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
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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Photo of stevoj
3.84/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from my brother. Dark pit fruit, dubbel like characteristics, with a healthy dose of malts make for a nice, thick, chewy brew. I like that its not "winter spice"-ey like so many others.

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Photo of q33jeff
3.82/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

Aroma Is honey, spice, Dr Pepper. Clear reddish brown color. Taste is sweet cherry, yeast, 11% alcohol is well masked. Really good, although a bit sweet, and tough to drink more than one in a row.
Finished 4th of 19 Winter Seasonal Beers in Blind Tasting. (6th on my list)
I stashed one away to age for 2016 Christmastime.
3 Way tasting of 2015 Mad Elf, 2016 Mad Elf and 2016 Wild Elf.
The 2015 has definitely taken on a different character. It's lost some sweetness, but got much smoother. Rather than sweet cherry and honey, I get more sour apple and brandy.

I think I prefer the aged Mad Elf.

The Wild Elf is ""more belgian"" if that makes sense. The yeast flavor is more pronounced and it's also a touch less sweet than the fresh mad elf; cherry and honey are idenifiable, but not as ""in your face"" as mad elf; something like sour raspberry is also there. The aroma is sour and pungent; I also get some raisin. The carbonation is not what I would expect from a bottle fermented beer. A tad disappointed, but I feel like this beer is not yet at its peak; I won't touch my other bottle until at least 2019."

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Photo of pbass0
3.04/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

I was not a fan of this beer. If you love cherry this is for you though. If it tastes like cough syrup (at first it really did) then it is too cold. SERVE THIS BEER WARM. I am serious, it will bring out the cinnamon and honey much more. But it couldn't sway me even warm.

I am shocked at how well it masked the alcohol though.

UPDATE: I kept 4 of these that I bought from December in my basement and late April I tried one and the overpowering cherry taste was balanced better and it was still surprisingly carbonated. Not bad

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Photo of Schulzie
4.51/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Look it, I'm paying $2 a pint for this because no one likes it, and they want empty the keg. I just won the friggin lotto. It's a damn Belgian people, enjoy!

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Photo of ivehadthatbrew
4.46/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look: This beer seems interesting right from the start. A beautiful ruby red hue. There's a nice white/tan head making this beer look extremely inviting.

Smell: Chocolate, figs, cheeries, honey and a nice smelling warming booze aroma coming off this brew. It's pretty beautiful.

Taste: A perfect balance of tart, caramel, fruit, bready and spicy flavors. The only thing setting it off balance is the big booze flavor, which is actually nice.

Feel: Just like I said, the big booze flavor is very nice mostly because it warms you up! It's the perfect seasonal beer. It is sort of cry at the end, but other then that it's nice.

Overall: If there was one beer I could drink during cold weather the rest of my life, this would be it. It's almost exactly how I'd want my brew to be. Beautifully done.

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Photo of Jacobob10
3.62/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle.

2015 Mad Elf shows a beautiful ruby red color beneath a small, off-white head. The aroma is sweet and spicy, combining honey, chocolate, cherries, and alcohol. Heavy malt creates sweetness in the flavor that's aided by the honey and cherries and culminates in a long-lasting, spicy finish. The alcohol is not hidden and will warm you up as you drink it.

Always a unique treat around the holidays. I'm throwing a couple of bottles in the cellar just to experiment.

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

Beautiful red/amber color. Wonderful hint of cherries. Just the right amount. Not overwhelming. Definitely something to look for around Christmas time

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Photo of tlema1
3.89/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L: deep copper/ruby red, with a thin head
S: sweet, Belgian yeast
T: little sweet, boozy, some honey
F: full body, great mouthfeel
O: great overall brew

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Photo of cyclonece09
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured on tap into a chalice. Pours copper red with a small white head. Smells of Belgian yeast with wheat. Tastes of banana and berries with slight wheat taste. Beer is full bodied but still very drinkable, good carbonation. Overall a very good beer.

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Photo of Apellonious
4.11/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2014 version from a 32 oz growler from TBG poured into a tulip glass.

A - Dark ruby red with slight brown and orange highlights. Little head on the pour that disappears to nothing immediately.

S - Banana bread. Cherries. Booze.

T - Very much the same as the nose, honey is apparent on the finish, with some chocolate notes. Not as much booze as on the nose.

M - Carbonation low, heavy feel but not sticky.

O - Can see this as a good post meal sipper in the winter.

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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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