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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

628 Ratings

(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
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Ratings: 628 | Reviews: 366 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

01-13-2004 03:14:49 | More by ElGordo
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.

01-10-2004 07:20:35 | More by taez555
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.

01-03-2004 04:29:54 | More by beerguy101
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.

12-30-2003 16:49:59 | More by ADR
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.

12-16-2003 02:53:49 | More by marc77
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.

12-07-2003 20:42:31 | More by goz
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.

12-05-2003 21:07:02 | More by merlin48
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.

11-26-2003 15:19:09 | More by Dogbrick
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.

10-31-2003 22:51:49 | More by francisweizen
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.

10-09-2003 04:27:43 | More by Brent
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.

09-27-2003 01:25:43 | More by AtLagerHeads
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.

09-16-2003 22:31:34 | More by WanderingFool
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.

09-02-2003 16:29:25 | More by Jarod
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.

08-27-2003 22:20:57 | More by CharlesRiver
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.

08-18-2003 23:02:11 | More by edchicma
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.

08-07-2003 19:20:13 | More by BierReise
Photo of UnionMade

New York

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?

07-22-2003 10:47:56 | More by UnionMade
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.

07-14-2003 08:24:48 | More by bmills1608
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

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.

06-30-2003 20:23:41 | More by oberon
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.

06-06-2003 10:45:42 | More by far333
Photo of Thrasher


3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Well my last review of Harpoon was pretty scathing, so when a (free) sample of this popped up, I was initially skeptical, and then pleasantly surprised. This, along with their Oktoberfest, is the best thing they offer (which is strange, in that it means their strong suit is brewing fake German-lager-style ales). Anyway this is a nice, roasty dark ale with definite dunkel qualities. Caramel, nuts, a vague hint of chocolate, alongside some more fruity ale characteristics. It's an unusual marriage but it just about works, especially with the additional twist of spicy hops. Those reviewers below who said to let it warm up are right on. This went nicely with ribs. I would definitely turn to this again if I was craving a German dunkel and this was all that was available. Otherwise it is a strange, but quaffable, hybrid of a dunkel and a brown ale.

05-28-2003 15:04:11 | More by Thrasher
Photo of vitesse


4.28/5  rDev +12.6%

served on tap at the brewery...
appearance is very nice toasty brown color, but not "muddy" at all. smell is of roasty malt goodness. taste is rich and complex. lots of attention to the malt side of things. i detected light caramel notes with slightly sweet aftertaste. very solid.
mouthfeel is good. this is a full-bodied brew. drinkability is high too. no one element seems overpowering, very balanced beer.

on a side note: this isn't a lager after all, despite the germanic name. don't let that dissuade you, though. on tap this is a great dark ale.

05-19-2003 08:28:49 | More by vitesse
Photo of maestrotmbg

District of Columbia

4.22/5  rDev +11.1%

Appearance: Pours out with a small caramel colored head that swiftly smooths out into a lasting lace. The beer is dark brown yet still semi-translucent.

Smell: Mild smell of alcohol and dark malt - not very aromatic.

Taste: The roasted malt flavor is paramount and adds to the mild sweetness of the beer to suggest a taste of caramel. Toasted grains fill out the balance of the flavor.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability: Somewhat light on the palate for such a dark beer, not creamy but not at all astringent either. I found that the body was excellent and not overpowering considering the bold nature of the taste. Very drinkable and smooth - easy going down and I hardly noticed the alcohol.

03-04-2003 07:46:27 | More by maestrotmbg
Photo of kaszeta

New Hampshire

3.9/5  rDev +2.6%

A pleasing fairly dark brown amber ale, with a light head.

It's got a very malty smell, with hints of wheat, and a bit of roasted malt coming through. Not much hops smell.

It's got a good mouthfeel, smooth and creamy. It's taste is malty, somewhat sweet in a caramel sort of way, slightly bitter, and very lightly hopped.

Very drinkable. In fact, I'd say it's one of Harpoon's best (at least for their Windsor, VT brewery), vaguely reminiscent of the Dunkels I've enjoyed on a pleasant summer evening in a Munich beer garden (which is what they appear to be trying to reproduce).

02-25-2003 20:56:58 | More by kaszeta
Photo of Jason


4.05/5  rDev +6.6%

12 oz brown bottle with a printed packaging date on the bottle.

Appearance: Nice lacing and good clarity off of a dark toned brown colour. Retention shows some stickiness.

Smell: Mild toasted and dark malts, faint fruitiness and alcohol. Clean aroma.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Firm and crisp mouth feel from a medium body and level carbonation. Long lasting maltiness that ranges from a plain sweetness to rolling toasted and vague roasted flavours. Balancing hop shows a little spicy flavour while at the same time the alcohol becomes slightly noticeable. Some sweetness left in the end with more toasted grain.

Drinkability & Notes: The darkest of the Harpoon brand and my favourite as well, a concrete brew in my book. A great beer to have around to drink, pair and even cook with.

02-16-2003 18:37:56 | More by Jason
Harpoon Dark from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
86 out of 100 based on 628 ratings.