Sweetwater Motor Boat | SweetWater Brewing Company

very good
150 Reviews
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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

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Reviews: 150 | Ratings: 454
Photo of adamette
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Live review. Poured from the 12 oz. brown bottle that my brother in law Steven and his friend Allison brought up from Atlanta into a plastic “ocean fishes” glass (the best thing that I could find while on vacation in the Outer Banks, NC). Best if enjoyed by date of 09/17/11.

A Nice fluffy light brown head over an amber hued body. Head sticks to inside of glass with repeated sips creating a nice “levels” effect. Good, solid look. 4.0

S Floral hops are on top of a nice brown or amber ale. Good smelling beer and intriguing. 4.0

T Very solid ESB with an amber slant to it. 4.0

M Smooth with its generous, long lasting head. A little kick of sharp hops in the middle taste and then finishes nice and smooth. 4.0

D Thanks to the good feel, taste, presentation and smell this one would be easy to return to. 4.0

Notes: A good, solid beer from Sweetwater. Thanks to Steven and Allison for bringing it along!

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Photo of JamnesCameron
3.67/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received from OhYesILoveBeer in a homebrew trade. Thanks, Van!

Poured into a Le Cheval Blanc pint glass. Pours a hazy deep copper with a two fingered light tan head that drops leaving a rocky wisp of foam.

Aromas of citrus hops, caramel and toffee malts.

Flavors of caramel and toffee malts, light tobacco, citrus hop bitterness, tangerine and orange.

Mouthfeel is medium with a good level of carbonation.

Overall a decent try, misses some of the yeast esters typical of an english yeast strain.

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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.

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Photo of PDXHops
3.22/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a shaker pint. Hazy dark amber with a touch of suspended sediment. A finger of off-white head, scattered lacing.

Smells bready and tangy, with toasted, nutty and leafy notes as well. Rather hoppy for the style, with a fair amount of citrus and pine flavors, plus a distinct leafy bitterness. All this hoppy business distracts from the bready and nutty malts. A tasty beer, although one that frankly tastes more like an east coast IPA than an ESB, and I'm docking points accordingly.

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

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #43 (Aug 2010):

This beer is a tarnished copper color with a head to be proud of. It has a toasty, sweet malt aroma with a healthy herbal hop twang in the back. It's sublimely smooth and perhaps a tad slick. With toasted grain all around, there are quick flashes of caramel sweetness and more of a dried grassiness in the end. The tamed hops add some spiciness and a mildly bitter, herbal flavor. There's also vague fruitiness within the folds. It finishes relatively dry, with that dried grass, toasted grain flavor. This is an off-base seasonal. We love it because the norm doesn't need to be the path for everyone.

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Photo of TheKingofWichita
3.35/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep russet brown color with a thick white head and a fair amount of lacing. Smells of bitter citrus hops and some large amounts of orange. Tastes bitter from the hops, a little sweet from the malts, and a little biscuit and some hidden citrus. Mouthfeel is medium and there is plenty of carbonation. Drinkability is okay.

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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.

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

A well-executed placement within the style, perhaps leaning just a bit toward an Americanized hoppyness. Pleasant moderately roasted caramel malt, quickly followed by firm, slightly resinous hops flavor. Quite smooth and a good session ale candidate.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
2.84/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Sent to me by gford217. Best if enjoyed by: 12/14/10.

A- The color on this beer is very nice. The head retention, not so much.

S- This is very hoppy smelling. Much more so than what I expected, and more than most other ESBs that Ive had. Lots of herbal tea, citrus and even some pine.

T- This puts the bitter in the Extra Special Bitter. In fact I think it might be well beyond the limits of the style. Lots of piney, bitter hoppiness with some citrus. The biggest thing is a build up of medicinal bitterness, like crushed aspirin.

M- Vastly overcarbonated. This beer is sharp and painful on the tongue. It has a slick finish.

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Photo of LiquidBread219
3.91/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A= Nice rusty color a little bit hazy. Slight head and had some spotty lacing.

S= To me there wasn't a huge nose on this one but I did notice some carmel in this beer and a little bit of citrus hops.

T= The taste was pretty good the carmel comes out a little bit and it kind of has a earthy taste to it.

M= medium body and carbonation on this one.

D= They go down pretty easy and have a lower ABV than I'm use to so decent beer for not being to strong.

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Photo of StoneTSR
3.86/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

APPEARANCE: Very nice, deep, opaque, orangey, copper in color with a thin, bubbly head which dissipated quickly, leaving the large bubbles along with a very slim head. No lacing whatsoever.

SMELL: Strong brown sugary and malty nose. Sugar being the key word. The Motorboat is a very sweet smelling beer. Smells more like a brown ale than an ESB.

TASTE: The moment this beer hits the tongue it becomes clear that this is, in fact, an ESB. Deliciously bitter and dry hops attack the taste buds and it is not nearly as sweet as it smells. However, the malts do eventually make their presence known towards the backend and remain on the palate afterwards.

FEEL: Thirst-quenching and fully carbonated. The almost harsh feel on the way down makes this a very refreshing beer.

OVERALL: If the smell of beer was equivalent to the cover of a book, this would be the gold standard in not judging a book (or a beer) by its cover. The taste turns out to be far different from the smell and unlike some other ESBs, the Motorboat is genuinely bitter. Although, the bitterness does level out at the end of each sip. At 5.6% it might be a bit much to be considered a true session beer, but it is easy to imagine a hot summer evening in the southeast with a six-pack of Motorboats.

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Photo of feelmefoam
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

"What were they like anyway? They look pretty good are they real? Were they built for speed or for comfort? What'd you do with them? Motorboat? You play the motorboat? pfpfpfpf pfpfpfpfpf.... You motorboatin' son of a bitch, you old sailor you!!!" -- Wedding Crashers

I couldn't resist... such a great quote.

Motor Boat pours an orange-caramel color that's pretty murky with lighter orange highlights evident when held up to the light. The beer is capped by a finger of Boston cream-colored head that hangs around for a minute before falling back into the beer, leaving spiderwebs of lacing around the glass.

The aroma is the best part of this beer. Sweet candied orange and lemon floating on top of some sweet caramel and bready malts that really make the beer smell delicious. Maybe a bit more intensity could be desired, but not bad at all.

The flavor is pretty solid, too. Very similar to what I've described in the nose, except that the aroma of citrus doesn't translate as well into delicious hops. The citrus hops are still there and still held up by the caramel malt backbone, but not as prevalent as they seem to be in the nose.

The mouthfeel needs a little tweaking, in my opinion. Making it a bit thicker and giving it just a bit more carbonation would be key to making the beer feel smoother and accentuating the dry finish.

Overall, this is a pretty solid beer from a local brewery that I've come to love. I'm happy to be one of the first 100 to review this, and I'm even happier that my local store has a steady supply of it. While I may not buy a six pack of it, I'll definitely revisit it in a mixer every now and then. Another good offering from Sweetwater.

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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.

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Photo of John1985
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ale pours a brown amber with a quarter inch head w/some lacing Nice malty aroma with some citrus hops in the back. Taste was dominated by carmel malt balanced with a strong hop flavor. Finish was pleasantly bitter. Medium bodied and very drinakable for its style. I'm not very experienced with ESB's but this was a pleasant surprise.

Very good effort from Sweetwater

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Photo of GJ40
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sampled from a 12oz bottle purchased in a Sweetwater mix pack from Lowes Foods in Apex, NC. Best by date is 12/14/10.

A - Copper with great clarity and a small beige head. Good lacing as the glass empties.

S - Biscuity and bready with a hint of brown sugar.

T - Biscuity and bready with some caramel. There's a decent depth to the malt. The hops add a moderate, lingering bitterness and provide a nice balance. It's somewhat dry but there's a touch of sweetness.

M - A moderate consistency with very fine bubbles that give it a bit too much of an airy feel.

D - This is a pretty good beer but not outstanding.

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

This is a pretty colored brew, pouring a thick, light brown head of fluff. Took a good two minutes until I could see the top of the beer. Color rates a great 22 on the SRM scale. Smell of caramel, spice, apple, malt, and hops. Good rich, bold taste of citrus, caramelized wheat, sweet malt, and a bitter hop finish. Lots of rich feel across my tongue and the back of my throat. This is a good bitter ale, lots of flavor and body, give me another. Got it in the Sweetwater tackle box, so I have two more. Yea!!!

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Photo of austinhensley
3.54/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Went to my local brew-spot and had a pint or three of this Sweetwater Original. Color was dark red. I couldn't see through it but I don't know the significance of that in this style of beer. Good inch and a quarter thick head. Smell was somewhat dull, not a lot there. Not a heavy beer, sat on the stomach like a light beer (didn't feel like I had eaten a meal). New experience for me, the second gulp was significantly better than the first one. Had me ready for another sip. The only major downer I could recognize was when I burped it released this awful smelling fume (kinda like rotten vegetables). Lacing was weak, and I believe I definitely have this one a time or two more.

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.66/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a Samuel Smith pint glass on 10/6/10

Best by 11/1/10

Dense, brown/amber color. Lots of bubbles clinging to the glass. Poured a solid finger of foam that I suppose looks similar to the surface of the moon when viewed from a distance. Slow to dissipate leaving patches of lace.

Still in the bottle, the aroma was sharp & astringent, though once it has opened up in the glass there's a nice citric & pine aroma that accents a dry, biscuit note. Earthy hop overtones. Hints of toasted bread & yeast.

The flavor brings back a good bit of the aforementioned sharp astringency. Dry & bitter, it nevertheless has a wispy, juiciness to it. Assertive pine bitterness with hits of citrus worked in. Toasted bread & dry biscuit backdrop.

Motor Boat is easily medium bodied, maybe slightly more so. Carbonation is a bit higher than I'd like; it's very prickly. A mild coating feeling is left on the finish with a lingering, juicy bitterness.

This isn't a bad beer by any means, but it's overpowering in the carbonation department. A couple good swirls has forced it to calm down a bit & I'm liking it more. The taste is pretty quite good.

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Photo of joepais
3.6/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Kirkpjr for this brew.

I poured this brew into my glass an produced a two finger off white head on top of a hazy amber colored. I was surprised to find more hops coming from this nose than there IPA.
There was a nice bitter flavor followed up with some sweet malts. This to me would be more hop forward than most ESB I have drank. It had good carbonation and I enjoyed drinking it. The problem I have with this brew was it meddled for the style. I just don't think it that true to a ESB. I guess that's why I don't judge at the GABF.

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Photo of steve8robin
2.69/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Best by 10/31/10. 12oz bottle...

A: Deep, DEEP copper color almost like a medium colored iced tea. Small off white head that quickly fades to a tiny lace. Good.

S: I get bitter grassy hops upfront with some faint malt. Not much else going on here. Eh, nope

T: Taste is very watery earthy hop with a tinge of metallic flavor. It's mild dry hop. I know that sounds a little strange but it's as if you took a hoppy brew and added a ton of water. You can still taste both, but it just doesn't blend well and makes for a tame brew. Eh.

M: Very light bodied with a thin carbonation feel. Sheesh.

D: This one goes down good.

All in all, this is not a very good brew. It's a bitter, yet, it's not bitter. Kind of defeats the purpose of the style IMO. Don't worry about this one.

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Photo of Tilley4
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked a single of this one up at my local bottle shop and I'm having it tonight while watching Ice Road Truckers...

Pours a deep reddish golden... Head forms up pretty good as well... Nice!

Fairly pungent piney aromas coming off of this one... As it warms, the sweetness of the malts begins to take the lead and it ends up quite balanced...

Very nice blend of sweet fruity malts and piney hoppiness... Quite hoppy and delicious.... As this warms, the malts get sweeter and towards the end, this one gets a little tiresome... The hops seem to disappear from this one halfway through...

Overall, a nice little beer.. I could drink several of these and be ok..

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

Poured into a pint glass. Nice deep orange color with a good sized tan head. Good lacing left behind. Nice looking beer.

Aroma was first full of citrus and pine but these dissipated as it warmed. Also sweet caramel notes -- these god more potent as it warmed.

Taste was not as sweet as I expected from the aroma. Nice bitterness and and a more biscuity malt character with some sweetness.

Mouthfeel ws somewhat dry and easy to drink. This was a solid ESB.

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Photo of atsprings
3.55/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Flying Saucer served in a standard pint glass a crisp orange with a thin diminishing head. Aroma is subtle bitter hops in front of mild sweet malts. The taste is eathy hops just overpowering mild sweet caramel malts. The beer is light, crisp and refreshing. This is a decent ESB, but not one I would likely pick that often.

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