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Harpoon Celtic Ale | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

364 Reviews
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Harpoon Celtic AleHarpoon Celtic Ale

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

Style: Irish Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

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

Added by barleywinebrewer on 01-16-2009

User Reviews
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Reviews: 364 | Ratings: 764
Photo of LuthersLager
1.18/5  rDev -66.4%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Beautiful amber color, I do wish it was a little more red.

I could only smell the alcohol, no malt, no sweetness, not hops, just alcohol.

The taste is acidic, astringent just bad.

I can't leave it in my mouth long enough to judge mouthfeel.

drinkability - i'm pouring this one out.

Reading others' reviews I think I got a bad one that spoiled... it tastes spoiled. Next time I get a chance to try this beer I'll re-review.

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Photo of Mitchster
1.4/5  rDev -60.1%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Pours out to a brilliantly clear, beautiful deep garnet, forming a small beige head with poor retention and average lacing. Carbonation is mild to moderate. Aroma is disturbing...a headache aroma...fusels, a ton of diacetyl, soy sauce, B.O, toffee, and English hops. Mouthfeel is ruddy and oxidized and fades into a nasty medicinal/chemical bitterness and astringency with a medium body. This stuff is bad....echo of aroma with rotting wood, ester of wood rosin, brominated vegetable oil, caramelized laffy taffy. Finish is chemical with an acrid, oxidized cardboard twang.

Pure nastiness, this is horrid stuff. Another dumper from the folks at Harpoon. After 4 brews from this brewery, I have no interest in ever having their beer again, and will warn my friends to stay away. Down the drain it goes. Avoid at all cost.

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Photo of CheapHysterics
1.68/5  rDev -52.1%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

Wow, I usually like Harpoon Brews, but this is awful. I had 4 in the fridge and I have tried it with food, without food, first beer of the night, and 5th beer of the night, and in every case I couldn't find much to like.

Pours a nice red tinged color with a small head that disappears almost totally.

Smells malty sickly sweet, like over-ripe fruit.

Taste is not quite as bad as the smell, but still bad. Way too sweet with a bad chemichally aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is good, but that does little to compensate for the off-putting flavors.

Like I said, I had 4. I tried them in various circumstances and in each case it was a chore to finish the bottle. bleh.

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Photo of Naes
1.93/5  rDev -45%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance is dark amber in color with a small light tan head.
Aroma is of candy sweet malt.
The flavor starts out watery, then becomes candy sweet and moves into a semi bitter stage followed by an odd sweetness. The aftertaste just does not agree with me.
Mouth feel is a bit light and under carbonated.

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Photo of jrallen34
2/5  rDev -43%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I drank this from a 12oz bottle into an Orval glass.

The beer pours a light clear watery amber without much head.

The aroma and taste are both light and sour, way to sour to be drinkable. It is very boring and watery.

Overall, this beer is just plain bad, I can't recommend it to anyone.

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Photo of greenjeff4141
2/5  rDev -43%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

A: Reddish amber color, not much head.

S: Malts, a bit of hops, caramel. Nothing to write home about.

T: Didn't care for it, too malty, sweet, ends in a dry funk. It was the finish I didn't care for.

M: Dry and then sticky. Heavy. This was the biggest turn off for me.

D: I drank one. That was it. Not one to have again either.

Not a good example at all of the irish red style. Stick to something else.

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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.

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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!

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Photo of atucker0985
2.16/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I am usually a rather jovial fan of any beer that comes out of Boston, however, this one deserved to be bent over my knee and spanked. After first pour into a clean and crisp pilsner glass, my initial thoughts on its appearance nearly convinced me that I was going to enjoy this beer. It has an attractive reddish/amber hue and a good inch thick head on it after it settled. Christ almighty was I fooled! As I poured this facade of a brew into my eager mouth, I was immediately struck with an incredible shock to my taste buds like a spear to my gut. This beer had rudely interrupted what I thought was going to be a celestial experience. The taste was almost nonexistant...bland would be an understatement. I sensed a cripsness to it that could have been better exploited ...had the beer had better componets to it. The finish was bitter, but I will admit that the aftertaste did not linger as long as I thought it would. I truly missed the presence and aroma of the ingrediants of this brew as I have grown accustomed to smell in other reds that I have tried. Sorry Harpoon, your other brews are great, but other than the pleasant appearance, this one was a crushing failure.

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Photo of FollowedMyFolly
2.21/5  rDev -37%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I am a huge fan of reds and have a huge respect for Irish beer. Most reds that I have tried are American so the Irish style reds are somewhat new to me. This beer was not in favor to my personal pallet. Harpoon I will keep trying to find the beer for me in your company. I still keep the faith.

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Photo of geexploitation
2.24/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Pours a reddish brown, with a dark center and bright caramel edges. Only a collar of head remains after a few minutes. Aroma is definitely on the butterscotchy diacetyl side of things, although some nutty malts and fruity hops poke through in spite the diacetyl intensity. The palate, the palate. OK, I'm usually OK with a bit of diacetyl in my English style ales, but this is ridiculous. Diacetyl in the front, mid, and finish, along with some acidity first off and some grapefruity notes at the mid-palate -- but those last two things are overwhelmed by the big D. The finish dries out quickly. Mouthfeel is pretty full-bodied, with good, medium carbonation that fills things out. Overall, this beer has only the minor trappings of a successful one (looks, mouthfeel). It's kind of like a hot girl who looks great and feels great in all the right places, but can't carry on a conversation and has poison for a soul. This is an abject failure of a beer IMO; I can only see someone enjoying this is they either a) have a strange diacetyl fixation or b) are blissfully unaware that the stuff exists.

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Photo of kmpitz2
2.43/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

This one pours a somewhat transparent amber color, with a finger of head that falls to ring the beer. The nose is a very dirty, earthy hop. I don't reallyl ike it. The flavor is bad. There is a funkey sweetness on the finish, that follows a dirty flavor. The mouthfeel is fairly thin and drinkability is pretty bad. I don't really want to finish this one.

 355 characters

Photo of ReelBigwigFish
2.48/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

a: Poured 12 oz bottle into a chimay chalice glass. It has a nice dark amber color to it, not quite red though. Poor head retention and no lacing to speak of, could be the glass though.

s: smells of caramel malts and apples with a bit of alcohol and spice in there.

t: not that great, the maltiness is there but im not picking up on the hops that others speak of, has a dry sweet finish that i find more bothersome than enjoyable.

m/o: the initial mouthfeel is fine; smooth, slightly creamy, but about 10 seconds after swallowing there is such a dryness in my throat that just ruins the experience. I suppose I could just keep pounding these down and somewhat enjoy them, but I'll inevitably have to leave this beer being annoyed and disappointed because it finishes so poorly.

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Photo of hungryghost
2.49/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Copper in color, few bubbles line glass. Slight head leaves little to no lacing.
Clean aroma, really not picking up any smells. Little sweet malt.
Average body.
Slightly sweet malts, earthy. The flavor does not run deep in this one. I have tried it a couple of times and it finishes like it came from a can. I cannot say specifically what this taste is, I can say it is not good.
I might try it if I found it on tap, otherwise not interested.

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Photo of stegmakk
2.5/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Nice amber color with a quickly disappearing off white head.
Aroma was a nice mixture of hops and a hint of malt and a hint of fruitiness.
The flavor was like the aroma only more potent. Hoppy with some fuit tone, and there seemed to be a strange after taste. Never tasted a taste like this in a beer. Dare I saw a little gum like.
Overall I will not buy this again. Looked better than it tasted.

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Photo of maximum12
2.51/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours out dead-on amber. No head. Smell seems a little off.

Probably because the taste is off, too. Hops in the top of the mouth & a bit of nasal, slightly stale bread taste comes on strong. I can taste that it's supposed to be a red, but there's something wrong with this beer. Bad bottle? Little old? I dunno.

It's drinkable.

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Photo of MaineBirdMan
2.56/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bought a 12 pack because of the price. I wasn't too impressed but got what I expected. Seems like all the bigger breweries (Sam Adams, Gerrys, Shipyard etc.) are starting to taste "generic" and lacking of craftsmanship.
Had this Celtic from a 12oz bottle. Poured into a standard pint glass.

Little to no head.
Little lacing.
Mellow flavors. Little to no hops present.
Not much of a nose.
Nice color.
Easy to drink. Prefect beer for a day of ice fishing.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
2.61/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass from tap

Light gold in appearance, Irish red? A nice amount of head and lace saves appearance somewhat, but looks nothing like the style.

Nose is very light indeed, slight bready malts and thats about it.

Tastes metallic like iron water, malt is MIA in the flavor profile. A slight lemony/minerally hop character is barely perceivable.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, light and crisp.

Drinkability is average at best. Not reccommended, in fact next time I'll pass. Not awful but I expect better.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.62/5  rDev -25.4%
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-

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Photo of CHickman
2.65/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours clear red amber in color with a 1 inch finger creamy tan head that lasted a minute or so; basically no lacing to speak of.

Smells of malt, caramel and very mild hops; nose is pretty faint, but not bad.

Tastes of sweet malt, caramel, syrup, molasses, and light citrus like lemon or grapefruit; I could not detect the hops in the flavor besides the light citrus taste. To me this beer is not balanced and also lacks any real carbonation as well as any real hoppy or citrus accents to counter the malt taste. Basically it's like a maltier Killian's Red with a roasted grain or malt finish.

Medium body with a light, crisp finish and flavor that's nothing to write home about. The taste wasn't bad, but just didn't do anything for me. I was disappointed.

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Photo of Sammy
2.66/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A rough beer tod rink. Odd malty aromas, light orange coloured body. I did not like the taste, the mouthfeel. Still a little drinkability. I have had better in the style.Not the worst Harpoon, ending with something more flavourful from the brewery.Thanks Radek.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of mzwolinski
2.79/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Hazy amber in color with a very thin head. Scoth-ale like sweet, caramel malt aroma, with a hint of fruitiness. First sip is pleasantly sweet with a big malt presence. The remainder of the flavor is fairly unremarkable, save for what I find to be a rather off-putting astringent finish. A bit rough on the tongue, and not something I would recommend.

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Photo of jopper
2.81/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - A nice copper color with a cloudy aspect to it, little to no head that quickly settles and fades away

Smell - Not much here a slight aroma of crisp hops

Taste - a decent crisp taste with a slightly bitter finish

Mouth - typical

Drinkability - The finish on this lets your mouth know that it would like another taste and sooner than later, it drinks quick especially on a nice hot day.

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Harpoon Celtic Ale from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
80 out of 100 based on 364 ratings.