Harpoon Ale - Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

Not Rated.
Harpoon AleHarpoon Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

379 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 379
Reviews: 187
rAvg: 3.53
pDev: 13.6%
Wants: 8
Gots: 43 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  4.90% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Todd on 09-20-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 379 | Reviews: 187
Reviews by kinger:
Photo of kinger
3.38/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice malty aroma, some burnt caramel malt and a little sweetness. Medium copper pour with a sizable head that diminished, good lacing along the glass. Medium fullness, very easy and drinkable. Flavor is dominated by a good malt content of caramel with some light roasted flavors and a good nuttinness. Little hop flavors and bitterness came my way, mostly malt. Drinkable and easy on the palate, this is a nice ale.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.87/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice copper color with a rather light head thas left pretty quickly but leaves some nice lacing behind,an appetizing aroma on the sweeter side with mose dry biscuity tinges to it.Taste is also on malty sweet side with an underlying grassiness to it but the maltiness is the main elemant of this brew with some light bready tones in there as well.A solid beer from Harpoon a pretty easy drinker.

Photo of RoyalT
3.8/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – Classic Pale Ale appearance. The body is clear orange and the head is nice, frothing up for a bit then settling into a nice, fluffy snow drift on top of the liquid.

Smell – The hops are floral with a light fruiting, to include an appearance by the venerable grapefruit. There’s a nice caramel malt balance as well, which is advertised on the bottle label.

Taste – The malts come out nicely at the taste. The hops are more of a compliment, but everything plays well nicely.

Mouthfeel – This is a light to medium-bodied ale with a “just right” smidgen of carbonation and wonderfully easy-going.

Drinkability – Terrific session ale that went down like water.

For overall drinkability on Pale Ales and Hefe Weizens, my emphasis is on the mouthfeel (fluffy and hugely carbonated w/the weizens and creamy smooth and easy-going for the Pales) and this one fit the bill. Some may be disappointed with the lack of “oomph”, but this is not meant to be a hop-monster full-bodied IPAish kind of beer. Apparently this is a “staple of the stable” for Harpoon. Nice job.

Comments – Thanks to OldFroth for hooking me up with this East Coast session ale.

Photo of Todd
3.88/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask @ Redbones ...

Remember the old Harpoon IPA? Tod Mott style? Well this is close to what it used to taste like. The Ale on cask had a wonderful fruity/floral hop nose and lots of hops in the flavour. Sturdy malt backbone provided ample sweetness to match the fruity character. Sadly the beer had absolutely no idea and was a bit haze stricken. Other than that this is some good drinkin'.

Cask accounts are new(ish) to Harpoon. I just hope that it takes off and the demand keeps it alive.

Photo of generallee
3.7/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

It has a clean clear golden color with a big off white head that fades to a thin cap that just covers the beer. The nose is light and has some herbal hops and bready malt notes. On the tongue the flavor is balanced between the hops and the malts. Carbonation is average with a light to medium body. Harpoons ale finishes crisp and clean which makes for a good overall average brew that is very drinkable.

Photo of bishopdc0
3.52/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer has an aroma of malt and citrus. This beer is malty through out and finishes with a slight hop bitterness. This beer become slightly harsh across the tongue. It has a amber color with good lacing. I wanted more from this pale it is more of an English style pale then an American pale.

Photo of Jason
3.83/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz brown bottle with the Harpoon logo of a silhouette of a fisherman proudly holding a harpoon. Bottle on date was printed on the glass.

Appearance: Light amber with golden hues. Semi rocky and patchy white lace which sticks a bit.

Smell: Lively fruit and a crisp malt bite hit the nose. Hops make a small presence as well as a faint caramel smell.

Taste: On the malty side, slight caramel and light fruit are the trademarks of this brews flavours which are semi layered with the level hop bitterness and flavour.

Mouthfeel: Moderate body, big crispness off of a perfect level of carbonation.

Drinkability & Notes: Harpoon's flagship brew. This ale is almost too drinkable. Carbonation is perfect; crisp and smooth. One of my backup beers for when I want a all around good drinking all that is not of the “in your face” variety.

Photo of merlin48
3.61/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

My first Harpoon, out of a 12 bottle sampler box. Pours an attractive clear copper amber with a luscious light beige head. Very noticeable, but not overpowering, floral hop aroma with a slight malt background. Feels light bodied and fizzy hoppy in the mouth. Taste is mild hops, a hint of citrus, and some nice sweet malt creeps into the profile mid-glass. Very well balanced overall, and definitely has nice drinkability. My only complaint is that it seems a bit watered down at times, but it's a nice pale ale all things considered.

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
3.33/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. amber bottle with a born-on date of 10-8-03.

Poured a bright and clear honey color. Puffy white lace persists and laces the glass in patches. Aromas are citrusy, with a bit of sweet caramel underneath. A thin layer of honey coats the otherwise fairly bitter flavor. Some malty sweetness lends support. Finishes dry, with a slightly metallic aftertaste. Decent mouthfeel, nice and creamy. Drinkable, but lacks the punch that the IPA has.

Photo of jakester
3.23/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is from the sampler case. Born on date clearly stamped on the case, and clearly inked on the bottle. YAY!

Pours a mostly clear light copper with a 1/2 finger head of off-white foam. The head falls to just a ring, with decent lacing. Carbonation looks medium.

Aroma is clean caramel/toffee malt, fruity, and spicy/floral from hops. The smells are mellow, but pleasant. Fruits are kind of like golden raisins or figs, but faint. Would like to smell a little more.

First flavor is light caramel malt, followed by a gentle hop bitterness. Fruitiness is very muted. Hop flavor is also very muted. Aftertaste is short, with a very slight metallic tang in there somewhere.

Mouthfeel is a little thin and watery, but OK. Finish is crisp and clean. Carbonation is medium, and adds a bite this beer needs.

As today's APA's go, this is pretty tame. Not much in the way of flavor or aroma, but it's the original recipe from 1987, which says something. Not alot going on, but it's clean and refreshing. It would be a great beer for beginners, or people who don't like hops.

Photo of WeymouthMike
3.26/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Got this bottle from a Harpoon mix pack. Pours a super clear amber with a pronounced white head which disappears quickly leaving little to head with a bit of lacing. Smells of hops and something that resembles a metal of somesort. Taste is overwhelmingly malty with little hops. Mouthfeel is light and watery with a smooth malty finish. I could drink a few of these any day of the week, a decent offering anytime of the year and always one that I can find at any store in my area as a fallback.

Photo of Osiris9588
3/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a slighty hazy, honey color out of a 12oz bottle from a variety case. A white one-finger head, with out much froth or cream, dissipates quickly leaving practically no lacing--possibly residue in the glass.

The smell is of hops, citrus, some fruity notes, and malt. Does not differ much in aroma from the Harpoon IPA. The flavor is comprised almost entirely of hops and fruit. Bitter on the tongue, without much complexity.
Drinkability is okay, since I like hops, but overall this beer seems to be lacking personality.

Photo of Thrasher
3.1/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tawny orange, light amber with little head retention. Ho-hum aroma with some nice mustiness from yeast. Ah, a taste of this brings me back. Way, way back, to the early '90s, when I was but an underage tot, macros were just called breweries, and medium-sized intermediate "craft" breweries were micros. Actually a not-unappealing balance between the malts (sweet, caramel, restrained), the hops (lightly bitter, innocuous, vaguely nutritious), and the yeast (musty, mysterious, intoxicating). If that sounds facile in this day and age, let me say this is just a well-made, sturdy, no-surprises, tasty pale ale -- which the US macros have yet to accomplish. I will respond to some earlier reviews and say yes this is better than Bass (the American version at least) but no way as good as Sam Adams' Boston (Stock) Ale, which has a bit more character. Still, this remains a quintessential beer to drink when you don't want to think about what you're drinking. (But then, hey why drink beer at all?) Smooth, clean, crisp, refreshing, and, ultimately, forgettable.

Photo of yankeeheel
3.6/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served from a 12oz bottle. Poured a golden copper with a small white head.

Smell: Fruity with some bread/buiscut in the background.

Taste: Very even citrus/malt across the board with a slight hop bitterness at the end.

Mouthfeel: Sits easy. Nothing to offend or blow you away.

Drinkability: A very easy beer to drink when you're having more than one. This is a solid american ale that goes well with just about anything. Not a world beater, but no dog either. Nice solid offering from Harpoon.

Photo of ADR
3.42/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear and dead-on straight amber color. Head is a little wanting, a couple of bubble sizes and about 40 seconds of life. Incomplete drips of string lace. A backbone of caramel malt to the aroma, but decided citrus qualities. Subdued flavor overall, malt is honyish with some slight buttery qualities. Balance is definitely adequate but with a strident floral hop. Similar qualities from beginning to end. Overall, there too much citron flavor at the finish, but this Ale is so balanced as to be a bit unremarkable. Thanks to Liza P. and her dad for getting it, and Ken K. for bringing it back.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.85/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Original Harpoon Ale since 1987, well let's see how one of their flagships fairs. Pours a very pleasant caramel copper tone with an off white beige cream colored head and nicely distributed trickled lace as the head dwindles. Aroma contains a nice mild floral/fruity hop aroma mixed with some sweet specialty malts to bring out some faint caramel malt tones, overall well balanced and simple yet well done. The taste mildly metallic tones of pine cone flavored hop bitterness with a buttery mild fruit flavoring, overall very nice not anything wonderful, but solid and possibly a go to. The mouthfeel is light to medium in body with a decent amount of carbonation very nice mellow beer not to mellow just not challenging my senses. The drinkability like a said is a possible go to depending what else is available, I could find my self pairing this beer with a nice pizza or any other food around the house and find myself perfectly satisfied.

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.78/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the Brewery (Boston)

This is a solid, clear amber color with a light white crown that is retained very well by really lively carboantion, but not overlly so.

A nice medium-sweet malt pops out first, much like an German Alt bier aroma for the malt with very subtle herbal and fruity hops underneath. A slight bready edge in the malt scent way down deep.

The flavor is a very crisp and clean Alt bier like malt flavor, slightly sweet but bready and almost doughy. The hops and gentle yeast flavors are in near-perfect balance.

This is a good session brew which held up very well to most of the other styles I got to enjoy FRESH on the Breweries taps!

Photo of jmz62565
3.16/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Full 2 finger head with a nice coppery color.The head leaves a nice lacing.A clean crisp ale,but not very dry.Not a bad taste,but less flavor than other ales.It does leave a nutty aftertaste.You can have more than a few of these,but I have to say I was a little disappointed.for the most part I think this is a little overrated.the m/f is a little light,weak and watery.This is a good summer beer,but needs a little more flavor.

Photo of findlayfan
3.55/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Very modest head, with little persistence.

Left virtually no lacing in the glass.

Light amber body, with moderate carbonation.

Not very distinctive in aroma or taste, but did have some nice maltiness to it.

Pretty smooth - goes down very easy. Would make a good session beer (even though I only had one). Reasonable example of its type and good any time of the year: refreshing enough for summer, substantial enough for colder weather.

Photo of Sammy
3.3/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A decent pale and favored by my mates despite aggresive carbonation. Prefer a milder more understated pale, but could go with meat. On sweet side and thin, and some floral hops, and bitterness in finish. Clean easy drink that refreshes the palate but bland.

Photo of mempath
4.08/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a nice hefty head...nice lacing and a head that retains for a good while...after 10 minutes, it's surface lace.

smells of slight sweet malt, more like an english pale...nutty fresh nose that doesn't suggest much hoppiness. a good sniff later and i get something like...bananas?

wow. ok, i thought maybe i had one of these years ago...but i would remember this fresh, full-bodied taste of malts and some hoppy flash. an american version of an extremem emglish pale...or lighter IPA...sort of. another sip and i get some mystical english/caramel tone. a very unique flavor that is also rather traditional, drinkable (highly), thanks to the wonderful, creamy (not quite chewy) mouthfeel.

i really like this but i can see after 3 or 4, i might focus on the sweetness...the hops are always lurking in the background, but i would need a hop fix before long.

all in all, a VERY WELL BALANCED brew.

a very sturdy, admirable brew. will not think twice about reaching for one if available.

Photo of hreb
3.35/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into American style pint glass, served cold. Ale is a clear amber golden color with a tall, frothy head and a balanced floral hop aroma.

Taking a sip, as American Pale Ale goes, the hop flavor is well balanced with the malt, but the fizziness is overwhelming in this format. Contrasted with the high carbonation, the beer seems thin and watery, though not overly bitter and therefore easy to drink. It does leave nice lacing on the glass.

Overall, this is an exceptionally drinkable and well-balanced, though Small, beer. I can't recommend it given other options but have no problem drinking it, either.

Photo of warchez
3.82/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beers head has larger bubbles than most yet the streaming bubbles within the glass are tight and tiny. The head dissipated half way through the glass. Hoppiness lies more within the flavor than in bittering. The sweetness is low to moderate; balancing well with the low bitterness but noticable hop flavor. Color could be a bit deeper.
Overall a well balanced beer when looking for something drinkable and not to bitter. Would not stand up well to greasy or strong foods.

Photo of andjusticeforale
3.8/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured transparent copper into a pint glass; not much head to speak of and fast dissipating.

The smell was nice; American ale; tell-tale hops.

They advertise balance on the bottle and blance there is. There are nice, prevalent flavor hops; not overly bitter, not too malty.
Perhaps there was just a little too little carbonation, but, then again, there is a feel of a draft beer that comes with a little flatness.

All in all a great session beer, you can certainly drink a few without being annoyed by the flavor, or filled up too much.

Photo of Southernbrew
3.48/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nice honey color, slight head, a little less than I expected.

Slight honey scent with some other sweetness thrown in too, nothing overpowering though.

Moderate body, with nice level of carbonation. Slight touch of sweetness with a nice hops balance. Goes down very smoothly.

This is a good ale, if somewhat average. I could definitely put a few of these back in a sitting, however.

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Harpoon Ale from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
80 out of 100 based on 379 ratings.