Sawtooth | Left Hand Brewing Company

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2,163 Ratings

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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,163 |  Reviews: 712
Photo of PhantomVodoo
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Off-white head sits atop this copper brew.
Aroma of caramel malt and a slight fruity hop character.

Taste shows a toasty caramel malt backbone with just a touch of roastiness. Solid balance from the fruity, slightly grassy hops.
Finishes fairly well.

Mouthfeel just a bit thin, but if this beer is only 4.5% ABV then it's good for this beer.
Easy-going and very drinkable, but I'd like to see the hop character step it up a notch.
Overall, a solid ESB. Nothing exciting, but no big negatives either.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.6/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Burnished honey suffused with juicy orange. The head is off-white, bordering on ecru, and displays very little persistence. Not much lace makes it to the glass. The aroma features sweetish pale malt and floral hops. This should be pretty good beer.

The flavor, although it doesn't quite match the nose, isn't too shabby. There's a solid malt backbone for the style and fruity-floral hops make up the lion's share of the flavor profile. Cascade is a guess, since grapefruity notes are evident. In the end, the hops aren't upfront enough and the body isn't quite substantial enough.

If Left Hand Brewing would beef up the flavor and the body they'd have a much better beer. It improves somewhat as it warms, but I can't pull the trigger on the next highest taste score. Cliff Notes review: Sawtooth Ale is a decent, drinkable ESB and is a definite improvement on this brewery's Milk Stout.

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Photo of nomad
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, there are some drastically differing experiences with this beer...

Pours out clear, colored a slightly burnt-orange shade. Most impressed by its soft, fluffy head that stuck around stolid. Glass after glass, its fair lacing leaves a wall of thick stain for inches down my glass. A very nice looking ESB.

Smell begins with a load of fruity esters but these dissipate quickly, and then settles into scents of lemon, biscuit, and a faint roast smell. A straightforward display of sturdy malt with small hoppy accents. Tastes of nice biscuit malt, full of roasted flavor yet light and drinkable, far from the pounding roasted flavors of a porter or stout. Hops are lightly lemony and herbal, quietly bittering the brew but more so patiently flavoring it. They tickled my tongue and throat with textured English bitters, aided by the strong carbonation which, despite being much for the style, isn't too harmful.

Just a touch too watery of a thin mouthfeel. Is it better in a bottle? In my experience, it doesn’t seem to sit well in kegs, yet it seems like others have problems with bottles. Who knows.... for me this beer is excessively drinkable, a great ESB I won’t forget. Cheers to a good session beer.

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Photo of chilidog
3.83/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Not even knowing this was an ESB, but I thought it would be a well hopped ale, I enjoyed this very drinkable ESB. It poured a nice clear amber with a soft white head that laced fair. The nose was caramel, dark fruit and citrus hop. The taste had a caramelized malt, biscuit bread flavor, with a fairly good dose of floral and citric hop. The mouth is left with a hoppy aftertaste while the drinkability is aided by the sweeter than expected malt flavor. A very drinkable busy ale. Thanks Celina wine staff for the recommend.

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Photo of GreenWBush
2.39/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

From a "American Craft Brews" sampler pack, 12 oz bottle.

Dark bronze with a head that froths, then completely fades. Lacing like a bald man's combover.

Nose: malty and yeasty. Sweet. No hops on the nose whatsoever. Eeek! A little bit of trailer-park beer smell on the nose.

The taste is a bit flat: roughly blended malts along with only the slightest tingle of hops. Slight hints of rotten fruit. Poorly carbonated.

This beer made me think of a beer donut, or a bowl of beer-flavored frosted flakes. The mouthfeel wasn't much better: if handed to me in a glass, I would have guessed it was a gone-bad Rogue Dead Guy.

One of the first beers in a long, long time that I couldn't even finish. I won't be trying this brewery again.

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Photo of ElGordo
3.38/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light amber out of the bottle with hardly any head or carbonation. Slightly sweet, slightly nutty nose. Hints of caramel, nuts, and pine on the palate, with a bit of astringency. Finishes smooth and sweet. Not a remarkable beer, but good enough for one without high expectations.

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Photo of merlin48
3.17/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle, "Bottled on 05 20 03" stamped on bottom right of label. Pours a clear copper amber, essentially no head, and minimal lacing. Not much of an aroma, maybe some candied caramel apple and piney hops. Mouthfeel feels a lot more carbonated than it looks. Taste is somewhat putrid. I'm beginning to think I got a skunky bottle that got lightstruck sitting on the shelf as a single. English ESBs are my favorite style but I can't even finish this glass. I'll give Sawtooth Ale another try somewhere down the line and see if this was just a bad bottle.

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Photo of RockyTopHeel
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasted 12/28 at The Minturn Country Club in a 22 oz bomber.

Poured a rich amber color with a thin white lacing. The first thing that really stood out to me in both the flavor and the aroma was the nice, round bitterness of the hops, along with some light fruity notes. This had a very nice bitterness with a nice, clean finish, and was surprisingly drinkable for a beer with this kind of hops profile. Not bad at all.

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Photo of Gasp100
3.82/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear copper appearance with a frothy white head. Strong fruit smell with malt sweetness and a bit of hops. The taste was light, clean and bitter, but some fruit was just taking over (in a good way) and I could not pick out what it was... I really, really liked it because it was definitely NOT syrupy or overbearing. It just kind of hung in the air. The mouthfeel was crisp but not as bitter and dry as most of the other ESB's I have been drinking. This was pretty drinkable and that fruit overtone did not get in the way. This may be worth a case sometime in the future.

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Photo of francisweizen
3.83/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a really nice English-style ESB. It pours our a nice light copper colour with a small off white head. Aromas are very hoppy, slightly malty, and quite balanced. The taste is very balanced as well with a nice hop bite on the finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and the drinkability is very good. A good session beer option

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Photo of RBorsato
4.54/5  rDev +22%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear golden-copper with a low beige head, good carbonation, and spotty lace. Nice aroma !! Malty with nice grassy hop aroma and a bit of fruitiness. Nice prominent grassy hop flavor and very well balanced. Light-medium (leans light) bodied with a good amount of bitterness in the finish.

Per L.H. website:
Malts: 2-Row, Crystal, Munich, Black Patent
Hops: Cascade, East Kent Goldings, Fuggles & Magnum
Original Gravity: 12 Plato ( 1.050 )
IBU's: 27

Gold - 1994 GABF (Traditional Bitter)

Bottled: 07/15/03 (Erickson)
Tasted: 11/11/03

Bottled: 10/21/03 (Zoe)
Tasted: 03/30/04 (lowered Mouthfeel from 4.5 to 4)

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Photo of Riggo
4.3/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The poor man's Sam Smith Pale Ale, in my book, this is a great, quaffable english-style ale. In the glass, an attractive copper color and a creamy beige head that falls to a thin collar, leaving good lacing. Smell of earthy, roasted malt, yeast and perhaps apples. Has a hint of that earthy, musty smell that I love in Sam Smith's Pale Ale, very english. Taste is fruity, earthy malt with just the right balance of hop clean-ness. Estery, fruity, buttery and toffeeish. Mouthfeel could be a tad fuller but the low carbonation is definitely appealing and, I think, in the tradition of good english session bitters. Drinkability is very high, especially for fans of english-style ale.

Bravo for Left Hand. This is an excellent mellow ale, perfect for everyday drinking, but still full of character and charm.

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Photo of inebrius
3.28/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I like the earthy, buttery English mix when in the right context. This is close. Nose of toffee dropped into a basket of flour and leaves then pulled out and left on the dashboard in August. Flavor runs malt heavy though the tinny hops keep it from tilting too far. Fluent through the pipes. Not bad, yet not really something I would keep on hand.

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Photo of hotstuff
3.21/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not one of my favorite beer styles.When poured, this beer had a small sized ivory head with fine sized bubbles that quickly dissipated.The body was clear with some carbonation observed and the hue was amber.The nose was definitely malty, malty and malty.The flavor was sweet tasting along with some hops.It had a smooth and tingly mouthfeel and this beer left a fair amount of lacing on the sides of my glass.

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Photo of beerguy101
3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Medium copper color. Large head. Aroma is malty. A medium bodied bitter. Malts are nutty and sweet. Hops are piney and they tend to linger a little and finish kind of sweet. A nice very drinkable beer. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is dry. Aftertaste is slightly sweet

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Photo of clvand0
3.43/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a dark amber color with an average head and little lacing on the glass. The aroma was hoppy and malty, but I couldn't find anything else. The flavor was dominated by the malts, but there were hints of caramel. Fairly smooth and enjoyable. I would have it again.

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

Lefthand Sawtooth Ale: from a bottle dated June 24, 2003. That is what I call a fresh bottle. Poured a deep amber, nicely colored and fairly clear. Nice dense head, dissipating down to nice coverage. The aroma was fairly hoppy, floral. As I had anticipated from the aroma, this brew was nicely hopped, but equally well balanced by the almost caramel malts. Nice lingering malty aftertaste. Very nice.

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Photo of bditty187
4.27/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear, tawny-auburn/copper in shade, smallish off-white head, quick to fade to a soapy residue. Minimal spotty lace. Still, it looks mighty nice in my glass. Wonderful English ESB nose: perfectly malty… biscuity, soft caramel, faint hoppy undercurrents. Inviting! Awesome palate, biscuit, crackers, caramel malt, slight nuttiness… crisp hoppiness melds the flavors together wonderfully. If the yeast qualities were a little more pronounced you’d swear it’s authentic. The finish is ideally hoppy with kisses of malt. Clean. Medium-full body, firm carbonation… pleasant mouthfeel. Dangerously easy to drink and damn enjoyable to quaff! Session brew. Yummy!

My left hand gives this one a thumbs-up! Recommended.

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Photo of Brent
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An ESB? Wow, I was way off. My single bottle did not give any indication of the style, and I was guessing a light Scottish Ale. Well, style aside, it was a nicely crafted beer. Nice, sweet malt backbone. As it warmed, the aroma was something of cotton candy. Brisk hopping with a finish that just faintly hinted of some fruit I could not quite identify. Quite clean at the end.

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Photo of John1985
3.64/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Deep amber color,slight and dissipating head. Aroma was malty and pleasantly hopped. Taste had a balanced malt hop flavor and finish faded rather quickly. Overall impression is that this is a solid sturdy pale ale but not exceptional. A good session beer and would go well with food.

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Photo of Tballz420
3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Its a nice copper color with a slight cream colored head. Smells like caramel, with a slight citrus odor as well. These are also present in the taste. Its not a bad beer at all, but not one of my favorites of this style. Something i would take if i was offered it, but not something i would seek out in the future.

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Photo of jaz
4.35/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice deep copper color. Very clear with a thick creamy head. Aroma was mild and malty, somewhat fruity and earthy. Taste was very pleasant. Initial taste was light sweetness with flavors of carmel and sweet malt, with a hint of roast. Fruit flavors developed in the middle, and finished with a nice floral bitterness. Could use a bit more bittering hops, but a very drinkable ESB.

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Photo of cretemixer
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Red amber in color with a thin fast fading head.
The aroma is malty and slightly earthy. It has a roasted caramel thing going on too.
The taste is very malt driven. Sweet and bready. It finishes with a mild hop bitterness to balance things out nicely.
An easy drinker. Lighter in body than I was expecting and appropriately carbonated. If my packy decides to carry this I will drink it again.

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Photo of AtLagerHeads
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A good looking ale of clear amber/copper that has a huge white head. The head lingers well and creates generous lacing. Nose of malt, bread, and grain. Sweet starting flavor from the malt with a bit of hops to add great balance. This is a nicely crafted ale that is just a bit light on body, but is very drinkable. Worth a pint or two.

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Photo of Gusler
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

As it slips from the bottle into my glass a glistening copper color, the head median in size, spumescent in texture and the color a winsome light tan. All malt is the nose, crisp, clean and fresh with the start somewhat sweet, the top light to medium in feel. Finish has specific acidic bite, the hops lenient in their spiciness, quite dry and a decent beer for the forth coming hot summer afternoons.

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Sawtooth from Left Hand Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.72 out of 5 with 2,163 ratings