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Masala Mama India Pale Ale - Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery

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Masala Mama India Pale Ale
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BA SCORE
97
world-class

668 Reviews
THE BROS
87
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 668
Hads: 1,292
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.24%
Wants: 857
Gots: 69 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Jason on 01-01-2003

American style India Pale Ale (IPA) brewed using Amarillo, Cascade, Centennial and Mt. Hood hops. A beer with crisp hop flavor and bitterness well balanced with American malt sweetness.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 668 | Hads: 1,292
Reviews by BgThang:
Photo of BgThang
4.85/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to tyroanderso for these growler. I am reviewing from notes as this was sent to me and consumed 4 months ago.

The appearance is yellow slightly hazed with a good head that lingered around the entire time.

The nose is that of slight pine, citrus, lemongrass. alot of the things you expect in a solid IPA.

This beer has a lot of hype behind it and is rated on BA as the top IPA. It is well deserving of this. Although not as balanced as the alesmith IPA it is certainly damn good.

The mouth feel. this hit with a tingle that starts out slow then emerges on the back end. Its almost like a light pale ale then when you finish the bite comes in so slightly.

This is a beer that even the hop haters would love. (718 characters)

More User Reviews:
Photo of GRG1313
3.77/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours orange/amber with a thin white head.

Nose is orange and carmeled citrus hops; has the smell of cooked pineapple and the nose is integrated and balanced between the hops pineapple and the malty fruit. Nice layered and complex nose.

Mouthfeel is rich and creamy with nice carbonation and good balance. This one can't seem to decide in the mouth if it wants to be a big bright and bitter IPA or a fruity, malty and creamy Double. I'd call it more like a decent double than a good IPA.

Flavors are full of oranges, toffee, creamy lemon but also a bitter herbaceous pine hop character. The flavors are not bright and the flavor profile is not quite integrated. Yet, there is an appeal to this beer and, despite the criticism, I kept going back for more. The flavors and all around profile would have one conclude it is far higher in alcohol than stated. Hard to believe it's only 5.9% as it drinks with much more of an alcohol character and profile than 5.9. It also drinks, smells, feels and tastes much more like a complex double than a hoppy, fresh IPA. Drinkable, to be sure, and somewhat appealing.

Respectfully, a good beer. However, I believe that the beer is not worth the hype. (1,195 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.43/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

How good do IPA's get (notice I didn't distinguish regular IPA's from Double IPA's), well I'll let you know in just a moment. I have extreme high hopes for this beer.

The beer pours with a very froathy, deep copper/lightly rusty color. The beer doesn't let go of its bubbles easily. Eventually, the foam separates from the beer and reveals a standard hop-hazed liquid with a creamy and stubborn head resting above. Off white creme forums a mousse that linger well beyond the session and lacing as well as any IPA can. Really an ideal look though the haze might be a bit excessive.

Surprisingly, only a moderate citrus (grapefruit) aroma rises from the glass. Accompanied by an orange zest and grassy note, the grapefruit only hits medium intensity as far as IPA's are concerned. The malt character takes on a very crisp, yet creamy aroma that makes the beer very appealing and inviting.

Flavors of the beer are very balanced from the nose to finish- a very consistent flavor of citrus balanced by malts of bread crust and deep caramel. Neither the malt profile nor the nops appear first or let the other to take precedence until mid-palate when the creamy malts fade to dryness and the hop flavor (citrus) and clean bitterness take hold in true Double IPA fashion. Not a whole lot of esters or varying hop flavors, but this beer remains simple, clean, and focused.

The best part of the beer is in its texture. Where the beer starts out with a subtle malt creaminess, the beer transitions beautifully into a crisp, dry, and fleeting bitterness well into the finish. Where the initial impression makes me think 'balanced', the finish allows the hop bitterness to dominate and to do so without any hint of bite, astringency, or roughness. Absolutely effortless to drink.

In a nutshell, the beer is wonderful. I wish that there were the fragrant and flavorful first impressions of a dry-hop Centennial hop character but it just isn't there. But from mid palate on, the beer is as perfect as I have tasted- absolutely wonderful.

A big, big thanks to Chickdighops for this wonderful beer. I seriously owe you! (2,109 characters)

Photo of RoyalT
5/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance – This was one of the most beautiful beers that I have ever seen. The color is a perfect, dark hazy, mysterious orange. The head is thick, not fluffy. It looks like you could stand a spoon up in it. It showed great retention and left some terrific lacing on the inside of my Ruination glass.

Smell – This is a hop-lover’s dream. The profile is very complex. The floral notes are very pleasant and there is a small hint of citrus. But the big bopper here is the thick pine resin. It jumps across the room with sharpness and distinction.

Taste – Oh, yeah. Forget the hype; this is the real deal. The awesome malt base, which I totally missed at the nose, came out wonderfully on the tongue. The toasted malt, rich toffee, and chewy caramel flavors are so smooth they just melt in your mouth.

Not to be outdone, the hops are large and in charge. They mate perfectly with the malty base. The hop profile is very complex and harmonious. This one has it all.

Mouthfeel – Rich, thick, chewy, and much bigger than medium-bodied but not full, this one has a finishing dryness that will please the IPA lover to death.

Drinkability – I don’t think I’ve ever had a smoother, tastier, more enjoyable IPA than this guy right here. Having said that, I actually am exercising the self-discipline needed to save half this growler for a fellow BA. With that kind of willpower I should be bending spoons.

Comments – I can’t thank feloniousmonk enough for sending me this crown jewel of Minnesota. (1,516 characters)

Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.71/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Many thanks to BA JeffKrenner who was kind enough to bring a growler of Masala Mama to Madison on a recent visit. I believe the growler was filled 6-23-07. It was consumed on 6-29-07. The label seemed to indicate that it was good until 7-2-07. This was the first time I had seem a best before date on a growler.

Pours into my 1960s Vintage Watney Mann World Cup stemmed glass a beautiful shade of deep orange copper with brilliant carbonation streams and a thick off white head. Retention was very good.

Aroma is surprisingly balanced. Grapefruit, grapefruit, and ever more grapefruit fume from the liquid but equally present is sweet, lightly toasted bread. Fairly juicy with some resin, though much less then I expected (perhaps because this growler is nearly one week old).

Juicy grapefruit and hints of orange and resin come through nicely in the flavor. Here again we find perfect balance between malt and hops. Bitterness is of course present but it is much more subdued then expect and even where present, it is balanced well by sweet breads. Peach fuzz comes through after some warming. Hints of marmalade too. Plenty of caramel. Resin flavor increases several fold in the moderately dry finish as the beer nears 55 degrees or so. Luscious and juicy mouthfeel. Rather full. Very drinkable.

Not quite what I was expecting. More ESB like then American IPA like as far as I’m concerned. This could potentially be a product of coming out of a 5 or 6 day old growler but I don’t think that it is. Will have to try on tap sometime soon and compare. (1,565 characters)

Photo of tectactoe
4.15/5  rDev -5%

Photo of MadScientist
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of Schlais
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of cjn40277
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of weatherdog
4.43/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served in a pint glass on cask at the brewpub

The beer was freshly poured as it came to our table evident by the cascading bubble action still happening in the glass. It was a crystal clear orange color with a frothy off white head that kept its position throughout the whole pint. Nice layers of lacing coated the glass as well. The whole appearance really impressed me.

The smell was loaded with orange and grapefruit. It was heavy, fresh, and juicy. The taste was very much the same with the exception of an introduction of the right amount of bready malt to slightly balance the bitterness. This is my first IPA on cask and I'm not sure if its the beer, the oxygen or the low carbonation but it is the smoothest bitterness and most easy drinking silky smooth beer. Up front is is juicy fresh citrus fruit that seemingly glide down your throat and as soon as it's gone you find yourself taking another sip. Just a great well rounded IPA.

I visited the brewpub exclusively to have this beer which I had heard so much about. It lived up to my expectation and was probably the best IPA experience I've had so far. Drinking this beer on cask in front of giant windows that peered into the mash tun and boil kettle that birthed this brew just added to the experience. (1,268 characters)

Photo of blackearth
3.97/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed at Town Hall Brewery in Minneapolis, MN. Pours a dark gold body with a fluffy, off-white head. Aroma was of spicy floral hops. This beer was full bodied with spicy carbonation. The flavors boasted lots of nutty malts and a ton of hops that was a bit astringent tasting. My friend Bob got it as well, but on cask. The color was a bit darker with thousands of tiny bubbles making up the foam, like a nitro stout would have. Hop flavors were a bit muted from the original version, and it had this great creamy mouthfeel. I recommend the cask version over the regular version. (580 characters)

Photo of newk340
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of skybluewater
4.65/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From a growler (best by Dec 12, consumed Dec 7 and 8), pours a nice orange-copper color. Smells of all sorts of fruits, namely peach and citrus. I love the taste. It's fairly bitter, but not so much that it gets in the way of the great taste. There's some caramelly/biscuit-like malt there, and it just explodes with fruity flavors, such as orange and peach.

Overall, this is a delightful IPA. Very flavorful, but not overwhelmingly so. A fine brew all around.

Second day: I couldn't finish the growler, so I'm finishing it the next day. It's actually still very good. There's a nice hiss when I open it, and the beer itself, while having lost a bit of carbonation, is still highly flavorful.
---
3/20/05: Just updating a bit. I had a growler of this last night, and it was much better than the last one. Perhaps my pallete has grown since then, or maybe I got a fresher growler, but whatever it was, I have to conclude that this is one fabulous brew. All the pieces come together perfectly to create a brew that, while it's not the absolute best beer in the world, is one of the most well constructed beers I've had to date.

One final thought: I'm so glad I live in the Twin Cities metropolitan area! (1,214 characters)

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.72/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ahhh...what could be better to come home to after a long day at work than a fresh growler of the infamous Masala Mama sitting on your doorstep. Pours from the growler a brilliant shade of reddish orange with a fluffly, sticky mountain of head...as it falls it leaves wonderful intricate patchy lacing on the side of my glass. My mouth is watering already. As I pick up my glass and bring it to my nose I'm instantly hit by a wave of ripe, succulent hop aromas. Rich, resiny grapefruit, peach, pineapple, mango and various other citrus fruits mix with a hint of pine sap. Sweet candy caramel maltiness mixes into my make this smell like a big citrusy hop candy. Sit....smell...repeat incessantly.

First sip brings a smooth, rush of lupulin laden hoppiness. Massive citrus tones rush over my tongue along with a hint of herbal pine. A sweet, mellow caramel, bready maltiness seems to have a symbiotic relationship to the hops. The sweetness comes first and finishes off with just the right amount of bitterness on the back of the palate. Incredibly flavorful...I get hints of all the citrus fruits I mentioned above with each sip. Nothing less than a lovingly made IPA...exceptionally balanced and simply a delight to all lovers of the hops.

Silken smooth, creamy mouthfeel that has just enough carbonation...I could nearly mistake this for being off cask. Each sip I take makes me want to take another and so on. Man..I would be drinking this all the time if I had access to it...an all day drinkable IPA. Sometimes I think I get caught up in the double IPA's and pushing the envelope...however then I come across a brew like this that uses elegance, balance and obvious brewing skills to create one of the best IPA's that has yet to touch my lips. I might shed a tear when this growler is empty....you Minnesota folks are quite lucky to have easy access to this brew. Maybe one day they will bottle it...until then I must thank feloniousmonk for the opportunity. (1,969 characters)

Photo of blitz134
4.23/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this from Faro on his crosscountry beer road trip while he was in Atlanta. We had arranged a trade and he happened to have a couple growlers of this and I was lucky enough to talk him out of one.

Growler opened with a little hiss, still poured with a good 1-1/2" head of loose bubbles. Clear apricot, orange body. Lots of carbonation bubbles rise to the surface. Forms a nice sheet of lace on the glass as I work on finishing this one off. Good looking brew overall.

Strong aroma. Raw pine needles, tangerine rinds, and some flowery sweetness come through. Some sweet biscuity malts fight through the dominant hops. Good stuff, I could smell this all day long, each sniff brings out new combinations.

Taste is starkly different than the aroma. Tons of herbal hops pound the mouth, lots of straw and some grapefruit rinds. Finishes with some piney resin. Biscuity malts come in again to try to balance it all out. This IPA flavor profile is what I really like, more so than the fruity, flowery tasting ones. This is quite the IPA when it comes to bitterness, too. Possibly too much for the style. The only real fault is that it is possibly a bit unbalanced though.

Decent medium bodied brew for the style. Coats the mouth well and the bitterness just lingers. Carbonation level is about perfect.

This one is really easy to put down. The mouthfeel and carbonation levels are about perfect. The aroma and taste are there too making me want more. The only downfall is that the flavor is a bit unbalanced. Good stuff though, glad I finally got a chance to try it out. Three more pints to go... (1,607 characters)

Photo of bulldogg915
4/5  rDev -8.5%

Photo of DaftPatrick
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of warnerry
4.27/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

At the brewpub

A - Pours clear copper with one finger of light brown head. Head has okay retention and leaves a fairly small amount of lacing.

S - pine and citrus, with some other tropicals thrown in. Also a good amount of caramel malt. Quite good overall.

T - Similar to smell. Pungent pine and citrus rind. A few floral flavors and a bit of tropical fruit. There is definitely a nice malt presence to balance things out, but the hop bitterness persists all the way through. Nice to get so much flavor from a modest abv IPA.

M -medium mouthfeel. A bit lighter than most IPAs. Nice lingering bitterness.

O - Very good all the way through. Glad I got to try this. (667 characters)

Photo of sponberg
4.83/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Go ahead. Be skeptical. Yeah, it is that good.

Stunning to look at. Medium amber with a pillowy, fluffy white head that laces all the way down. If someone ever asks what an IPA should look like, point at a picture of this one. Aroma of citric, grapefruity hops over a background of honey, bread, and a whiff of sweet tea.

Ever hear the Big Head Todd song "Bittersweet Surrender?" Reminds me of this beer. I cannot find a fault and I'm on my third pint. Starts out with this insanely clean yet bitter hop bite, just full of juicy, fresh floral and citrus rind hoppiness. Then a tea-with-honey maltiness comes in to balance the hops. The longer it sits on the palate a yeasty breadiness comes in as a background note. Stellar finish - lingering hop oil on the tongue, slightly caramelly malt all over the rest of the mouth, and an incredible clean fresh lingering bittersweet tea-and hops flavor. Perfection. I could not ask for more form an IPA. Mouthfeel is moderate and entirely appropriate for the alcohol content.

Drinkability? They don't make growlers big enough. Minnesota needs to pass a law allowing the use of carboys for growlers for this beer.

:bow: to BA JeffKrenner for the growler. I owe ya big time for this one guy. (1,244 characters)

Photo of dill
4.37/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a nice golden with a frothy head and the smell of citrus stands out right away. It was so much like orange juice I just kept smelling it to take it in. The taste was lots of citrusy hops but it wasn't as balanced as I would have liked it to have been. Nevertheless it was a joy to drink. (303 characters)

Photo of Callmecoon
4/5  rDev -8.5%

Photo of bishopdc0
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of 77apm
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of Jason
3.88/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: ½ gallon growler. A big thanks to tavernjef for the sample. Nice psst when I popped the cap.

Appearance: Excellent frothing, rocky and bubbly. The stickage factor is up there, the head clings most of the way down the glass. Sunset amber hue, a bit darker than I expect for an American brewed IPA.

Smell: Flowery and oily hop all over the nose.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Super hops, old school micro style with a raw bitterness. There is something missing, I found it hard to focus on the maltiness even in a balancing sense. Every time the malt tries to come though the hops blur it out of the way. Slight alcohol and nutty yeast in the back. Minty, vaguely piney and with a slather of citric peel in the hop flavor. The long road of bitter hops leaves the palate only able to taste hops.

Drinkability & Notes: This one brings back memories of the Fort Hill Brewpub in Boston. Sadly they we one of the first victims of the BIG DIG as far as restaurant closings. I remember they had a super hoppy red ale … that is what it was called “red ale” nothing earth shattering but fresh, drinkable with a nice hoppiness to it. I’d certainly sit down again with this beer for the night as I am right now.

Note after the second pint: The after taste is actually annoying ... the hop character does not really impress me all that much. (1,350 characters)

Photo of tjthresh
4.06/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours copper with a creamy whipped off white head. Think lace left down my glass. Really big aroma of pine and grapefruit. A little bit milder flavor that the nose would indicate. Still great pine/grapefruit flavors along with some nice Munich-ish malt character. Medium body. A little oily. The finish wants to be sweet, but is smacked down to size by an enjoyable bitterness. Wow. (382 characters)

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Masala Mama India Pale Ale from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
97 out of 100 based on 668 ratings.