Dismiss Notice
Get FREE shipping on all US orders of $25 or more from the BeerAdvocate Store.

No promo code required. Offer valid through 4/30.

Ready to gear up? Start shopping →

Harpoon Celtic Ale | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

364 Reviews
For Trade:
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
firstprev| 301-325 | 326-350 | 351-375  | next → last
Reviews: 364 | Ratings: 763
Photo of Greenlabel
4.21/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is my choice for a St Patricks Day beer and for many other occasions also. Pours a very attractive reddish color with a lasting head. Has a rather sweetish aroma and the taste is semi-sweet also - but nonetheless very refreshing. A rather thin palate - roasted barley with very little hoppiness. Some hint of, say, bubblegum in the aftertaste. Much lighter overall than many of the red ales I've tasted.

I would think this would be an excellent crossover beer for folks new to the world of craft beers as well as a solid session beer for craft veterans. In many respects, I'm sorry that this is only a spring seasonal as I'd definitely prefer it as an alternative to the many summer wheat beers.

 703 characters

Photo of JohnL9013
4.22/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is apparently their seasonal, but in my opinion, they should sell this year round. It's similar to their standard Ale, but much better. It's a fairly light beer, and extremely smooth and drinkable. At the same time, it really packs a lot of flavor for being so light. I had a Blue Moon and one of these on the same night and in my opinion, this is a much better beer. It's still just as light and easy to drink.

A: (kept in the bottle)

S: Nothing offensive, but nothing insane.

T: Sweet, much more peppy than your typical light ale. Creamy, and nothing offensive at all. A little bit of bitterness to round it out.

M: Light to medium mouthfeel.

D: Really, really drinkable stuff, as I've come to expect from most of Harpoon's stuff.

 742 characters

Photo of mempath
4.24/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

i find it surprising how folks who are reviewing brews negatively aren't giving many details as to why. and why does one person find no head or lacing...is it the way they pour the brew? not dissing, just wondering.

surprisingly exceptional appearance due to a massive ecru head that laces plenty. i poured what i thought was too much into the glass. as it foam up it rose 3/8 of an inch over the rim WITHOUT slurping over the side. impressive, spiney head!

for some reason, not getting much from the nose. some sweet maltiness, but nothing assertive.

taste comes in quick, sweet, minimal bitterness in the sweetness, candied flavors. for all that head, not alot of carbonation at first, but arrives in the finish keeping a crisp edge to the delightful sweetness. not sickly cloying like Killian's...actually, something in the finish that has a hoppish burst in it with the carbonation. really nice, but simple nonetheless.

a very drinkable iriish style lager. definitely a St. Paddy's Day session brew, though i prefer to mix it up with anything else not naturally green...

 1,078 characters

Photo of tatoodkelt
4.27/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My first beer from Harpoon.

Bottle poured to a pint glass.

A- Kind of a orangy red, almost matches the orange parts on the label. Nice 1 finger off white head with decent retention.

S- Caramel and sugar, over all a sweet aroma.

T- Mainly roasted malt, little sweet, a little spicy and a hint of some kind of wood flavor.

M- A little watery but very smooth and crisp. About medium carbination.

D- Over all a very nice beer! I found myself at the bottom sooner than I expected. Easy session beer and I will definitely get it again!

 535 characters

Photo of gentlebubbles
4.32/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

on cask at Redbone's
A totally different experience: wonderful floral aroma, crisp, clean malt. Still puts me in mind of oktoberfest.

on cask at Doyle's

Light glows through reddish copper under a low head of coarse bubbles, which die down fairly quickly. Sour hops smell.

Though served on hairy edge of too warm, the light, crisp body has exactly the tender quality I'm looking for. It tastes quite mild, both in the malt and the hops, reminding me of Sam Adams Octoberfest.

A fine session brew.

 509 characters

Photo of jiggahertz
4.33/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: an agressive pour gives a two finger cappucino head that billows over the top of the glass with some great lacing early.

S: strong roasted malts up front spices follow

T: roasted malt hit the tongue first followed by a plethora of spices
And a final kick up some floral hops.

M: full bodied and low carbonation. had this beer after an hour in the fridge
Which made it warmer than usual for me and it really did this beer
Some good.

D: it's a rather full bodied beer with a lot of spice but I could go for
A few of these on a cold night.

 546 characters

Photo of bamojr
4.37/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

*notes from 10/17/10*

I picked a six pack up on my way home from an out of state trip and was quite thrilled with what I bought. I have come to expect great beers from Harpoon and this is one of the reasons why. This one has very nice sweet smells that sets up well for what your taste buds have in store. It also have a very sweet malty flavor with some caramel hints. This would be a great desert beer for sure.

 414 characters

Photo of auxiliary
4.42/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Clear red amber color with a nice head from the carbination. Some lace leaft on the glass after I drank it.

Smell - Nice sweet malt smell to it. Very nice.

Taste - Sweet malty taste.

Mouthfeel - Light and carbinated here.

Drinkability - This was St. Patty's day beer along with my other choice's that I bought. I could drink a bunch of these.

 371 characters

Photo of FenwaySquid
4.47/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 oz bottle, packaging date of Jan 31 06 on the bottle, poured into a pint glass. Pretty cool looking label as well.

Appearance: Deep reddish brown color, almost transparent, with rising bubbles visible when held up to light. The head formation was average, then faded quickly into a lace.

Aroma: All malt, very clean.

Taste: Toasted malts up front and throughout the middle. The finish starts off with caramel malt flavors, and ends with a slight bittering hoppy taste to it. Excellent.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, almost a little watery in the middle though. The carbonation tickes the tongue nicely.

Overall: This is one of my favorites, I'd stongly recommend it to anyone, especially those who likes Irish red ales.

 740 characters

Photo of Brad007
4.5/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Color: A decent reddish-amber color with one-finger head and decent carbonation.

Aroma: Very sweet and malty with some caramel essence. Smooth.

Taste: Very smooth and malty upfront. Sweet and caramel-ish. Goes down easily. Very drinkable.

Mouthfeel: Sweet with a touch of caramel. Smooth with some dryness.

Verdict: A highly drinkable Irish Red Ale. It's what I expect from Harpoon and perfect for the spring season.

 420 characters

Photo of Ysgard
4.57/5  rDev +30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From a 24 pack sampler; This is my 2nd, and its better than the first. I've recently had the opportunity to sample several Irish red's, and I finally think I understand them.

This pours a touch lighter than I like my Reds, quickly losing head, and leaving only minimal lacing.

The aroma is nutty, caramel, and a touch of butterscotch, with fruity english hops holding it all together.

The taste confirms the slightest hint of diacetyl (butter), accentuating the caramel and nutty maltiness perfectly. A hint of chocolate, mild-moderate hop bitterness, and mild hop flavor, like East Kent Goldings, finish just dry enough to force another sip.

The mouthfeel is a balanced, carbonated silk, not so heavy as to stick, but substantial enough to satisfy.

I could drink this all night.

 784 characters

Photo of WJVII
4.62/5  rDev +31.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass this brew has a nice clear amber color with a great thick and sticky white head that stuck to the side of the glass as it settled into a 1/4 cap. The brew has a great aroma full of sweet hops and a balance of mildly roasted malts. The taste is wonderfully balance and reminds me of my time in Ireland. There is a sweetness to it but also has that fullness, yet light in the mouth. The style really takes me back which is why I had to give it the rating I did. Back then (about 6 years ago) I was not into BA, but I did write about the types of beers I tried and this really brings back some great times!

 628 characters

Photo of Heavy_D
4.67/5  rDev +33%
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.

 433 characters

Photo of bpw28
4.79/5  rDev +36.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Two finger a little off white creamy head, Copper (about a 16 on SRM chart), Very nice lacing

Nose: Medium Roast, Grassy, Honey, Midnight in the woods (for those who havent been, sweet woody earthy smell), Yeasty, berries, nuts like almond, spices

Taste: Medium Roast, sweet, berries, biscuit, nice light body, clean and smooth, soft woods, honey, sage, thyme, yeasty, faint hop

Final Thoughts: Wow. What a beer. I'll admit it, I'm a little tough with the irish ales and the scottish ales, so I was gonna be tough on this one. Wow. Session beer. Only guff I have about this brew is that its a seasonal and not an all year. Could be my favorite Irish red. (After just reading some reviews, it appears that this might just be a really outstanding beer to myself. I'm drinking it at about cellar temp in a modded-goblet. I don't care that others don't share my feelings as much as myself but it's suprising. Anyhow, just saying this so it doesn't appear like I'm over hyping it. It tastes like rainbows to me, but just meh to others. Try it and see where you fall.)

Food Pairing: This brew screams Lamb, potatoes, root vegetables, hearty stews, braised beef, oddly german fare would go well (jager schnitzel, spatz, red cabbage, and this brew. Tuck me in and kiss me goodnight.)

 1,291 characters

firstprev| 301-325 | 326-350 | 351-375  | next → last
Harpoon Celtic Ale from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
80 out of 100 based on 364 ratings.