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Harpoon Celtic Ale - Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

Harpoon Celtic AleHarpoon Celtic Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

693 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 693
Reviews: 359
rAvg: 3.5
pDev: 14.29%

Brewed by:
Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Irish Red Ale |  5.40% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
Harpoon Celtic Ale features a deep amber color. The flavor is malty and complex. Celtic Ale has a moderate hop finish that, along with the generous amounts of malt, makes for a medium bodied, smooth, rich beer. Try serving Celtic Ale with a hearty stew… the beer’s robust character will complement the bold flavors.

25 IBU

(Beer added by: barleywinebrewer on 01-16-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 693 | Reviews: 359 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Beric


3.54/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving: Bottle, from the bottle
Served: 2 January 2014

Appearance: Looks good. Nice coloring and a solid head when pouring that didn't stick around very long.

Smell: Very malty- caramel and brown sugar seem to be pretty dominant in the nose.

Taste: Very similar in taste to the nose- caramel and brown sugar, maybe some dark pumpernickel bready characteristics too. Finishes very dry.

Mouthfeel: High carbonation. I would have preferred this one to be a bit smoother to be honest.

Overall: An okay beer, but not my favorite. Tastes similar to a doppelbock in terms of overall malt profile. Maltier than an Oktoberfest, but sweeter than a doppelbock.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2014 01:25:50 | More by Beric
Photo of matjack85


3.41/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I picked this up at the Binny's store in Bloomingdale, IL as part of a build-your-own six pack for $9.99, making it $1.67 for a single 12oz bottle. No freshness date, but since this beer is only brewed from January to March, and this is already December, it's certainly not fresh off the assembly line, but it''s still under a year old, so it should still be OK.

The beer poured a perfectly clear red/amber color with a 1-finger off-white head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing.

The beer had a slightly sweet malty and bready smell along with a touch of alcohol.

Bready and roasted malt flavor with some caramel sweetness, as well as a touch of cherry fruitiness underneath. The finish has some mild hop bitterness to it (26 IBU's) as well as some alcohol, which I didn't expect from a 5.4% beer.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

It's OK but not spectacular. Their website lists it as a good session beer, and it should be with a 5.4% alcohol content, but I couldn't down many of these due to the noticeable alcoholic flavor.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2013 14:53:01 | More by matjack85
Photo of Heavy_D


4.69/5  rDev +34%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from bottle into pint glass.

A: Pours a nice reddish color. 1 1/2 to 2 finger head. Doesn't last long, but leaves behind a lot of lacing.

S: Malty, bready.

T: Sweet, caramel malts. Some hoppy bitterness towards the end.

M: Slightly thick. Moderate carbonation. Feels just right.

O: Very nice red ale. I've been a fan of others of this style I've tried, and this is no exception. Like the malty-bready/biscuity taste.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2013 05:41:48 | More by Heavy_D
Photo of ColdWaffles


3.48/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes from the Spring. Poured from a 12 oz into a standard pint.

Appearance: Very clear red ale with a little white head. Head didn't last long. 3.5/5

Smell: Not particularly strong, but mostly bready, malty. 3.25/5

Taste: Fairly sweet take on the style. Nice caramel malts. Slight alcohol on the very end of a sip, odd given the ABV. Not bad. 3.5/5

Mouthfeel: Nice, balanced carbonation level. Goes in watery, finishes slightly dry. Probably the best aspect of this. 3.75/5

I'd give this another go, but I probably wouldn't buy a six pack. 3.5/5

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2013 00:32:42 | More by ColdWaffles
Photo of MacQ32

South Carolina

3.11/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

A - Pours a clear amber brown with a solid finger of dark tan colord head. Fantastic retention, nearly a quarter of an inch 10-15 minutes later. Lacing is ok.

S - Very sweet, cracker like aroma and a wee bit of sourness and spice.

T - Sweet caramel and friuts transcends into a slightly funky beady flavor. Mildly dry

M - Medium bodied, a little thick. Very smooth - really like the body.

O - Definitely on the lower end of the craft beer spectrum IMO - you could do worse however

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2013 21:28:12 | More by MacQ32
Photo of RonaldTheriot


3.11/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Harpoon Celtic Red has a thick, cream-colored head, a bit of thin lacing, some streaming bubbles, and a clear, reddish-brown appearance. The aroma is faint, but bread crust, some sweetness, and a touch of sourness can be detected with deep inhalations. Taste is of the same, with a harsh and unpleasant bitterness in the mid-to-end of the sick. Mouthfeel is light and watery, and Harpoon Celtic Red finishes lager like- crisp, clean, refreshing, and mostly dry. Some alcohol shows up in the throat. Overall, this just does not taste very good. I don’t recommend it.


Serving type: bottle

04-28-2013 14:18:20 | More by RonaldTheriot
Photo of Redrover


3.9/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Harpoon Celtic on tap at the Distillery. It was served in a marked glass, the beer is a dark garnet with a sticky tan head.

It has an aroma of lightly roasted malts, biscuits and plums.

The beer leads with toasty malts and a hint of caramel. There is a touch of spice that reminds me of rye bread and some crackers.

The mouth is slightly thick with low carbonation.

It is very sessionable and easy to pair with food. Harpoon has nailed the style.

Serving type: on-tap

04-15-2013 14:37:24 | More by Redrover
Photo of sajaffe1


3.76/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

A- This brew has a deep amber hue to it with an off-white head. The head disappears rather quickly. Some lacing is seen on the glass.

S- It smells like sweet caramel with a bit of hop character. I notice a small hint of a cinnamon-like smell.

T- Lots of caramel malt is noticeable. That soon balances out with the hops preventing it from being too sweet. Not bad.

M- Medium carbonation

O-Not a bad beer at all. An above average Irish-style red ale in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2013 22:00:37 | More by sajaffe1
Photo of dbrauneis

North Carolina

3.54/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Served on-tap at Rattle N Hum in New York, NY

A: Pours a clear deep copper to amber in color with light to moderate amounts of visible carbonation and some golden orange + red highlights. The beer has a finger tall foamy off-white head that quickly reduces to a very thin film covering about 75% of the surface of the beer and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of caramel malts with a touch of light fruit sweetness and some floral hops.

T: Upfront there are moderate flavors of toasted caramel malts with a hint of light fruit sweetness. Light amounts of earthy and floral hops towards the finish which impart a light amount of bitterness that fades rather quickly.

M: Just shy of medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly thin.

O: Pretty easy to drink and a little better than other offerings in the Irish red style. Not a favorite for me but I could easily have a couple of these in a single session.

Serving type: on-tap

04-14-2013 19:58:16 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of rfgetz

New Jersey

3.25/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours a medium amber color, full fluffy white head, moderate retention. Scent is pale and mild with notes of caramel malts and stale grassy hops. Taste brings a bit more to the table... caramel malts still dominate with only a light touch of hoppyness, quite grassy, earthy. Lighter bodied and heavily bubbly. Really felt like I had a Vienna lager as opposed to an Irish Red. Just too light and fizzy for me.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2013 15:30:45 | More by rfgetz
Photo of TheMarkE


3.75/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Deer amber with a full head, decent lacing.

Smell: Biscuity malts and a hint of grassiness.

Taste: Sweet caramel and bready malts with just enough hops to keep it honest.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a dry finish. What little aftertaste there is disappears quickly.

The Verdict: Not bad. An above average Irish Red, it’s a good solid choice for a night of dancing and debauchery or a day of celebrating the arrival of spring. Maybe not a brew I’ll look forward to with anticipation each year, but not one I’d turn down either.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2013 01:51:47 | More by TheMarkE
Photo of TeamMathis

West Virginia

3.06/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Deep amber.
Smell: Alcoholic and maybe a slight whiff of honey.
Taste: Malty and alcoholic.
Mouthfeel: Thick/Syrupy.

Though I'm not a huge fan of reds, this is probably one of the best that I've had thus far. The taste seems to be a combination of alcohol, which is odd considering the ABV, and malt. It's quite enjoyable as a yearly St. Pat's drink.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2013 21:58:50 | More by TeamMathis
Photo of ktblue22


3.46/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear distinctive red with a slightly brown hue. Hardly any head on the pour - instantly hit with a candied-yam kind of sweet malt. The sweetness on the nose is a little over-powering but the carbonated and lightly hopped profile make for a really nice well-balanced red. The label boasts that its both a deep-winter kind of beer as well as a spring. I'm not really sure about that, but I would definitely drink this on any day paired with a boiled dinner! Having a steak au poivre right now with some wonderful sharp cheddar (anyone following me may start seeing a pattern here...)

Overall pretty nice! I would love to try a different Celtic Red style to compare.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2013 07:25:12 | More by ktblue22
Photo of ElijahRivera

New York

3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Less than one finger, almost white head. The beer itself is deep copper in color

S: Sweet malts, some fall honey, and caramelized sugars.

T: Sweet malt up front, which is quickly balanced by a sharp, but not too strong, hop bitter that finishes with a subtle citrus and honey flavor.

M: Medium body and carbonation, which I suspect is normal for the style.

O: I believe this to be a high quality example of the style. It is at least to my liking, although I am not a huge fan of Irish red ales or red ales in general. This brew has a solid malt backbone that carries it through a decent amount of complexity for the style. I wouldn't hesitate to pick this up the next time I get a rare hankering for an Irish red.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2013 18:18:10 | More by ElijahRivera
Photo of Florida9


3.89/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark copper amber in color. Forms a minimal off-white head that doesn't bother sticking around for too long. No lacing.

S: Aroma is fairly light, not much more than some creamy caramel malt and some very light hops.

T: Taste is about what you'd expect for the style: Moderate caramel malts, a slight nuttiness, lighter stewed tea hops. Finish is lightly sweet.

M: On the fuller side of medium. Mild bitterness. Medium carbonation.

O: Let's face it, this isn't the greatest or most appreciated style of beer and while it's one I used to appreciate, I've grown away from it. Never-the-less, this beer is just about spot-on for the style. Not a bad beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2013 22:08:46 | More by Florida9
Photo of fx20736

New York

4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

poured from a 12 oz bottle into a nonic, served at fridge temp.

appearance: a burnt orange shade of medium amber with vigorous tiny bubbles and a creme brulee 1 finger head. decent lacing.

nose: Amazing bouquet, very fruity, candied fruit, like ginger, mango, papaya, with maybe a touch of floral hops.

mouthfeel: pretty average, a tad thin, really.

taste: crystal malt, a slight fruitiness with a kiss of spicy hops

notes: the taste cannot live up to the amazing nose but it is pretty good, easy to drink and easily the best Irish Red I've had. Actually, it reminds me of Bass Ale. I only bought a single bottle of this but this being St Patrick's Day I will go forth and buy a 6 pack of this. I could drink this all day long.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2013 12:09:51 | More by fx20736
Photo of scottbrew4u


3.44/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: From bottle, pours a clear reddish amber color with a bubbly off white head. It settles quickly to a layer and leaves some lacing on the glass as you drink.

S: Fresh baked bread, molasses, more bread dough, and light spice from hops.

T: Light roast of malt, doughy bread, grain husks, and a herbal, grassy touch of hops that is light but not insignificant. Not a deep flavor profile at all.

M: Slick, medium body, some prickly carbonation at appropriate levels.

O: Decent beer but not that interesting overall. Malt profile could use a bit more depth. The beer is very easy to drink though.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2013 21:13:13 | More by scottbrew4u
Photo of Darkmagus82


3.69/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap in a pint glass

Appearance –Served a mahogany colored brew with ruby like highlights and a small off white head. The head fades rather fast to leave a persistent film on the top of the brew.

Smell – The aroma is heaviest of a sweet caramel smell mixed with notes of lightly roasted malt and a biscuit smell. Mixed with these are some aromas of a buttery toffee and a light grassy hop.

Taste – The taste begins with a lightly roasted bready flavor as well as some caramel sweetness. As the taste advances further some toffee, biscuit, and some fruit flavors a apple and a light cherry come to the tongue. The flavors remain relatively constant throughout the rest of the taste until the end where a light citrus and herbal hop flavor come to the tongue.

Mouthfeel –The body of the brew is on the medium side in terms of its thickness and creaminess with a carbonation level that is on the average to just below average side. The medium body and carbonation suit the drinkable and lightly roasted and sweeter flavors of the brew quite well. Very appropriately done.

Overall – A decent red ale. It has an easy drinking and non-complex flavor profile that has nice smoother flavors which makes a good beer to have while enjoying the company of other.

Serving type: on-tap

03-14-2013 00:21:57 | More by Darkmagus82
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.69/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Enjoy by 5/15/13.

Pours a dark copper 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 toasted malt, caramel, slight hops, and some nutty aromas. Taste is much the same with malty and caramel flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is tasty and easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2013 07:44:18 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of kojevergas


2.55/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with branded pressure cap acquired at Trader Joe's and served into a conical Samuel Smith's pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are average; I'm a big fan of the style and based purely on the marketing, I'm assuming this one is going to be bad. I'm judging this book by its cover. I believe this is my first beer from Harpoon. Enjoy by 05/15/13. 5.4% ABV confirmed.

Served straight from the fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a luscious beige-khaki colour head of nice cream and thickness, and great (~6+ minute) retention. Body colour is a vibrant clear translucent copper-amber. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Looks exactly as it should for the style; I'm impressed. Fair albeit thin lacing as the head slowly recedes.

Sm: Hrm. A malty sweetness up front with backgrounded toasted malt; it should be the exact opposite. No yeast or alcohol is detectable. Hopping is minimal, floral, and generic. I do like the aroma, but it isn't quite to style. Good amber malting. I can't wait to try it. A moderate strength aroma.

T: Sweet up front. Light toasted character - not enough. The malts lack richness and depth of flavour. Balance is okay. No yeast character or alcohol comes through. Simple. Lacks complexity and subtlety. Very underwhelming. This just isn't what it should be.

Mf: Way way too dry. Also too coarse. Completely wrong for the style. This isn't at all refreshing. Carbonation is good, and thickness is good, but it's severely problematic. Scratchy. Presence on the pale is horrible.

Dr: This one really misses the mark. A poor excuse for an Irish red. It's drinkable, but its problems exceed its successes. I definitely wouldn't get this again. I'm in no hurry to try Harpoon's other beers after having had this one. Hides its average ABV well.

Low C-

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2013 04:45:32 | More by kojevergas
Photo of mactrail


2.96/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

A lovely coppery amber color in the wine glass. Even the last pour has fine foam all down the glass. Fizzy and well carbonated. Musty aroma.

Flavor consists of a schmear of sweet malt followed by a mineral sensation. Dry and bitter to the finish. For a light beer that is not even on the low-alcohol side, this is very unrewarding. Resiny and medicinal. This and cardboardy. So attractive and well made, but so unpleasant. And Harpoon has made some very good beers.

From the 12 oz bottle bought at Trader Joe's in San Diego.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2013 03:28:10 | More by mactrail
Photo of Halcyondays


3.69/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2 12 oz. bottles into a nonic, for some reason my local Trader Joe's had sixers of this, never seen Harpoon in the Southland before aside from tastings,

A: Pours an amber red with a creamy full white head, with very good retention, some nice lace.

S: Toasty biscuity red malt. Cracked bread, hint of grassy hops.

T: Lots of crystal type malt, with some roasty husky grain. Heavy dried grain finish, almost like cereal. Some good backing hops add some balance.

M: Fairly robust for its style, a solid drinking pint. Crisp carbonation, nice long aftertaste, well structured.

O: A good effort, not anything to make you go wow, but I certainly enjoyed the 24 oz. I don't know if this is some kind an anomaly, or if Harpoon is actually coming to CA, but I'd like to see more from them in the future.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2013 04:46:22 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of notchucknorris


3.35/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A: Pours a clear chestnut color with almost no head. Not really getting any red from this.

S: malty with a hint of fruitiness. I get some white and concord grape, grape nuts and brown sugar. Smells really sweet.

T: seems like it's going to hit upfront with a citrus hop bite, but that fades quickly into a lot of sweet bready malt. Some caramel, malt syrup and some grain. Mouthfeel is pretty watery. Not really a fan of this one.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2013 03:58:40 | More by notchucknorris
Photo of Act25

New Jersey

3.45/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

This beer has been renamed Celtic Red.

Presentation - St. Patty's Day Label.

Appearance - Lovely color that sets the expectation for the sweet, mahogany taste.
But the head settles too quickly for me.

Smell - Solid citus hops, brown sugar malts, cedary, great nose.

Taste - Floral hop with caramel-bready malts, sweet, easy, friendly, approachable. Perhaps too sweet after one.

Mouthfeel - Slightly sweet creamy, (like cream soda), mouthfeel with modest carbonation.

Drinkability - Very smooth and flavorful. Highly drinkable Irish Red. Much better than others.

Easy going. Light alcohol. Fun but sweet Irish Red.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2013 01:47:53 | More by Act25
Photo of BEERMILER12


3.71/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Enjoy By 04/15/13

A: Pours an amber/copper color with a fingers worth of head that reduces to a cap within a couple minutes

S: Plenty of Irish malts provide a slight sweetness. Also get some light fruitiness and grains

T: Follows the nose. Irish malts dominate, lending a slight sweetness which is balanced by some fruitiness and grainy character. Definitely hearty

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Hearty

O: A nice take on the style and one that could easily be drank in either the winter or spring. I'm not the biggest fan of the style, but this one is good. Worth a shot

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2013 21:44:40 | More by BEERMILER12
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Harpoon Celtic Ale from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
80 out of 100 based on 693 ratings.