Tröegs The Mad Elf | Tröegs Brewing Company

very good
1,271 Reviews
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,271 | Ratings: 3,922
Photo of opierce
4.54/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This is my go to winter/Christmas ale. Its great a stand alone beer, doesn't mix well food because the cherry and honey flavor is so strong. But it is so rich, easy to sip on in cold winter nights.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
3.76/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

All Belgian Strong Ale all day. Belgian yeast esters, banana, cloves and caramel. Not getting much Cherry flavor. Belgian candi sugar sweetness. Somewhat dry finish. Medium thick mouth feel. Smooth. Pretty good.

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Photo of 88caprice
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Overall: Complex, sweet, and spicy. A believable Belgian strong dark ale that delivers a cherry hint without being medicinal. Beware of the ABV.

Look: ruby red meets amber tea. Head quickly dissipated.
Smell: faint of cherries, sweet, Belgian yeast spice. Bready with a slight metallic and bubblegum hint.
Taste: sweet, dark bread, hint of cherries and dried dark fruits. The yeast gives a spicy character. Alcohol presence.
Feel: Smooth and full bodied. Thick.

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Photo of ZiggyZag
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

From tap, Looks great. Amber brown yet clear view. Lacing died, but that isn't the taste-related Part. Smell of fruity yeast and sweet dark fruits. Smooth at 11% not a bit of alcohol. One of the most interesting and accessible strongs ever.
Truly 4.5 star.

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Photo of Sabtos
3.11/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dusty copper with a thin khaki blanket that dies off completely.

Smell is banana bread, tons of Belgian yeast, with raisin and caramel.

Taste is big yet oddly sweet Belgian yeast, spiced apple pie, plum and metallic cranberries. The spiciness of the Belgian yeast makes this relatively moderately spiced Christmas beer seem ultra spiced, so it amps up what doesn't need amping up.

Full and frothy.

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Photo of Slack
3.99/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Amber brown in color and clear. About a half inch of head that settles to about an eighth. Very good lacing on a sip.

Nose is cherry, cloves, sugar, and pilsner hops.

Taste is sweet cherries, malt, booze, and hops.

Mouthful is medium-ish and syrupy. Carbonation is average. Finish is semi sweet.

A great seasonal beer that lends itself to a hearty meal. Tasty, balanced, and drinkable. The syrupy sweetness is about the only drawback here which tends to inhibit more than one.

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Photo of 413
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The label on the bottle tells us that the Mad Elf himself brews this seasonal offering, and after tasting the 2016 edition, I believe it. This beer had a unique, front-loaded taste that was dominated by the cherry notes, but not in such a way as to rob the ale of its darkness. I perceived almost no finish or aftertaste and a light mouthfeel. Bringing something a little different, this one makes a great addition to any collection of winter seasonals.

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Photo of Caveworm
4.6/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tröegs The Mad Elf | Tröegs Brewing Company. Another gifted bottle from my good friend @nicholas2121. Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, this brew's got a two finger thick head, with web-like lacing, and a clear deep brownish amber body.

I smell the pleasant addition of cherries among other conventional notes for this style. Now, the cherries don't come off as too sweet, syrupy, or artificial. Which is the quality I've come to love and appreciate from Tröegs.

Tastes like smooth, sweeter malts oh-so nicely blended with the cherries. I really can't pick up on the 11% abv here, either. Again, said sweetness is very masterfully proportioned. Mmm mmm good!

Mouthfeel is just a hair over medium, but nothing like a porter or stout. Medium carbonation.

Tröegs The Mad Elf | Tröegs Brewing Company has earned an overall 4.5 in my book. A sipper that I hope to come back to sooner than later.

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Photo of nicholas2121
4.43/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tröegs The Mad Elf brewed by Tröegs Brewing Company, with an ABV of 11.00% This brew pours out a deep brown amber color with a nice off white head. There is a decent amount out lacing to this brew, it sticks to the side of the glass really nice. The smell is rich with sweetness, with cherry and honey. There are also some nice roasted grians and malts in the smell. Between the look and smell this brew is really inviting. There is a lot going on in this brew. Now for the taste, it bold with flavors, you also pick up on a rich honey and cherry sweetness. You also pick up on some roasted grians and malts. I really like the smooth sweetness in this brew. There is a nice amount flavors in this brew. I like how smooth this brew goes down. It is really hard to pick up on the 11.00% ABV in this brew. The mouth feel of Tröegs The Mad Elf is Bold, Rich, Clean and Refreshing. Overall I'm Tröegs The Mad Elf a 4.50 out of 5. I would definitely buy this brew again. Tröegs Brewing Company, did a real nice job with this one.

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Photo of hopsputin
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: deep ruby red color with some purple notes. Not much head to speak of. It's a beautiful beer

S: dark cherries, candi sugar, brown sugar, raisin, plum, and huge caramel. End of the nose has some alcohol

T: huge dark fruits up front: plum, raisin, prunes, fig. There is an alcohol bite directly behind that followed by a huge blast of sweetness from the malts. I'm picking up some Belgian yeast in the flavor along with a touch of clove

M: heavy mouthfeel. This is a sipper for sure. Carbonation level is low

O: big beer with big flavors. This is a great winter sipper. There's a lot going on in here, so take your time and appreciate it

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3.96/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Okay so I was surprised by a beer manager with a sixer of The Mad Elf .
I didn't know much about this Christmas brew , however had heard some mixed feelings.
Being what is it sounded like something that would be up my alley .
The look is fairly nice as it resembles one of my favorites (Samichlaus) except with more carbonation .
The smell is a fruity and spicy as most typical Holiday brews..
Taste is delightful, but a little thin ..
I gave it 3.75 and 4's, but overall a 4 for its 11 abv as it's not even noticeable.

I would buy it again next year and have put a couple of bottles away, so that I can compare them side by side next year;)

Funniest part of the story is I had to get out of the store, before I was tackled as at least 4 different couples asked me where I got them ..
I guess I never realized that they were so desired ..
Thanks Mr Beer Manager for thinking of one your regular customers :)

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Photo of Johtro
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

This is one of my favorites. I love the Belgian caramel taste and feel with the complexities of slight cherry and the Belgian yeast. It does a splendid job of cloaking the high ABV.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.43/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle dated 10/20/16

Pours clear ruby red with a frothy light khaki colored foam head. Smells like banana, clove spice, vanilla, honey, cherries, toasty bready malts, mild chocolate, caramel, with minty earthy grassy pine. Tastes like banana, clove spice, vanilla, honey, cherries, toasty bready malts, mild chocolate, caramel, with minty earthy grassy pine. Feels medium bodied, creamy and slick with moderate carbonation. Overall a real nice and interesting Belgian strong dark ale.

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Photo of Gajo74
3.81/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Out of the bottle it pours a translucent brown color that looks darker when it hits the glass and also has elements of ruby red. Minimal head quickly disappears and leaves no lacing or remnants; I'd like to see more from a Belgian.
A lot going on in the aroma; my favorite feature of the beer. Dark fruits such as raisins, prunes and figs with a splash of alcohol. There is also a nice coating of dark chocolate malt as well as spices such as cinnamon and cloves.
The dark fruit detected in the aroma are evident in the taste, along with a dried red grape consistency that is evident in a sweeter red wine. The predominance of sweetness in the taste can border on cloying at times, except for the fact that there is a cherry tartness that balances things out somewhat. There is some spicy clove like elements that are found in the middle phase, however, the sweetness returns towards the end. The alcohol is evident, although well masked for such a high ABV drink. It is on the high side of medium bodied.
I feel that this one had some nice qualities, however, I would have liked to see more spicy Belgian characteristics to balance out the sweetness. Maybe I should give it another chance as a dessert beer?

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Photo of NiceTaps
2.06/5  rDev -46.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12oz bottle in a snifter.

Cherry red color with a thin head and lots of bubbles. Plenty of lacing.

Strong alcohol over cherries and honey. Boozy.

Memories of the cherry flavored medicines of my childhood is the best I can do here.

I feel that I'll eschew this "beer" forever more.

This does not meet my definition of "BEER".

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Photo of TripleSun
3.69/5  rDev -4.2%
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

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Photo of tenacean
3.36/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bought on tap. The descriptions of its appearance have been spot on thus far. Troegs describes this beer with descriptors of cherry and cloves. By the end I was describing it as clove beer...lots of clove flavor with some cherry. The heat from the alcohol is always present but not overwhelming.

Overall, a well crafted beer and I'm glad I tried it but I'm not going to buy it again.

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Photo of Riff
3.46/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear ruby red color with a small amount of off white head that dissipates quickly but leaves a little lacing. Smells of cherries and yeast, neither a strong flavor. Tastes primarily of cherry, like the syrup cocktail cherries in a can of fruit cocktail. Other flavors of honey and yeast. Body is okay, medium. Lingering sweet cherry flavors. Really, too sweet for me.

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Photo of GimmeASchlitz
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into trillium tulip

Pours a nice deep cherry color with minimal beige head that goes away quickly but leaves a nice ring of lacing.

Picking up nice notes of cherries and spicy cloves. There is a bit of yeast in the nose too.

First sip is tart fruits and cherries, yeast, and some bread and crackers from the malts. Continuing with a bit of sweetness and some cinnamon. Darker fruits such as plums become apparent in taste. As it warms you can taste the booze a bit but doesn't overpower.

Very light medium body for such a strong ale. Good amount of carbonation and a bit of stickiness to the feel.

The ale sips like a brandy. It has a unique tart, sour, and sweet combination. It is very smooth and because you don't taste the alcohol as much it is easy to drink too fast. The ABV limits you to just one or two but I wish I could keep drinking for the night. Too bad it's only brewed once a year.

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Photo of DenisKolkin
3.96/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle served just above fridge temperature into a pint glass.

Appearance - a dark mahogany or Amber color with a little haze. A thin half finger of tan head is poured and has good staying power. Not much lacing and carbonation is pretty average.

Smell - honey, cherries and Belgian yeast especially. There's a little bit of Christmas baking and fruitcake in there, but generally sweet, cherry leaning and sweetened with honey.

Taste - like the nose, but initially even with more sweetness before a bitter hop note at the end reels everything in. A little too sweet but a nice treat around Christmas. Some spices too giving this the cross between a winter warmer and a dark strong Belgian. Doesn't hit cough syrup for me, but I can see how some get there.

Mouthfeel - smooth and a little syrupy, heavy bodied and carbonation is modest. Works with this flavor combo but could be cloying to some.

Overall - Mad Elf is a fine winter special with plenty of flavor, more than enough booze to keep you prone and a nice honey aspect to it. However due to the sweetness, I can't see this being a regular sipper, although certain worth a try,

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Photo of Bluecrow
3.74/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

-I have had a couple of these seasonally for many years. This bottle pour is clear red-amber with a a thin wisp of tan foam. The aroma is candi sugar. The prominent flavors are Belgian candi-sugar and pleasant cherry. In all, the brew lacks a depth of flavors, and the finish is more slick than dry, but it is a welcome holiday treat nonetheless.

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Photo of grahfx
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A really good beer to grab in the bar. I wouldn't recommend buying a case. It's very thick, very hearty and just sits in your stomach. Fantastic buzz from a few of these but anymore than that and you might have one of those kind of nights. :D Would suggest trying to mix one or two in with some other not as heavy stuff.

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Photo of orcrist_cleaver
3.14/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Darker than amber with more brown. Cherry wood color, and very clear. Head is so miniscule I didn't catch the color. No lacing associated with Belgians.

Very fruity, very sweet on nose. Syrupy, grenadine, mulling spices, moonshine soaked cherries and chocolate. Just too sweet.

Ends up a bit cloying, and syrupy. Lies a bit flat.

The taste is like a banana split, extra cherries, hot fudge. It was flambeed in a copuious amount of O.K. cognac, but not all of it burned up. A bit of herbal punch. Maybe some mint. In the end, the mulling spices, well they muddle it all.

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Photo of CNoj012
3.2/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

This beer pours a crystal clear reddish auburn color with a one finger khaki colored head. Retention and lacing are minimal.

Smell is fruity with clove. Banana and maraschino cherry along with clove and peppery spice make up the nose.

Taste is similar, but very sweet. Also the cherry comes across as syrupy and medicinal. Not a fan.

Feel is medium to full, smooth and syrupy.

Overall not great. The taste is overly sweet and medicinal and I really don't enjoy it.

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Photo of hopflyer
3.77/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours deep dark copper and ruby color, crystal clear, almost no head even with semi vigorous pour.

Smell is definitely booze soaked cheery, like a Manhattan with grenadine, but no so much booze. some decent yeast aroma too.

First taste I pick up hefty Belgian yeast banana flavor and quickly overtaken by the cheery and alcohol. Booziness eases up as it warms some and the banana and clove Belgian character dominate. Cherry is there but only complimentary. Can't pick up the honey though.

Heavier side of medium body and a little syrupy. Lower carbonation. Some alcohol burn.

I stayed away from this for a long time but I received a sixer as a gift. Its better than I was expecting but not sure I'd go buy this. glad to have tried it though.

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Tröegs The Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 3,922 ratings.
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