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Harpoon Chocolate Stout - Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

Not Rated.
Harpoon Chocolate StoutHarpoon Chocolate Stout

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721 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 721
Reviews: 268
rAvg: 3.62
pDev: 15.75%
Wants: 14
Gots: 31 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
American Stout |  5.90% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
Harpoon Chocolate Stout is brewed with an abundance of chocolate malt and a touch of chocolate.

40 IBU

(Beer added by: Brad007 on 10-24-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 721 | Reviews: 268 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of albern
4/5  rDev +10.5%

One reviewer commented that this beer tastes like a milk chocolate Ovaltine. That is the dead ringer. The beer pours a very inky black with a dark slightly creamy and foamy head that retains pretty well and laces a bit. The nose on the beer is a wonderful cacao and mocha aroma. There is some nicely roasted malts in there, but the nose is just a delightful dark chocolate experience and very unique. Very enticing.

The taste is also quite unique and beguiling, although I don't think this is a session beer by a long shot. The beer is modestly carbonated, it has the milk chocolatey Ovaltine taste, some mocha blended in, with a bit of hop character that adds some acerbic qualities coming on somewhat stronger in the finish. There is a slightly roasted and bready quality to the beer around the edges, but the chocolate experience really defines this beer. It is a slightly unusual chocolatey flavor, almost fortified with protein, hence the Ovaltine comparison, and a somewhat cardboard like flatness also comes out. This is a most unique beer well worth seeking out and not like your typical chocolate stouts. This is flavorful with lots of individual character. Do try it.

Update 12-2009: I really like the cocoa powder chocolate character of this beer. It is a bit lighter bodied than the typical winter stout, less coffee tasting as well. The milk shake ovaltine description is fitting.

albern, Dec 21, 2008
Photo of FenwaySquid
4.15/5  rDev +14.6%

Presentation: 12 oz. brown bottle, "winter 08-09" printed on the label and BBD of 3/15/09 found on the bottle neck, poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep dark brown color, almost black but not quite. The head formed about 1 finger thick light tan and faded quickly.

Aroma: Sweet and dark chocolate, very inviting.

Taste: Not quite as good as the smell. Chocolate and coffee flavors dominate throughout. The finish is disappointing. The chocolate is there but it faded rather quickly.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied, fairly smooth and almost creamy at times. The carbonation balanced well.

Overall: I'd have liked it to be more full bodied and perhaps higher alcohol, like an imperial stout. Still, though, this is pretty decent stuff. Just keep in mind it's only 6.3% ABV.

FenwaySquid, Dec 20, 2008
Photo of fitzy84
4.3/5  rDev +18.8%

Had in their winter sample pack. The appearance is jet black with a brown-colored lacing on the sides. Really thin head though. Aromas are really rich in a smoked mocha chocolate flavor. Noticed a hint of toffee, but much more of a dark chocolate. Taste is really great, representative of the aromas. Bittersweet dark chocolate flavor. Mouthfeel helps with a light carbonation to an otherwise creamy drink that is also pretty light comparatively. Overall, a fantastic chocolate stout.

fitzy84, Dec 19, 2008
Photo of MattCote
3.33/5  rDev -8%

Poured at refridgerator temperature into a pint glass from a 12 oz bottle. I'm not a huge fan of specifically flavored stouts-- chocolate, oatmeal, smoked-- so bear that in mind when regarding my review.

Appearance: Pours a deep impermeable black, like molasses or pitch. Cannot even see through the beer when held up to the light. Looks like we're in for a nice dark stout, nothing held back.

Smell: Aromatic and chocolatey, much as it should be, like a bitter high-cacao content chocolate bar. Barley scents barely manage to escape the chocolate fragrance.

Taste: Bitter on the tongue at first, migrating into a saccharine flood of cacao at the rear. Flavors are fleeting, so it's difficult to define them. Notes of biscuit and coffee beans dwell beneath the bitter chocolate flavors. Acidity somehow manages to emerge as a byproduct. Taste is comparable to an 88% cacao dark chocolate truffle filled with a weak-flavored milk chocolate center, transitioning as you penetrate the shell.

Mouthfeel: Immensely chewy at first, yielding far too quickly into a near watery resolve. It somehow cannot withstand being drank; much like a corn flour mixture, it seems to be both a solid and liquid. Incomprehensible and muddled at best.

Drinkability: Not a session beer. Despite it's watery resolve, (compared to its front-heavy flavors,) it should be enjoyed as a single. Most chocolate stouts seem to produce this effect for me. Who really wants another hersheys bar after you've eaten a whole one?

Overall, a highly confusing experience. This beer is decent, but ultimately sells the whole "chocolate" thing too eagerly. It should be the sideshow, not the main event. At the end of the day, Stout is the ringleader.

MattCote, Dec 18, 2008
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.3/5  rDev -8.8%

Bottle. Pours dark brown with a small light tan head. Aroma of Hershey's chocolate syrup and hot fudge. Very chocolatey! Flavor is less chocolatey, a little bland and muddled, very artificially sweet. Overall it is not such a good beer but I really like the aroma!
Aroma: 9/10
Appearance: 3/5
Flavor: 6/10
Palate: 3/5
Overall: 13/20

LilBeerDoctor, Dec 14, 2008
Photo of bjoyce12
3.33/5  rDev -8%

D'oh! Had such high hopes for this offering from Harpoon. Pours a dark brown as you'd expect in a chocolate, and the aroma is pure chocolate. Like smelling a vat of melted Hershey's. Unbelieveable aroma. Really hoped that the taste would match, but no. Falls very flat. Slight chocolate taste, very light cocoa notes, but if it weren't for the nose I wouldn't be sure this is a chocolate. Maybe Harpoon will refine the taste as it evolves if they keep it as an option, 'cause not there yet. Southern Tier Choklat and Rogue Choc Stout still the best two chocolates by far...

bjoyce12, Dec 08, 2008
Photo of Duhast500
3.85/5  rDev +6.4%

Held to the light this beer becomes opaque. Very black with a slight foamy brown head. Not very carbonated but the growler I had sitting in the fridge for a week so that may have been my fault.

The smell, as by the name, smells strong with a chocolate flavor. Somewhat coffee in nature the smell bursts out from the first pour. Has a slight almond smell as well.

The taste is smoky, somewhat with that same chocolate and coffee flavor to it. Almond and a soft hop taste rounds this brew out. If you are not used to a stout with this type of taste it may take you a sec to get used to it.

The mouth feel is a bit strong. Since I like a beer that is a bit strong I was quite happy with the results.

My first real experience with a beer that was chocolate flavored. I was quite happy to say that I enjoyed it very much.

Duhast500, Dec 06, 2008
Photo of Hokies
2.75/5  rDev -24%

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a deep black colour with some red hues and a thin tan head that dissipates quickly.

Aroma is filled with sweet and roasted chocolate malt. Smells a lot like Bailey's and hershey syrup.

Taste is very light to begin with sweet malt and a roasted chocolate flavor but something is off. Their is a light hop flavor that adds a slight bitter aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is quite carbonated and makes it tough to drink, although not a bad beer I won't search it out again.

Hokies, Dec 06, 2008
Photo of Pamola
3/5  rDev -17.1%

Bought the Harpoon Winter Variety to get my hands on this one. Dunno what I'll do with the Winter Warmer from this pack.

A: Poured a bit watery. Nothing silky smooth stoutish about this one at all. Gave a small tan head that dissipated very quickly, leaving no trails or legs.

S: Deep, rich chocolate and molasses. Slight bitterness/sharpness like that of dark chocolate. Might be the best part of this brew.

T: Chocolate is more than present. Omnipresent. There's a disjointed and sharp acid taste that makes this taste like a cold gas station mocha cappuccino. Very roasty, but bitter like birch, not smooth like oak.

M: Hard to describe. Not an even experience. Goes from full to light to empty.

D: Allthough there are redeeming qualities to this beer, I couldn't see myself drinking multiple and certainly couldn't see myself buying a 6pack should they choose to release this brew as such.

Keep the brain trust working on making the 100bbl series reputable again.

Pamola, Nov 25, 2008
Photo of mcox90
3.68/5  rDev +1.7%

12 oz. bottle from Harpoon's Wintery seasonal 12 pack. Pours a dark brown with ruby edges. Small tan head and no lacing. Smell is all chocolate. Palate is a bit thin for a stout. However, after drinking it, you feel full. Taste is chocolate. Perhaps with a touch of cherry. Chocolate covered cherries anyone? Not a whole lot of complexity here. Although it,s far from perfect, it was enjoyable. To bad you only get 2 out of the 12 pack.

mcox90, Nov 22, 2008
Photo of Hawthorne
2.53/5  rDev -30.1%

The folks at Harpoon have left little to the imagination with this brew. Indeed, when the bottle says chocolate it really means chocolate. Indeed, I truly feel like I just drank watery chocolate milk with a dash of Ovaltine. If you like your beer like commercial hip hop - which is to say with little subtlety and less craft, then this is the beer for you.
The pour is great, the smell is striking and the taste is somewhere between a smore and zinc lozenge. Happy Holidays!

Hawthorne, Nov 22, 2008
Photo of Doomcifer
3/5  rDev -17.1%

Pours very dark with mahogany hues shining through when held to the light. Great, frothy, light brown head that retains forever! Smells like Hersheys syrup. So far, so good...then tasting the beer, it goes downhill. There's a certain off-taste right up front that sticks to the palate. Sort of tinny, along with chocolate syrup, and a weird cherry-like flavor. Semi dry finish, light carbonation, pretty thin. It's okay at best. Great looking beer, smells pretty promising, then let down by the actual substance of the brew - the flavor. Close, but no cigar.

Doomcifer, Nov 21, 2008
Photo of bum732
1.8/5  rDev -50.3%

Looks good, smells like Hershey's syrup. Very heavy chocolate smell with just a faint malt smell in the background. Bitterness and chocolate taste right off the bat. Middle has a weird metallic off-chocolate taste. Not much finish. Not a whole lot of body.

The chocolate in this beer tastes very artificial and does not meld well with the malt. Bottle says there is "chocolate flavor" added, whatever the hell that means. I think the metallic taste is from the chocolate flavoring, not very sweet for a chocolate stout. Overall, i wouldn't recommend it.

bum732, Nov 21, 2008
Photo of MrHurmateeowish
3.8/5  rDev +5%

12oz bottle from a mixed 12pack from Market Basket. Pours an almost opaque black with few ruby-red highlights and a quarter inch of light tan head. Smells strongly of chocolate malt (not chocolate), reminiscent of espresso beans. Espressso beans dominate the flavor as well with a malty sweetness. Flavor actually reminds me a lot of a less alcoholic Kahlua. Very similar to Kahlua, which doesn't bother me since I really like Kahlua. Medium in body with ample carbonation. Not the most drinkable beer in the world, though it wasn't much work to finish the glass. A unique interesting beer unlike any I've had. Perhaps a more fitting name would be 'Coffee Stout' rather than a chocolate stout, though I understand the name. Glad I tried it, definitely worth a try. I may try cooking with this one too - I think it may add a unique pleasant character to a chocolate pudding or brownies (see Saunders' 'Best of American Beer and Food' to see what I mean). Not a bad beer overall.

MrHurmateeowish, Nov 12, 2008
Photo of matsputis
2.85/5  rDev -21.3%

Poured black w/ a light brown head. The head falls quickly.

Smells like chocolate powder. Not that intense but definitely unique from other stouts/porters.

It tastes very chocolatey to begin with. The roastiness never really balances it out, so it's a bit cloying. The other taste that really stood out for me was french vanilla coffee. It reminds me a bit like a Dunkin Donuts flavoring.

The mouthfeel was kind of chalky. It was pretty thick in my opinion.

Overall I'm glad there's only two of these in the mix pack. I couldn't drink more than that. The flavors were too quirky - just didn't do it for me.

matsputis, Nov 08, 2008
Photo of selecter70
3.33/5  rDev -8%

I have to say that I was very excited to notice this chocolate stout in the Harpoon Christmas 12-pack & grabbed it right away off the shelf at the ever-better Johnny's Foodmaster next door. Sadly, though, even as I poured this the anticipation waned, as what came out looked more like a porter than a stout proper. The chocolate aroma was quite nice, the head very lacking and the taste was a bit medicinal. I went back to my pal Munich Dark thereafter, a bit disappointed.

selecter70, Nov 06, 2008
Photo of admiralcrunch
4.22/5  rDev +16.6%

Part of the Harpoon Wintry 12-pack at Marty's in Allston.

HUGE chocolate flavor all around. It reminds me of the Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence, but the OCI was more dry. This stuff is a purer/smooth chocolate taste. Would love to buy year-round. In fact, I already emailed Harpoon asking if it was available in kegs. I know it's not, but hopefully they get the message.

admiralcrunch, Nov 05, 2008
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
2.4/5  rDev -33.7%

This is part of a very diverse winter '08-'09 twelve pack that includes an old Harpoon favorite of mine, the Munich-type Dark ale. I had this one last time I was in the Boston brewery, direct from the tasting room. The pack also includes UFO, winter Warmer and IPA.

This one pours into my Otter Creek World Tour Imperial pint glass looking like an opaque black color, but a tiny bit of light is popping through as a deep ruby amber color. The head is an active tan color that dissipates rather fast for a stout, a bit too much carbonation perhaps is keeping this one from forming a solid crown.

The aroma is a very bold chocolate liquer scent with Swiss miss choclate cocao and vanilla. The heat from the alcohol is a bit sharp on the nose which creates a very intense liquer-like scent. This chocolate scent overpowers everything else.

The flavor is exactly the same as the aroma, it's a cloying, syruppy chocolate liquer with hot cocoa mix and a sharp, heagt that really makes this one taste like a chocolate-infused vodka drink with Hershey's syruppy poured in it. The chocolate effect is way too much with little else to balance this one out...besides the alcohol heat, which is way to sharp fpr 6 + % abv.

The feels is a bit too thin and active for my palate, it's really only this side of medium bodied, and it finishes rather lifeless and slick.

I was very dissapointed in this brew, it comes in a rather exciting twelve pack, but alas, it was my least favorite.

GratefulBeerGuy, Nov 04, 2008
Photo of dnichols
3.25/5  rDev -10.2%

A: It poured a dark black body with a slight dark tan head. The head receded to a ring around the collar. There were leggy and clumpy bits of lacing.

S: It emitted lots of sweet chocolate roasted malts. There were hints of very faint whiffs of dark fruit and spices.

T: It had a sweet bitter and sweet chocolate start with roasted malt smokiness and hints of plums.

M: It was light to medium bodied with a bit of "watered down" feel to the liquid. It finished with a smoky bitter presence that lingered on in the aftertaste.

D: It was a bit thin and one dimensional making it a fair but unimpressive brew. It's light enough to drink several but why would you when there are so many other better brews in this style.

dnichols, Nov 01, 2008
Photo of sethmeister
3.33/5  rDev -8%

Bottle marked winter 08/09 into pint glass at just below room temperature.

Pours an oaky dark brown and looks black in the glass. Red when held to the light. Large fizzy crackling tan head drops to a skim rapidly and leaves no lace.

Scent is milk chocolate hot cocoa from a foot away. Slight toasty and burnt notes merge afterwards.

Taste is a flash of surprisingly strong chocolate flavor, followed by lingering roasty, burnt notes, chocolate malt, and a slight hop bitterness. There's a cold black ice coffee note.

Mouth is strongly carbonated, thin and a bit watery.

Drinkability is ok.

The carbonation makes it feel like a soft drink, the chocolate flavor seems a bit unnatural, and there isn't enough substance beyond that. Won't buy again.

sethmeister, Oct 28, 2008
Photo of Brad007
3.78/5  rDev +4.4%

Pours a pitch black color with a very thin brown head. Seems par the course.

Aroma is full of sweet cocoa with a creaminess that is apparent in the nose. Roasted malt seems hidden.

Taste is sweet with a decent hint of cocoa upfront and a bit of creaminess. A little too carbonated but the cocoa really seems to stick out. Some roasty flavors show up in the middle.

Mouthfeel is somewhat thin but the cocoa and roastiness seem to linger. Carbonation is a bit rough.

Not a bad attempt at a chocolate stout. I have heard that this is a very limited brew and I can kind of see why that is. It seems rather thin on mouthfeel and it did get off to a good start with the aroma. Taste is in the middle due to the carbonation. It's worth a try but I wouldn't recommend buying an entire 12 pack just to get it unless you happen to like Harpoon's other brews as well.

Brad007, Oct 24, 2008
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Harpoon Chocolate Stout from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
82 out of 100 based on 721 ratings.