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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

772 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 772
Reviews: 401
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 11.08%
Wants: 25
Gots: 30 | 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: 772 | Reviews: 401 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Frosty80
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color: pours gold and sits a cloudy golden brown

Smell: little citrus with pineapple. malty, little hops

Taste: good amount of hops evident by the tingle (in addition to the alcohol) but subdued by malt. some yeast throughout. slightly bitter finish

Mouthfeel: low-med body. low carbonation

Notes: was actually impressed, though my expectations werent very high. overall not a bad IPA. could use less malt to bring out more fruity hoppiness, which seems to be there but struggles in a wrestling match with the malt. would not tell people to avoid this one

Photo of sholland119
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A-A muddy amber copper with a little bit of white head that quickly reduces to a thin ring.

S-Lots of sweet malt with a solid amount of citrus hops. Not a hop bomb in any respect but appealing nonetheless.

T-A bit too much to the malt side for me. Some mild floral hops to go with the malt but not enough.

M-Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

M-Yeah, not bad but not one I'd run back to.


Photo of genog
2.73/5  rDev -28%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Wanted to try this after I saw it for the first time at Grandview Carryout. Thought A cali double IPA would be a win-win.
Poured a dark orange colored, almost brown color with a beige looking head, and a little lace. I thought the smell would be hoppy, but it kinda just smelled like funk. Taste is all caramel malt, followed by intense bitter. Not hoppy, just a hint of sweet malt, followed by mostly bitterness. Not all all what I was hoping for.

Photo of RonfromJersey
3.28/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thick hazy orange body, topped by at least four fingers of off-white foaming micro-bubbles, which leave very good stretchy lacing.

Very low level citrus aroma. Have to sniff hard enough that the head moved.

Sweet and juicy beginning. Nice bitter hop bite at the swallow. Lingering bitter fruit.

Nice medium mouthfeel, firm not sloppy.

Alright drinkability. No severe turn offs, nor no real great enticements.

A not bad IPA hurt by heightened expectations - it may be a DIPA for Mad River, but not when compared to California brewing at large. Worth a try, just don't expect too much.

Photo of mirish72
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was the first beer I ever tried from Mad River, as it is pretty rare at this point in MA. I usually drink a lot of american pales ales so I wanted to try something new and I was definitely impressed.

Noticed the strong hoppy aroma right off the bat. Great taste without being overpowering if you want to have more than one or two.

Have since tried their pale ale, stout and scotch porter and overall they are all worth checking out.

Photo of ccrida
3.3/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into my Delirium snifter (I meant to grab the scotch porter, doh!), Steelhead is a chill-hazed orange with a creamy off-white head that leaves decent lace.

Smell is bright and fruity hops, and an unusual play-doh character that I can't say I particularly mind, some orange citrus.

Taste is also bright hops, more of the herbal minty variety then the fruit from the nose, which may have been as much esters. There's a strong spicy bitterness to keep the sweetness in check, which gets close to overwhelming the hop flavor, and ultimately proves a bit tiring.

Mouthfeel is finely carbonated and dry, a dusty slickness to it, with a medium body.

Drinkability is ok, this is a rather robust DIPA that I got tired of pretty quickly. I could use a bit more hop flavor, less bitterness and heat. Good price though.

Photo of Risser09
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a snifter - Fridge temp - 2008

Appearance: Pours a cloudy golden orange with a very small ivory colored head. It is short-lived and leaves no lace on the glass. Swirling creates some spotty lace.

Smell: Sugary sweet pale malt is railroaded by an equally sweet & floral hoppiness. There is a cereal aroma that is also quite buttery.

Taste: Solid malt base. Long bitterness starts sharp and attacks the palate. It is piney, earthy, vegetal and lingering. A flower fresh flavor is overpowered by all that bitterness.

Mouthfeel: This beer has a pretty light body for a DIPA. Lots of bitterness that blends nicely with the alcohol. Slick and easy to drink. Not much carbonation.

Drinkability: If the taste was more complex, this could be a dynamite brew. Plenty of eager bitterness and aroma makes this a very drinkable beer. Very nice. Will revisit.

Photo of mjr955201
4.75/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Great beer. The best IPA I've had. There is a reason why it is $12.50 per 6-pack. One of the few expensive beers that live up to the price-point.

Only sold in 6-packs at my local store. It was recommended by the manager and the guy was right. What a great beer, high 8.6, not noticable, (may be noticable in the grammer in this review) very smooth, drinkable all night.

Photo of Monkeyknife
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to SaCkErZ9 for knocking this one off my wants list.

Poured from the bottle a cloudy and speckled amber gold with a thin white cap.

Aroma of sweet malts, light caramel, and piney hops.

The taste is much like the aroma with the sweet caramel malts upfront in balance with the piney and citrus hops which follow. The 8.6% alcohol becomes more apparent as it warms.

Medium bodied, smooth, and moderately carbonated.

Yep, this is what I like in a DIPA. Very drinkable, yet still has a punch of personality. A must try from Mad River.

Photo of Shiredave
4.22/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A very pretty beer in the glass - clear, golden amber color with a bright white head of dense foam and slow, steady carbonation.

Aroma is classic west coast IPA - "C" hops hard at work giving this a great citrus and conifer nose along side a mild honey/caramel sweetness. Not the expected double IPA blast of hop aromas but very well balanced, mellow and inviting.

The flavor is spot on but a little timid. Sweetness up front gives way quickly to solid but toned down hop character. More orangey flavors on the tongue midway through with woody pine and pepper on the finish.

Body is medium even at drinking temp ( +/- 60F) with the malt staving off the hops just enough to keep this beer in excellent balance from start to finish.

One of the more balanced and drinkable DIPA's I've had - just a tad more intense than a standard ( well made west coast) IPA. A bit tame for some maybe but all in all a fine, highly drinkable example of the style.

Photo of Riverwarrior
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

S = A strong citrus and pine note with a hint of malt sweetness in the background.

T = Wow! Huge explosion of citrus upfront, piney flavors all around, and a strong semi-sweet malt backbone holding this one together nicely! The finish was semi-sweet with just a hint of hop bitterness and no alcohol to be found.

MF = Body was medium and carbonation was moderate. Very smooth and creamy.

Overall, this was very well balanced and easy to drink. I really enjoyed this one and will be buying this regularly. Highly recommended.

Photo of WakeandBake
4.6/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Notes Sep 21, 2008
A hazy Golden amber color with lots of creamy white head. The aroma is sweet caramel malt citrus/pine hops and bread. The flavor is awesome,nice thick mouthfeel,and the perfect balance of hops and malt with a heavy yeasty bready caramel backbone.The higher alcohol content is well hidden.I pick up one or two of these at the beer store now and then. VERY very good,like candy,reasonably priced too.

Photo of Vancer
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The big hammer head comings roaring out with a hazy amber, big ol' cap of ivory floating nicely in my Corsendonk tulip.

Sweet aroma of malty citrus hops - moves smoothly into a deep quaff of citrus, orange, and pine. A pure west coast DIPA that drinks easily, the smack of 8.6% will be noticed later, I imagine. This is one that you find yourself grapping often, to reinforce the taste as often as possible.

This is a new brewery in the area, and so far I've been enjoying their offerings.

Photo of jwc215
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours clouded orange amber with a thin tan head that holds steady most of the way. Bits of lacing stick.

The smell is piney and floral, slightly perfumy. It has citric notes, as well, with a strong caramel backing and some sharp booze.

The taste is piney with floral and citric notes. The hops are sharp. A sturdy caramel backing, along with the alcohol lend a sweetness to the bitterness, making the finish bittersweet.

The feel is not quite to full-bodied, and not quite chewy. There is a bit of swish to it, but it lands solidly in medium-bodied, and there is some coating effect.

There is a raw harshness to it, though considering that and the abv, it does have a certain drinkability. Considering it's a double IPA with a hop kick, a 6-pack at just under $12 makes it a very good value, I would say.

Photo of magictrokini
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Finally tried this one. Cloudy amber with a foamy white head. Light citrus and heavy grapefruit in the aroma. Flavor is the same with little bit of pine/resin. Some sweet malt, similar in flavor to what you would find in Lagunitas' beers. Would have liked more of the hop bite. Still, this is a really good beer.

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

Cloudy amber hue with a small off white head. A mild aroma fresh hops, black pepper, and honey. Tastes of fresh hops, chewy dough, spices, and alcohol. Pleasant mouthfeel that allows for a savoring of flavor and great drinkability. There's some personality here but not enough to stand out amongst the best. Overall, a good drink that crosses paths with high alcohol beers and session beers.

Photo of dojobrewco
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

gotta admit after I poured this one I was thinking a got a bad bottle. No head whatsoever and not much of a floral scent. lot of sediment floating around in it to. Guess I should have looked at the bottom of the bottle before I poured. I was pleasantly surprised by the taste however. Nice thick mouthfeel that I personally like in my double IPA's. Not too much of an ABV impowerment. Overall a pretty good beer. Not sure I want to buy this one in bulk though.

Photo of Reagan1984
3.2/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of popery
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

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

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.

Photo of nc41
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of iceball585
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of crayphish
4.85/5  rDev +28%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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.

Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of GJ40
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Steelhead Double India Pale Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 772 ratings.