Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

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Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

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BA SCORE
87
very good

3,570 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,570
Reviews: 1,223
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 15.25%
Wants: 209
Gots: 853 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,570 | Reviews: 1,223
Photo of JudoJeff
4.75/5  rDev +22.7%
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.

Photo of WorldWideStout
4.75/5  rDev +22.7%
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.

Photo of Outchillen
4.72/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ive had this on tap, and bottles

A: Nice ruby color. Clear with thin white head

S: Banana and clove belgian yeast, Honey and cherries

T: Sweet honey and cherries, a little clovey yeast, little boozey finish

M: Light to medium body. Medium carbonation.

O: Great winter warmer Belgian beer, sweet and silky smooth, one of my favorites of the year

Photo of merlin48
4.72/5  rDev +22%
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.

Photo of Beerwolf666
4.71/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

What a Fantastic Brew! this is one of those Beers, that as soon as you pop that top and smell it,your heart starts racing,and you just know it is going to be something very special ~and Indeed it is,the nose is sweet,with Honey and a hint of Cherries and malts,~the taste pretty much follows the nose,sweet[but not cloying] you pick up the Honey and though you do get a nice Cherry note, it is more in the background then in your face,and does not have that "Cough Drop" Medicinal taste you get with a beer like "Sam Adams Cherry Wheat"~taste more like fresh cherries,and it IS Tasty as Hell,also would never know this Beer is 11% A.B.V.,Because I do not ever get that alcohol burn or boozy tatse,but perhaps that is Because I drink a lot of High A.B.V. Strong Beer's and Ales~this is not a Beer you knock back with your buddies while watching the Game or playing Poker,this is a Top Notch [IMHO] World Class Brew,it is a Beer you Savor and take your time to enjoy it's Amazing Flavors and the brewer's Art,what a BEER! Cheers 2 All;]

Photo of AleWerks
4.7/5  rDev +21.4%
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.

Photo of JohnnyM2002
4.7/5  rDev +21.4%
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!

Photo of alex_hart
4.69/5  rDev +21.2%
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.

Photo of hdofu
4.68/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

For such a monster beer it sure had quite a tan head on top a mahogany color brew. Smell is sweet and heavy of cherry. Taste is sweet and honey. It has a finish of spices like nutmeg, cinnamon cloves and other spices. The beer is pretty smooth with a noticeable but not overwhelming alcohol burn which warms the tongue and the soul. It goes down too easy but put visions of sugar plumbs dancing in my head way quicker then I'd feel comfortable cracking another bottle open for at this point.

Photo of ZAP
4.68/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Fantastic brew....pours a cherrywood color...nose is spicy..body is medium...carbonation seems low....very few hints of the high ABV...extremely drinkable....some spicy alcohol notes on the flavor... Taste is very interesting...kind of an experimental Belgian Dubbel with soft sweet cherry notes...the cherry is not overdone which would have wrecked the beer....instead it adds a subtle elegance to the final product...also hints of oak, and brown sugar in the flavor...

This is outstanding....this is what all breweries should put out for their winter beers....On my dream tap list this would occupy one of the season lines during the winter months....a must try...lived up to its considerable hype ..

Photo of Roose13
4.68/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

22oz bomber poured into a glass

A: A dark ruby red with a two-finger off-white foamy head.

S: Smells like cherries, yeasty

T: Cherries, some honey flavoring. Very malty as well.

M: Crisp, carbonated and hides the 11%

Overall: This was a first try and this beer was amazing. Wow!

Photo of joecon
4.68/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Simply delicious! A very tasty high alcohol brew!

Photo of StretchZep
4.67/5  rDev +20.7%
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!!

Photo of chiefgtx
4.67/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I love this one. everything you should expect in a seasonal winter beer. All the fruity spicy hearty flavor. A glass of this is a meal. I am thinking about buying the last 6 pack up the street just to have it for myself! I can't really think of any reason it's not a 5 all around actually. Of the 162 I have tasted in the last 6 weeks...it is in my top ten! If you see it ...give it a chance! Delicious.

Photo of Bighuge
4.66/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 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.

Photo of whoneeds8
4.65/5  rDev +20.2%
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.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.65/5  rDev +20.2%
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.

Photo of furburger69
4.65/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

great stuff very smooth for 11.00 %

Photo of JoshW
4.65/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep ruby/amber color, with the text book perfect finger head.

Smell was sweet, cherries were overpowered by 11% alcohol.

For as strong of a beer as this one is, mouthfeel is thin, honey flavor coats the tongue, cherries and alcohol follow up, someone mentioned "dusty" I think that fits pretty well also.

Drinkability was way too easy for me, started off with one bottle, ended up finishing all 6....

...

Photo of matt062286
4.65/5  rDev +20.2%
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.

Photo of Louski
4.62/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-Tap Poured into Standard Pint at Brady's in Feasterville, PA.

Appears a nice red-auburn color with immediate smells of cinnamon, cherry, allspice and clove. The taste actually reminds you of the holidays. A warm sensation is felt with the fruitiness and array of spices that mask the high alcohol content really well. I look forward to this beer's release every year and make certain to store at least a 6-pack of bottles for Christmas in July. A must-drink during the holidays both for its great taste and its ability to make shopping interesting after just one or two.

Photo of drumstik
4.62/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

First Elf of the Season. I love the ruby red label with the off white and green colors. Of course there is the trademark yellow Troegs cap on top that makes this bottle stand out from the rest.

Pours the a lovely red/amber. This years might even have a little bit more of a dark red hue to it.

Smells of deep rich cherries and plum with lots of malty goodness and a hint of sweetness.

Taste hits with a great malty sweetness with a hint of cherries. Just a touch of spicyness and a tiny hint of hops. As you sip it coats your mouth and throat (perhaps from the honey?) as it slides down with just the right amount of carbonation. Finishes sweet and spicy and a subtle hint of alcohol.

A fantastic beer that lives up to all the hoopla that surrounds it. A great late night sipper to send you off to dreamland. Grab it while you can or you will be regretting it later!

Last year I discovered Mad Elf and I couldn't get enough of it. This year it is wonderful yet again and has inspired me to write my first review here on BA. Hopefully many more to come!

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.62/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired via trade from Silent Sabre, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him.
Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright copper color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of dark fruit (cherries & raisins) and caramelized malt, with a faint touch of Belgian yeast.

T: Flavors of dark fruit & Belgian yeast hit you up front and are pretty much the dominant flavors throughout. There’s a subdued malt character and the 11.00% ABV is no where to be found. After-taste is fruity.

M: Extremely smooth, light carbonation, light-to-medium body, clean finish.

D: Very tasty, not filling at all, goes down very easily. I’m not sure how the high ABV gets hidden so well in a beer that’s as light as this one, but it makes this beer dangerously drinkable. This is an excellent beer. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Photo of beergeek279
4.62/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in the 12 oz. bottle. The color is a very reddish-amber, with a wispy white head. The smell is of cherries and honey. The taste is dominated by the tart cherry, though a nice honey comes through, and somehow the beer is balanced and not cloying; alcohol is not at all apparent in the beer. Mouthfeel is very thick. As for drinkability, I'd definitely have these as long as I could.

Probably my favorite Christmas beer from last year. A rich mix of honey and cherries that's perfect for a cold December night. Simply delicious, and this is certainly a beer I'll be getting plenty of next Christmastime!!

Photo of denmah
4.6/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On-tap brought to me in a goblet, cold, having mad elf before poured out of a bottle, i let it warm up a bit and sweat, thats when the smell and flavor really wake up.

Appearance: Deep Ruby Red, with a very small head, that totally disappears.

Smell: an almost overwhelming smell coming out of the glass, honey,spicey, cinnimon, nut, very strong.

Taste: very complex, all of the incredibly strong flavors blend together well.

Mouthfeel: medium feel in mouth, once you have a sip, you experience about 3 different tastes, first you taste the cherry and honey right away, then you get a bit of a malty carmel taste in the mouth, followed by a slightly bitter hoppy aftertaste.

Drinkability: amazing if you let it warm up to almost room temp, and keep sipping lightly, if i try to drink it too fast i start to dislike it. nice sipping with the strong alcohol going with it is excellent, you have to remind yourself its 11% abv

Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 3,570 ratings.