Terrapin Hop Karma IPA | Terrapin Beer Company

very good
543 Reviews
Terrapin Hop Karma IPATerrapin Hop Karma IPA

Brewed by:
Terrapin Beer Company
Georgia, United States

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
"The Terrapin Hop Karma IPA (formerly known as the India Style Brown Ale) is a head on collision between a hoppy, west coast IPA and a complex, malty brown ale. Brewed with 5 varieties of hops and 7 different malts, this hybrid style represents the best of both worlds." 65 IBU

Added by athensbeermaster on 04-02-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 543 | Ratings: 1,009
Photo of fmccormi
3.77/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Straight pour from 12oz pry-off bottle to an oversized wine glass (HF stemware); best-by date is the second week of September—notched on the right side of the label.

Appearance (3.5): Pretty decent pour on this: very deep, reddish hues in the chocolate-brown body of this beer, hazy from what I can tell, and capped with a finger-and-a-half of light tan head with fine bubbles. Lacing is minimal, but it’s there with spots.

Smell (4.0): This is a story about malts. Right away you’re hit with crystal, chocolate, and strong caramel malt tones, with a sweet citrus character weaving in and out of them. There’s a subtle, earthy character underneath all of this that I really dig, though—rich and slightly musy, like coffee, tobacco, and leather—y’know, like a Ralph Lauren catalog or something.

Taste (4.0): Here the hops come in first, with a moderately bitter herbal / citrus pith character, but that earthy malt character comes in after that, which I’m enjoying quite a bit. Not nearly as sweet as the smell leads you to expect, which is good (for my taste). Surprisingly subtle coffee and chocolate tones next to some tobacco and light caramel. There’s a drying bitterness in the finish, which is not terribly long, but it’s there. This could use quite a bit more in terms of hops but I really like what they’ve done with the malts here.

Mouthfeel (3.0): Average. Somewhat watery, low- to moderate-carbonation, dry, and quenching. It’s fine, nothing special—none of the oiliness I expect from great hop-bombs.

Overall (3.5): This is a good beer, and I like it. Maybe this is a bit old, but the hops just aren’t popping like I’d hope they would. However, I really dig the Brown IPA concept—too many American Black Ales (and similar dark, hop-forward beers) are just like stouts with a shitload of hops. Doesn’t do it for me. I like the ones, like this, that have a different take on what the malt body should be like. This one isn’t always hitting on all cylinders, but it’s doing a very good job with the very problem most beers like this can’t tackle.

 2,105 characters

Photo of Rifugium
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Barcade, Philly, PA

Dark brown pour, seemed a bit hazy but not too much, small off-white head receded to a ringlet. I was expecting something more of a Cascadian dark ale (American black ale, or what have you), but such was not the case. Caramel malts in the nose, and a moderate blast of hops, but more citrusy than anything. More of the same in the taste, toasty malts, caramel, lighter notes of toffee and cocoa powder, with a defined citrusy hop presence behind the otherwise malty sweetness going on. Body was about medium, and it was quite interesting and drinkable overall.

 602 characters

Photo of FosterJM
3.55/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1322nd Review on BA
Bottle to Small tulip

Best by: 09/12

Thanks to Blackbelt5112203

App- A mix of crimson and ambers in the glass with a small bit of brown. A small 1/4 in head with a 1/16" bubble ring. No cling or lace.

Smell- Highly malty on the nose with a small fruit, hops and a bit of boozy. Has a smell I cant place. Maybe anise mixed with cherry. Just unique really.

Taste- I am just not diggin on this one. Fairly unbalanced to me with a full malt profile. A bitter hop profile with again that anise/cherry. Really had a unique flavor behind it. The malts provided a crushed charcoal type of roast and a little chocolate on the finish as well. A bit grainy but not unbearably so.

Mouth- A lighter medium with a light medium carbonation. Full malts with a small bitter finish. The chocolate graininess is there but not in a full effect, a little subdeued.

Drink- Its just okay. Nothing special. Semi unbalanced. A unique creamy anise/cherry thing. Probably wont go after this one again.

 1,006 characters

Photo of Jadjunk
3.87/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Terrapin's Hop Karma Brown IPA is the latest beer that the brewery has relegated from a year round to a seasonal, cutting the quantity you get to a pack while keeping the price the same. I snagged an original 6 pack of these in January before one package store caught on to the change. Date notched on the bottle is the 1st week of the 12th month, very likely early December 2011, which makes this a bit dated but still very drinkable.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a Terrapin Pint Glass. Served at 47º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a frothy head of 1 finger depth of a light cocoa brown shade. Retention is about average, meaning it certainly could improve its staying power but manages to be decent enough quality. Surface cover is solid froth and unbroken, and lacing is thin and residual. Color is a dark brown with bright ruby accents where the light meets. Carbonation is hard to see in the dark brew. Appearance is pretty solid overall, just lacking a bit in head quality. 4

(Smell) There's a little of both worlds here. I smell dark roasty but clean fragrances of a brown ale including a touch of roasted semisweet chocolate and a bit of caramel. Hops are equally present if not more dominant. There are some very citrusy grapefruit tones, a touch of hop spiciness in the back, earthy hop profiles and a little floral essence as well. The malt bill was a bit underwhelming overall in the aroma but the hop presence is spot on, and the balance is quite nice, although hops certainly prevail in the aroma. While neither the hops or the malt alone would make an interesting or adventurous beer, combined they do a very good job at creating an aroma of complexity and depth. A touch more potency and a little more substance to the malt would perfect the aroma. 4.5

(Taste) There's a lot of flavors in this beer, but most are from the malts, interestingly enough. First impressions are a bitter but faded citrus hop profile on a mild crystal malt base fading to a roasty chocolate and mild spicy bitter finish, which is admittedly the most memorable and enjoyable part of the brew. The hops didn't quite come through on the taste like I wanted to, contributing more to bitterness than to flavor and limiting the depth that this beer could have been capable of. On a positive note, I was pleased by how the malts turned around and contributed largely to the taste, really giving this beer a decent amount of substance. Balance is a touch off but overall it's a highly drinkable beer with lots of character to be found. 3.5

(Mouthfeel) Largely a slick texture but with a bit of carbonation it is perky in places, although not as much as it should be. It should have a touch more air to bring out the concealed hop flavors and characters in the taste. Alcohol presence is low. Body is medium, and I can't hardly find any points where it feels "watery" in substance. Decent pairing but a falls short of where the texture should be. 3.5

(Overall) Despite the minor criticisms, this was easily one of Terrapin's winner beers of their year-round lineup and a very original style at that, bringing plenty of hop character to an otherwise malty beverage. Despite these facts the limit of a well-preserved hop flavor reminds me that this may be best savored as fresh as possible. The latest demotion of this beer to a spring seasonal and 4 pack (selling for the exact same price as last year's 6 packs, by the way... bet they didn't think I'd notice), makes it hard for me to spend good money on it. I would recommend it to most based on its originality of style and wouldn't discount it for myself either. If you enjoy black IPAs, or hoppy brown ales too, this should really suit you well. 4

Terrapin Beer Company's
Terrapin Hop Karma Brown IPA

 3,758 characters

Photo of dejrrma
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

$8.89 for a 4-pack. poured into a pint glass. no notched date on bottle.

a- a deep color almost red wine but more brown. a beige head thats creamy. lacing that quickly falls off the glass. nice looking beer

s- barely noticeable chocolate, vanilla, some hops; not much going on

t- lots of roastedness, some sweetness that tastes slightly chocolaty, has a dry, strong bitterness with lots of maltiness.

m- medium body, med-low carbonation, a bit creamy

o- first time trying this. tasty beer and not disappointed by the beer itself. however, the main detriment of the beer is the price. it's a 6% abv 4-pack for almost $10...i can buy a 6pack of two-hearted or a 4-pack of fbs, which i've rated higher, for a couple of bucks more.

 733 characters

Photo of buschbeer
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle
Served in a pint glass

A - It pours brown with amber highlights. A fleeting beige head is seen.

S - I get some chocolate and cocoa before some grapefruit knocks it out of the way.

T - The taste pretty much mirrors the smell. I get some chocolate and cocoa but the grapefruit is more reserved in the taste. I like it a lot.

M - Medium

O - It's a pretty good brown ipa. I love the smell and like the taste. The taste may have faded due to my delinquency in drinking this beer.

 493 characters

Photo of TrappistJohnMD
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown, almost black with off-white head. Not much retention of head.

Smell is malty with some caramel, banana and other fruit.

Taste sweet and malty with some nuttiness. Good hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with good carbonation.

Overall this was enjoyable.

 294 characters

Photo of gabrielsyme
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint. Not too much on the smell. Taste is very good. There's a nice hop bitterness along with what you would expect from a brown ale. There could be a bit more malt backbone or complexity in general, but it is serviceable. Easy to drink.

 265 characters

Photo of ThickNStout
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Terrapin Brewery. Served in a Terrapin pint glass. 

Pours deep brown with almost 2 fingers cream tinged head. Nice lacing on the glass as I drink it down. 

Smells of roasty malts, caramel, bread and a slight hint of pine. 

Taste is nice semi roasted malts, a touch of coffee and ever-so-gentle piney hops. Not a bad mix. 

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Long dry aftertaste. 

I'm not much of a brown ale type guy but I'll drink this without complaint if it's presented. 

 500 characters

Photo of macrosmatic
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into pint glass.

A: Medium brown, moderate carbonation. 1/2" head that lingers for about half the glass.

S: Pine & floral hops overlay the chocolatey malt backbone.

T: I think this might be the definition of a balanced beer. As the initial pine hops hit up front, the malt flavors (less chocolate-y than the aroma) come through.

M: Smooth, somewhat creamy. Good carbonation. Slight bitterness at the finish.

O: Good & enjoyable. Maybe not my personal favorite but solid example of style.

 518 characters

Photo of JCaweinstein
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown with amber showing through around the edges and the bottom of the glass. One finger off white head dissipates quickly. From the best I can tell this beer is clear.
Smells like chocolate, maybe it's more of a caramel aroma, not picking up much in the way of hops.
First off I get roasted malt, then chocolate followed by grapefruit, and it leaves a coffee like aftertaste...so good.
It's medium bodied and really pretty dry with some bold malt and hop flavors. It leaves a very pleasant bitter aftertaste, one time it was like grapefruit and one time like coffee.
First brown IPA I've had. This is one tasty beer though to be sure. The aroma and flavors are balanced between hops and malts, making this one very complex beer. I say bravo!

 743 characters

Photo of jsanford
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark cola brown with a creamy mocha head that settles to a patchy haze, leaving lots of soapy lacing behind.
S - Dark roasted malt, chocolate, and brown sugar with a pine resin and grapefruit heavy hop profile.
T - More caramel and chocolate sweetness with a nice baked brown bread sensation and a good balance of bitter pine resin hops. Tastes much "bigger" then it's 6% ABV.
M - Smooth and creamy, with a medium-full body and good carbonation.
O - A solid brew from Terrapin, and (I think) the first "Brown IPA" I've had, which deserves recognition all on it's own.

 579 characters

Photo of brewcore
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Yields a two finger tan head that dissipates quickly. Deep brown in color. Little lacing.

S: Rich dark roasted malts. Dark chocolate. Piney hoppiness.

T: Subtle clean bittering hops. Primarily citrus, especially in the finish. Great balance from the sweet roasted malts. Very easy drinking for an IPA.

M: Moderate carbonation. Thin mouthfeel. Really smooth and pleasant.

O: In my top three favorite browns, top ten IPA's, and by far one amazing and no doubt my favorite brown IPA. I really hate that Terrapin sells this in four packs instead of sixes. Real bummer. Highly recommend this beer.

 641 characters

Photo of stampfler07
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- pours a very deep amber-brown with a finger of creamy brown head

S- light roastiness, faint pine hop, some floral notes

T- a slight hint of sweetness and the tiniest bit of chocolate for a split second initially, rising bitterness along with a strong roasted flavor next, not as much malt backing as I was expecting but there is a pumpernickel-like presence there, lingering dry bitterness on the finish

M- moderate carbonation and body, slightly warming

O- more on the ipa side than brown, but I found it pretty enjoyable and definitely will seek this one out again

 573 characters

Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a Pint Glass on 4.16.12.

A - Dark brown, cola-like with a tan one finger head with good retention.

S - Roasted, almost chocolate. Also hoppy pine and citrus background.

T - Roasted malt, chcolate and pine.

D - Good carbonation and medium body.

O - Interesting, roasted like a porter, but hoppy like an IPA.

 335 characters

Photo of BlackBelt5112203
4.39/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass at refrigerator temperature.

L - Ruby brown-to-deep brown color with a 2-finger thick and bubbly tan head. Pretty good retention, nice lacing. I was surprised when I poured this because I was expecting the usual golden hue of IPAs, but they do call this a “Brown IPA” after all.

S - This smells terrific. There’s definite hop fragrances of citrus, grapefruit, pine, and resin, but there’s also a very solid malt profile with biscuit, cereal, and even some roasted aromas. Very diverse-smelling beer.

T - Interesting blend of flavors here as the nose suggests. Starts with a caramel sweetness that blends into a bready and toasty malts. A bit of spicy hop bitterness creeps in towards the finish with citrus and pine flavors.

F - Medium-to-full-bodied, good refreshing carbonation, sticky and creamy and chewy mouthfeel, and a dry and bitter finish that gradually builds. Bitterness lingers for a nice amount of time, as does the citrusy and malty sweetness. No sign of alcohol except for a slight throat-warming sensation at the finish.

O - This is a very interesting and awesome beer. You could classify it as an brown ale or an IPA, but boxing it in either of those classifications doesn’t do it justice. It has the solid malt profile of a brown ale with the hop profile of an IPA. In the taste, these different flavors almost try to outdo each other but it never really gets to that point. The large malt profile adds to the mouthfeel of this beer tremendously; definitely one of the highlights of this brew. Of course, you don’t get the best of both styles with this beer, but I think this is as good as it gets when trying to combine a brown ale and an IPA. Definitely worth trying and I would definitely get it again.

 1,779 characters

Photo of tdm168
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Wine 101 in Wake Forest.

Poured a moderate brown with some reddish hues around the edges. There was a thick, off white head that had great retention. The nose has some citrusy, piny hop aromas as well as some toasted malt notes. The flavor is malt forward with toast malt and a bit of a burnt note taking the fore followed by a citrusy, bitter hop finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth, and has great carbonation.

The flavor isn't bad here but it's unbalanced. The citrusy hop character does not mesh well at all with the intense burnt toast flavor of the malt. The bitterness in the finish attempts to add balance, but it's too short-lived to make an impact. I probabaly won't have this again.

 715 characters

Photo of 2378GCGTG
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black with a 1/2 inch head and great lacing.

Nose: Prunes and dates with hints of chocolate and roasted grain, some hops.

Taste: Biscuits and brown toast with heavy dark fruits and some caramael to finish.

Mouthfeel: Light, with plenty of carbonation and a bit of bitterness at the end

Overall: Interesting brew, light with unique flavors

 354 characters

Photo of JayS2629
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a medium brown with a two finger tan head that fades slowly but leaves sticky, thin rings of lace.

The aroma is definitely hoppy with huge citrus nose of orange and grapefruit and sweet background of cocoa and caramel.

The taste follows with a nice bottom of cocoa, caramel, and biscuit holding up a citrus and floral boquet of orange, coriander, grapefruit, grass, and honeysuckle.

Medium body, smooth with a crisp edge

Overall, a nicely balanced beer for a hop lover.

 479 characters

Photo of Immortale25
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into a Green Flash cask-style glass. Label says best if enjoyed by the fourth week of August.

A- Pours a dark brown color with light shining through around the edges and a 1/2 inch light tan head that retains shortly before becoming a thin ring around the edge of the glass. Healthy surface foam and sticky, residual lacing.

S- Sweet and musty from the hops. Bits of citrus poke through but are mild. Mainly just caramel-like malt.

T- Biscuit-like malt coupled with elusive hop bitterness that's hard to pin down. Jeez, this really is a balanced malt/hop combo, each side vying for position. It's good, but neither side has much personality or depth. There's a faint citrus aftertaste once I get more into the drink.

M- Medium carbonation and a creamy feel up against the prickly hop bite. A pretty neat duality and the most exciting part about the beer.

O- Easy to drink but I can't figure out whether the flavors are all compatible or if they create a paradox. I'll figure it out by the end of the 4-pack.

 1,020 characters

Photo of CapitolCrusher
4.59/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

hop karma? sounds like the kind of karma i need!

instant karma goodness on the aroma! when i popped the bottlecap off you could tell this hop bomb wafted into the entire room. don't light a match! :-) hop oils everwhere like a perfume.

and it poured out nice too, although the head vanished rather quickly, it did leave some nice foam on the my glass as i drank it.

i know i am supposed to sip this beer but seriously how can i do that? this sipping beer ended up being big gulps for me. perhaps i should have drank it in a big gulp glass? :-)

if this is what i am to expect from terrapin, then i think i am going to try more of their stuff! very delicious

 660 characters

Photo of BayouBengal1537
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured in Sam Adams pint glass
Pours a dark brown with reddish hues when held to the light. Tan head quickly dissipates with not much lacing left behind.
Smells of mainly malts, caramel, spice, get some hoppy notes too. Taste is more earthy and piney hops with a big malty backbone. As it warms the maltiness becomes more pronounced. Mouthfeel is a little thin for my liking, which is why I rated it average. Overall it is definitely different from the norm, but I like hoppy beers and brown ales so I did enjoy this one.

 533 characters

Photo of Spider889
3.72/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Purchased while in FL. Review from 7/28/11. Best by date on the bottle was "week 2 of September."

A - Muddled brown, very small head, quite short lived. No lace.

S - Nice and hoppy - earthy and juicy, along with a robust maltiness. Some bread crust and cream of wheat, also lots of caramel.

T - Again, the maltiness is impressive. I was worried that this was going to be more of a dark IPA rather than a real "India Brown Ale." Then again, DFH Indian Brown is one of my favorite beers so I shouldn't be surprised when someone does it well. Toffee and tobacco are prominent. The hops exhibit a clean bitterness and a mild herbal flavor.

M/O - Medium body and carbonation. Better than I was expecting. I like this.

 716 characters

Photo of SolarMikey
3.28/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This brown ale / IPA hybrid is a medium-dark brown color (a tinge on the red side), just slightly hazy with a thin frothy head that leaves good lacing.

Its aroma is roasty with caramel overtones that are stronger than the contribution of the hops.

The flavor is well-balanced between dark, toasty malts and piney hops, and there is a slight metallic undertone that doesn't impact the enjoyment of the beer. The hoppy finish lingers slightly.

The body is crisp and light -- almost too thin -- and there is a small amount of carbonation.

I agree completely with a previous reviewer that, although this is a tasty beer (and the first offering from Terrapin I've tried!), it pales in comparison to Dogfish Head's Indian Brown Ale. I definitely look forward to trying some more good brews from Terrapin in the future, though!

 824 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

enjoyed while at the brewery in athens, ga. single finger tan head on top of a clear brown body. Some lacing. Not much head retention. Very Aromatous with malt, hops, cola and woody notes. Flavor is mostly sweet caramel malt with piney hop flavors and chocolate, oak notes. This is a nice mix of the sweet brown ale flavor with the hoppiness of a dry pale ale. Medium body and moderate carbonation. A unique brew.

 413 characters

Terrapin Hop Karma IPA from Terrapin Beer Company
3.92 out of 5 based on 1,009 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.