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Sweetwater IPA - SweetWater Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sweetwater IPASweetwater IPA

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

2,187 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,187
Reviews: 781
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 11.53%
Wants: 137
Gots: 196 | 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
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Ratings: 2,187 | Reviews: 781 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cnjohn19

North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Told to get hip with the 420 ale from sweetwater...i have to admit though, i think this one might be their flagship...

pours a cloudy dark orange...def unfiltered to the eye...rich white head which stays until the first 2 drinks...the best lacing on the glass i've seen w/ an american ipa...but the foam looks like mold as it goes away...

very balanced to the nose...almost too balanced...you'll get grapefruit and pine needles...

whoa, there's the piney hops...one word: delicious...best tasting ipa (excluding doubles) i've had in over a year...again, extremely balanced, hint of dextrins...and just a tad bit of sweetness...

balanced bitterness...frothy, and strong, stand-alone body...believe me, you'll drink more than one during one sitting...it's impossible not to...great ipa from sweetwater...

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2009 01:23:13 | More by cnjohn19
Photo of HeeNalu


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

First off, I was previously a culinary student, worked in fine dining for some time, and was well trained in wine tasting, so I'm sorry if the references don't particularly fit what you'd consider beer-speak.

Poured into standard tumbler from 12 oz bottle that reads "Best if enjoyed by 8/12/09."

Appearance - Pours a fair orange color with a nice 2 - 3 inch head that pillows just over the rim of my glass. Head dissipates in an average amount of time - doesn't fizz out right away, but doesn't stick around for very long. Leaves a bit a sporadic lacing down the sides.

Smell - First off, nice hop front quite reminiscent of grapefruit, or grapefruit rind. Behind that a nice caramel smelling malt backbone that barely doesn't stand up to the citrusy hop bouquet.

Taste - Two words - Hop Sandwich. Up front, nice big citrusy hop taste with big grapefruit notes. As the hops mellow on the palate the almost caramel malt sweetness makes an appearance to balance out the initial hop. Then it finishes with a piney, hop bitterness across the back of the tongue.

Mouthfeel - Medium-ish body. Initially feels fairly light on the palate, but makes its presence well-known shortly after. Leaves a fairly nice coating of hop oil across your tongue that hangs for a moment, but doesn't linger too long.

Drinkability - Fairly high drinkability. Scales tilt to the hop side a bit, but balanced enough with malt enough that you can keep drinking it. Nice, clean, and pretty refreshing.

This would be wonderful with some nice ceviche of shrimp, squid, and scallops marinaded in lime juice, cilantro, and chilis on a hot summer day. Very nice beer that should be a regular IPA for all who have it available.

Serving type: bottle

06-03-2009 05:52:59 | More by HeeNalu
Photo of jwinship83


4.6/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle from yesac. best by 7/7/09 on the side. poured into a standard pint glass and drank just above fridge temp.

A- this one pours an amber colored body with a brilliant white head. the head lasts for a pretty long time, and leaves lots of sticky lacing behind. very nice.

S- caramel malts followed by alot of fruity hops. mostly citrus fruits like grapefruits, but also some orange and possibly pineapple.

T- the sweet caramel malts come out first, and then come the hops. lots of citrus. big blast of grapefruit, and the orange/pineapple that i could smell as well. a nice balance to this one. very well done.

M- medium bodied with a nice moderate level of carbonation. crisp, clean, and refreshing.

D- i could drink this all day long. one of my favorite IPAs of all time. check this one out if given the chance, it doesnt get the attention it deserves.

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2009 02:59:05 | More by jwinship83
Photo of bamadog


4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I actually had this on tap back in February at the J.Clyde in Birmingham, AL but did not have anything to write with and was having kind of a long night anyway, so it didn't get reviewed. Special thanks to beerman207 for bringing a bottle back with him from his recent trip down south so I can have another crack at it. Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a pretty much straight up copper color with a nice slightly off-white one finger head that doesn't have much retention as it quickly fades to a skim on the top. Body is pretty clear and there is a mild amount of carbonation bubbling up from the bottom. A drippy ring of lacing holds briefly, but there appears to be a lot of resin making it a bit oily and not allowing it to hold long.

Smell: Nice and hoppy right away - especially bitter and it seems piney and pungent, possibly simcoe? I pick up a very faint scent of malts hiding in the back, but really the nose is dominated by the hops. I'm expecting a pretty sticky mouthfeel...

Taste: Very present hop bitterness right up front, and with my fairly limited knowledge of hops, I am going to say that there is indeed simcoe hops used in the process (a quick visit to the website yields no answers for me). Much like the nose, piney and pungent. The bitterness is great as I tend to like, and there is a very faint maltiness that offers a small semblance of balance of sweetness way in the back. Kind of refreshing, really.

Mouthfeel: It's a tad sticky, but not nearly as sticky as I thought it was going to be. There is a thin coating on the tongue but that's really about it. The body is fairly light and not thick or creamy at all and allows for a pretty clean finish. Not too shabby.

Drinkability: I would say pretty high - I really like the flavor and it's not an especially challenging beer -- just a straight forward and bitter IPA with a nice clean finish. It's refreshing and doesn't pack too much of a punch. Good all around.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2009 03:35:51 | More by bamadog
Photo of beerman207


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

A: Dark orange color, 2 fingers head on the pour disasppearing fast leaving some nice lacing in the glass. Very inviting

S: Strong on grapefruit and citrus as well as a malt presence

T: Nice balance in the taste between hops and citrus. It is refreshing and I get a balance and grapefruit as well as even some orange coming through in the taste - nice.

M: Medium Bodied. Not too drying like some IPAs can leave the palate - has some oils there but good balance.

D: Good balance in this one that makes it a definate sessionable beer. I could go for a few. I'm glad I brought back a six pack of this beer from Atlanta.

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2009 01:59:36 | More by beerman207
Photo of n00tz


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

A - Short blonde head laces all the way down the glass. Amber body with a party of carbonation below.

S - Bitter citrus hops, very much a grapefruit. slight carmelized malts.

T - Beneath the grapefruity hops blast, there's a bunch of other flavor characters showing their face. Sweet carmelized malts, a bit of toast and some fresh spring grassiness. Fantastic.

M - Medium body, somewhat dry which was a surprise considering the whole wealth of flavors. Carbonation reacts nicely on the tongue. Leaves a bit of a resin behind on the palate - just enough to make you want more.

D - This is absolutely my favorite fully available Sweetwater offering, probably the most affordable of my highly rated IPA's. and should be considered a staple of the local Atlanta bars.

Serving type: bottle

05-26-2009 00:59:29 | More by n00tz
Photo of rudylaw


4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to mbudner for including this extra in our recent trade!

Nice straw color with a huge, 2-finger, foamy head. Very nice.

Citrus aroma -- grapefruit, orange, pine aromas, with a little caramel too.
I get most of the same in the taste, but I'm also getting a affy tapple as well. More and more apple as I make my way through this. Floral hops, piney and grassy too.

This is a pretty unique IPA and I want more dammit!

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2009 02:36:31 | More by rudylaw
Photo of stephens101


4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very light amber in color with some orange hues making it look a bit grapefruitish. A two-finger dirty white head wisps away quickly and leaves a craggly lacing behind. Aroma consists of resiny hops with a good grapefruity base. A little pine and malt waft up upon closer inspection. Tastes pretty much the same with a bit more sugar covered citrus involved. Has a medium mouth-feel, and there's plenty of carbonation involved. Excellent IPA that approaches FFF Alpha-land.

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2009 00:33:01 | More by stephens101
Photo of rtratzlaff

North Carolina

4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sweetwater's IPA pours a clear deep amber hued body below a white head that leaves good lacing with each sip.

The aromas are sweet malt with some caramel with tropical fruit aromas with the matching and then some extra hop character to it. Amarillo perhaps.

The flavor is the same with adequate carbonation and a solid mouthfeel to the beer.

FWIW: I typically compare my IPA's to Bell's Two Hearted and this one is maltier with a softer tropical fruit hop character rather the bigger citrus, orange type hops in Bell's.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2009 20:13:48 | More by rtratzlaff
Photo of BitterPachyderm


3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Many props to RustyDiamond for a delightful trade extra here!

A 12 oz. bottle poured into my Sierra Nevada pint glass. A drink by date of 7/22/09 stamped on the side.

Don't get me wrong, I don't hate IPAs...I'm just not the hugest fan of them, because I struggle to find one that can blow me away. This little gem came about as close to that happening as ever...

It poured a nice ambered golden color, with two finger head, with the staying power of an unwanted neighbor, resulting in decent lacing.

The nose was dominated by citrus and most noted, grapefruit notes, which I have come to expect from a decent IPA.

The taste didn't blow me away, but it did leave a crooked smile on my face. A bit buttery, but mostly the grapefuit dominated the forefront on this one.

Mouthfeel...this is what sold me on this IPA, there was no overpowering in the grapefuit, which left this bad boy with a slick yet creamy mouthfeel...and spot on with the carbonation.

Definitely a quaffable IPA, aren't they all supposed to be?

Maybe this brew has changed my mind on IPA's. It was a solid beer with mild complexities that I wasn't truly prepared for. A big thumbs up in my book!

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2009 13:18:52 | More by BitterPachyderm
Photo of tai4ji2x


4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thanks to jyounger30

12oz bottle with best by of 04/06/09. tasted just before, in late march/early april.

clear, classic amber. some head, fades to wisps and ring. very good lacing though, all the way down the glass.

grapefruit and pine aromas, with some toasted, caramelized malt. pretty standard. (*note - another bottle was tasted a few days before, and there were some much stronger, marijuana-like pungent tones, and less citrusy hop.)

sweet and fruity in the flavor, caramel and apple, with fruity grapefruit-like hops and pine note. mild to moderate bitterness. grassy, citrus rind note in the back. interestingly, that note reminiscent of marijuana briefly comes out again here...

medium body. resins again in the finish. crisp yet controlled carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2009 01:33:43 | More by tai4ji2x
Photo of colts9016


3.78/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this beer from Jay, thank you for this bottle.

Poured into a pint glass at 45 degrees

Appearance: A medium amber color with orangish hues. There was a one finger ivory foamy creamy head that last for a couple minutes. There is a lot of effervescence in the beer. The clarity of the beer is most clear with touch of haziness. There is some lacing on the glass left behind from the head.

Nose: A nice ripe grapefruit with pine and floral esters. There is a descent amount of malt with a subtle sweetness.

Taste: A good ripe grapefruit with some pine and floral esters. There is an okay malt backbone kinda flimsy. There are notes of grass and straw.

Overall: The mouth feel of the beer is carbonated and little dry. The body of the beer is medium and the finish lingers for a little bit. This beer is descent IPA, but the malt is flimsy. I the beer had a little more hops and a stronger backbone this would be a really nice IPA.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2009 23:57:26 | More by colts9016
Photo of BZero007


3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Recieved in a trade from PerzentRizen! Thanks.

Poured from a bottle and in to my DFH semi tulip pint glass. Pours a very cloudy amber color, the clouds swirl threw the beer and look to carry alot of flavor. The aroma is of a citrusy hops and floral notes. The flavor was actually very similar to a Stone Ruination for me but not as harsh. The Hops were very prominant and were a specific hops that are a bit to bitter for me. In the Ruination the beer's hops killed my taste buds quickly but this beer the flavor lasted which I was very happy for. The medium body and alcohol level makes the drinkability pretty good. Would like to try other beers from this craft brewery.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2009 16:42:42 | More by BZero007
Photo of daliandragon

North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've been enjoying this one all week and trying to stretch it out, since it has disappeared from the local Harris Teeter, and I haven't yet seen it anywhere else locally.

The look is classic yet individual with a wet tan head and thee beginnings of lace and an on fire amber orange body. The nose is balanced but bitter with citrus just edging the pine for control. I got a good feeling right off the bat for this one.

Somehow, they manage to make this refreshing despite the very high IBUs and potent 6.7 abv. The pine, citrus and herbal hops are unrelenting, almost mouth puckering but still extremely enjoyable and absurdly easy to drink. The texture is thick and oily as in the best IPAs and the carbonation aids but doesn't mask the flavor.

I can honestly admit that I wasn't expecting a ton from this Atlanta brewery but this was outstanding. Definitely top five and maybe top 3 for best American IPAs I've ever had and that includes almost all of the big boys. There is something just eminently drinkable about this brew that I can't get enough of. I need to find more soon; at $8 a sixer, this could easily be my summer drinking IPA.

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2009 22:57:36 | More by daliandragon
Photo of MPLS


4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pale orange in color, nice bubbly head, chunky lace.

S: Certainly not a monster smell, but pleasant fruitiness and malt.

T: A smooth drinking IPA, mellow citrus peel flavor with noticeable but seemingly mild hop presence. Not a huge challenging IPA.

M: Medium bodied that works, not saturated in hop oils, but not thin.

D: Session written all over this one, easy drinking, not very challenging to the palate, but it's subtlety is a strength here.

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2009 17:56:47 | More by MPLS
Photo of wagenvolks


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

12oz bottle received as an extra in a trade with Mschae1017...thanks! Best by 06/01/09.

Sweetwater's IPA pours a hazy copper, iced tea hue with a strong carbonation level. The light tan head retains well and leaves fantastic splotches of lacing along the inside of my beer mug. Very enticing aroma, no doubt from all that dry-hopping touted on the beer's label. Grapefruit and pine mix with a heavy caramel sweetness, however the "intense hop character" is almost overpowered by the malts, reminding me more of a IIPA nose.

Flavor presents a pleasant balance of floral & piny hops and toasted, biscuity malt notes. Hints of herbal tea and grass clippings linger into the finish...a touch of cardboard, too. Body is thinner than expected on the palate, and the uppity carbonation level doesn't help. Still, the hoppy bitter finish is solid. All in all, a good IPA that I would gladly try again, but considering how flooded the craft beer market is with this style, I can't say that Sweetwater's version stood out from the rest of the pack.

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2009 03:55:12 | More by wagenvolks
Photo of Gyle41386

South Carolina

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a nice amber-orange color. Smallish creamy off-white head. Some pretty nice lacing. Bubbles rising throughout.

Delicious citric hop aroma. I favor citrus heavily over pine, so this aroma is pretty damn heavenly. There is a soft pine character, and there's also some sweet malt.

The taste follows the nose. There are loads of grapefruit flavor. There's also hints of orange and pineapple. Very slight sweetness from the malt. Nice lingering bitterness.

Medium-full body. Rich flavor. Carbonation level is appropriate. Smooth drinker. Very easy, and enjoyable, to put back several of these. This is one I'll keep on hand both for myself, and for trade throw-ins. Great stuff.

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2009 03:13:48 | More by Gyle41386
Photo of SuperWhite92


4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to mbudner for this gem (well, four of them). I love local beers!

Pours a great copper color- what I like to see from an IPA. Smellwise, I'm unimpressed- there's some citrus aroma coming through, but it's relatively subdued. Taste is much improved however- plenty of grapefruity citrusy hops. Very well balanced and not too sweet. Mouthfeel is great- substantial without being meaty. Very impressive IPA imo- up there with some of the best single IPA's I've had.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2009 23:54:00 | More by SuperWhite92
Photo of skeeordye11

North Carolina

3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours golden amber with a half-finger head that quickly falls back into the beer. Lots of yeast floaties in this unfiltered beer.
S- Strong pine and citrus hops predominate. There is a subtle malt sweetness in the background.
T- The piney citrusy hops predominate. Almost smoky flavor. Very hoppy, but not overly biter. Very nicely done. Good carmel sweetness to helf balance out the hops.
M- Rich medium-full bodied. Very pleasing.
D- Very good. One of my top 5 favorite IPAs.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2009 18:48:08 | More by skeeordye11
Photo of projectflam86


4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a cloudy orange color with a thin white foam head that leaves some lacing.

S- Ruby red grapefruit nose with orange citrus and piney hop aroma. A fair amount of sweetness and esters present.

T- A citrus hop punch initially. A tangy grapefruit and pine flavor dominates the bitterness. A light sweet caramel malt character balances the finish quite nicely. Some faint floral and tea notes are appreciable as well.

M- Light/medium body with a low-medium amount of carbonation. Finishes smooth and clean.

D- Nicely balanced IPA. Refreshing and easily drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2009 13:55:07 | More by projectflam86
Photo of RblWthACoz


4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to BeerMark for this one.

Pours a slightly gazed amber with a creme head. Flavor is heavy on the bitter with a pine and resin tone. Feel is well bodied on the liquid and the carbonation is fairly noticeable. This is a good IPA. Some might consider it rough around the edges, but if you are looking for something intense, I think you'll like it.

Serving type: bottle

05-02-2009 02:36:58 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of tpd975


4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One I had been wanting to try for a bit.

A: Pours a nice lively orange hue with a nice solid white head. Good retention with a nice smattering of lace all the way down the glass.

S: Very bold citrus aromas. One of the more fragrant IPA's out ther. Lots and lots of nice fresh squeezed Florida pink grapefruit. Simple but good.

T: Wonderful rich caramel malt, bold, bold grapefruit, lemon grass, and subtle pine. Really nice flavors.

M: Medium in body, smooth, refreshing with great carbonation.

D: Not bad. If they could push a bit more flavor out of this one it would be world class....

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2009 02:01:15 | More by tpd975
Photo of mikereaser


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

A - pours a cloudy orange-rust color with just a layer of fine bubbles on the surface

S - aroma of orange and grapefruit, citrus hops and sweet malts

T - not as pronounced as the aroma, pine and citrus with just a hint of malt

M/D - nice bitterness, taste and carbonation. I would grab one of these any day.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2009 17:03:16 | More by mikereaser
Photo of NCSUdo


3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle

A: Clear copper under a small white head. Minimal lace and retention.

S: Nice, ripe citrus fruit, grapefruit, maybe a splash of pine. I'm not getting much malt, but the hop isn't overpowering.

T: A little smaller than the aroma. A piney hop, with some hints of grapefruit. Again, not picking up a lot of malt. Bitterness is about medium and balanced well.

M/D: Light to medium body, a little slick, carbonation is slightly prickly. Drinkability is good. A pretty solid IPA.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2009 01:05:01 | More by NCSUdo
Photo of donkeyrunner


2.45/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

My first beer since the Boston marathon and the bottle says "the beer you've been training for." Ain't that somethin'.

Pours a clear, dark gold. Decent white head that leaves some lace but has good retention. Freshness dated for 6/1/09!

Smells of floral hop at first pour but as the head faded so did the scent. More of an herbal swamp muck hop. Very malty for an IPA.

Tastes like lemon iced tea. Very mild bitterness and very malty for an IPA. Hops mainly serve as a peppery twang to the lemon tea malt.

I had this on tap in Nashville awhile back and it was great. Not so good in the bottle.

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2009 22:12:06 | More by donkeyrunner
Sweetwater IPA from SweetWater Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 2,187 ratings.