Big Swell IPA | Maui Brewing Co.

very good
391 Reviews
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For Trade:
Big Swell IPABig Swell IPA

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

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
50+ IBU

Added by GClarkage on 01-19-2008

User Reviews
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Reviews: 391 | Ratings: 975
Photo of Eggolas
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The key to the Big Swell IPA was how it paired with the Mahimahi Fish and Chips (Hula Grill - Kaanapali). I like to sprinkle my F & C with malt vinegar and needed a beer to stand up to that without ruining the meal.

Big Swell IPA performed great. The golden brown color was attractive. The citrus smell was pleasant (considering the malt vinegar was coming off the fish and chips) and the extra alcohol finish of the beer cut through the maltiness of the meal.

I especially liked the mouthfeel of the beer as it washed down the mahimahi.

I tried it again a couple of nights later without the malt vinegar on the fish and chips and it worked just as well, which leads me to believe that the beer just works well with fried food.

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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 jackorain
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured a cloudy dark colored straw. Held up to the light, I see a swirling sediment almost like a hefe. Stark white head hung around a little while and fell to a tall collar and splotchy coat.

Caramel malt, biscuit malt and citrus hops up front. Deeper whiffs bring a more complex citrus hop profile with tangerine, grapefruit, and orange rind.

Sweet caramel malt first, which is followed by orange peel with a bit pith as well. The middle brings a moderate amount of bitter grapefruit. The finish is a lingering light to moderate bitterness combined with a syrupy sweetness.

A bit watery with a light body and very light carbonation. Very wetting on the palate.

I could easily drink a few of these but there are better IPAs

Thanks for Reading

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

Appearance: Poured with some nice frothy off white head that dissipated leaving some lacing at the top of my glass. The beer is a yellowish-golden hazy color.

Smell: flowery, citrus, spicy earthy, sweet caramel and a small amount of alcohol.

Taste: Flowery, citrus orange, sweet caramel, small malt, finishing with a small amount of alcohol and bitterness accompanied by the flowery taste.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, smooth tingle on the tongue, leaves mouth slightly alcoholy then turns into a sweet coating.

Overall: Decent drinkability, the alcohol at the end makes it a bit less than perfect. Good hop character, provides flavors that are different from other AIPAs. Strong flowery hop presence which provides a bit more spicy smell/flavor to this beer.

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Photo of schoolboy
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Truth in advertising. The can says, "Big, Hoppy, Bold, SMooth and Hoppy." It's that. The hoppy isn't over the top on the taste (it's huge, just not over rthe top), but the hops aftertaste is one of the strongest and best.

I think I can undoubtably say that this is the best beer I have ever had in a can. It's one of my favorite styles, and they pull it off. I am not sold that this wouldn't taste better in a bottle, but if it were sold that way I'll bet you couldn't tell in a blind taste test.

I think the hops could also disguise more malt. They should try another heavier version.

This wins as my favorite Hawaiian beer. My trip to Hawaii is going to be short, but I will do what I can to drink a bunch of this while I am here. I have a few others to sample, but I am pretty sure none will beat this. That isn't to say that the other HAwaiian beer has been bad. It's not at all bad. If a state as small as Hawaii can brew beer this good, why can't the entire huge country of Mexico produce any decent beer.

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Photo of seanbhudson
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a hazy orange gold color with a huge white rocky head that dissipates slowly. Very long lasting sticky lacing.
Big aroma of sweet citrus, pineapple and floral honeysuckle. Light biscuit like malt.
Surprisingly light taste. Light caramel, citrusy fruit and apricot. There is some light lingering piney hop bitterness.
Light bodied beer with a slightly syrupy texture. Light Fizzy carbonation.
Very light and easy drinking IPA. It smells and looks like an Imperial IPA but tastes like a light pale ale. This would be a nice session beer, especially due to the fact in comes in a can.

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

Very cool extra from Floydster in a trade!

A- Body is a bright, vibrant amber color that has minimal fogginess. Pours with a nice approximately 1 finger slightly off-white head. Head eventually fades to a thick collar and some lacing can be seen down the glass.

S- This has a nice crisp, hoppy nose. Piny hops dominate but there are some citrus hops in the background.

T- Good, classic, West Coast IPA flavor. Lots of hop flavors upfront that are mostly citrus and pine with a slight sweet malty background. The finish is all refreshing piny hop flavor and no bitterness lingers. Pretty clean all the way through.

M- Light body with medium carbonation. Body is a bit lighter than most IPAs but not thin in any way and offers some hop oils.

D- This is one awesome IPA. Its not the biggest, or the hoppiest, or the most complex, but it sure is one of the most enjoyable. Great classic West Coast IPA with nothing crazy going on.

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Photo of tpd975
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a light yellowish orange hue. Head pours big and foamy. Little retention but lots of lace.

S: Very light aroma. Lots of floral. Light Jasmine, with hints of grapefruit and a touch of pine.

T: Rather mild, more malt than hops. Nice sweet caramel malt with notes of biscuits and bread. Light hopping in the finish. Slight citrus with floral notes.

M: Medium to light in body, smooth with good carbonation.

D: Light in flavor, not much hops. Sessionable if that is your style of IPA. It's not mine though.

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Photo of drgonzo3705
4.4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

A: Pours a light copper color with a fluffy white head that recedes to a thin head but leaves nice sticky lacing in its absence.

S: Very citrusy. Grapefruit light pine and a little pineapple. Very pleasant.

T: Just like it smells. It seems to lose a little flavor on the back end though.

M: Light to medium body. Nice and hoppy.

D: I could drink this all day! Very easy drinker here guys give it a shot!

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

Poured from a 12 ounce can fresh from the west coast. The appearance coming from my shaker glass is a hazy golden amber color with about a finger of fluffy off - white foam. Slight lacing is left on the inside of the glass with each sip. Smells of fruity hops such as orange, pineapple, and lemon as well as caramel malts. Tastes mimics the nose with the addition of piney, grassy hops. Medium in both body and carbonation. if this were available here, it would be a staple in my rotation.

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

Poured from a 12 oz can into a New Belgium globe glass.

A: Pours an orangish light copper color.

S: Some light citrus and pale malt.

T: A good IPA. Light citrus in the form of orange. Very well balanced over a nice pale malt. The finish is some slightly spicy hops.

M: Medium bodied, average carbonation.

D: A good IPA, extra points for coming in a can.

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Photo of henrysunset
4.29/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

smell hit me before the taste. a big, sweet floral bouquet attached my nostrils as i poured the very first drop. very nice and inviting. (Amarillo? cascade? not sure.)

look is a little thin, yelloish-orange, light and crystal clear of sediment. head is big and off-white.

flavor is light and moderately sweet. Floral flavors in the aftertaste. A little bisuity/breadiness in the aftertaste too. Damned pleasent and pretty easy to drink.

(If only I can find their CoCoNut Porter in Seattle. We brought this can of IPA back from our trip.)

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Photo of BigBry
3.82/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Mike and Brandee for bringing it back a mixed 6 pack, and for sharing. 12 oz can as pictured above.
Poured a deep golden color, with a thick white head. Long lasting foam, and good looking lacing. Lots of hop smells, piney, grapefruit, even picked up some sweet pineapple aroma. Very solid hop kick, piney, sour citrus, nice fruity bitterness to finish. Lots of flavor, but still within balance. Good body and texture, appropriate carbonation. We all agreed that this was a very nice suprise, a very good IPA. Add another can to my collection.

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Photo of PeprSprYoFace
3.89/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an orange-copper color with a small head that provided decent lacing down the glass.

Smells of sweet citrusy hops. The Maori sweetnes comes through. A little more hop aroma would be nice.

Taste is kind of sweet but with a hoppy kick. Pretty good if you ask me. Wish there was a little more hop flavour.

Mouthfeel is kind of thin to me. A little watery in the end.

Drinkability is good because it is easy drinking. I will have this again.

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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 jpalarchio
4.19/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought a sampler pack from the brewery and brought it back home. Didn't have time to try this one on draft.

Yep, it's in a can. I can't remember the last time I popped a can open. I've heard some small breweries are going in this direction, this is my first experience.

Even from the small opening of the can, the hoppy smell is strong; pretty much exactly the strength that I like in an IPA.

Pours a bit cloudy, almost a neon-orange color.

Taste is excellent. I was concerned how this beer would travel the long flight back, especially given an overnight delay that we had.

I have to say this is one fine beer, I'd be open to consuming many more if it were available locally. The can format would be nice for snowboarding, very easy to carry in a backpack. Can't say I would know it came from a can.

Good job Maui Brewing Co., a quality beer that you have here.

Oddly enough, while on Maui it was really a hunt to find any decent beer. About half-way through our trip I was finally able to locate some Rogue beers. Not sure why the local brewery isn't more readily available, distribution seemed to be small.

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Photo of RodBurg
4.38/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a sweet looking can with a date of 082508 on the bottom. I'm a little leery being that I bought the six pack from BevMo and its been sitting at a warm room temperature since August. Looks magnificent in the glass. A beautiful, hazy, deep golden color with a thick white head and excellent lacing. Just looking at the pint glass is making my mouth water.

Tons of pine in the nose. Grapefruit, tropical flowers, orange peel, with a hint of fresh baked bread.

A tidal wave of hops hits the palate first. Very piney with tart and sour citrus notes. Papaya and spearmint enter the mix and its ends with lightly bitter hop notes and a bread dough aftertaste.

This one was a huge surprise. Probably one the best IPA's I've ever had. Excellent flavor and balance and very refreshing. And its in cans! I know what I'm taking to the beach this summer.

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Can. Pours a cloudy orange with a thick, foamy white head. Aroma of bitter hops, light citrus, and slight floral hops. Flavor is weaker, with a sweet finish, some citrus, and grassy hops. Nice and very drinkable. Slightly high carbonation. Aroma was better than the flavor, but still a good one to try.
7/4/7/4/14 (3.6/5)

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

A - Pours a medium orange with yellow highlights. Thin white head retains well but lacks dimension. Some lacing appears.

S - Blend of mango, pineapple, and orange peel. Seems appropriate for a beer brewed in Hawaii. Hard to detect the malt presence.

T - Moderately bitter, mango and fruit loops, nice dry finish, clean malt and fermentation character.

M - Medium. Moderate-high carbonation. Smooth.

D - Quite high. Could put back a few cans or more without much trouble. Good balance, pleasingly dry finish.

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

Poured from a can that was sent back from a friend vacationing in Maui into a small tasting glass.

A: A medium to dark copper color with a nice off whited thick head. I couldn't really get much lacing in the tasting glass.

S: Nice hops on the nose with citrus and a floral aroma. Sweetness is mixed in also.

T: Hops are pretty forward with flavors of citrus fruits, some light floral flavors and a bit of deeper pine. A real caramel maltiness holds an equal balance to the hops mid way through and the finish his bitter. Very nice balanced IPA.

M: A bit thin, but crisp. No alcohol detected.

D: Medium to high. This is an easy drinking IPA.

Overall a very good beer from a small brewery in Hawaii, who would have thought? If I ever visit Maui I would gladly drink these all day long. Nice.

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

Can courtesy of a traveling colleague. It's strange being a fan of craft year and being aware of the stigma beer has compared to let's say wine. However, even knowing how off-base the bias is, I tend to apply a similar stigma to canned beer. This beer went a long way in breaking that stigma. Anyway, the beer pours a mostly clear dark amber-orange color with a thich and foamy light beige head that diminishes slowly. Small patches of lacing on the glass. Hoppy aroma with notes of citrus and malt. Medium-bodied with flavors of grapefruit, hops, toffee and malt. The finish is dry with a grassy hops aftertaste that lingers awhile. Solidly above average all around.

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Photo of badbeer
4/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

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Photo of magictrokini
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

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

Picked up while out in SoCal earlier this month.

Pours a nice gold color with amber highlights. Two fingers of foamy eggshell colored head has good retention, leaving nice sticky lacing and some foamy clumps on top of the beer. Smells like a West Coast hop lovers dream, citrus fruits like oranges, pineapple, grapefruit, and mango mixed with some spices, honey, grain, and pine resin. Tastes of sweet citrus fruits like pineapple, oranges, mango, and a touch of grapefruit with some light biscuit and caramel. Finishes with a good amount of resiny pine notes. A little bit weaker than a sniff or two envision, but still very good. Medium in body with nice carbonation. Sweet with a touch of spice and a nice lingering bitter finish. A great canned IPA that I'd definitely take with me if I was camping or hanging out poolside or on the beach, and it wouldn't be too shabby to drink just sitting around the house either.

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Big Swell IPA from Maui Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 391 ratings.