The Mad Elf | Tröegs Brewing Company

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
The Mad ElfThe Mad Elf
Very Good
4,022 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,022 |  Reviews: 1,288
Photo of Celtics76
3.79/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a Red Hook Limited glass.

Appearance is dark ruby red yet transparent. Wow very little aroma to this. There's no head or lacing either. Interesting. As for taste - somewhat boozy - I can really feel the 11% ABV here. Not necessarily a bad thing though. The honey/cherry flavors eventually rise to the surface after multiple sips. Good stuff.

I'll look forward to having 2-3 of these around the holidays every year.

 442 characters

Photo of goldbot
2.3/5  rDev -40.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a deep, brilliant, ruby red; clear, with essentially no head - which isn't too surprising. Any aroma is very subdued at first - just a barely detectable hint of malt and dark cherries and raisins. Seriously, how does this beer have almost no aroma? There is some flavor, at least. Malty and sweet but lacking any complexity. Hints of bread, raisin, cherry. A subtle, spicy yeast flavor tries to come out but is held back. There's flavor but not very much of it. Somehow the alcohol is very well hidden but I don't know how. Slight bitterness; full bodied but with a thin, watery mouthfeel. Maybe I'm doing it wrong but this beer lacks any character whatsoever. Alcoholic malt water.

 688 characters

Photo of dwaz
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of Lantern
5/5  rDev +29.2%

Photo of JDWEX1117
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of BrewCrew2010
3.87/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours a coppery-red body and a small white crown with a short head retention.

S: Aroma is a subtle cherry smell with notes of spices, booze, honey, & caramel malts.

T: Upfront sweetness from honey, candy sugar, and a hint of tart black cherries. Some clove, other spices, sweet malts, and yeast are noticeable as well, but the high ABV is well hidden.

M: Light body; light-medium carbonation; mouth coating and almost syrupy texture.

O: I love this one for the holidays. Not a bad price makes it a cute gift. Otherwise, high ABV makes it a 1-2 bottle drinkability and a nice take on the style.

 600 characters

Photo of JustABeerGuy
5/5  rDev +29.2%

Photo of Pskiv
5/5  rDev +29.2%

Photo of Eriogonum
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of LocalBar913
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of jniagar1
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of damndirtyape
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Bottling date is from 2011-2012, but most of the date stamp is rubbed off.

Appearance: Mostly clear coppery red. White head after pouring disappeared pretty quickly after pouring. No lacing and what may appear after a swirl is gone pretty fast. Noticed about halfway into the pour that all of the sediment was along for the ride as well, and I can just barely make it out as a finely dispersed solid in the beer when held up to the light. I suspect this would be a brighter beer if the sediment had not come along.

Smell: Fresh tart cherries, mild yeast with some mustiness, and some phenol notes. Smells much like a Belgian with cherries as part of the mix - not Lambic cherry strong, but cherry does indeed define the smell.

Taste: Simple blend of cherry, some spicy notes, and maybe the barest hint of phenol. The honey is not really notable, and despite the high ABV, the alcohol is completely hidden.

Mouthfeel: Quite mild carbonation, a tiny bit sticky, but strangely, a bit watery. Nothing special.

Overall / Drinkability: Nice, and glad I tried, but not sure why this beer is all the rage. Maybe it's better when all the sediment stays behind (I do wish the brewer would warn you about bottle conditioned beers to pour slowly), but this is just okay. Smells good, tastes good, good color, but kind of unremarkable after that. Is indeed a warming beer though by the end of the glass with that higher ABV, so for the winter holidays, good for warming you up, but beyond that, I don't think I'll go out of my way to purchase again, but if offered, I would certainly drink it.

 1,624 characters

Photo of Retail1LO
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a 10 oz. snifter. This pours a brilliant ruby color that is nearly transparent. You can see clean through one side of the glass, the beer, and out the other. Pours with the faintest of heads and disappears quickly. The nose is extremely fruity...very winey. The cherries and honey meld together to give this the nose of a mead. It's a lovely scent nonetheless. Were I blindfolded, however, I'd have said this was wine or mead with the quickness. The taste is very sweet, with a shade of tartness to it. The honey and malt tail in at the back end of a taste. This has a very nice mouthfeel to it. Not too heavy, not too thin. It's got a wonderful finish too. Overall, this is a nice, easy drinker that at 11.0%, could very likely catch up to you fast. It doesn't come across nearly as boozy as the ABV suggests it should be. Great seasonal beer.

 870 characters

Photo of MarcatGSB
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into DFH Signature glass. Thanks to David for this tasty brew!

A: Pours a copperish read color with a super thin white head. Some bubbles accumulate, but don't hang around long.

N: Good amount of Belgian yeast notes, with some spice and a good amount of cherry coming through. Some candied sugar notes support.

T: Very similar notes to the nose. Sweetness from the sugar and a bit of cherry tartness. The honey comes through slightly, and the Belgian yeast comes through with a good amount of bread like character. Some good hops shine to balance the beer.

M: It's actually rather thin for a BSDA...lacks a bit of character. Minimal amount of staying power.

D and O: Very drinkable for the ABV, I will give it that. It's a really solid beer.

 769 characters

Photo of mutd8710
5/5  rDev +29.2%

Photo of nos
5/5  rDev +29.2%

Photo of zipyth3pinhead
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of troysoy2
4.09/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked a six pack up with my good friend and drinking buddy. Belgian dark ales aren't really my thing usually, but I may as well try.

Poured into a pint glass. Small white head quickly retreats to the edge of the glass. It's a nice, cherry-tinged copper color.

The smell is very deep, like a bottomless pit of cherries. Haha, a cherry pit pun. But seriously, lots of cherries, a little honey, just like the label says. Dark Belgian fruit and a bit of alcohol. It smells sticky and intense.

It's quite sweet, but then again, what were you expecting? Surprisingly drinkable, especially considering how I don't always care for beers of this style. It's quite spicy on the finish, yet almost devoid of bitterness. Cherry comes out nicely, and the surprisingly prickly mouthfeel is an interesting feature. Not too drying, not too cloying. Overall, enjoyable.

It's complex, yet not the most complex thing ever. Palate pleasing, a little dangerous with its high ABV, but hey, the elf on the label seems to be having a good time. I wouldn't drink a ton of it, but it's a nice break from my usual selection. Cheers.

 1,110 characters

Photo of Sinatra716
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of haddyhustle302
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of alpinebryant
4.07/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pour is a clear cherry copper with a tiny head of white at the edges.

S: Aroma of ripe cherries, fruit punch , belgian spices and yeast, honey

T: Right there with the aromas, this is hitting hard with cherry and honey. The belgian flavors are slightly subdued, but definitely there. Plenty of noble hopping in order to balance out the extreme sweetness of cherries and honey; I would say that this was accomplished pretty well.

M: Very light in mouthfeel for a BSDA , I would say this is the weak part of this beer but only because of the category that this is in. At 11% abv, this shouldnt come as a surprise, but it is a little lighter than I would have expected for the style.

O: Very tasty Belgian Strong Dark ale and my favorite beer yet from Troegs. I may have to get some more of these to throw in the cellar for next year and compare a few years.

 863 characters

Photo of aflyershckyfan
5/5  rDev +29.2%

Photo of uziangis
5/5  rDev +29.2%

Photo of MystikCelt
5/5  rDev +29.2%

Photo of PretzelsNBeer
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

The Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 4,022 ratings