Steelhead Extra Pale Ale | Mad River Brewing Company

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

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Reviews: 222 | Ratings: 419
Photo of Netmedic
2.88/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 2.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

To me, this is a flawed brew if it is meant to be a "pale ale". I guess the warning is on the label "extra pale ale". Extra what? Extra less care in brewing it? It's a cloudy orange colour, with some small "floaters", which would be ok for home brew or real ale, which this most definitely is not. It has a nice sharp nose, which promises a lot more than this drop delivers in the mouth. Initially there is a good dry hoppiness, but this fades off to a somewhat citrusy sticky finish. I guess either rack your beer after the particulates have settled, or make a good quality real ale and sell it on it's yeast. Maybe these guys are having problems getting the right hops for a pale ale, as well. I think they're using a good quality malt, though. Pity.

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

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 Mike707
3.69/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a warm Weizen glass. Well hopped with a common bitter and astringent note.
Better than Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. The smell is really good though-nicely floral hop scent.
It leaves a bitter after taste that I'm not particularly into. I like malt forward or refreshing imports more than the IPA Hop Craze.
Not disrespecting IPAs. I just prefer different brews overall.
Drinkable and it was on sale down the street, so why not? I've had Steelhead on Draught and it's definitely better like most beers are better on Draught.
Definitely higher quality than Becks;) Just not as refreshing as a smooth Lager or Pilsner like Stella or even Fosters, however, I prefer Beer from a Bottle or on Tap.
Cheers Mates

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Photo of chinchill
3.45/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Undated 12 oz bottle.

Pours hazy golden with some unattractive particles floating about. It is topped by a largish and thick white head that has good retention.

The flavor is a bit better than the aroma, with adequate hops for style.

Excellent lively but smooth feel with a near medium body and medium-high carbonation.

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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 DoctorZombies
3.38/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pale gold draft pour with white head; good lace. Very little aroma, just a whisper of citrus. Lemon zest taste with a lite hop bitter finish. Light mouthfeel with dry hop linger. Overall ok.

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Photo of Act25
3.96/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

at the brewer, their flag-ship, reminds me of my first Red Tail Ale. Nor Cal as meant to be.

A: Faint chill haze on golden hue, long lasting white lace. stiff and sticky.

S: Lovely flowery hop with notes of citrus and a mild spice. Pale malt sweetness, and that herbal, wild, California air.

T: Follows smell but fuller. Rich malt sweetness and honey, hops arrive with flowers and bite. Flowery hints with a mild fruitiness, then spice - nutmeg and white pepper?

F: Medium, peppery finishing dry and clean.

Great APA. in tradition of red tail ale. Must try.

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Photo of elosodelahabra
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%

Good pale ale, not one that I'd necessarily seek out, but for the price, it's a good beer.

Very little head along the glass, deep gold in appearance, no smell to speak of (maybe my nose is kinda plugged today?) but a very drinkable, very refreshing pale ale with a light and easy mouthfeel and a barely-noticeable aftertaste that disappears very quickly.

Not the worst, not the best, but not bad if you got it.

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Photo of seedyone
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%

On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. Pretty deep gold hue topped with a sparse head that left a bare film of lacing. The rich color spoke of the rich mouthfeel. Hardly a clue from the nose, but a full flavored ale. Sparse hops presence (which suits me fine) that is compensated for with some piney notes.

Bottom line is an enjoyable beer.

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Photo of delta490
2.9/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

Poured a hazy light gold with short lived white head. The aroma is barely there with a slight hint of sweet and the faintest hops. The taste is also barely present and just about the same as the taste. There is a nice weight to the beer and a smooth finish. All in all, not much going on

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Photo of Furlinator
3.74/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazy golden yellow. The 1/2 inch white head fades to just a thin film on top and leaves spotty lace.

The smell is of buttered biscuits, honey, orange juice and faint pine.

The taste is of bready grains and assorted citrus fruit with a pine, almost herbal, finish.

The texture is medium bodied with medium carbonation.

This is a well balanced pale ale with solid aromas and flavors.

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Photo of Omnium
3.59/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle > Sensory Pils glass

A- Pours a nice gold color, one finger of sudsy white head, very little lacing.
S - Lemon peel, tart apples, fesh baked bread, some grass, a little pepper.
T - Lots of bread and toasted caramel malt in the flavor, then some fresh cut grass.
M - Lots of carbonation, almost like a sparkling cider.
O - I'd like to see more of the hops come out in this beer, its more malt forward in the flavor than anything else.

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Photo of spoony
3.43/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

From a 355 ml undated bottle into a tulip.

A-A slightly zealous pour produces about one and one-half finger of nearly-white head. The retention is decent, but lacing is non-existent. The beer is straw/golden color and clear with a few tiny bubbles of carbonation.

S-The smell is very mild. I detect a bit of cider-like fruit flavors, apple mostly, and a little bit of caramel. Hops are virtually undetectable. I wonder how old my bottle is?

T-The taste is similar to the smell with a sweet, apple cider flavor and a bit of caramel for body. There is just the slightest floral twang on the finish, but otherwise, hops are absent.

M-The brew has soft carbonation and a medium to light body. It is easy to drink, but not terribly crisp.

O-I suspect my bottle may have had some age on it because it seemed to be totally devoid of hops, which is disappointing in a beer advertised as Extra Pale. The apple cider flavor just kept creeping up, and while not off-putting, it did not make for a terribly interesting or balanced brew. Also, for a beer with 5.6% ABV, I would have expected a little more flavor. Meh.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.23/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a hazy light yellow-orange with a foamy off-white head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Thin streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, and subdued citrus zest aromas. Taste is much the same with malt and sugary flavors on the finish. There is a very mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is an above average beer that is fairly drinkable but the hops present in this one are pretty subtle and/or faded for being an extra pale ale.

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Photo of Jimmys
4.04/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle. no best before date.

A: a slight haze on a straw blond body. lots of carb ripping through the body. head is frothy and slightly off-white. huge clumps of lacing left behind. cant tell if this is chill haze or a lax filtration. still looks good to me.

S: definitely fruity. a little bit of bubblegum hop aroma. a decent amount of grist. actually the grain gets more and more rich as the beer warms as the hops seem to take a step back.

T: starts sweet, almost under attenuated. grainy, chewy malt plays with a mild pineyness that equals pure balance. a little bit of cantaloupe and a mild hop bitterness that lingers into the finish.

M: ample carb, but not in the way. light, almost medium, body.

D: I wish I knew how fresh this was. really great drink out of the bottle and im sure its exceptional fresh at the source. definitely worth a try and I can see why this brew has taken home a few medals in the GABF.

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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 beck2008
2.41/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - straw pale - (looks like a lager)
Smell = very little hop aroma
taste = Sub-par pale ale. Thin body, very little malt presence. Hops are slightly grassy and piney. The taste reminds me of hoppy alka seltzer. Not a great pale ale but then again it's called "extra pale" so I maybe I just don't know what that should taste like. The hop bitterness hit me in the back of the throat and that was it. No alcohol detected. Lots of carbonation, almost too much - similar to a lager. I'll take a Liberty Ale over this any day.

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Photo of themind
3.19/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Mad River makes a half decent APA. Has good, crisp carbonation with a slight hoppy bite to it. I would not put this in the league of legendary beers like Zombie Dust but in a pinch this should feed your cravings. You could down a few of these without a problem.

Bottom Line: Average APA

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
3.41/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Serving type: 12-ounce bottle. No freshness date.

Appearance: Straight pour into a pint glass. The color is light gold. One finger of eggshell-colored head left an even lacing that eventually turned spotted.

Smell: Well-balanced between pale malts and grassy/earthy hops. There is a touch of grapefruit, orange, lemon, and lime. The hops remind me of one of Mikkeller’s single-hop series beers, but I cannot remember which. D’oh! There is also a little candy caramel sweetness and toffee. Reminds me of a British pale ale.

Taste: Nice mouthfeel, but the flavors are on the lighter side. Pale malts, light caramel and toffee, grassy/earthy hops, and light hop citrus.

Drinkability: This is essentially light pale ale. I have no problem with it, either. I was just expecting a different emphasis regarding "extra" (*extra* pale ale, not *extra pale* ale). Very smooth and easy drinking.

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Photo of Brad007
3.46/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a light blonde with a one-finger head into my glass. I don't often seen many APAs this bright so I'm going to uprate this one.

Crisp with a light hint of pine and buttery malt in the nose. You can tell that it's in-between the APA and IPA.

Drinks more like the former. Very easygoing. A little sweet. Buttery. Some hop essence. Mostly sweet of all the things.

Lingering buttery, sweet malt and some hop essence.

Nice and light. An easy-going example of the style. Don't expect too much on the hop side and you'll be pleasantly surprised.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.73/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thin head on a hazy, medium straw colored body. Lots of bubbles coming up.
The aroma is rich malt with the slightest citrus.
Mild bitter start, medium malt sweetness in the middle, and a long dry bitter finish. Great balance and depth.
Smooth texture, moderate carbonation and medium body.
A better than average pale ale.

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

A. It has a dull gold color. Highly carbonated. It is basically clear. It has an OK white bubbly head with limited lacing.

S. Can smell much, but I am just getting over a cold.

T. It has a nice malty flavor. Some wheat taste. There's a dark fruit, perhaps grape taste in the back.

M. Carbonated and crisp.

O. Nice, if not special. Refreshing and has some zip, but lacks a top-tier flavor/style.

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Photo of garymuchow
2.59/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Not sure about the age on this bad boy. There does not appear to be any dating on the bottle.
Boy, for an APA there isn't very much hop aroma. Soft pale malt and closer to 6-row Am. lager type of malt aroma. A little bready, doughy, but that's about it.
Attractive but rather light in color with a yellow cold and mostly clear. Nice white head with some stamina.
Again, where are the hops? Some bittering and very mild hops in background that grow a bit with time and warmth, but still what's up with that? Malt is more of the same as the aroma.
Prickly carbonation and more than ample and filling.
Disappointing. Hard to mark this as even average.

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Photo of LXIXME
3.05/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A small off white head quickly dies into a thin lacing above a clear honey golden colored beer.

Light aroma of citrus fruits and floral notes and a hint of pine.

Light citrus hops taste that has a very slight bitter edge on it.

Light dry aftertaste that holds just a bit of the hops with it on this medium bodied ale.

A little to weak on the hops taste for me in my desired pale ale journeys.

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Steelhead Extra Pale Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
3.58 out of 5 based on 419 ratings.
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