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Tröegs The Mad Elf | Tröegs Brewing Company

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Tröegs The Mad ElfTröegs The Mad Elf
Very Good
3,954 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,954 |  Reviews: 1,276
Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I like this beer a lot, surpasses Great Lakes Christmas in my book for sure. A dark red brown color with smallish head on it. Nose is sweet malt, some fruitiness (cherries?), some nice spicing to it too. Very holiday, honestly. Flavor follows with some of the same notes, almost fruit-cake-y overall if you up the spicing (cinnamon, nutmeg, and others)--very good. Very smooth and an easy drink. Nice beer, one that I will be getting again.

 440 characters

Photo of wchesak
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an Abbaye du Val-Dieu glass

A- about the same color as a rose, very little head - thin, wispy, faded quickly, leaving a very small half rim of white head

S - sweet honey and sweet cherries, slightly boozy background

T - like a cherry soda at first, that gives way to warm honey, and eventually some slight heat like from a cherry brandy

M - on the light side of medium bodied, really the way that the beer coats the inside of your mouth keeps it from being light bodied, slightly under carbonated

D - i know its 11% but it is really not noticeable, however I think one bomber is just right, esp with the fruit/sweet of the beer that I usually can not take too much of; also, this is not a belgian strong dark ale

 729 characters

Photo of brew3crew
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage poured into tasting glass.

A-translucent amber/red with white lacing around the edges
S-very suprising. Almost a banana smell to it. Light honey.
T-tastes a lot like it smells. Spicy banana. Really suprising here. Did not expect this at all.
M-medium bodied and smooth
D-very drinkable. Especially for abv.

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Photo of brewcrew76
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to kegatron for this one. 2007 version

A - Clear ruby, amber with little head and no lacing.

S - Candy like sweetness with honey and cherry, a strong belgian yeast note, banana and cloves. Slightly reminds me of a cherry cough drop but in a good way without the medicinal qualities.

T - Honey that creates a candy like sweetness, cherry with a touch of bready malt and another big dose of belgian yeast with banana and clove.

M - Feels like it is on the light side of medium with low carbonation but also has a thicker, sweet syrupy feel to it at the same time. The 11% abv is hard to detect.

D - Having brewed a few honey beers before I think this combination plays nicely. Easy to drink for 11%.

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Photo of Retail1LO
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a 10 oz. snifter. This pours a brilliant ruby color that is nearly transparent. You can see clean through one side of the glass, the beer, and out the other. Pours with the faintest of heads and disappears quickly. The nose is extremely fruity...very winey. The cherries and honey meld together to give this the nose of a mead. It's a lovely scent nonetheless. Were I blindfolded, however, I'd have said this was wine or mead with the quickness. The taste is very sweet, with a shade of tartness to it. The honey and malt tail in at the back end of a taste. This has a very nice mouthfeel to it. Not too heavy, not too thin. It's got a wonderful finish too. Overall, this is a nice, easy drinker that at 11.0%, could very likely catch up to you fast. It doesn't come across nearly as boozy as the ABV suggests it should be. Great seasonal beer.

 870 characters

Photo of costanzo_mike
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%

Photo of Natedelattre
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of macster
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
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 +7.2%
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 +7.2%
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 +7.2%
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 +7.2%
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%
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%
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%
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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Dave1999
4.14/5  rDev +7%
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%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of BrianOhio
4.14/5  rDev +7%
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 +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
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 +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Mnteti
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of DrJGR629
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of unclekeith
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Tröegs The Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 3,954 ratings
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