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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

3,497 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,497
Reviews: 1,206
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 15.25%
Wants: 194
Gots: 754 | FT: 23
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: 3,497 | Reviews: 1,206 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ElGuapo
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
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.

Photo of TheBierBand
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a sixer of this on my latest beer run. Never having been let down by Tröegs.... I was confident that this one would not dissappoint.

Poured into a pint glass to form a 1" head. The head was beige in color and had great retention. Color was deep carmel amber.

Nose: Fruity, malty, lots going on here.

Taste: Really good... mirrors smell. Nicely complex.

MF: Not as effervescent as many belgians.... but that's OK with me.... a bit creamier... a bit heartier.

Drinkability: Could sneak up on you.... but goes down easy.

Photo of coalcracker
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark golden hue with light but activation carbonation.
Smell: Aroma is spicy and a bit sweet. Fruity aroma of cherry and dark fruits also noted. Very complex aroma.
Taste: Bready malt base first noted, then a wave of sweet cherry and dark fruits hits soon after. Candi sugars lead the way in the sweetness department. Finish is a little boozy and warming but smooth.
Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel but very smooth and warming at the end.
Drinkability: Not so drinkable by ABV. An enjoyable beer meant to be sipped. Might be a little too sweet for some.

Overall- probably one of the more complex beers I've ever had, which is a good thing. Good seasonal brew in a class of its own.

Photo of yeagerbm
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
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.

Photo of misternebbie
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%

Photo of daveytheformer
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz from 2010 Gift Box!
A big thanks to canjeeps for this pain in the ass to ship

Poured into a Mad Elf chalice

Appearance is a nice clear red with a thin white head that fades to some lacing. Golden hued when held up to the light.

Smells sweet and like light pumpkin spice. A not so tart cherry aroma is also detected.

Tastes fruity, sweet and spicy. Light butter tastes followed by lots more spice. A little creamy with just a very light tartness, not really sour just a very light tart flavor.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with not a whole lot of carbonation.

Overall is great! Looking forward to getting more of this and more Troegs stuff.

Photo of ggaughan
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005 bottle. Although I have tried all 3 years of Mad Elf, I have not done a vertical of them yet but plan on doing in the future. Maybe around Christmas.

The 2005 poured a nice shiny amber color with a medium thickness light brown head that disipated pretty quickly after completing the pour into the Mad Elf glass. And what a lovely glass it is.

You can pick up the spice notes in this beer upon smelling it and even more spice (nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon?) once you get a good taste. The cherry taste is not overly noticeable but still adds a nice touch to this stellar beer.

It is hard to tell that this baby is 11% abv with how suprisingly smooth it is and goes down. That is why I like it so much and go back each year to try some.

Can't wait to get my hands on a 3litre of this for the holidays.

Photo of mntlover
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer pours a clear ruby amber color I don't know why but I like beers that look red for some unknown reason, caps with a tan head ever so briefly no lace but at 11% no suprise. Aroma is sweet fruity cherry but also apples on top of honey and malt with light hints of chocolate malt but very light. Smells very good some alcohol is also present but it compliments the fruity aroma and is not a distraction. Taste is sweet fruity cherries dipped in honey that linger until light choclate picks up and adds some to the sweetness followed by lingering alcohol enhanced very light bitterness thats slightly sour like green apples maybe more so then any hops. A light spice tingle is also felt thru out the experience but very light and for me undefinable. Alcohol is evident thru out but always in the background and complimenting the experience it warms the body and the soul hard to believe it is 11% taste more like 8%. Mouthfeel is suprisingly medium was expecting something little heavier but that makes it that much more dangerous. Drinkability is great this is one hell of a seasonal beer very well done.

Photo of ManWithNoName
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of WuKAZUKI
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - wrapping paper red mixed with amber

S - like a holiday fruit cake

T - candied cherries and red apples doused in dark honey with a huge hit of alcohol

M - its like a christmas in my mouth

D - Very drinkable...esp at that awkward christmas party I was dragged to. That high alcohol catches us to you wayyy too easily

Overall - my favorite holiday ale. definitely worth the hype

Photo of brureview
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Is this beer esteemed by The Mad? Perhaps. That's why it doesn't get better ratings.

Although the brewer suggests higher serving temps, i started lower at 45 and contemplated its changes in aroma and taste.

Beautiful ice tea color in a tulip with a 3 F head which soon resolves itself.

Aroma: Cinnamon-clove. Different than other cloves in Belgian ales. More earthy-barnyard.

The mouth feel is moderately carbonated which transitions well into the taste.

The taste at colder temps: cherries, hops., cough drops, honey, cinnamon. This is a complex taste- a different complexity than other beer styles such as Imperial stouts. There is less nuance here, and more crazy flavor. There is a singular cherry-honey taste.

As the beer begins to warm up- the esters become more apparent. Fruit- cherry, and a sweet finish.

There is also more cinnamon, hops, and a light alcoholic finish. The cherries intensify with warming.

With more warming there is an off taste- nail polish?

Perhaps I like this beer more at colder temps. The changes in the beer at different temps makes it quite notable.

This is a beer esteemed by The Mad.

Photo of Fish113d
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005 edition: Poured from a growler brought home from the brewery and into a Mad Elf tulip glass.

Pours a reddish copper color with a nice dense 1 1/2" beige head that slowly fizzles to a nice creamy looking surface layer of about 1/8" with some very nice cling on the sides of the glass.

Aroma is mostly of holiday cherries along with some very floral aromas. Not as spiced as the first year's release. Some maltiness comes through as well, and a tiny bit of alcohol on the nose.

Sipping, I notice sweet and a little tartness of the cherries along with a slightly floral flavor I think from the yeast. Hops are not very apparant. A bit of drying hits at the end with a twang of alcohol hitting my tongue on the finish. Not as complex as previous years, but a wonderfully tasting brew. I've waited 12 months for this, and it's heavenly!

Lightly carbonated, full-bodied. A bit of alcohol hits at the finish, but is mild considering the 11% its marked as.

Overall, very drinkable at 11%!!! It's a wonder that people can drink a 6-pack of it, get sick, and pass out by the halftime of the Super Bowl (inside joke)!

Photo of Kenmo1985
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A very strong Belgium ale that as a sweet taste that counteracts the alcohol taste very well, a slight hint of cherry flavoring, which is nice, unlike other Cherry Flavored beers that can be to overpowering and taste like cough syrup. the smell is sweet and robust. mouthfeel is smooth as it enters your lips. overall i gave the beer a 5 and i highly suggesst that you get this beer it is very much a winner in my book.

Photo of kushlash23
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of goldzconv
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Gavage
4.34/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal clear reddish amber color. Starts off with a nice 1" head, but it disappears rather quickly, and I mean nothing, not even a surface foam.The aroma is sweet and lightly tart, as cherries, malt, cinammon and alcohol are easily detectable.

The flavor is complex. Thick malt is matched with cherry, apple, yeast, alcohol, honey, cinammon, nutmeg, and some other spices. What makes this interesting is that the flavors come at different times during the taste, like cherry and malt up front and honey and alcohol at the end. As it warms the flavors became more intense.

Mouthfeel was thick and syrupy at the start and finish. The malt seemed to stick to the tongue, and an alcohol kick came just after swallowing. This is a super brew, but for sippin' and relaxing on a cold evening only.

Photo of Kitt
4.34/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From bottle to pint glass, a deep, dark, rich brick-red color. Almost non-transparent. Very weak, thin head with little lacing.

Aroma a malty-cherry; as advertised, a heavy belgian dankness - weighty, humid, musty.

A sinus-clearing, spicy, heavy malt with rich fruity tones. The biting bitter feel with an eclectic lingering spice flavor and a cherry backbone is a lasting and masterful conglomeration. A fantastic spice and fruit face-off that I won't soon forget!

Heavy yet smooth -- sliding right along the throat with no sense of friction!

Drinkability is limited only by the 11 % ABV -- yes, I think there may be a limit here!

I have heard so much about this beer. I was desperate to find it despite the fact I don't like fruity beers. But the fruit is well balanced by the bitter spice and I think the two really complement one another. Walked right into the local liquor store and there it was, the elf staring me in the face! I couldn't find the stuff last season! I am not disappointed with the beer itself -- it is very unique and very good! I only question if it is really worth 14.99/six pk when I'm an hour's drive from the brewery. Perhaps I will answer that question after a couple more rounds! Regardless, this is a worthy belgian-style ale and not far from a top-notch brew!

Photo of RVigz
4.34/5  rDev +12.1%
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.

Photo of Risser09
4.34/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a white wine glass - 2007 bottling - Cellar temp

Appearance: Pours a transparent brown color with red and orange highlights. The off-white head reaches 1" and shows decent retention.

Smell: Strong Belgian yeast aroma. Dark cherry and orange peel. Sweet like cherry blossom. Biscuity, with a dash of black pepper. Slight red licorice aroma.

Taste: Belgian yeast & dark cherry flavors. Honey rests in the background and tastes more like a biscuit. Doesn't come across as a booze ridden beer as the abv would have you believe.

Mouthfeel: Medium to thick body with a nice, sweet character. Heavily malted with the right amount of fruit. Warms the belly.

Drinkability: Enjoying this so close to summer was no problem for me. A very solid beer worth enjoying yearly.

Photo of easement
4.34/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours amber red/garnet with a small off-white head. little head retention. no lacing.

S- Honey and spices. I detect sweet fruit.

T- Fruits and sweetness. notes of maple and honey. Hints of cherry, but it's not overwhelming.

M- Very smooth. Small amounts of carbonation. Very syurpy.

D- Surprisingly drinkable for 11%. I could drink a few.

Serving type: bottle

Photo of renegadeburger
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

heard a lot about this beer so decided to try it with our tasting of red ales okay so its not really a red ale by category but it is by color haha plus i had already tried the hopback amber

smells awesome and just like the appearance deep red chestnut definitely tell this one is a monster underneath a cherry spice and plum aroma there was a big booze aroma not that i didn't like it sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't and this time it happened to work really well

the taste was really super delicious the chocolate comes in the end but there is a bitter cherry pit taste too its funny it almost is on the verge of being really really great but its held back just a little bit by something

my favorite thing about it is the pure mouthfeel of this beer it has a real nice thick but not overpowering coating it gives you really nice!

nice seasonal brew and glad i tried it

Photo of bsp77
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Clear pinkish-copper with not too much head.

Smell: Cherries, bananas, sweet dark fruit, toffee, clove and a general spiciness.

Taste: The Belgian yeast is not as evident as in the aroma - just a hint of banana. Somewhat reminiscent of a huge Old Ale (toffee, caramel, dark fruit) with an additional layer of cherries and a strong spiciness, especially toward the finish. It seems as if the spiciness is more from the yeast than hops, so maybe the Belgian yeast is noticeable.

Feel: Medium to full body that is somewhat syrupy but very smooth. Moderate carbonation, with a semi-dry finish. For an 11% abv beer, this has very little heat. Remarkable.

Overall: This is delicious - a cacophony of subtle flavors that add to a very complex, yet dangerously drinkable, festive ale.

Photo of kpantz
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Executive Summary: I'm consistently amazed by the quality of the stuff coming from the Troegs brothers. The Mad Elf, year in and year out, is one of those "must buy a case or two" seasonals for me. As my 2006 supply runs out, I look forward to August, when it's been brewed again and I can start the countdown to late autumn when I can get my grubby paws on it.

2006 version.

Appearance: Ruby-amber pour into my chalice with very little head. Barely even a film remains...more of a ring. The color sure is purdy, however...

Smell: Belgian yeasts and cherries. The honey is present as well. Smelling this just reminds me of decorating for Christmas.

Taste: Sweet and tart at the same time. Definitely can discern the pilsener malt as well as both the honey and the cherries. Warming alcohol to finish. Not much in the way of hop presence, but what is there is nice - Czech, I would imagine. A great add-on strategy for a Belgian base. The flavor combinations work wonderfully.

Mouthfeel: Moderate and tight carbonation - very pleasant, enhancing the flavors. It's a sweet brew, but manages not to be sticky.

Drinkability: Unfortunately for my wife, my toilet, and eventually my liver, this is one damn drinkable beer. I could easily put back a full sixer of these in a session. Hopefully I'm done decorating the tree by then. ;)

Photo of Suds
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I’d been wanting to try this beer for some time. I’d read about it, and even heard about it on a tour of the brewery. This was my first chance. It pours a red, slightly hazy color with a thin head. The head is slight, and disappears quickly. The aroma is intense, and predominately of sour cherries. Underneath, there is a malt-like sweetness and alcohol. The taste is fruity, malty, and fairly complex. Medium to heavy body, with low carbonation. An alcohol warming sets in as you drink this one…but the effect on taste well hidden for an 11% ABV. This is excellent!

Photo of riversider76
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice copper with a thin white head. Good retention and nice lacing. Aroma is of sweet cherry,honey and dark fruit. Body is medium with some carbonation. Taste is of sweet ripe fruits with cherry up front. Bread and honey in the finish. Excellent!!

Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 3,497 ratings.