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Mad Belgian - Mad River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Mad BelgianMad Belgian

Educational use only; do not reuse.

47 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 47
Hads: 64
Avg: 3.4
pDev: 13.24%
Wants: 0
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Mad River Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Pale Ale |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: RedHaze on 08-09-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 47 | Hads: 64
Photo of pat61
3.85/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

L: Deep amber with a 3 finger off-white head.
S: Citrus, caramel malt, over ripe fruit.
T: Fruit, slightly sweet, light caramel, citrus.
F: Medium body and above average carbonation, creamy.
O: The malt and hops are a little off for a Belgian. It lacks the malt and yeast complexity of a Belgian Style Golden Ale.

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Photo of mhaugo
2.74/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

12 ounce bottle decanted into an oversized snifter. 6.6% ABV.
Appearance: Muddy bronze with a thin beige head. There is a significant load of chunks slowly falling to the bottom of the glass (2.25/5).
Aroma: Toasted malt and baked apples. Oxidation. More oxidation as the beer warms up (2.5/5).
Taste: Oxidized here too. This beer was obviously stored in suboptimal conditions. There is no indication on the label how old it is, so I guess I’m left guessing. Behind the oxidation there is a sweet, malty base, a touch of cider, and a hint of orange pith. There is a very mild bitterness too, but I’m not sure it comes from hops. It almost tastes like a byproduct of the yeast (or even the yeast itself) (2.75/5).
Mouthfeel: Medium body, medium carbonation (3.5/5).
Overall: I guess there was a decent beer in here before time sucked away its soul, but sadly that day was well before this one. I’m not sure if I would actively seek out a replacement, but I might pick up a pint if I saw it on draft somewhere (2.75/5).

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.22/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Looks more like an old ale than a Belgium pale. Hazy copper in color with an Ok 1/4 inch of head that forms a pretty sticky lace ring.

S - Again musky like an old ale with a kind of oak sweet malt smell. Smells kind of like an old DIPA with aged hops and malts.

T - Well it's far from terrible but the taste is sweet kind of medical herbal hop taste, which is faded next to some Belgium candied sugars and a touch of fruity yeasts.

M - Medium and kind of chewy on par for the style.

Overall I am not sure what is going on with this brew. With no sediment in the glass I am convinced it was suppose to look and taste like a Belgium Old ale. That could be the excuse for such a low score since its suppose to be a Belgium pale ale...

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.4/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

mad river is not getting me stoked so far. this one pours a rich golden color with a reasonable white head. smells like white grapefruit, brown sugar, and belgian yeast. flavors are all mellow, but there is some hops here, which is nice for a "belgian style golden ale". unconventional but just not that good. mouthfeel is alright, good carbonation and tartish finish. cant say its my favorite, but its drinkable. eh

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Photo of elNopalero
3.75/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a golden straw color. Nice, estery aroma. Light, fruity flavor comes through. Some sharpness on the palate focuses the flavors into a dry finish. This is a lighter Belgian style beer that opens up more as it warms. Looking forward to another bottle.

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Photo of metter98
3.38/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On-tap at Mugs Alehouse, Brooklyn, NY

A: The beer is hazy rosé in color. It poured with a thin white head that died down but consistently left a thin film of bubbles covering the surface along with a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: The nose has aromas of candi sugars along with some hints of caramel.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste has candi sugar flavors and some associated sweetness.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation and leaves some stickiness in your mouth.
O: The beer isn’t very balanced and the sweetness makes it cloying.

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Photo of Rayek
3.53/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Mad Belgian pours a deep gold/pale copper hue with a dense cream cap and a light haze. Head retention is good and nice lace is left behind.

I'm convinced that there must be some universal yeast strain that most breweries use for their Belgian beers. There's a light sourdough funk here that reminds me of a lot of US brewed Belgian style beers. Behind it is a fair dose of citrus that seems not right for this style. Warming helps, as it allows the yeast characteristics to come through more. A straw and pear frame holds up the rest of the flavors. Bitterness is well balanced and carries the aforementioned citrus. A medium and tingly body rounds things out.

Mad Belgian is a nice little beer, but I've had better examples of this style. Still, I'm happy I grabbed it.

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Photo of brentk56
3.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber with an adequate head (though not impressive for a Belgian style) that leaves a lot of squiggly lace behind

Smell: Toffee elements dominate, along with Juicy Fruit and an herbal aspect underneath

Taste: The herbal element is more pronounced on the tastebuds, with the toffee and Juicy Fruit flavors adding a sweet aspect; by mid-palate and after the swallow, the hops add a counter-point that keeps the sweetness in check; a bit of fusel alcohol, particularly in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with low to moderate carbonation; not nearly lively enough for a Belgian

Overall: Count me in the minority on this one, but I rather enjoyed it; not a great example of a Belgian style but not a drain pour, either

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Photo of illidurit
2.21/5  rDev -35%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a tulip glass. Pours a pale amber color with a small tan head. Smells like honey, cornbread, muted esters. Flavor is, again, honeyed cornbread, yeast, grass, minerals, molding peaches, cheap white wine. Mouthfeel is flabby with a discordant watery finish, sticky on the palate yet thin in flavor, with an un-Belgian coarseness to the carbonation. The name is the best part; a Belgian might be rightfully mad to see a brewery produce such an uninspired and bland beer while invoking his country - one with such richness in tradition and quality.

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Photo of FightingEntropy
3.17/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Orange gold beer under an almost white head that falls with little to no lace. Higher carbonation on the cap pop, which can be felt on the front end. Strong yeasty smell with orange and lemon, a a faint must and vinegar. Clear alcohol in the nose as well. Acidic, yeasty taste up front and the fruit is muted. Very sweet--would guess the attenuation is high. Overall, an ok Belgian with a clear yeast characteristic, but too many things going in different directions. Final product doesn't meld well into a great beer.

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Photo of gatornation
3.18/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

poured from 12 oz bottle

A- pours a cloudy amber /copper color with a quick receding head a little lacing.it looks good

S- is sweet malts,a sour yeast and bread smell.some candied fruits

T- is a sweet malt and bread brew,sweet caramel.sweet malts some yeast and a little hops

M- is carbonated sweet on the palate a little tart..aaverage at best

O- 1 and done this is not a good example of a belgian pale or golden ale

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Photo of gfreed
2.95/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A not-bad, not-great, decent-with-qualifications BPA. It's yeasty enough to veer close to a golden ale, but light enough to feel fluffy, not stuffy. What is most unappealing is the pink-candy, SweeTarty-sugary taste that makes this a bit puckery and oddly sour. Still, it's somehow refreshing despite itself. I wouldn't run out and buy a stock for the fridge, but I wouldn't swat it from the shelf, either.

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Photo of mvanaskie13
3.51/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass; nice light tan colored head, a solid inch thick; color is copper/amber, dense.

Smell is light malt sweetness, with cidery notes.

Taste is mild malt sweetness of caramel; cider flavor continues but not as robust. Hints of spice, but subdued.

Mouthfeel is good, somewhat stronger caramel malt notes keep flavors lingering.

Drinkability is good, though i could see a few more spicier notes making this a bit more interesting.

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Photo of BeerManDan
3.6/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The color when poured was a hazy golden reddish yellow with very little foam and some lace on the side of the glass. The smell or sweet spicey roasted malts was evident in the aromoa. Very pleasing to the nose. When tasting this ale, the flavor was of roasted malts, spices and a hint of alcohol. But, the flavor on the palate was short lived. Then all I got was a bitterness with no after flavors. To much bitterness and not enough flavor on the finish!

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Photo of tempest
2.69/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I bought a slightly dusty bottle, but figured that as a Belgian pale, this should be fine for some time. Maybe, it is a little old, but from what I can tell it may never have been quite right. The aroma reminds me exactly of Mott's Applesauce. The flavor has a heavy cider character with a hint of Belgian spice. Wow, this beer is just dominated by apples, it tastes more like a thick hard cider than anything.

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Photo of DeanMoriarty
4/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a case at the brewery this past Wednesday night - they're on sale right now for $25. a case!!! There was only a dozen or so left when we split though.

A: Pours a hazy honey-like hue with a two finger tan fluffy head that sticks around for a while leaving massive amounts of lacing in its tracks.

S: Sweet and grainy, toasted malt, earthy bitter hop and a prevalent yeast smell that has a bit of nice funk to it.

T: Similar to the nose, but tastes like it has candy sugar added which brings out some fermented apple and tropical fruit flavors that are balanced nicely with a good dose of bitter hop that is earthy and mild but definitely makes its presence known. There's also a nice bready finish from the yeast.

M: Light-bodied, a bit sticky but clean, with a lingering bitterness from the hop and a good amount of carbonation lending to the beers extremely refreshing mouthful.

D: Drank the entire case in three days no problem. I will say though, they're better out of a tulip glass than they are in the bottle (a very noticeable difference).

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Photo of Foxxypants
3.34/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Overall a decent beer, but not what I was hoping for.

A: Poured into a glass same as I would any other beer, but this beer foamed up a storm. Left half of the glass with an annoying head that would not recede.

S: very yeasty, slightly citric

T: Slightly sweet, slightly bitter, slightly spicy. Leaves room for improvement.

M: After the foam had receded, it felt pretty decent. Dry, carbonated, and a bit tangy.

D: Due to the crazy foaming, it was incredibly difficult to drink. Maybe I just got a bad batch, but it was annoying.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
2.51/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Thanks to Jeff for this one. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Blue Point snifter.

A: Standard pour yields a 1 finger dense, slightly off-white head with moderate retention. Beer is a semi-clear tree sap. Lacing is patchy and stringy with poor stick.

S: Nose is honey, resiny hops, brown sugar, maple, and a touch of brown sugar. Unlike any other Belgian Pale Ale I've had. Spice is conspicuously missing. More like a watered down barleywine.

T: So sweet it makes my cavities hurt! Opens caramel, resiny sweet hops, brown sugar, a bit of raisin, and prunes. Sweet dark fruit predominates in the middle with a swift kick of maple just for good measure. Ends pineapple and raisin. Finish is cane sugar and the slightest touch of Belgian spice. Aftertaste is more sugar.

M: Medium bodied and moderatly carbonated. Bubbly in the mouth and a bit abrasive going down. Heavier than most Belgian Pales. Sticky. Finish is accented and aftertaste lingers.

D: The character is there... sort of... but this one is just sooo cloyingly sweet I can't take it. Skip it. Not even close to a good representation of this subtly complex style. This one makes me think that American brewers should leave the Belgian styles to the Belgians.

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Photo of bnes09
4.03/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark orange to amber in color. Massive head with excellent retention and patchy lacing.

Smell is fairly clean with some toasted bread and yeast character.

Nice blend of flavors. Fruity hops, apricot mainly. Toasted biscuits. Caramel sweetness. Smooth yeast. Just a touch of toasted almond. Complex and very well balanced.

Light to medium bodied with a semi-watery texture. Good carbonation.

I really like this one. This review may not be truly judged against style because this is my first belgian pale ale but I thought this was solid. Delicious and refreshing.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Mad River Mad Belgian Belgian-style Golden Ale

Hazy amber hue...not quite golden in color, despite the appellation on the label, with a dotted, off-white head.

Lovely aromatics, large and looming, fruity Belgian yeast-y esters, apple-y more than anything else. Peach, citrus.

Taste: Slides sweetly into the mouth, with minor bitterness on the side. Soft malt, pronounced fruit, plenty of spice. Pepper, ginger, clove? Tasty stuff. Medium body, delicate finish, lingers lightly on the palate.

Nice brew, tasty Belgian-style ale, but not really a Belgian golden. More of an amber, but either way, a well-brewed tipple.

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Photo of mactrail
3.75/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Robustly flavored but hard to categorize beer. They call it a Golden Ale, but I wouldn't. Current bottling claims 6.6% abv.

Dark amber color. Light body. Vegetable flavors rather than fruit. Summer squash and cucumber. Hops are restrained but a touch of bitterness. Starts out with a trace of sweetness but a rather hard aftertaste. Maybe a hint of cardboard. and aromatic in the nose.

While an oddity it's quite flavorful and interesting. It has more of the earthy, mushroomy flavor than the typical Belgian flavors.

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Photo of chumba526
3.15/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appears amber with a large white head.

It smells slightly fruity, peppery, sour and sweet.

It tastes sweet. I get a bit of a honey flavor. There is sweet fruity yeasty flavor and a hit of citrus flavor. A nice bitterness also is present. The bitterness balances out the initial sweetness. There is a slight metallic finish.

The carbonation is moderate. It's probably medium.

The drinkability is average for the style. It goes down semi smooth but I am not driven to drink more.

Overall an ok beer. Nothing great but nothing horrid either. It's just about average for the style.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.08/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked up tonight at Brewforia... Too expensive... I'm not gonna say what I paid because I'm embarrassed that I didn't look at the pricetag until I got home... Poured into my Old Guardian goblet.

2 finger lite tan head shows good lacing and retention... the brew is pretty clear lite orange.

Nose is nearly all apple juice ... some background spicy phenols... and something that I associate with pears show, but apples are the front runner.

Wow.. flavor is different, but not in a great way.. just an okay way. banana esters and bits of clove carry the torch up front.. mid palate flavors seem really muddy to me.. bits of caramel and toasty malts don't exactly play well with a lingering clove presence... and then on then midway toward the finish a distinct metallic flavor comes out..

Body and carbonation seem about right yet the above problems distract too much... this might actually be a drain pour as I just don't feel like I want to spend the time moving through an entire bottle.


This just seems like an old bottle possibly... I don't know, the first bottled reviews from this come from only about a year ago.. I think it just needs to be dialed in.

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Photo of Bfarr
2.27/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Cloudy orange amber with thin, tight head with good retention. Earthy fruit aroma with yeast and bubblegum(?) that turned to an overpowering vitamin smell. Dirty yeast and apple sweetness. vitamin B and zinc taste becomes dominant. Sharp carbonation yet sticky.

This one just didn't come around. The flavors became very muddy and the vitamin flavor, once apparent, was all that I could taste. Very few redeeming qualities although at first it seemed very promising.

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Photo of mothman
3.15/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into Weyerbacher tulip

Pours 1 and 1/2 fingers of creamy khaki colored head. Fades down to a thin layer but leaves some thick splattered lace along the way. Color is a dark brown hued burnt golden orange.

Aroma: Big spice and fruit flavors. Coriander, bananas, cloves, orange peel, and some yeast all show.

Taste: Big yeast and malt profile. A bready malt flavor to it. Has some floral and spice flavors to it. Coriander shows the most. Also has a hint of bananas here.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and crisp. Fairly large body with a good amount of carbonation. The low amount of alcohol actually shows in this beer. Ends a bit dry with some floral and spice flavors.

Overall, bottle says golden ale, ba says bpa ale. Does it matter? Not really except in the color. The color was off for a golden ale imo. Anyway, it was an alright beer, but the body was fairly large and the booze showed which I wasn't a fan of for a Belgian styled beer. Somewhat drinkable, but nothing I want a lot of.

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Mad Belgian from Mad River Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 47 ratings.