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

614 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 614
Reviews: 365
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 10.26%
Wants: 26
Gots: 18 | 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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Harpoon Dark Alström Bros
Ratings: 614 | Reviews: 365 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of NJpadreFan
NJpadreFan

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

New Jersey

3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Maine

3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Indiana

4.28/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Connecticut

3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: on-tap

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

New Hampshire

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

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.

Serving type: on-tap

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

New Hampshire

3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: on-tap

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

Pennsylvania

3/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

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

Massachusetts

4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: on-tap

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

Massachusetts

3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: cask

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

Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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...!

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2009 23:38:26 | More by mempath
Photo of JohnL9013
JohnL9013

New Jersey

3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a great beer by Harpoon, one of their better contributions to the sampler I got.

A: Dark, as the name suggests, but still somewhat transparent.

S: Mild hop smell, overall, not the biggest smell.

T: Again, mild hops, actually, it's not that bitter overall, and pretty smooth for a dark beer. There's some dark malt in the background to complement but overall nothing that insane.

M: Pretty clean and crisp, without excessive carbonation.

D: If there's one thing Harpoon knows how to do, it's make a smooth and drinkable beer. Despite being a dark beer, this one's no exception.

Serving type: bottle

05-02-2009 05:24:11 | More by JohnL9013
Photo of Ragingbull
Ragingbull

California

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

This beer pours a dark brown but is clear enough and still enough that you can almost see through it. Not much of a head and not much on the nose either. The taste is nice with a nice roasted malt character. I believe I can detect a little bit of a caramel malt type of flavor in the undertones. Elegantly simple and extremely drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2009 14:16:34 | More by Ragingbull
Photo of Reiksguard
Reiksguard

Rhode Island

4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I don't think I have ever seen this beer sold on its own, but it came in the Harpoon Sampler pack.

A: Dark garnet in color, with a 1 finger head that went away quickly.

S: Nice deep malt tones, but not too overpowering.

D/M: The front of the tongue picks up the browns sweetness, which is then washed over with a little acidity, and then the hops come on and balance it all out. It ends wonderfully dry and clean, which was very pleasing. The beer is a little slippery on the tongue.

O: This is a great beer. There is a lot of complexity hiding in in there, but it has such a clean finish that you don't get that residual dark malt character that stays with you.

Nice job!

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2009 00:34:20 | More by Reiksguard
Photo of donkeyrunner
donkeyrunner

Massachusetts

3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear dark brown with ruby highlights. Thin tan head that quickly fades to a foamy collar and skim.

Smells of roasted caramel with hazelnut, chocolate and black cherry. Light floral hop.

Smooth nutty dark caramel malt with light hop citrus in back. Crisp carbonation. Roasty flavors but also very clean and balanced. Ridiculously drinkable for a dark beer. Has that Harpoon dark beer buttery/cola taste if you take to long to drink it. Overall, Munich dark is consistently my favorite Harpoon.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2009 21:36:37 | More by donkeyrunner
Photo of gameface23
gameface23

Massachusetts

3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown with a very clean appearance. Not much of a head.

S: Roasted malt first and foremost. Slight coffee

T: More of that roasted malt and slightly watered down coffee. Aftertaste is the largest negative for this beer.

M: Pretty good. This is my first dunkel, so I don't have a base for comparison, but it seems about right from what I would expect.

D: Good. 5.6% and flavorful. You can't really ask for more.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2009 01:10:30 | More by gameface23
Photo of dupee14
dupee14

Massachusetts

4.83/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had this out of the Harpoon Six-Style Variety Pack. Definitely recommended. I tried the Brown Session Ale and really enjoyed it but when I had this, I found a similarity. They are both brown ales but this is like the father of the two. The smell is a roasted coffee flavor with a hint of caramel. It has a tan two-finger head with a decent lace that slowly fades towards the end. The drinkability of this brew is exceptional. Very very smooth. It is very balanced between the malts and hops and the aftertaste has a slight bitterness to it, not overbearing. This is definitely my favorite Harpoon brew that I have tried. Recommended to anyone who enjoys a solid brown ale as well as anyone who want to switch it up.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2009 01:45:24 | More by dupee14
Photo of JayNH
JayNH

New Hampshire

3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a very dark brown, almost black, with a solid foamy tan head.

S- Upfront in the nose is a very astringent alcohol scent. Did I get a bad batch? If you work your way through the alcohol you find a quite pleasant fruity dark maltiness. A hint of nuttiness lingers in the back. If it wasn't for the astringent alcohol the scent would score higher.

T- A nice roasted malt, slightly smokey, balanced with an earthy/grassy hoppiness.

M- Solid body but a bit overcabonated.

D- Very good overall, I'd drink a few of these.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2009 22:25:52 | More by JayNH
Photo of cottonkoozie
cottonkoozie

North Carolina

3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Good dark color, slight reddish hues. Decent of white head, but doesn't stay around long. ring of head that does remain around the glass leaves great lacing though.

S - Nice toasted malt smell. No particular malt is really overpowering. Also some hints of hops there.

T - Much like the smell. Toasty malts mainly. Little bit of hops give a nice balance.

M - Full and rich, good feel.

D - Pretty drinkable, but can get to be too heavy. Slightly above average.

Good beer. Basically the big brother of Harpoon's brown session. Like this is the full flavor and brown session is the light. This is the type of beer I want on a cool day. The fullness and body warms you up some.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2009 02:41:44 | More by cottonkoozie
Photo of dmamiano
dmamiano

West Virginia

3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Nice dark brown...ruby edges with light backdrop.
Very small head, leaning towards none at all.
Smells of caramel malt, slightly charred. Sourdough breadiness.
Taste is very mild. Smooth with a lingering bite from the hops. Almost taste of a little "woodyness".
Pretty good beer. The darkness would scare the BMC drinkers, but the mildnes would surprise them.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2009 00:53:49 | More by dmamiano
Photo of ZimZamZoom
ZimZamZoom

West Virginia

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

A clear deep brown color, some ruby patches show when held to light. The head fades fast but it does leave a nice coating on the beer although not much lacing.

This has a nice dark roasty aroma. Hints of dark fruit as well, nice and a bit mysterious. Taste is a bit sweet up front, some spicy hop notes and a bit of a fruitcake flavor. A touch of alcohol but not much at all,. Subtle and nicely done. I like the spicy notes to this beer.

Nice body, yet not filling. Another good session beer from Harpoon.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2009 22:33:38 | More by ZimZamZoom
Photo of cvstrickland
cvstrickland

North Carolina

3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased in Harpoon's "Wintry Mix" multi-pack:

Poured into a fat dimpled seidel, this "Munich Type Dark Beer" is sparkling clear and brownish-ruby in hue and sports a finger-thick cap of tinted ivory, fine-bubbled foam. The head deflates into a bubbly sheet that leaves quite a bit of fine, webby lacing on the glass.

The smell is malty and sweet, with just a dusting of cocoa and a bit of aromatic vanilla accenting mellow, sugary cereal.

The taste is sweet and chocolatey with a bit of mild dry, cocoa-like bitterness, and a smoky note of nutty toasted grain. A cool essence of evergreen-infused vanilla extract sweetens a silky, malty syrupiness that lingers on the palate, before evaporating in advance of the arrival of another ripple of faintly alkaline, mildly bitter, lightly drying cocoa.

The drink is briskly carbonated with a bit of bubble-sting, and is light in body. Highly drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2009 21:15:15 | More by cvstrickland
Photo of Alexmc2
Alexmc2

New Hampshire

4.43/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Beer pours a deep brown with some ruby tinge. A nice two finger tan head with fair retention.

S: Roasted malt, baked bread, some spice that takes a backseat to the malt smell.

T: Beautiful malt initial taste, smokey aftertaste. Delicious.

M: Smooth as anything, would love this one on cask.

D: Not overpowering, would be a great session beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2009 00:54:42 | More by Alexmc2
Photo of stockingcpl
stockingcpl

Ohio

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

Appearance: Like all Harpoon selections, this brew pours quite well out of the bottle. Dark chocolate color with a thick tan head. Lacings are plentiful. Excellent.

Smell: True to southern German dark beers, this brew has a nice smoky barrel presence. However...the aroma was thin. Malt...little hops.

Taste: The flavor follows the aroma closely. Toasted malts. Pretty good. Not oppressive in presence but full of character. I liked this brew.

Mouthfeel: Excellent flavor curve. Nice malt zip on the front end. This tapers into a hop presence that is quite pleasant. The bitterness did not stifle the palate. Great execution of a well thought out recipe. Great job.

Drinkability: This is a very affible drink. I would suggest this as a fall or winter option to the sweet and spicy Winter Warmers.

Prosit!
Nikki

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2009 01:24:40 | More by stockingcpl
Photo of confer
confer

Pennsylvania

3.03/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The bottle came from a Harpoon Winter sample case. Poured a very nice medium to dark brown. A 1/2 inch head disappears quickly and leaves a glass of what looks like flat coke.
The smell was malty as was the taste. I really was expecting something different. The UFO from this pack was good, I am hoping the remaining ones are better than the Munich.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2008 23:44:46 | More by confer
Harpoon Dark from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
86 out of 100 based on 614 ratings.