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The Mad Elf | Tröegs Brewing Company

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The Mad ElfThe Mad Elf
BA SCORE
3.87/5
Very Good
3,980 Ratings
The Mad ElfThe Mad Elf
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Tröegs Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States
troegs.com

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
Ranking:
#8,650
Reviews:
1,282
Ratings:
3,980
pDev:
14.99%
Bros Score:
3.77
 
 
Wants:
236
Gots:
1,177
Trade:
24
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,980 |  Reviews: 1,282
Photo of largadeer
2.59/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle received from dyan in our latest trade. Thanks.

Appearance: Auburn in color, good clarity, reddish highlights. The head disappears within seconds of pouring, a byproduct of the 11% ABV and cherries I'd guess.

Smell: Fruity, sweet, bready, and a bit yeasty and medicinal. There's a touch of cherry, but it blends in with the malt and yeast.

Taste & mouthfeel: Malty sweetness paired with fairly reigned-in fruity esters. Cherry is evident in the taste but actually well balanced with the malt, more a subtlety than a dominant flavor, lending a mild tartness as well. This tastes like a bastardized Belgian quad. Some spicy phenols appear in the finish. Very medicinal and cough syrup-like. Bitterness is non-existent. Pretty tough to drink, not my favorite Troegs beer by a long stretch.

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Photo of Kurmaraja
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of mothman
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 Vintage

Poured into town hall chalice.

Pours hardly and khaki tan head. Fades down fast. Color is a ruby red copper.

Aroma: Cherries right away. Then I get some spice notes. I'd have to say it is ginger. A nice dose of honey with some biscuit flavored malts. This is a perfect holiday beer.

Taste: Lots of cherries and honey up front. Ginger and spice notes. Bready malts. Maybe some plums and molasses as well. This is a great treat for the holidays.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and refreshingly creamy. A very hint of heat. Medium bodied with a lower amount of carbonation, but that is fine since it is a year old. Ends pretty dry though.

Overall, I was impressed with this one and very drinkable for the abv and the little hint of booze that showed. I really enjoyed this one and it is a great seasonal.

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Photo of DrBier
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A reddish brown body is capped by a creamy tan head that holds fairly well and leaves some minor lace. The aroma is limited but expresses a soft maltiness, a light touch of alcohol, and a sharp fruitiness similar to cranberry (although cherries are actually used). The body is medium with a gentle, fine bubbled carbonation that leaves it creamy and smooth across the palate. The flavor comes alive with an exceptional balance of light spice, juicy & mildly tart cherry, and a chocolate-tinged malt. The cherry flavor becomes clearer as it crosses the palate, coat-tailed by a firm bitterness and some noticeable alcohol. It finishes dry with only minimal lingering malt notes. Well done and highly drinkable. Somewhat Belgian in character due to the fruit and spice. An exceptionally enjoyable beer that's well worth seeking out.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.84/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served on-tap at Rattle N Hum in New York, NY

A: Pours a clear dark copper in color with some amber highlights and moderate amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall light beige head that reduces to a ver thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of cherries and dark fruit with some light notes of spices.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of malts with some dark fruit sweetness and cherries. Additionally, there are notes of honey contributing to the overall sweetness and a light to moderate amount of spice. Very light amounts of bitterness in the finish which fade quickly.

M: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Light hints of dryness in the finish.

O: This beer is pretty easy to drink due to the fact that the rather high ABV is well hidden. This is a good sipping beer, with a decent amount of complexity but too strong for anything other than slowly sipping.

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Photo of jlindros
3.65/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Heard a lot of good things about this beer, so figured I better review it.

A: A light head develops of about 1/2 inch. It's brilliantly clear with an amber orange brown color with a big bright reddish hue, really presenting those cherries.

N: A very Belgian strong ale nose, with lots of sweet Belgian malts, slight yeast, and a big alcohol kick. Some light toasty bread malts trickle through, and hints of cherry beckon at you in a nice subtle way. Perhaps a slight spice and other things nice (see what i did there?)

T: Very much of a Belgian strong to start. Lots of Belgian malts, sweet malts and some sugar, some yeasty flavors. A big alcohol taste dominates too. Spicy flavors and warming alcohol. Some spicy flavors, possibly from the Belgian yeasts. A slight tangy fruit also comes through, but I don't get much for cherry anymore, unless that's the tangy fruit. I think I do get a little honey, and that probably shows on the dry finish... Ah, I got some dry cherries finally. It's pretty light but I finally got some.

M: Super warmth and alcohol burn. The alcohol is somewhat like bourbon in it's burn. It has very light carbonation and is pretty light.

F: Finishes really dry and really rips the paint, er skin off your tongue. The alcohol is so heavy and tastes like burning. You can feel it all the way down the throat. Some light sweet Belgian sugars stick around a bit, and the slight yeasty flavors also linger for a bit. Overall not a light finish, but not too bad all things considered.

Final thoughts: A pretty nice Belgian strong ale, lots of Belgian sweets and malts and yeast, etc. Some spices, little honey, tangy fruit, not much on the cherry front. The only issue I see is that the alcohol is a little too overbearing. I think that could have been throttled back a bit. Otherwise a nice beer, sippin beer.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.52/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired via trade from Silent Sabre, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him.
Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright copper color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of dark fruit (cherries & raisins) and caramelized malt, with a faint touch of Belgian yeast.

T: Flavors of dark fruit & Belgian yeast hit you up front and are pretty much the dominant flavors throughout. There’s a subdued malt character and the 11.00% ABV is no where to be found. After-taste is fruity.

M: Extremely smooth, light carbonation, light-to-medium body, clean finish.

D: Very tasty, not filling at all, goes down very easily. I’m not sure how the high ABV gets hidden so well in a beer that’s as light as this one, but it makes this beer dangerously drinkable. This is an excellent beer. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

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Photo of oberon
4.23/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice find last night at the Spring House Drafting Room,pours a nice ruby red with a nice creamy,sticky head,aroma is spicey with a light smoky tinge to it.I got the flavors of spiced cherries with tha light smokey flavor with some alcohol note as it warms.Troegs is one of my favorite PA brewers and this offering reinforces that thought.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.87/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pours reddish brown with a nice off white head with moderate staying power, although it does not leave a terrible amount of lace behind. The nose brings some dark fruits, Belgian yeast, and light cherry notes. A bit of booze and some spice. The taste is dark fruits and cherries with a bit of sweet bread. The feel is nice and medium with good carbonation and a nice alcohol warmth. Pretty good fresh, but this definitely takes on a new character with some age; looking forward to reviewing it in that manner.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Medium grade maple syrup

S - Bright but not overpowering. Raspberry, citrus hops, clove.

T - A fun beer. The flavors are interesting and meld into each other surprisingly well. There isn't any one flavor that stands up and smacks you in the face. Primary flavors are clove, allspice, and brown breads. Touch of bitter melon and bananas deep in the profile.

M - Light body but not overly so. Smooth mouth feel. Finishes sweet with a touch of warm alcohol.

D - Very drinkable. Spice profile isn't overwhelming and there's enough flavor to keep you coming back.

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Photo of billab914
4.01/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. Poured a deep mahogany color with a little cherry redness coming through in the light. It had a thin spotty white lacing floating on the top of the beer for a head, with a little more concentrated around the edges.

The aroma shows a lot of the sweet honey and cherry flavor. I'm getting a little malty, caramel, dark fruit and a slight alcohol aroma as well. As it warmed I seemed to get a little more spicy, cinnamon or nutmeg aroma from it. Very nice aroma, I like the cherries in it a lot.

The taste is a lot like the nose suggests in that the cherries and honey really come through in helping to give it a moderate sweet fruity taste. The malt also helps give it a strong base and brings some caramel and dark fruit flavors of it's own. The alcohol shows a little in the finish but that I guess is expected in an 11% beer. Like the nose some spices started showing up the more it warmed.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation being on the lower side. Drinkability is very good for being 11% abv. I really liked the cherry flavors in it, and I love cherries in general so this is a very drinkable beer for me. I will note that I actually liked it better when it was colder. It seemed to have more of a sweet cherry flavor when colder and it gained more of a malty, spicy almost Christmasy flavor when warmed. It wasn't bad warmer I just liked the cherry flavor when I first opened it better.

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Photo of smithj4
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of Rifugium
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at ? (Eulogy maybe)

I have Mad Elf more on tap these days than in bottles, and the profile is similar, though perhaps they've mellowed out a bit with the recipe so that the taste isn't completely overwhelming. Pours--typically into a stem glass--copper-brown with reddish-orange hues that become more visible in the light. Typically, as with the bottle, an off-white head that retains and laces well, and perhaps is more pronounced when being served on tap. Nose of fruitcake, cherries, honey, dark malts, raisins, and cloves. Some alcohol notable. The taste follows the smell almost to a "t," with complex flavors of dark caramel malts, honey and brown sugar, cherries and raisins, and subtle spice. Some alcohol burn. Medium bodied, full-flavored, and highly desirable. I give it points off overall, because despite the fact that I do like it, it is one of the most inconsistent beers year to year as far as flavor goes.

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Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Kegatron
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at the New Cumberland Elephant & Castle Pub during their annual Troegs Christmas in July event.

Pours a dark, clear ruby red color with a 1/4 finger of creamy eggshell colored head. A soft ring of retention and thin wisps that skim the top leave behind some thin strands of lacing. The aroma is a big time cherry blast of tartness but there is just enough honeyed sweetness to balance things out. There is also a bit of alcohol beef in the bouquet that reminds you that your about play with fire.

The taste is just the same as the aroma and still has a surprisingly fresh feel to it. Cherries dominate the profile but are extremely well balanced with sweetness from the honey notes and maybe some darker feeling malts. The mouthfeel had a medium to full body with not a lot of carbonation but still maintains a slick and smooth feel on the palette. There is also a good bit of heat in the overall feel but the flavors and body more than help cover up any stinging effects from it.

I love this beer because of it's simplicity. Cherries + Honey + Alcohol. It's as simple as that and it's a credit to the well balanced nature of this, that it doesn't come out tasting like cough syrup. It's all so smooth and easy on the palette, that the ABV of this can creep up on you very unexpectedly. Packed with festive flavors and toasty feel, this is a perfect for the holidays or anytime your looking for a warm and flavorful pick-me-up from a beer.

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Photo of wethorseblanket
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of paulish
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of Gkruszewski
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of smcolw
3.25/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Minor head to start that quickly settles to rim bubbles only. No lasting lace whatsoever. The color is deep amber, almost brown. Crystal clear.

Smells of Belgian yeast. Sweet aroma of honey. Some spice that reminds me of oregano. Complex and interesting. Light alcohol warmth.

Cloyingly sweet. Very, very rich body. The carbonation seems quite low. Strong alcohol presence in the swallow and the brief aftertaste--the potency of this beer is very evident. The yeast flavor is more muted than the smell would suggest.

Although the smell might indicate complexity, the taste does not follow through.

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Photo of nathanmiller
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of ZEB89
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of russpowell
4.16/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an effervescent caramel/red with a thin filmy head. Minmal lacing & no head retention

S: Sweet, fruitty & hints of cherry& oakyness& a little booze as it warms

T: Dry with berry/cherry notes up front. Some woody/oaky character & a slight medicinal twang comes through. I also catch a little vanilla as it warms. A little warming alcohol is present as it warms. Finishes winey with cherry notes, slight chocolate & dryness

MF: Extremely low carbonation & slick

Drinks really easy for the abv, something a little different, but 2 of these beauties & you're done, This took the chill off a brutal winterstorming evening & certainally got me in the holiday mood! This would work with turkey or fruitcake. Mad props to GnomeKing for this one.

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The Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 3,980 ratings
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