Swamp Ape IPA | Florida Beer Company

133 Reviews
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Swamp Ape IPASwamp Ape IPA

Brewed by:
Florida Beer Company
Florida, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by CampusCrew on 09-05-2010

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Reviews: 133 | Ratings: 544
Photo of cambabeer
3.01/5  rDev +3.1%

barely above average beer. The hops make the beer bearable, but the alcohol is really coming on strong, with some veggie malt flavors that are a little out of place. Not really feeling this one, but worth drinking.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3/5  rDev +2.7%

"What is a swamp ape? Firsthand accounts describe an intense beast with a potent aroma and bite. Proof that the elusive mystery monster exists? Or proof that brewing with five distinct varieties of hops creates an unbelievable, relentlessly hopped India Pale Ale? One taste and you'll know, Swamp Ape is real." Brewed year round, Swamp Ape is available in 12 oz. 4 packs and on draft.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a tulip glass. Served above 50º Fahrenheit.

Swamp ape pours a creamy frothed head of a milky white color over an orange amber body with what appears to be flecks of hops or large chunks of sediment in tow. Retention is good, lacing is light and spotty. The aroma is fairly simple with notes of lemon and citrus, grass and peppery herbs over a slightly grainy caramel and pale body for a modest potency. The flavor is a serious change for this beer, with a menacing hop bitterness and a very curious grainy caramel malt with a slight smoked fruitiness in the background. The hop flavor doesn't quite meet the level of bitterness and the malt profile is almost certainly going to offend more than it pleases although I find the overall flavor unique enough to maintain my interest. Fairly phenolic and medicinal, the alcohol just doesn't tuck itself away so well in this beer. The texture is oily, chewy, slightly grainy and faintly dry. The carbonation generates a light airiness for a subtle frothiness and mouthfeel. The body is medium+ for the style, medium/heavy overall. Balance is bitter and grainy over sweet. The alcohol presence is medium and off characters are minimal aside from some edginess from the grain profile. I think filing this beer under "poor" might be a bit harsh but there are certainly some issues in just how alcohol and bitter forward this beer is without balance. Perhaps my favorite thing is the very slight smoked fruitiness under the malt bill reminiscent of scotch ales or smoked ales, although I don't know if this was intended for the beer or if it was just a convenient and unique off-flavor. The hop profile is fairly bitter but not flavorful enough to justify or turn the quality of this beer around. Swamp Ape is not for everybody and even fans of the style itself should approach this beer with caution.

Florida Beer Company's
Swamp Ape IPA

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Photo of KYGunner
3.08/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The color is cloudy but as bright orange and Amber as the sunset in Florida. The foam atop was dense and thick, almost sticky, that left tons of lacing.

The aroma is malty, with some tangerines, apricot, fig and a strong alcohol like quality.

The flavor starts strong on the malt, with a barley grain malt, then turns to an apricot, pine, tangerine and Honey. Problem is you are bombarded with boozy alcohol.

The feel is thick and smooth for a time but the alcohol heat takes over the chest and palate.

I feel like this may be a good DIPA but the overwhelming alcohols ruin this at every turn.

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Photo of nickmantia
2.71/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

Appearance: Murky with a reddish orange tint

Smell: Very sweet; caramel tones, but sugar overpowers the nose

Taste: I found this very hard to get past the overwhelming sense of sweetness here. For a double IPA, this has an abundance of sugary malt.

Mouthfeel: Plenty of carbonation; medium bodied beer.

Drinkability: I was not a fan of this beer. I took a few sips and ended up pouring this down the drain. Some may like the sugary overtones; I was hoping for something with a better hop backbone to it.

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Photo of RoyalT
3.32/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance – This is a nice, murky, orange in color with a modest head.

Smell – The malts are sickly sweet at the nose with some rich caramel mixed with stiff orange rind and light pine. The hops are actually pretty substantial here but they are dwarfed by the sweetish malts and easy to overlook.

Taste – The monster sugary malt hits hard at the taste. I get some cane sugar now with enough sweetness to cause a “sour face.” The “three Cs” are out in force here as well.

Mouthfeel – This is huge, almost full-bodied, with some bittering that would be harsh but again with the sugars it’s all evened out. Carbonation is wanting, however.

Drinkability – I didn’t care much for this beer but for different reasons than most of the other reviews. Everyone is complaining about the sweetness, but this is a local preference so I wasn’t bothered much by the huge sugars. The lack of bitterness and carbonation was the problem for me. Obviously you don’t want your DIPA bubbling like Alka-Seltzer, but this was almost flat and for all the hops lacked that bitter aftertaste characteristic of more sophisticated efforts at the style.

Update - I had a chance to try hit again in Jan 2017 and unlike before it was rightly carbonated with good bitterness. It seems that are having problems with consistency. I'm raising the Mouthfeel rating up a full point but otherwise this is still a mediocre offering.

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Photo of Florida9
3.14/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A: Lighter shade of yellow-copper in color. Clear. Forms a moderate sized head. Little retention as it quickly falls to a patchy surface coating. Moderate lacing.

S: Aromas is fairly average. There is a particular pungency to the beer, which I believe the brewers were going for, but it's a not a particularly pleasant pungency. Vegetal hops, green pepper, alcohol, and a faint hint of orange.

T: Taste is not as bad as I was expecting, though it's far from good. Mildly sweet with a blend of fruity notes, apples, light caramel, green vegetables, and aggressive alcoholic spice. There are hops in this one, but they are not center stage and I can only describe them as "green."

M: Medium bodied. Lower carbonation. Mild bitterness. Lots of peppery alcohol.

O: If you're going to name your beer after a stinky beast that lives in the swamp I figure the beer is either going to be badass or taste like gorilla sweat. While I suspect gorilla sweat tastes worse than this beer, this beer is not at all badass. That said, the flavors are aggressive as is the alcohol content. Unfortunately the flavors are not overly pleasant and the alcohol is quite harsh.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
2.1/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

For some reason. my wife brought me one of these home from Tampa. I would have preferred something from Cigar City, but so be it. This is a throw away beer for me. Why would I bother to drink this- at 10% yet- with so many good beers out there. It's overly sweet and grainy and with a chemical aftertaste, and raw alcohol comes through quite strongly. No thanks,

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Photo of Everything_Belgium
4.02/5  rDev +37.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm not sure about the negative reviews here. I thought this beer was very good. Very nice balance of taste and smell. It leaves a nice hoppy smooth aftertaste. I like a little bit of alcohol bite and this has that. Of course it doesn't compare to a Dogfish Head 120, but what does? Definitely worth a try. I would buy again and again.

My review is a nice smooth IPA which is easy to drink and would match well with any meal or any occasion.

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Photo of mike08054
4.16/5  rDev +42.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I discovered this one tonight on a trip to Orlando. What a pleasant surprise in an area where it can be difficult to find great craft ale.

This is a malty, hoppy booze bomb with some fruity tones. It's called a DIPA, but I would classify it as a good barleywine. It was served in a large snifter, and gets more interesting as it warms up.

I think it's comparable to the flagship DIPA's/BW's offered by some of the superior east coast craft brewers. Check it out!

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Photo of Pintofbrown
2.76/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5

Had this in a Becker pint glass. Thanks to Hawkeyenation for the try. Sweet bottle art too!

Glowing golden body with orange tinted highlights. The head is puffy and white, at least a finger's-width, good retention too!

Lots of sweet malt on the nose with a big dose of booziness. The hops come off as honey drenched orange and slightly herbal. Already starting to get messy.

The palate has a muddled and sweet maltiness with a decent bitter bite in the finish that is a little resiny. The hops are more herbaceous with just a hint of that same sweet blood orange flavor. This is so boozy there is almost a white grape like note to the finish. Just...entirely too boozy and sweet. for a DIPA.

The beer has a light-medium body and is a little more crisp than dry. Also appreciate a bit of watery run over the tongue. It would be nice if that cloying, grape-like finish did not stick around so long.

Swamp Ape is a sweet and boozy mess of a DIPA. There is really no reason to search this one out, unless you are a label art collector, then I would pick up a bottle of this. Otherwise, there are far too many other good beers to drink.

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Photo of BeerTwigs
2.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

I purchased this beer while traveling to Orlando. Poured into a pint glass. I couldnt find the date on the bottle to confirm freshness.

A: This beer poured a gold/straw color with good clarity and a 1 finger head. There is very little head retention here.
S: Unfortunately this beer smells more bready or malty then hoppy. There are faint hints of citrus hops
T: Tastes sweet and malty with very little bitterness or hints of hops. I hope this beer is somewhat old and that the hops have dies out at this point. It actually tastes better as the beer warms up and is less offensive. The alcohol definitely dominates the first few sips.
M: Light to medium body with light carbonation.
O: I would like to try this beer on tap or fresh to get a feel for it. I would try it again under those circumstances. Otherwise this beer is ok to average, I wouldn't search it out. Cheers!

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Photo of HeHateHokies
3.58/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer has been reviewed by many others so I'm not going to break it down in typical fashion - this has already been done ad-nauseum. I would just like to say thay I do not feel it has been represented here entirely fairly. While I would admit that it should rate only fair AS AN IMPERIAL IPA, I do find it to be a very drinkable beer and I would certainly encourage anyone to sample it for yourself. I say this as a tried and true Imperial IPA fan (my favorite style). Perhaps one should take it in the spirit of Florida as a hot weather brew which perhaps should sacrifice a little purity of 'type' for drinkability. As a final note, I've drank this from tap in Florida and remember it as being better than the bottled version.

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Photo of scotorum
4.29/5  rDev +46.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Single in a mixed fourpack from Knightly's Spirits in Orlando.

This was the favorite out of ten I tried while in Florida over the weekend. Usually I don't care for banana flavor in anything other than a banana, but this had just enough hint of it along with a lot of great caramel malt flavor and alcohol zing to create an exceptional taste with superior sippability.

Puzzled by the many scathing reviews here. I thought it was one of the best DIPAs I have had.

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Photo of Charlemagne
2.33/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured into a 16 oz tulip

A: golden brown hue with a thick white 1 finger width head. The appearance was far and away the best part of this beer. The review from here on out goes downhill faster than barometers here in Florida

S: VERY subtle hints of fruit (touches of pear, apricot). Reeks of sweetness.

T: This is where it took a turn for the worst. This, my friends, is a piss poor example of an IPA. Malty as all get out, little to no hops at the finish. Pretty sweet at the forefront with a stale expired beer taste at the end.

M: Feels like I took a sip of oil from my car when its needed an oil change for a month.

O: Pretty embarrassed that this hot mess came out of Florida. I would have been a bit more kind with the review had this beer literally not arrived at my store a week ago, thus freshness was not an issue. Just a bad beer. Phooey.

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Photo of flagmantho
2.87/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: rich orange hue with a moderate haze and a moderately strong effervescence. Head is a thick finger of frothy ivory foam with a bit of an orange cast. Pretty attractive!

Smell: rich, sweet malt with a bit of a hot alcohol note. Not hoppy at all in aroma, so it doesn't really fit the category. It's not off-putting, though.

Taste: malty, but kind of muddled and uninspiring. Sweet, with a moderately strong and raspy bitterness at the end, but not at all as hoppy as the style ought to be. It's not disgusting or anything, but it's bland and doesn't fit the style at all.

Mouthfeel: plenty of body with a good carbonation; relatively creamy. Not too bad.

Overall: this beer just doesn't seem like a DIPA (or even an IPA, really) to me. Maybe a strong ale? It's malty and bitter, but hop character is pretty absent. I won't be trying this one again.

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Photo of jwdahl_91
3.99/5  rDev +36.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Poured into snifter as a gorgeous crystal clear amber-orange hue. Light to minimal carbonation with bubbles rising up the sides of the glass. Mild to medium lacing.

S: Citrus. Really ripe, sweet orange, mango, dried fruit, a lot of cherry and mixed berries (especially blueberries). Some light caramel malt, and medium floral notes.

T: Not as much hop as I had expected, although it does come out more as the drink opens up. Honeysuckle, mild amount of malt, sweet caramel, ripe plums, a lot of cherry, and a minute hint of alcohol. The after taste leaves a creamy feeling and the taste of caramel on the tongue.

M: Nice, easy drinking, medium bodied beer.

O: I was surprisingly pleased. I feel other reviews were too harsh. As an IPA it was a bit of a let down as I was expecting more hoppy bitterness. With such a name, I expected more muskiness and bitterness, not such fresh and fruity characteristics. As a beer, it was very tasty and very easy to drink. Overall I was pleased but as an IPA i wanted more bite and bitterness.

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Photo of Shaw
3.06/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a nice honey color with a thick white head.

Sweet aroma if honey and hops.

Hot, harsh and hoppy. Buttery flavors mix with solvent alcohol and citrus-like hops. This one is all about the alcohol flavors.

Nice and smooth body, no doubt thanks to the high alcohol levels.

There are better IPAs (both double and regular) out there. I can't really recommend this one.

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Photo of Pencible
2.22/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: This poured a clear dark gold with moderate off white head.
S: It smelled like bready malt and some faint citrus hops.
T: It tasted like sugary sweet honey and bready malt, with a little apricot and copper hops. It had a cloying sweet aftertaste.
M: It was watery with some carbonation. Decent body.
D: This was a poor IPA. Maybe super fresh it was different, but this had no clean hop bitterness. The scent and taste were bad, and the body wasn't much better. The finish was harsh, so it wasn't that easy to drink. Not recommended.

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Photo of secondtooth
3.74/5  rDev +28.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Pours a crystal-clear amber in color, with a huge head of off-white bubbles. Big. loopy lace.

Aroma is potent, herbal, oily hops. I get citrus, pine, and tropical fruit notes. Very very nice.

Taste is more strong hops -- big assault of oily, acidic hop goodness, but it's all tempered by a substantial malt profile. The big 10% ABV isn't immediately noticeable, though the body here does seem heavy. The finish concludes with a lingering hops bitterness.

This is a tasty, balanced (despite the big hops bite), and deceptively drinkable imperial IPA.

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Photo of NiceTaps
4/5  rDev +37%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle in a pint glass.

A- It poured an orange-copper color with a slightly unfiltered look. A 2-finger head , off-white in color, tapered to a film and left lots of lacing. Lively carbonation.

S- It has it all: clean hop aroma with lots of citrus and pine, some honey for sure and a bit of spice. Just a note of alcohol noticable with the malts.

T-Some pale and sweet malts, honey sweetness also. The citrus and pine hops are there but not prominent.

M- Big, full body and feel. Chewy, oily. There's a lingering hop finish that's not overly bitter.

O- Yummy. This is a flavor-first beer over the abv. Sure, it's sweet due to being 10% abv, but it transcends the sweetness to me. Dare I say that it compares to Hopslam? Yes!

I cannot believe that this beer is rated so low here on BA. It makes me wonder...

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Photo of gillagorilla
2.9/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle poured into a Flying Dog goblet

A: A quite cloudy copper color with a thick head that diminishes quickly and leaves a thin coating of tiny bubbles. The lacing is excellent though.

S: It is a mainly citrus smell that has something I can't quite place my finger on. It smells of overripe fruit. The smell is quite sweet.

T: It tastes of heavy and thick resin that coats your mouth. There are no citrus notes that I can detect. The taste is very straightforward and of a single note that is lacking in complexity. The resinous pine is very overpowering and all consuming.The aftertaste is that of pines and resin though, that clashes with the smell.

M: The mouthfeel is not my favorite, it is quite thick and viscous.

O: I'm not too sure of the date, but I am pretty sure it is quite fresh. It is decent but not too good either. The taste and mouthfeel are too heavy and thick.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
2.23/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Number 2 on the 2013 spring break tour.

Tarnished gold body, a rapidly disappearing white head that turned into an oil slick immediately. Good clarity. No lace.

Strong pine aroma. Leans a little too much to cleanser than fresh forest.

Big front load of malt, sweet like a dopplebock. Very low key fruit. Abrasive, abusive bitterness. Not in a good way.

Too thick mouthfeel. Needs more carbonation. Again more bock than IPA.

A major disappointment of an IPA. Great name though.

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Photo of brentk56
2.7/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a clear golden color with a nice head that leaves several strands of lace

Smell: Smells like a barley lollypop with a bitter edge

Taste: Candy-sweet on the front end with a growing bitterness that builds both before and after the swallow; no citrus or pine - just bitterness; the finish, however, has a lot of residual sweetness; overall, a boozy mess

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation; a bit slick with a lot of warmth in the gullet

Overall: Recent reviews being more encouraging about this beer, I wanted to see what the fuss was about and after two or three sips I have made my determination and am done; no need to ever come back to this again

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Photo of rorjets
4.5/5  rDev +54.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Now this is an ass kicking beer! I got a 4 pack on a recent trip to Florida, and was impressed. Goes down easy, great tasting, and packs a wallop without too much of the alcohol burn. I really enjoy this Ape, and was ready to visit the swamp he hailed from after having 3 of these babies!

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Photo of JackMcAwesome
3.61/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bottle.

Look: It creates a one finger head that quickly disappears. The lacing is great, and almost spot on. The beer itself is a orange amber. Mine was crystal clear.

Smell: A very powerful aroma. I can't pick up anything specific though. I loved the smell, but I just couldn't identify anything in it. It was a weird experience. Normally I can pick up something, especially with something so powerful, but I just couldn't identify one particular note. I was tempted to see what others thought, but left it "as is" for now.

Taste: It has that signature "imperial" taste, but does a decent job of covering up the ABV. The balance needs a bit of work, I could use a bit more malt on the back end for me personally, but it's almost right. I'm getting something sweet at the end. It makes for an interesting combo, although I'm not sure I personally dig it.

Feel: Pretty well balanced. A bit slick, but the carbonation kicks in and makes it a light drink at the the right moment. I think I'd prefer a slightly lighter drink at the end. But otherwise a good enough IPA.

Overall: I don't seem to dislike it as much as other BAs, but it has a bit of wiggle room for improvement. A decent beer though that I'll revisit just to support the home team. I'm glad a friend and I swapped some beers so I could try this one. A good beer for an awesome style. I'll revisit in the future.

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Swamp Ape IPA from Florida Beer Company
2.92 out of 5 based on 544 ratings.
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