Farmington River Mahogany Ale | Ipswich Ale Brewery

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Farmington River Mahogany AleFarmington River Mahogany Ale

Brewed by:
Ipswich Ale Brewery
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by UnionMade on 08-05-2002

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 63 |  Reviews: 48
Photo of francisweizen
4.42/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark copper/mahogany with a small-ish head of pure, white foam. Aromas are all bready, spicy, biscuity malts, and subtle hops. The taste is a spicy blend of French bread like malts and lovely floral hops. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and quite nice and the drinkability is great!

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Photo of ppoitras
4.38/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12ozer bottle bought as a single from Villa Spirit Shoppe, Storrs, CT.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1" light beige head over the orangey-copper (not mahogany) brew. Head is pillowy and lasts well, with heavy foam lacing. Aroma is balanced with yeasty, biscuity malts, and solid citrusy hops. Taste is well balanced with a sneaky yet potent hops character offsetting the apparent grain bill. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both great as well. I could see revisiting this one, again and again and again...

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.17/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this brew at the tasting last nite at Eli's. Good deal, buy a pint keep the glass. Cool!
The beer comes in the aforementioned pint glass chilled. There is a light surface layer of white head on the brew when it arrives. The brew is a clear copper color and exhibits a rich malty aroma with some sweet fruity scents and mild floral hops, also some molassess and perhaps maplesyrup.
First sip, average to thick body with mild carbonation. Rich and malty up front with some hints of chocolate coming through, also a rich toffee flavor, while the finish allows some slightly piney hops to come through. This is a smooth easy drinking brew. Quite tasty, I will remember to buy some of this to share with friends back in PA.

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Photo of Damian
4.15/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank on-tap at Luna Pizza, West Hartford, CT
Served in a pint glass

The beer poured a slightly hazed, deep crimson color with a one-finger, light tan head that quickly faded. Lots of sudsy, drippy lacing trickled down the glass.

The aroma was sweet and smooth. Caramel rich and toffee-like. Somewhat fruity with a noticeable powdery yeastiness.

The taste was full and balanced. Sweet with strong toffee notes up front and some noticeable diacetyl/butterscotch flavors. Fruity. Toasted malts came through in the center (along with a touch of graininess). Subtle, bittering hop notes appeared in the crisp, dry, refreshing finish.

The mouthfeel very rich, creamy and frothy. Silky smooth on the palate. Overall, quite impressive for such a seemingly "small" beer.

The Bros. say that "The key to an ESB is balance." and this one happens to be a very well balanced brew. Definitely one of the best session beers I have tried in a while.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.13/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Color is a solid cloud of coppery orange, darker on top with an off-white head of tight spongyness just over a finger high and settles to a thin haze and ring always present and lots of lacing in sheets.
Nose is light roasted malts and slight tangy fruits and caramel. Good malt nose with very light hops in the mix and a note of nuttyness. Taste is a subtle and well balanced brew with some fruity and nutty notions up front, solid amount of malts, some solid roastyness and slight caramel sneakin' in. Mellow hops hits late with super easy bitterness of dried hops and ends with lingering dryness with a nippy little bite thats like bread yeast or saltine crackers mixed with some nut skins. Good medium body which picks up some unique bitterness and strength towards the finish. Quite a decent ESB. Smooth, easy, even, and steady subtlities making for some easy drinkin'.

Thanks to mickeys01 for the bottle.

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Photo of rabidawg
4.1/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Reddish copper with heavy carbonation. Creamy white head that laced fairly well.

Smell: Yeasty and spicy,with a subdued earthiness. Slight maltiness, but the yeast dominates.

Taste: Initial sweet malt bitten into by spicy, peppery hops and yeast. Finishes dry, with just a hint of citrusy, green hops. As it warms a smoky wave comes through in the finish.

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Photo of CharlesRiver
4.1/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

So I am down in CT on business and decide to buy some CT beer. Guess I need to read the lable better next time. Oh well, still a good brew.

Copper brown in color with a very small head that doesn't last at all. Nice malty and sweet smell with a touch of something grainy. Sweet and nutty in the beginning, malty in the middle with a nice bitterness coming through at the end. Very smooth and easy drinking. I also pick up some citrus and fruit notes, probably from the hops?

I solid beer that I will buy again.

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Photo of fitzy84
4.09/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought a sample pack of the Farmington River brand. The appearance of the drink had a nice clear, dark amber look with some lacing but a thin head. Aromas were strong with this one: malts, hops, fruits (almost cider-like) flavors were sensed. Taste mirrored the smell with a bitter-sweet, fruity texture really prevalent. A good solid body made this silky and enjoyable throughout the evening. Overall, the best of the Farmington River from Mercury, in my opinion.

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Photo of granger10
4.08/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured the color of a brand new penny and had a medium sized white head the dissapeared after a minute and left about a one millimeter thick lace on top of the beer. Aroma was a little weak but definitely strong woody flavors in it. Taste was very nice and complex. Roasted flavors hit me first. I noticed some roasted wood (mohogany?) and roasted pine nuts in the initial taste. A mixture of sweet and tart fruits hit my palate next. Some bittering hops came forth after that and lingered until the finish when the roasted wood flavor came back and stayed well after the beer was drank. Crisp, clean, but a little thin which is my only complaint about this one. I did not know what style this was until I saw it on this site a few minutes ago. I was guessing that this might be an amber ale. But I really liked this ESB.

Much thanks to Mikeys01 for the sample.

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Photo of paulthebeerguru
4.05/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: snifter. pours a really nice opaque pale mahogany color. gorgeous dark khaki colored head with a typical/expected retention level. moderate lacing.

S: some apple and caramel notes from the malts, with a nice solid hoppy addition. some light citrus brought in from the hops.

T: very well-balanced. a little bittersweet, with more hops to me. I get some fruits, mostly apples, and some nutty notes, as well as a hint of butterscotch. very nice flavors from an ESB.

M: full bodied, mild carbonation level. very complex palate for the style, bitters and sweetness invigorate the tongue.

D: very nice brew, well worth getting and enjoying. would definitely drink again.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
4.03/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was an amber brew with a huge head that left a low of lacing on my 22 oz. pilsner glass.

The aroma was of LOTS of orange and hops. Very powerful.

The taste was quite bitter, and there was some caramel in there. This was followed by some darker malts, then a hint of roasted malt in a lingering bitter finish.

A very good beer indeed. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

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Photo of Durge
4.02/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A nice dark coca-cola color with a modest tan head, good lace. Looks a little watery despite the dark color. Aroma of honey-nut with a bit of vanilla and malt. Very nice full bodied feel on first taste, a bit smokey with a little orange and charcoal at the back. Well carbonated to keep it lively throughout yet smooth. Very drinkable. A little more malt flavor as it warms, very nice. I would agree that the ESB label seems misplaced a bit, more in line with the brown ale flavor. Bitter was not the highlight of this beer but certainly flavorful. I would buy this again.

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Photo of pbrian
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy copper (thank God, I don't think Ipswich knows how to use a filter), thin white head, light carbonation. This beer has a raw, homebrew-esque fruity, nutty, yeasty aroma and flavor profile that makes it an enjoyable change of pace.

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Photo of Bierman9
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this 12oz bottle during early afternoon of Thanksgiving day, pre-turkey.

Pours mostly clear, though there is some residue left in the bottle bottom. Color is, duh, mahogany, and a lovely hue it is! Has a creamy, thin, finely-bubbled head which lasts well, though little lace is left. Aroma has nice toasty malt notes, with some nuttiness present as well. Nice!! Body is medium, and the effect on the tongue is mostly smooth, though with a light bit of a foamy, bubbly feel.

Flavor comes in with malt, being lightly sweet with caramel and a nutty character once more. Sweetness last well into the finish, where some floral hoppage and light bitterness come into play.
I was somewaht leary going into this one, as it had been fridged for a bit, and I don't know how old it was before I received it (thnx to Venom for that!). But, all in all, it was quite tasty, and a good start to the Holiday festivities.


overall: 4
appearance: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4


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Photo of kindestcut
3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

After three beers from my latest trade, I was still waiting for a beer that was more than ordinary. Now, I've found it. The Farmington River Mahogany Ale is far from being a world-class beer, however, it's the first new beer I've tried that made me want another. And that's good.

The beer pours a dark amber, hazy and mysterious. The tan head was absolutley massive. thank goodness I was using my imperial pint glass. The head would have overflowed from my regular glass. The beer looks great.

The aroma is of sweet malt...brown sugar, nutty and a tiny bit hoppy. At first taste, the beer is malty but quickly shows its hop character that, while not at all overpowering, dominates the sweet maltiness. The finish is slightly bitter. The mouthfeel is a little thin but the good flavor boosts the drinkability.

A good beer from a brewery nowhere near me. Not good for my repeat business!

Thanks mikeys01!

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Photo of MJR
3.97/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a vibrant reddish-amber with so-so clarity. The head begins it's life as a foamy, thick cap and shrinks down to a small ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell: The aroma is very organic and 'natural' smelling. It's a nice blend of the following: fruit, hops, dry nuts, yeast, bread, leather, and dry tobacco. Has a very nice balance matched to an extremely interesting cluster of scents.

Taste: The flavor is slighty sweet with a touch of fruit showing itself here and there. I detect the same organic, woody character that was in the smell. It's kind of an 'outdoorsy' smell that reminds me of tree bark and tobacco. Interesting... There's a dry nutty flavor, as well as a slight bready one. Suggestion of fresh hay. The hops provide a nice balance.

Mouthfeel: Dry and crisp with a medium thickness in the mouth. The carbonation is slighty prickly...

Drinkability: Pretty good...I could enjoy a few of these in a single evening.

A 'thank you' goes out to pbrian for including this in our trade.

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Photo of jwc215
3.97/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours mahogany with a one-finger tan head that soon becomes a lasting, thin cover.

The smell is sweet - slightly roasted carmelized graininess with an underlying earthy nuttiness and slight fruitiness.

The taste follows the aroma. Sweet, slightly roasted carmelized, grainy malt. Bitter, earthy, nutty notes balance out the sweetness nicely. There is a lemony fruity undertone that complements it well. Finishes bitter with a sweet support.

Medium to full bodied. Creamy.

A nicely-balanced, smooth, tasty ESB.

Thanks to my brother and sister-in-law for bringing this back from New England - It's a nice one!

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Photo of argock
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a clear glass stein. No freshness date.

A: Light amber hue with almost salmon-colored 1-finger head with ample lacing.

S: Sweet caramel and pale malts are met with light aromas of earthy, spicy malts and a mild grain presence.

T: Plenty of cracker flavor is cut with a bit of caramel and pale malt sweetness in the front and in the end. Earthy hops bitterness cut sharply in the finish. The is a salty, metallic note in the finish as well.

M: Medium-bodied with medium carbonation and a sweet aftertaste.

D: A very drinkable brew that was surprisingly good from an obscure MA brewery.

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served at Village Tavern and Tap Room, Litchfield, Conn.

A: Poured a dark amber color with a one finger head of golden foam. No distinct carbonation, rather deep and inviting.

S: Smells sweet and nutty the way a brown would, but bitter too, with a noticeable hop in the nose.

T: Tastes bittersweet, but more malty than hoppy. It's certainly a balanced brew, with some fruit and nut thrown in the mix.

M: Mouthfeel is light-medium bodied and enjoyable. There's a nice substance to this brew.

D: The ABV won't rock your world, and neither will the taste. However, it's a very well-balanced ESB and accompanied by burger pretty well.

Overall, not a bad selection. I like what Farmington River has shown and this ESB is a promising call to sample more of their brews. Recommended.

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Photo of ThreeDimesDown
3.86/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer pours a hazy, glowing amber with orange edging and a nice off-white head that retains well and leaves little lacing.

Aromas consist of earthiness, pears and apples fruitiness, and piney hops. A slight mustiness from the yeast is detected also.

The flavor is well balanced with biscuity, toasty maltiness and light fruits up front, ending with a subtle hoppy bitterness and dryness.

Low carbonation, smooth, light mouthfeel makes this one a definite session beer. Overall, very nicely well balanced for an ESB.

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Photo of CRJMellor
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a red-copper color with a big creamy white head that produced chunky rings of lace on the pint glass.
Aroma is earthy, spicy and dark malts. Hint of pine-tinted hops in the background.
Flavor is moderately sweet then jumps to a real peppery and spiced hop that is more earthy than bitter.
Mouthfeel starts somewhat sweet then as the hops develop the spice real grabs the tongue and the earth tones leave a gritty charcoal-like hint on the palate.
Drinkability is pretty good, can definitely imagine another.
Thanks to PBrian for another great NE beer.

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Photo of packetknife
3.82/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Copper? Aged-tanished non-electronics copper perhaps. I'd call it more burned amber with lighter highlights through the glass. A thin a frothy off-white head that faded pretty quickly and left no evidence. Malts, decent hop, some citrus and a noticeable and character changing smoke/smokey taste on the tongue. Each sip, each time I've had it, gives me a slightely different sense which makes it a favorite re-visit beer now. It's availability on-tap dissapoints me but such is life. The carbonation kept it feeling thicker than it might have been and the acidity on the finish made it feel more substantial too. I don't know the ABV but it isn't enough to keep you from wanted thirds.

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Photo of kmo1030
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

coppery red, with a good sized creamy head. the smell is almost all malt with a little spicy nuttiness as well, very dfferent from the way it tastes. it has a good nutty malt flavor to start with some baking spices in there too. it finishes very bitter, with a strong clean hops bite. at the very end it lets up to some of the sweet nuttiness coming through. medum mouthfeel suits the beer. it was a quality bitter, that may not be a good session beer, but good none the less.

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Photo of jjayjaye
3.79/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear burnt orange amber color with a full finger off white head that fades to surface and is kept alive by the visible effervescence. A good amount of lacing observed.

The smell is really timid yet malty; not sure if this one is oxidized but a bit of cardboard detected.

Medium bodied, the mouth feel has a creamy texture. Nicely balanced, it complements the flavor nicely. Finishes with an extra pop of flavor with the swallow.

Contrary to my previous experiences, this one has a lot of flavor. It tastes somewhat like a toasted grain. Maybe a dialed down sesame. Little bit of after taste.

Not a huge fan of the style, but this one is better than most.

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Photo of PhantomVodoo
3.78/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hazed reddish brown in color. Nice tan head.
Aroma shows a malt character with some depth. Lightly roasted malt that's a bit woody with hops underneath.

Taste also shows the solid malt character of this beer. Lightly roasted, dark caramel, woody malt flavor. Slight fruit notes. Good hop balance. Finishes dry. The malt character makes this an interesting beer.

Good body and mouthfeel.
Good drinkability.

Overall, a solid ESB with a malt character that sets this one apart from the field.

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Farmington River Mahogany Ale from Ipswich Ale Brewery
3.64 out of 5 based on 63 ratings.
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