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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

741 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 741
Reviews: 398
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 11.32%
Wants: 26
Gots: 20 | 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: 741 | Reviews: 398 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of Viggo
3.43/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to TheManiacalOne for sending this my way for BC2!

Pours a hazy copper, big thick off white head forms, settles to a nice thick layer, great lacing, looks really top notch. Smell is very sweet and malty, caramelized, pine, some floral, citrus, nice hop nose, good balance, almost a pumpkiny spice element to it as well, touch of alcohol. Taste is nice, malty, pumpkin spice again which is slightly weird but okay, floral, piney hops, bit of floral, fruity alcohol finish, kind of a medicinal bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low carbonation, warms on the way down, slightly harsh alcohol in the flavour, a little weak. Pretty solid, thanks Mark!

Viggo, Jul 14, 2007
Photo of weeare138
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appears a hazy, orange toned amber with a 2 finger, fluffy, off-white head that fades into a small cap. Tons of dry hopped fallout floats around the brew like nuclear sludge. Plenty of scattered lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of biscuit, caramel, pine, grass, and mild fruit notes.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a slightly herbal scent mixed with brown sugar also coming through in the flavors.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, boozy, fizzy, with hints of creaminess, chewy, sweet, and lightly bitter.

weeare138, Jul 05, 2007
Photo of giblet
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

very good beer. IPA's vary greatly in their taste. this one is more suited to my palate. wow, pretty big words for me! anyhoo, i liked it and i liked it a lot!

very good smell and taste. nice color and head and lace. this is the type that i could have one after another. not so heavy that i feel bloated after a few.

giver a try!

suckem up and movem out!


giblet, Jul 04, 2007
Photo of Zorro
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

In the glass this is a slightly chill hazed amber colored beer with a minimal head formation.

The smell is sweet and strongly hoppy, as it should be. Strong pine and grapefruit scents are the main scents. The lesser scents are wood, melon and a general fruity aroma that I describe as juicy fruit. The alcohol fumes have a mild lemon scent.

The flavor begins as neutral in sweetness and noticeably malty. An agreeable fruitiness and melon flavor linger on the tongue and it finishes with a mild woody bitterness. The bitterness and hops build as I drink this as they do with most strongly hopped beer. This is a rather dry and woody tasting beer and it hides its strength well, only a solid alcohol warmth in the throat and stomach betray it. The flavor is too mild to satisfy your average Hophead.

The mouthfeel is good.

Drinkability is this beers strongest attribute. This is very much a super IPA class beer, but the malt and hops are balanced in such away that this is among the mildest of the beers of this type with a full flavor. This is probably the best beer of this type to introduce someone to this beer style, it is mild enough to be accessible and flavorful enough to show what the style is all about. This is about as drinkable as Double IPA gets without being dumbed down.

Zorro, Jul 04, 2007
Photo of bgraney
3.28/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Golden/amber with reddish hues. Appears lightly carbonated with a 1-finger bubbly/sudsy head.
Less hop impact than expected for a double. Mild grapefruit/cascade aroma.
Hops are more prominent in the taste than the aroma. Not much after the first bitterness hit.
Mouthfeel is a bit on the thin sde. Affter the bitterness wears off the tongue there isn't any other flavor expansion.
Drinkability is limuted due to the fact there isn't much beyond the bitterness to keep it interesting.
Not bad, I certainly wouldn't turn one down, but not in the elite class.

bgraney, Jul 03, 2007
Photo of GimpyCane
3.33/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a good looking light amber with an orange hues shining through. The head was a small one finger frothy off white with a hint of orange. Also, the head mostly lasted leaving a sticky yet small amount of lacing. The aroma was on the faint side for me. Fresh bake biscuit upfront with a hint of hay. Somewhere in the middle I got a whiff of perfume and caramel that ended with a pepper, dough and wet cardboard scent. The flavor was well balanced and clean but was missing that DIPA hoppy bite. The brew was light to medium body, soft in carbonation, sweet toffee and biscuit start with a lighty bitter dry and oily finish. Overall, I was expecting a stronger and bolder DIPA and had the experience of an IPA. Still a well done beer that one can drink plenty of. Enjoy.

GimpyCane, Jul 03, 2007
Photo of budgood1
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours out of the 12 oz. stubby twist off an orange tiged amber colour, with a thin, bubbly head. slight wisps of lace. aroma is sweetly malty with leafy, herbal hop notes. smells very nice. taste is nice, smooth and mellowish mash of citric laden hops...grapfuit rinds and tangerine....lemon and a hint of kiwi. breaded, biscuity and toasty maltiness is subdued for a such a high ABV brew; sweet but just enough caramel and toffee to balance the juicy hops. alcohol very well hidden...a big beer without the big attitude. another sublimely well crafted and balanced IPA from the west coast. the body is about perfect and the mouthfeel is again velvety and viscous. finishes sort of dry...lingering bitterness and flavours fade like a sunset. drinkability is good... while it lacks the flair of other IPA's, it's a solid but unspectacular attempt among the vast selection of the style.

another major thank you to Intriqken for providing this wonderful sample.

budgood1, Jun 30, 2007
Photo of timtim
3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours a semi hazy light amber color with an off white, creamy head that dissipates quickly in to a kind of funny looking thing thatvaries in thickness from nonexistant to visible across the top. leaves spotty lace here and there. smell is citrusy and a little malty/bready. not the beautiful floral, grapefruit, bubblegum smell i would expect from a double ipa. taste isn't bad, and since steelhead is one of the beers i was a diehard devotee of in the mid 90's, i actually expected this one to have the bitter bite that it does. it's just that to me, this one isn't very well balanced in the bitter meets taste/complexity zone. nice mouthfeel. good density. nice and oily. i just don't go bananas over the taste, so i don't deem this very drinkable. my palate has changed and matured since my steelhead days, so even though this brew brought back good memories of good times and great beers, i wasn't impressed.

timtim, Jun 29, 2007
Photo of cbak999
4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a solid, great tasting, great smelling IPA. The alcohol is hidden very nicely. The color is a nice orange, and the taste is citrusy. I like this because it isn't over the top, like most double IPAs. Some are just too hard to drink. This goes down very smoothly, and has become my go to choice for IPA/IIPA. I definite must check out for the American IPA lover.

cbak999, Jun 29, 2007
Photo of Shaw
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's great to see Florida getting new beers! The last time I tried beer from this brewery was in Manhattan Beach, Calif.

It pours a cloudy orange in color with a slight head that turns into an irregular layer across my glass.

The smell is powerfully hoppy with big citrus notes backed up with a light aroma of solvent alcohol.

The taste is also good: Powerfully bitter with lots of citrus flavors from the massive amount of hops. There is also a nice amount of malt sweetness and a powerful heat from the alcohol.

The body is slick and thick, quite nice.

Overall this is a fine double IPA. It's not world-class, but well worth coming back to again and again.

Shaw, Jun 28, 2007
Photo of Bierguy5
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, 8.6% ABV. Good looking cloudy copper color. Thick off white head. Great head retention. Nice lace on the sides of the glass at the finish.

Piney, citrusy, and slightly grassy hop aroma, although the aroma seems somewhat restrained. A little toasty malt in the nose as well perhaps. Nice, but aroma is not big enough.

Nice malt character, seems almost toasty, and a sturdy backbone. Piney and spicy hops enter. Not overly bitter, but pretty solid. Finishes dry. A bit more fruity as it warms.

A bit of alcohol warmth. Good body and carbonation. Not quite a hop bomb, but very nice.

Bierguy5, Jun 21, 2007
Photo of bigdeuce
4.4/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one hellava brew. Nice citrusy, fruity, grapefruit scent on the nose. Makes your mouth water. Probably the most drinkable DIPA I've had to date. Not the hoppiest, but it is hoppy. Very smooth with a nice dry finish. No lingering hops on the back of the throat. Drinks like a 5% but 4 or 5 of these may put you into a coma. Very strong and highly recommended. Tough not to say it could not be a great session beer, but it really isn't one.

bigdeuce, Jun 15, 2007
Photo of Night
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours murky copper with gold, orange, and amber tones. Large, creamy, and bubbly off-white head lasts fairly long and leaves thick lacing. Aroma is clean and refreshing: suds, pineapple, orange, grapefruit, apple, pollen. Some distant toasty malts. Mouthfeel is mildly syrupy; solid medium body. Flavor hits with bittersweet floral and grassy hops; toasty, lightly buttery malts follow. Notes of honey, cake, pepper, grass, and alcohol warmth throughout. Finish is light hops; very mild bittersweet aftertaste.

Night, Jun 15, 2007
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.

macster, Jun 11, 2007
Steelhead Double India Pale Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 741 ratings.