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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.
BA SCORE
86
very good

741 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 741
Reviews: 398
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 11.32%
Wants: 26
Gots: 21 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Steelhead Double India Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 741 | Reviews: 398 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JerzDevl2000
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up recently because I never had it or anything from this brewery before. I was expecting a hop bomb but like so many on here, I was quite surprised by what was in the bottle. This is a very strong beer but the taste is not really that of a Double IPA. Hopheads may be disappointed by this!

Nice pour to this - a very deep amber hue, a good head, and a cloudy appearance, but I'm not sure if the latter is because of all the sediment that I had to pour in at the end. Lacing here is minimal as well. What's up front is a peculiar leathery combination of citrus rind, plum, alcohol, and English-style hops. The bitterness lingers in the back but it never comes on that strong. I keep thinking that I'm drinking a Belgian beer as I sip this, but the label on the bottle tells me otherwise!

Sure enough, this is strong and it's pretty apparent from the first sip. This has a very moderate mouthfeel and is pretty filling for a beer of this style. I don't see myself ever having more than one in a sitting, but I could have it again if I wanted something that was strong, flavorful, and just a bit hoppy. It's almost as if this brew needs a category and style of its own.

JerzDevl2000, Nov 12, 2009
Photo of Jmoore50
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

J

Jmoore50, Nov 08, 2009
Photo of velosuds
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a clear pint glass. Single at beer bar.

A-Poured a medium amber hue with about a one finger bone white head with short retention and almost no lacing.

S-Balanced aroma from citrus and tropical hops and pale and caramel malts. I like DIPAs to have a more robust hop aroma.

T-Taste was balanced between the hop bitterness and a sweet snicker doodle cookie like malt backbone. Taste was quite good, but would rate higher if the hop presence was more aggressive like Ruination or Hop Stoopid.

M-Very smooth and well balanced.

D-This went down very easily and I would readily reach for another. Taste improves as it warms.

Overall, this was a good but not great DIPA. I probably wouldn't buy it at a beer store, but it was a nice choice to have in a 12 oz. bottle (as opposed to 22 oz. bombers) at the bar.

velosuds, Oct 30, 2009
Photo of crossovert
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Comes in a stubby 12 oz bottle with a slightly different label than pictures. No apparent date.

Pours into my american pint glass with a full 2 finger, lumpy, off-white head and a murky apple cider colored body.

Smells very sweet and citrusy, very nice for a DIPA. California styled in the scent department for sure.

Taste has a decent malt backbone but the hops are the main show with some cirtus lemon and grapefruit notes and a bitter finish. Not as intense as its other west coast counterparts, but still a solid tasting DIPA. Mouthfeel is a little too smooth for me.

Overall a decent offering in the DIPA category, not to malty, and enough hops to excite the palate somewhat, it is a bit pedestrian but is better than the lower tier beers such as Maximus.

crossovert, Sep 27, 2009
Photo of stephens101
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A hard pour results in a huge tan head bursting with activity. Slowly the head breaks apart all bubly and fades leaving a thick spiderweb of lace all around. Color is a brilliant reddish-orange. A nice malt base skirts some oily hops that waft to the nose a bit subdued at first, but seem to become more obvious after a quick shake. Potent oily hops attack the palate, but leave you wanting more. Some very slight citrus notes and orange peel exist underneath. All the usual suspects are present, but there's something a different about this one, something I can't quite put a finger on. Mouth-feel leans toward heavy, but not quite. Big on the carbonation and fairly dry going down with the alcohol being well hidden. Unique tasting DIPA that I'm glad to have available in these parts now.

stephens101, Sep 18, 2009
Photo of wangbruins
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Beautiful caramel color with a small but lasting head and traces of deeper orange color

S- Very bold smelling, strong citrus and very hoppy with some caramel scents

T- Very hoppy with caramel and citrus, grapefruit comes to mind

M- Silky and smooth, almost soft, almost creamy

D- So good that I think this may be my new favorite beer. It's bold scent is a mask for how easy a drink this is.

wangbruins, Sep 16, 2009
Photo of bump8628
4.28/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy orange with ample carbonation and and a dense, sticky head.

Smell is pine, citrus peel, and flowers. Not bad at all, but way too muted for the style.

The taste makes up for any disappointment in the aroma. Big, sticky, American hops all the way. Pine and citrus dominate, but there are also some fruity and flowery notes coming through. It's all balanced by just enough malt backbone to keep it from tasting like fresh hop squeezings. Alcohol also comes into play but it is well masked, especially considering that this beer is pushing 9%. Finishes very crisp. Bitterness doesn't linger at all into the finish.

A nice crisp finish and medium body keep this beer from being overly sweet and hard to drink. I could drink this beer all night. A great example of the style that may not be as intensely hoppy as others, but still satisfies my hop cravings and is imminently drinkable.

bump8628, Sep 06, 2009
Photo of cokes
4.43/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hazy orange-brass with hints of ruby beneath a shortish stack of ivory suds.
Powerful pine, citrus, and floral hops nose, sedated in part by the caramelly breadiness of the malt.
Bready again, on the onset through the mouth, turning toastier and nuttier as it progresses. It sweetens a good deal, midway, with caramel, and honeydew melons, as the hops begin to arrive. Here on out, its a deluge of grapefruit pith, orange pulp, pine needles, pressed flowers, and dried grass. Alcohol, while present, is shut out taste wise.
Pushing towards full bodied, with a steadfast bead of carbonation. This is drinkable and dangerous and a good example of a well balanced, yet still forcefully hopped, DIPA.

cokes, Sep 05, 2009
Photo of beerman207
4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Reddish copper color with a nice 2 finger head leaving some decent lacing in the glass. There's also some sediment present in this one and it just looks great.

S: Smell of cherry? Also some very sweet grapefruit coming through the nose and is quite potent. I have to say that the smell of this is fantastic.

T: Wow, the taste is a bit of surprise. I wasn't expecting it to be like a citrus jolly rancher from the nose of it but it hits you in the mouth with some serious bitter up front which mellows to some sweet tones along with a peppery taste. A lot more complex than I was expecting

M: The mouthfeel of this is moderate -heavy but it's good.

D: Honestly, this is a great double IPA. I think it's a bit underrated in my opinion.

beerman207, Sep 03, 2009
Photo of vegantreats
5/5  rDev +31.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a perfect color "indescribable to words" doesn't quite describe. Notes so mellow I find myself placing my nostrils deep into the bottle long after the beverage has been consumed experiencing crispness on a mental level.
I feel like a woman who received a bouquet on an old black and white film. I'm now plunged deep into the plot of a Film Noir movie, the bad boy with the dame running from the law and a loan shark named Tippy.
After which, the universe implodes; but the real question is does anyone hear it?

vegantreats, Aug 30, 2009
Photo of Kraken
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes. Consumed 7/27/09

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a 16oz glass. Firm pour calls fourth a very nice 1/2 inch of off white head that produces a nice sticky lace. Color is a very deep and clouded orange.

Nose- Overripe orange, massive amounts of caramel perhaps a bit a vanilla, and a touch of alcohol.

Palate- Overripe orange, with a touch of orange rind. Plenty of caramel, some vanilla. Some sweetness, followed by a very nice and lasting bitterness.

Mouthfeel- Slightly syrupy, very dry.

Drinkability- A bigger beer that is best sipped.

Kraken, Aug 26, 2009
Photo of GregPearson33
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This poured amber brown with a fairly loose head that receded to the rim after a few seconds. Although I thought the pour initially looked promising, as the head collapsed and I realized it was simply opaque (the cloudiness wasn't just the result of an active carbonation... no no, there is definitely shit suspended in there) I was less impressed. Smell is terrific though, dominated by strong orange citrus notes.

The taste reaffirms the citrusy bouquet. The initial impression is of orange/lemon peel, but this is definitely no hop monster and I certainly wouldn't describe it as "spicy". Still, it's supported by a sturdy malt background (burnt caramel?) and I like the taste overall.

The drinkability was also very good - perfect carbonation and a great mouth feel. As is to be expected with a IIPA it's a little thick, but given the alcohol content I was surprised at its weak burn/presence.

Would probably have another one of these to mix things up, but not a go-to DIPA (or even IPA) to satiate a hop craving.

GregPearson33, Aug 11, 2009
Photo of ThaBobfather
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light copper/yellow with two inches of thick bleached white head. A 5.0 for an IPA but a 4.0 for a Double IPA.
Smell has got some light malt and hop notes.
Taste starts with some earthy hops, then it mellows into some malts, then finishes with a light bitter hop taste.
Finish is less than clean but good with a bitter/malted after-taste.
Drinks great at 8.6% the malt really blends with the bitter to make it drinkable.

ThaBobfather, Aug 06, 2009
Photo of dbexpert
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a. rich golden hues as expected, with a thick head which disspates relatively quick, although leaving good lacing

s. strong bready smell, with a slight grapefruit/citrus cutting the sweet aroma of yeast

t. up front malty sweetnes, penetrated by a good balance of crisp hops, leaving a long finish.

m. sweet,balanced and well hopped mouthfeel

d. have not had in quality, one is satisfying but believe a sixer would suffice at 8.6% abv, a good brew!

dbexpert, Aug 05, 2009
Photo of TLove
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From Cleveland Park Liquors, D.C.

Strong, yet soft IIPA with an excellent hop structure and extraordinary balance. A touch sweet, but pretty damn good overall.

Light, hazy amber with cream head and thin lacing. Smells of caramel malts, grape, and citrus, with a barleywine-worthy complexity of tastes from front to back. Went from fig to molasses to malt to wet grass to pine and from subtlely sharp, strong hops to a smooth undertow. A little too fruity and a bit syrupy on the back side, but the taste follows right through to the end and is consequently drinkable. Nice carbonation and the alcohol is disguised well.

TLove, Jul 21, 2009
Photo of sweetbrew82
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. into a snifter/ no freshness date

P: Hazy orange-tinted copper with a beautiful head of whipped, frothy foam on top. Showed good retention and left thick sheets of lace as it sunk to form a thick collar.

A: Pungeant citrusy hops that smell like predominantly like grapefruit pith jumps out at me first. Followed by lots of pine sap and some soft floral notes as well with some sweet caramel malt and toffee underneath. This is pretty damn nice!

T: Starts on the malty side for the first split-second, then the hops emerge and cut right through their bready caramel sweetness to deliver that same punch of pungeant citrus notes that were noted in the nose. Grapefruit pith, pineapple, and some more tropical fruits that reminded me a bit of peaches come through quite nicely while the sticky pine sap stays behind still pulling its weight in regards to flavor, though. Bitterness tingles the tongue enough to satisfy me, but isn't a bitter monster due to the balancing act put on by the malty sweetness. Finishes semi-dry with a lot of pine in the aftertaste.

M: Full-bodied for a DIPA with a rich, creamy, slightly chewy feel that coats the mouth with sufficient stickiness. Right in the "sweet spot" of where I like my hoppy beers to be.

Notes: This brew's got a nice, West Coast hop profile to it while the thick bready malt counterbalances quite proficiently. I usually don't like my DIPA's on the balanced side of the equation, but this one is still very hop-forward and is a well-made beer. Quite enjoyable!

sweetbrew82, Jul 18, 2009
Photo of erikm25
4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Review #175. Dark tangerine with crimson copper tinting. Sits in the glass reddish rich and vibrantly shining. Head and subsequent retention are subtle enough. Fairly decent lacing lingers around the tulip glass. I really like the hues on this beer but the rest of the appearance is average.

S: Cherry candy coated grapefruits. Spiced lemon hops with a backdrop of toffee sweetness. Resiny and leafy undertones which I assume should be expected from a Humboldt county beer.

T: Comes through with an initial blast of pine infused hops. While not as bittering as others in this style it is still delivers more then your standard IPA. A bready and malt sweetness comes through to help balance out the alcohol. Has some booze, but at just under 9% you have to know what you are getting into. Peppery citrus coupled with a nutty caramel finish.

S: Solid light heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is fairly light but this one still leaves the bitterness clinging to the tastebuds.

D: Great beer. At $8.99 a six pack it is a very economical IIPA. For those new to this style it is one of the most accessible, yet representative, I have tried. Coupled nicely with Sleep's Holy Mountain.

erikm25, Jul 10, 2009
Photo of youngleo
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured to a good two fingered head. Head was offwhite to slightly yellow in color. Lots of floaties. Ale its self was yellowish brown. Lots of big bubbles. Also had some decent lacing. Smelled of citrus, pine, slightly sweet. No hints of alcohol. Tasted a hair on the a bitter side. Was slightly sweet, if that makes any sense (bitter yet sweet). Dont get me wrong, tasted very good. Also had that piney flavor going on. Felt thick in the mouth. I thought the carbonation was good. With the higher alcohol content, I think you would have to be carefull. I just wanted to chug a lug. Will buy again. This was the first tasting Ive had from Mad River Brewing. So far so good.

youngleo, Jul 08, 2009
Photo of paco1029384756
3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an orange color with one and a half fingers of white head.

Scent of grass, hops, caramel, and a hint of spice. Not bad for not being super fresh.

Taste of hops, spice and some alcohol. Pretty simple, but not that bad.

Mouthfeel is medium light bodied with good carbonation.

paco1029384756, Jul 03, 2009
Photo of wesbrownyeah
4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Nice copper color a small head that fall quickly leaving nice lacing and barely and head.
Nothing to special.

S- Sweet pine and citrus note dominate the nose with mild malty backbone. Freshly cut grass also comes to mind.

T- Complex fruit flavor of grapefruit, raisens, and plums. Very grassy hop flavor is obvious. Hop bitterness is just right. Excellent for style.

M-D- Easy on the buds if you like a good bitter bomb. Light carbonation allow the mouth to feel the alcohol on the tongue. Drinkable to any means. Love it.

wesbrownyeah, Jun 30, 2009
Photo of RickS95
3.28/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thick white head. Nice looking beer...orangey copper in color. Cloudy, with particles.

Lot of hops in the nose, along with hints of citrus.

It's got a nice, crisp taste; like the smell, the hops and citrus dominate.

Lots of carbonation in the mouth. This is a strong IPA...it's a double and it's obvious from the first sip.

It's a complex beer, you notice the citrus and hops in the taste, but in the finish is a fight between the strong bitter and the sting/warming of the high alcohol.

One a night is all I could handle, but I'd enjoy another on another night.

RickS95, Jun 29, 2009
Photo of edraid
4.88/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Good friend of mine brought this from Ca. poured beautiful nice head very little lace my only disappointment. very good beer. Represents the style well with a great mouth feel and aroma. Been a long time since I have posted any reviews promise to post more as I work in a beer bar and am encouraged to try everything.

edraid, Jun 28, 2009
Photo of BierFan
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a short 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Two finger light tan head. Cloudy dark orange.

Smell: Oily hop aromas. Mint and some mellow tropical fruit.

Taste: Wow. This is a really big beer. Very slick and full mouthfeel. Pineapple, mint, grapefruit. Abundance of yeast gives the finish a little spiciness to go with the bitterness. Fairly complex example of the style.

BierFan, Jun 28, 2009
Photo of smibroncos
3.6/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A. Poured a cloudy carmel copper, two finger off white head. I couldn't make a judgement on the lacing as the haed never retreated far enough.

S. Not much here faint hops, a little malt

T. Started malty, finnished bitter and hoppy. I can see why all the difference in the rating between a C and an A. I think you really expect alot of hops as the style says double IPA. It is a little disappointing here. Although the balance between the malt and hops makes it very enjoyable. More or less a double malt double hopped IPA.

M. Medium bodied, lightly carbonated.

D. Ok i've had alot better, but all around not bad for the style. I think it could have had some more hop flavor or a little less maltiness. But still a decent ale.

smibroncos, Jun 24, 2009
Photo of DiabolikDUB
3.15/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from Bottle into Snifter glass.

Pours a swirling hazy dark amber, very murky, with a creamy pillowing off-white head that slowly dissolves and leaves nice lacing down the glass. Aroma has a lot of caramel malt and citrus hop and there is something toasted in the nose as well. Flavor is very malty with some citrus and a medium bitterness that resonates for some time. its heavy to medium bodied and fairly syrupy. Too much sweet malt for me, its not bad but its not that great either.

DiabolikDUB, Jun 07, 2009
Steelhead Double India Pale Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 741 ratings.