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Big Swell IPA | Maui Brewing Co.

very good
392 Reviews
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For Trade:
Big Swell IPABig Swell IPA

Brewed by:
Maui Brewing Co.
Hawaii, United States | website

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
50+ IBU

Added by GClarkage on 01-19-2008

User Reviews
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Reviews: 392 | Ratings: 980
Photo of jmdrpi
3.81/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

drank a bunch of cans/drafts of this while on vacation in Maui

darker golden in color, big white head. well rounded hop aroma - pine, grass, floral. slightly bitter, but still easy drinking. medium bodied.

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Photo of hotmailmsn
3.46/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

6.8% abv, 82 ibu, draught.
A - hazy light orange with finger head.
S - honey, pineapple, earthy.
T - smooth, tropical, honey. enough bitterness which wanted from an ipa.
O - indeed really Hawaiian, with the taste of pineapple, I can feel the sunshine, lol

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Photo of Suds
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

One of my last reviews from the family vacation to Hawaii, this beer, from a twelve ounce can, is a burnt gold with some cloudiness. The aroma is all hop...pine and resin. The taste is balanced, but with a notable mid taste bitterness. Full in body and drinkable.

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Photo of JackieKu
3.94/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz can. Canned on 2015-05-28.

A: Hazy pale amber. Poured 3 fingers high of head with long retention.
S: Moderate citrus (grapefruit), zest. Moderate pineapple.
T: Pineapple and grapefruit. Some sweet hints. High bitterness. Dry.
M: Moderate body. High carbonation.
O: Decent IPA.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.74/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Hits the amber copper color, 1/3" white head. Retention below average. Good dry hop aromas smacking of Amarillo.

Light body, well hopped, toasted pale malts, simcoe, amarillo, centennial would be my guess. A little bit, very small caramel, crystal malt sweetness. IBUS prolly stay in the 50-60 range. A little bit of that tropical fruitiness. A little more expensive than your average ipa, but I guess shipping all that stuff back and forth adds up. Has a good shelf life.

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Photo of Troy-Hawaii
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought a 6-pack from Foodland $7.99
Golden amber color
Medium mouth feel
Medium carbonation
Smooth hoppy taste with a slight bitter aftertaste
Overall a really good beer that I would drink again.

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Photo of Beric
3.84/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Serving; Can into snifter
Served: 7 February 2016

Appearance: Pours a hazy yellow color, likely due to chill haze, but it could be from not filtering the entire beer. Honestly it doesn't look too bad, but I wish that the head would have stuck around a bit longer.

Smell: Very bright hoppiness, but pretty standard aromas. Citrus and pine, nothing too funky, but definitely pleasant and welcome.

Taste: A relatively clean IPA but with a pinch of grainy astringency on the very back end.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body with medium-high carbonation.

Overall: A good IPA to be sure, and definitely considering it's "imported" from Hawai'i. That said, it's doubtful that you can't find a better local IPA or strong APA.

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Photo of smcolw
3.48/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Good bar poured head. Lasting foam leaves a ring of chunky lace. Amber color and crystal clear.

I get a metallic smell--iron. I actually get very little else.

The flavor starts with a dry caramel. A bit earthy. The hop is solid if predictable. I do get a bit of iron in the taste. The swallow and aftertaste are straight up black pepper bitterness. The body is neutral while the carbonation is mildly elevated.

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Photo of chrishiker1409
4.07/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Very west coast style. A lot of pine with a good amount of bitterness. I prefer the citrus bombs, but I still love these west coast piney ipas. This reminded me of Pako's from Sanke River. I'll definitely be picking up some more of this.

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Photo of Gmann
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazy golden color with a tight creamy head that left a small wall of lacing on the glass.

The nose is a mix of citrus and tropical fruit. Main aroma is grapefruit with subtle notes of pineapple and apricot. A bit peppery as well.

The taste is more tropical. Bigger pineapple presence. The grapefruit is still big but shares with some resin/pine. Apricot and pepper round out the hop profile. The malt is hefty enough to support the aggressive hops.

The feel is moderate with prickly carbonation. Big hoppy bitterness on the palate with some sweetness to try to balance.

An old school west (far west) coast IPA. Big piney bitter notes. It's good but I like to see more brightness.

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Photo of Bunman3
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I grabbed a six of this at Costco in Kahului for a very reasonable price. Big Swell is an extremely agreeable IPA - not earth-shaking like the waves at Ho'Okipa, but definitely akin to life on Maui. Everything is well and good when the weather is perfect and you have a nice IPA in hand. Light in colour, easy on the malt, with a bit of pine and grapefruit joining the party. When in Hawaii, why not?

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Photo of HiWire
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky butterscotch. 1 finger head minor lacing retention. Not a ton to the nose, Citrusy. Tastes mildy hoppy, tea leaf, minimal citrus. Drinks a little light after sipping with good carbonation.

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Photo of pkalix
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

canned on 7/26, almost four months ago.... not bad flavor although not glaringly superstar status, either. basic, standard IPA with medium bitterness, slightly higher than average sweetness. dark, dehydrated urine color with a short-lived creamy, opaque head.... leaves some sticky lacing. decent....

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Photo of ordybill
4.59/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 OZ can into a pint glass. This beer is a clear golden yellow with a small white head. The aroma is full of hops. The taste is hop driven. A really good ipa.

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Photo of Roguer
3.87/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Straw yellow clear brew, topped by a sizable frothy white head. Good retention.

Hoppy, juicy aroma, primarily pine and grapefruit. There's a touch of caramel malt lingering in the background.

Flavor follows: it's a fairly standard American IPA, although there is also a dank, herbal quality to the hops, along with a touch of tropical juice, to go along with pine and grapefruit.

Lively and smooth; medium-light bodied.

This is a very solid IPA. The can I'm reviewing is over two months old, and yet shows no sign of detrimental staleness. I would gladly order this on tap in Hawai'i.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.74/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Type: 12-oz. can
Glass: Hotel glass
From: An ABC store in Honolulu, Hawaii
Price: $2.29
Purchased: Oct. 10, 2015
Consumed: Oct. 10, 2015
Misc.: Canned on Aug. 19, 2015

Poured a golden, pale, clear color with 3-to-4 fingers of off-white, frothy head. Good deal of bubbles coming up from the bottom of the glass. Excellent layered foamy lacing on the sides. Very good-to-excellent retention. (Sight - 4.00)

Smelled grapefruit, pine, tropical, Citra, caramel, faint coconut, light pineapple and earthy Citra rind. Something slightly off. (Smell - 3.75)

Taste followed the nose nicely. Got bitter grapefruit juice, grapefruit pulp, tropical rind, pineapple, Citra, pine, dry-hopped and boozy alcohol. (Taste - 3.75)

Light body. Oily texture. Average carbonation. Bitter, boozy finish. (Feel - 3.50)

A bit disappointed in this one overall. This could’ve been a lot better. (Overall - 3.75)

3.74 | 84 | B

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Photo of FLima
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Amber copper color with a thick off-white head with great retention and leaving laces.
Light, but delicious aroma with notes of passion fruit that switch to pine, some toasted and caramel malts, biscuit, guava and melon.
Flavor with notes of grapefruit, guava, spices, toasted malts, pine resin, caramels, tea bags and pineapple. Dry aftertaste with a long lasting bitterness.
Medium body with appropriate carbonation.
Assertive resiny and spicy American IPA with enough hops to entertain any hophead.

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Photo of TheWolf
3.15/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Hazy copper. Very good head retention and lacing. Smells like an adjunct lager with grapefruit and pine. Light on hops for an iPa. Not much malt presence either. Light fizzy carbonation with Little body.

It's hard to complain when you're in Maui but ...

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Photo of OrestesMethuon
3.39/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

I'd have to generally concur with the Alström assessment that this is a somewhat shallow IPA lacking in uniqueness or dimension (though I think 2.85/5 is a bit too harsh). Another reviewer notes there's "[n]othing wrong with it", and that's apt, too. It's solid; it's entirely drinkable—but not especially sessionable, owning largely to its straightforward nature and lack of variegated textures; and it's snug and plum-fitted into the "Hopgun Blast" genre, with little else to distinguish it (save an appeal to the novelty of craft-canning, which isn't so novel anymore, along with its Hawaiian provenance).

The biggest swell from Big Swell is actually its head, however: luscious foam attends the pour, and it precipitates intricate and robust lacing as that head recedes to a solid quarter-inch crown. The ale itself is a very nice flaxen-brown—almost, indeed, the color of golden flax-seed—with a very nice center-column of churning carbonation. Unfortunately, the highly visible bubbling doesn't translate to a very buoyant mouthfeel, with this IPA being a bit mired in sticky, resinous bitters—a real downer, and something that might have salvaged the heavy-handed hopping approach. The single, heavy wave of flavor features a bit of grapefruit pith, a lot of juicy pine, and a pretty hefty herbal-bitter finish, glued together by a slightly astringent sugary-malt base. Aside from the visual aspects, the nose is the nicest attribute: a lot more tropicality (which is what I would have expected from a Maui-produced IPA), with guava and especially watermelon being the predominant top-notes cresting on the sea of citric grassiness.

It's really not bad, but it's really and decidedly less-than-great; a six-pack I have no qualms about having bought, but have no definitive plans to buy again.

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Photo of tubeyes
3.89/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A Lots of lace and light head
S lots of flavorful hops
T burst of hoppy flavor, pineapple, delicious
M nice easily drinkable beer, nice mouth feel
O really enjoyed, great IPA

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Photo of FundumpClyde
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a keg (first one in Canada in Calgary). Solid beer with interesting mango aftertaste. Good IPA. Nothing wrong with it, but not mind-blowing in any way.

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Photo of Kelz87
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 12 oz can into imperial pint glass. I'm assuming it's not super fresh since I'm not on Maui, but well within date since im on the neighboring island of Oahu. Update: it was canned 6-17-15

L- pours a semi-hazy yellow-orange color with about 2 fingers of white, sudsy, semi- sticky head. Very mild, inconsistent amount of lacing on the glass as the beer depletes.

A- a huge tropical nose (pineapple/mango) with some sweet malty caramel notes.

T- very deceptive taste! Lots of grapefruit, grass and some pine upfront. The pine and some grapefruit start to fade once the palate is coated opening up some more floral notes. The floral really stands out after the beer warms up a little if you can endure the initial harsh bitterness.

M- very well carbonated, average to thin mouthfeel.

O- this one kind of surprised me. I hated it the first time I had it months ago, but since I'm throwing it in as an extra in a trade I got one for myself and I'm glad I did. I used to think it was an IPA that lacked any flavor and just punched you in the mouth with bitterness, but after drinking again as my palate has developed I can see this one has some stuff going for it. Not a great beer, but not bad either. If you ever make it out here to the islands it's worth the try, just be ready for the bitterness.

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Photo of tigg924
2.99/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Pours clear, gold, with 1/4 inch head and moderate carbonation. Taste is grain, with big citrus and light piney hops. Decent American IPA, that falls slightly on the bitter side. Not a bad beer, but one that falls about average in the IPAs that I have had.

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Photo of sfnagle
3.47/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

The look, feel and taste are reminiscent of any bland American lager. The smell makes up for some it, as does the bitters. But in the end the beer really lacks any complexity. A local favorite for sure, but it has room to grow.

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.62/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Can poured into a mason jar style Lagunitas mug. A bright sparkling yellow-orange hue with five fingers of thick, milky white head that recalls meringue. Head shows a sturdy resilience and leaves nice concentric rings down the glass. Points for visual appeal.

Aroma is a tad deceptive ... Very mellow, peppy but not harsh, recalls fresh oranges and whiffs of grapefruit, lemon, and pine. Smells sweet yet herbal. The taste is rather ... Divergent. A brutal onslaught of pine needles, black pepper, lemongrass, dead leaves, herbal liqueur, old teabag, dried bitter grapefruit/orange rinds, with little in the way of tropical or otherwise sweet fruity character. Whoa. Uber-drying, tannic, resinous, and perhaps coarse. This is not the deft strokes of a paintbrush, this is throwing a whole can on the ceiling. There's a slight nutty caramel malt note buried underneath the brush pile. Admittedly, things get more nuanced once one acclimatizes to the bitterness ... More citrus becomes apparent along with a melon and gummy candy sweetness. Alas, it is nigh impossible to completely escape the medicinal finish. A solid middleweight in terms of body, with carbonation on the high end.

This beer has some great attributes. It takes some work to appreciate these, however. They did indeed mention hoppy. Might be a bit much for the haoles.

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Big Swell IPA from Maui Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 392 ratings.