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Tröegs Mad Elf - Tröegs Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

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

2,996 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,996
Reviews: 1,150
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 15.54%
Wants: 161
Gots: 448 | FT: 20
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: 2,996 | Reviews: 1,150 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TMoney2591
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter.

Thanks to VDubb86 for sharing these bottles!

After enjoying this stuff a bunch back in my NoVa days, I was stoked to get to try some more, thanks to my boy VDubb, who cracked some '07 and '08 bottles. This stuff pours a clear sunrise amber topped by a half-finger of relatively short-lived off-white foam. The nose comprises cherry, honey, fig, dates, caramel, light biscuit, and mandarin orange. The taste brings in more of the same, along with a pinch of black pepper and nutmeg. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a slick-ish feel. Overall, a rather enjoyable brew, one that doesn't overdo the spices and/or fruit, which many winter brews have a tendency to do. Good times.

TMoney2591, Dec 19, 2011
Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

SocalKicks, Jul 11, 2013
Photo of emerge077
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Akorsak at Dark Lord day for this one...

Pours a translucent red, with a finger of foam.

Aroma is spicy, and lightly sweet and spritzy. A little bit of bubblegum.

Taste seems balanced, with a nice residual pepper & spice in the aftertaste. Label states that honey and cherries are added. Honey is there in raw form, not especially sweet, and not much cherry. Deceptive ABV, never would have guessed it's 11%.

Nice carbonation carries it along, fairly easy to drink, but watch out, that elf looks pretty crazy.

emerge077, Apr 29, 2007
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.7/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A reddish brown body is capped by a creamy tan head that holds fairly well and leaves some minor lace. The aroma is limited but expresses a soft maltiness, a light touch of alcohol, and a sharp fruitiness similar to cranberry (although cherries are actually used). The body is medium with a gentle, fine bubbled carbonation that leaves it creamy and smooth across the palate. The flavor comes alive with an exceptional balance of light spice, juicy & mildly tart cherry, and a chocolate-tinged malt. The cherry flavor becomes clearer as it crosses the palate, coat-tailed by a firm bitterness and some noticeable alcohol. It finishes dry with only minimal lingering malt notes. Well done and highly drinkable. Somewhat Belgian in character due to the fruit and spice. An exceptionally enjoyable beer that's well worth seeking out.

NeroFiddled, Dec 14, 2002
Photo of StonedTrippin
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this is the quintessential holiday brew for me, i look forward to it each year, and have been cellaring different vintages for experiment. i find a year really cools down the alcohol heat and lets the flavors develop. the fresh one im drinking now pours a rich cherry amber color, with a sexy frothy pearly white head nearly three inches tall. the nose is lots of fruity, cherries, plums, baked pears, lots going on. also some honey or molassas sugar, a lot of booze, and a curious blend of winter spices, a little heavy on the clove. the flavor is identical to the nose, if a bit less fruit forward. its very balanced, and you dont taste the alcohol as much as you smell it, but you sure do feel it. whew. belgian yeast and candy sugar work magically together, creating a velvety grog that is sure to warm up the coldest bones in the winter time. relaxed carbonation and about as full a body as you can have in a beer that still lets some light pass through it. it gets really hot in terms of booze as it warms up, but thats just fine by me. overall one beer that is not to be missed come christmas time, and one that i keep going back to again and again. if you get youself a case, put a few in the basement until next year too, youll be glad you did!

StonedTrippin, Dec 09, 2012
Photo of Jason
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12 oz brown bottle with a bottled on date printed on the neck.

Appearance: Quick to give two fingers of foam but the crackling leads to a ring of lace and very little head. Brilliantly red in colour, dark red at that.

Smell: Sweet malt, touch of bitter phenols and a hint of cherries in the back. Faded whiff of alcohol throwing some rosy esters.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Alcohol is evident in the full bodied and malty brew. Lots of sweetness on the palate of malt and a kiss of juicy cherries. Spicy phenols help to balance a bit … very little hop character to be had. Suggestions of brown bread and toasted husk middle to end, nice juicy burst of fruit in the middle as well. Finish with a sweet, alcoholic and spicy kick.

Notes: Perhaps one of the most interesting beers I have run into for a long time. Highly complex yet this bottle seems a touch green … you have to wonder what a year or two in the cellar would yield.

Jason, Feb 10, 2004
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
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.

WVbeergeek, Dec 05, 2003
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.65/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired via trade from Silent Sabre, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him.
Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright copper color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of dark fruit (cherries & raisins) and caramelized malt, with a faint touch of Belgian yeast.

T: Flavors of dark fruit & Belgian yeast hit you up front and are pretty much the dominant flavors throughout. There’s a subdued malt character and the 11.00% ABV is no where to be found. After-taste is fruity.

M: Extremely smooth, light carbonation, light-to-medium body, clean finish.

D: Very tasty, not filling at all, goes down very easily. I’m not sure how the high ABV gets hidden so well in a beer that’s as light as this one, but it makes this beer dangerously drinkable. This is an excellent beer. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

TheManiacalOne, Dec 08, 2006
Photo of Kegatron
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at the New Cumberland Elephant & Castle Pub during their annual Troegs Christmas in July event.

Pours a dark, clear ruby red color with a 1/4 finger of creamy eggshell colored head. A soft ring of retention and thin wisps that skim the top leave behind some thin strands of lacing. The aroma is a big time cherry blast of tartness but there is just enough honeyed sweetness to balance things out. There is also a bit of alcohol beef in the bouquet that reminds you that your about play with fire.

The taste is just the same as the aroma and still has a surprisingly fresh feel to it. Cherries dominate the profile but are extremely well balanced with sweetness from the honey notes and maybe some darker feeling malts. The mouthfeel had a medium to full body with not a lot of carbonation but still maintains a slick and smooth feel on the palette. There is also a good bit of heat in the overall feel but the flavors and body more than help cover up any stinging effects from it.

I love this beer because of it's simplicity. Cherries + Honey + Alcohol. It's as simple as that and it's a credit to the well balanced nature of this, that it doesn't come out tasting like cough syrup. It's all so smooth and easy on the palette, that the ABV of this can creep up on you very unexpectedly. Packed with festive flavors and toasty feel, this is a perfect for the holidays or anytime your looking for a warm and flavorful pick-me-up from a beer.

Kegatron, Jul 29, 2008
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.

RblWthACoz, Jan 01, 2008
Photo of russpowell
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

russpowell, Dec 21, 2006
Photo of Slatetank
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

Slatetank, Dec 28, 2009
Photo of jlindros
3.63/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Heard a lot of good things about this beer, so figured I better review it.

A: A light head develops of about 1/2 inch. It's brilliantly clear with an amber orange brown color with a big bright reddish hue, really presenting those cherries.

N: A very Belgian strong ale nose, with lots of sweet Belgian malts, slight yeast, and a big alcohol kick. Some light toasty bread malts trickle through, and hints of cherry beckon at you in a nice subtle way. Perhaps a slight spice and other things nice (see what i did there?)

T: Very much of a Belgian strong to start. Lots of Belgian malts, sweet malts and some sugar, some yeasty flavors. A big alcohol taste dominates too. Spicy flavors and warming alcohol. Some spicy flavors, possibly from the Belgian yeasts. A slight tangy fruit also comes through, but I don't get much for cherry anymore, unless that's the tangy fruit. I think I do get a little honey, and that probably shows on the dry finish... Ah, I got some dry cherries finally. It's pretty light but I finally got some.

M: Super warmth and alcohol burn. The alcohol is somewhat like bourbon in it's burn. It has very light carbonation and is pretty light.

F: Finishes really dry and really rips the paint, er skin off your tongue. The alcohol is so heavy and tastes like burning. You can feel it all the way down the throat. Some light sweet Belgian sugars stick around a bit, and the slight yeasty flavors also linger for a bit. Overall not a light finish, but not too bad all things considered.

Final thoughts: A pretty nice Belgian strong ale, lots of Belgian sweets and malts and yeast, etc. Some spices, little honey, tangy fruit, not much on the cherry front. The only issue I see is that the alcohol is a little too overbearing. I think that could have been throttled back a bit. Otherwise a nice beer, sippin beer.

jlindros, Nov 02, 2009
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
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!

feloniousmonk, Dec 25, 2003
Photo of drabmuh
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

drabmuh, Dec 12, 2009
Photo of oline73
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 bottle from the cellar poured into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Pours an almost clear red amber with a 1/8 inch layer of off white head. Head dissipates almost immediately.

Smell: Very sweet with cherries and hints of honey and brown sugar. Not much alcohol to be found here.

Taste: Cherry and sweet malt and honey dominate. After that I pick up some caramel and a bit of alcohol, which isn't surprising given the ABV.

Mouthfeel: This one is on the thick side of medium body. The carbonation is low and the finish is slick on the tongue.

Drinkability: Admittedly, this is one of my favorite Christmas beers. It has held up well to a year in the cellar. Good beer for a cold night and I'll keep coming back to this one.

oline73, Jan 26, 2011
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.

Rifugium, Jul 07, 2011
Photo of WesWes
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
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.

WesWes, Jun 18, 2005
Photo of mendvicdog
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

mendvicdog, Sep 07, 2012
Photo of mdfb79
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

mdfb79, Mar 07, 2012
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.

Mora2000, Apr 02, 2010
Photo of beernads
3/5  rDev -22.3%

beernads, May 18, 2013
Photo of jwc215
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
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.

jwc215, Dec 28, 2006
Photo of DrunkinYogi
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

DrunkinYogi, Dec 27, 2013
Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Rochefort10nh, Nov 25, 2011
Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,996 ratings.