Big Swell IPA | Maui Brewing Co.

Big Swell IPABig Swell IPA
Liked This Beer
3.77 w/ 1,107 ratings
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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Ratings: 1,107 |  Reviews: 420
Photo of Stoneman78
4.24/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is a solidly dense orange-amber hue, one finger of soapy white bubbles sustains, moderate lacing

Smell is big caramel/sweet bread malts battling with equally large citrus hops, hints of pine resin and light fruit, delicious!

Taste is mostly pine and citrus (orange/lemon) hops initially, nice balance of sweetbread and caramel malts soon after, tones of toffee, brown sugar, floral, and grapefruit, finishes more sweet than bitter

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, thick resiny texture, moderate to high carbonation level

Drinkability is moderate, this is a solid single IPA with a very admirable malt/hop balance, the flavor tends to slip away a bit too quickly, but at 6% you can make sure your drinking of it is more constant, very sessionable

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Photo of HalfFull
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz can into a pint glass. Pours a hazy orange/amber with a half inch of head. Retention and lacing are present but light.

Nice earthy hops on the nose along with some citrus notes. Taste is slightly malty yet well balanced and helps explain the relatively amber color of the brew versus my local dry golden/orange IPA's. Carbonation is good.

A well balanced IPA, nicely hopped with a decent light malt structure. Not too sweet and offers a very smooth finish. Neither chewy nor drying, the finish gives this brew great mouthfeel and drinkability for an IPA.

Say what you will about the snorkeling at Mile 14, but I'll be there under a tree in Olowalu soon. And with a can of Big Swell, a book and a beach chair, I'll enjoy a beautiful day. Ouch! Damn crabs!

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Photo of m1ked
3.86/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My wife brought this home from her trip to Maui, along with their CoCoNut PorTeR. Am I lucky or what !?

A- Pours a translucent sandy color with a significant off white head. Head shrinks down to a generous foamy cap with minimal lacing. Besides casks, I can't think of too many IPA's that are this hazy.

S- Now I am used to rhe SD IPA's punching me in the nose with hops/piney/citrus aromas. This one is definetly not that aggressive. I do appreciate a more subtle, yet balanced combination of some pine bitterness with some sweet maltiness.

T- This is where the balance really is apparent to me. Clean crisp hoppy bitterness (but not over the top hops) up front smoothly blending into some sweet malt. I can't help but think there is some cane sugar in there, but I am sure that is the power of suggestion working on me.

M- As said before this is well balanced to me, and it actually is a little thick on the tongue (thats what she said) .

D- I don't know if it is the tropical origin, the departure from the SD IPA's I am accustomed to...but I really enjoyed this brew. I wonder when we will start seeing more cans.

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Photo of BrewMonkey
3.6/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours out of the can medium amber with lots and lots of foamy light tan head. Aroma of hops with tons of citrus and a hint of melon, some grassiness but not unpleasant. Suprisingly malty taste with tamed bitterness, something more IPA's could take a note from. Definately hoppy, but not painfully bitter. Oddly, where the bitterness is tame, the hop flavor is nearly pungeant, creating a wierd situation of hop pungeancy verging on sour, rather than bitter.

The mouthfeel is a little strange, not terribly carbonated for an IPA, and a slight watery mouthfeel combined with a kind of slickeness from the hop resin. Pretty drinkable, if strong. Oddly good beer coming from a can.

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Photo of DrDogbeer
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Coreyrhoads for the extra! poured into a sam perfect pint.
Pours a deep orange with a decent off white head. Smells of grassy hops with some citrus. Big hop flavor. Not too bitter, though, the malt dulls it a bit. Good malt backbone. Very drinkable. Nice beer from maui.

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Photo of cerveza5150
3.89/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a red/golden color with a soapy head and ample carbonation.

The smell is really nice, with grapefruit from the hops present immediately.

The taste is fantastic, but the hops bite so much at the end, it ends up only hurting, the overall impression of the ale. This is a great IPA from a brewery who's managed to bring me back to the idea of good canned brews. I can't wait to try their coconut porter!!

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Photo of dfillius
3.55/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed in a tall waterglass. Purchased at Princeville, Kauai Foodland.
A: 1.5 fingers of foamy off-white head. Clearish golden-brown. Very pretty.
S: Very sweet with a good hoppy highlight of tropical fruit and citrus/pine. Alcohol lurking around in the background.
T: Alcohol dominates unfortunately. Some hops present as well as some very fruity off tastes.
M: Heat with a bit of off taste coating my mouth. Decent bitterness.
D: Smells great, but doesn't follow through with great flavor and mouthfeel. Tasty-ish, but I'm not inspired to have another right away. Not a session beer.

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Photo of turbine2475
4.02/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to BrewBakerE for the chance to try this beer:

A - Murky honey color with a dense 2-finger white head which dissipated slowly leaving a spotty lace.

S - Lots of pine and some sweet citrus hops. Toffee and brown suger are also present.

T - Lighter hop punch then the scent implied, but still good. Balanced pine and citrus hops with a caramel malt backbone.

M - Murky with a low carbonation and a lingering sour.

D - Good beer. Not a hugely hoppy IPA, but a nice canned option when portability is a must.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.09/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz can brought back to Boise from coworker and fellow Newsie Michelle E. I hoped Michelle would honor my requests for Maui goodness.. she more than accepted the challenge. Tonight, I am enjoying the Big Swell from my New Belgium snifter.

Brew is a very pretty albeit slightly hazy orange... pillowy 2 finger head drops fast .. but some spotty lacing is left behind.

Aroma is way better than I expected.. American hops abound.. citrus and pine way out front of toasted bready and caramel malts.

Flavor is piney with an oily hoppiness only expected out of the big IPA's.. Lime leaves and biscuity malts melt away to a long citrusy finish. Body is perfect for a very drinkable IPA.. Very smooth and enjoyable across the board.. I forgot a long time ago that this brew came from a can... Long Live the Canning Revolution!!

Michelle E. has a treat or two or three coming to her before we leave work on Thursday.. Again, she is a BA and she just doesn't know it yet.

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Photo of tayner
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz can poured into my 18 oz SanTan glass.

Poured a dark golden color with a white frothy head that settled to a nice thin skimming across the top that lasted the whole pint and laced decently.

Floral nose up front with some lingering pine-y hop scents. There is a sweet background as well.

Pine-y hops hit you right up front quickly followed by some grapefruit flavors that last throught the swallow. They are not over the top although they are dominate. They are, however, well balanced with a strong malt profile which gives the beer a fairly heavy feel.

Mouthfeel is full and heavy without being think. There is nothing watered down about this beer from a can! there is enough carbonation, however, to make it finish pretty dry after an oily, heavy, hop filled front.

This one would be pretty easy to take to the river, lake, beach (if i had one in AZ) and would be quite enjoyable. I would imagine, as well, that if anyone in the group was a bud drinker they would take to this as it has the same basic profile (IMO) only kicked up many notches. Bravo to Maui Brewing for making a good IPA in a can, and finally bringing it to the mainland.. now, if Bevmo would just get it to Arizona...

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Photo of Dukeofearl
3.93/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Review from a 6 pack of cans from BevMo in Mira Loma, CA in April 2008, although I enjoyed this one back at the brewery on Maui in 2006. I think the 6-pack was $10.99. Just finding it took me back to my last Hawaii trip....

Pours a clear, clean orange-golden with a nice creamy head that sticks around as a decent cover throughout. Aroma is a nice mix of sour orange citrus fruitiness and a bit of sharp bitter hops.

Flavor follows through- a very nice, easy drinking IPA that has fruit and the more herbal/piney/oily hop mix that is quite nice, and a malt backbone that keeps it in decent balance.

One of my preferred IPAs, easy drinking- not necessarily an "out there" hop bomb IPA, but quite enjoyable. Recommended.

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Photo of Jedimaster1
4.3/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have to agree with everything that Jbsteiny said below. Though it may not be as great as the Castaway IPA offered by Kona -- which is my favorite all-time brew -- it is an excellent offering when you don't have access to getting Kona's signature brew (in my opinion at least) at home far from the island I love.

Maui Brewing Company's stuff is becoming a staple of craft brewing, and now that I have access to it out here on the mainland, it makes it all the better. It makes me long for the island life I miss so dearly.

Anyway, on to the review...

A: Nice slightly cloudy golden copper with a slight head that stays for the duration of the drinking.

S: Citrus and hops, with a tinge of malt.

T: Not as hoppy as say the Castaway IPA, but enough to smoothly balance the malt. Very citrus in taste. Grapefruit, passion fruit(?) as well, can be detected as it sits in the mouth. Very refreshing feel to it!

M: Did I mention quite refreshing!

D: Very easy to drink. A very sessionable beer! Makes me remember those hot warm summer days lying on the sands of Kailua. Man, I wish I was back there drinking this, lol.

Good stuff from Maui. Just keep it on the hush, hush or I will have a hard time finding this one on the mainland. ;)

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Photo of GbVDave
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz can into a 20oz imperial pint. Thanks to Bernie and Linda for bringing this back from Hawaii for me!

A: Very nice looking hazy, amber-honey colored body that is capped by a creamy, three-finger, off-white head with decent retention. Chunky, spotty, and pebble-y lace.

S: Assertive whack of hops. Grapefruit and pine. Toasted malt also emerges along with a slightly sweet (tropical?) fruit aroma.

T: Very hoppy. Just like the smell, this one is bursting with grapefruit and piney hop flavors. Toasted malt lends some good toasty dryness to the juicy hops.

M: Bitter, dry, juicy, and oily. Very sticky. The astringent bitterness is balanced, nicely, by the juicy fruitiness mentioned above. The finish (equal parts: pine, grapefruit, and biscuits) sticks to everything in the mouth.

D: I could drink this all day long...seriously. Very balanced and satisfying.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.43/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clearish, dark amber body with a fizzy, off-white head.

Smell: Herbaceous, pine needle-strewn scent with notes of grapefruit segments. Some pale malts as an afterthought.

Taste: Sharply herby, with further hop flavors of pine and citrus. Not too terribly much in the way of malt or sweetness, which exaggerates the medium bitterness. Piney, herbal hints in the bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation. Slightly oily mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Decent enough for an IPA.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.07/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

01/12/08- Purchased at a local grocery store in Princeville, Kauai.

Presentation- 12oz can with no freshness info. Poured into a random hotel room glass.

Appearance- Off amber-dark golden colored pour. Lightly creamy and smaller 1/4 inch head. Leaves nice patches and streaks of lace.

Smell- Very nice bitter and pungent nose. Lots of pine in the nose as well as some bitter unripe grapefruit.

Taste- Fortunately, the taste is just as good as the nose. Thought it was going to be very bitter, but turns out it was...but...with a nice added bonus of some sweet malt background and ripe grapefruit. Lightly toasted malt that is to go with some pine hop flavoring as well.

Mouthfeel- About the right level of carbonation with a short lived, but bitter aftertaste.

Drinkability- Rated it nicely because it was the best beer I had in Hawaii, plus it was generally a very good IPA as well. Brought back a six pack with me.

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Photo of mcallister
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to BA bierguy5 for this opportunity.

A good juicy looking IPA. Unfiltered look with a large fluffy pillow of a head that leaves huge splotches of lace when it finally fades. Head retention is nearly forever.

Juicy grapefruit with some tropical fruits infest the aromatics. With a nice layer of caramel and bready grains beneath. That finally leads you to a hint of resiny pine riddled bitter esters.

Fresh tasty and drinkable with a great mouthfeel. Good carbonation with a prickly tongue tantalizing middle. Very nice balance between malt, hop, and bittering hop. More piney and floral in the mouth with hints of citrus lying in the background. Caramel and biscuit round out the middle. I'd love to drink this all day on an Hawaiian beach.

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Photo of harkjohnny
3.45/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thanks to my buddy from the island of kauai for bringing home a sampler six-pack. poured from their nice looking 12oz can a bit cloudy light-copper with great head retention and decent lacing. aroma is smack full of citrusy grapefruit at first, then some earthy pine begins to poke through. taste is not over the top 'american ipa' like some but rather laid back and smoothly bitter. medium chewy malt serves as a good base and the citrus-grapefruit hops show up again at the back. Alcohol is perceivable after a few sips. Overall easy drinking and more like a strong pale ale than an IPA.

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Photo of 1759Girl
4.19/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Cloudy, dark amber colour. Very little head, no lacing.
Smell: Delicious mix of hops aroma and the scent of burnt sugar.
Taste: True to its roots as an American IPA, but with a slight sweetness to the start. Full hoppy flavor with a clean finish.
Mouthfeel: medium bodied.
Drinkability: Not my favorite IPA but I could drink a bit of it:)

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Photo of jletts
3.43/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark amber with a thin off-white head and decent lacing

Nose: green fresh hops, medium roast malt

Taste: Some good fresh hops, caramel, leather, more fresh green hops

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, nice and substantial, typical for an IPA

Notes: from a can but sure doesnÂ’t taste like it. Taste was reminiscent of a typical NW fresh hop ale, but not as complex.

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Photo of ghostwalker
4.02/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at the Liquor Collection in Honolulu, HI. Six cans in a nice cardboard box, nifty packaging.

Cloudy, orange-amber body, thick white fluffy head, decent lacing.

Nose is sweet grapefruit. Very nice!

Flavor is creamy sweet malt with a tart, tongue-lashing citrus blast. Very nice balance, reminiscent of Masala Mama. A welcome treat in a can.

Mouthfeel is medium to thin, with a creaminess and a little tooth stripping quality, but only a little.

Drinkability is very, very high. This is a easy sipper that goes down very nicely. Satisfies my hop fix, while still being thirst-quenching. A rare combo.

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Photo of jbsteiny
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from the can into a water glass -- cloudy orange-amber with a huge head. Wow! The head is a light creamsicle color, and it leaves impressive lacing. Smells strongly of fresh floral and citrus hops -- it really smells like you're sticking your nose into some highly-hopped fresh wort -- with the malt body weakly present -- a hint of caramel behind all of those hops. The beer is better balanced on the palate, but somehow I'm disappointed (I think my taste buds thought that this was going to taste more like it smelled). Moderate diacetyl gives some butterscotch characteristics alongside all of the hop flavors (orange, floral, pine). Very drinkable for the ABV. A soapy finish leaves me on the fence.

For presentation and aromas, this is clearly one of Hawaii's best beers. For taste and mouthfeel, it lags behind Kona's Castaway IPA. However, as Maui is the only brewery in the state that packages its own beers (Kona, Mehana, & Keoki all contract to the mainland because of taxes on shipping empty bottles), this is the only local IPA that I can have at home, so I guess I'm stuck paying $12 a sixer at Liquor Collection until Maui can sufficiently step up production to supply Safeway. Viva la Microcanning Revolucion!

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Photo of weeare138
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to dickinsonbeer for bringing this to the pre-Kennett party at egajdzis' place the night before the fest...
Appears a hazy orange with a white head of fluff that slowly fades into a mild film. Spotty lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of heavy citrus, pine, herbs, and earthiness. Not bad from a can!
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with some light caramel found swirling around this hoppy goodness from Hawaii.
Mouthfeel is yesty, medium bodied, with herbal bitterness battling out some sweetness that eventually fades into a pine resin, bitter finish.
Pretty good stuff.

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Photo of ericj551
4.39/5  rDev +16.4%
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 MiScusi
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a can into a stone levitation tulip. I poured the whole thing and though I knew it is a live ale I didn't think there would be that much yeast. Well there is. Th head is a very big, sticky, rocky, and airy. Some lacing around the top of the glass is left. The smell is a bright combination of floral and citrus, reminding me most of the Ballast Point Big Eye IPA. I'm thinking centennial hops were used quite a bit in this. The taste is really balanced but still assertive as an IPA should be. The malt (and yeast in this case) hit you up front but the hops balance it enough to keep it from being sweet. It has a very apparent lightly caramelized malt taste to it, almost more toasty than sweet. The hops become a little floral and leave hardly a bitterness. The mouthfeel is very good, maybe due to the added body and smoothness from the yeast. A nice IPA overall. A hophead might be disappointed but this is a very drinkable and lively IPA.

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Photo of Bierguy5
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. can. Yes, can! Cloudy, shades of dark copper to amber. Foamy off-white head. Decent retention, but some great sheets of lace.

Citusy aroma, grapefruit comes to mind. Maybe floral or piney in the background. Good nose.

Nice rich malty character, a good blast of citrusy hops. Leans toward bitter, but still approachable and restrained.

Finishes dry. Good body and carbonation. Pretty nice. Tame, but not as tame as others I sampled while on the island.

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Big Swell IPA from Maui Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 62.9% out of 100 with 1,107 ratings
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