Tröegs The Mad Elf | Tröegs Brewing Company

very good
3,928 Ratings
Tröegs The Mad ElfTröegs The Mad Elf

Brewed by:
Tröegs Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by WilliamPhilaPa on 12-14-2002

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,928 |  Reviews: 1,271
Photo of DuqTroops
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

reviewed - December 21, 2005

Appearance -- reddish in tint. You could tell this is a holiday ale through the color of the beer. Not much head to it as well. Looks enjoyable.

Aroma -- smells of cherries and malt. Not too hoppy. Wants me to take a sip of it.

Taste -- tastes a little bit of honey and malt. Very enjoyable.

Body -- not too heavy. Smooth on the way down and is definitely going to get more.

Drinkability -- not going to drink all the time. Only in the winter months where alcohol is needed.

Price - had to pay $50 for a case of beer. Not worth spending for th entire case. Should get it at brewery with a six pack rather than getting a case.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was quite tempted to purchase this after reading the two sugar donors (cherry and honey), and finally gave in...but $16 is an expensive evening! Either way, I've paid more for beer and what better way to spend it.

A cranberry copper with little head formation, but a fair amount of carbonation anyways. I wouldn't expect an 11%abv ale to have much of a head anyways, that is a rarity outside of the bottle conditioning world. The head that did form was initially about a 1/2 inch and white. I poured the beer into my Belgian tulip and found the choice appropriate. Unfortunately, the beer is filtered, and that means there was no bottle conditioning...which I feel is essential for a good Belgian style ale.

This beer smells terrific! Belgian yeasts mixing with a distinct sweetness unlike many Belgians I've had. I typically fall deeply in love with a Belgian when I first smell it, this is definitely the case. The beer exudes a bready yeast funk, but within reason. The keytone and alcohol fragrances are modest and you might not suspect that it was 11% by smell alone. I get deep rose and banana bread.

Wow. I am relieved that my purchase was well worth the premium. There is strength and balance. I am aware of the fruit present in the beer, and I am not certain about pre-knowledge bias, but I can actually sense cherries and honey. The beer is rich in flavor and sweet like the season. I am impressed once again by this local gemstone of a brewery. I will vouch that this Belgian-style is of considerable authenticity, which for some breweries is easer to say than do.

Smooth and sweet. The only issue I have with the beer is the sweet aftertaste it leaves. However, there are enough other good things going on with this beer to overshadow this minor complaint. The beer went well with dinner and made an even better desert. I do not note a tremendous funk from the yeast, most was only present in the smell.

Highly drinkable. I have gone through 3 tonight and 2 just writing this review. Very well received from all who tried the beer this evening, even those that don't like Belgians refer to it as drinkable. Very smooth and a very worthy addition to my staggering review list. I would purchase again, however, not this season because the best things come after a long wait.


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Photo of wesblount
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a nice reddish/amber color with about an eighth inch head that dissipates somewhat quickly

S: Has a nice fruity smell

T: Smooth, fruity (cherry) taste combined with a typical ale taste. Dominate alcohol aftertaste with hints of cherry.

M: Crisp, clean and refreshing

D: This is one of my favorite beers. Highly recommended!

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Photo of Bboyslash
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

To the fullest taste and more powerful packing consistent AO!!! Damn that's a good BEER

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Photo of Minotaur
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Update: the 2009 12 oz bottles were initially thin. They tasted like cough medicine and were not particularly impressive. I tasted the first one shortly after Thanksgiving 2009. As of January 12 2010 they have improved significantly. It seems even after bottling another 2-3 months of age helps considerably.

This is a 22 oz bottle aged 1 year (from 2008) and poured into a goblet.

Orange-red, cinnamon color. It pours very smooth with just a slight fizz and sudden - thin head which dissolves quickly to just a circle of foam around the edge of the glass.

Aroma: Alcohol, thin biscuit flavor, slightly sour cherry aroma.

The taste after a year is exceptionally smooth. It has a bread-like quality typical of belgians with a bit of esther and alcohol; the honey makes it incredibly smooth and soft with just a little bit of bitter-tart cherry. Young, the taste can be a bit medicinal. Aged it is very whole, not overly deep but easy to sip and warming.

It has a very light mouth feel that suits the fruity and sweet flavor.

I've noticed the beer tends to be more impressive upfront and then becomes softer through out the glass.

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Photo of cdizinno
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a deep orangeish red with a small head, minimal lacing

S: Cfruits on the front, notes of cherries and grapes, some honey in there along with banana. Smells quite nice

T: Sweet with fruit flavors, cherries and grapes, this gives way to a bitterness in the middle which seems out of balance with the delicate sweet flavors on the front. The finish has some spicy notes and a long finish

MF: very light for the ABV, alcohol is well masked. Carbonation is nice.

Great brew!

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Photo of mvanaskie13
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into new belgium tulip glass, color is translucent amber with light carbonation, head is light tan but quickly dissipates with no clinging.

Smell is light cherries, hints of other fruitiness, raisins, plums, not alcoholic.

Taste is clean, surprisingly for such a strong beer, with sweet malt flavors that mingle with slightly tart cherries with other fruits, bitterness is light but noticeable but no distinct hop flavors. Light hints of spices and yeast come through as it warms.

Mouthfeel is very balanced, again its hard to believe this beer is 11% abv, very nice flavors and bitterness make it somewhat drinkable.

Overall, very drinkable strong brew, I like the light cherry flavors, I'm not sure if I'd like some of the flavors to come through stronger but it is tasty.

Review for 2015 vintage: pours still clear, better lacing, thin lingering head.
- Aroma is similar, a bit of booze, but pleasant interplay of malt and cherry.
- Taste is still quite clean for a big brew, nice booziness, some tart cherry, and then some stronger lingering malts with biting yeast off flavors.
- Mouthfeel is strong, a touch biting, and tart but not sour.
- Overall - a beer I've had numerous times since my first review and always presents differently - great fresh, great on draft, and now a great aged version as well.

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Photo of BFCarr
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Kerih711
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of BostonBrewins
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a not quite clear but not quite hazy deep ruby. Offwhite head dissipates rather quickly. Love the color.

S - Very strong nose, extremely sweet. A wonderful aroma of cherries and honey. Heavenly.

T - A super sweet bomb, not for the weak of heart. Honey and cherries overtones lead the way with undertones of sweet bread and stick buns. Slight metallic twang in the finish, most likely a byproduct of the munich malt. Very boozy.

M - Mouthfeel is syrupy, very brandy like. Definitely a sipper.

) - A perfect choice to be enjoyed after a big winter meal. One of my favorite winter beers.

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Photo of MaddDogg84
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of sponberg
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great color - a bright/dark ruby with a thinnish tan head that left trails down the side of the glass. Definitely some cherries and alcohol joining in the aroma; the same could be said for Robitussin, but this one was thankfully different - very clean.

This one lets you know up front that it means business, as there's a pleasant, balanced warming surge o' alcohol throughout. Rather dryish, with cherries, some hints of spice, and chocolatey flavors that are more mildly tart than sweet - really interesting flavors going on. As it goes down, some of the tartness dissipates and an oak cask sort of flavor briefly appears. It gets even better as it warms, with the alcohol heading into the background even further. Medium bodied, with a more dry than sweet mouthfeel. A very tasty barleywine.

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Photo of dbossman
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Ruby hue with a thin quickly dissipating head and decent lacing

S: Lots of tart cherries, vinous, grainy, boozy, and raisins and other dark fruits

T: Subtle cherries and dark fruits on top of a subtly sweet malty backbone; sweet, boozy, slightly fruity, mmm

F: Medium body and sticky; pretty good mouth feel

O: Warming alcohol, fruity, bready: like a fruitcake but actually tasty and welcome at the holidays

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Photo of Sharkophile
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Rigorous pour into a goblet. Reddish hue with an off white head that dissipates very quickly.

S: Smells like what it says: honey, cherries, spice and a fair amount of alcohol.

T: Sweet cherries, alot of herbal notes from the honey and some spiciness from the yeast (I think) finish is long and sweet and is boozy but the alcohol is well hidden for the high abv.

M: Full body with little carbonation.

O: An awesome winter seasonal. I love what they do at Troeg.

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Photo of CRJMellor
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ah the Elf ! Thanks to Brluvr (Ted) for making it happen. I haven't been this excited about a beer for some time, I even bought a Mad Elf goblet/chalice from the brewery for the occasion.

Pours a beautiful reddish brown color with small head that is very intricately laced. Carbonation looks very lively.

Aroma is much deeper and complex than color would indicate.
Immediate is hit was a little licorice, followed by some honey and other complex malt flavors, I only got a very subtle cheery note after some time warming. Almost had a Trippel aroma to me.

Let sit for about 30 minutes before opening and 10 minutes after pouring (based on recent discussion about best temperature)

Here comes the first taste. . . .
Boy that's good. Excellent powerful malt taste upfront with just a hint of sweet cherries on the aftertaste and slight bitterness. Mouthfeel is very full and smooth yet you know you are drinking a high gravity beer. Reminds of a gentler Piraat with some nice fruit undertones. Ingredient bill says chocolate malt and I only got them as the beer really warmed up and the flavors really opened. i'm going to drink another at room temp (at least high 60's) and see what other flavors may open.
first experience with Troeg's, have a feeling I have to go on a pilgrimage at some point.

Great beer, I think 2 would be my limit.

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Photo of Bierguy5
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, 11% ABV. Pours a very clear ruby color. White foamy head disappears immediately.

Sour cherries in the nose. A bit yeasty. Some earthy notes, and a good whiff of alcohol.

Tart at the beginning, smoothed over with some honey-like sweetness. Nice subtle cherry flavor, with just a bit of a yeasty characteristic. Some earthy bitterness keeps thing in reasonable balance.

Medium body, with lower fine carbonation. A bit of warming from the alcohol. Very interesting and enjoyable.

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Photo of Brent
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very pleasant and festive beer. A bit more spice than usually found in a Belgian dark, but, as a holiday beer, certainly appropriate. Nice yeast flavors with good depth and complexity. Malt was not overly sweet and well balanced. Thanks to Blake for bringing this to the Bowling Green KY BA holiday beer gathering.

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Photo of LittleBreeze
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks younger25 for sending my first bottle

Attractive coloring. Good lacing.
The smell is sweet...toffee, cherry, citrus.
Taste is rather interesting and complex. Cherries are there, of course. Malt. Honey and spices. Alcohol is well hidden in this one.
Smooth slow sipper.
Drinkability is to good. I can see putting away a few of these and having the alcohol sneak up on you.
This is a very nice beer experience.

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Photo of OGShotzy
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%

Photo of Tiggaroo13
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%

Photo of TheDeuce
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy red amber color, minimal head but big crackling bubbles. It says on the front that it is brewed with honey and cherries; both flavors come in immediately along with Belgian sugar and meaty hop shots. Alcohol is felt but not tasted, though as it is known if you have too many of these you will keel over. Suprisingly subdued finish adds to drinkability, I hate cherries and honey, yet actually enjoy this beer, the Brothers have done it again.

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Photo of ZiggyZag
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

From tap, Looks great. Amber brown yet clear view. Lacing died, but that isn't the taste-related Part. Smell of fruity yeast and sweet dark fruits. Smooth at 11% not a bit of alcohol. One of the most interesting and accessible strongs ever.
Truly 4.5 star.

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Photo of SASN
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: beautiful red-golden color-one of the prettiest beers I've seen

S: very nice, sweet, cherry aroma but not overly sweet

T: initial sweetnss with cherry notes followed by a touch of bitterness

M: medium, nice body

D: the high alcohol limits the drinkability, also the more you drink, the more you notice the sweetness-it can become too much

Conclusion: a great seasonal, winter beer. Mad Elf= holiday time

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Photo of jhartley
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter glass.
Received a 6 pack for a Christmas gift.

A-Great looking label! Bottle imprinted with 2011-2012 Batch#110812. A beautiful ruby red-brown color, almost looks like iced tea. 1 finger head that quickly dissipated. Not much lacing.

S-You definitely know there's cherries in this one! Also picking up on the malts and a somewhat raisin like smell; tart.

T-Cherry right away leads into a nice maltiness and finishes with a nice alcohol bite. Sweet N Tart. For sure a Belgian style. Really pick up on the honey at the end

M-Tangy, tart and sweet. Enough alcohol at the end to cut the sweetness.

O-A great holiday/winter warmer for sure the 11% abv kicks in at the end, you want to be careful how many of this you're going to drink and be careful once you get up. I definitely could not drink this one all the time, but it was/is very nice for a change of pace. If you're a fan of Belgians; give this one a try.

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Photo of tb4u22
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%

Tröegs The Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 3,928 ratings.
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