Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

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Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

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BA SCORE
87
very good

1,191 Reviews
THE BROS
85
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,191
Hads: 3,582
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 12.95%
Wants: 213
Gots: 861 | 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
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Reviews: 1,191 | Hads: 3,582
Photo of JohnnyM2002
4.7/5  rDev +21.8%
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! (1,694 characters)

Photo of MaltyGoodness
4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle - 2006 edition

Pours a clear cherry red with a small white head that vanished. A few specks of lacing here and there on the glass. Very pretty color.

Smell is bready and yeasty with a light tart cherry aroma and a mild hint of honey.

Malty taste upfront with a nice Belgian bready/yeasty flavor. This leads into some mild tart cherry flavors and just a touch of honey. Finishes rather clean and dry with only a slight hint of the big boozy backbone.

Full body, light carbonation.

Dangerously drinkable at 11% ABV. This beer has the characteristics of a monster tripel with just enough cherry and honey to add some additional complexity without becoming distracting. In my opinion, this is the best version of this beer to date. (756 characters)

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tröegs- Mad Elf

Appearance- A ruby red tinted copper brown with no head.
Smell- Strong alcohol and cherries.
Taste- First sip tastes like robatussin, but the beer quickly settles into a nice STRONG cherry Belgium. Strong hints of spice and clove.
Mouthfeel- Strong alcohol at first but it subdues. A little too sweet.

Overall- A nice sipping Winter Ale. 1 or 2 at the most will suffice. Good but not as great as all the hype! (435 characters)

Photo of jcdiflorio
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this years version into a Mad Elf tulip glass from Christmas last year,by the way this is my 100th review.Poured a beautiful ruby red color,quite clear for a belgium style beer.A white 2' thick head,turned into a ring around the glass quicker than I would had anticipated.
Very tiney bubbles stringing together throughout the beer.A very tempting looking beer.
The aroma was very yeasty,clovey,fruity,spicey,slight bannanna,a cherry overtone throughout. An intense and complex aroma,couldn't keep the nose out of this beer.
The taste was very complex and intriging,it was clovey,yeasty,fruity,spicy,a subtle cherry presence throughout. Sweet,dry.tangy the 11% alcohol was a bit hidden in the taste.
The mouthfeel was surprisingly light and airee. A fuzzy warm feeling on the tongue.a nice sharp.dry smooth bitterness,a tartness that makes the mouth water.
A fairly drinkable beer for the style,the alcohol creeps up dangerously upon you.Every taste makes you want more,this beer really grows on you. Smoother and more drinkable than last years version.

A must try Christmas beer! (1,094 characters)

Photo of jhollick
4.59/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured a murky dull red color with some copper and caramel coloring. No head, but lacing clings to the glass as I swirl.

Smell: Strong cherry aroma; also lots of honey and sweet malt. It is very thick smelling if that makes any sense. Some spice comes through as well. Awesome smelling beer.

Mouthfeel: Thick, heavy, viscous. Very little carbonation.

Taste: Ohhh mama! A year in the cellar has mellowed this to perfection. The bite and slightly green flavor is gone. No hops that I can discern, but at 15 IBU that is no surprise. That isn't what this beer is about anyway. The slick and juicy sweet flavors roll all around the mouth, with the cherries exhibiting both tarnessa nd sweetness. The malts and honey give body and additional sweetness, almost giving it the consistency of a mead. A bit of spicing rounds out the flavor and keeps things from going over the top on the sweetness scale. There is some dryness at the back, presumably because of the intense amount of alcohol.

Drinkability: What can I say? Somehow this 11.25% monster is drinkable...very drinkable. Don't drink too many, as you will be red faced and making a fool of yourself. The sweetness is very high and tart and dry are the only balancing factors, but I still can't get enough.

Overall: Given sufficient time to mature, this is one of the most drinkable, comples, and fun winter beers around. Tip of the cap to the Brothers Trogner. (1,437 characters)

Photo of rayjay
2.75/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

(From notes)

On tap at the Brickhouse in Harrisburg, PA 12/05. Everybody was talking about it so I had to buy a round; I mean it's the talk of the town when it comes out. Served in a pint glass (obviously a rookie barkeep).

Pours deep red with the smallest of heads. Very sweet and thick. Hints of cherries and wood. Alcohol is obvious. Served very cold, but it only got thicker and flatter as it warmed; a pint is a definate challange. The sweetness and alcohol are a little overpowering and not very balanced. I bet it would be less abrasive and more sophisticated after sitting for a few years. Overall this is nothing more than cough syrup.

Now I get it: it's all the rage because it's so high in alcohol. At $5 a pint I guess it does give you bang for the buck (edit: nevermind, I just saw how expensive the bottles were!!!). Alcohol isn't my priority when ordering beers, though.

This beer is a big mangled wreck. All over the place. Perhaps the only aspect that makes me want to try it again is that it is so over-rated. (1,040 characters)

Photo of hero27
3.4/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle.
11% abv...yowsa.

Sheer copper color with a surprisingly fizzy head that is gone in the blink of an eye. Aroma is slight honey with some cranberry mixed in..smells fairly "Christmas-y"..
The honey flavor is perceived right from the get-go, combined with a thick, syrupy malt base. The cherries come out a lot more as it warms..when chilled, I got almost no cherry flavor at all. The 11% alcohol is quite well-pronounced, and there's no getting around the slight burning sensation on your lips and tastebuds. Quite sweet in the finish as well..

Reminded me a bit of Great Lakes' Christmas Ale. The cherry & honey flavors were very similar.

Thanks to ski271 for throwing this in as a little taste of Christmas in June. (740 characters)

Photo of wcudwight
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter a dark red(nice). with a inch head that quickly reduces to a thin ring around the crown.
Smell: I get cherry, cranberry, jucyfruit gum and alcohol.
Taste: Mmmm, taste starts with loads of malty sweetness, mixed with cherries. Kind of toasty tasting in the middle. The finish is of dry alcohol.
Mouthfeel is good. Thick and filling.
I consider it nicely drinkable for 11%. I've aged my bottle for 6 months and the alcohol is really only noticable in the finish.
A very good beer that is worth the hour and half drive across state lines to purchase. One that I will be looking forward to this coming holiday season. (640 characters)

Photo of Vancer
4.23/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12/17/2007 - another bottle sent by secret santa cartdan. MAN, even better with the cold and snow. What a great sippin' winter brew. thanks guy!

Nice lil’ holiday brew, too bad it’s almost June and hotter than the hubs of hell around here! Still, a nice amber pour, frothy tan head, I can tell this is gonna be good.

Malty notes in the aroma, and sweets hints of cheery and winter spices (nutmeg, clove) throughout the taste. Medium bodied with just the right carbonation.

This would be better by the fire in the winter, but not too bad to sip by the pool in 90 degree heat, either! (Holy crap, I see it’s 11.0% - it wasn’t the heat that had my ass spinning yesterday!)
\
Thanks again to beerbeing. (707 characters)

Photo of BeerRun13
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very clear reddish orange. Has a small ring of a head and little lacing.
Spices and estery alcohol. A touch of pumpkin spice or nutmeg?
Nice flavor. Fruity malt backbone. Low on the hops but has some other spice inside although I don't know if it matches the aroma. The alcohol shows through easily. Well balanced and tasty.
Medium to heavy body. Smooth and creamy. Alcohol warms the palate all the way to the stomach.
Good drinkability. I can see how this could be a holiday favorite. (497 characters)

Photo of TastyTaste
3.91/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to ThomasHardy for the bottle, a nice bonus in a personal trade.

Appearance: Medium red-orange body, very unsual, with a creamy white head that last a long time.

Smell: Carmel, honey, caramel, subtle yeast, fruit, (yes, cherries), and a large dose of alcohol thrown in.

Taste: Mellow and more subdued than I expected, I can taste cherries, defintitely, they give the beer is a nice fruity flavor. Yeasty and highly malty, hops are almost an afterthought to what I would consider a "dessert" beer. Not bad, but not up there with my favorites of the style, lacks depth.

Drinkability: Not a bad beer for quaffing, although there are many better in the style, but this is a delicious beer, one worth trying. (722 characters)

Photo of Budlum
4.28/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From notes (2005 edition):

Pours with a light head and the most brilliant red color of any beer I've seen. The 2005 edition produces aromas of cherries and highly alocholic scents as the 11% abv. would suggest. The taste is immediately fresh cherries with slight hints of honey early in the finish. There is also a slight clove and hop presence early in the sample. The finish is mainly alcohol flavors. Warming would certainly describe this seasonal brew. Two or three of these on a cold night would be my limit before the alocohol taste becomes overbearing.

I was only able to sample the 2004 edition on draft in early December and early March(!) of 2005. The previous edition provided a depth of cherry and honey flavors with only a "sneaky" alcohol finish.

I will certainly look forward to Mad Elf in the coming holiday seasons. (843 characters)

Photo of cro250klr
3.18/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tried this one on the advise of a friend who likes yet another Troegs brew, Trogenator. I've had the Trogenator before and I though it was a bit heavy and on the syrupy side. Not at all what I'd call a session beer.
Now, while I absolutley love high abv Belgian Darks, I have to admit that I was a bit let down here. The Elf is dark, the appearance looks wonderful and the smell hints of spices of Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Albiet faintly, but they are there. From that alone I was thinking that this was going to be a treat. Alas, the mouthfeel was clean , but the taste seemed to be missing the spices. The alcholol wasn't that pronounced, which was good, but something was lacking overall. From the nose I'd be thinking of something Belgian. However, the aftertaste assures me that this is an imitation. All of that combined made me glad that I had crossed paths with this one at a local pub. I had almost purchased a case, ( Archaic Pa. LCB Law), prior to finding this one bottle. For the abv content the case cost was rather low. I should have known something was up. While the Elf is a far cry from being the worst, it's an even a further cry from being the best. A nice try by the Harrisburg brewers but, I wouldn't stick my neck out for this one. (1,266 characters)

Photo of Billolick
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, without freshness dating. Poured just below room temp in a Belgian style chalice, pours, medium mahogony, with a slight reddish hue, minor tan head, quickly dissapating, medium sized bubbles and leaving some, not too impressive lacing. Nose is just slightly picked up, grainy and of fruits and some alcohol. This is a smooth, easy drinking Belgian stlye ale. 11% hidden well, but with a nice fruity, cherry warming feel. Notes of, malt, light candi sugars, vanilla, honey, mild hot sauce and sherry soaked cherries. Fine and flavorful sipper.

Thanks to my friend "Grassy" for a sixer of this hard to find nectar... (634 characters)

Photo of JayQue
4.17/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clear, reddish tint. Half inch head that fades away quickly. Leaves some lacing on the glass. Smell of cloves and cherries. Rick taste- cherries, hints of some other fruit and a very mild astringent taste. Very rich, like a plum pudding run through a blender. Rich mouthfeel as well, very pleasant, no hint of the 11% abv until you reach the end. May have got a hint of alcohol taste by then. This is not a session beer. It goes down incredibly smooth but a second one, away from home, would not be a good idea for me. A great winter drink and a great nightcap. (561 characters)

Photo of MuddyFeet
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a rich and vibrant brown. Slight red hue. Thin white head that receded to an even thinner film. Some lace. Nose is sweet and spicy with molasses, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Flavor is strong in the spices. Cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and a shot of pepper for good measure. Slightly malty sweet at first but then quickly followed by the spice. Bits of molasses and honey. Lots of heat from the alcohol. Enough to make this a nice slow sipping drink, like a scotch. Lighter mouthfeel than I was expecting but I think that was from the alcohol. A nice beer to drink one bottle of but more than one bottle is asking for a rough morning. (632 characters)

Photo of Jredner
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is strong with cherries, malt and hints of nuts. Pour is amber/red with just a hint of a head. Flavor is nutty and malty with hints of fruit and sweetbread. Have no idea where they are hiding 11% alcohol. Tastes like 6% if that. Finish is the most cherry laden. A very interesting beer. Quite pleased with it. (315 characters)

Photo of mentor
3.81/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from detailed notes. A gift of Higravity ala SS'05. Thanks so much for the opportunity! Poured a one-finger light tan head over a crystal clear light orange rusty liquid. Smelled of cloves, orange peel, coriander, and a phenolic edge. Tasted clovey phenolic. Syrupy sweet. Sharp belgian funk. Overall, clovey menthol. Md-light body that's somewhat syrupy. A decent winter warmer. (388 characters)

Photo of akajimmyd
3.71/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – Not much head or lacing. Reddish hue.

Smell – Sweet malts and spice, subtle hints of fruit.

Taste – I get prunes or dark fruit up front followed by spice and a little bite of alcohol.

Mouthfeel- Sweet up front. Full, full body. Finishes with a little too much astringent alcohol.

Drinkability – A winter warmer through and through. Many characteristics that remind me of a barleywine. Tremendous and serious brew. Be careful, quite drinkable. (472 characters)

Photo of rodrot
3.63/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a cloudy amber color with little or no head. I'm guessing the 11.0% abv reduces the head and head retention. Aroma is sweet and reminds me of malt, sugar and spices. The taste is quite sweet also, with notes of candi sugar, malt, caramel and a very faint taste of cherries. The label on the bottle states that this beer was brewed with honey and cherries, but I can barely detect these ingredients. This beer reminds me of an English barleywine/old ale because of the overall sweetness and the light hop flavor. BA lists this as a Belgian Strong dark ale, but I wouldn't know in a blind tasting. This is an OK beer, but I probably would not buy it again. (671 characters)

Photo of mzwolinski
3.07/5  rDev -20.5%
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. (736 characters)

Photo of arguemaniac
4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a deep, reddish copper color with a fairly robust head and generous lace (especially for 11% ABV). Fruity and alcoholic aromas in the nose. The very malty flavor features a multi-layered estery, fruity character (primarily cherry), a pleasantly sour tartness, and well-masked alcohol bite. Mostly grain with a distinct touch of fruitiness in the finish. A creamy mouthfeel with mildly active carbonation.

For an 11% ABV brew this one is very drinkable; you would never guess how alcoholic it really is. Add that to really tasty sweet and tart flavor with a somewhat silky mouthfeel and it’s clear that Mad Elf is one of those beers that can get you into a bit of trouble. Highly recommended, but imbibe carefully…. (725 characters)

Photo of Higravity
3.48/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I popped my one to enjoy after meeting with a damn wedding photographer. Red kool-aid color and a hint of a head in my duvel tulip. Smells of a mild fruityness and alcohol. The taste is not what I was expecting, not nearly enough of the cherry flavor and I wonder now about the color. The alcohol is prevelent and there is a background fruityness and some malt flavor with a tannic bitterness. I had a decent mouthfeel and was very clean finish and a good drinker even at 11%, but not really my bag. (499 characters)

Photo of nvsblman
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an amber color with tinges of ruby red. No head to speak of. Honey and cloves in the aroma, with a trace of sour cherries. The honey really stands out in the flavor with a subtle cherry in the background. Also a little spice and cloves. Full bodied and well carbonated. (275 characters)

Photo of HugoGrim
4.19/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was lucky enough to find this on tap at a local bar. Body is a coppery color with a white head.

Excellent full smell of fruit, mostly cherries. High alcohol content is evident in the scent, though definitely not overpowering.

Flavor holds on to the sweet bite of cherries throughout, but also adds some spicy elements. An excellent balance of sweetness and spices. A bit of breadyness in the finish. Had I not known I would have never guessed this as an 11% ABV. (470 characters)

Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,191 ratings.