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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: 3,969
Photo of n8tron
3.73/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had this beer from tap and from the bottle. In both this beer is fantastic. Very hopy with no other flavors to get in the way. A really perfect IPA. It has a nice color, slightly dark and reddish brown. It is very drinkable and you don't get tired of it. Its good till the end, like all good IPA's should be. Luckily this beer is very popular in boston, and i hope if i ever move it is popular where i live.

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Photo of granger10
3.48/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a flourescent orange color with a medium bright white head. Lots of bubbles rush to the top. The scent was restrained at first but I picked up more notes the further I went along. There seems to be a real strong floral pungency in here along with citrus notes from what appeared to be dry hopping, but im not sure about that. The taste was a bit restrained. There was no real dominating flavor but a big mix of estery hops, caramel malt, and a grainlike huskiness around the edges. The body was a bit thin and that hurt this beer a little. All in all a decent but underwhelming beer, not really an ipa but not subtle enough to be a good pale ale.

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Photo of taez555
3.95/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a thick white head with a bright and clear yellowish/orange body.

The nose was a mix of biscuit malt, fresh caramel malt, and a sharp fruity hop with a touch of fine citrus.

Medium bodied with a quick, slightly sour, hop taste and bitterness. Definitely a BIG grainy earth and citrus dry hop taste. Rich malt, caramel, biscuit, Munich. A mix of hops abound in this beer. Some classic English touches as well as American IPA notes. From start to finish there’s an intense in your face bitterness.

This should be the official beer of Boston. A perfect combo of big American IPA’s and British pale ales. One of the best Boston session beers ever.

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Photo of ken3c
3.66/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Gold color. Big creamy head. Leaves sheets of lace.

Bold malt aroma with pine smelling hops in the backround.

Sweet, very malty taste and a nice pine finish. It almost balances but not quite.

Mouthfeel was interestingly creamy, well carbonated and light body.

There is plenty of taste in this beer. It leans toward the malty side and I'm sure would be better with more hops taste and aroma. Still, I liked it and I'll buy more.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - bright orange color, slightly hazy. A rather large head with a pale yellow tint, creates a lacework down the glass as it melts down.

Aroma - a soft blend of citrus and pine, appropriately and pleasantly aromatic for the style.

Taste - malty beginning, solid, then some quite palatable, mild hops and citrus enter in. More an APA than an IPA, but a decent hop-dominated finish.

Mouthfeel - a little heavier than average, adequately coating, complements the flavor well.

Drinkability - a good quaffer, not in the upper echelon but an easy and satisfying choice.

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Photo of ViveLaChouffe
2.36/5  rDev -35%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I have tried this in bottle before but decided to give it a try on-tap.

Pours a very clear, lightly fizzy golden copper. Thin white head. Smell is grassy and lightly fruity.

Taste is a crisp light maltiness. Lightly fruity and a puny lightly hoppy finish. Sometimes I couldn't taste the hops at all. Really poor example of the style and not worth expounding upon.

I always try to get my wife to try IPA's because it's one style I can't seem to convert her to. Usually she makes a face and says it's too bitter. When I offered her te Harpoon her response was "Nothing great but I could actually drink this IPA." Enough said about the hop profile.

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Photo of necoadam
2.83/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This one disappointed me.

Poured out a golden amber with a decent head that went to lacing after a while.

Smell consisted of hops, but not as strong as I would of liked them to be. Floral and citrus hops for the most part, with some earth tones and a slight whiff of yeast hangs around in the background.

Taste was..light. Hops? Only found a little bit of them. Malts kick in slightly with some citrus tones, but again, quite light.

Mouthfeel was too creamy and smooth for an IPA.

IPA? I know more APA's with more hops than this beer. Unless they want to appeal to the macro drinkers, I would consider this a light IPA. Goodness, go grab a HopDevil and see how it's done correctly.

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Photo of kennyo
2.75/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

gold color with nice, foamy head. Head has a bitter bite but has good legs. Their is a spicy, hop aroma. Their is a light malt taste with hop bitterness and a slight lemony aftertaste. The body is light/thin, could use more malt to balance this brew.

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Photo of jvajda
4.48/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Apearance: Good deep orange/copper hue and frothy head.
Smell: It smells of bitterness and grapefruit. Very piney as well.
Taste: It's a superbly balanced IPA. The perfect amount of hop bitterness and fruitiness, no more, no less. Very impressive.
Mouthfeel: Creamy and alive in the mouth.
Drinkability: When I want a good plain ol' IPA, this is the one I reach for. It's a fine session beer as well.

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Photo of finepaws
3.7/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this at a number of places on tap while visiting Boston. It was the only thing worth drinking at both hotels I stayed in. It was a cool amber color with a small frothy head that held througout the drink. Had a hoppy, floral smell. Tasted pretty much the same. Not too bitter, sweet malt flavor too. Crisp, fresh mouthfeel. Very drinkable. I would recommend this one on.

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Photo of twelvsies
3.97/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is an old staple. Pretty standard for an American IPA, but reliable and damn good. Appears a little bubbly actually, but there's a nice frothy head present that leaves a nice lacing on the glass. Smells of citrus and piney hops, typical for an IPA of course. Tastes great to me, just what I would expect from Harpoon. Lots of hop flavor, less malt, and with a little bitter kick towards the end. Smooth mouthfeel, although a little fizzy, but generally impressive. This is a solid beer great for pretty much any occasion, such as watching the Sox game, which I am going to go do now.

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Photo of Sixpack595
3.57/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

White head capping a golden body with a constant stream of bubbles. Great fruity hop aroma with only a hint of malt. Flavor is a bit weak, but nice. Weak mouthfeel, boring but drinkable. As with the Harpoon beers I've tried its a nice, drinkable beer but a bit more bland than I prefer.

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Photo of SixpointJMH
3.57/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

your basic, run of the mill east coast ipa. it pours a nondescript crisp amber colour with a fairly thin head. the smell is much more sweet than i remember it, actually dominating the hop and bread notes at times. floral notes are scattered throghout as well. as for the flavour, the hop and malt balance is nicely combined with the floral and sweet notes picked up in the nose, however, everything is pretty bland overall here. i remember this brew being much hoppier years ago. now it seems as if it's produced more for the masses. it's easy drinking and it's nice to know that you're likely to find it at any bar in greater boston (even the dumpiest of dives, most likely). this is certainly still a good beer all around but, like most harpoon offerings, seems to have peaked a while ago. crank it up on all accounts, i say.

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Photo of winomark
3.4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful medium gold with a nice fluffy white head. Lovely hop aromas abound. Sweet malt lends a good depth to the nose. Hops lend great flavor to the palate and the malt is quite noticable. Not as hoppy as I was hoping for, but a nice "East Coast" IPA. Nice mouthfeel. Sweetness give some viscosity and a coating effect. A delightful IPA. Flavorful, balanced and well made. I like this and was glad to get to try it. Can't wait to try again. Look for this one.

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Photo of soper2000
3.68/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was fairly excited to see that one of my favorite local watering holes had this on tap, so after a quick pint of Celebration I decided to go for a Harpoon IPA. I have no doubts that drinking this right after a Celebration made my expectations of this IPA unreasonably high. It pours an amber color with a 1 finger head that made itself present for about 8 ounces. Nose is rather muted when compared to the celbrations. Some floral hops are present as is some malty sweetness. Taste wasn't the hop attack that I was expecting. This was rather clean and balanced with a caramelish malt background keeping the hops in their place. Nice medium body to this one too. Definately a decent beer, but it'll be hard for me to choose this of an Alpha King or Celebration when all 3 are side by side.

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Photo of putnam
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Surprisingly light in color for an "IPA", The aromas are of candied, caramelized citrus peel, roasted, nutty herbs and hash pipe.
On the palate it is straightforward, offering toffee-flavored malt impressions along with scorched stone fruits, dry honey flavors and herb oils. It's hard to understand the very pale, yellow color in light of the impact on the palate. The finish is medium in length and balanced. Solid effort.

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Photo of rousee
4.02/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a true honey-apricot amber and forms a small cap of 2mm or less within 60 secs. Very little carbonation but it doesn't seem to bother me - I don't like flatness-- but in this case, there is still plenty of energy in it.

Smell is very mild malty sweet honey with hop/berry present too.

Taste is a peach/apricot berrymix with nice malt and hops resembling berries backing it up. Cranberry essences I am getting
too. Pretty well balanced with an emphasis on berrymix/hoppy flavor.

It finishes failry dry and chalky but chalky in a nice kind of "cleanse your palate way". Mouthfeel is slightly better than average but nothing special.

Drinkability is DANGEROUS !! Easy to get carried away and have too many of these.

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Photo of oracle
1.96/5  rDev -46%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Trying as hard as I could, I could find very little in this beer that I approved of.

It poured a clear and very light copper, with a moderate medium density head that left heavy lacing.

The smell was best described as harsh and unforgiving. The characteristic hoppiness of an IPA was present, but in a very one sided and unforgiving way. No malt that I could detect, just harsh hops.

Taste was bad, just plain bad. Harshly bitter (which one would expect in an IPA), but also a little sour. It also had a foul long-lingering aftertaste.

Mouthfeel was about average. Not too dry or too sweet.

I definately will not be buying this again.

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

Hand-delivered from Boston to Moscow by a colleague (thanks, Jenny - go Red Sox!), I couldn't wait to pop this old friend open. Lord, why can't we get stuff like this here? No ingredient or freshness information. U.S. needs to get with the program on that score.

Pours a nice cloudy amber-copper hue under a slightly off-white one finger head that settles pretty quickly but leaves a bit of lace. Marvellous flowery nose, balanced by some barley but clearly hops are the main attraction. The mouth is prickly, yet smooth, with a heaviness to the texture that coats the mouth and tongue almost like thin syrup. There's definitely a sweet malt backbone here which does a good job of supporting the hops, which are present from the beginning. Definitely not a super-hopped brew, the flowery sweet and crisp bitter nevertheless determine the flavor experience. A deeper bite emerges briefly in the aftertaste, but the flowers linger remarkably long. There's no impression of espresso here - it's more like perfume. Nice.

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Photo of John1985
3.51/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Light copper color with a decent long lasting head. Aroma was lightly hopped. Taste was dominated with hops with just enough malt to make it enjoyable. Body was light for the style but you could drink a number of these on a hot afternoon. Very refreshing and flavorful.

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Photo of masterbruewer
3.3/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a light amber with light carbonation, thick white head and decent lacing.

The smell was piney hops.

The taste was piney hops, a little bitterness, but not bad for an IPA. Goes well with burgers and grilled vegetables. A giid example of the style.

The mouthfeel is light, hoppy bitter with carbonation bite and a hop-bitter aftertaste.

A very drinkable IPA, not too hoppy for the style.

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this beer at a local pub this evening. The beer is in a pint glass and cold.

Clear copper color with minimal head. Floral and piney hop aroma. Not too much malt presence here.

First sip. Average bodied and carbonation. Some light toffee followed quickly with heavy pine hop notes. THese pine qualities linger through the finish and after. Very smooth and easy to drink. Rather crisp and refreshing as well.

Nice brew but not more than a crisp hoppy brew. A little one dimensional but tasty and smooth make it a good beer to have with some friends.

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Photo of RocketWidget
3.9/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Being from the area, I can't believe I haven't reviewed at least one of Harpoon's offerings before! A fine American IPA. A gloriously golden pour with moderate pure white head. Carbonation makes a nice visual effect in this clear beer. Smell is crisp and hoppy. Taste is sweet and fairly bitter. Refreshing on a real hot day like today. A good choice if in need of an IPA.

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Photo of Hibernator
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this out of a 12 oz brown bottle served in a pint glass. The packaged on date was on the back on the bottle and it read 6/3/04. This beer was about a month and a half old. One of the nice things living in the area in which the beer is made is that the majority of the time its fresh.

The appearance was a golden bronze. Respectable head with nice lacings.

Smell provides a nice floral hop aroma and citrus.

Very crisp with some citrus flavors. Good amount of malt with nice hop flavor. Tastes like Cascade hops in this IPA. Medium body and very drinkable. I frequently choose the Harpoon IPA as a sixer of choice for an evening when the selections are basic.

This is truly one of my staple beers, either in a restaurant/bar or as a 6 or 12 pack. The majority of the time I get this IPA fresh and I'm always pleased. Probably my favorite consistent product from Harpoon.

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