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