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Sawtooth Ale - Left Hand Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sawtooth AleSawtooth Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,802 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,802
Reviews: 661
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 12.9%
Wants: 49
Gots: 122 | 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: 1,802 | Reviews: 661 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Lerxst
3.28/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A-Pours a somewhat hazy amber with a thin head that faded very quickly and left no lacing.

S-Mellow and tame citrus hops with sweet and toasty malt.

T-Malt, bread, caramel, tame citrus and floral hop flavors and a bit of spice.

M-A bit thin and watery.

D-Drinking one left me with no desire to have another.

Lerxst, Jul 28, 2010
Photo of Spica66
4.43/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle during Left Hand tasting at Pat's Liquors in Porter, IN on 7/22/10. The brewery rep was pouring and telling us all about the beers as we went. Very informational and fun.

A: Deep amber, perfect amount of carbonation. Very nice.

S: Noble hops, rich malts. Extremely balanced.

T: Completely balanced rich malt and wonderful hops. Wow!

M: Medium body, carbonation does the right thing.

D: Extremely enjoyable, low alcohol= set'em up!

Spica66, Jul 23, 2010
Photo of unclejimbay
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is golden honey/caramel in color. Decent head, retention and lace. Colorful bottle label with bottled date clearly marked as 3/16/10. About 4 months old it seems.

Smells of nice toasty malts with mild but balanced hop support.

Taste is inverse of aroma. Balanced but a bitter more hop fwd flavor than the aroma but still on a nice toasty malt body.

Mouthfeel is crisp with medium body. Medium+ carbonation, works well IMO bit a tad bubbly for the style.

Enjoyable brew for sure. Nice and balanced as the goal of a true ESB. A tad more hoppy than malty, in a good way, reminds me of an Anchor Steam. I would order this one for a balanced pale brew.

unclejimbay, Jul 22, 2010
Photo of Bestein
4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The appearance of the beer is very impressive. It's semi-dark with an interesting look to it.

The smell is everything a good beer should smell like. It has a smooth smell that doesn't come across as too stong.

The taste is like no other. It is a bitter beer, but the bittness doesn't come into effect until midway drinking the beer. there's a slight taste of honey in it that adds a unique quality.

The mouthfeel is very interesting. It starts off swell with the bitterness making its way all over the mouth.

In terms of bitter beers, it's really drinkable and taste worthy. But personally, I probably would drink it one beer per sitting.

Bestein, Jul 16, 2010
Photo of appenzeller
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light hazy reddish amber, half fingered but substantial head leaving lacing. Smell is honey sweet. Taste is complex, an almost milky creaminess underneath with a modest bite of spice, hops, and carbonation on top. The mouthfeel (and aftertaste) of this beer is well balanced, substantial yet not heavy, a really complex beer that's still highly drinkable. Yum.

appenzeller, Jul 15, 2010
Photo of mjw06
4.05/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Every once in awhile the appearance of a beer accurately depicts what that beer will taste like. Thats what happened when I tried Sawtooth. It had a packed creamy head that would eventually speak to the amazing mouthfeel that protected and cradled the taste for optimum enjoyability. The dark golden color, with transparency that was right in between clear and hazy, spoke to the balance of toasty hops and bitters that would soon meet my palate. This was great, and really opened me up to the ESB style that I had only tried once before and was turned off by.

mjw06, Jul 15, 2010
Photo of bsp77
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Pint.

Appearance: Clear rich amber with foamy white head that leaves bubbly legs on the glass.

Smell: Caramel, cherry and floral & metallic hops.

Taste: Rich caramel malt base with just a hint of cherry. Light floral and spicy bitterness at the end from the English hops.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, slightly too light body, semi-dry finish.

Drinkability: Great everyday beer, and a fine example of an ESB.

bsp77, Jul 11, 2010
Photo of deadliest
3.43/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A flat-amber color pour with a finger of craggy eggshell head.

Smell: Mild citrus bitterness.

Taste: Can carbonation be a taste? More mild citrus along with grassiness I managed not to smell.

Feel: Lightly slick mouthfeel with lots of carbonation.

Drinkability: Good drinkability. Refreshing enough, and full enough, just not the best beer from Left Hand.

deadliest, Jul 07, 2010
Photo of Bouleboubier
3.6/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had to check this out. Rarity in my neck of the woods - non-Guinness nitro-tap served in a half-pint. Memories of Scotland and John Smith's Extra Smooth. Hee-hee.

Not a bad ESB. Light ochre hue. Wonderful creamy bubble showcase with all the bells and whistles a la the cascading show put on by the head in a Guinness. Can't help it - nitro can make an attractive brew. Laced in a nearly opaque sheet.

Despite the nitro factor, a surprising bit of aroma manages to escape. Vaguely spicy bitterness.

After the bubbling settles out and the liquid warms up a hair, that is the time to go at this. Fairly straight-forward British bitter character with some unexpected spicy yeast overtones. Goes through smooth, as if.

The added zing through me off a little, but at least this beer had some decent flavor considering the constitution. Overall, I thought it went well. The thing has potential, however, next time I think I'd rather do a full pint and/or regular draft/cask.

Bouleboubier, Jun 26, 2010
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.

bnes09, Jun 06, 2010
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.

mjurney, May 23, 2010
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.

Kallessin, May 21, 2010
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?

jpittman80, May 14, 2010
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.

berpwillie, May 14, 2010
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.

Natural510, May 14, 2010
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.

Eldalonde, May 13, 2010
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.

chaz01, May 13, 2010
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.

JoEBoBpr, May 13, 2010
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.

flagmantho, May 08, 2010
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.

jwhawkins81, Apr 19, 2010
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.

twiggamortis420, Apr 14, 2010
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.

bump8628, Apr 05, 2010
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.

silentjay, Apr 04, 2010
Photo of WVbeergeek
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.

WVbeergeek, Mar 27, 2010
Photo of BeerGodz
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

BeerGodz, Mar 27, 2010
Sawtooth Ale from Left Hand Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 1,802 ratings.