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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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1,228 Ratings
very good

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Ratings: 1,228
Reviews: 662
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.22%
Wants: 832
Gots: 63 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,228 | Reviews: 662 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of joedon
4.66/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer really is as good as I had hoped. Perfect coppery-gold color with a long lasting white head and lace.
Aroma was more malty than hoppy but still good.
Taste was exactly what I would want for an American IPA. Perfect balance of hop bitterness, flavor and malt. Very slightly sweet to offset the big load of hops.
Body was also spot on. Chewy mouthfeel that sticks to the roof of your mouth. Long lasting spicy-hop aftertaste.
Very drinkable; like all evening if you wanted more.

Too bad they don't bottle this beer and ship it outside Minneapolis.

Photo of sponberg
4.83/5  rDev +11.3%
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.

Photo of orfeu
4.88/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a most-sturdily packaged growler sent straight from MPLS by Faro -- maximum respect to you, Jeff. Best before 10-13, consumed the very same day with lunch as Buffalo struggled to recover from massive power outages due to the craziest snowstorm ever to hit the city -- and that's saying a lot! The refrigerator had been off for about six or seven hours, so it was definitely time to open this one. Once it finally hit my nonic, it was a deep copper-orange color, slightly hazy with a few streams of carbonation steadily but slowly rising up to a clumpy, meringue-like, yellowed-newsprint head. An abundance of citrus aromas rose up to my nose, with kumquat rind, grapefruit pith, and piney Minneola tangerines being the most prevalent scents. A faint biscuity-caramel aroma was also detectable in the very back of the deepest of sniffs. The taste recalled grapefruit sections in the morning, with the caramelly flavors of oven-fresh bread crust and a slight hint of the butter that one might slather upon said warm bread. The mineral-based taste of the serrated-edge spoon one uses to liberate the grapefruit from its pithy origin also came through near the end of each delicious sip of this magnificently-crafted IPA, which, by the way, also featured an exceptionally smooth and juicy mouthfeel, a medium body, and the perfect level of just slightly peppery carbonation. I should also mention that from time to time my sinuses flared with the grapefruit-spruce flavor of the occasional Masala Mama-induced burps. In short, this is a nearly flawless IPA. I believe I rated Alesmith's effort just a tad higher because of its amazingly floral aroma -- a niche this IPA doesn't happen to fill. However, I believe that Masala Mama is more drinkable than that paradigmatic West Coast offering, due to its combination of exceptional flavor and unsuspecting simplicity. That is to say, there wasn't anything absolutely unique to the flavor, aroma, etc. -- but the overall experience of drinking a growler full of this beer was, in my mind, the quintessential beer-drinking experience. If I ever find myself in the Twin Cities again, I will spend as much time as possible procuring and drinking this beer.

Photo of TheBungyo
4.51/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A hearty thank you to Faro for trading this to me. I'd also like to say that the growler was nearly a week old by the time it reached me.

Yep a week old. You'd think this was freshly poured from the tap by the size of the inch thick creamy head that topped off the picture perfect honey bronze body. Of course there was lacing all the way down.

Nose is meaty and piney. I like. This is a unique nose, especially to one who is used to west coast IPA's. There's a hint of malt in there somewhere but it definitely is overshadowed. If I can find a weak point in this beer it's got to be the nose. It's very good but not as aromatic as I'd hoped.

Taste is piney with a bit of citrus, leathery, and pleasantly malty. Juicey juicey hops! Very bitter in the finish and would leave a n00b puckering for several minutes after a swallow.

The mouth is very rich, dancing over the tongue like Fred Astaire. It's the kind of beer that we as BA's cite as the reason for BEING a BA. If I lived in MPLS I can say that this would be a must order every time I visited. Without question. Not the finest IPA I've ever had, but certainly one of the elite.

Photo of klewis
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Received from a trade with Faro

A: Pours a dark copper with a two-finger bubbly head. Heavy lacing.

S: Great complex hop smell. Smooth and subtle with wonderful floral and citrus aromas.

T: Loaded with hoppy goodness and filled with a conglomeration of the great classic hop flavors. Perfectly balanced and full-flavored with a smooth taste and a light refreshing bitterness in the finish.

M: Medium-full bodied with moderate-light carbonation. Chewy and sticky.

D: IPA's don't get better than this. Period.

Photo of Redrover
4.17/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The first beer I ordered during my recent visit to Town Hall.

Served in a pint glass, the beer is mahogany with bronze highlights. Nice thick head with ok lacing.

The aroma is an inviting mix of citrus and pine.

The taste is bitter in the most pleasant way. This Momma has a nice oily quality that coats your mouth. In spite of the heavy hopping, the brewer has done a fine job of moderating the beer with a bucket load of malts. This adds an almost molasses based sweetness.

The mouth was fine, but I really expected a bit more heft given the thick qualities of the taste. I can see why this is a very popular beer. It is well made, tasty and worth searching out.

Photo of Bitterbill
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got a Growler of this in a trade with TastyTaste:

Poured a copper red with a nice thick head of foam. After a while, the foam shrinks down to a fine but solid layer and...look at all the lacing. Wow.

The smell is of citrus and pine and grass and has floral notes as well. Nice smelling IPA that's tickling my smell buds.

The taste up front is hugely hoppy with grapefruit, pine, grass...a wide variety of bitter tones all in one ale and they work really well together. Heck, midway through and just before the finish there's even a good amount of caramel malt.
The finish is superb, leaving me with a good, long aftertaste that let's me savour the flavours long after the liquid has left the scene of this....anti-crime. ;^)

The more I sip on this one, the more I *want* to sip on it...great batch of tastes but easy drinking, light on the carbonation, refreshing as all heck...

Bottom line: I give a big salute to TastyTaste for enabling me to try this wonderful nectar. I *love* it!

Photo of nlmartin
4.92/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thank you Faro for sending this to me in a trade. I shared this beer with my wife. Upon opening the growler a very audible pst greated my ears. The beer was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: This beer pours a very lovely clear deep copper coloration. The beer has a two finger biege head that never gives up. Thick sheets of lacing stream down my glass.

Smell: This beer is loaded with piney resin. It isnt to the level of a christmas tree in pineyness but its at least a wreath. This pineyness is married to a generous grapefruit and citrus zest combo. The beer has a hint of caramel maltyness. I swear I get a minty zephyr on the tail end.

Taste: The flavor of this beer delivers on the smell big time. The beer is loaded upfront with lots of grapefruit and pine resiney hops. This gives way to a very pleasing caramel maltyness. The beer finishes on a oily earthy hoppy tone. This is just fantastic!

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The beer is a very full bodied IPA. This beer was well balanced. The oily hops made the taste last a long time. The beer is very refreshing. This is overall a very outstanding IPA. I wish I had traded for at least two of them. If this was available locally I would drink this beer often. This is the kind of beer I could drink all day long. Faro- or any other BA who has access to this will almost always have a trade with me.

Once more I would like to thank Faro for the trade. This beer was a birthday present to myself.

Photo of laintringulis
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

served in pub glass. Pours a dark cloudy amber-copper color with large head. Large lacing.

Smells strongly of grapefruit and citrus, hops. Pine resin, earthy spicy alcohol smell.

Very bitter taste in a good way. strong citrus taste, primarily grapefruit. Malty in the middle, and finishes even more hoppy at the end. Has a lingering backtaste of hops.

Medium+ bodied, pleasantly oiliness, refreshing finish. If you like a hop bomb, this the stuff. Surprising balance/transitions from hops/malt/hops/malt/hops. I wish I could have this on a routine basis.

Photo of ikats
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark amber in color with off-white sticky head that dissipates to a nice cover. Aroma explodes with oily hops. Grapefruit with other citrus notes dominates the aroma. Taste is bitterness on a malty, caramel base. I like hops, so I'll subjectively say that mouthfeel is great. And this beer is very drinkable.

Masala Mama is an excellent IPA, but it is not my favorite IPA. Unfortunately, I think in my case the legend overshadowed the actual brew a bit.

Photo of dzturner
4.61/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Simply Amazing!!! Had a friend bring it all the way from Minneapolis to Tacoma, WA for us. Poured in to Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery Mug.
Appearance: Hazy deep amber clearly unfiltered. Not much head on my pour but it did come from a growler.
Smell: citrus, very aromatic but not its strongest point.
Taste: So bitter and last forever yet super malty. The intense bitterness and intense maltyness manage to be extremely balanced. I noticed bitter on the front malt in the middle and then it end hard with a great bitter aftertaste. In fact, minutes after taking a sip a still had the most delicious hops flavor in my mouth. However, it maintains it complexities throughout.
One thing the caught me off guard was its ABV. It tasted a lot moor heavy then a 5.9.
All together it rocked my socks off!!!

Photo of Enola
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is hoppy, that's for sure. The color is a reddish brown. There is a thick, creamy head atop the brew. Lots of lacing accent the glass. The smell is like a hop vine. The taste is very bitter. No harsh bitterness and not too sweet. Balanced as far as hoppiness goes. The mouthfeel is very bitter and sticky. There is a sweetness on my lips. The drinkability is pretty darn good too. This is a good IPA. Certainly in my top three or four for the style. I could drink this beer again but the availability may limit that. If you like hop bombs this your ticket.

Many thanks to wcudwight for being more than generous with his growler.

Photo of wcudwight
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Much thanks to beckjeo1 for the growler. I thought I would never have the oppertunity to try this one.
The poor is an amber color. More red than other IPA's I've had. Thin sticky beige head that has good retention. Lot's of sticky lace lines the sides of the glass.
Smell is of hops. Nothing else....just piney and somewhat floral hops. I like.
There is not any balance here. The hops appear, dominate and linger. Actually starts out kind of subdued and suductive with some tropical fruitiness and floral flavors. Then the piny and citrus flavors kick in unmercifully. The taste buds are left fatigued and numb, but begging for more. Long lasting hoppy aftertaste and hop burps.
The mouthfeel is a little thinner than I'd expected, but it doesn't really detract from the beer or the experiance.
Oh man if you love hops it's not only drinkable...It's heaven.

Photo of CH3CH2OH
4.7/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is incredible from the cask. The bartender told me that some patrons call ahead to make sure MM is available from the cask and not just in kegs. I rate either cask and keg about equal, but they are radically different.

The cask version pours with an extremely fine head, and a slightly lighter hop aroma than the keg version. The taste is remarkable - fruity hops with no CO2 bite. It's smooth and eminently drinkable, as it is served warmer than the keg version. A glass of each of the cask and the keg MM is a great lesson in the effect of the different treatment of the same beer.

Photo of mcallister
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks once again to Faro for bringing this on his journey to Dayton.

This is what an IPA should look like all the time. New penny copper, very clean and pristine looking with an off white, very frothy head that leaves some of the stickiest lace I've witnessed to date.

Great complexity in the aromas, big rich foresty pine hints, with grapefruit hidden underneath. Floral hops also make an appearance, as well as a caramel malty smell.

Very resiny, mouthcoating hops. An overly generous amount of malt makes for a huge full mouthfeel. Pine leads the entrance and the mid-palate but the grapefruit also intertwines. The ending is the thick resiny hops with an even thicker maltiness that shows hints of caramel. Finish of a good 40 seconds leaves you waiting to take the next drink overly satisfied. One of the more complex IPA's I've come around yet well balanced. The only fault is the hops are a little chalky.

Thick, huge, chewy, masculine mouthfeel. The 5.9% makes this drinkable all day for me. If only Minnesota were closer to Ohio.

Photo of shivtim
3.34/5  rDev -23%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I was pretty excited about trying this beer. It's a beautiful rusty brown copper, with a nice foamy off-white head, and exceptional lacing. Looks delicious. The nose is just hops, nothing too crazy here. Taste starts out pleasantly with piney hops and some balancing malts, but it's followed by a way over the top syrupy hop finish. This one-note hop taste sticks around in your mouth for a good 45 seconds. Nothing complex to the ending, just hop hop hop.
Mouthfeel is good, but drinkability suffers because of the extreme lingering aftertaste. Overall it's not bad, but I wish the ending on the taste wasn't such a simple hop overload.

Photo of WeisGuy
4.92/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've had this brew on-tap, cask-conditioned, and I have a growler in the fridge. Cask-conditioned is undoubtedly the best way to enjoy it.

a - copper color with a moderate sized white head with good retention, lacing is very nice

s - very floral and fruity nose with lots and lots of hops, very strong aroma, the nose screams powerful IPA

t - wow, this is the best-tasting IPA I've had that's not called Dreadnaught, taste is similar to nose, lots of fruity and sweet hoppy bitterness but not overwhelming, cask-conditioned version definitely has a more depth than the regular version in the taste category, the finish is very long and is a wonderful balance of sweetness and bitterness that lasts until the next drink

m - moderate carbonation, the cellar temperature of the cask verson is perfect for this brew even though I usually think of IPAs as being served a bit colder, finish is not overly dry

d - I could (and did last night) sip on this brew all night, amazing depth to the flavor keeps you sipping and ordering more

Quite simply, one of the best beers I've ever had. The regular MM is a wonderful brew, but the cask version is where is exceeds any other other IPA. This brew makes me oh so sad to leave the Twin Cities tomorrow.

Photo of Gaisgeil
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to JeffKrenner for the growler.

It struck me as a possible bad omen to be drinking this fine Minnesota made brew as I watched my beloved Tigers take on the Twins as I enjoyed it, but I'm just not that given to superstition so I was able to tough it out. ;)

Poured a fairly clear dark amber in color with a loose tan head with good retention. Nose is intensely hoppy with a certain fruity/citrus sweetness in the background. Taste is very piney to begin with but that gives way to a thick grapefruit flavor, layers of strawberry and herbal tones underneath. There is a decent malt backbone here and supports the brew well but it is definitely an afterthought. Not particularly well balanced but that seems to be the idea here. Very flavorful and well made. I can see why this one is so well liked. Mouthfeel is medium, slightly syrupy as it warms, but nice nontheless.


Photo of thaichile
3.98/5  rDev -8.3%
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.

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.65/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Masala Mama- IPA

On tap at Town Hall Brewery- Minnepolis.

Appearance- dark copper/ hazelnut brown with a thick tan head. Laced down the glass.
Smell- Malt, light pine hops, and fruit.
Taste- immediate malt balanced with fruit, peach/ orange. followed by a light piney/ earthy hop.
Mouthfeel- big chewy flavor. Easy to drink.

Overall- Not as hoppy or bitter/ dry as I like my IPA's but a solid 1. If spotted I'll pick up a 6er.

Photo of Westsidethreat
4.13/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks to JeffKrenner for the growler.

A: Pours a deep golden amber. Crystal clean with scores of little bubbles rising to the surface. Head is a nice frothy beige, perfectly carbonated inside the growler. Massive rings are forming on the sides of the glass. This isn't lace, its foam 1/4 thick. Impressive.

S: Strawberries, pink grapefruit, fresh pine and soft malt backbone

T: Begins with zesty pine hops. Very resiny and oily, full of character. Sweetness makes its way to the front of the tongue...sort of a cherry/peach/caramel essence. This percolates for a moment before being over taken by the now growing massive wave of bitterness which blankets the tongue. For a moment lost in time, the tongue sits frozen...still...as the pinecone bitterness berates it.

M: Medium to full bodied with a smooth carbonation.

D: Yes, this is a very good IPA. Still have half a growler left :)

Photo of supercolter
4.66/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is fantastic. 2 and 1/2 inch head that is very oily and retains well. The ruby orange color tells me I must drink now... but I inform it that I must first smell the beer.
Smell is good. Nothing too much out of the ordinary here, but a great blend of sweet malt and citrusy hops.
Taste is nothing short of heaven. Wow, the only other 5's I have given in this category go to Duvel and Aventinus. Nice and sweet initially, but as the beer climbs to around 45 degrees the citrusy hops start to wow you.
Mouthfeel is fantastic as well. One of the smoothest beers I have drank, hands down.
Drinkability for the style is very good. The bitterness hangs with you but doesn't make you apprehensive to take the next sip.

Photo of SethB2
4.41/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a growler into a pint glass.

A - Judging by looks alone, this beer looks like a prototypical amber. Deep red color and transparent. For an IPA, I would expect the typical cloudy orange. Not so with this one.. Head is decent sized and the lacing is damn nice. I like the ruby look.

S - Pretty good, but nothing that is all that remarkable. Smell is clean and of roasted malts and citrisy hops. In all honesty, it smell like a lot of other IPAs out there.

T - OK, here we go. I know where this beer gets it's high rankings. A near perfect blend of roasted malts and hops go down with such ease that I'm afrain my growler won't last the evening. Behind all of that is a candy sweetness that is subtle, yet apparent enough to bring the malts and hops together in a really, really good way.

M - One of the smoothest beers I have ever drank. Near perfect on all fronts. 'Nuff said.

D - I'm afraid that in between the beginning of this review and right now, I've already filled my second pint. Oh, crap.

Many thanks to JeffKrenner.

Photo of goodbyeohio
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

from a 1/2 gallon growler, this beer pours a rusty amber color with little life, but a plump, creamy two finger head. this doesn't retain, but leaves some flame-like lacing and an adequate bubble-specked cover of foamy velvet. grassy, piney aromas dominate here with a mere hint of the west coasty citrus profile. some smokiness is here also in the nose, nutty, directing this beer's second major towards english bitter territory. unique aroma but not overly killer on hoppiness. considering beeradvocate and the beers people usually hype, this appears rather tame for a one-time #2.

aah but it tastes great. this is nothing more than a flavorful, drinkable, bold beer with low alcohol. this is a minnesotan's backyard beer, those lucky bastards. initially, i taste lots of fresh hops. these hops are floral in nature. predominantly bitter with botanical bitterness and an underlying play of crisply burnt caramel and toffee. the more my palate adjusts to this flavorful beer, the more i start to pick up sweeter and darker malt notes. the color of this beer also suggests some real earthy char to the flavor, putting a new spin on a way to balance an ipa. there's a tad bit of grapefruit here, but its more like essence trapped in sweetness, like a jolly rancher. no doubt this beer is hoppy, and my mouth is left with physical puckering remnants of such flower. however, the amount of balancing flavor and precise effort shows off a real talent for brewing.

yummy hop burps follow, and i put down pint after pint.

side note: if you like this, and you find yourself in the hartford, ct area, try cambridge house abijah rowe ipa. strangely similar.. leading me to appreciate my own hometown brew even that much more.

an interesting beer to garner such attention. worth a try, absolutely, but not as hoppy or fruity as i usually like my ipa's. here's to mama!

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.13/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My brother brought 3 growlers of this with him from Minneapolis for the 4th of July weekend. I owe him big-time for the chance to try this beer.

The growlers hold the carbonation pretty well, giving a psst sound when the cap is opened. I poured it into tumblers, and it looked pretty good, clear orange color with oily looking white foam. The smell was pine needly hoppy, really good but a little difficult to distinguish from loads of other IPA's.

Like-wise with the taste, the main flavor is hops (which is good but still similar to many other beers). There was a slightly fruity after-taste too which was nice for an IPA.

Overall this is a really good IPA, but I can't see why it's rated #10 on BA. I'd place DFH 90 Minute or Stone Ruination above Masala because they both have more complexity and balance with the malt.

Masala Mama India Pale Ale from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
96 out of 100 based on 1,228 ratings.