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The Mad Elf | Tröegs Brewing Company

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The Mad ElfThe Mad Elf
Very Good
3,977 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: 3,977 |  Reviews: 1,282
Photo of schoun
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of rdb4942
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of Sharkophile
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Rigorous pour into a goblet. Reddish hue with an off white head that dissipates very quickly.

S: Smells like what it says: honey, cherries, spice and a fair amount of alcohol.

T: Sweet cherries, alot of herbal notes from the honey and some spiciness from the yeast (I think) finish is long and sweet and is boozy but the alcohol is well hidden for the high abv.

M: Full body with little carbonation.

O: An awesome winter seasonal. I love what they do at Troeg.

 467 characters

Photo of dfiliaggi
3/5  rDev -22.5%

Photo of Dope
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of XanderCruz
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of Rob315
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of 57md
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish copper with a thin layer of head that has no retention. Nose is tart, but there is also a hint of cream soda, oddly enough. The dominant flavor is sweet candied sugar, but there are also some dark fruits as well. The finish is semi-dry.

For such a high octane offering, the alcohol is hidden well.

I paired this with a few dark chocolate squares and it made for an exceptional late night dessert.

Updated March 2014: Sampled a glass of 2012 vintage on-tap. This beer is one that certainly gets much better with age. I am committed to buying a few bombers next Christmas for the sole purpose of designating them for cellaring.

Update December 2016: Sampled a vertical of 2013, 2014 & 2015 (3, 2 & 1 year old respectively). There wasn't much difference between the 2013 & the 2014 vintages except that the nose on the 2014 was more pungent. The alcohol bite had matured significantly over time for both. By contrast, the alcohol presence was still a bit overdone in the 2015 vintage. Based upon this tasting, I'd say two years of age is the sweet spot for this offering.

 1,089 characters

Photo of Beer4MyBrajs
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of TheLargeMoose
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of CBlack85
2.83/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I got this in a trade last winter. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a globe glass.

The beer pours a hazy reddish amber color. An aggressive pour yields a big off white fluffy head that recedes quickly and leaves behind virtually no lacing.

The nose is fruity and sweet with some honey and a big dose of hot alcohol. I get a fair amount of caramel malts. I don’t get any cherries, and no hops to speak of either.

The flavor is similar to the nose; light and fruity with a bit of honey and a big boozy presence. There is a fairly light malt presence, but the bulk of the flavor is fruit and honey. The sweetness becomes almost cloying by the end of the glass. The body is light and well carbonated, the beer finishes quite dry. As someone mentioned before this beer resembles a mead in its mouth feel.

Overall, this is a decent beer, but not much better than that. I think if there were a bigger presence of tart cherries this beer might come to life, but in its present state I wouldn’t seek it out again.

 1,012 characters

Photo of Faina
2/5  rDev -48.3%

Photo of BigCheese
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of Darkmagus82
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22 oz bottle into tulip glass

Appearance - A beautiful shimmering clear ruby color. A thin white head quickly fades to give a little bit of lacing which doesn't last long.

Smell - Huge amount of cherries, with a bit of chocolate, honey and other dried fruits. Can pick up the booze smell after you pull your nose from the glass. Quite nice.

Taste - The sweet taste of cherries and dried fruits overwhelms initially. The alcohol taste hits in the middle and lingers with the maltiness coming in more at the tail end.

Mouthfeel - Full and lush with a nice level of carbonation for this highly potent beer.

Overall - A very nice beer. A new holiday favorite of mine!!

 681 characters

Photo of jneiswender
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this beer at the Brass Rail Deli in Cambelltown. Served in a tulip glass. Cool. Pours a nice fluffy white head and a roan color body. Smells of cherries Nice balance of fruit, grain, hop and yeast. Spritzy on the palate and refreshing. Some booze ending to the sip. I have to say that I had been avoiding this beer for awhile. I just didn't trust the beer given the number of beers who screw this beer up. I would go for this over and over again. Great beer.

 462 characters

Photo of AWS2111
3/5  rDev -22.5%

Photo of dbossman
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Ruby hue with a thin quickly dissipating head and decent lacing

S: Lots of tart cherries, vinous, grainy, boozy, and raisins and other dark fruits

T: Subtle cherries and dark fruits on top of a subtly sweet malty backbone; sweet, boozy, slightly fruity, mmm

F: Medium body and sticky; pretty good mouth feel

O: Warming alcohol, fruity, bready: like a fruitcake but actually tasty and welcome at the holidays

 414 characters

Photo of smithmd4
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of IdrinkGas
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of liveKarl
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of djbow
4.45/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Mad Elf is one of my favorite seasonal brews. This beer pours a clear red color with a head that dissipates quickly. As it color and smell indicates, the taste of this beer is a pronounced cherry with a hint of honey flavor. Mad Elf drinks very easy and goes down smooth. Here in lies the problem for those unaware of the 12% alcohol content. The fact that they sell this high powered beer in a 3 Liter format as a special item to accompany the 12 and 22 oz formats is truly MAD. Enjoy!

Serving Temp = 47 F.

Glass = Pint Glass.

 529 characters

Photo of jlenik
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of hopmeister
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of roastTHEmost
3/5  rDev -22.5%

Photo of devinoconnor
3.48/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this a few times, but in 2011 it seemed to disappoint. Pours a ruby red with little foam.

Smell is fruity, cherries hit the nose mixed with malt. Little to no hops.

Taste is complex... a lot going on. Chocolate and the cherries mix well, and appropriate for the Christmas season. The subtle spices in the nose seem to be more than subtle on the finish. A little harsh, and "alchoholy" which I suppose is expected.

Overall, worth the try. But a little too hard to enjoy with the rough finish.

 501 characters

The Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 3,977 ratings
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