Big Swell IPA - Maui Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Big Swell IPABig Swell IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

370 Reviews
THE BROS
67
poor

(Read More)
Reviews: 370
Hads: 886
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 9.02%
Wants: 30
Gots: 96 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Big Swell IPA Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 370 | Hads: 886
Photo of ibbjamin
2.56/5  rDev -34%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A buddy of mine bought a 6pack of 12oz cans for me as a wedding present. I have had a couple of these already and have certainly been disappointed. I pour this one into a standard pint glass to review.

Yields an off white head of about an inch in height consistent of large sized bubbles. A thin layer of retention remains and there is pretty good lacing. Very cloudy golden yellow in color.

Aroma is uber balanced with a good dose of hops being masked by a raw barley and caramel malt. I even get some barn hay and yeast in the nose. I can't really get into the nuances of the muddled hop bouquet.

There is good balance in the taste, but for an IPA this is not impressive to me. The yeast really comes through on this one.

Medium body, noticeable carbonation and medium finish.

Very forgettable and average IPA. (818 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
2.62/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 fl oz aluminum can with a fantastic grip (seriously, every can should feel this way in your hand - just check out the top) served into a generic stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are average.

Served straight from the refrigerator. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger beige colour head of fair thickness, fair cream, and below average retention. Colour is a nontransparent fairly vibrant copper. Non-opaque. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Floral hops. Clean malts. That's it. An average strength aroma.

T: Floral hops and clean malts. Maybe some cream and slight caramelization. Unbearably simple and bland. I guess hardcore IPA fans might enjoy it, but I find it rather mundane. Not at all complex or subtle. Not particularly fresh either. It's alright. No yeast or alcohol comes through.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Adequate carbonation. Okay thickness.

Dr: A drinkable but very unremarkable IPA. I wouldn't get it again. Horribly boring and bland. A disappointment from Maui brewing. IPA fans can safely skip this offering.

C- (1,175 characters)

Photo of iSip
2.7/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Maui Brewing Big Swell IPA: This beer pours with a clear golden body and decent head. The aroma is fruity. And the flavor is very fruity as well, I taste passionfruit or something like that. No hop bitterness. All in all, not bad for something different, but not up to par with the many competing IPA's out there when you are in the mood for a great IPA. (354 characters)

Photo of domtronzero
2.8/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a golden copper color, with a short-lasting, 1 finger, tightly packed white head, leaving almost no lacing on the glass. Aroma is a piney/resiney smell, with hints of caramel malts and citrus in the background. Taste is very piney, some grassy fruits with caramel/toasted malt flavors. Bitterness is rather subdued for an IPA, but it is noticable. A perfect beer for enjoying on those beautiful Wailea beaches. No wonder they can thir beers - perfect for the beach and no glass bottles to ruin someone's day. (514 characters)

Photo of BeerAdvocate
2.85/5  rDev -26.5%
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. (1,153 characters)

Photo of AAxsom
2.88/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- very clear orange color. This looks very drinkable and very tasty.

S- no noticeable smell, even when poured from the can to a pint glass. There isn't much of a hop profile on the smell, which fir an IPA, doesn't add to the experience.

T- again, the hops are not as present as I'd like. In fact, the malts really make this a bit unbalanced. I will say that this is a great entry level IPA for someone to get accustomed to the style.

M- very little bite at the end, which actually helps it's drinkability.

O- good basic IPA. I've heard that the island version of this is much better, so maybe one day I'll have this again in Maui! (635 characters)

Photo of harrymel
2.94/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Canned 31OCT12

Nice golden raisen ale with an etched surface and a rim of light white foam. Excellent clarity. Smells kinda weak, some pine, peach and a healthy crystal malt sweetness. Taste is bitter and carries grapefruit pith, some dry orange peel, some biscuit and sweet malts. Medium bodied and moderate carb with a dry finish. It seems like a par for the course beer. (374 characters)

Photo of dannydetox
2.95/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

revisited this beer today, and my opinion hasn't changed. from the can into the glass, the beer poured a hazy, pale amber with a frothy white head. significant lacing remained on the sides of the glass after each sip. aromas are faint, to say the least; vague pine and floral notes with a background of some malts. on the palate the big swell greats with noticeable sweet chocolate malt and something fruity. bittering hops make a subtle appearance at the finish, but this bear is barely an ipa to me. drinks and tastes like a pale ale, and the 50-something ibu seems generous. while not unpleasant, this offering disappoints for the style, and is less representative of American ipa brewing. (692 characters)

Photo of loren01
2.98/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a clear yellow/orange color good sized head with good lacing down the glass
S: Grassy hop scents, herbal and medicinal
T: Much the same as the smell just more pronounced medicinal, herbal taste. Reminds me of herbal tea.
M: Medium bodied beer, carbonation is good
O: A little to heavy with the hops here, not a well balanced IPA at all. The hops taste really off to me as well in this one. (398 characters)

Photo of Soneast
2.98/5  rDev -23.2%
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. (895 characters)

Photo of GRG1313
3/5  rDev -22.7%
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. (485 characters)

Photo of jamescain
3.03/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a nonic tumbler.

Appearance: Clear yellow-orange with an off white head about a centimeter thick that leaves a thin lacing over the top.

Aroma: Citrus, pine, and a touch of grapefruit, nothing that really stands out and screams "I'm an IPA"

Taste: Mostly citrus with a slight malt backing, that is reminiscent of adjuncts and has a buttery finish.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body with medium carbonation and a dry finish with a buttery aftertaste.

Overall: The first time I had this beer I enjoyed it more, could be the age of the can but I'm not sure. (568 characters)

Photo of jbphoto88
3.08/5  rDev -20.6%
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. (942 characters)

Photo of champ103
3.08/5  rDev -20.6%
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. (756 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.2/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

nothing special here. pours a lighter looking orange color with a lacey white head. smells like bitter hops, very american in style. flavor is just kind of boring, everything in fine proportion, but not an interesting brew. the hops are just bitter, not lots of subtle flavors there. feel is alright, lighter in body and good carbonation. overall not a beer i would buy again (375 characters)

Photo of spicelab
3.23/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Mr Kennedy for carting this back to Oz.

Almost crystal clear light copper with a monstrous rocky head (might have something to do with having cycled home with it in my bag). Leaves rather haphazard lace.

Orange, mango, melons and some earthy pine. Unfortunately there's a kind of pungent, chalky, not-quite-sweet solvent character that mars any real freshness and presence these hop aromas might otherwise have. Some generic caramel malt is kind of here and there.

Taste is a bit muddled and homogeneous. Moderately bitter grapefruit, mint and indistinct malt. The tropical hop notes in the nose have gone AWOL. Pretty ordinary.

A tad overcarbonated, but a quite acceptable lingering mild bitterness and medium mouthfeel.

Not really inspired by this. Doesn't shine on any single characteristic and at the same time doesn't manage to achieve high drinkability as consolation. (890 characters)

Photo of BryanCarey
3.23/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Maui Big Swell IPA has a nice appearance. It pours to an orange/tan colored hue and a moderate pour is all that is necessary to create a fluffy head of white foam. The beer has an interesting nose that showcases scents such as citrus, floral, and a touch of pine.

Moving to the taste, this beer has a lot going on. Pine and bread greet the taste buds first, followed by herbs, citrus, and earthiness. The beer finishes a little bit harsh, but still with a good bread/biscuit aftertaste.

I love IPA and I don’t mind the occasional brew that calls itself IPA but deviates somewhat from the norm. This beer seems to be doing just that. It isn’t all about the citrus, like so many other American IPA. It is much more to share, and its less bitter profile could make it a hit with those who are otherwise non- IPA fans.

However, this beer in many ways seems to have a little too much going on. It may offer a good deal of complexity, but it goes a little further than an IPA really should. It is also a little harsh in the finish, and that could be enough to turn IPA fans against it.

This beer isn’t the all- out hoppy brew that the manufacturer claims, and that could prove both good and bad depending on who you ask. Let’s just say that it’s an okay beer but not one of the greatest I have tried and in some ways a little too eccentric for its own good. It’s fine to try, but there are much better American IPA available. (1,437 characters)

Photo of chumba526
3.26/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appears an orange color has a two finger head.

The smell is quite sweet with hints of oranges. It doesn't have that strong of a smell.

Taste: starts out with a sugarcane sugar like taste and slight nuttiness. A strong citrusy orange tasting hop taste is present. The taste ends with a restrained but nice bitterness. The carbonation is medium-high. Overall a nicely balanced IPA that is on the sweet side. Worth trying if you see it. (437 characters)

Photo of atigerlife
3.28/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I've drank this many, many times over the years, but it has probably become my least favorite offering from this exceptional brewery.

Pours amber with a creamy white head. Good lasting power of the head and nice lacing. Nice to look at.

Aroma is piney, grapefruit and malty.

Taste is malts, grapefruit, pine, caramel and citrus.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and cleansing.

Overall, I used to like this more. For some reason I now find it hard to drink. It seems rather cloying and harsh by the end of the glass. Not sure why this one has lost its appeal. (558 characters)

Photo of azdback
3.29/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Surly pint glass. Bright, filtered orange color. Tons of explosive carbonation bubbles lead to a three finger head that is bright white and soapy looking on the edges, but creamy looking from the top. Laces the glass beautifully in a ring pattern.

Smell is at first bright piney smells, but some dankness comes with it too. Some mild sweet from the malts is there but you have to fight the dank for it.

Taste is not even as great as I had hoped from the smell. It is all dank Columbus hops or some sort of a European yeast. Mostly soggy bread. Some citrus and pine, but it is very hard to find behind the dank mustiness . This is not my kind of IPA.

The mouth is respectable though. It does hold up it's flavor to the end. Nice carbonation and par for the style.

Overall I was expecting something more West Coast. I got more East Coast or Europe. If you like IPA's brewed with Columbus hops or dank yeast, then this is your IPA. If you are like me... save your $2.50/can and buy something like Union Jack. (1,023 characters)

Photo of jtierney89
3.3/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slightly hazed orange glow with tight bright white head that's about two fingers high.
Super floral nose and super resinous as well. Lots of bitter citric fruit rinds. Quite a pungent nose.
The flavor is a hop assault. All of what's on the nose comes through on the palate from front to back. Bitter citric rind all the way with a bit of sweet biscuity malt beneath but in no way is this brew balanced. Slightly slick finish with really clean bitterness. Brisk and bitter. I like it but the price is outrageous.
On the lighter side of medium bodied. Lots of deep hidden hop flavors. Oranges grapefruit and citrus very floral with hints of pine as well. (652 characters)

Photo of Urbancaver
3.3/5  rDev -14.9%
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 (465 characters)

Photo of emerge077
3.33/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Canned 8/14/12 on the bottom of the can.

Earthy vegetal hop aroma, slightly floral, a touch soapy. Super bright clarity, jewel tone light orange. Thin veil of white foam, it breaks after the first couple sips. A bit of flat grainy malt in the initial taste with some herbal and floral hop notes toward the end. Mild bitterness. Light bodied and drinkable but ultimately not too hoppy or memorable.

Thanks Chris for sharing this one! (434 characters)

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.33/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at The Neighbourhood in San Diego on 7/3/11

A - Poured dark yellow. Hazy. One finger of thick bubbly white head.

S - Citrus and herbal hop prfile dominates the nose with some orange. Bitterness is very apparent

T - Bitter and dry. Orange rind and herbal hop flavours are the only real flavours that come through. Very different.

M - Medium bod with a slight chew. Light to moderate carbonation. (408 characters)

Photo of mulder1010
3.33/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It is thanks to Mr. Kennedy night. Much appreciated for bringing this back from Hawaii.

12 oz can into a tulip (craft beer and can's, what a ment to be combo)

A-- Poured a light honey gold/ straw color. Almost hazy looking. Two fingers of cloud white head that settled to just under half a finger. One good sized 3/4 ring of lacing and a couple strands of lacing on the sides of the glass. Good retention on swirling. Head holds it's shape pretty well before receding and leaving a full thick circle of lacing.

S-- Soft tropical notes backed by some Carmel. Mango, passion fruit, peach and orange blossom. Quite soft and quite delicate to me. Not as in your face as others.

T-- Peach, orange and lemon tasting with Carmel notes. Quite soft and laid back. Interesting as that it is just soft and profile reminds me more of a Pale Ale and not an IPA.

M-- Do get Orange and Grapefruit in the mid and back of mouth. Not overly bitter but more fresh and somewhat muted. The characters are there but not in full force until this warms up. Finish is long lasting somewhat bitter grapefruit. Lighter medium bodied and medium carbonation.

O-- Clicks a lot of boxes but kind of like a bigger version of a Pale Ale to me. Not robust enough and somewhat dainty in a way. One, maybe two in a sitting. I can see that this beer would grow on me though. Given the climate in Hawaii this may be the perfect IPA to have as it seems more of a hybrid and bigger/ bolder IPA's with higher IBU's would not go over as well. (1,511 characters)

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Big Swell IPA from Maui Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 370 ratings.