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Harpoon Dark - Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

Not Rated.
Harpoon DarkHarpoon Dark

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

646 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 646
Reviews: 366
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 10.26%
Wants: 30
Gots: 24 | 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:
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 added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-24-2000)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Harpoon Dark Alström Bros
Ratings: 646 | Reviews: 366 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of IronCitySteve
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

IronCitySteve, Oct 05, 2010
Photo of Tundruth
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Tundruth, Oct 04, 2010
Photo of soju6
3.8/5  rDev 0%
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.

soju6, Oct 02, 2010
Photo of BurgBrewer
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

BurgBrewer, Aug 23, 2010
Photo of OtherShoe2
3.08/5  rDev -18.9%
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.

OtherShoe2, Aug 15, 2010
Photo of BostonBrewins
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
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....

BostonBrewins, Jul 31, 2010
Photo of biggred1
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

biggred1, Jul 21, 2010
Photo of kwjd
3.8/5  rDev 0%
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.

kwjd, Jul 17, 2010
Photo of MikeBrandman
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

MikeBrandman, Jul 03, 2010
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.

tchenery, May 26, 2010
Photo of cbutova
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

cbutova, Apr 29, 2010
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!!!

Saint, Apr 12, 2010
Photo of mikesgroove
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

mikesgroove, Apr 10, 2010
Photo of nicnut45
3.8/5  rDev 0%
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.

nicnut45, Mar 11, 2010
Photo of dropout86
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

dropout86, Mar 03, 2010
Photo of scottyshades
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a nice rich mahogany color with a
small dense head

S: chocolate malts are most notable, chocolate, molasses, and a slight nuttines. A Whig of alcohol is present, especially when warm

T: similar to the nose...chocolate, a bit of lactose, nutty, and a little chalky

MF/D: medium body, chalky, chocolate lingering finish

scottyshades, Feb 19, 2010
Photo of nastley3
4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was very smooth and the taste had a hint of chocolate. Although I am not usually a fan of darker beers I thoroughly enjoyed this one. It had a moderately hoppy finish which I liked, and overall had a very rich taste. Although I enjoyed this out of the bottle, this is the type of beer where I would expect a large difference in taste between bottle vs on tap. I look forward to drinking this beer on tap in the future.

nastley3, Feb 19, 2010
Photo of boudreaux
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thick head but quickly dissipates to about 1/2 finger thickness that lingers. Little lacing that does remain sticks to edge of glass.
Aroma is of chocolate, coffee, brown sugar, and syrup. Great breakfast pick-me-up, if you ask me!
Taste leaves many of the expectations from the aroma left unfulfilled. Simply a weak, burnt version of the Munich Dunkel style.

boudreaux, Feb 17, 2010
Photo of bishopdc0
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very beautiful beer, a thick tanish head. Dark mahogany color with slight transparency when held to the light. It has a chocolate and roasted barley aroma. It starts light and sweet and finishes with the roasted chocolate taste. this taste lingers but not overwhelming. This is very drinkable a light bodied beer. A easy drinking stout for those not familiar with the munich style.

bishopdc0, Feb 03, 2010
Photo of stapleton87
4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown with two finger tan head.

S: Wonderful, roasted malt upfront, citrus alongside, a hint of sourness with grassy undertones. I also detect a bit of chocolate in the malt.

T: Nice prickly carbonation up front. Well placed malt bitterness. Burnt, earthy flavors make up the brunt of this medium bodied brew. There is a slight hoppiness in the finish.

M: Being a 'lager', mouthfeel is a tad on the thin side, but the carbonation and taste factor in to make this less noticeable.

D: Very drinkable, but don't let that fool you. There is a lot of taste to ponder here.

This is one of the best dunkel lagers I've had (perhaps due to the ale yeast). Despite the yeast situation, this still feels like a lager. Smooth and complex without being too rich, this is a beer to rival bigger brews while still being easy to stomach. A near perfect example of the style, big props to Harpoon.

stapleton87, Jan 26, 2010
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark walnut brown with extensive coppery orange accents... that becomes burnt orange with bright sunshine behind the pint glass. A thick slice of golden beige foam looks good in all respects, including as scattered sheets of sudsy lace.

The aroma delivers pleasant fruity esters, which makes the decision to use an ale yeast rather than a lager yeast a good choice. There isn't much 'darkness' and a hint of hops helps.

Munich Type Dark Beer is an offering that any Englishman should enjoy. It's on the mild side compared to most American fare these days, but there's enough flavor for multiple pints in a pub to be a great way to spend a rainy afternoon.

Harpoon got the dunkel part just right. It's darker than a brown ale and not as dark as a porter. Sweet-bitter balance is spot-on as well and might lean ever so slightly toward the latter. A gentle hop nip keeps things focused throughout. Tea leaves and medium-dark fruit round out the flavor profile.

The mouthfeel is fine for a 4.6%'er. Too bad the ABV is actually 5.6%. Okay, so I have a big beer bias. It never descends into wateriness, however, and is buoyed by a perfect amount of bubbles.

Munich Type Dark Beer is a wonderful effort that just about anyone should enjoy... from BMC drinkers (if they'd give it a chance) to the biggest beer geeks on the planet (if they'd give it a chance). I hope Harpoon sells a lot of this stuff.

BuckeyeNation, Jan 22, 2010
Photo of scootny
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A rich cola brown with a generous light tan head. Excellent retention and lace. Clear fluid shows no carbonation activity.

A chocolatey malt is enhanced by an earthy hops and clean fruitiness, banana mostly. This smells quite ale like, only the tight, clean focus of the aromas point to a lager yeast. I get touches of mocha and caramel sweetness. .

Taste is a real winner. The chocolate/mocha is still there but it has a chewy brown bread and toffee/caramel/molasses combination making for a rich satisfying heartiness. Toasted and roasted grains in healthy measure. A light banana and grapey fruit flavor. Finish is clean, dry with an earthiness that fades to graham and toffee. Flavor gets better as it warms so don't let this get too cold. Feel is crisply carbonated with a light creaminess.

Very drinkable as my glass was empty too soon. This is a great winter session brew even though the abv is a little high. Just get more chips and dip!

I really like this one as it is complex and quaffable. You can sip and savor, or just enjoy gulp after gulp with any snack or meal. Nice brew.

scootny, Jan 09, 2010
Photo of stakem
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark amber color with a tanned head and sticky lace all around the glass. Nose is a mixture of dark malt and citrus hops. Taste is slightly bitter up front with a nice balance of malt and grain. Clean and crisp finish. Medium to light feel with moderate carb. Pretty decent all around.

stakem, Jan 07, 2010
Photo of VTaler
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark brown with a nice thick head that leaves a very nice lacing.
S - Floral hops and roasted barely
T - The first taste is kind of a dark chocolate with sweet caramel. The roasted barely comes in after that. The hops are there but they are balanced with the malt. It tastes like i'm eating a dark chocolate and caramel cookie, but it is not overly sweet
M - Medium with nice mellow carbonation
D - Medium drinkability

VTaler, Jan 03, 2010
Photo of Amalak
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had at Boulevard Tavern in Brooklyn, NY.
A- Extremely dark, basically black. Good tan head with some lacing, some bubbles.
S- Has a slight spiciness scent to it.
T- Very smooth, but has a bite of spice to it, too. Peppery, cinnamon? Kind of like a Christmas ale in a way...nice balance of flavor.

Amalak, Dec 29, 2009
Harpoon Dark from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
86 out of 100 based on 646 ratings.