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Harpoon Celtic Ale - Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

Not Rated.
Harpoon Celtic AleHarpoon Celtic Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

364 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 364
Hads: 752
Avg: 3.51
pDev: 20.51%
Wants: 26
Gots: 67 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Harpoon Celtic Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 364 | Hads: 752
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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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.

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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 ark57
3.53/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It is ruby colored with a brownish tint and an off-white head that lasts. The aroma is very fruity with some malt and caramel. Banana and cherry are among the fruity flavors I detect with the esters. The medium to full body has little to hop character, but there is a bitterness that helps balance out the maltiness. An easy drinker, but not my favorite.

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Photo of scriabin
3.39/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

There's something alluring about the appearance of red ale. Harpoon's has smooth, complex flavor that's a little bitter with overtones of caramel and hops. The smell isn't so great; it's as if the beer has gone a bit bad, but that's misleading. The carbonation is just about right all of which makes this a fine beer for repeated offerings.

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Photo of trekbiker3000
4.12/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I did not know what to expect with a name like Harpoon Hibernian. Well I guess I expected an Irish Red Ale. The pour was not overly impressive in my glass, no head with just slight amount of foam floating at the top.

The aroma at first sniff was an amazing array of fruitiness, sweet yet malty. I could not wait to get a taste. It was crisp, full of carbonation. The body was strong but not overpowering. The fruitiness and slight hop flavor is intense. The flavor lingers in your mouth long after you took your last sip.

While ales are not usually my type of beer, I found this too be a very drinkable beer. Great appearance, good aroma, good taste, and a lasting impression. If you get a chance try this beer.

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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.

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Photo of Southernbrew
3.92/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours red, medium bubbly head.

Malty aroma with some fruitiness and hints of hops.

Medium body, somewhat smooth with a creaminess also. Noticable hop bitterness that melds with malt sweetness. Weak fruitiness comes through as well.

Very nice spring beer.

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Photo of Jacobob10
3.71/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Atlantic Fish Co. in Boston, MA. (My favorite restaurant in the city for any of you locals!)

When I ordered this, the waiter's first attempt to serve it to me ended up spilling all over my date. I mean we're talking completely drenched, head to toe, with a full pint of Harpoon, haha...We were in good spirits about the whole situation (we felt bad for the waiter more than anything). But, we got free desert out of the whole situation, and I got my beer eventually.

It was a ruby color with a small head that left a little lace on the side of the glass. Faint malty aroma, but not much overall. Great tasting, with the malts most notable, but a good balance of hops too. High drinkability, wouldn't have minded having a couple of these. Went great with my Halibut dinner.

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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.

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

Pours a clear dark red. Well carbonated with a two finger creamy tan head, laces in rings.
Toasted malt and butterscotch in the aroma, very malty, the hops must have taken the spring off.
Toffee strong in the taste, somewhat floral, fruity. Grainy with a touch of oak.
Light bitterness, light to medium feel. Interesting spring seasonal, I like it in a half and half with Guinness.

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

I really liked this one.

Pours out to a dark amber in the glass with a very, light, brown head. The aroma is that of malt and smells fresh. The taste is very good. There is a wonderful, sweet malt taste here, that is very lightly balanced by the hops. Its tastes lightly sweet and is very refreshing. A fine example of the Amber/Red style.

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Photo of smcolw
3.36/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance--Clear with a reddish-brown hue; Has a gray-white head that leaves an excellent lace.

Smell--First impression is a metalic aroma; both the hop and malt is relatively light

Taste--The malt offers a sweetish malt that is well balanced by the hop. This beer (on tap) was also carbonated more than expected. The finish is surprising dry. Unfortunately, the finish is also surprising short.

After all is said and done, this beer is flavorful and very drinkable. I think it would improve if it were slightly fuller in body and more complex in flavor.

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Photo of homersimpson
3.18/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear amber with a quick, light tan head.
Smells on toffee with a touch of nuts.
Almost chewy, medium body.
Starts with a very sweet malt and toffee flavor that picks up a touch of nuts as it finishes.
Smooth, but like all of the style, fall short of greatness.

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

This beer had a nice amber color and a nice malty smell. However, it is boring. If memory serves, the style is a tad boring, but I'm not going to hold it against the beer. Not too much going on with the taste. A malt profile with a nice taste, but not too complex. But it was a nice beer to remember Saint Patrick with.

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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.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.03/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on tap at Brew City, Worcester, MA.

23oz pour from tap in a large fluted pilsner glass. Nice head on top of a deep reddish-brown liquid. Pleasant mouthful of malt, with an appropriate amount of hops to balance. Smell somewhat guessed, as in a bar/smoking atmosphere, and my nose isn't the best under optimal conditions. Definitely worth the trouble to try this beer, great sessionability.

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

This Irish-style ale pours a reddish amber color with a full and creamy off-white head.
A nice sweet malty aroma mingles with a smell reminiscent a fruit cup.
A full creamy caramel sweet body brings up thoughts of Oktoberfests past.
The medium to high hops has some lemony citrus taste with a light tea-like quality.
This is a lively brew with a noticeable Scotch-like alcohol. Interesting.

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

Had this on tap at Redbones. Pour was a clear amber. Aroma was rather clean. Taste was more of the Oktoberfest variety: rather malty. I detected some husky notes as well. Pleasant, but over-all not earth-shattering, could make a nice session beer for a change.

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Photo of genaro
3.58/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Harpoon Hibernian Style Ale was a dark copper/ruby color with a moderate head. It had a nice fragrant hop aroma. The taste was slightly sweet (caramelly with traces of coffee) and citrusy (orangey). The finish was dry and citrusy. Overall it had a nice smooth blend with good carbonation and a good hop bite. I'd have another.

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Photo of beerinator
3.51/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Reddish Caramel Red. Offwhite rocky head with decent retention.

Aroma: Caramel, malty, very sweet. Malty candy.

Taste: Finishes a lot dryer than expected from the aroma. Not a whole lot of body. Bit of caramel with tingly dryness near the end. Clean.

Notes: Pretty good beer to drink four or five of. Very drinkable. A bit decieving on the body side, considering how sweet the aroma is.

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

served in 12 oz. bottle.
i bought a six pack of this in aug., when the price for this seasonal was marked way way down. i didn't expect much. in fact, from what i'd read before about this one, i half expected to dump out 5 bottles.
anyway, the gamble paid off. i liked this beer. not sure if it's a perfect rendition of the irish red ale, but the malt flavor held up pretty well. reminds me of an english mild ale or an american amber - maybe similar to say, john courage or sam adams.
thin watery mouthfeel, little carbonation, little hops, but nice sweet lip-smacking maltiness that goes down easy. very drinkable and non-offensive to just about any beer drinker.

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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 WaltTrombone
3.06/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a pint glass, reddish body with a tall white head that disappeared about a third of the way through. Vague laciness.

Not much aroma, just an indefinite sweetness. Taste was a little better, mostly malty sweetness, and just a wee bit of hops trying valiantly to hold back the malt. Thin, but not too thin mouthfeel. The hops make themselves known more in the finish, but not overtly so. Pretty drinkable, I didn't have to force myself, a good alternative to macros, and would probably be good for educating macro drinkers to better beer.

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Photo of ElGuapo
3.47/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A red amber pour with a little white head on top that dies a bit quick for my liking. The aroma is sweet with fruits at the start, but you can also pick up a bit of hops.

Flavor is not very strong, and the body is a bit thin, but it is still pretty enjoyable. A lot of sweet fruitiness with a mass of grains start you out. It then gives a bit of a hoppy flavor, but nothing to die for. I was not impressed, but I would probably drink it again depending on my other options.

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