Sweetwater 420 Extra Pale Ale | SweetWater Brewing Company

755 Reviews
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Sweetwater 420 Extra Pale AleSweetwater 420 Extra Pale Ale

Brewed by:
SweetWater Brewing Company
Georgia, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-29-2001

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Reviews: 755 | Ratings: 3,522
Photo of Beerwithoutallthehops
1.22/5  rDev -66.5%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

I continue my tastings of hops-overloaded "beers".

This beer has all hops and no malts. Another reviewer wrote that the malt was noticeable.

No they are not. All I smelled and tasted was hops. Typical USA hopfest. Craft? Nope, just hops 24/7.

Another reviewer wrote that it tasted astringent. Excellent word choice. I could not determine the best description for the aftertaste, but astringent is more than close enough.

The aftertaste reminds me of how hospitals smell.

The hops batter your mouth until it is unconscious, then the astringent aftertaste kicks it into the gutter.

Typical USA "craft" - hops, hops, hops, hops, hops, hops and some hops. Hmmm, repetitive?


How did Germany ever learn to maker beer without all these USA hops geniuses???????????

Because they stayed with what works, not what is popular and the fad of the hour/month/year.

Germany also gives us BMW and Benz. Gosh, we better tell them that those "old" ideas will never sell today.

Really? MB just had their 10 or 12 th straight record year. I think they know what works.

Please, insert your WWII insult at this point. Great, thanks.

I will not be buying this hopsfest ever again. Thanks for the attempt Sweetwater, but it aint working for me.

All those who like this? Enjoy a few more. My hat is off to ya. This aint for me.

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Photo of mattroc000
1.43/5  rDev -60.7%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 1.5

This is the worst beer I've had to date (09-25-16). It worked well in using it for cooking pancakes, but besides cooking, I would never get it again. It has a strong, bitter kick of many conflicting flavours from the beginning. While drinking, as well as the aftertaste, it is very acidic!

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Photo of Jayzilla513
1.88/5  rDev -48.4%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

Dank. Almost smells as dank as Newcastle. It's pretty bitter (apa). Nothing special. Light color, light head, bitter smell. Glad I tried it, won't go out of my way to drink it.

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Photo of santoslhalper
2/5  rDev -45.1%
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

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Photo of mooseisloose
2.06/5  rDev -43.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Smells like butterscotch with some zesty fruitiness. Pours to a yellow orange with a nice two finger macro-bubble head. Taste is very earthy, but actually kind of bland. Nothing really stands out, hops or malt. Has a slight belgian twinge to it but otherwise is rather weak and unpronounced. Slight flat bitter finish but nothing up front. This beer is spineless. Mouthfeel has body but lacks carbonation. An unimpressive brew. Hopefully this is a bad bottle. I will try again if I get the chance to see if better
results prevail.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
2.23/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a clear, translucent amber in color with only a soapy ring of froth developing on the pour. Smell is malts and some old, still holding on hops. The best by date is still another 3 months away! Taste is old and not good for a supposed to still be good beer. Very thin on the mouthfeel and easy drinking. Not something I would revisit again.

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Photo of planetscott
2.28/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.75

Mediocre at best. Is better suited as a college aged hipster beer. That's the market for this beer and the brewery and they found it. They're afraid if they change it, they will lose the hipster crowd that consumes this.

The last two times I've had this, the beer was flawed. Excess DMS makes this mediocre beer barely drinkable. I'm amazed that people still drink it.

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.32/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Chilled bottle into a glass. A generous extra from jophish17. Thanks Joe!

I've heard great things about this pale ale. I'm not exactly an APA connoisseur, but I enjoy drinking them on the days when I don't feel like downing a bomber of 13% imperial stout by myself (which is most days). Best by date is 09/05/10, so I expect it to be pretty fresh.

A: Pours a clear, straw-amber body with a finger of short-lived head. Retention is short, leaving a thin collar and no lace.

S: Not particularly pungent, even after it warms and opens up. Citrus zest and bread are noticeable, but so is white corn (like maize). It's strange.

T: A little simple tasting; dominated mostly by a general pale malt flavor, some bread, and very light citrus zest (grapefruit). Maize on the exhalation. I gathered from the bottle that this was West Coast-inspired, but it's definitely not as hoppy as the label suggests. Nor is it particularly malty. It's just sort of a toned-down, inoffensive flavor.

M: Light-bodied, with medium carbonation. A bit low for the style. I expected it to be crisper.

D: Kind of a letdown, but maybe those were my expectations at work. I thought it would be a really solid pale ale like Terrapin's Rye PA, but this seems like a lager targeted toward the macro crowd. Skip.

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Photo of harrymel
2.43/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Best by 13MAR13

Light grainy gold with a solid quilt of fine white foam. Smells faint - grain, sweet malts, some corn and a little grassy (dried grass). Taste is corn, resin, a little bitterness, really tastes cheap; almost reminds me of corn pops cereal. Medium bodied with moderate carb and a semi dry finish. Meh.

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Photo of SilentSabre
2.48/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I have seen a staggering amount of this stuff sell and was curious as to why in bloody hell this stuff is so popular. Well, why it is so popular is an absolute mystery to me. I tried it tonight and thought it was very close to being total crap. It poured an orange copper colour with a white fluffy head. Decent head retention with sticky lacing. The smell was extremely hoppy. Floral hoppy. Like a nice, cool pint of aftershave. The taste only amplified this. Is this taste and aroma what people really want? Apparently so, because a lot of places have a hard time keeping it on the shelves. "Perhaps this just isn't for me", is the most polite, non-offensive thing I can muster to say about this stuff. I finished it, but certainly didn't ask for another. The one positive thing I have to say about it, was that it was quite smooth. The taste and smell, however, were way too hoppy for me.

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Photo of JimmyLupo
2.5/5  rDev -31.3%

Sweetwater Extra Pale Ale is a misnomer- Extra implies something "extra." Perhaps extra Water?

This is a light weight IPA with a low ABV of ? ?

I couldn't locate an ABV listed on the bottle or label, but Beeradvocate lists it as 5.4%.

This is a tame IPA and on the light side. If you lean towards a light beer IPA, buy it. I prefer more IBU's.

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Photo of klewis
2.52/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to markgugs for this one
Best beofre 3/21/07

A: Pours a slightly hazy golden with a big frothy head. Good sustain and lacing.

S: Smells like corn and old socks with a touch of fruity esters.

T: Bland macro-like taste with a bit of hop bitterness in the finish.

M: Light and crisp with moderate-high carbonation.

D: Unimpressive. Perhaps a good BBQ or lawnmower beer, but that's it.

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Photo of Reaper16
2.56/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

served on-tap @ The Downtown Pub, Tuscaloosa, AL, into a pint glass

I'll be quick with this review, because a beer this average doesn't need that many words to describe it because the word "average" describes it in full.

Pours a light, golden yellow color. Not far off from the glass full of Bud Light sitting on the counter nearby. Very bland looking. A creamy, somewhat dense looking off-white foam bumps the score up to at least 3.0.

This beer is below average in terms of flavor and aroma. Yeah, you get grassy, uncomplex hop aromas. Yeah, you get some doughy, cracker grain aromas. Yeah, these combine on your tongue as a sort of lawn clippings-flavored doughnut sort of taste. This is a pale ale, alright. You can't get any more safe than this flavor profile.

I can't even bring myself to write words about its mouthfeel. The carbonation is alright, the size of the body is alright. Nothing stands out, nothing takes charge. This is a boring beer, frankly, and boredom keeps it from being a viable session candidate for me.

How is it that Sierra Nevada and Boulevard have 20+ year old pale ale recipes that completely outclass this offering from Sweetwater? 420 is not terrible beer, but it is boring. At least with some bad beers, you can say "Well, they tried for something big and they happened to fail." With 420, all one can say is "they tried to play it as safe as possible and still failed." Slightly below average beer, but still an embarrassment.

 1,468 characters

Photo of PhillyStyle
2.63/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On tap at a bar in the E terminal of the Atlanta-Hartsfield International Airport:

Clear, amber in color, white head that was not retained at all.

Weak grain aroma to it, slight sweetness, but overall, not impressive.

The taste is light, sweet and a little hoppier than grainy/bready/malty. Average at best.

Body feels light and watery. The beer is smooth, but low drinkability due to taste. This beer is less than stellar. It seems to be a big hit in Atlanta and other places in the southeast, but have yet to really figure out why. Overall, to date, I am very unimpressed with the brewery after trying 5 or so of there beers.

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Photo of atomicbeer
2.65/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

At Sweetwater pub in the Atlanta airport. Arrived in a shaker pint glass clear golden copper in color with no head to speak of and no carbonation. Aroma is corn syrup and sweet malt. Sweet fizzy mouthfeel. All malt taste with a minimal amount of hop flavor, just mildly spicy. Advertised as a West Coast Style Pale Ale - Not! Was a poor accompaniment to my Cobb Salad. Not much to recommend here. Disappointed.

 410 characters

Photo of MeadGuyfromMD
2.66/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I figured with the 420 reference and hops being referred to sometimes as *the cousin* and vice versa, I would be experiencing a beer with resiny aroma and thick, almost chewy hop flavor. Well...

A - Coppery / Gold, filtered well with no signs of yeast or haze. Very little head, more a film of foam. I think it was a low quality poor. I was at a restaurant.

S - It had a indistinguishable hop aroma, not as strong or upfront as I expected. Slightly disappointed. *could have been lack of head and pouring technique*

T - Generic hop flavor is very upfront and slightly bitter. Something about this beer made my tongue tingle, almost burn. There was a malty followup, but a bit weak and unbalanced.

M - Seemed overly carbonated, slight tingling sensation, finishes a bit dry.

D - I let it warm up hoping it would improve, it did mildly. I drank about 3/4 of it then slammed back the rest before I left the restaurant. I gives this a 6/10 for Drinkability.

I think If I had this at a beer bar with a better pour, it may be better. However, I did not and it did not impress me at all. I will try this again, I think the restaurant may have poorly represented this beer.

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Photo of charlzm
2.7/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Consumed March 14th, 2012 from a pint glass. Bottle labeled as good until June 2012.

Appearance: medium to light golden, plenty of carbonation. A one finger fine white head.

Lemony, grassy aroma with a hint of sweet malt. Light grapefruit aroma.

Flavor is slightly corny. Light and husky crystal malts up front. Mineral water aftertaste offset by grapefruit note. Low bitterness.

Mouthfeel is thin, watery.

Remarkable only in its unremarkability. Avoid this one.

 467 characters

Photo of TBCE
2.71/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nothing to write home about. Not pleasant on the nose and lacks any real hoppy taste that I enjoy regarding IPA. Taste is average. I've bought it a few times when building a 6-pack, but likely won't venture to it again. It's just okay.

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Photo of jasonpeckins32
2.71/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

Pours a hazy golden color. Not much head retention. Smells like a pale ale, but very basic. Similarily, it tastes like a pale ale, but also a very basic one. Somewhat under-carbonated. A touch of that "wet dog" flavor. Nothing positive that I find very noteworthy here. Didn't like it.

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Photo of mcallister
2.74/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Headless pour with only a little ring around the collar. Pale yellow in color and very lifeless.

Stone fruit and toffee in the nose but nothing really exploding out of the glass. Malt seems very sweet out of the nose. Peachy with netarine and a light grapefruit.

Just not much going on here. Lightly sweet cereal grain and toffee malts with light fruit aromas. Mouth is light....well I would have to say this is just too light. A very boring beer.

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Photo of ajm5108
2.75/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

What you'd expect from a shelf pale ale, it has a good balance between the hops & the malt but none of the flavors really stand-out beyond a little bit of grapefruit peel / citrus.

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Photo of generalnotsew
2.76/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Didn't get much of a head. Very thin lacing. But it does have a nice copper coloring.

S: Very weird smell. I am getting week old milk and nothing else. No hops anywhere in this. But still better than the skunky one I had before.

T: Really nothing special here. Just some semi sharp citrus notes with a soothing malt finish. Really aren't getting any hops here.

M: Well at least it scores some points here. It lays very nicely on the tongue with sharp carbonation.

D: Seems like a good summer beer. It has a lager feel with a bit of spiceness.

This has failed to impress me again. Stay away from it if it isn't fresh as it tends to skunk pretty easily. I must say their IPA is killer though.

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Photo of mentor
2.76/5  rDev -24.2%
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.

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Photo of Daniellobo
2.76/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Totally forgettable pale ale.

Presentation: 12 oz brown capped bottle. Green background label with a fishing illustration, two men on a bout catching a trout-like fish in the foreground. Side notes hyperbolize the character of the brew, offer main ingredients, and intent. Shows best by date (07/24/12) Served in a tulip glass.

A - Clear deep gold to pale amber pour, nice frothy head with medium retention, good surface memory ring, and nice spots of lace. The looks unfortunately are not going to rescue the brew...

S - Simple grainy nose, raw bitterness, no hop characters, and almost a lagerish/skunky insinuation.

T - Generic bitterness, grainy touch with a soft malty sweetness. Soft lager feel, not in a very positive way…

M - Medium-light body with medium carbonation and a crude bitterness in the finish.

O - Mediocre pale ale, almost lagerish in its bitterness, very generic and unsparing.

Notes: I don't have access to SweetWater often, and I regard their IPA highly, this APA on the other hand… It feels rather poor, the packaging date is still right, but sure enough there could be an issue with the freshness of this six-pack, who knows… In this incarnation is something that I would not care to repeat.

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Photo of Pointman
2.77/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - nice copper color - light head

S - not too much. Cannot pick up much hops or malt

T - Average for and Extra Pale Ale. Like the smell, light in the hops and light in the malt.

M - ok - metallic finish

D - well when you are stuck in the Delta Crown Room and you have a choice of Bud, Molson, Coors, Miller Lite and Sweetwater 420, it is VERY drinkable...lol. But to be completely frank, it is average.

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Sweetwater 420 Extra Pale Ale from SweetWater Brewing Company
3.64 out of 5 based on 3,522 ratings.
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