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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

2,742 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2742
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
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Ratings: 2,742 | Reviews: 1,146 | Show All Ratings:
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 JoeBloe

New York

4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

i've not been liking this too much in it''s $18.99/6pk form - but I'm working a growler on a snowy day today-
pours an almost clear reddish golden orange and puts up a 1/2 finger head of quickly dissipated head -lack of lacing belies its slick high abv character - smells pretty nice and sweet, I'm picking up those dark cherrries - taste is sweet up front with a spicy/bitter finish, cherries/prunes/ and sweet honey - mouthfeel is as if this was mixed directly with honey - thick and slick, in an 'ok' way -
this fresh growler is certainly more evenly balanced than the bottled version, yum - drinkability is real good, even though i should know better...

Serving type: growler

12-26-2010 20:27:00 | More by JoeBloe
Photo of DrDemento456


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

A new year and got myself a growler fill of this perfect winter warmer.

A - A nice solid ruby read poured heavily as instructed on the side of a box I saw to unlock the hidden flavors. This resulted in an inch of head which is amazing for the ABV.

S - Warming alcohol with some sweet herbal cherries and tons of honey put in for good measure.

T - The first sip starts off intense with the alcohol burn start followed by a sort of herbal not sweet cherries and honey backbone finish rounding out the burn

M - The warming feeling of this is pretty intense but after the second glass it felt so right.

D - I struggled to finish the growler myself so get some help damn it! Taking a whopping 3 1/2 hours to get the whole thing down by the 4th it actually felt like the night before Christmas and Santa was waiting for me with gifts, to describe the giddiness was the true definition of a winter warmer. Enjoy this with friends and family!

Serving type: growler

12-07-2010 19:26:20 | More by DrDemento456
Photo of obireidkenobi


3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Notes from Growler Tasting -12/12/09

Growler purchased at brewery, Harrisburg, PA

Wow. Lots to talk about with this beer.

Smell - Honey and malts

Flavor - Honey, malts, cherry, some candy. Sweet notes covering the higher alcohol finish. It's a bit like fruit cake, but one you actually want.

Very drinkable, but don't drink much. It's a heavy hitter. Unless the Christmas party is that bad, lol.

Serving type: growler

09-10-2010 02:46:55 | More by obireidkenobi
Photo of sdj5

New York

4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Reddish-brown. Clear. Darker than white head.

S: Cherry, mostly.

T: Very much like cherries, bread and alcohol.

M: On the thinner side. Average amount of carbonation.

D: I couldn't drink a ton of this, but it's enjoyable in small quantities.

Serving type: growler

03-14-2010 06:35:09 | More by sdj5
Photo of aerozeppl

New York

4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

To Send the Holidays from ok to felony.

A: Nice translucent red color. Minimal white head with almost no lacing.

S: Nice smell of sweetness and cherries. A touch of booze in there as well. Quite a bit of sweetness.

T: The difference between this in the bottle and on tap if that it is a little bit boozier on tap which is weird. Quite a bit of cherries coming through.

M: Nice full mouthfeel. A little bit sticky.

D: I love this beer. Just a great treat during the holidays.

Serving type: growler

12-25-2009 01:34:38 | More by aerozeppl
Photo of brianlg


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

Finally had the chance to try this beer, although I wish it were snowing outside right now as I drink this. It pours a reddish brown with a small head. The head dissolves quickly. The beer smelled like honey, nuts, alcohol, and cherries. Upon first sip I was surprised how well the alcohol taste is hidden. This is very ell for a 11& ABV. Next thing you know, my pint glass is finished. IT tasted just like it smelled, honey, nuts, and subtle taste of sweet cherries. The store I purchased from has planty of these left, I will probably be back soon to buy another. After finishing the 1pint 6oz bottle I already feel it!

Great beer, can't wait to have this next Christmas!

Serving type: growler

02-25-2009 17:58:52 | More by brianlg
Photo of gkatsoris

3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice and dark brown, w/ a reddish amber hue.

S: A little alcoholy, cherries, nice hops, spices; made my mouth water (lol).

T: Delicious. I was told it would taste like cough syrup so I held off from trying it; big mistake. Delicious. The cherries were there but not over powering. The spices and cherries are mixed really really well, very balanced.

M: Goes down like warm butter.

D: I only wish I had 2 growlers.

Serving type: growler

12-24-2007 12:45:17 | More by gkatsoris
Photo of pavandal


4.53/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Beer poured into my tulip glass from a growler purchased today. It poured a nice honey - red color with a 1 inch head. Honestly, the most inviting beer I've ever had. lacing left a nice bubbly coating on the glass as I drank.

Smell began with some bready smells, but as the head disolved, it turned to honey and cherries, with alchohol behind it.

As the beer hits your tongue, the first flavor you taste is a bitey sweetness. this is probably due to the cherries involved in the brew. I also taste a lot of bready notes. The high ABV can't be tasted, as far as I can tell. This is a very great tasting brew.

I can see this beer getting dangerous to those that aren't familiar with it. This beer feels great in the mouth, light enough to make you want more, but it has some weight behind it to make you know you're drinking something.

I really, really dig this ale. if the ABV wasn't so high, this would be a constant (as much as it could be, given it's limited run) for me. I don't know why people have said that this tastes like cough syrup, because I sure can't taste it.

Serving type: growler

11-30-2006 02:49:22 | More by pavandal
Photo of Wren


4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Got my growler filled at the brewery Wed 11-15

Pours a nice ruby red with a little bit of brown showing throught
Ample creamy dense head that takes on a little of the ruby/brown hue, loads of carbonation in this one

Aroma was first of black peppery then sweet cherry honey, alcohol finish with tart fruit - smells like Holiday Cheer

Taste - This is my third year trying the elf, and this years batch had a stronger black pepper/spice note up front which moved into tart cherries and sweet malt, finished off with warm alchohol starting in the back of my mouth and slowing warming all the way down, very pleaseant - not at all harsh
The extra pepper kick I got upfront balanced the sweetness of the beer, I thought last years elf was a little on the overly sweet side

Mouthfeel on this one is great - fluffy head, heavy carbonation, thcik sweet beer and alcholol thiness all combine in great balance

Tough to down multiple glasses of this with the 11% ABV, but I'd never pass up a pint

Serving type: growler

11-16-2006 13:10:21 | More by Wren
Photo of Fish113d


4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
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)!

Serving type: growler

11-05-2005 19:16:31 | More by Fish113d
Photo of ThickNStout


3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from GreenMonster12 (thanks Jay!). Bottled 9/13/12. Served in a goblet.

Pours a ruby hued chestnut with about one finger of pale cream head that quickly receds to a thin cap before disappearing completely without leaving any lace.

Aromas of cherry skins, raisin, caramel and a yeasty apple-like note.

Flavors of bright cherry preserves, bitter fruit skin, dark fruit, caramel, Belgian yeast, a little honey and a pretty healthy dose of alcohol. The booze blends a little better as it warms up. Pretty good

Medium body with fairly sharp carbonation. Boozey finish with cherry skin, caramel and yeast.

While I think 1 is plenty for me in a sitting, this is a decent American take on the Belgian strong dark ale style. The cherry and honey additions give it character that helps elevate Mad Elf above other similar brews. I won't go hunting more but this is something I would certainly enjoy again someday.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2014 23:32:52 | More by ThickNStout
Photo of Goblinmunkey7


2.68/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Uh thanks angrybabboon?

Appearance: Mostly clear brick reddish copper. Heamalt a very dirty white. Bubbly and thick, settles to a small cap and slightly larger bubbly collar. Minimal lacing and carbonation.

Smell: Alcohol, honey, cherry skin and some juicy cherry flesh. Syrupy with some bready caramelized malts. A bit of clover and some sweet malt base. Almost malt syrup sweetness. Cherry juice. Fruit leather. Pretty sweet. Yup.

Taste: Cherry leather fruit syrup with a serious honey drizzle. Sweet, cherry flesh, mildly tannic. Some other vague dark fruit. A touch grassy in the back. Cherry sweetness. Slightly roasted malt with some caramelized malt sweetness. Honey drizzle. Sweet, but not cloying. Borders on it though. Warming amps up booze and honey sweetness. Cherry starts to run medicinal as well. Hyper boozy.

Mouthfeel: A bit syrupy up front and then hits a bit thin on the finish. Moderate carbonation and surprisingly clean.

Overall: Buddy is a better elf.

Sweet cherry fruit leather with honey. Maybe an ounce or two with a bit more refinement.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2014 22:34:24 | More by Goblinmunkey7
Photo of angrybabboon

Rhode Island

3.18/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Split with Goblinmunkey7

Consumed 3/25/14

Appearance: Clear, ruby red - pours with a medium-sized, off-white head - fades to a wispy cap, leaves a few streaks of lacing

Smell: Dark malts and a ton of cherries - cherries to the max, kind of like a cross between cherry preserves and cherry-flavored cough syrup - some honey, but it's more of a straight-up sugar - some Belgian yeast, with some spices, clove, banana, and bubblegum - very sweet and very boozy overall

Taste: Sweet, boozy, spicy - apparently this is a winter warmer of sorts that was meant to be slowly sipped over the course of a multi-day snowstorm - a borderline absurd amount of cherry, with a side of cherry cough syrup - lots of honey flavor - like with the cherry, there's a bit too much honey - Belgian yeast, with some serious clove, banana, bubblegum, and a big dose of phenols - some dark caramel malts, with more sugar - the sweet malts, cherry flavor, and phenolic yeast create something that definitely tastes reminiscent of some kind of medicine

Mouthfeel: More or less a full body, with some syrupy stickiness, finishes with booze

Overall: Elf medicine, engineered to cure sobriety (may cause diabetes)

Cherries, honey, and Belgian yeast are all good things. But in excess, I can't say I'd recommend it. I'm glad I didn't have to drink the whole bomber.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2014 22:32:03 | More by angrybabboon
Photo of jdhowe


3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage poured into a Firestone Walker tulip.

A: Pours a slightly hazy red amber with 1 finger of straw-colored head that dissipates to a foamy ring.

S: Cherry, wheaty malt, corn, honey, and a hint of alcohol.

T/M: Prickly carbonation up front with a medium mouthfeel. Up front is honey and malt sweetness with a slight bitterness. Plenty of malt sweetness accompanied by a very mild bitterness throughout. Cherry is not very prominent. Finish is coating, almost a little drying, with a bittersweet lingering flavor.

O: While reviewing this, it strikes me that my opinions of it are not really all that high on this beer in individual metrics, and yet I quite like the beer. Really a nice, unique holiday ale that doesn't overdo its "holiday" flavors, while doing a really nice job of dealing with its 11abv. Drinks much closer to 9, but with a little bit of heat. Bumping this up a bit in overall for that reason; I think this beer comes together quite nicely.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2014 02:48:53 | More by jdhowe
Photo of GOBLIN


3.99/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Troegs Mad Elf

The only thing I really don't like about this beer is the creepy lil' elf on the label.

Poured into pint glass

A: moughany

S: cherries are solid on the nose.

T: slightly boozy taste but at 11% it's not really an issue. Well done Troegs Brothers !

M: full and decent amount of carbination

O: I always look for this around Christmas time as it is a favorite of mine. Get a little extra whenever you see it and age it a year . . . The honey will really come through and add a new dimension to this brew. Perfect for those cold winter months.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2014 16:54:12 | More by GOBLIN
Photo of CGiusti23


3.6/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 3.75

I really enjoyed Troegs Mad Elf. It had a great after taste and for having a high ABV, it was pretty smooth. The only problem I found with it, as well as others around my have said, is that it's one of those beers you could only have one or two in one sitting. Overall a great beer for the holidays.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2014 04:03:46 | More by CGiusti23
Photo of hotpauko

South Carolina

3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a tough beer, but good one. Meaning it is very yeasty strong, be prepared. I put one of these down before a night out, and I don't remember making it back home. It is mad elfy, holiday spicy, very strong alcohol, very yeast...can't stress that enough... Split this beer with someone else, one bottle is pretty strong. It very much tastes like a Troeg beer. Try one bottle before proceeding for more. I think you will like the strong holiday flavor, but prob not much more than one.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2014 02:03:05 | More by hotpauko
Photo of RVigz


4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

01-27-2014 23:35:53 | More by RVigz
Photo of KTCamm

New Jersey

4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a bottle into a tulip glass. 1/14

Pours crimson red with very little foam. Cranberry juice appearance. Cherry oak nose. Honey too. Pickly taste, oaky back. Firm alcohol pop. Sips great, and packs a sneaky wallop. Earth bitter in back. Great for a cold day. Excellent.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2014 14:33:30 | More by KTCamm
Photo of BMMillsy


3.6/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Got this as an extra but forget from who. Thanks awesome trader. Bottle says 2010-2011 so I assume this has been in a cellar for a while. Pours murky amber colored with nearly no head at all. A nice aroma of super sweet caramel, cherries, honey, some booze, maybe some Belgian yeast influence. Flavor is bready malt with a bit of yeast spice, definite sweet cherry presence, caramel, plums, figs. Big heavy slick mouthfeel with low carbonation. Definitely on the sweet side but pretty enjoyable. A bit of oxidization has settled in but that's ok. I would have this again.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2014 00:07:09 | More by BMMillsy
Photo of TreyIsWilson


3.79/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a deep red with a very thin white head. The head dissipates extremely quickl.

S - Cherries and yeast with some maltiness.

T - Cherries right upfront with lots o banana, clove, and bubblegum flavors. There is also a good alcohol in the finish.

M - Medium body with high carbonation. Sticky mouthfeel.

O - Nice holiday beer. Definetly a sipper.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2014 03:01:46 | More by TreyIsWilson
Photo of HattedClassic


3.81/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The beer pours a fairly light and off white head that dissipates quickly. The beer itself is a beautiful and clear ruby red. The smell has strong hints of honey and a fruity yeast smell but very little else. The cherries also come out and mix very well with the other smells. The taste has strong cherry and honey taste with a hop and fruity taste from the yeast. The combination of the ingredients also create a slightly strawberry flavor as well. The taste comes out a little bit medicine like with the cherries but not too much. Slight hint of booze. The feel is a little bit flat with almost no carbonation. Creamy feel. Overall, a decent beer and nice on a cold night.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2014 23:27:58 | More by HattedClassic
Photo of MacQ32

South Carolina

3.99/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage

A - pours a cloudy amber brown with a finger of tan colored head, OK retention and pretty decent but loose lacing.

S - Sweet cherries, honey, slightly sour, oaky booze aromas.

T - sweet honey and light boozyness, cherries. A little Mediciny due to the cherry+booze combo but very nice. Quite well balanced/tame

M - minimally carbonated, smooth, silky and nicely drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2014 01:29:25 | More by MacQ32
Photo of Damian


3.84/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Drank from a 12 fl.oz. bottle
Served in a goblet

The gorgeous, crystal clear, ruby colored liquid was capped by a super creamy, bubbly and tight, light tan crown that billowed over the top of the goblet. With time, the head faded to a thick collar. Drippy patches of lacing trickled down the glass.

The nose was quite punchy and sweet. Fruity esters from the Belgian yeast notes were immediately apparent. Intense cherry notes. I picked up hints of apple and pear as well. The yeast also contributed a mild powderyness. As the beer warmed, the cherry presence became sweeter and more intense.

The flavor profile was pleasant initially but became somewhat cloying with time. Lots of sweet cherry notes. Hints of apples and strawberries were also detectible. Like in the nose, the Belgian yeast notes lent the beer strong fruity esters. Caramel and dark candi sugar came through as well. Rich and malty. Spicy with hints of clove. As the beer sat, the cherry flavor became progressively stronger and sweeter, and it eventually reminded me of cherry cough syrup.

On the palate, the beer felt quite flat. The liquid contained a super fine and mild carbonation that was rather uncharacteristic for the style. Slightly creamy.

Although this beer was tasty and hid its high alcohol presence remarkably well, I found the syrupy cherry flavor to be overdone and the resulting beer to be rather cloying. I would love to see how this beer tastes without the addition of honey, as it certainly does not need it.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2014 22:36:37 | More by Damian
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Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,742 ratings.