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Sawtooth Ale

Judges Rating: 
94
Aroma: 
22 / 24
Appearance: 
6 / 6
Flavor: 
38 / 40
Mouthfeel: 
9 / 10
Overall Impression: 
19 / 20

Left Hand’s flagship brew, Sawtooth Ale is another American riff on Extra Special Bitter, drawing depth and complexity from Pacific Northwest hops, Caramel and Munich malts. Lightly fruity, with teases of pear and brandied peaches, the aroma is dominated by citrusy, earthy, and grassy notes riding over subdued Caramel malt. Lee picked up some faint grassiness in the aroma, but delved a bit deeper and teased out some fruity esters that reminded him of “ripe fruit hanging in a shady berry patch.” Rick liked the sweet, Munich malt notes and how they mingled with the woody, earthy hops. This brew is a deep burnished gold, shot through with hints of copper and orange and topped by a small, yet creamy head. The bitterness is surprisingly restrained for an ESB, and the malt and hop flavors carry the day with alternating layers of chewy caramel, Meyer lemon zest, and new mown hay. Tom praised the way the “hops dance around the edges” and provide a bitter, but still smooth and refreshing finish. The low bitterness caught Tim by surprise, but he felt it was sufficient to balance the beer and provide a “seamless integration of flavors that calls for another taste.” Sawtooth Ale displays a light touch on the hops, but delivers a finely balanced, flavorful ESB ideal for an evening at the pub.

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