Coney Island Sword Swallower
Coney Island Brewing Company

Coney Island Sword SwallowerConey Island Sword Swallower
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Lager - American
3.59 | pDev: 13.65%
Coney Island Brewing Company
New York, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Coney Island Sword SwallowerConey Island Sword Swallower
Reviews: 210 | Ratings: 398 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of mothmanscott
mothmanscott from Georgia

3.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From notes 10/14/12: Pours a deep gold producing 2+ fingers of white, frothy, chunky, lasting head that leaves nice streaks and rings of clumpy lacing. Aroma is citrus, grass and some caramel malt. Taste is pine and grapefruity hoppy backed by caramel malt and a little butter with almost no sweetness. Finishes spicy. Exquisitely bitter from start to finish with an astringent and lasting bitterness that lingers long into the aftertaste. The bitterness becomes a little cloying by the end of the pour.

Nov 12, 2018
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.16/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Light yellow colored lager like appearance fits the bill. 1/2" white head. Aroma was actually a weird mix of mild hops, lager yeast and I swear, wheat?

There was more bitterness than dry hopping despite commercial hand job claims otherwise. Bitter. Copper bitterness with lager yeast overcome.

Have never been a fan of their hoppy offerings, this one is no different.

Jun 07, 2016
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pat61 from Minnesota

4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From tasting notes. The brewer grafts an American hop bill onto a lager and produces a crisp, clean, refreshing hop forward beer that works. A floral, spicy, aroma with citrus and fruit notes melds with light pilsner malt scents. The hop citrus and fruit flavors work well with the light bread and grain lager background.

Aug 03, 2015
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CalgaryFMC from Canada

3.81/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bomber into a pilsener glass. A golden yellow lager with creamy white head, somewhat milkshake-like, with a pleasantly assertive hop-forward aroma. Nose is floral, tropical, and somewhat spicy, with a subtle backdrop of bread-like malts. The tropical fruit (pineapple, guava, lychee) sweetness builds nicely and this is certainly a brew to enjoy on the aroma basis. On the palate, there is a delicate but flavorsome honeyed breakfast cereal and light molasses malt background propping up more tropical fruit and pine flavors, along with gooseberry, white grape, mustard salad green, melon, canned peach, and faint citrus rind. Finishes rather bitter and medicinal, with a little grain husk ... Dry! I am always a tad surprised by the combination of a fairly thin body, heavy carbonation, and assertive hop flavors that is unique to an "India Pale Lager". One keeps expecting to taste sweeter malts, more body, and more esters, and instead one gets naked, rather delicate hop flavor, some cereal grain, and a residual sweetness that you just can't quite grasp. This one showcases a solid array of different hop aromas and flavors, relatively unencumbered by the malts. I can dig it, not as a replacement for the usual but as a nice change of pace.

May 28, 2014
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Suds from Missouri

3.75/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A clean, hop forward, malt restrained IPA. The bre is a moderate golden color with a thick, lasting, beautiful white head. The smel is soft, rounded, and a bit hoppy. Some distant malt and grain, but it is a lot less interesting than I expected. The brew makes yo for it in the taste, however, which is huge with hop flavor and bitterness....herbal, leafy, fresh, biter, and spicy. Nice. Full, satisfying mouthfeel. Highly drinkable.

Jul 06, 2013
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jbphoto88 from Texas

3.63/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dusty yellow approaching orange beer that has a mild fog to it. The cap is strong,firm and the color of playsand. A solid but not out of this world start.

The nose is plain Jane but not in a bad way. Clean malts and a sharp handful of hops give this beer a simple but delicious ale bouquet.

The taste is vy much like the nose with the malts being crisp, clean and the flavor of lightly toasted white bread. The hops are present but don't over power the malts which is slightly disappointing given the claim of "IPA style" on the bottle. I was expecting a little more punch from these guys. Even if this is a lager beer there are others out there that have a more pronounced hop profile.

Mouthfeel is again very clean and crisp from the lagering. The hops do have a slight pinch of astringency by my molars and there is a lovely dryness to this beverage. I like the simple and direct flavors but wish this beer had more of a hop punch. Still a fine brew and worth drinking if you come across it.

Mar 29, 2013
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TaySuth from California

3.15/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

Serving Type: Poured from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Golden in color with a hint of amber. Nice white head that dissipates down to a few large bubbles with strong lacing.

Smell: Nothing amazing stands out but nice for a pale lager. Hints of hops and malt but nothing strong. Some sort of peppery spice aroma is also detected.

Taste: The hops lead with some citrus and a strong, but non-smooth bitterness. Solid pale malt backbone is nice. Lager yeast is interesting, but as they label this an IPA style lager, I gotta say that I prefer the ale yeast.

Mouthfeel: Too syrupy and over carbonated. Semi-sweet. Definitely some room for improvement.

Overall: An interesting beer and I appreciate the lager yeast variation but this beer just didn't do it for me.

Mar 13, 2013
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vickersspitfire from Texas

3.45/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured out in a snifter, I know not the recommended glass but I felt like rebelling tonight, this beer has a nice semi-hazy and golden body, moderate carbonation and is topped off with a nice thick and creamy head with some mild lacing. The aroma is a bit light, but the hops a present and smelling inviting. Mild apple and orange come through along with a mixture of citrus fruits. At first taste it crisp, slightly creamy and the hops are the first flavor you taste. Grapefruit and orange zest come in next and then the malts kick in. This one feels more like a lager at first but then quickly changes into a nice mild IPA. The aftertaste is all IPA, the hops are strong and the alcohol is barley tasted, but none of the flavors overpowering. Overall this is a pretty good beer and I look forward to trying their others.

Feb 11, 2013
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Tone from Missouri

3.76/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazy, copper color. 1/3 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of pine, sweet malt, slight caramel malt, hops, slight floral, and a hint of sugar. Fits the style of an American Pale Lager. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of floral hops, pine, sweet malt, caramel malt, hint of citrus hops, and a hint of grass. Overall, good appearance, complexity, and blend.

Jan 16, 2013
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mick303 from Canada

3.74/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

IPA style-lager into a pint glass. Colour is a honey straw gold, good retention of the soapy white head, leaves good lacing.

Smell is mostly soft malts with a subtle hop bitter prickle. Some fruity apricot notes. mostly balanced, interesting.

Taste has a bready malt feel with a definite hoppy dry bitterness which is a bit citrusy and leafy. Some dryness and fruity apple notes, mostly malty with some oily hops toward the end, seems a bit tart. Finish is dry, slightly hoppy, with a lingering oiliness.

Mouthfeel has a moderate carbonation and body, crispness isn't well defined initially, but still refreshing, alc is not overbearing and it is a decent drinking beer that is surprisingly sessionable.

This works pretty well, the flavour could be a bit more interesting and less rough in terms of mouthfeel (particularly toward the end) but it is a really pleasant enjoyable beer, quite drinkable. In some ways it waffles back and forth between being an IPA or lager and this indecision shows at times. Could be better, but still not bad.

Jan 12, 2013
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AlCaponeJunior from Texas

4.1/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tan to slightly orange in color, clear, rising bubbles, a nice one finger head and good lacing.

Lots of citrus on the nose, lemon peel, oranges, grapefruits. A good amount of hoppy aroma too, very nice.

Taste is very nice, quite bitter and citrusy. Hop flavor is more than almost any American pale lager that I've tried. There's a nice malty balance too.

Body is medium and well carbonated. Quite easy to drink.

It's hard to believe this is a lager. If you served it to me blind, I'd think it to be a pale ale, and a pretty hoppy one at that.

Within the style, this one is a real standout, and a quality beer. Within any style, it's a real standout, and a high quality beer! Highly recommended.

Jan 07, 2013
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ubenumber2 from Arkansas

2.83/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured form 12 oz bottle into a pint glass

Very light colored and hazy , very little head and no lacing to speak of

Smell is sweet and spicy with not a lot of hop fragrance to speak of

The body of the beer is nice , really feel like you are getting a drink of something , not too much carbonation , silky and full

Taste is more of a spicy and very bitter , almost a pepper type flavor , no tastes of hops that I have had before ,very bitter and you can taste the alcohol in it pretty good

Over all I didnt enjoy this beer , Its drinkable , I know its supposed to be an IPA Style Lager , but it just didnt hit the mark for me

Jan 07, 2013
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Hopfenpeter from Maryland

3.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a hazy medium gold, with a creamy hitter head building two fingers high, which dissipates fat leaving some lacing.
The smell is of citrusy hops and caramel.
The fruity hop character of citrus up front, is quickly sweetened by a good dose of caramel lay malt flavors. Some more bitter hops at the finish. Over all a medium to light bodied beer. I am not sure if it fits the beer style exactly. I wish there would have been more carbonation while drinking this beer. It was quite syrup like.

Dec 16, 2012
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Beer-A-Lot from Virginia

3.58/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

While I'm not a hoppy beer fan, I think this beer is a decent brew. Easy drinking, nice mouthfeel, good creamy taste. A pretty good beer for a barbecue or other such occasion. As a character said in "Fargo," "you could do a lot worse." This isn't the Radisson, but it's a pretty ok beer, there. Oh yeah? Geez.

Dec 10, 2012
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M_C_Hampton from Georgia

3.6/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from 22 oz bottle into pint glass. Yery hazy golden with a hint of copper. Pours with a big fluffy white 2" head that dissipates leaving little lacing.
S: citrus nose, lemons, oranges, grapefruit, yeast, mild bitter hops, tartness give a slight pucker and mouth water
T: like a sweet grapefruit muffin up front finishing with hop bitterness, lacks balance of maltyness, some bready quality with strong hops, not a complex hop profile but good and bitter
M: pretty heavy on the carbonation and a little thin
O: interesting attempt a a lager masquerading as an IPA

Oct 30, 2012
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MortarPestle from Indiana

3.21/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into Pilsener Glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear copper color with a decent foamy head that provides minimal lacing.

Aroma: Some citrus and herbal hops over rising bread dough.

Taste: Greeted by malt breadiness quickly followed with orange, juniper and a hint of pepper.

Texture: Medium body and good carbonation.

Drinkability: Decent mild IPA but won't be one I seek out. Came as part of a variety pack, but usually only available as a 22 ounce around here.

Aug 14, 2012
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JackieTH from Minnesota

3.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Medium golden with a thinnish head that doesn't leave any lace. Smell is grainy, malt, musty, faint leafy-citric hop. Taste is much more bitter than the nose suggested. There is a washing of citric, grassy hop, mild bitterness lingers with underlying pale malts, bread, earth. Citric-pith flavor lingers on the taste buds with a dry finish on a medium soft body with ample carbonation. I can certainly see why they call this an IPA style lager.

Aug 04, 2012
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sprucetip from Alaska

3.86/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Golden/amber, excellent clarity, modest white head stays for just a little bit then fades. It's pretty active too. Very attractive, though appearance is not all that important to me.

Kind of a grainy/musty-funk aroma leading the way. I think it must be the lager yeast. I feel boozy warmth before I detect the estery smell wafting from the booze. The hops are pretty hard to find, but there is some pungent gooey green kind of flowery hop presence buried deep and adding complexity and depth even if it is hard to pinpoint. ... and as I go deeper, I finally find some unmistakable citrusy hop character as well as some faint caramel and sweet malty flavors. It mostly works for me, and is kind of unique and has some depth. But, I can easily see how someone who bought it because it says "IPA STYLE" on the bottle, and expected something more like an American IPA, might be confused or even disappointed with the nose of this one.

The citrus and the modest hop bitterness are notable at first sip. Not because they are bold, but the lager yeast lays down a fairly clean canvass for the other factors to decorate. It's not a huge beer but I can taste booze, too. But the malty body is there to balance these elements. I taste the sweetness a little bit, but mainly the malt serves to balance, and it does that well.

Well carbonated and medium bodied, but with some fairly strong and not entirely pleasant warming. It doesn't dry out too much, and the bitterness lingers some.

This is interesting, and it's good. But I don't know that they should be putting "IPA Style" on the label. It may be generously hopped for a lager, but folks thinking they're getting a legit IPA may be disappointed. That said, I don't drink lagers much, and often the ones I do drink are ones like doppelbocks, so not really what people think of as lagers. It isn't that often that thinner "lawn mower" beers appeal to me. And Sword Swallower may not be lawn mower beer, but it is a lager and I like it. I guess that is because it has way more flavor, depth and character than most lagers. I like the idea, and the execution is pretty good, though there are some rough edges that could be smoothed out. I'll probably have it again.

Jul 20, 2012
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rangerred from Tennessee

3.28/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass from a 22oz bomber.

Pours a clear medium copper with a thick one finger white head.

Aroma has some earthy hops along with a little bit of toasted caramel. A little bit of lemon and orange as well.

The flavor is heavy on the hops up front with some orange citrus but also quite a bit of earthyness. Some toasted malt is evident along with a little bit of cereal grain and caramel. A drying bitterness comes through about midway through and the finish is pretty clean with a slightly sticky mouthfeel. Alcohol is well hidden.

Overall, a unique take on an IPA and a lager and it is pulled off fairly well. Malt and hops could be a little bit smoother but this is something I would consider picking up again.

Jul 09, 2012
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Jemonster from California

3.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: A slightly opaque clover honey gold with small bubbled and heavy carbonation. A loose white head that lingers.

S: Floral hops, yeast, fresh bread.

T: Light bitterness up front. Not nearly as hopped as most IPAs. The style here says American Pale Lager but the bottle says IPA style brewed with lager yeast. So I guess this falls somewhere in between a lager and an IPA...I get the floral IPA flavors and some lager freshness here. The finish is all IPA though, with the lingering bitter flavors. I get some grapefruit and seriously, arugula.

M: Pretty nice. It's easy drinking viscosity and medium ABV make it go down pretty smoothly. Might be a little too rich to drink with food, but not rich enough to be satisfying on its own.

O: Not bad. I like it but don't love it. Brings something new (for me) to the table in its style.

Jul 09, 2012
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BryanCarey from Texas

3.63/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Sword Swallower IPA pours to a golden straw color with just the slightest haze. The nose on this beer is one of spice and pale malt and the frothy white head of foam leaves some lace as you consume.

Tasting this IPA reveals a flavor a little smoother than the typical example of the IPA style. I get some caramelized malt, toasted bread, pine, and floral hops. The bitterness lingers in the finish and the taste remains dry overall.

Sword Swallower IPA style beer is an interesting entry from the award- winning Shmaltz Brewery. The beer is an IPA style, not a true IPA, and that is because it is brewed using lager yeast. This will bother many purists out there, but I find that the lager character helps to smooth out the taste, making it less intense than your standard IPA, but still far more interesting than most lagers.

This IPA style brew doesn’t have the excessive citrus character common to American IPA, but I like what it does offer and it is certainly a beer that catches the eye. The artwork on the bottle, the name, and the variation on the style grab your attention and the beer itself doesn’t disappoint. It may not be a true IPA beer, but it easily beats the majority of American lagers in overall taste.

Jul 08, 2012
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obrike from Texas

3.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4 this is an APL, not an APA, or an IPA? Got it. Check. Ok...

Look was not too bad...a bit cloudy, pale orange/yellow...ok head that faded pretty quickly though...not much lacing at all.

Getting a decent biscuity, sweet malt scent. Good. Certainly not great though.

An immediate malty sweetness followed by an earthy grassy hop bitterness. A lager...really? Not too shabby. Medium carbonation and very easy drinking...dangerous. At nearly 7abv, this could get you in trouble in a hurry.

I gotta say, for the style, this is pretty good. A hop head would not pour it out...unless said hop head was a d-bag and just too pretentious to imbibe a lager. Nice job on this one Shmaltz!

Jun 08, 2012
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Mora2000 from Texas

3.68/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from the Coney Island variety pack.

The beer pours a golden color with a white head. The aroma has quite a bit of pine and orange citrus in it, as well as some biscuit malt. The flavor is fairly similar, with some pine and orange, with a light bit of resin thrown in. The bitterness is low because the biscuit malt adds a touch of sweetness to balance things out. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. This tastes about like an IPA, as expected from reading the label.

May 19, 2012
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korguy123 from Canada

3.31/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Funny name? Check
Funny label? Check
Interesting concept? Yup
Does it stack up?...

A- Crystal clear light orange pour with a finger of slightly sticky white head that leaves minimal lacing around in it's path.

S- I get nothing but pale lager smell... It claims to be a "IPA Style" brewed with lager yeast but I'm not really getting "IPA" from this... Light chewy malt with a touch of sweetness. It has a slight noble hops smell...

T- Okay more going on than the aroma but still not "IPA." Bitter floral hops, slightly sweet malts little on the dry side with a lingering bitter finish.

M- Good light to medium bodied, slightly chewy with good carbonation.

O- Don't get me wrong it is very good, it just isn't what they claim it to be in my opinion. I guess you can make anything in the "style of" without being anything close to that style.

In terms of it being a pale lager, it is very good and I did enjoy it.

Apr 07, 2012
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WoodBrew from Ohio

3.43/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clouded amber golden hue with a large off white head fine speckled lacing forms thick. Aroma has some harsh metallic hops and sharp citrus/lime notes. Sweet pale malt background, fruity highlights seems interesting. A lager that drinks like an IPA, hoppy delicious bitterness amongst pale balancing malts, excellent concept I burp up fruity hop notes this stuff could be really drinkable. Honey coated palte malts with earthy grapefruit rind bitterness, mouthfeel has a nice carbonation with medium bodied slick hop oils. Drinkablity overall was nice a beer I ccould see drinking on a regular basis, I didn't feel that way about most of the Coney Island sampler pack.

Apr 06, 2012
Coney Island Sword Swallower from Coney Island Brewing Company
Beer rating: 81 out of 100 with 398 ratings