Sweetwater Motor Boat | SweetWater Brewing Company

very good
150 Reviews
Read the review
Sweetwater Motor BoatSweetwater Motor Boat

Brewed by:
SweetWater Brewing Company
Georgia, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by gford217 on 08-29-2008

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 150 | Ratings: 454
Photo of kylehay2004
4.12/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Amber with golden hues. Just under a half finger head which dissipates quickly.

S: A nice subtle hop aroma with sweet notes and grapefruit.

T: This has a decent amount of hop flavor those it is mild. Its sweeter than I expected. Floral notes.

M: Medium body. Moderate carbonation.

Overall: I haven't figured sweetwater out yet. I feel like the are sort of middle of the road but I really like this brew.

 410 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

After seeing that this beer took Gold at the '09 GABF this afternoon, I had to reach in the fridge and drag it out.

Pungent and earthy aromas emit from the glass showing a lot of malt/grain character and a balanced note of earthy and grassy hops. With caramel and citrus also present, the beer is seemingly as American as it is English to the nose.

The beer pours a bright copper, orange color with medium, off-white foam that retains very well with good lacing. A solid ESB look.

Although the flavors favor as much grain taste as malt taste, it does fare quite well. Caramel and pungent bitterness battle back and forth while the bready maltiness begins to form a firm foundation. Moderate sweetness allows for a clean grain-malt blend. Earthy and pungent hops balance the beer but doesn't bring undue attention to itself; I'd prefer more English hop character. Very clean otherwise.

This brewery-fresh ale is extremely well balanced and contains enough flavor to appeal to staunch beer enthusiasts, but refined enough to win over the swill swiggers as well. With a blend of American and English malt and hops, it easily appeals to a large audience.

 1,154 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Arrives with a hazy amber color and a two finger head that displays good retention and drips some lace

Smell: Slightly citrusy with a caramel backbone

Taste: Well- balanced from the outset, with both a tea-like earthy hop character and a caramel aspect; after the swallow, the herbacious hop character is apparent but the finish is sweet

Mouthfeel: Medium body with prickly carbonation

Drinkability: A bit too sweet to be a classic but rather enjoyable

 468 characters

Photo of oline73
3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a mildly cloudy amber with a half finger of off white head that fades to a ring around the glass.

Smell: Citrus hops with strong apricot notes. Bready malt background.

Taste: Strong citrus notes up front. As in the smell, I'm picking up what reminds me of apricots. The malt balances things out well. Citrus hop bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with tingly carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: I really enjoyed the citrus notes in this one. More hops than I expected from an ESB. I would have another.

 591 characters

Photo of nickfl
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours with one finger of off-white foam on top of an amber-brown body with excellent clarity. The head settles fairly quickly and leaves moderate lace.

S - Toasty malt notes with some toffee and a hint of caramel. A hint of red apple and musty hops in the background.

T - Sweet, toasted grain up front with some toffee and brown sugar. Musty hop flavors come out in the middle along with a stronger dark sugar character. A light pine note appears in the finish as red apple and brown sugar fight with moderately strong bitterness.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a fairly sweet finish.

D - It starts out strong with an unusually nice appearance and an aroma that is encouragingly close to spot-on for a traditional ESB. Things kind of fall apart in the finish as the malt is too dark and lacking in subtly, while the hops are mostly bitterness with an oddly woody note. Not bad for an American ESB, but in the grand scheme of things it really doesn't hold a candle to the proper, British versions of the style.

 1,035 characters

Photo of oberon
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Man I like a good ESB and there just isnt enough around!This poured into a standard pint glass a clear bronze color with a tight formed one finger white head that settled into a soapy-like mass,aromas were malt tilted with caramel/biscuit,brown sugar, and juicy fruit malt notes,only a slight "green" herbal hop presence is felt.Flavors start out with dark"ish" fruit and caramle with a slight toastiness,a srying leafy hop presence comes thru late.A solid ESB more malt driven, but it does have a hop presence,well done.

 521 characters

Photo of Kegatron
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Thanks go to my partner in crime Barscream for this bottle.

Pours a fairly clear coppery amber, with 2 ½ fingers of creamy off-white head. Thin, yet frothy, look to the retention, leaving back a strong latticework of sticky lacing. The aroma is floral spice and bready malts, which are tight feeling in the nose. This is tinged with some green smelling citrus and just a touch of alcohol heft.

The taste has a dry spicy bitterness to it that slathers the tongue. This is softened however by the more mellowness of the sweeter malts and citrus that are present, which pull together into a tangy feel in the back. Surprisingly, the finish isn't quite as dry as I would have expected based on the initial bite of this. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a tightness to it that falls right in line with the firm spiciness of this. Once again, I'm getting a touch of alcohol heft here in the body but it isn't too troubling, just a bit surprising for a sub 6% beer.

The good balance here is what made it work for me, with a healthy dose of spicy bitterness that kept things interesting and just enough malts and citrus flavor to keep it in check. Nice little take on the style.

 1,213 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.4/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Rich amber beer with distinctive aromatics.

Pleasant red amber color in the glass, and head makes a good show but dissipates. Very aromatic with floral hops. Bitterness comes on and lingers to the end. Burnt sugar flavors, a hint of coffee dregs. Wet wood and cork taste.

An appealing first mouthful, and lots of flavors. Settles down to an astringent bitterness that keeps it from being really likable.

 405 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.33/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle purchased at Total Wine in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a reddish-amber body with a small, frothy, ivory-colored head.

Smell: Aroma smelling strongly of spice and plump citrus fruits overlaying lighter notes of day-old, over-cooked biscuits.

Taste: Toasted biscuits with a touch of grain and even less caramel sweetness. Taste of citric grapefruit, maybe a few berries in there as well. Spicy, citrus hops with a medium bitterness. Sugar hints come and go throughout. Finishes dry, with an herbal quality to the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-high carbonation.

Drinkability: Some pair up beers with fine cuisine, maybe some even pair up beers with music. Me, I set beers up alongside movies. This bitter brew contrasted nicely to the sweet, satisfying ending of Karate Kid when Daniel defeats Whatshisname from Cobra Kai. Although the bitterness comes rushing back when I see Karate Kid 2 is up next.

 941 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

 896 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
3.77/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

decided to tick a couple easy sweetwater brews i had never reviewed today after having way too much consumed yesterday. poured into a pint glass and drank while doing some yard work this was consumed on 02/06/2011.

nice pour with a light brown color and a thin white head that left a little bit of lacing around the sides of the glass. smooth and even coating but nothing crazy. muted piney hop and a rich caramel note come froward right away. very earthy and nicely balanced their is some brown sugar and a touch of light grasses that come through as it warms. light and crisp with a thinly veiled hop profile that seems to be just enough to give it a little bit of a kick and mellow out the earthy malts. smooth and dry finish was easy going and fast to leave.

overall a very solid ale and one that could be drank over and over with much ease. no trouble here at all.

 871 characters

Photo of billab914
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Southern Tier tulip glass. Pours a dark copper amber color wit ha one finger white head. Laced very nicely on the glass.

Aroma is a nice balance of sweet caramel biscuty flavors and citrus and pine. Taste is similar to the nose, sweet with caramel and bready malts and a decent amount of citrus from the hops. Nicely balanced.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is good, very easy drinking and tasty ESB.

 472 characters

Photo of smcolw
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Neutral amber color with a slightly hazy touch. Good start to the head--leaves some ring and spotty lace.

This is a very pleasant blend of caramel-like malt with a flowery hop smell. This continues through the taste, although the hops are more prickly. The aftertaste is bitter but doesn't last forever Rich mouthfeel with a light spritz in the carbonation. A wonderfully blended beer.

 386 characters

Photo of vfgccp
4.33/5  rDev +14.9%
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.

 516 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received this from my Secret Santa KarrHeel03, thanks for the opportunity.
Pours a slightly hazy red orange color with a two finger fluffy beige head that persists forever. Smells of citrus right off, I'm thinking grapefruit, but that aroma disappeared quickly. Some caramel and a bit of spicy, minerally esters waft up towards my nostrils as well. At first smell it was a dead ringer for an American IPA, but as it sat the nose definitely morphed into a more English bitter leaning animal. Taste is malty with caramel and brown bread, minerally with that English hop flair but an almost citrusy hop bite in there as well. Medium to high carbonation, medium body with a watery/syrupy mouthfeel. This is a weird little beer that I really enjoyed. It's like an Americanized version of an esb that is still true to its English roots.

 830 characters

Photo of tdm168
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Sawmill Tap Room

Arrives a light amber with no head. Nose offers caramel and toasty malts with just a hint of pine. Taste is bready, biscuity, and toasty with a pretty intense hop presence which adds a welcomed piny, earthiness to the finish. Medium bodied, smooth, well carbonated, drinkable.

This is really a nice beer. A nice change of pace from other ESBs and other fall offerings.

 397 characters

Photo of WoodBrew
3.93/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Motor Boat...love motor boating...is 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.

 556 characters

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Cavie for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours an orange-amber color with a cream-colored head. The aroma is toffee with some orange citrus hops. I also get a little bit of chocolate, which I was not expecting. The flavor is heavy on the toffee malt but there are some citrus hops to keep the beer nice and balanced. Low bitterness. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

 383 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 received as a very cool extra from RustyDiamond.. huge thanks... I especially appreciate the locals. Poured into my Chimay goblet.

1 finger head... deep copper brew.. no lace....

aroma is a caramel biscuity amber brew... much like Fat Tire.. but much more defined.

Flavor mirrors the aroma.. but with quite a bit of grassy hops and biscuit flavor.. toasted grains and a very balanced hoppiness. the finish is surprising... minerally as it warms up... toasted wheat bread.. very drinkable.. and makes me want another sip... nothing special for sure... but i like this alot more than some of the other more "sought after" ambers out there.

Not even close to an ESB.... definitely an American amber..

Thanks again Rusty.


 744 characters

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish/orange amber with an okay initial head, but it fades very quickly to almost nothing. Somewhat sharp aromas of minerals, sour grain, and some slightly sweet malt and a light nuttiness. The taste is less sharp and more rounded and a bit sweet with earthy malt. Doesn't have quite as much copper and earthiness in the flavor as I like in my ESB, but there is a pleasant almost bubblegum sweetness and waxiness that is pleasant if not exactly to style. Smooth and easy to drink, this isn't bad.

 506 characters

Photo of harpus
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a translucent amber with some orange highlights, capped by one finger of frothy eggshell-colored head. Retention is moderate as it settles down to a thin layer of foam and holds there, leaving light lacing down the glass.

S: Floral and light citrusy hop notes up front, followed by biscuity malts with some nutty character. Aroma is a bit subdued.

T: Good hop bite up front with piney and light citrusy hops up front, followed by some floral notes. Biscuity malts balance on the mid-palate along with the aforementioned nuttiness, before giving way to a pine resin-filled finish.

M: Medium bodied with moderate to high carbonation, style appropriate.

D: Very drinkable, good flavor and hop presence.

 712 characters

Photo of Immortale25
4.21/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

 1,256 characters

Photo of ppoitras
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle obtained via Local BIF from Tazz1962. Thanks for the opportunity. <Jeremy2002 = bad trader>

Poured into an imperial pint, formed a 1 3/4" beige head above the slightly cloudy copper brew. Super-dense head is going nowhere fast at all, with coating, sticky lacing. Aroma is fruity and lightly sweet. Taste starts where the nose left off, sweet and citrus, with a lightly earthy hops close. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is good. Nice one.

 464 characters

Photo of avalon07
4.3/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a coppery color and a mostly clear consistency. There was an inch of foamy, fairly long-lasting head. Excellent lacing.

S: A nice aroma of hops, malt, a grainy quality something sugary.

T: Tasted of malt, a dash of hops, some grain, a very definite grassiness, and bit of caramel. This is a surprisingly tasty beer with a lot of character.

M: A somewhat undercarbonated beer with a smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

O: I was surprised how much I liked this beer (normally I consider ESBs an inferior style). It was definitely easy to drink and had a surprising complexity to it.

 623 characters

Photo of DrJay
3.17/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of Ding as part of Good, Bad, and Ugly BIF. Thanks!
Frothy off-white head off the pour, with bubbles settling quickly to a rocky collar and leaving some fine lacing stuck to the glass. Slightly hazy orange/amber. Lots of hop aroma, mostly of the citrus variety. Grapefruit and tangerine. Very mild malt sweetness in the background. Moderate bitterness with hop flavour dominating throughout, yet fading in the finish. Malt character was thin and did little other than provide a bit of sweetness, though as it warmed there were some faint toffee and cocoa notes. Quite dry with a thin body and average carbonation level. There was a smoothness of texture that somewhat made up for the dryness and thin malt. An okay beer and one that I'd happily drink again, but way off style for an ESB.

 803 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Sweetwater Motor Boat from SweetWater Brewing Company
3.77 out of 5 based on 454 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.