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Coney Island Sword Swallower - Shmaltz Brewing Company

Coney Island Sword SwallowerConey Island Sword Swallower

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

366 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 366
Reviews: 206
rAvg: 3.56
pDev: 14.04%

Brewed by:
Shmaltz Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Lager |  6.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Kegatron on 06-10-2008)
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Ratings: 366 | Reviews: 206 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.73/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Apricot mixed with a shot of pineapple juice. Several streams of incredibly slow moving bubbles can be seen rising within the liquid, to bump into the underside of a wonderful looking crown of alabaster colored foam. Thick sheets of shotgun-blasted lace show that stickability is on the high side.

Too bad the nose isn't as impressive as the ingredients list. Any beer that contains eight different hops (Warrior, Northern Brewer, Palisade, Crystal, Fuggles, Goldings, Cascade and Amarillo) should smell better and more distinctive than this. I get slightly sweet pale malt and a hint of herbal-earthiness.

Sword Swallower has a little more going on with respect to flavor. Whether it's enough to earn a 4.0 is doubtful at the moment. Let's see what the rest of the bomber has to say for itself. So far, I like Albino Python better when it comes to Coney Island Freak Beer. Having said that, I'd much rather date a blonde who can swallow a sword(!) than a brunette who cavorts with snakes.

Pale and wheat malts dominate. The toastedness of the Vienna is appreciated and there may even be a slight spiciness from the rye malt. Balance reigns supreme until the finish. That's when the hops assert themselves, although it's more in bitterness than in flavor. Since CISS tastes English in some indefinable way, perhaps Fuggles and Goldings were added with a heavier hand. Orange and lemon zest appear late and almost result in a flavor score increase.

The body/mouthfeel is nothing short of incredible. If big lagers are done right, they're unmatched in terms of sensory... er... sensuousness. This one is both firm and smooth, like a polished gemstone. Who knew that Sword Swallower would be such a delight to swallow?

This Schmaltz Brewing Company American pale lager is clearly well-brewed beer. However, my enthusiasm is kept in check by the abscence of a major flavor hook. More Crystal, Cascade or Amarillo (better yet, all three) is the obvious fix.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2008 15:31:12 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

3.15/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy honey color with a frothy cap that leaves the occasional bits of lace

Smell: Bready, with herbacious and grassy hop bitterness

Taste: Bready, up front, with a buildup of biscuity and spicy rye malt and herbacious/grassy hop flavors by mid-palate; after the swallow, there is a resinous, almost menthol, hop character that persists through the finish; some malty sweetness lingers as well

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate, but prickly, carbonation

Drinkability: All these different varieties of hops and the result is just not winding up in a place that I find particularly enjoyable; another interesting but, to my palate, unsuccessful beer in the Coney Island series

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2010 04:36:59 | More by brentk56
Photo of Thorpe429


3.3/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to rmalinowski4 for this bottle. Served in a tulip.

Pours a fairly-clear golden-copper color with a single-finger white head and a bunch of spotty lacing on the way down. The nose carries a lot of caramel plus some bready notes. Faint earthy hops in the background. The flavor is carried by bready malt and is followed up with a fair amount of sweetness and quite a bit of caramel. No real hop flavor, but a fair amount of bitterness in the finish. Medium body and moderate carbonation. A bit of slight alcohol in the finish as well. A worthy brew.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2011 23:31:05 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of metter98

New York

3.55/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear golden yellow in color and poured with a thin white head that slowly faded away.
S: There are light aromas of citrus and pine resin hops in the nose.
T: A slight amount of sweetness in the initial taste is followed by a light amount of bitterness in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. There is some dryness in the finish.
D: The beer isn't difficult to drink because the alcohol is well masked from the taste.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2011 02:02:38 | More by metter98
Photo of ChainGangGuy


3.58/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, effervescent, copper body with a thin, bubbly, white head.

Smell: Citrusy, spicy nose laden with hops and lesser notes of pale malts, fresh dough, and light caramel sauce.

Taste: Pale, caramel maltiness with a medium sweetness and a background hint of grain-packed bread. Juicy, oily tangerine taste. Peppery, spicy, citrusy hop character with a medium-high bitterness. Light touch of alcohol warmth. Long, bittersweet finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Very slight stickiness to the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: A classy, hopcentric lager, it paired rather nicely with a spicy pepperoni pizza and a few Tevo'd episodes of Cold Case. As part of the Coney Island series, it came in third for me after the Lager and Albino Python.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2008 02:02:52 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

4.1/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really like a good hopped up lager beer like this one,I want to see more on the shelves!Poured a light to medium golden with a some hazes peach to it, a nice fluffy one finger white head atop.A great mix of hops in the nose ranging from herbal/grass to citrus,there is also a noticeable caramel presence there as well as a tinge of iron.Flavors start out like the aromas with a big mown grass and herbal profile melding into light citric flavors,a lightly toasted and sweetish caramel flavor comes through in the finish.Just a real nice American hopped lager.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2009 12:36:01 | More by oberon
Photo of biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

3.53/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

650ml bottle. As usual for this brand, lots going on all over the breadth of the label, the motif seeming to promote a return to the days of literal carnival sideshows, which, given the high-level ingredients spec list of 8 different hops and 4 different malts, may indeed prove to be the (at least, figurative) case.

This beer pours a slightly hazy medium golden orange hue, with one finger of lazily foamy, and somewhat bubbly off-white head, which leaves fairly solid radio-form lace around the glass as it duly fades away.

It smells of grainy, toasted pale malt, a bit of saltine cracker, a hint of acrid lemon and orange citrus, and peppery, grassy hops. The taste is more sharp, almost metallic citrus notes, a grainy, kind of dry biscuit malt, a touch of pine-sol, leafy, grassy hops, and a noticeable edgy, boozy warming.

The carbonation is a bit peppy at first, but settles into a fairly sedate groove soon enough, the body a near medium weight, mostly smooth, and maybe a tad creamy, and airily at that. It finishes rather dry, more than a bit warm, ethereally grainy, and confusingly hoppy (steely strong, or steely metallic?).

From all angles, this seems like a nice hoppy, biscuity pale ale, but one injected with unregulated beer growth hormone. The mixture of earthy and grassy hop essences, and dry metallic character, contributes to an overall sense of unbalance, if a weirdly tasty one at that.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2009 04:03:38 | More by biboergosum
Photo of feloniousmonk


4.38/5  rDev +23%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Slightly hazed, mostly clear and yellow lager-y look, slim white head on this pour.

Sweet-ish, cereal-y nose at first sniff...clean and just a tad grainy. Good.

In the mouth, a buzz of hops, a brace of malt, long play on the palate, good stretch in the finish. Body is mighty full for a lager, I hesitate to even call it medium, it fills the mouth so pervasively at first sip. It smooths out, but never really quits.
Tons of hops in this, really one of the hoppiest lagers I've had in a long, long time. Probably only the Sam Adams Imperial Pilsner compares. That's saying something.

Most of the popular and inoffensive lagers are prized for their lack of after-taste. This one's a hit for me because it does quite the opposite. Hoppy, tasty, deep, and dazzling, and delicious.

The Coney Island line-up is three-for three with me, so far.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2008 01:27:50 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of russpowell


3.88/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes:

Pours an effervescent apricot/gold with a finger of pearl colored head. Average head retention & above average lacing

S: Lemons & breadyness, plus floral hops as this warms

T: lemony hops, slight grainyness & dryness up front. More citric hops, grainy bread & grapefruit hops are all evident as this warms. Almost pulled a 4.5

MF: Medium bodied, spritzy, skews hoppy, but it works

Drinks easy, but the hoppyness would grow old after about 3 pints

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2008 04:14:59 | More by russpowell
Photo of WesWes

New York

3.88/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a gold color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a nice pilsner malt scent along with a less than stellar hop aroma. The taste is good. It has a light pale and pilsner malt flavor along with a good hop taste. It's quite bitter, hence the Steel Hop Lager name. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good drinking beer. I was expecting better because the He'Brew beers are so good, but this drinks well regardless.

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2008 23:25:38 | More by WesWes
Photo of Mora2000


3.68/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from the Coney Island variety pack.

The beer pours a golden color with a white head. The aroma has quite a bit of pine and orange citrus in it, as well as some biscuit malt. The flavor is fairly similar, with some pine and orange, with a light bit of resin thrown in. The bitterness is low because the biscuit malt adds a touch of sweetness to balance things out. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. This tastes about like an IPA, as expected from reading the label.

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2012 03:44:10 | More by Mora2000
Photo of zeff80


3.83/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a clear, light copper color with a small, bubbly/foamy, white head. It left some soapy residue/lace.

S - It smelled sweet and fruity (maybe some floral notes).

T - This had a good roasted malt taste and spicy hops. It was fairly sweet, too.

M - It was crisp and very sharp. A light to medium-bodied beer.

D - This was probably one of the hoppiest all-malt lagers that I've had. Pretty good.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2008 20:41:26 | More by zeff80
Photo of Gueuzedude


3.43/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A vigorous pour produces a finger and a half thick, light tan colored head. The beer is a brilliantly clear, copper color that shows a bright, concentrated gold color when held up to the light; this is clear beyond the usual clear too, this must have been heavily filtered. The aroma is quite hop focused and has a mix of citrus and spice notes to it. There is also a touch of sweet, caramelized malt to it. Aromas of candied orange zest mixes with unspecified holiday spice notes and a nutty, lightly toasted malt character.

Lightly sweet tasting, but there is ample hop character that tends to dry this beer out. A biting, herbal bitterness is evident from the get go and lingers through to the long finish of this beer. Light malt notes of toasted biscuits, and even a soft nuttiness peek through the aggressive hop character. The flavor is quite herbal, though in quite a clean way. This is not nearly as sweet tasting or hop-flavored (e.g. the citrus) as the aroma would have suggested. And despite having a medium body to it, the overall beer is perceived as fairly dry (thanks to the biting hop character). Very clean and lager like; the filtration helps with this too. As the beer warms up a bit some soft citrus notes start to become noticeable.

An interesting beer, I am not exactly sure what it is trying to be, but I don't think it really does it for me regardless. There is nothing wrong with this beer, but the flavors just don't quite work for my particular palate.

Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2008 02:19:10 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of jwc215


4/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours golden with a thin, white, creamy head that leaves trailing lace.

The smell is of citrus/resin. Nice, though a tad muted. Some grain in the back.

The taste is lemony citrus - hoppy with a firm malt backbone. Some wheat tang mixes in, in an interesting way. Sweet, spicy and bitter all in the balance.

A nicely hopped lager. An interesting, different brew.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2008 05:14:27 | More by jwc215
Photo of RblWthACoz


3.68/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber with a thin crems head. Nose is thickly sweet with a noticeable malt backbone. Flavor has a bit of a bite to it. A bit much, but still interesting. Sweet tone really keeps things going. Feel has a biting carbonation. Liquid is a bit thick, but still about right. Nice one here. Not really that bad at all. Worth a shot.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2008 07:51:05 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of WVbeergeek


3.9/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clouded amber golden hue with a large off white head fine speckled lacing forms thick. Aroma has some harsh metallic hops and sharp citrus/lime notes. Sweet pale malt background, fruity highlights seems interesting. A lager that drinks like an IPA, hoppy delicious bitterness amongst pale balancing malts, excellent concept I burp up fruity hop notes this stuff could be really drinkable. Honey coated palte malts with earthy grapefruit rind bitterness, mouthfeel has a nice carbonation with medium bodied slick hop oils. Drinkablity overall was nice a beer I ccould see drinking on a regular basis, I didn't feel that way about most of the Coney Island sampler pack.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2010 18:17:42 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of smcolw


4.1/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dense, off-white head. Quite hazy, almost like a hefeweizen. Light amber color. Leaves bountiful lace after each sip.

Displays nice balance in the nose. The hop has a touch of grapefruit to it. Inviting neutral pale malts.

The flavor starts with slightly sweet, pale grain. This quickly gives to a spicy and bitter hop flavor. This lasts through the swallow and the long aftertaste. Full-bodied with an average level of carbonation.

Afterthought, I'm surprised at the lower ratings for this beer. I find this APA to be well above average, superior really.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2009 18:59:08 | More by smcolw
Photo of mactrail


3.35/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Attractive amber color with a decent head in the big Duvel tulip. The carbonation does fade a little, but it's fairly spritzy on the tongue.

Crisp and plenty hoppy enough to give it some backbone. Some piney and flowery hops but bitterness is restrained. Light body. Just a touch of toast. Otherwise, not much distinctive flavor. Perfectly quaffable.

I guess I don't know how the lager yeast affects the flavor, but it tastes like a light IPA or some variety of Pale Ale. Maybe they could do something about that Steam Beer style. Must be a new bottling as I haven't seen the stuff for some months at least.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2012 04:28:39 | More by mactrail
Photo of Billolick

New York

4.1/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ouncer, no freshness info, which would be great for this style beer. Pours clear lighter amber, under a long lasting off white head and leaving prodigious amounts of sheeting and scattered lace, Fresh hop nose, minty and piney.Flavorful, hoppy and thoroughly enjoyable quaffer. Clean and refreshing, well crafted and highly enjoyable. A pleasant surprise.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2008 22:17:49 | More by Billolick
Photo of rhoadsrage


4.22/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a strange)
A- This beer has a light crystal clear golden copper body that was just a bit dense and a thick bubbly off-white head that stuck to the glass. The head lasted for most of the beer with the support of a slow motion carbonation of tiny bubbles.
S- The fragrant slightly sweet malt aroma has some fresh crushed dry pale malt note too. The aroma of green herbal hops had a nice spicy quality to it and a green cinnamon note that grew as the beer warmed.
T- The sweet pale malt had some dry caramel malt flavors with it and a light buttery hint that came through as it opened up. The malt became more dry thanks to the carbonation. The finish was a nice green hop flavor with some pungency that lingered for just a bit.
M-This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with no alcohol heat and a cleaning tight fizz in the finish.
D- The smooth malt flavors have a wet slate note and a nice depth as the hops have a good depth aswell. The crisp lager characteristics along with the good depth make this beer very easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2010 21:19:36 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of lacqueredmouse


3.23/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a very light golden colour, with just a hint of orange to it. Head is initially fine and solid, but dissipates to a film, much like many other lagers. Lacing is reasonable. Body looks relatively heavy, but for a 7.2% ABV lager, I guess that's to be expected.

Nose is pleasantly hopped with the greener end of the hop spectrum. Decent vegetative sharpness, which seems to speak "lager" to me. Little fruit, but the ripe hops compensates for this. Sharp, but pleasant.

Taste is a little more phenolic, and the sharpness here is a little more harsh. Initial clear palate, before the green hops cut through the centre of the palate with a slightly metallic, slightly chemical bite. Booze is noticeable given the light body, and it feels particularly prevalent on the palate. Feel is light, but sharp, everything accentuates the cutting nature of the beer.

I get it... Maybe? Sword swallower? It's a cutting beer, worthy of its name, but that doesn't make it more drinkable. The lagery body doesn't give it anything to latch on to, and the hops dose up little more than a swathe of lacerations. Average at best.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2010 02:34:19 | More by lacqueredmouse
Photo of Zorro


3.9/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Starts with a mild chill haze, this is a clear deeply golden colored lager. Not much head forms too bad I could have given this a much higher rating for looks if it had one.

Sweet pilsner malt and a wonderful Nobel hop scent. Lots of spice and a strong citrus aroma this is quite herbal.

The taste starts out slightly sweet and quite strongly hopped. Lots of bitter and herbs here, this is pretty much all Nobel Hop flavor and quite strong. Bitter enough that you do need to acclimate to it a bit. Herbal and spicy just like I like them, could be a little more complex though.

Mouthfeel is quite thick.

Quite nice but flavor wise this is basically an Imperial Pilsner. I LIKE it but this has a punishing level of hops, if you don't like Imperial Pilsners you will hate this. One bottle of this is enough and this would be great for really spicy food.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2008 22:29:33 | More by Zorro
Photo of woodychandler


3.83/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Betcha thought I was gonna say "CAN", dincha?!? Sike! Nope, I had a generous CouchSurfer who not only sprung for a short night out, but brought a 12-pack, to boot! Bee-yoo-tee-full!

From the bottle: "'My favorite for its depth & bitterness.' - New York Times"; "'Much more robust hop character than typical lagers ... it's a welcome spin on the style.' - Boston Phoenix"; "Dry Hopped IPA Style Recipe Brewed with Lager Yeast"; "Lager Freaks & Beer Geeks! Schmaltz Brewing Company unveils a stunning spectacle: the delicate balance of 8 hops gracefully thrust into the inner sanctum of 4 luscious malts. Astonishing in depth, dazzling in mouthfeel. A scintillating brewing performance."; "Proceeds help Coney Island USA, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit, fulfill its mission to defend the lost forms of Ameri[CAN] popular arts and culture, leading the renaissance in Brooklyn's historic Coney Island neighborhood."

Once more, my pour was about as agressive as it could get without causing the beer to overflow the sides of the glass. This resulted in two fingers' worth of eggshell-white head with great retention. Color was a deep copper with NE-quality clarity. Nose had a sharp grassy hop scent and my mouth began to water. Mouthfeel was medium with an immediate intermingling of grassy hops and yeasty spice on the tongue. Now, we're talkin'! I have to agree with an earlier reviewer that in the 4-variety sampler pack that this was the best of the lot. Finish was dry and slightly bitter, leaving me feeling like I had just tried to swallow a sword. Yum!

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2010 01:56:29 | More by woodychandler
Photo of DoubleJ


2.8/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22 ounce bottle from Pacific Ranch Market. And now, it's time to indulge my inner beer freak:

There's a lot of carbonation racing throuhg in the body of this dark straw, apricot colored beer. The head is a finger's thick and holding well, leaves great lacing in the glass. Its aroma brings things down a level. A little grassy with a dirty grapefruit nose. Not sure what it is, but the flavor is a little messy with some strongish malt presence. The plain bitterness with the solvent alcohol don't do many favors for this beer. Lots of honeyed bread taste from the malt. In comes a squirt of citrus. Malty sweet aftertaste.

I'm a fan of Coney Island Lager, but not of the Sword Swallower. The latter tries to do too much, and as a result, is too much for my palate.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2009 04:50:38 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of Kegatron


3.98/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of the new Coney Island Craft Lagers line from the Shmaltz Brewing Company.

22 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a clear gold with a finger of foamy brite-white head. Retains decently with a thin fizzy layer that leaves some spotty lacing behind. The aroma is a nose tingling medley of hops (with Amarillo being the most noticable) mixed with rye notes and malt sweetness.

The taste is a constant biting hop bitterness that pairs up well with the dry rye notes and underlying malt sweetness. Finishes very dry and and bitter on the palette. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a poppy and crisp carbonation that nicely compliments its hop bite.

This is another well done lager from Shmaltz with tons of hops and rye notes and a great drinkibility for a 7% beer. I would definitely visit this again.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2008 16:44:33 | More by Kegatron
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Coney Island Sword Swallower from Shmaltz Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 366 ratings.