1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Big Swell IPA - Maui Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Big Swell IPABig Swell IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

623 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 623
Reviews: 227
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 31
Gots: 55 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 623 | Reviews: 227 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

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!

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!!!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours rather light, but pleasant orange golden colour, with something of a head which just dissipates to something of a film. Lacing is pretty good around the edges, especially given the less-than-stellar head. Looks pretty reasonable overall.

Nose is wonderful, a big cacophony of luscious citrussy hops, with a touch of pleasant grassy greenness. Very nice, and very flavoursome. Perhaps not as luscious and well balanced as the very best examples, but this is still very nice.

Taste is really nice, and exceptionally balanced. A lovely fresh citrus hop note on the front, with a clean but not overpowering bitterness to follow. All the hop characters are well-balanced with a light pleasant grain backing. Really, really wonderful. Crisp, flavoursome, and coherent.

A really lovely drop of beer, and a thoroughly good American IPA. I can only imagine this is a much better beer to drink on the beach in Maui than 90% of the crap that's readily available.

Photo of spointon
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured this one from a 12oz can into a tulip pint glass.

A= This ale poured a medium yellow/gold color with a big 1.5" fluffy white head. The retention was pretty good and the head left some nice lacy rings down my glass.

S= The aroma was nicely balanced between citrus hops, tropical fruitiness, malty richness, and a kiss of alcohol.

T= Started off with a bit of caramelly malt sweetness that balanced nicely against the citrusy hops that ran throughout this brew. I also tasted a nice bit of passion fruit in the middle as well. Finished dry with a lingering pleasant bitterness and a touch of alcohol.

MF= Medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level that was softer than I expected from the appearance.

D= A fine IPA that I would happily drink more often if it were available.

Photo of chumba526
3.28/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appears an orange color has a two finger head.

The smell is quite sweet with hints of oranges. It doesn't have that strong of a smell.

Taste: starts out with a sugarcane sugar like taste and slight nuttiness. A strong citrusy orange tasting hop taste is present. The taste ends with a restrained but nice bitterness. The carbonation is medium-high. Overall a nicely balanced IPA that is on the sweet side. Worth trying if you see it.

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.

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...

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

HV

Big Swell IPA from Maui Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 623 ratings.