Style: American Brown Ale
Hops: Nugget, Chinook, Centennial, Willamette, Columbus (Dry Hop)
Malt: Pale, Dark, Munich, Special Roast, Crystal 69, Crystal 77, Chocolate
From: Athens, GA
Brewer’s Note: “The Terrapin Hop Karma Brown 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.”
The beer’s label is cool, funky, and carries the breweries signature cartoon turtle very nicely. There is really a lot going on in the label though, and while much of it is awesome, it does suffer from clutter problems. The fonts for the brewery name and the beer name are both awesome but it appears like every other font is blocky and boring and really takes away from the cool label. I love the flowers, especially the giant lotus flower that the turtle is coming out of, and I love the sitar and the turban on the turtles head. This label is definitely worthy of scrapbooking, and is a nice example of how to properly use cartooning on a beer label (I’m looking at you Long Trail…). I suppose it is worthy of a cartoon-centered shelf as well, but other than that I think it falls just short of shelving qualifications due to its clutter.
The beer pours a ruby brown, and sits in the glass as dark brown, nearly black, with a huge rocky head of dirty yellow-brown bubbles that mellows into a half a fingers width of much smaller and smoother bubbles. In body, the beer is clean of particles with only a faint haze, while carbonation bubbles are weak and far between in rising up to the head. The beer leaves a slippery lacing that leaves thin sheets on the sides of the glass. On the nose, the beer smells of creamy caramel and brown sugar malts with hints of pancake syrup. On the fringes of the smell lingers a bubbling tingle of sweet citrus peel, but it is rather weak beside the big malt smell. On the tongue, the beer tastes bitter and then malty sweet with a nice mellowing mouth feel and bitter back bite. The flavors begin as light caramel, quickly building into roasted and toasted nutty flavors with a touch of syrup and brown sugar beside a light bitter tingling which builds into the finish. The finish is of bitter orange or grapefruit peel and aspirin flavors, mingling with the light malty roast. The finish does not last long. The aftertaste is of light citrus hops and slight roast flavors. In the mouth, the beer feels medium in body with a slight watery finish. Carbonation begins prickly and fierce but nicely mellows into a silky smoothness on the tongue. The mouth is left slightly damp with only a light hint of hoppy dryness. Overall, this is a nice American brown ale, but I do not see it as anything more than that. According to Terrapin, this is one of the first American dark “India” beers, so I will give it the benefit of the doubt and say it is just an older example of the style, but I do feel a little let down by the fact that it doesn’t have a big juicy hop smell like I was hoping for. This beer is tasty and interesting, and worth a try for any brown ale fans out there, but is a little disappointing to me and doesn’t really stand out to my palate.