1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Sawtooth Ale - Left Hand Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sawtooth AleSawtooth Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,643 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,643
Reviews: 649
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 12.9%
Wants: 42
Gots: 75 | 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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sawtooth Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,643 | Reviews: 649 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bnes09


3.65/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hazy amber in color. White head forms then disappears with patchy lacing.

Smell is clean with hints of grain, caramel and grassy tones.

Mild citrus hop character starts it off. Malt sweetness adds some caramel and honey. Smooth and balanced flavor.

Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation. Crisp on the tongue.

Easy to drink a few of these thanks to the balance and refreshing feel. Not overly robust flavors but still a solid ale.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2010 03:30:48 | More by bnes09
Photo of mjurney


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

[Appearance]: Copper color, clear, lots of nice carbonation, head looks great, leaves an awesome lacing on the glass.
[Smell]: Caramel malts, green apples, spicy hops.
[Taste]: Malty up front, caramel/toffee, green apples in the mid-palate, spicy/herbal hops at the end.
[Mouthfeel]: Light to medium bodied, carbonation is low, smooth finish with slight dryness.
[Drinkability]: Very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2010 20:49:02 | More by mjurney
Photo of Kallessin


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

Pours a clear deep amber/copper color with a full creamy off-white head. There are tons of bubbles rising to the top. Nice lacing after the foam settles.

Smells mainly of sweet malt and caramel with a mix of earthy and herbal hops. The aroma really is pretty faint.

Has a sweet malty caramel aroma up front with some bready/biscuity malt. This flavor slowly goes over to some mild bitter hop flavors. There's a subtle spicy hop flavor, that's a little like pine, which is more prominent on the finish.

It's medium bodied with fairly high carbonation - a little peppery almost.

A very nice flavorful session beer. I like the transition from sweet/malty to mild hoppiness - just the right balance. The subtle spiciness adds a extra layer of flavor.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2010 21:51:37 | More by Kallessin
Photo of jpittman80


4.53/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Beautiful brilliantly clear copper with a mostly white head. that fades to the rim.

S - Apples, citrus, wine, faint bready malt and apples.

T - I really didn't see this coming from the smell. Instead of a cidery beer, it's full tasty caramel and bready malts. The apple flavor is present, but faint and in the background. Good clean hop bitterness rounds it out to a nice dry finish.

M - Silky smooth medium body. I really enjoy drinking this.

D - See above. A great flavored, well balanced beer.

What took me so long to try this?

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2010 21:57:48 | More by jpittman80
Photo of berpwillie


3.48/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy copper color with spare head, spare lacing and soft carbonation. some floral piney hints in the smell and taste, also a bit carmel and nutty. light body with short flavor duration. thin oily texture. finishes lightly bitter. average beer, nothing really special here.

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2010 13:40:26 | More by berpwillie
Photo of Natural510


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

Also had at the South Park in Dayton.

Poured a medium-amber with nice swath of bone-white head.

Not much to the nose other than a bit of sweet, biscuity malt.

Flavor is a mildly sweet malt with notes of biscuit and fruit. Slightly tangy, with creeping bitterness toward the finish.

Body is smooth, almost thin, but that fits the style well (would be an excellent candidate for cask).

Overall very drinkable, and good take on a British style without attempt to "Americanize" it. Still, not particularly distinguished other than being a good almost-session beer.

Serving type: on-tap

05-14-2010 02:14:51 | More by Natural510
Photo of Eldalonde


2.2/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Has aromas of hops and some spice. The head retention is disappointing but the flavor is rather interesting. It tastes of carmel, some spices and a little hoppy. When I had this, I didn't really care for it...the flavors just didn't meld to well. It's mildly complex, but nothing terrific.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2010 19:21:58 | More by Eldalonde
Photo of chaz01


2.55/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On tap at South Park Tavern in Dayton, paired with my pizza.

A: Clear light amber color with a thin head.

S: Faint Citrus piney aroma.

T: Grassy haw and orange flavor up front, followed by more orange and an unpleasant muskiness in the finish.

M: Well carbonated, maybe a little too much as the carbonation covers up some of the taste.

D: This left me unsatisfied, it wasn't very hoppy and the malt profile seemed a little bland to me. Hard time putting away a full pint glass of this and was eager to switch to something else.

Serving type: on-tap

05-13-2010 17:34:41 | More by chaz01
Photo of JoEBoBpr


3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into the Sam Adams pint glass.

A - Pours a nice amber color with some great CO2 and a nice .25 inch white head that reduces to a nice thin mat.

S - Nice crisp sweet malt notes with some caramel and nice bready grain hints. Some nice hop backbone to it that is very well balanced by the malt notes.

T - Taste is very much like a traditional UK ESB. Nice bready malt hints and good sweet caramel and toffee hints that aren't too intense but melds very well with the crisp and bitter hop hints.

M & D - Very nice medium body beer that is still refreshing and drinkable. Sooth but with nice carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

05-12-2010 23:48:05 | More by JoEBoBpr
Photo of flagmantho


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

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Label indicates this was bottled on 10/28/2009.

Appearance: rich brown orange hue with a slightly hazy body. Head is a thin finger of ivory foam which dissipated rapidly. Not too bad.

Smell: nice, low-hop, caramelly aroma. Light but well-crafted, I'd say.

Taste: very pleasant malt profile; caramelly but not too sweet. Hops are present in a slight bitterness and a slight floral presence. Quite pleasing indeed.

Mouthfeel: medium body with plenty of carbonation. There's a nice creaminess here.

Drinkability: quite drinkable. I might have to go out onto the patio and enjoy it in the sun.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2010 16:42:42 | More by flagmantho
Photo of jwhawkins81


3.15/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 1/20/2010 tasted on 4/11/2010

Aroma - Slight Belgian like spice but with a good amount of aromatic hops. The aroma almost led me to believe this was a hoppy bear.

Appearance - Nice fluffy head that dissipated to just a collar. Beer was a amber red color with just a trickle of carbonation.

Taste - Very much in the line of an amber beer with a light hop bite. The first half of the bottle there was also an astringent off flavor that I didn't appreciate.

Notes - Not exactly what I expected from a ESB.

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2010 20:47:21 | More by jwhawkins81
Photo of twiggamortis420


3.2/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz with a bottled on date of 10.10.09. Pours a very clear, medium copper color. An aggressive pour yields a big 3-fingers worth of off-white foam. Retention is pretty good and lacing is excellent. Took a bit of coaxing with the pour, but worth it for this good looking tulip full of beer.

Nose is lightly sweet with some toffee and caramel with a bit of minerals. Not overly British smelling, nor typical ESB. Not enough hops greet the nose and is sweet as opposed to toasty. Maybe more of an Amber/ESB hybrid?

Yes, I would have guessed Amber ale for sure on this one...caramely sweet malts are only lightly balanced by some leafy hops. Gotta be some crystal malt in here. There is a touch of burnt toast bitterness but it is too little too late. Not that I mind drinking this beer, it is easy to drink and enjoyable, but I dont get much in the way of an ESB. Has a pretty full body and plenty of flavor for a sub-5% brew. Good enough to session on every once and a while.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2010 23:43:39 | More by twiggamortis420
Photo of bump8628


3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle with bottled on date of 1/27/2010, so this one should be in pretty nice condition.

Dark gold-copper with an inch thick mat of white head that stays for the entire session thanks, in part, to the massive cascade of carbonation rising to the surface.

Pretty well-balanced with a slight edge going to the herbal, woody hops. Light caramel and biscuit form the malt base, while yeast remains neutral. The finish is quite dry.

All in all a solid, very flavorful, and highly quaffable ale. The biggest drawback is the carbonation overload that I find quite distracting in this style of beer, actually in many styles.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2010 22:56:38 | More by bump8628
Photo of silentjay


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

pours a reddish copper with a one-fingered head that sticks around and hugs the glass. lots of bubbling.

herbal, bitter, english hops are apparent in the nose. some butterscotch, caramel, toasty and nutty malts, too.

tastes similar to the aroma. bready malt is strong, bitter in the middle, citrusy in the finish.

light-medium bodied with an oily feel left in the mouth.

goes down pretty easily. nothing offensive nor remarkable here.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2010 04:37:50 | More by silentjay
Photo of WVbeergeek

West Virginia

3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one nice session ale, it's becoming harder and harder to find beer under 5% alcohol. This one pours a really nice clear copper amber hue with a full light beige head that sticks to the sides of the glass, after forming a floating biscuit texture dimpled chunky head. Lacing is evenly dispersed with each sip.

Aroma provides a nice earthy, herbal, and mildly citric hop nose with warming caramel malts, basically liquid bread. Pretty easy going but packed full of flavor.

Taste is great a strong riding earthy herbal bittering aspect with semi sweet caramel and biscuit malts to balance out the experience. A great American brewed ESB, this style is hard to come by anymore.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied easy going natural carbonation not a cloying aspect to be had finishes a bit dry with some earthy hop bitterness.

Drinkability is very nice when of those brews that empty themselves you could be 4-5 deep in this before you even realized that you almost drank a six pack of the same beer. This is an element that has been missing in many extreme craft beers, nice to see a flavorful session ale to fill the void.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2010 13:30:09 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of BeerGodz

New Jersey

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

Look: Copper color, small white head, little retention & lacing

Smell: Herbal English hops, sweet malt

Taste: Up Front: Sweet malt, toasted malt. Finish: Herbal hops, some pine

Mouthfeel: Medium body, low carbonation

Drinkability: Very sessionable

Overall Impression: A pretty straightforward ESB. Not complex, with mellow flavor and aroma. The low abv allows for extended session. It would be a great beer for Newbeez to check out

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2010 10:59:15 | More by BeerGodz
Photo of alexgash


4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle. Bottled on 01/27/10.

Clean, medium copper body with a pinkie finger of frothy, dirty beige head. Good lacing. Nose is a pleasant mix of honey, biscuit malts, shortbread, strawberries, orange marmalade, and peppery hops. Slight metallic twang.

Herbal hop bitterness up front, along with some toasted malt. Cookie sweetness comes in as spicy, peppery hop bitterness swells. Malt turns fruitier near the finish with notes of strawberry and apple. Minty, herbal hop finish with a crisp mineral-y edge. Medium-bodied with a slightly creamy feel. Nice and drinkable. Yum!

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2010 00:26:09 | More by alexgash
Photo of Beerandraiderfan


3.03/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Looks like a red or amber ale. Aroma is not American hops that I'm accustomed to. Maybe its psychosomatic with the "sawtooth" name, but it smells like stale wood.

Tastes like beer aged in wood. Not bland, but not anywhere near aggressive in any sense. Doesn't seem bitter. Kind of thick. Not eager to get it over with, but not eager for another.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2010 22:32:24 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of LordHammer

New Jersey

4.45/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my ABC glass.

A: A deep amber, edging towards red, with a solid cream colored head that lingers for a few minutes and settles as a solid layer on top of the beer. Really nice lacing down the glass.

S: Mostly English hops in the nose, with a bit of malty sweetness. Definitely piquing my interest.

T: Nice slightly sweet, toasted malts up front with a finish of lots of English hops. Moderately bitter with lots of earthy and slightly spicy/piney notes. This is really brilliantly balanced.

M: Carbonation is relatively low, but the beer still feels substantial without being motor oil.

D: Balance is the name of the game here. For me, this is the ideal level of flavor and moderate alcohol for maximum quaffing potential.

My first beer from Left Hand, and based on this, I'll be trying to find others.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2010 22:24:06 | More by LordHammer
Photo of caresville

New Jersey

3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

the mind is a funny thing. ever since i have started drinking beer i always knew i never liked the taste of ESB's whether it be boddingtons or some new supposedly great bitter. i always steered clear, and they always made me feel sick after drinking just one. this one changed my mind solely based on the fact i did not know it was a bitter until i was halfway through drinking it and came on here to review it.

received bottle as an extra from sophisticated, thanks for changing my opinion on ESB's... for now.

a- dirty blonde, not quite a brunette. tiny off white head, great carbonation and pretty decent lacing.

s- malty, grainy, hoppy, caramel undertones, peanuts and maybe onions, haha.

t&m- very silky and smooth. baked bread, caramel and mashed potatoes dominate the palate for me. a muted bitter finish, nothing over the top. simple and not very complex, makes for easy drinking.

d- very easy to session this one, this is the only nice thing i have ever had to say about ESB's ever. this one is a treat for sure.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2010 06:18:40 | More by caresville
Photo of samie85


3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours a clear copper with a white, one finger head.

S- Caramel malt and a clean, floral hop nose.

T-Caramel malt at the forefront with a dry, bitter finish.

M-Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation.

D-Really easy drinking, and sessionable. I could see myself being able to drink these all day.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2010 01:09:59 | More by samie85
Photo of beertunes


3.43/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into 16oz stange. Poured a nice medium brown with about 1/2 inch of just off-white head that dissipated too quickly, but left decent lacing.

The aroma was a malty sweet base with a slight scent of hops in the background. The flavor was very similar, nutty malt with a slight hop sharpness on the finish.

The body was average for the style. Drinkability was very good, having several of these would be easy. Overall a decent enough beer that's worth a shot.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2010 02:14:16 | More by beertunes
Photo of Lunch


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

Served on-tap at Jose Pistolas in Philadelphia, PA into a 16oz. shaker pint glass at the appropriate temperature (02/28/10).

A: Pours a caramel brown capped by a two finger off-white head with decent retention and lace.

S: Lots of caramel and a nice nutty tone dominate the aroma. Some mild bitter hops are faintly there with some citrus notes.

T: Nice and slightly bitter caramel/nutty tone hits the palate first with good and clean flavor. Hops bring in some citrus to add a bit of complexity.

M: Medium-bodied with some slickness and a slight oiliness.

D: Very easy to drink and quite low in terms of abv. this is quite sessionable, but not the most flavorful beer.

Overall this is a nice and sessionable ESB from Left Hand, but nothing I would seek out. Worth a look.

Serving type: on-tap

03-02-2010 20:43:33 | More by Lunch
Photo of Duhast500

Rhode Island

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

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

The color is a clear amber with a finger of foamy white head and some nice lacing.

The smell is spicy and pretty malty. Some nice citrus flavor just in the outside of the nose.

The taste is pretty malty with a touch of some bitter hops. A good amount of citrus hop flavor and was slightly bitter.

The feel of this bitter is a good medium bodied flavor and is pretty easy drinking.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2010 02:59:29 | More by Duhast500
Photo of jadpsu


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

Appearance: Pours a clear amber in color and has thick and foamy white head with better than average retention.

Smell: Some light caramel,light esters, grain and light citrus hop aromas.

Taste: Malty, with a hint of caramel, light chocolate, and some toastyness flavours. Medium-bodied and a little on the sweet side. Hop bitterness is mild, but balances the malt. Finishes a bit dry.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2010 05:16:31 | More by jadpsu
Sawtooth Ale from Left Hand Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 1,643 ratings.