MacTarnahan's Amber Ale | Portland Brewing Company

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MacTarnahan's Amber AleMacTarnahan's Amber Ale
251 Ratings
MacTarnahan's Amber AleMacTarnahan's Amber Ale

Brewed by:
Portland Brewing Company
Oregon, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
32 IBU

Malts: 2 Row Pale, Caramel
Hops: Cascade

Still called MacTarnahan's Amber Ale.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-11-2001

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 251 |  Reviews: 148
Reviews by IronDjinn:
Photo of IronDjinn
3.53/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

What a treat it is to unexpectedly find some Oregon beer available in Calgary.

Appearance possesses a clear amber tone, massive head on the pour, which lasts and lasts, until it forms a thin cap. Moderate lacing. Nose is all Cascade hops at first, but a little bit of toasted, biscuity malt can be made out after a while. Flavour is mostly hops to my palate, only the faintest of grainy malt breaking through. Oily mouthfeel, but it is remarkably quenching as well. A decent offering for an amber, I enjoyed it and will try to hunt down the remaining sixers of it left around here. Makes me miss those hoppy West Coast ales of my youth even more now.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.85/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep clear copper with a rather thin head that is gone pretty fast,the Pacific NW presence really shows in the aroma of this ale with a real noticable piney hop presence over top some light caramel and butter.Very nicely balance quaffable ale here a firm lightly sweet malty backbone like that of cookie dough holds up to a pretty generously hopped beer here some pine and evergreen rounds this one out nicely.I have had chances to have this on tap from time to time and passed it up,I have to say I was pleasantly suprised by this one,a real sessionable easy drinking amber.

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Photo of RoyalT
3.16/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – Beautiful orange copper color and a nice head that came down slowly.

Smell – Stiff hop aroma with some grain.

Taste – The malt that’s there is overpowered by the bitter hops. There’s some grain in there as well if you work real hard to find it, but mostly this is an unbalanced pale ale. I don’t know why they labeled it, “Scottish.”

Mouthfeel – There is a dry smoothness to this beer but little carbonation.

Drinkability – This is an easy, thirst-quenching drinker with a nice mouthfeel, but it lacks the complexity and character of a true Scottish ale.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.48/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine May 2007.

New packaging, new marketing push, same beer. They are not trying to reinvent anything, but rather trying to push a brand that has been around for quite awhile. Most brands in any business are due for this, and now it is Mac's turn. So let's revisit what's inside the packaging.

Exceptional froth forms a sticky, web-like lace on the glass over a stunningly clear amber-colored brew. Lots of citric and floral notes in the nose; mild malt and caramel in the back. A very clean aroma. Perfect smoothness within a moderate body and medium carbonation. Very clean palate with a fluffy character throughout, if perhaps a bit thin. An imploding flavor profile of bread, caramel, malt sweetness, citric-hop flavor and bitterness with a bite shows balance and complexity within an easy-drinking session beer. Finishes dry with a fading flavor of grain and hop.

Beer snobs need to recognize that without beers like this we would still be in the dark ages of beer--retro Lagers would have never become retro and everything would still be yellow and fizzy. A healthy plate of sweet and spicy slow-cooked beef brisket with twice-fried potatoes and collard greens ended up being a stellar pairing--and the bottle of Mac's in the beef made it that much better.

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Photo of grynder33
3.35/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Amberish color but light. Had a quickly disappearing head, had a hoppy sour bread aroma that was completely gone by the second whiff, sort of a sweet carmelly tastebalanced with a nice hop aftertaste, it then finished off somewhat dry. Seemed very drinkable, will probaly try again,

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Photo of Jason
3.63/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sample from brewery.

Decent brew, a struggle to keep balance yet still has a good hop malt mix. Mild astringent flavours don’t deter the palate from drinkability.

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Photo of BeerIsland
2.7/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is a funny beer. It looks and smells pretty good but the taste is kind of off and there's not too much finish. I expected more from the slightly cloudy amber tone and clean aromas. The malts are a little thin and there's a dry citusy aftertaste. Not the best beer I've had.

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Photo of jcdiflorio
4.07/5  rDev +18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Mixed sixer at the Beer Store,served in a nonic glass from a stubby 12oz bottle with a twist off cap.

Slightly hazed,brillant medium amber color with a good 1" creamy white head,good retention leaving some spotty lacing. Fair amount of carbination with some large soda like bubbles stuck on the sides of the glass and constiant stream of staggering tiny bubbles surging to the surface.

Good,moderate hop nose,floral/citrus with hints of earthyness and light sweet maltiness in the background.

Light sweet pleasing carmelly tastes,some grassyness balances out nicely with a crisp citrusy hoppiness. Good honest taste,nice well made beer.

Light,refreshing with a zesty mouthwatering tang. Very enjoyable a plesasing suprize from a random pick. Reminds me a bit of Hop Sun. Could session this beer, light enough to be a good summer drinker.

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Photo of Thrasher
3.97/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I reviewed a can of Mac's and thought it was inferior to the bottle. Now that I am reviewing a bottle, I am proved right; this is better, although a draft pour may be the best possible method. The beer is rich golden bronze and the head sadly vanishes without a trace. Pleasing aroma of hearty malts with perhaps a crisp fruitiness, evocative of apples or pears. The flavor of the beer is substantial, yet remains easy to drink. It contains sweet bready malts, some cookie batter, and an element of single malt scotch, although very little in the way of smokiness or peatiness. A ghostlike shell of hoppiness outlines the beer and sets it in perfect relief; just the finest trace of bubble gum and grapefruit really brings out the flavor of the malts to their fullest. The balance is wondrous. The beer's mouthfeel is smooth, if a bit watery; this may be the same problem as the vanishing head. Drinkability is very high; it's an effortless brew to quaff and it should be suitable for a vast array of occasions and meals. A good beer for shaking off the chill on a rainy autumn day in Portland.

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Photo of chinchill
3.59/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle in Oregon.
Deep amber colored body with an excellent head.
More hops than malts in both the aroma and the flavor. Mildly bitter.
Fruity hops with a faint bready background.
Medium-light body.

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Photo of stereosforgeeks
3.6/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Light amber. Off-white head. Mild retention. Decent lacing.

Smell - Grapefruit, yeast, bread, pine, and caramel.

Taste - Sweet caramel blends with the g rapefruit, yeast and pine. The finish has a hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied. Creamy. Little carbonation.

Drinkability - Definitely session-able!

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Photo of Beer21
3.78/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of WaydeRafnel
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of LXIXME
3/5  rDev -13%

Photo of ste5venla
3.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of brewQ
3.97/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Where's the date codes here guys?

Pours a clear deep bronze color with a 1" beige head pocked with bubbles.The nose was malty with floral notes abounding.

The taste had a good yin and yang- starts with sweetness and ends with some hop bite.

I especially enjoy the lip smacking finish.
This is my kind of session beer.

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Photo of En29356
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of InfernoBoss
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of biboergosum
3.4/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12oz bottle, grocery store mixed-sixer fodder extraordinaire, in Sandpoint, Idaho. I get the feeling that this is a brand now sort of on life support, no?

This beer pours a clear, bright medium copper amber colour, with two fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and sort of fizzy ecru head, which leaves some rainforest canopy lace around the glass as it quickly sinks away.

It smells of grainy, lightly crackery caramel malt, slightly sour apples, some not overly aggressive orange and white grapefruit rind, and further herbal, leafy, and musty hop bitters. The taste is lightly bready, grainy pale and caramel malt, weak oily and generic citrus peel, subtle, but pervasive yeast, and more plain earthy, weedy hops.

The carbonation is fairly inexpressive in its wan, and sometimes just gone frothiness, the body a so-so middleweight, and kind of clammy in its dime-store (ok, I guess it's 'dollar-store', nowadays) smoothness. It finishes off-dry, and very muddled in its lingering caramel sweetness, and equally muted bitterness.

Not a particularly engaging or memorable amber ale, especially given the proclamation of Cascade hops being in the mix. Very underwhelming, and hard to get into, once the hops show their lack of vigour, and when the overdose of yeast remnants somehow become the so-called (by no-one) star of the show, it's lights-out time, baby.

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Photo of Magpie14
3.45/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: light golden red or rather a faint copper. Bright white head, just a ring really. Globs of lace opposite of me.

S: citrus and lemon hops, malts, and caramel

T: light peppery/spiced hop bite infused with lemon. Thin and dry with watery grains and malts. Nothing seems to really grab my attention, I would lean towards the hops. No malt backbone in this brew

M: medium carbonation, a touch dry and sticky in the finish

D: malts are faint, hops are nice. Kind of a regular Amber and nothing to brag about.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.89/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Fairly clear - very slight haze. Deep amber in color with a reddish-orange cast. Nice, full ivory head that holds pretty well and leaves some excellent lace. The aroma is of gently fruity, lightly caramel-tinged malt backed by some earthy hops. The body is medium-light with a restrained, and very fine, carbonation. The mouthfeel is soft and smooth. The flavor mirrors the aroma with an emphasis on light caramel malt backed by hops. Slightly bitter for a Scottish-style, but that's to be expected for a beer coming out of Portland, Oregon. Very nice, well done, and enjoyable beer.

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Photo of ElGordo
3.65/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Body is a bright orange-amber hue, topped by a small creamy white head. Mild aroma of light caramel and amber malts, with a light, fruity hop presence and a hint of sweet biscuit. Palate is mild and pleasant. Lightly sweet, biscuity malt mingles with just a touch of hops. Finish is a touch sweet, with a very light fruity quality. Body is smooth and just a little creamy. A classic amber ale, it's a shame that this seems to have fallen out of favor with local bars in the past few years. Hopefully Pyramid's efforts to reenergize the Mac's brand will prove to be effective.

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Photo of Rootdog316
4/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This amber ale has a definite hop aroma. The color could be described as a mixture of brown, red, and golden. The foaminess level is adequate enough. It doesn't produce a good head of foam, but it's acceptable. A little more complexity or additional malt flavor would have swayed my opinion a notch higher. But it's still a very good, hoppy ale. It's a little more on the bitter side than other beers, but hop lovers will think it's great!

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Photo of BeerAndFilm
3.28/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of jmccraney
3.75/5  rDev +8.7%

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MacTarnahan's Amber Ale from Portland Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.45 out of 5 with 251 ratings