The Mad Elf | Tröegs Brewing Company

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The Mad ElfThe Mad Elf
BA SCORE
3.87/5
Very Good
4,003 Ratings
The Mad ElfThe 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
Ranking:
#8,897
Reviews:
1,283
Ratings:
4,003
pDev:
14.99%
Bros Score:
3.77
 
 
Wants:
236
Gots:
1,185
Trade:
23
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,003 |  Reviews: 1,283
Photo of bort11
3.6/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to DuqTroops for this one. He got me a 2005 and a 2006 in a trade. I had these one after another, starting with the '05

12 oz bottle, 2006 vintage poured into a Duvel tulip. Thin white head that recedes to a thin ring. Color is a clear reddish tint, a lot lighter than the 05. Smell still has a distinct Belgium yeast aroma, with a slight hint of the cherries. The cherry taste is more prominent but is still blended well with the honey sweetness. The yeast gives it a bit of tartness as well.
Mouthfeel is is a bit thinner but still a solid medium body. Mild carbonation.
This is still a pretty drinkable beer, but I think the 05 really benefited from the aging.

 675 characters

Photo of addiwilliams
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of ritzkiss
3.6/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Goblet on tap at Cole's in Buffalo, arrives an amber/cherry wood color with no head, hard to raise some on a subsequent swirl. Pretty still.

Cherry and 'Belgian' esters/yeast along the lines of a triple dominate, some grain, light cloves and all spice. Very rich and creamy, heavy caramel and honey sweetness running through, light Saaz hop dryness in the finish. Boozy in the finish, you can tell this is a heavier beer though you might not guess as high as 11%!

Not bad, though it's too sweet to be more than a sipper. A little brash on the esters, could be dialed down a notch. Can't say I would jump to drink this one again, though perhaps in the bottle or with some age it might mellow a touch.

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Photo of k47k
3.84/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Benesi88
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of neonbrown82
2.8/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

This bottle was provided in trade from GCBrewingCo. It's been a while since the trade, but I figured this one would be better saved for the first snowfall of the year at the very least. It surely has enough staying power at 11% considering that it's the 2004 release, but this beer is quite questionable to say the least.

Pours to a very dark burgandy brown with absolutely no head. I put some serious distance between the bottle and the tulip glass while pouring, but all I got were a few clear air bubbles. Obviously no lacing, and the carbonation couldn't be seen if it were there. This isn't necessarily surprising with such a high ABV brew, but I usually get at least a head-like film.

The nose is absolutely saturated with a raisin and fig aroma with a bit of ginger and/or allspice and cinamon. The cherries are also evident behind all the figs.

The beer tastes like molasses, honey and cherries, with aforementioned spicing. A bit piney even. Not one of my favorite mixtures of flavor. It seems like they took all of the flavors associated with christmas and went overboard trying to cram as much of that shit as they could into a 12 ounce bottle. The results are quite devastating to the tastebuds, and I'm not one to rate a beer well based on style even though I thought it was utter shite.

The mouthfeel is water and distant. What does this "distant" nonsense mean in terms of mouthfeel? Well, I can't seem to taste much of anything but mild sour cherries until I swallow, and then the burst of flavors hits all at once, confusing the palate. The finish is dry and lingers like a port wine, grape flavor and all.

I feel like I've been duped. This is a wine, not a beer! No offense to GCBrewingCo, if he happens to be reading this (I've already thoroughly enjoyed everything else from that trade), but I am not impressed at all by this beer. In fact, this is the type of thing that put me off from holiday beers last year, but I am going to stay the course for this year.

 1,996 characters

Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.33/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Auburn/red with no visible carbonation. No head, no lacing.

S - Odor is faint. Mostly malt with a little spice. I can't descern anything over the smell of carbonated water. Since there is no real carbonation, that doesn't say much for the smell.

T - Slightly sour, from the cherries I'd guess, a little spice is detectable, nutmeg and maybe a tiny bit of allspice. It has a strange bitterness, but it mostly masked. I cannot detect any alcohol. It isn't really covered up though, since the taste isn't very strong. I don't know where they hid it, but it is hidden. Aside from the disappearing abv, nothing is too impressive about the taste.

M - Very thick and smooth. Refreshing.

D - There is not a single negative aspect to this beer, but there is nothing great either. I am surprised. It is good, in the sense that it does not offend and is easy to drink. I would sooner have many other holiday brews. Maybe it was the hype, but this Troegs beer is a bit of a disappointment.

 993 characters

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

Photo of HopsHopenstein
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of alamode
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of Denzo
3.25/5  rDev -16%

Photo of BeerImmediately
3.97/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a sixtel of the Elf to add to the Saison on draft in the basement bar for a NY Day Bowl party.

From the tap, this has a sizeable 3F head, which quickly lowers to a skim-film w/ very little lacing. Ruby/orange, but quite clear.

Smells of maraschino cherries, and cinnamon-bread dough.

Yes, some cherry and honey in the taste, but also picked up caramel apples, and some banana and clove (like a heavy hefe, if such a thing existed).

The mouthfeel was heavy due to the ABV and sweetness, but not nearly as thick as I expected.

This is way too drinkable, as showcased by several of my friends after dropping back 3-4 pints in the afternoon. "HAPPY" New Year!

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I assume this brew was last winters release. No date on the bottle to indicate otherwise.

A - orangish brown in color with a small off white head
S - sweet almost vinous brown sugar malts, honey and cherries.
T - similar to the aroma but with a honey softened effect. Kind of like the edge was taken off and an injection of warmth added. Quite tasty.
M - medium to full bodied, mildly carbonated smooth
D - at 11% this one hides the abv deceptively well. Aging nicely and was great as an evening relaxing drink.

I would buy this every season. quite a treat.

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Photo of mattsmith413
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of Giantspace
1.5/5  rDev -61.2%

Photo of meathookjones
4.47/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I originally had this when I was first getting into craft brew and thought it was quite interesting but not my cup of tea at the time. Seeing as it came out the same did I was picking up some other beers I decided to give it a try again. This pours out a cherry juice red with a decent beige head that eventually falls to a coating of bubbles. Decent lacing was left around the glass as this was consumed. Aroma was a bit sweet with a bit of cherries and a bit of spiciness. Alcohol was evident but it mixed well and added positively to the smell. The taste starts off with a sweet maltiness that had notes of cherries and other fruits with a touch of honey. There was a good amount of spice as well. Aftertaste was a lingering sweetness. Mouthfeel was about medium with a slick and warming feel to it. Pretty damn good drinkability here with the large alcohol being hidden really well. It did warm me up quite a bit as I drank it. Overall this is a very interesting and tasty beer that I would recommend if you haven’t had it already. Oh and Venom’s suggestion to have it warm was spot on.

 1,092 characters

Photo of ridgeline23
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of joepais
3.45/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks MuenchenerKindl for the opportunity to try this one
Bottle poured a clear ruby red into my tulip glass, not much of a head and no lace

Aromas of Belgian yeast and sweet malts fill your head

I do have to say the yeast dominates this one with a sour cherry finish It really hides the alcohol I couldn't pick it up at all. I read one of the reviews and will agree that it is kind of meadish in a way

Very easy to drink light on the palate almost no carbonation

Drinkability well lets say you could pound away a few of these but at 11% I wouldn't recommend it

 570 characters

Photo of Gaddabble
3.25/5  rDev -16%

Photo of little_star
4.59/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Good holiday feelings in a glass. I look forward to this beer every year.

73 characters

Photo of ZachKelly
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of GameOfBeers
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

What is this beer?

Pours a ruby red, light head, terrific lacing.

Tastes like cherries and spice (go figure) but there is a deeper fruit profile I am still working on. A little sweet but not too sweet.

Smells of sweet cherries again.

Crisp and satisfying but not overpowering on the alcohol. Very balanced.

Overall, fantastic. Not exactly what I think of as a winter beer, but it has its moments. Definitely buying this again.

 435 characters

Photo of sommersb
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted On: 12-26-2012
Freshness: 2012 Vintage
Packaging: 12 oz. brown bottle, pry-cap
Glassware: Goblet
Purchased: Received in a trade

It's the day after Christmas, so a little Mad Elf seemed appropriate...

This beer isn't much to look at -- pours a semi-clear reddish-brown with very little head to speak of. The head disappears quickly and leaves no lacing behind.

Smells are malty and sweet, with big fruit and cherry notes. I also get some complex holiday spice aromas such as cinnamon and clove. I think I can also detect the added honey, but maybe that's just because I read it on the label...

Full-flavored ale here, sweet and of dark, ripened fruits like raspberry and cherry. Bitterness is low if not non-existent.

Mouthfeel is full in body with carbonation in the medium range. Finish is fruity and sweet, with a lingering spice flavor. The 11% makes itself known with some pleasing alcohol warmth.

Overall an enjoyable spiced holiday ale. The appearance left something to be desired, but other than that was a brew I'd recommend to anyone who likes malt-forward spiced holiday beers.

Thanks to baybum for this one!

 1,133 characters

Photo of Beerbuddha
3/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured a copper color with a thin white head which disappears quickly and leaves minimal lacing. The smell was a bit lacking. It had a very dominate sweet smell. The taste was of honey and not much else. I really expected cherries but in this particular bottle I had none. It wasn't bad but when I see cherries I expect cherries. The really good thing was the 11% ABV wasn't dominant. The mouthfeel was medium body with medium carbonation. Overall drinkability was fair. It would have been great had I tasted cherries. I'll have to try another bottle.

 561 characters

Photo of HeadyTheElder
3.25/5  rDev -16%

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