Redwood Stout | Mad River Brewing Company

310 Reviews

Brewed by:
Mad River Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly Steelhead Extra Stout

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-05-2001

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Reviews: 310 | Ratings: 521
Photo of LLP
5/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Yes, this gets a perfect score. This brew is in a very elite class. Why? Allow me to explain. My wife and I have conducted double-blind taste tests over the past 5 years of every Stout (we always compare beers of the same basic style; plain Stout, Oatmeal, Imperial, Coffee, Chocolate or Cream/Milk Stouts) we could get our hands on (about 50 or so now) and Steelhead has come out the victor every single round!

This is an extremely unique, thick, full-bodied, rich Stout the way a Stout should be. When one decants a Steelhead, a thick layer of goodness can be seen on the bottom of each bottle. We have found that the beer becomes even more complex (if such a thing could be possible given the unbelieveable depth of this brew) if we decant 11 oz. then swirl the final ounce around to loosen the sediment before pouring the last bit. This also serves to create a beautiful thick, rich, dark brown head.

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Photo of C3likesbeer
4.95/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Bottle from Total Wine

Poured into pint glass

A - Pours pitch black with thinner creamy tan head.

S - Dark chocolate with some raw licorice - nice and mellow roasty.

T- What a great tasting stout. So very well balanced. It's got lots of dark but sweet chocolate, licorice candy like taste as well. Nice roasty and malty balance with not too much alcohol taste.

M- Medium to dark body.

O- I really like this beer. Balanced, flavorful and very drinkable. If you like this, you should also try the 8 Ball Stout from Lost Coast.

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Photo of Kemmerlin
4.88/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Dark dark brown with a chocolatey thin head.

S: Smells of chocolate, caramel, and sweet malts. It set me up for a dessert like taste.

T: Seriously, it tastes like chocolate chip cookies to me with some good flavored malts and a slight smokey flavor in the after taste.

M: A smooth feel going in and going down, no extra strong bitterness or alcohol taste. Just a really good blend.

D: I do believe this is my highest rated beer yet. I would drink this guy till I got sick.

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Photo of Murph
4.8/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a great stout. They really couldn't do much to improve on it. It poured a deep black, not a trace of light coming through. I would have liked a better head on it. The smell coming off of it is licorice and strong roasted malts. Great taste. Faint licorice with roasted malts and a nice chocolate taste in the background. Very clean across the palate, in fact surprisingly so for a stout. I would have liked a little creamier feel to it, although this probably comes through with a proped nitro tap. Extremely drinkable. Probably the first beer that I had ever almost finished before I even thought to start my review. This is just one great stout. I love them and this is a beauty.

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Photo of ZAP
4.77/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a dandy...My first experience with Mad River Brewing. I love this stout. It pours black with a slight amber hint to it. A creamy, lucious tan-reddish head caps this "liquid" of delight. The aroma is outstanding...strong chocolate, and breadiness...It is a beer of high character. It feels the way a stout should feel, and tastes the way I expect a stout to taste...creamy and easy drinking, this stout features a strong chocolate malt base, with just enough hopping to keep it from being too sweet. It is an excellent stout, in the same ballpark with all my favorite stouts from Kalamazoo, Mackesons, and Watneys.

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Photo of jmbranum
4.73/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A powerful beer that tastes like a punch in the face.

Amazing mahogany brown brew with a tan head. Typical malty-toasty stout aroma. Flavor is intense. Rich. Lots of bitter toasty grain. Nice fresh hops in the background.

Thick rich mouthfeel.

I like this beer a lot. It is true to type and just smacks you around. Hard to explain but I like this one.

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Photo of abcsofbeer
4.7/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a damn fine stout that pours a dark, used motor oil color. There is no seeing the light on the other side of this one. The head is tannish and very thin that leaves little or no lace.

The aroma is a licorice, coffee blend, with hints of cherries and red grapes. The taste is much the same, chocolate tasting and lightly bitter. The maltiness is heavy and the tastes a little like wine in the aftertaste. This is a fabulous stout, one that makes me think that stout is my favorite beer style. Highly recommend.

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Photo of dlbrockmiller
4.65/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Holy cow this is good! This is a very dark appearing ale. It almost looks black! It has a wonderful malty aroma with a touch of hops. The flavor was the most distinctive thing about it. It starts with an almost coffee flavor then moves on to a chocolate aftertaste. It has a good mouthfeel and I can almost picture this with a scoop of vanilla ice cream like a root beer float.

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Photo of ditch
4.64/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a surprising find. I have never had anything from Mad River before and had no idea what to expect from this one.

Poured and nice ink black with an almost burnt orange head that faded fast. Lacing fell quickly back to the top of the beer.

smells of roasted barley and caramel, with some chocolate and nut hints.

Very smooth, even taste here. Just enough hops to smooth out the flavor. Chocolate, caramel, roasted barley and maybe a bit of raisin in the finish. dates and a slight hint of cream. Very well balanced. Impressive!

Worth checking out if you, like me, are a stout person!

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.62/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - pours an inky, oily black. A nice mocha head starts to form up but falls back quickly, holding at a solid cover. Lacks lace but otherwise looks great.

Aroma - chocolate syrup, charred malt, rich coffee.

Taste - big roasted malt, more coffee presence than chocolate. A tangy fruitiness on the swallow. The finish is vapory, roasty, delicious.

Mouthfeel - creamy and smooth, peppy carbonation.

Drinkability - easy to drink, a fine, fine stout.

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Photo of cokes
4.6/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black as a 3-mile deep ocean trench. Huge chocolate brown sponge-cake head.
This seems to teeter on imperialness in several categories. Most notably the nose: deep burnt raisin, ripe plums, charcoal and chocolate.
Cocoa bean right up front, mingling with a subdued expresso note. Seared dark fruits rush in from all sides. As the nose promised, blackened raisins and plums materialize. Just the slightest bit of drying hops are noticed, and they seem to have minimal effect on the taste. Impression of burnt paper late. Rides out thick and remarkably similar to fudge.
Seemed a bit over-charged up front, but settles into a hearty medium-full body.
Great stout here.

Muchas gracias to Bighuge for this trophy

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Photo of RootedFool
4.6/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a sturdy beer mug. The head is densely bubbled, chocolate milk in color. Body is black as night. Smell: Delicious waft of espresso and chocolate, leaning more heavily on the chocolate, very sweet with a pleasant sizzle of toasty malts and thin hop presence. Taste: luscious rush of roasted malts upfront, burned crescent roll (but in a good way), chocolate, chocolate pudding, coffee grinds. The middle is a more pronounced bitterness as the sweetness slides underneath to sneak up on the aftertaste. Mouthfeel: perfectly rich, middling carbonation.

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Photo of yemenmocha
4.6/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours nearly opaque black with off-brown head. Even the appearance of this beer is rich.

Nose offers dark chocolate with nougat, almost like a dark chocolate version of 3-Musketeers candy bar.

Palate has a big roasted whomp, immediately reigned in with hops and chocolate dessert flavors. Integrated nicely.

Rather full on the body, rich, chewy. Swirl it around for a few moments and the chewyness is just amazing. Long roasty finish and very drinkable for such a flavorful stout.

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Photo of BMoney575
4.57/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sampled on 2-6-09

Pours super black, a thin ring a tan head, and huge brown lacing. The slightest bit of red shows around the edges.

Smell is huge maltiness, a little aged, with tons of complexity. Aromas of anise and chocolate are prevalent. Very good.

Taste is just like the smell, tremendous malt, tons of coffee and chocolate. Normally you have to go for an RIS to get flavors this big.

Mouthfeel is great, perfect thickness and carbonation.

Drinkability is outstanding, a hugely flavorful beer with a reasonable abv.

Overall, I was thoroughly impressed by this beer. Highly recommended.

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Photo of Riverwarrior
4.55/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

S = Nice strong waves of baker's chocolate with roasted coffee beans lingering in the background.

T = Starts out with a fantastic chocolate sweetness and the roasted coffee flavors begin to blend into the mix. Bitterness is very low. I was left with a long, semi-sweet finish comparable to a "cafe mocha" coffee.

MF = Texture was very smooth and creamy. Body was light. Low carbonation. Finish was semi-dry.

Overall, this was a highly drinkable American Stout due to the well balanced flavors and low bitterness level. I think I've just found my "Go To" stout.

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Photo of erratic
4.55/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wasn't expecting too much based the label and name. I know, never judge a beer by its label... but WOW

poured viscous and black. virtually no head until the end of the pour where a thin butterscotch color head quickly vanished. opaque except for a ruby hue skirting the edges.

The smell really perked up my expectations. coffee and chocolate were strong. Really inviting.

slightly sweet with a nice balance of bitter. Chocolate, coffee, raisins and molasses balanced perfectly with the roasted malts.

Full bodied and smooth. loved it

Amazing drinkability out of such a potent brew. Strong flavors that managed to not overpower. I was surprised to see this listed here as an american stout. I thought for sure it was a russian imperial.

Overall, one of the most impressive beers I've yet had the pleasure of tasting!

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Photo of Shiredave
4.55/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was very happy to find this beer on the east Coast, but I had forgotten just how damn good it is.
Steelhead pours pitch black and opaque with a sparse red/brown head.
Sharp, acidic massive aroma of roasted barley - very stouty with a hint of floral hop softening the overall impression.
Initial mouthfeel is slick and heavy with huge roasted malt flavors.
Hop bittering is firm but not overpowering and mixes neatly in behind the delicious grain bitterness and malt sweetness.
Exceptional balance and outstanding Stout character. A truely great example of a Foriegn / Export/ Extra Stout.

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Photo of GimpyCane
4.53/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured thick jet black with a two finger espresso brown fizzy head which diminishes quickly. Cocoa powder and chocolate malt dominates upfront with a hint of fudge shop. In the middle I get a hint of licorice or vanilla, rounding off with a strong dried raisin or dates. This beer is a great example of what you smell is what you taste, a nice coffee bitter ended the drink. The body is full yet smooth and clean with a lively carbonated end. Overall, this brew rocks and with its intimidating look one would be surprise to find out its low abv content at 5.5% making a dangerously drinkable brew. Enjoy.

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Photo of cjgator3
4.52/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark black color with a tan head that leaves a good amount of lacing and has pretty good retention as well. The aroma is dark roasted malt and a nice dose of chocolate. The aroma reminds me of a chocolate stout. The taster is dark and roasty with a nice bitter finish. Overall, this is one of the best stouts that I have ever had. Highly Recommended.

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Photo of mralphabet
4.52/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Black oily and thick looking. Less than 1 finger of dark tan head that disappears quickly.... No lacing...

S: Lots of good stuff here... Roasted malts, some dark fruit, coffee, toffee, a hint of chocolate and licorice... Wonderful smells, very stout like.

T: Perfect Stout....lots of roasted malt flavors a nice touch of hops to balance everything out. All the smells are in the taste, leaning more to coffee, toffee and licorice as it finishes.

M: Wow... smooth creamy with a velvety texture... Med to heavy bodied, just what how a stout should be....

D: This is a great beer... everything you want in a stout.... ABV is not bad, I this is a one or two beer in a session...

This is a must try if you like a good stout... Everything with this beer gets better as it warms up.... Run out an get this one !!!!

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Photo of RoyalT
4.51/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance – Blacker than black with a small head that dissipated quickly.

Smell – Giant espresso and cocoa aromas fill the nose, followed closely by strong, roasted malts. The nose is very powerful and fulfilling.

Taste – What do we have here? There’s a surprise in this bottle: balancing hops. Whudda thunk? The bitter espresso and chocolate cocoa powder come with some refined sugary flavors as well, making this one quite the party.

Mouthfeel – Seriously full in the mouth and exceptionally smooth for such a heavy brew. Not a hint of alcohol to this one.

Drinkability – I had no problem killing this little 12-ounce bottle.

Comments – This is one stouty stout. This is what I think of when I think of stout. This is a tremendous example of the style. Much thanks to the Santa Monican MickeyMac for sending me this offering from Mad River.

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Photo of MisterDeeds
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black. Black. Black. To quote Rick James; "DARKNESS!!".

Smells roasted and sweet. Very malty.

Wow. For once, a beer tastes exactly like it smells, and I love it. Very sweet up front. Not quite chocolately, but somethng tasty. Finishing with a balance of roasted malt and hops that just barely border on bitter.

Mouthfeel is somewhat thick, but not too much. The perfect coating for a stout.

Yes, I could see myself having a few of these. Not an ideal warm weather brew, but if you are looking to warm up or stay warm by the fire, this is a winner.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pitch black with 1” dark tan head that provides good lacing on the glass. S: roast malt aromas, a little chocolate and some sweetness T: very pleasant and drinkable with nice chocolate notes and some roast malt F: Medium full to full body, medium carbonation, soft in the mouth. O: a very pleasant, enjoyable American Stout

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Photo of elvisnj
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle.

Nice head. Dark beer that I cannot see through with but the lighting is poor inside my friend's basement bar.

Medium carbonation. Nose is espresso and chocolate mixed with hops. Smells very nice.

Taste is full of flavor. I get great coffee, with dark chocolate, and dark malts. Some licorice root and mild hop bitterness as well. I like it alot. It is smooth and well mixed. Pretty clean on the back of the tongue. A bit on the sweet side, and subsequently, there is a slight thickness to the mouth feel. However, it works fine with the strong mix of flavors of the coffee and malts.

The label says its "Rich & Robust" and I totally agree.

No single characteristic stands out as best but overall its a very solid stout that is worth drinking again.

Highly recommended.

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Photo of Brent
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer must fly under the radar, as I'm surprised there is not more buzz about this very well-done stout that lands firmly in the American Stout category. Nice mocha head. Aroma of roasted malt with a bit of caramel. No over the top chocolate or coffee flavors - just straight forward big stout. Slightly sweet and with a clean finish. Will see more of my beer fridge.

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Redwood Stout from Mad River Brewing Company
4.03 out of 5 based on 521 ratings.
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