The Mad Elf
Tröegs Brewing Company

The Mad ElfThe Mad Elf
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Strong Ale - Belgian Dark
Ranked #77
Ranked #14,270
3.92 | pDev: 14.8%
Tröegs Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States
Very Good
The Mad ElfThe Mad Elf
Notes: Hop Bitterness (IBU's) : 15
Color (SRM) : Ruby Red
Availability: Seasonal, 12 oz. & 3L bottles, 1/2 and 1/6 kegs (contact your local retailer to pre-order)
Malts: Pilsner, Munich, Chocolate
Hops: Saaz, Hallertau
Yeast: Spicy Yeast
Pennsylvania Honey West Coast Cherries
Reviews: 1,350 | Ratings: 4,184 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of SpicyJoe
SpicyJoe from Pennsylvania

5/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I thought this would be too heavy and sweet, or have too many odd flavors, but it does not. It just tastes good and it goes down easy. It’s been a few months so I’ll have to update next year on the taste. All I know is I miss it.

May 22, 2021
Photo of guckymeister
guckymeister from Ohio

4.39/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Found this at my local supermarket with a buddy of mine whilst we were studying for some finals in college. Neither of us had heard of this beer, so we thought we'd give it a try with zero expectations. They were room temperature, which was (only was) a bit concerning.

We crack open our first bottle and boy was it pure magic. Both of us agreed right then and there that this was one of the best beers either of us had tasted. Perhaps the stress of the exams with being on an empty stomach stirred up the right conditions to love this beer on that night, but my feelings towards it haven't changed.

Awesome beer, expect something very sweet and QUITE boozy

Jan 25, 2021
Photo of gestyr
gestyr from Pennsylvania

4.77/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a nice ruby red color. Very clear with a tight white head. The smell is of cherries and and sweetness. The taste is like the smell with a faint hint of chocolate and honey. Overall a good beer, especially on a cold winter night.

Jan 23, 2021
Photo of crm871
crm871 from Utah

4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Poured a deep red with a thin cream-colored head.

Smell: Cherries, honey, malt, wine. Hints of pine and cloves as well. Nice sweetness to the smell but you can tell it’s gonna be a boozy ride.

Taste: Aggressive cherry flavor on the front with notes of honey and spices. Nice boozy finish with each sip as well.

Feel: Medium bodied with a smooth finish, although I don’t think the alcohol is as well-hidden as some other reviewers have noted. However, I prefer my strong ales to be boozy anyway so I enjoyed the lack of subtlety.

Overall this is a really good strong ale and perfect for the holidays.

Jan 10, 2021
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JohnniEMc from Pennsylvania

3.33/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

'Tis the season to pour a 12 oz. can of this into a clear pint glass. It's a dark copper colored liquid that's more translucent than opaque. Almost no head was produced by the pour and no glass lacing is expected. A sweet fruity malt aroma dominants what the nose picks up. The taste is sweet and fruity, overwhelmed by a Belgian yeast flavour. The heavy dose of alcohol is more noticeable to the gullet than to the tongue and that’s a good job of disguising it. There's more carbonation on the tongue than the eyes would indicate awaited. It is what it is, a heavy hitting, sweetened and strong Belgian Ale. This should get better ratings by those that embrace the style.

Dec 26, 2020
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Steve_Studnuts from Pennsylvania

3.27/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3

I don't recall liking this much the last time I had it (4-5 years ago), but they had it at my local gas station. It's kind of hard to pass up the novelty of purchasing an 11% ABV Belgian ale at the same place people are buying their morning coffee and boner pills. Anyway...

A minimal, doughy head froths up over a deep amber, almost reddish brew. Doesn't look like there's much carbonation going on, which bodes well. I don't want to stick my dick in it or anything, but it's pretty in the way that imperial red ales are pretty. Smell is sweet honey and cherry juice with something spicy going on as well; probably the typical clove-ish Belgian yeast thing. Taste is a little heavy on the cherries, to the point of being vaguely medicinal. The high alcohol content probably helps further those vibes. There is a pleasant Belgian strong ale base, but it's buried a bit. Feel is thick and almost syrupy. Also, despite there being little visible carbonation, it's still a little too effervescent. Meh... I've certainly had worse, but this tasting didn't change my opinion of this beer one iota. I'm sure some people with cherry-leaning sweet teeth dig it, but it's not for me.

Dec 25, 2020
Photo of mikeg67
mikeg67 from New Jersey

4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz can. Pours dark red with tall, long lasting, fluffy off-white head. Aroma is of bready malt, funky yeast, grassy hops and red fruit. Body is full and crisp. Taste is of spices, herbal hops, caramel malt, spices, red fruit and hint of honey. Finish is long and spicy. Very nice brew.

Dec 23, 2020
Photo of WoodBrew
WoodBrew from Ohio

4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I got two bottles of this beer in my advent pack that I bought from my local beer store just around the corner....a 2019 and a 2020 vintage. This review is of the poured a clear rich amber with no head and no lace. The scent had Belgian spice with dark fruit notes. The taste was nicely balanced and easy to drink even with the big abv. There was Belgian spice mixed with cinnamon, cherry and and nice sweetness for balance. The mouthfeel was medium in body and had good carbonation. Overall it is a great beer.

Dec 20, 2020
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brewerburgundy from Virginia

3.99/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap in a pint glass.

Dark honey with splashes of red and a smallish tan head.

Candy sugar, brandy, small dose of spicy yeast, clove.

Rock candy, maple, more bubble gum yeast up front then transitioning to spice. The alcohol is amazingly restrained, really not showing at all in aroma or flavor.

Medium, slick body. Medium-low carbonation that matches well.

I haven’t delved into Belgians much lately at all and this is a welcome variation. It’s smooth for the strength and quite flavorful.

Dec 19, 2020
Photo of harrypowers
harrypowers from Massachusetts

4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear reddish brown with a small short lived head.

Smells of malt, yeast and cherries. Tastes of sweet cherries and spice with a tiny amount of bitterness and a warm alcohol finish.

Medium/light body with light carbonation. Lush and syrupy on my tongue.

Dec 04, 2020
Photo of jaybirde63
jaybirde63 from Pennsylvania

4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Beautiful Ruby Red ,the smell of cherries is wonderful ,not too sweet with a bit of fairness ,smooth going down masks the high ABV ,a slight overtone of chocolate.This is a delicious and deceiving ale ...

Dec 02, 2020
Photo of cjeep
cjeep from Pennsylvania

3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

it's ok but i can't say i'm crazy about it.
L: drinking from the bottle. it's a bit odd looking (why does my elf have a weird rash?), but ok.
S: interesting but not inspiring. i get some honey, spicy belgian aroma but muted. chocolate-cherry aroma.
T: it's good but i can't say it really delivers. cherries, honey. abv is well hidden - yes, dangerous at 11%. chocolatey finish. pleasant but can't say it's that exciting.
F: smooth. light carbonation.
O: ok, you should check it out for yourself but it's not working 100% for me. i guess i'm left saying forget about belgian style, just go belgian or don't go there.

Dec 01, 2020
Photo of mycousinvinny
mycousinvinny from New York

4.26/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

nice ruby red color. nice 1/2 inch head nice cherry flavor whith a hint of honey slight bitter taste . this is a very nice beer for christmas time or just the holiday season

Nov 29, 2020
Photo of Rapscullion
Rapscullion from Massachusetts

4.53/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful deep ruby hue in the glass with a neglibable head. Pure Belgian, yeasty nose with light honey note.
Leads with malt and developes molasses notes accented by stone fruit. The cherry is so well integrated I could single it out from a general stone fruit impression.
A very authentic Belgian style.

Nov 29, 2020
Photo of Tony210
Tony210 from New Jersey

4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a fairly clear ruby color, minimal head. Has a nice sweet cherry aroma. Flavor is tart cherry, moderate sweetness, tart finish. Appropriate carbonation. Overall a fun Xmas brew.

12 oz bottle
4.25 rating

Nov 26, 2020
Photo of Claude-Irishman
Claude-Irishman from New Jersey

4.52/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a ruddy,dark copper with a quickly receding foamy head.Translucent with lack of bubbles but well carbonated.Smell is Cherry,floral. Taste is abundant cherry and a touch of honey.Feels well put together. Finishes semi dry.Smooth and silky not viscous.Overall this Christmas tradition gets a high score. Only thing better would be organic cherries. Well done. No more to be had around my area.

Nov 20, 2020
Photo of kj35
kj35 from New York

5/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Easilly the strongest beer I've tried. That's not a bad thing. In fact I found it to be flavorful. Very glad I was able to find this. Unfortunately not in my area though.

Nov 20, 2020
Photo of andypeters1971
andypeters1971 from Georgia

4.39/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Finally got to try this after years of wanting it as I went to a part of the country where it's available. Almost no head and very little visible carbonation. I didn't know this had hops, but they sprinkled only a very tiny amount of hops in it, giving it an extremely slight hoppy taste but virtually none of the resin-y bitterness that so many people love and that I hate. You really can taste the honey coming through this. The cherries are notable but not overpowering. Really a great beer and it's exceeding my expectations

Nov 18, 2020
Photo of mellonsm
mellonsm from Pennsylvania

4.34/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Malty and sweet on the way in.
Beautiful red tint to the dark Belgian look.
Hint of cherries on top of the Belgian yeast.
Smooth going down. Too smooth for an 11% beer...dangerous!
Overall an excellent Quad.

Aug 07, 2020
Photo of RedbirdRona
RedbirdRona from Illinois

4.65/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Let me start off by saying wow this is a fantastic holiday/winter beer. I could drink this year round. Taste is dark tart cherries, crisp apple, honey, and mulling spices. At 11% abv this is just what you need on a cold winters night in Chicago. This does cause it to have a bit of a bite at the end but I didn’t mind that. Overall, great holiday beer and I am already looking forward to next Christmas.

Apr 18, 2020
Photo of PathofChaos
PathofChaos from Maryland

4.24/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark, cherry wood with a clean, crystalline clarity. A skinny lather of alabaster white rises to the top, then reduces into a meek perimeter. Fractured lacing goes barely pencil's width down the glass.

Mashed cherries on buttered wheat toast. Smells wholesome and genuine, not a single blip of artificial cherry. Enticing.

Touches down with that smooth, cool caress unique to ales. Hosts a body of medium girth and persistent yet unostentatious carbonation. Gentle sweetness lingers like the comfort of waking from a good dream.

A deep abundance of bitter cherries whose tartness is pleasingly nullified by honey layered on fresh bread. The Belgian Special yeast provides the sensation of a leavened, airy, white-wheat loaf that buffers the other flavors from becoming too rambunctious. Imagine a wheat-crusted cherry pie that flirts with the idea of becoming savory. Balanced and delicious.

Apr 12, 2020
Photo of TBoneJones
TBoneJones from Texas

3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Deep cherry/ mahogany pour, fairly clear. One of a couple bottles of these I brought back from NJ in December.
Nose is leathery/ antique Belgium notes, a hint of some stone fruit, some alcohol.
Taste is like the nose, with more noticeable sweetness now (molasses/ honey) and the cherries more noticeable.
Feel is very low carbonation (visibly so too), with a nice medium-thick, sticky feel.
In the end it was a stinger, nice tastiness tendered hard to pick out due to the dominant bite/ alcohol presence. Aging the remaining bottle of this can only help down the road.

Apr 03, 2020
Photo of MaltsOfGlory
MaltsOfGlory from Oregon

4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle

Pours less than a finger of soapy off white head into a shaker pint, fades somewhat quickly. Body is a very deep amber, with orange hues. Very clear. Looks ok so far.

Nose is sweet, loaded with clove and esters, along with a fair amount of tart cherry notes. Cherry is not fake at all. Very big aroma, somewhat complex, and very appealing.

A little bit of an alcohol bite up front, but pretty moderate considering the 11%, this will drink perfectly fine. As with the nose, esters take center stage, more banana coming through though. The beer is slightly tart/bitter, but not a huge cherry presence. Very sweet, but I think it lands on acceptable in terms of sugars, not too cloying. Wouldn’t mind reducing the sugars though. Pretty nice here, it drinks more like a standard belgian strong.

Mouthfeel is very nice. It's got a good amount of girth to it. Sugar isn't way over the top. Carbonation is very high. The carbonation actually helps reduce the impression of the sugars by giving it a little bit of a dry feel. Alcohol bite is quite low considering the abv.

Drinkability is very high given the 11% price tag.

Appearance turned out pretty poor, basically no lacing.

Overall a really nice beer. Huge flavor, not tooooo sweet, mouthfeel compliments well.

Jan 02, 2020
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rudiecantfail from Pennsylvania

4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a tulip glass.

L---An initial two finger, reddish/beige head which disappeared almost instantly. No Lacing. Color is a dark, clear crimson brown. Head was as expected for high ABV.

S---Sweet. Honey is most noticeable, followed by sweet cherries.

T---Sweet cherries are dominant. Smooth honey winds its way down the back of the mouth & throat. A bit of caramel & cocoa. Strong malt presence with minimal hops.

F---Thick & creamy. Coating on the mouth & throat. Full bodied.

O---Wifey really approves of this one, so that'll bump up its grade some. But I also think this is an excellent beer. Used to be hyped and impossible to get, but now it was just laying around at Wegman's for Wifey to grab me a sixer for christmas.

Jan 01, 2020
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G-Style from New York

2.9/5  rDev -26%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I was a bit disappointed in this ale. I love the look of the beer and the art work on the bottle, however I really couldn't find a lot of flavor as it was overpowered by the high alcohol content. I could smell the cherry but it tasted like I was really drinking a scotch ale.

Dec 30, 2019
The Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 4184 ratings