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Sawtooth Ale - Left Hand Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sawtooth AleSawtooth Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,774 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,774
Reviews: 659
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 12.9%
Wants: 47
Gots: 113 | 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: 1,774 | Reviews: 659 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mattkoon
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%

the sawtooth ale from left hand brewing is pretty different. I have to say, I have never had a beer quite like this. It pours a crystal coppery brown. The look makes me think of a strong brown ale but the oppistie is more the reality of this ale. It's very mild and drinkable with a nice earthy bitter flavor. It's kind of a trick beer in the sense that it looks pretty tough but you could get away with drinking a few at a time.

mattkoon, Apr 17, 2011
Photo of Brunite
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%

A: A nice amber color with a good inch to inch and a half of head. Nice bubbly off-white head.

S: Biscuity...sopme herbal from the hops. Nothing really dominates.

T: Cracker...malt....dry.

M: Medium body...decent carb.

O: Average....tasty...drinkable...nothing memorable. Not a Fullers for sure.

Brunite, Apr 15, 2011
Photo of lsrose
4.2/5  rDev +12.9%

A - Semi aggressive pour left a half finger head which disappeared quickly. Good amber color though.

S - Mostly caramel and hops smell.

T - Really balanced tasting beer. Not as bitter and flavorful as you might expect though. Exceptional drinkability and good taste though and it could easily be a session beer.

lsrose, Apr 15, 2011
Photo of morebeergood
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%

On nitro tap this past Monday at the Other Side Cafe near Newbury St for $5 pint. Served in a standard pint glass. Color was shoe leather brown, with a marshmallow colored head. Almost looked like a whipped coffee drink. Smell was brown sugar and molasses. Really enjoyed the flavor. Great tastes of malt balanced with a subtle bit of hops. The nitro aspect really made this beer shine, as an ESB is not a style I see often on nitro. I thought an ESB as easy to drink before, but nitro made it practically gulpable. The abv was non existent, and I could have had a few of these no problem. A great beer that I've always wanted to try, in a format that I love.

morebeergood, Apr 13, 2011
Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.83/5  rDev +3%

I have really been digging Left Hand's beers lately, and appreciate that they are using solar power in their process. Another reason to buy their products as far as I'm concerned. Let's give their Sawtooth a go:

Appearance: Pours a very clear slightly orange gold color with a small head of mixed sized bubbles that faded back into the beer quite quickly. There are only a few bubbles where the beer meets the glass. No lacing left on the glass after drinking.

Aroma: My first impression was of some toasty malts and reserved hops, but when I went back to it, there was a metallic note that I am surprised that I didn't get in the first place. This metallic note doesn't last, and then the aroma is starting to lean toward the toasty and sweet caramel malts. The hops are also coming out a bit more, but they are very subtle in this beer.

Taste: The flavor is pretty good with malt being the biggest player in the flavor and finish. The hops show up pretty early and then let the malt do its thing. There are some bittering hops for sure, but they are reserved. I don't get the hard-water profile that you may expect for an ESB, so maybe this beer is misclassified on this site. The carbonation is a little too low, so it lets the beer leave a bit of a watery impression on the palate on the way through.

Opinion: This is a pretty good beer overall. It is a bit of a stretch to be a British ESB, but looking on their site, it calls it an "American" ESB. OK, so they are making the style up. That's cool, and I would say that it is the best "American" ESB I have ever had as it is the only one I have had. Either way, I am glad that I got a 6-pack of this beer as I will surely drink it all with pleasure.

SkeeterHawk, Apr 13, 2011
Photo of gkunkle
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%

This beer looks a beautiful dark amber color in my imperial pint glass. With a heavy handed pour I get a head of about 2 fingers high. The smell was mostly malty, but had a touch of hops. Upony first taste I decide this would be a good beer to share with my Fat Tire friends, as the taste is good, bit not overly complicated or too strong. The bready malts hit first, which are tasty, but not a punch in the mouth, then the finish brings out the earthy hops. Mouthfeel is good, not too heavy with nice carbonation. Overall, a good beer, I think I'll take some of this to a family gathering.

gkunkle, Apr 09, 2011
Photo of JesteR14
3.48/5  rDev -6.5%

The label i have is SO much better than the one pictured!

A- Love this look! dark amber, fluffy creamy head that just looks so good in a glass.

S- Malts, bitterness and some slight hops.

T- Bitter, malty and slightly alcoholic. Its a good taste that makes you want to come back in for another sip. Not my specific ideal flavor, but good none the less.

M- There is some off funk taste, not entirely bad taste but it is there. I know this is a strong bitter beer so thats just it. But the flavors just dont land on my pallet in the best way possible.

D- Its a good beer but there are some weird things that make me not enjoy it as much. First left hand beer and wont be the last.

JesteR14, Apr 07, 2011
Photo of rarbring
3.7/5  rDev -0.5%

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.

rarbring, Apr 05, 2011
Photo of Kendo
3.58/5  rDev -3.8%

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.

Kendo, Apr 04, 2011
Photo of Knapp85
3.05/5  rDev -18%

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.

Knapp85, Apr 04, 2011
Photo of Urbancaver
3.23/5  rDev -13.2%

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.

Urbancaver, Mar 21, 2011
Photo of glid02
4.33/5  rDev +16.4%

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.

glid02, Mar 17, 2011
Photo of rawfish
3.38/5  rDev -9.1%

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.

rawfish, Mar 16, 2011
Photo of drpimento
3.73/5  rDev +0.3%

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.

drpimento, Mar 13, 2011
Photo of claytong
3.7/5  rDev -0.5%

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.

claytong, Mar 12, 2011
Photo of williepep
4.03/5  rDev +8.3%

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.

williepep, Mar 06, 2011
Photo of THECPJ
3.13/5  rDev -15.9%

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.



THECPJ, Mar 03, 2011
Photo of BrewsCrewSA
3.4/5  rDev -8.6%

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.

BrewsCrewSA, Mar 02, 2011
Photo of Slatetank
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%

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

Slatetank, Feb 28, 2011
Photo of jmerloni
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%

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.

jmerloni, Feb 25, 2011
Photo of wrcraigl
4.2/5  rDev +12.9%

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.

wrcraigl, Feb 25, 2011
Photo of TheHoppiest
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%

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.

TheHoppiest, Feb 16, 2011
Photo of bgildea
3.65/5  rDev -1.9%

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.

bgildea, Feb 15, 2011
Photo of CaptDavyJones
4/5  rDev +7.5%

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.

CaptDavyJones, Feb 13, 2011
Photo of Crossmd
3.08/5  rDev -17.2%

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.

Crossmd, Feb 12, 2011
Sawtooth Ale from Left Hand Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 1,774 ratings.