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Steelhead Double India Pale Ale | Mad River Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
85
very good
410 Reviews
THE BROS
84
good
Read the review
Steelhead Double India Pale AleSteelhead Double India Pale Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Mad River Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
410
Ratings:
824
Avg:
3.79
pDev:
15.57%
 
 
Wants:
24
Gots:
66
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 410 | Ratings: 824
Photo of wafers
3.91/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into standard pint glass

A: Pours a burnt-orange to peach color, very cloudy, moderate amounts of sediment seen floating around
S: Aroma of oranges, some berry sweetness
T: Nice hop flavoring right up front, definite citrus bitterness, flavorings of oranges, tangerine, noticeable hit of alcohol towards the end
M: Medium to full-bodied, not as resiny or sticky as some other IPA's
O: Tasty DIPA, shows characteristics of the extreme hopped flavors of these types of brews but also shows a decent amount of citrus sweetness to offset the bitterness. Would buy again.

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Photo of Bockrules
3.96/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured from the bottle into a tulip glass

A - Pours a hazy orange with gold highlights. Clmps of small bubbles rise to the dense, three-finger, off-white head. Head stays intact all the way down the glass. Leaves behind substantial rings of lacing.

S - Peppy grape fruit notes on a firm caramel malt background. A little bit of spices.

T - Orange upfront. The body is dominated by citrus fruit ethers (orange, grapefruit), but rides on a nice caramel malt backbone. Peppy hop notes meander in the background until exploding as the beer passes over the back of the tongue. Bitter floral finish with a kiss of caramel.

M -Full bodied with enough carbonation to produce a creamy mouthfeel. Nice and chewy to boot. Very well done.

Recommended to me by an employee at World Market. Although I think I still prefer Odell's Double IPA at this point, Steelhead is a damn good beer. Full bodied, delicious, and a looker to boot, it is certainly worth the $11.00 for a six at World Market. In fact I plan on getting one next time i'm there....

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Photo of Scotchboy
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap @ Bier:Thirty, Boise ID. Served in a tulip.

A: Appears orange with amber hues, relatively turbid, with a light amount of off-white head and some decent lace.

S: Heavy dose of malt and hops, a good balanced DIPA...some tropical fruitiness, herbal & piney notes, bready malts, toasted caramel, spices, and faint alcohol.

T: Follows the nose, pine emerges more prominently on the palette and blends with the juicy fruit notes. Good dose of bitterness...again, pretty balanced. Hoppy, with a hefty bready malt bill. As it warms, the flavors get a little watery.

MF: Denser medium mouthfeel, decent dryness and bitterness.

O: I'd have it again. Pretty decent malt bill & hop presence...the alcohol is faint...pretty drinkable.

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Photo of ArrogantB
2.61/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

12oz bottle purchased for $1.75 with no bottling date (uh-oh).Turbid and hazy orange color with good head and lacing. Smells old like malt and dead hops, Goddamnit. The taste confirms it, this is old, the hops are stale and the malt tastes like grainy cereal. Mouthfeel is fine but overall this really sucked. I do not feel bad reviewing this even though I know it is old because brewers need to bottle date IPA's and I feel cheated of my $1.75. This is going right down the drain, I won't even finish it.

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Photo of hoptualBrew
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz stubby & pours a murky bright orange with an off white head. Lookin pretty good & leaving a nice amount of lacing down the glass, got to love it! Nose is sweet malts & grapefruit. Straight forward Imperial IPA, but cant wait to get into this one. Pale and some caramel malts meet west coast hoppage. I expect nothing less from an Imperial IPA, solid & very drinkable. Carbonation is good & the mouth sweeps through to a pleasant lingering aftertaste of malts & hops. Solid IIPA!

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Photo of mpcrump
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A: Hazy orange amber. Good 2 finger head, off white in color. Good lacing.

S: Citrus hops orange and grapefruit. Pine and roasted grain. Somewhat on the mild side.

T: Sweetness and citrus hops (orange and grapefruit). Slightly bitter throughout.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation. Slightly sticky sweet.

O: A pretty good beer. Perhaps a bit too sweet for me but the sweetness is not overpowering by any stretch.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.71/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a deep cloudy amber color. Head is a pinky finger high. Retains well. Leaves mild lacing.

S-Lighter nose of malty sweetness and citrus. Oranges. Too light for the style. Needs to be much more assertive. I don't like my DIPAs to be mellow in the nose. Rarely a good sign. But what is there in the nose is pretty pleasant.

T-Flavor is citrusy and grassy. The citrus is pretty lively and ripe. Is definitely an upgrade from the nose. Quite sweet too. A very balanced DIPA. Light alcohol warms the cheeks. Simple, balanced, and straightforward.

M-Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Not very bitter or resinous. Now seeing that this is nearly 9% alcohol, I am impressed by how well the alcohol is hidden throughout.

O/D-The local store has an absurd discount on most of the Steelhead beers. $4.99 a six-pack is ridiculous. May be on the back 9 in terms of freshness, but its very drinkable. If this wasn't so cheap I wouldn't re-buy it though.

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Photo of seedsofchaos
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Admittedly, this is one of my favorite IPAs/IIPAs so it's going to be incredibly difficult if not impossible to give this one an unbiased review. But, after a 10 month hiatus from BA, I feel it's only right to come back with a classic. I've never had a beer that I disliked from Mad River and Steelhead DIPA is at the top of their year-round offerings in my humble opinion.

Steelhead pours a rich copper in color that any IPA lover can recognize. It's thick with a generous one-finger head that sticks around for quite some time. Hop resins are definitely high in this viscous Double and the spiderwebs spin tales of their own.

To me, the aroma is hop-centric but the balance of piney, floral and citrusy hops makes up for the lack of malt balance in the nose. Don't get me wrong, the malt is there in the background but this hits my nostrils like hop candy and only begs to be tasted.

Pale malt comes in through the flavor with a nice solid biscuit taste that is immediately immersed in rich flavors of pine, a touch of lemon, a little grapefruit... Never had thought before about how pine-centered the flavor was. Bitterness is on point. High IBUs but not butt-puckeringly high. Yeah, that's a phrase now. :P

A solid ale overall that kind of tetters between an IPA and a IIPA. Though hops don't explode in the nostrils like one would expect from a DIPA, the smell is so pleasing that it's hard to knock down too much. I'm a big guy and, to me, this is sessionable... Though, some of my smaller kin would not agree.

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Photo of elNopalero
3.77/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This pours a malty-yellow color. It has a muted hop aroma on this. Lightly flavored with a pleasant malt backbone to balance out the hops. There’s a bitterness that lingers on the finish. It’s not a hop bomb—surprise, coming from the west coast!—but more laid back and mellow. Coming from Northern California? Maybe there’s something else going on out there in Humboldt County.

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Photo of albertjr21
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip glass, pour yields a bright and semi-clear unfiltered orange amber. Nose delivers a solid sweet citrus hop aroma of grapefruit and orange. Resinous citrus hops deliver a straightforward big bitterness along a well-balancing smooth malt backbone. Plentiful flavor notes of pungent orange and extra sweet grapefruit. Sticky and dry orange rind zesty finish.

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Photo of Gehrig
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at The Independent in Seminole Heights, FL.

One finger of off-white foam tops a clear brown-amber body. Good duration and rings of snowy lacing on the pint glass start things well. The smell is at least as malty as hopped, with biscuit malt, almond, and hints of dark chocolate the most prominent aromas. Some (potentially C-hop) citrus smell comes through, but not much.

Good, very balanced taste, hop-forward but with a sturdy malt backbone. Grapefruit, orange peel, and some tangerine with ample biscuit malt tying things together nicely. Steelhead is tasty and smooth, an easy-going. It certainly isn't the most complex DIPA I have ever had, and the smell really should be much better for the style, but the taste and texture are quite satisfying.

I do not say this as if I mind the presence of the malt as such in Steelhead--anything but. In general, I like a good malt presence as a complement to heavy hops in DIPA. However, I do think Steelhead would be well served by extra helpings of hops. I find myself wanting more--more grit, more citrus especially.

Overall, a good beer, a nice way to end a good evening of drinking with friends.

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Photo of harrymel
1.76/5  rDev -53.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Bottled: unk

A: amber diaphanous ale with a finger of transient light yellow foam which remains as a broken sheet of the same. Rare lace.
S: Smells like some noble hops (old and stagnant), oxidized malts and little else.
T: Malt and hints of residual bitterness. Guessing this one's old, but hard to tell without a bottle date.
M: Medium on heavy for the style with moderate carb.
O: This is not a good beer.

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Photo of Tucquan
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on 2011-11-05 in Columbia, PA

A - Hazy sunset-orange with a 1.5-finger off-white head and good lacing into a nonic glass.

S - Orange citrus, pine, sweet and mildly roasted grain. Pleasant but not overpowering.

T - Sweet, bready malt, pine, mild spice and orange-candy citrus. Not hop forward. Citric bitterness comes in at the end and lingers in the aftertaste with some tannin and roasty astringency.

M - Medium-heavy body and light-medium carbonation. Resinous, sticky and a tad prickly.

O - I enjoyed this brew. It's a little sweeter than I'd normally choose for a DIPA but it isn't syrupy sweet and the tannin and hop and roasted bitterness do a good job of toning this down.

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Photo of oline73
3.45/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a very cloudy amber color with a finger of fluffy white head. There is a mild amount of lacing and some good retention.

Smell: Sweet with a solid caramel malt presence. There is also a decent hop aroma with some citrus notes.

Taste: The malt doesn't show up as much here as it did in the smell. There is enough to balance things, but it isn't the first thing you notice. Citrus peel hops with some malt sweetness. The finish is bitter with some alcohol and mildly peppery.

Mouthfeel: The body is just on the thick side of medium with tingly carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This is a solid brew. Good hop profile and decent balance. Not sure I would search it out again, but certainly wouldn't turn one down if it was offered to me.

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Photo of jvillefan
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: It is a golden yellow that is a little hazey due to the yeast. There was not a great head.

S: There is alcohol and hops in foreground of the aroma. There is the smell of yeast in the background.

T: Very floral for an IPA. Withbthe floral notes in there beer there are also hops and citrus with a little pine.

M: Very good. There is a nice viscosity created by the yeast.

O: This beer is definately woth having at least once.

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Photo of dankster
3.89/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

No freshness date on bottle.

A- Nice copper look with a little carb. good lacing on glass.

S- heavy pine with some citrus and sweet fruits. maybe grapefruits and some pineapple

T- very dry and easy drinking. Hard to tell it's 8.6% ABV. needs to have a little more bitter bite for a DIPA IMO.

M-smooth and somewhat creamy for the style. Average

O-pretty solid IPA. Not quite DIPA but overpriced for the sixer at $11 better stuff at cheaper prices available. would drink again though

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Photo of Mdog
3.38/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Murky amber, ok head.

Smell: Mild hop aroma, oxidized (wet cardboard).

Taste: Mild caramel then dry crisp citrus hops. Luckily the oxidized smell didn't come through in the taste.

Drinkability: Pretty easy to drink, the dryness makes me want to drink more.

I think this bottle was a little old but not too far gone, so I will give it a review. This has a nice dry citrus hop presence but reminded me more of a IPA than DIPA. Could have been due to age, but without a bottled-on date, who knows.

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Photo of BeerNutz324
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pint glass

Ap- golden light amber with an orange hue, cloudy. nice foamy head about an inch. good retention and good lacing.

Ar- citrus fruit especially orange. piney hops too.

T- grapefriut, orange, piney hops at the end. a wee bit of alcohol but not much for an 8.2% beer.

M- light/medium body. normal carbonation. piney oils in your mouth after holding it for a while.

O- this is a good DIPA. I usually get a mix your own six pack and always throw one of these in there and really do enjoy it.

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Photo of buschbeer
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle
Served in a snifter

A - Lovely amber color with a chill haze. I is topped with an inch and a half of beige head.

S - The nose seems more caramel malt than hops. I do get some mild citrus.

T - Awfully malt-centric. The hops are almost an afterthought. The alcohol is well hidden though.

M - Moderate and smooth. Not a lot of carbonation

O - This is a DIPA for the malt lovers.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.17/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Golden orange and murky. Quarter finger head.

S: Lots of grapefruit in the aroma.

T: the taste is complex similar to that of the 90 minute Dogfish head, but not quite as good. The pine notes are just enough and the hops are there, but i would like more.

M: Moderate carbonation and medium bodied.

Overall: I was pleasantly surprised by this one and plan on keeping an eye out for it in bottles so I may stock up.

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Photo of thain709
3.76/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured with a cloudy, burnt orange body that showed suspended sediment throughout...two fingers worth of off white head formed a full cap and retained that full cap throughout the glass...nice lacing was left behind

S - I'm getting piney hops rather than citrus hops...you can detect the bitterness up front...caramel malt rolling around

T - Yup, there's the bitterness...it lasts through and through with every sip...there is a strong caramel malt middle that does provide some relief but in the end the bitter piney hops win over and finish with an even stronger bitterness

M - Medium...bitter...pretty one dimensional

O - Although I'm happy I finally got to try something from Mad River, I can't say that I was too impressed...for me Steelhead DIPA was pretty one dimensional...I've had better DIPA's that were worth their value or cheaper

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Photo of Kitt
3.81/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma: Rich eclectic malts entrenched with sweet banana and hints of caramel.

Appearance: An unfiltered deep-peach color with virtually no head, yet some strong lacing.

Taste: A bitter blast of strong hops with a balanced malty backbone. Bitter flavor lingers nicely. Although very pleasing, something is missing from this imperial - it seems uni-demensional; I would have prefered a slightly more eclectic malt & hop flavor more reflective of the superb aroma.

Mouthfeel is slightly weak for an double IPA. Lacks a viscous creamy feel typically characteristic of top imperials.

Drinkibility is good for an ABV of nearly 9.0%.

Overall, a good double IPA but not quite up to par with, say, a Ruination or Double Trouble. The rather weak mouthfeel and a lack of eclectic malt/hop balance are the beers downfalls. Nevertheless, an above average IPA.

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

This beer was served on cask at the Blind Tiger in New York, NY. It arrived in a mug and appeared tawny in color with a one finger tan head, which left nice lacing as it dissipated. The brew appeared hazy with large pieces of yeasty sediment present at the bottom of the glass. Upon sniffing, citric hops were extremely apparent upfront, with lemon and grapefruit as the main components. Additionally, some earthy/mineraly notes become more apparent as the beer warmed. The taste opened with equally as strong citric hops and some mild toasted malt character. The same earthy qualities present in the nose pop through here in the beginning of the taste, but oddly lead to a crisp and clean tasting middle. As the beer moves to the back of the palate, we find a revival of the citrus components, however this time the flavors speak more of lime and orange citrus, as opposed to the grapefruit and lemon from earlier. Additionally, there is the faintest spice of mustard seed, along with a chalky and dirty wood component. Souring hops finish us off along with a faint booziness. Both the body and the carbonation are medium, and the beer seems a bit watery compared to other beers of the style, but does maintain a certain creaminess that is not overly drying considering the huge hop component. The abv is appropriate and the beer drinks easily.

Overall, what we enjoyed best about this beer were the huge citrusy hop components. These lent a nice freshness to the beer making it great to drink on a hotter summer day. Additionally, it was interesting to observe the progression from the grapefruit citrus on the aroma, to the lime and orange citrus that were appreciated at the end of the sip. It was subtleties throughout the hops that make this beer a great find

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Photo of Vanlingleipa
4.35/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Those wacky cats at Mad River. I love the story (whether true or not) about how they created their Jalapeno beer - screwed up a batch of IPA and rather than wasting it, filtered a buttload of peppers to infuse it with a spicy, snappy Jalapeno flavor.

This Steelhead DIPA was not born of the chemistry set, but there is still something experimental about it. This isn't the standard sweet, burnt malt set loose to lasso the ever-present bitter hops in this beer. From the first quaff there is a distinct smoky peat, butterscotch type flavor, along a malty sweetness that walks alongside the piney, bitter hops. It's a unique flavor that lingers in your mouth along with the hops, although not so much in the tongue, more like the back of my mouth.

Color is a bright, apricot-orange. Scent is interesting - little hops, some faint peat. Excellent beer, made more excellent by its distribution in a low-cost 12 oz bottle.

EDIT: received a response from Steelhead and in the interest of fair play (well, mostly because it's interesting), am adding it to this review.

Hello Valingleipa,
My name is Brian and I am the Senior Brewer at Mad River Brewing Co.. Im writing you in order to give you the real story behind our Chili beer. The story you heard about the Chili beer, involving a messed up batch of IPA, is not true. Good you stated is or is not ;). Here is the real story. Our CEO brought in some chilis he had grown in his garden for us employees to take home and use. Our Brewmaster,Dylan, and I got to thinking, " Hey, why dont we throw some chilis at the Extra Pale Ale, its a perfect base beer for a Chili ale." In addition, we were preparing for a local Beerfest called StrangeBrew Fest and we knew our buddy and fellow brewer at Six Rivers Brewing would have his Chili Ale at the Fest also. So it was just something fun to do. Low and behold, it turned out to be an excellent Chili Ale! So much so, the judges at the GABF awarded it a Bronze medal in the herb or spiced catagory. Go figure!;) So there you have it. Glad you enjoyed the DIPA! All our best to you from MRBCO

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

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A gorgeous amber orange, cloudy in appearance is presented with some cloudy character. Head is a solid foamy and foams unevenly but has lots of staying power. Also off white in appearance with some thick retention. Scattered lacing while finishing the drink

Smell is mushy citrus fruit. Can't pick the fruit profile so much, some faint earth and grass like hop. Seems like something very sweet and sugary is coming.

Taste is kind of interesting. Orange thick sweetness with a nice small bittering pine hop finish. Texture is syrupy, but does not translate into big sweetness as I expected. It's like an aggressive hoppy big orange juice syrup bomb. Alcohol sugariness somewhat noticeable, but doesn't translate into a boozy bomb.

Overall there could be worse but this doesn't seem to do it for me. Better is out there, but this is honestly not a bad beer.

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Steelhead Double India Pale Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 410 ratings.
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