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Harpoon IPA | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

1,227 Reviews
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Harpoon IPAHarpoon IPA

Brewed by:
Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
Massachusetts, United States | website

Style: English India Pale Ale (IPA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Harpoon IPA is an interpretation of the classic English style using hops and malt grown in the United States.

42 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-01-2000

User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,227 | Ratings: 3,967
Photo of Absumaster
4.08/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up this beer when I visited the US and was amazed at how much craft beers were brewed and sold in the US. This was my first pick, because this is a beer that is one of the benchmark IPAs, I think.

Appearance is orange, with a thin head and glass sticking foam. A steady stream of carbonation is visible.

Smell is citric and hoppy, defenitely fresh with a good malty backbone and a slight sweetness.

Taste is bitter with citric notes, hop aromatic and malty, a nice balance. The beer is slightly sticky and sizzling of the carbonation. Overall a very clean beer without any signs of yeast fruitness or anything. I expected the bitterness to be higher and the beer less drinkable, but I think bitterness grows on you.

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Photo of misterscooter
4.08/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my brother's best friends from college (UC Davis) was a viticulture and enology major. Rather than go into the wine business like so many in the major, he was brought to Boston to be one of the first brewmasters at Harpoon. Since Harpoon is not easily found away from the East Coast, it was a long time until I was able to actualy try one. Although I wanted the Ale, the IPA was available. Even though it wasn't the best beer I've ever had, it was worth the wait.

Upon pouring, it had a nice golden amber color and a good head. The smell was typical for the IPAs I've had, smelling hoppy and malty. The taste didn't have as much bite as I expected and the malt mellowed it out a bit. A bit of spiciness, though, added just enough tingle with the carbonation. I wasn't done with the first one before I was ready for the next one. I can't wait to get back to New England for some more.

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Photo of AaronRed
4.09/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap this was a very enjoyable brew. Color was pale, with a nice white head. My favorite part of the beer (not really, drinking it is the best) was the aroma. It was a nice combination of fruity and hop like smells that reminded me of spring. A nice flavored beer as well, with a strong hop presence that I expect from an IPA. Overall, a very tasty brew with or without food.

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Photo of dmarch
4.09/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours golden in color with a slight haze. Cascade hops are immediately apperrant in the aroma. Taste is citrusy. Some malt in the taste as well, but it doesn't take away from the hoppiness of this IPA. Basically, just a solid IPA. It has enough bitterness to satisfy the hopheads, but doesn't try to show off with an insane amount of hops.

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Photo of generallee
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It pours a deep golden color with a big, thick, and white head that makes nice lace on the glass. A floral bouquet of hops fills the nose. The hops are flavorful with pine and citrus notes over a light toasted and biscuity malt taste. The palate is medium bodied with good carbonation and a hopy bitterness that lingers on the tongue and begs you to take anther sip. Its not over the top hoppy but they are main show here which is how I like an IPA to be.

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Photo of jakester
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is from the Harpoon sampler case. I drank it in a goblet. Born on date clearly stamped on the case, and clearly inked on the bottle. YAY!

Pours a pretty, slightly hazy golden amber with a one finger head of off-white foam on top. Carbonation looks fairly strong. Nice lacing streaks the glass.

Aroma is big grassy/piney hops, clean caramel/toffee malts, and fruity like golden raisins. This is a very fruity, hoppy smelling beer, very nice.

First flavor is big pale malt, followed quickly by a big hop bitterness. Gin soaked golden raisins and pears are next, and the grassy/piney hop flavors enter late. A very good example of the style. Not overdone in any way, but not underdone, either.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, drying out during the sip, with a medium level of carbonation bite. Finish is a resiny feel from hops on the tongue, long and slick. This beer is clean and crisp, very refreshing.

I would order this anytime. As IPA's go, it's on the slighter side now, but it's very well made, clean, refreshing, hoppy, fruity, and delicious. Recommended.

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Photo of OStrungT
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a clear golden yellow with a thin white head. The head fades quick, leaving very few laces.

This beer has a floral hop aroma. It smells of grapefruit. Cascades? It also has a slightly surprizing malty aroma. It has just a tough of earthy yeast aroma also. This is not your typical IPA aroma.

This beer has a floral hoppy flavor. Not too piney or grassy. It does taste slightly of grapefruit. As with the aroma, I taste a slight malty sweet flavor.

This beer goes down smooth. It is crisp and clean. The flavor in not overbearing. It leaves a slight floral hoppy aftertaste. It is just a little bit undercarbonated, but not so much that it detracts from the flavor.

I think this beer would make a great session beer. It is not high in alcohol, so that wouldnt be a problem. Also, the flavor is not overbearing. I would drink this beer again, if it was available in So Cal.

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Photo of mempath
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

vigorous pour reveals a light honey (medium amber) color...head takes quite awhie to go down..3 minutes+ later, it's still a good inch with plenty of light, consistent lacing.

hmmm. equal hops and malt. the malts hit first, but only a microsecond later the subtle hoppiness fuses with the malt. balanced, admirable....though i still prefer a more hoppy aroma.

thank 'goodness' the taste remains balanced but does emphasize hops with some backup maltiness. as it should be. haven't had one of these in a few years. better than remembered, but then my tongue i know has changed. still, it doesn't have the depth i would like it to have. maybe it doesn't help that i had a Nugget Nectar a couple of hours ago.

a very drinkable beer, nearly exceptional, depends on the mood, the company...this would be a great brew to accompany light, spicey and/or seafood tapas/horsdoeuvres...fine on it's own. i will revisit this and compare notes. all around, it is quite recommended.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A solid inch or more of bright white foam rests gently atop a slightly hazy, golden-amber body. The head retention is good, and some very nice lace is left throughout the entire glass. Bright, fresh, and floral hops greet you in the nose as soon as it's poured! Very nice! A medium body combines with a very fine-bubbled carbonation to leave it lightly crisp on the tongue. Floral hops and a sweet grainy malt swirl in a kaleidescope of flavor right off the bat! Rich, exciting, sweet, hoppy, fruity, and finally, bitter in the lingering, drying finish. It's exceptionally well-balanced with a bitterness that reveals itself increasingly with every sip. What finesse!

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Photo of Stingray5
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured amber/gold with a white head. Sharp bitter hops in the aroma, a bit of fruitiness. Decent mouthful, taste is a nice hop/malt balance. Good bitterness in the finish. Not sure I'd call this an IPA, but it was certainly a tasty beer. Went down quite nicely. Would make a nice session brew. Nice and fresh from the tap, I'm interested in seeing if the bottle version holds up.

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Photo of bignick
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is, and always has been, one of my standbys. When fresh, it is one of the more drinkable IPAs on the market. It is not the most complex beer around, but the crisp bite of the hops is something I really enjoy. It is floral and delicate, but at the same time there is something zesty and lively about it that I really dig. I really enjoy throwing down 34 oz mugs of Harpoon IPA at Wickenden in Providence...it is that drinkable.

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Photo of lehows
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden yellow color with a large and fluffy white head. Pleasant aromas of citrus, hops, and some pine. Flavors of fresh bitter hops, mild citrus and pine, earthy grain notes, and a nice subdued malt presence. Very drinkable and just a solid all-around IPA.

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Photo of villainchiwwin
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured into pint glass
bright amber with off-white thick, creamy head that left chunky lacing behind.
floral scent with some pine, all suggesting the unadulterated hop flower itself; faint butter too.
sweet flowery taste straight to nice raw hop flower kick with some citrus notes that come forward for the finish before tapering off into some light spiciness.
medium body, smooth and appropriate carbonation with a raw, rough finishing texture.
delicious in succession.

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Photo of BeerCon5
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice slightly hazy golden color with a little more than 1 finger of fluffy white head, decent retention.

The scent was of citrus and some earthy notes.

The taste was of citrus, toasty, bready malts, moderate hop bitterness, a little alcohol.

Light body, smooth and crisp, moderate carbonation.

This was a very good IPA, the flavor was good and perfectly balanced. This might be the easiest drinking IPA I've had.

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Photo of portia99
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle (best by 4/15/10) poured into a Dogfish Head signature glass.

A - Pours a perfectly clear, pale amber gold with a finger+ of dense off white head, which has pretty good staying power. Head slowly dies, but leaves behind lots of sticky lacing on the sides of the glass and a few rocky islands on the surface.

S - Spicy and floral hops dominate the aroma with a touch of soapiness. The hops sit atop some nice biscuity malt smells and a touch of sugary sweetness.

T - Nice bitter hoppiness up front, spicy and fruity in nature. Just enough malty sweetness and breadiness to balance things off. Nothing flashy, just flavorful and well balanced.

M - Medium bodied, good strong carbonation, but not overdone. Crisp and refreshing feel on the tongue.

D - Very drinkable IPA, especially when fresh. This is a staple beer of mine...always in the fridge. Nothing flashy, just a good, solid, well balanced IPA. Perfect for a summer day after mowing the lawn, or as a companion with a pizza any time. Easy drinking - multiples of these in a session is easily doable.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had a pint of this at Grafton Street in Cambridge, Mass. Its a trendy up market bar.

This IPA is a deep gold color, lighter than I expected. A big bubbly foamy head lasts for several minutes and leaves good lace trails. The nose is lightly hoppy and malty. Not very strong, but hops are on top. The taste is bristling with grapefruit and pine. A modest malt backbone provides great balance. The finish reminds me of lemon candy, sweet and citrusy. The mouthfeel is a little thin, with some hop pucker going on.

This is a great IPA. My only criticism is the hop bitterness is a little harsh and lacking in complexity and hop aromas are a little weak. Still, I can see why this is so ubiquitous in Boston, tastey stuff.

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Photo of kelticblood
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a solid white foaming head with great bubbling carbonation.A slight amount of lace left on the glass.The aroma was of hops with a hint of an earthy smell.The color was a light gold with a touch of a haziness.The taste offered a well balanced hop,bitter,and citric taste and mouthfeel.Very crisp and balanced with just the right amounts of everything.I especially liked this IPA because it didnt leave a gagging bitter finish that lasted for hours.Very smooth and creamy.Easy on the mouth with a high drinkability percentage.

note: not an overpowering hop taste or smell.Very refreshing and light.Great for the summer or really anytime.

Upon another review I found it to be a bit watery.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've had this a few times and now feel capable of a review...

For the price ($6.99 a sixer) this can't be beat.

It pours a nice golden color with a foamy white head that lingers through the glass and leaves a bit of lacing.

The Harpoon website says it's supposed to smell flowery, but all I smell is citrus hops.

I taste citrus hops too and there's a good malty backbone for a good balance of flavor.

It has a nice mouthfeel, right amount of carbonation and a slight bitterness that I find sweet.

With less than 6% abv and the little over a buck a beer price tag I'd have to say this is very drinkable and would make a good session beer until the hops make you sleepy.

I had a few left over Guinness Extra Stout's from St. Patty's Day and made myself a "Black & Blonde" with this beer... very tasty mix!

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Photo of MSchae1017
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer was tasted in a Pint Glass from the bottle.

The beer pours a transparent golden-amber with a nice white head that leaves a thin white film all the way down the glass along with some lace. The smell is primarily hops that is characterized by a nice mixture of citrus (possibly grapefruit) and floral aromas. The taste also exhibits similar characteristics to the smell along with some delightful bitterness. The beer finishes with some sweet barley maltiness. The mouthfeel is characterized by a good thickness and carbonation. Overall this is a highly drinkable beer. I really enjoy the bitterness and believe I am begining to become more of a hophead.

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Photo of Xadoor
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally got to try it during a recent trip to Boston and it was as good as expected. Colour was a dark yellow with a nice foamy head with good retention and some lacing on the glass. Very drinkable and refreshing. It would definitely be one of my regular IPA's if I could buy it down here.

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Photo of inebrius
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Quite the easy drinking tap offering. A toasty malt spine holding up a well hopped bitterness, aroma and flavor. One could drink this all night, but the ABV might have something to say about that after a half dozen.

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Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap at Cheers the Bar of all places. (I was a tourist, I know.) This beer had a minimal head, but it had a nice color and a good aroma.

The big plus of the beer is its really good malt profile. This made this an exceptional beer. I've purposely not read the other reviews, and I assume most will say not enough hops. This is hoppy. But definitely could use more hops as an IPA. Very good though. You can find this all around town, which is a nice thing to say about Boston.

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Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.12/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at the AOBF 5/24/03.

Pale amber in appearance. Silky smooth off-white lace coats the glass. Aromas are much softer than the bottled version. A slight citrus and earthy mix. The taste is so very smooth. Given that this is my first cask-conditioned beer, I really didn't know what to expect. Man! Was I impressed! When I'd originally reviewed this beer, I noted how well-balanced it was, from a hoppy bitterness:malty sweetness ratio. The very same holds true with this version of the IPA. Everything just seems to have been toned down and mellowed. Mouthfeel and drinkability were fantastic. The differences in this beer from the cask and bottle are striking. A great way to start off the AOBF.

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Photo of Southernbrew
4.12/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice copper color, very nice head that lasts a while.

Nice citrusy hops smell, very full aroma, smells just like an IPA should. Some floral notes as well.

Medium mouthfeel, very hoppy, slight bitterness. Strong citrus notes and a slight bitter-sweetness in the finish, as well as a bit of dryness.

Definitely a nice brew and a quality IPA.

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Photo of devinoconnor
4.12/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I thought this was just an exceptional IPA. It's aroma is delicious. It's a highly-hopped ale but it's surprisingly very easy to drink.

I will say I've had Harpoon IPA on both tap and bottle, and the differences are substantial. The bottle doesn't do its justice. In fact, it sort of ruins it for me. The hops seem to be more intense out of the bottle, sort of souring the beer.

Still, one of my favorite IPA's. Harpoon is always solid.

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Harpoon IPA from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
82 out of 100 based on 1,227 ratings.