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Sawtooth Ale | Left Hand Brewing Company

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691 Reviews
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 691 | Ratings: 2,110
Photo of sabrills70
3.49/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy brown/amber color with a 1 finger head and good lace. Smells of a nicely roasted malt with caramel, nut and some coffee smells. Good taste of a roasted malt with some hop bitterness but not as much as I expect in an ESB. Caramel, nuts and minor coffee roasted flavors as well. Not a lot of hop flavor but the cause could be that this particular bottle was bottled on 1/5/05 and today is 10/17/05. Medium carbonation and good drinkability. Not a great ESB but a fine beer none the less

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Photo of sevineyes
3.31/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from brown bottle with Niwot (left hand) icons in sign language on a vaguely Navajo-like label with a saw at the bottom.

A: Clear with lace. Amber colored, but quickly dissipating head.

S: Green grassy-hoppy smell.

T: Between the carbonation front taste and quick finish, the actual malt profile is weak - or hop character for that matter. The taste that is there just seems to start too late and finish too quick.

M: Coats the tongue and sides of the mouth nicely.

D: Really drinkable even though I wish it were more complex overall.

Overall: Another nice, but not complex beer from this brewery. If the taste rose to the level of some of the other characteristics this could be an exemplary beer. Worth picking up a six pack for sure.

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Photo of russpowell
4.65/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Beautiful copper coloring with a foamy head that holds up fairly well. Residual lace follows down the class

Smell: Citrus-like hop aroma with some faint bready malt smells

Taste is very well balanced, nice sweet maltiness gives way to hoppy, some what resiny bitter tastes on the tounge & throat.

Mouth feel is perfect, chewy maltiness & just right amount of carbination

ESBs are amognst my favorite styles and this is in my personnal upper tier, yum, great finish...

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Photo of Gagnonsux
4.12/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The color is a lightly hazy caramel-tinted copper with plenty of carbonation. Head is creamy, off-white, and small. The aroma initially hits with a burst of moderately citrissy hops, but soon gives way to a pleasent caramel malt aroma. The taste is of caramel and bisquity malts with dashes of fruity flavors. Citrissy hops come into play towards the finish and add an assertive bitterness. Hop flavor seems to play a bigger role in this beer than the few English ESBs I've sampled. I'm not complaining though, this has a nice complexity that is enhanced by an ease of drinkability. I could see this being a regular in my fridge rotation.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.73/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I'm more impressed with this beer than I thought I'd be. This is one of those styles that American Micros usually butcher. Pours a nice light copper to straw color. Higher carbonated that expected. Decent head retention. Smells malty, caramelly and nutty. Light hop detection. Tastes are similar to aromas throw in more breadyness, yeastyness, earthyness. Nuttiness reminds me of pecans, nice on top of caramel and toffee flavors. No flavor is dominating. The beer is smooth in its flavors, the carbonation may be a distraction. Mouthfeel is round and just shy of medium. Finishes fairly airy and crisp. Nice subtle hop bittering; not too sweet. A very easily drinkable beer.

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

This one poured a darkish amber with a nice frothy foamy head. It smelled great it had hints of toffee or carmel, fruits, cirtusy hops and malt. A very nice tasting beer with some nice bitterness to it and some sweet caramel malts and hints of biscuit character, dark chocolate. This was definatly a try.

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Photo of battlekow
3.61/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, dark amber, with scant head and little lacing. Mostly lacks a discernible smell, but does possess a modicum of both maltiness and hoppiness. Tastes surprisingly good, malty upfront with a nice dry bitterness following. Well-balanced. Appropriate mouthfeel. A modest, easily enjoyable ESB.

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Photo of Chadbrew
3.2/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - Nice reddish caramel colored ale with a light head, medium carbonation and average lacing.
Aroma - There is much malt sweetness in the nose, there is also a decent hop presence.
Taste - Definitely some sweetness but fairly smooth with a nice balance but there does seem to be some astringency in the finish. Some cloying sweetness.
Mouthfeel - It has good body without doubt, I think from crystal, adding to the overall sweetness.
Drinkability - Not a bad drinking beer, but not a great one either.

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Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.15/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very decent ESB which is very much worth your time.

Decent head and very good lacing throughout. Nice amber color, but not quite coppery enough for my tastes.

Hops on the nose at first.

Taste is actually better when first poured at lowered temps. Actually, the taste is good and an enigma. Nice hops-biscuit notes balance. As it warms, buttery tastes come out and those tastes fade. If you could get them all their at the same time it would be wonderful.

Mouthfeel is quite excellent at first, but declines after that. Still good, just not as good.

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Photo of Zorro
3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber colored ale with a white head, spot on for the style.

Smell is a bit of sweetness, malt and biscuits and cookie dough scent. Nice herbal and citrus hop scent.

Taste is very dry with the flavor of salt and oak at the start. Fairly bitter aftertaste with a very herbal hop flavor. Slightly grassy and astringent.

Mouthfeel is good.

Drinkability is good. This is a mild ale with no flavor that abuses your taste buds. Good tongue cleaning qualities make this a great choice for foods where you want the beer to play a role.

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Photo of benmiliron
3.03/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Paid $1.59 for a 12 oz. single. Looks nice, transparent brown/tan color with little red. Heavy head with lace. Taste is heavy English malts dominating with light bitter hops in the background, again English-like. Aftertaste is all hops and alcohol. Odd for the low ABV. There is also a chemical taste present that I don't care for much at all. Phenol? Kind of mediciney.

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Photo of gbontrag
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice fruity ale aroma lingers with a sprig of crushed, citrusy thyme. Fluffy white froth sits on a pleasant brew the color of my well-used, oiled, 30 year old maple wood bowl. The froth stays like a raft built of tiny bubble wrap; lace gilds the glass.

Great biscuit chewiness is nudged aside slowly be a twisted stick of dried herbs (oregano, catnip, epazote). A little peach juice floats by leaving the tongue coated with peach fuzz. Very nice bitter.

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Photo of palliko
4.12/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Copper brown and clear in color. The cream colored foam disappeared within a minute, leaving a little lacing. Malt present in the aroma, and few hops. Doughy, initial taste with nutty caramel, mild carbonation and some resin in the finish. A great session beer that goes well with food.

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Photo of ybnorml
3.8/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A clean cooper/amber colored beer. Has a big creamy dark beige head and a nice bit of lace. The aroma is a sweet malt with a hint of caramel. There is also a light floral hop note in the background. The flavor starts with a light sweet malt character which dominates the taste until the finish. In which a smooth hop bitterness sits gentley on the back of your tongue.

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Photo of allengarvin
3.36/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a deep copper-amber color with a frothy white head. Aroma is faintly malty, but very light. Flavor likewise is malty, slightly sweet, with enough bitterness to keep it reasonably balanced. Finishes nutty. Body is light, even a tad watery.

Fairly average amber ale.

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Photo of sonofdon
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Orderd this on the recomendation of the server @ Boundry resturant in Nashville.

Nice head with about 2 fingers of foam. Some lacing.

It smells of sweet malt with a hint of bread. The first drink was very rewarding. Smooth, almost creamy taste. Not very bitter, but there is a hint of hops. Very faint. I know this is an ESB, but it's the least hoppiest one I've had. Good mouth feel

This is a very easy drinking beer. The sawtooth went very well with my Mahi Mahi. This would be a great everyday beer.

I'm going to pick up a six as soon as I can.


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Photo of LarryV
3.14/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Smell is very weak, almost nonexistent, but slightly floral. Poured with a thin head that was gone in what seemed an instant. It pours a very appealing reddish copper color. Carbonation is thin which probably adds to the creamy mouthfeel. The problem is, it's somewhat lacking in flavor, or more exactly, seriously lacking in flavor. Hops are there but barely discernible, and the maltiness is suppressed as well. Somewhat sweet and watered down, the flavor doesn't linger on the palate at all. I can't really pick out a flavor profile to describe it. Bland and unexciting pretty much sum up my feelings about this brew. YMMV.

PS: It's really hard getting through a six pack of this beer, it's just so bland. Almost like drinking apple cider. I've got two bottles left that are going to be used for cooking.

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Photo of twelvsies
3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Never really heard anything about this brewery before, and I know that it's bad to "judge a book by its cover" but I always see this in the stores and think it looks good, so I finally picked up a sixer tonight. Appears a reddish amber color with a pretty decent head, decent retention. Smell is lighty malty and a bit buttery with some nice spicy hops to back it up. Taste isn't bad, isn't excellent. A decent pale malty palate, and more buttery creamy notes, leads to a decent bitter bite at the end, nice and dry, which is pretty good actually. Just not a ton of flavor up front. Bitterness is good though. This beer does have a very redeemingly smooth mouthfeel, light and airy, leading to a high drinkabilty score. It would probably make a great session beer, if it could keep your interest a little more.

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Photo of rousee
2.79/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

An ESB ? It doesn't strike me as one. More like a cherry amber pouring american red pale ale. It does have a slight flatness like a good british beer will but sometimes this aids the smoothness factor. Overall, this is kind of disappointing. The other Left Hand I had was better and I am left handed.

Taste notes:cedar and woody nose, spicy and cidery -all elements are present palate-wise too and there is a peppery finish.

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Photo of LPorter33
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased single bottle from Liquor World in Porter Sq.

Appearance = Great looking semi-transparent deep amber, tiny lacing but lots of carbonation on the inside

Smell = mmm...lots of flavor here. A definite fruit smell comes through reminiscent of pears and grapes.

Taste = Fine tasting beer. More bitter than the smell would indicate but some of the fruit sweetness is there. Decent hop kick in which is balanced quit nicely.

Overall = I definitely recommend this beer. I could drink several in one sitting. Another fine crafted brew from Left Hand.

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Photo of EPseja
3.45/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Deep bright copper color with 1/2" head - bubbles on top like a pancake cooking in the griddle - steady throughout.

S - Medium bodied hops, toasted caramel malts. Slight bready yeasty notes.

T - Malty sweet to start, cleanly hoppy in the end. Decent, but a metallic aftertaste in the end keeps it from being any better than average.

M - Active mouthfeel, crisp on the tongue, decent amount of carbonation. Probably would have been better with less bubbles.

D - Once you get going on this (and the metallic taste subsides) it's a fairly easy drinker.

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

Appearance: Lighter amber, nothing out of the ordinary. Head is minimal and very white. Appropriately, lacing isn't very substantive and is spotty at best.

Smell: Crisp and dry, with fruity notes and, if you look reaaally hard, a little bit of hop bitterness. ESB what? So far I'm unimpressed.

Taste: Malt is first for a split second before milder hops and carbonation take over. Hops mellow as the carbonation fades, leaving bitterness on the tongue, though not a particularly unpleasant one. Aftertaste hearkens back to the malt a tad.

Mouthfeel: Inoffensive but not particularly interesting.

Drinkability: Plenty drinkable, but would you want to drink it all? I wouldn't.

Overall: eh. Plenty better ESB's out there.

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Photo of tavernjef
3.21/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear, light copper toned body, super-mega slow carbonation bubbles rise every now and then. Capping it is a small compact fluff of white sand and the lacing coats in oily, spotty sheeting.

Aroma is quite empty but clean with a very subdued toasted malt and nuttyness with faint cardboard notes.

Flavors are nearly as empty, plain tasting dryish sweet malt with a light dusty cardboard-like hopping. Somewhat creamy though and fairly smooth across the palate; very barely toasty in some areas.

Feel is creamy and smooth with a lesser medium body with some drying light grainyness and cardboard flakeyness.

Fairly boring but drinkable enough due to its creamy smoothness and slippery soft carbonation. Passable in most regards though; this ESB just doesn't have anything special about it.

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Photo of RoBotGod
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

When I saw the name sawtooth I was expecting some king of pine sappy beer. Instead I got a great ale. I feel this beer is way under rated and have turned it on to many of my friends. The pour is amber but tastes much darker. The head was thick and the lace was impressive leaving quite a line. As a whole the beer had a pine nut taste like an IPA but the well cooked backwash of great pale ale. When I recommend this overlooked beer to fat tire drinkers, they switch over right away. I’m not a huge fan of all of the left hand six packs but this one tops them all. It tasted as if you biting in to a freshly cut forest tree. If you are in town and have to drink one for the left hand company, this is it.

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Photo of mschofield
2.35/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a dark golden amber, topped with a two finger fluffy light tan head, leaves webs of lacing.
Interesting aroma, herbs, kind of floral, bread and cinammon.
Not a very pleasant taste, it's harsh and seems off, fruit, tree bark and grain husk.
Medium bodied.

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Sawtooth Ale from Left Hand Brewing Company
3.7 out of 5 based on 2,110 ratings.
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