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Steelhead Scotch Porter - Mad River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Steelhead Scotch PorterSteelhead Scotch Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

227 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 227
Hads: 327
Avg: 3.93
pDev: 9.92%
Wants: 13
Gots: 18 | FT: 0
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:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 01-23-2001

This traditionally styled Porter has complex malt characteristics balanced with a mild hop profile. Scottish smoked and peated malts lend added complexity and a mild smokey flavor.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 227 | Hads: 327
Photo of JahNoth
4.53/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very deep garnet wih a fluffy, off-white head. Pronounced toffee nose with slight smoke. Bitter chocolate flavor with raisin and cherries. Slightly smoked malt with a mild hop balance. Finishes bitter. A real nice porter and a great find for the Rochester area!

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Photo of horshack7
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown with mahogany hues around the edges. The head is about one finger thick that leaves a little lacing behind.

Aroma: Wow this one has a huge dark roasted malt aroma. Hints of burnt sugar and pumpernickel. A little bit of a dark roasted hop in the background. The malt scents conquer this porter. Lots of coffee and hints of carob round it out so very very well.

Taste: Light carbonation upon the first sip then it smooths out to a bit of a butery texture. Big dark roasted coffee notes. A wonderfuly malty backbone that is almost as sweet as a scotch ale.

Notes: What a great english porter perfect for a cold night. Cheers.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Almost black in color. Thick, dense light brown head. Retention is solid. Lacing is full and comes in rings and patches. Aroma is burnt malt, tar, smoked salmon and roasted malts. Flavor profile offers smoke, bittersweet chocolate, char, burnt malts and tobacco. It's not just a total onslaught (like say Alpha Klaus, which was in a good way) but the flavors are fairly pronounced. This is really enjoyable. The body is damn near full and the mouthfeel smooth, creamy and enjoyable.

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Photo of PatrickJR
4.49/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Dark brown, but mostly clear. Garnet highlights on the edges. 2-3 fingers of light brown head rise. Short to moderate retention with minimal lacing.

S - Great stuff. Huge milk chocolate backed by a modest sour fruit smell; sour cherries and overripe dark fruits come to mind. A smidge of brown sugar is hiding and a good deal of wood/smoke is present on the back end. Pretty straightforward, but robust and impressive.

T - This stuff is as close to chocolate milk as a beer can come. Is there lactose in here...? Milk chocolate abounds for most of the taste but slight sourish dark fruits kick in mid palate. While great, I do wish there was more of a sourish presence; this would get a 5 were this aspect more prominent. Late palate yeilds a bit of roasty character with a mild bitterness. Aftertaste brings out some surprisingly noticable wood characteristics.

M - Absolutely perfect for the style. This is what others should aspire to; this is the aspect that takes porters and stouts from "good" to "awesome." Smooth as silk, but with a body big enough to keep it sticking to the palate. On the light side of full bodied with a very low carbonation.

D - I picked this beer out of the fridge as sweetish nightcap expecting something medicore, but boy was I wrong! An exceptional porter. Goes down the gullet like no other, and a marvelous accent on the sweeter end of the spectrum with a great accent of smoke and wood character. A sixer or three is definitely in the cards.

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Photo of pmcadamis
4.48/5  rDev +14%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - This is a nice black/brown color that suits the style, and the tan head looks pretty despite it's short life. Some sticky lace is smattered around the edges of my snifter, but only in random spots. Looks pretty good, but not outstanding.

S - Oh shit. Dark chocolate, charcoal, campfire, wet ash, cigar smoke, dark chocolate coated coffee beans, birch bark, cigarettes, and a vague hint of sweet Count Chocula marshmallow cereal. Ridiculous!

T - The flavors "follow the nose!" To quote Toucan Sam. Cigar smoke, woody campfires, wet firewood outside of an old cabin, gentle hints of sushi with soy sauce, and "musty (but pleasant) old house" notes if that makes any sense.

M- Medium bodied, but honestly on the light side for such a heavy hitting brew in the flavor department.

D - Killer. This is a well made porter that will stand the tests of time. I've never heard of the brewery, but I will seek out more of their brews if I can find them, and I would buy this stuff again in a heatbeat.

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Photo of ckollias
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this 12oz bottle out of a large snifter glass.

A: Dark black with mild amber highlights and a thick dark brown 2-finger head after a violent pour that sticks around for awhile and dissipates and leaves a wispy lace. Leaves a gorgeous trail all the way down the glass.

S: Smokey roasted malts fill the nostrils with my first whiff. Nice chocolate and hoppy background aroma.

T: Similar to the smell the smokey roasted malts dominate this porter. Great chocolate and coffee overtones, with a solid malt background. Smooth and a little bitter.

M: Medium body and carbonation

O: Awesome porter! Scotch porter? - This is a smoked porter if I ever had one. No matter what you call it I like it! This was my first beer from mad river brewing co – but I will trying more!

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Photo of Braudog
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Nice and dark midnight crimson color with a thin but volcanic tan head. My first impression of the aroma was almost hoppy; the more I smell, I get more roasty java, but that floral hoppieness remains. Interesting. What a nice blend of flavors here ... lightly smoky and roasted malt to be sure, but there’s also additional aspects of lightly citric hoppiness, bitter nuttiness and even a little bitter chocolate. Outstanding porter. (#2753, 3/16/2007)

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Photo of Jason
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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: Very black with ruby trim, a wonderful tan varied bubbly sized lace that leaves a dusting trail even to the finish.

Smell: Mix of roasted malts, subtle hop and a mild charcoal like smokiness in the aroma. Peated malt and crystal malt give a smoked caramel impression.

Taste: Fullish body of a semi chewy malt mouth feel, kicks quick into the robust roasted grain flavour of espresso and mildly smoky charcoal (earthy). Hints of peat smoked malt enhance the roasted character, hops are a touch oily with a restrained yet pungent bitterness that somewhat hide behind the malt. As the beer warms up to cellar temperature the sweet alcohol mingles and gives a ghost impression of licorice and evergreen. Caramel hits middle to finish though the slightly astringent roasted flavour is still dominant throughout the beer.

Notes: Huge and brave, not for the faint of heart. This is a porter that wants respect and gains more character as it reaches cellar temperature. Makes for a most excellent night cap. 6.43% abv.

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Photo of stephens101
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Near pitch-black with some faint dark brown hues. Some sediment floats in the bottom. The tan head is a full two-fingers and fades fairly quickly leaving a small stripe of lacing right above the brew. Big sweet and toasted malts float to the nose. Tastes very sweet and malty, but not cloying, only well-balanced with a subtle hop bite at the end. A little caramel, pine, sweet chocolate and burnt wood exist in the very back. Goes down smooth and creamy with a little alcohol noticed at the very end. This is a near-perfect combination with the initial sweetness complimenting all the other porter-like elements.

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Photo of Overlord
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

God damn, this is an underrated brewery. They offer sixers from 8 to 12 bucks, and I find myself going back to them time after time. This seems to be the last of their beers for me to review. Quite excited to try it.

Pours a creamy dark brown with an inch or two of brown foam. To be honest, it doesn't look much like a porter. Almost more like a brown ale ... but it's too opaque and creamy for that. Pretty unique looking.

The smell is chocolate roasted malt with a bit of smoke to it. I don't know what peat smells like: maybe that's the aroma I detect. The taste is great. Creamy, chocolatey, some coffee in there, and a woodsy smokey background that's nicely understated (an example of a beer overwhelmed by it would be the Alaska smoked porter).

Just a great offering, particularly for the price. I wonder if this is seasonal, as I don't see it very often.

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Photo of mentor
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Scotch porter? Now *this* sounds interesting. Pours a, whoa, four finger light brown head over a black liquid. Small ruby edgings when held to light. Smells chocolate, soured caramel, and soured citrus. Some black patent and a hint of woody smoke. Taste starts with smoked chocolate that's tempered by a middle milk sweet kick and finishing with a roast grain dry. Wow, what a transition. There was alot going on in that first taste that I didn't capture in words. I'd like to add west coast hops (cascade?) as a base flavor that persists through most of the beer and a nice caramel undertone that appears late and persists as an aftertaste. This caramel keeps the roasty finish from being too much and I'd say the roast turns the caramel into more of a toffee flavor. Yes, I now see chocolate as part of the aftertaste. Yum, this beer is wonderful. Mostly dark and heavy, but with a lactose or oatmeal lightness edge. Like rounding a brooding Beethoven piece with a hint of Mozart frivolousness. Md-light body, but coats the inside of the mouth. Moderate carbonation that works well with the roast. An enjoyable beer that I'm happy to recommend.

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Photo of gbontrag
4.4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Fantastic froth; produces a wonderful toasty-looking meringue. Smells strongly fruity with smoke all over. This is very black, and looks thick. No color escapes this porter. Smells again like smores. That's deelish.
Oh, there's a thick smokey bite chased by a nice bitterness. Polite, but still assertive. The fruit comes across quite sweet like ripe bing cherries. There's a full and long mouthfeel that doesn't cloy. This is sweet, rich and juicy. Very good.

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Photo of charlzm
4.4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed 11/30/08.

Pours a very deep, dark brown. Lots of little tiny bubbles rising along the sides of the glass. A two finger creamy tan head erupts then settles down into a thin skin of foam that leaves sticky lacing.

The beer smells quite tasty; a thick caramel aroma with roasted malt. Sweet as well. (Wait for it...) There's a very slight copper penny smell as well.

The consistency of the beer is unremarkable, even a little thin.

The flavor is all about roasted malt. Overroasted, even. Rich, deep and dark flavors of smoke and peat and chocolate and a hint of vanilla. Bitter on the finish like a fine coffee. Delicious.

A truly tasty porter, one of the best I've ever had.

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Photo of RootedFool
4.4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours nearly black with a blood red aura peeking out around the base. Straight-up Coke-like head. As the head falls, some chunky clots of lace hang on to the glass. Smell is of peanut brittle, coffee with heavy cream, and just a hint of prune-like sweetness through the finish. Taste: opens with a bitter jab on the tip of my tongue, like weak black coffee, and quickly gains mass as it spreads toward the back of my palate. A subtle jolt of alcohol, followed by a creamy sweetness (caramel); and closes on a crisp bitter note with the sweetness receding along the edges. And througout the taste there's a hearty base of musty smokiness. Lovely. Mouthfeel is sticky, makes me smack my tongue against the roof of my mouth, gummy, but everything else about this brew makes up for it.

I purchased a sixer at Pat's, a convienence store in Eureka, California.

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Photo of tonistruth
4.39/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- deep mahogany brew with a little off white to tan head, no lacing

S- caramel, rich toasted malts

T- sweet and rich malty flavors, caramel, toffee, subtle dried fruits, smokey malt flavors, lots of toasted malts flavors

M- full creamy body with a subtle coarseness

D- awesome scotch ale, tasty and complex, recommended

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Photo of loubar
4.39/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. bottle from BevMo. Nose of roasted malt with some chocolate and char. Taste of milk chocolate upfront, followed by a light coffee bitterness giving way to moderate peat smoke. Hint of caramel and bread in the aftertaste. Excellent flavor and balance. Goes down very easy. A great example of a classic English porter.

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Photo of david23
4.38/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just goes to show you that seasons don't mean a thing when it comes to just having a good beer and believe me this is one.Having one right now as I write this.Looks great in the glass with a nice tannish head and a dark body. Aroma is chocolate, caramel and a woodsy smokiness.Seems to me they managed to get the carbonation right on this as I experience no fizziness on my tongue.As for the flavor, caramel, chocolate smokey perhaps a little peat and as it warms just a hint of hoppines that melds perfectly. All in all, go for it because this is just one fine brew!!

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Photo of rkuhnel
4.38/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This was from a 12 oz bottle. Bottle. Wow! A local brew that is really, really good. This is how a porter should be....like 100,000 mile crankcase oil. Poured a deep ruby that was nearly black, with a big tan head and great lacing. Aroma is smoky with a flavor of caramel, molasses, brown sugar, hops and wood, with chocolate and coffee overtones. Feels great in the mouth, and was good to the very last drop. A remarkable brew and too bad for porter lovers everywhere this does not get more distribution. Not sure why they call this a "Scotch" porter so I guess I will have to call and ask.

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Photo of alexgash
4.38/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark, blackish, and cloudy with sediment. Medium-big, fluffy, brown head.
Peaty, smoky aromas; charred cedar logs, a touch of dark coffee, all underlaid by sweet, roasty malts.
Tastes much like it smells. Smoky elements stand out (yum), with whiskey and fruit also coming through. Roasty-sweet throughout with bitter dark chocolate into the finish. Finish is bitter (but not terribly) and earthy, with some lingering fruity malt. Big bodied; somewhat creamy feel. Delicious.

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Photo of dsa7783
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A hefty pour yielded a pitch-black, ebony hue with a creamy and frothy tan head...
Smell: Thick aroma of dark-chocolates and strong lattes...
Taste: Robust, creamy flavor... Roasted malts, mocha, espresso... Rich chocolate... I like this stuff...
Creamy, rich, thick mouthfeel...
Easily drinkable too...
Great stuff...

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Photo of Kemmerlin
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark as night. You hold this beer to the light and the light is gone. But at the edges it is dark brown and absolutely gorgous.

S: The is a strong and intising smell of allspice with oatmeal and other strong malts in the aromas.

T: Smoky taste with oatmeal and other malts in the front but not much bittering agents.

M: Strong in the beginning but has a huge after washing effect that brings on some serious taste.

D: I would drink it again but not many at one time.

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Photo of jazzflap
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation:12 oz short bottle
Appearance:very dark brown with a dark tan head that doesnt last too long
Smell: roasty chocolate sweet toffee and a little coffee

Taste: very roasty, some sweetness and chocolate with a little underlying alcohol. a great full bodied porter almost reminds of some oatmeal stouts. very good at room temperature.
Notes: another solid beer from mad river.
Serving type: bottle

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Photo of flexabull
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I think this is an excellent porter. Not really at all like a normal american porter more like a british style porter This isn't overly dark in color... more of a lighter brown color. The main flavor is much more malty than hoppy and It has a smokey like finish to it that is quite subtle and nice.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
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

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Photo of TheSixthRing
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

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Steelhead Scotch Porter from Mad River Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 227 ratings.