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MacTarnahan's Amber Ale - Portland Brewing Company

Not Rated.
MacTarnahan's Amber AleMacTarnahan's Amber Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

211 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 211
Reviews: 143
rAvg: 3.46
pDev: 13.29%
Wants: 3
Gots: 5 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Portland Brewing Company visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  5.10% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
32 IBU

Malts: 2 Row Pale, Caramel
Hops: Cascade

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-11-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 211 | Reviews: 143 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of WesWes

New York

3.95/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a nice amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a dry, yet malty scent that boasts of pale and crystal malts. It also has a mild hop aroma that adds excellent balance to the aroma. It's toastey with a sweet scent. The taste is good. It has a well balanced flavor that boasts of pale and crystal malts along with a mild hop flavor. It goes down smooth with a creamy feel. The mouthfeel is decent. It is a medium bodied beer with a little too much carbonation. This is a good drinking beer. I like the aroma and taste. The carbonation should be scaled back so the creamy flavor can be better appreciated.

Serving type: on-tap

06-26-2005 23:53:49 | More by WesWes
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

3.88/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep clear copper with a rather thin head that is gone pretty fast,the Pacific NW presence really shows in the aroma of this ale with a real noticable piney hop presence over top some light caramel and butter.Very nicely balance quaffable ale here a firm lightly sweet malty backbone like that of cookie dough holds up to a pretty generously hopped beer here some pine and evergreen rounds this one out nicely.I have had chances to have this on tap from time to time and passed it up,I have to say I was pleasantly suprised by this one,a real sessionable easy drinking amber.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2005 21:52:06 | More by oberon
Photo of HoboAGoGo


3.23/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Amber body with a small disappearing head. Smelled like biscuits with some floral aroma wafting off of that. Taste was more of biscuits, with some sweetness behind that, a malty biscuit would be one way of describing it. Washed down with a mild hop flavor on the way down. Nothing too spectular, but not a bad beer by any means, not sure if I'll ever buy it again though.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2005 01:25:19 | More by HoboAGoGo
Photo of palma

New York

3.83/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sweet caramel and biscuity aroma with nutty notes.
Smooth toasted malt flavor throughout but not without a satisfying hop bitterness. Some nutty notes in the finish. A very subtle earthy/peaty flavor. Medium bodied.

A well made amber ale which paired exceptionally well with the fontina cheese I found in my mom's fridge.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2005 05:10:35 | More by palma
Photo of RedDiamond


3.73/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Exceptional clarity and brilliance with a spacious, soapy head atop a brew of deep bronze flushed with crimson red. Red malts also define the taste in the form of cherry and plum notes. The taste is actually more than I expected, with bold contours in both the fruitiness of the malts and the bright heathery freshness of the hops.

The flavor does tend to fade however, and MacTarnahan’s Amber refuses to yield lace. Still, this is a standup beer and a smart Portland ale.

Serving type: on-tap

03-07-2005 22:20:08 | More by RedDiamond
Photo of Padron4KM


3/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, no freshness date. Pours out sunset orange red with a fluffy tannish head. Lots of sticky lace.

Aroma is mild, lightly caramel, lightly fruity, light citrus.

Body is thin and watery.

Flavor is slightly sweet, caramel with some spicy, citrusy hops.
Finish is decent, citrusy, leaving the lips tingling a bit.

not to shabby.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2005 05:43:00 | More by Padron4KM
Photo of Redrover


4/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this one while attending an industry meeting in Portland. The cocktail party featured several local brews. Its nice to have a choice beyond the usual BMC suspects.

The beer pours a nice red/amber with a off-white head.

I liked the aroma of fresh biscuits/crackers with a nice subtle grapefruit aroma in the background.

The taste is slightly on the sweeter side of the taste spectrum. The beer has a nice malt underpinning. I get the bread/cracker taste I expect and a more substantial hop presence as I worked through the beer. This is a great cocktail party beer as it went well with the appetizers.

Soft mouthfeel and excellent carbonation make this an easy drinking beer. I would have no problem keeping this one on hand if I could get it here in Illinois!

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2005 17:15:57 | More by Redrover
Photo of ppoitras


3.65/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from a Beers of the World mix box that I got for Christmas from an acquaintance. Thanks Scott!

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" off-white head above the clear amber brew. Head fades rather quickly, but still a layer of bubbles, and lacing is minimal to average. Aroma is delicately hoppy, a bit piney. Taste is also mostly hoppy, with some maltiness from support, and a slight citrus tang at the outset. Mouthfeel is pretty good, and drinkability is good as well, with this being a smooth drinker and nice session option.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2005 22:16:53 | More by ppoitras
Photo of misterscooter


3.63/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I drank this out of the bottle at a holiday gathering and didn't get a look at it in a glass. I have had it before and I do remember it being at least an average or better color.

Good smell, smooth and malty, nothing too distinctive out of the bottle. This is a mellow beer, only a little bit of zip in it at first and then very smooth. It doesn't wow you but it gets it right enough so that having more than one is not a problem. Definitely one I have on a semi-regular basis. You can usually find it at Trader Joe's.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2004 05:10:40 | More by misterscooter
Photo of kmpitz2


3.28/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer comes courtesy of my in-laws. It pours a nice amber color with a finger of head that falls to coat the beer. The nose is full of dirty hops and biscuit malts. Not may favorite smells, but not unexpected. The flavor is more like a APA than an Amber in my book. There is also a chalky flavor at the end of the beer. I don't like it a lot. The feel is a few shades below moderate. Just a bit thin for my liking. Drinkability suffers from the flavor. Its not a bad beer, but definately not a good one. Its just okay.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2004 02:03:55 | More by kmpitz2
Photo of hero27


4.22/5  rDev +22%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had the pleasure of sampling this brew out of a MacTarnahan's Mix Pack..

Appearance: Golden-amber color with a thin head with decent head retention but spotty lacing.

Smell: Not a very strong smell to this brew. Hoppy aroma with maybe a hint of caramel/sweet malts...the hops are much more evident than anything else here.

Taste: This may be the best-balanced beer I've ever had the pleasure of consuming. I'm not a lover of strong hops, and the hops are definitely present here, but they are done just right. Malty sweetness fades into a nice hop bitterness near the end. Well done.

Mouthfeel: a rather thin mouthfeel with more carbonation than expected. I didn't mind too much because I'm not a big fan of beers that I need a knife and fork to drink.

Drinkability: Not very expensive and relatively easy to drink. Pretty smooth going down and tastes damn good. I will definitely have to try to find this on-tap somewhere.

Overall, I gotta say I'm fairly impressed with MacTarnahan's. A good amber ale to try.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2004 19:12:38 | More by hero27
Photo of KoG


4.13/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Not too bad a brew. Nice amber color as it should be but the head disappears a little quick, lacing is slightly sticky.

Has a nice flowery hop smell, somewhat like green tea. Brewed a Pale Ale with Centennial and Kent Golding and this seems about right.

Taste is well balanced, not too malty not too hoppy, has a definate Kent Golding flavor.

Mouth is normal, light but smooth. Seems a bit thin.

Overall a pretty decent brew, especially if you're a big fan of Kent Golding, or Cascade hops. Might need to try this again sometime.

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2004 08:18:27 | More by KoG
Photo of brewQ


3.98/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Where's the date codes here guys?

Pours a clear deep bronze color with a 1" beige head pocked with bubbles.The nose was malty with floral notes abounding.

The taste had a good yin and yang- starts with sweetness and ends with some hop bite.

I especially enjoy the lip smacking finish.
This is my kind of session beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2004 20:46:35 | More by brewQ
Photo of Tballz420


4.03/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This brew is a darker golden color, with a tiny white head. The scent is all malts, some sweetness to it. Caramel malt dominates up front, some candy elements present. Bitter hop presence in the back, blended in quite well. Big creamy mouth on this one, some acidity as the beer drains down the throat. Pretty good overall, on the sweet side of things.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2004 22:02:04 | More by Tballz420
Photo of Thrasher


3.98/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I reviewed a can of Mac's and thought it was inferior to the bottle. Now that I am reviewing a bottle, I am proved right; this is better, although a draft pour may be the best possible method. The beer is rich golden bronze and the head sadly vanishes without a trace. Pleasing aroma of hearty malts with perhaps a crisp fruitiness, evocative of apples or pears. The flavor of the beer is substantial, yet remains easy to drink. It contains sweet bready malts, some cookie batter, and an element of single malt scotch, although very little in the way of smokiness or peatiness. A ghostlike shell of hoppiness outlines the beer and sets it in perfect relief; just the finest trace of bubble gum and grapefruit really brings out the flavor of the malts to their fullest. The balance is wondrous. The beer's mouthfeel is smooth, if a bit watery; this may be the same problem as the vanishing head. Drinkability is very high; it's an effortless brew to quaff and it should be suitable for a vast array of occasions and meals. A good beer for shaking off the chill on a rainy autumn day in Portland.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2004 01:13:29 | More by Thrasher
Photo of allengarvin


2.88/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

One and a half 12-oz bottles, poured into an English tulip glass.

Appearance: Clear copper color, with a thin head, typical of British beers.

Aroma: Malt is there, with a touch of hop aroma.

Flavor/body: Malt up front, with hop flavor following (more northwestern hops than English, if I'm not mistaken). Finish is dry and bitter. Medium body and carbonation.

This beer does *not* resemble typical Scottish beers. Most have no hop aroma or taste, and finish sweeter. Some have interesting malt profiles, others are simpler and easy-drinking, but almost none have this kind of hop emphasis. As an American amber, it's fairly drinkable, but I'm docking the rating for failure to follow the implied style.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2004 20:53:41 | More by allengarvin
Photo of zacharius


3.33/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Is this supposed to be a scottish ale? Maybe the word "Mac" and the picture of the thistle misled me as it looks to me an American Amber Ale. This beer pours a pale amber color with a thin white head. Smell is floral hops. Taste is of hops with a slight caramel malty sweetness. There is a hint of smoke in the taste. There also is an undercurrent hint of some off taste--possibly got a bit burnt while boiling or maybe the grains were rinsed too much. Has a good body to it, oily from the hops and quite pleasant. Doesn't seem like it has much alcohol to it and it doesn't say on the side the content so I don't know if this is a good or bad thing. Inhabits that realm between "seen it before just better" and "just average."

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2004 05:30:50 | More by zacharius
Photo of bashiba


3.4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer on first impression has a very nice appearance, a nice copper color with a very full head the takes some time to settle.

Onto the smell there is some nice sweet caramel and malt, but not much else.

The taste is a nice sweet caramel and honey maltyness balanced by some distinctive bitter hops. A very nice job balancing the two.

Has a very crisp and clean mouthfeel even slightly thicker than the taste would suggest.

The drinkabillity is very good, no hangups on any of the flavors, taste pretty good, and not to strong in the ABV department, Very nice for an amber ale.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2004 04:33:01 | More by bashiba
Photo of Mitchster


4/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

OG=13.0, SG=1.052, 30 IBU. Hopped with Cascades. "Scottish-style Amber ale".

Pours out to a clear light-copper with auburn accents, forming a modest off-beige head with average retention and rocky lacing. Carbonation is moderate. Aroma is pleasant with caramel and a grainy touch of sweetness, fresh Cascade hops, vanilla and honey. Mouthfeel is bright and spicy with a medium body. Taste begins with lots of spicy Cascades, followed by an estery fruitiness, some firm residual cookie-like sweetness, a touch of isopropyl towards the dry finish, with lingering notes of honey and vanilla and caramel in the toasted aftertaste. Medium-strong herbaceous bitterness with an oddness that I can't put my finger on. Cleanly fermented.

A solid amber, but quite hopped-up compared to most, especially when compared to the "Scottish-Style" ilk. Kinda like a baby brother of Celebration Ale. I liked it...better than average.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2004 22:31:14 | More by Mitchster
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.6/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Perfectly clear, bright tangerine with a toast brown head that looks average in all respects. It isn't soft and mealy, nor is it particularly firm and sticky. It deflates to a thick film and leaves decent, but not spectacular lace.

The nose is slanted more toward hops than I'm used to for the style. Fine by me. It strikes me as more of a pale ale in that regard. I'm not sure, but I'd guess that one of the '4 C's' is in use. The slight hop edge carries through to the palate. It isn't pale ale hoppy, but it's more than sufficiently hopped for an amber ale.

The hops provide a citrusy flavor and a gentle bitterness that is kept in check by a weak, but sufficient malt presence. The finish is on the short side, leans toward dry and is softly bitter. The mouthfeel is a little thin, but that only enhances drinkability. This one could be downed in quantity; if I had more than this one that is.

I'm still trying to get a fix on MacTarnahan's as a brewery. I liked their Oak-aged IPA quite a bit, but loathed their Oregon Honey beer. Amber Ale is somewhere in between. A decent quaff, all things considered.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2004 22:05:36 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of beertaster13


3.35/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle. Pours a nice light amber orange with a nice frothy white head. Smell is of grain and malts, slight hop but not overpowering, very faint. Taste is a nice balance of sweetness and bitterness. The sweet malts blen perfectly with the bitterness of the hops. Moderate body and somewhat light in the mouth. An average beer by really an average brewing company.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2004 05:57:41 | More by beertaster13
Photo of Sixpack595


3.33/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nice clear amber body with thin but longlasting tan head. Floral hop aroma over a sweet malty base. Flavor has a light maltiness, caramel with a spicy hop flavor and slightly astringant finish. Mouthfeel is a bit thin. Drinkability is slightly above average.

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2004 01:02:40 | More by Sixpack595
Photo of RootedFool


3.58/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle (purchased a sixer at the local Safeway), the body is flatly translucent, dark amber with barely an inch of soapy grayish white head. Smell: sugary pine cones, sweet and earthy at once, light yet balanced well. Taste: opens with a palate-encompassing hop bitterness, pursued rapidly by a flat-edged malt sweetness that sweeps through the background. Finishes bitter, right on the tip of my palate, and the malt sweetness swings in even sharper -- almost honey-dew like. Mouthfeel: full, doesn't stick, plenty of carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2004 03:49:11 | More by RootedFool
Photo of DPMomutant


3.05/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a nice medium amber with a finger or so head that lasts a little while. A little sticks to the side.

The citrusy, hoppy smell is there but very hard to find.

The taste and mouthfeel are more like a watered-down pale. There just isn't much taste there. They need to add some hops to this and sell it as a pale.

It isn't that it's hard to drink this beer, there just isn't enough taste or activity to want to drink too many. Kind of disappointing.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2004 04:14:50 | More by DPMomutant
Photo of usualpulp


3.33/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A good beer, pours a nice amber color with a fluffy white head. Strong hop flavors are present that blend together with the dry malty flavors. Some slight citrus notes, but nothing that really stands out. A very easy drinking amber, perhaps slightly watery, but still good. Overall I would say this is an average amber , but something I would buy again.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2004 03:16:28 | More by usualpulp
MacTarnahan's Amber Ale from Portland Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 211 ratings.