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Chainsaw Ale - Left Hand Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Chainsaw AleChainsaw Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

318 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 318
Reviews: 170
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 23
Gots: 25 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  9.40% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: RoBotGod on 03-06-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 318 | Reviews: 170 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not retired, as there is a 2008 version now out. I had last year's. Not too hoppy, but significant. Not too malty but significant. An easy drinking, dangerously hidden alcohol. Good head initially. Nothing outstanding but it was enjoable and satisfying.

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of Thorpe429
2.14/5  rDev -43.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

On tap at Left Hand. Pours a mahogany color. Really sweet and boozy. Ick. Some hops after that initial impression, but still, really didn’t enjoy this.

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of BEERchitect
3.63/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The standard Sawtooth is a very nice malty Pale Ale with a more English take on styles. Double it? I expect a sweet Double or Imperial IPA.

Chainsaw pours a very murky amber-copper hue, creamy and froathy head formation of off-white foam, great retention, and leaving lots of lacing behind. Other than the heavy haze, the beer looks very good.

Aromas of heavy malt (caramels and toffees) ride along side of spicy and piney hops with a chaser of pine and phenolics. Strong alcohol aromas bring about acetone and nail polish remover notes. Still quite fruity all the way.

Flavors give a balanced approach between the malts and hops, but I prefer the hops to take charge in beers like these. Alcohols, phenolics, and estery compounds make the beer a bit rough from mid-palate on. Finishes with a conflicted malty/hoppy blend that struggles with the harmony.

Chainsaw begins malty and sweet then ends basically the same but with intensifying heat, bitterness, alcohol roughness, and bite. These flaws don't ruin the beer; just keeping it from becomming as great as a Double Sawtooth could be.

This beer is a Double IPA but it has an aggressive sweet tone, plastic phenol, strong alcohol character that hurt the drinkability in the end. Still, a pretty good beer... just wondering how good it could get.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"I'm a lumberjack baby
I'm a lumberjack baby
But I ain't jacked my lumber baby
Since my chain saw you"


Tropical sunset orange suffused with a coral blush. The beer is clear so far, but should become nicely murky once the sediment at the bottom of the bottle is added. The pour produced a generous four fingers of khaki colored foam that has a wonderfully creamy, sticky texture. Loads of outstanding looking lace definitely helps the cause.

The nose suggests an ale that has both pale and caramel malts, as well as fruity hops. No single member of the hop bill takes charge (Magnum, U.S. Goldings, Fuggles and Cascade). All in all, the aroma is slightly underwhelming, although I have faith that it will improve over time. Note: it does.

Left Hand Chainsaw Ale is a rock-solid American strong ale that could also be thought of as an American barleywine. I have no idea when in 2008 it was bottled, but it's drinking fine on this sunny afternoon in mid-February 2009. It isn't too brash or hot, and it definitely isn't toothless (chainsaw reference).

There's more melted English toffee on the palate than was suspected. There's also a hint of tobacco-like earthiness that is probably due to Munich malt. It isn't overdone, though, which is good. The top notes are reminiscent of fruit soaked in fruit brandy. Apricots first, followed by oranges... and maybe a handful of cherries as well. This really is tasty stuff if you're a fan of big beer.

The mouthfeel could stand to be more chewy (personal preference), but is fine for the style and the ABV. It makes drinking quickly a breeze, as does the soft, caressing carbonation. That said, I'd advise against it. Sipping this beast is the way to go.

Chainsaw Ale doesn't exactly carve a wide swath through the American strong ale style, but it does carve out its own little niche. Even at the slightly high price of $12.99, I'd be happy to fire this baby up again. But first, I need to ease my way into the evening with the final half of this one.

Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of ygtbsm94
2.75/5  rDev -27.8%

Photo of mikesgroove
3.63/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Well I had this sitting in the closet for a few months and finally got the urge the other day to put in in the fridge. I got home from fireworks last night and there it is staring me in the face, so what the hell lets go for it....Poured a deep hazy burnt amber with a nice brownish tint, a huge billowing off white head faded albeit reluctantly to leave behind a ton of sticky lace puring down the sides of the glass.

The smell was odd, I had half expected a strong IPA and not a Strong ale, but that was no bother. Lots of hoppy tones, pine and citrus but the biggest players were by far caramel and a burnt coffee grinf smel;l, also deppicted some earthy tree bark type aroma. The taste followed suit, earthy caramel tones with a definate hop presence and a nice burnt coffee almost. The feel was a little thin and slick, for the amount of flavor present I would have like to have a bit more thickness to it, but it was nice none the less. Alcohol was definatly not hiding and was a big presence here.

Overall this was a decent strong ale. Not my favorite in the world, but I would definatly recommend giving it a try. The bottle fermentation leaves alot of yeast in the glass towards the end, and you really gotta love beers that are still alive! A good call and a nice one off selection.

Photo of Knapp85
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured out as a nice brownish color. The head was a light tan color with a decent retention to it. The lacing is a little scattered but looks ok. The smell of the beer has a subtle sweetness to it. There are aromas of toffee and sweet malts on the nose. The taste of the beer is also quite nice. Some boozy characteristics with some heavier malt flavors and a nice caramel sweetness. The mouthfeel was decent. Overall I feel this beer was good but nothing overly spectacular. I would drink it again for sure but I wouldn't hunt it down.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

10 ounce goblet - $5.00 at Taco Mac in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Graciously served up a clear, dark mahogany-hued body under a half-inch ceiling of off-white foam.

Smell: A bold nose, with sweet-scented, melty caramel cubes atop a layer of toast and fruit pie filling. What isn't particular bold is the hops, with only muffled notes of herbs, spice, and some timorous floral hints. Perhaps they're in reserve for the taste. Also present and inescapable are some cutting alcoholic wafts.

Taste: Initially sweet, upfront maltiness tasting of toasted bread, toasted biscuits, and dark caramel candy. Within are some berry accents, bordering on a cherry-like fruitiness. Incredibly small pinch of cocoa powder. Citric, spicy, herbaceous hops moderate level of bitterness. Vague woodiness on the drying, bitter back half. Final perks of fruit and toast on the amply heated finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Sadly, the stinging bitterness and the hot, glaring alcohol, even in a seemingly sensible ten ounce size, was a bit much for me. Anybody want to split this with me? Having said that, it's still decent albeit coarse.

Photo of oberon
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hmm a double Sawtooth ale I liked the "standard" so I went for the stronger version.Poured a hazed deep amber with a big fluffy slight off- white head that stuck like glue to the glass.Aromas of brown sugar and fruity malt dominate with a noticable peppery hop note,it takes awhile for the flavors to come together it took nearly 3/4 of the bottle for everything to come together but once they did it made for quite a nice beer.Starts out on the sweeter side notes of brown sugar and ripe fruit as it came together better a resiny hop presence became more pronounced with light alcohol burn in the finish.If you wait on this beer its a fine ale the hops provide more balance than character but they do show up on the palate.A nice beer I would buy again I think.

Photo of TMoney2591
2.59/5  rDev -32%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Served in a snifter at Firkin.

I have been a fan of Evil Dead for a while now... Anyway, this stuff pours a murky and brackish brown topped by a finger of glowing khaki foam. The nose comprises wet cardboard and buttery toffee backed by some very light orange peel. The taste holds notes of dry biscuit, orange peel, light earthy greens, very light tobacco, and a general sense of something musty hanging around, malingering in pain. It's an improvement on the smell, but that ain't sayin' much. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta/kinda drying finish. Overall, this stuff just seemed messy, dirty, in ways it shouldn't. Definitely not a fan.

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

back after a long hiatus, this is essentially double sawtooth ale, so a double esb, and i think its wonderful. rich and more american than english on the hop front, but with a real sturdy and classic english malt base. the alcohol is high, but its well hidden in this smoothed out feeling drink, than improves with temperature. copper in color, mostly clear, decadent looking with a tall and foamy white head. malt first and hops on the back end in both nose and taste. distinct flavor elements include an herbal complexion, culinary herbs, maybe bay leaf, as well as unlit smokes, birch syrup, and tangerine zest. its dynamic, and i appreciate the interesting hops here, its a necessary twist in a style of beer that i dont think gets played with enough. it comes in layers, and is far more complex than i expected it to ever be. mouthfeel is full bodied but well carbonated, frothy in feel, palate coating, and a little resinous from the hops. finish is long and bitter, yet clean feeling, and extremely satisfying overall. a beautiful american take on the english classic. i hope this one sticks around.

Photo of zeff80
3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a slightly cloudy, light burgandy color with a tan, foamy, two-finger head. It left sticky rings of lace.

S - It smelled of sweet malt and of powerful alcohol.

T - It tasted malty and biscuity. Very sweet and boozy.

M - It was chewy and thick. A medium to heavy-bodied beer.

D - This was pretty good, but I've had better in this style and at a lower price tag.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Left Hand's 2008 bottle conditioned Chainsaw Ale pours a very dark copper/chestnut brown color, and it's topped by a creamy khaki head. The head retention is excellent and it continually maintains a full surface covering. It eventually erodes to a thin. 1/4" lid, but still leaves some very nice spots and splashes of lace as it goes.

The aroma is clearly bent towards malt (richly grainy, toasty and bready with a rich caramel edge), and well-infused with floral, leafy, and grassy hops. A hint of spiciness sneaks in, as well as some dark fruitiness.

In the mouth it's full bodied and remarkably creamy and slick with a very-fine-bubbled, natural (bottle-conditioned), and moderate carbonation.

The flavor is very much as the nose suggests, but much fuller and wider in flavor. It starts with a combination of smoothly caramelish bread, and oat-like malt infused with fruitiness; and then moves into spiciness and more hoppy notes that include pine/herbs, leaves, and a touch of grassiness. There's some mild yeasty fruitiness as well, including apples, berries, a hint of dark fruit, and perhaps some papaya (even coconut). The spiciness includes mild coriander and cardamom... and perhaps a suggestion of anise. It finishes dry with a wash of alcohol that clears the residual maltiness; as well as a slap of alcohol that helps to dry it.

It's rich, full, and complex - how can you go wrong? Certainly worth seeking out!

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of russpowell
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Could've sworn I reviewed this when it first came out, any way here it goes again..

Pours an effervescent orange/caramel with 3 fingers of fluffed up sand colored head. Slight chill haze to this. Sheets & sheets of lacing with average head retention

S: Pineyness & slight breadyness

T: Follows the nose, plus a bit of grapefruit up front, plus some plummyness & cakeyness. More fruittyness mixes with caramel, pineyness & lemony hops as this warms. Finishes with much pineyness, a touch of dryness, herbal hops bitterness at the back of my tongued, & a kiss of plums & persimmons& a touch of booze at the very end. Almost pulled a 4.5

MF: Chewy enough, low but noticable carbonation. Carbonation picks up as this warms, at the expense of the body, develops a slight creamyness as well.

Drinks fairly easy for the style & ABV. The first time I had this it seemed like a rough around the edges DIPA, this is better, & one of the better offerings from left hand that skews hoppy IMO

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark and thoroughly hazed, is this, near mahogany, maybe ruddy chestnut...underneath a thick slab of light tannish head...looking nice!

Aroma: surprisingly simplistic, I'm not getting much from it. (clears his nasal passage)...ah, there we go! Big time fruit, very much a bonafied boufante bitter, this guy, oversized, spilling hops and fruity associations...cherries, grapes, apples, even...I like it! A big-boned ESB, so far, and that I do appreciate.

Taste: Mmmm! Big fat hops all over the palate, big fruit, and plenty of bitter, and lots of lush malt, as well. Lots of bigness going on in here. Sweetness tickles the tongue and bitterness smacks it up. But, a double ESB, racking in at 9%...? Hoo-daddy!
This is a massive ale in a massive package which I may have saved for a night of sharing with friends, but, screw them, and hurray me! I'm enjoying it, and luxuriating in it...and, goldarnit, I deserve it!

Cheers to Lefthand for making this...I found it in the least likely store, for some reason, but I'm glad I tracked it down.

P.S., scrolling through reviews, I pity blitheringidiot, ...I only paid $11.29, before tax.

Photo of MarkyMOD
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of DrunkinYogi
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

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Chainsaw Ale from Left Hand Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 318 ratings.