Sawtooth Ale
Bitter Root Brewing

Sawtooth AleSawtooth Ale
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Blonde Ale - American
Ranked #449
Ranked #43,190
3.54 | pDev: 11.86%
Bitter Root Brewing
Montana, United States
Sawtooth AleSawtooth Ale
Notes: Lewis and Clark's 1805-1806 expedition took them past the many creeks that flow into the Bitterroot River each spring, among them Sawtooth Creek. Bitter Root Brewing's blonde ale is made from the finest pale malt and hops available. The addition of malted rye and wheat give this beer a crisp, dry flavor. It's a national medal winner, and a year round favorite.
Reviews: 22 | Ratings: 39 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.75/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

an interesting beer, especially in this blonde ale style. listed as a pale ale at the place i had it on tap, so i was really thrown off when it came out quite a bit different than i have come to expect out of an american pale these days, but a nice beer, especially this time of year. it comes out nice and yellow colored, not quite all the way clear, and with a decent little white head on it with some lace left behind after each sip. the aroma is curiously hefeweizen-like to me, with some pleasing yeasty esters of banana and white pepper. i know there is some rye in the mash here, but its minimal and couldnt possibly account for these characteristics. this ends up drinking more like a blonde ale and hefe hybrid, as this german yeast element is present in the flavor too. is it just me, or did others notice this as well? maybe the bar had a hefe on before this and didnt clean the line well, not sure, but i really kind of like it. it makes the beer way more interesting than a simple blonde would be on its own, yet it doesnt make the beer to flavorful or weird to be poundable. it would be easy to say this was just fermented too warm, but i like whats happening here with the fermentation profile, intentional or not. not a ton of hops here, certainly less than a pale ale should have, but a little bit of an herbal bitter note at the end, and a flash of fresh citrus as well. i think they have done a nice job building nuance and flavor into this, with the multigrain base, the curious yeast aspect, and the upbeat hops at the end, but its also a total summer crusher. enjoyable beer, especially with some fiery chicken wings! this is better than its ratings, even if its unexpectedly different or even weird for a blonde...

Aug 11, 2019
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Libeertarian from Montana

3.29/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

From notes taken 06/27/16:

Pure, clear, rich golden ale. Fine, even, one finger off-white head of moderate retention. Grainy, grassy smell, not harsh. Grain (apparently malt, wheat, and barley), bread, honey, light fruit, fairly clean hops, dryer finish with hint of crackers. Medium-bodied, smooth (rye and wheat help), soft but plenteous carbonation.

Jul 15, 2016
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Bunman3 from Canada (AB)

3.44/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a crushable blonde ale, nothing more, nothing less. I certainly enjoyed it on a screaming hot summer day, but it's not something I would go out of my way to find again.

Jul 18, 2015
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Darkmagus82 from Texas

3.5/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap in a pint glass

Appearance - The beer is served a deep golden color with a one finger head of white foam. The head fades rather rapidly leaving just a trace of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the beer is mostly grainy and bready in nature with some hints of a lighter fruit smell mixed within. Along with these aromas comes some light notes of yeast and a hint of grassy hop as well.

Taste – The taste begins with a rather bready flavor mixed with a little bit of caramel and some harvest fruit tastes of apple and pear. Along with these flavors comes some lighter notes of a grape and lemon flavor, which remain in the background throughout. The bready flavors bring with them some flavors of yeast. The bready soon transitions as the taste advances taking on a more grainy flavor. All while this occurs, some yeast and a bit of a herbal and floral flavor come to the tongue, leaving one with a slightly grainy and somewhat sweet flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel- The body of the beer is on the average side in terms of thickness with a carbonation level that is rather average as well. The feel and carbonation are great for the style and make for a more refreshing and easy drinking beer.

Overall – A fairly tasty brew overall, with a bit of a more refreshing style overall. One to try if you get a chance.

Mar 21, 2015
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LiquidAmber from Washington

3.56/5  rDev +0.6%

Pours a hazy medium straw amber with golden notes. One finger white head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of wheat, light bready malt, lemon citrus and a bit of tart rye. Flavor is wheat, light lemon, hint of rye, surprisingly tart; finishes with tart citrus wheat and light grassy hop bitterness. Light to medium bodied. Unusual for a blonde ale, this seems dominated by the wheat and rye, I'd have guessed it was a wheat ale. Oddly tart for the style. As a citrusy wheat ale, it's nice and refreshing, but its not what I expected from a blonde. Pleasant, but not to style and bit too tart for my taste.

Aug 15, 2014
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archyquaffer from Montana

3.44/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a Pilsener style sampler. For some reason, the labels on the bottles from this brewery are always crinkly, like they've gotten wet. The blurb mentions the use of rye and wheat, and states that the beer is a "national medal winner". Does this medal have a name?

A moderate pour produces about 1/2 inch of frothy head that reduces to about 1/8 inch and sticks to the glass pretty well. The color is a hazy, pale yellowish golden with fairly high carbonation.

The aroma seems sort of adjuncty from the wheat and rye with very light grassy hops. Very clean, light taste, slightly lemony, with a crisp, tingly and clean finish. A pretty distinct yeasty tang is also quite apparent here and there. It's pleasantly burpy, with light lemony and grassy notes lingering in the aftertaste.

This beer could use some more hop flavors (and I'm no hop head) but is refreshing and makes a good warm weather beer, and when you want something more flavorful than a PBR or Coors Banquet. I'd be more likely to buy this in the can for camping and rafting than to buy another bomber.

Jun 13, 2014
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mrjshock from Montana

3.36/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours into glass with a thick white head that holds well. Pale yellow or straw like color. appears very bubbly with a slight cloudiness. attractive glass of beer.

Smells of banana and pale malt.

Wheat flavor comes through. Slightly sweet. Mild to light hop bitterness.

tingly to the tip of the tongue with a watery finish.

A pleasant very drinkable beer that goes down easy and leaves me wanting more. Would be a great summertime lawn mowing beer.

Dec 19, 2013
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MrBoz21 from Colorado

2.89/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Pours straw yellow with thick 1/2 inch white head. Very bubbly. Foam does not really lace and color has a slight bit of haze.

Aroma: Pale malt and slight banana. Sort of musty.

Taste: Moderately dry with a bit of tanginess. Wheat sweetness, lemon and mild hop bitterness in the finish. Tastes and finishes watery.

Mouthfeel: Bubbly (but not tingly) and watery.

Overall: Quaffable, probably a good summertime yardwork ale. However, non-descript and lacking of any real character. Watery.

Dec 19, 2013
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Murrhey from Washington

3.45/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a weizen glass in high elevation Libby, Mont. Reviewed live.

A- Two finger white fluffy head. Pretty low retention, spotty, watery lacing. Pale golden color with moderate clarity. Fairly attractive looking beer.

S- Golden, slightly toasty malts and English hops. Slight bit of funk as well, which isn't a good sign. Not bad smell, but not good either.

T- Tasty wheat and light malts. Hop character is minimal and earthy. Very nice flavor for a blonde.

M- Smooth and sticky. Finishes wet and clean. Pretty nice feel.

O- More impressed than I thought I was going to be. This is a very nice blonde.

Feb 08, 2013
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zeff80 from Missouri

3.5/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a hazy, golden yellow color with a one-finger head of bubbly foam. It left sudsy trails of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of caramel and some floral notes.

T - It tasted of sweet caramel with some subtle roasty notes. Slight biter hop bite.

M - It was fairly crisp and sharp. A light to medium bodied ale with a dry finish.

O - This is an okay blonde ale. Nice to try something from a small Montana brewery.

Aug 30, 2012
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ShogoKawada from Pennsylvania

4.35/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz into wide pint.

A- Really nice golden brown and big fluffy head. Looks like marshmallow. Settles down to a finger.

S- Smells like banana saltwater taffy.

T- Sweet floral notes and grassy note that reminds me of grass right after a rainstorm. Mildly bitter in the finish. Lots of fruity esters.

M- Crisp, refreshing, pleasant. An easy drinker. Pairs well with a spicy food. Great body and carbonation.

O- One of the better blonde ales I've come across. Very enjoyable. Everyone would like this beer. Very approachable.

Sep 20, 2011
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GeezLynn from Colorado

3.34/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Five or six years since I've had anything from these guys. The nut brown used to be pretty solid beer.

A: Golden straw color with a light white head.

S: Pretty grainy smell, with a little wheat and adjunct - maybe corn? Not enticing.

T: Flavor is sweet with and fruity, mainly apple/pear with a slight lemon tang. I can also pick up the wheat and a little hop flavor.

M: Body is light but not thin with crisp carbonation.

Flavor's not bad for style, but the smell leaves a lot to be desired. Not my first choice of Bitter Root beers but it might have it's place on a hot day.

Jan 29, 2011
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robwestcott from Indiana

4.3/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks to ivanwho and the Noob BIF round 2 for this one.

poured cold from the bomber a semi-translucent straw yellow / gold to a shaped sun king pint with a long lasting foamy white head with nice retention.

pleasant aroma of lemon rind and ripe pears.

subtle puckery tart on the first sip, lemon, citrus, sweet apples.

smooth, creamy, medium bodied, subtle tart to the roof of the mouth.

drinkable - very.

Dec 26, 2010
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biboergosum from Canada (AB)

3.43/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Moose's Saloon.

This beer appears a clear pale golden colour, with one finger of creamy white head, which leaves a decently played out web of lace as the story develops. It smells faintly of citrus and barley grain. The taste is fruity malt - apple and pear, with some floral, earthy hops. The carbonation is moderate, the body medium weight and fruity smooth, and it finishes dry, and well, fruity.

A nice mild-flavoured blonde ale; the fruity focus held to the end.

Aug 02, 2010
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JohnGalt1 from Idaho

3.6/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have the rare Thursday night off... Managed to pull Brenda into Brewforia on our jaunt out to El Gallo Giro (Great Mexican food) ... Picked up a nice mixed 6'er.. Paid waaaay to much for this bottle.. $6.20ish.

Pours clear golden.. descent head and lacing.

Nose is pale malts and little else.. not really a flaw though.. some minor floral hops.. ehhh...

Clean pale malts.. something that make me think adjuncts like corn... but really this is just a good very drinkable blonde...

Body is sturdy for the style... carbonation is pretty much perfect..

The price is waaaay too much for this brew/style.. I would be happy with $3.. but $6 is harsh.

I am pretty happy to find Bitter Root in Boise... I've picked up their 22's everywhere in my many trips to MT... and have enjoyed some nice ales in the taproom... but.. again... $6.. is too much even given the distance.


Jul 02, 2010
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colts9016 from Idaho

4.13/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass at 37 degrees.

Appearance: A one finger head that is foamy creamy with some retention. The color of the beer is a light amber color with yellow orange hues. The clarity of the beer is slightly hazy. There is some effervescence in the beer.

Nose: A medium malty aroma with a subtle sweetness. There are notes of yeast, toasty, and a light phenol.

Taste: A light malty flavor with notes of yeast, toast, and a subtle sweetness.

The mouth feel is creamy and smooth.

Overall: The body of the beer is light and the finish is light also. This is a good beer that represents it style well. Good beer.

Apr 19, 2010
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RJLarse from Washington

2.79/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I bought a bomber of Sawtooth Ale at a beer store. $4.59. Poured in to a pint glass.

Pours a rich gold color and is clear. Fizzy white breaks down quickly, but the last eighth inch or so is fairly resilient.

Smell is a wet grain aroma. No sweetness, no fruit or floral scent.

Taste is an acerbic cereal flavor. A lot of bitterness and not much else going on.

Mouthfeel is light and clean. Moderately carbonated. Dry bitter aftertaste.

Drinkable but average. I think it actually smells and tastes a lot like a macro lager. Pretty good lawnmower beer I guess, but I doubt I'll buy it again.

Apr 05, 2010
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Vidav from Montana

3.71/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber at Rosauers Supermarket in Missoula, MT. Only reason I chose this one is that it was on sale and I wanted to try something new.

Poured a deep yellow/orange color with no head to speak of. Smell is mostly malty with some floral hinted at in there. Very light taste really that was the same as the smell. Malt is the most forward flavor with a hint of sweetness. Really though it's not very strong at all.

This is not a bad beer, just not anything remarkable. Probably wont buy it again but I wouldn't refuse it if someone was offering.

Jul 19, 2009
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PlaywrightSam from New York

3.43/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22oz bomber picked up at Wordens in Missoula, MT. Pours a cloudy amber-orange, minimal head that retains to a caked-on layer, very minimal lacing. Smell is very light roasted malts, very distant hop presence. Some floral quality in there, vaguely spicy. Taste is kind of thin, pretty straight-forward malt profile with a light bitterness. Fades away pretty quickly off the taste buds. Mouthfeel is smooth, moderate carbonation. It's a totally decent beer, very straight-forward blonde ale. Those looking for something more distinctive best avert their glances elsewhere.

Jul 07, 2008
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loren01 from Washington

2.82/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Had this beer from a 22 oz bottle purchased at the Man Store in Helena, MT.
A: Pours a light golden color with minimal head. Good amount of carbonation and lacing.
S: Smell is sweet like honey with a slight citrusy smell as well. Also a good amt of spiciness maybe cinnamon??
T: Taste is slightly sweet, not much flavor actually pretty watery.
M: Medium to full bodied, lots of bubbly on the tongue.
D: I don't think I would probably get this one again, taste was pretty bland and watery I thought.

Mar 29, 2006
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GClarkage from California

4.12/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed in August 2004 from a 22oz purchased from the Bitteroot Brewery in Hamilton, MT. Poured with a small head, a amber darker ale. Decent amount of spices fill the air. Very impressive scent. A very tasty beer. Uses rye in the making of the beer. Adds a nice little kick to it. A different kind of taste than I am used to. Wish I had taken more notes on this beer. Kind of doing it by memory. I just remember that it was a very good beer worthy of seeking out if you are in the Northwestern states area. I've actually had all their beers and have about 4 more different kinds at home ready to drink and review while drinking rather than by memory. Good stuff.

Oct 01, 2004
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Gusler from Arizona

3.5/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer disembogues the brown 22 ounce bottle a slightly bemused amber color, the head a prestigious light tan crown to sit upon the body with the lace a silky curtain to obscure the glass. The nose is sweetly malt with a bit of floral spiciness to accentuate the crispness, also a bit of yeast from the Rye and Wheat, a pleasant treat for the schnozzle. Start is lightly sweet with a nice malt profile and the top moderate in its feel to the palate. Finish has a purposeful acidity and the hops spicy in their mild but flavorful bite, the aftertaste is quite dry and a nice refreshing beer, and I once again thank abnranger for this bottle.

May 06, 2004
Sawtooth Ale from Bitter Root Brewing
Beer rating: 81 out of 100 with 39 ratings