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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: 12.69%
Wants: 214
Gots: 866 | 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 ViveLaChouffe
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep cherry red with virtually no head and quite still. Smell is of sweet malt, apples, cherries and spice.

Taste is very sweet and malty, overpoweringly so. Lots of fruit flavors in here. Apples, cherries, some citrus and just pure honey creeps up as well. Caramel flavors are evident. Hints of underlying spice and just sweet, sweet, sweet. Almost too sweet but not quite. Mouthfeel in sticky and syrupy. Wish there was a bit more taste in the finish and/or aftertaste. I was shocked to see that this brew is 11% ABV (didn't notice that on the bottle). Incredibly smooth and drinkable for that strength! A very good winter warmer but not at the top of my wish list.

Thanks to PintofAle for the sample. (717 characters)

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

12oz. bottle poured into a tulip-style glass. It pours a deep ruby red color with one finger of head. There is minimal lacing left on the glass. The smell is very sweet with overripe cherries, honey, and a hint of alcohol. The taste starts tart with a zing of alcohol up front. The cherries are very present in the middle of the taste, with a slightly hoppy finish. There is a bit of toffee and honey on the finish as well. The mouthfeel is super thick and smooth. The drinkability is fantastic for an 11% brew. A great holiday ale! (532 characters)

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

Time to compare the on-tap to the bottled experience. Pours bright, glowing ruby red. No head, just a ring of lace around the edge of the glass; decent viscous, liqueurish alcohol cling but no bubbles. Aroma is of sweet... very sweet cherries and a mellow yeast-based spiciness. Slightly medicinal and herby, again I believe I detect juniper with an alcohol spiciness at the back of the nose. Flavor is of big sweet cherries (again) and a bit of bready yeast, with the honeyish flavors showing up much better from the bottle than from on tap (for whatever reason). Seems much sweeter than my previous tastings--almost a cola note--verging on cloying IMO. Mouthfeel is still respectably smooth with more alcohol tingle; I would almost say a slightly thick, yogurty (?) finish is left behind. Drinkability is a bit better than fair. Sorry folks, I've been trying; I still find this good but it is just not mindblowing. (916 characters)

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

A nice find last night at the Spring House Drafting Room,pours a nice ruby red with a nice creamy,sticky head,aroma is spicey with a light smoky tinge to it.I got the flavors of spiced cherries with tha light smokey flavor with some alcohol note as it warms.Troegs is one of my favorite PA brewers and this offering reinforces that thought. (340 characters)

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

Pours an absolutely gorgeous reddish amber color.Very slight head and carbonation.Slight aroma of cherries-some citrus,malt and a backround yeasty-ness.Malty sweetness dominates the flavor with a hint of cherries.The 11% ABV is very well disguised.Wonderful mouthfeel-really smooth and full bodied.What a great beer I must say.I have not been a Troegs fan in the past-just didnt think they were as good and "special" as some of the others out there.I'll take that back with this beer however.Some of this will definately be getting "laid down"-ENJOY!!! (552 characters)

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

Sampled after a long Xmas day to celebrate my glorious victory in our Annual Bloodmatch Trivial Pursuit Game. 12 oz brown bottle provided courtesy of PisskyNights. (Thanks!)

Beer was sampled cool at first (~55F) and allowed to warm up over the course of an hour.

Beer drops into the glass with a thud and no carbonation. As it settles in the glass the drinker is presented with a deep red leather colored beer.

As the beer comes up to room temperature, the cherries and spicing becomes stronger melding with a very evident alcohol presence.

The flavor is filled with cherries and a bit of honeyed sweetness. As the beer lolls on the tongue, the combination of alcohol and cinnamon begin to sweep the thickiness of this beer form the palate.

Decent warming beer for the occasional slow sipper during the winter time. (832 characters)

Photo of Gusler
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The color a limpid luxurious ruby on the pour with a smallish head that is frothy in texture, light tan in color and as it disperses rather quickly the resultant lace forms a rather thin velum like sheet that just does cover the glass. The aroma of over ripe fruit, such as pineapple greets you first, hints of fusel alcohol along with the malted grains brings up the rear, bubble gum like tones also present with the start ambrosial and rich in malt with the top middling to almost full in feel. Finish is vinous, sternly acidic, the hops delectable in their spicy bite, desert dry and somewhat tart aftertaste that leaves you longing for another sip. Quite a pleasure to drink, big time tummy warmer, a great “Winter Warmer”, and one I wish was more readily available. (772 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've had two beers in a row this Christmas Eve that feature that smiling sap Santy Claus on the label and it's about time to genuflect in honor of the unrecognized working class hero, in this case, a certain Demented Dwarf!
So, let's to it!
Appearance: a brilliant bright and shiny crimson color...gorgeous! And adorned with a fuzzy, cream-toned head that's lives too briefly.
Aroma: big on the fruit, but never too sweet, somehow, and damned interesting, feeling like it's rife with spices, and I can pick up the honey hinted at on the label, and the cherry factor is flowing over, in much abundance and joined with a brandyish character, ushering in the full effect of the alcohol content...oh, yeah, 11%, how about that, huh?
So, let's taste!
Dark, rich, fruity, utterly alcohol-drenched cherry goodness! The booze is king here, and it's sublimely delicious! Malt is in command in this beer, and I don't believe hops have a word to say, it's not their show tonight, malt and booze is all, but the sweetness never cloys somehow, and balance is acheived, but not if you account for the monstrous alcoholic component.
Sadly, the mouthfeel gets a bit thin in the middle, and I wish the body was fuller, but that rich, delicious taste seems to redeem any/everything...and then, the booze kicks in for real, and nothing has no excuse! That's how a Mad Elf is born!
My second bottle downed, and this review is done "live" while drinking it and referencing my notes, however scribbly, from the last taste. And I'm nothing short of wowed by this amazing creation! These guys got guts! I've had other Troeg's beers that were commendable and tasty, but not overwhelming and utterly incredible! I really, really, really like this beer!
Domo Arigato, Mr. ManekiNeko for getting this beer to me! (1,793 characters)

Photo of sulldaddy
4.23/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

WOW! I finally score some of this treat. I had a case waiting for me when I got to Harrisburg area for the holidays. I split about 10 of them with some friends tonite.

I drank mine at room temp since I have heard/read that they are better that way.

The brew pours a amber/red color with a pinkish head foaming up nicely. The aroma is all cherries and alcohol. No hop presence at all.

The first sip reveals an off sweetness and cherry undertones are evident. The alcohol is only faint on the swallow with some belly warming action occurring. The body is medium thickness with some vinous characteristics, maybe a little viscous. Overall very drinkable. I actually had three of the bottles tonite over a 2 hour span and definitely feel the alcohol a little by the 3rd even if I didnt taste it. this beer is definitely worth the wait. Hopefully you have tried some and if not try to get it and good luck! (912 characters)

Photo of Globetrotter
3.45/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Hand delivered from the Washington area to Moscow as part of a fiver set of U.S. winter brews. Definitely not my favorite of the five, although I had entertained very high hopes. Poured clear copper under a thin tan head that fades quickly. The nose is mildly sweet, with a touch of cherry. The mouth is fairly flat and heavy with sweetness and fruit. The taste opens with mostly sweet cherries, backed by malt and a touch of honey. I could detect no hops anywhere, but there is some alcohol burn in the finish. The aftertaste is all cherry. It's OK, but I'm not thrilled. (572 characters)

Photo of Bighuge
4.66/5  rDev +20.7%
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. (918 characters)

Photo of yankeeheel
3.2/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served at cellar temp, which here in Maine is a wee bit cold. Poured a cough syrup red with a reddish head that was gone in 20 seconds. Smells very medicinal.

The taste is somewhat akin to cough syrup with a lot of xtra alcohol. Really sweet up front with a thin middle and alcohol/medicine burn at the end. Not really all that incredible. Just kind of big with alcohol and thin on flavor. I have anoher bottle that I'm going to let cellar for a while and I'll re-visit it.

Thanks to PisskyNights for the hook-up. (520 characters)

Photo of pbrian
3.2/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Cellar temp to start. Deep reddish brown, I missed the color of the head it dissappeared so quick. Had to splash the beer around to get an aroma. Oh, there it is- cherries. Anything else? I don't know, I got sick of having to work for it. Taste was sickly sweet up front, cherry juice with minimal spicy hints. Quite thin for such a high abv beer. Lots of candi sugars? Finish was a bit drier with hot alcohol hits. Overall, just an average attempt IMO, yes, even warm. (469 characters)

Photo of soulfly967
4.36/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap at Fat Heads in the Southside of Pittsburgh. Poured a ruby red, very little head that quickly vanished. The smell was of cherries and a bit of alcohol. The taste was amazing. Cherries, alcohol, and a hint of chocolate. A very exellent beer for the holiday season, I only wish that they would have made more of it... maybe next year. Beware, that 11% abv will come back to haunt you in the morning, but it's well worth it. (439 characters)

Photo of HossMcGraw
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a great looking burgundy color with moderate tan head. Aroma is sweet cherry. Taste is more of the same. Very sweet, but not cloying. Mouthfeel is quite smooth
. Drinkability is pretty good despite ABV, although I'm ready for a nap after one of these. (258 characters)

Photo of crookedhalo
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2003.
Reddish crimsony color with the tracest white head. Carbonation very sparse. Alcohol is evident in the nose as well as sweet and sour aromas, brandy, candied green maraschino cherries and fresh black cherry, too. Tastes fantastic! Biscuity and nutty malt in the front, a touch o' fermented honey, and cut then by the 11% ABV; finished like a Rodenbach Grand Cru, fruity with a slight soury dryness. Very impressed.

2004.
Sampled this years version and not quite as impressed. Lacked the high notes that last years had. Cherry and honey present. Seemed too alcoholic, synthetic and sweet; and the nose was more yeasty and nutty, with perfuminess looming. Not as impressed compared to last years. (705 characters)

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

Ah the Elf ! Thanks to Brluvr (Ted) for making it happen. I haven't been this excited about a beer for some time, I even bought a Mad Elf goblet/chalice from the brewery for the occasion.

Pours a beautiful reddish brown color with small head that is very intricately laced. Carbonation looks very lively.

Aroma is much deeper and complex than color would indicate.
Immediate is hit was a little licorice, followed by some honey and other complex malt flavors, I only got a very subtle cheery note after some time warming. Almost had a Trippel aroma to me.

Let sit for about 30 minutes before opening and 10 minutes after pouring (based on recent discussion about best temperature)

Here comes the first taste. . . .
Boy that's good. Excellent powerful malt taste upfront with just a hint of sweet cherries on the aftertaste and slight bitterness. Mouthfeel is very full and smooth yet you know you are drinking a high gravity beer. Reminds of a gentler Piraat with some nice fruit undertones. Ingredient bill says chocolate malt and I only got them as the beer really warmed up and the flavors really opened. i'm going to drink another at room temp (at least high 60's) and see what other flavors may open.
first experience with Troeg's, have a feeling I have to go on a pilgrimage at some point.

Great beer, I think 2 would be my limit. (1,356 characters)

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

A snap, crackle, pop accompanies the head, with bubbles bursting at the surface. Soon settles down into an off-white table top. Very nice lacing stretching across the glass. Body is a deep, clear red. Cherries shine thru the aroma, as soon as I started to pour. Taste features prominently everything mentioned on the label: cherries, honey, alcohol, and also the malt and hops don't get lost. The malt, honey, and the sense of alcohol create a sort of dopplebock quality, and the cherries are well balanced into the mix, featured but not overwhelming. I feel if you left the cherries out, you would still have a good beer. But I'm not suggesting that. I think the honey is really pulling everything together, balancing flavors, rounding the mouthfeel. I have never been a big fruit beer fan, but I am pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this. The stock is going fast, but give it a try if you have the opportunity. Tröegs continues to impress. (951 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.29/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found on draft at Mad Mex the Robinson location, I was just excited to see at tap handle from Troeg's. Appearance: Ruby tinted thin creamy white head little lacing alcohol wards this off. Aroma: Cherries soaked in alcohol with a mild tartness in the air, spices bringing more Christmas cheer, and the malts used a much more complex than bringing out a caramel / mild cocoa scent. Taste: Is comparable to a cherry liquer massive alcohol note sweeps the palate, very warming spicy with tart sweetness and a soft finish this one ties it together. Mouthfeel: Troeg's went MAD this beer has crazy amount of alcohol kicking, full syrupy mouthfeel definitely a one glass at a time type brew. Drinkability: Didn't get tired of the rich tones thought it would be overbearing I was served sixteen ounces of this fine nectar for six bucks not a bad deal. (843 characters)

Photo of frank4sail
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was very lucky to get the last of these at The Beer Yard. Yes quite a drive for me and always worth it.. (Matt is the man).. Jcalbi told me this beer was a must try "by any means get your hands on some". So here goes.. out of my Westmalle goblet: (one of the best labels i have ever seen on a holiday beer!)

Deep bright red sparkle colors swirl in the glass. A nice tan snow head on the pour this then leaves the glass quickly (ABV?). Wonderful crystral ruby look. Sweet cherry hop sharpness to the nose. Initial big bready, yeasty (belgian quality) to the taste. This sharp base then is smoothed by honey and hints of cherry on the tongue. Great balence for a big beer. Your mouth is left slightly dry and wanting more. The beer is not overly fruity or sweet at all, but that hint of honey and cherry skins hypnotise the palate. This is really a treat. If you shut your eyes you would think you were sitting in a bar in Brugge next to Jingle and Jangle (Santa's elfs in A year without a Santa Clause). I would buy more if I could!

PS.. caution after three or four of these you will have full conversations with Jingle... thanks Jcalbi (jim) for the heads up on this brew .... (1,185 characters)

Photo of Maestro
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a neat one. I am not a big fan of Belgian-style ales. I just don't get into the sweet stuff. But the cherries balance that out for me and this ale is nice because of that. The head is very thin but stays around for the duration of the glass. There is a nice lacing left on the glass. The first taste brings a warming feeling that is quite similar to a glass of wine. The honey adds a nice compliment to the sweet taste. The mouthfeel is quite nice. It seems to have a clean finish to each taste with a hint of spices. The alcohol is strong so you wouldn't want to have many, but there is a nice sense of winter drinkability to the beer. I live 40 minutes from the brewery and can't get my hands on any more. It sold way too fast. Ration it if you have it. Cheers (770 characters)

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

A small, quick dying head on top of a clear brown brew with amber notes. Nice aroma of cherries and cloves hit first. Other nice wintery spices are in the mix as well. I pick up some yeast and a bit of alcohol in there too. Very nice on the nose indeed.

This beer seems to be sucked into my tongue like a sponge. I have to squeeze it to let all the flavors come out, and they do so in great fashion. The start has a beautiful fruit flavor, which then gives you a hint of the alcohol. The warming character is excellent. Spices come in next led by clove. Slight notes of caramel are found occasionally as well. The finish is very balanced, and it leaves you with a spicy aftertaste. This is an excellent brew. The complexity is very nice, and even though it is a pretty heavy beer, it's body is not thick as to hinder drinkability to those who like something lighter. I could drink it all day. I only hope that a good amount of BAs got their hands on this one because it is excellent. (988 characters)

Photo of Edwin
4.53/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on tap at the Troeg's Brewery during their release party.

Appearance - A nice, deep brownish-red. Some initial head that disappears fast, similar to all Troeg's beers.

Smell - Smells like the holidays. Some sour notes with a cherry smell is evident in there. Hints of spices throughout.

Taste - Not for everyone, but will definitely satisfy most. Taste of sweet/sour on the entry and a leftover display of cherry, spice, and some other fruits I can't quite put my finger on. Definitely a different beer than anything I have ever tasted.

Mouthfeel - Strong yet smooth. A very powerful feel on the tongue. After two of these bad boys, it gets easier and easier to send down to the stomach.

Drinkability - It is very drinkable on a cold day. Reminds me of Christmas in frnt of a warm fire. Be careful...at 11% alcohol, this one will turn your Happy Holidays into 8 Crazy Nights if you aren't careful! (920 characters)

Photo of dmarch
4.06/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow, the appearance alone is worth making the purshase for. Deep ruby color with a fluffy off-white head. Aroma is more sugary than malty, must be from the honey, Taste is much of the same. Surprisingly, the cherry isn't as distinct as you would think. It is presant though and gives this a drinkability that you wouldn't expect from a 11% beer. (345 characters)

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

Poured a nearly clear cherry red color with no head at all. Just a thin ring of foam around the edge of the glass. Aroma is fruity and malty with strong notes of sweet cherries. I also detect yeast in the aroma. Has a nice crispness like a Belgian Tripel. Flavor is sugary sweet and syrupy with lots of cherries. Alcohol is well hidden, a pleasurable brew. (356 characters)

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