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Steelhead Double India Pale Ale | Mad River Brewing Company

very good
409 Reviews
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Steelhead Double India Pale AleSteelhead Double India Pale Ale

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

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-18-2006

User Reviews
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Reviews: 409 | Ratings: 823
Photo of FLima
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Hazy amber orange color with a fluffy beige head with medium retention.
Aroma with notes of piney resin, caramel malt, grapefruit and oranges.
Flavor with notes of grapefruit, tangerine, toasted malts, lots of resin, pine, mango, wheat and caramel malts, cantaloupe melon and apricot. Long dry and bitter aftertaste. Despite its 95 IBUs it is rather rounded.
Medium body with appropriate carbonation. Alcohol of 8.6% is well hidden.
Solid DIPA full of smooth citrusy and resiny hops. Not very complex, but not shallow. I liked the fact that is not a heavy DIPA with the usual sin to be overly sweet. I feel I could have a few, though at 8.6% abv, it could have got me in trouble. It lacked aroma, not sure how young is this exemplar.

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Photo of Pukstopper
3.49/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours a muddy sort of brown with a nice head that fades into a thin film. Leaves nice lacing. A little bitter hop notes with a slight alcohol taste at the back end. I. Could have 1 or 2 but that might be it.

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Photo of jasonpeckins32
3.81/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy, almost murky, brown color. A big, fluffy, khaki-colored head rests atop the beer.

Aroma is pungent of hops and hop oils. Overripe peaches with citrusy and piney notes round out the beer's smell.

Heavy hop flavor is balanced by a slight caramel malt sweetness. Citrusy, piney, resiny, oily, heavy-bodied dipa in my opinion. Slight alcohol noticed in the finish.

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Amber orange under a cream colored 2” pillowy foam cap.
S: earthy hop aromas, citrus, some hay, a little less grass
T: Rich malt flavors and malt sweetness, biscuit, some peach and a touch of apricot and then the hops come on board and dry things out – a nice lingering aftertaste.
A touch of pepper on the finish.
F: Very creamy texture, medium to medium full body, medium to medium low carbonation.
O: Everything is above average but it is well balanced.

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Photo of tedvr
4.23/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark amber with a medium caramel head. Smells of citrus, pine hops. Tastes are pine and citrus hops with a nice sweet caramel background. Has mild carbonation with a balanced finish. Overall a very interesting beer.

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Photo of Act25
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Mad.

A Cloudy brass amber, with large heady crown.

S: Clean, west coast, tropical fruit, estery, grassy, herbal, bready.

T: Follows smell. Bitter, smooth, creamy, fresh cut grass, melon, oranges, caramel, bitter-sweet finish. Candy like. hop resin galore.

F: Solid, thick, great resiny finish.

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Photo of BarmatChaser
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Excited to try this beer. I was always a fan of the Steelhead Pale Ale back in the day. That was my go to beer in my watering hole of choice. Saw this double IPA on the shelf and figured I had to give it a shot. Poured into a standard pint glass. Color is darker than I expected. Nice cloudy, amber color. Little half inch head that dissipated into a good white ring that lasted. THE SMELL! Wow, this is interesting. It has that earthy, slightly cow patty, almost dank smell that you might get from a good French Bordeaux, but instead of some fruitiness, replace that with a slight hoppiness. On taste I get the malts up front, followed by some hops and a pleasant, but not overly long finish. The beer had good body though, you can feel some thickness to it. It finishes rather dry for the most part, but there is a certain sweetness that lays on the center of the tongue. Pucker factor is lower being this is a double, but there is enough hops to satisfy. I really like this beer, because it is just different than many other double IPAs I've had. The taste isn't the most complex, but overall when you consume the beer as a whole (look, smell, taste, feel, etc.) it has a lot going for it.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.74/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From BeerAdvocate Magazine #72 (Jan 2013):

Serious and a bit brash, lovely and fitting traits for this style and it works. Amarillo hops take over a little though there is still a pinch of balance left. Worthy of a go. Old school brewery with some different moves, we can dig it. A bit less of Amarillo and a bit more of some other high alpha hop would have made this brew pop more. None the less we got our fix.

STYLE: American Double IPA
ABV: 8.6%

LOOK: Hazed brassy amber, heady crown

SMELL: Clean hop resin, tropical fruit, clean estery alcohol, grassy, spearmint, bready

TASTE: Bitter, silky smooth, creamy maltiness, fresh cut grass, melon rind, guava, powdered aspirin, mandarin oranges, mild caramel, bitter-sweet finish

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Photo of ordybill
4.52/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.
Aroma- Has that malt and hop aroma. Smells real good
Appearance- This beer is a golden yellow with a nice white head.
Taste- Has a nice sweet flavor that finishes with a bitter end with a strong booze aftertaste (strong ABV. can easily be noticed) Tastes good.
Palate- A medium bodied brew with moderate carbonation. Has a slick feel to it, very enjoyable
Overall- I really liked this brew, if you can find it give it a whirl.

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Photo of chinchill
3.79/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle.
Pours a hazy deep amber with a decent head.
Flavor has more citrus and is overall more fruity than the aroma. Good balancing malt load. Nicely balanced and soft for style.

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Photo of hophugger
3.33/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a cloudy deep orange-amber. Smell is strong of hops and some citrus. Taste is different, kinda of like a hopped up porter, Interesting!!. Overall, good carbonation and a good thirst quencher

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Photo of RickFromArizona
3/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Meh. It's a Double IPA that will make you think you're drinking some kind of stout hybrid. You drink an IPA and you expect pine or citrus immediately. To me (because we all taste things differently) this is more like a weird stout with a full mouth feel and bitter on the end. Not refreshing on a hot day. Reminds me of Ron Burgundy choosing milk. I wouldn't order it if my IPA choices were Racer 5, Ballast Point, Fig Mountain, Firestone Walker, Lagunitas...

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Photo of Shade1951
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice beer! I like the cloudy look - with bright sunshine coming through. The smell was a bit muted, but what there was was pleasant enough.

The taste hit most of the right notes for me - juicy! Bitter with no discernible off-flavors. I'm not sure I would call the taste "complex," but it tasted right as a DIPA. Carbonation felt right to me as well.

There are certainly better and more flavorful DIPA's out there. This one wasn't a home run, but it was a pretty solid triple (even though it's a "double").

I would get this again.

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Photo of delta490
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

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).

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Photo of Oakengroves
3.07/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: A very hazy golden copper color with light fizz suspended throughout.

S: Somewhat flat with pipe hops and grapefruit. Not very appealing.

T: A small amount of grainy malts and sweetness, and followed by a disappointingly low amount of pine hops. Not very bitter.

M: Full bodied with heavy carbonation. Fairly smoothed.

O: I am not likely to purchase this again. It does not live up to an abundance of other great DIPAs but is enjoyable.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a very hazy golden copper in color with light to moderate amounts of active visible carbonation along the sides of the glass, a light to moderate amount of fine particles in suspension near the bottom of the glass, and faint peach + golden yellow highlights. The beer has a finger tall sudsy foamy beige head that reduces to a small to medium sized thick patch of larger bubbles surrounded by a mottled thick film covering the remainder of the surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate amounts of citrus/grapefruit and pine hops over lighter aromas of caramel malts.

T: Upfront there is a light to moderate flavor of slightly sweet caramel and grainy malts with a touch of caramel sweetness. That is followed by moderate flavors of citrus/grapefruit pith and pine hops that impart a moderate amount of lingering bitterness. Light hints of alcohol in the finish.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation. Crisp and smooth.

O: Enjoyable but the alcohol is not very well hidden in this brew and it is quite filling for the style - this is likely a one and done for me but I would consider having it again.

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Photo of MNishCT77
3.14/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

12 oz. bottle purchased at Franklin's Pub & Brewery in Hyattsville, MD., unknown bottling date, poured into my FFF Teku glass, drank 10/17/13 over several hours.

A: 2/3 - deep reddish-brown coloration, minimal clarity (can't see or read through), initial frothy white head dissipates into subtle glass lacing, moderate alcohol legs

S: 9/12 - mostly Cascade aromas that I generally find unpleasant - grassy, bleach-y and mild spiciness

T: 12/20 - on the anterior tongue, there is an intense bitterness that was pronounced on the first sip and attenuated thereafter; it the middle of the mouth, the bitterness continues to linger with caramel malt flavors; 8.6% ABV is well-hidden; finishes sweet and lingers; no gross flaws detetable

M: 3/5 - moderate-to-full body, appropriate carbonation, alcohol present

O: 6/10 - this is a mediocre imperial IPA and many of the readers out there have probably homebrewed better versions that this; it has lots of things present that I don't like in an imperial IPA - Cascade dominant, caramel/biscuity malts, too sweet on the finish and not really drying enough; I think that I am being overly generous with my score but I don't really like blasting beers; anyway, with some many good imperial IPAs out there, especially in CA, I would definitely pass this over

TOTAL = 32/50

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Photo of 57md
3.82/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a cloudy copper with two fingers of head that dissipated rather quickly, but left some nice lacing behind. The nose is only mildly hoppy, certainly not befitting a DIPA. The upfront flavor includes an oddly sweet note that gives way to a nice hop-infused finish. This is a tasty DIPA that is a flavorful attempt at a popular style, but it certainly does not belong in the top tier of the style.

Kudos and bonus points to this offering for being union made by IAM members.

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Photo of Mojo
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle -> Sam Adams Perfect Pint

A- Pours up a very hazy gold which eventually settles into a clear gold. Two finger head with a nice retention ring, even a hour later (yes slow drinker) and lacing that would be the envy of many beers
S - Pine, resin, grasses, bread, yadda, yadda, yadda
T - Initial taste is pretty sweet, but the back end is bitter and boozy. Bitter I like, boozy, uh not so much.
M- a little lingering aftertaste.
O -Okay, but nothing awesome to see here. Move along!!!

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Photo of VitoFerrante
4.43/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This beer was a complete surprise. It was given to me by an industry person to try, knowing I am a monster DIPA unfiltered fan! The likes of Artic Panzer Wolf, Heady, and others of the style attract me. I was blown away. This is an accessible example of the style that really shows its chops. Juicy, hoppy, very little boozy smell and taste that many examples of the style have. West Coast pedigree taste, appearance, and smell. And you can buy it!!! This may be my new "go to" for a DIPA. It really compares to Alchemy Hour, Sucks, and many others of this echelon, but is available all year round. You can see the juicy bits floating around in this beer like so many others that are much harder to get. Buy this beer!

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Photo of KYGunner
3.77/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bright copper to orangey brown the color is striking. The head was light, thin and wispy but with a bright white hue.

The scent is is nice with more malt than hops. Subtle tea leaves are balanced with a grainy maltiness. Light lemon rind and grapefruit are closer to the end.

This IPA derives its taste from the strong malt base and only picks up slight hoppy flavor towards the end. Some earthiness mixes with the malt and then a metallic pine after taste takes hold. That pine lingers perhaps a little too long.

Overall, I'm a big fan of more malt intensive DIPAs so this is right up my alley. Just a little less metal in the after taste and amped up the scent and you would really have something.

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Photo of Flounder57
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle was poured into a snifter.

Appearance: This beer poured a one finger head that reduced to a thin layer. It is a hazy orange color with a little clarity and bubbles coming up through through the glass. Nice lacing on the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Citrus and tropical hops, caramel, and bready malts. It's hard to decipher the scents in this beer.

Taste: Caramel sweet malts, grapefruit, tangerine, citrus, and bready notes.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, full bodied, tingly bitterness, a little chewy, and medium carbonation.

Overall: A nice DIPA. It could be cleaned up a bit, but still an enjoyable beer.

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Photo of lighthabit
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Serving type: 12-ounce bottle. No freshness date.

Appearance: Poured into a tulip glass. The color is cloudy, amber-orange. It looks thick; orange pulp-like specks are suspended in the beer. About two fingers of dense, eggshell-colored head settled slowly to leave trails along the glass, a thick ring, and clusters of bubbles and skim.

Smell: Invigorating and spot-on! Orange, mellow grapefruit, light lemon zest, peach, pineapple, mango, strawberry, and raspberry. I know it sounds demeaning, but it’s true: it reminds me of a strawberry Orange Julius, or maybe one of the banana and berry smoothies from Jamba Juice. As the beer warms, caramel sweetness becomes more prominent and the booze begins to sneak in. A tame floral hop aroma also emerges.

Taste: The mouthfeel is thick and creamy. The taste is a bit of a letdown compared to the smell, but it is still pretty good. The citrus, tropical fruit, and berries from the smell are less prominent. There is a touch of pine spice as well, but the flavor belongs to pale malts, sweet caramel, and light floral hops. The bitterness is very minimal and the alcohol is almost completely masked.

Drinkability: This is very good stuff, but the flavor lacks the compelling complexity from the aroma.

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Photo of alex_hart
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

purchased a few days ago as a six pack recommended by a fellow beer searcher.

appearance is nice. a nice medium to dark hazelnut brown. No head (maybe just because of the slow pour) and extremely minimal lacing.

Smell is nice. A slight sharpness to the hops comes through along with some citrus and a bit of sweetness.

The taste was my favorite part of this brew, and that is the most important part to look at (as it should be for everyone). This delicious. Sweet, almost sticky, on the forefront of the sip, then it slowly eases into the refreshing sharp bitterness on the back of the tongue.

This is one of my first DIPAs, and it is definitely going to make me go back for more. I was expecting a much more intense hop presence than what was received, but in a good way. This is definitely a good brew to get you going at 8.6% abv. The percent is hidden very well, too, which could be dangerous as this night progresses.

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Steelhead Double India Pale Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 409 ratings.