Harpoon Octoberfest Beer - Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

Not Rated.
Harpoon Octoberfest BeerHarpoon Octoberfest Beer

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,116 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,116
Reviews: 480
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 11.99%
Wants: 20
Gots: 127 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Märzen / Oktoberfest |  5.30% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-02-2001

The character and complexity of Harpoon Octoberfest comes from the malt and hops. When looking at a freshly poured Harpoon Octoberfest, you will notice the garnet-red color with a firm, creamy head. The beer’s color is from a blend of Munich, chocolate, and pale malt. The thick head results in part from wheat malt added to the grist. The hop aroma of this beer is not overpowering but it is present. Tettnang hops add a subtle spice nose that blends with the malt character. This beer is full-bodied, smooth, and malty. Willamettehops are used to provide a gentle bitterness and to balance any residual sweetness present from the malt. The finish is soft and malty with a mild bitterness.

30 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,116 | Reviews: 480
Reviews by blakesell:
Photo of blakesell
3.34/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured from the 12oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance- Beer gushes upon opening despite my lagering since buying. What is up with all my beers being gushers even though I have stored them properly? Anyway, it gushes, and I pour it into the pint glass, it has a solid two finger head that quickly dies but has a rich creamy color over the top and the beer itself is red and creamy yet clear. Lacing is thick and clings to the sides of the glass.

Smell- Smells very much like a Marzen, nice carmelly bready malts with a good toasty aroma, light German hops, very little yeast. Something I would have loved to see on tap on time, but this is my first time seeing it in any form. Great nose on this one, little to nothing wrong with it.

Taste- Oooh.. This one has gone past it's prime for certain. Creamy malts upfront but acidic spoiled flavors on the finish. Hops don't save this one as the lager is a touchy beer to cover up when it comes to flavor defects. Sweet and caramelized on the flavor, but the aftertaste simply kills it outright. Too bad.

Mouthfeel- Astringent, cloying, bitter, not entirely undrinkable, but not great either, not something I would actively seek out unless it was on tap to further ensure freshness. Medium bodied, highly carbonated.

Drinkability- I can't say this is near as drinkable as my Erdinger Oktoberfest-Weizen, or even my Balto Marz-hon. Same goes for my Paulaner Oktoberfest. As much as I wanted to love this, it totally missed the mark in the end. Sorry Harpoon, perhaps next time Ohio can get some fresher product.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep copper color with not much of a head to speak of,a very light aroma of some toasted malt but not much there in my mind.Taste is slightly doughy and roasty but seemed a little dry for my liking would have liked some more caramel malt flavor.Not awe-inspiring by any means but a drinkable beer but wont ever seek this one out for sure.

Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.95/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Slightly darker marzen copper body than many Oktoberfests. Leans towards rust colored. Large off-white head. Retention is decent.

Aroma of Munich malt, caramel, touches of toast, some fruity esters, and more hops (grassy/herbal) than I would expect in an Oktoberfest.

Body is rather full for the style, in a pleasing way, with a lot of big malt flavors. Some fruity flavors in the front detract slightly. The finish is well hopped and slightly dry for the style but the added spice from the above average hoppiness is very pleasing and contributes much to the beer. The body is smooth throughout and certainly sessionable.

Overall a very nice Oktoberfest that fits the style well while adding a couple of American tweaks.

Photo of weatherdog
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a mug

It pours a crystal clear copper with some reddish hues. It' one of the reddest Oktoberfests I've had. A bone colored 2 finger head forms and then dies after about 15 seconds with minimal lacing.

The nose is very neutral. I'm getting just a little caramel malt flavor with a very minimal amount of a soap like smell.

The flavor lends a little more malt flavor but it's still a pretty neutral tasting beer. The finish is a little too sweet and muddy. It's not the crisp bit of a well made lager I look for.

Like I alluded to above, the body is too full for my liking in a Oktoberfest. That affects the mouthfeel in the finish greatly. Through all of these, this is still a good beer and very easy to drink, just not a great example.

Photo of Todd
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Having this in a proper Harpoon dimpled litre stein glass at the brewery is a real treat ... One of my favourite local Octoberfest beers on draught. Although, this is not a lager, thus not a true Marzen/Oktoberfest. It's a nice Amber Ale for a festive occassion.

Photo of sponberg
3.97/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark ruby amber (a bit on the dark side for the style), with an appropriately malty nose.

Very smooth & malty, with just a bit of hop bitterness and a very good finishing hop spiciness. A tasty interpretation. The finish is a good malt/hop balance with a slight, pleasing lingering bitterness. A nice Fall seasonal, would be great to kick back on a Sunday with a twelve pack of these and toss a football around at halftime.

Photo of generallee
4.18/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a dimpled mug.

Appearance: It has a thick and foamy beige head over a dark orange amber colored body with good clarity. The head has good retention and slowly fades to thin covering leaving nice slick lacing that slides down the glass as I sip.

Smell: Its aroma is creamy sweet and malty with some toasted caramel notes and mild leafy hops.

Taste/Mouth feel: The flavor has wonderful toasted notes with sweet creamy caramel and mild spicy/leafy hops. Hop bitterness is mild throughout but picks in the finish and fades off the tongue slowly. It has a smooth and creamy texture that is just slightly sick with good balanced carbonation and a solid medium to full body.

Notes: Well done! This is a great Oktoberfest/Amber Ale brewed with Ale yeast instead of traditional Lager yeast.

Photo of Doomcifer
3.77/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Pours a clear amber color...darker than most octoberfests Ive had...nice, thick beige colored head that has good lasting power. Decent lacing to boot.

Smell - sweet maltiness, caramel, toffee...

Taste - caramel maltiness, theres a hop spiciness going on too, light hop bite at finish, toffee,

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, just right carbonation

Drinkability - i could easily pour back a few of these on a breezy autumn day.

Not the best Octoberfest Ive had, but decent nonetheless.

Photo of bierdabbler
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A/S- Poured into a pint glass yielding good head and sweet aroma of cherries and malt. Definitely eager to taste.

T/M- More sweet cherry tastes with bready malts. Goes down smooth without sacrificing flavor. Does not stale after, a nice sweet lingering taste.

A nice Bostonian twist on an Oktoberfest. Definitely pick up if you like beers with hints of fruit or slight sweet tastes. It is not overpowering as to detriment the beer.

Photo of Jason
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Autumn leaves distinguish the label from the others. 12oz brown bottle with no readable freshness date.

Appearance: Russet reddish copper with a healthy caked-on off-white head.

Smell: Fragrant hops with a hint of deeply toasted malt and a clean sweetness holding a very faint fruitiness.

Taste: Smooth and medium to full in body, hops are subtle yet gain ground towards the finish. Small but snappy hop bitterness with a toasted bread malt palate and a hint of unsweetened chocolate. Vague fruitiness in the middle yet finishes with a leafy hop flavour, a pinch of sweetness and remnants of chocolate malt.

Notes: A great "American" Octoberfest brew, and that seems to be what they intended to create. In all aspects for me it is one hell of a fall seasonal extremely drinkable, quite tasty and a clean beer all around. A top pick for me amongst the other American Octoberfest brews.

Photo of MisterDeeds
3.26/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nothing spectactular here, but that could be the beauty of Harpoon. Every year, they consistently come out with good seasonals, and the occasional specialty. The Octoberfest pours the usual amber color, and the aroma is very slight. The taste is slightly bitter, but very smooth for an Octoberfest. Still every year when I try my first Octoberfest, I am really only counting down until my first Winter.

Photo of tigg924
3.1/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: caramel amber, medium head, medium carbonation

Smell: cinnamon, wheat, nutmeg, and toffee

Taste: hops, nutmeg, and a twing of caramel

Mouthfeel: sweet and light, with a slightly sour finish

Drinkability: A perfectly acceptable Octoberfest that will appeal to most palates...I could have a six, but will most likely search for something else.

Photo of Mora2000
3.41/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a reddish-amber color with a white head. The aroma is grain with some toffee notes. It smells about like an Oktoberfest should smell. The flavor is more of the same with notes of toffee and grain, but I also get some chocolate. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Nothing exciting, but a decent beer.

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz. amber bottle. No freshness date. This one was purchased on the "sale" rack at one of the local packy's. Buyer beware...

Appearance: Poured a deep "freshly brewed iced tea" color. Inital thick tan-colored head is gone in a flash, settling for a thin line around the edges. Sparse lacing of the glass.

Smell: Toasted malty sweetness dominates. Some spicy bitterness as well.

Taste: Good transition from the malty/doughy/bready sweetness that you get up front to the mildy bittering hoppy input that lingers at the end. Not quite the mix of spices I was thinking I'd get.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Good carbonation.

Drinkabilty: Very easy on the palate. Just a bit of lingering bitterness is nice. Do I hear session beer?

Photo of Cavanaghty
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Nice clear brown color with a thin off white head. No lacing on the glass.

Smell: Mild malts and maybe some caramel.

Mouthfeel/Taste: Smooth medium bodied. Taste of malts, bitter hops, and a slight hint of alcohol.

Overall: This is a great Oktoberfest! I would have this one again for sure!

Photo of jcdiflorio
2.96/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured into a pub glass,a clear,ruby red color,looks nice.
The head was off-white nice and creamy with good retention.
A clean moderate aroma ,earthy,bisquity,slightly fruity and a light sweet caramelly smell.
Tastes of caramel,citrus,a bit nutty,bisquity,somewhat fruitty.The taste was a little on the bland side.
The mouthfeel was light to medium with a clean,dry aftertaste and hints of cider.
Not an impressive beer,a little lackluster,not a bad beer,a little flat in the taste department. Wouldn't get exicited about drinking another one.

Photo of ChadwickHines
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%

Awesome beer company and this is one of their best

Photo of kingcrowing
3.2/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle poured in a pilsner glass.

Color is a dark amber with no head. Aroma is fruity, malty, sweet and toasty.

Taste is a bit bitter/hoppy, slightly carbonated. Not sweet but still malty. Body is very light and smooth, it's pleasant but I wouldn't want to drink this all night.

Photo of jondeelee
3.77/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Smells rich and malty, like fresh-baked whole grain bread drizzled with wildflower honey and a bit of molasses. Citrus and fruit notes are also present-- mainly a flowery apricot, accompanied by a hint of grapefruit and orange.

On the tongue, the brew starts off with strong fruit flavors--the apricot and orange from the nose--and quickly expands into a malty goodness with caramel, nut, and brown sugar notes bouncing off the tongue. Nicely toasted grains round out the edges, along with a hint of yeast. Hops provide the slightest of grapefruit-bitter fuzz. The sugars die off quickly in the aftertaste, leaving only a hoppy buzz, which, though light, hangs on for a while. Mouthfeel is light, and carbonation is set somewhere north of medium--more than I was expecting, anyway.

Overall, this is a solid Octoberfest, being nicely balanced and featuring tasty malty flavors. I did find the aftertaste slightly watery, but that wasn't enough to make me want to skip the next sip.

Photo of WeymouthMike
3.82/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one pours a beautiful translucent mahoghany brown with a inch plus of slight brown head, take a picture and put this on a poster for octoberfest. Very little smell to this one some toastedness to the nose but little else is detectable. Taste is malty with some of the toasted taste coming up in the finish. Mouthfeel is smooth at first with a bitterness that finishes the sip. A very easy drinking beer and a great offering of the octoberfest style.

Photo of Thrasher
4.12/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Although not a Marzen, this is a very good fall beer, somewhere in the realm of red/pale ale. Well-retained head, red color, strong hop presence in aroma. Sweet malts veer towards Oktoberfest style but this is a bit different. Good hop presence (mildly spicy, floral attack) gives indication towards a pale ale style. Watery, smooth mouthfeel indicative of Irish red. A nice beer, refreshing and autumnal, almost smoky finish. No fest, but a fine fall seasonal. Harpoon's best beer even if it ain't what it says it is.

Photo of far333
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Low aroma of malt and caramel. Flavor is mild, but complex. It develops and changes as it rolls through the mouth. Sweet malt at first, with other flavors initially hidden by a tingly mouthfeel. As the beer settles in around the taste buds, hints of pear emerge. Nuances of butterscotch soon develop, and a slight hop bitterness sits in the aftertaste in the back of the mouth. Smooth and delicate flavor, very enjoyable to sip.

Photo of yankeeheel
3.62/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a sparkly copper with a moderate off-white head. Good retention with a little bit of lacing. Smells slightly caramel. I have to say I really like the taste of this. Malt, malt, and more malt. Lots of brown sugar, nut, and just a hint of daicetyl. The caramel malt really comes through. Mouthfeel is moderate with an easy drinking body. I could make this a ritual all fall long.

Photo of kingjames1
3.97/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an attractive dark amber with a respectable head, and lasting lacing. Smells of dark fruits, roasted grains, sweet caramel and a hint of hops. Nice. Taste is a satisfying combination of caramel, German malts, breadiness, earthy hops and just a touch of alcohol.

Smooth mouthfeel, and very satisfying beer.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful copper ruby tone with a nice brown ruby tan head wih nice even lacing. Slight brown sugar tint with a caramel edge and full malty tone, a bit light. Great nutty edge with malty backbone of toasted syrupy tones. Easily a session brew with a medium sized body and smooth drinkability not overly complex in any way but then again neither should be the style. This has been on of the better Oktoberfest styles I've had.

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Harpoon Octoberfest Beer from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
83 out of 100 based on 1,116 ratings.