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

662 Reviews
THE BROS
87
very good

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Reviews: 662
Hads: 1,273
rAvg: 4.38
pDev: 5.94%
Wants: 847
Gots: 67 | FT: 3
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: 662 | Hads: 1,273
Photo of SQNfan
3.96/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This poured deep copper in color with some amber running through the middle and a creamy off-white head. The aromas were of citrus, pine and coffee. In the mouth it was medium-bodied with great balance of hops and malt in the midpalate and then fading to a lightly dry finish with crisp bitterness. The coffee aroma and flavors makes me wonder if there was a porter/stout in the growler previously. (398 characters)

Photo of blackearth
3.97/5  rDev -9.4%
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 beerkittycat
3.97/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is hazy orange with a frothy and tight off-white head that lingers for the duration. Aroma is bursting with pine and citrus, maybe a little bit of mint and woods. Malt is definately taking a back seat in the aroma for the hops to shine through. Taste has bursting flavors of hop and more hops with a strong bitterness right up front. Malt flavors of apricot and marmalade are again taking a back seat to all the hops. Medium mouthfeel and carbonation help this beer but the hop bitterness is fairly harsh bordering on acidic. Don't get me wrong, this is a wonderfully flavorful beer if your a hop addict. I only prefer a bit more malt balance and a little less harshness in the hop flavor and bitterness. (715 characters)

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.97/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

64 oz growler shared and poured into an American tumbler pint. 5-5 written on cap. (Tapped over DLD weekend and brought down).

Thanks, Beerwolf77, for having me come over to share this guy.

A - Poured into the pint, the beer was a lightly hazy golden orange-amber color with a thin tan head floating on top. Good retention held on for a while and left the small area of glass coated in thin lace.

S - The aroma is low but good with a nice aromatic hop nose of flower pedals and grapefruit citrus with pine resins and a nice caramel and toast backbone. A solid IPA aroma all around.

T - The flavor has a strong pine and hop resin kick to the taste followed up by a pretty potent bitter grapefruit citrus finish. The Backbone that holds it all together is a good balance of toasted caramel malts.

M - Masala is medium-bodied and fairly smooth with a pretty decent carbonation sparkle to the finish. It's also got to have pretty high IBUs cause it's got one bitter kick to it.

D - The bitterness is pretty strong, not that deters very much, but otherwise its a really good IPA with solid drinkability. It's definitely not something I'd session but two pints would be a tasty treat. (1,184 characters)

Photo of jethrodium
3.97/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Growler courtesy of dougofthefuture. Thanks Doug. Pours a reddish amber with a finger tall white head that has good retention and lacing. The aroma is bready malt, biscuit, a lot of mango, and a bit of pine. The taste is sweet bready malt, some biscuit, a bit of pine, with mango flavors coming in late. Nowhere near as much mango as in the aroma. The finish is bready with a decent bitterness. Light bodied and very drinkable. Medium-low carbonation. I really enjoyed the mouthfeel. Not the best IPA I have had, but quite good. Definitely one of the better malt forward IPAs. The aroma is quite awesome, but the taste is slightly disappointing. (645 characters)

Photo of Vdubb86
3.97/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a mug

Thanks to hannydawg for sharing this growler with myself

This beer appears an amber orange color with a thin vale of head on the surface. The aromatics are slight malt barley notes followed by a well balanced grapefruit hop nose. The flavor of this beer is surprisingly not nearly as bittered as I would have anticipated. This beer would have been better had this been fresh so I am extrapolating my thoughts as if this were a cask beer. I'm really pleased with the overall flavors involved here. I rather enjoy. I'm glad to have had the chance to try this beer, but would still relish the chance to have it again. (632 characters)

Photo of ehammond1
3.98/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Growler

Thanks for sending this my way, yamar68!

A darker than anticipated IPA. This is kind of a light copper or very dark amber with a somewhat large, quite persistent near-white head. Lined lacing down the glass.

This smelled fantastic as soon as I twisted off the top of the growler. Strangely, it didn't seem to have a similar punch when I stoke my nose down inside a full glass of this beer. Definite citrus notes emerge, however, which are welcome and in abundance. There's also definite caramel sweetness and some light toasted biscuit aroma as well. A well balanced aroma, but certainly not as hop-forward as some of my San Diego favorites.

The flavor follows the aroma very similarly. Well balanced, somewhat bitter, and incredibly drinkable. Citrus (grapefruit mainly), sweet, complementary caramels, and lightly toasted biscuit.

Medium to near full in body with moderate carbonation.

A long-time want checked off the list! I'm so glad I got to try this one! (977 characters)

Photo of PDXHops
3.98/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Ryan011235 for this growler, poured into a Duvel tulip (and speedily forwarded from a midwest BA). Seems to have survived the MN->OH->SC journey just fine; an initial 3 finger creamy head atop the slightly hazy amber body slowly reduces, leaving plentiful sticky lacing in its wake.

Smells quite fruity, with orange, pineapple and grapefruit leading the way. Some creaminess and burnt/carmelized sugar smooth things out a bit.

Come sippin' time, resiny pine plays a much bigger part than the aromas suggest, slowly building an impressive bitterness toward the swallow and beyond. Medium-full body with moderate carbonation (by design or due to the time in the growler I can't say) and a bit of creaminess that seems to make it drink bigger than the ABV might suggest. A little heavy-handed on the caramel malt, but quite tasty.

Overall impression: A bit east-coastish with the malts, and the appearance rating gives it an overall score a notch higher than it might deserve, but a nice brew. Easy recommendation. (1,030 characters)

Photo of thaichile
3.98/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a rich amber, with a very light head sitting right on top. Color made me anticipate a decent malt backdrop to this IPA. Floral nose with fresh fruit. Flavor is most certainly hoppy with some residual bitterness in the finish. Tons of fruit at the end as well in conjunction with the piney grapefruit upfront. Malt backbone not as sturdy as perceived but suffient to support this very nice IPA. Lots of thanks to JeffKrenner for the growler. (446 characters)

Photo of putnam
3.98/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

"enjoyed by 1-20"
Consumed on 1-12 from a growler.
Red/orange syrup-colored liquid with a molten, buttercream-colored top. Pungent aromas of orange candy, slatey earth and herbs. Sweet, broad, well-toasted sugars are revealed in a lazy rotation with caramel, cedar, toffee, cinnamon jawbreakers and sooty resins.
Forceful and glossy with deep, citric complexity.
Typically I find American IPA intolerable as a steady drink. This one is certainly above average.

Thanks to jenn and -- ultimately -- "stooby" for the drink. I'm still tasting it the next day. (563 characters)

Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.98/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to feloniousmonk - poured from a growler into my Victory pint glass. Appears a mildly hazy, dark copper color with a good inch of fluffy, off white head. Wonderful lacing on the inside of the glass as I make my way to the bottom. Smells of oily, resinous hops, with a nice aroma of rich caramel malt. Tastes of bitter citrus fruits such as grapefruit, and lemon as well as pine and sweet malts. Medium in both body and carbonation. Very smooth and drinkable especially at under 6%. This growler did not last very long. I look forward to trying this fresh from the tap one day. I'm assuming it must also be amazing on cask. Very nice. Highly recommended. (660 characters)

Photo of malty
3.98/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired this growler from an EXCELLENT trader, maximum12, at the Great Taste of the Midwest on Aug. 13th, but it's been stored in my fridge ever since.

Poured into my scientific Sam Adams glass a brilliantly clear perfect copper color with a settled 1/2" light beige head. Minimal visible uprising carbonation, even with the snazzy scientific etching on the inside bottom of the glass. Nice smattering of lacework all the way down the glass.

More of a malt-forward nose, maybe due to the age of this sample. A few swirls of the glass evokes an iced tea like aroma. Not much hoppiness detected so far. A hint of vanilla creme in the nose as well.

The hops are definitely tasted upon initial quaff, although they are very damp and earthy tasting, not zesty, zippy or floral. A bit of caramel hides in the background while the rustic hop profile continues to satisfy and steal the show.

The body if a solid medium with a very low amount of carbonation, but still remains airy and creamy. The chalky bitterness lingers in the back of my mouth with just a tinge of biscuit flavor.

Drinkabilty is very high as this IPA is very unintrusive and friendly.

Overall an IPA that I'm very glad I scored a growler of and shared with a good friend, churchKey. The flavors remind me of exactly how many MANY samples of this at The Great Taste, so I'm thinking this didn't suffer too bad with 2 1/2 months of age IMHO. (1,410 characters)

Photo of WoodBrew
4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Marsala Mama IPA was quite good. the Appearance was a nice copper color and clear. The beer had a nice white thick head that laced great. The smell was a combination of hop (four hops used - amarillo, cascade, centinnial, and semcoe (I think I have it right) and malt. the malt is used to balance the flavor and bitterness of the hops. The taste was very good, but not as nice as the West Bank. The combo of hops gave pine and citrus notes with some bitterness that was balanced by malt. The mouthfeel was good, but 1-3 per sitting would be sufficient. (556 characters)

Photo of stupac2
4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to theduderules for the growler! Technically sent to my girlfriend, but who's counting?

Pours a very deep reddish brown, surprisingly dark for an IPA. Smell is solid for an IPA, but nothing spectacular. Taste follows it up, very solid hop presence, not overly malty, definitely along what I expect for the style. But, as with the smell, I'm not blown away.

Overall it's a good beer, if I could drink it regularly I definitely would. (441 characters)

Photo of gatornation
4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

had on tap at town hall.... pint was a nice brown/orange color with a smooth head and some good lacing it was really fresh..the smell was floral first then a hop/spice smell with malts..the taste was the same its very smooth and creamy with a nice IPA feel with grapefruits and hops and malts pretty well balanced...the mouth feel is smooth and creamy and really easy to drink..this is one tasty IPA that is not an over the top hop bomb but just really good there is something about this ipa its not the best or the most flavorful but it is one of my favorites that i will have again..ill buy a growler next time at town hall ..oh yeah its recommended (651 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a glass mug.

Big thanks to hannydawg and VDubb86 for hooking me up with some o' this growlered goodness!

Didn't think I'd ever get around to trying this...much props to my unexpected hookups! It pours a hazy sunset amber topped by a light sprig of dirty white foam. (I will note here that I was late to the growler, so the carbonation was decidedly diminished for me. I have adjusted the grading accordingly.) The nose comprises ruby red grapefruit, mandarin orange, lime, caramel, and a slight intimation of onion. The taste holds notes of pine, orange peel, greens, light cedar, and some very light caramel resting in the back. The body is a light medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a pretty dry finish. Overall, a very nice IPA. I'm not sure I can rave about it as much as others have, but it is pretty damn good. (844 characters)

Photo of John_M
4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at the brewpub today.

The beer pours an orange amber color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is attractive in this beer, showcasing considerable orange citrus, a touch of earthiness and a hint of sweet malt. The flavor profile replicates the nose, though I also get some tropical fruit flavor as well in this flavorful, fairly dry IPA. The beer has a fairly long finish, with some moderate, attractive bitterness. The beer has something of a soft mouthfeel, which I attribute to the cask conditioning. Drinkability is pretty good, with the alcohol well integrated into the flavor profile.

I confess I remain a bit puzzled by this beer. While it's certainly a well made, attractive IPA, I could easily name 20 or 30 I like better. Also, as has been noted before, some IPA's benefit from cask conditioning, and some don't. In my humble opinion, this IPA definitely falls into the latter category (sampled this side by side with the CO2 version, and definitely preferred this IPA on the gas). This is a solid IPA, no doubt, but it's hardly anything to get wildly excited about. I just don't get it. (1,118 characters)

Photo of roadhouse
4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the brewpub 5/11 in a pint glass

Poured a deep orange color, slightly hazy, with a half inch off-white head that fell to a skim and left minimal lacing.

Aroma was of course very hoppy with a lot of citrus, some tropical fruit, and a bit of pine. Malt was not really detectable as the hops were the frontrunners here.

Taste started out with the citrusy hops and a bit of tropical fruit entered in as well followed by a bit of piney hop flavors towards the finish. Pretty bitter overall without much malt character.

Mouthfeel was medium bodied, pretty smooth and drinkable, but nothing amazing.

Overall, I was let down by this beer. For being so highly rated in the list of IPAs, it was actually only above average to me. Definitely a beer that doesn't live up to the hype, but by no means bad. (812 characters)

Photo of spointon
4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this one on tap at the Town Hall brewpub on 5/11/2009 (all part of a great beer trip with BA roadhouse).

A= This ale poured a mostly clear orange color with a 1/2" white head. The head dropped to a thin skim and didn't leave much lacing behind. Moderate carbonation release evident.

S= The smell coming from this ale was of course dominated by hops. Some citrus in the aroma but I found a lot more pine than fruit there. Thin malt base barely detectable.

T= Much like the smell, the pine and citrus hoppiness trounced the thin malt quite handily. The hop flavor was decent but the hop bitterness was huge. That coupled with the thin malt base made for an unbalanced, bitter beer for sure. The finish was dry and bitter.

MF= Medium bodied with a decent carbonation level and crisp feel.

D= Its not that I hated this beer, but I thought the flavors were a bit too unbalanced and that the pine notes were over the top. Not bad, just not equal to the hype. IMO, Town Hall makes far better beers than this! (1,013 characters)

Photo of azdback
4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler poured into a Spaten tumbler. A clear dark toasted orange color. Millions of large carbonation bubbles lead to a large two finger head that is dark tan in color and very creamy in appearance.

Smell is a fantastic tropical fruit bomb. Pineapple, tangerine, orange and just a bit of earthy bread.

Taste is balanced. The malt body tastes of bread and earth go side by side with the fruity tones of this one. I am getting some over ripe orange, blood orange mixes with some pink grapefruit.

Mouth is smooth with creamy carbonation. Body is balanced and the finish is long and dry.

Overall I must first thank TIMMYJ21 for this growler. This one is a bit hyped, so I must ground the myth. This is a great IPA but not (IMO) the holy grail. Very good and a must try if you get the chance but don't trade the farm for this one. (831 characters)

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler thanks to BDR (thanks Brad!). Pours a clear amber with a thick white head. Aroma of grassy hops, a touch of citrus, and sweet malt. Flavor is similar--mostly malty with nice bitterness in the finish. Sturdy palate. Not as citrusy as I like my IPAs, but I can't deny that this was a tasty one!
8/4/8/4/15 (3.9/5) (319 characters)

Photo of BobZ
4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to yamar68 for this one.

64oz Growler poured into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Orange/amber with a big fluffy 2" to 3" head that leaves curtains of sticky lacing.

Smell: Hoppy citrus with some nice bready malt.

Taste: Very well balanced IPA, grapefruit citrus, hoppy bitterness in concert with a nice bready malt backbone. Really more citrus hop flavor than pine (which is a personal preference of mine).

Mouthfeel: Smooth, well carbonated, and clean on the palate.

Overall: Excellent example of a well balanced flavorful IPA, so glad to have the opportunity to try a fresh growler. (598 characters)

Photo of MiScusi
4.02/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to wankerweasel for hooking up this growler of the current #1 IPA on BA.

A- a dark amber, almost brownish orange. Really creamy, rocky head builds up easily, lacing is nice.

S- you can just tell this beer is on the bitter side from the smell. It has that sort of pungency to it. There is a semblance of some citrus character there but its hard to pick out.

T- the first thing that jumps out is the high alpha bitterness in this beer. There is a juiciness to this that's really good, it finishes with just a bitterness that hard to describe... slightly harsh, but that's not so bad in an IPA. The taste profile of this beer reminds me a bit of the BJ's Piranha Pale Ale I get at the West Covina location.

M- The beer is very dry and accented by its bitterness.

D/Overall - This beer is kinda like drinking hop oils on a very light body. I love the taste of hops but overall I think the enjoyability here is limited here because it's hard to get past that bitterness. Bitterness is great most of the time, I love bitterness, but sometimes there is an aspect to it that's kinda strange, and that's what I find here. In the end though I would drink this beer any time given the opportunity. (1,202 characters)

Photo of NoLiberty
4.02/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

App: Pours from a growler thanks for GrassrootsVT. Beautiful white still, high thick head with nice lacing sits atop a deep orange copper colored beer. Golden colored edging.
Aroma: Pine, earth, alcohol, grapefruit, some fruity pineapple in the deep deep down. All this balanced by a rich malty sweetness.
Taste: Piney front, grapefruit middle and nice clear and crisp finish. End notes of pine needles and resin.
Mouth: Medium bodied, viscus mouthfeel with good carbonation that fills the mouth. Very nice light bubbles.
Drink: Yeah, really nice balanced beer with flavors that won't over complicate or smash the beer's experience. (632 characters)

Photo of Vonerichs
4.03/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this from both cask and tap on the same night, side by side. The appearance on both were relatively the same... mildly cloudy yellow-orange with a fantastic frothy head that lingers the entire time and great lacing.

The smell was muted and a little flat. The hops are presented as grassy and piney scents, followed by a sweet tangerine.

The taste was loaded with hops and dominated by the sweet tangerine and grass. The cask version had a little more pronounced floral perfume notes that weren't showing up in the regular version. The malt is a faint caramel.

The biggest separation in the cask vs tap is the carbonation. The cask-conditioned ale almost completely lacked carbonation and the mouthfeel was very oily and sticky while the tap version was cut with more carbonation and had more of a crisp and fresh mouthfeel, but it too was oily.

This is a very sessionable ale and is light in body so it's not filling.

I enjoyed it and glad I had a chance to give it a try with all the hype surrounding it, but I can easily name a few more IPAs that I enjoy more and are more accessable.

While the cask-conditioned and on-tap versions have slight nuances that distinguish each, I think the scores remain the same and I can't say I'd prefer one over the other. (1,276 characters)

Masala Mama India Pale Ale from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
97 out of 100 based on 662 ratings.