1. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Big Swell IPA - Maui Brewing Co.

Big Swell IPABig Swell IPA

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

489 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 489
Reviews: 221
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 11.05%

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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers
Ratings: 489 | Reviews: 221 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of libbey

British Indian Ocean Territory

2.68/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz can poured into a NB globe

A: The beer pours a clear copper orange and an aggressive pour yielded a large fluffy head that clung to the glass leaving a nice trail of lacing throughout the session. Look's nice.

S: The nose is malt forward leaving a lingering sweet candy like trail in the nose. Hop presence is there but it is minimal. Uh oh smells like this beer is past it's prime.

T: Again minimal hop presence and this beer is dominated by a bready malt back. Not what I want to see in my IPA's.

M: Carbonation is spot on and it carries this medium/light bodied beer nicely. The finish is off due to the lack of bite from any hop presence.

O: Overall I'm hoping that this was an old beer because if not this is a highly unsuccessful take on the style. I will make an effort to try this one again and hope to see some radical changes.

Serving type: can

03-25-2012 01:01:33 | More by libbey
Photo of output01x


3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

Serving type: can

03-20-2012 21:59:41 | More by output01x
Photo of DrinkSlurm


3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

Serving type: can

03-18-2012 02:35:33 | More by DrinkSlurm
Photo of angrybabboon

Rhode Island

3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
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.

Serving type: can

03-15-2012 06:18:52 | More by angrybabboon
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

Serving type: can

03-10-2012 22:33:03 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of Hophead101


3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

Serving type: can

03-05-2012 05:25:29 | More by Hophead101
Photo of Beejay


3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Serving type: can

03-05-2012 04:11:08 | More by Beejay
Photo of Nugganooch


3.83/5  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.

Serving type: can

02-27-2012 17:09:01 | More by Nugganooch
Photo of StonedTrippin


3.18/5  rDev -16.3%
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

Serving type: can

02-26-2012 21:20:01 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of Chaney

District of Columbia

4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

Serving type: can

02-14-2012 20:29:18 | More by Chaney
Photo of Gueuzedude


4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

Serving type: can

02-12-2012 18:52:16 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of Goblinmunkey7


3.3/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Slightly hazed deep gold. Head is bright-white and leaves some serious lace. Head dwindles to a thin cap that lasts for the duration of the experience.

Smell: Pine, orange, and something akin to pears and pineapple. Very mealy fruit aroma. Malts run a touch biscuity with some caramel sweetness. A faint spiciness lingers in the back that evokes Belgian yeast, but I think it's just pineapple and pear. Pretty mellow overall.

Taste: Dry, powdery tropical fruit. It reminds me of challah bread. Some hints of pineapple and pear play over grapefruit rind and some pine. Malts are on the sweet side, adding some nice balance to the hop profile. Some caramel and biscuit flavors.

Mouthfeel: Moderate body with a moderate carbonation. Dry on the end.

Overall: Decent, but the weird mealy fruit flavors threw me off. Good for what it is, but that's about as far as it goes.

Serving type: can

01-15-2012 20:49:14 | More by Goblinmunkey7
Photo of Wimberley87


4.43/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Really surprised by this Brew, poured into a chalice, two finger head rises and lingers for a bit. aroma was
Very in your face! Big floral notes mixed with hops and some earthy notes as well. Taste is very well balanced, floral notes hit up front mixed in with citrus, this mixes in on the back end with a slight bitter hoppy flavor that balances out very nicely. One of my favorite IPA'S.

Serving type: can

01-10-2012 16:53:31 | More by Wimberley87


3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear golden with a finger of whtie head. Dissipated quickly. Some small strands of lace.

Tropical fruit, apricot, citrus. with a sweet toastiness.

Big juicy fruit flavor. tropical fruit, apricot, orange, grapefruit. Some sweet toastiness. Moderate bitterness.

Sticky resinous. refreshing. some drying. moderate carbonation. medium light body.

very drinkable. refreshing and tasty hoppy canned IPA.

Serving type: can

01-06-2012 02:11:09 | More by CHILLINDYLAN
Photo of Jayli


3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired from mthomas84 via SS '11 so a big THANK YOU to him!
Poured in to a pint glass.

A: This beer pours a hazy burnt orange with a one finger of off white head. Head recedes somewhat quickly leaving wispy lacing all along the glass.

S: Nose is big floral notes, light citrus and a definitive caramel malt presence.

T: Taste starts big and floraly, somewhat soapy, but not completely. Orange citrus mingled with hearty caramel malt fills out through the middle. Finish has a grapefruit bitterness that hangs a bit.

M: Lighter side of medium body, moderate to higher carbonation, prickly on the forefront of the tongue, dry and a touch sticky finish.

O: Goes down easily, tasty, not too filling, nice kick, nice representation of style. It's been a long time since I've had a more floral hop IPA; it proved a nice change of pace.

Serving type: can

12-23-2011 02:28:15 | More by Jayli
Photo of kzoobrew


3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review input from notes

Golden yellow body, fairly clear and free of sediment. Three finger antique white head. Head, made up of very fine bubbles, recede fairly quickly. Lacing is very sparse.

Aroma blends citrus, resinous pine and floral hop aromas. While the blend of scent is pleasant the aroma lacks intensity. Light bready malt aroma lies underneath.

Sweet citrusy hop and caramel flavor lays heavy on the tongue up front. A resinous pine flavor develops on the midpalate. This resinous flavor continues as the beer moves back. A very green resinous flavor is left lingering on the back of the palate.

Medium bodied IPA. Carbonation is moderate and appropriate. Smooth feel, slightly oily texture. The finish winds up a bit longer than what could be considered dry.

Not too shabby. Fairly drinkable, overall a decent IPA it is just not brewed to my preferences. A bit too much sweetness in the flavor, not fitting for the style. Respectable IPA but not the first one I would reach for in the style.

Serving type: can

12-18-2011 22:28:47 | More by kzoobrew
Photo of elgiacomo


3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz canned August 31, 2011. Served at around 45F.

Pours clear golden amber with a two finger off-white head that leaves nice sticky rings of lacing and holds a light foamy cap.

Aroma is some orange, tangerine and grapefruit citrus, apricot, also quite floral with a bit of fruit, some caramel and biscuit malt. Good strength.

Flavor is more grapefruit and orange citrus, apricots, some resinous hops, fair malt backbone of caramel and bread, finishes with good bitterness. Mild alcohol.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, oily, with good carbonation.

Very good IPA and one I’ve been looking forward to trying. Not a super-fresh sample so I know it would only be better if it were really fresh. Not going to dock the score too much as I do give credit to Maui for providing a packaged on date.

Serving type: can

12-15-2011 00:01:38 | More by elgiacomo
Photo of elNopalero


3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

An IPA that comes in a can.

This pours a light golden-straw. There’s a light hoppy aroma to this. Nice hop-forward flavor with a pleasant finish. More like a pale ale than an IPA in terms of hoppiness and overall flavor. It just tastes so … watered down. Er, “light.” Not bad but not one I’d pick up in light of other options.

Serving type: can

12-11-2011 01:10:52 | More by elNopalero
Photo of MAB

Alberta (Canada)

4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

Serving type: can

11-19-2011 03:03:46 | More by MAB
Photo of biglobo8971


4.53/5  rDev +19.2%
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.

Serving type: can

11-12-2011 02:47:44 | More by biglobo8971
Photo of kaseydad


3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

Serving type: can

11-10-2011 02:46:08 | More by kaseydad
Photo of kmatlack


4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

Serving type: can

11-05-2011 01:46:20 | More by kmatlack
Photo of k7sw


3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
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.

Serving type: can

11-02-2011 20:47:35 | More by k7sw
Photo of InspectorBob

New Jersey

3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

Serving type: can

10-30-2011 14:30:39 | More by InspectorBob
Photo of secondtooth


3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

Serving type: can

10-28-2011 21:42:49 | More by secondtooth
Big Swell IPA from Maui Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 489 ratings.