MacTarnahan's Spine Tingler - Portland Brewing Company

Not Rated.
MacTarnahan's Spine TinglerMacTarnahan's Spine Tingler

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

172 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 172
Reviews: 62
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 14.25%
Wants: 8
Gots: 12 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Portland Brewing Company visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
Tripel |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: msubulldog25 on 02-26-2010

The third of four in a new series of specialty beers (introduced 2009-10), available March through May.

Malts: Pilsner Malt, and Wheat
Hops: Northern Brewer, and Perle
Other: Candied Sugar
IBU: 23
ABV: 8.5 %
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 172 | Reviews: 62
Reviews by Nerudamann:
Photo of Nerudamann
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a snifter glass.

Look - light golden in color, with slow carbonation, and about a finger's worth of foam that dissipates quickly.

Smell - interesting smell, almost smells like a barbeque salt, but at the same time has elements of a yeasty smell.

Taste - much like the smell, there's a barbeque-like essence to it, but it does taste a bit more on the yeasty side. You can somewhat taste or tell the abv. Not a lot of bite, mostly sweet and smooth.

Mouthfeel - a little bubbly, but otherwise pretty well-balanced, leaning a little on the watery side.

Overall - interesting and thought-provoking. Good-tasting and definitely worth the try.

More User Reviews:
Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into chalice, no bottle dating. Pours fairly crystal clear golden amber color with a 1 finger dense and fluffy white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of apricot, lemon, pear, apple, light banana, clove, pepper, herbal, grass, candi sugar, bread, light bubblegum, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast, pale malt, and earthy hop notes; with good strength. Taste of big apricot, lemon, pear, apple, light banana, clove, pepper, candi sugar, bread, herbal, grass, light bubblegum, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Good amount of earthy yeast spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of apricot, lemon, pear, apple, light banana, clove, pepper, herbal, grass, candi sugar, bread, light bubblegum, and herbal/yeast earthiness on the finish for a short bit. Fairly dry after the finish. Damn nice complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, pale malt, and earthy hop flavors; with a great malt/spiciness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, crisp, and slightly bready mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent tripel! All around great complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, pale malt, and earthy hop flavors; and very smooth and crisp to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #39 (Apr 2010):

Great to see that Belgian styles are becoming more commonplace these days amongst craft brewers.

The head may not stick to the glass as much as we wanted, but the thin layer of lacing is unwavering from the never-ending stream of active bubbles racing to the top. Mildy hazed, pale golden color. Hints of taffy, bubble gum, Band-Aids, vanilla wafers, chalky yeast, exotic fruit and a hint of herbal hop make for a very complex aroma. Crisp, with enough fluff in the moderate-size body, it flaunts it like a Tripel. Dry malt palate throughout with cracker, bread crust and dried grass flavors. A little lemony, herbal and certainly medicinal ... hello, phenols! Hops are very modest here, which is fine, as the alcohol does drop a bit of peppercorn and heat to counter the malt. A little juicy and fruity middle to end, though the dryness takes hold in the finish with a long linger of medicinal phenols, fading alcohol and a clean graininess.

Mac has done us a solid by brewing this beer. If you listen close enough, it's screaming to be paired with a sharp cheese.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pale golden beer appears nicely in my St Bernardus chalice glowing golden honeycomb body with a bright white head forming thick. Aroma has some honeysuckle floral notes, deep mango, and tropical pineapple twang going on just a big ol' mess of fruit esters. Flavor is easily a bit tart with fruit notes, mango, tangerine, pineapple notes with a nice cereal grain accent and herbal hops in the finish with a thin layer of spice and alcohol booze going on. Mouthfeel is a bit sticky at times, but not cloying a bit hot with booze heat, but not over the top. Enjoyable take on a Belgian tripel without the finesse, your classic tripel tastes easy to drink without the big alcohol it goes down easy and creeps up on you.

Photo of chinchill
3.81/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

650ml bottle served in a Belgian snifter.

Pour is hazy and golden with a good head and very good lacing.

Aroma: mildly fruity and lightly spicy with a substantial light grain base.

Flavor: moderately fruity with hints of banana and clove, and a less obvious presence of light malts.

Feel: lively but appropriate carbonation; medium body.

O: fine American version of this Belgian style.

Photo of CloudStrife
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle split and poured into a chalice. Enjoy by 053112

A: Pours a hazy golden with a thick white 1 finger that sticks around for the entire glass. Tons of visible carbonation. Some lacing on the sides of the glass.

S: Yeasty belgian aroma with a hint of a sweet sugar. Light fruits like banana or pear. Malts in the background. Slightly lacking for a tripel.

T: Starts off with a sweet belgian yeast, transitioning into some malts. A well constructed light flavor, that makes you want more.

M: Ample carbonation, fairly light body. Crisp finish. The light flavors add to the drinkability.

Overall a good american take on a belgian beer. Lacks certain belgian standards like body and unique flavor, but makes up for it in drinkability and price.

Photo of rdilauro
4.01/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Golden light beer with a tiny white head. Definite Belgium Hop and Yeast bouquet which was very pleasant.
Clean and very crisp with subtle pear/peach like overtones.
The finish was just as crisp as the start.

After tasting so many of the bigger stronger Belgium this was a pleasant surprise. Its a good spring beer.

Photo of mdaschaf
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear golden color with a two finger, white foamy head on top, great retention. Nice, sticky lacing clings to the glass.

S: A bit of lemon and green apple with some grainy malt. Very slight Belgian yeast aroma. A but of alcohol comes through.

T: Very light fruit ester flavors with a little bit of spice/yeast mixed in. Some light grainy/pale malt with a touch of alcohol coming through here as well.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

O: An average tripel, the alcohol coming through hurt a bit. At least it was only $1.99.

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.19/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This one starts out with a bang, golden hued haze, bubbly with a high fluffy head. Aroma is pretty classic, heady yeast, sweet malt, maybe too sweet...sour and tangy fruit combo and slightly earthy.

The flavor also starts out really nice, a classic balance of heady, earthy, fruity yeast that adds layers of natural and wild flavor's but the malt is simply too much, with a hot overtone that is not hidden well by the other aspects. The yeast is also not exactly as complex as some other classic Abbey's or American-Belgian's from this style.

The feel once again, starts out active and lively and then as a short time goes by, it relaxes, the head dissipates and is gone. The yeast feel dies out too fast leaving only too much malt.


gotta pass on this one because there is way too many wonderful Belgian or Belgian-style Tripels out there.

Photo of tdm168
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - translucent gold with a short-lived white head

S - yeast, alcohol, some faint spice

T - fruit, alcohol, light malt, white grapes

M - warming alcohol, medium bodied, well carbonated

This is a pretty alcoholic. It's boozy. The flavor is simplistic. It's all booze with some fruity yeast notes. Ultimately, this is a simple, one-dimensional beer that I won't be having again.

Photo of zaphodchak
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thin white head, with a crystal clear body which is actually yellow.

Crisp, strong nose that is mostly coriander.

Bitter for a tripel, but with sweetness towards the end. Still finishes pretty dry. Faint citrus.

Thinnish, but not too thin.

Quite a decent tripel if a bit coriander-heavy.

Photo of RickS95
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A little light in color, golden straw, but the nice white head makes up for it. Good retention with solid lacing as the bubbles fall. Not quite clear.

Lots of pepper spice, grape, pear and candied sugar. Very champagne-like, you can almost smell the carbonation.

Tastes like it smells. Pepper and white grape dominate with only hints of the sugar. Slight alcohol in the swallow. Pilsner malts are obvious.

A bit rough around the edges, not real smooth. The spice is aggressive bringing some heat with it. A bit tart and mostly dry in the finish.

It's a sharp beer, not subtle and that keeps the score down a bit. Not as refined as a Belgian.

Photo of jtierney89
4.3/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got this before it was released in nj from a brew rep, pumped to try it. Here it goes.

Wow. Brilliant looking beer. Super incredibly clear light gold color with about a fluffy 3 finger bright white head. Nose is big on banana, nuts, and clove with a touch of bubble gum. Some earthy notes are present as the beer breathes.

Wow. Damn, damn, damn good beer. Medium in body yet somehow feels fuller in the mouth due to the complexity and blending of the flavors. Drinks like one sturdy wave of flavor
over the tastebuds. Good carbonation, better than most tripels. Just enough to cut up the body without being over bearing. Classic Belgian flavors present like those present
on the nose but other unique flavors really give this beer a unique spin. Tart green apples with a touch of citrus and a more noticeable hop presence than most. In a good way
though, balances the beer so incredibly well. So incredibly clean as well.

This is an amazing tripel and I can't wait to get this on the shelves.

Photo of beerthulhu
3.33/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Lemon coloring with a pristine clarity on the first pour. A pearl white frothy head sits a finger at best with a fair rate of retention. A semi-strong carbonation factor is quick paced within, while the lacing is moderate.

S: Aroma is weak sour lemony musky grains is all I could gather. Some bread and wheat.

T: The flavor is spicy and warm, sharp orange sweetness, lemon and musky grains and wheat. Grain sweetness mixes with a spicy booziness and offers some banana and pear notes from the yeast.

M: Strong carbonation on the mouthful that quickly turns frothy and washy on the hold lacks crispness. Body is light.

O: Overall moderate experience. Sweet, warm and spicy and starts out well enough but a bomber may over stay its welcome. I would recommend splitting a bomber to kept things fresh and interesting as towards the end the flavor gets a bit mundane. Spine tingler is ok, certainly didn’t tickle my fancy let alone my spine but in smaller portions may become more enjoyable.

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Could only afford a cheap bomber.... so another McTarnahan's Belgian style it is. Shared with the wife... mine is poured into MNFG (Portsmouth Goblet thanks to jrae2424 ... Very Cool Jason!!)

Thin 1/2" white head dies quickly... the brew is a hazed golden.

Nose is heavily phenolic and estery... honestly reminds me of a big German Hefe... plenty of clove.. some pink bubblegum.... banana.

Flavor gives a huge nod to Bazooka Joe... lesser banana and spices... ehhh... okay... just really tons of Belgian Yeast qualities... maybe too much for my taste.

Body is medium with a fair amount of small bubble carbonation.

okay across the board, but I don't know I will buy another.

3.5/3.5/3.5/4/3.5

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: Clear, between amber and straw color. Nice white head with lots of bubbles.
smell: Sweet and fruity. Some creamy fullness and nice hints of spice and a pinch of sour.
taste: Fruity sweetness up front almost immediately replaced with a dry finish. Not as full of complexity and balance as the nose.
mouthfeel: Lots of carbonation.
overall: A nice enjoyable tripel.

Photo of CookstLiquor
4.42/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 650ml bottle. Featured a thin, off-white head. The colour was deep gold. Typical tripel aromas of bubblegum and tropical fruits. Great carbonation and lots of exotic rioe fruit notes on the palate. A little boozy, but a nice tangy finish. Loved it.

Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Westmalle chalice. The beer pours out a slightly hazy yellow-orange color with about a half finger of fine white head that quickly dies down to a thin lacing. The nose carries some bready malt, banana-like fruity esters, and spicy clove-like phenols.

The beer is full-bodied and has a very traditional Tripel flavor. Sweet and fruity up front with malty fresh bread flavors as well as some citrus-like sweetness. Some spicy notes come in right in the wake of the opening sweetness and balance out the flavors very nicely. On the finish, you get a mild hit of bittering hops and a faint hit of alcohol that warms everything up nicely. Very well crafted Tripel.

Tripels are not my thing so I haven't had a lot of them. This one is much better than I expected it to be (I paid $2 for the bomber - an exceptional bargain). The flavors are a bit on the mild side and the spiciness, while nice, lacks the complexity that some of the better Tripels have. Still, a nicely brewed beer. Not too sweet or too spicy and just the right amount of booziness.

Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.22/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a hazy golden color, tinge of orange, decent sized bubbly head that fades super quick, no lacing on the goblet.

Smell has a nice aroma of banana and clove, fairly spicy to the nose, some bubblegum.

Taste has a nice sweet malt backing, good deal of Belgian candied sugar, banana and bubblegum have a nice presence, has a large citrus presence as well which is nice, hops are very muted with little bitterness but I'm not sad it's lacking in this beer, carbonation is very active and aggressive yet works, finishes semi-dry, alcohol is very well hidden.

Not bad for a bottle that's been discounted down to $2, I may need to pick up a few extras for the basement if there's any left.

Photo of SouljaSaia17
4.85/5  rDev +28%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Did a sample taste of this awhile back and enjoyed it but wasnt about to pay $8 for a bomber. But my beer guy came through and I got a bottle for $3.

A: Carbonation is extreme that compliments the nice light straw color. Has a bright white 1 inch head that sticks around.

S: Has a belgian-style aroma that is complimented with banana, grassy notes and coriander. Slight hint of honey in the smell as well.

T: The taste shoots with tropical fruit, the banana flavor really shines through. A very nice triple, tastes like a saison, but without the bitterness. Lots of floral hops present.

M: Mouth feel is pleasant, very easy to drink and the carbonation really brings the flavor to the forefront.

O: I havent had many Triples at all, but if this is any indication of what to expect, I look forward to many more. This is a great beer!

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.74/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep gold color, with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains Belgian yeast, fruits, caramelized malts, some spice and some hops.

T: The taste starts out with sweet flavors of caramel, spices, apples and citrus. Then some breadiness comes in from Belgian yeast and a hearty but not too heavy malt character. There’s also a bit of an estery bite. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, it’s a solid beer but there are others in the style that I would choose first.

Photo of Reidrover
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle from Fred Meyer in N.Salem..with a very ugly label! Ok beer to look at. a slightly hazy orange with a small frothy off white head. Copious lace. Rather phenolic aromas..much bubble gum and some peach Ok Very sweet in taste to begin with then a sourness and bitterness balance it out dry fnish leaving a salty after taste that invites another sip. OK on the palate, well carbonated and goes down well. Overall not a bad beer but not a good Tripel.

Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.27/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a balloon glass.

Look: Dark golden, almost orangish yellow body. Thick off white head recedes to a film, good world map lacing.

Aroma: Yeasty, sweet banana peel, malty.

Taste: Deliciosly sweet and smooth from malts, almost a bubblegum candy taste. Good amount of fruity banana comes through.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and mellow, very drinkable for 8.5%.

Overall: Quite simply, wonderfully sweet and smooth. Makes me want to explore more triples.

Photo of constantine_272
2.3/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2

A: Extremely carbonated. Pale yellow and very clear. White slippery foam with good retention and small thing bubble texture.

S: Sweet melon and honey. Free range bacteria funk.

T: Wheat flavor up front with a lot of sweetness and some green apple. The Belgian fermentation funk follows up with a vengeance with a one-two punch with alcohol; too much for me. The green apple works, but the yeast flavor lingered way too long and didn't have anything to balance it out.

M: Tongue coating and oily. It leaves a long aftertaste with a little bit of steel flavor. Very thin in texture.

O: I like Belgian style beers but this took the style too far for my taste. This was brewed with way too much sugar and the yeast went hog wild. There is still a lot if residual sweetness as well. The over carbonation didn't sit well in my stomach either. I had high hopes for this beer, I was even in the mood for a Belgian ale, and I couldn't bring myself to like this one.

Photo of jlindros
3.45/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a light fizzy head of 1/2 finger, fades semi quickly typical of 8.5%, very clear straw almost watery.

Nose is typical Belgian golden malts, light fruity esters from yeast and light floral spices, hint of bubblegum, apple and pair, hint of booze.

Taste starts with light cereal grains, light belgian malts, fruity esters with apple and pair but light, hint of chewy bubblegum and hint of metallic, light warming and slight tingly booze, hint of solventy, light wheat flavors, floral spices and hint citrus. Finish is light solventy very quick finish, slightly dry, hint of malts.

Mouth is med bodied, decent carb, light warming booze.

Overall meh, interesting flavors but some bubblegum and solvent, very light and slightly watery on the taste, finish is way too quick.

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MacTarnahan's Spine Tingler from Portland Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 172 ratings.