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Sweetwater IPA - SweetWater Brewing Company

Sweetwater IPASweetwater IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,882 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1882
Reviews: 763
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.97%

Brewed by:
SweetWater Brewing Company visit their website
Georgia, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  6.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-05-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,882 | Reviews: 763 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of metal850


3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Light amber, tan two finger head, fluffy, nice lacing, clear.

S: Strong citrus and pine American hop aroma with slight caramel sweetness.

T: Good bitterness, piney hop flavor, slight caramel malt profile, hops dominate.

M: Medium body and carbonation.

O: Nice craft IPA.

Serving type: growler

08-28-2011 22:22:13 | More by metal850
Photo of PDXHops

South Carolina

4.45/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler poured into a Duvel tulip. A huge frothy head tops the glowing orangish amber body. Nice retention and plenty of soapy lacing.

I've lived here close to 2 years, and this is the only east coast beer that's earned a permanent spot in the beer fridge of this west coast hophead. A grapefruit bomb; loads of it in the nose, even more awesome citrus flavor. Equal parts toasted and lightly sweet malt remain in the background where they belong. The steady stream of bitterness hurts so good, but a wave of juiciness keeps you coming back for more.

Overall impression: Awesome IPA at the peak of freshness. (And it's certainly worth noting that they date their bottles as well- kudos for that.)

Serving type: growler

07-15-2011 19:18:41 | More by PDXHops
Photo of MacQ32

South Carolina

3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a nice fairly hazy lighter copper color. Little head that quicky dissipates into nothing. Good carbonation by eye, tiny bubles make me think its going to be fairly light on the mouthful.

S - Really nice! Smells of fresh hops, both earthy and citrusy. Malty sweetness makes an obvious appearence as well. A seemingly nice balance. This hop aroma is pretty appitizing

T - Sweeter than the nose, the hops aren't as tasty as my nose told me they would be. A little bitter and a little sweet, bummer.. just noticing that the aftertaste is pretty good (hoppy smells actualize a bit), + .5. After letting it warm up a bit (guessing 50 degreesish) the hops start to develop some character + .5 more. My initial impression has changed drastically in timeS

M - Not as light on the body as I had expected, maybe a 4 out of 10. As much carbonation as I'd hope for

O - Great aroma, pretty decent taste after letting it warm a bit. Pretty good, and 7.99 a growler is tough to beat..

Serving type: growler

06-05-2011 01:45:45 | More by MacQ32
Photo of dmbsteve


3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours light copper color with a big 3 finger head. Dissipated to about 1 finger and stuck around for the ride.

Big citrusy aromas - grapefruit & pineapple, a little grassy.

Taste is bitter right up front, not much malt backbone. A little out of balance for me. But nice layering of the hop bitterness and the citrusy flavors. Wish it just had a little more malt character to back it up.

Mouthfeel is light, with medium carbonation.

Overall a pretty good IPA, I would classify this as a Southern Summer IPA, if there is such a thing.

Serving type: growler

05-06-2011 23:58:26 | More by dmbsteve
Photo of branimal9

South Carolina

4.43/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a growler procured at Total Wine in Greenville into my bro's Ommegang tulip glass...

appearance - clear, light gold with a sizable white tight-bubbled head.

aroma - bright, citrus hops hit you, and you can smell some malt in there as well.

taste - hops immediately, just as you thought they'd taste. nice, bitter & like biting into a juicy grapefruit. the malt follows, balancing the bitterness and giving a bit of sweetness that makes this beer stand out from others.

mouthfeel - full bodied & flavorful.

drinkability - as it is deceptively full bodied, this beer is super easy drinking, but packs full flavor behind the sweetness of the malts.

this beer has become my go-to inexpensive IPA. very underrated, it's got some of my favorite characteristics in this style, citic hops, a bit of sweetness, and, to borrow a phrase, "superior drinkability". keep making it and i'll keep drinking it, sweetwater.

Serving type: growler

05-15-2010 00:42:08 | More by branimal9
Photo of Mavajo


3.55/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a crystal-clear amber body with a relatively frothy white head. Light lacing. Good appearance.

Aroma has notes of grapefruit and floral/pine -- also has a dinstinct sweetness there. At one, I would almost describe the taste as "candied hops". Very nice aroma.

Taste doesn't quite live up to the nose. Strong grapefruit hops, with what I can only describe as a sulfur-like character. The sulfurish bitterness lingers on the palate for a bit.

Mouthfeel is good. Medium body, with brisk tingly carbonation.

All in all, this is drinkable, but I'm not a big fan. The sulfurish taste really does it in for me.

Serving type: growler

11-15-2009 20:10:07 | More by Mavajo
Photo of danielharper


4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Had this years ago in bottles, reviewing the growler I purchased at Riverside Beverages in Chattanooga.)

Appearance: Dark red-yellow body, almost brown, with a thin white head that dissipates quickly. Nice presentation. I'm not taking any points off for the smaller head than the bottle, as that's almost certainly an artifact of the growler.

Smell: Nice crisp dry hops, strong citrus backbone.

Taste: Very sweet, fruity, with a dry hop finish that lets you know this is a nice IPA. Much more grapefruit than I remember from the bottles, but still delicious.

Mouthfeel: Moderate thickness, coats the tongue, low carbonation.

Drinkability: This is a very different beer than I remember. Whether this is due to my changed palate since October 2005, or whether the brewery has tweaked the recipe, or whether it's just an artifact of the growler vs. the bottle, I can't say. In any case, this is a very good IPA, although the characteristics seem to vary widely between the bottle and the growler.

Serving type: growler

08-26-2009 01:58:29 | More by danielharper
Photo of HopHog87


3.64/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Sweetwater IPA

Serving- bottle from a friend who brought one over the other day when we were trying some homebrew. Into a pint glass it goes. Glug, Glug!

Appearance- Certainly filtered and force-carbonated, as most readily available IPA's seem to be. It's that clean type of IPA. Not the down and dirty, hazy, cloudy, sediment I prefer but it looks good.

Nose- Very nice with emphasis on the lighter notes- sweet, juicy fruit punch and light, floral hops.

Taste- Very clean and crisp. The malt is balanced well with the hops. I'd probably prefer an IPA with more assertive hop characteristics. Grapefruit was the one taste that shines through. It finished a bit sweet on the lips after about half of the glass was gone.

Overall- A pleasant, easy and smooth drinking IPA. Not an IBU or high alpha stronghold but not a wash, either. At 7% it's really not a session ale for me and doesn't have quite a unique or bold taste for a beer I'd relax with at the end of the day. So, for me, it doesn't have a place in my fridge as a regular resident but it's not a bad choice if you're on the go and looking for something less expensive and yet enjoyable. Probably good for a day in the sun or on the lake when you just don't want a massive IPA.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2014 18:53:15 | More by HopHog87
Photo of scotorum


3.74/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Best by 5/17/14. Bought in a mixed threepack at a Publix market while in Florida.

a: Clear amber with an inch tall white head which receded to rocky surface foam and dense lacing. Lots of carbonation bubbles.

s: Mild fruit.

t: Fruit cup up front over moderate hop bite.

m: Light to medium.

o: An easy-drinking, refreshing IPA.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2014 02:50:00 | More by scotorum
Photo of ThisWangsChung


3.5/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a semi-clear copper color. There's a finger worth of barely off-white colored head, with retention that's average for the style. Touches of lacing are left on the glass, also. Generally, it looks quite good.

S: There are some decent grapefruity hops on the nose, also taking on some piny notes as well. The malts aren't exactly timid, either - some caramel, honey, and toffee can definitely be tasted. Decent, but a bit too standard for the style.

T: Much like the nose, there are no surprises or amazing moments, just a rock-solid IPA. Herbaceous, grapefruity hops open it up, while caramel malts finish it off. The hop profile also takes on a slight tea leaf character on the aftertaste. It's definitely a balanced example of the style, maybe *sliiightly* erring towards sweet.

M: It has a light-to-medium body, with some lingering sweetness post-swallow to balance out the crisp bite. Carbonation feels restrained. I figured out what I like so much about this - it's so refreshing going down. In a way, it's just like drinking a glass of sweet tea...except it's a 6.3% IPA.

O: This one really hit the spot, more than I anticipated it to. It's one of the more refreshing IPAs I've drank in a while (I've drank many of them recently, keep in mind), and it's just so drinkable without having to resort to being hop water. I'd drink it again, absolutely.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2014 23:22:18 | More by ThisWangsChung
Photo of Swedgin_Wu


4.51/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Amber/Copper. Minimal lacing, nice but small white head

S: pine, citrus, grapefruit, floral. Pungent but refreshing

T: Great balance of malt/hops. Similar to the nose. The hops are not overbearing. easy drinker. Clean and smooth. A very tame but refreshing IPA

M: medium carbonation, mouthfeel is just right

O: A very accessible IPA (you can find it in almost any grocery store in South Florida, despite the limited and behind but ascending craft beer scene here). It's a great staple. It's a great blend of both West Coast and East coast IPAs. The citrus/floral aspect does not completely overpower the beer like some west coast varieties, and neither does the malt like east coast. A very solid, staple choice in your rotation.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2014 09:28:18 | More by Swedgin_Wu
Photo of Seanem44


3.61/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Had this on draft at a bar. I might revisit the review at some point with the bottled version, because to be fair, it was not as good as I remembered it while I was down in Columbia, SC last year, close to the source.

It was good, but that is about it. The hops were not overwhelming. Nothing about what I had was overwhelming. In fact, it tasted a little watered down. That might be because I have had some very good, very bold IPAs as of late. It may be because it was on draft and who knows how long it had been there for.

Still, for the price and availability, it is a good IPA. It won't knock your socks off, but you can have more than a few and won't get tired of it.

Serving type: on-tap

03-24-2014 18:57:31 | More by Seanem44
Photo of TheBrewo


4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

We pour this brew from the bottle into Hop City pint glasses. It shows a ruddy, brassy orange coloring, with darker tawny hues around the edges. It holds a two finger tall head of off-white chunky foam with a glossy, glistening shimmer to it. Patterned specks of biomechanical lacing are left around the glasses following a nice retention. Haze and finite granules of sediment pour with the dregs of the bottle. Carbonation appears to be moderate. The nose shows hops that are sweetly grapefruity and deeply herbal and floral. These mingle with clean toasty pale and somewhat wheaty maltiness, fruity flesh of apricot, guava, and mango, rice and white flour, fresh concrete, confectioner’s sugar, brushed honey, and celery vegetals. With warmth comes a soft caramel depth to the grain. Our first impression is that the flavoring is clean, lightly drinking, and robustly bitter, but all with just enough sweetness for a clean, thorough sip. The taste begins with big citric hoppiness enhanced by independent lemon and orange juice and peel oils, hints of metallics, toasty pale and lightly adjuncty grittiness, cotton, drinking straw plastics, and soured but savory white flour gravy roux. The middle progresses with clean citric hop wash set high into light mineral water, dried mint, white sugar, soapy bite, and your basic pale and dusty wheaty graininess. The finish is marked by freshly squeezed lemon juice, unsweetened tannic tea, continued citric hops, sea saltiness, icy coolness of planty greenness, musky cologne sweetness, Styrofoam plastics, black peppercorns, crisp vegetal snap of cucumbers, and dirty, warming, earthy rumbles of hops. The aftertaste breathes of mineral-laden well water, sweet iced tea tannins, fresh basil, lemon zest, pine nuts, green and twiggy sap resins, coin, bittered yeast, basement musk, warmed white sugar sweetness, warmed gingerbread, and lactic acidity. The body is light to touch, and the carbonation is lightly medium. Each sip gives nice slurp and smack, but offers nothing really special in the froth, foam, or cream departments. Finishing pop is clean and light. The mouth is left cooled and lightly speckled with a crisp, decently drying finish with foci of harsher astringency. The abv is appropriate, and drinkability and pull are clean and easy going.

Overall, the most enjoyable thing about this brew is its aroma and its drinkability. The nose seems to have been the muse for Founders All Day IPA, as they are quite similar in base, but with more booze and medicinal bite here. That said, however, the flavoring does cheapen up a bit in the grain profile, causing the hops to come across, themselves, as a bit hollow and skeletonized. This takes the balance off in a direction that we were not too eager to follow, although we were ultimately pleased with the big picture of the beer as a whole. This is a beverage for some fun outdoor activities in the sun, and nobody can argue with how easy it slugs back. This is an excellent beer if you’re all about sippin’ and relaxin’, but if you linger too long and begin to dissect it out, you might find some unwelcomed and simplified layers here and there.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2014 01:43:58 | More by TheBrewo
Photo of StonedTrippin


3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

a well made if a tad generic india pale ale from the great state of georgia. richer bronze color to this, mostly clear, with an inch of pure white head that slowly settles down. it smells like cascade hops, higher alpha but overly common, the classic mix of hop bitterness and juicy punch. malt base is bigger than average and lends some biscuity aromatics, although its flavor is far more subdued. a fuller bodied gulp shows nice carbonation and a long hoppy finish that moves from lightly citric to quite bitter. well done, but the varietals used could be a little more unique i think. this is basic american ipa, well crafted, but not particularly intriguing. a good sixer to drink down thoughtlessly coming from one of the better known georgia beer makers. curious to try their other stuff though, this was good, but couldnt hold my attention past one.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2014 17:52:54 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of siege06nd


4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

An old favorite from the ATL...

A. Copper gold, one finger of off-white head with good retention and lacing.

S. Pine, grapefruit, tangerine zest, traces of pineapple, rose petals.

T. Follows the nose with pine needles, grass, pineapple, some biscuit malt, and a slight sweet kick.

M. Packs a nice bitter punch but doesn't overstay it's welcome. A clean, balanced, and crisp AIPA.

O. An excellent American IPA that drinks like an excellent blend of both East and West coast versions. Certainly a dank, hoppy treat but balanced with sweet, grainy malt bill. Very enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2014 18:31:39 | More by siege06nd
Photo of Daddyrich


3.74/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A-Pours clear and light orange in color. Medium head and retention.

S-Has a nice fruity smell.

T-Fruit, especially grapefruit, hit right away with a nice hoppy finish. Some malt and light carbonation also. Hop finish sticks around.

M-On the lighter side for ipas and relatively smooth.

O-Very good ipa with great flavor and finish. Definitely top 5-10, but a notch below Celebration Ale. At $15-$16 for a 12-pack, this beer is in my regular rotation. This beer also scores above average on the hangover so drink your fluids.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2014 06:12:32 | More by Daddyrich
Photo of Retroman40


3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I acquired this as part of a "Tackle Box" consisting of three bottles of four different SW beers.

Bottle poured into a pint glass.

A - Poured out a slightly hazy golden color with a good head that retreated to a nice lace throughout.

S - Pine and citrus.

T - Pine and citrus and malt on the tongue with a good citrus finish.

M - Very rich and tangy with good carbonation.

O - A pretty good IPA worth keeping in a rotation.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2014 09:47:44 | More by Retroman40
Photo of mwilbur


4.31/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured on-tap into shaker pint glass.
A: Pours a nice clear golden yellow with 1 inch white head with excellent retention.
S: Wonderful citrus, floral hop aroma. Pineapple, passion fruit, grapefruit, and sharp orange notes create a beautiful bouquet.
T: Nice grapefruit, pineapple, and orange hop notes. Still solid, but doesn't quite live up to the promise of the aroma.
M: Light body. Very smooth and softly sweet. The typical hop bitterness of the style is nicely subdued...which makes this eminently more drinkable in my opinion.
D: A wonderful IPA, especially for those who don't want an abrasive feel to their hops. Nicely complex and extremely drinkable. Seek it out!

Serving type: on-tap

02-13-2014 23:41:38 | More by mwilbur
Photo of rfisher159


4.66/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Medium amber, fast dissipating head.

S: This beer has the most distinctive smell of any beer, in my opinion. It has a massive fruity/zesty/hoppy scent that's unmistakable.

T: Not as hoppy as it smells. The zest is there with lemon and grapefruit coming through most. It finished clean and slightly bitter. Great balance and ton of flavor.

M: Light to medium with relatively high carbonation.

O: The taste is nearly perfect to me, a very interesting beer overall. This is my #2 everyday favorite behind Centennial Ipa. If it had a nicer looking bottle (and cost more $$) it would probably be rated even higher on this site... j/k

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2014 18:55:31 | More by rfisher159
Photo of mrfrancis


3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear, shimmering amber with a thin, creamy white head that recedes slowly.

S: Aromas of nectarine, peach, apricot, honey, orange, lemon, lime, pine, cedar, caramel, and biscuits dominate the nose.

T: Notes of caramel, cream, biscuit, and crackers emerge on the entry, but are soon joined by flavors of cedar, pine, juniper, lemon, lime, grass, herbs, and orange. Around mid-palate delicate notes of apricot, honey, peach, and nectarine manifest,t providing an interesting of balance of sweet fruitiness and resinous, citrusy bitterness. The finish is delicately integrated with a combination of biscuit, cream, caramel, apricot, honey, nectarine, orange, lemon, and pine flavors.

M: On the lighter side of medium and only mildly resinous. Carbonation is crisp, yet delicate. This ale displays a very slight, unobtrusive mouthfeel for the style, but it works, as this is one of the most drinkable American IPAs I have had in some time.

O: A really interesting ale. So far, this is my favorite Sweetwater beer. I really enjoy the odd combination of flavors on display here and would have no problem approaching this beer again.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2014 15:24:19 | More by mrfrancis
Photo of Brenden


3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This IPA is a brightly shining clear amber. Gentle bubbling rises from the glass's bottom for the duration. The head is very nearly white, a bit spritzy though it has a thick, creamy texture. Lace is moderate, a thin ring at the top with spotting to follow. Slightly mineral undertones lie beneath perfume and floral bitterness with light fruity esters and breads. Ruby red grapefruit, orange zest, lemon peel, and floral bitterness show a hoppiness not foreseen in the aroma, strong and straightforward with most of the balance coming from a hint of sugared fruits and some bready malts. There's a strong crispness in a medium body with plenty of smoothness running over the tongue and into the finish with a mildly lingering bitterness.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2014 03:31:19 | More by Brenden
Photo of BarwoodBonanza


3.64/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Rich copper color. Head retention leaves something to be desired, fading quickly with minimal lacing.

Powerful tropical fruit nose with mango and pineapple. A little note of citrus in the background.

Tropical fruits up front in the flavor but with a more prominent grapefruit and orange peel citrus. Finishes with a hefty dose of pine resin and a nice lingering bitterness. Pretty clean hop profile. Malts are noticeable but subdued and act more as a balancing note. I will say the hop aromas are much more powerful than the flavor which fades pretty quickly but while it's there it's really tasty.

Carbonation is lively and nice palate cleanser considering the pretty solid bitterness on the back end.

Overall a really nice IPA. The big hop aromas had me hoping for more than what the flavor delivered but still pretty solid in general. If I wanted an IPA this wouldn't be my first choice but I can see drinking it from time to time. Very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2014 18:29:44 | More by BarwoodBonanza
Photo of brewskifan55


3.85/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a tulip glass

A: Opaque, golden with an off-white half-finger head that dissipates fast. Low lacing.

S: Piney hops and grapefruit dominates. This could be a hop bomb.

T: But it wasn't. I get a really nice balance of grassy hops and sweet caramel malts. Smooth.

M: Light to medium with medium carbonation.

O: Now I see why this one is so popular. I like my IPA's well balanced between the bitter and the sweet and this one fits the bill. Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2014 16:14:32 | More by brewskifan55
Photo of KTCamm

New Jersey

3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. November notes.

Pours medium amber, sticky white foam. Layer stays on top. Strong grapefruit nose. Very grassy. Bitter forward hoppy malt, lighter layer next, with a relatively clean finish. Some remains after. Hints of grapefruit. Very flavorful IPA.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2013 22:46:27 | More by KTCamm
Photo of TwelveOunces


4.11/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip

A- A slight haze on a brilliant orange. A slight white head.

S- A dank and resinous hop bomb. A load of citrus and a perfectly balanced sweet malt. Really nice stuff.

T- A sharp citrus at first. A bold orange and lemon flavor. I get a lot of onion and spicy herbal notes as well. More on the bitter side then sweet. A hop focused flavor profile but an overall balanced beer.

M- Kind of bitter but easy drinking.

O- A very solid IPA with a bold hop flavor.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2013 00:34:48 | More by TwelveOunces
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Sweetwater IPA from SweetWater Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,882 ratings.