Sawtooth Ale - Left Hand Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sawtooth AleSawtooth Ale

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1,893 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,893
Reviews: 663
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 12.9%
Wants: 55
Gots: 161 | 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: 1,893 | Reviews: 663 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bark
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The colour is medium amber – copper; the compact off white head is two fingers high, quite firm with a hint of a crater. OK lacing.

The smell is hoppy, in an American way. Lots of bitter citric notes with some chemical sour flavours, peppery spicy notes are blended with some creamy sweet malt. There are also some notes of milk chocolate and gravy/bullion and a touch of wet leather.

The taste is also hoppy, but not as bitter as I had expected. Fresh notes of citric fruits (grape fruits, bitter oranges, limes), some salt, creamy sweet notes of malt with a lightly roasted touch and some very light earthy notes. The aftertaste got notes of sweet exotic fruits, some bitter-sour hops and a long lasting malty taste.

The carbonation is medium strong, medium sized bubbles. The liquid is very smooth.

A highly drinkable and very American ale.

Photo of katan
3.55/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a hazy brown color. A light quarter inch head appeared, and showed little carbonation to the body of the beer.

S - All I can say is malt malt malt. A nice sweet aroma.

T - Its a very light malt character to start, with very little bitter backdrop. Finishes with something akin to chocolate.

M - Light carbonation - has a very smooth finish.

D - I could drink a few of these at a time. Refreshing beer that might be best paired with dinner.

This takes like an american pale ale to me - a decent beer.

Photo of jwc215
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours amber with a thick off-white head that descends to a lasting cover. Some trailing lace sticks to the glass.

The smell is mild - caramelish graininess with underlying earthy tones. Slight butter.

The taste is of caramel with a touch of spicy earthiness. Light toast gives it some breadiness. Soft citric fruitiness intermingles. As it warms a touch of chocolate/toffee comes through with some dark fruits. Mild diacetyl in the very well-balanced bittersweet finish.

Medium in body and carbonation. Smooth with lingering flavor.

This is a good interpretation of an ESB. Well-balanced and on the spot for flavor.

Photo of NEhophead
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 fl oz brown bottle; served in a tumbler.
Bottled on 05.23.2007.

Crisp auburn in color beneath an inch of pillowy, white foam. Ringed patches of sticky lacing wrapped around the tumbler.

Faint caramel and molasses tones over a musty earthen floral hop aroma. Very mild aromatics.

Creamy caramel-flavored, toasted malt character; drops of diacetyl linger throughout. Spicy, floral hops that give an abrupt bitterness before receding to a musty, biscuit flavor.

Medium bodied; light and spicy. The hops make for a very earthen texture.

A tame ESB with a rather flavorless hop profile, despite the obligatory spice for the style. Nothing memorable.

Photo of becktone
3.23/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Eye: Dark gold in color. Just a bit cloudy in appearance with a small white head. Head retention and formation could be better as well as lacing.

Nose: Nice balanced aroma in this brew. Mostly malt influenced but there is just a hint at some hop aroma though it is so faint it is hard to describe, but I did get a little bit of hops here. Malt aroma is composed of sweet caramel notes and some grainy aromas.

Tongue: Overall this brew is very balanced. Hop bitterness is noticed right upfront then sweet malts come into play, followed by a nice blend of bitterness and sweet malts once more. Malt flavors include some diacetyl, caramel and toasted notes. Hops are low key, just enough to balance it out.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability: This beer is medium bodied with lower levels of very fine carbonation bubbles. Goes down easily and well. This is one that is easy to drink, makes a great session brew. However, I think that there are better examples out there. Definitely won't be purchasing this one again until I've tried other brews of the same style. In my opinion Moondog from GLBC is better. On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with this beer, yet there is nothing that makes me go "Wow!" either.

Photo of bluegrassbrew
3.45/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a dark copper color with a small head that leaves good lacing.

Smell is of sweet biscuits.

Taste is sweet and toasty. Mostly bready malt.

Mouthfeel was a bit too thin for me, but not bad for the style.

Overall, an easy drinker that makes for a good long session.

Photo of bblackwood
4.05/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Left Hand Brewing has been a rather recent discovery for me, but so far they are batting .1000 - everything I've had so far is quite good.

Appearance: Poured from a 22 oz 'bomber' bottle into a pint glass. The beer is a reddish in color amber. Poured to about 1/2" head with good lacing.

Smell: A nice mellow scent that mildly reminds me of Rogue's Dead Guy Ale, but less fruity. Slightly malty smell as well, very pleasant overall.

Taste: Nice malty flavor with some slight hoppiness.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with just a touch of carbonation. Nice round flavor, not too floral.

Drinkability: Very drinkable, it's become my 'standard', replacing Rogue's Dead Guy Ale for a 'daily drinker'. Not outstanind in any single way, but overall a very nice beer. Cheers!

Photo of brdc
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very nice looking amber brew, with a foamy white head with good retention and lacing.
The aroma is surprisingly pleasant and rich, reasonably malted and caramelized, with additional fruity hoppiness noted in the background.
Taste is a little bit less than I expected from the smell, but nonetheless pleasant, caramel maltiness, biscuit-like flavors and hints of chocolate and fruity hoppiness in there as well.
Firm body, but a rather dry finish with a slightly unpleasant bitter aftertaste.
A nice brew, not spectacular but certainly worthwhile.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Sawtooth Ale from Left Hand Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 1,893 ratings.