Chainsaw Ale | Left Hand Brewing Company

very good
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Chainsaw AleChainsaw Ale

Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.40%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by RoBotGod on 03-06-2006

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Reviews: 175 | Ratings: 343
Photo of WrathsU
4.24/5  rDev +11%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Murky brown. 2 fingered white head with good retention.

S - Caramel, toffee, sweet treats here.

T - Sweet up front, with tastes of toffee. Balanced by a medium bodied bitterness and finally a complex roastiness towards the end. Really well done.

M - Medium bodied, low alcohol burn, especially considering the 9%abv.

D - Really a great beer, could drink this all night.

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Photo of JayS2629
3.92/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It pours a soft, cloudy brown with a creamy tan head, great retention, and creamy lacing.

The smell is of caramel, toffee and a touch of cocoa, mixed with floral, earthy hops and a touch of grapefruit.

The taste follows the smell with simplicity and great balance between the sweet malty front and a light bitter finish of floral and grapefruit. Nutty notes throughout a caramel and toffee backbone. Great balance.

Thick, creamy and chewy. Some floating chunks here and there.

Overall, a nicely balanced and slightly warming, soft creamy sipper. Very well done.

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Photo of rawfish
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours from the bomber a dark rusty amber with a good deal of haze, excellent color. Forms a nice 3 inch cap of head, off white with decent retention and a generous amount of spotty lacing.

Nose is pretty great, golden raisins with a caramel backing and piney hops coupled with some dark citrus and pineapple. A bit strong with the alcohol even as this bottle has been left to sit for a while.

Brown sugar and toffee maltiness with a slight toasted feel that gives it a touch of nuttiness. Transitions from dark fruit notes into a citrus and pine hop backing. Hops provide a pleasant bitterness that tones down some of the syrupy sweetness in the malts. Finishes bitter with a lingering hint of grapefruit rind.

Full bodied and adequately carbonated. While finishing dry it's very boozy and syrupy at the same time, the flavors complement this effect well but it still doesn't sit right, alcohol should be able to be hidden better as there's more than enough malt to do this.

A slow sipper with lots of complex character that runs deep. Sawtooth is a light ESB so I really was expecting something similar, Chainsaw is more of a hybrid between a Belgian Dark and an ESB with extra alcohol kicked in. If there was oak and vanilla in this it would be a clone of Odell's Woodcut No. 3 and I mean that in the nicest way.

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Photo of jzeilinger
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a deep amber butterscotch color with a huge three fingered, cream colored, fluffy, billowing head with gentle carbonation. Since I'm traveling, I had to settle for an oversized red wine glass that actually works quite well.

S - Citrus, lemon, and roasted caramel dominate the nose along with some figs and other dark fruit.

T - Initially, the tongue is hit with sweet roasted caramel malt and dark fruit in a nice sweet initial wave before a gentle dose of citrus and mild pine hopping emerges to pull some of the sweetness back. The aftertaste is a little tart with dark fruit and citrus and when it slides down the throat, there's a slight alcohol warming, not much, but slightly and for a 9% beer, it's pretty well hidden.

M - Thick, heavy body, smooth and velvet-like feeling as it glides over the tongue.

O - I like it but not sure if I'd make another special trip for a bottle. I sit here and wonder if heat may have played a small role in the overall quality of this bottle, the place I bought it from was running no AC on a 90 degree day, and it's been hot all week.

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Photo of FanofHefe
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle, no dating present that I can find, poured into a Duvel tulip. Huge, frothy tan head, 4-fingers tall. It dissipates into a creamy volcano shaped heap in the middle of the glass and leaves plenty of lacing. The first pour is a clear dark amber color with red highlights. Looks good. And the new artwork on the label is very cool.

The aroma is a pleasant mix of caramel malts and earthy, floral hops. I get just a little dark fruit and a touch of toffee as well.

Solid flavor mix following the aroma. The caramel malt and toffee notes blend smoothly and sweetly. The floral hop notes blend and give an ever so slight bitterness in the finish. Very similar overall to a barleywine.

Medium to thick in the mouthfeel but still smooth. Nearly no notice of the alcohol. Very well done.,

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a bright slightly hazy copper-orange color with a finer of frothy off-white head. The head fades down to a thick ring around the glass lacing nicely in the process.

S - Aroma is a mix of some grassy hops and some dark fruits. Some background sweet malts are mixed in as well.

T - Starts off with some sweet dark fruit flavor and some grassy hops. There is some caramel malts and a touch of sourness in the background. Through the middle, some stronger malt and fruit flavors come through. The finish is a mix of caramel malts and bitterness with some fruit flavor and a touch of booze that lingers.

M - Medium to medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels very smooth and crisp. The booze flavor has a touch of warming at the finish alongside some bitterness.

D - Very drinkable. Well balanced and complex flavors and fairly strong. Very smooth for a relatively high abv (9%). The fruity flavors really blend nicely with the rest of the beer.

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Photo of SuperSpy
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A nutty brown color with a tan, pillowy head. Very cloudy. Looks tasty.

Quite the hoppy aroma. Lots of American hop aromas. Floral and earthy with a bit of medium roast malt.

A heavy body. Smooth and thick. A good mix of dark fruit flavors from the malt and earthy, herbal hops. The hops definitely dominate but this big beer still has plenty of malty flavors. The finish is a little sweet and

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Photo of beerdown77
4.45/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This pours murky brown and has nice fluffy off-white head. The smell is malty and sweet with some citrus. The flavor has a unique dark raison flavor, but unlike other beers similar to this one, it isn't dominated by an overly sweet, syrupy aftertaste. There is a nice bitter balance that keeps you coming back for another drink. I will say this is one of the more complex and mysterious tasting beers that I have had, there is a spicy brown sugar taste that is interesting. I cannot get over the drinkability. I really thought that this 9% ABV would overtake this beer. Instead, it is a well balanced bitter beer that is a welcome change from the usual overly hoppy and sweet beers that I tend to choose.

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Photo of MoustacheHero
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A double sawtooth from Left Hand Brewery. Quite the take on an ESB! Slightly rare and bottle conditioned.

a: A beautiful amber with orange glow. Pours with a medium, burnished head.

s: A sour and bitter nose with hints of dried fruit.

t: A great, complex taste with bitter and sour notes through out, finishing with fruity notes.

m: A medium mouth feel that is super smooth.

d: Surprisingly drinkable for being big and complex.

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Photo of Urbancaver
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

07 vintage provided by Mike. Thanks man for a great taste!

Pours a murky orange. Lots of head off the pour. Pretty despite the murkiness. Malt on the nose. Nothing else really. HUGE malt profile. Lots and lots of malt on the tongue. Toasts in the background. Tons of caramel and very sweet. Hardly and ESB (which apparently its a double ESB). Thick and almost creamy on the tongue. Very drinkable. Clearly a tribute to cellaring

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Photo of orlandomag
4.37/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours very amber with hints of golden. somewhere in the 10 range on the SRM scale. little to no head, although creamy around the edge of my snifter. laces well.

the aroma is very fruity, with notes of apple, pear, and some strawberry prominent up front.

very silky on the tongue. mouth fills with dark fruit, a good balance with the bitterness of the hops and the apricot notes.

slight bv heat on the finish. dry, but not overly so.

very nice when it mellows out.

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Photo of theboozecruise
3.61/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber into a Chimay goblet. It's a reddish copper color with almost no head. Very bubbly though so it must not be flat.

The smell is strong with booze. There are hints of caramel and dark fruit in there as well. Smells a little like brandy.

Man, there are a LOT of hops on the tongue that didn't come through on the aroma. Strong bitterness throughout the sip. I'm going to let it warm some and see what happens but right now this too harsh for me. Brutally bitter.

It's definitely better warmer and more mellowed. The hops aren't unbearable and the flavors from the nose come through.

Not a bad beer this way, but let this one get close to room temps and sip it more like a brandy!

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.66/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A gorgeous beer, this pours out a fiery red/orange color, lots of bubbles racing north to feed a two-finger head of creamtastic proportions. Thick and firm as Styrofoam, just about...beautiful.

The aroma, however, isn't quite as impressive. It seems to have everything a beer of this style should have, yet it's all compressed and muted. Pine-laden hops, juicy fruits, fruit-flavored pancake syrup, and alcohol-spiked caramel are here, but they do not abound as I wish they would.

I've never had Sawtooth, which Chainsaw is basically the doubled/imperialized version of...but I noticed that Sawtooth is classified as an ESB on this site, and whether that's true or not, this indeed drinks like such a creature as an Imperial ESB might. It's got musty malts that remind of toffee and treacle, the mellowness of overripe dark fruits and berries, the bitter bite of green apple-y and pine-ish hops. But it's not a flavor of remarkable depth or anything, and nothing here really WOWs as I want a beer like this to. There's a nice green bitterness hanging on the tongue in the finish, reminding you that the hops want to hang around and play.

Texturally it's fine, just as big, bold, sticky and creamy as the best in its class. (Looking at you, Double Bastard.) Smooth enough, silky enough, round enough...just, like the aroma, a little bit timid somehow.

Despite some (mild) gripes, this is pretty drinkable for a nine-percenter. There are enough flavors to take hold of, and that long bitter finish is good. I guess it's another good-but-not-great Left Hand beer for me...

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.36/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance - pours a coppery orange with plenty of fluffed yellowish-tan foam. Holds well at a thin cover and laces well.

Aroma - lighter levels on the nose. Some raisiny grain, a whiff of citrusy hops that do make a little more of a statement with a little setup time.

Taste - caramelly grain, pithy hops with a grapefruit rind flavor. Gets pretty dry and bitter on the swallow. Some mild bv heat, complements the flavors well.

Mouthfeel - fluffy with all the carbonation, very mouth-filling. Good weight to it, some hoppy slickness as well.

Drinkability - I liked it so much on tap at the Catskellar (thanks Adam!) that I had to grab a bomber. It's better on cask, more flavor development and softer hop profile, but this one's decent as well.

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Photo of yemenmocha
3.78/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber withs light brownish hue, a bit cloudy, and tightly bubbled white head that dissipates to a thin rim layer. Nose is lighter than I anticipated, with some toffee standing out. On the palate that toffee is there again, overall rather sweet, with some overripe fruit on the hoppy side to round it out somewhat. A bit of alcohol warmth on the finish and back of the palate. The sweetness helps to make it more drinkable while cold, but as it warms it becomes more of a sipper.

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Photo of mikeysab
4.9/5  rDev +28.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Drinking this from a 64 oz growler from a local distributor. Been watching it on the tap list, and finally gave it a go.

Appearance: looks great in the glass. Clear amber color with a head that looks like an off white wool winter hat. Thick lacing that stays when revisiting the glass.

Smell: sweet, fruity, golden raisiny,light brown sugary, slight pine and slight alcohol.

Taste: first impression is HOPS. But letting it sit on the mouth brings the raisins, fruity sugars, citrusy hops, and malty toffee, slightly burnt sugary flavors. Alcohol is there but not overwhelming, for the ABV. Very appealing, very satisfying, well balanced, definite feel of drunkenness coming.

Mouthfeel: a little syrupy, but expected. Upon swallowing, the hops kinda make you wanna stop, but the flavors to follow make you want to drink more and more.

Drinkability: probably the scariest part of this beer is how drinkable it is. The alcohol burn is not enough to stop you from drinking it. The flavor and overall experience makes this beer an all night affair. I'm almost done with 64 oz growler and wish I had another. I could see this as a house beer, but luckily have some common sense. Definitely an occasional treat. Wish I could brew this

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Photo of jsanford
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes taken on 6/21/10

A - Pours a slightly hazy reddish-amber with a foamy white head.

S - Lotsa pineapple and caramel. Smells like a canned fruit cocktail, all tropical fruits and sweet syrup.

T - More sweetness. Caramel malt and pineapple dominate with a bit of pine resin and alcohol.

M - Very juicy with a medium body and medium-low carbonation.

D - Pretty easy to drink, despite a bit of alcohol burn. Definitely got easier to drink as it warmed up. I didn't know what to expect from this one but I was pleasantly surprised by how different it tasted. I'll have this again.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a hazy brownish-amber color with a white head. The aroma is alcohol, candi-sugar and brown sugar. The beer smells fairly boozy. The flavor is brown sugar, caramel and toffee. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of wesbrownyeah
4.02/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chainsaw Ale by Left Hand Brewing Comany 9.0% alcohol content. Had a few of the LHBC beers and I was never let down.

A- Pours a hazed amber color fluid with a light and frothy head that leaves excellent lacing on the the pint glass.

S- Sharp alcohol and citrus hops bite the nose on the upfront.

T-M- The flavor of this beer is alcoholic with tingling esters and fresh cut grass dominating the tongue. Sweet malts are present but not top shelf on the flavor. Mouthfeel is creamy and watery on the finish. For 9% alcohol it is quite smoomth.

D- Drinkable as hell for the content of alcohol and a excellent beer for a strong ale.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.66/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: A dark cadmium-orange coloring reveals a strong effervesce within on the first pour. The second pour produces a dark, murky offering of burnt rustic-oxide and macro particles that inhibit most lighting. A rich amount of bran colored yeast sits and covers the bottom of the glass compliments of the bottle conditioning. The capping is rigid and frothy, parchment paper in color while shellacking the glass walls with generous amounts of lacing.

S: On the open a good deal of piney hops exist, but only for a brief time. The nose fails to hold fading to a wimper of lightly toasted malts with some lemon straw hops and herbal dill notes. Anything labeled as a double better be prepared to bring it in all departments, not just alcohol.

T: Toasted dry grains come off strong and bold on the opening act highlighted by some dried citrus grind and strong notes of lemon pulp. Toasty and dry the malting plays a good role of support here, while the hops have enough juice to equally share the limelight with. Wet and hoppy with some lemon-pine hopping comes through in the middle of the palate before a finish that was drying and consisted of woodsy spicy notes.

M: Dry malty mouthful, decently thick and luscious feel. Carbonation is perhaps a bit diminished by now. Spicy dry citrus peel coats the tongue and leaves some bittering reminders behind.

D: A pretty big drink with big intentions. A bomber should sit well here.

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Photo of CampusCrew
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: amber-hued body with a thinnish, near white head. decent lacing.

Smell: toasty amber malts, sublte citrus fruit, herbaceous hop notes.

Taste: sweetish flavor of amber malts, very balanced as a esb should be. Earthy and light hop character but with only a subdued bitterness. finshes pretty dry..

Mouthfeel: Medium body.

Drinkability: solid big esb, nice and hoppy. Not typical of the brewery.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

10 ounce goblet - $5.00 at Taco Mac in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Graciously served up a clear, dark mahogany-hued body under a half-inch ceiling of off-white foam.

Smell: A bold nose, with sweet-scented, melty caramel cubes atop a layer of toast and fruit pie filling. What isn't particular bold is the hops, with only muffled notes of herbs, spice, and some timorous floral hints. Perhaps they're in reserve for the taste. Also present and inescapable are some cutting alcoholic wafts.

Taste: Initially sweet, upfront maltiness tasting of toasted bread, toasted biscuits, and dark caramel candy. Within are some berry accents, bordering on a cherry-like fruitiness. Incredibly small pinch of cocoa powder. Citric, spicy, herbaceous hops moderate level of bitterness. Vague woodiness on the drying, bitter back half. Final perks of fruit and toast on the amply heated finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Sadly, the stinging bitterness and the hot, glaring alcohol, even in a seemingly sensible ten ounce size, was a bit much for me. Anybody want to split this with me? Having said that, it's still decent albeit coarse.

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Photo of david18
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I had a twelve ounce pour of this at the Amsterdam Ale House on Manhattan's upper west side. I've had it before in a bottle but i think I enjoyed the draft version better.

For the abv it's very drinkable. It has a dark brown color with a very dark head. Flavor is malty with a good amount of hops. Very easy to drink and I look forward to my next one.

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Photo of andrewm190
4.06/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The bottle art isn't all that appealing, but that isn't what we buy the beer for, I suppose. The brew itself pours a beautiful copper color, with a strong head that lasts a good while without clinging to the glass. The smell is quite loud, the kind that leaves you wondering what lies beneath the bubbles. Sure enough, it is a very tasty beer; a strong entry from Left Hand. There is a nice, lingering hops. The beer is quite heavy, and that would be the main knock; certainly, however, a good choice overall.

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Photo of Haybeerman
3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep, clear coppercolor. Poured a 3 finger light tan head with excellent retention to a 1 finger rocky cap. Lots of sticky lace.

S: Citrus, grapefruit and pine. Caramel and wet grains.

T: Slightly sweet malt gives way quickly to a number of resiny hop flavors; grapefruit, citrus rind, orange peel and pine. Sharp bitter in the balance to finish. Resiny hops lingers in the finish.

M: Medium body. Moderate carbonation. Resiny.

D: Good hop character. A bit resiny in the mouth and on the tongue. Disguides the abv very well.

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Chainsaw Ale from Left Hand Brewing Company
3.82 out of 5 based on 343 ratings.
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