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

649 Ratings
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 649
Reviews: 366
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 10.26%
Wants: 29
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:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Harpoon Dark Alström Bros
Ratings: 649 | Reviews: 366 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. amber bottle.

Poured a dark brown in color with a 1/2-inch layer of off-white head. Spotty lacing. Aromas are a mix of cocoa powder and dark fruits. Flavor is more of the same, starting off with chocolate sweetness, mixing with some balancing hops, and finishes with a kiss of alcohol-soaked fruit. Aftertaste sees a little bit of roasted grain in it. Very, very drikable.

Notes: Up to this point, I'd always associated Harpoon with "IPA"...no more. I'll seek it out.

Photo of Ahhdball
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I can't believe I found this! I remember having it while stationed in New London Ct. I also remember calling the brewer to see if it was distributed in Ohio. Regardless, I found a sixer ($10!) at a local cigar shop - Humidor Plus. Then a mixed half rack at The Kenny Road Market ($14).
No head to sit atop the very dark brown ale. Virtually no smell that I could tell. The taste was nutty, but a slightly sweet. A bit of hop bitterness but the malt lasted a good while longer. Roasted nuts and a well balanced sweetness leads me to think this is one of the best offerings from Harpoon.

Photo of JMendyka
4.28/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm a novice as a BA, but I fell in love with this beer from the first sip. The first thing that came to my mind when experiencing this beer was Coca-Cola.

The beer poured with hardly any head. The color was that of a standard cola.

The smell was sweet, but had a hint of hops to betray its place in the Beer Kingdom.

The taste was where the magic happened. The initial taste was undoubtedly of Classic Coke. Then the hops kicked in balancing that malt out perfectly.

This beer is heavy enough to make you feel good inside, but not so light as to make you think you could slam 'em all night.

Bottom line, if this was all I ever had to drink, I might be sad that I couldn't drink all those other wonderful beers, but would be satisfied with the one remainging.

Photo of Hibernator
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served this out of a 12oz brown bottle in a pint glass. Freshness date on the back of the bottle in print that reads that this beer was packaged on 6-15-04. This beer is about 5 weeks old.

Okay head with some pretty good lacings. Nice dark amber, only a few shades away from a black.

The smell is malty with toasted grain. Taste is very malty and some sweetness. Mild bitterness.

Overall, a very drinkable brew from Harpoon. This beer doesn't leave a note-worthy impression on me. Its good and one of my favorites from this local brewery.

Photo of connecticutpoet
4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was a nice dark brown brew that poured well but had very little head.

I liked the smell... rich, strong, sweet malt with hop tones that didn't conflict with the sweetness.

The taste was richly roasted yet not overpowering, and the hoppiness was not too bitter. Very well balanced.

This was a good drinking beer, without a doubt.

Photo of AllThingsNinja
3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Served in a large mug at the Union Oyster House, this headless black beer offered a subtle roast aroma. The flavors of chocolate, coffee, and subtle fruit notes were enjoyable but a bit understated. The brew was a bit too watery, and a tad insubstantial. It was drinkable, but not worthy of pursuit.

Photo of mschofield
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear brown with amber at the edges of the glass, topped with a two finger dark khaki head, leaves bits of lacing.
Aroma mainly consists of roasted malt, notes of chocolate, toffee and coffee.
Raisin, chocolate on top of a roasted malt taste. A bit acrid with black coffee like bitterness. Some earthy and herbal hop presence.
Medium bodied.

Photo of travolta
3/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle

Apperance: Tan frothy head, dark ruby and amber, lacing is good.

Nose: Buttered toast.

Taste: Toasted grain, frothy, a little creamy, lightly bitter. The beggining of this beer is lightly toasted almonds, and the end tastes of hops.

Notes; Not as good as some other harpoon brews. I think they let us down with this.

Photo of WesWes
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark brown color with a thick frothy off-white head that quickly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a light crystal malt/Munich malt aroma that is good, but nothing special. It is a bit fruity and malty sweet. The taste is good. It is smooth and full of sweet malty flavor. It goes down easy with a dry finish. The mouthfeel is good. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This beer drinks well. It's full of sweetness and has a smooth, semi-light feel.

Photo of UncleJimbo
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at NERAX.

This ale poured a deep red, chestnut color with tan foam. The smell was modest with some malt sweetness and a bit of licorice. The taste was lightly sweet and malty with a touch of licorice. The mouthfeel was smooth and creamy with medium body and low carbonation and a tangy aftertaste. This was a nice ale on cask.

Photo of yeagerbm
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a good tasting beer. Pours a brown or dark amber color with a light brown head. Smell is made up of caramel like malt and some sweetness also. Roasted malt and sweet caramel taste is offset by a crisp hop bitterness. Also has some dried fruit flavors in the background. This is flavorful, roasty and crisp, but not too heavy.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Caramel amber brown coca cola like in appearance creamy tan head leaves collar of lacing down my glass. Aroma: Chocolate and toffee hints nice fruity undertones, good stuff. Taste: Very balanced blend of darker roasted malts and mild herbal German hops. Malts bring out a slightly fruit caramel tone with a nutty edge not bad. Mouthfeel: Medium to light bodied beer even carbnonation. Drinkability: Dead on for a dunkel crisp flavors easy drinking dark brew nice.

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

Pours a brownish-mahogany with a creamy, very light tan head. Lacy throughout. Smells of coffe and caramel. Maybe some toffee in there?

Tastes if coffee but the bitterness is offset by a light caramel sweetness. Burnt malt and a light fruitiness. Very creamy and pretty smooth considering the potential for bitter flavors in a dark ale. Damn drinkable. Not a fan of Harpoon but this one stands out.

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

The best offering I've had yet from Harpoon.

Pours a dark brown colour with a light to medium head with some lacing. The aroma is of caramel and hops. The taste was really nice. Nutty with a caramel sweetness. It had a dry hoppy finish That I don't mind a bit.
This is the best beer I've had from Harpoon yet. It is god enough to be their flaggship beer, I wish it was. I could easily see myself drinking this one more often.

Photo of Jacobob10
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out reddish-brown with a nice tan head. The smell and the taste are very similar. Lots of roasted malt with a slight coffee aroma and taste. Goes down pretty smooth. A nice, warm, full-bodied smooth beer. A little better than average, wouldn't mind getting it again.

***

Re-review 11.20.07

I increased the ratings for taste and drinkability by 0.5 each. I was veryy impressed with this brew after trying it again a few years after my initial review. Roasted malt flavor and aroma and very drinkable. A nice dark beer that's easy to drink.

Photo of shippos
3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

poured with a good thick tan head with a clear dark ruby reddish brown color.

faint hint of malt followed by a subtle sweet sugary aroma...very clean aroma.

slight roasted grain character in the taste followed by a rather thin watery dissapointing mouthfeel. If it tasted like it smells and had a heftier mouthfeel it would awesome..for my tastes anyway.

still a good beer though.

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

Brown head sits atop this deep, dark brown beer.
Earthy aroma of roasty malt and cocoa.

Taste shows cocoa, roasty malt, and slight coffee notes. Earthy with a mild to medium roasty bitterness. Solid hop balance seems piney and earthy. Nice balance. Finishes well.

Mouthfeel just a bit thin.
Nothing overstated in this nicely crafted beer yielding session drinkability.
Overall, a solid dark beer.
Thanks to AKSmokedPorter for the bottle!

Photo of Mitchster
2.83/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours out to a clear dark-brown with rich ruby highlights, forming a modest dark beige head with poor retention and minimal lacing. The head settles down quickly, but leaves a thin layer of clumpy bubbles which linger. The carbonation is mild to moderate. Aroma is predominatly malty, with some roasted malt, vanilla, esters akin to a common brown, tobacco, and caramelized sugar. Mouthfeel is smooth with a medium body. Taste begins with initial zing of carbonation, a brief wave of alcohol, a herbal hoppiness, nuts, amber malts, grain husk, brief metal, and finishes with more toast and a light roasted grain astringency, in that order.

Probably my least favorite of styles, this brew is simple, straighforward, and dull. This style has always seemed like a crossover between domestic swill and real craft beer...kinda like the stuff your friends drank in college to be sophisticated. (e.g-Heiny Dark, Leiny, or St.Pauli Girl Dark). Not bad, but something I'm thoroughly not interested in ever drinking again.

Photo of RoyalT
3.3/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance – Brown with a bit of light shining through the body. The head though was absolutely gorgeous. It came up big, showed good retention, and left some beautiful lacing.

Smell – Wonderful aroma of deep, rich malts. Can they be both roasty and toasty? I think so. There’s also a bit of cookie dough and some added sugar and molasses. This Dark Ale was an awesome nose.

Taste – The taste didn’t quite keep pace with the nose. The flavors are nice, but they didn’t deliver on the aromatic promise. The malts kind of stepped aside, leaving the sugars to pull the beer together.

Mouthfeel – There was a bit of zesty fizz to this mouth, which I didn’t particularly care for. Other than that, it was medium-bodied and sticky.

Drinkability – A nice attempt at an extremely difficult style. I haven’t had a US Dark Ale yet that’s gotten to 4.0 in my book. This one was better than most.

Photo of Southernbrew
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice dark brown color, similar to Coke. Nice head.

Good roasted malt in nose, possibly slight fruit aroma and a touch of cloves.

Medium body with a firm and crisp mouthfeel. Nice maltiness with a strong roasted flavor but with a bit of sweetness. Slightly dry finish.

My favorite so far from Harpoon, I'll definitely buy some more of this.

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

Deep brown with amber hues. A good deal of sticky head to be had with a bit of wrist action, otherwise it fades fairly quickly. Aromatics are fruity and a touch cheesy-in the blue cheese vein.some melted chocolate aromas come to mind as well. The beer is medium bodied, malt driven and nicely bitter as it finishes. Flavors are also in a fruity vein and blue cheesy as well. Gosh darned it, this would be nice with a hot dog, only a sausage in the bun, and make that sausage something gamey, like venison or duck, and top it with a blue cheese sauce. Make sure the sausage contains some type of fruit. Never review when hungry!

Photo of ElGordo
2.98/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This one showed up in the December Beer of the Month Club shipment. Haven't really seen it in many stores here in NC, so it was a bit of a pleasant surprise. Pours a deep reddish brown hue (also translucent) with a thick, off-white foamy head. Deep malty nose, with hints of chocolate, molasses, and toffee. Rich, roasted malt flavor with a touch of sweetness. Light hop bitterness emerges mid-palate that builds into a fairly bitter finish. Unlike other dunkels I've had, perhaps because it's a top-fermented ale. Interesting, but I'm not sure I like it.

Photo of taez555
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a white/tan head with a dark, translucent body. Very clear for such a dark beer, almost ruby in the right light. Like a dark rootbeer.

The nose was mellow and simple. Very mellow dark malts. Some chocolate and espresso but VERY light. A slight touch of earth.

The taste starts very smooth and light. Some floral touches, citrus, earth, unsweetened chocolate, dark malts, roasted barley. Basically it start soft and drinkable, then moves on this dark smooth lager type flavor and then takes over the end with roasted barley bitterness.

Definitely an interesting beer. It’s not often you come across a munich style dunkel that’s an ale as opposed to lager, but none the less, tasty. It actually tastes more like a porter than munich style beer. Very drinkable though, good session beer.

Photo of beerguy101
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Dark brown color. Large white foamy head. Aroma is coffee and toffee. A medium bodied Dunkel. Malts are nutty, chocolate and sweet. Hops are grapefruity. It’s a little hoppy for a dunkel, but it has a nice malt sweetness and balances out well. Smooth taste. Nice drinkable beer. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly sweet.

Photo of ADR
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear but very dark brown with olive highlights. Good head on the beer, 1/4 inch of persistant quality foam. Dotty, dripping laces. Aroma is nice, smells of a light cocoa and lots of fleshy ripe peach-like fruit. The main taste impression starts with chocolate, but with a smoky and roasty quality. A bit of fade in the mouthfeel mid-mouth to close, but an interesting combination of roast and bitter to wrap things up. Nice brew here, big aroma helps the overall tone of things. Thanks to Liza P. and her dad for getting it, and Ken K. for bringing it back.

Harpoon Dark from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
86 out of 100 based on 649 ratings.