Steelhead Double India Pale Ale | Mad River Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
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:
827
Avg:
3.79
pDev:
15.83%
 
 
Wants:
24
Gots:
68
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 410 | Ratings: 827
Photo of DogFood11
3.34/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I saw this for the first time @ beverage warehouse and was inclined to pick up a couple six packs based on my great experiance with mad river brewing. Poured into a pounder glass it takes an aggressive pour to form a thin head. Orange body and no lace. Not impressive to look at but who really cares? not me.

Lots of piney and resinous hops but overall its a tame double IPA. Sweet and tame is the theme. A rather mundane grapefruit presence without the zip or citrus angle. Vegetables start to appear but only for a second and they are squashed by the sweet hop/malt backbone.

Notes: I love this brewery but this was a dissapointment. Sweet malts detract from a rather boring hop profile, considering the style. Hops come across more in the mouthfeel than the taste. Apple pie seems to be the finishing note with a touch of cinnamon. OK, not great, decent price.

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Photo of wcudwight
3.35/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A very unattractive pour. Pale, hazy, cloudy peach color. The beer tries to form a head, but instead forms a lace that looks like one of those bald men that try to comb what hair they have over the bald spot to cover it up. It's an unimpressive appearance.
As I get to the aroma the beer starts to impress me. Very sweet in a cloying way. It's like the beer is trying to seduce you with out you realizing your being seduced. Nice fruity aroma. It's not the usual citrus and pine smell in other beers of the style. It's more of a mango and orange smell. After being let down with the appearance, my hopes are now high after the aroma.
Flavor: It's weird...This beer has a lot of malt flavors. Caramel and sugar sweetness. And, it has a lot of hop flavors. Grapefruit and orange. But I wouldn't call it balanced. It's almost like at the beginning the beer is too sweet and it's too bitter at the finish. It's not bad, but it could be much better.
Mouthfeel is good. The hops really shine here. Sticky and very oily. The bitterness and/or the alcohol add a nice little tingle and warming to the mouth.
Drinkability. In some aspects this beer has a lot going for it. In other aspects it underachieves. Overall it's not a bad beer, but you could do better.

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Photo of ccrida
3.35/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into my Delirium snifter (I meant to grab the scotch porter, doh!), Steelhead is a chill-hazed orange with a creamy off-white head that leaves decent lace.

Smell is bright and fruity hops, and an unusual play-doh character that I can't say I particularly mind, some orange citrus.

Taste is also bright hops, more of the herbal minty variety then the fruit from the nose, which may have been as much esters. There's a strong spicy bitterness to keep the sweetness in check, which gets close to overwhelming the hop flavor, and ultimately proves a bit tiring.

Mouthfeel is finely carbonated and dry, a dusty slickness to it, with a medium body.

Drinkability is ok, this is a rather robust DIPA that I got tired of pretty quickly. I could use a bit more hop flavor, less bitterness and heat. Good price though.

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Photo of silentjay
3.35/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a murky brown/orange with some decent big-bubbled head and lots of chunks floating in the glass.

aroma is mostly of bready and caramel malts. some floral hops are there, but this smells sweet.

taste is similar to the aroma, but has a bit more floral and spicy hops. bread and caramel are still strong. not a lot of hop bite and no date on the bottle to know if this is fresh or maybe the hops have faded a bit. the hop profile gives it a lemon pepper flavor with a touch of pine and some citrus acidity. meh.

medium bodied with ample carbonation and an oily finish where the bitterness finally comes out from hiding, though its not that pleasant.

drinks average. could almost pass for a pale ale. nothing special in any aspect, but also nothing gross. would like to see bottle dates and a warning about the sediment on the bottle, but this isnt good enough for me to revisit often anyways.

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Photo of illidurit
3.36/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased from 99 Bottles in Santa Cruz. Poured into a pint glass. On the pale end of the DIPA color spectrum, with a gorgeous fluffy white head. Modest lacing but excellent retention. Aroma is grapefruit-dominated and somewhat sweet. Flavor has a mild crystal malt basis that gets trampled by citrus hops. Pleasant even bitterness through the finish. Lacking in flavorful maltiness. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and nicely carbonated. Pretty drinkable.

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Photo of stephendr
3.37/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz glass bottle - Dull brown murky appearance– nice white head– nose of fresh hops, cannabis , sweet fruits , and alcohol – heavy to medium body – initial taste is sweet then turns bitter , hops , malt and coffee - aftertaste malty chocolate , and bitter

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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 oregonskibum
3.39/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Cloudy, light amber-orange color with a little sendiment. Thick creamy off-white head, heavy lacing.

S: Lots of piney hops with a little citrus in the background.

T: Hops seem somewhat dulled. The green piney flavors are there, but didn't carry through as much as expected. Fairly malty and oddly not well balanced. What happened to the hops?

M: Chewy. Medium+ body. A little too much for the hop profile. Feel like I just finished eating a wet piece of bread.

D: A passable DIPA, but not the best example. I question the age of the bottle (no date, purchased at Liquid Solutions liquidation sale). I think this would be far better fresh.

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Photo of callmescraps
3.4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked it up on a whim. Let's give her a run.

Appearance - A pretty nice cloudy copper/amber color. About a half inch of fluffy head. Very cloudy, lots of sediment. It's nice, but not spectacular.

Smell - Some nice hoppiness. Got a little citrus, a little funkiness. Maybe some malty breadness. Not entirely clean. A little muddled.

Taste - Not sure where the hops went. They seem like they want to show up, but then it gets all malty and weird. Very bitter on the finish. Out of whack somewhere.

Mouthfeel - A little heavy. It has all the stickiness of a hoppy beer, but not enough of the flavor.

Drinkability - Not bad, given the booziness. Otherwise, it's pretty average. I wouldn't really be thrilled about another, but I wouldn't have a problem drinking it.

Eh. Really not great. Probably shouldn't have called it a DIPA. The hops get sort of lost, it's a weird muddle, and the aftertaste is kind of gross. I've been drinking killer DIPAs recently, so this was a good reminder of how difficult the style can be to pull off.

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Photo of StaveHooks
3.4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a cloudy orange brown. 1/2 inch off-white head sinks quick to form a variety of bubbles.

S - Grapefruit and orange, caramel, toffee, apricots, some muted earthy hops.

T - Caramel malt with a splash of butterscotch. Muted grapefruit, orange, and mango tries to back up the sugary malt but does not succeed. Canned pineapple juice. The tired hops adds a slight bitterness on the finish.

M - Low carbonation, full bodied.

Great caramel malt but the hops seemed to be an afterthought. Not your typical West Coast DIPA. No date on the bottle so I'm not sure if this is old or not. While this isn't a stellar DIPA, it is actually quite drinkable. The alcahol is very hidden as well.
In a sea of DIPA's this is pretty average.

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Photo of ViveLaChouffe
3.4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep hazy orange with a wispy ivory head that leaves a fine lacing. Big citrus in the nose, grapefruit and orange rind.

A big malt base here, sweet and rich but there's nice balance with the considerable herbal bitterness. Some citrus in there as well. Big bodied beer with a sticky finish and aftertaste.

Not a bad double IPA but not among the greats either.

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Photo of tankg
3.4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A very strong IPA with a kick and sweeter than most of this style that I have tried. I have been drinking the 60 and 90 minute Dogfish Head and have been sampling similar beers, such as the Uber Pils from that Maryland brewery (Storm Warning? Heavy Seas? It was good anyway) . Anyway, this is good and potent but didn't stand out to me, probably because of a below average drinkability but the taste was good. Poured into a pint, with nothing to add to what others have said re appearance and smell. As other have noted not as drinkable as other potent DIPAs, but the other 2 bottles will be consumed...slowly. A salud'...

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Photo of Fluke828
3.41/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Liefmans Goudenband Cervoise Glass (my goto for IPAs normally.

Pours a cloudy orange/deep amber with a whopping 3+ finger head with great retention, took awhile to dissipate and left superb lacing all around the glass.
Smells first of mild soapy hops and then definitely some malty breadlines. With some faint citrus in the nose as well.
Taste is mostly inline with the smells, with a tart bitterness and loud soaps coming through with a milder citrus bite towards the finish. Piny aftertaste.
Feels light to medium bodied with some sense of the alcohol but nothing overpowering. Nothing that blew me away here but nothing really too critical to say either, drinkable for sure.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
3.41/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy orange-ish/ yellow color with a light tan head. In the aroma, a small hoppiness. In the taste, piney hops and a small citrusy hop in the backround. A small bitter mouthfeel and a semi dry, piney hop aftertaste. Hides alcohol, light in the hops for a I2PA.

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Photo of machiavelli
3.41/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good orange/brown color with some lacing, average amount of head.

Decent aroma, typical of IPAs but nothing special

Has a palatable but robust blast of hops, slight tinge of alcohol in the taste that went away as it warmed.

A little heavier than the usual IPA, but not a difficult hurdle to overcome.

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Photo of argock
3.43/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear pint glass. No freshness date but no need to bother with a DIPA.

A: Murky, hazy-appearing dried apricot hue with 1-finger foamy head that recedes to a thin cap -- a sure sign of high alcohol content.

S: The aroma is good with mostly tobacco and leafy hops smells, a bot of citrus and piney hops as well, with a solid backbone of malt. The 8.6% ABV is prominent in the nose as well.

T: Unfortunately, for me the alcohol flavors covered over what is likely otherwise to be a great tasting beer. The solid malt and leafy and pine hops flavors are there, but the hefty alcohol flavors are far too prominent to my taste.

M: Mouthfeel is astringent and very thick and oily. Aftertaste is pleasant but also dominated by alcohol.

D: A DIPA that isn't bad but needs to tone down the alcohol aromas and flavors to let the beer's more unique qualities of complex hoppiness and solid malt component take center stage.

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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 clark123456
3.45/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A: Light amber color with very little head that doesn't stick.

S: Medium hoppiness. Not real fruity. Malt smell is not pronounced.

T: Strong hop taste with a lot of strong hop after taste.

M: Good mouth feel, not to carbonated and not too heavy.

D: The one I had will probably be my only one.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of BeerTruth
3.45/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to sirhc for this one.

12 oz. bottler poured into a pint glass.

Pours a murky burnt orange with a one finger off-white head that quickly dies down to almost nothing. Stickiness is very minimal. Smell is pretty weak, but what's there is almost a rotten pineapple smell mixed with dirty hops. Flavor is really sweet for a DIPA, lots of over the top citrus with a mild caramel malt mixed in. Not really enjoying this DIPA, much too sweet for my taste buds. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and creamy with a good amount of carbonation. Once again, sweetness takes away from the drinkability. Could use some tweaking, not sure if I'd drink this one again.

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Photo of dojobrewco
3.45/5  rDev -9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

gotta admit after I poured this one I was thinking a got a bad bottle. No head whatsoever and not much of a floral scent. lot of sediment floating around in it to. Guess I should have looked at the bottom of the bottle before I poured. I was pleasantly surprised by the taste however. Nice thick mouthfeel that I personally like in my double IPA's. Not too much of an ABV impowerment. Overall a pretty good beer. Not sure I want to buy this one in bulk though.

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Photo of cdizinno
3.46/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: Poured into a Deadlift glass from a 12oz. bottle as pictured.

A: Slightly hazy amber orange with a decent amount of creamy, off-white froth. Mild lacing.

S: Mostly bready malts with some mild background of citrus to mildly soapy hops.

T&M: First sip seemed to be a bit coarse with the carbonation, but it smoothed out when it warmed up. Decent citric hop flavors are well-balanced with the malts. Very chewy with a thickness consistent with the higher 8.6% ABV. Alcohol is well masked. Nice tanginess with a tasty hop bitterness on the fade.

Decent DIPA, but nothing spectacular enough for me to go out of the way to buy again.

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Photo of nrbw23
3.46/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a hazy golden orange with a creamy white head. Head forms a cap and leaves some nice lacing. Quite a bit of yeast and sediment in the bottom of the bottle.

S- Smells citrusy hops, sweet malts, wheat, grapefruit, and toffee.

T- Quite a bit of hops and a very strong malt back bone. Tropical fruit mainly grapefruit.

M- Medium in body and carbonation was good.

O- Nothing terrible nothing outstanding as well. There just seems to be something off on this one.

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Photo of timtim
3.46/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours a semi hazy light amber color with an off white, creamy head that dissipates quickly in to a kind of funny looking thing thatvaries in thickness from nonexistant to visible across the top. leaves spotty lace here and there. smell is citrusy and a little malty/bready. not the beautiful floral, grapefruit, bubblegum smell i would expect from a double ipa. taste isn't bad, and since steelhead is one of the beers i was a diehard devotee of in the mid 90's, i actually expected this one to have the bitter bite that it does. it's just that to me, this one isn't very well balanced in the bitter meets taste/complexity zone. nice mouthfeel. good density. nice and oily. i just don't go bananas over the taste, so i don't deem this very drinkable. my palate has changed and matured since my steelhead days, so even though this brew brought back good memories of good times and great beers, i wasn't impressed.

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Photo of WesWes
3.47/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a cloudy dark gold/amber color with a very thin white head that quickly fades to spotty lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a very malty scent that boasts of pale, crystal, and bisquit malts along with a mild hop aroma. The taste is decent as well. It's got quite a bitter hop bite, which is well balanced with malt character. I'm not a huge fan of the malt bill. It's way too sweet and murky. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is an above average beer, but there are plenty of DIPA's available that I'd choose over this one.

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Photo of 7ways
3.47/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Rusty sinopia hue with a grayish white head. I've never seen so much sediment in a IPA before! Lace barely sticks. Quite oily.

This beer smells like fresh tangerines to me, and I really dig it. The citrus isn't too intense, but it's really all I get besides malt and alcohol. Not much pine or anything , just faint and pleasing bready malt.

At first it is sweet enough to be considered candy, but the sweetness dies down and melds just fast enough to prevent the beer from being cloying. Other tropical fruits besides oranges make an appearance, but otherwise it tastes much like it smells without any extra bells and whistles. Well balanced.

Medium carbonation, maybe a little low as time goes by. Very sticky and sits quite heavy on my palette. Think Terrapin Rye Squared, Avery Majaraja, Moylander Double IPA. Feels good though.

You have to be in the mood for a meal in a glass with this beer (like Majaraja, etc.), but it is very well crafted IMO, even if it is a little generic.

I actually like the Steelhead Extra Pale Ale better than this; it's not as heavy and packs a shitload of flavor for a <6% beer.

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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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