Steelhead Extra Pale Ale | Mad River Brewing Company

423 Ratings
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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 423 |  Reviews: 222
Photo of illidurit
3.1/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at The Red in Santa Cruz. Poured into a pint glass. Golden straw color, creamy white head, minimal lacing. Aroma is mostly pale malt, sweetish with light citric hops. Flavor is much the same. Dry pale maltiness with a whisper of C hops. Barely any bitterness. Moderately astringent.

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Photo of seanbhudson
4.07/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy gold color with a large white head that dissipates at an average rate. Medium amount of lacing.
Orange blossom and light sweet doughy malts. Finishes with some light grassy hops.
Very similar to aroma, floral citrus with a malty backbone. Finishes with light peppery hops.
Light to medium body with almost a creamy texture with soft carbonation.
This beer goes down super easy. This would be really nice on a hot summer day. Careful drinking this with any flavorful foods because the subtle flavors will be overpowered.

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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 magictrokini
3.22/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tap @ Pizza Port Solana Beach. Hazy gold with a big white head. Floral, grassy nose. Crisp, hop flavor with white pepper, citrus, peach, and a very small amount of malt. Refreshing. Yet, I was happy to have this on tap instead of being forced into buying a 6-pack. I wish it was easier to buy singles...

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Photo of popery
3.83/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is how I wish macros tasted. Well, that's not really true. I might as well wish even higher as long as I'm wishing, but this beer should be what mass appeal beer tastes like. It's not scary or difficult. It's just a well-balanced, well-hopped pale ale. It's relatively light with good lemony bitter notes. It looks really good in the glass, light orange with yellow highlights, a good sticky head and some fun suspension. The nose is a tad weak but good when it comes through. It's fresh and sweet with a crisp citric tone. The taste is similar. Lemony hops and light malt mix well into a good, calm beer. Feel can get a bit watery, especially with my palette still bracing from the relatively recent spate of fall DIPAs. The beer is quite drinkable. It's a very easy beer to like, even if it doesn't blow you away, and I would far, far prefer to see it on tap at a bar than nearly any macro.

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Photo of BierFan
3.55/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a short 12 ounce bottle into a tumbler glass.

Appearance: Amber colored body with a small white head and decent carbonation.

Smell: Nice aroma of citrus and grapefruit from the hops.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Definitely a thirst quencher. Hoppy grapefruit taste with a mouthfeel that is bigger than you usually get from the style.

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

Pours a clear golden into a pint glass with a thin head. Head dissipates rather quickly but the brew does offer some lacing as the head and nose are easily regenerated given the firm carbonation of the beer. (Beer was served rather cold)

Smell is mild with slight floral hop notes. Taste is clean and crisp with an occasional slight bitterness on the close, increasing with warming. I'd say the feel and drink are good as this is a mild ale in flavor and potency, yet offers a nice flavor profile. Reminds me of Green Flash Extra but not as refined.

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Photo of daliandragon
3.55/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

My label is dark blue but otherwise is the same as the one pictured. The color is a hazy, bright yellow nearing orange, somewhat reminiscent of a hefeweizen. The nose is medium citrus and a touch of pine. Nothing overwhelming but a typical west coast approach to the style.

The taste is similar to the smell, in that what is there is decent but it's not exactly blowing me away. A touch of fresh grapefruit, a smidge of hop bitterness and not much else. The carbonation is okay but the texture is thin and watery and doesn't help the flavor much.

It is easy to drink, and I could see downing this in large numbers in a sunny day out on the boat landing some stripers but outstanding it isn't.

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Photo of matty
3.12/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Cloudy gold colored ale with a slow fading head.Aroma was nice,citrusy and a tad of caramel.Taste is orange and grapefruit.This is probably something to try once but there is nothing special about it that would make me want to buy another one.I will label this as mediocre.

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Photo of WakeandBake
3.8/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: a cloudy golden color with a half inch white head,filled with tons of tiny yeast particles.

Smell: creamy citrus hops, pepper, some maltiness, and a hint of honey.

Taste: The hop flavors come first with some tart citrus rind, floral notes, then a bit of spicey pepper character, the malt is well balanced with the hops and spice

Mouthfeel: soft,and full

Drinkability: A very drinkable APA with some of the expected flavors as well as a good dose of unique character, especially the hops. The malt balances the strong floral quality.

I have had other offerings from Mad River, all were very solid offerings

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.68/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured bright golden-tangerine with a slight haziness. The head was creamy, flat, off white in color and quickly scattered and dissipated into isolated frothy patches. The lacing was scarce, near non-existent, while visible carbonation was moderately strong and rapid in nature.

S: The nose was a tad light and disappointing per style. Faint oranges with a light flowery bitterness that was a struggle at times to detect.

T: The flavor proved more promising then the nose with a brisk carbonation bringing out the lively citrusy nature. A medium dry bitterness that was well balanced against a crisp pale malting makes for a nice smooth flavor overall. A touch of sweet tangerines is also detected while a nice floral bitterness closes things out here.

M: light with a slight tingly sensation from the carbonation. Very smooth in texture with a nice dry orange and floral bitterness gracing the tongue.

D: An easy drinking pale that was crisp with just the right amount of hoppiness to balance things out to make this good for a few. The drinkability is truely its strong point here.

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

Mad River- Extra Pale Ale

A- Bright clear yellow with a big fluffy white head.
S- Light citrus and fresh toasted grain.
T- Sweet buttery grain with a touch of lemon and grapefruit citrus.
M- Light and sweet with a crisp dry finish.

Overall- Not as impressive as I was hoping. Good and easy to drink but a little too toned down.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured cloudy gold with a decent white head and some fair lacing.

Mild malt and lightly toasted grain scents, a little hop leaf.

Mildly sweet grain flavors with lightly toasted maltiness and some decent firm bitterness to give this beer a little backbone. This is a fairly soft beer.

Some fair carbonation and clean finishing qualities make this easy in the mouth and easy to drink. Wish I found this in the summer. Overall, a decent beer. Not anything to get too excited about, but worth a shot.

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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.

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

A- A slightly hazy, dark yellow beer with some streams of rising carbonation. The head is thin, splotchy, and white.

S- Some nice grainy malt character, a little caramel, some vanilla. Some fruitiness in there as well. Not a lot of hops blowing my doors off.

T- It is the same as the aroma, with an emphasis on the vanilla and grain aspect. Pretty sweet and fruity.

M- A nice carbonation level. Pretty smooth. A little drying on the tail end.

D- A good beer, but I don't really have any drive to get it again.

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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 drxandy
3.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz to flare pint, pours a golden peachy amber, white head fades

smells of nice malts, sweetness, hops

taste has a great malt backbone, hops are proportioned perfectly for the style, sweet citrus, very crisp and drinkable, good carbonation, slight spice, wheat?, a nice pale, almost reminds me of a hefe mixed with a pale.

mouthfeel is flavorful and sessionable, carbonation brings out the hops, yeasty, good balance overall!

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Photo of scooter231
3.75/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy grapefruit color with some very white head that goes quick and fades into a thin, sudsy layer that remains on top of the brew til near the last drop.

Smells sweet and floral, doughy, with the malts taking over most of the nose. There's hints of black pepper spicyness but it's quite faint. Taste is light, refreshing, and easy. Sweet malts and barely bitter hops make a nice marriage. The spice remains in the background with the floral, not overwhelming, just providing the backbone to it. As it warms fruit flavors start to come through, and more doughyness.

Mouthfeel is sudsy and chewy, light but not thin. Overall this is an extremely refreshing, easy to drink beer. Session brew? Absolutely. I wouldn't mind having several of these in the fridge, for a hot day, or with a light meal. Good find.

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Photo of Tbn2
3.7/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle to point glass.

A-The body pours murky and gold in color. A two finger, off white head rises and falls, not leaving much lacing behind.

S-Nothing really special here. There are some earthy/biscuity aromas coming out of the glass. I detect a faint smell of something sweet, maybe honey.

T/M-The taste is more complex than the smell. At first the malts are the main characters with a good earthy pale taste. Then as the beer finishes, they fade to the back and out comes a great spicy, peppery, and citrusy finish from the hops. The body of the beer is right on and the carbonation gives it a perfect feel on you palette.

Overall this is a good beer that I really enjoyed on nice summer afternoon. You enjoy this beer...

Drink'em if ya got'em

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Photo of MiScusi
3.71/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Stone World Bistro & Gardens. Pours a clear medium golden, very nice looking. The smell was mostly a bit fruity. Not hop fruity but probably more from yeast. The taste was very light but had a nice light maltiness to it balanced with some of that fruitiness. Maybe I liked it enough because I was in the mood for something really light tasting. It didn't need to have a bunch of hops in it but I thought it lacked just a bit of this to balance it out, maybe give it just a little kick so it wasn't so fruity. Still good, nice to have on a hot afternoon.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of JBogan
3.93/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice clear golden colored brew with a moderate foamy white crown which left minimal lacing.

Smelled somewhat grassy with a sweet malty backbone.

Tasted of sweet malts and a bit of biscuit.

Crisp and medium bodied, very refreshing on this warm (hot for you folks not living in the desert) Vegas afternoon.

While scanning the large selection at my number one beer store of choice I was looking for something I hadn't tried yet which might be crisp and clean tasting, something refreshing.This fit the bill nicely. Not a spectacular brew but certainly one which I'd have again.

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Photo of Cresant
2.56/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

poured this 12 oz. brown bottle into a becker. No date on the label. The body was flecked and cloudy orange/yellow. The mild head was cream colored.

Smell was hard candy sweetness.

Taste was not too bitter, more hops flavors than the true bitterness. Tame bitterness was well balanced with pineapple-like sweetness.

Mouthfeel was smooth up front, with a mild alcohol sizzle in the swallow. Medium body. This one may have been past its prime, aroma was disappointing and the flavor was pretty simple.

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Photo of BDIMike
3.26/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden-orange color with suspended yeast. A good amount of carbonation with a thin white head that dissipates immediately.
Smell is first of a nice malty, biscuity smell. Also notes of the citrus hops, especially grapefruit.
Taste is very subdued. Good biscuity malt taste, but the citrus hops and grapefruit never really hits at the end like I thought they would.
Mouthfeel has a nice thickness for a pale ale. Still smooth though.
For a pale ale it has good drinkability. The hops are subdued for easy drinking, but not strong enough to want to drink/enjoy more than a couple of these.

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Steelhead Extra Pale Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
3.58 out of 5 based on 423 ratings.
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