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Sawtooth Ale - Left Hand Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sawtooth AleSawtooth Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,649 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,649
Reviews: 649
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 12.9%
Wants: 42
Gots: 77 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  5.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-16-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,649 | Reviews: 649 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of diamondc


3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm loving the new Left Hand labels for their beers. Now only if they would print the bottled on date on the actual glass. $1.99 for a 12 oz.

A: Shade of copper, cloudy. About half a finger of head with some decent lacing.

S: Hits right away with a sweet citrus aroma. Light caramel, but not much of anything else I can detect.

T: Lots of orange, lemon and strawberry flavors then a grassy slightly astringent hop bitterness.

M/D: Brisk carbonation and mild flavors make this beer sessionable. A good ESB worthy of purchase.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2011 06:14:37 | More by diamondc
Photo of OnThenIn


3/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: It pours with half a finger of head that dissipated rather quickly. The body is a clear dark copper/amber color and is rather fantastic looking.

S: Floral hops with a bit of bready malt sweetness. Hint of citrus as well.

T: There is a slightly floral but somewhat earthy and grassy hop flavor with a touch of hop bitterness. The bitterness is present throughout the taste and is accompanied by a toasty character. The beer is drier than I expected it to be. Nothing that thrilling, with maybe too strong of a bitter presence.

M: Medium body, but somewhat lacking in carbonation.

D: I expected more balance from this beer and slightly less bitterness. I would also have liked more carbonation. I really just didn't love the beer overall, and probably will not be picking it up again; however, I would not say it is outright bad.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2011 04:13:00 | More by OnThenIn
Photo of JDew


4.25/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

From a bottle to an ale glass

A - A caramel almost maple syrup color, a little hazy with a white head leaving good lace and a little carbonation, not much

S - Has a balanced smell, not too much of one thing, hops, malt, ginger, touch of citrus. This ale knows what its supposed to be and its a great blend

T - To the point ale, great follow of the smells, I can taste the hops and malt blended well with some sweet spices and subtle citrus

M - Great aftertaste, the hops come through in the start and finish, medium body

D - One of the hardest to put down... I could drink it all night and just did, tried to save one for tomorrow - oops

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2011 02:30:51 | More by JDew
Photo of Shrews629


3.33/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance - Semi-clear. Dark honey to light amber in color. An off white head with a combination of both large and small bubbles. Lacking a bit in size and retention, but did leave soem decent lacing. Some bright yellow and orange highlights abound.

Smell - Some bread and biscuit malt with notes of caramel also. Seems pretty well balanced, but the aromas are somewhat restrained.

Taste - The taste provided the grapefruit and orange of course, but I also detected some light pine flavors. The bready, biscuit and caramel malt was more subtle in the taste as opposed to the aroma. Needed to be a bit stronger.

Mouthfeel - Medium and crisp. Smooth and refreshing. Not quite as dry as I was expecting nor did it leave as much flavor on the palate as I was hoping.

Drinkability - This would be a great beer for Spring and Summer. Very refreshing and easy to drink. Nothing overly complicated. Nice and solid. A great little session beer for when the BBQ is going.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2011 19:49:14 | More by Shrews629
Photo of HOPPYKC


3.45/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured this 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. The bottle had no best by or bottled on date.

The brew pours a nice amber color with a good inch to inch and a half of head. Nice bubbly white head.

The smell/taste is kind of grainy almost reminiscent of a typical lager. I do get a little bit more, but mostly of just grain and malt with a bit of hops. I get hints of fruit and malt but its just so washed out. For it being in the ESB style i'm a little let down.

The M&D is much different than i expected from the smell. It does give a much fuller feeling than most of the lighter beers which this one tastes so similar to. Its does make this extremely drinkable though. I would recommend this beer for a nice session, it is extremely drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2011 03:11:40 | More by HOPPYKC
Photo of Brenden


4.05/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This brew is an opaque deep amber-orange color. A white head rises to about half a finger and dissipates to a foam somewhat quickly. A small amount of thin, spotty lacing is left on the glass.
The aroma is sturdy and strong, dry and malty balancing with a dry herbal hops. It's biscuity with a citrus rind touch.
The flavor follows suit, a sturdy and balancing mix of both malts and hops in a dry flavor with plenty of orange peel mixed in. Just a nip of spiciness is in here as well.
The mouthfeel is medium and the malts offer plenty of fullness and smoothness in an otherwise dry body. A dry lingering finish is hoppy.
This is a great example of an ESB and a solid go-to for the style as I understand it's intended.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2011 14:29:19 | More by Brenden
Photo of Blueribbon666


3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass a rich honey color with a slight hop scent and very lil head. A decent hoppy ESB w/a clean finish and a mild hop kickback. Mild enough for me to enjoy more than one @ a sitting. Would recommend this beer to those looking for a good beer w/a meal or over the course of a night

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2011 10:58:06 | More by Blueribbon666
Photo of e11iott

New York

3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Bottle was 12oz, a nice amber color, 2 finger head, very small amount of lacing.

S: Sweet Citrus smell, hint of nuts.

T: Great mix of hop and malt combination.

M: Overall very smooth, thought it would be thicker based on color. Carbonation was delayed.

D: Would go great with anything.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2011 02:52:04 | More by e11iott
Photo of airheadmtrcycle


2.95/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This was my first nitro beer, on-tap at the Taco Mac in Austell, Georgia.

The first thing I noticed was a creamy, smooth one finger head, unlike any beer head I've ever seen. It was truly beautiful, and left something more than lacing, almost a vanilla milkshake looking coating on the glass. The brew was an orange/copper color.

The smell was nearly nonexistent. Perhaps some hops. The taste was the same. It had no distinguishing character at all besides a slightly bitter finish. Trying to rate it for its type would mean comparing it to my standard for ESBs, Fuller's ESB, and there were no similarities I could find.

The mouth feel was thin or light with a tingling on my tongue. It's light enough you could drink a few of these easily. With the low ABV this is a session beer.

Serving type: nitro-tap

01-03-2011 02:24:35 | More by airheadmtrcycle
Photo of GossageBrewery


3.25/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured this ESB Ale from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. It started off with about one finger width of white foamy head but head retention was poor. The ale has a slightly hazy amber color. The ale has a nice malty bite that you would come to expect from a ESB. The maltiness gives way to fruity notes of citrus, I can best describe as grapefruit. There is a hint of mild hops, but this balances very well with the malty flavor. Overall this ESB feels and tastes a lot better then it looks and smells. At the end of the day that is what should matter, so hats off to Left Hand Brewery for Sawtooth Ale. Prost!

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2011 22:58:54 | More by GossageBrewery
Photo of sixerofelixir


3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Date stamped on label. Review from notes.

Pours a slightly hazy dark gold, small off-white head that dissipates quickly. Smell is malty, with a perfumy sweetness. First taste is a bit dry, on a butternut end. Kinda smooth, kinda toasty, like a white wine. Good. Possibly a bit flat as far as the finish goes. A litter bitter on the end, but drinks good. I want to re-try this one.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2010 18:17:08 | More by sixerofelixir
Photo of TheKingofWichita

North Carolina

3.55/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep clear orange yellow color with a thick white head and tons of lacing. Smells of citrus, malts, and piney hops. Tastes of tons of hops, malts, and a little citrus background. Mouthfeel is medium and has a little carbonation. Drinkability is medium. Not a bad beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2010 21:02:53 | More by TheKingofWichita
Photo of hangh


3.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice orange color with minimal foam. Fairly clear, not too much lacing but it is very fine. Decent appearance I guess. Smell is a rich citrus coupled with some sweet malty smells. It has a very peculiar and nice smell. Taste begins with a short, bitter citrus that eases into a prolonged sweet malt taste. Aftertaste is pretty good and definitely adds to the drink. Full of taste and flavor, I'm really glad I picked it up. Medium carbonation but light bodied. Pretty easy to drink and full of life and flavor. It is well worth the purchase.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2010 02:07:01 | More by hangh
Photo of hosehead83


4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.
Amber/orange in color, with a rather short head of white foam.
Aroma-Faint citrussy hop note
Taste-Toasted malt, biscuit,nice finishing hop note, Nicely balanced and very easy to drink. Would make a fine session brew and/or a good craft "gateway" beer for a craft beer newbie.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2010 15:00:12 | More by hosehead83
Photo of tmcelvain


4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: reddish amber, very slight head.

S: I gave my lowest points here, smell is very light - nothing offensive, but it was noticeably the weakest part of this ale.

T: fairly sweet start with a taste of cherry and then a malty finish.

M: a little more carbonated than the average for this style, making it extra refreshing.

D: This is a good sessioner, a refreshing beer with lots of flavor and body to keep you interested.

This one is a staple in my office, since both the boss and I went to school in Boulder, and my boss just built an award-winning house in "Sawtooth Harbor" - this ale just fit right into our Friday close of business routine.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2010 22:34:44 | More by tmcelvain
Photo of mdaschaf


3.45/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to THECPJ for this one!

A: Pours a clear/amber color with a half inch head that dissipates quickly to a little bit of foam on the top.

S: Very malty upfront on the nose, a nice caramel aroma. Also has an earthy sweetness from the hops, but they are subdued.

T: Tastes mostly of bready malt, very sweet, almost candy flavored sweet.

M/D: Medium bodied, carbonation seemed a bit lacking. Overall, pretty good, the low carbonation takes away a bit, but I like the sweetness.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2010 02:20:13 | More by mdaschaf
Photo of Suds


3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a clear copper color with a tall, fluffy, white head. It's aroma is essentially composed of caramel and pale malt scents. Some herbal hop components are also in the smell, but they take a backseat to the caramel scents. Nice. The taste is nicely balanced. Semi-dry, with a big malt flavor. Bittering kicks in during the mid-taste, but it's well placed. Short finish, but solid and malty. Medium body. It's a nice drinking beer, but not anything particularly special.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2010 21:21:37 | More by Suds
Photo of sbw138


3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Saw that Left Hand decided to redesign the label on this bottle, and I figured that this could be another one I could add to my growing bottle collection.

Pours a pretty nice copper amber color, that leaves some, but not much lacing.

Malt was the initial verdict of the nose, french toast. Cinnamon, brown sugar, caramel and even raisins made up the sweet and buttery backbone. Earthy hop flavors struggled to match.

There was much more balance in the flavor, as the sweet malt flavors met their match with floral and slightly citrusy hops. The tone took more of a bitter and spicy tone well into the finish that ended slightly sweet and buttery.

The body was medium and quite creamy, the carbonation was mild but kept the viscous body crisp. The finish was clean and just slightly dry, with a bit of stickiness. Sessionable for sure, especially for the malt lover. Complex and enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2010 21:54:53 | More by sbw138
Photo of Thorpe429


3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a really nice copper color that is a bit bright. Really nice white head and quite a bit of lacing. The nose brings some light pine and earthy hops and also has a good dose of some caramel backing. The taste is focused more on some bready caramel with only faint hops in the background. Good feel that is a bit malty and slightly bitter. Good body, especially with the cask. Drinks quite well and goes down really smoothly.

Serving type: cask

11-14-2010 02:26:04 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of gskitt

New York

4.03/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a shiny copper with a thin off-white head, lacing is evident.
S- fresh, citrusy, malty goodness. Something else too, cloves?
T- mellowed out hops is really balanced, bitter at first, but finishes a bit sweet. Really good.
M- Slick and clean.
D- the balanced malts and hops make this a very drinkable brew.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2010 23:52:18 | More by gskitt
Photo of BarleyThere

New York

2.05/5  rDev -44.9%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Just beer.

This beer is good, let me say that first. Give me a plate of nachos or a bucket of hot wings and I could drink it straight through the night. That said, there is absolutely nothing salient about the brew.

Pours a light copper color, with light head retention.
Very mild smell of hops and some vague fruit characteristics.
Taste is almost like a brown ale, but without the caramel flavor or biscuit-y quality.

Tastes like beer, drinks like beer, great for packing 'em in. Not to be savored.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2010 02:02:56 | More by BarleyThere
Photo of ktrillionaire


3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This bottle was filled on 9-17-10. Quite fresh.

A - Pours a deep copper hue and is capped with a respectable margin of white froth, depositing a thick lace high-water (beer) line.

S - Vaguely grassy hops and a sort of unsweet caramel nuance comprise the aroma. Not bad, but not impressive either.

T - The taste is more impressive than the smell, certainly. Which is not to say that the taste is tremendously impressive, more so 'above average'. Slightly buttery, mildly bitter, with herbal and grassy hops and rich but semi-dry malt. ESB is such a nice style, and this is a decent offering.

M - It is slightly less than medium-bodied, yet still seems very robust.

D - Drinkability is the hallmark of ESB, and this one is sure drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2010 00:08:13 | More by ktrillionaire
Photo of yeahnatenelson


3.35/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Imbibed at Finnegan's in Plainfield, IL

Appearance -- Pours a ruddy amber, very bright, with a finger of creamy beige head.

Smell -- Bready and toasted malt, some pine resin hops.

Taste -- Biscuit dough, toasted malt, mild hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel -- Meidum-full in body with very mild carbonation.

Drinkability -- Aside from the nitro-tap mouthfeel, this beer wasn't very thrilling. Pretty ho-hum.

Serving type: nitro-tap

10-25-2010 21:39:13 | More by yeahnatenelson
Photo of cnally


3.33/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a goblet.

Pale red color in the body, crystal clear color and a quickly dissipating head.

Very mild aroma, lightly toasted grains, a little musty.

Flavor is, again, subdued, with a taste of caramel malt and heavily reliant on sweetness. A faint bitterness in the finish, but mostly the flavors are malty, with a little almond and vanilla.

Creamy mouthfeel. Good carbonation. Balanced.

A forgettable brew that does its best to be completely non-offensive.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2010 02:09:38 | More by cnally
Photo of Lemke10


3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought a single bottle of this from Woodman's in Menomonee Falls, WI for about $1.50 in early fall 2010.

This ale from Left Hand Brewery is a little darker and slightly more bitter than a standard ale. It pours a dark amber color, with a slight hint of wheat. It has a very smooth texture and luckily a full taste otherwise I would drink this beer much too fast. A good find and a must try for any ale lovers.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2010 03:01:45 | More by Lemke10
Sawtooth Ale from Left Hand Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 1,649 ratings.