Harpoon Celtic Ale - Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

Not Rated.
Harpoon Celtic AleHarpoon Celtic Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

748 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 748
Reviews: 366
rAvg: 3.51
pDev: 14.25%
Wants: 24
Gots: 59 | FT: 0
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:
Beer added by: barleywinebrewer on 01-16-2009

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 748 | Reviews: 366
Reviews by abedenbaugh:
Photo of abedenbaugh
2.73/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A:The beer has a nice deep amber color with an off-white head. The head also ends up a little thin but also leaves some lace behind.
S:The smell is very mild and has a sweet caramel nose to it. There is also a nice herbal hop smell to it, too.
T:Overall the flavor is an average red ale. There isn't a one flavor that stands out above the rest and they all seem to work together well. There is some malt and sweetness at the end of the palate. Also the sweetness taste tastes a little metallic, but it's probably partly because of a really dry roasted malt flavor. The metallic taste is really off putting yet as it warms up a little the metallic goes away some and leaves a drier finish at the end.
MF:Medium body and a low to average amount of carbonation.
D: Overall it's a nothing great. The flavors in the beer goes together well and is easy to drink. I probably wouldn't drink too many of these because I didn't like it that much because of the metallic taste. Yet it isn't a bad beer.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Says on label its an Irish Red but mine seemed to be more copper,but anyways left hardly no head when poured.A little bit of clove or cinnamon in the smell also picked up some wood-likw smell.To me the taste had some smokiness to it,it was very malty sweet as well wich I liked.Nice mouthfeel cant drink to many of this style though kinda sits in my stomach.A pretty good American style Irish ale though.

Photo of SIRIUS2
3.83/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A: Crystal clear coppery auburn color. White foamy head with decent retention and white lace all the way down the glass.

S: Caramel malt domintates the nose with additional hints of floral hops. There's more there too, sort of woody but faint, reminds me a bit of cedar.

T: The medium sweet malt comes through first but is tempered to even with the hops. There are enough hops to bring this to balance but I couldn't really pick out any hop flavors. Finishes fairly clean with little linger.

M&D: Mouthfeel is solid 'medium' weight with light but persistent carbonation. Smooth and easy to drink. I wish there were just a bit more character in the taste but this is very enjoyable just the same.

Photo of blitz134
3.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a medium copper color, slight hints of red. Nice and clear. Small tan head on the pour that reduced to a very thin layer.

Nice malty aroma, hints of caramel malt and chocolate. A touch of esters and some light hopping that is a touch herbal.

Flavor follows suit, but with a nice predominant biscuity backbone in the finish. Possibly a bit of mineral edge after the swallow.

Medium body and smooth, easy-to-drink mouthfeel. Low carbonation that works right in with the style.

Overall, quite the drinkable beer. Drinks very similar to my current Scottish Ale that I brewed up recently. Solid malt flavors and low hop presence. A solid offering.

Photo of Outchillen
3.07/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Big fan of Harpoon, this beer was average, not a huge IRA fan

Thin off-white head, dark amber red, clear

had mellow malty aroma, not much hops

Was very dry, turned to bitter, mildly malty, had a strange mouthfeel

overall its an average beer, wouldnt buy a six pack again, but if i felt festive and saw it on draft, i would get it again

Photo of chOAKbarrell
3.68/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice robust, dark red with good head retention.

Smells of sweetish malt.

I dont know that there's too much in the way of taste. Just kinda glides right over your tongue directly down your throat. I rather like that, actually. It makes for an incredibly smooth mouthfeel.

This could possibly make a good intro beer for getting someone into craft beers. Pleasant, unoffensive, very smooth, and definitely easy to drink.

Photo of Todd
4.03/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12oz brown bottle. No freshness date.

Appearance: A nice and clean looking rich red / amber beer. Head is a tad off-white with a creamy foam stick and excellent head retention.

Smell: Malty, fruity, estery with a soft hop aroma in the background.

Taste: Body is medium. Mouthfeel is smooth. Malt flavours are quite fruity, dark fruits, with an even semi-sugary sweetness. Touch of roasted flavour sits in the back with some bubble-gum-like and woody flavours. Carbonation is tight, zesty and creams-up on the palate. Grain flavours follow, then some esters and a slight touch of alcohol. Hop flavours are floral, tea-like, with a thin, soft character. Some leafy feel can be detected on the palate. Finish has some roasted notes to it.

Notes: Harpoon replaced their Spring Maibock with this beer. I put that aside. They come out with an "Irish-style red ale", which is so typical. I put that aside. What's left? In my opinion a damn fine ale. It's balanced. It's simple. It's easy to drink. It has appeal.

Photo of generallee
3.45/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a mug. The bottle has a "best by" date of 04/15/10 printed on to the bottle and it was sampled on 2/11/10. There appears to be no abv info available on the label.

Appearance: Its body is deep amber in color and it shows very good clarity. A quick poor makes for a tall foamy head. It is off white to a very light tan in color and it slowly fades down to very thin filmy covering as I drink. Its lacing is minimal, spotty and slick.

Smell: The aroma fairly light with some hints at malt and light leafy hops as well as touch of something with mineral like edge.

Taste/Palate: There is mix of pale biscuity, dry white bready and sweet malt as the base flavor note. Hops add there balance of leafy and herbal flavor as well as some bitterness and dryness. The body has a medium feel with good carbonation and an easy drinking light but note too light texture.

Notes: Overall I would say that this is your basic/average Irish style Red Ale. It's not bad at all but it doesn't stand out either.

Photo of Doomcifer
3.15/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear, dark, amber red with a nice frothy head that retains pretty well. Smell is very sweet and earthy. Kind of a tang to the aroma as well. Taste is more sweet malts but rather thin in the middle and finish. Slight bitter hop finish. Slightly metallic. Mouthfeel is thinner than I would like. Good carbonation, and slightly dry finish. Fairly drinkable but was kinda let down by this one.

Photo of Jason
3.95/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep shaded reddish amber, nearly tawny with a nice settling white lace. Clean maltiness with some hints of fruitiness and light floral hop. Woody hop and faint bubble gum? Moderate body with a smooth slightly creamy mouth feel, mild hop bitterness lets the delicate malt sweetness come through with waves of toasted malt and grain. Fruit floral yeast. Touch of caramel and a subdued fruitiness in the back ground. Dry toasted grain lingers for a while. Clean, smooth and malty.

A lot of flavor to soak in here for a normal strength beer. A sensible seasonal on their part for the Boston area, this ended up being a more than just a decent beer.

Photo of merlin48
3.09/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, cherrywood, brownish-red body with a small, beige head that quickly falls flat. Some sticky patches of lace are left on the glass.

Aroma is restrained, and that's putting a good spin on it. Sweet, bready malt and some herbal hops are barely noticed.

Mouthfeel is pedestrian, with moderate carbonation and a light body.

Taste is above average, but unimpressive. Caramel and bready malts dominate, with a balancing, floral/herbal hops presence that provides enough bitterness to give this decent drinkability. Not one of the better Harpoon brews I've tried, but it's not bad, just average.

Photo of Billolick
2.83/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours reddish(suprise) amber, slight white head, clear and no lacing. Sort of nondescript beer for my liking. This is a semi sweet brew, I also pick up a little ginger or mint. This just too dull a brew for me. No real character, nor of much interest. My wife liked it, she said "'this is much better then all that crazy strong beer you like" What can I say I like crazy strong, flavorful beer with some character. I wont buy this red ale stuff again anytime soon.

Photo of Mora2000
3.58/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a clear, dark red color with a tan head. The aroma is heavy on the sweet malt, with some dark fruit thrown in. I get a ton of raisins and cherries in the aroma. The flavor is very similar, with a lot of sweet toffee and some light dark fruit. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. I am not a huge fan of this style of beer, but this one was better than most I have tried.

Photo of bsp77
3.3/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received as part of the (weak) March shipment of my Beer of the Month club.

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Reddish-brown, thin head with minimal lacing.

Smell: Caramel, sweet toasted malts, butter.

Taste: Semi-sweet toasted malts, caramel, minor hop taste, semi-dry finish. There is also somewhat of a cough syrup taste that is especially apparent in the aftertaste - this really hurt the score.

Feel: Medium carbonation and medium body, but feels a little watery.

Drinkability: Easy drinking but the aftertaste is a problem. I ended up bumping the drinkability up because I finished the beer with dinner, and the food stopped the aftertaste. I will drink the next one with a meal.

Photo of jcdiflorio
2.79/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

poured into a nonic glass from a 12oz brown long neck bottle with a crimped on cap.

Clear,amber red color,a slight bit of carbination,1" off-white head dissapated quickly to a coating of foam.

Moderate aromas,sweet carmell/toffee,very fruity,nutty with a bit of roastyness. A good,inviting aroma.

Some carmell tastes,lots of sourness, taste is nothing like the aroma would indicate. A good balance with a dry,tart,grassy finish.

A medium mouthfeel that's grainy and a bit on the rough side.
Not a bad taste just not enough to make me want another.

Photo of jondeelee
3.43/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Smells thick and malty, and far more reminiscent of a good nut brown ale than an Irish Red: caramels and brown sugars dominate the nose, with strong hints of toasted grains just below.

On the tongue, sugars also win out initially, though are far less dark than the nose belies. Instead of dark malts the sugars are light: caramels, hints of maple syrup, dark honeys. Around mid-mouthful the sugars die off and reveal a complex grainy background, full of Grape Nuts cereal-like flavors, as well as biscuits and toasted wheat. Hops play a small presence here, adding just a hint of bitter fuzz. The aftertaste is a continuation of the toasted wheat flavors. Mouthfeel is light, only slightly more viscous than water.

Overall, this is a solid Irish Red, obviously made with care and good quality ingredients. It doesn't necessarily bring anything new to the style, but it is well-crafted and nicely balanced.

Photo of dogfishandi
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle at fridge temp poured into a tulip glass. best before 06/15/12.

pours out a clear deep red, bronze color. somewhat a fizzy one fingers worth of head, off white, that settles eventually to a thin ring and patchy foam.

metallic biscuity, bready malt is mostly what i get in the aroma. fruit esters as well and maybe a touch of caramel.

follows the aroma. biscuit, bread crust with slight hint of toffee and metal. just enough citric, slight herbal hops to balance. and a little fruity esters as well.

some what of a sharp, crisp finish and a high amount of slightly bitey carbonation. slightly fuller side of light bodied. very good drinkability.

nothing to really get excited over, somewhat of a bland style. i could see this appealing to macro drinkers trying to convert, exspecially those who enjoy yuengling lager, almost the same beer with an ale yeast and maybe the slightest bit more body, but tis the season...

Photo of Thrasher
2.08/5  rDev -40.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Well Harpoon has consistently underwhelmed me with almost all of their beers and I have to say this is no exception. First of all, I know this site has had some reconfiguring of the beer styles but there's no way this is a "pale ale/bitter." It's an Irish red ale and there is no mistaking it. It's also a pretty mediocre one, which is tough going because I have always found Irish reds to be a pretty mediocre style in general. While not as initially repugnant as Harpoon's ESB, this is still pretty unlikable. Malts have a nice base to them, and a twinge of smokiness is brought out by the hops, but there is a huge soap flavor that Harpoon's other beers have. It wrecks the beer, and since Irish reds are usually delicate and mild, the off flavor is overpowering. No more Harpoon for me please. I've heard they are currently kicking it up a notch and making more interesting beers (not that it means they will be better) but I probably won't try them unless the word is that they're truly kick ass. And they're free.

Photo of yankeeheel
3.85/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a handsome clear garnet with a two finger dusky white head. Nice layer of lace sets up over the top.

Smells a little nutty with a distintive caramel background.

Very sweet up front with a big rush of diacetyl. Turns slightly more toffee like as I progress. Nutty in spurts. Slides to a nicely bitter finish with the modest hops coming to bat only at the tail end of the sip.

Mouthfeel is slightly drying with a nice full body. Carbonation is moderate.

Great little spring brew. I'll definitely get some more.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.72/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice caramel ruby amber tone forms nice caramel tan off white head forms a collar of lace around my pint not bad eh? Aromatics going on instantly are caramel nut toasted malts with very appetising fruit tones dancing around in there mild hop dosage what an amber should be except for HopBack. A very strong malt backbone compromises the main taste here with some fruit almost sugary fruit notes and toasty malts nice mix mild hop bitterness nice amber ale. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied very reserved carbonation nice beer. Drinkability factor here yeah I could enjoy few of these beauties without a problem.

Photo of Brenden
3.7/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew is about a dark orange with a bronze edge to it that shines clear in the light. The off-shite head that forms is about one finger high and retains itself fairly well but doesn't leave much lacing, but enough to prove there's some substance to it.
What's in the aroma is good but it's also light. The malts form a sturdy backbone to rest a light dose of hops for balance, while a touch of sweetness and light spiciness rounds it out.
The flavor is also good and offers a bit more, giving what it should without sacrificing depth as in the aroma. Malts are the focus though hops are not neglected, adding a light herbal bittering balance to the sweetness of caramel, a flavor most like brown sugar, and a nutmeg-like spiciness. Grains and breads come and go a bit under it all.
The body is on the lighter side of medium and a touch thinner than the malts would imply. There's nothing that either offends or makes this particularly interesting; a light cripsness is in each sip as well as a moderately smooth finish.
This really isn't a bad little red.

Photo of racer2k
3.45/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Copper color pour with some moderate carbonation. Two finger head with good retention around my glass.

S: Fresh bread and sweet maltiness with some spicy and fruity overtones. A yeast smell is present.

T: Sweet and bready up front with some moderate hop action on the swallow. There is also a faint earthy smell to this beer.

M: Medium thin body that is crisp and contains moderate carbonation. There is a grainy finish to this beer.

D: Decent drinking session beer that is timely for the St. Patrick's day season.

Overall - Decent beer that is very easy to drink.

Photo of Melchizedek
3.3/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Looks nice, pouring a deep amber with lasting streams of little bubbles supporting a sea-foam off-white head that holds up and subsides into an even cap.

Banana-bread sweet in the nose, toasty, mildly nutty, and honey notes. The grain comes through in the mouth, a straightforward flavor profile, a little biscuity with a very mild fruity sweetness and a slight bitter mineral bite in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium-light, a bit puckering at the end.

As good an Irish red as I've had, not that that's been many. Certainly an easy drink, but the lingering bitterness limits its sessioning potential to me.

Photo of NJpadreFan
2.12/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Harpoon- Celtic Ale

A- Nice golden brown with a thick white head. Decent lacing down the top 1/3 of the glass.
S- A dirty penny soaking in coca-cola. Slight caramel maltiness.
T- Sweet syrupy cola with a metallic twang to it. Coppery/ tinny taste. bleech. Earthy hop finish.
M- Sweet and metallic. Dry and earthy.

Overall- A huge letdown!

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.43/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Just found this one at my local store. I remember last time I was at the Boston Brewery in June '08 that this one was coming back, I remeber it being available in the late 90's and it has now made it's return.

This one has a pretty average look, with a clear, deep amber with only a slight rusty hue. a thin white head is moderate size with average retention.

The aroma gives off a malty, rice and corn, macro-scented malt with a very spicey, zesty hop edge. The aroma is only slightly aromatic.

The flavor has a decent malt backbone that reminds me very much of a Macro-lager, only clean to the finish. The malt tastes as if it has a classic rice and corn adjuct effect with a slight sweetness. The hops provide a really nice, herbal, zesty balance. It's light to medium feel with a big, fat zippy bite. There is no "off" flavor's but it really is very close to an American Adjunct lager.

Drinkable, but limited.

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Harpoon Celtic Ale from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
80 out of 100 based on 748 ratings.