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Big Swell IPA - Maui Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Big Swell IPABig Swell IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

857 Ratings
THE BROS
67
poor

(view ratings)
Ratings: 857
Reviews: 379
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 10.82%
Wants: 28
Gots: 79 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Maui Brewing Co. visit their website
Hawaii, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  6.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: GClarkage on 01-19-2008

50+ IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 857 | Reviews: 379
Reviews by endovelico:
Photo of endovelico
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

This enticing, slightly foggy tangerine brew packs a bold, exotic smell with a lot of grapefruit, mango, flowers and orange blossom aromatics. Unfortunately the tongue doesn't seem to follow up on the nose closely enough. At the tongue, you get a lot of what i can only call lupulin dust, which is basically what causes that bitter pollen taste. You still get the exotic and citrusy character but not enough as it gets completely back staged.

Unfortunately, this lupulin character is just not working for me; Which is a shame as this beer is pretty well made otherwise. The palate for instance is spot on! They did great work in hiding the ABV and hitting the body, carbonation, sweetness and bitterness.

It's still one of the best straightforward tropical fruit & citrus IPAs I've had, It just tastes a bit off to me, unfortunately.

More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - This is a light orange-brown in color with an awesome head. The foam isn't all that big but it is super-thick and leaves a whitish film on the inside of the glass.

Smell - The hops in the nose are big. There is a very even-handed mix of sharp orange rind and pine resin along with some rich grapefruit and maybe just a bit of grass. The sweet malt aroma is very big as well. It almost smells like a DIPA.

Taste - The hops lose something at the taste. Don't get me wrong it's still plenty hoppy, but the nose announced a monster and the taste is more like a medium IPA. The deep sweetness is there, especially a strong sense of brown sugar, and the malt base keeps this from falling apart.

Mouthfeel - This is medium-bodied and a little clumsy in the mouth. The bitterness level is actually pretty stiff but the big sweetness mitigates the effect.

Drinkability - This is fine for the hop-lovers and it's definitely the biggest IPA I've had out of a can but I can't see sessioning the six-pack.

Photo of ExtraStout
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

I've had this from cans & the tap at Maui Brewing. Just a consistently good IPA brew. Widely available in Maui.

Photo of brownbeer
4.22/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz can; looks deep golden with a white head.

The smell and taste are both packed with fresh, aromatic floral hops with a nice doughy malt backbone. Lighter bodied and very pleasant to drink, almost sessionable.

Another great beer from a can. This seems to be a growing trend, and I like it.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
2.85/5  rDev -24.8%
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.

Photo of Beaver13
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

Photo of badbeer
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden with a white long-lasting head. Big citrus nose, but there is also some malt balance on this one. Taste has lemon, grapefruit, and other citrus flavors. The malt backbone comes through moreso in the taste than in the aroma. Medium bodied and carbonation. Thanks to marchcow for sharing.

Photo of Mora2000
3.46/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a golden-orange color with a white head. The aroma has a lot of orange and pineapple notes from the hops, as well as some sweet bubblegum notes. The flavor has quite a few hop notes, with some grass, pine and pineapple. I also get some sweet bread malt and a low amount of bitterness. Soft, low carbonation and medium mouthfeel.

Photo of bsp77
3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from can into clear plastic cup.

Appearance: Bright amber-orange with sustained white head and lacing lines.

Smell: Strong grapefruit, with light citrus, pine and toasted malt.

Taste: Semi-sweet toasted malts countered by bright citrus and grapefruit. Ends somewhat bitter with an emphasis on pine.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, medium body, semi-dry finish (I prefer drier in an IPA).

Drinkability: Solid IPA overall that is a trifle too sweet for my personal tastes, but has a fantastic flavor profile.

Photo of magictrokini
4.32/5  rDev +14%
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 jazzyjeff13
3.77/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A 355ml can with a canned-on date of April 2012. Picked up recently from my local beer specialist (they have a bunch of Maui beers hidden in a fridge at the front). Time to catch a wave....

Poured into a Delirium chalice. A golden-amber hue with faint haze and decent carbonation. Forms a smallish head of white foam that lasts for a minute or two before subsiding. Aroma of sharp grapefruit and citrus, underpinned by sweet, grainy malt and earthy yeast. Nice.

Tastes of tangy citrus with a dry, bitter finish. Notes of grapefruit, citrus, subtle pine, grainy malt and earthy yeast. Considerable bitterness upon swallowing. The alcohol is well hidden. Mouthfeel is pretty dry and tingly, but rather thin and feels overcarbonated. Highly astringent. Aftertaste of sharp citrus and yeast.

A tasty IPA, though not the best I've tried. The biggest let-down is the mouthfeel, which just seems too watery and prickly. The aroma/flavour are good but lacking in depth - the hoppy character seems monotonous. However, it's tasty and goes down easily. If it was cheaply available I'd probably grab another. Worth sampling if you come across it.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.87/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Good amber and light orange pour. Sudsy. Neat dry hop aroma, would guess something like amarillo and centennial.

Good taste, light body, big hopping, tastes fresh, haven't had any of these that seemed faded, they seem to hold up, not one of those delicate ipa's that are only good under perfect conditions. Just the right amount of sweetness without seeming like a fruit derivative.

Enough bitterness without seeming like it was all it had going for it. No harshness, relatively smooth finish. Wouldn't really think of 'pine' as a hop descriptor in Hawaii, but there certainly seems to be a leaning that way.

Almost nothing to speak of malt wise, which is fine, it's about as 'west coast' of an ipa as you can get, geographically.

Overall, the higher price I've seen for these $11/6 is really the only hindrance to it. Probably more for hopheads than their flyin' hi-pa.

Photo of OStrungT
4.37/5  rDev +15.3%
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 jbphoto88
3.08/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours from the can hazed and washed out rust orange. The head is colored like lightly aged paper and fades to a skim of slightly sticky suds. Say that seven times fast.

Nose is average for an IPA. It's got some citrus to it and a light sugared malt but not as bold as I'd like from an IPA.

Taste is also average for an IPA with the same failings as the nose. Flavors are kind of there but fall short and undefined. Hints of citrus and fresh grain are overpowered by the yeasty, bread like flavor that kind of tastes like a Belgian brew but not as good.

Mouthfeel is the best part of this brew with a firm and sharp bitterness. Mild carbonation really let's the hops and bitterness shine but not enough to over come the other short comings. I don't hate this one but there isn't anything clean, crisp or distinct about it. Frankly I can take it or leave it and in this world of great beers the average get passed by. Not one I'd buy again.

Photo of biboergosum
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz can. Not making it to this particular island on this trip, so best I grab one from the ubiquitous local convenience stores in Waikiki.

This beer pours a clear, medium golden amber colour, with two fingers of foamy, somewhat creamy off-white head, which leaves a pretty consistent array of webbed, bike-chain lace around the glass as it lazily sinks away.

It smells of bready caramel malt, decent grapefruit and orange citrus, with a surprising, but quite enjoyable, biscuit cereal aroma wafting up in the middle of it all. The taste is nice biscuity caramel/toffee malt, a little more coy citrus hops than in the nose, but still holding the room with their zippy goodness, aided in part by a slight herbal/pine sideshow. No excess sass from the big (for a straight IPA) ABV either.

The bubbles are pretty agreeable as they go about their pedestrian job, the body a sturdy medium weight, and delectably smooth, even with those prickish hop interlopers. It finishes good and hoppy, the citrus and leafy pine turning out for a last hurrah, but not without a serious sidelong glance from the attendant bready malt sweetness.

A pretty swell (I kid, I kid) IPA, really. And big, did I mention that? Anyways, awesome in a can - can I really bring these to the beach? Gonna sure as hell find out soon!

Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
3.45/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Just got back from Oahu Yesterday, had a pretty fresh 2 beers from the can, then a pint at the Yard House on Lewers street.

Big on the Grapefruit, weird hop spice to it, and on tap...it was a bit bready. The Torpedo I sampled in a taster was much better than the pint I had of Big Swell. Don't get me wrong, the pint of Big Swell was fine, but too bready.

Not a bad representation of the style. Enjoyable actually. But coming from California and having Fresh PtE, Blind Pig, Union Jack and Sculpin as regular offerings...this was a "good" IPA.

Better fresh out of the can than on Tap IMHO. If I were reviewing a fresh can, a 4.0 might have been dealt, but I'm reviewing a pint for appearance issues and what I thought would have been fresher and better, so here ya go...

Glad I tried it both on tap and in can. Not a bad IPA by any means...

Photo of mdaschaf
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to THECPJ for this one.

A: Pours a slightly hazy orange with a solid 2 finger head. Dissipated in a few minutes to layer of white on top. Very nice lacing around the entire glass.

S: Very heavy on the citrus, lots of grapefruit and some orange. A little bit of bready malts break through, but mostly hops here.

T: Citrus up front, but not overwhelming. A nice sweetness in the middle is very nice, some caramel malt as well. Slightly bitter finish, but overall the flavor seems to drop off a bit at the end.

M/D: Medium bodied with nice carbonation. Crisp and clean, nice balance. Overall, an easy drinking IPA. Doesn't do anything to make it stand out, but its solid. If it was available to me, could be a fridge staple, especially in cans.

Photo of jj139
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

12 can poured into pint glass

A - orangeish/golden color with a two finger eggshell head.

S - Shy nose of caramel malt and grapefruit & citrus

T - Right at first you get a nice refreshing taste of citrus followed by a very aggressive hop assault. Long and very bitter aftertaste.

M - Medium body with just about the same in carbonation

O - While a decent IPA, I prefer ones with more balance in them. I wouldn't refuse one if given but would not be buying this again.

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.67/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Canned on date of 04/10/13

Appearance - Pours a fairly clear golden orange with a white, frothy 2 finger head. Retention is decent, and leaves a thin film of microbubbles across the surface. Spotty lacing with good stick.

Smell - More malty than one would expect; biscuit and touches of caramel met by mellow, tropical hop notes. Mild pineapple and orange.

Taste - Malty upfront. Aforementioned biscuit is also found in the flavor, along with hints of caramel. Mild earth and tropical fruitiness... and then the Hops really kick in(!) about mid-taste, really driving this thing home with an ever-strengthening grapefruit pith bitterness that extends into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Medium in body with low to moderate carbonation. Smooth and drinkable. Slightly slick.

Overall - Good thing this beer didn't suck, because with a name like Big Swell, it's got 'Big Swill' nickname potential written all over it. Jokes aside, it's a fairly good IPA, but it is this reviewer's opinion that for $10-12 bucks per sixer, there are better IPA's out there for much better value.

Photo of harkjohnny
3.45/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thanks to my buddy from the island of kauai for bringing home a sampler six-pack. poured from their nice looking 12oz can a bit cloudy light-copper with great head retention and decent lacing. aroma is smack full of citrusy grapefruit at first, then some earthy pine begins to poke through. taste is not over the top 'american ipa' like some but rather laid back and smoothly bitter. medium chewy malt serves as a good base and the citrus-grapefruit hops show up again at the back. Alcohol is perceivable after a few sips. Overall easy drinking and more like a strong pale ale than an IPA.

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice golden orange color with a stark white head that looks nice and holds pretty well leaving good lacing.

Nose is alot of west coast hops. Mostly a pine resin flavor and some perfume.

Taste is pretty mellow. Very floral taste profile. Alot of soapy, perfumey hop flavors, along with some WC pineiness. A bit of grapefruit, but pretty weak. The finish is not near bitter enough and doesnt make a big impression.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, a bit slick. Good carbonation.

Drinkability is solid. Not the greatest, but not bad at all.

Overall this is an "ok" IPA. Not horrid, but really nothing special. It has a weak hop profile, and subdued bitterness, but is certainly a drinkable beer that will be enjoyed by many.

Photo of cokes
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lightly hazy golden-orange topped with a thick carpet of off-white suds. They linger a bit and leave thick rings of lace.
It noses primarily of tropical fruit, apricot, guava, and orange. These are backed with some minty bitterness and a doughy malt base, and a touch of honey sweetness.
The bready malt rolls onto the tongue first. Doughy for the most part, but it gradually grows toastier and nuttier deeper in. The malt/hop interplay brings a fruit punch of pineapple, tangerine, peach, and apricot. It's an outstanding combination, but lacks a bit in clarity and volume. A low-level, pasty bitterness (a la wet aspirin) is the obscuring factor.
Medium bodied with a slow carbonation, gives this a sleekly beefy, almost cask-like feel.
This is a perfectly pleasant, pleasing IPA and was my go-to during my stay on Maui.

Photo of Sammy
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks for the hitchhiker TorchedNoodle. Pours deep golden yellow, initially lots of white head that dissipitates. Grapefruit aroma, and taste. Average mouthfeel, very drinkable and satisfying. A bit stinging on the tongue, comment on the carbonation? Mildly astringent.Above average for style.

Photo of aval89
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: honey colored with a big 2 finger head.. settles & sticks at around a 1/4 inch head.. nice lacing as well..

s: fresh hops! pine for sure.. wet, leafy green hops!.. floral notes as well.. bready sweetness to round out.. nice..

t: more hops on the taste. quick malt sweetness upfront.. resiny pine bitterness swipes across the tongue.. some lemon peel as well.. finish has sweet caramel notes with hints of bread.. lingering resiny finish.. like chewing on a hop pellet

mf: medium bodied with a smooth easy drinking feel.

o: a nice brew.. hop heads wont be disappointed.

Photo of augustgarage
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz can into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Clear tangerine liquid is graced by a seashell crown which threatens to climb out of the glass before receding to a solid finger, then a hefty mesa surrounded by a wide soapy collar. Sticky, rich lacing adheres to the sides in masses.

Bright citrus-heavy hops with a bit of evergreen and mint in the nose. Faint toast aroma as well.

Bitter, earthy, with a hint of peach and pepper on the palate. Forest floor and fruit is matched to an almost syrupy malt flavor which adds sweetness and bread notes. The balance is a bit odd, and the hops don't meld quite as successfully as the top-tier examples of the style - still the flavor is good.

Medium-light bodied, faintly slick, with moderate carbonation and maybe a bit of astringency hiding behind the bitterness and sugars.

Reminds me of some of the "East Coast" IPAs I've had in the past, though it isn't a carbon-copy of any one in particular.

Not amazing, but a great value.

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Big Swell IPA from Maui Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 857 ratings.