The Mad Elf | Tröegs Brewing Company

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The Mad ElfThe Mad Elf
Very Good
4,003 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: 4,003 |  Reviews: 1,283
Photo of SharkNado
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of bruachan
3.74/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

i poured as aggressively as possible, but the beer didn't care. i coaxed a sizeable head out of the bottle but POOF gone. brilliantly-clear-orange-tinted ruby color

tart raisiny fruit with an earlier slight cherry flavor. some bitterness. the 11% hides well amongst the esters; this elf is generally less mad than i was expecting. there's definitely balance it fair to call it bland?

the standard yeasty belgian aroma is missing. i get caramel malts and a spicey hop and alcohol zing, but little of the classic belgian character, almost as if troegs didn't use an authentic yeast

EDIT: after i saw the bottle again, and the "holiday ale" label, i decided that to judge this beer as a "belgian strong ale" is missing the point. there was a nice spicing that was quite holiday-ish and it was actually incredibly drinkable

 838 characters

Photo of razorsdescent
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of russwbeck
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage: Enjoyed fresh

A: No head or lacing. Beautiful clear dark red in color. 4

S: Malty with cherries. Bit of alcohol definitely coming through. The honey provides a much needed sweetness to balance. 3.5

T: Thank god this has significantly less of a cherry taste than Sam Adams Cherry Wheat. Delicious maltiness up front with the cherries on the back end. No hops at all here, finish is full of alcohol.4

MF: Very light. Bit of a tang from the carbonation on the palate. 3.5

D/O: Drink all Christmas long. I look forward to this one always. A PA staple, it'll warm you up, get you drunk, and you'll enjoy it the whole time. 4.5

2011 Vintage: Enjoyed March 2013

A: Clear red pour with a thin white head. Not a lot of bubbles active in the beer, but it looks pristine. 4

S: The cherries come out in a big way, sweet, but not medicinal. The malts also play a large role are integrate nicely with the booze this beer is known for. 4

T: The taste is very sweet, but the booze provides the balance. The cherries play a larger part than I remember them fresh. The maltiness makes itself known the most at the very backend, and the booze is the base throughout. The beer has mellowed, but the cherries are stronger which I did not expect. The booze calming down has definitely improved the taste. 4

MF: Light body without a lot of carbonation. The beer is very drinkable for how high the ABV is, especially given a year and a half to mellow. 4.5

O: This beer definitely improved with age. Glad I put down 4 or 5 from the last few years! Can't wait to see what happens next. 4.5

 1,588 characters

Photo of Camjmorton
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of JohnofUpton
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of cfinch2
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of djgustafson
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of mattcrill
3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to cmaruschak for the chance to sample this brew.

Appearance: Pours a deep cloudy brick red with a sudsy white head. The head quickly fades to veins of soapy film on top of the beer.

Smell: Enjoyable blend of honey, pineapple, pear, flowery citrus notes, and a touch of tart fruits. Smells more like a sweet wine than beer.

Taste: Like a tripel. Honey, figs, some clove, some of that Belgian yeast funk, and maybe a hint of under ripe bananas. Very fruity with just a touch of an estery finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, carbonated, and a warming finish that is left on the palate.

Drinkability: The alcohol is hidden well. Kind of sneaks up on you in the finish. The yeasty funk is something that keeps me from over doing it with these styles but it's blended well with the fruit presence. Really enjoyable. I don't know if it seems like a "holiday" beer to me but it's worth trying.

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Photo of Johnct
3.86/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Photo of sprucetip
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Though this one had virtually no head, and was only a little active, I score it pretty high because the clarity seemed extraordinary. Sort of light amber and exceptionally clear, it was very inviting and attractive.

SMELL Fruity boozy esters, mostly banana, were very strong but not very hot. It was also very sweet. The banana esters reminded me very much of the German wheat beers, and makes me wonder if they used that kind of yeast?

TASTE is malty sweet with short lived bitter cheery-like dark fruit up front. Alcohol is evident but not dominant. Balancing hops are perceptible and just a bit bitter. Pretty smooth, and growing on me...

FELL modest warming, rich full body, medium viscosity and a drying finish.

OVERALL Cloying would be too strong a description, but it's not hard to imagine some finding this way too sweet. Alcohol presence is restrained, thankfully, considering how much of it is in there. And there are some other interesting things going on in there, like the aforementioned banana smell and taste reminiscnet of German weiss beers. Definitely a sipper. Glad I tried it. Thank you BuckeyeNation for the great trade and hand delviery.

 1,165 characters

Photo of gpblackgt
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of zrab11
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of Segelstrom
3/5  rDev -22.5%

Photo of csurowiec
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of BeerzMcKenzie
4.75/5  rDev +22.7%

Photo of stevec32
4/5  rDev +3.4%

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

Picked up a few bottles of this at Premier Gourmet in Buffalo - been meaning to try this for a while.

Poured into a goblet. Nice bright cherry red and caramel, with a a thin crown of head that yields just a bit of lace. It's a boozier beer, that's for sure.

Nose is cinnamon, spices, a bit of cherry, Belgian yeast, raw honey, sugar, and booze.

There's a mild tartness from the cherries, some mild malt, good mix of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg), honey, a bit of chocolate, and a boozy Barleywine quality to it. The cherries remind me a great deal of a mead that is made just outside of Niagara, in which some sour cherries are added to the mix. The interplay of honey and cherry is quite enjoyable - different enough that I'm appreciating every sip for what it is.

Good heft to the brew, certainly has that "Belgian barleywine" feel to it. Well-carbonated, just a bit syrupy.

Unique Christmas brew experience, that's for sure. I enjoyed it a great deal.. The 11% certainly helped me enter into that blissful sleepy state I love to be in when I stare vacantly at my Christmas tree, savoring the colours, the lights and the decorations.

 1,140 characters

Photo of NYR_Rob
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of Peter1977
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of mjtiernan
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of HermitDan
3.84/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of wcudwight
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter a dark red(nice). with a inch head that quickly reduces to a thin ring around the crown.
Smell: I get cherry, cranberry, jucyfruit gum and alcohol.
Taste: Mmmm, taste starts with loads of malty sweetness, mixed with cherries. Kind of toasty tasting in the middle. The finish is of dry alcohol.
Mouthfeel is good. Thick and filling.
I consider it nicely drinkable for 11%. I've aged my bottle for 6 months and the alcohol is really only noticable in the finish.
A very good beer that is worth the hour and half drive across state lines to purchase. One that I will be looking forward to this coming holiday season.

 640 characters

Photo of sunofneurot
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of craytonic
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Small head, little lace. Brilliant blood red, like rudolph's nose.

Smell: Sweet malt, cherry and hint of roses. Alcohol is a bit too prevalent.

Taste: Sweet with a tart cherry twang. The honey is very mild. A bit medicinal.

Mouthfeel: Thin, carbonation is off.

Drinkability: I didn't smell or taste the high ABV, which I usually find very noticeable. Dangerously drinkable. Couldn't finish it fast enough. I really wish I had another right now.

 460 characters

The Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 4,003 ratings
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