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 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 UCLABrewN84
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black with a 2 inch foamy dark khaki head that settles to a thin cap. Random dots and streaks of foam form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, malt balls, and cocoa powder. Taste is of dark roasted malt, dark cocoa powder, and some slight coffee flavors. There is a nice roasty bitterness that lingers on the palate. This beer has a higher level of carbonation with a crisp yet smooth mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good stout with a very nice balance in the smell and flavor.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

yeah a lovely stout here. pours a sensational chocolate brown color with a thick creamy milkshakey mocha head. smells like a cup o joe, but also with some nice roasty dark malts and a bit of cocoa. flavor is similar, plenty of dark malts and a mild espresso flavor. feel is excellent, rich and creamy without being filling on a plenty full body. this is a great stout, and possibly the best beer ive had from mad river, save the scotch porter, which border epic. this is a sessionable one too, good before or after dinner, and different than most. a winner.

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Photo of metter98
3.99/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a thin tan head that died down, leaving some wispy patterns of bubbles on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of chocolate malts and cocoa are present in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of chocolate along with notes of cocoa, hints of coffee and roasted malts and a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is very flavorful and nice and easy to drink. It seems to have a very good balance between the malts and hops.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Surprised to see other BA's really love this brew or think it's closer to average -- no normal, every-day good review. But, this is where I land with this beer. Very clean and pure tasting and feeling, but no dominant characters that grab me either. The beer opens with a convencing opaque, dark brown hue and 1/2" head retention that reduced to a simmer before holding firm. Timid aromas of roasted grains, sweetness, lactose, and toast. Aromas rely on confectionate-type matiness that hold character, but is not descernable. Taste rise the roasted / cocoa a bit, but the soft malty flavors and texture prevail, yet remaining non-descript. The body holds a creamy texture with a slight linger with malt, cocoa, and toast. The hops are also timid, especially in the aromas and flavors. The bittering is fair, but I expect more for the style. Though light in character, the brew is quite clean and controlled. Nice session-type brew with some flavor.

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Photo of brentk56
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a pitch black color with a creamy tan head that leaves a few strands of lace behind

Smell: Fruity, with cherry and prune, buttressed by undertones of chicory, charcoal and licorice

Taste: Starts fruity, but the roasty side quickly makes its presence felt, with coffee and dark chocolate, along with some bitter hops, arriving by mid-palate; after the swallow, there is a bit of cherry fruit sweetness that keeps the other flavors in check; the finish lingers nicely

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation; just a tad thinner than I would like

Drinkability: Very flavorful, with a lot to commend itself

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Photo of largadeer
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pitch black with a huge frothy brown head and ample sticky lace.

Smell: A big dark chocolate aroma with undertones of doughnuts, coffee and cream.

Taste & mouthfeel: Fairly dry, flavors of dark chocolate and coffee, a touch of molasses and smoke. Rich and creamy with a full body. Drinkability is outstanding thanks to the overall dryness and balance of flavor.

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Photo of zeff80
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a thin, very small, off-white head. It left little to no lace.

S - It smelled of roasted malt and some dried fruits. Overall a sweet aroma with some floral notes.

T - It tasted very roasty, with chocolate, molasses and sweet caramel. There is just enough hop bitterness to provide some balance.

M - It was smooth and crisp with a dry finish. A medium-bodied stout.

D - This did not look impressive, but really delivered with great flavor.

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Photo of nickfl
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - One and half fingers of light brown head on top of an opaque, black body. The foam exhibits decent retention and leaves moderate lace.

S - Aromas of bittersweet chocolate and light coffee with some toffee. Acidic black malt with herbal hops and a hint of caramel.

T - Bittersweet chocolate up front with some coffee and licorice. Caramel and toffee flavors in the middle with some chicory. Finishes with more chocolate and just a hint of coffee along with mild spicy hop flavor and bitterness.

M - Creamy, medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a somewhat sweet finish.

D - A nice, creamy stout. Lots of chocolate flavor with significant spice notes that are reinforced by the herbal hops. Very rich and somewhat sweet for the style, it has a surprising level of complexity. So far I have been surprised by the quality of Mad River's brews and this stout is no exception, highly recommended.

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Photo of oberon
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cant pour any darker than this pitch black stout with a thin mocha colored head,aromas of deeply roasted malt and mocha flavored coffee very rich and appetizing on the nose.Taste is very roasted with a unsweetened chocolate note finishing very earthy and nutty.Very raw and bold beer like the earthiness in the finish and the creamy mouthfeel a big winner here.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Mad River's Steelhead Extra Stout pours a magnificently dark body beneath a full head of densely creamy dark tan foam. The head retention and lacing a bit limited however. The nose is somewhat restrained as well, but what is there is all about mocha java!, with just a hint of fruitiness peeking through. It's medium-light bodied with a very fine-bubbled, zesty carbonation (it appears bottle-conditioned, unless whatevers in the bottom of the bottle isn't yeast). Through the front and middle, the flavor delivers a note of vinous fruit that's wrapped in luxurious caramel/toffee, and then dipped in sweet milk chocolate. The coffee flavor comes on strong, however, towards the swallow and into the long lingering roasty finish. Superbly done!

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Photo of chinchill
4.17/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle served in a pint glass. Some black sediment remained on the bottom of the glass.

Appearance: Pours dark brown, nearly black, with a smallish creamy tan head.

Smell: Roasted malt with hints of coffee, licorice and prune

Taste: Starts out a bit sweet, butquickly becomes balanced. The roasted malt centerpiece is surrounded by hints of prunes, coffee and dark chocolate, along with some more obvious spicy hops. After the swallow, there is a bit of smoke in a toasty finish that lingers a good while.

Mouthfeel: full body with moderate carbonation; creamy smooth.

O: An exceptional and very flavorful stout.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired from IntriqKen, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color with a short but dense brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is loaded with chocolate along with roasted malt, a little coffee and a touch of hops.

T: The taste is of rich roasted malt and creamy chocolate. There’s a little bit of coffee in there as well along with a very mild hops presence in the background. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Very smooth, medium-to-heavy body, light-to-medium body, slightly sticky finish as expected from a beer in this style.

D: Very tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling for the style, good kick to it, very good representation of style. This is a good stout to drink continuously and I haven’t had very many of those yet that won't fill you up.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours out a dark brown, near black body with a thin, off-white head that, one expired, no amount of swirling can seem to resuscitate.

Smell: Roasty, malty nose smelling of dark chocolate, chilled espresso, blackened grains, molasses, and vinous dark fruits.

Taste: Roasted maltiness with tastes of dark chocolate and sugar-sweetened coffee that eventually develops into a flavor of chocolate-covered espresso beans. Gentle background dark fruitiness. Earthy, lightly roasty with a fairly low bitterness. Finishes dry and roasty with just a minor hint of black malt astringency.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-low carbonation.

Drinkability: Overall, it's a pleasant, quaffable, fairly solid stout.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Glossy obsidian with the slimmest chocolate brown edges imaginable; extremely close to total light rejection. The head is the color of dark brown sugar and isn't overly large, but is firm and dense. Immediately after the pour, I was ready to bestow greatness on the appearance, but the anti-geologic nature of the cap, its quicker than expected descent, and the near total absence of lace have tempered my enthusiasm a little.

The nose is incredibly powerful and features a killer combination of radically roasted black malt, bittersweet chocolate liqueur and espresso. There's no hoppiness that I can detect, but it isn't needed. Simply put, this is one of the most aromatic and one of the best American stout noses I've ever experienced.

Thankfully, the flavor follows suit. When I drink a beer like this, it makes me want to throttle the (seemingly) vast majority of craft brewers who couldn't brew a proper stout if their lives depended on it. It's supposed to be *stout* dammit! Steelhead Extra absolutely oozes malt and floods my taste buds with bottomless pools of dark, rich flavor.

The flavor profile consists of melted double fudge ice cream with chunks of roasted coffee beans covered in chocolate syrup. Chocolate stays comfortably ahead of coffee at all points along the journey. The beer is marginally more sweet than bitter, although there's enough bitterness on hand to keep the malt in check.

The mouthfeel starts out at 'stout medium' and comes together just enough with warming to be considered medium-full. Bigger would undoubtedly have been better, but might also have impacted negatively on the high degree of drinkability. This isn't an RIS or an American double stout, after all. Smooth applies, silky does not.

Steelhead Extra Stout is a straighforward beer, but I mean that in the best way possible. There's nothing surprising or original here, there's just loads of bold, lip-smacking black malt flavor. Again, I'm surprised that American stouts of this quality are as rare as they are. That means I'll have to give credit where credit is due: Mad River has brewed a classic of the style.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Really nice pour, very typical for the style with a deep dark black look to it and a nice head of maybe two inches that came up and over the top with some ease. Settling down it left a decent amount of lacing on the sides, but nothing spectacular though it did retain a good bit of the puff of tan on top. The aroma was nice, well blended mix of chocolate and roasted malts, hints of light coffee notes and a decent bit of dark fruit note carrying over. This was pretty much par for the course with the flavor. Started out very smooth with a rich and well defined chocolate note that dominated early before mellowing with a nice but of vanilla and coffee notes. Small touch of hops catching up right there at the end were enough to make it just slightly bitter, but overall it was a smooth, creamy and very session able stout.

I would have no issue with trying this one again as it went down quite nicely and really left a soft, sweet note in the end. Very well done.

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Photo of russpowell
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours like motor oil, with 2 fingers of mocha/brown head. Average head retention

S: Smelled dark chcolate in the bottle, only getting hints of wet cardboard in the glass.

T: Toasted malt, coffee grounds & bitter choclate & dryness. Cocoa & a touch of leafy hops as this warms, plus, just a bit of charred juicy grains. Finishes dry with some dark fruit & cocoa notes

MF: Smooth as heck, medium bodied with nice carbonation

Drinks pretty easy, the dryness would wear on me after a while. A good, not great stout

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Photo of smcolw
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours nearly black; Large big-bubbled beige head (three fingers to start). Relatively light lace for the style.

Coffee to mocha aroma. Light alcohol warmth in the background.

Baker's chocolate flavor up front. Some raspberry in the background. Very dry--the finish is bitter, mostly from burnt malt flavors; some faint hop. Biscuity. Average body for a pale ale, but light for a stout. Good carbonation.

I find this brew to be very interesting with many different flavor profiles to note. This is the sort of Stout that if I'm giving it a lot of analysis, I will probably have several. If I am simply drinking it, I'll probably have several more.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.32/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a completely pitch black hue with a large mocha tan head floating above the darkness, lacing is thin but evenly strung. Aromatics sweet creamy chocolate notes with hints of coffee and ripe fruit tones like berry and raisins a touch of alcohol there but really just a nice complex roasty stout with some other tricks. In the finish I'm getting some herbal and nutty qualites, the herbaceous hops come off almost minty. Flavor is balanced with some of the fruity qualities wrapped in chocolate and just roasty enough to scream extra stout. Definitely whipped cream layered on a cappuccino with dark chocolate shavings with a touch of hazelnut, finishes with some of those hop qualities described earlier especially the mint note. Mouthfeel is full bodied yet creamy textured a nice way to drink under six percent carbonation is mellow and smooth on the palate nothing weighs you down with bitterness or any one sensation. Drinkability, this is pretty much amazing and it has a different edge than your typical hopped up West Coast style stout it brings sweet and roasted malt flavors out to play and causing excessive amounts of flavor with balance, really nice stuff.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hair below pitch black. Nice darker tan head. Nose is of heavily roasted malts. Flavor is smoked and roasted malts. Very robust and deep and uncompromising. Even though it is nice and hearty, it seems a bit one dimensional. Kind of like it is all muscle and no grace. Feel has a good carbonation to it and the liquid is fairly thick. Overall this is a pretty rich and deep stout. No mass of complexity, but definitely deep enough that you might want to put your floaties on before diving in.

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Photo of tdm168
4.29/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - pitch black with a huge, dense, dark brown head that has good retention

S - intense chocolate, some caramel, some roasted malts, some coffee

T - chocolate, roasted malts, caramel-sugar, some faint coffee

M - medium to full bodied, well carbonated

This is a damn good stout. It's intensely flavorful but also easy to drink. I was really impressed by the intense chocolate notes throughout. This is definitely a refreshing stout that I would have again.

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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 feloniousmonk
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thick black appearance, fine cocoa brown head, slowly thins to nothingness...despite that, a nice looking stout.

Aroma reeks of oils, lush maple and anise, ...feels more like an imperial stout with the twisted, decadent flavors it gives off. Bittersweet espresso mixes with a licorice whip. Deep coffee and chocolate, with lingering brandyish feel. I like it!

Takes charge of the mouth from first sip, blasts with thick, slick, oily roasted malts...a bit brash and bold, a little flinty, mineral-y, ...losing points from not being more rounded and friendly. A bit too abrasive. Not that I don't still like it, just don't love it. A few faults too many.

Full bodied, bracing, thick, lingering, dry finish. Quite a decent stout, ...if it fails me in other ways.

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Photo of GClarkage
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12/11/08- Purchased at Hi-Times in Costa Mesa, CA.

Presentation- 12oz bottle with no freshness info. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- About as black as you can get for a stout. Dirty white hot chocolate colored 1/4 inch head and sticky small patches of lace left behind.

Smell- Super roasted deep dark chocolate malt. Really no hops in the nose, but a small nose of coffee as well.

Taste- This sucker is dark. Very deep roasted malt, a tad brunt and a tad smokey. Chocolate is there and burnt and lightly bitter. Charcoal notes and a brunt coffee pot flavor as the finish.

Mouthfeel- A bit overcarbonated for the style. Not really any aftertaste exepct for a light smoke flavor.

Drinkability- I like my stouts a bit smoother and a bit less roasted, but it was a nice change of pace and a good authentic deep dark stout.

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Photo of Tone
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark black color. 1/4 inch head of a dark tan color. Decent retention and decent lacing. Smells strongly of roasted malt, slight alcohol, and some sweet malt as well. Fits the style of an American Stout. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp with a low carbonation level. A strong dryness is associated with this brew. Tastes of roasted malt, sweet malt, some hop background, slight biscuit flavors, and some alcohol throughout. Overall, a good blend of flavors, strong palate, and a good drinkability.

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