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The Mad Elf | Tröegs Brewing Company

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The Mad ElfThe Mad Elf
Very Good
3,961 Ratings
The Mad ElfThe 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,961 |  Reviews: 1,278
Photo of cvm4
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours amber with a white head to it.

S - The cherry comes through a lot, with bready malts and sweet yeast.

T - A nice spiciness that leads into cherries and sweet malts. I'm surprised at how well hidden the abv is.

M - Medium body & carbonation.

O - Really good, crisp on the palette.

 295 characters

Photo of Lurkerson
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of JandJMD
3.25/5  rDev -16%

Photo of thebeers
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Clear reddish amber with a finger and a half of tan head that's quick to dissipate. Medicinal cherry, dry yeast and some honey sweetness on the nose. They all carry over to the taste, along with some pepper, subtle Christmas spices like nutmeg and warming alcohol. Thin, slightly oily mouthfeel. Pretty good.

 312 characters

Photo of TrilliumFan
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of chugalug06
4.02/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2009

A - Slightly oxidized ruby red. Very little white soapy head pours from the bottle... However when swirled, it builds medium soft bubbles. No lacing to speak of.

S - Cinnamon stands out, cherries and light hops remain in the back... Not a sugar bomb or overly sugary.

T/M - Dry! Super smooth. Nice champagne like carbonation and dryness. Very smooth cherry. Just like a fruited brew should be. Not quite sure the flavor fits a Belgian Dark, but still awesome nonetheless.

O - I really wish Troegs distributed in CO... This brew is very good and tasty. Thank you Andyavalance for a killer shipment, you rock and optimize a great BA'er. Thanks for sharing a awesome beer! Both Andy and the brew are highly recommended!

 736 characters

Photo of mattboyer182
3.44/5  rDev -11.1%

Photo of brureview
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Is this beer esteemed by The Mad? Perhaps. That's why it doesn't get better ratings.

Although the brewer suggests higher serving temps, i started lower at 45 and contemplated its changes in aroma and taste.

Beautiful ice tea color in a tulip with a 3 F head which soon resolves itself.

Aroma: Cinnamon-clove. Different than other cloves in Belgian ales. More earthy-barnyard.

The mouth feel is moderately carbonated which transitions well into the taste.

The taste at colder temps: cherries, hops., cough drops, honey, cinnamon. This is a complex taste- a different complexity than other beer styles such as Imperial stouts. There is less nuance here, and more crazy flavor. There is a singular cherry-honey taste.

As the beer begins to warm up- the esters become more apparent. Fruit- cherry, and a sweet finish.

There is also more cinnamon, hops, and a light alcoholic finish. The cherries intensify with warming.

With more warming there is an off taste- nail polish?

Perhaps I like this beer more at colder temps. The changes in the beer at different temps makes it quite notable.

This is a beer esteemed by The Mad.

 1,129 characters

Photo of bruachan
3.74/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

i poured as aggressively as possible, but the beer didn't care. i coaxed a sizeable head out of the bottle but POOF gone. brilliantly-clear-orange-tinted ruby color

tart raisiny fruit with an earlier slight cherry flavor. some bitterness. the 11% hides well amongst the esters; this elf is generally less mad than i was expecting. there's definitely balance here...is it fair to call it bland?

the standard yeasty belgian aroma is missing. i get caramel malts and a spicey hop and alcohol zing, but little of the classic belgian character, almost as if troegs didn't use an authentic yeast

EDIT: after i saw the bottle again, and the "holiday ale" label, i decided that to judge this beer as a "belgian strong ale" is missing the point. there was a nice spicing that was quite holiday-ish and it was actually incredibly drinkable

 838 characters

Photo of razorsdescent
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of kkmiller76
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of russwbeck
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage: Enjoyed fresh

A: No head or lacing. Beautiful clear dark red in color. 4

S: Malty with cherries. Bit of alcohol definitely coming through. The honey provides a much needed sweetness to balance. 3.5

T: Thank god this has significantly less of a cherry taste than Sam Adams Cherry Wheat. Delicious maltiness up front with the cherries on the back end. No hops at all here, finish is full of alcohol.4

MF: Very light. Bit of a tang from the carbonation on the palate. 3.5

D/O: Drink all Christmas long. I look forward to this one always. A PA staple, it'll warm you up, get you drunk, and you'll enjoy it the whole time. 4.5

2011 Vintage: Enjoyed March 2013

A: Clear red pour with a thin white head. Not a lot of bubbles active in the beer, but it looks pristine. 4

S: The cherries come out in a big way, sweet, but not medicinal. The malts also play a large role are integrate nicely with the booze this beer is known for. 4

T: The taste is very sweet, but the booze provides the balance. The cherries play a larger part than I remember them fresh. The maltiness makes itself known the most at the very backend, and the booze is the base throughout. The beer has mellowed, but the cherries are stronger which I did not expect. The booze calming down has definitely improved the taste. 4

MF: Light body without a lot of carbonation. The beer is very drinkable for how high the ABV is, especially given a year and a half to mellow. 4.5

O: This beer definitely improved with age. Glad I put down 4 or 5 from the last few years! Can't wait to see what happens next. 4.5

 1,588 characters

Photo of SharkNado
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of Camjmorton
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of cfinch2
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of clay23
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of djgustafson
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of mattcrill
3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to cmaruschak for the chance to sample this brew.

Appearance: Pours a deep cloudy brick red with a sudsy white head. The head quickly fades to veins of soapy film on top of the beer.

Smell: Enjoyable blend of honey, pineapple, pear, flowery citrus notes, and a touch of tart fruits. Smells more like a sweet wine than beer.

Taste: Like a tripel. Honey, figs, some clove, some of that Belgian yeast funk, and maybe a hint of under ripe bananas. Very fruity with just a touch of an estery finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, carbonated, and a warming finish that is left on the palate.

Drinkability: The alcohol is hidden well. Kind of sneaks up on you in the finish. The yeasty funk is something that keeps me from over doing it with these styles but it's blended well with the fruit presence. Really enjoyable. I don't know if it seems like a "holiday" beer to me but it's worth trying.

 907 characters

Photo of rojapa
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of Bogdawg
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Johnct
3.86/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Photo of sprucetip
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Though this one had virtually no head, and was only a little active, I score it pretty high because the clarity seemed extraordinary. Sort of light amber and exceptionally clear, it was very inviting and attractive.

SMELL Fruity boozy esters, mostly banana, were very strong but not very hot. It was also very sweet. The banana esters reminded me very much of the German wheat beers, and makes me wonder if they used that kind of yeast?

TASTE is malty sweet with short lived bitter cheery-like dark fruit up front. Alcohol is evident but not dominant. Balancing hops are perceptible and just a bit bitter. Pretty smooth, and growing on me...

FELL modest warming, rich full body, medium viscosity and a drying finish.

OVERALL Cloying would be too strong a description, but it's not hard to imagine some finding this way too sweet. Alcohol presence is restrained, thankfully, considering how much of it is in there. And there are some other interesting things going on in there, like the aforementioned banana smell and taste reminiscnet of German weiss beers. Definitely a sipper. Glad I tried it. Thank you BuckeyeNation for the great trade and hand delviery.

 1,165 characters

Photo of gpblackgt
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of zrab11
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of Dewsby
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L) The beer looks fantastic. It pours a ruby-tinted honey color with a similar viscosity. It honestly is almost more a pleasure to swirl than to drink.

S) The smell leaves some to be desired. It is great, but is not as strong as the taste. The Yeast strain dominates the nose, and while the maltiness and cherries are present, they seem submissive.

T) The beer tastes solid. The cherries are present, not sweet or tart, mostly the tannic, dark fruit characteristics present in the peel. The honey seems to mostly have fermented out, but there are some notes in there that blend harmoniously with the lovely malt brought to the table. The yeast does add something that wraps this beer together in a tight little package, it is quite nice.

F) The mouthfeel is lovely. It is as silky as some outmeal stouts I have had. An absolute pleasure to sip.

O) This is a good seasonal. Worth picking up and recommending for Belgian strong ale lovers.

 941 characters

The Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 3,961 ratings
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