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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

373 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 373
Hads: 895
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 9.02%
Wants: 29
Gots: 99 | 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
Reviews: 373 | Hads: 895
Photo of BeerAndBourbon
3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A. Pours a clear orange with a one finger off white creamy head that leaves tons of residual lacing around the glass.

S. Like a pine tree in Hawaii. Pine/grass hops with some tropical fruits - pineapple, mango.

T. Grapefruit dominates upfront with some sweet caramel malt to balance on the tail. As it warms the grapefruit backs off a bit and some pineapple and mango bitterness with some malt sweetness come in to play.

M. Medium body with a medium to high carbonation.

D. Quite drinkable. An interesting balance for an IPA. It seems that the bitterness tends to dominate when it's colder, but as it warms the sweetness comes in more and more. I really liked this initially and then enjoyed the subtle sweetness. As it warmed and the sweetness grew, it became more and more difficult to enjoy. I still enjoyed this brew, but I'd recommend drinking it a bit on the colder side. (881 characters)

Photo of Bfarr
4.42/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy orange amber with big tan frothy head with great retention although it ended with clumpy lacing and peaks and valleys. Effervescent sweet citrus and grassy aromas. Nicely balanced yet bold, bright flavor following the nose with the grassy bits being in the end and caramel citrus taste up front. Creamy yet very bubbly mouthfeel.

Something about the aroma in this one is good although not strong or complex it's extremely clear and bright. Citrus flavors are sweet like orange and tangerine with just a splash of grapefruit. There is a nice hop linger but it's not overdone. Really well done simple IPA that is a joy to drink all the way around. (653 characters)

Photo of Onenote81
3.79/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received a 6-pack of this from the great trader, scottfrie. Thanks, Scott!

Can poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark orange with a thick bone-white head on top. Excellent retention; leaves some sticky globs of lace behind. The nose is underwhelming to say the least. Light citrus tones waft out, but nothing is standing out. Not as hoppy as I'd like.

Good smooth mouthfeel with a crisp finish. Carbonation level is good. I've noticed sometimes that beer poured from a can loses some depth in the mouth, but not this one. Retains a nice firm feel. Great bitter hops right off the bat. A sweet kick in the middle with mango and orange flavors. Finish is slightly bittering as well. The flavors don't take a back seat to the bitterness though, great citrusy sweetness that I really dig. I'm glad I got a sixer of this. Great beer. (831 characters)

Photo of xnicknj
3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz can poured into pint glass - thanks to mrmiles for this during the nice cans II BIF

A - Pours a orange-yellow with a thick, bubbly head about two fingers high. Retains nicely with plenty of ringed lacing while drinking.

S - Some grassy hops with hints of tropical fruit and slightly sweet malts.

T - Plenty of juicy, fruity hops in the beginning with notes of citrus zest and apricot. Sweetness creeps in along with some toasted biscuit hints. The malt backbone is lighter but defined, as the beer finishes hoppy with some lingering dryness.

M - Lighter medium body, easy on the carbonation, some creamier tendencies for the style.

D - Quality flavor, little alcohol presence, not overpowering.

A nice IPA in a can for sure, although the nose was pretty subdued. (778 characters)

Photo of devilben02
3.47/5  rDev -10.6%
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. (1,195 characters)

Photo of cokes
4.15/5  rDev +7%
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. (823 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 alleykatking
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz can. Review from notes...

A- Pours a hazy orange yellow color. One finger white head shows medium retention. Streaky lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- Citrus hops mostly grapefruit and tangerine forward cover the entire aroma. There is some light bready malts that poke their head out from time to time. Piney earthy hops toward the backend but even these are faded when matched up with the citrus hops.

T- Light citrus hop bite in the front. Expected a little more bite from the aroma. Sweet caramel malts shine in the middle adding to the overall sweetness of the beer. Bitter piney hops on the backend help to almost balance this beer out. A little faded in the backend I thought..nothing over the top but a decent IPA.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation was good for the style. Light citrus hops with caramel malts left on the palate. Some malts and piney hops left long into the aftertaste. Clean flavors overall with everything blended together fairly well. Alcohol drying on the palate.

D- A good easy drinking IPA. Almost balanced but the sweetness helps this from making it so. I've had this beer a couple of times now and tend to enjoy it and maybe one day I'll trade for a six pack of it! (1,224 characters)

Photo of tdawgydog
3.47/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Really just an avg. IPA. I'm coming off drinking a lot of Russian River so there could be part of a letdown from that...

A - Very clear golden Yellow. Looks almost like an American lager.

S - Something sweet in the nose, not so Hoppy as the can mentions... Can't quite place it but he hops do not really stand out in this IPA

T - Tastes almost like a Belgian IPA almost, def a little different than your typical IPA, maybe it's the Hawaiian water??

D - Sweet, not bad. Goes down smooth.

M - A little thin, lacking body almost. Good stuff but wouldn't be at the top of my IPA list. (585 characters)

Photo of geryeb624
3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. can obtained in a trade with Kala1073. Poured into a standard pint glass.

A- Pours a very nice light orange-amber with several fingers of creamy white head.

S- Pine and floral-scented hop aromas with some citrus and some malt backbone.

T- A very nice balance of hops and malt. Hops come through as floral and piney, but not too bitter. A bit of malt balances the finish, which is crisp and a bit dry.

M- Clean and smooth with some nice carbonation.

D- Very high, a well-balanced, sessionable ale.

Another quality offering from the guys in Maui. I'm quite impressed with their line-up. (597 characters)

Photo of kbutler1
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can. Canned 030410. First had this in Hawaii last year and finally grabbed some cans recently in a trade. Pours a nice slightly hazy orange honey color with a 1 finger head that slowly sinks to about 1/8 of an inch. Already lacing. Swirl and sniff results in a nosefull of citrus hops along with a subtle sweetness. Very balanced with a nice bitter kick at the end. Canned alomst 4 months ago may have taken a bit out of the hops up front. This takes me back to sitting on the beach! Very good. Medium mouthfeel. (512 characters)

Photo of scottfrie
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz can into pint glass.

A: Light orangey amber with a two finger white head that reduced down into a film leaving decent lacing.
S: Sweet smell for an IPA. Very sugary sweet like candy or sugar cane. Fairly hoppy; citrusy rather than piney with tangerine notes.
T: Exotic fruits. Tangerine, guava, papaya. Very sweet. Hops come in near the end with a bit of bitterness but the beer still finishes sweet. Lots of citrus sugar like ripened sweet fruits.
M: Perfect carbonation. Not too bubbly, nice, smooth and tingly.
D: To sweet to be my favorite IPA, but the beers got a good sweet fruit juice taste. Not nearly as hoppy as they claim though. I might buy this again if I find it for cheap. (695 characters)

Photo of berley31
4.47/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured with a moderate-sized, white, creamy head that lasted for a little while before fading to 1/2-finger. Body is a dark golden color, and hazy.

S: Awesome strong hop aroma... some pine, but very high in citrus (especially grapefruit).

T: Very smooth. Some light malt flavor that is fortunately dominated by the citrus hop flavor, which is quite prominent and delicious. Medium bitterness in the finish, so no overpowering bitter bite here.

M: Medium-light body, with medium-high carbonation.

D: An excellent American IPA, one of the best I've had... a beer I drank many times during a trip to Maui, and one I would continuously have on hand if it was available to me. (678 characters)

Photo of Kala1073
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Here in Hawaii, we are limited when it comes to good IPAs. Thank god for Maui Brewings big swell! Hints of piny hops, mixed in with some tropical fruits, with a slight maly backbone is the characteristics of this beer. I wish it were a little more balanced , but it is only a minor complaint. This is my go to beer right now during this hot Hawaiian summer! (357 characters)

Photo of barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a light golden color with good carbonation and a nice white head

S: Citrus, perhaps some tropical fruits

T: A good tasty IPA, plenty of lighter citrus and tropical fruit and some caramel

M: Nice, refreshing with a subtle hop bite

D: Nice and drinkable (265 characters)

Photo of tr4nc3d
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12fl oz can poured into my pint glass

The pour produced a light golden to slightly light orange color with a huge four inch frothy slightly off-white head. Great head retention that seemed to never want to die down. As it finally did it left bits amount of lacing clinging to the sides of my glass.

The aroma on this one was of slight citrus flavors of tangerines and grapefruit. Floral aromatics of pine and herbal earth like smells followed with a bit of malts.

Taste upfront was of citrus grapefruit and tangerines with a pine bitterness that is slightly high. Slight herbal characteristics show up with a touch of malts in the finish.

Medium bodied with slightly high carbonation.

This IPA is a little on the bitter side but pretty good and something I recommend to try. (780 characters)

Photo of david131
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- An ever so slightly hazy light orange liquid with a thick and creamy white head that has some great retention.

S- Citrus rind and a bit of fruitiness. A little simple, but appealing.

T- Citrus and fruit with a bit of bread. Oily and bitter.

M- Very creamy mouthfeel with a strong lasting dryness from the hops.

D- A bitter creamy treat. Has enough flavor to back up the bitterness. I suppose this is about as west coast as it gets (har har har). (453 characters)

Photo of Augustiner719
4.21/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12Oz can into a tulip glass.

Pours a really nice bright orange color with slight hop haze and a mass ice off white head that leaves nice lacing. Aroma is really sweet and hoppy with nice piney aromas and a good amount of caramel like malt coming through. Has a nice tropical fruitiness to it also. Really sweet finish but has some nice bitter hops to balance out. Not as bitter as most ipas but really good. The mouthfeel is decent as it's under carbonated but has a silky texture I don't find in many ipas. The drinkability's high also because it's really smooth and tasty. Has a great complexity that makes each sip interesting. (645 characters)

Photo of u2carew
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz can!
A) Pours with a finger thick head - wispy, white. Lacing is thin and sticky. Clear body. Bronze in color.
S) Grapefruit. Piney notes.
T) Sharp grapefruit and mixed with mellow caramel malt up front, then mellows considerably by the finish leaving just a mild hop bite that sweet like a peach.
M) Smooth. Medium body on the lighter side. Finishes dry.
D) A great American IPA. I would recommend to others - for sure. (428 characters)

Photo of flagmantho
3.92/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz can into a pint glass.

Appearance: light yellow-orange with a bit of a haze to it and a finger of fluffy ivory head. Not too bad.

Smell: big, funky, almost piney hop aroma. The malt doesn't stand a chance to get through it. Pretty good if you like the funk.

Taste: hops are a little more laid back. Still funky at the front, but with a rich citrus flavor throughout. Additionally, a sweet malt balances out the hops pretty well. Quite tasty indeed.

Mouthfeel: medium body with the beginnings of a bit of a syrupy consistency. Carbonation is moderate, as is the overall mouthfeel.

Drinkability: quite tasty and refreshing. If I could find this around more often, I would drink it more often. (712 characters)

Photo of donniecuffs
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Into a pint glass, it poured golden-amber with three fingers of white, good retention, and great lacing. Modest visible carbonation. The smell was pine, pine, and more pine, with grapefruit and herbal hop bitterness. The flavor however revealed more apple, malt, and orange peel, with a dry peel finish and dry bitter aftertaste which hits you fairly suddenly. A little more balance in the flavor progression would be nice. The feel was a little on the thin side, with nearly no carbonation. Nonetheless, this was still a tasty ipa which certainly could be sessioned. (567 characters)

Photo of philbertk
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Maui Brewing Company--Big Swell IPA--Big, Hoppy, Bold, Smooth And Hoppy--Did We Mention HOPPY?--2010 12 oz. MicroCan. 6.20% ABV. 65 IBU's. (3.5 / 5.0) Mild lace light white head. Clear thin light bright gold color. Floral mild aromatic hop front. Mild sweet light caramel pine hop resin medium rich IPA body. Earthy burpy hop spice smooth clean end. Thin bodied tasty hoppy easy IPA. Sampled 7/23/2010. 6-Pack $11.99. (417 characters)

Photo of TheHungryHiker
4.43/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A= Burnt orange body with a off-white, two fingered head. The head faded quickly, leaving a ring of lacing around the glass.

S= Pine, citrus, herbs.

T= Resinous pine and a touch of lemon and orange peel. There is a hint of balancing sweetness that offsets the hops, which are present, but not overwhelming.

M/D= At once, smooth, bitter, slightly sweet, more complex than I expected. Overall, a well-balanced IPA and excellent choice for anyone that is trying an IPA for the first time, or looking for a session IPA. (519 characters)

Photo of dgilks
3.38/5  rDev -12.9%
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. (478 characters)

Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer in a can!!! Yeee HAW!! Actually, damn good beer in a can, who'd'a thunk it? Head pours nice and creamy, settles quickly down but leaves good lace. Color is a nice amber with a slight haze. Smell is big on the hops, and even has some sweet malt in there. Good stuff. Flavor is big and hoppy, with a good malt backbone. Almost DIPA like, but just shy. Pretty well balanced actually. This is a pleasant surprise all the way 'round. Even some sweet and citrusy notes on the palate. Finish is long and slightly bitter in a good way. Great beer and well priced at $10/6-er. Find and drink, mis amigos!!! (602 characters)

Big Swell IPA from Maui Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 373 ratings.