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Harpoon 100 Barrel Series #30 - Island Creek Oyster Stout - Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

Not Rated.
Harpoon 100 Barrel Series #30 - Island Creek Oyster StoutHarpoon 100 Barrel Series #30 - Island Creek Oyster Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

218 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 218
Reviews: 181
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 13.1%
Wants: 6
Gots: 8 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
English Stout |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Brewed by Harpoon brewer Katie Tame, using Island Creek oyster farmer Skip Bennett’s revered Duxbury Bay oysters, this beer has a rich body and smooth mouthfeel derived in part from a combination of roasted barley and chocolate rye malts. The roasted malt notes blend beautifully with the briny, mineral flavors of the Island Creek oysters. An addition of hops adds some bitterness to balance the malt sweetness. This, the 30th installment of the Harpoon 100 Barrel Series, is best enjoyed with a plate full of Island Creek Oysters.

35 IBU

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-21-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 218 | Reviews: 181 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BeanBone
3.25/5  rDev -13.1%

Appearance: A dark brown, nearly black, body capped by over two fingers of tan-tinged, creamy head that leaves patchy lacing.

Aroma: Chocolaty roasted malt accompanied by nary a whiff of seafood.

Flavor: Again, a slightly chocolaty roasty malt body without much complexity. Some mild bitterness keeps things relatively balanced. Try as I might, I can't find anything salty or oyster-like, about all I can find is a few mineral notes. As expected, there's mild roasty malt in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and a little creamy with smooth medium carbonation. Dries a little in the finish.

Drinkability: With light flavor intensity, smooth mouthfeel, moderate alcohol content, this is easily drinkable.

Verdict: I was hoping this would be rich and a little briny, but instead it's a rather bland American Stout. While both of the 100 Barrel Series beers I've tried so far have been a little lackluster, I know these guys can brew interesting beers and I'm optimistic the next will be more special.

BeanBone, Mar 07, 2010
Photo of bluejacket74
4.35/5  rDev +16.3%

22 ounce bottle. Served in a nonic pint glass, the beer pours dark brown/black with an inch and a half frothy tan head. Head retention and lacing are both pretty good. Aroma is roasted and burnt/charred malt, bittersweet chocolate, and coffee. Taste is similar to the aroma, but with the addition of a minerally flavor and a little bit of a salty taste (both of which I assume is from the oysters). Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's creamy, a bit slick, well carbonated and has a somewhat dry finish. Drinkability is good, it's smooth and very easy to drink. Too bad this is just a one time release brew. I liked it a lot, and think it would be a decent choice as a session beer, I wouldn't have any problem drinking another bomber or 2 of this.

bluejacket74, Mar 06, 2010
Photo of erosier
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%

L: Pours a nice dark black color with a medium sized and medium bodied tan colored head that laces the glass nicely on the way down.
S: Smells of deep roasted and toasted malts, hints of chocolate and coffee aromas, and a hint of hops at the end.
T: Big amounts of roasted malt and some chocolate and coffee flavors most likely from the malt. Not much else, a bit dry on the finish.
M: Smooth, perfect amount of carbonation. Kind of heavy feeling.
D: Pretty drinkable, could be a little lighter bodied if it was to be more drinkable or have more alcohol, but it was pretty good nonetheless.

erosier, Mar 06, 2010
Photo of JamesS
4.45/5  rDev +19%

Pours a great dark brown, near black, with a fantastic tan head and great lacing throughout. Very nice deep scent, slight sweetness with a huge roasted grain aroma (very coffee-like with a slight hint of chocolate). Nice deep roasted grains flavor with a nice sweet kick and slight hop finish; there is a noticable oyster flavor as well, which struck me as a tin-like shellfish flavor, much like you get when you crunch into a semi-solid particle along with the oyster, except that it's all liquid in the beer (no worries, there are no solid floaties). It goes down thick and creamy, quite smooth. This is a very unique beer to try, and should go great with seafood, especially oysters or clams. It's not an every day beer for me, but definitely worth a shot if you want to try a hard to find historic beer style.

JamesS, Mar 06, 2010
Photo of hoplover82
2.53/5  rDev -32.4%

Pours a clear black color with hints of ruby, with a small ivory colored head that has ok retention and little to no lacing.

Smells pretty good with huge roasted barley notes that give it a coffee smell it also has a slight chocolaty note to it with an oceany note in the back. Very pleasant indeed.

Then the flavor... man what a dissapointment! If the oysters werent in there, it would be great. But I guess I just couldn't handle it. And I'm into crazy beers like this too. It has a nice roasted barley characteristic, very nice stout, but when the oysters are in there, it has such a salty harshness to it, imo.

Therefore, it was so harsh and undrinkable to me that it was a drainpour! I couldn't believe it! I even gave it a chance and let it warm up to see if it would become more smooth, but I just couldn't stand it. So I had to redeem myself with a fresh Bigfoot BarleyWine Style Ale. Then I was all better.

hoplover82, Mar 05, 2010
Photo of glid02
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%

Bottle from CBX in Charleston, SC.

Pours one shade from black with a half-finger tan head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving light lacing.

Smells of lightly roasted and black malts with mild amounts of dark cocoa powder. As the beer warms the aroma sweetens a bit.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Black and roasted malt flavors up front with just a tinge of saltiness (although I may be tasting that only because I read the bottle). Midway through the sip unsweetened cocoa powder sneaks into things. Near the end of the sip very light amounts of raisins pop up before fading before a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a solid thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass withotu a problem and could have another.

Overall I thought this was a solid low ABV stout that wasn't a far cry from a good schwarzbier. I'm not really sure how much the oysters add but either way this is worth a shot.

glid02, Mar 04, 2010
Photo of zebco
2.53/5  rDev -32.4%

Appearance: Poured to a very dark color. A heavy, tan colored head. I'm excited.

Smell: When I took my first quick whiff, I got a very unpleasant smell. I couldn't put my finger on it. The thought gym locker kept crawling in my head. My wife said a fart mixed with cigarette butts. It was just like a briny, pungent smell. Upon taking deeper whiffs, I smelt hints of chocolate and smoke. But I couldn't get over my initial aromas.

Taste & Mouthfeel: I thought it had good flavor. I kept getting smoke flavors. I did drink the whole thing holding my breath due to the smell I was getting.

Drinkability: I'm on the fence here. Part of me wants to try it again to see if I had a fluke. But then again, I probably won't due to the limited series. I don't want to smell that again anytime soon.

zebco, Mar 04, 2010
Photo of HeyItsChili
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%

A - Poured into a tulip glass. Pours cola dark brown with chocolate highlights and a khaki head.

S - Burnt coffee, bittersweet chocolate. Syrupy smoky resin.

T - Earthy, with a sweet almost tart chocolate flavor. Little bit of smokiness in there too.

M - Velvety, smooth.

HeyItsChili, Mar 03, 2010
Photo of Gosox8787
3.2/5  rDev -14.4%

Presentation: Bomber bottle with tin foil covering poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass in two parts.

Appearance: Dark brown to black coloring. Deep ruby edges and a one figner, tan head with almost no retention. Head recedes quickly into nothing.

Aroma: Deep char and espresso are the first notes to hit in the nose. Not much in the way of sweetness. Some earthy tones emerge somewhat but don't really offer any counter to the char.

Taste: Much like the aroma, the deep burnt char flavor is the first thing to hit. There is also espresso, but these really don't balance wach other, just offer more bitter notes. There is a missing element of sweetness that could add some much needed dimension and cut the one flavor that dominates. Clean, slighty bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, but a little chewy. Not much in the way of carbonation. Feels heavier than it is.

Drinkability: Low ABV and medium flavors make for decent drinkability. Some balance and a lighter mouthfeel would make this much more sessionable.

Overall, a decent stout tha I found one dimensional. Too much char and bitterness led to no balance and a beer that desperately needed some sweetness. The char flavor profile wa snice , but it was too much and needed something to balance it.

Gosox8787, Mar 01, 2010
Photo of caminiti
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%

Poured black, very light head, minimal lacing as it went down rather easily in a stolen pint glass. Carbonated a bit heavily for the style, not much nose (tiny bit of chocolate, and perhaps oyster, though I would have never identified it if I didnt know it was there). Light on the alcohol, which is completely masked, easy to drink and worth a try, relatively inexpensive as well.

caminiti, Feb 28, 2010
Photo of Daniellobo
3.4/5  rDev -9.1%

A correct stout, and a very shy attempt at something different.

Presentation: 22 oz brown bottle. Simple front label design with a loose attempt at a limited release image with signatures of the brewers. Includes a small paragraph noting the name of the ale. Lacks any bottling or best by date other than a "session 30" tag. Notes IBUs (35), OG (15), and Alc. by Vol. (5.5%) Served into a snifter.

A - Deep brown pour with a nice head, medium to low retention, little to no lacing, and a reliable surface memory.

S - Roasted malt, coffee and chocolate. Maybe the faintest of salty, mineral notes and also a maybe as self-suggestion for a nano-second of a note of sea-food. Nah, it´s gone...

T - Reliable stout profile with roasted notes, coffee, a bit of chocolate, and again, maybe, just maybe a salty, mineral note in the background. Barely there.

M - Medium body with fair carbonation and a smooth finish.

D - Blah, blah, blah, works well as a stout, a quality one but in the middle of the pack with plenty better ahead of it. Nothing much exciting to making it remarkable.

Notes: As a light stout it gets good pass marks, nothing extraordinary but decent... As a limited batch it really does not cut it for me. At best this is death by subtlety, at worst it is a bland marketing ploy that falls well short of anything memorable other than the hype surrounding it. Luckily the stout remains good and drinkable, but I´d much rather have them do an actually stimulating brew for this 100 barrel series than something not worth the memory.

Daniellobo, Feb 28, 2010
Photo of browncrayon
3.18/5  rDev -15%

Let me preface this by saying I've never had oysters in my life. I really enjoy seafood and shellfish, but I avoid oysters simply because of the texture. Even still, I'm a little freaked out by this beer. But you have to try everything once, right?

A: The beer pours a pitch black--I'm having a hard time getting any light to come through at all. The head is tan and tall.

S: I'm scared to take a first whiff, but I don't smell any hint of oysters or sea-life at all. Definite sweet, burnt, and chocolaty smells, MAYBE some brine coming through at the end the more I smell it, but I don't think I'd be able to pick it out if I didn't already know there were oysters in it.

T: Okay...I'm diving in. It tastes toasty! Dark, burnt malt flavors with dark chocolate tastes coming through in the front, and then the brine totally hits you on the finish. You don't notice it until the end when you feel a bit like you're breathing ocean air. I'm surprised by how well those transition into each other--it's really not too off-putting. A bit bitter and lingering, but overall not bad.

M: It's pretty carbonated, medium-bodied, and fairly dry.

D: This is where it gets bad--I've hit a wall here. I think it's fair to say that there's a big psychological factor to this beer, and it may have gotten to me. I genuinely found the taste to be pleasant, but I can't even finish my glass and admittedly feel a little bit ill. Don't underestimate your mind's power over your mouth and stomach for this one!

browncrayon, Feb 27, 2010
Photo of Jwale73
3.9/5  rDev +4.3%

22oz. bottle served in my Sam Smith Nonic. Poured two shades shy of black and semi-translucent with deep red highlights around the base when backlit. Head was two inches, creamy and tan-colored. Head eventually settles into a solid skim of a cap, revealing concentric half-moon bands of lacing as the brew recedes. Nose is malty and reveals lactose, a hint of cocoa and the merest suggestion of brine. Taste follows nose with the addition of a roasted quality. Mouthfeel is medium-light with a level background carbonation and a fairly dry finish. A solid offering, but falls somewhere between an oyster and a milk stout (is there a difference?). Nonetheless, pretty enjoyable.

Jwale73, Feb 27, 2010
Photo of beingwatched
3.33/5  rDev -11%

I thought it fitting that this be the first beer I actually review here, considering how mortally terrified I actually was to try it.

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass. It was very, very black with a quickly dissipating head and a nice light caramel lacing. The scent was not that powerful - chocolatey and toasty with a hint of sweetness.

On first sip, I was surprised how burnt and slightly bitter the taste was. Not as sweet as the scent predicted. It was pretty malty - I got chocolate, espresso, and smoky notes. Although it was pretty dry, the burnt flavor lingers. As for the oysters: I definitely noticed a subtle briney/shellfish taste, though not an unpleasant one. There are subtle hints of saltwater and minerals, and I can see how this would pair well with oysters, clams, or mussels.

The mouthfeel was medium - fairly round. Light, fizzy carbonation.

The drinkability for me was not great, though surprisingly more better than I expected for a beer brewed with oysters. Like others have said, I'm not sure I would have detected the oyster flavors if I wasn't expecting them, but as it warmed a bit they began to taste more apparent and may have psychologically gotten to me. I'd likely pass on this again. On that note, I might recommend it to anyone interested in seeing what an oyster stout is like. After all, I was scared... but I'm alive to to talk about it!

beingwatched, Feb 27, 2010
Photo of rpstevens
3.15/5  rDev -15.8%

Poured from a bottle into a dogfish head signature glass. The beer pours a dark brown, almost black with hazy edges. There is a frothy off-white head that quickly fades to a tight ring, leaving bubbly lacing that doesn't have much lasting power.

The smell is a chocolate, roasted malts and a salted nut characteristic first and foremost. The nuttiness ushers in a mineral salty character and a briny salt. Not to be exaggerated, the salt characteristics are quick, and they balance the sweet chocolate and malt characters nicely in the nose.

The flavor does not live up to the nose on this one. The sweet chocolate, slightly roasty malt and brine characteristics are all equally present but they are boring compared to the smell of the beer. Each flavor is not intense enough, and none of them last more than a split second. There is also an empty void in the mid-palate that just seems to lack a flavor.

This is a light to medium bodied stout that is well carbonated for the style. The alcohol is never present and the finish is nice and dry. The nose and mouthfeel on this beer are good, but the flavor really makes the drinkability suffer. It's not a bad tasting beer, but there is nothing about the flavor profile that makes me excited to drink more.

rpstevens, Feb 27, 2010
Photo of Perkyanda
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%

This stuff is black. Not dark brown, black. Ok.. the edges show a bit of caramel color where the light has a chance to get through, but for the most part this thing is dark and dangerous looking. There's very little head-- a few big creamy bubbles and some smaller froth.

It smells malty and smoky, and the scent is light. not a lot else going on, really. The taste is... really good, actually. Really different. Smoky as hell, a bit of a just-smoked-a-cigar aftertaste lingers, but in a good way. There's a bit of a mouthwatering saltiness to it, but very mild, and nothing is bitter about this beer at all. It tastes just like a nice, smoky stout. A little unusual, but nothing extremely unique in the flavor, except the smoky, briney aftertaste... or maybe I'm jsut tricking myself on the brine flavor, thinking it's there due to the label.

Mouthfeel is good. Low carbonation but nice tingle, nice full mouth taste. Not really silky or rich, but pleasant.

At 5.5 ABV, this tastes like a sipper, but will keep you sober... possibly more sober than you'd like, if your friends are drinking something higher. I like it a lot, and I would definitely pick this for a party when I don't want to get too sleepy, too early. It's a little pricier than I feel the taste and ABV deserve, but it is a novelty, and definitely worth trying one. I'd love to try some on tap.

Perkyanda, Feb 26, 2010
Photo of WesWes
3.38/5  rDev -9.6%

The beer pours a dark brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a thin black malt roasted character with some mild crystal malt aroma. There appears to be nothing going on with the oysters, besides a bit of mineral character. The taste is decent as well. It has a bone dry roasted taste with some light mineral flavors, but nothing too noticeable. There is little complexity here. It's just a middle of the road stout. The mouthfeel is average. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is an above average beer at best. It's nothing extreme or even remotely exciting; another 100 barrel flop.

WesWes, Feb 26, 2010
Photo of Augustiner719
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%

Had on tap at the brewery in Boston MA.

poured a pitch black but slightly clear medium bodied stout with a mocha head that recedes slowly. Aromas of chocolate, toffee, slight briney waft with a touch of espresso and dark chocolate. Taste was very nice. It was a much fuller flavor that the aroma presented. Balanced with some nice chocolate and coffee malty flavors and a touch of brine on the backend that works like hops to counteract the maltiness. Good textured and rich but a little heavy for the style. Overall its a great stout and the addition of oyesters doesnt detract from the flavor and actually adds dimension.

Augustiner719, Feb 24, 2010
Photo of jbertsch
2.17/5  rDev -42%

I don't like oysters. Frankly, knowing this was brewed with oysters scares me. And, I like VERY LITTLE seafood. But, I had to give this a try out of curiosity because it seemed creative and I think Harpoon generally does very well with their 100 Barrel Series.

Appearance: Black, with a decent frothy-tan head. Lacing is non-existent.

Aroma: Some bitter chocolate up front mixes with aromas of nuts, salt, and smokiness. The label refers to a "nutty stout" that blends well with the "mineral flavor" of oysters. I think the mineral flavors they speak of are what's giving me a salty aroma.

Taste: Faintly bitter chocolate notes are followed quickly by the minerals they spoke of - I notice it now. It's not overwhelming, but it's still a little off-putting. It's briney. When ice cold, the chocolate is more apparent. When warmed a bit, the briney aftertaste is stronger and lingers.

Mouthfeel: When cold I noticed a lot of carbonation - almost seltzer-like. Those of you who say it's velvety are kidding yourselves. Just because it's a stout doesn't make it so. In fact, the warmer it got, the thinner it tasted.

It's hard to rate this one. On one hand, this is not a stout I want again - however, did they successfully brew a fair stout with oysters without making it taste offensive? Yes, I suppose they did...but was it enjoyable? Not enough for me.

Having this with some American cheese and fig cake helped a lot to get through the bottle. Yes, I happened to have fig cake on hand.... What, you don't?

jbertsch, Feb 24, 2010
Photo of josefnewsong
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%

I had the privilege of having the first pour from the tap at Tap and Mallet today...There isn't anything too exceptional about this stout, but the subtle oyster flavor in the back was just enough and not overbearing whatsoever. Medium mouthfeel, not too much in the nose, tasted mostly of roasted malts and good seafood. Sounds gross but it wasn't at all, I could see myself eating a fish fry and enjoying this thoroughly.

josefnewsong, Feb 23, 2010
Photo of BetterDarker
3.9/5  rDev +4.3%

22 ounce poured into snifter.

A- Deep black body with a thin tan head and no lacing

S- Standard stout in the aroma department, roasted malts, not picking up any hops.

T- This was a surprise for me. Slight chocolate with a prevalent roasted malt. Now here's where the psychosomatic aspect comes in. If I didn't know that oysters were used in brewing this, I would say "There's something else going on here, mineral like in the finish." Knowing that oysters were used, my mind said "Yup, there it is in the finish." This stout does not taste like oysters to me, but there is a briny finish. Actually very good.

M- Medium to full bodied and slightly sweet and smooth with good carbonation.

D- This is my second favorite 100 Barrel series from Harpoon. Take the oyster aspect out of this and what you have is a solid stout, easy to drink and enjoy. Add the oyster aspect and now you have something unique and local. For what it's worth, my wife, who is a rabid hop head, said this after tasting it. "That's good, better than the other stouts you've been drinking." (Those were Péché Mortel, Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti and Cappuccino Stout. Doubles, fair enough, but you get the picture).

BetterDarker, Feb 23, 2010
Photo of Brad007
3.63/5  rDev -2.9%

Pours an obvious pitch black color with a thin brown head into my pint glass. Nothing out of the ordinary here.

Aroma is full of roasted malt with a decent creaminess and a hint of dark fruit. So far, so good.

Taste is full of creamy texture with chocolate, roasted malt and dark fruit. Texture seems to embody the oyster part of this beer. A bit salty and chewy but nothing overpowering or odd.

Mouthfeel is full of lingering saltiness from the oyster and roasted malt. Interesting flavors that seem ok together.

Certainly different from what I'm used to, especially in the mouthfeel and texture. Not bad but might be a bit exotic for someone who's never even hear do of oyster stouts.

Brad007, Feb 23, 2010
Photo of TommyW
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%

On tap at the EBF 2010.

A- Black with some brown tints, thin tan head.

S- Faint roasty and toasty smell with a touch of salt water.

T- Toasted and chocolate malts with a slight oceanic quality coming through in the form of a little saltiness. Finish is dry.

M- Medium/thin body with a nice carbonation.

D- Reminds me of a nice oyster stout I had in Dublin; really a fine beer; they oysters add just enough sea quality to make the beer interesting but not overpowering.

TommyW, Feb 22, 2010
Photo of albern
4.22/5  rDev +12.8%

This is a first for me, how many oyster stouts are you likely to find. The beer pours a dark mahogany color with a tan creamy head, decent retention, some lacing, but not much. The nose is roasted dark malts, some chocolate aromas and, I'll borrow from other reviewers on this one, a briny sea water type whiff. The nose is unique and there is a courseness in the nose.

The taste is quite different. The beer has the underbelly of an oatmeal stout with its creaminess and soft texture. There are plenty of chocolate and dark malty flavors. There is a dryness to this stout and an unmistakeable minerally and salty quality to the beer that makes it unique. I'm not sure if the taste is at all marine in any way, perhaps briny, definitely salty, with some interesting mineral courseness in the flavor but not texture. This beer is a must try because it is quite good, but also very unique. L'Chaim.

albern, Feb 21, 2010
Photo of far333
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%

Deep mahogany with ruddy edges and a low oatmeal colored head that doesn't rise up much but leaves a fine cap of foam.

Aroma of roasty malt and cocoa, hints of sea spray.

Flavors of roasted malt, hints of smoke and briney water. Faint metallic note and mild coffee flavor. Moderate bitterness.

Even mouthfeel, slightly thin body. Tasty beer, but could use more depth and fullness for my tastes.

far333, Feb 21, 2010
Harpoon 100 Barrel Series #30 - Island Creek Oyster Stout from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
84 out of 100 based on 218 ratings.