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
Reviews by 1sophrosyne1:
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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More User Reviews:
Photo of JeepinGreg
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of cyber_phoenix
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Lambdon
4.09/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of GregStoner
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of diddith
4.75/5  rDev +20.9%

Photo of Pav5069
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%

Photo of harryhops
3.76/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of intobenme
3.84/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of johnfantonius
4.36/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Troegs Tap Take Over Blue Dog Pub in Lansdale, PA

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Photo of ogman
4.31/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of AbeyBaby66
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Trentt2
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of jcole524
4.07/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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 Runbad
4.14/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of CharlesK
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of PSUDREW
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a great brew. Like mad elf, but with out all the confusion.

POurs a nice amber hue. Very candi mose. kinnda surprised by that.

There is a nice frothy head, tanish in coor, noe real lacing

Tasteis very matly and sweet, no real hop presence. Sweetnes is what defi9nes this beer, but not in a bad way. I really enjoyed the honey/cherry/choco less elf. If you get a chance, definately samplet this beer.

highly dinkalbe, highlly enjoyable, this cat definately breaks ranks in my book

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Photo of jams1220
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a deep glazed golden ambrosia large off white head very sporadic lacing with retention being a bit brief. Aroma mild fruit esters touch of sweet biscuit malt with clean spicy Belgian yeast character and in the end I pick up some mild banana with other fruit nuances. Flavor has a rolling sharp sweetness that crashes quickly into a clean airy carbonation flavor along the way that spicy yeast with mild fruitiness hits the palate just right without being too cloying and overstaying it's welcome on my palate. Those fruit esters become more evident as it warms I get a blend of apricot and banana tones with some low level hoppy herbal highlights. Mouthfeel is meduim bodied finishes so quickly flavors vanish leaving really weird sensation on the palate wispy carbonation is a good way to describe this effect, the Mad Elf normally has the cherries and honey to stick to the palate but with this just the yeast esters and pale malts are really working their magic. Drinkability definitely a great version of the Mad Elf built for the summer you won't feel bad draining a few chalices of this in the summer plus you won't feel like you've been hit in the head with a hammer.

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Photo of mjm5618
4.41/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Into my Brother Thelonious chalice, for no reason, but it seems like the right thing to do.

Dark amber hue, with little head. That's okay, I won't hold it against the naked elf...naked, bald elf...

Sweetness in the nose, candied apricot, orange, ...jolly ranchers...Easter peeps...stuff like that...

Taste: most unique. Feels like a candied, fruity Belgian barleywine, if you get my drift. There's an astringent kick in there, a sour note, and the fruit shines in again. A Belgian amber mixed with a tripel, and a bit of old ale in there, too.

Medium to full bodied, full flavored, long finish...beautiful Belgian style brew!
Tastes twice as nice without the cherries!

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Photo of far333
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Monk's Cafe, Philadelphia

Murky orangey red colored with a thick inch-high foamy off-white head, which sits down quickly but leaves some lacing around the inside of the glass. Low aroma of yeasty funk and some understated malt. Initial yeasty notes, followed by sweet malt, and notes of banana, clove, and a peppery spice in the finish. Full and rich mouthfeel. An interesting mix of flavors in the profile, but average drinkability for me due to the richness.

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Photo of cichief
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on draft at Friscoe's Grille, Columbia, MD. Part of their Christmas in July celebration.

A- Pours a deep, hazy amber. Too dark for a Belgian Tripel, but lighter than most Dubbels.

S- Very sweet smelling, no single fruit comes through, but very fruity and spicy.

T- Very sweet, definitely some Belgian candy involved, but not as complex as the Mad Elf. Actually more enjoyable.

M- Smooth, but well carbonated, medium on the tongue.

D- Definitely more drinkable than the Mad Elf, but still a dangerous beer.

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Photo of weeare138
4/5  rDev +1.8%
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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Scratch Beer 46 - 2011 (Naked Elf) from Tröegs Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 259 ratings