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MacTarnahan's Spine Tingler - Portland Brewing Company

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

61 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 61
Hads: 173
Avg: 3.78
pDev: 24.07%
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

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of MacTarnahan's Spine Tingler Alström Bros
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Reviews: 61 | Hads: 173
Photo of SouljaSaia17
4.85/5  rDev +28.3%
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!

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Photo of bigflatsbeerman
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured into a chalice. Gold color with quite a bit of carbonation (is it bottle conditioned?), but only about a one finger head.
Smell: To me it smells like Duvel Golden Ale a benchmark beer for the style. I am struck at the lack of head compared to Duvel which probably would have had a 3 finger head.
Taste: Quite nice, again comparing it to Duvel I would put it in a similar league. Pricewise this beer wins at $7 for 650 ml vs. $11 for 750 ml for Duvel.
Overall: Very good. I had never heard of this beer before buying it. I live in upstate NY and have never seen MacTanrahan's beer in this area (maybe I missed it?). I would definately seek it out again.

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Photo of ccrida
4.47/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into my large St. Feuillien goblet, Spine Tingler is a lightly hazed dark gold with a tight white head with decent last leaving foamy lace, fed by a steady stream of lazy bubbles.

Smell is very estery, overripe bananas, lychee. Love it.

Taste is also estery, the fruits but also some spiciness, just a very light hint of cereals and a whisper of alcohol, clean and tasty.

Mouthfeel is very creamy, medium-light bodied.

Drinkability is solid. I love big estery Belgians, and this one is also smooth and value priced. I think people have a negative bias towards all these Mac's specialty beers based on the low priced and the depth of flavor of their year rounders. But I've been impressed and have really enjoyed them so far, and this one is no exception. Well done!

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Photo of CookstLiquor
4.42/5  rDev +16.9%
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.

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Photo of avalon07
4.39/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a yellow color and a clear consistency. There was a half inch of foamy, fairly long-lasting head. Not a whole lot of lacing.

S: A strong aroma of light fruit, yeast, and some malt.

T: Tasted of Belgian yeast, malt, phenols, fruit (citrus mostly), and some spices (pepper, e.g.). An excellent flavor: well-rounded, robust, easy to drink.

M: A highly carbonated beer with a prickly, lively finish. Medium-bodied.

O: One of the better examples of an American version of a Belgian-style beer. Very drinkable.

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Photo of jtierney89
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
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.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.27/5  rDev +13%
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.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.22/5  rDev +11.6%
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.

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Photo of schoolboy
4.21/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is tripel in the tradition of the tripels that fool you into thinking they are light. It pours a lovely light golden color, semi-translucent, with a fantastic pretty head. The head sticks with it too, like the best belgians. It keeps producing bubbles!

The taste is slightly thicker than the best of the style, but it's great. The yeasty taste is well balanced as is the sweet/tartness. Very interesting without being overly complex.

The aftertaste is similarly sweet and tart. Nowhere does it get too boozy - it would have been nice to see them make it just a tad stronger to see if it holds up, but it is extremely drinkable as it is. I will consume the entire bomber in short order.

Based on this I would have another of these and try others from this brewery (I am pretty sure this is my first MacTarnahan's).

PS - I am seeing others got bombers for $1 to $2! I would buy a large quantity for that price. I paid $6.99!

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Photo of BMoney575
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on 5-26-12

Appearance: bright golden yellow color, with a huge white head and craggy lacing. Just right.

Smell: fruity, Belgian, boozy, everything you'd expect. Very well made with a nice depth.

Taste: the smell but better. An outstanding example of the style, smooth and fruity, lots of alcohol in the finish. The aftertaste is fruity again, with none of the harshness that tripels can have.

Mouthfeel: perfect, creamy and light, accents the flavors and booze.

Overall: a great choice if you can find some.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.08/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle - $5.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours out a clear, light golden body with a meringue-like, airy, white head. The head collapses but sustains a thin coating.

Smell: Sweetish nose of pils and wheat malt with notes of honeysuckle, spicy-scented whole peppercorns, aromatic esters of stone fruits and pulped 'nanas, chewing gum, and alcohol.

Taste: Pilsner malts with a tickle of tangy wheat malt. Moderately sweet with a sugary flourish. Splash of tart pear and banana juices. A few green peppercorns. A quarter teaspoon of sweetened lemon cream. Small hint of alcohol. Drying, fruity, and spicy on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-plus carbonation.

Overall: Not overly sweet, not too boozy, and not burdensomely heavy in the mouthfeel department -- I kinda liked it!

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Photo of MoreThanWine
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a 1.25" fine velvet custard head with medium lifespan. The body is a hazy yellow between straw and golden. I'd expected a little more from the smell but it does have some tropical fruit and hints at candied sugar. The taste far exceeds the smell with fig, butterscotch, the candied sugar, and even some vanilla hints. It has a medium rich body and a medium long finish. Quite enjoyed it.

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Photo of CloudStrife
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

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Photo of Brad007
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a bright golden color with a decent one-finger head into my glass. Very good appearance.

Sweet with clove, spicy yeast and a hint or two of citrus in the nose. Been a while since I've had this style.

Raisin, clove and apple are the actual flavors that I detect. Add those to chewy malt and you have an interesting combination.

Lingering raisin and clove. Chewy malt. The works. Nothing out of the ordinary.

I like this. It may just be the ticket that I need to get back into reviewing Belgian ales.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.02/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bomber into a tulip. Bottle says to enjoy by 6/10/2010.

Appearance: light golden color with a touch of haze and a finger of compact white foam. Pretty nice, though the foam seems to be dissipating somewhat rapidly.

Smell: very nice malt aroma with appropriate fruit characteristics: pear, Granny Smith apples and a light cherry character are all present. The nose also has a hint of floral aromas and a little warming alcohol. Quite appealing.

Taste: flavor is quite bright. More pure malt flavor comes through in the flavor than in the aroma, which is quite nice. The sweet fruit qualities are still here, though dampened. Personally, I like the contrast between aroma and taste. This is also a tad sweeter than the average tripel; not a bad thing, necessarily, but a touch too sweet for my liking. Hops here are very subtle but appropriate.

Mouthfeel: I think my love for creaminess is one reason I like tripels so much. Here, Spine Tingler does not disappoint: medium-thick body which is already a little syrupy also has a big does of carbonation which makes for a delightfully creamy liquor.

Drinkability: very good, but the extra sweetness is just enough to make this merely "good". It's still a very nice beer which I would gladly have again.

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Photo of Kendo
4.02/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from the bomber into a Duvel tulip. Body is hazy golden-honey in color with a small white head on top. The occasional splotch of lacing clings to the side of the glass.

S: Definitely some barnyard funkiness going on here. Bubblegum sweetness and yeasty fruitiness, with a touch of lemony bitterness.

T: Follows the nose - modestly sweet malt and stone fruits - think apricots, ripe nectarines. Finishes with a lingering lemony bitterness that provides nice balance - in fact, it seems to become more bitter as it lingers on the palate in the aftertaste. Heat from the 8.5% ABV is felt in the belly.

M: Excellent mouthfeel - real nice Belgian-like airy-light fizziness that makes it seem lighter on the palate than it is.

O: Good stuff. Well worth the 99 cents I paid for the bomber. . . .

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Photo of rdilauro
4.01/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

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Photo of JackieTH
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber while traveling through Nebraska.

Poured a glowing golden with a huge, white, pillowy, rocky head that persisted until the beer was drained.

Smell is all about yeast with banana, clove, green apple, coriander.

Taste is bananas and cloves along with green apple, pepper, crackers and bread, and sweetness reminiscent of bubble gum.

Body is medium with a creamy mouthfeel. Well carbonated. While not transcendent this is a pretty darn good tripel.

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Photo of Nerudamann
4/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.99/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

one of the better American tripels ive had in some time. it has a hazy blonde color to it, faint caramel glows, and a half inch of white milky head. it smells like a farmhouse beer, or a wild ale, curiously yeasty for the style, and very bright and floral. I don't get the candy sugar or the light sweet malts in the nose at all, just a really intriguing yeast strain. the taste isn't nearly so far out, coming back within the conventions of the style. sweet pale and wheat malts on the front end, and a honey sweetness on the finish, without lingering any longer than necessary. the yeast isn't as fun as the nose indicated, but it does unite all elements quite well. my first beer from these guys, and I really enjoyed it. thanks to my mom for hooking it up, a nice first beer in their new home. good times.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.97/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomer into a snifter, the beer is a bright, slightly hazed, corn yellow coloring with a thin, sparse, filmy white coating on the surface. Aromas of bready richness, a light and fruity sweetness, both citrus and banana, and spicings of clove, nutmeg, coriander, and pepper. Flavors are all over the palate on the initial tasting, covering every tastebud. Fruitiness turns a more tropical head, supporting the more peppery and slightly cayenne spicing that highlights it. Tangy sweet backbone also has touches of more traditional Tripels, such as caramel and old world fruits like date and fig, but overall this has an updated approach, with the spices controlling the puppet strings, so to speak. The spicy bite at the end of the palate continues to grow as you continue to drink, but never lingers behind to cause a long-standing burn. Impressive control of flavors. The carbonation level and spicing also help to keep the body light and smooth. Tangy fruit aftertaste, mostly the pineapple, banana, and melon, but again with a touch of the date and fig. The finish is clean and smooth, with only a slight buzz that lingers shortly after. Looking forward to having this accent a spicy dish in the very near future.

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Photo of Pencible
3.97/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This poured a clear light gold with moderate white head.
S: It smelled like grassy and waxy hops, with some sweet candi sugar and lemon zest and wild honey and alcohol.
T: It tasted like white wine and lemon zest, with some grassy hops and candi sugar and wild honey. It had a clean and sweet aftertaste with a little lingering sourness.
M: It was oily with lots of carbonation. Full and lively body.
D: This was an interesting tripel with good scent and unique zinfandel-esque taste. The body was nice and the finish was surprisingly mellow, so it was quite easy to drink. Not for aging, already nice fresh.

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.93/5  rDev +4%
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.

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MacTarnahan's Spine Tingler from Portland Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 61 ratings.