Tröegs Mad Elf | Tröegs Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
87
very good
1,241 Reviews
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs Mad Elf
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Tröegs Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States | website

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:
1,241
Ratings:
3,809
Avg:
3.86
pDev:
15.28%
 
 
Wants:
228
Gots:
1,064
For Trade:
21
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,241 | Ratings: 3,809
Photo of IPAlmighty
4.52/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Great on tap, but if you buy it bottled it needs to be aged. Get a six and cellar it for a year or two. Solid for a cold winter night, a sipper of the first order.

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Photo of whitehouse50
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured this into my snifter. It has the color of dark reddish and ruby appearances. Aromas of sweet fruit with a slight bite to it. On the first sip you can notice the alcohol but that quickly fades as you can taste more sweet fruity flavors, definitely the cherries with hints of honey. Mouthfeel gets a slightly gummy or sticky after a few tastes but overall not bad. This one goes down relatively smooth considering its so high in alcohol. This is one of my favorite winter beers.

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Photo of Hoppington
3.82/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just picked this up to see what the big deal was. Poured from a 12oz bottle, it had no head and lace whatsoever - what head was there disapated quickly.

Mead-like smell with presence of honey and raisin notes. Dark amber with faint burgundy in color, and quite clear in the glass.

Taste is enjoyably sweet and malty with a hint of spice from the yeast. Cherry is faint and hardly noticable. Goes down nice and smooth - not too sticky despite its sweetness. Overall, a nice winter beer. Great to drink after sledding, making a snowman or gathering firewood. I would drink this seasonaly. Nice work Troegs!

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Photo of Outchillen
4.72/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ive had this on tap, and bottles

A: Nice ruby color. Clear with thin white head

S: Banana and clove belgian yeast, Honey and cherries

T: Sweet honey and cherries, a little clovey yeast, little boozey finish

M: Light to medium body. Medium carbonation.

O: Great winter warmer Belgian beer, sweet and silky smooth, one of my favorites of the year

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Photo of IceTrey9785
3.29/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Bought a six-pack for $13.99 at the Total Wine & More in McLean...

A: This beer looks great. I poured it relatively fast to develop a larger head, but it didn't really take. The beer seemed a little flat, with small amounts of lacing. The rich red color is fantastic...I couldn't wait to take a sip.

S: A rush of malty sweetness, faint hint of hops, but the cherry/honey in the brew gives off reminders of a cold weather medicine (maybe a lozenge or something...). Slightly oily on the nose, and a mild burn from the alcohol. I figured it might be around 10% -- 11% isn't too far out of the realm.

T&M: Excellent carbonation and creaminess -- the beer really fills your mouth, and engages the palate. The cherries hit about midway through the palate. Little to no hops, but the alcohol does the job of cutting the sweet aroma. A lot drier than I anticipated, and much more flavorful too. A nice tart cherry finish.

Overall I really like this beer. I don't want to drink two in a row, but perhaps with a nice dessert, it would be most welcome. Definitely a little too warm out for a beer of this magnitude -- on a cold winter day by a fire, and I think this beer would come alive. Highly recommended, especially given how much complexity this beer brewed with fruit really has.

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Photo of strictly4DK
3.77/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured into a Weyerbacher tulip glass.

A - Pours a translucent amber, head amounts to a thin film and recedes to nothing. No lacing.

S - Just as advertised, scent is primarily sweet honey, spicy, slightly tart cherries. Phenolic but not medicinal.

T - Up front is sweet honey, candied sugar, cherries, and possibly some raisins. Mid-palate it makes a big shift. Cloves and belgian spice bridges the gap to dry, tannic finish. Hints of fusel alcohol but not too hot.

M - Light bodied and slightly thin. Astringent due to the tannic finish but honey and some spice also remain on the palate.

D - This is a decent holiday seasonal but not sure it holds up to many other beers of the Belgian Strong Dark style. Tannins nicely balance how sweet this is upfront. Probably won't pick up another unless it's got some age.

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Photo of runningjoke
4.84/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into tulip glass with a nice amber color and a thick foamy head.
Smelled delicious with honey upfront followed with the spicy hops.
Tastes of tart cherries, honey, and spice. It fills the whole mouth with flavors. Sweetness on the tip of the tongue with tart, mouthwatering element in back. Alcohol fills the sinuses as the beer goes down (one of my favorite qualities).
It feels light in the mouth and goes down smooth.
This beer could be dangerous,as I could drink this all night, and I probably will.
Can't wait for next years release...it gives me something to look forward to.

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Photo of sbw138
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought a bottle from The Foodery, poured into a snifter.

Appearance - A nice deep deep amber/brown color. No signs of carbonation, a nice creamy very light brown head of a little more than one finger. A good looking beer.

Smell - A very yeasty smell right off the bat. Also picked up some darks fruits, almost a plum/prune scent.

Taste - Very sweet, with a combination of the malts thrown in. You can really taste the cherries at the end.

Mouthfeel - The overly sweetness gives it a little too thick of a consistency, but it is super smooth.

Drinkability - Good drinkability. Not one I would drink over and over again. I'd consider it almost a dessert beer.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of MaxBrewell
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a ruby-red color with a thin layer of an off-white head.

S- Spicy Belgian yeast mixed with sweet cherry, and maybe a bit of dark fruits.

T- Follows the nose with spicy yeast and cherry. Sweetness that finishes with warmth from the alcohol.

M- Medium-light bodied with average carbonation.

D- A pleasant variation on a winter warmer. The spicy yeast and the cherries are something that I look forward to each Winter.

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Photo of ellisdee97
3.4/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Light amber with a thin bubbly off white head, which leaves a nice ring. Bubbly lacing clings to the glass.

S: Deep mix of cherry, honey and alcohol. Toasted malt, a slight hint of hops and saccharin sweetness.

T: Very sugary sweet cherry and honey. Toast and warm alcohol. The cherry right now is too sweet but some age should help. Last year definitely had more of a deep chocolate base, which they coincidentally removed from the labels description.

M: Sweet, sticky and sugary. High carbonation.

D: Some age will help but right now it is too sweet. But a nice sipper overall.

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Photo of poundboy
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Obtained this bottle in a trade with GCBrewingCO. Thanks much for the opertunity.

Appearance: Red, not amber like a red ale, but red like toasted cherries. Minimal head as is common in high alcohol brews. Just the sort of ruby treasure you can imagine finding in a Mad Elf's cellar.

Nose: Indentifiable fruit scents, Alcohol undertones, A mild floral hoppiness and hints of sweet malt.

Taste: Begins with a sweet maltiness combined with the fruity spicy character I associate with trappist ales. True to its name, one sip begins to warm you right up. Finishes with the slighest hint of spice. Neither my finace or I could taste cherries.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, pleasant carbonation, creamy despite not being all that thick.

Drinkability: I could pound these back until I could no longer stand up, which would proabably be after say 2.5.

Overall a damn good brew. Perhaps not a classic but certainly one to seek out.

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Photo of jscondon
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours with little head, but the ring along the snifter stays present throughout. the amber color is deep and very red, while the nose has a strong alcohol scent emenating cherries and a slight maltiness. this is a think mouthy beer having an immense flavor, a very subtle cherry flavor that is not over bearing nicely balanced with hops. i really like this beer, and it will store!

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Photo of gromis
3.86/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a holiday favorite, as the brewery is nearby. Every year people wait for this to come out.

It pours a dark gold/amber color. Hardly any carbonation to speak of.

Smell is nothing out of the ordinary.

Taste: To me, the honey comes through. I really can't pick out the cherries that are supposed to be in this one. Very pleasant taste, bites a bit of alcohol.

Since I've been brewing my own beer, I've made the statement that commercial beers now taste like "Lite" beers to me. After having a Mad Elf, I had one of my homebrews and my homebrew tasted like a Lite beer. HEH!

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Photo of Mertzy81
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours a murky brownish-red with a decent head of off-white, coarse bubbles. No retention or lacing.

S: Aggressive nose of syrupy cherries. Hints of vinous grape, a bit of lactic acid, and sugary fruit juice.

T: Juicy cherries hit the palate, along with a smooth blend of spices, sweet and grainy malt, and Belgian yeast. Hints at cloying cough syrup but is pulled back by the malt and yeast. Bit of a smooth, medicinal honey sweetness. Fruity Belgian esters mix well with the cherries and honey. A bit of alcohol in the finish, but it's barely perceivable.

M: Relatively full body and fine carbonation.

O: This definitely grew on me as the glass drained. Can get a little cloying, but ultimately it's pretty balanced, and the hiddenness of the alcohol is remarkable for 11%.

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Photo of calise1122
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Late night kindle kept burning by Khiasmus.

Mad Elf, poured into a goblet while listening to Creed by STP.

A: A harsh pour yields a small cap of head hovering over a dark copper, oak stained brown colored beer in the glass. It's clear... in fact it actually magnifies... but with bubbles. Inviting? Yes.

S: Lots of that Belgium yeast that itches me the right way... berries, maybe cherries, but definitely something that ends in "ies". I always have trouble describing this smell... I want to say it smells earthy and musty, but not like the earthy musty beer that I lean on... a differnt smell I suppose, damnit... I guess I just can't pin it down. It may be my poor palate, it could be my lack of vocabulary... I can definitely say that it smells good.

T: Smells like it tastes and tastes like it smells... with a nice burn of alcohol. It has some honey, absolutely has some honey... and the cherry kind of parks itself in my cheeks. It is almost as if the cherries are trying to knock the crap out of the honey, but the honey backs itself into the corner and rope-a-dope's its way into a fair match. I am nearly positive that makes no sense, but that is how it feels.

M: Honestly, at this point... no matter what beer I poured it would be my last. If I started with this, it could go a long way. Is it drinkable in respect to a good session beer?... no, but it is drinkable and I have would never turn down the offer to have another.

D: See above!

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Photo of brianlg
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Finally had the chance to try this beer, although I wish it were snowing outside right now as I drink this. It pours a reddish brown with a small head. The head dissolves quickly. The beer smelled like honey, nuts, alcohol, and cherries. Upon first sip I was surprised how well the alcohol taste is hidden. This is very ell for a 11& ABV. Next thing you know, my pint glass is finished. IT tasted just like it smelled, honey, nuts, and subtle taste of sweet cherries. The store I purchased from has planty of these left, I will probably be back soon to buy another. After finishing the 1pint 6oz bottle I already feel it!

Great beer, can't wait to have this next Christmas!

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Photo of boblinneman
4.23/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Maybe a little young, but this barley wine is good. Dark ruby color looks great when held to light. Smells of sweet cherry and alcohol. The sweet honey/cherry flavor is balanced well with hops. Very clean finish with a lingering alcohol warmth. Wish the beer was bottled so I could age some.

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Photo of Gilgemesh
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured a very nice amber/ocher color with a 1 finger head that lasted only a few minutes. No lacing.
S: Wow. I really like the smell on this brew. I get apricots somehow as well as nutmeg or cinnamon. The honey comes through as an excellent balance to the slight undertones of malt and hops.
T: A sweet beer, but that's to be expected with the honey and the holiday style. I still get apricot with a bit of a cherry note.
M: Good carbonation. A slick, almost buttery consistency with a nice spicy finish.
D: I'm usually not a big fan of the taste of spiced or fruit infused beers, but this is a nice balance. It is a bit sweet for me, but not nearly as sweet as many of the belgians I've had lately. I will probably make this part of my holiday beer mix next year.

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Photo of Brouwerij78
4.92/5  rDev +27.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a delicious seasonal ale! A dark, cherry colored and fragrant ale worthy of the higher price tag. I bought this in a 6-pack (which is much more economical than the large bottle sold) and really enjoyed it's fruity, rich and slightly sweet flavor. This beer is a thicker style and is best enjoyed chilled in a thin baloon style wine glass to be sipped, savored and enjoyed! A treat indeed!

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Photo of Brewsky29
3.25/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a transparent red with quarter inch of fizzy head that dissipated quickly.

Smells of cherries,honey and spicy yeast.

The taste is very sweet honey fruity with alcohol warmth and a slightly fruity aftertaste.

Feels very fizzy, highly carbonated, warm. Almost wine like.

Overall its a nice change of pace. It is a little sweet for my taste, and I'm not sure if I would pick this one up again. Maybe just a single.

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Photo of Bebum
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Clear medium amber, no lace. Medium body, moderate flavor, high heat, avg length, fruity finish.
Sweet but enough bitterrness to keep it from being cloying.
Barley candy flavor, coca-cola.
Rich, enjoyable.

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Photo of pbass0
3.04/5  rDev -21.2%
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 stageseven
3.91/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Ap - The beer pours a deep reddish-brown, that's clear with few bubbles in the glass. It has an off-white head that's 1 finger thick from a very vigorous pour, but it quickly dissipated to leave just a little head on the brew.

Ar - is pleasant and fills the area quickly. From a distance, the smell is sweet and dominated by cherry. Closer in there's a malty grain smell that's maybe a little on the grassy side. I also noted hints of alcohol that reveals some of the 11% ABV. The sweet smell of honey is also present.

T - is sweet especially at first, I definitely noticed malt & honey. Not getting any bitterness really, just a light warm sensation on the tongue. The cherry is muted at first, but comes through a little more as it sits in the mouth. It's really more of a cherry liquor flavor, you can taste some of the alcohol in this one. I think I'm also getting just a touch of vanilla in the aftertaste, although I don't know why. This beer is actually reminiscent to me of the bottle of mead I purchased a while back. Probably mostly from the honey that is used in the brewing of Mad Elf. Unfortunately the honey lends a somewhat medicinal taste to the beer as well, but not so much that I would turn down a glass. I'm also a little reminded of Chimay Blue when I drink it, but I'm not sure why. The flavors also come out a bit as I go through the glass. The cherry got a little more tart and stronger.

M - of this beer is just great. It's got a medium body with a nice balance of carbonation for just the right amount of tingle. It coats the mouth lightly, leaving just a trace of smoothness on the teeth. It's warming, not too wet or dry going down, but a little more on the dry side. A little more rounded feel than crisp.

D - of this beer is not the highest. The taste is a little bit on the sweet side, so one at a time is enough. Still, it is good and even better as the glass progresses, and it's putting me in a festive mood.

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Photo of Arinthos
1.59/5  rDev -58.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

I had this brew at a christmas eve party out if a 24 or so oz. bottle. The break down goes something like this

A- This was a great dark ruby red aboslutelly th best part of this otherwise >>>>>> beer.

S- unfortunatelly the only smell was of bad alcohol kinda like a old english on steriods.

T- unfortunatelly the only taste was of bad alcohol kinda like a old english on steriods

M- Decent carbonation, but way overpowering alcohol burn in the throat horrible burn felt like a cheap cheap booze.

D- never again this was a really bad expierence didn't even finish it.

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Photo of steorn
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The mad elf enters the glass.A beautiful pour,red-hued,lovely. With an off white head full of active little bubbles.The scent of yeast, malt, and a restrained cherry sweetnes.I think I should taste it.A nice honey seetness encased in alcohol.Awonderful creamy mouthfeel.The cherry arrives ,gently though still accompanied by alcohol.The finish is nice ,slightly sour, fading gently away.This is nice.
Although eleven percent the Elf is amazingly drinkable.I had expected something more intense but instead have a rounded entertaining holiday ale in the glass( now more than half empty):)
Kudos to the one and only Feloniousmonk for introducing me to my new mad friend.

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Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 3,809 ratings.
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