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Big Swell IPA | Maui Brewing Co.

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
86
very good
396 Reviews
THE BROS
67
poor
Read the review
Big Swell IPABig Swell IPA
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Maui Brewing Co.
Hawaii, United States | website

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
50+ IBU

Added by GClarkage on 01-19-2008

BEER STATS
Reviews:
396
Ratings:
999
Avg:
3.84
pDev:
17.19%
 
 
Wants:
32
Gots:
151
For Trade:
1
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 396 | Ratings: 999
Photo of freeboard
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried this at a restaurant in Waikiki during the holidays and I really liked the sweet and bitter taste of this IPA. Both seems to balance out after a few sips of the beer. At first the sweet and fruity taste / smell seemed strong however; after you drink the beer the bitter and sweet balance out. This is a good beer on tap in Hawaii, so, I can't speak for the cans or bottles. This is similar to the Kona Castaway however; you can only purchase the Kona Castaway at a Kona brew Pub. It's good to see this Maui Brew is sold to the public and worth a try if you like Hawaii IPA beer. We don't get a large choice in Hawaii, so, this IPA is on the top of my list for local brews and it's FRESH out of the tap.

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Photo of treyrab
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Usually Maui doesn't make its way into PA, so when I saw a fresh, sole can on the shelf, I swooped up it. The only other Maui beer I have had was Coconut Porter. That is one of my favorite porters, so I had high expectations for this.

A: As I crack the can, foam seeps out of the aluminum and down the side of the can. My hands got sticky as I grabbed the wet can and poured into a Great Lakes Brewing Co pint glass. A nice, clear light amber with a two finger sticky white head. While it is clear, it seems a touch hazy, almost as if looking with a film on your eyes. Very nice look.

S: Smell is very nice. Predominantly citrus (mango and orange) with a touch of tart grapefruit. Nice dry scent with loads of fresh fruit bitterness.

T: Surprisingly very good. Nice and sticky mouthfeel, which I like in my IPAs. So much hop resin that yields a blast of orange and grapefruit bitterness. Not the most bitter IPA, but very well integrated with the malt backing.

Overall, I really enjoyed this. A very pleasant IPA that I would buy more of.

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Photo of alli4051
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz can into a SA perfect pint.

Pours a dull, hazy, burnt orange with an off-white head. Head is frothy and rocky, dissipates slowly and leaves tons of lacing. Scent is pleasantly hoppy, lots of citrus. Taste is piney, citrusy and resiny. Definitely very hop forward but not quite hop bomb level as there is a hint of malt in the finish to kinda round things out. On the lighter side of medium bodied and well carbonated. Not sure if it was the fact that I'm a sucker for new arrivals or the fact that the first major storm in Colorado implored me to buy beer from a warm tropical location but I am glad I picked this one up. Probably will again too.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice yellow color, looks delicious. Good lacing on the glass and a very hoppy aroma, clean. The flavor is bitter and hoppy, very clean and right up my alley. Unfortunately it costs $11 per sixer and the value just isn't there for me. There are several other IPAs I can buy for $8-9 so I won't be buying this again.

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Photo of beagle75
3.72/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Draft pour into a half-pint glass at Beachwood BBQ.

A: Clear, medium golden color with one finger of white foam head. Heavy lacing remains on the glass.

S: Hay, sawdust, and faint black pepper make up this beer's weak and unimpressive smell.

T: Begins off-dry, with pilsner malt and spicy/minty herbaceous hop aromatics that pack a definite snap. Flavors become more dry in the middle, which can be described as brief but very clean. The finish demonstrates restrained bitterness and a whiff of honey.

M: Thin viscosity, wet on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D: This is an interesting beer that struggles with its style identity. Between the noble character of the hops and the honeyed finish--not to mention the overall clean, smooth character--it could pass more easily as an imperial/extra pilsner than as an American IPA. Despite the underwhelming aroma qualities found here, this is a beer that tastes good and keeps the attention of the palate, all while staying crisp and refreshing.

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Photo of Wisconsinality
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to kk73 for another Hawaiian treat.

12oz can poured into standard pint.

A- Pours a light copper that is completely transparent. A nice bubbly two fingers worth of head dies down quickly but leaves some good lacing.

S- Big west coast hops. Nice and tropical which fits the locale. Some sweet malts are also present.

T- Pretty much the same as the nose. Big, tropical hops and a strong malt backbone. A little bitterness but nothing overpowering. There is also a slight bready quality as well.

M- Medium bodied with a dry finish. Some good carbonation but doesn't really tickle the tongue.

D- Fittingly enough it comes in cans so it can be taken onto the beach. Like a few other brews, I enjoyed a bunch of these in Hawai'i. Good tropical flavors and good balance make this a pretty good offering on the Island.

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Photo of gtn80
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the can into a glass.

Appearance is a nice golden orange color, with a tiny one finger head that dissipates quickly.

Aroma is of a big IPA, lots of malt in the aroma. Balanced by big, juicy, grapefruit hops.

Taste is very well balanced. Juicy, grapefruit hops up front, lots of bready malt. Flavor is crisp before hop bitterness hits, and it hits heavily.

Mouthfeel is good, carbonation lifts beer off your tongue.

Drinkability is really high for a big IPA.

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Photo of warmstorage
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

EDIT 11/30/2010: Had this again, and found it much more interesting. The hoppiness was more pronounced, in a good harsh sort of way, made me think of Chinook. Definitely glad I tried this again! Bumped taste from 3.0 to 4.0, and smell from 3.0 to 3.5.

===
2008 REVIEW:
12 ounce can was $2.00 from Liquor Collection, Honolulu.

Appearance: medium orange to light red, fairly hazy, but off-white to light beige head that leaves little to no lacing.

Aroma: Some earthy / resiny hops, and a little sweet malt, but underwhelming.

Taste: Again, earthy resiny hops, a slight citrus hop note. A little tiny bit soapy. Some orange notes in the finish.

Mouth: Somewhat warm and slightly sharp, but moderate to light carbonation.

Overall: A drinkable beer, interesting, but unremarkable. Would I drink it again if my other choices were Bikini Blonde, or Kona's Longboard Lager? Absolutely. Would I buy it again given other options? No.

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Photo of PDXHops
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap in a nonic at Humpy's Big Island Alehouse. Deep see-thru golden body with a bright white soapy head and fairly plentiful lacing.

The utilitarian glassware can't blunt the nose. West Coast all the way- Grapefruit, orange and pine with hints of the sticky icky. A steady stream of bitterness from sip to swallow, but it never approaches palate-wrecking level and doesn't overwhelm the wonderful hop flavors. Grapefruit zest and juice, pine, hints of mango and pineapple. Just-right touch of lightly sweet malt provides a bit of contrast. (Not to be confused with balance; this is a hop showcase). A bit of ganja in the dry and sticky finish.

Overall impression: My favorite beer during my week on the Big Island. I was inspired to by a couple of sixers of cans immediately after lunch to stick in the cooler. Highly recommended.

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Photo of inlimbo77
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed in can and tap in Maui in Sept 2010. Maui Brewery Brewpub in Lahaina

Appearance: mild amber color with 1 1/2 finger head that sticks around for a while. good not great lacing.

Smell: I know there have been mixed reviews, but I loved the smell of this one. great hop aroma in the noise. very pleasing.

Taste: again, really enjoyed this one. good hop finish and overall flavor. similar to the DFH 60 min that I know and love.

Mouthfeel: VERY easy drinking. on honeymoon there and had a steady supply of this in both hotel rooms in Maui and Kauai.

Drinkability: definitely would have this one again. might seek in a trade. not the best, but will always remind me of the trip.

Cheers.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy yellow color with an off white head. In the aroma, mellow orange citrus hops. In the taste, starts a dry pine to orange citrus hops with a nice malt backing. A a small hop bite but mainly smooth and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry small citrus hop in the aftertaste. Nice hops and easy to drink.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
2.85/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine July 2007.

It's nice to see an IPA in a can--especially one that's "brewed with huge amounts of American hops."

Pours a chill-hazed orange-and-copper color, with a good head and seemingly eternal creamy white lacing. Herbal as hell--nose is full of resins, near-pungent florals (but in a good way), some pine and a big dose of grapefruit. The combination really sets the pace for the experience and gets your glands pumping. Smooth, with a creamy, even mouthfeel and a firmness that runs throughout. It's all about hop flavor here, so it's not overly bitter, but there's certainly a citric edge that snaps through a sweet malt character with some dextrin and light toasted notes. Yeah, major hops going on here! Grapefruit, sticky oily resins; intense flavors of herbs, pine, pith, earth and wood. Flavor becomes flowery and tea-like as it wanes. Woody, bark-like and dry in the finish, with a thin coating of oils.

Pretty heavy-handed on the hops, which is fine by us, but it seems to lack balance and depth of malt to help round the experience off and increase the beer's drinkability. Finish is pretty harsh, too.

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Photo of ClarkPinnock
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Onenote81 for giving me a can of this.

This is one of my fist IPA's. Poured a cloudy burnt-orange with a 1/2 inch of head. Good lacing throughout. Definite notes of citrus in the nose. I know there are hops there as well, but not really knowing that hops smell like, I can say authoritatively.

Just the right amount of carbonation, which is at times unusual from a can. Also retains a full mouthful, not thin. Deep notes of citrus run parallel to a bitter flavor. The citrus comes first and fades into the bitterness.

This is very drinkable--providing a depth of flavor beyond what I expected.

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.87/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12-ounce can into a Thomas Hooker pint glass.

A: Mild, hazy, golden amber-yellow color manages decent clarity and a frothy, two-finger head of beige foam which settles to a creamy ring of lace.

S: Floral, citrusy sweet and filled with some musty spices. Fruity notes of pineapple, orange, lemon and guava.

T: Smooth, mellow, fruity sweetness up front with a blend of tropical fruits and sticky cereal malts come to a halt around mid-palate. Sticky, resinous and bitter citrus and herbal hops bombard the palate leaving a slick, fruity and slightly hot finish. Aftertaste is a bit of lingering fruity flavor with bitter, oily hop resins.

M: Medium-full bodied and fairly smooth before the somewhat acrid hop sensation settles in. Some slight chewiness and inexplicable, watery fizz just before the finish.

D: The 6.2% ABV throws a bit of heat, as does the swell of bitter hop resins. Not the best balance, but a pretty good, fruity hop indulgence. Love craft in a can and a bit surprised to learn a quality craft outside of Kona hails from Hawaii. I'd be interested to try some other Maui styles and would recommend Big Swell to citrus hop heads with confidence.

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Photo of BeerAndBourbon
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A. Pours a clear orange with a one finger off white creamy head that leaves tons of residual lacing around the glass.

S. Like a pine tree in Hawaii. Pine/grass hops with some tropical fruits - pineapple, mango.

T. Grapefruit dominates upfront with some sweet caramel malt to balance on the tail. As it warms the grapefruit backs off a bit and some pineapple and mango bitterness with some malt sweetness come in to play.

M. Medium body with a medium to high carbonation.

D. Quite drinkable. An interesting balance for an IPA. It seems that the bitterness tends to dominate when it's colder, but as it warms the sweetness comes in more and more. I really liked this initially and then enjoyed the subtle sweetness. As it warmed and the sweetness grew, it became more and more difficult to enjoy. I still enjoyed this brew, but I'd recommend drinking it a bit on the colder side.

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Photo of Bfarr
4.42/5  rDev +15.1%
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 Onenote81
3.79/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received a 6-pack of this from the great trader, scottfrie. Thanks, Scott!

Can poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark orange with a thick bone-white head on top. Excellent retention; leaves some sticky globs of lace behind. The nose is underwhelming to say the least. Light citrus tones waft out, but nothing is standing out. Not as hoppy as I'd like.

Good smooth mouthfeel with a crisp finish. Carbonation level is good. I've noticed sometimes that beer poured from a can loses some depth in the mouth, but not this one. Retains a nice firm feel. Great bitter hops right off the bat. A sweet kick in the middle with mango and orange flavors. Finish is slightly bittering as well. The flavors don't take a back seat to the bitterness though, great citrusy sweetness that I really dig. I'm glad I got a sixer of this. Great beer.

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Photo of xnicknj
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz can poured into pint glass - thanks to mrmiles for this during the nice cans II BIF

A - Pours a orange-yellow with a thick, bubbly head about two fingers high. Retains nicely with plenty of ringed lacing while drinking.

S - Some grassy hops with hints of tropical fruit and slightly sweet malts.

T - Plenty of juicy, fruity hops in the beginning with notes of citrus zest and apricot. Sweetness creeps in along with some toasted biscuit hints. The malt backbone is lighter but defined, as the beer finishes hoppy with some lingering dryness.

M - Lighter medium body, easy on the carbonation, some creamier tendencies for the style.

D - Quality flavor, little alcohol presence, not overpowering.

A nice IPA in a can for sure, although the nose was pretty subdued.

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Photo of devilben02
3.47/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Maui's IPA pours with a hazy, golden, medium-yellow color and a foamy white head, making it look similar to (albeit a bit darker than) the brewery's lager. The similarity stops there, though, with the aroma being packed with a fresh and bold combination of floral and earthy hops. It honestly smells like slicing open a vacuum bag full of hop pellets for a new batch of home brew. The flavor is similarly bursting with a dominant and bold hop bitterness with very little sweetness to balance. The texture is resinous and tongue-coating, letting the hoppy bitterness linger for a few moments. Unfortunately, although the hops are bold and distinct, it comes across as a bit one-dimensional.

I almost expected this to have more pineapple and tropical fruit hop characteristics or even some local botanicals like red ginger or hibiscus, maybe because those kinds of things would have been the obvious gimmicks from a brewery based in Maui. As I noted, though, the hop profile is more woodsy than tropical, and I respect that they didn't give in to gimmicks and chose to make a solid, straight-up IPA instead. In the end, though, I might have preferred the gimmicks to make this one more memorable.

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Photo of cokes
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

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Photo of Soneast
2.98/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Sadly, my can of Big Swell is from July, but I'll shall move forward with my review taking into account a loss of hop character. Pours a slightly hazy, straw yellow color, growing a thick, creamy off-white head with great retention and lotsa lace.

Aroma is mildly hop forward with some citrus notes and a decent caramel aroma along with some astringency. Almost chalky.

The flavor is also definitely hop forward, but there is a big caramel malt presence. That said, the hops held up wonderfully and I definitely get some herbal and slightly grassy notes. The finish is bitter, dry and astringent...chalky, really.

Ok I know this is two months old, but astringency doesn't develop with age AFAIK, so I can honestly say this beer is pretty tough to drink. The finish is harshly bitter with the astringent character. The hops are evident and tasty but the finish ruins it for me with every swig.

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Photo of alleykatking
4/5  rDev +4.2%
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!

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Photo of tdawgydog
3.47/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Really just an avg. IPA. I'm coming off drinking a lot of Russian River so there could be part of a letdown from that...

A - Very clear golden Yellow. Looks almost like an American lager.

S - Something sweet in the nose, not so Hoppy as the can mentions... Can't quite place it but he hops do not really stand out in this IPA

T - Tastes almost like a Belgian IPA almost, def a little different than your typical IPA, maybe it's the Hawaiian water??

D - Sweet, not bad. Goes down smooth.

M - A little thin, lacking body almost. Good stuff but wouldn't be at the top of my IPA list.

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Photo of geryeb624
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. can obtained in a trade with Kala1073. Poured into a standard pint glass.

A- Pours a very nice light orange-amber with several fingers of creamy white head.

S- Pine and floral-scented hop aromas with some citrus and some malt backbone.

T- A very nice balance of hops and malt. Hops come through as floral and piney, but not too bitter. A bit of malt balances the finish, which is crisp and a bit dry.

M- Clean and smooth with some nice carbonation.

D- Very high, a well-balanced, sessionable ale.

Another quality offering from the guys in Maui. I'm quite impressed with their line-up.

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Photo of kbutler1
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can. Canned 030410. First had this in Hawaii last year and finally grabbed some cans recently in a trade. Pours a nice slightly hazy orange honey color with a 1 finger head that slowly sinks to about 1/8 of an inch. Already lacing. Swirl and sniff results in a nosefull of citrus hops along with a subtle sweetness. Very balanced with a nice bitter kick at the end. Canned alomst 4 months ago may have taken a bit out of the hops up front. This takes me back to sitting on the beach! Very good. Medium mouthfeel.

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Big Swell IPA from Maui Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 396 ratings.
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