Tröegs The Mad Elf | Tröegs Brewing Company

BA SCORE
87
very good
3,933 Ratings
Tröegs The Mad ElfTröegs The 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
Ratings:
3,933
Reviews:
1,272
Avg:
3.85
pDev:
15.06%
 
 
Wants:
233
Gots:
1,142
For Trade:
24
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,933 |  Reviews: 1,272
Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.73/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Reddish copper, emphasis on the red, and as clear as a pealing Christmas bell. The head is beige in color, fluffy in consistency and starts to recede even as I'm pouring. It does leave a little bit of nice lace, but only a fingernail-thin film on top of the beer.

Alcohol is appreciated in the nose, which isn't surprising given the lofty ABV. I'm trying to convince myself that there are cherries in the nose, but I can't quite manage it. I started drinking at an estimated 55 degrees and got quite a bit of alcohol in my first sip. Bear with me while I let it warm a little more...

There's some fruity sweetness, but again, I'm not certain that I can pick out the cherries. The beer is definitely malty and isn't hoppy in the least. Even with warming, alcohol plays too big a role. 'Medicinal', as a previous reviewer stated, gets it about right.

I drink scotch and bourbon (90-100 proof, neat), but I don't appreciate tasting alcohol, at least to this extent, in my beer. In Mad Elf's case, it overpowers the flavor of cherries and honey, which should be quite nice. An even higher ABV can be almost completely hidden in a fuller, richer beer, but this one isn't either of those. The mouthfeel is merely decent.

I really thought I'd like Mad Elf and was looking forward to the entire sixer. That is, until I drank the first one. If I want a good Christmas brew, I'll reach for a Great Lakes Christmas Ale or a Corsendonk Christmas.

 1,440 characters

Photo of drewone
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of duceswild
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of Jason
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12 oz brown bottle with a bottled on date printed on the neck.

Appearance: Quick to give two fingers of foam but the crackling leads to a ring of lace and very little head. Brilliantly red in colour, dark red at that.

Smell: Sweet malt, touch of bitter phenols and a hint of cherries in the back. Faded whiff of alcohol throwing some rosy esters.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Alcohol is evident in the full bodied and malty brew. Lots of sweetness on the palate of malt and a kiss of juicy cherries. Spicy phenols help to balance a bit … very little hop character to be had. Suggestions of brown bread and toasted husk middle to end, nice juicy burst of fruit in the middle as well. Finish with a sweet, alcoholic and spicy kick.

Notes: Perhaps one of the most interesting beers I have run into for a long time. Highly complex yet this bottle seems a touch green … you have to wonder what a year or two in the cellar would yield.

 948 characters

Photo of paulish
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of mikesgroove
3.46/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this one up as an extra in a trade late in the summer and have had it in the fridge waiting to be cleared out for a while. Decided to use this one as a solid nightcap last night. Served chilled and poured into my newly acquired darkness snifter. This was consumed on 11/12/2008.

The pour was rather nice. A honey colored amber coming forward with a good amount of haze to it. Nice carbonation could be seen trickling up from the bottom of the glass and the overall look was very similar to some meads that I have had. Nice touch of white popped up on the top and settled down gracefully, capping off the package very well.

The aroma hit me right off the bat. Nice touch of honey and a small bit of sweet fruit, I am guessing cherries here by looking at the label, though a bit too sweet for my tastes. Interesting mix now of a very grainy base coming through as it warms. I have to admit though it was a bit too sweet and a touch light for me. The flavor was more of the same. Light touches of grain and malty flavors making up the base, but the honey and sweet fruit notes were all very much there and very easily detectable. Lots of honey and mead like flavor in the finish with a light spike of alcohol coming through at the end. Decent carbonation on this medium bodied ale as it felt just about right in consistency. Alcohol well hidden for as strong as it was, though I will admit the sweetness took its toll on me after a while.

Overall not a bad beer, but not what I was hoping to get into. A little bit rough on the sweetness and just not enough balance and tart fruit flavor to counteract it. Still though a solid effort and not something I would turn my nose up at if offered.

 1,698 characters

Photo of ZEB89
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Slatetank
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had a pint of this on tap at Brewhouse grille in Lemoyne, PA.

A - A very clear bright crimson w/ amber highlights and a very thin white cap w/ ultra fine bead. The clarity is very transparent w/ carbonation visible as it quickly rises

S - the smell is sweet and honey-like w/ an aroma that has mild fruit notes and subtle malt aroma. The mild hint of alcohol is apparent

M - A srong vinous feel w/ smooth full and thick body w/ slight alcohol warmth and moderate carbonation w/ gentle sweetness

T - A crisp, fruit taste at first followed by a slight honey flavor and strong alcohol flavor w/ a mild creamy malt taste. There is very light cherry tinges which are dry and have a mild tannic element w/ honey-like sweetness that coats the palate after the glass is drained

D - Let's be honest this is a strong beer and the taste only hides it slightly w/ little real fruit flavor to speak of and lots of alcohol which isn't something I personally find to be all that drinkable. I admit it is pretty smooth for the abv, with honey not overpowering, but too much for more than 1 IMO.

 1,086 characters

Photo of mdfb79
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Have had this a few times but most recently this weekend at Eatonville in DC. Served in a mason jar type glass.

a - Pours a reddish amber color with one inch of off white head and low carbonation evident.

s - Smells of Belgian yeast, cherries, sweet dark fruits, spices, bready malts, bananas, and light sugar. Pretty nice nose.

t - Tastes of cherries, light dark fruits, Belgian yeast, light spice, and bready malts. Taste is a slight step down from the nose. Not as much fruit or as strong as the nose.

m - Medium body and low to moderate carbonation. Smooth and doesn't feel like 11% ABV at all.

o - Overall a pretty nice Belgian Strong Dark. Nose is very nice and full of cherries, though the taste wasn't quite as fruity. Definitely didn't feel like 11% ABV, would have it again next winter.

 801 characters

Photo of Gkruszewski
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of womencantsail
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to TroyG2352 for sending a bottle of this in a recent trade.

A: The pour is a clear amber color with a thin off-white head and nothing in the way of lacing.

S: There's a heavy spice component to the nose along with some fruity Belgian esters and alcohol.

T: The spice is once again very strong along with a very noticeable sweet pear flavor. The sweet caramel malt and a light sugary flavor provide some additional sweetness.

M: I was surprised by the fact that this is fairly light and crisp on the tongue.

D: Unfortunately, this beer didn't seem to be all put together. Luckily, the flavor is better than the nose, but not amazing in any sense.

 658 characters

Photo of orangesol
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served thru a dogfish randall-the-animal with brandy soaked cherries and vanilla.

A - Pours deep, dark, amber with no head at all leaving minimal lacing down the glass. Looks like normal mad elf with no head.

S - Lots of cherrie skin aroma that lingers for some time. A bit of booze from the brandy but it is hidden very well. Very nice nose.

T - Cherries up front that carry thru the entire drink. Middle is a nice mix of cherrie and a bit of chewy malt. Finish is strong with a bit of cherrie syrup and plenty of booze. This has to be close to twenty percent after the brandy was added. It is hidden so well it is honestly scary.

M - Medium body with a heavy flavor and moderate carbonation. Tart finish with plenty of booze lingering on the pallet.

D - Fairly high. I loved this one but after having so many beers already this was the final straw, I had to leave after this one. I have had normal mad elf, splinter red aka BA mad elf, and yet this was the best mad elf I have ever had. The balance was great but the ABV is so high you just can't have more than one.

 1,073 characters

Photo of Zaphog
3/5  rDev -22.1%

Photo of TMoney2591
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter.

Thanks to VDubb86 for sharing these bottles!

After enjoying this stuff a bunch back in my NoVa days, I was stoked to get to try some more, thanks to my boy VDubb, who cracked some '07 and '08 bottles. This stuff pours a clear sunrise amber topped by a half-finger of relatively short-lived off-white foam. The nose comprises cherry, honey, fig, dates, caramel, light biscuit, and mandarin orange. The taste brings in more of the same, along with a pinch of black pepper and nutmeg. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a slick-ish feel. Overall, a rather enjoyable brew, one that doesn't overdo the spices and/or fruit, which many winter brews have a tendency to do. Good times.

 738 characters

Photo of thatoneguymike
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of johnnnniee
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2007 bottling Enjoyed 12/19/2008

Pours a clear red brown with a smallish off white head that disappears quickly. Smells of Cherries, plums, dried fruit, malt, spicy yeast. Tastes of cherry and sweet malt, a bit of alcohol, some yeast funk. I'm not picking up much at all in the way of hop aroma or taste. This bottle is over a year old, so I think what little hop it had has long gone. Body is medium to thick, Mouthfeel is syrupy sweet, carbonation is low. The 11% is well hidden with only a trace of alcohol in the taste. I found it to be a sweet Belgian dark and had to sip this one most of the way down. Not bad, but a bit sweet for my taste, maybe a bit more hops could have helped this one out. I hope to try one fresh someday.

 734 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.84/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On draft at Zella's in Baltimore, MD. Served in a Chimay goblet.

A: Virtually flat. Perhaps 1/16 inch head that left no lacing. The color is a pretty ruby-tinged brown. The beer is light enough to see through easily, which I found rather surprising.

S: cherries, sweet malt, Belgian yeast, alcohol

T: A delicious take on a Belgian Strong Dark beer, this brew has an assertive sweet cherry flavor. Belgian yeast and a pleasant malty taste make this an enjoyable beverage. The beer definitely has an alcohol kick, though it is surprisingly not harsh. Well done.

M: more carbonation needed. ABV hidden fairly well

D: A bit too sweet for me to drink more than one. Also, the cherries, while great, would become excessive after a while.

 736 characters

Photo of BeerForMuscle
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of BMart
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of dfhhead25
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of InspectorBob
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of stakem
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Second review of mad elf for the year, this time on tap.

Pours a very clear orange color with a bit of redness about it and a minimal amount of white head that is quick to dissapear. Nose is your typical belgian including phenols, clove, spice, fruity sweetness and a warming kick of alcohol astringency in the end. Where this beer deters from the normal belgian is in the sweetness of the aroma. It is quite reminescent more of honey and cherry. Taste includes just about everything you would expect from the aroma: a bit of clove and spice, sweetness exaggerated by cherry/honey and a quite warming finish. Feel of this beer is light and moderately carbed. Overall it is a nice sipper and I enjoy this beer while looking forward to it again each holiday.

The noticable differnces from this beer on tap verse the bottle is that the mouthfeel is significantly lighter but that is probably mostly in part due to the higher level of carb than the bottle version.

 962 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.29/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found on draft at Mad Mex the Robinson location, I was just excited to see at tap handle from Troeg's. Appearance: Ruby tinted thin creamy white head little lacing alcohol wards this off. Aroma: Cherries soaked in alcohol with a mild tartness in the air, spices bringing more Christmas cheer, and the malts used a much more complex than bringing out a caramel / mild cocoa scent. Taste: Is comparable to a cherry liquer massive alcohol note sweeps the palate, very warming spicy with tart sweetness and a soft finish this one ties it together. Mouthfeel: Troeg's went MAD this beer has crazy amount of alcohol kicking, full syrupy mouthfeel definitely a one glass at a time type brew. Drinkability: Didn't get tired of the rich tones thought it would be overbearing I was served sixteen ounces of this fine nectar for six bucks not a bad deal.

 843 characters

Photo of ejimhof
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

Photo of tdm168
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - ruby amber with a soft, off white head

S - sugar, faint belgian yeast, some spice

T - cherries, sugar, belgian yeast, faint spice, faint alcohol

M - medium bodied, warm, good carbonation

This was a really nice beer. I thought it had great balance and flavor. The cherries were a nice touch to the Belgian yeast and spice. They aren't tart or sour. I was very impressed. I would have given a higher score if the flavor was more than cherries with underlying notes meaning I wish it had more of a Belgian character. As it is this is a very good beer that is definitely worth your time.

 591 characters

Tröegs The Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 3,933 ratings.
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