Serious Madness | Mad River Brewing Company

very good
217 Ratings
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Serious MadnessSerious Madness

Brewed by:
Mad River Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by klewis on 02-26-2009

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Ratings: 217 |  Reviews: 126
Photo of Nage37
5/5  rDev +26.9%

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
5/5  rDev +26.9%

Photo of Lucasrj
5/5  rDev +26.9%

Photo of EnojysAnyBeer
4.75/5  rDev +20.6%

Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.53/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass. Cool label, lightning is on the bottle, it's a twist off cap that I didn't realize till after I opened it with a bottle opener, I tend to forget that sometimes. Pours out very nice. Deep brown with some slight amber highlights. The beer has a tan colored head that sticks around and it produces unbelievably good lacing. Pours out stoutesque, maybe a heavier porter.

Smell is good, chocolate malts and big hop aromas. Both pine and citrus. Big and bold. This beer has all the characteristics beer lovers want. It doesn't try to do anything special, just big malt and hop aromas.

The taste is also on par. A very good Black IPA that has the darker malt flavors to it followed by hops. Again, nothing out of the ordinary, but it's just a perfect balance of the flavors.

Mouthfeel and drinkability are very good. Thick and full bodied and bold with a clean biter finish.

I've really liked several beers from Mad River, and this is another addition. It's very bold and uses classic ingredients to make a very tasty beer.

 1,081 characters

Photo of tavernjef
4.53/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Impressively gorgeous pour of thick dark brown that drives a huge capping of dark tan foam nealry flopping out over the edge. Settles black in the glass and the foam smoothes out and stills at a comfortable finger height always present. Lacing doesn't describe what's happening as its more of a left over coating like something leftover in a lasagna dish.

Aroma is wonderfully complex and deeply wonderous as crispy cocoa-esk roastyness is lightly wrapped in a whispy floral orangey-minty spritz of earthy hops and tea. Lots of freshly dried husks emerge as it warms adding even more complexity. Nice!

Flavor follows right behind the aroma with more fun complexities with milky cocoa, roastyness tinged with dark coffee, bitter dark chocolate, and crispy, crusty black malt. The middle slows in some dark sweetness of caramel, hazelnut, and baked blackberry. Finish has a nice grazing dry husk of roasted grains and dashing lemongrassy hops adding in a wonderful twist of citrus peels late in the returning finish.

Body is immaculatley strengthened in a bolder medium body of milky creamyness with tender sweetness scurring underneath and top sided with the dryness of coffee and dark chocolate bitterness, hovered with light husky dryness and citric earthy tea inspired hoppyness.

Ummm...Wow! This grabs hold with very nice complexities and lures you into a 'Serious Madness' to drink some more! YummmmY!

Special note: a side from its apparent labeling of style of American Strong, this has all the makings of a stronger American Porter(Impy. Porter) style in the realm of 3F Alpha Klaus.

 1,594 characters

Photo of Bighuge
4.53/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a black beer with a light brown crop of froth on top. Lacing is pretty sufficient. Aroma is nice and roasty and chocolatey. First impression on drinking is, "Wow, this is smooth." No alcohol found whatsoever in the flavor. Impressive. A very agreeable cocoa flavored base with roast and milky sweetness adding complexity. This one packs a lot of flavor in a smooth velvety texture. (Oatmeal?) Dark fruits and berries make impromptu appearances along the way as well. Good dose of hops as well. I like this one.

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Photo of poopsmitherson
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%

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

Poured into my 4oz tasting snifter.

A-Charcoal black with 3/4 inch of khaki head.

S-Toffee, caramel, milk chocolate. Smells freaking delicious.

T-It hasn't even been a full year and this beer has transformed. The hops have faded out almost entirely,bringing roasted malts to the forefront. Delicious, well-balanced notes of toffee, roasted almonds and milk chocolate.

M-Medium-bodied with low to moderate carbonation.

D- It's only about $3.99 a bottle, and it's an absolute steal.I'll be looking for this in the future.

 526 characters

Photo of Vancoubeer
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%

Photo of Wiz99
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%

Photo of opwog
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%

Photo of 1fastz28
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very black (duh) color with a bit of an off white head, after the initial pour there is very little carbonation, there is also a fair amount of sediment floating around in the beer. Smell is very rich with chocolate malt, no hop aroma, but very strong roasted/chocolate malt, smells very good. Taste is very good, its a full bodied rich beer, i'm sure just one of these is going to negate my workout i just completed but who cares, its too good to pass up. Has a nice full mouthfeel to it, and its super tasty so easy to drink.

 535 characters

Photo of t2thebro
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%

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

Photo of Craboo
4.47/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The first thing one experiences after pouring this black beauty is the incredible aroma: cocoa, coffee, bready yeasty goodness. The taste is incredible, with flavors similar to the smell, but also with roasted malts. Smooth beyond belief, and oh so creamy. The hops keep the malt sweetness in check. My wife even loved this beer, and found that it was a great companion to a chocolate walnut cookie. Three cheers to Mad River Brewing!

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Photo of pkalix
4.44/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

interesting. black with floaty stuff all through the body?? what the heck is that? many other reviewers have questions of different sorts, it seems. no one mentions the 'floaty' stuff....
little bit of head which receded instantly.
smell is cocoa nibs, roasty and toasty coffee, some hop....
taste is dark and stout. roasty coffee. some hop bitterness.
overall, a satisfying brew. not thick like a stout, but thicker than the typical ale. not overly hoppy, but a nice blend of the malt and hop. I just cant figure out what the suspended stuff is... maybe some powdered cocoa? it does look a little like when you add cinnamon powder to the coffee or chai tea and is what is left trolling around the bottom of your mug... I had to lower my overall due to the floaty stuff...

 773 characters

Photo of ZAP
4.42/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Darb brown with ruby highlights...

Aroma of dark fruits and gummy bears...suagary....smokey molasses..

Taste is sweet candied maltiness with a nice balancing of piney/herbal hops...pretty strong bitterness on the finish.

Body is smooth, creamy, silky...medium to full...

Quality beer...It accomplished all of the following:Big, smooth, flavorful, complex, balanced, drinkable..

 381 characters

Photo of evantwomey
4.4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter. Tiny head, but it valiantly maintains some retention and good lacing. Color is black, real black. If you hold it to a bright light a little bit of dark brown shines through, but not much. Aroma is coffee, bourbon, roast barley, vanilla bean...very nice indeed. Taste- wow! This beer is a beauty. Big on the roasty flavors, some chocolate, with a dry finish. Almost no sweetness here. The hops creep up on you, and are mostly apparent on the finish. Mouthfeel is about right- low-moderate carbonation, not too thick. Drinkability is excellent, in fact, I think I am going to stick another one in the freezer right now.

This is a heck of a beer and I'm glad I stumbled onto this one. Definitely worth seeking out. This seems to be an increasingly popular style, and I can see why.

 802 characters

Photo of PorterForMe
4.38/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a beautiful black with a one-finger light tan head. Awesome lacing. Can't wait.

S: Holy malt batman. A plethora of sweet malt aroma with hints of licorice and slight hoppiness.

T: Delicious. Sweet caramel and toasty chocolate with great alcohol balance and a hint of hops. Only thing I would ask for is a slightly stronger hop profile in an ABA.

M: Somewhat chewy for an ale; more like a stout (I'm not complaining). Solid carbonation

O: This is a great beer. Maybe a touch too sweet and a little lacking in hops, but that is nitpicking this tasty brew. Give it a shot!

 582 characters

Photo of GClarkage
4.38/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

04/10/09- Purchased at Whole Foods in San Mateo, CA.

Presentation- 12oz bottle, late 2008 or early 2009 winter release. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Very black in color. About a 3/4 inch very creamy soft looking head. Settles at a 1/4 inch creamed rim. Lacing is quite nice with some larger patches and streaks.

Smell- Lots of malt..chocolate-caramel malt to be specific. Hops are present, but malt takes the cake. Stong with notes of dark fruits and a touch of alcohol.

Taste- Likin' it! Don't know what the hell kind of beer it is, but I do really like this. It is very creamy, just as the label states. It's also very hoppy and quite strong. So, I'm thinking imperial schwartzbier? But, hold on, it's got plenty of sharp fruity hops as well....hmmm, imperial stout, maybe baltic porter? But, it's dam soft and creamy and at times quite dry...imperial Irish Dry Stout? I'm stumped. I guess Strong Ale it is. Overall, very flavorful malt with chocolate notes, quite roasted, but not quite burnt. And the hops are fresh and flavorful as well.

Mouthfeel- Very creamy, at times very dry, also makes you salivate for more at times....very odd. Mid to lower carbonation level. Kind of a chocolate-hoppy aftertaste.

Drinkability- I've already tried to find more of these after I snagged the one bottle out of a four pack for $2.49. Worth every penny...would do $10 for a 4 pack any day of the week.

 1,410 characters

Photo of bitterthebetter
4.38/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours an absolute murky black with brown undertones and a frothy tan head

rich malty aroma full of chocolate malt, caramel, slight spice, floral hops, pine notes, and faint sugary notes

super smooth malty body with milk leading to bittersweet chocolate, candied sugar, molasses, cake notes, and caramel lead to the hops which vary from floral, spicy, dry, piney, and slightly lemony on the smooth finish

surprisingly smooth body with solid malt notes leading to subtle and smooth balanced hops without the malt being too sugary or overbearing and the hops are ever prevalent yet crisp and balanced

smooth, inviting, delicious, balanced, layered, and downright unique its by far the best 'black' beer I've had. the solid malt body blends extremely well with the sturdy yet light hop notes and there is no trace of the alcohol. its rich yet not over the top and with plenty of layers to dig through it was an absolute joy to drink this beer. I will definitely be getting more

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Photo of rkuhnel
4.38/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got this in a four pack at my local NorthCoast Coop. It poured as its name implies, black with a big tan head that left heavy lacing rings as it slowly settled. So what is it really? Seemed heavier than a brown. There is currently no style for Black Ale though maybe there should be. So this is an American Strong Ale for lack of anything better. Not quite fair. Maybe Black Ale should be a style.

In any case the nose was of roasted malts with chocolate and a little coffee. Very rich and creamy mouthfeel. Flavor very rich as well and there is some biitterness in the finish. I liked this new brew a lot. I drank a second bottle a few degrees warmer and it was even better.

 678 characters

Photo of dwilson01
4.37/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured from a 12oz into my arrogant bastard pint glass, a dark mocha colored head tops the brew perfectly to the rim of the glass. It's creamy and dissipates slowly leaving nice lacing on the sides. The body is dark, just a slight tint of dark embery red on the edges when held up to the light.

The smell is very intense and thick, I get a ton of roasted malt which give it a coffee type flavoring with just a hint of bitter dark chocolate. The hopping is very distinctive, floral and citrus in the forefront adding a little fruitness to that malty assault.

The flavor is awesome, really no other way to describe it but I can try...The malty flavors that come out are a smooth sweeter molasses and roasted coffee along with a slight smokiness to it. Reminds me much of a smoked porter. But at the same time while all that is going on the hops are providing a woody hop to the front and giving you a small bitter kick near the end before the sweeter malty reinstates itself in the aftertaste. Very balanced and extremely complex in flavor, I am definitely a fan.

The mouthfeel is just to my liking, smooth, creamy, and thick with maltiness, and refreshing with a lighter hoppy feeling of an ipa. Great job here with this brew, it's a sipper due to its immense amount of flavor but I feel like I could sip and contemplate it all day if I wanted.

 1,347 characters

Photo of atsprings
4.36/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Flying Saucer served in a tulip glass an almost opaque not-quite black with a decent frothy light tan head that lasts and leaves great lacing on the glass. Aroma is an interesting blend of sweet malts, dried fruits and Earthy hops. The taste is a very complex blend of many flavors including dried fruits, bitter cocoa, Earthy hops, burnt caramel, mild roasted malts and mild coffee and just enough spice to have me wondering if this should be classified as a Belgian style. The beer is somewhat heavy, but not too overbearing, it certainly would be better enjoyed in the Winter than on a 70 degree Spring afternoon. I must say, this is a very enjoyable and intriguing beer that I would love to have again.

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Serious Madness from Mad River Brewing Company
3.94 out of 5 based on 217 ratings.
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