Maui Big Swell IPA – The Review

It has been a while since I reviewed a Maui Brewing Company beer – here is perhaps my favourite. It’s from their flagship range and it is named after a large wave, perfect for surfing on. Only reading this will tell you if I felt the tropical wind in my matted hair as I rode the taste of this canned creation. It has to be said, as soon as I started pouring it into my glass, the signs were all good.

Vital Statistics:

  • 6.8% ABV
  • 82 IBU
  • Brewed on Maui, Hawaii
  • Comes in 330ml cans.

Taste It has a real crisp, fresh hoppiness. I get a bit of coconut milkiness, it’s real smooth with a good hint of nutmeg and malt. I found it to be reasonably sweet. I mean, it is balanced by bitterness of course, hey it’s an IPA, but Fell Brewery’s Tinderbox IPA has twenty-two fewer IBUs and was a helluvalot more bitter than this is. So yeah, don’t be put off by the IBUs is what I’m saying, it has a much lighter taste than it sounds.              8/10

Aroma As soon as I opened the can, even at arm’s length there’s a burst of fresh floral hops, but also some herbal ones. Sorta reminded me of  Dale’s Pale Ale or Jever Pilsener in that way. Just for the raw aromatic power, this beer is awesome. I think I smell some butteriness or something, but there’s a woody, nutmegginess that comes from the hops too and is pleasant.                                                                                               9/10

Appearance It’s a wonderfully appealing tin, I must say. It conveys a great bit of tongue in cheek humour when it describes itself as “Big, Hoppy, Bold, Smooth, And Hoppy…Did We Mention Hoppy?” It’s absolutely true once you’ve tasted it, and the main reason why I picked it off the Wineyard shelf.

In the glass it is pretty vibrant. It has a light burning gold colour, like many honeys, perhaps with a hint of copper. It looks good, yeah, what can I say. It tastes so good that I don’t want to look at it too long before drinking more of it.                                          8/10

Value For Money I can’t lie and say this is a cheap beer. But do really want me to mention the time-worn cliche ‘you get what you pay for?’ No, I thought not. When you consider that it’s a high strength drink with an even stronger – yet balanced – flavour it ain’t extortionate, so if you like IPAs, or hops in general, certainly check it out.                                     7/10

Brewing Uniqueness Well a) it’s from Hawaii, b) it’s canned, ergo it’s pretty unique. But I also take into account that the IPA is a very traditional style. So is this a traditional IPA? In terms of brewing technique yes, but the results are so unique to place and ingredients used, that I have to give it a high score. It’s the playfulness with a traditional style that makes this irresistible.                                                                                           9/10

The Session The flavours mellow out a little on the palate, but the nice balance between sweetness, bitterness and smoothness make it one I could just carry on drinking. The only problem is, at 6.8%, I shouldn’t carry on drinking! Maybe just a couple more…     7/10

 It’s a very accessible IPA, not as bitter as many of them can be, so don’t be put off by thinking it’s going to make you gurn your face off. Also its character is strong enough to give it a decent enough difference to other beers on the market. Basically the whole experience, from the banter on the can to the hypnotising floral nose, is worth a go. At the price you might not want to spend a whole night on them, but you’ll be happy you tried it.

Final score: 80%


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