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Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,209 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,209
Hads: 3,654
Avg: 3.85
pDev: 26.75%
Wants: 224
Gots: 934 | FT: 24
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: 1,209 | Hads: 3,654
Photo of doppelmeup
3.15/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Light reddish pour into a chalice with a half inch head that faded quickly to a ring of lace. Very clear brew.

Tart pie cherries lead the way, just as advertised, with a slight cough syrup feel. Reminds me of Three Philosophers.

Kind of odd flavor. Slightly tart cherries prevail, pretty much drowning out any other flavors. Very one dimensional.

Dry, sticky mouthfeel. High ABV well hidden. Fizzy.

Overall, IMO this is a mediocre beer, kind of gimmicky. Lots of marketing but little substance. Not recommended.

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Photo of jdg204
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm from Central PA and had tried this on tap while visiting family and enjoyed it so much that I had to get a 6 pack for Christmas at home.

Appearance - Gorgeous ruby color with a nice head, incredible that you can still clearly see through the beer with that tint.

Smell - Cherries and honey (as they bottle states) are the most evident wonderful holiday smells, also has some nice spice aromas.

Taste - Very sweet, again cherries and honey were the order of the day, along with a bit of spice which frankly I expect a bit more of when having this type of brew. Still, this flavor will put you in that holiday spirit.

Mouthfeel - It was a bit thick and heavy (but hey look at the ingredients) to be honest, but still quite enjoyable. Definetly a sipping beer, but hey isn't that what you want sitting by the fire waiting for St. Nick ;).

Drinkability - Good brew though a bit sweet and not quite spiced enough for my liking. However, my wife who's less of a beer drinker LOVED it, so I recco this for all guys looking to get their wife to join them in a brew around the holidays. This will definetly put everyone in the holiday spirit.

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Photo of guinnessfan
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into oversized wine glass.

A: Stunning clarity, beauty and color. Pours a deep, golden red, with an orange hue. Small off-white head quickly fades into a lacing ring. Slightly better head would warrant a 5.

S: Sweet but mild, vague cherries and a perhaps a hint of spice, but I'm not sure about the spice.

T: Amazing, like a Belgian without the astringancy or the spice. Milder flavor than a Belgian, but the alcohol is pronounced, without being overbearing. The alcohol takes you right up to the edge, without crossing over the line. Sweetness from honey and cherries and alcohol, but not like cough syrup.

M: Smooth as silk, lightly carbonated, and leaves a nice sweet aftertaste.

D: As good as it is, the alcohol taste and effect keep the drinkability lower than ideal. 1 or 2 at a time would be plenty. I probably only drink a 6 pack/year of this wonderful brew. Kudos, to Chris and John for creating another great product. I'm trying to get to the brewery when they have this in the tasting room.

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Photo of psinderson
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in official glassware at the Sharp Edge Creekhouse.

Appearance: Beautiful deep amber red color with a thick, foamy white head. The color of this beer is a perfect compliment for the holidays.

Smell: Fruity and malty. I detect a bit of honey and maple, maybe also cherries. Smells yummy.

Taste: Extremely well blended and smooth. A great combination of cherry, honey and caramel. There seems to be a bit of citrus in there too.

Mouthfeel: Nice body and carbonation...great going down!

Drinkability: Anything with this much alcohol needs to go down slowly, but Mad Elf hides its strength well.

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Photo of BlindPig
4.51/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Cheers to Todd1 for hooking me up with a bottle of this.

A- Thin off white head on a clear deep amber body. Has a tint of orange in it too.
S- Big cherry aromas. Other candy like fruits also. Maybe some candyish sugar? Light spices, not much hop aroma, and a little pale malt in the back ground.
T- Some big cherries come up front right away which then fades into a more subtle sweetness with honey and some mellow spices. That then changes to a very light bitterness with the warming of alcohol at the same time. Maybe just a tad harsh on the warming but is still a nice touch. They do very well on covering up the alcohol in the taste.
M- Full body (maybe just a tad on the medium side) and low carbonation.
D- It is a very interesting and different brew. I really like it and probably would get it if I could. It is nice and complex and a lot of different levels of flavor.

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Photo of RBorsato
3.22/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Amber-chestnut color with a low tan ring for a head, low-no carbonation, and no lace... :-(. Light spicy cherry aroma with some maltiness. Sweet malty cherry-ish flavors ... a bit cloying with some honey-ish character. Medium bodied and flat with a light spicy sweet malt finish.

Not sure what all the hype is about since this is the second time in a few years I've tried this and I've not been impressed at all either time.

Per label: "Ale brewed with honey and cherries"

Per TBC website:
15 IBU's
Malts: Pilsner, Munich, Chocolate
Hops: Saaz, Hallertau
Pennsylvania Honey
West Coast Cherries

Bottled: 10/27/?? ('03' emb on bottom)
Tasted: 12/24/06

($1.79 / 12 oz.)

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Photo of jwc215
3.52/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours ruby red with a thin head that soon becomes a patch.

The smell is of cherries, honey and alcohol.

The taste is of tart cherries. Subtle hints of sweet honey and spicy, doughy yeast. Sharp alcohol. Malt and yeast dominate, with little input from hops. Sweettart, alcohol finish. Aftertaste is medicinal - almost like a cough drop. Medium-bodied and sharp. (Cellaring for a good while might mellow it.)

An interesting brew - fruity and sweet. A slow sipper.

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Photo of OStrungT
4.37/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a golden color with a light brown tint. It has a thin, off white head. The head fades quickly, leaving minimal lacing.

This beer has a fruity aroma. I smell raisins, and figs. It also has a slightly clovey spicy aroma. It has a slightly biscuity malt aroma also. The high alcohol content is very well hidden in the aroma.

This beer has a sweet malty flavor. I can taste some spicyness. It has a slight cherry flavor to it that I didnt pick up in the aroma untill I tasted it. As with the aroma, the ABV is well hidden in the taste.

This beer is smooth. It is full bodied, but not overly aggressive. It is only lightly carbonated. It leaves a sweet cherry like aftertaste.

This beer might not be the greatest session beer just because it is rather high in alcohol. It tastes good, and it mild enough that it might be easy to drink a few though.

Overall: Thanks go out to ggaughan for generously hooking me up above the agreed trade. This beer was good, and I am happy to have had the chance to try it.

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Photo of Enola
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is a nice orangish red. There is not a lot of head to speak of but there is plenty of yeasty sediment. The smell is sweet and slightly alcohol like, but the beer smells like Cheerwine. The taste is sweet, the cherries are somewhat evident. The honey is detectable a little in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is smooth considering the higher abv which is masked well. The drinkability is good. I could sip on these from time to time.

I have had this beer in the fridge for about a year and I figured tonight would be a good night to reveiw it and it seems as if several others thought the same thing. I will pick up some more of this beer the next time I am in Bristol, Va.

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Photo of Luchman
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a snifter, thanks to akorsak .

A: Just like the label says, a clear, ruby red color with light hints of amber to it. I got little head on my pour, which seemed to just race towards the sides. Reminds me of a red Jolly Rancher.

S: .A sweet, malty and spicy smell. The cherries can also be found, but it is subtle.

T: Yummy stuff right here. Malts, cherries, plums come in a first, ending with a nice finish of light spice. Has a long, slightly dry, finish that stays with you until your next sip. Alcohol comes into play as it starts to warm up, but nothing compared to what I expected from its 11% ABV.

M: A nice medium body that fits this beer great. Goes down smooth.

D: I personally, am not too big of a fan of the spices in any beer (so pretty much, I’ve never been too fond of Belgians), but I enjoyed this treat.The high alcohol percentage does hinder me from wanting to drink more than one of these in a sitting, but it does not stop me from wanting to revisit again. Find a Mad Elf for your self and enjoy!

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Photo of Imstillthegman
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Merry Christmas to the Mad Elf.

He poured out of the bottle a beautiful ruby red color with a nice to it. Fingers worth of white head really put me in the Christmas spirit...well maybe not, but it looked good. Lacing isn't a factor with this one.

The aroma is a funky Belgian one with some cherries, honey, caramel, and sweet bread.

Flavorful seasonal with tastes of holiday spices, funky yeast, sweet cherries and oh yeah...alcohol. Woo. I think I can breathe fire right about now. This is good, but I think it needs a little aging. Bit rough around the edges although I can see the tasty light at the end. I think I'll sit on some of this for a while.

Body is thinner than expected, yet a bit syrupy. Definately believe a little time in the cellar will help this one out. Right now one bottle is plenty, but with some age this should be even more enjoyable.

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Photo of russpowell
4.16/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an effervescent caramel/red with a thin filmy head. Minmal lacing & no head retention

S: Sweet, fruitty & hints of cherry& oakyness& a little booze as it warms

T: Dry with berry/cherry notes up front. Some woody/oaky character & a slight medicinal twang comes through. I also catch a little vanilla as it warms. A little warming alcohol is present as it warms. Finishes winey with cherry notes, slight chocolate & dryness

MF: Extremely low carbonation & slick

Drinks really easy for the abv, something a little different, but 2 of these beauties & you're done, This took the chill off a brutal winterstorming evening & certainally got me in the holiday mood! This would work with turkey or fruitcake. Mad props to GnomeKing for this one.

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Photo of albo
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I wait for the Christmas Season just so that I can get a case of the Elf. It truly does bring joy to my heart.

Anyway, on to the review.

Pours with little head that last a few seconds before disappearing.

Color is a brilliant, deep red.

Smell is traditionallly Belgian with faint hints of cherry.

The mouthfeel is smooth as silk like a great full-bodied wine.

The boys at Troegs have been tweaking the recipe nearly every year since its inception, but it seems as though they have finally hit the consistency that they have been shooting for. The bottom line is, it's a great beer for an equally great season!

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Photo of jhicks12
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured this beer into a pint glass, first thing I notice was the glowing ruby red color and white head. Beer had a sweet cherry aroma with just a slight honey nose. First taste really got a lot of cherry not some much sour on first taste but more so as I drank. Slight alcohol warming. Not as much as I would have expected from an 11%. Very drinkable and a nice beer to warm you up with out being too overpowering.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Foxman for this one.

Pours a clear dark amber color, nice carbonation, small head, nice lacing afterwards. The nose is of sweet malts, grassy/wheat, dark fruits (Cherries), belgian yeast, and caramel. The taste is sweet/malty, grassy, with a slightly dry finish, ABV hidden very well. Medium body, a complex brew. Very drinkable, does not remind me of an Belgian Strong Dark Ale at all, more like a Strong Pale Ale or WeizenBock.

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Photo of EStreet20
3.63/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Last year I reviewed this on Christmas Day. Can't wait that long for this year's edition.

12 ounce bottle poured into an oversized wine glass.

A - The beer pours out as red as a ruby with a compact off white head. The red color really is pretty.

S - Big fruit smell along with the distinct smell of Belgian yeast. Some alcohol character and some dark bready smell.

T - The initial sip is sweet but a tartness comes over this beer. I definitely get the cherries in there as well. Alcohol on the finish.

M - A bit of a lighter body than I expect for the style.

D - Intriguing, a lot of sour characteristics that I didn't expect yet are still welcome

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Photo of briscott99
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a nice dark reddish brown. A white head of about two fingers. A little bit of lacing on the glass.

Smell: Smells substantial.... bready, yeasty, but also a bit of sweet honey in there. Says it's brewed with cherries, but I'm not picking up that scent on the nose.

Taste: Cherries show up in the taste, but only slightly for me. SPICE... there is a big holiday spice component to this beer... shows up in the aftertaste. Nutmeg? This beer is really malty sweet. I don't detect much hop character at all... maybe a little bittering, but it's definitely overshadowed by the sweetness. This is almost like liquid candy. And for being 11% ABV I don't detect much alcohol in the taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a light carbonation.

Drinkability: I couldn't do more than one of these in a sitting. It's definitely interesting and leaves you with a lot to ponder, but I just wish it were a little less sweet.

Not my favorite, but definitely worth a try. It definitely tastes like the holidays to me.

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Photo of ellisdee97
3.4/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Light amber with a thin bubbly off white head, which leaves a nice ring. Bubbly lacing clings to the glass.

S: Deep mix of cherry, honey and alcohol. Toasted malt, a slight hint of hops and saccharin sweetness.

T: Very sugary sweet cherry and honey. Toast and warm alcohol. The cherry right now is too sweet but some age should help. Last year definitely had more of a deep chocolate base, which they coincidentally removed from the labels description.

M: Sweet, sticky and sugary. High carbonation.

D: Some age will help but right now it is too sweet. But a nice sipper overall.

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Photo of chadspivey
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

thanks to akorsak for the growler shipped overnight. poured into my st. bernardus oversized goblet.

A: pours a clear red amber color. Head dissipates really fast, but I like the way it settles, with the bigger bubbles.

S: dark fruits and belgian yeast. spices, dark maltiness

T: grapes, alcohol, belgian yeast, very faint apples. dark maltiness present .

M: medium body. Would have expected it to be thicker considering the class of beer and the alcohol content. still seems to compliment the taste really nicely. slightly velvety.

D: pretty sweet beer, but I'm getting pretty buzzed off just the one. If it werent for the drunkenness, I'd have more.

couldn't decide between 4.0 and 4.5 on the taste. I think I changed it about 4 times. I decided it was closer to 4.5.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.62/5  rDev +20%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired via trade from Silent Sabre, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him.
Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright copper color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of dark fruit (cherries & raisins) and caramelized malt, with a faint touch of Belgian yeast.

T: Flavors of dark fruit & Belgian yeast hit you up front and are pretty much the dominant flavors throughout. There’s a subdued malt character and the 11.00% ABV is no where to be found. After-taste is fruity.

M: Extremely smooth, light carbonation, light-to-medium body, clean finish.

D: Very tasty, not filling at all, goes down very easily. I’m not sure how the high ABV gets hidden so well in a beer that’s as light as this one, but it makes this beer dangerously drinkable. This is an excellent beer. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of adrian910ss: Poured a medium amber color ale with a small foamy head with average retention and lacing. Aroma of light cherry with some subtle spices and sweet malt. Taste is semi-sweet with cherry and sweet malt. Body is a bit light but alcohol is very well hidden. I was probably expecting a bit much from this beer, which is far from being bad but just not as complex as I had hoped.

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Photo of wesblount
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a nice reddish/amber color with about an eighth inch head that dissipates somewhat quickly

S: Has a nice fruity smell

T: Smooth, fruity (cherry) taste combined with a typical ale taste. Dominate alcohol aftertaste with hints of cherry.

M: Crisp, clean and refreshing

D: This is one of my favorite beers. Highly recommended!

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Photo of flexabull
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark amber with a decent head. Looks pretty good.

Beer smells like sour cherries with a bit of alcohol. Not bad... interesting aroma.

The flavor of this beer was a bit surprising. Reading that it was brewed with cherries I was thinking strong fruit notes. But in this one, the fruit definitely takes a back seat to the traditional beer flavors.. This one really reminds me of a strong Belgian ale. But instead of the apple flavors I usually taste from this style, the cherries show up just a bit, but they certainly aren't obvious. Interesting... it is almost like the cherry flavors were made without the addition of the cherries, they are that subtle. Very well made.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, but just a bit above average.

I was pleasantly surprised by this beer. Seeing that it was brewed with cherries, I was bit reluctant. (I am not a big fruit beer fan) But this is a very well made and enjoyable beer.

Thanks for the unique tasting beer Foxman!

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.37/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. Bottle thanks to zrrbrrt. The bottle features an elf who looks like he got a little crunk before Christmas and brought the cherries with him. I poured this one into a Chimay glass and the head dissipated super fast. The color is red and reminds me a little of cheery 7-up (only a little). It smells slightly syrupy and sweet with hints of cherry. I can barely taste the honey but the cherries are there. This definitely feels like a sipper and is probably going to take awhile. A decent beer but i could not drink more than one in a sitting.

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Photo of JasonA
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle from Corridor Wine and Spirits in Laurel MD. I picked up quite a few since Ive read such good things about this winter release.

Pours a beautiful clear reddish copper. Tiny head, little lacing, but staying power.

Smell is pretty perfect. Very surprised this small bottle of beer packs such a power boquet. Sweet, malty, fruit. Maybe raisin, cherry. Tough for my amateur nose to tell.

Yummy. Thin, with not much body. Does this beer need to cellar? Dried fruit maybe. Alcohol finish. The alcohol ending is really nice though. No bite really, solid alcohol flavor.

Solid carbonation. Sits nice. No real staying power, but the boquet does stay which is nice.

I voted pretty high on the drinkinability because I think this beers presentation and overall experience makes it very good to drink for a good period of time.

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Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,209 ratings.