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Masala Mama India Pale Ale - Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery

Masala Mama India Pale Ale
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BA SCORE
97
world-class

1,082 Ratings
THE BROS
87
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1082
Reviews: 654
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 9.17%


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:
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 added by: Jason on 01-01-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Masala Mama India Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,082 | Reviews: 654 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of MJR
MJR

Missouri

4.85/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Growler.

Beautifully clear, dark copper with a thick, off-white head that holds strong all the way to the last drop. Great cobweb-like lacing. Absolutely perfect appearance, just a wonderful looking pint.

Aroma is a touch subdued, but what's there is superb. Lots of fresh, piney and citrusy hop aroma over a firm base of toasty and biscuity malt. Small hint of caramel. If the aroma was a bit more 'in your face', it would be an easy 5. Excellent balance.

Flavor is assertively bitter, with a big splash of earthy hop flavor. Lots of whole pine cones and orange and lemon peels coat my tongue. Some grapefruit, but not as much as expected. Small hint of apricot fruitiness. Holding it all up is a warm backbone of toasty and biscuity malt. Very smooth and round bitterness, and surprisingly well balanced for how hoppy it is. Integration of hops and malts is second to none. Finish is quite dry and a bit minerally, and goes on forever and ever...

Mouthfeel is on the lighter side of medium, with a fairly low amount of carbonation. Refreshing dryness on the finish gets you ready for the next sip.

Warm and round, bitter and beautiful. I had high expectations for this beer, and they were gladly met. It doesn't knock Two Hearted off it's podium, but it's damn close. This would be heavenly on cask, and I would consider myself extremely lucky to have such an amazing IPA as my local.

Many thanks to feloniousmonk for the hook up!

Serving type: on-tap

10-08-2004 14:43:55 | More by MJR
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budgood1

Minnesota

4.88/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

pours out of the half gallon growler a darker shade of amber, slightly hazy with a thin, fine, tan head. slight rings of sticky lace as i sip. aroma of toasted, biscuity caramel malts with an intense flair of lemon and grapefruit zest and spruce hopping. upon first taste, the intense hopping and bitterness are front and center...piney and citrusy...and unapologetically bitter. the malt profile seems to be balanced with the style; biscuity and toasted...sweet and sugary, with a caramel malt base not unlike a regional o-fest i overimbibed in this past weekend. this is a big beer, with a full body and rounded, oily mouthfeel. one can detect the alcohol after a few sips...it compliments the rest of the brew quite nicely...slapping you after having been punched in the gut by the resinous hops. the lingering, loitering hop flavour and bitter aftertaste is long and longer. this is a hop heads dream. what impresses me is the multi dimensional hop profile...covering every angle of hopping flavour and bitterness. more pine than citrus; more bitter than balanced...it's an assault upon your taste buds. very nice and very worthy of the praise it deserves...the best hop profile of any ipa i've sampled to date.

a massive thanks to feloniousmonk for this sample! delivered on the eve of my wedding weekend by my sister and enjoyed after the smoke and haze has cleared on a monday night. wow.

Serving type: growler

10-05-2004 01:27:40 | More by budgood1
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pezoids

Pennsylvania

4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A growler of the infamous Mama reaches me via GIF5. Cracked this half gallon open to start off the labor day weekend. Into a tall twenty ounce glass, this poured out perfectly clear. The color is a bright orange-amber and the beer is topped with a very frothy and assertive head of foam. The head looks like stiffly beaten egg whites. A spotty and sticky lacing was left behind on the glass. Generous carbonation. Light taps of the glass creates cascades of bubbles that rise up from the bottom and joins the creamy head. The aroma is appealing and pleasant. Light, fruity, bittersweet and a bit musty with sweet orange spices. The aroma reminds me of jumping into a freshly raked pile of damp leaves. The taste is fruity, musty and bittersweet. The alcohol is completely hidden behind complex fragrant malts and a solid body. This goes down very easy and is highly enjoyable. An excellent IPA.

Thanks, F’Monk!

Serving type: on-tap

09-13-2004 14:28:06 | More by pezoids
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sublimesipping

Pennsylvania

5/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A Growler from the heavenly twin cities via toronto, ontario. I had made a special request from a friend to acquire this beer and the hype turned out to be truth. This is as good a beer as I have had this side of my pappy's homebrewed IPAs. A perfectly balanced all around beer; no grand slams in any one catergory but hits home runs in all, which pulls up the score for me and moves me to grant my first straight fives in my review history.
-color a beautiful mahogony, honey amber, excellent head and glass lacing. The aroma, what an aroma of pine, clear lake water, floral late summer peppery wildflowers and prairie grass. The taste is wonderfully, clearly, sophisticately hoppy. Clear, crisp, dry, with a wonderful strong subtlety. This may be one of the best balanced beers that I have ever had, certainly the best balanced IPA. I would take the flavor profile of Stone's IPA over this, but am so won over by the balance I think to make for the perfect, happly satisfying mouthfeel. This would be my quintessential session beer. I feel like I am an initiate in the know. All I would wish is if this could be bottled or if I was still living within a day's drive to the twin cities. I guess I will just have to drive fast and often to purchase more of this wonderfully, yummy stuff. Bravo Minnesota and go Twins!

Serving type: on-tap

08-26-2004 01:07:24 | More by sublimesipping
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edchicma

Massachusetts

4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An exceptional brew that I had the pleasure to try coutesy of wyllder at last night's beer tasting. Came in a 64 oz growler. Considering the distance and time involved in receiving this sample I can only imagine what it must be like directly from the tap. As a bonafide hophead, I was quite surprised to find an IPA with a relatively low ABV with such a fantastic balance of taste, mouthfeel and drinkability. First, the appearance was slightly cloudy with a great head that laced very nicely. The smell was superb. A lightly sweet apple and fruity essence, but with a hop essence that insists that you must drink...a definite 5.0. Taste? Mmmmm....Malts and hops start on the front and remain throughout...no harshness...grapefruit/citrus on the finish that makes you want another sip. Mouthfeel is balanced an medium in quality....easy...easy to drink...any chances they will open a branch in New England. Definitely one of my top choices.

Serving type: on-tap

07-27-2004 22:39:28 | More by edchicma
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wyllder

Massachusetts

4.68/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

First of all: Crazy thanks go out to Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery's unofficial employee, feloniousmonk, for the chance to taste some Mama.

Mama came in a 64oz, brewpub-filled growler.

Mama pours a cloudy, caramel amber with a 1/3 inch ivory head. If you get careless with the pour, you actually get some fun, guinness-like, cascading effects. As you progress through the glass, Mama leaves a good deal of sticky lacing.

Mama speaks of musky, candied caramel-apple and apricot to the nose.

Mama walks the balance beam on the palate. Unlike the majority of IPA's out there, Mama does not start with the classic rush of bitterness followed by malt on the midsip. Nope, Mama comes in balanced from the front of the palate to the back. The flavors from the nose carry through, balancing bitter, acidic apple & apricot with a sweet caramel malt and perhaps even a little grapefruit flavor as well. Aftertaste leaves a pleasant, lingering bitterness on the palate, almost gently inviting the next sip.

Mouthfeel is good, though my growler was on its final "good-by" day, and I beleive carbonation suffered a bit as a result. I would think this would have just a bit more carbonated zip off the tap and improve in this category.

Drinkability is exceptional. All six of the folks I shared this with liked it a lot, and that includes one person who had previously sworn off IPAs.

Overall, this is one damn good IPA. I suspect those who go in for the West Coast, hop monster, IPA's might find this a bit tame, but if it's a balanced IPA you're after, make Freud proud: go get some Mama!

Wyll-

Serving type: on-tap

07-27-2004 13:22:13 | More by wyllder
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RonfromJersey

New Jersey

4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Growler (it Forward)

A hefty initial head of three plus fingers of bone china froth. Outstanding lacing. Hazy dark orange body. It's an inviting beer.

Very nice grapefruity nose. Bit of hop resin. Sorta seashoe reminescent. Somewhat one dimensional though.

Hops hit right at the start with this IPA. The malt is backpedaling for a foothold the moment it enters the ring. The malt is there, it just takes a while to get established. After that, you notice it on alternative sips. Meanwhile, the hops are coating the inside of the mouth from the roof, down the insides of the cheeks and hitting the tongue from above and below. As it warms, avery nice fruitness emerges.

Mouthfeel is good, but a couple tastes seemed a slight watery. Not enough to be considered a flaw by any means. And this disappears completely as the beer warms.

Drinkability is very good. The only reason why the growler may not be drained tonight is that it's late, I'm tired and have to be up early.

Recent site activity has raised expectations sky high. Summing up: a very good to excellent IPA. Needs some more malt to match up with Celebration or Hop Devil, or a more varied hop profile to match this year's gem, Smuttynose, but I'd gladly revisit this and urge others to do so.

Thanks F'monk.

Day Two:

A pleasantly surprising sturdy though of course smaller head.

A bit more maltier. The hops haven't faded, simply more balance.

The next day brings a beer that may even be a little better than day one. Certainly one that a day in a cracked growler did no harm a all. Another plus in the ledger for this fine beer.

Serving type: growler

07-10-2004 04:03:35 | More by RonfromJersey
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RoyalT

Ohio

5/5  rDev +14.7%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

07-03-2004 00:26:53 | More by RoyalT
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WVbeergeek

Ohio

4.97/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First let me thank garymuchow for getting this fine brew to my doorstep served from the Town Hall 1/2 gallon brown growler with a plastic heat sealed layer for protection. Appearance: Pours a deep caramel amber crystal clear hue with an amazing tannish head forms thick leaving heavy intricate patches of lacing, very nice. Aroma: Copiously hopped lines my nostrils with aromatic grapefruit and pine cone scented hops, all topped off with a fortified caramel nut edge completely amazing. Taste: Flavor consists of a lucious juicy hop profile with a malty backbone to balance her out. Talk about hops, man the nut edge evens out a perfect amount of sweetness from the malts but the waves of grapefruit and pine swarm the palate with a rush of bitterness making the finish completely fantastic leaving me, the drinker with hop burps. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied resinously textured what a lucious body even perfect carbonation can't ask for much more, I'm satisfied. Drinkability: Wonderfully flavored with massive hops and a unique malt character holds a spot as the best American IPA I have ever tasted. The sessionability of this brew is unlike any other waxed off a growler with two fellow BAs (beergeek279 and cupbeerman) and wow I was yearning for another to exist.

Serving type: growler

07-02-2004 20:00:50 | More by WVbeergeek
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beergeek279

Pennsylvania

4.93/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served from a growler into a Celebrator glass. The color was a darker amber, with a solid white head and excellent lacing. The smell was a nice bouquet of grapefruit and piney hops. The taste was an amazing blend of hoppiness, with piney hops and grapefruit hops, with a bit of a nutty character to it, and somehow the malt managed to keep it balanced, and a welcoming bitter aftertaste. Mouthfeel was very resiny, with hop oil left coating the mouth after drinking. As for drinkability, one growler just for myself wouldn't be enough of this one...could drink all day long!!

Thank you very much to WVbeergeek for the sample of this one! Well, all I can say is that the hype was very much true and Masala Mama is the real deal!! With just an amazing hoppiness that somehow manages to remain balanced (this wasn't just hop juice), this is easily the best non-Imperial IPA in the world! All I can say is that I envy the lucky Minneapolis BAs who get to enjoy this on a regular basis. I definitely want to get my hands on this Mama in the future!!

Serving type: on-tap

07-02-2004 18:48:10 | More by beergeek279
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bditty187

Nebraska

4.83/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Mildly hazy, tawny-gold-brown in hue, it was served with a slightly off-white head that was a finger in height. The head retention was very good, after a long while it faded to a frothy cap. The subsequent lacing was sticky and widespread. On cask, this is a beauty of a beer! The nose, on cask, is much softer but much wider. The malt is heard more clearly; still the pine and citrus from the hops are loud but far more balanced, not only in comparison to the malt but also to each other. The nose still says IPA. Inviting. The palate is lovely, the hops are so wonderfully blended, the piney notes are not bright but they are wide. The citrus notes are very sticky which seems to act like a spider’s web that captures (okay, attracts) more malty flavors with hints of caramel and some sweetness. The aftertaste is lighter but, again, the pine is the focal point. This is amazingly tasty on cask; it is very relaxing; I mean what a great pint to chill with. There is ample flavor construction and it is complex for an IPA. Lovely stuff on cask (I’ve I became a broken record?)! Medium in body with a creamy mouthfeel with typical cask condition qualities, it was served at the ideal temperature. This is amazingly drinkable and almost perfect on the palate. This IPA has received a lot of press, some good, and some bad, some utterly insane. Folks, live at the brewpub this beer is great and on cask, it is unparalleled. Highly Recommend (on cask)!

Serving type: cask

06-28-2004 15:23:10 | More by bditty187
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Sidabeef7

Ohio

4.68/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

64oz. growler courtesy of FeloniousMonk.

Poured a hazy orange color with a fantastic white fluffy head. Serious hops in the nose were absolutely intoxicating. This is one of those beers that makes you salivate once you get one whiff of it. Taste is a blast of hops that is balanced very well with the malt. Very easy to drink and an exceptional brew. Too bad you can only get it in Minnesota.

Thanks to FeloniousMonk for the sample.

Serving type: on-tap

06-22-2004 21:50:23 | More by Sidabeef7
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Boilermaker88

California

4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a genuine Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery 64oz growler which had a "best by" date of 6/21/04. Full to the rim and very securely sealed, MM was still fresh after nearly a week's travel and a three-day stint in my fridge.
Poured into my trusty tasting goblet, Masala Mama had a clear light caramel hue and produced a firm, durable ¾" off-white head that left tendrils of lace around the glass. Lots of tiny, vibrant streams of carbonation stoked the head and could be seen crawling up the sides of the glass. The nose gave off a heady blend of sticky, sappy pine and fresh-peeled grapefruit rind aromas layered over a more subtle caramel and bready malt scent.
Immediately upon hitting the palate, the flavors of fresh squeezed grapefruits, resinous pine needles, and some floral hops established themselves, there to stay. However, as MM moved back on the palate, a toasted malt and light toffee flavor provided a modest counterpoint to the rampant hoppiness. A mild hint of alcohol could also be detected. Then the juicy hops reasserted themselves and left a long, bittering finish which also had a slight alcohol-induced astringency. The feel was medium-bodied and smooth with a touch of oiliness.
Overall, I thought this was one mighty fine IPA, one that hits on all the things I like in an American-styled IPA. Bitingly hoppy character laid over a nice toasty malt base made for a quickly disappearing growler. Even my wife, nowhere near a hophead, really enjoyed her glass of Masala Mama. Big thanks go to feloniousmonk for believing me worthy to sample this delicious brew.

Serving type: on-tap

06-20-2004 17:19:02 | More by Boilermaker88
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Bierman9

New Hampshire

4.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yo' Mama has held up very well after a journey east from the Land o' Lakes and sitting in my fridge for a week. Opened a growler of this and heard a lovely, strong hissing sound. Poured from the growler a clear, medium-to-dark copper color; quite attractive. Scattered bubbles slowly make their way upwards. Head was tan, creamy and mousse-like, rising about 1" above the bier, and later maintaining well at about 1/4". Head leaves a nice lacing trail on the glass. Nose has a good bready malt lean to it surrounded by a pleasing citrussy hop presence. Body is a solid medium-plus, and it has a creamy, velvety feel on the tongue, with a smidge of bubbliness. Flavor has some toasty malt notes leading off, but they are soon engulfed by lots of floral, citrus notes, though the malt is not totally wiped from the slate. I get some grapefruit rind tastes and a resiny, oily aspect, too. Aftertaste is built long and hard on the citrus, finding all the nooks and crannies of the mouth and throat and sticking there.
Glad to have finally met Yo' Mama. Though perhaps not the "Bo Derek-like 10" that some envision her, she's welcome in my abode any time. Big thnx to FMonk in the Twin Cities for sending this lady my way. Zum Wohl!!

overall: 4.4
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.5

717

Serving type: on-tap

06-19-2004 17:47:58 | More by Bierman9
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Gusler

Arizona

4.38/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler
This beer disembogues the growler a luminously clear deep rusty red color with a monstrous light tan head that is frothy in texture with the residual lace a fine coat upon the glass. Nose is nicely floral, sweet with malt, fresh and citrus crisp, amazing as it has made a long trip from cool Minnesota to a hot Arizona and as it set also for 3 days in my neighbor’s apartment. Start is lightly sweet, the malt presence pleasing and the top fair to middling in its feel to the palate. Finish is light to moderate in acidity, the hops powerful in their bite, the dry aftertaste continues the hop bite to the very end, a quite good IPA I’d say, and my appreciation goes to tavernjef for this growler, which will be consumed quickly with much gusto!

Serving type: on-tap

06-15-2004 20:12:36 | More by Gusler
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proc

Michigan

4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very solid IPA.

This one pours out to a copper-to-burnt-orange color in the glass, with an average head. Considering the growler made the trip from the Twin Cities to Motown, I was impressed with the carbonation. The aroma is citrus and pine and is quite impressive. The taste is superb, with a wallop of hops that not only assault the taste buds, but actually massage them, if that makes sense. There is some underlying malt presence that keep the hops from overloading this beer, but its not quite a balanced presentation, as the hops are the main attraction. This beer reminded me quite a bit of Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale, but with a smoother malt profile.

Extremely drinkable. Delicious. This beer reminds me why the IPA style is my favorite.

A big thank you to Paul (fantome) for bringing this one back to Michigan for me to try. Paul and I did a 9AM beer "trade off" in a church parking lot. Yes, it was a most-holy beer exchange.

Serving type: on-tap

06-14-2004 01:52:19 | More by proc
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silenius

Illinois

4.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Tavernjef for this sample. I'm not sure why the Bros. gave this a sub-four rating. I really enjoyed it and so did everyone at the barbecue on Saturday.

The beer has a orange/amber color that is quite deep. Massive head and major stickiness. Lacing all the way down the glass.

Massive floral, piney, and citric hop scent. Second only to Dreadnaught in smelling soooo good. I couldn't wait to taste it.

Taste confirms the nose. A piney and floral taste. I don't get the massive grapefruit rind that I have found in other IPAs. I actually don't care for the grapefruit taste all that much, so this is welcome. My first beer went down fast. I only got 2 pints from the growler. Oh well. Maybe someday I'll get more. Other drank it as well and it was a hit.

I kept wishing I had more to share as the growler ran dry. My only consolation is that I can get Dreadnaught and Bear Republic Racer 5 regularly. Thanks, Tavernjef. I hope my return beers do this justice.

Serving type: on-tap

06-13-2004 22:54:10 | More by silenius
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Jason

Massachusetts

3.85/5  rDev -11.7%
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.

Serving type: growler

06-10-2004 21:54:02 | More by Jason
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BuckeyeNation

Iowa

4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Having a fresh growler of Town Hall's Masala Mama in one's beer fridge for five days is either the ultimate example of self-control or is the very definition of insanity. Leaning toward the latter, I've decided that today's the day that I 'stop the madness'. Best by date of June 7.

Hazy, dark orange-amber; tawny to be exact. No visible suspended bits to my eye. The head is somewhere between rich, dark cream and light tan and looks as stiff as softly beaten egg whites. It's falling at a glacial pace and I'm beginning to see gorgeous patterns of intricate lace. Eventually there are thick, chunky rings and small sheets all over the glass. Why won't the appearance button go to 6.0?

The nose is incredible and simply cannot be improved upon. Loads of sweet, fruity, citrusy hops comprise the aroma, one that rivals any in IPA-land. The flavor is exceptional as well. A bittersweet, hoptastic, grapefruit pith-like, sprucey bombshell explodes across the tongue and lingers forever, aided by a full, resiny, sticky mouthfeel.

It may be heresy to some, but I feel that this beer contains a bit too much malt (flavor). The toasted caramel malt backbone is a little too prominent for my liking. It doesn't quite take center stage away from the hops, but it does intrude. Keep in mind that I'm a major hophead and have never had a too-hoppy beer.

Also keep in mind that I'm being extremely picky. This is very, very good beer. It's just that the caramel flavor keeps it out of the upper echelon of my very favorite IPAs. I am enjoying every drop though and this growler is unlikely to last until sundown. Anyone who needs a hop fix need look no further than this beautifully made, well-balanced (so sue me!), delicious beer.

Because MM is (almost) always available at Town Hall, it's going to take every ounce of the self-control that I mentioned above not to jump into my car and head north whenever the Masala Mama jones overtakes me. Given the current price of gasoline, I figure that a fresh pint of this delicious nectar will cost me $53.50. Yeah, that's about right.

Serving type: growler

05-30-2004 18:34:48 | More by BuckeyeNation
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BierReise

Florida

4.22/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a Growler Bottled in May 04’. Poured a slightly hazed copper with an orange hue and a huge frappy foamy head that completely resists gravity. I think it’s still growing as I drink. Nice big citrus like hop aroma. Medium smooth body. Flavor is a good balance of hops and malt. Hops providing lots of bitterness and good flavors with malt backing it up nicely. Unsure of the abv however it does have a decent kick to it. Overall a great IPA. Thanks Monk!

Serving type: on-tap

05-27-2004 21:25:28 | More by BierReise
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goindownsouth

Pennsylvania

4.22/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A very, very fine brew. Thanks to garymuchow for allowing me to behold the power of the Mama.

This deeper and richer-looking brew surprisezed me with its appearance. Its dark haze and thick and rocky head were a sight to behold. The nose was hoppy indeed, with pine resin and some slight citrus, but a nice kick of earthiness to it as well (maltiness?). The flavor was crisp and not heavy on the palate in any way, again the hops came through with glowing ferver, and the malty goodness made it a solid combination.

A very solid IPA. As the growler was emptied, I found something in the flavor that did not quite sit right with me, hence the drinkability score. The fact that this was made into a cult legend may been a bit exaggerated, though.

Zum wohl!

Serving type: on-tap

05-27-2004 13:14:21 | More by goindownsouth
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
TheLongBeachBum

California

4.7/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: A brown Grolsch like, flip top, EZ Cap brown glass 'mini-Growler'. Simply has the letter ‘M’ in black pen scrawled on the white ceramic top. A present all the way from Minneapolis. Hell Yeah!

Appearance: Gorgeous rustic brown copper body that is perfectly lucid. Carbonation perfect, given that it was rebottled, this is impressive in of itself. A lovely collage of milky tan bubbles swirl 3 inches below the liquid surface as the Mama rises in my Imperial Pint glass, all the timing assisting the formation of a nice 1” thick tan head. Knowing this was rebottled, I kept some Mama back in the bottle for top-ups and to reinitiate any disappearance, but I shouldn’t have worried, head retention was pretty good. Nice slaking expanded ring lacing as I take each sip. Has a remarkable English Yorkshire Bitter appearance to it.

Nose: Lots of deep luscious hoppy aromas, light but inviting Satsuma odors with the zest of freshly squeezed pungent oranges. Slick hop oils, some pine smells and lots of chewy coniferous needles. Deep inhalation reminds me of the sharp wakening smell of Grapefruit on a morning. This will most certainly wake you up!

Taste: Concentrate hard, and at first you can detect biscuit, malts, caramel and some toffee, yet this is quickly consumed by the hoppiness of this one. Bitter at first, but a hoppy pine sharpness with an orange/lemon twist and a biting grapefruit feel in the back end. Lots of hops, hops, hops, hops. Maybe not the bitterest IPA, but it does impress the hell out of you with the resin like hop profile, yep this is certainly hoppy!

Mouthfeel: This is only 5.9%, and whilst it drinks well, personally I find that initially it has a bigger mouthfeel after the swallow, rather than during the preliminary imbibing experience. The lingering hoppy after-taste, mixed with the pine encrusted malts in the background, lend a bigger accent to the next mouthful. Sharp grapefruits induce saliva, all adding to the massive overall mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Easily imbibed, I dearly love the pine-hop-grapefruit flavors and long lingering aftertastes and, pardon the pun, the cascading mouthfeel that builds as you drink this. More, more, more Mama!

Overall: Absolutely superb, and to think that this was rebottled!!!! Wow, this would be a serious kick-ass beer fresh from the Cask - I simply must get to Minneapolis and the Town Hall Brewery!

A very impressive IPA, from an equally impressive BA! What to say, words are simply not enough. A *Serious* “Cheers Mate” to BigHuge for this offering. Top Marks all round. It really is true, wherever you find great beer, you *will* find great people. We must get to share a beer in person one day Joe, and I cannot think of a better place than the Town Hall Brewery when this monster Mama is on Cask. The first Cask is on me!!

Serving type: on-tap

05-20-2004 04:11:39 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Photo of SheepNutz
SheepNutz

Kentucky

5/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ahh, a growler of Masala Mama, sent from miles away from the great BA Feloniousmonk. Thanks Al, you have made a dream come true. I just finished 8 hours of standing in front of a broiler, waiting, knowing that this sweet treat was calling to me from home. What a way to finish a work shift.

It pours a slightly hazy deep red-apricot color into my tulip-style glass with three tall fingers of off-white head. Layers of lace cling for dear life. The smell hits the nose as sweet and fruity, but the hops that follow right behind show that this brew is all business. Somewhere in there, a hint of ethanol arises. A captivating aroma. The taste also starts sweet, with pineapple juice and fresh-cut grapefuit and orange. The finish is where the hops really shine through, cutting rough against my tongue one way, and smooth the other. Ahh juicy piney hops linger forever, not wanting this moment to end, just like me. The body is so thick and smooth, like nothing I've had in another IPA. It just coats the tongue and lips so well. The drinkability is through the roof. For a hop lover, a growler is not enough.

So I wonder if I can find any jobs in Minneapolis? Sure I'm not much for the cold weather, but the Mama could warm me up anytime. This could be it, THE perfect IPA. There are no imperfections, no flaws. It makes all other IPAs and double/imperial IPAs it's bitch. Thanks again Al, it's beautiful stuff. I owe you my first born.

Serving type: on-tap

05-12-2004 21:01:55 | More by SheepNutz
Photo of marc77
marc77

California

4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Ruddy deep copper hue with a light murk. Dense, stiff, steadfast ivory white head leaves coating, dogged lace. Pungent waft of pine sap and grapefruit zest upfront in aroma. Medium lovibond caramel ensues and bolsters. Trace biscuit hints surface as it warms. Very enticing aromawise. Laconic snap of toffeeish malt upfront in aroma is readily overrun by an enveloping combination of citrus pith and quinine. Quinessentially "Northwest" hop flavor rushes in once initial bitterness partially subsides, and is of a spruce needle, lemon zest and grapefuit flesh mélange. Hop bitterness is mostly unyielding and melds with the subdued malt character to lend a burnt biscuit impression. Lightly bodied overall, but with ample dextrins for a soft, almost airy mouthfeel. Finishes with a resurgence of caramel sweetness secondary to a lingering sharp, alpha acid bite. An assertively hopped IPA, deep in hop flavor, heavy handed in hop bitterness and redolent of hop bouquet. Superb. One glass of this would bitter an entire tank of Budweiser. A sincere cheers to Feloniousmonk for sending the growler!

Serving type: on-tap

04-30-2004 00:31:26 | More by marc77
Photo of ManekiNeko
ManekiNeko

Virginia

4.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served from a growler named Jamshed, which came to NoVA courtesy of the host with the most: feloniousmonk.

Appearance: Tea-twinged light brown topped by a foamy and rocky tannish head. The head retained a big ol' film of foam and left thick sheets of lacing on the sides of the glass. Impressive.

Smell: A good ol' twang of hops: orange rind, grasses, some pine, grapefruit citrus. A minor hint of toffee-like malts show this won't be hop-tea.

Taste: Solid malt presence with a sh'load of hoppiness. Heavy on the fruity citrus and spruciness. A lingering sting of IBUs. Damn Biatch!

Mouthfeel: Burly and brash like a hoppy elephant dancing on your tongue.

Drinkability: Hell yeah! Little Jamshed was not enuf. I must have more. Too bad I just signed a year-long lease...

Serving type: on-tap

04-29-2004 23:30:48 | More by ManekiNeko
Masala Mama India Pale Ale from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
97 out of 100 based on 1,082 ratings.