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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 jwolfie70
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasted at the Bistro DIPA fest. Poured a standard reddish copper color, with a thick white head. The head stuck around in the glass even after the sample was gone. Aroma was muted for the style, but was still heavy on the hops. The taste was standard for a DIPA, and was not out of whack in either direction (i.e. too much hops, or too sweet). A good DIPA, but not necessary worth searching for.

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

Beer #25 in my 366 Days of Beer Quest, tasted on 1/25. "Double IPA"; you don't have to say another word...mmm.

A: Dark copper body in a tulip glass. A healthy, off-white head forms with decent retention. Good clarity. Spotty lacing is left over.

S: For a DIPA this is very subtle. Light citrusy, floral hops barely make their way our of the glass. Sweet cherries and honey as well as a bready malt character balance it out decently.

M: Med-full body, med. carbonation. Super thick, creamy body, like velvet. A bit thick, but nice.

T: Thankfully the hops wake up a bit in the taste, yet still not up to par with most DIPAs. Hop character is citrusy and woody like bark, and clings on the tongue w/ a woody bitterness. Must be Amarillo hops...Malt bill is heavy w/ caramel, raw honey and some grainy, bready notes. A spicy kick of alcohol comes into play as well, and is pretty assertive.

D: An average DIPA, nothing extraordinary. Hop levels aren't strong enough & alcohol isn't well hidden. Yet it's tasty and well made, it's just a little rough and a bit different for the style. Worth a drink, that's for sure.

Photo of oelergud
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Stubby dark brown glass bottle, 120z. Green label awith a pair of jumping trouts. Steel gray twist-off cap.
Hazy copper brown body with low carbonation. Creamy head with a lemony tint and up to medium bubbles. Good retention and great lace.
Great smell of caramel, pine, hops and brown sugar.
The flavor is a strong hoppy caramel with lots of complexity and spice. Aftertaste of spiked, spicy hops mingled with caramel notes.
Creamy mouthfeel and a medium body. Some coating and a nice and dry finish.
Very drinkable. Smooth and creamy, interesting and good.


Photo of Traquairlover
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12-oz bottle poured into a pint glass>

A = Hazy amber, very small head which quickly dissipated, not much lacing either on glass of on surface, light carbonation with small bubbles.

S = Spicy floral hops smells, sweet malt undertones. Not incredibly complex but there is some balance.

T = Citrus up front, some light sweet malt flavors mid-palate, long bitter finish.

M = Light bodied, good mouthcoating, pleasing amount of slightly, frothy carbonation. Marked down because I thought the body was a little too light.

D = Good drinkability, the hops give good flavors and bitterness but there is enough balance to make this a drinker rather than just a pucker inducer.

Photo of wagenvolks
3.6/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle into a Duvel chalice.

An aggressive pour leaves a hazy, bright copper body with amber-orange highlights in my glass. The head is rocky, light tan in color, and decently retained; lacing is purty, too. As for the aroma, floral, fruit-laden hops mingle with an unbalanced amount of caramel malts. The hops notes are good enough without a large malt aroma, however, and mandarin orange, clover, and a touch of alcohol comes through as this IIPA warms.

Flavor - candi/caramel malts poke through just quickly enough to be detected before an onslaught of bitter hops and sour whiskey mash rushes in. An alcoholic sweet- and bitterness overpower the hoppy notes upon the finish. Carbonation level is decent enough, but the boozing blow to the palate at the end of every gulp is a far cry from what I consider enjoyable. This is a decent enough IIPA, but it's not great. If I didn't like the style so much, I'd warn to look elsewhere. As an aside, though, it does pair nicely with some sharp cheddar cheese.

Photo of Scoobydank
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to seaoflament for this beer
L:Small white head that disapears immediately.Bright clear light brown color.
S:Light roasted nutty malt. Just a slight hint of floral hops.
T:Sweet roasted malts. Piney hops with just a tad bit of peach.
M:Very creamy and warm. Pretty good roundness.
D:Good. Really different for a DIPA. I found it to be a bit light.

Photo of tonistruth
3.25/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

on tap @ Stone Brewing Company Bistro in Escondido, CA

A- auburn with orange hues, 1 finger of silky foam, good retention, filmy lace

S- citric and floral hops, malt sweetness

T- citrus, pine, and leafy hops, toasted caramel malts, somewhat balanced

M- coarse and sticky medium body

D- pretty solid double IPA until it warms up a bit, then its not very inviting to drink

Photo of woemad
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle picked up at The Rocket Market in Spokane for $1.40. No freshness date.

Poured a hazy copper-ish color, with the faintest skiff of white foam that then vanished into a few odd bubbles. A very few spots of lace were to be seen on the sides of my glass.

The nose is hoppy, but not hugely so. Citrus and pine scents can be gleaned. Doesn't smell like a hop bomb, though, and there's no sign of the high abv.

The taste is a bit more complex than the nose. It starts out with a citrusy, Amarillo hop bite, with piney notes piling on. At the swallow is a more herbal hop bitterness. Malts are pretty mellow, lending a vague, bready quality but otherwise being pretty unobtrusive. Like in the nose, there's no sign of the 8.5% abv.

Medium bodied, with a slightly watery mouthfeel. Could be worse, but could definitely be better.

Drinkable, but not one I feel the need to go back to anytime soon. Certainly not when I can get double IPAs like Sculler's or Hop Wallop, as is currently the case.

Photo of OWSLEY069
3.43/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy orange-ish/ yellow color with a light tan head. In the aroma, a small hoppiness. In the taste, piney hops and a small citrusy hop in the backround. A small bitter mouthfeel and a semi dry, piney hop aftertaste. Hides alcohol, light in the hops for a I2PA.

Photo of skizziks
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, do discernable date.

Pour gives a 2.5" offwhite, firm, fine head. The beer is a very hazy orangey amber. I noticed quite a bit of sediment and kept it out of the glass so i'll see if this turns out to be a severe chill haze. The foam subsides to about 1/4" and leaves plenty of lace behind

Sugar and citrusy grapefruity hops. Fresh white bread with a hint of alcohol and apricot.

Blast of hops. Just enough malt to keep the hops afloat. The malt base comes through as a mostly light bready flavor with turbinado sugar coming through as the initial smack of hops starts to fade. The hop flavor turns leafy and slightly astringent as it heads to a long bitter finish.

Medium carbonation and medium-full body. Slightly viscous, a little sticky on the tongue but not too heavy. Drinkability suffers minimally. I couldn't drink a lot of it, but it's a very enjoyable beer while it lasts.

Photo of littleshamrocks
4.18/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle with no freshness dating. Served in a snifter.

Pours a light copper with orange tint with a minimal white head and moderate carbonation. This looks something like grapefruit juice. What little head there was is gone in a moment leaving a thin ring atop the brew. Leaves some streaky lace. The aroma is sort of complex with the citrus hops in the forefront, followed by sweet maltiness, hints of caramel and noticeable doughy/soapy yeastiness. The hops are king in the flavor, ranging from the most prominent citrus (grapefruit and lemon), but also presenting themselves as piney and spicy. The malt backbone is solid, showing up as both grainy and sweet. A certain peppery spiciness runs throughout. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a semi oily texture and lively carbonation. Fairly chalky finish with a lingering bitterness.

I really liked this beer. It is very well crafted and true to the style and does an excellent job of disguising the 8.6% abv. A strong mix of flavors and enough hops to keep just about any hophead happy, I would have no problem recommending it to anyone. This is the first beer that I have tried from Mad River, but for sure it will not be the last. Solid.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful color of clouded straw/yellow. A small white head forms and then leaves. Nose is mild with minimal funk there. Mild dough. Seems a little boring to me on the nose. Flavor is definitely showing thorough wheat characters. Yeasty funk is there, but not overpowering. Gives a smooth offering. Feel is good on the liquid and has a full carbonation hitting the mouth. Overall this is an easy drinking beer. Smooth and unobtrusive as far as flavors go. Nothing wild here, but nothing bland or mediocre either. Just a smooth and even brew.

Photo of AlexJ
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A beautiful copper pour with a merangue-like head of white froth that retains and laces very nicely.

Aroma is chewy caramel and biscuit malt with strong herbal and pine hops.

Flavor has a great malt base of biscuit and scorched caramel notes and follows through to a fruity hop finish of pine and bitter green herbs. Not quite as hoppy as it could be but the flavor is nice.

Body is almost medium and a bit to light to carry ther big flavors of a IIPA. Smooth mouthfeel and very quaffable for a 8.5% brew.

Photo of Drew966
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Steelhead Double IPA pours a hazy orange thats leaning toward brown with an off white head from a brown twelve ounce bottle. Resiny pine with a strong caramel malt showing marks the nose. The mouthfeel is medium leaning toward thick. Resiny and bitter tasting. I think I like a little more citrus. Worthy of a try for hop heads.

Photo of jaxon53
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to kirok1999for this bottle, shipped in the Secret Halloween '07 BIF. Served this double IPA slightly chilled in a pint glass, from a twelve ounce brown bottle. Poured a somewhat hazy copper amber color. One finger of fizzy, thin off-white head formed and quickly faded, leaveing almost no lace behind. Smell was quite citrusy, orange peel and lemon zest, hops, with quite a bit of malt in the background. Some nice earthy aromas were noted as well. The flavor was that nice west coast IPA flavor I was expecting. Tons of citrusy hops, a bit of resiny pine, and a sweet maltiness to back up the hops. A very flavorful yet bitter finish. A nice big full bodied, palate coating mouthfeel. Light carbonation and very drinkable. A pretty solid, well balanced double IPA in my opinion.

Photo of July2Nov
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Cloudy orange color. No head, but has a nice lace around the top.

Smell: Smells like a good IPA should...got the hops and a pine tree smell.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Smooth at first...spikes up a bit and goes down with another smooth edge. Surprisingly mellow for the amount of ABV. Mouthfeel has a numbing effect that hits the back of the throat.

Drinkability: IPA's are usually hit or miss, but this one is a hit. I envision drinking this often...just hope the store keeps it in stock.

Photo of wspscott
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle in pint glass

A: Orangish brown and hazy color, almost no head. Looks "thick" as it pours.
S: Smells sweet with a bunch of citrus, like an orange blossom honey.
T: Bitter with hints of the orange side of citrus. Lots of sweet malts to try a balance out the hops, maybe too much malt.
M: Tongue coating, a little heavy feeling but not in a bad way. This is obviously a big beer but there is no hint of alcohol.
D: This is a sippin' beer. I think I would prefer a little less malt, more unbalanced on the hoppy side. It is a little too rich to drink very fast or drink very many. In the end, very true to style. I like this beer but I don't love it. Worth trying.

Photo of CharlieMopps
4.63/5  rDev +22.2%
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.

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

Photo of Durge
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

Photo of ohoove
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
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!

Photo of cswhitehorse
4/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

Photo of Jedimaster1
4.53/5  rDev +19.5%
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.

Photo of kirok1999
4.3/5  rDev +13.5%
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.

Photo of ojiikun
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

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