Tröegs Mad Elf | Tröegs Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
1,241 Reviews
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf

Brewed by:
Tröegs Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States | website

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 Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,241 | Ratings: 3,809
Photo of beerluvr
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours with a just off-white head that quickly settles over clear cherry red liquid. The nose is fruity, mainly cherry with some candi sugar notes. The taste is big on maltiness with some slight background spicy hoppiness and candy-like sweetness. Finishes out sweet and fruity, with really no hint of the 11% alcohol contained within. It will be interesting to see how this cellars in the coming months.

 403 characters

Photo of danmcg62
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Poured into a tulip. Pours a deep, dark brownish red color with a very small white head. This is a very interesting looking brew. Almost looks like a red delicious apple.

S-Real big cherry smell with a mild spice kick from the honey. A bit boozy as well. Really interesting combination of smells.

T-Very boozy, fruity smell off the top. Very spicy after taste. It's not a hop spicy, but it maybe from the yeast that is referenced on the label. I like this a lot. This is one of the most unique tastes I've had in a winter seasonal.

M-Boozy, spicy, a little watery.

O-Overall this a very different and of the most interesting winter seasonals I have ever had. Real complex smells and flavors going on here. I will definitely look to this again during the winter months.

 775 characters

Photo of Glanzman
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle served in a pint glass.

Pours a copper color with a tan head.

Smells of caramel malts and holiday spices.

Has a nice taste to it. Spices are nearing the point of being too much but not quite.

I really like this beer. To bad it's $15 for a six.

 263 characters

Photo of crwills
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received two bottles of this from Skinnyelvis in the Secret Santa 2007.

Poured a moderate but opaque brown with not much head. I used a large wine glass for this. Held up to the light, there are some red or orange highlights that make for quite an attractive presentation. Aroma is sweet and malty, with hints of dark fruits and a little bit of something that reminds me of brown sugar. Flavour is sweet, but pleasant and not cloying. The cherries are very restrained, and I think the honey serves to add body rather than flavour. Excellent dark, caramel malts lend a warming flavour all the way through. No hop presence to speak of, and the alcohol (at 11%!) is very well hidden.

I rarely like Christmas brews, as I'm not a fan of most of the spices, but since this one is not really "spiced" I was very pleasantly surprised.

 829 characters

Photo of Jeff3918
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Maybe not for everyone and tasted better out of the tap. Cherries jump out at you and grab it when you first see it as it doesn't stay on shelves too long.

 156 characters

Photo of TimeBandit
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

I have had this before, and always found that the alcohol finish at the end reduced my enjoyment. Just opened a bottle that a friend kept in his cellar for close to a year. The beer aged quite well, in my opinion. The sweetness from the cherries and honey was still quite prominent, as was the yeast spice. But it seemed to me that it had mellowed and become smoother in terms of the alcohol heat. I am now motivated to pick up six to put away for next year.

 463 characters

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, served in a tulip glass.

A - clear, reddish/brown color with a small white head that went away despite the carbonation bubbles that continuosly rose from the bottom of the glass.

S - yeasty aroma, slight smell of cherries.

T - very nice tasting brew, taste more expensive than what it is.

M - light bodied, crisp and clean.

D - this is a very good brew, but 11% abv makes it a slow sipper.

 407 characters

Photo of HossMcGraw
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a great looking burgundy color with moderate tan head. Aroma is sweet cherry. Taste is more of the same. Very sweet, but not cloying. Mouthfeel is quite smooth
. Drinkability is pretty good despite ABV, although I'm ready for a nap after one of these.

 258 characters

Photo of Darkmagus82
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22 oz bottle into tulip glass

Appearance - A beautiful shimmering clear ruby color. A thin white head quickly fades to give a little bit of lacing which doesn't last long.

Smell - Huge amount of cherries, with a bit of chocolate, honey and other dried fruits. Can pick up the booze smell after you pull your nose from the glass. Quite nice.

Taste - The sweet taste of cherries and dried fruits overwhelms initially. The alcohol taste hits in the middle and lingers with the maltiness coming in more at the tail end.

Mouthfeel - Full and lush with a nice level of carbonation for this highly potent beer.

Overall - A very nice beer. A new holiday favorite of mine!!

 681 characters

Photo of albo
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I wait for the Christmas Season just so that I can get a case of the Elf. It truly does bring joy to my heart.

Anyway, on to the review.

Pours with little head that last a few seconds before disappearing.

Color is a brilliant, deep red.

Smell is traditionallly Belgian with faint hints of cherry.

The mouthfeel is smooth as silk like a great full-bodied wine.

The boys at Troegs have been tweaking the recipe nearly every year since its inception, but it seems as though they have finally hit the consistency that they have been shooting for. The bottom line is, it's a great beer for an equally great season!

 633 characters

Photo of Boto
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was interesting. The beer came out clear with a very red tint. A big head fizzed up right away, and then went quickly down to nothing. The aroma is mainly cherries, but I get some cranberries also. It smells both sweet and sour at the same time. The taste is different: cherry with a hint of sourness. Very little carbonation. The alcohol is evident, but blends in nicely. Unique and very good.

 399 characters

Photo of gixxerman
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Great seasonal brew, but a tad on the expensive side. Poured out of the bottle aggressily into a tall glass unleashed a spicy aroma, and gave a nice thick 2 inch head, which quickly disappears. The high alcohol content is not overwhelming while enjoying the brew, but it will sneak up on you after a few. The cherry/honey/spicy flavor is one of a kind. It seemed to taste better after it warmed up a bit. I took a few out of the fridge and drank them at about 50-55 degrees - I would personally call this the ideal temperature for this ale. I will probably grab a few more cases before they are gone.

 600 characters

Photo of CowsCanBark
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into standard mug.

Appearance: Pours a clear copper-amber, with virtually no head. Not any lacing left, either, but the color is still very nice.

Smell: Fruits, mainly cherries, slight boozy/metallic smell, slightly floral, perhaps some burnt sugars

Taste: Not exactly what I was expecting, but still very pleasant. A nice nutty/buttery front, sweet with honey, which fades into a nice cherry flavor with a slightly boozy and metallic taste. Dark malts on the finish. I was expecting more holiday spice, but was actually surprised with how buttery the front is. I could drink this all night!

Mouthfeel: Also very good, it has moderate carbonation with a smooth, creamy mouthfeel. It really matches the flavor profile well.

Overall: Probably my new favorite winter drink, the alcohol content warms you up nice, and take note that in my opinion, this is a sipper. If you're in PA for the winter be sure to pick this up for yourself!

 963 characters

Photo of leantom
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: This beer is dark red (resembling a Dubbel) and has little (very little, that is) carbonation. It's quite thick owing to the presence of honey, cherries and many residual sugars.

B: Very sweet-smelling. The honey is very noticeable.

T: Overpowering honey and cherries dominate the beer (which is good if you like honey and cherries; if you don't, then I wouldn't recommend this beer). Some reviewers think the two aforementioned flavors did a good job of masking the alcohol content; I, however, think the alcohol is still very noticeable (but this doesn't mare the taste in any way).

M: Very thick. Due to the limited carbonation, the beer goes down smoothly.

O: I like this beer a lot. If you like beers with high alcohol content and high malt:hop ratios, then this beer is for you.

 791 characters

Photo of mmcsporran
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I purchased a growler of this beer from Consumer's Beverages in Buffalo. Very nice dark amber colour. You think there might be more of a honey flavour, but the alcohol balances the sweetness. Excellent dark ale that warms you up on a cold winter day. Appropriately named as well. Absolutely recommend this beer.

 315 characters

Photo of beerman207
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Reddish brown with a nice white head that hangs around for a short while leading to some nice swirling on top.

S - Cherries, honey, clove, and some yeasty bread coming through the nose.

T - Cherry, honey, clove coming through in the taste and in the backend the alcohol comes through and warms my throat and stomach - nice.

M - Moderate carbonation and a real nice feel that has no drying effect on the palate - excellent mouthfeel.

D -I'm not sure that this beer is sessionable but it sure is good. Thanks goes out to CrazyNelson at Hyde Park for recommending this one to me in my most recent visit. Glad to have included this in my mix of brews.


 660 characters

Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.27/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle of the Fall 2006 edition to a steemed glass. The Color is a medium redish orenge with good carbonation. The Head is 2 fingers off white with big fluff bubbles. Does not devolope much lace.

The Smell is very nice, Sweet cherries socked in lots an alcohol with the aroma of freash yeast intermixed.

The taste follows yeasty bread, cherries, and soft spice notes bound by an alcohol base.

The mouthfeel is great, very full, and sensational.

The drinkability is high. Even at 11% ABV one is not enough. Prosit, MK

 548 characters

Photo of Zorro
4.27/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12 Oz bottle Sampled through the efforts of Boxing Day BIF and Pentathlete.

This is a beer I have wanted to try for sometime. This is last year’s version but it is a big beer that can take a year of aging!

This pours a clear copper colored ale with a warm red glow. Carefully poured to leave the sediment behind no head forms. To be honest the careful pour probably killed the head more than the beer itself.

An intensely aromatic beer, this is another beer that can fill a room with smell from the glass. This has almost too aromatic to sniff closely. Fairly sweet scent with an intense fruity nature. Strong honey, vanilla, and cherry scents. Lesser aromas of cinnamon, caramel and black pepper. This is a beer that makes you seriously as the question if it is possible to have too much scent? I am sure that this has stunned my sense of smell, it is that intense.

Taste is not as amazingly intense as the smell. The first sip hits you with sweet malt and vanilla. Cherry and caramel are the next flavors that I can taste with a black pepper in the finish. Brown sugar and cinnamon come near the end of the glass. There are also fairly strong lemon and orange flavors to this. This is one hard ale to describe, it is very intense.

Mouthfeel is syrup thick.

The only downside of this beer is in the drinkability department. This is a very intense experience, almost too intense. This is strong enough that you could use it as syrup, just briefly bring this to a boil and you could pour it over pancakes. It is the syrup intensity of this that cuts its drinkability score significantly. This would make an amazing glaze for a ham or just pour over ice cream like hot caramel. An amazing beer that is probably too intense for 99% of most people.

 1,763 characters

Photo of objectivemonkey
4.27/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Into a ping glass, pours a nice reep red, clear as water, red going on copper slightly, with little beginning whitish head and none later, just a ring around the collar, and no lacing. Aroma is pretty nifty, all kind of stuff in here, a little confusing, but ultimately neat. As the label says, the cherry is evident, the honey not so much, more subtle, theres a bit of brandy in here, some Xmas spices, fruity malts, and some brown sugar if i'm not mistaken.

Taste is equally crazy, if much more delicious. And ater it warms, it shines. Theres a whole lot of subtle warming going on here, a carefully hidden 11% I'd say, and its reaaaally smooth, a thick, sweet, warmness, like drinking the essesnce of being cozied up in front of a fireplace. The malts are just as fruity as the nose suggests, a little tart, a wholey yummy. Thankfully, no hops in this, they would only detract.

The mouth is good, good carbonation and quite smooth and velvety on the tongue. I though it started a bit thin, but it was about right as it warmed. Overall, after letting it warm, this turned into a very delightful beer, and I have mad props to give to leftmindedrighty for the chance at this one. Cheers!

 1,194 characters

Photo of hockeydude
4.27/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a crystal clear reddish brown color with a slight bit of effervescence which continues for minutes after the pour. Most upsetting is that the head is light and disappears right after the pour.

Smell: The aromas this fine ale exhibits are sweet from the honey and cherries as the label says.

Taste: On the front the cherry aromas are followed by the taste of cherries. midway through the honey becomes prevalent and finishes the palate with the nice sweetness of this ale.

Drinkability: Although not a fan of a beer with any type of fruit or other flavors exhibited, found the mad elf to be amazingly delightful. Even with the high alcohol content (11%), it is difficult to discern the alcohol in the taste. definitely a great bed time beer to relax, unwind and make your christmas list.

Cudos, this is a great beer. Grab one before there all gone.

 879 characters

Photo of Aenema
4.27/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12/8 on draft

Appearance - Pours a clear, bright amber without much head or lacing.
Smell - Cherries, honey, alcohol.
Taste - Full burst of cherry, honey, fair amount of booze but not bothersome.
Mouthfeel - Medium-light, moderate to fast scrubbing carbonation.
Drinkability - Very drinkable, especially given the 11% alcohol factor (although it is recognizable, it doesn't detract from the beer). Definitely on the sweet end.

 427 characters

Photo of tdrshayden
4.27/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ruby in color with an aroma that speaks of cherries.
Flavor was full-bodied with notes of cherries, sweet malt backing with little to no hop presence, the finish was very robust with a spicy, alcohol kick. The alcohol is pretty much in your face throughout the beer.

 267 characters

Photo of Buebie
4.27/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a 1 year old cellard bottle. Bottling date is 11/24/07. Received in a trade, cant recall who, but thanks.

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a brandy snifter. Head is 1 finger, white with fluffy bubbles. Quickly receeds living a ring of retention around the outer edge. Whatever lace sticks, quickly slides back into the beer.
Color is a hazy redish amber.

Aroma is a cherry pie, with wonderful pie crust aroma. Mild alcahol at the knose off a swirl. Brown sugar, wheat bread, sweet fruity aroma.
As its warmed the alcahol at the nose has become a bit more strong.

Taste is so sweet and thick with a malty dominance. More sweet and sour cherry flavors. Its like drinking cherry pie. Low key carbonation, bit of lemon/ lime citric flavor. It basically starts out sweet, thick and malty, then becomes increasingly sour with a dry finish. Nothing from the hops, but it is a 1 year old bottle.
Warming has aroused flavors from the yeast, this hacome a bit more bready and less citric and sour.

Very delicious brew!

 1,025 characters

Photo of larryi86
4.27/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- Red with hints of copper and a one finger off-white head that disappears quickly.

S- Yeast and spices almost like a Saison, honey, alcohol, cherries. Really nice smell for the winter time, just not what you would expect from a Belgian Strong Dark Ale.

T- Awesome and complex. Close to the smell with a great malt backbone that brings all the different flavors together. The yeast, honey, and cherry flavors really come together. 11% ABV is very well hidden!

M- Full body, thick, smooth.

D- Wow, I been told by a few people that I should give this a try and they were right. This is very easy to enjoy and does not fell like it is 11% ABV. This is a great winter beer that I will definitely be buy more of soon.

 753 characters

Photo of jmfc8237
4.27/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a decent amount of head that disciPated quickly. Ruby red semi cloudy color and zero lacing in my snifter. Aromas of spicy Belgian yeast clove spice banana and cherry. Some phenol is present as well. As it warms the flavors intensify and have a nice blend of sweet spicy and bright fruit. I'm sertainly loving the Belgian strain in this beer it compliments the maltiness very well. Strong alcohol follows a great balance of sweet spice and everything nice. Velvety mouthfeel makes this aa great session ale. I will be having this again

 542 characters

Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,241 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.