1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Steelhead Double India Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 730 | Reviews: 398 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Reagan1984


3.2/5  rDev -15.8%

Thanks to ThreeWiseMen for providing this as an extra in a trade.

The beer poured with a decent off white head that showed nice retention. The color was a cloudy honey color with some real gold tints. No visible carbonation and some nice lacing. A decent looking DPA.

The aroma was spicy, piney and sweet. Could detect a bit of the alcohol.

Flavor was really boozy. I had this in my "warmer" beer fridge so this was served between 46-50 degrees. This surprises me that I could detect that much alcohol. A bit sweet and certainly a pine resin flavor. Slightly spicy as well. More of a white pepper feeling.

The mouth feel was thick and a touch sticky. Again, the booze affected the drinkability. Real warming affect here.

I'm glad that I got a chance to try it, but have to be honest, not my favorite DPA.

11-25-2008 18:19:50 | More by Reagan1984
Photo of popery


3.95/5  rDev +3.9%

Another good DIPA is always welcome. This beer pours a thick amber with a lot of suspended bits and a fine sticky head. There really are quite a few suspended flecks. I don't know if this would bother anyone, but it's not a big pro or con to me. The smell is sweet and hoppy. The hops are mostly citric with some pine. The flavor is sweet and bitter with hops. It's up my alley, but I know that's not a universal opinion. The feel is lush and creamy. As compared to this brewery's Extra Pale Ale, the DIPA does a lot with its extra 3% abv. It's full-bodied and hoppy. I find the beer easy to drink but I love these DIPAs that are almost like carbonated hop syrups. There's some balancing malt, but it's not the main attraction. This is an enjoyable beer that would have a higher score if it was compared against a weaker style.

11-22-2008 09:13:20 | More by popery
Photo of SeanRedd

New Jersey

3.88/5  rDev +2.1%

Thick malt base, slight spice, tad bit sweet, chewy and doughy. Hops to balance but never in excess, a shame. Smooth and warming, like a warm custard dessert. Biscuits and molasses, an awesome combo, yet lacking the hop aroma and aftertaste. Comes up just short, but nontheless a very enjoyable DIPA.

11-22-2008 02:52:36 | More by SeanRedd
Photo of nc41

North Carolina

4/5  rDev +5.3%

Pours a light coppery color, decent head, not really the floral nose I expect from a DIPA. A little cirrus, but over all fairly light brew for a DIPA. It definitely tastes good, but more in line with a mid level IPA. There really isn't anything special going on here, it's a solid brew that's easy to drink, but gets into the mix of perhaps a dozen other IPA's. High alcohol doesn't hurt the drinkability factor, but you would have to be careful pounding them down.

11-19-2008 16:35:55 | More by nc41
Photo of iceball585

New York

3.8/5  rDev 0%

A- Light orange/brown color, semi-cloudy, thin ring around the glass, some sediment floating throughout

S- Light malts, citrus, flowery hops, hint of alcohol

T- Fruity, grassy hops, citrus, earthy, salty, slight malty sweetness

M- Medium body, low/medium carbonation, chewy, smooth, creamy

D- Worth trying

Not really my favorite Double IPA but still worth trying. I'd really like to try this one on tap sometime.

11-17-2008 00:05:10 | More by iceball585
Photo of crayphish


4.85/5  rDev +27.6%

Never heard of this brewery or this beer before it showed up in my local shop. The steelhead logo talked me into grabbing it, and I'm glad I did. This DIPA pours a brilliant golden orange with a dense bubbly head. Lots of lacing going on, sticky! Smell is an intense spicy floral hop blast. At this point I can wait to sip. Taste is an assortment of hop aspects. Piney grapefruits, with just a hint of some sweet malt making an attempt to balance this thing. FAIL! Mouthfeel is blasted dry from the hop load. Very drinkable despite the intensity of the hops. I hope to see it frequent the shelve where I shop.

11-16-2008 06:08:44 | More by crayphish
Photo of SaCkErZ9


3.78/5  rDev -0.5%

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Clear and the color of slightly watered down tea. White head on top of about one finger in size. Very nice retention and a great deal of lacing down the sides of the glass.

Aroma was a bit lacking. A touch of citrus hop and a bit of caramel malt. Not too much else. I was slightly disregarded in this aspect of the beer.

Pretty good flavors. Fruity and slightly sweet. A very small touch of hop bitterness. Pretty big on the malt as well, making the hops seem less apparent. Sweet in the finish.

A little too light in the body. Slightly alcoholic taste as well with some heat. Not too bad. Closer to an IPA but good nonetheless.

11-11-2008 21:39:48 | More by SaCkErZ9
Photo of GJ40

North Carolina

4.03/5  rDev +6.1%

Sampled on tap at Mill Town in Carrboro, NC.

A - Golden with good clarity and a thick creamy off white head.

S - Rich floral and fruity hops.

T - A rich, complex flavor with significant contributions of sweet malt, fruity hops and alcohol. Very nice balance.

M - Thick consistency with moderate carbonation.

D - Smooth and easy to drink for a stronger beer.

11-09-2008 20:52:37 | More by GJ40
Photo of beerthulhu

New Jersey

3.85/5  rDev +1.3%

A: Poured a dirty, rustic-orange with a bubbly and frothy 2 finger sandy-beige colored head that left a nice sticky web lacing around the glass. Retention was good lasting for several minutes after the pour.

S: yielded a nice showing of fresh and flowery hopping of pine and grapefruit.

T: The flavor had an nice dry sweetened caramel flavor with a dry grapefruit hopping. Tart citrus and dry toasted grains are also noted. A light alcohol warming, dry caramel and dry grapefruit all combine for a solid example flavorwise per style. Displayed a nice strong hopping.

M: dry, bitter and a little rough texture wise. Some soggy malt when it sits to long on the tongue. A big lingering dry citrus lacing graces the tongue saving grace.

D: will satisfy the hoppiest of hopheads, though limits this to a few per serving.

11-02-2008 12:03:42 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of djeucalyptus


4.18/5  rDev +10%

pours a glowing grapefruit amber color with very fine suspended particulate smootly integrated creating a subtle haze. A pillowy head with nice even bubblage sits atop the brew, slowly fading into a heavy ring that leaves some decent oily lacing to the bottom of the glass.

smell isn't as powerful as expected, given the double IPA-status. Citrus and floral hops dominate with a strong caramel and bready malt character coming through strongly. An excellent yet rather standard aroma for a strong IPA, slightly more balanced and earthy than many west coast DIPAs.

taste is beautiful. Definitely hoppy but far from a hop bomb. Citrus and floral hops open, yielding to a strong but light malt character with notes of white bread, toffee and baklava. The hops return, reincarnated in the pine fashion, for the finish, leaving a pleasant pine hop taste with some ample bitterness to remind you it's a DIPA. Nothing extradorinary going on here, but a very solid blend that has a bit of earthiness and greenness to it.

Fairly thick and smooth, as the hazy particulate hinted at. Medium-light carbonation works perfectly and keeps everything smooth and together. Again, not mind-blowing, but a solid and clean mouthfeel.

Overall, this is definitely a solid DIPA. There's some lightness it all. I want to say it's heavy on the malt, but i think it's more just perfectly balanced on the lighter side of the palette. There's nothing overpowering or amazing, and nothing necessarily stands out, but sometimes that's a good thing. It hides the high abv incredibly well, and at times, I forget it's a double. A solid west-coast DIPA that I'd be willing to drink any day.

10-28-2008 19:33:11 | More by djeucalyptus
Photo of malty


3.78/5  rDev -0.5%

Undecanted it pours a glowing amber orange with lil' chunks suspended throughout. The 1" fluffy, creamy light beige head sits silently atop sparse and subdued carbonation. Glorious sheets of lace all the way down my Val-Dieu stemmed goblet.

The nose is fruity and hoppy for sure. The hops have a damp, leafy smell while the sweet maltiness mixed with these earthy hops creates a scent that reminds me of fruit cocktail syrup. A faint alcohol scent is present also.

The flavor right up front reminds me of hop tea. Bitter and astringent hops blended with a basic afternoon tea taste. The hops are very chalky and leafy (as in the nose) without much citrus flavor to them. The sweet malt base is very well balanced with the hops and is not overly sweet whatsoever. The bitter and floral hops take center stage while the malt bill keeps a basic 4:4 rhythm.

Mouthfeel is superb. Although there wasn't much visible carbonation upon finishing the pour, the ultra fine carbonation is very much prevalent and responsible for a luxuriously airy and fluffy body that hovers just north of medium-full. Bitter and chalky hoppy finish.

Drinkability is great mostly because the body is so darn stellar. If you love DIPAs and a fantastic mouthfeel to boot, you'll drink this down very easily.

Overall a beer that got better as I drank it. The flavors are solid but not superb. Pretty basic DIPA with no fireworks but does the job well. The mouthfeel on this rocked my world though, rivaling the best of the bottle conditioned Belgians - yeah, I said it! If Mad River were ever to make a mattress, I'd give them my credit card # right over the phone and not even ask how much it costs!

10-26-2008 21:06:04 | More by malty
Photo of FtownThrowDown


3.83/5  rDev +0.8%

A cloudy golden color with no head, but plenty of good lacing on the glass. Smell is juicy, citrusy, bitter hops. Taste is even more of the juicy hops. They show up more in the taste than they did in the nose. Mouthfeel is bitter and a bit cloying. A decent brew. The ABV will catch up with you if you're not careful.

10-24-2008 19:39:03 | More by FtownThrowDown
Photo of DavidSeanNJ

New Jersey

4.05/5  rDev +6.6%

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

A- Dark amber, some brown cloudy hues, creamy head, lacing all over the glass.

S- Very malty. Lacked the hop bite I was looking for in a double IPA, but intriguing as hell. Caramel, Bread, Hop, and fresh leaves.

T- Not bad at all! I would have liked some balance with the hops and the malts, I feel like I got a lot more malt than I should have. Medicinal, floral, and citrus hops, bitter on the backend. Very fresh tasting.

M- Rich, chewy, creamy, exactly how I like my DIPA's.

D- Very drinkable for such a high ABV. I enjoyed my first Mad River brew and look forward to trying the rest.

10-20-2008 21:28:41 | More by DavidSeanNJ
Photo of dsa7783

New Jersey

3.83/5  rDev +0.8%

Appearance: Dark, hazy, caramel-colored hue... Minimal head, minor lacing... No carbonation...
Smell: Piney and minty hops dominate the nose... Hints of vanilla are also noticeable...
Taste: Very minty flavor... Pines, citrus, lemons exist with a firm hop backbone... Tasty IPA with little alcoholic influence on the tongue...
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied... Easily drinkable for an 8.6% ABV...
Overall, not the most flavorful DIPA, but goes down well and is quite refreshing for a beer of such strength...
Not bad...

10-20-2008 01:52:40 | More by dsa7783
Photo of WesWes

New York

3.48/5  rDev -8.4%

The beer pours a cloudy dark gold/amber color with a very thin white head that quickly fades to spotty lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a very malty scent that boasts of pale, crystal, and bisquit malts along with a mild hop aroma. The taste is decent as well. It's got quite a bitter hop bite, which is well balanced with malt character. I'm not a huge fan of the malt bill. It's way too sweet and murky. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is an above average beer, but there are plenty of DIPA's available that I'd choose over this one.

10-18-2008 22:01:06 | More by WesWes
Photo of ViveLaChouffe


3.4/5  rDev -10.5%

Pours a deep hazy orange with a wispy ivory head that leaves a fine lacing. Big citrus in the nose, grapefruit and orange rind.

A big malt base here, sweet and rich but there's nice balance with the considerable herbal bitterness. Some citrus in there as well. Big bodied beer with a sticky finish and aftertaste.

Not a bad double IPA but not among the greats either.

10-18-2008 02:03:26 | More by ViveLaChouffe
Photo of NJpadreFan

New Jersey

4.4/5  rDev +15.8%

Mad River- Double IPA

A- Hazy tawny orange copper with a huge chunky head. Big messy foamy lacing all over the glass.
S- Sweet pine hops hit you up front with a big creamy malt body.
T- Huge fresh green hops, pine and grapefruit rind come up first. Thick sweet caramel malt dominates the body, and more sweet pungent hops with a touch of boozy alc. in the end.
M- This is just malty as hell with a nice hop balance.

Overall- Very tasty and too drinkable for being over 8%abv. 1 of the best I've had this Fall and probably within my top 20 of my new beers of 08'. Highly recommended, and glad it's available in my area.

10-16-2008 20:31:59 | More by NJpadreFan
Photo of brewmudgeon


3.95/5  rDev +3.9%

4 cloudy tangerine with golden edges. abundant pulpy chunks are suspended throughout, some eventually settling. very short head leaves a ring and ample but temporary lace. i don't mind the chunks in this one. hopefully they're intended.

4 bright grapefruit and generic citrus rind in the smell. very straightforward

4 the taste is straightforward like the smell. almost all rind, very little pine. simcoe hops? juicy and fairly sweet, a little sticky and resinous. the alcohol is well concealed.

3.5 medium to full bodied, a little closer to medium. modest carbonation. a few of the chunks are hefty enough to chew or spit. very much like pulp.

4 one of the dipas i reach for when i want a simple, juicy hop fix. wouldn't mind even more juiciness.
at something like 8.99 for six, a good value too.

10-01-2008 00:16:37 | More by brewmudgeon
Photo of dqderrick


4.2/5  rDev +10.5%

Poured into a Samuel Adams New Glass

Appearance - 3.5
Pours a 1/4 inch head. Did I make a mistake and pour in the sediment? Wow, beer is lightly cloudy with chunks of sediment with some looking like ice chips. Color is nice golden amber. I wasn't sure if I should doc for sediment as it may have been my fault. However, there wasn't any marking on the bottle to warn me... so I marked down. (After drinking 3/4 way through, I can honestly say the sediment wasn't even detectable on the palate or as a solid. I upgraded appearance from a 3.0 to a 3.5)

Smell - 3.5
Smells of sweet hops and a little malt. Light smell overall. Maybe a little cinnamon? Some citrus.

Taste - 4.5
On the sweeter side of DIPA's. It reminds me a lot of the Speakeasy Double Daddy IIPA. I really have to work on identifying DIPA flavors. Taste is not overwhelming but is very smooth. Has a sweet hoppy flavor up front and on the back. What a great flavor.

Mouthfeel - 4.0
Creamy, smooth and a tad thick. I can feel the carbonation but that just adds to the party in my mouth. All good.

Drinkability - 4.5
Bartender, I'll have another. This DIPA is extremely drinkable. It is not overly sweet or bitter. It walks the line.

Comments - I've been very impressed with Mad River Brewing. I recently bought a keg of their Extra Pale Ale for a fantasy football draft party I through every year. Try must try this beer, but keep in mind it is not a super-hopped west coast style DIPA.

12oz bottle purchased at Pizza Port Bottle Shop in Carlsbad, CA on Friday, September 19, 2008. Consumed on Tuesday, September 23, 2008.

09-24-2008 06:40:20 | More by dqderrick
Photo of JoeCeez


3.83/5  rDev +0.8%

This is my first offering from Mad River

A: pours, from a 12oz stubby with no freshness date, a cloudy reddish orange brew with a small off white head that leaves minimal lacing

S: sweet caramel malts and mild pine with some citrus/tropical fruits, not in any way an intense aroma could just be an old bottle but I have no way of knowing

T: sweet caramel malt, pine, tropical fruits, juicy grapefruit. good balance between the malty sweetness and the juicy hop bite

M: medium bodied, this was kind of thin yet syrupy, creamy but could have used a little more carbonation

D: decent bitterness but not as bitter as I like in a DIPA, alcohol is well camouflaged, I could drink a bunch of these but I wouldn't want to shell out the 13 bucks when there's much better DIPAs from CA to be had for less money

09-21-2008 21:58:12 | More by JoeCeez
Photo of RJLarse


3.95/5  rDev +3.9%

Bottle purchased at The Swamp Tavern, served in a pint glass.

Pours a redish/gold color and is cloudy. A smallish off-white head caps the brew, leaving little lace.

Smell s a sweet pine scent with some citrus notes.

Taste is a decidedly malty backbone with a fruity flavor along side and a mildly bitter finish. Not over the to on hops, as some DIPAs can be.

Mouth feel is smooth and full bodied.

Drinkable and Mild flavor for a DIPA. ABV is a little high at 8.6 pct, too high to be sessionable, but this one is not bad..

09-21-2008 21:27:51 | More by RJLarse
Photo of smcolw


4.05/5  rDev +6.6%

Two-fingered head with superb lacing on the glass. Slow to recede and thick. The color is orange-amber and very cloudy.

Fresh floral hop aroma. While dominant, I like that it isn't overpowering; there's still some malt in the background.

Brief dry malt on the initial sip and then it succumbs to the hop wallop. Again, it isn't too much for the style. It is peppery (almost spicy) with a small amount of pine in the flavor. I'd describe this as an 80-20 hop-malt DIPA. I think that is a very good ratio. The body is above average in richness and the carbonation is really spot on.

I love this style and can be critical of those that go too extreme. This beer is what I expect from the Double IPA's.

09-19-2008 23:32:20 | More by smcolw
Photo of MisterClean


2.88/5  rDev -24.2%

Bottle from total wine

A - Burgundy pour, moderate orangish head, dissipates slow.

S - Light alcohol, very perfumy flowers, and slight smoke.

T - Lght alcohol, flowers, slight smoke, and malts.

M - Citrusy and yet astringent from alcohol.

D - This is more like a barley wine than anything. Has a very heavy scotch and alcohol flavor. It is a little too astringent for a DIPA.

09-14-2008 22:28:56 | More by MisterClean
Photo of Chinon01


4.13/5  rDev +8.7%

Appearance - Tea color with a thin head. Noticeable lacing.

Smell - Malt, namely fig, mango and some hop aroma.

Taste - Similar to smell with molassas, raisin along with a nice hop crunch in the finish. Finish is long but leaves no after-taste.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability - Again, both are very good due to long finish and virtually no after-taste.

Note: I found the malt seemed to go just a bit to far, but that's just me.

09-12-2008 21:03:46 | More by Chinon01
Photo of ThreeWiseMen


3.6/5  rDev -5.3%

Appearance: Semi-vicious pour resulted in big, frothy, eggshell-colored head. Liquid is murky-orange amber with tons of yeast suspended throughout. This beer produces a ton of clumpy lace. Really impressive!

Smell: Pine, caramel, grassy hops and a touch of citrus (lime). A pretty substantial roasted malt aroma as well.

Taste: Nutty, roasted malts transgress into a lime-citrus flavor. Grassy hops dominate the aftertaste. A little alcohol in the aftertaste as well.

Mouthfeel: Average to above-average carbonation and medium-heavy body. Pretty sticky feel to it with some great mouth-coating and long-lasting aftertaste.

Drinkability: I've yet to be really impressed by a Steelhead ale. This one is decent, but I don't plan on buying it again. It lacks character. A good imperial IPA, but forgettable.

09-10-2008 05:55:11 | More by ThreeWiseMen
Steelhead Double India Pale Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 730 ratings.