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 DukeofAle
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This one surprised me a bit; it has all the flavor of a full-on Russian imperial, but with the body and alcohol content you'd expect of a more typical stout. Pours very dark - I expect there is some solids present here as well! Not much head. Aroma of, what else, roasted barley. Very full flavor, roasted barley and coffee, intense. How they got this much flavor into a fairly light-bodied brew I can only guess.

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Photo of faulkster4
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I poured this one into a pint glass and was impressed with the dark, beautiful brown pour with a beautiful dark brown head (and I generally don't care about the head but this one is really good looking!) This is a DARK beer. Very tough to get any light through it. A nice chocolately, malty scent that is just right. Everything about this beer is tempting. Poured it, looked at it, smelled it, and was dying to taste it. This is what beer drinking is about. A percentage point or two of alcohol higher would of made this a total winner but who's to complain? I guess I'll just have to drink more than one. aftertaste lingers a bit longer than i would like and gets a bit sour on the tongue but the taste is good enough to sustain the linger. well worth the price!

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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 Smurf2055
3.61/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Reviewed Nov 2011

Poured into my Duvel Tulip.

Dark, think, luxurious with about two fingers of light tan head.

Smells of burnt malt, mostly coffee, roasts. Very rich.

Taste isn’t too bitter. It has a fuller body, and wow does the coffee hit you on the swallow. Not a complete stout, but that’s not really what I was expecting when I picked it up.

Palate is silky smooth. Leaves a bit of a bitter after taste.

Overall, for something I just randomly found at my corner market, this was a treat. It’s a great beer to have around. Not as complex as some other stouts, but certainly a step above the common ones.

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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 wiscokid920
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz shortie poured into Snifter

A- Opaque jet black with creamy tan head. Decent retention and lacing.

S- Roasted malts with molasses, coffee. and subtle vanilla bean notes

T- Huge roasted malt profile! Sweet malts, espresso, woody charcoal smoke, with molasses and vanilla bean up front. Balances with a nice hoppy backbone then finishes with a delicious dark chocolate espresso finish.

M- Full bodied, smooth and creamy.

O- A fantastic stout. Very well balanced with roasted malts, dark chocolate/coffee, and citrusy pop of hops. Oh so drinkable. A very tasty offering!

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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 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 frankiepop
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep space black liquid with big creamy tan head. Smells like stout. Thumbs up. Taste like stout Strong stout yet balanced. Reminds me of Sierra Stout. Strong yet drinkable due to balance. Sweeter. Rich. I guess i don't punch this beer's score up higher in score because I find there are more interesting chocolate or coffee focused stouts. This extra stout is the one Guiness should have made when they went for a stronger stout. But Guiness Extra is a surprise that ii is still on the shelves.Anyway this is a quality strong beer. Enjoy.

Pair with a Symphony. Charles Ives Symphony 1

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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 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 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 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 HopHead84
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Bottle purchased at Olive Tree Market a few months back. Snifter.

A: The color is deep brown with an attractive mocha colored head. Solid retention and scattered lacing.

S: A pleasant mix of molasses, dark chocolate, and brown sugar. The beer exhibits balance between those three aspects. Roasted malt blends in nicely, and there's a light anise presence. Dark fruit is evident.

T: The flavor is a bit roastier than the aroma indicated, with an upper low level of earthy, woodsy bitterness. There's a lower moderate sweetness that balances the bitterness and roast. A dash of molasses meets bittersweet coffee. The finish is lightly burnt and coffee lingers.

M: Upper medium to lower full body with upper medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is silky, sticky, creamy, and smooth.

Overall: A well done American Stout.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.52/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, pours nearly black with brown at the edges, thin light brown head, little lace left on the glass. Aromas are rich dark chocolate, roasted barley, baker's chocolate, molasses. Tastes are chocolatey, roasty, rich, smooth, molasses, slight bitterness on the finish. Mouth-feel is the disappointment here. It's rather watery and thin, modest carbonation. I like my stouts fuller. Overall, good aroma and pretty good flavors but the feel is really lacking.

Looking at others' reviews, I am baffled to see people rave about the mouth-feel. I've seen stranger things when it comes to beer though. I doubt I'll come across this one again to retry it, but you never know.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pours midnight black with a dark cocoa powder, 2 finger head. Good retention, results in a thin but consistent, sticky and silky lacing.

Smell - Strong notes of cocoa and deep chocolate, like baked brownies. Faint hints of coffee. More sweet than bitter.

Taste - Starts sweet, with milk chocolate at the forefront, then quickly shifts closer to baker's chocolate and subtle notes of coffee grounds, though an underlying sweetness still remains. Flavor remains through to the finish, with an aftertaste that's not far away from what I could imagine a glass of chocolate milk with a splash of coffee tasting like or, more or less, a really dense, rich chocolate cake. Deep fudge once the room approaches room temp.

Mouthfeel - Near full-bodied with a silky smooth carbonation. Goes down beautifully.

Overall - A great American stout. Flavorful, aggressive, yet goes down with grade A smoothness. Sweet with a good amount of bitterness to balance things out. This is not one I'll quickly forget.

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

Mad River: one of my favorite California brewers that isn’t wildly popular. Here’s hoping they do a good interpretation of one of my favorite styles…

A: A menacingly dark pour – how the hell is this beautiful black sludge less than 7% ABV? Love the presence. A dark brown touch of oily microbubbles sits above the body, with thin, milky retention and intermittent strings of lacing.

S: A nose that’s very coffee and mineral water-forward; quite bright for such a dark beer. Even the chocolate malt underbelly is an array of bittersweet aromas, not all that thick and fudge-like. Touches of dark fruits, vanilla, and roasts show up, but it’s definitely all about chocolate-flavored coffee and metallic mineral hints.

T: Chocolaty and remarkably savory – a mild hickory-smoke to a palate that’s mainly all about smooth roasted malt and deliciously complex fruits. Smoked dates, roasty grain husk, thick oak, cocoa powder, and a slight leathery mustiness make this one enjoyable sipper. However, it has a ton of brightness to it that give it an undeniable light character: mineral water and an acidic, citrus fruitiness. The aftertaste is roasty and dry, though the chocolate flavor also clings to the tongue for a while after you’re done.

M: A bit more bubbly than I was expecting, so it’s surprisingly fizzy on the first drink. Goes down a little thin for that reason, but it’s still a satisfying drink.

O: An impressive stout in a small package – can’t beat that. I’d gladly have multiple bottles with dinner sometime, or just on a cold night.

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Photo of denver10
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours black with an effervescent mocha head and nice lacing. A nice rich, roasty aroma with some chocolate and coffee. A roasty flavor that dies just before it reaches burntness, some licorice, and coffee. Thinnish medium mouthfeel, some activiy, nothing noticeable. Overall, a solid stout. Drinking an Yeti Espresso Stout before this wasn't helpful to this beer's cause but I did enjoy this and will have to revisit it with a fresher palate.

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

I went after some Steelheads with a shaker pint.

Appearance- The pour results in only a half-finger or so of toasted bread colored head. It looks very soapy and filmy and retains pretty well. The black body is completely opaque, without a hint of highlights.

Smell- This nose has a nice combination of roasted notes and a slightly sweet molasses notes. There are also hints of figs, black currants, some tobacco, and brown sugar. The nose is more sweet than roasty, and smells excellent!

Taste- These flavors mimic what was intimated on the nose almost exactly. The roasted flavors hit the palate quickly, but they are not burnt, more like tobacco leaf. Then the sweet and musty flavors begin to take hold and really make this stout soar.

There are caramel malts that stack on top of figs, brown sugar, and molasses. Even a bit of anise seeps into the long finish. This stout leaves behind a long and smokey, chalky and brown sugar aftertaste. So good!

Mouth feel- The stout is a decent medium body, but lacks a solid, creamy feel. I cannot say that this stout is any less fun to drink because of this.

Overall- This extra stout tastes great! The wonderful flavor complexities make for an interesting and very enjoyable beer. I feel some of the flavors could have been drawn out even more and the feel could be creamier, but these are nit - picky things. Definitely have this if you can.

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Photo of coreyfmcdonald
4.23/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter

A: Pours pitch black with an inch of dense dark tan foam. Retention is great. Very nice.

S: Strong dark and milk chocolate aroma with roasted malts and some light oxidation. There is also light anise in the background.

T: Roasted malts and dark chocolate dominate this beer. The beer is balanced with toffee sweetness and light milk chocolate sweetness. There is moderate hop bitterness as well that works very well with the beer.

M: Thick mouthfeel with moderate to high carbonation. Creamy, but a tad too much carbonation.

O: I honestly didn't expect a whole lot from this beer but was quite impressed. The dark chocolate and roasted malt flavors are great and the thick mouthfeel works well with the stout.

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Sam Adams pint.

A: Pours a totally opaque, dark brown color with 1 finger of light chocolate head. Good retention and lace.

S: Sweet chocolate and mellow roast.

T: Leads with mellow chickory, then the roasted malts come in, fading to chocolate on the finish which lingers on the aftertaste. A ton of flavor for a stout that's not an Imperial. Towards the end of the glass, sweet rose joins in.

M: Smooth, not too heavy but definitely substantial enough.

O: A really fine stout. Have been enjoying this six pack for the last few days and will need to try their other beers which have just arrived in town. Well done indeed.

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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 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 CaptDavyJones
4.23/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured almost pitch black from a 12 oz bottle, with ABV on the label. Couldn't find a freshness date anywhere on the bottle.
Nice one finger mocha colored head that dissipated very slowly. Always pleasing to see a darker colored head.
Aroma is a pleasing blend of coffee and chocolate malt. The aroma had the feel of chocolate in various forms blended together with coffee. Easy on the nose.
The taste, similar to the aroma, is slightly sweet upfront. In the middle there are hints of bitterness which are akin to dark coffee and dark chocolate. The bitterness doesn't linger after the finish.
Very tasty and very easy to drink. However, it is a shade lower than a medium body.
Overall, I think this is a very good stout and glad I tried it. Has all the makings of a good sessions beer.

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