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Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,208 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,208
Hads: 3,648
Avg: 3.85
pDev: 26.75%
Wants: 224
Gots: 931 | FT: 24
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: 1,208 | Hads: 3,648
Photo of mmmbeer
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle with no freshness date, but sure it's this year's version - served in a big wine glass. It pours with almost no head and remains that way. It is a clear, brilliant red/orange that is fit for a gemstone, but looks lifeless with no head or beads of carbonation and, hence, no lacing. It smells Belgian, with fruits (maraschino cherries?), malts, pepper/spiciness, and alcohol near the end. The taste has this plus medicinal phenols, banana, hints of clove, and perhaps some bubblegum. The body is medium and the drinkability is about what I would have expected. Not the best from Tröegs, but we'll see what the cellar will do to it.

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Photo of dnrobert24
2.62/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Purchased at the Gingerbread Man in Carlisle, PA. Had to see what the hype was about, and I was not impressed. The beer had a dark red hue, with a very thin head that did not retain much aroma. Something mildly fruity was there, like watermelon. The first sip was metallic and stingy. Hot alcohol abounded. Midway through, the fruit came through more predominantly--strawberry mostly, and other juicy red fruits. It reminded me a bit of Juicy Fruit gum. I could not detect the spicy yeastiness normally associated with Belgian-style beers. The pint I had felt a little thin. It was not what I was expecting or hoping for in an American-made Christmas release of a belgian strong dark.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Funky 12 ounce bottle. A rather annoying big eared wazzack is sneaking over the bannered word “Tröegs”. Seems like the Elves have some kind of rights these days, so now they have to properly scare children and not appeal to them when on a beer label, nice. Listed as a “Holiday Ale” and a weed-whacking 11% abv.

Appearance: Dark orange with ruby pomegranate hues. Watermelon flashes have a lovely soft red sunset feel. Minimal head, little pockets of smattered white lacing and some very lazy carbonation.

Nose: Light malts licked with a faded cherry cough syrup. Creamy grainy malts are here also. Malty aromas build and dominate with a dark skinned fruity aspect. Light on the cherries but it has some tasty fusel alcohol too.

Taste: Sharp fruits, acidic grapefruit and a star-fruit entrance the beginning. Middle has some cherry but it is soaked in a pink grapefruit body. Weird brew that likens to an English Bitter soaked in a resilient Cold fighting Cherry Cough syrup. Sweet finish with yet more grain and hints of spices. Erm....weird but sort of nice.

Mouthfeel: This one has a mixture of alcohol and mixed fruit blended with a rather thick body. Feels big, I’m sure the alcohol helps out here too.

Drinkability: For a double digit brew this one is rather a monster missive but it is not that hard to drink which surprise me. Neither is it sickly sweet, in fact it is rather clean overall.

Overall: Not sure what I make of this one, it’s a strange brew indeed………OK, I thought about it, I still don’t know what I make of this one. It’s one of those beers that is hard to ascribe a style to.

Thanks to OCBrewFish for this one!

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Photo of DuqTroops
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

reviewed - December 21, 2005

Appearance -- reddish in tint. You could tell this is a holiday ale through the color of the beer. Not much head to it as well. Looks enjoyable.

Aroma -- smells of cherries and malt. Not too hoppy. Wants me to take a sip of it.

Taste -- tastes a little bit of honey and malt. Very enjoyable.

Body -- not too heavy. Smooth on the way down and is definitely going to get more.

Drinkability -- not going to drink all the time. Only in the winter months where alcohol is needed.

Price - had to pay $50 for a case of beer. Not worth spending for th entire case. Should get it at brewery with a six pack rather than getting a case.

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Photo of Chadbrew
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Brilliant reddish beer (very Christmas-like!) with about a half finger of head that disappears pretty quickly to a ring around the edges and little islands of fluff drifting around.
Aroma - Lots of malts and certainly a honey presence. The cherries came through but a little like cherry medicine.
Taste - Lots of honey, it’s like chewing on honeycomb (not the cereal). A bit of a flowery taste that I assume is from the honey. The cherries show themselves in the end. For something with all this sweet stuff it finishes remarkably clean.
Body - No lack of it.
Drinkability - No matter how hard I look for it I cannot find the alcohol presence, match that with the super clean finish and you get a pretty drinkable beer. Still don't think I could drink 3 litres though.

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Photo of cubedbee
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a bright brick red with a small off-white head that neverthless has good retetention and leaves some moderate lacing. Nose is nice natural cherries, not syrupy, a honey sweetness, and a slight clovelike spiciness. Taste is a nice smooth cherry with some other pear/apple fruitiness, a nice bready malt, and a decent spicey and hoppy finish. Mouthfeel is medium/full with a nice smoothness. Overall this is a really nice beer, hides the alcohol well, nice to sip on a cold day.

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Photo of Phatz
4.43/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

What a treat! Although I am new to this beer, this year, it is now a beer I will look for every holiday season; it’s a new personal favorite and was very well received by my family at thanksgiving. We also had it around through the Christmas season.

Appearance: This beer pours cherry red with a small frothy head. Served in my snifter. It has a unique ruby glow to it that just simply does not look like beer. In fact the first time I had this beer was at a friends house with dinner. The table was set and a snifter was at my place setting. There were wine bottles on the table and I assumed it was wine in my glass before I picked it up. This is a very unique beer!

Smell: Cherries! First and foremost is the obvious aroma of sweet cherries. It smells a lot like a wine with the hints of alcohol seeping into the back of your nose. I also detected some spices like cinnamon and nutmeg in there. It’s very pleasant and yet not overwhelming.

Taste: It tastes as good as it smells (infact similar to the smell). It is cherry up front followed by the gentle malts and as you swallow a very cinnamon taste with an ever so subtle hint of hops and alcohol hanging in your mouth for a moment to finish it off. It is so gentle on the palate that I believe this beer could accompany almost any horderves, meal, or desert.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is a bit lighter than I'd prefer; but it is very crisp, very refreshing, and pleasantly carbonated. It has somewhat of an 'apple cider meets the spiced Christmas punch' feel to it. It just slips right past your mouth and into you bloodstream before you know it.

Drinkability: This is PROBLEM ZONE drinkable. Wow! You would never know that it has an 11.00% ABV until you stand up after the third or fourth one. It is so easy to drink you almost need to drink it while you are distracted with dinner or something, or you may get hurt. I have now picked up several 6-packs of this stuff, intending to review it. Every time I was ready to review it I realized I'm all out again. I think that even many non-beer-drinkers would enjoy this beer. It is a perfect choice for all of your holiday events.

I went back to by 6-packs of this so many times I should have just bought a few cases. My brother in-law loved this beer as well as my sister-in-law who only drinks wine (says she doesn’t like beer). There is such a wide appeal Tröegs Mad Elf I am absolutely astonished. Way to go Tröegs this beer is a fantastic success.

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of pbr85
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass...
App: Pours a cherry red with absolutely no head. It would be a great looking beer if it had some head but it looks more like syrup than beer.
Taste: First sip is very malty. There are strong hints of cherry as soon as it hits your tongue. Malts stay strong throughout, which makes it a very sweet beer. Alcohol is strong and prominent. Mild hops, more prominent in the aftertaste than in the beer.
Mouthfeel: Great amount of carbonation. The beer goes down smooth.
Drinkability: Though it goes down smooth, the alcohol presence would likely make it difficult to drink more than one. I had one last week from the same six pack and enjoyed it more that time.

This is a good beer to drink when it is cold. The prominent alcohol leaves you feeling warm inside, and the appearance and cherry taste make it a good beer to drink during the holidays.

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Photo of beermanbrian
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brownish red color, with a 1 finger head that dissipates quickly. Medium level of carbonation. No lacing at all and the head that completly dissapears hurt the appearance a little.

Smell is bready/toasted biscut with just a touch of the added cherries. Can't really detect the honey. Taste is also very bready with just a hint of cherries. Where is the alcohol? It is hidden amazingly well. Medium bodied mouthfeel with a mildly spicey (nutmeg) aftertaste.

This is a nice holiday brew, but one at a time is plenty. I enjoyed it and look forward to next years offering. Probably a little on the pricey side but worth it once a year. I wasn't sure what i would think about this one, i normally don't like beers with fruit added, but this was just subtle enough to be enjoyable.

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've had a few of the Troegs beers in recent months, and all of them have been quite enjoyable. Between that and the worth of mouth that other users said about this brew, I was pretty excited when this came into my liquor store a few weeks ago. After drinking it, however, I was a bit let down...

Don't get me wrong, this is a fine brew. Poured a nice mahogany reddish-brown, about a finger and a half worth of head that quickly settled down. The taste was very maltly and bready, with hints of banana and cherry as well. Can't quite taste the honey in this, and the 11% ABV is hardly noticable either. It's quite drinkable, with a fairly filling aftertaste and a lacing that gently slid down the glass after I took each sip; although the beer itself could have been a bit less thin.

I was led to believe that the $13.99 price for the 6-pack and the supposed ruby red color would make this a standout, but the Mad Elf seems to be better suited as just the only American version of a Belgian Strong Ale that I've ever seen or drank. With my experiences with Troegs in the past, the bar for this was set quite high, and even though I was a bit disappointed, I enjoyed this beer and look forward to their other offerings that I haven't tried yet. Worth a shot but not worth the price in my opinion...

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Photo of SwillinBrew
3.77/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I finally got to have this thanks to beerbeing.

A - an apple cider color with strawberry skin hues and what little white head was present left pretty fast. Very nice color.
S - A bit bready with some fruit and malt. Maybe a hint of cherry. I though tthe aroma would be a bit more present and strong.
T - Toasted biscuit and spice dominate this brew finishing on the sweet side with maybe some hints of cherry and honey, i think i detected that. Again, it was rather faint on my expected taste. I do believe i should go into a tasting without any expectations.
M&Dr - A dry and light medium bodied brew that is very drinkable. You cant even taste the alcohol on this spicey treat.

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Photo of bruachan
3.74/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

i poured as aggressively as possible, but the beer didn't care. i coaxed a sizeable head out of the bottle but POOF gone. brilliantly-clear-orange-tinted ruby color

tart raisiny fruit with an earlier slight cherry flavor. some bitterness. the 11% hides well amongst the esters; this elf is generally less mad than i was expecting. there's definitely balance here...is it fair to call it bland?

the standard yeasty belgian aroma is missing. i get caramel malts and a spicey hop and alcohol zing, but little of the classic belgian character, almost as if troegs didn't use an authentic yeast

EDIT: after i saw the bottle again, and the "holiday ale" label, i decided that to judge this beer as a "belgian strong ale" is missing the point. there was a nice spicing that was quite holiday-ish and it was actually incredibly drinkable

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Photo of ElGordo
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my tulip glass a dark amber hue with ruby highlights, topped by an inch of bright white head that decides only to make a brief appearance. Inviting aroma of Belgian yeast, biscuit, cherry, a touch of piney hops, and a good deal of alcohol. Palate is wonderfully complex - sweet malt with honey, some dark cherries, light spicy hops, Belgian yeast, and a bit of astringency. The alcohol makes itself known, providing a nice warming finish. The body is fully and slightly creamy, about perfect for the style. This is only the second beer I've been able to acquire from Troegs, and I have to say they do pretty well with their Belgian styles. Wish I'd gotten more than one bottle.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.33/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Auburn/red with no visible carbonation. No head, no lacing.

S - Odor is faint. Mostly malt with a little spice. I can't descern anything over the smell of carbonated water. Since there is no real carbonation, that doesn't say much for the smell.

T - Slightly sour, from the cherries I'd guess, a little spice is detectable, nutmeg and maybe a tiny bit of allspice. It has a strange bitterness, but it mostly masked. I cannot detect any alcohol. It isn't really covered up though, since the taste isn't very strong. I don't know where they hid it, but it is hidden. Aside from the disappearing abv, nothing is too impressive about the taste.

M - Very thick and smooth. Refreshing.

D - There is not a single negative aspect to this beer, but there is nothing great either. I am surprised. It is good, in the sense that it does not offend and is easy to drink. I would sooner have many other holiday brews. Maybe it was the hype, but this Troegs beer is a bit of a disappointment.

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Photo of silver0rlead
4.07/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a somewhat indistinct hazy amber with a thin off-white head that dissapates quickly. The aroma is intriguing, with notes of cherry, honey, belgian yeast, some chocolate, toasted bread, alcohol and some mineraly hops. The flavor is surprisingly subtle for a beer of this magnitude, with notes of cherry, dark fruits, honey, toasted bread, fruity esters, chocolate and some earthy, mineraly hops. The mouthfeel is medium with light carbonation, and drinkability is quite impressive considering the massive abv. An interesting beer from Troegs, kind of an american/belgian hybrid...tasty and complex and the alcohol is incredibly well hidden.

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Photo of veggiemafia
4.17/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Joe Mama's, sadly served in a po' boy pint.

Very Christmasy looking red color, slick looking with the only trace of head being a thin ring of light reddish khaki bubbles around the rim of the glass.

Smells really great, lots of Belgian malt and some yeasty notes but mostly the smell is honey sweetness and dark cherry and maybe some plummy things. Almost no alcohol in the nose, which is kind of nice, but kind of weird for a beer this big.

Taste is just like the smell with some added phenols in there. Shockingly even after this had set on our table for a good 45 minutes, the alcohol still didn't really make itself known. It seems like a lot of Belgians have a kind of sickly sweet alcohol presence that I don't really dig, but this just stays sweet and fruity throughout.

Mouthfeel is very slick, very low carbonation, but it's sweet enough that it almost leaves kind of a film in your mouth like skittles or something. There was a lingering component to this that I thought was less than amazing.

Drinkability for an 11% beer is downright scary. As drinkable as Double Bastard, and just as drunkifying. I personally wouldn't drink more than two in any sitting, but man, this is one worth letting creep up on you.

Just don't drive anywhere, in anything after two of these.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

last bottle i had of this was bad, or something.. maybe last year's batch wasn't my cup of tea. regardless, consistent positive vibes from other troegs brews demands a re-review.. and boy am i glad i did it.

christmasy red, clear with no head. some bubbles. big nose of belgian malt with silky accents from the honey. reminiscent of other american belgian-style ales in its overabundance of malt without accompanying fruity-sweetness. flavor is complex and very smooth for 11%. starts off with mild cherry hints, more of the maraschino variety than sour red. follows up immediately with some band-aid (ok, alot of band-aid) and spicy heat. the abv was bound to resurface somewhere, and here it is. peppery, finishes with a big cherry juice blast. speaking of maraschino, its reminiscent of the water they pack those cherries in- like a beery shirley temple (or is it rob roy, i never remember). last bottle i had felt more cough syrup cherry than juicy cherry, and this is a vast improvement. nice holiday sipper although you can gulp it. malts are a little 'dirty' (corny?) and for a fruit/spiced brew it comes off awfully plain. still, freshness makes this elf a very good one.

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Photo of CJfromPhilly
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle a rusty reddish-brown with very little head that quickly dissolved to light lacing on the top & edges. Light carbonation, just a few bubbles rising in the glass. There's a dry maltiness/fruitiness in the aroma. Taste is initially of dry, chocolate covered cherries with malt & a touch of honey on the finish. Mouthfeel is lively & bubbly. I get pretty much NO hint of this clocking in at 11% abv, no alcohol burning or bitterness. This could sneak up & bite you if you're not careful. Overall, a nice winter warmer, well worth the wait, and a nice addition to the holiday tradition. BTW, for those of you complaining about the price, $38.99 @ Total Wine & More in Claymont, DE. Get there anyway you can while they last!!!

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Photo of ggaughan
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005 bottle. Although I have tried all 3 years of Mad Elf, I have not done a vertical of them yet but plan on doing in the future. Maybe around Christmas.

The 2005 poured a nice shiny amber color with a medium thickness light brown head that disipated pretty quickly after completing the pour into the Mad Elf glass. And what a lovely glass it is.

You can pick up the spice notes in this beer upon smelling it and even more spice (nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon?) once you get a good taste. The cherry taste is not overly noticeable but still adds a nice touch to this stellar beer.

It is hard to tell that this baby is 11% abv with how suprisingly smooth it is and goes down. That is why I like it so much and go back each year to try some.

Can't wait to get my hands on a 3litre of this for the holidays.

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Photo of phnphilly
4.14/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer pours an amber reddish color and with a vigorous poor only had about a 3/4 inch head. The head dissipated quickly and before I had a chance to take the first sip was completely gone. Beer smells sweet with a lot of cherry flavor coming through. The beer tastes similar to the aroma with a lot of cherry flavor, sweetness from the honey, and almost no hop aroma or taste to speak of (surprising for a Troegs Brew). There wasn't a lot of carbonation and to my surprise almost no alcohol warming for an 11 percent ABV brew. This beer was very drinkable and I haven't been able to have just one yet. I wish Troegs would add a small amount of hops to balance the sweetness of this beer which is something I would never thought I'd say about a Troegs beer. In all however this is a very tasty beer and is perfect for the Holidays (especially Thanksgiving dinner).

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Photo of TheDeuce
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy red amber color, minimal head but big crackling bubbles. It says on the front that it is brewed with honey and cherries; both flavors come in immediately along with Belgian sugar and meaty hop shots. Alcohol is felt but not tasted, though as it is known if you have too many of these you will keel over. Suprisingly subdued finish adds to drinkability, I hate cherries and honey, yet actually enjoy this beer, the Brothers have done it again.

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Photo of Foxman
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a clear, bubbly deep amber, aspiring almost to ruby. A finger and a half of matte white head dwindles gradually to a frothy toile veil. Pips and flits of lacing meander on the inside of the glass.

The aroma emits a malt and honey sweetness backed by a tart cherry note and a yeasty sourness. It's all mitigated by a haze of blended spice. A distant alcohol hint loiters covertly, reminiscent of vanilla extract.

The first sip tenders a sweet splash of toasted malt and drippy honey, not cloying, but strongly present. A cherry fruit tartness lines the sides of the tongue, while a mild melange of spices lays across the back. The sweetness clings as things proceed, still dueling with the sour and tart character, but joined by a mellow yeasty dough trace near the close. The finish sees sweet and sour slip into a rounded dry spice memory. Noticeably absent is any really overt alcohol reference, short of a comfortable warming body-wide.

Medium bodied, the sweet toothiness and carbonation combine to deliver a fine palatal experience.

Increasingly eagerly awaited each holiday season, it certainly should be this year. All the elements envelop the senses and seem to exist just for your enjoyment. It's a winter warmer that wraps you in sweet holiday cheer. The ABV is felt rather than tasted, but it is very real, and not to be forgotten. Still, I can't imagine a time when the first wouldn't lead to a second. Hell, you can keep your egg nog; mad elves make good beer.

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Photo of Nutleybeer
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

After 2 years or so of trying, finally I got my chance to sample Troegs' infamous Mad Elf. Apparently, in the past they never brewed enough and it sold out at once. This year, they must have learned their lesson though...I actually found Mad Elf sold in north Jersey; which is a first.

At $13 a six pack, the cost is quite high. Thankfully, at my local store, they sold Mad Elf by the bottle too. At $3 a bottle, while still high, it is a bit more affordable to be sampled.

The smell as you pop open the bottle is distinctive Belgian with a pleasant, somewhat spicy scent. With a reddish copper color, it made for a nice pour with a mild head. The taste was smooth. Not to sweet, but with a subtle hint of cherries. Not as sweet as I imagined it to be.

For those of you interested but unable to find Mad Elf, you can also try Ommegang's Three Philosophers, which is in the same lines (thanks to the guys in Red Bank's Spirits for pointing that out in the past).

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Photo of warriorsoul
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Pentathlete for this one...not the most recent release.
Pours a bright mahogany color with less than 1/2 a finger of bright white head...most disappears quite rapidly and a small amount of lace produced.
Nice aromas filled with cherries, citrus, raisins, sugarcane and a hint of alcohol...a lot going on here.
The taste is where the honey comes into play, sweetening it up a bit...an obvious cherry bomb with a hefty dose of malt and a decent hop bitterness for being less than fresh. A dry finish with some of the alcohol coming through...not overly distracting, but adding a slight medicinal feel that goes away a few seconds after each sip.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied...not syrupy or cloying and the carbonation is where I like to see it.
A sipper for me...no doubt, one to enjoy as the temps dip below freezing tonight. I will look to pick up a fresh bottle to compare, but can't imagine it will change that much in the time that has passed. Another nice offering from Troeg's even if it is not one of my favorites...recommend giving it a try, just maybe not snagging a case without tasting it first.

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Photo of neonbrown82
2.8/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

This bottle was provided in trade from GCBrewingCo. It's been a while since the trade, but I figured this one would be better saved for the first snowfall of the year at the very least. It surely has enough staying power at 11% considering that it's the 2004 release, but this beer is quite questionable to say the least.

Pours to a very dark burgandy brown with absolutely no head. I put some serious distance between the bottle and the tulip glass while pouring, but all I got were a few clear air bubbles. Obviously no lacing, and the carbonation couldn't be seen if it were there. This isn't necessarily surprising with such a high ABV brew, but I usually get at least a head-like film.

The nose is absolutely saturated with a raisin and fig aroma with a bit of ginger and/or allspice and cinamon. The cherries are also evident behind all the figs.

The beer tastes like molasses, honey and cherries, with aforementioned spicing. A bit piney even. Not one of my favorite mixtures of flavor. It seems like they took all of the flavors associated with christmas and went overboard trying to cram as much of that shit as they could into a 12 ounce bottle. The results are quite devastating to the tastebuds, and I'm not one to rate a beer well based on style even though I thought it was utter shite.

The mouthfeel is water and distant. What does this "distant" nonsense mean in terms of mouthfeel? Well, I can't seem to taste much of anything but mild sour cherries until I swallow, and then the burst of flavors hits all at once, confusing the palate. The finish is dry and lingers like a port wine, grape flavor and all.

I feel like I've been duped. This is a wine, not a beer! No offense to GCBrewingCo, if he happens to be reading this (I've already thoroughly enjoyed everything else from that trade), but I am not impressed at all by this beer. In fact, this is the type of thing that put me off from holiday beers last year, but I am going to stay the course for this year.

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Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,208 ratings.