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The Mad Elf | Tröegs Brewing Company

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The Mad ElfThe Mad Elf
Very Good
3,958 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,958 |  Reviews: 1,277
Photo of tweimer48
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of dwduncan2
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of DCgolfpro
1.75/5  rDev -54.8%

Photo of DefenCorps
3.17/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle from winter 2007. It's time to start killing the cellar, and this is some low-hanging fruit.

Decanted, this is a clear, copper-colored beer with a thin, tan head that rapidly recedes to a ring. Not much lacing is present, which is disappointing for the style. The nose is pretty decent. Dark honey and cherries are noticeable on the nose, but there's also a moderate malt character, with caramel and a surprising chocolate/cocoa character that makes me think of cherry cordials. Alcohol is well hidden, making this less medicinal than fresh samples. Moderately spicy as well, with the alcohol and yeast playing off each other. Despite its age, this still smells pretty vibrant.

The palate, OTOH, isn't as impressive. Like a mellower cough syrup, there's just something about the cherry character here that makes it medicinal. Moderately sweet with honey and fruit cake. Some cherry skin tannins are present to balance the sweetness. The spices seem a little more muted on the palate, and the mid-palate feels a little watery at times. Sweet on the finish with alcohol, some honey and cherry tartness, there's a lingering yeastiness as well. Carbonation is moderate, making this beer, to my palate and given the style, average at best and not one I'd seek to revisit in a hurry.

 1,286 characters

Photo of hoops61176
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of dinojrbtom
3/5  rDev -22.5%

Photo of BoOmerG
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of iL0VEbeer
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of thegerm87
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of mdfb79
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
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 bangelos80
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of ShadyJay
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of robieobie1
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of Louski
4.62/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-Tap Poured into Standard Pint at Brady's in Feasterville, PA.

Appears a nice red-auburn color with immediate smells of cinnamon, cherry, allspice and clove. The taste actually reminds you of the holidays. A warm sensation is felt with the fruitiness and array of spices that mask the high alcohol content really well. I look forward to this beer's release every year and make certain to store at least a 6-pack of bottles for Christmas in July. A must-drink during the holidays both for its great taste and its ability to make shopping interesting after just one or two.

 574 characters

Photo of brandonasplundh
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of beerhan
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of GJDitzler
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of peensteen
3.55/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep ruby/blood red colour, ring of soapy white head, no lace at all. Smell is fruity and lightly funky, belgian yeast, some sweet cherry notes, spicy with some alcohol heat as well. Taste is spicy at first followed by tart cherry, some funky yeasty flavours, some alcohol in the first few sips but pretty much completley hidden after that. Medium-High carbonation, medium body, good full feel throughout. Not bad but nothing about this blew me away, dont think I would go looking for this but if it was offered its quite drinkable.

 532 characters

Photo of hopfacebrew
4.02/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another hook up from Hudak :) Thanks man.

Poured from bottle to Duvel tulip the beer pours a bright red color with a thin off-white head. Edges are red in color. Not much retention or lacing to report. The aroma is sweet and powerful with a lot of honey, cherry, pepper, and belgian yeast character. The flavor is just as the nose let on with a tart cherry sweetness upfront together with honey and belgian yeast character. Hides the alcohol extremely well, not detectable. Rich in flavor and mildly bitter. Medium bodied and well carbonated. Finishes smooth with a lingering cherry tart flavor. Overall, this was a treat to try. Good stuff!

 642 characters

Photo of BeerzMcKenzie
4.75/5  rDev +22.7%

Photo of jeremy13586
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured in to a Mad Elf tulip

Dark amber in color. Poured a one finger off-white head. The head didn’t last too long. Looks viscous and has a syrupy sheen.

Strong alcohol is in the nose. Totally lets you know that this beer is 11%. tart cherries with a sweet finish.

Tart, hot cherries dominate the flavor of this brew. There is also some good spiciness along with it. Flavor matches the nose, except that it masks the alcohol much better than the aroma. Honey and a bit of nuttiness rounds out the taste.

Medium bodied with a nice carbonation. Smooth, but it does leave a syrupy coating in your mouth.

This is one of my favorite winter brews. It is very drinkable which is the dangerous part. The alcohol content catches up with the drinker before they even notice. Generally a crowd pleaser and a nice one to age for a couple years. Might be hard to find now, so make sure you try it next holiday season.

 925 characters

Photo of LukeONeill
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

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

Live tasting 12oz bottle into Duvel Tulip...

Appearance; pours a bright and lively pale red color with not much of a head at all, a very thin ring of off white colored head hangs around the edge of the glass... No lacing to speak of...

Smell; smells like cherries and honey, tons of "Belgian-esque" spices..

Taste; definitely tastes as it smells, the cherries add a slight tart demension, with strong flavors of honey and a plethora of the typical Belgian spices (I don't think there's any doubt as to what type of yeast was used here!) also, 11%?! Sure as hell doesn't taste it... Exceptionally well hidden...

Mouthfeel; medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation, goes down easily with no afterburn or warming from the alcohol content... A yeasty, spicy finish that lingers for a few minutes with a slight tartness that I associate with the cherries...

Overall; of all the winter brews I've had, this is unquestionably my favorite thus far... Typically I'm not a big fan of Belgians or the associated yeast but it blends very well with the cherries and honey in Mad Elf... My first Tröegs brew and I was not disappointed!! ISO; Nugget Nectar

 1,154 characters

Photo of tread
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

The Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 3,958 ratings
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