The Mad Elf | Tröegs Brewing Company

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The Mad ElfThe Mad Elf
BA SCORE
3.87/5
Very Good
4,022 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:
#10,289
Reviews:
1,288
Ratings:
4,022
pDev:
14.99%
Bros Score:
3.77
 
 
Wants:
237
Gots:
1,195
Trade:
24
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,022 |  Reviews: 1,288
Photo of AlvinLin
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of harryhops
4.04/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of mattsmith413
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of Wiffler27
4.46/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

pours a mahogany color with a solid white head.

smell is unique. has some of that Belgian yeast candy aroma. smell is sweet, the cherries are present as well. great aroma!

taste is sweet up front, almost some char to it. finishes with some bitterness to it. fruit taste to it, the cherries are present again. goes down smooth, nice sipper. it finishes bitter as well.

overall this is pretty good. not a bad winter seasonal. has a full and unique flavor. it has a nice balance of sweetness, char, fruit, and bitterness to it. glad i picked this up.

-still have 3 bottles left from this past winter. it's 6/28/16
aroma is still sweet with cherry and slight char
smooth drinker, nice for 11%
just trying to clear out my fridge of beers that have been there forever.

 766 characters

Photo of BeastLU
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of sbricker
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of seedyone
3.49/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

From bottle at home. Coppery, brown ale color with virtually no head or lacing. The cough syrup aroma is redolent of cherries...black cherries. The texture is far from syrpy...actually a bit disappointing. That being said this is a true wintery treat.

I was introduced to it as a blend w/Troegs Dream Weaver in a 80/20 mix, The Elf adding a very pleasant balance to the wheat beer dryness of the Weaver.

OK on it's own, at the right rime of year, but since we're running about 15F+ on the year, this might find it hard to become a preferred quaff...but the marriage works very well.

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Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.02/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep cherry red with virtually no head and quite still. Smell is of sweet malt, apples, cherries and spice.

Taste is very sweet and malty, overpoweringly so. Lots of fruit flavors in here. Apples, cherries, some citrus and just pure honey creeps up as well. Caramel flavors are evident. Hints of underlying spice and just sweet, sweet, sweet. Almost too sweet but not quite. Mouthfeel in sticky and syrupy. Wish there was a bit more taste in the finish and/or aftertaste. I was shocked to see that this brew is 11% ABV (didn't notice that on the bottle). Incredibly smooth and drinkable for that strength! A very good winter warmer but not at the top of my wish list.

Thanks to PintofAle for the sample.

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Photo of jtierney89
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a hazy dark orange or amber color with a thin lace of head. Alcohol smell is apparent instantly. Some dark fruit and spice on the back of the nose.

Surprisingly tastes like a Belgian ale and isn't nearly as sweet and sugary as I thought it would be. Slightly sweet up front, hints of cherries, cinnamon, cloves, and dark fruits, nothing to over powering. Spicy balancing finish with a very warming swallow from the high alcohol.

This beer ended up being a lot different than I thought it would be but in a good way. Big and full in body but not syrupy like I imagined.

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

12oz bottle, had to get this one out of the way. served its appropriate glassware, a 12oz Mad Elf tulip.

A - pours with a *very* short lived film, mostly settling to a loose ring of bubbles and a few spots of foam. the beer is crystal clear, amber in color, with a slight reddish tint.

S - freshly squeezed and crush, maraschino cherries are kept in check by a hefty amount of booziness. not much else creeps through here, maybe some hints of vanilla.

T - sharp, sweet yet not at all tart cherries dominate the palate. alcohol is the bed of delivery here, which is both good and bad. barely any other flavors are capable of making its way through.

M - lightish body, with tight punchy carbonation - but missing (for better or worse) that effervescent fizzyness of most Belgians. alcohol burns a bit (a lot) here and there - actually helps cut through the cherries for the most part.

D - more of a tradition around here than anything else. this beer with a year or more on it though, and thats good stuff. fresh, its unabashed and wild, and not subtle at all. great if you like lightly alcoholic cherries, otherwise, dont expect a whole lot.

 1,145 characters

Photo of silentjay
3.67/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

ruby red indeed with a small pink-hued tan head that quickly recedes and barely leaves a film, yet laces okay.

cherries and dark honey jump out at you in the aroma. a touch tart, but mostly sweet with a bit of spiciness and some sweet and dark malts.

sweet cherries, a bit of milk chocolate, some syrupy sugar sweetness and plenty of honey that soothes the throat, though a bit of alcohol heat comes after the swallow to counteract that.

very syrupy and sticky with minimal carbonation and tons of oil left behind on the tongue.

a lot going on turns this one into a sipper as does the alcohol heat and sweetness. it doesn't quite come together seamlessly, though it is tasty. alcohol is there though not quite as harsh as 11% could be. reminds me a bit too much of cough syrup as it warms. very good, not great.

 815 characters

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

Photo of kushlash23
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of HappyHourHero
4.42/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Stored in the closet for about 8 months. Doughy fruity (cherry) aroma with a hint of alcohol. Opaque, ruby chestnut colored beer. Small, froathy dark cream colored head fades to a broken film. Small, scattered patches of lace cling to the glass. Mellow, creamy vanilla up front with a pinch of cherry, a bit of alcohol takes it into the finish. Nice solid beer, but not very sticky, easy to drink. Damn tasty, I wish I had a case.

 430 characters

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.

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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.

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Photo of bdiiorio
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of HopsHopenstein
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of alamode
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of brutalist
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

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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The Mad Elf from Tröegs Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 4,022 ratings