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Harpoon Celtic Ale - Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

Not Rated.
Harpoon Celtic AleHarpoon Celtic Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

725 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 725
Reviews: 359
rAvg: 3.5
pDev: 14.57%
Wants: 16
Gots: 26 | 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:
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 added by: barleywinebrewer on 01-16-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 725 | Reviews: 359 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Truh
3.18/5  rDev -9.1%
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.

Truh, Mar 16, 2005
Photo of Sycodrummer
3.53/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

Sycodrummer, Mar 12, 2005
Photo of kmo1030
3.5/5  rDev 0%
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.

kmo1030, Mar 08, 2005
Photo of NEhophead
3.35/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

NEhophead, Mar 05, 2005
Photo of Luigi
3.75/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

Luigi, Mar 02, 2005
Photo of Billolick
2.85/5  rDev -18.6%
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.

Billolick, Mar 02, 2005
Photo of Hibernator
3.85/5  rDev +10%
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.

Hibernator, Feb 10, 2005
Photo of kmpitz2
2.42/5  rDev -30.9%
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.

kmpitz2, Oct 27, 2004
Photo of pezoids
4/5  rDev +14.3%
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.

pezoids, Sep 01, 2004
Photo of hungryghost
2.5/5  rDev -28.6%
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.

hungryghost, Aug 18, 2004
Photo of connecticutpoet
2.98/5  rDev -14.9%
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.

connecticutpoet, Jun 21, 2004
Photo of bditty187
2.95/5  rDev -15.7%
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!

bditty187, Jun 16, 2004
Photo of merlin48
3.15/5  rDev -10%
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.

merlin48, Jun 08, 2004
Photo of Mitchster
1.35/5  rDev -61.4%
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.

Mitchster, May 19, 2004
Photo of ark57
3.53/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

ark57, May 14, 2004
Photo of scriabin
3.43/5  rDev -2%
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.

scriabin, May 11, 2004
Photo of trekbiker3000
4.1/5  rDev +17.1%
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.

trekbiker3000, May 05, 2004
Photo of yankeeheel
3.88/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

yankeeheel, Apr 25, 2004
Photo of Southernbrew
3.93/5  rDev +12.3%
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.

Southernbrew, Apr 11, 2004
Photo of Jacobob10
3.75/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

Jacobob10, Apr 04, 2004
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.7/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

WVbeergeek, Apr 02, 2004
Photo of mschofield
3.5/5  rDev 0%
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.

mschofield, Mar 24, 2004
Photo of proc
3.9/5  rDev +11.4%
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.

proc, Mar 19, 2004
Photo of smcolw
3.38/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

smcolw, Mar 10, 2004
Photo of homersimpson
3.15/5  rDev -10%
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.

homersimpson, Mar 07, 2004
Harpoon Celtic Ale from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
80 out of 100 based on 725 ratings.