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Steelhead Double India Pale Ale - Mad River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Steelhead Double India Pale AleSteelhead Double India Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

730 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 730
Reviews: 398
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 11.05%
Wants: 24
Gots: 18 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Mad River Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  8.60% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-18-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 730 | Reviews: 398 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tavernjef


3.68/5  rDev -3.2%

Deep foggy peach color with a decent medium capped top of firm, mealy, foam that stays for a bit before leveling out to a good skim and big stretches of thick globby stringed lacing.

Aroma is mostly of malt and is not really all that potent or strong for a Dbl. IPA. It has some dryish caramel and light toasted bread crust. Hops are lighter still with some fresh leafyness and a pinch of resinous floral pollen.

Taste is very mild on the hops and medium to full on the malt wihtout much length to what's there. Mostly dry caramel tones with a tender smooth undertow of sweet bready malt. Hops show up a notch towards the end with some earthy floral dryness and chalky leafyness.

Body is a smooth bold medium body with a substantial malt load thats quite decent to drink. Dryish earthy finish that does have a bit of twist in it. Subtle and uneventful. So as Dbl. IPA's go this is fairly tame and weak-ended on the hops complexity, tone, and flare. This really doesn't say much on any level of hops, but it is a good enough brew to drink with the style points set aside.

03-02-2010 03:22:23 | More by tavernjef
Photo of JMD


3.68/5  rDev -3.2%

A: Hazy light copper color iwht peachy tones. Small head that fades quickly and leaves a small amount of lacing.

S: hoppy aroma with big notes of citrus and pine. Some sweet malt is present as well to balance it out.

T: Bready upfront with soemo carmel sweetness. Big citrus hop flavors follow with fresh grapefruit and lemon zest.

M: Medium bodied with ample carbonation.

D: This is a good DIPA, but not my favorite. There are other better alternatives to this one, but I'm glad I tried it.

02-16-2010 19:49:31 | More by JMD
Photo of daledeee


3.68/5  rDev -3.2%

Tried one bottle instead of a six pack. Never heard of this brewery.

Poured really cloudy rust with off white head and great lacing.

Nose has some hops with malt but not powerful.

Taste is a little odd. The finish is quite hoppy but the front end is a little twisted. Plenty of citrus and hops and plenty of malt but it is just not right.

Mouthfeel is pretty good but overall there are just many more that beat this one. As with most of these. They taste better right off the press so maybe I should go out there and try one.

06-17-2012 00:51:07 | More by daledeee
Photo of delta490


3.66/5  rDev -3.7%

Poured a cloudy orange/amber. Visible particulate and a big fomay white head. The head has great retention and leaves nice lacing. The aroma is hop-forward, with floral and citrus notes backed up with some caramel malt sweetness. The taste is similar, but less refined than the aroma, with there being more of a mish-mash versus the more well-defined characteristics of the aroma. It has a nice thick mouthfeel and no carbonation. Overall, I'm wondering if I got a dud. It's not badly produced, but I was expecting more (And in the case of the floaters, less).

03-25-2014 20:55:20 | More by delta490
Photo of Frosty80


3.65/5  rDev -3.9%

Color: pours gold and sits a cloudy golden brown

Smell: little citrus with pineapple. malty, little hops

Taste: good amount of hops evident by the tingle (in addition to the alcohol) but subdued by malt. some yeast throughout. slightly bitter finish

Mouthfeel: low-med body. low carbonation

Notes: was actually impressed, though my expectations werent very high. overall not a bad IPA. could use less malt to bring out more fruity hoppiness, which seems to be there but struggles in a wrestling match with the malt. would not tell people to avoid this one

01-25-2009 04:56:25 | More by Frosty80
Photo of largadeer


3.65/5  rDev -3.9%

Fresh 12 oz bottle into a tulip. The body is a murky, dirty amber, even without the contribution of the yeast at the bottom of the bottle. A steady stream of carbonation rises to the surface, feeding half an inch of off-white head.

The aroma is yeasty, hoppy, very raw. The hops have an evergreen quality to them and there's a faint bready malt presence. The yeast is strangely dominant for the style.

Hops are stronger on the palate, pine-like with a semi-astringent resiny bitterness. Very yeasty and raw, it's a bit metallic up-front with subtle ale yeast fruitiness. Beyond a bit of bready malt character there isn't much sweetness here, and it finishes quite bitter, almost astringent. This is solid and enjoyable stuff, but not quite in the upper echelon of DIPAs.

05-13-2010 00:31:15 | More by largadeer
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

3.65/5  rDev -3.9%

Acquired via trade 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 cloudy light brown color with a thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is mostly of caramelized malt with some citrus and a mild hops background. It smells a little more like a barleywine without the strong alcohol smell.

T: The taste is also similar to a barleywine with a subdued hops bitterness and a hearty malt character with a sweetness of caramel and a little bit of fruit & spice. The after-taste is a little hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: Tasty, goes down easy, not very filling, good beer but not the best representation of style, good kick, for a “Double IPA” as listed on the bottle, I was expecting much more hoppiness but it’s still a good beer. Although it’s not the first beer I would pick, it’s worth drinking for a while.

07-19-2007 02:41:22 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of changeup45


3.65/5  rDev -3.9%

Seemed a bit toned down for an Imperial but a good beer nonetheless. Pours a murky copper color with a moderate sized head and some spotty lacing. Grapefruit hoppy aroma with some peach or nectar in there. Not necessarily a strong aroma for the style. The flavor starts off somewhat sweet and citrusy leading to a long gradual bitter grapefruit hoppy taste. Slightly dry and bitter finish. Smooth and doesn't really bite hard for a DIPA but it's a good beer. 8.5% abv is masked. Solid price point and I'd have no problem getting this again.

08-27-2008 00:56:00 | More by changeup45
Photo of muttyd


3.65/5  rDev -3.9%

Received as part of a recent trade.

Pours a golden orange/amber with a nice off white soapy head that lingers briefly and then fades into a faint ring. Nose is filled with juicy grapefruit, sweet bready malts, some grassy bitterness. Flavor is very well balanced; citrusy hops and pale malts that give way to a caramel sweetness. Slightly astringent finish with some earthy notes. Feels great on the tongue with pleasant carbonation. Well done IPA.

05-04-2011 02:11:42 | More by muttyd
Photo of dakid618


3.65/5  rDev -3.9%

Poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass. Pours a clear golden amber with a finger of pillowy white head. Very malty wheaty smell for a DIPA. Taste is caramel, biscuit, and a little pepperlike.
very much a malt bomb, possibly an old bottle. Light easy drinking mouthfeel, slightly dry. Good drinkability. A lot more malt heavy than I like in a DIPA. I will probably not buy again unless I know its very fresh.

04-29-2009 01:04:52 | More by dakid618
Photo of Drew966


3.65/5  rDev -3.9%

Steelhead Double IPA pours a hazy orange thats leaning toward brown with an off white head from a brown twelve ounce bottle. Resiny pine with a strong caramel malt showing marks the nose. The mouthfeel is medium leaning toward thick. Resiny and bitter tasting. I think I like a little more citrus. Worthy of a try for hop heads.

12-17-2007 00:17:49 | More by Drew966
Photo of akorsak


3.63/5  rDev -4.5%

A 12 oz bottle purchased as Liquid Solutions.

A: The DIPA is a amber orange color, almost clear as day (I think that the cold temperature on pour led to the haze). Four fingers of head arose from a vigourous head and are lacing in craggy patches.

S: Grapefruit and pepper create a vibrant hop profile. Caramel is evident in limited quantities.

T: The ale has a boozy alcohol warmth that is noticeable from the start. A strong hop profile seems to set the table for the booze with a full grapefruit bitterness up front. A green vegetal flavor follows the hops, amplifying the flavor. Caramel malts lurk behind the hops but don't make as much noise. The hops add a minty flavor near the end, a nice finish.

M: Hops, lots of hops, and the resiny goodness that comes with them. The vegetal greenness is not necessary but it doesn't spoil the beer.

D: An average DIPA, neither flavor nor aroma really grab me.

04-18-2009 03:20:40 | More by akorsak
Photo of scooter231

New York

3.63/5  rDev -4.5%

Deep orange color with an offwhite poofy head, and lacing that sticks around for qutie a while. Hazy, very very hazy. Looks like a DIPA, a dangerous, dangerous, DIPA.

Smells hoppy, piney, earthy, bitter. There's also some orange zest I'm picking up but it's pretty faint. Oily. Hoppy hoppy fruity hoppy.

Tastes bitter, piney, hoppy. There's a syrupyness going on that's part taste, part mouthfeel, that I don't quite dig. It's thick and slick and a bit off putting. Alcohol is strong and in your face.

This is definitely a hop fix for hop lovers such as myself, but it's not as balanced as I'd like it to be. The flavor isn't as delicious as I want it to be, the mouthfeel's kinda off. It's not bad at all, just not what my hops fix wanted.

07-28-2008 01:56:34 | More by scooter231
Photo of buschbeer


3.63/5  rDev -4.5%

12oz bottle
Served in a snifter

A - Lovely amber color with a chill haze. I is topped with an inch and a half of beige head.

S - The nose seems more caramel malt than hops. I do get some mild citrus.

T - Awfully malt-centric. The hops are almost an afterthought. The alcohol is well hidden though.

M - Moderate and smooth. Not a lot of carbonation

O - This is a DIPA for the malt lovers.

09-21-2011 22:30:42 | More by buschbeer
Photo of tony223366


3.63/5  rDev -4.5%

A: Nice orange-brown caramel color. Clarity isn't great though, it's pretty foggy. The head is fantastic though. 3 fingers and really tight. I can already tell that the retention is going to be good. It's an off white color. Lacing is already apparent. Looks nice

S: Aroma is typical IPA fare. Although it's not as bright or robust as I would like, but it's still nice. Mostly citrus, but some more floral notes. Some caramel malts are present too thought.

T: Wow, that's much more bitter than I anticipated. It's definitely good but the ibus feel pretty high. Maybe it's just because the balance is slightly off. There's some citrus on the frontend... quickly followed by a little caramel malts and a finish that's kind of grassy? The alcohol is also definitely present on the finish. All in all, not bad. I just wish it was a little brighter.

M: Slick from the hop oils and medium body. Great carbonation too. A great feel on this beer!

O: Slightly above average offering from mad river. It's missing the brightness that I enjoy in my DIPAs or IPAs. It drinks nicely but doesn't have enough complexity.

03-29-2012 18:07:53 | More by tony223366
Photo of WillieMoe


3.63/5  rDev -4.5%

This is a very solid DIPA.

A- Pours a hazy reddish-orange color, with very mild head.

S- A wonderful hop aroma emanates from the glass. Citrus seems to be the prevalent one, but there's a hint of pine as well. It also has an airy, bready scent present.

T- The hop taste is subtle at first, but gets stronger as you get going. Overall the taste is not of your typical DIPA, as the hops do not overpower you. It definitely does not make you think that it is almost 9% ABV. There is a stickiness that coats the tongue as it passes through.

Slightly more drinkable than most DIPAs.

07-02-2008 18:08:09 | More by WillieMoe
Photo of cbn


3.63/5  rDev -4.5%

This ale pours a beautiful amber color with a small thick foamy head that dissipates quickly.

Bright and fresh citrus aromas, lemon and rind of grapefruit with a candy sweet backbone, slight hint of apricot and alcohol.

Big hop bite, citrus and pine conceal a peach/apricot sweetness.

Soft on the palate biting to the tongue. Hop stickyness coats and retreats from the mouth between sips.

I'm good for a couple at the end of the shift, but not a session beer.
A tad too sweet for the style and/or my taste.

04-02-2007 17:46:22 | More by cbn
Photo of bbothen


3.63/5  rDev -4.5%

Pour brings a pretty amber/crimosn color with a bubbly off white 2 finger head.

Mellow citrus aroma, plenty of grapefruit, herbal. All somewhat subdued. Not in your face aromas like many IIPAs.

Classic IIPA citrus hop bite, nice caramel sweetness mellows things out, nice dry herbal finish.

Medium bodied, moderately carbonated, sticky, lingering hopiness.

Not my favorite IIPA or offering from Mad River. But all in all a fine brew & one I will have again.

09-04-2008 03:24:23 | More by bbothen
Photo of Jmoore50


3.63/5  rDev -4.5%

Mixer sixer elixir.

The appearance of this one is golden yellow with a medium haze. Poured a quarter finger fizzy white head that left quite quickly. Leaves a light alcoholic leg on the glass.

The smell is not very strong, light hops. Some alcoholic smell as well as a light citrus smell.

The taste is good, especially coming from a brewer I have never heard of. It has a hop flavor, but not as much as expected. It has a really strong carbonation, which does not help out this taste of 7-up that I keep getting. It is the citrus from the hops and no malt background at all. Pretty good, but not great.

The mouthfeel is overly carbonated, and that is saying something for me. I love carbonation, but this tastes more like a citrus soda than a high quality brew.


11-08-2009 20:30:00 | More by Jmoore50
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

3.6/5  rDev -5.3%

Picked this one up the other day, as I had been passing it in the store forever so what the hell right. Cracked this one open with pizza tonight. Poured the 12oz bottle into a my Terrapin Snifter and went on with the show. A very cloudy, hazy, and sediment filled, deep, burnt amber was then poured into the glass. Tons of floaties in this one, which does not really turn me off to it. A nice two inch layer of foam then rose up over it and took over over, settling gently into a thin layer of lace across the top which hung around for a good long while. Some carbonation as well as some decent side glass lace were present as well.

The aroma was a mixture of resin filled piney hops, with a touch of earthy malts. Nothing terribly overpowering here, infact it was fairly well balanced. The flavor was more of the same, started out with a rolling bready malt flavor which coated the tonguey with a viscous, medium bodied feel, soem really nice bitter notes as it passed, with pine and grass mixed with a light grapefruit touch in the finish, Decent carbonation throughout and a good drinkability. No hint of the alcohol at all throughout the session.

Overall not a bad IPA, I dont know if this really qualifies as a double IPA as the huge hops are practically non existent, but it is still plenty descent I have to say. Maybe a fresher bottle would go over better, we will have to see.

05-31-2008 01:28:52 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of lighthabit


3.6/5  rDev -5.3%

nice off white head dies down to thin layer and stays there, lacing is good. pours a hazy color that reminds me of dried mangos (not bad, that's just what the color makes me think of). smell is resiny hops right up front, not shy at all, as it warms up there's a minor off-smell, but almost missed it. early on it comes across as a bit dry, but that mellows as time goes on. taste is a bit of hidden citrus, almost covered up by the fairly strong hops. it doesn't like to be sipped, this would be great cold after a hot day in the yard - a nice brew for this summer. feel is resiny/oily, smooth, carbonation is there, but i'd almost like just a bit more to make those hops really go "ka-pow!". it's not a hop-bomb, but could be with a bit of a push. glad i tried it, though i'll probably go hunt down something with a bit more citrus when i'm looking for another ipa.

05-06-2013 06:43:57 | More by lighthabit
Photo of ThreeWiseMen


3.6/5  rDev -5.3%

Appearance: Semi-vicious pour resulted in big, frothy, eggshell-colored head. Liquid is murky-orange amber with tons of yeast suspended throughout. This beer produces a ton of clumpy lace. Really impressive!

Smell: Pine, caramel, grassy hops and a touch of citrus (lime). A pretty substantial roasted malt aroma as well.

Taste: Nutty, roasted malts transgress into a lime-citrus flavor. Grassy hops dominate the aftertaste. A little alcohol in the aftertaste as well.

Mouthfeel: Average to above-average carbonation and medium-heavy body. Pretty sticky feel to it with some great mouth-coating and long-lasting aftertaste.

Drinkability: I've yet to be really impressed by a Steelhead ale. This one is decent, but I don't plan on buying it again. It lacks character. A good imperial IPA, but forgettable.

09-10-2008 05:55:11 | More by ThreeWiseMen
Photo of wagenvolks


3.6/5  rDev -5.3%

12 oz. bottle into a Duvel chalice.

An aggressive pour leaves a hazy, bright copper body with amber-orange highlights in my glass. The head is rocky, light tan in color, and decently retained; lacing is purty, too. As for the aroma, floral, fruit-laden hops mingle with an unbalanced amount of caramel malts. The hops notes are good enough without a large malt aroma, however, and mandarin orange, clover, and a touch of alcohol comes through as this IIPA warms.

Flavor - candi/caramel malts poke through just quickly enough to be detected before an onslaught of bitter hops and sour whiskey mash rushes in. An alcoholic sweet- and bitterness overpower the hoppy notes upon the finish. Carbonation level is decent enough, but the boozing blow to the palate at the end of every gulp is a far cry from what I consider enjoyable. This is a decent enough IIPA, but it's not great. If I didn't like the style so much, I'd warn to look elsewhere. As an aside, though, it does pair nicely with some sharp cheddar cheese.

02-01-2008 04:05:14 | More by wagenvolks
Photo of camp0474


3.6/5  rDev -5.3%

Poured into tulip.

A: Pours a clouded orange-amber color with a frothy off-white head.

S: Heavy malt aroma with faint citrus and earthy hops.

T: Smooth flavor of citrus hops and sweet malt. Well balanced, not what I was expecting from this DIPA. So balanced that the flavors seem very subdued, there is no shinning stars (hops or malt) here. Flavors fades into a more acidic pine from hop oils with a slight alcohol burn.

M/D: Medium body and high carbonation, maybe a little too much. The solid balance makes this beer very drinkable. But I personally was expecting more hops characters. Solid beer.

05-02-2010 03:32:09 | More by camp0474
Photo of LongBeachHopHead


3.6/5  rDev -5.3%

Mad River Steelhead Double IPA 8.6% A.B.V.
Purchased at BevMo in Cypress, Ca.

Appearance: An amber hue, slightly murky with very little head that disipates within minutes. Great color and definitely inviting.

Smell: On first swirl I get a very bitter and hoppy upfront nose with a hint of slightly sweet breadlike malt. There is a large presence of floral hops and alcohol.

Taste: A good usage of hops with a subtle sweet malty background. Aftertaste is a dry bitter one with a slight burning sensation due to the higher alcohol. An above average Double IPA with a good amount of flavor. Not as grassy and piney as I like them.

Mouthfeel: I don't particularly like the burn that is left behind from the unbalanced alcohol appearance. The viscosity is high and immediately coats the tongue with the large amount of bittering units.

Drinkability: I could drink a couple of these but that's it. I enjoy the complexity of the beer and would say that it improves the image that I had of Mad River.

A great offering by Mad River. I will pick up a sixer when I see it again. Worthy of a couple spots on the middle shelf.

11-20-2006 06:50:36 | More by LongBeachHopHead
Steelhead Double India Pale Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 730 ratings.