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Steelhead Scotch Porter | Mad River Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
88
very good
228 Reviews
Steelhead Scotch PorterSteelhead Scotch Porter
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Mad River Brewing Company
California, United States
madriverbrewing.com

Style: English Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

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.

Added by kbub6f on 01-23-2001

BEER STATS
Reviews:
228
Ratings:
328
Avg:
3.92
pDev:
11.99%
 
 
Wants:
14
Gots:
18
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 228 | Ratings: 328
Photo of hellbilly
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

california beer sent to me in arizona by emacgee from north carolina...

pours hazy... almost murky chocolate-y brown with a creamy khaki tinted tan head.

it has a nice earthy smoky stink followed by aromas of a pleasant mild sourness, chocolate, roast and faint nutty coffee caramel.

that same stink carries over into the flavor along with a neat-o spiciness and a woody kind of funkiness. there are notes of some dark fruit, malty roast, brown sugar and spiciness with a prickly hoppy finish. hops dry out the palate for the smoky coffee aftertaste to shine through.

light to medium bodied with a prickly dry mouth feel and sharp carbonation.

easy drinkin' interesting interpretation. 7/4/7/3/15/3.6

 708 characters

Photo of josiahschlender
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this bottle on a whim, not knowing anything about the beer or brewery.

Poured into a pint glass. Wow, I have never see so much sediment in a beer. It's like a yeasty snowstorm in the murky, brown colored body. It's even starting to pile up in the bottom of the glass. Is this normal? Limited head leaves a bit of lacing.

Moving on, nice aromas. Several different malt profiles are strong, coffee, bitter chocolate yet sweet caramel, while citric hops vie for attention. While I like the complexity, they don't quite meld perfectly, there's some imbalance here.

Flavors are easier to love. One of the best tasting porters I've had, those multidimensional malts are there, with a big smoky kick at the end that I didn't notice in the aromas. Hops aren't as noticeable in the flavors, but are still present with some citrus and bittering. Most of the bite in the beer doesn't come from the hops, but the charred malt that belies its less than black color.

Medium body with a semi-dry finish. While I love the long, complex finish, the intense, complex flavors maybe would have been better balanced by a fuller body in my opinion.

Wow, a better beer than I expected! It breaks the mold of a traditional porter in a good way. Nice experimenting, kudos to the brewer for going out on a limb with this one, and giving us a very good beer.

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Photo of Riverwarrior
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

S = Hints of chocolate and caramel along with malty sweetness.

T = Taste mirrored the aroma. Malty sweetness upfront, some caramel in the middle, and a fair amount of hop/coffee bitterness rounded out the flavors in the end. The finish was a semi-sweet roasted coffee flavor.

MF = Medium body with moderate carbonation. Very creamy.

Overall, this was a very solid porter that I will continue to buy. Very easy to drink and highly recommended.

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Photo of DrJay
3.72/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this one from SaCkErZ9 as part of my Black Booty. Thanks!
Certainly is dark enough, a bit murky and brown. A half in cap of tan bubbles settled quickly to a collar. Sticky lacing. Sweet, malty aroma, some chocolate and burnt malts, toffee, light fruitiness, and a hint of citrus hops. Balanced towards sweetness up front, lots of caramel and toffee, but this gave way to chocolate and citrus flavours. Bitterness became more prominent in the finish and hop flavour grew as well. So it started out kind of like a scotch ale and ended up kind of like a porter - I get it! Some dryness from the dark malts, hefty medium body and lowish carbonation. It's a neat beer, cool idea. Not a bad drinker either, especially if you like a nice combination of rich malt flavour and west coast hops.

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Photo of aubuc1
4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured in to a tulip glass

Pours black brown with some ruby highlights peaking through and a tan head.

Smell is sweet malty, roasty. Great smell.

Solid roasty, peaty taste that leaves me wanting more.

Good mouthfeel and a highly drinkable beer. The "scotch" flavor is well balanced with the american porter flavor.

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Photo of u2carew
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(A) Not as dark as most porters. Mellow head, that diminishes down to suds around the edge of the glass. Very visible chunks of sediment in the glass.
(S) Roasted coffee with some caramel notes. Smells delicious.
(T) Bold combination of mild coffee and chocolate, with a sweet, smoky flavor.
(M) Definitely feels thick with a full body. The floating sediment is not noticeable.
(D) A very good porter. A tasty brew, but the visible presence of sediment could be a turnoff for a clear brew drinker.

 497 characters

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

Presentation:12 oz short bottle
Appearance:very dark brown with a dark tan head that doesnt last too long
Smell: roasty chocolate sweet toffee and a little coffee

Taste: very roasty, some sweetness and chocolate with a little underlying alcohol. a great full bodied porter almost reminds of some oatmeal stouts. very good at room temperature.
Notes: another solid beer from mad river.
Serving type: bottle

 406 characters

Photo of ewright
3.99/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

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Photo of GClarkage
4/5  rDev +2%
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.

 827 characters

Photo of WakeandBake
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
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

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Photo of charlzm
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
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.

 687 characters

Photo of crayphish
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
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.

 569 characters

Photo of toolbrew
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
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.

 334 characters

Photo of iceball585
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

 461 characters

Photo of beerthulhu
3.62/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

 1,246 characters

Photo of bboven
4.16/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

 648 characters

Photo of ColForbinBC
4/5  rDev +2%
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.

 631 characters

Photo of dsa7783
4.35/5  rDev +11%
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...

 330 characters

Photo of Shaw
4/5  rDev +2%
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.

 589 characters

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.88/5  rDev -1%
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.

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Photo of TheMistler
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

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Photo of gordavidson
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

 558 characters

Photo of Seanibus
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

 372 characters

Photo of donteatpoop
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

 274 characters

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

 550 characters

Steelhead Scotch Porter from Mad River Brewing Company
3.92 out of 5 based on 328 ratings.
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