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Steelhead Extra Stout - Mad River Brewing Company

Steelhead Extra StoutSteelhead Extra Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

432 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 432
Reviews: 293
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.39%

Brewed by:
Mad River Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Stout |  6.60% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-05-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 432 | Reviews: 293 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

2.83/5  rDev -30%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A bitterness that overwhelms the stoutability (new Webster entry). It looks like a stout, but it starts with a sourness in the aroma. There is roastness, even a tad burnt, some chocolate, but oh the sourness. Stiff upper lip to finish this one. It was a bit better at room temperature, and I am a lenient rater on stouts, it even refreshed, but the..sourness.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2005 01:56:46 | More by Sammy
Photo of UCLABrewN84


4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black with a 2 inch foamy dark khaki head that settles to a thin cap. Random dots and streaks of foam form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, malt balls, and cocoa powder. Taste is of dark roasted malt, dark cocoa powder, and some slight coffee flavors. There is a nice roasty bitterness that lingers on the palate. This beer has a higher level of carbonation with a crisp yet smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good stout with a very nice balance in the smell and flavor.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2011 03:59:50 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of BuckeyeNation


4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Glossy obsidian with the slimmest chocolate brown edges imaginable; extremely close to total light rejection. The head is the color of dark brown sugar and isn't overly large, but is firm and dense. Immediately after the pour, I was ready to bestow greatness on the appearance, but the anti-geologic nature of the cap, its quicker than expected descent, and the near total absence of lace have tempered my enthusiasm a little.

The nose is incredibly powerful and features a killer combination of radically roasted black malt, bittersweet chocolate liqueur and espresso. There's no hoppiness that I can detect, but it isn't needed. Simply put, this is one of the most aromatic and one of the best American stout noses I've ever experienced.

Thankfully, the flavor follows suit. When I drink a beer like this, it makes me want to throttle the (seemingly) vast majority of craft brewers who couldn't brew a proper stout if their lives depended on it. It's supposed to be *stout* dammit! Steelhead Extra absolutely oozes malt and floods my taste buds with bottomless pools of dark, rich flavor.

The flavor profile consists of melted double fudge ice cream with chunks of roasted coffee beans covered in chocolate syrup. Chocolate stays comfortably ahead of coffee at all points along the journey. The beer is marginally more sweet than bitter, although there's enough bitterness on hand to keep the malt in check.

The mouthfeel starts out at 'stout medium' and comes together just enough with warming to be considered medium-full. Bigger would undoubtedly have been better, but might also have impacted negatively on the high degree of drinkability. This isn't an RIS or an American double stout, after all. Smooth applies, silky does not.

Steelhead Extra Stout is a straighforward beer, but I mean that in the best way possible. There's nothing surprising or original here, there's just loads of bold, lip-smacking black malt flavor. Again, I'm surprised that American stouts of this quality are as rare as they are. That means I'll have to give credit where credit is due: Mad River has brewed a classic of the style.

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2005 23:56:53 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Really nice pour, very typical for the style with a deep dark black look to it and a nice head of maybe two inches that came up and over the top with some ease. Settling down it left a decent amount of lacing on the sides, but nothing spectacular though it did retain a good bit of the puff of tan on top. The aroma was nice, well blended mix of chocolate and roasted malts, hints of light coffee notes and a decent bit of dark fruit note carrying over. This was pretty much par for the course with the flavor. Started out very smooth with a rich and well defined chocolate note that dominated early before mellowing with a nice but of vanilla and coffee notes. Small touch of hops catching up right there at the end were enough to make it just slightly bitter, but overall it was a smooth, creamy and very session able stout.

I would have no issue with trying this one again as it went down quite nicely and really left a soft, sweet note in the end. Very well done.

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2011 02:33:43 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a pitch black color with a creamy tan head that leaves a few strands of lace behind

Smell: Roasty charcoal, with undertones of chicory, licorice and prune

Taste: Starts out a bit fruity, but the roasty side quickly makes its presence felt, with coffee and dark chocolate, along with some bitter hops, arriving by mid-palate; after the swallow, there is a bit of sweetness that keeps the flavors in check; the finish lingers nicely

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation; just a tad thinner than I would like

Drinkability: Very flavorful, with a lot to commend itself

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2009 00:09:57 | More by brentk56
Photo of BEERchitect


3.68/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Surprised to see other BA's really love this brew or think it's closer to average -- no normal, every-day good review. But, this is where I land with this beer. Very clean and pure tasting and feeling, but no dominant characters that grab me either. The beer opens with a convencing opaque, dark brown hue and 1/2" head retention that reduced to a simmer before holding firm. Timid aromas of roasted grains, sweetness, lactose, and toast. Aromas rely on confectionate-type matiness that hold character, but is not descernable. Taste rise the roasted / cocoa a bit, but the soft malty flavors and texture prevail, yet remaining non-descript. The body holds a creamy texture with a slight linger with malt, cocoa, and toast. The hops are also timid, especially in the aromas and flavors. The bittering is fair, but I expect more for the style. Though light in character, the brew is quite clean and controlled. Nice session-type brew with some flavor.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2007 02:23:33 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of metter98

New York

4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a thin tan head that died down, leaving some wispy patterns of bubbles on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of chocolate malts and cocoa are present in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of chocolate along with notes of cocoa, hints of coffee and roasted malts and a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is very flavorful and nice and easy to drink. It seems to have a very good balance between the malts and hops.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2013 14:01:08 | More by metter98
Photo of ChainGangGuy


3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours out a dark brown, near black body with a thin, off-white head that, one expired, no amount of swirling can seem to resuscitate.

Smell: Roasty, malty nose smelling of dark chocolate, chilled espresso, blackened grains, molasses, and vinous dark fruits.

Taste: Roasted maltiness with tastes of dark chocolate and sugar-sweetened coffee that eventually develops into a flavor of chocolate-covered espresso beans. Gentle background dark fruitiness. Earthy, lightly roasty with a fairly low bitterness. Finishes dry and roasty with just a minor hint of black malt astringency.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-low carbonation.

Drinkability: Overall, it's a pleasant, quaffable, fairly solid stout.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2009 02:34:24 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cant pour any darker than this pitch black stout with a thin mocha colored head,aromas of deeply roasted malt and mocha flavored coffee very rich and appetizing on the nose.Taste is very roasted with a unsweetened chocolate note finishing very earthy and nutty.Very raw and bold beer like the earthiness in the finish and the creamy mouthfeel a big winner here.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2004 23:19:28 | More by oberon
Photo of NeroFiddled


4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Mad River's Steelhead Extra Stout pours a magnificently dark body beneath a full head of densely creamy dark tan foam. The head retention and lacing a bit limited however. The nose is somewhat restrained as well, but what is there is all about mocha java!, with just a hint of fruitiness peeking through. It's medium-light bodied with a very fine-bubbled, zesty carbonation (it appears bottle-conditioned, unless whatevers in the bottom of the bottle isn't yeast). Through the front and middle, the flavor delivers a note of vinous fruit that's wrapped in luxurious caramel/toffee, and then dipped in sweet milk chocolate. The coffee flavor comes on strong, however, towards the swallow and into the long lingering roasty finish. Superbly done!

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2005 21:25:27 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of feloniousmonk


3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thick black appearance, fine cocoa brown head, slowly thins to nothingness...despite that, a nice looking stout.

Aroma reeks of oils, lush maple and anise, ...feels more like an imperial stout with the twisted, decadent flavors it gives off. Bittersweet espresso mixes with a licorice whip. Deep coffee and chocolate, with lingering brandyish feel. I like it!

Takes charge of the mouth from first sip, blasts with thick, slick, oily roasted malts...a bit brash and bold, a little flinty, mineral-y, ...losing points from not being more rounded and friendly. A bit too abrasive. Not that I don't still like it, just don't love it. A few faults too many.

Full bodied, bracing, thick, lingering, dry finish. Quite a decent stout, ...if it fails me in other ways.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2006 11:21:03 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired from IntriqKen, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color with a short but dense brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is loaded with chocolate along with roasted malt, a little coffee and a touch of hops.

T: The taste is of rich roasted malt and creamy chocolate. There’s a little bit of coffee in there as well along with a very mild hops presence in the background. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Very smooth, medium-to-heavy body, light-to-medium body, slightly sticky finish as expected from a beer in this style.

D: Very tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling for the style, good kick to it, very good representation of style. This is a good stout to drink continuously and I haven’t had very many of those yet that won't fill you up.

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2007 03:08:05 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of russpowell


3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours like motor oil, with 2 fingers of mocha/brown head. Average head retention

S: Smelled dark chcolate in the bottle, only getting hints of wet cardboard in the glass.

T: Toasted malt, coffee grounds & bitter choclate & dryness. Cocoa & a touch of leafy hops as this warms, plus, just a bit of charred juicy grains. Finishes dry with some dark fruit & cocoa notes

MF: Smooth as heck, medium bodied with nice carbonation

Drinks pretty easy, the dryness would wear on me after a while. A good, not great stout

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2008 04:40:53 | More by russpowell
Photo of WesWes

New York

3.65/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a deep dark black color with a thick frothy brown head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich black and chocolate malt scent along with dry, yet creamy finish. The taste is decent. It has an extremely rich black and chocolate malt flavor that is very thick and dry. It goes down slow and finishes with a bitter black malt aftertaste. The mouthfeel is decent. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a decent drinking stout. It has a little lacking in the mouthfeel department as well as a little too intense in the grain bill.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2004 02:26:36 | More by WesWes
Photo of zeff80


4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a thin, very small, off-white head. It left little to no lace.

S - It smelled of roasted malt and some dried fruits. Overall a sweet aroma with some floral notes.

T - It tasted very roasty, with chocolate, molasses and sweet caramel. There is just enough hop bitterness to provide some balance.

M - It was smooth and crisp with a dry finish. A medium-bodied stout.

D - This did not look impressive, but really delivered with great flavor.

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2009 18:47:18 | More by zeff80
Photo of jwc215


3.4/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a brown head that becomes an isolated patch.

The smell is ashy with some dusty cardboard. There is acidity with a vague dark fruitiness.

The taste is of licorice, chocolate (more towards cocoa powder, molasses. A sweetnesss comes through more as it progresses (not quite fruity) mixing with the ashy dryness. There is some acidity and a touch of tart/sour (enough of the latter to detract a bit) in the finish.

The body is medium. A bit of watery thinness is in the middle, though it does thicken to how it was at the start as it gets near the end. Alcohol comes through a bit, but not sharp or masking.

Not bad, but too ashy/dusty, and the slight sour/tart throws it off a bit, for too much. Despite that there is a smoothness, and enough taste, that it drinks well enough.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2009 23:27:59 | More by jwc215
Photo of RblWthACoz


4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hair below pitch black. Nice darker tan head. Nose is of heavily roasted malts. Flavor is smoked and roasted malts. Very robust and deep and uncompromising. Even though it is nice and hearty, it seems a bit one dimensional. Kind of like it is all muscle and no grace. Feel has a good carbonation to it and the liquid is fairly thick. Overall this is a pretty rich and deep stout. No mass of complexity, but definitely deep enough that you might want to put your floaties on before diving in.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2008 03:36:56 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of WVbeergeek


4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a completely pitch black hue with a large mocha tan head floating above the darkness, lacing is thin but evenly strung. Aromatics sweet creamy chocolate notes with hints of coffee and ripe fruit tones like berry and raisins a touch of alcohol there but really just a nice complex roasty stout with some other tricks. In the finish I'm getting some herbal and nutty qualites, the herbaceous hops come off almost minty. Flavor is balanced with some of the fruity qualities wrapped in chocolate and just roasty enough to scream extra stout. Definitely whipped cream layered on a cappuccino with dark chocolate shavings with a touch of hazelnut, finishes with some of those hop qualities described earlier especially the mint note. Mouthfeel is full bodied yet creamy textured a nice way to drink under six percent carbonation is mellow and smooth on the palate nothing weighs you down with bitterness or any one sensation. Drinkability, this is pretty much amazing and it has a different edge than your typical hopped up West Coast style stout it brings sweet and roasted malt flavors out to play and causing excessive amounts of flavor with balance, really nice stuff.

Serving type: bottle

06-12-2008 03:08:55 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of smcolw


4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours nearly black; Large big-bubbled beige head (three fingers to start). Relatively light lace for the style.

Coffee to mocha aroma. Light alcohol warmth in the background.

Baker's chocolate flavor up front. Some raspberry in the background. Very dry--the finish is bitter, mostly from burnt malt flavors; some faint hop. Biscuity. Average body for a pale ale, but light for a stout. Good carbonation.

I find this brew to be very interesting with many different flavor profiles to note. This is the sort of Stout that if I'm giving it a lot of analysis, I will probably have several. If I am simply drinking it, I'll probably have several more.

Serving type: bottle

05-02-2008 22:09:44 | More by smcolw
Photo of StonedTrippin


4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

yeah a lovely stout here. pours a sensational chocolate brown color with a thick creamy milkshakey mocha head. smells like a cup o joe, but also with some nice roasty dark malts and a bit of cocoa. flavor is similar, plenty of dark malts and a mild espresso flavor. feel is excellent, rich and creamy without being filling on a plenty full body. this is a great stout, and possibly the best beer ive had from mad river, save the scotch porter, which border epic. this is a sessionable one too, good before or after dinner, and different than most. a winner.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2012 07:12:51 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of lacqueredmouse


3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark and rather opaque black-brown. Head is foamy and large-bubbled, and dissipates rather quickly, but is a very pleasant shade of chocolate brown. Sustains a ring of froth around the edge of the glass, with some decent heaviness to the body, although there's no lace to speak of. Looks very heavy and dark - extremely suitable for the style at least.

Nose is deliciously roasted - extremely dark charred malt characters throughout, almost tending towards a black sourness. Slight hints of vinous oaky characters, and a sweet vanilla character mixing pleasantly with chocolate notes. Lovely characters, and much the American style stout.

Taste is also good, even though it doesn't extend the wonderful characters on the nose into something blissful. Roasted malt throughout, with a bittersweet chocolate note and a rather light finish. Quite a light ending, to be fair. It aids the drinkability, but reminds me of what the truly phenomenal and truly heavy American Impy Stouts really give you that this is missing.

Feel is light, really lighter than it should be, even for a 6.6% non-Imperial stout.

A very nice stout nonetheless. I'm not sure I've had a better non-Imperial American Stout. This is very tasty, with some genuinely pleasant and genuinely robust characters, and the lightness means it goes down very easily. Good drop of beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2010 05:37:03 | More by lacqueredmouse
Photo of Zorro


4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks great in the glass, Black beer that can not pass light with a tall light brown head that lasts.

Smell is sweet and faintly fruity. Nice toasted grain aroma is strongest, smells of dark toasted whole grain bread. Chocolate aroma is next and faint coffee aroma completes the smell.

Taste is very mildly sweet and with a good, but not strong chocolate flavor. Very mild mannered stout here that compares in a good way with a milk stout for friendliness. Not real complex but this is a very eager to please beer, kind of like a Black Labrador Retriever with a Frisbee in its mouth wagging it's tail at you.

Mouthfeel is good, full but not milkshake.

Very pleasing and easy to drink beer. Not a thing is harsh about this beer. Not every beer in the world needs to be a RIS same as not every dog in the world need to be a pedigree. This is you local friendly beer that wants you to throw a Frisbee for it to chase everyday.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2006 06:01:53 | More by Zorro
Photo of Wasatch


4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to sirhc for this brew.

Pours a nice dark brown color, nice carbonation, nice little dark tan head, some sticky lacing around the edge. The nose is malty, sweet, lots and lots of toffee, chocolate, coffee, and caramel. The taste is malty, sweet, and lots of toffee, chocolate, coffee, and caramel. The finish is slightly dry and bitter. Medium body. Very drinkable, this is an very nice stout, way to go Mad River.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2007 01:56:16 | More by Wasatch
Photo of DoubleJ


4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another Humboldt-brewed beer, on to it we go:

Cocoa colored head with a loud fizzying sound on top of motor oil black. Lots of cocoa in the aroma, touched up with a bit of molasses. Despite it's intiminating look, the flavor won't wallop your palate. I know this is starting to sound redundant, but pleasant cocoa is in the taste, but tastes best as you gulp down the beer. Fruitiness is weaved in nicely. Just a delight to drink.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2008 04:32:31 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of plaid75

New York

4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep oily black hue with a one half finger creamy white head. There was decent retention and lacing.

The smell featured a heavy burnt grain with elements of burnt sugar.

The taste consisted of a robust burnt grain and coffee flavor, tempered by a lingering sweetness.

The mouthfeel was full with a moderate chewiness.

Overall a very good stout. All the flavor and complexity of a high ABV export stout.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2008 05:05:03 | More by plaid75
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Steelhead Extra Stout from Mad River Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 432 ratings.