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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
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.

 359 characters

Photo of Fish113d
4.14/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Pouring this brew, I notice lots of yeast at the bottom of the bottle that is splashing its way into the head of my beer. It pours a very dark brown w/ 2 inches of spongy tan head that clings and clings as it dissipates. As I poured I could smell many things going on already. Lots of vanilla and caramel along with some slightly smokey roasted malts and maybe some coffee characteristics. It actually looks like a french vanilla latte! Brown roasted malts accompanied by caramels is the main flavor here. Some smoke makes it way through giving this a dryer feel especially on the finish. No alcohol really to report, but lots of coffee aftertaste. Nice taste overall. Nothing too elaborate on the mouthfeel: well balanced carbonation throught, dry on the finish a bit (oak flavor almost) and nice sweetness balancing the roasted flavors. Full-bodied and filling, but no warming on my belly at all, and actually easier to drink for the style. Fishy LIKEY!

 1,013 characters

Photo of kbub6f
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Small (1/4"), brown, dense head over a black, black opaque beer. Brown highlights. Sweet chocolate aroma with some coffee. Same thing in the front. Light coffee middle, bitter chocolate, vegetal finish. Not bad. Not as good as the Scotch Porter for me. Just a kind of plain, dry stout.

 285 characters

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.

 1,014 characters

Photo of yankeeheel
4.29/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours the usual tar black with a rather meager espresso colored head, even after an aggro pour. Smells so sweetly molasses that I want to dive right in. Lots of choclate seeping in there too. Smells incredible.Taste is what you smell. Lots of chocolate, molasses, fig, cherry and earthy flavors. Finishes with a lingering smoke/tobacco zing. Quite a solid/thick mouthfeel. Oatmeal like in it's texture. Sitting at 5.5% ABV I could see this as an all night beer at the pub.

Another JahNoth hookup.

 499 characters

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

Pitch black body, impossible to tell level of carbonation. Head is big and brown, dissipates quickly to a thin film, little lace.
Burnt coffee beans all over the place, solid earth flavor and a smoked burnt earthy coffee aftertaste
Very well balanced brew, lots of both hops and malts, firm body that leaves some coating.
Good drinkability, one of the best extra stouts I've had.


 395 characters

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.

 521 characters

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.

 602 characters

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

Picked up a bottle of this at TJ's recently for $1.39.

Appearance is black as night but it poured a dissapointing head leaving no lacing. Smell is good, toasted grains, coffee, and chocolate. Taste is getting better the warmer this brew gets. Roasted malts, hints of coffee and chocolate, and a nice dry finish. It is a bit thin for a stout. Overall drinkability is good. I have another bottle that I will be sure to let warm up from fridge temps!

 450 characters

Photo of WesWes
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a deep dark black color with a thick frothy brown head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich black and chocolate malt scent along with dry, yet creamy finish. The taste is decent. It has an extremely rich black and chocolate malt flavor that is very thick and dry. It goes down slow and finishes with a bitter black malt aftertaste. The mouthfeel is decent. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a decent drinking stout. It has a little lacking in the mouthfeel department as well as a little too intense in the grain bill.

 584 characters

Photo of JahNoth
4.36/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very dark pour with small caramel head. Scent of bitter chocolate and mild roastiness. Very nice nose. Nice roasted bitterness in the flavor - the hops, chocolate and slight coffee bounce around in unison. Light on the tongue. A delicious brew! Mad River brews are slowly moving up the ladder among my favorites.

 312 characters

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

Standard 12 oz. bottle. Pours like tar or maple syrup with almost no head with a fairly aggressive pour. With the carbonation and head evaporation, it almost pours like a soda.
Smell: I smell burnt raisins and hints of vanilla beans. Almost like Guinness (extra stout not the pub draught stuff).
Taste and mouthfeel: Nice carbonation. This is a big tasting stout with a complex array of malt, coffee, and hints of vanilla.
This stout goes down easy and really is a great find.

 481 characters

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.

 361 characters

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.

 509 characters

Photo of watermelonman
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This poured to a very dark black with minimal head. The head quickly faded and the lacing is minimal as well.

It smells like a prototypical good stout. The taste is a little bit plain, but it's of pretty good quality. It feels good on the mouth and it definitely goes down easily as well.

A touch plain, but a good solid beer.

 332 characters

Photo of Skidz
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours out dark, and I mean DARK, brown finishes jet black with no signs of light anywhere. Dark tan head with beautiful lacings on the sides, holds pretty strong on top.

Smells of roast grains, coffees and some nice hoppy aromas. Taste is very bold. Nice roastiness with a bit of citrus twist to it as well. Finished mildly bitter, with those hops floating around your mouth to get you ready for more.

Nice full body, very smooth and clean tastes all around. I could easily make a night of this superb stout. The price is just right for this, so it's even easier to dive in.

 580 characters

Photo of francisweizen
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a fine extra stout. It pours out a dark, opaque black colour with a nice frothy espresso coloured head. The aromas are nice. Chocolate, espresso, caramel, hops, deep roasted malts, and a bit of spicy booze. The taste follows suit with a wonderful melange of roasted coffee and chocolate flavors. The mouthfeel is neither thick, nor thin, and it is all too easy to drink one of these puppies down. Nice stuff.

 416 characters

Photo of AtLagerHeads
4.32/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From an unimpressive start, this little number really built steam and made me a believer. Much like a true Russian Imperial stout, ala La Coq, there is virtually no head and, likewise, no lace.

But from the nose forward this is an impressive brew, again ala La Coq. The dark opaque body captures a sense of extreme roasted goodness and gives off lovely aromas of burnt grains and thick, roasted caramel malts.

The taste is very Imperial having a rich fullness that is very much of the old school. It is truly waming of the innards despite its relatively low alcohol content; can this be an accurate rating of ABV?

The full, heavy, and thick body is just shy of being syrupy, earning it high marks in this lesser dimension. The drinkability is likewise enhanced by the moderate ABV and lovely feel. Grande! Let this Steelhead come upstream and multiply!

 861 characters

Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours pitch black with a slight ruby highlight when held to light. The brown head forms quickly and then falls slowly lacing the glass. The aroma is chocolate and coffee and roasted malt. The flavor is chocolate and coffee and roasted malt. The body is medium-full and appropriate. The finish is dry coffee.

 316 characters

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.

 865 characters

Photo of rkhaze
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque black with a ruby tinge. Creamy, thick dark tan head that leaves decent lace.
Coffee, chocolate and some red fruits( plums, currants ) show up in the aroma along with an almost burnt roastiness.
Just a great taste of espresso, dark chocolate and roasted malts. A nice spicy hoppiness and licoricey sweetness lead to a dry finish.
A little thin in the body for the style but still creamy and highly drinkable.
I really like this stout! Top notch and highly recommended. Pick some up if you run accross it.

 524 characters

Photo of Gusler
4.48/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a raven color, not a hint of light passes through this stout, the head pythonic in size, the texture spumescent, and the color a rich chocolate brown, as it disperses, a thick and claggy lace welds itself to the glass. The deep rich aromas of the toasted grain reaches you first, followed by the sweet malt, with hints of bittersweet chocolate and yes even some deep rich roasted fresh ground coffee, delectable the nose. Start is ambrosial, thickly malt, the top full and chocolate rich with the finish pleasantly acidic, the hops spiteful in their spicy presence, very dry and slightly bitter aftertaste, clings to your palate like a newborn baby to its mother’s bosom, quite quaffable this beer from a fine brewery.

 734 characters

Photo of beerguy101
3.74/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark black color. Medium head. Aroma is chocolate, roasted malts, some fruitiness and coffee. A medium bodied stout. Malts are chocolate and coffee, with a touch of fruit sweetness. Hops are slightly bitter and dry. Smoky and peaty as well. Very drinkable stout. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter.

 350 characters

Photo of mickeymac
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle with a twist-off cap, this pours inky black. It appears highly carbonated on pouring, but the head never really comes to life and it just sort of sits there. Espresso, chocolate, and just a touch of raisin combine nicely in the smell and taste. It has enough hops to lend a nice twang. The mouthfeel is fairly chewy. Despite the nice complexities, it runs its course after one or two.

 411 characters

Photo of Todd
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz short brown bottle. No freshness date. Unfiltered.

Pours an opaque black coloured beer with a creamy coffee coloured head with decent retention. Aroma holds a slight twang of roasted malts and background of molasses and suggestions of vanilla bean.

Oh so smooth ... creamy, somewhat chewy with a complex malt profile of overall malt sweetness, semi-astringent roasted malts, coffee grounds/espresso, wood, smoke, chocolate, hint of caramel, burnt raisin edges and molasses. Nice citrus hop twang breaks up the malts, then settles back in. Dry chocolate/coffee and grain finish.

So much flavour, and so damn drinkable. Oh yeah ... this is a damn tasty stout.

 671 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.