Scratch Beer 21 (Naked Elf) | Tröegs Brewing Company

very good
50 Ratings
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Scratch Beer 21 (Naked Elf)Scratch Beer 21 (Naked Elf)

Brewed by:
Tröegs Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.80%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by Deuane on 07-15-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 50 |  Reviews: 42
Photo of DrBier
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of Kegatron
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%

Photo of InspectorBob
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Shared by Dave. Thanks man.

The beer is amber hued with a small head that quickly diminishes to a wispy layer atop the beer. The aroma brings sweet fruit, a touch of yeast, assorted spice. Fruity esters and a bit of banana with some dark fruits soaked in alcohol. Mild oxidation. Medium bodied with moderately low carbonation. Decent. This was fun to try.

 356 characters

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of colts9016
3/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into tulip glass at 50 degrees.

Appearance: The head is nonexistent and the head was ivory foamy and creamy. The color of the beer is orange with amber straw hues. The clarity of the beer is hazy with yeast floating.

Nose: A lightly toasted malt with caramel and biscuit. The Hops profile is still noticeable with grapefruit, pine, floral, and citrus. Some diacetyle are noticeable.

Taste: The hop profile is still prevalent with grapefruit, pine, floral, and citrus. The malt profile is caramel, biscuit, and grain.

Mouth feel is astringent, carbonated, and coating.

Overall: The body of the beer is medium and the finish is medium full. This beer has too much age on it. It is good not great.

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Photo of orangesol
3.59/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First and foremost, this rating is based on how this one is drinking right now, not in the past.

Yet another old Scratch Beer ticked off the ever shrinking list. Yet again, big thanks to Deuane for giving me one of these to try.

A - Pours cloudy amber orange with a thin, patchy white head leaving little to no lace down the glass. Not dead but pretty close.

S - Smells of dark fruits, clove, banana, candied sugar, toffee, brown sugar and some fruity yeast. This one smells quite sweet with just the faintest hint of booze.

T - Starts off with a bunch of sugary sweetness - mostly candied sugar, toffee, caramel and brown sugar - slowly giving way to hints of dark fruits, fruity yeast and some dulled orange rind. The booze is light but it grows at it comes to room temperature. Finish is pretty sweet, lingering on the palate for some time after consumption.

M - Medium body with plenty of sweet flavor with moderately low carbonation. Very sweet feel from start to finish. The booze is muted initially but grows as it sits in the glass.

O - This one is holding up pretty well, maybe a tiny bit past its prime. It is really sweet but the other flavors still hold there own. The booze is still there but it is more tame now.

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Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of Lawnboy33
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of Gonzoillini
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of brandoman63
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%

Photo of homebrew311
2.9/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: appears a cloudy orange, reminiscent of a hefe, minimal head, low head retention

S: nose is full of bananas and cloves, some oxidization is evident, notes of brown sugar present as well

T: things start off sweet and phenolic, bananas and cloves come through again. Things are a little out of balance and leaning very heavily to the sweet end of the spectrum.

MF: low carbonation, medium body

O:this brew is flat, thin, and lacks much character.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a flared pokal.

Thanks to the Central PA group from the Gang Bang BIF for this bottle!

The Scratch Beer Dash continues, baby! This leg pours a cloudy russet-amber topped by a half-finger of off-white foam. The nose comprises buttery caramel, nutmeg, cinnamon, bubblegum, candi sugar, and light blueberry. The taste holds notes of caramel, clove, buttery biscuits, cinnamon, and light mandarin orange syrup. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a kinda watery feel. Overall, a decent brew, one that doesn't seem to have been too harmed by age, though I'm still much more of a fan of the Mad version anyway.

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

The newest scratch release 46 (Naked Elf 2011) inspired me to get this one out and give it a review. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a cervoise. This brew appears a color caught between copper and amber. A finger of yellowish stained head forms up about a finger strong and quickly recedes to a thin lacing across the top that holds with larger bubbles around the outside wall of the glass. Despite a careful pour a bit of yeast chunkage has made its way into the glass. The brew appears more golden orange around the thinner outlying edges and more of an amber through the thickest parts of the body. Some spots of lacework stick to the glass.

The aroma of this brew is strikingly sweet with a scent reminiscent of belgian candy sugar. There are some citrus components that bring a brightness to the nose smelling of oranges. More sniffs reveal more malty sweet scents smelling of caramel, toffee and vanilla. Overall very pleasing and sweet smelling but I hardly pick up on any yeast character. Once warm, there is a very light spiced aspect almost like a cross between nutmeg and cinnamon, very nice.

The taste of this brew picks up the yeast incorporation where the aroma missed. Belgian yeast flavor immediate brings forth a light peppery quality. Herbal hops are also still present providing a bitterness to contrast the residual sweetness. Malty flavors of caramel and light fruity elements, minorly orange-like are present throughout. The brew finishes quite crisp urging the next sip. Once the beer comes up to temperature, it picks up a light almost nutty flavoring coupled with the herbal hops.

This is a medium bodied brew with a light yet enjoyable level of carbonation. The 7.8% abv hits with a warmth that seems a bit more than expected. Overall this brew is holding up quite well. I really enjoyed this one and would choose this one over the fresh batch hands down. This is one that really improves with age for me. Well done. Perhaps it is just a recent brewing experience that has this fresh in my mind but the yeast character here seems different from the Westmalle strain that Troegs has been using with recent releases. Instead, this offering seems more like the Schelde strain.

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

Thanks to Greg for this one.

A: The pour is amber in color with minimal foam formation.

S: Definitely quite sweet, lots of fruit notes. Plums, raisins, and bananas are the main ones. Lots of caramel and candi sugar sweetness to it as well. A bit of oxidation on the finish.

T: Huge banana flavor up front with a subtle spice note, too. Plums, raisins, and just a bit of honey give sweetness along with caramel. A light booziness and oxidation, but surprisingly decent.

M: Medium in body with a somewhat low carbonation.

O: Despite the oxidation, this is a pretty nice beer.

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Photo of portia99
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into my standby Portsmouth tulip glass.

A - Pours a dirty brownish amber color with some noticable floating particles in the body. There is a finger of frothy just off-white head that dies quickly over a minute or so and leaves behind an uneven collar, some surface islands and sparse lacing on the glass.

S - Very malty, more than I expected to get out of this...some candy sugar, black pepper (which is rather strong), some fruity esters, other spices I'm having difficulty identifying. Interesting and definitely not what I was expecting coming into this.

T - Spicy and peppery up front, lots of Belgian yeast character, a bit drier than I thought it would be although there is certainly some residual sugar in here. Yeasty with lots of Belgian estery goodness and a fair amount of toasted bread. Surprisingly getting a bit of roasted flavors (maybe even coffee?) in the background. Can't say I've had another beer like this one...pretty unique in a mostly good way. Alcohol is pretty well hidden.

M - Medium bodied. Carbonation is strong and feeds the mild roastiness in the background, really seeming to bring it out a bit more. The roasty and toasty flavors are really nice at the base and last far into the aftertaste giving a nice satisying feeling on the palette.

D - First time I've had this, but I am thinking that I like this more than I do the Mad Elf. The underlying malt character really puts it over the top. Not the typical malt flavors found in many beers, these really stand out. I'd definitely go for more of this, although it probably won't ever happen.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ah yes- the naked elf. One of the first Troegs beers I tried. Had it a few times on-tap the last summer it was made-and LOVED it- of course- that was the first summer I was into craft beer. 12 oz bottle poured into my snifter- drank side-by-side with Mad Elf.

A- Body is a quite hazy brownish red color-with uniform translucency. Pours with about a 1/2 finger foamy off white head that eventually fades completely with no head left behind in the glass.

This beer is slightly browner, and much foggier than mad elf- mad elf has a bright ruby red transparency-this beer (scratch 21) is much more Belgian in appearance.

S- Nose is quite spicy. Lots of spicy belgian yeast with a hint of butter. The cherries and honey are there-but subtle. Alcohol is undectable.

Mad elf is much more boozy, but has a much clearer presence of fruit and honey-with little to no yeast presence.

T- Lots of spicy belgian yeast upfront with a lot of cinnamon-nutmeg. A hint of cherry and honey can be detected in the background but the highlight is the spiciness and the yeast. The finish is much like the initial flavor only stronger. Only a slight alcohol presence is noticable. A moderate spicy belgian yeast lingers.

M- Medium carbonation and a full medium weight yeasty body. Not particularly smooth.

D- This is a great beer. Its a lighter, spicier mad elf (which is what it is supposed to be). This bottle has a yr on it- not one of the best beers ever (as I remember it) but still a fantastic brew- I wish this were as popular as Mad Elf-because its just as good-but different. Very cool to drink these side by side. Too bad this offering wont come around again.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.09/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired from mikereaser courtesy of the Local Goods BIF, so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep golden brown color, with a very thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a very thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of brown sugar, caramelized malts, apples and other fruits, some Belgian yeast and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with sweet flavors of caramel and brown sugar that are quickly followed by some tart fruit flavors. Then some breadiness from Belgian yeast and a hearty malt character. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, while there are others in the style I would choose first, this is still a solid beer worth drinking for a while.

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Photo of ffejherb
3.94/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle into shaker pint on 2/9/10.

A - Poured a hazy reddish orange-colored liquid with copper tones and a thin off-white cap that retained as a thin ring around the glass, yielding virtually no lacing at all, save for a few specks each time I give the glass a swirl.

S - Well, I suppose it smells like Mad Elf without the cherries and honey. The yeast character really shines through, suggesting dark pitted fruits, clove and a hint of pepper. There is also a slight boozy presence, which imparts an almost rum raisin character.

T - The flavor is very similar to the aroma, with the spiciness of the yeast taking center stage, followed by a tangy dark fruit character akin to raisins, figs and dried apricots. Naked Elf finishes with a touch of alcohol warmth on the tongue amid a wash of peppery spiciness and clove notes.

M - Medium bodied, though bordering on full, with a thick, syrupy texture and a touch of bristly carbonation resulting in an almost chewy mouthfeel. Finishes with a spicy fiair and residual sweetness on the palate.

D - Overall, I find this "naked" version to be a bit more drinkable than Mad Elf. The yeast is the star of the show here, which provides the bulk of its complexities. The spiciness works nicely with the dried fruit character. Not one of my favorite Scratch offerings, but solid nonetheless.

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Photo of mikereaser
4.02/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle on 8/8/09.

A - Pours an amber orange when held up to the light with no foam to speak of

S - malty, cloves, earthy, spices with hints of apple, peppery yeasty smell

T - fruity flavors come forward first, sweet maltiness, candied sugar, with a tart apple finish

M/D - very drinkable and enjoyable, good carbonation and smooth mouthfeel makes me want to grab another and another

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Photo of woosterbill
3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On-tap at the brewery into a snifter.

A: Lightly hazy crimson-brown body with a small tan head that settles into a a solid, persistent ring. Quite appealing.

S: Belgian yeast right off the bat, with more fruit than spice - plum, apricot, and banana. Some bready malt as well. Very enticing.

T: Has the fruity yeastiness of the nose, plus a hefty assault of spice and just a bit of warming alcohol on the finish. Complex and enjoyable.

M: Rich, full body with light, sparkling carbonation. A bit off-balance.

D: Not bad for the style at all.

Notes: Less refined than Mad Elf, but equally tasty.


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Photo of OneDropSoup
4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Scored a growler on a trip home over Christmas.

Deep brown-orange, translucent, with a thin white head. Amber, honey highlights. Small, slow bubbles. Almost no lacing. I always loved the look of Mad Elf, & this is very close.

Smells of Belgian yeast: over-ripe banana, some bready sourness. A poor descriptor, but very "yeasty," doughy.

Flavor is close to what I think of as Dubbel: mild tartness & sweet sugars up front, slightly peachy, apple-y, turning into a kind of cereal bluntness in the middle & with an aftertaste like challah or pie crust, with a slight dryness following. Some licorice in there.

Mouthfeel is energetic & just a tiny bit sharp at first, then mellows out & lingers without being sticky.

Drinkability is good, well-done without really any standout or "wow" factors. I'm very familiar with Elf, it's interesting to see what it looks like before the "Mad" gets added.

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

A growled filled on Splinter release date (12/16) and stored until the day after Christmas.

A: The growler's cap came off without a hiss of CO2. As it poured into my snifter, carbonation was kicked up, leaving a half- to a finger of head on resulting pours. The ale has a full brown-orange color, dark enough to leave it opaque.

S: The nose is sweet, full of pale candi sugars that lend a fruity scent. I picked up darker fruits as well as pears. A decent malt foundation lingered around.

T: The ale is warming, backed with plenty of flavor and booze. Caramel malts are everywhere, mildly sweet but not as sweet as the Belgian profile. Candi sugars and the yeast work wonders, imparting sweet fruit flavors, including apples, apricots, and the aforementioned pears. The sweetness masks any boozy heat that is lingering around. I think that I like the ale without the Mad Elf cherry addition.

M: The mouthfeel is rich and coating, leaving a lasting sweetness. As in the bottle, apricot sweetness lingers long after a sip is gone.

D: A good ale to share on Christmas (or the day after) when there are many people to get through the growler.

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Photo of soccerman7
3.94/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my Portsmouth snifter. Thanks Scott.

A - Really nice copper color. Little head that quickly disappeared. Minimal carbonation.

S - Spicy and malty. There is a pepper note that is either hops or yeast. Sweetness also.

T - Very complex. Sweet malt up front with the hops kicking in. There is a definite pepper on the finish but is still smooth. This is a solid beer. I had thought that the lack of cherry and honey would leave this beer lackluster. The malts are solid but balanced by the hops and pepper together.

M - Solid and smooth.

D - I really like this scratch more than many of them and would love to see this as a seasonal (Fall?). A solid beer that can hold its own. Glad I got to try it.

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Photo of VaTechHopHead
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this beer today from Troegs brewery when I was there for their Splinter Series release, and everybody knows this beer as "Naked Elf". I was kind of skeptical at first b/c it is basically Mad Elf without the honey and cherries (which makes Mad Elf what it is) but to my dismay I was very surprised. In a blind taste test I would have easily thought this was a true Belgian. Nice, dark yellow/light amber color with a HUGE dense off-white head and highly unfiltered. It smelled of sweet sweet malt, crazy ester/westmalle yeast, apples, bananas, and spices. It had quite a heavy body with relatively low volumes of carbonation but the thickness of the brew was the factor that took me by surprise. It tasted mainly of banana, spices, and light fruits with a hint of residual/yeast sugar kicking in. It ended with an obvious malt sweetness which you don't get in regular Mad Elf which I thought was very nice. I thought cutting out the cherry and honey would thin the beer out due to the sugars they add but I was wrong, this beer had plenty of taste and character as it was...all I can hope is that Troegs somehow finds a way to implement this beer into their lineup, even if it becomes a special release.

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Scratch Beer 21 (Naked Elf) from Tröegs Brewing Company
3.96 out of 5 based on 50 ratings.
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