Steelhead Scotch Porter - Mad River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Steelhead Scotch PorterSteelhead Scotch Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

327 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 327
Reviews: 228
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 9.97%
Wants: 13
Gots: 15 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 327 | Reviews: 228
Photo of JISurfer
4.23/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

Photo of oelergud
4.23/5  rDev +8.2%
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

Photo of cswhitehorse
4.21/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

Photo of Jredner
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

Photo of WYVYRN527
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up from 99 Bottles Federal Way, WA

A: Poured a nice deep brown with good carbonation and a nice tannish head

S: Peat, roasted malts, chcolate

T: Sweet and dry at the same time with a very big peat presence from beginning to end. Chcolate notes and roasted malt

M: Nice, creamy, medium bodies, light booze

D: Very good

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.19/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep, dark appearance, near black, with clear crimson at the bottom. Nice brown head dissolves in a trice.
Aroma is rich and vibrant, roasted and toasted, a thick malty thing. Molasses and carob, bittersweet coffee and a twist of anise. Dark, but lively.
Thick, full feel on the mouth, stygian in character, a black morass that edges into deliciousness.
Smooth and downright downable, with a sticky, lasting, lingering finish. Full-bodied.
A very smart brew that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Were this readily available in my environs, I'd pick it up with regularity.

(cheers to Chaz!)

Photo of Todd
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

Photo of abents
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

Photo of lackenhauser
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

Photo of NCBeernut
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Khaki 2 finger bubbly head falls in a few minutes leaving a tan coating over the seemingly black to dark brown brew. A bright light will reveal its dark brownish red color, with plenty of suspended sediment.

S: Butterscotch, a touch of smoke, slight hints of cocoa that shy away. Still maintains a roasted quality that you would expect from a porter.

T&M: Same elements as the smell. Roastiness comes out more, and lingers in aftertaste. Smoke come forward as well. Butterscotch is still there at about the same level, but it blends in with the other flavors that have come forward. A very earthy quality where a subtle touch of hops contributes. A little bitterness, but just the right amount to lend some balance. Definitely a malty showcase. Very good. Mouthfeel is slick and bubbly. Extra points for uniqueness.

Photo of atigerlife
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very dark with a small brown head that dissipated rather quickly. Some floaters in the beer...not sure what to make of that.

Aroma is chocolate, roasted malts, sweet and some smokiness.

Taste is chocolate, sweet, light smoke. Reminds me of a chocolate milk shake.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and cleansing.

Overall, a very good beer. Not a typical porter, but very interesting. Very drinkable. Definitely worth a try.

Photo of avalon07
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a mahogany color and a thick, cloudy texture. There was a half inch of foamy, off white, fairly long-lasting head. Pretty good lacing.

S: A very nice aroma of chocolate, coffee, malt, and possibly a nuttiness.

T: You get a big dose of chocolate, along with hints of coffee and roasted malt. A well balanced flavor.

M: A nicely carbonated beer with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

D: A very drinkable version of an English porter.

Photo of david131
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- A very dark brown beer with a little bit of ruby hues around on the edges. The head is thin, off white and splotchy.

S- Some chocolate and peat. A little bit of of smokiness and vanilla in there.

T- Same as the aroma, but surprisingly mild. This beer looks like it is going to have a lot more of a bang to it. I am actually enjoying that.

M- Very smooth with a good carbonation level. Excellent.

D- I wasn't really sure about the idea of drinking a scotch porter, but I am really surprised here. A very drinkable beer with a lot of flavor for the ABV.

Photo of tronester
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

Photo of droomyster
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a black body with a small tan head that quickly dissipates. Delicious aromas are big on roastiness, molasses and drying whiskey barrels. The flavor are as intense as they are harmonious. I get some coffee bitterness right up front before sweet flavors like tootsie roll and burnt sugar rush into the mid-palate, before a long and pleasant Irish coffee bitterness. Hefty body is appropriate to the intensity of such dark flavors. I love this beer!

Photo of bboven
4.16/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Dark brown body that's difficult to see through, no head until you give it a swirl, and then there's a tiny bit of lacing, but looks very flat.

Smell seems much bigger than the ABV would suggest. Chocolate, dark fruit, and slight booziness dominate just like they should, but much bolder and richer than a lot in the style. Great!

Same with the flavor. Lots of chocolate, a little cherry, and slight hot alcohol are the biggest players here. Much bigger flavor than I expected.

Nice chewy mouthfeel, but significantly under-carbonated.

A great beer. The only thing it lacks is carbonation and a decent head. Other than that, highly recommended.

Photo of Golden2wenty1
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bargain-bin single at Riley's here in Madison. Couldn't hurt for a $1.19.

Pours oily black with a finger or two of rocky khaki head that fades to a skim. Nose is rich and earthy with smokey peat, oaky vanilla and roasted espresso malt. Taste follows with the dark, earthy notes, caramel malts, espresso, and chocolate and a solid bourbon kick in the finish. Definitely some wee heavy in this American porter. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. A tasty little bargain-bin surprise here, glad I took the chance.

Photo of ppoitras
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle purchased as part of a 6-pack from Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/4" tan head over the slightly cloudy reddish brown brew. Head holds well, with average lacing. Aroma is peat, dark grains, touch of fruit. Taste mirrors the nose, without the fruit, but with a clean, lightly hoppy close. Mouthfeel is extra smooth, and drinkability is so easy. Nice brew.

Photo of riversider76
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours brown with a creamy tan head that gives way to a nice laceing. Aroma is of carmel malts,and maybe some roasted coffee. Body is lighter than I expected with some carbonation. Taste is a great mix of carmel,brown sugar,coffe and hints of butterscotch.Excellent!

Photo of Zekezilla
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a 6 pack on a whim. Porters and stouts are probably one of my favorite types of beer so I'm always looking to try new ones. Appearance: completely black, with moderate lacing. Smell: wood, chicory maybe? Taste: Wood, smoke, chocolate. Mouthfeel: very light carbonation, nice warmth to it. I couldn't have more than one of these at a time. Not because it's not an excellent beer but the complexity, warmth and chewiness is not something that I would want in excess. Excellent desert beer or an excellent choice with cheese.

Photo of germaniac
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a deep, dark brown. Almost looks black, but chestnut highlights are able to force their way through the depths. Head is volcanic, topping my beer with a foaming, fizzing maelstrom.

The aroma is mainly of semi-sweet chocolate, with a nice roasted malt warmth and a slight hoppiness.

Tastes of roasted, smoky malt, with a hop bite following close behind. The chocolate is there, too, working nicely with the overall smokiness this brew imparts.

Carbonation levels are just about perfect, and a silky smooth finish tops everything off. I would almost call this a "session" beer if the alcohol content was a little lower. Definitely worth seeking out.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fuliginous mahogany with a beautiful, bright ruby border. The golden ecru cap has a texture that promotes persistence and a stickiness than promotes lacing. Thick rings of foam are slathered on the glass as if by a butter knife. A great look.

The nose is dominated by chocolate. Next in line are roasted barley, a wee whiff of citric hops and a tendril or two of smoke. No coffee, no molasses, no peat.

The flavor profile is a three-headed Hydra whose heads are named chocolate, coffee beans and grapefruity hops. Let's throw dark caramel in there as well. Smoke is nowhere to be found until the finish, when a mild char becomes evident.

The wonderful flavor is complemented by a perfect amount of sweetness and bitterness, both individually and relative to one another. The long, borderline lingering, finish would easily achieve lingering if the body was bigger and tad more viscous. It's big enough for a porter, but bigger yet would be great.

Mad River Steelhead Scotch Porter is designated as a smoked beer (note: since changed to an American Porter). Prior to popping the cap, I wondered whether it would be more Scotch ale, porter or smoked beer. Conclusion: it's a porter and a damn good one. It's bursting with flavor and is more complex than most. Recommended.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance has ruby highlights when held to the light but normal presentation is dark cola brownish black, forms a large tan head leaving behind scattered strands of thin lacing. Aroma has upfront smoked peated malt with other specialty roasty malts bringing out some chocolate and toffee sweetness, a touch of anise seed while the finish contains herbal hops that are not as aggressive as some west coast hopped porters. Flavor contains creamy dark chocolate waves with a balancing flow of grassy herbal hops coming through touch of roasted marshmellow and English toffee candy the subtle smokey nutty edge causes a dryness after each sip. Mouthfeel is velvety smooth creamy texture flows on the palate yet the body is medium rather than other more robust porters carbonation level is dead on really even not too much or not enough. Drinkability is great a wonderful complex variation of the American porter that is so interesting and flavorful will definitely keep you hunched over with your nose in the glass, good beer here.

Steelhead Scotch Porter from Mad River Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 327 ratings.