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Steelhead Extra Pale Ale - Mad River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Steelhead Extra Pale AleSteelhead Extra Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

342 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 342
Reviews: 212
rAvg: 3.56
pDev: 12.92%
Wants: 6
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
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: 342 | Reviews: 212 | Display Reviews Only:
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 BuckeyeNation


3.6/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Yeasty burnished gold with a smidgen of orange peel. The poofy head of rich ivory becomes more substantial as it deflates. It's lingering for a respectable length of time and is depositing spits and scraps of foam on the glass. They aren't that numerous, however, and don't look all that committed.

The nose is a little too weak, but is recognizable as belonging to a pale ale. It smells like watered-down lemony hops with a mild earthiness to go along with the citrus. There's nothing in the aroma that makes me think that malt is in use.

Steelhead Extra Pale is a decent pale ale that struggles to be better than slightly better than average. Or is that slightly better than better than average? What maltiness is evident tastes like lightly buttered biscuits. It's still short on hops with a barely acceptable quantity of barely bitter lemon zest. Eighteen IBUs seems rather paltry, doesn't it? All pale ales don't need to be hoppy, but <20 should be against the law.

The finish is uneventful. The flavor doesn't change in character, it just gradually fades away, leaving the mouth clean with a slight hoppy linger. Consumption is as easy as breathing thanks to the uncomplicated nature of this ale.

Steelhead Extra Pale Ale isn't bad beer, but who really sets out to brew 'not bad' beer? With a little effort (more hops!) it could be a corker of an easy drinking APA. As is, it's slightly better than slightly better than... oh never mind.

Serving type: bottle

07-17-2005 16:22:24 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of metter98

New York

3.6/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy pale yellow in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high dense off white head that died down yet consistently left a thin head covering the surface.
S: There are aromas of pale malts and citrus and floral hops in the nose.
T: The overall taste has a good balanced between sweet hops and citrusy hops. No bitterness is discernible.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied, relatively smooth and a bit thin on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer goes down very easily and is quite drinkable. This is a good beer to drink on a hot summer day.

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2011 23:44:52 | More by metter98
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

3.33/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a cloudy honey colored body with very little head and no lacing

Smell: A bit hoppy but modest overall

Taste: Again, the hops dominate but it is not overly hoppy; doesn't have the fruitiness I look for in an APA

Mouthfeel: A bit light bodied for an APA; decent carbonation

Drinkability: Certainly drinkable but not a special APA I would seek out

Serving type: on-tap

06-01-2005 22:01:43 | More by brentk56
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

3.53/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

golden amber color with crystal clear clarity came out of the bottle. Lots of visible carbonation was apparent throughtout the session with chains of bubbes rippling up through the glass. A nice two inch hight pillow of white foam then came over the top and settled down qucikly leaving a bare centered crown in its wake. No appreciable side glass lace, but still a more the decent look to it.

The aroma was light with hints of light citrus, lemon mostly mixed in on top of a cereal grain filled base. Lots of whaeat and light earthy aromas blending in, but as it warmed a light hop presenced was dulled out way in the back, the aroma overall though was far too light to be really a knockout in any way. A nicel ight, crisp, and clean flavor was then produced. It was a classic light pale ale flavor, clean with a light wheat base, some light floral, citrus notes spprinkled through, orange, light lemon grass, especially in the finish. Great mouthfeel, with a carbonation that held thoughout the session. Easy drinkability as the flavors were light, crisp and clean, with almost no aftertaste

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2011 01:44:08 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of BEERchitect


3.65/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

If the rest of their line-up compares well with the Extra Pale, then this will be a welcome brewery to Central KY. The beer pours a sparkling clear straw color with moderate carbonation and head retention. A solid malt / hop aroma brings out some fruitiness (apples, pears) and some sweetness. The flavors are quite sweet and balanced (did not expect this). However the sweetness goes from fruits to vegetables (dms) going into the finish. The sweetness remains confectionate sugar-like and dominates the beer. Meanwhile a good grassy, citrus hops adds character and rounds the beer out. The beer keeps a firm stature throughout with bready flavors and feels. Finishes a little sweet and maybe a tough heavy for the style. Quite good beer and very enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2007 20:08:30 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of ChainGangGuy


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

12 ounce bottle - $1.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours out a hazy, yellow-orange body with an inch of not-so-long-lasting, white foam.

Smell: Floral accents with cascading Meyer lemon wedges, a teensy pinch of spice, and a mild maltiness featuring simple white bread and cookies.

Taste: Lightly bready maltiness with equally light, sweet hints of crumbled sugar cookies. Then, a tart lemony citrus flavor infuses the taste, followed by spicy, faintly floral accents, and a modest, middling amount of bitterness. Slightly acidic. Things slacken as you reach the finish, there's a skosh more cookie, a hair more lemon zest, but not really much of anything notable or potent. Finishes moderately bubbly, still with a hint of sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium-plus carbonation.

Drinkability: It's extra pale, just its name suggests. Sometimes these things feature bitterness, but here it is bitter-less, leaving it just a decent, drinkable beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2011 19:17:21 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of spycow


3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

04-12-2013 04:57:53 | More by spycow
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

3.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Was suprised at how hazy this was,the color was a hazy orange,decent head that left some lace.Hop presence was the dominant in the aroma floral and a little grassy.Good balance of malt and hop here,real fruity and fresh tasting.A good well balanced pale ale.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2003 17:48:15 | More by oberon
Photo of largadeer


2.42/5  rDev -32%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pale gold with a quarter-inch head. The nose is bizarre, very lactic, almost like sour cream. There's a lot of diacetyl and sweet malt, too. It's malty, sweet and buttery on the tongue with a barely perceptible hop character. It tastes a hell of a lot like yogurt. Medium-bodied, the mouthfeel is creamy, buttery. No bitterness in the finish. I guess they were going for an English style pale ale with this, but it's a pretty colossal failure.

Serving type: on-tap

07-16-2007 22:39:29 | More by largadeer
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr


3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

10-26-2013 16:01:29 | More by westcoastbeerlvr
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

3.7/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light gold color, with a thin white head that fades quickly and leaves very little lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of floral hops, citrus and light caramelized malts

T: The taste is decently balanced with sweet flavors of citrus and caramel along with a hops presence that is strong but not-overpowering. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, although it's not the best pale ale out there it's worth drinking for a while.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2009 02:23:28 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of RblWthACoz


4/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clouded gold. Big crème head. Mild perfumed hops of the pine scented variety on the nose, but a pretty gentle ride. Flavor is tangy hops with an interesting zing that carries the citrus tone but not a really wild flavor profile. Feel has a good liquid body and a pretty high amount of carbonation to it. Overall a good brew. Smooth and easily drinkable. Nothing wild, but nothing boring as well.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2008 03:20:26 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of Jason


4.08/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz short brown twist bottle with no freshness date to be found. Thin layer of sediment on the bottom of the bottle.

Appearance: Faint chill haze upon the bright golden hue, minimal yet long lasting white lace rests on top.

Smell: Delicate flowery hop with undertones of citrus and a mild spiciness. Pale malt sweetness is quite evident also, smells a bit of freshly mashed malt … a little doughy.

Taste: Rich malt sweetness of milled malt and honey, hops take a bite into the palate with a spicy bitterness that keeps clean. Flowery hints and a mild fruitiness hit in the middle and the malt flavour seems cracker like. Suggestions of nutmeg and white pepper come from the spiciness of the hops. Leaning towards the dry side with a grain and spicy finish.

Notes: This is their flagship beer, pretty much your all American session brew as well as a fall back beer. I brew I would want in my fridge more often than others. 4.5% abv.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2002 19:14:53 | More by Jason
Photo of WVbeergeek

West Virginia

3.98/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Cloudy hazed pale orange golden glow thick fluffy white head leaves big chunks of intricate lacing, nice. Aroma: Citrus peel, grapefruit hop tones matched with pale biscuit malts giving the beer a nice sweetness. Taste: Surprisingly alot sweeter than I was expecting touch of sugar and breadiness with fruit undertones, along with a zesty hop bite that is just right in the finish. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied nice easy going carbonation goes down incredibly smoothly I could see why this is Mad River's flagship brew. Drinkability: I like a nice pale ale that retains a good bit of sweetness yet let's the hop flavors shine as well, good mix of flavors very drinkable brew in my book.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2004 20:08:54 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of Slatetank


3.75/5  rDev +5.3%

05-25-2013 14:04:55 | More by Slatetank
Photo of WesWes

New York

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

The beer pours a gold color with a thick frothy white head that quickly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice pale malt scent with a good hop aroma. It seems refeshingly bitter. The taste is decent. It has a watery IPA type flavor. It is pretty bitter with flavoring hops, but the malt palate is weak. The mouthfeel is decent also. It is a medium bodied beer with less than adequate carbonation. This is a decent drinking pale ale. It has nice hop qualities, but the mouthfeel and malt complexity are weak.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2004 21:48:47 | More by WesWes
Photo of jlindros


3.53/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

No intro, just a review.

A: Very light head rises and falls the lame races in Civilization the game. When it's gone in a few seconds, its like there never was one to begin with, just a few small bubbles on the sides of the glass. It has a golden honey color and is pretty clear.

N: Nose is semi sweet with even possibility of some honey. Light aromatic grassy hops comes out, they let you know of their presence, but don't dominate very much. More pale malt aromas mingle with some faint piny citrus hops. THe aromas is pretty light as well.

T: Starts with a decent hop taste. Some grassy hops with a touch of citrus. More pale malt flavors. A touch of sweetness and perhaps honey as well on the taste. Some spicy bittering hops start to splice through and adds a slight earthy taste. Light and crisp and refreshing though.

M: Medium body, semi light, pretty much no carbonation, like a Tomme'd bottle (damn screw caps!).

F: Finishes slightly malty and creamy, but with a decent bitterness. I semi expected it to be bitter, but it doesn't really come, it just hangs at a medium bitterness. A slight juicy hop taste starts to come at the end, but is just a tease. It does finish pretty clean I can say, but not as bitter A little bit more of the sweet honey aspect, but still dry finish. Overall pretty bland beer. I wouldn't necessarily call it an extra pale ale, as more of a pale ale.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2009 02:10:47 | More by jlindros
Photo of jwc215


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

Pours slightly hazed golden yellow with a thin white head. Some lacing sticks.

The smell is citric - orange, floral and grassy. Nice hoppy aroma.

The taste is citric-esp. orange with floral bitterness. It has a pale malty backing - maybe a hint caramelish. This is hoppy for an "extra pale ale", though balanced. There is a sharpness in the bitterish finish.

Amply, though not overly, carbonated. It has a medium body that is pretty creamy. Not quite as chewy as I would like in an IPA, but as it is an APA, which tends to be lighter in body, it fits very well.

This is a nicely, a bit differently, hopped pale ale. Despite the slight sharpness, it drinks very well. A "different" "extra pale ale". After the glass is finished, I still enjoyed smelling the glass.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2009 01:08:05 | More by jwc215
Photo of Rochefort10nh

New Hampshire

3/5  rDev -15.7%

11-22-2011 18:04:31 | More by Rochefort10nh
Photo of Halcyondays


3.83/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a pilsner-yellow into a glass, with a thick, white head which leaves nice lacing.

S: Fragrant smell of hops, not a lot of pine, mostly tropical fruit and citrus, some bread malt as well.

T: Quite a bit sweeter than some of the other pales that I have had, the hops have a nice tropical feel to them, with pineapple, tangerine, and orange.

M: Crisp, smooth, a bit oily, standar pale ale feel, nothing special, but nothing bad.

D: A good pale, one of the first beers I have had from this brewery. Would be a good, sessionable APA, I enjoyed it.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2007 03:52:04 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of smcolw


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

Golden color with a large amount of cloudiness. Generous head with lasting power--good lace on the glass.

Mild, but well-balanced with a soft hop presence.

Slightly sweet with a low level hop in the background that becomes stronger with the swallow. Relatively short aftertaste. Appropriate mouthfeel for the style.

Refreshing and easy to drink. A firm step up from the macros but not as flavorful as some APA's.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2008 19:29:41 | More by smcolw
Photo of GClarkage


2.9/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Consumed in October 2004 from a 12 oz bottle. Reminds me of the Pyramid Coastline I had earlier yesterday. Not really impressive. Not awful, but nothing great...barely aveage if that IMO. Pours a dark cloudy orange with a tiny head and little lace. Smells of citrus, lemon and malt. Tastes a bit grainy, grassy? Has a decent amount of detectable hops. Has a bit of lemon taste to back it up. Way too much carbonation. Doesn't leave a tremendous aftertaste which is good in the case of this beer. Has that musty taste again. Not intruiged by this beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2004 20:18:54 | More by GClarkage
Photo of barleywinefiend


3.53/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this bottle up from 99 Bottles in Federal Way, WA

A: Poured a pils yellow color with good carbonation and a nice white head

S: Light hops, citrus, earthy

T: Very light and somewhat sweet, floral notes

M: Pretty thin, easy to drink indeed but looking for a bit more flavor

D: Good

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2010 00:44:53 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of tempest


3.6/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Paired a bottle with some BBQ, something I'd recommend.

It has a gold body with a white head. The flavor and aroma are fairly simple - dry, bready, and biscuit grains with peppery and citrus hops to balance. It's notable that while this beer isn't terribly complex, it's quite clean (no flaws and the ingredients stand out on their own) and nicely balanced. A great summer beer for pairing flavor with high drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

06-28-2008 17:45:04 | More by tempest
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Steelhead Extra Pale Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 342 ratings.