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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: 12.69%
Wants: 214
Gots: 866 | 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 RblWthACoz
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautifully ruby hued amber with a thickly spiced aroma that has a fair amount of yeasty funk lingering as well. Flavor is spiced like a winter warmer. I feel like I am diving into this at the wrong time. It needs to be snowing like hell with a fire nearby. (265 characters)

Photo of russpowell
4.16/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an effervescent caramel/red with a thin filmy head. Minmal lacing & no head retention

S: Sweet, fruitty & hints of cherry& oakyness& a little booze as it warms

T: Dry with berry/cherry notes up front. Some woody/oaky character & a slight medicinal twang comes through. I also catch a little vanilla as it warms. A little warming alcohol is present as it warms. Finishes winey with cherry notes, slight chocolate & dryness

MF: Extremely low carbonation & slick

Drinks really easy for the abv, something a little different, but 2 of these beauties & you're done, This took the chill off a brutal winterstorming evening & certainally got me in the holiday mood! This would work with turkey or fruitcake. Mad props to GnomeKing for this one. (755 characters)

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

First had: on tap at ? (Eulogy maybe)

I have Mad Elf more on tap these days than in bottles, and the profile is similar, though perhaps they've mellowed out a bit with the recipe so that the taste isn't completely overwhelming. Pours--typically into a stem glass--copper-brown with reddish-orange hues that become more visible in the light. Typically, as with the bottle, an off-white head that retains and laces well, and perhaps is more pronounced when being served on tap. Nose of fruitcake, cherries, honey, dark malts, raisins, and cloves. Some alcohol notable. The taste follows the smell almost to a "t," with complex flavors of dark caramel malts, honey and brown sugar, cherries and raisins, and subtle spice. Some alcohol burn. Medium bodied, full-flavored, and highly desirable. I give it points off overall, because despite the fact that I do like it, it is one of the most inconsistent beers year to year as far as flavor goes. (941 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.29/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found on draft at Mad Mex the Robinson location, I was just excited to see at tap handle from Troeg's. Appearance: Ruby tinted thin creamy white head little lacing alcohol wards this off. Aroma: Cherries soaked in alcohol with a mild tartness in the air, spices bringing more Christmas cheer, and the malts used a much more complex than bringing out a caramel / mild cocoa scent. Taste: Is comparable to a cherry liquer massive alcohol note sweeps the palate, very warming spicy with tart sweetness and a soft finish this one ties it together. Mouthfeel: Troeg's went MAD this beer has crazy amount of alcohol kicking, full syrupy mouthfeel definitely a one glass at a time type brew. Drinkability: Didn't get tired of the rich tones thought it would be overbearing I was served sixteen ounces of this fine nectar for six bucks not a bad deal. (843 characters)

Photo of smcolw
3.25/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Minor head to start that quickly settles to rim bubbles only. No lasting lace whatsoever. The color is deep amber, almost brown. Crystal clear.

Smells of Belgian yeast. Sweet aroma of honey. Some spice that reminds me of oregano. Complex and interesting. Light alcohol warmth.

Cloyingly sweet. Very, very rich body. The carbonation seems quite low. Strong alcohol presence in the swallow and the brief aftertaste--the potency of this beer is very evident. The yeast flavor is more muted than the smell would suggest.

Although the smell might indicate complexity, the taste does not follow through. (600 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've had two beers in a row this Christmas Eve that feature that smiling sap Santy Claus on the label and it's about time to genuflect in honor of the unrecognized working class hero, in this case, a certain Demented Dwarf!
So, let's to it!
Appearance: a brilliant bright and shiny crimson color...gorgeous! And adorned with a fuzzy, cream-toned head that's lives too briefly.
Aroma: big on the fruit, but never too sweet, somehow, and damned interesting, feeling like it's rife with spices, and I can pick up the honey hinted at on the label, and the cherry factor is flowing over, in much abundance and joined with a brandyish character, ushering in the full effect of the alcohol content...oh, yeah, 11%, how about that, huh?
So, let's taste!
Dark, rich, fruity, utterly alcohol-drenched cherry goodness! The booze is king here, and it's sublimely delicious! Malt is in command in this beer, and I don't believe hops have a word to say, it's not their show tonight, malt and booze is all, but the sweetness never cloys somehow, and balance is acheived, but not if you account for the monstrous alcoholic component.
Sadly, the mouthfeel gets a bit thin in the middle, and I wish the body was fuller, but that rich, delicious taste seems to redeem any/everything...and then, the booze kicks in for real, and nothing has no excuse! That's how a Mad Elf is born!
My second bottle downed, and this review is done "live" while drinking it and referencing my notes, however scribbly, from the last taste. And I'm nothing short of wowed by this amazing creation! These guys got guts! I've had other Troeg's beers that were commendable and tasty, but not overwhelming and utterly incredible! I really, really, really like this beer!
Domo Arigato, Mr. ManekiNeko for getting this beer to me! (1,793 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

o - Overall a pretty nice Belgian Strong Dark. Nose is very nice and full of cherries, though the taste wasn't quite as fruity. Definitely didn't feel like 11% ABV, would have it again next winter. (801 characters)

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

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 8/18/2013. Pours fairly crystal clear ruby red color with a 2 finger fairly dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big raisin, plum, cherry, pear, apple, fig, light banana, honey, caramel, toast, candi sugar, bread, light chocolate, light nuttiness, herbal, light clove, light bubblegum, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and fruity/earthy yeast ester notes; with good strength. Taste of big raisin, plum, cherry, fig, pear, apple, light banana, honey, caramel, toast, light chocolate, candi sugar, bread, light nuttiness, light clove, herbal, light bubblegum, and yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of raisin, plum, cherry, fig, pear, apple, light banana, honey, caramel, toast, candi sugar, light chocolate, light clove, herbal, bread, light nuttiness, and herbal/yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice complexity of dark/bready malt and yeast ester flavors; with a nice malt/yeast flavor balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice Belgian strong ale. All around good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and fruity/earthy yeast ester flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A very enjoyable offering. (1,497 characters)

Photo of orangesol
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served thru a dogfish randall-the-animal with brandy soaked cherries and vanilla.

A - Pours deep, dark, amber with no head at all leaving minimal lacing down the glass. Looks like normal mad elf with no head.

S - Lots of cherrie skin aroma that lingers for some time. A bit of booze from the brandy but it is hidden very well. Very nice nose.

T - Cherries up front that carry thru the entire drink. Middle is a nice mix of cherrie and a bit of chewy malt. Finish is strong with a bit of cherrie syrup and plenty of booze. This has to be close to twenty percent after the brandy was added. It is hidden so well it is honestly scary.

M - Medium body with a heavy flavor and moderate carbonation. Tart finish with plenty of booze lingering on the pallet.

D - Fairly high. I loved this one but after having so many beers already this was the final straw, I had to leave after this one. I have had normal mad elf, splinter red aka BA mad elf, and yet this was the best mad elf I have ever had. The balance was great but the ABV is so high you just can't have more than one. (1,073 characters)

Photo of jwc215
3.52/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours ruby red with a thin head that soon becomes a patch.

The smell is of cherries, honey and alcohol.

The taste is of tart cherries. Subtle hints of sweet honey and spicy, doughy yeast. Sharp alcohol. Malt and yeast dominate, with little input from hops. Sweettart, alcohol finish. Aftertaste is medicinal - almost like a cough drop. Medium-bodied and sharp. (Cellaring for a good while might mellow it.)

An interesting brew - fruity and sweet. A slow sipper. (470 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Beer poured from a bottle into a tulip. Beer is amber / brown in color, forms a thin off white head of medium to small bubbles. Head falls away leaving some lacing.

Beer smells sweet, carmel, some cherries? a little tartness. Smells inviting. Really sweet smelling.

Strong honey taste, really strong. Its front and back with honey. There is a slight aftertaste. Sweet, some caramel. Some alcohol comes through as well. This is a fine beer but unfortunately not my favorite.

EDIT: the more I drink this the more it seems like an imperial hefeweizen....i like it. (564 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 mothman
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 Vintage

Poured into town hall chalice.

Pours hardly and khaki tan head. Fades down fast. Color is a ruby red copper.

Aroma: Cherries right away. Then I get some spice notes. I'd have to say it is ginger. A nice dose of honey with some biscuit flavored malts. This is a perfect holiday beer.

Taste: Lots of cherries and honey up front. Ginger and spice notes. Bready malts. Maybe some plums and molasses as well. This is a great treat for the holidays.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and refreshingly creamy. A very hint of heat. Medium bodied with a lower amount of carbonation, but that is fine since it is a year old. Ends pretty dry though.

Overall, I was impressed with this one and very drinkable for the abv and the little hint of booze that showed. I really enjoyed this one and it is a great seasonal. (809 characters)

Photo of mdaschaf
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Nice ruby color with a 1/2 finger tight, egg white head that reduces rather quickly to a ring of thin foam around the outer edge.

S: From far away I could smell the cherries, but they aren't as overwhelming as I thought they would be, especially when I get my nose up close. The honey is present and there is a sweetness. Slight bit of alcohol as well.

T: Very sweet, cherry flavor, and the honey comes out as well. There is almost a mead-like flavor.

M: Medium bodied with low carbonation. Slight alcohol heat on the flavor profile and on the finish.

O: Its good, just not my favorite. I don't have a problem with the slight alcohol presence, just not really for me. (678 characters)

Photo of WesWes
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a hazy amber color with a 1/4" offwhite head that fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a nice malty scent that boasts of pale and crystal malts along with a slight honey sweetness and a mild cherry aroma. The taste is good. It has a smooth malty flavor that goes down easy and finishes warm and full of cherries. It has a residual honey sweetness. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn good beer. I've heard about it for a while, but never could get it. I love the use of cherries. This is a good drinker. (579 characters)

Photo of stakem
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
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. (962 characters)

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to slasher007 for sharing this bottle. This is the second time I have tried the beer but the first time I have reviewed it.

The beer pours a medium red color with a white head. The aroma is honey and tart cherries. The flavor is more of the same: Heavy on the honey with some tart cherries as well. This is one of the first beers I have had that you can really smell and taste the honey in. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. (439 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.84/5  rDev -0.5%
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. (736 characters)

Photo of GClarkage
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12/28/04- Received via trade with Santoslhalper.

Presentation- 12 oz bottle with a freaky lookin' elf on it. No expiration date. Poured into my Westmalle chalice.

Appearance- Nice head at first, but rapidly disentigrates. Very little if and lace. Nice deep ruby red color.

Smell- Ultra sweet malt. Sweet fruityness, (cherries)? Plus there is definite alcohol fumes.

Taste- Taste like a really malted and liquored up Kriek. Heavy sweet malts and cherries. Plus a large alcohol kick towards the end of your swallow. Maybe a bourbon taste? Whatever it is, it's pretty tasty.

Mouthfeel- I was expecting a thicker and more full mouthfeel on this one due to the high ABV. Low carbonation. Still goes down smooth with that little alcohol warming sensation going down.

Drinkability- I'm already feeling it after half this beer. I have another one left that I am going to age and maybe try next winter and see if it thickens up a bit. Thanks very much to by BA bud Santoslhalper who has sent me several brews I have yet to try. This one scores pretty well though. Quite tasty, even if I did have it with Boston Market take out. Probably would have been paired better with something else. (1,196 characters)

Photo of tdm168
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - ruby amber with a soft, off white head

S - sugar, faint belgian yeast, some spice

T - cherries, sugar, belgian yeast, faint spice, faint alcohol

M - medium bodied, warm, good carbonation

This was a really nice beer. I thought it had great balance and flavor. The cherries were a nice touch to the Belgian yeast and spice. They aren't tart or sour. I was very impressed. I would have given a higher score if the flavor was more than cherries with underlying notes meaning I wish it had more of a Belgian character. As it is this is a very good beer that is definitely worth your time. (591 characters)

Photo of Gavage
4.34/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal clear reddish amber color. Starts off with a nice 1" head, but it disappears rather quickly, and I mean nothing, not even a surface foam.The aroma is sweet and lightly tart, as cherries, malt, cinammon and alcohol are easily detectable.

The flavor is complex. Thick malt is matched with cherry, apple, yeast, alcohol, honey, cinammon, nutmeg, and some other spices. What makes this interesting is that the flavors come at different times during the taste, like cherry and malt up front and honey and alcohol at the end. As it warms the flavors became more intense.

Mouthfeel was thick and syrupy at the start and finish. The malt seemed to stick to the tongue, and an alcohol kick came just after swallowing. This is a super brew, but for sippin' and relaxing on a cold evening only. (806 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served at 58°F. Pours an amber copper color with a tan head that quickly dissipates. It has an alcoholic fruity nose with a hint of cherry. A soft subtle beer, with a hint of cherry in it. There is quite a bit of sweetness (though not overly so), and it has quite the alcoholic kick in the finish (though not in a bad way, it is in no way a harsh kick). There is a mellow fruitiness that pervades this beer throughout. It is quite light bodied, especially for an 11%'er. The honey probably helps to dry it out. An interesting interpretation of the holiday ale class of brew. Quite tasty, me thinks. (599 characters)

Photo of BARFLYB
3.16/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz 2008 bottle poured into a troegs pint glass. Picked up a single of this on a whim.

A- Mad Elf pours out a copper reddish color almost ruby like in appearance. A decent frothy white/beige head pops up to an 1/2 inch leaving some very spotty lace. This minimal lace eventually fell down into the liquid.

S- Even though this is billed as brewed with cherries and honey, the cherries are very faint in the nose. The honey comes through a tad bit more but nothing impressive enough to make it a dominate smell. I do get a ton of alcohol in the nose which does not bode well with me. A lot of malts wih some hops and some spicy yeast.

T- Alcohol is the main factor here which is a shame as it detracts from the taste, at least for me. Some sweetness coming from the cherries but not even half of what i was expecting. The honey used increases the sweet taste of this and actually saves this beer. The three different malt varieties are noted and work well while any bitterness from the hops is minimal at 15 IBU's. Some yeast notes in the finish.

M- The malts would make this a smooth sipper but the alcohol completely drown out any other flavors making it a task to drink. It is both smooth and cloying from the alcohol if that makes sense. Mad Elf has a medium build with some carbonation nothing exciting. The mouthfeel does not remind me of a christmas ale even though this is billed as a BSDA.

D- Not that high for me. I've tried this occasionally through the years trying to find something new but this beer never wowed me. It's a decent BSDA but if your looking for a christmas style brew with a nice spice factor look elsewhere. The alcohol completely gets in the way of the cherry and honey additions. I'm not sure if aging this would do any good either. (1,767 characters)

Photo of billab914
4.01/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. Poured a deep mahogany color with a little cherry redness coming through in the light. It had a thin spotty white lacing floating on the top of the beer for a head, with a little more concentrated around the edges.

The aroma shows a lot of the sweet honey and cherry flavor. I'm getting a little malty, caramel, dark fruit and a slight alcohol aroma as well. As it warmed I seemed to get a little more spicy, cinnamon or nutmeg aroma from it. Very nice aroma, I like the cherries in it a lot.

The taste is a lot like the nose suggests in that the cherries and honey really come through in helping to give it a moderate sweet fruity taste. The malt also helps give it a strong base and brings some caramel and dark fruit flavors of it's own. The alcohol shows a little in the finish but that I guess is expected in an 11% beer. Like the nose some spices started showing up the more it warmed.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation being on the lower side. Drinkability is very good for being 11% abv. I really liked the cherry flavors in it, and I love cherries in general so this is a very drinkable beer for me. I will note that I actually liked it better when it was colder. It seemed to have more of a sweet cherry flavor when colder and it gained more of a malty, spicy almost Christmasy flavor when warmed. It wasn't bad warmer I just liked the cherry flavor when I first opened it better. (1,458 characters)

Photo of Billolick
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, without freshness dating. Poured just below room temp in a Belgian style chalice, pours, medium mahogony, with a slight reddish hue, minor tan head, quickly dissapating, medium sized bubbles and leaving some, not too impressive lacing. Nose is just slightly picked up, grainy and of fruits and some alcohol. This is a smooth, easy drinking Belgian stlye ale. 11% hidden well, but with a nice fruity, cherry warming feel. Notes of, malt, light candi sugars, vanilla, honey, mild hot sauce and sherry soaked cherries. Fine and flavorful sipper.

Thanks to my friend "Grassy" for a sixer of this hard to find nectar... (634 characters)

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