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Harpoon Dark - Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

Not Rated.
Harpoon DarkHarpoon Dark

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

656 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 656
Reviews: 366
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 10.26%
Wants: 30
Gots: 29 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 656 | Reviews: 366 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Zodijackyl
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Consumed two pints on cask at Coalhouse Pizza in Stamford, CT - at their first homebrew night today, December 7, 2010.

Pours pitch black, allowing no light through but permitting a thin, white head. Aroma of vanilla, caramel/molasses, and some smooth malts. Taste is exceptionally smooth, sweetened with candy sugar that complements the malt very well, with some lighter caramel and barley malts that fit it well, but don't overpower. One of the easiest drinking dark I have had, I could drink it all night though I restrained myself. Raised my already high opinion of Harpoon beers.

Photo of ztaylor1
4.31/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- deep brown color, similar to a coke. Nice foamy head with great lacing

Smell- chocolate up front with an espresso scent. Malty.

Taste-very chocolatey with roasted malts and coffee.

Mouthfeel- smooth as silk. Very good

Drinkability- got it in a sampler... wish I had more than two!

Photo of Lauthaha
4.42/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a half-liter beer glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep mahogany; a very 'cola' colour. Almost no head within seconds after pour, but the remaining foam has a yellow-tan tint. Moderate lacing where the pour-head had receded.

Smell: Caramel malt up front, a light touch of coffee and/or dark chocolate. Just a tinge of licorice flavour to the nose. Underneath all the sweetness lies a persistent bitterness, which is redeemed by a moderate buttery scent.

Taste: Very malty, with a noticeable flavor of espresso bean. Moderate bitterness with a heavy chocolate finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium- to heavy-thickness, medium carbonation. Rinses smoothly with just a touch of oiliness which doesn't detract from the carbonation.

Drinkability: An easy drinker for the winter months. Very tasty, I could drink one by the fireplace every evening.

Could almost be a stout...absolutely amazing flavor at a reasonable price.

Photo of Wamesit
4.4/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a deep brown. Slight tan head with good lacing.

S- Smells of roasted malts with a sweetness that compliments the darker hints of coffee and fruit.

T- Delicious. Deep roasted malts of coffee that give way to a caramel sweetness, all accompanying a nutty bread flavor (some yeast in there as well) with just a touch of hops to close it all out.

M- Medium. Rich.

D- I love beers of this type (e.g. Sam Adam's Black Lager) so I could drink this brew in quantity but I could see how someone not as much of a fan might find the flavor and mouthfeel to be a bit much for prolonged consumption.

Photo of argock
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a pint glass at The Hill Tavern (Boston, MA).

A: Very dark brown with short 1/2-1 finger off-white head with good retention and lacing.

S: Soft nutty malty aromas with herbal hops

T: Very satisfying malty nuttiness with full, dense flavor countered with herbal, tea-like hops.

M: Light but supple.

D: I enjoyed this brew -- it washed down my pulled pork sandwich excellently.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.27/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes.

Served in a tulip glass. Pours a moderately-dark brown color with a light head and a touch of lace. Some carbonation around the edges throughout. Nose brings some chocolate, caramel, light roast, fruit, and a big dose of the Harpoon yeast, which--for whatever reason--I'm really into. Taste is malty with some light fruit and a bit of chocolate and nuttiness. Really nice feel brought on by the house yeast. Drinks really quite nice and is one of the better versions of this style that I've had.

Photo of david18
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had a sixteen ounce glass of this at the Amsterdam Ale House on Manhattan's upper west side. I love this time of year (fall) when the beer bars start brining out the beers that are strong on dark malt, color and roastyness but not so strong on alcohol.

Poured a very dark brown, almost black with a small but also dark head. The aroma had a malty character, a little bit subtle but it was there. Flavor was a little on the light side, particularly for a Dunkel but what it lacked in body it more than made up for in drinkability.

If you want something for a cold day or night but you don't want to get hammered, this is a very good one.

Photo of alleykatking
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle.

A- Pours a cola colored joy. When held to the light there are amber highlights. One finger tan head shows light retention (seems to be a Harpoon thing) which falls to a head on the beer. Spotty lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- Nice roasted malts in the front of the beer. There was a light caramel malt to this. Light chocoalte runs throughout the entire beer with a hint of darker fruits. Overall a nice smelling beer.

T- Very nice roasted flavor from the get go with this beer. There is a light chocoalte malt in the ending front to middle of the beer. A light fruit comes through the middle with a caramel malt as well. In the ending there is a light hop bite with a toasted bread flavor as well.

M- Medium heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Roasted malts and such left on the palate. Roasted malts and light chocolate are left in the aftertaste. Well balanced overall with flavor profile and mouthfeel. Light alcohol drying on the palate.

D- Another drinkable beer from Harpoon. The ABV is good for the beer and style. A sixer of this would be perfect on a winter day. Good job on another great beer guys!

Photo of Sweasty
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours a nice crystal clear dark mahogany color. Things are topped off by a fingers worth of light khaki head. Head settles to ¼ inch ring. A fair amount of lace is left down the glass.

The aroma is solid. A fair amount of dark maltiness comes through. The nose strikes more chocolaty than a typical dunkel. A fruitiness from the ale yeast comes through. A bit of a chocolate covered fruit quality is there. Some light sweet caramel underpinnings present as well. Just the lightest herbal/earthy hop note rounds things out.

Taste follows the nose well. A bit more pronounced chocolate hits the palate. Lighter dark fruit notes strike beneath the chocolate. A bit of sweet caramel present as well. Hops show up to add balance. A very light bit of an earthy/herbal hop flavor comes through. The finish lingers with a light toasted bread quality.

Mouthfeel strikes as kinda light bodied. It never goes watery, but gets too close for comfort. A bit more heft in the body would be nice. The carbonation is nice and helps to lift up the body.

The fact that Harpoon uses their house ale strain means this technically isn't a true dunkel. We can let that fact slide, as this drinks like a proper dunkel. This a great easy drinking dark brew. Strength aside, this makes for great dark session brew. Nothing earth shattering here, but this brew offers proof that earth shattering can be overrated sometimes.

Photo of LtCracker20
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Harpoon Munich Dark glass.

A- Pours a deep mahogany with red hues. Thin head that shows a little retention, but falls to a cap within a couple minutes. Awesome spiderweb lacing.

S- Roasted malts, a little dark fruit. A slight chocolate aroma as well. A little bubblegum aromas there, too.

T- Toasted malts with a little grainy flavor. A little chocolate again and an ever-so-slight alchohol bite in the finish. Little bit of a noble hop bite.

MF/D- A lightly bodied brew with ample amounts of carbonation. My favorite beer from Harpoon and could drink this all night.

Photo of IronCitySteve
3.71/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Harpoon in Vermont.

A: Pours a nice dark brown color with a decent tan foam head with ample lacing.

S: There is some faint hints of dark fruit and nuts and a small twinge of bread. A little disappointing on the nose.

T: A nice roasted malt, some faint coffee, chocolate and nuts with a nice underlying hop bitterness.

M: Leaves a slightly creamy taste on the palate. Seems just a tad on thin side.

D: This is a nicely balanced Dunkel. Very easy to drink, a low ABV makes having mutliple in a sitting very feasible.

Photo of Tundruth
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Is dark brownish in color with a thick tan head.

S- a nice yet fainter than expected nose to this beer. picking up mainly on scents of malted barley, coffee, nuts, and other roasted aromas.

T- Taste follows the nose, a strong nutty/ roasted flavor is first to come through. Kind of has a bitterness throughout and stronger hops profile than I was expecting. this beer has a sweet yet well balanced flavor profile to it.

M- Light and easy on the tongue, I really like the way this beer washes over the palate.

D- Not bad, but doesn't bring anything extra to the table. This beer is good and well made I would say, however it is lacking complexity and substance that other beer of this type better represent.

Photo of soju6
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown with a tan head that has good retenion and lacing. Looks inviting.

S: Roasted malt & coffee aroma with a trace of chocolate. nice, not overpowering.

T: Nice roasted malt taste with a mild coffee & chocolate sweetness mixed in. Semi-dry finish witha light dark chocolate aftertaste.

F: Fairly medium body, a bit lighter that expected. Not a bad thing. Quite smooth and well balanced.

D: Good drinker. Good brew for the style. Well worth a try.

Photo of BurgBrewer
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this in a Harpoon variety pack.

Not too much aroma given off after poured into a normal pint.

Coats the mouth with a thin layer of creamy cocoa, weak coffee, and very hidden hop flavor and aroma.

Big bold cocoa flavor along with a sweet nutty aftertaste.

Easily drinkable on the first one, could probably put two or three away in a sitting.

Photo of OtherShoe2
3.12/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Received a dark brown thin-looking brew with a hint of head. No lacing.

Coffee grounds and some light cocoa aromas. Some charred elements.

Big washout. Light coffee and cocoa flavors, but so thin and watery that you drink this fast looking for more. This isn't even close to German counterparts. Some bitterness to balance the sweet malt and coffee, but it is weak.

Thin and over carbonated.

Overall, it went down quick because I wanted to gulp the flavor down. Missing alot here. Why buy this with Ayinger right in the next shelf? I'll pass next time.

Photo of BostonBrewins
3.67/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark, tawny brown. Some decent head retention and lacing. A nice looking beer indeed.

S - Fairly weak on the nose, some faints notes of sweet malted barley and nuts.

T - Very balanced flavor. Slightly sweet, toasty, and nutty notes are balanced out by moderate astringent bitterness. Finishes dry.

M - Light to medium bodied, with a moderate carbonation level. Light and smooth.

D - Rich and flavorful yet goes down very easy. I could drink mug after mug of this. In fact, I think I will....

Photo of biggred1
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rosewood colored body with dark, ruby highlights when backlit and thick finger of tan foam that leaves fine lace on the glass. Rich, dark fruit and light molasses notes in the aroma. Rich and roasty with cocoa and raisin flavors with a touch of minty hops to balance flavors perfectly. The body is on the leaner side of medium with bright carbonation that adds to the drinkability. A really tasty example of the style (even though technically it's an ale!) that's easy to drink.

Photo of kwjd
3.79/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light brown with off-white head. Looks almost like a cola, only if the cola had a tighter head. No lacing or head retention though. Smell is of faint chocolate, some roasted malt, and almost like a root beer. Taste has lots of chocolate and some bitterness. This seems to be a bit under-carbonated, but it isn't bad to drink.

Photo of MikeBrandman
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours into a Sam Adams Sensory Glass with a deep, dark black body. Completely opaque, like a stout. Still has the nice ruby tinged rims when held to the light. Very delicious looking body. No visible carbonation, probably due to the opaque body. Head isn't very strong, only about a finger, but the head has a nice mocha foamy color.

S - Immediate roasted malt hit. Slight coffee, more chocolate, mostly just roasted goodness. No alcohol smell. Strong grain and no hop smell.

T - Surprisingly hoppy taste. Rather bitter in the beginning and then it fades to the malty, chocolatey zest. Chocolate is slightly acidic or maybe burned. Has a little more of a bite to it than I'd like. It tastes like a very light stout, rather interesting. Much more refreshing and crisp of a taste than a stout as well.

MF - Very light. Slightly grainy.

D - Good drinkability. Could be an interesting dessert/session beer.

Photo of tchenery
4.4/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

It is definitely dark. There is not much light coming through but the light that does comes through like a faint purple or deep red color. It has no head on it whatsoever. It smells like raisins, chocolate, and roasted nuts.

It tastes like smooth milk chocolate and raisins, much like it smells. It has a very strong malt taste that must be balanced out with hops because it doesn't taste too sweet. There is a slightly bitter hop finish to the beer with aftertastes of dark chocolate and dates.

There is a 'thin carbonation' feel to the beer however that I wish was a bit smoother. If this was bottle conditioned it would be amazing. Very drinkable dark beer - that being said, I love it.

Photo of cbutova
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours out a dark brown with a light tan head that builds up to about two fingers. The retention is good and the head is pretty creamy looking in texture, with some huge bubbles. A bit of spotty lacing is left at the top but the lace ceases to exist after that. The head never seems to die down and stays atop the beer is a pretty thick pillow and ring.

S- Of decent strength... mostly pick up dark malts, nutty hints, and some roastiness. The malts lend some caramel notes and coffee notes as well. I get some grainy/corny notes in towards the end. The nose loses some strength and ends up just being nut hints and even almost metallic notes.

T- A good taste. The malts add a lot of nice flavors in a good balance. The nutty flavors and dark roasty malt aspects prevail the most. Some earthy and grassy hops in the background add a nice balance to the beer. The roastiness makes it taste slightly like a stout but not too much so. The malty grainy aspects are also present in the flavor. I really liked the beer, but as with many other beers I have had, the flavors seem to fade away after drinking half the glass. The nuttiness takes over the beer with the nice roast in the background, still good though.

MF- Light-medium body with a medium-high level of carbonation. Not particularly creamy or watery. It feels perfectly appropriate for the flavors but nothing amazing pokes out to me. A coat of nutty malt stays on the palate.

DB- A good cheap beer. This one is one of the more sessionable dark beers I have had. I love the brown ale aspects and slight stout aspects of this beer. No real defects of off-flavors, a solid dark ale.

Photo of Saint
4.95/5  rDev +30.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a review of likely my top favorite beer out there, and available, I would boldly concur with my previous review...

"Simply One of My Top Five Favorite Beers.

One of the most pleasant beers out there, it has a bold full flavor that is smokey and sweet. It bestows a smooth crisp mouth feel, and leaves only a little sweet aftertaste. It goes well with most meat based dishes, especially if they have a slight spice to them, and with its sweet smokey taste, it makes a wonderful warming beer for the chillier winter months."

But i would like to add a few things, I wasn't expecting it, but the greatest part came right after pouring this into an ice cold pint glass,that was the sweet aroma it bestowed me before I enjoyed it. It was delightful, I could smell complex array of coffee tones, hint of mocha, the robust sent of a bold porter, all of the above. Its be far on of the most pleasing beers to smell. I addition to the last review, I noticed on thing, I wont disagree with but would care to expand. It is a 'wonderful warming beer for the chillier winter months,' clear that was written in February 08, a very wintery month, however I discovered and first came to love this beer after having it chilled to the core, in the middle of summer, after working on a hot day. Since then it has never failed to disappoint me. I'm looking forward to the summer months and enjoying this brew all through it.

Thanks again Harpoon, continue doing great things!!!

Photo of mikesgroove
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A new one from Harpoon, cannot wait! My father in law always sends these regulars that I won't pick up and I love it. Served cold and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 04/08/2010.

The pour was nice and dark a burnt caramel color with a nice ruby tone to it as you held it up to the light. Huge off white head that just seemed to come up out of no where and dominate the profile completely. Really nice looking and surprised me from the start. Aroma is light, caramel, earthy and grainy. Hints of light roasted notes come through as it warms and a decent stab at a smoked note as well. Clean taste. Lighter then I would have thought, but it worked for me. Great mix of smoked notes, herbal hops, touches of bready grain and just a well rounded profile overall. Smooth, classic finish with a light touch on the tongue that hit me just right. Great, easy drinking session ale.

Overall surprised by this one, Harpoon really did a great job and they should be commended. Would go for this one again any day.

Photo of nicnut45
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A-Coca-cola color, nice pillowy tan head. Thick coat of lacing sticks to the glass as I drink.

S-Seems to be lacking in smell. There is a bit of dull mustiness to it. What I can pull out is hard to describe, but a big wet pile of leaves comes close.

T- As I first sip I get a sour musty taste. Not like anything I have ever tasted before. After each sip I notice burnt flavors that remind me of burnt toast or really old coffee. Despite this it actually tastes pretty good.

M.F.-Thin, watery, light carbonation.

Drink-Satisfying and goes down ultra smooth. Also the interesting after taste keeps me coming back for more.

Photo of dropout86
3.71/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle that was 1 month past the date printed on the bottle so I'm assuming it's the best by date and cutting this beer some slack.

A: Rich, dark walnut with shades of red and amber. Light brown 2 finger head that leaves solid lacing with every gulp.

S: Roasted coffee, chocolate malt, banana, and biscuit.

T: Simply: delicious. This beer builds from a base of a brown ale, adding a thickening chocolate malt flavor, dark-roasted barley malt, little hop bitterness and finishing off with smoky roast and hop spice.

M: The thickness of this brew doesn't match its appearance and doesn't carry the 'weight' of the flavor. Viscosity is too low Perfect amount of carbonation but low attenuation leave

D: All in all this one is dangerously drinkable at 5.6%. I could drink this at a fall bonfire for hours.

Harpoon Dark from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
86 out of 100 based on 656 ratings.