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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.
very good

784 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 784
Reviews: 406
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 11.08%
Wants: 23
Gots: 38 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 784 | Reviews: 406 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of silentjay
3.35/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a murky brown/orange with some decent big-bubbled head and lots of chunks floating in the glass.

aroma is mostly of bready and caramel malts. some floral hops are there, but this smells sweet.

taste is similar to the aroma, but has a bit more floral and spicy hops. bread and caramel are still strong. not a lot of hop bite and no date on the bottle to know if this is fresh or maybe the hops have faded a bit. the hop profile gives it a lemon pepper flavor with a touch of pine and some citrus acidity. meh.

medium bodied with ample carbonation and an oily finish where the bitterness finally comes out from hiding, though its not that pleasant.

drinks average. could almost pass for a pale ale. nothing special in any aspect, but also nothing gross. would like to see bottle dates and a warning about the sediment on the bottle, but this isnt good enough for me to revisit often anyways.

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Only a few kegs of this arrived in our market, and I'm doing my best to help deplete one of them.

Murky, hazy deep amber brew, almost orange, good, sizable, staying white head. Looks great.

Grapefruit, orange, and lemon in the aroma, with a mix of other fruit, as well...mango, tangerine...some prickly pine, below, ...great bitter notes throughout.

Taste: Ah! Bright, bitter hoppy fruit flavor, bursting all over the palate, pairing with vibrant piney notes, citrus tones. Pithy, and potent. Full feeling in the mouth, long finish, very comfortable. Nice, sweet, fruity/caramel malt feel.

Alcohol hardly felt until...hmmm, just a little. Not too much, and not too little. This is a well-done Double IPA, in that it delivers so much hoppy flavor, but keeps it all in line, all resting on a full mattress of malt. And the hops bounce off with terrific aplomb. Mmmm, mmm.

Sure to please any hop-head, this is one under the radar. If the brewery were more famous and respected, it'd be a bigger sensation, that's for sure.

It's a great big, wonderful hoppy brew that's bringing a smile to this hop-head's face. Mmmm, can't be beat!

Photo of 7ways
3.47/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Rusty sinopia hue with a grayish white head. I've never seen so much sediment in a IPA before! Lace barely sticks. Quite oily.

This beer smells like fresh tangerines to me, and I really dig it. The citrus isn't too intense, but it's really all I get besides malt and alcohol. Not much pine or anything , just faint and pleasing bready malt.

At first it is sweet enough to be considered candy, but the sweetness dies down and melds just fast enough to prevent the beer from being cloying. Other tropical fruits besides oranges make an appearance, but otherwise it tastes much like it smells without any extra bells and whistles. Well balanced.

Medium carbonation, maybe a little low as time goes by. Very sticky and sits quite heavy on my palette. Think Terrapin Rye Squared, Avery Majaraja, Moylander Double IPA. Feels good though.

You have to be in the mood for a meal in a glass with this beer (like Majaraja, etc.), but it is very well crafted IMO, even if it is a little generic.

I actually like the Steelhead Extra Pale Ale better than this; it's not as heavy and packs a shitload of flavor for a <6% beer.

Photo of SuperNova777
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip

A:Pours a murky cloudy orange with a eggshell head that quickly resides with not much lacing

S:Small citrus aroma with a hint of carmalized malts

T:Not much at first then solid balance of hops and sweet malts that finishes fairly smooth leaving a solid coating on the palate

M:More of a heavier body with decent carbonation

D:A easy to drink DIPA that taste o.k. A little more balanced then what what I would prefer for the style, was kinda looking for more of a hop bomb whendrinking a DIPA. But all in all still decent

Photo of droomyster
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy amber with a long-lasting, frumpy white head. Bits of yeast hang in suspension at all levels of the glass. Aromas are somewhat subdued and simplistic for the style. The orange zesty aromas and sweet caramel notes are almost equal in prominence, with a whiff of something floral and traces of alcohol also detectable. Front and mid-palate are predominately caramelly and a little yeasty, with citrusy and floral hops growing stronger by the second until they become the defining feature of the long finish. Not nearly as aggressive as other members of its style; on the other hand, it's more enjoyable to drink all on its own than most other DIPAs.

Photo of JackieTH
2.87/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Cloudy orange with bits of white suspended throughout. Off white head.

Smell: Pine and citrus and sweet.

Taste: Initially a combined resinous and citrus hop flavor in a caramel malt background which was nice but was quickly overpowered by too much sweetness, toffee, sugar and an odd coppery/metallic taste that was a bit off-putting.

Mouthfeel was a bit too heavy and cloying.

Drinkability: The ABV shows itself and along with the overly sweet and metallic tones...one was enough.

Consumed 6/4/2010; reviewed from notes and a photo.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep clouded copper apricot hue with a thcket of off whie yellow tinted white head. Fine lacing spreads itself evenly aroun the settling lace. Aroma has deep aggressive citrus/pine and slightly metallic notes going on. Sugary malt backbone with super bittering hops going down. Flavor has some butterscotch tones with sugar and hops wrapped around each other, don't get me wrong my local just got this in but it doesn't seem superfresh and Mad River's website is closed! What's going on? Mouthfeel is pretty much coated with hop oils and medium to fuller bodied in general a bit of alcohol in the tail end, at times I'm picturing a big barleywine. This happens to be a bit of an aged DIPA, damn tasty but I remember it being fresh on tap and it was definitely excellent stuff. Solid approachabe DIPA, I'm willing to try it again in the future somebody please drop me a line about what's going on with this DIPA.

Photo of blackie
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: copper amber in color, good retention

s: pulpy hops with a mix of pine and tropical, caramel malts, pretty standard, but good

m: smooth carbonation, medium bodied with a touch of slickness

t: sweet, fruity hops on a nice caramel malt backbone, piney bitterness in the finish

d: not bad, a solid if not uncommon representation of the style

single picked up at Peace Street and split with Dad in Raleigh

Photo of Bfarr
3.87/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hazy with floating particles dark copper with sunny bottom. Big off white head reduces to a thin band with good lacing. Floral and sweet citrus aroma. Grapefruit and citrus hops in balance with some caramel and a hint of spice. A good bitter linger with not too much grapefruit. Big beefy mouthfeel yet satiny.

Unfortunately, the floating pieces were a bit off putting but it otherwise looked pretty good. Decent aromas and a pretty nice balance. Between the floaters and the mouthfeel it seemed to be bottle conditioned but it doesn't say that anywhere on the bottle. Pretty easy drinking for a DIPA albeit not incredibly complex, just pleasant.

Photo of beertunes
3.52/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a typical orangeish-amber with a nice, slightly off-white head that had good retention but very low, almost zero, lacing.

The aroma was nicely floral hops, with a trace of malt in the background. The flavors were mostly floral hops, a bit of malt grain and a citrusy, dry finish.

The body was typical for the style, perhaps not as full as some, and smoother than a lot of examples. Drinkability was very good, as good as a lot of regular IPA's. Overall, a nice little example of the style, worth grabbing if you see it, but probably not worth going out of your way for.

Photo of elgiacomo
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, unknown date.

Pours amber/orange with a large white head, nice rings of lacing. Lots of floaties.

Aroma is a bit muted, but features nice juicy citrus hops, orange, tangerine, some pine, caramel and bread.

Flavor is quite hoppy, more juicy citrus, pine, sweet caramel malt and fruit in the middle, medium bitterness on the finish. Some alcohol but not as much as others in the style, which I kinda like.

Medium to full bodied, oily, slick, low to medium carbonation, a little sticky towards the end.

Very nice DIPA.

Photo of flannelman808
3.17/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: woah! didn't realize this was an unfiltered brew... lots of stuff floating around (more than I would like to see really). Amber color and a sticky off white colored head.

S: Sugar cane, honey, and butterscotch. Smells like its going to be really sweet... yikes.

T: Malt malt malt... hops barely shine through. There is a mild bitter pine note in the finish but its outweighed by the sweetness at the start. Plus I sort of feel like I need to pour it through a screen to get rid of all the extra proteins floating around. Maybe this is just an old batch but I don't plan on buying it again soon to find out.

M: chunky

D: low

Photo of zeff80
4.06/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, orange color with golden highlights. It had a very small, white head of bubbly foam. It left little to no lacing.

S - It smelled of tons of grapefruit, bubblegum and pine. There was a mild roasted malt aroma, too.

T - Big pine/resiney flavor. It tasted of a good deal of grapefruit and orange peel. There was a good burnt toast maltiness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and had a dry finish. A medium bodied ale with a slight alcohol warmth.

D - This is a pretty good DIPA. It definitely had a west coast flavor.

Photo of djbreezy
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Breakside Brewery in Portland, OR. Pint glass.

appearance - opaque amber body, drawn but sparse lacing, low head

smell - hops, pine, resin, malt

taste - strong malt backbone, bitter hops, citrus, pine, resin

mouthfeel - well carbonated, medium full body

drinkability - fairly tasty, the hop bite is nice

Photo of appenzeller
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Mmmm Steelhead. Makes me want to go fly fishing. Hope this lives up to its noble title.

This one pours a deep, deep amber that is quite hazy. Medium head whit very good retention and average lacing.

Smells of toasted bread, slightly hoppy.

Taste is more complex, bready base with an acidic citrusy note, smooth moderate malts. The hops are, of course, the main note but not over the top--spicy American hops with a good bite that lingers. Despite the high ABV, I don't find this to be an alcohol-laden drink, the alcohol element is well embedded in the brew.

In summary, nothing remarkable but a perfectly good DIPA.

Photo of tchenery
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer looks more orange than I anticipated upon pouring. It also has stuff floating in it which I like (think Smuttynose IPA). It has a thin, thin head.

It smells very citrussy, very grapefruitlike. It has an upfront biter of almost sour and syrupy grapefruit taste that transitions into soft malt flavors and ends with a dry bitter finish.

It's a pretty heavy tasting beer, which lends to less 'drinkability' in my mind, but again it's an 8.6% Double IPA, so what do you expect?

I like this beer, I wish it had more of a head, but other than that, very good.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.77/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Not the biggest head or best lacing retention, but the color is to die for (orange)! Decent aroma, a little on the woody side, but still the hops play top billing. A little sweet aroma too.

Taste, big, big ol malt backbone. This is one of the rare instances where a CA DIPA actually does approach balance. Hops are there, but tempered with the aforementioned maltiness. Creates an easier, smoother beer. Burps become rewarding. Price used to be very reasonable, but the last couple of years, they approached the typical price range you see for a beer like this. Props for keepin it in a 6er and not raping us with 22oz prices!

Photo of largadeer
3.61/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fresh 12 oz bottle into a tulip. The body is a murky, dirty amber, even without the contribution of the yeast at the bottom of the bottle. A steady stream of carbonation rises to the surface, feeding half an inch of off-white head.

The aroma is yeasty, hoppy, very raw. The hops have an evergreen quality to them and there's a faint bready malt presence. The yeast is strangely dominant for the style.

Hops are stronger on the palate, pine-like with a semi-astringent resiny bitterness. Very yeasty and raw, it's a bit metallic up-front with subtle ale yeast fruitiness. Beyond a bit of bready malt character there isn't much sweetness here, and it finishes quite bitter, almost astringent. This is solid and enjoyable stuff, but not quite in the upper echelon of DIPAs.

Photo of jwinship83
3.79/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle picked up on a recent trip to kentucky. no visible freshness information. drank from sierra nevada hop tulip glass.

A- this one pours out a murky reddish orange colored body with a small off white colored head. the head lasts for a while and leaves behind a wall of lacing. very nice.

S- sweet bready and caramel like malts are the first things that i notice. after that comes the hops, which arnt as dominant as i would have liked. fruity pineapple mixed with grapefruit and pine. smells somewhat balanced.

T- starts out with some sweet caramel and a little bit of toasted bread. after that comes some tropical fruit like hops. pineapple and something else that i cant quite put a finger on. theres a healthy dose of pine and grapefruit as well.

M- full bodied and syrupy with a lowish level of carbonation.

D- i was pleasantly surprised with this one. a little more balance than i normally like in my DIPAs, but this one pulls it off nicely. good price point also. ill check this out again.

Photo of Jpatrix
3.12/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into pint glass. A hazed light orange amber. Lot's of carbonation resulted in a large head, even with a careful pour. Smell was a malty,citrus smell with hint's of hops. Taste was a bit thin but enjoyable with a orange hint int he malt. A nice drinkable beer.

Photo of camp0474
3.6/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip.

A: Pours a clouded orange-amber color with a frothy off-white head.

S: Heavy malt aroma with faint citrus and earthy hops.

T: Smooth flavor of citrus hops and sweet malt. Well balanced, not what I was expecting from this DIPA. So balanced that the flavors seem very subdued, there is no shinning stars (hops or malt) here. Flavors fades into a more acidic pine from hop oils with a slight alcohol burn.

M/D: Medium body and high carbonation, maybe a little too much. The solid balance makes this beer very drinkable. But I personally was expecting more hops characters. Solid beer.

Photo of chickenflea
4.43/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - A hazy deep orange that looks like honey. Three-finger pillowy head with good retention and lacing. Noticed a lot of unexpected unfiltered sediment in the last pour. I am guessing it is bottle conditioned.

S - smells like a orange juice. Malty aroma balances the citrus hops. A touch of yeast is present as well.

T - Very smooth. Its a honey biscuit with a grapefruit juice chaser. The three flavors are very well balanced for the style. I don't think I have had an IPA with this high of a yeast profile. But it is pleasant and not overdone. A long finish give you your money's worth with every sip.

M - Mouthfeel is what it should be for the style. Creamy and a touch sticky. Medium to full bodied and almost creamy.

D - Balance gives this beer high drinkability. My second Mad River brew. So far I am impressed.

Photo of kaseydad
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a sixer and I am glad I did. The two lovely trout's breaching their way upstream. Now that's some good eatin'! Pint glass pour with an apricot colored ale and a bright white frothy head which dissipates quikly. A rather malty aroma with apricots, grapes and oranges in the air. The taste has a nice tangy grapefruit-like character and leaves bitterness on the tongue with a hearty malty backbone, which evens the taste out. Salivation occurs after the sip. This drinks a lot smoother than the 8.6% states. Multiples are easily attainable but the alcohol haze can stay for awhile.

Overall: I recall drinking this a few years back and then never ventured to it until recently. This is a well done Double IPA from the Mad River crew. It's a little more malty than I like my DIPA, but is solid nonetheless.

Photo of jmerloni
4.31/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Absolutely fantastic. A deep hazy pink-orange that looks like red grapefruit juice. Monstrous pillowy head with ridiculous retention and lacing. This baby took me forever to pour. Wow! There are also a lot of unfiltered aspects that make it look very appealing.

S - smells like a chocolate orange; a lot of citrus hops and yeast. Biscuity. Smells creamy.

T - SO smooth. A citrus biscuit with hops that dance and yet don't attack the tastebuds. Earthy! You look forward to every sip. Refreshing and summery. Malty on the end and you can taste the chocolate orange.

M - As stated, very very smooth. Medium to full bodied and almost creamy. Not overcarbonated at all. Everything is in balance and just right with a nice dry alcoholic finish like a scotch ale.

D - More drinkable than most imperials because the hops are subdued from all the smoothness. This beer makes sense - it's very rational and I'm impressed with it. I'll be getting this again soon.

Photo of wolfinthemirror
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass, it reveals an orange color with a thick creamy head.

floral boquet of hops and malts in the nose.

I was surprised how malt forward this brew was when the hops really dominated the smell. But the hops are in the back end, and there is some good bittering. Nice and sweet with hints of caramel. the alcohol is hidden well. It's pretty balanced, but i'd say the malt reveals itself more than anything. Very solid taste, but not quite enough hops like I was hoping for.

This brew almost seems creamy, and is medium-full bodied with mild carbonation.

A solid offering, I bought a single and i'd like to try this again sometime. Due to the higher ABV i'd probably wouldn't have more than 2 at a time.

Steelhead Double India Pale Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 784 ratings.