Big Swell IPA | Maui Brewing Co.

very good
411 Reviews
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Big Swell IPABig Swell IPA

Brewed by:
Maui Brewing Co.
Hawaii, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
50+ IBU

Added by GClarkage on 01-19-2008

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Reviews: 411 | Ratings: 1,067
Photo of orcasteve
4.75/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

great flavor and extreamley hoppy. had the purfict ballance of malt followed by a heaping helping of hop. the carbonation was just right.
this one is a top shelf beer for sure "a taste as big as the waves of hawaii", find a way to get this one, trust me!!!

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Photo of ordybill
4.59/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 OZ can into a pint glass. This beer is a clear golden yellow with a small white head. The aroma is full of hops. The taste is hop driven. A really good ipa.

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Photo of Rutager
4.54/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance. Gold with a hint of amber and a little haze. One finger of sticky looking white head.

Smell. Pine and sweet papaya with a little white grapefruit. Awesome

Taste. Bitter, piney hops. Some light toasty grains and a little grapefruit rind. Pretty dry. Not really what I expected from the smell, but NICE.

Mouthfeel. Light-medium body with medium SMOOTH carbonation. Crisp and dry.

Overall. Love this stuff. Thinking of booking a trip to Hawaii after drinking this one.

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Photo of biglobo8971
4.53/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Absolutely floored. A fantastic beer. Poured from can into tulip. Right off the bat, this beer poured perfect. Nice 1 inch head, great amber orange color, great lacing. The smell is fantastic, just a hint of sweetness surrounded by hops. The taste is perfect, just the right amount of sticky citrus fruit sweetness paired with great hop balance. Never had such a well balanced beer. Was not expecting what I got, but boy amd I glad I did. Will now seek this beer out many times over.

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Photo of Kinger22
4.53/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This beer was kimd of surprising in its taste - in a good way. I was expecting a more tropical IPA, but this was a good, balanced beer. The taste is hops, but with a nutty undertone, and some citrus hints. The smell is a hop/malt balance. Although earthy, it's an easy-drinking IPA.

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Photo of Arenbeer
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks alot to Wiebull for this great brew!!!

12oz can into a snifter glass

A- Pours a cloudy golden honey orange with a thin white head that doesn't stick around to long. Also some sediment floating around. Pretty awesome

S- Pine hops sit on top of a sweeter malt base with a hint of tropical fruitiness.

T- Creamy malts with a decently balanced citrus hop flavor and a slight fruitiness.

M- Medium bodied with moderate carbonation and a decent bitter dry finish.


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Photo of Floydster
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce can that was part of a six pack purchased from Beverages and More for about ten dollars, reviewed from notes taken a few days ago, poured into an old mug

A-Medium orange and copper color, 3/4 inch off white head, decent retention, very nice lacing
S-Pine and citrus hoppiness, caramel, brown sugar, some toasted malt, fresh cut grass later on, and
T-Big pine flavor up front, bitter in the middle with a tiny bit of chewiness, citrus hoppiness causes a somewhat sweet finish that still has a greatdry quality, love the balance in this one, not too malty at any time
M-Dry, bitter, and citrusy mouthfeel, thin to medium body, very crisp and quenching, nice amount of carbonation
D-Very light on the stomach, ABV is not high at all, makes a nice session beer, goes down easy, refreshing

I love IPAs and really enjoyed Coconut Porter, so this had two things going for it before I even cracked it open, blew me away how good it was, I do not say that much about any other India Pale Ales other than the ones I find here in Southern California, will be drinking more of this in the future, especially because it is available here now, ironically drank this and the blonde a few days before going to Maui after I heard the brewpub would be closed for a remodel, definitely recommended and is one of the best beers over in Hawaii from my recent experience

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Photo of mwa423
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a clear golden color with a finger and a half of billowy white head about perfect for the style.

S - Smells like plenty of light malt with a tropical fruity hops filling the nose along with some pine and floral sweetness. They didn't skimp on the hops for this one.

T - Taste is a perfect blend of hoppiness and sweet maltiness. First comes the sweetness and tropical hop flavors that really fill the mouth and leaves a floral hoppy aftertaste. This is a spot on IPA that I wish I could get more of!

M/D - Mouthfeel is full and rich, very drinkable IPA and by far the star of the Maui Brewing beers I have tried.

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Photo of ffejherb
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
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.

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Photo of mastodonj
4.49/5  rDev +17.2%
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.

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Photo of berley31
4.47/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured with a moderate-sized, white, creamy head that lasted for a little while before fading to 1/2-finger. Body is a dark golden color, and hazy.

S: Awesome strong hop aroma... some pine, but very high in citrus (especially grapefruit).

T: Very smooth. Some light malt flavor that is fortunately dominated by the citrus hop flavor, which is quite prominent and delicious. Medium bitterness in the finish, so no overpowering bitter bite here.

M: Medium-light body, with medium-high carbonation.

D: An excellent American IPA, one of the best I've had... a beer I drank many times during a trip to Maui, and one I would continuously have on hand if it was available to me.

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Photo of KevinBrewer
4.45/5  rDev +16.2%
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.

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Photo of monkeylovebeer
4.43/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Now we're talking! Big Swell pours with a nice, big hop-driven head and a wonderful attendant piney nose with a subdued orange blossom hit taking the place of the usual grapefruit astringency--giving those Columbus, Centennial, Simcoe, Amarillo, Cascade, and Citra (oh, my) hops a nice balanced sweetness.

Big Swell has a great mouth feel that starts out smooth with the hops following and really waking up at the back and sides of the tongue. I thought it finished a little hot for a 6.2%, but the next sip makes it all better. All in all, it was a little off balance, but definitely swayed toward the things I like.

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Photo of TheHungryHiker
4.43/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A= Burnt orange body with a off-white, two fingered head. The head faded quickly, leaving a ring of lacing around the glass.

S= Pine, citrus, herbs.

T= Resinous pine and a touch of lemon and orange peel. There is a hint of balancing sweetness that offsets the hops, which are present, but not overwhelming.

M/D= At once, smooth, bitter, slightly sweet, more complex than I expected. Overall, a well-balanced IPA and excellent choice for anyone that is trying an IPA for the first time, or looking for a session IPA.

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Photo of Briken
4.42/5  rDev +15.4%
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.

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Photo of Wimberley87
4.42/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Really surprised by this Brew, poured into a chalice, two finger head rises and lingers for a bit. aroma was
Very in your face! Big floral notes mixed with hops and some earthy notes as well. Taste is very well balanced, floral notes hit up front mixed in with citrus, this mixes in on the back end with a slight bitter hoppy flavor that balances out very nicely. One of my favorite IPA'S.

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Photo of GregSVT
4.42/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Writing this from memory since the latest database crash wiped out my review.

A: Poured a hazy light amber with a big tan head that faded to a small layering with a good amount of sticky lacing.

S: Smell was that of hops and tropical fruity aroma. Pineapple, grapefruit, and a slight pine aroma jump out of the glass.

T: The taste was phenomenal. This tasted like many DIPAs I like. Tropical fruits and a small hop bitterness to balance out the sweetness all riding on a big malt backbone.

M: The mouthfeel was thin but creamy from the carbonation. Not drying like a lot of IPAs are...the big malt/fruity flavors are probably why.

D: If I could buy this in TX I would keep it in stock fairly often. Definitely one of the best regular IPAs I have had to date.

Sad I only have one can left. Thanks to SmokingMex for allowing me to try this.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.4/5  rDev +14.9%
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.

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Photo of drgonzo3705
4.4/5  rDev +14.9%
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!

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Photo of surfer4life
4.4/5  rDev +14.9%
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.

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Photo of thistle66
4.4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Also surprised by only a C from the Alstroms. I've had this many times, both on tap and can. Can's are great.

It's not my daily favourite - I'm a SN Torpedo fan for my daily - but is an easy substitute choice for me when I can't find Torpedo.

My only fault with it is the sweetness; it's a touch too sweet for me on the end.

btw, the head brewer at Maui BC changed a couple years ago, so the recipe might have been tweaked. But it's always been an excellent IPA.

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Photo of ericj551
4.39/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big Swell IPA pouts a very cloudy copper orange with a nice creamy head. I didn't realize it was bottle conditioned and I could have poured it more gently, but a little yeast never hurt anyone. The aroma is tons of citrusy hops, mostly orange with some grapefruit. There is a hint of pine and a lot of malt sweetness. The flavor is dominated by hops with more notes of citrus but not overly bitter. The bitterness is well balanced by a good malty sweetness. I would love to make this a regular beer, but considering it is over 5000 miles away, I doubt I'll be seeing too much of it in the future.

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Photo of dbossman
4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Golden iced-tea color with an absolutely huge frothy head that won't quit; the lacing is solid

S: Dominate hop profile: tropical fruits, grapefruits with a touch of pineapple as well as a grassy herbal hop presence; some pine but mostly citrus on top of a musty grainy grassy malt base

T: Smooth citrus hops up front: grapefruit, mango, pineapple, lemons with a biting pine hop bitterness on the back end; this is a hop lover's dream; it isn't very balanced but that's not what this beer aims to do; however, a sweet almost caramel bready base does appear underneath the overwhelming hops in the end

F: Medium body with just enough carbonation--on the light side--and that sticky, oily hop residue is also there that I so love in the texture of a good IPA

O: Such a damn fine IPA from Maui; I so wish I could drink this while sitting on the beach but I will settle for my deck

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Photo of RodBurg
4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
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.

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Photo of BeerManDan
4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The color when poured was amber with a nice amount of foam that stayed nice and full for awhile. The piney smell of american hops and barley malts were very evident in the aroma of this IPA.

The taste was very mild and tasty for an IPA. Not a lot of piney flavor, but a nice flavor of hops and barley malts without the overpowering bitterness. Again, a pleasant bitterness that is not over powering. I just love this IPA in a can. At the brewery, you can only purchase this IPA in a can or on tap!

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Big Swell IPA from Maui Brewing Co.
3.83 out of 5 based on 1,067 ratings.
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