MacTarnahan's Blackwatch Cream Porter | Portland Brewing Company

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MacTarnahan's Blackwatch Cream PorterMacTarnahan's Blackwatch Cream Porter

Brewed by:
Portland Brewing Company
Oregon, United States | website

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Mark on 09-15-2001

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 165 | Ratings: 184
Photo of smttycty
3.95/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The massive chocolate milkshake head bursting up from my shaker pint had me reaching for the emergency brake mid-pour. The rocky crown receded slowly exposing the blackish-brown opaque body. Sub-par lacing for such a nice head though. Still, the rocky cap stuck around for the session.

The nose was mild; a little dark chocolate and a tang of fresh cut hardwood. I realized on first sip that I let this one de-chill a little too long. This usually results in any deficiencies of the brewer's skill to lay naked and exposed, yet this subtle porter faired quite well on the palette. Sitting at probably 60 degrees the upfront flavor maintained the dark chocolate and drifted to a coffee-with-cream. Very soft, even demure, on the finish.

The mouthfeel was smooth and not quite medium bodied, with a pleasing carbonation. Very drinkable if not too thin on personality. Bitterness and astringency is something I often find too much of in America porters, yet the total lack of either here doesn't produce much excitement. That not withstanding, it's drinkable and doesn't give me any reason to kick it out of the fridge

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Photo of blackjack000
2.66/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: This beer pours as a beautiful dark brown, like black coffee being poured, and turns solid black in the glass. It was topped with a frothy, eggshell head. The head quickly dissipated and entirely disappeared within a minute.

Smell: A light scent of roasted coffee beans.

Taste: The beer tastes a little light for a porter. A taste of black coffee after you add water to cool it off quickly, metallic- and twangy-feeling hops, and a hardly noticeable dark chocolate. Something odd in the background, almost like a cleaning agent, or when your tongue brushes against the aluminum can when taking a drink.

Mouthfeel: Feels too watery for it's color. The frothy head might have been a giveaway--the feel is equally "frothy" and feels empty. The image of the head was giving me this uncomfortable feeling like I had accidently poured dishwater into the glass. There wasn't much "cream" going on in the porter.

Drinkability: Very light feeling and easy to drink. However, I was looking for more flavor from a porter.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.28/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer confirmed my initial aspirations about the flavors, textures, and aromas. Begins with an impressive pour of dark roastiness, nice airy head formation that retained well and left traces of lacing on the glass. Aromas are typical in the roasted barley and sweet malt profiles with hints of coffee and cocoa. A grain aroma follows up and threatens to take control of the beer. Flavors are a medium balance of stout-like grains, softened by chocolate and nutty character. Hopped assertively for bitterness and a grassy flavor. Again, the grain flavors take hold late and give an astringent taste to the aftertaste. Feels airy, dry, and round due to the abundance of carbonation, but not as creamy as the label suggests. A balanced blend of raw barley, chocolate, and hops in the finish. It hits the stride with many to-style Porters, however ordinary nonetheless.

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Photo of MillRat
3.48/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A deep brown-black pour with one finger of tan head that disippates into a ring that stays around the glass all the way down, but leaves no lacing. A mild chocolate malt aroma with a little sweetish malt. Flavor is rather mild for a PNW porter, with a smooth creamy malt and oat base with a solid but proportionate dark chocolate malt flavor. A very nice, medium-light mouthfeel that completes a very nice session porter. Don't expect this beer to wow you in the first sip, but you will appreciate the balance and brewer's restraint as you reach for the second and third pints.

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Photo of olimax
3.34/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This realy looked like a good beer when it was sitting on the shelf but in truth it is unremarkable.

Appearance: Dark, thin head, and looks thick.
Smell: Not much. A little bitter. Metalic?
Taste: A little bitter and smokey. This beer should have more taste than it does.
Mouthfeel: It is a little thick and not too carbonated.
Drinkability: I have no objection that would affect the drinkability of this beer.

There is nothing wrong with this beer...just unremarkable. I probably won't buy this again but I'm sure I'll drink my other bottle in the next couple of weeks.

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Photo of stephendr
3.58/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. glass bottle- color of dark brown , with a thin tan head - nose of milk chocolate , mocha , and light – taste of milk chocolate , some sourness, and nice mocha - body is smooth , and medium with low carbonation – aftertaste of nice chocolate, light, and milky

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.06/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz my fiancee brought with her on our trip.. poured into a shaker pint.

Fairly aggressive pour made the head cascade over the side of the glass .. "my fault.. not the brewers." Dark DArk DARk DARK brown.. only the slightest bit of lite brown reveals when held to a light. Fantastic lacing.. tan head.

Aroma is muted dark malts and chocolate.. lite black licorice... cinnamon??!!

Flavor is dark malts and very lite brown sugar.. could use more body.. and sweetness... yeasty fruitiness on the end of the palate that is a little distracting. A little watery.

Just an OKAY porter.. nothing to shake a stick at.. definately not drainpour.. but not as good as a PNW porter "should" be. Sorry.

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Photo of SargeC
3.8/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep brown-black. Prosperous tan head.

Smell: Smoky malt. Metallic/mineral tones.

Taste: Initial smoky malt flavor evolves into metallic/mineral flavors. Has a bit of a hard water quality.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body.

Drinkability: Tasty porter. Drinkable and complex. This brew has a great, working class quality to it. Very genuine.

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Photo of Sleestak
2.68/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Ink black opaque with a soft looking light tan head. Smells very roasty with some coffee and slight chocolate overtones. Very roasted taste. Coffee and chocolate seem to disappear leaving an almost very burnt like toast finish. Creamy mouthfeel with the addition of oatmeal in the mix. This just seemed off to me, too much burnt toast in the finish and not much else imo. Glad I only got a single bottle.

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Photo of Phatz
3.96/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge huge thanks to my good friend Slatetank for sharing this beer with me. This beer has tremendous nostalgia and even more tremendous history for me. this was the first craft beer I loved and really a pivotal moment for me and my own personal 'good beer' quest. It was when a friend of mine asking me to buy a half of the MacTarnahan's variety case off him (in PA you have to buy a full case) that I first experienced their Blackwatch Cream Porter and fell in love. At that time I was not much into beer. I considered my self a Whiskey drinker; Scotch and Bourbon mostly. This beer impressed me enough to get me to go look for more beers like it and the story begins. Thanks froggyfrog; look what you've done to my life ;-) ha!

Appearance: Pours black with red hues on the edges and a light tan head. There are a few spots of lace left on the edges of my glass.

Smell: It is not a big in your face experience but the nose gently touches on roasted drank grain and black malt and a hint of vanilla.

Taste: Roasty coffee, espresso (mildly), dark leaf tobacco flavors transition into a hint of vanilla and malt; then more toasted grain flavor, cocoa and a roasty dry gentle bitterness. Dry aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: It is a bit thin. Certainly light as porter go but that works in this case.

Drinkability: I found it to be quite drinkable. Revisiting this beer many years later I realize it doesn't have all the frills I experienced before I knew what to look for; still it is a solid representation and a damn good beer. I haver not been able to get it in PA for the last three years and I am TRILLED to have had the opportunity yo try it again.

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of jbsteiny
3.83/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an unusually dark brown with a tan, foamy head that quickly fades into a thin ring of tiny bubbles. Leaves chains of lace with poor retention. Persistent, fine carbonation nearly invisible in this opaque liquid. A porter couldn't get much darker without being a stout.

Aromas are very faint when this beer is refrigerator temperature, but as it warms, roasted malts, especially burnt coffee, emerge. A lingering sweetness combines with moderate diacetyl to produce toffee aromas. I don't really smell much hops. When the beer is at a good drinking temperature, it can smell very sweet and creamy.

This is a very flavorful porter -- big roast characteristics, followed up by bitter hops. It's amazing that I can't really smell them when they're so prominent on the palate. While the sweetness is prominent in its scent, the flavor is dominated by the bitterness and astringency of the roasted malts and hops until late in the finish, when I'm left with the taste of coffee ice cream and diacetyl.

The mouthfeel has positive and negative aspects: it's too fizzy when it's in the mouth, but it does a fairly creamy body (it says they use oatmeal) and goes down easily (aside from all those bubbles). Slightly sticky coating, but at least it tastes pretty good.

I can't say I love it, and though it's an interesting take on the style, I'd probably rate this beer higher if it hedged less with the diacetyl and was more of a big, bold, bitter American porter. As it is, it's certainly tasty, and as it's moderately priced at Safeway, I'll probably be buying it again. Still, Deschutes Black Butte provides a better example of the style because it tries to do less and achieves its goals.

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Photo of demcorhip
3.95/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to chonyr for bringing this porter my way.

A nice looking porter. A one finger tan head sits atop an almost opaque black liquid. After settling down for about a minute this was a finely and mildly carbonated brew, which only managed very thin lacings.

Creamy nuts, treacle, a touch of dark chocolate with even more dark roasted aromas of coffee, smokiness, a hint of oats, and an earthy and metallic twang.

Tasty stuff. Treacle and some cream, a mild nuttiness, and a hint of dark chocolate present. Then the roasted barley makes its presence fully known with a smokey roastiness that finishes in a mild earthiness.

A nicely balanced light to medium bodied porter. Almost rich creamy and treacly malts are nicely balanced by roasted malts and the touch of earthy hops. The oats make a small contribution to the taste, but manage to provide for an almost luxurious and creamy feel. Finishes slightly dry with a decent hint of smoke and earthy hops.

A very drinkable porter, definately sessionable, and would make a good approachable porter. I would recommend this to those looking to get into porters or stouts, and will enjoy again when the chance arises.

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Photo of russpowell
3.4/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a purplish/mahogany with 3+ fluffy fingers of tan colored head. Average lacing & head retention

S: A little iron

T: A little chocolate & iron up front. Toasted grain & coffee follow as this warms. Finishes with way too much coffee for my liking, oh yeah, also some roasted grain.

MF: Medium-bodied, chewy & low carbonation, skews a little ot bitter balance-wise

Drinks okay, can't get past the coffee smack, those who like that will disagree with me I'm sure

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Photo of zeff80
3.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - poured out a dark black color with no head. Not much for lacing either.

S - It smelled of choolate, coffee and roasted malt.

T - It a stong roasted quality. The dominant flavors were malt and chocolate.

M - It was soft and creamy. Medium-bodied.

D - It is pretty good. I had higher expectations because their Thunderhead IPA is so good.

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Photo of msubulldog25
2.65/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pulled this 12 oz. bottle from a mixed 12-pack; beer & snacks served at the office during a little get-together presentation this afternoon. I'm pretty sure I've had this beer before, though it's been several years...poured to a pint glass (and, yes, I got "snobby" at the office, couldn't drink it straight from the bottle...)

A: Dark, dark brown. Thick 2-finger tan head that's very 'busy', lots of fizz. Eventually settles down to a pencil-thin creamy cap. Sort of schizofrenic...

S: A mildly metallic lager-like smell. Malty but without the roasted nuttiness. 'Average' may be generous, so be it...

T: Initially it's bitter, very bitter. I let it sit for a while; the warming helped reduce the astringency somewhat. Developed into a mildly bittersweet malty porter. However, throughout the tasting I found it to be chalky and unpleasantly sour and metallic.

M: For a 'cream porter' this is one sharp and carbonated beer. Relaxed mouthfeel, actually pretty weak and watery. Lasting bitterness and some acerbic sour tones. Medium body. Not impressive for the style.

D: Would I have another? Unlikely. There are many fine porters out there; this is not one of them IMO.

Though I'm appreciative of the office's generosity with the beer buying, next time I plan to 'advocate' for better beer...

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Photo of scruffwhor
4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Your normal porter amppearance of ligt tant head with foamy ring and coal brown color. Lots of coffee creamer malts with plenty o' roastiness and a little toastiness. Like a Marzen. Sort of. Just in flavor. Very chestnutty middle to this milky brew. plenty of mdiocre bitterness notes mixed with the overall roasty character of this beer.

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Photo of klewis
2.68/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: Porus dark brown with a tan foamy head that has good sustain.

S: Soft aromas of roasted malt and chocolate.

T: Light and transparent taste with earthy flavors, chocolate, and coffee. The taste is quite thin and leaves the mouth quickly.

M: Light in body for a porter. This isn't creamy at all, like the label claims, but rather it has carbonation that is quite fizzy.

D: Drinking this beer bores me. There's very little smell or taste and no body. Drink something else.

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Photo of thelagerheads
4.3/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

You know when you first saw a marshmallow being burnt to a crisp by somebody whilst you twirled yours round and round and watched it grow darker and darker from yellow to tan to brown and finally explode into flame and you felt betrayed? That is until after several lost attempts and you finally tried the burnt marshmallow and found goodness within it. That's what these porters are like. You first look at them and think they are a sort of beefy soup when you've been accustomed to golden dainty ones all your life. Then you have one and they are beefy but with that burnt sweetness of a marshmallow. There ain't no sorrow in learning the hard way. Great rewards come from having been burnt. Just ask Lazarus.

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Photo of schultz369
4.33/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Blackwatch is a very dark brown porter with a strong taste that approaches a stout. It has an almost smokey flavor. The very nice amber head looks great with the deep walnut color, and the porter taste was quite refreshing. I think you should give it a try.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
3.1/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Very dark brown, almost black non-translucent body. Medium bubbled latte colored head is falling quickly. Simple ring surrounds the glass.

S: Smells like a basic dark ale, not much roastedness to speak of. Sort of buttery, minor coffee notes...pudding.

T: Immediate cream/custard flavor. Slight, ever so slight coffee roastedness. Aftertaste is a touch cloying like artifical vanilla flavor.

M: Fizzy and foamy.

D: Not so much. A very subdued porter.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
2.46/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Appearance is pretty good, a head that doesn't completely disappear with a good lacing. The crisp black color is nice.

Smell is light, but sour with a slight backround of coffee.

Taste is of black coffee and little else.

Mouthfeel is very smooth, good.

I could wait to have this fresh, but I would still be wary of it.

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Photo of wcudwight
3.38/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a nice 2 finger creamy tan head. Head recedes to about an quarter of an inch over time.
Smell is of coffee, charcoal, and smoked oak.
Taste is sweet at first, but quickly becomes bitter with a bitter finish. It's very heavy on the roasted malts with some smokiness mixed in. This porter has bite.
The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy.
A drinkable porter.
Overall not the best porter in the world, but good none the less.

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Photo of Enola
4.03/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a dark black with a average had that receded into a thin coating. The smell is a mellowed out smokiness. The taste reveals tons of this smoke flavor. There is also an incredible smoothness to this beer. A very drinkable porter. One of the finest examples of a porter. Reccomended!!

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Photo of Gusler
4.11/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The beers empties from the brown stubby bottle a soot black, the head smallish and tan in color, the texture semi-creamy. Nose has a nice roasted grain aroma, sweet and seems to me a hint of vanilla, start is lightly sweet, the grain presence adequate and the top light to moderate in feel. Finish is easy going on the acidity side, the hops personable in their spiciness, pleasingly dry aftertaste that lingers long, an easy drinking beer that I really should sample more often, but damn, so many good beers, just one mouth! lol

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Photo of Crosling
3.09/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown. Sharp hops in the nose, yikes, with light hints of vanilla, roast and mocha. Flavor is heavily astringent, hoppy, dry with a lingering bitter bite on the finish. Lacking malt complexity in the flavor and body, but those hops still taste pretty good. The body is not what you would expect fro the style.

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MacTarnahan's Blackwatch Cream Porter from Portland Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 165 ratings.
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