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Steelhead Scotch Porter - Mad River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Steelhead Scotch PorterSteelhead Scotch Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

305 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 305
Reviews: 224
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 10.2%
Wants: 12
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
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Ratings: 305 | Reviews: 224 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2007 01:47:24 | More by PorterLambic
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2007 12:38:49 | More by merlin48
Photo of CWiggins

North Carolina

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).

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2007 01:23:37 | More by CWiggins
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2007 23:45:55 | More by bradybeer
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

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2007 23:28:11 | More by stephendr
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

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2007 04:11:21 | More by PSUDREW
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2007 02:54:43 | More by BEERchitect
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2007 21:49:16 | More by letsgopens
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2007 01:36:59 | More by peabody
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!

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2007 20:53:40 | More by cbak999
Photo of WVbeergeek

West Virginia

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.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2007 17:03:59 | More by WVbeergeek
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2007 22:22:41 | More by bigdeuce
Photo of drseamus

New York

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.

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2007 04:42:01 | More by drseamus
Photo of wedge

North Carolina

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.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2007 02:33:28 | More by wedge
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)

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2007 21:05:31 | More by Braudog
Photo of jcdiflorio

West Virginia

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.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2007 04:25:29 | More by jcdiflorio
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2007 02:50:23 | More by rkuhnel
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a fairly dark brown color with a bubbly head that leaves some streaks of lace behind

Smell: Wafts of chocolate, coffee and a touch of peat

Taste: Starts with a chocolate-flavored coffee (with a wee bit of peaty whisky) aspect that flattens out in the middle; after the swallow, there are modest elements of bitterness and smoke but the flavor drifts off at the finish, although there is a touch of mint in there that is odd, but welcome

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with spritzy carbonation

Overall: This beer could be so much better; clever idea, but the execution is lacking and the flavors never really come through the way, say, Alaskan Smoked Porter, does (Note, the comments include input from a re-review in 2011 when the beer has been re-named Steelhead Porter and the ABV upped to 6.5%)

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2007 22:58:00 | More by brentk56
Photo of Minkybut


3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into tumbler at 48 degrees. Beer had a decent tan head. Biscuit/coffee notes coming from it with just a hint oh hoppy smell. Taste was burnt malt chocolate peat tasting. Beer was a very nice porter one that I will ceertainly but again.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2007 15:38:28 | More by Minkybut
Photo of leftmindedrighty

New Jersey

3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The name of this beer was reason enough for me to shovel out $2.50 for a single bottle, lets see if it was money well spent. Poured into a pint glass.

Smell is in line with a porter, very sweet, with a smokey edge unique to this beer.

Taste was a surprise, I taste my usual porter suspects, sweet malt, some hops, but there is this smokey flavor, something that reminds of, well, a smoked porter. If I close my eyes and pretend I'm tasting scotch, I do. But if I keep my eyes and taste buds open, the only thing I taste is a fine porter with a smokey background.

Overall, I'm not sure why this is called a "Scotch Porter", but its very well made, and I will have to pick up a sixer the next time I see it.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2007 23:29:25 | More by leftmindedrighty
Photo of yelterdow

New Jersey

4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a British pint glass at between fridge and cellar temperature. 12 oz. bottle.

Appearance- Pours a caramel brown that carries a hint of reddish highlights. The light tan head soaps up to an inch, then settles nicely over time to a solid, spongy cap. Traces of its former self linger behind. Solid porter on the eyes.

Smell- Much like a chocolate shake, the nose is "milky" and smells like lactose was included. Not the huge roasted coffee character of most American porters, this really showcases the Scottish malts and rauchbier-style smoke. A nice, rich aroma that smells wonderful on a cold winter's night.

Taste- I can't imagine blending and balancing the ingredients of a Scottish Ale with a porter more perfectly. Lightly peaty, rich in flavor and malts, with a subtle hop finish that really drys and completes the swallow.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Phenomenally active with its lively carbonation, the beer swells with moderate intensity, and is just short of being overly prickly. The fact that it remains so restrained in its effervescence for the entire duration is a plus... it doesn't really ever quit. I could session this and I would, if it were more available here in NJ. Thanks to Ego for hooking me up with this bottle, I'll save the other one for another rainy, cool night.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2007 01:50:54 | More by yelterdow
Photo of tmp155


4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark pour. Not much head.

S - The smell is nothing to write home about. Fairly non-descript.

T - Good malty flavor with a little something extra. That extra kick is hoppy/spicy.

M - Unobtrusive.

D - The flavor lasts well. Goes down well. I'll have no problem enjoying a few of these.

While this beer isn't a standout, it's worth a try on a rainy day.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2007 22:12:46 | More by tmp155
Photo of Matthew


3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle pours a ruby brown, almost black. Small off white head that settles quickly.
Roasted malt is the most prominent smell in the nose, grainy, followed by hints of smoked malt, but there is a nice sweet aroma throughout the beer.
Grainy roasted malts first up followed by a slighlty sweet backdrop with light hints of charcoal and some nutty flavors.
Good mouthfeel, full and smooth over the palate.
Great drinkability in this beer. A really great tasting and drinking porter!

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2006 18:40:37 | More by Matthew
Photo of tastybeer

North Carolina

4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hard to see through brown crimson color under an attractive creamy light woody brown tinted head. Lace is wet, but sticky. The aroma is real yummy and hits my nose just right. Dark and devious with a good amount of luscious malty character. Toasty and roasty nuts, sweet caramel, soothing earthy hops. Nice well malted mix. Mouthfeel is smooth, airy and velvety. Thick medium body and roasty bittersweet finish. Very drinkable too.

Not bad...quite good.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2006 02:15:45 | More by tastybeer
Photo of EPseja

New Jersey

3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served from a 12oz. bottle in a pint glass at just below cellar temperature.

A - Pours a dark, almot opaque mahogany brown with deep crimson highlights. Big, fluffy tan head rises, buoyed by medium to large bubbles. Retention is very good. Lacing is webby and cohesive.

S - Toasted caramel and crumbly-topped baked pie. Hints of mild hops and mocha.

T - Robust maltiness with a great smoky backbone. Just enough sweetness, with the alcohol somewhat forward in the profile. Slightly tangy and floral in the back of the mouth and throat, with a persistent drying sensation and a tasty malty aftertaste. Very interesting!

M - Somewhere on the lighter side of creamy, with a bit of tingle and a chewiness to it. Swallow is a tad bubbly and filling.

D - An excellent take on a classic American style. Could use a bit of taming on the alcohol presence and carbonation, but overall this is a very drinkable and enjoyable beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2006 00:58:41 | More by EPseja
Steelhead Scotch Porter from Mad River Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 305 ratings.