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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

755 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 755
Reviews: 400
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 11.05%
Wants: 26
Gots: 26 | 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: 755 | Reviews: 400 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CharlieMopps
4.63/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: A hazy, dull orange glow that has a unique quality to it, topped by a thick, three-finger white head that sticks around, and to the sides of the glass.

S: Fresh herbal and floral hop aroma, one that smells relaxed, somewhat piney, yet quite delicious. I could see myself sniffing this one like a glue addict all day.

T: Bold, yet balanced. I love it when brewers shoot for the big hop bombs but use the proper amount of malt to balance the flavor. This one has a spicy and floral hop flavor that doesn't kill the palate, and tastes great.

M: Lots of carbonation for a big, fluffy mouthfeel. Creamy in texture and oily from the hops as well.

D: Incredibly drinkable; this one gives you that feeling of tasting an ale made with fresh hops, only it's not. The laid-back nature and impeccable balance makes for an easy-drinking Double IPA that tastes amazing.

CharlieMopps, Oct 27, 2007
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a lightly hazy, plum-amber color that sits underneath an initially two-finger thick, light tan colored froth, which even leaves some lacing on the sides of the glass as it falls back into the beer. Sharply hoppy in the nose, it seems to be an even mix of fruity and herbal hop notes. Aromas of grapefruit intermingle with pine, tangelo intersperses with fresh cut grass, lychee melds with a mint and apricot / peach mixes with a light herbaceous note. After a bit of time the fruit driven hop notes become the dominant note, which is just fine by me. Towards the finish, if you really dig for it, aromatic malt notes become noticeable; toasty soda cracker notes, a touch of biscuit malt and an aroma of freshly milled, pale crystal malt.

Fairly sweet tasting up front, but there are enough hops that this is not overly noticeable. Fruit notes of lychee, grapefruit and tangelo are accentuated by the malt sweetness. The fruit and malt sweetness linger on in the mouth for a bit, but then, long after the beer has past down my throat, a sharp, astringent, slightly grassy, definitely tannic bitterness jumps to the forefront. That is not to say that this beer is not bitter throughout, because it is; the bitterness is noticeable from the moment the beer hits ones tongue and it is joined by a light menthol / pine character. This has enough heft to it, enough of a mouthfeel, to easily carry the hop character here; actually a real hop head would probably say that this could still use quite a bit more hop character and even remain "balanced" for an double IPA given...

Despite that this is a purely hop focused beer, there is actually a substantial malt character here, lying just beneath the surface. Significant flavors of caramelized malt sugars, notes of toasty grain, a solid biscuit-like character, and a certain brown sugar encrusted bread flavor. This is certainly quite hoppy, but it seems to be missing that punch-drunk, wallop over the head that should be the defining characteristic of the best double IPAs. Still this is a thoroughly enjoyable beer for any hop lover and I definitely recommend it.

Gueuzedude, Oct 21, 2007
Photo of Durge
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A dark cloudy tea color with a thin white head and good lacing. The aroma is like coconut malt and sweet piney hops with a little smoke. The taste brings on strong piney hops with high alcohol presence. Thick bodied with mild carbonation. There are some citrus, raisin and maple nuances that make this very complex and likeable but it is stronger than I would normally like best. So I wouldn't call it very drinkable for more than a couple, but it is a quality brew with great flavor going on, especially for the hophead. Very solid stuff and recommended if you like some hops but probably worth a try for anybody with a nose for taste treats.

Durge, Oct 19, 2007
Photo of ohoove
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the first whiff of the glass i said to myself " now this is more like it ". A DIPA will a set of nuts but very drinkable. Somewhere in the middle of Small Batch 471 (lighter ) and the Lagunitas Kill Ugly Radio( strong ). If your pleasure is IPA's and DIPA's this baby is for you, not for the meek or hop cheery's. Would gladly purchase this if it was available in CT.In moderation!

ohoove, Oct 17, 2007
Photo of cswhitehorse
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Steelhead Double pours into a hazy amber hue with a bottle date on the label. Nice work Mad River. It had very little head and left no trace on the side of the glass. The aroma was heavy alcohol and citrus. With the taste you could initially taste the alcohol but half way down it faded and the flavors came out more on the malt side with some caramel in the palate. Overall I enjoyed it and would have it again.

cswhitehorse, Oct 10, 2007
Photo of Jedimaster1
4.53/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a great DIPA. It was recommended by the owner of the Liquor Collection when I was living In Hawaii.

A: Pours a deep, cloudy bronze color.

S: Smell is of hops and malt. Taking a quick whiff of this brew, the drinker will definitely get a hint of what's to come.

T: This thing tastes very hoppy and malty. As one reviewer pointed out, this taste is similar to a Barley Wine -- i.e., the sweet malt backbone cuts through the hops. The brew also finishes dry and refreshing.

M: This one hangs on your tongue after each sip -- which is a good thing.

D: Very drinkable, but because of the high ABV, having two is more than enough.

Great brew from Mad River! Now all I need to do is fined it out here in SoCal, lol.

Jedimaster1, Oct 01, 2007
Photo of kirok1999
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, cloudy dark gold/bronze. Very little lacing or head. Doesn't need either.
Smell is a musky sweetness promising a lot.
Taste is definitely a Double. Almost a barleywine quality to the sweetness, as many fine DIPA's possess. The taste matches the cloudy appearance and musky smell. Thick and creamy and damn delicious.
A sipper for sure; so far I've sipped 2 and that is plenty.

kirok1999, Sep 27, 2007
Photo of ojiikun
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Live reviewed from Collins Pub in Seattle.

A full pint came down with little head, insanely foggy, and a dark, muddy toasted-bread brown. Lace is holding up quite well.

Scent is a little musty with a forest of hops (pun intended, very piney). Smells of a mix of extremes - dark and light malts. Something is nearly porter-burnt. Overripe citrus rind. Undermalted fresh grains.

Taste is quite unassuming. The malt might be double, the hopping isn't. Sweet, fruity, caramalized. A little salty, not overly floral. Long-boiled.

Hides it's booze all the way thru, smooth at first but ends sticky. Easy enough to drink if you like your alphas. Almost mistakable for a normal IPA.

ojiikun, Sep 20, 2007
Photo of brewcrew76
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Deep orange with a thin white head and sticky lacing.

S - Citrus, pine and grapefruit with a touch of caramel for balance.

T - Piney, citrus and grapefruit hops with a nice balance of caramel sweetness.

M - Medium mouthfeel, slightly sticky but slightly creamy also. Dry hop finish.

D - A nicely balanced hoppy but not over the top DIPA. This one is an easy drinker for 8+%.

brewcrew76, Sep 16, 2007
Photo of Foxman
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It pours a hazy golden orange with totally static, suspended yeast floaters. A finger of off-white head settles soon to fine frothy cosmos. Aqueducts of lacing arch along the inside of the glass.

In the aroma, oozy caramel malt, berry sweet and bready, is just nudged by mandarin orange citrus and an ensuing misty bitterness. There is just the merest hint of alcohol.

Upon sipping, the dense malt feints toward sweetness before it pulls back, but not until the caramel and berry make a decided point. The hops are rather soft, with an easy citrus zestiness and a rounded but crisp bitterness. The alcohol is moderate but finds the sinuses capably. Bread dough yeastiness is passed by a slowly building bitterness that lingers as it dries cleanly. The flavor is mainstream and especially malty, but rather nice.

Medium bodied, a slow, smooth flow is tainted slightly by the feathery and distracting touch of passing solids.

It's not ideal across the board, but it has some pleasurable strengths. The flavor is a no-suprises tasty, malt-heavy DIPA profile. It has an effortless nature that excuses a sneakily potent ABV. The result is a plesantly drinkable beer with a decent hop nuance. So, maybe it's not a beast like many DIPA's, but even if it's just an imp, it's not bad at all.

Foxman, Sep 12, 2007
Photo of
3.23/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle courtesy of BlindPig - Thanks!

Hazy, dirty amber colored liquid. Quite a bit of sediment. Large, creamy, light tan head. Some lacing, not much legs.

Aroma was quite tasty. Grapefruit, peaches and caramel (big time as it warmed). Biscuity. All the smells I love in an IPA/DIPA.

Taste was pretty hoppy right from the start, but was supported by a strong, caramel malt backbone. Pretty well balanced. Nice lingering hoppiness at the finish and in the aftertaste. Alcohol noticeable near the finish.

Medium + body. Medium carbonation. Rather dry.

Overall, OK, but doesn't wow me. I look back over my notes, and it's hard to put my finger on what I don't like. Perhaps it's too balanced, when I like the hops to be a bit stronger. The alcohol could be better hidden. In the end, seems pretty well made, just not to my taste.

, Sep 06, 2007
Photo of ncvbc
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Trying this thanks to Zorro as an extra.

Pour was a murky and deep amber with medium white head and tiny spots of lacing. It has a pulpy appearance similar to HopSlam or Hopsickle but not as impressive.

Smell was more on the piney side for hops though lightly sugared grapefruit was noticeable with blood oranges in there as well. Bready tones coming up here also and caramel malts helped provide some backing.

A softer, less intense Double when it came to taste. This was kind of a boarderline between an IPA and it's Imperial kin. Double, Imperial, whatever you wish. It had more citrus hops pouring through in taste and a good bit of malt backbone, moreso than picked up in the nose. This one seems to lean more toward balance than dominance when it comes to hops and malts. Not bad.

Mouthfeel is somewhat sticky and resinous from grapefruit oils and piney hops. Sweet caramel malts also add to this sensation accompanied by a bite of hops and burn of alcohol.

Overall I'd say this one is drinkable. It's not a hop monster and more of a tamed beast in the department which it resides, making it a go to brew for me.

ncvbc, Sep 05, 2007
Photo of Alchemist00
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Has a nice yellowish color to it with a pleasant amount of head that quickly vanishes. The first smell gave off a slight fruity undertone that was nice and really got my tastebuds ready. Tastes very nice. There was a mild fruity flavor to it that was followed with a bitterness that was not overwhelming, a very nice blend. Mouthfeel was good, flowed nicely and did not leave a film in the mouth. Quite drinkable. It was mild and smooth enough that several could be had in one sitting.

Alchemist00, Sep 05, 2007
Photo of brentk56
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with a nice, rocky head that dots the pint glass

Smell: Apricot and pink grapefruit with an underlying caramel presence

Taste: Starts with a sweet blend of caramel and apricot/citrus that is joined by a pithy sensation in the mid-palate; after the swallow, the beer becomes very sweet, but there is an undertone of aggressive bitterness bordering on aspirin that lingers well afterwards

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Not a bad DIPA at all; the sweet and bitter flavors fight rather than blend - but that would be my only complaint

brentk56, Aug 19, 2007
Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Transparent amber colored body with foamy white head that soon fades off to a nice white collar. Leaves behind plenty of lacing in the glass.

S- Citrusy hops and a nice grapefruity smell. Light malt backbone can be detected.

T- Lots citrusy hop flavor and a lot of grapefruit upfront. Small sweet malt backbone. Finish is very clean. Nothing lingers on the palate. Not too big on hop taste for a DIPA.

M- Medium carbonation and medium to light weight body. Decent; but I would expect a more oily body for a DIPA.

D- This one has a high drinkability due to the fact that the ABV is well hidden and that it has a very clean finish. Something that is easy to session-but dangerous. Watch out for this guy because it can be an easy session rather than a slow sipper.

PittBeerGirl, Aug 17, 2007
Photo of klewis
3.1/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Intriqken and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for this one.

A: Pours a hazy orange with a modest, bubbly head. Moderate lacing.

S: Vegetal hops smell. Not much to it.

T: An earthy and somewhat harsh hops flavor dominates the taste. Lots of bitterness in the end.

M: Medium body and carbonation. Dry finish with a long bitter aftertaste.

D: Decent, but very one-dimensional and uninteresting. The taste is too abrasive to make this one very drinkable.

klewis, Aug 13, 2007
Photo of jcdiflorio
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

served into a flaired tulip glass from a 12oz stubby brown bottle with a twist-off cap

Mirky,golden/reddish color that seems to be glowing. 2" offf-white very creamy white head with good retention a few webs of lace at the top turning spotty yhr rest of the way down.

Clean aroma,lots of citrus,slight grapefruit/pineapple with hints of tropical fruit. Carmell/toffee malts linger in the background.

Pine/citrus first taste a bit on the light side for a double ipa.Clean mid-taste, like the aroma some tropical fruityness. Good balance with very sweet malty goodness.Finished light,crisp with citrus notes and light grapefruit notes.Alcohol very well hidden almost undetectable.Very smooth and creamy.

Overall a bit on the light side for a double ipa. I'm sure it brought the reviews down a bit would do better as an ipa. Neverless a nice beer from Mad River a favorite brewery of mine. Haven't seen this beer in my area had to order from Liquid Solutions. Would pick some of this beer up if I would see it in my area.

jcdiflorio, Aug 09, 2007
Photo of Georgiabeer
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly cloudy dark golden with an off white head that fades to a thin cap but that leaves some very nice lacing. The smell has apricots and citrusy hops. A bit waxy smelling as well. The taste is a little mellower than expected. It is smooth with earthy, beefy hops, and some waxiness. The mouthfeel is slightly chewy, but generally smooth. Pretty nice, and the alcohol is fairly well hidden.

Georgiabeer, Aug 07, 2007
Photo of BeerTruth
3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to sirhc for this one.

12 oz. bottler poured into a pint glass.

Pours a murky burnt orange with a one finger off-white head that quickly dies down to almost nothing. Stickiness is very minimal. Smell is pretty weak, but what's there is almost a rotten pineapple smell mixed with dirty hops. Flavor is really sweet for a DIPA, lots of over the top citrus with a mild caramel malt mixed in. Not really enjoying this DIPA, much too sweet for my taste buds. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and creamy with a good amount of carbonation. Once again, sweetness takes away from the drinkability. Could use some tweaking, not sure if I'd drink this one again.

BeerTruth, Aug 07, 2007
Photo of peabody
3.18/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours out a cloudy amber orange with one finger of the white stuff. Slight Lacing
Smell is alcohol and caramel and not much grapefruit.
Taste is alcohol and very little hops. This one is bland for a double IPA.
Mouthfeel is a little oily but bearable.
Drinkability is only average here.
Not Mad River's best effort.

peabody, Aug 01, 2007
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark kumquat with bright tangerine edges. Because I was able to get all twelve ounces into the pint glass on the initial pour, the beer is filled with a dense cloud of fine particulates that sunlight is barely able to penetrate. The firm cap is somewhere between creamsicle orange and beige in color, persists nicely and graces the glass with an impressive amount of lace.

I expect DIPA noses to be more explosively hoppy. That said, this one smells pretty much like it should. I'm betting on pale and caramel malts, in roughly equal proportions, and citric hops with a tropical vibe that reminds me of Amarillo. I have no knowledge of the hop bill in either case, but my review of this beer's little brother, Jamaica Sunset IPA, makes it sound like Amarillo was used there as well.

Steelhead Double IPA is more vibrant on the palate. Although it isn't a mind-blowing West Coast DIPA like Alpine Pure Hoppiness, AleSmith YuleSmith or Stone Ruination, it's pretty damn tasty in its own right. Mad River claims 85 IBUs. Yeah, that seems about right.

Any more caramel malt (relative to pale) and it wouldn't be nearly as good. The malt backbone is sugar cookie-like with a healthy dollop of caramel frosting. The hops rush in at the midway point and give the tongue a moderately sound thrashing. Pine is especially prominent, along with white grapefruit and bitter lemon. Let's add Cascade and/or Centennial to the hop bill speculation.

The mouthfeel is worthy of a DIPA. It's nice and full with a fruit pulp-like lushness that never becomes heavy or overly sticky. While I'm not tempted to bump the score, it might just be the highlight of this entire experience.

Mad River Steelhead Double IPA is exactly what the brewery intended. In other words, it's a maltier, hoppier, bolder, brasher Jamaica Sunset IPA. It isn't a DIPA that I'd crawl over broken glass to drink (like the ones mentioned above), but I'm more than happy with what the brewery has crafted. I'd pick up a sixer now and then if I lived out California way.

BuckeyeNation, Jul 31, 2007
Photo of beerphan
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz brown stubby bottle -> goblet
no date

Pours a hazy oranged amber, with a smallish wispy white head. Some nice spiderwebbed lacing which seems to fade considerably rather quickly. Carbonation appears slow and steady.

Nose: Sweet, some sugar, pear, citrus rind

Thick sweet body. Pretty balanced, but the malt seems to initially stand out. Subtle burnt caramel tones. Bitterness appears mellow at first, than slams the taste buds and camps out in the back of the throat. Fruity flavors accompany the bitterness and balance out the huge sweetness.

Pretty drinkable for a DIPA, mostly because of a decent balance and not trying to overtly show, 'look how bitter i am.'

beerphan, Jul 28, 2007
Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Becomming more and more impressed with this brewery, with every beer I drink. The beer pours a hazy and dense brew with a dull copper hue and very well-headed. The aromas are rich, but not over whelming and pertray juicy orange-rind, grapefruit hops an d a softly-malty, estery malt presence. The tastes deliver the same juicy, sweet, bitter, fruity characters that were pronounced in the aroma. The beer tends closer to 'balance' than on 'hop-dominance'. This keeps the beer a bit sweeter (cotton-candy like and bready) and lett rough or astringent. The feel is moderately full, but does not compromise drinkability. A nice blend of malt sweetness and hop flavors persist into the aftertaste with a dryness from hops and warming alcohols. I would stop shy of calling this beer a double IPA, but is certainly a fuller body IPA than most.

BEERchitect, Jul 21, 2007
Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired via trade from IntriqKen, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a cloudy light brown color with a thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is mostly of caramelized malt with some citrus and a mild hops background. It smells a little more like a barleywine without the strong alcohol smell.

T: The taste is also similar to a barleywine with a subdued hops bitterness and a hearty malt character with a sweetness of caramel and a little bit of fruit & spice. The after-taste is a little hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: Tasty, goes down easy, not very filling, good beer but not the best representation of style, good kick, for a “Double IPA” as listed on the bottle, I was expecting much more hoppiness but it’s still a good beer. Although it’s not the first beer I would pick, it’s worth drinking for a while.

TheManiacalOne, Jul 19, 2007
Photo of ghostwalker
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Found at the Liquor Collection in the Ward Warehouse, Honolulu, HI. My new hop connection when I can make it off the island.

Thick, hazy opaque orange with thin, white-ish head.

Smell is fresh citrus with a solid malt note to it. Nicely balanced.

Flavor is piney, citrus hops. Fresh and intense. The solid malt backbone crops up again, without becoming too sweet. Very flavorful and well balanced. This is a solid, tasty and interesting DIPA.

Mouthfeel is a little thin for the style. Slightly fizzy too, surprising given the small, thin head.

Drinkability is very high for the style and the ABV, (8.6% by the label, not 8.5% as listed above).

A well done brew, it's not going to compete with Maharajah, or Stone 10th for my hophead affections, but I enjoyed it very much. Try it if you can find it!

ghostwalker, Jul 18, 2007
Steelhead Double India Pale Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 755 ratings.