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Harpoon Leviathan - Imperial IPA - Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

Not Rated.
Harpoon Leviathan - Imperial IPAHarpoon Leviathan - Imperial IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

705 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 705
Hads: 1,673
Avg: 4.04
pDev: 17.33%
Wants: 113
Gots: 230 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: DrDogbeer on 09-07-2008

Harpoon Leviathan Imperial IPA will challenge your senses and your palate. As the vibrant aroma rushes out of your glass you will notice the blend of piney and tropical fruit notes. At first sip, this big beer starts with a powerful hop bitterness up front and an aggressive hop flavor and character throughout.

Leviathan Imperial IPA is brewed with tons of pale malt and just enough caramel malt to provide a sweet malt body to balance the hop intensity. We used copious amounts of a variety of hops including Chinook, Centennial, Simcoe, and Amarillo at various points during the boil to create a complex hop flavor and clean lingering bitter finish. We then fermented the beer with Harpoon’s own versatile proprietary yeast. Finally, we dry hopped at a rate of over 1 lb a barrel to produce this beer’s massive aroma.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 705 | Hads: 1,673
Photo of Sammy
4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 330 ml., just enough for a person. Big hop IPA, really nice, and the booze, like a hop whiskey. Cloudy golden colour with noticeable whit head, and som lace. Very smooth drinking, a remarkable mouthfeel for a DIPA with such booze and hops. Why? I get the hops first and foremost. What a delivery. Must try.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.74/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle pour for New Brew Thursday's 3rd Anniversary event held at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

Pours a murky honey orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, honey, and citrus zest. Taste is much the same with a citrus zest flavor on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp but medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is tasty and drinkable.

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Photo of metter98
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear copper in color and has a light to moderate amount of carbonation. It poured with a finger high off white head that died down but consistently left a thin head covering the surface and lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: There are aromas of citrus and pine resin hops in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste is quite citrusy and has some notes of pine resin along with hints of caramel from the underlying malts. There is a moderate to strong amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is quite drinkable considering its strength because the alcohol is relatively well masked from the taste.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.07/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This brew poured out as a nice golden color with a strong white head on top. The smell of citrusy hops, some tropical fruits and a little pine on the nose. The taste of the beer follows along the same lines as the nose. The mouthfeel has a good tingle to it and yet it remains smooth feeling. Overall the beer is a very good and probably one of my favorites from Harpoon.

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Photo of brentk56
2.8/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy golden color with a modest head that leaves a few dots here and there

Smell: Piney and boozy, with a very resinous character

Taste: Sweet malt, up front, with a growing piney and boozy bitterness that develops through mid-palate; strong juniper berry aspect, as well; after the swallow, the resinous character lingers long into the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, with moderate to low carbonation; very sticky, with plenty of warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: Way too boozy and sticky for me; with the juniper berry element, it almost tastes like a "beer-tini"

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

While at my local beer store earlier, the checker-outer complimented me on the purchase of this beer and continued to 'splain to me that it was as good as Hopslam. I was keenly smiling in amusement as I left the store. Now that I have this beer in front of me, I should wipe that smirk off of my face because this is one really good beer.

The pour brings a deeply golden color with light copper highlights. Elegant carbonation slowly pushes the 1/2" head that fuels a lot of retention and lacing. No haze at all as this beer is surely filtered.

At first the aromas of piney, grassy hops were evident, but the beer warms quickly and unleashes a plethera of pineapple and perfume notes that dominate the glass. Hints of citrus and fruity sweetness make the beer extremely appealing. Malts give a subtle sweetness to amplify the fruitiness in a very intriguing way.

Flavors of pineapple and other fruity and citrusy notes prevail up front. Malts give a light barley taste with some caramels but light on sweetness. The flavor is bursting with hops of obvious American influence. Not an overly complex flavor; just a hoppy beer that has a unique identity with a supporting cast of well attenuated malt flavor and yeasty fruitiness.

The body is also amazing. For such fruitiness and malty caramel taste, the sweetness of the beer doesn't leave any resisual sugars on the palate at all. Fully attenuated for a crisp, clean malt body. Hops help to dry the beer while giving up the savory pineapple taste. Dry and with a long citrus linger in the aftertaste.

This beer is certainly more than I expect from Harpoon. The play of caramelized malts, perfume and pineapples is increadible. A lot of fruitiness makes me think English in the yeast, but the crisp, clean, and full attenuation is classically American. If there is a complaint, the mid-palate of the beer seems to empty a bit and this allows a metalic bite to interfere with the finish.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.7/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.

Served in a tulip glass. Pours a nice amber color with a pretty thick white head that is persistent throughout and leaves nice carbonation bubbles behind. Nose is full of strong citrus and pine hops. The taste is along the same lines though a bit of alcohol bite sneaks in. Orange, grapefruit, and pine needles. Feel is pretty bitter. Drinks well enough, but not enough there to really bring me back.

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Photo of zeff80
4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a hazy, copper color with a rocky, two-finger head of tan foam. It left behind sticky rings of intricate lace.

S - It smelled very strongly of grapefruit with milder notes of citrus and caramel.

T - It hits with bitter hops at first sip and brings some alcohol heat. Good burnt toast maltiness with grapefruit and touches of orange peel.

M - This is a very crisp and dry finishing brew. A full-bodied ale with a very warm alcohol presence.

D - Great brew from Harpoon. My first from the Leviathan series and I am very impressed.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shimmering tangerine with a bright orange ball indicating the morning sun behind the pint glass. The rich and creamy crown is darker than ivory and lighter than ecru. It has terrific texture, plentiful persistence and is beginning to blast the glass with lovely looking lace.

The ingredients list is right up my DIPA lovin' alley: primarily pale malt (with a smidgen of caramel) and hops to the tune of Chinook, Centennial, Simcoe and Amarillo. The tropical fruity nose isn't quite a gobsmacker, but it's still a pleasure to sniff and indicates good things to come.

Harpoon Leviathan Imperial IPA is a good one, no doubt about it. The barley backbone is huge and the hop load is pretty hefty as well. Attempting to assess IBUs (by one's senses at least) is a fool's errand since there are so many factors at play. Still, it's hard to believe that 122 is an accurate number. The beer is bitter, but it isn't scathingly bitter.

Caramel-coated sugar cookies hold down the bottom end, allowing pungent pine resins and grapefruit-orange zesty hops to punch their way through the top end. As is often the case with beer of this style with a double-digit ABV, the alcohol isn't completely masked. That little bit of heat is the main reason why the taste and drinkability scores aren't higher.

The mouthfeel is classic American DIPA. In other words, it's medium-full and slightly sappy, with soft and gentle carbonation. The final effect is a bit on the firm side, though, due to the bracing quality of the alcohol.

Harpoon Leviathan is aptly named. It's a beast of a beer that doesn't pussy-foot around with respect to either malt or hops. Triticus Ale (props to Todd and Jason) and the wildly underappreciated Summer Beer are still this brewery's best. Thanks to prototypic for the bottle.

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Photo of oberon
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Great to see this down here in my area.Poured into a nonic a rich deep golden near bronze with a bit of chill haze,a thick,tight,creamy white head atop that never completely settled.Big citric hop in the nose,deep grapefruit rind and lemon pith,as the bottle says juicy hop flavors of grapefruit and resiny pine with some caramel/tofee flavors coming thru in the finish.Its very fresh tasting and very drinkable for its size,a very nice DIPA to sip on today.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to some kind New England traders who sent me down a bottle of this brew to try. Always a fan of the big IPA, I could not wait to dig in. Served at a nice cellar temp, this was decanted into a snifter and consumed on 12/18/2008.

The pour was decent. A very dark amber color with a small white head of foam that came up over the top. A nice settle down caused the lace to cling a touch but the top did go bare after a few minutes.

The aroma was very nice though. Rich citrus hops, lots of grapefruit and pineapple notes. Light biscuit comes through as it warms and a touch of alcohol starts to really come through. The flavor was nicely balanced. At first a touch shredding with loads of pineapple and bitter grapefruit coming through, but mellowing nicely as it came up to room temperature, offering some departure with a touch of sweet caramel flavor. Nice medium body was spot on for the style and the strong alcohol notes led this one to be a real nice sipper.

Overall a very solid beer from Harpoon here. I would love to have this one around locally.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours out an obscured, dull, dark orange body with a bubbly, white head.

Smell: The nostrils receive an instantaneous snap of deep, resinous pine and citrus pith splashed with pineapple juice. It's got some dankness to it. Lesser scents of light caramel maltiness in the background.

Taste: There's a brief stop-over at the pale, light caramel malts and then it's off to the hops. Plenty of pervasive pine, crumbly white grapefruit pith, and pineapple. The purported 10% is never an issue. Moderate bitterness that lasts until the dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Personally, I could appreciate a slight bump in the overall body, but still, it's a fairly good, fairly enjoyable bitter brew.

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Photo of jlindros
4.57/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottled into snifter

A: Big frothy head with clear pale golden color and slight orange hue

N: Can smell from 10 feet away, lots of piney citrus American hops and touch of sweet malty caramel

T: Taste starts with more strong piney hops and touch of sweet cirtus and caramel malt, I get a touch of biscuit, the center is very juicy like ripe fruit that makes my mouth water, theres a slight toasted malt character as well in the background

M: Juicy and slightly thick with pretty good carbonation

F: More piney American hops bear down on the tongue, its pretty dry as well as the hops build up, a slight piney and juicy citrus slowly fade for 20-30 seconds and the mouth waters for more

Final thoughts: A great IPA that I think can stand up to most West Boast hop bombs. The malt gives it a good base but is overshadowed by the huge hop. You can barely detect that its 9.3% alc. This is one of those beers that I get when I have a craving for an awesome juicy IPA.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a Harpoon 100 Barrel Series tulip glass.

Pours a clear golden amber with 2 fingers of poofy off-white head. The retention is creamy with a big ole' flareup when swirled, leaving a huge sticky latticework of lacing down the sides of the glass. The aroma is big hops and spice up front, with a tangy mix of caramel sweetness and tropical citric fruits next, lastly followed by a stiff waft of alchohol that singes the nose hairs a bit.

The taste starts out with a moderately aggressive hop profile that is earthy, spicy, and a touch resinous all rolled up in one. This is supported a beefy backbone of sweet caramel, citrus, and grainy malts. Bitterness returns after the malts fade out and lingers for a bit. The mouthfeel is medium-fuller bodied with a beefy (that almost gets to be a bit boozy)and slick feel at times. There is still a touch of creaminess to the carbonation though that keeps the big flavors and ABV moving along.

Pretty straight forward East Coast DIPA here that showcases it's malt and alcohol just about as much (or even more) as it's hops. I wish I could have gotten to this a little fresher. I had the chance to sample this at the Boston brewery last October and the hops just popped so much more then.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
4.24/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This looks like a pretty rare beer on here, I'm glad my local beer store had it in stock last week for me to try it. This is one of the best smelling beers I've layed my nose on... ever. It's simply a hop explosion of smell which is awesome. Taste wise its of course loaded with hops and bitter, maybe a little too overkill taste wise, I can't see having more than one or two at a time. But those one or two are delicious, well balanced, and really warm you up. This double IPA is much smoother than others I've tried.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.53/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap 10/26/08 at Doherty's East Ave Irish Pub in Pawtucket, RI, served in a snifter glass.

A: The beer is a bright reddish orange color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is full of hops, citrus and some caramelized malts.

T: The taste is very hoppy and very fruity with a strong floral bitterness bite and a strong citrus sweetness. The malt character is a bit thinner than most beers in the style, but is hearty enough to provide a good balance. The after-taste is slightly hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Very crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, not too filling, strong kick, very good representation of style, this is an excellent high-octane hop-bomb that is worth drinking for a whole evening.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked this up at Thirsty's in York, PA last night. 12 oz brown bottle Poured chilled into a tulip

A - An apricot shade w/ great clarity, three fingers of rocky ecru caps the imperial IPA. Thick lace clings, visible carbonation rises, the bead is ultra-fine.

S - Luscious herbaceous pine w/ citrus notes and mild fruit. Hints of floral sweet odors as the malt w/ mild alcohol augments the dense hop aroma

M - Warming feeling w/ high bitter intensity, low to medium sweetness w/ moderate carbonation and slick sweet finish w/ a tingly acidity. The thickness is medium and fruity sticky quality coats the mouth

T - A pinecone woody bark like bitter taste w/ a creeping herbal and citrus shadow. Sweet and candy like malt supplants the green taste and gives a honey like edge to the sharp grapefruit taste and hint of alcohol. The fruity sweet flavor is really tasty alongside the bountiful hop flavor.

D - One of the best IIPA's for drinkability , not a challenge, but has all the necessary components and is really easy to knock back even at 10%, without assaulting the palate

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear golden amber with a creme head. Nose is sticky sweet with salty hop tones and pine aspects as well. Flavor is slight salt on firmer pine tones. Sticky sweet as well. Feel is a slightly full carbonation and the liquid is about typical. A bit rough on the profile, but it's still nice to drink.

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Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, best by 4/15/2012. Pours slightly hazy golden orange color with a nice 2 finger dense white head with great retention that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Some nice spotty lacing on the glass. Aromas of big pine, grapefruit, orange, mango, grass, caramel, honey, and some spicy alcohol. Nice and well balanced aromas with good strength. Taste of grapefruit, mango, pine, orange, biscuit, caramel, honey, and herbal spiciness. Good amount of bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, pine, caramel, honey, and herbal spiciness on the finish for a while. Good malt flavor and bitterness balance. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a fairly creamy and slightly syrupy mouthfeel. Quite smooth to drink but is definitely a sipper. Alcohol is fairly well hidden with only a warming after the finish noticed. Overall this is a very nice imperial IPA. Nice and balanced hop flavors; and quite smooth to sip on.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pale slightly hazed, copper oange body, with a bright light khaki head forms like custard on a lemon merange. Thick chunky sporadic layers of lacing are left clinging to the glass. Aroma has a great blast of citrus orange/grapefruit peels with a layer of sugar coated pale malts semi dry with some alcoholic notes tickling the nares. Flavor is so bitter sweet candy coated hops, more grapefruit sprinkled with sugar the malts really kick in the sweetness to add some sweetness in a raucously bitter beer. Pale biscuit malt sweetness finishes dry enough to be somewhat balanced in the sea of citrus peel and pine cone edge hops. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with slick hop oils coating the palate and teeth, finishes dry with the hop bitterness. Drinkability overall was excellent this is up there with some of the most drinkable DIPAs, I've come across I can't wait to try the rest of the Levithan series.

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Photo of smcolw
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Impressive large head that settles into a frothy dome. Lots of chunky and spotty lace. The liquid is hazy with an orange-amber color

Muted hop aroma of grapefruit citrus. Initially, I noted a slight plastic smell.

Strong bitter finish that lasts a long time after the swallow. The alcohol is notable but not overwhelming. Creamy mouthfeel--low carbonation.

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Photo of chinchill
3.82/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle - best by 7/2011 dated - served in a pint glass

A - pours a clear orange/amber color with a small amount of creamy off-white head that mostly fades rather quickly. No sediment in bottle.

Strong aroma dominated by malt, hops and esters. Rather piney with a bit of fruitiness.

T - bold and rich but well balanced, with exceptionally strong malt and piney hop components. The hop component dominates in the finish and aftertaste. High ABV apparent; high bitterness (IBU = 120!) not apparent.

M - High ABV provides a bite on the tongue followed by a warm in the finish. It is a fairly full bodied beer with adequate but light carbonation.

High ABV sipper; one and done but happy to repeat on another day.

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Photo of jwc215
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours deep, bright golden with a thin white head that lasts, leaving lovely lacing.

The smell is of citrus - grapefruit, esp., and some pine. Awesome hop aroma. A Super-charged American IPA hop aroma! I love it!

The taste is of citric and some piney hops - grapefruit-y with some sweetness from a malt backing. Alcohol could be more covered, but the overall taste is great, if you like really citric hops with just a touch of malt sweetness. Finishes with a balanced bitterness.

A tad harsh from the alcohol, the body could be a slight fuller and still keep from being syrupy, but it works well how it is..

A very enjoyable brew, despite noticeable alcohol (which is not unexpected for abv level). Would not trade in a milder abv for milder hops on this one though.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.97/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a goblet. This beer looks like grapefruit juice. It is completely cloudy, I can't tell about the carbonation, it is too hazy. A white head forms but falls away quickly, leaving some lacing on the glass.

A lot of sweetness in the aroma, some hop character. I was expecting more from the aroma, but it smells like a weaker version of other IPAs.

Smooth, a slight aftertaste that is heavy in citrus. The hop bitterness is cut a lot by forward sweetness and other flavors.

Body is really thick, higher than I expected. Drinkability is good for a DIPA. I'm not sure I would recommend it for DIPA drinkers, but I would say that its worth a look. I've definitely had better. But overall a pretty good beer.

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Photo of stakem
3.51/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Original review from notes taken 2/6/10 (Score of 4.1)

Pours a clear orange color with a thin head of slightly yellowish foam. Minor ring of lace clings around the glassware. Aroma of citrus that is slightly floral. Taste is hoppy upfront tasting of citrus and pine with a slight resine feel to it. Thin bodied, moderately carbonated. It has a noteable amount of alcohol warmth. Malt backbone has a pleasant amount of sweetness to counter balance the hop punch. Very drinkable for 10 abv.


5.5 years later, re-reviewing a new batch on 8/20/15 and revising my score.

12oz bottle poured into can glass. The brew appears with polished copper clarity with frothy off-white cap. The smell is herbal and a little soapy. Caramel malt, fruity alcohol mildly solvent. Tastes almost burnt and fruity/herbal with boozy solvent character. Mild mineral aspects. This is medium bodied, moderately carbonated and overall just interesting. Id likely not buy this.

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Harpoon Leviathan - Imperial IPA from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
90 out of 100 based on 705 ratings.