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Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

2,744 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2744
Reviews: 1146
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 15.54%


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: 2,744 | Reviews: 1,146 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of JayS2629
JayS2629

Alabama

5/5  rDev +29.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My favorite beer ever so far. Only the Rochefort 10 gives it competition in complexity.

A- A ruby amber with a slim tan head. Slightly translucent, but a rich deep color.

S- Sweet with a strong belgian yeast at the front. Hints of rich dark cherry and spices. A slight apple and honey smell. Very nice.

T- The honey outweighs the cherry, but it is ver nice. A bit heavy with a slight apple taste. The spice is strong and similar to chai. You can tell its strong, but its masked well with sweetness. Smooth when cold.

M- Full bodied. A bit heavy, but masked so well when cold it goes down to easy to be 11%. Great Christmas beer.

D- full of soul. So smooth when cold you would never guess the alcohol content. Slight burn at the back of throat just to let you know you aren't messing around. Overall sweet and spicy. Absolutely delicious.

Serving type: on-tap

10-31-2010 03:34:55 | More by JayS2629
Photo of Stanhagen
Stanhagen

Pennsylvania

5/5  rDev +29.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Quite simply my favorite beer on earth. I used to look forward to Santa showing up for christmas, now i look forward to the Mad Elf's arrival. Santa used to bring me chocolate covered cherries, now I get to drink a liquid form of the sweet treat with alcohol added.

Serving type: on-tap

06-28-2011 04:41:17 | More by Stanhagen
Photo of Brouwerij78
Brouwerij78

New York

4.93/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a delicious seasonal ale! A dark, cherry colored and fragrant ale worthy of the higher price tag. I bought this in a 6-pack (which is much more economical than the large bottle sold) and really enjoyed it's fruity, rich and slightly sweet flavor. This beer is a thicker style and is best enjoyed chilled in a thin baloon style wine glass to be sipped, savored and enjoyed! A treat indeed!

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2011 14:51:36 | More by Brouwerij78
Photo of jmerloni
jmerloni

Massachusetts

4.9/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Mahogany to ruby in coloration, with a small but heavy cream-colored head that laces fairly lacklusterly. But this is one of the only beers whose color I haven't been able to quite describe. It's a color I've never seen and I guess it's special in that way.

S - Incredible smell. Light, FRESH maltiness, dark fruits which you can already tell are perfectly acidic and perfectly sweet in all the perfect, balanced places.

T - Off the charts delicious. Tastes like how an 11% beer should taste without all the alcohol. Achieves a very impressive flavor profile between malt and and hop. Really, really impressed by the flavors here. They're really pleasant. Cherries! Honey malts. Fresh, west coast IPA hops. An incredible mix. Almost just jawdropping.

M - Medium to light bodied, not very carbonated. Incrediblly profession makeup of each sip in this beer, though.

D - One of the only beers I've ever tried that is just unmistakably elite. And one of the only beers I've ever encountered where a brewery just set out to make it great. It doesn't fit any real description nor style. Troegs just set out to make a great, elite beer, and they have with Mad Elf, they absolutely have. Try this if you haven't, and you'll understand what I mean.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2011 15:43:26 | More by jmerloni
Photo of mikereaser
mikereaser

Pennsylvania

4.88/5  rDev +26.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass

2008

A - pours a deep reddish brown with a little bit of foam that quickly dissipates into little bubbles on the surface

S - a strong boozy aroma with malts and cherry

T - the taste as was expected from the aroma, very cherry flavor with malty background. The booziness is a little strong but not too overpowering

M/D - Just the right amount of carbonation to make this very drinkable. It is a little boozy but the flavor makes me want more. At 11% I will probably get into trouble.

I tried an aged 2007 and there is quite a difference. All that booziness is gone and it is quite a smooth drink with a year on it.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2008 02:19:56 | More by mikereaser
Photo of deanwilson
deanwilson

New Jersey

4.88/5  rDev +26.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2008 22:48:39 | More by deanwilson
Photo of dacrza1
dacrza1

New Jersey

4.88/5  rDev +26.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark ruby red, beguilingly opaque with a simmering white ring of head that holds steady when the glass is swished--intimidating... robust floral aroma with pine accents and cinnamon present as well--some fruity esthers join in... smooth--and slightly oily--light on the tongue, with little aftertaste that barely qualifies this as medium-bodied... approached bourbon in taste, sweet and malty at the throat but consistent and respectfully fruitful at its midpoint... WHERE is the 11% ABV?! this being brother Bob's gateway beer to the level above Miller Lite, Mad Elf continues to warm and wow--an instant mood uplifter without gimicky injected flavors or false advertising--as easy-drinking a winter brew as I have found, deserving of its big things in little packages moniker...

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2009 04:53:02 | More by dacrza1
Photo of Svejk
Svejk

Washington

4.85/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First off, I have to send out a huge thank you to Froggyfrog for providing this beer in trade. Not only did he give me a bottle of the 2007 Mad Elf, but he threw in a 2006 bottle as well.

What a great vertical tasting. This beer really benefits from a year of aging. My brother and I opened both bottles at the same time and were able to taste the difference immediately. We tasted the 2006 bottle first, and the complexity of flavor was amazing. It was hard to identify the cherries and honey flavors that are mentioned on the bottle, but we really thought it was a fantastic beer. When we tried the 2007 bottle, we were able to identify the flavors more easily, and the alcohol was much more evident, but it was still great.

This beer goes from great to fantastic in twelve months.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2008 06:13:13 | More by Svejk
Photo of runningjoke
runningjoke

Virginia

4.85/5  rDev +25.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2010 02:05:04 | More by runningjoke
Photo of talkinghatrack
talkinghatrack

New Jersey

4.83/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sometimes you can't forget your first.

My first Mad Elf was on a bitingly cold Sunday morning. My brother and I were in a parking lot, tailgating at an annual Eagles game and waiting for some steak to cook while huddling over our plastic cups of beer. After several Coors Lights (no shame there - great tailgate beer), my bro pulls out two Mad Elf's and tells me I have to try this stuff.

Wow. Loved it. Still do.

(2007 bottle, poured 1/5/09)

A dark reddy brew with a nice but quickly dissapating head, the sweet cherry-themed bready aroma invites you into each sip. Sure, there is a hint of alcohol in the nose and taste but we're talking about an 11% alcohol content here. After a few sips you stop noticing.

Smooth enough to drink fast but who would want to waste it? Great malty mouthfeel yet a light/medium body. A slighty high carbonation keeps pace with the other elements and dissipates quickly on the tongue. Love the tangy sweet finish in the back and sides of the tongue and the pleasant warming sensation as it travels down the throat.

If you can stand to let it age, it only gets better. I'm tempted to crack into my few remaining 2006 bottles but willpower has held out so far.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2009 01:50:51 | More by talkinghatrack
Photo of tjd112
tjd112

New Jersey

4.83/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation - Poured into Southampton pint glass

Appearance - Vermillion copper body, white half-finger head, spotty lacing

Smell - bananas, plums, cherries, and ever a bit of honey for good measure

Taste - A very chocolate and bananas taste up front and mid-palate, with a slightly warm, boozy aftertaste

Mouthfeel - Medium body with a sweet alcoholic finish

Drinkability - Goes down really well

Overall - A masterpiece from Troegs, I'll drink the Doppelbock 11 months out of the year, but this is my new fave from them.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2009 17:55:07 | More by tjd112
Photo of joshuaburge
joshuaburge

Pennsylvania

4.83/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A nice red tinted looking beer with little head. It smells of cherry and honey. Tastes of honey and also cherries, very sweet. Loads of alcohol flavor a alcohol %. Can put down a few due to it being very drinkable. An enjoyable beer for the holiday season. Also, is better when aged for a long period of time.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2011 00:12:26 | More by joshuaburge
Photo of B967ierhunter177
B967ierhunter177

Pennsylvania

4.83/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a clear, ruby red with minimal head or lace. The aroma is of honey, vanilla, and dark cherries. The flavor is very well balanced with honey, cherry, and spice notes, particularly ginger. There's a pleasant malt sweetness with just a hint of hops. It's very smooth, warms nicely, and gets better as it warms. The mouthfeel is full. Troegs Mad Elf is an outstanding beer, a great way to wash down made from scratch chocolate chip cookies. Highly recommended!

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2011 00:53:58 | More by B967ierhunter177
Photo of josefnewsong
josefnewsong

New York

4.8/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a seasonal favorite of mine...just picked up my first sixer of the winter so I figured a review was in order...
A - red, clear, dark, little head
S - cherries, honey, boozyness, belgian yeast
T - all of the above, and more...this beer is more than the sum of its parts. Cherries dominate and honey is behind with alcohol present but concealed just enough...but there is something else that I can only describe of as 'mad elf' flavor. Perfect.
M - a bit syrupy but aside from that is medium bodied, which works perfectly for this beer...
O - exceptional brew. Might need to grab another...11%? really?

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2011 05:12:19 | More by josefnewsong
Photo of alexk307
alexk307

Maryland

4.79/5  rDev +24.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2013 01:59:16 | More by alexk307
Photo of WorldWideStout
WorldWideStout

Maryland

4.78/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Its body is the color of burnished copper. No head to speak of. A few small trails of bubbles come up to the surface.

S: Lots of honey, some fruit in there too, including but not limited to cherry, which is faintly tart. Maybe it's because I'm thinking toast spreads, but I'm getting some marmalade. A bit of spice and alcoholic esters.

T: Lots of honey, but it's a better honey taste than I've had in any other beer. After the rush of honey, the marmalade and cherry flavors come in the middle, along with some spice, and then become equals with the honey at the end. There's a bit of alcohol taste in the middle if you really concentrate, but again it's not unpleasant. The more I drink this, the more I notice the cherry flavors, though it's been at room temperature the whole time. Perhaps all beers could be improved upon, but for what I think this beer set out to do, it's wonderful, so I'm giving taste a 5.

M: It's nothing special, but I think it works well with the flavors. Carbonation levels are appropriate, and I wouldn't want it to be much thicker; the taste of the honey is big enough already, I don't think having a similar viscosity would be a positive.

D: As someone who usually likes honey in beer, this is very drinkable for me. Alcohol isn't noticeable, despite strong flavors it's well-balanced, and the mouthfeel isn't too thick to slow you down much either.

This is one of my absolute favorite beers. If you like honey and/or cherries in your beers, you absolutely must try this. If you're not as big a fan of them, you should probably try it anyways.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2010 04:13:12 | More by WorldWideStout
Photo of merlin48
merlin48

Kentucky

4.75/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The Elf pours a clear and bright reddish copper body with lots of active carbonation to be seen, as hundreds of microbubbles rush to the surface. Head is offwhite in color, minimal in size, quickly falling into a persistent collar. Very little lacing, but none was really expected given the stated abv.
Aroma is heavenly. Cherries, clover honey, a hint of sweet chocolate malt, and an unusual yeast presence of fresh forest mushrooms(morels) that I've picked up only in a couple of other Belgian yeast strains.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation and none of the expected alcohol.
The taste is an adventure. Sweet and sour cherries hit the palate first, followed by a sweet malt smoothness. Yeast presence is noted, and evokes the fresh mushrooms of the aroma. Lovely! Herbal hops add a welcome bitterness and seem to be of the noble variety. A hint of clover honey and a dash of nutmeg add to the delight. I keep waiting for the fusel alcohol to hit home but it never does. Quite amazing that such a high volume of alcohol can be so cleverly disguised. Very well balanced and a real pleasure to sip.
This is a perfect winter seasonal that I could enjoy any time of the year. Drinkability is dangerous, given the hidden alcohol claimed by the label. Exceptional brew from an excellent brewery. A huge thank you to mtnlover for bringing this nectar my way.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2004 00:35:12 | More by merlin48
Photo of JudoJeff
JudoJeff

New York

4.75/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

From tap, this was dark, burgandy/amber color. It smelled and tasted of dark but sweet cherries with mulling-type spices. Neither the sweetness nor spice was overpowering as in some other similar strong dark ales. Drinking this is very much like drinking Christmas, back before it became commercialized.

Serving type: on-tap

01-20-2013 01:39:38 | More by JudoJeff
Photo of alex_hart
alex_hart

Oklahoma

4.74/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Belgian Strong Dark Ales are by far my favorite style of brew, so when I saw that a beer at 11% abv was on tap, and was this style, i knew I couldn't turn away.

This was love at first taste. Dark cherries, spice, and caramel. It looked dark and foreboding (which is what I like), but it was soft, smooth, and delicious. The smell threw me off a little bit and made me nervous before the first sip, but that is the only negative thing I could say about it. This is one of those beers I could drink every day for the rest of my life and be content, though my organs would fail.

Serving type: on-tap

02-28-2013 05:41:31 | More by alex_hart
Photo of StretchZep
StretchZep

Ohio

4.73/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Awesome just the right amount of "heat" and sweet! Wish I had picked up two of these. Got it in the bomber bottle and am three sips into it and bumming out about has little is left. It is the good! Lots of smooth maktyness and a nice bitey cherry finish! Merry Christmas!!

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2012 23:45:28 | More by StretchZep
Photo of JohnnyM2002
JohnnyM2002

Maryland

4.72/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter at 52 degrees

A - Beautiful, clear red color with a small head; lacing stuck around until the end, though. Medium carbonation helped illuminate the wonderful red hue.

S - Cherries dominate the aroma, but they are accompanied by powerful combination of sweet alcohol. There is definitely a spice background to the scent, but it is dominated by the other flavors.

T - Wow. At first, the cherries pack a punch, but as soon as their flavor dissipates, the sweet honey-alcohol combo kicks in. As it goes down, I get almost a nutty-vanilla aftertaste; the more I drank, the more I noticed this accompaniment. By the time I was 3/4 through the bottle, the initial flavor was a perfect vanilla/cherry mix with a nutty aftertaste. It's actually hard to put this into words...a perfect result for the extremely complex - but wonderful - taste.

M - Very thick body with medium carbonation. The complex flavors actually finish extremely smoothly and mask the alcohol very well - you can definitely taste the high ABV, but it all comes together so nicely (for a lack of better words). Also, this is a very creamy brew...it's not heavy in the mouth; it's the perfect combination!

D - I wouldn't drink more than one - not because of the ABV (well, not completely..), just because I'd be afraid of ruining the experience! Everything just comes together so perfectly, I'd hate to hurt that effect by overindulging. I'm so very lucky to live 8 minutes from the Troegs Brewery...I want to enjoy this all year, but it seems more special to wait until early November to begin drinking some!

Chris & John - thank you so much for this wonderful selection!

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2006 02:48:00 | More by JohnnyM2002
Photo of AleWerks
AleWerks

Virginia

4.72/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Great ruby red color with good carbonation.
S: Cherries and honey are obvious with fruits coming through late.
T: Cherry and honey again with dark malt, plum, fruit, crystal sugar, and ending with a sweet finish.
M: Rich and full mouthfeel with balanced carbonation.
D: For an %11 ABV beer this one sure goes down easy. A really nice beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2009 03:11:00 | More by AleWerks
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

4.7/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A reddish brown body is capped by a creamy tan head that holds fairly well and leaves some minor lace. The aroma is limited but expresses a soft maltiness, a light touch of alcohol, and a sharp fruitiness similar to cranberry (although cherries are actually used). The body is medium with a gentle, fine bubbled carbonation that leaves it creamy and smooth across the palate. The flavor comes alive with an exceptional balance of light spice, juicy & mildly tart cherry, and a chocolate-tinged malt. The cherry flavor becomes clearer as it crosses the palate, coat-tailed by a firm bitterness and some noticeable alcohol. It finishes dry with only minimal lingering malt notes. Well done and highly drinkable. Somewhat Belgian in character due to the fruit and spice. An exceptionally enjoyable beer that's well worth seeking out.

Serving type: on-tap

12-14-2002 19:40:47 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of whoneeds8
whoneeds8

Texas

4.7/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a westmalle chalice a dark amber with a very small head that disapated quickly. Smell is very sweet, with a very small hint of alcohol. The sweet cherry taste hits you up front, with a mellow sweetness from the honey that follows. Very malty with very little hop bite to it. Carbonation is just right. Very smooth beer for 11%abv. Overall, the cherries bring a very unique flavor to this style beer. A flavor I think I like.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2008 03:12:38 | More by whoneeds8
Photo of matt062286
matt062286

Maryland

4.7/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearence - pours a ruby red tinted color with a decent one finger head that dissipates rather quickly. Moderate lacing and little head retention.

Smell - Red and black cherries as well as strong alcohol stick out the most. This may seem weird but I also smell mint.

Taste - The same flavor of cherries that can be smelled. Probably one of the sweetest tasting beers I've ever had. I can also pick up the undertones of malt, cloves, and maybe the faintest hops. But they are all overwhelmed by cherries and nutmeg. Quite a christmas-y brew. Alcohol is dangerously hidden in this one as well.

Mouthfeel - Quite underwhelming for a big beer like this. Not very heavy in the mouth at all. Moderate carbonation.

Drinkability - This beer is quite dangerous in the drinkability category. Goes down way too easy for an 11%. I've had a bomber of this in a sitting and would easily have another if weren't so strong. A great beer and one of my favorite seasonals.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2009 03:27:35 | More by matt062286
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Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,744 ratings.