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