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Steelhead Extra Pale Ale | Mad River Brewing Company

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222 Reviews
Steelhead Extra Pale AleSteelhead Extra Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Mad River Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by OldFrothingSlosh on 03-24-2002

For Trade:
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Reviews: 222 | Ratings: 415
Photo of nofalltoofar
4.51/5  rDev +26%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into pint glass

A: White head is one finger, dissipates quickly leaving a little lacing. Color is cloudy bronze

S: Sharp and sweet, grains and some fruit notes

T: Immediately present mild bitterness, sweet middle tones, grains and a little fruit and citrus notes. Strong caramel aftertaste

M: Not too carbonated, clings to tongue a little bit. Not too watery. Not too thick.

Great pale ale. Got it for $26 all told. I think this might be my summer beer of choice. Good on ya, Mad River. I'll be sampling your other seasonal delicacies.

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Photo of MobBarley
4.47/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice golden, hazy hue with a small, fizzy head and adequate lacing. The aroma is floral and a little grassy. The flavor is very well balanced and less bitter than most Pales. As the website notes, this is more of an English Pale than an APA. Some fruity notes hang around in the finish and make things interesting. Mouthfeel is a little chewy and alot fizzy...though not too much. Drinkability is great. This is a classic session choice.

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Photo of DocJitsu
4.46/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a gorgeous clear, golden color with a white, bubbly head that attenuates to a thin cap. The cap is perpetuated by carbonation bubbles that migrate from the bottom of the glass to the top of the beer. White lacing remains on the glass as it is being drunk. The bouquet is characterized by light notes of orange peel and grapefruit. This beer has an almost perfect mouthfeel in that it balances a heavier slickness with a mild scrubbing on the back of the tongue. This tastes how I would make an APA taste if I could make an APA this good. Sweet grapefruit and lemon balanced by just the mildest tart citrus at the finish make this a phenomenal drinker. I love it!

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Photo of DeGrog
4.43/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is an excellent everyday drinker, a sure stand by when standing at the beer cooler wondering and wondering which brew to choose. The brewery is small and a strong supporter of the community. MRBC brews are 95% top notch Pale ale perfict for those sunday BBQs.

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Photo of WYVYRN527
4.42/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Why is everything from Humboldt County so dank?

A: Golden in color, slightly hazy, with a finger-thick white head. Head retention is a bit weak, and leaves a thin film on the surface.

S: Aroma is malty and sweet, with hints of caramel and bread. The hops add slight grassy notes, a bit of citrus, and a floral touch.

T: Not as assertively hopped as most APAs. Malt is present at first with flavors of toast, caramel, and some fruit. The finish is dry, with hop characters of citrus, spring flowers, and a bit of straw. A very balanced beer.

M: Light to medium bodied, with a short, but very pleasant finish.

D: May be one of my favorite APAs to date. It's very sessionable. This brew will make friends.

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Photo of hermesch
4.42/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured this out of a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours hazy golden, like the kind of summer days a beer like this was made for. Light citrus and mild hops in the nose, as well as the taste but rounded out with some slight malts.

Crisp mouthfeel makes for easy summertime drinking.

Will purchase this again.

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Photo of nomad
4.42/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a pretty damn yellow version of gold, very opaque. Had a slow rising but emerging to a puffy cavernous foam head. It left a nice stain. Smelled of florals but of a light citric kind, light pale malt, and some garden scents. Taste was juicy, of thirst exciting fruit, light and airy like the nose, and honey notes. Had a long but very pleasant finish, drying and nascently fruity. A very good beer, at first sip I was sold that this would be an all-time favorite. Apparently a bit too good for most other's definition of how a pale ale should drink. For me, nothing is more pale, common, and thus boring than a thin, easy, but highly unbalanced and attacking hoppy pale ale. This beer is an essay in balance and body.

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Photo of Zorro
4.4/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a chill hazed gold with a touch of orange color to it. Fairly large and persistent white head.

Smell is crackers and biscuits for malt. Nice citrus hop scent with a bit of spiciness to it. Clear scent of grapefruit to this one.

Taste is smooth; malt and hops are balanced perfectly here. Slight sweetness at first that is matched by the hops to highlight the citrus from the hops and a dry woody finish and a butter and oak aftertaste. After a while a nice acidic palette cleansing effect becomes noticeable.

Mouthfeel is good.

Damn drinkable beer here. A near perfect session beer. Tasty, mild, flavorful, easy on the senses and low alcohol to boot; this beer has it all. Highly recommended.

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Photo of Skrumpy
4.36/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I have been drinking this beer since it was released in '89 & it is one of my favorites. Definitely a go to Pale Ale for myself. I poured a 12 oz bottle into a standard pint glass. Nice, light amber color. A very smooth and drinkable beer, but full of flavor as well. I can pick up on the sweetness of the malt right away, while the finish is a light, citrus and pine hoppiness. Well balanced for sure. The sweetness in tasted is paired with a more pungent smell, and creates one fantastic drinking experience. Great with food & a perfect summer afternoon picnic beer.

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Photo of JayTheFinn
4.34/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had my first Mad River Steelhead Extra Pale Ale at the Mercury Lounge, a beer bar in Goleta, California.

Looks kind of unassuming in the glass. Just pale gold with a small white head. Smells incredibly hoppy with a citrusy scent somewhere in the vacinity of lemon. But the taste is very hopless. I still sense the citrus, but the utter lack of bitterness is very surprising. Light in the body. The smoothness of each sip makes this one dangerously drinkable.

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Photo of Matthe764
4.28/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a very good beer. My favorite from this brewery. The individuals who say this is not a good beer do not know what good beer tastes like or they are the kind of people who cry at movies involving love stories.

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: It pours a hazy gold (from chill haze) under a 2” off white foam cap that dissipates fairly quick.
S: Can smell the hops from a couple of feet away
T: big fruit and malt flavors, some melon but it finishes dry with some hints of lemon and orange in the finish.
F: Medium body, medium to medium low carbonation
O: Very tasty, well composed and well balanced.

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Photo of dsa7783
4.22/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Single, twelve-ounce bottle copped from New Beer Distributors on Chrystie Street in Manhattan...
Pours a pale, light, copper hue with obvious rising carbonation, a minimal head, and minor lacing...
Aroma: Pale, grain-dominated aroma with hints of vanilla and caramel...
Taste: Very well-balanced beer with noticeable hops and malts equally distributed throughout...
Mouthfeel: Light-to-medium bodied...
Easily drinkable, very crisp and refreshing...

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Photo of traillme
4.2/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a highly underated and underconsumed beer on the national level.

I love the smooth favor, full head, and well balanced structure to this beer. Pouring out of a bottle provides a nice aroma, although it is a lttle shallow. It it a shame that Steelhead did not give this a little fuller body back in the day because with a little tweek they would have been able to compete with Sierra.

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Photo of palliko
4.2/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is cloudy golden topped with an arctic white head of foam that settles down gradually to sticky lace. Aroma is pungent with spice (pepper and oregano), sourdough starter, and hops. Initial taste has a thick body, well carbonated, and delivers a mildy sweet malty message to the tongue. Bitter lemon rind hops chime in and cleanse the palate. Other fruits come to the forefront as the temperature of the beer rises: apricot and nectarine. Nice dry finish that leaves the mouth feeling refreshed and happy.

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Photo of goindownsouth
4.17/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Definately better on tap, than in the bottle, this is an intriguing pale ale, truth be told. The aroma is hoppy and very deep and flowery. The color is a bit lighter than I am used to, but still well within acceptable. The aroma is actually not equivalent to the flavor, which has some "snap" to it, like all good pale ales should have. Somehow the flavor still lacks a little bit, but this is still an excellent pale ale.

Zum wohl!

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Photo of Overlord
4.15/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Mad River continues to impress. They brew some of the tastiest beers, at a reasonable price, and their flavor profiles are often far more complex than brews that are quite a bit more expensive. This and Three Floyd's Alpha King are easily my favorite pale ales.

Pours a light orange. Inch or two of white head that quickkly vanishes. Mouthfeel is too thin.

Smells of sweet floral notes, hops, and ... apricot?/papaya?/mango?/pineapple? The taste isn't the weak swill of most pale ales, but a sensuous combination of tropical fruit notes, some balancing hops (the hops definitely balance out the caramel malt and tropical/citrus fruits, not the other way around), and malt.

Good stuff.

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Photo of jcdiflorio
4.13/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice white thick creamy head,slightly cloudly nice golden color,good clean fresh aroma not real hoppy or malty.A very slight spicey smell too.Tastes fresh and clean not real hoppy or malty,but very refreshing a beer you could drink all night. A crowd pleaser.

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Photo of jwc215
4.12/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours slightly hazed golden yellow with a thin white head. Some lacing sticks.

The smell is citric - orange, floral and grassy. Nice hoppy aroma.

The taste is citric-esp. orange with floral bitterness. It has a pale malty backing - maybe a hint caramelish. This is hoppy for an "extra pale ale", though balanced. There is a sharpness in the bitterish finish.

Amply, though not overly, carbonated. It has a medium body that is pretty creamy. Not quite as chewy as I would like in an IPA, but as it is an APA, which tends to be lighter in body, it fits very well.

This is a nicely, a bit differently, hopped pale ale. Despite the slight sharpness, it drinks very well. A "different" "extra pale ale". After the glass is finished, I still enjoyed smelling the glass.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.12/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Copper and clear color with a one finger tan head.

S: Pretty good dose of floral hops along with a slight hint of malt.

T: This was pretty well balanced. A good snap of slightly grassy, slightly pine-flavored hops followed by some bready malts. I was definitely a fan of this. It went great with some spicy Thai food.

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Photo of Billolick
4.1/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ouncer, lacking any freshness dating. Pours a cloudy yellowish very wheat like shade of amber, white head, tiny bubble film and respectable lacing. Nose is pleasingly floral. This is a tasty light, flavorfull and refreshing quaffer of an APA. Its nicely hopped, with citric notes and piney. Its light to medium bodied, and finishes with a smoothness that makes you want to suck down a few more. Alas, I only had one bottle, too bad.

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Photo of nelnutter
4.1/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into pint glass.

A: Hazy gold in color. Nice foamy head with good retention and lacing.

S: Sweet malt smell with citrus and floral hoppiness.

T: Sweet malty at first, then balances out very nicely with some bitter hops, mostly citrus. Neither overpowers the other. Nice dry finish.

M: Medium body with perfect amount of carbonation.

D: I really enjoyed this beer. Very sessionable and one I wouldn't mind having on hand more regularly.

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Photo of Jordan
4.1/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Baked bread and soft floral aromas. Handsome looking hazey golden blonde. The malt/hop balance is incredible. It must be tasted to be believed. Highly drinkable, skillfully crafted.

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Photo of tmoneyba
4.1/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Party Town.

Poured clear hazy amber with an average frothy white head that mostly lasted and produced good lacing. Moderate to heavy hoppy citrus aroma. Medium body with soft carbonation. Medium hoppy bitter flavor with a medium bittersweet finish of average duration.

Good drinkable brew.

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Photo of Jason
4.09/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz short brown twist bottle with no freshness date to be found. Thin layer of sediment on the bottom of the bottle.

Appearance: Faint chill haze upon the bright golden hue, minimal yet long lasting white lace rests on top.

Smell: Delicate flowery hop with undertones of citrus and a mild spiciness. Pale malt sweetness is quite evident also, smells a bit of freshly mashed malt … a little doughy.

Taste: Rich malt sweetness of milled malt and honey, hops take a bite into the palate with a spicy bitterness that keeps clean. Flowery hints and a mild fruitiness hit in the middle and the malt flavour seems cracker like. Suggestions of nutmeg and white pepper come from the spiciness of the hops. Leaning towards the dry side with a grain and spicy finish.

Notes: This is their flagship beer, pretty much your all American session brew as well as a fall back beer. I brew I would want in my fridge more often than others. 4.5% abv.

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Steelhead Extra Pale Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
3.58 out of 5 based on 415 ratings.
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