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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

715 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 715
Reviews: 398
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 11.05%
Wants: 23
Gots: 13 | 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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Steelhead Double India Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 715 | Reviews: 398 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of thehand


3.2/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into imperial pint glass. Pours a hazy medium copper color, with a about 1" off white creamy head. Aroma is a lot of sweet caramel malt, not much else. Where are the hops? Isn't this a Double IPA? I really have to search to find any trace of hop aroma. Taste is also very malt-forward, hops don't show up until close to the finish, which is dry and earthy. Medium bodied, slick mouthfeel, medium-high carbonation, some alcohol warmth. Unbalanced on the malty side, a little sweet even with the drying finish. That along with the alcohol warmth makes it less drinkable than it could be. No serious off-flavors, but very unbalanced in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2009 01:33:44 | More by thehand
Photo of bjoyce12


3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bartender at Bukowski's in Boston recommended. One of their most popular IPA's. I can see why; full of hoppy flavor. Almost too much, with an over the top hoppiness. If you're in the mood for a pwerful double IPA this is a good pick. If you're not feeling like a hammer of hops and the ABV that backs it up, then I'd steer clear.

Serving type: on-tap

05-01-2009 21:03:20 | More by bjoyce12
Photo of iasanlee


3.15/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep hazy golden amber with a thick off-white head and loads of sticky lacing. Aroma is sweet caramel and fruity hops. Flavor is almost cloying sweet malts and pineapple hop flavor. Long lasting bitterness and cloyingly sweet finish. Medium full in body with moderate carbonation, and alcohol burn. A bit one demensional for style, but not a bad beer by any means.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2009 03:47:04 | More by iasanlee
Photo of anchordrinker


3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Hazy-orange appearance with little to no head.

S- Lemony hop aromas dominate, with slight caramel/malt presence.

T- Initially floral and citric hop presence, then biscuit/bread-y flavors, finishing pleasantly bitter and dry.

M- Light-medium bodied with a medium level of carbonation.

D- Very drinkable, it hides the 8.6% ABV almost too well.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2009 01:09:47 | More by anchordrinker
Photo of dakid618


3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

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


3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

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


3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

dark copper color w/particles suspended in its murky depths. poured a big foamy head that receeds and leaves a silky lacing on pint glass.

very floral smell, slight citrus possibly lemon.

tastes great. hoppy sweet/sour bitterness without much of an aftertaste.

no film left after tasting. just a nice clean finish. very smooth.

very drinkable, not as overpowering as some others i've had.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2009 19:55:37 | More by moosiz
Photo of Brad007


3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy copper-amber color with a one-finger head into my pint glass.

Aroma is full of grassy hops in the nose with just a hint of sweet malt as well.

Taste is full of the same grassy hops that seem to be stronger than in the nose but underwhelming for the style. Alcohol warmth peeks out in the middle along with sweet malt/biscuit malt/bready malt/whatever.

Mouthfeel is full of hops and a bit of alcohol warmth. Not bad. I like it when the hops linger.

Not bad but not impressive enough for the style. It's still drinkable but a few months of aging might help it out. Still worth a shot if you are a fan of the style.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2009 20:20:52 | More by Brad007
Photo of Crosling


3.13/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pros: Nice appearance, long lasting cream. Cracker-like malts, cereal, nice balance and fresh flavors.

Cons: Nose is very light on the hop, slightly milky, sour cream, chive, kinda nasty. Dull. Not very bright, or assertively hopped.

A decent ale..

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2009 14:21:00 | More by Crosling
Photo of Clydesdale

District of Columbia

4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: A somewhat cloudy, dark copper-orange color. The light tan head is moderately large, fluffy, and creamy, with good retention and nice lacing.

S: A surprisingly healthy caramel malt presence in the nose, accompanied by a dose of pale malts. Hops are expressive, indicating mostly citrus (bitter orange rind and tart grapefruit) along with some floral notes.

T: Again, caramel malt is unusually noticeable for the style. Hop flavor is pronounced. Grapefruit, lemon, and a piny/floral characteristic. While the flavor is nice, bitterness is much lower than I expected, hanging back until the very end, where it offers a focused, puckering bite.

M: Quite full-bodied. Carbonation is light, allowing a smooth, creamy feel. A riding, drying bitterness into the finish that I have to describe again as focused. Well done.

D: It definitely doesn't conform to the standard West Coast DIPA, but that doesn't make this any less tasty. Nicely brewed, and a good change of pace in its own right.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2009 03:12:40 | More by Clydesdale
Photo of Billolick

New York

4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, no freshness info. Poured cloudy, slightly red amber, with a medium peach hue, typical light tan head, tiny bubble and showing good retention. Nice looking fine and scattered lace left on the glass. Light hop nose. Wowee, this is a nice, smooth DIPA that packs a nice punch flavor and hop wise. Very pleasant hop infused creation. Bold, yet fairly balanced. I really enjoyed this one, highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2009 15:09:44 | More by Billolick
Photo of bamadog


3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I picked this one up on a whim, and I have to admit that I am not disappointed. A reasonably priced DIPA that delivers. Granted, I'm not going to compare it to the likes of a Hopslam or anything, but solid enough - almost 4s across the board. Poured from the bottle into a trusty pint glass.

Appearance: Nice copppery color with a hint of amber in there as well. About a 1/2 finger head that disappeared pretty quickly but left a moderate lacing and oily residue on the side. Beer appears cloudy with a lot of sediment bubbling throughout.

Smell: A little floral/piney, but nothing especially bitter coming out of it. Slightly sweet honey-esque/malty sweetness eminating from it and just a whiff of alcohol coming out of it too.

Taste: Nice, hoppy and pleasantly balanced by that sweetness alluded to above. Alcohol is failry present, perhaps a little more so than I prefer as it started to become a little more dominant as I worked my way down the glass.

Mouthfeel: Sticky, dries a bit as well after the alcohol passes but still leaves a slight film on the palate as well. About what I would expect.

Drinkability: Moderate - this is a fine DIPA but the alcohol is a little high in this style, so I don't think I'd want to sit through more than a couple, and I'm not as tempted to want to as I would be with some other DIPAs.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2009 00:59:53 | More by bamadog
Photo of racer2k


3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark amber orange color with a very thin white head which dissipates quickly. The beer is cloudy

S- Sweet, pale malt and some grapefruit hoppy aromas. There is a strong malt overtone which is nicely balanced by the hops

T- Malt base with strong bitterness which grows as you cycle through the sip and swallow. Pine, earthy, flowery tastes are present. There is also a hint of alcohol on the back end of the taste.

M - Thin body that is not like a typical DIPA. Minimal carbonation and very easy to quaff even with the 8.6% abv.

D- Drinkable but perhaps as a good IPA not a great DIPA. Good bitterness to boot.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2009 00:42:37 | More by racer2k
Photo of callmescraps


3.35/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked it up on a whim. Let's give her a run.

Appearance - A pretty nice cloudy copper/amber color. About a half inch of fluffy head. Very cloudy, lots of sediment. It's nice, but not spectacular.

Smell - Some nice hoppiness. Got a little citrus, a little funkiness. Maybe some malty breadness. Not entirely clean. A little muddled.

Taste - Not sure where the hops went. They seem like they want to show up, but then it gets all malty and weird. Very bitter on the finish. Out of whack somewhere.

Mouthfeel - A little heavy. It has all the stickiness of a hoppy beer, but not enough of the flavor.

Drinkability - Not bad, given the booziness. Otherwise, it's pretty average. I wouldn't really be thrilled about another, but I wouldn't have a problem drinking it.

Eh. Really not great. Probably shouldn't have called it a DIPA. The hops get sort of lost, it's a weird muddle, and the aftertaste is kind of gross. I've been drinking killer DIPAs recently, so this was a good reminder of how difficult the style can be to pull off.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2009 05:21:52 | More by callmescraps
Photo of BeerSox


2.88/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle into nonic.

Cloudy honey color with a one finger off white head that settles to a thin cap. A wall of solid lacing takes its place. Little bits of sediment are suspended in the beer.

Bready grains in the background with some slightly peppery hops. More noble than anything, not really bursting with the sharp citrusy aromas.

The grains are lightly toasty with an overall biscuity flavor. A mild sweetness comes in toward the middle. The end gravitates toward the hops, with a slight grapefruit sharpness. Full bodied.

Not my favorite DIPA out there. More like an AIPA with some off flavors, and somewhat acerbic. I probably won't be revisiting this one.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2009 04:27:22 | More by BeerSox
Photo of shizzdog

New Hampshire

4.47/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Cloudy unfiltered orange with a nice foamy head and minimal lacing.

Smell: Starts off with a sweet malt followed by a great combination of pine and floral hoppiness.

Taste: Caramel Malts on the initial sip which goes directly into a nice citrus hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, great medium carbonation, nice finish with a little alcohol warming.

Drinkability: I was amazed at how well balanced this beer was. Great hop/malt balance but not your typical hop bomb.Easy drinking for 8.6% abv

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2009 03:54:18 | More by shizzdog
Photo of smanders


4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Steelhead India Pale Ale
Served from a bottle into an American pint glass - 8.6% ABV.

Appearance - Opaque amber with a firm head. Intricate lacing.

Smell - orange rind, Pine Sol, and sweet molasses.

Taste - Wow! This is an impeccably balanced DIPA. Nothing completely overwhelms anything else. Terrific pairing of spiciness and sweetness.

Mouthfeel - thicker without being syrupy.

Drinkability - although the high ABV may scare some, Steelhead has created a DIPA that should satisfy aficionados and newbies alike.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2009 19:37:52 | More by smanders
Photo of aubuc1


3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz shortie bottle (with no date that I can find) poured in to a tulip glass.

Pours a hazy, dark orange with a dense off white creamy head.

Very orangey and sweet, almost candyish smell. Not a whole lot.

Taste is bitter hoppy, but not a lot of balancing malts. I know it isn't the goal of a DIPA, but I would like more malty sweetness.

Thin mouthfeel and the resinating bitterness make it not the greatest beer. I was expecting more.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2009 02:00:13 | More by aubuc1
Photo of Frosty80


3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2009 04:56:25 | More by Frosty80
Photo of sholland119


3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A-A muddy amber copper with a little bit of white head that quickly reduces to a thin ring.

S-Lots of sweet malt with a solid amount of citrus hops. Not a hop bomb in any respect but appealing nonetheless.

T-A bit too much to the malt side for me. Some mild floral hops to go with the malt but not enough.

M-Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

M-Yeah, not bad but not one I'd run back to.


Serving type: bottle

01-21-2009 01:42:30 | More by sholland119
Photo of genog


2.73/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Wanted to try this after I saw it for the first time at Grandview Carryout. Thought A cali double IPA would be a win-win.
Poured a dark orange colored, almost brown color with a beige looking head, and a little lace. I thought the smell would be hoppy, but it kinda just smelled like funk. Taste is all caramel malt, followed by intense bitter. Not hoppy, just a hint of sweet malt, followed by mostly bitterness. Not all all what I was hoping for.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2009 03:49:27 | More by genog
Photo of RonfromJersey

New Jersey

3.28/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thick hazy orange body, topped by at least four fingers of off-white foaming micro-bubbles, which leave very good stretchy lacing.

Very low level citrus aroma. Have to sniff hard enough that the head moved.

Sweet and juicy beginning. Nice bitter hop bite at the swallow. Lingering bitter fruit.

Nice medium mouthfeel, firm not sloppy.

Alright drinkability. No severe turn offs, nor no real great enticements.

A not bad IPA hurt by heightened expectations - it may be a DIPA for Mad River, but not when compared to California brewing at large. Worth a try, just don't expect too much.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2009 05:16:37 | More by RonfromJersey
Photo of mirish72


4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was the first beer I ever tried from Mad River, as it is pretty rare at this point in MA. I usually drink a lot of american pales ales so I wanted to try something new and I was definitely impressed.

Noticed the strong hoppy aroma right off the bat. Great taste without being overpowering if you want to have more than one or two.

Have since tried their pale ale, stout and scotch porter and overall they are all worth checking out.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2009 17:34:18 | More by mirish72
Photo of ccrida


3.3/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into my Delirium snifter (I meant to grab the scotch porter, doh!), Steelhead is a chill-hazed orange with a creamy off-white head that leaves decent lace.

Smell is bright and fruity hops, and an unusual play-doh character that I can't say I particularly mind, some orange citrus.

Taste is also bright hops, more of the herbal minty variety then the fruit from the nose, which may have been as much esters. There's a strong spicy bitterness to keep the sweetness in check, which gets close to overwhelming the hop flavor, and ultimately proves a bit tiring.

Mouthfeel is finely carbonated and dry, a dusty slickness to it, with a medium body.

Drinkability is ok, this is a rather robust DIPA that I got tired of pretty quickly. I could use a bit more hop flavor, less bitterness and heat. Good price though.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2009 07:24:20 | More by ccrida
Photo of Risser09


3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a snifter - Fridge temp - 2008

Appearance: Pours a cloudy golden orange with a very small ivory colored head. It is short-lived and leaves no lace on the glass. Swirling creates some spotty lace.

Smell: Sugary sweet pale malt is railroaded by an equally sweet & floral hoppiness. There is a cereal aroma that is also quite buttery.

Taste: Solid malt base. Long bitterness starts sharp and attacks the palate. It is piney, earthy, vegetal and lingering. A flower fresh flavor is overpowered by all that bitterness.

Mouthfeel: This beer has a pretty light body for a DIPA. Lots of bitterness that blends nicely with the alcohol. Slick and easy to drink. Not much carbonation.

Drinkability: If the taste was more complex, this could be a dynamite brew. Plenty of eager bitterness and aroma makes this a very drinkable beer. Very nice. Will revisit.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2009 13:57:19 | More by Risser09
Steelhead Double India Pale Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 715 ratings.