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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

581 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 581
Reviews: 223
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 29
Gots: 45 | 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: 581 | Reviews: 223 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BeerAmbassador
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a golden orange color with a fluffy white two fingered head. pretty good retention and a bit of lacing. When all is said and done there is still a nice layer of foam resting on the top. Pineapple, orange and lemon on the nose with some nice fruity malt in there as well. Medium bodied on the palate with some serious malt to hold up to the hops. Hops are prevalent throughout with a nice long finish. Hop flavors go from bright and herbal to more dull and bitter on the back end. Really nice beer from Maui. One of the better straight ahead IPA's I have had lately.

BeerAmbassador, Aug 08, 2011
Photo of chrisrhoppe
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours with a big white fluffy head and average lacing, color is a copper amber hue. Immediately intense aroma of grapefruit, sweet malt, pine, and bubblegum jump out. The hops give a full frontal assault to the tongue with the same grapefruit, fresh pine citrus hop aroma. The bitterness is soft and is nicely distributed on the pallet. The flavors hold themselves in position long after the beer has been washed down, and exhaling you can still smell the wet, fresh, floral hops. One of my favorites in a can.

chrisrhoppe, Aug 07, 2011
Photo of Florida9
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Darker yellow/light amber. Somewhat cloudy. Forms a fluffy white head that reduces down to a thick surface coating. Lots of lacing.

S: Pale malt, some biscuit and some earthy hops. Decent aroma, but just not too much going on.

T: Taste is similar to the aroma. Starts off with some bready pale malts. There is a little sweetness, but not much. Moves on to an appreciable grapefruit bitterness. Hops are earthy and dank. Taste just seems a little flat.

M: Medium in body with appropriate carbonation. Bitterness gives a slight chalky feel to this beer.

O: A decent IPA, though the flavor and aroma just seem to be a washed out. Otherwise, drinkable, but certainly nothing too exciting.

Florida9, Jul 27, 2011
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Good amber and light orange pour. Sudsy. Neat dry hop aroma, would guess something like amarillo and centennial.

Good taste, light body, big hopping, tastes fresh, haven't had any of these that seemed faded, they seem to hold up, not one of those delicate ipa's that are only good under perfect conditions. Just the right amount of sweetness without seeming like a fruit derivative.

Enough bitterness without seeming like it was all it had going for it. No harshness, relatively smooth finish. Wouldn't really think of 'pine' as a hop descriptor in Hawaii, but there certainly seems to be a leaning that way.

Almost nothing to speak of malt wise, which is fine, it's about as 'west coast' of an ipa as you can get, geographically.

Overall, the higher price I've seen for these $11/6 is really the only hindrance to it. Probably more for hopheads than their flyin' hi-pa.

Beerandraiderfan, Jul 25, 2011
Photo of KevinBrewer
4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Deep golden color with a billowy white head that lasts, leaving minimal lacing.

N- Big grapefruit and other tropical fruits with pine and a touch of herbs underneath adding to the complexity. Nice crisp malt with some toastiness is strong enough to hold its own against the hops. Great balance.

T- Crisp toasted malt with a pleasant huskiness and a hint of caramel sweetness lays a solid foundation to pile the hops on. Tons of grapefruit rind, pine, tropical fruit, grass, herbal tea, and citrus dance on top of the malt, providing a firm bitterness and lots of complex hoppy flavor. Long pleasantly bitter finish that fades to an aftertaste of pine and herbal tea.

M- Medium-light mouthfeel, lightly sticky, with moderate carbonation and a dry finish.

D- Overall, although it clocks in at 6.2%, it tastes like a session brew. Definitely gives you your hop fix. Incredibly well-balanced, full-flavored, complex, and thirst-quenching at the same time.

KevinBrewer, Jul 19, 2011
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at The Neighbourhood in San Diego on 7/3/11

A - Poured dark yellow. Hazy. One finger of thick bubbly white head.

S - Citrus and herbal hop prfile dominates the nose with some orange. Bitterness is very apparent

T - Bitter and dry. Orange rind and herbal hop flavours are the only real flavours that come through. Very different.

M - Medium bod with a slight chew. Light to moderate carbonation.

TheSevenDuffs, Jul 14, 2011
Photo of Janderson91
4.28/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to dmsohyea for sending me this one as an extra! Can't decipher the canned on date on the bottom so I'm not sure of the freshness. Enjoyed on 07/12/11.

A - Poured into a snifter. Just a slightly hazy pale straw yellow/very light orange color with a one finger white head that takes a while to dissipate. Leaves pretty good lacing down the sides.

S - Big, juicy, tropical, grapefruity hops. A slight sweetness from the malt lingers in the background. It's clear that this has been highly dry hopped and it's excellent.

T - Quite similar to the nose. Juicy, mango, grapefruit hops. One of the fruitiest IPAs I've had. Very tropical. Nicely balanced by a mild malt sweetness.

M - Mouthfeel is great. Medium with high carbonation all the way through. Very drinkable.

O - Overall, this is really a great beer. One of my favorite single IPAs. Great job Maui!

Janderson91, Jul 13, 2011
Photo of Fenris244
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal clear pale yellow, ample carbonation, good head, about 2 fingers worth and some great retention and lacing. Head turns into a rocky mass as it starts to dissipate.

Orange and apple are the aromas I'm getting, slight malt character and a little bit of citrus peel, very sweet in the nose

Pretty sweet up front like an orange again and then some bit citrus peel hops.

Super smooth beer, light in body and drinks like water(in a good way). Carbonation is good and the head is pretty creamy. Smooth drinkin beer

Overall, I was at first kinda meh on getting yet another IPA but was pleasantly surprised by the flavor and texture of this beer, id get it again

Fenris244, Jul 09, 2011
Photo of Khazadum
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first HI Tick! Hella big thanks to Womencantsail. This guy is probably one of the coolest dudes to grace BA. He is giving ME extras when he is the one picking up my RS items... insanity!

A- Huge head develops. This bad boy is carbonated and it knows how to flaunt it. Insanity occurs on the bottom of my glass as millions of singular bubbles rise from the depths to populate the top. Was creamy, but not pharmaceutical cosmetic grade... oh no. This one is home brewer grade! Lacing is sunny side up egg edges that have overcooked. Mellow yellow colored body below the wedding lace white head.

S- Very grassy. Light floral hops combine with that fantastic garden nature. Beyond that is a perfect amount of lemon to prevent it turning into a cleaning product. There is a hint of orange. With some time a hint of pine develops, but the main character here is the opening notes. 0

T- My initial thoughts are grassy hops, an acceptable bitterness and a transition into a light fruity sweetness with increasing bitterness. Not face wrenching, not underwhelming. Just a good amount of bitterness. The fruity notes are generally orange citrus, a hint of lemon, and tang of grapefruit. Its got areas where you can pick out your favorite citrus, but I find it to be more orange than anything else. Finishes moderate bitterness, plant matter... grassy but not pine, just the right amount, a paper and cardboard complexity to boot.

M/D- Full bodied, smooth, crisp outburst right at the 33% mark of the swallow. Sticky to an acceptable point. Fluid and satisfying. Refreshing characteristics I want in my IPA. I like this beer. Simple, well crafted, and overall a good beer. It isn't amazing by any stretch of what I might expect, but it is definitely something I can find myself reaching for on a warm summer day.

Khazadum, Jul 06, 2011
Photo of uustal
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pale yellow orange with a one finger off-white head. Aroma of citrus zest, pine. Crisp citrus hops to start. Pale bready sweetness. good pine bitterness. Flavor doesn't mesh incredibly well and the citrus hops are muted, which holds the beer back as a whole.†

uustal, Jul 03, 2011
Photo of AAxsom
2.9/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- very clear orange color. This looks very drinkable and very tasty.

S- no noticeable smell, even when poured from the can to a pint glass. There isn't much of a hop profile on the smell, which fir an IPA, doesn't add to the experience.

T- again, the hops are not as present as I'd like. In fact, the malts really make this a bit unbalanced. I will say that this is a great entry level IPA for someone to get accustomed to the style.

M- very little bite at the end, which actually helps it's drinkability.

O- good basic IPA. I've heard that the island version of this is much better, so maybe one day I'll have this again in Maui!

AAxsom, Jul 03, 2011
Photo of SamN
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big Swell IPA pours a lightly hazy golden orange color with a rather weak off white head. No lacing appears unfortunately, but is a pretty dent looking IPA. The smell, however, is simply mouthwatering; tons of juicy citrus grapefruit, oranges and pineapple, with a crisp touch of pine resin and sugary sweetness. Layered and delicious aromas, amazingly Hawaiian in nature. Taste follows smell pretty well; more juicy hops fruits with a balancing but still secondary honey malt sweetness. A highly hopped beer, but lacking the buzz saw, palette-shredding finish. Instead, I'm treated to a mildly bittered finish.

Overall, a nicely balanced IPA. Powerfully fruity nose and well balanced. A very respectable Hawaiian IPA.

SamN, Jul 01, 2011
Photo of bennetj17
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glowing orange-copper, with moderate haze. Lazy bubbles of carbonation stream to the top. The sticky head is a half-inch and dissipates slowly. The aroma has a nice floral bouguet, very sweet with grapefruity hops and a touch of pine.

That floral sweetness is present again in the taste as the malt backbone stands up strongly to the citrusy hops. It's almost like a Belgian IPA which I tend to like. The bitterness is pretty intense at the end too. Strong carbonation, has a medium body with alot of foaminess.

My overall impression is favorable, I liked it better than expected. The only problem is the drinkability as it somehow seems heavy for 6.2%, perhaps the flavor gets a bit one dimensional after while and I want to move on to something else.

bennetj17, Jun 26, 2011
Photo of ocelot2500
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy golden amber color with a big pillowy white head that leaves nice chunks of lacing.

Smells of citrus and pine hop notes.

Tastes of a good wave of hops with some malts to cut it. Hops have some grapefruit and pine resin to it. Some fruitiness comes through as well when malt sweetness rolls in. Malts also add some biscuit and caramel, honey sweetness.

Mouthfeel is medium with a slightly assertive amount of carbonation.

Overall, a nice drinkable IPA that is a good example of the style.

ocelot2500, Jun 25, 2011
Photo of 3rdRowTailgater
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. can into an American pint glass. Pours a copper color with a small to medium white head that leaves a little lacing on the glass.

Aroma is somewhat hoppy but not as much as I'd like with a hint of malt.

The taste is hoppier than the aroma suggests and that's a good thing. It does have a slightly sweet flavor to offset the hoppiness.

Mouthfeel is quality, overall a really nice IPA from Maui.

3rdRowTailgater, Jun 24, 2011
Photo of ktrillionaire
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Matty D. Martin for the Hawaiian hook-up. Canned on 02.28.2011. Drank nearly 4 months later.

A - The brew pours a radiant copper-orange and is capped with a persistent pillowy stark-white head that deposits large swaths of lace.

S - The nose is fairly middle-of the road; I cannot say I am surprised, given the age, that it is not a hugely vibrant hop-fest. What it does reveal: sugar-cookie malt, grassy and lemon-lime notes.

T - The flavor is a step up; there is still a great deal of malt-hop interplay and dynamic. There is a suggestion of earthy herbal evergreen, wildflower and citrus pith atop a pale, biscuity base. Quite nice; I'd love to have it super fresh. *ISO just-canned Big Swell. FT: just-bottled Jai Alai (or just-canned Daisy Cutter.)*

M - IPA. Good (big-bodied).

O - Very solid IPA here; more malt and body than the average. Also, if it is still this hoppy after 4 months, then either (or both): cans keep stuff super-super-fresh, or this beer is a hopped the f out 'pon canning.

ktrillionaire, Jun 24, 2011
Photo of obrike
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought a sixer at HEB in Round Rock for 9.99.

Like the look on this one...amber, full rocky head...fantastic lacing, my pint glass was coated by the time i was done.

Nice fresh IPA scent...tropical fruits, pine, some caramel sweetness. Like it.

Taste follows scent. A bit of tangerine, pine, some sweet malt...what's not to like.

Smooth, easy drinking IPA...in a can no less...love it.

I'll be picking this up again without a doubt...would like to see the price take a bit of a dive, but i'd still buy a sixer for 10 bucks every now and then.

This is fine example of agateway IPA...fairly low abv...in cans no less! Hand this one out to your bud-light buddies, pour into a pint glass, and watch as you turn beer likers into beer lovers.
Great job with this one Maui!

obrike, Jun 19, 2011
Photo of StLThrash
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received in my 2nd trade with Rizalini.

12 ounce can poured into pint glass.

A - Poured a very clear golden yellow with a frothy 1-finger head. Some significant lacing. Head dissipated into nice little cap that remained throughout.

S - Lots of hops. Citrus / grapefruit / orange and pine resin. Also very fruity and a hint of sweetness. Some toasted bread maltiness as well.

T & M - Similar to the smell. Very citrusy. Lots of hop bitterness up front, but with some sweetness to follow. Decent carbonation and somewhat thin mouthfeel.

O - Decent IPA. Glad I tried it and would buy it again.

StLThrash, Jun 16, 2011
Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Aloha wau ia Hawai'i! I love Hawaii! I also love the thought of enjoying a nice, refreshing IPA on the warm beaches of Maui. And in a can Ė win/win, right? Hopefully so. Hereís to riding the Big Swell to big IPA flavor!

Somehow, a born-and-raised Hoosier sitting in his central Indiana home is sipping a very regional Hawaiian brew. This unlikely picture is brought to by dmsohyea, who made my first trade legendary. Thanks again, dude!

A: The body is a lively, shimmering amber, with a fizzy, eggshell-colored head. Itís a relatively weak foam, but thereís some strong lacing. Wonderful bubbles rise from the bottom in a heavy stream.

S: Those hops! Incredibly flavorful and complex. Festive floral tones are big in front, with an almost equally big earthy presence. Itís all played out under the velvety blanket of rich syrups Ė the sweetness is almost overwhelming sometimes. The malts are nothing short of sexy; caramel, cinnamon, and slight roast notes all come through. Pleasant, but not incredibly intricate.

T: Hell of a syrupy palate, as well. This time, though, itís not as nice. Itís almost too thick, viscous to a fault. The hops are very well-done: tart and aromatic, they push the bitterness boundaries without going overboard. Rosy tones with the same earthy backdrops as the nose push forward, happily drawing attention away from the super-sugary malts. Piney flavors come in without much of a bite, showing evidence of the dry-hopping mentioned on the label. As I drink more, especially when itís directly from the can, the syrupy notes diminish. Then again, so do the other flavors I mentioned. It may be that Iím getting used to this brewís stronger aspects, or the fact that the inevitable warming is playing its part on the palate. Either way, it gets less and less offensive in regard to its viscosity, but also less ďcraftyĒ as time goes on.

M: The heavy in-the-glass feel doesnít help the case for syrupy notes in the palate. However, from the can, itís much more carbonated, so the feel is more appropriate. Either way, though, itís never quite right for this kind of palate. Not undrinkable, though.

O: A unique experience. Is it one that Iíd want to have again? Sure, if the mood is right. It wonít be something I will actively trade for. If Iím on the West Coast, though, and Iím looking for a beach beer, Iíll grab a sixer of this any day.

BarryMFBurton, Jun 15, 2011
Photo of spinrsx
3.93/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz Can

Appearance - Slightly hazy light orange colour with a fairly large size frothy off-white coloured head. There is a low to average amount of carbonation and there is some good lacing on the sides of the glass. The head lasted for 3 minutes before it began to dissipate.

Smell - Malts, caramel, hops, oranges

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and the beer feels slightly thin. Most of the taste is made up of caramel and malts mixed with hops. There is also a fair amount of fruit taste.. grapefruits and oranges and also some pineapple. It finishes with a citrus sweet aftertaste with some light hop bitterness.

Overall - I couldn't help but think of Dale's Pale Ale while I was drinking this.. A very citrusy ale from a can. I enjoyed this beer and could myself drinking a few cans in one sitting.

spinrsx, Jun 14, 2011
Photo of DoctorDog
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: From a 12 oz. can into a nonic.

A- Slightly hazy light copper. Pours with 1+ fingers of light tan head, which fades to a thin cap. Plenty of sticky lacing left as consumed.

S- Pine, followed by citrus/mango hop notes, and then a slightly grainy, caramel sweetness.

T- A bit of piny / grassy hopiness provides some bitterness. Slightly fruity caramel sweetness.

M- Moderate carbonation and a medium feel.

O- Good. Enjoyable and inoffensive in any area....but not really close to outstanding in any area either....probably a solid beer to "session."

Future outlook: Nabbed while out in California, and not distributed here, so not likely to have again anytime soon.

DoctorDog, Jun 10, 2011
Photo of womencantsail
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer pours a light amber color with a frothy white head which leaves a bit of lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is slightly sweet and malt forward, but not terribly so. Decent citrus notes to it, particularly grapefruit and orange. A mild fruitiness gives the beer a bit more sweetness.

T: A nice fruitiness to the beer with hints of tropical fruits, but mostly it's citrus. There is a bit of pine and a moderate bitterness as well as a light floral quality. Some toasted bread and caramel malt sweetness.

M: Medium in body with a medium carbonation.

O: Not a bad beer, but like a lot of the Maui products, not amazing.

womencantsail, Jun 01, 2011
Photo of mulder1010
3.3/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It is thanks to Mr. Kennedy night. Much appreciated for bringing this back from Hawaii.

12 oz can into a tulip (craft beer and can's, what a ment to be combo)

A-- Poured a light honey gold/ straw color. Almost hazy looking. Two fingers of cloud white head that settled to just under half a finger. One good sized 3/4 ring of lacing and a couple strands of lacing on the sides of the glass. Good retention on swirling. Head holds it's shape pretty well before receding and leaving a full thick circle of lacing.

S-- Soft tropical notes backed by some Carmel. Mango, passion fruit, peach and orange blossom. Quite soft and quite delicate to me. Not as in your face as others.

T-- Peach, orange and lemon tasting with Carmel notes. Quite soft and laid back. Interesting as that it is just soft and profile reminds me more of a Pale Ale and not an IPA.

M-- Do get Orange and Grapefruit in the mid and back of mouth. Not overly bitter but more fresh and somewhat muted. The characters are there but not in full force until this warms up. Finish is long lasting somewhat bitter grapefruit. Lighter medium bodied and medium carbonation.

O-- Clicks a lot of boxes but kind of like a bigger version of a Pale Ale to me. Not robust enough and somewhat dainty in a way. One, maybe two in a sitting. I can see that this beer would grow on me though. Given the climate in Hawaii this may be the perfect IPA to have as it seems more of a hybrid and bigger/ bolder IPA's with higher IBU's would not go over as well.

mulder1010, May 31, 2011
Photo of spicelab
3.2/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Mr Kennedy for carting this back to Oz.

Almost crystal clear light copper with a monstrous rocky head (might have something to do with having cycled home with it in my bag). Leaves rather haphazard lace.

Orange, mango, melons and some earthy pine. Unfortunately there's a kind of pungent, chalky, not-quite-sweet solvent character that mars any real freshness and presence these hop aromas might otherwise have. Some generic caramel malt is kind of here and there.

Taste is a bit muddled and homogeneous. Moderately bitter grapefruit, mint and indistinct malt. The tropical hop notes in the nose have gone AWOL. Pretty ordinary.

A tad overcarbonated, but a quite acceptable lingering mild bitterness and medium mouthfeel.

Not really inspired by this. Doesn't shine on any single characteristic and at the same time doesn't manage to achieve high drinkability as consolation.

spicelab, May 31, 2011
Photo of jzeilinger
3.48/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a bright, vibrant clear gold color with a two fingered foamy and very creamy head. The head is fluffy and looks like clouds and it sticks to the sides of the glass like sticky cotton candy. Moderate amount of carbonation.

S - Smell is weak and not much more than very worn out citrus and malt. I really have to dig to find much in the way of aroma; uneventful for an IPA.

T - A little better than the nose. The flavor is pretty balanced with very faint grapefruit and pine through most of the sip along with a slight roasted caramel biscuit malt, and towards the end the flavors break apart to finish with a moderately mild pine bitterness.

M - Light medium body, smooth and gentle on the tongue with minimal and mild pricklies. Finishes dry on the back of the tongue and causes the front of the tongue to salivate.

O - I'm not blown away or impressed with this IPA, don't hate it, don't love it. However, I suspect this can maybe peaked because I'm not getting the same tropical fruit intensity of flavor that other reviewers are. I had to go through some previous reviews to make sure it's me or it's this particular can. My conclusion, I think it's this particular can. That being said, I'm open to trying this one again and adjusting my review. Most beers deserve a second chance and this one definitely does. On the positive side, I really love IPA's and at 6.2%, Maui dialed the ABV in perfectly, IMO. You're not trashed after one can and it's tame enough to enjoy a "few" cans opposed to stick with one or two all night because of the strength.

jzeilinger, May 25, 2011
Big Swell IPA from Maui Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 581 ratings.