Tröegs The Mad Elf | Tröegs Brewing Company

very good
3,923 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

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,271 | Ratings: 3,923
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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Photo of ordybill
3.67/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass. very boozy smell and taste. this distorted the rest of the flavors. An ok beer. Seems over hyped to me.

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Photo of rockaroo
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Very Pennsylvania. Like a bulk bag of hard candy with a home printer ingredients label from some Amish place. Authentic with the honey and cherry descriptors and the upfront alcohol. Good nightcap.

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Photo of joekoz007
1.94/5  rDev -49.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Wanted to like this but had a hard time just finishing the bottle. Clear, red/amber color with 1.5 finger head that disappears quickly. Minimal lacing. Aroma is of pure alcohol. Light carbonation/almost flat. Taste is cherry cough medicine with a shot of Everclear. Definitely not my kind of brew. This followed a Lagunitas Brown Shugga. No comparison at all. Almost a drain pour compared to Brown Shugga.

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Photo of Weisenbeer
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Wow. I consider this a "Christmas Ale" in style, and had zero idea of ABV while consuming....nice flavor and great drinkability ... But the ABV can, and will, creep up on you....

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Photo of Franziskaner
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Brown to chestnut in color with no discernible head. I smell nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice. I taste cinnamon, nutmeg, and loads of light malt. Is that bourbon I taste? The mouth is crisp and dry.

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Photo of MMOSNN
4.69/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look - a deep hazy brownish ruby red color with a decent white head that dissipates quickly. There's some nice silky lacing.
Smell - tart cherry and yeast hit the hardest, but there's also some notes of sweet honey and dark fruits.
Taste - tart cherries, dark fruits, brown sugar, honey, and some slight booze towards the end.
Feel - good carbonation, creamy body, and smooth finish.
Overall, the combination of sweetness and tart cherries is done very well, it has a rich body, and it looks pretty amazing. It's definitely not for casual drinking, and I could imagine that some people would be put off by it, but if you like rich, complex, and sweet Belgians, I think you should try this.

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Photo of BethanyB
3.82/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A flurry of fizz gathers to create a creamy tan head which starts out strong, but is quick to melt. I was surprised by the excellent clarity. The color is lighter than expected--a medium copper.

On the nose, pale malt clashes with chocolate-covered cherries and sticky sweet honey. The flavors promised by the label are unmistakable in the bouquet, but are too saccharine to be truly appetizing. A hint of nutmeg and cinnamon adds some lively variety.

The honey plays a starring role in the taste, glomming onto the other starring flavors which include dates, pears, and yes--cherries. It's a nice, fairly well-balanced combination platter, but the overt sweetness mixed with the tartness of the cherries has the potential to get a bit tiresome.

Medium-bodied with medium carbonation, the refreshing feel for a beer this dark and with such a high ABV is impressive. It's dangerous, of course, as the crisp qualities make it easier to throw down the hatch.

Overall, a tasty brew that lives up to its description. Still, as that description tends to suggest, it could be too cloying for some.

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Photo of SussexMan
4.63/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Nothing says "Winter is Here" like a Mad Elf. And when I say this, I love the beer after Thanksgiving when the cold air comes into town, this full body beer with a punch warms my nicely next to the fire. This ruby red red beer pours nicely and the strong alcohol content is kept behind a closed curtain (trust me, it is there). The cherry and the chocolate flavors are strong and I cannot help but smile after I finish one of these.

This beer makes Thanksgiving for me.

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Photo of Harrison8
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep ruby red, with a thin beige head that disappears rather quickly. No lacing left behind. Coriander and honey hit the nose with a strong malty presence in the background. Coriander, banana, cloves blend with a bit of honey and sweet malty presence behind it to form a tasty brew. Mouth feel is a little above average. Good filling nature, but a little harsh on the carbonation. Overall, a tasty brew that has some good sweet notes in the taste and aroma. Very pleasant to drink.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

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Photo of seedyone
3.49/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

From bottle at home. Coppery, brown ale color with virtually no head or lacing. The cough syrup aroma is redolent of cherries. The texture is far from syrpy...actually a bit disappointing. That being said this is a true wintery treat.

I was introduced to it as a blend w/Troegs Dream Weaver in a 80/20 mix, The Elf adding a very pleasant balance to the wheat beer dryness of the Weaver.

OK on it's own, at the right rime of year, but since we're running about 15F+ on the year, this might find it hard to become a preferred quaff...but the marriage works very well.

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Tröegs The Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 3,923 ratings.
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