1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Steelhead Scotch Porter - Mad River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Steelhead Scotch PorterSteelhead Scotch Porter

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

315 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 315
Reviews: 226
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 10.2%
Wants: 14
Gots: 9 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 01-23-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Steelhead Scotch Porter Alström Bros
Ratings: 315 | Reviews: 226 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Beermasterjarrett
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Beermasterjarrett, Feb 24, 2014
Photo of barleyroad
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

DARK in appearance, nice brown, nice carmel foam. Smell is complex, smoke, coffee and malty. Mouthfeel is nice in and out with some malty aftertaste, not bad. Taste has a well balance of flavors. This is a good scotchish beer you can almost taste a hint of peat. This is going in my bq sause. Overall this has its place in the fridge.

barleyroad, Oct 13, 2011
Photo of twelvsies
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoying this beer with some Sunday football and leftover ribs from Redbones. Quite the combo. At first pour this beer is very impressive - attractive dark brown hue with reddish highlights. Most impressive is the head retention - five or ten minutes after the pour I still have a perfect one finger's worth of creamy tan head resting peacefully on the beer. Aroma is full of malt, with some earth and a subtle peat smoke, contributing the "scotch" aspect of this porter. Nutty and spicy notes come through in the flavor supporting the big malty profile. Just a touch of herbal, spicy hops mixes well with the light smoke. Lots of subtle complexities here combining in a simple way to make a really flavorful yet easy drinking beer. Smooth an robust feel. Really a big fan of this one. Cheers!

twelvsies, Sep 27, 2009
Photo of jlindros
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A friend of mine tipped me onto Mad River beers. I've only tried the Extra Pale so far, so here comes the Scotch style porter.

A: Very dark pure molasses brown color with barely light escaping through its bounds. A decent 1 finger frothy head speaks to me in bubble tongue. It fades eventually to a light head covering. The more I stare at the dark brown color the more it turns black and super dark.

N: The nose is pretty much what you would expect for a scotch ale crossed with porter. Lots of sweet smoked malt and porter aromas, blended with smoked malt, brown sugar, and even some dark fruits. A slight creamy malt aroma as well. Heavy aroma that hits pretty hard. A really good nose. I hope it tastes just like it. A

T: Starts closer to a scotch ale, with some caramelized brown sugar, lots of smoked malts, sweet malt and roasted flavors, dark dried fruits, creamy almost chocolate like malt flavors. Its semi sweet, but not very. The smoked malt comes out pretty well, as well as the roasted malts, a slight chocolate, and dark fruits, all blended well together. Its got a really nice flavor and smooth.

M: Pretty creamy and smooth, slight carbonation.

F: Finishes slightly sweet, and pretty creamy like chocolate milk. A slight earthy flavor comes from stout like roasted malts and smoked malts that linger for a short while, then dry off and finish pretty clean. A slight bitterness hits with a slight charred malts and perhaps a little hops. A very slight spice that probably also comes from some light hop presence.

Final thoughts: A very nice and drinkable porter scotch ale blend. Its got a nice blend of smoked malts, roasted malts, chocolate, dark fruits, and creamy flavors. I almost expected more coffee flavor, but otherwise its really nice and drinkable beer, with a great creamy mouth feel.

jlindros, Nov 13, 2009
Photo of siddhartha
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

siddhartha, Oct 20, 2012
Photo of Danny1217
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Danny1217, May 16, 2012
Photo of hopmashian
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

hopmashian, Apr 23, 2012
Photo of HollyHops
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

HollyHops, Apr 30, 2012
Photo of Vylo
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Vylo, Apr 23, 2012
Photo of JISurfer
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oh yeah! This is one badass brew! It's a Scotch Porter, yet it resembles an Imperial/Old Ale in smell and taste. It's a very dark amber, almost black, with a dark tan head to it. It had a smokey smell to it, mixed with chocolate and subtle fruits. It was creamy and coated the mouth very well, as well as the throat. The taste was very nice too. It had the same properties as the smell, but much more intense, especially on the chocolate maltiness. I guess if this were a candy, it would be an alcoholic malted milk ball. This is the first Steelhead that I have ever had, and if they are all great like this one, it won't be the last.

JISurfer, Oct 30, 2003
Photo of oelergud
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stubby dark brown glass bottle, probably 12oz. Twist-off steel gray cap and the usual jumping trout on the cover.
Opaque mahogany body with a large airy tan head consisting of a creamy outer ring and a much less dense center. The retention is quite good with clumpy lace.
Nut, earth, smoke, peat and really dark bread make up the smell. Warm and inviting with just a kick of spice.
Smokey pine with some mildly subdued malts and enough peat to make your mouth water. The aftertaste is fairly short but great, smoke, peat and spiced hops mingled well together. Nice and complex.
Medium body with a grainy texture and a dry finish. Just abit of coating.
Very drinkable. Warm and pleasant.

-Oelergud

oelergud, Feb 03, 2008
Photo of DMc8ride
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

DMc8ride, Sep 02, 2013
Photo of Erice78
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Erice78, Aug 16, 2013
Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

TheBeerAlmanac, Apr 29, 2013
Photo of RS3Sport
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

RS3Sport, Jun 03, 2012
Photo of cswhitehorse
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Steelhead scotch pours a dark brown/black color with a solid 2 finger foam head with some good retention. It has some good circular sudsy lacing.

The aroma is chocolately and deep roasted malts. The flavor is deep and complex. You can taste a scotch barrel wood in there. Along with chocolate. It was smooth and chewy in the mouth. Overall a wicked solid porter.

cswhitehorse, Apr 06, 2008
Photo of oriolesfan4
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice dark mahogany color, nice big head that dissipates and a small amount of lacing to this one. Nice roasted malt aroma to this beer.. I love that smell. Taste is nice and creamy with a nice mouthfeel, nice smokey flavor overall to the beer. Seems very well balanced with finishes nice and smooth.. nothing really off here. I actually thought it could have used a tad more flavor or the smokiness.. I know it might be too much for some people but I just think it adds a cool flavor profile to a beer.. anywho, solid beer.. wish they distributed to CT tho!

oriolesfan4, Jul 13, 2009
Photo of Cylinsier
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.

Cylinsier, Dec 31, 2013
Photo of oberon
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a nice rich looking deep brown with nice fluffy light brown head,smell was sweet and caramelly.I got the taste of roasted nuts and some light chocolate tones.Real liked the body of this one,pretty rich and velvety.First so-called"scotch porter" I think I have had,real nice.

oberon, May 12, 2003
Photo of Todd
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz short brown bottle. No freshness date.

Hmm ... a "Scotch Porter." Let's see what we've got here:

A meaty looking beer. Brown, but it's so dark it's nearly black, topped with a creamy coffee coloured head with unfiltered chunks dancing beneath it. A sticky and awesome level of head retention this beer has. Citric, smokey, woody with aromas of freshly milled malt.

Hell yeah! Big, smooth, chewy, malty mouthfeel. Initial flavours range from coffee, caramel, toffee, molasses, distinct and standout-ish peat/smoke character, plenty of dry chocolate, wood, earth and notes of black currant and purple grapes. This complex burst on the palate is immediately followed by a bitter splash of sharp citrus, a moderate amount of hop spice, salt, leaf flavours and notes of grass that cut through the hearty malts, providing balance and all of that stuff. Smoke remains after the hop fire, and lingers into, through and after the finish with notes of grain that dry the palate to the bone. Smoke gets amplified as the beer warms.

Boo-yah! I'd rename this beer to "Smoked Porter," but that's just me. Regardless, this is a very interesting beer, and I like their approach at brewing a more traditional Porter (whatever that means these days). Oddly complex. Tasty. Intriguing. I want more.

Todd, Jul 10, 2003
Photo of Jredner
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rich chocolate aroma along with a slight smokiness and lots of sweet dark fruit notes that I find quite appealing. A black body supports a thumb thick tan head that fades quickly. Fore is smooth and chocolatey with a hint of vanilla, dried cherries and caramel. The flavor is very nice, subtle in intensity, but with good range.

Jredner, Mar 05, 2006
Photo of abents
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark brown pour with dark tan head. Laces glass, but fades quickly

Smell: Roasted malts dominates with slight hint of carmel or some sweetness to it.

Taste: Here we go... Wow, good roasted maltiness initially. Also has notes of bitter chocolate and carmel. Followed with citrus hops for a second then quickly masked by a smoky feeling that lingers in the mouth. Very comforting beer.

Mouthfeel: Smooth but full taste that sticks in the mouth and lets you taste it for hours.

Drinkability: Very nice porter, smooth and smoky, but easy flowing could drink this a while. Good job.

This is my first brew from mad river and I will definitly be trying their stout next. Great beer.

abents, Mar 07, 2004
Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan
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.

BerkeleyBeerMan, Oct 19, 2011
Photo of lackenhauser
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep, ruby brown color. Great head that leaves some great lacing. Low aroma-very slight smokiness to it and somewhat metallic. Great flavor. Nice,mellow roasted graininess to it. Some caramel and smoke notes. Very malty. Trace of lingering bitterness. Good full mouthfeel. Very, very drinkable beer. I am almost gulping it down to enjoy it. Well worth trying on a regular basis.

lackenhauser, Nov 06, 2006
Photo of WYVYRN527
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours very dark brown, almost opaque, with an inch-thick creamy head that slowly settles. Lacing is excellent.

S: Smell is slighlty smoky with hints of chocolate, caramel and toast. Hops are non-present in the aroma.

T: Very rich flavor. Slightly smoky and earthy, with hints of chocolate, caramel, coffee, and some spice. Licorice notes, along with some dried fruit notes linger in the backround. The finish is sweet, smoky, and as long as the finish of a single malt whisky.

M: Full bodied and full of flavor. This beer attacks the palate and then comes back for another round.

D: Possibly the best campfire beer. A style of it's own, Mad River has impressed me once again. Even at 6% ABV, this porter is one that you want more and more of.

WYVYRN527, Nov 11, 2009
Steelhead Scotch Porter from Mad River Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 315 ratings.