Tröegs The Mad Elf | Tröegs Brewing Company

very good
3,929 Ratings
Tröegs The Mad ElfTröegs The 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 Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,929 |  Reviews: 1,272
Photo of Alilley
3/5  rDev -22.1%

Photo of anirishunion
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

Photo of mjaggers
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of cjrestori
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of bsp77
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Clear pinkish-copper with not too much head.

Smell: Cherries, bananas, sweet dark fruit, toffee, clove and a general spiciness.

Taste: The Belgian yeast is not as evident as in the aroma - just a hint of banana. Somewhat reminiscent of a huge Old Ale (toffee, caramel, dark fruit) with an additional layer of cherries and a strong spiciness, especially toward the finish. It seems as if the spiciness is more from the yeast than hops, so maybe the Belgian yeast is noticeable.

Feel: Medium to full body that is somewhat syrupy but very smooth. Moderate carbonation, with a semi-dry finish. For an 11% abv beer, this has very little heat. Remarkable.

Overall: This is delicious - a cacophony of subtle flavors that add to a very complex, yet dangerously drinkable, festive ale.

 841 characters

Photo of Guinnsslvr
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Banxx
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

Photo of fizzyted
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of troegaarden
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of capeannbass36
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- 12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter.
Pours a clear, red brown with a very small off white head. Next to no lacing behind.

S- Cherries, malt, caramel, and clove spice.

T- Malt, caramel, and a little clove spice. Hint of cherries.

M- Sweet and somewhat smooth. Little carbonation.

O- Nice holiday beer. Sweet, but not too sweet.
Very easy to drink.

 355 characters

Photo of weaselchew
5/5  rDev +29.9%

Photo of Chico1985
3.77/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark reddish-purple, small head is gone quickly, forms to a ring.

Smell is a little weak, but lots of dark fruit, sweet caramel malts, some alcohol in the nose.

Taste is better, very intense dark fruit here, lots of cherries, plum, berries. Slight honey, brown sugar and maybe a hint of chocolate pile on the sweetness that's evened out nicely with some toasted biscuit malt.

High on the carbonation, booze and sweetness is a bit much but it's a nice complex beer that keeps you sipping.

I had this a few times last year, I've enjoyed it each time. Definitely an American-ish take on a Belgian but the intense dark fruit/sweetness/toastiness works out well here as a winter seasonal.

 696 characters

Photo of AJD1201
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of Rusty18
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of ssznyter
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Red with a thin layer of foam on top that quickly disappeared. Really enjoyed how just the look of this one was enough to put anyone in the holiday spirit.
Smell: Hint of cherry and a nice Belgian yeast. Sweet and sour.
Taste: Really great. You can definitely taste the alcohol but its not as strong as expected at 11%. The cherry flavor really comes out, especially as it warms up. A nice yeast finish.
Mouthfeel: Light carbonation but pretty good for the beer. I felt like the lower carbonation definitely helps bring out the cherries.
Overall: Great seasonal from Troegs. I'll definitely seek this one out every holiday season both for taste and novelty. Definitely a conversation piece when broken out at holiday get-togethers, and with the 11% alcohol content it definitely helps to warm you up on even the coldest winter nights.

 846 characters

Photo of NoProblem
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of djrn2
3/5  rDev -22.1%

Photo of jdauria
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of brez8791
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of Yvaithe
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of locke459
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

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 duff247
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of GarrettMD
4.31/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep orange, almost amber in color with a thin layer of off white head that disappears into a ring of bubbles around the edge almost immediately.

S - Cherries, honey, caramel, a touch of alcohol, also a lot of aromas similar to a saison (lemon, peppercorn, belgian candi sugar, belgian yeast). Very complex aroma, very unique and I like it a lot.

T - Flavor follows the aroma pretty close. Same basic flavors, cherries definitely dominate along with the background caramel malts. Honey makes it's way in along with the bubblegum and lemon flavors associated with the saison I find in this. Once again, very complex, very well blended, I find myself going back for sip after sip trying to find new ways to describe the flavor.

M - Medium body, slightly sticky mouthfeel. Finish is sweet and sticky with flavors of cherries, honey, and bubblegum. Lasts a while too.

O - Well balanced, complex flavors, very interesting beer to try. I don't know that I would be able to drink too many, but the ABv isn't noticeable at all. Will definitely buy again.

 1,054 characters

Photo of HopsYeast
3.34/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a-pours a clear dark reddish amber with a 1/4 finger pale white head that quickly fads and leaves no lacing.

s-honey, cherries, raisens, heavy alcohol smell, and also has a somewhat sour smell thats a bit of a turn off.

t-taste is a reverse of the smell. a nice warm alcohol flavor mixed in with dark fruits, maltiness, and the slightest hops. lots of dark fruit flavor is preset.

m-somewhat syrupy with very minimal carbonation.

o-well i think im starting to finally get this beer. year after year i tried it and it turned me off completely. this was the first time on tap so it may have been the difference. its deep flavor and warming sensation bought on by the alcohol makes it a good fit for the cold holiday season.

 728 characters

Tröegs The Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 3,929 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.