Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine and get 12 issues / year of fresh beer content delivered to your door each month.

Already subscribe? to manage your subscription.

Harpoon Celtic Ale - Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

Not Rated.
Harpoon Celtic AleHarpoon Celtic Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
80
good

363 Reviews
THE BROS
89
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 363
Hads: 749
rAvg: 3.5
pDev: 9.71%
Wants: 27
Gots: 62 | 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: 363 | Hads: 749
Photo of flyingspatula
3.15/5  rDev -10%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is one of the most beautiful beers I've ever seen. The head was an awesome golden reddish cream, three fingers high. It looked like what I picture a Lothlorien beer would look like (uh, maybe this should be my last beer of the night?!). Well, anyway, the smell is not promising. Reminds me of one of the worst beers I have tried, Four Horesmen's Irish red. Yeeeuckkk! Luckily the taste, although slightly similar to that aforementioned travesty of a beer, is actually really good. Although slightly minerally with a slight tartness, it goes down smoothly and makes friends with tongue, throat and stomach easily. Very drinkable beer, and I would definitely try again! (672 characters)

Photo of WVRadar
3.58/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Best by date stamped on bottle. 3/4 inch white head, clear sparkling dark amber body with ruby highlights. Initial bitter taste, with short finish. Couldn't really pin the taste of this beer down, different than any other beer I've had. Not really sure if I liked it enough to have another one. (294 characters)

Photo of Erish
3.28/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I poured this 12. oz. bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A: clear, medium reddish amber color, 1-finger beige head falls into a good, thick cap with decent lacing.

S: right out of the gate I get a metallic off-note, the malt has an almost Germanic funk about it, with a decent amount of caramel, also there is some vanilla, and a light oak/earthiness.

T: the off-dry malt flavor is teamed with a strong metallic/mineral taste, there is an herbal/citrus profile in the middle, and the finish has a faint earthy hop profile.

M: light bodied, lightly silky texture, and plentiful carbonation with a crisp finish.

D: different, but better? I don't know. I'll have to try this beer again later to solidify my opinion of it. (720 characters)

Photo of scruffwhor
4.16/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked up my local Jewel today. Was surprised to see this at my local supermarket.

Deep yet clear amber color with lots of awesome bubbling and a well retained thick film of foam.

Sweet toasted malt aroma overall that makes me think of biscuits and home baked white bread. Very inviting session ale smell.

Sweet toasted malt upfront, with a little dryness. The middle has some caramel to add to that toasted bread flavor. Finish is simple and mlaty sweet that makes me want to kill a six pack of this beer in a heartbeat.

Very underated Irish Red ale. (558 characters)

Photo of chodinheaven
3.63/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pretty burnt orange hue with a solid white head that sticks around for a bit. Smell hits you right out of the gate with some light fruity scents that complement barley and malt aromas. Taste starts strong but finishes slightly disappointingly that hints of some American adjunct lagers that I dislike. Fortunately this taste is bolstered by some good hop, barley and slight malt flavors. On the front of the tongue it tastes better than in the back, on the finish. Finish is smooth and crisp with a mouthfeel that's on the creamier side. Drinkability is high with this one as it would be no problem to knock back a few of these when there's nothing better. Decent beer, just not great or unique. (695 characters)

Photo of spinrsx
3.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle

Appearance - Clear reddish orange colour with a large size frothy and fizzy beige coloured head. There is an above average amount of carbonation showing and there is some fair lacing on the sides of the glass. The head lasted for around 5 minutes before it began to dissipate.

Smell - malts, caramel, pears, tea

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an above average amount of carbonation and it feels slightly thin on the palette. I can taste lots of malts and a caramel sweetness mixed with tea. There are also notes of pear juice and a bit of a black liquorice flavour. The beer finishes with a malty sweet aftertaste.

Drink - Not a bad beer for the style. It would come in handy with St Patrick's Day approaching. Worth a try if you happen to see it - it is also very reasonable priced. (799 characters)

Photo of wvsabbath
3.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Dark ruby brown, redish with a minor 1/4 head, some nice lacing.

Smell - Rye, hops, sugar, malts, spices. Carmel, some brown sugar also. Even smelt some alcohol.

Taste - Very mild amber malt starts off, with carmel sugar and yeast mixed in. The alcohol pretty much non existent with each drink. Some very mild floral hop also.

Mouthfeel - Its thin, light and smooth without a dominate flavor. Nothing to work mouth over or bitter palette. I wouldnt bother drinking this beer after a stout or porter cause you wouldnt taste it.

Drinkabilty - Well, its a decent beer but too light for me. There are more solid irish ales out there but that are more flavor heavy. Its very smooth and easy to drink, so you could pound a 6-pack really easy. Good beer, but it cant touch great lakes conway imo. (829 characters)

Photo of TheWhiskerReview
3.7/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The ale pours a brilliant ruby red with a nice cream colored head with decent retention, while the nose is bright with lots of floral flavors, cherries and caramel. The mouth starts malty with a juicy pink grapfruit note, moderate carbonation and a pleasant balancing hoppiness, while the finish returns to the more mouthwatering malt notes. (341 characters)

Photo of pzrhsau
3.33/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Slightly sun orangeish color with notes of gold. Not the reddish that I was expecting. Small head to it.
S: Very strong caramel malt with some good acidity. Slight orangeish fruitness
T: Malty, good tangy sweetness that really expands as you drink it. Has a very non-acidic balanced aftertaste.
D/M: Crisp tight carbonation with a good balance. Very drinkable and not overpowering. (384 characters)

Photo of CuriousMonk
3.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into dimpled mug. Pours a reddish-brown, thin head with minimal lacing. Aroma of caramel, sweet toasted malts, butter. Semi-sweet toasted malts, caramel, minor hop taste, semi-dry finish. There is also somewhat of a thick syrup taste that is especially apparent in the aftertaste - this really hurt the score. Medium carbonation and medium body, but feels a little watery. Overall a decent brew. (420 characters)

Photo of TitanTake
3.98/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This was poured from a bottle into a mug.

A - Nice full head; great lacing along the rim; color a bit off; it seems almost orange, two-toned

S - excellent hops and florals; a hint of something stale however

T - hops are not overpowering; nice malty flavor throughout

M - the carbonation was surprisingly excellent; wonderful effervescence on every mouthful

D - overall I would say that this beer is not an every day, sit down at the pub, beer. However, it does have it's merits for an occasional change of pace (515 characters)

Photo of Arithmeticus
3.75/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured in snifter glass, chilled

A: clear copper color; small head dissipating quickly; slight lacing
S: malty with cinnamon and molasses overtones
T: burnished red ale; twangs of cherry, pine; it approaches the flavor profile of a died Dr. Pepper; neither bitter nor sweet

This is admittedly an unusual red ale; most beer drinkers will enjoy this, but only some will want to return; those who don't will have enjoyed the visit, though. (438 characters)

Photo of nezelrac
3.56/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I don't really know what to do with this one. So many parts of it were really enjoyable to down-right delicious, but other parts made it, well, less than I hoped for. Was there something wrong with the glass? or my palate? I looked through the other notes posted before typing this one up because I wanted to double check, but they, too, are all over the place...???

A - really beautiful copper-red; nice off-white foam that yields a bit of lacing and has moderate retention

S - clean malty nose; a little toasty malt and hints of the sweeter end of the malt spectrum; definite hop presence, but a little non-descript

T - very clean and precise/focused malt profile with a reprise of the toasty note and the sweetness; the hops are lending a hand in the flavor profile, backing up the malt; hint of band-aid? brett.?

M - has a medium body with a good edge

D - session worthy; but every time the band-aid returned...? (921 characters)

Photo of FollowedMyFolly
2.21/5  rDev -36.9%
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. (294 characters)

Photo of OtherShoe2
3.58/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours reddish amber with a decent off-white head and good lacing.

Toasted malt and fruit in the nose. Some caramel as well.

Nice toasted malt up front, some chewy bread crust bitterness, juicy fruit, caramel, drying to some boiled grain and a long bready finish. Simple but good.

Medium body and good carbonation.

Easy to drink, but not something I'd want many repeats of. Simple and good, one of the better Harpoon offerings. (430 characters)

Photo of Franz4
3.78/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, best by 5/15/11

A- crystal clear copper color with a nice foamy head that leaves lace about a 1/4" above the cap as it settles.

S- Smell is hard for me to place, definitely floral, with a bit of cider and grapelike character that I'm picking up on.

T- Toasty malts up front balanced by some mild hops in the finish. Definitely getting a little grape-like character in the finish as well, interesting.

M- Quite a bit of carbonation, none visible in the glass but an explosion in the mouth.

D- A nice find, it would pair well with pub food on st. patty's day. Not a standout in any one dimension, but nonetheless enjoyable. You might not remember this beer, but it won't make you want to forget it. (715 characters)

Photo of devinoconnor
3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I've always liked Harpoon, but I've been trying more and more of their stuff after falling in love with their current IPA.

Celtic Red Ale is another solid performer for Harpoon.

Pours a nice maroonish brown color, redish of course.

Smells malty and hoppy, yet quite balanced between the two.

Nice drinking beer. (318 characters)

Photo of CountJustinian
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice almost pure red color with a half-inch-to-an-inch of off-white foam that sinks rather quickly. Malty nose with hints of sweet garden vegetables. Medium body, leaning towards the light side. Carbonation is smooth and creamy. Sweet maltiness with caramel, taffee and mild woodsiness. Clean and smooth without a lot of aftertaste. Very drinkable; easy to have more than one. (376 characters)

Photo of welldigger888
3.91/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle in to my trusty iriash pub pint glass, Beautiful garnet hue with an off white head that slowly fades with ok lacing.
The aromas seem a bit muted but what does come through is of a nice grain malty caramel, little hop if any on aroma.
Very well put on brew here, the slight hop goes well with the style and the malty flavors with a slight caramel stand tallest.
Seems a touch thin on mouthfeel but good carbonation.
Could knock these back for days! (467 characters)

Photo of sixerofelixir
4.05/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Best-by date clearly inked on bottle neck.

Pours an ultra-clear, dark amber-orange. A tan head recedes and patches to the glass. but a few slow carb trails. Smell is high-pitched toasted malts, some fresh greens as well. I tend to rate finish with mouthfeel, and this beer has some of the best of both. I like it when a beer makes me forget about the seperation. For taste - a light, buddy hops twists intently into an absolute blast of sweet and almost cocoa-ish roasted malts. Then the finish is dry. And bitter. Feel is carbonated and medium-bodied and hearty. Drinkability high. I'm starting to think I like these red ales.. (643 characters)

Photo of LuthersLager
1.18/5  rDev -66.3%
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. (427 characters)

Photo of bamojr
4.37/5  rDev +24.9%
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 Brent
3.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A quite respectible entry in this style category. Malt-centric, with some light fruity notes and a touch of woodyness. Body was just a bit on the lighter side than I would have liked, but, overall, an enjoyable sessionable ale that would be a fine accompanyment to a meat-and-potato meal. (288 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
3.75/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Served in a tulip glass. Pours a moderate red-amber color. Off-white head that starts out at a nice two-finger height and falls down throughout. Good lacing. The nose brings some light caramel and toffee notes plus a bit of earthy hops. In the end, a bit of the characteristic Harpoon house yeast which, after having 25 or so of their beers, I've started to pick up on. Taste is slight breadiness plus some earth. Light to medium body and nice drinkability. (479 characters)

Photo of CHickman
2.65/5  rDev -24.3%
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. (762 characters)

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