Sweetwater Triple Tail IPA
SweetWater’s newest addition to its IPA lineup is TripleTail. Available in the summer and fall of 2017. (Images Courtesy SweetWater Brewing Company)

SweetWater takes their IPAs seriously.

From the iconic 420 (yes, a pale ale, but it introduced the west coast style to the South), their classic IPA and their variety of seasonals and sessions, India Pale Ales are a big part of their lineup. You’ll see another one on store shelves. TripleTail IPA is SweetWater’s take on a “tropical” IPA. We talked to head brewer Nick Nock about the development of this new brew.

First, the details:

SweetWater TripleTail Tropical IPA

  • Malts:  2-Row, Pilsner, Carapils
  • Bittering hops:  Bravo, Mosaic, Denali
  • Dry hops:  Mosaic, Denali, Waimea, Citra
  • Yeast:   House English Ale
  • ABV:  5.5%; IBUs:  57


Tell us a little about TripleTail. How was the recipe developed?

Nick Nock: The five hop additions are what give this beer the tropical flavors and aroma.  Our brewmaster Mark Medlin hand selected these hops during harvest time; Denali hops really stood out as one that could provide big juicy, tropical, citrus flavors.

SweetWater is known for its IPAs. What makes this one different from your others?

This is the first time we’ve used the Denali hops, and we double dry hopped this one (at the beginning and end of fermentation), which is something we’ve never used before.   This one is also a bit lower ABV – typically our IPAs are above 6% and this one is 5.5%, making it even more crushable.

You’re calling TripleTail a “tropical” IPA, with mango, papaya and pineapple flavors. But unlike you’re Goin’ Coastal, there are no actual fruit adjuncts in the beer – just the hops. How were you able to combine the hops to make this flavor profile?

Having 5 different hops is complex – the dry hops work together to give it those tropical, sunshine aromas and flavors.   The bittering hop Bravo (one of my personal favorites) gives it the nice orange flavor.

This is an easy drinking 5.5% beer, but it’s got a lot of flavor. That’s something that you do quite well. What’s the secret for packing in so much taste but having (relatively) low ABV?

We go light on the malt bill, and calculate the mash temperature and the amount of yeast to nail the body and ABV we’re shooting for.  It’s 20 years of perfecting it.

This is another one of your seasonal beers. Is having that new pilot system helping you create new and interesting beers?

We’re really enjoying the pilot system (which we call The Hatchery) – I like to use it to test out recipes that have been in my head for a while, and we let our new brewers come in with their fresh ideas to cook things up.  It’s a new toy for all of us.   Next week, we’re brewing three different stouts and will put those on in the taproom – we’ll use feedback from our patrons to make decisions about one of our upcoming releases.

TripleTail is available mid-June 2017 through October 2017

  • On draft
  • Bottles, 12 oz 6-packs and Fall Variety 12-packs
  • Cans, beginning July in Fall Variety 12-packs

Cheers, and don’t forget to DRINK LOCAL!