Motor Boat
SweetWater Brewing Company

Motor BoatMotor Boat
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Bitter - English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
Ranked #108
Ranked #36,731
3.73 | pDev: 11.53%
SweetWater Brewing Company
Georgia, United States
Motor BoatMotor Boat
Reviews: 150 | Ratings: 456 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of jaredtp
jaredtp from Tennessee

3.84/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This beer was a really good beer. I enjoyed this beer. I liked the cream color, and the fluffy amber color head that it has. I enjoyed the pine citrus hops smell that it had. It had a dry finish with this beer. I could taste the pine, citrus, floral, earthy hops that it has. It also had a caramel sweetness to it that I liked a lot as well.

Jul 19, 2014
Photo of Foyle
Foyle from North Carolina

3.42/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: 1” fluffy cream colored head, recedes at a moderate rate with lots of lacing. Amber color with a cloudy appearance (probably hop sediment in suspension), significant carbonation bubbles streaming up.
Aroma: Pine and citrus hops dominate the smell. There is some detectable malt as well in the background (a bit of earthy, bready odor).
Mouthfeel: light to medium bodied, just slightly sticky, highly carbonated in the mouth (almost like drinking a cola), somewhat dry finish.
Flavor: Fairly well balanced as the hops dominate from start to finish – pine, citrus, and floral, even a hint of English type earthy hops. The biscuit quality of the malt helps to even out the taste and there is some caramel sweetness also.
Overall: Great job Sweetwater!

Apr 27, 2014
Photo of mntlover
mntlover from Tennessee

4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper color with a nice two finger cream colored head. The head falls slow with some good lacing.

Aroma is nice toasted malts with nice fruity notes. Some light hop aroma floral with some over ripe fruit. Who know maybe the fruits more from the malt then the hops. Either way nice smelling ESB.

Taste is nice toasted malts good caramel hints some ripe fruity notes. Hops in the finish seem more earthy with touches of pine. Good malt flavors with just enough hops for an ESB.

Mouthfeel is solid medium carbonation is smooth with a light pep towards the finish.

Overall very well done ESB great way to represent a style.

Jan 12, 2014
Photo of daddydawg80
daddydawg80 from Georgia

3.76/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

I thought this was similar to a pale ale.
Quite bitter & hoppy with a nice balance of hops & malts. Pine & grass w/ grapefruit flavors. The usual good quality from Sweetwater. This would be a decent occasional brew when a better selection is not available.

Oct 19, 2013
Photo of rangerred
rangerred from Tennessee

4.04/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a clear medium copper with a very thick and billowy off-white head. Amazing, rock hard head retention but somewhat lacking in lacing.

Lots of citrusy American hops in the aroma along with a moderate amount of toasted malt and some caramel. Really nice hops/malt balance here.

Lots of juicy, citrusy hops up front quickly followed by toast and caramel and a touch of roast. Hops are a bit fleeting, though, as they fade away a little too quick as does the malt flavor. What you are left with is a lingering light sweetness and a mild bitterness. It is very pleasant although I wish the flavors were a little more bold.

Overall, a very nice beer from Sweetwater. Really fits the fall season and a nice alternative to pumpkin brews and Oktoberfests.

Oct 15, 2013
Photo of KYGunner
KYGunner from Kentucky

3.75/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

As all Sweetwater's beer appears this has a very clean profile with a crystal clear coppery color and a fizzy film for a head.

The scent is hoppy with a floral piney hop character melded to a fruity grapefruit and tea leaf malt.

The flavor moves in line with the aroma as the hops are at the forefront. The hops are balanced between floral and fruit with pine, earth, grapefruit, and pulpy tangerines. The flavors move to a malty tea leaf and barley to finish.

The feel is a bit bubbly but smooth, nicely crisp but a touch light.

Oct 10, 2013
Photo of WoodBrew
WoodBrew from Ohio

3.93/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Motor motor a great beer. It poured a rich clear amber with thin white head that is leaving some lace. The scent is fresh bitter hop with a touch of sweetness...not sure if its of caramel or citrus nature....perhaps a combo of both. The taste starts and finishes with a very nice sweetness....the middle is a punch of bitterness that is lovely. There is a presence of caramel, biscuit and pine. The mouthfeel is medium in body with good carbonation. Overall....I really like this one...its bitter yet sweet...much like my wife.

Sep 24, 2013
Photo of RonaldTheriot
RonaldTheriot from Louisiana

3.52/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sweetwater Motor Boat has a thin-to-medium, cream-colored head, a mostly clear, copper appearance, some bubbles, and moderate lacing left behind on the glass. The aroma is very citrus oriented (think grapefruit), with background sweetness. Taste is of grapefruit, hop oil, lots of bitterness, a touch of caramel, white bread, and white bread crust. Mouthfeel is light and watery, with a bit of slickness, and Sweetwater Motor Boat finishes semi-dry, refreshing, drinkable, and not like an ESB. Although it does not fit the claimed style, it is still very good.


Sep 17, 2013
Photo of macrosmatic
macrosmatic from Florida

3.81/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Reviewed from notes. Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Russian River pint glass.

A: Nice clear copper, with a half-finger of tan head and fairly low visible carbonation.

S: Brown malts, a nice bit of sweetness, some pine and grass hops, and a bit of caramel and toffee.

T: Follows the nose. Good sweetness from the malts mixes with the toffee flavor, on top of the grassy and mild resinous hops. Lightly bittersweet after the swallow.

M: A bit of a sticky mouthfeel for a lighter-bodied beer. Moderate alcohol presence and low carbonation sensation.

O: I thought this was quite enjoyable. Nothing crazy or outstanding here, but a solid ESB to grab off the shelf - I style I don't revisit enough.

Sep 17, 2013
Photo of Mikecap
Mikecap from Rhode Island

3.21/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Appearance: Poured a medium amber brown with a finger of white head that fades quickly, nice lacing on my tulip.

Smell: Earthy with some grass and pine which surprises me, also some sweetness, caramel, toffee but more hoppy than sweet.

Taste: Not quite up to the nose, some pine, citrusy with a bit of orange and grapefruit, some sweetness from the malt.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with low bitterness and low to medium carbonation.

Overall: Haven't really had too many ESBs but this one is okay. Not something I'd want a 6 pack of but worth a try if you like ESBs...

Sep 02, 2013
Photo of Immortale25
Immortale25 from North Carolina

4.21/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Dogfish Spiegelau glass. Label says Best if Enjoyed by: 11/07/13

A- Pours a light brown color with a 1/2 inch light tan head that retains well before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a mostly full sheet of surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves a thick ring behind.

S- A surprisingly large amount of vegetal hop presence. Very nice and "green" with notes of celery and...fresh jalapeno and/or green pepper? Hm.

T- Flavor is more malt-driven with some balancing hop bitterness. Easy to drink but not lacking in flavor. The malt is toasty and a bit sweet with a hint of caramel but the grassy hop character remains throughout.

M- Slightly sharp and oily from the hops. Medium carbonation and a body leaning toward the fuller side.

O- I enjoy this more than any other ESB I've ever had but I think that's due to the overly hoppy take on the style. Although the word "bitter" is part of the acronym, ESBs are generally not this bitter. This is more of a dark pale ale (if that makes any sense) IMO but, regardless of what Sweetwater wants to call it, it's very good. I admit, when I bought this variety 12-pack, the ESB was what I was desiring the least but now I know I'm thoroughly enjoying every beer in the box.

Aug 27, 2013
Photo of blackie
blackie from Oregon

3.33/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a: poured into a curved lager glass, the beer is a leafy orange-amber in color, capped with a well-retained layer of off-white carbonation

s: dominant aroma of moderately toasted pale grains, very crackery, with a slight caramel sweetness, good herbal hop presence

m: carbonation around light-moderate, soft but appropriate, body a light medium

t: light to moderately toasted pale grains, sweetness light with just a flash of caramel, herbal hop flavors, crackery cereal, finishes dry with toast, dried herbal hops, and a milder bitterness

o: an okay beer, nothing particularly special about it, the flavor is fine but just leaves me looking for a little more substance

Apr 06, 2013
Photo of Jadjunk
Jadjunk from Georgia

3.76/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

"Out titillating version of an ESBBB! These babies are build for speed and comfort. Hit the throttle and dive in with your eyes wide open, you old sailor you! Sweetwater Motor Boat is brewed in the style of an Extra Special Bitter. The fall seasonal beer was introduced in 2008, possibly based on SweetWater's original ESB which was discontinued in the early 2000's. Date on bottle is 10/30/12.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a SweetWater pint glass. Served north of 52º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a creamy dirty white head. Nice retention, a notch above average. Body color is a very hazy copper-orange. Lacing is thin and webbed. With a decent head quality and an appealing lacing, it makes for a very pleasing appearance. 4.5

(Smell) Caramel and pale malts blend with a grassy and floral mild bitter hop aroma. Mild buttery notes, nothing overpowering or droning in the diacetyl. The aroma is fairly well balanced. Potency is medium. Enjoyable overall. 4

(Taste) Clean bready caramel front with a balance in earthy hop flavor and bitterness. Mild, yet full flavors with a growing buttery malt and sharper earthy hop finish reminiscent of English medium alpha blends. Flavor is filling. The balance is about perfect, but the bitterness and hop flavor is a bit muddied and could manage to be a touch brighter and crisper. Overall it's a pretty solid ESB. 3.75

(Mouthfeel) Creamy texture, very mild carbonation with a mild buttery slickness. Body is medium/heavy for the style, medium bodied overall. Alcohol presence is low. I actually found the carbonation a bit too low on this one, just a notch shallow of where it should have been, for either a creamier flavor or a crisper one, either way it was too low. Body a bit higher than anticipated, makes for lower drinkability. 3.25

(Overall) An enjoyable beer with a good balance. My biggest complaints are in regards to a heavier body, a low carbonation and a shallow, albeit plentiful hop profile. The common diacetyl tones are also on the low. Amongst my very few local choices for ESB options in Georgia. In fact, it's the only Georgia-brewed ESB. Despite my lack of options, I wouldn't mind picking up a six pack of this each season. 3.5

SweetWater Brewing Company's
Motor Boat Ale

Jan 18, 2013
Photo of Mojo
Mojo from Alabama

4.05/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This offering pours a slightly hazy amber with a one finger off white head, decent retention, and excellent lacing. The nose is primarily citrus, especially oranges with some pine, and resin there too. Taste delivers the bitterness upfront and the sweetness on the finish. Mouthfeel is good with no aftertaste to speak of. A pretty decent beer.

Nov 27, 2012
Photo of dbrauneis
dbrauneis from North Carolina

3.83/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear dark amber in color with some reddish highlights and moderate amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall off-white to light beige head that slowly reduces to a very thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer with a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate notes of caramel and toffee malts with some some earthy and light citrus/pine hops.

T: Moderate flavors of caramel and toffee malts with light sweetness and earthy, citrus, and pine hops. Light notes of brown sugar and a little bit of spices.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: Enjoyable and well balanced, pairs well with many different foods. While it has an American twist with the use of the pine and citrus hops, this still keeps a somewhat authentic British feel to it. Definitely worth trying.

Nov 27, 2012
Photo of jjanega08
jjanega08 from Minnesota

4.33/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best by 12/05/12

A= Pours a nice hazy amberish brown color with a solid finger of off white head that holds great retention and lacing on the side of the glass.

S= The smell is nice and pungent expessially for an ESB. There is a nice hop punch to it in the nose that is followed by a caramelly sweetness that makes it mouth watering.

T= The taste is just as nice as the smell. A nice hop punch to it that offers a little pine and citrus up front before a caramel sweetness comes over it. The finish is nice and buiscuity with a little lingering hop bitterness. This is a very nice ESB. There is a little bit of a watery flavor in there that I acutally kind of like in an ESB.

M= The mouth is great. Not overly carbonated.

O= This is a solid beer from a style I don't think is done enough. An easy drinking ESB is the cure for whatever ales ya. This baby is the cure that's for sure. Makes me wanna go motor boat.

Nov 03, 2012
Photo of mattsdenney
mattsdenney from Tennessee

3.85/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours light amber/brown with one finger of off-white head.

S: Creamy malt, fresh hops, toasted biscuit, and dried fruit.

T: A nice balance of bready malt and grassy hop bitterness. Finishes with tones of dried cherry, tobacco and pine.

M: Medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. Frothy with a lingering coat in the mouth.

O: Overall a nice well-balanced fall beer. Always look forward to this one.

Oct 24, 2012
Photo of thagr81us
thagr81us from South Carolina

3.7/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had while out and about at my buddy’s bachelor party! Tick all day, every day! Served from tap into a Samuel Adams sampler shaker. Poured yellow-orange with a minimal white head. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, spice, earth, earth hop, spicy hop, and bread. The flavor was of sweet malt, spice, earth, spicy hop, earth hop, bread, and floral hop. It had a light feel on the palate with high carbonation. Overall this was a pretty decent brew. I have to say that I was quite surprised that I have not reviewed this one yet. There was a really nice few things going on in the flavor of this one with the bread and floral hop notes that kept my palate looking for what was going to happen next. This fact definitely made it rather easy to drink and enjoyable throughout. Definitely worth your time trying if you get the chance.

Sep 14, 2012
Photo of Amalak
Amalak from New York

4.47/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A. Hazy brown color that is basically opaque. It has a good tan foamy head with lacing. Bubbly.

S. Very strong, hoppy scent.

T. Odd lemony-hop taste. A bit of caramel in there. A nice floral taste. Really beautifully balanced. A minor bit of smokeyness.

M. Tingly with an acidic aftertaste.

O. Very well balanced. Smooth but refreshing. Not over the top with hops. Mild acidic aftertaste is only drawback.

Feb 26, 2012
Photo of bucklemyshoe
bucklemyshoe from Georgia

3.7/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Pint glass.

A: Rustic orange with two fingers of peach-colored head.

S: Noble hops, caramel, citrus, and some floral notes.

T: Some metallic flavors, strong pilsner-like hops, sweet grains, and caramel.

M: Medium-light body with strong carbonation.

O: Very hoppy for an ESB.

Feb 13, 2012
Photo of MTNboy
MTNboy from Germany

3.92/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark amber with an average amount of white head and lace.

Smell: A malty aroma with biscuit tones but the hop presence in the smell can’t be denied.

Taste: Herbal and floral like hops with that biscuit malt taste that seems to be a mainstay in their beers. Don’t get me wrong that is a quality that I admire in a beer. There is some roasted caramel to it as well.

Mouthfeel: I would say light with some bite.

Overall: I enjoyed it and I would definitely get it on tap again.

Jan 21, 2012
Photo of vfgccp
vfgccp from New York

4.33/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A – Deep, jeweled amber body. Nice off-white head with nice lace and ok rentetion.

S – Brown sugar, toffee, and soft caramel malt manage to share the stage without rendering the nose overly sweet.

T – Smooth with a pleasantly heavy-handed dose of caramel malt backed by a resiny bitter backbone. Lightly dry finish.

M – Surprisingly refreshing for the amount of flavor in the profile. Medium full body.

O – A stellar session brew. The flavor profile is simple and clean, but well defined and delicious.

Dec 23, 2011
Photo of gerite
gerite from Alabama

3.23/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a glass mug initially produced a good 3 finger light tan colored head that slowly dissipated to 1 finger head and left plenty of lacing. The color is a dark amber that is not quite clear and somewhat cloudy. There was slight carbonation and fine bubbles. The taste is a definitive ESB with a slight bitter aftertaste. I my opinon, not as good as the Red Hook ESB, but still a good ESB. Worth another try.

Nov 27, 2011
Photo of beerman207
beerman207 from Kentucky

4.15/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Found a bottle of this in the supermarket during a recent trip to Tennesee.

A: Pours a dark orange almost brown color with about 2 fingers head that leave nice lacing behind

S: Nose is zesty with citrus. Good malt coming through as well.

T: Bready tones with a good bitterness that lingers in the finish. Hoppy but well balanced

M: Creamy and mild carbonation

O: Great offering here from Sweetwater. Glad I got a chance to try this one.

Nov 26, 2011
Photo of warnerry
warnerry from Michigan

3.54/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a clear amber/brown with one finger of head. Head has outstanding retention and leaves a sheet of lacing.

S -- Slightly bitter hops aroma, and a bit of malt. Subtle aroma.

T -- Nice bitterness initially followed by a somewhat watery middle. Finish is a nice dry earthy bitterness. Has a dry bitterness, but I can't identify the hops.

M -- Somewhat thin mouthfeel, but a good dry bitter finish.

O -- Unfortunately the outstanding appearance only led to a decent beer. Not bad, but not memorable either.

Nov 19, 2011
Motor Boat from SweetWater Brewing Company
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 456 ratings