The Mad Elf Grand Cru | Tröegs Brewing Company

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The Mad Elf Grand CruThe Mad Elf Grand Cru
84 Ratings
The Mad Elf Grand CruThe Mad Elf Grand Cru

Brewed by:
Tröegs Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
We’ve been wanting to do this for a while now. Twenty years in just feels right. If you know Tröegs, you know The Mad Elf, the mischievous belle of the holiday beer ball that helped put our little brewery on the map. In your hands is the Director’s Cut. Tart Balaton cherries – loads of them – make all the difference. Bottle-conditioned and flush with notes of cinnamon and clove, this beer begs to be shared. Take a bottle home, gather your friends, and cherish the cherries.

Added by Budlum on 10-27-2017

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 84 |  Reviews: 32
Photo of justintcoons
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

750 ml corked & caged bottle poured into a goblet.
Vintage 2018.

Deep ruby red. 1/2 finger of khaki head. Good clarity.

Loads of cherry and cherry juice. Honey, clove, hay, and potpourri.

Fresh smashed cherries and maraschino cherry juice. Lightly tart. Slick honey with only a hint of clove and potpourri.

Full bodied, syrupy, slick, smooth, sweet, and subtly tart.

If there was ever a beer that tasted like cherry juice, this is it! Very rich, decadent, and festive.

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Photo of larryi86
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle, 2018, poured into a tulip

A- A clear ruby red with a small reddish head

S- Sweet, some tart cherries, honey, earthy spice, hints of cinnamon and cloves.

T- Cherries, mostly sweet but a nice tartness, honey, earthy spice, some cloves, touch of cinnamon.

M- Smooth, medium to full body.

O- Not very different but different enough, really enjoyable if you are a Mad Elf fan.

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Photo of MikeWard
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2018 release 750ml bottle picked up at the brewery on Friday, and sipped over a couple hours at home this evening. Tulip glass.

Nice looking body on this one. Deep red wine color, showing clear when held up to the light. A good number of carbonation stream replenish a pinkish hued white head, which leaves a little lacing.

All I can get on the nose is a slightly musty cherry aroma.

On taste, this one is all about the cherries. They are luscious and delicious. There is a really nice warmth from the abv, and a little sweetness to scale back the cherry tartness. Really well balanced, and one tasty beer. Not really getting the spices, which makes it not really feel like a Grand Cru, but given how could it tastes, I couldn't care less.

Mouth closing in on full, finish warm, cherries, and a little tart.

Overall, really happy Troegs bought this one back for winter. A very worthwhile purchase every December.

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Photo of GOBLIN
4.29/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of dbrauneis
4.09/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of MeLLo10
3.58/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of BigMike
4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of drtth
4.21/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Missed this beer when it first came out last November, but the other day I happened on a shop that still had a few bottles in stock that were stored in a cool dark place and so I gambled and grabbed one.

The full pour of the deep ruby colored beer, into a Corsondonk goblet, produces a thin, slightly pinkish head that persists but slowly recedes to leave a ring around the glass and a partial covering of foam on the surface of the liquid. Sipping creates a few scattered patches and legs of lacing.

The aromas include some cherry fruitiness, a bit of malt, some Belgian yeast and some light spiciness of clove and cinnamon. There’s also just a bit of earthiness from the hops.

The flavors include the cherries and a bit of tartness as well as some sweetness from the malt and the honey. There’s also some clove, cinnamon and a bit of chocolate. The alcohol is well hidden here so this one could easily sneak up on you.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and lightly prickly with the finely bubbled carbonation. The finish begins as the sweetness and tartness both begin to recede but the sweetness goes away faster leaving the ending to a dry, slightly tart semi-dry cherry flavor that has traces of clove and cinnamon to complement it.

On the whole I’m enjoying this beer as much as, and maybe a bit more than, the regular Mad Elf. (But it’s hard to be sure without doing a blind side-by-side tasting.) The additional light tartness brought to the beer by the new cherries leads to the Mad Elf sweetness being a bit better balanced and adds a different dimension of complexity to the overall aroma/flavor profile. I’m now thinking of making an effort to see if I can find another bottle to save for next Christmas.

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Photo of JohneHoodlum
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of 57md
3.84/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a blend of ruby and copper colors with a half finger of head. The nose has the classic Belgian yeast smell as well as distinct notes of honey. The flavor has tartness from the cherries upfront and the body is quite light for the style.

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Photo of EMV
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a cork'n'cage bomber into a Duvel tulip

L: Clear dark mahogany brown pour. Ruby red highlights as you hold it up to the light. 2 fingers of foamy white head. Pretty minimal lacing.

S: Cherry and honey... sweetness and booze.

T/F: Rich toasted malts... honey, sweetness, and cherry. Boozy and warming... a bit of tartness mid-swig. Sweet/tart fruit. Mild spice... clove and nutmeg. Medium bodied... sticky on the tongue. The finish is tart cooking cherry.

O: Mad elf on steroids... delicious beer... loads of flavor. Sweet, boozy, minimally tart.... honey and cherry... delivers exactly what it says it will. Fantastic beer.

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Photo of ogman
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of BEERdedCharmer
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Whitey_from_Remedy
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of themayorkoch
4.44/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of TheBeerdedCharmer
3.44/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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

Pours a two finger reddish/brown head that fades slowly leaving some lace. Burgundy color, faint highlights. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Cherry nose, and taste follows tart cherry with light spicy finish. High ABV (11%) is hidden. $15.95 for a caged & corked 750ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

a really awesome holiday ale here, i think an improvement over the original, one i already like and respect a lot, but the sour cherries in the mix add a lot, and this seems both quite a bit more complex, but also somewhat more drinkable at the same time, maybe closer overall to a classic belgian dark strong or something appealing to me fundamentally, and i didnt find the sweetness so overwhelming this time. still very much cherry forward, and still plenty sugary, but more refined it seems, less spiced, fancier or something, i really dug this, and find it a perfect and unique winter warmer. it almost seems like darker malt in this, not sure if it is, but like there is more roasty toasty warming balance against the sweet honey and cooked cherry sweet. clove and spice cake and booze too, christmasy in that way, and sort of belgian in yeast complexion to me with everything else thats going on. this could use an extended bourbon barrel ageing i would think too. some cherry astringency to this, port wine and figs, faint tea and licorice. not as different overall as i expected, but the changes over the original are all positive in my book. looking forward to seeing how this one ages...

edit: aged a year since above review, the beer remains virtually unchanged, there is still all the depth, the sugar, and the alcohol too, cherries persist, dark fruits, and all the enormity from the grain. it hasnt faded, but it also hasnt really evolved or mellowed much. still awesome, but i am thankful to have another one in the cellar, might give it a couple of years at this rate. fantastic and festive beer for this time of year!

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.91/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

(corked/caged bottle, sat conditioning in high 60s temps till now... poured into a snifter)

L: ruby-red colored liquid; fizzy frills of foam that all but disappear... no collar at all, but its clarity and bright jewel glow are rather striking... but really it looks like a still red wine

S: sweet cherry wine, mellow spicy essence, dried cherry and subtle (coffee) roast notes later emerge... the alcohol is definitely present, but lacks an edge... solid potency, though not displaying great dimension... the second pour gives off a sweaty/dirty pocket change note for a brief moment

T: cherry wine with spice, favoring more of the cherry's tart than fruity/juicy/sweet nature... seems to have a delicately bitter, woody note in its aftertaste... intense, yet slightly choked (dry) flavors; not quite dynamic - seems to be lacking a bold(er) chocolaty and/or toasty/cookie undertone that my brain and palate feels like it's trying to artificially render like a laser reading a scratched disc

F: has a slick velvet-silky texture beneath its soft, sizzly suds... light-medium bodied; canned heat... doesn't dazzle, caress, or coat the folds, but it's alright

O: bought two bottles at release, shared one days later, but let this other one sit till now... the initial bottle showed great flavor potential (and, personally, an improvement from standard ME) but a curious dullness - this bottle was showed a bit of positive development... not sure what the best period of time may be to let this condition, but I feel like the recipe could benefit from more conditioning yeast and/or an additional sugar or grain... if I had to make a comparison, this reminded me vaguely of Quelque Chose by Unibroue, though QC is more layered and nuanced and savory... could just need one more lil nugget - moral is: do not rush to open a bottle of this

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Photo of Slatetank
3.87/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I shared this with my wife on Christmas Eve poured in two goblets from the corked and caged bottle.

The color is ruby with burgundy hue and translucent clarity with a 2 finger sandstone head.
The smell has a deep cherry fragrance with both fruity/floral attributes and slight alcohol in the aroma with a hint of spice. The feel is boozy sweet and tart with a thick body and spicy medium high carbonation with light sweetness mid palate as alcohol wartming into the finish with lingering sour texture. \

The taste is tangy and dry with a somewhat syupy and slight spiced flavor with a alcohol presence and yeast phenolic quality with light dry maltiness and alcohol doing a teeter totter with light stone fruit acidity and yeast cohesion. Overall this is good better than the original yet with less the alcohol bite but honey smoothness and yeast is pretty dominant in the taste

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Photo of Bogdawg
4.02/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Tcsox
4.14/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of ajm5108
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark ruby color, head fades almost immediately but there is persistent carbonation / fizz. Aroma isn't very impactful, features some dry Belgian yeast, light oak, light cherry juice & honey. Taste is reminiscent of regular Mad Elf, just a little smoother & with less of a harsh, boozey finish. There is a good amount of cherry flavor but it veers toward cough syrup territory thanks to some ample honey sweetness. You get some whispers of cardamom, clove and spicey yeast, but they struggle to really congeal against some of those sweet overtones. Mouthfeel is pretty viscous and coating.

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Photo of trygelski1
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of jlindros
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Meant to try this during the holidays but didn't get around to it. Now gotta try it so I can determine if I need to find more to cellar

Pours a light fizzy head that fades very quickly, dark but clear auburn color

Nose lots of phenols and alcohol, spicy peppery phenols, boozy alcohol, some fruity esters blend with the loads of Balaton cherries, mild spices, perfumey alcohol, sweet candy malt, a little honey, cinnamon and clove like spices.

Taste big sweet candy malt, syrupy, a bit boozy with some perfumey alcohol, into peppery phenols, fruity esters blend into big Balaton cherries, sweet candy cherry and some spices, some spices in the background, cinnamon, clove, mulled tea, very sweet, candi sugar, a bit of honey, syrupy. Finishes sticky syrupy sweet, candy, loadbs of cherry, and booze lingering.

Mouth is fuller bod, syrupy, boozy, decent fizzy carb,

Overall eh, not special, I think I like the regular better, this seems to go over the top without really coming back to earth, not special.

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The Mad Elf Grand Cru from Tröegs Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.06 out of 5 with 84 ratings