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 | 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

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Reviews: 410 | Ratings: 827
Photo of iasanlee
3.18/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep hazy golden amber with a thick off-white head and loads of sticky lacing. Aroma is sweet caramel and fruity hops. Flavor is almost cloying sweet malts and pineapple hop flavor. Long lasting bitterness and cloyingly sweet finish. Medium full in body with moderate carbonation, and alcohol burn. A bit one demensional for style, but not a bad beer by any means.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.2/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz picked up at Brewforia tonight on the way home from work... Poured into my small CC goblet... slightly hazy orange brew with decent retention and good spotty lacing.

Nose is pretty standard West Coast DIPA... pithy citrus and good pale malts.. seems pretty blah honestly.

Bitterness begins on the front and builds toward the end of the palate leaving little for hop flavors in the middle... a nice bounce of grapefruit and maybe tangerine hoppiness is blown out by an resounding bitterness on the finish.

Body and carbonation are about right.. Despite the $$ at Brewforia, this is still a pretty decent brew... I would buy it again.


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Photo of peabody
3.2/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours out a cloudy amber orange with one finger of the white stuff. Slight Lacing
Smell is alcohol and caramel and not much grapefruit.
Taste is alcohol and very little hops. This one is bland for a double IPA.
Mouthfeel is a little oily but bearable.
Drinkability is only average here.
Not Mad River's best effort.

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Photo of thehand
3.21/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into imperial pint glass. Pours a hazy medium copper color, with a about 1" off white creamy head. Aroma is a lot of sweet caramel malt, not much else. Where are the hops? Isn't this a Double IPA? I really have to search to find any trace of hop aroma. Taste is also very malt-forward, hops don't show up until close to the finish, which is dry and earthy. Medium bodied, slick mouthfeel, medium-high carbonation, some alcohol warmth. Unbalanced on the malty side, a little sweet even with the drying finish. That along with the alcohol warmth makes it less drinkable than it could be. No serious off-flavors, but very unbalanced in my opinion.

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Photo of Matthew
3.21/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazey copper color with a good 1/4 inch of off white head, low retention.
Considering that this is a double IPA the hop aroma is pretty weak IMO. There is a grassy and floral tone to the aroma with a very light watery sweetness. The aroma isn't bad, just not all that good imo.
Very slight hop bite, floral, light citrus, a bit earthy with decent sized malty backbone that almost stomps out the hoppiness in the finish.
Decent mouthfeel. Medium bodied with middle of the road levels of carbonation.
The alcohol is very well hidden in this beer, but if you are looking to drink a double IPA I'd suggest that this doesn't contain the hop character you are probably looking for. This isn't a totally bad beer by any means....just of the mark of my understanding of the style.

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Photo of BilbosNuts
3.22/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a gold with somewhat of a haziness to it. It has a medium white head that lowers to a small head in a few minutes with some good lacing.

S: The smell is of a robust hoppiness. The smell also has crisp and refreshing aspects.

T: It has a very crisp taste with a hoppy and kind of bitter aftertaste. It has the hop profile more of an IPA rather than a double.

M: The bitterness adds a stinging and crisp feel that goes away rather quickly.

D: For a double IPA it is very easy to drink. It seems more like a good IPA instead of a double IPA.

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Photo of ZAP
3.23/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A-Grilled peach colored...light white whisp of a head..

S-Smells like a DIPA as it has depth and richness....has that malty layer that borders on Barley Wine aroma...hops are also obviously evident with a fruity note...

T-The taste is slightly disappointing as it is a bit muted...fruity...apples and pears....a nice bitterness lingers on the deep finish...has ample malt muscle...not bad but just not as bright or awe inspiring as I like my DIPA's to be..also has a splash of grain alcohol...

M-Medium to full with a little dry bite..

D-Overall an average to above average is decent but compared to others it falls a little short...don't get me wrong...I like this and will enjoy the three bottles I have but compared to the others in its class it is average to above average..

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Photo of tonistruth
3.23/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

on tap @ Stone Brewing Company Bistro in Escondido, CA

A- auburn with orange hues, 1 finger of silky foam, good retention, filmy lace

S- citric and floral hops, malt sweetness

T- citrus, pine, and leafy hops, toasted caramel malts, somewhat balanced

M- coarse and sticky medium body

D- pretty solid double IPA until it warms up a bit, then its not very inviting to drink

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Photo of Reagan1984
3.23/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to ThreeWiseMen for providing this as an extra in a trade.

The beer poured with a decent off white head that showed nice retention. The color was a cloudy honey color with some real gold tints. No visible carbonation and some nice lacing. A decent looking DPA.

The aroma was spicy, piney and sweet. Could detect a bit of the alcohol.

Flavor was really boozy. I had this in my "warmer" beer fridge so this was served between 46-50 degrees. This surprises me that I could detect that much alcohol. A bit sweet and certainly a pine resin flavor. Slightly spicy as well. More of a white pepper feeling.

The mouth feel was thick and a touch sticky. Again, the booze affected the drinkability. Real warming affect here.

I'm glad that I got a chance to try it, but have to be honest, not my favorite DPA.

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Photo of Freshie
3.25/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Unfiltered cloudy golden appearance. Slight white head skirts the top of the glass. Visible carbonation.

Nose is very floral with some citrus. Hints of malt.

Taste is bitter up front. Sweetness pours through. Fruity herbal flavors are present. Finishes dry.

Hops definitely overpowers the malt. Makes the aftertaste very bitter, and fails to quench the thirst.

The aroma and flavor are good, but a bit too over the top. Still very well put together.

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Photo of RickS95
3.26/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thick white head. Nice looking beer...orangey copper in color. Cloudy, with particles.

Lot of hops in the nose, along with hints of citrus.

It's got a nice, crisp taste; like the smell, the hops and citrus dominate.

Lots of carbonation in the mouth. This is a strong's a double and it's obvious from the first sip.

It's a complex beer, you notice the citrus and hops in the taste, but in the finish is a fight between the strong bitter and the sting/warming of the high alcohol.

One a night is all I could handle, but I'd enjoy another on another night.

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Photo of rtratzlaff
3.26/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Cool stubby bottle with a label of two trout jumping from the water. There's plenty of yeast floats around the bottle of the bottle.

Appears a deep amber/copper tone with large bubbles for the head.

Smells are buttery, herbal, and some citrus hops.

Taste is a strong hop character that is well matched with the malt. I am slightly dissappointed in the assertiveness of the hops, but they do the job nonetheless.

Mouthfeel and body are spot on for the style.
All in all nothing amazing, but pretty tasty.

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Photo of bgraney
3.26/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Golden/amber with reddish hues. Appears lightly carbonated with a 1-finger bubbly/sudsy head.
Less hop impact than expected for a double. Mild grapefruit/cascade aroma.
Hops are more prominent in the taste than the aroma. Not much after the first bitterness hit.
Mouthfeel is a bit on the thin sde. Affter the bitterness wears off the tongue there isn't any other flavor expansion.
Drinkability is limuted due to the fact there isn't much beyond the bitterness to keep it interesting.
Not bad, I certainly wouldn't turn one down, but not in the elite class.

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Photo of pmccallum86
3.26/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a cloudy golden orange red hazy color with a thick bubbly head that dissipates slowly down the sides of the glass.

Smell is of heavy malts and citrus hops.

Smell is caramel malts, pine, lemon zest, grapefruit and biscuits.

Mouthfeel is very full and somewhat creamy, very mediocre. Possibly the most average DIPA out there.

Drinkability is okay, not good but not bad. Very average DIPA.

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Photo of
3.27/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle courtesy of BlindPig - Thanks!

Hazy, dirty amber colored liquid. Quite a bit of sediment. Large, creamy, light tan head. Some lacing, not much legs.

Aroma was quite tasty. Grapefruit, peaches and caramel (big time as it warmed). Biscuity. All the smells I love in an IPA/DIPA.

Taste was pretty hoppy right from the start, but was supported by a strong, caramel malt backbone. Pretty well balanced. Nice lingering hoppiness at the finish and in the aftertaste. Alcohol noticeable near the finish.

Medium + body. Medium carbonation. Rather dry.

Overall, OK, but doesn't wow me. I look back over my notes, and it's hard to put my finger on what I don't like. Perhaps it's too balanced, when I like the hops to be a bit stronger. The alcohol could be better hidden. In the end, seems pretty well made, just not to my taste.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.28/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Tried this one last night on tap at the Rackhouse, while deciding which beer to drink. Poured a slightly hazy medium golden color with a decent white head. Nice aromas of fresh grapefruit, citrus and apricot. Medium bodied and drinkable, with flavors of caramel and grapefruit, with a lingering bitterness.

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Photo of sdmvd6
3.29/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Cloudy orange with no head or lacing.

S - Citrus: lemon and grapefruit, with some pine hints. Not as complex as others of the style.

T - Citrus at the front changing to medicinal and bitter. Small piney contribution with little to no earthiness. Bitterness not well balanced by the malt.

M - Thin and moderately carbonated but lacking the body, stickiness, and resinous feeling that DIPAs should exhibit. This explains the lack of lacing/head.

O - An average DIPA, lacking some of the attributes of the style that are expected.

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Photo of GimpyCane
3.29/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a good looking light amber with an orange hues shining through. The head was a small one finger frothy off white with a hint of orange. Also, the head mostly lasted leaving a sticky yet small amount of lacing. The aroma was on the faint side for me. Fresh bake biscuit upfront with a hint of hay. Somewhere in the middle I got a whiff of perfume and caramel that ended with a pepper, dough and wet cardboard scent. The flavor was well balanced and clean but was missing that DIPA hoppy bite. The brew was light to medium body, soft in carbonation, sweet toffee and biscuit start with a lighty bitter dry and oily finish. Overall, I was expecting a stronger and bolder DIPA and had the experience of an IPA. Still a well done beer that one can drink plenty of. Enjoy.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
3.29/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thick hazy orange body, topped by at least four fingers of off-white foaming micro-bubbles, which leave very good stretchy lacing.

Very low level citrus aroma. Have to sniff hard enough that the head moved.

Sweet and juicy beginning. Nice bitter hop bite at the swallow. Lingering bitter fruit.

Nice medium mouthfeel, firm not sloppy.

Alright drinkability. No severe turn offs, nor no real great enticements.

A not bad IPA hurt by heightened expectations - it may be a DIPA for Mad River, but not when compared to California brewing at large. Worth a try, just don't expect too much.

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Photo of Yagman3000
3.3/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance is a light brown orange but surprisingly cloudy. What's the filter situation here?

Smells subtly of hops but some malt is coming through.

Tastes of slightly bitter hops but the malt is coming through. Definitely not hoppy enough for a double!

Mouthfeel is uneventful. Some bitter hops up front with a quick finish.

Overall nothing too special... Especially as it claims to be a double IPA. Maybe for a pale ale but I even question it being imperial (literally and figuratively!).

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Photo of MMAJYK
3.32/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Golden color and semiopaque. There is no lacing and no head after this semiconservative pour.

S- Sweet and caramel-like. Syrupy and malty with a slight alcohol taste. Citrusy hops are somewhat prevalent.

T- Sweet and super malty. Syrup tastes and sugar dominate. Not the strong point of this beer IMO.

M- Medium to thick with low carbonation.

D- Low. Waaaay too sweet for me. No hop character in the taste and very one dimensional.

Overall- I would not pick this as my IIPA of choice or even one that is on my list to try again. Decent at best.

I still have to give props to my bro, hurleymanvw, for letting me try this one with him.

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Photo of hunteraw
3.32/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Darker orange/amber in color with a decent head. Yeast floaties, despite having been in the refrigerator for a while. Not much lace.

Smell: Aroma is unsurprisingly heavy on hops, citrus, assertive...

Taste: Dominated by aggressive hops. Not a well-balanced double IPA, in my opinion - and same for the friend I was tasting with. The hops are there for the sake of being obnoxiously bitter rather than for flavor, which is fairly indistinct. Some malt sweetness, but it's easily overwhelmed. Need a significant pause between sips before you feel like taking another. This from two regular IPA drinkers. Disappointing.

Mouthfeel: About medium in body, carbonation seemed fine.

Drinkability: Struggled to finish one bottle. After reading some other reviews, I wonder whether the brewery is having problems with consistency: some say barely any hops, others say vinegar, others (like me) are astonished by the lack of balance.

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Photo of chumba526
3.32/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appears full bodied orange with a small white head.

Smells of caramel, toffee, oranges, grapefruit, lemon and grassy hops.

It tastes initially of caramel and toffee sweetness. There is a bit of a grassy flavor. There are not any of the citrus flavors I smelt initially, which is surprising. There is a healthy dose of hop bitterness. The hoppy bitterness lingers for a while. Nice flavor but nothing to complex. The malts provide a nice balance for the hops but the hops reign supreme in the end.

The carbonation is around medium: about average for the style.

Drinkability is about average. Because of the heavy malt body and substantial bitterness of the beer I think one glass of this enough.

Overall a pretty good beer, slightly better than average. A solid example of a DIPA.

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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 ncketchum
3.33/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - An aggressive pour yields a massive head, off white. Beer is a hazy copper

S - good blend of citrusy hops and sweet malt, nothing overpowering

T - Bitterness of hops stands out, but not much more. Not as much citrus or malt that would have been expected by the nose

M - not much alcohol burn, fairly thick

O - This is a better than average DIPA, it doesn't blow me away but it is certainly drinkable.

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Steelhead Double India Pale Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
3.79 out of 5 based on 827 ratings.
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