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

313 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 313
Reviews: 225
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: 313 | Reviews: 225 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of davidt
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown with mahogany at the edges. Thin beige head. Aroma is chocolate and roasted malt with a light smokiness. The flavor is lightly roasted malt with a smoky background. The smoke flavor is enhanced as the beer warms. There are some bitter hops lingering in the aftertaste. Medium mouthfeel with moderate carbonation.

davidt, Feb 12, 2008
Photo of Kemmerlin
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark as night. You hold this beer to the light and the light is gone. But at the edges it is dark brown and absolutely gorgous.

S: The is a strong and intising smell of allspice with oatmeal and other strong malts in the aromas.

T: Smoky taste with oatmeal and other malts in the front but not much bittering agents.

M: Strong in the beginning but has a huge after washing effect that brings on some serious taste.

D: I would drink it again but not many at one time.

Kemmerlin, Feb 04, 2008
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 BeerSox
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into nonic

Pitch black with no ruby edges. A tan one finger head slowly settles to a thick cap.

An interesting aroma. I can detect the roasty malts, which is typical of a Porter, but the deep caramel and flowery esters are that of a typical Scotch Ale.

The flavor seems to be more Scotch Ale than Porter. The caramailzed sugars dominate while the roasted flavors sit in the background. Just like both styles, the hops don't do much, but to subtly balance the hops. Full bodied with a slightly lower amount of carbonation. The finish is slowly fading caramel flavors.

I found this one to be a rather tasty beer. And interesting concept, and it seems to be a good one too. Complex and malty. Recommended.

BeerSox, Feb 02, 2008
Photo of Dogbrick
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at the Odds and Ends Tasting II on 10/19/07: This brew is a deep mahogany color with a medium beige head that dissipates steadily. Rings of lacing. The aroma smokey peated malt and caramel with hints of choclate. Medium-bodied and smooth with roasted malt, chocolate and ripe fruit flavors. The finish is smokey with a lingering mild hops aftertaste. Overall this is an interesting and enjoyable Porter.

Dogbrick, Dec 19, 2007
Photo of atigerlife
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

atigerlife, Dec 16, 2007
Photo of karengarys
3.08/5  rDev -21.4%
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.

karengarys, Nov 13, 2007
Photo of bassmantin
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with a moderate tan head that leaves a thin lacing. Smell is very sweet, I guess that's the scotch influence. Taste is average, nothing special throughout. A sweet scotch finish with strong carbonation and a mild alcohol taste on the finish. Not a whole lot to say about it, though. The mouthfeel is nice, but otherwise, this is just another average porter.

bassmantin, Nov 09, 2007
Photo of PorterLambic
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Nearly black with hints of orange at the thinnest edges. Big tan head when poured straight down th midlle of a pint glass (dumb) but some waterfalling for a few seconds. Head rops to a clumpy foam after a few minutes.
Smells of roasted malt, coffee, peat, wood (not oak), light smoke, caramel and maybe vanilla though very faint.
Taste is all of the above with some alcohol.
Warming throughout the mouth and upper throat. Smooth, light effervescence, light side of medium body, slightly watery finish. The mouthfeel was the only weak spot in this brew, otherwise it was excellent.

PorterLambic, Nov 03, 2007
Photo of merlin48
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark chestnut body with a small tan head. Good retention and some patchy lacing on the glass. Aroma of milk chocolate and a hint of smoke. Medium body with subdued medium carbonation. Taste is chocolate malt, hints of burnt coffee, vanilla, and a note of fruity hops. No smokiness in the flavor. A decent American porter.

merlin48, Nov 02, 2007
Photo of CWiggins
3.35/5  rDev -14.5%
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).

CWiggins, Oct 31, 2007
Photo of bradybeer
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown with tan head and little carbonation. Not much hops aroma but I pick up a sweet maltiness in the aroma. Taste reminds me of Cadbury's chocolate with raisins and I don't get much hops in the finish. Mouthfeel for me is light-at east for a porter. Drinkability is excellent-I could drink pints of this.

bradybeer, Sep 23, 2007
Photo of stephendr
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle- color of brown with slight reddish ting, with a thin tan head - nose of black current, chocolate, hint of smoke and mocha – taste of mocha, milk chocolate, and vanilla- body is medium, slightly chewy, and with low carbonation – aftertaste of mocha, milk chocolate, and some red berries

stephendr, Aug 15, 2007
Photo of PSUDREW
3.33/5  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

PSUDREW, Aug 11, 2007
Photo of BEERchitect
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Admittedly, I'm trying this beer too cold, but as it warms, I can decipher some great characteristics. The pour delivers a dark brown hue, that shows dull chesnut highlights and a fairly hazy complexion. Dense, but terse head retention soon fell to a trace, and then held firm. The aromas have a firm, but not assertive chocolate scent and a complementary nutty - coffee scent. A sweet malt / lactose character also wraps up the aromas. Flavors kick off with a rich malty taste, but not particularly sweet. Confectionate and complex roastiness blend with chocolate, bread, and barley make a moderately flavored, complex, but still not agressive, flavoring. The feel is not heavy, but very full and round with a lot of non-fermentables and weightiness. The finish is quite clean and powdery for such body and disquised flavor. A lingering earthy / diry / smokey note finishes the beer. Very good and clean Porter, just wanted more of an emphasis on the cocoa, coffee balance.

BEERchitect, Aug 03, 2007
Photo of letsgopens
3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very deep brown near black with brown/burgundy highlights. The dense tan head leaves some good lace.

Some smoky cocoa and coffee are evident initially. The sweet roasted malt dominates the nose with a bit of oakiness.

Heavily malty and sweet but with plenty of good smokiness. Some roasted nuttiness and dark fruit. Milk chocolate and a hint of coffee. The slightly sharp acidity mellows as the brew warms, more coffee also arises.

Moderate carbonation makes for a lighter texture initially. Smooth with a relatively crisp finish for a porter. Some warmth at the end.

letsgopens, Jul 29, 2007
Photo of peabody
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out a cloudy dark brown with tan suds and slight lacing.
Smell is coffee and chocolate and malty sweetness.
Taste is caramel chocolate sugar with a slight coffee taste.
Mouthfeel is great here. Just a good porter all around. Can't really tell if it's any different being a Scotch porter or not.
Drinkability is good here. Would love to have this on tap at a local watering house.

peabody, Jul 22, 2007
Photo of cbak999
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle - and pours dark and opaque - almost stout like, with a creamy, light brown head - typical of a porter. But this porter is better than most. It seems to me that it's in perfect balance - not too sweet, not too dry; but just right. Great chocoalty, coffee, nutty taste! I was very impressed. Reminds me a lot of an awesome oatmeal stout I had out in Oregon - Hogsback Stout - in fact, the closest in taste that I can find in my area. If you are lucky to have this beer in your area, defintely buy a sixer - you won't be unhappy! Mad River nailed this one!

cbak999, Jul 11, 2007
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

WVbeergeek, Jun 26, 2007
Photo of bigdeuce
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice tasty brew. I think I drank this way too cold. Mainly malty in this one. Toffee dominates the flavor with a nice chocolatey backbone. A little sweet, but a nice beer, especially for cooler weather. A unique style I will have to say. Was a little whiskeyish in the finish, with a dry hop twinge. Not a bad beer, just not used to the style.

bigdeuce, Jun 15, 2007
Photo of drseamus
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This pours a dark brown color with a foamy head which quickly recedes. The dominant aroma is chocolate with some dark fruits in there as well. This has a very rich flavor. It has some big chocolate flavors with some roasted flavor in there as well. It almost has an oat quality as well and I wouldn't be surprised if there was some in there. It's not as sweet as I would have expected with the scotch moniker. The body is medium to full and very smooth. This is a pretty good beer.

drseamus, Jun 02, 2007
Photo of wedge
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Opaque, deep rusty brown with a creamy, two-finger head. Pleasant roasted malt aroma with a smoky edge...chocolate dominant and a hint of fruitiness. More roasted malts in the flavor but very well balanced...malted milk, peat, earth, and smoke with a pleasant sweetness throughout. Smooth, easy drinking mouthfeel, a little chewy, but medium bodied.

Very enjoyable all around and obviously a high quality beer.

wedge, Apr 16, 2007
Photo of Braudog
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Nice and dark midnight crimson color with a thin but volcanic tan head. My first impression of the aroma was almost hoppy; the more I smell, I get more roasty java, but that floral hoppieness remains. Interesting. What a nice blend of flavors here ... lightly smoky and roasted malt to be sure, but there’s also additional aspects of lightly citric hoppiness, bitter nuttiness and even a little bitter chocolate. Outstanding porter. (#2753, 3/16/2007)

Braudog, Mar 16, 2007
Photo of jcdiflorio
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured into a nonic glass from a 12oz. stubby brown bottle with a twist-off cap

Deep reddish/brown lets a bit of light pass through.1" tan head qiuckly dissapates into a slight coating of foam.

Moderate,complex nose smoky peat,roasty,earthy,woody pine and molasses

Very complex taste with a good smokey/roasty aroma,lots of burnt carmell
piney,woody/earth/peat-like, tastes of molasses with a hint of burbon.Finishes clean and very balanced with a nice tartness.

Medium mouthfeel,very smooth with a bit of cloying. Good taste,goes down very easy, good sessionability for a porter. A very good porter with a complex taste definately worth a try.

jcdiflorio, Mar 06, 2007
Photo of rkuhnel
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This was from a 12 oz bottle. Bottle. Wow! A local brew that is really, really good. This is how a porter should be....like 100,000 mile crankcase oil. Poured a deep ruby that was nearly black, with a big tan head and great lacing. Aroma is smoky with a flavor of caramel, molasses, brown sugar, hops and wood, with chocolate and coffee overtones. Feels great in the mouth, and was good to the very last drop. A remarkable brew and too bad for porter lovers everywhere this does not get more distribution. Not sure why they call this a "Scotch" porter so I guess I will have to call and ask.

rkuhnel, Feb 28, 2007
Steelhead Scotch Porter from Mad River Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 313 ratings.