Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...
Dismiss Notice
Join The Buzz! Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest BeerAdvocate updates delivered to your inbox.

Harpoon Octoberfest Beer - Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

Not Rated.
Harpoon Octoberfest BeerHarpoon Octoberfest Beer

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

473 Reviews
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 473
Hads: 1,122
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 10.33%
Wants: 24
Gots: 135 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Harpoon Octoberfest Beer Alström Bros
Reviews: 473 | Hads: 1,122
Photo of wac9
1.32/5  rDev -64.1%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

this beer has way too much head just taste too boozey smells boozey just nothing else say about this beer too dark in color not a winner skip it bring nothing to octoberfeat so nothing else to say keep moving i have taste better beer and this isnt one them (256 characters)

Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.08/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours an orangy amber color, large big bubble head, fades at a decent rate.

Smell is mostly caramel malt with subtle hints of spicy hops.

Taste is fairly straight forward, caramel upfront and dominate, high carbonation keeps things crisp and refreshing, mild hops too keep things somewhat balanced. (300 characters)

Photo of BB1313
3.9/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a hazy auburn brown, nice off white head which fades and leaves great lacing and retention. The aromas are nice and full of toffee and caramel malts. There's also a touch of chocolate and butterscotch. The flavors match the aromas. Flavors are extremely malty. I can pick up alot of chocolate and more caramel. There's a nice sweetness and nuttiness going on. Full flavored for such a small beer. There's a even a touch of heat. Mouthfeel is very nice. It's light, fluffy, creamy, and has high active carbonation. Really nice beer.

I like this. It's really a nice interpretation of the style. I'll look forward to it for on now. (673 characters)

Photo of Onenote81
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Dark ruby-tinted mahogany color with a thin beige head on top. The nose is pleasant with hints of floral tones, fresh bread, sweet caramel candies. Moderate carbonation that doesn't get too spritzy. Smooth on the finish makes this one easy to drink.

Great flavors of caramel sweetness, mild toffee, crackers, bready flavors on the back end. All of these meld well make this one easy to drink. Tasty beer here that is a good representation by an American brewery. I wouldn't mind having a sixer of this in the fridge each and every fall. (576 characters)

Photo of linuxlover
2.75/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Big fan of Harpoon, but I've never really had a Octoberfest that I've really liked, so I was looking forward to this one.

Pours a brilliant amber, yet surprisingly translucent. Lacing is minimal, but very even.

Smell is nearly absent. Mostly a caramel sweetness that doesn't translate to much aroma. Mild earthiness. Oh well. At least it's not bad.

Taste is similar to the smell. Pleasant bitterness. Too much caramel. No spice to speak of. Pleasant earthy feel as well. Slight hints of a synthetic taste as well.

Mouthfeel is very crisp. Finish is very clean. Feels like I could have 10 of these.

Overall, it has all the strong points of a Harpoon beer, but the maltiness is overpowering. Probably the best Octoberfest I've ever had, but it's not enough to make me a fan of the style. (790 characters)

Photo of angusdegraosta
3.71/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a good beer. I had one straight from the bottle and another poured into a glass. Better to pour: there's a slight metallic taste that goes away as the beers fizzes a little. Looks lovely in the glass - a golden amber, less deep in color than other examples of the style. It also has more hop character than is typical... pleasant though, backed well by the malt and just a little caramel. Nice feel. I recommend it. (423 characters)

Photo of sommersb
3.43/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tasted On: 10-05-2012
Freshness: Best by 11-15-2012
Packaging: 12 oz. brown bottle, pry-cap
Glassware: Frankfurt mug
Purchased: Single from Midtown, Nashville

A: Pours a bright copper, clear beer with a huge off-white head. Excellent retention and a very nice amount of lacing.

S: Aromas are malty sweet, with caramel plus spicy hops.

T: The taste starts with a clean lager feel, followed by roasted grain and a bitterness that then leads to an unpleasant/astringent flavor.

M: Medium body and a moderate amount of carbonation. Finishes with more grainy and astringent notes unfortunately.

O: This one started well but then seemed to slide. It tasted like the malts were over-cooked, or maybe that was the hop character - either way this wasn't a very good Oktoberfest to me. (780 characters)

Photo of StoutHunter
2.48/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I picked up a bottle of Harpoon's Octoberfest Beer yesterday for $1.69 at The Lager Mill. I've never had a good beer from this brewery but I'm willing to give them another shot and try their Marzen, so lets see how it goes. No visible bottling date. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A- I really like the label on this beer. it's pretty clean and nice looking and the back label is pretty different. It poured a nice looking amber color that took on a nice copper hue when held to the light with a finger and a half worth of off white head that died down to thin ring that left some spotty lacing. This is a decent looking Marzen.

S- The aroma starts off with loads of malts that have a slightly higher amount of medium sweetness and imparts some bread crust, caramel, and toasted aromas followed by a slight nutty and dark fruit aroma. Towards the end I get a light amount of earthy hops. The aroma seems to be average, I like the toasted aromas but the dark fruits seemed out of place.

T- The taste seems to be fairly similar to the aroma and it starts off with a large amount of malts that have a slightly higher amount of medium sweetness and imparts some weak caramel malt flavors followed by some grain and bread crust flavors. After that comes some light dark fruit flavors followed by a quick hit of sweetness that is unwanted and it quickly gives way to some earthy hops that impart a slightly higher amount of medium bitterness and it had a sweet, grainy, and bitter aftertaste. The taste of this beer wasn't good the malts tasted thin and there was too much bitterness for the style and some unwanted dark fruit flavors.

M- Not that smooth, slightly sticky, crisp, watery, on the light side of being medium bodied with a slightly higher amount of medium carbonation. The mouthfeel wasn't that good it was watery and it lacked the smoothness I want from this style.

Overall I thought this beer wasn't that good and it was a below average example of the style, it just lacked all the things that make for a good Marzen. This beer didn't have good drinkability, it wasn't that smooth, and the thin flavors didn't do a good job at holding my attention, one is enough for me, I feel no need to have another one, What I liked the most about this beer was the appearance, it didn't look that bad and it was pretty true to style. What I liked the least about this beer was the flavor it was pretty flat with some unneeded flavors and bitterness. I wouldn't buy this beer again, it really didn't have any redeeming quailitys and I wouldn't recommend this beer to anyone. All in all this was another beer I didn't like from Harpoon Brewery, so far they might be my least favorite Microbrewery and I don't know if I will give them another chance, this Marzen fell pretty short and it just wasn't a good example of the style. (2,858 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a mug.

Pours a clear copper, with several fingers of foamy off-white head. This maintains a frothy ½ finger, leaving back thick sudsy lacing that slowly drips down the sides of the glass. The aroma smells of earthy citrus and sweet malt that gives this a rich twang, with some light floral and spicy notes that hang on the edges.

The taste is sweet and bready along the edges of the profile and into the backend, while a crisp and earthy feeling citrus presence runs down the middle. The finish is dry and lightly spicy with a touch of lingering bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a soft and creamy on the edges that gives way to more of a firm crispness on the tongue. This has a nice balanced feel in the mouth that keeps this drinkable.

This is one of the better American O-Fests that I’ve had lately. Just solid balance to the flavors and feel here that kept this interesting to drink. This is one of the few new to me ones that I’m actually glad I checked out this season. (1,020 characters)

Photo of BEERMILER12
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best By 12/19/12

A: Pours an amber color with a fingers worth of head

S: Rich malts and a floral hoppiness are the highlights

T: Follows the nose, very hearty malts along with earthy and floral hops throughout. Get some dark chocolate and toffee richness. Nicely flavorful

M: Medium-full bodied with low-moderate carbonation

O: A great Fall beer that does the style well (even if it's really an ale). Very rich and flavorful with plenty of body. Definitely worth a try if you're an oktoberfest fan or like to try seasonal-worthy beers (539 characters)

Photo of tdm168
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - dark amber with a soft, thin, off white head that fades quickly

S - caramel, faint bread, light toast, faint hops

T - caramel, sugar, fruit, bitter finish

M - medium bodied, well carbonated

This is a solid beer. It has great drinkability. It has good flavor as well. This would have gotten a higher rating if the hops didn't overpower the malty flavors. It's worth a try. (379 characters)

Photo of barczar
3.06/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a brilliant amber brown color with a dense one inch cream head that lingers. Leaves spotty lacing as it slowly dissipates.

Aroma is alcoholic, with sweet, buttery caramel malt forming the backbone. There's a touch of nuttiness and fruity esters. Heavy plastic phenols surface as it warms.

Fruity esters follow suit in the flavor with plasticy, phenolic notes overwhelming the fairly weak caramel malt. Toasted bread flavors and a slight bitterness round out the finish.

Body is moderate to full, with moderate carbonation and slight alcohol warmth.

Unfortunately, a fairly flawed example of the style. Fruity esters and phenols are the majority of the character of the brew. Unfortunate. (697 characters)

Photo of SaCkErZ9
2.83/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle says this one is best by 12/19/12.

This one pours from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Emerges from the bottle a clear, mahagony color with tones of harvest sunshine, topped with a small white head. Very minimal lacing, not much retention on this one either.

Aroma was quite lackluster. There was nothing obviously bad, just a lack of anything obviously good. I do like the breadiness and toastiness in the aroma, almost like lightly toasted coconut bread. Other than that, not much going on.

A slight sourness was prevalant in the flavor; almost loke this was fermented too hot. Green apple and cabbage, quite vegetal. What little toasted coconut shows on the palate quickly disappears into some bitterness.

Not a fan of this one. I am not really a fan of this style anyway, but I have has plenty other Ofests that were much better than this one. This came in a mix 12 pack, so three will be more than enough for me. (931 characters)

Photo of VncentLIFE
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Looks like a good Marzen. Deep amber with a thin ring for a head. Initially it was a soda pop fizzy head that died into a small white head.

They have the right idea here. Super sweet toffee and caramel dominate for sure on the nose. Earthy hops and malt come out as well. The smell is right up there with the best American Marzens.

The smell doesnt translate to the taste. Im thinking hyper sweet and smooth, drinkable, and earthy malt beauty, but I get this metallic lager. I can see the earthy malt and hops coming through a bit. A bit too earthy if that makes sense. Its definitely there, just a bit too much.

Its like that guy at the Toga party ACTUALLY wearing a laurel that majored in philosophy. Right idea, just no. (727 characters)

Photo of jak3676
3.12/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Harpoon - Octoberfest

Bottle says Boston, MA and Windsor, VT, but doesn't seem to indicate which.

This Oktoberfest seems a bit odd to me. It's the darkest colored Octoberfest I've had - more brown than red even. But I generally go for darker beers. It is nice and clear, but all weekend I got suprisingly little head from Harpoon's offering.

At first I thought maybe I wasn't giving a good enough chance - after 4 or 5 other beers it can be difficult to tell them apart. But even saving the last 2 for a different day didn't help. It's seems like I should like this one more, but I don't. It's not for lack of flavor, just not to my tastes I guess.

5.3% ABV for the record; no indication of bottling date. (713 characters)

Photo of GMB
4.28/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A standard pour of Harpoon's Octoberfest yields an amber body with yellow and copper highlights, but fails to produce anything resembling a head. Carbonation is a bit aggressive in the body. Sheets of large bubbles stick to the sides of my glass, while bubbles of various sizes rise quickly to the top and explode on the surface.

The beer smells much better than it looks. Toasted biscuits, caramel, and apple cider dominate. Some very mild floral notes lurk in the background. This is the kind of bouquet I expect from a well-crafted Märzen.

The taste expands the nose. The full mouthfeel carries the beer's rich, malt-forward flavors. The beer tastes like toasted caramel biscuits spiced with lavendar-leaf extract and splash of bourbon.

Harpoon's Octoberfest is among the best American Märzens I've tried. I'll be sure to drink it again next year. (856 characters)

Photo of Dools9
3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a cyndrical pint.

A: Clear, amber red color. Very nice, thick, slighlty off white three finger head. head sticks around til the end, excellent retention, nice lacing. Good looking beer.

S: Malty, slight hints of spice, but nothing like a pumkin ale. Toasty, some toffee smatter, light fruitiness, caramel malty zing.

T: Grainy maltiness, theres a nice kick of allspice thrown in. Its sweet and clean, toasty. Light hop bitterness that;s slightly herbal and earthy. The spice lingers a bit after each sip.

M: Very smooth, light to medium bodied, soft carbonation. Very pleasant.

O: Little bit of a different take on the style but overall a very nice fall welcomer. I especially enjoyed the extra kick of spice in this one, it makes for a relaxing beer on a fall day and one of the better O-fests I've had this season so far. (847 characters)

Photo of jtierney89
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Looks pretty good for an octoberfest. Clear amber color with a thin ring of head. Extremely subtle nose of dark fruit and lightly toasted grain, some very dry biscuit and cracker like qualities come out as well as the beer breathes.

Very smooth. I wish it had a bit more flavor though. On the larger side of having a medium body with lower than expected carbonation. This is nice though as the flavors arent in any way overpower allowing for a very very smooth sip.Lightly kilned malts,touch of fruit, and exemplary balance from the euro hop profile make for quite an easy drinking beer.

While it lacks some of the flavor punch i desire, it makes up for it with it's smooth quality. (685 characters)

Photo of EkimGram
4.06/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: 12oz bottle poured into a standard pint. Colour is a deep translucent auburn. Half-finger head fades to a thin film on top. Nothing more than a few bubbles as far as carbonation goes.

Smell: Sweet, bready malts balanced by some citrus hops, maybe a little bit of yeast or spice.

Taste: The flavour is packed with a heavy amount of toasted malts. That same yeasty spice lingers once you swallow. Very basic, very tasty.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, thick but silky and gentle on the palette. Very minimal carbonation.

Overall: I like this. Harpoon was able to put their own twist on the style without overdoing it like many other American breweries. (659 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Day two of Augustfest continues with another American offering. 12 oz bottle poured into a stein.

A: Pours a dark copper color that's clear and well carbonated. The head is a one finger light cream color with nice retention. This one seems to feature more lacing than the other marzens.

S: Much like Dogtoberfest, there's a little bit of spice to this one - mainly allspice and cinnamon. Actually, it features a healthy spice note that competes side to side with the toasted malts. Pretty nice.

T: Tastes well spiced; the cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice seem to drown out the natural malt sweetness. The end result is a slightly bitter (yet not overbearing) offering with a subtle maltiness, at best. It becomes a little sweeter and hoppier as more of it is consumed, suggesting there's a little flavor depth here.

M: Somewhat clean and dry, with only moderate carbonation. The flavors don't linger like in other marzens, but its dry, semi bitter nature makes it very drinkable. A bit too chalky, though.

O: I'm surprised how much I liked this one. It wouldn't be considered a true marzen to the style Nazis, but as a spiced fall lager, it really hits the spot. (1,165 characters)

Photo of ShiftBeer
2.92/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

In the richer, maltier, roastier American style of Octoberfest. Essentially a drier brown ale with lager yeast. I don't like this vein of Octoberfest that much. Kind of clumsy.

Red/bronze color with a hint of brown. The color of an old penny.

Not a huge nose, some roasty malt.

Fairly full in the mouth, with a nutty, roasty finish. A hit of crisp, floral hops creeps up in there somewhere but only a little.

Not too bad, but not really that good either.

Pass. (465 characters)

Photo of NardiByNature
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It’s August…and why not go for an Octoberfest at its freshest?

Not much of a lasting head, just some collaring, but the clarity and rich auburn hue do the appearance some good.

Nose has all the rich malty goodness you’d expect…caramel on toast...

Taste/mouthfeel: smoooth. Very good, and very drinkable. Sweet malt dominates with an earthy hop flavor lingering around the palate like your cousin Gabriel at the middle school dance.

Overall: very much enjoying this: inoffensive, tasty, and exceptionally crushable. (528 characters)

Photo of SouljaSaia17
4.33/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: This beer pours a dark amber color, not much head to speak of but it does leave some fine bubbles on top with some nice lacing.

S: Aroma is of cinnamon, Rye, and some pumpkin spice.

T: Is malty and sweet, has some caramel at the front and then you get the pumpkin spice and cinnamon at the back end.

M: Good carbonation, very smooth medium bodied beer.

O: Very drinkable, love the flavor of this version of the style. This is the first Octoberfest I have had this year, so I dont have anything to compare it to. Overall, very solid! (539 characters)

Photo of DavidST
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass, I actually forgot I had this, best by 12/15/11 (I might come back next year and edit this review). This pours a copper color with a massive tan head. The smell is mostly of malts, caramel and toffee. The feel is medium. The taste is good enough, a little bitterness, mostly malts caramel, bread and toffee. (351 characters)

Photo of tone77
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a bronze color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is on the malty side. Taste is malts up front, caramel, a bit of sweetness to it, some breadiness. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is an easy drinking and pretty good beer. (267 characters)

Harpoon Octoberfest Beer from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
83 out of 100 based on 473 ratings.