Steelhead Double India Pale Ale - Mad River Brewing Company

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Steelhead Double India Pale AleSteelhead Double India Pale Ale

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very good

775 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 775
Reviews: 402
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 11.08%
Wants: 25
Gots: 31 | 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: 775 | Reviews: 402 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of gatornation
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this poured a beautiful copper color with a 1 finger off-white head a nice ring and sticky lacing..the smell was great it was pine and citrus with a crisp hop smell ,,,the taste surprised me it was really good it was crisp pine and citrus with an abundance of hops that were nicely balanced with sweet caramel malts... again this 2ipa surprised me on how well balanced and drinkable it was iwill say it was more of an ipa then 2ipa..none the less i wish a bought more then a single..recommended

Photo of mjl21
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass. Comes in at 8.6%. No abv info is given.

A-Pours a somewhat hazy amber. It has a one finger off white head that dissolves a little in the middle but has some decent retention. Lots of sediment can be seen floating in the glass. Leaves a little bit of lace.

S-Pine, dank, and caramel malt are all upfront and well balanced.

T-The taste mirrors the nose. Pine and dank flavors start off each sip and give way to a large caramel malt backbone. There is a little bit of detectable alcohol.

M-Falls on the upper end of the medium spectrum. It is nicely carbonated and leaves an oily and sticky coating.

D-Pretty good DIPA. Has a larger malt backbone than a lot of the ones I drink, but there is enough hop flavor to keep me coming back for more.

Nice to revisit this one. I probably haven't tried one of these in two plus years. Should hit this one up more often.

Photo of pmccallum86
3.28/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a cloudy golden orange red hazy color with a thick bubbly head that dissipates slowly down the sides of the glass.

Smell is of heavy malts and citrus hops.

Smell is caramel malts, pine, lemon zest, grapefruit and biscuits.

Mouthfeel is very full and somewhat creamy, very mediocre. Possibly the most average DIPA out there.

Drinkability is okay, not good but not bad. Very average DIPA.

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

Poured into a pint glass.

Pours about 2 fingers of khaki colored head. Decent retention after fading to a thin layer. Leaves sticky splattered lace. Color is a copper gold.

Aroma: Citrus notes up front. Then comes some grassy and floral hops with bready malts. Pretty big hop profile here, but nothing impressing.

Taste: Pretty decent amount of floral hops, noting too big though. Lots of grapefruit citrus and bready malts. This DIPA wasn't made to well. It just doesn't seem to click.

Mouthfeel: Bitter, but nothing near what I was expecting from a dipa. Medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. Ends hoppy and sticky.

Overall, this wasn't the DIPA for me. Nothing really worked and it just didn't compare to other DIPAs I have had. Not something I would want to buy again.

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

Slightly hazed unfiltered rich copper with tangerine and amber highlights. Nice frothy tannish white head. Wispy laces.

Pine, spicy resins, and Grapefruit. Toasty caramel.

Sharp pine and grapefruit rind. Toasty caramel bready maltiness, with a hint of chocolate. Big bitter spicy resinous Grapefruit/pine aftertaste. A bit of an alcohol kick..

Sticky, full bodied, dry, smooth.

Big bitter balanced DIPA. A good fall/winter DIPA.

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

Poured from a brown stubby into a pub glass. The pour produces an inch of tan whipped topping head, quite slow to recede. Head just sits there, for a long time. Color is a glowing amber orange, hazy with an unfiltered look to it.
Lace is thin and wispy, retention now is a solid cap. The head has stuck with the beer for the majority of its time in the glass all the way down through sipping.

Aroma is extra caramel like with great sweetness and buttery bread filled aroma. Some mild bubble gum aroma, as well as citrus filled hops, pleasantly humble.

Taste is still buttery breadyness, with plenty of sweet caramel malt goodness lasting throughout. Hops pick up into the swallow bittering with pine and grapefruit. Taste becomes a bit more peppery as it warms, with a touch of aspirin.

Mouthfeel is thick and full bodied with carbonation snap.

This is a very wonderful example of the style, great hop to malt balance, exceeding my expectations greatly. No heat or alcohol presence in taste or aroma. Surprising for a beer in this abv realm.

Photo of Bighuge
3.1/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Tarnished bronze body. Yeast particulates suspended throughout the body. Tight and dense white head. Lacing is sufficient. This one has definitely got one of those pungent and dirty IPA aromas. Not bright in the least. Sometimes I like these aromas a lot, but this one is very dark. Flavor is brighter than the nose, but that's not saying much. Surprisingly, I get a little mint right from the start. Then it moves to the more earthy and grimey and dirty hop flavors. Malt base is pretty full and seemingly toffeeish in nature. There's some alcohol noticeable and it leaves a little sting in the mouth. Body is damn near full. Carbonation moderate. For a DIPA, I've had much better many times. This is not bad, but it is fairly average for the style.

Photo of ZAP
3.2/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A-Grilled peach colored...light white whisp of a head..

S-Smells like a DIPA as it has depth and richness....has that malty layer that borders on Barley Wine aroma...hops are also obviously evident with a fruity note...

T-The taste is slightly disappointing as it is a bit muted...fruity...apples and pears....a nice bitterness lingers on the deep finish...has ample malt muscle...not bad but just not as bright or awe inspiring as I like my DIPA's to be..also has a splash of grain alcohol...

M-Medium to full with a little dry bite..

D-Overall an average to above average is decent but compared to others it falls a little short...don't get me wrong...I like this and will enjoy the three bottles I have but compared to the others in its class it is average to above average..

Photo of AHebel
4.38/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great, highly drinkable DIPA. Not overly hopped, bitter, or dry. This is a smooth, complex, mild example of the style. It's appearance contains a slight haze with a good 3/4 inch head, pouring into a pint glass. Upon taking the first sip you understand the smooth, flowery crispness of this exceptional beer. I've bought 3 or so 6 packs of this tasty beverage in the past month. Definitely deserves a rating higher than B+. Was my favorite of 3 DIPA's I"ve tried recently (1. This beer 2. Gordon's 3. Dorado.)

Photo of JerzDevl2000
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up recently because I never had it or anything from this brewery before. I was expecting a hop bomb but like so many on here, I was quite surprised by what was in the bottle. This is a very strong beer but the taste is not really that of a Double IPA. Hopheads may be disappointed by this!

Nice pour to this - a very deep amber hue, a good head, and a cloudy appearance, but I'm not sure if the latter is because of all the sediment that I had to pour in at the end. Lacing here is minimal as well. What's up front is a peculiar leathery combination of citrus rind, plum, alcohol, and English-style hops. The bitterness lingers in the back but it never comes on that strong. I keep thinking that I'm drinking a Belgian beer as I sip this, but the label on the bottle tells me otherwise!

Sure enough, this is strong and it's pretty apparent from the first sip. This has a very moderate mouthfeel and is pretty filling for a beer of this style. I don't see myself ever having more than one in a sitting, but I could have it again if I wanted something that was strong, flavorful, and just a bit hoppy. It's almost as if this brew needs a category and style of its own.

Photo of Jmoore50
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Mixer sixer elixir.

The appearance of this one is golden yellow with a medium haze. Poured a quarter finger fizzy white head that left quite quickly. Leaves a light alcoholic leg on the glass.

The smell is not very strong, light hops. Some alcoholic smell as well as a light citrus smell.

The taste is good, especially coming from a brewer I have never heard of. It has a hop flavor, but not as much as expected. It has a really strong carbonation, which does not help out this taste of 7-up that I keep getting. It is the citrus from the hops and no malt background at all. Pretty good, but not great.

The mouthfeel is overly carbonated, and that is saying something for me. I love carbonation, but this tastes more like a citrus soda than a high quality brew.


Photo of velosuds
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a clear pint glass. Single at beer bar.

A-Poured a medium amber hue with about a one finger bone white head with short retention and almost no lacing.

S-Balanced aroma from citrus and tropical hops and pale and caramel malts. I like DIPAs to have a more robust hop aroma.

T-Taste was balanced between the hop bitterness and a sweet snicker doodle cookie like malt backbone. Taste was quite good, but would rate higher if the hop presence was more aggressive like Ruination or Hop Stoopid.

M-Very smooth and well balanced.

D-This went down very easily and I would readily reach for another. Taste improves as it warms.

Overall, this was a good but not great DIPA. I probably wouldn't buy it at a beer store, but it was a nice choice to have in a 12 oz. bottle (as opposed to 22 oz. bombers) at the bar.

Photo of crossovert
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Comes in a stubby 12 oz bottle with a slightly different label than pictures. No apparent date.

Pours into my american pint glass with a full 2 finger, lumpy, off-white head and a murky apple cider colored body.

Smells very sweet and citrusy, very nice for a DIPA. California styled in the scent department for sure.

Taste has a decent malt backbone but the hops are the main show with some cirtus lemon and grapefruit notes and a bitter finish. Not as intense as its other west coast counterparts, but still a solid tasting DIPA. Mouthfeel is a little too smooth for me.

Overall a decent offering in the DIPA category, not to malty, and enough hops to excite the palate somewhat, it is a bit pedestrian but is better than the lower tier beers such as Maximus.

Photo of stephens101
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A hard pour results in a huge tan head bursting with activity. Slowly the head breaks apart all bubly and fades leaving a thick spiderweb of lace all around. Color is a brilliant reddish-orange. A nice malt base skirts some oily hops that waft to the nose a bit subdued at first, but seem to become more obvious after a quick shake. Potent oily hops attack the palate, but leave you wanting more. Some very slight citrus notes and orange peel exist underneath. All the usual suspects are present, but there's something a different about this one, something I can't quite put a finger on. Mouth-feel leans toward heavy, but not quite. Big on the carbonation and fairly dry going down with the alcohol being well hidden. Unique tasting DIPA that I'm glad to have available in these parts now.

Photo of wangbruins
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Beautiful caramel color with a small but lasting head and traces of deeper orange color

S- Very bold smelling, strong citrus and very hoppy with some caramel scents

T- Very hoppy with caramel and citrus, grapefruit comes to mind

M- Silky and smooth, almost soft, almost creamy

D- So good that I think this may be my new favorite beer. It's bold scent is a mask for how easy a drink this is.

Photo of bump8628
4.28/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy orange with ample carbonation and and a dense, sticky head.

Smell is pine, citrus peel, and flowers. Not bad at all, but way too muted for the style.

The taste makes up for any disappointment in the aroma. Big, sticky, American hops all the way. Pine and citrus dominate, but there are also some fruity and flowery notes coming through. It's all balanced by just enough malt backbone to keep it from tasting like fresh hop squeezings. Alcohol also comes into play but it is well masked, especially considering that this beer is pushing 9%. Finishes very crisp. Bitterness doesn't linger at all into the finish.

A nice crisp finish and medium body keep this beer from being overly sweet and hard to drink. I could drink this beer all night. A great example of the style that may not be as intensely hoppy as others, but still satisfies my hop cravings and is imminently drinkable.

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

Hazy orange-brass with hints of ruby beneath a shortish stack of ivory suds.
Powerful pine, citrus, and floral hops nose, sedated in part by the caramelly breadiness of the malt.
Bready again, on the onset through the mouth, turning toastier and nuttier as it progresses. It sweetens a good deal, midway, with caramel, and honeydew melons, as the hops begin to arrive. Here on out, its a deluge of grapefruit pith, orange pulp, pine needles, pressed flowers, and dried grass. Alcohol, while present, is shut out taste wise.
Pushing towards full bodied, with a steadfast bead of carbonation. This is drinkable and dangerous and a good example of a well balanced, yet still forcefully hopped, DIPA.

Photo of beerman207
4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Reddish copper color with a nice 2 finger head leaving some decent lacing in the glass. There's also some sediment present in this one and it just looks great.

S: Smell of cherry? Also some very sweet grapefruit coming through the nose and is quite potent. I have to say that the smell of this is fantastic.

T: Wow, the taste is a bit of surprise. I wasn't expecting it to be like a citrus jolly rancher from the nose of it but it hits you in the mouth with some serious bitter up front which mellows to some sweet tones along with a peppery taste. A lot more complex than I was expecting

M: The mouthfeel of this is moderate -heavy but it's good.

D: Honestly, this is a great double IPA. I think it's a bit underrated in my opinion.

Photo of vegantreats
5/5  rDev +31.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a perfect color "indescribable to words" doesn't quite describe. Notes so mellow I find myself placing my nostrils deep into the bottle long after the beverage has been consumed experiencing crispness on a mental level.
I feel like a woman who received a bouquet on an old black and white film. I'm now plunged deep into the plot of a Film Noir movie, the bad boy with the dame running from the law and a loan shark named Tippy.
After which, the universe implodes; but the real question is does anyone hear it?

Photo of Kraken
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes. Consumed 7/27/09

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a 16oz glass. Firm pour calls fourth a very nice 1/2 inch of off white head that produces a nice sticky lace. Color is a very deep and clouded orange.

Nose- Overripe orange, massive amounts of caramel perhaps a bit a vanilla, and a touch of alcohol.

Palate- Overripe orange, with a touch of orange rind. Plenty of caramel, some vanilla. Some sweetness, followed by a very nice and lasting bitterness.

Mouthfeel- Slightly syrupy, very dry.

Drinkability- A bigger beer that is best sipped.

Photo of GregPearson33
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of ThaBobfather
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of dbexpert
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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!

Photo of TLove
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of sweetbrew82
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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!

Steelhead Double India Pale Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 775 ratings.