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Sawtooth Ale - Left Hand Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sawtooth AleSawtooth Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,833 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,833
Reviews: 662
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 12.9%
Wants: 52
Gots: 137 | 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: 1,833 | Reviews: 662 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Looks copper-amber, lively, bubbly with a slightly off white head leaving scattered lacing around the edge as the volume goes down. Really good head retention overall.

Smells mostly hoppy with mild fruityness and sweet smelling malt.

Taste is also hoppy with a fruityness, sweet malt with a nice mellow wheat flavor too.

Feels crisp and lively eventhough it was bottled on april 26th and not consumed until 9/3/06. A nice clean, refreshing dry hop effect.

Pretty tasty and really easy to drink.

GratefulBeerGuy, Sep 08, 2006
Photo of FightingEntropy
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Strong malty base with spicy understones. Hops aroma and presence is good, fills the nose when held there for a bit, but understated compared to the malt, giving a slightly sweet taste The light golden colored ale is also a bit light in the mouth, but not bad. Front end carbonation bite that goes flat off the back of the tongue. Good taste to the beer, but not multidimensional, and a beer to get when it pops up but don't hunt it down.

FightingEntropy, Sep 03, 2006
Photo of ColoradoBobs
3.83/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Lovely large off-white head over a clear amber body. Pretty beer.

Exceptionally buttery and nutty aroma. Malt and walnut dominate. Great smelling beer.

The taste fell off a bit, with a lighter buttery, nutty, malty taste. It smelled so good that the flavor disappointed a bit.

Mouthfeel was pleasantly round and full for a 4.75% beer.

A very easy-drinking beer, I'm thinking this would be very good for sessioning: not so much flavor that your palate gets tired, but enough there to keep your tastebuds interested, with a low enoug ABV that you could still stand after a few.

ColoradoBobs, Aug 17, 2006
Photo of Foxman
3.43/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It pours a clear orangey amber. A finger of sparse off-white head melts instantly to tiny froth springs. There is minimal lacing.

The aroma brings a softly sweet caramel note with a hint of cocoa. A duo of biscuit and mild yeast supress a vague trace of peppery hops.

Upon tasting, a flow of toasted malt sweetness is stunted just after a flash of caramel, and the ensuing gap seems thin and rather wanting for any real grain presence. Soon comes a slightly spicy character that parts for a trickle of baked dough, before a fair bitterness takes over. The finish is dry and indistinctly bitter. It's got the basis for some flavor, but is thin and halting.

Light bodied, the malt helps to lay a nice coating on the palate, more lush than anticipated.

It looks nice enough, and smells even better, but the flavor is a disappointment. It's a shame it doesn't deliver more. The disconnect from smelling to drinking causes a stark drop-off, and such a let down is hard to get past. Still, it's not totally devoid of drinkability. It's just that you come away thinking it could have been so much more.

Foxman, Aug 14, 2006
Photo of BeerAmbassador
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a decent sized head with good retention and a bit of lacing. Ruby amber color. Smells very malty with some carmel and fruity notes, a little hops to balance out. Taste is very smooth with those same malty notes and a good bit of hop backbone. Nicely carbonated with a good creamy mouthfeel.

This beer actually suprised me a little as I was expecting something average to mediocre. It is a great example of the style without being too over the top in any area as some brewers attempt. It has a great drinkability and is something I would pick up in a heartbeat for a good malty session beer. Would love to find it on draft.

BeerAmbassador, Aug 10, 2006
Photo of gunnerman
3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass, nice amber color with one inch white head that leaves little lace. Smell is of malted barley with hint of some citrus smells. Taste is of a bitter malt with hints with some wheat in the background, very good flavor and easy to drink, leaves a good aftertaste as well. Another good brew from Left Hand Brewing company.

gunnerman, Aug 09, 2006
Photo of teg8612
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Amber color with an off-white head. very little lace.

S- Pale malt with floral hop notes. Balanced but not complicated.

T- Hop bitterness is of the floral variety. Malt backs up the hops and gives it a nice balance with a dry finish. Kinda nutty. Not vey complicated but good. More malty dryness as it warms.

M- Medium bodied with a dry finish.

D- It is so balanced and uncomplicated it seems over before it began. I was done before I could really decide if it compared with some of the other ESB's out there. That could be a good thing. I'd grab it again but I think I prefer Redhook more.

teg8612, Aug 08, 2006
Photo of Dithyramb
3.18/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Part of the mixed 12 pack that is now available in NJ. Smeared bottled on date.
Copper colored with light off white head. Nice lacing.
Light citrus aroma.
Citrus hops and chalky/doughy malts. Thought throughout the drinking experience that it was rather uneventful. Nice and goes down smooth and drinkable enough. Just not something I'd knock anyone over to try again.

Dithyramb, Jul 31, 2006
Photo of mattpetti
3.13/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This was a weird beer to drink. I have never been into esb's, and this came in a sampl pack so i'm giving it a try. Purs an amber color into my glass with a sligh head that has decent retention and lacing. Small is of slight pine, more bread/ chalky malts, smells ok, but something is off. The taste was of a nutty, slightly hoppy and sweet flavor. Some kinda buttery caramel was the main flavors. I think i might have gotten an old batch of this. The mouth feel is medium bodied with decent coating and weight. The drinkablity is average right now, im going to have to review this beer again for a full picture. Now overall it is an easy drinking esb though. with the nutty and maybe a slight spice being the main flavors.

mattpetti, Jul 16, 2006
Photo of maddamish
4.15/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ap: Copper in color, this beer poured out a white rocky head that diminished quickly but laced nicely.

Smell: A nice malt presence in the nose.

Taste: There is a heavy yeast note in this beer that can be described as doughy. There was only a slight hint of the caramel/butterscotch flavors that were present in the draft version. Accompanying the doughy taste was a slight nut presence that added a bit of complexity to the beer. Very nice. There is an acidic alcohol note that is left on the palate after consumption with a lingering toastiness.

Comments: A very good bitter in it's own right but I am partial to the draft version of this beer.

maddamish, Jul 13, 2006
Photo of Xadoor
2.2/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Dark gold or copper colour in the glass. Off-white head that settled quickly. A strange aroma, sort of grassy and earthy. Flavour is a little odd as well, I opened a couple of them to see if they all tasted like that. My first impression was that it tasted a lot like iced tea. Sweet biscuity malt flavours to start with some light pine and fruitiness. It finishes quite dry, but with only a light hoppiness. Thin to medium mouthfeel. Its not a bad beer, but I just can't get rid of that tea-like flavour that I seem to get from it. Maybe I'll give it a try again if the opportunity presents itself.

Xadoor, Jul 12, 2006
Photo of
2.93/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle. Beer was a dark gold color, crystal clear. Moderate size head, off white in color. Aroma was malt on top, with some citrus style of hops coming through as well. As I inhaled, I also picked up a vinegar smell - made me wonder about the beer. I pushed on to tasting, where the hops outweighed the malt quite a bit. Sweetness only came through towards the end for me, primarily in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel was fairly drying, and the carbonation seemed rather high. Body was light and it was fairly refreshing. Overall, an OK beer, but I wasn't that impressed, and the smell was rather off-putting. I will probably try again in case this one was damaged in some way.

, Jul 12, 2006
Photo of kimcgolf
3.33/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 0z. bottle. Reddish apearance, true to style, but little head and no lacing. Bitter throughout, as expected, with a very dry palate to begin with, that but became less so near the end...left a good finish. Not my favorite beer, but at 4.5% abv, a good one to have if drinking several.

kimcgolf, Jul 03, 2006
Photo of CRJMellor
3.3/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a raw copper with extra golden yellow highlights. Dull white somewhat foamy head formed and settled really quickly.
Aroma of light caramel and bit of flowery hops. Nothing really developed here, even as it warmed.
Flavors were dominated by a light toasty, bready note and hint of caramel and some peanuts.
Mouthfeel was moderate at best and really lacked no defining quality or "hook." Pleasant enogh just a bit pedestrian.
Drinakability was average. Just a rather bland brew. Nothing offensive just not one that captures your imagination or leaves you wanting another.

CRJMellor, May 30, 2006
Photo of jmbranum
4.43/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The numerical score above is of the most recent tasting

Review of July 17, 2012:

Faint malty aroma

Pours a nice dark amber with a big head. Clear.

Lots of malt. Some toastyness and a hint of caramel. Fairly sweet but not overly so. Just a little bit of hops (too many ESB's put too many hops in, in my opinion) which fits this style just right.

An excellent well-balanced beer.

Medium mouthfeel.

Review of May 27, 2006:

AP: 4.0 AR 4.0 F 4.0 MF 4.0 D 3.5
Goregeous orange-amber brew with a smallish head.

Excellent fresh flavor. Well balanced with some faint floral and pine hop notes, a fair bit of bittering hops, lots of rich malt and a good mix of dryness and sweetness.

Very much recommend this beer for a nice balance and fresh flavor.

jmbranum, May 27, 2006
Photo of BurnsTau
3.45/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a medium/dark amber, copperish, head that dissapates leaving little lacing behind.

Smells of a sweet malty aroma.

Tastes, the maltiness immediately comes through, hints of spice. Very little hops are apparent, I guess there is a hint detectable at the end, but nothing very pronounced.

I don't know how I really feel about this one, I guess it is ok, it's not a bad beer, it just doesn't really shine in any areas.

BurnsTau, May 24, 2006
Photo of UncleFlip
3.05/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Good copper colour, with a foamy two finger off white foamy head that quickly becomes a one finger off white foamy head.

The smell is kind of stale, with some fruity and spicy notes, overlaying deep malty sweetness.

A strange flavour...quick spicy matiness is replaced almost immediately by in-shell peanuts that haven't been roasted enough. It sounds odd, and it IS odd. There's still some maltiness and spice throughout. But I *swear* there's a not-quite raw peanut flavour there.

Mouthfeel is OK...a bit thicker than average, as is the carbonation. However, the carbonation stays up high where it doesn't get in the way.

This would be MUCH mroe drinkable were it not for the whole peanut thing.

Be well

UncleFlip, May 22, 2006
Photo of mmmbeer
4.4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz., bottled on 3/1/06 - served in a nonic. It pours a solid chestnut hue with a finger of khaki head that doesn't leave much lacing, but retains a 1/4" cap of bubbles throughout. The aroma is of citric/piney/floral hops, sweet/buttery malts, dark fruits?, and roasted/chocolate malts. The taste is about the same with the addition of tropical (grapefruit, orange, faint mango) hops that contribute a mild to medium bitterness on top of a medium body that is crisp and refreshing. Overall it is a more-than-adequate ESB that is quite balanced in both scent and flavor. Definitely worth the price and I'm sure it would make a great session brew.

mmmbeer, May 21, 2006
Photo of blitz134
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first cask ale...had at the Decatur, Ga Taco Mac.

Came to me with a cloudy dark caramel body. It had a little white head on top but quickly went to a white ring around my pint glass. I saw them pour this but it was still small.

Aroma was a bit of sweet malts with some floral aroma hints coming through. A bit weak overall. The flavor was a definate step in the right direction. This was loaded with a huge hit of biscuit malts and then transitioned to some herbal and peat hops for a bitter finish.

Mouthfeel was a full medium body, probably due to the lack of carbonation. Flavor really lingered. Good drinkability overall. A fairly solid ESB that was nonoffensive in the taste department but still went down easy.

blitz134, May 13, 2006
Photo of rabsten
4.03/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another of my clean-out-the-cooler series, pint glass poured from a bottle dated -Yikes! - August 31, 2004. Amber, good tan head, very good lacing, medium carbonation.

Smells malty with mild citrus hops. A caramel quality starts to show itself as the glass empties.

Tastes like a pleasant english bitter. Reminds me of Sam Smith or Newcastle, but with a more assertive hop presence. Clean finish.

Mouthfeel and drinkability are above average. Very drinkable.

This is the second Left Hand in a row I've reviewed - the other was the Black Jack Porter - and while both have been past their primes, they remain drinkable beers. This one in particular held up very well. I need to find a nice, fresh six of this one to try again.

Bottom line: Above average American take on a classic English style.

rabsten, May 09, 2006
Photo of scruffwhor
3.38/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours a clear amber, actually the standard color compared to all the other bitters I've tried. The head though was a two finger pour with great retention. A permanent film was left throughout the entire enjoyment of the beer. I ould have given the appearance a "5" if I could've seen some more lacing.

Smell- A tit bit funky, but not a repellign macro funky. Like a mix between day old bread and ripened cheese funky.

Taste- Made me think of an old ESB. By old, I don't mean aged to perfection. Like this bottle might have been sitting on the shelf too long. But I can't be sure. The typical biscuity/bready malts mixed with subtle Goldings hops wasn't bad. But the flavors overall weren't exceptional.

Mouthfeel- A little tart mixed with sweaty socks. Yet I still gave it a "3" cause I have a bias for bitters.

scruffwhor, May 09, 2006
Photo of danielharper
3.55/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased from Vulcan Beverage, Birmingham, AL. Bottled 03/08/2006.

A: Pours deep brownish amber color with a thin bubbly white head. Moderate lacing on the edge of the glass.

S: Malty notes of caramel, slightly sweet, very slight hoppiness.

T: Hoppy, drying character up front. Fruit notes, hints of apples follow with dry bready aftertaste.

M: Mouthfeel moderate, foamy.

D: Overall fairly drinkable, would make a good sessioner.

danielharper, May 09, 2006
Photo of cheers2beers
3.38/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: This beer pours a mahogony amber,leans more to the orange side of it. The head is slightly off white head, nice amount of laceing and one out two beers that was poured one had columns of beading the other did not.

Smell: Smells very close to "Fat Tire" from New Belgium brewing. Caramel is there up front with maybe a little milk chocolate. Hops play a minimal roll for sure. Now that I really think about it, it smells like I just cracked open a fresh box of wheat chex. Strange

Taste: There is a bready character that hits me right off the bat. Slightly bitter with a nutty bark flavor. Other than that there is not much else.

Mouthfeel: Very thin mouthfeel but it maintains a smoothness of sorts. A medium level of carbonation with a smooth finish.

Drinkability: Very easily sessional beer. Would be good for almost any dinner, used mainly for washing your food down or good barbque beer. A must try but don't get too over excited about this one.


cheers2beers, May 05, 2006
Photo of beermanbrian
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark copper color with light tan head. Smell of biscuits with a toasted note. Taste is very malty but there is a piney hop note that just sneeks through. Very smooth finish with little to no aftertaste. This is a very drinkable beer that i could see having around. Pleasantly surprised by this one.

beermanbrian, Apr 28, 2006
Photo of SigEp
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer pours a tawny brown-red in the glass. 2 1/2 fingers of head, with good retention. Nice lace all the way down.
Aroma is malty with a hops background piercing through.
Flavor is excellent. Well balanced biscuity-malty-roasty goodness tempered with the right amount of hops (cascade tastes like). The hop level hangs around a mild IPA while the taste and mouthfeel harken to a softer, rounder ale (though of a fat tire for a second; definately biscuit malt in there). I enjoyed the beer thoroughly; give it a try.

SigEp, Apr 06, 2006
Sawtooth Ale from Left Hand Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 1,833 ratings.