Full Sail Switchback Ale | Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub

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Very Good
23 Ratings

Brewed by:
Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
Oregon, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Jason on 03-14-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 23 |  Reviews: 21
Reviews by HiroProtagonist:
Photo of HiroProtagonist
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Full Sail Switchback Ale was served from a 12 oz. bottle. In a pint glass, the beer was a nice reddish-amber color, and was topped by a thin off-white head that left decent strands of lacing. The nose was full of juicy herbal resiny hoppiness and warm orange maltiness. The taste was full and tasty as well, consisting of crisp orange-tinged malts with grassy/herbal citric hop accents. The beer finished with just the right level of citric hoppy-bitterness. The flavors and aromas of this beer were superbly melded and fine-tuned...a finely crafted product. The body was rich, smooth, and full. Switchback is a well-done and very satisfying beer from the banks of the Columbia River.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Jason
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. brown long neck bottle with no freshness date.

Appearance: Dull garnet hue with a glowing clarity and a peaking off white head that leaves traces of lace.

Smell: Soft bready malt with a caramel tone in the back, light citric and almost woody hop nose.

Taste & Mouthfeel: So smooth and creamy from a medium bodied brew, the carbonation lays at a moderate level. Quick passes of sweet malt and flashes of hop bitterness, more hop flavour middle to back with a complementing toasted grain. Finishes slightly sweet with a lingering fresh malt flavour and mild citric hop tone.

Notes: An extremely drinkable ale, PNW session ale all the way.

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Photo of Thrasher
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A fully satisfying red ale from Full Sail. Pours an orange-brown with consistent head and lace. Light aroma of malts, musty yeast. Piney hops cut through. The taste is fully rounded, with flavorful malts up front; perhaps evocative of a smoky barbecue sauce, and all which that implies (spiciness, sweetness, pepper, honey, molasses, etc.). Hops leap across the tongue with prickly pine flavors and a very mild hint of grapefruit. Aftertaste lingers perhaps a fraction too long, but this should be very suitable with food, particularly roasted meats or even a flavorful pizza. Mouthfeel ample and creamy; it's hearty, but totally fluid. This is actually a bit more robust than many red ales, but remains effortlessly drinkable. Another fine choice (of many) from Full Sail. Do a good deed and give a bottle of this to that ninny who insists on drinking Killians. His outlook will never be the same.

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

This poured to a good deep red and amber color with a nice fluffy head. It's leaving a great lace behind, too.

The smell is pretty potent and full of malt. The taste is a little odd, it tastes good but almost has a subtle lager character. There's a hint of honey in there as well. The finish is good and bitter. This is a well done beer.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.13/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A clear copper body is capped by a tall head of ivory froth that holds exceptionally well (maintaining a short creamy head throughout the entire glass) and leaves sheets of spotty lace. The nose reveals citrusy and grassy hops over a bready and caramelish malt that's most welcoming. The body is medium and its very fine, moderate carbonation gently caresses the tongue before warming to become creamy and fading smoothly away. Citrusy hops perfectly accent the delicately sweet and lightly caramelish malt; and it's backed by a balancing bitterness. It finishes fairly short and dry; and never build on the palate. Quite drinkable!

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Photo of Gusler
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A winsome transpicuous burnished copper color, the head mountainous in size, creamy in texture, light tan with a fine coating of lace. Nose is sweet, caramel, malt, clean and crisp, a nice beer for the sniffer and the eyes, now let’s see about the palate. Start is sweet, loads of malt, top is fair to middling in feel, the finish spitefully bitter, perky in its acidity, dry aftertaste, a quaffable beer.

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Photo of Zorro
4.07/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an attractive red bronze colored ale with an off white or light tan colored head.

Smell is malty and fruity with a pleasant hop scent that melds with the other scents instead of standing alone in the scent. A bit sweet smelling with a nice biscuits and grain scent too. Extremely pleasant smelling beer.

Balanced flavored ale here. Not too sweet, the hops makes it's presence known in the first sip. Basic flavor is mostly a dryish hop and earthy flavors ale. Fruity flavors come out in the finish of this beer. This is a hoppy beer that lets the Hops out to play but still keeps them under control.

Mouthfeel is good.

Extremely drinkable beer does an excellent job of keeping everything balanced. Keeps all the flavors under control so that no one aspect of it takes over. I recommend this beer to everyone.

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Photo of Reidrover
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought in the 12 oz brown bottle..with the more modern style label..some guy on a mountain bike..Full Sail seems to be changing its image of late.
This beer pours a magnificent foamy off white almost cream coloured head..atop a lovelly dark red beer.
Wow what a great aroma for an "amber" beer!!..loads of malt but more Cascade hops spicy ..wonderful.
mmm what a great taste ..nice malts to start and great hopping to finish,,though it is not a dry finish..fruity even..nicelly balanced..great stuff.
Wonderful on the palate doesnt over-bear!
All in all a wonderful amber very drinkable.
For me this has to be the one of the best "ambers"..up there with Rogues American Amber..well done good beer.

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Photo of cdwil
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of Bruiser81
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer was a dark amber color. I poured aggresively and the head was huge, however it reduced down to a thin sheet with large bubbles. Lacing caked the sides of the glass. The smell was strong although not very complex. Malt dominated the nose. Roasted malt most noticeably present along with some unmalted barley. The taste was very similiar. It seems vague but malt is the only character that jumps out in the taste. Seemed to have a very strong roasted malt profile but no chocolate or coffee, is that still roasted malt. Toffee and caramel were present as well. The strong point for this beer was how it went down buttery smooth.

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

Amber red in color. Thin head from the pour. Taste is on the sweet side as is the aroma. A so-so beer. Much like other Full Sail products, it is refreshing to drink, but nothing seems to really jump out at you. Either I'm begining to enjoy much stronger beers or Full Sail has dumbed down their recipies a bit.

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

The beer pours a nice dark amber/red color with a thick frothy off-white head. The aroma is good. It has a nice malty scent that boasts of pale and crystal malts and a slight citrus hop aroma. The taste is good. It has a refreshing light malty flavor that boasts of pale and crystal malts. It goes down easy and finishes with a bitter citrus hop flavor. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a fine American red ale. It has good flavor and aroma; a good drinker.

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

Medium-amber in color, with a modest off-white head. Herbal smells touched with notes of toasty grains and sweet, bread-like malt.

The flavor is consistent with the smells. Crisp hops highlight the overall taste, but the forefront is solid and medium-bodied and smooth with grainy malts. Slightly milky in the body, with mild notes of brown sugar and a tiny yeasty hint. A very smooth, drinkable choice.

Pizza time.

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Photo of beertaster13
3.23/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a rich amber red with tan head. Lacing is average. The smell is of walnuts and honey, with thick syrupy tones. The taste seems light and syrupy. Hints of malts will rush the lips, a dull malt taste lingers.Probably won't go back to again. Not bad, leaves much to be desired. A good food pairing is a nice prime rib with double baked potato. The syrupy malts will add a nice glaze to the prime rib.

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Photo of beerguy101
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reddish amber color. Medium head. Aroma is malty. A medium bodied ale. Malts are nutty and carmely and kind of sweet. Hops are grapefruity and citrusy. A touch weak at the finish, but nicely balanced. A nice spring beer. Spritzy carbonation. Mouthfeel is full. Finish is smooth and clean. Aftertaste is slightly bitter.

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Photo of freed
3.77/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Am I missing something. To the right is Full Sail Amber, to the left, Switchback Red Ale. Well, I've tried Amber.

Sitting in the glass, its an enchanting copper. Amazing clarity as well, but the lack of a head is my only complaint. Its really a great looking beer otherwise.

The aroma is also great. Bread from the local bakery, slightly sweet, but really pleasant. The hops don't greet you, but the malt aroma is excellent.

The taste is somewhat of a disappointment after the buildup. Its still good, but nothing outstanding. The malt flavor seems somewhat thin, which is quite surprising considering the wealth of its aroma. Its easy to drink, sweet but dry. It lacks the slight peat flavor of its paternal twin.

The carbonation adds to the dryness, as must the hops, but the bitterness is mild and complimentary.

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Photo of jeffboo
4.16/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This stands out as being maybe the best amber brew I've had. It's a brilliant ruby color with perfect tannish head on top. Very nice looking brew. Malty sweet aroma with some balancing earthy hops. The flavors are a nice combo of sweet, caramelly malts with toasted bread w/ honey with a solid hop bitterness in the backround. A very flavorful and complex beer that would work great with or without food. Medium/light body makes for a very quaffable brew too.

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Photo of mmhannon
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of RedDiamond
2.99/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Switchback is a spring seasonal red ale with marked similarities to other Full Sail ales. It is clear and pretty with minimal head and a meaty, yeasty aroma. It is intended for young adult males who want something more exciting and original than macros can provide, but who are otherwise not especially adventuresome in their beer tastes. A simple color designation such as red or pale or amber is all that’s required to set these beers apart. This one is red.

I’m more cynical than drunk at the moment, but still, a beer’s a beer. And this one is less than exciting. The flavor is neutral and fades midway through the pint. Not a bad beer, nor an especially good one, but a grassy brew with fair lace from the taps of ambiguity.

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Photo of Hunter
3.06/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Beer's color lives up to its name, pouring a deep, clear russet. Sustained head of light brown foam, no evident carbonation.

Aroma is a light, barely-there malt. Some sweet nuttiness.

Mouthfeel is extremely light, lighter than I would have expected. A nutty malt comes through in the swallow, finishing clean.

Not a bad beer, but given the distinctive character of previous Full Sail beers I've tried this one comes across as a bit disappointing. Nothing makes it stand out, either good or bad. Certainly drinkable, but not memorable.

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Photo of RootedFool
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard, sturdy beer mug, the head rises just over half an inch, soapy in texture and very off-white. The body is bright, translucent, dark amber. Smell: nice toasty sweet malts upfront, like a whiff of canned fruit salad, followed by a noticeable hop freshness. Simple. Taste: Hop kick upfront, narrow and sharp on the tip of my palate; the middle brings out some juicy malts that when combined with the hop citrus flavor, creates an almost baked pine-apple like flavor. Aftertaste: sizzling hops receding along a base of mild citrus juice sweetness. Mouthfeel: slightly and pleasantly chewy; carbonation very much there. An interesting red ale. Would go great with, hmmm, some kind of spicy poultry and rice dish.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bright red-orange-amber (accent on the orange) topped with a bone white head that displays multitudinous fine pits on its upper surface and is beginning to lay down a good bit of sticky lace.

The nose is enjoyable. It's an aromatic mix of grapefruity Cascade hops with an olfactory undercarriage of caramel malt. The combination strikes me as ideal for the style. My hope is that the the beer will be just as hoppy on the palate.

The flavor does not disappoint. Some might say that it's overbalanced in favor of citric, piney hops. I say, with my hophead bias, that it's nicely balanced. Rather than being meek and equal, both malt and hops deliver plenty of flavor, making Switchback a somewhat bold example of the style.

The sweetness provided by the caramel malt never disappears, though it does fade a bit near the finish. The modestly bitter hops hold their own throughout, never coming close to being eclipsed. Even though it's more than acceptable, the body could be a smidgen more full.

Full Sail Switchback Amber Ale is a fine example of the style and is one flavorful, drinkable beer. I'd probably buy it on a semi-regular basis if it was available in my neck of the woods.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: clear, fully crimson color, with a slight tan head.
Aroma: malty and fruity, dank and deep, with nutty notes, as well.
Taste: great, bristling hops start us off, though they settle down swiftly and sink in a lush, nutty malt flavor. Mouthfeel is a bit chewy, nicely textured.
Light-bodied, very smooth drinkability, with a resounding flavor.
A perfect session ale, in my eyes. Flashes of fruit notes occur later on, only adding to my enjoyment.
Switchback was an ale I enjoy becoming acquainted with, and would like to get to know better.

Thanks to bruiser81 for the introduction!

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Full Sail Switchback Ale from Full Sail Brewery & Tasting Room & Pub
Beer rating: 3.82 out of 5 with 23 ratings