Sweetwater IPA | SweetWater Brewing Company

918 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:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 918 | Ratings: 3,451
Photo of JEdmund
3.73/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This hefty, 6.9% ABV brew was poured on tap in Atlanta Airport in a big 16 oz. glass; burnt orange/pumpkin body with a small off-white head that fizzes away quickly; hardly any carbonation bubbles can be seen

Pretty faint hop aroma, especially for an IPA (didn't get much better after warming)

Taste & Mouthfeel
Floral and oddly enough, bubble gum (but it's good!); minimal malt presence; finish lingers long with a lot of hop spiciness; mouthfeel is medium bodied and creamy in texture; just enough malts to know they're there, but I would prefer a bit more

I'm not sure what hops are used in Sweetwater's IPA, but they're not my personal favorites. Overall, it's still a very tasty and flavorful brew and I really enjoyed it during my layover.

 774 characters

Photo of sholland119
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this in a trade with gford217. Thanks!

Poured from the bottle into a Brooklyn Brewery pint glass.

A-Pours a slightly hazy golden amber color. Thin white head dissipates rather quickly.

S-Nice deep aroma of grapefruit hop goodness with a hint of sweetness also.

T-A very well balanced taste. Not as much hop bite as you might expect from the nose but there is a bit of hoppiness there at the finish. The honey sweetness that you smell is highly present throughout also. Nice and smooth.

M-Nice mouthfeel with a moderate amount of carbonation. A little hop bite stays on the tongue.

D-A very nice session IPA. Tastes lighter than the ABV would indicate but this is not a knock.

We don't get Sweetwater beers here in PA so it was nice to be able to check one out via this trade. I would seek them out next time I am in Atlanta.


 840 characters

Photo of dhd1491
4.42/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Medium-deep golden burnished-copper color. White-tan head of foam that dissipates in about a minute leaving some weak lacing. Strong, fresh scent of hops. Initial strong hit of white grapefruit hoppiness balanced with some sweet malt with a little buttery texture and some coppery aftertaste.

This is a really nice IPA for the price. Sweetwater's 420 Pale Ale was my everyday brew, but I think I have just upgraded. The slight cereal aftertaste of the 420 is completely absent in their IPA. Sweet and sour are very evenly balanced. Would love to try this alongside the Dogfish Head 60-minute IPA.

6 pk $8...11 cents per oz.

 625 characters

Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.17/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to RustyDiamond for this surprising extra.

Best by date of 5/13/08

Pours a light amber/golden color with a decent fluffy head and some lacing.

Smell is a strong citrusy hop aroma with a grapefruit edge, lots of citrus for this aroma, slight grassy presence in the back of the nose.

Taste is not overwhelming with the hops but a good balance with the malt, there is a bitterness but not overdone and with a slight sweetness, some puckering from the grapefruit and citrus aspects.

 489 characters

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

Consumed on 03/28/08 at O'Zone Pizza/Madison's Diner, Pensacola.

Very clear amber with moderate rising bubbles. Thin creamy head of off-white foam.

Aromatic grapefruit/citrus hop character.

Very pronounced grapefruit hop flavor. Sweet as well. Not particularly bitter, surprisingly. Not much malt character to be had, maybe some caramel.

Very easily an enjoyable session IPA. This is my first Sweetwater beer and I hope it won't be my last.

 444 characters

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

A: Pours a copper color with a frothy 2 finger thick head that gradually dissipates down to about a quarter of an inch. It has quite a bit of lacing due to the frothy head. Compared to the appearance of the other IPAs I have had this one looks outstanding.

S: A very strong floral hop smell greets the nose before it even gets close to the glass. Once again much more than I expected with my history of IPAs. Maybe I just need to get out more.

T: This one is very tasty. It is much more smooth than I expected with the hoppy aroma. It has an excellently balanced flavor.

M: The carbonation is the perfect amount to tickle the tongue. It is thicker than I expected from an IPA as well.

D: This one is very refreshing and tasty. It makes you come back for more quickly.

I expected to like this one since Sweetwater rarely disappoints. However, I was not expecting to like it this much. I will definitely be buying again.

 923 characters

Photo of Jayli
3.78/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I was suprised by the boldness of this beer. This is a true IPA through and through. It has prescence and bite. I am a fan of IPA's - this IPA certainly has a bold, distinguishing taste to it. There is no denying the hops! It poured well with a light coloring.

 260 characters

Photo of SIRIUS2
4.17/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A: Clear bright copper-gold in color with very light white head that reduces to a thin film of bubbles and a solid ring. Lacing clings nicely down the glass.

S: Very sharp hops on the nose, a very hard floral hop smell.

T: Nice hops are immediate but not nearly at the intensity that might be expected from the initial smell. Nicely matched with a light or pale malt and finishes mostly clean, with just a bit of bitter in the linger.

M&D: Light to moderate mouthfeel with light and persistent carbonation. The quick clean finish makes this enjoyable to drink as you get plenty of hops but don't seem overwhelmed. Nice brew!

Special thanks to Maria for picking this up for me on her travels.

 744 characters

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

While waiting for my flight at the airport in Atlanta, I stopped in one of the pubs to have a pint and discovered that they had a local beer on tap. Needless to say, I was very surprised.

A- A golden amber color with a really nice orange tint to it. White two finger head, and some pretty cool lacing actually. The lace stuck to about half of my glass.

S- Smell was crisp and citrusy- nice hop smell but nothing to overpowering.

T- This beer is not complex at all. If you are expecting something that will blow you away, this will not do it. BUT- this is a beer that is done extremely well and was absolutely tastey. This was clean, crisp, and refreshing. Lemon zest, grapefruit, citrus flavors dominated, with some bitter qualities from the hops. There was also a nice grassy flavor, but once again, faint.

M- Lots of carbonation on this one, pleasant going down. My throat and mouth were extremtly dry after two pints.

D- Could easily drink this all night. Great IPA, nothing that will blow you away. This is done right though.

 1,035 characters

Photo of abankovich
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a deeper amber color than I was expecting, even some brown tone when not held up to the light. Head didn't really last at all, but what very small lacing that stuck around was a clear white.

The aroma is certainly hops, although not as pronounced as I expected it to be after reading the label. Not sure what type of hops are used, but there is a sweet odor to them, not much bitterness in the aroma. Maybe a little caramel or toffee as well. Certainly a little citrus.

Taste is like an IPA should be. Bitter, some pine and floral notes present. Dry, bitter and sharp aftertaste. Really there is very little impact up front to me. The flavor all comes out in the middle and end of this beer. Licking my lips after, there is also a lot of sourness present.

Relatively light bodied in my opinion, everything seems to hit late on. Drinkability is good as well. Not sure if I would sit an drink an entire 6-pack in one sitting though.

 950 characters

Photo of jdoncbus
3.92/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

-Thank you to Rusty Diamond for this one-

*Best by 05/13/08*
Poured into Ommegang glass. Color is an amber, burnt orange with a tan, two finger head. Considerable lacing that leaves nice rings around the glass. Moderate carbonation.

The nose consists of a peach, grapefuit hopiness; an almost cotton candy/bubble gum aroma as well. Mild, toasted/caramel malt notes as well.

Taste is far more balanced then the smell. Extremely creamy on the palate with a sweet brown sugar-malt hit followed by a smooth yet mild citrus hop. The mouth slowly begins to dry with a nice tart feel & a mild alcohol burn into the stomach.

A very nice AIPA and would buy more of this if available in these parts. Nothing really wows you with the beer but it is pretty damn good and would recommend to hopheads and non-hopheads alilke.

 816 characters

Photo of ffejherb
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle into shaker pint glass on 3/6/08.

A - Slightly hazy amber/orange body with dainty white head that quickly diminished into a thin, bubbly ring around the glass. Nice amount of carbonation. Lacing is minimal and spotty.

S - Quite a sweet, malty aroma featuring caramel notes as well as an apparent citrus hop nose. Some faint pine notes in the back along with a subtle berry fruitiness.

T - Wonderful blend of tangy citrus hops and sweet caramel malts. Finishes with a crisp bitterness and just a bit of buttery cracker maltiness.

M - Medium body with a creamy texture that's just a tad watery. Carbonation is right where it should be - ample, but not too prickly, resulting in a smooth mouthfeel. Hops provide some residual stickiness on the lips. Finish is only mildly bitter on the tongue.

D - Solid IPA. My first beer from Sweetwater. I would definitely like to sample more of their brews down the road.

 927 characters

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

Holy crap, I almost forgot how good this is. Pours a solid amber with a nice fluffy head and great lacing down the glass. Smell is so strong of fresh and juicy citrus. Grapefruit is the main culprit and a sugary sweet malt is also present. About as great as it gets, with hops winning but malts providing a solid backbone that keeps it in place. A crisp, refreshing mouthfeel. Slightly bitter and drying finish. Mouth watering. Excellent drinkability. It's gone before you know it. An all around classic IPA in my book. I need to pick this up more often, damn!

 560 characters

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.

 656 characters

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

A - Poured a copper color with a thin off white head

S - Is of piney hops very nice

T - Each sip is a mouthful of piney hops

M - This beer has a higher medium carbonation to it

D - This is the kind of beer that I want to come home to after a day of work and sit back with and enjoy the hops its worth a try

 310 characters

Photo of lackenhauser
4.62/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bright golden color. Not a lot of head or carbonation. Nice hoppy aroma-a lot of grapefruit in there. Fantastic hop flavor. Not overly bitter but a great, great hop flavor across the board. Killer malty sweetness to offset the hops. Really a great tasting beer. Touch of lingering bitterness. Nice body-not too big or thin. Simply a great US IPA. A style that can really run the gamut of flavors. They nailed this one for sure. I could do this all night.

 454 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz received as an extra in trade with MMAJYK .. Thanks a bunch. Poured into my New Belgium snifter.

1" head drops pretty quick.. spotty lacing.. clear amber brew.

Piney .. with quite a bit of toasty and a little bit less caramel aromas... floral hop aromas come out quite a bit as it warms.

Flavor is really not that bitter for the style .. alot of toasted bread with a good dose of flavor hops.. balanced more toward the malts than many American IPA's .. good medium body with a lower carbonation really makes the mouthfeel nice. Very drinkable... mild melon like yeasty component when it warms up.

Fantastic extra Marc! This would be a regular in my fridge if I had access to it.. I prefer a little maltier IPA.. and the Sweetwater delivers nicely.

 757 characters

Photo of jdubjacket
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Always have this on tap at the brewery, so I thought I would try it in a bottle.

Pours an amber color with minimal lacing. No head to speak of.

Smells like hops, pine, and citrus. Taste is similar except it has a rather bitter aftertaste, which is typical of Sweetwater.

Overall, this is a decent IPA and is one of the better offerings of Sweetwater.

 353 characters

Photo of AshevilleSippin
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Short Version:
Nice hoppy IPA. Bitter and astringent on the finish. Enough malt to keep the drinkability factor up. Much better than the Sweetwater 420 I rated the other day.

Poured a deep amber-honey color with thick light-khaki 2" foamy head with nice durability. It dropped in uneven splotches that reminded me of iceburg sheer walls at times. Lace was sticky at the top but failed to muster any cling on the lower 2/3 of the glass.

Bright hoppy smell with maybe a little sour citrus. Head settled to a thin-film ring with volcanic islands in the center. Busy and appetizing. Oddly enough there seems to be the faint smell of band-aids involved. That rich sweetish plasticy-latex smell of a quality band-aid is somehow intertwined with the hops. I know it sounds crazy but it was there. Glass was clean and rinsed prior to the pour too. Subtle and not sickening but I think it's a reasonable approximation of what I'm picking up.

Taste is hoppy with a some decent caramel malt balance. Medium bodied and flavorful. There's something dusty/earthy about it (not a sweet or flowery hoppiness) that I can't quite place. Very bitter and astringent on the tongue. The deep biting bitter like you'd get from alumn or some kind of cleaning supply.

Finish is dry and bitter with a little malt running fullback to keep it pleasant.

 1,340 characters

Photo of whiplash3825
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours copper/amber with a smallish off-white head that lasts all the way through... minimal lacing.

The smell is refreshing all on it's own without ever taking a sip! Beer aromatherapy... like a spring day in a pine forest, along with some citrus, earthiness, and light malt.

Great balance in the flavor, with piney and grapefruit hops backed up with a nice malt presence. Someone else mentioned mango in the taste, and it's definitely there! Very fruity.

Good mouthfeel... hops oilyness with a nice level of carbonation.

Even with the strong hops, drinkability is great because of the balance in taste.

I'm not a hopshead, but I love this beer! I think that attests to the nicely balanced malt in the backgroud that keep the hops from being overpowering. My favorite IPA to date, and IMO the best Sweetwater offering by far.

 830 characters

Photo of pacothrash
4.92/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer is in my top 5 and I was fortunate to have the wife travel to Atlanta. She picked me up a case. The first bottle was just as I remember, if not better. Very nice citrus, grapefruit smell from the hops. Nice balance. Definately my favorite session beer.

 262 characters

Photo of slatetupelo
4.4/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Pours a nice coppery color with a small white head a little lacing.

S - Really strong citrus smell, I'd say along the lines of a grapefruit, this beer actually smells refreshing if that makes any sense.

T - Very good and bittersweet, it tastes just like it smells. Strong citrus and pine hops balanced out with some malts. Leaves a great aftertaste that makes you want to drink another one.

D - Very drinkable, I could see myself going through a 12 pack on a hot summer day. This would make for a great session beer. I would love to try this one of tap someday.

 568 characters

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

Very pretty clear golden appearance with a slight tint of orange.

Very floral, citrus hop aroma. Cascade, maybe Simcoe too?

Chewy, medicinal hop taste. Sweet, syrupy hop finish. Definitely a palate coater. As hoppy as this is, very drinkable...scary.

 252 characters

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

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle obtained at Green's in Atlanta into a pint glass.

A. Very nice amber brew with a fluffy head and typical light lacing.

S. Very robust hops. I liked the profile since it reminded me of a SN brew without the raw power. Very discreet hop mixing and some malt.

T. Dead on to the smell. The hops are piney with a grapefruit finish. A discreet malt finish.

M. Very clean finish. The carbonation is light.

D. Very drinkable. I personally like to keep an IPA in the main fridge and this would be a choice if it were available in my area.

A solid IPA.

 578 characters

Photo of MMAJYK
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Nice coppery orange color with 2 fingers of fluffy, white head after an agressive pour. There is a few spots of lacing down the glass while drinking it down.

S- Ahhh. The citrusy grapefruit aromas of these hops. It is hoppy, but the sweetness of the fruits blend well and make it quite an experience on the nose. It is soft and very sweet; not overpowering at all. I also pick up a smell of pineapples hidden in there.

T- Just like the smell. The hops are bittersweet. The taste starts sweet, midstream turns to bitter, then sweet again on the finish. It is very complex, surprisingly. I also pick up the same grapefruits and pineapples that I picked up on the nose.

M- Medium in thickness, and is a little bit oily. The oils coat the surface of the tongue with a nice film. I think because I poured it somewhat agressively, it took away a little bit of the carb sting.

D- Very drinkable and enjoyable. It is low enough on the ABV to really down a few of these in one sitting, but holds the qualities of the style well.

Overall- This is a strong offering from Sweetwater. This one was from the bottle, but I have had it on tap at the brewery too. Both are equally enjoyable. I cannot believe that it has taken me this long to review this brew, but I am glad I did. I have found a new session beer that will be taken advantage of!

 1,337 characters

Sweetwater IPA from SweetWater Brewing Company
4.01 out of 5 based on 3,451 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.