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The Mad Elf | Tröegs Brewing Company

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The Mad ElfThe Mad Elf
Very Good
3,959 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
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Ratings: 3,959 |  Reviews: 1,278
Photo of Jsalz21
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of sisterofba
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of JLK7299
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Johtro
4.23/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

This is one of my favorites. I love the Belgian caramel taste and feel with the complexities of slight cherry and the Belgian yeast. It does a splendid job of cloaking the high ABV.

 181 characters

Photo of Ctb6582
4.17/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of StoutElk_92
4.43/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle dated 10/20/16

Pours clear ruby red with a frothy light khaki colored foam head. Smells like banana, clove spice, vanilla, honey, cherries, toasty bready malts, mild chocolate, caramel, with minty earthy grassy pine. Tastes like banana, clove spice, vanilla, honey, cherries, toasty bready malts, mild chocolate, caramel, with minty earthy grassy pine. Feels medium bodied, creamy and slick with moderate carbonation. Overall a real nice and interesting Belgian strong dark ale.

 493 characters

Photo of Gajo74
3.81/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Out of the bottle it pours a translucent brown color that looks darker when it hits the glass and also has elements of ruby red. Minimal head quickly disappears and leaves no lacing or remnants; I'd like to see more from a Belgian.
A lot going on in the aroma; my favorite feature of the beer. Dark fruits such as raisins, prunes and figs with a splash of alcohol. There is also a nice coating of dark chocolate malt as well as spices such as cinnamon and cloves.
The dark fruit detected in the aroma are evident in the taste, along with a dried red grape consistency that is evident in a sweeter red wine. The predominance of sweetness in the taste can border on cloying at times, except for the fact that there is a cherry tartness that balances things out somewhat. There is some spicy clove like elements that are found in the middle phase, however, the sweetness returns towards the end. The alcohol is evident, although well masked for such a high ABV drink. It is on the high side of medium bodied.
I feel that this one had some nice qualities, however, I would have liked to see more spicy Belgian characteristics to balance out the sweetness. Maybe I should give it another chance as a dessert beer?

 1,209 characters

Photo of dlin0sbb
2.81/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Photo of Chackman151
4.52/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of BigSmooth12
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of NiceTaps
2.06/5  rDev -46.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12oz bottle in a snifter.

Cherry red color with a thin head and lots of bubbles. Plenty of lacing.

Strong alcohol over cherries and honey. Boozy.

Memories of the cherry flavored medicines of my childhood is the best I can do here.

I feel that I'll eschew this "beer" forever more.

This does not meet my definition of "BEER".

 330 characters

Photo of Wingnut93
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of TripleSun
3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Very smooth for a belgian strong!

L - lucious ruby red with a creamy head
S - cherries, honey and alcohol
T - bananas, cherries, tiny bit of syrup mouthful
F - full bodied and very smooth

Troegs makes some good beers and this is pretty decent. Has a bit of a sticky feel to it but nice flavors going around

 308 characters

Photo of tenacean
3.36/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bought on tap. The descriptions of its appearance have been spot on thus far. Troegs describes this beer with descriptors of cherry and cloves. By the end I was describing it as clove beer...lots of clove flavor with some cherry. The heat from the alcohol is always present but not overwhelming.

Overall, a well crafted beer and I'm glad I tried it but I'm not going to buy it again.

 388 characters

Photo of Riff
3.46/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear ruby red color with a small amount of off white head that dissipates quickly but leaves a little lacing. Smells of cherries and yeast, neither a strong flavor. Tastes primarily of cherry, like the syrup cocktail cherries in a can of fruit cocktail. Other flavors of honey and yeast. Body is okay, medium. Lingering sweet cherry flavors. Really, too sweet for me.

 376 characters

Photo of BrewMaven
4.04/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of ChipChaight
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Nalid66
4.06/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of GimmeASchlitz
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into trillium tulip

Pours a nice deep cherry color with minimal beige head that goes away quickly but leaves a nice ring of lacing.

Picking up nice notes of cherries and spicy cloves. There is a bit of yeast in the nose too.

First sip is tart fruits and cherries, yeast, and some bread and crackers from the malts. Continuing with a bit of sweetness and some cinnamon. Darker fruits such as plums become apparent in taste. As it warms you can taste the booze a bit but doesn't overpower.

Very light medium body for such a strong ale. Good amount of carbonation and a bit of stickiness to the feel.

The ale sips like a brandy. It has a unique tart, sour, and sweet combination. It is very smooth and because you don't taste the alcohol as much it is easy to drink too fast. The ABV limits you to just one or two but I wish I could keep drinking for the night. Too bad it's only brewed once a year.

 908 characters

Photo of taxandbeerguy
3.96/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle served just above fridge temperature into a pint glass.

Appearance - a dark mahogany or Amber color with a little haze. A thin half finger of tan head is poured and has good staying power. Not much lacing and carbonation is pretty average.

Smell - honey, cherries and Belgian yeast especially. There's a little bit of Christmas baking and fruitcake in there, but generally sweet, cherry leaning and sweetened with honey.

Taste - like the nose, but initially even with more sweetness before a bitter hop note at the end reels everything in. A little too sweet but a nice treat around Christmas. Some spices too giving this the cross between a winter warmer and a dark strong Belgian. Doesn't hit cough syrup for me, but I can see how some get there.

Mouthfeel - smooth and a little syrupy, heavy bodied and carbonation is modest. Works with this flavor combo but could be cloying to some.

Overall - Mad Elf is a fine winter special with plenty of flavor, more than enough booze to keep you prone and a nice honey aspect to it. However due to the sweetness, I can't see this being a regular sipper, although certain worth a try,

 1,145 characters

Photo of Bluecrow
3.74/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

-I have had a couple of these seasonally for many years. This bottle pour is clear red-amber with a a thin wisp of tan foam. The aroma is candi sugar. The prominent flavors are Belgian candi-sugar and pleasant cherry. In all, the brew lacks a depth of flavors, and the finish is more slick than dry, but it is a welcome holiday treat nonetheless.

 351 characters

Photo of drbenderdo
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of duvel1979
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Campodog
4.27/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of bawaddell
3.09/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

The Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 3,959 ratings
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