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Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,193 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,193
Hads: 3,597
Avg: 3.85
pDev: 15.32%
Wants: 215
Gots: 882 | FT: 21
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Tröegs Mad Elf Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,193 | Hads: 3,597
Photo of utopiajane
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a handsome deep amber with hues of copper and with a cherry blush. There is gold hue around the edges and even some orange like color. Yeast is floating around in suspension and the head is fat , tan and falls pretty quickly to a ring and film on top. It's clear enough to see the individual particles of yeast that dapple the body of the beer. No real lace except a few spots.

The nose is dripping with honey. Raw and sweet it is the most prominent feature of the nose. It even smells a bit sugary. There is a smooth and soft yeast that promises a bit of earth and has just a faint touch of cedar wood. The cherries are ripe and sweet and the malt is soft on the nose except for a light candy sugar and hint at flaky biscuit. Bit of spice to tickle the nose. I really had to dive in but I detect a subtle bittersweet chocolate that is faint but an overall enhancement of the nose. There is a rose like floral on this that is perfection.

Taste is seamless and perfect like so many of troegs beers. The balance is impeccable. The yeast is soft and lends the drink softness. The malt is feather light as if it was tended with expert care and imparts a light cracker to the front end of the drink. The cherry and honey are equals not rivals and the cherry leaves a nice tartness mid palate in deference to the sweet rich honey. There is a bit of spice that entertains the back palate as much as seeing one or two snowflakes fall out of the sky entertains the eye. Nutty flavor in the middle rather than chocolate and that is pleasant and uplifting. The carbonation is fine so that you don't notice it but it excites the tongue . This finishes with only a vague hint of medicinal alcohol that is quite remarkable to the perception of the finish. Dry but the mouth is watering. Slight gentle warmth from the alcohol.

What a fabulous beer. Drinks a lot like mead. It has a bit of stickiness in the mouthfeel that is wonderful and pleasant. The drink is bold yet refined. Troegs makes great beer.

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Photo of facundoCNB
3.79/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

a ruby red pour with a finger of head, kind of hypnotizing purplish hue. a finger of head, not much lacing - but a beautiful color.
smells of cherry, chocolate, bready caramel grain bill. the flavor is a bit medicinal.. lots of fruity, wheat bread, toasty, nutty, biscuity.. this is fantastic. full body, medium carbonation.. this hits you pretty hard right away. a heavy, true to the definition of winter warmer, this beer heats you up quick - heavy but delicious.

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Photo of dar482
3.63/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

The color is this beautiful clear deep red amber with a bit of a faint head.

The aroma immediate hits of Belgian yeast. Candied sugar sweetness, dried sweet cherries, a bit of honey. Very much of that Belgian dark/quad character.

The flavor follows with liqueur cherries, banana Belgian yeastiness, a bit of dried figs, some candied sugar sweetness, lots of spice of clove, anise, black pepper, combined with a good amount of alcohol. The finish has this maltiness for a bit and then subsides to a clean finish.

The body is medium with lots of carbonation to uplift the beer.

A decent holiday ale that is very faithful to the Belgian tradition. A bit boozy and thin on the flavor.

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Photo of Greywulfken
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: medium amber and clear, with orange-red hues; slim cap of foam was reduced to a thin, tan collar within minutes

S: malty and sweet, like honey and cherry, with some spice notes and floral aromas

T: sweet and fruity, spices and flowers, some hints toward tart cherry

M: thin and slick, light in body, creamy

O: a bit too thin for my tastes, being as how it lacks the crispness of a pale ale; the cherry and honey are appreciable, and the ale is suitable for the holidays for sure.

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Photo of BillDon
3.2/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

22 oz bomber bottle.

2013 vintage

Can't figure this one out. Can tell its 11% abv beer in smell and taste. There is hint of cherries and sweetness from the honey. There is a definite burn up front and afterwards.

Would like to have a few to put in the cellar to see how it ages but not worth the money.

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Photo of stercomm
3.12/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a bomber into a big tulip glass

A - Coppery orange in color, extremely big and thick 3 finger tan head that receded slowly

S - Very bold and strong can smell it from far away. Get honey and biscuits, some spice.

T - Honey, alcohol and cherries, definitely taste the alcohol

M - medium bodied and medium carbonation

O - A bit too heavy for me, strong profile

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Photo of hellobeerz
4.17/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - A dark brew, a ruby/copper look. Slight see through feel.

S - You obviously get the sweetness of honey and the ripeness of cherries off the bat. But it seems like more are at work here... smells of spices and even chocolate malts are hinted at.

T - The nose follows the taste for the most part. Lots of honey and cherries with just enough spice. The alcohol is present at first, but mid glass it is gone to just a simple warming and relaxing brew. Almost great for a winter night during the Christmas season.

M - A little intense from the alcohol at first, but dissipates and becomes amazing once your palate adjusts.

O - I saw the hype, the advertising, heard the talk in my local brew shops and honestly... It is amazing, every time I head to the local totalwine or other brew shop I pick up a sixer(14.99), It is an amazing seasonal brew for the cold months and I could see myself drinking this well into March. You must give it a chance, and at 11% ABV... it is highly recommended. haha.

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Photo of RogerSterling
3.59/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A - Somewhat dark, when poured has about an inch tall head. Good looking winter beer.

S - Obvious cherry and a bit of honey. Decent combination of the cherry, honey, and alcohol. It's a strong beer, so I was expecting to smell some booze. They did a good job of putting this beer together through the nose. Once you smell it, you want a sip.

T - You get a lot of the smell in the taste. Cherry, Honey, and alcohol are present. I will say that they did mask the alcohol well, but still a little much for me.

M - A little intense from the alcohol, but its rather smooth.

O - I was really excited to try this one. I'm glad I did, but I won't be buying another case. That being said, I would recommend trying this beer. If I can get it in a growler or on tap somewhere I will drink again but a case is a little too much. I think there are better strong belgian ales out there, but still overall a good beer and can understand the hype.

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Photo of alexk307
4.78/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Ruby Red

S: Cherries, cherries, and more cherries

T: Very sweet but not overpoweringly sweet. Sweet cherries and apples finishing off with some malt. Not much alcohol smell present despite the 11 ABV

M: Thick, carbonated, and syrupy

O: One of my favorite beers to drink in the winter time. Quite boozy at 11 ABV and it'll definitely sneak up on you.

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Photo of gregO59
4.41/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Mad elf back on shelves. Always a treat.. Troegs is a never miss product. Found it 1st for 17 .50 a six, 2nd time for 15.50 a six to watch giants game.

appearance- held up to light its like looking at a stoplight

smell- honey, cherries , chocolate , coffee

taste- mixture of same

mouthfeel- light a little sweet

overall- really like it as a diversion from an RIS for the difference to the taste buds . Something

to have when you want to go beyond the usual. Hard not to buy when available .

11% gives off a nice buzz

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Photo of delta490
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A- a beautiful, clear ruby color with a fizzier off-white head. Nice retention and a small but steady stream of carbonation is visible.

S- rich and fruity with a hint of Christmas spice.

T- the taste closely mirrors the aroma, with a nice fruity sweetness of the opening and hints of spices on the finish.

M-thinner than it's bigger aroma and taste would indicate. But not unpleasant at all.

O- a really good Holiday/Christmas ale. No one aspect overpowers but it all blends together quite nicely.

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Photo of lunarbrew
3.11/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Ahh, the thin line between a drain pour and a creative beer. This toes it close.

Beer pours red with little head and thin lacing. Smells like very little. Highly generic nose. Some faint cherries and sugary malt. A general "beer" scent. It's a little like cracking a coors. Tastes like fake cherries and brown sugar. Very sweet. Not too pleasing, but I'm trying to get through it. Consistency is slick, syrupy, and sticky. Pretty flat. This didn't quite work, imo. It's interesting, but ultimately a flop in my eyes.

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Photo of mitch3114
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured 12 oz. bottle into snifter glass

A- Nice brown color with a slight reddish hue

S- I smell the cherries! I also smell Belgian yeast and alcohol. This smells a bit like cleaning solvent...with a hint of banana.

T- Well, it certainly doesn't TASTE like cleaning solvent. I can taste the Belgian yeast. It's more subtle than I thought. I taste sugar cherries and alcohol. Maybe some spices.

M- Mouthfeel is great. It's smooth and has just the right "prickly" with the carbonation. It's not too thick, and it's not cloying.

O- This is a unique beer. I am glad I finally got to try it and I got to try a fresh one. I think I will pick up a 6 pack and lay some down. I think when some of the heat burns off, even more of the subtle flavors will come out. I can see why this is a holiday favorite!

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Photo of Scrapss
3.84/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle pour into a turbinator.

A nice dark red. off white head dissipates to a thin disk. not over carbed.

S: cherries, strong dark phenolics. lemon, slight bready yeast.

T: Some mild yeasts and some neutral sweet notes led by tart cherries. Some spicy booze, mild dark malts and tart dark fruits. Hint of bitter chocolate. Dry.

M: creamy due to carbonation. Dry malty finish with volatile dark fruit notes. spicy. boozy at ultimate finish.

O: Not terribly complex, a straightforward example of the style. Would not turn down.

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Photo of tkdchampxi
3.64/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This beer is better on draft than in the bottle. Sometimes it comes off a little too boozy, but it has nice holiday flavors, and there are some good citrus, orange, and spice notes.

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Photo of Glennlawless
3.42/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a 16oz Tulip.

A - Nice one one finger head, amber and see through and color and lots of bubbles. really good looking beer.

S - Smell cherry right away...and dark fruits and some hidden booze.

T - very dry and Super sweet. just cherries in the beggining and all the carbonation and spiciness of the brew hits you here...it finishes with a kiss of alcohol and lingering cherry. Not bitter at all and no noticable hop presence actually breaks through. not noticing the honey. maybe its balancing out the alcohol at the end possibly?

M - Very dry and super carbonated.

Overall this was a pretty good beer. It definetley would not be my first pic but its a super talked about beer in the winter time so i figured it was time to pop the mad elf cherry haha. This beer is a definite sipper, and you can somewhat tell its 11%abv. just a ton of sweetness( probably the honey now that i think about it, duh...) and a ton of cherry. with some very mild heat from the alcohol. its a pretty nice beer. I wouldnt get it again, but id never turn it down.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a reddish chestnut color with amazing clarity for the style. The head is a two finger cream shade. Retention is *very* good for an 11%'er, but it's thin, soapy texture means it leaves no lacing on the glass. What it does leave behind are alcohol legs, and lots of them. I'm disappointed that there aren't any dregs from the bottom of the bottle, though. Still, despite those reservations, it looks superb in a glass.

S: It's spicy at first, with a sweetness that is reminiscent of gingerbread. After opening up, cherries start appearing on the nose. The sweet qualities help cover up the alcohol. Mostly very impressive in general, but the slight touches of medicine I pick up occasionally keep it from being a 4.

T: Immediately, I notice its sweetness on the palate. Cherry sweetness appears first before giving way to a spicy middle. Strong honey notes finish it off. There isn't a significant booze presence; and even still, what can be tasted is properly defined and spicy, if just a tad harsh. Only two complaints here: complexity is low, and the sweetness can get overwhelming after about 2/3rds of the bottle is consumed.

M: While it's body is somewhat thin for the style, its creamy feel makes up for it. It's also very well carbonated and dry finishing as the style dictates. Alcohol can't really be tasted on the palate, but it can be felt tingling the tongue and warming the orifices...and wow, does it ever warm the orifices. Despite that, it's shockingly drinkable - only the high level of sweetness is preventing me from gulping this down.

O: As a BSDA, it's really good but not quite my favorite of the style. As a general sweet-and-boozy monster, though, it's excellent. About the only thing I can complain about is how sweet it is - and this problem can be solved simply by getting the 6-packs or a 12 oz single instead of a bomber.

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Photo of onechordwonder
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A must buy every Christmas for me. Great beer on a cold night, especially considering the sneaky 11%abv. Beautiful ruby color, not a ton of lacing. Flavor is sweet at first, with cherry as the predominant flavor. Malt rounds it out and finishes slightly dry. Could be a little more balanced, but overall a great beer.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.71/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle pour at mrbubbler's tasting.

Pours a clear dark honey orange with a foamy bone head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, honey, cherry, and cherry syrup aromas. Taste is much the same with sweet malt and cherry flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of toasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is tasty but fairly syrupy and sweet.

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Photo of nsheehan
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle to Duvel Tulip
11% ABV
Bottled 110719 (maybe?)
Given to me in December 2011

A – Poured medium strength into a Duvel tulip. One finger of head that dissipates quickly, I think it’s my soap’s fault. A lot of yeasties floating around, giving it a hazy look, like a strange snowglobe. Color is a dark amber with a tinge of orange. It’s quite opaque, but still has a slight warmth to it; light is getting through but my hand can barely induce a shadow.

S – A nice, sweet, earthy Belgian smell with some spice and dark fruit. Also some alcohol nip. The sweet Belgian smell is apparent, and paired up with other smells that don’t shirk away. I’d like to see it play a slightly larger role. It seems equal to the alcohol, spice, and dark fruit smell (part of which may come from the yeast, but still). For being a BSDA holiday ale brewed with spices and cherries, I think it’s very well done; so many holiday ales go too far. When I gently swirl the beer, I pick up banana, slight bubble gum, cherries, and dates, in that order, with alcohol wrapped around every one.

T – The Belgian flavor plays a slightly larger role in the taste than the smell, which is to my liking. The alcohol is the second flavor, which is OK, but not ideal. The fruit is apparent on the swallow, and I pick out some dark fruits, like cherry, and also cantaloupe. Weird, but welcome. The spices are there, but hang out in the back of each taste, which is great. Comes across as a good, boozy BSDA.

M – A light medium, which is surprising but OK. Makes it easier to drink on a day like today (though I’m currently inside). The carbonation seems to have kept well for about two years (what I can tell from swirling it), but high ABV BSDAs tend to be low on the carbonation spectrum. This one is soft and a tiny bit chewy, but as mentioned, has a slightly lighter than expected body. It sticks pretty close to the tongue, and the finish is pretty wet, except for your inner cheeks, where I think the alcohol has a drying effect.

D – I am looking forward to trying this fresh sometime, but for now I am happy I saved it for 1.5-2 years. It is soft and seems to have retained flavor without oxidizing.
4, 4, 4, 4.25, 4; ~4.04

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Photo of apr3940
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Tis the season for a nice full flavor beer. Troegs Mad Elf has a wonderful taste combination of Cherries, Honey, Dark Chocolate, and spice. This beer has a nice red appearance, and should be enjoyed responsibly. (I've sampled more then one on a occasion or two.) Another beer that is limited supply, and can run out faster then it comes in. Most distributors and bottle shops are kept in the loop to how much, and when they can receive it. (So make good friends with your local beer guy!)

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Photo of gillagorilla
3.48/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber (from notes)

A: Reddish brown with a big head.

S: Malty, sweet with cherry and honey.

T: Mild and plain sweetness.

M: Slightly crisp with even bubbles. A bit viscous.

O: Ok, but I couldn't finish. It was a weird combination of flavors.

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Photo of FLima
3.84/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Amber reddish color with a thin head with low retention.
Aroma of cherries, caramel, molasses, dark fruits and honey.
Nice balanced flavor of honey, red fruits and molasses. Hints of Belgian yeast
Full body with adequate carbonation. Alcohol of 11% ABV is well hidden among its malty base and several flavors.
A great winter warmer, perfect timing for this cold day in the southern hemisphere.

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Photo of Jonada
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle. 2012 vintage. Served in a snifter.

Appearance: Pours a murky dark red color with one finger of head, which dissipates quickly to a slightly off white collar. Body is hazy with quite a bit of suspended sediment.

Smell: Cherry, clove, dark fruits, honey and some light medicinal notes.

Taste: Spicy Belgian yeast, cherry, dark fruit, pepper, sweet bread. Insanely drinkable for 11%.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, slightly heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is medium and ideal for this particular beer. Finish is lightly sweet with medium alcohol warmth.

Overall: Extremely tasty and very unique beer. One of my favorite winter seasonal beers and always worth seeking out a 6 pack when it's released.

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Photo of sporr
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is my all time favorite beer. I refer to it as "The Closer" especially from a night of tasteing other quality craft beer. This beeer always is a pleasure to drink and usually puts me in that special place. If you haven't had this then you really are missing something special.

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Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,193 ratings.