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 floraday
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz into a pint glass

A: Dark, real dark (black) with a tan 1/2 inch head. What you'd expect from a so-called "Extra Stout."

S: Lots of roasted malt. Very nice. Dark chocolate with espresso beans. Aromas that scream drink me.

T: Tons of coffee come through on the palate. Lingering finish. Some toffee on the finish with a hint of fresh cream.

M: Awesome! Tons of cream. Finish lasts with drying on the back palate. I like it. Low cabonation is perfect for this style of beer.

D: I like it!

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

12 ounce bottle. Mad River Stout pours out a thick black color with a small, dark brown head. The aroma is big and malty, with lots of chocolate and molasses. Bittersweet coffee flavor with loads of chocolate. There is some raisin flavor, though this beer is more burnt and roasty than fruity. Hops are there, though not nearly strong as the malt. There is enough bitterness to balance. The mouthfeel is thickish, though it in no way impedes the drinkability. This is truly a fantastic stout. I was especially pleased with this beer because it is rare to find a beer this good that I have not heard of before.

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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.


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

Darkest of brown approaching black if not altogether already pitched in black whilst settled in the glass. Medium dark brown tanned foam lofts up with might to slowly dwindle into a puffy collar ring. Impressive appearance.

As is the aroma, impressive; wow, was actually the first notion upon the my first wiff as a big roasty boom of chocolate laced coffee cake, oatmeal, caramel, vanilla, and iced coffee. Very ice creamesque, clean, round, and appetizingly fresh.

Taste is solid and just as impressive. Clean, rounded, brisk, and flavorful with very nice, mild, creamy, chocolate and caramel tones easing in first as it gradually grows a slight burntish edge of bready malt, old coffee, and char. It then remixes itself into a chocolatey roasty burnt bitterness and semi creamyness as it floats off lightly with a simple yet intriguing chocolate complexing finish.

Body is a mildly medium creamy medley of easy going tones and character. Its clean, round, and just bold enough to push out its edges to add a great level of roasty touch of crispness while maintaining an overall milky smooth chocolatey tone most of its stay.

One super solid stout! Drinkable by many. There's so many average to OK regular American stouts out there and Mad River's Steelhead is an entire step, if not more than a few above, most of them.

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Photo of the_awesometeer
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

Appearance- pitch black with a nice tan head, that lives foam on the glass the whole way down.

Smell- roasted coffee with a hint of chocolate.

Mouthfeel- smooth and creamy

Taste- roasted coffee flavor with a little chocolate.

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Photo of BeerTruth
4.49/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My boy tpd975 hooked me up with this brew. Cheers to you my friend!

12 oz. stubby bottle poured into a nonic. I need something smooth tonight.

Pours a complete black with a two finger dark tan head that dies down to a frothy layer of thin bubbles. Stickiness is a weak with just about nothing on the sides of the glass. Let this warm up for sure before drinking, smell improves immensely. Cocoa powdwer and fresh hazelnut coffee with an oaky wood aroma. The faintest hint of hops underneath all the dark malts. Sweet caramel all the way through with a smokey wood flavor. A quick citrus hop zing midway through. Very creamy feel with a smooth molasses aftertaste. I love the drinkability of this brew as it warms. I could easily drink this beer year round. Definitely the best beer I've had from these guys. I need beers like this in my fridge at all times. This is probably the best American Stout I've had.

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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.

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Photo of tgbljb
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a very deep brown color woth moderate tannish head. Smell is chocolate, cocoa, coffee, and some dark fruit. Taste is of strong black coffee, dark bitter chocolate, and ripe plums. Very enticing. Finish leaves just enough bitternees to perfectly balance this beer. Excellent example of the style. Thouroughly enjoyable.

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Photo of bnes09
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ink black and completely opaque. Beautiful, metallic copper colored head. Poor retention but does leave a nice ring around the glass.

Complex dark aroma, coffee, dark chocolate, sherry and nuts.

Massive roasted malt attack on the palate with coffee, bitter chocolate, licorice, and roasted almonds. Underlying molasses sweetness mellows things out. Fairly assertive hop punch, pine and spinach leaves. Smoked maple character. Very well balanced.

Medium bodied. Drying. Malt seems to stick to the tongue and continue to deliver more flavor all the time.

A truly awesome beer. I love stouts and this one really hits the spot.

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Photo of jucifer1818
4.46/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: beautiful darkness, and a light dark head that dissipates at a medium speed.
exactly what a stout should look like

smell: very very light smell. mostly smokey and roasty smells

taste: beautiful. almost no detectable hops, the flavor of this one comes almost entirely from the roasted and smoked malts. beautiful light smokiness (but not overwhelmingly smokey), followed by the dark and conferting roasted and black malts, which give it the taste of dark bakers chocoalte. It has a very nutty/grainy after taste. it is only in the after taste that you can even sense that their is hops in this brew, but it still plays second fiddle to the roasty and nutty flavors
a malt heads paradise when he wants some serious darkness

for 6.5% alcohol, you can taste none of it, and its very drinkable for a beer with its level of malt, roastyness, and smoked flavors

mouthfeel: dark, gritty, nuttyness dominate the mouth-feel, as well as a slight slick syrupyness to it. its quite nice

overall: I've giving this one a 4.5. it doesn't do anything earth shattering, but it doesn't have to
its a perfect smokey dark brew, doing what it says it does, and that is being a damn fine stout

I would have this one again, and I recommend that you try it if you haven't already

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Photo of chilly460
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours shiny black with a bit of rootbeer colored highlights at the edges as light shines through. Thick mocha head develops and sticks around nicely, flecks of lacing remain.

S- Really nice aroma, plenty of chocolate, plenty of deep roast coffee. Thick chocolate cake smell too. Some slight sweeter tones, like brown sugar as well. No hop presence that I could detect.

T- Very chocolatey like chocolate syrup. Then comes the coffee, deep roast but not bitter at all, perfect. Flavor is thick and rich, this beer has as much punch as some RIS. Slight tones of brown sugar as detected in the nose. The roast malts and coffee keep this from being too sweet, nice.

M- Nice medium body with creamy carbonation, well done.

O - A pleasant surprise, I don't get many plain stouts that have the depth of flavor this showed, will be a "go to" stout for me when I'm not in the mood for a bigger RIS

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Photo of dwilson01
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured from a bottle into my arrogant bastard pint glass, the body is a midnight black tinged with dark brown around the edges. the head is a thin dark caramel mocha coloration which sits on the top of the brew dissipating slowly.

The smell seriously makes me think dark chocolate mocha. It's thick and drowns your scent of anything else in there.

The flavor follows directly from the nose, a dark chocolate comes out in the beginning fading to a roasted coffee flavor and then combining in the end leaving you with a slightly bitter choc/coffee aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is full but surprisingly not too thick, it's got a huge amount of flavor without being a syrupy consistency.

Overall this is a must try brew if you haven't already indulged.

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Photo of biggred1
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Dark and dense almost black, hard to see through. Fine creamy chestnut head that leaves nice lace.Rich chicory and roasted coffee in the nose.Big roasted sweet malty flavors with anise, chocolate and a nice bitter hop to balance the flavors.Thick and viscous on the palate with a nice dry finish that lingers.A very drinkable stout,delicious.

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Photo of gps2388
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Stouts being my favorite style this is one of my favorites. Goes to show that you absolutely don't need high alcohol in this style for it to be exceptional. (The high alcohol stouts I think get too 'hot' and distract you from all of the other flavors that you should be enjoying)

A- As a stout should look, creamy brown head resembles the crema on an espresso shot; opaque appearance

S- Gives you a great picture of what's too come, mostly malt with just a little hop character to balance at the end...

T- ... And that's what you get, lots of creamy malt like a heavy wet cappuccino but without the old coffee grounds or burnt tastes some other stouts get (like Founders and Sierra Nevada respectively) and plus some nice subtle chocolate and vanilla tones plus some hop character for balance to keep it from tasting too porter-ish

M/D- Not too thick/chewy but still stout, goes down nice but heavy and thick enough to remind you what you're drinking

All in all one of my favorite stouts and definitely my favorite from the West coast.

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

A: An opaque black color with very dark brown edges when held up to light. The head is rather large, fluffy, and creamy, with a rich brown color. Retention is decent, as is lacing.

S: Roasted dark malt is rather robust. Bittersweet dark chocolate, some lactic sweetness, and espresso - very nice. Some molasses, dark fruit, and lactic notes, along with some leafy/earthy hops.

T: Semisweet cocoa powder and some fudgy chocolate, along with roasted coffee beans. Brown sugar and some creamy lactic flavor. A rugged dose of earthy hops along with a bit of a charcoal note into the finish.

M: Thick, chewy, smooth - pretty nice. Carbonation is quite light. A bit of dryness into the finish.

D: I'm very impressed by this beer, my first from Mad River. They really get the job done with what is an aggressive yet drinkable stout. I'll be picking this up in the future for sure.

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Photo of Swim424
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured into mug

A-dark dark brown. not much light gets through this one. no head at all.

S-like a bit of coffee and a good amount of chocolate.

T-like coffee with lots of chocolate. really good.

Mf-medium-thick. thinner than expected. nice feel, smooth, perfect carbonation.

O-really good. this is very well balanced. a bit light feeling but very very good flavor.

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

Another Humboldt-brewed beer, on to it we go:

Cocoa colored head with a loud fizzying sound on top of motor oil black. Lots of cocoa in the aroma, touched up with a bit of molasses. Despite it's intiminating look, the flavor won't wallop your palate. I know this is starting to sound redundant, but pleasant cocoa is in the taste, but tastes best as you gulp down the beer. Fruitiness is weaved in nicely. Just a delight to drink.

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

Poured a jet black body with mahogany edges. Head was a nice orange/tan hue with ample retention and light lacing.

This stout boasts great aroma's. Huge emphasis on roasted malts, bitter-sweet chocolate, molasses and some espresso. This beer is pushing the upper limits of Stouts.

Taste had a nice hop "pop" up front, then moving on to roasted malts and chewy flavors of chocolate, coffee, and brown sugar. There is a light astringency mid palate that adds to the variety of dark flavors. After taste was burnt and smokey. Damn good!

Mouthfeel was medium. Its a big stout, hell it come's close to being a RIS.

Drinkability is to the sky with this brew. I can down a few of these in the winter months, and the alcohol is well hidden. This was my first beer from Mad River, and I look forward to trying there other beers.

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

A - Opaque black. One finger oil-slick head, with moderate carbonation. Good lacing.

S - Subdued, though I can detect notes of Espresso, Chocolate, dark fruits, and barley.

T - Wow. This is one good tasting stout. It has *a lot* of character. It packs some big tastes, but somehow manages to finish pretty clean. I have to admit, there is a lot going on in this brew, but everything seems to be in perfect balance. Each individual flavor seems to compliment the next, not overpower it. Very well done.

M - Although it mimics the looks of other thicker desert style beers, this brew is actually pretty thin. This gives it all the benifits of great taste, but a velvety clean mouthfeel. Extremely Pleasent.

D - For a full flavored stout beer with a 6% ABV I don't think drinkability could get much better.
In summary, this brew is incredible. I had this one along time ago on a buisness trip to Talahassee. There I was at the ABC and I thought I would do a little mix and match action , so I picked it up. Once I got back to the hotel room, poured it, and took a sip, I knew this was a first class stout. Unfortunatly, I haven't been able to pick one up since, as they seem to be pretty rare in my neck of the woods. Though, as fate would have it, I found one peaking out of the dusty shelves at the local total wines and spirits. Once it caught my eye, it was in the cart.

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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 Bighuge
4.41/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is black. Seems pretty thick as it glugs out of the bottle. Nice brown head that is gone in seconds, however, this beer does lace the glass nicely throughout the drink. Coffee and bitersweet chocolate on the nose. Taste contains a very pleasant roasted character. Very low on the burnt tones. And there is a slight sweet taste here that I'm not familiar with in stouts. Nice bitterness in this stout. The beer is very creamy and easy drinking. Very Solid Stout in my book.

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

A: Pours like motor oil, syrupy and black. The head is one finger of ruby/mocha head that dissipates quickly and leaves little lacing.

S: Burnt and roasted malts encompass the nose, also dark fruit, coffee, toffee, and a whiff of alcohol at the end.

T: Huge roasted flavors. Coffee and bitter hops balance out the maltyness VERY nicely. Also noticed some lactose...makes this a little sweet and creamy feeling, but thats exactly what I love

MF/D: Exceptional mouthfeel. This is what you are looking for in a stout...thick heavy body, oily and velvety texture. Drinkability is also high!

Awesome beer here. Absolutely a must try

Also, after I poured the bottle's contents, I noticed that the bottom of the bottle was coated in something, which I am assuming is lactose, but either way it contained what seems to be coffee grinds, pretty nice touch on a nice beer

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

A - Pours black with a dark tan head. This beer DOES look scary. Head dissipates rapidly and leaves little lacing.

S - Aroma with typical chocolate and coffee aroma up front, but side notes of graham cracker, alcohol and maraschino cherry.

T - The flavor is sweet with lots of milky chocolate, burn whole grain toast, caramel, and a very ashy bitter finish. Very slight hop profile. Just enough to keep my interest at a very high level. Hops are no match for the heavy malts though.

M - Medium-full body with an almost chewy texture and slight chalkiness. It is smooth and creamy almost like a milk stout.

D - A beautiful beer. Reminds me why I love beer. Well done.

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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.

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