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Harpoon Dark - Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

Not Rated.
Harpoon DarkHarpoon Dark

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

366 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 366
Hads: 680
Avg: 3.79
pDev: 13.98%
Wants: 34
Gots: 39 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Munich Dunkel Lager |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-24-2000

A blend of specialty malts gives this beer a velvety mouthfeel with roasted notes and a hint of chocolate, balanced by a subtle hop aroma. Hard to describe but easy to drink, Harpoon Dark is rich in character and light on the palate.

35 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 366 | Hads: 680
Photo of TWStandley
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%

Arguably my favorite offering from Harpoon.

Brown in appearance with a light brown, billowing head.

Smell is great - definite roasted malts and breadiness, and almost a bit of smoke.

Taste is nice - definitely not as rich as the smell would suggest which makes this one drinkable. Roasted dark chocolate, bread, and a slight hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium in thickness.

Overall a nice example of a dark ale.

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Photo of Beric
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Serving: On-tap, sampler try
Served: 1 June 2014

Appearance: Dark brown with slight reddish hints around the edges. My girlfriend got a whole pint, which had a nice foamy white head and some excellent lacing down the glass. Looks like a marvelous beer.

Smell: Coffee, molasses, and crunchy caramel, with a hint of roasted smokiness.

Taste: A great brew with soft assertions of extra dark roasted coffee and the traditional German malt profiles of molasses and caramel. The roasted flavors took precedence, aided by roasted/smoky flavors that, while not as dominant as some American dark beers (e.g. stouts or porters), were certainly major players in the taste.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation initially, but this fell off at a pretty disappointing rate. The beer has medium body, which is refreshing given its strong flavor and dark color (which are disproportionately considered "extremely heavy" based on color alone). Not as soft as an Irish dry stout, but nowhere near as full-bodied as an American stout or porter.

Overall: The clear winner of my day at Harpoon. This is an exceptional Munich Dunkel which I would highly recommend to anyone passing through or looking for a beer with nice flavor without being overly heavy or boozy.

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Photo of MarkQ617
3.49/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

My fifth offering from Harpoon. One of the first dunkels I've tried as well. Rich brown color with a lighter tan head than I'd expect. Chocolatey mocha flavor. Deep body, rich like a porter. Soft mouthfeel, though a bit grainy. Burnt aroma, pretty nice.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.99/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Old Toad in Rochester, NY.

Pours a solid medium-dark brown, with a one inch head, wisps of lacing down the glass.

Smells include toasted malt and chocolate, predominantly. Some weak coffee, maybe.

Similar taste. Great toasty malt flavors that aren't too strong, plus come cocoa powder. A bit nutty, with some vague coffee flavors. Slightly bitter.

Light to medium bodied, crisp mouthfeel, low carbonation.

A great Munich dunkel, don't have much experience with these, but I liked it.

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Photo of stella77artois
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle poured into pilsener glass.

A - Pours a very dark brown, with some dark ruby showing at the bottom. Small bubbles of carbonation appear at the bottom. A 1/2 inch cocoa-colored head formed after a somewhat aggressive pour. A fair amount of lacing stuck to the glass. Nice looking beer.

S - Lot's of dark malts up front, along with some Munich malt, but to a lesser extent. Cocoa/chocolate was also noted quite heavily up front. An ever-so-slight floral hop aroma poked through towards the end as well. Nice smelling beer.

T - Not a bad dark lager. The malts and cocoa noted in the aroma are strongly present up front. At the beginning of the swallow I began to notice some coffee notes, as well as some toffee/caramel. Could've sworn I also noted some figs and other dark fruits when it warmed a bit. Suprising to notice those flavors. I wouldn't mind it being slightly less sweet, though. That drags my rating down just a bit.

F - It's a good beer to enjoy in the fall and/or winter. It's a bit thick and I probably wouldn't session with it. As I said, it'd be a good beer to enjoy outside in those seasons, and could certainly warm you up. Easy enough on the stomach and throat though, if you did decide to session with it.

O - A very solid dark lager. Full of great flavors without being too heavy, although I wouldn't mind it being slightly less sweet. A great fall/winter beer, highly recommended for dark lager or dark beer in general fans.

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Photo of Flounder57
3.79/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22oz Boyle was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: This beer poured a one finger off mocha head that reduced to a thin layer. It is a dark brown color with some clarity when held up to light and bubbles can be seen coming up through the glass.

Smell: Caramel, roasted, bready, and chocolate malts.

Taste: Roasted coffee and chocolate is most noticeable. Caramel and bready factors in there too. Mild hops in the end.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, chewy, medium to full bodied, low to medium carbonation, and a little creamy.

Overall: Mmmm, dunkel beer. This is a style that I love every once in a while. I have been enjoying this one for many years and more to come.

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Photo of barczar
3.86/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

It's nearing a year old, so...

Pours a clear deep brown with dark caramel highlights and a fleeting dark cream head that dissipates into nothing.

Deeply caramelized malt, chocolate, nutty notes, and light roast form the aroma.

Flavor is toastier initially, with roast malt, caramel, and slightly burnt toast weighing in later. Chocolate pervades throughout, though not sweet. Somewhat mocha. There's a slight coffee finish.

Body is moderate, with low carbonation and light astringency.

Roasty, toasty, caramelly, slightly sweet, and slightly bitter. Earthy hops underlie the flavor, but cave to the malt.

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Photo of brentk56
4.04/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with the translucent dark brown liquid capped by an inch of foam; some strands of lacing squiggle down the pint glass

Smell: Toasted brown bread and caramel

Taste: Toasted brown bread and caramel, up front, with chocolate tones developing in the middle; chocolate builds, after the swallow, though the finish has the grainy character I often taste in lagers

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with crisp carbonation

Overall: A really fine example of the style - one that is rarely brewed by domestic breweries

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Photo of gcamparone
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Purchased in a mix pack in Wakefield, RI

A- Pours a beautifully clear, dark russet colored body with a 2" white head that reduces fairly quickly and leaves little lacing.

S- Big toffee and caramel aromas. Roasted malt and bread.

T- Follows the nose big time with toffee, vanilla, caramel and a slightly smokey aftertaste.

M- Medium to medium-light body, medium low carbonation. Super quenching and drinkable.

Overall a solid beer! I was pleasantly surprised the first time I had it, so I had to review the second one to spread the word. I'm picturing it as a perfect pair for a savory chicken or turkey dish.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.21/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a dark cola color. The head isn't particularly impressive; it's a one finger light mocha shade that fades away to a gimpy-looking film quickly.

S: Mild roasted grains, some faint chocolate, nuts, butterscotch, and slight fruity esters. A decent aroma that only suffers only from its mild strength.

T: There's an initial hit of roasted coffee, before it finishes with some nutty malts and some stone fruit esters. Not complex or particularly interesting, but it's easy drinking and pleasant.

M: Superbly clean and crisp. Apart from a slight lingering fruity note from the lager yeast, this is as bone dry as it gets. I really like the feel here.

O: I had this one last year and hated it. Having it now, it's less awful and more ho-hum. Still, it does a solid job of hitting the qualities a dark lager should.

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Photo of Damian74Shensky
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle served in Sam Adams perfect pint glass
A) Pours with a finger thick head some lacing. Dark amber, cola in color.
S) malts, coffee scent chocolate.
T) Sweet Malts, Chocolate bitter hops, coffee
M) medium body, good carbonation
D) Not bad, its average, would get again if there's nothing better at time of purchase...

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Photo of BEERMILER12
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a a dark ruby/mahogany color with a fingers worth of tan head

S: Lightly roasted malts with a yeasty presence and some chocolate. Some dark fruit notes come out as well

T: Follows the nose. Very malty, with some roast and chocolate. Also get some chalky yeast, chocolate, and dark fruit notes

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Lightly chalky

O: A nice easy drinker, it's quite quaffable at 5.2% (according to the bottle). Hits the spot for those in the mood for a dark lager

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a good fall beer. this is a munich style dark ale, meaning a bigger sweeter malt profile and a yeast strain with a bit of spice to it. the nose is quite roasty, with some cocoa and caramel notes, a little dusty on the malt end, but not in a stale way. i taste some lighter german pilsner malts, which makes sense. some chocolate flavors and a little residual sugar despite a dry finish. overall a rich yet drinkable brew, a good addition to the winter mix 12er, and a beer im happy to have quite a few of. full body, a little filling, but good carbonation lightens things up. overall a satisfying beer from harpoon.

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Photo of ColdWaffles
3.71/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Samuel Smith's Tulip Pint Glass.

Appearance: A good looking dark, yet not completely opaque beer. Head isn't particularly big, but it stuck around for a bit.

Smell: Didn't get much, a little earthy.

Taste: Reminds me a lot of semi-sweet chocolate. The tail-end of a swallow is slightly bitter, but the sweetness is still evident. Actually pretty refreshing, which I wasn't necessarily expecting the first time I tried this. This gets better every time I have one.

Mouthfeel: Probably the best aspect of this beer. Very smooth, reasonable carbonation. Something to savor, but still easily drinkable.

Overall: I think this is a grower. First time I tried it I wasn't a huge fan, but I came back and Harpoon Dark and I are becoming pretty good friends. Very drinkable for a dark beer, which is always nice.

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Photo of rangerred
4.17/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler pour into a pint glass.

Pours a clear medium brown with a half finger white head. Ok head retention and lacing for being out of a growler.

Aroma of roasted malt and toast. Some caramel is evident along with grassy hops and dark fruit.

The flavor is much like the aroma although has much more depth. Toast and roasted malt is very prominent up front but there is a nice grassy hop backbone. Biscuit and vanilla are underneath along with some dark fruit and a little bit of wood. Mouthfeel is crisp and somewhat drying without the least hint of cloying sweetness.

Overall, I really like this beer. A great thirst quencher with plenty of flavor. This is nicely done by Harpoon and is probably my favorite beer from them that I have tried so far.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.07/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured in a pilsner glass

A- pours a dark chestnut-brown with with a ruby hue, small tan foamy head with good retention and lacing.

S- dark smoky roasted malt with notes if coffee and dark chocolate, cereal grains, smoked pork and just a bit of hops. Bold aromas.

T- strong malts with bold roasted notes, coffee, chocolate, and grainy cracker. Finishes smoky and somewhat dry with just a enough hops on the backend to balance it out.

M- light-med body, low carbonation, slightly foamy mouthfeel.

O- this one is malty and delicious, the smoky notes makes for some bold flavors. This would pair well with food, but dies just fine in its own. One of my favorites from Harpoon.

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Photo of superspak
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into pilsener glass, best before 4/15/2012. Pours crystal clear reddish brown color with a small 1 finger tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Good spotty lacing clings down the glass. Aromas of big caramel, toffee, nuttiness, biscuit, chocolate, vanilla, toast, and light fruitiness. Fantastic aromas with great balance and complexity. Taste of caramel, chocolate, toffee, biscuit, nuttiness, toast, herbal, roast, and light dark fruits. Lingering notes of caramel, chocolate, herbal, toast, nuttiness, toffee, and light fruitiness. Nice balance and complexity of flavors; with no cloying sweetness at all. Medium carbonation and body; with a fairly creamy and crisp mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a great Munich Dunkel! Nice flavor balance and robustness; and very smooth to drink. Really enjoyed this, and this might be my choice for an easily available dunkel in the future.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber pours a dark crimson color with a thick, creamy cap of tan head. Nice retention and lacing. It’s a pretty darn good looking brew.

Nose is black licorice, unsweetened chocolate, mace and maybe a little smoke even. Interesting blend of malty aromas with very little hop or yeast presence.

Taste rounds out a simpler cocoa and light roast maltiness with a smooth, dry finish. This is a pretty good stab at a Dunkel, Harpoon did a good job of keeping it simple and fresh. Mouthfeel is a bit on the thin side and the sweetness is lower than typical for the style, but those are pretty minor complaints. At 2.99 a bomber, this is a god deal. I have not seen this in sixers, but if I saw it at around 8 bucks, Id return to this one fairly often...especially with the much appreciated best by date. Props to you Harpoon, well done!

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Photo of woodychandler
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Once more into the breach of tone77's bottles! I may crack open a CAN of something later today just to stay focused.

From the bottle: "Our Munich Dark honors the classic Bavarian style. Rich color, balanced maltiness, and a moderate hop finish; a full body with a surprisingly delicate mouthfeel. Enjoy!"

My moderate pour still managed to produce a massive two-plus fingers of rocky, light-tan head with decent retention. Color was a deep mahogany-brown with NE-quality clarity and a good bit of carbonation in evidence. Nose was chocolaty, more like milk chocolate than dark chocolate, though. Mouthfeel was slightly full, thanks to all of the carbonation and the taste was of a mild chocolate, definitely not roasty. Finish was likewise pleasant and chocolaty. It was not a bad beer, but as a self-avowed hophead, I would not want more than a couple of these at a time.

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Photo of JustinAniello
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours dark brown, ruby shows in the light, with a two finger head. Dissipates to a light cap and nice sticky lacing.

S - Earthy malts and piney hops take up most of the aroma, with chocolate and possibly a slight coffee in the background.

T - Light medley of chocolate, coffee, and dark fruit. Hops and bitterness shown through on the swallow and linger for a bit.

M - Medium body and carbonation.

O - A nice beer, but could use bolder flavor. Good if you were looking for something on the lighter side of dark brews. Would probably have again if given the chance.

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Photo of SouljaSaia17
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Have been sitting on this beer for about a month an have been eager to review it. Comes in a Bomber!

A: Nice, dark color with a thin foamy white head. Kind of looks like a Pepsi without the fizz.

S: Subtle hop aroma with a hint of chocolate, not much to the smell.

T: The taste leads with chocolate and is balanced out with a variety of specialty hops and maybe a hint of toffee, not too complex of a taste.

M: This is a velvety smooth beer that is very drinkable, not much carbonation or lacing to speak of.

O: Overall, not the quality of a stout but more like a porter. A decent beer that is light bodied besides the tint, not very heavy on the mouth at all. Not something I would seek out again, but a good beer to try for Harpoon fans or if your experimenting!

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Photo of jlindros
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light fluffy fizzy almost 1 finger head that fades at a med pace with bits of lacing, over dark black with the slightest hints of light sneaking through.

Nose has dark chalky malts, hint of cocoa and milk chocolate, slight earthy nutty aroma like herbal hops, a light smoked malt and hint of roasted like malt, bit of carafa and dark crystal malts, and a light lager crispness.

Taste starts with more dark malts, slight chalky dark malts, with some roasted malt that gets a bit overpowering with some tinny charred malted metallic like flavors, and hint of a smoke like flavor. Then light chocolate almost Cocoa Crispies like chocolate, some cheaper dark chocolate, powdered chocolate, plenty of caramel as well. It tries to bring a lager crispness but just gets drowned out by the malts. Bitterness starts to build a bit from the herbal earthy hops, but also from the roasted malts. The finish dries quite a bit though and gets slightly crisper, a light lager finish, with plenty of lingering bitterness that ramps, some sticky caramel, cocoa, and bit of roast, all lingering for quite a while.

Mouth is med to slight lighter bodied for what the full flavor pack it, um, packs... with decent carb.

Overall not bad, a bit overpowering with malts and hops that it kinda loses the whole lager part, but that does lighten the body, dry the finish, and make it much more drinkable than I think it would if it were a dark ale. The dark malts do add nice characters, and hops are decent, and the beer is fairly drinkable. So overall pretty good, for Harpoon especially.

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Photo of BostonHops
3.76/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle served in a SA "perfect pint" glass. (best by 04/15/11)

pours a mostly opaque dark brown with lighter brown highlights yielding an even finger of a foamy/creamy head, khaki in color. decent head retention; good lacing.

malty nose with some notes of hops, a touch of coffee. okay - maybe slightly above average - but nothing to write home about on this count.
flavor is dominated by roasted maltiness... some toastiness and a hint of the coffee, maybe caramel. shades of an american stout. finish is mostly clean, though there are subdued notes of hops.

medium bodied, medium carbed mouthfeel. goes down fairly easily; not going to send your taste buds to utter bliss but it's flavorful enough that it keeps you interested, but not so much that the palate becomes fatigued.

originally reviewed: 01-16-2011

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Photo of jniagar1
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark, muddy brown. Huge chocolate milk-like head coming out of the bottle, dissapated quickly.

Smell: Toasted malt, not overbearing though nothing special.

Taste: Delicious! Toasted malts with a slightly bitter finish. A very well-balanced beer. I'm going to have to find more in this style.

Mouthfeel: Lightly carbonated, heavy, sticky, but very easy to drink. I thought it might be a little to warm out for this beer, but I was wrong.

Overall: Another intereting beer in a style I have only had once. Still,I greatly enjoyed this one from Harpoon. A well-balanced beer that was easy to drink. I'll be coming back to Harpoon Dark the next time I get a chance.

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Photo of Bung
4.18/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. pretty dark brown, nice 2 fingers of cream head.

Aroma, chocolate malt, tea, peat.

Taste, a nice chocolatey, earthy malt mix. Not subdued though in that German lager sort of way. Finish light toast, caramel, cocoa. More flavor than the norm for the style.

Nearly mid bodied, with solid carbonation. Nearly creamy. Drinks very well.
One of the more enjoyable dunkels I've had. Liked it more tha Old Mecklenburgs, and theirs is pretty good.

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Harpoon Dark from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
85 out of 100 based on 366 ratings.