Homebrewing a Kona Big Wave Golden Ale Clone

Going to Hawaii was one of the best vacations I’ve ever taken in my life. I loved the weather and beaches, the laid back culture and people, and of course the beautiful vistas.

While Kona Big Wave Golden Ale may not have always technically been brewed in Hawaii, it definitely was pervasive during my trip there. To this day whenever I see or drink one, the memories of my visit come back to me. That’s why I decided to see if I could make my own version of this iconic beer!

Recipe Source: HomeBrewTalk.com Forums

Beer Specifications

Beer Name:Kona Big Wave Golden Ale Clone
Beer Style:Ale
Recipe Type:All Grain
Pre-Boil Volume:6.5 gallons / 24.61 litres
Batch Size:5.5 gallons / 20.82 litres
Estimated SRM:
Estimated IBU:23
Estimated OG:1.043
Estimated FG:1.011
Estimated ABV:4.1%

Grain Bill/Fermentables

7.5Pale Ale Malt
1Caramel/Crystal 20 Malt


0.2560 minGalaxy
0.2515 minCitra
0.55 minCitra
2.25Dry Dop (5 Days)Citra


1SafAle US-05

Fermentation Schedule

21 daysPrimary
14 daysBottle Conditioning


Mash Temperature:150°F / 65.6°C
Mash Time:60 min
Boil Duration:60 min

There are quite a few similar recipes out there to make a clone of this beer but I found the above recipe to be highly recommended. I also noticed that Kona actually provides close to an ingredient breakdown of their beers right on their official website and this recipe is very close to that.

Who doesn’t love a good mash in?

Following the recipe, I mashed for an hour and then sparged into my kettle. For this beer I simply followed the standard Easy Water Chemistry approach of adding 1tsp of calcium chloride and 2% acidulated malt to my grist.

After the boil I took a gravity reading and ended up with an Original Gravity (OG) of 1.042 which was just a single point off the recipe. I fermented it for a month and then bottled conditioned it for 2 weeks. Unfortunately I completely forgot to take a Final Gravity (FG) reading so I’m not exactly sure where I landed there. Oh well…

After sitting in the fridge for a few days it was finally time to crack one on a very hot summer day.

Tasting Notes

SmellA hint of fruitiness at the start with subtle hop notes on the tail end, balanced in the middle by a grainy smell. This actually turned out very similar to the real deal in my opinion!
AppearanceVery hard to tell in the pictures but it has almost a light golden amber glow to it. The head on the beer is bubbly and sits about an inch in height. Not hazy, but also not completely clear either – can’t see really through it but you can clearly see your fingers holding the glass on the other side.
TasteExtremely balanced with just the slightest bit of fruitiness at the end. Very refreshing and easily drinkable. Also pairs well with other fruit like an orange or pineapple slice.
YieldThis brew cost $28.98 in ingredients to make and yielded 43x355ml bottles ($0.67/bottle)

I am very happy with how this beer turned out! Not only does it taste very similar to the real deal but even if it didn’t I’d still want to brew this one again just because of how good it is. In fact this may be my new favourite golden ale, clutching the crown from the mighty Centennial Blonde! I highly recommend giving this recipe a go!

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Marijn says:

    Want to give this a try soon! Did you add any sugar before bottling?

  2. Brewers Journey says:

    Just enough to bottle condition. I usually target ~2.4 volumes of CO2.

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