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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.

343 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 343
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: 343 | Reviews: 212 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Hunter


2.13/5  rDev -40.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

appearance: Hard pour finally brought up something of a head, but vanishes on the instant. No lacing. Slight haze to the light gold brew. MEH.

aroma: Not sure what I'm getting here. Hops, yes, but behind that? Something akin to fruit, cereal...not sure what else.

taste: Taste lives up to the appearance and aroma. Very bland, vapid. No real hops bit like you might expect. Aftertaste is metallic, mouthfeel sharp.

drinkability: It's not offensive, but it's not going to challenge you. The beer equivalent of a McDonald's cheeseburger. I won't be back.

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2005 03:52:59 | More by Hunter
Photo of blitheringidiot


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

Stubby 12 oz'er pours a hazt peach topped with a settled razor thin ivory capped bubslight hard candy malt.bly brew.

Cascade hop aroma, no doubt, still perks my scent buds with grapefruit citus and a malt backing.

First swigs: Orange pez candy citrus flavors well balanced with a delicate sugary malt backing that creates a well designed XPA.

Feel is crisp and zesty with a medium body.

Last swigs: Crisp pale that offers a refreshing light orage Tang citrus zest.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2005 02:20:56 | More by blitheringidiot
Photo of GnomeKing


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

Hoppy and husky, this straw-colored, cloudy pale ale is solid but nothing special. The dry and husky taste gets a little tiresome toward the bottom of the pint, but it's still a relatively drinkable brew. There wasn't the citrus bite that I expect from a west coast pale ale.

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2005 15:21:25 | More by GnomeKing
Photo of Zorro


4.43/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a chill hazed gold with a touch of orange color to it. Fairly large and persistent white head.

Smell is crackers and biscuits for malt. Nice citrus hop scent with a bit of spiciness to it. Clear scent of grapefruit to this one.

Taste is smooth; malt and hops are balanced perfectly here. Slight sweetness at first that is matched by the hops to highlight the citrus from the hops and a dry woody finish and a butter and oak aftertaste. After a while a nice acidic palette cleansing effect becomes noticeable.

Mouthfeel is good.

Damn drinkable beer here. A near perfect session beer. Tasty, mild, flavorful, easy on the senses and low alcohol to boot; this beer has it all. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2005 01:21:10 | More by Zorro
Photo of pjwilson


3.78/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've liked this beer for along time now, since before i was a BA and i mostly drank coors light. Now it still holds up. This has got me thinking, that a new style should be created on BA: the Extra Pale Ale. Seemingly based out of Humboldt county, extra pales are different beast altogether than the standard pale ale like Sierra nevada and Scapegoat. For one, the appearance, you would mistake this for a Hefe from across the room. It looks cloudy and is a bright straw yellow. The taste and smell are also very hefewiezenish. To compare this to hoppy stuff like SNPA, doesn't seem fair really because that's not what this beer is trying to archive. Yes this isn't a challenging beer at all; but's it's nice and refreshing like Hefewiezen. This is a great training wheels beer, a good choice at marco bars (around here it's pretty common) and goodfall back session beer when you just feel like putting a couple back. all so good with bbq.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2005 04:02:12 | More by pjwilson
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 palliko


4.22/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is cloudy golden topped with an arctic white head of foam that settles down gradually to sticky lace. Aroma is pungent with spice (pepper and oregano), sourdough starter, and hops. Initial taste has a thick body, well carbonated, and delivers a mildy sweet malty message to the tongue. Bitter lemon rind hops chime in and cleanse the palate. Other fruits come to the forefront as the temperature of the beer rises: apricot and nectarine. Nice dry finish that leaves the mouth feeling refreshed and happy.

Serving type: bottle

07-17-2005 14:29:48 | More by palliko
Photo of silver0rlead

North Carolina

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

Pours a pale, cloudy yellow with a thin white head that dissapates quickly. Aroma is a nice blend of floral hops and biscuit-like malt smell. Taste is floral hops and a bready malt background with a lightly bitter finish. Pretty standard pale ale...perhaps a bit on the hoppy side.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2005 03:21:05 | More by silver0rlead
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 maek228


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

Appearance: Poured a dark yellow. One finger head which dissipated quickly. No clingage

Smell: Hops and grain

Taste: This is an awesome APA. Some mildly sweet malts provide the upfront flavor, there is some grain in the background as well. The hop finishes is stronger than most APAs, which I have zero problems with. The dry hoppy finish lingers for a bit.

Mouthfeel: Chewy and medium bodied.

Drinkability: I can put this down with ease.

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2005 01:49:18 | More by maek228
Photo of Thrasher


3.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is another standard California pale ale, lighter in color than Sierra Nevada. The hops are at play here, as is to be expected. What I didn't expect was how floral and perfumey the hops were, just a little too much. It's interesting to see that for their pale ale, Mad River eschewed the typical West Coast grapefruit hop quality in favor of a more German character, but I think they overdid it.

Still, one becomes accustomed to the flavor relatively quickly, and Mad River Steelhead Extra Pale Ale settles comfortably into the role of a session beer. The malts are light and crackery, and the finish is dry but not astringent. The mouthfeel is ample and pleasing, while the drinkability is as good as could be desired. It's a fine beer, with a single glitch, and a confusing name. (Despite this being brewed by Mad River, the beer is called Steelhead, which is the name of another West Coast brewery.)

Finally, I have another big criticism to make and it has nothing to do with the contents of the bottle, but rather the bottle itself, or more specifically, the small label on the neck. Without exception, every bottle in my six pack has had a poorly attached label on the neck of the bottle. After twisting open the bottle, the neck label has come loose and fallen off. This is not a big deal, really, unless it falls off during the pour and lands in your glass, in the middle of the beer. (This happened to me. Twice.) Watch out for loose labels! Nobody wants a tiny piece of paper (with dried stickum on one side) floating in his or her beer. Hopefully this is a temporary problem for Mad River, and future neck labels will be as adhesive as all get out.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2005 02:22:07 | More by Thrasher
Photo of BeerManDan


3.85/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pale ale was of a light hazy yellow color when poured, with medium amount of foam, but a lot of lace from first sip to last gulp! The smell or hops is what really filled the nose. The taste was of hops, barley malts and a hint of a yeasty citrus. If only the flavors were more intense. It was an average pale ale that will be good as a quincher on a hot day!

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2005 06:10:39 | More by BeerManDan
Photo of UnionMade


3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours an attractive blond, crystal clear until the last of the pour, where some yeast comes through to cloud things up. A generous heap of white froth, settling evenly into a thick film. Good head retention, keeping a solid coating through the entire beer with no need to reagitate. Excellent, thick rings of belgian lace all the way down the glass.
The aroma is very smooth. Crisp pale malt with a touch of biscuity quality, in the sense of actual home-made sweet biscuits, bolstered by a gentle pacific northwest hopping. Hints of citrusy lemon and lime. Rather clean, in the vein of Sierra Nevada's pale ale.
The flavor starts with a bare, slight malt profile. Not a whole lot up front, merely a faint pale malt crackle. Citrus notes take up the middle, a fresh lemon and lime sparkle, moving directly into a quick, moderately hopped finish. Refreshing citrus bitterness, with an actual lime juice sort of sweetness. Very clean. Just a mild lime flavor in the aftertaste, which lingers for some time. Lightish to medium bodied, with a bright carbonation that's nothing out of the ordinary.
A solid pale ale. I really like the pronounced citrus flavor. It's very fresh and vibrant. Good stuff to sip after a long day. It's really nothing out of the ordinary, but it's a solid beer resembling the greats from northern california. Something that could easily be a local standby for picnics or just anytime., if I were living in the area. Worth a pint or three.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2004 06:01:29 | More by UnionMade
Photo of AlexJ

North Carolina

3/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy light amber/orange color. Light white head and no lacings. Smells yeasty, fruity, and wheaty. Tastes slightly lemony sweet with soft hop finish. Wierd! This tastes like it's half wheat beer. Doesn't taste bad, but not what I expected. Refreshing and fruity. Needs more hop.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2004 17:50:04 | More by AlexJ
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 Billolick

New York

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

12 ouncer, lacking any freshness dating. Pours a cloudy yellowish very wheat like shade of amber, white head, tiny bubble film and respectable lacing. Nose is pleasingly floral. This is a tasty light, flavorfull and refreshing quaffer of an APA. Its nicely hopped, with citric notes and piney. Its light to medium bodied, and finishes with a smoothness that makes you want to suck down a few more. Alas, I only had one bottle, too bad.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2004 02:33:59 | More by Billolick
Photo of Reidrover


3.6/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in the 12 oz brown shortneck.
It is a light orange /dark yellow ale in appearance, its quite hazy and there is no head to speak of.
The aroma is very citrusy..though not in the usual "pale " way..this reminds me of a hefe for some reason.
The taste though is unmistakable..classic American pale ale , loads of hops and a nice enough malt backbone.Good bitter aftertaste.
Pretty nice feel on the tongue for a pale..its quite smooth and easy to go down.
A good drinkable beer though has some odd characteristics.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2004 01:00:47 | More by Reidrover
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 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 sulldaddy


3.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A chilled sample in a pint glass.
The beer pours a bright gold color with some sediment haziness. I also get a 1 cm soft white head to foam up that fades quickly.
Aroma is hoppy with sour grapefruit and pine notes dominant. No real malt presence.
First sip reveals a very light body and mild carbonation. I expected the light body for a brew called extra pale ale.
Flavor is kind of fruity sweet with some light apple hits and general sugar, these tastes move quickly to a citrusy hop presence that finishes very light.
A very refreshing brew and incredibly easy to drink, but not very complex.

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2004 02:24:03 | More by sulldaddy
Photo of grynder33


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

Clean, fresh, grassy hop malt aroma, a little bready on the second whiff, gold with a little amber color, Initial sweet malt taste, with just a touch of hops aftertaste. Reminded me of a fine European pilsner. Nice beer, but the aroma promises more than the taste delivers

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2004 18:22:37 | More by grynder33
Photo of MobBarley


4.48/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice golden, hazy hue with a small, fizzy head and adequate lacing. The aroma is floral and a little grassy. The flavor is very well balanced and less bitter than most Pales. As the website notes, this is more of an English Pale than an APA. Some fruity notes hang around in the finish and make things interesting. Mouthfeel is a little chewy and alot fizzy...though not too much. Drinkability is great. This is a classic session choice.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2004 07:01:26 | More by MobBarley
Photo of merlin48


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

Pours a cloudy, medium yellow, with an appearance of overcarbonation, judging by the tall, rocky, foam head that resulted from a slow and careful pour. The head drops quickly enough, however, and retains a small frothy film head all the way down.
Aroma is grass and hay, a little pine, and a sweet caramel malt backbone.
Mouthfeel has a peppery, hops bite, and seems overcarbonated.
Taste is mostly pine, lemonrind, and grassy hops. There is a rough, bitter character to the predominant hops, and this imparts a sharp biting character. The sweet malt emerges as the glass warms, and lends a touch of balancing smoothness. The finish is dry and bitter, and leaves a rough, astringent aftertaste.
Overall, a little too rough and out of balance. Still, this is worth a try if you enjoy a sharp, hoppy pale ale.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2004 19:49:43 | More by merlin48
Photo of watermelonman


3.75/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This would make a great standby ale. It poured to a light golden color with a decent head. It's very mellow and nicely balanced. There's a hint of citrus and a hint of hops with nothing dominating.

I feel like I could drink gallons of this stuff in a single sitting.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2004 04:51:46 | More by watermelonman
Photo of GCBrewingCo

North Carolina

4.05/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured hazy golden. The head was white and fell back quickly, but laced the glass.

The aroma was citrusy, fruity and floral. A slight sweetness was in the aroma behind the hops.

The flavor was citrusy and malty. Slight caramel sweetness is in good balance with the hops.Also some fruitly flavors are present.

The finish was off dry with a slight fruitiness and hop bitterness. The body was medium. Very easy drinking.

12 ounce bottle.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2004 23:51:54 | More by GCBrewingCo
Steelhead Extra Pale Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 343 ratings.