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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

730 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 730
Reviews: 398
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 11.05%
Wants: 24
Gots: 17 | 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
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Ratings: 730 | Reviews: 398 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GregPearson33


3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

This poured amber brown with a fairly loose head that receded to the rim after a few seconds. Although I thought the pour initially looked promising, as the head collapsed and I realized it was simply opaque (the cloudiness wasn't just the result of an active carbonation... no no, there is definitely shit suspended in there) I was less impressed. Smell is terrific though, dominated by strong orange citrus notes.

The taste reaffirms the citrusy bouquet. The initial impression is of orange/lemon peel, but this is definitely no hop monster and I certainly wouldn't describe it as "spicy". Still, it's supported by a sturdy malt background (burnt caramel?) and I like the taste overall.

The drinkability was also very good - perfect carbonation and a great mouth feel. As is to be expected with a IIPA it's a little thick, but given the alcohol content I was surprised at its weak burn/presence.

Would probably have another one of these to mix things up, but not a go-to DIPA (or even IPA) to satiate a hop craving.

08-11-2009 03:10:48 | More by GregPearson33
Photo of ThaBobfather


3.85/5  rDev +1.3%

Pours a light copper/yellow with two inches of thick bleached white head. A 5.0 for an IPA but a 4.0 for a Double IPA.
Smell has got some light malt and hop notes.
Taste starts with some earthy hops, then it mellows into some malts, then finishes with a light bitter hop taste.
Finish is less than clean but good with a bitter/malted after-taste.
Drinks great at 8.6% the malt really blends with the bitter to make it drinkable.

08-06-2009 04:28:02 | More by ThaBobfather
Photo of dbexpert


4.1/5  rDev +7.9%

a. rich golden hues as expected, with a thick head which disspates relatively quick, although leaving good lacing

s. strong bready smell, with a slight grapefruit/citrus cutting the sweet aroma of yeast

t. up front malty sweetnes, penetrated by a good balance of crisp hops, leaving a long finish.

m. sweet,balanced and well hopped mouthfeel

d. have not had in quality, one is satisfying but believe a sixer would suffice at 8.6% abv, a good brew!

08-05-2009 00:07:16 | More by dbexpert
Photo of TLove

District of Columbia

4.03/5  rDev +6.1%

From Cleveland Park Liquors, D.C.

Strong, yet soft IIPA with an excellent hop structure and extraordinary balance. A touch sweet, but pretty damn good overall.

Light, hazy amber with cream head and thin lacing. Smells of caramel malts, grape, and citrus, with a barleywine-worthy complexity of tastes from front to back. Went from fig to molasses to malt to wet grass to pine and from subtlely sharp, strong hops to a smooth undertow. A little too fruity and a bit syrupy on the back side, but the taste follows right through to the end and is consequently drinkable. Nice carbonation and the alcohol is disguised well.

07-21-2009 02:53:52 | More by TLove
Photo of sweetbrew82


4.05/5  rDev +6.6%

12 oz. into a snifter/ no freshness date

P: Hazy orange-tinted copper with a beautiful head of whipped, frothy foam on top. Showed good retention and left thick sheets of lace as it sunk to form a thick collar.

A: Pungeant citrusy hops that smell like predominantly like grapefruit pith jumps out at me first. Followed by lots of pine sap and some soft floral notes as well with some sweet caramel malt and toffee underneath. This is pretty damn nice!

T: Starts on the malty side for the first split-second, then the hops emerge and cut right through their bready caramel sweetness to deliver that same punch of pungeant citrus notes that were noted in the nose. Grapefruit pith, pineapple, and some more tropical fruits that reminded me a bit of peaches come through quite nicely while the sticky pine sap stays behind still pulling its weight in regards to flavor, though. Bitterness tingles the tongue enough to satisfy me, but isn't a bitter monster due to the balancing act put on by the malty sweetness. Finishes semi-dry with a lot of pine in the aftertaste.

M: Full-bodied for a DIPA with a rich, creamy, slightly chewy feel that coats the mouth with sufficient stickiness. Right in the "sweet spot" of where I like my hoppy beers to be.

Notes: This brew's got a nice, West Coast hop profile to it while the thick bready malt counterbalances quite proficiently. I usually don't like my DIPA's on the balanced side of the equation, but this one is still very hop-forward and is a well-made beer. Quite enjoyable!

07-18-2009 12:07:24 | More by sweetbrew82
Photo of erikm25


4.18/5  rDev +10%

A: Review #175. Dark tangerine with crimson copper tinting. Sits in the glass reddish rich and vibrantly shining. Head and subsequent retention are subtle enough. Fairly decent lacing lingers around the tulip glass. I really like the hues on this beer but the rest of the appearance is average.

S: Cherry candy coated grapefruits. Spiced lemon hops with a backdrop of toffee sweetness. Resiny and leafy undertones which I assume should be expected from a Humboldt county beer.

T: Comes through with an initial blast of pine infused hops. While not as bittering as others in this style it is still delivers more then your standard IPA. A bready and malt sweetness comes through to help balance out the alcohol. Has some booze, but at just under 9% you have to know what you are getting into. Peppery citrus coupled with a nutty caramel finish.

S: Solid light heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is fairly light but this one still leaves the bitterness clinging to the tastebuds.

D: Great beer. At $8.99 a six pack it is a very economical IIPA. For those new to this style it is one of the most accessible, yet representative, I have tried. Coupled nicely with Sleep's Holy Mountain.

07-10-2009 23:34:13 | More by erikm25
Photo of youngleo


3.83/5  rDev +0.8%

Poured to a good two fingered head. Head was offwhite to slightly yellow in color. Lots of floaties. Ale its self was yellowish brown. Lots of big bubbles. Also had some decent lacing. Smelled of citrus, pine, slightly sweet. No hints of alcohol. Tasted a hair on the a bitter side. Was slightly sweet, if that makes any sense (bitter yet sweet). Dont get me wrong, tasted very good. Also had that piney flavor going on. Felt thick in the mouth. I thought the carbonation was good. With the higher alcohol content, I think you would have to be carefull. I just wanted to chug a lug. Will buy again. This was the first tasting Ive had from Mad River Brewing. So far so good.

07-08-2009 19:27:02 | More by youngleo
Photo of paco1029384756


3.45/5  rDev -9.2%

Pours an orange color with one and a half fingers of white head.

Scent of grass, hops, caramel, and a hint of spice. Not bad for not being super fresh.

Taste of hops, spice and some alcohol. Pretty simple, but not that bad.

Mouthfeel is medium light bodied with good carbonation.

07-03-2009 23:50:49 | More by paco1029384756
Photo of wesbrownyeah


4.33/5  rDev +13.9%

A- Nice copper color a small head that fall quickly leaving nice lacing and barely and head.
Nothing to special.

S- Sweet pine and citrus note dominate the nose with mild malty backbone. Freshly cut grass also comes to mind.

T- Complex fruit flavor of grapefruit, raisens, and plums. Very grassy hop flavor is obvious. Hop bitterness is just right. Excellent for style.

M-D- Easy on the buds if you like a good bitter bomb. Light carbonation allow the mouth to feel the alcohol on the tongue. Drinkable to any means. Love it.

06-30-2009 23:42:53 | More by wesbrownyeah
Photo of RickS95


3.28/5  rDev -13.7%

Thick white head. Nice looking beer...orangey copper in color. Cloudy, with particles.

Lot of hops in the nose, along with hints of citrus.

It's got a nice, crisp taste; like the smell, the hops and citrus dominate.

Lots of carbonation in the mouth. This is a strong IPA...it's a double and it's obvious from the first sip.

It's a complex beer, you notice the citrus and hops in the taste, but in the finish is a fight between the strong bitter and the sting/warming of the high alcohol.

One a night is all I could handle, but I'd enjoy another on another night.

06-29-2009 00:58:38 | More by RickS95
Photo of edraid


4.88/5  rDev +28.4%

Good friend of mine brought this from Ca. poured beautiful nice head very little lace my only disappointment. very good beer. Represents the style well with a great mouth feel and aroma. Been a long time since I have posted any reviews promise to post more as I work in a beer bar and am encouraged to try everything.

06-28-2009 08:26:08 | More by edraid
Photo of BierFan


3.55/5  rDev -6.6%

Poured from a short 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Two finger light tan head. Cloudy dark orange.

Smell: Oily hop aromas. Mint and some mellow tropical fruit.

Taste: Wow. This is a really big beer. Very slick and full mouthfeel. Pineapple, mint, grapefruit. Abundance of yeast gives the finish a little spiciness to go with the bitterness. Fairly complex example of the style.

06-28-2009 00:51:19 | More by BierFan
Photo of smibroncos

New York

3.6/5  rDev -5.3%

A. Poured a cloudy carmel copper, two finger off white head. I couldn't make a judgement on the lacing as the haed never retreated far enough.

S. Not much here faint hops, a little malt

T. Started malty, finnished bitter and hoppy. I can see why all the difference in the rating between a C and an A. I think you really expect alot of hops as the style says double IPA. It is a little disappointing here. Although the balance between the malt and hops makes it very enjoyable. More or less a double malt double hopped IPA.

M. Medium bodied, lightly carbonated.

D. Ok i've had alot better, but all around not bad for the style. I think it could have had some more hop flavor or a little less maltiness. But still a decent ale.

06-24-2009 02:42:54 | More by smibroncos
Photo of DiabolikDUB


3.15/5  rDev -17.1%

Poured from Bottle into Snifter glass.

Pours a swirling hazy dark amber, very murky, with a creamy pillowing off-white head that slowly dissolves and leaves nice lacing down the glass. Aroma has a lot of caramel malt and citrus hop and there is something toasted in the nose as well. Flavor is very malty with some citrus and a medium bitterness that resonates for some time. its heavy to medium bodied and fairly syrupy. Too much sweet malt for me, its not bad but its not that great either.

06-07-2009 07:00:17 | More by DiabolikDUB
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev +5.3%

Very decent hoppy plus IPA. Pours golden colour, with significant beige head, that leaves very decent lace. Only one-third of a litre, I will drink it! Pleasant aroma, even a touch of roast!?! Above average creamy moutfeel, citrus in the background of this beershake. Hops dominate the malt, drinkable. Found at the Warehouse in Cleveland.

05-06-2009 01:43:15 | More by Sammy
Photo of thehand


3.2/5  rDev -15.8%

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.

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


3.45/5  rDev -9.2%

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.

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


3.15/5  rDev -17.1%

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.

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


3.98/5  rDev +4.7%

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.

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


3.65/5  rDev -3.9%

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.

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


3.63/5  rDev -4.5%

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.

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


3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

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.

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


3.88/5  rDev +2.1%

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.

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


3.13/5  rDev -17.6%

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..

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

District of Columbia

4.05/5  rDev +6.6%

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.

03-25-2009 03:12:40 | More by Clydesdale
Steelhead Double India Pale Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 730 ratings.