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Big Swell IPA - Maui Brewing Co.

Big Swell IPABig Swell IPA

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

490 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 490
Reviews: 221
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 11.05%

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

Style | ABV
American IPA |  6.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
50+ IBU

(Beer added by: GClarkage on 01-19-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 490 | Reviews: 221 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of ibbjamin


2.55/5  rDev -32.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2011 01:22:25 | More by ibbjamin
Photo of kojevergas


2.6/5  rDev -31.6%
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.


Serving type: can

07-02-2012 09:32:20 | More by kojevergas
Photo of libbey

British Indian Ocean Territory

2.68/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz can poured into a NB globe

A: The beer pours a clear copper orange and an aggressive pour yielded a large fluffy head that clung to the glass leaving a nice trail of lacing throughout the session. Look's nice.

S: The nose is malt forward leaving a lingering sweet candy like trail in the nose. Hop presence is there but it is minimal. Uh oh smells like this beer is past it's prime.

T: Again minimal hop presence and this beer is dominated by a bready malt back. Not what I want to see in my IPA's.

M: Carbonation is spot on and it carries this medium/light bodied beer nicely. The finish is off due to the lack of bite from any hop presence.

O: Overall I'm hoping that this was an old beer because if not this is a highly unsuccessful take on the style. I will make an effort to try this one again and hope to see some radical changes.

Serving type: can

03-25-2012 01:01:33 | More by libbey
Photo of iSip


2.68/5  rDev -29.5%
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.

Serving type: can

04-16-2013 17:20:14 | More by iSip
Photo of AAxsom


2.9/5  rDev -23.7%
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!

Serving type: can

07-03-2011 18:15:48 | More by AAxsom
Photo of harrymel


2.95/5  rDev -22.4%
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.

Serving type: can

01-20-2013 05:05:56 | More by harrymel
Photo of dannydetox


2.96/5  rDev -22.1%
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.

Serving type: can

05-30-2013 02:04:24 | More by dannydetox
Photo of jbphoto88


3.08/5  rDev -18.9%
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.

Serving type: can

05-14-2011 18:38:11 | More by jbphoto88
Photo of StonedTrippin


3.18/5  rDev -16.3%
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

Serving type: can

02-26-2012 21:20:01 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of spicelab


3.2/5  rDev -15.8%
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.

Serving type: can

05-31-2011 11:14:10 | More by spicelab
Photo of atigerlife


3.25/5  rDev -14.5%
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.

Serving type: can

08-21-2011 15:48:08 | More by atigerlife
Photo of chumba526


3.28/5  rDev -13.7%
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.

Serving type: can

05-13-2010 00:59:11 | More by chumba526
Photo of illidurit


3.3/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Can poured into a pint glass. Golden amber color, good clarity, nice off-white cap of foam. Aroma is orange and grapefruit hoppiness, with a little pine and a little neutral malt. Flavor is rather muted. Tastes like a 'diet IPA.' The orangey tropical hops are there, and the pine is there, and the pale malt is there, but there's no robustness. Watery, a little soapy, and with low bitterness. Above average but not a great IPA by any means.

Serving type: can

05-17-2009 23:25:08 | More by illidurit
Photo of mulder1010


3.3/5  rDev -13.2%
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.

Serving type: can

05-31-2011 12:56:51 | More by mulder1010
Photo of Goblinmunkey7


3.3/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Slightly hazed deep gold. Head is bright-white and leaves some serious lace. Head dwindles to a thin cap that lasts for the duration of the experience.

Smell: Pine, orange, and something akin to pears and pineapple. Very mealy fruit aroma. Malts run a touch biscuity with some caramel sweetness. A faint spiciness lingers in the back that evokes Belgian yeast, but I think it's just pineapple and pear. Pretty mellow overall.

Taste: Dry, powdery tropical fruit. It reminds me of challah bread. Some hints of pineapple and pear play over grapefruit rind and some pine. Malts are on the sweet side, adding some nice balance to the hop profile. Some caramel and biscuit flavors.

Mouthfeel: Moderate body with a moderate carbonation. Dry on the end.

Overall: Decent, but the weird mealy fruit flavors threw me off. Good for what it is, but that's about as far as it goes.

Serving type: can

01-15-2012 20:49:14 | More by Goblinmunkey7
Photo of jtierney89

New Jersey

3.3/5  rDev -13.2%
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.

Serving type: can

03-04-2014 04:50:30 | More by jtierney89
Photo of Lothore


3.35/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a deep, clear, copper color with a 1 finger off white head.

S- Caramel, big and malty with hints of floral hops.

T- Malty up front, lots of caramel leading to a small hop kick.

M- A little thick and creamy. Lots of carbonation.

D- Not a bad beer but not one that I particularly enjoyed.

Serving type: can

11-05-2009 04:13:02 | More by Lothore
Photo of beertunes


3.35/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into 12oz straight glass. Poured a golden yellow with an inch of white head that had good retention and lacing.

The aroma was a straight forward hop scent, with no sign of malt in the nose. The flavor was mostly bitter grapefruit/citrus hops. The body was typical for the style. Drinkabilty was also just about what you'd expect for this style.

Overall, a fairly typical and upfront IPA, worth a shot if you see it.

Serving type: can

03-06-2010 02:12:15 | More by beertunes
Photo of Rbald42


3.35/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Einweizenbitte for sending this as an extra.

Appearance is a clear golden yellow with a nice 1 inch head. No lacing left on the glass as it went down. Smell was some pine and grassy hops along with sweet malt. Not much going on with the nose of this brew. Taste was very sweet in my opinion. A earthy toasted feel to the malt with some grassy and bitter hops on the finish. Just average overall imo. Mouthfeel was a tad thin, but good overall. This was a drinkable beer and I could enjoy a few, but as it warmed it became considerably sweeter and less enjoyable.

Serving type: can

07-03-2010 04:48:17 | More by Rbald42
Photo of dgilks


3.35/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Good citrus and pine aroma. Fairly classic resinous American IPA aroma.

Clear, amber colour with a few particulates. Nice, big, fluffy off-white head receding to a patchy foam. Nice lace.

Clean, light malt flavour with a moderate hop flavour and a mild bitterness. Not as big as I expect an IPA to be in any sense.

Medium-light body with moderate carbonation. Nice.

A decent beer but more APA than IPA in my books. It's just a touch disappointing. That said, I love the can.

Serving type: can

07-18-2010 06:10:18 | More by dgilks
Photo of TheSevenDuffs

Ontario (Canada)

3.35/5  rDev -11.8%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

07-14-2011 20:54:38 | More by TheSevenDuffs
Photo of argock


3.35/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz can into a clear Donegal mug. 121511 stamped on the bottom of the can. Received from my good NDN Walker.

A: Slightly hazy golden with 2-finger white foamy head with decent retention and sticky lace all over the glass.

S: Very caramel malty aroma with spruce/pine and floral hops.

T: Overly malty with too much caramel maltiness, almost meaty. It seems like a super-powered APA. The hops have definitely faded with some pine and floral character, a little fruity orange citrus.

M: Solid medium-bodied mouthfeel with low carbonation and medium-dry finish.

O: Time has been not that kind to this beer. Too much maltiness still regardless of age. Doubt this could be too fresh coming from thousands of miles aways.

Serving type: can

07-22-2012 03:10:14 | More by argock
Photo of emerge077


3.35/5  rDev -11.8%
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!

Serving type: can

10-14-2012 22:31:10 | More by emerge077
Photo of hooliganlife


3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

pours hazy yellow with hints of copper. massive pillow like head that slowly leaves cloud like retention. great lacing.

very light, mainly light bready malts. very faint hints of citrus. needs more.

light citrus hops, hints of orange and pineapple. faint malts through out. very light in flavor. a bit of a malty finish. light citrus aftertaste.

light and easy, light carbonation.

this was pretty easy drinking. nothing stood out at all. the hops were VERY faint which is bad for an IPA. it blended well over all however it needs more flavor. i cannot see myself searching for this again but if i stumbled upon it on tap, i would for sure try it.

Serving type: can

04-06-2010 01:00:35 | More by hooliganlife
Photo of devilben02

North Carolina

3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Maui's IPA pours with a hazy, golden, medium-yellow color and a foamy white head, making it look similar to (albeit a bit darker than) the brewery's lager. The similarity stops there, though, with the aroma being packed with a fresh and bold combination of floral and earthy hops. It honestly smells like slicing open a vacuum bag full of hop pellets for a new batch of home brew. The flavor is similarly bursting with a dominant and bold hop bitterness with very little sweetness to balance. The texture is resinous and tongue-coating, letting the hoppy bitterness linger for a few moments. Unfortunately, although the hops are bold and distinct, it comes across as a bit one-dimensional.

I almost expected this to have more pineapple and tropical fruit hop characteristics or even some local botanicals like red ginger or hibiscus, maybe because those kinds of things would have been the obvious gimmicks from a brewery based in Maui. As I noted, though, the hop profile is more woodsy than tropical, and I respect that they didn't give in to gimmicks and chose to make a solid, straight-up IPA instead. In the end, though, I might have preferred the gimmicks to make this one more memorable.

Serving type: can

10-14-2010 20:16:41 | More by devilben02
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Big Swell IPA from Maui Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 490 ratings.