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Harpoon Celtic Ale - Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

Not Rated.
Harpoon Celtic AleHarpoon Celtic Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

363 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 363
Hads: 749
Avg: 3.51
pDev: 14.25%
Wants: 26
Gots: 64 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 363 | Hads: 749
Photo of RBorsato
3.93/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Amber color with a nice full creamy tan head, good carbonation, and decent lace. Spicy malt aroma. Spicy nutmeg-like malt flavors; fairly robust malt profile for an Irish Red. Medium bodied and smooth with a spicy dry malt finish.

Good but just not my style to stick with for more than one.

Per B.O.M. notes:
- 22 IBU
- 5.4% ABV
- Malts: 2-row Pale, Caramel, and Chocolate
- Hops: Nugget

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Photo of GClarkage
3.53/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

07/04/05- Received from BA member Spinlock upon his return from Boston.

Presentation- 12oz bottle with no dating listed. Poured into a random pint glass.

Appearance- Dark amber pour with a 1/2 inch white head and decent lacing.

Smell- Mostly a heavy malt scent.

Taste- Mildly sweet malt, maybe a bit roasted and toasted. Definite caramel as well. Slight pine hop taste as well.

Mouthfeel- Moderate carbonation with a slick and smooth feel.

Drinkability- Perfectly adequate red ale. But nothing special really popped into my head while drinking it.

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Photo of jdm
3.66/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

this beer pours a one and a half finger, creamy off-white head that persists for a decent while. it strongly laces the sides of the glass as the ale dissappears. the brew is dead-on style copper color and a fair amount of carbonation is evident to the eye. my nose picks up sweet malt and a light floral hop smell. This beer starts mildly sweet and finishes mildly dry and bitter. this beer does everything a bit too mildly. this is really good stuff but it seems could be great with just a little more umph! in all departments.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.86/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Orange-bronze with a hint of brick red that's only appreciated with strong backlighting. The head is off-white with an orangish ecru influence and doesn't rise higher than a finger or two after the pour. It's fairly nondescript and leaves only a stunted collar of lace.

The nose is a few clicks too low on the old intens-o-meter. There isn't much to go on. In fact, I'd have had a hard time coming up with the proper style if I didn't already know it. The beer is slightly more malty than it is hoppy, which is only fitting since it isn't hoppy at all. Weak, weaker, weakest.

Hibernian Ale isn't a bad little drinker. On second swallow, while it isn't that far off the mark, it isn't an especially good version of an Irish red. It's undermalted with a mildly sweet, quasi-caramel flavor that fails to impress. My guess is that it's hopped with some British variety, like Goldings. Since the brewers were overly stingy with the hops, it's hard to tell.

The finish is nothing special and differs only in that it contains a smidgen more herbal English hoppiness and some tea-like notes. Clean and tending toward dry sums it up pretty well. The light mouthfeel aspires to light-medium... and comes up short.

Hibernian Irish Style Red Ale is a fairly lackluster offering from a brewery that is new to me (or at least to my taste buds). I know better than to judge Harpoon by one beer and will have no trouble trying other offerings as I run across them. For instance, there's an interesting little creation called Triticus, brewed by two brothers who know a thing or ten about beer, that I've been itching to try.

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Photo of tgbljb
3.8/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured a deep copper color with large off-white head. Smell is slightly sweet with a faint hint of hops. Taste is pleasant, but nothing outstanding with a slight hop bitterness at the finish. Let a mild dry taste in the mouth. Could be a decent session beer, both nothing outstanding

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Unfortunately Harpoon seems like one of those brewers that just doesn’t live up to their potential. The beers are consistent and well-made but the flavor just is not there on a lot of them. Seems to me they could easily be a GLBC or Bell’s caliber brewer if they would just decide they wanted all their beers to be less boring. Anyway this Killian’s-ish beer is clear amber with a thin ivory-colored head and minimal lacing. Caramel and malt aroma. Medium-bodied and dry with malt, caramel and light nut flavor. The finish is short and hoppy. Smooth and easy to drink, but again there should be more to this.

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Photo of AlexJ
3.27/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

$2.50/pint firetap at Flying Saucer

This Irish Red ale is delivered a clear copper red with a modest off white head. Retention is modest with no lace, maybe a dirty glass.

Aroma is predominantly malty with floral, banana, honey and bready notes. It almost smells like carmelized brown suger mixed with wildflowers.

Flavor is somewhat lesser than the nose, but displays the same qualities. The banana taste really throws it off.

Body is medium light with soda-like carbonation with a smooth and slick mouthfeel. Easy to drink, but forgettable.

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Photo of WanderingFool
3.48/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hibernian Style Ale pours a clear copper color with a thin slightly off white head that dissolves quickly to a thin ring around the surface. The faint caramel malt aroma has a hint of floral hops mixed in. Each sip of this medium bodied beer is dry with a nice malt flavor. Some notes of nuts, bubblegum and floral hops balance out the malt. It sort of reminds me of tea. A sweet malt flavor lingers on the palate when the beer is gone.

This is a quite drinkable, well balanced beer. I consider it middle of the road in regards to flavor.

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

This is a nice offering from the Harpoon Brewery. Poured from a bottle, the head fizzes out fairly quickly. There is a half-moon ring on one side of the glass. The nose is good.. well, above average anyway. A little bit fruity (black cherries), malty, nothing really jumps out at me here. But it has a clean taste and smell.. a good pub ale for sure. I like most of Harpoon's beers, and this one is a good example of why. It isn't outrageously estery, malty or hoppy. It is however true to its style.

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Photo of tomthumbsblues
3.88/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a copper color and produces a thin head. The smell is of light malt. The taste contained a bready maltiness, and had hints of cherry and banana, which yielded to bitter citrus hops in the finish. The mouthfeel was balanced. Overall, a pretty good beer, but not exactly earth-shattering.

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Photo of LPorter33
2.99/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Purchased single 12 oz bottle from Martignetti's

appearance = opaque amber not too dark or cloudy, small head, not too much carbonation

Smell = not much of a scent at all, little bit of sour hoppiness. Not impressed

Taste = A little torn on the taste here. There's a certain watery blandness that cuts through which is extremely bothersome. However, trailing that is a delicious sweet aftertaste that is very enjoyable. Not very hoppy at all, malt flavor is present but not overwhelming.

Overall = An OK beer but nothing spectacular; I'm slightly disappointed and can't really recommend it as it's not much of an improvement over Killians.

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Photo of scottum
3.48/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poors a red amber with an off-white headskie. Malty smooth, slightly sweet, and litely hopped this brew is. Drinkable, but not very special. Mouthfeel is solid. There are severial better New England reds around. Check out Rock Art's American Red as a better example of the style.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.63/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a white, one finger-head that goes quickly leaving no lace. Nice clear amber color. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Nose is slightly malty. Starts smooth with more malts than hops, some sweetness finishes quietly with no aftertaste. $7.49 for a 6-pack of 12oz bottles from Fred's Kwik Stop Concord, NH.

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Photo of Truh
3.18/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A gaggle of serpents slithered past me with this one on 3/6/2005. 16-oz. pint pour at Doyle’s in Jamaica Plain.

1-inch pillow of initial, flocular head that dies quickly, leaving little trace. Washed out copper hue with a hint of brown tinge and clear with some continuous action and very fine stick. Kind of a jumpy sweetness on nose, but can’t quite place it exactly, almost like a strawberry though I know it isn’t; light malt backing. Some sweet caramel on mouth with an inner core of Granny Smith apple tartness. Finishes pretty quickly with a fairly light body – not inspiring, but also does not offend.

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Photo of Sycodrummer
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass forming about a half-finger head that quickly went away and left little to no lacing. A light amber-brown color alla iced tea.

Smell is slightly floral and hoppy with some maltiness behind these scents.

Taste is slightly sweet malt with a bit of a bitter and dry hoopy finish. Moderate to rather light on the palate with ample carbonation.

A decent beer and easy to drink.

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Photo of kmo1030
3.48/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

coppery red with a light tan head that settles quickly. sweet malty aroma. toasted caramel, a hint of bublegum-like fruitiness. the same toasted caramel shows up in the taste, with the hint of bubblegum, and some other clean sweet flavor i can't identify, sort of a burnt sugar candied apple flavor, but that desciption doesn't quite do it justice. fairly light mouthfeel with prickly carbonation. good drinkability. a pleasant tasty beer, but nothing really stands out about it. good, but unremarkable.

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Photo of NEhophead
3.33/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz brown bottle.

Foamy off white head that's slow to settle. Condensed lacing with good strength. Clean copper with a shade of red in color.

Burnt maltiness. Hints of lemony hop aromas. Musty, earthy bread-like character as well. All very subtle aromatics.

Delicate balance of light, lemon-flavored hop profile and a rustic, earthy malt character. Light bubblegumflavor as well. Virtually no bitterness and just a touch of dryness. lemon and musty aftertaste.

A shade below medium bodied. Very light and even watery for the style.

Quite drinkable due to how light this red is. A pretty average version of the style. What I was expecting from Harpoon.

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Photo of Luigi
3.77/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Has a clear reddish-orange color. Head starts off about two fingers high, but settles to a white lace around the glass.

Smells clean and malty. Has a little bit of hop in the behind the malts.

Taste every balanced. A nice amount of carbonation with a sweet malty body. There is a good amount of roasted malt with some hops in the back ground.

Has a medium mouthfeel. Feels nice on the tongue. This is a very drinkable balanced ale.

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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.

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

I had this out of a 12 oz brown bottle and served in an imperial pint glass. A bottled on date is clearly mark in a jet ink for 1/13/05. Label states that this brew is an Irish-style red ale that honors the proud celtic tradition.

Light and creamy nose. A tad of fruit and butter.

Pours a light shaded amberish red with a great head on top. Very nice sticky lacings cling all over the glass.

A clean and straightforward red ale. Creamy, fruity sweetness with a smooth mouthfeel. There is a nice dry and clean hop presence as well.

Overall, this a nice Spring seasonal by a local brewery.

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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.

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Photo of pezoids
3.98/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This poured out clean, clear and was an orangey-amber color. A large persistent head of foam rose out of the beer and left a nice lace on the glass. The aroma is semi-sweet with buttery malts and bitter orange notes. The taste is buttery smooth and flavorful. This goes down extremely easy. The body is solid and the finish is clean and leaves a pleasant tartness in the throat. The draft version was good, but this might be even better.

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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 connecticutpoet
3.05/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This was a nice red color, as I expected from an Irish ale, especially one from Harpoon. The nice head and sharp biting hop tang were enticing, to say the least.

The problem with this beer is that while it had the bitter foretaste the aroma promised, it mellowed out much too quickly. This was a good average drinking beer, but overall I wsn't impressed. I don't think I would go out of my way to have another.

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Photo of bditty187
2.94/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear, coppery amber in hue with a modest tawny highlight, no animation, the white head reached a half finger in height. The head retention was excellent as it sat like concrete and it had the same staying power. The subsequent lacing amounted to zilch. Still, this is a good-looking beer. The nose is way too clean, this is an ale right? Faint whiffs of nuts and trace amounts of caramel maltiness can be found, once I worked at it a little. The lack of smell removes any hope of an invitation. True, the nose is inoffensive but it is so damn lackluster! It is time to taste, even without an invite. Bland palate. I could end my comments on the taste right there. But I will elaborate a little. First of all, where is the biscuit-like maltiness? Hell, I’d settle for some yummy caramel notes. All I get out of this beer is hints of nuts, some grassiness, a moderate bite of bitterness at the back and a large dose of cleanliness. How boring. I’m not impressed; frankly it is too bland to be offensive. The mouthfeel is pleasant, the carbonation is modestly high but it seems fitting, medium in body but it could use more malt. Not only for bulk but also for flavor. It is very easy to drink, since nothing bothers to tickle the tastebuds before reaching the throat. This is a very, very run of the mill Amber Ale; nothing about it is memorable (in a positive light anyway). I can think of dozens of Ambers I’d pick over this one. Regardless I never would have had the chance to try this if it wasn’t for drweizen and BIF 5. Thanks!

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Harpoon Celtic Ale from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
80 out of 100 based on 363 ratings.