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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Reviews: 48 | Ratings: 63
Photo of jdhilt
2.75/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a three finger cream head that faded quickly to a thin layer leaving some lace. Murky amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Slight hoppy nose. Flavor is sweet going to piney hops leaving a bitter aftertaste. $1.50 for a 12oz bottle from Manchester Wine and Liquors Manchester, CT. Contract brewed by Mercury Brewing.

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Photo of errantnight
2.91/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a pretty amber-copper into my Spiegelau tulip. Nice rich creamy head with solid lacing and nice retention.

Aroma is biscuit and cracker with a bit warm fruit. Unremarkable and a bit flat, but what's there is nice.

Taste is overwhelmed by a full biscuit-y breadiness, a note I find on Fat Tire only amplified here. Some faint fruitiness and toffee sweetness fight through on the back half and it's balanced nicely with a bit of earthy hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is creamy and medium bodied with a decent amount of lift.

I just can't get over the effusive biscuit character which overwhelms the rest and ultimately sinks this beer for me. It's otherwise well constructed and for those who dig on the peculiar flavor profile I could see this being a regular in your fridge.

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Photo of far333
2.96/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I was expecting much more hops from an ESB. This beer was pretty bland in all respects. Nice amber color, but no head and no aroma. Mouthfeel was watery, and the flavor was all light malt. No initial hops hitting the pallet, and no lingering hops. A weak malt aftertaste lingers. How is it a Connecticut beer if it's brewed in Massachusetts?

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Photo of geexploitation
3.04/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I gotta say, I don't agree with characterizing this as an ESB. Not nearly bitter enough, not nearly enough hop character for that appellation. Hiss!

Anyway, this beer pours a nice mahogany color (no surprise there) with some ruby highlights showing through. Nice head, good head retention. Nose is full of grain notes, a bit of dustiness and, strangely, some creamy characters. Not much hops, though, thus part of my problem with calling this an ESB. Flavor is full of grain bitterness, with only a slight hop flavor. It seems to me that most of the bitterness here is from the malt, not the hops. Mouthfeel is creamy and sumptuous wit ha bitter bite and a grainy aftertaste. Overall I enjoyed this beer. I'd classify it as an American Brown Ale... then I would say it's true to the style and deserving of high marks But, that said, if you insist on calling your beer an ESB, you get graded partly for adherence to style... so that's pushing my scores down quite a bit.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.27/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Grabbed as part of Fresh Mkt mix-a-six.

Pours light brown, reddish tints, islands of white bubbly foam. Some early lacing. Toffee malt smell. Caramel too. Sweet malt taste but with a hop that pokes through and holds firm. Hop lends some extra bittering which lingers.

The tastes seem to compete rather than blend harmoniously, and it never quite works in the end. Just ok.

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Photo of WesWes
3.33/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a hazy amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a mild pale and crystal malt aroma along with an equally mild hop aroma. It's got some fruity yeast esters as well. The taste is average. It has a very bitter hop bite that really hits you in the beginning. The malts are there, but they're too light to add anough balance. It seems a bit watery. It goes down easy and finishes with another hop blast. The mouthfeel is decent. It is a medium bodied beer with good carbonation. This is an interesting brew. I know it's supposed to really bitter, hence the Extra Special Bitter, but I think it needs a bit more balance. That being said, it drinks decent and grows on you.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.38/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed on 7/26/08. Bottle shared by fredandboboflo. Pours a deep amber with a thick tan head. Aroma of light sweet malt, flowery hops. Flavor of sweet malt, mild flowery hops, some apple, wheat cracker. Blandish but decent. ESB? I thought this was more like an amber. Ok though, 2nd best Farmington River beer.
7/4/7/3/13 (3.4/5)

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Photo of Thads324
3.4/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottled into a pint:

A: deep amber color with a solid tan head

S: smells a bit hoppy with a very slight roastiness.
Not much to it though. Maybe a hint of chocolate.

T: a quick creaminess at the beginning lends into
a smooth hop flavor. The hoppiness dominates
with a touch of toasted malt or nut flavor at the end.
The hop is flavorful and ever so slightly bitter. Finishes nice and dry.

M: pretty good, it stays with you for a little while.

D: very drinkable for a hop fan.

The aroma disappointed, but everything else rocked!
I am a fan of this one... Try it if you can!

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Photo of BuckSpin
3.43/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Presentation: 11oz bottle in a classic conical pint glass

Wonderful toasted nose, crackers, yeast, earthy malt, a little muddy, some rocks. As it warms and blooms sweet caramel & brown sugar rise as the malts lose that earthiness to soft spiciness and even a wisp of alcohol. The nose deepens the longer it warms, eventually opening up to some whispering pine and traces of orange pekoe. Poured beautifully to 2 thin fingers of thick, sculpted, tight, sticky ivory foam that crackled sporadically, fading to a 1/8" carpet of the same that laced thickly in splotches. A beautiful, rosy amber tea in color, crystal clear & clean, nary a bubble.

Very pleasing, even & well balanced up front on the tongue. Its semi-sweet with slightly burnt caramel and mild, lightly bitter hops, smooth, malty but not over the top....earthy to be exact. Its very easy to drink, and is going down fast without problem. It gets a little buttery (I swear I tasted popcorn!), very even on the palate, a little too thin for me. Its starting to water down & thin out with mouth warmth, still some caramel & malt qualities are there but hiding. Unfortunately, it finishes chalky, slated, dry, bittersweet, leaving the aforementioned qualities as an aftertaste...shame.

Its too bad it got so thin on the palate and finished like a chalkboard. Up to then it was quite nice. That said, it would be interesting to try this again with a good sandwich (I'm thinking something on a rye or pumpernickel, like a club or Reuben) to fill in the blank spots. Its a shame it went downhill so fast. Put some meat on the palate taste and get rid of that chalky aftertaste and it would be a very good ESB. As it is, unless I had something to go with it (even a nice white cheddar) I would most likely pass in the future.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.45/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out just like the name says, Mahogany in color with a creamy looking white head on top. The smell of the beer was malty with some grains on the nose, and a touch of hops too. the taste of the beer was semi-sweet with a light caramel flavor with some bitterness in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel of the beer despite it's color it was pretty light bodied. Overall this brew wasn't bad. It was drinkable and had a pretty good balance to it.

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Photo of Dewey0603
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This pours a dark reddish color with a smallish head with nice lacing. The smell is very malty with a small amount of hops.The taste is the same as the smell which makes this a nice tasting beer.The malt helps mellow the bitter hop aftertaste.The m/f is light and balanced between bitter hops and mellow malt.This isn't a bad brew and I'd have it again.

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Photo of blackie
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

appearance: The pour into my imperial pint glass creates a .3" off white head that recedes until there are only a few small carbonation "islands" remaining. The beer is a very slightly cloudy light copper color.

smell: Nice balance of light sweet malt and hops going on. Hints of tropical fruits and a slight nuttiness.

mouthfeel: Carbonation is right between low and medium, and the body a lighter medium. The low carbonation lends a smoothness to the mouthfeel.

taste: Again a pretty good balance of malt and hops. The hop bitterness remains at a moderate level throughout the sip and finish. Not much hop flavor, but the bitterness level is just right. The malt lends some caramel flavor.

drinkability: good flavors, but some of its characteristics would limit me to a couple

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Photo of tryemdad
3.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Simsbury's own Red Stone featuring casks...yay!

Only ordered it to sample the cask style. Not really a big fan of ESB's, generally.

This was pretty good overall...likely enjoyed it much more out of a cask....but maybe that's my imagination.

Served in a standard pint glass. Significant head - maybe 1 1/2 fingers - surprising for cask. Thick I (too?) quickly downed this brew. Very easy to drink. Bordering on thin mouthfeel, but a nice "warm vanilla" nose and initial taste. Very, very smooth.

Enjoyed this. I think I've had it before in a bottle, but it didn't leave a great impression. This format is probably the best this beer has to offer. I'd do it again...

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Photo of NEhophead
3.55/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz brown bottle; no best before date.

Cloudy, light maple with shades of auburn. Light, creamy white head that quickly recedes to a broken sheet. Little to no lacing.

Toasted caramel malts with hints of cream and mild coffee. Hazlenut, light nutmeg, and brown sugar. Mild aromatics.

Toasted biscuit flavor with a spicy coffee bean accent. Hints of vanilla and brown sugar prior to a peppery, floral hop bite. Dry in the finish with an aftertaste of toasted almonds and a light yeasty must.

Medium in body; phenolic with a touch of powder. Dry, and coats the palate properly.

A decent Bitter with flashes of nice flavor. A bit too mild in spots, but a decent offering.

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Photo of RedChrome
3.55/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This pour was a mostly medium chestnut brown color with subtle but notable red tones. There was a small head with a nice light brown note. Head retention was minimal, but it is possibly the result of a less the perfect pour due to a hiccup.

I took a large whiff of this beer and was intrigued by the almost oak scents that were hidden within the malt aroma.

The flavor popped right when it hit my mouth and had a slight bitter flavor, but was balanced well with the malt or the beer. This beer had a good flavor that I say most closely tastes like almonds.

The mouthfeel of the beer was fantastic, with a smoothness I only though I would find in Guinness. Not as much carbonation as I prefer in a beer, but for the style it was as near to perfect as I have tasted.

This is the type of beer I could enjoy with a very rich meal such as a veal osso buco. I don't think I could drink this on a nightly basis, but if you like your beer a little darker, this may be the perfect choice for you.

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rich hazy mahogany color with a nice off white, modest head.

Smell is somewhat malty sweet, with some bitterness at the end. Not particularly complex, but good.

Taste is very malt sweet up front, but ends very crisply in a hail of stark bitterness. I'm not an expert on the ESB, but seems fitting, and I find it very tasty.

The feel is light to medium in body, with a slight crisp sting.

Though rather yummy, I don't find this (or the style in general) to be a good session beer. A nice break from the pales, india pales, stouts and porters.

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Photo of SixpointJMH
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice slightly hazed ruby-esque colour with a mid-sized, creamy off-white head that has good retention and also leaves a nice amount of residue on the glass after each sip.

The aroma is a bit fruity from some dark berry notes, along with a bit of rough earthiness from the malt.

Flavour is essentially more of the same, with fruit sweetness still here but cut in by a bit more hop presence (minimal but more so present than it being virtually non-noticeable in the aroma) as well as some burnt wood and bread notes as well. Well balanced, but a bit faint overall. Mouthfeel is nice and light to medium bodied with some creaminess and a bit of slickness to it.

This wasn't bad overall. Could use a bit more kick to it but there's still a decent amount of flavour that's well balanced and makes for a fairly easy drinking beer.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours am amber mahogany color with one inch of white head and light carbonation.

s - Smells of bready malts, caramel malts, some bitter hops.

t - Some bready malts, caramel malts, fruit, little bit of bitterness but not too much.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. Very smooth.

d - A very easy to drink ESB. Lots of smooth malts in the smell and taste, and not much bitterness to it. Would try again.

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Photo of Sammy
3.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An amber and a decent white head with some malt and hops aroma. Fresh, good bitterness and medium mouthfeel and appropriately carbonated. Clean taste, well-balanced, just fairly run-of-the-mill. A bit fruity which is nice, and a tad lemon. A bit better than average beer.

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Photo of smcolw
3.62/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good head but there is little lace. Light amber color--near clear.

The smell and taste resembles chocolate and molasses. It is bitter from the darker malts.

Astringent taste with a bitter aftertaste from the the alpha hop oils. The body is solid, almost chewy. Overall, a solid offering in the pale ale category. A solid but neutral ale.

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Photo of WanderingFool
3.72/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Farmington River Mahogany Ale pours a hazy dark amber color with a small, creamy tan head on top. The foam fades quickly to a ring around the surface of the beer leaving no lace behind. A malty aroma with notes of caramel, nuts, and brown sugar hovers over the beer.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is soft on the palate with an effervescent fizz on the tip of the tongue. The flavor is malty with caramel malt dominating. Mixed in are flavors of nuts and brown sugar. Towards the end a mild floral bitterness moves in to help balance out all the malt. Once gone some of the sweet caramel malt flavor lingers on the palate.

This is an easy drinking malty flavored beer, however it's a little thin in the mouthfeel and could use a bit more aroma.

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Photo of necoadam
3.77/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Eli Cannon's

Maybe it's just me, but I found this beer to be a bit strange. Color was a dark coppper with a little bit of head but it lasted most of the way through. Smell consisted of malts, nuts, caramel, butterscotch with a little bit of roasted flavoring, wow, everything but the kitchen sink in this one. Taste a little odd. Had all the right combos for being an ESB, but it seemed like the fruits just stood out too much in this beer. Malts, toffee, etc., all those flavors were there, but towwards the end the fruit came in and just took over everything. Tone that part down a little and we've got a great ESB.

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Photo of Stimack
3.77/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brew poured to a brown cloudy color with a slight tan head that broke down quickly bur left some lacing at the top of the brew. To me malt dominates the nose giving it a biscuit like scent. The taste is quite good; malt dominates once again giving off flavors of nuts and caramel. At the tail end I pick up a slight hop taste but it seems to be their in an instance and then gone the next. Not a bad brew, all four varieties that where included in the sampler pack where quite good and next time I am in CT I will probably look for them again.

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