Serious Madness | Mad River Brewing Company

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Serious MadnessSerious Madness
BA SCORE
3.96/5
Very Good
217 Ratings
Serious MadnessSerious Madness
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Mad River Brewing Company
California, United States
madriverbrewing.com

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

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#5,904
Reviews:
126
Ratings:
217
pDev:
10.1%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
16
Gots:
9
Trade:
0
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 217 |  Reviews: 126
Photo of Sammy
3.78/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Toronado. Perhaps the most interesting beer I had this aft there. Black wth a big soapyhead, and followed u with lace. Creamy above-Average mouthfeel. I was getting more of the black, the roastiness, though that was dominating and it was one-dimensional. More like a shwartzbier to me, although yes there were hops. Aroma was coconutty.
Had a bottle later and was just as good, with better aromas and left aftertaste.

 427 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.71/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Tony's Darts Away in Burbank, CA.

Pours a clear orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, and citrus zest aromas. Taste is much the same with a cocoa flavor on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with some solid aromas and flavors.

 568 characters

Photo of GRG1313
3.56/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a thick and firm tan head; very nice looking.

Nose is of weak black chocolate with some sweetness; light licorice and hints of black cherry.

Mouth is medium bodied and nice balance.

Flavors are of bitter black chocolate and bitter coffee with a hint of sweetness; flavors develope into espresso and chocolate and get better as the beer warms.

Finish is a strong point - nice bitter black chocolate/bitter coffee finish with a hint of sweet chocolate in the first part of the finish.

Beer gets better and better as it warms.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

loved this one. pours dark and thick, feels like a porter or even a stout in all categories. has a very dark roasty nose, coffee and bitter hops, like a black ipa. also some of the booze comes through in the nose. flavor is excellent, balanced dark malt and hops with a great feel. huge body but drinkable, a nice hoppy finish and an alost oatmeal stout type smoothness going down. this is one of the better mad river beers ive tried (behind only the scotch porter i think). althogh its available all year, this is a great seasonal beer for the spring nights that still have some chill. a must try, great interpretation of the style.

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Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%

Photo of metter98
4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is very dark amber (near black) in color and has a bit of particles visible floating near the bottom of the glass when it is held up under close inspection to a bright light. It poured with a finger high creamy tan head that has excellent retention properties and consistently covered the surface and left a thick coating of bubbles down the edges of the glass.
S: There are moderately strong aromas of roasted malts in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the overall taste is dominated by flavors of burnt and roasted malts from start to finish. There is also a light amount of bitterness from the hops, but this is overshadowed by strong amount of malty flavors. Notes of chocolate become evident as the beer begins to warm up.
M: It feels medium-bodied, dry, smooth and somewhat crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer isn’t that difficult to drink because the alcohol content is well hidden from the taste. There’s also a good balance in the flavors—just enough hops are present to keep the malts from overpowering your palate.

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Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
3.89/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%

Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of Boone757
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of largadeer
3/5  rDev -24.2%

Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of chinchill
4.02/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was poured from a 12 oz bottle at about 45-50F. Looked near perfect, with a large tan head over a black body with dark mahogany edges, The head is durable and leaves plenty of splotchy lacing.

Medium+ body; silky smooth; Light+ carbonation.

The aroma promises a load of dark malts and has hints of chocolate.and coffee.

The flavor follows. It's rich and moderately complex, with as much dark malt as I'll probably ever want. Fairly minimal burnt flavors and negligible char. Momentarily sweet, it becomes increasingly bitter going into the finish and aftertaste. Higher ABV is partially evident but well integrated and eloquant.

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Photo of oberon
4.02/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Now this was a very interesting beer,it had alot of different stuff going on.Poured into a small tulip glass a deep cola cola color with a thinner but well retained deep tan colored head,great mix of resiny hop,mollases,and deep roast.Flavors are like a big raw porter with intensive hops,mollasses and coffee roast with resiny hop.To me this a big earthy American porter thats hopped to the hilt.I enjoyed it, although the alcohol will rear its ugly head.

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Photo of nickfl
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - A vigorous pour yields two fingers of light-tan head on top of a black body with ruby highlights. The foam settles down to a thin layer of tight bubbles and leaves nice lace.

S - A light aroma of roasted malt and caramel with a hint of licorice. Some barely perceptible pine hops and a hint of chocolate.

T - Bittersweet chocolate and coffee up front with lots of dark caramel. Some licorice and nutty malt notes in the middle. Moderate pine hops kick in with stiff bitterness that thoroughly balances the malt. The malt becomes darker toward the finish with more intense coffee notes and very dark, baker's chocolate notes. Some smoke and chicory linger on the palate with spicy, cigar tobacco notes of hops blending with roasted malt.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - Very nice, I'm quite impressed with this. There is a lot going on here in terms of dark malt, though it isn't just the roast stuff; there is plenty of carmel and toffee as well. What really makes the beer work is the inclusion of significant hop bitterness and flavor that, while not strong enough to turn it into a black IPA, balances the beer and brings out the best in the dark malt. A drinkable and complex beer, highly recommended.

 1,248 characters

Photo of mactrail
4.04/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Big dark mouthful with plenty hops for serious zing.

If you're telling me this is not an imperial stout... It is seriously hoppy though stops well short of the pain threshold. Apples and brandy and really, really dark chocolate. Tastes hot with alcohol though it's another welcome aspect of the complex and surprising flavors. Big on burnt malt flavor but with a hint of malt sweetness. We deserved a hint more, tho.

This is a crazy one, and I hope it stays in the rotation.

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Photo of paulish
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.25/5  rDev -17.9%

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

"Madness is rare in individuals, but in groups, parties, nations and ages it is the rule."

--Friedrich Nietzsche

Charred chestnut brown-black with generous (and gorgeous) maraschino cherry highlights. The last pour adds a murkiness that changes the beer from borderline opaque to decidedly so, while the upper one third of the glass is filled with an attractive crown of slowly melting foam the color of buttered wheat toast. Nice lace too.

There aren't too many American strong ales (the style assigned by the brewery) that are this roasted malty and this aggressively hoppy. This winter seasonal smells similar to a highly hopped Imperial porter or American stout. 74.7 IBUs is nothing to sneeze at... though I did just get foam up my nose with that last sniff.

While it doesn't taste much like an American strong ale, Serious Madness is seriously good beer. The choice of malts and the amount and choice of hops work well together. For the record: Magnum (bittering), Hallertau, Tettnang and Willamette (dry-hopping).

This winter seasonal was designed for those who are both big beer lovers and hopheads. The flavor profile includes dark chocolate-covered caramels, black coffee, bitter black tea leaves and an ale yeast fruitiness. Given the amount of citrus juiciness, it's a wonder that none of the C-hops are present.

The body/mouthfeel is built for speed, not sensory splendor. It's a little light for the style and ABV, but manages a hint of cautious creaminess with warming. The bubbles are both fine and dandy.

Mad River Serious Madness Black Ale is one delicious strong ale, especially if you're of the hopheaded persuasion. Descending into serious madness wouldn't be too awfully bad, as long as they're serving this hoptastic elixir at the asylum.

 1,768 characters

Photo of tdm168
3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - black with a big, thick, brown head that has great retention; some sediment floating in the dark liquid

S - very faint nose; some chocolate

T - chocolate, roasted malts, black licorice, dark fruit, faint citrus, mildly bitter

M - medium bodied, well carbonated

This was a decent beer. It wasn't as hoppy as I was hoping, but the rich, complex maltiness was enough to keep me intrigued. The hops seem to get buried revealing only a slight citrusy undertone. Something a bit more bitter may have had a better chance against the depth of the malt. All in all, I did enjoy this beer, and I would recommend it to any fan of the style.

 637 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.33/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark cola pretty much black color with a light beige tan head forming thick with fine speckled lacing. Aroma has faint citrus herabal hops amongst a nice dark fruit and dark roasted malted barley back drop. Dark chocolate with hints of coffee and anise in the nose, herbal citric hops are subtle but interwoven in both flavor and aroma. Dark roasted chocolate dry bitterness on the palate hints of dark roasted coffee accents, with hoppy underpinnings this is a nice Black IPA. Mouthfeel is medium bodied dry bitter finish between hops and malts alcohol well hidden. Moderate carbonation goes down extremely smooth on the palate slight trace hop oils make it sort of slick. Drinkability overall is a smash hit in my mouth nice dark ale qualities that don't fight with the hop profile a well executed version of a hard to do style.

 830 characters

Photo of Billolick
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle a new arrival in 4 packs for $10.99 @ DeCicco's in Ardsley, NY. No freshness/bottling info offered.

Pours very dark brown, with a ruby glint or two. Mocha head that stays, low sheeting quickly goes to respectablebits of lace.

A touch of brandy soaked wood in the nose, along with roasty dark malts.

Flavoful, bold and complex brew. More brandy/wood, burnt and toasty malts, with a blast of drying hops. Nice. Dark tea, vanilla, leather and dark ripe fruit notes also picked up. Rich, smooth and milk shakey on the tongue. ABV well hidden. Well done, dark beer lovers, go get some of this fine stuff

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Photo of imbibehour
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle offered at Pizza Paradiso DC poured into a tumbler.

A very simple light cococa head almost tan in color, sitting on top of a very dark brown walnut body that is opaque. There's some slight red hues around the edges.

Smell is quite interesting and unexpected. Roasted malt, and a very big presence of good coffee. There's however a sense of gas/sulfur but also some nice chocolate but also a bit of heat.

Taste though at first is like pressed coffee, but it's the body and mouthfeel that comes out the most noticeable. Extremely carbonated and prickly and very light bodied. Finish though is a nice toffee like and bit of milk chocolate. Malt finish and there is a big sense of stickyness in the palate.

Overall not too bad, just wish it had a better feel.

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Serious Madness from Mad River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.96 out of 5 with 217 ratings
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