Masala Mama India Pale Ale | Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery

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BA SCORE
96
world-class
675 Reviews
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
Minnesota, United States | website

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

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.

Added by Jason on 01-01-2003

BEER STATS
Reviews:
675
Ratings:
1,348
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
8.97%
 
 
Wants:
874
Gots:
86
For Trade:
4
User Reviews
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Reviews: 675 | Ratings: 1,348
Photo of champ103
4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A huge thanks to GregMcQ for sharing this with me and some other BA's.

A: Pours a copper/orange color. A perfect, frothy, two finger white head forms with excellent retention. Sticky lace is left in rings. Really impressive coming from a growler.
S: Juicy hops up front. Citrus, pine, grapefruit. Some buttery malt balances everything out well.
T: Follows the nose. Tons of juicy hops. Citrus, pine, grapefruit. A substantial bitterness, but it does not overpower. Well balances with some residual sweetness lingering.
M/D: A medium body. Very crisp and dry. Creamy and smooth at the same time. So easy to drink. A relatively low alcohol IPA, and something that is not just bitter. I can put a few away with no problem.

This is an excellent IPA, and I am not a big fan of the style. I really enjoyed this. So much hop flavor going on. That is the key, hop flavor, not bitterness. Highly recommended.

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Photo of maximum12
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

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Photo of THECPJ
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes 12/3/2010
Many thanks to tmcelvain for providing this growler!

A: big citrus hop presence, but there was a slight malty note to it as well.

Ap: a reddish-golden orange hue with a really big head

B/T: pretty mild carbonation, very smooth, easily drinkable.

Af: hoppy, but a mellow hoppiness. a hint of pine thrown in there.

O: a very respectable IPA from the mid-west.

Cheers!
The CPJ

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Photo of dirtylou
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The infamous Masala Mama. I know i've had this once or twice at the great taste of the midwest and i've definitely had the mango mama a few times

on-tap and cask at the brewpub

appearance: the cask version is beautiful, but i'm going to review the standard tap...rich orange body, foamy white cap

smell: well hopped, citrus zest, grapefruit, pine, grassy

taste: The tap and cask versions were both very good but I still think it's crazy how carried away the ratings get with this one - being the 2nd best IPA in the world according to ratings seems a bit much. The mama has a very nice hop profile - bright citrus zest, grapefruit/tangerine, light pine sap

mouthfeel: very different on cask - bright hop profile that is light on the palate

drinkability: good

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.97/5  rDev -8.7%
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.

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Photo of ccrida
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally! On draught at the brewery, Masala Mama is dull orange with a small off-white head that leaves scattered, foamy lace.

Smell is pretty hoppy, more on the woodsy pine side of the house, spicey, a bit of sweetness.

Taste is quite good. Nice fruitiness, but not cloying or overly citrusy. Pine resin, a restrained bitterness that mostly lingers on the aftertaste, and a hint of biscuit malt (not nearly as much as I expected by the color). Something about it is very thirst quenching, I could guzzle these all night long.

Mouthfeel is smooth, dry, with a nice, light body.

Drinkability is pretty good, this is a solid IPA. Not the most aggressive by any stretch, but definitely in the west coast style, and most importantly, fresh! While it wouldn't cause a stir in Portland, I assume the hopheads of MN are happy to have it. And it is very drinkable...if I didn't limited time in town to work through their line-up, I'd be having lots of these!

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Photo of ZAP
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

---
7-4-03
Hazy, but extremely rich looking copper...nice little frothy head on top...the nose is sweet, fresh and fruity....some citrus but also some sweeter fruits..like a cocktail of grapefruit/strawberry/mango...

The taste is big on the west coast citrus..grapefruit big-time...big juicy hop flavors...very big bitterness...not for the weakhearted...malt is secondary all the way...hops dominate...The mouthfeel is almost slightly unbalanced as the hops overwhelm but what the F#ck, this is an IPA right?? Bitter me up!!

This will be too bitter and hopped up for some..I lvoe it but a little more balance would make this even better..hops heads will love this...good for a pint or two...tough to drink a lot more in one sitting..

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Photo of Rutager
4.59/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A huge thank you to the most generous Steasy66 for getting me this fresh growler.

Appearance. Pours a fairly clear, rich looking amber-gold with two fingers of bubbly, thick off-white head that has decent retention.

Smell. Fresh, big cirtusy hops, orange, grapefruit and lime rinds with some pine and a little tropical fruit. The toasted caramel malt just barely comes through, but what does smells delicious.

Taste. Big citrus hops, some of that nice toasted caramel malt with more of a presence than the smell. There's a little papaya and pine needles, but the citrus flavours are pretty awesome. Just a hint of alcohol, close to hidden.

Mouthfeel. Medium+ body with incredibly smooth, medium-low carbonation.

Overall. This is some awesome stuff. Reminds me a little of the first growler of fresh red racer I had. Different with more fruit flavours, but of the same caliber for this guy, and that's saying a lot.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.05/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Darker than average ipa, this one is almost light brown. Aroma is its sweet spot, those Amarillo hops are all up in this one. Drops lots of pine goodness.

Taste is malty, but it holds the bitterness down relatively and allows more of those pine notes to drop on the tongue. A little bit of toffee. This is a good, 2nd tier ipa.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4.1/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received this growler from skipanoka2, thanks a lot man I've wanted to try this for years. Split this three ways so I had a good 21 ounces of this stuff. Color is dark orange and the head is billowing and huge, no lack of carbonation here. Smells like caramel and a bit of hops thrown in for good measure. The taste is really chewy caramel with a bit of pine and a very strong bitterness on the finish, very bitter. Overall I liked it.

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Photo of xnicknj
4.22/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

growler poured into tasting glass - thanks to biglobo

Pours a slightly hazed golden orange, nice fluff of white head. Decent retention and balance, plenty of spotty lacing on the glass.

Strong scents of citrus fruits with blood orange, grapefruit and pulp. Some softer biscuit malts with sweetness; very inviting.

Nice burst of juicy hop flavor up front with a decent wave of citrus bite. Grapefruit and orange, some more biting pine as well on the tongue. Decent malt backbone with a biscuity base, some sweetness with caramel. Finishes bitter and hoppy with little residual sweetness.

Medium body, crisp, refreshing, and drinks really well. The ABV is also at a nice level if you're looking for an IPA without too much of a boozy bite.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.68/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A-pours a brilliant glowing reddish copper color liquid that has a nice op haze. the head is thick, pillowy, off white in color. Lots of head from an aggressive pour that has huge retention and sticks all over the glass. Looks so good!

S-the nose is big and hoppy, good caramel malt with floral notes hitting the nose hard, extremely oily and juicy, tons of grapefruit take over and don't quit with plenty of pine to accompany. Big time single IPA, very impressive nose!

T-the taste is big, thick and syrupy. floral esters are light but present, strong caramel malt to balance the huge hop presence, grapefruit comes in hard and the taste is quite big. A big time oily hop flavor, hints oily pine, more grapefruit bitterness at the finish that doesn't linger at all. this is a hop-a-rific beer!

M-smooth and creamy, full to medium body. wow is this thick and syrupy, creamy but smooth. Light carbonation, crisp finish but not biting at all. it is wet and juicy throughout coating the mouth completely.

D-this is an exceptional beer, notes of balance with big time hop flavors, great mouthfeel, easy drinking. This would rival most double IPA's for supremecy, gives the feel of a pliny, right up there with anything else, the only thing that keeps it from the perfect score is the huge oily hops that do seem to stick a little

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Photo of StJamesGate
4.11/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On draft at the brewery, Minneapolis.

Dark amber with crusty white froth that trails.
Deep twinkly candied orange with hints of resin and powder.
Dried apricot, and clean, even C-hop citrus, pine, and resin.
Pineapple finish and humming orange oil linger.
Light side of medium, crisp, slightly clingy.

Not much at first taste, but has not only bright but effervescent citrus and solid IBUs to the hops. Still, it’s a bit of a throwback. Very good, but not Indeed Let it Ride.

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Photo of papat444
4.1/5  rDev -5.7%

Thanks to Tricerahops for a growler of this. Stamped Sept. 24, 2014 on the cap.

Nice dirty orange color, flavor is peaches and bitter grapefruit rind. Has a nice creaminess to it that balances things out,. A flavorful, drinkable IPA.

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Photo of mynie
5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Beers which I have given a Perfect Five (in descending order of tastiness)

Gumballhead
The Abyss
Dark Lord
Shakespeare Stout

I've never bought in to the logic that fives should almost never be given out, that no beer is completely perfect and so none should be given a perfect score. Yes, I suppose there is no objectively "perfect" beer, in the philosophical sense, but this is not a philosophy midterm. This is a beer rating website. And there are plenty of beers that are perfect enough, in my opinion, to warrant a perfect score.

But then there's the question of style and that nagging guilt you feel whenever you try to quantify a personal preference in some dramatic way. Weihenstepahner's Hefe is easily the best I've ever tried--why doesn't it get a five? While delicious, Gumballhead is hardly XTreme enough to fit into too many beer geek's definition of a perfect beer (that is, as one that burns your tongue)--so in spite of its poetic pallet, perfect balance, and prodigious potability, does it still deserve a five? What separates Devil Dancer from Rogue's I2PA, really?

It boils down to context, I suppose. Whoever is drinking it, whatever is happening to that person while he's drinking it, whatever beers he's tried before and whatever tastes they've caused him to develop. There's nothing scientific about it, even if we assign numbers to it. Some people's tastes should rightfully carry more weight than others, of course, and there are plenty of cases in which tastes are so ignorant or offensive that it's perfectly fine to think of them as incorrect or wrong. But there is and always will be a fundamental subjectivity to taste, same as there will always be a subjectivity about beauty or love or happiness. That doesn't mean these things don't exist. That doesn't mean they don't hold any weight.

Masala Mama on cask gets a perfect score because it is the far and away the best American IPA have I ever had. IPAs are a style that I normally enojoy, but do no normally enjoy to give excessively high scores to. This one goes beyond all that, though. I've written about its mindblowing balance before, read those old reviews if you're interested in that kind of stuff. On cask, it's better. It's got the best body of any beer I've ever had, ever. Everything clicks. I would move to Minneapolis just to be closer to this beer.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.88/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This brew is bronze in color. The head is creamy, solid, and white, and stays about one-finger high until the glass in drained. The aroma is citrusy with pine and oranges peaking through. The taste is amazing. It is a perfect balance of citrus and pine flavors with a solid, but not too harsh, bitterness in the finish and aftertaste. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and extremely smooth. Overall, this is the best all around IPA I have had to date. All other IPAs seem to either be all citrus or all pine. Masala Mama is both.

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Photo of jera1350
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had to try this one on cask.

Copper color with a rich creamy head on top.

Big earthy and piney hops dominate the nose. A touch of caramel malt sweetness as well.

Yes, yes, yes. Lots of piney hops with a bit of earthiness. The hops just deliver a powerful pine bitterness that is so perfect at this temp. A nice malt backbone is also present to sweeten things up a bit.

Here is where the cask adds perfection. Creamy, soft and extremely smooth. Can't get any better than this.

Drinks almost perfectly. IPA on cask? Yes please. A great beer on cask equals near perfection.

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Photo of warnerry
4.27/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

At the brewpub

A - Pours clear copper with one finger of light brown head. Head has okay retention and leaves a fairly small amount of lacing.

S - pine and citrus, with some other tropicals thrown in. Also a good amount of caramel malt. Quite good overall.

T - Similar to smell. Pungent pine and citrus rind. A few floral flavors and a bit of tropical fruit. There is definitely a nice malt presence to balance things out, but the hop bitterness persists all the way through. Nice to get so much flavor from a modest abv IPA.

M -medium mouthfeel. A bit lighter than most IPAs. Nice lingering bitterness.

O - Very good all the way through. Glad I got to try this.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

HUGE thankyou to biglobo8971 for sending this to me in round 3 of the growler BIF (along with a TON of other well thought out selections). Splitting this with my wife as the superbowl kicks off (GO BIG BLUE!!!)

a - poured a crisp transparent ruby amber with a classic frothy head that slowly defoamed away leaving chunky milk shake like lacing all over the glass.

s - really nice prickly sticky piny hops and a splash of citrus and orange peel. classy balance of some toffee like malts...almost a bit like a really fresh hoppy barleywine.

t - bitter bomb. good malt backbone as suggested in the nose, very piny. like a really fresh hoppy barleywine.

m - good carb, balanced feel. touch of a bitter bite in the finish.

o - overall a very solid ipa. great beer to watch my giants with in the big game!

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Photo of thagr81us
4.08/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks goes out to funkydelic for sharing this one! Served from growler into a Mikkeller flute. Poured red-orange with a one finger white head that subsided to half a finger slowly. Maintained phenomenal lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, citrus, citrus hop, and caramel. The flavor was of sweet malt, butter, citrus, and citrus hop. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. The caramel note I got on the nose did quite well with balancing out the acidity of the citrus notes I was getting and made it quite pleasant on the nose. The flavor was also nice with the butter character mixed in with the citrus acidity as well. Just a well done brew that I would enjoy having again and again. A definite must try even if you aren't trying to tick the Top 100 list.

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Photo of popery
4.27/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to deliriumfest.

A top tier American IPA. This beer pours a rich amber with orange highlights. It has an excellent head and lots of lacing. The beer looks right at home in my Anchor Christmas pint glass. Also, I'm a sucker for growlers, particularly growlers from afar. While that's not part of the beer's appearance, strictly speaking, the beer would get the same appearance score, no matter the serving type. The aroma is easily my favorite part of this beer. It's a combination of hops, mostly floral and piney. There's a touch of sweet citrus, but it's a minor player compared to many IPAs. Underneath the hop aromas, there's an incredible and surprising maltiness. It has a fruity, nutty aroma and flavor that makes me think of an Amber Ale. Befitting the geographical location of the brewery, this is neither an East coast nor a West coast IPA. It's all Midwest and delicious as hell. I'd like to give the flavor a 4.25. Without the utter success of the aroma, I might give it a 4.5, but it just doesn't live up to the promise of its bouquet. The flavor is a tad dry and yeasty, a bit like a real English IPA. That's not really bad, but it's just not entirely my thing. That said, the bitterness is extremely well-balanced, while maintaining a good hop bite. The malt might be my favorite aspect of the flavor. They really hit a note with me on the subject of the malt. It's an excellent beer and not quite like anything else I've ever tasted. I'd love to have easy access to it. It's always a shame when great beers go unbottled, but I can understand the impetus to keep things simple.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a reddish to copper color with a nice tan head. In the aroma, piney hops. In the taste, piney hops and green apples, a touch of nice maltiness. A bitter and medium bodied mouthfeel, with dry, piney hops in the aftertaste. Bigs hops and very nice.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Clear amber color with a nicely soapy looking white head. Some chunk lacing as I drank which faded into some fine stick as time went on.

S - Really hoppy, a nice amount of citrus, but not too grapefruity, subtle pine notes make up the hop profile. Subtle malt backbone that doesn't detract from the hops or make it to carmelly.

T - I think this might be my favorite IPA, even moreso than PtE and PtY. Would want to do a side by side for comparison. Nicely bitter resin taste with pine notes blends in with the citrus. It's slightly sweet, and balanced by the bitterness which does not become overpowering. The malt backbone is there, but complementary.

M - Finishes bitter, a bit puckering, but not too bad. Definately a medium bodied IPA, with some great carbonation to make it refreshing.

D - Could drink this all day, a great thirst quencher too if you're thirsty.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from half empty growler into a SN tulip pint glass. A big thanks to thecaptain073 for giving me a chance to try this one. The growler leaked in transit so the carbonation suffered.

A: Pours a rich dark amber with a thin tan head that formed a bubbly collar around the glass leaving no lace. Based on others reviews, had this beer been fresh I believe it would have had a good head and sticky lace. There certainly enough hops oils in the nose for me to believe so. I will rate to these assumptions.
S: Pine and citrus hops with notes of fresh cut grass, grapefruit and pineapple. My favorite kind of hop smell!
T: Follows the nose with pine and grapefruit flavors, but there are sweet caramel undertones that balance out a respectable bitterness. Finish is sweet with a touch of citrus and fruit. Very fresh hop flavor. Delicious.
M: Low carbonation due to the leaky growler, but there is still enough to keep the beer from being flat. Body is medium and slightly oily and viscous. I will rate this as if it had appropriate carb.
D: A straight forward textbook example of what a great IPA should taste like. Great hop taste with the right balance between bitter hops and sweet malt. Very clean and fresh flavors and a refreshing mouthfeel. I would love to try this on tap sometime.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.83/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've had this so many numberous times from growlers and fresh right at the pub, thought perhaps it was time to do a review for the tapped version as the casked version is different but just as good if not better on-tap.

This is from a fresh growler:
Softly dulled bronze color, with a fine and firm capping of ivory hued foam. Head grows consistent and vigorously to a fine foam of puff. Gets bumby and moon-surfaced as it crumbles down slowly. Keeps a fine hazey skim and a load of thickly set lacing closer to the top of the liquid as the rest from towards the top is placed in light webby strings.

Now I've had a super fresh batch and the aroma first off the tap was awesomely peachy and loaded with hoppy goodness. This time around the aroma has been softened by alot from what I know what its capable of. So for now, I lower my number due to its softer touch. Gotta go with ya got. Still quite pungent though, just not as peachafied as those first tappings. What I do like is its fine crispness, very sharp and lofty with a big toasty malt showing its side of things on this day. The rest is made up of some very fresh pine thats fairly resinous. Tinges of orange sweep up along with a few bits of grapefruit and partailly heated hop dust.

The taste is what I've come to love about this beer. Supurb cleanness, carefully bittered, well balanced, citric and toasty. Those fresher batches tend to bring out the peach tones alot more, as does the cask offering, but this still rocks my world. Lovely toastyness, creamy, soft, caramel is slippery within. Buttery biscuits among the toasted stuff. But those hops really just make a nice accompanyment and entice the buds into a ballet of tongue dancing delight. Well placed and quite pungent pine resin grabs with an intense but evenly handled bite with great nuances of citrus tones leading into heavier orange and slighter grapefruit rinds and juices. This time around - very, very slight hint of peach in the creamier areas in the middle where the toasty stuff floats off. But other times I've had this the peach has really pushed forward as the dominate fruit and I love that even more then what it is now. Still... this....This is quite tasty.

Body is nearly full, great crispyness; clean, toasty, creamy in the middle, bittered with juicy citrus and pine, but not overloaded so as to burn the tonsils out the back of your throat. Its feverant, but mellowingly bittered. And as always, way to drinkable. So much so, this could possible be liquid crack for some folks out there. And as Hugey states, I too have yet to recieve a faultered pint full or growler full of this stuff. The peach tones weren't as present this time around, but when it does, it just adds another wave of magic to this already fantastic IPA.

Notes of difference: Cask body is fuller and more rounded where the edges blurr with hops and warmth. Cask tends to be more set with fruitier juices and bitterly tamed. Tapped body is cleaner and crisper with more edgeyness to the hop profile and with its bitterness it tends to give a sharper return quicker. Where as the cask version is more gradual in the hop profile and warming.

The tapped Mama is always available so when its on-cask, try em both side by side, you'll have lots of fun comparing and contrasting each of their subtlities.

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Masala Mama India Pale Ale from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
96 out of 100 based on 675 ratings.
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