glass of wine. The honey adds a nice compliment to the sweet taste. The mouthfeel is quite nice. It seems to have a clean finish to each taste with a hint of spices. The alcohol is strong so you wouldn't want to have many, but there is a nice sense of winter drinkability to the beer. I live 40 minutes from the brewery and can't get my hands on any more. It sold way too fast. Ration it if you have it. Cheers

Maestro, Dec 02, 2003
Photo of ElGuapo
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%

A small, quick dying head on top of a clear brown brew with amber notes. Nice aroma of cherries and cloves hit first. Other nice wintery spices are in the mix as well. I pick up some yeast and a bit of alcohol in there too. Very nice on the nose indeed.

This beer seems to be sucked into my tongue like a sponge. I have to squeeze it to let all the flavors come out, and they do so in great fashion. The start has a beautiful fruit flavor, which then gives you a hint of the alcohol. The warming character is excellent. Spices come in next led by clove. Slight notes of caramel are found occasionally as well. The finish is very balanced, and it leaves you with a spicy aftertaste. This is an excellent brew. The complexity is very nice, and even though it is a pretty heavy beer, it's body is not thick as to hinder drinkability to those who like something lighter. I could drink it all day. I only hope that a good amount of BAs got their hands on this one because it is excellent.

ElGuapo, Dec 02, 2003
Photo of Edwin
4.53/5  rDev +17.4%

Sampled on tap at the Troeg's Brewery during their release party.

Appearance - A nice, deep brownish-red. Some initial head that disappears fast, similar to all Troeg's beers.

Smell - Smells like the holidays. Some sour notes with a cherry smell is evident in there. Hints of spices throughout.

Taste - Not for everyone, but will definitely satisfy most. Taste of sweet/sour on the entry and a leftover display of cherry, spice, and some other fruits I can't quite put my finger on. Definitely a different beer than anything I have ever tasted.

Mouthfeel - Strong yet smooth. A very powerful feel on the tongue. After two of these bad boys, it gets easier and easier to send down to the stomach.

Drinkability - It is very drinkable on a cold day. Reminds me of Christmas in frnt of a warm fire. Be careful...at 11% alcohol, this one will turn your Happy Holidays into 8 Crazy Nights if you aren't careful!

Edwin, Nov 30, 2003
Photo of dmarch
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%

Wow, the appearance alone is worth making the purshase for. Deep ruby color with a fluffy off-white head. Aroma is more sugary than malty, must be from the honey, Taste is much of the same. Surprisingly, the cherry isn't as distinct as you would think. It is presant though and gives this a drinkability that you wouldn't expect from a 11% beer.

dmarch, Nov 29, 2003
Photo of BierReise
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Poured a nearly clear cherry red color with no head at all. Just a thin ring of foam around the edge of the glass. Aroma is fruity and malty with strong notes of sweet cherries. I also detect yeast in the aroma. Has a nice crispness like a Belgian Tripel. Flavor is sugary sweet and syrupy with lots of cherries. Alcohol is well hidden, a pleasurable brew.

BierReise, Nov 28, 2003
Photo of JISurfer
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%

This is the best brew I have had that was made with cherries. It absolute blows away the Unibroe cherry beer, hands down. It smelled like cherries and had a very nice malty aroma with it, as well as the alcohol. The appearance was pretty nice, with the pretty amber color and a creamy head. The head was nice, but lasted a few minutes, then died out to a thin laceing. The taste was similar to the smell, but a little stronger in the cherry area(not too much though, nicely balanced), but the alcohol was barely there for the taste. I was thinking that it was going to be really alcoholy tasteing, but it was hardly noticeable. Man/woman, if it weren;t such a full bodied brew, I would be able to suck this stuff down all night.

JISurfer, Nov 27, 2003
Photo of Stubbie1
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%

This elf is a clear reddish orange color, an slightly off white head makes it to the top of my glass. It came and left rather fast not leaving much of any type of lacing.

The aroma at first is very mellow. However, as this brew warms up it is a frenzy of fruit. Cherries and fresh plumbs come to mind when I breathe in. Hints of spices also fill the air.

Taste: A lightly sweet start with a smooth mild middle transition to a wonderful fruity finish. Again, cherries and fresh plumbs come into play. Not overwhelming but a nice mixture with the malt.

Wow, for one pissed off elf, this beer is great. I’m sure it is better on a colder winters night. The 11% (to me) is not noticeable. The flavors and aroma of this beer get better as it warms.

Bottom line: If your lucky enough to get your mitts on a bottle or two of this brew, do it, I think you wont be disappointed!

Stubbie1, Nov 27, 2003
Photo of pezoids
2.83/5  rDev -26.7%

I had a chance to sample this rare beer during a tour of their brewery. It seems that even the brewers themselves don’t have much of this one. Troeg brother, Chris said that he wasn’t even sure that they had any of it left. I thought that was funny. This is a holiday beer that will likely be unavailable for the holidays!

On to the review, This beer is coarsely filtered, so they leave a bit of the yeast in the product, although my sample was pretty clear. Poured a golden color with a twinge of cranberry and ruby. There is an alcohol blast that hits you when you bring it up to your nose. Definitely in the forefront. The body is syrupy and cordial-like, although not too heavy. Amazingly, I detect just a hint of cherry (300 pounds were used to make this beer!). But, I want more. The finish is very dry and spicy with an overpowering alcohol bite.

It’s a very interesting beer, but in my opinion, should be more balanced out with a better fruit sweetness and not so harsh. This beer is way too young, and could see it aging very well. Too bad there isn’t any left of it.

pezoids, Nov 23, 2003
Photo of ManekiNeko
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%

12 oz. bottle served lightly chilled in a Trois Pistoles goblet.

Appearance: Clear red with just a hint of orange. Topped with a short-lived and frothy white head that recedes to a film and then just a ring of foam. Itty-bitty blobs of lacing left on the glass.

Smell: Nice whiffs of honey and cherries overlying a brandy-esque smell. Mildly floral, too. Not a bad little sniffer.

Taste: Sweet, sweet caramel malt flavor with overtones of honey and light cherries. Grainy and boozy aftertastes. Quite nummy.

Mouthfeel: Lightly syrupy. Solid medium body with not an ounce of flab on it. Alcohol is well masked, but this is still a muscular beer. A masked Mexican midget wrestler, if you will.

Drinkability: Not to reference my thread about mixing this and Samichlaus together, but I do wonder if one would be moved from the "naughty" to the "nice" column if I left a few of these for ol' St. Nick. A great, high-octane fruit beer.

ManekiNeko, Nov 22, 2003
Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,963 ratings.