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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

323 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 323
Reviews: 226
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: 323 | Reviews: 226
Photo of ewright
3.99/5  rDev +2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown beer with a very small layer of tan head that rapidly dissipates. Small flecks of floaties are evident in the beer... not a pretty sight.

S: Rich aroma of earthy notes, hints of cola and a faint caramel sweetness.

T: I'm not a cola drinker, but this beer reminds me of a cola! Black malt mixes with a faint smoky note and a decent hop bite late. I also don't eat much red meat, but this beer screams out to be paired with a nice strip steak.

M: Moderate carbonation and decent texture on the tongue. Enough body to create a velvety texture.

D: This is a pretty good beer. It's not like a lot of other porters I've had in that it is heavy on the scotch ale influence. A pleasant surprise to say the least.

Photo of GClarkage
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12/09/08- Purchased at Hi-Times in Costa Mesa, CA.

Presentation- 12oz bottle, forgot to check for freshness info. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Dark brown colored pour with reddish highlights around the edge. About a 1/2 inch head and light sheets and spots of lace.

Smell- All the properties of a nice porter...deep roasted chocolate malt, some coffee scents and a minor in the hops department.

Taste- Really well balanced with the sweeter and mildly bittersweet chocolate leading the way. Hops are citrus flavored and kept in check and the coffee flavor hits at the end with a touch of burnt malt taste.

Mouthfeel- Pretty smooth with a medium carbonation level. Nice slight bitter bite in the aftertaste.

Drinkability- One of the better local porters out there. Would have no problem drinking a sixer of this.

Photo of WakeandBake
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear very dark ruby/brown body under a foamy and creamy brown head.A little sediment . Aroma is chocolaty, roasty, and peaty at first. Eventually a little smoke, coffee, caramel, chalk, and char comes out. Flavor has that classic Porter base, chocolaty and dry, but then on the finish the peated malt really comes out. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, watery in texture, and with moderate fizzy carbonation. Overall, a decent Porter with a nice twist. Let this warm up as much as you can,very drinkable

Photo of charlzm
4.4/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

Photo of crayphish
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

After being absolutely floored by Mad River's DIPA, I eagerly grabbed the Scotch Porter when it arrived at my local shop. Deep brown liquid with moderate carbonation and only a scant yet dense head. Even the most careful pour results in chunky butterscotch colored goodies. Smell is sweet chocolate and a smokey malt blend. A bit of alcohol. Needs more aroma. Taste takes care of that let down. Big chocolate punch with dry dark fruits and a splash of alcohol heat. Mouthfeel is sticky and chewy. These are one at a time brews. drinkability better suited to night caps.

Photo of toolbrew
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque brown with a small light tan head. Some lacing down the glass.

Smells of chocolate and some coffee.

Chocolate taste at first. Then a little bit of coffee with a bitter finish.

Medium body; doesn't coat the tongue like I would've imagined. Does leave some flavor behind.

Goes down very well. Nice beer for autumn.

Photo of iceball585
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Very dark brown color, non-transparent, thin tan color head that faded to a thin ring

S- Chocolate, dark malts, smokey, coffee beans, slightly sweet auroma

T- Creamy, coffee, caramel, milk chocolate, woody, molasses, vanilla, hint of dark fruits

M- Medium/heavy body, low/medium carbonation, smooth, chewy

D- Definitely worth trying

This brew has a fairly complex flavor. Not really a session beer but I wouldn't mind having one of these ever so often.

Photo of beerthulhu
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a dark walnut with ruby highlights and a flat, light chestnut colored head that quickly gave way to a bare surface. Noticeable size yeast sediment was suspended about.

S: The nose was spicy dark caramel, rum raisin, with some scotch booziness. Light roasted scents of coffee grains and dark dry chocolate notes added some layering.

T: started off with some scotch-caramel and a light showing of coffee beans. Dark ripe fruit of plums and raisins along with a dark caramel sweetness is also detected. The flavor is rich upfront but seems to quickly fade off after that thinning out in the finish. A very light smokiness and burnt woodiness and roasted coffee beans are lightly detected on the finish. Overall a solid good flavor but doesn't do enough to warrant a very good rating.

M: dry, light bodied with a light creaminess. Smooth texture with a light showing of carbonation rounds things out.

D: Moderate good drinkability, solid example, but a thinning finish keeps this from being a very good example. A beer that starts out good enough but limps after that and doesn't finish strong. All in all would make for a pretty good session style beer as the flavor is solid enough and the body light enough to enjoy in multiples.

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 ColForbinBC
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint

Pours an extremely dark brown with ruby highlights around the edges. A thick two finger tan head had solid staying power and left pretty rings of lace.

Aromas of brown sugar, roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate and booze.

Has a bit of a peat flavoring to go along with the roasted malt and dark chocolate. A nice lingering bitterness with a dose of warming does you right on a cold night.

Probably a little thin, but it didn't really detract from the experience. Medium to full bodied with perfect carbonation.

A little boozy, so it is definitely one to sip, but nothing remotely hindering here.

Photo of dsa7783
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
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...

Photo of Shaw
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep black with chunks of sediment and a brown head that turns into a ring in my glass.

It smells of black strap molasses, chocolate, coffee and other complex sweet things. Nice.

The taste is equally nice. Cream and roasted flavors blend to make a very smooth beer. I don't believe you can really mess up a porter, Mad River shows how to excel with the style. The smoke flavor is quite mild and merely plays a part in the flavor, rather than a starring role.

The body is creamy and glass-smooth.

Overall this is a fine porter with some unique complexity that others don't have.

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mad River- Porter

A- Deep dark brown with a huge thick foamy head. Good chunky lacing.
S- Light roasted coffee beans with sweet fruity malt and cocoa.
T- A nice mocha latte meets fruity malt blend. Sweet cherry and plum like fruit flavors mingle nicely with a fresh green hop presence.
M- Sweet, malty and dry with a big malty ody and hoppy finish that starts bitter but has a thick sweet malty crescendo.

Overall- Quite nice. Sweet hoppy porter here. Definitely pick this 1 up, very enjoyable.

Photo of TheMistler
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Take some strong coffee and throw in a bunch of vanilla flavored milk, and I think that might cover a good bit of - but certainly not all - of the nose of this here. Some chocolate malt. An earthy rauch smokiness. Very nice; I like.

Poured an opaque brown, but by no means black. Red highlights where light manages to peek through. Tan head displays nice lacing.

Just as with the nose, there is a lot going on with the taste. Some oaked flavor, both dark and milk chocolates, with the dark chocolate accompanying some coffee bittering. Slight smokiness.

The feel from the carbonation builds and provides a nice cleansing bite to sweep out some of the sweetness. Earthy grains, some coffee and a hint of milk chocolate left on the palate. Dry finish. It all comes together very well, though it is bit heavy in taste to have more than one or two in a sitting.

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 Seanibus
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A tasty and worthy porter.

Pours deep black with a slightly off white head that falls quickly. Smells strong and sweet, highly malty. The flavor is sweet and extremely malty, a bit peaty and smoky with hints of Chocolate, cherrywood, sandalwood. Although the flavor is powerful, it is not out of balance. The mouthfeel is thin and clean with a nice tickle of carbonation.

Photo of donteatpoop
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark amber brown with a thin film of tan head.

Smells of pete and chocolate malt.

Wow. Great taste, full of chocolatey goodness. Really fucking good.

Somewhat dry in the mouth, kind of the weak point of the beer.

Very drinkable, I can drink these all night.

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice deep black with ruby highlights and a pretty nice fizzy off white, grayish head. Nose is roasted malt and some peat. Taste follows with good smokey roasty peat flavor, but defenitely more porter than scotch, although the scotch is there. Mouthfeel could be thicker, as for this type of brew I would expect the abv to be a little higher as well. A good session porter, as drinkability is pretty good. Overall a decent beer, and one I will probably pick up again when looking for a nice dark, flavorful yet not overbearing brew. Good beer.

Photo of woemad
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased in June at Bottles in Millwood, WA, for $1.49. No freshness date.

Poured a dark, cola-like color, taking on a slightly ruby-ish tint when held up to light. A thick, creamy tan head of about 2" floated serenely atop the beer in a "New Model" SA glass and hung around for a while. A sticky tan webbing was left behind once it did recede.

The nose on this one is roasty and peaty, as one would expect from a beer marketed as a "scotch porter." There's also a mild scent of brown sugary sweetness.

A chocolatey maltiness first hits the tastebuds, followed by a roastiness that matches the initial sweetness. The peat malt is dialed back further than I thought it would be, but it's still present, more as ambiance than anything else. There's a hoppy dryness at the swallow that might be more at home in a stout than a porter, but I don't think this was meant to follow style guidelines in the first place. The sweetness seems to increase as the beer warms up, but not to an unpleasant degree.

A coating yet watery mouthfeel, if that makes any sense. I think this is a category where an improvement would be nice.

A tasty beer in one or two doses, I think the sweeter aspects of the flavor might get a bit cloying if I were to have more than that. Probably make a decent dessert beer.

Photo of bbothen
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into Sam Adams beer glass.

Deep dark ruddy brown with a small head. head eventually goes away & leaves tiny bubbles around glass.

Has a nice roasted aroma along with some faint chocolate & hop aromas.

Nice bitter chocolate, coffee, roasted/toasted flavor. Slight smoky or charred taste in the finish. Plenty of hop bite as well. Tasty.

Smooth, creamy, full bodied, moderate carbonation.

Several pints easily.

Tasty brew from Mad River. Would be good with some smoked BBQ pork. Let's go.

Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark ruddy brown, almost opaque but not quite there. Half an inch of head rises from a hard pour and remains for several minutes before receding to a ring.

Smell: Roasty and dry. There's some coffee along with a hint of smoke and cacao.

Taste & mouthfeel: Mildly peaty and smoky initially, those flavors transform into a long note of dark chocolate and coffee bean before the dry and roasty finish. Medium-light in body, I'd appreciate a bit more thickness for the level of flavor, but it's a small complaint. This is a well-crafted porter, subtle but unique and very drinkable.

Photo of tonistruth
4.39/5  rDev +12.3%
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

Photo of argock
3.96/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear pint glass. No freshness date.

A: Deep brown-black with deep tan at the edges. The medium-tan head is attractive with a rising dough character. The lace is haphazard and starts at 2/3 down the glass.

S: A little light with dark chocolate, roasted and burnt malt, and woody barrel aromas present.

T: Definitely a porter with roasted malt, burnt malt, bitter chocolate, and a slight but noticeable smoke note that is enhancing without being overbearing. Sweeter than you'd imagine -- pretty delicious and would go well with sweet onion and barbeque.

M: Chewy and full-bodied with light carbonation and a real porter feel.

D: A really drinkable porter with a light smoke and non-peat note that enhances. Great feel that make sit hard to put down.

Photo of drxandy
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz to flare pint, pours an opaque deep brown, floaties present, foamy head fades to a nice lacing

smells of chocolate malts, roastiness, lactose?

tastes bitter, smooth, heavy malts, chocolate, roasty bitterness, a nice take on a porter.

mouthfeel is bitter roasty smoothness, easy to drink and would pair well with food.

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.

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Steelhead Scotch Porter from Mad River Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 323 ratings.