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 Rathlord
1/5  rDev -75.2%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I just wanted to throw up a mention on this beer that I got it from a HyVee in Iowa and the first one I opened (and all the others) have the inside covered with yeast (I'm assuming). It coats the entire upper portion of the bottle and is thick, dark, and gunky. I threw out immediately to avoid any kind of bacteria escaping. I know this isn't a proper review and obviously this happens from time to time, but I think it's worth noting that their quality team must be fairly poor. Even in the dark glass I could see it coating the entire upper portion of the bottle. I won't be buying their products again- this was both a (relatively, considering size) expensive beer and a well reviewed one and it was absolutely undrinkable.

Edit: I do realize that some beers (especially stouts) may have some yeast in them, but this was solid, thick, and absolutely coating the bottle. VERY unappealing.

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Photo of Hopheadjeffery
2.46/5  rDev -39%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Tasted in a pint glass from a 12 oz bottle. Look is opaque dark brown with a foamy tan head and little lacing. Smell is charcoal and dark roasted malt. Taste is roasted malt, toasted nut and tobacco smoke. Feel is medium in body but thin and restrained in the finish.

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Photo of samie85
2.73/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A-Pours a pitch black hue with one and a half fingers of marron head.

S-Smells of dark chocolate, freshly roasted coffee, and earthy hops.

T-Dark chocolate with a bit of roast and vanilla and finishes with bitter, dry chocolate.

M-Medium bodied with low carbonation with a pretty dry finish.

D-Definitely not my kind of stout. Very acrid-like roast notes make this one not very palatable to me.

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Photo of Sammy
2.9/5  rDev -28%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A bitterness that overwhelms the stoutability (new Webster entry). It looks like a stout, but it starts with a sourness in the aroma. There is roastness, even a tad burnt, some chocolate, but oh the sourness. Stiff upper lip to finish this one. It was a bit better at room temperature, and I am a lenient rater on stouts, it even refreshed, but the..sourness.

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Photo of brewerdrew
2.91/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured this beer into an Ommegang Belgian Ale Snifter. Presented Beautifully. Dark Black with a Deep Head just the right size.

The Smell was pretty innocuous.

The Taste as good at first but quickly disipated illuminating a lack of mouthfeel that I typically hope for in a Stout.

The Flavour was roasty but again fell short with its staying power.

Not running back to this one.

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Photo of DogFood11
3.03/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had no idea how many steelhead brews there are so it was fun trying to find this brew. Nice mocha pour and head. Syrupy pour was a welcomed sight.

I get an alcohol smell that is tamed by the rich slightly toasted malted backbone. At 5.5% I was hoping it would be hidden. Bakers chocolate persists throughout. Some sort of bitter twang that has a sour edge. You can put just your lips to this brew and it comes up sour. I think this is either the hop profile or adjuncts ...either way it was a distraction for me.

I'll just say there are many options with this style and this one is eh..ok for the price per oz / score. buy one bottle first if your on a budget.

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Photo of RJLarse
3.06/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On-tap at Elk Public House

Appearance is jet black with a bubbly dark beige head.

Smell is faint. There is a bit of a roasted coffee aroma.

Taste is candy-like chocolate flavors. Not a very robust flavor and it lacks a sweetness.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied but a bit thin for the style.

Very drinkable very sessionable. Not a great stout but it will do.

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Photo of tonistruth
3.14/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A- dark dark brown color with a little tan head that doesnt stick around all too long. Some tan lace on glass.

S- roasted malts, caramel, butterscotch, chocolate, grassy, and nutty. Much going on in the nose.

T- burnt malts and chocolate are most dominant flavors, slight hop flavor creepin' in the background. Chocolate aftertaste.

M- medium body, over carbonated IMO

D- the nose on this brew is fantastic, but its too soda like with all that carbonation, distractsa from the flavor. I wont go out of my way for this but i'd still like to give this brew another go because of the impressive aromas.

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Photo of onehomesickalien
3.16/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Good in comparison to many stouts, but definitely not one of my favorites. This reminds me of a Guinness extra stout but slightly sweeter and a little less carbonated. Appearance is nice, very dark with good head retention. Smell is OK, but very little stands out other than the dark roasted malt scent. Taste for me is a bit watered down, but I typically like imperial stouts. Not bad at all/ but this one is most likely the last one I will have.

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Photo of DUBinMIA
3.16/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours pitch black with about 3 in. head… not that foamy but decent. Ok lace.

Smell is of roasted malt and toffee. Light caramel notes towards the end. No real hop notes.

Roasted malt is dominant with coffee and piney hops toward the end. Not very complex.

Mouth feel is light for a stout. Could be thicker.

Overall an ok stout. Worth a try but I won’t pick it up again.

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Photo of abents
3.18/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours an oily black with a big brown head that's gone rather quickly. Not much for lacing. Smells of roasted grain and coffee with a slight hoppy smell as well. Taste is of a bitter coffee and slight chocolate with a nice roasted malty taste as well. Lingers pretty well in the mouth, but nothing too spectacular here. Pretty well carbonated with a light mouthfeel for a stout. I don't know here. A decent offering, but again nothing too terrific. I was impressed with the scotch porter, but this was just OK.

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Photo of DrinkingDrake
3.23/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured out an oily black whit a slight amount of head that quickly went away. A bite of bitter bakers chocolate in the nose with a lot of booze as well. The taste is smoother than expected but it still has a sharp bite that has a pungent bourbon alcohol aftertaste. I was not too impressed with this one.

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Photo of Globetrotter
3.27/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Scored this at the Total Wine in Northern Virginia in early November. No freshness or ingredient information on the label. In fact, the label only talks about the Steelhead line of brews - nothing specific about the stout at all. Semi-stubby 12oz brown bottle with a pleasing blue and white label featuring a large salmon springing from some forest stream.

Pours an utterly opaque super-dark burgundy under a one finger purplish gray head that is thick and creamy, but still dissipates quickly leaving no trace of lace. The nose has some roasted malt, but what sticks out is a distinct plum note. The mouth is fairly heavy and very carbonated, with a body that hugs anything it touches. This beer almost tastes like a sweet stout, with prominent plum and sour citrus notes. There is roastiness here, and a touch of espresso, but the fruitiness pervades. Only in the aftertaste, long after the prune juice is gone, do the roasted malts and dry hops assert themselves. It's OK, but a bit disappointing in my book.

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Photo of akajimmyd
3.29/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance – Opaque black, dark brown but thin head, minimal retention and lacing.

Smell – Roasted and coffee malts.

Taste – Sweet malts up front. Bitter chocolate and hits of dark fruits. Smoky finish. I could use more hops from an American stout. A little raw overall.

Mouthfeel – Full body, thick on the palette. The strong roasted and smoky characteristics detract a little from the smoothness and drinkability.

Drinkability/Notes – I’d like more hop balance. A good stout but there are better. Worth a try. (No freshness dating)

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Photo of Marraybay
3.3/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Look: Dark black - Not much head

Smell: Roasted coffee; Slight hint of fruit

Taste: Just a smidgen of upfront fruit sweetness, but not nearly as much as
expected, given my experience with MR's porter. Dry, slightly bitter finish.

Feel: Full

Overall: Had high hopes, but alas, not enough sweetness in
this one for me. More of a tease. As noted, would rather
drink MR's porter.

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Photo of wiseguy142
3.35/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours pitch black with a thin, dark tan head with a thick consistency. Head seems to die down relatively fast, leaving some blanketed lacing on the sides.

Aroma is alcoholic and floral. Like a strong RIS. Reminds me of Bear Republic's stout. Chocolately, with some raisins.

Taste is a little perplexing. I'd say it's sweeter than most stouts but has a dry, charcoal-plum finish. It's simultaneously sweet and dry which is what is confusing me. Not a lot of roasted barley flavor.. mostly chocolate malt or de-bittered black malt and maybe some oats or flaked barley. There's a ton of body so that's definitely a possibility. Fairly watery. This stout lacks discipline- it's all over the place.

This is a pretty high bodied beer. Very heavy. Drinkability is average to good. Not a lot of directly appealing flavors, but not a lot of alcohol harshness as well. This probably could have been rearranged a bit into a nice Irish Stout, but instead it turned out weird.

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Photo of jwc215
3.38/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a brown head that becomes an isolated patch.

The smell is ashy with some dusty cardboard. There is acidity with a vague dark fruitiness.

The taste is of licorice, chocolate (more towards cocoa powder, molasses. A sweetnesss comes through more as it progresses (not quite fruity) mixing with the ashy dryness. There is some acidity and a touch of tart/sour (enough of the latter to detract a bit) in the finish.

The body is medium. A bit of watery thinness is in the middle, though it does thicken to how it was at the start as it gets near the end. Alcohol comes through a bit, but not sharp or masking.

Not bad, but too ashy/dusty, and the slight sour/tart throws it off a bit, for too much. Despite that there is a smoothness, and enough taste, that it drinks well enough.

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Photo of harrymel
3.41/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottled: unk, appears a time back provided the amount of yeast at the bottom...

A: black with a finger of light mocha which falls to a sheet of the same. Cobweb lace.
S: coffee, cocoa, astringency. Standard stout with a hint of chemical tones.
T: Nice and roasty with chocolately malts and some dirty coffee grounds that motion in at mid palate to take over and last and last as the finish line is long here.
M: Medium on thin with moderate carb. Semi dry finish.
O: Nose was off, and could appreciate some more body in the beer, but the flavor was quite nice.

Had again in March 2013. Much better. Roasty, full bodied and dry. Pretty decent stout.

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Photo of Floydster
3.41/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle that was part of an American Microbrews pack from Cost Plus, probably the highlight of that box, split with my dad last night, poured into my Paulaner mug

A-Almost black but still can see through a little, 3/4 inch frothy tan head, stuck around for a while, nice retention, small amounts of lacing
S-Mild coffee beans, burned malts and barley, dryness, figs, and some dark chocolate
T-Started off with a big dry taste with hints of chocolate and some coffee, had a burnt aftertaste, got more malty as time went on, more hoppy than expected, not too s=weet which was a plus
M-Malty, roasted, and mildly sweet mouthfeel, full bodied, too much carbonation, taste lingered for a long time
D-Could not drink much more than a bottle, ABV is not high but very heavy and thick, smooth most of the time, pretty rich

Nice beer for Mad River, hit the spot since I had not drank a stout in a long time, pretty complex and different, which is something I was not expecting, would drink again, recommended

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.42/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle(twist-off cap) > small snifter

Just a tough off of black with a very lively, bubbly dark brown head to start off, dissipation is quick with it's wild carboantion.

Smells like very rich and bold chocolate brownies, blackberry jam, caramel slathered on top, vanilla, hostess blueberry pie, dark roastie coffee with tangy scented hops. Right fucking on!

The flavor is much more roastie and earthy than the aroma, which is dominated by sweetness. The flavor is actually woody, like it's been oak-aged for a long period of time. There's peanutbutter and burnt marshmellow's with slight currents of mild chocolate. The herbal, green veggie hop really stands out, maybe a bit too much for my taste. The feel is a bit lighter than I would hope, medium to full....more like a thin middle and round edges. The ending flavor is of bitter herbs and chocolate. slighty off-balance as the herbal, bitter flavor's walk all over the malt body.

I'm thinking this one would do very well in the cellar.

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Photo of hoegaardenhero
3.42/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a: truly black body with minimal tan head that fades pretty fast

s: a noseful of sweet chocolate and coffee malts

t: after the smell it's a little dissapointing; there is a lot of wineyness and and the incredible strength of the burnt coffe bitterness overpowers many of the subtleties of the other flavors

m: a little on the cloying side and a little on the carbonated side but overall still pretty creamy/ok

d:there are so many better stouts that are readily available i am not sure it makes sense to get this one but worth a try

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.42/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a very dark brown color. The head is a less-than-one finger tan color with low retention and decent lacing. Not the most impressive looking stout in the world, but to be fair, I DID just review Young's Double Chocolate Stout from a nitro-can.

S: This seems to be more of a fruity, licorice-y stout than a roasty one. Not much in the way of roasted barley, but there is some decent coffee emanating from my glass. My preference lies toward the latter, but this has a decent aromatic profile. Maybe I'm just crazy in expecting this to be an Irish-style stout, when it really isn't?

T: My analysis on the aroma is pretty much spot on - this one lets the licorice, coffee, and dark fruits do the talking. Coffee is strongest on the opening and licorice finishes the flavor progression. There isn't freakish levels of complexity here (although I like how it becomes slightly nutty and chocolaty after a while), but it does strike a nice balance between sweet and bitter. Enjoyable, but not mindblowing.

M: The feel is weird, or maybe it's just a hair more overcarbonated than I like? Actually, it might be both. Though to be fair, the carbonation helps to neutralize the slightly thick texture some. There is some pleasant char on the aftertaste, but it's not really as dry as I like my stouts to be. At the same time, it's not really 'wet' finishing, either. The wet/dry balance isn't very strong - like I said, it's kind of weird.

O: I like it a good deal, but I don't love it. A textbook example of a fallback stout when little else is available, but it's a great choice to fill out a mixed 6 pack with.

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Photo of PintOHops
3.44/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

6.0%/2010 release

Glass - Snifter

A - Clugged like oil out of the bottle, pitch black color with a 1-2 finger mocha colored head, even on an aggressive pour did it not produce much more head than that. Lacing was pretty good though.

S - Wow! Rich deep chocolate syrup aroma, a vigorous swirl gave me some dark fruits like cherry & a bit of raisin. A bit of licorice in there with mild coffee, very inviting aroma but not much in the roasted malts department. Just a dominate chocolate syrup aroma overall, moderately sweet smelling though.

T - Rich dark chocolate syrup upfront, soft but noticeable citrus unfolding into coffee & toffee flavors, not very sweet though. Unfolds beautifully and finishes with licorice & roasted malts, roasted flavors aren't robust as expected for the style but there is a great balance between bitter/roasted/sweet. Soft bitterness here.

M - Mildly crisp, a little thick and almost velvety, around full bodied and perfect for the flavor profile.

D - My overall impression of the beer is that it's more of a dessert Stout than anything else. I really enjoyed this one without food, but I would of liked it a bit more robust with more malty flavors instead of a dominate chocolate syrup kinda thing. Not worth seeking out to me but worth a try if you like dessert stouts, I think this one needed a bit more though.

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Photo of biglite351
3.44/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - solid darkness. Tall medium tan head. Some lacing.

S - roasted malts, but not that great.

T - roasted malts with some coffee. Bit of chocolate in the after taste. Much better taste than smell.

M - thin feel nut it does coat, which usually do not go together. Tingle on tongue and even possibly the front teeth.

D - multiple bottles are possible.

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Photo of jsh420
3.45/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

pours dark dark brown with a 1 finger fizzy tan head that left some spotted lacing

smells is faint but i do pick up some roasted malts and milk chocolate

taste is along the same lines as the nose - those same roasted malts chocolate a little dark fruit and some nuttiness - pretty dry overall -

mouthfeel could be better - overcarbonated and thin

overall - while i dig the flavor i dont dig the body and this beer is a ltttle pricey to boot - would rather have a SN stout or founders porter

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