The Mad Elf | Tröegs Brewing Company

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The Mad ElfThe Mad Elf
Very Good
4,059 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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,059 |  Reviews: 1,305
Photo of Boba_Booey
4.63/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Photo of CaptainHate
3.87/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I can't believe this is the first time I've had this; maybe Troegs didn't market it well to whatever segment I'm part of. Anyway in case you think I'm pushing the season, this has been in the stores for at least two weeks AND yesterday the temperatures didn't get out of the twenties.

This freshest by 9/24/19 12 ouncer looked good in the Abbey long stemmed tulip, with a nice head over a rich ruby color (as an aside, in my anecdotal universe everything that's been sold to me previously as a "red beer/ale" has been a massive hop bomb that challenges my obdurate frugality in refusing to pour anything out). The cherry and honey rise, along with the booze, to the forefront of the smell and taste. Looking at other reviews, I see some people don't like the cherry presence being so upfront. That's ok, I'm not here to badmouth anyone, rather to contrast this with Bell's 30th Anniversary Cherry Stout (and I'm a big Bells fan) where I was wondering "where's the cherry", plus it's a natural tasting cherry and not this medicinal crap where you wonder "is this infected or did some nitbrain think this was a really really good idea". And don't get me started on the diabetic coma inducing Better Half, which I'm aging to salvage what I think was a good idea.

So I like it fine.

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Photo of C_G
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of pwaldron
3.45/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

The cherry and honey "undertones" have totally taken over this beer, and given it an unpleasant juice-like character. It's too sweet, though it looks and smells pretty good. Also deceptively non-boozy tasting for such a big beer. I think it has real promise, but they just got carried away ramping it up.

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Photo of BriDrinksBeer
4.42/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of erk0607
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Enjoy by 9.19.19 poured from bottle into tulip. Definitely remember to warm it up from the fridge.

Look: Tan head of small individual bubbles, dissipates at a decent pace. Ruby gold, clear body.

Smell: Belgian yeast, sugar, honey, candy/candi sugar, clove, bread. Slight stone fruit.

Taste: Cherry first. Candi sugar. Belgian yeast funk. Sweetness from honey. Peppery esters.

Feel: Alcohol heat (but the alcohol flavor is well hidden). Medium body. Lingers on the tongue.

Overall: Excellent winter eve beer. The amount of cherry that comes through that the complementing that the yeast provides makes for a tasty brew. I'd drink this outside of winter if it weren't for the 11% ABV. As another review mentioned, they did well with the cherry this year compared to prior ones.

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Photo of RacerX5k
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Always have one or two used to be bombers now couple singles every year and always, just ok. Honey, Belgian yeast, very strong. This year I think the cherry really pops, and is easily the best vintage I've had. Real, authentic, cherry taste which i did think very medicinal in year's past. So, kudos, for fixing this, or did they just get lucky this year? Either way, great cherry.

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Photo of RichardCheryl
3.87/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I got this October 20, 2018. Label said "freshest by 10/5-19". Pretty boozy, cherry and honey flavors could be more pronounced. Does this improve with age ? Good fall/winter beer. I wouldn't have more than one if you're out, though!

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Photo of AdamJGP
4.75/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of ghooul
3.56/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

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

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

Photo of peterpunk15
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Justincredble
4.06/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of LarryV
2.95/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

A friend gave me a bottle of this, freshest by date is 9/18/18 so it's still got a couple of months before reaching that date. Aroma is mostly malty, very faint cherry smell in the distant background, Poured a red tinged dark amber color with no head. Taste is sugary, boozy, malty with just a hint of the cherry showing through but not in an enticing manner. Slightly sour note, the flavors of this beer don't seem to blend in a harmonious fashion to me. It's certainly not an offensive beer but it isn't something I would seek out, especially at the $16+ price the locals were asking for it. I found it somewhat of a chore to drink a bottle. I usually really like Troegs beers, but this one just isn't one that I can recommend, I can understand why my friend gave this away.

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Photo of npdevil27
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of dafla67
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of bdiiorio
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of QuentinDishaw
3.81/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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

Great winter brew, look forward to it every Christmas. Love the chocolate and cherry. It's a very smooth drinking beer given its strength. More than one and you will need a cab.

 179 characters

Photo of cbb77
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

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

strong beer, but still pretty tasty.

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Photo of Bobolinksy
4.14/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75


You have been warned.

So I just finished a 21st Amendment "Baby Horse" which followed a coupla Stone Ruinations... I want another beer and it isn't quite bedtime, but I'm all out of beer that I'm not aging... I don't even have any skunk or otherwise lousy beers that I hold onto because my neighbors know I manage a beer store and always have something in my fridge.

Poured gently into a snifter.

L - Clear, dark amber. Almost no head.

S - Immediate cherry aroma. Some booziness in the background.

T - Nope... No... You bet I'll finish this beer but 11% beers are supposed to age better. All I got was a hint of cherry... I guess it was cherry.... followed by a malty finish which left a sugary aftertaste in my mouth. I remember a much bolder cherry flavor when I drank it back in November and there was no maltiness.

On the bright side, the booziness of the fresh Mad Elf is mitigated. I didn't detect any.

F - I truly suck at this one. It's.... typical? Not like a milk stout or a shandy... It's... typical.

O - Disappoint. I guess I shouldn't be. Or more accurately... I guess I should be disappointed.... in myself. Freakin' DURRR!!!!!! Aging beer does NOT accentuate or "refine" a cherry flavor... Aging beer accentuates and/or refines BEER flavor.

So yeahhhhh.... Gotta reassess...Maybe aging isn't what I want to do. I got a bottle of Mad Elf Grand Cru 2017 in the back of my fridge that will definitely get poured within the next week. I have another bottle of Grand Cru that I'll decide on based on that.

So that's it. My drunk review of a bottle of 2017 Mad Elf by Troegs Brewing.

I liked it better when it was fresh.

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Photo of Richie_C_Johnson
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of woemad
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle courtesy of bl00. I believe it's my 1st from Troegs. According to the label, it's "Best Before 100218."

Ruby-brown in color, with a thin, beige head. Said head dropped faster than Trump's approval ratings among the non-MAGA crowd. Not surprising given the high abv.

Sweet and boozy aroma. Smells like cherries and honey. Belgian yeast aromas were not so distinct beyond a whiff of spiciness.

Sweetness in the flavor as well. Honey and cherries, as advertised. A little more cinnamony Belgian spiciness emerges in the flavor, but it's still way in the back compared to a typical beer of the style.

Carbonation seems low. Mouthfeel kinda flat and heavy.

Not a bad beer, but the carbonation issues hurt things. As for the sweetness overpowering the Belgian yeast notes, I'd be interested in trying one that was closer to that best by date, maybe things would be melding a little better by then. If I come across it again, I'll sit tight on it a while longer. Regardless, my thanks to Dan for something I'd not get a shot at locally.

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The Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 4,059 ratings