MacTarnahan's Amber Ale | Portland Brewing Company

147 Reviews
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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

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Reviews: 147 | Ratings: 248
Photo of honeybrewer
3.45/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz poured into a snifter
Clear amber color with a little white head that dissapates quickly.
Smells of hops, but not strongly, almost bland.
Well balanced malt and hops. Nothing really complex going on here, but still very good. Low carbonation is just right.
Altogether this is a very easy drinking beer, and for the price, is definetely well worth it.

 355 characters

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.

 663 characters

Photo of jdense
3.75/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle purloined from buddy's fridge.

Amber brew, one finger off-white head, quick disappation, minimal lacing. The nose is a bit sweet, pears, apples, with breadish malts presence, minimal hop presence. The taste is a nice balance of malts bready and sweet, a bit syrupy, and once again little malt presence, perhaps due to this isn't a fresh bottle. Nice carbonation and very drinkable. This northwest session staple may have been surpassed by big and bolder beers, but still a very drinkable, classic version of this style.

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Photo of Offa
4.37/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is a good lighter ale, uncomplicated but still with some character, enjoyable, pleasant, and pretty well balanced.

Bright amber, it has a medium off-white head soon thinning to a thin foamy ring and wisps, leaving a little weak lace.

The aroma is strong ripe apples, generally fruitiness, grain and a hint of bagel, hints of lemon and white wine. I sometimes note a fleeting hint of peach but this may be reaching.

The taste is similar to the aroma, a light appley fruitiness, light toasty grain, crisp green apple peel, hints of lemon, caramel, and green grass. The green grass and lemon come on stronger in the finish, making it a little drier and adding to the crispness before a light caramelly, faintly toasty grain aftertaste. It is light and fairly crisp, the light sweetness and bitterness nicely balanced. It is somewhat light and uncomplicated but the character it has is pleasant, firm, and has enough light complexity to keep it interesting while the elements are nicely integrated and restrained without being bland. The feel is solid, light and slightly frothy, neither watery nor oily, just a very solid session-beer feel. Combined with the balance, this all makes this a highly enjoyable beer that is both very easy to drink and characterful enough to keep wanting to.

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Photo of PDXHops
3.35/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

See-thru amber body with 1 finger of off-white head that quickly settles into a skim. A little lacing.

Smells chiefly of caramel malt, with a bit of floral hops and some bready/yeasty aromas.

A little more interesting in the mouth. Sweet and biscuity malts are balanced with mild floral and citrusy hops.

Medium bodied, moderate carbonation. A fairly crisp finish with some mild lingering citrusy bitterness.

Overall impression: Solid amber ale.

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Photo of DurtyUI
4.05/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A exuberant amber colour suits her naughty nature that leaves a lingering carmelicious citus after-taste.

She taunts you with a sweet hop aroma that lingers. A soft head fades into lickity legs down the edge of my glass.

I could drink 10 of her, easily.

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Photo of peck95
3.67/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

overall this beer is better than the sum of its parts.
cons- it has very little head and no lacing. It is bit to carbonated.
Also has a slight off putting after taste probably from caramel malts.

pros- a good balance between malt and hops, has a respectable hop bit. Also has a respectable malt aroma.

i would have this beer at any time, i find the overall product to be very nice.

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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 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 jasonjlewis
4.1/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am on the phone so this review will be short. Smell is of caramel malts.

Taste is nicely balanced and sweet with some hop backbone. Dry hopping gives an extra aroma.

Crisp mouthfeel. Nice, sessionable amber ale. I could session this beer.

I'm surprised this came from pyramid

 281 characters

Photo of droomyster
3.72/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a lovely amber (just like an amber should) with a white head that doesn't last long but leaves some pretty lacing. Citrus and piney hops shine through on the nose but don't come through on the taste until after sweet malts are swallowed. The medium could perhaps use a bit more carbonation to give it some lift but overall this is a highly drinkable beer that is well worth trying and will probably - especially given its affordability - finds its way into my fridge again.

 479 characters

Photo of Beernoisseur
3.49/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is my second beer review of the night. a great statement by any account.

Random selection at a beer and wine store in blackfoot ID. The wine garden. A small bud of culture in the barren waste that is southeastern Idaho.

This beer looks pretty good. How many ways can you describe the color of an amber ale? It smelled a bit off. All the standards were there, but there was also this weird twang- like someone stuck a lemon in an ass, then said ass ran a 5k.

Notwithstanding that odd mental picture, I actually enjoyed this beer, taste-wise. Nice hops, great malt and a lightly toasted bready warmth. Yum.

Not bad.

 625 characters

Photo of Bookseeb
3.74/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is a light brown amber with little head. Smell has a slight foral honey sweetness, grapefruit and malt. Taste has a citrus bitterness, piney with malt in the back. Mouthfeel is light-medium with good carbonation. Not bad, a little hoppy for me to be a session, but still clean and crisp.

 298 characters

Photo of Magpie14
3.45/5  rDev -0.9%
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.

 509 characters

Photo of CaptainIPA
3.92/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

P: Presented in a brown, stubby, 12 oz. bottle without freshness dating.

A: Pours a blood orange, hazed amber with a frothy, two-fingered head with good retention.

S: Citrus hops, grapefruit, toasted caramel, brown sugar and honey.

T: Rich malty flavor with sweet caramel overtones, offset by a fresh, dry-hopped character. Smooth, flavorful and well-balanced with notes of grapefruit, toasted caramel and honey. Finishes slightly bitter.

M: Crsip and refreshing.

D: Good drinkability: a by-product of how remarkably fresh this American Amber tasted.

 556 characters

Photo of dgallina
2.45/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce brown bottle marked best-before 09/26/2008.

Pours clear golden tan with a steady stream of bubbles. A finger of head evaporates instantly, but leaves respectable lace. Smells of nutty caramel and copper pennies with some mild herbal hop essence. Pretty thin and lack-luster flavor. A large swallow delivers a chewy taste-free center followed by light caramel malt, more dirty copper, and faintly earthy hops. The body is thin-to-medium and far too gassy. Might impress somebody crossing-over from macros, but it isn't for me.

 535 characters

Photo of Onslow
3.75/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

this was a big surprise, i was expecting a decent beer and got a truly solid offering... quite a bite of hops in this one ... dark syrup colour .. good good stuff ... the hop backbone on this is nice.. i highly recommend this one, seems similiar to sierra nevada pale ale..

 273 characters

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

pours a rich copper with slight bronze notes and white head

citrus hops and good breadiness on the aroma

good light malt with fresh crisp hops, grapefruit citrus combined with the dry breadiness makes it nice and smooth, good flavor

good body and not watered down, good finish as well

a nice amber, crisp hops with good malty notes shows that a good amber ale can be made

 375 characters

Photo of trackstar1043
3.7/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a deep ruby-brown, nice full light tan head that lasted a good while.

S - Sweet malts and carmel lead the way, has a hint of vanilla and a nutty earthy finish.

T - Sweet smoked malts and a creamy carmel and vanilla hit the taste buds to a slighty sweet brew. Has a bit of woodsy earthy flavors to balance things out nicely.

M - Med bodied with a creamy texture and nice aftertaste.

D - Overall great Amber, would be great any day.

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Photo of elniko
3.72/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass

A: Poured smoothly, nice amber color with carbonation. Finger of head that dissipated, small amount of lacing.

S: Good smell, slight hint of hops. Not overwhelming.

T & M: Nice taste, I would like a stronger finish. Hops can be tasted but do not overwhelm the brew in any way. Mouthfeel is average at best.

D: Definitely drinkable, I could definitely several of this brew in a session and look foward to having it again.

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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 SurlyDuff
3.48/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this at the Pyramid taphouse/brewpub in Portland. This review is for the 22oz bomber however.

Clear orange with minimal head.

Surprisingly citrus-y hops profile there, almost like a pale ale.

Very drinkable amber, a good session beer. The finish isn't as smooth as I would like. It's got a tad of a bite there.

This brew isnt notable, other than being a great price (1.99 for a bomber) and solid drinkability.

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Photo of bharris
4.08/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a great beer. Received as a gift.

Great color with a good head. Looks like a beer I would like to drink. Aroma is not overbearing, enticed me into the first sip.

Strong flavor, light malt, the bitterness of the hops is apparent but not overbearing.

Feels like beer in my mouth, very very drinkable!

I recommend!

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Photo of ccrida
3.26/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic, Mac's Amber is actually a clear copper with a medium sized, very tight and creamy off-white head that leaves heavy lace. Served at fridge temp.

Smell is soft grassy hops and a touch of caramel.

Taste is pretty smooth, semi-sweet malt, with grassy hops and a slightly metallic tinge on the finish, which is otherwise pretty clean and not very bitter.

Mouthfeel is a bit creamy, slightly watery, medium-light body.

Drinkability is pretty good, I've had this from the keg a number of times and it's a good bbq/house party brew.

 566 characters

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

A-I only had one bottle, so no basis for comparison, but it seemed underfilled--the liquid in the bottle barely came over the label. Poured into Bordeaux glass, forming thin head that disappeared in one minute. Color is an rusty copper-amber. Nice steady stream of small bubbles.

S-Cascade hops with citrus overtones, bitter almond, toffee, and malt.

T-Strong hops with lightly toasted malt, orange peel, grapefruit, and creamy toffee. Finish is clean, bitter hops.

M-Body is a bit lighter than I expected, but balance and carbonation are great. A easy-drinking amber.

D-A light, refreshing amber with more hops than I was expecting, but that was enjoyable, and went down smoothly.

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MacTarnahan's Amber Ale from Portland Brewing Company
3.48 out of 5 based on 248 ratings.
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