Sweetwater IPA | SweetWater Brewing Company

922 Reviews
Sweetwater IPASweetwater IPA

Brewed by:
SweetWater Brewing Company
Georgia, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-05-2002

For Trade:
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Reviews: 922 | Ratings: 3,460
Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On the plus bitter side, with citrus from Chinook hops? Citrus aroma. Smooth. Well gulped on the night of a humid day. Malts present though not that balanced. Delicate taste, medium mouthfeel. Thanks Mr_kimchee.Had on tap at the brewpub 3 1/3 years later and better than average IPA. Good bubbly head onto grapefruit.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.24/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: 1.5 finger head. little lace. Clear and amber.

S: Grapefruit on top. Background of pineapple, cherry and cranberry mixed with hops.

T: Grapefruit heavy with hops taking a backseat. I love this version of an IPA. Complex citrus notes and little pine.

M: Not too spicey with medium body. A great summer version of an IPA.

Overall: I like this version. I appreciate the IPA background and heavy citrus. I will be grabing more of this from time to time.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

a well made if a tad generic india pale ale from the great state of georgia. richer bronze color to this, mostly clear, with an inch of pure white head that slowly settles down. it smells like cascade hops, higher alpha but overly common, the classic mix of hop bitterness and juicy punch. malt base is bigger than average and lends some biscuity aromatics, although its flavor is far more subdued. a fuller bodied gulp shows nice carbonation and a long hoppy finish that moves from lightly citric to quite bitter. well done, but the varietals used could be a little more unique i think. this is basic american ipa, well crafted, but not particularly intriguing. a good sixer to drink down thoughtlessly coming from one of the better known georgia beer makers. curious to try their other stuff though, this was good, but couldnt hold my attention past one.

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Photo of metter98
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Hazy light amber in color, the beer poured with a finger high creamy beige head that slowly dissipated into lacy patterns of bubbles covering the surface. A light amount of carbonation is visible.
S: The hops contribute moderate to strong aromas of grapefruit and pine resin to the nose.
T: Like the smell, there are flavors of grapefruit and pine in the taste as well as notes of caramel and hints of malty sweetness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is very drinkable. I would definitely have another one of these again because it has a nice amount of bitterness and a good amount of flavors. I could easily have a few of these in one sitting.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A seriously formitable and stern IPA with delicate sweetness and bold hop character- such a bitter beer for a Sweet-water brewery.

Pouring a froathy orange hued beer, the lush head gives an off-white, cottony textured appearance. Vibrant carbonation makes the beer dance with zest and sprite. Solid rings of lace reminds me how many drinks it took to reach the bottom of the glass- turns out four on this particularly thirsty day.

Bright and fruity aromas, lead by tangerine and orange zest, fill the nose with a juicy and highly citrusy character. Soft malty sweet scent provides the slightest of caramel scent to give a ripe and sweet citrusy dominance to the nose.

Flavors are very consistent with aromas: Focused on dripping citrusy fruity flavor with a dry bitter finish that remains clean and smooth. The hop showcase is focused more on the flavor of tangerine, pineapple, oranges, and ripe ruby red grapefruit and a little less on the resiny bitterness in finish. A background of powdered sugar sweetness gives a ripe and juicy roundness to support the hop flavor and bitterness, and without interferring with the drinkability.

Soft creamy textures seem less scrubbed to the palate than most IPA's and somewhat reminescent to Witbiers. The malty textures waiver at mid palate and allow for a very clean, very crisp hop bitterness and light alcohol dryness to govern the finish; and with a moderate linger of citrusy hop flavor and bitterness in aftertaste.

Sweetwater's IPA is certainly a showcase for hops on all fronts (aroma, flavor, and bitterness), but in superb balance and with high drinkability. This is an effortless beer to drink!

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Photo of brentk56
4.23/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy light copper color with a prodigiously rocky head that leaves swaths of lace all over the glass

Smell: Nice hoppy aroma that leans toward the piney side but has some fruit to it as well; a caramel undertones, tool

Taste: Starts with a moderately sweet caramel presence that is quickly overtaken by a fruity, piney bitterness that continues after the swallow; some residual sweetness on the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: An excellent mainstream IPA - not sure whether this is the new recipe or not - "Best if Enjoyed by 5/5"

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Photo of kojevergas
2.59/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Nabbed on-sale at a Whole Paycheck in Brooklyn for $8/sixer.

"Unfiltered." "IPA." "Bottle conditioned for fresher taste." "Dry hopped." 6.30% ABV.

Hop flavour is piney but balanced out by pale malt sweetness. Hop pungency is lacking, as is depth of flavour. Muddled, lacking a fresh taste. Coating resins make it stick to the palate, which is unpleasant in this beer's case. Very shallow and simple fare; I don't dislike it but it leaves a lot to be desired.

Smooth, wet, unrefreshing, medium-bodied, overcarbonated. Slightly oily. Coating.

OVERALL: I'm appalled this currently has a 90 overall rating on BeerAdvocate; it's mediocre at best. Perhaps this would have dazzled drinkers in 2003, but up against contemporary competition it's dreadfully lackluster. A shrug of an unremarkable IPA that I wouldn't recommend to others. Very forgettable fare from SweetWater.


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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a medium brown color ale with medium head and medium retention. Aroma is quite hoppy and I can already feel the bitterness. Taste is extremely bitter, probably one of the most bitter IPA that I had the chance to taste but also I can feel very light sweetness in the background which make this beer very interesting. Body is just above average and carbonation is medium. Probably one of the most interesting IPA, which mixes some extreme characteristics as well as some balance.

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Photo of zeff80
4.19/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a clear, golden orange color with a one-finger, white head of foam. It left thin rings of lace.

S - It smelled of tons of pine. There was an aroma of citrus and burnt toast maltiness.

T - Great piney/resiney hop bitterness upon first sip. It had a sharp burnt toast maltiness and some sweet caramel & toffee backbone.

M - It was crisp, sharp and had a dry finish. A medium bodied ale that goes down very easy.

D - Glad to find this on tap. I had 420 in a bottle and hoped to find some IPA. I wasn't disappointed.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pours copper with a white head. Nice staying power and good lacing as it goes down my glass. Nose brings some fairly strong citrus hops and a tad bit of light malt. The taste is mostly citrus. There is some light bread and caramel flavors underneath. Good feel with nice bitterness. Not too high in alcohol with a good levels of hops, this is a drinkable beer.

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Photo of mothman
3.03/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours 1/2 finger of white head. Color is a hazed orange gold.

Aroma: Floral, dank hops. Lots of malts. Some citrus flavors.

Taste: Lots of bready malts up front. Bitter floral hops. Grapefruit citrus.

Mouthfeel: Bitter, but bland. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends fairly clean.

Overall, an average ipa at best. Decent drinkability, but nothing special. Too malty for me.

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Photo of superspak
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, best before 1/5/2015. Pours slightly hazy/cloudy golden orange color with a 1-2 finger dense and rocky off white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big grapefruit, pineapple, tangerine, lemon zest, orange peel, pine, floral, grass, light caramel, bread, and floral/grassy earthiness. Outstanding aromas with awesome complexity of bright citrus/pine hops and light-moderate malt sweetness; with great strength. Taste of big grapefruit, pineapple, tangerine, lemon zest, orange peel, pine, floral, grass, light caramel, bread, and floral/grassy earthiness. Good amount of pine/citrus rind bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, pineapple, tangerine, lemon/orange peel, pine, light caramel, bread, and floral/grassy earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice complexity and balance of bright citrus/pine hops and light-moderate malt flavors; with a crisp malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, crisp, and sticky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an awesome IPA. All around great complexity and balance of bright citrus/pine hops and light-moderate malt flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of nickfl
4.24/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Half finger of white foam on a clear copper body. The head settles quickly and leaves almost no lace.

S - Nice hop aroma, mostly grapefruit with notes of plums, oranges and pepper.

T - Big citrus hop character up front, followed by balancing malt and caramel. Malty sweetness shows in the middle and the finish is dominated by moderate hop bitterness and grapefruit hops flavor with a hint of mint.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation and a slightly sweet finish.

D - Well balanced with excellent hop character, easily drinkable. I have been less than impressed with most of what I have had from Sweetwater, but this IPA is a wonderful exception.

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Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy peach with a tight one finger head that leaves a ring of lace behind,big lemon essence in the aroma along with spruce anf touch of nutty malt.Really like the flavors going on here citrusy and pine/resin really stand out but there is real nutyy malt presence to keep this beer in my mind a true quaffable,sessionable IPA.True American in its big hoppiness but not over the top,well done.

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Photo of jlindros
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this bad-Larry in a fun trade with vicanncam. Adding and editing my review thanks to another supply from JonnyGalt (Reddit).

A: Big 1 finger head spread across a large snifter so its a big nice head. It slowly fades and leaves a creamy looking lacing covering an orange red almost pink like beer, and very hazy.

N: A nice malt start to the aroma, followed by a nice hop aroma. Some fresh hop aromas and bitter piny hops hit quite a bit with even a touch of resin. A slight citrus comes through, but mostly a chewy piny hop aroma. It has a really nice strong hop IPA aroma with fresh hops, pine, citrus, chewy aromas, and slight earthy hop goodness.The more I go though the hops seem a bit muted.

T: Starts with an interesting juicy fruit hop taste. Its quite a bit of the sweet juicy candy hops to hit first and don't seem to go away, light light candied orange. A light fresh musty resinous hop taste hits with it. It adds a light piney and citrus taste as well, almost orange zest but not quite. A nice crystal malt flavor adds a good backbone, with a touch of what could be felt as booze. A slight chewy hop taste comes through as well. It almost gets creamy and slightly spicy hop character, but never quite gets to either. Finish is semi dry with a slight malty sweetness, long lingering bitterness with light citrus orange zest hops, and hint of pine and resin.

M: Body is a bit heavier and slightly chewy with decent carbonation.

Overall pretty good, more like typical fairly balanced east coast style IPA that does it's job, and nothing wrong. Hops are decent, fairly balanced, fairly tasty and drinkable, but not quite a standout.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.45/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A slightly hazy (unfiltered), very deep amber-orange body reveals wide golden highlights when held to the light; and it's creamy off-white head slowly drops to a good-sized collar and leaves some very nice lace about the glass. The aroma is bold with brightly floral, sweetly citrusy, and softly piney hops over a sweetish malt. Very nice!!! The same hoppiness appears in the flavor (it's loaded with grapefruit!), tempered a bit by the fuller sweetness of the gently biscuity and softly caramelized malt; and accentuated by a delicate, fruity contribution from the yeast. It's bitterness is firm, but never steps ahead of the rich maltiness; and only makes it's full strength known in the dry finish and long-lingering aftertaste. It's rich, and the medium-full body and very fine, moderate carbonation serves to accentuate that. I'd almost like to try this beer a little bit crisper (with the thought that that would add to it's drinkability), but I like it so much as it is that I feel that might be a fool's errand. Quite nice! Brewed with a firm but delicate hand. Well worth trying!

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Photo of chinchill
4.09/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Unfiltered IPA served in pint glass at brewery (and previous day at a festival where it made an excellent pairing with chili).

A - golden with short-lived white head; slightly hazy

S -Piney and citrusy hops

T - crisp. Floral/citrus hoppy then hoppy with some malt tones then hoppy grapefruit finish. Bolder and drier than average for style.

D - hop-heads should like this one. More intense than the average IPA.

[re-sampled 6/19/2011 with bottle: as excellent as the draft version]

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.42/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired via trade from SilentSabre, so big “Thank you” goes out to him.
Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright orange/amber color with a thin white head that fades at a decent rate and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: Strong floral hops aroma when you crack open the bottle, but once the beer is poured the hops smell fades and you smell a heavy fruity citrus & malt sweetness.

T: The taste starts with a decent burst of hops, but not very heavy. What follows is the same fruity sweetness that you get in the smell. I picked up lemon, grapefruit and some dark fruits (which is slightly different for the style) and the hops keep trying to break through as you drink it. The after-taste is a combination of hops bitterness and citrus sweetness.

M: Very crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, clean finish.

D: I drank this one down fairly quickly for a review. Even though it may be a little sweeter than most IPA’s, it’s very tasty, not-too-filling and is the type of beer I could stick with for a long, long time. This was a very pleasant surprise for a beer that was added in to round out the trade. I think I’m now intrigued by this brewer and I’m going to have to deal for some more stuff from them.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear amber in color with significant amounts of visible carbonation and some golden yellow highlights. The beer has a three finger tall dense foamy light beige head that very slowly reduces to a finger tall film covering the entire surface of the beer with a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of citrus/grapefruit hops with just a hint of tropical fruit hops and caramel malts.

T: Upfront there is a light amount of caramel hops that contribute a light amount of sweetness along with moderate to strong flavors of citrus/grapefruit hops and a very light hint of tropical fruit hops. Very light amounts of lingering bitterness in the finish.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Crisp.

O: Overall this beer is very well balanced between the sweetness of the malts and the bitterness of the hops. The beer is easy to drink with the very enjoyable hop flavors and I would definitely have a couple of these in a session.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

$1.79 single at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Fourth of July. The one day in July you absolutely have to go out and let loose in an uncontained expression of American freedom, fun, and perhaps even a little licentiousness.

Yes sir.


Appearance: Pours a hazy amber-colored body with a small, white head.

Smell: The aroma is showing of juicy, ripe grapefruits, with only a trace amount of dough in the background.

Taste: Faint toasty caramel malt sweetness before the grapefruit plunge and piney hop character that creeps into the long finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: Definitely one of Sweetwater's better beers!

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dusky, ripe pumpkin orange with an internal flurry of fine yeast. The cap is pastel orange-tinted cream in color and is impressively thick and creamy. It morphs into a melted mesa as it descends and deposits a fair number of fat pseudopods of lace. This is a good looking IPA.

The aroma is beautifully hoppy, but since it's dry hopped, I expected a little more boldness. That borders on nitpicking though since citric hop esters (white grapefruit and sweet orange) are mighty pleasing to the nose. Too bad I can't appreciate a little Georgia peach as well.

While calling Sweetwater IPA 'mammoth' (website) is something of a stretch, it is nicely hoppy and is some kind of delicious. Malt is well accounted for with the merest hint of caramel flavor. Hops, naturally, have center stage. As in the nose, white grapefruit peel is uppermost, with supporting roles played by orange and pineapple. The medium-full body is big enough to provide plenty of flavor intensity and flavor linger.

Sweetwater IPA is a wonderful example of the style from one of the best craft breweries in the South. I'd be thrilled if I had the opportunity to buy their beer on a regular basis. Thanks to aracauna, a man with ready access and a willingness to share.

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Photo of billab914
4.52/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle received from Mrandypandy poured into my Harpoon IPA glass.

Pours a beautiful dark orange, almost copper color. Not much head to speak of and what was there from pouring disappeared quickly. not very much lacing down the glass.

Smell is very pleasant with some very pronounced citrus hops coming through with the sweetness of the malt.

I loved the taste of this IPA. The hops are very citrusy and not overly bitter. The sweetness of the malt really comes through and really helps balance out the bitterness. This was a very easy drinking IPA that I could drink all night long if only I had more. Excellent taste and drinkability. This is one of my new favorite IPA's.

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Photo of russpowell
4.36/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This one comes courtesy of Ddarden with a BBD of 05/17/07

Pours peach tea colored with 2 fingers of sand colored head. Good lacing & head retention

S: citric hops

T: Grapefruitty & lemony hops up front. As this warms; breadyness, alng with crisp hops, & some fruittyness &a little apple skin. Finishes crisp,a little dry & oodles of citric hops

MF: Medium bodied, with low carbonation & great balance

Super sessionable IPA, a simple, straight-forward IPA. Not supper aggresive IPA, just a very quaffable one!

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a cloudy pale orange with a nice white creamy head that lced up well. Smell was strong and very hoppy. Citrus flavors abounded this. The taste was wonderful. Big citrus and pine pop up front with a dry hopped back. All hops, no real balance on this, and non needed. Could easily drink this all night! Goin to get more ASAP!

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Photo of smcolw
3.89/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Moderate bottle-poured head. It leaves good ring/spotty lace on the glass. The liquid is copper gold in color. Mildly hazy.

Strong grapefruit rind aroma from the hop. In the background is some melon and caramel with a dash of sweetness. Some alcohol to the nose.

Starts with a neutral malt flavor, but the prickly and peppery hop kicks in quickly. The aftertaste is shorter than one might expect given the biting finish. The body is middle of the road as is the carbonation level.

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Sweetwater IPA from SweetWater Brewing Company
4.01 out of 5 based on 3,460 ratings.
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