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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

181 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 181
Hads: 225
Avg: 3.75
pDev: 13.07%
Wants: 7
Gots: 13 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-21-2010

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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 181 | Hads: 225
Photo of veinless
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to kbanks13 for doing his Taste of New England LIF and sending me this bottle as part of the prize.

Best by date is 09/15/11 and this bottle says it is "session 36 in our 100 barrel series".

Pours very dark brown with complete opacity. A two-finger light tan head is generated that retains pretty well, leaves spotty lace and dissipates to a half-finger cap that is very pretty.

Nose is of dark chocolate and lightly toasted malt. It smells a bit grainy, and the only oysterish scent I get initially is some salt at the very end. A thin coffee appears near the start as the beer warms, along with some brine.

Taste is of that light chocolate and coffee from the nose at the start but those are tempered by some roasted, approaching charred, malts that pair with a saltiness that is understated but definitely present. I don't get an over the top oysterish taste ever, but a little bit of mineral character in the finish is another sign of their use. I wish there was more oyster, but as it is, it's very subtle and well blended into the taste.

Mouthfeel is pleasantly carbonated and the body is fluid but not thin. Good medium body for the style and a nice dry finish with a lingering coffee/salt flavor that is nice without being too strong. Drinkability is aided by that along with the low abv and well balanced use of all flavors. Definitely could have a couple bombers of this at one time without it getting unpleasant.

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Photo of metter98
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is very dark amber (near black) in color and poured with a finger high creamy beige head that slowly faded away and left lacy patterns on the surface and a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of roasted malts in the nose along with some salty hints of oysters.
T: The taste isn’t very strong but flavors of chocolate malts, coffee and shellfish are noticeable.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is very easy to drink because it’s light-bodied and the taste of oysters is subtle.

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Photo of wolandjr
4.33/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Lower Depths in Kenmore Square. Good looking stout with a light and pleasant aroma. Nicely carbonated and a silky smooth mouthfeel. As others have noted its body is a little light for a stout but it fits well with the carbonation, mouthfeel and moderate alcohol level. I could easily have two or three of these in one session. The oysters are present in the finish, which is slightly salty/briny. I'm normally not a big fan of Harpoon's offerings but I've got to give them props for this very good stout.

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Photo of JayS2629
4.18/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark black with a thick frothy head, great retention and lace. The smell is of roasted coffee, chocolate, and toffee with mineral notes that are perhaps oyster, but this is faint and balanced well. The taste follows the nose with a lot of roast and coffee and notes of chocolate. Faint earthy hops and a very subtle mineral taste of oyster. Rich, thick and creamy but not quite as thick as I like my stouts. Very easy to drink.

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Photo of Jparkanzky
3.07/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass.

A) Nice, fairly dense frothed milk-like head, about 2 fingers or so. Beer itself is fairly dark, but you can see the reddish-brown hues in the light.

S) I think it has a hint of stale/stagnant pond water.... I don't think this some psychological phenomena from it being an oyster - stout either, it truly gives off a smell that brings me back to my childhood when playing around the ponds in the golf-course behind my parents' house.

T) I immediately thought "Burnt Coffee" and then I see the very last reviewer shares my thoughts on this. I think the Burnt Coffee taste only reaffirms my belief that I am actually smelling pond water! Other than the hint of burnt coffee, I really don't think it tastes 'bad' but it doesn't stand out as anything overly special, and I certainly can't detect anything that makes me think of oysters.

M) Beautiful balance of carbonation and density. It's very pleasant on the tongue with just a hint of dry bite.

O) Not sure I'll be purchasing any more of this, but I do have another to cellar as part of some crazy basement-born-science project.

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Photo of Prime16
3.44/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark walnut with a nice, thick chocolate milkshake-like head.

S: Faint coffee and chocolate aroma.

T: Burnt coffee, bitter chocolate taste dominates this beer. No oyster taste to represent the name to me. A little more carbonated than I prefer in a stout.

M: I prefer a richer, thicker stout.

O: This is a nice beer.... Wish it had a little more body.

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Photo of mntlover
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark black, some highlights when held towards the light, nice two finger khaki head that falls fairly fast but leaves some decent lace behind.

Aroma is nice big chocolate notes, some light roasted coffee hints mingled in with caramel and toffee. light hints of dark fruits but no oysters really.

Taste is roasted malts good does of bakers chocolate that lingers with some bitter bite. Coffee notes with some toffee and linger earthy notes, some light sea weed notes which is probably the oyster notes. Over all not bad but nothing to exciting going on either.

Mouthfeel seems a touch to light for a stout even a low alcohol one. Carbonation is fine though.

Drinkability is well its not bad at all worth a try. But wouldn't search it out for a repurchase.

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Photo of 9InchNails
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Light khaki head pretty much pitch black but the bar is quite dim. Nice lacing on the glass.

Nice smell here. Bitter chocalate, caramel and coffee. Not much of a Oyster smell.

It was served a little too cold for a stout. Chocolate and coffee is the main taste here. There is also a salty taste, maybe the Oysters Also a slight bitterness at the end.

Thin for a stout almost medium. Leaves the lips sticky. Light carbonation.

Not a bad Oyster Stout. This is the second one I have tried that is considered a Oyster Stout. Mostly coffee, chocolate and a nice slight bitterness. Good brew overall.

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Photo of pburland23
3.92/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Harpoon 100 Barrel Series #36. I had Series #30 Oyster Stout at the Harpoon Brewery, but I bought a bottle of the newer version to see if anything had changed.

Poured from a bomber into my Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass.

Pours a dark blackish brown with a thin wisp of beige head. Head retention is moderate and the lacing is minimal.

Smells of roasted malt, a touch of bittersweet chocolate and briny seawater. Taste is roasty and warm with some hops bitterness that peaks out to counteract the malt. Additionally, there's a pervasive mineral taste throughout each sip on account of the oysters. All the flavors work together to make a very interesting and tasty stout.

The body is a little thin in my opinion for a stout, but the carbonation is nice and it's an easy sipping beer.

Oyster Stout is an interesting style of beer. It doesn't sound like it should work, but it does. Good overall beer.

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Photo of dciBA
3.73/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bomber into a plain old pint glass. Deep dark brown in color with a thin tan head that fades to nothing quickly. Not much lacing at all.

Smell is mostly roasted coffee beans. Some chocolate as well. Simple aroma, but pleasant.

Taste is similar to smell, but stronger. Lots of coffee roastiness. Some chocolate mixes in perfectly without being too strong. The flavor finishes with a very distinct salt water flavor, very similar to the after taste of an oyster actually. Each sip leaves you with a salty oysterish flavor on the tip of your tongue. I wasn't sure if I would actually taste any of the oyster in this beer but I do, and it's quite good.

Carbonation is perfect for style, just enough to bring out flavors, and give a nice smooth mouthfeel. An interesting stout for sure. Might have to pick up another one and grab some oysters.

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Photo of bruachan
3.92/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

my first oyster stout...oysters, really?

some lacing, otherwise meh

aroma: deeply roasted...almost campfire-ey. a definite oceanish scent (muddy and minerally)

tastes almost salty, which is interesting, given the label's indication of "mineral" elements

DRY...and i like it

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Photo of Kinsman
3.97/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful stout black pour with a nice but rather thing light tan colored head. Plenty of sticky lace hanging around.

Lots of roasted coffee and chocolates aroma. Rather sweet, and not quite as much of oyster aroma as I remember from last year but still enough to add an interesting touch.

Dark chocolate and coffee flavors with some sweeter dark frutiness make for a nice stout profile. Slightly salty and mineral aspect from the oysters provides a nice flavor without being overdone.

Mouthfeel is creamy and full bodied. Overall, an interesting twist on the stout but plenty delicious.

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Photo of rudzud
3.38/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Heard about this beer and wanted to give it a try. An oyster stout, why not?!

A - Pours a nice dark brown almost black with a nice mocha slightly less than two finger head slowly fades leaving minimal lacing.

S - Nice chocolate and light coffee aromas with a strong salty, briney, mineral assertive aroma throughout.

T - Very similar to the aroma. The sweetness from the malts and that chocolate and light bittersweet coffee tastes have the powerful assertive ocean aspect. Theres big mineral, brine flavours here.

M - Feels very thin and watery. Just not impressed.

O - Well, I've wanted to try an oyster stout for a while and I'l glad I did. That being said, I just dont think this style is for me. I love oysters, I love stouts, just not with combined.

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Photo of LittleDon
3.56/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A pint at Island Creek Oyster Bar in Boston.

Black, nice head, good lace, good retention.

Subdued roasted malt aroma, more coffee than chocolate.

Mild start, malt comes through in middle and end. Despite the color, flavor follows the aroma, not a whole lot of malt going on. Burnt finish with some earthy hops present. I also noticed an odd flavor in the finish that I couldn't quite place. Possibly the oysters?

High carbonation up front, medium leaning toward thin body.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz brown bottle. Fresh date not noticed. Served in a standard pint glass. From notes taken in March 2010.
It pours a dark mahogany color which allows light to pass through...a little. The head dissapates rather quickly but leaves behind some fairly decent lacing.
At first whiff, you get your common stouty-type aromas of dark roasted malt, a little smoke and some resinous hop. Then comes a sort of briny sea smell. It's vague and distant, but I'm almost certain it's there.
The taste has the same kind of effect on me. Stout-like dark-roasted grain, coffee, dark chocolate with a thin dab of offsetting resinous and metallic hop bitterness. A light taste of light rum and a hint of briny sea is teasing the buds in the background.
It's smooth, although a bit on the thin side for my tastes. But certainly worth a try or two. I hope this becomes an annual offering.

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Photo of Outchillen
2.93/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I stopped in the brewery in Boston, I recommend anyone in the area to go visit, the staff was great, the beer was great.
ST: i have a 4 oz tester at the brewery
A: very dark brownish black, thin tan head
S: mildly roasty, almost no hop aroma
T: roastly, had a taste of salt water
M/D: Thin and a bit watery, I think it was ment for the style, a little salty or mineraly if thats a word.
Im not a huge stout drinker, was very happy trying this beer, dont know id have it again

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Photo of THECPJ
2.83/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes

Appearance: very dark brown to black with 1 finger tan/mocha head

Smell: roasted malts, chocolate, mineral-like scent

Taste: sweet, chocolate, slight burnt flavor

Mouthfeel: moderate carbonation, medium body, oily on the tongue, thin

Drinkability: not bad, thinner than expected


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Photo of cbutova
3.79/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This bottle has quite some age on it (refrigerated) but I have had this one a few times by now.

A- Pours out as you expect, black. A nice mocha-tan head builds up to a few fingers and size and displays nice retention. Webbed lace lays thick on the glass.

S- Dark roast coffee and cocoa notes, dark cocoa powder. Roast malt and a metallic feel.

T- Stout flavor consisting of dark roast malt, cocoa powder and toasted nutty malt. I would have to say there is a bit of mineral flavor but not as much as the Flying Fish Oyster Stout I tried a while back.

MF- Creamy and silky feel to a moderately thick body. High end carbonation and a slight bitterness.

DB- After having a few bottles I have enjoyed this stout. The oyster aspect is really nothing huge but the stout aspect is solid. One of the better Harpoon beers.

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Photo of Rchap1
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a poor man's pint. Poured plenty dark, not much light getting through with a deep brown hue. The smell is pretty light, but you do get a little hint of the ocean from it. On the taste, There's some strong carbonation that really brings a lot of coffee flavor to the front. You don't get any of the oyster flavor until you've swallowed, it just kind of lingers. Very subtle, but definitely appreciated. The mouthfeel is alright, I think I was expecting something with a little more depth to it, but I guess that's to be expected from a 5.5% beer. All in all, no problem finishing the bottle, but I'm not sure I'd want to get through very many of these in a night.

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Photo of EkimGram
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black, thick head with visible carbonation.

Smell: Essence of a bitter dark chocolate.

Taste: Roasted coffee malts are the most prominent flavour followed by some chocolate. Finishes with a metallic, briny taste of the ocean breeze.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly thin, not so carbonated, if at all - very refined. Leaves a very thin film.

Drinkability: Not so shockingly disgusting as one might assume. Definitely an experimental beer but not a total failure.

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Photo of mountdew1
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Color was a dark brown/black that was opaque. A nice 1 finger mocha head. Smell was predominantly what I would expect from a dry stout, roasted grains with a tad of chocolate. It did have an extra briney/fishey profile that I hadn't seen before. It wasn't overpowering, nor was it necessarily unpleasant. Flavor was slightly sweet, well balanced. Definitely had roasted grain flavors, very slight hints of mocha. A tad of dry bitterness finished off the sip. Coated well, was slightly dry at the end. Very drinkable, went down well with no real detractions.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.73/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 3/7/2010. Bottle. Pours black with a small off-white head. Aroma of roasted malt, light coffee, sweet malt. Flavor also has plenty of roasted malt notes, some roasted nuts, coffee, sweet oatmeal malt and definitely a minerally quality (although I wouldn't really say it's "salty"). Interesting beer and great sweet stout. Well done!

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Served in a tulip glass. A nice throwback idea; at the same time, I didn't get anything from the oysters in this. To be fair, I've never had an oyster so I'm not the best person to judge. Pours a dark brown color with a thin off-white head. The nose brings some roasted malt, chocolate, and a faint hint of coffee. Taste is mostly roasted malt with just a touch of bittersweet chocolate. Medium body with good carbonation. Might be a novelty, but I enjoyed it.

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Photo of generallee
4.58/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 1 pint, 6oz bottle into a tulip glass. The label indicates that this is session 30, the ABV is 5.5%, the IBUs are 35 and it was brewed with real Oysters.

Appearance: The body has dark opaque body which is black in color. On top stands a tall tan head which is thick and looks similar to the foam on top of chocolate milkshake. It is long lasting and makes lots of sticky lacing as I drink.

Smell: The aroma is rich and roasted with toasted dark maltiness. Hints of dark chocolate, toasted bread mix with a slight mineral like edgy character from the shellfish. Some leafy hop notes are also detected here.

Taste/Palate: There is defiantly a heavy hit of dark roasted maltiness with notes of chocolate malt, dark caramel, some light ABV and a interesting almost salty mineral like thing going on in there. Leafy herbal like hops add a bit of bitterness and flavor as well. The hops are most noticeable in the finish. Its texture is firm but not too thick or viscose as to be hard to drink or cloying. It has a nice level of carbonation and drinks very well without being too thin or watery.

Notes: This one has a little bit to it and an interesting overall character.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.42/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled April 2010
This beer pours from the bottle with a black, lightly browned body and a frothy, brown-hued, two-finger thick head. A rich, roasted chocolate character and dark-sweet malt notes are quite evident in the nose. This actually has a huge cocoa character to it; sweet, rich and well browned, the cocoa also contributes a touch of chalkiness as well as some mocha-like aromatics.

The flavors is not as sweet as the aroma suggested, but still has enough to accentuate a nice chocolate character. This is actually dry tasting somehow and is really light bodied and quaffable. It is quite tasty and I would never have guessed that there were actual oysters used in this recipe. Smooth chocolate flavors are brought out by just enough sweetness and there is also a chalk-like cocoa character to the finish. There is an interesting oily quality to this as it warms up as well as a hint of umami flavor (though I could be just imagining this).

The oyster character, if it is noticeable, is definitely very subtle here, but I am really liking this beer; it drinks much richer and tastier than the alcohol would suggest, but it is not anywhere near heavy or cloying. Very quaffable and one I would be happy to drink on a regular basis.

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Harpoon 100 Barrel Series #30 - Island Creek Oyster Stout from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
85 out of 100 based on 181 ratings.