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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

375 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 375
Hads: 905
Avg: 3.85
pDev: 10.65%
Wants: 29
Gots: 105 | 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: 375 | Hads: 905
Photo of turbine2475
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to BrewBakerE for the chance to try this beer:

A - Murky honey color with a dense 2-finger white head which dissipated slowly leaving a spotty lace.

S - Lots of pine and some sweet citrus hops. Toffee and brown suger are also present.

T - Lighter hop punch then the scent implied, but still good. Balanced pine and citrus hops with a caramel malt backbone.

M - Murky with a low carbonation and a lingering sour.

D - Good beer. Not a hugely hoppy IPA, but a nice canned option when portability is a must.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.09/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz can brought back to Boise from coworker and fellow Newsie Michelle E. I hoped Michelle would honor my requests for Maui goodness.. she more than accepted the challenge. Tonight, I am enjoying the Big Swell from my New Belgium snifter.

Brew is a very pretty albeit slightly hazy orange... pillowy 2 finger head drops fast .. but some spotty lacing is left behind.

Aroma is way better than I expected.. American hops abound.. citrus and pine way out front of toasted bready and caramel malts.

Flavor is piney with an oily hoppiness only expected out of the big IPA's.. Lime leaves and biscuity malts melt away to a long citrusy finish. Body is perfect for a very drinkable IPA.. Very smooth and enjoyable across the board.. I forgot a long time ago that this brew came from a can... Long Live the Canning Revolution!!

Michelle E. has a treat or two or three coming to her before we leave work on Thursday.. Again, she is a BA and she just doesn't know it yet.

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Photo of tayner
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz can poured into my 18 oz SanTan glass.

Poured a dark golden color with a white frothy head that settled to a nice thin skimming across the top that lasted the whole pint and laced decently.

Floral nose up front with some lingering pine-y hop scents. There is a sweet background as well.

Pine-y hops hit you right up front quickly followed by some grapefruit flavors that last throught the swallow. They are not over the top although they are dominate. They are, however, well balanced with a strong malt profile which gives the beer a fairly heavy feel.

Mouthfeel is full and heavy without being think. There is nothing watered down about this beer from a can! there is enough carbonation, however, to make it finish pretty dry after an oily, heavy, hop filled front.

This one would be pretty easy to take to the river, lake, beach (if i had one in AZ) and would be quite enjoyable. I would imagine, as well, that if anyone in the group was a bud drinker they would take to this as it has the same basic profile (IMO) only kicked up many notches. Bravo to Maui Brewing for making a good IPA in a can, and finally bringing it to the mainland.. now, if Bevmo would just get it to Arizona...

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Photo of Dukeofearl
3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Review from a 6 pack of cans from BevMo in Mira Loma, CA in April 2008, although I enjoyed this one back at the brewery on Maui in 2006. I think the 6-pack was $10.99. Just finding it took me back to my last Hawaii trip....

Pours a clear, clean orange-golden with a nice creamy head that sticks around as a decent cover throughout. Aroma is a nice mix of sour orange citrus fruitiness and a bit of sharp bitter hops.

Flavor follows through- a very nice, easy drinking IPA that has fruit and the more herbal/piney/oily hop mix that is quite nice, and a malt backbone that keeps it in decent balance.

One of my preferred IPAs, easy drinking- not necessarily an "out there" hop bomb IPA, but quite enjoyable. Recommended.

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Photo of Jedimaster1
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have to agree with everything that Jbsteiny said below. Though it may not be as great as the Castaway IPA offered by Kona -- which is my favorite all-time brew -- it is an excellent offering when you don't have access to getting Kona's signature brew (in my opinion at least) at home far from the island I love.

Maui Brewing Company's stuff is becoming a staple of craft brewing, and now that I have access to it out here on the mainland, it makes it all the better. It makes me long for the island life I miss so dearly.

Anyway, on to the review...

A: Nice slightly cloudy golden copper with a slight head that stays for the duration of the drinking.

S: Citrus and hops, with a tinge of malt.

T: Not as hoppy as say the Castaway IPA, but enough to smoothly balance the malt. Very citrus in taste. Grapefruit, passion fruit(?) as well, can be detected as it sits in the mouth. Very refreshing feel to it!

M: Did I mention quite refreshing!

D: Very easy to drink. A very sessionable beer! Makes me remember those hot warm summer days lying on the sands of Kailua. Man, I wish I was back there drinking this, lol.

Good stuff from Maui. Just keep it on the hush, hush or I will have a hard time finding this one on the mainland. ;)

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Photo of GbVDave
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz can into a 20oz imperial pint. Thanks to Bernie and Linda for bringing this back from Hawaii for me!

A: Very nice looking hazy, amber-honey colored body that is capped by a creamy, three-finger, off-white head with decent retention. Chunky, spotty, and pebble-y lace.

S: Assertive whack of hops. Grapefruit and pine. Toasted malt also emerges along with a slightly sweet (tropical?) fruit aroma.

T: Very hoppy. Just like the smell, this one is bursting with grapefruit and piney hop flavors. Toasted malt lends some good toasty dryness to the juicy hops.

M: Bitter, dry, juicy, and oily. Very sticky. The astringent bitterness is balanced, nicely, by the juicy fruitiness mentioned above. The finish (equal parts: pine, grapefruit, and biscuits) sticks to everything in the mouth.

D: I could drink this all day long...seriously. Very balanced and satisfying.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
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 GClarkage
4.07/5  rDev +5.7%
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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Photo of mcallister
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to BA bierguy5 for this opportunity.

A good juicy looking IPA. Unfiltered look with a large fluffy pillow of a head that leaves huge splotches of lace when it finally fades. Head retention is nearly forever.

Juicy grapefruit with some tropical fruits infest the aromatics. With a nice layer of caramel and bready grains beneath. That finally leads you to a hint of resiny pine riddled bitter esters.

Fresh tasty and drinkable with a great mouthfeel. Good carbonation with a prickly tongue tantalizing middle. Very nice balance between malt, hop, and bittering hop. More piney and floral in the mouth with hints of citrus lying in the background. Caramel and biscuit round out the middle. I'd love to drink this all day on an Hawaiian beach.

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Photo of harkjohnny
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thanks to my buddy from the island of kauai for bringing home a sampler six-pack. poured from their nice looking 12oz can a bit cloudy light-copper with great head retention and decent lacing. aroma is smack full of citrusy grapefruit at first, then some earthy pine begins to poke through. taste is not over the top 'american ipa' like some but rather laid back and smoothly bitter. medium chewy malt serves as a good base and the citrus-grapefruit hops show up again at the back. Alcohol is perceivable after a few sips. Overall easy drinking and more like a strong pale ale than an IPA.

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Photo of 1759Girl
4.19/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Cloudy, dark amber colour. Very little head, no lacing.
Smell: Delicious mix of hops aroma and the scent of burnt sugar.
Taste: True to its roots as an American IPA, but with a slight sweetness to the start. Full hoppy flavor with a clean finish.
Mouthfeel: medium bodied.
Drinkability: Not my favorite IPA but I could drink a bit of it:)

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Photo of jletts
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark amber with a thin off-white head and decent lacing

Nose: green fresh hops, medium roast malt

Taste: Some good fresh hops, caramel, leather, more fresh green hops

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, nice and substantial, typical for an IPA

Notes: from a can but sure doesn’t taste like it. Taste was reminiscent of a typical NW fresh hop ale, but not as complex.

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Photo of ghostwalker
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at the Liquor Collection in Honolulu, HI. Six cans in a nice cardboard box, nifty packaging.

Cloudy, orange-amber body, thick white fluffy head, decent lacing.

Nose is sweet grapefruit. Very nice!

Flavor is creamy sweet malt with a tart, tongue-lashing citrus blast. Very nice balance, reminiscent of Masala Mama. A welcome treat in a can.

Mouthfeel is medium to thin, with a creaminess and a little tooth stripping quality, but only a little.

Drinkability is very, very high. This is a easy sipper that goes down very nicely. Satisfies my hop fix, while still being thirst-quenching. A rare combo.

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Photo of jbsteiny
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from the can into a water glass -- cloudy orange-amber with a huge head. Wow! The head is a light creamsicle color, and it leaves impressive lacing. Smells strongly of fresh floral and citrus hops -- it really smells like you're sticking your nose into some highly-hopped fresh wort -- with the malt body weakly present -- a hint of caramel behind all of those hops. The beer is better balanced on the palate, but somehow I'm disappointed (I think my taste buds thought that this was going to taste more like it smelled). Moderate diacetyl gives some butterscotch characteristics alongside all of the hop flavors (orange, floral, pine). Very drinkable for the ABV. A soapy finish leaves me on the fence.

For presentation and aromas, this is clearly one of Hawaii's best beers. For taste and mouthfeel, it lags behind Kona's Castaway IPA. However, as Maui is the only brewery in the state that packages its own beers (Kona, Mehana, & Keoki all contract to the mainland because of taxes on shipping empty bottles), this is the only local IPA that I can have at home, so I guess I'm stuck paying $12 a sixer at Liquor Collection until Maui can sufficiently step up production to supply Safeway. Viva la Microcanning Revolucion!

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Photo of weeare138
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to dickinsonbeer for bringing this to the pre-Kennett party at egajdzis' place the night before the fest...
Appears a hazy orange with a white head of fluff that slowly fades into a mild film. Spotty lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of heavy citrus, pine, herbs, and earthiness. Not bad from a can!
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with some light caramel found swirling around this hoppy goodness from Hawaii.
Mouthfeel is yesty, medium bodied, with herbal bitterness battling out some sweetness that eventually fades into a pine resin, bitter finish.
Pretty good stuff.

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Photo of ericj551
4.39/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big Swell IPA pouts a very cloudy copper orange with a nice creamy head. I didn't realize it was bottle conditioned and I could have poured it more gently, but a little yeast never hurt anyone. The aroma is tons of citrusy hops, mostly orange with some grapefruit. There is a hint of pine and a lot of malt sweetness. The flavor is dominated by hops with more notes of citrus but not overly bitter. The bitterness is well balanced by a good malty sweetness. I would love to make this a regular beer, but considering it is over 5000 miles away, I doubt I'll be seeing too much of it in the future.

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Photo of MiScusi
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a can into a stone levitation tulip. I poured the whole thing and though I knew it is a live ale I didn't think there would be that much yeast. Well there is. Th head is a very big, sticky, rocky, and airy. Some lacing around the top of the glass is left. The smell is a bright combination of floral and citrus, reminding me most of the Ballast Point Big Eye IPA. I'm thinking centennial hops were used quite a bit in this. The taste is really balanced but still assertive as an IPA should be. The malt (and yeast in this case) hit you up front but the hops balance it enough to keep it from being sweet. It has a very apparent lightly caramelized malt taste to it, almost more toasty than sweet. The hops become a little floral and leave hardly a bitterness. The mouthfeel is very good, maybe due to the added body and smoothness from the yeast. A nice IPA overall. A hophead might be disappointed but this is a very drinkable and lively IPA.

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Photo of Bierguy5
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. can. Yes, can! Cloudy, shades of dark copper to amber. Foamy off-white head. Decent retention, but some great sheets of lace.

Citusy aroma, grapefruit comes to mind. Maybe floral or piney in the background. Good nose.

Nice rich malty character, a good blast of citrusy hops. Leans toward bitter, but still approachable and restrained.

Finishes dry. Good body and carbonation. Pretty nice. Tame, but not as tame as others I sampled while on the island.

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Photo of domtronzero
2.8/5  rDev -27.3%
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.

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Photo of rallison
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at the San Diego County Fair.

Somewhat piny IPA. Mellow hops. Semi-malty. Good level of carbonation. Overall, a relatively straightforward, simple IPA. Doesn't bother trying anything new - just works as a basic, intro sort of IPA. Altogether a decent, if not forgettable, IPA.

Semi-recommended - good, just forgettable.

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Photo of arizcards
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A friend of mine went to Hawaii at the end of March and brought back a couple of cans for me.

Beer poured a cloudy orange with a very well sustaining head. Nose is what an west coast IPA should be, plenty of hops with plenty of citrus aroma. Taste is very similar to the nose, lots of citrusy hop action with a little bit of malt that blends in lightly in the background. Mouthfeel is lighter than most IPA's and is fairly smooth when crossing the palate. Drinkability is good. If Da Boss and I ever get to Hawaii I will be sure to seek this brew out!

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

From the can, from the brewery, to a pint glass. Brewed 2 weeks ago and brought back on the plane.

A slightly hazy orange-amber ale with good head retention. Someone noted it was can-conditioned but I highly doubt it.

Citrus hops on the nose, and lots of them. Medium in the malt department, with some carmels but mostly pale malts.

Pleasantly, but prominantly bitter, with a big dose of hops, reminiscant of tropical fruits. Malts make a presence, but don't get in the way too much, in a SNPA kind of way.

The body is a little bigger than I'd want it to be if I was drinking on a hot beach, but it does me just fine in the living room. I can tell it's got some alcohol in it, but not because I taste it, but rather because I recognize the malts must have made it that way.

Overall a good IPA, pretty average and American styled, nothing out of the ordinary. It's definately good to get a proper IPA is a far-removed place like Maui, so cheers to that! No more excuses for Pacifico in paradise, Maui Brewing all the way! No ka oi.

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Photo of markaberrant
3.67/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - I'm assuming this is a bottle conditioned can because I've got floaties. Never would have guessed that... It was a brilliant orange, now hazy. Small white heads forms and quickly drops before my first sip. No lacing.

S - Nice and hoppy. Bitter grapefruit and some sweetness too.

T - Firm hop bitterness, with just enough basic malt to carry it through. The aftertaste could be a little drier (seems a touch flat), it doesn't quite match the bitterness. Nothing fancy here, but solid nonetheless.

M - I'm finding this to be very creamy and smooth, a nice match to the bitter hops.

D - I would definitely drink this again, but there is other IPAs I prefer.

I like this beer, but nothing really jumps out at you. A straight forward IPA.

Thanks to Noxious26 for the can!

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Photo of Noxious26
3.47/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz can poured in a Maui Brewing Co pint glass. The cans have an interesting explanation as to why they're using cans. "Welcome to the Microcanning Revolution..." You go Maui Brewing Co.!

Hazy, orange-copper in colour. Light beige head is 1/4 inch on the pour. Recedes to a thin ring around the outside.

Nose is sweet, citrus and fruity. Sweet pink grapefruit, caramel, citrus rind, pine and malt. Enticing.

A big blast of hops right off the start. PNW hops (citrus and grapefruit mostly) assault your taste buds immediately. Taste stays true through the end with a moderately bitter finish. Aftertaste is like sucking on a grapefruit peel. Very bitter, astringent and long lasting. If you're a hophead, this is a beer for you.

Mouthfeel is a little thin for the style, light-medium bodied with mild carbonation. Seems to leave a bit of an oily residue coating in the mouth in between sips.

This is a pretty good American IPA. True to the style it's hop heavy with malts playing a background role. Personally, the big hop bite drops the drinkability slightly, but I feel that about almost every American IPA I try.

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Photo of drseamus
3.67/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had this beer on tap at the brewery while I was on vacation there. As a disclaimer, I'm not a huge IPA fan. This beer is light amber in color with a big hop aroma. It has a huge hop flavor, even for an IPA, but is not overly bitter as many IPAs are. The hop flavor is so strong, it almost feels like I am chewing hop flowers. The body is fairly light and the drinkability is decent but would be higher if I liked IPAs a lot.

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Big Swell IPA from Maui Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 375 ratings.