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Tröegs Mad Elf | Tröegs Brewing Company

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1,241 Reviews
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs 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: 1,241 | Ratings: 3,811
Photo of GOBLIN
3.99/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aromas of cherries. Slightly boozy taste but at 11% it's not really an issue. Decent amount of carbonation. I always look for this around Christmas time as it is a favorite of mine. Get a little extra whenever you see it and age it a year . . . The honey will really come through and add a new dimension to this brew. Perfect for those cold winter months.

 355 characters

Photo of CGiusti23
3.61/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 3.75

I really enjoyed Troegs Mad Elf. It had a great after taste and for having a high ABV, it was pretty smooth. The only problem I found with it, as well as others around my have said, is that it's one of those beers you could only have one or two in one sitting. Overall a great beer for the holidays.

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Photo of RVigz
4.34/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: The appearance of this beer is a ruby red color with about a quarter inch of head that dissipates quickly.

S: the smell is a sweet cherry and malty smell

T: the taste is similar to the smell, with a prominent cherry taste upfront with a slightly malty/alcoholic aftertaste. slight vanilla chocolate aftertaste that fades out with honey. very delicious. I drank this beer from a tulip glass.

M: mouthfeel was very smooth and not too carbonated, sweetness overpowered alcohol.

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Photo of KTCamm
4.48/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a bottle into a tulip glass. 1/14

Pours crimson red with very little foam. Cranberry juice appearance. Cherry oak nose. Honey too. Pickly taste, oaky back. Firm alcohol pop. Sips great, and packs a sneaky wallop. Earth bitter in back. Great for a cold day. Excellent.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.61/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Got this as an extra but forget from who. Thanks awesome trader. Bottle says 2010-2011 so I assume this has been in a cellar for a while. Pours murky amber colored with nearly no head at all. A nice aroma of super sweet caramel, cherries, honey, some booze, maybe some Belgian yeast influence. Flavor is bready malt with a bit of yeast spice, definite sweet cherry presence, caramel, plums, figs. Big heavy slick mouthfeel with low carbonation. Definitely on the sweet side but pretty enjoyable. A bit of oxidization has settled in but that's ok. I would have this again.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
3.79/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a deep red with a very thin white head. The head dissipates extremely quickl.

S - Cherries and yeast with some maltiness.

T - Cherries right upfront with lots o banana, clove, and bubblegum flavors. There is also a good alcohol in the finish.

M - Medium body with high carbonation. Sticky mouthfeel.

O - Nice holiday beer. Definetly a sipper.

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Photo of HattedClassic
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The beer pours a fairly light and off white head that dissipates quickly. The beer itself is a beautiful and clear ruby red. The smell has strong hints of honey and a fruity yeast smell but very little else. The cherries also come out and mix very well with the other smells.

The taste has strong cherry and honey taste with a hop and fruity taste from the yeast. The combination of the ingredients also create a slightly strawberry flavor as well. The taste comes out a little bit medicine like with the cherries but not too much. Slight hint of booze.

The feel is a little bit flat with almost no carbonation. Creamy feel. Overall, a decent beer and nice on a cold night.

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Photo of MacQ32
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage

A - pours a cloudy amber brown with a finger of tan colored head, OK retention and pretty decent but loose lacing.

S - Sweet cherries, honey, slightly sour, oaky booze aromas.

T - sweet honey and light boozyness, cherries. A little Mediciny due to the cherry+booze combo but very nice. Quite well balanced/tame

M - minimally carbonated, smooth, silky and nicely drinkable.

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Photo of Damian
3.87/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Drank from a 12 fl.oz. bottle
Served in a goblet

The gorgeous, crystal clear, ruby colored liquid was capped by a super creamy, bubbly and tight, light tan crown that billowed over the top of the goblet. With time, the head faded to a thick collar. Drippy patches of lacing trickled down the glass.

The nose was quite punchy and sweet. Fruity esters from the Belgian yeast notes were immediately apparent. Intense cherry notes. I picked up hints of apple and pear as well. The yeast also contributed a mild powderyness. As the beer warmed, the cherry presence became sweeter and more intense.

The flavor profile was pleasant initially but became somewhat cloying with time. Lots of sweet cherry notes. Hints of apples and strawberries were also detectible. Like in the nose, the Belgian yeast notes lent the beer strong fruity esters. Caramel and dark candi sugar came through as well. Rich and malty. Spicy with hints of clove. As the beer sat, the cherry flavor became progressively stronger and sweeter, and it eventually reminded me of cherry cough syrup.

On the palate, the beer felt quite flat. The liquid contained a super fine and mild carbonation that was rather uncharacteristic for the style. Slightly creamy.

Although this beer was tasty and hid its high alcohol presence remarkably well, I found the syrupy cherry flavor to be overdone and the resulting beer to be rather cloying. I would love to see how this beer tastes without the addition of honey, as it certainly does not need it.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
3.79/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.5

Mad Elf pours a reddish color with no head. There are strong Belgian candy flavors, with good hints of cherries. The taste has strong cherry flavors, lots of Belgian candy notes, and a yeasty like aftertaste. Very full body, and full flavors. Overall its a sweet and spicy beer.

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Photo of MadCat
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Very clear brown, good head, no lacing

Smell: Cherries and malt

Taste: Cherries up front, then maltiness, with some interesting yeast flavors that could use a little toning down. Could be fantastic with age.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, low carbonation. A little boozy on the finish

Overall: Good ice cold, gets worse as it warms. I think with some age it could be way better, the flavors need to marry a bit better.

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Photo of dbl_delta
3.74/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Fresh growler into pint glass. Pours a beautiful reddish-amber with a thin light-tan head. Initial impression is cherries and booze. There is a little bit of hops bite at the very end, but the cherries dominate throughout and linger. Medium mouthfeel; medium carbonation. Alcohol is up front and obvious. A good seasonal sipper, I suppose, but I couldn't take a steady diet of this stuff.

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Photo of WheelsPSU
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bought a single 12 ounce bottle from the local beer shop. Cracked it open with the future Mrs. two days before Christmas.

I drank this straight from the bottle so I can't tell much about the color. Sacrilege, I know.

The beer produced a very light scent of candied cherries and medication. But not like cough syrup because it didn't have an artificial scent.

The taste was sweet cherry upfront followed by cream and honey which ends with a sour cherry twang. That was the enjoyable part. The taste that I did not care for was spicy Belgian yeast. Totally ruined the beer for me.

I preferred this beer a lot more as it warmed. Possibly because the honey becomes more pronounced. The alcohol is extremely well concealed. I would have had no idea this was 11% without the checking the label.

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Photo of WunderLlama
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into glass

Ruby red with faint carbonation. Two finger white foam cap quickly settles into a fizzy layer with no lacings.

Aroma of spices, cloves, pepper and hint of cherry and alcohol.

Smooth start. Sweet malt, bubblegum, slight carbonation. Medium mouthfeel.

Visited the Troegs brewery last week and had Mad Elf on tap, excellent. Bottled version is very good, sweet winter warmer with a deceptive alcohol kick. At 11% abv! it sneaks up on you. Very good beer and worthy if stocking up the fridge for those long, cold winter nights.

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Photo of RandomExile
3.51/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: ruby/amber, translucent; scant light brown head almost immediately becoming a film, scattered or no lacing
S: deeply yeasty, . fruity
T: bubblegum and cherry, banana, clove/spice, yeasty, definite banana aftertaste
M: thin but coating; most of the bite surprisingly seems to come from carbonation rather than the high abv, although there's a bit of an alcohol follow-on
O: A little too sweet/candyish, but overall decent. Not worth seeking out.

12oz / Tulip Glass / Victoria Gastro Pub, Columbia, MD

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Photo of farrago
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The head is on the thin side, a semi-deep tan color, not very dense and evaporates swiftly, average lacing without much stick. The liquid is an attractive coppery red with a dark orange tint, large amount of super tiny bubbles swirl about inside, excellent clarity does not weaken the richness of hue, handsome. The nose is full but not soft, filled with sweet honey, molasses, baking spices , candied orange peel and a mix of cola and chocolate, the cherries come through clearly, consistent and unambiguous, no secrets hidden. Full-bodied, Walks at a good pacing, not brisk, but on no leisurely stroll either, the carbonation fluffs it up when needed. The citrus is mixed but helps temper the honey, caramel, chocolate stuff. The cherry fruit base pulled in opposing directions by plum and strawberry flavors. Cola, maybe licorice, there is a sweet smokiness to it as well. Not really as well spiced as one might hope for a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, maybe more like a Winter Warmer. The length is so-so. In a fun and convivial environment you could easily through 3-4 of these back in spite of the ABV, alone at home, one, maybe two. There’s no intellectual hook.

 1,166 characters

Photo of zookerman182
3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is a ruby red with a one finger off white head.
Aroma is cherries and yeast.
Flavor is cherries, somewhat salty and has a soy saucy after taste.
Not boozy at all but just off flavors not bitter, just cherries.
Mouthfeel is ok, flavor goes away fast.
Not my favorite holiday beer just not horrible by any means.

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Photo of kevintaraross
3.47/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this on draft in Lancaster, PA (near this Brewer) over the weekend. Very Good in a warm pint glass.

Had this today in a big-boy bottle - much better - more flaverful - less head/less holding "power" BUT better mouth "feel" than on draft.

Would buy the bottle and draft again.

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Photo of tillmac62
4.19/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a beautiful ruby amber with a reasonable head and lacing. The nose is of cherries against a slight chocolate coupled with a typical Belgian yeast aroma. It also has hints of sweetness and alcohol. Almost medium body with good carbonation. Nice slick mouthfeel. A superbly balanced beer, with a flavor profile similar to the nose. Tart cherry over a nice sweetness with a chocolate background. For an 11% alcohol brew, this one hides it well - but you get the nice burn all the way through. Crisp finish with a burst of flavor from the carbonation that brings the spice flavor to the forefront. The finish is also where the alcohol becomes more evident as the beer nears room temperature.

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Photo of joeboe2001
3.06/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Is there something different--and I don't mean better--about ME2013? My wife and I eagerly ordered pints last night at our favorite watering hole. We have enjoyed ME annually since about 2002, and eagerly anticipate it's release each year. But this year--at least last night, In Chester, MD--it tasted like a different brew. Very malty, as usual, but a distinct lack of the cinnamon, cardamom, anise, and other wintry spices we thought we were used to. Still drinkable, but we did not go back for seconds!

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Photo of mattbk
3.79/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A: Nice amber red color, good color for a holiday ale. Appears well carbonated, but bubbles are moving fairly lazily through the drink, indicating this may be a bit viscous. Nice creamy head as well.
S: Interesting aroma - quite tart, fruity. underlying dark fruit, raisiney, pruney almost. I guess it could be cherry. Almost molasses as well. Not very aromatic, but whats there is very interesting.
T: Wow, very interesting. Very fruity, dark fruit, but not in a traditional way - probably because there is actually fruit in here. I think prunes (maybe even stewed) is the best description - which doesn't make the beer sound too appealing. There is something Belgian about the beer, some esters or funk kicked off. I would guess this is a Trappist yeast used, the flavor is familiar to an American-made dubbel. I like this, it's not delicious or anything like that - but it is very interesting. I don't think I could have more than one of these.
M: Adding to the lack of wanting more is the heavy mouthfeel. The beer definitely tends toward the sweet side. It is bordering on syrupy.
O: A fascinating beer, one for in front of the fireplace. A sipper. Share a bottle with a few friends.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Picked up a few bottles of this at Premier Gourmet in Buffalo - been meaning to try this for a while.

Poured into a goblet. Nice bright cherry red and caramel, with a a thin crown of head that yields just a bit of lace. It's a boozier beer, that's for sure.

Nose is cinnamon, spices, a bit of cherry, Belgian yeast, raw honey, sugar, and booze.

There's a mild tartness from the cherries, some mild malt, good mix of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg), honey, a bit of chocolate, and a boozy Barleywine quality to it. The cherries remind me a great deal of a mead that is made just outside of Niagara, in which some sour cherries are added to the mix. The interplay of honey and cherry is quite enjoyable - different enough that I'm appreciating every sip for what it is.

Good heft to the brew, certainly has that "Belgian barleywine" feel to it. Well-carbonated, just a bit syrupy.

Unique Christmas brew experience, that's for sure. I enjoyed it a great deal.. The 11% certainly helped me enter into that blissful sleepy state I love to be in when I stare vacantly at my Christmas tree, savoring the colours, the lights and the decorations.

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Photo of brureview
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
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.

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Photo of utopiajane
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a handsome deep amber with hues of copper and with a cherry blush. There is gold hue around the edges and even some orange like color. Yeast is floating around in suspension and the head is fat , tan and falls pretty quickly to a ring and film on top. It's clear enough to see the individual particles of yeast that dapple the body of the beer. No real lace except a few spots.

The nose is dripping with honey. Raw and sweet it is the most prominent feature of the nose. It even smells a bit sugary. There is a smooth and soft yeast that promises a bit of earth and has just a faint touch of cedar wood. The cherries are ripe and sweet and the malt is soft on the nose except for a light candy sugar and hint at flaky biscuit. Bit of spice to tickle the nose. I really had to dive in but I detect a subtle bittersweet chocolate that is faint but an overall enhancement of the nose. There is a rose like floral on this that is perfection.

Taste is seamless and perfect like so many of troegs beers. The balance is impeccable. The yeast is soft and lends the drink softness. The malt is feather light as if it was tended with expert care and imparts a light cracker to the front end of the drink. The cherry and honey are equals not rivals and the cherry leaves a nice tartness mid palate in deference to the sweet rich honey. There is a bit of spice that entertains the back palate as much as seeing one or two snowflakes fall out of the sky entertains the eye. Nutty flavor in the middle rather than chocolate and that is pleasant and uplifting. The carbonation is fine so that you don't notice it but it excites the tongue . This finishes with only a vague hint of medicinal alcohol that is quite remarkable to the perception of the finish. Dry but the mouth is watering. Slight gentle warmth from the alcohol.

What a fabulous beer. Drinks a lot like mead. It has a bit of stickiness in the mouthfeel that is wonderful and pleasant. The drink is bold yet refined. Troegs makes great beer.

 2,000 characters

Photo of facundoCNB
3.79/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

a ruby red pour with a finger of head, kind of hypnotizing purplish hue. a finger of head, not much lacing - but a beautiful color.
smells of cherry, chocolate, bready caramel grain bill. the flavor is a bit medicinal.. lots of fruity, wheat bread, toasty, nutty, biscuity.. this is fantastic. full body, medium carbonation.. this hits you pretty hard right away. a heavy, true to the definition of winter warmer, this beer heats you up quick - heavy but delicious.

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Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 3,811 ratings.
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