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

2,271 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,271
Reviews: 786
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 11.53%
Wants: 139
Gots: 231 | 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:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sweetwater IPA Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,271 | Reviews: 786 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Jbgib22


4.65/5  rDev +16.5%

Smooth citrus flavor. The "grapefruit" taste does overpower the grain flavor at times but it is not a sour taste. Nice hoppy flavor. The cloudy "unfiltered" look of the ale was appealing to the eye. I think the IBU is probaby in the 46- 55 range. It is a great summer time brew

02-10-2010 18:13:12 | More by Jbgib22
Photo of feelmefoam

South Carolina

4.18/5  rDev +4.8%

Pours a light, slightly murky caramel color with some carbonation running up the inside of the glass and into a finger of off-white head. The head doesn't last too long, but it does leave some pretty decent lacing around the glass.

The aroma is probably the best part of this beer. Nice and refreshingly hoppy up front with plenty of orange, lemon drop, and grapefruit, all very sweet-smelling. Towards the end of each whiff I can smell a little caramel maltiness, but not a lot.

The taste is pretty similar to the nose but not quite as big. Just like the nose, sweet, juicy grapefruit and orange up front with a little bit of a caramel malt background backing this up. Refreshing and tasty.

The mouthfeel is pretty good for the style as well. Nice medium body that lets the flavors run around smoothly in your mouth with just enough carbonation to give it a crisp, refreshing bite.

Overall, Sweetwater's IPA is a pretty good representation of the style. Though not as hoppy as the label claims, the only improvements it needs is to add a little bit more flavor and to give more head. A very easy drinker, it won't be hard for me to finish this and several of its friends. Not a bad beer, at all.

02-05-2010 23:17:14 | More by feelmefoam
Photo of bosox941827

North Carolina

4.08/5  rDev +2.3%

12 oz glass into an imperial pint glass; poured cold and tasted as it warmed.
A - A bit cloudy (it's unfiltered), orange-y-amber with lace that clings to the glass
S - Great nose - hops and more hops! Let's you know this is a serious American IPA
T - Nice piney hops in the front, resolving into a sweetness that is blended with a clear sense of roasted malts, which finishes with more hops. That sweet note really complements well with the hop flavor; get a bit of alcohol at the very end too, esp. as it warms up.
M - Pretty smooth with a medium amount of carbonation; hop dryness hangs around for a bit at the end as you might expect.
D - Pretty drinkable; am an IPA lover and so could definitely put down a few of these.

Liked this quite a bit and was pleasantly surprised. Decided to try it as I have had their Pale Ale on tap and was similarly impressed; will definitely be keeping an eye on this brewery as quality overall seems high.

02-04-2010 23:37:23 | More by bosox941827
Photo of brent106


4/5  rDev +0.3%

Appearance was very cloudy. No head, but a lot of lacing.

The grapefruit smell almost knocked me down, but in a good way.

This brew is a grapefruit grenade! The grapefruit is followed by strong floral hops. I also detect a slight hint of biscuit in there as well. For an IPA, there was not much pine flavor here. Not much malt either, which is good.

The ABV is high and the price is low. This is possibly the best valued craft brew out there.

To be sure, this is quite a unique ale given the strong grapefruit flavor, but it's a bit much. I think it overpowers some of the hop and pine flavors. Overall, it's still delicious.

01-26-2010 17:44:21 | More by brent106
Photo of mullenite


4.4/5  rDev +10.3%

Glassware - Imperial Pint

Appearance - Clear and copper in color with a one finger white head that settles in to a loose cap pretty quickly. Very nice lacing on the glass.

Nose - Nice hoppy nose with a good balance of citrus and pine aromas. Lots of grapefruit when you first sniff it but then that fades in to a nice fresh pine aroma towards the end of the sniff.

Taste - Very dry with a nice resinous pine flavor up front backed up with the grapefruit. The taste is basically the opposite of the nose which is nice, when you take a sip you get a blast of pine and can smell the citrus. Very well rounded with not even a hint of malt (which is strange given it's an east coast beer.)

Mouthfeel - Body is on the lighter side of medium with lots of carbonation and a very dry finish.

Overall - Really enjoying this, it was a warm day out so we went for a hike and this is really refreshing.

01-23-2010 23:06:47 | More by mullenite
Photo of woosterbill


4.05/5  rDev +1.5%

12 oz bottle into a straight-sided pint glass.

A: Deep amber/mahogany body with a matrix of fine yeast particles in suspension - so fine as to appear clear from a distance. 2 inches of solid off-white head with strong retention and tons of frothy lacing. Gorgeous, nay, perfect unfiltered IPA appearance.

S: Straightforward and fresh hop aromas: grapefruit, orange zest, and pine. Not complex, but very nice indeed.

T: Smoothly bitter hops up front (more pine than citrus, followed by a wave of light toffee malt and finally a big piney finish. Solid.

M: A little thin on the body, and surprisingly light and spiky with the carbonation.

D: Great flavors and a crisp finish make this a very drinkable IPA, with a great mix of serious hoppiness and smooth approachability. Nice.

Notes: This is a fantastic brew, especially for the price. If I ever life down south again, this may become my go-to IPA.


01-17-2010 04:15:44 | More by woosterbill
Photo of dirtylou


4.1/5  rDev +2.8%

shipped by bert

sweetwater ipa - best consumed fresh

appearance: poured into a great dane imperial pint - looks the part, rather clear orange-amber body, light beige froth

smell: lots of citrus - orange zest, tangerine, fresh and pungent

taste: nice hoppy ipa - fresh citrus, moderate bitterness, tangerine, light grapefruit. hops are very one dimensional, but potent and enjoyable

mouthfeel: sharp on the tongue, moderate bitterness

drinkability: good

01-16-2010 22:54:24 | More by dirtylou
Photo of drumrboy22


4.05/5  rDev +1.5%

Picked this up on a recent trip to AL. Poured from 12oz. bottle into a Lucky Labrador Brewing Nonic pint glass. Beer was orange in color, with a three-finger, off-white, rocky head. Moderate carbonation and thick lacing around the glass.

Aroma was lots of piney hops, along with some citrus undertones. Some light malt and caramel notes.

Taste was bitter hops, citrus, grain, bread and caramel. Very balanced and easy drinking, but a bit lighter than I prefer my IPA's. Would make for a good session beer.

01-16-2010 02:38:54 | More by drumrboy22
Photo of tigg924


3.98/5  rDev -0.3%

Appearance: cloudy, orange-brown in color, 1/3 inch head, high carbonation

Smell: piney hops, a touch of citrus hops, some toasted malt

Taste: follows the nose--piney hops, a touch of citrus hops, some toasted malt

Mouthfeel: smooth, moderately bitter with a slightly sweet backbone, moderate to high carbonation, light bodied

Drinkability: A very good IPA that is bitter but not overly so. The hops are there, but not overpowering. A simple yet good beer.

01-12-2010 15:47:14 | More by tigg924
Photo of SpeedwayJim

New York

4.03/5  rDev +1%

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Captain Lawrence pint glass. "Best-by" date of 2/21/10.

A: Gentle pour reveals a .5 finger cream-colored fine head that dissipates quickly. Brew is a semi-cloudy orange. Looks like there's stuff floating in it... weird. Lacing is thin but forms a nice ringed pattern.

S: Peach gummy, citrus, grapefruit, piney hops, all very fresh but quite subdued.

T: Opens crystal clear, subdued citrus, piney hops, malty cane sugar backbones balances this one out nicely. Hops appear towards the finish but are not very apparent.

M: Light bodied, carbonated, and coarse. Watery and very thirst-quenching. Finish is just right. Hops are not over the top and do not linger too long.

D: A great gateway IPA for malt-heads. Hops are not apparent in this one at all compared to some others I've had. Regardless, very balanced and the mouthfeel makes me feel like I could drink a gallon of this.

01-11-2010 19:09:46 | More by SpeedwayJim
Photo of dougofthefuture


4.47/5  rDev +12%

Thanks gdodd12!

Poured into a tulip glass from a 12 oz bottle with a 2/15/10 best by date.

A - Pours a bright orange yellow with a perfect two finger pillow of head. It is sticking around for a while too.

S - With my eyes closed, I would mistake this for fresh cut pineapple. There is a ton of sweet citrus fruit. I'd say there are passion fruit smells as well, but that would just sound weird. Either way, I love it.

T&M - Initially it is apparent this is dry hopped. It is a fresh bitter that turns in to a sweet citrus on the finish. The mouthfeel could be a bit thicker, but it is refreshing. I think there is a double IPA as well? I wonder if that is even better...

D - If I could buy this locally, I'd have it around quite often I'm sure.

01-08-2010 05:16:26 | More by dougofthefuture
Photo of cpetrone84


3.95/5  rDev -1%

Review from notes from 1/3/10

A-nice lightly haxed golden amber color with a decent amount of white head that leaves a fair amount of lace and has a solid retention. lots of bubbles rise from the bottom, it looks highly carbonated

S-pretty big nose that has a fruty ester hop profile. lots of grapefruit and citrus. there is a low level of sweet caramel malt that is present but it brings on the hops and i like the nose

T-a caramel malt comes in first with a touch of toasted flavor. the citrus comes in next with a small amount of grapefruit and some pine. a big bitter hop finish with some alcohol warming towards the back with a little sense of being watered down towards the finish to take away from something almost very good

M-a nice body, good mouthfeel, very smooth and a lower level of carbonation. It has a syrupy aspect to it and brings an astringent character to it. the alcohol brings a slight burn at the back.

D-nice hop profile and some sweet caramel malts. it is very smooth and has a good amount of body to it. the finish had some kind of a watery taste to it and the alcohol was slightly present on a lower abv beer.

01-08-2010 04:53:01 | More by cpetrone84
Photo of brownbeer


3.93/5  rDev -1.5%

Pours bright orange with some friendly yeast floaties.

It has a really nice nose, very hop forward. Grapefruit is noticeable with American hop resins.

Well balanced flavors with juicy grapefruit notes and fresh orange citrus.

The body is almost too light, though that adds a sessionable element.

I would say if you're having a few, this is a good choice. If you just want one, you might want to go with something a little more satisfying. Good pizza beer.

01-01-2010 20:50:01 | More by brownbeer
Photo of u2carew


4.18/5  rDev +4.8%

12oz long neck. Picked this up on a trip to Charlotte, NC. Consumed 11/19/09

A) Pours with a thin head then settles quickly. Lacing is disjointed and not very sticky. Subtle haze. Bronze in color.
S) Orange. Pink grapefruit with a touch of caramel malt.
T) Grapefruit with sugary sweet notes. Well balanced flavor all the way through, but fades quickly toward the finish. Mellow hop aftertaste.
M) Fizzy yet smooth. Medium body.
D) Delicious. I'd have another and make a recommendation to a buddy.

12-26-2009 14:02:47 | More by u2carew
Photo of kwakwhore

North Carolina

4.2/5  rDev +5.3%

Purchased at Sam's in Durham.
Beautiful clear golden pour. Off white head which leaves copious lacing on the glass.
A serious blast of hop perfume, redolent of sweet citrus fruits and perhaps some pineapple, is more of what one would expect from a double IPA. What's really impressive is how long these aromas last, all the way down the glass so far. As the beer gets a little warmer you can even smell some cracker/biscuit malts. This is one really fine beer on the nose, one of the best I can remember.
The flavors are a little dryer with some cracker like malts(you'd expect that from a Georgia brewery) and a big juicy grapefruit hop bite which is accompanied by a lesser amount of sweet malts. Brewed on the east coast, its character is very much a west coast IPA. As the beer warms, the sweet malts actually come forward a bit, enough to feel a bit more balance, but the hops remain in the foreground.
Excellent mouthfeel with some nice prickly carbonation, and very easy to drink.
I've had the 420 before and enjoyed it, but this is a really exceptional IPA and a really pleasant surprise. My only regret is only buying two bottles instead a whole six pack, but that will be remedied the next time I see this again.

12-22-2009 02:51:40 | More by kwakwhore
Photo of KeefD


4/5  rDev +0.3%

Thanks go out to Speedwayjim for this extra! Lovely orange color with a small white head left some llight lacing on the glass. Aroma is grapefruit and lightly sweet and spicy. West coast style IPA here, plenty of grapefruit and citrus, a touch of pepper, crisp, dry malts. Good balance, easy drinking. Nice IPA!

12-20-2009 04:33:51 | More by KeefD
Photo of corby112


4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Pours a pale golden orange amber color with pale golden yellowish orange hues when held to a light source and a 1.5 finger frothy off-white head.

Sweet citrus hop aroma with a subtle malt backbone and pine presence. Lots of grapefruit and lemon and orange peel along with some mango and pineapple. This beer is bursting with fresh floral hops and I'm picking up all kinds of complex aromas. Subtle biscuit/graham cracker malt laying underneath as well as some faint pine.

Slightly chewy, resinous medium body with a lot of delicious fresh floral hoppy goodness. Lots of sweet citrus flavor, especially lemon and orange peel, mango, pineapple and grapefruit. The perfect amount of dry piny bitterness balanced out by a subtle biscuit/ graham cracker malt backbone. The ABV is excellently masked making this beer dangerously quaffable. I love this beer and wish I had constant access to fresh bottles of it.

12-17-2009 07:50:59 | More by corby112
Photo of jlindros


4.05/5  rDev +1.5%

Got this bad-Larry in a fun trade with vicanncam. Adding and editing my review thanks to another supply from JonnyGalt (Reddit).

A: Big 1 finger head spread across a large snifter so its a big nice head. It slowly fades and leaves a creamy looking lacing covering an orange red almost pink like beer, and very hazy.

N: A nice malt start to the aroma, followed by a nice hop aroma. Some fresh hop aromas and bitter piny hops hit quite a bit with even a touch of resin. A slight citrus comes through, but mostly a chewy piny hop aroma. It has a really nice strong hop IPA aroma with fresh hops, pine, citrus, chewy aromas, and slight earthy hop goodness.The more I go though the hops seem a bit muted.

T: Starts with an interesting juicy fruit hop taste. Its quite a bit of the sweet juicy candy hops to hit first and don't seem to go away, light light candied orange. A light fresh musty resinous hop taste hits with it. It adds a light piney and citrus taste as well, almost orange zest but not quite. A nice crystal malt flavor adds a good backbone, with a touch of what could be felt as booze. A slight chewy hop taste comes through as well. It almost gets creamy and slightly spicy hop character, but never quite gets to either. Finish is semi dry with a slight malty sweetness, long lingering bitterness with light citrus orange zest hops, and hint of pine and resin.

M: Body is a bit heavier and slightly chewy with decent carbonation.

Overall pretty good, more like typical fairly balanced east coast style IPA that does it's job, and nothing wrong. Hops are decent, fairly balanced, fairly tasty and drinkable, but not quite a standout.

12-14-2009 03:32:39 | More by jlindros
Photo of dpodratsky3

North Carolina

4.05/5  rDev +1.5%

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: A fairly clear amber with big hints of orange, decent head lingers, then settles to a hazy film

S: Big hit of pine along with those grapefruit hops, smells like the fruit, not just the rind, an almost sweet character to it, perhaps some bready malt, but I can't be sure with all the hops, a little more interesting that the typical IPA

T: Good, but not quite as pleasing as the smell, again that distinct pine hop, a slight malt balance, nothing big, but enough to hold up the hops

M: Not overly carbonated, not good or bad, just kind of there, not overly dry

O: Good, a very solid IPA that holds it own

Notes: Surprisingly solid selection from sweetwater. This rivals the standard IPA's. By that I mean, as good as the ones that I consider to be "good" IPA, not just a run of the mill beer. It definitely has some character to it.

12-11-2009 07:21:29 | More by dpodratsky3
Photo of carwreCk


4/5  rDev +0.3%

Orange with a sticky head.

The smell is loads of citrus, mostly orange.

Taste is grapefruit and orange with a bit of lemon zest bite. I had this 6-pack in my truck for a few hours on a chilly evening and have been drinking at that temperature. The orange flavor really comes through as it warms up.

The mouthfeel is medium viscosity-wise as well as with carbonation.

This is a beer I could drink all day if I were inclined to drink beer all day. It's not blowing my mind but it is all around good.

12-11-2009 04:59:06 | More by carwreCk
Photo of pokesbeerdude


4.05/5  rDev +1.5%

Received this as an extra in a trade with Yesac. 12oz.

A: Slightly cloudy copper in color with a cream colored head, about 1/4 of an inch thick. Great retention, and excellent lacing around the edges of the glass.

S: Big time grapefruit and resiny hops, a few hints of pine, caramel, and a light sweetness. This is really dominated by the citrus hops though. Awesome

T: Big time caramel malt up front, strong sweetness that fades into a nice bitterness. A little mild on the bitterness from what I first smelled, but it's definitely there. Hops are citrusy and follow the nose. Really tasty. Nice lingering bitterness.

M: Medium body, quite dry, decent carbonation, just a little hint of alcohol warmth.

D: Pretty easy to drink, in fact if I could get this beer, I'd have at least a sixer on hand at all times. Very tasty, nice East Coast IPA. Would really like to find this one on tap.

Thanks Casey!

11-25-2009 02:38:12 | More by pokesbeerdude
Photo of Freethyhops


3.95/5  rDev -1%

12oz bottle with best by date of 12/28/09

A- pours a hazy, very light amber color. produces a finger of fluffy white head. not a ton of lacing for an IPA. the head reduces to a spotty film after a minute or so. looks like a nice citrus oriented IPA.

S- a quite pungent citrus aroma full of bitterness. mostly lemon-orange centered. some floral element to the aroma as well. this is my kind of IPA so far.

T- mostly floral in the taste, not nearly as much citrus as in the aroma. it could be just the hop profile, but this may not be the freshest bottle and I may come back and edit my review if I have it fresher and notice a significant difference. a nice load of bitterness ties in with a mix of sweet/dry flavors in the finish.

M/D- when trying to dissect the mouthfeel it's fairly difficult to pick out many flaws. IMO, this part of this beer is what makes it such an easy drinking session-like IPA. great balance of viscosity & carbonation. I'm glad one of the south's few regional IPA's is a very enjoyable brew.

11-21-2009 08:43:09 | More by Freethyhops
Photo of mjl21


4/5  rDev +0.3%

Acquired via trade...thanks Josh. 12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter. Best enjoyed by 10/26/09. No abv info is given.

A-Pours a clear amber that has a lot of orange in it. It has a one finger off white head that has some decent retention.

S-Grapefruit, some grassy hops, and a little honey sweetness. It gets fruitier as it warms.

T-Grapefruit and bitter orange rind start it off. The bitterness extends in the middle where a little sweet malt comes into play. There is some biscuity flavor as it goes down. A touch of booze is noticeable.

M-Medium bodied with lively carbonation. It is dry and bitter.

D-Even though I tried it at the end of its drink by date, it was still one of the better non WC IPAs that I have tried.

I really enjoyed this beer. I was hesitant to review it because the bottle was at the end of its shelf life, but it tasted good and was worthy of a review. I want to try a fresh bottle.

11-20-2009 00:57:38 | More by mjl21
Photo of LewBrew


4.22/5  rDev +5.8%

This is a very drinkable IPA. Those it has a light hop nose for an IPA, but it has pleasant sweet, cereal, & citrus aroma. The body is appropriate for the style with a medium-light body. This IPA overall has a medium hop/bitter load for an IPA, and is not an over the top hop load. This beer does however have a fantastic balanced sweetness that marries well with the hops. I would definitely look for this beer next time I'm in the South.

11-16-2009 03:39:16 | More by LewBrew
Photo of Mavajo


3.55/5  rDev -11%

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.

11-15-2009 20:10:07 | More by Mavajo
Sweetwater IPA from SweetWater Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 2,271 ratings.