Steelhead Double India Pale Ale - Mad River Brewing Company

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

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BA SCORE
86
very good

406 Reviews
THE BROS
84
good

(Read More)
Reviews: 406
Hads: 801
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 10.5%
Wants: 22
Gots: 46 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-18-2006

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 406 | Hads: 801
Photo of TheQuietMan22
4.12/5  rDev +8.1%
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. (1,252 characters)

Photo of alex_hart
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
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. (929 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Mad River "Steelhead Double IPA"
12 oz. bottle, no apparent freshness dating.
$3.75 @ The Beer Shoppe, Ardmore, PA

Based on the sediment, and the maltiness of this beer (which can seem amplified by early stages of oxidation) I'd have to say that I might have an old bottle here. Of course there's no freshness dating on it so I don't know, but for a brewery that's been around for 22 years I find that pretty shocking.

With all of that said, I liked it. I just don't know if I'm tasting it the way it's supposed to be tasted. And for that reason I'm just going to give some sketchy notes at this point, and hopefully find a fresher bottle soon...

Appearance: Hazy. The sediment really hazed it up. Sediment can be seen in suspension throughout. Deep amber-orange body. Creamy off-white head. Average head retention and lacing. Should be better.

Aroma: Hoppy over golden caramel malt. Surprisingly not citrusy. Some apple-like fruitiness. Very nice soft piney quality. Gently leafy and grassy. A touch perfume-like/floral. Welcoming.

Taste: Welcoming, not unlike the aroma. Soft, sweet golden malt base. Almost syrupy in a way. Gently piney and leafy/herbal hops. Some apple-like fruitiness is carried over. The aroma and the flavor are clearly different, yet at the same time you completely understand how they fit together as being one of the same. Round and rich. Not particularly bitter, although there's got to be at least 60 IBU's in there. The 8.6% abv is present, helping to balance it, but never appears sharp.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and malty. Creamy smooth with a moderate carbonation.

Overall: If this is a double IPA it must be because it's got double the malt. It's stronger too, I'll give it that because I can feel it, but it's certainly not over the top with hops. I find it really unique and charming. It's a reminder of what beers used to be like before brewers started to think that all you had to do to make a great beer was throw hops at it. Quite nice. (1,986 characters)

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a hazy copperish orange with bits of sediment floating around the glass. The head is a hair off-white, frothy and 2 fingers thick. Great retention. Copious amounts of lacing left behind, sip after sip.

Smell - Strong caramel malt at the forefront, backed by hops that come across as floral with a hint of citrus.

Taste - A mountain of caramel malt at the forefront, complimented by a slightly spicy, moderately floral hop that hits mid-taste. Subtle trace of orange rind bitterness lingers well into the aftertaste. Hop profile builds if sipped in quick succession.

Mouthfeel - Thick, full-bodied, and creamy as hell. Entirely drinkable.

Overall - Well balanced DIPA. Maybe too much. No freshness date, so it's hard to say if the hops have been killed off by time, or if it's meant to be as I tasted. In any event, it's fairly close to their Extra Pale Ale, with a bit more of a hop kick. (912 characters)

Photo of Omnium
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served in my Sam Adam's Winter Lager 16oz

A - Pours a very hazy light amber/dark orange color, thin head but leaves a decent amount of lacing

S - Sweet malts and resiny hops dominate the aroma here , a hidden smell of citrus fruits but very faint, strong dry pine, some floral qualities as well

T - Very dry, the oily, resiny hops are still on top of the flavor as well, carbonization fades to leave the sweeter malt flavor and a dry bitterness of the hops.

M - Full feeling, you really get the bite of the hops from the start. The good qualities of this brew stays with you for a bit.

O - A decent double IPA, I'm not really a fan of the oily hopped beers, but this has an enjoyable quality to it compared to some I've had. Not too pricey and just something different, I would have it again, but not going to buy a case of it. (832 characters)

Photo of DocJitsu
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear deep golden color, with a foamy egg shell colored head that displays a faint orange hue. Thick lacing nearly entirely covers the edges of the glass as the beer is consumed. Tart, but sweet nose. Akin to a meringue on a citrus pie. Definitely a lot of malt in the aroma with perfumy hops competing, but losing by a nose--pun intended. The mouthfeel is nice. Rich, full body that coats the palate. Malt bomb. Perhaps too much of a blend of the hops with the grain. I would prefer the hops to express themselves a little more, but they are drowned out in the blend. Still not a bad beer. (598 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Tony's Darts Away in Burbank, CA.

Pours a hazy honey orange with a foamy orange-beige head that settles to a thin cap on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, honey, citrus zest, and slight perfume-like aroma. Taste is much the same with a medium hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but nothing too exciting for the style. (530 characters)

Photo of JerryGlumm
4.7/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought in bottle at Jungle Jims in Fairfield OH. BALANCE! This beer has it. If you're like me and can't personally handle the citrus/hops of traditional IPA, this is your beer. Beautiful malt/hop balance without coming across dark or roasty. Pours dark golden and unexpectedly murky. Still looking for more beers like this one and have found anything to rival out. Let me know your suggestions, if any. Hats off to Mad River, this is my absolute favorite brew. (460 characters)

Photo of Infamous7100
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: pours a deep orange/gold into my imperial pint glass. A nice finger and a half white head with decent lacing. Hazy, unfiltered look. Very nice.
S: I'm met with a nice blend of malt, pine and grapefruit. The hops don't overpower the nose as I expected in a DIPA. As it warms, malts and what I believe to be pineapple become more pronounced. Really enjoy the aroma.
T: The taste seems to be a clone of the nose. A get a great malty sweetness at the front that slowly fades to the notes of pine and grapefruit at the back. I don't get much of the pineapple in the flavor, but I am thoroughly impressed with the balance this DIPA shows.
M: the body is medium and the carbonation is low to moderate. The brew is very creamy which was great. The hang is a tad bitter, but nothing unexpected.
O: Hopheads will be disappointed with this. As a double IPA, they will be expecting more. As a non hophead such as myself, this was an unexpected surprise. This brew possess a beautiful balance in all areas and a flavor profile that leaves you wanting more. Dare I say you could session with this? Yes, I do. (1,097 characters)

Photo of garymuchow
3.9/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Richer and fuller malt and hop aroma with a hint of spiciness that seems hop related and maybe from a hint of alcohol too. Slightly caramel and fuller malt nose. More evenly split hop/malt presentation.
Hazy with, probably, hop sediment floating around in a orange/brown amber. Smaller head for style but good length.
Fullness and richness in flavor too. Again more malt than is typical, but not to excess. Bold hopping, but it too isn't excessive. The finishing bitterness is actually rather soft for style, but and lingers nicely.
Bigger than moderate feel and carbonated enough to add presence, yet still allowing the richness of the drink shine through.
The whole on this one is bigger than the sum of parts. A good version that drinks well. (746 characters)

Photo of MagicJeff
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Murky, unfiltered look into an off-white head. Decent lacing afterwards. Pale copper color.

S: Standard citrusy aroma, some green apple and even grass. Smell reminds me of the Fall.

Taste: Wasn't expecting much but was pleasantly surprised. Very crisp initial taste leads to citrus and an apple finish. Even getting some leafy-resin on the back end.

Mouthfeel: crisp, medium-bodied.

Overall: Pretty solid way to start off #IPAday. Refreshing and worth a try. Had better in this style, but it has a unique, earthy taste that I will definitely revisit some time soon. (572 characters)

Photo of daledeee
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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. (530 characters)

Photo of loubrew
3.11/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A very murky beer, even after a slow pour and leaving a bit in the bottle. Tastes like a decent homebrew IIPA, lots of malt & hops, but it's just not balanced. The flavors just don't meld. Average at best, many better options but many worse as well. (249 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.92/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a very rich, piney double ipa. smells like the forest in early autumn, pollen and sap are everywhere. nose is crisp like a chilly evening when the first snow might fall, some caramel and pale malts way back there. flavor is equally pine centered, very fresh flavor, more sweet than bitter, even in the finish. you'd never guess this is 8.6% abv, cant taste it at all, and doesnt have that heavy boozed up feel. feel is great, brightly carbonated and roughly medium bodied, maybe a little fuller than that. This is a beer i'd like to take camping or fishing or something, hearty and delicious, outdoorsy, autumnal. this is a winner in my book. (642 characters)

Photo of LXIXME
4.33/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from above the glass gave this beer a really big off white head that slowly fell into a pretty good lacing on a lightly cloudy roasted honey colored beer.

A floral to citrus hops aroma with a hint of sour grain on a medium bodied IPA.

The floral and citrus hops also dominate the taste but it's laced with a light taste of alcohol and some slight tartness.

This beer has a dry hops aftertaste, and from initial whiff to the last lingering aftertaste, this beer is very worthy. (486 characters)

Photo of flagmantho
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: lightly hazy orange hue with a light effervescence. Head is two thick fingers of rich and frothy tan foam with maybe a hint of orange. I like it.

Smell: big malty aroma with a nice dose of citrusy hops. There's also a touch of earthy funkiness here which supports the malt and citrus very well. Good stuff.

Taste: big maltiness with a decent dose of citrus hops in the flavor. Bitterness is relatively low for the style, but overall I think it is a smooth and quite well-balanced beer.

Mouthfeel: biggish body with a pretty low level of carbonation. Decent, but not as bold or creamy as I would like it.

Overall: a tasty and drinkable double IPA. I like the fact that it's quite a balanced beer in a style which tends not to be. (788 characters)

Photo of Pintofbrown
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I went after a Steelhead with a nonic pint.

Appearance- A decent pour results in an egg-shell white foam about a finger in width. The body is a cloudy amber-gold with slowly rising carbonation.

Smell- This one has an herbal and earthy hop flavor pervading the nose. There is also some citrus swirling around in the glass: grapefruit, and maybe orange. I also got a whiff of some cereal-grain.

Taste- I really enjoy the wave of flavors that this IPA produces. This beer starts with off with a clean caramel and toasty malt, and then flourishes with citrus hops, grapefruit again. It then mingles with an earthy profile and ends with more caramel malt and a touch of the citrus hops.

Mouth feel- This, again, is an impressive aspect of the beer. It is all kinds of creamy and smooth. The body is also a hefty medium. The bitterness of this IPA is there, but not overdone, just enough to let you know it is there.

Overall- Steelhead has some great IPA flavors that range from earthy to citrus, and has just enough bitterness, but does not go overboard.

The beer also has a great feel to accompany the tasty aspect of the palate. I would have this again happily. (1,166 characters)

Photo of tony223366
3.63/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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. (1,110 characters)

Photo of srandycarter
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Slightly murky apricot/honey, good near white head.

S - Hops and mildew - malty secondary smell.

T - Very dry -light malt, tons of hops, very ripe grapefruit.

M - Med body, good carb, nice balance.

D - A very easy drinker. Not an exceptional beer, but great for a summer picnic! (286 characters)

Photo of haazer
3.08/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass.

A- Aggressive pour yields a large, thick fluffy white head. Brew is a murky turbid bronze and copper color. Some bubbles rising to the top to meet the lasting cap.

S- Aroma's of fruity and floral hops. Hints of pollen, honey, and sweet sweet caramel malt. Theres a stickyness in the nose. Hops seem to have faded a bit, no date on the bottle though.

T- The hops have all but faded, but there is a honeysuckle taste in here hinting of the hops. The sticky caramel malt profile is most dominant. Sticky and sweet, but not cloying. A good beer but would be much better fresh I'm thinking.

M- The mouth is light to medium in body with mid level carbonation. Stickyness coates the mouth. No abv detected at all.

O- This is decent but nowhere near the upper echelon of DIPA's. I found it to be solid in flavor and has a strong malt backbone, but this feeds my love/hate for hops. If it's not <1 month fresh lets face it it's not the same. (967 characters)

Photo of C20Percent
4.39/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

*Review taken from notes*

A: Hazy bronze. Nice white-tan head. Lots of sediment out of this bottle. Maybe a bit too much. Definitely more than I'm used to.

S: Lots of citrus aroma here. Grapefruit. Mostly subtle, though.

T: Strong citrus flavor. Sour grapefruit. Puckering taste. I think the flavor here. Some IPAs come across as dull in the flavor area. I like the risks taken here.

M: Medium to heavy body.

O: Very good long-lasting flavor. Might be the biggest citrus tasting IPA I've ever had. Incredibly refreshing. Alcohol is very well managed. I'd give this beer an "A" letter grade. (595 characters)

Photo of t2thebro
4.52/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- thick copper, hazy pour, thick cream coloured two finger head. Good sticky lacing that follows down the whole glass.

S-balanced, malts and hops even out. Lots of malt and lots of bittering hops, just a hint of dry hop and alcohol.

T- wow, well balanced, I'd say medium malt, medium Bitterness, and a nice sweet hoppy biscuty finish, with just a touch of heat In the end. Alcohol is not dominant but you can tell its there.

M- low to medium carbonation. Full bodied, but not oily. Alcohol content gives it a bit more bite than it really has.

O- truly enjoyable, this beer has excellent balance. Drinkability is pretty good for a double ipa. Precise amount of alcohol. This style is tough and these guys totally pull it off. I will be back for more. (756 characters)

Photo of ncketchum
3.33/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - An aggressive pour yields a massive head, off white. Beer is a hazy copper

S - good blend of citrusy hops and sweet malt, nothing overpowering

T - Bitterness of hops stands out, but not much more. Not as much citrus or malt that would have been expected by the nose

M - not much alcohol burn, fairly thick

O - This is a better than average DIPA, it doesn't blow me away but it is certainly drinkable. (408 characters)

Photo of tdm168
4.23/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark orangish amber with a quarter of an inch of soft, dense, off white head that has great retention. The nose has faint bready malt notes as well as some big citrusy hop aromas featuring grapefruit and pineapple. The flavor is big and malty; bready and sweet with hints of birthday cake. The hop come in strong in the finish. They open up citrusy with grapefruit and pineapple notes but close with a mild, piny bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth with just a tad too much carbonation.

This is a big, robust, malty DIPA with great balance and drinkability. I will definitely have this again. (619 characters)

Photo of Amalak
3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A. It has a dark brown color with a ton of sediment floating through out. It has a big white foamy head with a good deal of lacing.
S. it has a big hoppy scent.
T/m. It has a strong florAl hop taste. It is grassy almost weed like. Heavy taste with a long finish. Some alcohol.
O. It is tasty but not overly flavorful for a double IPA. But it is true-ish to the name. (366 characters)

Steelhead Double India Pale Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 406 ratings.