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Tröegs Mad Elf | Tröegs Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
87
very good
1,246 Reviews
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Tröegs Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States
troegs.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,246
Ratings:
3,834
Avg:
3.86
pDev:
26.68%
 
 
Wants:
228
Gots:
1,092
For Trade:
24
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,246 | Ratings: 3,834
Photo of kevintaraross
3.47/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this on draft in Lancaster, PA (near this Brewer) over the weekend. Very Good in a warm pint glass.

Had this today in a big-boy bottle - much better - more flaverful - less head/less holding "power" BUT better mouth "feel" than on draft.

Would buy the bottle and draft again.

 283 characters

Photo of albern
3.47/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

For an 11% ABV beer, it is a touch watery in consistency and not nearly as full bodied as I would have expected. The beer pours a amber ruby color with zero head. It is a fairly uncarbonated affair. The nose has the alcohol phenols, some sweetish malts in the background, a maybe a touch of the cherries. This has a sherry like aroma to it.

The taste is sweet honeyed malts, with some cherry flavors throughout. There is a touch of spice to the beer, almost a biting nutmeg type spiciness. The beer is overall quite sweet but also very warming from the high ABV. There is a touch of throaty burn as the beer goes down. The beer is a bit deceptive. The ABV is apparent, but the 11% extent of the ABV is fairly well hidden. This is a sipping beer and it is surprisingly watery in body for a beer of this content. It doesn't have the syrupy consistency I would have expected. This is a decent beer, certainly appropriate for the holiday season, but not a beer I would seek out.

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Photo of Floydster
3.47/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle acquired as an extra in a trade with the generous user, MuenchenerKindl, nice surprise in the package a few weeks ago

2006 Vintage split with my dad tonight

Poured into my Firestone pint glass with a golden orange color that had a red and pink tint and a 1/2 soapy white head that mellowed almost immediately, not very good retention and minimal lacing

Smell was lots of honey and strong cherries, bread, tons of malt, very faint amount of hoppiness, and

Taste was a little sweet but that is probably because it is a year old, lots of sweet honey and some lighter fruity accents that consisted of raisins and berries, also some sweet caramel and toffee in the finish, no hops left in this one unfortunately, a little bit of a light wine feel, not very balanced but still pretty good overall, tasted a lot of sweetness throughout the entire glass

Pretty weak body and not much carbonation, but the taste did last long and it had a semi-spicy mouthfeel

Could drink much of this mainly because the alocohol percentage is a whopping eleven percent, maybe another bottle of this and that is about it, its sweetness makes this pretty heavy stuff, but it is most likely much hoppier when it is fresh

Troegs makes some unique beers and this is one of them, cannot say this is a Belgian dark ale, I think of it more as an amber with a serious punch, color throws me off when looking at the beer style on here, recommended, not bad and not great either, but worth trying once at least

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Photo of sisuspeed
3.47/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a crisp, clear, amber color with a big fizzy head that quickly disappears.

Lots of cherry and funky booze on the nose. Some swirling brings out a sweet honey smell and a bit of spice. Smells like many other beers in this style with a large addition of cherries. Kind of like cough syrup.

Booze and sweet, bready malts hit the mouth on the first sip. The finish brings out a nice cherry flavor. Coriander and a bit of orange peel are noticeable as well. Honey comes in and out. Overall, very sweet, boozy and fruity.

The mouthfeel is smooth with light carbonation, but seems to be lacking the body that usually accompanies an 11% ABV beer. The body that is there is somewhat syrupy.

Drinkability is above average, but not by much. The high ABV and sweetness make this a one bottle beer, tops.

Overall, this is a good holiday beer. It goes along with the festive atmosphere, but the excessive sweetness and cherries are a bit too much for me.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.46/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this one up as an extra in a trade late in the summer and have had it in the fridge waiting to be cleared out for a while. Decided to use this one as a solid nightcap last night. Served chilled and poured into my newly acquired darkness snifter. This was consumed on 11/12/2008.

The pour was rather nice. A honey colored amber coming forward with a good amount of haze to it. Nice carbonation could be seen trickling up from the bottom of the glass and the overall look was very similar to some meads that I have had. Nice touch of white popped up on the top and settled down gracefully, capping off the package very well.

The aroma hit me right off the bat. Nice touch of honey and a small bit of sweet fruit, I am guessing cherries here by looking at the label, though a bit too sweet for my tastes. Interesting mix now of a very grainy base coming through as it warms. I have to admit though it was a bit too sweet and a touch light for me. The flavor was more of the same. Light touches of grain and malty flavors making up the base, but the honey and sweet fruit notes were all very much there and very easily detectable. Lots of honey and mead like flavor in the finish with a light spike of alcohol coming through at the end. Decent carbonation on this medium bodied ale as it felt just about right in consistency. Alcohol well hidden for as strong as it was, though I will admit the sweetness took its toll on me after a while.

Overall not a bad beer, but not what I was hoping to get into. A little bit rough on the sweetness and just not enough balance and tart fruit flavor to counteract it. Still though a solid effort and not something I would turn my nose up at if offered.

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Photo of Centennial
3.46/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle

A. Deep ruby red with bubbly head

S. Honey, and assorted fruits with tart fragrance.

M. Medium to syrupy with spot on carbonation.

T. Cherry, Honey, and assorted fruits with alcohol burn pulling through and alcohol taste lingering.

O. Great on a cold fall or winter day, but not an everyday drinker or something I crave too often but still a nice holiday treat to have around.

 394 characters

Photo of Globetrotter
3.45/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Hand delivered from the Washington area to Moscow as part of a fiver set of U.S. winter brews. Definitely not my favorite of the five, although I had entertained very high hopes. Poured clear copper under a thin tan head that fades quickly. The nose is mildly sweet, with a touch of cherry. The mouth is fairly flat and heavy with sweetness and fruit. The taste opens with mostly sweet cherries, backed by malt and a touch of honey. I could detect no hops anywhere, but there is some alcohol burn in the finish. The aftertaste is all cherry. It's OK, but I'm not thrilled.

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Photo of joepais
3.45/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks MuenchenerKindl for the opportunity to try this one
Bottle poured a clear ruby red into my tulip glass, not much of a head and no lace

Aromas of Belgian yeast and sweet malts fill your head

I do have to say the yeast dominates this one with a sour cherry finish It really hides the alcohol I couldn't pick it up at all. I read one of the reviews and will agree that it is kind of meadish in a way

Very easy to drink light on the palate almost no carbonation

Drinkability well lets say you could pound away a few of these but at 11% I wouldn't recommend it

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Photo of jjayjaye
3.45/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A crystal clear reddish brown color. When poured aggressively a faint wispy head formed and faded quickly. The smell is sweet and very coriander spice and fruity. Light-Medium bodied, the mouth feel is whoa fully under carbonated, but the spiciness and tingle from the alcohol keep things interesting. The spicy coriander cinnamon character is slightly overwhelming. I understand that its made from cherries. I am definitely not getting the dark fruit fig taste that i expected. Oh well, just another interpretation i guess. Give it a shot.

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Photo of OleJohnnieAle
3.45/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours an amber hue with a minimal white head that quickly dissipated in to a fine lace.

S: Sweet cherry and fruit aroma with an boozy ending.

T: Very sweet start with a alchol hitting hard in the middle. Almost barley wine in taste as it is very fruity and boozy. Bit of a spicy yeast bite to it as well.

M: Very strong and boozy. Medium body and minimal carbonation.

O: Very interesting beer, almost too much going on that it strays so far from beer. Almost a wine like quality to this one. Great sipper and seasonal beer though just not my style.

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Photo of blitz134
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First real cold night of the year...pulled this out of the closet for a nightcap...one wiff told me that this one might definately put me out. This is last years version, so not fresh...

Appearance is a perfectly transparent caramel (not ruby red as the website says). Thin white head on the pour which disappeared to a small ring around the edge of the glass. Not the usual head of a belgian although I'm not sure if this is really true to the belgian style to begin with.

Aroma is a bit sweet with a little acidic funk to it. Alcoholic notes swirl readily from the glass. A slight cherry aroma comes around if you are really looking for it. A strong aroma, but somewhat non descript.

Again, I think the taste doesn't have much that really stands out, except for the alcohol. Taste is mainly malty with a touch of mildly sweet fruit in the background. I don't really detect any of the honey and cherries in any particular flavor. Although you can pick out the alcohol in this it isn't overwhelming, either in taste or effects of sitting on the stomach.

Mouthfeel is a little thin in my opinion, could be a bit thicker. Drinkability is okay for the high abv. The flavor or aroma doesn't really offer anything which I find particularly intriguing which would make me really desire this in the future. Maybe the flavors don't hold up for very long, I'm not sure. I have one more bottle to sample though.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Nice ruby color with a 1/2 finger tight, egg white head that reduces rather quickly to a ring of thin foam around the outer edge.

S: From far away I could smell the cherries, but they aren't as overwhelming as I thought they would be, especially when I get my nose up close. The honey is present and there is a sweetness. Slight bit of alcohol as well.

T: Very sweet, cherry flavor, and the honey comes out as well. There is almost a mead-like flavor.

M: Medium bodied with low carbonation. Slight alcohol heat on the flavor profile and on the finish.

O: Its good, just not my favorite. I don't have a problem with the slight alcohol presence, just not really for me.

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Photo of kbeals
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

brees6221 sent this to me a while back when he hooked me up with plenty of Troegs brews.

A- Dark, murky orange in appearance with a finger of off-white, fizzy head. Head sticks to the side of the glass leaving an array of lacing. Good head retention as well.

S- Smells of apples and sugary sweet honey. No real hint of cherries to be found in the aroma. Maybe it's been sitting for a little too long?

T- Once again, apples and honey, a touch of sweet cherries comes through as well but it is pretty muted compared to the other flavors. Also has a bit of a yeasty taste too it. A little too sweet in my opinion.

M- Medium bodied with soft, bubbly carbonation.

D- Pretty drinkable despite the sweetness. The ABV doesn't really make itself known very well. A good brew, but I probably wouldn't seek it out again.

Thanks agains brees6221!

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Photo of COBeerBuff
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received via SS '09 from Petroos...

Appearance: Very vigorous pour yields a half-finger of white head crowning a reddish-amber liquid. Definitely has a decent carbonation as you can hear the bubbles from a few feet away. Head dissipates quickly leaving a light ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell: The nose is all cherry sweetness. I expected a more subtle cherry aroma, but what I'm getting is straight away cherry. It smells almost like SA Cherry Wheat. There also are some spices hidden in the background, but the cherry overpowers my nose enough that I can't pick them out.

Taste: This is a very sweet beer, almost cloyingly so. The tartness of the cherries is the first thing to hit the palate, and it almost dominates everything else. A little of the spiciness of the yeast is there along with some toastiness in the malts makes its way through.

Mouthfeel: This has a medium mouthfeel. The sweetness makes for some stickiness, but overall, this is a much lighter beer than I had imagined.

Drinkability: This beer drinks very smoothly, which is frightening considering the present nature of the alcohol in this beer. Definitely meant to be a winter sipper. I will enjoy this beer as the snow continues to fall here in Kansas.

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Photo of cosmo4u
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

tap takeover at holy smoke

Tröegs Mad Elf is a very clear and dense, coppery red ale with a thin, sand colored head that fades to a film and leaves decent lacing on the glass. It has a very strong, sweet aroma of cherries. Deeper in the nose is a medicinal note. It’s pretty full bodied and syrupy with a slightly sticky finish. It has a pretty sweet flavor. Cherries are prominent but so is resiny wood. A little green bitterness comes in at the finish, along with black pepper. The aftertaste is kind of oaky and spicy.

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Photo of stxSS07
3.42/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a chalice.

A- Pours a honey-copper color with a thin cap of an off-white head. Leaves decent lacing and legs.

S- Big spicy Belgian yeast character, sweet cherry, and maybe a bit of dark fruits and bready note.

T- Follows the nose with spicy yeast and cherry. Big time sweetness that finishes with bready notes and booze. Lingering medicinal cherry cough syrup quality.

M- Medium-light bodied with high carbonation.

O- A different take on a winter warmer. Not my favorite due to the cough syrup finish, but glad I finally got to try it.

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Photo of Glennlawless
3.42/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a 16oz Tulip.

A - Nice one one finger head, amber and see through and color and lots of bubbles. really good looking beer.

S - Smell cherry right away...and dark fruits and some hidden booze.

T - very dry and Super sweet. just cherries in the beggining and all the carbonation and spiciness of the brew hits you here...it finishes with a kiss of alcohol and lingering cherry. Not bitter at all and no noticable hop presence actually breaks through. not noticing the honey. maybe its balancing out the alcohol at the end possibly?

M - Very dry and super carbonated.

Overall this was a pretty good beer. It definetley would not be my first pic but its a super talked about beer in the winter time so i figured it was time to pop the mad elf cherry haha. This beer is a definite sipper, and you can somewhat tell its 11%abv. just a ton of sweetness( probably the honey now that i think about it, duh...) and a ton of cherry. with some very mild heat from the alcohol. its a pretty nice beer. I wouldnt get it again, but id never turn it down.

 1,057 characters

Photo of hosehead83
3.42/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle (vintage 2010) into a Sam Adams bubble glass.
Clear copper/amber in color, with a very short, very brief head of foam.
Aroma-Honey and cherry essence.
Taste-Spicy yeast, honey faint cherry. Flavors are muted and very mellow. Rather flat body but very smooth, as high ABV not evident. A fresher bottle might have gotten a better score.

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Photo of ByTor2112
3.41/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was the 2006 edition.

Pours a beautiful reddish amber. Great color held to the light. head is non-existent except for a good swirl.
Aroma-Tart sour notes, almost like red wine vinegar. a little sweetness from the honey is barely detectable.
Mouthfeel-Just like the 2005, this tastes nothing like the aroma! Wonderfully sweet. The cherry flavors are there and the honey sweetness is the dominant flavor characteristic. Alcohol is noticeable, but warming with no sting. A nice froth on the palate sweetens it up and releases the alcohol a bit more. Finishes quite clean. This brew will give you a warm fuzzy. The 2005 I drank had aged for a year and really mellowed. This brew is good fresh and also ages well. Troeg's does it again! Cheers.

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Photo of BirdFlu
3.41/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tasted like a common dark belgian witha faint cherry sweetness. It has a meade-like viscosity and leaves a coated feeling in your mouth, which is where the honey really shows through. Not much aroma, just a hint of sweetness. Its ok, but nothing amazing.

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Photo of tastymug
3.41/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: This beer pours a beautiful ruby red color (a clear, red amber) with a half finger head, about half of which retains while drinking.

Smell: Primary aroma is cherries, sweet, fruity.

Taste: Very sweet, yeasty, definitely tastes like cherries, which is kind of funky (but a good funky), syrupy, chocolate, and there’s also a bit of spice that hits the tongue.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, syrupy consistency, carbonated but smooths out at the end.

Overall: This is a complex beer but I think it could be a little more balanced for more drinkability. However, considering the alcohol content in this brew, it surprisingly doesn’t override the taste. It’s an interesting beer, but probably not for everyone. I personally find it a nice switch from the more traditional, spicy winter warmers or Christmas ales.

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Photo of KAdams
3.4/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - Warm reddish amber with a thick white head that leaves nice lacing.

Smell - Sweet cherries and honey, just like the bottle says. Some spiciness.

Taste - Sort of like the the smell but not as sweet as I expected, which is a good thing here. Sweet, rich honey followed by clean fruit: ripe cherries, apples. Malt flavors.

Mouthfeel - Medium body with good carbonation.

Drinkability - A good holiday beer that is a nice change from the strong, bitter malts found in a lot of dark wintertime lagers. Overall a pretty good beer especially considering the high alcohol content.

 589 characters

Photo of ommegangpbr
3.4/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Not too shabby at all, it just happens to be of a style that is associated with so many world class brews. As an American take on a Belgian strong dark ale this is pretty enjoyable.
The flavor profile is pretty typical- fermented dark fruits, dark cherry speaking up the most because of purposefully added cherry in the brewing process. Making this a little less typical is rather roasted type flavor that one usually expects from stouts or porters. It makes for an edge of bitterness that isn't exactly offputting but needs to tempered with some sort of food pairing to maximize enjoyment.
For American brewed Belgian ales there are better options but this is worth trying.

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Photo of ellisdee97
3.4/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Light amber with a thin bubbly off white head, which leaves a nice ring. Bubbly lacing clings to the glass.

S: Deep mix of cherry, honey and alcohol. Toasted malt, a slight hint of hops and saccharin sweetness.

T: Very sugary sweet cherry and honey. Toast and warm alcohol. The cherry right now is too sweet but some age should help. Last year definitely had more of a deep chocolate base, which they coincidentally removed from the labels description.

M: Sweet, sticky and sugary. High carbonation.

D: Some age will help but right now it is too sweet. But a nice sipper overall.

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Photo of hero27
3.4/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle.
11% abv...yowsa.

Sheer copper color with a surprisingly fizzy head that is gone in the blink of an eye. Aroma is slight honey with some cranberry mixed in..smells fairly "Christmas-y"..
The honey flavor is perceived right from the get-go, combined with a thick, syrupy malt base. The cherries come out a lot more as it warms..when chilled, I got almost no cherry flavor at all. The 11% alcohol is quite well-pronounced, and there's no getting around the slight burning sensation on your lips and tastebuds. Quite sweet in the finish as well..

Reminded me a bit of Great Lakes' Christmas Ale. The cherry & honey flavors were very similar.

Thanks to ski271 for throwing this in as a little taste of Christmas in June.

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Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 3,834 ratings.
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