1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Sweetwater IPA - SweetWater Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sweetwater IPASweetwater IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,167 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,167
Reviews: 781
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 11.53%
Wants: 138
Gots: 184 | FT: 5
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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sweetwater IPA Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,167 | Reviews: 781 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nickd717


3.55/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle thanks to Arbitrator on BA.

Golden in color with a small off-white head.

Great aroma: lots of herbal, citrusy, and resinous.

The flavor isn't quite as good. Sweet pale and caramel malt with a medium intensity hop profile of orange, grapefruit, resin, and herbs.

Average palate: medium body with average carbonation.

Pretty good but not elite level IPA overall, better than I expected from the dirty south.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2010 17:15:35 | More by nickd717
Photo of zeff80


4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a clear, golden orange color with a one-finger, white head of foam. It left thin rings of lace.

S - It smelled of tons of pine. There was an aroma of citrus and burnt toast maltiness.

T - Great piney/resiney hop bitterness upon first sip. It had a sharp burnt toast maltiness and some sweet caramel & toffee backbone.

M - It was crisp, sharp and had a dry finish. A medium bodied ale that goes down very easy.

D - Glad to find this on tap. I had 420 in a bottle and hoped to find some IPA. I wasn't disappointed.

Serving type: on-tap

07-20-2010 13:08:05 | More by zeff80
Photo of MbpBugeye


4.13/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is beer #3 from the blind beers BIF. Sent to me by MMAJYK Reviewed totally blind.

Its a bright, burnt orange with pretty decent clarity. The head rises up pretty big and stays for a while. Im getting pretty lacing in big thick rings.

The smell is nice and bright. Lots of hops. This already seems like a dead give away, I think its some incarnation of an IPA. Really, really nice smelling. Fresh pine bough and juicy oranges. While this smells distinctly like some sort of IPA/IIPA it remains unique. The combination of pine and different citrus fruits make this smell very appetizing to me.

Taste is nearly equally as bright and delicious. Plenty of piney, resinous hoppy stuff going on but bitterness is nicely balanced by some bread crusty malts. Starts and finishes piney but somewhere in the middle Im getting lots of juicy, slightly sweet citrus along with a floral earthiness and spice.

Sharply carbonated, drying, crisp and very clean despite the resinous pine and lingering bitterness.

This stuff is very good. I am thoroughly enjoying it. The perfect thing for an 87* Saturday evening like this.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2010 22:26:09 | More by MbpBugeye
Photo of jeddsp


4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Living in Atlanta, I have ha this beer numerous times, but with all the other stuff out there have not had it in a while. Drank one tonight and was reminded just how solid of a beer it is. Doesn't knock my socks off...but is a very drinkable American IPA. Great to drink during a BBQ....and because it is not expensive it is a good beer to keep in the fridge. If you are in town...try it on tap., it is better (per norm).

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2010 02:05:17 | More by jeddsp
Photo of scottyshades


4.65/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ah, finally found this on-tap!

A: Pours a transparent, but slightly hop-hazed orange/copper color with a big eggshell soapy looking head. Retention is pretty good...better than I expected.

S: Man, I don't know if the keg makes the nose that much better, but it is. Orchard fruits, tropical fruits, grapefruit, and slight orange. Malts are bready and add some balance. The nose is awesome. nuf said.

T: Lots of different hop characteristics; floral, fruity, and slightly resinous. Malts play a big role, almost bigger than the hops, giving a bready/biscuity flavor to the tropical fruity/citric hops. There is an underlying sweetness (not too sweet by any means) that really plays well, especially with its drinkability. The honey is much less noticeable, both as it ages, and on-tap compared to the bottled version.

MF/D: Alcohol is dangerously hidden, making this an easy drinker, especially out in the sun.

Notes: Still my go-to IPA, and this is FAR from West Coast stuff (in terms of taste)... My opinion of the bottled vs. draught debate is that they are both delicious. I would say that the bottled version may seem a little hoppier and less malt-driven, but its all preference.

Serving type: on-tap

07-07-2010 22:17:07 | More by scottyshades
Photo of mklinger

North Carolina

4.75/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into an imperial pint. This beer is a beautiful bronze/copper with a nice off white head forming. Slightly hazy, but that's because it's unpasteurized & unfiltered -- bit of yeast in the bottle -- I've cultured it for homebrew before. Nice looking beer.

Aroma is so grapefruity, it's just incredible. A large whiff of it comes out as soon as the cap was opened. It's really robust once poured into a glass. There's no other standard IPA that I've had that is so intensely grapefruity. There's a bit of slight sweetness that makes it different from sniffing a freshly cut grapefruit, but that's all I get. I do love grapefruit & that makes me love the aroma of this beer.

Taste is also great & more complex than the aroma. A bit of carbonation bit at first, followed by some biscuity/toasty malt, strong citrus, and nice potent but not overwhelming bitterness. Nice bit of sweetness that is just a slight background note to tie things together. Really a nice IPA. When fresh it is exceptional.

Mouthfeel is good. Light bodied as an IPA should be though I found it slightly overcarbonated. But good nonetheless. This is a great beer. It's been 6 months since I've had one and I find it easily as good or better than the big IPAs that everyone (including me) love like Two-Hearted & Stone IPA. Really great stuff.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2010 03:28:22 | More by mklinger
Photo of AdamGarcia


3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz btl served in a Hoegaarden tumbler. Best by 9/7/10 marked on the label.

A: Nice golden orange hue. Copper highlights. Appears the color of southern sweet tea when the light hits it right. Fluffy head dwindles to a thin layer rather quickly. A halo of foam hangs on for the life of the beer. Head retention could be better.

S: Very juicy aroma! Valencia orange and sweet tangerine. Honey-soaked mandarin oranges. Smells like an orange Sunkist fruit gem candy. Some piney freshness balances the sweet citrus. Unreal how much this smells like fruit juice. This smells as good as just about any IPA out there, save a few.

T: Citrus up front followed by the pine. Carmel malt holds it all together. Hop bitterness in the finish drys it up a bit. Very nice, but it doesn't quite pop like the aroma does. I was expecting more intense flavor based on the scent and I was let down a little. Wouldn't mind just a little more hop bite.

M: Carbonation could be just a tad higher. Otherwise the mouthfeel is soft and creamy.

D: High. This isn't a terribly complex IPA, but I definitely didn't lose interest. ABV is low enough that 2 or 3 isn't out of the question.

Based on previous experience with Sweetwater I was really looking forward to this beer, and I wasn't let down. It does juicy citrus and pine very well, so if that's your thing give it a try. SweetWater Brewing is on my radar for sure. If it was available in PA it would be a mainstay in my fridge. If you're ever near the ATL or have a trading partner in the dirty south, be sure to grab some of this...you won't be dissapointed.

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2010 20:58:16 | More by AdamGarcia
Photo of chrisale


5/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This American-style IPA should be a go-to beer for IPA enthusiasts, especially those from the Southeast.

Served from a bottle at room temperature or refrigerated, you can't go wrong with this flavorful brew. Poured into a 25th Anniversary Samuel Adams Boston Lager Glass, the thick, lacey head develops along the inside of the glass as poured and sits about 2 fingers thick on top. The deep, copper hue contrasts wonderfully with the off-white head.

The initial smell is grapefruit, lots of grapefruit. If you are a citrus fan, you will enjoy the beer. Also, floral aromas come through balancing the citrus qualities.

The best part is this beer is produced year-round and makes a great warming brew in the winter while also offering true refreshment in the heat of the summer months. The taste is healthily hoppy with a true grapefruit character.

Mouthfeel is where this beer wins my go-to status. If you want a beer that enters the mouth mildly and offers a great warming aftertaste without being overly dry, this is a winner.

I can drink these all day and all night and at any occasion. You never get that sick feeling that comes from most macros when you indulge, and that is one of the best qualities of quality brews. Sweetwater IPA is great session beer for sure.


Serving type: bottle

06-30-2010 01:26:46 | More by chrisale
Photo of beerwolf77


4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks goes to scottyshades for this beer. Poured into my pint glass the beer is slightly cloudy golden orange. The bright white head rises about a finger and a half before fading to leave a soid lace ring and a thick cap.

The aroma is sweet and tart citrus fruit. Hints of oranges, lemons, and pineapple. Very nice balance of hops and malt.

The flavor is super juicy pineapples and mangos. A solid dose of oranges and lemons as well. A great fruit based IPA flavor. It's like a lighter version of Dreadnaught.

Medium body with moderate carbonation.

Overall a great IPA with tons of fruit flavor. Super drinkable. I wish I had access to this beer on a regualr basis. I would stock cases of it on my fridge. Thanks for the bottle Scott.

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2010 00:48:53 | More by beerwolf77
Photo of emmasdad


4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received as an extra in a recent trade with scifan (Thanks). Pours a fairly dark amber color, with a thick, fluffy light tan head. Nice floral hop aromas, along with melon and resiny pine. Similar on the palate, although much more subdued, although the melon remains fairly prominent. A pretty solid effort, and a much appreciated extra.

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2010 00:21:41 | More by emmasdad
Photo of PanicUnited


4.8/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

First off, let me tell you how great the sweetwater brewery tour is. $8 gets you 6 half pints and a glass to take home. Definitely a must-see for anyone in or visiting the Atlanta Area.

Sweetwater IPA is a great American IPA. Simply put, its not expensive and the taste is wonderful.

Dont pass this one up.

Serving type: on-tap

06-26-2010 00:19:44 | More by PanicUnited
Photo of dmamiano

West Virginia

4.43/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fresh at the Draft House at atlanta airport
Nice copper color with a wonderfull head and copias amount of lacing
fresh citrus...more grapefruit in the nose. malts poking in with nice caramel notes
taste was awesome. Juicy grapefruit hoppines dominated along with a perfect malt balance.
One of the best IPA's I have had in a while

Serving type: on-tap

06-25-2010 16:16:39 | More by dmamiano
Photo of dwarvenspirits


4.58/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this while on vacation and I never heard of this brewery before. The head held up nicely for the entire pint and the smell was amazing, super fresh with tons and tons of pine aroma in it. And that was exactly how it delivered in flavor. This was like a simcoe hop bomb. Very enjoyable, very good ipa. Not a perfect A, but nearly flawless.

Serving type: on-tap

06-22-2010 21:04:40 | More by dwarvenspirits
Photo of Beerandraiderfan


4.29/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Wow, thanks to reeverbythespeak for this gem! Pours a glowing orange and copper. Gigantic flowery hop aroma, not overly citrus or pine, maybe leaning a little citrus, tangerine, lemon and grapefruit.

Taste, so light on the palate, so heavy on the dry hopping. A pure joy and great example of how you don't need to make an IPA to the triple degree. Between this and the St. Lupulin, I've now had 2 excellent standard APA and IPA's that were extremely hoppy and yet not over the top in resinous sticky-ness and alcohol. Ironically, sessionable, "to the extreme." Better than 98% of west coast ipas. So drinkable, so delic. No nuances or weird for the sake of weird shit going on, just big dry hopping without making a bitter alcohol bomb. Rad.

EDIT: So, in finishing the remaining beers from my 6 pack, I noticed they degraded faster than any other beer I've ever had. Some may disagree, but I've lowered my ratings. Sure, in its ideal form, its phenomenal. But the beer can't hold that ideal form for any reasonable amount of time (drink by date is still 7 weeks away and its already a shell of its former self, and I'm not part of the ipa faded army). Anyways, its ratings are now changed accordingly. This was a 4.75 originally.

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2010 15:42:40 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of 7ways


3.28/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I've gone back and forth with this beer for years, and I think I've made up my mind about it.

Nice orange and rust hue, thick white head, leaves concentric rings of lace.
Smells like a cornucopia of tropical fruits, I mostly get orange, pineapple, mango, and some kind of jolly rancher. A nice swirl leads to an intense dank and herbal aroma, very nice.
The taste and mouthfeel combine to bring this beer downhill for me. The elements from the smell are all there, but muted. In the foreground are neutral yeast, minerals, a little grapefruit, and some kind of bittersweet sugar. The hops are there in abundance, but not performing like they should. I don't get the intense orange/grapefruit/pine thing that everyone around here claims (I think that Atlantans are just proud to have something that sort of resembles a west coast pale ale). Mouthfeel begins pretty filling and well rounded, and winds up thin after every swallow, which only serves to make the mineral taste very apparent on the finish.

All things considered it's not a bad beer, but it doesn't deserve the credit it gets IMO.

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2010 02:33:20 | More by 7ways
Photo of abrand


3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle out of the tacklebox sampler. The biggest hit out of the sampler in my opinion. Poured into a pint glass.

The Sweetwater IPA pours a hazy orange color with a frothy 2 finger head that has great retention. Some noticeable sediment is seen in this unfiltered brew. Aromas are grainy and sugary. Lots of sweetness that far outweighs the hoppiness. Some malts are also present. Taste is also somewhat sweeter than I expected. I actually enjoy the sweetness to it, there isn't much bitterness at all. Some fruit is also present in the taste. Mouthfeel is thin bodied and smooth. Drinkability is pretty good for this. ABV is mediocre and the taste was a pleasant suprise.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2010 03:39:54 | More by abrand
Photo of hooliganlife


3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thanks bullywee!

pours a light copper with hints of orange. nice light fluffy head with nice retention. light lacing on the side of the glass.

light floral up front with subtle hints of orange

nice light vibrant citrus flavors. lots of tangerine, orange, and lemon. light pine through out, but very light. not much bitterness in this at all. just a wee bit in the finish. malts are very light and hardly noticeable.

light body, but medium if that makes sense. very refreshing.

this is super easy to drink. not too much of anything and a really nice hop flavor that creams refreshing. i like this a lot.

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2010 22:31:09 | More by hooliganlife
Photo of haddon


4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

NOTE: updated review on 12/18/2010

pours a cloudy copper with a massive frothy head. looks good in the glass. good lacing all the way down

S- citrusy hops at first but then overpowered by the malty aroma. brown sugar, caramel, floral hops

T- very sweet & citrusy hop notes that are dominated by grapefruit. small amounts of caramel and brown sugar but overran by bitter/tangy grapefruit

M- medium body with average carbonation

d- I love this beer. has turned into my ipa standby and I always keep sixer in fridge. at $9/sixer, it really is hard to beat.

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2010 23:27:33 | More by haddon
Photo of birchstick


4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - pours a light copper with a bready-looking head

S - smells of delicious grapefruity hops and some cereal malts

T - the taste follows the nose. Loads of grapefruit hops that are balanced with some cereal malts on the finish. This is very fruity and sweet, but the cereal malts help pull in the reigns on the hops.

M - kind of watery with a medium body.

D - this is a solid IPA. I love the grapefruity hops. This is a really sweet IPA that isn't overly sweet. I bought one six packan but will buy another before I head back to St. Louis.

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2010 23:14:02 | More by birchstick
Photo of ktrillionaire


4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - translucent honey-copper hue, big billowing head, and plastered lacing

S - Huge, I mean ridiculously huge, notes of citrus. The aroma is grapefruit and tangerine and spicy caramel malt.

T - The taste, while good, is a slight letdown from the promise of the nose. Pros: it is very pleasant and refreshing. Cons: the flavor is a tad sweet and not too long-lasting.

M - A bit on the thin side, and missing the lingering bitterness.

D - Overall, this is a fantastic IPA, despite my nitpicking review. We will see how it fares in the East Coast-West Coast beef that I have arranged... can it be felled by a can from Oregon? Caldera IPA is up next... (Update: Sweetwater wins, barely)

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2010 15:41:57 | More by ktrillionaire
Photo of branimal9

South Carolina

4.43/5  rDev +11%
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 Crazy4LegMoose


3.65/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Golden orange translucent color with 2 fingers of creamy off white head that leaves thick lacing on the glass.

S: Strong smell of pine/grassy hops mixed with a slight hint of vanilla almond sweetness.

T: Sweet malty flavor that finishes with a clean pine grassy taste. Very similar to the smell. The name of the brewery seems to match the taste of this IPA, very sweet tasting IPA with a good amount of hop punch.

M: Medium body with nice creamy carbonation.

D: Very drinkable solid IPA. The sweet malty taste makes this an interesting full flavored beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2010 16:38:50 | More by Crazy4LegMoose
Photo of klkatz


3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

In a trip back to our temporary home of Atlanta... i was excited to try some of the staples I used to enjoy.... Sweetwater Brewing company is that staple. At our old Whole Foods I bough a six pack of the IPA... wifey got a Blue Moon six pack... (i know, I'm wincing too)....

The day was long... 3:30 wake-up to catch an early morning flight... my 8month old son slept on me the entire way... we (my son and I) strolled around the Emory campus while wifey fulfilled her obligation of speaking on a panel. We found a baseball game, and watched Emory score a few runs... then finally went back to the hotel to enjoy the sweet water....

From the brown bottle directly to the hotel bathroom glass/tumbler... the color was not that impressive... it was a dark amber, with a thick white head...

a grapefruit aroma... gave way to a good taste... a strong start, with a sweet finish... the drinkability would be a 6 if I could rate it that high.

can't wait to go back to ATL and get me some more sweetwater.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2010 01:42:28 | More by klkatz
Photo of reeverbythespeak


4.53/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is a standard of mine for an after work start to the evening. The color is a lovely straw amber grain. The nose is grapefruity and slightly piny. The flavor is VERY grapefruity with that sweet tartness. It coats the mouth, but not in an overbearing way. As much of it as I have consumed, I must declare this beer extremely drinkable.

Serving type: on-tap

05-03-2010 22:33:51 | More by reeverbythespeak
Photo of seedsofchaos


3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with hues of oranges and yellows. High transparency. Decent head that fades quickly. Great carbonation. Lacing isn't this brew's strong point.

Nose is of hops and not much else. I think I get Centennial off the nose. It's a little spicy with just a touch of pine. A lot of sweetness in the nose after with no pronounced reason for being. Can't detect any complexities or malts by smell.

This beer is definitely going for more of the bitter side of the IPA coin than the flavor or aroma. Great bittering with a touch of citrus. The malts are fairly subdued and what I do get is only a pinch of biscuit/bread followed immediately by the faintest medicinal quality of the hops and then immediately turned back on again my the pine, citrus and bittering.

Mouthfeel is medium-light and smooth

Sessionable. Low ABV. Highly drinkable. Great highly available brew.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2010 11:51:43 | More by seedsofchaos
Sweetwater IPA from SweetWater Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 2,167 ratings.