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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 warmstorage
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

EDIT 11/30/2010: Had this again, and found it much more interesting. The hoppiness was more pronounced, in a good harsh sort of way, made me think of Chinook. Definitely glad I tried this again! Bumped taste from 3.0 to 4.0, and smell from 3.0 to 3.5.

2008 REVIEW:
12 ounce can was $2.00 from Liquor Collection, Honolulu.

Appearance: medium orange to light red, fairly hazy, but off-white to light beige head that leaves little to no lacing.

Aroma: Some earthy / resiny hops, and a little sweet malt, but underwhelming.

Taste: Again, earthy resiny hops, a slight citrus hop note. A little tiny bit soapy. Some orange notes in the finish.

Mouth: Somewhat warm and slightly sharp, but moderate to light carbonation.

Overall: A drinkable beer, interesting, but unremarkable. Would I drink it again if my other choices were Bikini Blonde, or Kona's Longboard Lager? Absolutely. Would I buy it again given other options? No.

warmstorage, Nov 30, 2010
Photo of PDXHops
4.38/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap in a nonic at Humpy's Big Island Alehouse. Deep see-thru golden body with a bright white soapy head and fairly plentiful lacing.

The utilitarian glassware can't blunt the nose. West Coast all the way- Grapefruit, orange and pine with hints of the sticky icky. A steady stream of bitterness from sip to swallow, but it never approaches palate-wrecking level and doesn't overwhelm the wonderful hop flavors. Grapefruit zest and juice, pine, hints of mango and pineapple. Just-right touch of lightly sweet malt provides a bit of contrast. (Not to be confused with balance; this is a hop showcase). A bit of ganja in the dry and sticky finish.

Overall impression: My favorite beer during my week on the Big Island. I was inspired to by a couple of sixers of cans immediately after lunch to stick in the cooler. Highly recommended.

PDXHops, Nov 26, 2010
Photo of inlimbo77
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed in can and tap in Maui in Sept 2010. Maui Brewery Brewpub in Lahaina

Appearance: mild amber color with 1 1/2 finger head that sticks around for a while. good not great lacing.

Smell: I know there have been mixed reviews, but I loved the smell of this one. great hop aroma in the noise. very pleasing.

Taste: again, really enjoyed this one. good hop finish and overall flavor. similar to the DFH 60 min that I know and love.

Mouthfeel: VERY easy drinking. on honeymoon there and had a steady supply of this in both hotel rooms in Maui and Kauai.

Drinkability: definitely would have this one again. might seek in a trade. not the best, but will always remind me of the trip.


inlimbo77, Nov 24, 2010
Photo of OWSLEY069
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy yellow color with an off white head. In the aroma, mellow orange citrus hops. In the taste, starts a dry pine to orange citrus hops with a nice malt backing. A a small hop bite but mainly smooth and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry small citrus hop in the aftertaste. Nice hops and easy to drink.

OWSLEY069, Nov 19, 2010
Photo of ClarkPinnock
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Onenote81 for giving me a can of this.

This is one of my fist IPA's. Poured a cloudy burnt-orange with a 1/2 inch of head. Good lacing throughout. Definite notes of citrus in the nose. I know there are hops there as well, but not really knowing that hops smell like, I can say authoritatively.

Just the right amount of carbonation, which is at times unusual from a can. Also retains a full mouthful, not thin. Deep notes of citrus run parallel to a bitter flavor. The citrus comes first and fades into the bitterness.

This is very drinkable--providing a depth of flavor beyond what I expected.

ClarkPinnock, Nov 12, 2010
Photo of BeerAndBourbon
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A. Pours a clear orange with a one finger off white creamy head that leaves tons of residual lacing around the glass.

S. Like a pine tree in Hawaii. Pine/grass hops with some tropical fruits - pineapple, mango.

T. Grapefruit dominates upfront with some sweet caramel malt to balance on the tail. As it warms the grapefruit backs off a bit and some pineapple and mango bitterness with some malt sweetness come in to play.

M. Medium body with a medium to high carbonation.

D. Quite drinkable. An interesting balance for an IPA. It seems that the bitterness tends to dominate when it's colder, but as it warms the sweetness comes in more and more. I really liked this initially and then enjoyed the subtle sweetness. As it warmed and the sweetness grew, it became more and more difficult to enjoy. I still enjoyed this brew, but I'd recommend drinking it a bit on the colder side.

BeerAndBourbon, Nov 02, 2010
Photo of Bfarr
4.43/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy orange amber with big tan frothy head with great retention although it ended with clumpy lacing and peaks and valleys. Effervescent sweet citrus and grassy aromas. Nicely balanced yet bold, bright flavor following the nose with the grassy bits being in the end and caramel citrus taste up front. Creamy yet very bubbly mouthfeel.

Something about the aroma in this one is good although not strong or complex it's extremely clear and bright. Citrus flavors are sweet like orange and tangerine with just a splash of grapefruit. There is a nice hop linger but it's not overdone. Really well done simple IPA that is a joy to drink all the way around.

Bfarr, Nov 01, 2010
Photo of Onenote81
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received a 6-pack of this from the great trader, scottfrie. Thanks, Scott!

Can poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark orange with a thick bone-white head on top. Excellent retention; leaves some sticky globs of lace behind. The nose is underwhelming to say the least. Light citrus tones waft out, but nothing is standing out. Not as hoppy as I'd like.

Good smooth mouthfeel with a crisp finish. Carbonation level is good. I've noticed sometimes that beer poured from a can loses some depth in the mouth, but not this one. Retains a nice firm feel. Great bitter hops right off the bat. A sweet kick in the middle with mango and orange flavors. Finish is slightly bittering as well. The flavors don't take a back seat to the bitterness though, great citrusy sweetness that I really dig. I'm glad I got a sixer of this. Great beer.

Onenote81, Oct 26, 2010
Photo of xnicknj
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz can poured into pint glass - thanks to mrmiles for this during the nice cans II BIF

A - Pours a orange-yellow with a thick, bubbly head about two fingers high. Retains nicely with plenty of ringed lacing while drinking.

S - Some grassy hops with hints of tropical fruit and slightly sweet malts.

T - Plenty of juicy, fruity hops in the beginning with notes of citrus zest and apricot. Sweetness creeps in along with some toasted biscuit hints. The malt backbone is lighter but defined, as the beer finishes hoppy with some lingering dryness.

M - Lighter medium body, easy on the carbonation, some creamier tendencies for the style.

D - Quality flavor, little alcohol presence, not overpowering.

A nice IPA in a can for sure, although the nose was pretty subdued.

xnicknj, Oct 19, 2010
Photo of devilben02
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Maui's IPA pours with a hazy, golden, medium-yellow color and a foamy white head, making it look similar to (albeit a bit darker than) the brewery's lager. The similarity stops there, though, with the aroma being packed with a fresh and bold combination of floral and earthy hops. It honestly smells like slicing open a vacuum bag full of hop pellets for a new batch of home brew. The flavor is similarly bursting with a dominant and bold hop bitterness with very little sweetness to balance. The texture is resinous and tongue-coating, letting the hoppy bitterness linger for a few moments. Unfortunately, although the hops are bold and distinct, it comes across as a bit one-dimensional.

I almost expected this to have more pineapple and tropical fruit hop characteristics or even some local botanicals like red ginger or hibiscus, maybe because those kinds of things would have been the obvious gimmicks from a brewery based in Maui. As I noted, though, the hop profile is more woodsy than tropical, and I respect that they didn't give in to gimmicks and chose to make a solid, straight-up IPA instead. In the end, though, I might have preferred the gimmicks to make this one more memorable.

devilben02, Oct 14, 2010
Photo of cokes
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lightly hazy golden-orange topped with a thick carpet of off-white suds. They linger a bit and leave thick rings of lace.
It noses primarily of tropical fruit, apricot, guava, and orange. These are backed with some minty bitterness and a doughy malt base, and a touch of honey sweetness.
The bready malt rolls onto the tongue first. Doughy for the most part, but it gradually grows toastier and nuttier deeper in. The malt/hop interplay brings a fruit punch of pineapple, tangerine, peach, and apricot. It's an outstanding combination, but lacks a bit in clarity and volume. A low-level, pasty bitterness (a la wet aspirin) is the obscuring factor.
Medium bodied with a slow carbonation, gives this a sleekly beefy, almost cask-like feel.
This is a perfectly pleasant, pleasing IPA and was my go-to during my stay on Maui.

cokes, Oct 07, 2010
Photo of alleykatking
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz can. Review from notes...

A- Pours a hazy orange yellow color. One finger white head shows medium retention. Streaky lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- Citrus hops mostly grapefruit and tangerine forward cover the entire aroma. There is some light bready malts that poke their head out from time to time. Piney earthy hops toward the backend but even these are faded when matched up with the citrus hops.

T- Light citrus hop bite in the front. Expected a little more bite from the aroma. Sweet caramel malts shine in the middle adding to the overall sweetness of the beer. Bitter piney hops on the backend help to almost balance this beer out. A little faded in the backend I thought..nothing over the top but a decent IPA.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation was good for the style. Light citrus hops with caramel malts left on the palate. Some malts and piney hops left long into the aftertaste. Clean flavors overall with everything blended together fairly well. Alcohol drying on the palate.

D- A good easy drinking IPA. Almost balanced but the sweetness helps this from making it so. I've had this beer a couple of times now and tend to enjoy it and maybe one day I'll trade for a six pack of it!

alleykatking, Sep 09, 2010
Photo of scottfrie
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz can into pint glass.

A: Light orangey amber with a two finger white head that reduced down into a film leaving decent lacing.
S: Sweet smell for an IPA. Very sugary sweet like candy or sugar cane. Fairly hoppy; citrusy rather than piney with tangerine notes.
T: Exotic fruits. Tangerine, guava, papaya. Very sweet. Hops come in near the end with a bit of bitterness but the beer still finishes sweet. Lots of citrus sugar like ripened sweet fruits.
M: Perfect carbonation. Not too bubbly, nice, smooth and tingly.
D: To sweet to be my favorite IPA, but the beers got a good sweet fruit juice taste. Not nearly as hoppy as they claim though. I might buy this again if I find it for cheap.

scottfrie, Aug 20, 2010
Photo of barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a light golden color with good carbonation and a nice white head

S: Citrus, perhaps some tropical fruits

T: A good tasty IPA, plenty of lighter citrus and tropical fruit and some caramel

M: Nice, refreshing with a subtle hop bite

D: Nice and drinkable

barleywinefiend, Aug 15, 2010
Photo of tr4nc3d
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12fl oz can poured into my pint glass

The pour produced a light golden to slightly light orange color with a huge four inch frothy slightly off-white head. Great head retention that seemed to never want to die down. As it finally did it left bits amount of lacing clinging to the sides of my glass.

The aroma on this one was of slight citrus flavors of tangerines and grapefruit. Floral aromatics of pine and herbal earth like smells followed with a bit of malts.

Taste upfront was of citrus grapefruit and tangerines with a pine bitterness that is slightly high. Slight herbal characteristics show up with a touch of malts in the finish.

Medium bodied with slightly high carbonation.

This IPA is a little on the bitter side but pretty good and something I recommend to try.

tr4nc3d, Aug 10, 2010
Photo of u2carew
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz can!
A) Pours with a finger thick head - wispy, white. Lacing is thin and sticky. Clear body. Bronze in color.
S) Grapefruit. Piney notes.
T) Sharp grapefruit and mixed with mellow caramel malt up front, then mellows considerably by the finish leaving just a mild hop bite that sweet like a peach.
M) Smooth. Medium body on the lighter side. Finishes dry.
D) A great American IPA. I would recommend to others - for sure.

u2carew, Aug 04, 2010
Photo of flagmantho
3.93/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz can into a pint glass.

Appearance: light yellow-orange with a bit of a haze to it and a finger of fluffy ivory head. Not too bad.

Smell: big, funky, almost piney hop aroma. The malt doesn't stand a chance to get through it. Pretty good if you like the funk.

Taste: hops are a little more laid back. Still funky at the front, but with a rich citrus flavor throughout. Additionally, a sweet malt balances out the hops pretty well. Quite tasty indeed.

Mouthfeel: medium body with the beginnings of a bit of a syrupy consistency. Carbonation is moderate, as is the overall mouthfeel.

Drinkability: quite tasty and refreshing. If I could find this around more often, I would drink it more often.

flagmantho, Aug 01, 2010
Photo of dgilks
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Good citrus and pine aroma. Fairly classic resinous American IPA aroma.

Clear, amber colour with a few particulates. Nice, big, fluffy off-white head receding to a patchy foam. Nice lace.

Clean, light malt flavour with a moderate hop flavour and a mild bitterness. Not as big as I expect an IPA to be in any sense.

Medium-light body with moderate carbonation. Nice.

A decent beer but more APA than IPA in my books. It's just a touch disappointing. That said, I love the can.

dgilks, Jul 18, 2010
Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer in a can!!! Yeee HAW!! Actually, damn good beer in a can, who'd'a thunk it? Head pours nice and creamy, settles quickly down but leaves good lace. Color is a nice amber with a slight haze. Smell is big on the hops, and even has some sweet malt in there. Good stuff. Flavor is big and hoppy, with a good malt backbone. Almost DIPA like, but just shy. Pretty well balanced actually. This is a pleasant surprise all the way 'round. Even some sweet and citrusy notes on the palate. Finish is long and slightly bitter in a good way. Great beer and well priced at $10/6-er. Find and drink, mis amigos!!!

SolomonGrundy, Jul 16, 2010
Photo of Rbald42
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Einweizenbitte for sending this as an extra.

Appearance is a clear golden yellow with a nice 1 inch head. No lacing left on the glass as it went down. Smell was some pine and grassy hops along with sweet malt. Not much going on with the nose of this brew. Taste was very sweet in my opinion. A earthy toasted feel to the malt with some grassy and bitter hops on the finish. Just average overall imo. Mouthfeel was a tad thin, but good overall. This was a drinkable beer and I could enjoy a few, but as it warmed it became considerably sweeter and less enjoyable.

Rbald42, Jul 03, 2010
Photo of ccrida
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a few sixers of these cans in Kauai, even though it's available here, I'd never sprung for it, but the cans were perfect for the beach, and I figured it would be on the fresher side (even though apparently all of the locals drink lager a la heineken or coors light). Appearance is dark god with a big, sticky head.

Smell is very strong, citrus hops and big, sweet bready malt. Rich and a bit forboding, if not so pleasantly hoppy.

Taste is definately on the malty side, and it has a big of that aged sweet citrus IPA vibe that makes me think this might not be so fresh after all. But the hop flavor was still big,with some snap to it, and it went well with the robust maltiness and moderate bitterness.

Mouthfeel is oily, a bit chewy, medium bodied.

Drinkability is good, a nice hearty IPA that keep me full while lounging on the beach. Must be kept cold though to quench, and would be more suited to my taste if it weren't as malty.

ccrida, Jun 29, 2010
Photo of mithrascruor
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. can poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a hazy golden-copper color. Really big rocky off-white head. Some visible carbonation.

Smell: Nice citrus/hop aroma. A bit on the sweeter side, but it works to give it a refreshing aroma.

Taste: Good refreshing taste. Citrus and a bit of pine. A little bitter at the finish. None of the sweetness that was in the smell - I think a little would have actually been interesting here.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and quite smooth. Light carbonation.

Drinkability: Good ABV, easy to drink.

One of the more refreshing and drinkable IPAs. I like where Maui Brewing is taking things.

mithrascruor, Jun 26, 2010
Photo of goatgoat
3.48/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint. Color is a hazy sunflower gold with hints of orange. Big frothy eggshell head leaves a sticky lace. Aroma is pine and grapefruit. There's less body, malt backbone than many other IPAs, which makes it seem a little thin to me. Sharp hop bite with a nice lingering bitterness.

I prefer my IPAs a bit heavier. This was good but a little watery.

goatgoat, Jun 22, 2010
Photo of rwf08
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz can into a DFH football shaped pint.

A: Slightly hazy amber color. Generous head that dwindles down to a creamy stable thin head. Sticky spotty lacing.

S: Nothing too special. Kind of sweet at first with a faint yeast smell and some hops on the back. I would like more aroma but it could be a date issue, I have had this beer for a few months now.

T: I don't know why but I keep getting a yeasty flavor and smell. A nice malt sweetness and some hop bitterness. Could use more hops.

M: It has a good smooth mouthfeel that is very nice. But I like my IPAs thinner. Still, I can't look past the silkyness of this beer. Odd...

D: I like it alright. Not my favorite IPA but it'll do in a pinch. Since I can't get this anywhere near Tx I don't think I'll search it out.

rwf08, Jun 17, 2010
Photo of laituegonflable
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly pale gold colour with modest head of small bubbles. Leaves a small trail of pleasant cloudy lace behind. Slow bead up the glass, clear body. Decent, but not exciting at all.

Nose is more exciting. Lots of hops on that. Fresh, grassy and fruity with slight herbal note of rosemary, some passionfruit and lime zest. Great malty backbone as well, quite strong with caramel underlying it all. Fresh, sweet, pleasant, yeah my kind of nose.

Taste is very nice, huge malt bomb really with sweet caramelised barley notes and a lot of pleasant chestnut character. Earthy notes, bordering on savoury on the mid. Hints of lemon zest on the front and then again on the back, zesty bitterness providing a good grounding to it. Yeah, slight citric hop on the back but not a huge deal, enough to tell you it's there. Doesn't leave much aftertaste but the finish is zesty, lightly bitter, it evolves naturally from the malty front palate.

I tasted this blind so I was thinking barleywine; the hops just didn't leap out at me like I would expect from an IPA. But that's because the balance here is magnificent; there is distinct bitterness on the back but it just creeps smoothly in from the very pleasant maltiness. Feel is smooth, a bit sticky as well and it coats the mouth as it goes down. Not dry and no rough edges.

This is a tasty drinking beer. Balanced and dignified for all its aloha big kahuna surfing logo design, etc.

laituegonflable, Jun 10, 2010
Big Swell IPA from Maui Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 608 ratings.