Steelhead Scotch Porter - Mad River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Steelhead Scotch PorterSteelhead Scotch Porter

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very good

318 Ratings

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Ratings: 318
Reviews: 226
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 10.23%
Wants: 14
Gots: 11 | 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:
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 added by: kbub6f on 01-23-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 318 | Reviews: 226 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of toolbrew
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
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
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
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
3.6/5  rDev -7.9%
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
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
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
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
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
3.95/5  rDev +1%
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
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
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
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
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
4/5  rDev +2.3%
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
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
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
4.4/5  rDev +12.5%
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
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
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
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
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 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 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 MisterDeeds
4.28/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Well, I'm not sure what a dark porter beer has to do with fishing for Steelhead, but if we can get past that, we're in good shape.

Pouring from a 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Perfect Pint glass.

Dark. Really Dark. Bag over your head in the trunk of a cadillac dark. Almost pure blackness, but you can catch a tiny glimpse of light coming through at the bottom. Poured a thick creamy looking head that retreated quickly to a thin lacy white residue.

Smells like a mix of day-old coffee some type of of dark chocolate bar.

This is a very high quality porter. Starts off with a chocolately toffee sweetness, that balances well and finishes with a slight bourbon-like bitterness. Definitely could warm you up, or get you through a chilly tailgating day. Tastes a lot stronger than 6% abv, but isn't that the beauty of a good porter?

Muthfeel is almost on the level with a glass of whole milk. Very nice.

Not sure how many I could put away, almost like a Guinness or another heavy stout, but it is very tasty and inviting for a porter. One of my new favorites, and I can't wait have one outside in the snow while I am waiting for kickoff.

Or, perfect when you've just come in from the cold.

Photo of RixBeer
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a medium chocolate brown and cascaded 3". Then the head fades from a quarter inch to a thin layer on the top.

Deep roasted chocolate and caramel with a funky smell of raspberry preserve. So weird. No wait it's strawberry jam. WTF?

Tastes of chocolate and melted caramel. Tiny hint of coffee that is barely present. Was there some sort of jam actually used in the fermenting tanks? F'n weird! Good though. Not great but good. It has a very interesting flavor.

Very smooth drinking. Seems that all the Mad River beers have that smoothness. Lingering carbonation that sits a minute.

Very drinkable. A little too much nothing for me. But I could see why people would like this beer. Not as good as some other porters but it's a decent pick!

Photo of BDIMike
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a jet black color with a tan head that dissipates immediately.
Smell has a slight sweetness to it, but is more dominated by some nice roasted, burnt malts. A bit of a plum smell as well.
Taste starts of immedieatly with a good plum taste to it. It then finishes with a good burnt malt taste.
Very smooth feel to this beer. Goes right down and has a good thickness as well.
Great drinkability for a porter. This beer is so smooth and leaves a dry, roasted malt flavor on your tongue that encourages you to take another sip.

Steelhead Scotch Porter from Mad River Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 318 ratings.