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

775 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 775
Reviews: 402
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 11.08%
Wants: 25
Gots: 31 | 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:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Steelhead Double India Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 775 | Reviews: 402 | Display Reviews Only:
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 Mebuzzard
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this at Vine Street Pub in Denver, next to a Hop Vivant. Given that I loooove Hop Vivant, this review tries to be impartial. here it goes...

Somewhat bright gold and tangerine. A bit of a haze, served very cold. Small head, a bit creamy. Looks nice

Aroma is sharp fruitiness--citrus, blood orange, maybe some casaba. A strong malt back bone. Sweet biscuit

yeah, it's sweeter than Hop Vivant. Malty; sweet bread biscuit, lightly toasted. Almost takes away from the citrus and very ripe melon. Mostly a clean taste, with the sweetness always around.
Fairly easy drinking, the 'zip' cannot quite get away from the malt.

Photo of thain709
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured with a cloudy, burnt orange body that showed suspended sediment throughout...two fingers worth of off white head formed a full cap and retained that full cap throughout the glass...nice lacing was left behind

S - I'm getting piney hops rather than citrus can detect the bitterness up front...caramel malt rolling around

T - Yup, there's the lasts through and through with every sip...there is a strong caramel malt middle that does provide some relief but in the end the bitter piney hops win over and finish with an even stronger bitterness

M - Medium...bitter...pretty one dimensional

O - Although I'm happy I finally got to try something from Mad River, I can't say that I was too impressed...for me Steelhead DIPA was pretty one dimensional...I've had better DIPA's that were worth their value or cheaper

Photo of malty
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
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!

Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

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

Picked up at Brawley's in Charlotte, NC - great place.

Poured into SA Imp. Pils glass. Pours an amber-brown, nice amount of hazing and carbonation, a little sediment, thin head, with long lasting lacing.

Nose is a piney, citrus wave accompanied by notes of cinnamon bread, brown sugar malt, & dark fruit - especially prunes.

Smooth and oily on the palate, flavors that come to mind are molasses, dough, toasty malts, low-end piney hops, and grass. Leaves the mouth very dry and tart with a nice boozy warmth down the throat. The bitter hops are sneaky and slam the palate at the tail end of the experience.

A nice beer though it is a beer that smells a lot better then it tastes and don't get me wrong; it tastes very good. The bottle may be a tad old, who knows. I recommend to all hop heads and would love to have another sixer of these in the fall/winter.

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

On-tap @ Bier:Thirty, Boise ID. Served in a tulip.

A: Appears orange with amber hues, relatively turbid, with a light amount of off-white head and some decent lace.

S: Heavy dose of malt and hops, a good balanced DIPA...some tropical fruitiness, herbal & piney notes, bready malts, toasted caramel, spices, and faint alcohol.

T: Follows the nose, pine emerges more prominently on the palette and blends with the juicy fruit notes. Good dose of bitterness...again, pretty balanced. Hoppy, with a hefty bready malt bill. As it warms, the flavors get a little watery.

MF: Denser medium mouthfeel, decent dryness and bitterness.

O: I'd have it again. Pretty decent malt bill & hop presence...the alcohol is faint...pretty drinkable.

Photo of Docer
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Grabbed a bottle to try at The BeerMongers.

- Cloudy dark amber/orange with a boat load of sediment.. much like their imperial red... frothy eggshell head... down to a slithering slew of lace-maker.

- Sweet and rich caramel malt, little brown sugar... very common of their imperials to have such a rich and pure malt backbone. Earthy, grassy, and pine hops..

- Sediment seems to have settled all around the glass... so I will drink it. Kind of a light roasted grain.. then a sucker punch of sweet malts that are not overdone... coupled with an extremely bitter hopping which I quite like. Almost a sour puckering bitterness. Very nice.

- Chewy, thick, medium bodied. Flavorful for a lighter double.

- Overall this is a tasty brew... one that is smooth enough to drink, and one that makes one want to relive the bitter bite after each chug. Good stuff, and quite unique.

Photo of rallison
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

Photo of iceball585
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

Photo of Dookiepants
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of bamadog
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I picked this one up on a whim, and I have to admit that I am not disappointed. A reasonably priced DIPA that delivers. Granted, I'm not going to compare it to the likes of a Hopslam or anything, but solid enough - almost 4s across the board. Poured from the bottle into a trusty pint glass.

Appearance: Nice copppery color with a hint of amber in there as well. About a 1/2 finger head that disappeared pretty quickly but left a moderate lacing and oily residue on the side. Beer appears cloudy with a lot of sediment bubbling throughout.

Smell: A little floral/piney, but nothing especially bitter coming out of it. Slightly sweet honey-esque/malty sweetness eminating from it and just a whiff of alcohol coming out of it too.

Taste: Nice, hoppy and pleasantly balanced by that sweetness alluded to above. Alcohol is failry present, perhaps a little more so than I prefer as it started to become a little more dominant as I worked my way down the glass.

Mouthfeel: Sticky, dries a bit as well after the alcohol passes but still leaves a slight film on the palate as well. About what I would expect.

Drinkability: Moderate - this is a fine DIPA but the alcohol is a little high in this style, so I don't think I'd want to sit through more than a couple, and I'm not as tempted to want to as I would be with some other DIPAs.

Photo of Kitt
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma: Rich eclectic malts entrenched with sweet banana and hints of caramel.

Appearance: An unfiltered deep-peach color with virtually no head, yet some strong lacing.

Taste: A bitter blast of strong hops with a balanced malty backbone. Bitter flavor lingers nicely. Although very pleasing, something is missing from this imperial - it seems uni-demensional; I would have prefered a slightly more eclectic malt & hop flavor more reflective of the superb aroma.

Mouthfeel is slightly weak for an double IPA. Lacks a viscous creamy feel typically characteristic of top imperials.

Drinkibility is good for an ABV of nearly 9.0%.

Overall, a good double IPA but not quite up to par with, say, a Ruination or Double Trouble. The rather weak mouthfeel and a lack of eclectic malt/hop balance are the beers downfalls. Nevertheless, an above average IPA.

Photo of biker30x
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured from a bottle into a pint with a thin and short-lived head and ultimately very little lacing. A rich honey golden color with a deep haze and a scent of flowers and a hint of bubble gum along with more standard malty notes of caramel and hints of piny hops. In my mouth it was satisfyingly viscous for a DIPA with just the right amount of carbonation. Very malty which balanced the punch in the mouth of the hops. Flavors of caramel, butterscotch lend structure to the sharp bitter bite of hops and a sharp finish and after-taste of resin. For no discernible reason, I thought this beer would suck, I'm thinking that I thought the label looked cheap? Happy to say, I was wrong. This is a solid DIPA. While it doesn't stand out as amazing in any category, neither does it fail in any of them either. At 8.6abv, this isn't a beer for the whole evening and there are better DIPAs out there, but this one was pretty good.

Photo of DrJay
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pint was mostly clear with an orange/amber colour. The cream coloured head had a yellowish cast and was composed of fine bubbles that showed good retention and solid lacing, even forming rings marking each sip. Fresh hop aroma with lots of citrus (grapefruit and tangerine) along with faint pine. Mellow, but nice. Mild bitterness (for a DIPA) with caramel malt sweetness throughout. Citrusy, piney hops filled out the middle and it finished with plenty of grapefruit, light alcohol warmth, and linger hop bitterness. Medium bodied with refined carbonation, nearly silky texture. This is a nicely balanced, pleasant beer. I found the bitterness a little too mild though, although it did come forward in the finish once the malt fell away.

Photo of gonzo46and2
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy dark orange to near-tan. Big lacing head. Has a pine flower aroma and a nice frothy head from a decisive pour. What surprised me, was the amount of toasty malt flavor on the initial flavor. Bravo. This IPA has malt balls! Finish is a bit astringent and metallic.

Photo of elNopalero
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This pours a malty-yellow color. It has a muted hop aroma on this. Lightly flavored with a pleasant malt backbone to balance out the hops. There’s a bitterness that lingers on the finish. It’s not a hop bomb—surprise, coming from the west coast!—but more laid back and mellow. Coming from Northern California? Maybe there’s something else going on out there in Humboldt County.

Photo of macster
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

Photo of DenverHopHead
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of chinchill
3.81/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle.
Pours a hazy deep amber with a decent head.
Flavor has more citrus and is overall more fruity than the aroma. Good balancing malt load. Nicely balanced and soft for style.

Photo of Philabeerphia
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Right off the bat Mad River gets some bonus points for 1. making it out to PA 2. the 0% waste goal/policy of the brewery. From my notes:
12oz poured into a Carver Brewing pint glass.
APP> about one finger of white lace, just a touch of it hanging around in bubbly pockets for the long haul. Glowing golden color, super hazy, I can barely make out the shadow of my fingers on the other side of the glass. good stuff.
SMELL> sweet and flowery, stretching to citric rinds, down to earthen odors like mud. The entire time this is bakked by roasted malts.
TASTE> Spicy, dry & bitter up front, a bit sharp on my lips. Softer floral hop in the middle. Plenty of malts. Towards the back end the bitterness is taking aim at the sensitive & forgotten corners of my mouth. dry bitter finish. malt still there too. I taste an English IPA on 'roids here.
MF> Carbonation keeps the show rolling along, playing off the otherwise sticky medium body. Very pleasant
D> Not super intense, nicely carbonated, dry and bitter and sessionable.

Photo of Gabriel_Vaughn
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of weeare138
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

Photo of dsa7783
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
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...

Steelhead Double India Pale Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 775 ratings.