Mac Frost Winter Ale | Portland Brewing Company

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Mac Frost Winter AleMac Frost Winter Ale
57 Ratings
Mac Frost Winter AleMac Frost Winter Ale

Brewed by:
Portland Brewing Company
Oregon, United States

Style: German Weizenbock

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by maxpower on 11-02-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 57 |  Reviews: 54
Reviews by BeerManDan:
Photo of BeerManDan
1.69/5  rDev -53.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

After pouring this winter ale, the color was a medium brown with no foam to speak of. But the smell is what told me I was in big trouble. The aroma was of a strong pine tree is what filled my nose and the taste of like sucking on pine tree needles. It was also a bitter/sour taste of the finish and I mean sour. I wasted money on a six pack, because for the second time in my life, I poured it down the drain. Blah!

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More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
3.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – Dark ruby brown with a nice, luscious head that went down rather quickly but laced the glass.

Smell – Nice, burnt malt aroma with a noticeable hop balance. The nose is not big, but I can pick out some cherry fruits and sharp spicing, probably clove. Maybe also some maple?

Taste – The burnt, bitter malt comes right up front at the taste. I’m not getting any significant wheat like a few of the more seasoned BAs have on this ale, but the citrus hops are definitely there.

Mouthfeel – I felt that this was the ale’s strong point. The hops were just enough to give this medium-bodied bier a smooth and luscious mouthfeel.

Drinkability – The only other beers of this style that I’ve rated are the Aventinus and Victory’s Moonglow, and they’re hard acts to follow. I enjoyed this one well enough but thought they could have refined the flavors a little.

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Photo of Todd
3.72/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz brown bottle. No freshness date.

The beer's appearance is a dark and hazy (unfiltered) brown with a thin off-white foam lace that stays.

A soft aroma clove spice greets along with winter/holiday fruits, wheat husk and faint lemon peel. Fruity esters and notes of alcohol as the beer warms to room temp.

A robust and complex brew. Loads of malt flavour and earthy malts, and a bit burnt on the edges with hints of dark chocolate. Hmm ... that banana bread-like sweetness is also present.

Clove spicing just pushes the borderline of overkill, blending with peppery flavours and a sharp carbonation bite. Mouthfeel is big, smooth and full of juicy fruit flavours; heavy on the grape and a bit peary in flavour and feel. Twangy in the middle. I picked up on some orange, too. Yeast is also present; a bit coarse, dry. Finish is dry, containing residual clove and earth characters.

Not a bad winter brew at all. A bit over-carbonated and heavy on the clove, but this is one meaty brew to settle back and relax with on a cold winter night. I must admit that it also grows on you, especially as the alcohol worms its way into your brain.

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Photo of Jason
4.05/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz brown long neck bottle with no freshness date, no info about the beer or brewery.

Appearance: Tightly packed tiny bubbled off white lace leaves broken rings of lace down the glass. Cloudy dark amber colour shows that this is an unfiltered brew and of the wheat variety.

Smell: Softly pungent clove, twang of fermented wheat, earthy yeast and a sweet grain are graced with the aroma of fruity hints of lemon and pear.

Taste: Ample crispness, mellow and layered smoothness within the sturdy medium body. Spicy clove bite upfront runs along the carbonation, maltiness is there without a doubt donning a fresh fermented wheat twang. Peppery phenols add more depth, maltiness lay down some sweetness. Juicy middle. Grainy and fruity with lively burst of faint banana and pear, esters are on the palate and leave a light warming alcoholic mark. Finishes with an earthy twist of yeast and grain.

Notes: Very well put together with flashy wheat flavours, alcohol is at a higher level showing complex esters as well as a great warming factor which is perfect for the cooler months a head. This beer has the Napoleon complex, smaller for the style compared to others but just as boisterous and packed with flavour like the rest.

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Photo of merlin48
3.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear ruby brown body with a medium beige head. Decent head retention and plenty of patchy lace. Aroma is interesting, with lots of malty molasses and toffee up front, and spices and green apple that quickly follow. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with more carbonation than expected for style. Taste is complex. Malty notes of caramel, toffee, and molasses are assertive in the beginning, but the hops, yeast, and spices take over midway through. Ginger seems to be the predominant spice, and the hops add quite a bit of grassy and earthy bitterness. I sampled two bottles of this one on two different occasions, and found it to be on the sweet malty side once, and the bitter hoppy, spicy side on the second bottle. Oddly enough, on both occasions I found it to be overdone on one aspect or another. Maybe, a third bottle will reveal a winter ale with an ideal balance, but so far I'm just not satisfied with this one. Plenty of flavors going on, but just unbalanced in a strange manner. I'll pass on a third bottle.

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Photo of Thrasher
4.44/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at the 2003 Holiday Ale Festival, Portland, OR. I really don't think this is a weizenbock. First of all, no wheat or not enough to make it a big component of flavor or mouthfeel. Second of all, no bock - it's an ale. Just my opinion, but if you're cracking open a bottle of this expecting Aventinus or something similar you're gonna be disappointed. Check out the macsbeer website for a breakdown of the recipe for this English-style strong winter ale. As such, it's a pretty mild example of the style and does admittedly have some similarities to a doppel. The dark brown beer is supremely creamy and smoothness, but there's not a lot of head. As in many of Mac's beers, there's that trademark grassy hoppiness that is quite bitter but still light-seeming. The big malt sweetness is not really noticeable at first but it is definitely there. Some licorice in the malts and the big hop spiciness keeps the mouth interested. Alcohol warms the tongue. Quite tasty, a bit spicy but approachable like all of Mac's beers. Should please a Christmas party crowd.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.64/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer pours a deep brown crystal clear body with a strong carbonation of big bubbles. The head is a light tan that quickly turns to a thin film of big bubbles.

S- This beer has an aroma of caramel malt and fresh grains with some notes of soft green hops in the finish.

T-This beer has a lightly toasted caramel malt flavor with a spicy hop bite in the finish. There is a faint hint of chocolate malt and the malt bill is pretty dry. The hop bitterness lingers in the finish.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a very light fizz in the finish. No astringency or alcohol warmth.

D- This is a nice smooth beer that has some complexity. I wouldn't pick it as a weizenbock but it is a nice winter beer.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.3/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Zesty, fruity, spicy, fulfilling! Wow! What a winter warmer! It pours a very hazy (unfiltered) reddish-orange amber body; topped by a creamy ivory head that holds well. It drops to a thin 1/4" surface covering (which holds throughout most of the glass) and leaves some nice transient lace. The nose is sharply fruity upfront, but reveals a clove-like spiciness and some mild banana.... the neck label states that it's an "old-world fest bier", but says nothing about weizen - a pleasant surprise! The body is medium/full, and the carbonation is lightly zesty on the tongue due to a very-fine and natural carbonation. The flavor starts with a sharp orange/citrus/grape fruitiness upfront; followed by a rising clove-like spiciness and yeasty vanilla character as it warms in the mouth; and then some gentle caramel and mild cocoa in the lingering dry (and slightly salty) finish. As it fades, some more fruitiness and gentle clove is revealed. Quite exquisite and complex. Certainly well worth trying!

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Photo of Darkale
3.51/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slow foaming head is eventually quite large. Cheery red-brown and very clean body. Head is pocked and tan. An attractive beer.

Aroma is malty and slightly sweet. Mouthfeel is chewy and slick... graceful and creamy, like cold liquid chocolate. Taste is a bit brisk, slightly hoppy, ends sour and almost... empty.

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Photo of carln26
3.65/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Deep garnet colored beer, very clear with only an average head that receded very quickly. The nose has just a little caramel, a bit of fresh bread, and a touch of orange. The flavor has a deeper toffee character, more of the orange, and some spice on the finish. I assume this is coriander, but it’s a bit muddled and hard to detect. There is a sharp bitterness on the finish. Slick, mildly thin mouth feel. Decent drinkability.

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Photo of marc77
3.83/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Brilliantly clear garnet hue with a lofty, dense light tan head. Coating, sheets of lace remain. Pungent combination of sweet sherry and plum hits the nose initially. As the beer warms, subtle cocoa and bubblegum esters arise along with a floral Goldings twang and trace toasted malt. Quite welcoming and surprisingly assertive aromawise. The flavor begins with gentle spice of a red licorice and cinnamon nature. Fruit esters of a ripe strawberry and green banana nature are supported by a dark toffee and bread crust like malt backbone. Becomes more nut driven as it breathes, with a walnut studded fruitcake impression surfacing and nearly becoming obtrusive. Skimpy in mouthfeel and a touch over attenuated to fully support the flavor profile. Hop bitterness is mild, but couples with a tinge of roasted grain to adequately offset malt sweetness. Finishes a notch shy of dry, with overbaked biscuit and maple syrup tones quickly fleeting. A unique, flavorful brew that doesn't quite bring all flavor components together, but remains tasty nonetheless. Seems to be more of a strong ale than a weizenbock.

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Photo of KoG
3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ruby hue with a small beige head. Great lacing saves the rather normal looking brew.

Smell is spicy with a definate pine and chocolate base. Interesting, but close to overpowering with the chocolate.

Taste is different. Spicy and hoppy at first with a distinct christmas tree dipped in cocoa flavor on the finish, thats about the only way to describe it. Not a bad flavor and definately balanced, although a strange pairing it may be.

Goes down easy leaving a bit of a cocoa finish and not dry. Not too bad, and moderately drinkable.

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Photo of GreenWBush
3.62/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

In the pint glass, this beer appears a nice brown-scarlett color, like brandy next to a warming fire. To heighten my anticipation, I couldn't shake the first impression that this beer smelled like a heavily hopped, fresh Newcastle.

I liked the way that this beer bit you with a little bit of English hops, but the chorus of sweet malts was there to harmonize. Written on the walls of the glass was a nice foam and lace.

The beer had a slightly metallic taste, but I don't hold it against the beer. Most of the beers that I got in this "American Craft Beer" set I got suffered the same malady.

Overall, quite a nice selection from a brewery i've come to sort of despise. The only compaint I could register was an annoying sweet and sour taste at the back of my tongue after the last swallow. Damn good American interpretation of a British brown ale.

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Photo of Reidrover
4.25/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ok another 6 pack bought at the "cheapo" Grocery outlet/warehouse...$3.99 this time.
Well well well this beer is quite a handsome devil to be sure...deep dark rich amber hue..with a nice sized creamy off white head atop very appetizing.
The aroma too is quite wonderfully spicy.. spiciness blends with the malts and hops to tantalize the taste buds ..prepare for the taste itself.
mmm nice spicy taste to this but it balanced by some great maltiness..and a small hop at the end..very nice would have got another .5 but the taste trailed off to fast.
Very good beer on the palate not rough..very smooth.
One of the best beers from MacTarnahans..very drinkable..will try again next year.

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Photo of Presto82
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of Ellbert
3.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2003 Batch.

Appearance: Pours blood red with a light tan head. There is a nice lace that sticks and looks beautiful. Maybe it is supposed to look like snowflakes for the winter.

Smell: Very malty. There is a lot of caramel and nut, some mollasses in the nose. Very much the smell of a doppelbock.

Taste: Very sweet up front with a hop/alcohol kick at the end. A very heavy tasting brew. Raisins and mollasses really show through in the taste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied. Unfotunately there is a little too much carbonation for a brew of this style.

Overall a decent beer. A little rough on the edges but decent.

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Photo of misterscooter
3.18/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Jack Frost brought me one of his favorites.

Mac Frost pours a beautiful reddish brown, almost completely clear with a small, quickly disappearing head.

The smells hit you with a fruity smell, almost a berry candy stick odor. It seems like it will be sweet.

And that it is. There is little carbonation with the strawberry essence that powers this guy. The caramel in the malt doesn't show up until the aftertaste and if there are some winter spices in this one, the sweetness covers them up. It would be tough to have another one of these right after without something to chase it.

That Jack Frost, he's got a sweet tooth.

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Photo of Hellpop65
3/5  rDev -17.4%

Photo of Frozensoul327
3.7/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A do-able weizenbock. Pours out to a dark auburn color with a small white foam head. No lace. Medium low level of carbonation. Aromas of fermented grains and sweet chocolate malts. Could've been more present, but still nice. Taste is fair, roasted malts and some chocolate. Minor notes of pepper and spice were present as well. Mouthfeel was decent, nothing amazing. Some consistancy and thickness was evident, but overall kind of boring. Drinkability is good. I could go for a sixer of this every once in a while. Worth a try.

THE BLOODHOUND FACTOR: Peaches decided to skip this one, as she tends not to care for the darker brews. Benji was into it, but not overly excited after sniffing it.

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Photo of sinistersteve
2.76/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Well, if we went by looks alone this would probably be a great beer. But alas, beer is made to be consumed and not admired. A wonderfuly inviting amber color awaits my lips, but is this....a odd aroma coming off of the top of this ale. A little sprucey I gues. The taste wasn't that impressive either. Not very much of a 'holiday beer' taste. This beer could easily stick around for all four seasons and not just the winter one. Luckily I only have 2 more to drink and I think I'll save them for friends coming over for the 'Big Game' this weekend.

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Photo of Weissenheimer
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I liked this stuff enough to bring four bottles in my carryon bag on my flight back from Chicago. Now I'm back in Brooklyn, and I eagerly pour the first of those. The beer is a deep, glassy, reddish copper. The medium-sized fawn head leaves behind plenty of lacing as it bubbles and craters away; what's left reminds me of pitted limestone. It smells strongly of hops and molasses with plenty of sweet, floral, fruity overtones.

The taste is marvelous; it's full of brown sugar and molasses but is also wonderfully bitter and hoppy. Then it launches into a hightly carbonated phase with lots of herbal flavors. This undergoes a smooth transition into a Sierra Nevada Celebration-style bitter finish that's fantastically dry and hoppy.

This is one of my favorite new discoveries of this winter. I hope I can get some more of this before the season is over, because those three bottles ain't gonna last long.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.39/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another single from Trader Joes, this 12 fl.oz Bottle of MacTarnahan’s MacFrost Winter Ale only cost me 67 Cents, and thankfully it is much better than the previous bottle of Oregon (Where’s the??) Honey Beer.

It pours with a vigorous carbonation, which greatly contributes to the off-white head. It leaves a sparse but clinging lace as it slowly deflates to form a rather broken looking ½” deep head. The beer is a slightly cloudy looking mid-amber copper color. Nice color for a Winter Ale, but not as dark as I expected.

Nose is of a gorgeous fruity, spicy, dark wheat-beer, which strongly hints at Xmas and the Winter Season that this beer represents. The spicy nose is quite superb, and I found myself returning often for a nose full. A strong mouthfeel at first, malt beginnings that transform into a fruity middle comprised mainly of a lovely smooth and very creamy, buttery banana-toffee experience with the slightest hint of exotic spices. The cloves in the middle eventually make way for a silky smooth sweet fruity finish that has a lovely lingering tongue feel. Wow, I almost feel as though I have just eaten something. Fantastic!! What a great beer for News Year Eve. This beer has quite an intriguing multi-layered complexity of tastes, I tried hard to capture them all, but this beer is like a sub-atomic nuclear particle, as soon as you taste it, and attempt to study it - it has moved on, and is somewhere else. So hard to capture and write all the tastes experienced. I need more bottles of this beer for sure. I will definitely buy it again if I see it. A marvellously complex ale, but not in a crazy mad way, that is very drinkable and packs a mighty flavor punch for its average 6.0% ABV.

After the previous MacTarnahans Oregon HoneyBeer, I find that Macs have redeemed themselves. But just how the same Brewery creates this excellent beer, and the simply awful Oregon Honey Beer, is puzzling and totally beyond me. Two beers that are indeed worlds apart.

MacFrost Winter Ale is by far the best of 4 MacTarnahans offerings that I have had to date. A real shame that this was the only one left in Trader Joes tonight. Damn.

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Photo of GClarkage
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12/09/04- Purchased at Piazza's Market in San Mateo, CA

Presentation- 12 oz bottle with either a born on date or expiration date imprinted on glass. Can't read it though. Too smugged. Poured into my Moab Brewery pint glass.

Appearance- Poured with a small head, a dark amber color and average at best lacing.

Smell- Again, another winter warmer that didn't put out much scent. Sweetness, maybe some raisin or grape scent. Spices. You really have to sniff for a while to get a good idea.

Taste- One of the better ones I have tasted. A weisenbock?!? Hmmm, again, another different taste from a so called winter warmer. This one had a nice mix of sweetness, hops and roasted flavors. I did have a weird taste of like cardboard or something for a few sips. Odd, but fortunately went away.

Mouthfeel- A bit high in carbonation, but a relatively easy beer to drink. Not really as thick as expected with the sweetness.

Drinkability- Glad I tried this one. Could do a few more if I had some.

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Photo of putnam
4.4/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Right after hot Pad Thai.
Fresh release.
Brilliant hazy red.
Strong aromas of apple juice yield to bananas in a plush-textured, dry beer. Good tartness supports a solid, chunky array of strawberry and Muscat fruit. No graininess to speak of. Seamless. Pound-cake like.

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Photo of PBRstreetgang
4.54/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2005 bottle. Pours a wierd ruby maroon or chestnut with decent clarity. Dense two-finger soap bubble head shows good retention but scarce lacing. Plum ester and licorice in the nose; toasted malt and wheat in the background- and cocoa as it warms. Sweet toasted malt flavor with kilned wheat undertones. The wheat flavor dominates in the aftertaste which becomes surprisingly dry and bitter with a hint of coffee. I found this one a bit hoppy for the style, but consequencially-perfectly balanced. The fine, light carbonation melds into the medium body for a very smooth mouthfeel. The bone-dry aftertaste softens the rich malt and the finish lacks the expected residual sweetness . The resulting drinkability is outstanding.

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Mac Frost Winter Ale from Portland Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.63 out of 5 with 57 ratings