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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

1,192 Reviews
THE BROS
85
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,192
Hads: 3,590
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 7.51%
Wants: 214
Gots: 865 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Tröegs Mad Elf Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,192 | Hads: 3,590
Photo of Immortale25
4.24/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Dogfish signature snifter. No freshness date.

A- Pours a ruby color with a 1/2 inch off white head that retains a bit before fizzing away to a thin ring around the edge of the glass and a thin patch of surface foam. Lacing is sparse and non-resilient.

S- Has a sweet, fumy Belgian candi sugar smell with some dark fruit notes.

T- The Belgian characteristics of this beer have become more apparent since the last time I've had this which was years ago. More dark fruit notes like plum, raisin and cherry than the cloying honey/cranberry sweetness I remember. Alcohol is still masterfully concealed though. The cloying sweetness I remember becomes more apparent as the beer warms.

M- Medium-low carbonation keeps things toned down which is expected from a BSDA with such a high ABV. Slightly syrupy feel with a medium-heavy body.

O- I think I just realized that this was the first BSDA I ever fell in love with. So easy to drink with such high alcohol content. I'm sorry, but that's just a winner for me. Such a shame it doesn't have a higher average BA score. (1,077 characters)

Photo of dbrauneis
3.84/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served on-tap at Rattle N Hum in New York, NY

A: Pours a clear dark copper in color with some amber highlights and moderate amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall light beige head that reduces to a ver thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of cherries and dark fruit with some light notes of spices.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of malts with some dark fruit sweetness and cherries. Additionally, there are notes of honey contributing to the overall sweetness and a light to moderate amount of spice. Very light amounts of bitterness in the finish which fade quickly.

M: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Light hints of dryness in the finish.

O: This beer is pretty easy to drink due to the fact that the rather high ABV is well hidden. This is a good sipping beer, with a decent amount of complexity but too strong for anything other than slowly sipping. (1,033 characters)

Photo of stckhndlr
3.66/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

A- I love the color of this beer. Literally the same color as the label. A dark pinkish maroon color. Poured into a tulip glass and it developed a good 2 inch head on top that doesn't stick around too long.

S- Great cherry smell all the way. Hints of honey round this out. Just a nice sweet and pleasant smell, hints of spice.

T- slightly acidic like tart cherries. you can also pick up the spice at the end, almost mixed with some cloves.

M- A little bit over carbonated but not too much. Still very drinkable.

O- I want with longing for the end of fall to get here to get this beer each year. It is still one of my favorites. It's a sweet beer and very drinkable. However at 11% you have to force yourself to take it slow. Great winter beer. (750 characters)

Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Half Pint Pub in Rochester, NY.

A huge seasonal favorite around here, but one I don't really understand the hype for.

Pours a bright copper red, with a one inch head and not much lacing.

Smells like cherry juice/extract, Belgian yeast esters, and alcohol.

This one's sweet as hell. So much medicinal cherry flavor packed in, it's cloying and syrupy. There's not much else here, tons of yeasty esters come into play, which don't help, given they give off similar cherry-like flavors, anyway.

Medium bodied, syrup, thick and sweet mouthfeel. The best thing that can be said is the beer hides the alcohol fairly well, considering everything.

I guess it's just me, people love this, it's a pass for me. (714 characters)

Photo of Mertzy81
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours a murky brownish-red with a decent head of off-white, coarse bubbles. No retention or lacing.

S: Aggressive nose of syrupy cherries. Hints of vinous grape, a bit of lactic acid, and sugary fruit juice.

T: Juicy cherries hit the palate, along with a smooth blend of spices, sweet and grainy malt, and Belgian yeast. Hints at cloying cough syrup but is pulled back by the malt and yeast. Bit of a smooth, medicinal honey sweetness. Fruity Belgian esters mix well with the cherries and honey. A bit of alcohol in the finish, but it's barely perceivable.

M: Relatively full body and fine carbonation.

O: This definitely grew on me as the glass drained. Can get a little cloying, but ultimately it's pretty balanced, and the hiddenness of the alcohol is remarkable for 11%. (781 characters)

Photo of alex_hart
4.69/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Belgian Strong Dark Ales are by far my favorite style of brew, so when I saw that a beer at 11% abv was on tap, and was this style, i knew I couldn't turn away.

This was love at first taste. Dark cherries, spice, and caramel. It looked dark and foreboding (which is what I like), but it was soft, smooth, and delicious. The smell threw me off a little bit and made me nervous before the first sip, but that is the only negative thing I could say about it. This is one of those beers I could drink every day for the rest of my life and be content, though my organs would fail. (576 characters)

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.66/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle of the 2008 vintage...so this one is maybe a little older than 4 years. Pours a hazed crimson-copper color with a small, limpid tan head. No lacing and retention fails at this age.

Nose is fairly oxidized at this point but the cherries are still prevalent. Caramel and toffee are the main malt contributors.

Taste is definitely past its prime at this point, but I am surprised at how long the cherries have held on. Malts are somewhere in between a Belgian dubbel and a carmely barleywine. The yeast makes its mark and is a good choice for this beer, feels very 'Belgian' with more age. The alcohol is well disguised and well integrated with the heavy malt. I like this beer better when around the 1-2 year mark, but this was a fun experiment nonetheless. This beer seems to have plenty of detractors, but I find it to be quite delicious at any point in the aging cycle. (884 characters)

Photo of popery
3.29/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

From notes, 1/28/11. Bottle. This beer is a bit of a sweet mess. It certainly drinks smoother than its 11% abv, but that’s the best thing about it. It pours a very red amber color with a small off-white head. The aroma is sugar cane, cherries, honey and some fruity Belgian yeast notes. The taste is sweet with a somewhat cloyingly sweet finish. It’s just a bit of a mess. The flavors don’t really clash, but it’s cloying upon cloying. It’s actually a lot like what I imagine an elf would drink, a sort of fruity beer nectar. Mouthfeel is sticky but otherwise fine. I’m being a bit harsh, but it’s just too over-the-top for me. Lots of sweet flavors in this one. (676 characters)

Photo of JudoJeff
4.75/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

From tap, this was dark, burgandy/amber color. It smelled and tasted of dark but sweet cherries with mulling-type spices. Neither the sweetness nor spice was overpowering as in some other similar strong dark ales. Drinking this is very much like drinking Christmas, back before it became commercialized. (303 characters)

Photo of thlayli87
3.57/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear ruby color with two fingers of head that quickly recedes. No lacing.

S - Belgian funkiness, fruity.

T - I definitely get the cherry flavor immediately. Very sweet. Caramel and dark candied fruits. Yeasty.

M - Slightly syrupy. Full bodied with medium carbonation.

O - This is definitely a sipping beer due to the sweetness and high ABV. Unique mixture of flavors. I would get this again. (400 characters)

Photo of sDon
4.54/5  rDev +17.6%
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. (487 characters)

Photo of LTaylor
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Sweet and spicy, a mouthful of Christmas cheer - it's my favorite winter seasonal beer. It's flavorful and complex, but doesn't sit heavy in your stomach, plus the high alcohol content puts you in a nice place if you're with family that drives you nuts during the holidays.

I personally like sweet beers, and this one (with honey, cherries, and chocolate flavors) is definitely on the sweet side, so the subtle spice may not be enough to balance it out for those who prefer more spice and hoppy flavors.

You're supposed to drink Mad Elf out of a glass or chalice, but I had it straight from the bottle on this occasion. I recommend using a glass, because I couldn't smell the beer as well. I got a decent mouthful of both honey and cherry flavor when I tasted it (with moderate carbonation) and the spicy flavors lingered on my tongue, which I enjoyed. (856 characters)

Photo of Andrew61923
2.92/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 12 oz bottle into Portsmouth Brewery tulip. Sat out of fridge for ten minutes before opening. Picked this up a few months ago and figured it was time to drink it, even though the holidays have passed.

A: Pours a deep ruby with a quickly dissipating off-white head, which forms a thin halo. Lots of floaties in the glass, which I was not expecting. Not terrible, but I would have liked this to be more filtered.

S: Clove, bubble gum, and cherries. True to the style, but not things I usually want in my beer. It doesn't smell bad by any means, but I can tell this isn't going to be my favorite.

T: Sweet with the same notes of bubble gum and cherries. Again, not my thing.

M: The ABV is high and you can tell. There is a pretty substantial burn at the end of each sip down my throat. I had thought about sitting on this for a year and, while I doubt I would like the flavor that much more, this would have probably improved. As is, however, I'm not a fan.

O: In hindsight, I'm not sure why I bought this beer. I'm not a huge fan of the style and I tried as much as possible to enjoy it, but it's just not growing on me as I drink it more. At least I know to pass on buying it next year and I'm thankful I only got one. (1,235 characters)

Photo of MrBoh
3.79/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle date: 10/08/14. Pours a ruby brown into my snifter. Little less than a finger of mocha colored head. No real lacing.

The aroma is interesting. Mainly cherries and bubble gum. Raisin or another dried fruit is also present. A little spicy, cloves and coriander.

The taste is much more upfront with the spices. Cherries, raisins, bitter orange peel and smoke round it out. The alcohol is not very well hidden, something I don't remember in past versions. The spices also come out more and more as it sits. I don't remember past versions being so potent, it's overkill for my senses.

I can feel the alcohol not just in the mouth, but down into the throat. The beer is viscous, tricking you into thinking it's sweeter than it is. Each sip it seems like it'll be very sweet, but it finishes somewhere between sweet and dry, but definitely bitter.

I remember liking this a lot more in past years. It just seems to be searching for an identity it can't find. Somewehere between a fruit beer and a Belgian dark ale, it almost finds itself closer to a spicy, less oaky barleywine. Maybe I've just been spoiled with great beer lately. It's still good, it's just not much more than that. (1,187 characters)

Photo of dexterk1
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Being the Christmas season I picked up a bottle of this last week. Poured into a pint glass with a dark reddish/amber color. Head disappears quickly.
Odor is sweet and malty. Some fruitiness as well. Smells like cherries and some spice.
Taste is sweet and strong. Flavor is big and there until the end. Cherry and other berries are the predominant flavors. Some maltyness as well and a little lingering alcohol note. Mouth feel is full and rich. Lingers until the end when the alcohol comes through a bit. No hop bitterness at all really.
Overall, not a bad holiday beer. I enjoyed it, however this time of year is the only time. (632 characters)

Photo of Oakenator
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
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. (380 characters)

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. (419 characters)

Photo of inlimbo77
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz, 2012
Snifter

A: Nice color on this: reddish amber. Fairly filtered and clear. About a quarter finger of bright white head. Turns into ring around edges.

S: Belgian spices. Candied sugar sweetness. Honey sweetness. Smell those cherries. Tartness is there.

T: Tip of the tongue, spice. Holiday spice notes. Sweet honey sweetness. Those cherries blend in nicely. Get some of that tartness on the palate. Somewhat dry tart finish.

M: Big medium. (451 characters)

Photo of sommersb
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted On: 12-26-2012
Freshness: 2012 Vintage
Packaging: 12 oz. brown bottle, pry-cap
Glassware: Goblet
Purchased: Received in a trade

It's the day after Christmas, so a little Mad Elf seemed appropriate...

This beer isn't much to look at -- pours a semi-clear reddish-brown with very little head to speak of. The head disappears quickly and leaves no lacing behind.

Smells are malty and sweet, with big fruit and cherry notes. I also get some complex holiday spice aromas such as cinnamon and clove. I think I can also detect the added honey, but maybe that's just because I read it on the label...

Full-flavored ale here, sweet and of dark, ripened fruits like raspberry and cherry. Bitterness is low if not non-existent.

Mouthfeel is full in body with carbonation in the medium range. Finish is fruity and sweet, with a lingering spice flavor. The 11% makes itself known with some pleasing alcohol warmth.

Overall an enjoyable spiced holiday ale. The appearance left something to be desired, but other than that was a brew I'd recommend to anyone who likes malt-forward spiced holiday beers.

Thanks to baybum for this one! (1,133 characters)

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

Murky reddish brown body with a small quickly sinking head and some nice slippery lacing. Aroma packed full of yeasty Belgian esters that are both spicy and quite fruity; vague honey notes and booze follow. For me the flavor was much the same, a big punch of yeast esters bringing lots of fruit and spice, with a late arriving wave of honey sweetness and warming alcohol. Decent grainy malt base, cherries overwhelmed by both yeast and booze and fail to bring much in the way of tartness that would clean things up a bit and cut the syrupy character of the beer a bit.

Medium body, medium carbonation that's pretty much right on target for a Belgian style brew. Moderately smooth and sticky. In the end this is a pretty solid take on a dark Belgian but its a bit sweet for my tastes and doesn't surpass the better iterations from overseas. (840 characters)

Photo of LeRose
3.23/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle to snifter.

Aroma seems to lack any cherry. Smells boozy, hint of honey like sweetness.

Pours dark honey brown with reddish hues. No appreciable head, but plenty of bubbles. Attractive looking.

Initial taste get the alcohol burn, not getting the cherry. Dry finish, sweetness and honey notes. Still not finding the cherry taste at all despite some medicinal hints. Surprisingly bitter. The honey and sweetness seemed to build, then a bit of sourness after a few minutes. Coats a bit with lingering sweetness.

Overall, a little disappointed but this is quite warming and it is pretty cold here today. Will keep sippin on it, but nothing I would rush out to buy again. (677 characters)

Photo of StretchZep
4.67/5  rDev +21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Awesome just the right amount of "heat" and sweet! Wish I had picked up two of these. Got it in the bomber bottle and am three sips into it and bumming out about has little is left. It is the good! Lots of smooth maktyness and a nice bitey cherry finish! Merry Christmas!! (272 characters)

Photo of Treyliff
3.82/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- pours a clear ruby red color with a small creamy white head that reduces to a ring around the glass with some short lasting lace.

S- ripe cherries with some other dark fruits, slightly medicinal, twizzler candy, sweet honey, and a bit leathery.

T- slightly tart cherry juice up front with some dark fruit notes, transitions into some sweet honey with some peppery spice, medicinal notes creep in afterword. Finish is sweet-yet-dry and warming. Definitely a sipping beer!

M- medium body, low carbonation, a bit heavy in the palate, creamy mouthfeel and velvety finish. Slightly warming on the throat, but hides the alcohol quite well.

O- a string beer that will sneak up on you, however the alcohol is hidden quite well and the cherries make it an enjoyable sipper. (775 characters)

Photo of brewskifan55
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a New Belgium chalice at cvm4's holiday sampling. Thanks for the trade, Gus!

A: Opaque, ice tea amber with a half finger head that scampers quickly. Few bubbles.

S: Dark fruits, particularly cherries. Sweet, honey, leather.

T: Cherry sweet, caramel, malts, honey. Robust. A very easy drinker.

M: Medium. Bubbles like crazy.

O: Very festive. Alcohol is well hidden. More malts pop through as it warms. A mad elf worth catching. (443 characters)

Photo of cvm4
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours amber with a white head to it.

S - The cherry comes through a lot, with bready malts and sweet yeast.

T - A nice spiciness that leads into cherries and sweet malts. I'm surprised at how well hidden the abv is.

M - Medium body & carbonation.

O - Really good, crisp on the palette. (295 characters)

Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,192 ratings.