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Tröegs Mad Elf | Tröegs Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
87
very good
1,246 Reviews
Tröegs Mad ElfTröegs 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
Reviews:
1,246
Ratings:
3,839
Avg:
3.86
pDev:
26.68%
 
 
Wants:
227
Gots:
1,095
For Trade:
24
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,246 | Ratings: 3,839
Photo of Beerwolf666
4.71/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

What a Fantastic Brew! this is one of those Beers, that as soon as you pop that top and smell it,your heart starts racing,and you just know it is going to be something very special ~and Indeed it is,the nose is sweet,with Honey and a hint of Cherries and malts,~the taste pretty much follows the nose,sweet[but not cloying] you pick up the Honey and though you do get a nice Cherry note, it is more in the background then in your face,and does not have that "Cough Drop" Medicinal taste you get with a beer like "Sam Adams Cherry Wheat"~taste more like fresh cherries,and it IS Tasty as Hell,also would never know this Beer is 11% A.B.V.,Because I do not ever get that alcohol burn or boozy tatse,but perhaps that is Because I drink a lot of High A.B.V. Strong Beer's and Ales~this is not a Beer you knock back with your buddies while watching the Game or playing Poker,this is a Top Notch [IMHO] World Class Brew,it is a Beer you Savor and take your time to enjoy it's Amazing Flavors and the brewer's Art,what a BEER! Cheers 2 All;]

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Photo of AleWerks
4.7/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Great ruby red color with good carbonation.
S: Cherries and honey are obvious with fruits coming through late.
T: Cherry and honey again with dark malt, plum, fruit, crystal sugar, and ending with a sweet finish.
M: Rich and full mouthfeel with balanced carbonation.
D: For an %11 ABV beer this one sure goes down easy. A really nice beer.

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Photo of JohnnyM2002
4.7/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter at 52 degrees

A - Beautiful, clear red color with a small head; lacing stuck around until the end, though. Medium carbonation helped illuminate the wonderful red hue.

S - Cherries dominate the aroma, but they are accompanied by powerful combination of sweet alcohol. There is definitely a spice background to the scent, but it is dominated by the other flavors.

T - Wow. At first, the cherries pack a punch, but as soon as their flavor dissipates, the sweet honey-alcohol combo kicks in. As it goes down, I get almost a nutty-vanilla aftertaste; the more I drank, the more I noticed this accompaniment. By the time I was 3/4 through the bottle, the initial flavor was a perfect vanilla/cherry mix with a nutty aftertaste. It's actually hard to put this into words...a perfect result for the extremely complex - but wonderful - taste.

M - Very thick body with medium carbonation. The complex flavors actually finish extremely smoothly and mask the alcohol very well - you can definitely taste the high ABV, but it all comes together so nicely (for a lack of better words). Also, this is a very creamy brew...it's not heavy in the mouth; it's the perfect combination!

D - I wouldn't drink more than one - not because of the ABV (well, not completely..), just because I'd be afraid of ruining the experience! Everything just comes together so perfectly, I'd hate to hurt that effect by overindulging. I'm so very lucky to live 8 minutes from the Troegs Brewery...I want to enjoy this all year, but it seems more special to wait until early November to begin drinking some!

Chris & John - thank you so much for this wonderful selection!

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Photo of AndreRus
4.69/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Beautiful red/amber color. Wonderful hint of cherries. Just the right amount. Not overwhelming. Definitely something to look for around Christmas time

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Photo of MMOSNN
4.69/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look - a deep hazy brownish ruby red color with a decent white head that dissipates quickly. There's some nice silky lacing.
Smell - tart cherry and yeast hit the hardest, but there's also some notes of sweet honey and dark fruits.
Taste - tart cherries, dark fruits, brown sugar, honey, and some slight booze towards the end.
Feel - good carbonation, creamy body, and smooth finish.
Overall, the combination of sweetness and tart cherries is done very well, it has a rich body, and it looks pretty amazing. It's definitely not for casual drinking, and I could imagine that some people would be put off by it, but if you like rich, complex, and sweet Belgians, I think you should try this.

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Photo of alex_hart
4.69/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Belgian Strong Dark Ales are by far my favorite style of brew, so when I saw that a beer at 11% abv was on tap, and was this style, i knew I couldn't turn away.

This was love at first taste. Dark cherries, spice, and caramel. It looked dark and foreboding (which is what I like), but it was soft, smooth, and delicious. The smell threw me off a little bit and made me nervous before the first sip, but that is the only negative thing I could say about it. This is one of those beers I could drink every day for the rest of my life and be content, though my organs would fail.

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Photo of hdofu
4.68/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

For such a monster beer it sure had quite a tan head on top a mahogany color brew. Smell is sweet and heavy of cherry. Taste is sweet and honey. It has a finish of spices like nutmeg, cinnamon cloves and other spices. The beer is pretty smooth with a noticeable but not overwhelming alcohol burn which warms the tongue and the soul. It goes down too easy but put visions of sugar plumbs dancing in my head way quicker then I'd feel comfortable cracking another bottle open for at this point.

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Photo of ZAP
4.68/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Fantastic brew....pours a cherrywood color...nose is spicy..body is medium...carbonation seems low....very few hints of the high ABV...extremely drinkable....some spicy alcohol notes on the flavor... Taste is very interesting...kind of an experimental Belgian Dubbel with soft sweet cherry notes...the cherry is not overdone which would have wrecked the beer....instead it adds a subtle elegance to the final product...also hints of oak, and brown sugar in the flavor...

This is outstanding....this is what all breweries should put out for their winter beers....On my dream tap list this would occupy one of the season lines during the winter months....a must try...lived up to its considerable hype ..

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Photo of Roose13
4.68/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

22oz bomber poured into a glass

A: A dark ruby red with a two-finger off-white foamy head.

S: Smells like cherries, yeasty

T: Cherries, some honey flavoring. Very malty as well.

M: Crisp, carbonated and hides the 11%

Overall: This was a first try and this beer was amazing. Wow!

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Photo of StretchZep
4.67/5  rDev +21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Awesome just the right amount of "heat" and sweet! Wish I had picked up two of these. Got it in the bomber bottle and am three sips into it and bumming out about has little is left. It is the good! Lots of smooth maktyness and a nice bitey cherry finish! Merry Christmas!!

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Photo of chiefgtx
4.67/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I love this one. everything you should expect in a seasonal winter beer. All the fruity spicy hearty flavor. A glass of this is a meal. I am thinking about buying the last 6 pack up the street just to have it for myself! I can't really think of any reason it's not a 5 all around actually. Of the 162 I have tasted in the last 6 weeks...it is in my top ten! If you see it ...give it a chance! Delicious.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.66/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Clear deep scarlet red hue. A medium sized beige head literally fizzes away in seconds. Not even a thin coating is left. Only a creamy edging that leaves sparse lace. The aroma is really quite remarkable. Beautiful belgian yeastiness, breadiness and mustiness. Sweet brown sugar. And delicate cherry notes. I love it. Oh man, this is one dangerous brew. The taste is fine. The mouthfeel is luscious. And the alcohol is nowhere to be found. This all adds up to an exceptional drinkability. The flavors are subtle, but quite discernable. Chocolate covered cherries. Bready yeastiness. Dark belgian malts. Raisin and rum. A little sweet honey. But I can hardly find a hint of alcohol here. And it's 11%?!? Damn. Maybe just a bit of a lingering bitterness on the aftertaste derived from EtOH. The beer feels like silk in the mouth and the body is medium at best. I understand the "Mad Elf" hysteria now. This is damn good.

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Photo of whoneeds8
4.65/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a westmalle chalice a dark amber with a very small head that disapated quickly. Smell is very sweet, with a very small hint of alcohol. The sweet cherry taste hits you up front, with a mellow sweetness from the honey that follows. Very malty with very little hop bite to it. Carbonation is just right. Very smooth beer for 11%abv. Overall, the cherries bring a very unique flavor to this style beer. A flavor I think I like.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.65/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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 JoshW
4.65/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep ruby/amber color, with the text book perfect finger head.

Smell was sweet, cherries were overpowered by 11% alcohol.

For as strong of a beer as this one is, mouthfeel is thin, honey flavor coats the tongue, cherries and alcohol follow up, someone mentioned "dusty" I think that fits pretty well also.

Drinkability was way too easy for me, started off with one bottle, ended up finishing all 6....

...

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Photo of matt062286
4.65/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearence - pours a ruby red tinted color with a decent one finger head that dissipates rather quickly. Moderate lacing and little head retention.

Smell - Red and black cherries as well as strong alcohol stick out the most. This may seem weird but I also smell mint.

Taste - The same flavor of cherries that can be smelled. Probably one of the sweetest tasting beers I've ever had. I can also pick up the undertones of malt, cloves, and maybe the faintest hops. But they are all overwhelmed by cherries and nutmeg. Quite a christmas-y brew. Alcohol is dangerously hidden in this one as well.

Mouthfeel - Quite underwhelming for a big beer like this. Not very heavy in the mouth at all. Moderate carbonation.

Drinkability - This beer is quite dangerous in the drinkability category. Goes down way too easy for an 11%. I've had a bomber of this in a sitting and would easily have another if weren't so strong. A great beer and one of my favorite seasonals.

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Photo of SussexMan
4.63/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Nothing says "Winter is Here" like a Mad Elf. And when I say this, I love the beer after Thanksgiving when the cold air comes into town, this full body beer with a punch warms my nicely next to the fire. This ruby red red beer pours nicely and the strong alcohol content is kept behind a closed curtain (trust me, it is there). The cherry and the chocolate flavors are strong and I cannot help but smile after I finish one of these.

This beer makes Thanksgiving for me.

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Photo of Louski
4.62/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-Tap Poured into Standard Pint at Brady's in Feasterville, PA.

Appears a nice red-auburn color with immediate smells of cinnamon, cherry, allspice and clove. The taste actually reminds you of the holidays. A warm sensation is felt with the fruitiness and array of spices that mask the high alcohol content really well. I look forward to this beer's release every year and make certain to store at least a 6-pack of bottles for Christmas in July. A must-drink during the holidays both for its great taste and its ability to make shopping interesting after just one or two.

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Photo of drumstik
4.62/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

First Elf of the Season. I love the ruby red label with the off white and green colors. Of course there is the trademark yellow Troegs cap on top that makes this bottle stand out from the rest.

Pours the a lovely red/amber. This years might even have a little bit more of a dark red hue to it.

Smells of deep rich cherries and plum with lots of malty goodness and a hint of sweetness.

Taste hits with a great malty sweetness with a hint of cherries. Just a touch of spicyness and a tiny hint of hops. As you sip it coats your mouth and throat (perhaps from the honey?) as it slides down with just the right amount of carbonation. Finishes sweet and spicy and a subtle hint of alcohol.

A fantastic beer that lives up to all the hoopla that surrounds it. A great late night sipper to send you off to dreamland. Grab it while you can or you will be regretting it later!

Last year I discovered Mad Elf and I couldn't get enough of it. This year it is wonderful yet again and has inspired me to write my first review here on BA. Hopefully many more to come!

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.62/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired via trade from Silent Sabre, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him.
Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright copper color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of dark fruit (cherries & raisins) and caramelized malt, with a faint touch of Belgian yeast.

T: Flavors of dark fruit & Belgian yeast hit you up front and are pretty much the dominant flavors throughout. There’s a subdued malt character and the 11.00% ABV is no where to be found. After-taste is fruity.

M: Extremely smooth, light carbonation, light-to-medium body, clean finish.

D: Very tasty, not filling at all, goes down very easily. I’m not sure how the high ABV gets hidden so well in a beer that’s as light as this one, but it makes this beer dangerously drinkable. This is an excellent beer. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

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Photo of beergeek279
4.62/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in the 12 oz. bottle. The color is a very reddish-amber, with a wispy white head. The smell is of cherries and honey. The taste is dominated by the tart cherry, though a nice honey comes through, and somehow the beer is balanced and not cloying; alcohol is not at all apparent in the beer. Mouthfeel is very thick. As for drinkability, I'd definitely have these as long as I could.

Probably my favorite Christmas beer from last year. A rich mix of honey and cherries that's perfect for a cold December night. Simply delicious, and this is certainly a beer I'll be getting plenty of next Christmastime!!

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Photo of denmah
4.6/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On-tap brought to me in a goblet, cold, having mad elf before poured out of a bottle, i let it warm up a bit and sweat, thats when the smell and flavor really wake up.

Appearance: Deep Ruby Red, with a very small head, that totally disappears.

Smell: an almost overwhelming smell coming out of the glass, honey,spicey, cinnimon, nut, very strong.

Taste: very complex, all of the incredibly strong flavors blend together well.

Mouthfeel: medium feel in mouth, once you have a sip, you experience about 3 different tastes, first you taste the cherry and honey right away, then you get a bit of a malty carmel taste in the mouth, followed by a slightly bitter hoppy aftertaste.

Drinkability: amazing if you let it warm up to almost room temp, and keep sipping lightly, if i try to drink it too fast i start to dislike it. nice sipping with the strong alcohol going with it is excellent, you have to remind yourself its 11% abv

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Photo of jhollick
4.59/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured a murky dull red color with some copper and caramel coloring. No head, but lacing clings to the glass as I swirl.

Smell: Strong cherry aroma; also lots of honey and sweet malt. It is very thick smelling if that makes any sense. Some spice comes through as well. Awesome smelling beer.

Mouthfeel: Thick, heavy, viscous. Very little carbonation.

Taste: Ohhh mama! A year in the cellar has mellowed this to perfection. The bite and slightly green flavor is gone. No hops that I can discern, but at 15 IBU that is no surprise. That isn't what this beer is about anyway. The slick and juicy sweet flavors roll all around the mouth, with the cherries exhibiting both tarnessa nd sweetness. The malts and honey give body and additional sweetness, almost giving it the consistency of a mead. A bit of spicing rounds out the flavor and keeps things from going over the top on the sweetness scale. There is some dryness at the back, presumably because of the intense amount of alcohol.

Drinkability: What can I say? Somehow this 11.25% monster is drinkable...very drinkable. Don't drink too many, as you will be red faced and making a fool of yourself. The sweetness is very high and tart and dry are the only balancing factors, but I still can't get enough.

Overall: Given sufficient time to mature, this is one of the most drinkable, comples, and fun winter beers around. Tip of the cap to the Brothers Trogner.

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Photo of goblue3509
4.58/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an reddish ruby color with a one finger head. The beer gives way to little or no lacing. The smell is of roasted malts, with some fruit tones to it. The taste is fantastic, it taste of malt with cherry overtones and a honey note to smooth out the flavor. This beer is full bodied and moderately carbonated. The overall drinkability on this beer is very high, even with the high alcohol content the taste isn't overly alcohol and it is very very smooth, overall an a+ all around.

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Photo of UnionMade
4.58/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a bright, sunset red. Hazy, but the color is luminous. Very impressive. A thick, creamy froth of ivory head pillows up with a vigorous pour, dropping as quickly as it came. The head settles into a scattered, striated mist, bordered by a thick collar. Upon close inspection, the bubbles in the collar are miniscule, almost microscopic. Sheets of lace cling to the glass, a collar of head begrudgingly holding on throughout.
The aroma is very complex, the honey and cherry immediately apparent. Rich, luscious malt cradles a very sweet maraschino cherry scent. Loads of caramel and toasty sweetness, with shovelfuls of candi sugar. Plenty of fruitiness, of course tons of cherry, with lighter, more subtle notes of raisin, plum, date and red grape. A bit of sneaky alcohol flits through the shadows.
The flavor starts with a very sweet, caramel drizzled toastiness. Sticky gobs of honey enter in immediately, lending a softness to the overall feel. Maraschino cherry creeps in early, ushering in a rich, full fruitiness. A bushel of raisin, date, plum and red apple is dumped on the palate, some sourish red grape and raspberry easing the way into the finish. A pleasant, barely balancing fruity sourness tames the malt somewhat, vague hints of earthy, herbal hops assisting. Great spiciness from the yeast. Soft clove and medicinal astringency, doing it's best to bury the alcohol content in the end. Interestingly, a distinct cherry cough syrup taste creeps in with warmth. A faint sting of booze sits on the tip of the tongue after every sip, beating back the sugary horde. The aftertaste is very sweet, with a pronounced honey-dipped cherry. Very mild, yet active carbonation supports a full, syrupy mouthfeel, vesseled in a very full body.
Really awesome stuff. I'm usually not a fan of stuff being added to beer, especially adding two sweet things to an already sweet style. These folks at Troeg's really pulled it off, though. The malt is easily tempered by the sour spiciness in the finish. I really liked the carbonation, how it gently carried the beer with just enough to get the job done, yet still retain that bouyant belgian feel. Please bottle this again.
Thanks to Sulldaddy for the bottle!!

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Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 3,839 ratings.
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