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MacTarnahan's Amber Ale | Portland Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
80
good
147 Reviews
THE BROS
81
good
Read the review
MacTarnahan's Amber AleMacTarnahan's Amber Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Portland Brewing Company
Oregon, United States
macsbeer.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
147
Ratings:
247
Avg:
3.48
pDev:
16.38%
 
 
Wants:
3
Gots:
16
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 147 | Ratings: 247
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.35/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at The Wine Corner in Paia, Maui, Hawaii. I picked this one up because I have never seen it in California.

Pours a clear copper amber color with a 3 inch foamy light tan head that settles to a small cap. Thin broken rings of lace line the glas on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, and some herbal and citrus zest hops. Taste is of malt, slight caramel, and more of a citrus zest hop flavor. There is very little bitterness to this one after each sip. The mouthfeel is pretty disappointing with a very watery aspect to it. Overall, this is a pretty good amber ale and I am glad I picked one up but I don't think it's all that special.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.38/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out as a reddish amber color. The head was decent but fizzled away after short amount of time. The smell of the beer had a decent amount of malts on the nose. The taste of the beer was grainy and semi sweet. The mouthfeel was pretty good. Overall I found the beer to be kind of the refreshing side, not sure if it's one I need to have again. But not too bad.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.56/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Couldn't be happier to see more Portland, OR beers find their way to Central KY. This beer is a standard, solid Amber for any occasion. Pours a ...well.... amber color with very good head retention and soft carbonation. Smells malty with very low caramel, toffee notes. Of course it's assertively hopped, but not outside of balanced. Tastes quite malty and rich. Hops certainly offset the sweetness, as well as offering a citrus, grassy taste. Soft fermentation flavors (almost lactose) give the beer some spirit going into the finish. Quite clean and crisp in late, with a mild hop lingering. Good stuff to chase down the wings and pizza.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.4/5  rDev -2.3%
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 zeff80
3.63/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a copper/burgandy color with a foamy, off-white, two-finger head. Left some lace.

S - It smelled of malt and grass/hops.

T - It tasted quite hoppy and spicy. A good toasted malt flavor, as well.

M - It was crisp and sharp on the tongue. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a very good amber. It is a very hoppy beer for the style.

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Photo of oberon
3.85/5  rDev +10.6%
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 superspak
3.48/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, best before 6/21/2013. Pours lightly hazy/cloudy deep orange/copper color with a 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of grapefruit, lemon zest, orange peel, caramel, toffee, toasted biscuit, light nuttiness, floral, grass, light pine, and floral/toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of citrus hops and dark/bready malt notes; with solid strength. Taste of grapefruit, lemon zest, orange peel, caramel, toasted biscuit, floral, grass, light pine, and floral/toasted earthiness. Light floral/pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, lemon zest, orange peel, caramel, toasted biscuit, floral, grass, light pine, and floral/grassy earthiness on the finish for a short bit. Nice balance and solid robustness of citrus hops and dark/bready malt; with a good malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and light-medium bodied; with a smooth, crisp, and fairly thin mouthfeel that is okay. Alcohol is well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a pretty solid amber ale. Well balanced citrus hop and dark/bready malt flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. Could use some more flavor and body, but pretty enjoyable otherwise.

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Photo of chinchill
3.59/5  rDev +3.2%
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 NeroFiddled
3.89/5  rDev +11.8%
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 BuckeyeNation
3.6/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Perfectly clear, bright tangerine with a toast brown head that looks average in all respects. It isn't soft and mealy, nor is it particularly firm and sticky. It deflates to a thick film and leaves decent, but not spectacular lace.

The nose is slanted more toward hops than I'm used to for the style. Fine by me. It strikes me as more of a pale ale in that regard. I'm not sure, but I'd guess that one of the '4 C's' is in use. The slight hop edge carries through to the palate. It isn't pale ale hoppy, but it's more than sufficiently hopped for an amber ale.

The hops provide a citrusy flavor and a gentle bitterness that is kept in check by a weak, but sufficient malt presence. The finish is on the short side, leans toward dry and is softly bitter. The mouthfeel is a little thin, but that only enhances drinkability. This one could be downed in quantity; if I had more than this one that is.

I'm still trying to get a fix on MacTarnahan's as a brewery. I liked their Oak-aged IPA quite a bit, but loathed their Oregon Honey beer. Amber Ale is somewhere in between. A decent quaff, all things considered.

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Photo of russpowell
3.45/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was a staple for me when i lived on Oahu, a nice one to session any time:

Pours an effervescent amber with 2+ fingers of sand colored head. Average lacing & head retention

S: Light breadyness, some orchard fruit & some cereal notes once warm

T: Caramel, slight apple cinnamon flavor & some herbal hops & dryness up front. Slight smokeyness, some metallic & leafy hops, plus a bit of apricot as this warms. Finishes with some biscuitty & honey malt, flinty dryness & a bit of lemony/grapefruitty hops

MF: Light/medium bodied, moderate carbonation & okay balance, probably not hoppy enough for many who expect this style to be hop-forward

Easy to drink, I remember this being a bit more complex, but who knows time or a recipe change may have led to change in my perception??

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Photo of Jason
3.63/5  rDev +4.3%
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 Gagnonsux
3.75/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Color is copper with a high level of carbonation. Head is of average height and is thick. Very good retention. Aroma is of a strong citrissy hop with an underlying sweetness. Sip starts with a burst of citrissy hop which quickly rounds to a caramel malt with a mild toastiness. Malt flavor dominates here, not as much hop as expected from an APA. Sweetness is high to moderate. Bitterness is low. Overall: an enjoyable APA, not as hoppy as most, but still just as easy to drink.

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Photo of jwc215
3.67/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours hazed orangish amber/copper with a thin off-white head that becomes a patch. Some thin lacing sticks.

The smell is of caramel malt with a Cascade hop balance.

The hops are more aromatic than bittering - caramel stays ahead of the hops, though there is some restrained citrus/pine. Sweet with a touch of citrus/pine in the finish.

The body is a bit thin with somewhat aggressive carbonation (which I had feared would be the case from the fizzy sound it made upon pouring.)

Ah, well...there is a drinkability about it. Not bad for a caramelish, sessionable pale ale. Something makes me think "old-school" craft beer. My hunch is that about a decade ago or so this would have been comparatively better.

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Photo of GClarkage
3.3/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

04/09/09- Received as a gift from a friend.

Presentation- 12oz bottle with no freshness info. Poured into a random pint glass.

Appearance- Amber colored pour with a 3/4 inch nice fluffy head. Lacing is lightly patchy with some spotting.

Smell- Quite nice with a grapefruit hop aroma and a bit of pine. A light malty aroma finishes it off.

Taste- Wish the taste was as good the the scent. Pretty much quite bitter and truthfully unflavored hops. Maybe an extreme grapefruit pith. Malt is very toasted with not much caramel character. Kinda nutty at times as well.

Mouthfeel- A bit spritzy. Effvervescent carbonation. A bit like selzer. Mild hoppy aftertaste...more nutty aftertaste than anything.

Drinkability- I'll pass on this one in the future. Too one dimensional.

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Photo of stevoj
2.64/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Bottle from Albertson’s. Bland and uninteresting. Amber in color with short, dull head. Light malty aroma. Taste is weak caramel malt with a short hops bite and very short finish. Not much remains on the palate. Mouthfeel edges on watery. Pass on this one.

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Photo of WesWes
3.95/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a nice amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a dry, yet malty scent that boasts of pale and crystal malts. It also has a mild hop aroma that adds excellent balance to the aroma. It's toastey with a sweet scent. The taste is good. It has a well balanced flavor that boasts of pale and crystal malts along with a mild hop flavor. It goes down smooth with a creamy feel. The mouthfeel is decent. It is a medium bodied beer with a little too much carbonation. This is a good drinking beer. I like the aroma and taste. The carbonation should be scaled back so the creamy flavor can be better appreciated.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.45/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a golden amber color, small head, some lacing. Scents of sweet malt. Nice taste for an amber, but have had better. Light-medium body. You could drink alot of these, not very strong alcohol content. I would really not recommend the MacTarnahan's line-up, nice, but there are other brews better out therem IMHO.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
2.95/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz from the Coop for about $1.50.. shared with a buddy.. mine from a shaker pint.. listening to Sasha and Digweed Communicate while talking shop.

Very short and shortlasting head... crystal clear orange brew.. not very amber at all.

Bready malts and an abundant citrus hop character.. could use more.

Fruity yeasts and a lite body... lite carame and toasted malts.. cascades I assume.. sorta metallic lingering finish.

good at first, but by the end I came to think that this was simply an average PNW amber.. I remember this beer better than this glass... simply needs a little more of everything.. aroma.. body.. flavor.. sorry.. but that's the way I see it. Still drinkable for sure but not a brew I go for when I want an amber fix.

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Photo of Zorro
3.88/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice clear copper colored brew.

Smell is very hoppy with malt in the background. The hop smell is very lively and of the pine type.

Surprisingly this isn't a bitter brew, the hops and malt balance nicely. A nice ale not too sweet or bitter. Not great though, needs more complexity to reach that.

Mouthfeel is good, just about right.

Very drinkable, not a bad beer for buying by the six pack.

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Photo of beertunes
3.85/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a clean, clear honey amber color with just a thin cap of slightly off-white head that dissipated quickly and left a bare minimum of lacing.

The aroma was mainly crisp hops with some malt in the background, just the opposite of most of the style. The flavor was similar to the aroma with more malt showing up than in the scent. There seemed to be a slight fruity sweet flavor on the finish.

The body was good, smooth and clean. Drinkability was good, I drank a 22 without getting too bored. Overall, a decent beer and a different take on the style. If you're looking for a change from Fat Tire or Alaskan this Amber may be for you.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.65/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from a Beers of the World mix box that I got for Christmas from an acquaintance. Thanks Scott!

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" off-white head above the clear amber brew. Head fades rather quickly, but still a layer of bubbles, and lacing is minimal to average. Aroma is delicately hoppy, a bit piney. Taste is also mostly hoppy, with some maltiness from support, and a slight citrus tang at the outset. Mouthfeel is pretty good, and drinkability is good as well, with this being a smooth drinker and nice session option.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.46/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Portland Brewpub.

A - Pours a crystal clear, medium orange with a smaller cream-colored head. The head fades to about half and lingers while leaving pockets of lacing on the glass.

S - Smells are prett mild. Some maltiness is dominate, but some slight hoppy floral tones come through as well.

T - Taste is like a dull ipa, with a roasted malt finish.

D - Good carbonation and average body for the style.

O - Easy drinking amber.

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Photo of stereosforgeeks
3.6/5  rDev +3.4%
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 Gusler
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a sparkling amber color with a modest head, the lace in delicate sheets. Nice malt nose that is lightly sweet, but dominated by the malt, also a hint of citrus noted. Sweet malt start, middling top, the finish has a nice hop spicy bite, the carbonation tolerable, the aftertaste malt dry and pleasant, a good “Session” beer me thinks!

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MacTarnahan's Amber Ale from Portland Brewing Company
3.48 out of 5 based on 247 ratings.
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