1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

2,748 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2748
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: 2,748 | Reviews: 1,146 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of ixodus
ixodus

New Jersey

3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Mohawk House in Sparta, NJ.

A: Light red wine looking color with a very small head that dissipates into little white spots on the top.

S - Sweet Malts, Sweet Medicinal Cherry flavor, Cranberries, Honey, Alcohol.

T - Lots of dark cherry flavor with some cranberries . Slight hopiness and a touch of alcohol.

M - Medium bodied with a nice amount of carbonation. Great Mouth-feel

D - I can see me having a few of these on a Christmas day. I noticed the alcohol but it's not overpowering

Delicious. Despite the high abv I really didn't get any warming feeling.

Serving type: on-tap

11-18-2010 23:37:08 | More by ixodus
Photo of JayS2629
JayS2629

Alabama

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

My favorite beer ever so far. Only the Rochefort 10 gives it competition in complexity.

A- A ruby amber with a slim tan head. Slightly translucent, but a rich deep color.

S- Sweet with a strong belgian yeast at the front. Hints of rich dark cherry and spices. A slight apple and honey smell. Very nice.

T- The honey outweighs the cherry, but it is ver nice. A bit heavy with a slight apple taste. The spice is strong and similar to chai. You can tell its strong, but its masked well with sweetness. Smooth when cold.

M- Full bodied. A bit heavy, but masked so well when cold it goes down to easy to be 11%. Great Christmas beer.

D- full of soul. So smooth when cold you would never guess the alcohol content. Slight burn at the back of throat just to let you know you aren't messing around. Overall sweet and spicy. Absolutely delicious.

Serving type: on-tap

10-31-2010 03:34:55 | More by JayS2629
Photo of SamuelJackson45
SamuelJackson45

Pennsylvania

4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this beer about over 6 months span from my first time in season to 2 weeks ago when 6 month age. And this beer mature very well. The sourness of the cherries die down and just so sweet the beer is like liquid candy with some kick. The age made it sweeter but also stronger which is good to my liking. I do enjoy this beer and wish this was a year round beer. The Troegs brothers got this making beer down and just impressing me and more.

Serving type: on-tap

08-02-2010 13:26:16 | More by SamuelJackson45
Photo of cdizinno
cdizinno

South Carolina

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

A: Pours a deep orangeish red with a small head, minimal lacing

S: Cfruits on the front, notes of cherries and grapes, some honey in there along with banana. Smells quite nice

T: Sweet with fruit flavors, cherries and grapes, this gives way to a bitterness in the middle which seems out of balance with the delicate sweet flavors on the front. The finish has some spicy notes and a long finish

MF: very light for the ABV, alcohol is well masked. Carbonation is nice.

Great brew!

Serving type: on-tap

07-12-2010 22:03:30 | More by cdizinno
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On draft at Zella's in Baltimore, MD. Served in a Chimay goblet.

A: Virtually flat. Perhaps 1/16 inch head that left no lacing. The color is a pretty ruby-tinged brown. The beer is light enough to see through easily, which I found rather surprising.

S: cherries, sweet malt, Belgian yeast, alcohol

T: A delicious take on a Belgian Strong Dark beer, this brew has an assertive sweet cherry flavor. Belgian yeast and a pleasant malty taste make this an enjoyable beverage. The beer definitely has an alcohol kick, though it is surprisingly not harsh. Well done.

M: more carbonation needed. ABV hidden fairly well

D: A bit too sweet for me to drink more than one. Also, the cherries, while great, would become excessive after a while.

Serving type: on-tap

02-22-2010 00:31:03 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of stakem
stakem

Pennsylvania

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

Second review of mad elf for the year, this time on tap.

Pours a very clear orange color with a bit of redness about it and a minimal amount of white head that is quick to dissapear. Nose is your typical belgian including phenols, clove, spice, fruity sweetness and a warming kick of alcohol astringency in the end. Where this beer deters from the normal belgian is in the sweetness of the aroma. It is quite reminescent more of honey and cherry. Taste includes just about everything you would expect from the aroma: a bit of clove and spice, sweetness exaggerated by cherry/honey and a quite warming finish. Feel of this beer is light and moderately carbed. Overall it is a nice sipper and I enjoy this beer while looking forward to it again each holiday.

The noticable differnces from this beer on tap verse the bottle is that the mouthfeel is significantly lighter but that is probably mostly in part due to the higher level of carb than the bottle version.

Serving type: on-tap

01-30-2010 15:43:36 | More by stakem
Photo of Aenema
Aenema

Maryland

4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12/8 on draft

Appearance - Pours a clear, bright amber without much head or lacing.
Smell - Cherries, honey, alcohol.
Taste - Full burst of cherry, honey, fair amount of booze but not bothersome.
Mouthfeel - Medium-light, moderate to fast scrubbing carbonation.
Drinkability - Very drinkable, especially given the 11% alcohol factor (although it is recognizable, it doesn't detract from the beer). Definitely on the sweet end.

Serving type: on-tap

01-23-2010 02:05:06 | More by Aenema
Photo of woosterbill
woosterbill

Connecticut

3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap into a 23oz pilsner glass.

A: Clear ruby-amber body with a miniscule, quickly evaporating head. No lace. Looks undercarbonated in the extreme.

S: Belgian candi sugar and fruity yeast. Spice on the tail end. Nice.

T: Follows the nose, but with more pronounced spiciness from the yeast and a big, fruity boozy finish. Intense and enjoyable, powerful without being over the top.

M: Slighy syrupy medium body with a surprising amount of prickly carbonation (relative to the flat appearance, that is).

D: A little to sweet and cloying on the finish for my tastes, but still an enjoyable sipper. I'm enjoying all 23 ounces in this ridiculously inappropriate pilsner glass.

Notes: Very tasty beer, and an amazing find at the Philly airport during a long layover. Huge pour, and the same price as my wife's Blue Moon!

Cheers!

Serving type: on-tap

01-17-2010 04:07:54 | More by woosterbill
Photo of Amalak
Amalak

New York

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

I had off the tap at the Burger Shoppe in Downtown Manhattan. It has a red/copper color, clear, bubbly, with a good tan head and some lacing. Slight hoppy scent.

It's very malty and has a strong alcohol taste. Very biting. I think this would do better aged, but it's extremely flavorful. Aftertaste is sourish...kind of detracts.

Serving type: on-tap

01-08-2010 21:54:54 | More by Amalak
Photo of glid02
glid02

Georgia

4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Sunswick in Astoria, NY.

Pours a clear copper color with a half-finger white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of sweet caramel malts with hints of medium to dark fruits - cherries with hints of figs - and a good deal of spices.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sweet and crisp caramel malt flavors up front are joined by mild amounts of spices almost immediately. Midway through the sip lightly tart cherry flavors enter into things and carry through to a crisp and sweet finish. As the beer warms the malt flavors intensify and the spices dissipate a bit.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with lighter than average carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and could have had another.

Overall this seems to be a somewhat polarizing beer however I found everything to be present in good amounts and nothing seemed overpowering. Worth a shot.

Serving type: on-tap

01-08-2010 18:39:45 | More by glid02
Photo of Augustiner719
Augustiner719

New York

3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had on tap at THE OFFICE in Summit, NJ.

Appearance: Crystal clear, mahogony, ruby red brown color. Very small 1 finger head dwindled down to nothing quickly. Zero lacing.

Smell: Smells like a bit of ludents cough drops, slight alcohol aroma and some deep malty, light chocolatly aromas.

Taste: Tastes very smooth for the 11% abv. Very little alcohol burn. Cherry juice, slightly medicinal and malty backbone.

Mouthfeel: Nicely carbonated. Not overly cloyingly sweet. Good viscoscity. Nice and round on the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Great winter style beer. I wouldnt have more than 1, maybe 2 of these because this is a very strong high abv beer. Nice though.

Serving type: on-tap

01-03-2010 03:10:07 | More by Augustiner719
Photo of Slatetank
Slatetank

Pennsylvania

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

I had a pint of this on tap at Brewhouse grille in Lemoyne, PA.

A - A very clear bright crimson w/ amber highlights and a very thin white cap w/ ultra fine bead. The clarity is very transparent w/ carbonation visible as it quickly rises

S - the smell is sweet and honey-like w/ an aroma that has mild fruit notes and subtle malt aroma. The mild hint of alcohol is apparent

M - A srong vinous feel w/ smooth full and thick body w/ slight alcohol warmth and moderate carbonation w/ gentle sweetness

T - A crisp, fruit taste at first followed by a slight honey flavor and strong alcohol flavor w/ a mild creamy malt taste. There is very light cherry tinges which are dry and have a mild tannic element w/ honey-like sweetness that coats the palate after the glass is drained

D - Let's be honest this is a strong beer and the taste only hides it slightly w/ little real fruit flavor to speak of and lots of alcohol which isn't something I personally find to be all that drinkable. I admit it is pretty smooth for the abv, with honey not overpowering, but too much for more than 1 IMO.

Serving type: on-tap

12-28-2009 17:56:08 | More by Slatetank
Photo of MadElf25
MadElf25

New York

4.28/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A. Served in a cognyac glass with a ruby red coloring made me think of Christmas Morning.

S. A Sweet aroma, i really smell the Cherry Flavor.

T. Sweet yet tangy with heavy tates of cherry, i gave it a 4 due to a little bit of an after taste.

M. Very smooth going down, light and airy.

D. It is Definatly a beer i could enjoy again and again

Serving type: on-tap

12-28-2009 16:58:19 | More by MadElf25
Photo of jbsteiny
jbsteiny

Hawaii

3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at One World Café in Baltimore. I was very happy to see this, as: a) I'd never tried it before; b) I love Belgian styles; c) I live in Hawaii where you don't get a good variety of interesting American craft brews; and d) it was being served by the pint and, at 11%, it was by far the most economical delicious buzz I could ask for.

Beautiful dark ruby color with a slight ring of foam. The head would rise with a swirl of the glass, but wouldn't stick around. A few short-lived specks of foam on the glass.

Smelled and tasted of thick malt, candy, brown sugar, stewed fruit, and spicy phenols. I didn't know about the cherries until I just read it here, but I guess that was some of the fruitiness I was getting -- I thought it was esters from the yeast.

Despite a big sweet presence, it dried up remarkably well, and I forgot to sip it. Downed two pints very easily. Then again, I've got a sweet tooth and my buddy didn't really care for it, preferring to stick with the Dogfish Head pale ale. But one of the better American takes on the Belgian style I've had. Looking forward to trying more from Tröegs this holiday season!

Serving type: on-tap

12-24-2009 22:00:09 | More by jbsteiny
Photo of ritzkiss
ritzkiss

Ontario (Canada)

3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Goblet on tap at Cole's in Buffalo, arrives an amber/cherry wood color with no head, hard to raise some on a subsequent swirl. Pretty still.

Cherry and 'Belgian' esters/yeast along the lines of a triple dominate, some grain, light cloves and all spice. Very rich and creamy, heavy caramel and honey sweetness running through, light Saaz hop dryness in the finish. Boozy in the finish, you can tell this is a heavier beer though you might not guess as high as 11%!

Not bad, though it's too sweet to be more than a sipper. A little brash on the esters, could be dialed down a notch. Can't say I would jump to drink this one again, though perhaps in the bottle or with some age it might mellow a touch.

Serving type: on-tap

12-20-2009 16:31:55 | More by ritzkiss
Photo of bobsy
bobsy

Ontario (Canada)

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

On tap at Coles in Buffalo.

Pours a beautiful ruby red with a think off-white film that gave a few spots of lace, but mainly contented itself by forming an island in the middle of the glass. Looks the part, but could do with better retention and lace. The aroma screams christmas, and is dominated by cherries, and Belgian yeast.

Slightly grassy, and herbal flavours coming through and mixing in with some strong cherry and belgian yeast, and perhaps some chocolate too. Dry grainy finish betrays the alcohol slightly. Medium body and carbonation.

Both myself and Eric had some of this on tap, and neither of us knew that it was such a high ABV. Although its detectable its pretty well-hidden and I would have guessed 7 or 8%. A nice winter warmer!

Serving type: on-tap

12-20-2009 15:04:50 | More by bobsy
Photo of BeerCon5
BeerCon5

Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark amber color with a small amount of off white head.

The scent is of sweet malts, cherries and alcohol.

Up front the sweetness of cherries is evident. It is somewhat spicy with a strong alcohol component.

Medium bodied, verry smooth, good carbonation.

This is a very tasty beer, though it is difficult to drink more than two in one sitting.

Serving type: on-tap

12-18-2009 21:46:30 | More by BeerCon5
Photo of nickd717
nickd717

California

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

On tap at about 3 or 4 different bars around Harrisburg recently.

Clear reddish color with a small off-white head that disappears.

Aroma is Belgian yeast, spices, sweet malt, and dark fruits. Cherries really stand out.

Very malty initially on the flavor, then cherry, brown sugar, and Belgian yeast. Some spices in there as well.

Somewhat syrupy on the palate with medium-full body.

Drinkability is pretty good, on tap at least. This beer will hit you hard.

Serving type: on-tap

12-10-2009 19:41:24 | More by nickd717
Photo of cpetrone84
cpetrone84

Pennsylvania

4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 batch aged by Fathead's in Pittsburgh and poured and consumed in the same place

A-4.5 nice lear ruby red color with a small white head

S-faint belgian yeast, citrus, banana, and clove

T-sweet taste of berries, tart cheries, some banana and cloves

M-smooth ans slick, almost an oily taste with a slightly drying effect

D-very smooth and tasty=drinkability

Serving type: on-tap

11-22-2009 22:14:39 | More by cpetrone84
Photo of denmah
denmah

Pennsylvania

4.58/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On-tap brought to me in a goblet, cold, having mad elf before poured out of a bottle, i let it warm up a bit and sweat, thats when the smell and flavor really wake up.

Appearance: Deep Ruby Red, with a very small head, that totally disappears.

Smell: an almost overwhelming smell coming out of the glass, honey,spicey, cinnimon, nut, very strong.

Taste: very complex, all of the incredibly strong flavors blend together well.

Mouthfeel: medium feel in mouth, once you have a sip, you experience about 3 different tastes, first you taste the cherry and honey right away, then you get a bit of a malty carmel taste in the mouth, followed by a slightly bitter hoppy aftertaste.

Drinkability: amazing if you let it warm up to almost room temp, and keep sipping lightly, if i try to drink it too fast i start to dislike it. nice sipping with the strong alcohol going with it is excellent, you have to remind yourself its 11% abv

Serving type: on-tap

09-10-2009 16:36:26 | More by denmah
Photo of TheFightfan1
TheFightfan1

Pennsylvania

4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I had this at the Hulmeville Inn. Poured into a snifter. Pours an amber color with a white heading. Globs of lacing a present throughout the tasting.

Smell is very sweet,biscuity as well with the slightest fruit aroma on the backend.

Taste again is very sweet,a chocolate taste as well. A type of souriness kind of kicks in the middle and a cherry taste kicks you in the mouth in the end.

Mouth is full bodied great carbonation.Leaves a nice spicy tingle on the tongue.

Drink is excellent very drinkable 11%ABV this shocked me the most. Easy to go down and a few more but not too many or you will be down and out. Rather quickly.

Serving type: on-tap

07-17-2009 14:33:18 | More by TheFightfan1
Photo of Deuane
Deuane

Pennsylvania

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

Mad Elf....no review---WTF! On tap at Grey Lodge Pub during the Christmas in July celebration. I wonder how many pints of this I have drank over the years?

A-Brilliant, almost glowing ruby red with a thin white head that reduces to a thin ring and leaves zero lace.

S-Sweet biscuit and caramel malts with a splash of cherries and some dark roasted notes.

T-Sweet, luscious smoothness...if you can taste smoothness! Cherries come into the background with a tart little bite. Ends with a touch of spicy bitterness and honey smooth sweetness....again!

M-Medium-light bodied honey, silky smooth and viscous.

D-This is 11%--really? I know it is sweet but...I cant help myself. I find this to be one of my indulgent treats each and every holiday season (and out of season when available!) Honey goodness with a light cherry pop...and then the ABV kicks you in the head after your third pint!

Serving type: on-tap

07-16-2009 11:11:46 | More by Deuane
Photo of beerfanbill
beerfanbill

Pennsylvania

3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

dark red/amber... had on tap
smell very good, strong cherry and honey taste/smell. im still a novice at picking up all the subtle smells and flavors of a beer so for these ones to stick out they must be pretty strong.
as far as taste, i was suprised to find out its 11% abv. i couldnt have told that while drinking it although it did give me the burning stomach of a higher alcohol brew. great taste while in the mouth and went down smooth.
not my favorite troegs, but very good beer nonetheless

Serving type: on-tap

03-23-2009 18:16:05 | More by beerfanbill
Photo of tai4ji2x
tai4ji2x

Massachusetts

3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on-tap at the publick house in brookline, ma. served in small chalice.

dark, brownish gemstone amber. head fades to wisps and thin ring, then eventually almost nothing. lacing doesn't stick.

aroma of caramel and spice (nutmeg, anise) with port and apple brandy tones. trace of leafy hop, but the malty caramel lasts throughout.

similar sweetness in the flavor. less malt/caramel and more on the port and apple brandy. mild to moderate bitterness to the hops with faint grassy/herbal note. the hints of herbs and spices proceed to gentle phenols.

light to moderate carbonation helps to bring out a peak in the middle of flavors overall. some light syrup feel.

Serving type: on-tap

03-15-2009 12:49:52 | More by tai4ji2x
Photo of applky
applky

New York

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

On tap at Sunset Grill and Tap, served in a 13oz tulip glass

Dark garnet in color with no head (this is just because of the way the beer was poured, I think). A dark cherry flavor apparent in the nose becomes more prominent when tasted. Full-bodied and malty -- a very unique brew. Almost like a Belgian winter warmer (but no obnoxious spices; the cherry flavor works very well). Very easy going down despite the high alcohol content.

Serving type: on-tap

02-03-2009 02:05:44 | More by applky
Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,748 ratings.