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 jsh420
2.3/5  rDev -41.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

pours dark brown with tons of floaties - 1 finger head that left some spotted lacing

smells like a brown - roasted and caramel malts

taste - wow there is an off flavor in this - and it is very medicinal which i think might be the hops???

mouthfeel is thin and i mean watery thin plus the kicker its over carbonated

overall - a complete mess but glad i only grabbed a single

Photo of tigg924
2.7/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: 1/4 inch head, dark brown in color, cloudy, sediment

Smell: peat, toasted malt, alcohol, and chocolate

Taste: peat, toasted malt, alcohol, chocolate, and a small bit of coffee

Mouthfeel: low carbonation, moderate body, semi-sweet

Drinkability: Not a favorite. It seems as though the alcohol really overpowers the good malty taste. This seems like two different beers and the flavors do not combine. I will pass in the future.

Photo of biglite351
2.75/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - a good bit of light coming through, tight head bit no lacing.

S - very light. Mild porter crossed with a bock.

T - average porter taste plus something mild that I didn't care for.

M - medium coating with a light tingle on the tip of the tongue.

D - not for me.

Photo of beernut7
2.78/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This is one of the most harsh porters i have ever had. The sweetness of the scotch malts was offensive at best. This one is coming off the shelves.

Photo of oregonskibum
2.91/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Pours a realy dark to the point of being black except for a touch of amber along the edges. Nice 1/2 inch tan head that faded to a thin ring along the edge of the glass fairly quickly.

S: Lots of caramel and molasses flavors, some roasted coffee and smokey notes as well.

T: Kind of a confused, slightly sweet mess. Smoke comes through more promimently on the taste. Starts a little sweet with molasses, maple and a little chocolate. Finish is slightly bitter.

M: Medium body with high carbonation. Appropriate for a porter, but a little light bodied for the sweetness.

D: This tasted a little like a porter and a scotch ale that were blended after brewing rather than being made as a Scotch Porter. It was drinkable, but not the most enjoyable brew.

Photo of AltBock
2.95/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. undated stubby bottle that has a drawing of a Steelhead Trout jumping out of a CA stream. If this fish doesn't watch themselves, they're going to jump into a mouth of a bear. To the right of the picture is the barcode and US Government warning. To the left is the refund values and a brief paragraph that talks about the brewery.

When poured into a Heavy Seas Euro style pint glass, this Steelhead is a heavly carbonated dark mahogany brown with some cranberry red highlights along the sides. The head of foam on this beer was 3/4 of an inch in height and was a light tan color. It was decent, but this head of foam quickly dissipated away into a handful of tan rings along the edge. No skim of foam, no lace, it just left behind tan rings.

The aroma to this beer was definitely a Porter aroma with a gentle touch of Scotch in it. The aroma was dark and roasted with roasted malts, roasted nuts, a splash of dark chocolate, and a light whiff of smoke at the finish.

The taste had a touch more Scotch characteristics in it, but they were still kept down to a minimum. The taste was lightly roasted with watered down bitter dark chocolate, roasted coffee beans, roasted malts, biteer roasted citrus hops, and a tiny hint of smoke at the end. To me it would have been better if they would have increased the roasted aspect of the flavors and not water down the dark chocolate. It wasn't all that bad, it was just average.

This Porter was more light bodied than anything and featured a soft and gentle aftertaste of roasted malts, roasted coffee beans, and a hint of bitter roasted hops.

I'm on the fence with this one. I could go either way when it comes to this beer. I like how they added a small hint smokyness to this beer, but when compared to other average Porters out there, I really couldn't care less about this one. In other words, one is more than enough for me.

Photo of karengarys
3.08/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

pours dark and clear leaving a small head. I left the yeast in the bottle.

Taste is hoppy and alcoholic, but unfortunately somewhat like hairspray.

Mouthfeel fairly coarse but good

Finish is a lot like rubbing alcohol, but it doesn’t leave an after taste

Drinkable I guess at least if another were poured I would consume it.

Photo of jonziefle
3.11/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Poured a very dark brown with a one finger khaki head. Decent head that reduces to a thinny "spotted" layer. Some lacing.

Smell: Smooth light chocolate malts, and some nuttiness possibly. Hops hidden deep down.

Taste: Dark and malty. Nutty. Some chocolate, but now much. Kind of an indescript taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and chewy.

Drinkability: Very average porter. Smooth enough, but nothing special.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.15/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Love Mad River brews, but this isn't one of my faves of theirs. Brown scotch ale poured out, good head. Couldn't really tell you the difference between a porter and this scotch ale, they really looked similar here. All I know, is I usually like porters more than scotch ales, usually because of the different malts used, the lack of peat and better hopping.

The alcohol is hidden better by the usual, stronger malt profile in a porter. Probably hopped more than most scotch ales I've had, save McEwans, this one is easier to drink than McEwans, but not as good.

This is a beer to have once in a great while, but I just can't see drinking a 6er of this in a night. Its not a bad beer, its just my least favorite of anything they make.

Photo of mountdew1
3.15/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Color was a dark brown, and was slightly cloudy, with a fair amount of bubbles rising from the bottom. Head was practically non existent, but left a small patch on the top, along with a thin ring around the glass. Smell was brown sugar, wheat bread, with a small hint of fruity sweetness. Taste was earthy, slightly burnt, with spiciness that reminded me of Asian foods. Felt tingly in the mouth, due to the carbonation that kept rising, almost like a soda. Also was a bit thin. Hard to drink due to the carbonation.

Photo of Sammy
3.17/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Part of the latest trend to add scotch or bottles in or with wood or bourbon. I tasted the scotch, the porter part was not great. There was smoke but it subtracted also. Letdown, like the Unibroue version better. Maybe with some barbeque food. Malt in there, and something different, but not my cup of tea.

Photo of aracauna
3.22/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Cola-fizzy head disapates quickly leaving behind only the dark brown, nearly black, body. Sweet caramel and chocolate dominate the aroma with an undercurrent of smoke. The flavor isn’t quite as dominated by the caramel and chocolate as a charred roastiness accents the smoke, each one bringing out the other.

Photo of mactrail
3.23/5  rDev -17.4%
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.

Photo of silentjay
3.3/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a very dark, hazy brown with an eggshell-colored head that leaves quickly and doesnt leave much evidence of itself on the glass.

smells like a scotch ale and porter mixed. (hence the scotch porter) lots of molasses, maple syrup, some chocolate, a bit of smoke, and a hint of black coffee.

taste is much more smoky than the aroma. reminds me of overcooked bacon or hot dogs cooked over the campfire. some chocolate is there, plenty of molasses, a tiny bit of maple. brown sugar, maybe a hint of dark fruits, but its mostly smokey malts.

medium bodied and creamy with a chalky feel. drinks ok. not a fan of smoky beers or meat, and the smoked pork flavors that dominate this beer just arent my cup of tea, though i do think many people would like it.

Photo of plaid75
3.31/5  rDev -15.3%
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.

Photo of BB1313
3.32/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

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.

Photo of PSUDREW
3.32/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

hmm. not really sure what is going on here. pours a wonderfully dark brown color. tanish head that dissipates quickly, and leaves lots of lacing. very malty nose. Not overly sweet, but enough to make the profile AND contribute to the drinkability. heavy mouthfeel, but it doesn't sink you down. very sweet. enjoyable brew

Photo of illidurit
3.36/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce stubby bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark black-chestnut color with a dense cap of tan head. Aroma is light on the smoke, I get mostly chocolate and toffee. There's a light sourness, hard to put my finger on exactly. Almost like a slight rottenness, but it's too faint to be repulsive. When cold, the flavor and body are actually quite nice. The low temperature adds a viscosity that is rapidly lost with warming. The flavor is dark chocolatey with a whisper of smoke, but the body fails to support this as the beer warms. Very unroasty, strictly porterish. There's no mistaking this for a stout. Negligible bitterness. I've been rather sensitive to astringency lately and thankfully this beer has almost none. I guess it's really not bad for a Mad River beer.

Photo of alephilmac
3.36/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into imperial pint

A- blackish brown, with nice tan head that stays for duration and a decent lacing...

S- Light, too light for the type, improves as it warms, but all the same it just lets you down a bit when you pour a "scotch" porter...

T- Smoky sweet with caramel and richness, almost reminds me of a bourbon aged porter I had a while back(but not quite as good)

MF- Too much carbonation, but as that goes away and as it warms, the "scotch" flavor or caramel as it seems to be comes though very nicely

D- Other than the slight overcarbonation it is very nice and I could drink a number of them.

Photo of CWiggins
3.37/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Mad River beers are not that plentiful in the stores I frequent. Four of their products were recently introduced at Earth Fare, Raleigh at a sale price ($1 off at $7.99). I opted for the Scotch Porter for no particular reason, but the word "Scotch" in the title certainly may have guided my internal compass.

The dark, dark brown brew mostly filled my pint glass; the petite, beige head that formed didn't stick around. The nose contains aromas of coffee, bittersweet chocolate, dark malts, a mild sweetness, and just enough smoke to make things interesting. Tastes of dark malts and a little smoke, espresso, and hints of vanilla swirl around the palate. There is also a little fruity sweetness as well, but it's very much an afterthought. Hops are nearly indiscernible.

What I really like about this porter is its lighter mouthfeel. It's not as heavy or thick as many porters I've tried. That helped me decide to jump the "drinkability" factor of this one up a notch. Worth having a second (which I think I will, right now).

Photo of clint21
3.42/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brownish red. About a 1 inch head when poured into a Guinness glass. Tastes like your average Porter, very malty and strong. Didn't really taste any different than the porters I've had, maybe a bit stronger. Still very drink able. This is a local beer and another pretty good choice.

Photo of RudeElf
3.42/5  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.

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.45/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to kinnaird for this one.

This beer pours a murky, lake-water brown with a thin collar of pale tan.

Smells of caramelized sugar and a slight green apple fruitiness that's balanced off by a distant woody hop.

Tastes rather faint with a touch of burnt sugar and a hint of coffee that's backed with a light garden vegetable. This picks up a slight dryness and finishes off quite dry with a touch of woody hop and a nip of fresh coffee.

Feel a little heavy with an explosion of bubbles that froth things up a bit.

A really solid average beer.

Photo of tgbljb
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a deep reddish brown color with moderate tannish chunky head. Nice lacing noted. Smell is of roasted malt and dark fruit. Taste starts off roasty and coffee-like, but a strong dryness begins to show through. Finish is on the very dry side, and is a bit too strong because it completely overpowers any malt taste. An OK beer, but not one that I will revisit.

Photo of rawfish
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours black with some brown highlights when held to the light. Capped with a dense three finger high mocha head that subsides slowly leaving small trails of lace.

Smells awfully sweet on the forefront, caramelized and crystal malt blended with coffee. Peat and a smokiness become evident on the back end, pleasant aroma.

Smoky flavor sums it up nicely, very powerful mix of peat and campfire ash, doesn't come off as bright but rather a dank earthy smoke flavor. Sweetness is less than on the nose but that suits me just fine, more deep roasted malts and burnt and toasted grains. Coffee and chocolate flavors aren't really felt here replaced with more of a soft molasses and nutty flavor. Aftertaste is a bit harsh, as some nice medicinal and herbal hop flavors begin to settle in with the drying bitterness there is another rush of smoke and acidity accompanying it which leads to an off flavored mess in the finish.

Rather creamy mouthfeel across the palate, average porter body with stinging carbonation. After the drink there is acidity along with a slick sweetness.

I guess this should be characterized more as a smoked porter than a scotch porter, there is the peat notes which come with the style but the smokiness and acidity in the aftertaste here just take over the whole brew and it's all I can remember. Pleasant in the beginning but I'd take this pill with some food next time.

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