Troegs is an American brewery originating in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. John and Chris Trogner founded the company in 1996 and they offer a wide variety of craft brews with something to appease just about every palate. The Mad Elf is their winter offering and is brewed with cherries and honey. One of the claims is that the beer gets better with age. To test this theory we tried both this year and last year’s batches.
The beer pours a ruby amber color. The 2012 was noticeably more amber/brick while the 2013 was a brighter ruby. Both showed a very thin head that was off white in color and dissipated almost immediately. Both showed a light lacing atop the beer.
On the nose both beers presented with an overwhelming aroma of malts. There were also notable cherry notes in both. The 2012 showed more of a candied cherry note while the 2013 presented with a fresh tart cherry note. The 2012 showed a deep spice note that was barely detectable in the 2013. Both displayed a Belgian yeast note as well. While both had a noteworthy boozy scent (like a barleywine) the 2012 was boozier than the 2013. The 2012 also displayed some dark dried fruit.
On the palate, both beers had a distinguished chocolate malt note highlighted by rich cherry flavors. The 2012 presented with a dark dried fruit note mainly of raisin and prune. The 2012 also displayed a richer honey note than the 2013. The 2013 had an unripened “green” note that was not detected in the 2012. Both showed a sour component in addition to a booziness that was, once again, more noticeable in the 2012.
Overall the Mad Elf is a solid beer. It definitely gets better with age! Regardless of the year, this is a great fireplace sipper for the inevitable colder weather.
2012 – 4 out of 5 Pints
2013 – 3.5 out of 5 Pints
Please check with your local Bottle King store for current inventory