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: 3,580
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 7.51%
Wants: 213
Gots: 860 | 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: 3,580
Photo of ski271
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, medium reddish-copper with a very small, frothy, slightly off-white head that quickly diminishes to a thin film. Actually didn’t even know what style this beer was until I smelled it. Obvious Belgian with moderate wheat, sweet malts, cherry and some other fruit esters accompanying the light alcohol presence. Toward the end of the bottle when it really warmed up, I was picking up some light clove and a light woodsy smell. Flavor-wise, it starts out with rather typical Belgian flavors, mostly because I had served it too cold. it then opens to reveal a wonderful malt backbone and a complex array of flavors, but it’s the duo of cherries and sweet malts that steal the show. I admit at first it threw me a bit, but the second try was much better. And it kept getting better all the way to the bottom of the glass. It has a medium body, lightly oily texture and soft carbonation. This is a real holiday treat that is well done. Hard to believe this beer is 11%! Use with caution. (998 characters)

Photo of Schwarzbart
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep brilliant dark mahogany red with good clarity. Not much head and lacing was spotty.
Smell: Spicy, peppery, tart cherries and cidery.
Taste: The spiciness is strong and really hits you, alcohol taste is at a minimum and I would never have guessed 11%. Some pepper and also cherries, but it pulls off a nice balance.
Mouthfeel: One of the best textured beers I've ever had. Light carbonation provides just enough crispness to a very light and smooth beer.
Drinkability: A good brew and a nice surprise from one of my favorite breweries. (555 characters)

Photo of Gaisgeil
2.9/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Obtained through Secret Santa '05, thanks ManekiNeko!

Not really sure what to make of this one, a bit funky, a bit disjointed, interesting but not particularly appealing either somehow. Pours a medium intensly clear amber in color with no head to speak of. Nose is powerful, lots going on, sort of nutty and spicy, but a lot of cherry character going on here as well, almost lambic-like in a certain respect. Flavor is slightly malty, lots of tart cherry and spice, a little bit of cinnamon noticable. The flavors don't blend particularly well though, and I don't know how one can call this a Belgian Strong Dark, this is unlike anything in that category I've ever had. Mouthfeel is slick and oily, sticks to the palate like syrup. Drinkability is so-so, decent enough, hides the alcohol well, but in the end I didn't crave another.

Slàinte! (848 characters)

Photo of Zorro
4.27/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12 Oz bottle Sampled through the efforts of Boxing Day BIF and Pentathlete.

This is a beer I have wanted to try for sometime. This is last year’s version but it is a big beer that can take a year of aging!

This pours a clear copper colored ale with a warm red glow. Carefully poured to leave the sediment behind no head forms. To be honest the careful pour probably killed the head more than the beer itself.

An intensely aromatic beer, this is another beer that can fill a room with smell from the glass. This has almost too aromatic to sniff closely. Fairly sweet scent with an intense fruity nature. Strong honey, vanilla, and cherry scents. Lesser aromas of cinnamon, caramel and black pepper. This is a beer that makes you seriously as the question if it is possible to have too much scent? I am sure that this has stunned my sense of smell, it is that intense.

Taste is not as amazingly intense as the smell. The first sip hits you with sweet malt and vanilla. Cherry and caramel are the next flavors that I can taste with a black pepper in the finish. Brown sugar and cinnamon come near the end of the glass. There are also fairly strong lemon and orange flavors to this. This is one hard ale to describe, it is very intense.

Mouthfeel is syrup thick.

The only downside of this beer is in the drinkability department. This is a very intense experience, almost too intense. This is strong enough that you could use it as syrup, just briefly bring this to a boil and you could pour it over pancakes. It is the syrup intensity of this that cuts its drinkability score significantly. This would make an amazing glaze for a ham or just pour over ice cream like hot caramel. An amazing beer that is probably too intense for 99% of most people. (1,763 characters)

Photo of Frozensoul327
2.98/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Damn, this brew isn't playin' around. Pours out to a oil like flat presentation with a small foam head. Low levels of carbonation. Very orange in color. No lace. Aromas are strong, lots of dark fruits and some fermented malt. Touches of spice and herbs round out the smell. Taste is full and powerful; acidic alcohol, spice, thin malts, some citrus fruit. Wow. Quite a bit going on. Mouthfeel is thick and uninspiring, could've used more carbonation. Drinkability is average. Once a season is probably enough for me. Not my idea of the typical Belgian dark ale. Special thanks to MaltyGoodness for the sample.

THE BLOODHOUND FACTOR: The hounds sniffed this, and maybe it was the alcohol, but they ran. No way they were gonna try this one. (741 characters)

Photo of blackie
3.55/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

appearance: The pour into the snifter creates a low off white head that recedes to just a collar around the glass. The beer is a burnished copper colour, with minute floaters suspended throughout.

smell: Smells good. Plenty of darker fruits (raisins, dates) and candi sugars give a complex sweet aroma. Reminds me of the aromas in the kitchen when my mom bakes the Christmas cookies. The hop aroma is about just right. Plenty of balance. Hard to believe this one is 11.00%, as I can barely smell it.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is on the lighter end of the high range, and the body about medium.

taste: A solid strong dark belgian, but nothing too impressive. The fruits and sugars seem less complex on the palate than they did to the nose. There is a flavor in there I really don't like, almost reminiscent of overripe orange and vegetables. A light hop bitterness give some balance in the finish.

drinkability: tasty and very, very drinkable considering the ABV.

Another sample courtesy of dirtylou's cellarfridge. (1,032 characters)

Photo of dirtylou
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

split 12oz with some sam adams schwillin dude, named blackie

appearance: a full amber, cranberry, bubbly white head with bubbly lacing around the rim...bright and lively

smell: very floral, belgian yeast characteristics, sweet and fruity, light cinnamon and other holiday spices

taste: pretty nice...alcohol noticeable but not offensive, bursting with sugary sweet fruit...apple, plum, grape. lightly toasted malt, light yeast, some tart cherry, a touch of chocolate, slight cinnamon, holiday spice

mouthfeel: medium bodied, well carbonated, slick, not as full as I'd like

drinkability: for the style, a little above average (639 characters)

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

Twelve ounce bottle with no evident dating method

Pours deep copper body capped with a dense light tan finger of foam. Nose is Belgian yeast and ripe red cherries like those of upper Michigan variety. Clarity is outstanding.

Entry is...oh my...this is good! Carbonation brushes by the cheeks while the midtaste highlights a slick honey mouthfeel and sturdy malt. The finish is where this beauty really shines...a crisp hop bite followed by a lingering of holiday spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and corriander followed by the sweet taste of ripe juicy cherries.

The flavor belies the elevated alcohol content...this crazy 'ole elf will really sneak up on you! A holiday winner!

Kudos to fuzzyfrog & SwillinBrew for each flinging me a bottle of this. (759 characters)

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

12 oz. bottle with no freshness date, but sure it's this year's version - served in a big wine glass. It pours with almost no head and remains that way. It is a clear, brilliant red/orange that is fit for a gemstone, but looks lifeless with no head or beads of carbonation and, hence, no lacing. It smells Belgian, with fruits (maraschino cherries?), malts, pepper/spiciness, and alcohol near the end. The taste has this plus medicinal phenols, banana, hints of clove, and perhaps some bubblegum. The body is medium and the drinkability is about what I would have expected. Not the best from Tröegs, but we'll see what the cellar will do to it. (645 characters)

Photo of dnrobert24
2.62/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Purchased at the Gingerbread Man in Carlisle, PA. Had to see what the hype was about, and I was not impressed. The beer had a dark red hue, with a very thin head that did not retain much aroma. Something mildly fruity was there, like watermelon. The first sip was metallic and stingy. Hot alcohol abounded. Midway through, the fruit came through more predominantly--strawberry mostly, and other juicy red fruits. It reminded me a bit of Juicy Fruit gum. I could not detect the spicy yeastiness normally associated with Belgian-style beers. The pint I had felt a little thin. It was not what I was expecting or hoping for in an American-made Christmas release of a belgian strong dark. (684 characters)

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

Presentation: Funky 12 ounce bottle. A rather annoying big eared wazzack is sneaking over the bannered word “Tröegs”. Seems like the Elves have some kind of rights these days, so now they have to properly scare children and not appeal to them when on a beer label, nice. Listed as a “Holiday Ale” and a weed-whacking 11% abv.

Appearance: Dark orange with ruby pomegranate hues. Watermelon flashes have a lovely soft red sunset feel. Minimal head, little pockets of smattered white lacing and some very lazy carbonation.

Nose: Light malts licked with a faded cherry cough syrup. Creamy grainy malts are here also. Malty aromas build and dominate with a dark skinned fruity aspect. Light on the cherries but it has some tasty fusel alcohol too.

Taste: Sharp fruits, acidic grapefruit and a star-fruit entrance the beginning. Middle has some cherry but it is soaked in a pink grapefruit body. Weird brew that likens to an English Bitter soaked in a resilient Cold fighting Cherry Cough syrup. Sweet finish with yet more grain and hints of spices. Erm....weird but sort of nice.

Mouthfeel: This one has a mixture of alcohol and mixed fruit blended with a rather thick body. Feels big, I’m sure the alcohol helps out here too.

Drinkability: For a double digit brew this one is rather a monster missive but it is not that hard to drink which surprise me. Neither is it sickly sweet, in fact it is rather clean overall.

Overall: Not sure what I make of this one, it’s a strange brew indeed………OK, I thought about it, I still don’t know what I make of this one. It’s one of those beers that is hard to ascribe a style to.

Thanks to OCBrewFish for this one! (1,681 characters)

Photo of DuqTroops
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

reviewed - December 21, 2005

Appearance -- reddish in tint. You could tell this is a holiday ale through the color of the beer. Not much head to it as well. Looks enjoyable.

Aroma -- smells of cherries and malt. Not too hoppy. Wants me to take a sip of it.

Taste -- tastes a little bit of honey and malt. Very enjoyable.

Body -- not too heavy. Smooth on the way down and is definitely going to get more.

Drinkability -- not going to drink all the time. Only in the winter months where alcohol is needed.

Price - had to pay $50 for a case of beer. Not worth spending for th entire case. Should get it at brewery with a six pack rather than getting a case. (674 characters)

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

Appearance - Brilliant reddish beer (very Christmas-like!) with about a half finger of head that disappears pretty quickly to a ring around the edges and little islands of fluff drifting around.
Aroma - Lots of malts and certainly a honey presence. The cherries came through but a little like cherry medicine.
Taste - Lots of honey, it’s like chewing on honeycomb (not the cereal). A bit of a flowery taste that I assume is from the honey. The cherries show themselves in the end. For something with all this sweet stuff it finishes remarkably clean.
Body - No lack of it.
Drinkability - No matter how hard I look for it I cannot find the alcohol presence, match that with the super clean finish and you get a pretty drinkable beer. Still don't think I could drink 3 litres though. (786 characters)

Photo of cubedbee
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a bright brick red with a small off-white head that neverthless has good retetention and leaves some moderate lacing. Nose is nice natural cherries, not syrupy, a honey sweetness, and a slight clovelike spiciness. Taste is a nice smooth cherry with some other pear/apple fruitiness, a nice bready malt, and a decent spicey and hoppy finish. Mouthfeel is medium/full with a nice smoothness. Overall this is a really nice beer, hides the alcohol well, nice to sip on a cold day. (482 characters)

Photo of Phatz
4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

What a treat! Although I am new to this beer, this year, it is now a beer I will look for every holiday season; it’s a new personal favorite and was very well received by my family at thanksgiving. We also had it around through the Christmas season.

Appearance: This beer pours cherry red with a small frothy head. Served in my snifter. It has a unique ruby glow to it that just simply does not look like beer. In fact the first time I had this beer was at a friends house with dinner. The table was set and a snifter was at my place setting. There were wine bottles on the table and I assumed it was wine in my glass before I picked it up. This is a very unique beer!

Smell: Cherries! First and foremost is the obvious aroma of sweet cherries. It smells a lot like a wine with the hints of alcohol seeping into the back of your nose. I also detected some spices like cinnamon and nutmeg in there. It’s very pleasant and yet not overwhelming.

Taste: It tastes as good as it smells (infact similar to the smell). It is cherry up front followed by the gentle malts and as you swallow a very cinnamon taste with an ever so subtle hint of hops and alcohol hanging in your mouth for a moment to finish it off. It is so gentle on the palate that I believe this beer could accompany almost any horderves, meal, or desert.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is a bit lighter than I'd prefer; but it is very crisp, very refreshing, and pleasantly carbonated. It has somewhat of an 'apple cider meets the spiced Christmas punch' feel to it. It just slips right past your mouth and into you bloodstream before you know it.

Drinkability: This is PROBLEM ZONE drinkable. Wow! You would never know that it has an 11.00% ABV until you stand up after the third or fourth one. It is so easy to drink you almost need to drink it while you are distracted with dinner or something, or you may get hurt. I have now picked up several 6-packs of this stuff, intending to review it. Every time I was ready to review it I realized I'm all out again. I think that even many non-beer-drinkers would enjoy this beer. It is a perfect choice for all of your holiday events.

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EDIT
I went back to by 6-packs of this so many times I should have just bought a few cases. My brother in-law loved this beer as well as my sister-in-law who only drinks wine (says she doesn’t like beer). There is such a wide appeal Tröegs Mad Elf I am absolutely astonished. Way to go Tröegs this beer is a fantastic success.
---

Hope this is helpful.
Cheers! (2,531 characters)

Photo of pbr85
3.55/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass...
App: Pours a cherry red with absolutely no head. It would be a great looking beer if it had some head but it looks more like syrup than beer.
Taste: First sip is very malty. There are strong hints of cherry as soon as it hits your tongue. Malts stay strong throughout, which makes it a very sweet beer. Alcohol is strong and prominent. Mild hops, more prominent in the aftertaste than in the beer.
Mouthfeel: Great amount of carbonation. The beer goes down smooth.
Drinkability: Though it goes down smooth, the alcohol presence would likely make it difficult to drink more than one. I had one last week from the same six pack and enjoyed it more that time.

This is a good beer to drink when it is cold. The prominent alcohol leaves you feeling warm inside, and the appearance and cherry taste make it a good beer to drink during the holidays. (900 characters)

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

Pours a brownish red color, with a 1 finger head that dissipates quickly. Medium level of carbonation. No lacing at all and the head that completly dissapears hurt the appearance a little.

Smell is bready/toasted biscut with just a touch of the added cherries. Can't really detect the honey. Taste is also very bready with just a hint of cherries. Where is the alcohol? It is hidden amazingly well. Medium bodied mouthfeel with a mildly spicey (nutmeg) aftertaste.

This is a nice holiday brew, but one at a time is plenty. I enjoyed it and look forward to next years offering. Probably a little on the pricey side but worth it once a year. I wasn't sure what i would think about this one, i normally don't like beers with fruit added, but this was just subtle enough to be enjoyable. (790 characters)

Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've had a few of the Troegs beers in recent months, and all of them have been quite enjoyable. Between that and the worth of mouth that other users said about this brew, I was pretty excited when this came into my liquor store a few weeks ago. After drinking it, however, I was a bit let down...

Don't get me wrong, this is a fine brew. Poured a nice mahogany reddish-brown, about a finger and a half worth of head that quickly settled down. The taste was very maltly and bready, with hints of banana and cherry as well. Can't quite taste the honey in this, and the 11% ABV is hardly noticable either. It's quite drinkable, with a fairly filling aftertaste and a lacing that gently slid down the glass after I took each sip; although the beer itself could have been a bit less thin.

I was led to believe that the $13.99 price for the 6-pack and the supposed ruby red color would make this a standout, but the Mad Elf seems to be better suited as just the only American version of a Belgian Strong Ale that I've ever seen or drank. With my experiences with Troegs in the past, the bar for this was set quite high, and even though I was a bit disappointed, I enjoyed this beer and look forward to their other offerings that I haven't tried yet. Worth a shot but not worth the price in my opinion... (1,304 characters)

Photo of SwillinBrew
3.77/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I finally got to have this thanks to beerbeing.

A - an apple cider color with strawberry skin hues and what little white head was present left pretty fast. Very nice color.
S - A bit bready with some fruit and malt. Maybe a hint of cherry. I though tthe aroma would be a bit more present and strong.
T - Toasted biscuit and spice dominate this brew finishing on the sweet side with maybe some hints of cherry and honey, i think i detected that. Again, it was rather faint on my expected taste. I do believe i should go into a tasting without any expectations.
M&Dr - A dry and light medium bodied brew that is very drinkable. You cant even taste the alcohol on this spicey treat. (685 characters)

Photo of bruachan
3.74/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

i poured as aggressively as possible, but the beer didn't care. i coaxed a sizeable head out of the bottle but POOF gone. brilliantly-clear-orange-tinted ruby color

tart raisiny fruit with an earlier slight cherry flavor. some bitterness. the 11% hides well amongst the esters; this elf is generally less mad than i was expecting. there's definitely balance here...is it fair to call it bland?

the standard yeasty belgian aroma is missing. i get caramel malts and a spicey hop and alcohol zing, but little of the classic belgian character, almost as if troegs didn't use an authentic yeast

EDIT: after i saw the bottle again, and the "holiday ale" label, i decided that to judge this beer as a "belgian strong ale" is missing the point. there was a nice spicing that was quite holiday-ish and it was actually incredibly drinkable (838 characters)

Photo of ElGordo
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my tulip glass a dark amber hue with ruby highlights, topped by an inch of bright white head that decides only to make a brief appearance. Inviting aroma of Belgian yeast, biscuit, cherry, a touch of piney hops, and a good deal of alcohol. Palate is wonderfully complex - sweet malt with honey, some dark cherries, light spicy hops, Belgian yeast, and a bit of astringency. The alcohol makes itself known, providing a nice warming finish. The body is fully and slightly creamy, about perfect for the style. This is only the second beer I've been able to acquire from Troegs, and I have to say they do pretty well with their Belgian styles. Wish I'd gotten more than one bottle. (689 characters)

Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.33/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Auburn/red with no visible carbonation. No head, no lacing.

S - Odor is faint. Mostly malt with a little spice. I can't descern anything over the smell of carbonated water. Since there is no real carbonation, that doesn't say much for the smell.

T - Slightly sour, from the cherries I'd guess, a little spice is detectable, nutmeg and maybe a tiny bit of allspice. It has a strange bitterness, but it mostly masked. I cannot detect any alcohol. It isn't really covered up though, since the taste isn't very strong. I don't know where they hid it, but it is hidden. Aside from the disappearing abv, nothing is too impressive about the taste.

M - Very thick and smooth. Refreshing.

D - There is not a single negative aspect to this beer, but there is nothing great either. I am surprised. It is good, in the sense that it does not offend and is easy to drink. I would sooner have many other holiday brews. Maybe it was the hype, but this Troegs beer is a bit of a disappointment. (993 characters)

Photo of silver0rlead
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a somewhat indistinct hazy amber with a thin off-white head that dissapates quickly. The aroma is intriguing, with notes of cherry, honey, belgian yeast, some chocolate, toasted bread, alcohol and some mineraly hops. The flavor is surprisingly subtle for a beer of this magnitude, with notes of cherry, dark fruits, honey, toasted bread, fruity esters, chocolate and some earthy, mineraly hops. The mouthfeel is medium with light carbonation, and drinkability is quite impressive considering the massive abv. An interesting beer from Troegs, kind of an american/belgian hybrid...tasty and complex and the alcohol is incredibly well hidden. (645 characters)

Photo of veggiemafia
4.17/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Joe Mama's, sadly served in a po' boy pint.

Very Christmasy looking red color, slick looking with the only trace of head being a thin ring of light reddish khaki bubbles around the rim of the glass.

Smells really great, lots of Belgian malt and some yeasty notes but mostly the smell is honey sweetness and dark cherry and maybe some plummy things. Almost no alcohol in the nose, which is kind of nice, but kind of weird for a beer this big.

Taste is just like the smell with some added phenols in there. Shockingly even after this had set on our table for a good 45 minutes, the alcohol still didn't really make itself known. It seems like a lot of Belgians have a kind of sickly sweet alcohol presence that I don't really dig, but this just stays sweet and fruity throughout.

Mouthfeel is very slick, very low carbonation, but it's sweet enough that it almost leaves kind of a film in your mouth like skittles or something. There was a lingering component to this that I thought was less than amazing.

Drinkability for an 11% beer is downright scary. As drinkable as Double Bastard, and just as drunkifying. I personally wouldn't drink more than two in any sitting, but man, this is one worth letting creep up on you.

Just don't drive anywhere, in anything after two of these. (1,306 characters)

Photo of goodbyeohio
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

last bottle i had of this was bad, or something.. maybe last year's batch wasn't my cup of tea. regardless, consistent positive vibes from other troegs brews demands a re-review.. and boy am i glad i did it.

christmasy red, clear with no head. some bubbles. big nose of belgian malt with silky accents from the honey. reminiscent of other american belgian-style ales in its overabundance of malt without accompanying fruity-sweetness. flavor is complex and very smooth for 11%. starts off with mild cherry hints, more of the maraschino variety than sour red. follows up immediately with some band-aid (ok, alot of band-aid) and spicy heat. the abv was bound to resurface somewhere, and here it is. peppery, finishes with a big cherry juice blast. speaking of maraschino, its reminiscent of the water they pack those cherries in- like a beery shirley temple (or is it rob roy, i never remember). last bottle i had felt more cough syrup cherry than juicy cherry, and this is a vast improvement. nice holiday sipper although you can gulp it. malts are a little 'dirty' (corny?) and for a fruit/spiced brew it comes off awfully plain. still, freshness makes this elf a very good one. (1,182 characters)

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