Sawtooth Ale | Left Hand Brewing Company

2,141 Ratings
Sawtooth AleSawtooth Ale

Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-16-2001

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,141 |  Reviews: 701
Photo of e11iott
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Bottle was 12oz, a nice amber color, 2 finger head, very small amount of lacing.

S: Sweet Citrus smell, hint of nuts.

T: Great mix of hop and malt combination.

M: Overall very smooth, thought it would be thicker based on color. Carbonation was delayed.

D: Would go great with anything.

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Photo of airheadmtrcycle
2.97/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This was my first nitro beer, on-tap at the Taco Mac in Austell, Georgia.

The first thing I noticed was a creamy, smooth one finger head, unlike any beer head I've ever seen. It was truly beautiful, and left something more than lacing, almost a vanilla milkshake looking coating on the glass. The brew was an orange/copper color.

The smell was nearly nonexistent. Perhaps some hops. The taste was the same. It had no distinguishing character at all besides a slightly bitter finish. Trying to rate it for its type would mean comparing it to my standard for ESBs, Fuller's ESB, and there were no similarities I could find.

The mouth feel was thin or light with a tingling on my tongue. It's light enough you could drink a few of these easily. With the low ABV this is a session beer.

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Photo of GossageBrewery
3.22/5  rDev -13%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured this ESB Ale from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. It started off with about one finger width of white foamy head but head retention was poor. The ale has a slightly hazy amber color. The ale has a nice malty bite that you would come to expect from a ESB. The maltiness gives way to fruity notes of citrus, I can best describe as grapefruit. There is a hint of mild hops, but this balances very well with the malty flavor. Overall this ESB feels and tastes a lot better then it looks and smells. At the end of the day that is what should matter, so hats off to Left Hand Brewery for Sawtooth Ale. Prost!

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Photo of sixerofelixir
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Date stamped on label. Review from notes.

Pours a slightly hazy dark gold, small off-white head that dissipates quickly. Smell is malty, with a perfumy sweetness. First taste is a bit dry, on a butternut end. Kinda smooth, kinda toasty, like a white wine. Good. Possibly a bit flat as far as the finish goes. A litter bitter on the end, but drinks good. I want to re-try this one.

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Photo of TheKingofWichita
3.55/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep clear orange yellow color with a thick white head and tons of lacing. Smells of citrus, malts, and piney hops. Tastes of tons of hops, malts, and a little citrus background. Mouthfeel is medium and has a little carbonation. Drinkability is medium. Not a bad beer.

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Photo of hangh
3.92/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice orange color with minimal foam. Fairly clear, not too much lacing but it is very fine. Decent appearance I guess. Smell is a rich citrus coupled with some sweet malty smells. It has a very peculiar and nice smell. Taste begins with a short, bitter citrus that eases into a prolonged sweet malt taste. Aftertaste is pretty good and definitely adds to the drink. Full of taste and flavor, I'm really glad I picked it up. Medium carbonation but light bodied. Pretty easy to drink and full of life and flavor. It is well worth the purchase.

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Photo of hosehead83
4.07/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.
Amber/orange in color, with a rather short head of white foam.
Aroma-Faint citrussy hop note
Taste-Toasted malt, biscuit,nice finishing hop note, Nicely balanced and very easy to drink. Would make a fine session brew and/or a good craft "gateway" beer for a craft beer newbie.

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Photo of tmcelvain
4.06/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: reddish amber, very slight head.

S: I gave my lowest points here, smell is very light - nothing offensive, but it was noticeably the weakest part of this ale.

T: fairly sweet start with a taste of cherry and then a malty finish.

M: a little more carbonated than the average for this style, making it extra refreshing.

D: This is a good sessioner, a refreshing beer with lots of flavor and body to keep you interested.

This one is a staple in my office, since both the boss and I went to school in Boulder, and my boss just built an award-winning house in "Sawtooth Harbor" - this ale just fit right into our Friday close of business routine.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.45/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to THECPJ for this one!

A: Pours a clear/amber color with a half inch head that dissipates quickly to a little bit of foam on the top.

S: Very malty upfront on the nose, a nice caramel aroma. Also has an earthy sweetness from the hops, but they are subdued.

T: Tastes mostly of bready malt, very sweet, almost candy flavored sweet.

M/D: Medium bodied, carbonation seemed a bit lacking. Overall, pretty good, the low carbonation takes away a bit, but I like the sweetness.

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Photo of Suds
3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a clear copper color with a tall, fluffy, white head. It's aroma is essentially composed of caramel and pale malt scents. Some herbal hop components are also in the smell, but they take a backseat to the caramel scents. Nice. The taste is nicely balanced. Semi-dry, with a big malt flavor. Bittering kicks in during the mid-taste, but it's well placed. Short finish, but solid and malty. Medium body. It's a nice drinking beer, but not anything particularly special.

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Photo of sbw138
3.72/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Saw that Left Hand decided to redesign the label on this bottle, and I figured that this could be another one I could add to my growing bottle collection.

Pours a pretty nice copper amber color, that leaves some, but not much lacing.

Malt was the initial verdict of the nose, french toast. Cinnamon, brown sugar, caramel and even raisins made up the sweet and buttery backbone. Earthy hop flavors struggled to match.

There was much more balance in the flavor, as the sweet malt flavors met their match with floral and slightly citrusy hops. The tone took more of a bitter and spicy tone well into the finish that ended slightly sweet and buttery.

The body was medium and quite creamy, the carbonation was mild but kept the viscous body crisp. The finish was clean and just slightly dry, with a bit of stickiness. Sessionable for sure, especially for the malt lover. Complex and enjoyable.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a really nice copper color that is a bit bright. Really nice white head and quite a bit of lacing. The nose brings some light pine and earthy hops and also has a good dose of some caramel backing. The taste is focused more on some bready caramel with only faint hops in the background. Good feel that is a bit malty and slightly bitter. Good body, especially with the cask. Drinks quite well and goes down really smoothly.

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Photo of gskitt
4.02/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a shiny copper with a thin off-white head, lacing is evident.
S- fresh, citrusy, malty goodness. Something else too, cloves?
T- mellowed out hops is really balanced, bitter at first, but finishes a bit sweet. Really good.
M- Slick and clean.
D- the balanced malts and hops make this a very drinkable brew.

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Photo of BarleyThere
2/5  rDev -45.9%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Just beer.

This beer is good, let me say that first. Give me a plate of nachos or a bucket of hot wings and I could drink it straight through the night. That said, there is absolutely nothing salient about the brew.

Pours a light copper color, with light head retention.
Very mild smell of hops and some vague fruit characteristics.
Taste is almost like a brown ale, but without the caramel flavor or biscuit-y quality.

Tastes like beer, drinks like beer, great for packing 'em in. Not to be savored.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
3.66/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This bottle was filled on 9-17-10. Quite fresh.

A - Pours a deep copper hue and is capped with a respectable margin of white froth, depositing a thick lace high-water (beer) line.

S - Vaguely grassy hops and a sort of unsweet caramel nuance comprise the aroma. Not bad, but not impressive either.

T - The taste is more impressive than the smell, certainly. Which is not to say that the taste is tremendously impressive, more so 'above average'. Slightly buttery, mildly bitter, with herbal and grassy hops and rich but semi-dry malt. ESB is such a nice style, and this is a decent offering.

M - It is slightly less than medium-bodied, yet still seems very robust.

D - Drinkability is the hallmark of ESB, and this one is sure drinkable.

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.33/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Imbibed at Finnegan's in Plainfield, IL

Appearance -- Pours a ruddy amber, very bright, with a finger of creamy beige head.

Smell -- Bready and toasted malt, some pine resin hops.

Taste -- Biscuit dough, toasted malt, mild hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel -- Meidum-full in body with very mild carbonation.

Drinkability -- Aside from the nitro-tap mouthfeel, this beer wasn't very thrilling. Pretty ho-hum.

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Photo of cnally
3.3/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a goblet.

Pale red color in the body, crystal clear color and a quickly dissipating head.

Very mild aroma, lightly toasted grains, a little musty.

Flavor is, again, subdued, with a taste of caramel malt and heavily reliant on sweetness. A faint bitterness in the finish, but mostly the flavors are malty, with a little almond and vanilla.

Creamy mouthfeel. Good carbonation. Balanced.

A forgettable brew that does its best to be completely non-offensive.

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Photo of Lemke10
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought a single bottle of this from Woodman's in Menomonee Falls, WI for about $1.50 in early fall 2010.

This ale from Left Hand Brewery is a little darker and slightly more bitter than a standard ale. It pours a dark amber color, with a slight hint of wheat. It has a very smooth texture and luckily a full taste otherwise I would drink this beer much too fast. A good find and a must try for any ale lovers.

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Photo of aepb1
3.93/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Cloudy copper with a small white head

S- Malts and alcohol, not a whole lot else

T- A nutty malt, very rich and full. Not much like the nose

M- Light/medium bodied, the carbonation and hops make it finish dry

D- The nutty malts make this cool and interesting and easy to revisit

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Photo of dpnelson1978
3.52/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into glass pint.

$1.50 / ea.

A: Hazy copper body topped with one finger of creamy foam that quickly dissipates leaving moderate lacing and a thin bubbly cover.

S: A moderate bready malt aroma dominates the nose. Very light spicy hop character. Clean overall impression.

T: Bready malt once again takes center stage with hints of alcohol, and a touch of caramel sweetness. Hops are subdued but offer up some spicy character. Very little aftertaste.

M: Medium body with moderate to high carbonation.

D: Very sessionable beer that will have a wide audience. Goes down smooth with a pleasant flavor, and little aftertaste. Versatile.

O: Simple yet solid beer that I wouldn't mind having around the house on a regular basis.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.35/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One sporting the snazzy new labels that Left Hand has recently unveiled. I really like them a lot. If ever there was label art, this is it.

12oz. bottle stamped 08/26/10 (bottled on).

Served cool into a snifter, Sawtooth is a perfect red amber color with great clarity. The head is short-lived but leaves a little bit of spotty lace.

Aroma is classic ESB - mostly malty and a little earthy. The hops are there but they are definately of the British variety.

Flavor is rich, malty, and smooth with caramel, lighty toasty malt, and woodsy peat.

Mouthfeel is medium-light in body and low in carbonation. This would be awesome on cask!

Overall a very solid beer and one that deserves a second try if you weren't impressed the first time. Have one fresh and enjoy the new look!

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Photo of lovetranquillity
4.06/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear amber color with a small white head

Slight citric smell and malt but not really getting much of a smell.

Taste of hops, bread, malty sweetness, fruitiness.

Firm mouth feel, medium body.

Highly drinkable, goes down easy as sparkling water, not that it tastes watery.

This is a great esb and I will buy this again. A great beer to share with friends who do not like very bitter beers.

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Photo of claspada
2.5/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Aroma is mainly centered around the greenery on this one. Nice earthy, herbal, and mildly citrus nose with warming caramel malts, basically liquid bread.

Taste is kinda a letdown after the nose. Kinda watery to be honest. Not a great hop presence or malt backbone. Small amounts of earthy/herbal bitterness with semi-sweet caramel and biscuit malts but not enough of any to be honest.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied easy going natural carbonation not a cloying aspect to be had finishes a bit dry with some earthy hop bitterness.

I appreciate what they were trying to do here (make an American ESB) but this falls kinds short in my opinion. Drinkability is very high because of how light and watery this brew is in my opinion. This is a beer that you could be a 6 pack deep and not realize it, a good and a bad thing, but not a good thing in my opinion for and ESB.

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Photo of StaveHooks
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a burnt orange. 2 finger head. Descent retention. Slight lacing

S - Clean citrus. Sharp caramel malt. Butterscotch.

T - Citrus hops blend into a toasted caramel/toffee malt. Hints of amaretto, pecan, tea, and spicy floral hops. The finish is bitter and slightly spicy.

M - Medium. Almost has a creaminess to it.

This is a fantastic beer. It has great balance with a great malt profile. The hops compliment the beer very well.
Highly recommended.

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Photo of July2Nov
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured a nice copper amber color with a frothy 1/2 inch of head.

Smell: nice warm, strong hues of caramel and roasted nuts.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Deep malts hit you first. Has a slight metallic flavor with a chalky roasted nut flavor. Also a sweet buttery/caramel flavor perks up too. Light body. Very tasty.

Drinkability: Very easy to drink. Not too rich....perfect for a hot day. First taste from Left Hand Brewing Co....good thing i bought the variety pack!

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Sawtooth Ale from Left Hand Brewing Company
3.7 out of 5 based on 2,141 ratings.
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