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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.

222 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 222
Reviews: 144
rAvg: 3.45
pDev: 13.04%
Wants: 3
Gots: 6 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of MacTarnahan's Amber Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 222 | Reviews: 144 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Gagnonsux
3.73/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Color is copper with a high level of carbonation. Head is of average height and is thick. Very good retention. Aroma is of a strong citrissy hop with an underlying sweetness. Sip starts with a burst of citrissy hop which quickly rounds to a caramel malt with a mild toastiness. Malt flavor dominates here, not as much hop as expected from an APA. Sweetness is high to moderate. Bitterness is low. Overall: an enjoyable APA, not as hoppy as most, but still just as easy to drink.

Gagnonsux, Apr 15, 2006
Photo of Crosling
3.3/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Changing orange color. Pretty rich nose considering the style with a light caramel malt and butter toffee hint, along with a lightly aromatic, citrusy, floral hop scent. Upon tasting, it’s a bit to feeble for my palate. Light and watery, with oily hops and diacetyl. And this was fresh.

Crosling, Mar 25, 2006
Photo of Rootdog316
4/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This amber ale has a definite hop aroma. The color could be described as a mixture of brown, red, and golden. The foaminess level is adequate enough. It doesn't produce a good head of foam, but it's acceptable. A little more complexity or additional malt flavor would have swayed my opinion a notch higher. But it's still a very good, hoppy ale. It's a little more on the bitter side than other beers, but hop lovers will think it's great!

Rootdog316, Mar 20, 2006
Photo of mynie
4/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice dark APA orange. Much more hazy than I'm used to. Nice.

Smells like light citrus and grapefruit hops and a bit of bread yeast. Standard but solid.

Surprising kick of hops up front. Lots of citrus. Oranges and lemons. Followed up a full balance of caramel malt and ends on a nice wavy bend of doughy yeast.

A good, solid APA.

mynie, Mar 04, 2006
Photo of clvand0
3.73/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light amber color with a small head that falls fast and leaves a little lacing on the glass. Very clean looking. The aroma isn't too strong but there is some obvious caramel malt and some American hops (possibly cascade). The flavor is very nice, but it reminds me more of an ESB than an American Pale. Caramel malts with smooth bitterness and balanced hop flavor. This beer seems like a "lite" version of an APA or an ESB. The flavor is nice, but it could be more full and more flavorful. The body is a bit light and the drinkability is good.

clvand0, Feb 02, 2006
Photo of heyitsbyron
4.25/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a single from a six pack into a pint glass.

Poured perfectly. Nice inch of pearly head, clear amber color. Can't ask for anything more. I remarked to my friends how this beer poured perfectly.

Smell was so-so. Smelled hoppy of course, bit malty, maybe a bit sweet too. Good aromas, just the volume was turned down a bit.

Flavor was spec-freaking-tacular. I have never had an amber that was this balanced and this pleasant. No macro brew tastes, no funky chemicals. Just a pure balance of malts, hops, and taste of carmely sweetness.

Mouth feel was medium and smooth, no complaints here.

Bring it on! I don't usually like ambers, but I'd buy this again in a heart beat. Good for all seasons, for all occasions. I've had other MacTarnahan's beers and had low expectations but this is better than Great Lakes, Sprecher, or Capital ambers. Simply magnificent.

heyitsbyron, Jan 19, 2006
Photo of ChiSox05
4/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lacing coats side of glass in patches, lasting creamy foam, amber orange

Almond malt, fresh "green" smelling hops, some spice not sure of

Roaster and bitter toffee, nip with a flavor not unlike scotch, bittersweet until a lightly spiced hoppiness ends the taste mildly bitter and toasted
Carbonation smooths it out and spreads the flavor, prevents from being too malty sweet, sweetness blanaces the roasted malt and faint hop bitterness. Moderate body.
Found a single in a shopping cart full of Michelob Ultra, Icehouse, mudslide mix and other random stuff for $.99, turned out to be a diamond in the rough. I could drink this all week, going back to that circus cart first chance I get and digging out the rest of these. Bravo, I though it was damn good.

ChiSox05, Dec 23, 2005
Photo of DogFood11
3.33/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Decent sized pillowy off white head, Copper, medium to large carbonation, laces sparingly.

Pretty powerful hop smell for the style along with the usual toasted, malted backbone. Interesting mix just not sure how well this will mix in the gobblage as they seem to be battling more than meshing.

Hey! this works out ok. The hops aren't quite as strong and they provide more of a sharp hit towards the middle and move on to a sweet malt ending. Taste lingers a bit as there is no real cleansing taking place.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied. Easy to drink and the next beer will be another Mac's Amber.

DogFood11, Dec 21, 2005
Photo of whynot44
3.55/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Light/medium bodied, nice clear amber color with a creamy tan head.

Aroma is primarily Cascade hops with a biscuity malt background.

Taste is also primarily hops with a citrus (grapefruit) and floral or herbal bite but is not very aggressive. Again, there is a very mild bready malt background.

Smooth, very drinkable. Nothing really outstanding but very pleasant for a relaxing drink after work.

whynot44, Dec 17, 2005
Photo of ypsifly
3.93/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Undated 12oz poured into a pint glass.

Amber, duh, with a small white head that falls quick and leaves minimal wisps of lace.

The first aroma that jumps out is floral but slightly piney hops. I would really like to know what strain this is. Some toasted crackers underneath.

The taste follows along the same path as the nose, but with the hops less pronounced. I was hoping for a good dose of them, but didn't get my fix. However, this restraint works well with the caramel flavor from the malts and lends balance to the big picture. Lingering bitterness in the aftertaste. I like it.

Better than average mouthfeel, a good session brew.

ypsifly, Oct 01, 2005
Photo of Wasatch
3.48/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a golden amber color, small head, some lacing. Scents of sweet malt. Nice taste for an amber, but have had better. Light-medium body. You could drink alot of these, not very strong alcohol content. I would really not recommend the MacTarnahan's line-up, nice, but there are other brews better out therem IMHO.

Wasatch, Sep 28, 2005
Photo of WesWes
3.95/5  rDev +14.5%
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.

WesWes, Jun 27, 2005
Photo of oberon
3.88/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

oberon, Jun 04, 2005
Photo of HoboAGoGo
3.23/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

HoboAGoGo, May 01, 2005
Photo of palma
3.83/5  rDev +11%
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.

palma, Mar 09, 2005
Photo of RedDiamond
3.73/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

RedDiamond, Mar 07, 2005
Photo of Padron4KM
3/5  rDev -13%
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.

Padron4KM, Mar 05, 2005
Photo of Redrover
4/5  rDev +15.9%
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!

Redrover, Feb 21, 2005
Photo of ppoitras
3.65/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

ppoitras, Jan 27, 2005
Photo of misterscooter
3.63/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

misterscooter, Dec 24, 2004
Photo of kmpitz2
3.28/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

kmpitz2, Dec 06, 2004
Photo of hero27
4.22/5  rDev +22.3%
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.

hero27, Oct 26, 2004
Photo of KoG
4.13/5  rDev +19.7%
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.

KoG, Oct 24, 2004
Photo of brewQ
3.98/5  rDev +15.4%
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.

brewQ, Oct 23, 2004
Photo of Tballz420
4.03/5  rDev +16.8%
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.

Tballz420, Oct 20, 2004
MacTarnahan's Amber Ale from Portland Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 222 ratings.