Chainsaw Ale - Left Hand Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Chainsaw AleChainsaw Ale

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BA SCORE
86
very good

320 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 320
Reviews: 172
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 24
Gots: 26 | 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: 320 | Reviews: 172 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jpittman80
4.83/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Bottle conditioned, so a little hazy. Second half of the bomber was murky. Copper colored with full, rocky, off-white head that lasts and lasts. Great lacing.

S - Mostly citrus aromas, such as pineapple and grapefruit.

T - Oh wow. I've never had a strong ale like this. It's almost like a summer seasonal of a strong ale. Very citrusy, with the pineapple and grapefruit, along with other tropical fruit. Caramel sweetness supports a substantial hop presence. Finishes dry with plenty of hops.

M - Silky smooth medium-light body. Soft carbonation and the slightest of alcohol warming.

D - I am plowing through this bomber, it is so tasty. Slight alcohol warmth, but not a bit detrimental. I can feel the alcohol content starting to get to me, but it's only because I'm at the end of the bottle and I took this baby DOWN.

This beer really scratched an itch for me. I was a little tired of "American Strong Ales" being either overly hoppy, overly sweet, or overly boozy. Absolutely great balance. This really does feel like a bigger brother of the light, delicious Sawtooth Ale. Pretty affordable, too. I am definitely picking up another bottle soon. Great strong ale for the miserable Florida summer.

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 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 cbutova
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours out dark orange-brown with a two finger off-white head that retains decently and leaves behind a small cloud and ring. A thick coat of lacing remains on the glass.

S- Very fruity. This beer literally smells like amazingly good, fresh peaches and apricot. I would guess it is brewed with peaches or apricots. There is some light malt in the background of the peaches and it makes for a very beautiful nose. A bit of coconut as well. The strength tapers off a bit towards the end. Some sweetness really makes this taste like one of those peach fruit cocktails from the grocery store.

T- The malt make a bigger appearance as well as classic elements of hops. The malt lends a backbone for the huge peach flavor. The hops lend some bitterness and earthy, fruity flavors. The strength of the peach/apricot cannot be understated, it is nuts. The strength of the beer can be felt as some alcohol notes come through.

MF- Light body with light carbonation. Both of these feel fine with the extremely peachy flavor. Bitters coat the palate along with peach and earthy hop flavor. Slight warmth from the ABV.

DB- Price is OK. It is very nice to get a beer with such a crazy peach aroma and taste. I did not expect it in the least. A very unique beer that one would want to show to their friends and possible new beer enthusiast prospects. It is drinkable, the peach holds its ground and no off-flavors exist. What a crazy beer.

Photo of ryanonline
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark golden orange with a large off white head and gobs of lacing.

Smells luscious and pineappley with a hint of coconut. Its like a pina colada beer... am I reviewing the right beer? Its the only one from left hand that came up when I typed in sawtooth.

Taste is slightly more piney and resiney with the lingering citrus notes I was talking about. This beers flavor is truly unique. Slighlty earth undertones.

Velvety mouth feel with smooth carbonation.

Moderate drinkability. Its a mite on the bitter side and kind of heavy.

Truly unique and delicious offering from left hand. I love it.

Photo of vapodge
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Saw this, remembered a CO friend had recommended it to me earlier in the week, and snatched it up. I'd never had any Left Hand brews before, so was curious to see what I'd get.

Poured very nicely with a substantial head (which receded faster than I expected) and left lovely lacing down my pint glass.
BeerFMAndy nailed the smell for me. I think I actually scowled when I held the glass to my nose. I'm pleased to report Chainsaw tastes MUCH better than it smells. Somewhat fruity, a fair amount of caramel malt, and enough hops on the back end to balance things out. This was my first American Strong Ale (I tend to be an IPA man), and I must say I enjoyed it. I definitely would choose this over the ESBs I've had in the past. Not about to become my regular, but no regrets on my purchase whatsoever.

Thanks to Softball John for the tip. Go Lab Rats!

Photo of ncfrey
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

From notes taken 4-2-2010. Served on cask at the Left Hand tasting room.

a - Very hazy orange-amber-brown with a dense, lasting white head.

s - Not very strong, getting some citrus hops and caramel malts, with a slight earthiness

t - Medium hop bitterness, spicy then grapefruit. Caramel and an almost peaty malt flavor.

m - Medium body, creamy, faint carb (which I'm guessing is due to it being served from a cask).

d - Goes down easy for such a big beer.

Much better than Sawtooth ESB, the single version. Flavorful but not overwhelming, and well-balanced. Not just that, but damned near sessionable despite the ABV, and I could drink it any time of year.

Photo of jfmorey
4.08/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a standard pint glass

Good hazy amber color
creamy head disappeared to nice lacing
Smell is malty, touch of citrus, not distinctive
Very good mouthfeel

Very full taste of complex malts, grapefruit, pine, bitter

No hint of being a high alcohol double, very drinkable

Photo of Domingo
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at the Falling Rock. I like normal Sawtooth, so this was a logical choice.
Arrived a medium brown with reddish copper highlights. Head was minimal, but the lacing leads me to believe that it was intentionally kept to a minimum by the bartender.
This beer is really sweet with lots of toffee and cherry notes. Raisins and burnt caramelized sugar kick in, too. There are some herbal hints with the hops in the finish. As the beer warms the hop notes increase. I'm not sure what kind of hops they're using, but they remind me of the wild Golding-like hops I've seen while camping.
I downed my first 1/2 glass pretty quickly, but the heat comes out a bit more as it warms, too. I think that splitting a bomber of this would be a pretty ideal serving.
Nothing earth shattering, but still tasty stuff. I'll happily order this again.

Photo of chaz01
3.33/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A couple of 3 oz sample pours at a local grocery store beer tasting event - served in a champagne flute.

A: Amber Mahogany color, very small head that recedes to nothing.

S: Musky hoppy aroma

T: Some piney hop notes initially followed by some grapefruit and citrus notes in the finish. Pretty sweet malt backing

M: A little light bodied with low carbonation levels present

D: A bit sweet, but hoppy enough that it would go with a fish or poultry dinner.

Photo of mynie
4.08/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the black sparrow. I drank it after a Shakespeare stout and I guessed, correctly that it was an American Strong.

Pours apricot orange with a small white head. Decent, but nothing remarkable and maybe even a wee bit flat.

Smells strongly of lots and lots of caramel malts with some sweet hop fruitiness backing it up. This might just be because it followed up a fairly dry stout, but this really tasted hugely sweet. Not in a bad way, just in an exceptional way.

Tastes sweet up front, like buttertoffee and fuggles. This moves into a slightly earthy middle and a finish of west coast American hops that are citrusy and bitter. Nicely complicated, and an absolute lack of alcoholic nodes belies its high ABV.

Photo of glid02
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the Porter Beer Bar in Atlanta.

Pours a clear chestnut brown color with a one-finger tan head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of sweet caramel malts with good amounts of toffee and lighter amounts of sugar-coated medium fruits - apricots and raisins.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sweet caramel malts backed by large amounts of heavy brown sugar. Midway through the sip hints of maple syrup work their way into things and are joined shortly by mild amounts of raisins. The mild fruit flavors carry through to an ending that's on the sweet side.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is alright. I finished my glass however I'm not sure about another.

Overall I'd been wanting to try this beer for quite a while as I was a big fan of the Sawtooth, but it just didn't do it for me. The flavors are too strong for what worked well in a subtler beer. Worth trying but not worth seeking out.

Photo of sweemzander
2.8/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

220z. bottle poured into a tulip. Bottled 20/10?

(A)- Pours a clear amber color that produced some white bubbles.

(S)- A light lemon-like floral aroma. Bits of pineapple & grapefruit. Plenty of woody pine. Has a lot of acidity that gives it an almost rotting smell.

(T)- The same fruits from the smell. Kinda musty. Some caramelization malt-wise, but is rather acid & fruit driven. Bitter & dry.

(M)- A good carbonation level. Was expecting much more of a malt backbone with an aggresive hop addition considering the style and the name, but this is actually rather thin and acid driven, with a dry woody feel.

(D)- Definitely was disappointed with this one; not at all what I was expecting. The $13 price tag made it even more disappointing. Has a fruit profile, but is still lower on the hop strength profile, not to mention the almost non-existent malt profile. I would expect this type of character from a pale ale or an ESB, but not at all from an american strong ale.

Photo of Rayek
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Falling Rock in Denver. Served in a small nonic.

A: Amber with good clarity and minimal carbonation. A small cream head doesn't stick long, but does leave a nice amount of lace.

S: Toffee, lemon, dry earth and a bubblegum fruitiness make up the nose.

T: Toffee and caramel malts start things out. Bitterness comes on with a moderate lemon and black tea flavor. Alcohol adds an extra layer of flavor and a nice warmth. Finishes warm, with a light lemon tartness.

M: The medium-heavy light body feels nice in the mouth. Carbonation is right on.

D: Sawtooth on steroids pretty much sums this one up. It's a very nicely done beer overall.

Photo of BretSikkink
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My aggressive pour yielded few results, but the short, tight foam sticks pretty well. Clear, orange-brown body has a pretty nice look, although the carbonation eventually runs out. Nose is citric and herbal, with plenty of hops but also enough acid to double take. Caramel notes as well, but again, somewhat subdued by the rotten fruit note.

Flavors are similarly over-ripe, with a sweet and somewhat miraculous undertone of berries. Caramel sweetness is deeper than in the nose, with hops jumping forward. Edible flowers, green herbs, and grapefruit zest lead the way. Medium body, maybe a little full due to the low carbonation. Finishes hoppy and allows the almost syrupy berry component to take over. Booze is well-hidden, and overall it's a solid package.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle split and poured into a La Fin Du Monde tulip. Bottle Conditioned in 20 10 on the front of the label which was really hard to find and the date wasn't printed well at all. Keep refrigerated.

Thanks to Sweemzander for sharing this beer I've never seen before!

A - A tall pour is rather quiet and releases almost no head. A swirl gives up an off-white, loose foam layer. The color is muddied at first from the slow rise of tiny carbonation bubbles. Otherwise it ends up fairly clear and golden copper in color.

S - Right away after the pour a light plastic hint accompanies a strong earthy hop nose with grass and herbs. An acidity really hurts this beer as it really makes it smell like a hint of barf. The fruit nose almost smells rotting. A strong caramel malt backbone hold it all in place. The strangest part of it is that it's not entirely off-putting. It's actually more intriguing than anything. Either way, it's still not a great aroma.

T - The flavor, on one sip, already seems to differ greatly from the nose (thankfully). The caramel malt backbone falls rather far behind the herbal hop flavor which has fruity hints of pineapple and grapefruit. Very low alcohol involvement.

M - Medium-full bodied with an underlying sweetness that is mildly overshadowed by a dry, hoppy bitterness and medium carbonation finish.

D - If you can get past the awkward aroma, it's pretty good overall. The balance is pretty good even on the finish. A 22 oz bottle would be ok to have alone since it's not boozy at all, but drinker be aware of the aftermath and the scent.

On a side note, the new bottle design is awesome. Left Hand needs to redesign everything else they have while they are at it.

Photo of bound4er
2.33/5  rDev -38.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A. A stiff pour produced minimal, white head (not much density to the head either) over an amber liquid. Kind of meh looking.

S. Faint malt and an alcoholic cherry note - not much else.

T. Thin, uninteresting but not off-putting. Some citrus flavor upon entry and then mild piney bitterness from the hops at the close.

M. Thin, almost watery feeling and a bit low on carbonation.

D. Man, this beer did next to nothing for me. The beer "guy" at my local bottle shop recommended this. I guess I should have ignored him and grabbed the Founders Porter is was eyeing up. One of these is more than enough for me.

Photo of babaracas
2.3/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a slightly hazy red with amber edges, fast fading thin white head, couple of dots of lace. Smell: an astringent lemon ("we need more lemon Pledge"), leafy, toffee, cherry cough syrup. Taste: caramel, citrus peel, Capri Sun Cherry. Mouthfeel: medium bodied, nothing special, cherry cough syrup finish. This is really horrific, it tastes like a cherry Capri Sun with a big medicinal finish. Up until this, I was on the fence with Left Hand... hadn't been impressed but nothing was bad... this is just bad. You're off my christmas card list Left Hand! (2/3rds of bomber down the drain).

Photo of brownbeer
2.03/5  rDev -46.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured from a bomber of the newest label. Bottled in 2010.

The appearance is a rather muddled looking orange-brown with no head.

The aroma is faint for a double anything, I mean off in the distance, far away. What I can smell is a medicial maraschino cherry. The aroma just gets further and further away until it's almost completely gone.

The mouthfeel is flat and syrupy, borderline horrendous for me. The taste is about as bland as the aroma. Dirty, watery taste that quickly transitions to a harsh finish, which isn't from a desirable hoppiness, it's just harsh. It makes me grimace. It's kind of cardboardy and becomes more medicinal as it warms. It lacks any warmth, depth, creaminess, or any other enjoyable qualities.

I really like Sawtooth, and a number of other Left Hand beers for that matter, but this is no Double Sawtooth. I've enjoyed few beers less.

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

A solid offering from Left Hand here. Pours a ruby-amber-copper with a creamy off white head. Slight stickiness around the glass as it drinks.
A fruity aroma, soft fruit like apricots, raisins and some floral. Malt offers a strong backbone and if you put some jam on toast you might get the same aroma, perhaps not as strong though.
A fruit/caramel mix in the flavors. Seems the hops provide a good start off with a floral and soft fruit bouquet and malt comes along to offer a caramel biscuit. None of the flavors dominate, they take turns, and none are super strong. Alcohol is just beneath the surface, well hidden and soft.
Good drinking for a Strong Ale. Neither bitter nor sweet, and with a clean finish.

Photo of Parrotbeak
3.33/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Murky, rusty amber with a thin, white head that fades quickly, leaving some very thin patches.
Smell is sweet, sourdough-bready malts. Red fruits.
Taste is heavy, slightly sweet malts accompanied by some bitter hops. Caramel notes follow, with some faint, mushy red fruits. Finish is slightly bitter and malty, with a touch of brown sugar.
Mouthfeel is fairly flat and flabby, with a tiny bit of carbonation. Medium body, with a watery finish.
Drinkability is okay. While the alcohol is well-concealed, this one is a bit messy and off-balanced.

Photo of Flashsp2
4.38/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Chainsaw Ale

Poured from a 2006 750ml (corked and wired) into a snifter. Beautiful deep mahogony color with a two finger, fluffy/creamy, tightly bubbled, beige head. Dissipates to a thin layer which stays all the way through. Decent lacing down the sides.

Deep vinous aroma with spices, maybe some slight oxidation from the hops. Smells of bourbon, with some raisin and prune notes as well. Some underlying caramel malty sweetness. Nose is almost overwhelming, some overripe dark fruit linger. The aging has really brought out some massive complexities here.

Dark fruit in the taste, some bourbon with the subtle boozy sting, some malty sweetness underlying it all, and hanging out a bit at the end. A little bit of oxidation in the form a slight wet cardboard taste, but given the age and likely substandard storage (the distributor found it after almost two years), it's still amazingly good. Maybe some currant? Anise? Hops pull through around midway, giving a little bite that lingers almost to the end. The end is mainly prune, licorice. Big pruny and bourbon throughout. Better storage would have made this amazing, but for now it's damn near amazing.

Mouthfeel is lush, full bodied, nearing syrupy, but since it's not entirely sweet the viscosity is actually quite nice. The 9% is well hidden. Quite quaffable indeed.

Got this for $4, and at that price I would definitely consume this bad boy again....and again

Photo of ImusBeer
3.3/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a regular 16oz pint glass. Dark amber in color and slightly cloudy. About an inch of head yellowish tan in color. some lacing on the sides of the glass as I drank.

Aroma was mostly malt and kind of sweet. Taste mimicked the aroma with malty tones and possibly dates.

It was slightly silky feeling on the tongue, smooth and a bit syrupy. Lots of Hop pine bite at the end.

Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 750ml corked bottle poured into my nonic pint glass. Appears a clear crimson amber with about an inch of light ecru foam. Nose and flavors consist of caramel malt, brown sugar, biscuits, floral hops, apples. Approaching full bodied but not quite there and amply carbonated. Worth trying if you like the style.

Photo of markaberrant
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - deep red, dark, but glows when held to the slightest bit of light, very clear, small light tan head, eventually receeds and leaves some scant lacing.

S - juicy sweet malt and hops hit my nostrils before I can even finish pouring, mostly malt, carmel and booze

T - carmel, brown sugar, chocolate (not roasty), booze adds some dark rummy notes, hops are mildly spicy, bitterness is not high, but does not finish sweet, aftertaste is lingering chocolate and bready malt

M - med body, low carbonation, gives it a nice weight and depth without being heavy or cloying, booze shows up more in the aroma and flavour than in the back of the throat, very nice and smooth

D - real nice malty american ale, rich and satisfying

Without a doubt, this beer will not satisfy hopheads, but it is an excellent choice for anyone that loves malt. Not as fruity as an english barleywine, but every bit as complex and enjoyable, maybe even more. This is my first taste of Left Hand's beer, and I look forward to trying more.

Chainsaw Ale from Left Hand Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 320 ratings.