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Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,743 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2743
Reviews: 1146
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 15.54%

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:
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 added by: WilliamPhilaPa on 12-14-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Ratings: 2,743 | Reviews: 1,146 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of sDon

4.53/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A friend recommended this beer to me, and I was not disappointed.

The beer was dark and served from tap in a 16 oz pint glass. It has instant sweetness in its taste -- cherries and almonds -- that is not too intense and blends well with the general dark beer flavor. Nothing about it seems artificial or forced, as can be the case with some flavored beers.

The ABV was a bit too high and prevented long term drinking, but perhaps this cannot be avoided. I hope that I drink it again.

Serving type: on-tap

01-11-2013 23:28:58 | More by sDon
Photo of Oakenator


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

Pours a deep amber to red with just a bit of head that disappates quickly. Little lacing left on the glass. Aroma is cherries and sweet honey - easily detectable. Taste is strong - slight alcohol presence but not surprising at this strength. Reinforces much of the nose - cherries are slightly sour and present up front through the middle where the honey takes over on the finish.

Serving type: on-tap

12-29-2012 01:59:28 | More by Oakenator
Photo of Kenmo1985

4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

12-27-2012 21:40:57 | More by Kenmo1985
Photo of BeerFMAndy


4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.
11% ABV, 2007 Vintage, Serve in chalice or tulip at 50-55° F

Thanks Onenote81! I've been hanging onto this one for a while!

A - Minor rust has developed around the cap but it's no cause for alarm as this beer pours, without sediment, a mostly clear ruby amber color with a fleeting ivory head. It comes as no surprise the head disappears with how high in alcohol this is. Dots of lace delicately cling to the glass above the ring of loose bubbles.

S - Despite it's aged, this 2007 vintage of Mad Elf remains aromatic and nearly without degradation. Faint oxidation for a five year-old beer is somewhat noticeable though the robust aroma of smooth caramel and biscuit malt which builds a base below the floral clove honey nuances and faint tart cherry skin notes but doesn't quite distract from the joy within. And while the beer has mellowed, spicy alcohol still manages to break free with undertones of earthy clay and clove yeast esters behind.

T - Thick maltiness seems to have diminished in oomph slightly, offering a light caramel drizzled nutty biscuit flavor that's quickly overwhelmed by the beer's developing complexity of fruit and spice. Faint noble hop herbal qualities and smooth yeast esters encourage notes of clove (along with the sweet honey), clay, and white pepper with a touch of solvent alcohol peeking through, but even with age, the focus seems on the cherries, both sweet and tart!

M - Smooth feeling with a voluptuous, full body that's not cloying or syrupy, this hearty holiday ale has a delicate carbonation tickle and complimentary alcohol dryness that maintains balance with a kiss of tart cherry skins on the finish. Alcohol is perceived in retro-nasal breathing but, due to it's age, it's rather smooth, producing a wonderfully satisfying warmth in the belly!

O - An absolutely fantastic holiday treat, Tröegs Mad Elf is a masterful concoction of subtle Belgian yeast that produces spice nuances without the straight addition of spice. Honey sweetness never becomes cloying but adds a little something extra with the delicate cherry tartness. Just as exceptional fresh, age continues to do this strong beer favors, developing into a delectable and soothing winter sipper.

Serving type: on-tap

12-23-2012 17:26:41 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of socon67

New York

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

On tap at Bobbique in Patchogue, NY

A - Orange color with some light red tint. White foam is bubbly and lively. Slight lacing.

S - Semlls of belgian yeast, candied fruit, and cherries. A bit of acidic phenols is present as it lingers. Has a scent of holiday spices (pine and cranberry).

T - Tart initial taste that switches gears and has a sweet cherry flavor. There is a slight warming feel at the end, as if warning the drinker of the high potency. Very similar to Ommegang Three Philosophers even though they are different styles.

M - Insanely drinkable for the style and boozy feel. Really would be best as a sipper after a heavy meal.

O - Troegs nailed this one. I'd love to get two bottles and cellar each for different periods. This is a great holiday beer to share.

Serving type: on-tap

08-15-2012 23:26:57 | More by socon67
Photo of mdfb79

New York

3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Have had this a few times but most recently this weekend at Eatonville in DC. Served in a mason jar type glass.

a - Pours a reddish amber color with one inch of off white head and low carbonation evident.

s - Smells of Belgian yeast, cherries, sweet dark fruits, spices, bready malts, bananas, and light sugar. Pretty nice nose.

t - Tastes of cherries, light dark fruits, Belgian yeast, light spice, and bready malts. Taste is a slight step down from the nose. Not as much fruit or as strong as the nose.

m - Medium body and low to moderate carbonation. Smooth and doesn't feel like 11% ABV at all.

o - Overall a pretty nice Belgian Strong Dark. Nose is very nice and full of cherries, though the taste wasn't quite as fruity. Definitely didn't feel like 11% ABV, would have it again next winter.

Serving type: on-tap

03-07-2012 17:09:21 | More by mdfb79
Photo of Louski


4.65/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-Tap Poured into Standard Pint at Brady's in Feasterville, PA.

Appears a nice red-auburn color with immediate smells of cinnamon, cherry, allspice and clove. The taste actually reminds you of the holidays. A warm sensation is felt with the fruitiness and array of spices that mask the high alcohol content really well. I look forward to this beer's release every year and make certain to store at least a 6-pack of bottles for Christmas in July. A must-drink during the holidays both for its great taste and its ability to make shopping interesting after just one or two.

Serving type: on-tap

03-02-2012 01:28:46 | More by Louski
Photo of BuxMontBeerLover


3.48/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was on-tap at Revivals Restaurant in Perkasie, PA.

Severed in a standard pint glass.

A - A deep, reddish brown color when presented with the brew. Mostly opaque. Little to no head on the beer. Moderate lacing left on the glass.

S - A slightly alcohol smell mixed with a fruity sweetness.

T - A decent beer. A mix of dark fruits like figs and cherries along with a caramel-like sweetness. The alcohol is pretty noticeable. I savored this for about a half-hour. Not a beer to be rushed through.

M - A pretty heavy beer. A heavier consistency.

O - I liked this beer but not something I'd return to. I like trying all sorts of beers but this isn't quite good enough for me to drink if I come across it again.


Serving type: on-tap

02-11-2012 20:37:11 | More by BuxMontBeerLover
Photo of CraftBeerTastic


2.68/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ba Review #123
Served On: 02/05/2012
Glassware: Plastic Pilsner Glass
Labeled ABV: -
Date/ Code: -

Got this on tap from the Tröegs kiosk at a Hershey Bears game on Super bowl Sunday. Was not expecting this particular offering to be at a hockey game. All I can figure is they are trying to get rid of this season's batch.

Look: The beer was surprisingly clear and was a dark copper with a reddish hue. There was no real head, but a sticky film was present and hung around the entire time.

Smell: I noticed the Belgian yeast esters first. Then some sweet fruitiness. I want to say Lambic qualities - maybe?

Taste: The palate was hit with a medicinal sweetness at first. Then the Belgian funk set in. Things seemed to thin out in the middle with a residual sweetness and a dry finish starting to set in. The alcohol seemed well masked until the end. Also as the beer warmed, I noticed more heat.

This was a good brew. The higher ABV was incorporated very well. This was not like any Belgian Strong I’ve ever had before. Not a real fan of fruit-themed beers.

Serving type: on-tap

02-08-2012 18:03:59 | More by CraftBeerTastic
Photo of cosmo4u

New York

3.45/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

tap takeover at holy smoke

Tröegs Mad Elf is a very clear and dense, coppery red ale with a thin, sand colored head that fades to a film and leaves decent lacing on the glass. It has a very strong, sweet aroma of cherries. Deeper in the nose is a medicinal note. It’s pretty full bodied and syrupy with a slightly sticky finish. It has a pretty sweet flavor. Cherries are prominent but so is resiny wood. A little green bitterness comes in at the finish, along with black pepper. The aftertaste is kind of oaky and spicy.

Serving type: on-tap

01-29-2012 15:05:57 | More by cosmo4u
Photo of Infamous7100


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

A: Pours a near copper, mostly clear with a nice two finger head. Lighter than most Belgian darks.
S: some dark fruit and certainly cherries. I am getting hints of honey, but I belieive its being a tad overshadowed by the malt. Not as much spice or evergreen notes as most holiday ales.
T: follows closey to tne nose. Not quite as much dark fruit flavor as most traditonal Belgian darks, but still very good. A tad more boozy/sweet than one might like, but I can't complain.
M: Lighter than one would think and not nearly as harsh as an an 11% abv would lead you to believe. Its a sipper, but it is smooth.
O: a great beer, not just a great holiday beer. It is expensive, but worth it. Age one if you get the chance.

Serving type: on-tap

01-20-2012 04:55:13 | More by Infamous7100
Photo of drummerjon2112


4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a very good beer. They say they brew it with honey and cherries, but when drinking it you don't really get the honey notes as much as you get the cherry notes. Overall a great holiday beer and with the ABV being 11% it is sure to keep you warm on those cold winter days!

Serving type: on-tap

01-18-2012 05:04:58 | More by drummerjon2112
Photo of wingman14


3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark red/copper with a small off white head that didn't stay for long. The smell is sweet and yeasty with cherry and malt. The taste is very sweet, the yeast and fruit are very pronounced, but just a sweet beer overall. The high ABV is noticeable while sipping, but doesn't detract from the beer or mouthfeel. A medium body, good carbonation, and decent flavor balance. If the sweetness was taken down a bit this could be a top notch beer, but overall enjoyable.

Serving type: on-tap

01-14-2012 03:46:41 | More by wingman14
Photo of iBeer16

New York

4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed in a pint glass.
A: pours a copperish red color with a Tan head. Can see carbonation clearly. Leaves

S: cherries and slight hops, nice mallty aroma as well.

T: wow, smooth sweet cherry flavor all the way through, nice malty flavor as well.

M: carbonation is great, looks heavy but is not. Great body.
Overall, great beer

Serving type: on-tap

01-11-2012 20:02:03 | More by iBeer16
Photo of jneiswender


4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this beer at the Brass Rail Deli in Cambelltown. Served in a tulip glass. Cool. Pours a nice fluffy white head and a roan color body. Smells of cherries Nice balance of fruit, grain, hop and yeast. Spritzy on the palate and refreshing. Some booze ending to the sip. I have to say that I had been avoiding this beer for awhile. I just didn't trust the beer given the number of beers who screw this beer up. I would go for this over and over again. Great beer.

Serving type: on-tap

01-05-2012 00:23:14 | More by jneiswender
Photo of AdamBear


3.35/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-dark reddish amber with a nice cream colored head that thins out pretty quickly.

S-spicy belgian sugars. molasses. slightly smoked and burnt, yet sweet and syrupy.

T-comes in with a dog breath creaminess with a spoiled taste of belgian sugars. ends with a warming taste of caramelized sugars and smoked burnt taste. pretty forms a matching long lasting after-taste with some bread malts. complex but not exactly well balanced. quite boozy.

M-syrupy heavy low carbonation with a dry finish

O-its difficult to drink more than a pint of this. it hits quickly. the tastes just don't hold up well. you can tell its not brewed in belgium. too much heat, and artificial tasting flavors that don't mix well. honestly i think people get this because its a lower priced alternative to the belgian christmas beers, but just buy them instead. don't save your money by getting this instead.

Serving type: on-tap

12-29-2011 03:51:10 | More by AdamBear
Photo of thecheapies


3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap and in a snifter glass. Elegant pour yields a receding inch of head. An antiquated amber-orange color with some kind of mystique. No lacing to speak of, as of yet.

Boozy, sour cherry in the far distance, clover honey... very pale, some juicy mandarin, a little bit of soured white wine and a whole lot of clove/banana Belgian yeast character.

Honey in the front, tart cherry/berry in the middle-end, and spicy yeast and alcohol strength on the finish. Estery in a muddled sort of way. Very hot. Lively and a little woody. A sureshot sipper.

A bit thick and raisiny. Sticky and coating. Low carbonation leaves a syrupy mouthfeel, moreso than the beer is actually that thick. A holiday warmer.

A classic, especially out here in PA. Got more at home in the cellar.

Serving type: on-tap

12-24-2011 02:49:33 | More by thecheapies
Photo of Chico1985


3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark reddish-purple, small head is gone quickly, forms to a ring.

Smell is a little weak, but lots of dark fruit, sweet caramel malts, some alcohol in the nose.

Taste is better, very intense dark fruit here, lots of cherries, plum, berries. Slight honey, brown sugar and maybe a hint of chocolate pile on the sweetness that's evened out nicely with some toasted biscuit malt.

High on the carbonation, booze and sweetness is a bit much but it's a nice complex beer that keeps you sipping.

I had this a few times last year, I've enjoyed it each time. Definitely an American-ish take on a Belgian but the intense dark fruit/sweetness/toastiness works out well here as a winter seasonal.

Serving type: on-tap

12-20-2011 20:17:21 | More by Chico1985
Photo of ssznyter


3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Red with a thin layer of foam on top that quickly disappeared. Really enjoyed how just the look of this one was enough to put anyone in the holiday spirit.
Smell: Hint of cherry and a nice Belgian yeast. Sweet and sour.
Taste: Really great. You can definitely taste the alcohol but its not as strong as expected at 11%. The cherry flavor really comes out, especially as it warms up. A nice yeast finish.
Mouthfeel: Light carbonation but pretty good for the beer. I felt like the lower carbonation definitely helps bring out the cherries.
Overall: Great seasonal from Troegs. I'll definitely seek this one out every holiday season both for taste and novelty. Definitely a conversation piece when broken out at holiday get-togethers, and with the 11% alcohol content it definitely helps to warm you up on even the coldest winter nights.

Serving type: on-tap

12-20-2011 02:04:25 | More by ssznyter
Photo of HopsYeast

New Jersey

3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a-pours a clear dark reddish amber with a 1/4 finger pale white head that quickly fads and leaves no lacing.

s-honey, cherries, raisens, heavy alcohol smell, and also has a somewhat sour smell thats a bit of a turn off.

t-taste is a reverse of the smell. a nice warm alcohol flavor mixed in with dark fruits, maltiness, and the slightest hops. lots of dark fruit flavor is preset.

m-somewhat syrupy with very minimal carbonation.

o-well i think im starting to finally get this beer. year after year i tried it and it turned me off completely. this was the first time on tap so it may have been the difference. its deep flavor and warming sensation bought on by the alcohol makes it a good fit for the cold holiday season.

Serving type: on-tap

12-19-2011 01:05:59 | More by HopsYeast
Photo of JMWEB2

New Jersey

4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 keg on tap at the growler station @ Joe Canals... thank you

A: Pours a muddy crimson brownish color head completely dissipated, some minor lacing left behind.

S: Alcohol is there, but there is a fruit flavor... cherry-like. Interesting.

T: Alright this must have mellowed significantly, the booze flavor is not present and there is a nice tartness of cherries. Clove is also present, very enjoyable, and I'm not a big fan of the style.

M: Smooth very little carb.

O: I'm glad I went with the 2010 because they had 2011 as well, very nicely done again Troegs.

Serving type: growler

12-15-2011 04:24:23 | More by JMWEB2
Photo of Outchillen


4.7/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ive had this on tap, and bottles

A: Nice ruby color. Clear with thin white head

S: Banana and clove belgian yeast, Honey and cherries

T: Sweet honey and cherries, a little clovey yeast, little boozey finish

M: Light to medium body. Medium carbonation.

O: Great winter warmer Belgian beer, sweet and silky smooth, one of my favorites of the year

Serving type: on-tap

11-19-2011 02:22:29 | More by Outchillen
Photo of Rifugium


3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at ? (Eulogy maybe)

I have Mad Elf more on tap these days than in bottles, and the profile is similar, though perhaps they've mellowed out a bit with the recipe so that the taste isn't completely overwhelming. Pours--typically into a stem glass--copper-brown with reddish-orange hues that become more visible in the light. Typically, as with the bottle, an off-white head that retains and laces well, and perhaps is more pronounced when being served on tap. Nose of fruitcake, cherries, honey, dark malts, raisins, and cloves. Some alcohol notable. The taste follows the smell almost to a "t," with complex flavors of dark caramel malts, honey and brown sugar, cherries and raisins, and subtle spice. Some alcohol burn. Medium bodied, full-flavored, and highly desirable. I give it points off overall, because despite the fact that I do like it, it is one of the most inconsistent beers year to year as far as flavor goes.

Serving type: on-tap

07-07-2011 00:18:47 | More by Rifugium
Photo of Stanhagen


5/5  rDev +29.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Quite simply my favorite beer on earth. I used to look forward to Santa showing up for christmas, now i look forward to the Mad Elf's arrival. Santa used to bring me chocolate covered cherries, now I get to drink a liquid form of the sweet treat with alcohol added.

Serving type: on-tap

06-28-2011 04:41:17 | More by Stanhagen
Photo of dtivp

West Virginia

4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on tap at Pickles in State College, Pa.
Appearance was an amber/brown with a small off white head that receded quickly into a thin collar with slight lacing.

Aroma of sweet candy with spicy yeast and tart cherries.

Taste followed thew nose with a slight sugar candy sweetness with some spices and the tart cherries. You also knew the alcohol was there.

Mouthfell was a little syrupy, sticky, medium body with some carbonation and a good warming from the alcohol.

This is a very nice beer to drink slowly and enjoy. I would caution enjoying more than two in one sitting.

Serving type: on-tap

02-26-2011 19:34:14 | More by dtivp
Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,743 ratings.