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Big Swell IPA - Maui Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Big Swell IPABig Swell IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

828 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 828
Reviews: 371
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 10.79%
Wants: 29
Gots: 63 | 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:
Beer added by: GClarkage on 01-19-2008

50+ IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 828 | Reviews: 371 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mastodonj
4.49/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz can poured into a diconic at a cafe in Kailua, Oahu.

This is a surprisingly good IPA, at least I didn't expect this quality
from Maui.

The beer is lighter than most IPAs tending toward lighter amber/yellow color.

The full hoppy nose and excellent lacing let you know this is going to be a good one.

Great mouthfeel, full bitterness balanced with light maltiness.
A lingering bitterness is nice with the citrus that comes into
the aftertaste.

VERY drinkable.

Photo of aficionado
3.79/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Kyle2k10!

Crystal clear golden yellow body with 2 finger white head and lots of residual lacing.

Smell is of pale malts and fruits with some citrus rind. The aroma could be more substantial, but the flavor is on point. HOWEVER... having had Pliny before this and then sampling Big Swell... all I get is a pale malt blast on the palate.

Taste is quite bitter. Like Smuttynose Finest Kind, but a tad sweeter and more round. Very succulent and drinkable. Smooth and moderately carbonated. No IPA lover would turn this one down.

Photo of dedrinker
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hazy golden color with a decent white head that don't last too long.

aromas of cat litter box (a new variant on the cat pee of cascade provenance?) and a hint of rubber cement. Somewhere in the back is a citrusy aroma that keeps me from thinking I am losing my freaking mind or something.

Kinda citrus, herbal, tropical fruit taste of hops that anchors the beer down and gets me back in reality.

Medium body that finishes with hop bitterness and more rubber cement.

Photo of mjurney
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden-amber color, just a touch of haze. Fairly good amount of carbonation. Head looks thick and rocky.

Sweet malts. Orange sherbet. Piney.

Hoppy up front along with sweet bready malts to balance it off. Piney-citrus hops, touch of herbal. Sweet bready malts, buttery-caramel. I detect some hint of pineapple towards the end of my palate.
Medium bodied, almost crisp like. Carbonation is soft.

Smooth finish. Nice bitter hops that lingers very well.

Very well made IPA.

Photo of ngeunit1
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear golden-amber color with a big finger of frothy white head atop. The head fades down fairly slowly leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is full of hops with a nice mix of tropical fruits and more earthy/piney smells. There is also some sweet caramel malt mixed in as well.

T - Starts off with a nice kick of hop flavor with again a balance of citrus and piney hops and some nice bitterness. Just a bit of sweet caramel malts in the background. Through the middle, the hops mellow a bit with some more sweet caramel malts and a bit of bready flavors coming through. The finish is a mix of citrus hops and bitterness with some sweet caramel malts that linger.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth and a bit dry from the hop bitterness.

D - Very drinkable. Nice hop profile with a mix of citrus and piney flavors. I think the malt-hop balance is also fairly solid, maybe a bit too hop heavy.

Photo of lancecenter
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Orange/amber color. Fairly cloudy. Excellent 2-3 finger head that lasts. Mediocre lacing.

S - Piney hops, citrus, and grapefruit.

T - Piney hops with a bit of a citrus note. Bitter aftertaste.

M - Medium mouth feel. Good carbonation.

O - Big Swell is my favorite IPA. In fact, I wasn't even a fan of IPA's until I tried this. I like everything I've tried from the Maui Brewing Co. I can't recommend their beers enough.

Photo of 2xHops
4.23/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

For something that comes in cans, I thought this beer was pretty good.

Pouring the beer into my pint glass, I can't help but notice that there was a healthy amount of carbonation coming alive making the foam rise up quickly. The head stayed pillowy for a long time!

The taste was pretty dang good. There's plenty of hops coming through, but it was not overly hoppy to the point where it becomes too bitter, too coarse, too unrefined. The alcohol doesn't seem to too obvious in the flavor profile.

The mouthfeel is what you expect in an IPA. There's a long bitter aftertaste. It doesn't feel too thick or too thin. It's good.

Overall, I definitely will drink this again. However, I don' know about the other places that carry this beer, but I thought it was slightly steep in price. $10 or so for a six-pack? That's in the upper end of my preferred price range.

Photo of TexIndy
4.28/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz can into a pint glass. Canned on date of 7/1/11 inked on the bottom of the can. It was a slightly hazy amber color with good carbonation. It had a large foamy head that slowly settled into a constant foam cap. Thick sheeting with some sticking.

The aroma was citric (grapefruit, pineapple) and pine hops along with good dose of dankness. Couldn't pinpoint it but something in there just didn't blend right for me. Still good but didn't find myself huffing this like I do lots of IPA's. Taste was really good with a good balance of sweet malt and c-hops blending with the dank and piney hops. Good flavor and off the beaten path for sure. Mouthfeel was near full with good carbonation.

Overall, an interesting and good IPA. Not the standard flavor profile but I enjoyed it on this first one but would have to have some more to see if it wears thin (only had the single). Newly available here in TX. Rotation - liked this one enough to try it out in my mixed 6 IPA rotation. Not sure if 6xer worthy yet. [O;Y]

Photo of KeefD
4.14/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another can courtesy of woodychandler. Pours a bright orange color with golden edges, small white head that fell quickly, no lacing. Aroma is citrusy, light pine, a bit of orange, and some bready malts in the background. Flavor is nice and bitter up front but slowly gets washed away by a toasty sweetness, with tons of hop flavor, predominately pineapple and mango with a touch of resinous pine. There's also a bit of orange that was present in the nose. I really love these IPAs that have the pineapple/mango quality. It's centered around hop flavor, not hop bitterness. Tasty. Medium bodied, perfect amount of carbonation. Really just a tasty IPA, doesn't kill the tastebuds, and has greathop flavor.

Photo of pzrhsau
3.61/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: The body has a nice bright off orange/rich golden hue with a robust white colored head that sticks to the glass well.
S: The beer has a nice subtle pine resin aroma that also reminds me of citrus and orange peel.
T: The pine hop flavor is still very evident when you first taste the beer but you also get a nice sweetness from the malt that reminds me of a honey. It blends well and gives you a sensation of a tea.
M/O: Decent carbonation and mouthfeel. The hops and alcohol are very well balanced which may or may not be to ones liking. A hop fan might see this as a little short on the biting hop character they were expecting. Overall it was appealing to me because it had great rich flavors without overpowering the palate.

Photo of ibbjamin
2.56/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A buddy of mine bought a 6pack of 12oz cans for me as a wedding present. I have had a couple of these already and have certainly been disappointed. I pour this one into a standard pint glass to review.

Yields an off white head of about an inch in height consistent of large sized bubbles. A thin layer of retention remains and there is pretty good lacing. Very cloudy golden yellow in color.

Aroma is uber balanced with a good dose of hops being masked by a raw barley and caramel malt. I even get some barn hay and yeast in the nose. I can't really get into the nuances of the muddled hop bouquet.

There is good balance in the taste, but for an IPA this is not impressive to me. The yeast really comes through on this one.

Medium body, noticeable carbonation and medium finish.

Very forgettable and average IPA.

Photo of atigerlife
3.28/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I've drank this many, many times over the years, but it has probably become my least favorite offering from this exceptional brewery.

Pours amber with a creamy white head. Good lasting power of the head and nice lacing. Nice to look at.

Aroma is piney, grapefruit and malty.

Taste is malts, grapefruit, pine, caramel and citrus.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and cleansing.

Overall, I used to like this more. For some reason I now find it hard to drink. It seems rather cloying and harsh by the end of the glass. Not sure why this one has lost its appeal.

Photo of LadyOfMuchBeer
4.23/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a can into a pint glass. Pours a coppery orange with a nice creamy thick head over an inch.

Smells tropical....could be the Hawaiian-American IPA. Pineapple, and fruity hoppiness.

Pleasant enough for the style. Just enough pine, along with the pineapple and grapefruityness. Light on the front and finish, goes down VERY easy.

Feels creamy and smooth. A pleasant feel on the palate, this is where I feel this one stands out a little for its style, and I like it.

Overall, this is a good brew, one I actually buy just to drink every now and then. I am glad to have it available regularly on our local shelves.

Photo of chugalug06
3.72/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Big white foamy head! Slightly foggy copper color.

S - BIG mellow citrus! Lots of fresh fruit! Pineapple, papaya, pear, orange, lemon... Great scent! A cross-bread West Coast IPA. Some smaller banana scents too...

T - Very aggressive. Big alcohol bite! Not a whole lot of hop balance. Big aggressive hops stick out big time.

M - Very dry and bitter... A little on the over carbonation side.

O - An interesting take on an IPA. Not bad but, not overwhelming.

Photo of biegaman
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ironically enough, this Hawaiian brew actually has a very frosty haze, despite its tanned complexion; the yellow-golden colour looks sun-scorched so as to appear tarnished brass. Its head isn't a big white wave, more like the soapy scuzz that washes over the sand a wave has broken. Appreciate the view while it's there because it won't last long!

Funny that a Hawaiian beer should smell like pineapple and an assortment of other citrus fruits; no surprise, however, that an American IPA should smell that way. Something about American hops gives them a distinctly acidic, fruity character that, when used in large quantities as they have here, is quite striking. And perceptibly bitter (and a little stinky) too.

Flavour is not usually a problem where IPAs are concerned - and Big Swell is no exception. Tropical fruits (pineapple, mango, lemon) are all spotted, buried somewhere beneath this big, biscuity base of caramel brushed malts. The lingering combination of candied fruits and toffee tastes almost like a pound cake (baked with a bit of brandy perhaps).

If you like the bitter, resinous, acidic sensation of America's bolder IPAs then you'll be very satisfied with this one. It has a weedy, herbal bitterness that almost scratches the throat and an acidity that might scathe it if not for a good base of toasty malt to balance it out. It is a stronger beer, to be sure, but very refreshing if you've got the palate for it.

I'm not sure why people consider bland, watery beers the chosen hot weather quenchers when bitter beers like this are so much more gratifying. At least one island brewery (and Maui Brewing may be the only one) understands that - Big Swell IPA is an uncompromising bigger, bitterer beer that has all hop features one could hope for in an American IPA.

Photo of dcloeren
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

poured from a can I brought to Brazil on a business trip with me. Drank while watching Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Squeekqual (the only thing on in english... surprisingly entertaining)

Poured a hazy sunset orange with a finger and a half of creamy off white head. Slowly receded, left good lacing

Great tropical fruit hops (pineapple and grapefruit) with some piney goodness in the mix as well. Pineapple really stands out above everything else. Some great bready malt with a little caramel in the background.

The taste is the inverted version of the smell. I get a lot more pine hops than tropical. The pine hops actually dominate over anything else with some good grapefruit notes in the mix. The pineapple is really only present on the back end. Not a lot of malt presence

Medium bodied with ample amounts of carbonation, borderline overkill... Drying hop aftertaste. Getting some definite hop dragon breath.

Overall, this is a tasty, refreshing tropical ipa but I feel like they downplayed the pineapple a lot in the taste compared to the smell. Very refreshing down here on the equator for sure. Definitely worth a shot if you haven't had it.

Photo of Tschnab
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- pours a copper color with a finger of foam and some lace.

S- lots of piney hops and bready malts. Really good tropical and citrus aroma coming off the hops.

T- like the nose, the tropical juices off the hops are mango and some pineapple. The malty backbone really balances the hops. Good prickly carbonation makes this refreshing on the beach.

O- good IPA from a can, what can be better for the hot summer days?

Photo of BeerAmbassador
4.23/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a golden orange color with a fluffy white two fingered head. pretty good retention and a bit of lacing. When all is said and done there is still a nice layer of foam resting on the top. Pineapple, orange and lemon on the nose with some nice fruity malt in there as well. Medium bodied on the palate with some serious malt to hold up to the hops. Hops are prevalent throughout with a nice long finish. Hop flavors go from bright and herbal to more dull and bitter on the back end. Really nice beer from Maui. One of the better straight ahead IPA's I have had lately.

Photo of chrisrhoppe
3.99/5  rDev +5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours with a big white fluffy head and average lacing, color is a copper amber hue. Immediately intense aroma of grapefruit, sweet malt, pine, and bubblegum jump out. The hops give a full frontal assault to the tongue with the same grapefruit, fresh pine citrus hop aroma. The bitterness is soft and is nicely distributed on the pallet. The flavors hold themselves in position long after the beer has been washed down, and exhaling you can still smell the wet, fresh, floral hops. One of my favorites in a can.

Photo of HopHead84
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


On tap at High Dive.

A: Appears dark golden orange with a small white head. Good clarity.

S: Aromatic orange flesh blends with pith and tangerine. There's a little grapefruit as well. Subtle caramel malt lingers beneath the hop characteristics. There's a dash of bread.

T: The beer has a moderate level of dry bitterness with pronounced citrus flavors: orange pith, orange flesh, tangerine, and peach. The beer doesn't have much malt to speak of, but what's there reminds me of caramel. There's noticeable alcohol in the finish.

M: Lower medium in body with high carbonation. Mouthfeel is dry and sticky.

Overall: This won't blow you away, but there aren't any real flaws aside from a slightly stronger than desirable level of alcohol in the finish.

Photo of Florida9
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Darker yellow/light amber. Somewhat cloudy. Forms a fluffy white head that reduces down to a thick surface coating. Lots of lacing.

S: Pale malt, some biscuit and some earthy hops. Decent aroma, but just not too much going on.

T: Taste is similar to the aroma. Starts off with some bready pale malts. There is a little sweetness, but not much. Moves on to an appreciable grapefruit bitterness. Hops are earthy and dank. Taste just seems a little flat.

M: Medium in body with appropriate carbonation. Bitterness gives a slight chalky feel to this beer.

O: A decent IPA, though the flavor and aroma just seem to be a washed out. Otherwise, drinkable, but certainly nothing too exciting.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.87/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Good amber and light orange pour. Sudsy. Neat dry hop aroma, would guess something like amarillo and centennial.

Good taste, light body, big hopping, tastes fresh, haven't had any of these that seemed faded, they seem to hold up, not one of those delicate ipa's that are only good under perfect conditions. Just the right amount of sweetness without seeming like a fruit derivative.

Enough bitterness without seeming like it was all it had going for it. No harshness, relatively smooth finish. Wouldn't really think of 'pine' as a hop descriptor in Hawaii, but there certainly seems to be a leaning that way.

Almost nothing to speak of malt wise, which is fine, it's about as 'west coast' of an ipa as you can get, geographically.

Overall, the higher price I've seen for these $11/6 is really the only hindrance to it. Probably more for hopheads than their flyin' hi-pa.

Photo of KevinBrewer
4.45/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Deep golden color with a billowy white head that lasts, leaving minimal lacing.

N- Big grapefruit and other tropical fruits with pine and a touch of herbs underneath adding to the complexity. Nice crisp malt with some toastiness is strong enough to hold its own against the hops. Great balance.

T- Crisp toasted malt with a pleasant huskiness and a hint of caramel sweetness lays a solid foundation to pile the hops on. Tons of grapefruit rind, pine, tropical fruit, grass, herbal tea, and citrus dance on top of the malt, providing a firm bitterness and lots of complex hoppy flavor. Long pleasantly bitter finish that fades to an aftertaste of pine and herbal tea.

M- Medium-light mouthfeel, lightly sticky, with moderate carbonation and a dry finish.

D- Overall, although it clocks in at 6.2%, it tastes like a session brew. Definitely gives you your hop fix. Incredibly well-balanced, full-flavored, complex, and thirst-quenching at the same time.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.33/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at The Neighbourhood in San Diego on 7/3/11

A - Poured dark yellow. Hazy. One finger of thick bubbly white head.

S - Citrus and herbal hop prfile dominates the nose with some orange. Bitterness is very apparent

T - Bitter and dry. Orange rind and herbal hop flavours are the only real flavours that come through. Very different.

M - Medium bod with a slight chew. Light to moderate carbonation.

Photo of Janderson91
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to dmsohyea for sending me this one as an extra! Can't decipher the canned on date on the bottom so I'm not sure of the freshness. Enjoyed on 07/12/11.

A - Poured into a snifter. Just a slightly hazy pale straw yellow/very light orange color with a one finger white head that takes a while to dissipate. Leaves pretty good lacing down the sides.

S - Big, juicy, tropical, grapefruity hops. A slight sweetness from the malt lingers in the background. It's clear that this has been highly dry hopped and it's excellent.

T - Quite similar to the nose. Juicy, mango, grapefruit hops. One of the fruitiest IPAs I've had. Very tropical. Nicely balanced by a mild malt sweetness.

M - Mouthfeel is great. Medium with high carbonation all the way through. Very drinkable.

O - Overall, this is really a great beer. One of my favorite single IPAs. Great job Maui!

Big Swell IPA from Maui Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 828 ratings.