1. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sweetwater 420 Extra Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,845 | Reviews: 602 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of blitz134


3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Its about time I reviewed this one, its basically my old standby for times when I am just picking up beer which I know I'm probably going to drink out of the bottle...I don't want anything too special if this is the case...

Pours a light orange, apricot color. Crystal clear body. Initially had a one finger off-white head that is now only a thin layer of bubbles. Lots of carbonation rising to the surface. Nothing impressive...

Smell is sweet. Caramel malt mostly. A bit of citrus and grassy hops works with the sweet malts to make a bit of a bubble gum aroma. Taste is initially light but I think the carbonation helps bring out some flavors as it sits on the tongue. Lots of bread malt in this. Has the bitterness of a pale ale, but not really the hop flavor. Only a little bit of resin hops come through.

Mouthfeel is really a bit thin for a good pale ale, but works for what I generally pick this beer up for. As noted in the appearance, lots of carbonation. It finishes fairly clean, but has some lingering bitterness. Overall a really drinkable beer, not so much due to the flavor, but because of how light it is, while still being a decent beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2006 05:08:39 | More by blitz134
Photo of MaltyGoodness


3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle provided by DeaconBluez

Pours a clear golden straw color with a white head that fades.

Aroma of citrusy hops with a bit of a crisp maltiness.

Nice fresh citrusy hop flavor upfront followed by a crisp maltiness. Finishes slightly bitter and fairly clean.

Body seems a little thin. Could use a bit more carbonation.

A nice, drinkable APA. Easily sessionable.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2006 03:21:10 | More by MaltyGoodness
Photo of Backer2004

North Carolina

3.63/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is definitely an example of a beer that tastes better than it looks. i know I've had the 420 in my past at one point, but apparently never reviewed it. Pours a nice head, but I see really no carbonation. Light golden color. Not really hoppy for a Pale Ale but well balanced nonetheless. Easy to drink, a nice starter for this style for those not as familiar. Could be a session beer, especially in the summer.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2005 23:46:28 | More by Backer2004
Photo of Chadbrew


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

Thanks to 1hopmonster for getting this one to me.
This beer is a slight copperish color with tints of light orange. It has good carbonation and is pretty clear. The smell is light malt, nice fruity hops, and yeast. The flavor is a touch metallic which quickly fades to a nice bitterness. There is no lack of body and this beer is dangerously drinkable. There is no trace of alcohol in the taste yet it's listed at 5.4%. Very good overall APA.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2005 16:45:14 | More by Chadbrew
Photo of danielharper


4.05/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased from Wayne's Package Store, near Warrior, AL.

Maybe it's just because it's so damn fresh, but this is one of my all-time favorite APAs.

Pours a nice crisp amber color with a thick white head that sticks around for the count. Foam leaves quite a bit of lacing around the glass. Excellent presentation.

Nose contains nice fresh grassy notes --but not like a pilsener's wet grass-- along with liberal quantities of fresh hops. Like a premium-quality air-freshener, but without the artificial cloying nature of such.

This beer's almost hoppy enough to be an IPA, but not quite. Nice hop presence up front, not overwhelming to the palate but definitely enough to be felt. Balanced out by fruit undertones, some citrus like oranges and lemons underneath. Finishes clean.

Good mouthfeel -- thin but filling, with enough carbonation to bite but not enough to make the beer unpleasant. Almost perfect for the style.

Overall, a very drinkable beer. The only Pale Ale I really find myself yearning for. I only wish someone in Huntsville would carry it.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2005 23:25:49 | More by danielharper
Photo of waldowin


4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Bonhoeffer for this one, in Newbie BIF '05!

Pours an extremely clear golden color, with a thin white head that fades quickly to a ring. Slight visible carbonation.

Smells faintly of light malts, and crisp grapefruit hops. Tastes somewhat tangy, with a slight sweetness up front, and a definite edge of grapefruit and cedar finishing up. Creamy, smooth mouthfeel, with a hint of carbonation lightening the body. Very well done for a 5.4%!

This would be a fantastic brew to drink down after a hard day's work. Looks like Alabama's got something going for it in this brew.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2005 02:00:02 | More by waldowin
Photo of wcudwight

North Carolina

3.93/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Mixed to form an amber, red, orange and gold color. Little head that leaves. Very nicely laced.
S. Spicy and herbal
T: Nice spicy, herbal and piney at the beginning with a taint hop bitterness on the back end. Some aftertaste.
M: Well balanced and carbonated. I like the way it attacks the mouth, but not too much.
D: Very nice session beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2005 20:37:59 | More by wcudwight
Photo of RoyalT


4.05/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This one poured a terrific-looking bright orange in color with a beautiful off-white head that came up brilliantly and left tons of film on the inside of my Snoqualmie Falls pint glass.

Smell – The hops are laid back. They seem to be a mix of light fruits and spices with a little bit of herbs thrown in. The grain is a fairly good size. It is extremely mellow and matches well with the hop profile.

Taste – The spritzy hops are a bit bigger at the taste. They are fruity with some herbal notes. The grain is in the background now but does a good job as the supporting cast.

Mouthfeel – This is a bit shy of medium-bodied but very smooth and fluffy in the cheeks. I especially enjoyed the carbonation to this one. It is live but at ease in the mouth.

Drinkability – Boy, talk about a session ale! This went down like silk.

Comments – I liked this better in the bottle than I did when I had it on-tap in Atlanta last year. A big heartfelt thanks to UncleFlip for including this in the WTF BIF.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2005 02:06:51 | More by RoyalT
Photo of santoslhalper


1.95/5  rDev -46.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Appearence: Pours a dull clear amber-yellow with no head. Perfect clairty, sparse carbonation.

Smell: Smells very malty, with almost no hop presence. Light smelling, with only hints of bread and yeast.

Taste and Mouthfeel: The taste is weak. Very little hops, and all I can taste is a bread/corn flavor the doesn't do it for me. Nothing else. No complexity, not even tasty or flavorful. Light and boring tasting. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied.

Drinkability and Overall: I don't like it. I'm a fan of any Pale Ale, but an Extra Pale? What does that mean? Extra hops? Extra flavor? Nope. Extra weak.

Thanks, anyways, to rajendra82 for the bottle

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2005 04:30:12 | More by santoslhalper
Photo of mattcrill


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

Thanks go out to Ding for giving me the chance to sample this one.

Presentation: States on the label that it is best by the second week of October. Looks like I'm in good shape here.

Appearance: Pours out bright orange and clear with an eggshell white head. Lacings ring the glass and trace carbonation noted towards the edges.

Smell: A bready, yeasty smell is noted with hints of orange peel and citrus.

Taste: A citrusy pop first (again the orange peel) followed by wheat bread and a bready finish. Bittering hops are noted up front and near the end. Nice and refreshing.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied with good levels of carbonation.

Drinkability: Highly quaffable. A really enjoyable pale ale. I think this would be a good crossover beer for most. Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2005 17:40:20 | More by mattcrill
Photo of scooper549

North Carolina

4.05/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is an excellent Pale Ale. Poured from a bottle into a true pint glass.

It pours very well to a golden/honey color. When fully poured there is a moderate head which dies down to a continuous lite head. There is a sweet aroma with a hint of a hops behind it. The taste is nearly the same. A pleasant taste is left behind. Not too bitter. This is the best Pale Ale out there.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2005 17:15:19 | More by scooper549
Photo of mentor


2.73/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle provided by UncleFlip, thanks for the opportunity! Freshness marks are month 9 and week 5. Pours a half finger quickly settled head over a crystal clear light gold orange liquid. Smells piney, oranges, pine sol, and grapefruit pith (which is gentle). Tastes hoppy floral. Mild hop bitter that's nearly clean...some co-humulone. Malt sweet is buried under the hops. Hops border on pine sol favored. Definitely pine, some orange, and mild grapfruit pith. Carbonation is a bit too much, the acrid on my tongue augments the hops, so I will swirl to release some carbonation. Now it's sour tang with sweet malt and unpleasant bitter. Not good. I know some people like this pine sol hop flavor, but I find it unpleasant. Sorry for the low marks, but I gotta go with my preferences. Md-light body and over carbonated.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2005 04:59:08 | More by mentor
Photo of smcolw


3.73/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Honey gold in color, clear. Moderate head. The aroma is mild--slight hop, fairly neutral.

The flavor is more encouraging, a touch of sweet malt. The hop bite is dominant but certainly not overpowering. The body is similar to skim milk while the carbonation is lower than expected.

This is a pleasant, easy-to-drink beer. Non-descript but satisfying.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2005 00:35:45 | More by smcolw
Photo of chilidog


4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I looked for thisone as we passed-thru the Atlanta area.
It pours a nice looking clear dark gold with a slight haze to it. The head, eggshell in color was a goog-looking two finger froth that stuck around to lace in semi thick rings, very nice!
The aroma was malty with a bread and pale hop assist. The taste, well alot can be noted; for its sweet malt and pale hops that crisp thinks up. The mouth is left semi-dry, with a bread or biscuit dough feel.
Overall a very drinkable brew for its crispness as well as its smoothness. A good brew with a spiced food or on its own on a hot summers day. Worth the Atlanta seek, worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

06-28-2005 01:25:30 | More by chilidog
Photo of warriorsoul


3.63/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Moving right along to their Pale Ale...420 Extra Pale Ale to be exact.
Pours a light copper color w/ less than a half finger of off-white head...disappears very rapidly w/ very little lace.
Aroma is quite pleasant for the style...quite a bit of fruity hops w/ a sweet malt mixed in.
The taste is enjoyable...a nice malt backbone, but more bitter than sweet at this point. Hop profile is very subtle, but definitely enough if not more for a Pale Ale.
Mouthfeel is a bit thicker than most of the Pale Ales I have experienced and the finish is very clean...carbonation could be a bit less to keep the drinkability high.
A solid APA...big thanks to Ding for this one.

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2005 20:08:09 | More by warriorsoul
Photo of cokes


3.9/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Honey hued mounted with ample white foam.
Smells of pizza crust, lime rinds, and ferns.
Begins with a dry breadiness, akin to floured dinner rolls. It ventures lightly sweeter with illusory wavers of berries. The hops hit early, with limes and lemongrass, and pine needles.
It's body is so light as to be nearly breakable, but as a pool/beachside/summer quaffer, this fill in nicely. A hop-forward American mild ale. Very decent.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2005 03:13:53 | More by cokes
Photo of ViveLaChouffe


3.6/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal clear pale copper with a thin ivory head. Very lacy. Grassy pale malt and lightly citrusy hops in the nose.

Crispy in the mouth. Persistent bitterness surrounded by a crisp grassy malt. Straightforward beer, that's about all it's got. Tasty though. Crisp mouth and refreshing. A decent pale ale.

Serving type: bottle

05-26-2005 00:51:05 | More by ViveLaChouffe
Photo of horshack7


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

Appearance: It pours a golden color with a short amount of head retention.

Aromas: Hints of hoppiness and malt as well as allspice.

Taste: A nice balance between hops and malt. Hints of fruitiness.

Mouthfeel: Very bubbly

Notes: This is a simple and rather tasty all around beer. A brew for any season. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2005 22:13:33 | More by horshack7
Photo of lackenhauser


3.9/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a golden color with a slight head that lasts the whole way down. Slightly grassy aroma-somewhat citrusy. Low hop bitterness with a touch of malt sweetness. Nicely balanced. Good mouthfeel. Very smooth with a pleasant "silkiness". A very enjoyable beer. One of the better APAs I have had. Would definately get this again.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2005 01:55:56 | More by lackenhauser
Photo of CSquared

North Carolina

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

Appearance: light copper color, crystal clear with a slightly off-white head. head faded relatively fast, but left nice lacing

Aroma: citrusy hop notes are mellow but quite nice, earthy hops present to a lesser degree

Taste: nice bitterness up front and grapefruity hop flavor slight malty sweetness is present at the start, but finishes quite dry

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: this is a good session beer, i try to pick up everytime i make it to see family in asheville. would be probably a popular bar choice for me if they'd distribute in the triangle

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2005 22:28:11 | More by CSquared
Photo of John1985


4.22/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this ale at the Charlotte Street Grill in Asheville NC. Deep gold color with a snow white head. Hoppy flavor with a substantial body for balance. Long bitter aftertaste. Above average pale ale and this went very well with food. Wish I could find this in Tennessee.

Serving type: on-tap

03-19-2005 16:35:02 | More by John1985
Photo of feloniousmonk


3.75/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

hey, 420, that's my apartment number! they must have brewed this for me, right? very sly suggestions on the label at the real inspiration for that name..."kind" beer..yeah, huh!
clear, light, peachy/amber color, thin, but staying bone-white head.
Nice, hoppy aroma...cascades and such...some citrus, peach, lemon, a nice fruity bouquet...lovely.
Taste: smooth, yet crisp and hoppy, a trifle spicy, then mellow...a gentle, peachy/fruity flavor, very tasty, drinks like a dream...a very agreeable pale ale, even if it's inspired by dope addicts.
Much better than the numbers, a very nice ale.
Cheers to Southernbrew!

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2005 07:01:55 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of Maestro


3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle...purchased in downtown Atlanta.

Gold to Amber, this pale ale is definitely sweet. The head is thin, but leaves an impressive lacing on the glass. The nose is hoppy and malty. Taste is quite sweet, altough there is definitely a hop character. Mouthfeel is a little thin. Drinkability is good with a fairly low alcohol. This one is pretty good for a pale ale.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2005 05:53:19 | More by Maestro
Photo of sweetwaterman

North Carolina

3.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sweetwater 420 Pale Ale. One of my first beers. Being the total square and not drinking till I turned 21 meant that I was late to the college beer scene. Had I had known that such a treasure was located here in Atlanta, I might have sprung for those store trips by friends over the magic limit.

420 was my first and still my favorite APA. The flavor is not as bold as Sierra Nevada (which I have heard it compared to), but is nice, crisp and refreshing. It has a clear, golden amber color with approx. 3/4 inch of lasting head. Not much of an odor other than a slight citrus tang wafting over the glass.

The ale goes down smooth, with a noticeable aftertaste, that, in my limited experience, I attribute to the hops. Nothing off-putting, just an observation.

Best if served cold, this beer is a godsend on hot Georgia summer days. It compliments light foods well, and I have even had it with some Havarti Cheese.

All in all, the guys that make it are awesome, and while there are probably bolder APAs on the market, 420 will always be a personal favorite.

Serving type: on-tap

01-27-2005 03:18:48 | More by sweetwaterman
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.6/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bright orangish amber crowned by a light beige head that started out at three fingers due to an enthusiastic pour. The cap is moderately firm, hangs around for a bit and leaves a below average amount of lace in the end. I've seen better.

While the nose is pleasant enough, it could be more forceful. It consist of grapefruit zest tempered by sweet orange. Cascade would be my guess for at least a portion of the hop bill. Although it's a little on the one-dimensional side, it is in line with the style and gets the job done.

The beer is teasingly tasty at first, but the flavor profile and the body break down a tad too quickly for it to be a standout. The pale malt backbone could be a bit firmer and the top notes are simple, straightforward, cleanly bitter citrus zest. While the body/mouthfeel is relatively light, it manages to keep its composure throughout the entirety of each mouthful.

Sweetwater 420 Extra Pale Ale is an okay version that fails to impress in any one area, but still manages to be drinkable. A heavier hand with the ingredients would have resulted in a better beer. If I lived in Georgia, I'd probably stick with Sweetwater IPA. Bottle courtesy of au1sec.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2005 15:40:21 | More by BuckeyeNation
Sweetwater 420 Extra Pale Ale from SweetWater Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 1,845 ratings.