Tröegs The Mad Elf | Tröegs Brewing Company

BA SCORE
87
very good
3,928 Ratings
Tröegs The Mad ElfTröegs The Mad Elf
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Tröegs Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States
troegs.com

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
3,928
Reviews:
1,271
Avg:
3.85
pDev:
15.06%
 
 
Wants:
231
Gots:
1,141
For Trade:
24
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,928 |  Reviews: 1,271
Photo of B967ierhunter177
4.8/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a clear, ruby red with minimal head or lace. The aroma is of honey, vanilla, and dark cherries. The flavor is very well balanced with honey, cherry, and spice notes, particularly ginger. There's a pleasant malt sweetness with just a hint of hops. It's very smooth, warms nicely, and gets better as it warms. The mouthfeel is full. Troegs Mad Elf is an outstanding beer, a great way to wash down made from scratch chocolate chip cookies. Highly recommended!

 472 characters

Photo of RossCain
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from dated 2011 12oz bottle into a chalice

A: Pours a soft and translucent ruby red with a small fizzy head that sticks around for all of 2 seconds before completely fading. Rather vinous looking in the glass with legs running down the sides upon each sip. Looks like a good strong dark ale!

S: Sweet notes of candied sugars and spicy Belgian yeast play a dominant role in the nose, backed by a few nice nuances of tart cherries. Complex and inviting.

T: Hits the tongue with a rush of flavors: clove and banana yeast character, sweet notes of brown sugar, bubblegum. Finishes with juicy tart notes of bing cherries dried by tantalizingly sweet honey. Alcoholic heat in the aftertaste but it is not overwhelming and actually plays well with the tartness of the cherry notes. Lots of flavors that are all very well balanced! The beer opens up even more as it warms.

M: Full bodied with a slick, vinous feel as it passes over the palate. Light carbonated and finishes slightly dry with a welcome amount of alcohol warmth. Very easy to sip upon, but the 11% abv will get to you soon enough.

O: I thoroughly enjoyed Troeg's Mad Elf and I believe it is well deserving of its acclaim. The cast of flavors work very well together and the beer makes for a great slow sipping experience in the winter months.

 1,313 characters

Photo of Ralphs66
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

Photo of jatinkee
2.5/5  rDev -35.1%

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

A: Really a beautiful dark brownish-red color. Almost no head at all and certainly no lacing.

S: Belgian yeast, alcoholic phenols and cherries are the main aromas that I am picking up. Almost smells like cherry brandy.

T: Really an interesting tasting beer. The nose doesn't really prepare you for the onslaught of flavors. Candied sugar and alcohol hit first, along with the taste of cherries. As the initial favor fades there's a lot of spice and a slight pepperiness, as well as some balancing bitterness.

M: Much creamier than the look would suggest, with a fair amount of carbonation to keep it from being too syrupy.

O: I saw this beer on a "must have holiday beer list," and I am surprised at how much i like it. The flavors are complex and balanced, if trending towards the sweet side of things, and the alcohol is nicely warming. A good beer.

 855 characters

Photo of kbuzz
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a vintage 2010 22oz bottle into my Troegs Mad Elf tulip glass.

A: Pours hazy and fizzy. Is caramel, burnt orange/rust in color. A finger of head quickly fades, but not for lack of carbonation...tons of bubbles streaming up through the glass.

S: A touch of sweet fig. Some biscuity/breadiness. Faint cherry notes...not much at all.

T/M: A ton of fruit...cherries still very noticeable even after a year of aging. Caramel malt sweetness and yeast breadiness as well. No booze to be found here whatsoever...but provides a pleasant warming effect. Age definitely did this beer some good in that regard. Carbonation is not as high as I would have thought...and the flow of bubbles has slowed since the initial pour. Medium/full bodied. Not quite as heavy on the palate as I'd like...just a touch thin maybe.

O: The year of age has helped this along nicely. It is definitely boozier fresh - and I can barely detect it at all in this bottle. If not for the warming, I'd never guess this was a double digit ABV offering. Definitely sweet, but not overly so. The cherries are an obvious addition here, but certainly aren;t overwhelming. A pretty solid example of a Belgian-style American Quad/Strong...

 1,209 characters

Photo of AlexM
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of PhillyBrownEyes
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of WassailWilly
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of miked234
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of dcurrin
3/5  rDev -22.1%

Photo of LampLighter26
5/5  rDev +29.9%

Photo of IPhantom
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A PA Christmastime classic, sought out all over the eastern seaboard, and mythological for the supposition that you're only legally allowed to serve 2 pints of it (more on that later).

Pours a sort of cordovan into a fluted pint glass. Quickly dissipating head, but that may be because I poured it too cold. Smell is Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee, dried cherries, dark chocolate, artificial maple syrup, little bit of leather, pumpernickel bread. The taste is winey up front, big lush dark fruits, raisins plums and prunes oh my, fading through a grainy phase of rye crispness, finishing up with some mildly grapefruity tang and a faint bit of burn. I mean faint...that 11% is lethal to the unfamiliar. There's really nothing like it, as far as Belgian stylings filtered through American ingenuity goes. Mouthfeel is about a 3.5 on the syrupy--carbonated scale...this one can get heavy to some people. It's not particularly sessionable for obvious reasons, but the second one would be that. Nonetheless...some of us try.

Overall, even if for fairly sentimental reasons, this is one of my favorite Christmas beers. I always look forward to getting Elf'd up. One of the prime features from the Brothers Trogner, and I dare say one of the best American Belgians overall.

 1,269 characters

Photo of SolipsismalCat
3.62/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass. Reviewed alongside Gouden Carolus Classic.

A: Clear red-amber with one-finger, off-white, creamy head that lasted a minute. Not much lacing.

S: Belgian yeast and some dark fruit.

T: Moderate sweetness and light bitterness. Tart and spicy. Some honey and cherries.

M: Medium bodied with fizzy carbonation. Dry and alcoholic. Kind of smooth.

O: Not much of a head. Smells okay, but the mouthfeel is dry. Too much alcohol to enjoy this beer. I liked the Gouden Carolus Classic better.

 512 characters

Photo of ckollias
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this 12oz bottle out of a large snifter glass.

A: Pours a clear reddish-amber hue with a white ½-finger head that quickly dissipates in to a wispy lace.

S: Sweet cherry and fruit aroma with an alcoholic twinge.

T: Flavor is very sweet with an alcoholic punch to face. Very fruity – cherry is definitely present and dominate. This is almost wine-like.

M: Very strong and boozy. Medium body and minimal carbonation

O: Wow – this beer was great! Definitely a sipper at 11% abv. It wallops quite an alcoholic punch but is easily drinkable.

 555 characters

Photo of CFHMagnet
3.37/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

My 100th review :)
I started out with an average pour and ended up getting a little more aggressive when no head seemed to form. I got a half finger of very active bubbly head that was gone in 30 seconds. The beer now sits there with nothing other than a ring atop the body, which definitely fits the "ruby" description.

The yeast hits the nose first, and is quickly followed up by the unapologetic smell of booze. Notes that linger after are malt, cherries, dark fruit and spice.

The taste is very underwhelming. With the nose being what it was, I was unprepared for what would be a serious search through the nuances of flavor. Up front I taste a bit of yeast, heavy spice and some honey, with a little cherry tucked in for support. Unfortunately the alcohol takes over after that, and in combination with the cherry flavor, it tastes like cough syrup for a little while there. Once this mellows out, malt and spice come back out to say goodbye.

Medium bodied, it has enough carbonation to hustle it over your tongue pretty quickly. It doesn't coat very much, nor does it dry, but it does sting your tongue a little, seemingly a little from the carbonation and a little from the alcohol. A strong burn builds up in the back of the throat.

 1,243 characters

Photo of fryer98
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Brewsky29
3.25/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a transparent red with quarter inch of fizzy head that dissipated quickly.

Smells of cherries,honey and spicy yeast.

The taste is very sweet honey fruity with alcohol warmth and a slightly fruity aftertaste.

Feels very fizzy, highly carbonated, warm. Almost wine like.

Overall its a nice change of pace. It is a little sweet for my taste, and I'm not sure if I would pick this one up again. Maybe just a single.

 431 characters

Photo of Laurville
5/5  rDev +29.9%

Photo of brewsclues
3.07/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Deep crimson that is perfectly clear with no head or lacing at all.

Sort of a standard Belgian-style smell (nothing to complain about here) with plenty of cherry, phenols, bananas and banana bread, and some cloves. I get some chilli peppers in there, too - certainly some nice spice to it.

Some good Belgian flavors and some good spice at the back on the mouth at the finish. Big cherry flavor with it hits the tongue - not particularly subtle. Not really sure what all the fuss is about though. The alcohol taste is prominent, and smacks a little bit like cough syrup. In comparison to other strong ales, this is average at best.

A flat mouth feel to it - didn't like it compared to other strong Belgian ales. Little carbonation, and a flat, watery finish to it is below average.

I like Troegs, just not sure that the Mad Elf is all it's cracked up to be. For such a strong beer, it leaves the palette unfulfilled and tastes a bit too much like cherry cough syrup. Average at best.

 1,027 characters

Photo of SvenLehman
5/5  rDev +29.9%

Photo of zapahoppa
5/5  rDev +29.9%

Photo of syntheticwings
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of jifigz
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Eriktheipaman
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Tröegs The Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 3,928 ratings.
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