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Farmington River Mahogany Ale - Ipswich Ale Brewery

Not Rated.
Farmington River Mahogany AleFarmington River Mahogany Ale

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48 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 48
Hads: 63
Avg: 3.64
pDev: 12.91%
Wants: 0
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Ipswich Ale Brewery visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  ABV ?

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: UnionMade on 08-05-2002

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (35) | Events
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Reviews: 48 | Hads: 63
Photo of Sammy
3.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An amber and a decent white head with some malt and hops aroma. Fresh, good bitterness and medium mouthfeel and appropriately carbonated. Clean taste, well-balanced, just fairly run-of-the-mill. A bit fruity which is nice, and a tad lemon. A bit better than average beer.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.45/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out just like the name says, Mahogany in color with a creamy looking white head on top. The smell of the beer was malty with some grains on the nose, and a touch of hops too. the taste of the beer was semi-sweet with a light caramel flavor with some bitterness in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel of the beer despite it's color it was pretty light bodied. Overall this brew wasn't bad. It was drinkable and had a pretty good balance to it.

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Photo of smcolw
3.62/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good head but there is little lace. Light amber color--near clear.

The smell and taste resembles chocolate and molasses. It is bitter from the darker malts.

Astringent taste with a bitter aftertaste from the the alpha hop oils. The body is solid, almost chewy. Overall, a solid offering in the pale ale category. A solid but neutral ale.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours am amber mahogany color with one inch of white head and light carbonation.

s - Smells of bready malts, caramel malts, some bitter hops.

t - Some bready malts, caramel malts, fruit, little bit of bitterness but not too much.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. Very smooth.

d - A very easy to drink ESB. Lots of smooth malts in the smell and taste, and not much bitterness to it. Would try again.

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Photo of jwc215
3.97/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours mahogany with a one-finger tan head that soon becomes a lasting, thin cover.

The smell is sweet - slightly roasted carmelized graininess with an underlying earthy nuttiness and slight fruitiness.

The taste follows the aroma. Sweet, slightly roasted carmelized, grainy malt. Bitter, earthy, nutty notes balance out the sweetness nicely. There is a lemony fruity undertone that complements it well. Finishes bitter with a sweet support.

Medium to full bodied. Creamy.

A nicely-balanced, smooth, tasty ESB.

Thanks to my brother and sister-in-law for bringing this back from New England - It's a nice one!

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Photo of WesWes
3.33/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a hazy amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a mild pale and crystal malt aroma along with an equally mild hop aroma. It's got some fruity yeast esters as well. The taste is average. It has a very bitter hop bite that really hits you in the beginning. The malts are there, but they're too light to add anough balance. It seems a bit watery. It goes down easy and finishes with another hop blast. The mouthfeel is decent. It is a medium bodied beer with good carbonation. This is an interesting brew. I know it's supposed to really bitter, hence the Extra Special Bitter, but I think it needs a bit more balance. That being said, it drinks decent and grows on you.

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Photo of jdhilt
2.75/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a three finger cream head that faded quickly to a thin layer leaving some lace. Murky amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Slight hoppy nose. Flavor is sweet going to piney hops leaving a bitter aftertaste. $1.50 for a 12oz bottle from Manchester Wine and Liquors Manchester, CT. Contract brewed by Mercury Brewing.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.38/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12ozer bottle bought as a single from Villa Spirit Shoppe, Storrs, CT.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1" light beige head over the orangey-copper (not mahogany) brew. Head is pillowy and lasts well, with heavy foam lacing. Aroma is balanced with yeasty, biscuity malts, and solid citrusy hops. Taste is well balanced with a sneaky yet potent hops character offsetting the apparent grain bill. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both great as well. I could see revisiting this one, again and again and again...

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Photo of Durge
4.02/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A nice dark coca-cola color with a modest tan head, good lace. Looks a little watery despite the dark color. Aroma of honey-nut with a bit of vanilla and malt. Very nice full bodied feel on first taste, a bit smokey with a little orange and charcoal at the back. Well carbonated to keep it lively throughout yet smooth. Very drinkable. A little more malt flavor as it warms, very nice. I would agree that the ESB label seems misplaced a bit, more in line with the brown ale flavor. Bitter was not the highlight of this beer but certainly flavorful. I would buy this again.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.13/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Color is a solid cloud of coppery orange, darker on top with an off-white head of tight spongyness just over a finger high and settles to a thin haze and ring always present and lots of lacing in sheets.
Nose is light roasted malts and slight tangy fruits and caramel. Good malt nose with very light hops in the mix and a note of nuttyness. Taste is a subtle and well balanced brew with some fruity and nutty notions up front, solid amount of malts, some solid roastyness and slight caramel sneakin' in. Mellow hops hits late with super easy bitterness of dried hops and ends with lingering dryness with a nippy little bite thats like bread yeast or saltine crackers mixed with some nut skins. Good medium body which picks up some unique bitterness and strength towards the finish. Quite a decent ESB. Smooth, easy, even, and steady subtlities making for some easy drinkin'.

Thanks to mickeys01 for the bottle.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.42/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark copper/mahogany with a small-ish head of pure, white foam. Aromas are all bready, spicy, biscuity malts, and subtle hops. The taste is a spicy blend of French bread like malts and lovely floral hops. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and quite nice and the drinkability is great!

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Photo of blackie
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

appearance: The pour into my imperial pint glass creates a .3" off white head that recedes until there are only a few small carbonation "islands" remaining. The beer is a very slightly cloudy light copper color.

smell: Nice balance of light sweet malt and hops going on. Hints of tropical fruits and a slight nuttiness.

mouthfeel: Carbonation is right between low and medium, and the body a lighter medium. The low carbonation lends a smoothness to the mouthfeel.

taste: Again a pretty good balance of malt and hops. The hop bitterness remains at a moderate level throughout the sip and finish. Not much hop flavor, but the bitterness level is just right. The malt lends some caramel flavor.

drinkability: good flavors, but some of its characteristics would limit me to a couple

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rich hazy mahogany color with a nice off white, modest head.

Smell is somewhat malty sweet, with some bitterness at the end. Not particularly complex, but good.

Taste is very malt sweet up front, but ends very crisply in a hail of stark bitterness. I'm not an expert on the ESB, but seems fitting, and I find it very tasty.

The feel is light to medium in body, with a slight crisp sting.

Though rather yummy, I don't find this (or the style in general) to be a good session beer. A nice break from the pales, india pales, stouts and porters.

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Photo of Bierman9
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this 12oz bottle during early afternoon of Thanksgiving day, pre-turkey.

Pours mostly clear, though there is some residue left in the bottle bottom. Color is, duh, mahogany, and a lovely hue it is! Has a creamy, thin, finely-bubbled head which lasts well, though little lace is left. Aroma has nice toasty malt notes, with some nuttiness present as well. Nice!! Body is medium, and the effect on the tongue is mostly smooth, though with a light bit of a foamy, bubbly feel.

Flavor comes in with malt, being lightly sweet with caramel and a nutty character once more. Sweetness last well into the finish, where some floral hoppage and light bitterness come into play.
I was somewaht leary going into this one, as it had been fridged for a bit, and I don't know how old it was before I received it (thnx to Venom for that!). But, all in all, it was quite tasty, and a good start to the Holiday festivities.


overall: 4
appearance: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4


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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.38/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed on 7/26/08. Bottle shared by fredandboboflo. Pours a deep amber with a thick tan head. Aroma of light sweet malt, flowery hops. Flavor of sweet malt, mild flowery hops, some apple, wheat cracker. Blandish but decent. ESB? I thought this was more like an amber. Ok though, 2nd best Farmington River beer.
7/4/7/3/13 (3.4/5)

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Photo of argock
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a clear glass stein. No freshness date.

A: Light amber hue with almost salmon-colored 1-finger head with ample lacing.

S: Sweet caramel and pale malts are met with light aromas of earthy, spicy malts and a mild grain presence.

T: Plenty of cracker flavor is cut with a bit of caramel and pale malt sweetness in the front and in the end. Earthy hops bitterness cut sharply in the finish. The is a salty, metallic note in the finish as well.

M: Medium-bodied with medium carbonation and a sweet aftertaste.

D: A very drinkable brew that was surprisingly good from an obscure MA brewery.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.27/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Grabbed as part of Fresh Mkt mix-a-six.

Pours light brown, reddish tints, islands of white bubbly foam. Some early lacing. Toffee malt smell. Caramel too. Sweet malt taste but with a hop that pokes through and holds firm. Hop lends some extra bittering which lingers.

The tastes seem to compete rather than blend harmoniously, and it never quite works in the end. Just ok.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.17/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this brew at the tasting last nite at Eli's. Good deal, buy a pint keep the glass. Cool!
The beer comes in the aforementioned pint glass chilled. There is a light surface layer of white head on the brew when it arrives. The brew is a clear copper color and exhibits a rich malty aroma with some sweet fruity scents and mild floral hops, also some molassess and perhaps maplesyrup.
First sip, average to thick body with mild carbonation. Rich and malty up front with some hints of chocolate coming through, also a rich toffee flavor, while the finish allows some slightly piney hops to come through. This is a smooth easy drinking brew. Quite tasty, I will remember to buy some of this to share with friends back in PA.

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Photo of WanderingFool
3.72/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Farmington River Mahogany Ale pours a hazy dark amber color with a small, creamy tan head on top. The foam fades quickly to a ring around the surface of the beer leaving no lace behind. A malty aroma with notes of caramel, nuts, and brown sugar hovers over the beer.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is soft on the palate with an effervescent fizz on the tip of the tongue. The flavor is malty with caramel malt dominating. Mixed in are flavors of nuts and brown sugar. Towards the end a mild floral bitterness moves in to help balance out all the malt. Once gone some of the sweet caramel malt flavor lingers on the palate.

This is an easy drinking malty flavored beer, however it's a little thin in the mouthfeel and could use a bit more aroma.

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Photo of CRJMellor
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a red-copper color with a big creamy white head that produced chunky rings of lace on the pint glass.
Aroma is earthy, spicy and dark malts. Hint of pine-tinted hops in the background.
Flavor is moderately sweet then jumps to a real peppery and spiced hop that is more earthy than bitter.
Mouthfeel starts somewhat sweet then as the hops develop the spice real grabs the tongue and the earth tones leave a gritty charcoal-like hint on the palate.
Drinkability is pretty good, can definitely imagine another.
Thanks to PBrian for another great NE beer.

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Photo of far333
2.96/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I was expecting much more hops from an ESB. This beer was pretty bland in all respects. Nice amber color, but no head and no aroma. Mouthfeel was watery, and the flavor was all light malt. No initial hops hitting the pallet, and no lingering hops. A weak malt aftertaste lingers. How is it a Connecticut beer if it's brewed in Massachusetts?

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served at Village Tavern and Tap Room, Litchfield, Conn.

A: Poured a dark amber color with a one finger head of golden foam. No distinct carbonation, rather deep and inviting.

S: Smells sweet and nutty the way a brown would, but bitter too, with a noticeable hop in the nose.

T: Tastes bittersweet, but more malty than hoppy. It's certainly a balanced brew, with some fruit and nut thrown in the mix.

M: Mouthfeel is light-medium bodied and enjoyable. There's a nice substance to this brew.

D: The ABV won't rock your world, and neither will the taste. However, it's a very well-balanced ESB and accompanied by burger pretty well.

Overall, not a bad selection. I like what Farmington River has shown and this ESB is a promising call to sample more of their brews. Recommended.

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Photo of NEhophead
3.55/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz brown bottle; no best before date.

Cloudy, light maple with shades of auburn. Light, creamy white head that quickly recedes to a broken sheet. Little to no lacing.

Toasted caramel malts with hints of cream and mild coffee. Hazlenut, light nutmeg, and brown sugar. Mild aromatics.

Toasted biscuit flavor with a spicy coffee bean accent. Hints of vanilla and brown sugar prior to a peppery, floral hop bite. Dry in the finish with an aftertaste of toasted almonds and a light yeasty must.

Medium in body; phenolic with a touch of powder. Dry, and coats the palate properly.

A decent Bitter with flashes of nice flavor. A bit too mild in spots, but a decent offering.

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Photo of granger10
4.08/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured the color of a brand new penny and had a medium sized white head the dissapeared after a minute and left about a one millimeter thick lace on top of the beer. Aroma was a little weak but definitely strong woody flavors in it. Taste was very nice and complex. Roasted flavors hit me first. I noticed some roasted wood (mohogany?) and roasted pine nuts in the initial taste. A mixture of sweet and tart fruits hit my palate next. Some bittering hops came forth after that and lingered until the finish when the roasted wood flavor came back and stayed well after the beer was drank. Crisp, clean, but a little thin which is my only complaint about this one. I did not know what style this was until I saw it on this site a few minutes ago. I was guessing that this might be an amber ale. But I really liked this ESB.

Much thanks to Mikeys01 for the sample.

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Photo of Damian
4.15/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank on-tap at Luna Pizza, West Hartford, CT
Served in a pint glass

The beer poured a slightly hazed, deep crimson color with a one-finger, light tan head that quickly faded. Lots of sudsy, drippy lacing trickled down the glass.

The aroma was sweet and smooth. Caramel rich and toffee-like. Somewhat fruity with a noticeable powdery yeastiness.

The taste was full and balanced. Sweet with strong toffee notes up front and some noticeable diacetyl/butterscotch flavors. Fruity. Toasted malts came through in the center (along with a touch of graininess). Subtle, bittering hop notes appeared in the crisp, dry, refreshing finish.

The mouthfeel very rich, creamy and frothy. Silky smooth on the palate. Overall, quite impressive for such a seemingly "small" beer.

The Bros. say that "The key to an ESB is balance." and this one happens to be a very well balanced brew. Definitely one of the best session beers I have tried in a while.

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Farmington River Mahogany Ale from Ipswich Ale Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 48 ratings.