Dismiss Notice
Microbrew Invitational
Join us June 3 + 4 in Boston and help us drink 300+ beers, ciders, kombuchas, meads, sakes and more!

TICKETS: beeradvocate.com/micro/

Big Swell IPA | Maui Brewing Co.

very good
392 Reviews
Read the review
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
firstprev| 326-350 | 351-375 | 376-400  | next → last
Reviews: 392 | Ratings: 980
Photo of mcallister
4/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

 752 characters

Photo of harkjohnny
3.45/5  rDev -10.2%
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.

 589 characters

Photo of 1759Girl
4.19/5  rDev +9.1%
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:)

 351 characters

Photo of jletts
3.43/5  rDev -10.7%
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.

 373 characters

Photo of ghostwalker
4.02/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

 613 characters

Photo of jbsteiny
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
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!

 1,233 characters

Photo of weeare138
4/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

 588 characters

Photo of ericj551
4.39/5  rDev +14.3%
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.

 596 characters

Photo of MiScusi
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

 955 characters

Photo of Bierguy5
3.8/5  rDev -1%
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.

 462 characters

Photo of domtronzero
2.8/5  rDev -27.1%
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.

 514 characters

Photo of rallison
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

 333 characters

Photo of arizcards
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
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!

 554 characters

Photo of rayjay
4/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

 1,047 characters

Photo of markaberrant
3.67/5  rDev -4.4%
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!

 788 characters

Photo of Noxious26
3.47/5  rDev -9.6%
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.

 1,130 characters

Photo of drseamus
3.67/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

 426 characters

firstprev| 326-350 | 351-375 | 376-400  | next → last
Big Swell IPA from Maui Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 392 ratings.