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Harpoon Leviathan - Baltic Porter - Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

Not Rated.
Harpoon Leviathan - Baltic PorterHarpoon Leviathan - Baltic Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

353 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 353
Reviews: 239
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 9.55%
Wants: 42
Gots: 13 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Baltic Porter |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
Leviathan Baltic Porter is a dark, strong beer of considerable complexity. Brewed with a highly alcohol-tolerant strain of lager yeast, it has a smooth, full flavor with dark fruit and licorice notes in the aroma. De-husked roasted malt lends a dark chocolate character without being sharp or harsh. Raw sugar and dark crystal malt give some raisin and molasses notes while East Kent Goldings hops make for a long, earthy finish.

38 IBU

(Beer added by: lpayette on 11-16-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 353 | Reviews: 239 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of gford217
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a tulip.

Pours a dark, dark brown that's nearly black in the glass underneath a big creamy tan head that shows very good retention and lacing.

The aroma is dominated by dark roasted malts and lots of milk chocolate. It's pretty sweet for the style and has hints of roasted coffee. It smells almost like a mocha with a shot of espresso.

The taste is also dominated by the roasted dark malts and has a little more coffee than the aroma. There are definitely hints of lactose and milk chocolate.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and well carbonated and it's fairly smooth and less roasty than I was expecting in the finish.

This is a very good beer from Harpoon but it's not at the top of my list of porters as the lactose is a little out of place in the taste and the body probably doesn't stack up to the best in the style. Still, a good beer.

gford217, Nov 08, 2009
Photo of jasonjlewis
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours a decent inital 1 finger head with a dark brown color. Lacing fades half way through. Appearance is not a huge deal to me, so I adjust

Smell is of chocolate malts with hints of cocoa and coffee and a bit of licorice.

The taste is outstanding. Very chocolatey and smooth, any roastiness is perceived as smooth on the palate. Low bitternes, no harshness. Caramel malts balance ou the chocolate malts and minimal roast exquisitely.

Smooth, slick mouthfeel.

This is outstanding for the style. The richness of dark malts with a backing caramel malt sweetness and a slick mouthfeel makes for one hell of a beer. I would have never guess in a million years that the abv was so high.

jasonjlewis, Oct 22, 2009
Photo of tigg924
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: dark brown in color, 1/2 inch head,

Smell: roasted malt and some cocoa

Taste: roasted malt, some cocoa, a touch of cream, and a bit of nut in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, medium carbonation, dry, semi-sweet

Drinkability: I think this is above average for a baltic porter. It hits the style without pushing the envelope. I do like how the alcohol is not overpowering. I look forward to finishing the four pack, but may not get this again. A perfectly above average beer.

tigg924, Oct 01, 2009
Photo of Jwale73
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle served at 48 degrees in my New Belgium Globe glass. No freshness dating indicated on the bottle. Poured two shades shy of black with a loose, half inch, khaki-colored head. Head eventually recedes into a broken skim. Some thick bands of lacing revealed during the tasting with decent adhesion. Big chocolate nose and dark fruit. Taste follows nose, but also a bit of lactose in the mix and some acidity that comes out at the finish. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, with a somewhat lively carbonation level - lactose gives it a slightly creamy texture. Really tasty, with a well-hidden abv. I'm usually not big on the style, but I'm loving this one. Another outstanding brew from the Leviathan series.

Jwale73, Sep 21, 2009
Photo of srandycarter
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours pretty darned black, not much head, leaves of white ring.

S - Cocoa, mostly, sharp notes on finish.

T - Nice muted cocoa, chocolate milk, cookies and some coffee.

M - Good carb and balance, aggressive enough to keep interest.

D - A nice brew.

srandycarter, Sep 18, 2009
Photo of sisuspeed
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had one last bottle of this sitting around from last winter and decided I should give it a review.

Poured this fairly aggressively and produced a nice tan head. The color is dark and murky, with maybe the slightest red tinge to it.

Mmmm, the aroma is chocolatey, roasted malts mingled with some wood notes. Reminds me of walking through a pine forest in the middle of winter, accompanied by a warm crackling fire. The smell of wood and some smoke. There is also something sweet there as well. Possibly fruit, cherries.

The flavor is strong roasted and smoked malts. Followed by some chocolate malts and a little bit of fruit. The finish is intertwined with a bit of warming alcohol and licorice. Overall, roasty and dark. I remember there being more of a cherry presence when I drank a couple of these last winter, but I'm not getting too much of that flavor now. I wonder if that flavor is only good while the bottles are fresh off the line.

In conclusion, this is a nicely done baltic porter and a good addition to the Leviathan series. Hoping Harpoon produces more of this for the coming winter. At 9.5% ABV it warms you up nicely.

sisuspeed, Sep 06, 2009
Photo of abuliarose
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a rounded goblet, revealing a dark opaque body with an appealingly thick tan head. Lacing slips down the inside of the bowl. It doesn't appear very viscous. Smells roasty, savory and upon swirling hints of candied cherry are released.

Tastes roasted and chocolaty with a fine carbonation and pleasantly bitter finish. The alcohol vapor is laced with rich red cherry undertones. Quite warming. Medium-bodied thickness with a smooth but dry mouthfeel. The dryness makes this one more of a sipper after awhile, otherwise it tastes great.

This one would be fun to age, I imagine. Quite an enjoyable brew is this; one of my favorites from Harpoon.

abuliarose, Sep 06, 2009
Photo of Gtreid
3.73/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into my Stone IRS tulip.

A: Hazy, dark brown, very dark. The pour only produced about a half finger of kahki head that quickly receeded and left no lace.

A: Rich, dark chocolate, and coffee. Nice aroma from the roasted malts. Some light dried fruit, grassy hops, and alcohol are present as well.

T: Chocolate, coffee, and roasty nutty flavor. I get a little sourness from the dried fruit, but not as much of an earthy taste as I would prefer. Beer finishes dry with some alcohol heat.

M: Aggresive carbonation delivers the flavor nicely. Medium body.

D and overall impression: Drinkability is just slightly above average here. Overall, this is a fine beer. Nothing I'm gonna go ga ga over, but I'm enjoying this as it warms to room temp. Worth the try, but nothing I'll go out of my way to get. Skal.

Gtreid, Sep 04, 2009
Photo of Berthold
4.43/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured at SRM30+ dark brown with ruby red when backlit and a thin, tan head. Rich malty aroma with chocolate, toffee and licorace complex notes.Deeply roasted but not burnt. Thick rich dark maltiness with a slight 'juniper' taste. Velvety smooth mouthfeel. Clean finish with warming from alcohol. The flavor profile changes complexity as the beer warms slightly. A very drinkable beer.

Berthold, Aug 12, 2009
Photo of drgonzo3705
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Nice deep brown cola color with just enough head to get by.

S: Light licorice smell with a touch of what I call "baltic-ness". A touch of sweetness in the malt too.

M: Medium body with a fair amount of carbonation.

D: Not too shabby here. Very drinkable in the way of how it is a beer. Not my favorite Baltic Porter but still a very good beer.

drgonzo3705, Jul 19, 2009
Photo of tempest
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle from Abe's Cold Beer for a couple bucks. Appeared black with a light tan head in my glass. I though it made a great dessert beer and was a pretty good recreation of the style. I'd like to try is side-by-side with some of the classic baltic porters. The flavor was a mix of dry cocoa with dark fruit that come off closer to a cola taste to me. Still, it hits the marks (and hits them well) of being a relatively drinkable strong lager with both chocolate and fruit flavors. Very tasty and worth a try if you can find it.

tempest, Jul 05, 2009
Photo of mikereaser
3.33/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - pours a pitch black with ruby highlights when held up to the light with no foam to speak of

S - roasted malt aroma with some sweet dark fruit thrown in

T - roasted malt backbone with some bitter chocolate, sweet dark fruit flavor as well

M/D - nice mouthfeel and flavor, it was almost too sweet for me, something to sip on

mikereaser, Jun 26, 2009
Photo of CampusCrew
4.38/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice one Harpoon!

appearance: deep dark black, pure ebony, loaded head and creamy froth.

smell: no hops, and slight chocolate aromas

taste: rich and slight chocolate roasted flavors but had a smooth rich taste, sweet aftertaste and pleasant, goes great with dark bitter chocolate

mouthfeel: thick, creamy, good carbonation and very tasty

drinkability: One of the top imperial porters out there. Loved and will drink again

CampusCrew, Jun 26, 2009
Photo of msubulldog25
4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 bottle to a pint glass; one of two bottles received from a kind New England trader. A little surprise: this is my first Harpoon beer.

Label is a wicked-looking monster of a fish from the depths of the sea. A single orange eye aglow, a crimson glint off its menacing fangs.

A: Held to light it's a dark cola-brown, though it looks black enough otherwise. Slight reddish tint, a swarm of carbonation...but a also a fine cloud of suspended yeasty bits (this isn't more than 4-5 months old). Fairly strong head, a sandy-tan 1/2 finger at first, falls to a clinging ring and a couple small blots of film. Almost no lace.

S: Smells as grainy and fruity and chocolate-y as it should: caramel, cocoa, nuts, soda, and a little grape drink. Robust from start to finish.

T: Rich and ripe fruit, chocolate covered. An earthy berry and light coffee. Leans a little more toward an American Porter than a Euro-Baltic, much more roast and hop bitterness. Laced with vanilla and a little woodiness. Spiced sweetness in the finish, then lip-smacking caramel. Continues to open, develop as it warms. Terrific multi-layered flavor profile.

M: Burst of carbonation, then a mellow, mouth-filling coating. Hint of alcohol warmth, a tingling spice. Medium-full body with lasting sticky malts.

D: Big Boy beer, probably the heftiest of the Baltic Porters I've tried. As such, it's a sipper...but a tasty one. Nice flavor and aroma and a special mouthfeel. I won't rave about it, but I'm glad to have enjoyed it (twice). Worth seeking.

msubulldog25, Jun 21, 2009
Photo of williamherbert
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: deep reddish brown. Murky, but bright in front of the light. Big fluffy head. *Looks* like a Big Beer.

The aroma is heavy raisin and dark grape. Some roasted mocha and coffee. Dark and rich. Hint of dark sweetness. Dark cherries and oak.

The taste is bitter, bitter dark marlt. A bit sugary but also slightly sour. Grape, dates, raisins. A MAJOR burn on the way down, like rum. Burnt cookies.

The feel is creamy and milky. Smooth and buttery; no grit. This beer is seriously bitter and hefty. A slow sipper and a beast, but a delicious beast.

williamherbert, Jun 20, 2009
Photo of ShogoKawada
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured 12oz bottle into pint.

A- Pours black. Little read on this one. I'd say the color is bullseye for porter.

S- Sweet, like dried fruit. Something behind the initial sweetness, but I can't put my finger on it.

T- Smoky sweetness. The sugary sweet hits the back of the tongue. Very well done, complex taste. Coffee, smoke, and brown sugar come to mind. Hint of spice, as well as booze. Very nice.

M- Very well done. The alcohol isn't hidden, but it isn't overpowering, either. Very impressive @ 9.5%.

D- It's a toss up. I like porters, but don't usually drink more than 1. This beer is no exception, although I enjoyed it all the way down. Very filling.

ShogoKawada, Jun 17, 2009
Photo of Damian
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Drank from a 12 fl oz bottle purchased at Downtown Wine & Spirits, Somerville, MA
Served in a snifter

The beer poured a deep, dark mahogany color (approaching near black) with a two-finger, super bubbly and frothy cap of foam. A bit thinner and lighter in color than some of the more extreme examples of this style. The head slowly faded to a thick, bubbly collar.

The aroma was somewhat mild initially. Powdery, roasty and smooth with some crisp, lager-like qualities. Slightly smoky. As the head dissipated and the beer warmed, the aroma became much sweeter, stronger and more complex. Coffee and dark chocolate notes were apparent.

The taste was rich and robust. Dark malts and espresso notes came through up front. Plums, raisins, brown sugar, anice, semi-sweet chocolate and spices were noticeable in the center. The finish was crisp, dry and moderately hoppy. Some booziness appeared as well, along with a bit more spice. By the end of the glass, the finish turned pithy, dry, woody and a touch acrid.

The mouthfeel was a touch thinner than I anticipated with a very fine and mild carbonation.

At 9.5% ABV, this was a flavorful yet surprisingly drinkable version of a Baltic porter.

I was blown away by Harpoon's Triticus Ale and I have been impressed with all of their subsequent Leviathan releases. Keep 'em coming!

Damian, Jun 15, 2009
Photo of BeerNinja007
2.93/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle poured into a chilled O'Doul's pint glass. (I love the irony of drinking high ABV beer from an O'Doul's glass.)

A rigorous pour gives 1 finger of tan foam on top of a pitch black brew. A slight brown tinge shines through the edges of the glass when held to the light, but otherwise it's completely dark. Head fades to a thin layer which clings to the sides.

Smell is of burnt malts, somewhat acrid up front. Upon closer inspection I detect molassas, oak, a herbaceous notes, and some very faint floral notes. Overall it's very dark, burnt malts and woody/ grassy.

On the tongue, the woody oak/ cedar character comes through strong. Lots of dark malt and burnt sugars, like dark molassas without the sweetness. Herby notes are also much more distinct than in the nose... oregano and sage? Dry and somewhat acidic. Slight alcohol burn in the finish. There's a lot going on here, but it's not very refined or coherent, kinda harsh and chaotic.

Overall I'm not impressed, especially after being very pleased with the Leviathan Quad and especially the IPA. I did not enjoy the Porter nearly as much and will not be getting it again. There are much better porters available without the premium price. Sorry Harpoon, I love you dearly, but this one isn't up to par.

BeerNinja007, Jun 07, 2009
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a dark black color porter with a huge light brown foamy head with good retention and minimal lacing. Aromas of black chocolate and roasted malt are well balanced and quite enjoyable. Taste is also a well balance mix between some lightly bitter roasted malt notes with some dry black chocolate. Body is a bit thin with good carbonation and no signs of alcohol. A fuller body and more chocolate notes would have made this a pretty perfect Baltic Porter but this is very good nonetheless.

Phyl21ca, Jun 01, 2009
Photo of BeerResearcher
3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. No freshness date.
It pours a roofing tar black body with a thin wispy light tan head on top.
A big whiff of coffee liqueur fumes up at first pour. A smell of burnt rye bread, earth, chocolate, and horse barn are all quite noticeable. Very Nice!
Coffee, molasses and rye bread make up the main malt characteristics. Mild limey tartness along with a light metallic bitterness attempt to offset the large maltiness. No little avail. However, a big whopping tequila-like alcohol bite factors through.
This is a likeable big brew, though it is a bit over-the-top for the style.

BeerResearcher, May 31, 2009
Photo of Onenote81
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle received from JasonA in a recent trade. Thank you very much for this limited bottle!

Pours a deep dark cola color with about an inch's worth of head on top. No retention at all, and very little lacing. Smells of roasted coffee, cocoa, nuts, and bread.

Mouthfeel was crisp, yet creamy. This was very smooth. I dig it. Flavor was big time cocoa and coffee all melding and jiving together. Great roasty aftertaste. Finishes slightly bitter. Great Baltic Porter! I kept gulping and the ABV hit me a bit. Be careful. Recommend.

Onenote81, May 30, 2009
Photo of dogfishandi
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured from a 12oz. bottle at cellar temp into my stella artois glass. pours nearly opaque black, but when held up to the light reveals some rubiness. a little less than 2 fingers of head that has some pretty good retention as well as some pretty good lacing. a lot of sediment visible, lots like some big chunks of green hops.

very nice aroma primarily of milk chocolate, roasted malts and some fruit. some dates, figs, plums, maybe even a little rasberry. a touch of alcohol detectable in the aroma.

wonderful taste. lots of chocolate, slightly sweet roasted malts, and dark fruits such as plums, figs, and im stil sticking with a slight rasberry taste. maybe chocolate covered rasberries. finishs with a lingering bitter fruity/chocolate sensation. only a touch of alcohol in the taste.

medium to heavy body, nice amount of carbonation. creamy velvety mouthfeel. one of these a day is enough for me. harpoon makes some great beers, and this leviathan series is definately some of there best stuff. definately seek this out, exspecially if you enjoy chocolatey beers.

dogfishandi, May 20, 2009
Photo of SirDrinxAlot
3.45/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

(My first Baltic Porter)

Poured black with a 1 finger tan head that dissipated quickly and left little lacing.

Smelled like roasted malt with a faint smokey smell, spice and light espresso.

Big chocolate, roasted malt, sour alcohol flavor with a lingering bitterness.

Rich and smooth with medium carbonation. Low drinkability for me in this beer. Not a big fan of the aftertaste it leaves. It might be that I just don't like the style. I'll have to try some others.

SirDrinxAlot, May 12, 2009
Photo of nebula1999
4.58/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is amazing. Almost black with very little head retention. Aroma of malt and a little smoke. A bold, bright taste for a porter, but with rich malty overtones full of dark fruit and woodsy goodness. Alcoholic, but not overblown. A beer like none other that I have ever experienced. Fantastic mouth feel makes you want another sip, but be careful.

Harpoon Brewery's interesting "100-Barrel Series" was the beginning of their experimentation with brewing. However, the "Leviathan Series" is a bold new step for Harpoon, and Baltic Porter is the supreme showpiece, in particular.

I would recommend this beer to anyone who wants an otherworldly beer experience. If you see it in a store, buy it. Even if you don't like porters, get it for a friend that does. Just amazing.

nebula1999, May 06, 2009
Photo of nickfl
3.38/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - One finger of light brown head on an opaque black body with some minor, ruby highlights. The head settles quickly and leaves little lace.

S - Light chocolate and toffee with a dominant espresso note. Some caramel in the background and a hint of alcohol.

T - Coffee flavors up front with moderate malt bitterness. Sweet caramel in the middle with some spicy alcohol notes and dark chocolate. Strange interplay of sweet and bitter in the finish with an odd cherry note.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a somewhat sweet finish.

D - The flavors are quite syrupy and a combination of excessively hot alcohol and a weird, cloying flavor in the finish makes for low drinkability. The big Harpoon beers seem to be pretty hit or miss and aside from the aroma this one is a boozy, sticky mess.

nickfl, May 04, 2009
Harpoon Leviathan - Baltic Porter from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
89 out of 100 based on 353 ratings.