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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

717 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 717
Reviews: 398
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 11.05%
Wants: 24
Gots: 15 | 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: 717 | Reviews: 398 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of macster


3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours into the snifter a fairly hazy copper-orange color under a tight, but thin bone white head. Head gradually reduces to several islands of thin wispy foam. Some dispersed spotty lacing noted.

Aroma profile definitely leans toward the hops but unfortunately a tad restrained. However, pleasant notes of orange, grapefruit and pine needles greet the nose. Some faint caramelly malt aromas can be detected in the background.

Mouthfeel is smooth and velvety with a restrained CO2 level, but seems slightly thin mid-palate for a DIPA.

Flavors were nicely balanced out between the hops and malt resulting in an upfront caramel candy and tropical fruit sweetness backed by a farily prominent citrus rind and hop resin bitterness. Finish is long, crisp and slightly dry. Just a slight alcohol warmness can be perceived.

Not a top-shelf DIPA, but at $8.49/sixer its a good value and worth re-visiting.

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2007 03:51:42 | More by macster
Photo of ReDave


3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fair Double India Pale Ale

Pours a tad darkish copper amber [a little dark for me]

Nice head that dwindles to a thin ring in the glass

Very malty aroma, not much hop action, maybe just a tad.

Fairly good balance, it is a DIPA after all, and while some dipa's are sweeter than bitter, this is less sweeter than bitter.

Not the best aftertaste I've ever had, but this could be somewhat oxidized. {probably need to try a fresher one some day}

I suppose I'll never meet a DIPA couldn't enjoy, but this is probably toward the lower end.

Yeah, I'd like to try this again.

Serving type: bottle

06-03-2007 02:35:24 | More by ReDave
Photo of drewbage


3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a nice fresh bottle into a straight sided pint glass.

Nice piney, grapefruit hop character riding over the top of a caramel toasty malt aroma.

Matches with a caramel and brown sugar note that lies under a nice biting resinous hop character.

Overall, I need more aroma. I'd like more dryness, but really it's a decent DIPA available for once in a 12 oz bottle. That's a good thing.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2007 06:34:06 | More by drewbage
Photo of hunteraw


3.28/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Darker orange/amber in color with a decent head. Yeast floaties, despite having been in the refrigerator for a while. Not much lace.

Smell: Aroma is unsurprisingly heavy on hops, citrus, assertive...

Taste: Dominated by aggressive hops. Not a well-balanced double IPA, in my opinion - and same for the friend I was tasting with. The hops are there for the sake of being obnoxiously bitter rather than for flavor, which is fairly indistinct. Some malt sweetness, but it's easily overwhelmed. Need a significant pause between sips before you feel like taking another. This from two regular IPA drinkers. Disappointing.

Mouthfeel: About medium in body, carbonation seemed fine.

Drinkability: Struggled to finish one bottle. After reading some other reviews, I wonder whether the brewery is having problems with consistency: some say barely any hops, others say vinegar, others (like me) are astonished by the lack of balance.

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2007 16:50:55 | More by hunteraw
Photo of flexabull


3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap tonight...

Pours a bright orange color with a decent white head.

Aromas are mild, a bit of a hop citrus like smell.

Taste is nice. There is a full bodied and malty creaminess up front. Finish is crisp and bitter, with a very grapefruit like hop quality.

Mouthfeel is good. Beer has a good feel that coats the mouth nicely.

Drinkability is good. As with many beers in my experience, this one is better on draft.

Serving type: on-tap

04-26-2007 04:41:26 | More by flexabull
Photo of Cresant


2.68/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Flexabull for this one. Poured this 12 oz. brown bottle into a Tripel Karmeliet glass. A small off-white head capped an orange/golden muddy looking body.

Smell was sweet malts. Dates. Alcohol later. Subdued hops.

Taste was vegetal? More sweet than bitter, yet pretty balanced for a double IPA, I expect them to be out of balance toward the hops bitterness. The aftertaste was mildly bitter and long. I think this may have been an older bottle, it seemed rather dulled fron an DIPA.

Mouthfeel was medium in carbonation and medium/full in the body.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2007 03:09:19 | More by Cresant
Photo of walshclimb


4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Clear, slightly orange color with some floating sediment, nice lacy head.

S - Tropical fruit - pineapple and grapefruit, very pleasant and not overly sweet

T - dry, slightly alcoholic flavor. slightly sweet with a hint of the tropical fruit noted in smell. Nice hop bitterness

M - good body, slightly viscous

D - smooth and easy to drink

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2007 19:03:13 | More by walshclimb
Photo of cbn


3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This ale pours a beautiful amber color with a small thick foamy head that dissipates quickly.

Bright and fresh citrus aromas, lemon and rind of grapefruit with a candy sweet backbone, slight hint of apricot and alcohol.

Big hop bite, citrus and pine conceal a peach/apricot sweetness.

Soft on the palate biting to the tongue. Hop stickyness coats and retreats from the mouth between sips.

I'm good for a couple at the end of the shift, but not a session beer.
A tad too sweet for the style and/or my taste.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2007 17:46:22 | More by cbn
Photo of BigJTrucker


4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy amber color simiar to a unpasteurized apple juice. neglibeable head. Smells delicious. Just the right amount of citrus notes, perhaps some pear notes as well. Very grapefruity taste, fades to a nice hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is a bit oily. Very drinkable. A very nice example of my favorite style.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2007 07:23:36 | More by BigJTrucker
Photo of ArrogantBastard


4.63/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was very impressed by this double IPA. I would highly recommend it to anybody, I will break it down into the usual catagories:

Appearance- Dark amber with slight orange

Smell- smells of sweet citrus. very floral, also hints of papaya.

Taste- starts off sweet, then goes very floral on the pallette, and finishes off bitter. a bit too bitter, but the toasted malt and grapefruit help to conceal the bitterness a bit.

Mouthfeel- goes down very smooth with just the right amount of carbonation. It makes you want to take that next swig...

Drinkability- Excellent for a double IPA. Very impressed. I actually like this better than Stone Ruination. I would buy this more often if I didn't have to go out of my way to purchase.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2007 07:23:42 | More by ArrogantBastard
Photo of GClarkage


4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11/14/06- Purchased at Ledgers Liquors in Berkeley, CA.

Presentation- 12oz bottle with no freshness info. Poured into my Steelhead pint glass.

Appearance- Rust-orange in color. Tiny yeast particles create a cloudy appearance. 3/4 inch head settles at a light rim. Above average lace markings remain.

Smell- Lots of floral and fruity grapefruit hops. Brown sugar and caramel malt with a roasted base. Maybe even a touch nutty.

Taste- Bitter hoppy slap in the face. Very good flavor. Hearty hops with grapefruit oils. Malt comes through, but not as much as the hops. More of a hop head's delight. A touch of burnt sugary chocolate is found deep in the malt.

Mouthfeel- Lower carbonation, thick and oily mouthfeel. Rather chewy with a long lasting sharp bitter aftertaste.

Drinkability- Much better than expected going in. Full taste, good flavor. Still tasting the hop onslaught an hour after drinking. A really good beer and true to style.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2007 18:41:30 | More by GClarkage
Photo of Imstillthegman


3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This Mad River DIPA pours a cloudy amber color. Thin off-white head leaves minimal lacing.

Very hoppy aroma. Strong citrus, with some pine resin and a solid caramel malt backbone. The smell is the best part on this beer.

The flavor good, but not outstanding. Citrus hops backed by caramel. The bitterness at the end is accompanied by a strange burnt flavor I can't quite peg.

Dry, puckering finish. Medium body. It's a middle of the road DIPA to me. I probably wouldn't pick it up again.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2007 18:41:27 | More by Imstillthegman
Photo of mattd017


4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, poured into a trappist goblet after a 5 minute trip to the freezer. Golden tan color with some haze to the liquid, wondering if it's a chill haze, as the beer was shipped. Poured with medium force but still provides a fairly thick medium cream colored head. Smells of intense piney and floral hops. Tastes of hops hops and more hops, with a definite alcohol bite. Slightly thick mouthfeel with perhaps to small carbonation. Very tasty DIPA, very drinkable. Up there with the best.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2007 18:26:06 | More by mattd017
Photo of 1whiskey


4.65/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12 oz twisty bottle. Went to pick up the bottle and the label came clean off. Sheesh...they still haven't fixed that? STILL????

Pours out an impressive near-glowing amber color, with a thick 2 finger head. Beautiful lacing as this sits for a while. As with all MR brews, this is bottle conditioned.

Fantastic aromas wafting up from this one. Sweet, sweet citrus (pineapple, grapefruit) and resinous pine/cedar notes. I'm salivating like crazy as this sits in front of me.

Biting melon rind bitterness meets my palate, but a solid caramel malt backbone fills in shorty. This is really smooth for the style, I have to pace myself here. This is a classic and well-rounded west coast hop bomb, and sweet nectar for me. Great yeasty esters assosciated with all of the MR beers is also evident here, albeit soaked in hoppiness.

Smooth, soft mouthfeel typical of bottle conditioned MR beers. Medium bodied with active carbonation. The is supremely drinkable despite the 8.6% ABV. I want more.

This is a worthy addition to Mad River's Steelhead line, and almost makes me miss Humboldt County. Good thing it's available in Oregon now. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2007 00:22:24 | More by 1whiskey
Photo of meadhead


4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is solid
Big Citrus,
Pine berry
dominant hop
slight malt balance
not too sweet
easy bitter finish
good drinking IPA

Pours a nice hazy brown orange
with a less than stellar head
which vanishes too quickly

Has a potent aromatic
primarily Citrus hop smell

The mouthfeel is good
with a nice mix of bitter hop carbonation and syurpy
malt sweetness

Drinkability is excellent
given its spiked ABV
Sips or swigs
with plenty of hoppy nuance

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2007 04:31:17 | More by meadhead
Photo of Talisker


3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to friend and BA'er gclarkage for grabbing a bottle for me.

Pours a cloudy orange - decent amount of yeast in this bottle (much of which made it into my glass before I figured out what was going on)! Head a light orangish tan, about two fingers. Lacing sticks around beautifully througout.

Aroma is straightforward but exceptional juicy American hops - some pine, but more citrus. Taste integrates nicely - hops are the star, but there's enough malt to support them without going too far into syrupiness like too many DIPAs. A little bit of puckering dryness on the finish, almost makes you want to take a sip of water between sips of beer.

An excellent beer, and a nice bridge into the DIPA style if you're accustomed to the standard California IPA.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2007 19:24:55 | More by Talisker
Photo of ElGordo


4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy golden-orange color with a small ring of creamy white head. A ton of tiny suspended particles don't ever quite settle. Aroma of spicy floral hops, some lighlty sweet caramel malt, and a bit of light sweet fruit. Palate is superb - an excellent balance between huge hop flavor and mellow sweet malt. Body is substantial and just a little bit sticky. A highly drinkable brew that's generally a great value at under $2/bottle.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2007 06:38:34 | More by ElGordo
Photo of mickeymac


4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As a fan of Mad River brews, I was happy to see the DIPA in our beer-deprived county. My expectations of something special were met. Out of a 12-ounce bottle with a twist cap, it's a very pleasant goldish-orange with a medium white head. A fairly substantial amount of yeast lingered at the bottom of the bottle. Out of habit, I left it in the bottle with a bit of beer and knocked it down before moving on to the glass. The smell is mainly piney hops with a hint of citrus and a nice malt backbone. The taste comes across as slightly more bitter than expected but still well balanced. The alchol is not overwhelming, either in the smell or taste. The mouthfeel is more or less par for the course for a DIPA, as is the drinkability. It's certainly not an all-day beer, but it's quite drinkable for an 8.5% beer. I have yet to be disappointed by Mad River.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2007 07:33:22 | More by mickeymac
Photo of brewandbbq

New Hampshire

4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark copper and hazy, some light dregs left behind in the bottle. A moderate quarter inch head of off-white fell within two minutes, making way for a few streaks of lacework and a skimming of foam on top.
Aromatics are fruit-laden and zesty. Plenty of citrusy, tropical notes and a hint of pine sap. Tangerine, pear and grapefruit dusted with powdered sugar. The nose is somewhat subdued for a DIPA, but I have no idea how old the bottle is, so we'll cut 'em some slack.
The mouthfeel is creamy and crisp, with some lingering stickyness.
Ripe fruit and hop resin abound on the pallet, with plenty of snappy citrus zest and a firm alcohol backbone. Malt is subdued, as expected, and a smooth, lingering bitterness helps keep residuals in check.
Finishes with lingering fruit and warming residuals.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2007 22:43:40 | More by brewandbbq
Photo of rallison


3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Thick amber color. Somewhat cloudy. Two finger white head that reduces to light lacing.

S: Citrusy, somewhat sweet.

T: Good bit of citrusy hops. Some malt sweetness to balance it. Good amount of flavor.

M: Pretty thick, slightly syrupy. Full bodied.

D: Pretty drinkable, but the richer mouthfeel hurts the drinkability some.

Altogether enjoyable. Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2007 06:02:38 | More by rallison
Photo of thepitch


3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Took the bottle from my fridge (which admittedly is too cold at the moment) and poured into a clean pint glass.

Beer looks great and I was able to extract a pretty dense head from it with a rather aggressive pour. Head is a nice shade of cream with average sized bubbles. Slight thick lacing around the glass and the head is fading pretty fast. It is a rich dark golden amber brown color. Would have scored higher were it not for a slight haze.

Aroma is slight of sweet hops. The beer is extremely full bodied, but not extremely complex. Tastes syrupy, pleasantly bitter, sweet with strong hints of alcohol and a pine aftertaste. Good but not necessarily memorable.

The mouthfeel of the beer is thick and mildly carbonated. This would be an interesting beer to drink to compare with other double IPAs but unfortunately on this early Sunday night it is not unique enough to leave me fully satisfied. Glad I tried it but it probably won't make it into heavy rotation any time soon.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2007 06:04:36 | More by thepitch
Photo of rkuhnel


3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a "local" brewery so I always hope for the best. From a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass poured a murky golden to dark orange with a medium white head that left nice clean lacing. Fairly solid nose of hops and citrus with a touch of apricots. Mouthfeel is nothing special, and the flavor is of malts, fruits, flowers, and a touch of pine. Generally very complex flavors. The alcohol is well hidden. Finish is bitter as befitting an IPA. But the double IPA competition is fierce these days, and while the price is right, this does not quite measure up to the top hitters. Not a bad brew and I am glad to see Mad River come out with a double.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2007 23:57:37 | More by rkuhnel
Photo of ChazMania


3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled. I think this is a good sample of a straight ahead double ipa. If you have had alot of different offerings of this style, then this will be middle of the road. If I'm introducing someone to this style, then this a great entree. A little cloudy orange, hop aroma and thick/creamy on the tongue. Leaves with a highly hopped up residual flavor. Very drinkable, I could have a number of these in one sitting and not get bored.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2007 03:04:25 | More by ChazMania
Photo of lackenhauser


3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange color. A lot of floaties-obviously a bottle conditioned beer. Huge level of lacing on down the glass. Nice, full hopped aroma. Soft malty flavor with a moderate blast of hop bitterness. Mellow,somewhat astringent bitterness in the finish. Good mouthfeel. Very-and at 8.5%-dangerously drinkable. Damn enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2007 03:06:42 | More by lackenhauser
Photo of Matthew


3.2/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazey copper color with a good 1/4 inch of off white head, low retention.
Considering that this is a double IPA the hop aroma is pretty weak IMO. There is a grassy and floral tone to the aroma with a very light watery sweetness. The aroma isn't bad, just not all that good imo.
Very slight hop bite, floral, light citrus, a bit earthy with decent sized malty backbone that almost stomps out the hoppiness in the finish.
Decent mouthfeel. Medium bodied with middle of the road levels of carbonation.
The alcohol is very well hidden in this beer, but if you are looking to drink a double IPA I'd suggest that this doesn't contain the hop character you are probably looking for. This isn't a totally bad beer by any means....just of the mark of my understanding of the style.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2007 02:09:44 | More by Matthew
Steelhead Double India Pale Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 717 ratings.