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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

633 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 633
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
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Ratings: 633 | Reviews: 366 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of PhantomVodoo
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%

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!

PhantomVodoo, Apr 08, 2004
Photo of Mitchster
2.83/5  rDev -25.5%

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.

Mitchster, Apr 01, 2004
Photo of RoyalT
3.3/5  rDev -13.2%

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.

RoyalT, Mar 25, 2004
Photo of Southernbrew
4/5  rDev +5.3%

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.

Southernbrew, Mar 03, 2004
Photo of moulefrite
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%

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!

moulefrite, Feb 01, 2004
Photo of ElGordo
2.98/5  rDev -21.6%

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.

ElGordo, Jan 13, 2004
Photo of taez555
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

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.

taez555, Jan 10, 2004
Photo of beerguy101
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%

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.

beerguy101, Jan 03, 2004
Photo of ADR
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%

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.

ADR, Dec 30, 2003
Photo of marc77
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%

Tralucent deep garnet. Thick, stiff, dense and dogged beige head. Steadfast, intricate lace remains. Soft cocoa with herbal hop hints upfront in aroma, followed by notes of deeply toasted malt and black licorice. Stately and welcoming aromawise. Snap of burnt grain bitterness initially in flavor is quickly tapered by gentle dark toffee sweetness and subtle, nutty carob. Hop bitterness is appropriately mild, leaving the static dark chocolate and toasty Munich foundation unhindered. Becomes agreeably savory late, with hints of salted, grainy biscuit providing contrast to malt sweetness. Well attenuated and perhaps a notch shy in dextrins, with a lanky and lightly viscous mouthfeel. Finishes mostly clean and dry, with hints of spicy hop and burnt cookie. A well rounded and tasty brew, with refined malt and hop balance. Simple in overall character and superbly drinkable.

marc77, Dec 16, 2003
Photo of goz
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%

Pours a deep chestnut, with a large tan head that mostly recedes, leaving sheets of lace. Aroma is of dark roasty malts, backed with a slight fruitiness and a mild hoppiness. Flavor is of roasted malts, middle has a bit of fruitiness, and ending has a slight spicy hop finish. Medium bodied, smooth with a low carbonation level.

goz, Dec 07, 2003
Photo of merlin48
3.08/5  rDev -18.9%

My 2nd Harpoon out of a 12 bottle sampler box. Pours an almost clear dark brown with some ruby notes when held to the light. A little bit of sediment in this one. Caramel and chocolate on the nose. Mouthfeel not as rich and creamy as I expected, being somewhat light bodied. Taste is crisply balanced with a dry finish. Astringent aftertaste distracts from drinkability. Middle of the road, overall, for this style.

merlin48, Dec 05, 2003
Photo of Dogbrick
3.23/5  rDev -15%

Pours a dark ruby-brown with a thin light tan head. Very thin and quick lacing. Aroma of coffee along with a bit of chocolate. Medium body as well. This beer is a little sharp on the front buy mellows a bit later on. There is a blend of sweet malt, caramel, coffee and some hops in the flavor, but none in abundance. The finish is mildly bitter. Overall this beer seems kind of lackluster.

Dogbrick, Nov 26, 2003
Photo of francisweizen
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

This is a just a slightly above average dark ale from the fine folks over at Harpoon. This beer was a nice dark brown colour with a tan head. The aromas were very simplistic and one dimensional consisting only of malts. The taste was malty and well balanced, but boring. The mouthfeel was right and the drinkability was nice.

francisweizen, Oct 31, 2003
Photo of Brent
3.1/5  rDev -18.4%

Just not a lot going on here with this beer. Poured nice and dark with lively carbonation. Some roasted malt and slight sweetness, but not much depth to the flavor profile, rather monotone. Some light acidity at the finish to dry it up a bit. Not at all an unpleasant beer, but it did not hold my interest.

Brent, Oct 09, 2003
Photo of AtLagerHeads
3.6/5  rDev -5.3%

A very beautiful appearance, but not the delicious beer I had hoped for. The body is a very dark bronze or mahogany, clear with a generous tan head that is very retentive and laces with real gusto. The aroma is mild and is mostly of a very neutral nature with, perhaps, malting being the primary attribute.

The flavor surprised me as I expected a very deep flavor, but found mostly a light, somewhat medicinal sense. This very much translated into the aftertaste which is way too lingering and leaves an even longer medicine sense. Ugh. There is a castor note that I find very unpleasant.

The body is light to medium, with a nice creamy feel, and finishes with a bit of crispness, but is not as dry as desired. Much less drinkable at the end than it began.

AtLagerHeads, Sep 27, 2003
Photo of WanderingFool
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%

This beer is a nice dark brown color with a thin light tan head on top that quickly dissolves to a ring around the surface. An aroma of roasted malt and milk chocolate hovers over the beer. Each sip of this thin to medium bodied beer is mainly malty with some nuts and milk chocolate mixed in. It finishes slightly hoppy and dry with a malty taste left behind.

I found this to be a very drinkable tasty brew and only wish the malty flavor was a little bit stronger.

WanderingFool, Sep 16, 2003
Photo of Jarod
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%

12 oz bottle

This beer poured a dark caramel / wood colored that was crystal clear and decently carbonated. It produced a dark beige/tan colored head that was thick, sticky well lasting. There was some sticky / chunky lace left behind. The aromas were of toasted grains, dark malts, roasted malt, some light fruit present and hints of alcohol became as it warmed. Fresh and clean. The flavors that came through were of roasted malts, and burnt caramel, nuts (toasted), touches of coffee, earthy tones, grains (toasted), hops, sweet dark fruits, and at the end hints of alcohol. The aftertaste is of toasted grains and some sweetness. Medium bodied. Sweet, dry and complex. Great flavors of malts come out in this beer, while mixing in other flavors like hops and sweet fruit. A really good beer that as it warmed it got more complex and better.

Jarod, Sep 02, 2003
Photo of CharlesRiver
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%

This beer came in the Harpoon Variety 12 pack.

The first thing that I noticed about this beer is that it doesn't pour nearly as dark as I expected. I didn't expect to see all the way through it.

Poured clear brown with a small off white head. Malty smell all the way. The taste is much the same but I also pick up some smoke. Not sure where that is coming from. No hop notes anywhere that I can find. (not that it should) A bit grainy but sweet with hints of raisins.

I really enjoyed this. I would buy the mix pack again.

CharlesRiver, Aug 27, 2003
Photo of edchicma
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%

Very nice, dark appearance with a small head. Taste was a bit sweet with nice malty flavors. Medium mouthfell with a bit of a chewy quality. Goes down very smooth woith a nice malty aftertone. Smell was malty with slight alcohol shadings. Very tasty. Reminded me of Sam Adams Double Bock, but without the strong alcohol taste. A very smooth and enjoyable brew.

edchicma, Aug 18, 2003
Photo of BierReise
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%

At the brewery: Typical looking dark german beer with a wee small tan head of foam. Aroma of roasted malt with a slight sweetness. Something was different about this beer and I found out afterwards that they ferment this as an ale instead of the traditional lager. I think this really changes the character a bit. Not as sweet as the German Dunkels in my opinion. Medium bodied and malty. Pretty decent beer that I enjoyed.

BierReise, Aug 07, 2003
Photo of UnionMade
3.13/5  rDev -17.6%

I was under the impression that this beer is actually Harpoon's Munich Dark. One of the old school bartenders at Cannon's told me this. I really don't remember Munich Dark tasting like this, though.
Arrives looking sort of an ochre brownish color, with a thick almond colored head. Nice and clear, with a semi roasty malty aroma. Some hopping is apparent, but it's mostly smelling like a brown ale, or some kind of dark ale. Flavor is malty, a little grainy, with some fruity esteriness. A touch of roasted and chocolate malt, and some plum and apple flavors. Hops lend a mild bite and dryness to the finish, very downplayed, and works well with the malting. Sort of uncomplex, simple, definitely good, but not really the most interesting beer. Flavors aren't the cleanest and don't stand out from each other. That's fine, because not all of beer's pleasures are masterpieces of a brewers art, ya know?

UnionMade, Jul 22, 2003
Photo of bmills1608
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%

The color was a dark brown/red. Fluffy, almost white head. On the nose was a lot of bready aromas, pumpernickel, sweet malt and tobacco. Taste was rich, a little chocolate malt, very smooth and creamy, slightly sweet doughy flavors. Some fruitiness comes through towards the end and a touch of roasted flavor.

The finish was a little strange I thought. A "burnt sugar", slightly astringent flavor that lingered in the back of the throat.

Overall impression - The first bottle of this I really enjoyed. By the third time I tasted (at least a week later) my overall impression has changed a bit. This is a nice brown beer, being very creamy and full flavored are it's best 2 qualities. I am not a big fan of the finish of this beer however. That being said, it is still a quality brew.

bmills1608, Jul 14, 2003
Photo of oberon
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%

This one poured a nice brown color with some slight red highlights in there,nice malty aroma of chocolate and some slight fruity tones as well.A very appetizing brew malty sweet with some lingering fruitiness.I think the best offering from Harpoon,very nice.

oberon, Jun 30, 2003
Photo of far333
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%

Dark brown with a beige head that rises up a half inch of thick foam and sinks quickly as many small bubbles rise up from the bottom of the glass. Aroma is dark malt, molasses and brown sugar. Mouthfeel is a bit watery, but leads to a roasty malt flavor with a bit of yeast undercurrent. There's some cocoa and caramel, ripe plum and fig, and a metallic tinge in the finish.

far333, Jun 06, 2003
Harpoon Dark from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
86 out of 100 based on 633 ratings.