Scratch Beer 46 - 2011 (Naked Elf)
Tröegs Brewing Company

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Belgian Strong Pale Ale
3.93 | pDev: 10.69%
Tröegs Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Notes: Naked Elf takes a hard look at the less-is-more theory. Ever since we developed The Mad Elf, we’ve speculated what it would taste like without the cherries and honey. So what lies beneath the fruit? Naked Elf is unfiltered, so the spicy yeast taste is more prominent in this strong, hazy orange ale. The combination of the Pilsner, and Vienna malts give a lot of body and minimal sweetness, but Naked Elf has a dry finish. Finally, the heat of the alcohol makes its presence known in the finish. The Naked Elf’s finest quality is the delicate balancing act between a lively yeast kick and a slight alcohol note that lingers in the back of the mouth—constantly reminding us not to overindulge in this complex, warming elixir.
Reviews: 78 | Ratings: 259 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of q33jeff
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Copper color. Creamy off white head. Good retention.

Belgian yeast, apple, cinnamon, plum,

Orange, coriander, lemon peel. Bread. Wine. Molasses.

A little flat, but medium body plus.

Good winter dark Belgian. Rough around the edges, but tasty.

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Photo of Newbeergeek1
3.81/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Cloudy with a reddish tinge, a fruity smelly, malty(ish), can really taste the spices and that’s OK, kind of a course heavy mouth feel. Overall a nice beer.

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Photo of MikeWard
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

marked here as retired, but clearly resurrected by Troegs, as it was available in the tasting room this afternoon. This is a stripped down version of their Mad Elf, without the honey and cherries. As a disclaimer, I do not care for Mad Elf.

Looks pretty good, slightly hazy red/brown body, small off white head, some lacing.

Not much on the nose, except a hint of belgian yeast and spices

i can detect the mad elf base, the yeast is prominent. a little on the sweet side, alcohol well hidden.

mouth is medium, finish is slightly sweet and yeasty.

Overall, i guess i should avoid beers with the word elf in it, as this did not hit my palate well. on the other hand, they have a wild elf fermenting away for release in 2018, so........

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Photo of SawDog505
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a 16 oz Troegs tulip snifter, not sure when it was bottled. Pours a dark amber with a massive 3 finger off white heads that settles slowly leaving behind gorgeous lace.

Smell is loads of clove, spicy biscuit, dates, overy ripen banana, bubblegum, caramel, and a little alcohol definitely present.

Taste follows almost exactly, with clove and dark fruit up front with some bisuit, caramel, and booze in the long cream finish.

Mouthfeel is a touch bigger than medium, moderate to lite carbonation, and I am trying to slow down, but it is tasty and going down very easy.

Overall this is a fantastic brew, thanks @jzeilinger for this special brew. Glad they took this out of retirement.

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Photo of Mikefriedman90
4.54/5  rDev +15.5%
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 themind
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Decent take on a strong ale. Not much on the nose but the drink ability on this is big. It's a little thin for a strong, a little light for a strong, but the taste is there. Honestly, this was a good offering in the series. This went down easy, although I prefer my strong ales to be a meal, this was brunch, but satisfying none the less.

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

9/5...back on draft at the brewery. Pours reddish brown, virtually no foam. Cinnamon cloves nose. Licorice. Fruity cherry base with a cinnamon clove flavor. Stripped down mad elf. Less sweet, but the base is solid. Still loaded with flavor though.

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Photo of XsoldoutX
2.2/5  rDev -44%
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 Smakawhat
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass from the tasting. Much thanks for the bottle K! I think this is the right one?

A nice golden apricot body color, just crystal clear with tan like collar.

Real interesting nose. Hints of booze and cherry, like a classic winter warmer, but there's some real nice minty leafy quality as well.

Interesting palate and flavors though. Mild malt backbone with still a cherry fruit quality. REal interesting mouthfeel with some borderline wetness but good coating in the palate. Good finish, and some strange interesting light charring that is a bit ashen like.

Overall not too bad. I am not the biggest fan of Mad Elf but I am always up for the scratch series.

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Photo of IAAOT
4.11/5  rDev +4.6%
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 +8.9%
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 +0.5%
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 -15%
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 Thesoundandthefury
3.46/5  rDev -12%
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 Joe_Duvel
3.2/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer on tap tastes like a dunkelweizen. All of my ratings are in regards to the style it claims to be. Beeradvocate labels it a strong Belgian pale ale and the place that I'm at labels it an 'abbey tripel'. It tastes and smells much more like a dunkelweizen. It has some similar notes to a tripel, but I do not taste a Belgian pale ale. As for the taste, I do think it's great. Very enjoyable, but that's because I love dunkelweizens. Nice clove and banana taste and aroma. If this was a dunkelweizen I would have rated it much higher. If you come across it, try it. It's an awesome tasting beer, but don't expect your typical Belgian pale ale.

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Photo of thecheapies
4.01/5  rDev +2%
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 -2.8%
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 -31.3%
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 Birdmarg741
2.82/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Poured in a frosted dimpled mug.

A: Formed a solid head when purposefully splashed into the glass, though it gave off little smell. It has a nice hazy red-orange color. Though the overall retention of the head was short, lacy foam still lines the glass for the 30 mins of sipping.

S: The smell, to me, is honestly not all that strong. Regardless, it smells sweet; incredibly malty. There are hints of banana, but also non-specific spice that fights with the sweetness, rather than complementing it. - Like putting pepper on a banana. Darker fruit is needed to balance out this smell and taste.

T: The spice hits your tongue first, but the starchy sweetness creeps in fast, and lingers long after the spice leaves. The time that they overlap is not as unpleasant as the smell of the combo, but it is extremely brief. The swallow goes down smooth-nice- for about 3 seconds. Then the sweetness floods in; what lingers is quite powerful. (overpowering if this is not your thing...).

M: Certainly medium bodied; it feels lighter than expected given its dark color. However, more carbonation would be nice to compete with the starchiness of the sweetness. The swallow has a light smoothness, but this dissipates as the beer warms.

O: Never having had Mad Elf, I do not know how this compares to its parent. Though, for me, this scratch is annoyingly unbalanced compared to other Troegs beers. It is reminiscent of Flying Mouflan, though not nearly as balanced. The starchy sweetness overpowers any spice, leaving a post-banana flavor lingering on the sides of the tongue with unpleasant dryness in the middle. A fun experience, though not something I would go back for.

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Photo of stephenjmoore
4.02/5  rDev +2.3%
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 +4.3%
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 +3.6%
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 philbe311
3.91/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - A finger's worth of audibly fizzy "dirty" colored head that fizzes away in rapid fashion - Don't blink or you may miss it... No real lacing to speak of, rather just a slight collar in areas and a couple of minimalistic stray patches of lace... The color is a mix of light-to-medium brown and ruby red... There is a slight haziness and murkiness that permeates... There is a limited bit of sluggish to moderate paced carbonation...

S - I know there are no cherries or honey in this offering, but I'll be damned if I don't detect a bit on the nose... There is also a malty rich goodness at the forefront... Ripe banana and dark fruits... A mix of caramel and toffee... A faint Belgian yeast component... Trace notes of light brown sugar...

T - A one-two punch of Belgian yeast and overly ripened dark fruits... There is a vague wheaty presence as well... Slightly medicinal (but not in a bad way)... There is a bit of toffee on the finish... There is a distinct booziness that lingers...

M - On the fuller side of medium bodied... The limited carbonation packs a pretty strong bite... A bit sticky... Sleek... Warming...

D - At a time when most brewers add extra ingredients to repackage a beer, it's refreshing to see a brewer "deconstruct" an offering down to its more simplistic back... While it's a refreshing approach, this doesn't quite live up to its name sake... However, this is a solid beer none the less on its own... It's hard to keep the two separate, but I'll have no trouble making two six packs worth dissappear... Any Belgian beer enthusiast shouldn't hesitate to give this one a try...

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Photo of thagr81us
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks goes out to kkipple for sharing this one during the One Year Anniversary of My Wreck Tasting! Served from bottle into a Crooked Stave ‘Crooked Line’ tulip. Poured yellow-orange with a minimal white head. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, banana, clove, sugar, and fruit. The flavor was of sweet malt, banana, spice, earth, and fruit. It had a light feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a good brew. Unfortunately this one was not very complex at all. But what it lacked in complexity, it totally made up for it with balance. Everything in this brew really helped to take each of the other aspects to the next level. Glad I got the chance to try this one and suggest you do the same.

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Photo of chefhatt
4/5  rDev +1.8%
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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Scratch Beer 46 - 2011 (Naked Elf) from Tröegs Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 259 ratings