Tröegs Naked Elf | Tröegs Brewing Company

very good
48 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Tröegs Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Duplicate of

Added by Fish113d on 05-05-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 48 | Ratings: 169
Photo of Mikefriedman90
4.54/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very malty. Pours a dark amber. Not too much head on the pour. Smells and tastes like a triple with a lot of flavor. Glad they left the cherry out from the mad elf, gives this one a spicier taste. Would definitely grab again

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Photo of XsoldoutX
2.2/5  rDev -44.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

zero carbonation. tastes like watered-down whiskey. aroma seriously smells like fish. a supreme disappointment, and i'm wondering if the whole batch was actually contained an error. worst i've ever had from this usually excellent PA brewery.

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Photo of IAAOT
4.11/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Very nice alternative to Mad Elf . Dark Copper in color and a little sweet on the nose but really nice taste and makes you want to go back for more. Really enjoyable but not sure how many you would want in one sitting. Really enjoying at brewery out on patio - suggest you all check it out!

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Photo of Realbeer1542
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Great sweet Belgium style ale. Given to me as a trade from Troegs "scratch" batch. Really excellent! I liked this much better than mad elf and if it was offered for retail sale in my area I would buy this before mad elf. This beer is much cleaner and a bit sweeter without the chemically bite of mad elf.

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Photo of smcolw
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Good head (end of the keg) that lasts throughout the tasting. No lace though. Hazy, amber color.

Strong candy sugar aroma. A bit of alcohol and dark cherry. Very much like a barley wine, but without sherry aspects.

First impression is the watery aspect to the body. The low carbonation enhances this. The flavor starts off surprisingly soft but the sugars and the unexpected hop touch take over. The alcohol is pronounced. All of this comes together in the swallow nicely. The aftertaste is strong but dies rapidly. Thin bodied considering the sugars. Low carbonation.

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Photo of gillagorilla
3.34/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Had on tap at the Hudson Street Stackhouse (from notes).

A: Amber brown with lacing.

S: Sweet and malty.

T: Wheaty, yeasty, with some malt and bread. Eh.

M: Smooth with some massage bubbles.

O: A stripped down Mad Elf, which I wasn't a big fan of. Different.

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Photo of taylor714914
3.46/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25


Naked elf if certainly, well, naked.  A solid example of a Belgium Strong Ale, but with a yeast reminiscent of dreamweaver.  I’m personally not a fan of Mad Elf as I think it is medicinal, but the naked elf shows what’s underneath those cloths.  The strong sweet malt backbone is there, and the Belgium-esque yeast really develops the flavors associated with strong ales.  The mouthfeel is solid.  Not too carbonated, allowing for that slightly syrupy feel. While not my favorite style, it is still one I can respect for being done well. 

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Photo of thecheapies
4.01/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Reddish chestnut color with considerable hazing going on. Thick collar holds tight to about 3/4".

Recognizable honey, candi sugar, booze, and dark fruits. Obviously, it's Mad Elf, sans the tart cherries. Establishes itself without the actual fruit. Belgian yeast esters push notes of date and prune. Pethaps even dried apricot.

Nice and malty. Needs a lot of grain to try to burn off some of this alcohol that still runneth over. More plum than prune, more raisin than date now. Light nuances of rotten banana and clove remind me of a weizenbock. Lots of candi sugar, some deep roast, holiday bread, hints of wintry spice, and Belgian chocolate. Has good stuff happening, all throughout.

Medium body with some plus heft. Medium-light carbonation. A decent mouthfeel, if not closer to average. Docking points for some lack of weight and wide-eyed booziness.

Still a very good BSDA. Would definitely recommend and happy to have enjoyed it.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.82/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served on tap in a chalice glass

Appearance – The beer is served a lightly hazed copper color with a one finger creamy white head The head fades rather fast leaving a light level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell- The aroma is big of lighter fruits, consisting mainly of apple, and pear. Along with these aromas are some crackery and biscuit aromas as well as some yeast and spices of corianders and nutmeg.

Taste – The taste begins with a fruity and crisp flavor of apple and banana along with a lightly roasted malty and biscuit flavor. Up in the front of the taste there is also a decently strong showing of some candied sugar as well as a bit of honey (even though I know there is none, it still has a slight honey flavor) As the flavor advances yeast and spice come to the tongue with an intensification of the candied sugar flavors Even at 8.5% abv not too much of an alcohol taste works its way onto the tongue, and with a light floral hop flavor developing late in the taste one is left with a clean and crisp fruity flavor to be left on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the medium to slightly lighter side for a beer of its strength and style with a carbonation level that is big of tiny champagne like bubbles. The exciting carbonation and thinner body are quite nice for the sweeter and yeastier flavors of the brew and make for a very nice drinking brew which is rather dangerous in concert with the low boozy taste on the tongue.

Overall- A nice take on the original, with a little less sweetness. A very strong Belgian dubbel like feel on this one. It is well worth a try if you can find it.


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Photo of 1sophrosyne1
2.7/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

On tap at the Troegs Brewery tasting room in multiple snifters over 25 minutes.
My favorite thing about this creation is its appearance. A bubble-speckled deep cranberry amber supports a lively foam that holds onto the glass nicely.
I don't have to get within a foot of that active head to be mashed in the nose with bananas. Gingery nutmeg blends with some other estered fruits, pink candies, and malt that almost seems to be dashed with cumin. If more spice could get out from under the boozy, oversweet produce, I'd find the smell more alluring--it does improve, a bit, with warming.
Bubbly spice hits first on the tongue, but gives way to that bunch of plantains rather quickly. Then there's a moment of quiet that leads one to believe this creature may be more drinkable. But, then chewy, peppered dark fruits rush in, bubble gum and apples start competing, and then a woody funk trails behind the warmth of ethanol and paresthetic phenol. Somehow black pepper and cherry pie--bready crust and all--hang on through and claim the finish. It's a confusion of tastes that feels like the sensory blitz of stumbling down a late night boardwalk at the beach...a calliope, or the accordion from Billy Joel's "Vienna," seems to be playing a clownish tune in the back of my throat (especially as the booze kicks in). Mad Elf somehow has the sinews to hold those familiar components together better--this fleshy little harpy needs some more threads!
Alcohol perks up the tongue, and spice falling back into the throat is nice. It has syrupy weight that holds on through sharp sour endings.
Perhaps my experience was polluted by higher expectations, or perhaps I'm such a lover of winter that this beer doesn't compare to the images I carry of his big brother. But I find Naked Elf so imbalanced with fruit smells and a candy-tart lip that I simply can't enjoy this beer qua beer. Reaching for tropical and spicy foods, though, to make a match with it until the 8.5% makes you too tipsy to be critical...I do recommend!

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Photo of stephenjmoore
4.02/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber body with a thin, soapy tan head. Aroma is sweet malts, hints of tree fruits and some yeasty esters. Flavor follows the aroma, big sweet tree fruits, sweet bready malts. Feel is medium carbonation, smooth and medium bodied. It's a good beer that has Intersting flavors.

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Photo of jlindros
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tap at Troegs brewery tasting room.

Big creamy thick 1.5 finger head fades semi slowly with nice lacing, hazy dark copper almost ruby reddish brown color.

Nose big strong Belgian beer, little boozy, sweet candi sugar, plenty of Belgian yeast fruity esters and hint phenols, slight fusel almost plastic phenolic kick, light sweet toasty reddish malts.

Taste stars with candy, candi sugar and sweet syrupy malts, toasty reddish malts, then into the fruit characters from the yeast, almost cherry like, bit of stone fruit and faint bubblegum, the esters are all over the place. The phenols kick in again too, light fusel flavors and booze. The bubblegum really increases as it goes, adding to the straight up candy character. Finish is drier and anesthetizing and hot booze despite only being 7.8% supposedly, although a light sticky syrupy feel, lingering ester fruit and candy flavors.

Mouth is fuller bodied, some tingly booze, nice carb.

Overall not bad, the phenols get a bit overpowering, but the esters and candy flavors are nice. I would love to age this and compare it to the mad elf aged as well.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.07/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Troegs Brewing Co.
Naked Elf

LOOK; Growler #5/50. Big thanks to JcTreeboy. Pours a rich deep orange color. Soapy bubbly froth forms and laces the branded snifter. Mostly clear with an excellent retention.

SMELL: Belgian yeast fruitiness, citrus, floral, wood (hoppy). Faint raisin.

TASTE: Rich caramelized malts, candi sugar, raw honey, mild spice. Grassy, herbal notes. Malt and a clean fruity alcohol. Faint dark fruit. Mild and agreeable flavor for the strength, this is a well balanced ale. As it warms, a note of toffee. Malty finish.

FEEL: Medium bodied, soft very fine carbonation. Smooth feel but a bit attenuated. Does dry up a bit in the finish, which is appreciated.

OVERALL: A nice little treat from Troegs brewing. Still with great strength, and the dry spice and malt shine here. Reminds me of a braggot a bit. Somewhat less complex than the regular Mad Elf, but still very fine.

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Photo of chefhatt
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this one at the brewery when they made it again on their scratch line. It has a nice amber color body with no head to it. The smell is of malt and dark fruits. The taste has a nice richness of dark fruits and malt and some spices. The mouth feel is great and leaves a nice aftertaste on the tonuge. Overall i'm glad i was up there for this cuz it is really good.

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Photo of MDDMD
3.67/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-a hazy orange amber color with a small off-white head and little lacing

S-malt, fruity, hints of spices

T-ripe fruit, malt, little spiciness, slight bitterness

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, slightly slick and syrupy

O-decent but lacks some complexity in the flavors, prefer Mad Elf

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Photo of orangesol
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had the original batch of this, as well as both of the scratch beer incarnations. This review is from the recent scratch release.

Served on-tap in the Tasting Room into a Stange glass.

A - Pours hazy copper orange with a small half finger tall white head, dissipating down to a light film, leaving spotty lacing down the glass.

S - Smells of spicy belgian yeast, biscuity malt, apples, pears, and some light peppery spice. It smells just like Mad Elf, without the sweets and cherries added to it.

T - Starts off with a mix of chewy malt and spicy belgian yeast slowly giving way to a mix of apples, pears, candied sugar, and a touch of peppery spice. While it is quite chewy the light sweetness and fruity flavors help to ease its blow on the pallet. The finish is a mix of light spice and chewy malt. I really don't miss all the flavors they subtract from Mad Elf to get to this point. Very nice.

M - Medium body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Spicy, chewy, feel with plenty of it lingering through the finish. Usually I am not the biggest fan of "chewy" beers but this one is very good.

O - I have always liked this beer. It is much easier to drink than Mad Elf and the flavors are just as good. The spicy belgian yeast keeps the pallet guessing and the light fruitiness helps break up all that chewiness. Good stuff.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.02/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks for getting this one as an extra, made my day

brown with a huge frothy head. Smell was very spicey, grassy and earthy tones with a hint of sweetness. The taste was classic belgian and very nicely done. Fruitness and spices predominate, no hint of alcohol, which at 9%abv is incredible. Really smooth and effortless in drinkability. This is a fantastic brew, way too easy to drink

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Photo of Lordsloth
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a growler thankfully received from Markgugs... And some old tasting notes-

Poured into a lucifer snifter style glass.

Appearance is a slightly reddish brown. Minimal head comes from a cold pour. Smells of some dark malts and yeastiness. Tastes somewhat like their Mad Elf(no suprise there), but without the cherry flavor. A bit more dry. Mouthfeel is good- quite smooth and crisp. Light to mid body. Drinkability is good. Easily finished the growler in a few days.

I prefered the Mad Elf version slightly, but this is very good too. I'd try this again anytime.

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Photo of DIM
4.4/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

a: This one is a slightly cloudy golden amber color. It was served to me with a smallish white head.

s: Aromas of funky apples dominated with some earthy yeast smells and alcohol comig along as well.

t: This is not very complex, but it is very tasty! It is very dry overall, with funky sour apple flavors taking charge. There were some flowery grain tastes as well.

m: The prickly carbonation complimented the dry and sour qualities of this beer perfectly.

d: This is MUCH better than Mad Elf IMO. This is not brewed once as listed here. I look forward to a growler fill from the brewery in July.

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Photo of wheelinshirt
3.72/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap in McGrady's in bethlehem, served in a pint glass.

So, like a lot of bars, i think the people who work there are taught, or at least seem to think that head is bad, because this one had almost no head on it. Some could be roused by swirling the glass, but who would want to risk spilling beer for some bubbles?

Smell is, hmm, um, balanced, i guess. It smells fruity, but not overpoweringly 'belgian.' It is a little hoppy, a little spicy, a little sweet, very nice. Taste is similar, about halfway between dry and sweet, nice carbonation, medium bodied, very well rounded. I haven't had the mad elf yet, but i do have a bottle aging in the cellar--this makes me want to try it, but i still think i am going to wait until next december or so and drink it with a fresh bottle. If you see this one somewhere, order a pint. You won't be disappointed.

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

on tap at McGrady's in Bethlehem

A: Slightly cloudy dark golden/amber color with a white head that quickly dissipates but leaves some lacing.
S: Sweet, spicy, fruity smell with light malt and stronger yeast smell.
T: Fruit, banana, honey, spicy, yeast, etc. Very nice, not overly sweet and alcohol is well hidden.
M: Medium body and medium carbonation, very light and refreshing.
D: Pretty great. I enjoy this much more than Mad Elf. If you find this on tap, definitely worth a try

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Photo of weeare138
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Capone's...
Appears a hazy, deep gold with a small head of white fluff that slowly fades into a film and collar. Spotty lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of light citrus, apricots, notes of banana, spices, and pepper.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with standout ripe fruit that makes this much more desirable than the Mad Elf, IMO.
Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, estery, semi-sweet, earthy, and really drinkable.
Leave this one naked. The "clothed" version takes a back seat to this decent brew.

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Photo of brdc
4.17/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to markgugs for getting this one.

Poured from the growler straight down the middle of my Duvel tulip, it produced a lot more of a white head than I expected based on previous reviews; although the retention is just average, it does make a nice amount of lacing. Probably a combination of the Duvel etching, the warmer serving temperature and aggressive pouring.
Under that white head is a nice crimson-brown body, and the fruity (berries, cherries, bananas), malty (bready) and sweetish (bubblegum) aroma comes right out as you pour it.
The carbonation is limited but present, and it lends a nice, smooth mouthfeel to this incredibly quaffable brew - is it really 8.50%?
Taste is as suggested, fruity and malty, with some faint alcohol, spicy presence and a somewhat dry finish, although the fruity taste lingers somehow.
Quite nice, well worthwhile.

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Photo of markgugs
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

served from the tap in a brandy snifter @ Capone's in PA (from 2/7/08)

A: A clear rusted amber/copper with a thin white wispy head that quickly diminishes and leaves no lacing at all. Looks like a refreshing glass of iced tea.

S: And speaking of tea...I detect sweet tea leaves and a nice earthy undertone, to go along with an obvious honey note. Slightly medicinal, and very fruity from the yeast.

T/M: Honey right off the bat, had a slight metallic aftertaste when it was too cold, became much more sweet & fruity (mostly bananas) as it warmed in the glass. There were still faint traces of cherry flavors in this beer, and a very thin, almost flat mouthfeel didn't take away from my enjoyment.

D: I couldn't believe that this was 9% ABV, it was incredibly smooth and super-drinkable. Too bad it's so rare and hard to get, glad I had some though.

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Photo of ski271
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From notes written back in August that I lost until this week.
A: Slightly hazy ruddy brownish-amber with a very small, off-white head that quickly diminishes to a film.
S: VERY sweet and fruity with typical Belgian yeast aromas. Coriander and banana notes present, along with a light, bready malt base.
T: Vinous and fruity up front, followed by lots of spice and stinging alcohol. Almost a little phenolic as head to the cherry finish.
M: Medium-full body, lightly syrupy texture, low carbonation.
D: I thought this one tasted marvelous! Definitely worth a try.

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Tröegs Naked Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
3.98 out of 5 based on 169 ratings.
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