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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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sawtooth Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,802 | Reviews: 661 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of benito
3.13/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Lefthand's flagship brew is a rich copper with nice, creamy head and a good amount of carbonation. The bouquet is a well-balanced matching of pungent florals at first and a nutty, caramel-like sweetness in the finish.
The nose also has a slight doughy or buttery presence that rounds out the bouquet.

The flavor itself has a strong hop smack that drowns out some of the more subtle, tea-like and doughy tones and textures. I enjoyed the more subtle flavors to be found around the hops--strong malts, bread and butter--than the dominantly dry bitters; unfortunately, these were only to be found along the edges and in the shadows of each swig.

As such, the mouthfeel is rather imbalanced for my palate...too much bitter and not enough sweetness to smooth things out. That said, the texture is rather smooth and contributes to a nice drinkability, as Sawtooth goes down quick and easy.

A decent ESB with some flaws that make it a worthwhile, though not essential brew to try.

benito, Jan 23, 2006
Photo of maxpower
3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle pours a hazy orange copper color, decent off white creamy head that leaves some lacing in the glass, light nutty caramel aroma. Light body and has a crisp carbonated mouthfeel, balanced sweet apple, caramel flavors, nice clean bitterness, finishes dry. Great session brew, very tasty and drinkable.

maxpower, Jan 20, 2006
Photo of AltBock
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle with a born on date of 10 28 05.

Poured a light amber color with a off white color head of foam that left some lace and rings in the glass. It had a light aroma of bitter hops and sweet malts. A little lacking in the aroma department, but good none the less . The taste was sweet malts up front that finished well with some spicy bitter hops. A nice balance of malts and hops. The mouthfeel was light but not watery at all. Very nice! Overall a nice affordable ESB session beer.

AltBock, Jan 02, 2006
Photo of ChiSox05
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured an inch of beige-tinted head on top of a dark orange amber. Some lace clings in spots from a well maintained layer of foam. Quite clear, looks refreshing.

Smells of faint citric hops, faroff caramel malt sweetness, makes me want to taste.

Malt is biscuity, cut with citric hop bitterness. Taste some roast later on. Next sip, same thing. Finely textured carbonation and well balanced malt and hops relax the palate, leaving a late dry-malt and grass-hop pang leading to the next sip.

Well done, was itching for a porter, only had this chilled, completely different styles but great after work satisfaction. What I liked was the blend of all elements in this beer. Just a single in a mixed sixer, next time I'll need all six. The way its put together, a refill makes sense.

ChiSox05, Dec 29, 2005
Photo of Blakaeris
3.2/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is light red with a white head that quickly dissipates to a thin ring.

Smell is malty with a slight sour undertone.

Taste is toasted malts and nuttiness, hops make an appearance at the finish.

Mouthfeel is smooth.

I found this to be an easy drinking beer. It definitely got better as it warmed. This would be a good choice as a crossover beer.

Blakaeris, Dec 24, 2005
Photo of bashiba
3.23/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a very nice shade of mahogany with a thick white head that left huge lacing all the way to the bottom.

Smell had a nice buiscuity maltyness to it.

Taste was dominated by the toasted bread and malt flavors that the smell indicated. Very low on the bitterness, expected a little more from this style.

Mouthfeel is pleasantly full and creamy.

Drinkability is decent, but nothing to right home about.

bashiba, Dec 24, 2005
Photo of abcsofbeer
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle with Aug 1, 2005 bottled on date. Pours a nice amber, copper color with a 1 inch head. The head is rocky, tan in color and sticks around a while, leaving nice rings of sticky lace. There is ample carbonation in this slightly cloudy liquid.

The aroma is citrusy sweet with mild grapefruit smells. It is not overpowering, but, is less on the scale compared with an IPA.

The taste is good, a nice blend of malts and hops give it both a sweet caramel taste mixed with some spiciness. There is medium to high concentrations of carbonation. Overall, a good brew that I would visit over again.

abcsofbeer, Dec 16, 2005
Photo of bjohnson
4.25/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a bit dark amber with a reddish tint--cloudy. Half finger head that clings to the edges of the glass.

S: Aroma is hoppy and smells of grains hit the nose. Reminds me of the smell coming from my basement when my dad was brewing beer when I was younger. A little fruitness in there also.

T: Has a little bitterness to it, but it was'nt very strong. Maybe I got a bad batch. I really couldn't place the taste--I drank the whole thing and couldn't figure it out. There was a bunch of malt that I tasted, but it stumped me besides that.

M & D: Very smooth and left a tad of bitterness but overall, very tasty. I could definately drink a few of these. Emma gave it a thumbs up also!

bjohnson, Dec 03, 2005
Photo of beveragecaptain
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. Sawtooth ale pours out a partially hazy amber color with half an inch of head. Caramel malt aroma with some fruit and fresh hops. Biscuit malt flavor with mild fruitiness, some caramel, and crisp, fresh hops. Just a little bit of nut flavor too. Well balanced. This beer has a freshness that makes it a real pleasure to drink. Mouthfeel is medium. Good drinkability. This is a surpisingly good example of the ESB style.

beveragecaptain, Nov 12, 2005
Photo of kbub6f
3.6/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A medium-sized, tan, bumpy, active head. A deep copper clear beer. Candy floss nose, grape juice, some cheesy hops. Fruity and nutty in front. Fairly full in the middle. Some deep malt hints at chocolate. Grapey finish! Quite bitter. Some roasted nuts. A touch of sour grossness. A decent session ale.

kbub6f, Oct 30, 2005
Photo of KarlHungus
4.5/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours a clear light amber color. Its head is large white and fluffy, and sticks around forever. The aroma is nice and hoppy with some fruity notes. The taste is as hoppy as the aroma. Not overpowering, but still strong. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with ample carbonation. Overall, this is a great brew.

KarlHungus, Oct 19, 2005
Photo of sabrills70
3.45/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy brown/amber color with a 1 finger head and good lace. Smells of a nicely roasted malt with caramel, nut and some coffee smells. Good taste of a roasted malt with some hop bitterness but not as much as I expect in an ESB. Caramel, nuts and minor coffee roasted flavors as well. Not a lot of hop flavor but the cause could be that this particular bottle was bottled on 1/5/05 and today is 10/17/05. Medium carbonation and good drinkability. Not a great ESB but a fine beer none the less

sabrills70, Oct 18, 2005
Photo of sevineyes
3.3/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from brown bottle with Niwot (left hand) icons in sign language on a vaguely Navajo-like label with a saw at the bottom.

A: Clear with lace. Amber colored, but quickly dissipating head.

S: Green grassy-hoppy smell.

T: Between the carbonation front taste and quick finish, the actual malt profile is weak - or hop character for that matter. The taste that is there just seems to start too late and finish too quick.

M: Coats the tongue and sides of the mouth nicely.

D: Really drinkable even though I wish it were more complex overall.

Overall: Another nice, but not complex beer from this brewery. If the taste rose to the level of some of the other characteristics this could be an exemplary beer. Worth picking up a six pack for sure.

sevineyes, Oct 16, 2005
Photo of russpowell
4.65/5  rDev +25%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Beautiful copper coloring with a foamy head that holds up fairly well. Residual lace follows down the class

Smell: Citrus-like hop aroma with some faint bready malt smells

Taste is very well balanced, nice sweet maltiness gives way to hoppy, some what resiny bitter tastes on the tounge & throat.

Mouth feel is perfect, chewy maltiness & just right amount of carbination

ESBs are amognst my favorite styles and this is in my personnal upper tier, yum, great finish...

russpowell, Sep 27, 2005
Photo of Gagnonsux
4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The color is a lightly hazy caramel-tinted copper with plenty of carbonation. Head is creamy, off-white, and small. The aroma initially hits with a burst of moderately citrissy hops, but soon gives way to a pleasent caramel malt aroma. The taste is of caramel and bisquity malts with dashes of fruity flavors. Citrissy hops come into play towards the finish and add an assertive bitterness. Hop flavor seems to play a bigger role in this beer than the few English ESBs I've sampled. I'm not complaining though, this has a nice complexity that is enhanced by an ease of drinkability. I could see this being a regular in my fridge rotation.

Gagnonsux, Sep 11, 2005
Photo of BEERchitect
3.74/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I'm more impressed with this beer than I thought I'd be. This is one of those styles that American Micros usually butcher. Pours a nice light copper to straw color. Higher carbonated that expected. Decent head retention. Smells malty, caramelly and nutty. Light hop detection. Tastes are similar to aromas throw in more breadyness, yeastyness, earthyness. Nuttiness reminds me of pecans, nice on top of caramel and toffee flavors. No flavor is dominating. The beer is smooth in its flavors, the carbonation may be a distraction. Mouthfeel is round and just shy of medium. Finishes fairly airy and crisp. Nice subtle hop bittering; not too sweet. A very easily drinkable beer.

BEERchitect, Sep 06, 2005
Photo of ryantupy
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This one poured a darkish amber with a nice frothy foamy head. It smelled great it had hints of toffee or carmel, fruits, cirtusy hops and malt. A very nice tasting beer with some nice bitterness to it and some sweet caramel malts and hints of biscuit character, dark chocolate. This was definatly a try.

ryantupy, Sep 01, 2005
Photo of battlekow
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, dark amber, with scant head and little lacing. Mostly lacks a discernible smell, but does possess a modicum of both maltiness and hoppiness. Tastes surprisingly good, malty upfront with a nice dry bitterness following. Well-balanced. Appropriate mouthfeel. A modest, easily enjoyable ESB.

battlekow, Aug 15, 2005
Photo of Chadbrew
3.18/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - Nice reddish caramel colored ale with a light head, medium carbonation and average lacing.
Aroma - There is much malt sweetness in the nose, there is also a decent hop presence.
Taste - Definitely some sweetness but fairly smooth with a nice balance but there does seem to be some astringency in the finish. Some cloying sweetness.
Mouthfeel - It has good body without doubt, I think from crystal, adding to the overall sweetness.
Drinkability - Not a bad drinking beer, but not a great one either.

Chadbrew, Aug 13, 2005
Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.15/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very decent ESB which is very much worth your time.

Decent head and very good lacing throughout. Nice amber color, but not quite coppery enough for my tastes.

Hops on the nose at first.

Taste is actually better when first poured at lowered temps. Actually, the taste is good and an enigma. Nice hops-biscuit notes balance. As it warms, buttery tastes come out and those tastes fade. If you could get them all their at the same time it would be wonderful.

Mouthfeel is quite excellent at first, but declines after that. Still good, just not as good.

GeoffFromSJ, Aug 12, 2005
Photo of Zorro
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber colored ale with a white head, spot on for the style.

Smell is a bit of sweetness, malt and biscuits and cookie dough scent. Nice herbal and citrus hop scent.

Taste is very dry with the flavor of salt and oak at the start. Fairly bitter aftertaste with a very herbal hop flavor. Slightly grassy and astringent.

Mouthfeel is good.

Drinkability is good. This is a mild ale with no flavor that abuses your taste buds. Good tongue cleaning qualities make this a great choice for foods where you want the beer to play a role.

Zorro, Aug 12, 2005
Photo of benmiliron
2.98/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Paid $1.59 for a 12 oz. single. Looks nice, transparent brown/tan color with little red. Heavy head with lace. Taste is heavy English malts dominating with light bitter hops in the background, again English-like. Aftertaste is all hops and alcohol. Odd for the low ABV. There is also a chemical taste present that I don't care for much at all. Phenol? Kind of mediciney.

benmiliron, Aug 09, 2005
Photo of gbontrag
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice fruity ale aroma lingers with a sprig of crushed, citrusy thyme. Fluffy white froth sits on a pleasant brew the color of my well-used, oiled, 30 year old maple wood bowl. The froth stays like a raft built of tiny bubble wrap; lace gilds the glass.

Great biscuit chewiness is nudged aside slowly be a twisted stick of dried herbs (oregano, catnip, epazote). A little peach juice floats by leaving the tongue coated with peach fuzz. Very nice bitter.

gbontrag, Jul 25, 2005
Photo of palliko
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Copper brown and clear in color. The cream colored foam disappeared within a minute, leaving a little lacing. Malt present in the aroma, and few hops. Doughy, initial taste with nutty caramel, mild carbonation and some resin in the finish. A great session beer that goes well with food.

palliko, Jul 16, 2005
Photo of ybnorml
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A clean cooper/amber colored beer. Has a big creamy dark beige head and a nice bit of lace. The aroma is a sweet malt with a hint of caramel. There is also a light floral hop note in the background. The flavor starts with a light sweet malt character which dominates the taste until the finish. In which a smooth hop bitterness sits gentley on the back of your tongue.

ybnorml, Jun 29, 2005
Sawtooth Ale from Left Hand Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 1,802 ratings.