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Big Swell IPA - Maui Brewing Co. (Brewpub)

Not Rated.
Big Swell IPABig Swell IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

221 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 221
Reviews: 154
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 10.44%
Wants: 17
Gots: 17 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Maui Brewing Co. (Brewpub) visit their website
Hawaii, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  6.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: atigerlife on 12-16-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Big Swell IPA Alström Bros
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Ratings: 221 | Reviews: 154 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cornucopia
5/5  rDev +30.5%

Photo of Rutager
4.53/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance. Gold with a hint of amber and a little haze. One finger of sticky looking white head.

Smell. Pine and sweet papaya with a little white grapefruit. Awesome

Taste. Bitter, piney hops. Some light toasty grains and a little grapefruit rind. Pretty dry. Not really what I expected from the smell, but NICE.

Mouthfeel. Light-medium body with medium SMOOTH carbonation. Crisp and dry.

Overall. Love this stuff. Thinking of booking a trip to Hawaii after drinking this one.

Photo of Arenbeer
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks alot to Wiebull for this great brew!!!

12oz can into a snifter glass

A- Pours a cloudy golden honey orange with a thin white head that doesn't stick around to long. Also some sediment floating around. Pretty awesome

S- Pine hops sit on top of a sweeter malt base with a hint of tropical fruitiness.

T- Creamy malts with a decently balanced citrus hop flavor and a slight fruitiness.

M- Medium bodied with moderate carbonation and a decent bitter dry finish.


Photo of Floydster
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce can that was part of a six pack purchased from Beverages and More for about ten dollars, reviewed from notes taken a few days ago, poured into an old mug

A-Medium orange and copper color, 3/4 inch off white head, decent retention, very nice lacing
S-Pine and citrus hoppiness, caramel, brown sugar, some toasted malt, fresh cut grass later on, and
T-Big pine flavor up front, bitter in the middle with a tiny bit of chewiness, citrus hoppiness causes a somewhat sweet finish that still has a greatdry quality, love the balance in this one, not too malty at any time
M-Dry, bitter, and citrusy mouthfeel, thin to medium body, very crisp and quenching, nice amount of carbonation
D-Very light on the stomach, ABV is not high at all, makes a nice session beer, goes down easy, refreshing

I love IPAs and really enjoyed Coconut Porter, so this had two things going for it before I even cracked it open, blew me away how good it was, I do not say that much about any other India Pale Ales other than the ones I find here in Southern California, will be drinking more of this in the future, especially because it is available here now, ironically drank this and the blonde a few days before going to Maui after I heard the brewpub would be closed for a remodel, definitely recommended and is one of the best beers over in Hawaii from my recent experience

Photo of mwa423
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a clear golden color with a finger and a half of billowy white head about perfect for the style.

S - Smells like plenty of light malt with a tropical fruity hops filling the nose along with some pine and floral sweetness. They didn't skimp on the hops for this one.

T - Taste is a perfect blend of hoppiness and sweet maltiness. First comes the sweetness and tropical hop flavors that really fill the mouth and leaves a floral hoppy aftertaste. This is a spot on IPA that I wish I could get more of!

M/D - Mouthfeel is full and rich, very drinkable IPA and by far the star of the Maui Brewing beers I have tried.

Photo of kornkid8600
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%

Photo of berley31
4.47/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured with a moderate-sized, white, creamy head that lasted for a little while before fading to 1/2-finger. Body is a dark golden color, and hazy.

S: Awesome strong hop aroma... some pine, but very high in citrus (especially grapefruit).

T: Very smooth. Some light malt flavor that is fortunately dominated by the citrus hop flavor, which is quite prominent and delicious. Medium bitterness in the finish, so no overpowering bitter bite here.

M: Medium-light body, with medium-high carbonation.

D: An excellent American IPA, one of the best I've had... a beer I drank many times during a trip to Maui, and one I would continuously have on hand if it was available to me.

Photo of TheHungryHiker
4.45/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A= Burnt orange body with a off-white, two fingered head. The head faded quickly, leaving a ring of lacing around the glass.

S= Pine, citrus, herbs.

T= Resinous pine and a touch of lemon and orange peel. There is a hint of balancing sweetness that offsets the hops, which are present, but not overwhelming.

M/D= At once, smooth, bitter, slightly sweet, more complex than I expected. Overall, a well-balanced IPA and excellent choice for anyone that is trying an IPA for the first time, or looking for a session IPA.

Photo of monkeylovebeer
4.43/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Now we're talking! Big Swell pours with a nice, big hop-driven head and a wonderful attendant piney nose with a subdued orange blossom hit taking the place of the usual grapefruit astringency--giving those Columbus, Centennial, Simcoe, Amarillo, Cascade, and Citra (oh, my) hops a nice balanced sweetness.

Big Swell has a great mouth feel that starts out smooth with the hops following and really waking up at the back and sides of the tongue. I thought it finished a little hot for a 6.2%, but the next sip makes it all better. All in all, it was a little off balance, but definitely swayed toward the things I like.

Photo of thistle66
4.43/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Also surprised by only a C from the Alstroms. I've had this many times, both on tap and can. Can's are great.

It's not my daily favourite - I'm a SN Torpedo fan for my daily - but is an easy substitute choice for me when I can't find Torpedo.

My only fault with it is the sweetness; it's a touch too sweet for me on the end.

btw, the head brewer at Maui BC changed a couple years ago, so the recipe might have been tweaked. But it's always been an excellent IPA.

Photo of GregSVT
4.43/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Writing this from memory since the latest database crash wiped out my review.

A: Poured a hazy light amber with a big tan head that faded to a small layering with a good amount of sticky lacing.

S: Smell was that of hops and tropical fruity aroma. Pineapple, grapefruit, and a slight pine aroma jump out of the glass.

T: The taste was phenomenal. This tasted like many DIPAs I like. Tropical fruits and a small hop bitterness to balance out the sweetness all riding on a big malt backbone.

M: The mouthfeel was thin but creamy from the carbonation. Not drying like a lot of IPAs are...the big malt/fruity flavors are probably why.

D: If I could buy this in TX I would keep it in stock fairly often. Definitely one of the best regular IPAs I have had to date.

Sad I only have one can left. Thanks to SmokingMex for allowing me to try this.

Photo of ericj551
4.4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big Swell IPA pouts a very cloudy copper orange with a nice creamy head. I didn't realize it was bottle conditioned and I could have poured it more gently, but a little yeast never hurt anyone. The aroma is tons of citrusy hops, mostly orange with some grapefruit. There is a hint of pine and a lot of malt sweetness. The flavor is dominated by hops with more notes of citrus but not overly bitter. The bitterness is well balanced by a good malty sweetness. I would love to make this a regular beer, but considering it is over 5000 miles away, I doubt I'll be seeing too much of it in the future.

Photo of BeerManDan
4.4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The color when poured was amber with a nice amount of foam that stayed nice and full for awhile. The piney smell of american hops and barley malts were very evident in the aroma of this IPA.

The taste was very mild and tasty for an IPA. Not a lot of piney flavor, but a nice flavor of hops and barley malts without the overpowering bitterness. Again, a pleasant bitterness that is not over powering. I just love this IPA in a can. At the brewery, you can only purchase this IPA in a can or on tap!

Photo of OStrungT
4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a hazy golden color, with a thick, fluffy, yellow tinted head. The head fades slowly, leaving a pretty good lacing.

The aroma from this beer assults the nose during the pour. It smells citrusy. Some pineapple, and grapefruit aroma dominate. The pineapple isan aroma I dont usually get from a beer, and it is pleasent.

This beer has a fruity citrus hop flavor matching its aroma. Pineapple. Behind that, it has a mildly malty flavor. Very nice, but subtle.

This beer is crisp and refreshing, low in carbonation, and leaves a pineapple like aftertaste.

I think this beer would make an excelent session beer. Moderate alcohol content, and mild flavor make it a winner in my book.

Overall: This beer was great. I had it straight from the can on the beach in Hawaii, and liked it. This is the only one I have been able to enjoy in a glass, and it is better than I remembered. To bad it is my last one.

Photo of FreshmanPour77
4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed on 3-4-11
Reviewed cold from a can to a glass

A - Poured a nice one finger of foam, a little cloudy, carbonation is present, light orange color

S - Sweet citrus notes, orange and lemon. Hops and don't really pick up any malt

T/M - Medium to lighter bodied, crisp hops bitterness, but smoothed over with a nice citrus blend for a great tasting brew. Hop bitterness pass's quick

D - Overall a great brew. Well done Maui brewing for creating this brew. Excellent blend of hops and citrus. I highly recommend this brew and hope to get more of it!

Photo of magictrokini
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Again, I can't get used to a great beer coming from a can, but Maui Brewing may convert me. Pours an oily gold with a big white head. Fresh hop aroma with lots of pineapple and grapefruit. More grapefruit, pineapple, mango and orange hops in the taste with a subtle caramel malt back. Light, sweet, and bitter all in one package. A great IPA.

Photo of Jedimaster1
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have to agree with everything that Jbsteiny said below. Though it may not be as great as the Castaway IPA offered by Kona -- which is my favorite all-time brew -- it is an excellent offering when you don't have access to getting Kona's signature brew (in my opinion at least) at home far from the island I love.

Maui Brewing Company's stuff is becoming a staple of craft brewing, and now that I have access to it out here on the mainland, it makes it all the better. It makes me long for the island life I miss so dearly.

Anyway, on to the review...

A: Nice slightly cloudy golden copper with a slight head that stays for the duration of the drinking.

S: Citrus and hops, with a tinge of malt.

T: Not as hoppy as say the Castaway IPA, but enough to smoothly balance the malt. Very citrus in taste. Grapefruit, passion fruit(?) as well, can be detected as it sits in the mouth. Very refreshing feel to it!

M: Did I mention quite refreshing!

D: Very easy to drink. A very sessionable beer! Makes me remember those hot warm summer days lying on the sands of Kailua. Man, I wish I was back there drinking this, lol.

Good stuff from Maui. Just keep it on the hush, hush or I will have a hard time finding this one on the mainland. ;)

Photo of vegantreats
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This bear poured with a lot of head which mostly settled after about two minutes. This beer has strong notes of piney hops, tastes of hops, is smooth and very drinkable.
This beer comes in a can, and despite the advantages of being able to drink the beer in "sensitive environments" like the beach or walking down the street since it doesn't look like a beer, I'm not sold on the can idea the company preaches. Aluminum is a toxic metal I try to avoid whenever possible, yet, this beer is quite nice and is one of the rare exceptions to my aluminum free lifestyle.
This beer is silly hoppy, are you a hop head? If so, go for one of these and you will, most likely, find yourself going for another...and another....

Photo of Kala1073
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Here in Hawaii, we are limited when it comes to good IPAs. Thank god for Maui Brewings big swell! Hints of piny hops, mixed in with some tropical fruits, with a slight maly backbone is the characteristics of this beer. I wish it were a little more balanced , but it is only a minor complaint. This is my go to beer right now during this hot Hawaiian summer!

Photo of henrysunset
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

smell hit me before the taste. a big, sweet floral bouquet attached my nostrils as i poured the very first drop. very nice and inviting. (Amarillo? cascade? not sure.)

look is a little thin, yelloish-orange, light and crystal clear of sediment. head is big and off-white.

flavor is light and moderately sweet. Floral flavors in the aftertaste. A little bisuity/breadiness in the aftertaste too. Damned pleasent and pretty easy to drink.

(If only I can find their CoCoNut Porter in Seattle. We brought this can of IPA back from our trip.)

Photo of thecarster1
4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a- can poured into a pint, bit more than a fingers worth of bubbly, fluffy white head that fades slowly to an complete covering of lace that clings to the glass on the way down. the coloring is on the light side, light orangey tawny gold coloring.

s- nice and hoppy, pink grapefruit, ever so slight pine, some peach?, fruity flavors all blend together in the nose.

t- mmm, juicy pink grapefruit, the malt is present but takes a backseat to all those citrus ridden hops. this is a very deep, rich ipa that almost reminds me of a dipa, nicely bittered that isn't overboard but just right. i'm getting

m- medium body, very smooth almost bordering on slightly creamy.

d- really nice, this is a tasty ipa for sure, glad that i got this in my secret santa haul, very solid ipa that i could see myself drinking again, were it available in my area. it's also a plus to have another great canned craft beer here, good work maui!

Photo of corey0212
4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Another can from raiser in the New Trader BIF Redux!!

Pours a golden/mellow-orange color, medium-sized sturdy off-white head forms and fades into a foamy ring piled around the edge of the glass, not much lacing at all. Really nice citrus hop aroma, sweet grapefruit, pineapple, pine, and a really sweet bready malt aroma. Lots of grapefruit on the tongue, tangerine, sticky pine notes....this is a damn tasty IPA! Really actively carbonated, busy & tiny little bubbles do their thing, and make this a very refreshing IPA, with just a touch of stickiness, and some nice (yet tame) lingering bitterness. Yeah, you could drink this all night....just one more reason I'd like to visit Maui.

Photo of rsawyer
4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am sitting in Waikoloa overlooking a beautiful beach from our condo, looking at Jobs on the Big Island and thinking about selling it all and going Jimmy Buffet on everyone!

Poured from a 12 oz can...
And a can (and I quote Maui Brewing Company-) because:
1) Cans eliminate light damage and reduce the risk of oxidation, keeping Maui Brewing Co. beers fresher than in bottles.
2) Cans are lighter, chill quicker, and can be enjoyed on (*topless) beaches and in sensitive environments. Aluminium us the most recycled and most eco-friendly material.
*Topless is my wording, and I like it

A- The beer pours a deep copper with little to no head. The beer lacks the clarity that I expect from an IPA (but who gives a damn, the lady in front of my just took off her top!)

S- The beer smells of strong cascade hops. Fresh, florally, and earthy- just about right for a Hawaii beer!

T- Not as intense as the nose. but beautiful none-the-less. The hops are not as demanding as they are in the nose. That being said, the barley background comes right around and creates a lovely balance where aftertaste of vanilla,brown sugar, and biscuit are found.

M- Perfectly smooth and light. Carbonation is felt by not a burden to the beer.

D- Great beer. Goes down easy, taste great after a long day of ingesting saltwater.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.23/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ryan brought back some cans from Hawaii for the guys. Thanks man!

Big Swell IPA is slightly hazy with a pretty orange hue. There is a decent head with adequate lacing on the glass.The aromas are of fresh pine and hops. This is a very tasty beer and really easy to drink. Big Swell IPA would be a regular beer for me, if only it was available. I definitely recommend it.

Photo of Kegatron
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz can into a pint glass. Thanks to brentk56 for this in the Secret Halloween '08 BIF.

Pours a hazy golden orange with 2 fingers of foamy off-white head. The retention is fizzy and clumpy, almost looking like bunched up sea foam (which I found appropriate given the name of the beer) that leaves massive, sticky, hop lacing behind. The aroma is a total West Coast bouquet, that is a real pleasure to just sit here and smell. Pine cones, floral hops, spice, and underlying malt sweetness. Very pleasant and well balanced for an IPA.

The taste is solid but isn't blowing me away like the aroma did. It's still a well rounded mix of resinous hops with some tangy and juicy citrus character and silky caramel sweetness. The hops really pop in this but are thankfully held well in check but they do make a return in the finish with a long, ligering bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice creamy carbonation that spreads out well with just a smidge of alcohol being present.

Hoppy and tangy with an extremely smooth drinking nature and easy portability in cans, this is one solid West Coast IPA that would definitley be a hoppy go-to if I had easier access to it.

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Big Swell IPA from Maui Brewing Co. (Brewpub)
86 out of 100 based on 221 ratings.