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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

765 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 765
Reviews: 400
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 11.05%
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: 765 | Reviews: 400 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mjr955201
4.75/5  rDev +25%
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.

mjr955201, Jan 04, 2009
Photo of Monkeyknife
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

Monkeyknife, Jan 02, 2009
Photo of Shiredave
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

Shiredave, Jan 01, 2009
Photo of Riverwarrior
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
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.

Riverwarrior, Dec 27, 2008
Photo of WakeandBake
4.6/5  rDev +21.1%
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.

WakeandBake, Dec 20, 2008
Photo of Vancer
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

Vancer, Dec 19, 2008
Photo of jwc215
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

jwc215, Dec 16, 2008
Photo of magictrokini
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

magictrokini, Dec 10, 2008
Photo of JRed
4/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

JRed, Nov 29, 2008
Photo of dojobrewco
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
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.

dojobrewco, Nov 25, 2008
Photo of Reagan1984
3.2/5  rDev -15.8%
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.

Reagan1984, Nov 25, 2008
Photo of popery
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

popery, Nov 22, 2008
Photo of SeanRedd
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

SeanRedd, Nov 22, 2008
Photo of nc41
4/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

nc41, Nov 19, 2008
Photo of iceball585
3.8/5  rDev 0%
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.

iceball585, Nov 17, 2008
Photo of crayphish
4.85/5  rDev +27.6%
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.

crayphish, Nov 16, 2008
Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

SaCkErZ9, Nov 11, 2008
Photo of GJ40
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

GJ40, Nov 09, 2008
Photo of beerthulhu
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

beerthulhu, Nov 02, 2008
Photo of djeucalyptus
4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

djeucalyptus, Oct 28, 2008
Photo of malty
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

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!

malty, Oct 26, 2008
Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

FtownThrowDown, Oct 24, 2008
Photo of DavidSeanNJ
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

DavidSeanNJ, Oct 20, 2008
Photo of dsa7783
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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...

dsa7783, Oct 20, 2008
Photo of WesWes
3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

WesWes, Oct 18, 2008
Steelhead Double India Pale Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 765 ratings.