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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:
3,834
Avg:
3.86
pDev:
26.68%
 
 
Wants:
228
Gots:
1,092
For Trade:
24
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,246 | Ratings: 3,834
Photo of HopsYeast
3.34/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a-pours a clear dark reddish amber with a 1/4 finger pale white head that quickly fads and leaves no lacing.

s-honey, cherries, raisens, heavy alcohol smell, and also has a somewhat sour smell thats a bit of a turn off.

t-taste is a reverse of the smell. a nice warm alcohol flavor mixed in with dark fruits, maltiness, and the slightest hops. lots of dark fruit flavor is preset.

m-somewhat syrupy with very minimal carbonation.

o-well i think im starting to finally get this beer. year after year i tried it and it turned me off completely. this was the first time on tap so it may have been the difference. its deep flavor and warming sensation bought on by the alcohol makes it a good fit for the cold holiday season.

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Photo of sacullen
2.77/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

12oz bottle from 2010-2011 bottling, poured into Duvel tulip.

A: Pours amber/red. It is reddish where the glass is widest. Head is almost effervescent, more like a cola, and very quickly dissipates to a crown and leaves no lacing.

S: Spices are at the forefront, while cherries are muted. Smells yeasty like a Belgian. Label uses the wording "subtle cherries", and I have to agree.

T: Not enough cherry for my tastes. Again, the spices from the yeast are the dominant flavor, while the cherries are most noticeable in the finish. Estery and doesn't quite hide the alcohol.

M: Light and lively in the mouth, flavors/aftertaste doesn't linger long.

D: Not a beer I would drink multiples of in one sitting. The beer is almost forgettable.

A friend bought me a sixer for Christmas this year. I've had a couple and think I will hold on to the rest to see what some time does to them.

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Photo of deruiz10
3.61/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Quite a beautiful amber, slightly reddish with hints of honey-color. Eggshell head is minimal and quickly dissipates, leaves no lacing.

S - Very fruity (mostly cherry) and bright, slight hints of alcohol.

T - Pretty mild up front, body is light but cherry flavors pop out after a moment, mixing with the fruityspicy taste of the typical Belgian dark. The finish is also characterized by a slightly spicy, but subdued taste of hops which serves to mask the relatively high alcohol content well, with cherry flavors also lingering.

M - Fairly light and refreshing, good amount of carbonation.

D - A little too sweet to have more than one in an evening, plus that alcohol content will really sneak up on you. However, it's probably one of the better fruity holiday beers out there in terms of balancing refreshment value with a seasonal holiday flavor without becoming too syrupy or overwhelming.

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Photo of jhicks12
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured this beer into a pint glass, first thing I notice was the glowing ruby red color and white head. Beer had a sweet cherry aroma with just a slight honey nose. First taste really got a lot of cherry not some much sour on first taste but more so as I drank. Slight alcohol warming. Not as much as I would have expected from an 11%. Very drinkable and a nice beer to warm you up with out being too overpowering.

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Photo of xenolithic
3.66/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 1pint 6oz bottle into a wine glass for scent and effect. The color itself is ruby, and looks much closer to a wine than a beer. No head, a fine lacing around the rim of the glass.

Smells of dark fruits, particularly cherries with a hint of what you might smell from a Christmas Fruitcake. You can also smell some dark sugars as well as a mead-y honey characteristic. Not overly sweet, and not overwhelmingly cherry scented as I have heard from others in the past.

Taste includes some subtle cherry tartness with a very tiny sweetness. The alcohol is apparent when tasting the beer, and along with the tartness leaves a bit of a lingering finish. After reading the other reviews on this same beer, mine is noticeably more watery than those describing a thick or oily mouthfeel.

That said, the mouthfeel is closer to watery for this bottle.

Drinkability on this is fairly good, though I don't see this beer being for me outside the holidays. I do like fruit beers, and I like Lambics and Belgians; I would have done better to pair this beer than drink it alone.

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Photo of kenpo23
3.05/5  rDev -21%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

oh christmas beer oh christmas beer....

A: pretty flat, with no head. pretty red color that some irish red ales dont even have.

S: nice fruity smell. i can smell the cherry (and it doesnt smell like cough medicine to me) and honey.

T: wow, smooth. i can't taste the honey at all but my other half, the super taster, is amazed that i can't taste it. the alcohol taste didn't really hit me.

D: sip away. i cant imagine trying to pound one of these.

nothing extra special about this beer. its very much got a holiday flavor to it though. i bought one for christmas and i will do the same next year, but no more than one for me.

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Photo of tuckevalastin
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Redish amber with a small and quickly disappearing head

S: A fruity tone with a hint of spice

T: A strong cherry flavor with some honey taste coming through. Lots of spice on the back end. Lots of malt and very little hops. The alcohol hides alot.

M: Thick and sticky from the fruit but very smooth. Not much heat to speak of.

D: For 11% alcohol this is certainly very drinkable. A little too thick to want to drink outside of winter.

Having not read the reviews before trying this I was a bit surprised. It's a little too fruity, has a little too much spice for the fruitness, is a little too alcoholic, but has a little too little alcholic flavor showing.... yet it's a decent beer and one I'd drink again this winter.

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Photo of smerrell
4.04/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - translucent red, the head dissipates quickly

Smell - Strong alcohol, candy-sweet smell that dissipates quickly

taste: like a black cherry Belgian beer. Hops are barely noticeable and you don't taste the alcohol until after you swallow

Mouthfeel: high carbonation, the soft finish coats the tongue and stays with you

Overall: This is a great seasonal beer, with a great, unique taste. If you are a fan of Belgians, this is a great change of pace. high in alcohol, you shouldn't (couldn't) drink more than 2 of these easily, but this is a terrific Christmas beer.

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Photo of IPAlmighty
4.52/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Great on tap, but if you buy it bottled it needs to be aged. Get a six and cellar it for a year or two. Solid for a cold winter night, a sipper of the first order.

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Photo of whitehouse50
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured this into my snifter. It has the color of dark reddish and ruby appearances. Aromas of sweet fruit with a slight bite to it. On the first sip you can notice the alcohol but that quickly fades as you can taste more sweet fruity flavors, definitely the cherries with hints of honey. Mouthfeel gets a slightly gummy or sticky after a few tastes but overall not bad. This one goes down relatively smooth considering its so high in alcohol. This is one of my favorite winter beers.

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Photo of Hoppington
3.82/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just picked this up to see what the big deal was. Poured from a 12oz bottle, it had no head and lace whatsoever - what head was there disapated quickly.

Mead-like smell with presence of honey and raisin notes. Dark amber with faint burgundy in color, and quite clear in the glass.

Taste is enjoyably sweet and malty with a hint of spice from the yeast. Cherry is faint and hardly noticable. Goes down nice and smooth - not too sticky despite its sweetness. Overall, a nice winter beer. Great to drink after sledding, making a snowman or gathering firewood. I would drink this seasonaly. Nice work Troegs!

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Photo of Outchillen
4.72/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ive had this on tap, and bottles

A: Nice ruby color. Clear with thin white head

S: Banana and clove belgian yeast, Honey and cherries

T: Sweet honey and cherries, a little clovey yeast, little boozey finish

M: Light to medium body. Medium carbonation.

O: Great winter warmer Belgian beer, sweet and silky smooth, one of my favorites of the year

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Photo of IceTrey9785
3.29/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Bought a six-pack for $13.99 at the Total Wine & More in McLean...

A: This beer looks great. I poured it relatively fast to develop a larger head, but it didn't really take. The beer seemed a little flat, with small amounts of lacing. The rich red color is fantastic...I couldn't wait to take a sip.

S: A rush of malty sweetness, faint hint of hops, but the cherry/honey in the brew gives off reminders of a cold weather medicine (maybe a lozenge or something...). Slightly oily on the nose, and a mild burn from the alcohol. I figured it might be around 10% -- 11% isn't too far out of the realm.

T&M: Excellent carbonation and creaminess -- the beer really fills your mouth, and engages the palate. The cherries hit about midway through the palate. Little to no hops, but the alcohol does the job of cutting the sweet aroma. A lot drier than I anticipated, and much more flavorful too. A nice tart cherry finish.

Overall I really like this beer. I don't want to drink two in a row, but perhaps with a nice dessert, it would be most welcome. Definitely a little too warm out for a beer of this magnitude -- on a cold winter day by a fire, and I think this beer would come alive. Highly recommended, especially given how much complexity this beer brewed with fruit really has.

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Photo of strictly4DK
3.77/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured into a Weyerbacher tulip glass.

A - Pours a translucent amber, head amounts to a thin film and recedes to nothing. No lacing.

S - Just as advertised, scent is primarily sweet honey, spicy, slightly tart cherries. Phenolic but not medicinal.

T - Up front is sweet honey, candied sugar, cherries, and possibly some raisins. Mid-palate it makes a big shift. Cloves and belgian spice bridges the gap to dry, tannic finish. Hints of fusel alcohol but not too hot.

M - Light bodied and slightly thin. Astringent due to the tannic finish but honey and some spice also remain on the palate.

D - This is a decent holiday seasonal but not sure it holds up to many other beers of the Belgian Strong Dark style. Tannins nicely balance how sweet this is upfront. Probably won't pick up another unless it's got some age.

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Photo of runningjoke
4.84/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into tulip glass with a nice amber color and a thick foamy head.
Smelled delicious with honey upfront followed with the spicy hops.
Tastes of tart cherries, honey, and spice. It fills the whole mouth with flavors. Sweetness on the tip of the tongue with tart, mouthwatering element in back. Alcohol fills the sinuses as the beer goes down (one of my favorite qualities).
It feels light in the mouth and goes down smooth.
This beer could be dangerous,as I could drink this all night, and I probably will.
Can't wait for next years release...it gives me something to look forward to.

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Photo of sbw138
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought a bottle from The Foodery, poured into a snifter.

Appearance - A nice deep deep amber/brown color. No signs of carbonation, a nice creamy very light brown head of a little more than one finger. A good looking beer.

Smell - A very yeasty smell right off the bat. Also picked up some darks fruits, almost a plum/prune scent.

Taste - Very sweet, with a combination of the malts thrown in. You can really taste the cherries at the end.

Mouthfeel - The overly sweetness gives it a little too thick of a consistency, but it is super smooth.

Drinkability - Good drinkability. Not one I would drink over and over again. I'd consider it almost a dessert beer.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of MaxBrewell
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a ruby-red color with a thin layer of an off-white head.

S- Spicy Belgian yeast mixed with sweet cherry, and maybe a bit of dark fruits.

T- Follows the nose with spicy yeast and cherry. Sweetness that finishes with warmth from the alcohol.

M- Medium-light bodied with average carbonation.

D- A pleasant variation on a winter warmer. The spicy yeast and the cherries are something that I look forward to each Winter.

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Photo of ellisdee97
3.4/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Light amber with a thin bubbly off white head, which leaves a nice ring. Bubbly lacing clings to the glass.

S: Deep mix of cherry, honey and alcohol. Toasted malt, a slight hint of hops and saccharin sweetness.

T: Very sugary sweet cherry and honey. Toast and warm alcohol. The cherry right now is too sweet but some age should help. Last year definitely had more of a deep chocolate base, which they coincidentally removed from the labels description.

M: Sweet, sticky and sugary. High carbonation.

D: Some age will help but right now it is too sweet. But a nice sipper overall.

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Photo of poundboy
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Obtained this bottle in a trade with GCBrewingCO. Thanks much for the opertunity.

Appearance: Red, not amber like a red ale, but red like toasted cherries. Minimal head as is common in high alcohol brews. Just the sort of ruby treasure you can imagine finding in a Mad Elf's cellar.

Nose: Indentifiable fruit scents, Alcohol undertones, A mild floral hoppiness and hints of sweet malt.

Taste: Begins with a sweet maltiness combined with the fruity spicy character I associate with trappist ales. True to its name, one sip begins to warm you right up. Finishes with the slighest hint of spice. Neither my finace or I could taste cherries.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, pleasant carbonation, creamy despite not being all that thick.

Drinkability: I could pound these back until I could no longer stand up, which would proabably be after say 2.5.

Overall a damn good brew. Perhaps not a classic but certainly one to seek out.

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Photo of jscondon
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours with little head, but the ring along the snifter stays present throughout. the amber color is deep and very red, while the nose has a strong alcohol scent emenating cherries and a slight maltiness. this is a think mouthy beer having an immense flavor, a very subtle cherry flavor that is not over bearing nicely balanced with hops. i really like this beer, and it will store!

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Photo of gromis
3.86/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a holiday favorite, as the brewery is nearby. Every year people wait for this to come out.

It pours a dark gold/amber color. Hardly any carbonation to speak of.

Smell is nothing out of the ordinary.

Taste: To me, the honey comes through. I really can't pick out the cherries that are supposed to be in this one. Very pleasant taste, bites a bit of alcohol.

Since I've been brewing my own beer, I've made the statement that commercial beers now taste like "Lite" beers to me. After having a Mad Elf, I had one of my homebrews and my homebrew tasted like a Lite beer. HEH!

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Photo of Mertzy81
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours a murky brownish-red with a decent head of off-white, coarse bubbles. No retention or lacing.

S: Aggressive nose of syrupy cherries. Hints of vinous grape, a bit of lactic acid, and sugary fruit juice.

T: Juicy cherries hit the palate, along with a smooth blend of spices, sweet and grainy malt, and Belgian yeast. Hints at cloying cough syrup but is pulled back by the malt and yeast. Bit of a smooth, medicinal honey sweetness. Fruity Belgian esters mix well with the cherries and honey. A bit of alcohol in the finish, but it's barely perceivable.

M: Relatively full body and fine carbonation.

O: This definitely grew on me as the glass drained. Can get a little cloying, but ultimately it's pretty balanced, and the hiddenness of the alcohol is remarkable for 11%.

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Photo of calise1122
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Late night kindle kept burning by Khiasmus.

Mad Elf, poured into a goblet while listening to Creed by STP.

A: A harsh pour yields a small cap of head hovering over a dark copper, oak stained brown colored beer in the glass. It's clear... in fact it actually magnifies... but with bubbles. Inviting? Yes.

S: Lots of that Belgium yeast that itches me the right way... berries, maybe cherries, but definitely something that ends in "ies". I always have trouble describing this smell... I want to say it smells earthy and musty, but not like the earthy musty beer that I lean on... a differnt smell I suppose, damnit... I guess I just can't pin it down. It may be my poor palate, it could be my lack of vocabulary... I can definitely say that it smells good.

T: Smells like it tastes and tastes like it smells... with a nice burn of alcohol. It has some honey, absolutely has some honey... and the cherry kind of parks itself in my cheeks. It is almost as if the cherries are trying to knock the crap out of the honey, but the honey backs itself into the corner and rope-a-dope's its way into a fair match. I am nearly positive that makes no sense, but that is how it feels.

M: Honestly, at this point... no matter what beer I poured it would be my last. If I started with this, it could go a long way. Is it drinkable in respect to a good session beer?... no, but it is drinkable and I have would never turn down the offer to have another.

D: See above!

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Photo of brianlg
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Finally had the chance to try this beer, although I wish it were snowing outside right now as I drink this. It pours a reddish brown with a small head. The head dissolves quickly. The beer smelled like honey, nuts, alcohol, and cherries. Upon first sip I was surprised how well the alcohol taste is hidden. This is very ell for a 11& ABV. Next thing you know, my pint glass is finished. IT tasted just like it smelled, honey, nuts, and subtle taste of sweet cherries. The store I purchased from has planty of these left, I will probably be back soon to buy another. After finishing the 1pint 6oz bottle I already feel it!

Great beer, can't wait to have this next Christmas!

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Photo of boblinneman
4.23/5  rDev +9.6%
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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Tröegs Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 3,834 ratings.
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