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Big Swell IPA - Maui Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Big Swell IPABig Swell IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

608 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 608
Reviews: 227
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 30
Gots: 51 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Maui Brewing Co. visit their website
Hawaii, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  6.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
50+ IBU

(Beer added by: GClarkage on 01-19-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 608 | Reviews: 227 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of pwoody11
4/5  rDev +5.8%

pwoody11, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of Another6Pack
5/5  rDev +32.3%

Another6Pack, Nov 22, 2011
Photo of MAB
4.22/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A super brew; thanks to Scott for bringing me one!

Lovely orange-y gold colour. Tight white head.
Hop aroma is big and bold.
Taste is almost all hops, but this is a good thing. Fabulous flavour.
Carbonation iis just right. Mouthfeel is great.
This adds up to a high score, for an excellent IPA.

MAB, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev +5.8%

oline73, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of moserine
4/5  rDev +5.8%

moserine, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of BrooBub
4/5  rDev +5.8%

BrooBub, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of bpfrush
4/5  rDev +5.8%

bpfrush, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of biglobo8971
4.53/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Absolutely floored. A fantastic beer. Poured from can into tulip. Right off the bat, this beer poured perfect. Nice 1 inch head, great amber orange color, great lacing. The smell is fantastic, just a hint of sweetness surrounded by hops. The taste is perfect, just the right amount of sticky citrus fruit sweetness paired with great hop balance. Never had such a well balanced beer. Was not expecting what I got, but boy amd I glad I did. Will now seek this beer out many times over.

biglobo8971, Nov 12, 2011
Photo of kaseydad
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Another can IPA. I like where this industry is going. Pours an apricot colored ale with a light frothy head and minor stickiness on the glass. Nothing earth shattering. I'm getting a lot of malt in the aroma. Some juicy fruits like apricot and tangerine in the mix but it reverts back to muy maltiness. The taste is good..not great. Again a lot of malt seems to be concentrated in this and the backbone is a bitter grapefruit bite on the way down. Long aftertaste. Salivation is present. Almost a spicy swallow with a big, peppery finish. Overall I like the can for sure and see myself consuming many on fishing and camping trips, but for the everyday drinking I would look elsewhere. Not knocking it at all, just a little too malty for my IPA liking.

kaseydad, Nov 10, 2011
Photo of kmatlack
4.08/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a stemless wine glass. Canned date 07/07/11. Damn you Texas with your lack of fresh shit.

A- Poures a clear, yellow-orange with a bone white one finger head. Looks good

S- Floral hops dominate the nose on this one. Very attractive outdoors aromas. A little malt sweetness, smells incredibly fresh for being kinda old. Love the nose on this beer. Could be my favorite for a single IPA.

T- Bitter, fresh hops up front. Slight, oh so slight sweetness from the malts, but quickly dissapears into bready notes. Fades away into a lingering non-offensive bitterness. very good.

M- Average for the style. Good carbonation, a little dry but not bad.

O- Love this IPA. It is a great go to beer for me and im glad i have regular access to it.

kmatlack, Nov 05, 2011
Photo of k7sw
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

A- Hazy golden with big head that diminished quickly
S- Smelled floral, as IPAs often do.
T- Light and sweet for an IPA, strong bouquet of flowery flavors.
M- Good balanced carbonation, doesn't overwhelm the flavor, doesn't fall flat on the tongue. Just right.

This was decent but I wasn't overly impressed, I will probably be checking out some of their other offerings.

k7sw, Nov 02, 2011
Photo of InspectorBob
3.93/5  rDev +4%
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.

InspectorBob, Oct 30, 2011
Photo of secondtooth
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was the 3rd part of a mixed 6-er I picked up at the superb Pono Market on Kauai. Thanx crew, for being the only place on island I found a sampler of these fine Hawaiian brews!

Cloudy opaque and golden, with a fine head and ornate lace. Impressive!

Fresh and hoppy nose, with floral citrus ruling the day. Nice. I suppose I can thank the can for keeping this fresh.

Tastes bold and bitter, with a grapefruit citrus finish. A solid and well-done IPA, not outstanding, but well worth enjoying if you're anywhere in Hawaii.

secondtooth, Oct 28, 2011
Photo of dbossman
4.4/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Golden iced-tea color with an absolutely huge frothy head that won't quit; the lacing is solid

S: Dominate hop profile: tropical fruits, grapefruits with a touch of pineapple as well as a grassy herbal hop presence; some pine but mostly citrus on top of a musty grainy grassy malt base

T: Smooth citrus hops up front: grapefruit, mango, pineapple, lemons with a biting pine hop bitterness on the back end; this is a hop lover's dream; it isn't very balanced but that's not what this beer aims to do; however, a sweet almost caramel bready base does appear underneath the overwhelming hops in the end

F: Medium body with just enough carbonation--on the light side--and that sticky, oily hop residue is also there that I so love in the texture of a good IPA

O: Such a damn fine IPA from Maui; I so wish I could drink this while sitting on the beach but I will settle for my deck

dbossman, Oct 14, 2011
Photo of mastodonj
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz can poured into a diconic at a cafe in Kailua, Oahu.

This is a surprisingly good IPA, at least I didn't expect this quality
from Maui.

The beer is lighter than most IPAs tending toward lighter amber/yellow color.

The full hoppy nose and excellent lacing let you know this is going to be a good one.

Great mouthfeel, full bitterness balanced with light maltiness.
A lingering bitterness is nice with the citrus that comes into
the aftertaste.

VERY drinkable.

mastodonj, Oct 05, 2011
Photo of aficionado
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Kyle2k10!

Crystal clear golden yellow body with 2 finger white head and lots of residual lacing.

Smell is of pale malts and fruits with some citrus rind. The aroma could be more substantial, but the flavor is on point. HOWEVER... having had Pliny before this and then sampling Big Swell... all I get is a pale malt blast on the palate.

Taste is quite bitter. Like Smuttynose Finest Kind, but a tad sweeter and more round. Very succulent and drinkable. Smooth and moderately carbonated. No IPA lover would turn this one down.

aficionado, Oct 01, 2011
Photo of mjurney
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden-amber color, just a touch of haze. Fairly good amount of carbonation. Head looks thick and rocky.

Sweet malts. Orange sherbet. Piney.

Hoppy up front along with sweet bready malts to balance it off. Piney-citrus hops, touch of herbal. Sweet bready malts, buttery-caramel. I detect some hint of pineapple towards the end of my palate.
Medium bodied, almost crisp like. Carbonation is soft.

Smooth finish. Nice bitter hops that lingers very well.

Very well made IPA.

mjurney, Sep 25, 2011
Photo of ngeunit1
4.22/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear golden-amber color with a big finger of frothy white head atop. The head fades down fairly slowly leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is full of hops with a nice mix of tropical fruits and more earthy/piney smells. There is also some sweet caramel malt mixed in as well.

T - Starts off with a nice kick of hop flavor with again a balance of citrus and piney hops and some nice bitterness. Just a bit of sweet caramel malts in the background. Through the middle, the hops mellow a bit with some more sweet caramel malts and a bit of bready flavors coming through. The finish is a mix of citrus hops and bitterness with some sweet caramel malts that linger.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth and a bit dry from the hop bitterness.

D - Very drinkable. Nice hop profile with a mix of citrus and piney flavors. I think the malt-hop balance is also fairly solid, maybe a bit too hop heavy.

ngeunit1, Sep 21, 2011
Photo of lancecenter
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Orange/amber color. Fairly cloudy. Excellent 2-3 finger head that lasts. Mediocre lacing.

S - Piney hops, citrus, and grapefruit.

T - Piney hops with a bit of a citrus note. Bitter aftertaste.

M - Medium mouth feel. Good carbonation.

O - Big Swell is my favorite IPA. In fact, I wasn't even a fan of IPA's until I tried this. I like everything I've tried from the Maui Brewing Co. I can't recommend their beers enough.

lancecenter, Sep 09, 2011
Photo of 2xHops
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

For something that comes in cans, I thought this beer was pretty good.

Pouring the beer into my pint glass, I can't help but notice that there was a healthy amount of carbonation coming alive making the foam rise up quickly. The head stayed pillowy for a long time!

The taste was pretty dang good. There's plenty of hops coming through, but it was not overly hoppy to the point where it becomes too bitter, too coarse, too unrefined. The alcohol doesn't seem to too obvious in the flavor profile.

The mouthfeel is what you expect in an IPA. There's a long bitter aftertaste. It doesn't feel too thick or too thin. It's good.

Overall, I definitely will drink this again. However, I don' know about the other places that carry this beer, but I thought it was slightly steep in price. $10 or so for a six-pack? That's in the upper end of my preferred price range.

2xHops, Sep 09, 2011
Photo of TexIndy
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz can into a pint glass. Canned on date of 7/1/11 inked on the bottom of the can. It was a slightly hazy amber color with good carbonation. It had a large foamy head that slowly settled into a constant foam cap. Thick sheeting with some sticking.

The aroma was citric (grapefruit, pineapple) and pine hops along with good dose of dankness. Couldn't pinpoint it but something in there just didn't blend right for me. Still good but didn't find myself huffing this like I do lots of IPA's. Taste was really good with a good balance of sweet malt and c-hops blending with the dank and piney hops. Good flavor and off the beaten path for sure. Mouthfeel was near full with good carbonation.

Overall, an interesting and good IPA. Not the standard flavor profile but I enjoyed it on this first one but would have to have some more to see if it wears thin (only had the single). Newly available here in TX. Rotation - liked this one enough to try it out in my mixed 6 IPA rotation. Not sure if 6xer worthy yet. [O;Y]

TexIndy, Sep 08, 2011
Photo of ibbjamin
2.55/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A buddy of mine bought a 6pack of 12oz cans for me as a wedding present. I have had a couple of these already and have certainly been disappointed. I pour this one into a standard pint glass to review.

Yields an off white head of about an inch in height consistent of large sized bubbles. A thin layer of retention remains and there is pretty good lacing. Very cloudy golden yellow in color.

Aroma is uber balanced with a good dose of hops being masked by a raw barley and caramel malt. I even get some barn hay and yeast in the nose. I can't really get into the nuances of the muddled hop bouquet.

There is good balance in the taste, but for an IPA this is not impressive to me. The yeast really comes through on this one.

Medium body, noticeable carbonation and medium finish.

Very forgettable and average IPA.

ibbjamin, Aug 27, 2011
Photo of atigerlife
3.25/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I've drank this many, many times over the years, but it has probably become my least favorite offering from this exceptional brewery.

Pours amber with a creamy white head. Good lasting power of the head and nice lacing. Nice to look at.

Aroma is piney, grapefruit and malty.

Taste is malts, grapefruit, pine, caramel and citrus.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and cleansing.

Overall, I used to like this more. For some reason I now find it hard to drink. It seems rather cloying and harsh by the end of the glass. Not sure why this one has lost its appeal.

atigerlife, Aug 21, 2011
Photo of LadyOfMuchBeer
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a can into a pint glass. Pours a coppery orange with a nice creamy thick head over an inch.

Smells tropical....could be the Hawaiian-American IPA. Pineapple, and fruity hoppiness.

Pleasant enough for the style. Just enough pine, along with the pineapple and grapefruityness. Light on the front and finish, goes down VERY easy.

Feels creamy and smooth. A pleasant feel on the palate, this is where I feel this one stands out a little for its style, and I like it.

Overall, this is a good brew, one I actually buy just to drink every now and then. I am glad to have it available regularly on our local shelves.

LadyOfMuchBeer, Aug 21, 2011
Photo of biegaman
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ironically enough, this Hawaiian brew actually has a very frosty haze, despite its tanned complexion; the yellow-golden colour looks sun-scorched so as to appear tarnished brass. Its head isn't a big white wave, more like the soapy scuzz that washes over the sand a wave has broken. Appreciate the view while it's there because it won't last long!

Funny that a Hawaiian beer should smell like pineapple and an assortment of other citrus fruits; no surprise, however, that an American IPA should smell that way. Something about American hops gives them a distinctly acidic, fruity character that, when used in large quantities as they have here, is quite striking. And perceptibly bitter (and a little stinky) too.

Flavour is not usually a problem where IPAs are concerned - and Big Swell is no exception. Tropical fruits (pineapple, mango, lemon) are all spotted, buried somewhere beneath this big, biscuity base of caramel brushed malts. The lingering combination of candied fruits and toffee tastes almost like a pound cake (baked with a bit of brandy perhaps).

If you like the bitter, resinous, acidic sensation of America's bolder IPAs then you'll be very satisfied with this one. It has a weedy, herbal bitterness that almost scratches the throat and an acidity that might scathe it if not for a good base of toasty malt to balance it out. It is a stronger beer, to be sure, but very refreshing if you've got the palate for it.

I'm not sure why people consider bland, watery beers the chosen hot weather quenchers when bitter beers like this are so much more gratifying. At least one island brewery (and Maui Brewing may be the only one) understands that - Big Swell IPA is an uncompromising bigger, bitterer beer that has all hop features one could hope for in an American IPA.

biegaman, Aug 13, 2011
Big Swell IPA from Maui Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 608 ratings.