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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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671 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 671
Hads: 1,316
Avg: 4.35
pDev: 8.97%
Wants: 859
Gots: 76 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Masala Mama India Pale Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 671 | Hads: 1,316
Photo of hoody711
3.84/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Gift from a buddy in Minneapolis when he came down last weekend. Brought me this and their altbier. Heard a lot about it, so pretty excited. First try - grossly underimpressed. However, I preceded that one with a Permanent Funeral, so it deserves a second, clean chance.

A - from the growler into a tulip. Head is slight, maybe a fingerbreadth, and settles quickly with minimal lacing. Almost no carbonation, but it is 3 days old. Color is a glorious blood orange. Good clarity.

S - a couple days ago all I got was caramel malts. Today I'm getting some nice tropical fruits with a constant sour apple backbone. Very, very interesting. Almost no malt, but it has been in the growler for 3 days. It's good though.

T - very good. Fresh, sour apple at the beginning that almost puckers you up. Then there comes the caramel malts that fade quickly and a huge bitterness massacres your tongue then goes away real quick. The aftertaste is there, but it's only a shadow of the main show.

M - although the bitterness fades quickly, it does leave a lasting coating on the tongue. Faint oilyness. Not sure I could have 3 or 4 of these, but definitely a second.

O - Seems like a good cross between heavy, malty DIPAs and some West Coast tropical fruit. The apple that has almost permeated this growler probably isn't there at the brewery and reflects unfairly on this one. Would love to try some fresh, but it was cool to see how this one changed over 3 days.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.85/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler shared at FosterJM's birthday celebration courtesy of smarcoly.

Pours a clear dark orange with an orange-tan head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, honey, and some herbal hops. There is also a faint hint of funk in the aroma. Taste is pretty much the same without any funk in the flavor. There is a medium amount of bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer but the slight whiff of funk in the nose is a bit off putting.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.85/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured 6/19 from a growler filled on 6/17 into a pint glass.

Appearance: Very dark appearance for an IPA, a dark copper color with a fluffy off-white head. Good head retention, and nice sticky lace is all over the glass.

Smell: Hoppy, but less than I would have expected. Earthy and pine notes predominate, but there are citrus notes as well. The malt aroma is bready.

Taste: This is very balanced, but I felt it was missing something. The bready malt was soft, the pine and earthy hops were subtle. The grapefruit flavor was really the only flavor to push through strongly. Finished mildly bitter.

Mouthfeel: A pleasantly creamy feel, with slightly above average carbonation. Not much residue remains from the hop oil.

Drinkability: This was a quaffable brew with a nice smoothness, but there was nothing that really catapulted this over the top. Although I am glad I was fortunate enough to try it, I will not go crazy to seek it out again.

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Photo of kajerm
3.87/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tap, cask, and growlers of various ages, but this review will be based on the first grower, which was less than a day old-- or at least I think it was-- it's kind of annoying how Town Hall sells prefilled growlers out of a fridge.

Pours amber with two fingers of white carbonation and solid lacing-- so basically, it looks like an IPA.

The aroma is piney/citric (orange peel and grapefruit are both present) with some floral character; a pretty nice hop blend.

Opens up with some caramel malty flavors, but hop flavors come in right away. Hops are present in the flavor profile pretty much from beginning to end, but they are surprisingly mellow. Bitterness is almost but not completely absent in the finish.

It's worth noting that this wasn't just because the hops in the growler were dead-- the beer tasted like this on tap too.

The mouthfeel is a little less carbonated than some other IPAs.

This is a well-made, extremely drinkable IPA.

With that said, though, I don't really understand why people fetishize this beer the way they do; plenty of breweries are making beers like this. Good beer, but it's no Furious.

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Photo of Jason
3.88/5  rDev -10.8%
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.

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Photo of waltonc
3.88/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a growler of this in a an awesome trade thanks to MasterSki.

A: The previous review is dead on with the appearance, so I won't belabor the point. Except I'll note that the head is almost a little out of control, leaving swaths of sticky foam lining my glass. A tad off-putting, as it reminds me of mysterious foam you see in bodies of water that require you to think twice before swimming. But maybe that's just a result of being stirred up by shipment across the country. So I'll give it a pass.

S: As expected, smells like a hoppy IPA. My nose isn't breaking it out any more deeply than that.

T: Interesting flavor. Certainly, the piney hops are the first thing that jump out. But there is also a candied maltiness that balances this. Almost a bit fruit-like. Then - more bitter hops.

M: Bittering, medium bodied, medium carbonation.

D: Very drinkable for an IPA, which I normally can't drink too much of. Overall, a very good beer, and a great example of an IPA. I like it more than most I can get here in California.

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Photo of coldmeat23
3.88/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

GLASS: Pint Glass
TEMP: Approx 40 degrees (at pouring time)
Thanks to thehand for sharing this one!

Pours up a slightly dark, caramel-like, amber color, with some burnt orange tinting. A thick head of white foam forms easily and sticks around for quite awhile. Lacing is great.

Big piney notes hit me, right away. Nice floral presence. Definite citrus notes are here but they are more subdued. I can get just a slight hint of the underlying maltiness. Slight touch of nuttiness.

Big piney presenece dominates the taste. White grapefruit notes mix with hints of oranges. There is a good presence of caramel malt lurking in the underneath of this one. Unfortunately, the sweetness is just overpowered by the hoppy bitterness. Not quite enough balance for me to enjoy all the time.

Great medium body. Nice carbonation level. Very smooth and a tiny hint of creaminess. The bitter hop aftertaste is a big turn-off for me personally though.

I can see why this one is so well loved by the hopheads. I'm just not THAT into the whole hops loving thing, yet. I'm very glad to have tried it, but if it's another year until I taste it again, it'll be okay.

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Photo of Tilley4
3.88/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to beefmental for this growler... Been trying to procure this one for a while and he finally hooked me up!

This pours much darker than I was expecting... Burnished copper almost... Nice carbonation though...

Decent hop aromas here... Citrusy and piney although the malts are much more prevalent than I would expect... Still pretty good though... Top 5? Not so sure of that...

Deep piney flavors mix with rich toasted malts for a rather balanced brew... Sort of sweet in places... Reminds me a lot of SN Torpedo... Very hop forward mind you but more piney than citrusy...

A nice little brew here although I'm not sure it would make my top 10 IPAs... Still nice to have been able to had...

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Photo of aaronh
3.88/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Typical IPA appearance with orangeish body topped by a creamy head, but with a bit more sparkle than you typically see. The characteristic haziness form the hops is absent. This beer screams " I'm Special! " Aroma has a nice bit of what seems like Centennial hops, along with some other hop notes. No malt sweetness to speak of. Flavor is very bitter up front, with almost a dry, dusty feel. Very little malt backbone is present to support the onslaught of hops. Finish is also very dry. Mouthfeel is a bit astringent, and also gets a bit drying. This hurts drinkability as well. Over all a solid offering, but not in the upper echelon of IPAs for me personally.

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Photo of pepsican
3.89/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Growler, have had it on tap/cask as well. Pours amber with a thick white head. Strong pine hops in the aroma. Flavor has quite a bit of caramel up front, with some bitter pine hops in the background. A touch of citrus rounds it out. Finishes bitter, very bitter. This is definitely one for the bitter freaks. I could definitely use some more flavoring and aroma hops in the one, then it might be amazing.

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Photo of jlindros
3.9/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Growler thanks to rudzud
Nice looking fizzy fluffy head fades semi slowly with meniscus looking side walls head, mostly clear amber copper color

Nose erupts with fresh hops, light tropical fruit, light musty resin and passion fruit, light mango like, but those aromas disappear quickly with now citrusy and light floral candy, more candy and sweet malts with some crystal and fluffy malt sweetness and hInts at a hint of booze.

Taste fluffy malts, with light sweetness and caramel candy. Hint of booze surprisingly. Then hops come on earthy, light grassy, no real resin or tropical fruit. It starts light bitterness that ramps. Quite a bit of candied slight earthy hops with a hint of citrus. Caramel and toffee. Finish is fairly bitter spicy hops, light sticky but mostly dry.

Mouth is med to light fuller bodied fluffy, decent carb for growler.

Overall meh. Is it meh growler or has my palate been jaded from the amazing hoppy beers.

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Photo of seeswo
3.9/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've been told that this is the best Midwest IPA out there and had to give it a try. Thanks goto my wife for grabbing the growler while she was in the area and keeping good care of it for the trip back.

From the initial pour, I can see that it is a bit darker than I expected, reminding me of Surly Furious (which would be tops, in my opinion and experience in the race for top Midwest IPA). On the initial sip, I can tell that this is not Furious. It is not as spicy as Furious (though Spicier than some IPAs), but has a slightly more robust pine quality. Neither of these are your citrus IPAs, that's for sure.

Consider this through the lens that I really was not feeling all that well when I had it and struggled through the last half of the glass, but I thought this beer was really good, but not great. I prefer Furious for its over-the-top robustness, though Masala Mama tastes more like an IPA as I have traditionally come to understand it. I still think it is worth grabbing a growler if you are passing through the city, I am just not so sure I would trade for one.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
3.9/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was excited for this growler while at Normyk's place for a tasting on 3/5/11.

A- Stunning clarity was the first thing I noticed. Its a glowing golden orange with a stark white head. It looks crisp, it looks unflawed.

S- The aroma is nice and sweet. Pretty strong on tropical fruit, but fresh pine is also well represented.

T- The taste isnt as nice as the aroma. It seems to lose some dimension. Its quite resinous with lots of leafy hops. Grapefruit rind and pine bough are soaked in hop oils.

M- The oily stuff lingers but this beer isnt too bitter. It some how manages to have a long lingering oily finish but maintain an overall dry feel at the same time.

D- Quite enjoyable. I wouldnt mind drinking this often.

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Photo of bulletrain76
3.9/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler shared by bret27. Copper colored with a lasting white head. The aroma has a nice spread of fruity hops: peach, pineapple, citrus. There is also a sweet floral side and a hint of caramel. The flavor is mild on the bitterness, which is a little more apparent than IBU numbers might suggest due to a strong bready, crackery malt side. Fruity and floral hop flavors blend in pretty well, creating a pretty balanced overall package. Lighter in body with smooth carbonation. Lots of malt flavors for an IPA, with just enough hops to balance them out, but it is not a sweet beer, adding to a very drinkable, almost session-like presentation for the style. I would peg this more like a hoppy pale ale, but a fun beer with an interesting mix of flavors for the style.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.91/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

64 oz. growler poured into multiple pint glasses. My wife was supposed to help me drink this, but I ended up with a solid 48 oz. of it!

Appearance - Deep amber, maybe copper body with a nice, creamy off-white head. The lacing is tremendous. A continuous coat of foam down the sides and all over the top of the beer. Well made, but very dark for an IPA, especially a single IPA.

Smell - I don't get the pungent hop aroma I expected from an IPA rated so well. Sure, it's citrusy and piney in equal measures, but really I get a lot of biscuit malts. The aroma just isn't all that strong, either. When it's cold I don't get much of anything.

Taste - Taste is good, though. Definitely a strong hop flavor up front. Again, equal parts citrus and pine, which pair well with a toasted malt backbone. Lots of malt, though. It reminds me of an amped-up English IPA. The finish is toasty and very bitter, almost unpleasing.

Mouthfeel - That aftertaste takes away a little bit, but otherwise it's easy drinking. Good thing, too, because 48 oz. of this would be tough to put away otherwise.

Overall - A solid IPA. Not something I'd seek out again, but if I was in MN, I'd make the trek to the Town Hall brewery for it. Other MN IPAs definitely stand above this one, though.

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Photo of gregshead
3.91/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoiyed on 8/22/11. Reviewed from notes. A huge thank you to BT for hooking me up with this one:

A: Pours a copper color with 2+ fingers of head.

S: Good grapefruit astringency. All I smell is grapefruit.

T: Grapefruit, grapefruit and grapefruit. Not over the top but very tasty hop flavor w/ a good malt backing to keep it from going over the top.

M: Nice levels of carbonation with a beer with these properties

O: A very solid IPA. Not necessarily a hop monster but plenty of tasty hops that make it a winner.

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Photo of lurpy1
3.92/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Generally, my drinking tastes have always run towards stouts/porters, wheat beers, and recently, Wee Heavies. All these beers have in common is that they are not hoppy styles. Not that I disliked hoppy beers, I just wasn't acclimated to them. Back in January I paid my first visit to Town Hall tap. After trying a few things, I ordered a Masala Mama, knowing full well what it was. I finished it, would probably say I liked it, but my buddy got plenty of laughs at my many winces and cringes.

Fast forward ten months. I've been seeking craft beers much more actively, and I can fairly say I've become hop acclimated. In fact I would actually say I LIKE hoppy beers. And here we are, back at THT. So, Masala Mama, my old foe, we meet again.

The pour is an impressive, though standard gold, with half-finger head. The smell is assertive and fresh, with a strong boquet of hops. Hops again on the tongue, along with citrus, pine, a little bit of ma...damn it all, am I wincing again? Yes, I am, jeez. Still a hop weenie? Or is this one just too unbalanced on the hopometer.

Still, way, way short of a drain pour, in fact, I'm still happy to drink this beer. It's well made like all THB/THT offerings. But I found it too dry and too hoppy to be outright tasty. This may get lynched by purists around town who will at the very least revoke my hop-nerd credentials, but I found Masala Moom only good, not great.

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Photo of rudzud
3.93/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received in a trade, pouredinto a Kate the Great tulip. Shared with JLindros.

A - Poured a nice crystal clear amber copper hue with a nice one finger white creamy head that just won't quit! Leaves a nice creamy blanket.

S - Aromas of light citrus hops and tropical fruit notes. Faint pineapple and mango. Wish it was a little brighter.

T - Taste is surprisingly bubblegummy, which I definitely wasn't expecting. Some slightly danker tropical hops with some light bready notes. Finish is lightly bitter with that lingering bubblegum flavour.

M - Mouthfeel is nice and light and drinkable. Enjoyable.

O - Overall this beer kind of threw me a curveball. I know the Growler is fresh, but it has almost an older hop feel to it. Still I respect and enjoy this one.

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Photo of marksto
3.95/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sought out and sampled at GABF due to the very high ratings here. I enjoyed it, but did find a few better IPA's there.

Pours medium amber, clear, with a thin white head that displays good retention. Aroma shows big fruit and hop on the nose, both mingle nicely; and also has some apple and citrus in the hops. Fairly full bodied, with a pleasing citrusy essence and malt and fruit intermingling with some light pine elements. The dimension and complexity of this one are certainly very good, but I was not as impressed as it looks like some other BA's have been. Definitely worth sampling if you get the opportunity to try it.

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Photo of dubinsky
3.95/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a growler into a Deschutes snifter. Date on the growler was 6/17/11.

A - The beer pours a very dark rust orange with a nice fluffy khaki color head. The head seems really sticky as it clings with dear life to the sides of the glass with some serious head retention. Eventually the head subsided leaving behind a great looking lace.

S - This is not at all what i expected from a Midwest IPA. Very reminiscent of a West Coast IPA. Fairly piney and resiny with hints of sweet mango, pineapple, and grapefruit. The longer it sits in the glass the more caramel malt i pick up from aroma.

T - Well, the taste is definitely not as west coast as the smell suggested, rather its pretty malt forward with a delicate sweetness present. Very piney and slightly grassy. To Citrus to speak of. The beer is a great example of a Midwest IPA that ranks up there with the big boys.

M - I think i sat on this beer too long. Believe it or not i had a hard time finding someone worth of splitting a growler with and ended up decanting most of it so that i can drink it by myself. The beer is medium bodied, but i fear the carbonation suffered a bit. Its still carbonated, but nearing the flat end. I will not judge this beer based on this category.

O: A great IPA that i wish was more readily available here. Luckily i have great IPA here, but this would be a regular if i didn't have to trade for it.

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Photo of Bendurgin
3.95/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to the world class Translucent for this one. Poured into a pint glass. Pours a nice amber color with a thin white head and thin lacing. The smell is great, nice piney hops with a solid malt backbone. A faint aroma of sweet caramel with a bit of tropical juiciness. The taste is upfront with hops and leaves a nice bitter finish. The hops compliment the rest of the flavor profile pretty well. The malt comes through nicely with a slight juiciness. The body is very light with good carbonation. Very drinkable beer, I'd love to get more of this stuff.

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Photo of jwilli7122
3.95/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What we've got here is a bonafide hop bananza

Pours medium clarity and orange...bright orange. not orangish brown, or copper or amber, but orange - the color of the fruit. if you wore this color deer hunting, you'd be legal.
Smell is hops - whole lot of different hop aromas - apricots and grapefruit, but some very bitter varieties also, all of them boisterous, fighting each other, making one big, spicy, fruity hop harmony.
Theres not a lot of flavor "balance" here. this beer is focused on hops. of course, that's not a bad thing. masala is spicy, but enjoyably mellow in the middle, fruity but not that sweet, sharp but smooth...pretty light on the malt flavors. very dry finish. no yeasty "earthiness," or really anything to compete with or take your attention from hops.
Not my favorite, but I understand why it may be yours.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.95/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

this is very good ipa, no doubt about that, but i expected (with all the hype and very high ratings) this to be memorable and world class, and i think its a league below some of the best ipas out there. that said, its also excellently made, and just a slightly different take. its more in the english style it seems, and not because it has any real appreciable yeast to it, but because of the richer grain bill and the focus on balance rather than hop explosions. this may also have been ahead of this time, if i tasted this beer however many years ago they first brewed it, it would have seemed a lot more unique than it does now. i say the same about pliny, the rest of the world has caught up to that beer a little bit, and the same may be true here. its got a clear shiny copper hue, with a full inch of white head on it. smells balanced, i get as much crystal malt sweetness as i do the hops, which seem well dosed but not insanely interesting as far as the aroma is concerned. in the taste, its familiar northwest hop varietals, with some resinous elements, but really quite reserved in terms of weight and bitterness. the balance is exceptional, but in my heart i wanted this one to stand out for flavor, not just for quality. still an excellent ipa, but i think its not all that distinct.

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Photo of craytonic
3.95/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler in the fridge lasted three days:

Appearance: Pours a clear orange amber with an enormous sea-foam head that never fully subsides. Nice lacing all the way down.

Smell: Citrus hops, hops, and more hops, spruce, and resin.

Taste: Hops, grapefruit, tangerine, citrus, spruce, pine, resin.

Mouthfeel: Nice malt backbone for body.

Drinkability: Disappears.

Thanks to WankerWeasel!

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.96/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured outta a growler by oglmcdgl by way of some trader, thanks! Into a plain pint glass.

Masala came with a hiss when the cap was pryed, out came a nice bright copper beer with some golden penny edges. A nice thick inch of foam stayed a float with a off white look leaving nice patterns down the glass.

Smell is in the middle and not veering east, a nice bouquet of floral hops and some pine backing with some slight toasted malt profile. Some earthy aroma with some warming but not much caramel which i was waiting for.

And were off, Masala brings the hops and the pine, citrus is there with slight grapefruit, but mama is not citrus laden. This is more geared in the earthy/pine type of IPA that's bold but not aggressive.

A slight bitterness with a dry finish, not overly malty and the ABV is nowhere in site. This won't kill your palate, just a quick smacking and than wha la. Carbed up just fine from a great growler.

It's easy drinking beer, a nice array of flavors, just not wowing me. Low ABV makes for great drinkability but some more ummpphh would of made me come back.

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Masala Mama India Pale Ale from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
96 out of 100 based on 671 ratings.