1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Big Swell IPA - Maui Brewing Co. (Brewpub)

Big Swell IPABig Swell IPA

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

216 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 216
Reviews: 154
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 10.44%

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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Big Swell IPA Alström Bros
Ratings: 216 | Reviews: 154 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of JayAre46


3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Alrighty ive been drinking this one by the pool to lately because im typically a law abiding citizen and i need cans and no glass, anyway in the glass it gives a orange to golden hazy color with big cloudy 2 finger head that show awesome retention.

A - hops, some pine not a lot, mango and pineapple fruits and did we cover hops? not much of malt background...

T - alright there is not much of a malt presence, this beer has an abundance of sweet fruit notes and the fruit ends with a sharp grapefruit that is in and out and then more hops. much more pine in the nose, oily and resiny. im not a fan of the front of the beer, i like the hoppy middle to end and the dry finish. although the hops are everywhere this beer is not real bitter....

M - medium to light, moderate carbonation not a lot, the malts are too pale for a good mouthfeel

O - good beer to abide by the no glass rules, great beach brew...its good, i personally enjoy this but its not a constant in my fridge from the review standpoint its just in a high expectation realm. try it

Serving type: can

05-13-2011 04:59:12 | More by JayAre46
Photo of StoneBrewFanatic


4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours hazy gold into my snifter with about two fingers of porous head that dissipates rather quickly and leaves some splotchy lace on the glass.

S - Fruity and sweet, caramel malts, grapefruit citrus, pine and also some more tropical pineapple and mango.

T - Sweet and more malty than the nose would imply. Nice bread notes and caramel malts, citrus and fruity hops, grapefruit, pineapple, mango, with a mellow bitterness that lingers on the palate.

M - Smooth and creamy, very well balanced.

O - This is a rather good IPA, nothing off the charts, but a very easy and very delicious drinker that everyone will and should enjoy.

Serving type: can

05-10-2011 00:29:02 | More by StoneBrewFanatic
Photo of Stinkypuss


3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big Swell IPA, can into pint glass. Pours a light copper, solid foamy white head and some webby lacing down the glass. Aroma of citrus hops, grains and light malts. In the taste, juicy citrus hop flavor, mandarin orange, light pine and earthyness. Little in the way of malts just a distant caramel. Mouthfeel medium bodied and crisp. A decent island IPA.

Serving type: can

04-25-2011 05:15:04 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of champ103


3.05/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a clear light orange/golden color. A two finger white head forms with excellent retention. Rings of sticky lace cling to the glass.
S: Very herbal, medicinal, and resiny. Lingering grapefruit bitterness and some residual sugars as well.
T: Tons of hops. There is a herbal quality here. Though mostly a grapefruit bitterness lingers on forever. Some grainy, sugary sweetness tries to balance everything out.
M/D: A medium body, but a bit on the thin and week side though. A harsh lingering bitterness makes this hard for me to finish.

I was looking forward to trying this, but a bit of a disappointment for me. To much of a harsh bitter bite with nothing else for balance. Not even any other hop flavors. Not something I am likely to come back to.

Serving type: can

04-21-2011 21:32:45 | More by champ103
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!

Serving type: can

03-25-2011 19:37:42 | More by FreshmanPour77
Photo of Beerbuddha


4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: This beer poured a nice hazy amber color with huge white head which disappeared quickly. Lacing present but not long.

Smell: Grass, pine and fruit.

Taste: A nice Chuck Norris hop kick to the mouth with hints of grass, pine and fruit. Nicely balanced IPA.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation with medium body.

Overall: Damn good IPA. And again I love that these beers come in cans.

Serving type: can

03-22-2011 15:51:03 | More by Beerbuddha
Photo of Rutager

British Columbia (Canada)

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.

Serving type: can

03-18-2011 23:59:06 | More by Rutager
Photo of GRG1313


3/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a gold/amber tint with a nice white head. Nose is stereotypic fresh pineapple.

Mouthfeel is medium thin and decently balanced but with no real character or appeal.

Flavors are medium full sweet to bitter but without a bright character. A kind of dull fruity bitter that then goes to a grapefruit skin bitter. Not bad - just nothing special. The flavors and character are bold but not all that appealing.

Finish is best character. Long bitter grapefruit that goes on and on.

Serving type: can

03-05-2011 23:18:31 | More by GRG1313
Photo of joshuasamantha


3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Surprised the brothers gave this one a C! Tried their session beer they did with Stone at the Stone Brewery and I was super impressed with their Coconut Porter with coffee bean and Macadamia nut. So I thought I'd give their IPA a shot- looks like an IPA, slightly cloudy. Tasted pretty good, an easier drink than some of the more punchy IPA that are out there. If you like IPA's and you have a unsure person with you, this would be a good beer to lay on them I think.

Serving type: can

03-02-2011 03:59:59 | More by joshuasamantha
Photo of Urbancaver


3.28/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy orangish yellow. A good amount of white head. Lots of lacing. Smells incredibly piney. Tons of pine and hops on the nose. Fairly one dimensional though. Tastes sweet and hoppy. Its a bit old but the hop profile leaves something to be desired. Lots of pine a touch of floral hints but not much in terms of citrus or anything else. The sweet malt profile is pretty nice and compliments the beer well. Very smooth and drinkable but overall not a great IPA

Serving type: can

02-25-2011 03:50:39 | More by Urbancaver
Photo of camp0474


3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from 2/27/11

A: Pours a pale orange to light gold color with frothy off-white head.

S: Strong citrus hops, tart lemon and grapefruit. Faint sweet malts hide way in back. Somewhat bready. Very hop forward.

T: Strong hops. Biting tart citrus. Mostly lemon rind and some grapefruit. Faint bready malt attempts to balance with little success. Finishes pretty bitter from the hops. I prefer a more balanced IPA but this one gives a good showing of citrus hops. A slight astringent aftertaste.

M: Light to medium body with medium carbonation. Lots of hops resins linger for a while. Goes down slick.

D: Good showing of hops but quite unbalanced. But this is a good hoppy IPA.

This beer tasted extra good sitting on the beach in Hawaii.

Serving type: can

02-22-2011 12:48:37 | More by camp0474
Photo of MaltsOfGlory


4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice one finger head, the body is very light, it almost looks like a lager. Looks like it is leaving good lacing. Smell is very hoppy and citrusy, it smells very good. Hmm, very interesting flavor, I don't get the hops as much as I thought I would. I pick up some hops for sure, but also a bit of malts. Regardless, it is very smooth, easy drinking. For sure a lighter IPA here, but they pull it off, it's a good beer and they did a good job on it here!

Serving type: can

02-06-2011 02:58:17 | More by MaltsOfGlory
Photo of herman77


3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Golden, darker yellow with a thin white head that dies off pretty quick. Okay lacing.

S: Mainly citrus hops and a bit of carmel malt. A little weak on the nose. Not too old canned 12/15/10

T: Pretty damn hoppy. Starts out a bit hoppy, mainly citrus, pine and a bit of grapefruit with some carmel malt sweetness. The hoppiness progresses and intensifies as it goes across the different tastebuds.

M: Medium to lighter body. Moderate to soft carbonation. Feels pretty smooth.

D: Decent drinkability. Reminds me of summer. How I wish it was summer...

Serving type: can

02-02-2011 00:13:33 | More by herman77
Photo of Beaver13


3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz can. Pours a clear yellow gold with a thinnish white head that quickly goes to a thin film that leaves some lacing.

The aroma is sweet caramel malts with fruity piney hops.

The flavor is some sweet malts with solid fruity (grapefruit, orange), resiny, piney, hops. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with smooth carbonation, slightly watery.

Overall, a very solid IPA, albeit a bit pricey at $11 a 6 pack. It was brightest cold...as it warmed it faded some IMO.

Serving type: can

01-12-2011 06:24:22 | More by Beaver13
Photo of treyrab


4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Usually Maui doesn't make its way into PA, so when I saw a fresh, sole can on the shelf, I swooped up it. The only other Maui beer I have had was Coconut Porter. That is one of my favorite porters, so I had high expectations for this.

A: As I crack the can, foam seeps out of the aluminum and down the side of the can. My hands got sticky as I grabbed the wet can and poured into a Great Lakes Brewing Co pint glass. A nice, clear light amber with a two finger sticky white head. While it is clear, it seems a touch hazy, almost as if looking with a film on your eyes. Very nice look.

S: Smell is very nice. Predominantly citrus (mango and orange) with a touch of tart grapefruit. Nice dry scent with loads of fresh fruit bitterness.

T: Surprisingly very good. Nice and sticky mouthfeel, which I like in my IPAs. So much hop resin that yields a blast of orange and grapefruit bitterness. Not the most bitter IPA, but very well integrated with the malt backing.

Overall, I really enjoyed this. A very pleasant IPA that I would buy more of.

Serving type: can

01-05-2011 02:10:33 | More by treyrab
Photo of alli4051


4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz can into a SA perfect pint.

Pours a dull, hazy, burnt orange with an off-white head. Head is frothy and rocky, dissipates slowly and leaves tons of lacing. Scent is pleasantly hoppy, lots of citrus. Taste is piney, citrusy and resiny. Definitely very hop forward but not quite hop bomb level as there is a hint of malt in the finish to kinda round things out. On the lighter side of medium bodied and well carbonated. Not sure if it was the fact that I'm a sucker for new arrivals or the fact that the first major storm in Colorado implored me to buy beer from a warm tropical location but I am glad I picked this one up. Probably will again too.

Serving type: can

01-04-2011 02:03:27 | More by alli4051
Photo of OWSLEY069


3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy yellow color with an off white head. In the aroma, mellow orange citrus hops. In the taste, starts a dry pine to orange citrus hops with a nice malt backing. A a small hop bite but mainly smooth and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry small citrus hop in the aftertaste. Nice hops and easy to drink.

Serving type: can

11-19-2010 17:19:33 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of BeerAdvocate


2.8/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine July 2007.

It's nice to see an IPA in a can--especially one that's "brewed with huge amounts of American hops."

Pours a chill-hazed orange-and-copper color, with a good head and seemingly eternal creamy white lacing. Herbal as hell--nose is full of resins, near-pungent florals (but in a good way), some pine and a big dose of grapefruit. The combination really sets the pace for the experience and gets your glands pumping. Smooth, with a creamy, even mouthfeel and a firmness that runs throughout. It's all about hop flavor here, so it's not overly bitter, but there's certainly a citric edge that snaps through a sweet malt character with some dextrin and light toasted notes. Yeah, major hops going on here! Grapefruit, sticky oily resins; intense flavors of herbs, pine, pith, earth and wood. Flavor becomes flowery and tea-like as it wanes. Woody, bark-like and dry in the finish, with a thin coating of oils.

Pretty heavy-handed on the hops, which is fine by us, but it seems to lack balance and depth of malt to help round the experience off and increase the beer's drinkability. Finish is pretty harsh, too.

Serving type: can

11-13-2010 20:04:22 | More by BeerAdvocate
Photo of Gambrinus1184


3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12-ounce can into a Thomas Hooker pint glass.

A: Mild, hazy, golden amber-yellow color manages decent clarity and a frothy, two-finger head of beige foam which settles to a creamy ring of lace.

S: Floral, citrusy sweet and filled with some musty spices. Fruity notes of pineapple, orange, lemon and guava.

T: Smooth, mellow, fruity sweetness up front with a blend of tropical fruits and sticky cereal malts come to a halt around mid-palate. Sticky, resinous and bitter citrus and herbal hops bombard the palate leaving a slick, fruity and slightly hot finish. Aftertaste is a bit of lingering fruity flavor with bitter, oily hop resins.

M: Medium-full bodied and fairly smooth before the somewhat acrid hop sensation settles in. Some slight chewiness and inexplicable, watery fizz just before the finish.

D: The 6.2% ABV throws a bit of heat, as does the swell of bitter hop resins. Not the best balance, but a pretty good, fruity hop indulgence. Love craft in a can and a bit surprised to learn a quality craft outside of Kona hails from Hawaii. I'd be interested to try some other Maui styles and would recommend Big Swell to citrus hop heads with confidence.

Serving type: can

11-04-2010 23:02:56 | More by Gambrinus1184
Photo of Soneast


2.95/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Sadly, my can of Big Swell is from July, but I'll shall move forward with my review taking into account a loss of hop character. Pours a slightly hazy, straw yellow color, growing a thick, creamy off-white head with great retention and lotsa lace.

Aroma is mildly hop forward with some citrus notes and a decent caramel aroma along with some astringency. Almost chalky.

The flavor is also definitely hop forward, but there is a big caramel malt presence. That said, the hops held up wonderfully and I definitely get some herbal and slightly grassy notes. The finish is bitter, dry and astringent...chalky, really.

Ok I know this is two months old, but astringency doesn't develop with age AFAIK, so I can honestly say this beer is pretty tough to drink. The finish is harshly bitter with the astringent character. The hops are evident and tasty but the finish ruins it for me with every swig.

Serving type: can

09-10-2010 22:58:48 | More by Soneast
Photo of tdawgydog

New York

3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Really just an avg. IPA. I'm coming off drinking a lot of Russian River so there could be part of a letdown from that...

A - Very clear golden Yellow. Looks almost like an American lager.

S - Something sweet in the nose, not so Hoppy as the can mentions... Can't quite place it but he hops do not really stand out in this IPA

T - Tastes almost like a Belgian IPA almost, def a little different than your typical IPA, maybe it's the Hawaiian water??

D - Sweet, not bad. Goes down smooth.

M - A little thin, lacking body almost. Good stuff but wouldn't be at the top of my IPA list.

Serving type: can

09-03-2010 01:41:20 | More by tdawgydog
Photo of geryeb624


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

12 oz. can obtained in a trade with Kala1073. Poured into a standard pint glass.

A- Pours a very nice light orange-amber with several fingers of creamy white head.

S- Pine and floral-scented hop aromas with some citrus and some malt backbone.

T- A very nice balance of hops and malt. Hops come through as floral and piney, but not too bitter. A bit of malt balances the finish, which is crisp and a bit dry.

M- Clean and smooth with some nice carbonation.

D- Very high, a well-balanced, sessionable ale.

Another quality offering from the guys in Maui. I'm quite impressed with their line-up.

Serving type: can

09-01-2010 01:03:35 | More by geryeb624
Photo of kbutler1


4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can. Canned 030410. First had this in Hawaii last year and finally grabbed some cans recently in a trade. Pours a nice slightly hazy orange honey color with a 1 finger head that slowly sinks to about 1/8 of an inch. Already lacing. Swirl and sniff results in a nosefull of citrus hops along with a subtle sweetness. Very balanced with a nice bitter kick at the end. Canned alomst 4 months ago may have taken a bit out of the hops up front. This takes me back to sitting on the beach! Very good. Medium mouthfeel.

Serving type: can

08-20-2010 13:35:41 | More by kbutler1
Photo of berley31

New Brunswick (Canada)

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.

Serving type: can

08-18-2010 21:36:01 | More by berley31
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!

Serving type: can

08-16-2010 16:52:44 | More by Kala1073
Big Swell IPA from Maui Brewing Co. (Brewpub)
86 out of 100 based on 216 ratings.