Dismiss Notice
Extreme Beer Fest:Los Angeles

Join us December 9th in Los Angeles for the ultimate throwdown of craft beer creativity!

Learn more...
Dismiss Notice
Introducing: Project Extreme Brewing (a Dogfish Head + BeerAdvocate project)

The Mad Elf | Tröegs Brewing Company

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
The Mad ElfThe Mad Elf
BA SCORE
3.87/5
Very Good
3,957 Ratings
The Mad ElfThe 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
Ranking:
#8,472
Reviews:
1,277
Ratings:
3,957
pDev:
14.99%
Bros Score:
3.77
 
 
Wants:
234
Gots:
1,158
Trade:
24
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,957 |  Reviews: 1,277
Photo of BeersAndBears
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Stunner97
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- amber and crystal clear in color, small bubbles at first stream glass and slowly fade away, white head starts moderate and quickly dissipates to only white lacing around the rim of the glass,

Smell- definitely can pick up the cherry and honey sweetness on the nose, nice strong Belgian style spiced nose, very malty,

Taste- i originally probably served the beer to cold and some of the flavors opened up nicely with a little time, nice malty beer, certainly very faint hint of cherries and honey as advertised, slight Belgian malty, very long sweet finish, very slightly bitter finish of hops and spices,

Mouthfeel- I actually did very much enjoy the mouth feel of this beer, its not quite as heavy as you would think rather very smooth and soft,

Drinkability- definitely a sipper but not as much as I might have expected considering its 11 percent, its actually a very drinkable ale, I would definitely be curious to see how this would do with a little bit of age on it, overall a decent beer that gives you enough bang for your buck to justify the slightly high price, worth a seasonal look

 1,109 characters

Photo of mltobin
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of MuddyFeet
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a rich and vibrant brown. Slight red hue. Thin white head that receded to an even thinner film. Some lace. Nose is sweet and spicy with molasses, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Flavor is strong in the spices. Cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and a shot of pepper for good measure. Slightly malty sweet at first but then quickly followed by the spice. Bits of molasses and honey. Lots of heat from the alcohol. Enough to make this a nice slow sipping drink, like a scotch. Lighter mouthfeel than I was expecting but I think that was from the alcohol. A nice beer to drink one bottle of but more than one bottle is asking for a rough morning.

 632 characters

Photo of PeterIngemi
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a mad elf glass

A: pours a dark ruby red, with a finger of off white head, no lacing to speak of.

S: bit of honey, a bit of cherry, a bit of brown and candy sugar, and a while lot of Soicy Belgian yeast aroma.

T: much like the nose, I taste honey, and cherry with alotnofnapice coming from te Belgian yeast, caramel and alcohol

M: medium with light carbonation almost syrupy, bit lush a the same time.

O: a nice winter time beer, deffiantly a sipper for a cold night, especially if you like spicy Belgian yeast. The only thing holding me back from giving a higher score here is that i personally not a fan of spicy Belgian yeast, and by that I mean cloveyness, that's the best way I can explain it, but if you are a fan I could see how this is an excellent brew.

 798 characters

Photo of drabmuh
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Beer poured from a bottle into a tulip. Beer is amber / brown in color, forms a thin off white head of medium to small bubbles. Head falls away leaving some lacing.

Beer smells sweet, carmel, some cherries? a little tartness. Smells inviting. Really sweet smelling.

Strong honey taste, really strong. Its front and back with honey. There is a slight aftertaste. Sweet, some caramel. Some alcohol comes through as well. This is a fine beer but unfortunately not my favorite.

EDIT: the more I drink this the more it seems like an imperial hefeweizen....i like it.

 564 characters

Photo of ZachDow7
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%

Photo of JMB22
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a 12oz glass. Wonderful dark red color, but almost no carbonation and almost no head. That may be the biggest downfall. The taste is overpowering, not really a bad thing, but very intense. Lots of cloves, and very festive. Almost no head halfway through. It's extremely high alcohol content is fairly obvious. Overall pretty darn good, but I am only man enough for one!

 400 characters

Photo of Chadbrew
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Brilliant reddish beer (very Christmas-like!) with about a half finger of head that disappears pretty quickly to a ring around the edges and little islands of fluff drifting around.
Aroma - Lots of malts and certainly a honey presence. The cherries came through but a little like cherry medicine.
Taste - Lots of honey, it’s like chewing on honeycomb (not the cereal). A bit of a flowery taste that I assume is from the honey. The cherries show themselves in the end. For something with all this sweet stuff it finishes remarkably clean.
Body - No lack of it.
Drinkability - No matter how hard I look for it I cannot find the alcohol presence, match that with the super clean finish and you get a pretty drinkable beer. Still don't think I could drink 3 litres though.

 786 characters

Photo of craytonic
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Small head, little lace. Brilliant blood red, like rudolph's nose.

Smell: Sweet malt, cherry and hint of roses. Alcohol is a bit too prevalent.

Taste: Sweet with a tart cherry twang. The honey is very mild. A bit medicinal.

Mouthfeel: Thin, carbonation is off.

Drinkability: I didn't smell or taste the high ABV, which I usually find very noticeable. Dangerously drinkable. Couldn't finish it fast enough. I really wish I had another right now.

 460 characters

Photo of Lafe
3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The color of this beer is a beautiful, rich, reddish, amber. The aroma is sweet, with heavy overtones of honey and fruit (cherry), and an undertone of alcohol.

The first taste screams "sweet!" A burst of cherry and honey is followed by a most subtle bitterness, that doesn't quite balance the dominance of the sugars. The lack of assertive bitterness is almost made up for in the bite of alcohol that follows. The salvation of this beer is that the alcohol bite makes its appearance in a very pleasant, and probably planned, way.

There is no head to speak of, nor is there any lace. This beer, however, doesn't really seem to need it. It is outstanding for a cold winter evening, sitting and reading reviews on beeradvocate.com!

Also, I have to give out props for the artwork on the bottles and six-pack cardboard. Very nice.

As I finish the beer, the alcohol content really stands out in the flavor.

 912 characters

Photo of snowmageddon
3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of C_Adams
3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of epyon396
3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of TheItalianStallion
3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a tulip

A: Pours a transparent ruby red with a 1 finger head. Foam quickly fades to a thin collar that leaves behind minimal lacing.

S: This beer isn't very fragrant, but I am getting aromas of alcohol soaked sweet cherries with a miniscule amount of honey. Some yeasty esters come out as the beer warms, but there really isn't much going on on the nose.

T: Flavor is one dimensional as all I'm really picking up is sweet cherries and a very small bit of honey on the finish. Even as the beer warms no new flavors come out.

M: Mouthfeel is lacking in my opinion. The body of this beer seems light on the palate. It is smooth but very thin, almost watery.

O: I was really looking forward to this beer and to be completely honest, I was a bit let down. The aromas and flavors are subtle, and I think this is not a good representation of what a Belgian Strong Dark Ale truly is. It seems a bit too "mild" for the style if that even makes sense. The one thing I must say is that the alcohol is masked extremely well for 11% ABV. So much so that If you told me it was 11% without me seeing proof, I wouldn't believe you. I would drink this beer again if it was free, but I most likely won't buy it again.

 1,233 characters

Photo of Fermenticusrex
3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into mad elf tulip.
Pours reddish amber very clear with a nice fluffy white head.
Lots of cherries, some vanilla, honey, and a little booze.
Follows the nose, cherry, vanilla, and a little alchohol. Not much honey though.
Thin watery mouthfeel, not much of a problem except maybe it makes it too easy to drink.
Overall a nice beer, not exceptional but solid. Hides the 11% very well.

 403 characters

Photo of TripleSun
3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Very smooth for a belgian strong!

L - lucious ruby red with a creamy head
S - cherries, honey and alcohol
T - bananas, cherries, tiny bit of syrup mouthful
F - full bodied and very smooth

Troegs makes some good beers and this is pretty decent. Has a bit of a sticky feel to it but nice flavors going around

 308 characters

Photo of number1bum
3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear ruby color with only a half finger of off-white head. Even with a vigorous pour it struggles to get much head, and retention is pretty poor. Not much lace or stick. Disappointing in that regard.

Smells quite boozy and fruity, with the cherries they use coming through along with some malt sweetness.

Taste is also very boozy, and the alcohol is a bit strong until it starts to warm. Warming is key here as the flavors smooth out and it's really very tasty. Tastes very fruity and sweet, with lots of malt sweetness, honey flavor and delicious cherry. There is a belgian yeast character to it that is noticeable throughout, as well. The sweetness starts to get cloying and bothersome for me the more I drink.

As hefty as this beer is the mouthfeel is a bit thin. I'd expect a much fuller body, but it's not. Still, it's smooth on the palate with very light carbonation, and is drying through the finish.

This is a really tasty beer, but as I said you must let it warm. It's the only way to let the flavor shine through the booze. It's a little rough around the edges, but the flavor is nice. The sweetness starts to get cloying, and I have trouble getting through more than one. Still, a tasty brew that is very nice around Christmas.

 1,252 characters

Photo of srandycarter
3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Rich amber clear, not much head nor lace.

S- Big malty smell, almost cloying in nature. Interesting, though.

T - Big malt beer. Not so much of the Belgian attributes that I am used to, but nice.

M - Medium, good carb, ok balance.

D - Did not really touch me.

 266 characters

Photo of thestranger99
3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Photo of sleazo
3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A_Pours a clear chestnut colour with a smallish off white head. Staying power and lacing are nto strong points.

S_Sour and sweet cherries dominate the smell. There is also a decent ammount of carmel malt.

T_Cherries hit huge up front, mildly sour but mostly sweet. This is followed by a healthy dose of caramel. The finish is dominated by a spicy yeast character which unveils flavours of pepper, bread dough and and even a bit of wine must. A minor hint of alcohol heat in the aftertaste doesn't distract

M_Slightly viscous with a small bubbled but tight carbonation.

D_The cherries are a bit too strong here and make the whole beverage a bit cloying. If there was a bit more sourness I like this better. That said, this is probably what they going for and this is clearly a well made brew. For a brew of this strength the alcohol is almost completely hidden.

 864 characters

Photo of BeerIsland
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thought I'd celebrate the end of winter with a 2006. Head's totally gone in a few minutes; looks OK otherwise. Not a lot of aroma left in this one. Tastes great all the way through; oogles of complexity, well balanced, nice carbonation, pleasant lingering finish.

 263 characters

Photo of mtyrrell
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle

A- A nice amber red with a small head that quickly recedes, no lacing

S- Spicy, fruity, alcohol, fruit maltiness

T- Fruity cherry taste, spicy yeast, strong alcohol taste for a beer

M - Medium body, very smooth

D- Got a nice buzz from this 22oz bottle, 11% ABV. A pretty good brew, just not my cup of tea

 335 characters

Photo of chuckgietzen
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of jbfarris
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 3,957 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.
  • Our Events

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

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