Steelhead Double India Pale Ale | Mad River Brewing Company

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85
very good
410 Reviews
THE BROS
84
good
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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:
825
Avg:
3.79
pDev:
15.83%
 
 
Wants:
24
Gots:
67
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 410 | Ratings: 825
Photo of mickeymac
4.32/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As a fan of Mad River brews, I was happy to see the DIPA in our beer-deprived county. My expectations of something special were met. Out of a 12-ounce bottle with a twist cap, it's a very pleasant goldish-orange with a medium white head. A fairly substantial amount of yeast lingered at the bottom of the bottle. Out of habit, I left it in the bottle with a bit of beer and knocked it down before moving on to the glass. The smell is mainly piney hops with a hint of citrus and a nice malt backbone. The taste comes across as slightly more bitter than expected but still well balanced. The alchol is not overwhelming, either in the smell or taste. The mouthfeel is more or less par for the course for a DIPA, as is the drinkability. It's certainly not an all-day beer, but it's quite drinkable for an 8.5% beer. I have yet to be disappointed by Mad River.

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Photo of cbak999
4.32/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a solid, great tasting, great smelling IPA. The alcohol is hidden very nicely. The color is a nice orange, and the taste is citrusy. I like this because it isn't over the top, like most double IPAs. Some are just too hard to drink. This goes down very smoothly, and has become my go to choice for IPA/IIPA. I definite must check out for the American IPA lover.

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Photo of LXIXME
4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from above the glass gave this beer a really big off white head that slowly fell into a pretty good lacing on a lightly cloudy roasted honey colored beer.

A floral to citrus hops aroma with a hint of sour grain on a medium bodied IPA.

The floral and citrus hops also dominate the taste but it's laced with a light taste of alcohol and some slight tartness.

This beer has a dry hops aftertaste, and from initial whiff to the last lingering aftertaste, this beer is very worthy.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Only a few kegs of this arrived in our market, and I'm doing my best to help deplete one of them.

Murky, hazy deep amber brew, almost orange, good, sizable, staying white head. Looks great.

Grapefruit, orange, and lemon in the aroma, with a mix of other fruit, as well...mango, tangerine...some prickly pine, below, ...great bitter notes throughout.

Taste: Ah! Bright, bitter hoppy fruit flavor, bursting all over the palate, pairing with vibrant piney notes, citrus tones. Pithy, and potent. Full feeling in the mouth, long finish, very comfortable. Nice, sweet, fruity/caramel malt feel.

Alcohol hardly felt until...hmmm, just a little. Not too much, and not too little. This is a well-done Double IPA, in that it delivers so much hoppy flavor, but keeps it all in line, all resting on a full mattress of malt. And the hops bounce off with terrific aplomb. Mmmm, mmm.

Sure to please any hop-head, this is one under the radar. If the brewery were more famous and respected, it'd be a bigger sensation, that's for sure.

It's a great big, wonderful hoppy brew that's bringing a smile to this hop-head's face. Mmmm, can't be beat!

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.34/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the glass hazy golden amber with a very low off-white head which barely formed but lasted well enough to lace at the glass.

The aroma was piney and citrusy with a resinous orange grapefruit presence. The malt was behjnd the hops but carried a bit of caramel with it. As the beer warmed the hops became quite floral in nature.

The flavor was nicely balanced with malt and hops. The malt contained a caramel presence and the hops were lightly piney with an orange citrus presence. The bittering was substantial and quite resinous, but the malt still held it's own in the flavor.

The finish was just dry with lasting resinous and piney hop character into the aftertaste. The body was medium heading toward medium full and despite a fairly low carbonation had a very creamy mouthfeel. No appreciable alcohol warming was notable. A very nice double IPA.

12 ounce bottle with 8.6% ABV on label.

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

This is a great, highly drinkable DIPA. Not overly hopped, bitter, or dry. This is a smooth, complex, mild example of the style. It's appearance contains a slight haze with a good 3/4 inch head, pouring into a pint glass. Upon taking the first sip you understand the smooth, flowery crispness of this exceptional beer. I've bought 3 or so 6 packs of this tasty beverage in the past month. Definitely deserves a rating higher than B+. Was my favorite of 3 DIPA's I"ve tried recently (1. This beer 2. Gordon's 3. Dorado.)

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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 beerman207
4.37/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Reddish copper color with a nice 2 finger head leaving some decent lacing in the glass. There's also some sediment present in this one and it just looks great.

S: Smell of cherry? Also some very sweet grapefruit coming through the nose and is quite potent. I have to say that the smell of this is fantastic.

T: Wow, the taste is a bit of surprise. I wasn't expecting it to be like a citrus jolly rancher from the nose of it but it hits you in the mouth with some serious bitter up front which mellows to some sweet tones along with a peppery taste. A lot more complex than I was expecting

M: The mouthfeel of this is moderate -heavy but it's good.

D: Honestly, this is a great double IPA. I think it's a bit underrated in my opinion.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
4.38/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mad River- Double IPA

A- Hazy tawny orange copper with a huge chunky head. Big messy foamy lacing all over the glass.
S- Sweet pine hops hit you up front with a big creamy malt body.
T- Huge fresh green hops, pine and grapefruit rind come up first. Thick sweet caramel malt dominates the body, and more sweet pungent hops with a touch of boozy alc. in the end.
M- This is just malty as hell with a nice hop balance.

Overall- Very tasty and too drinkable for being over 8%abv. 1 of the best I've had this Fall and probably within my top 20 of my new beers of 08'. Highly recommended, and glad it's available in my area.

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Photo of MrVonzipper
4.38/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a caramel-amber color with a solid 1 finger bubbly white head. Decent retention and lacing.

Notes of caramel, malt, sweet citrus and butter on the nose

Full of flavor and very well balanced. This is how I like my DIPAs and not just a hop bomb. Very nice caramel malt character up front transitioning into a nice light floral and citrus hop character.

Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

Overall a Very good DIPA. Very well balanced. This is what I appreciate about good brewing. Balance. Well done Mad River.

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Photo of bigdeuce
4.38/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one hellava brew. Nice citrusy, fruity, grapefruit scent on the nose. Makes your mouth water. Probably the most drinkable DIPA I've had to date. Not the hoppiest, but it is hoppy. Very smooth with a nice dry finish. No lingering hops on the back of the throat. Drinks like a 5% but 4 or 5 of these may put you into a coma. Very strong and highly recommended. Tough not to say it could not be a great session beer, but it really isn't one.

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Photo of C20Percent
4.39/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

*Review taken from notes*

A: Hazy bronze. Nice white-tan head. Lots of sediment out of this bottle. Maybe a bit too much. Definitely more than I'm used to.

S: Lots of citrus aroma here. Grapefruit. Mostly subtle, though.

T: Strong citrus flavor. Sour grapefruit. Puckering taste. I think the flavor here. Some IPAs come across as dull in the flavor area. I like the risks taken here.

M: Medium to heavy body.

O: Very good long-lasting flavor. Might be the biggest citrus tasting IPA I've ever had. Incredibly refreshing. Alcohol is very well managed. I'd give this beer an "A" letter grade.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.4/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a nice hazy amber with a fine inch of head

S - Semi bitter hops and slight sweet malt.

T - Ow wow that's clean! The taste of the hops and malts together come off well, almost like a regular IPA but its hard to believe it at almost 9 percent. Mostly Grapefruit and citrus hops too. Very nice.

M - Clean and crisp with little ABV bite.

D - I feel I could almost do a six pack but thankfully it is only singles so far, and the price of the sixer at least 15 dollars. Still worth it though for a nice drinkable DIPA.

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Photo of cokes
4.42/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hazy orange-brass with hints of ruby beneath a shortish stack of ivory suds.
Powerful pine, citrus, and floral hops nose, sedated in part by the caramelly breadiness of the malt.
Bready again, on the onset through the mouth, turning toastier and nuttier as it progresses. It sweetens a good deal, midway, with caramel, and honeydew melons, as the hops begin to arrive. Here on out, its a deluge of grapefruit pith, orange pulp, pine needles, pressed flowers, and dried grass. Alcohol, while present, is shut out taste wise.
Pushing towards full bodied, with a steadfast bead of carbonation. This is drinkable and dangerous and a good example of a well balanced, yet still forcefully hopped, DIPA.

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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 chickenflea
4.43/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - A hazy deep orange that looks like honey. Three-finger pillowy head with good retention and lacing. Noticed a lot of unexpected unfiltered sediment in the last pour. I am guessing it is bottle conditioned.

S - smells like a orange juice. Malty aroma balances the citrus hops. A touch of yeast is present as well.

T - Very smooth. Its a honey biscuit with a grapefruit juice chaser. The three flavors are very well balanced for the style. I don't think I have had an IPA with this high of a yeast profile. But it is pleasant and not overdone. A long finish give you your money's worth with every sip.

M - Mouthfeel is what it should be for the style. Creamy and a touch sticky. Medium to full bodied and almost creamy.

D - Balance gives this beer high drinkability. My second Mad River brew. So far I am impressed.

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Photo of chocosushi
4.44/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Traded my infected Basement Batch in for this
single at Freeman's, making it only .56 cents.
Thanks Kyle

12 oz ->Anchor steam pint

A ~ Very cloudy Mahogany that I can hardly see through.
This is a color that I like to see in IIPAs

S ~ Pinecone, Mint, with a little spicy scent that I cant place my finger on. There's some muted fruitier smells down in there as well, but they don't hop out at you. (not a pun)
Not a whole lot for a double.

T ~ WOW. Flipping my expectations out. Nice flavor throughout thats like fresh baked Wheat bread drenched in fresh Grapefruit juice! I'm not kidding. Whole bunch of freshly grated lemons & a Bit of juniper and coniferous forest flavors. Only a little bit of sappy hit on the way, way back of the throat.
Now In my top favorite IIPAs as a matter of fact.

M ~ Perfect carbonation and creamy mouth. Literally like whipped-creamy. Bit of that citrus/grass bite on the tongue with the sap flavors in the throat that remind you of what you just drank.
Nice balance that's not too malt forward that I notice certain breweries go for when they are attempting to balance a IIPA

D ~ Incredibly drinkable as a single, arguably sessionable sans the 8.6 ABV. They seriously could not approve this one anymore. Balanced without being too bread-y, with the appropriate amount of alcohol for the style without being too flabby and boozy.

Kudos for this recommendation it exceeded my expectation and has opened the Mad River door for me.
Seek this one out.

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Photo of shizzdog
4.45/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Cloudy unfiltered orange with a nice foamy head and minimal lacing.

Smell: Starts off with a sweet malt followed by a great combination of pine and floral hoppiness.

Taste: Caramel Malts on the initial sip which goes directly into a nice citrus hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, great medium carbonation, nice finish with a little alcohol warming.

Drinkability: I was amazed at how well balanced this beer was. Great hop/malt balance but not your typical hop bomb.Easy drinking for 8.6% abv

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Photo of NEBeerWench
4.47/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this beer last night while sitting out on a deck, eating a piece of what has consistently been my favorite pizza since I was about 10 (the Chesapeake from Bottoms Up Pizza, of Richmond, VA). Call me stereotypical, but I honestly can't think of a better combination than a great IPA and pizza. Anyway, the Mad River Double IPA is one of the best: Unlike most double IPAs, which may have a tendency to be overwhelmingly hoppy or alcoholic in taste, the Mad River Double IPA was smooth and refreshing. Unlike many doubles, it seemed to focus on the overall, well-rounded taste of the beer, versus the hops factor or alcohol content. At first it was a bit bitter, but this soon gave way to a rich, warm taste that covered my tongue. It had a moderately clear appearance, a little on the dark side, with a small head that disappeared almost immediately.

Overall, I'd say that this is one of the better double IPAs that I've had. I'd definitely recommend it. I'd be interested to taste this from a bottle, to see if it holds up to its quality on-tap.

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Photo of Arithmeticus
4.47/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had in a snifter at Brickskeller

A: great lacing; copper color; beautiful head
S: gorgeous bouquet; very sweet, hoppy
T: outstanding, complex, very hoppy; a bit salty?
M: very rich and creamy in the mouth

Definitely a very solid IPAx2. Get you one.

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Photo of Jedimaster1
4.48/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a great DIPA. It was recommended by the owner of the Liquor Collection when I was living In Hawaii.

A: Pours a deep, cloudy bronze color.

S: Smell is of hops and malt. Taking a quick whiff of this brew, the drinker will definitely get a hint of what's to come.

T: This thing tastes very hoppy and malty. As one reviewer pointed out, this taste is similar to a Barley Wine -- i.e., the sweet malt backbone cuts through the hops. The brew also finishes dry and refreshing.

M: This one hangs on your tongue after each sip -- which is a good thing.

D: Very drinkable, but because of the high ABV, having two is more than enough.

Great brew from Mad River! Now all I need to do is fined it out here in SoCal, lol.

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Photo of Brent
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

For a beer that gets relatively little buzz, I was quite impressed with this. Poured a slightly turbid ruby/amber. Nice hoppy aroma, hinting of citrus. Up front a touch peppery, with quick lemony hops bite. Follow-through was smooth. Surpisingly, and dangerously, drinkable, wiht the ETOH well-integrated in the flavor.

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Photo of oelergud
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Stubby dark brown glass bottle, 120z. Green label awith a pair of jumping trouts. Steel gray twist-off cap.
Hazy copper brown body with low carbonation. Creamy head with a lemony tint and up to medium bubbles. Good retention and great lace.
Great smell of caramel, pine, hops and brown sugar.
The flavor is a strong hoppy caramel with lots of complexity and spice. Aftertaste of spiked, spicy hops mingled with caramel notes.
Creamy mouthfeel and a medium body. Some coating and a nice and dry finish.
Very drinkable. Smooth and creamy, interesting and good.

-Oelergud

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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 t2thebro
4.52/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- thick copper, hazy pour, thick cream coloured two finger head. Good sticky lacing that follows down the whole glass.

S-balanced, malts and hops even out. Lots of malt and lots of bittering hops, just a hint of dry hop and alcohol.

T- wow, well balanced, I'd say medium malt, medium Bitterness, and a nice sweet hoppy biscuty finish, with just a touch of heat In the end. Alcohol is not dominant but you can tell its there.

M- low to medium carbonation. Full bodied, but not oily. Alcohol content gives it a bit more bite than it really has.

O- truly enjoyable, this beer has excellent balance. Drinkability is pretty good for a double ipa. Precise amount of alcohol. This style is tough and these guys totally pull it off. I will be back for more.

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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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