Sweetwater Motor Boat | SweetWater Brewing Company

very good
454 Ratings
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 Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 454 |  Reviews: 150
Photo of rajendra82
3.23/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Burnt orange color was nice to look at, and the body was mostly clear with some lingering haze. The head was thin, like a rim of bubbles mostly. The smell was sweet and citric, and nothing like any ESB. It was too fruity and perfumey to be considered even close. The taste was spicy, earthy, honey sweet, and slightly soured. The mouthfeel was very chalky and a bit harsh. Not a bad beer per se, but way off target for the style, and not very sessionable.

 455 characters

Photo of CrellMoset
3.72/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from Mac's, Atlanta, GA. Poured into a Sweetwater IPA American pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy copper colored beer - seriously, this one's like a shiny new penny - with a foamy one-and-a-half-finger head with slightly below average retention and runny glittery white lacing. Carbonation is faint and sparse.

Aroma: Pure doughy caramel. Reminds me of the note I always get out of Lost Abbey beers, really, though this one has the faint hint of citrusy and grassy hops. Nice.

Taste: Similar to the nose - very heavy on the roasted, caramelly, and bready malts here, but with a reasonable amount of balancing bitterness and spicy hop presence. Nothing outstanding, but a decent E.S.B. flavor here.

Mouthfeel: Average thickness, average evenness, average carbonation, average creaminess, average ... well, let's just say it's a very average feeling beer. Leaves a bit of a coating on the mouth, too - that's not average. But that's ok.

Drinkability: An E.S.B. this is. It's very balanced, perhaps even on the malty side of the E.S.B. nation, and though I have no clue what the abv% is, I'd guess it's not higher than 6.5%, which isn't eminently unreasonable. That being said, it's not my favorite E.S.B., nor is it one of Sweetwater's best brews, though it is respectable.

 1,296 characters

Photo of ncvbc
3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber with reddish hues. Steady carbonation and a great head that keeps its retention and leaves steady lacing down the glass. Smell is nothing like an ESB to me but I still enjoy it. Some citrus hops similar to what you'd find in their IPA. It reminds me more of a harvest ale or hoppy amber than what it is. Still, I'm a fool for the hops. I feel like there is some Centennial in here, which is always a good thing. Taste is just the same. More hoppy than anything. Big and citrusy with a light caramel and biscuity touch. I like it but can't give it much credit for the style. Good crisp mouthfeel, basically on the light side with a minor bitterness. This is close to session material in my book, though as said not exactly your standard ESB. Sweetwater does this from time to time and I don't really mind. The bottom line is they make some quality brews, whatever style they may or may not be. Glad I bought a sixer, that's for sure.

 952 characters

Photo of superdedooperboy
3.92/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(Note: Score reflects the most recent review)
07-24-2011: 12-ounce brown glass bottle poured into a Sweetwater "Catch & Release Series"-branded shaker pint.

Pours a coppery-orange hue reminiscent of the deep autumnal reds and oranges of the fall season and with a lovely clarity, topped with a one-fingered head of beige foam that recedes to a thin patchy cap that leaves some scattered patches of web-like latticework on the walls of the glass.

A big whiff of citrus hits the nostrils straight-away, rife with orange and a touch of grapefruit, with some notes of pine interspersed alongside background malt notes of caramel and toffee, with perhaps a bit of honeyed biscuit as well.

Flavors mimic the background notes of the aroma, likely due to the dry-hopping the brewery uses; the palate is virtually reversed from what the nose suggests, with toffee, biscuit and caramel taking the place of the citrusy, piney hop notes. Mild notes of pine and grassy herbaceousness fill in the middle, along with a mild dry bitterness. More sweet caramel and light toast fall into the rear, finishing rather dry with a lingering note of resiny pine. Body is fairly light, with a mild-to-moderate carbonation that lends a moderately smooth mouthfeel with just the right prickly touch to sweep the palate.

Overall, a very pleasant interpretation of the traditional ESB, very characteristic on the palate but with a wonderful dry-hopped aroma that adds just the right bit of American flair.

10-08-2008: Served from the bottle at The Pizza Joint in Evans, GA. Freshness date was clearly printed on the label.

Pours a nice ruby-brown hue with a small light tan head that dissipates somewhat quickly but leaves behind a fair amount of lacing.

Smells nicely of sweet fruits including, among others, notes of blueberry.

Tastes of a fruitiness similar to the aroma, with a nice subdued bitterness balancing it out; a smooth, slightly buttery mouthfeel leads into a lingering, slightly bittersweet finish.

Not the best example of the suggested style, but an all-around great beer nevertheless. Very drinkable and highly recommended.

 2,121 characters

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

A- Nice dark amber/copper color, the head was didn't exist like the million dollars in my bank account. Looks thick

S- This has a nice hop smell that isn't too strong, but just a nice balance smell.

T- This has a sweet taste, clean, crisp, great hop taste and bite. This is well balanced with great malts and solid all around beer.

M- Feels good in the mouth, a nice slight thick taste.

D- Great beer, would be a great session brew. Solid all around beer.

 460 characters

Photo of GatorBeerNerd
3.69/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz single purchased as part of a mixed 6 pack from Whole Foods in Duluth poured into a standard Sweetwater pint glass

A: Pours a copper color with a finger thick off white head. The head dissipates quickly down to a thin covering of bubbles over the top of the liquid. It leaves a good bit of lacing as it is consumed.

S: The aroma is pretty strong. Pine and citrus hops dominate the aroma. There is a nice malt aroma mixed in with the hop aroma as well. I am also picking up some sort of spicing.

T: The taste starts of a bit sweet from the malt. The hops gradually make it slightly bitter in the mouth. The finish is where the piney hops really come through quite a bit.

M: I can't really say I care for the mouthfeel. It is very thin and really has nothing going on except a great deal of in mouth carbonation. The problem is, it doesn't help to make the beer taste creamy just really carbonated. By far the worst part of this one for me.

D: I like this one as long as you don't let it linger long in the mouth. I guess that makes it sessionable in a strange way.

 1,074 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

Photo of bobbyc881
3.18/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Pours out amber/copper, very thin white head on top. Quite clear. Minimal carbonation. Smell is slightly sugar... some hops... slight apple aroma.

Taste starts on the sweet side, but not overly sweet. Finish is quite bitter. Maybe a bit too bitter for an ESB. Earthy hops, very little citrus flavors. Again, the finish is a bit harsh.

Mouthfeel could use a touch more body. Otherwise, it's fairly drinkable. This won't exactly be a seasonal I look forward to, though.

 469 characters

Photo of ATLbeerDog
3.6/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a stunning reddish/orange with a thick white/yellowish head. Smells of strong hops just adds to my anticipation. First sip is bitter and clean - surprisingly not as hoppy as the lovely aroma would indicate. Mouthfeel is good but this puppy could use a stronger malt backbone. A fine showing from Sweetwater.

 313 characters

Photo of beveritt
3.86/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Thanks to jraycee for hooking me up with some Sweet Water. Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a standard pint glass. Label is typical Sweet Water fishing scene with the Catch & Release stamp denoting a seasonal. Best enjoyed by 11/23/08.

Appearance: Pours with 3 fingers of light tan head. This settles slowly, leaving behind a tremendous amount of sticky, webbed lacing. The beer itself is a rich copper and perfectly clear.

Smell: Aromas of fresh hops, almost smells like dry-hopping. Spicy and piney.

Taste: Smooth caramel malt that is ever so slightly sweet blends absolutely seamlessly with a mouthful of hops in the finish.Hops display a zesty spice, but are fairly mellow overall.

Mouthfeel: Average carbonation level. Body is very good.

Drinkability: An excellent session beer with its near perfect balance of hops and malt. Very impressed with this one.

 885 characters

Photo of everetends
3.92/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle I got in a sixer from Five Points Bottle Shop in Athens, GA. Poured into your standard, run of the mill, shaker pint.

A: Pours are really nice, vibrant amber color with some nice orange and red hues when held to light. Has some nice carbonation bubbles that shoot straight to the glass, holding on for dear life. Head was a bit off white, with little retention and barely any lacing. Kind of a shame.

S: Smells . . . really hoppy. Wasn't expecting this much hoppiness. Getting some nice notes of piney and citrus hops. Grapefruit and orange are present. Also some really nice caramel, and bready malt. You have my attention, Motor Boat.

T: Nice flavors of bready malt that adds some sweetness, along with some sharp citrus flavors of grapefruit and orange. The wierd thing is that this beer has some serious hop presence. Piney hops add a nice bitterness to this. Alcohol is there just a touch and rounds it out. The hoppiness really shines in this brew, with nice flavors budding as it warms.

M: Crisp and a touch heavy in the realm of carbonation. Light side of medium in body, feels a bit thin for the aroma and flavor profiles. Doesn't seem to match. A touch of hops aftertaste in the finish. No sight of alcohol on the throat or throughout the palate.

D: Very good brew. This beer is easy to drink, tastes and smells really good. Too bad this a catch and release. I would love to see this as a beer added to the SW regular production.

 1,459 characters

Photo of TerjUGA
4.02/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Head goes away fast, very little lace, nice amber color.

S- Smells of citrus and pine. floral sugars and hops.

T- Taste resembles smell, strong pine and citrus flavors, hints of sugars. bready and hints of cinnamon notes in the aftertaste. Very good taste, hoppy.

M- good medium carbonation, finishes dry.

D- Very easy to drink. Good brew.

 346 characters

Photo of n00tz
3.99/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Average beer looks: head dissolves quickly leaving amber body behind.

Smell - Flowery and Piney

Taste - Clovers and Piney hops aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Hops stick around after swallowing for an extended period of time (going on 5 minutes since my last sip)... that's always been my complaint with Sweetwater brews.

Drinkability - I purchased these for a cookout and they went over well, I agree with them... very drinkable if chain-drinking.

 457 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 gabeerfanswife
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a british imperial pint glass.

A: Amber brown; head recedes to tiny lacing.

S: very spicy; lots of autumn in here. Nutmeg, cinnamon, alspice very present.

T: pretty hoppy for an ESB. Brits probably hate it. It is still is pretty tasty. Good on its own or with food.

M: medium to thick; slightly oily.

D: very drinkable though the abv is not listed. Does not taste very alchol-y. Enjoy while its around!

 424 characters

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

Pours into a pint glass a slightly hazy red-brown with one finger of head that quickly drops to a slight collar, some bands of lace but nothing exceptional.

The nose starts all about citrus and grapefruit. There's also a healthy dose of sweet caramel malt aromas. Slightly bready. Seems to lose some aroma concentration as it warms.

This dinghy hits the mouth with some nice toasty malts and caramel, crosses over the middle with some slight buttery notes (diacetyl) and finishes with a grapefruit bite of hops. Good balance, a little hoppier than a standard ESB but forgivable.

Mouthfeel is a little less than medium bodied, low carbonation, which makes it true to style.

Overall not a bad effort from Sweetwater. Great sessionable ale, although at just under 6% it is just barely so. ESB? Hmmm, maybe not, but it is a face-full of pleasure. Fire it up and enjoy the ride, you old sailor you!

 897 characters

Photo of ruckzuck
3.92/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sweetwater's newest. Here goes.

A - pours an amber body with a lot of red/orange notes going on, especially when held up to light. There's a bit of a white head at the start, but nothing to write home about, and it quickly dissipates to a film on top of the beer more or less

S - I get a lot of floral and citrus hope notes initially. A bit of caramel malt as well

T - Initially I'm hit with the hops again, and the floral and citrus is all over the palate and pretty damn pleasing. There's sort of a sweet fruitiness that mixes with the bitter after swallowing, and both sort of meld to form the aftertaste. Nice all around IMO

M - medium bodied with a pretty solid amount of carbonation

D - this is pretty drinkable given the ABV. Good work, Sweetwater! It's nice to see y'all putting out good stuff like this. Totally solid. Would buy again, and could totally have several in a (tipsy) session

 901 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 jraycee
3.84/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another good catch and release seasonal brew from the ATL. Pours a reddish brown with a small head that disappears quickly. Absolutely no lacing in my pint glass the entire way. Smells of biscuit, hops, malt. Fruits taste up front(apricot?) and strong bitter hops following. A late citrus tast maybe in the finish. Mouthfeel is smooth and a little heavy. A good ESB overall, although I probaly won't have more than one in a session.

 432 characters

Photo of Deus1138
4.12/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Saw people talking about this in the forums over the last two weeks. Then I saw a ton of it at Total Wine & More tonight, so I picked up a six pack.

Pours a nice copper red with lots a good amount of head.

Smell is quite strong. Lots of floral and pine hoppiness coming through. Smells like a double IPA.

Taste is not what I expected from the smell. It's not nearly as hoppy as I expected. It's quite nice though. Again, floral piney hops followed by a nice malty sweetness at the finish. Balanced well? I'll say!

Mouthfeel is pretty light. Not a lot of carbonation.

Drinkability is quite high. I've never had an ESB before, but I'm inclined to try more of them now. This is quite refreshing while also giving the drinker a nice set of complex flavors to sift through.

Nicely done. My new favorite from Sweetwater!

 824 characters

Photo of ectomorph
4.17/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle with a Best By date of 11-23-08 poured into the complimentary pint glass I received from the Sweetwater rep @ Riverside Beverage this afternoon.

A - Clear amber color with a full 2 finger thick white head that is fading slowly in clumps.

S - Floral hops and hop oil aromas with a malt sweetness at the end.

T - Very balanced with a mild hop bite up front with loads of malts and sweet biscuits powering through. Fooled by the smell initially, this brew is quite balanced and crisp.

M - A little watery but overall medium to light bodied.

D - Very high, I will finish these today/tonight for sure.

 614 characters

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Brought to the tri-state from my buddy's Atlanta trip, along with a bonus Sweetwater 420 shaker pint, hell yeah!

Appearance - pours a nice reddish caramel color, a half-finger of light tan foam on top. Sticky lace makes a wavy pattern around the glass.

Aroma - bready, biscuity, with an unmistakeable citrusy twang of hops. Settles down a bit and lets more toasty malt come through. Falls off a bit after setup, but still working up a good scent.

Taste - toasty malts, very nice. A light touch of butteryiness in there before a healthy portion of hop bitterness arrives. A little on the astringent side at first, they show off some grapefruit rind and zesty citrus flavor, moreso after some palate adjustment and warming. The swallow returns some toastiness, resulting in a well-balanced beer. Only slightly to style per the buttery part, but I don't mind a bit.

Mouthfeel - nicely smooth, a tad below 'crisp', solid weight.

Drinkability - an interesting take on the ESB style. Way overboard on the hop levels, easily the bitterest ESB going I'd say. What? An Imperial ESB??? Hmmmm.. ;-)

Thanks again Paul, for the beers and the glass.

 1,141 characters

Photo of bhalter8
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle to a pint

A: A nice rose hint to a rich caramel color

S: The strongest scent is hops, definitely, but nothing too striking

T: A well built beer, but definitely standard for the style

M: Light, high carbonization

D: A nice ESB, a nice change for me to have a few of a style I had not had much of lately

 320 characters

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

Pours a clear, dark amber with lighter brown highlights. Khaki tan head that falls to a medium ring with whips on top.
Very hoppy aroma. Grapefruit hits first with some grass and hints of pine. Pretty sweet malt aromas too. Lots of caramel and semi-dried fruits.
Hoppy flavors too, but the hops seem slightly more subdued than in the aroma. Flavor hops seem more grassy/piney, the grapefruit seems to come in at the back of the tongue. Sweet malts with caramel and brown sugar coated dark fruits.
Medium bodied. A little oily from the hops and the sweet malts help coat the mouth too.
Pretty drinkable. Good balance of flavors. The newspaper review of this said it was a 6% beer. I could have a few of these, I think.
Hopefully this is a regular fall beer for Sweetwater. Definitely not a traditional ESB, kind of a cross between and ESB and a hoppy APA. I will be getting more of this before it goes away.

 907 characters

Photo of planetscott
3.21/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from a bottle in a pint glass.

A - Lovely amber/copper color. The beast feature of this beer.

S - Really not much going on. Low hop aroma. Low malt aroma. Nothing bad though.

T - Again, not much going on, but it is well balanced, I prefer a slightly maltier and bready taste. This does not have it, however what flavor there is comes off as pleasant, yet pedestrian.

M - Consistent for this style.

D- As this beer does not blow me away, I don't see my self being able to drink more than one or two, however, it is not undrinkable.

Overall - Not a bad beer, but not the ESB style I prefer. A decent gateway beer, which in this city(Atlanta), is a good marketing idea. I hope it does well.

 700 characters

Sweetwater Motor Boat from SweetWater Brewing Company
3.77 out of 5 based on 454 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.