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Steelhead Double India Pale Ale | Mad River Brewing Company

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very good
410 Reviews
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Steelhead Double India Pale AleSteelhead Double India Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Mad River Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-18-2006

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Reviews: 410 | Ratings: 828
Photo of ordybill
4.52/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.
Aroma- Has that malt and hop aroma. Smells real good
Appearance- This beer is a golden yellow with a nice white head.
Taste- Has a nice sweet flavor that finishes with a bitter end with a strong booze aftertaste (strong ABV. can easily be noticed) Tastes good.
Palate- A medium bodied brew with moderate carbonation. Has a slick feel to it, very enjoyable
Overall- I really liked this brew, if you can find it give it a whirl.

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Photo of chinchill
3.79/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle.
Pours a hazy deep amber with a decent head.
Flavor has more citrus and is overall more fruity than the aroma. Good balancing malt load. Nicely balanced and soft for style.

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Photo of hophugger
3.33/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a cloudy deep orange-amber. Smell is strong of hops and some citrus. Taste is different, kinda of like a hopped up porter, Interesting!!. Overall, good carbonation and a good thirst quencher

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Photo of RickFromArizona
3/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Meh. It's a Double IPA that will make you think you're drinking some kind of stout hybrid. You drink an IPA and you expect pine or citrus immediately. To me (because we all taste things differently) this is more like a weird stout with a full mouth feel and bitter on the end. Not refreshing on a hot day. Reminds me of Ron Burgundy choosing milk. I wouldn't order it if my IPA choices were Racer 5, Ballast Point, Fig Mountain, Firestone Walker, Lagunitas...

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Photo of Shade1951
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice beer! I like the cloudy look - with bright sunshine coming through. The smell was a bit muted, but what there was was pleasant enough.

The taste hit most of the right notes for me - juicy! Bitter with no discernible off-flavors. I'm not sure I would call the taste "complex," but it tasted right as a DIPA. Carbonation felt right to me as well.

There are certainly better and more flavorful DIPA's out there. This one wasn't a home run, but it was a pretty solid triple (even though it's a "double").

I would get this again.

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Photo of delta490
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a cloudy orange/amber. Visible particulate and a big fomay white head. The head has great retention and leaves nice lacing. The aroma is hop-forward, with floral and citrus notes backed up with some caramel malt sweetness. The taste is similar, but less refined than the aroma, with there being more of a mish-mash versus the more well-defined characteristics of the aroma. It has a nice thick mouthfeel and no carbonation. Overall, I'm wondering if I got a dud. It's not badly produced, but I was expecting more (And in the case of the floaters, less).

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Photo of Oakengroves
3.07/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: A very hazy golden copper color with light fizz suspended throughout.

S: Somewhat flat with pipe hops and grapefruit. Not very appealing.

T: A small amount of grainy malts and sweetness, and followed by a disappointingly low amount of pine hops. Not very bitter.

M: Full bodied with heavy carbonation. Fairly smoothed.

O: I am not likely to purchase this again. It does not live up to an abundance of other great DIPAs but is enjoyable.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a very hazy golden copper in color with light to moderate amounts of active visible carbonation along the sides of the glass, a light to moderate amount of fine particles in suspension near the bottom of the glass, and faint peach + golden yellow highlights. The beer has a finger tall sudsy foamy beige head that reduces to a small to medium sized thick patch of larger bubbles surrounded by a mottled thick film covering the remainder of the surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate amounts of citrus/grapefruit and pine hops over lighter aromas of caramel malts.

T: Upfront there is a light to moderate flavor of slightly sweet caramel and grainy malts with a touch of caramel sweetness. That is followed by moderate flavors of citrus/grapefruit pith and pine hops that impart a moderate amount of lingering bitterness. Light hints of alcohol in the finish.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation. Crisp and smooth.

O: Enjoyable but the alcohol is not very well hidden in this brew and it is quite filling for the style - this is likely a one and done for me but I would consider having it again.

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Photo of MNishCT77
3.14/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

12 oz. bottle purchased at Franklin's Pub & Brewery in Hyattsville, MD., unknown bottling date, poured into my FFF Teku glass, drank 10/17/13 over several hours.

A: 2/3 - deep reddish-brown coloration, minimal clarity (can't see or read through), initial frothy white head dissipates into subtle glass lacing, moderate alcohol legs

S: 9/12 - mostly Cascade aromas that I generally find unpleasant - grassy, bleach-y and mild spiciness

T: 12/20 - on the anterior tongue, there is an intense bitterness that was pronounced on the first sip and attenuated thereafter; it the middle of the mouth, the bitterness continues to linger with caramel malt flavors; 8.6% ABV is well-hidden; finishes sweet and lingers; no gross flaws detetable

M: 3/5 - moderate-to-full body, appropriate carbonation, alcohol present

O: 6/10 - this is a mediocre imperial IPA and many of the readers out there have probably homebrewed better versions that this; it has lots of things present that I don't like in an imperial IPA - Cascade dominant, caramel/biscuity malts, too sweet on the finish and not really drying enough; I think that I am being overly generous with my score but I don't really like blasting beers; anyway, with some many good imperial IPAs out there, especially in CA, I would definitely pass this over

TOTAL = 32/50

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Photo of 57md
3.82/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a cloudy copper with two fingers of head that dissipated rather quickly, but left some nice lacing behind. The nose is only mildly hoppy, certainly not befitting a DIPA. The upfront flavor includes an oddly sweet note that gives way to a nice hop-infused finish. This is a tasty DIPA that is a flavorful attempt at a popular style, but it certainly does not belong in the top tier of the style.

Kudos and bonus points to this offering for being union made by IAM members.

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Photo of Mojo
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle -> Sam Adams Perfect Pint

A- Pours up a very hazy gold which eventually settles into a clear gold. Two finger head with a nice retention ring, even a hour later (yes slow drinker) and lacing that would be the envy of many beers
S - Pine, resin, grasses, bread, yadda, yadda, yadda
T - Initial taste is pretty sweet, but the back end is bitter and boozy. Bitter I like, boozy, uh not so much.
M- a little lingering aftertaste.
O -Okay, but nothing awesome to see here. Move along!!!

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Photo of VitoFerrante
4.43/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This beer was a complete surprise. It was given to me by an industry person to try, knowing I am a monster DIPA unfiltered fan! The likes of Artic Panzer Wolf, Heady, and others of the style attract me. I was blown away. This is an accessible example of the style that really shows its chops. Juicy, hoppy, very little boozy smell and taste that many examples of the style have. West Coast pedigree taste, appearance, and smell. And you can buy it!!! This may be my new "go to" for a DIPA. It really compares to Alchemy Hour, Sucks, and many others of this echelon, but is available all year round. You can see the juicy bits floating around in this beer like so many others that are much harder to get. Buy this beer!

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Photo of KYGunner
3.77/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bright copper to orangey brown the color is striking. The head was light, thin and wispy but with a bright white hue.

The scent is is nice with more malt than hops. Subtle tea leaves are balanced with a grainy maltiness. Light lemon rind and grapefruit are closer to the end.

This IPA derives its taste from the strong malt base and only picks up slight hoppy flavor towards the end. Some earthiness mixes with the malt and then a metallic pine after taste takes hold. That pine lingers perhaps a little too long.

Overall, I'm a big fan of more malt intensive DIPAs so this is right up my alley. Just a little less metal in the after taste and amped up the scent and you would really have something.

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Photo of Flounder57
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle was poured into a snifter.

Appearance: This beer poured a one finger head that reduced to a thin layer. It is a hazy orange color with a little clarity and bubbles coming up through through the glass. Nice lacing on the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Citrus and tropical hops, caramel, and bready malts. It's hard to decipher the scents in this beer.

Taste: Caramel sweet malts, grapefruit, tangerine, citrus, and bready notes.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, full bodied, tingly bitterness, a little chewy, and medium carbonation.

Overall: A nice DIPA. It could be cleaned up a bit, but still an enjoyable beer.

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Photo of lighthabit
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

nice off white head dies down to thin layer and stays there, lacing is good. pours a hazy color that reminds me of dried mangos (not bad, that's just what the color makes me think of). smell is resiny hops right up front, not shy at all, as it warms up there's a minor off-smell, but almost missed it. early on it comes across as a bit dry, but that mellows as time goes on. taste is a bit of hidden citrus, almost covered up by the fairly strong hops. it doesn't like to be sipped, this would be great cold after a hot day in the yard - a nice brew for this summer. feel is resiny/oily, smooth, carbonation is there, but i'd almost like just a bit more to make those hops really go "ka-pow!". it's not a hop-bomb, but could be with a bit of a push. glad i tried it, though i'll probably go hunt down something with a bit more citrus when i'm looking for another ipa.

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Serving type: 12-ounce bottle. No freshness date.

Appearance: Poured into a tulip glass. The color is cloudy, amber-orange. It looks thick; orange pulp-like specks are suspended in the beer. About two fingers of dense, eggshell-colored head settled slowly to leave trails along the glass, a thick ring, and clusters of bubbles and skim.

Smell: Invigorating and spot-on! Orange, mellow grapefruit, light lemon zest, peach, pineapple, mango, strawberry, and raspberry. I know it sounds demeaning, but it’s true: it reminds me of a strawberry Orange Julius, or maybe one of the banana and berry smoothies from Jamba Juice. As the beer warms, caramel sweetness becomes more prominent and the booze begins to sneak in. A tame floral hop aroma also emerges.

Taste: The mouthfeel is thick and creamy. The taste is a bit of a letdown compared to the smell, but it is still pretty good. The citrus, tropical fruit, and berries from the smell are less prominent. There is a touch of pine spice as well, but the flavor belongs to pale malts, sweet caramel, and light floral hops. The bitterness is very minimal and the alcohol is almost completely masked.

Drinkability: This is very good stuff, but the flavor lacks the compelling complexity from the aroma.

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Photo of alex_hart
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

purchased a few days ago as a six pack recommended by a fellow beer searcher.

appearance is nice. a nice medium to dark hazelnut brown. No head (maybe just because of the slow pour) and extremely minimal lacing.

Smell is nice. A slight sharpness to the hops comes through along with some citrus and a bit of sweetness.

The taste was my favorite part of this brew, and that is the most important part to look at (as it should be for everyone). This delicious. Sweet, almost sticky, on the forefront of the sip, then it slowly eases into the refreshing sharp bitterness on the back of the tongue.

This is one of my first DIPAs, and it is definitely going to make me go back for more. I was expecting a much more intense hop presence than what was received, but in a good way. This is definitely a good brew to get you going at 8.6% abv. The percent is hidden very well, too, which could be dangerous as this night progresses.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Mad River "Steelhead Double IPA"
12 oz. bottle, no apparent freshness dating.
$3.75 @ The Beer Shoppe, Ardmore, PA

Based on the sediment, and the maltiness of this beer (which can seem amplified by early stages of oxidation) I'd have to say that I might have an old bottle here. Of course there's no freshness dating on it so I don't know, but for a brewery that's been around for 22 years I find that pretty shocking.

With all of that said, I liked it. I just don't know if I'm tasting it the way it's supposed to be tasted. And for that reason I'm just going to give some sketchy notes at this point, and hopefully find a fresher bottle soon...

Appearance: Hazy. The sediment really hazed it up. Sediment can be seen in suspension throughout. Deep amber-orange body. Creamy off-white head. Average head retention and lacing. Should be better.

Aroma: Hoppy over golden caramel malt. Surprisingly not citrusy. Some apple-like fruitiness. Very nice soft piney quality. Gently leafy and grassy. A touch perfume-like/floral. Welcoming.

Taste: Welcoming, not unlike the aroma. Soft, sweet golden malt base. Almost syrupy in a way. Gently piney and leafy/herbal hops. Some apple-like fruitiness is carried over. The aroma and the flavor are clearly different, yet at the same time you completely understand how they fit together as being one of the same. Round and rich. Not particularly bitter, although there's got to be at least 60 IBU's in there. The 8.6% abv is present, helping to balance it, but never appears sharp.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and malty. Creamy smooth with a moderate carbonation.

Overall: If this is a double IPA it must be because it's got double the malt. It's stronger too, I'll give it that because I can feel it, but it's certainly not over the top with hops. I find it really unique and charming. It's a reminder of what beers used to be like before brewers started to think that all you had to do to make a great beer was throw hops at it. Quite nice.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a hazy copperish orange with bits of sediment floating around the glass. The head is a hair off-white, frothy and 2 fingers thick. Great retention. Copious amounts of lacing left behind, sip after sip.

Smell - Strong caramel malt at the forefront, backed by hops that come across as floral with a hint of citrus.

Taste - A mountain of caramel malt at the forefront, complimented by a slightly spicy, moderately floral hop that hits mid-taste. Subtle trace of orange rind bitterness lingers well into the aftertaste. Hop profile builds if sipped in quick succession.

Mouthfeel - Thick, full-bodied, and creamy as hell. Entirely drinkable.

Overall - Well balanced DIPA. Maybe too much. No freshness date, so it's hard to say if the hops have been killed off by time, or if it's meant to be as I tasted. In any event, it's fairly close to their Extra Pale Ale, with a bit more of a hop kick.

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Photo of Omnium
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served in my Sam Adam's Winter Lager 16oz

A - Pours a very hazy light amber/dark orange color, thin head but leaves a decent amount of lacing

S - Sweet malts and resiny hops dominate the aroma here , a hidden smell of citrus fruits but very faint, strong dry pine, some floral qualities as well

T - Very dry, the oily, resiny hops are still on top of the flavor as well, carbonization fades to leave the sweeter malt flavor and a dry bitterness of the hops.

M - Full feeling, you really get the bite of the hops from the start. The good qualities of this brew stays with you for a bit.

O - A decent double IPA, I'm not really a fan of the oily hopped beers, but this has an enjoyable quality to it compared to some I've had. Not too pricey and just something different, I would have it again, but not going to buy a case of it.

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Photo of DocJitsu
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear deep golden color, with a foamy egg shell colored head that displays a faint orange hue. Thick lacing nearly entirely covers the edges of the glass as the beer is consumed. Tart, but sweet nose. Akin to a meringue on a citrus pie. Definitely a lot of malt in the aroma with perfumy hops competing, but losing by a nose--pun intended. The mouthfeel is nice. Rich, full body that coats the palate. Malt bomb. Perhaps too much of a blend of the hops with the grain. I would prefer the hops to express themselves a little more, but they are drowned out in the blend. Still not a bad beer.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Tony's Darts Away in Burbank, CA.

Pours a hazy honey orange with a foamy orange-beige head that settles to a thin cap on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, honey, citrus zest, and slight perfume-like aroma. Taste is much the same with a medium hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but nothing too exciting for the style.

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Photo of JerryGlumm
4.7/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought in bottle at Jungle Jims in Fairfield OH. BALANCE! This beer has it. If you're like me and can't personally handle the citrus/hops of traditional IPA, this is your beer. Beautiful malt/hop balance without coming across dark or roasty. Pours dark golden and unexpectedly murky. Still looking for more beers like this one and have found anything to rival out. Let me know your suggestions, if any. Hats off to Mad River, this is my absolute favorite brew.

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Photo of Infamous7100
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: pours a deep orange/gold into my imperial pint glass. A nice finger and a half white head with decent lacing. Hazy, unfiltered look. Very nice.
S: I'm met with a nice blend of malt, pine and grapefruit. The hops don't overpower the nose as I expected in a DIPA. As it warms, malts and what I believe to be pineapple become more pronounced. Really enjoy the aroma.
T: The taste seems to be a clone of the nose. A get a great malty sweetness at the front that slowly fades to the notes of pine and grapefruit at the back. I don't get much of the pineapple in the flavor, but I am thoroughly impressed with the balance this DIPA shows.
M: the body is medium and the carbonation is low to moderate. The brew is very creamy which was great. The hang is a tad bitter, but nothing unexpected.
O: Hopheads will be disappointed with this. As a double IPA, they will be expecting more. As a non hophead such as myself, this was an unexpected surprise. This brew possess a beautiful balance in all areas and a flavor profile that leaves you wanting more. Dare I say you could session with this? Yes, I do.

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Photo of garymuchow
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Richer and fuller malt and hop aroma with a hint of spiciness that seems hop related and maybe from a hint of alcohol too. Slightly caramel and fuller malt nose. More evenly split hop/malt presentation.
Hazy with, probably, hop sediment floating around in a orange/brown amber. Smaller head for style but good length.
Fullness and richness in flavor too. Again more malt than is typical, but not to excess. Bold hopping, but it too isn't excessive. The finishing bitterness is actually rather soft for style, but and lingers nicely.
Bigger than moderate feel and carbonated enough to add presence, yet still allowing the richness of the drink shine through.
The whole on this one is bigger than the sum of parts. A good version that drinks well.

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Steelhead Double India Pale Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
3.79 out of 5 based on 828 ratings.
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