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Big Swell IPA | Maui Brewing Co.

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Big Swell IPABig Swell IPA
Very Good
1,118 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,118 |  Reviews: 421
Photo of Tdizzle
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

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Photo of bbothen
3.89/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amber color with a small less than 1 finger head.

Smells a big aroma of grassy, earthy hops. Scents of citrus as well. Crisp. Nice.

Bready malty flavor up front before a tidal wave of grapefruit hop flavor knocks the malt off it's board. Some sweetness rides through the tube as well.

Feels a but yeasty with a lingering medicinal hop flavor on the tongue. Kinda sticky.

Overall enjoyable IPA. Hope it stays readily available in these parts. Tasty brew in a can! Nice & portable. Cool.

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Photo of Floydster
4.5/5  rDev +19.4%
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 rsawyer
4.27/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am sitting in Waikoloa overlooking a beautiful beach from our condo, looking at Jobs on the Big Island and thinking about selling it all and going Jimmy Buffet on everyone!

Poured from a 12 oz can...
And a can (and I quote Maui Brewing Company-) because:
1) Cans eliminate light damage and reduce the risk of oxidation, keeping Maui Brewing Co. beers fresher than in bottles.
2) Cans are lighter, chill quicker, and can be enjoyed on (*topless) beaches and in sensitive environments. Aluminium us the most recycled and most eco-friendly material.
*Topless is my wording, and I like it

A- The beer pours a deep copper with little to no head. The beer lacks the clarity that I expect from an IPA (but who gives a damn, the lady in front of my just took off her top!)

S- The beer smells of strong cascade hops. Fresh, florally, and earthy- just about right for a Hawaii beer!

T- Not as intense as the nose. but beautiful none-the-less. The hops are not as demanding as they are in the nose. That being said, the barley background comes right around and creates a lovely balance where aftertaste of vanilla,brown sugar, and biscuit are found.

M- Perfectly smooth and light. Carbonation is felt by not a burden to the beer.

D- Great beer. Goes down easy, taste great after a long day of ingesting saltwater.

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Photo of Deuane
4.22/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to CoreyRhoads for the hook up on a sixer of this fine nectar!

A-Slightly hazy dark-orange copper with a medium off-white head that reduced to a thin cap leaving moderate lace.

S-Big wafting of spicy/piney citrus. Really nice hop aromas melding together being dominate over a background of caramelized brown sugary malt..

T-Big and juicy pine and bitter citrus hops transition into a sweet ride to the finish. The taste is a bit reserved compared to the aroma but it still packs a nice hoppy punch. Very tasty and well balanced.

M-Medium-light body. Very refreshing, crisp and thirst quenching. This is a well done beer for it's tropical home.

D-A well done session IPA. Lovely aroma and a nice sharp hop pop in the mouth. If I could get this beer with ease it would give Sly Fox Phoenix Pale Ale a run as my "Bud". Totally drinkable and approachable...well done!

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Photo of athensbeermaster
4.13/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cool new plastic black carrier that just hugs the top of the cans very tight. The appearance:Large tan frothy head that hangs around for some time. The lacing is thick and holds on to the glass. The color has a nice amber orange hue. The nose had fresh tropical fruits mixed with a faint mineral scent. The taste of fresh pineapple, kiwi, star fruit. The malt backbone is very strong with a sweet brown sugar punch that is quickly matched with a blast of citrusy hop attack. The real secret to this brew is the water source. I get a great mineral aftertaste in the finish. This CAN beer would make anybody a happy camper!

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Photo of bkett01
3.36/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured with an inch thick frothy white head from the can. Color is a murky amber/orange and I'm not seeing much carbonation.

Both smell and taste lack a big hop character, instead a sweet malt is detectable. This is a very average IPA that is extremely drinkable. Glad I got a chance to try it but not overwhelmed by it.

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Photo of orcasteve
4.75/5  rDev +26%
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 655321
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a sixer of the cans from Bevmo for $10. I think the price is my biggest problem. It's a good IPA but at that price it should be better if not a knockout. I've paid less for much better. (Lagunitas is a fine IPA that would probably get more scrutiny if I couldn't get it by the case at Costco) I need to find some good beer in cans for a rafting trip, but at this price I have to look elsewhere.

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Photo of beereality
4.22/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz.can. Beautiful orange hazy pour.big fat fine white head that dissapears quickly. some fine light lacing. Very nice smell! Hoppy, biscuity,malty wonderous.nice smooth feel. wow I could just smell this all night! you know that smell.nice bitter dry finish, that makes you want more. sorry I only have one more can. but fortunate to have it.

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Photo of JDV
4.12/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of hopdog in trade. Thanks!
Pours an attractive dark, murky amber with a lasting beige head. Smell is nice and fruity with citrus, peaches, and grapefruit scented hops in particular. Taste is sweet and fruity with a hoppy backing to it. Very nice fruity taste of peaches and sweet ruby red grapefruit with a good dose of refreshing hops to it. Very well balanced and super drinkable. Full mouthfeel, slightly creamy and nice moderate carbonation. Add the fact that it comes in a can and this is one hell of a fun beer to drink. Really solid all around. Thanks again for this one!

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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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Big Swell IPA from Maui Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.77 out of 5 with 1,118 ratings
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