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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

2,743 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2743
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: 2,743 | Reviews: 1,146 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of AgentZero
AgentZero

Illinois

3.15/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Ruby red into the glass with next to nothing head with no retention and no lacing.

S - Smells like a pretty fruity belgian triple. Cherries and yeast hit the nose early and give way to a wider variety of dark fruits.

T - Sweet, not enough sour or tart from me, although not that it is what you would expect from tha style anyway. Yeast is slightly subdued. Get a nice taste of alcohol, nothing real special here, overly sweet for my liking.

M - Flat and syrupy, not unpleasant but definately not memorable.

D - Not horribly hard to drink at 11%, but this wasn't a beer I enjoy enough to drink a lot of it.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2009 05:09:05 | More by AgentZero
Photo of FeDUBBELFIST
FeDUBBELFIST

Pennsylvania

3.15/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bomber to a pint glass.

A: A beautiful red/coppery brown brew with ruby highlights. Very clear. The head was average, off-white, with big & small bubbles but very short retention. The bubbles cleared from the center to the edge of the glass efficiently and with purpose, like in a video game how a bomb would clear an empty field. Minimal lacing.

S & T: Huge aroma and very enticing but quickly went from excellent to overwhelming. Halfway through I was already looking forward to an IPA to reset my palette. Big caramel malts, average pine hops with a hint of lemon rind. Definite yeast presence. So many (read too many) unmistakable aromas and flavors: cherry, over-ripe banana/bubblegum, honey, apple, peach, peppery spices & champagne vinegar. Almost masked, the 11% ABV could not quite be suppressed. This brew is way too sweet.

M: Again, started out great, nice and lively carbonation. Slick texture. What seemed at first a medium body, was really thinned it out by the high alcohol. Ended up as a cloyingly sweet and syruppy hot mess.

D: Not very drinkable, but definitely not a drain pour. Order one, get your buzz on, then move on.

It's interesting how I rated the first half of my pour compared to the second. I did a lot of crossing out on my review sheet as my opinion continued to change for the worse. Each criteria except appearance was docked at least one entire point by the end of my review. OVERWHELMING. The flavor and aromatics were relentless.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2009 14:34:36 | More by FeDUBBELFIST
Photo of mrfrancis
mrfrancis

Kentucky

3.15/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a clear, ruby-tinted amber with virtually no head (there is a creamy white mousse that disappears within a minute). The lack of head retention underwhelms me, and I begin to immediately question the quality of this batch.

S: Pronounced aromas of sweet cherries, honey, caramel, and gingerbread are immediately evident. Surprisingly, I am not picking up a boozy, alcoholic scent.

T: Opens spicy and bready with notes of red apple, caramel, gingerbread, honey, sweet cherries, and cognac. The finish is delicate, warming, and long with bread, honey, and cherry notes. I was expecting greater complexity and a more assertive flavor profile.

M: Slick, oily, and full-bodied. Feels thinner than it is. Goes down smoothly. Par for the course for this style.

O: I don't think that I would recommend this ale. It is ridiculously overhyped and overpriced. There are far better and far more authentic Belgian strong dark ales on the market.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2011 18:15:13 | More by mrfrancis
Photo of DefenCorps
DefenCorps

Oregon

3.15/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle from winter 2007. It's time to start killing the cellar, and this is some low-hanging fruit.

Decanted, this is a clear, copper-colored beer with a thin, tan head that rapidly recedes to a ring. Not much lacing is present, which is disappointing for the style. The nose is pretty decent. Dark honey and cherries are noticeable on the nose, but there's also a moderate malt character, with caramel and a surprising chocolate/cocoa character that makes me think of cherry cordials. Alcohol is well hidden, making this less medicinal than fresh samples. Moderately spicy as well, with the alcohol and yeast playing off each other. Despite its age, this still smells pretty vibrant.

The palate, OTOH, isn't as impressive. Like a mellower cough syrup, there's just something about the cherry character here that makes it medicinal. Moderately sweet with honey and fruit cake. Some cherry skin tannins are present to balance the sweetness. The spices seem a little more muted on the palate, and the mid-palate feels a little watery at times. Sweet on the finish with alcohol, some honey and cherry tartness, there's a lingering yeastiness as well. Carbonation is moderate, making this beer, to my palate and given the style, average at best and not one I'd seek to revisit in a hurry.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2012 03:20:59 | More by DefenCorps
Photo of doppelmeup
doppelmeup

North Carolina

3.13/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Light reddish pour into a chalice with a half inch head that faded quickly to a ring of lace. Very clear brew.

Tart pie cherries lead the way, just as advertised, with a slight cough syrup feel. Reminds me of Three Philosophers.

Kind of odd flavor. Slightly tart cherries prevail, pretty much drowning out any other flavors. Very one dimensional.

Dry, sticky mouthfeel. High ABV well hidden. Fizzy.

Overall, IMO this is a mediocre beer, kind of gimmicky. Lots of marketing but little substance. Not recommended.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2007 18:32:58 | More by doppelmeup
Photo of Redwood21
Redwood21

Virginia

3.13/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer is one of the few that I've tried that has a prominent aroma. It smells sweet, and of fruit, which since its made with cherries and honey makes sense. I wouldnt say its a smell that really reminds me of beer, but i do like it. It has this nice amber color with very little head. It has an almost sugary sweet taste, which is a little too sweet for my taste. It's worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2007 06:49:29 | More by Redwood21
Photo of mcallister
mcallister

Ohio

3.13/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Fiery earthy orange/ruby/scarlet pour. No head except for some minimal traces around the edges of a tan formation.

Very belgain spice driven aromas and something in there I'm just not crazy about but also I'm not sure what it is. Bing cherry, orange marmalade, belgian yeast, herbal suggestions as well. Fruits and lively aromas.

Lots of evaporating alcohol on the tongue and the chest. Medium bodied to slightly thin especially for the style. Some cherry, spicey, herbal, earthy belgian yeasty aspects. Nothing says "stand out" about this beer. Just seems like an everyday run of the mill American brewed belgian style beer. However it is not a bad beer by any means.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2007 19:44:00 | More by mcallister
Photo of tayner
tayner

Arizona

3.13/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle with date on neck of bottle

pretty amber colored brew with fast rising white head that all but disappears quickly leaving no lacing behind and no ring.. nothing.

bready smell with a hint of fruit, cherries. not very strong

taste is bready yeast up front followed by some semisweet cherry flavor which to me is almost medicinal in quality. then the finish is a warm alcohol flavor. for 11% it is not bad though.

Seems a little under carbonated for me, makes it hard to drink.

I think this might be a better brew, for me, without the cherries. I am not fond of the medincinal quality the fruit lended in this particular brew, i dont think the cherries did the belgian yeast any favors. just my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2008 21:36:47 | More by tayner
Photo of ts183
ts183

Connecticut

3.13/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Out of a bottle, pours a dark amber hue with minimal head that dwindled to nothing. No lacing.

Smell is sweet and malty with a hint of fruitiness and booze.

Taste is more of the same. The cherries take on more of a dark fruity taste that's very faint, which is a good thing. As it goes down the alcohol makes a strong presence.

Interesting but not a beer I would grab again.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2008 22:21:17 | More by ts183
Photo of cannabanaceae
cannabanaceae

Washington

3.13/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Look was ruby red, small ring of head around rim stayed almost the whole way through.

Smell was belgium yeast, sweetness from the malt, red wine,big red bubble gum, and a bannana clove hefe smell.

Taste started like a triple, yeast was milder than expected from the nose, honey played a mellow roll in smoothing out the yeast. Alcohol is well hidden. The cherries turn up in the end, finishing like a flat cola. Medium body, with a tart mouthfeel.

A mellow sipper, pretty good, not in your face. Still with that said, I think a couple years in the cellar would improve the overall flavor.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2008 21:47:27 | More by cannabanaceae
Photo of d0ggnate
d0ggnate

California

3.13/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed 1/10/09. Poured from bottle to goblet.

A: Poured copper/amber/orange color with no lacing and head layer fading to nothing quickly.
S: Strong citrus, sweet floral and honey aromas, notable candied sugars.
T: Very sugary. Slight citrus continued. A bit sour, vinegar-like, probably cherries. Later noted some caramel and banana flavors.
M: Slick. Watery. A bit oily. Almost no carbonation.
D: The taste was a bit off, to me. I was expecting more, but wasn't impressed overall. The carbonation was lacking and the beer was way too sweet for my taste.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2009 19:34:04 | More by d0ggnate
Photo of BrewerB
BrewerB

Florida

3.13/5  rDev -18.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2010 03:38:07 | More by BrewerB
Photo of mdvatab
mdvatab

Indiana

3.13/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Received as an extra in a recent trade.
Poured from 12oz bottle into a large red wine glass.

A: Sweet bubble gum, freshly-sliced apple, some banana, and a clovey yeasty spiciness. Not a bad.

A: Copper with a tinge of ruby. Excellent clarity. The one-finger off-white head, however, does not hang around for long, and leaves a thin ring of fine bubbles around the inside of the glass.

F: Apple, banana, cherry, clove, light cinnamon, and caramel. A bit cloying and one-dimensional. I got tired of it after a few sips.

M: Medium-low carbonation, and medium-low body. Light heat (actually less than anticipated, though).

O: Not horrible, but again, not too much to it. No head retention, and a bit cloying. I have one more bottle, which I'll probably drink at some point, but I wouldn't buy this one if it were available here.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2012 22:09:06 | More by mdvatab
Photo of stercomm
stercomm

Ohio

3.11/5  rDev -19.4%
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

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2013 21:52:01 | More by stercomm
Photo of lunarbrew
lunarbrew

Wisconsin

3.1/5  rDev -19.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2013 00:24:52 | More by lunarbrew
Photo of woodske1
woodske1

Pennsylvania

3.08/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Great logo on the bottle and a great name. I am not impressed with the taste though. They went too over the top with spices in my opinion.

What it does do is offer a wonderful aroma. It smells like christmas inside that bottle. The taste however makes it not very high on drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2009 21:40:47 | More by woodske1
Photo of sweemzander
sweemzander

Illinois

3.08/5  rDev -20.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2010 21:23:16 | More by sweemzander
Photo of kenpo23
kenpo23

Massachusetts

3.08/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

oh christmas beer oh christmas beer....

A: pretty flat, with no head. pretty red color that some irish red ales dont even have.

S: nice fruity smell. i can smell the cherry (and it doesnt smell like cough medicine to me) and honey.

T: wow, smooth. i can't taste the honey at all but my other half, the super taster, is amazed that i can't taste it. the alcohol taste didn't really hit me.

D: sip away. i cant imagine trying to pound one of these.

nothing extra special about this beer. its very much got a holiday flavor to it though. i bought one for christmas and i will do the same next year, but no more than one for me.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2010 21:44:10 | More by kenpo23
Photo of andrewinski1
andrewinski1

New Hampshire

3.08/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into my Mad Elf tulip. Thanks Ben! Pours a clear dark amber almost pomegranate. Just a very little bit of head.

Nice sweet aroma. The cherry flavor reminds me of a cough drop. Not too bad, especially for the unique concoction.

The taste starts and finishes sweet. The only bitterness is in the aftertaste. I do get a hint of yeast spiciness similar to that of a tripel. The point is, this is sweet through and through.

Mouthfeel is average. This is an okay sipper. Very unique, but nothing I'd go out of my way to have again.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2011 05:35:53 | More by andrewinski1
Photo of thekanna
thekanna

Maryland

3.08/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: pours the color of rust, with a thin white head that dissipates quickly
S: some holiday spices and a light sweetness and nuttiness
T/M: sweet and spicy on the uptake. Flavors of honey and alcohol overwhelm the palate and drown out anything else. Medium carbonated with heavy body, almost syrupy. Too strong and phenolic for my tastes.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2011 06:17:18 | More by thekanna
Photo of greenmonstah
greenmonstah

New Hampshire

3.08/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into Allagash chalice

A - Very aggressive pour eked out a one finger head, tan in color. Red-amber in color with plenty of bubbles pouring up from the bottom.

S - Sweet cherry. Belgian yeast producing some banana esters. A bit of cinnamon spices the beer. Not picking up much honey.

T - Cripplingly sweet, even overly so. Booze is powerful, but covered largely by the sweetness. Tons of cherry. Sweet sweet cherry, not dark. Cherry cough syrup. Way too medicinal for my tastes.

M - Medium to full in body, with a slight dryness in the back of the mouth at the finish. Wet and sticky otherwise.

O - Overall I just don't love to drink it. It tastes far too medicinal. The alcohol and the cherry juice drown everything else out and keep me from really enjoying this one.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2012 00:56:23 | More by greenmonstah
Photo of mzwolinski
mzwolinski

California

3.05/5  rDev -21%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Hazy red in color, with a thin uneven top.

The aroma is sweet and malty. Cherries and honey are understated at first, but give signs of a bit too much sweetness down the road.

The flavor is not bad right out of the fridge. A bit sweet with hints of cherry and very little in the way of hops. Alcohol almost completely undetectable. Nothing terribly stand-out about it, but certainly drinkable

As it warms, the malt and alcohol combine to give the beer a cinnamon-bread character. This is one of the more pleasant aspects of the beer.

As it continues to warm, however, the beer becomes a bit cough-syrupy … too sweet and sticky in the throat. And the warmer it gets, the worse it gets. Even at 55 degrees, it's pretty awful.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2006 16:19:34 | More by mzwolinski
Photo of grego
grego

Maryland

3.05/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer was from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Poured very red with not much head that didn't last long. the smell is malty with some spicyness to it - hard to describe for me. The taste is the same sweet, cherries, cinnamon. Mouthfeel is very dry. I like Troeg's beers a lot but this one is not a style I prefer. If you like a stronger holiday style beer then I imagine this would be great, just not my thing.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2006 23:53:08 | More by grego
Photo of nasty15108
nasty15108

New York

3.05/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a pint glass.

A - Poured a clear amber/orange color with slightly off white head that quickly dissappeared.

S - Slight aroma of chocolate covered cherries with lots of alcohol.

T - More of the same. Lots of alcholic heat and a bitter/tart finish.

MF&D - I think it would be little tough to drink this all night.

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2008 05:33:13 | More by nasty15108
Photo of barknee
barknee

New York

3.05/5  rDev -21%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Mad Elf pours a medium mahogany red; just like Birch Beer. Active carbonation on the pour gives ya' a "weffer thin" head. Wow.. the nose is actually like birch beer soda or sarsaparilla, having a structured root beer element to it. But this stuff ain't for kids! Though the aromatics are in the forefront, there is no denying the absolute Belgian component to this brew. As all these flavors and aromatics are wrapped around candy sugar and Belgian like yeast strains; banana, allspice , and clove, these are indeed the Triad of Belgian nose candy.
An original and well made beer!

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2009 00:48:07 | More by barknee
Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,743 ratings.