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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: 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 UrbanCaveman
3.48/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, poured into a tulip glass at approximately 45 degrees F.

A: Pours a clear red-amber, that reminds me of a good Vienna lager. Forms a nice three-finger head of foam that quickly collapses to a cap and thick ring, which leaves decent lacing. Appears to be highly carbonated.

S: Sweet cherries over caramel malt open the aroma, with other yeasty undertones appearing, such as banana and plum.

T: The sweetness from the nose is present, alongside a wallop of tartness. Fruit flavors abound through this beer, with the cherries being front and center, surrounded by some fig and plum along the sides through the middle, and a distinct hint of banana at the finish. There's an alcohol heat that appears in spots as well, and a touch of spice flavor - clovey, not the usual winter beer suspects.

M: Sharp and prickly carbonation, this beer tries to bite back. Aside from that, it is a thin and light brew.

O: Not bad. I was honestly expecting a winter warmer when I picked this up, as opposed to a Belgian ale. I don't know if I'll repeat this one when it's on shelves next to Trois Pistoles for a comparable price point, but it was a pleasant surprise. (1,165 characters)

Photo of TimeBandit
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

I have had this before, and always found that the alcohol finish at the end reduced my enjoyment. Just opened a bottle that a friend kept in his cellar for close to a year. The beer aged quite well, in my opinion. The sweetness from the cherries and honey was still quite prominent, as was the yeast spice. But it seemed to me that it had mellowed and become smoother in terms of the alcohol heat. I am now motivated to pick up six to put away for next year. (463 characters)

Photo of matridium
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

Excellent.

this beer would get a 5 but I think if it was just a little lower in alcohol
flavor is right no for a festive brew for the holidays.

Nice for a cold winters night! (181 characters)

Photo of GameOfBeers
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

What is this beer?

Pours a ruby red, light head, terrific lacing.

Tastes like cherries and spice (go figure) but there is a deeper fruit profile I am still working on. A little sweet but not too sweet.

Smells of sweet cherries again.

Crisp and satisfying but not overpowering on the alcohol. Very balanced.

Overall, fantastic. Not exactly what I think of as a winter beer, but it has its moments. Definitely buying this again. (435 characters)

Photo of weirdohappy
4.75/5  rDev +23.1%

Vary, vary guut beer. reminds me of something. But not sure what. Beautiful amber color. Smells of wine? Like a chardonnay. But an amber chardonnay. And also called a beer. (172 characters)

Photo of teromous
2.89/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Dark transparent ruby brown ale with an eggshell white head that fades to a creamy layer on top of the beer. Some lacing. The red color of the beer gives it a nice holiday accent.

Aroma: Alcohol esters right off the bat, then there is a fig note. A slight scent of bananas at the end. It doesn't have much Belgian Yeast character on the nose.

Taste: Mellow flavor of banana chips and figs with a hint of caramel at the end. I should note that although the label states that this an "ale brewed with honey and cherries," neither of these characteristics are present. I don't get a honey flavor, and it doesn't give me that fermented honey "mead-like" flavor either. The ale itself tastes pretty average for a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, but don't expect cherry flavor from this.

Feel: Smooth, creamy mouthfeel with light carbonation. The alcohol is present enough that it is noticeable as a slight warming sensation at the back of the mouth, but the smoothness of the beer keeps it from burning. It is full bodied but not quite as thick as I would like from a BSDA.

Overall: It's pretty average stuff for a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. It has a slightly lighter mouthfeel than what is experienced traditionally, so if you find standard BSDA's to be too thick this might be right up your alley. For me it is a bit too light. It has a decent amount of flavor to keep me interested and enjoying the beer. I am disappointed in the distinct lack of honey and cherry flavor. For a BSDA it's a good beer but for a spiced holiday ale it lacks what people crave in a holiday beer. Drinking this early (at the end of October) with no presence of the advertised flavors, I can only imagine how it will taste in two months... (1,721 characters)

Photo of threeviews
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

12oz bottle (BOD: 09/25/14) into a Rastal Teku 2.0 glass...absolutely fresh!

A- Pours a beautifully clear, ruby red with <1/2 finger of a white head which disappears as quickly as it forms. (4.0)

S- Sweet, heady aromas of chocolate, stone fruits (cherry, plum, raisin), banana, honey and clove-like spice are all represented which blend very well. (4.5)

T- The fruity components are noticed first followed by a milk chocolate flavor across the palate. The finish is long and lingering, but far from cloying. (4.5)

M- Despite the lingering milk chocolate sweetness, it finishes quite dry, making this full-bodied beer easy to consume. Although not much head formed, the beer's carbonation is near-perfect. (4.75)

O- Regardless of category, this is a well-crafted beer...and perhaps one of the best in Troegs' profile. It blurs the lines between a Belgian Quadruple, Belgian Dark Ale, Fruit Beer and English Strong Ale. Very Unique and again, very well executed. If you have a love for big Belgian inspired beers, this is a must try! (4.5) (1,042 characters)

Photo of buzzedup
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

really enjoying this beer but I need to put half of my case away for a year or 2 maybe even 3 . this could be outstanding (world class ) with some age on them . (160 characters)

Photo of MikeWard
3.61/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

on tap at the Deer Lake Pub, Deer Lake PA, last Saturday. From a barrel that had been held back over the winter for the "Xmas in July" feature. Not a big fan of this beer, but wanted to see if the age smoothed out the spices a bit.

Came to the bar in a 5oz snifter, which I appreciated, since I was a bit wary of this one. ($5.00 tab was less appreciated) Cloudy amber color with a thin off white head. The head persisted well, and left some very nice lacing.

Smell was of yeast, sweetness, banana, and a hint of booze. Wasn't getting too much in the way of spices.

Although the spices were muted, and only faintly present, the beer seemed to me to be all sweetness and booze, with a good wash of Belgian yeast. I wouldn't say it was unpleasant, but just didn't do it for me. I know others rave about this as a holiday beer. Just not my cup of tea I guess.

Mouth was a quite a bit above medium, with a syrupy feeling to it.

Overall, a good one for those who like the style, interesting to revisit it, but wont be on my Xmas shopping list. (1,044 characters)

Photo of LambicPentameter
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to BA SammyJaxxx for sending this along. Reviewing from notes after drinking on 3/25/14. Enjoyed out of a 12 oz brown bottle and I didn't write down a bottling/enjoy by date, most likely because there isn't one to be found. That said, it's a winter seasonal from the most recent winter, for a guesstimate on age. Poured into a large snifter glass.

Appearance - Pours a deep maroon red with hints of wine coloring and a pretty translucent body that would likely allow me to see right through it if it wasn't so dark in color. Atop the body sits a half finger of off-white foam that recedes to a film across most of the liquid, but with thicker buildup in a ringlet around the edges as well as a collection of larger bubbles on one side of the glass, frothy from the pour. Not really any lacing to speak of.

Smell - Initially the fruity yeast profile you expect from a BSDA, but not in the vein of dark fruits. More along the lines of cherry and possibly red plum, with sweet phenols and some winter spice as well as faint impressions of the honey. It's a little one note for my expectations from the style, which is often one of the more complex out there, with lots of layers of flavor from the yeast and malts. This one is bordering very close to fruit beer in the smell.

Taste - Very similar to the aroma in that it has some of those quintessential BDSA/Quad characteristics, but like a shallow version. Notes of cherry and light fruit sweetness as well as some faint baking spice and esters from the yeast. Not much bitterness from hops or toasted malt at all, with fruit and some notes of King's Hawaiian sweet bread.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied and moderate to light carbonation, with a slightly sweet finish and aftertaste.

Overall, a nice beer, but not one that blows me away by any means. It's simple and unassuming, but is having to fight an uphill battle against my expectations for the style. Just a bit more depth of flavor--maybe some bitterness to counter the sweetness, or some flavor profiles beyond the sweet would be helpful. (2,053 characters)

Photo of Beastcpa
5/5  rDev +29.5%

This is the beer that made a mixed drink person a beer person. It is the best holiday beer in the world, period.

Hold it for up to 5 years, as it only gets better. Have a case in my basement from 2013 for 2014 and beyond. Drink 3 of these and you will be stone cold drunk and happy. (284 characters)

Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 8/18/2013. Pours fairly crystal clear ruby red color with a 2 finger fairly dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big raisin, plum, cherry, pear, apple, fig, light banana, honey, caramel, toast, candi sugar, bread, light chocolate, light nuttiness, herbal, light clove, light bubblegum, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and fruity/earthy yeast ester notes; with good strength. Taste of big raisin, plum, cherry, fig, pear, apple, light banana, honey, caramel, toast, light chocolate, candi sugar, bread, light nuttiness, light clove, herbal, light bubblegum, and yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of raisin, plum, cherry, fig, pear, apple, light banana, honey, caramel, toast, candi sugar, light chocolate, light clove, herbal, bread, light nuttiness, and herbal/yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice complexity of dark/bready malt and yeast ester flavors; with a nice malt/yeast flavor balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice Belgian strong ale. All around good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and fruity/earthy yeast ester flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A very enjoyable offering. (1,497 characters)

Photo of ThickNStout
3.56/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from GreenMonster12 (thanks Jay!). Bottled 9/13/12. Served in a goblet.

Pours a ruby hued chestnut with about one finger of pale cream head that quickly receds to a thin cap before disappearing completely without leaving any lace.

Aromas of cherry skins, raisin, caramel and a yeasty apple-like note.

Flavors of bright cherry preserves, bitter fruit skin, dark fruit, caramel, Belgian yeast, a little honey and a pretty healthy dose of alcohol. The booze blends a little better as it warms up. Pretty good

Medium body with fairly sharp carbonation. Boozey finish with cherry skin, caramel and yeast.

While I think 1 is plenty for me in a sitting, this is a decent American take on the Belgian strong dark ale style. The cherry and honey additions give it character that helps elevate Mad Elf above other similar brews. I won't go hunting more but this is something I would certainly enjoy again someday. (925 characters)

Photo of bleedsblu
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Poured from an ice cold bottle into a glass.

I gave it an aggressive pour into a bottle, which produced an 1/2 inch head with a little carbonation and it had a nice amber color.

It smells fresh, I'm not getting the cherries at the scent anyway.

It has a nice mouth feel, thick and not bitter.

It has a good taste, its a nice ale, I'm not really getting the honey or cherries but the flavors are good.

Overall its a good beer and I'm looking forward to the promotional special beer and glass coming out soon, this is an ABV of 11% so this seasonal is certainly a sipper that I highly recommend. (604 characters)

Photo of Goblinmunkey7
2.7/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Uh thanks angrybabboon?

Appearance: Mostly clear brick reddish copper. Heamalt a very dirty white. Bubbly and thick, settles to a small cap and slightly larger bubbly collar. Minimal lacing and carbonation.

Smell: Alcohol, honey, cherry skin and some juicy cherry flesh. Syrupy with some bready caramelized malts. A bit of clover and some sweet malt base. Almost malt syrup sweetness. Cherry juice. Fruit leather. Pretty sweet. Yup.

Taste: Cherry leather fruit syrup with a serious honey drizzle. Sweet, cherry flesh, mildly tannic. Some other vague dark fruit. A touch grassy in the back. Cherry sweetness. Slightly roasted malt with some caramelized malt sweetness. Honey drizzle. Sweet, but not cloying. Borders on it though. Warming amps up booze and honey sweetness. Cherry starts to run medicinal as well. Hyper boozy.

Mouthfeel: A bit syrupy up front and then hits a bit thin on the finish. Moderate carbonation and surprisingly clean.

Overall: Buddy is a better elf.

Sweet cherry fruit leather with honey. Maybe an ounce or two with a bit more refinement. (1,073 characters)

Photo of angrybabboon
3.2/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Split with Goblinmunkey7

Consumed 3/25/14

Appearance: Clear, ruby red - pours with a medium-sized, off-white head - fades to a wispy cap, leaves a few streaks of lacing

Smell: Dark malts and a ton of cherries - cherries to the max, kind of like a cross between cherry preserves and cherry-flavored cough syrup - some honey, but it's more of a straight-up sugar - some Belgian yeast, with some spices, clove, banana, and bubblegum - very sweet and very boozy overall

Taste: Sweet, boozy, spicy - apparently this is a winter warmer of sorts that was meant to be slowly sipped over the course of a multi-day snowstorm - a borderline absurd amount of cherry, with a side of cherry cough syrup - lots of honey flavor - like with the cherry, there's a bit too much honey - Belgian yeast, with some serious clove, banana, bubblegum, and a big dose of phenols - some dark caramel malts, with more sugar - the sweet malts, cherry flavor, and phenolic yeast create something that definitely tastes reminiscent of some kind of medicine

Mouthfeel: More or less a full body, with some syrupy stickiness, finishes with booze

Overall: Elf medicine, engineered to cure sobriety (may cause diabetes)

Cherries, honey, and Belgian yeast are all good things. But in excess, I can't say I'd recommend it. I'm glad I didn't have to drink the whole bomber. (1,340 characters)

Photo of jdhowe
3.84/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage poured into a Firestone Walker tulip.

A: Pours a slightly hazy red amber with 1 finger of straw-colored head that dissipates to a foamy ring.

S: Cherry, wheaty malt, corn, honey, and a hint of alcohol.

T/M: Prickly carbonation up front with a medium mouthfeel. Up front is honey and malt sweetness with a slight bitterness. Plenty of malt sweetness accompanied by a very mild bitterness throughout. Cherry is not very prominent. Finish is coating, almost a little drying, with a bittersweet lingering flavor.

O: While reviewing this, it strikes me that my opinions of it are not really all that high on this beer in individual metrics, and yet I quite like the beer. Really a nice, unique holiday ale that doesn't overdo its "holiday" flavors, while doing a really nice job of dealing with its 11abv. Drinks much closer to 9, but with a little bit of heat. Bumping this up a bit in overall for that reason; I think this beer comes together quite nicely. (970 characters)

Photo of GOBLIN
3.99/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aromas of cherries. Slightly boozy taste but at 11% it's not really an issue. Decent amount of carbonation. I always look for this around Christmas time as it is a favorite of mine. Get a little extra whenever you see it and age it a year . . . The honey will really come through and add a new dimension to this brew. Perfect for those cold winter months. (355 characters)

Photo of CGiusti23
3.61/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 3.75

I really enjoyed Troegs Mad Elf. It had a great after taste and for having a high ABV, it was pretty smooth. The only problem I found with it, as well as others around my have said, is that it's one of those beers you could only have one or two in one sitting. Overall a great beer for the holidays. (299 characters)

Photo of RVigz
4.34/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: The appearance of this beer is a ruby red color with about a quarter inch of head that dissipates quickly.

S: the smell is a sweet cherry and malty smell

T: the taste is similar to the smell, with a prominent cherry taste upfront with a slightly malty/alcoholic aftertaste. slight vanilla chocolate aftertaste that fades out with honey. very delicious. I drank this beer from a tulip glass.

M: mouthfeel was very smooth and not too carbonated, sweetness overpowered alcohol. (480 characters)

Photo of KTCamm
4.48/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a bottle into a tulip glass. 1/14

Pours crimson red with very little foam. Cranberry juice appearance. Cherry oak nose. Honey too. Pickly taste, oaky back. Firm alcohol pop. Sips great, and packs a sneaky wallop. Earth bitter in back. Great for a cold day. Excellent. (280 characters)

Photo of BMMillsy
3.61/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Got this as an extra but forget from who. Thanks awesome trader. Bottle says 2010-2011 so I assume this has been in a cellar for a while. Pours murky amber colored with nearly no head at all. A nice aroma of super sweet caramel, cherries, honey, some booze, maybe some Belgian yeast influence. Flavor is bready malt with a bit of yeast spice, definite sweet cherry presence, caramel, plums, figs. Big heavy slick mouthfeel with low carbonation. Definitely on the sweet side but pretty enjoyable. A bit of oxidization has settled in but that's ok. I would have this again. (571 characters)

Photo of TreyIsWilson
3.79/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a deep red with a very thin white head. The head dissipates extremely quickl.

S - Cherries and yeast with some maltiness.

T - Cherries right upfront with lots o banana, clove, and bubblegum flavors. There is also a good alcohol in the finish.

M - Medium body with high carbonation. Sticky mouthfeel.

O - Nice holiday beer. Definetly a sipper. (357 characters)

Photo of HattedClassic
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The beer pours a fairly light and off white head that dissipates quickly. The beer itself is a beautiful and clear ruby red. The smell has strong hints of honey and a fruity yeast smell but very little else. The cherries also come out and mix very well with the other smells.

The taste has strong cherry and honey taste with a hop and fruity taste from the yeast. The combination of the ingredients also create a slightly strawberry flavor as well. The taste comes out a little bit medicine like with the cherries but not too much. Slight hint of booze.

The feel is a little bit flat with almost no carbonation. Creamy feel. Overall, a decent beer and nice on a cold night. (675 characters)

Photo of MacQ32
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage

A - pours a cloudy amber brown with a finger of tan colored head, OK retention and pretty decent but loose lacing.

S - Sweet cherries, honey, slightly sour, oaky booze aromas.

T - sweet honey and light boozyness, cherries. A little Mediciny due to the cherry+booze combo but very nice. Quite well balanced/tame

M - minimally carbonated, smooth, silky and nicely drinkable. (389 characters)

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