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Tröegs The Mad Elf | Tröegs Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
87
very good
1,246 Reviews
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
Reviews:
1,246
Ratings:
3,839
Avg:
3.86
pDev:
26.68%
 
 
Wants:
227
Gots:
1,095
For Trade:
24
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,246 | Ratings: 3,839
Photo of oline73
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 bottle from the cellar poured into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Pours an almost clear red amber with a 1/8 inch layer of off white head. Head dissipates almost immediately.

Smell: Very sweet with cherries and hints of honey and brown sugar. Not much alcohol to be found here.

Taste: Cherry and sweet malt and honey dominate. After that I pick up some caramel and a bit of alcohol, which isn't surprising given the ABV.

Mouthfeel: This one is on the thick side of medium body. The carbonation is low and the finish is slick on the tongue.

Drinkability: Admittedly, this is one of my favorite Christmas beers. It has held up well to a year in the cellar. Good beer for a cold night and I'll keep coming back to this one.

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Photo of jcalabre
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This pours a very nice looking clear reddish color. It has a nice cherry nose & it's taste is tart yet sweet. It was very enjoyable. The 11% ABV is extremely well hidden, but it sneaks up on you later. I would imagine that this beer is absolutely stunning in a cold climate where it would be a great winter warmer

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Photo of railman
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love this beer! The color the label everything! Picked this up after a suggestion last year.
Happened to see it on display at a local beer distributor. Had to get it.

Poured from a 12oz bottle. No freshness date.

This brew pours a nice burnt amber / ruby red color.
Virtually no head or lacing noticed. Almost no carbonation.

Smells a little on the sweet side with little cherry on the nose. Almost no hops detected.

Tastes sweet but not overdone. Minimal cherry flavor.

Feels somewhat syrupy but again not overdone. Medium to full bodied brew.
I really like this brew. Too bad its 11% cause I can suck these down all night.

Cheers.

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Photo of drtth
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lightly chilled and poured into a Duvel glass. A glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically. This bottle is from the fall 08 bottling and so has 9 or 10 months of bottle age.

Appearance: The beer pours out a deep clear dark red with a 1/4" off-white creamy head that recedes to a ring of foam with thin, irregular surface coverage. Initially sipping leaves a ring that turns into leggy lacing as some slides down the side of the glass. Later on sipping leaves only a faint ring and light speckled lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell: The aroma is a complex mix of cherry, spice (clove) and honey. The alcohol is well hidden here.

Taste: The flavor is a delightful mix of the cherry, the spice, and the honey, backed up by hints of chocolate from the malt. Any alcohol is in the sweetness and despite the 11% ABV there is no alcohol heat to this one. The flavor is complex enough that it is hard to say that any one part of the flavor is dominant.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied and soft with very modest carbonation, only a faint prickle by the end of the beer. The finish is medium long and mostly sweet, trailing off into a light yeast character and almost some dry bitterness.

Drinkability: This is a dangerously drinkable beer. However it's a beer for sipping. At this ABV it would be easy to drink too much, and with this level of cherry/sweetness it begins to cloy if sipped too quickly. I definitely enjoy this beer and will return to it again. Indeed if history is a judge I'll have a case laid in when it is released this year and most of it won't see the New Year.

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Photo of JerseyKirk
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: amber red, small head, reddish, white head.

S: cherry, apple, honey, sweet, sugar.

T: cherry, honey, smooth, slight malt.

M: sweet, thick, syrupy. Delicious.

O: delicious. Super scary easy to drink. Love to cellar and do a vertical. Awesome high octane without sourness from the fruit.

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Photo of onechordwonder
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A must buy every Christmas for me. Great beer on a cold night, especially considering the sneaky 11%abv. Beautiful ruby color, not a ton of lacing. Flavor is sweet at first, with cherry as the predominant flavor. Malt rounds it out and finishes slightly dry. Could be a little more balanced, but overall a great beer.

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Photo of gkunkle
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer really took me by surprise. I wasn't sure what I thought of it, but after I tasted it I was hooked. the beer pours an amber color with a white head about 1 finger tall. Head doesn't last long and there is no lacing, but that cones with the territory of 11% ABV beers. Smell is of honey and cherries. If it didn't say honey and cherries on the label I would have described it as a sweet malt and dark fruit smell. Taste starts sweet then finishes with slight honey taste, there are sweet malts throughout. Thickness is about right, no carbonation though (comes with the 11% territory). Overall, despite the 11% ABV I really dig this beer. I got this in a trade with slvrmon82 and will definitely have to send him some more quality beers in order to get some more of this. I honestly would not have suspected this to be 11%, I could taste a little bit of alcohol, but it wasn't strong.

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Photo of Bogforce
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Great holiday beer. Ordered a Great Lakes Christmas Ale and instead was given this and asked if it was okay, glad I said yes!

A: Red Red Amber look, small amount of head

S: Cherries!

T: hints of honey and cherry, had a great overall taste

M: wasn't overly strong for the amount of alcohol

D: could drink this all night.... if they weren't such a high abv

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Photo of Lordsloth
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle received from Scott84golf(IIRC). I opened my second bottle, and I need some more!

Appearance is a deep, dark red/brown, but still quite crisp and clear. Smells like dark cherries and dark malt. Taste is amazing. Very clean taste, almost no aftertaste to speak of. Dark malt and the aforementioned cherry. Mouthfeel is good, light and apealing, but there is a bit of alcohol bite to it. Drinkability is very good. I could go for more. Currently my favorite style.

Send me some more, somebody! :)

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Photo of corby112
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice dark amber with a slight white head. Aroma of cherries, honey and alcohol. Although the abv is 11% the alcohol is masked very well making this a smooth beer. The cherries and honey give this beer a nice sweetness that is balanced out by a slight maltiness.

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Photo of jeremy13586
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured in to a Mad Elf tulip

Dark amber in color. Poured a one finger off-white head. The head didn’t last too long. Looks viscous and has a syrupy sheen.

Strong alcohol is in the nose. Totally lets you know that this beer is 11%. tart cherries with a sweet finish.

Tart, hot cherries dominate the flavor of this brew. There is also some good spiciness along with it. Flavor matches the nose, except that it masks the alcohol much better than the aroma. Honey and a bit of nuttiness rounds out the taste.

Medium bodied with a nice carbonation. Smooth, but it does leave a syrupy coating in your mouth.

This is one of my favorite winter brews. It is very drinkable which is the dangerous part. The alcohol content catches up with the drinker before they even notice. Generally a crowd pleaser and a nice one to age for a couple years. Might be hard to find now, so make sure you try it next holiday season.

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Photo of jhicks12
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured this beer into a pint glass, first thing I notice was the glowing ruby red color and white head. Beer had a sweet cherry aroma with just a slight honey nose. First taste really got a lot of cherry not some much sour on first taste but more so as I drank. Slight alcohol warming. Not as much as I would have expected from an 11%. Very drinkable and a nice beer to warm you up with out being too overpowering.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From the cellar meat package by pentathlete, the Mad Elf came out deep amber red with a smallish head. The beer looked slippery, and the dissipating head left little lacing. The aroma was filled with holiday spices like nutmeg, ginger, and I could also smell orange peel. The taste was sweet and spicy with a cheerfully light body that was backed by rum like alcohol warmth. Although clearly a strong concoction, the 11% alcohol was well poised. The mouthfeel was airy and inviting. The aftertaste was a citric and sweet tang and a faint note of hop bitterness. Warmth of alcohol lingered long after the beer was gone.

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Photo of GarrettMD
4.31/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep orange, almost amber in color with a thin layer of off white head that disappears into a ring of bubbles around the edge almost immediately.

S - Cherries, honey, caramel, a touch of alcohol, also a lot of aromas similar to a saison (lemon, peppercorn, belgian candi sugar, belgian yeast). Very complex aroma, very unique and I like it a lot.

T - Flavor follows the aroma pretty close. Same basic flavors, cherries definitely dominate along with the background caramel malts. Honey makes it's way in along with the bubblegum and lemon flavors associated with the saison I find in this. Once again, very complex, very well blended, I find myself going back for sip after sip trying to find new ways to describe the flavor.

M - Medium body, slightly sticky mouthfeel. Finish is sweet and sticky with flavors of cherries, honey, and bubblegum. Lasts a while too.

O - Well balanced, complex flavors, very interesting beer to try. I don't know that I would be able to drink too many, but the ABv isn't noticeable at all. Will definitely buy again.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've been hanging onto this one and can't wait to try it. Departs the bottle a wonderful golden red with hints of pink even along with a nice off white head. Sweet cherry Lifesaver aroma wafts up into my nose along with some earthy yeasty notes. Mmmm...lovely aroma.

First sip is a mix of honey/cherry sweet malty goodness along with a nice helping of barnyard/earthy yeast tones. There's a nice spiciness that's running through here too..maybe some nutmeg...I can't pick it out. A damn tasty belgian style winter brew!

Nice creamy, full mouthfeel with good carbonation. No complaints from me. Drinkability is good, as this is a tasty brew I could have a few of. Many thanks to blitheringidiot and merlin48 for hooking me up with some bottles of this!

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Photo of jcdiflorio
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this years version into a Mad Elf tulip glass from Christmas last year,by the way this is my 100th review.Poured a beautiful ruby red color,quite clear for a belgium style beer.A white 2' thick head,turned into a ring around the glass quicker than I would had anticipated.
Very tiney bubbles stringing together throughout the beer.A very tempting looking beer.
The aroma was very yeasty,clovey,fruity,spicey,slight bannanna,a cherry overtone throughout. An intense and complex aroma,couldn't keep the nose out of this beer.
The taste was very complex and intriging,it was clovey,yeasty,fruity,spicy,a subtle cherry presence throughout. Sweet,dry.tangy the 11% alcohol was a bit hidden in the taste.
The mouthfeel was surprisingly light and airee. A fuzzy warm feeling on the tongue.a nice sharp.dry smooth bitterness,a tartness that makes the mouth water.
A fairly drinkable beer for the style,the alcohol creeps up dangerously upon you.Every taste makes you want more,this beer really grows on you. Smoother and more drinkable than last years version.

A must try Christmas beer!

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Photo of wcudwight
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter a dark red(nice). with a inch head that quickly reduces to a thin ring around the crown.
Smell: I get cherry, cranberry, jucyfruit gum and alcohol.
Taste: Mmmm, taste starts with loads of malty sweetness, mixed with cherries. Kind of toasty tasting in the middle. The finish is of dry alcohol.
Mouthfeel is good. Thick and filling.
I consider it nicely drinkable for 11%. I've aged my bottle for 6 months and the alcohol is really only noticable in the finish.
A very good beer that is worth the hour and half drive across state lines to purchase. One that I will be looking forward to this coming holiday season.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A new year and got myself a growler fill of this perfect winter warmer.

A - A nice solid ruby read poured heavily as instructed on the side of a box I saw to unlock the hidden flavors. This resulted in an inch of head which is amazing for the ABV.

S - Warming alcohol with some sweet herbal cherries and tons of honey put in for good measure.

T - The first sip starts off intense with the alcohol burn start followed by a sort of herbal not sweet cherries and honey backbone finish rounding out the burn

M - The warming feeling of this is pretty intense but after the second glass it felt so right.

D - I struggled to finish the growler myself so get some help damn it! Taking a whopping 3 1/2 hours to get the whole thing down by the 4th it actually felt like the night before Christmas and Santa was waiting for me with gifts, to describe the giddiness was the true definition of a winter warmer. Enjoy this with friends and family!

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Photo of orangesol
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served thru a dogfish randall-the-animal with brandy soaked cherries and vanilla.

A - Pours deep, dark, amber with no head at all leaving minimal lacing down the glass. Looks like normal mad elf with no head.

S - Lots of cherrie skin aroma that lingers for some time. A bit of booze from the brandy but it is hidden very well. Very nice nose.

T - Cherries up front that carry thru the entire drink. Middle is a nice mix of cherrie and a bit of chewy malt. Finish is strong with a bit of cherrie syrup and plenty of booze. This has to be close to twenty percent after the brandy was added. It is hidden so well it is honestly scary.

M - Medium body with a heavy flavor and moderate carbonation. Tart finish with plenty of booze lingering on the pallet.

D - Fairly high. I loved this one but after having so many beers already this was the final straw, I had to leave after this one. I have had normal mad elf, splinter red aka BA mad elf, and yet this was the best mad elf I have ever had. The balance was great but the ABV is so high you just can't have more than one.

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Photo of JISurfer
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the best brew I have had that was made with cherries. It absolute blows away the Unibroe cherry beer, hands down. It smelled like cherries and had a very nice malty aroma with it, as well as the alcohol. The appearance was pretty nice, with the pretty amber color and a creamy head. The head was nice, but lasted a few minutes, then died out to a thin laceing. The taste was similar to the smell, but a little stronger in the cherry area(not too much though, nicely balanced), but the alcohol was barely there for the taste. I was thinking that it was going to be really alcoholy tasteing, but it was hardly noticeable. Man/woman, if it weren;t such a full bodied brew, I would be able to suck this stuff down all night.

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Photo of mitch3114
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured 12 oz. bottle into snifter glass

A- Nice brown color with a slight reddish hue

S- I smell the cherries! I also smell Belgian yeast and alcohol. This smells a bit like cleaning solvent...with a hint of banana.

T- Well, it certainly doesn't TASTE like cleaning solvent. I can taste the Belgian yeast. It's more subtle than I thought. I taste sugar cherries and alcohol. Maybe some spices.

M- Mouthfeel is great. It's smooth and has just the right "prickly" with the carbonation. It's not too thick, and it's not cloying.

O- This is a unique beer. I am glad I finally got to try it and I got to try a fresh one. I think I will pick up a 6 pack and lay some down. I think when some of the heat burns off, even more of the subtle flavors will come out. I can see why this is a holiday favorite!

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Photo of SkunkWorks
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber poured into a chalice. I know this is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, but I'm taking into account that its clearly meant to be a Christmas beer as well in my review and you're just going to have to deal with it!

Look: clear, ruby red with a very few carbonation bubbles visible in the body. The head is a bit on the thin side at about one finger and looks white with a hint of reddishness. It doesn't retain very well and doesn't leave lacing behind, which is fine since its 11% alcohol by volume.

Smell: honey, maltiness, some Belgian inspired spices and a bit of cherry. A little alcohol is there but not as much as I'd think.

Taste: One of the things I was apprehensive about this beer is that the cherries would be overdone, since I don't particularly like cherries. Luckily, they take a back seat to the other flavors. There's honey sweet maltiness, some cherry, Belgian inspired spices, and a bit of booziness. There's some spiciness from the hops but its quite subdued.

Feel: medium bodied, especially at the alcohol content, not much carbonation, and a bit of booziness. Not much in the way of hop bitterness, which is to be expected given the low IBU.

Drink: very drinkable for such a strong beer. I could drink this all night if I wanted to but would probably die in the attempt.

Overall, a very, very good beer to drink around Christmas. Its a solid Belgian Dark Strong but really stands out as a Christmas beer. I think the B+ rating this has is a bit on the underrated side. This is easily my favorite beer I've had from the Troegs Brothers. Try and get this one if you can! Cheers!

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Photo of sully42
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I decided to go to the 6pack shop on Broadway in Bethlehem. Wow what an interesting 6 pack shop. I was talking to the guy working, and I asked if they had any Mad Elf still. He two bottles tucked away on a shelf. It is rare to find this beer in the middle of July. So I took both of them.
After opening the bottle and pouring it into a glass, i was amazed by the dark ruby red color. Almost a full finger of head it.
The smell was a moderately strong cherry blossom smell, just delightful reminded me of the smell of spring time.
Lifting the glass to my lips and taking the first sip blew me away, so many flavors blending together all at once. A sweet chocolate and cherry taste with a hint of sourness to it. A nice lite carbonation was perfect for the flavors.
It is very drinkable for being 11%.
I cant wait until Mad Elf comes out again.

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Photo of FightingEntropy
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very beautiful dark cherry color beer with a lot of alcohol (not surprising at 11%) in the nose along with dark fruits, cherry, fig. Very nice spicy character in the nose as well. Could not conjure up an head at all and no lace down the side. Very sweet oily character with cherry, and very sweet. Since I like sweet, no worries, but some would probably describe it as cloying. Strong yeast character as well. Hops is listed on the website as only 15 IBUs, which seems true with no hop character, so the yeast is the main component for the spicy notes. Very cool, fun beer with lots of character and punch. Not overly complex, but a very good beer overall.

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Photo of ski271
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, medium reddish-copper with a very small, frothy, slightly off-white head that quickly diminishes to a thin film. Actually didn’t even know what style this beer was until I smelled it. Obvious Belgian with moderate wheat, sweet malts, cherry and some other fruit esters accompanying the light alcohol presence. Toward the end of the bottle when it really warmed up, I was picking up some light clove and a light woodsy smell. Flavor-wise, it starts out with rather typical Belgian flavors, mostly because I had served it too cold. it then opens to reveal a wonderful malt backbone and a complex array of flavors, but it’s the duo of cherries and sweet malts that steal the show. I admit at first it threw me a bit, but the second try was much better. And it kept getting better all the way to the bottom of the glass. It has a medium body, lightly oily texture and soft carbonation. This is a real holiday treat that is well done. Hard to believe this beer is 11%! Use with caution.

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Tröegs The Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 3,839 ratings.
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