Some holiday beers have quirky mascots. The most mischievous among them might be the one for Tröegs Independent Brewing’s winter warmer, The Mad Elf. The brewery blames the inebriated elf for the indulgent flavors and high ABV of this a Belgian strong dark ale, but we’re not complaining.
Appearance and Aroma
Out of the bottle, Mad Elf pours the color of dark mahogany wood with a light tan foam that dissipates fairly quickly. One sniff of this beer and you quickly understand this is no ordinary ale. It smells rich, borderline lavish, with aromas of sweet caramel and ripened cherries mingled with hints of spice.
Proceed with caution with this beer, friends. The Mad Elf could get the better of you if you aren’t careful.”
The flavor of Mad Elf follows the nose, with decadent caramel malt flavors that seamlessly blend together with the taste of ripe cherries, raw honey, and a splash of cocoa. In the background, I pick up spiced notes of cinnamon, clove, and allspice. The spice character lingers on the tongue, while a warming, ample-bodied mouthfeel pulls it all together. Despite its overall richness, however, it finishes semi-dry on the palate.
This beer is damn good. So good that at 11% ABV, it might get me into some trouble if I were to have more than one. Proceed with caution with this beer, friends. The Mad Elf could get the better of you if you aren’t careful.