Big Swell IPA - Maui Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Big Swell IPABig Swell IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

370 Reviews
THE BROS
67
poor

(Read More)
Reviews: 370
Hads: 882
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 9.02%
Wants: 30
Gots: 95 | 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:
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
Reviews: 370 | Hads: 882
Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.77/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A 355ml can with a canned-on date of April 2012. Picked up recently from my local beer specialist (they have a bunch of Maui beers hidden in a fridge at the front). Time to catch a wave....

Poured into a Delirium chalice. A golden-amber hue with faint haze and decent carbonation. Forms a smallish head of white foam that lasts for a minute or two before subsiding. Aroma of sharp grapefruit and citrus, underpinned by sweet, grainy malt and earthy yeast. Nice.

Tastes of tangy citrus with a dry, bitter finish. Notes of grapefruit, citrus, subtle pine, grainy malt and earthy yeast. Considerable bitterness upon swallowing. The alcohol is well hidden. Mouthfeel is pretty dry and tingly, but rather thin and feels overcarbonated. Highly astringent. Aftertaste of sharp citrus and yeast.

A tasty IPA, though not the best I've tried. The biggest let-down is the mouthfeel, which just seems too watery and prickly. The aroma/flavour are good but lacking in depth - the hoppy character seems monotonous. However, it's tasty and goes down easily. If it was cheaply available I'd probably grab another. Worth sampling if you come across it. (1,138 characters)

Photo of Duff27
4.13/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Very nice looking head just short of an inch in height. Body is a light orange. Drink-by-drink step lacing. Great head retention throughout.

S- Whiffs of orangey citrus.

T- Citrus/hop bitterness is there but not overpowering in the least. Thirst quenching. Hides it's 6.8%ABV very well.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation fits the bill.

D/O- Very drinkable IPA here, one that I wouldn't mind sippin' on a whole 6 pack throughout the course of a long evening. Consider this kid impressed. Worth checking out. (512 characters)

Photo of HoppySailor
4.32/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a can into a New Belgium snifter. Canned date of 12/15/2012.

A- Pours a pale gold/straw color and has a nice-looking off-white froth that dissipates quickly and leaves a decent lacing. The brew is cloudy and I am told it is can conditioned, but I do not know for sure. Need to look that up.

S- Yum. It smells like someone just sliced open a fresh grapefruit and splashed juice everywhere. I love it when an IPA smells like grapefruit.

T- The taste is terrific. Very refreshing with a mixture of citrus (grapefruit and pineapple, maybe orange peel) and biscuit. Maybe a hint of malt sweetness but mostly just hoppy citrus. There is some pine in there, but the citrus chases everything else right out off the tongue.

M- The mouth feel is NOT true to IPA style, but I cannot give it bad marks all things considered. It has a LOT of bite, instead of the usual IPA "flat" feel. (I wouldn/t classify this one as "medium body" as many here have) This beer is traditionally enjoyed in warm climates on beaches under hot sun, and this bubbly bite would be a great asset there. I still prefer the real ale feel of traditional IPA, but this one could be enjoyed after an hour of yardwork or while sweating buckets under and umbrella on the beach whereas a normal IPA would not be suited for such conditions.

O- As this one warms the bitterness of the simcoe and cascade hops starts to come out in the finish. Two things would prevent this from becoming my new "go to" IPA - The price (12.99 for six) and the mouth feel. That said, I will still invite this great IPA to any tastings I host and will feel obliged to enjoy it in the future, especially when outdoor activity in warm weather is involved. This is a top-notch brew. It should have it's own class - "warm weather IPA". (1,784 characters)

Photo of kemoarps
4.12/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy straw colour. Bubbly white head that dissipates but sticks around just enough to lace the sides beautifully.

The nose is almost a honey sweet with that citrusy/floral hop background bringing it along. This is a delicious smelling beer. Good balance on the aroma.

The taste follows the smell fairly well, expanding on the themes presented and filling out to be a well balanced IPA. The hops are somewhere between floral and grapefruit bitter, with an earthy maltiness running along underneath. The more I drink of this beer, the more I like it.

Smoothe. I'm drinking it on a 100 degree day, and it seems just about perfect. Well balanced and drinkable, though I feel that if I had more than one or two in a sitting it might get overbearing and lose some of its enjoyability. Definitely pick it up if it's available in your area and you have even a passing interest in it. (886 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.02/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Maui Brewing Big Swell IPA. "Big, hoppy, bold, smooth, and hoppy…did we mention hoppy?" ALC 6.8% by VOL.

Hazy, bright golden hue, Small tight ring of white foam, leaves some lace.

Aroma: pungent and hoppy, plenty of pine and citrus, lemon and orange ahoy! Plenty of bitter, with a hint of sour, and a touch, just a touch, of the sweet. Wonderful complexity.

Taste: Mmmm. Yeah. Boom, there it is. Citrus zest all over the palate, but never too much, not too bitter, not too strong. Hangs on the palate long, slight astringency, but, yeah, smooth, drinkable, and delicious. So nice. Medium-bodied. Tasty tango of bitter and sweet. Downable, indeed, full of hoppitude and hoppiness. Nice stuff. (696 characters)

Photo of cosmicevan
3.53/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

retired, really? seems like some recent reviews and the can is stamped canned on 01-31-2012. thanks to my suitcase carrying friend for providing this night cap post tasting! enjoyed from an urthel oversized tulip.

a - brew poured a transparent orange with the classic huge ipa head and mega milkshake like chunky lacing.

s - somewhat musty with some citric hops and a nice malt backbone...bearing in mind that this was canned just over 3 months ago, still relatively nice hop presence, but definitely tamed back, as expected for the age.

t - some faded citric hops...great malt backbone, bitter finish. kind of barleywine like.

m - body is medium and a bit syrupy. some bitterness in the finish.

o - overall, a nice IPA, although i bet this was better fresh...the malts are more prominent and the hops are in the backseat...but a nice flavor profile. would prefer a bit more fresh, but i'll take it...great night cap. assuming that this was more hoppy fresh and considering the age, this is pretty good. thanks for the tick!!! (1,031 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
4.13/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz can. Not making it to this particular island on this trip, so best I grab one from the ubiquitous local convenience stores in Waikiki.

This beer pours a clear, medium golden amber colour, with two fingers of foamy, somewhat creamy off-white head, which leaves a pretty consistent array of webbed, bike-chain lace around the glass as it lazily sinks away.

It smells of bready caramel malt, decent grapefruit and orange citrus, with a surprising, but quite enjoyable, biscuit cereal aroma wafting up in the middle of it all. The taste is nice biscuity caramel/toffee malt, a little more coy citrus hops than in the nose, but still holding the room with their zippy goodness, aided in part by a slight herbal/pine sideshow. No excess sass from the big (for a straight IPA) ABV either.

The bubbles are pretty agreeable as they go about their pedestrian job, the body a sturdy medium weight, and delectably smooth, even with those prickish hop interlopers. It finishes good and hoppy, the citrus and leafy pine turning out for a last hurrah, but not without a serious sidelong glance from the attendant bready malt sweetness.

A pretty swell (I kid, I kid) IPA, really. And big, did I mention that? Anyways, awesome in a can - can I really bring these to the beach? Gonna sure as hell find out soon! (1,302 characters)

Photo of Zimbo
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Good ripe raw grapefruit nose at first which it quickly extinguished, this builds an fairly easy one inch head (which surrrenders no lacing at any point) and gives a gold to slightly orangy colour.

Bit fizzy, medium bodied with surprisingly well balanced and integrated malty centre and a nice bitter end makes for well bitter integrated whole. Nice ripe aftertaste too.

Can't help but think if this was brewed on the mainland it would be much more highly regarded. Instead its just 'mookalokakiki come on you wanna lay me'. (527 characters)

Photo of ryantho00
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Taken from notes in Kauai.

Has a nice golden and orange tan with a 2 finger that laces glass nicely. I get a fresh hoppy, citrus nose, not overpowering. This had a nice fresh, drinkable, citrus, piney hop laden zest that led to some toasted malts and great balance. Got a little orange mixed in.

Great traditional IPA.

Cheers!! (330 characters)

Photo of C20Percent
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a slightly pale golden-orange color with a semi-bubbly dark(er) egg shell head. No real complexity in the color or the body. Average lacing. BUT (and this is what makes it more than average) it looks very inviting and refreshing. It screams, "Drink Me." And, that intangible, as wild as that sounds pushes this feature past average.

S: A very sweet hoppy aroma with a mix of pine and citrus with a smooth smelling malt background. A very balanced aroma with crisp characteristics. Can't really give this feature a 4 because I think they played it safe here. I'm looking for something that pulls at my nose, and I gotta look real hard here.

T: A very refreshing hoppy, earthy splash gives way to a malty, bitter finish. There is a very subtle citrus flavor way in the back, but make no mistake, this is an earthy malt flavor. Not a biscuit malt, which I'm not a fan of, but a smooth piney, caramel malt that I tend to enjoy. Digging the taste.

M: This, for me, was the best feature. Quite a wonderful feel. Light, airy body makes this brew very drinkable. Nice carbonation, and although I wouldn't call this beer chewy, it does coat your mouth nicely. I can't say enough about the way this beer drinks. I know it's out of Hawaii, and -- YES -- this is the beer I want with me on the beach.

O: On one hand -- I think this is a "play-it-safe" IPA. On the other hand -- I think this beer was meant to be drank on the beach in the hot sun. And, since I can judge the brewer's intent, I'm going to give this a 4 instead of a 3.5. Really good beer. Makes me want to purchase all the other offerings MBC has to offer. Bravo. (1,629 characters)

Photo of Murrhey
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz can into a pint glass. Reviewed live.

A- Two finger frothy white head. Nice retention for a middling ABV. Pale golden-orange color with nice clarity. Nice lacing.

S- Citrusy and well balanced hops. Some tropical fruits in this? I don't know but I like it.

T- Piney and citrusy hops, well balanced malt character underneath. Some bitterness but extremely well layered.

M- Medium bodied with nice carbonation. Finishes slightly dry.

O- Well balanced and tasty. (482 characters)

Photo of Mora2000
3.46/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a golden-orange color with a white head. The aroma has a lot of orange and pineapple notes from the hops, as well as some sweet bubblegum notes. The flavor has quite a few hop notes, with some grass, pine and pineapple. I also get some sweet bread malt and a low amount of bitterness. Soft, low carbonation and medium mouthfeel. (343 characters)

Photo of hopfacebrew
3.7/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Really enjoyed this one when in Maui last year for a buddy's wedding. Picked up a sixer.

A - The beer, poured from an un-dated can, to a pint glass pours a golden orange color with a nice 1.25 finger white bubbly head. Good retention and lacing.

S - The aroma is very hop forward with a lot of citrus hop character: grapefruit, tangerine, lemon. On the tailend there is a malty sweetness hiding with a slight biscuit aroma. Hop dominated.

T - Just like the nose the beer starts very hop forward: An immediate medium citrus bitterness together with a distinct tart flavor. Strong fruity citrus character: grapefruit, tangerine, lemon. The middle of the beer brings the biscuit malt character found on the nose, though it is still overwhelmed by the hops. Not all-together balanced, though still pretty solid flavor.

M - Lighter end of medium bodied with adequate carbonation. Silkly in mouthfeel.

D - A pretty good IPA but not spectacular. I liked the hop character but was yearning for a bit more complexity and malt. I'd gladly drink again though. (1,053 characters)

Photo of output01x
3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Dan3279 for yet another hookup.

Poured from a 12 oz. can (Canned 12/06/11) into a pint glass.

A strong pour yields a 1 1/2-finger cream-colored head that quickly recedes to a thick, clumpy dusting and thin foam collar. The body is a perfectly clear golden amber with a good amount of small, randomly appearing carbonation bubbles. Some light lacing can be seen trying to cling to the glass throughout consumption but is incapable of sticking around long.

A fair amount of citrus and pine hops cut through a strong bready malt presence, giving the nose a very balanced aroma. The citrus aromas that are able to poke through offer up notes of tangerines and grapefruit.

Just like the nose, bready malts lay the groundwork for an abundance of citrus flavors. Notes of tangerines and grapefruit are joined by piney and grassy hops flavors. Upon swallowing, the hops flavors peak with more of an emphasis on the grassy hops. These flavors last long after each sip as a slightly bitter aftertaste.

The medium body coats the mouth well without becoming sticky. The carbonation is only slightly fizzy, allowing the drinker to really experience the flavors while maintaining good drinkability. The swallow foams up just a bit but keeps a decent crispness. The bitter aftertaste of the beer does a decent job of drying the mouth, beckoning the drinker to keep reaching for the glass. (1,388 characters)

Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from can I purchased at state line liquors into tulip. Canned on 9/7/11. Its a bit old for an IPA but that's what I got.
Pours a hazy orange brown. Some slight head but sticky.
Smells of malty fresh hops.
Taste is very malty for an IPA...too malty for me. The hop flavor is nice, but mild and is hidden by the overpowering malts.
Its slightly bitter, dry, and "heavy". Its not bad just a bit diffferent.
Overall, not exactly what I'd expect from an IPA but its a good tasting brew. We can't get it in NY, but with soi many better options, I'm not really missing it. Glad I was able to try though. (608 characters)

Photo of angrybabboon
3.53/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for giving me a can of this for no reason

Appearance: Golden, dark orange - hazy - above-average, frothy, white head that results in some sticky lacing

Smell: Citrusy hops and sweet malts - floral citrus, a little grassy, pine, some orange and grapefruit rind - some slight pineapple, too - malts are pale and caramel - some fruity/sugary sweetness and something that kind of smells waxy

Taste: Pretty good - grapefruit rind, some pine, and some light fruitiness that may or not be hop-related - grassy and herbal - malts are caramel, pale, provide a foundation - a lingering sugary characteristic, too sweet

Mouthfeel: Medium body, very smooth, but overly sticky

Overall: Good, not great

Big Swell has some interesting qualities, but it's not what I want in an IPA. It's too sweet and too grassy. But the tropical notes are nice, and I wouldn't mind drinking this on the beach. (908 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Canned on 8/23/11.

Pours a slightly murky honey gold with a 2 inch foamy orange-white head that settles to a craggy head. Foamy chunks of lace cling to the glass on the drink down. Smell is of caramel malt and some pine/herbal hops. Taste is of piney and herbal hops up front with a malt finish. This beer has a medium amount of bitterness that sits on top of the tongue with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slight crispness and a medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good IPA with huge hop flavors and bitterness but in that regard it's pretty one dimensional. (604 characters)

Photo of Hophead101
3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

nice cloudy brownish orange with great size off white head. leaves a nice top film and awesome lacing in the glass.

nice hoppy smell with a substantial malt background.

taste is nice - both malts and hops. buttery creaminess. moutfeel is nice, mild carbonation with good balance - creamy overall. (300 characters)

Photo of Beejay
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pale straw yellow as it pours. In the glass it is a slightly hazy pear color. Good solid white head on the top.

S: Classic American hop aromas come out right away. Grapefruit, and resinous pine. Behind that there is a touch of a biscuity aroma as well as some caramel notes. It may just be my imagination but do I smell a gentle sea breeze as well?

T: Hoppy. The grapefruit follows through in to the taste. The bitterness is evenly distributed through the beginning, middle, and end of the flavor. The aftertaste has a touch of pine. Nice amount of caramel throughout.

M: Actually perhaps just a bit of the thin side for me. Medium light in body, carbonation may is about average, and a touch dry, though not much.

O: Overall I think it is a really nice IPA. Good bitterness, lots of hop flavor, and it balances out fairly well so nothing dominates the flavor. Although the mouthfeel is a tad thin for me. (912 characters)

Photo of Nugganooch
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big Swell – canned 11/22/11 (freshest I can find at the moment) Do canned IPA’s fade???

Notes from 02/16/12
12oz. can to pint

A: Pours a super clear light goldenrod color with a massive cakey foam head

S: Pop the top and aromas of pine, grapefruit, and pineapple emanate. Some light sugary malts and a bit of tarty fruit esters. Smells nice.

T: Hops are predominantly citrus fruits and some prickly pines with a relatively low bitterness factor. More flavor and aromas here. Sticky hemp. Taste does have somewhat of a sugared malt cracker forwardness to it. Might be the age on these cans but its just not as vibrant as I recall. Some alcohol flavs. Still very nice and crushable.

M: Lighter body with a slight creamy texture. A bit resinous with hop oils that coat the palate. Manages a light crisp in the finish.

D: A real nice IPA. Very drinkable and I do respect the can. Will probably look to find a fresher sample eventually.
Still hoppy and delicious but wasn’t quite the Big Swell I remember. Maltier. (1,026 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.2/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

nothing special here. pours a lighter looking orange color with a lacey white head. smells like bitter hops, very american in style. flavor is just kind of boring, everything in fine proportion, but not an interesting brew. the hops are just bitter, not lots of subtle flavors there. feel is alright, lighter in body and good carbonation. overall not a beer i would buy again (375 characters)

Photo of Amalak
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It has a huge, foamy-white head that leaves a ton of lacing. There are a few big bubbles going up the side. Clear gold color...crystal clear. Hoppy scent with a mild lemon and malt undertone.

Very intense taste. It feels like a banana infused with some hops. There's a mild fruitiness to it, dark fruit like grape with a hint of watermelon. Complex all-around. Has a banana bread feel to it. Nice and complex for a simplish beer. (430 characters)

Photo of JayQue
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a solid IPA with a DIPA level flavor and intensity. Poured into a pint glass as a coppery orange color with a medium size white head. Head retention is average and there are good strong bands of lacing on the glass.

Good strong aroma of citrus and floral hops...very nice!!!

Taste is very robust....good hops bitterness, Citrus hops up front and some floral hoppiness as well. Some balancing sweet malts.

Mouthfeel is good as well, nicely carbonated, crisp with a nice hops bite.

Very good IPA, would drink this one any time!!! (539 characters)

Photo of Chaney
4.12/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Welcome to DC Maui Brewing Company!

Served in a tulip.

A: Poured about half the can into my glass and the other half filled up with an almond colored head. Yikes! The liquid itself was a beautiful clear, gold color.

S: Lots of yummy hop air freshener here! This one has that rare gift of floral, hop sizzle, and candy sugar trio, with the hops winning by a country mile. If someone put this up to my nose without me knowing who made it, I would've guess it came from California.

T: The taste wasn't quite a intense, yet was still tasty. The citrus was substantially muted by a cushion of yeast and the finish wasn't nearly as dry or bitter as I was expecting.

M: The carbonation was fairly low, but still prickly enough and my glass looked like it went through a car wash with the windows open.

O: This was damn good stuff in a market saturated by great IPAs. (866 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours with a frothy, three finger thick, pale tan tinged, off-white colored head that leaves some spotty, layered lacing on the sides of my New Belgium globe glass. The beer is a red stained copper color that shows a brilliantly clear, slightly orange tinged, pale copper hue when held up to the light. The beer has more of a dank herbal character in the aroma than the Hi.P.Hay had, this is backed by a bright, Curacoa orange zest character. There is a dusty, dried malt and dried hay like note here as well, though this plays a purely supporting role and there is also a suggestion of golden-toasted crackers. The herbal hop aromatics almost have a peppery note to them at time and while the citrus / fruit character is the dominant note here, it isn’t quite as juicy and ripe as in the Hi.P.Hay. Still this is a very nice aroma, it is actually a bit more balanced than the Hi.P.Hay, but I find that I like it just a smidgeon less.

Big citrus fruit flavors dominate the flavor profile, these are backed by a solid, though not aggressive bitterness, a peppery, dry, somehow dusty herbal character that is a mix of menthol, pine, and “hemp” oil as well as just a hint of garlic chive; this last note is quite subdued and adds to the complexity rather than detracts as this type of note can often do. The beer has a fairly light body, though there is clearly enough malt body to accentuated the hop fruitiness; I wouldn’t say this is on the dry side for an IPA, but it certainly attains the easy / dangerous quaffability that a good IPA should have. The finish really dries out substantially from the bitterness, a biting pine needle flavor as well as a woody, spicy black pepper like note; all of these make you feel like taking another sip so that the touch of sweet malt and big hop fruit character has a chance to coat the palate again.

As the beer warms up it picks up even more fruitiness in the flavor, but this is still balanced by the drier, herbal / bitter character that defines the finish of this beer. This is a very nice IPA, I have been impressed by both IPAs from Maui, but I think I prefer this one for its slightly more complex approach and less focus on crystal malt. (2,204 characters)

Big Swell IPA from Maui Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 370 ratings.