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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

580 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 580
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: 580 | Reviews: 223 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of augustgarage
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz can into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Clear tangerine liquid is graced by a seashell crown which threatens to climb out of the glass before receding to a solid finger, then a hefty mesa surrounded by a wide soapy collar. Sticky, rich lacing adheres to the sides in masses.

Bright citrus-heavy hops with a bit of evergreen and mint in the nose. Faint toast aroma as well.

Bitter, earthy, with a hint of peach and pepper on the palate. Forest floor and fruit is matched to an almost syrupy malt flavor which adds sweetness and bread notes. The balance is a bit odd, and the hops don't meld quite as successfully as the top-tier examples of the style - still the flavor is good.

Medium-light bodied, faintly slick, with moderate carbonation and maybe a bit of astringency hiding behind the bitterness and sugars.

Reminds me of some of the "East Coast" IPAs I've had in the past, though it isn't a carbon-copy of any one in particular.

Not amazing, but a great value.

augustgarage, May 11, 2010
Photo of hawks10
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz can poured into a pint glass...

Pours a nice deep golden color with one finger of soft white head...leaves some lacing...

Citrusy hops mixed with a good amount of sweet malt makes for a heavy smelling, well balanced beer...

Sweet tropical fruits at first, resinous, piny hop oil. Plenty of sweet malts to back up the nice hop bite...

Medium bodied, more chewy than expected. Resinous and sticky...good carbonation...

Definitely something I would pick up as a "house beer" if it were available by me...

hawks10, May 06, 2010
Photo of indiapaleale
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour - shiny, sunny golden color like a morning sunrise perhaps? Foamy almost dry looking head with some big bubble action and an almost frozen look in the glass.

Aroma - tangerine, orange, canned pineapple, lemon peel and dried mango slices. Not a whole lot of fresh hop aroma but more of the sweet, tropical fruit smells that some IPA exhibit more than the pine and grapefruit.

Taste - sweet fruit flavors followed by some stringent bitterness on the tongue. Very well put together IPA with some really nice hop flavors that are balanced nicely by a sweetness that is not just caramel and malt but more of tropical fruit profile. Similar a bit to Drifter from Widmer if you've had that. More than anything this is very drinkable, thirst-quenching and just plain good.

Overall - I really liked this IPA. The tropical fruit flavors are very refreshing and this beer is not overly hoppy but still assertive enough to make you know its not just a pale ale. Plenty of tongue numbing IBUs to please any hophead but also enough flavor to keep you going back to the cooler for can after can.

Would I buy more of it? - sure, I am a fiend when it comes to IPAs in cans!

indiapaleale, Apr 28, 2010
Photo of kirkpjr
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip.

A: Pours a nice 3 finger head. Golden/copper amber color. Nice lacing throughout the glass.

S: Tangerine and citrus hops, these are Simcoe I suppose? Faint malts in the nose too.

T: Nice grapefruit and citrus hop taste. Also some pine here. A nice bitter taste upfront with a sweet malt to follow.

M: Resinous hop tastes linger. Moderate to high carbonation, although this might have been due to the vigorous pour.

D: Very smooth drinking IPA. Would love to have access to this.

kirkpjr, Apr 07, 2010
Photo of hooliganlife
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

pours hazy yellow with hints of copper. massive pillow like head that slowly leaves cloud like retention. great lacing.

very light, mainly light bready malts. very faint hints of citrus. needs more.

light citrus hops, hints of orange and pineapple. faint malts through out. very light in flavor. a bit of a malty finish. light citrus aftertaste.

light and easy, light carbonation.

this was pretty easy drinking. nothing stood out at all. the hops were VERY faint which is bad for an IPA. it blended well over all however it needs more flavor. i cannot see myself searching for this again but if i stumbled upon it on tap, i would for sure try it.

hooliganlife, Apr 06, 2010
Photo of washburnkid
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

reviewed from notes.

A: 3 full fingers of beige head over a hazy orange/amber; great retention and lacing.
S: I would love for this to be more hoppy on the nose (whether it be pine, citrus, or florals, especially with the cascades in there). In the beginning, I get mostly malts. No dates on the can, so that's not helpful to me. There's a bit of citrus struggling to come out with some warmth, but it's hard to discern through the biscuit aromas. I get some unspecific fruity esters.
T: Some toasty malts, not as biscuity as on the nose. A little bit of woodiness that I think fits in nicely. Those hops do add a nice bitterness and are citrusy. A lot more balanced in the flavor than I expected.
M: Medium body, great carbonation, makes for a smooth drinking IPA.
D: A pretty steep price for an ok IPA. I can pay a lot less to get something local with a lot more flavor and character to it.

washburnkid, Mar 23, 2010
Photo of sholland119
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Nate for bringing this back from Hawaii and allowing us to take it home.

A-Clear pale apricot with a thin off white head and good sticky lacing.

S-Floral hops and good bready malt. Nicely balanced.

T-Orange citric bitterness with less malt presence than expected in the nose. Quite tasty though. A nicely bitter orange rind finish.

M-Light bodied, crisp and dry. Refreshing.

D-Really tasty and sessionable. I'd seek this one out.


sholland119, Mar 17, 2010
Photo of beertunes
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into 12oz straight glass. Poured a golden yellow with an inch of white head that had good retention and lacing.

The aroma was a straight forward hop scent, with no sign of malt in the nose. The flavor was mostly bitter grapefruit/citrus hops. The body was typical for the style. Drinkabilty was also just about what you'd expect for this style.

Overall, a fairly typical and upfront IPA, worth a shot if you see it.

beertunes, Mar 06, 2010
Photo of largadeer
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Always nice to see canned IPAs. 12 oz can to glass, the beer is copper-colored with a moderate haze. Nicely carbonated, the small white head retains well.

The nose has a juicy tropical fruit aroma, almost like Juicy Fruit gum, with notes of fresh herbs and citrus. I also pick up a faint metallic aroma beneath the hops.

Surprisingly light on the palate, there's a fair amount of juicy, fruity hop flavor but little bitterness to back it up. Sweetness is at a lower moderate level, fruity in character and pleasantly light on the palate. I get a mineral twang up front, but it's quickly washed away by malt and hops. The finish is lightly bitter, with lingering leafy hop flavors and a touch of biscuit-like malt. Very mild and accessible stuff, enjoyable but far from transcendent.

largadeer, Mar 01, 2010
Photo of brownbeer
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz can; looks deep golden with a white head.

The smell and taste are both packed with fresh, aromatic floral hops with a nice doughy malt backbone. Lighter bodied and very pleasant to drink, almost sessionable.

Another great beer from a can. This seems to be a growing trend, and I like it.

brownbeer, Feb 19, 2010
Photo of yemenmocha
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on draft at brewery and Westin on Maui, January 2010. Slightly lighter color and more mellow flavors than canned version. Pours a pale amber color with enormous white head that retains well and laces nicely in my glass. Nose has a clean, bready aroma with some citrusy hops to make things interesting. On the palate there is a very nice balance of toasty malt with juicy-fruit hops of the usual variety for IPA's. Finish has even more citrusy hops and again some of the fresh bready flavors/aromas mentioned earlier. Drinkable for the style.

yemenmocha, Jan 27, 2010
Photo of portia99
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz can received as an extra in a trade with jodan. Thanks Jordan! Poured into a Bruery tulip.

A - Pours a pale orangey gold. Topped with a thick 3 fingers of thick off white head. Foam has good staying power and leaves thick, sticky lacing on the glass as it slowly fades away. Leaves several thick, high islands of foam on the surface. Good looking IPA.

S - Tons of hops up front, citrusy - grapefruity goodness and appropriately (based on where its made) some nice pineapple aromas too. Also some fresh cut grass and just a hint of pine. In the background is a small amount of balancing sweet maltiness.

T - Flavor is strong in citrus, mostly oranges with sharp crisp grapefruit, and some tropical fruitiness, mangos. Bitterness is nice and sharp and goes well with the overall fruitiness of this beer. Some sugary malt with touches of biscuits. Nice, enjoyable IPA.

M - Medium bodied, maybe a touch on the lighter side. Carbonation is medium, pretty much right on for style. Just enough tingle in the mouth. Sticky and resiny hops coat the mouth and leaves a nice lingering citrus behind after the swallow.

D - Very nice, and well balanced IPA. Definitely balanced to the hoppy side, as an IPA should be, but has a very smooth yet crisp bitterness that goes down really easily. Nothing over the top here. Good IPA for those looking for lots of hop flavor and moderate bitterness. Quite sessionable as far as IPA's go. Glad to finally try this one - would definitely welcome more of this.

portia99, Jan 17, 2010
Photo of RedBrewer83
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass...

A: Pours a golden yellow with hints of amber orange. Head is huge, four fingers of creamy off white head that refuses to fall, very sticky and lingers throughout the duration of the beer.

S: Surprisingly it is kind of muted...not a lot going on here. Faint citrus and pine with a faint malt backbone....Does smell fresh though.

T: Lots of citrus hops, grapefruit with a hint of tangerine. Faint piney hops lingering with the malt. Tastes fresh as if off draft. Very nice, not overly complex though. Wish it had a little more to offer.

M: Medium body, slightly watery unfortunately...carbonation is crisp but slightly weak. The head offers a slight creaminess that is pretty nice.

D: Drinkable as a beverage, needs a little more depth to keep me coming back for flavor experience. Pretty good overall, expected more for the price....

RedBrewer83, Jan 08, 2010
Photo of srandycarter
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Clar light honey small head some sudsey cling lace.

S - Piney hops are huge. Malt back notes, fresh and nice.

T - Taste follow smell not as hoppy or flavorful as smell, though.

M - Med body, heavy on hops for balance,

D- Nice beer, could have a hour or two with it.

srandycarter, Dec 22, 2009
Photo of mikesgroove
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Grabbed this one out of the fridge to start the weekend at Lunch today. Served in a pint glass cold out of the can, this one was consumed on 12/12/2009.

Nice pour, classic amber color with a nice head of white dropping in on top at a height of around two inches, faded back into a broken crown but left some nice lacing around the edges of the glass. Aroma is sharp, citrus hops all the way, even after warming pineapple and orange are the dominant aromas here for sure. First sip is just what I needed. Sharp citrus bite right off the bat just jumps right out at me, classic. Crisp, clean with a nice buttery malt profile coming through mid palate and a nice sharp, lightly dry finsih and superb drinkability.

Overall a classic west coast IPA with a smooth, crisp, clean finish and solid all around taste. I would be happy to throw down a sixer of this one anyday

mikesgroove, Dec 12, 2009
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lightly hazy Sunkist orange that indicates something darker than pale malt has been used. The golden ecru colored crown has tremendous texture, with all sort of visually interesting topography and a lovely array of lace on the upper reaches of the glass.

The nose is wonderfully aromatic. That's to be expected with a lupulus lineup that includes Columbus, Amarillo, Centennial and Cascade. Not a bad one in the bunch. Specifics include grapefruit, orange and a ganja-like dankness that is usually due to aged Cascade.

If you like hoptastic American IPAs, then Big Swell will probably hit you the same way it's hitting me. This is damn good stuff that I made sure to review within several weeks of having acquired it. All 65 IBUs feel like they're present and accounted for.

The beer crashes over the tongue in a wave of alpha acids, but it's far from abusive. The pale (and lightly toasted) malts provide just enough background sweetness and flavor to give the little green cones some contrast. White grapefruit rind is still going strong (classic Centennial) and the rest of the flavor rundown doesn't change much from the description seen above.

The body/mouthfeel easily keeps pace. It's substantial right out of the gate, stays strong along the backstretch and barely eases at the wire. Wonderful carbonation is, no doubt, most of the reason why.

Although all of the Maui canned beers are good, Big Swell IPA is my clear favorite. As a certified hophead, that's probably to be expected. This is a classic example of the style that has no (count 'em... zero) faults. Too bad this single isn't a sixer.

BuckeyeNation, Nov 21, 2009
Photo of Lothore
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a deep, clear, copper color with a 1 finger off white head.

S- Caramel, big and malty with hints of floral hops.

T- Malty up front, lots of caramel leading to a small hop kick.

M- A little thick and creamy. Lots of carbonation.

D- Not a bad beer but not one that I particularly enjoyed.

Lothore, Nov 05, 2009
Photo of jhoban19
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap, served in a room temp tulip.

A: a bit hazy, bubbly orange. not quite 2 fingers of off-white foam with decent lacing.

S: a good balance of malt/bread/hops, more so than my sample form the 12oz. can. honey and lemon also present. that said, I'm not sure if it was the serving type or the chilled vs. room temp glass. I say this because I had another serving from the can in a room temp glass and the smell/taste was similar to that of the draft whereas the hops were overpowered in the chilled glass. maybe the first sample was old... anyway....

T: again, a very good balance of hops and malt. the hops are more prevalent this time around and present throughout. a nice citrus feel as well.

M: well carbonated, dry on the finish, hops really linger at the back of the tongue.

D: this sample was considerably better than my first sample from the 12oz. can. maybe this was simply fresher. overall, a very good IPA.

jhoban19, Oct 27, 2009
Photo of snaotheus
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz can poured into a little hotel glass.

Looks an orangey amber color, medium to low head. Smells of honeysuckle and tropical fruit with hops in the background.

Taste is sweet and hoppy, very floral, slightly citrus, nice sour-bitter hops background.

Mouthfeel is light, very drinkable, especially on a hot humid day in Hawaii.

snaotheus, Oct 11, 2009
Photo of callmescraps
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Been checking out the sweet cans for months, finally got around to trying it.

Appearance - Orange copper color. Two inches of tan foamy head. It laces some, but not great.

Smell - Hoppy citrus and grapefruit. Definitely a hint of apricot. There is a definite caramel malt back. It's a nice smell, but not overwhelming. Didn't knock my socks off.

Taste - Follows the smell. Really quite nice. The light citrus and apricot comes through. There is a nice biscuit following. The aftertaste leaves something to be desired. Caramel sticky sweetness on the end.

Mouthfeel - Good and creamy, without being syrup. Very nice.

Drinkability - Definitely solid. Wish I had another sixer.

This is a really underrated beverage. Well, maybe properly rated but under discussed. It's a great west coast IPA, and possibly my favorite IPA from a can. (If Gordon is an IPA, then this is probably second by a hair). A very pleasant surprise. I'll be having it again.

callmescraps, Oct 08, 2009
Photo of brentk56
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with a sturdy whipped egg white head that leaves a nice ring of lacing

Smell: Resinous, but primarily grapefruit juice; a real smell from the tropics, with pineapple undertones

Taste: Opens with a nice biscuity flavor that qiuckly moves in a sweet and fruity, floral grapefruit direction by mid-palate; the swallow is pure grapefruit with hints of pineapple; rather sweet, but I like it

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Sweetness rules, by golly, and this is one refreshing IPA; very tropical and I wonder if Maui has considered mixing a little coconut into the concoction to make a pina colada IPA to match their Coconut Porter

Thanks, atigerlife, for the opportunity

brentk56, Sep 16, 2009
Photo of woodychandler
4.43/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I had some of this last year while staying with LaiLani in Oxnard, CA but since my notes are with a transcriptionist, I decided to go with the "No Time Like the Present" fall-back position. That and the fact that my CAN-CAN days may be ending simply because I am running out of new beers to review. The next series will be a nautical theme in deference to my standing as a retired enlisted person in Uncle Sugar's Canoe Club aka the US Navy. Stand by!

The wide-mouth can poured like a champ, creating two fingers' worth of French Vanilla-colored head, but with only mild retention. Boo hoo. Color was a cloudy, hazy sunshine yellow. Nose was very piney with hops. My mouth immediately began to water. Mouthfeel was medium with a really hoppy presence on the tongue. My jones started to fade. Damn the pusher man who first turned me onto American IPAs! Bless those who provide me my fix! Feeling like a champ, I swallowed, allowing the hops to just coarse through my veins and quiet that howling freakin' monkey on my back. Ohhh my. Let's just say that I got right off of this and leave it at that. Say, anybody help a brother out with a coupla bucks for some IPA? This Hawaiian shiznit was kinda expensive, you dig? Dang good, though. I'm goin' back for another hit, I mean, CAN.

woodychandler, Jul 27, 2009
Photo of Genghis22
4.13/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Stamped 04-09-09 on the bottom.

A - Pours a clear bright golden yellow with a big frothy white head.

S - A blast of hops right as I popped open the can. The nose is full of big floral hoppy goodness. There is a touch of something sweet at the end, perhaps pineapple.

T - Smooth mellow malt at first, with a big punch of hops afterwards. Lots of strong piney grassy hops, and dry bittering hops in the finish. The aftertaste has a bit of sweetness to it, again I taste just the faintest little bit of pineapple.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. This one goes down pretty easy though, very crisp and refreshing.

D - Aloha! I could put this baby away all day long. More please!

Genghis22, Jun 30, 2009
Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Who knew that two of the best beers I would have all day would be from cans! This as well as the 21st Amendment Watermelon Wheat.
This beer pours a light golden amber in color. A very nice inch or two of head forms on the pour and sticks around for a while. Plenty of hops in the nose. Taste is very balanced and hoppy at the same time. Very good hop profile and very well balanced and put together.
Very easy drinking and quite enjoyable. I could see myself drinking quite a few of these. Perfect for fishing trips in these cans. Well done.

FtownThrowDown, May 27, 2009
Photo of illidurit
3.3/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Can poured into a pint glass. Golden amber color, good clarity, nice off-white cap of foam. Aroma is orange and grapefruit hoppiness, with a little pine and a little neutral malt. Flavor is rather muted. Tastes like a 'diet IPA.' The orangey tropical hops are there, and the pine is there, and the pale malt is there, but there's no robustness. Watery, a little soapy, and with low bitterness. Above average but not a great IPA by any means.

illidurit, May 18, 2009
Big Swell IPA from Maui Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 580 ratings.