MacTarnahan's Gran Luxe Tripel Ale | Portland Brewing Company

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MacTarnahan's Gran Luxe Tripel AleMacTarnahan's Gran Luxe Tripel Ale
Very Good
29 Ratings
MacTarnahan's Gran Luxe Tripel AleMacTarnahan's Gran Luxe Tripel Ale

Brewed by:
Portland Brewing Company
Oregon, United States

Style: Tripel

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-09-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 29 |  Reviews: 28
Reviews by HiroProtagonist:
Photo of HiroProtagonist
3.42/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Gran Luxe was served from a silkscreened 22 oz. bottle. In a Duvel tulip, the beer was a slightly hazy rich orange, and was topped by a white head that died away too quickly. The nose was rich and well done, with an orange-zest pear fruit maltiness that was spiced with coriander, pungent black pepper, and alcohol. On the palate, nice and spicy apple-pear tinged sweetish malts opened up with some coriander, lemon peel, and peppery notes in the transition to a lightly bittered, spicy coriander finish that let off a good wisp of alcohol. The finishing flavors cleared out too quickly though, leaving little parting pleasantries. The body was appropriately full for the style, but the carbonation was lacking, as was hinted at by the early head collapse. Overall though, a decent, nicely spiced tripel.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
4.07/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Florescent orange in color with almost no head. It looks like orange Kool-Aid.

Smell – The orangish-malt comes out quickly. The bready yeast and citrus flavors give this one a wonderful nose. There are some secondary aromas from light fruits like melons and peaches.

Taste – This is orange syrup concentrate. The yeast is equally large. These two flavors dominate the ale.

There’s a plethora of complimenting flavors here as well. More fruit abounds such as cherries, some banana, and a touch of cranberry.

Mouthfeel – Lightly carbonated and medium-bodied. The alcohol is more of an undertone than a partner.

Drinkability – I had a great time closing the night with this bottle.

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Photo of merlin48
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle served into a tulip glass. Pours an actively carbonated, bright orange body with a large, rocky, ivory head. Excellent retention and considerable patchy lace.
Aroma is complex, with coriander and white pepper, earthy yeast, sweet candy sugar, some fruity banana, and an unexpected note of caramel malt that seems out of place in a Tripel.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation.
Taste begins with a fruity sweetness which lingers most of the way through. Earthy yeast is assertive in the middle, as well as some mildly bitter hops. The fruity sweetness is reminiscent of Juicy Fruit chewing gum. The taste becomes more dry toward the finish, and some ethanol creeps in, as well, but this one is well balanced, overall.
This is a very good execution of the style, but somewhat overly sweet which detracts from drinkability.

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Photo of magictrokini
3.77/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours hazy orange with a cream-colored head. Aroma is nice, full of candy sugar, yeast, and wheat. The taste is not great, but very good. Dusty yeast esters and clove, but mixed with a rather bland wheat-like tanginess. The alcohol is completely masked by the candied fruit and spices. Like all MacTarnahans beers, good, but not great.

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Photo of Thrasher
4.12/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As other reviewers have noted, it is unusual to see a brewery like MacTarnahan's offering up a Belgian tripel-style ale, but make no mistake, they are up to the challenge. This beer has all-good properties but of course lacks the magic of some of the best Belgian-made brews. It's still very fine and appealingly local. Some folks have paid upward of 6 or 7 bucks for this, but I was able to go to the brewery loading dock and pick up a box of 12 bombers for under $30. A handsome luminous gold with rising head that eventually disappears, but a swirl of the glass brings it right back. Minimal lacing. Impressive aroma with fruit-like characteristics: apple, peach and a light wisp of alcohol. The malts are substantial, and effortlessly sweet with flavors of bread crust and aforementioned fruit. Alcohol is definitely noticeable but doesn't get in the way, and gives the beer a tantalizing kick and spiciness. A spritzy mouthfeel cleanses the tongue and the finish is crisp and refreshing. The perfect way to finish this sunny, springlike day whilst listening to an old Zombies album.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.35/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Carefully poured from the 650 ml bottle, the first glass is clear enough that I can see my fingerprints through the yellow gold body as plumes of tiny, effervescent bubbles race to take their place beneath the densely creamy bright-white head. (Secondary pours, however, are much cloudier with solid bits of proteinaceous matter that appeared in the unopened bottle to be just too volumous to settle out solidly). The head retention is good, and it maintains a wide, creamy collar and whispy surface covering throughout most of the glass. It's lacing is restrained, but what's there is nice; and for a beer of 9.3% abv that's not bad. The nose offers an enticing combination of fruit (apples, tangerine), sugary malt (with a touch of vanilla), and spicy alcohol. It's medium body appears smooth in the mouth with just a light caress of the tongue from it's very fine carbonation; and it's just enough to wake up the tastebuds and bring out the flavor without becoming tingly or prickling - very nice! Sweetish malt is emphasised in the flavor profile with its fruitiness and alcohol becoming more apparent as it crosses the palate; and it's spiciness surfacing in the long and dry finish. An impressive beer! It's quite flavorful with a good balance and variety of flavors, yet it's clean and well-balanced. And although the alcohol is noteably present, it never over-steps its bounds. Nicely done!

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Photo of CRJMellor
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours into the snifter a semi-hazy orange and yellow with a faomy white head that fades away quickly with no lace. Lots of carbonation bubbles screaming for the surface.
Aroma of cracked grain, pale malt and a really orangey and lemony twang of citric acid. In the background is some real psciy and citrusy yeast notes.
Flavors of lighter, but juicy citrus are the underpinnings with some
pale and grain malt interwoven into the fabric of the beer. Yeaat profile breaks through for a second but is quickly overwhelmed by the ever present juicy fruit.
Mouthfeel is tart and sweet through mid-mouth, hits a slightly spicy and yeasty end but overwhelming fruity falvors never real let the yeast take over and finish the spice. A little too sweet and transitions aren't are clean and defined as a Tripel should be.
Drinkability is good. Not quite to style with overarching sweetness, especially as it warms but a very smooth and easy drinking beer which hides the ABV well. Reduce the sweetness just a tad and this would be a great beer.

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Photo of rallison
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I got scared after reading the last review, as I had just bought a bottle at Hollingshead's right before. Luckily, it seems I lucked out - it had not turned. Review below just got an infected bottle it would seem - bummer. Of course, had he not bought that bottle, it probably would have been the bottle I bought, so thanks for saving me! Anyway, on to the review...

A: Cloudy darker amber color with a 1/2 finger fizzy head that quickly dissipates.

S: Slightly boozy with a caramel sweetness.

T: A good amount of caramel/toffee sweetness. Alcohol is not really apparent, but is nicely balanced back there (the 2+ years it's been aging probably doesn't hurt). Spices and any sign of spiciness is minimal, relegated to the end. Everything is pretty mellow, but also not very complex.

M: Relatively thick for a tripel, with just enough carbonation to keep it from feeling lifeless.

D: Drinkable enough.

Overall, semi-recommended. It needs more complexity, but it's still a nice beer.

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Photo of Gusler
3.92/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer after escaping the 22 ounce brown bottle sets in the Belgian Triple glass a crystal clear amber color with a smallish white head that dissipate quite quickly, the residual lace a thin sheet to conceal the glass. Nose has a cotton candy like sweetness, hints of banana and maybe cloves, fresh and appealing at any rate, start is also quite sweet with a decent malt presence, the top middling in its feel to the palate. Finish is decently acidic, the hops quite mild and the 9.3 percent alcohol quite evident in the very dry aftertaste and the belly warming sensation, drinkable, but not near as good as most Belgian Triples.

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Photo of Braggadocio
4.17/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured dark amber in color, with a thin white head that quickly disappeared. Smells were yeasty, with caramel and notes of sour apple. Malt and yeast were the dominating flavors, yet not overpowering in the least. Malt was mellowed further by dry fruit flavors. The finish was capped with a heavy sour apple flavor and aftertaste. Great beer, too bad it is no longer made.

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Photo of jcalabre
3/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: This looks like a generic Amber Ale.The white head is good; the body is crystal clear.
Aroma: The aroma is actually a bit yeasty.
Flavor: Up front, there's maltiness, more than any triple I have tried. The back end is tart, almost salty.
This is different.

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Photo of Zorro
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a solid clear golden brew.

Smell is sweet with malt and banana, and a mild floral scent.

Taste is sweet and creamy with a lot of maltiness to it. Tastes more like a blonde bock beer than a Belgian trippel. A Good strong ale, but not a Belgian.

Mouthfeel is quite thick.

Doesn't really qualify as an Abbey Tripel. It IS a good blonde bock though. As a super strong ale this does work.


I read through some of the other reviews here, seems like most everyone got a different beer! My bottle was very sweet with no spiciness or fruitiness that I would expect from a Belgian beer. This isn't even close it is just sweet and powerfully alcoholic.

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Photo of marc77
3.98/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pellucid light copper hue when decanted off the sediment. Loose, dusty yeast aggregates are introduced with latter pours. Tall, fluffy head recedes slowly and yields rough, frothy lace. Tepid bready yeast with musty hints waft to the nose initially. Ensuing are notes of honey dipped pilsner malt with a bright nectar like fringe. Cloveish phenol are present at a trace. Swirling releases pure ethanol warmth with banana ester hints. Tame but pleasant aromawise. Nearly equally clean in flavor, notes of soft, but sugary sweet lavender honey are prevalent. Offsetting upfront sweetness are subtle, but zesty black pepper and citric lemon hints. Ester presence is indeed mild, with mellow ripe banana hints. Minute notes of bubblegum surface as the beer breathes. Sweetness tapers steadily over time and finalizes as a lightly sweetened angel food cake and sugared almond impression. Phenols become discernible when the brew has nearly reached room temp and remain blurred, lightly herbal and a hair shy of tangible (ie. clove) Soft on the palate, with a well calculated, dextrinous mouthfeel that is both brisk and satiating. Finishes with a snap of black licorice, but otherwise with lingering, simple, sucrose and vanilla hints. Gran Luxe is a tripel that improved as it breathed and grew on my palate. Intially it's almost bland, but wakes up in flavor and aroma quite agreeably. One strength is its dangerous drinkability. Certainly recommended if you can get it in your area, but I'm not sure if it's worth a mailorder.

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Photo of KoG
2.74/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear amber color with a pillowy white head. Laces nicely with puffy rings.

Smell is a bit odd. Musty with faint sweet malt and a touch of apple.

Taste is too sweet and a touch cidery. Finishes tart and just a bit odd, but still mildly drinkable.

Not the best tripel out there but one that I might have to get again and cellar to see if it improves. I hope it does.

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Photo of Reidrover
4.22/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ok after days, weeks even, of indecsision I purchased this today ..last one in the store too.
Comes in a plain brown bomber with gold screen printed label..nice and simple yet classy.
Lot of carbonation released when bottle is opened..nice looking beer in the Chimay chalice..light chesnut/honey brown, small pure white head..great swirls of small carbonation bubbles.
Lovelly smooth yet spicy aroma..very aromatic..also great malt scents too..blackberrys and other wild fruits come to mind..nice
Lovelly smooth tasting brew to start..then the spices heat up the middle of the taste..alcohol warmth takes over at the end..but very pleasant smooth alcohol.
Nice and creamy smooth on the palte//alcohol is balanced just right.
Very drinkable tripel ..with 9.3% its never going to be a session beer..but I can drink this very easily.

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Photo of DogFood11
3.62/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Interesting appearance. Carbonation is highly active and well supportive of the flat silky head. Slightly unfilitered Orange hue.

Picked up a sweet and spice type smell and light fruits. Some acidic, sour notes as well.

Hoppy presence up front and turns slightly acidic. Some sweet light fruity taste balanced it out. As the beer warmed up the sweetness came out more and it improved. Big alcohol warming was not well hidden. It was a bit bold and harsh at times.

One I'll try again if the price is right but nothing I'll pursue.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.35/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Spied on a recent visit to Hi-Times in Costa Mesa, I have to admit to my shallow consumerism and say that the bottle design immediately grabbed my attention. A standard Bomber, or as the fancy Gold & White screen printed is listed “22 FL OZ, 1 PT 6 FL OZ, 650ml” Mmmm, I wonder how many cubic inches that is? A superman shaped Gold Shield on the front has the words ‘Gran Luxe’ in white italics with the words ‘Tripel Ale’ prominently below it. Listed as 9.3% Alc./Vol.
Smart looking bottle.

Appearance: Dark golden color with a russet hue as it sits on my desk late in the darkened evening reflecting the light from several lamps. The head was an impressive slightly off-white affair that was comprised of bubbles of all sizes yet still nevertheless looked smooth in nature. The head soon settled to a decent ½” and it lasted for some time. Good conditioning, a quick swirl assists head retention. Perfectly lucid at first, but the last two ‘top-up’ pours from the bottle most certainly awoke the sleeping sediment and some yeast particulates accompanied the last full Glass giving a protein haze appearance which was not detracting in any way.

Nose: Deeply inhaled, this has a very Tripel-esque nose. Spicy hops with some grainy pilsner malts and a sweet-candy aroma at times. Cloves and sweet mushy Banana’s are released in force when vigorously swirled.

Taste: There is a wide spectrum of flavors in this Tripel, and they vary throughout the drink, and wax and wane depending on whether it is finished “mit yeast” or not. Starts with some sweet banana-like malts with a clove influence. Peppery spices prickle the hoppy middle, but more traditional spices poke the bitterly astringent back end. Fruity at times, apples are detectable. The last yeasty glass had a coarser feel and took the edge off of the sharp hops but it lends a nice pleasing smooth finish. Nicely done and quietly impressive.

Mouthfeel: The dissolved carbonation certainly assists in detracting the senses from the 9.3% alcohol, which is there in force make no mistake. Overall it has a medium to light feel at times, but when the alcohol does breaks through, usually in the latter third once the carbonation subsides, it has a “big-ass” feel that reminds you it is most certainly a Tripel, and one that is not that far shy of double figures.

Drinkability: I had a Bomber all to myself, and the yeasty particulate matter in the last glass added a nice pleasing twist to finishing the bottle. I would recommend a careful pour at first and a swirl to finish the bottle, quite the experience of a large flavor profile.

Overall: I have had some awful beer from MacTarnahan’s (Oregon Honey – Yuck) and some good stuff (I like the Oak-Aged IPA and I love the MacFrost). So I was hesitant as to what to expect here. I’m glad to say that the fancy bottle holds up well when compared to the Ale inside. A US Tripel that found favor with one Belgium lover.

Glad I let my emotions run wild and I did a “fancy bottle” purchase on this one.

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Photo of beerguy101
4.22/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep gold color. Medium head. Aroma is bubble gum, Belgian yeasts, spices and a touch fruity. A medium bodied triple. Malts are fruity and spicy. Banana, clove, coriander, and orange peel plus all the other spices and flavors one expects from a Belgian Ale. Very bright yeast, spicy with a touch of hop bitterness. Well balanced. Smooth taste. Hides the 9.3 % alcohol very well, only noticeable as a slight peppery aftertaste. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and right. Aftertaste is slightly sweet, with a touch of alcohol bite. Nice beer.

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Photo of Mangus
4.18/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A delicate golden liquid pour with a nice white frothy head that settles down to a thin lace.

A smorgasbord of aromas and smells provide hints of light fruit, and fresh yeast.

Beautiful mouthfeel, with smooth yeast, malt and fruit overtones. It ends with a smacky dryness and leaves me reaching for the next sip.

Very nice belgian style tripel from out friend's out in Poertland.

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Photo of wrightst
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of Rumrunner
4.32/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650ml bottle

An excellent concoction. At first taste I thought this ale would be too sweet for me but it settled in to a wonderful journey.

It pours a transparent amber. A nice white head with some staying power but not too much lacing. Bubbles rise to the top quickly and never stop. Very fruity and sweet on the nose. Sour apples and tangerines. Some white grape, and a dry alcohol spice. Good and bold. Some sugary malt sneaks in ever so slightly.

At first taste it was sweet and sour. Too much for me. I waited. I went slowly and the ale developed. The sweet and sourness never went away but they blended and mellowed. Sour apples and fruits dominate. The white grape flavors provide a dry quality. There is sugary gingerbread here to provide some balance. The alcohol is spicey, peppery and herbal. It leaves a dry aftertaste on the palate. Excellent balance and a wonderful ale to sip in order to enjoy the transformation.

Very dry on the mouth. The carbonation and alcohol tickle the tongue. A nice crisp feel with a smooth finish. A slight oily reseidue on the finish but nothing that takes away from this fine ale.

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Photo of beerinator
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Golden Orange. Super clear beer with nice bubbles.

Aroma: Very grapy. Super fruity up front. Syrupy sweetness from caramel in the aroma.

Taste: Sweet caramel and sweetness strike up front. Finish is nice and dry. The beer seems to thin a bit in the mouthfeel. This beer is very decieving to the taste considering it's 9% abv.

Notes: Nice dry finish. Very clean beer for a triple, slightly thin in the mouthfeel, but that helps give this beer a nice clean dry finish.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
2.98/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer poured into the chalice crystal clear golden with an amber hue and a white head which rose slightly and fell quickly, but laced the glass.

The aroma was sweet from a distance and more spicy the closer the beer was to the nose. The aroma contained spicy phenoics and aromas of licorice or anise. There was some fruitiness to the aroma, but mostly it was dominated by alcohol and spice.

The flavor was not well done at all. The flavor was winey and vinous and not in a terribly good way. The bittering was balanced well, but the malt backbone was missing. The complexity of spice in the aroma did not carry into the flavor and the winey flavor just was not pleasant.

The finish was grainy and winey flavors that lasted long and not plesantly into the aftertaste. The body was medium or perhaps just a bit less.

22 ounce bottle. Skip it.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
1.79/5  rDev -52.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I couldn't find this on BA until I bought a bottle to try. darn!

Pours a dark red amber with no cap.

Scents told me immediamente that this one took a turn a lo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ng time ago. It's cooked. This is a Flemish Red! All sourness nothing left in the gas tank. Paid $6.99 at Irvine HollingsHead Deli and it is flat out gone!

Last swigs: Just a meager vestige of a triple here. It is sour and horrid. Experimental stage only. Pass me a Govornator.

Beer is usually good. Happy otherwise beering.

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Photo of ark57
3.33/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It pours a clear orange-gold with a good white head. The aroma is fruity, spicy, and malty with some alcohol and a sweetness. It is a little too sweet and the body is a touch too full. There is a nice prickly carbonation and some fruity esters and some spiciness. Peppery alcohol is present in the slightly dry finish. A tasty beer by itself, but it is lacking a certain character for being a tripel.

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MacTarnahan's Gran Luxe Tripel Ale from Portland Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.75 out of 5 with 29 ratings