The Mad Elf Grand Cru
Tröegs Brewing Company

The Mad Elf Grand CruThe Mad Elf Grand Cru
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Tröegs Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States
Strong Ale - Belgian Dark
Ranked #49
Ranked #7,876
4.07 | pDev: 8.85%
Apr 10, 2022
Oct 28, 2017
The Mad Elf Grand CruThe Mad Elf Grand Cru
Notes: 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.
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3.92 by Humanusfermentum from Virginia on Apr 10, 2022
Photo of scootny
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by scootny from New York

This is a significant take on the original. Darker in the glass. Still mostly clear with a bit of yeast cloudiness. Honey and Belgian dark malts are subsumed into a glorious showcase of oak and tart cherries. Cinnamon and cloves are well incorporated. Surprisingly crisp carbonation makes for a very drinkable brew. Way to easy to drink at this abv.

Mar 02, 2022
Photo of Wattie83
4.21/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by Wattie83 from Pennsylvania

Holdover from the holidays. 12.7 oz caged and corked bottle poured into a chalice glass. Pours a nice reddish brown color, sits like a cherrywood color in the glass. Thin ring of foam on the edges with some carbonation bubbles popping on top from time to time. Aroma is cherry first, some brandy and even some red wine character evident. Catching some Belgian yeast character too. Taste is tart cherry up front with some plumb, cinnamon. Middle gets tart with cherry juice flavor. Finish has cherry lingering with some chocolate notes and some honey. Alcohol is present and detectable in the sip. Feel is medium and lively with active carbonation tingling the tongue. Leaves a bit of slick coating on the tongue after the sip. Overall, this was a nice holiday sipper and a great beer to share. I'll look for it again in the future as I like the tart, counterpoint to the sweet honey in the mix.

Feb 06, 2022
3.9 by TLA from Pennsylvania on Jan 19, 2022
4.02 by Taenim from New Jersey on Jan 09, 2022
4.04 by buzzy from Pennsylvania on Jan 07, 2022
Photo of trevormajor
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by trevormajor from Ohio

12.7 Fl Oz bottle, vintage 2021, poured into a snifter at 55 degrees F:
L - dark dark cherry with no head whatsoever
S - cherries, bits of clove and honey around the edges
T - tart cherries overpower most other flavors, bits of clove and honey on the finish
F - medium mouthfeel and carbonation
O - pretty good dark ale, but cherries sort of overpower everything else

Jan 01, 2022
Photo of BB1313
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
by BB1313 from Ohio

2021 vintage. 12.7oz corked and caged bottle poured into a tulip.

Pours a dark plum color; small khaki head with a subtle pink hue that fades leaving decent retention and lacing.

The aromas have a decent amount of cherries leading the way. Some plum. Some caramel. Malts are there.

The flavors are on the sweeter side. They're tart as well. Lots of tart and sour cherries leading the way. Some dark fruits in the mix. The honey comes through. Some red wine. Subtle cherry cough syrup notes. The yeasts come through along with a strong malt backbone. It doesn't drink small, but the alcohol is ultimately well hidden.

Mouthfeel is very nice. It's full-bodied with active carbonation. It's sharp, fluffy, creamy and smooth.

This is a really nice brew. It's like a sweeter and more tart version of the original with a little bit of a red wine vibe going on. The cherries really shine. The craftsmanship is impressive and on point. Well done.

Dec 29, 2021
Photo of 2market
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by 2market from Pennsylvania

I had the 2021 vintage of this Mad Elf Grand Cru. A bit too heavy on the Cherry for my taste; I prefer the standard Mad Elf.

Dec 29, 2021
4.08 by jcoleMA66 from Massachusetts on Dec 26, 2021
4.13 by Curt3 from New Jersey on Dec 16, 2021
4.05 by Rub_This_BBQ from Massachusetts on Dec 10, 2021
4.24 by BadgerNCarolina from North Carolina on Dec 09, 2021
Photo of Spade
4.27/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Spade from Pennsylvania

Beautiful ruby colored body with just a bit of foam. The cherries are much more prominent than the standard version and it's a very tart beer. The alcohol has a warming feel. This one is meant to be shared on a cozy winter evening.

Nov 28, 2021
4.04 by Knapp85 from Pennsylvania on Nov 25, 2021
4.06 by caffeinelogic from New York on Mar 24, 2021
4.24 by Lukass from Ohio on Mar 05, 2021
Photo of PathofChaos
3.72/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
by PathofChaos from Maryland

Deep ruby. Glassy bubbles cling to the glass, lending the refracted shine of a cut gem. No head, no lace. Could easily pass for wine.

Wheat laden, cherry jam with a stealthy, watered down clover honey hiding far afield.

A thick, syrupy medium granted levity by a refreshing and extremely insistent carbonation.

A frond of hearty wheat is coiled tightly around a plump, burgeoning cherry, then dubiously dipped in honey, and lastly, emulsified in a mild, semi-sweet grape juice. Audacious, all-natural cherry steals the center stage while the rest merely sit back and spectate.

This was good but regular Mad Elf is better.

Feb 19, 2021
3.47 by Sulty from Massachusetts on Jan 24, 2021
Photo of RayCannata
3.99/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by RayCannata from Louisiana

Pretty smooth, almost weak for an 11%. As others noted, kind of tart cherry-forward. I liked it a little better as it warmed back closer to room temperature.

The color is a beautiful dark brown with hints of red. Very little head on it.

Jan 16, 2021
Photo of mynie
4.46/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by mynie from Maryland

One of my favorite seasonals and we're at a point were 19 bucks for a 750ml of 10.5% beer isn't bad at all, so okay let's give it a go.

Pour is very nice. Brown ale plus cherry red highlights when it's swirled. Maybe some wine people will say that's bad or whatever but I think the separation effect looks pretty.

Aroma is pleasantly sharp and variegated but not particularly intense. Actually, it's maybe a little weak. It's room temp but lacking yeast complexity. I do get some mild brown ale malt, belgian yeast spice, and cherries. What's there is very nicely composed but just sort of tame.

Flavor is likewise tame, and delicate, and although damn near perfect. This is maybe the most drinkable 10+% ABV beer I've come across in all my many years of being drunk. Sweet cherry juice up front mingles absurdly perfectly with the regular sweet and spicy profile of Mad Elf. This lingers throughout the sip--essentially the same as regular Mad Elf but nonsensically somehow both sharper and smoother at the same time. Then it ends on just raw, delicious cherry juice.

Jan 04, 2021
Photo of VABA
4.27/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by VABA from Virginia

Pours a nice dark ruby red color with a slight head and lacing
Aroma has pleasant cherry cinnamon, clove and honey hints
The taste follows the aroma with a well balanced an intense cherry flavor with slight cinnamon, clove and honey flavors
A medium bodied decently carbonated beer
A well balanced Belgian dark strong ale

Dec 29, 2020
Photo of MacMalt
4.19/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by MacMalt from New Jersey

Poured from cork and cage bottle into a Tröegs tulip glass. It pours a hazy, deep, dark ruby color with a creamy, light pink head and thin film of lacing. The appearance is a bit unusual but nonetheless attractive. The nose is dominated by ripe, sweet cherry. As it warms there are also hints of Belgian spicing. The taste follows the nose with a blast of black cherry. Initially, it's quite tart - even a bit sour, but as I swish it in my mouth there is a lot of sweetness, as well. The clove and cinnamon open up nicely as the glass warms a bit. I probably should have removed the bottle from the fridge 20-30 minutes before pouring. As the taste develops, the cherry mellows and the spicing is more evidenced. The flavors blend nicely. This ale has has a nice viscosity and a pleasant level of carbonation, and it doesn't drink like 11% ABV. Be forewarned - sip it slowly. Overall, based upon the ratings this is the type of offering people either love or hate. I'm in the former category. I like it a lot. It's an interesting, tasty holiday sipper. I suspect I'll purchase a bottle or two each season going forward.

Dec 20, 2020
Photo of BBThunderbolt
3.72/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
by BBThunderbolt from Kiribati

Thanks to Adrock314 for this one, from the recent Can Cans BIF. 2017 vintage, cork and caged 750, poured into 12oz tulip. Poured a dark reddish-brown color with 3/4 inch of tan head that had low retention and no lacing.

The aroma was fronted by nice yeast spice, had some underlying fruit-floral notes, and had a solidly smooth malt foundation.

Same on the tongue, just bigger, better, more. more rich malts, more of those nice yeast compounds, and a pleasing fruitiness. The beer was a bit sweeter on the tongue that the aroma had led me to expect.

The body was medium-full, smooth, and had a somewhat surprisingly dry finish.

Drinkability was very good, I could knock this back on a semi-regular basis.

Overall, an excellent brew. A must-try if you see it.

Dec 13, 2020
Photo of Historiker
3.56/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5
by Historiker from Ohio

I seem to have a different opinion of this beer than the majority.

This is a beautiful beer. It pours a gorgeous, deep red, and you can hear the carbonation.

The smell is certainly of cherries, but I wouldn't say the smell I'd identify is sour or tart. Its closer to what I'd smell if Id purchased cherries at the grocery 2 weeks ago, pulled them out of the fridge, and some of them had gone bad. It isnt the smell I get from the regular Mad Elf. Kinda odd.

The taste was certainly cherry-forward, but unlike the regular Mad Elf (which is delightfully boozy), this struck me as veering too far into the astringent/medicinal area to be truly enjoyable.

The mouthfeel is excellent. Medium bodied and a little syrupy.

Overall, the look and feel of the beer is excellent, but I just didn't find this an enjoyable as its counterpart. That said, Im certain that people who value a bit of sourness would have a higher opinion of this one than I do.

Dec 10, 2020
4.23 by needMIbeer from Virginia on Nov 26, 2020
4.43 by ummswimmin from New Jersey on Nov 15, 2020
Photo of Beer-A-Lot
4.17/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by Beer-A-Lot from Virginia

Nice combination of cherries and honey, for just the right sweetness. Mild sourness. Light to medium mouthfeel. Doesn't taste 11% at all. A solid beer.

Aug 23, 2020
Photo of Dodo2step
4.41/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Dodo2step from Pennsylvania

A- thick red and non opaque. minimal head but carbonated

S- dark candied cherry smell with booze

F- sour tart cherry and booze

M- cherry and thick. like motor oil mixed with cherries

O- very tasty and a great beer

Jul 07, 2020
4.29 by wayngrove from Pennsylvania on May 31, 2020
3.91 by generallee from Virginia on May 29, 2020
4.25 by Kaitash from Connecticut on Apr 13, 2020
4.21 by chiefz1 from New York on Feb 01, 2020
4.27 by stephenjmoore from Maryland on Jan 19, 2020
3.89 by Prost76 from New Hampshire on Dec 26, 2019
4.66 by Vylo from New Jersey on Dec 21, 2019
4.35 by Corburk from Pennsylvania on Dec 18, 2019
Photo of Cylinsier
3.83/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
by Cylinsier from Pennsylvania

75 cl

Pours very dark clear cherry red, pinkish white head is fizzy and dissipates to a lacing.

Aroma is of sweet and tart cherry over biscuit malts.

Flavor is of cherry, honey, bready malts, and maybe a bit of nutmeg.

Medium body, light tingly carbonation.

It tastes pretty similar to standard Mad Elf to me, but just a tad funkier. This is one of those rare occasions where I might prefer the original to the deluxe version. There's just nothing about this that makes especially superior to the regular old Mad Elf. Decent enough I guess, drinks pretty slowly.

Dec 14, 2019
Photo of Jacobier10
4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
by Jacobier10 from New Jersey

750 mL bottle.

Dark ruby red color with excellent clarity and a light brownish/pinkish head.

Smells sweet and spicy. Loads of fresh cherries bursting through in the flavor. Some peppery spice on the back end with even a little bit of chocolate and dark malts.

Finishes sweet and a little tart from the Belgian yeast. Medium-full bodied and very clean. Not a subtle beer, this is a must-try for any cherry lover out there.

This is a big step up from the base version of Mad Elf, which can get cloyingly sweet. Thanks to Andy for bringing this one over!

Dec 08, 2019
Photo of DIM
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by DIM from Pennsylvania

Vintage 2019. Cherry af.

The tart cherries take center stage, but enough top notch BSDA shines through to keep this from being straight up cherry juice. Worthy of Grand Cru moniker.

Nov 24, 2019
The Mad Elf Grand Cru from Tröegs Brewing Company
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 146 ratings