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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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1,235 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,235
Reviews: 664
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.22%
Wants: 831
Gots: 65 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,235 | Reviews: 664 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Larrytown
4.7/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It purs a deep amber or copper with a gorgeous head that refuses to fade away. Nice looking drink. There's a bit of malt in the nose, but no denying that the hops are the main course here.

The taste is absolutely pure IPA. It's hoppy, but still has some balance. It's not just showing off how intense it can get, but is instead focused on maintaining that golden ratio between bitter and sweet.

This goes down pretty smooth; if you're interested in the style, you need to try this one.

Note: The cask ale is definitely superior to the tap (cask is an A+ and the tap's an A, I'd say) because the cask is a bit more subdued and balanced, but you can't go wrong either way.

Photo of sholland119
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Received this well packed growler in an awesome trade with maximum12. Thanks, Corey.

A-Pours a clear amber orange color with a thin tan head and nice lacing. Excellent.

S-very big aroma of grapefruit hops but with a very solid malt behind it.

T-An exceptionally balanced IPA. A very strong balance of flavorful citrus hops and a strong caramel malt sweetness. Gets better with every sip.

M-Very light with a mellow hop bitterness that lingers.

D-The growler was gone in record time. Wish I had another one.

Lives up to the hype and expectation. Great flavor and balance. Can't wait to trade for another one.


Photo of beerkittycat
3.97/5  rDev -8.5%
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.

Photo of maximum12
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Split a growler of mama with the wife on our summer vacation the last week of June after the kids went to bed.

Pours a true-blue IPA color, nice head, with a bloom of citrusy hops rising from the open glass. Even my belches smelled good. Nice.

The hops aren't overwhelming on the tongue, but good & sharp. There's a very clean taste to this that I don't always find in an IPA - because of the brewing process, or additional ingredients, or fancy brewer footwork. This is just IPA. Coming through untouched.

The first glass...well, it disappeared in record time. We had no problem finishing off the growler in one sitting. I noted that this is a beer that improves with volume. If you have a ride home, or a growler in the safety of your living room, don't just have one. Have three. Gets better with every glass.

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

I tasted this beer several weeks ago on the advice of this forum. I usually go mostly for Amber ales with IPAs as a backup. This IPA is amber in color and tastes much like a hopper Amber ale ... very smooth, just a bit of bite, has a great pour.

I will have this beer again - in fact I did today when I was in the neighborhood.

Photo of IntriqKen
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Damned good.
Pours a deep orange amber with a nice two fingers of white foam that lasts and laces the entire drink.

Aroma is all about the hops...lots of citrus and grapefruit peel hops in the nose. Intensely fresh.

Taste is an incredible balance of sweet amber malt and mixed citrus hops with some pine oil thrown in just to keep it interesting.
First taste seems too hoppy but after the tongue numbs a bit you recognize the incredible balance.

Finish is bitter hops with no residual cloying from the malts that were definitely there in the beginning.

Dry and satisfying.

Photo of CaptainIPA
4.85/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

P: Presented in a 64 fl. oz. growler with Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery (Est. 1997) logo design. Again, thanks to "Masala Mama" for coming through in the growler-running-clutch. Poured aggressively into a pint glass.

A: Pours a hazed, dark copper with a one-finger, bone-white head that reveals intricately complex lacing throughout the session.

S: The nose is all citrus hops with accents of grapefruit, pineapple, peach, pine resin, and brown sugar. The combined aromas waft over an underlying sweetness of caramel malt.

T: Delicous hop flavors meld perfectly with a sweet, caramel malt foundation. Remarkably well-balanced, with huge notes of grapefruit rind, pine resin, and buttered biscuits competing for center stage. Exits with bitter blasts that numb the tongue into submisison. Oh, yeah! Oh, mama!

M: Medium-bodied with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel that finishes dry.

D: Lives up to the hype of its #1 BA rating. Exceptionally drinkable with sublime balance, Masala Mama is the American benchmark for India Pale Ales.

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

Very solid IPA

App: This was the best part, great copper hue with a perfect off-white head that sat around for days. It looked great in the glass, the only thing keeping it from perfect was that the head lacked a thickness that I enjoy.

Smell: Citrus and floral hops dominate, as is no suprise, and take over leaving no malt background. Very intense hop aroma, that is reminiscent of a dipa.

Taste: Much like the smell, but with a tiny bit of the malt coming through. Again, the intensity of the hops makes me think of dipa's. Definitely a hod head's beer.

Mouthfeel: Bitter in a quenching and palate clearing way. Very nicely done with a well rounded bitterness that isn't too intense and doesn't build to immense proportions.

Drinkability: I would gladly get this again and again, and would gladly take home growlers again and again. I'm impressed and want another right now.

Photo of SQNfan
3.96/5  rDev -8.8%
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.

Photo of thickerfreakness
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Many thanks to esch for sending me a growler of this one.

A bright orange color with a slight off white head that lasts for some time and leaves a decent amount of lacing behind.

Smells really balanced between piney and citrus hops and a really rich smelling caramel flavor.

Taste is similar with citrus and caramel dominating up front and fading into a great piney bitterness. Excellent balanced IPA.

Such a creamy, smooth mouthfeel on this one with just enough carbonation. This one is just so incredibly smooth.

At such a reasonable 5.90ABV this one is such a great sessionable IPA. A real winner here.

Photo of gford217
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler thanks to MeLikeBeer shared at the BA get-together at the Brick Store. Poured into a tulip.

A: Pours a deep clear cooper with a fluffy off-white head that lingers for a long time leaving very good lacing.

S: Smell is very well balance with big pine and grapefruit scents up front balanced by a sizable bready malt aroma in the background with a hint of caramel.

T: Taste is amazingly smooth and balanced with the hops dominating but not overly bitter. The citrus hits up front with grapefruit and gives way to the sweet malts. The finish is a smooth pine hoppiness, very crisp and clean.

M: As stated above, the mouthfeel is super smooth for an IPA and medium bodied with little bitterness on the palate.

D: This is a very balanced and drinkable IPA and big thanks again to Brent for sharing this great brew with me.

Photo of KeefD
4.82/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a clear golden amber color. Fantastic hop smell, nice malty sweetness in the background. Taste is of bitter hops, plenty of pine goodness and grapefruit, with an excellent malt backbone that keeps this one incredibly well-balanced. Fantastic IPA. So good in fact, I stopped back by Town Hall the very next night, after dropping off my girlfriend at the airport, to get a growler, which will be reviewed shortly. Fantastic brew pub and servings.

Photo of kkipple
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Huge thanks for Todd1 and his mad shipping skillz. He got me a growler of this (among other things) and I swear the thing was still cool!

A. Dumped into my resurrected Tripel Karmeliet chalice, the brew foams up a fat, off-white head that fades over the top of a clear, rich amber brew. The head never completely dies, and leaves some smidgens of lace behind.

S. Unimpressive at first whiff, but that is probably because this is amazingly well blended. Nothing stands out, nothing overpowers anything else. This is a textbook example of a nose in an American IPA style - pine sap, sweet grapefruit bitterness, grass, sugar, a bit o' honey, oranges, caramel. Blended and bended into each other, this is harmonious and delicious. Avoids smelling like the inside of a hop sack, like so many beers of this style tend to do.

T. Follow your nose and you'll get more of the same. Masala Mama is a sweet, balanced IPA and full of the classic flavors you expect. Roasted and sweet grain sugars blend with sappy, bitter floral hop notes to produce a clean, bittersweet and quenching brew. Finishes wet and asks you to have another. I oblige. It may be a tad on the sweet side for repeated drinking, but I had no trouble with two glasses of this, and neither did my pair of friends.

M. Wet, fine carbonation adds drinkability. Middling body. Pleasing bittersweet aftertaste that avoids being unpleasantly bitter.

Someday I'll brew an IPA this fine, and I will retire. This beer isn't going to win any awards for uniqueness, but as a stellar example of a style you can't go wrong. Highly recommended if you can get it.

Photo of Reagan1984
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From Growler

Special thanks to a co-worker & friend of mine that sent me 2 growlers from Minneapolis. I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to enjoy this excellent beer.

I poured my first serving into a traditional pint glass and was greeted with thin head/slightly off white in color. This IPA is medium copper in color and somewhat cloudy. No visible carbonation.

Aroma of fresh hops.
Pine/grapefruit.... all the usual characteristics of a nice IPA.

There was a very good amount of lacing left behind as the beer was consumed.

As I drank this beer I realized that it looked/tasted and felt (mouth feel) like a cask conditioned beer.

Very little carbonation and almost creamy mouth feel.

I think there is wonderful balance here.
Not too sweet, focused on the fresh hops.
Nice hop finish.

I've seen some other reviews with comments that they believe its more like a DPA. I respectfully disagree and think the mouth feel, consistency and taste are really in the American IPA category.

I believe this beer is very drinkable. It caused me to ask myself: Can an IPA be a session beer? If so, then I'm in and this would be the choice.

Excellent Beer!

Photo of dill
4.37/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

Photo of Overlord
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Y'all sure this isn't a Double IPA? I mean, really?

Thanks to Todd1 for the BIF trade.

Pours a nice coppery amber with a big frothy white head and a surpringly amount of lacing. Mouthfeel is nice and chewy.

Smells like pineapple, grapefruit, grass (the kind that grows on your lawn), and caramel malt. The taste introduces pine to the equation, but there's a ton of citrus backing, that pineapple spice, and a fantastic malt component that you don't see in IPAs with this sort of hop content very often.

Just delicious.

Photo of aerozeppl
4.72/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to unclejedi for supplying this.

A: Nice deep copper color. Minimal white head. Tons of lacing.

S:Wow. Smells like an imperial IPA.

T:Grapefruit super citrus flavors. Again they packed the taste of an imperial into a regular IPA.

M: Nice slightly syrupy feel. Coats the mouth well. Really good carbonation for a growler.

D: All day long baby. This is an imperial IPA in disguise. The taste is amazing and the abv is insane for what it is. One of the best session beers I have ever had.

Photo of moose3285
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to DontCallMeSurly for this growler.

A - Clear, amber red. With about a 1 and a half inch off-white head. Good head retention and a fair amount of lacing.

S - Smell is mainly grapefruit and piney hops

T - Wow. This is a hop explosion. The initial taste is that same grapefruit and pine flavor. Followed by some caramel and malt sweetness. The hop bitterness returns and lingers on the tongue.

M - Mouthfeel is good. Highly carbonated and not too thick or thin.

D - Good drinkability. I could see myself drinking a lot more of this.

Overall, a very good representation of the style. I can see why it gets such high remarks.

Photo of HopDerek
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured a clear dark amber with 2 fingers of frothy cream/light tan head, great retention and beautiful lacing. Smells of grapefruit, butterscotch, biscuit, grass, and pine. Tastes of butterscotch, biscuit, toasted grain, pineapple, grapefruit, orange, grass, and pine. Medium in body with medium carbonation, good balance between a sweet malty beginning and an explosion of hops in the back end. An excellent IPA that has loads of hop character but not too much thanks to a nice solid malt backbone. Very easy to drink and one of the best IPAs I've ever had, which explains why I went back for more on my second day in Minneapolis.

Photo of mhewes
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A : Pours a nice good orange/amber color with a good head which leaves some great lacing behind

S : Pretty big smell. Lots of pine and spruce with a little bit of citrus.

T : Strong hop bitterness but it's got a real solid malt backbone to balance it out. It's more of a pine hop flavor with a really good finish

M : It's dry on the finish but there's a nice oily feel to it.

D : This is good enough that my wife who can't stand IPAs is pretty much sessioning it.

Photo of bassmantin
4.65/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Props to dontcallmesurly for hooking me up with this one.

Pours a very nice golden orange with a surprising head that catches you off guard as you're pouring. No worries, though, the head quickly dissipates.

Smell is quite sweet, with a decent hop backbone. I'm loving the citric sweetness of this one.

Taste comes in a little hoppier that I expected, with a nicehoppy invasion up front. That great sweetness that I was expecting settles in at the middle, and then gradually the hops overtake the finish. The aftertaste is little bitter, certainly not unbearable, but you can tell the hops are there.

This is a great beer. Perhaps my biggest complaint would be the relatively unbalanced hoppy finish, but that doesn't bother me as a hophead.

Overall: A great beer. One of the best IPAs out there.

Photo of Kendo
4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Clear orangey-amber body with an ivory/cream-colored head. Left plenty of lacing behind.

S: Very nice -- tropical fruit and citrus fruit (grapefruit and orange -- maybe orange peel) with a touch of pine or spruce. Borders on Imperial/DIPA-type nose -- i.e., it's pretty big in the nose.

T: Florally and fruity hops are the dominant impression -- a sweet orangey citrus, balanced with grapefruit bitterness and pine resin. While this is about the hops, there seems to be a solid caramel malt backbone holding things up and keeping this from becoming a glass of astringent hop juice. That sweet/bitter hopfest coats the mouth nicely and lingers, creating a drying effect as you drink more. Yummy.

M: Medium in heft and appropriately carbonated for the style.

D: Excellent. Growler was gone in no time and more than one of us lamented that we didn't have more. If this were available in NYS, this would be my go-to IPA, price be damned.

Notes: Big shout-out to dmeadows for inviting me to the "session beers" tasting. Many excellent beers were sampled and this was one of the best. Special thanks to aerozeppl for bringing this nectar. Well done.

Photo of DefenCorps
4.63/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

growler received from MeLikeBeer. Thanks a million for this! Split it with a BA johnmichaelsen and my brew buddy Jared.

A: Clear amber pour with a gorgeous beige head with great retention and beautiful lacing. Excellent

S: Piney, oily hops with the faintest hint of caramel sweetness. Sharp with a mild floral note.

T: Bitter but exceptionally well balanced. Starts off with a pleasant hop bite with pine and a thin malt presence. Great drying finish with a pleasant bitterness

M: Pleasant carbonation, nice oily mouthfeel, nice dryness on the finish

D: Insanely drinkable, i could have drunk a growler by myself.

Photo of srandycarter
4.03/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First growler trade via Lordsloth. Thanks!

Received 5.29.08 with a "drink by" date of 5.26.08. Growler sealed with a strong electrical looking tape and it is said they CO2 growlers at purchase.

A - Deep amber with golden honey. GReat head, considering, up to more than an inch in the Duval tulip, lacing thick, chunky and clingy.

S - Citrus, pine...yada yada. Mostly hops in the nose.

T- Sweet malt seduces segues into wonder bitter hop finish. Very well balanced.

M - Medium to full, very well rounded and coating, and the carb on this growler seems pretty good.

D - Wish they were down the street.

Photo of tjthresh
4.06/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Masala Mama India Pale Ale from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
96 out of 100 based on 1,235 ratings.