The Mad Elf | Tröegs Brewing Company

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The Mad ElfThe Mad Elf
Very Good
4,038 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

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Ratings: 4,038 |  Reviews: 1,295
Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Mad Elf pours a nice red color. Not really amber, more of a ruby. The head leaves quickly, probably due to the high alcohol content. The aroma is subtle fruit and spices. The fruit is cherry and it is in the background behind the spices. The label gives no hint at the spice, but I can pickup clove and cinnamon aromas. The flavor is really nice with subtle spice and sweet malt and a semi-dry finish that leaves you with the impression of cherries. The alcohol is only apparent in the warmth you feel after swallowing.

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

This pours a very nice looking clear reddish color. It has a nice cherry nose & it's taste is tart yet sweet. It was very enjoyable. The 11% ABV is extremely well hidden, but it sneaks up on you later. I would imagine that this beer is absolutely stunning in a cold climate where it would be a great winter warmer

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Photo of francisweizen
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is damn good stuff from Troegs. This 11%ABV monster pours out a dark, blood-red colour with no head to be found. Aromas are all over the board and consist of honey, cherries, spices, yeast, candy sugar, malts, and light hops. The taste is a melange of sweet honey and cherry flavors. Like cherries dipped in alchol, sugar, and honey. The mouthfeel is a bit much....a little too syrupy and cloying for my tastes, but still decent. The drinkability is good, but this is a 1 or 2 in a night, kind of beer!


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

Mad Elf made me happy! I like the label on the bottle, a great drawing of a 'mad elf'... The beer was a great dark red colour, with a head that disappears almost instantly. It doesn't look carbonated then but it is, just enough for a tingly feel. It smelled great- spicy, boozy, and fruity, but without the banana that sometimes you get with a beer like this.

I tasted it.... I loved it! It wasn't too thick but also not thin... It tasted a lot like it smelled, sweet, honey-ish, fruity, but no banana, and no real taste of the alcohol either, which for me can be dangerous with something as yummy as this, because I'll just want to drink more and forget what I'm drinking, and.... become a Mad Elf myself! However, I didnt, I just drank, and smiled, and went to buy 2 more bottles 2 days later!

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Photo of Lafe
3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The color of this beer is a beautiful, rich, reddish, amber. The aroma is sweet, with heavy overtones of honey and fruit (cherry), and an undertone of alcohol.

The first taste screams "sweet!" A burst of cherry and honey is followed by a most subtle bitterness, that doesn't quite balance the dominance of the sugars. The lack of assertive bitterness is almost made up for in the bite of alcohol that follows. The salvation of this beer is that the alcohol bite makes its appearance in a very pleasant, and probably planned, way.

There is no head to speak of, nor is there any lace. This beer, however, doesn't really seem to need it. It is outstanding for a cold winter evening, sitting and reading reviews on!

Also, I have to give out props for the artwork on the bottles and six-pack cardboard. Very nice.

As I finish the beer, the alcohol content really stands out in the flavor.

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

Pours with a just off-white head that quickly settles over clear cherry red liquid. The nose is fruity, mainly cherry with some candi sugar notes. The taste is big on maltiness with some slight background spicy hoppiness and candy-like sweetness. Finishes out sweet and fruity, with really no hint of the 11% alcohol contained within. It will be interesting to see how this cellars in the coming months.

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Photo of IrishRedRock
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I was very happy to see this interesting brew on draught. It flowed from the tap a rich amber color with a thin creamy, slightly tan head on top. Aroma was somewhat malty with a hint of spice.

A pleasant bitter hop flavor started this one off, accompanied by some nearly chocolatey flavors and a nice smoky flavor as well. Finished dry with a mild flavor of tart fruits, cherries I do believe. This is one fine complex Holiday ale.

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

Great color - a bright/dark ruby with a thinnish tan head that left trails down the side of the glass. Definitely some cherries and alcohol joining in the aroma; the same could be said for Robitussin, but this one was thankfully different - very clean.

This one lets you know up front that it means business, as there's a pleasant, balanced warming surge o' alcohol throughout. Rather dryish, with cherries, some hints of spice, and chocolatey flavors that are more mildly tart than sweet - really interesting flavors going on. As it goes down, some of the tartness dissipates and an oak cask sort of flavor briefly appears. It gets even better as it warms, with the alcohol heading into the background even further. Medium bodied, with a more dry than sweet mouthfeel. A very tasty barleywine.

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

This beer poured into the glass a ruby/red/garnet color that sparkled when held to the light. The head was white no lace and did not last, only a film was left. The aroma was fruit and alcohol. Nose of cherries, spices, plums, malt and alcohol were all present at different points on my tongue. The tastes were of spices, fruit (mostly cherries) alcohol and malt. Slightly sweet and tart but not overpowering. I rather enjoyed this beer, it surprised me after my first sip, I was imagining some different flavors then I received. The flavors intensified as this brew warmed.

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Photo of HopheadEd
4.23/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an unbelievable reddish, garnet color with a slight head that fades quickly. Very little lace. Aroma of cherries comes through right away, with a slightly tart mouthfeel. Not overwhealming tartness, but a serious alcohol taste, that tries to hide behind the cherries. Much better as it warms, which is easy to do because this is a sippin' beer! Just a guess, but the ABV has to be around 11%. Truely a "nightcap" beer!

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A reddish brown body is capped by a creamy tan head that holds fairly well and leaves some minor lace. The aroma is limited but expresses a soft maltiness, a light touch of alcohol, and a sharp fruitiness similar to cranberry (although cherries are actually used). The body is medium with a gentle, fine bubbled carbonation that leaves it creamy and smooth across the palate. The flavor comes alive with an exceptional balance of light spice, juicy & mildly tart cherry, and a chocolate-tinged malt. The cherry flavor becomes clearer as it crosses the palate, coat-tailed by a firm bitterness and some noticeable alcohol. It finishes dry with only minimal lingering malt notes. Well done and highly drinkable. Somewhat Belgian in character due to the fruit and spice. An exceptionally enjoyable beer that's well worth seeking out.

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Photo of boblinneman
4.23/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Maybe a little young, but this barley wine is good. Dark ruby color looks great when held to light. Smells of sweet cherry and alcohol. The sweet honey/cherry flavor is balanced well with hops. Very clean finish with a lingering alcohol warmth. Wish the beer was bottled so I could age some.

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

Pours a dark, almost black color with ruby-red highlights, with a tan colored head, leaves a good lace. On the nose there are whiffs of alcohol, good hop malt balance in the aroma. On the palate there is exotic spices, dark fruits, hints of dried cherries, rich malt flavors, slight sweetness, slight bitterness as well, the alcohol comes through a bit in the finish-11% abv…very good winter brew though…

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The Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 4,038 ratings