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Steelhead Scotch Porter - Mad River Brewing Company

Steelhead Scotch PorterSteelhead Scotch Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

294 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 294
Reviews: 222
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 10.2%


Brewed by:
Mad River Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
English Porter |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 01-23-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 294 | Reviews: 222 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of dbrauneis
dbrauneis

North Carolina

3.96/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque but clear very dark brown in color with moderate amounts of fine gentle visible carbonation along the edges of the glass and some dark amber highlights. The beer has a two finger tall dense foamy tan head that slowly reduces to a large patch of thin film and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amount of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of chocolate malts with light to moderate amounts of molasses and roasted malts. There is also a light presence of smoked peat/scotch.

T: Upfront there are moderate flavors of roasted, smoked, and chocolate malts with notes of smoked peat - much like you would expect from a scotch ale. Slightly sweet with some hints of coffee bitterness in the finish.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly thin.

O: This is an enjoyable beer and somewhat a hybrid of the current versions of the porter and scotch ale. Easy to drink with well hidden alcohol - I would definitely grab another one of these when I come across it.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2014 02:07:00 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of Cylinsier
Cylinsier

Pennsylvania

4.24/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz.

Pours jet black, tan film for a head

Smells of molasses, scotch, oak and vanilla. Also some brown sugar and biscuit.

Oak and scotch over brown sugar and biscuit malt with some mesquite and vanilla underscoring.

Full body with a tingly carbonation on the tongue.

This is an amazingly flavorful porter given the abv. I am very pleasantly surprised. Good flavor and aroma and very good body. Definitely worth trying.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2013 13:22:24 | More by Cylinsier
Photo of IchLiebeBier
IchLiebeBier

Virginia

3.59/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: dark chestnut; small off-white head; lots of sediment floating around

Smell: Initial whiff of chocolate that dominates it; don't get a lot more; hops are very subdued; very faint peat smoke, probably would have missed it if I didn't know it was supposed to be there

Taste: Sweet malt right at the get go; just enough hops to keep it from being overly sweet, but it is a sweet beer; tastes a lot like a sweet stout I brewed once that had lactose added to it; website doesn't say it's in there, but it certainly tastes like it is

Mouthfeel: malty and a little less than medium body; mouthfeel is like a half-flat coke

Remarks: tasty overall, but a little too sweet

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2013 01:24:07 | More by IchLiebeBier
Photo of ADZA
ADZA

Australia

3.84/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Love a hybrid brew and keen for this one which pours the darkest brown non see through hue with a creamy two finger head and subtle clingy lacing,the smell is peated smokey malts,dark chocolate and roasted caramel,the mouthfeel is medium bodied with above moderate carbonation and on taste it starts off like a scotch ale and finishes like a porter with tastes first up of smokey peated malts,a touch of whiskey,roasted caramel,a dash of coffee liqueur and finished with a dark chocolate bittersweetness and overall it's definitely half scotch ale and half porter which works and I for one enjoyed it and buy again without doubt cheers.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2013 10:02:42 | More by ADZA
Photo of Dope
Dope

Massachusetts

4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle just says "steelhead porter", no sign of "scotch" but there's no other porters listed so I'm assuming this to be the same beer.

A: Pours a nice solid brown with a dense, fluffy sort of light brown head. Head fades slowly, leaving great spiderwebs of lacing behind. Quite good retention too.

S: Nice mild roasted malt with a little chocolate and char. A hint of caramel to sweeten it up in fact. Touch of smoke?

T: Nice smooth roasted malt. Again with the chocolate, quite mild with a little char up front. Then turns quite sweet, a nice chocolate syrup flavor into the middle and finish. Smooth and mellow. Pure chocolate between sips. Surprisingly nice.

M: Smooth and medium bodied. Very drinkable.

O: A nice porter. Chocolatey for sure. Very mellow flavors and smooth drinking. Goes down very easy. A great example of a simple english porter.

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2013 02:55:27 | More by Dope
Photo of Jonny
Jonny

Massachusetts

3.86/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- root beer in color w/red hues and minimal head retention

S- to me, this is where this beer does very well. Scents of sweet cream and milk choc dominate.
do i smell maple syrup?

T- sadly, not so much like the smell. quite smoky/ashy with some bitter hops that stick around a while.

M- full, with prickly carbonation. Long dry/bitter finish that makes you want another sip.

O- I tend to lean toward stouts/porters anyways, so it don't take much to get my vote for this style. However, if your a porter kinda BA, grab yourself a 6'er. Very pleasant.

True to style IMO.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2013 02:52:32 | More by Jonny
Photo of TheSixthRing
TheSixthRing

California

4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a deep cola brown color with a tan, finger width head. Fair retention, leaving a thin layer of microbubbles covering the surface. Lots of yeast sediment floating around. Leaves thin rings and spots of lace around the glass.

Smell - A healthy amount of deep chocolate overtones make up the bulk of the aroma, while lesser notes of coffee and earth play it up nicely.

Taste - Doesn't quite live up to the strength of the nose, but still kicks with great flavor and balance. Milk chocolate upfront, followed by a light coffee bitterness before giving way to a moderate, perfect amount of peat smoke character on the back-end. Touches of caramel in the aftertaste. This is really, really good.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with moderate, somewhat lively carbonation. Goes down smooth; slightly silky.

Overall - Quality brew. Good flavor; incredibly smooth and drinkable. Dare I say, sessionable? Incidentally, I had a slice of chocolate topped cheesecake toward the end of my drink, and the pairing was nothing short of heaven. Wish I'da paired them together a lot sooner. For those that think the Stone and Alaskan Smoked Porters are too smokey, give this one a go. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2013 04:55:18 | More by TheSixthRing
Photo of beergoot
beergoot

Colorado

3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice brown body with a thick, chunky faint tan head; sticky lacing. Dark malt and cocoa in the smell. Bitter chocolate and sugary sweetness make up the bulk of the taste; some sweet caramel and a soothing, light bitterness builds up at the end of the taste. Medium-light in body; clean with a lightly sugary finish.

A fair porter that delivers on the basics. Nothing over-the-top, and no real wow-factor, but very enjoyable overall.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2012 20:07:32 | More by beergoot
Photo of allforbetterbeer
allforbetterbeer

Colorado

4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. No fresh/expiration dates.

Pours a nealry black dark brown body under a compact finger of head that falls slowly.

Certainly smells more English in style, with peaty light smoke over frothy chocolaty malts. Little to no hops to speak of.

The flavor takes this in a new direction. The smoke and chocolate are minor in comparison to the fruity dark malts and coffee flavors. This is almost going baltic in profile. The dark fruit and coffee are quite dry, and accented nicely by a touch of smoke. This lands somewhere near Irish dry stout, English porter, and Baltic porter. at points it almost seems like this is dark chocolate with cherry. Quite nice.

The mouthfeel is full at first by surprisingly dry, with just a touch of acididy. This very well may be like the real original English porters.

Conclusion: Amazingly true to style. Well done Mad River! This is the first of their beers than I have tried, and I wasn't expecting something this good.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2012 07:26:39 | More by allforbetterbeer
Photo of BB1313
BB1313

Ohio

3.15/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

No date. 12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Pours a hazy brown, nice khaki head, nice lacing and retention. There seems to some sediment. The aromas are pretty subtle. Lots of milk chocolate, malts and grains. The flavors match the aromas, subtle. There's more chocolate blended with skim milk. I'm picking up a touch of caramel, butterscotch and toffee, but it's muted. There's a decent bitterness that lingers with this one. Maybe a touch of black coffee, but it seems faded. Mouthfeel is pretty nice, smooth, light, nice amount of carbonation. Alcohol goes completely unnoticed.

Overall, average and kind of boring. I'm thinking this was possibly an old bottle. It actually isn't bad, but everything seems so subtle and one note.

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2012 23:42:00 | More by BB1313
Photo of plaid75
plaid75

New York

3.33/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a deep brown hue with a half finger foamy off white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured soft cocoa and a touch of caramel.

The taste consisted of creamy chocolate and soft caramel malt. A good dose of lactose detected as well.

The mouthfeel was full and creamy.

Overall a muted chocolatey porter.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2012 01:27:25 | More by plaid75
Photo of chinchill
chinchill

South Carolina

4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz undated bottle served in a Unibroue snifter.

Pours a hazy, dark brown; semi-opaque. Although the bottle was emptied, considerable sediment remained stuck on the bottom of the bottle. The small tan head is short lived but leaves spotty lacing.

A: Quite pleasant, if unusual for style, with hints of sweet caramel and red wine. Roasted malt aroma is surprisingly faint, even after warming.

T: The flavor is a bit sweet up front, but this changes to a nicely balanced mix of sweet and bitter. Nice complex and dynamic mix of malts, with hints of toffee and dried plums. Rich dark malt dominates the slightly smokey finish and aftertaste. Approaching 4.25

M: Medium+ body; smooth; well chosen medium level of carbonation; some dryness in the finish.

O: "Scotch Porter" indeed, this is about mid-way between a Scotch Ale and a porter. In any case, fine flavor and easy to recommend.

Review slightly revised after further sampling in June & Sept. 2012; May 2013.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2012 21:24:14 | More by chinchill
Photo of RickS95
RickS95

Indiana

4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clearish brown color with some burgundy thrown in for good measure. The head is slow-forming, an off-brown color about two fingers thick, with great retention.

Very, very malt forward. The malt backbone overwhelms everything else. Scent is similar to cola so there's a caramel element as well. There is something else, kind of smoky.

It's really good. I don't typically care for malt bombs, but this has a balance taste. The malt is still dominant, though the caramel teams up with it, but the hops finally make an appearance to bring that balance.

Very creamy in the mouth. Only slightly sweet, not close to cloying, with a bit of bitter and smoke near the finish for balance. Great lacing, by the way.

Much better than I expected. It smelled like I expected, but I was blown away by the balance in the taste and feel, and that's what put it over the top for me.

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2012 02:08:22 | More by RickS95
Photo of tronester
tronester

Oklahoma

4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a dark chestnut color, with a thin tan head. smell is a bit of toasted grain. taste is rich velvety caramel malt, followed by a rich peaty smoke flavor. mouthfeel is smooth. carbonation is a bit high, but nothing crazy. overall a great beer, I will be getting this again.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2012 01:16:17 | More by tronester
Photo of RudeElf
RudeElf

Pennsylvania

3.43/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a chalice. Tan head repidly dissipated. Overall, a garnet brown color, slightly opaque. Smells of malt with a hint of underlying sourness on the nose. Tastes malty and smokey. A bit thin on the mouthfeel Fine carbonation. Smokey aftertaste lingers for several minutes.

Overall, not a bad porter. Typically I like my porter a bit smoother with more body and a little less smoke.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2012 05:29:08 | More by RudeElf
Photo of BuckeyeSlim
BuckeyeSlim

Ohio

3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a New Belgium snifter

A - Deep, dark brown and solidly opaque, with a one-finger head of khaki tan brown, tight foam that quickly becomes a thin haze on the surface that lingers during the entire glass. Held to a strong, natural light, the edges of the bottom of the glass display just a trace of deep ruby red.

S - 50% dark chocolate, dark caramel, roasted malts, cocoa with a few marshmallows, all softly wrapped in a soft peaty envelope.

T - Dark chocolate/thick dark caramel with hints of smoke woven throughout. Moderately-burnt toast. Like a dark semi-sweet chocolate Dove bar with chocolate caramel ice cream. What hops are present are very much in the background and there to balance the chocolate, not compete with it.

M - Fundamental creaminess includes enough carbonation to cut through and clean the palate. On the thin side, in the traditional English porter style, but definitely not watery. Good, balanced structure. Not much of finish, although chocolates linger.

O - A bit of smokiness, dark caramels, and some bass in the chocolate dress up the standard English porter quite nicely. No confusing this with a stout, it's been pulled in a different direction. Probably a bit too focused on the chocolate to drink several, but it would pair exceptionally well with anything complemented by chocolate, such as vanilla ice cream or raspberries. Requires a fuller cigar with a dark but mellow wrapper. It should be noted that the "Scotch" has been dropped from the label, but "Porter" is printed on a tartan background. Recommended for non-hop-heads looking for more from a porter but not the burnt bitterness of a stout.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2012 01:57:46 | More by BuckeyeSlim
Photo of 57md
57md

Pennsylvania

3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours brown in color with little head. Nose is definitely roasty, but it is not super impressive. This a a solid classic porter - roasted malt upfront with a bitter malt finish. This is a respectable effort and the yield is a solid session porter even if the abv is a bit high for those purposes.

For me, it is certainly a positive bonus that this offering is proudly union made by brothers and sisters in the IAM.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2012 04:48:23 | More by 57md
Photo of StonedTrippin
StonedTrippin

Colorado

4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

excellent excellent porter. pours chocolate syrup brown with a tall lace head. smells peaty, like a nice scotch, a bit smokey, and full of deep roasted chocolatey malts. flavor is complex as the peat notes really come through. gentle coffee bitterness creeps in at the end to round everything off. feel is nice, full bodied and properly carbonated. this is easily my favorite mad river brew ive had, and one of the better porters ive enjoyed this winter. really nice beer

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2012 16:02:50 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of tdm168
tdm168

North Carolina

3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, dark brown with a mountain of thick, dense, foamy, brown head that has great retention. The nose offers notes of soft, roasted malts and faint coffee. There is also a faint musty smell that is natural to English beers. The taste is rich and malty with notes of dark, roasted malt and faint coffee. There are some very faint hops in the finish that add balance and a mild bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth with the perfect amount of carbonation.

This is a very enjoyable, smooth, easy drinking porter. I would have this again.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2012 01:05:55 | More by tdm168
Photo of VelvetExtract
VelvetExtract

Massachusetts

3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- This be a pretty Porter. Thin frothy khaki head. Head, while diminutive in stature, retains well and leaves curtains of lace. When held up to the light I can see through it but only very slightly, not because its opaque, just because its quite dark.

S-Nose is sturdy to say the least. Chocolate, coffee, smoke and even some nuttiness. Smoke is definitely the most prominent feature in the nose. Much of the traditional Porter aroma is there as well (coffee/chocolate).

T-Nose and taste are similar. Smoke rules but is not overbearing. More chocolate and coffee appear as they should. I normally am not very enamored by a smoked element in my beer, but here I find it to be quite pleasant. Molasses dances around after ever sip too.

M-Medium body. Carbonation is fairly prickly. A bit dry but has a nice smoothness that lingers after each sip.

O/D-Super-deal ($4.99 a six-pack) makes this a ridiculous deal. I enjoyed this more than their DIPA. Smoke is set to an elegant tune. A solid, sturdy, brawny porter.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2011 06:30:10 | More by VelvetExtract
Photo of mactrail
mactrail

California

3.2/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sweet and smokey. Dark brown in the pint glass. Very grainy with tastes of oatmeal and buckwheat. Smoke pretty well gets in the way but it's not a bad smoke. Campfire and charred wood rather than peat. Malt gives some rich, slightly sweet flavors. Light mouthfeel. Something of a dishwater aftertaste. Not particularly pleasant for drinkability.

On tap at The Linkery on 30th for San Diego Beer Week.

Serving type: on-tap

12-01-2011 06:51:06 | More by mactrail
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky dark brown with a 1 inch puffy tan head that settles to a thin film. Foamy chunks of lace form on the glass on the drink down. However, there is a sludge-like substance that sinks to the bottom of the glass after the pour. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, and coffee. Taste is the same as the smell with a emphasis on roasty flavors - especially with the malt and coffee. A very mild roasty bitterness quickly fades after each sip. This beer has a high level of carbonation with a very crisp mouthfeel. A bit too much carbonation for the style in my opinion. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but nothing really stands out for me.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2011 03:38:04 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of CaptDavyJones
CaptDavyJones

New York

4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a really dark brown color from a 12 oz bottle. Almost pitch black once it is in the glass, and a lot of visible sediment floating around the edges till it finally settles.
One finger tan head that dissipates very quickly.
Aroma is high on chocolate, malt (more like chocolate malt balls) with hints of roasted coffee.
Taste upfront is slightly sweet, with the sweetness slowly consumed by a hint of bitterness in the finish. Surprisingly inspite of the bitterness, the finish is a nice lingering sweetness.
This is a very delicious porter. Medium bodied and easy to drink.
Definitely worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2011 03:36:16 | More by CaptDavyJones
Photo of Murrhey
Murrhey

Montana

4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottle poured into a Pilsner glass

A: Very thin, tan watery head. Half a finger width and zero retention rate. Deep chocolate dark, moderate lacing. Weird little floating bits?

S: Roasted malt, coffee overtones. Some sweetness in there as well.

T: Coffee and chocolate flavoring. Smooth and tasty. Would go great with chocolate.

M: Wonderful, smooth all the way.

O: Nice Porter, despite the poor head and retention. Mouthfeel and taste are top notch.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2011 03:41:50 | More by Murrhey
Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan
BerkeleyBeerMan

California

4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark ruddy reddish brown. with a creamy finger thin cream head. Deep full appearance with a total opacity. I have never seen a beer with so mysterious an appearance. I really love the interlaced red and brown.

Smell is of dark fruits, roasted caramel smoke and tobacco. Mildly yeasty and some esters.

Taste is malty and sour. Big roasted flavors and a light hop backing. Coffee and milk chocolate. Dark fruits, cherry and dates.

Mouthfeel is chewy and heavy. Finishes slightly dry and sour This is a beer to drink at a casual pace.

I enjoyed this beer and would drink it again. A wonderful porter. Enjoy with food or on its own.

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2011 06:55:06 | More by BerkeleyBeerMan
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Steelhead Scotch Porter from Mad River Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 294 ratings.