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Steelhead Extra Pale Ale - Mad River Brewing Company

Steelhead Extra Pale AleSteelhead Extra Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

329 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 329
Reviews: 210
rAvg: 3.56
pDev: 12.92%

Brewed by:
Mad River Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  5.60% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: OldFrothingSlosh on 03-24-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 329 | Reviews: 210 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Omnium


3.58/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle > Sensory Pils glass

A- Pours a nice gold color, one finger of sudsy white head, very little lacing.
S - Lemon peel, tart apples, fesh baked bread, some grass, a little pepper.
T - Lots of bread and toasted caramel malt in the flavor, then some fresh cut grass.
M - Lots of carbonation, almost like a sparkling cider.
O - I'd like to see more of the hops come out in this beer, its more malt forward in the flavor than anything else.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2013 23:34:15 | More by Omnium
Photo of spoony


3.44/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

From a 355 ml undated bottle into a tulip.

A-A slightly zealous pour produces about one and one-half finger of nearly-white head. The retention is decent, but lacing is non-existent. The beer is straw/golden color and clear with a few tiny bubbles of carbonation.

S-The smell is very mild. I detect a bit of cider-like fruit flavors, apple mostly, and a little bit of caramel. Hops are virtually undetectable. I wonder how old my bottle is?

T-The taste is similar to the smell with a sweet, apple cider flavor and a bit of caramel for body. There is just the slightest floral twang on the finish, but otherwise, hops are absent.

M-The brew has soft carbonation and a medium to light body. It is easy to drink, but not terribly crisp.

O-I suspect my bottle may have had some age on it because it seemed to be totally devoid of hops, which is disappointing in a beer advertised as Extra Pale. The apple cider flavor just kept creeping up, and while not off-putting, it did not make for a terribly interesting or balanced brew. Also, for a beer with 5.6% ABV, I would have expected a little more flavor. Meh.

Serving type: bottle

08-28-2013 03:57:02 | More by spoony
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.24/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a hazy light yellow-orange with a foamy off-white head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Thin streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, and subdued citrus zest aromas. Taste is much the same with malt and sugary flavors on the finish. There is a very mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an above average beer that is fairly drinkable but the hops present in this one are pretty subtle and/or faded for being an extra pale ale.

Serving type: bottle

07-26-2013 05:21:45 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of Jimmys


4.06/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle. no best before date.

A: a slight haze on a straw blond body. lots of carb ripping through the body. head is frothy and slightly off-white. huge clumps of lacing left behind. cant tell if this is chill haze or a lax filtration. still looks good to me.

S: definitely fruity. a little bit of bubblegum hop aroma. a decent amount of grist. actually the grain gets more and more rich as the beer warms as the hops seem to take a step back.

T: starts sweet, almost under attenuated. grainy, chewy malt plays with a mild pineyness that equals pure balance. a little bit of cantaloupe and a mild hop bitterness that lingers into the finish.

M: ample carb, but not in the way. light, almost medium, body.

D: I wish I knew how fresh this was. really great drink out of the bottle and im sure its exceptional fresh at the source. definitely worth a try and I can see why this brew has taken home a few medals in the GABF.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2013 00:36:30 | More by Jimmys
Photo of nofalltoofar


4.53/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into pint glass

A: White head is one finger, dissipates quickly leaving a little lacing. Color is cloudy bronze

S: Sharp and sweet, grains and some fruit notes

T: Immediately present mild bitterness, sweet middle tones, grains and a little fruit and citrus notes. Strong caramel aftertaste

M: Not too carbonated, clings to tongue a little bit. Not too watery. Not too thick.

Great pale ale. Got it for $26 all told. I think this might be my summer beer of choice. Good on ya, Mad River. I'll be sampling your other seasonal delicacies.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2013 01:31:52 | More by nofalltoofar
Photo of beck2008


2.43/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - straw pale - (looks like a lager)
Smell = very little hop aroma
taste = Sub-par pale ale. Thin body, very little malt presence. Hops are slightly grassy and piney. The taste reminds me of hoppy alka seltzer. Not a great pale ale but then again it's called "extra pale" so I maybe I just don't know what that should taste like. The hop bitterness hit me in the back of the throat and that was it. No alcohol detected. Lots of carbonation, almost too much - similar to a lager. I'll take a Liberty Ale over this any day.

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2013 00:58:13 | More by beck2008
Photo of themind

New Jersey

3.19/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Mad River makes a half decent APA. Has good, crisp carbonation with a slight hoppy bite to it. I would not put this in the league of legendary beers like Zombie Dust but in a pinch this should feed your cravings. You could down a few of these without a problem.

Bottom Line: Average APA

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2013 03:58:03 | More by themind
Photo of TheQuietMan22


3.4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Serving type: 12-ounce bottle. No freshness date.

Appearance: Straight pour into a pint glass. The color is light gold. One finger of eggshell-colored head left an even lacing that eventually turned spotted.

Smell: Well-balanced between pale malts and grassy/earthy hops. There is a touch of grapefruit, orange, lemon, and lime. The hops remind me of one of Mikkeller’s single-hop series beers, but I cannot remember which. D’oh! There is also a little candy caramel sweetness and toffee. Reminds me of a British pale ale.

Taste: Nice mouthfeel, but the flavors are on the lighter side. Pale malts, light caramel and toffee, grassy/earthy hops, and light hop citrus.

Drinkability: This is essentially light pale ale. I have no problem with it, either. I was just expecting a different emphasis regarding "extra" (*extra* pale ale, not *extra pale* ale). Very smooth and easy drinking.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2013 04:40:57 | More by TheQuietMan22
Photo of Brad007


3.43/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a light blonde with a one-finger head into my glass. I don't often seen many APAs this bright so I'm going to uprate this one.

Crisp with a light hint of pine and buttery malt in the nose. You can tell that it's in-between the APA and IPA.

Drinks more like the former. Very easygoing. A little sweet. Buttery. Some hop essence. Mostly sweet of all the things.

Lingering buttery, sweet malt and some hop essence.

Nice and light. An easy-going example of the style. Don't expect too much on the hop side and you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2013 23:19:49 | More by Brad007
Photo of Fatehunter


3.75/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thin head on a hazy, medium straw colored body. Lots of bubbles coming up.
The aroma is rich malt with the slightest citrus.
Mild bitter start, medium malt sweetness in the middle, and a long dry bitter finish. Great balance and depth.
Smooth texture, moderate carbonation and medium body.
A better than average pale ale.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2013 23:50:56 | More by Fatehunter
Photo of Amalak

New York

3.4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A. It has a dull gold color. Highly carbonated. It is basically clear. It has an OK white bubbly head with limited lacing.

S. Can smell much, but I am just getting over a cold.

T. It has a nice malty flavor. Some wheat taste. There's a dark fruit, perhaps grape taste in the back.

M. Carbonated and crisp.

O. Nice, if not special. Refreshing and has some zip, but lacks a top-tier flavor/style.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2012 20:58:51 | More by Amalak
Photo of garymuchow


2.58/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Not sure about the age on this bad boy. There does not appear to be any dating on the bottle.
Boy, for an APA there isn't very much hop aroma. Soft pale malt and closer to 6-row Am. lager type of malt aroma. A little bready, doughy, but that's about it.
Attractive but rather light in color with a yellow cold and mostly clear. Nice white head with some stamina.
Again, where are the hops? Some bittering and very mild hops in background that grow a bit with time and warmth, but still what's up with that? Malt is more of the same as the aroma.
Prickly carbonation and more than ample and filling.
Disappointing. Hard to mark this as even average.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2012 00:35:40 | More by garymuchow
Photo of LXIXME

New Mexico

3.05/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A small off white head quickly dies into a thin lacing above a clear honey golden colored beer.

Light aroma of citrus fruits and floral notes and a hint of pine.

Light citrus hops taste that has a very slight bitter edge on it.

Light dry aftertaste that holds just a bit of the hops with it on this medium bodied ale.

A little to weak on the hops taste for me in my desired pale ale journeys.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2012 03:27:01 | More by LXIXME
Photo of Neckhide

3.75/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I moved to Humboldt county a few years back and this has been my "go to" beer a good amount of the time since I moved here. Safe bet, easy drinker.

Appearance; First time I've poured one into a glass. Bronze, gold when held up to light. Tiny champagne like bubbles stream to the top, moderate carbonation. 1 inch head, fast receding into nothing. No lacing on this one, moderate lacing at times.

Smell; Subdued. Slight grapefruit, tangerine, and lemon rind. A tad mossy/earthy if you look for it, which is where it bears a slight similarity to the original California APA, Sierra Nevada. But, it's slight, and mild. A bit of chalky pale malt hits the nose on the freshest specimens. The weak point of this beer is the nose.

Taste; The slight citrus hits first and plays ping pong with the sweet pale malt on the palate. The malt wins in the finish, lingering with a doughy/biscuity flavor, slight underlying fresh grain. The citrus is gone by the finish, and the slight forest moss is the only hop flavor that continues to spar with malt at this point. The fresher you get this beer, the more the doughy malt really sticks out in the flavor profile, and this is most pleasing for my taste buds. Handles the shelf well, but the fresher the better.

Mouthfeel; Right alongside the taste as the best aspects of this ale. It's got more heft than your average pale, easily medium bodied, but still and clean and dry finish. Fine, delicate carbonation gives a slight seltzer like feel to it. Well executed.

Overall; Good session beer. If you are a fan of Scrimshaw pils, you will probably be a fan of this slightly heavier/maltier ale with a similar hop flavor profile. It's got a better malt profile than most Nor-Cal brews, most definitely in the top 25% of Nor-Cal beer, which might be saying less than you imagine.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2012 05:16:12 | More by Neckhide
Photo of TheSixthRing


3.95/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a hazy, golden yellow with an easy finger width of white head, average retention, and a resulting lace that's thick and sticky. There's quite a bit of sediment floating around however, settling on the bottom after the beer has settled down.

Smell - Pungent floral hoppiness. A light touch of spice.

Taste - Starts with mellow floral hop flavors, then shifts to a soft caramel mid-taste and continues into the finish. Good balance.

Mouthfeel - Light to medium body. Feels a tad undercarbonated. Goes down smooth and with a touch of buttery diacetyl.

Overall - Really soft, mellow beer. Drinkable, sessionable. Really rides the edge between an American and an English/Euro Pale Ale.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2012 03:38:07 | More by TheSixthRing
Photo of pweis909


2.98/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I was looking forward to my first Mad River Steelhead beer and it left me disappointed.

The beer poured out a dull golden color, perhaps a touch of haze, and a big foamy head. Even as I took my eyes off the glass to read the bottle, I smelled some hop goodness. When I looked back to the glass, the foam was gone. GONE. Never have I seen a beer go from foam to no foam so fast. Maybe I have a dirty glass? The hoppy aroma faded fast, but there is some pleasant hop in the taste, accompanied by a light sweetness, and unfortunately, a lingering chemically bitterness and a bit of astringency.

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2012 20:19:23 | More by pweis909
Photo of tony223366


3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Nice 3 fingers of white fluffy head after a vigorous pour. Very sticky as it's settling. The color is a straw golden yellow color with some fogginess due to the unfiltered nature. Tons of nature from the carbonation. Seems like the carbonation will be high. To be honest it looks a bit like a fizzy yellow beer but I know it'll taste way better.

S: Huge biscuity aromas actually. Some citrus from the hops as well. There is certainly some fruitiness to this beer too. Primarily I get the pale malts though.

T: The taste is actually quite nice! Although certainly not your typical west coast pale ale. It starts out with some light citrusy hops but then it becomes a pale malt show. Big doughy, biscuity flavors. All along there's a general fruitiness and then a lightly bitter finish. The beer leans on the sweet side though and I would dare say it's almost cloying.

M: Medium to light body with prickly carbonation. Very drinkable. Not particularly "slick" as you would see from a beer with lots of hop oils.

O: Well, this isn't a bad beer but I'm not sure if it fits nicely in the American Pale Ale. It feels more like an English American Pale Ale. Is it called Extra Pale Ale as a play on E.P.A or English Pale Ale? Can't say which makes it hard to grade. As an American Pale Ale it's not all that great. I'll stick it with an above average score.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2012 05:14:49 | More by tony223366
Photo of DocJitsu


4.53/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a gorgeous clear, golden color with a white, bubbly head that attenuates to a thin cap. The cap is perpetuated by carbonation bubbles that migrate from the bottom of the glass to the top of the beer. White lacing remains on the glass as it is being drunk. The bouquet is characterized by light notes of orange peel and grapefruit. This beer has an almost perfect mouthfeel in that it balances a heavier slickness with a mild scrubbing on the back of the tongue. This tastes how I would make an APA taste if I could make an APA this good. Sweet grapefruit and lemon balanced by just the mildest tart citrus at the finish make this a phenomenal drinker. I love it!

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2012 01:03:50 | More by DocJitsu
Photo of ZekemusMaximus

New York

2.93/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A-Really light golden hue, totally see through. Very little lacing.

S-A small amount of citrus and fresh pine. It's pretty faint and doesn't hit my nostrils as hard as i'd expect.

T-For an extra pale ale I expected this to be super bitter but it really wasn't. There were citrus notes to start that ended in a biscuity, cracker taste. Not too much to say after that, fades quick.

M- Really clean, not too much carbonation.

O- This was alright, nothing to out of the ordinary. I was let down with it being labeled as an extra pale ale. Fairly easy to drink but I wouldn't go out of my way to drink this again.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2012 01:35:19 | More by ZekemusMaximus
Photo of aranheaney

New York

3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a nonic pint from a 12 oz bottle

A-pours a clear yellow with a bit of head and lacing

S-citrus, pine etc all the usual pale features are here

T-follows the nose, nothing excellent here this is ok but nothing out of the ordinary

M-average at best

O-nothing outstanding

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2012 02:27:58 | More by aranheaney
Photo of KMcG


4.1/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bright gold, slightly hazy, 1 finger of head that dissipates to only a few lace patches. 

Toasted light grain and floral hops, some grass.  The nose is strong, but difficult to describe. 

Floral hops, slight bitter character, a touch of faint lemon and a biscuit/cracker finish.  

This has a light to medium body. It's refreshing and easy to drink. Overall a fine APA.  

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2012 02:09:10 | More by KMcG
Photo of cyclonece09


3.43/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle from a beer of the month 6 pack from Vintage Cellar in Blacksburg, VA into a pint glass. Pours a nice straw color with a one finger white head that dissipates somewhat quickly, but leaves some nice lacing. Has hints of floral and citrus notes, but not overly strong. Has a more subdued hop and malt taste, but it is well balanced. While the carbonation seems a little high, it goes down quite well and definitely a sessionable beer. Overall, a decent beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2012 02:49:22 | More by cyclonece09
Photo of cps98


3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A – Deep yellow in color, 1 finger white head. Decent lacing was present.

S – Light pine notes with some citrus mainly lemon thrown in.

T – Mild hoppy citrus characters.

M – A nice crisp light bodied beer.

O – Overall a decent pale ale with good hop notes and a nice clean finish.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2012 01:27:08 | More by cps98
Photo of tdm168

North Carolina

3.48/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pale copper with a mountain of dense, white, foamy head. The smells is soapy with notes of pale malt. The malt character is slightly bready and the hop character is faint. There are buttery and floral notes throughout each sip. The mouthfeel is lighter in body, crisp, and smooth.

This is a decent APA. There's not much to rave about; solid malt character but lacks elsewhere. If APA's are your thing then this is worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2011 23:50:33 | More by tdm168
Photo of VelvetExtract


3.73/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours a hazy honey-yellow color. Nice cap. Bright white in color and with both good size and retention. Leaves periodic lace continents on the glass.

S-More sweet and bread/grainy than hoppy. At first sniff I immediately think of cereal; Corn Flakes to be exact. Cracker notes. Hops are quite muted. I am getting some light floral hops. Aside from that I could stretch and say some citrus. Like most people, I like my Pale Ales hop forward; this one doesn't initially seem to fit the bill. But a maltier Pale Ale could still be good.

T-The taste actually lends some hops to the palate (albeit a minute amount). Hops are floral and citrus mostly. The cereal/cracker malt easily balances out the hops found here. A very subdued bitterness lingers shortly.

M-This may be its best area. Nice carbonation with an easy-drinking medium-to-light body. Crisp and fairly refreshing.

O/D-$4.99 a six-pack at the local store...deal, deal, and deal. If I were to describe this beer in one word it would be "bright". Not very memorable, and it certainly won't 'wow' you, but this is a solid, drinkable Pale Ale. A beer can still be good without being intense or unique.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2011 04:32:16 | More by VelvetExtract
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Steelhead Extra Pale Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 329 ratings.