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MacTarnahan's Spine Tingler - Portland Brewing Company

MacTarnahan's Spine TinglerMacTarnahan's Spine Tingler

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

162 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 162
Reviews: 61
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 14.59%

Brewed by:
Portland Brewing Company visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
Tripel |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes/Commercial Description:
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 added by: msubulldog25 on 02-26-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of MacTarnahan's Spine Tingler Alström Bros
Ratings: 162 | Reviews: 61 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of CloudStrife

New York

4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2012 00:35:30 | More by CloudStrife
Photo of zaphodchak


3.93/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2012 00:00:19 | More by zaphodchak
Photo of katan


3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz into a goblet

A - Pours a light golden color. Strong head formation that breaks down with little lacing, right into a film. No hazing or yeast suspension.

S - Strong spicy nose, hints of coriander, white pepper, citrus, clove.

T - Starts off smooth and sweet, a few hints of pilsner. Gets much more spicy mid-stream, brings in the coriander and some citrus to back it up. Finishes with a light sweetness, and a hint of alcohol warmth.

M - Fuller bodied, lower carbonation on the mouthfeel. Finishes a little bit sticky. Alcohol warmth is noticable.

O/D - A good and easy drinking tripel. On the sweeter side, and reasonable in alcohol levels. A worthy tripel.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2012 23:57:31 | More by katan
Photo of bigflatsbeerman

New York

4.5/5  rDev +19.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2012 01:15:25 | More by bigflatsbeerman
Photo of superspak


3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into chalice, no bottle dating. Pours fairly crystal clear golden amber color with a small foamy white head with poor retention, that reduces to a thin ring of lace. No glass lacing, and a fair amount of carbonation streaming up. Aromas of big apricot, banana, clove, bread, pepper, grass, apricot, apple, pear, candi sugar, and yeast spices. Very nice and well balanced aromas with good strength and complexity. Taste of big apricot, pepper, pear, banana, clove, bubblegum, bread, earth, candi sugar, and yeast spiciness. Fairly dry on the finish; with lingering notes of banana, pear, apricot, pepper, clove, bread, and earth spices on the finish for a good bit. Great balance of sweet/peppery flavors; with no cloying sweetness at all. Medium carbonation and body; with a slightly creamy and slick mouthfeel as expected for the style, with crisp carbonation. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warming after the finish present. Very smooth and easy to sip on. Overall this is a damn nice Tripel. Very nice flavor balance and complexity; and very smooth to sip on. A really well done effort. Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2012 03:12:34 | More by superspak
Photo of Philousa


3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear sunshiney gold in appearance with spotty, airy head. Strong banana aroma, clove, allspice. Some light herbs, like parsley. Belgian yeast brings out many spices with a swirl. Complex. Banana again in flavor, some spices kick in, but the Belgian malt really packs a wallop. Most Tripels are too sweet from cancied sugar, but not with this one. Well balanced in that regard. Feel is on the heavy side with a very dry finish.

Great alternative to a "true" Belgian at American prices. Worth a purchase when you see it.

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2012 03:56:16 | More by Philousa
Photo of BMoney575


4.23/5  rDev +12.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-26-2012 23:26:45 | More by BMoney575
Photo of beerthulhu

New Jersey

3.35/5  rDev -11.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2012 00:08:56 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of Nerudamann


4/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-20-2012 03:57:52 | More by Nerudamann
Photo of DovaliHops


3.6/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a crystal-clear golden color with a medium white head that disappears instantaneously. Scent is very sweet with some candied sugar and green apple aroma. A little bit of bubble gum. As the beer warms, more bubblegum pulls through. Taste is initially somewhat floral...almost like potpourri. Some earthy characteristics with melon and green apple. A bit of alcohol with bubblegum and Belgian yeast. Very crisp and fruity. Mouthfeel is light bodied and highly carbonated. Drinkability is high. Overall, definitely not one of the best tripels, but a good effort.

Had to edit because after sipping on this for quite sometime, the taste morphs from quite enjoyable...to a little less enjoyable. There is a strange lingering aftertaste. Still a tasty beer though.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2012 08:07:16 | More by DovaliHops
Photo of cindyjeffsmith


3.78/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2012 23:38:27 | More by cindyjeffsmith
Photo of MoreThanWine


4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2012 08:45:04 | More by MoreThanWine
Photo of jlindros


3.45/5  rDev -8.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2012 13:15:34 | More by jlindros
Photo of Brad007


4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2012 02:37:21 | More by Brad007
Photo of RickS95


3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2012 03:57:21 | More by RickS95
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a crystal clear golden; for a Belgian style, the head was not particularly impressive though it did leave a few clumps of lace scattered here and there

Smell: Golden Delicious apples, cotton candy and spicy, herbal phenols

Taste: The apple flavor jumps out, up front, though it is not as sweet as in the aroma; by mid-palate, the spicy yeast phenols add a sharp twist; after the swallow, the sweeter elements start to come through, bringing the Candi sugar impact, though the phenols remain pronounced

Mouthfeel: Medium body with prickly carbonation; warmth in the gullet

Overall: A decent stab, but I am not crazy about the cumulative effect; a bit to sharp and phenolic; the alcohol is not particularly well disguised and the sweetness didn't meld well with the rest of the flavors

Thanks, mdaschaf, for the opportunity

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2012 01:48:50 | More by brentk56
Photo of JackieTH


4/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2012 03:19:42 | More by JackieTH
Photo of mactrail


3.08/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Perfumey Belgian-inspired tripel. Clear golden in the Affligem chalice. Decent head, champagne bubbles, and a fairly coarse carbonation. Light floral and fruity aroma.

Rather appley, in fact I immediately thought of Boone's Farm apple wine. Sugary taste with a rough cider apple bitterness. A touch of an aspirin kind of bitterness. Aftertaste is quite unpleasant with the bitter and sweet together. Not much in the way of yeast or complex flavors. On the sharp side as the sugar subsides.

From the 22 oz bottle scored at Olive Tree Market in OB, San Diego.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2012 05:13:05 | More by mactrail
Photo of WVbeergeek


3.63/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2012 23:05:13 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of Cyberkedi


3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma is not strong but still inviting, fruity, malty and a little yeasty. It pours a clear solar yellow with a thick, fluffy and rather persistent white head. Rich flavor has firm pear, banana and yeasty notes with a malty underpinning and a subtle alcohol nip. Lively, fizzy flavor gets the attention of your mouth and trachea - you can feel it all the way down to your tummy. A spine tingler indeed!

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2012 20:28:33 | More by Cyberkedi
Photo of avalon07

South Carolina

4.4/5  rDev +16.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2012 13:05:01 | More by avalon07
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy

New Hampshire

3.15/5  rDev -16.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2012 22:03:26 | More by GratefulBeerGuy
Photo of rdilauro


4.01/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2012 01:01:45 | More by rdilauro
Photo of jtierney89

New Jersey

4.3/5  rDev +14.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-29-2012 05:04:10 | More by jtierney89
Photo of ChainGangGuy


4.08/5  rDev +8.2%
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!

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2012 04:43:01 | More by ChainGangGuy
MacTarnahan's Spine Tingler from Portland Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 162 ratings.