Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

Steelhead Double India Pale Ale - Mad River Brewing Company

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

406 Reviews
THE BROS
84
good

(Read More)
Reviews: 406
Hads: 805
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 10.5%
Wants: 23
Gots: 50 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Steelhead Double India Pale Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 406 | Hads: 805
Photo of hoptualBrew
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz stubby & pours a murky bright orange with an off white head. Lookin pretty good & leaving a nice amount of lacing down the glass, got to love it! Nose is sweet malts & grapefruit. Straight forward Imperial IPA, but cant wait to get into this one. Pale and some caramel malts meet west coast hoppage. I expect nothing less from an Imperial IPA, solid & very drinkable. Carbonation is good & the mouth sweeps through to a pleasant lingering aftertaste of malts & hops. Solid IIPA! (483 characters)

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

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A: Hazy orange amber. Good 2 finger head, off white in color. Good lacing.

S: Citrus hops orange and grapefruit. Pine and roasted grain. Somewhat on the mild side.

T: Sweetness and citrus hops (orange and grapefruit). Slightly bitter throughout.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation. Slightly sticky sweet.

O: A pretty good beer. Perhaps a bit too sweet for me but the sweetness is not overpowering by any stretch. (469 characters)

Photo of VelvetExtract
3.71/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a deep cloudy amber color. Head is a pinky finger high. Retains well. Leaves mild lacing.

S-Lighter nose of malty sweetness and citrus. Oranges. Too light for the style. Needs to be much more assertive. I don't like my DIPAs to be mellow in the nose. Rarely a good sign. But what is there in the nose is pretty pleasant.

T-Flavor is citrusy and grassy. The citrus is pretty lively and ripe. Is definitely an upgrade from the nose. Quite sweet too. A very balanced DIPA. Light alcohol warms the cheeks. Simple, balanced, and straightforward.

M-Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Not very bitter or resinous. Now seeing that this is nearly 9% alcohol, I am impressed by how well the alcohol is hidden throughout.

O/D-The local store has an absurd discount on most of the Steelhead beers. $4.99 a six-pack is ridiculous. May be on the back 9 in terms of freshness, but its very drinkable. If this wasn't so cheap I wouldn't re-buy it though. (956 characters)

Photo of seedsofchaos
4.08/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Admittedly, this is one of my favorite IPAs/IIPAs so it's going to be incredibly difficult if not impossible to give this one an unbiased review. But, after a 10 month hiatus from BA, I feel it's only right to come back with a classic. I've never had a beer that I disliked from Mad River and Steelhead DIPA is at the top of their year-round offerings in my humble opinion.

Steelhead pours a rich copper in color that any IPA lover can recognize. It's thick with a generous one-finger head that sticks around for quite some time. Hop resins are definitely high in this viscous Double and the spiderwebs spin tales of their own.

To me, the aroma is hop-centric but the balance of piney, floral and citrusy hops makes up for the lack of malt balance in the nose. Don't get me wrong, the malt is there in the background but this hits my nostrils like hop candy and only begs to be tasted.

Pale malt comes in through the flavor with a nice solid biscuit taste that is immediately immersed in rich flavors of pine, a touch of lemon, a little grapefruit... Never had thought before about how pine-centered the flavor was. Bitterness is on point. High IBUs but not butt-puckeringly high. Yeah, that's a phrase now. :P

A solid ale overall that kind of tetters between an IPA and a IIPA. Though hops don't explode in the nostrils like one would expect from a DIPA, the smell is so pleasing that it's hard to knock down too much. I'm a big guy and, to me, this is sessionable... Though, some of my smaller kin would not agree. (1,520 characters)

Photo of elNopalero
3.77/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This pours a malty-yellow color. It has a muted hop aroma on this. Lightly flavored with a pleasant malt backbone to balance out the hops. There’s a bitterness that lingers on the finish. It’s not a hop bomb—surprise, coming from the west coast!—but more laid back and mellow. Coming from Northern California? Maybe there’s something else going on out there in Humboldt County. (387 characters)

Photo of albertjr21
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip glass, pour yields a bright and semi-clear unfiltered orange amber. Nose delivers a solid sweet citrus hop aroma of grapefruit and orange. Resinous citrus hops deliver a straightforward big bitterness along a well-balancing smooth malt backbone. Plentiful flavor notes of pungent orange and extra sweet grapefruit. Sticky and dry orange rind zesty finish. (373 characters)

Photo of Gehrig
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at The Independent in Seminole Heights, FL.

One finger of off-white foam tops a clear brown-amber body. Good duration and rings of snowy lacing on the pint glass start things well. The smell is at least as malty as hopped, with biscuit malt, almond, and hints of dark chocolate the most prominent aromas. Some (potentially C-hop) citrus smell comes through, but not much.

Good, very balanced taste, hop-forward but with a sturdy malt backbone. Grapefruit, orange peel, and some tangerine with ample biscuit malt tying things together nicely. Steelhead is tasty and smooth, an easy-going. It certainly isn't the most complex DIPA I have ever had, and the smell really should be much better for the style, but the taste and texture are quite satisfying.

I do not say this as if I mind the presence of the malt as such in Steelhead--anything but. In general, I like a good malt presence as a complement to heavy hops in DIPA. However, I do think Steelhead would be well served by extra helpings of hops. I find myself wanting more--more grit, more citrus especially.

Overall, a good beer, a nice way to end a good evening of drinking with friends. (1,163 characters)

Photo of harrymel
1.76/5  rDev -53.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Bottled: unk

A: amber diaphanous ale with a finger of transient light yellow foam which remains as a broken sheet of the same. Rare lace.
S: Smells like some noble hops (old and stagnant), oxidized malts and little else.
T: Malt and hints of residual bitterness. Guessing this one's old, but hard to tell without a bottle date.
M: Medium on heavy for the style with moderate carb.
O: This is not a good beer. (410 characters)

Photo of Tucquan
3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on 2011-11-05 in Columbia, PA

A - Hazy sunset-orange with a 1.5-finger off-white head and good lacing into a nonic glass.

S - Orange citrus, pine, sweet and mildly roasted grain. Pleasant but not overpowering.

T - Sweet, bready malt, pine, mild spice and orange-candy citrus. Not hop forward. Citric bitterness comes in at the end and lingers in the aftertaste with some tannin and roasty astringency.

M - Medium-heavy body and light-medium carbonation. Resinous, sticky and a tad prickly.

O - I enjoyed this brew. It's a little sweeter than I'd normally choose for a DIPA but it isn't syrupy sweet and the tannin and hop and roasted bitterness do a good job of toning this down. (693 characters)

Photo of oline73
3.45/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a very cloudy amber color with a finger of fluffy white head. There is a mild amount of lacing and some good retention.

Smell: Sweet with a solid caramel malt presence. There is also a decent hop aroma with some citrus notes.

Taste: The malt doesn't show up as much here as it did in the smell. There is enough to balance things, but it isn't the first thing you notice. Citrus peel hops with some malt sweetness. The finish is bitter with some alcohol and mildly peppery.

Mouthfeel: The body is just on the thick side of medium with tingly carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This is a solid brew. Good hop profile and decent balance. Not sure I would search it out again, but certainly wouldn't turn one down if it was offered to me. (810 characters)

Photo of jvillefan
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: It is a golden yellow that is a little hazey due to the yeast. There was not a great head.

S: There is alcohol and hops in foreground of the aroma. There is the smell of yeast in the background.

T: Very floral for an IPA. Withbthe floral notes in there beer there are also hops and citrus with a little pine.

M: Very good. There is a nice viscosity created by the yeast.

O: This beer is definately woth having at least once. (432 characters)

Photo of dankster
3.89/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

No freshness date on bottle.

A- Nice copper look with a little carb. good lacing on glass.

S- heavy pine with some citrus and sweet fruits. maybe grapefruits and some pineapple

T- very dry and easy drinking. Hard to tell it's 8.6% ABV. needs to have a little more bitter bite for a DIPA IMO.

M-smooth and somewhat creamy for the style. Average

O-pretty solid IPA. Not quite DIPA but overpriced for the sixer at $11 better stuff at cheaper prices available. would drink again though (486 characters)

Photo of Mdog
3.38/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Murky amber, ok head.

Smell: Mild hop aroma, oxidized (wet cardboard).

Taste: Mild caramel then dry crisp citrus hops. Luckily the oxidized smell didn't come through in the taste.

Drinkability: Pretty easy to drink, the dryness makes me want to drink more.

I think this bottle was a little old but not too far gone, so I will give it a review. This has a nice dry citrus hop presence but reminded me more of a IPA than DIPA. Could have been due to age, but without a bottled-on date, who knows. (510 characters)

Photo of BeerNutz324
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pint glass

Ap- golden light amber with an orange hue, cloudy. nice foamy head about an inch. good retention and good lacing.

Ar- citrus fruit especially orange. piney hops too.

T- grapefriut, orange, piney hops at the end. a wee bit of alcohol but not much for an 8.2% beer.

M- light/medium body. normal carbonation. piney oils in your mouth after holding it for a while.

O- this is a good DIPA. I usually get a mix your own six pack and always throw one of these in there and really do enjoy it. (521 characters)

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

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. (392 characters)

Photo of kylehay2004
4.17/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Golden orange and murky. Quarter finger head.

S: Lots of grapefruit in the aroma.

T: the taste is complex similar to that of the 90 minute Dogfish head, but not quite as good. The pine notes are just enough and the hops are there, but i would like more.

M: Moderate carbonation and medium bodied.

Overall: I was pleasantly surprised by this one and plan on keeping an eye out for it in bottles so I may stock up. (419 characters)

Photo of thain709
3.76/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured with a cloudy, burnt orange body that showed suspended sediment throughout...two fingers worth of off white head formed a full cap and retained that full cap throughout the glass...nice lacing was left behind

S - I'm getting piney hops rather than citrus hops...you can detect the bitterness up front...caramel malt rolling around

T - Yup, there's the bitterness...it lasts through and through with every sip...there is a strong caramel malt middle that does provide some relief but in the end the bitter piney hops win over and finish with an even stronger bitterness

M - Medium...bitter...pretty one dimensional

O - Although I'm happy I finally got to try something from Mad River, I can't say that I was too impressed...for me Steelhead DIPA was pretty one dimensional...I've had better DIPA's that were worth their value or cheaper (850 characters)

Photo of Kitt
3.81/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma: Rich eclectic malts entrenched with sweet banana and hints of caramel.

Appearance: An unfiltered deep-peach color with virtually no head, yet some strong lacing.

Taste: A bitter blast of strong hops with a balanced malty backbone. Bitter flavor lingers nicely. Although very pleasing, something is missing from this imperial - it seems uni-demensional; I would have prefered a slightly more eclectic malt & hop flavor more reflective of the superb aroma.

Mouthfeel is slightly weak for an double IPA. Lacks a viscous creamy feel typically characteristic of top imperials.

Drinkibility is good for an ABV of nearly 9.0%.

Overall, a good double IPA but not quite up to par with, say, a Ruination or Double Trouble. The rather weak mouthfeel and a lack of eclectic malt/hop balance are the beers downfalls. Nevertheless, an above average IPA. (851 characters)

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

This beer was served on cask at the Blind Tiger in New York, NY. It arrived in a mug and appeared tawny in color with a one finger tan head, which left nice lacing as it dissipated. The brew appeared hazy with large pieces of yeasty sediment present at the bottom of the glass. Upon sniffing, citric hops were extremely apparent upfront, with lemon and grapefruit as the main components. Additionally, some earthy/mineraly notes become more apparent as the beer warmed. The taste opened with equally as strong citric hops and some mild toasted malt character. The same earthy qualities present in the nose pop through here in the beginning of the taste, but oddly lead to a crisp and clean tasting middle. As the beer moves to the back of the palate, we find a revival of the citrus components, however this time the flavors speak more of lime and orange citrus, as opposed to the grapefruit and lemon from earlier. Additionally, there is the faintest spice of mustard seed, along with a chalky and dirty wood component. Souring hops finish us off along with a faint booziness. Both the body and the carbonation are medium, and the beer seems a bit watery compared to other beers of the style, but does maintain a certain creaminess that is not overly drying considering the huge hop component. The abv is appropriate and the beer drinks easily.

Overall, what we enjoyed best about this beer were the huge citrusy hop components. These lent a nice freshness to the beer making it great to drink on a hotter summer day. Additionally, it was interesting to observe the progression from the grapefruit citrus on the aroma, to the lime and orange citrus that were appreciated at the end of the sip. It was subtleties throughout the hops that make this beer a great find (1,767 characters)

Photo of Vanlingleipa
4.35/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Those wacky cats at Mad River. I love the story (whether true or not) about how they created their Jalapeno beer - screwed up a batch of IPA and rather than wasting it, filtered a buttload of peppers to infuse it with a spicy, snappy Jalapeno flavor.

This Steelhead DIPA was not born of the chemistry set, but there is still something experimental about it. This isn't the standard sweet, burnt malt set loose to lasso the ever-present bitter hops in this beer. From the first quaff there is a distinct smoky peat, butterscotch type flavor, along a malty sweetness that walks alongside the piney, bitter hops. It's a unique flavor that lingers in your mouth along with the hops, although not so much in the tongue, more like the back of my mouth.

Color is a bright, apricot-orange. Scent is interesting - little hops, some faint peat. Excellent beer, made more excellent by its distribution in a low-cost 12 oz bottle.

EDIT: received a response from Steelhead and in the interest of fair play (well, mostly because it's interesting), am adding it to this review.

Hello Valingleipa,
My name is Brian and I am the Senior Brewer at Mad River Brewing Co.. Im writing you in order to give you the real story behind our Chili beer. The story you heard about the Chili beer, involving a messed up batch of IPA, is not true. Good you stated is or is not ;). Here is the real story. Our CEO brought in some chilis he had grown in his garden for us employees to take home and use. Our Brewmaster,Dylan, and I got to thinking, " Hey, why dont we throw some chilis at the Extra Pale Ale, its a perfect base beer for a Chili ale." In addition, we were preparing for a local Beerfest called StrangeBrew Fest and we knew our buddy and fellow brewer at Six Rivers Brewing would have his Chili Ale at the Fest also. So it was just something fun to do. Low and behold, it turned out to be an excellent Chili Ale! So much so, the judges at the GABF awarded it a Bronze medal in the herb or spiced catagory. Go figure!;) So there you have it. Glad you enjoyed the DIPA! All our best to you from MRBCO (2,084 characters)

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

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A gorgeous amber orange, cloudy in appearance is presented with some cloudy character. Head is a solid foamy and foams unevenly but has lots of staying power. Also off white in appearance with some thick retention. Scattered lacing while finishing the drink

Smell is mushy citrus fruit. Can't pick the fruit profile so much, some faint earth and grass like hop. Seems like something very sweet and sugary is coming.

Taste is kind of interesting. Orange thick sweetness with a nice small bittering pine hop finish. Texture is syrupy, but does not translate into big sweetness as I expected. It's like an aggressive hoppy big orange juice syrup bomb. Alcohol sugariness somewhat noticeable, but doesn't translate into a boozy bomb.

Overall there could be worse but this doesn't seem to do it for me. Better is out there, but this is honestly not a bad beer. (908 characters)

Photo of kflorence
3.91/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a hazy amber, orange in color with a good amount of frothy head that dissipates to a thin film layer and leaves plenty of lacing around the edges of the glass as you drink. Carbonation levels look to be good. Has that classic American IPA look to it. Make sure you swish the last bit of beer around in the glass before you pour so you get a bit more flavor (if you prefer).

S: Really a pretty subtle aroma for a double IPA (especially of the West coast variety). I was expecting an olfactory assault of hops, but actually found a fair amount of sweet malts. Don't get me wrong, there is a bit of hop aroma in there... mostly citrus, but the malts seem prominent.

T: As the aroma led me to believe, this is a pretty balanced West coast IPA. That said, the hops do dominate the flavor all the way through, but only slightly, which was unexpected for me seeing as this is an IPA of the double variety. Anyways, the hops are mostly of the citrus variety, a very bitter grapefruit I would say, with a twist of lemon and a bit of Juniper. As for the malts, I'm getting a lot of bread and sweetness; no toasty or roasted notes. That's pretty much it. Simple, but very effective. It could probably use a bit more balance malt-wise, but maybe that's just me.

M: Medium body with a good level of carbonation, this brew comes off quite creamy with a bit of chewiness. There is a bit of oil that coats the tongue, but the beer finishes dry with a little bit of chalkiness.

O: As a West coast double IPA, I expected something overwhelmingly hoppy. What I got was a great, fairly well balanced IPA with a straightforward flavor, great mouthfeel and very high drinkability (especially for an 8.6% ABV). This will probably disappoint those looking for a hop-high, but if you can get past that, this is a very solid offering and another good brew from Mad River. Cheers! (1,866 characters)

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

Pours a hazy dark golden with half inch off white head. Dissipates fairly quickly.

Smells like fresh flowery citrus hops. Bit o pine, bit o caramel and sweet malt.

Hop spiciness leads to a malty middle leading to some citrus hops which then closes bitter. Piney in the aftertaste. Bit of grapefruit and lemon

Smooth carbonation light medium body.

Good dipa. Nothing spectacular, but definitely good. (406 characters)

Photo of shleepy
4.16/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at The Hop Yard in Pleasanton (Mad River brewery night this week, so there are several of their brews on tap).

A: golden (notably darker than Pliny), somewhat hazy and effervescent; medium white head with small bubbles and medium head retention

S: strong "green" hop smell, similar to West Coast IPA; I'm not a big fan of that flavor, but I know some people love it

T: none of that green hop flavor comes through; instead, it's a balanced and very fruity beer; lots of sweet citrus - more like tangerine than grapefruit; clean (maybe even a little sweet) finish with no hint of bitterness anywhere in there; for a strong beer, I'm actually not detecting a lot of maltiness or booziness

M: a creamy, smooth mouthfeel that's one of my favorite aspects of this beer; unusual for its style; medium body and carbonation

O: DIPA purists may not like the fact that this feels like a lighter, less bitter beer than others in the style; I love fruity, balanced IPA's, though, and this is about as fruity and balanced as they come without being Belgian; good stuff (1,070 characters)

Photo of sdmvd6
3.29/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Cloudy orange with no head or lacing.

S - Citrus: lemon and grapefruit, with some pine hints. Not as complex as others of the style.

T - Citrus at the front changing to medicinal and bitter. Small piney contribution with little to no earthiness. Bitterness not well balanced by the malt.

M - Thin and moderately carbonated but lacking the body, stickiness, and resinous feeling that DIPAs should exhibit. This explains the lack of lacing/head.

O - An average DIPA, lacking some of the attributes of the style that are expected. (535 characters)

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