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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 222 | Ratings: 418
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.

 605 characters

Photo of metter98
3.6/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy pale yellow in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high dense off white head that died down yet consistently left a thin head covering the surface.
S: There are aromas of pale malts and citrus and floral hops in the nose.
T: The overall taste has a good balanced between sweet hops and citrusy hops. No bitterness is discernible.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied, relatively smooth and a bit thin on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer goes down very easily and is quite drinkable. This is a good beer to drink on a hot summer day.

 624 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

If the rest of their line-up compares well with the Extra Pale, then this will be a welcome brewery to Central KY. The beer pours a sparkling clear straw color with moderate carbonation and head retention. A solid malt / hop aroma brings out some fruitiness (apples, pears) and some sweetness. The flavors are quite sweet and balanced (did not expect this). However the sweetness goes from fruits to vegetables (dms) going into the finish. The sweetness remains confectionate sugar-like and dominates the beer. Meanwhile a good grassy, citrus hops adds character and rounds the beer out. The beer keeps a firm stature throughout with bready flavors and feels. Finishes a little sweet and maybe a tough heavy for the style. Quite good beer and very enjoyable.

 758 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.32/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a cloudy honey colored body with very little head and no lacing

Smell: A bit hoppy but modest overall

Taste: Again, the hops dominate but it is not overly hoppy; doesn't have the fruitiness I look for in an APA

Mouthfeel: A bit light bodied for an APA; decent carbonation

Drinkability: Certainly drinkable but not a special APA I would seek out

 374 characters

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

Pale gold with a quarter-inch head. The nose is bizarre, very lactic, almost like sour cream. There's a lot of diacetyl and sweet malt, too. It's malty, sweet and buttery on the tongue with a barely perceptible hop character. It tastes a hell of a lot like yogurt. Medium-bodied, the mouthfeel is creamy, buttery. No bitterness in the finish. I guess they were going for an English style pale ale with this, but it's a pretty colossal failure.

 443 characters

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.

 396 characters

Photo of oberon
3.79/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Was suprised at how hazy this was,the color was a hazy orange,decent head that left some lace.Hop presence was the dominant in the aroma floral and a little grassy.Good balance of malt and hop here,real fruity and fresh tasting.A good well balanced pale ale.

 258 characters

Photo of jlindros
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

No intro, just a review.

A: Very light head rises and falls the lame races in Civilization the game. When it's gone in a few seconds, its like there never was one to begin with, just a few small bubbles on the sides of the glass. It has a golden honey color and is pretty clear.

N: Nose is semi sweet with even possibility of some honey. Light aromatic grassy hops comes out, they let you know of their presence, but don't dominate very much. More pale malt aromas mingle with some faint piny citrus hops. THe aromas is pretty light as well.

T: Starts with a decent hop taste. Some grassy hops with a touch of citrus. More pale malt flavors. A touch of sweetness and perhaps honey as well on the taste. Some spicy bittering hops start to splice through and adds a slight earthy taste. Light and crisp and refreshing though.

M: Medium body, semi light, pretty much no carbonation, like a Tomme'd bottle (damn screw caps!).

F: Finishes slightly malty and creamy, but with a decent bitterness. I semi expected it to be bitter, but it doesn't really come, it just hangs at a medium bitterness. A slight juicy hop taste starts to come at the end, but is just a tease. It does finish pretty clean I can say, but not as bitter A little bit more of the sweet honey aspect, but still dry finish. Overall pretty bland beer. I wouldn't necessarily call it an extra pale ale, as more of a pale ale.

 1,391 characters

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.

 325 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.67/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light gold color, with a thin white head that fades quickly and leaves very little lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of floral hops, citrus and light caramelized malts

T: The taste is decently balanced with sweet flavors of citrus and caramel along with a hops presence that is strong but not-overpowering. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, although it's not the best pale ale out there it's worth drinking for a while.

 715 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.77/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle - $1.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours out a hazy, yellow-orange body with an inch of not-so-long-lasting, white foam.

Smell: Floral accents with cascading Meyer lemon wedges, a teensy pinch of spice, and a mild maltiness featuring simple white bread and cookies.

Taste: Lightly bready maltiness with equally light, sweet hints of crumbled sugar cookies. Then, a tart lemony citrus flavor infuses the taste, followed by spicy, faintly floral accents, and a modest, middling amount of bitterness. Slightly acidic. Things slacken as you reach the finish, there's a skosh more cookie, a hair more lemon zest, but not really much of anything notable or potent. Finishes moderately bubbly, still with a hint of sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium-plus carbonation.

Drinkability: It's extra pale, just its name suggests. Sometimes these things feature bitterness, but here it is bitter-less, leaving it just a decent, drinkable beer.

 990 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.6/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Yeasty burnished gold with a smidgen of orange peel. The poofy head of rich ivory becomes more substantial as it deflates. It's lingering for a respectable length of time and is depositing spits and scraps of foam on the glass. They aren't that numerous, however, and don't look all that committed.

The nose is a little too weak, but is recognizable as belonging to a pale ale. It smells like watered-down lemony hops with a mild earthiness to go along with the citrus. There's nothing in the aroma that makes me think that malt is in use.

Steelhead Extra Pale is a decent pale ale that struggles to be better than slightly better than average. Or is that slightly better than better than average? What maltiness is evident tastes like lightly buttered biscuits. It's still short on hops with a barely acceptable quantity of barely bitter lemon zest. Eighteen IBUs seems rather paltry, doesn't it? All pale ales don't need to be hoppy, but <20 should be against the law.

The finish is uneventful. The flavor doesn't change in character, it just gradually fades away, leaving the mouth clean with a slight hoppy linger. Consumption is as easy as breathing thanks to the uncomplicated nature of this ale.

Steelhead Extra Pale Ale isn't bad beer, but who really sets out to brew 'not bad' beer? With a little effort (more hops!) it could be a corker of an easy drinking APA. As is, it's slightly better than slightly better than... oh never mind.

 1,458 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
3.53/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

golden amber color with crystal clear clarity came out of the bottle. Lots of visible carbonation was apparent throughtout the session with chains of bubbes rippling up through the glass. A nice two inch hight pillow of white foam then came over the top and settled down qucikly leaving a bare centered crown in its wake. No appreciable side glass lace, but still a more the decent look to it.

The aroma was light with hints of light citrus, lemon mostly mixed in on top of a cereal grain filled base. Lots of whaeat and light earthy aromas blending in, but as it warmed a light hop presenced was dulled out way in the back, the aroma overall though was far too light to be really a knockout in any way. A nicel ight, crisp, and clean flavor was then produced. It was a classic light pale ale flavor, clean with a light wheat base, some light floral, citrus notes spprinkled through, orange, light lemon grass, especially in the finish. Great mouthfeel, with a carbonation that held thoughout the session. Easy drinkability as the flavors were light, crisp and clean, with almost no aftertaste

 1,094 characters

Photo of smcolw
3.38/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Golden color with a large amount of cloudiness. Generous head with lasting power--good lace on the glass.

Mild, but well-balanced with a soft hop presence.

Slightly sweet with a low level hop in the background that becomes stronger with the swallow. Relatively short aftertaste. Appropriate mouthfeel for the style.

Refreshing and easy to drink. A firm step up from the macros but not as flavorful as some APA's.

 415 characters

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.

 965 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.98/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Cloudy hazed pale orange golden glow thick fluffy white head leaves big chunks of intricate lacing, nice. Aroma: Citrus peel, grapefruit hop tones matched with pale biscuit malts giving the beer a nice sweetness. Taste: Surprisingly alot sweeter than I was expecting touch of sugar and breadiness with fruit undertones, along with a zesty hop bite that is just right in the finish. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied nice easy going carbonation goes down incredibly smoothly I could see why this is Mad River's flagship brew. Drinkability: I like a nice pale ale that retains a good bit of sweetness yet let's the hop flavors shine as well, good mix of flavors very drinkable brew in my book.

 694 characters

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

Pours a clouded gold. Big crème head. Mild perfumed hops of the pine scented variety on the nose, but a pretty gentle ride. Flavor is tangy hops with an interesting zing that carries the citrus tone but not a really wild flavor profile. Feel has a good liquid body and a pretty high amount of carbonation to it. Overall a good brew. Smooth and easily drinkable. Nothing wild, but nothing boring as well.

 404 characters

Photo of tdm168
3.46/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pale copper with a mountain of dense, white, foamy head. The smells is soapy with notes of pale malt. The malt character is slightly bready and the hop character is faint. There are buttery and floral notes throughout each sip. The mouthfeel is lighter in body, crisp, and smooth.

This is a decent APA. There's not much to rave about; solid malt character but lacks elsewhere. If APA's are your thing then this is worth a try.

 435 characters

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.

 767 characters

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.

 435 characters

Photo of GClarkage
2.88/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Consumed in October 2004 from a 12 oz bottle. Reminds me of the Pyramid Coastline I had earlier yesterday. Not really impressive. Not awful, but nothing great...barely aveage if that IMO. Pours a dark cloudy orange with a tiny head and little lace. Smells of citrus, lemon and malt. Tastes a bit grainy, grassy? Has a decent amount of detectable hops. Has a bit of lemon taste to back it up. Way too much carbonation. Doesn't leave a tremendous aftertaste which is good in the case of this beer. Has that musty taste again. Not intruiged by this beer.

 551 characters

Photo of tempest
3.6/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Paired a bottle with some BBQ, something I'd recommend.

It has a gold body with a white head. The flavor and aroma are fairly simple - dry, bready, and biscuit grains with peppery and citrus hops to balance. It's notable that while this beer isn't terribly complex, it's quite clean (no flaws and the ingredients stand out on their own) and nicely balanced. A great summer beer for pairing flavor with high drinkability.

 421 characters

Photo of WesWes
3.75/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a gold color with a thick frothy white head that quickly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice pale malt scent with a good hop aroma. It seems refeshingly bitter. The taste is decent. It has a watery IPA type flavor. It is pretty bitter with flavoring hops, but the malt palate is weak. The mouthfeel is decent also. It is a medium bodied beer with less than adequate carbonation. This is a decent drinking pale ale. It has nice hop qualities, but the mouthfeel and malt complexity are weak.

 518 characters

Photo of DoubleJ
3.47/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce stubby brown bottle with a twist-off top, on to the beer:

As far as pale ales go, you can chalk this up on the list of ones which have buttery (diacetyl) notes. Good straw colored body, the head fizzes away as the beer is poured into a pint glass. Faint buttery and toffee notes in the aroma and not a whole lot else. The taste: Crisp bodied with a refreshing bite. Good balance of ingredients. The buttery notes not dominant and the hoppiness toned down so it doesn't taste like an IPA. More of a hoppy English pale ale, and a pretty good one at that.

 562 characters

Photo of plaid75
3.6/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On draft at Henry's 12th Street Tavern, Portland, Oregon.

Poured a deep straw hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a round pale malt and grassy hop.

The taste was balanced and clean and consisted of soft malts and a cleansing grassy hop.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style.

Overall a simple and clean ale with god drinkability.

 395 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Steelhead Extra Pale Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
3.58 out of 5 based on 418 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.