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Sweetwater 420 Extra Pale Ale - SweetWater Brewing Company

Sweetwater 420 Extra Pale AleSweetwater 420 Extra Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,845 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1845
Reviews: 602
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 13.42%

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

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  5.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-29-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,845 | Reviews: 602 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of scotorum


3.36/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Best by 5/29/14.

a: Nearly clear dark gold with a finger thick frothy white head which receded to rocky surface foam and patchy lacing.

s: None

t: Fruity initial impression with light hop bite.

m: Light, somewhat watery, lots of carbonation tingle.

o: A lightweight summer refresher. The lack of body helps it be so but does not encourage a particularly positive overall impression.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2014 02:44:27 | More by scotorum
Photo of ThisWangsChung


3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a clear amber color. The head is a finger high, and eggshell in coloring. Retention is okay. Some streaks of lacing are left on the glass.

S: Smells like a 'balanced' pale ale to me, but I don't mean that as an insult. The hop profile is a typical combination of grapefruit and pine, and even a touch of apricot. It's even a little estery. Slightly grainy malts tie everything together. Because it's so balanced, there's no wow factor on the nose - but everything about it works quite well.

T: At first, there's a slight hint of fruit esters to go with the flowery hop notes. Malts rush in quickly after, bring notes of toast, caramel, and biscuit. Just a twinge of bitterness finishes it off. This is hitting the spot nicely.

M: Very crisp, but at the same time, it could be a bit lighter. There's no lingering bitter notes left on the palate - it's very smooth going down. The zesty carbonation helps give it great drinkability, as well.

O: Every beer has its place to me: this fulfills a role similar to Fat Tire or Boston Lager, in that it's a rock-solid everyday beer (frankly, it's a bit better than Fat Tire, but that's neither here nor there...) This isn't a beer that bowls you over with flavor or complexity, this is something you kill by the 6 pack while barbecuing or fishing. Because of this, it gets 3.5's across the board from me.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2014 22:00:38 | More by ThisWangsChung
Photo of bsp77


3.63/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into pseudo-pint.

Appearance: Burnished gold with a light cap and decent lacing.

Smell: Citrus, grainy malts, spicy & herbal notes.

Taste: Grainy, toasted malts with lots of spicy and herbal hoppiness. Some citrus as well. Somewhat bitter. A little bit of a distracting aftertaste.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, body is on the lighter side of medium. Dry and crisp finish.

Overall: Solid but typical APA.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2014 22:28:21 | More by bsp77
Photo of TheMirrorOwl


4.1/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Honey, gold/brass. Very fine hop or yeast particulates floating throughout. Fluffy white head that dissipates quickly, nice lacing. Very, very light carbonation.

Smell: Apricot fruit, hint of fruit ester. Breadiness, floral aromas. Sweet grainy malt comes forward. Enticing.

Taste: Biscuit and caramel are balanced by fruity, floral citrus from the hops. Very delicate hopping. Bitter bite, sweet warmth in the middle tempered by bitter undertone, malty honey grain and faint pine in the finish. Complex and outstanding - brilliantly balanced Pale!

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth, medium body, lightly fluffy gratis low carbonation. Nearly grainy feel as light carbonation interacts with the malt flavors. Low alcohol presence.

Overall: My dad recommended this to me as possibly the best beer in America. In the old-world style of good, real ale, this beer is hard to beat. The balance between biscuit, fruit, and bitterness is just too good to miss. A hair less sweetness for more bitterness and you'd have me cramming perfect 5.00's all the way down.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2014 04:48:11 | More by TheMirrorOwl
Photo of yardkl


4.23/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of my favorite beers. This beer is so unique. There is no other like it. I'm more of an IPA guy myself and while this is not an IPA, it is close. Very hoppy (for a non IPA). I live in atl and this beer is everywhere here. I feel sorry for those who cannot get your hands on this. It is truly a treat.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2014 03:22:05 | More by yardkl
Photo of Retroman40


3.55/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I acquired this as part of a "Tackle Box" consisting of four different Sweetwater beers.

A - Poured out a really nice very clear light copper color with a good strong head.

S - A burst of citrusy hops dominated the smell.

T - Citrus/Malt start with a good citrus finish.

M - Medium body, but very satisfying with a good carbonation level.

O - A good "hoppy" Pale Ale that is certainly worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2014 09:52:43 | More by Retroman40
Photo of Brenden


3.49/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Medium gold with lots each of both brightness and clarity, it's certainly pale but edging toward amber. The head is compact, very close to pure white and almost one finger tall. Lace consists of both patching and spotting. The aroma takes some time before the hops come out. It starts grainy, but that backs down as it breathes. When it does, it displays a simple balance of floral bitterness and biscuit while a ghost of buttery, sweet grains flashes in vaguely and briefly. The hops take time on the tongue as well, floral with a little rawness. Biscuit is still there in the malts, though the butter vanishes entirely. It takes on some dryness as hops bitterness shows a leafy aspect. Breadiness in the malts adds texture to the body while it bites on the tongue. The body eases toward light.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2014 22:52:32 | More by Brenden
Photo of KTCamm

New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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

Pours light gold, thick white foam. Cloudy dark appearance. Light hoppy pine nose. Smooth even flavor. Nice bitter hop threaded through. Touch of malty sweetness. Juicy mouthfeel. Good carbonation. Nice beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2013 22:49:57 | More by KTCamm
Photo of thedoubler55

New Jersey

3.45/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A nice gold/yellow color with a good amount of transparency, a tiny off white head at the top, leaves a tiny bit of lacing around the glass as you drink this one

S: Bready Malts, slight hints of citrus and caramel is present as well.

T: A good chew from the malts on this one, the sweetness is very present as well as the breadyness, well balanced.

M: Medium bodied, a low amount of carbonation.

O: A good chill brew from SweetWater, very well balanced and easy drinking as well.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2013 15:50:35 | More by thedoubler55
Photo of I3eck

North Carolina

3.36/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bottle -> Wine Glass

A: Slightly hazy orange-amber in color, bright white 3/4" head which dissipates quickly, minimal spotty lacing.
S: Chocolate, malt, musty hops
T: Floral hops with a decent malty undertone, hops are certainly not the focal point and are not over-bearing. Not much else.
M: Surprisingly light, nice CO2, satisfying.
O: I was expecting a lot more or a hop-punch with this one. Overall, easy drinker and would go good with food. Nothing exciting.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2013 00:49:00 | More by I3eck
Photo of WunderLlama


4.1/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into glass

Honey colored with a white foam lid. A few lacings. Slight carbonation.

Aroma of citrus hops and bread. Hint of malts with the hops.

Smooth taste , mild hop bitterness in the beginning. Citrusy but a nice balance. Bitterness on the sides of the tongue. Clean finish and aftertaste. Medium mouthfeel.

Very good beer. Recommended to me and I like it. Would definitely enjoy 420 again. Well crafted.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2013 01:45:13 | More by WunderLlama
Photo of curasowa

New York

3.35/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Slightly hazy golden color with one finger of fluffy white head that fades slowly with a uniform curtain of lace.

Aroma: Citrus hops and a sweet dough aroma. There's a pleasant, sweet aroma that I can't quite place; it almost reminds me of cream cheese frosting.

Taste: Slightly grainy malt up front then mostly spicy bitterness as it thins out towards the finish. It gets a bit dish-raggy on the back end with some lingering bitterness and doughiness.

The Rest: A decent Pale, if only it tasted as good as it smelled.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2013 00:16:11 | More by curasowa
Photo of Jadjunk


3.71/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

"A tasty west coast style pale accentuated by a stimulating hop character. First conceived in our bat cave on 4-20, this kind beer helps the wheels on the bus going round and round. Drink 'em if you got 'em!" Brewed in the style of an American Pale Ale, 420 Extra Pale Ale is SweetWater's flagship beer and their biggest seller, being the first to be marketed in 12 packs and finding inclusion in every variety pack to date, this is a difficult drink to dodge when exploring the things SweetWater has to offer.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to my SweetWater pint glass. Served north of 50º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours an off-white thick frothy head over a pale golden amber body with just a touch of haze and very intense, plentiful and vivacious carbonation levels. Flecked sediment rises and falls with the furious stream of bubbles for what can be best described as an incredibly busy body despite expectations. Retention is very good, lacing is medium thick and tiered. If you regularly drink this from the bottle, give it a look in the glass as it does a fantastic job at presenting itself. 4.5

(Smell) Aromas keep predictable with the style, a sweet pale malt body with a touch of cracker and biscuit, some thin syrupy sweetness and a fruity and floral hop note to compliment. Aromatically, this aroma is in favor of sweetness over bitter qualities, in keeping with the style. No off aromas to talk about. Potency is medium. 3.5

(Taste) Despite not living up to the potency and depth of flavors that the aroma predicted, the balance ultimately comes off as more favorable, with a reserved yet charismatic pale malt profile, simple yet flavorful. The hop profile is very tame, concealed significantly in light of the style with just enough bitterness to appropriately counter the malt notes. Finishes clean and very mildly dry with a trailing fruity yeast note and a tame bitterness. As generic and pedestrian as the American Pale Ale category is to seasoned craft beer drinkers, this beer manages to get it right for the most part. I could easily justify this as a worthy and sessionable local brewed pale ale. 3.75

(Mouthfeel) The texture is very creamy and frothy with a subtle sweetness, but very little syrup heaviness to mention. Carbonation adds a bit of spritely backbone to the finish. Body is light/medium for American Pale Ales, and light+ amongst all beers. Alcohol presence is very low for this beer. Balance is ever slightly sweet over bitter, accented mostly by the fruity yeast character and the passive, complimentary hop selections. I found the mouthfeel as close to frothy and smooth as I could imagine, reminiscent to the textures in dry stouts or nitro draft selections. 3.5

(Overall) Despite being a less popular style amongst the crowd cheering for a hoppier, maltier and more-aggressive all-around beer, 420 Extra Pale Ale has great appeal on its own. While I don't commonly seek out 420, I don't fault the success this beer has in drawing praise from both the mainstream and seasoned beer connoisseur, and I feel this is praise well earned. Visually pleasing, highly quaffable and pleasingly textured, this is a beer you can't miss while in Atlanta. 3.75

SweetWater Brewing Company's
420 Extra Pale Ale

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2013 01:34:35 | More by Jadjunk
Photo of woodychandler


3.31/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I got this in a trade with my local buddy, Sam Knocken, so I am delving into something other than CANs as is usually my wont.

From the bottle: "Don't Float the Mainstream!"; "A tasty west coast style pale accentuated by a stimulating hop character. First conceived in our bat cave on 4-20, this kind beer keeps the wheels on the bus going round and round."; "Drink 'em if you got 'em!"

I grew up at 420 West Walnut Street and today is my Mom-Za's birthday, so I raise this beer in a toast to her 81st!

The dense, two fingers of French Vanilla-colored head looked like the top of an ice cream cone. Color was a deep gold with NE-quality clarity and the Three Stooges, King Midas, Croesus and Mammon began fighting for a taste. SRM = 5. This is going to seem odd, but the nose reminded me of golden raisins! And/or honey plus a breadiness. Wild. Mouthfeel was pretty full for the style and I swear that it tasted more like honey than the mead I had on Wednesday. It would not be sustaining for a hophead, but it was a nice diversion. Finish was so honey-like that I began to question whether I might not be drinking a lager. It was very sweet, especially for the style. What were they smoking when they developed this recipe?!?

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2013 18:54:35 | More by woodychandler
Photo of beerpirates


3.2/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle poured in my tulip glass

A - Slightly hazy pale straw yellow with a small layer of white. Good lacing.

S - A very weak nose. Some bready malts and a very slight hop presense withoiut much in terms of hop aromatics.

T - Sweet bready malts, some caramel and decent bitterness with some earthy and herbal notes.

M - Light body. Somewhat creamy. Moderate carbonation.

Not bad

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2013 09:11:13 | More by beerpirates
Photo of KentT


3.98/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer was purchased at Ingles' market in Athens, TN. In a 6 pack of bottles consumed one a night for 6 days. Appearance is a brownish copper. Has notes of citrus, caramel, and flowery overtones. Very strong hop notes. Extremely carbonated. Very light malt notes. Very drinkable but the carbonation level needs to be backed off. Nice fruity caramel taste which has heavy hop notes. Needs more malt to balance the palate. Very excellent overall for it's class. Easily a 3.8-4 out of 5 the same. Easily available in my area as are most all Sweetwater beers are. Would have this beer again. Enjoy this a lot.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2013 01:45:19 | More by KentT
Photo of gcamparone

Rhode Island

3.54/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A - Pours a hazy, dull orange body with a smallish white was that doesn't leave much lacing.

S- smells pretty sweet, caramel malt with some earthy, floral hops in the background.

T- earthy and floral, sweet with grainy, caramel, malty notes. Not much bitterness on the finish.

M- somewhat watery and over carbonated

A mediocre "extra pale ale". I'd pass on it next time.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2013 21:05:36 | More by gcamparone
Photo of chefhatt


3.69/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I poured it into my glass, it gave me a nice golden color with a small foamy head. The smell has a citrus and some malt to it. The taste has a crisp malt backbone with a good cittus hop flavor to follow. Well balanced, mouthfeel is smooth and overall a good ale.

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2013 20:24:35 | More by chefhatt
Photo of RonaldTheriot


3.45/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

SweetWater 420 Extra Pale Ale has a medium, off-white head, a hazy, golden appearance, with powdery, white suspended particles throughout, some streaming bubbles, and decent lacing left behind. The aroma is faint, but one can pick up slight citrus, hops, and light malt. Taste is also mild- citrus, sweetness, hop oil, light malts, and low bitterness are all detected. Mouthfeel is light to medium and slick, and SweetWater 420 EPA finishes semi-dry, sweet, refreshing, and drinkable. Overall, this is very good.


Serving type: bottle

09-03-2013 13:50:03 | More by RonaldTheriot
Photo of Danielthecameron


4.08/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Has always and will always be my go-to beer for the summer. This one has a much more citrus kick than any IPA I have had and almost has a rush of grapefruit on the initial sip until the hops come into play. I don't mind the stronger carbonation but I can see where this may be a turn off to some. The citrus notes really take the edge off the ABV so be careful (or not) lest you start feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. If you're anywhere in the southeast, look for the rainbow trout on the tap. You won't be disappointed.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2013 19:54:21 | More by Danielthecameron
Photo of KYGunner


3.71/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The color is a Golden mix with some amber, brown and coppery hues. It has the appearance of over filtration as the color is very clear. The head was a rapidly disintegrating rush of bubbles that collared quickly.

The scent is sort of lemony with light grain, malts and tea leaves.

The taste is grassy, malty and grainy but very light. Light hops end the taste. Super smooth on the tongue and the carbonation has no bite, this tastes and feels watery. The watery feel makes it very easy but the watery taste detracts from what could be a relatively well done beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2013 21:40:10 | More by KYGunner
Photo of Bierman9

New Hampshire

3.56/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I got this bottle from my bro-in-law last December, and am just getting around to it. Was hidden in the back of my fridge. Best by date of 10FEB13. Ooops!

My nonic now contains 12oz of a bright golden brew. It has some slight haze to it, along with a good amount of steady, fine carbo. The head is a fluffy white layer, about 1/4", and it lasts fairly well, leaving solid lacing. The nose is a bit restrained, with some toasty malt and citrus showing up. Body is good, medium all the way, and it is fairly smooth overall.

Flavor has some toasty malt as well, with a nice little touch of sweetness. Hops are there, but have a rindy bitterness. It's not overly citrussy, again much more rindy, pithy and bitter than anything else. Not bad... Better fresh? Well, if offered one I would try another, but I won' t seek it out. Prosit!

3.56/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5


Serving type: bottle

08-08-2013 21:17:50 | More by Bierman9
Photo of nickapalooza86


4.68/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a very clear orange with a half finger of white head.

Smell is earthy, citrus, slight pine, caramel, Simcoe hops maybe?

Taste is really, really good, malt and citrus hops play off each other the whole way down. Lemon, tangerine, floral notes, citrus rind, bready, caramel, just really complex stuff for being 5.4 abv.

Mouthfeel is a little fuller then most pales, still goes down easy, medium dryness on the finish, went down quick.

Wow if I could get Sweetwater here this would be a regular pick up for me. Really well done stuff. I guess this goes to show that BA ratings are all subjective... This gets a 83???? I enjoyed this a lot more then some of the top APAs I have had. My hat is off to you Sweetwater!

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2013 01:42:29 | More by nickapalooza86
Photo of buschbeer


3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 FL.OZ. bottle
Served in a perfect pint glass
Enjoy by 09/04/13

A - It pours a clear amber color with golden highlights. It is topped with an inch of white head.

S - I get a combination of citrus and caramel malt. I also get some floral notes.

T - The taste has some nice citrus aspects. The flavor grows with each sip. The malt is mostly hidden, but does emerge just enough to provide a little balance.

M - Moderate and pretty smooth.

O - This is a tasty pale ale. It has enough hops to make it noticeable, but not so much to confuse it with an IPA. Very enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2013 20:57:00 | More by buschbeer
Photo of Stinkypuss


3.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Sweetwater 420

LOOK: Pours a deep golden color with a white foam collar. Leaves behind some sticky lace on the glass. Good clarity, retention is about average.

SMELL: Leafy, citrus, weeds, and on the sweet end some malty caramel.

TASTE: Has citrus qualities but then becomes very earthy and resinous. Bitterness is medium to high. Lemon, pine, dank, a bit tangy from elevated levels of alpha acids. Sturdy malt foundations provides the sweetness to this water. Caramel, light toffee, and brown sugar tastes arise from the malts. Quite the tasty pale ale right here.

FEEL: Medium bodied, well carbonated, finishes with a slightly dry hop bite. Pretty refreshing and smooth. Could easily sit down and drink a six pack of these.

OVERALL: A quite drinkable pale ale with good hop dankness or frankness rather. Drinkable and enjoyable. Worth swigging on a hot summer night, that's for damn sure. Doing GA proud on this one.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2013 22:19:59 | More by Stinkypuss
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Sweetwater 420 Extra Pale Ale from SweetWater Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 1,845 ratings.