Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

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Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

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BA SCORE
87
very good

3,571 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,571
Reviews: 1,223
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 15.25%
Wants: 210
Gots: 855 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,571 | Reviews: 1,223
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle. Pours a clear amber with no head. Aroma of honey, melon, and sweet malt. Flavor of sweet fruits, honey, yeast, and melon with sweet cherry in the finish kind of like a cherry slushie. A little sweet but drinkable.
Appearance: 3/5
Aroma: 6/10
Palate: 3/5
Flavor: 6/10
Overall: 13/20
3.1/5

Photo of rjs246
3/5  rDev -22.5%

Based on the nose alone, which was super heavy in both cherries and honey, I wouldn't have even finished the bottle. But the flavor was actually pretty nice. Honestly couldn't even detect the cherries. Not my thing but certainly drinkable.

Photo of hustlesworth
3.02/5  rDev -22%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- fizzy and vigorous buff colored head shrinks down quickly to a nare-nutta not much at all. similar to cola actually. no lace on a very clean tulip. body however is striking ruby red and rusty burnt sienna but due to its mega abv looks flat and disappointing.

S- smells very belgian, hints of chocolate, dark fruits like raisins, prunes, figs, dates, mineral water, spicy clove and banana yeast, pepper, blackberry, some wet dog, sweet honey, floral alcohol, but mostly yeasty and pale pilsener aromas with a fruity background.

T- more mineral water and a fresh grainy cereal flavor that is very appealing. there's a continual underlying fruity sweetness but i can't quite say that cherries or honey stand out. sweetness is not distinguishable from the rock candy syrup (or any other high sucrose simple syrup) that i typically associate with run of the mill belgian knock offs. more notes of milk chocolate and a clean floral hop bitterness but the most exciting part of this one for me is the taste of fresh lightly toasted grain and flavorful, albeit generic, yeast spiciness. finishes sweet with a little bit of residual dired cherry-sherry-wine tannin flavors and my beloved graininess lingers along with it. i will say however that the whopping 11% abv is very well hidden by fruity notes, sugar, and yeast esters.

MF- sugary acidic honey feeling, in this aspect the honey really reveals itself. more grain feeling as well. medium-low carbonation and an almost full slightly syrupy body. alcohol finally becomes evident as i burp and get a flash of heartburn, as well as a sugared dryness as finishing flavors diminish.

D- without being a dick, i'm glad i didn't save this elf til christmas eve. more than subtle, the special ingredients were totally subdued and could have been achieved merely with the magic of yeast, malt and hops, and a lil bit of rock candy. im treating it more like a generic wine than a really good belgian.

Photo of Lanstrum
3.04/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

An interesting beer for the holiday

Photo of brighteyes868
3.04/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Eh....just decent. I don't think I'd get it again.

Photo of sweemzander
3.05/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz. bottle poured into a tulip. No bottled date found. Huge thanks to mb2696 for the bottle!

(A)- Pours a clear pale ruby color that produced an off-white head that dissipated quickly.

(S)- Lots of cherries with a honey sweetness. Very much like a cherry pie with honey drizzled on it.

(T)- Tart cherries with a big honey sweetness.

(M)- A low carbonation level. Rather sweet & syrup like. A huge fruitiness. Much too syrupy & sweet for the style as well as my tastes. It gets more & more bitter the further into the bottle I went.

(D)- Tastes good, but is far too sweet & syrup-like to enjoy more than a glass in one sitting. Especially disappointing considering the style it is classified under. Seems much more like a fruit beer than a belgain strong dark.

Photo of zeledonia
3.05/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2011-2012 vintage. Tasted 24 November 2011, reviewed from notes.

Pours a very dark brownish amber, a warm tone with slight reddish hints. About a half-finger of light yellowish-tan head, decent retention and lacing.

Smell has sweetness galore: cherry and honey. On the upside, the alcohol doesn't come through, which to me makes it much more pleasant than the taste.

Taste is similar to the smell, with a fair amount of cherry and a distinct honey sweetness. Quite sweet, and spiced with fruit and honey. I liked it up to this point, but then it turned over to a rough alcohol sharpness that I really didn't like.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy body, quite syrupy and thick. Medium-low carbonation, with a long bitter finish.

This is almost a very tasty beer. I'd say it has most of the elements of a very tasty beer. But the alcohol brings a pronounced sharp bitterness, which I find quite unpleasant. Okay, the ABV is high, but it's not well-hidden at all. And it's not like a pleasant kick, but rather a grinding, grating scrape of the mouth. Boo.

Photo of kenpo23
3.05/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

oh christmas beer oh christmas beer....

A: pretty flat, with no head. pretty red color that some irish red ales dont even have.

S: nice fruity smell. i can smell the cherry (and it doesnt smell like cough medicine to me) and honey.

T: wow, smooth. i can't taste the honey at all but my other half, the super taster, is amazed that i can't taste it. the alcohol taste didn't really hit me.

D: sip away. i cant imagine trying to pound one of these.

nothing extra special about this beer. its very much got a holiday flavor to it though. i bought one for christmas and i will do the same next year, but no more than one for me.

Photo of scottyg354
3.05/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Pour almost Cherry Wood in color with a short lasting head. Not much lacing with this beer. Just a nice color

S: Cherry and Maltiness with a slight spice and sweetness.

T: Cherry Cough Syrup w/ malt. Not to good at all.

M:Smooth but lacking in carbonation.

O: Not sure why so many people actually enjoy this beer. Oh well, to each there own. Much better holiday seasonals out there.

Photo of barknee
3.05/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Mad Elf pours a medium mahogany red; just like Birch Beer. Active carbonation on the pour gives ya' a "weffer thin" head. Wow.. the nose is actually like birch beer soda or sarsaparilla, having a structured root beer element to it. But this stuff ain't for kids! Though the aromatics are in the forefront, there is no denying the absolute Belgian component to this brew. As all these flavors and aromatics are wrapped around candy sugar and Belgian like yeast strains; banana, allspice , and clove, these are indeed the Triad of Belgian nose candy.
An original and well made beer!

Photo of joeboe2001
3.06/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Is there something different--and I don't mean better--about ME2013? My wife and I eagerly ordered pints last night at our favorite watering hole. We have enjoyed ME annually since about 2002, and eagerly anticipate it's release each year. But this year--at least last night, In Chester, MD--it tasted like a different brew. Very malty, as usual, but a distinct lack of the cinnamon, cardamom, anise, and other wintry spices we thought we were used to. Still drinkable, but we did not go back for seconds!

Photo of nasty15108
3.06/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a pint glass.

A - Poured a clear amber/orange color with slightly off white head that quickly dissappeared.

S - Slight aroma of chocolate covered cherries with lots of alcohol.

T - More of the same. Lots of alcholic heat and a bitter/tart finish.

MF&D - I think it would be little tough to drink this all night.

Photo of grego
3.06/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer was from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Poured very red with not much head that didn't last long. the smell is malty with some spicyness to it - hard to describe for me. The taste is the same sweet, cherries, cinnamon. Mouthfeel is very dry. I like Troeg's beers a lot but this one is not a style I prefer. If you like a stronger holiday style beer then I imagine this would be great, just not my thing.

Photo of mzwolinski
3.07/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Hazy red in color, with a thin uneven top.

The aroma is sweet and malty. Cherries and honey are understated at first, but give signs of a bit too much sweetness down the road.

The flavor is not bad right out of the fridge. A bit sweet with hints of cherry and very little in the way of hops. Alcohol almost completely undetectable. Nothing terribly stand-out about it, but certainly drinkable

As it warms, the malt and alcohol combine to give the beer a cinnamon-bread character. This is one of the more pleasant aspects of the beer.

As it continues to warm, however, the beer becomes a bit cough-syrupy … too sweet and sticky in the throat. And the warmer it gets, the worse it gets. Even at 55 degrees, it's pretty awful.

Photo of brewsclues
3.07/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Deep crimson that is perfectly clear with no head or lacing at all.

Sort of a standard Belgian-style smell (nothing to complain about here) with plenty of cherry, phenols, bananas and banana bread, and some cloves. I get some chilli peppers in there, too - certainly some nice spice to it.

Some good Belgian flavors and some good spice at the back on the mouth at the finish. Big cherry flavor with it hits the tongue - not particularly subtle. Not really sure what all the fuss is about though. The alcohol taste is prominent, and smacks a little bit like cough syrup. In comparison to other strong ales, this is average at best.

A flat mouth feel to it - didn't like it compared to other strong Belgian ales. Little carbonation, and a flat, watery finish to it is below average.

I like Troegs, just not sure that the Mad Elf is all it's cracked up to be. For such a strong beer, it leaves the palette unfulfilled and tastes a bit too much like cherry cough syrup. Average at best.

Photo of kiddynamite920
3.07/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Doesn't pour as red as expected, with so much emphasis of the cherry on the bottle. Poured it extra rough to generate some head, since my last bottle yielded nothing with the traditional pour. The head built, but was gone quickly. It's a golden amber color and I notice a minimal amount of streaming bubbles. I smell cherries and banana and clove. Not overly impressive. Smells of Belgian yeast. Not picking up any hops on the nose. I have a feeling this beer would taste much better with a deep chill on it. It lacks the crispness that carries important flavors, so maybe the chill of refrigeration could help. I get a breadiness at first, and on the exhale the alcohol kicks in. Some cherries are very present as well. Mouthfeel fails here for me. Carbonation would send this beer over the edge, but without it I feel like I'm drinking a malty syrup. The beer is flavorful, but after two it's time to move on to something else.

Photo of psuKinger
3.08/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Had this bottle in my fridge for a little over a year, I believe it comes from Christmas 2009, which should make it roughly ~14-15 months old. The black ink markings on the bottle say something about "TRACK #090814", which doesn't make much sense to me, as this beer couldn't have been brewed in September of 2014 unless it was sent to me from the future... I'll record that little piece of info here, as perhaps some day on down the line I will understand what that bottle stamp means/meant.

Bottle will be poured into my New Belgium globe glass. In general I enjoy cherry flavored beers, but I've never been overwhelmed by the Mad Elf (despite being a pretty big fan of the brewery as a whole). I'll try to do this review unbiased and "start from scratch".

A: Pours a ruby red, vaguely/barely clear color with a light frothy head on top. Not "thick", but not "thin" either. A nice carbonation level for a beer that's sat in my fridge for so long.

S: Spicey yeasty notes and cherry shine through, dominating the nose.

T: Taste follows the nose. Spicy yeast notes announce there presence early, a very mild layer of hops steps up to say hello for second, before the cherry takes over and dominates the finish. Knowing that they use hallertau hops makes total sense to me here, as that traditional german "pilsner bitterness" is what I get from the hops here. Alcohol bite is present, but not as potently as it could be for a beer of such magnitude. Well done by Troegs to mask this giant.

What I find odd is that this beer is classified as a "Belgian Dark", but I pick up more spiciness that I associate with Pales and Triples than I do the dark fruits that I associate with Darks and Quads.

M: Light, spicy, and zesty throughout, this beer does not drink "heavily", and it doesn't leave a lot of coating on the tongue.

D: Many of my friends love this beer, but it's just not a personal favorite of mine. I don't hate it, but I certainly don't crave it.

Photo of WillieBeamen
3.08/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Tastes a bit too much like fermented cherry juice topped off with vodka for my taste but an interesting beer that some people love for its uniqueness and holiday festivity

Photo of andrewinski1
3.08/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into my Mad Elf tulip. Thanks Ben! Pours a clear dark amber almost pomegranate. Just a very little bit of head.

Nice sweet aroma. The cherry flavor reminds me of a cough drop. Not too bad, especially for the unique concoction.

The taste starts and finishes sweet. The only bitterness is in the aftertaste. I do get a hint of yeast spiciness similar to that of a tripel. The point is, this is sweet through and through.

Mouthfeel is average. This is an okay sipper. Very unique, but nothing I'd go out of my way to have again.

Photo of lunarbrew
3.11/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Ahh, the thin line between a drain pour and a creative beer. This toes it close.

Beer pours red with little head and thin lacing. Smells like very little. Highly generic nose. Some faint cherries and sugary malt. A general "beer" scent. It's a little like cracking a coors. Tastes like fake cherries and brown sugar. Very sweet. Not too pleasing, but I'm trying to get through it. Consistency is slick, syrupy, and sticky. Pretty flat. This didn't quite work, imo. It's interesting, but ultimately a flop in my eyes.

Photo of stercomm
3.12/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a bomber into a big tulip glass

A - Coppery orange in color, extremely big and thick 3 finger tan head that receded slowly

S - Very bold and strong can smell it from far away. Get honey and biscuits, some spice.

T - Honey, alcohol and cherries, definitely taste the alcohol

M - medium bodied and medium carbonation

O - A bit too heavy for me, strong profile

Photo of cannabanaceae
3.13/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Look was ruby red, small ring of head around rim stayed almost the whole way through.

Smell was belgium yeast, sweetness from the malt, red wine,big red bubble gum, and a bannana clove hefe smell.

Taste started like a triple, yeast was milder than expected from the nose, honey played a mellow roll in smoothing out the yeast. Alcohol is well hidden. The cherries turn up in the end, finishing like a flat cola. Medium body, with a tart mouthfeel.

A mellow sipper, pretty good, not in your face. Still with that said, I think a couple years in the cellar would improve the overall flavor.

Photo of mdvatab
3.15/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Received as an extra in a recent trade.
Poured from 12oz bottle into a large red wine glass.

A: Sweet bubble gum, freshly-sliced apple, some banana, and a clovey yeasty spiciness. Not a bad.

A: Copper with a tinge of ruby. Excellent clarity. The one-finger off-white head, however, does not hang around for long, and leaves a thin ring of fine bubbles around the inside of the glass.

F: Apple, banana, cherry, clove, light cinnamon, and caramel. A bit cloying and one-dimensional. I got tired of it after a few sips.

M: Medium-low carbonation, and medium-low body. Light heat (actually less than anticipated, though).

O: Not horrible, but again, not too much to it. No head retention, and a bit cloying. I have one more bottle, which I'll probably drink at some point, but I wouldn't buy this one if it were available here.

Photo of thekanna
3.15/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: pours the color of rust, with a thin white head that dissipates quickly
S: some holiday spices and a light sweetness and nuttiness
T/M: sweet and spicy on the uptake. Flavors of honey and alcohol overwhelm the palate and drown out anything else. Medium carbonated with heavy body, almost syrupy. Too strong and phenolic for my tastes.

Photo of ts183
3.15/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Out of a bottle, pours a dark amber hue with minimal head that dwindled to nothing. No lacing.

Smell is sweet and malty with a hint of fruitiness and booze.

Taste is more of the same. The cherries take on more of a dark fruity taste that's very faint, which is a good thing. As it goes down the alcohol makes a strong presence.

Interesting but not a beer I would grab again.

Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 3,571 ratings.