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Steelhead Double India Pale Ale - Mad River Brewing Company

Steelhead Double India Pale AleSteelhead Double India Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

691 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 691
Reviews: 396
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 11.05%

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: 691 | Reviews: 396 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of DogFood11


3.35/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I saw this for the first time @ beverage warehouse and was inclined to pick up a couple six packs based on my great experiance with mad river brewing. Poured into a pounder glass it takes an aggressive pour to form a thin head. Orange body and no lace. Not impressive to look at but who really cares? not me.

Lots of piney and resinous hops but overall its a tame double IPA. Sweet and tame is the theme. A rather mundane grapefruit presence without the zip or citrus angle. Vegetables start to appear but only for a second and they are squashed by the sweet hop/malt backbone.

Notes: I love this brewery but this was a dissapointment. Sweet malts detract from a rather boring hop profile, considering the style. Hops come across more in the mouthfeel than the taste. Apple pie seems to be the finishing note with a touch of cinnamon. OK, not great, decent price.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2006 02:47:37 | More by DogFood11
Photo of illidurit


3.35/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased from 99 Bottles in Santa Cruz. Poured into a pint glass. On the pale end of the DIPA color spectrum, with a gorgeous fluffy white head. Modest lacing but excellent retention. Aroma is grapefruit-dominated and somewhat sweet. Flavor has a mild crystal malt basis that gets trampled by citrus hops. Pleasant even bitterness through the finish. Lacking in flavorful maltiness. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and nicely carbonated. Pretty drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

06-07-2008 19:31:35 | More by illidurit
Photo of callmescraps


3.35/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked it up on a whim. Let's give her a run.

Appearance - A pretty nice cloudy copper/amber color. About a half inch of fluffy head. Very cloudy, lots of sediment. It's nice, but not spectacular.

Smell - Some nice hoppiness. Got a little citrus, a little funkiness. Maybe some malty breadness. Not entirely clean. A little muddled.

Taste - Not sure where the hops went. They seem like they want to show up, but then it gets all malty and weird. Very bitter on the finish. Out of whack somewhere.

Mouthfeel - A little heavy. It has all the stickiness of a hoppy beer, but not enough of the flavor.

Drinkability - Not bad, given the booziness. Otherwise, it's pretty average. I wouldn't really be thrilled about another, but I wouldn't have a problem drinking it.

Eh. Really not great. Probably shouldn't have called it a DIPA. The hops get sort of lost, it's a weird muddle, and the aftertaste is kind of gross. I've been drinking killer DIPAs recently, so this was a good reminder of how difficult the style can be to pull off.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2009 05:21:52 | More by callmescraps
Photo of stephendr


3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz glass bottle - Dull brown murky appearance– nice white head– nose of fresh hops, cannabis , sweet fruits , and alcohol – heavy to medium body – initial taste is sweet then turns bitter , hops , malt and coffee - aftertaste malty chocolate , and bitter

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2006 00:46:08 | More by stephendr
Photo of argock


3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear pint glass. No freshness date but no need to bother with a DIPA.

A: Murky, hazy-appearing dried apricot hue with 1-finger foamy head that recedes to a thin cap -- a sure sign of high alcohol content.

S: The aroma is good with mostly tobacco and leafy hops smells, a bot of citrus and piney hops as well, with a solid backbone of malt. The 8.6% ABV is prominent in the nose as well.

T: Unfortunately, for me the alcohol flavors covered over what is likely otherwise to be a great tasting beer. The solid malt and leafy and pine hops flavors are there, but the hefty alcohol flavors are far too prominent to my taste.

M: Mouthfeel is astringent and very thick and oily. Aftertaste is pleasant but also dominated by alcohol.

D: A DIPA that isn't bad but needs to tone down the alcohol aromas and flavors to let the beer's more unique qualities of complex hoppiness and solid malt component take center stage.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2008 04:28:17 | More by argock
Photo of oregonskibum


3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Cloudy, light amber-orange color with a little sendiment. Thick creamy off-white head, heavy lacing.

S: Lots of piney hops with a little citrus in the background.

T: Hops seem somewhat dulled. The green piney flavors are there, but didn't carry through as much as expected. Fairly malty and oddly not well balanced. What happened to the hops?

M: Chewy. Medium+ body. A little too much for the hop profile. Feel like I just finished eating a wet piece of bread.

D: A passable DIPA, but not the best example. I question the age of the bottle (no date, purchased at Liquid Solutions liquidation sale). I think this would be far better fresh.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2010 03:57:36 | More by oregonskibum
Photo of silentjay


3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a murky brown/orange with some decent big-bubbled head and lots of chunks floating in the glass.

aroma is mostly of bready and caramel malts. some floral hops are there, but this smells sweet.

taste is similar to the aroma, but has a bit more floral and spicy hops. bread and caramel are still strong. not a lot of hop bite and no date on the bottle to know if this is fresh or maybe the hops have faded a bit. the hop profile gives it a lemon pepper flavor with a touch of pine and some citrus acidity. meh.

medium bodied with ample carbonation and an oily finish where the bitterness finally comes out from hiding, though its not that pleasant.

drinks average. could almost pass for a pale ale. nothing special in any aspect, but also nothing gross. would like to see bottle dates and a warning about the sediment on the bottle, but this isnt good enough for me to revisit often anyways.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2010 22:59:39 | More by silentjay
Photo of ViveLaChouffe


3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep hazy orange with a wispy ivory head that leaves a fine lacing. Big citrus in the nose, grapefruit and orange rind.

A big malt base here, sweet and rich but there's nice balance with the considerable herbal bitterness. Some citrus in there as well. Big bodied beer with a sticky finish and aftertaste.

Not a bad double IPA but not among the greats either.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2008 02:03:26 | More by ViveLaChouffe
Photo of StaveHooks


3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a cloudy orange brown. 1/2 inch off-white head sinks quick to form a variety of bubbles.

S - Grapefruit and orange, caramel, toffee, apricots, some muted earthy hops.

T - Caramel malt with a splash of butterscotch. Muted grapefruit, orange, and mango tries to back up the sugary malt but does not succeed. Canned pineapple juice. The tired hops adds a slight bitterness on the finish.

M - Low carbonation, full bodied.

Great caramel malt but the hops seemed to be an afterthought. Not your typical West Coast DIPA. No date on the bottle so I'm not sure if this is old or not. While this isn't a stellar DIPA, it is actually quite drinkable. The alcahol is very hidden as well.
In a sea of DIPA's this is pretty average.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2010 19:51:33 | More by StaveHooks
Photo of clark123456


3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A: Light amber color with very little head that doesn't stick.

S: Medium hoppiness. Not real fruity. Malt smell is not pronounced.

T: Strong hop taste with a lot of strong hop after taste.

M: Good mouth feel, not to carbonated and not too heavy.

D: The one I had will probably be my only one.

Serving type: bottle

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2011 01:25:37 | More by clark123456
Photo of Mdog


3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Murky amber, ok head.

Smell: Mild hop aroma, oxidized (wet cardboard).

Taste: Mild caramel then dry crisp citrus hops. Luckily the oxidized smell didn't come through in the taste.

Drinkability: Pretty easy to drink, the dryness makes me want to drink more.

I think this bottle was a little old but not too far gone, so I will give it a review. This has a nice dry citrus hop presence but reminded me more of a IPA than DIPA. Could have been due to age, but without a bottled-on date, who knows.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2011 02:05:46 | More by Mdog
Photo of Viggo

Ontario (Canada)

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!

Serving type: bottle

07-14-2007 00:18:26 | More by Viggo
Photo of OWSLEY069


3.43/5  rDev -9.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2008 17:53:45 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of machiavelli


3.43/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good orange/brown color with some lacing, average amount of head.

Decent aroma, typical of IPAs but nothing special

Has a palatable but robust blast of hops, slight tinge of alcohol in the taste that went away as it warmed.

A little heavier than the usual IPA, but not a difficult hurdle to overcome.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2008 22:37:54 | More by machiavelli
Photo of Fluke828


3.43/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Liefmans Goudenband Cervoise Glass (my goto for IPAs normally.

Pours a cloudy orange/deep amber with a whopping 3+ finger head with great retention, took awhile to dissipate and left superb lacing all around the glass.
Smells first of mild soapy hops and then definitely some malty breadlines. With some faint citrus in the nose as well.
Taste is mostly inline with the smells, with a tart bitterness and loud soaps coming through with a milder citrus bite towards the finish. Piny aftertaste.
Feels light to medium bodied with some sense of the alcohol but nothing overpowering. Nothing that blew me away here but nothing really too critical to say either, drinkable for sure.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2011 03:57:09 | More by Fluke828
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2007 00:57:32 | More by BeerTruth
Photo of tankg


3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A very strong IPA with a kick and sweeter than most of this style that I have tried. I have been drinking the 60 and 90 minute Dogfish Head and have been sampling similar beers, such as the Uber Pils from that Maryland brewery (Storm Warning? Heavy Seas? It was good anyway) . Anyway, this is good and potent but didn't stand out to me, probably because of a below average drinkability but the taste was good. Poured into a pint, with nothing to add to what others have said re appearance and smell. As other have noted not as drinkable as other potent DIPAs, but the other 2 bottles will be consumed...slowly. A salud'...

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2008 23:12:37 | More by tankg
Photo of bjoyce12


3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bartender at Bukowski's in Boston recommended. One of their most popular IPA's. I can see why; full of hoppy flavor. Almost too much, with an over the top hoppiness. If you're in the mood for a pwerful double IPA this is a good pick. If you're not feeling like a hammer of hops and the ABV that backs it up, then I'd steer clear.

Serving type: on-tap

05-01-2009 21:03:20 | More by bjoyce12
Photo of paco1029384756


3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an orange color with one and a half fingers of white head.

Scent of grass, hops, caramel, and a hint of spice. Not bad for not being super fresh.

Taste of hops, spice and some alcohol. Pretty simple, but not that bad.

Mouthfeel is medium light bodied with good carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2009 23:50:49 | More by paco1029384756
Photo of oline73


3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a very cloudy amber color with a finger of fluffy white head. There is a mild amount of lacing and some good retention.

Smell: Sweet with a solid caramel malt presence. There is also a decent hop aroma with some citrus notes.

Taste: The malt doesn't show up as much here as it did in the smell. There is enough to balance things, but it isn't the first thing you notice. Citrus peel hops with some malt sweetness. The finish is bitter with some alcohol and mildly peppery.

Mouthfeel: The body is just on the thick side of medium with tingly carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This is a solid brew. Good hop profile and decent balance. Not sure I would search it out again, but certainly wouldn't turn one down if it was offered to me.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2011 18:27:23 | More by oline73
Photo of tastybeer

North Carolina

3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Murky orange copper color with a big beige head. Retention is decent and looks tight and hop oily. Lacing is sparse, to slick to stick. Nose is of pungent muddied hop aromas with smoothing malts. Pungent not to be confused with huge. Aromas are pine, grapefruit, grassy, and assertively resinous. Taste has a pointed bitterness which seems to cloud the hop and malt flavors instead of compliment and enhance them. Flavors are otherwise similar to the nose. Still intensly resinous, and the bitter finish extends on forever. Taste aside, mouthfeel is gritty and has a lot of texture. An entertaining mouthfeel. Drinkability is ok but the the mounds of resins and thick bitter hops slow me down.

This has its own character for sure. Too sharp I think and not balanced enough. If there were more malts and at least more flavor/aroma hops to work with the bitter hops I think this would be closer to excellent.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2006 22:04:05 | More by tastybeer
Photo of timtim

District of Columbia

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.

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2007 22:34:06 | More by timtim
Photo of UA8


3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Hazy tan in color with a nice off-white head

S- A bit on the light side with malt and hops characters sneaking out along with a bit of citrus and grassy tones

T- Starts in with malts up front a bit of a cocoa or toffee tone in there moves to citrus and piney hops finishes with a mineral chacater and a bit of warmth

M- a bit heavily carbonated throws off the flavor of the beer really coming through with all the bubbles on your tongue

D- A decent offering could be quite a bit more thought out however since the sheer amount of carbonation hides the flavors and the nose and flavors are a bit unrefined.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2008 02:03:11 | More by UA8
Photo of WesWes

New York

3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a cloudy dark gold/amber color with a very thin white head that quickly fades to spotty lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a very malty scent that boasts of pale, crystal, and bisquit malts along with a mild hop aroma. The taste is decent as well. It's got quite a bitter hop bite, which is well balanced with malt character. I'm not a huge fan of the malt bill. It's way too sweet and murky. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is an above average beer, but there are plenty of DIPA's available that I'd choose over this one.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2008 22:01:06 | More by WesWes
Photo of nrbw23


3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a hazy golden orange with a creamy white head. Head forms a cap and leaves some nice lacing. Quite a bit of yeast and sediment in the bottom of the bottle.

S- Smells citrusy hops, sweet malts, wheat, grapefruit, and toffee.

T- Quite a bit of hops and a very strong malt back bone. Tropical fruit mainly grapefruit.

M- Medium in body and carbonation was good.

O- Nothing terrible nothing outstanding as well. There just seems to be something off on this one.

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2011 21:23:05 | More by nrbw23
Steelhead Double India Pale Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 691 ratings.