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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 surfer4life
4.43/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass from a 12oz can.

A - Pours a transparent golden with a huge fluffy white head which recedes to a small layer of foam that hung around a while, good lacing.

S - While there is the scent of hops in the nose, the caramely malt comes through big time. Even some hints of citrus fruits, not the typical grapefruit though...even some apple.

T - Wonderful balance on this one, proves to be hoppier than was detected in the nose. Front as nice sweetness. Getting some caramel and apples in this big time. Finish is nice and hoppy not overpowering at all, but what you would expect from a well balanced IPA.

M - The body is medium with a medium carbonation, excellent drying.

D - I would say this could quite possibly be my perfect session beer, comes in the can, perfect balance and 6%. A sixer would do it. Great beer.

surfer4life, May 16, 2009
Photo of aforbes10
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sixer of nice looking cans from the Davis, CA Co-Op. Pours a nice orange yellow with perfect clarity and a tall white head that falls off relatively fast. Sticky remnants of head cling to the glass, and the beer produces a good amount of bubbles rising throughout. Mix of floral and citrus hops on the nose, as well a good, obvious sweet malt presence. Flavor has a lot of hop taste, definitely more of a citrus character here. Malt backbone backs it up and makes it sweet and caramel-like. Bitterness on the finish is obvious but still reserved enough not to dominate the flavor. medium bodied. A nice drinker, I love that it's another great craft beer that i can get in cans.

aforbes10, May 15, 2009
Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.13/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours out a hazy, orange-gold color. Loose, fluffy, off-white head sits on top and drags nice web-like lacing. Nice retention to boot.

Smell: Sweet citric hops, caramel, mild pine, and some butterscotch? Yep, butterscotch. Toasted malt in the beginning, caramel, and possibly even nuts in the back. Smells tasty and quite sweet.

Taste: Juicy pineapple, orange, and grapefruit along with some honeydew melon. Tangy. Good deal of bitter hops, but they're balanced nicely by caramel and toasted malt. Some spice, dusty pine, and honeysuckle as well. Nicely done.

Mouthfeel: Spicy and actively carbonated. Creamy, medium bodied, very well balanced, and just... fun. Crisp, with a long lasting aftertaste. Very smooth and enjoyable.

Drinkability: Hell yes! This is a great summertime IPA.

Nick: =4.4
Justin: =3.925
Average: =4.1625

Wiseman Justin reviwing on May 9, 2010; poured into a nonic pint glass. Reviews were averaged.

Appearance: Looks like some delicious beer. Pours out a thick two finger head that doesn't hang around all that much. Fluffy lacing sticks tot he glass. Cloudy honey colored beer that is spot on for the style. 4.5

Smell: I'm getting something sweet although it is too mild to identify. Slight citrus. This is either weak or boring. I've been hit in the nose before with an IPA. This beer does not do that. 3.0

Taste: I get some caramel ? The citrus is definitely there. A strong malt component rounds the beer out at the end. This IPA is very light and tasty. It's called "Big Swell" but it's not big at all. It's great and light. This beer would pair well with many foods. I get a strong oak finish. Very good! 4.0

Mouthfeel: Not as chewy as I like in this style, it's got some 'chew' but nothing to talk about. For a pale ale this is perfect. For an IPA I want something a little more. 3.75

Drinkability: How can I complain about this light, wonderful tasting, very drinkable beer? 4.5

ThreeWiseMen, May 11, 2009
Photo of ckeegan04
4.18/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Cloudy golden yellow with a big foamy head. Excellent retention and lacing. Very active carbonation bubbles quickly rising to the top.

S - Citrusy aroma dominates, lots of hops. A light candied fruit sweetness underneath. No noticeable malt mixed in.

T - Light sweetness initially before a very strong, but not overwhelming citrus hoppiness comes through. Excellent mix of grapefruit and tangerine dominate. Light biscuity sweetness underneath. Mildly astringent.

M/D - Medium bodied with a light chewiness. Well carbonated, almost too much so. Easy drinking.

ckeegan04, Apr 19, 2009
Photo of MasterSki
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this in the recent Secret Bunny BIF - thanks Kevin (mymrnngjckt)! Served in my Surly pint glass.

Biases - I love beer from a can, Lahaina, and baseball (it's Opening Day), so I may be a little manic today.

A - Two fingers of frothy white foam that takes forever to dissipate and leaves tons of soapy lacing. Hazed glowing golden color with a few tiny bubbles. Among the best looking IPAs I've seen (and I've seen a lot).

S - I was worried this might be old as it came all the way from Maui somehow, but after one whiff my fears where quelled. Loads of tangy bitter citrus (lemon, grapefruit) with some pine as well, over top of some light biscuity malt. Very refreshing!

T - The taste is a bit more subdued - lots of pine and floral hoppiness with a hint of lemon zest. There's a fair bit of bread and biscuit maltiness as well. Very balanced - I'm guessing it has a little bit of age on it (1-2 months) - but it's still quite nice. I'd have scored it higher if I'd been told it was an English IPA. Very mild bitterness in the aftertaste.

M - Medium bodied, and very creamy and smooth. I don't think I've ever said this before for an IPA, but it's actually kind of undercarbonated - a little bit syrupy. Lots of residual oily hop resin.

D - This will be my session beer if I ever get back to Hawaii. Just a really solid IPA - nice flavor, feel, aftertaste. I definitely feel warmer after drinking it.

MasterSki, Apr 06, 2009
Photo of jackorain
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured a cloudy dark colored straw. Held up to the light, I see a swirling sediment almost like a hefe. Stark white head hung around a little while and fell to a tall collar and splotchy coat.

Caramel malt, biscuit malt and citrus hops up front. Deeper whiffs bring a more complex citrus hop profile with tangerine, grapefruit, and orange rind.

Sweet caramel malt first, which is followed by orange peel with a bit pith as well. The middle brings a moderate amount of bitter grapefruit. The finish is a lingering light to moderate bitterness combined with a syrupy sweetness.

A bit watery with a light body and very light carbonation. Very wetting on the palate.

I could easily drink a few of these but there are better IPAs

Thanks for Reading

jackorain, Apr 01, 2009
Photo of PittBeerGirl
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Very cool extra from Floydster in a trade!

A- Body is a bright, vibrant amber color that has minimal fogginess. Pours with a nice approximately 1 finger slightly off-white head. Head eventually fades to a thick collar and some lacing can be seen down the glass.

S- This has a nice crisp, hoppy nose. Piny hops dominate but there are some citrus hops in the background.

T- Good, classic, West Coast IPA flavor. Lots of hop flavors upfront that are mostly citrus and pine with a slight sweet malty background. The finish is all refreshing piny hop flavor and no bitterness lingers. Pretty clean all the way through.

M- Light body with medium carbonation. Body is a bit lighter than most IPAs but not thin in any way and offers some hop oils.

D- This is one awesome IPA. Its not the biggest, or the hoppiest, or the most complex, but it sure is one of the most enjoyable. Great classic West Coast IPA with nothing crazy going on.

PittBeerGirl, Mar 23, 2009
Photo of drgonzo3705
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

A: Pours a light copper color with a fluffy white head that recedes to a thin head but leaves nice sticky lacing in its absence.

S: Very citrusy. Grapefruit light pine and a little pineapple. Very pleasant.

T: Just like it smells. It seems to lose a little flavor on the back end though.

M: Light to medium body. Nice and hoppy.

D: I could drink this all day! Very easy drinker here guys give it a shot!

drgonzo3705, Mar 20, 2009
Photo of willjschmidt
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz can into a New Belgium globe glass.

A: Pours an orangish light copper color.

S: Some light citrus and pale malt.

T: A good IPA. Light citrus in the form of orange. Very well balanced over a nice pale malt. The finish is some slightly spicy hops.

M: Medium bodied, average carbonation.

D: A good IPA, extra points for coming in a can.

willjschmidt, Mar 13, 2009
Photo of BigBry
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Mike and Brandee for bringing it back a mixed 6 pack, and for sharing. 12 oz can as pictured above.
Poured a deep golden color, with a thick white head. Long lasting foam, and good looking lacing. Lots of hop smells, piney, grapefruit, even picked up some sweet pineapple aroma. Very solid hop kick, piney, sour citrus, nice fruity bitterness to finish. Lots of flavor, but still within balance. Good body and texture, appropriate carbonation. We all agreed that this was a very nice suprise, a very good IPA. Add another can to my collection.

BigBry, Feb 20, 2009
Photo of PeprSprYoFace
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an orange-copper color with a small head that provided decent lacing down the glass.

Smells of sweet citrusy hops. The Maori sweetnes comes through. A little more hop aroma would be nice.

Taste is kind of sweet but with a hoppy kick. Pretty good if you ask me. Wish there was a little more hop flavour.

Mouthfeel is kind of thin to me. A little watery in the end.

Drinkability is good because it is easy drinking. I will have this again.

PeprSprYoFace, Feb 15, 2009
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Can: Poured a bright orangey color ale with a rather large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of citrus and grapefruit hops seems very fresh with a subtle caramel malt base. Taste is also dominated by some green citrus and grapefruit hops with a subtle malt base sustaining quite well the hops profile. Full body with good carbonation. Better then expected and very well done for a West Coast IPA.

Phyl21ca, Feb 06, 2009
Photo of jpalarchio
4.18/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought a sampler pack from the brewery and brought it back home. Didn't have time to try this one on draft.

Yep, it's in a can. I can't remember the last time I popped a can open. I've heard some small breweries are going in this direction, this is my first experience.

Even from the small opening of the can, the hoppy smell is strong; pretty much exactly the strength that I like in an IPA.

Pours a bit cloudy, almost a neon-orange color.

Taste is excellent. I was concerned how this beer would travel the long flight back, especially given an overnight delay that we had.

I have to say this is one fine beer, I'd be open to consuming many more if it were available locally. The can format would be nice for snowboarding, very easy to carry in a backpack. Can't say I would know it came from a can.

Good job Maui Brewing Co., a quality beer that you have here.

Oddly enough, while on Maui it was really a hunt to find any decent beer. About half-way through our trip I was finally able to locate some Rogue beers. Not sure why the local brewery isn't more readily available, distribution seemed to be small.

jpalarchio, Jan 27, 2009
Photo of RodBurg
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a sweet looking can with a date of 082508 on the bottom. I'm a little leery being that I bought the six pack from BevMo and its been sitting at a warm room temperature since August. Looks magnificent in the glass. A beautiful, hazy, deep golden color with a thick white head and excellent lacing. Just looking at the pint glass is making my mouth water.

Tons of pine in the nose. Grapefruit, tropical flowers, orange peel, with a hint of fresh baked bread.

A tidal wave of hops hits the palate first. Very piney with tart and sour citrus notes. Papaya and spearmint enter the mix and its ends with lightly bitter hop notes and a bread dough aftertaste.

This one was a huge surprise. Probably one the best IPA's I've ever had. Excellent flavor and balance and very refreshing. And its in cans! I know what I'm taking to the beach this summer.

RodBurg, Jan 16, 2009
Photo of BrewerB
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a medium orange with yellow highlights. Thin white head retains well but lacks dimension. Some lacing appears.

S - Blend of mango, pineapple, and orange peel. Seems appropriate for a beer brewed in Hawaii. Hard to detect the malt presence.

T - Moderately bitter, mango and fruit loops, nice dry finish, clean malt and fermentation character.

M - Medium. Moderate-high carbonation. Smooth.

D - Quite high. Could put back a few cans or more without much trouble. Good balance, pleasingly dry finish.

BrewerB, Jan 01, 2009
Photo of HopDerek
4.22/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up while out in SoCal earlier this month.

Pours a nice gold color with amber highlights. Two fingers of foamy eggshell colored head has good retention, leaving nice sticky lacing and some foamy clumps on top of the beer. Smells like a West Coast hop lovers dream, citrus fruits like oranges, pineapple, grapefruit, and mango mixed with some spices, honey, grain, and pine resin. Tastes of sweet citrus fruits like pineapple, oranges, mango, and a touch of grapefruit with some light biscuit and caramel. Finishes with a good amount of resiny pine notes. A little bit weaker than a sniff or two envision, but still very good. Medium in body with nice carbonation. Sweet with a touch of spice and a nice lingering bitter finish. A great canned IPA that I'd definitely take with me if I was camping or hanging out poolside or on the beach, and it wouldn't be too shabby to drink just sitting around the house either.

HopDerek, Dec 10, 2008
Photo of ffejherb
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. can into DFH specialty glass on 12/8/08

A - Clear orange body with moderate carbonation and almost two full fingers of rocky white head that settled into a thin ring of retention but decorated the glass with all kinds of sticky lacing.

S - Right off the bat, this IPA opens with a huge smack of citrus hops featuring a predominant grapefruit character with hints of orange and pineapple. Malt is sweet and caramely with a subtle toasted grainy character in the back.

T - Again, this IPA is all about the citrus. We're talkin' tangy grapefruit, sweet pineapple and juicy orange. Scrumptious! Hops are kept in check by a sturdy malt backbone with sweet caramel and toasted grains.

M - Medium body with a slight syrupy texture, yet so smooth and creamy. Carbonation is pretty soft initially, but provides a slight prickle the longer you swish it around. Finish is moderately bitter with some residual hop oils deposited on the palate.

D - Fantastic IPA with a bold citrus character and enough of a malt presence to keep things in balance. This one definitely screams West Coast. Simply a great, all-around IPA.

ffejherb, Dec 08, 2008
Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clouded orange hued amber with a creme head. Nose is all pine and citrus hops. Flavor brings the same with an earthy backbone it seems. A fair amount of malts are present it seems. Feel has a thicker liquid body. Carbonation is full. This is a fairly easy to drink IPA. Thick enough flavor to keep it interesting, but not so ridiculously obnoxious that it puts it in another level.

Thanks to srroos for this one!

RblWthACoz, Nov 13, 2008
Photo of Sammy
3.93/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks for the hitchhiker TorchedNoodle. Pours deep golden yellow, initially lots of white head that dissipitates. Grapefruit aroma, and taste. Average mouthfeel, very drinkable and satisfying. A bit stinging on the tongue, comment on the carbonation? Mildly astringent.Above average for style.

Sammy, Nov 13, 2008
Photo of DoubleJ
3.98/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce can from O'Shea's, on to the beer:

Big and rocky is the head (more than two finger's thick and retaining well), the beer is copperish, but more orange. The smell...a smackdown of hops from the can, more mellow and balanced from the glass. Piney and metallic with a bit of malt mixed in. As for taste, this has a good malty backbone to support this hoppy monster. The oily and smooth texture is nice, but lacks some carbonation IMO. Leafy hop and notes of green tea. A squirt of citrus comes in, then the hops smackdown on the palate and stick to it in the aftertaste.

Do cans mute some of the flavor of hoppy beers? I had a similar though when I tried Gordon. This beer was good, but seemed like had it more life than it showed. Go ahead and give it a go.

DoubleJ, Nov 11, 2008
Photo of paulthebeerguru
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Maui Brewing Co. Big Swell I.P.A. (can)

A: snifter. Pours a slightly opaque bright, vibrant orange with a slight reddish hue. Nice light tan, slightly orange hints involved. Good lacing and a mild retention level.

S: smells like simcoe and Amarillo hops off the bat. Absolutely amazing nose. Big, bold, and absolutely delightful.

T: big nose but not as much flavor in my opinion, maltier than expected with the huge hop nose. A little lackluster for me, but a great flavor over all. The nose is the best part of this. Good citrus hops but they faded a little too much, and the malts are big and bold. Cotton Candy flavors once it warms up a little.

M: mild body with a lower carbonation level. Not as much bite as expected from the nose.

D: good brew, but the nose made me think it was bigger than it was. My own fault at prejudging by aroma. Great IPA and well worth getting.

paulthebeerguru, Nov 02, 2008
Photo of dippy
3.48/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had in a pool swim up bar in Maui:


Reddish amber beer with a rocky off white head. Slight lacing on the glass.

Smells citrus and floral.

The hop taste is piney up front and grapefruit in the back. There is also some sweetness in the finish to round things out nicely.

The body of the beer was fairly watery. The least inpressive part of the beer.

I drank this beer plenty throughout my time in HI. It was good but not great.

dippy, Oct 29, 2008
Photo of Imstillthegman
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Weibull for this can. It was an extra in a recent trade.

This one pours a hazy amber-orange color. I got about two fingers of off-white head. Nice lacing sticks to the glass.

The aroma was noticeable as soon as I opened the can. Nice. Smells of citrus hops, piney hops, and some light doughy malts.

The flavor is a nicely balanced example of an IPA. Sweet malts helps keep the fruity hops in check. Slight taste of pine resin, also. Aftertaste is surprisingly more sweet than bitter.

The mouthfeel is solid. Medium body brew coats the mouth nicely with hop oils. Far from being overly bitter or extremely drying. Nice, easy drinking IPA. The fact that it's in a can only adds to the reasons to buy this one. Good beer. Thanks again, Jason.

Imstillthegman, Oct 12, 2008
Photo of kevinboyer
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured out of the can into a Stella Goblet (it's the only goblet I've got)

A - Burnt Orange/ember haze

S - mild Fruity(peach) hops dipped in maple syrup

T - Peachy Grapfruit foretaste with a refreshing not too-hoppy aftertaste

M - Just a tad on the resiny side, but not horrible. A tad effervescent.

D - For me, it's not the most drinkable IPA, based on the mouthfeel, but I could definitely have a few.

Good beer. Next time I'm in Maui, I'll be stopping by the brewpub for sure!

kevinboyer, Aug 31, 2008
Photo of Tdizzle
4.13/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz can into one of them fancy Sam Adams pint glasses.

A- This beer pours a slightly hazy golden-orange color with a soapy, off-white head that gradually settles to a thin layer, leaving some spotty lacing on the glass.

S- Lots of multi-dimensional hop aromas: mainly piney, but also grapefruity, spicy, and very floral. There is a rather sweet scent of juicy oranges in the background too. The malt backing starts to show as the beer warms.

T- The flavor of this beer is very well-balanced, with the moderate, and very spicy, hop bitterness being supported by a sweet malt backbone. There are flavors of orange juice and citrus rind towards the finish, which is dry and leaves a nice lingering bitterness on the palate.

M- The mouthfeel is oily and slick with moderate carbonation.

D- The balanced flavor of this beer and the 6.3% ABV make this one of the more sessionable IPA's that I've encountered.

Tdizzle, Aug 08, 2008
Big Swell IPA from Maui Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 580 ratings.