1. Extreme Beer Fest tickets go on sale Sat, Sep 27 @ Noon EDT.
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Serious Madness - Mad River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Serious MadnessSerious Madness

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

206 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 206
Reviews: 125
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 10.33%
Wants: 18
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Mad River Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  8.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: klewis on 02-26-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 206 | Reviews: 125 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by bitterthebetter:
Photo of bitterthebetter
4.4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours an absolute murky black with brown undertones and a frothy tan head

rich malty aroma full of chocolate malt, caramel, slight spice, floral hops, pine notes, and faint sugary notes

super smooth malty body with milk leading to bittersweet chocolate, candied sugar, molasses, cake notes, and caramel lead to the hops which vary from floral, spicy, dry, piney, and slightly lemony on the smooth finish

surprisingly smooth body with solid malt notes leading to subtle and smooth balanced hops without the malt being too sugary or overbearing and the hops are ever prevalent yet crisp and balanced

smooth, inviting, delicious, balanced, layered, and downright unique its by far the best 'black' beer I've had. the solid malt body blends extremely well with the sturdy yet light hop notes and there is no trace of the alcohol. its rich yet not over the top and with plenty of layers to dig through it was an absolute joy to drink this beer. I will definitely be getting more

bitterthebetter, Mar 16, 2009
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Now this was a very interesting beer,it had alot of different stuff going on.Poured into a small tulip glass a deep cola cola color with a thinner but well retained deep tan colored head,great mix of resiny hop,mollases,and deep roast.Flavors are like a big raw porter with intensive hops,mollasses and coffee roast with resiny hop.To me this a big earthy American porter thats hopped to the hilt.I enjoyed it, although the alcohol will rear its ugly head.

oberon, Jan 24, 2010
Photo of csmartin6
4/5  rDev +0.8%

csmartin6, Nov 02, 2012
Photo of Lazaro
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Lazaro, Jun 29, 2013
Photo of Beaver13
3/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle. Pours a dark brown black with a thick creamy tan head that foes to a thin film and leaves some lacing.

The aroma is subdued - roasted chocolate malts with some dark fruits.

The flavor is a lot of roast - some chocolate and coffee, with a big acidic bitter roast finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and slightly watery.

Overall, it's an OK, very roasty black ale.

Beaver13, Sep 15, 2011
Photo of Billolick
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle a new arrival in 4 packs for $10.99 @ DeCicco's in Ardsley, NY. No freshness/bottling info offered.

Pours very dark brown, with a ruby glint or two. Mocha head that stays, low sheeting quickly goes to respectablebits of lace.

A touch of brandy soaked wood in the nose, along with roasty dark malts.

Flavoful, bold and complex brew. More brandy/wood, burnt and toasty malts, with a blast of drying hops. Nice. Dark tea, vanilla, leather and dark ripe fruit notes also picked up. Rich, smooth and milk shakey on the tongue. ABV well hidden. Well done, dark beer lovers, go get some of this fine stuff

Billolick, Mar 22, 2011
Photo of Mora2000
3.68/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to blutt59 for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a dark brown color with a white head. The aroma is mainly toffee and chocolate. The flavors include toffee, chocolate, roasted malts, yeast and some spices. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Mora2000, Jun 23, 2010
Photo of jondeelee
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serious Madness is a seriously dark ale, noticeable even in the nose, which bears notes of milk and dark chocolate, chocolate malt, peat, tobacco, and just at the edges, a slight floweriness from the hops.

On the tongue, the brew is instantly dark and black, with strong chocolate malts hitting the tastebuds, accompanied by ash and tobacco, as well as peat. The level of black malt flavors is more pronounced than a Guinness, and more geared toward ash and tobacco. Toasted pecans and slightly burnt grains round out the malt flavors. A good smattering of hops gives the beer a nice bitterness, though the grapefruit/pine notes normally associated with hops are largely overwhelmed by the malts. Aftertaste is mainly ash and chocolate malt, and lingers at the back of the throat for a while. Mouthfeel is medium-light and silky, and carbonation is medium-light.

Overall, this is a good black ale, with plenty of flavor to go around. Some might find it a bit too ashy, and the brew is more watery on the tongue than I would have expected, given the flavors, but it's still a nice addition to the collection.

jondeelee, Aug 03, 2011
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.43/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pretty much a black beer with a light brown head to it. Roasty smell.

A serious amount of bitterness. Heavy roasting. Chocolate and coffee malt probably. Very carbonated. Slight amount of metallic vibe to it. Not a lot of hop mouthfeel, just the bitterness.

A decent enough black beer, nothing complex, but it hides the alcohol well enough. Tough to really categorize the style, somewhere between a stout, porter and an ipa.

Beerandraiderfan, Apr 27, 2011
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark cola pretty much black color with a light beige tan head forming thick with fine speckled lacing. Aroma has faint citrus herabal hops amongst a nice dark fruit and dark roasted malted barley back drop. Dark chocolate with hints of coffee and anise in the nose, herbal citric hops are subtle but interwoven in both flavor and aroma. Dark roasted chocolate dry bitterness on the palate hints of dark roasted coffee accents, with hoppy underpinnings this is a nice Black IPA. Mouthfeel is medium bodied dry bitter finish between hops and malts alcohol well hidden. Moderate carbonation goes down extremely smooth on the palate slight trace hop oils make it sort of slick. Drinkability overall is a smash hit in my mouth nice dark ale qualities that don't fight with the hop profile a well executed version of a hard to do style.

WVbeergeek, Oct 16, 2010
Photo of chinchill
4.01/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was poured from a 12 oz bottle at about 45-50F. Looked near perfect, with a large tan head over a black body with dark mahogany edges, The head is durable and leaves plenty of splotchy lacing.

Medium+ body; silky smooth; Light+ carbonation.

The aroma promises a load of dark malts and has hints of chocolate.and coffee.

The flavor follows. It's rich and moderately complex, with as much dark malt as I'll probably ever want. Fairly minimal burnt flavors and negligible char. Momentarily sweet, it becomes increasingly bitter going into the finish and aftertaste. Higher ABV is partially evident but well integrated and eloquant.

chinchill, Monday at 12:37 AM
Photo of ste5venla
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

ste5venla, Aug 01, 2013
Photo of InfernoBoss
4/5  rDev +0.8%

InfernoBoss, Feb 29, 2012
Photo of TheSixthRing
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours near opaque black with a tan, finger width head. Good retention, leaving behind a nice layer of microbubbles that coats the surface. Lacing is thin and sheeting before clumping into spots on the glass.

Smell - Predominantly earth on the aroma. Chocolate mocha. Faint floral hops.

Taste - Strong roasted malt character upfront and throughout. Bitterness comes through as baker's chocolate and moderate anise character. Milk chocolate sweetness hits mid-taste before a nice, balanced finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium to full body with moderate carbonation. Creamy at first, then turns a touch chalky and dry on the finish.

Overall - I wouldn't categorize this as an American Black Ale (or Black IPA, Cascadian Dark Ale, whathaveyou)... it drinks just like an Imperial Stout. In fact, I think it's been completely miscategorized here, and a perfect example of why I don't like that CDA's have been renamed American Black Ale. Black Ale is a generic term for any ale that's black in color, such as this. But it's nearly 75 IBU's you say? So what. Ten Fidy comes in at 98 IBUs. CDA is not only a more unique and less confusing term, but it also pays homage to that style's localized roots... but I digress. This is a solid all-around beer. Great balance. Wonderfully drinkable. Don't expect it to be a CDA, or 'ABA'. It's not.

TheSixthRing, Apr 07, 2013
Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Toronado. Perhaps the most interesting beer I had this aft there. Black wth a big soapyhead, and followed u with lace. Creamy above-Average mouthfeel. I was getting more of the black, the roastiness, though that was dominating and it was one-dimensional. More like a shwartzbier to me, although yes there were hops. Aroma was coconutty.
Had a bottle later and was just as good, with better aromas and left aftertaste.

Sammy, May 30, 2010
Photo of tdm168
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - black with a big, thick, brown head that has great retention; some sediment floating in the dark liquid

S - very faint nose; some chocolate

T - chocolate, roasted malts, black licorice, dark fruit, faint citrus, mildly bitter

M - medium bodied, well carbonated

This was a decent beer. It wasn't as hoppy as I was hoping, but the rich, complex maltiness was enough to keep me intrigued. The hops seem to get buried revealing only a slight citrusy undertone. Something a bit more bitter may have had a better chance against the depth of the malt. All in all, I did enjoy this beer, and I would recommend it to any fan of the style.

tdm168, Feb 06, 2013
Photo of cjgator3
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle

A- Pours a dark black color with a light tan head with good retention and lacing.

S- The aroma is dark roasted malts and hops. Good aroma, just a little fainter than expected and desired.

T- The taste is bursting with flavor. Dark roasted malt and a lot of bitterness from the hops. Very enjoyable!

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a perfect amount of carbonation. Perfect!

O- Overall, this is a fantastic beer that I really enjoyed! Recommended!

cjgator3, May 25, 2012
Photo of Fatehunter
2.58/5  rDev -35%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5

Pours a half finger of head on a black body.
The aroma is roasted malt, sour milk and grass. It's not a great smell.
The taste starts mildly sweet, then some lemon bitterness in the middle to end. It has a milk flavor to it all.
The texture is crisp and soft around the sides.
The sour smell and milk flavor really through this beer off.

Fatehunter, Apr 23, 2014
Photo of emilylee
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

emilylee, Apr 01, 2012
Photo of Nage37
5/5  rDev +25.9%

Nage37, Feb 20, 2012
Photo of poopsmitherson
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%

poopsmitherson, Feb 16, 2012
Photo of GRG1313
3.55/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a thick and firm tan head; very nice looking.

Nose is of weak black chocolate with some sweetness; light licorice and hints of black cherry.

Mouth is medium bodied and nice balance.

Flavors are of bitter black chocolate and bitter coffee with a hint of sweetness; flavors develope into espresso and chocolate and get better as the beer warms.

Finish is a strong point - nice bitter black chocolate/bitter coffee finish with a hint of sweet chocolate in the first part of the finish.

Beer gets better and better as it warms.

GRG1313, Jun 29, 2010
Photo of PorterForMe
4.4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a beautiful black with a one-finger light tan head. Awesome lacing. Can't wait.

S: Holy malt batman. A plethora of sweet malt aroma with hints of licorice and slight hoppiness.

T: Delicious. Sweet caramel and toasty chocolate with great alcohol balance and a hint of hops. Only thing I would ask for is a slightly stronger hop profile in an ABA.

M: Somewhat chewy for an ale; more like a stout (I'm not complaining). Solid carbonation

O: This is a great beer. Maybe a touch too sweet and a little lacking in hops, but that is nitpicking this tasty brew. Give it a shot!

PorterForMe, Jun 15, 2011
Photo of KevinGordon
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%

KevinGordon, Jul 31, 2014
Photo of smakawhat
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle offered at Pizza Paradiso DC poured into a tumbler.

A very simple light cococa head almost tan in color, sitting on top of a very dark brown walnut body that is opaque. There's some slight red hues around the edges.

Smell is quite interesting and unexpected. Roasted malt, and a very big presence of good coffee. There's however a sense of gas/sulfur but also some nice chocolate but also a bit of heat.

Taste though at first is like pressed coffee, but it's the body and mouthfeel that comes out the most noticeable. Extremely carbonated and prickly and very light bodied. Finish though is a nice toffee like and bit of milk chocolate. Malt finish and there is a big sense of stickyness in the palate.

Overall not too bad, just wish it had a better feel.

smakawhat, May 05, 2011
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Serious Madness from Mad River Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 206 ratings.