Tröegs The Mad Elf | Tröegs Brewing Company

BA SCORE
87
very good
3,928 Ratings
Tröegs The Mad ElfTröegs The 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
Ratings:
3,928
Reviews:
1,271
Avg:
3.85
pDev:
15.06%
 
 
Wants:
231
Gots:
1,141
For Trade:
24
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,928 |  Reviews: 1,271
Photo of macster
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a 2007 vintage at Somerville Supersaver on recent trip to NJ.

Pours a beautiful amber/burgundy color with a slight haze. Produces just a paper thin off-white head with no lacing noted.

Pleasant fruity aromas of red cherry, pear, green apple, candy sugar and some Belgian yeast fill the nose. A good dose of alcohol amps the aromas nicely.

Palate was a bit soda pop-like with a disappointing thiness and fizziness.

Flavors start out very sweet and sugary with notes of cherry syrup, apricot, clover honey and pear. Transitions nicely into a slightly tart black cherry, currants and alcohol finish. Would be a great holiday brew in the dead of a nothern winter to warm up the innards.

 700 characters

Photo of Nutleybeer
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

After 2 years or so of trying, finally I got my chance to sample Troegs' infamous Mad Elf. Apparently, in the past they never brewed enough and it sold out at once. This year, they must have learned their lesson though...I actually found Mad Elf sold in north Jersey; which is a first.

At $13 a six pack, the cost is quite high. Thankfully, at my local store, they sold Mad Elf by the bottle too. At $3 a bottle, while still high, it is a bit more affordable to be sampled.

The smell as you pop open the bottle is distinctive Belgian with a pleasant, somewhat spicy scent. With a reddish copper color, it made for a nice pour with a mild head. The taste was smooth. Not to sweet, but with a subtle hint of cherries. Not as sweet as I imagined it to be.

For those of you interested but unable to find Mad Elf, you can also try Ommegang's Three Philosophers, which is in the same lines (thanks to the guys in Red Bank's Spirits for pointing that out in the past).

 971 characters

Photo of BdubleEdubleRUN
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Tanger for sending me a few of these and one of them being a 08. This review is from doing a side by side with 08 and 11.
The beer pours a amber red color with the 08 being a duller and murkier color with the 11 vibrant and clear. They both have a light tan head that fades quickly and sticks to the glass.
The 11 smell like a cherry and clove bomb, spicy, honey and alcohol. The 08 smells amazing much more balanced then the 11 with the smell a bit candy like.
The taste follows suite to the nose on both beers, the 11 was dominated by belgian flavors with clove, cherry and alcohol. The 08 tastes fantastic, its sweet yet spicy, the clove has faded off a lot revealing a balanced cherry and honey to mesh with the belgian flavors.
They both have a medium body and good carbonation. The 08 in my opinion is leaps and bounds better then the 11, if I get anymore bottles this year I will be putting them away for awhile.

 933 characters

Photo of aerozeppl
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

To Send the Holidays from ok to felony.

A: Nice translucent red color. Minimal white head with almost no lacing.

S: Nice smell of sweetness and cherries. A touch of booze in there as well. Quite a bit of sweetness.

T: The difference between this in the bottle and on tap if that it is a little bit boozier on tap which is weird. Quite a bit of cherries coming through.

M: Nice full mouthfeel. A little bit sticky.

D: I love this beer. Just a great treat during the holidays.

 479 characters

Photo of pershan
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at Frisco Grille in Columbia, MD.

The beer poured a beautiful clear, dark amber with a thin white head into a chalice. The aroma was heavy with bubble-gum Belgian yeast and sour cherry - very nice. A big tart bite up front, with the cherry and bubble-gum flavors dominating, transitioning into a slightly sour/tart malt finish with alcoholic ester undertones. A slightly astringent mouthfeel, but not unpleasant. A very smooth-drinking strong ale, especially considering the very high ABV - great for sipping on a cold winter's day.

 549 characters

Photo of socon67
4.14/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Bobbique in Patchogue, NY

A - Orange color with some light red tint. White foam is bubbly and lively. Slight lacing.

S - Semlls of belgian yeast, candied fruit, and cherries. A bit of acidic phenols is present as it lingers. Has a scent of holiday spices (pine and cranberry).

T - Tart initial taste that switches gears and has a sweet cherry flavor. There is a slight warming feel at the end, as if warning the drinker of the high potency. Very similar to Ommegang Three Philosophers even though they are different styles.

M - Insanely drinkable for the style and boozy feel. Really would be best as a sipper after a heavy meal.

O - Troegs nailed this one. I'd love to get two bottles and cellar each for different periods. This is a great holiday beer to share.

 778 characters

Photo of scottbrew4u
4.14/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Reddish- copper with a red glow through the brilliant clarity. Poured a thin off-white head that dissipated quickly.

S: Sweet molasses, honey, candi sugar, and port aromas. Complex dark ripe fruit esters with roasted malt underneath. Hop aroma not noticeable. Fusel alcohol aroma present.

T: Dark cherries smoothly mix with a malty sweet complexity. Malts have a bready, toffee, honey, brown sugar flavor. Yeast is peppery and spicy which combines well with the fruit flavors. A hit of alcohol comes into play as well, not deterring the flavor.

M: Medium body with mellow but crisp carbonation. Definitely some alcohol warmth with the sweet finish.

D: Oh yeah, this beer has got holiday cheer written all over it! Spicy yeast, cherries, candi sugar, and alcohol make a very drinkable beer. Be careful though for too many will KYA!!

 838 characters

Photo of phnphilly
4.14/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer pours an amber reddish color and with a vigorous poor only had about a 3/4 inch head. The head dissipated quickly and before I had a chance to take the first sip was completely gone. Beer smells sweet with a lot of cherry flavor coming through. The beer tastes similar to the aroma with a lot of cherry flavor, sweetness from the honey, and almost no hop aroma or taste to speak of (surprising for a Troegs Brew). There wasn't a lot of carbonation and to my surprise almost no alcohol warming for an 11 percent ABV brew. This beer was very drinkable and I haven't been able to have just one yet. I wish Troegs would add a small amount of hops to balance the sweetness of this beer which is something I would never thought I'd say about a Troegs beer. In all however this is a very tasty beer and is perfect for the Holidays (especially Thanksgiving dinner).

 862 characters

Photo of SWPA_Brew
4.14/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Dave1999
4.14/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a rich red colour looks like wine.

The smell is very sweet both the honey and cherry are very obvious. There's also sweet malts, actually smells very good.

The taste is like the smell honey and cherries with some sweet dark malts.

This beer is slick like a honey drink for cold with very low carbonation.

Overall very original and fairly enjoyable not sure I'd buy it again though once this 6 pack is done. Hide the alcohol very well.

 444 characters

Photo of maxifunk777
4.14/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of BrianOhio
4.14/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pour is a ruby red with little to no head, even with an aggressive pour.

Aroma is sweet like you get from a Belgian, but then you pick up the sweeter cherry notes, with some subtle Christmas spice.

Taste follows the aroma...initially that of a Belgian, but then you pick up the cherry, and very light cinnamon and clove. The finish is a warming boozy sweetness.

This is not a beer I want every day, but in the winter warmer category, this is absolutely one of my favorites. The perfect beer for a cold, snowy night.

 523 characters

Photo of duramaxin66
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is actually a bottle from last year's batch that I've had in the DBF.

Lovely clear ruby in color with a respectable layer of tan-colored head that died off to a lasting "edge of the glass" ring. Surprising quantities of lace on the glass. Nose initially was mostly cherries, but as it warmed, other smells were noted: honey, sweetness from the malt, some medicinal alcohol, and spices. Flavor was delicious...and this coming from an avid hater of cherries. Melded nicely into the overall fabric of the beer, the cherry notes were not overbearing or anything. The spices and honey become more apparent as it warmed. The alcohol content makes itself known towards the end and the finish is quite clean. Mouthfeel, overall, is good and given the masked ABV, insanely drinkable. Thank goodness I can seek out the Elf here in Richmond every winter!

 851 characters

Photo of garyloveman
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Mnteti
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of DrJGR629
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of unclekeith
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of jblain
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of puck1225
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On draft at the Public House in west Erie, PA. A deep red gold color with a thin head and nice lacing. Nice sweet and spicy smell and taste. Gingerbread, honey and nutmeg. Went great with the smoked wings!

 205 characters

Photo of Newbyjam
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Maestro
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a neat one. I am not a big fan of Belgian-style ales. I just don't get into the sweet stuff. But the cherries balance that out for me and this ale is nice because of that. The head is very thin but stays around for the duration of the glass. There is a nice lacing left on the glass. The first taste brings a warming feeling that is quite similar to a glass of wine. The honey adds a nice compliment to the sweet taste. The mouthfeel is quite nice. It seems to have a clean finish to each taste with a hint of spices. The alcohol is strong so you wouldn't want to have many, but there is a nice sense of winter drinkability to the beer. I live 40 minutes from the brewery and can't get my hands on any more. It sold way too fast. Ration it if you have it. Cheers

 770 characters

Photo of generallee
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: The body has a deep reddish brown to orange amber color with a light haze. On top is a small off white head which quickly fades from a one inch cap to just a thin light ring of lace. Only a few spots of lace stick to the glass.

Smell: Its aroma is full of big fruity notes with dark cherry notes standing out. It also brings a heavy sweet bready maltiness with some hints of wild flower honey. The big 11% abv is also quite noticeable as well.

Taste/Palate: The flavor comes close to the aroma with a big sweet, warm (boozy) and malty character. In it are lots of fruity notes, bready malts, and spicy yeast which adds a touch of clove like and white pepper like spiciness. It also has big boozy warmth which adds some grain and honey mead like character to the finish. The carbonation is mellow and the palate feels smooth.

Notes: This is a big beer and it lets you know it.

 964 characters

Photo of Wesley_Legg
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Weisenbeer
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Wow. I consider this a "Christmas Ale" in style, and had zero idea of ABV while consuming....nice flavor and great drinkability ... But the ABV can, and will, creep up on you....

 179 characters

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

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.

    Learn More
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.

    Learn More
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Learn More