1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Harpoon Dark - Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

Not Rated.
Harpoon DarkHarpoon Dark

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

628 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 628
Reviews: 366
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 10.26%
Wants: 27
Gots: 23 | 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: 628 | Reviews: 366 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bishopdc0
bishopdc0

Maine

3.63/5  rDev -4.5%

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.

02-03-2010 02:48:19 | More by bishopdc0
Photo of stapleton87
stapleton87

Georgia

4.18/5  rDev +10%

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.

01-26-2010 04:15:41 | More by stapleton87
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

3.85/5  rDev +1.3%

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.

01-22-2010 14:00:09 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of scootny
scootny

New York

4.1/5  rDev +7.9%

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.

01-09-2010 03:37:14 | More by scootny
Photo of stakem
stakem

Pennsylvania

3.68/5  rDev -3.2%

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.

01-07-2010 02:03:34 | More by stakem
Photo of VTaler
VTaler

Vermont

4.15/5  rDev +9.2%

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

01-03-2010 02:00:41 | More by VTaler
Photo of Amalak
Amalak

New York

4.1/5  rDev +7.9%

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.

12-29-2009 21:41:55 | More by Amalak
Photo of Reagan1984
Reagan1984

Massachusetts

3.33/5  rDev -12.4%

The pint came with no head whatsoever. The beer itself was a brown with plenty of ruby tones.
No lacing either.

Burnt caramel aroma

Grainy flavor which was obviously totally malt focused. Some brown sugar flavors along with some burnt notes. Got the sense that it tasted like the top of a creme brulee.

Body was light to medium and still a touch of graininess.

Didn't think this was special at all.

12-21-2009 13:19:11 | More by Reagan1984
Photo of therica
therica

Maryland

4/5  rDev +5.3%

DRINK IT WARM AND YOU'LL BE HAPPIER

A= mahogany with a modest head, dissipates to a rim and some lacing.

S= like a good loaf of German dark bread with whiffs of traditional hops.

T= bready, nicely balanced hops, light sweetness, modest carbonation. It's not watery if you drink it warm.

M= slightly dry on the tongue, nice memories of the well-balanced flavor.

D= very drinkable in session or with meals that go well with dark well-balanced beers.

12-21-2009 07:42:50 | More by therica
Photo of jwc215
jwc215

Wisconsin

3.6/5  rDev -5.3%

Pours brown with ruby highlights. A thin light brown head sits atop before vanishing to a ring with that leaves a little lacing.

The smell is grainy with light toast and dark bread. Hint of noble-type spicing come through.

The taste si sweet medium-dark maltiness with a touch of toast and a hint of noble-hop spicing in the finish.

On the light-bodied side, it has something of a watery swish to it, but some aftertaste lingers a bit. Pretty smooth.

Doesn't rank with best from Bavaria, in my opinion, but still a nice, easy-drinking interpretation of the style.

12-19-2009 05:00:47 | More by jwc215
Photo of NittanyBeerFan
NittanyBeerFan

Pennsylvania

3/5  rDev -21.1%

A: deep brown with garnet hues that produce a dark amber rim when held up to the light. 1 finger head that leaves thick rings of lace.

S: a light aroma of roasted and caramel malts. Not much else going on here.

T: rich caramel and toffee are overwhelming. Some dark fruity esters are also evident. There is an astringent burned flavor in the finish that just ruins it for me.

M/D: light to medium carbonation in a heavy bock-like lager texture. Not a ton of character, and the burned flavor makes this one I nearly had to choke down.

12-13-2009 23:22:45 | More by NittanyBeerFan
Photo of endincolorado
endincolorado

Ohio

4/5  rDev +5.3%

Deep ruby-brown with light tan head that settles fairly quickly and a bit of lace.

Roasty malt aromas, with some coffee and cocoa, and just a bit of hop-bitterness.

Flavors are rich in roastiness, with some caramel, cocoa and a sweet molasses. A light earthy hop character in the background helps balance.

Light-medium body with adequate carbonation.

Refreshing and pretty well-balanced. Another fine offering from the folks at Harpoonn.

12-09-2009 06:25:20 | More by endincolorado
Photo of LordAdmNelson
LordAdmNelson

Ohio

3.23/5  rDev -15%

Hmm... I'm not entirely on board with this one. NIce dark brown color with tawny highlights. Smell is relatively nonexistent--a bit of sweetness, but thats about it. Maybe something roasted. Taste is decent, a bit of chocolate, a bit of roasted malt, lingering roastiness. Medium body, coating. Drinkable, I guess. Something seems out of order in this one.

12-08-2009 05:47:04 | More by LordAdmNelson
Photo of tvljr
tvljr

Virginia

3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Bottle from the Winter Mix 12 Pack

Appearance: Deep caramel color with a good, lasting head and lace.

Smell: Very weak for a dark beer. Not bad, just not there.

Taste: Good strong, full-bodied taste with a good feel

Mouthfeel: Textured and pleasant to the palate. Very good imitation of real German beer.

I'd definitely buy it again.

11-25-2009 22:41:25 | More by tvljr
Photo of NJpadreFan
NJpadreFan

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Harpoon- Munich Dark

A- Dark chocolate brown almost black with a small foamy tan head. Light ringed lacing.
S- Lightly roasted chocolate malt, oak, and molasses.
T- Light sweet brown sugar and chocolate malts. Hints of oak, vanilla, molasses, and coke syrup.
M- Sweet thick malt with a light cocoa dryness. Sweet, lightly spicy peppery finish.

Overall- Good solid Dunkel that might be a tad watery.

11-25-2009 22:24:09 | More by NJpadreFan
Photo of KTCamm
KTCamm

New Jersey

3.63/5  rDev -4.5%

Poured from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Purchased as part of Harpoons Winter variety pack.

Pours dark brown with flecks of light, and lighter undertones. Offwhite head, creamy with good retention. Laces.

Sweet malty smell, some chocolate.

Taste is rich chewy malt that prgresses from sweet to roasting. Mild hop finish, but the malt is controlling. Some notes of coffee in the lingering taste.

Well carbonated - thick in the mouthfeel.

Tasty and drinkable, a quality brew.

11-22-2009 11:09:57 | More by KTCamm
Photo of Casey10
Casey10

Maine

3.68/5  rDev -3.2%

Pours a dark black with minimal head not a bad beer although picked up in a mixed 12 pack.

A - dark with minimal head lacings.

S - Some very faint chocolate.

T - Carbonation of faint chocolate really nothing special.

M - Not much a sligt burning taste.

D - Rated high becasue could have a lot if given some.

09-27-2009 02:54:46 | More by Casey10
Photo of JamesS
JamesS

Indiana

4.28/5  rDev +12.6%

A wonderful Munich Dunkel, it pours a very nice deep ruby brown with some very nice initial head and a bit of nice lacing. Nice deep dark scent, malty and lager sweet. Nice thick dark taste, a wonderful bit of dark malt. Goes down very clean and easy.

09-27-2009 01:16:12 | More by JamesS
Photo of ghebb
ghebb

Connecticut

3.98/5  rDev +4.7%

Sampled on-tap @ the Boston Brewery.

I think abuliarose below me was spot-on with his review. A nice, complex malty brew thats unfortunately hampered by it's weak and overcarbonated mouthfeel (considering the style).

Also I believe Harpoon's intention was to create a Munich Dunkel style brew, but fermented with Ale yeast. Overall, a solid beer.

08-16-2009 15:23:49 | More by ghebb
Photo of abuliarose
abuliarose

New Hampshire

3.85/5  rDev +1.3%

Had at the brewery in its own glass. Colors are a dark cherry wood with coffee-and-cream head that leaves nice lacing. Smells roasty, slightly fruity in a fig way and with underlying notes of caramel malt.

The first taste is sharp with carbonation, and then roasty to match the smell and smooth like a cold-brewed coffee (not nutty like many other brown ales). The caramel malt really comes through as well as the chocolate malt, but for all of it the beer is still very light-bodied and has a watery consistency on the tongue. Either that or I've been having too many heavy beers lately.

Fairly drinkable overall and something I would enjoy again.

08-16-2009 01:19:56 | More by abuliarose
Photo of sisuspeed
sisuspeed

New Hampshire

3.9/5  rDev +2.6%

Had this on tap at the Windsor brewery. Served in the Munich Type Dark glass, looks classy. The beer is a dark mahogany, with a thin off-white head. The smell is of syrupy dark malts and some slight smokiness.

The first thing I taste is chocolate, toasty malts with some hop bitterness lingering in the background. The mouthfeel is light carbonation, somewhat on the watery side, but very drinkable.

All in all I thought this was a tasty beer. Probably one of my favorite Harpoon brews outside of the Leviathan series. It would be nice to see them increase the availability of this beer, since I have only seen it at the brewery. I would gladly pick this up when I'm looking for a darker beer that isn't super thick and has easy drinkability.

08-15-2009 22:39:28 | More by sisuspeed
Photo of steeltown71
steeltown71

Pennsylvania

3/5  rDev -21.1%

A: Bottle poured into Harpoon pint glass. Pours a dark brown-red, decent creaminess at the top.

S: Maybe I've just had too many big beers lately but I'm just not picking up much intensity here. I do like the malty-roasted aromas that are clearly in there, but I just wish there were a stronger presence.

T: Definitely one of the better regular Harpoon offerings. Solid malt taste, well-balanced, and satisfying dry finish.

D: Obviously sessionable.

For a long time I had become aggravated by Harpoon for being a brewery with resources suggesting they had significant capability to experiment and yet most of their offerings tasted both similar and unremarkable to me. Strangely, revisiting this beer after really liking some of their bigger recent offerings makes me think I had unfairly written it off. It's not outrageously complex but the flavor profile is enjoyable and clearly a solid example of the style.

08-12-2009 01:50:28 | More by steeltown71
Photo of Jayli
Jayli

Massachusetts

4.1/5  rDev +7.9%

This beer poured a dark brown, with some light brown hues to it. A 1/4 finger of tan head that has ok retention to it, some spots of lacing left on the glass. Nose is of thick dark roasted malts with great chocolate notes mixed in. Taste is of chocolate and caramel malts up front, lending in to some nicely roasted and toasted malts and a touch of smoked flavoring, the finish has a bit of a bitter chocolate kick to it, with a nice hop presence for some bitterness. Medium bodied, low carbonation, creamy mouth feel with a bitter bone dry finish to it. For me, this was a well put together drinkable beer to kick back with all night long.

07-27-2009 16:06:06 | More by Jayli
Photo of tai4ji2x
tai4ji2x

Massachusetts

3.95/5  rDev +3.9%

fourth and final day of NERAX 2009

dark reddish brown. brighter red under the light. bubbly, sudsy head lasts forever. no lacing however.

aroma: fruity, cherry, almost vanilla!? brown sugar. whiff of grassy hop. whiff of alcohol, phenols and esters.

taste: watery molasses, with fruit again (cherry), touch of oaky vanilla. earthy, grassy hop bitterness is mild but lingers to finish, with touch of acidity.

light, watery syrup feel, with tannic texture into the finish. mild carbonation.

05-05-2009 06:35:44 | More by tai4ji2x
Photo of mempath
mempath

Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev +2.6%

actually this and the brown session were the most disappointing of the sampler.

not bad at all, but lacking some things i expected.

pours with a nice head that dies fast...some lacing...looks like dark brewed southern ice tea! or RC cola...releases a sweet, pleasant smell of toasted malts, but barely. taste is at least a stronger version of what the nose suggested; a toastiness that is present but not overwhelmingly. nothing spectacular. perhaps the flat mouthfeel is what isn't help raise it up and make we want to raise another glass.

it's very drinkable, but i think this needs food or to used in preparing food. probably makes a decent beer bread.

not bad at all.
not great in the least.

(original rating was a C+...i am revisiting a few of these and see if they've altered...or more likely, have i altered...plus sampling it in another season, etc...)

appearance this second time was more impressive...looks like i just poured a Coke. lots of tan foam that laces very nicely in my only clean (stella artois) glass! some toastiness in the nose that pushes this up to 'good'...not blasting it, but i bet as it warms, it releases and reveals more. taste? i gave it a 3.5 last year in may. catching more 'flavor' and more bitterness. mouthfeel too seems quite different. not so thin, but a little more crisp. quite enjoyable this time and very drinkable. much better than Beck's Dark...!

05-03-2009 23:38:26 | More by mempath
Harpoon Dark from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
86 out of 100 based on 628 ratings.