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: 418
Photo of DefenCorps
3.18/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle from the Village Pump. $2.49

Pouring a clear orange with a dense, off-white head with good retention and rather poor lacing. The nose is decent. Plenty of cascade hop character is present with a leafy, grassy citrus hop character, along with a mild aspirin note as well. Some caramel is present, along with a candied citrus sweetness.

The palate opens with a juicy hoppiness and citrus peel and citrus pith. Oranges and grapefruit are most noticeable, again in that classic Cascade hop character. Some sweetness is present in the mid-palate, with just a wee bit of toffee, burnt sugar to go with the caramel. Unfortunately, this beer is just too thin and watery, especially on the finish, where there's some chalky malt, mild hop bitterness and no real hop flavor lingering. Medium-light in body with moderate carbonation, this beer is decent.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.53/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Again not sure since I drank it out of the bottle but I bet it has a nice amber hue maybe a touch of orange and a half inch of the foamy white stuff.

S - Smells a bit more grain forward which is a surprise with touches of bread and piney hops to boot.

T - Well it definitely isn't hop forward but not balanced enough with the malts to be sweet either. The grain is kind of aggressive and hard to drink. Next.

M - Light to medium. It did drink rather well.

Overall I am impressed with their IPA and not so much on this and the DIPA. I have a "Serious Madness" in the fridge and I hope to like it better than this. Kind of a lackluster pale ale.

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Photo of chicagoabbot
3.15/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz split with a friend into pint glasses...appearance is a little light on the head and it's pretty bright and light for a pale, almost a pilsener color. Not too malty for an extra pale. It's ok, but I could name 10 better pales just off the top of my head. Although, in fairness, there are many pales in the world, so even if this was top 30 or 40, that wouldn't be too bad. Try it or skip it, I'm pretty indifferent to this brew.

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Photo of Elimination
3.33/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a orange yellow with a bright big thick white head

Smell of faint citrus and pine a bit of lemon and grain

The taste is very grainy not malty but just grainy. Very wheat bread like, not much hops at all, a bit of earthy. Might be the hops very English style of a pale. A bit of pepper and almost spice covers it as well

Mouthfeel is a great stronger carb, laced, and good presence.

Overall I'm more of a American pale ale guy and this feels very english mashed with a bit of the states hops. The yeast tastes like wyeast 1968 which isn't a bad thing but should be used more in either higher hopped or darker malt.

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

This brew pours a cloudy pale golden hue with average carbonation that leaves behind a one finger head and a rim of lacing,the smell is quite subdued but does have subdued aromas of honey suckle,honeycomb and some medicinal hops,it has a medium bodied well carbonated mouthfeel and the first taste i get is honeysuckle followed by some pale,honeycomb malts which sets the beer up for a good bitter medicinal hoppy finish and overall its alright and not bad for a session starter.

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Photo of Brianjames16
2.65/5  rDev -26%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A- Pours a hazy light golden color with a finger width white head. Some thin lacing sticks around on the glass-

S- surprisingly not very hoppy with a very sweet aroma. Some sweet lemon aromas with a hint of orange.

T- Very light tasting with no hint of hops on the taste. For me it almost taste like a light a hefferveisen. More malts on this one.

M- Very light bodied beer with a lot of citrus tastes.

O- Nothing special. I think they have the wrong label on this one.

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Photo of abrand
2.73/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle with no date poured into a pint glass.

Pours a hazy yellow color with a 2 finger pure white head. Aromas of soap, biscuits, lemons, and oranges. Nothing spectacular on the nose. Taste is somewhat watery with hints of lemons, breads, and honey. Not too much of a hop profile. Mouthfeel is thin and watery. This isn't that great of an APA. Watered down and just not much to offer as far as taste. I will pass on this one in the future.

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

Poured into a Perfect Pint glass.

A: Deep gold with a light swirl of yeast. A small off-white head falls to a ring at the beer's edge. Leaves bits of lace.

S: Fairly light for the style. A cracker-like malts are accompanied by lemon and pine aromas.

T: Light dry bread out front is followed by a mild lemony bitterness. Finishes with a bit of lingering pepper.

M: The medium body is slightly dry and has the right fizz to it.

D: This is an OK APA in my book. It came across a bit mild for the style in my book.

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Photo of mvanaskie13
3.83/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass; nice off white head, 1/4 thick, dissipates to spot rings and circles; color is a hazy light copper.

Smell is bready, bicuity malt, light sweetness and hint of hops, floral and bitter.

Taste is a nice front of malt sweetness, good presence with the bready and bicuity flavors holding true from the scent; mild spicy and bitterness on the finish, clings to the tongue.

Mouthfeel is a touch strong on the tongue; flavors cling to the cheek and tongue; decent carbonation.

Very drinkable, i really like the bready/biscuity sweetness balanced by the hop flavor, well done.

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Photo of nataku00
2.81/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap poured into a shaker pint glass. Yellow and clear beer with a half finger of foamy head that dissipated very quickly. No lacing from the little head and no carbonation visible from the glass.

Nose was almost nonexistent. Maybe a bit of biscuit malts, and light floral hops but it took a lot of time to coax any aroma out of the glass.

Taste was equally bland. Biscuit malt sweetness with minimal bittering.

Light bodied beer with some carbonation on the tongue despite the lack of bubbles when looking at it. Pretty easy to drink and somewhat refreshing when paired with the southern food with the second half of the glass. I'm not sure I would drink it again though.

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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.

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Photo of bnes09
3.98/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hazy orange ale with lots of yeast floating around. Thin white head with some lacing.

Aroma is clean and sweet with a touch of citrus fruits.

Rich caramel and honey sweetness to start it off. Hops show up with a satisfying citric bitterness. Hints of apricot and mango. Finishes smooth and a bit tangy.

Smooth, even and creamy medium body with plenty of bubbles.

This is good stuff. Delicious and refreshing.

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

12 ounce shorty bottle. This comes from the Mad River Brewing Company, a brewery that I think I sampled out at GABF, though I'm not 100% sure on that. Pours a cloudy gold with a small frothy head. Appears to have a decent level of carbonation. It's hard for me to get anything out of the aroma. Faint grass and that's about it. Mouthfeel is effervescent, very light, and refreshing. Luckily the taste exceeds the aroma, as it's about as crisp an XPA as you can find. Lemon drop sweetness up front chased by more citrus, lime, and a lightly bitter finish. This stuff is pretty darned good. I kind of wish I would have picked up a sixer instead of a single. Nice summer beer. Color me surprised.

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

A solid entry in the APA category. Clean, crisp and pleasant to drink. Hopping hits the mark pretty much spot-on, with slightly floral notes quickly giving way to firm bittering finish. Perhaps leans just a bit toward the English IPA, but still properly within the American style.

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Photo of Soonami
3.14/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Mad River Steelhead Extra Pale Ale is very pale in color, about the color of a light lager or pilsner, but without the head. There was virtually no head or lacing. The pour also dislodged some rather large clumps of yeast/turds from the bottom of the bottle, that turned the bright beer ruddy with large globs of poop. I really dislike it when beers have this much sediment. The beer smells faintly malty, but I don't want to swirl it around too much or else I'll dissolve the junk at the bottom of the glass. The beer is surprising not dry, but sweet with a very orangey hop flavor and little bitterness. Carbonation is too low and the alcohol flavor too pronounced.

Definitely not the worst, but I would not buy this again.

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Photo of droomyster
3.85/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy dark gold with a white head. This beer's aromas are predominately malt-based, with a nose that I would describe as a caramel covered green apple. Despite the relatively average abv, there's also a slight but distinct whiff of alcohol. Taste is far more interesting than the nose would suggest (I'm getting leafy, spicy, and bready notes on the palate that I didn't detect in the aromas), and remarkably well balanced. A tasty APA.

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Photo of scottfrie
2.61/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into Duvel Green tulip.

A: Pours a golden yellow with an orange tinge under a couple fingers of white lumpy head that faded into a wispy film leaving some sticky chunks of lacing down the glass.
S: Unimpressive notes of pale malt and toasted grains. Some sweet floral hops poke through. Not very fragrant.
T: Light notes of roasted malt, doughy biscuit, faint sweet citrus fruit. Overall very watery and muted flavors. Slight cucumber? Isn't there supposed to be at least some hops in an APA?
M: Medium-light body, bubbly carbonation and slightly watery mouthfeel.
D: Very unimpressive. Tastes like a slightly less than average, boring APA... if you watered that down. Goes down like water.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a darkish gold with a rocky head that left lace all down the glass on top of a bready, slightly sweet malt aroma w/ a definite hop bite for a pale ale. The malts are evident in the taste, especially the doughy part as this beer has a dry edge thanks to that and is coupled with sharp, almost bitter hops. Finishes dry, almost sour, so a good summer beer/pale ale although might be a little too heavy for some.

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Photo of chickenflea
3.66/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12-oz bottle.
A- Beer is light orange with a translucent body and a thick white head. Good lacing and retention. S- Good nose but not that special. Malty with hints of orange. T- Very orangey flavor with a medium malt backing. Smooth clean finish. M- low carbonation and light body. Slightly watery. D- This is a highly drinkable beer. A great introductory beer for a macro drinker.

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

Picked this bottle up from 99 Bottles in Federal Way, WA

A: Poured a pils yellow color with good carbonation and a nice white head

S: Light hops, citrus, earthy

T: Very light and somewhat sweet, floral notes

M: Pretty thin, easy to drink indeed but looking for a bit more flavor

D: Good

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

Cloudy gold pour. Sticky white foam, good retention. Receded to a cap.

Aroma is of floral hops, citrus.

Taste is balanced in all directions, and none of the profiles really dominate. We have some citrusy hops, and some sweetish malts.

Mouthfeel is on the lighter side of medium. Could be a bit more aggressive on the hops. Drinkability is alright.

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Photo of micromaniac129
3.75/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A) with a vigorous pour produced a thick white foam cap that fades quickly to just a smear on top. The color is straw with some orange highlights. A bit hazy

S) smells slighty citrusy
T) tastes of citrusy hops with a yeasty or bready ending
MF) A bit thin around the edges
Overall I thought that this beer doen't live up to the style of pale ale. It needs more hop character and the color was more to a pils then to a pale ale. On the other hand this is a good convert beer for our junk swelling brothers.
Also to me this is a good summer beer, flavorful and light perfect for grass cutting or firing up our lump charcoal grills.
Have a good day

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Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.18/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy deep golden color, thin bubbly white head that did not stick around.

Aroma is somewhat citrusy, with some earthy malt. Very subdued, with the tickle of carbonation being the most exciting thing happening in my nose. Taste is some mild citrus from the hops, sweet malts balance it somewhat, but everything is so subtle that nothing dominates anyway. Comes across as fairly sweet in the finish.

This is medium bodied and very bubbly, nice and smooth feeling. Nothing at all wrong with this beer, but in an overloaded style this one just does not stand out.

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Photo of mmmbeer
3.53/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle with no freshness date. It pours a nice golden color, with a few floaties and a thin whitish cap. Citric hops and a breath of alcohol in the nose. Tastes of pale malts and citric hops, tropical fruits?, pepper?, a hint of sweetness and a mild bitterness. Very dry on the palate with lots of effervescence. Nothing out of place here - an easy-to-drink, by-the-books American pale ale.

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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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Steelhead Extra Pale Ale from Mad River Brewing Company
3.58 out of 5 based on 418 ratings.
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