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Big Swell IPA - Maui Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Big Swell IPABig Swell IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

382 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 382
Hads: 930
Avg: 3.84
pDev: 16.93%
Wants: 31
Gots: 116 | FT: 1
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
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Reviews: 382 | Hads: 930
Photo of Sammy
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Canned on 8/23/11.

Pours a slightly murky honey gold with a 2 inch foamy orange-white head that settles to a craggy head. Foamy chunks of lace cling to the glass on the drink down. Smell is of caramel malt and some pine/herbal hops. Taste is of piney and herbal hops up front with a malt finish. This beer has a medium amount of bitterness that sits on top of the tongue with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slight crispness and a medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good IPA with huge hop flavors and bitterness but in that regard it's pretty one dimensional.

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Photo of GRG1313
3/5  rDev -21.9%
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.

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Photo of metter98
3.69/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is clear amber yellow in color and has a slight amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high off white head that died down, leaving a thin collar around the edge of the glass and thick lacing down the sides.
S: Light to moderate aromas of grapefruit hops are present in the nose along with some hints of caramel malts.
T: As in the smell, the taste has flavors of orange citrus along with notes of grapefruit and underlying hints of caramels malts. The hops also contribute a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels just about medium-bodied and somewhat crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is very easy to drink. Although nothing really stands out among the aromas or flavors, it could make for a good choice for someone that does not want something that is that bitter.

Serving type: can

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.2/5  rDev -16.7%
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

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Photo of brentk56
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with a sturdy whipped egg white head that leaves a nice ring of lacing

Smell: Resinous, but primarily grapefruit juice; a real smell from the tropics, with pineapple undertones

Taste: Opens with a nice biscuity flavor that qiuckly moves in a sweet and fruity, floral grapefruit direction by mid-palate; the swallow is pure grapefruit with hints of pineapple; rather sweet, but I like it

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Sweetness rules, by golly, and this is one refreshing IPA; very tropical and I wonder if Maui has considered mixing a little coconut into the concoction to make a pina colada IPA to match their Coconut Porter

Thanks, atigerlife, for the opportunity

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Can: Poured a bright orangey color ale with a rather large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of citrus and grapefruit hops seems very fresh with a subtle caramel malt base. Taste is also dominated by some green citrus and grapefruit hops with a subtle malt base sustaining quite well the hops profile. Full body with good carbonation. Better then expected and very well done for a West Coast IPA.

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Photo of largadeer
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Always nice to see canned IPAs. 12 oz can to glass, the beer is copper-colored with a moderate haze. Nicely carbonated, the small white head retains well.

The nose has a juicy tropical fruit aroma, almost like Juicy Fruit gum, with notes of fresh herbs and citrus. I also pick up a faint metallic aroma beneath the hops.

Surprisingly light on the palate, there's a fair amount of juicy, fruity hop flavor but little bitterness to back it up. Sweetness is at a lower moderate level, fruity in character and pleasantly light on the palate. I get a mineral twang up front, but it's quickly washed away by malt and hops. The finish is lightly bitter, with lingering leafy hop flavors and a touch of biscuit-like malt. Very mild and accessible stuff, enjoyable but far from transcendent.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
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!

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Photo of emerge077
3.33/5  rDev -13.3%
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!

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lightly hazy Sunkist orange that indicates something darker than pale malt has been used. The golden ecru colored crown has tremendous texture, with all sort of visually interesting topography and a lovely array of lace on the upper reaches of the glass.

The nose is wonderfully aromatic. That's to be expected with a lupulus lineup that includes Columbus, Amarillo, Centennial and Cascade. Not a bad one in the bunch. Specifics include grapefruit, orange and a ganja-like dankness that is usually due to aged Cascade.

If you like hoptastic American IPAs, then Big Swell will probably hit you the same way it's hitting me. This is damn good stuff that I made sure to review within several weeks of having acquired it. All 65 IBUs feel like they're present and accounted for.

The beer crashes over the tongue in a wave of alpha acids, but it's far from abusive. The pale (and lightly toasted) malts provide just enough background sweetness and flavor to give the little green cones some contrast. White grapefruit rind is still going strong (classic Centennial) and the rest of the flavor rundown doesn't change much from the description seen above.

The body/mouthfeel easily keeps pace. It's substantial right out of the gate, stays strong along the backstretch and barely eases at the wire. Wonderful carbonation is, no doubt, most of the reason why.

Although all of the Maui canned beers are good, Big Swell IPA is my clear favorite. As a certified hophead, that's probably to be expected. This is a classic example of the style that has no (count 'em... zero) faults. Too bad this single isn't a sixer.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.3/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Grabbed this one out of the fridge to start the weekend at Lunch today. Served in a pint glass cold out of the can, this one was consumed on 12/12/2009.

Nice pour, classic amber color with a nice head of white dropping in on top at a height of around two inches, faded back into a broken crown but left some nice lacing around the edges of the glass. Aroma is sharp, citrus hops all the way, even after warming pineapple and orange are the dominant aromas here for sure. First sip is just what I needed. Sharp citrus bite right off the bat just jumps right out at me, classic. Crisp, clean with a nice buttery malt profile coming through mid palate and a nice sharp, lightly dry finsih and superb drinkability.

Overall a classic west coast IPA with a smooth, crisp, clean finish and solid all around taste. I would be happy to throw down a sixer of this one anyday

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Photo of womencantsail
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer pours a light amber color with a frothy white head which leaves a bit of lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is slightly sweet and malt forward, but not terribly so. Decent citrus notes to it, particularly grapefruit and orange. A mild fruitiness gives the beer a bit more sweetness.

T: A nice fruitiness to the beer with hints of tropical fruits, but mostly it's citrus. There is a bit of pine and a moderate bitterness as well as a light floral quality. Some toasted bread and caramel malt sweetness.

M: Medium in body with a medium carbonation.

O: Not a bad beer, but like a lot of the Maui products, not amazing.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.43/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clearish, dark amber body with a fizzy, off-white head.

Smell: Herbaceous, pine needle-strewn scent with notes of grapefruit segments. Some pale malts as an afterthought.

Taste: Sharply herby, with further hop flavors of pine and citrus. Not too terribly much in the way of malt or sweetness, which exaggerates the medium bitterness. Piney, herbal hints in the bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation. Slightly oily mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Decent enough for an IPA.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz can into a pint glass. Thanks to brentk56 for this in the Secret Halloween '08 BIF.

Pours a hazy golden orange with 2 fingers of foamy off-white head. The retention is fizzy and clumpy, almost looking like bunched up sea foam (which I found appropriate given the name of the beer) that leaves massive, sticky, hop lacing behind. The aroma is a total West Coast bouquet, that is a real pleasure to just sit here and smell. Pine cones, floral hops, spice, and underlying malt sweetness. Very pleasant and well balanced for an IPA.

The taste is solid but isn't blowing me away like the aroma did. It's still a well rounded mix of resinous hops with some tangy and juicy citrus character and silky caramel sweetness. The hops really pop in this but are thankfully held well in check but they do make a return in the finish with a long, ligering bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice creamy carbonation that spreads out well with just a smidge of alcohol being present.

Hoppy and tangy with an extremely smooth drinking nature and easy portability in cans, this is one solid West Coast IPA that would definitley be a hoppy go-to if I had easier access to it.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.62/5  rDev -31.8%
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.


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Photo of russpowell
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up in CO a few days ago...

Pours an effervescent honey color with 2+ fingers of cream colored head. Average head retention & above average lacing

S: Grapefruit, pineapple, honey & faint breadyness

T: Grapefruit & pine with some breadyness & a bit of a grainy edge up front. Some woody hops & caramel sweetness as this warms, plus a touch of apricot. Finishes with citrus hop notes, grainy breadyness & grassy hop notes

MF: Medium bodied, moderate carbonation, good balance

This is very drinkable & I believe is better than the sum of its parts

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

Pours a clouded orange hued amber with a creme head. Nose is all pine and citrus hops. Flavor brings the same with an earthy backbone it seems. A fair amount of malts are present it seems. Feel has a thicker liquid body. Carbonation is full. This is a fairly easy to drink IPA. Thick enough flavor to keep it interesting, but not so ridiculously obnoxious that it puts it in another level.

Thanks to srroos for this one!

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Photo of InspectorBob
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from can into my Duvel tulip with an amber/gold color with about two fingers of foamy head lasting throughout with very nice lacing.

A nice citrus aroma, perhaps grapefruit, mango. Well balanced with malts and hops.

From a can I found this to be a very good and refreshing beer.

Wish I had access to this beer in the east.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.02/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Maui Brewing Big Swell IPA. "Big, hoppy, bold, smooth, and hoppy…did we mention hoppy?" ALC 6.8% by VOL.

Hazy, bright golden hue, Small tight ring of white foam, leaves some lace.

Aroma: pungent and hoppy, plenty of pine and citrus, lemon and orange ahoy! Plenty of bitter, with a hint of sour, and a touch, just a touch, of the sweet. Wonderful complexity.

Taste: Mmmm. Yeah. Boom, there it is. Citrus zest all over the palate, but never too much, not too bitter, not too strong. Hangs on the palate long, slight astringency, but, yeah, smooth, drinkable, and delicious. So nice. Medium-bodied. Tasty tango of bitter and sweet. Downable, indeed, full of hoppitude and hoppiness. Nice stuff.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.16/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this in the recent Secret Bunny BIF - thanks Kevin (mymrnngjckt)! Served in my Surly pint glass.

Biases - I love beer from a can, Lahaina, and baseball (it's Opening Day), so I may be a little manic today.

A - Two fingers of frothy white foam that takes forever to dissipate and leaves tons of soapy lacing. Hazed glowing golden color with a few tiny bubbles. Among the best looking IPAs I've seen (and I've seen a lot).

S - I was worried this might be old as it came all the way from Maui somehow, but after one whiff my fears where quelled. Loads of tangy bitter citrus (lemon, grapefruit) with some pine as well, over top of some light biscuity malt. Very refreshing!

T - The taste is a bit more subdued - lots of pine and floral hoppiness with a hint of lemon zest. There's a fair bit of bread and biscuit maltiness as well. Very balanced - I'm guessing it has a little bit of age on it (1-2 months) - but it's still quite nice. I'd have scored it higher if I'd been told it was an English IPA. Very mild bitterness in the aftertaste.

M - Medium bodied, and very creamy and smooth. I don't think I've ever said this before for an IPA, but it's actually kind of undercarbonated - a little bit syrupy. Lots of residual oily hop resin.

D - This will be my session beer if I ever get back to Hawaii. Just a really solid IPA - nice flavor, feel, aftertaste. I definitely feel warmer after drinking it.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

There seems to be two entries for this beer at two locations that are called the same thing. I'm confused.

Beer served into a tulip from a can! Beer is yellow and hazy forms a big white head of small bubbles and leaves a lot of lacing on the glass. Carbonation is moderate. Looks fine.

Aroma is mildly malty, maybe slightly boozy, and pretty piny hoppy.

Beer is medium to light in body. Not a lot of sweetness to the beer and the hoppiness overall is pretty nice. Its mostly piny throughout the palate and some bitterness at the back. I'd drink it again. Drinkability high.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ryan brought back some cans from Hawaii for the guys. Thanks man!

Big Swell IPA is slightly hazy with a pretty orange hue. There is a decent head with adequate lacing on the glass.The aromas are of fresh pine and hops. This is a very tasty beer and really easy to drink. Big Swell IPA would be a regular beer for me, if only it was available. I definitely recommend it.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.07/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

01/12/08- Purchased at a local grocery store in Princeville, Kauai.

Presentation- 12oz can with no freshness info. Poured into a random hotel room glass.

Appearance- Off amber-dark golden colored pour. Lightly creamy and smaller 1/4 inch head. Leaves nice patches and streaks of lace.

Smell- Very nice bitter and pungent nose. Lots of pine in the nose as well as some bitter unripe grapefruit.

Taste- Fortunately, the taste is just as good as the nose. Thought it was going to be very bitter, but turns out it was...but...with a nice added bonus of some sweet malt background and ripe grapefruit. Lightly toasted malt that is to go with some pine hop flavoring as well.

Mouthfeel- About the right level of carbonation with a short lived, but bitter aftertaste.

Drinkability- Rated it nicely because it was the best beer I had in Hawaii, plus it was generally a very good IPA as well. Brought back a six pack with me.

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Big Swell IPA from Maui Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 382 ratings.