Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

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Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

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BA SCORE
87
very good

3,571 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,571
Reviews: 1,223
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 15.25%
Wants: 210
Gots: 855 | 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: 3,571 | Reviews: 1,223
Photo of drinknewbelgium
3.62/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

pours deep red to mahagony forms little head at the top smells of spices cinnamon, nutmeg and hints of cherries tastes of holiday spices cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and a subtle hint of cherries with alcohol present filles thinner in my mouth than i would expect and i dont know i believe one of these would do it for me very strong beer but very spiced if you liked holiday spiced beer this one here is the right beer for you

Photo of Walsar
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A nice effort by the Troeg brothers -- the Mad Elf Ale is a definite winter warmer at 11% abv.

Tasty - cherry - not too sweet -- drink at 50 or 55 degrees out of a big ole wine glass and you will enjoy the experience.

I would recommend this ale - but watch out as they pack a wallop

Photo of nriech
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours with a light head and a brilliant red color, minor tan head, quickly dissapating.

Smell: Grainy and of fruits and some alcohol. The cherry aromas are somewhat muted.

Taste: Flavor is strong in the spices. Cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and a bitt of pepper. Sweet up front. Full, full body. Alcohol is not very apparent.

Mouthfeel: This had a smooth feel to it and was medium to medium-full in body. It was a touch syrupy. A slight warming effect was noticed.

Drinkability: Easy to drink as the alcohol doesnt seem apparent but keep in mind that it is more so than others. Super clean finish and you get a pretty drinkable beer.

Photo of Alkey
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle a ruby red with a small amount of head and scents of sweet fruit and alcohol taste has a bit of sweet cherries and honey with a backing of some belly warming alcohol. A winter warmer indeed but not an all night beer just a couple and I'm good. A great night cap.

Photo of phisig137
4.4/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2006 bottle pours a brilliantly clear orange/copper color, with red highlights. Thin 1/2 finger head rises and falls quickly, leaving nothing behind. Not surprising considering the ABV.

Aroma is sweet. A lot of grain aromas are present, as well as the honey. Very little else is present on the nose beside the alcohol. Very solvent like.

The flavor is far better though. Malt sweetness (crystal malt), and honey are present in huge quantities. Subtle cherry flavor (most likely large bing cherries) in the background is a nice touch, but not overpowering. Fairly sweet from the start to the finish, but not cloying at all. For something this extreme, I'd consider it to be fairly well balanced. Mouthfeel is smooth and heavy. Drinkability is dangerously drinkable. This is one of those beers that you have to be careful with. You never notice the 11% abv, and before you know it, you've polished off a few of them. It's almost as if you bring home a six pack of this, and before the end of the night, someone is going to end up naked or arrested.... it's that drinkable.

Another solid winner from Troegs, who never disappoint. This is one that I look forward to each winter, and this year is just as good as the others. Just be warned, sip them slowly.... the mad elf can quickly smack you around if you're not paying attention.

Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.27/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle of the Fall 2006 edition to a steemed glass. The Color is a medium redish orenge with good carbonation. The Head is 2 fingers off white with big fluff bubbles. Does not devolope much lace.

The Smell is very nice, Sweet cherries socked in lots an alcohol with the aroma of freash yeast intermixed.

The taste follows yeasty bread, cherries, and soft spice notes bound by an alcohol base.

The mouthfeel is great, very full, and sensational.

The drinkability is high. Even at 11% ABV one is not enough. Prosit, MK

Photo of vwcraig
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 edition of Mad Elf

Poured a beautiful ruby-red color into a goblet. Head disappears into a tiny ring around the outside of the glass. Slow stream of carbonation rising from bottom of glass.

Smells of honey and unsweetened cherries. Faint alcohol smell.

Tastes just like Troegs claims it does; like honey, cherries and light spices. Also slightly detectable alcohol but well concealed at 11% abv.

Good mouthfeel with little carbonation. Kinda viscous. Actually clings to and coats inside of glass.

Never had more than one of these at a time due to high abv. Could see pushing the number higher though to trundle through the holiday season...

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 MaltyGoodness
4.4/5  rDev +13.7%
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.

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
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!

Photo of jcdiflorio
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
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!

Photo of jhollick
4.59/5  rDev +18.6%
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.

Photo of rayjay
2.75/5  rDev -28.9%
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.

Photo of hero27
3.4/5  rDev -12.1%
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.

Photo of wcudwight
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
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.

Photo of Vancer
4.23/5  rDev +9.3%
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.

Photo of BeerRun13
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

Photo of TastyTaste
3.91/5  rDev +1%
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.

Photo of Budlum
4.28/5  rDev +10.6%
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.

Photo of cro250klr
3.18/5  rDev -17.8%
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.

Photo of Billolick
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
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...

Photo of JayQue
4.17/5  rDev +7.8%
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.

Photo of MuddyFeet
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

Photo of Jredner
3.97/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

Photo of mentor
3.81/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 3,571 ratings.