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Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

1,192 Reviews
THE BROS
85
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,192
Hads: 3,590
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 7.51%
Wants: 214
Gots: 865 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Tröegs Mad Elf Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,192 | Hads: 3,590
Photo of Dithyramb
2.82/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Served on tap per this year's XMas in July at Max's in Baltimore. Poured into a large tulip cup, it was a pale rose colored brew with absolutely no carbonation going on in the brew, no real head. There may have been a slight ring around the edge when it was first served. No lacing.
Smell of cherries soaked in honey
Sorry, but couldn't help but think this was light cherry cough syrup. It even had the same sticky mouthfeel going down. Slight tanin like hop finish. Not fond of this one on tap after it had been sitting a few months. Plus, I'm not overly sure if this is a Belgian strong... (593 characters)

Photo of Beervis
4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours from the 12oz bottle a very attractive dark ruby red with a very quickly disappearing, crackling white head. The head disappears completely, leaving nothing but a slight lace.

Smell is very sweet, with cherries, honey, and spicy alcohol.

Taste is malty and fruity with the cherry flavor really showing itself, then a smooth mouthfilling honey sweetness takes over. Alcohol is evident, but in a good way, adding plenty of spiciness at the back end. The medium mouthfeel is very juicy, and very little, if any, hop bitterness to be found here.

This is a very drinkable warm weather brew, but not one that I could drink constantly. The sweetness makes it a great dessert beer. It is very different from the regular winter brews that I am used to, but it's definitely one that I'll come back to. (806 characters)

Photo of WesWes
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a hazy amber color with a 1/4" offwhite head that fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a nice malty scent that boasts of pale and crystal malts along with a slight honey sweetness and a mild cherry aroma. The taste is good. It has a smooth malty flavor that goes down easy and finishes warm and full of cherries. It has a residual honey sweetness. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn good beer. I've heard about it for a while, but never could get it. I love the use of cherries. This is a good drinker. (579 characters)

Photo of LuckySevens82
2.63/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle courtesy of Dithyramb
Pours a pale, slightly hazy rose color with a small, but well formed white head. Retention is a bit lacking, but the lacing and collar are nice.
Smell is cherries, slight honey, some hops, a bit of caramel, definitely wine like in character, with just a hint of cough syrup.
Taste is a bit bitter up front, with some residual sweetness. Cherry cough drops come to mind. Bitter hops finish this one out. It seriously tastes like Vicks Cherry cough drops. Which I like, but not in my beer. I was hoping that this would be a lot sweeter than it actually is.
Mouthfeel is okay, carbonation is nice, and it's not particularly hard to drink.
Overall, wow, I was really hoping that this would be better. Nevertheless, I'm not very fond of it and I probably won't have much more of it. (817 characters)

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.87/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Obtained via massive hand trade with most accommodating of BAs, merlin48. Thanks buddy.

Appearance - pours a festive reddish amber. Fizzy short-lived head lasts but a few seconds. Great start, a little lacking overall though.

Aroma - spicy nose of cinnamon and allspice, abates after a minute or two, revealing some bready malt and potent alcohol.

Taste - malt and booze, vaguely similar to Beelzebub but softer on the palate. The spices fight to get through and have only limited success. The spices linger on the swallow as the alcohol fades. The finish is sweet, tasty, and warm. A lighter alcohol level would allow more spice development and would improve the profile.

Mouthfeel - smooth, fairly heavy and coating, average carbonation, all working well together.

Drinkability - a good beer that improves as it warms but could use more holiday spice flavor sooner. Still, if I had access to this it could be an annual tradition. (946 characters)

Photo of walleye
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

from the bottle. poured a nice amber, with no head. aroma, at 1st I got a sourness when it was 1st poured thanafter it sat for a couple of minutes the sourness went away, got honey, malts, cherries, chocolate, yeast, alcohol. flavor, tart cherries, fruits, orange, choclate, and a nice touch of alcohol not tobad of a beer. (323 characters)

Photo of rajendra82
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From the cellar meat package by pentathlete, the Mad Elf came out deep amber red with a smallish head. The beer looked slippery, and the dissipating head left little lacing. The aroma was filled with holiday spices like nutmeg, ginger, and I could also smell orange peel. The taste was sweet and spicy with a cheerfully light body that was backed by rum like alcohol warmth. Although clearly a strong concoction, the 11% alcohol was well poised. The mouthfeel was airy and inviting. The aftertaste was a citric and sweet tang and a faint note of hop bitterness. Warmth of alcohol lingered long after the beer was gone. (618 characters)

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

This poured to a nice and surprisingly light amber with hints of yellow and red. The head quickly reduced to a ring and left minimal lace.

Flavors are of light malt up front and quickly switch to a bit of cherry with just a hint of honey. The smell is decent enough but the taste is quite good, especially as it warms. It's alarmingly easy to drink for the alcohol content. (376 characters)

Photo of tgbljb
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Christmas in April, whay not? 2004 edition. Poured a delightful clear cherry color with slight head that left minimal ring. Smell is of cinnamon and spice and all things nice.Alcohol well hidden. Taste is superb with a hint of dryness in the back of the throat. Left a nice fruity taste in the mouth. at 11% very drinkable. Next taste will be Christmas in July. (361 characters)

Photo of PatandDavid
3/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Cloudy copperiness. Somewhat tan head. I get candied yeastiness, but sadly some soapiness in the aroma. Taste is a bit muddied, malty, yeasty, spicey, and some soapiness in there as well. Ends a bit citrusy. Mouthfeel is medium, carbonation is somewhat low. (257 characters)

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

Thanks to pezoids for this sample as a part of secret santa '04.
Aroma presents with a high phenol quality. Sweet. Fruity. Clove. Alcohol. Nice and bold. (cherry).
Rich red amber. Clear. Fast and quick head.
Phenols supported with a strong malt base. Fruity qualitites are persistent. Touch of alcohol. Nicely complex. In time finishes dry.
Fully carbonated. Leaves an oily coating on tongue. Medium feel to a little less.
This pretty good. It loses it's punch in time. But I like the initial presentation a lot. I like the spicey sour aspects of the flavor. (563 characters)

Photo of whartontallboy
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ruby red tulip pour with a big frothy white head that disappears rather quickly. Smell is easy to pick up even in a smoke-filled bar. Cherries, malt, and enough alcohol that you know what you're getting into. Flavor is also heavy on the cherry notes, but I also caught some cinnamon and clove as well The alcohol is present in the flavor and gives it a bit of a peppery bite, but it's not as strong as you'd expect from an 11% ABV. A nice one to sip and savor, and I really enjoyed this one more as it warmed a little. (518 characters)

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

Poured into a big ol wine glass, this unique ale appears brilliantly red with a small frothy white head. The aroma is spicy with phenols. First flavors to come across are the fruity cherries with the floral sweetness of honey. The sweetness is balanced by a nice of spicy esters and refreshing bitterness with a slightly hot alcohol finish. The mouthfeel of this beer is relatively light for the ABV due to the use of honey to thin it out, which makes this brew very drinkable. (477 characters)

Photo of blitheringidiot
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a rich crystal clear amber hued pour with dissapating head cap to a collar in a goblet. with a tight rising middle carbonation.

Bold brilliant scents of cinnamon, rum and ginger snap fig. Dark fruit prevails. Aromatically powerful.

First swigs: Dry cherry schnapps. Cider infused rummy hot. Clean finish with a touch of cherry soda.

Frothy light bodied. Sticky sweet lip smacker.

Last swigs: This is the Nobel Peace prize for Winter Warmer brew. Especially, locally. Go Chris & John Trogner. Glas that I bought a case with Stingo. (548 characters)

Photo of Truh
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deliberately messed up some toys for the good girls and boys with this one on 3/8/2005. 12-oz. bottle very graciously offered to me by JayT poured in a shaker glass; closer to 11-oz. in order to keep the sediment in check.

Some initial frothiness with a piling of big bubbles in the middle which all just settles to a wash. Light orange hue with just a touch of red and haze, likely from sediment, and very little slow action. Cherry sweetness on nose, raspberry pulp and a bit of light heat. Candy cane sweetness with cherry pie thrown in, but quite light; malt presence is refined with a woody oak character that lightly touches. Very pleasant offering that I wish I had access to on a regular, or at least seasonal, basis. (728 characters)

Photo of kmo1030
4.39/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pinkish coppery color with very thin head that a lighter version of the same color. sweet ripe cherry aroma, with honey, a subtle spiciness, and light caramel maltiness. a good amount of alcohol is also present along with some subtle typical belgian aromas of banana, clove. cinnamon as it warmsthe taste is very much like it smells, with the cherries and malts more pronounced. there is a nice warming alcohol quality at the finish. reasonably full bodied with delicate carbonation. very drinkable, but definitely one to let warm up to near room temperature. i'm glad i had a chance to pick this up, i wish it was available a little closer to home. (649 characters)

Photo of oelergud
3.62/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Mildly hazed red copper body, tan head without much retention or lace and moderate carbonation.
Malt and cherry scents up front mingled with a clear hints of alcohol.
Cherries and spiced honey very apparent. Aftertaste is surprisingly mild and holds notes of alcohol. After warming up a little the cherries fade somewhat in the background and the honey flavors become much more apparent.
Chewable maltiness and thick coating left behind by this brew.
Flavorwise very drinkable but ABV is too high for indulgence.
Beware of the Elf, it'll make you mad!

-Oelergud (569 characters)

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is actually a bottle from last year's batch that I've had in the DBF.

Lovely clear ruby in color with a respectable layer of tan-colored head that died off to a lasting "edge of the glass" ring. Surprising quantities of lace on the glass. Nose initially was mostly cherries, but as it warmed, other smells were noted: honey, sweetness from the malt, some medicinal alcohol, and spices. Flavor was delicious...and this coming from an avid hater of cherries. Melded nicely into the overall fabric of the beer, the cherry notes were not overbearing or anything. The spices and honey become more apparent as it warmed. The alcohol content makes itself known towards the end and the finish is quite clean. Mouthfeel, overall, is good and given the masked ABV, insanely drinkable. Thank goodness I can seek out the Elf here in Richmond every winter! (851 characters)

Photo of stingo
4.28/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a brilliant near ruby red, with a thick head of bright white foam. The foam reduces quickly, enabling the cherry and honey flavors of the nose to stand out as well as the noticeable but not unagreeable scent of alcohol. These notes are borne out in the taste as well. Eminently drinkable, though with a slightly thinner mouthfeel than I would have expected from this style. This is a quibble however as the Mad Elf is one fine winter brew. (445 characters)

Photo of sublimesipping
4.48/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

There are many good things about living in the city of Brotherly Love. Finding Mad Elf on tap unexpectedly would be one of them. This may be my favorite holiday beer. I love the color, ruby red. Elegant, sophisticated, like the taste. Beer tastes more like a cordial, essence of berry, a warm brandy like effect. Excellent balance and mouthfeel make this beer dangerously drinkable, even for some of my non-beer friends. The big suprise being that is has a decidedly strong kick to it(11% can defintiely sneak up on you..)A wonderful, happy glass of holiday cheer, a way to keep the holday spirit alive through cold winter nights. If you can find it on tap, it is worth it! Drink it with someone you love. (705 characters)

Photo of shapudding
4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

No dating on the bottle, but this is 2004 batch. Georgeous pouring with such a show! Everything is just shooting all over the place like fireworks! When that is done I am looking at a glass of clear amber topped with a think whitish, creamy, frothy layer. Scents of marachino cherries, so candy sweet! Bit of clove spiciness coming up from the glass. Can feel the carbination, even hear it when you swirl the glass a bit. But it is very well done IMHO, not too much at all, just a good amount without whacking you with froth. God this is just good stuff. The cherry flavor is not too strong at all, I mean, it is there, trust me. But it is not like you have a lambic in front of you. Bit of the honey sweetness left on your tongue after each sip. Very ripe bing cherries, more like dried bings actually, or dried cranberries, where you get that candied sweetnes from the fruit. Some port in the aftertaste. The sweetnes is not cloying, just very nice. The alcohol is very well hidden, can't taste the percentage in this, it is so nicely drinkable. Just another lovely one from the brothers.
Fun one in the case splitting extravaganza with Stingo, BrewAngel, and The BlitheringIdiot. (1,184 characters)

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've been hanging onto this one and can't wait to try it. Departs the bottle a wonderful golden red with hints of pink even along with a nice off white head. Sweet cherry Lifesaver aroma wafts up into my nose along with some earthy yeasty notes. Mmmm...lovely aroma.

First sip is a mix of honey/cherry sweet malty goodness along with a nice helping of barnyard/earthy yeast tones. There's a nice spiciness that's running through here too..maybe some nutmeg...I can't pick it out. A damn tasty belgian style winter brew!

Nice creamy, full mouthfeel with good carbonation. No complaints from me. Drinkability is good, as this is a tasty brew I could have a few of. Many thanks to blitheringidiot and merlin48 for hooking me up with some bottles of this! (757 characters)

Photo of aracauna
3.82/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Now this had the character that Old Fezziwig was missing. Beautiful red color that catches the light nicely with a smallish white head. A good bit of bubblegum in the aroma, a touch of clove (yeast or spice?), coriander, peppery alcohol and a touch of malt. The flavor carries on with a little less complexity than the aroma, but with just a touch of cherries. 11%? I couldn’t tell. Fun beer. (393 characters)

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

I had this beer on what turned out to be the coldest day in a long time, with wind chills dipping below 0. The bar was very small, and my seat was near the entrance. Every time the door swung open, the whole bar iced over. Drinking Mad Elf made me welcome the cold breeze that night, warming me like a brandy by a fire. It's the best holiday beer I had this season, and I tried many. The Elf is spicy with just the right amount of sweetness. The beer's taste doesn't mask its might -- a winter-worthy 11-percent -- but the ale is nonetheless pretty drinkable. The Elf has melted this Gnome's heart. (598 characters)

Photo of GClarkage
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12/28/04- Received via trade with Santoslhalper.

Presentation- 12 oz bottle with a freaky lookin' elf on it. No expiration date. Poured into my Westmalle chalice.

Appearance- Nice head at first, but rapidly disentigrates. Very little if and lace. Nice deep ruby red color.

Smell- Ultra sweet malt. Sweet fruityness, (cherries)? Plus there is definite alcohol fumes.

Taste- Taste like a really malted and liquored up Kriek. Heavy sweet malts and cherries. Plus a large alcohol kick towards the end of your swallow. Maybe a bourbon taste? Whatever it is, it's pretty tasty.

Mouthfeel- I was expecting a thicker and more full mouthfeel on this one due to the high ABV. Low carbonation. Still goes down smooth with that little alcohol warming sensation going down.

Drinkability- I'm already feeling it after half this beer. I have another one left that I am going to age and maybe try next winter and see if it thickens up a bit. Thanks very much to by BA bud Santoslhalper who has sent me several brews I have yet to try. This one scores pretty well though. Quite tasty, even if I did have it with Boston Market take out. Probably would have been paired better with something else. (1,196 characters)

Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,192 ratings.