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Sawtooth Ale - Left Hand Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sawtooth AleSawtooth Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,785 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,785
Reviews: 659
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 12.9%
Wants: 48
Gots: 119 | 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: 1,785 | Reviews: 659 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ommegangpbr
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm not a huge fan of ESBs but this one works out quite well.
Bready, a little sweet, nice textures and caramel tones in scent and flavor.
From a variety pack, and one of my first tastes of brew from this brewery, not a bad start at all. Drinks a bit like a good english pale ale.
Tasty, smooth, hints of mild citrus bitterness....
For a lower alcohol brew this ain't a bad choice.

ommegangpbr, Jun 19, 2007
Photo of BretSikkink
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear copper colored beer with a big foamy tan head. Thickness of head is nice, recedes quickly, leaving large soap-like bubbles.

Light caramel aromas in the nose, with a side of dark fruit and citric zest.

Malt is big here, slightly sweet and toasted. Fruit and biscuit, some hops but not very powerful. Okay balance, a little watery in the mouthfeel, and the finish is dry with a diacetyl note. Good bitter.

BretSikkink, Jun 15, 2007
Photo of BBM
3.58/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a mahogany red into a mug, with a decent creamy head. Aroma was slightly sweet, and a bit fruity.

This is a very well balanced beer in terms of flavor, with the hops and malt both getting equal billing. It reminded me of a cleaner version of their pale ale, to be honest. Somewhat fruity in spots, and caramel-sweet in others. Overall a well-balanced and solid ESB.

BBM, Jun 12, 2007
Photo of BigRedN
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Left Hand Brewing beers have recently been made available in Nebraska. I purchased a few as part of a mixed six pack to give them a try.

Appearance: Poured from the 12 oz bottle with "Bottle on 05 23 07" date (freshness dating a definite plus) into a pint glass. The beer is a dark amber. My pour produced an off white head just over 1/4 inch in height. Fades to a good cover on the liquid with some lacing.

Smell: A little malty (Caramel malts) but I get mostly hop related aromas. Floral scents, a touch of citrous, giving away to more of a piney scent as it warms.

Taste: Good malt backing with a definitive bitter hoppy finish. A nice well balanced beer. This is a nice ESB, great for the style.

Mouthfeel: Near medium in body with just enough carbonation. Finishes crisp and cleanly with no lingering aftertastes.

Drinkability: Highly drinkable. An ABV less than 5 with good taste makes this one very sessionable as well. I am definistely happy to see this in Nebraska and will have to make a 6 pack purchase next time.

BigRedN, Jun 12, 2007
Photo of zeff80
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a reddish/orange color with a tan, foamy, two-finger head. It left some nice lace.

S - It smelled of grass and hops. There was a slight pine smell.

T - It had a nice balance of roasted malt and grassy hops. There was a subtle citrus taste (possibly Cascade hops). The bitterness was understated.

M - It was crisp and sharp. A medium-bodied beer.

D - A very nice ESB. One of the better beers from Left Hand.

zeff80, Jun 11, 2007
Photo of MrHungryMonkey
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep golden amber / clear / very mild carbonation / nice head

American hops – citric and floral / malt barley – sweet biscuit/nut

Malt – sweet nut/toasty biscuit a little toffee. Hop is American citric and floral with a good little bitterness. Very slight metallic flash. Light roasted darkness, chocolate/nut notes. Real sweet feel. Decent balance, finishes dry.

Smooth thin+ body mild carbonation.

Easy on the tongue, not too sweet, good hop bittering balance.

MrHungryMonkey, Jun 05, 2007
Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Unique and exceptional, this is certainly not your ordinary ale. When Maduro first tapped this brew, myself and those who I was with assumed that the complex and interesting fruit flavor and richness was a result of the Des Rocs Tripel Imperial that had, just moments before, been on tap in the same line. We were wrong. A month and a couple of half barrels have passed and the Saw Tooth just keeps bringing the same interesting intensity.

Appearance wise, this one checks in as a pretty, orange-copper. IT’s transparent and not without a decent amount of white lacing.

The aroma is juicy, loaded with a wonderful blend of toffee malt and orange, strawberry, and pineapple juice. Sweet but not without noticeable hops.

Flavor and mouthfeel are balanced and bready with lots of light fruits, citrus, toffee, caramel, and cinnamon. Bitterness is light to moderate. Body is full for the style. Yeasts seem to play a large roll in providing the honey sweetness and candy like fruitiness. Yummy.

Drinkability is quite high.

DaPeculierDane, Jun 05, 2007
Photo of Osiris9588
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle dated 2/28/07. Pours a deep bronze color, wtih a creamy two-finger head, good retention, forming into a frothy cap and leaving plenty of sticky lacing.

The aroma is malt and caramel, as is the flavor, unitl the burst of hops and subtle alcohol on the finish.

The beer is light-bodied but shows some complexity with the contrast of the caramel, sweet malt, and floral hops. Very drinkable and overall a solid brew.

Osiris9588, Jun 04, 2007
Photo of SilentSabre
3.83/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On draught at Charlie Mopps, Roswell Rd. Sandy Springs, Ga.
Poured a dark orange copper colour with a nice looking pillowy head. Nice head retention on this one with that good looking foamy cap hanging around for several minutes. Smell was both a floral hoppy, as well as some definite sweet malt making for a well balanced smelling brew. Taste, too, was very well balanced with a pronounced, but not too assertive hoppy profile up front with a pleasant bitterness, and a nice subtle sweet malt turning to dry biscuity malt on the finish. I was rather impressed with this offering, and I must admit, I went into this thinking I wasn't going to care much for it. Shame on me, as this turned out to be a good beer, as well as a good representation of the style.

SilentSabre, May 26, 2007
Photo of scoobybrew
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was poured from the bottle into a pint glass. It has a nice pale golden color with a nice head with good retention. It has a strong barley malt and hop aroma. The taste is thickly malty with a nice hop bitterness to compliment. It's very full-flavored with a nice hop finish as well. It has a medium body with moderate carbonation.

Overall, this is an excellent ESB; very tasty and enjoyable.

scoobybrew, May 21, 2007
Photo of ski271
3.65/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Zeno’s in State College.
A- Medium amber with a reddish tinge to it. Head is small, foamy, off-white and slowly diminishes to a film. Intricate lacing early.
S- Moderate citrusy (orange) and lightly floral hops with a light bready malt backbone.
T- More of the same with some light doughy yeast in there. Decent dry, citrus finish.
M- Medium body, dry texture, moderate-low carbonation.
D- A satisfying, no-frills all. A fair example of the style that I’d probably get again.

ski271, May 20, 2007
Photo of joeskirkie
3.98/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice looking beer here. If it were a guitar I'd be able to say the color was "sunburst" which is kinda like a copper center with dark edges.

Smells of malts; sweet, bready, and creamy malts.

This is also very much true of the taste but it is followed by a nice but mild bitterness. It all balances out very well. It's light to medium bodied and quite smooth. Never a bad decision.

joeskirkie, May 08, 2007
Photo of supercolter
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A very decent brew that I will have to agree with Billybob on- its tastes more like an IPA than an esb. Smells a quite hoppy up front, although not alot of the piney smell. Its more balanced with the malt backbone.
Taste is good, the malt tastes a bit old however.
Mouthfeel is very close to perfect, a bit oily medium in body.
Drinkability is good.

supercolter, May 05, 2007
Photo of rebel1771
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a copper color with a slightly off white head that clings nicely to the glass.

The aroma of sweet malts abound along with a decent amount of hop aroma.

The taste has a more prominent hop blast up front than I expect from an ESB. Sweet caramel like malts show up after the hops subside.

Nice brew although not 100% inline with the style is represents.

rebel1771, Apr 24, 2007
Photo of billybob
3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured medium amber color three finger light tan head held very well with lots of lacing. aromas of citrus, grapefruit, and pine hops. tasted more like a ipa than a esb. some sweet caramel and bready malts with some hop balance. mouthfeel light to medium and carbonation ok. didn't like the fact i thought i was buying a esb and got something else, don't think i'll buy it again.

billybob, Apr 23, 2007
Photo of Marty
3.65/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice red/orange, with a lively light beige head. Carbonation was good, and those nice streams of tiny bubbles persisted until all the drink had been drunk. Dissipated head left a sticky ring of lace on the inside of the glass. Hoppiness is nice and round, not crisp, and contain hints of citrus. Overall, a very balanced beer, sure to please many a palate.

Marty, Apr 22, 2007
Photo of wspscott
3.33/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle in pint glass

Pours with a surprisingly thick 2 finger head, and leaves lots of lace on the glass. It is a light amber with lots of carbonation. The smell is mostly malts and that is what comes though in the mouth, I would like a little more hops. This is a little on the light side, there are good flavors, but something seems to be lacking. I suspect that I could give this to my father in law (the wine drinker) and I don't think he would have a problem. I could see drinking this at a baseball game or some other hot day. A nice beer, and worth trying, but not one I will buy again.

wspscott, Apr 21, 2007
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nice clear amber color with a thick head that fades down to a thin layer, leaving good lacing.

Smell is ok, like a fresh loaf of bread with a hop aroma in the background.

Taste and mouthfeel are just ok too, caramel malt, with a slight hop bite. Medium bodied, moderately carbonated.

The beer is ok, but I wouldn't want to drink it all night.

JoeyBeerBelly, Apr 20, 2007
Photo of neonbrown82
3.15/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is a decent beer. Not one of the better ESB's I've tried, though. Looks good, but everything else about it seems fairly par.

The beer pours to a nice coppery amber color with a thick off-white head. Good retention, great lacing. Carbonation is moderate. Looks just as I would expect my ESB to look.

The smell is where things start to go a bit downhill. Bready English malt with a small hint of sourness. Something I've been able to detect in all the Left Hand beers I've tried. The hops play a close second role to the caramelized malt. Smells like English hops as well, like an earthy, woody Fuggle as well as a hint of spicy and herbal hops.

The taste is quite similar to the nose, but more distinguishing. Bready pale malts with notes of caramel and toffee. Distinctly English, like Marris Otter. The hops provide a very subtle bitterness. Just enough to balance out the sweetness of the caramel and toffee. Same characteristics as mentioned in the nose. Finally, has a bit of a berry ester, along with an acrid sour flavor that lingers in the finish. Maybe DMS.

The body is medium with a very gentle carbonation. Only 4.75% ABV, but not something I could session on.

neonbrown82, Apr 13, 2007
Photo of BlindPig
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- About a 1/2" off white head on a pretty clear orange/amber body. Decent lacing covering top of brew and sticking to side a bit.
S- Nice big citrus and grapefruit hops with a nice backing of malt body. Some pine in there too.
T- A nice balance between hops and malts. Hops are out weighing malts and leave a pretty big bitterness on the tongue. Get a nice caramel mixed with some pine and grapefruit (pine over powers the grapefruit).
M- Medium to maybe a full body with medium carbonation.
D- I really like it and could easily have a few of these.

BlindPig, Mar 14, 2007
Photo of kajerm
1.88/5  rDev -49.5%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Tried this at a beer tasting a few months back. Poured golden-brown with an averageish head into my pint glass.

The aroma? Yogurt, yogurt, and more yogurt. This beer reeked of lactobacillus. The taste was nearly as bad, laden with sour cream and yogurt notes-- horribly, horribly infected.

Drinkable for a vile bottle of pestilence and plague, I guess.

I've tasted Left Hand's imperial stout and I know they can craft a decent brew, but a for-profit brewery should not be letting this kind of thing happen.

kajerm, Mar 14, 2007
Photo of Bobikel
3.38/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Poured a deep orange with a good sized clunky head that stuck around for quite a while. Laching is also above average.

Smell - Malts dominate, with just a slight earthy hoppiness.

Taste - Bready malts take over at first, followed by a bittering hopy push, which in turn, recedes back into a mellow toasted flavor.

Mouthfeel - Full bodied and a little slick with an even carbonaiton.

Drinkability - A very mellow and easy drinking amber ale. A descent amount of complexity allows for an interesting evening, while it retains enough simplicity to be quaffed with a few friends over dinner.

Bobikel, Mar 13, 2007
Photo of Stimack
3.45/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Picked up the variety 12 pack this past weekend and finally was able to give them a try. First time I have seen them at my local places in New York, probably have been just walking right past them because they have been available (at least the Milk Stout) at my local hang out.

This brew pours to a slightly hazy dull amber color with a nice sized head that has pretty good retention and left a nice amount of lacing at the top pf the glass. The aroma is very nice, lots of malt come through with biscuit and caramel scents. Also I am picking up a nice hop aroma that while subtle is there and mixes very nicely. This is a very good aromatic brew, very inviting. The taste while very nice seems to be missing my expectation. From the aroma’s I was expecting a more robust flavor but is seems somewhat dull. While this being said it is a nice tasting brew just does not live up to my expectations. Some hop taste up front is noticeable but does not live up to the smell, agree that for this style that they should not be overwhelming but should have a little better punch IMO. Also the malts seem to be somewhat bland and I feel that this is what is causing my thoughts on this brew to be so-so. Somewhat sweet flavor but very plain to almost feeling watery. I would say that this brew is fair, nothing to write home about but a fair choice for a sessional brew.

Stimack, Mar 12, 2007
Photo of Hibernator
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Left Hand Sawtooth Ale
12 oz brown bottle
Bottled on 02-07-07
Served in a 20 oz tulip pint glass

Pours a light amber brown with an orange tint. A fluffy head forms on top and leaves nice patterns of sticky lace on the glass.

The nose is bready and malty. A touch of sweetness and spicy hops linger in the background.

Juicy caramel malt backbone with a hint of nutty flavors. Bready, reminding me of the crust from wheat bread. The finish provides a grapefruit citrus twang.

A middle of the road ESB from Left Hand. Not one of my favorite styles, but I enjoyed it just the same.

Hibernator, Mar 10, 2007
Photo of beeragent
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving style: 12oz. bottle, poured into a pint glass.

A - The beer poured a deep copper, forming a nice 1 inch head, leaving thin rings of lace on the glass.

S - The aroma is mostly of sweet malt, a hint of hops, and a little caramel.

T - Sweet caramel flavor, along with a nice nutty finish. Cant really detect any hops in the taste.

M - Medium smooth mouthfeel.

Overall, this seems to be a very smooth, east to drink, ESB. Not as harsh as others of this style that I've experienced. I could see having a few of these during a session.

beeragent, Mar 05, 2007
Sawtooth Ale from Left Hand Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 1,785 ratings.