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Sawtooth Ale - Left Hand Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sawtooth AleSawtooth Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,692 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,692
Reviews: 652
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 12.9%
Wants: 42
Gots: 89 | 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: 1,692 | Reviews: 652 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rarbring


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

The beverage is clear dark amber, an off-white head that leaves little lacing.

The smell is sweet, sugar, raisins and then some sun-warm hay.

The taste starts of sweetly, brown bread, brown sugar, oranges and ripe apples. A slight apple peel bitterness.

Medium carbonation, soft texture and a good body.

A soft, drinkable beer, possibly lacking some hops, or bite.

Serving type: on-tap

04-05-2011 20:51:29 | More by rarbring
Photo of Kendo

New York

3.58/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got it on tap at Barcade in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on 4/2/11.

A: Served in a pint glass, the body is golden amber and does the whole cascading-nitro thing, leaving a 1+ finger creamy ekru-colored head.

S: Not much in the nose at all - faint cereal grains is about it.

T: First impression is more about the feel than the taste: smooth. Very English - bready malt with some slightly florally hops providing just a touch of bitterness at the finish.

M: Nice - real creamy feel from the nitro; body is on the lighter side of light-to-medium.

O: Good. Nice creaminess and generally light - makes this an easy drinker.

Serving type: nitro-tap

04-04-2011 20:55:15 | More by Kendo
Photo of Knapp85


3.05/5  rDev -18%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer pours out as a reddish brown color with a foamy cream colored head that has some good retention. The carbonation is light, the mouthfeel is smooth and not overly thick. The flavor is like a traditional ESB but not quite as good as the real thing from England but damn close. The flavor is bitter with a dry aftertaste, kinda musty. It's worth trying.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2011 01:05:51 | More by Knapp85
Photo of Urbancaver


3.23/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an amber reddish. A good amount of white head that dissiates quickly dissapointing for a beer on nitro tap. Smells malty and sweet. Almost no hops. A touch of bitterness. Tastes sweet with a touch of bitterness. Honestly doesn't taste much like an esb. Very smooth and creamy but the taste is lacking.

Serving type: on-tap

03-21-2011 21:48:09 | More by Urbancaver
Photo of glid02


4.33/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cask at the Brick Store courtesy of Dave - thanks! My fourth review of this beer, and with the benefit of having a multitude of others to compare, the cask version may be my favorite.

Pours a slightly hazy light copper color with a one-finger white head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of pale malts with very slight hints of toastiness. Also present are earthy and slightly herbal hops.

Tastes very good. Slightly grainy pale malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by earthy and slightly leafy hop flavors. Midway through the sip the flavor profile dries out a bit with the addition of lightly toasted malts. Near the end of the sip hints of fruit flavors - pears and raisins - make an appearance before fading out into a moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with soft carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall, as I mentioned above, I think this is the best way to drink this beer. All the best nuances shine through and it just seems right. Well worth a shot however you can get it.

Serving type: cask

03-17-2011 22:45:46 | More by glid02
Photo of rawfish


3.38/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours copper, somewhat hazy with a 1 finger off white head that leaves a good amount of lacing around the glass. Pretty nice but nothing special.

Interesting. Caramel malt, rather bready with some fresh granny smith apple and light amount of funk. Aroma is rather strong even when the beer is at colder temperature.

Rather simple in presentation, caramel malt back bone, still rather bready with noticable yeast flavors. Spice and slight citrus on the back end, reminds me a little of a wit beer. Bitterness comes in suddenly with a drying feeling, no real flavor maybe grainy? but just bitter and refreshing.

Goods carbonation though a little light on the mouthfeel. Overall a good if not great session beer, flavor and presentation are simple yet very drinkable. I wish there were a distinguished hop character to this one instead of gravitating towards being fat tire light.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2011 21:08:28 | More by rawfish
Photo of drpimento


3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Had the nitro-tap version of this. Served with a very thick, luscious, thick, creamy, & cream colored head and good lace. Color was a clear, dark yellow. Aroma wasn't so good- funky, goaty, hop and malt. Flavor was a very good blend of hop, malt, grain, fresh bread, and caramel. Body was mouth filling, finely carbonated, very round and satisfying. Finish is like flavor and body combined and of medium length. Session beer.

Serving type: nitro-tap

03-13-2011 15:33:21 | More by drpimento
Photo of claytong


3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A nice light winter drink. I'm proud of Left Hand. They make some good beers and our located half a mile from my house.
The Sawtooth is another beer I like to have around when I feel like drinking 3 or 8. It's incredibly smooth but somehow has this winter feel to it. I don't like it quite as much in the summer.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2011 22:43:38 | More by claytong
Photo of williepep

New York

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

A-Light, hazy amber, nice head with fine bead, clung to the glass all the way down.

S-Malty with light,citrusy hops.

T-Starts out sweet, then dry at the finish. Slight citrus flavor from the hops.

M-Light to medium-bodied. Not too carbonated.

D-Very easy going down. The smooth flavor and light body belie the strength of this beer.

Very nice, drinkable beer. I would prefer a bit more body to my bitter, but it's got a very pleasant, not-too-bitter flavor that makes it an easy beer to drink.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2011 00:30:56 | More by williepep
Photo of THECPJ


3.13/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: orangish brown with 1 fingerhead

smell: sweet malts, little hop flavors,

taste: small hop flavors, and malts

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, smooth

drinkability: easy drinker. just not one of my go to beers.



Serving type: bottle

03-03-2011 16:39:39 | More by THECPJ
Photo of BrewsCrewSA


3.4/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, caramel brown; minimal head, dissipates after a few minutes. Beautiful color.

Smells of faint malts and ripe, apple-or-pear-like fruits.

Tastes piney, a tad more bitter than I expected. Carbonated bitterness hits you squarely on the palate, followed by residual malts that don't really stand out. Kind of falls flat after that initial blast of resiny zest. Alcohol notes along the top/front that cascade throughout. Not really sure what to make of it. Not my recent favorite. The thing is, most ESBs I've tried had a certain bitterness up front followed by big, buscuit or caramel maltiness - I guess that's what this is missing, the punch line.

Mouthfeel is a little confusing also. Starts kind of puckery, but mellows out a bit unpleasantly. Extremely moist, so not very thirst-relieving.

Drinkability is par for the course. A decent session beer at 5.3% if the flavor is your thing.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2011 02:46:30 | More by BrewsCrewSA
Photo of Slatetank


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

I had this bottle at Wegman's in Mechanicsburg -poured chilled into a tumbler.

A decent copper color with brilliant look/great clarity and quick to collapse white cap, the head becomes a ring of tiny beads. the lace is semiclinging. The smell is good, mainly fruity yeast with some pear notes, but a mild lemony hop tinge is there and mild caramel malt odor. The feel is relatively light for the style, mild sweetness and moderate carbonation with semi-dry finish.

I really enjoy the light body because it brings the focus more on the flavor which is very good, lots of toasted and gently biscuit-like malt flavors and subtle fruity yeast blends well and makes for a pretty decent take on the style with moderately bitter slightly lemony hop flavors - the dry aspect in the finish is very pleasant. I would definitely go for this again, a prety solid beer and the flavor is very good for a beer bottled about 6 wks ago

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2011 19:50:31 | More by Slatetank
Photo of jmerloni


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

A - pale amber color. medium head that recedes quickly and doesnt lace that well.

S - Sour apple, bitter hops. Citrus.

T - Sour apple, citrus, hops, and a rosemary or thyme like spice. Interesting.

M - Light to medium bodied. Airy. Slightly overcarbonated and not very dry.

D - Drinkable. Not a great beer but pretty good overall.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2011 01:03:23 | More by jmerloni
Photo of wrcraigl

North Carolina

4.2/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is my go to. It has a great taste and is easy to get anywhere for the reasonable price. I have had this on draught as well and its even better. If you are an ale fan this is one to try or retry. I would like to try and make my own personal brew similar to this one. But and easy top 10 of mine.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2011 00:03:50 | More by wrcraigl
Photo of TheHoppiest


3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours an amber-gold, with an off-white head that has decent retention as the beer is swirled.

Has a malty-honey aroma, with floral notes of clover, orange blossom, and lavender. There's also a hint of toffee underneath.

Sweet malty start, with very little bitter to finish. The taste is a more basic sweet honey than the aroma, with a slight acidic fruitiness in the middle that gives way to a grainy grassy taste. Some bitter begins to present as I get further into the beer.

Medium-bodied, this is a smooth drinking beer, easy drinking, if a bit simple in its presentation.

Fairly drinkable, though I find it hard to believe this is supposed to be an ESB. Bitter is not how I would describe this sweet, almost honey-like beer. I'd peg its presentation more as an amber than ESB. Nonetheless, is it not a bad-tasting beer, and it is one I've had before and would enjoy again.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2011 01:45:44 | More by TheHoppiest
Photo of bgildea


3.65/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a slightly murky amber color, with little white head that leaves slight lacing.

S: Has a decently sweet smell with hints of figs. Nothing overpowering though.

T: Starts off with the sweet smell that came across in the smell. Then mixes with some barley and maybe a little hops. Finishes with a similar slight sweet aftertaste. Definitly didnt get much of the bitter flavor.

M: Really good amount of chew to it. I was happily surprised.

D: It's a drinkable beer. Pretty light and not much bitter to it, so overall pretty easy drinking.

Overall: Overall the beer was decent. I definitly didnt get the bitter flavor in it though; much sweeter than I expected. Reminded me more of amber ale than an ESB.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2011 00:58:21 | More by bgildea
Photo of CaptDavyJones

New York

4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a clear, dark copper color from a 12 oz bottle, with 'bottled-on' date on the label. One finger head that dissipated very quickly.
Aroma is all malts with hints of caramel coming through.
Taste upfront is a nice blend of malts and sweet caramel with a nice bitter finish. The bitter aftertaste lingers for a bit, but it's a pleasant bitter. Excellent lacing along the insides of the glass.
This is very crisp and refreshing ESB and has all the makings of a good sessions beer. The drinkability of this ESB is very good.
All in all, a good ale, and is definitely worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2011 06:24:36 | More by CaptDavyJones
Photo of Crossmd


3.08/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The appearance of this beer is really pretty interesting. Held up to the light, a copper, almost medium brown sits in a hazy bulb in a tulip glass. Almost no head is present. About 2/3 of the way through the bottle I gave it a couple of good swirls and poured the rest in

Smell is sort of non-existant. Some soap, breads and malts that dies off quickly.

Taste is a lot more smooth than I thought. No effervescence, but I would have been kidding myself to expect it after a total lack of head. Malty, sweet, herbal, and earthy. The very end of the drydown has an odd metallic sort of taste though. I'll have to have another one later to make sure it's not just this one.

In line with many of the other idiosyncracies of this beer, the mouthfeel is really unique, IMO. Chewy, almost earthy with no carbonation. In a way, it almost feels like a different substance than what I typically have in mind for "beer."

Drinkability is good. Not the sort of thing that sits low in your stomach, I could probably have another one of these without any problem.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2011 18:54:32 | More by Crossmd
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
Sawtooth Ale from Left Hand Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 1,692 ratings.