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Harpoon Leviathan - Imperial Red Ale - Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

Not Rated.
Harpoon Leviathan - Imperial Red AleHarpoon Leviathan - Imperial Red Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

153 Ratings

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Ratings: 153
Reviews: 109
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 11.95%
Wants: 8
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  9.20% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Gambrinus1184 on 02-16-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 153 | Reviews: 109
Reviews by Ryan011235:
Photo of Ryan011235
3.14/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter on 4/21/10

Bottled on 2/12/10

Pours a moderate brown & settles darker, with a murky bent. Held to the light, it gives off a rusty amber appearance. Lots of small particles float slowly; they almost seem suspended. Two fingers of billowy tan head formed initially. While retention has dropped considerably, lacing looks good so far. Retention is decent throughout but lacing gets sparse.

A solid backdrop of caramel, toasted bread & biscuit support doesn't quite seem up to par. Floral hop notes are apparent but on the whole seem muted. A few undertones of dark fruit linger. Something in here smells rather medicinal; not quite like cough syrup but leaning in that direction. Not much alcohol to be found in the nose.

The taste leaves a lot to be desired. Thankfully the hops are more appreciable than in the nose, with a decent bit of piney bitterness upfront. This quickly gives way to the malts which are dominated by a burnt taste that basically overpowers all else (the exception being a faint toastiness). The burnt qualities are such that it lends an ashy taste that seems out of place. Combine that with medicinal notes & now-apparent alcohol & this starts to get messy.

Leaning in the direction of full bodied with reasonably low carbonation. It's dense, with a lot of grittiness & some alcohol slickness. It's very sticky. Under most circumstances I'd call these admirable traits considering the style but all this does nothing but accentuate that blasted ashy taste. Of course, it lingers well on the finish.

This was the last bottle of the four pack; I've been drinking them over time & can say this has gone downhill quickly. I honestly don't recall the ashy taste with the other bottles; I actually enjoyed the other bottles quite a bit. Apparently anything other than fresh is a disservice for this beer. I'm bumping the drinkability a little since this -was- a good beer at one point.

More User Reviews:
Photo of nickadams2
3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A_Bright amber with a thick sticky eggshell white head.Gobby lacing.

S_Strong piny hops and sweet malt.

T_Piny hops upfront. Caramel, toffee, sweet malt.Tart fruit. Very bold and nice balance of hops and malt.Reminds me of an american barley wine.

M_Full bodied and very sticky.

D_Wouldn't want more than one or two.

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.26/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

In a pint glass this beer was an amber color with a small tan head and a small amount of lace. I couldn't get much aroma, just a little sweet malt. Taste improved slightly. Fruity, hops, and alcohol. In fact, it was fairly hot and harsh. I'll finish the 4pack and be done with it.

Photo of Jason
3.59/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz brown bottle with a freshness date.

Clear but loaded with floaties, excellent lacing. Very citric nose, from juice to rind ... Minty, rose water and some caramel malt as well. Smooth fullish body. Hop character is pretty assertive, bitterness is pungent with big rind and tobacco flavors. Toasted grain with a caramel backing make for a good base for the hops and warming fruity alcohol to play off of. Hoppy finish with a linger of alcohol.

A good stab at the style and certainly worth a try.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours an orange color with a white head. For the aroma I get piney hops with a nice caramel and bready malt backbone. The flavor is pine and resiny hops with a lot of caramel malt. I also get some light orange citrus notes from the hops, Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of jondeelee
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Harpoon's Leviathan Imperial Red--the latest in what has so far been an overwhelmingly awesome line--has a strong, malty nose, ripe with caramels, brown sugars, wet wheat, and citrus aromas, all atop a good layer of hops.

On the tongue, the beer is immediately hoppy, with huge grapefruit and (lighter) pine waves crashing against the tongue in strengths that far exceed your everyday IPA. But these hops are at least somewhat balanced by a good sugar backing, with brown sugars floating gaily in the background. These are joined by strong notes of pecan and toasted grains, and deeper in the mix, hints of black cherry, licorice, pepper, chocolate malt, and orange. The mix is still, however, heavily built in favor of hops, and it is the hops that also dominate the aftertaste, which lingers on the tongue for quite a while. Mouthfeel is medium, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is a good brew, though I think the hops do take just a bit too much of the stage, and could have been toned down to better let the "Red" part of the brew shine through. Hop lovers will of course rejoice, though I should warn everyone else that the beer packs far more of a hoppy kick than the 75 IBU's would normally hint at. Worth a try.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.6/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appears a slightly hazed ruby copper hue with a large kahki head forms thick intricate fine spread lacing around the sides of my glass. Aroma has big citrus grapefruit/tropical pineapple notes with well rounded caramel sweetness with a big malty backbone. Harpoon Levithan brews are incredible I've loved every taste thus far. Sweet caramel malts are dessert like initially but a big whopping hop bill comes down on the malts to fulfill what every Imperial Red should express. Mouthfeel is big lucious slightly resinous with hop oils, burns a bit with a soothing alcoholic finish. Drinkability overall is excellent my type of beer that I will continue to get when it's available this is excellent stuff. I want to try the Imperial Bohemian Pils, I've had the Baltic Porter, DIPA, and this.

Photo of Vodomagoo
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

Photo of jbphoto88
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Fantastic looking beer poured from a brown 12 ounce bottle with the familiar leviathan label in blood red. The brew is the color of heated copper and is super clear except for some suspended bottle conditioning. The head is huge, tan and fluffy. It rises close to two fingers high and lasts for days.

The nose reminds me of a barleywine with it's giant hop profile. You can detect the bitterness right off the bat by the smell of things. Following closely is a sweet caramelized malt scent that brings the entire nose back to a balanced position. Very nice.

It's hard for me to truly judge this beer's taste because it's kind of a catch all style. The reminiscence to a barleywine is consistent from the nose to the taste. Heavy on the hops but a huge malt back that carries the beer. Sweet toasted and caramelized grains balance the bitterness somewhat and make it a pleasurable taste. I think I'd prefer a heavier malt profile then hops which in this case dominate the beer in the finish. This leviathan does taste damn good despite the ambiguous style.

Balanced up front and quite nice the mouthfeel slips a little because the hops over finish the beer and rough up your throat. Bubbly but not overly aggressive carbonation gives this beer a soft feel on the tongue. I never even notice the 9+ ABV. So far I'm a fan of this leviathan series. I will defeinitly keep an eye out for more of the imperial red and others in this series.

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.57/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A crazy, bubbly amber color looks like red candy with a light, off-white head. Struggles to hang on.

Wild strawberry and vanilla sweetness on the nose at first, dry-wheat and dry earth, pine tree sap hoppy edge, pineapple and caramel, big fruity hop complexity with dank and tangy berries, huge, candy-sweet malt.

The flavor starts off with big bitter pineapple, earth, grapefruit tart and tangy bite with a slaty aftertaste before the candy-sweet malt adds a bit of balance. It's a massive attack of hops. Earthy, bitter, tangy fruits with a malt that seems to go sweet and fruity as well. Zesty feel, with a slick malty middle finishing zippy, dry and slightly hot as it mixes with bitter hops.

Sip, and enjoy hopheads!

Photo of twowheelssoar
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Sammy
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big hops and lots of malt and fruitiness. A treat for hopheads in bitterness, without the frontal assault of a double IPA. Malted away for drinkability, the third of a litre was just about right. A full mouthfeel. Copper body. Mild hop aromas.Clean, balanced.

Photo of augustgarage
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to ShogoKawada for this one, Harpoon is always up to something worth checking out it seems.

Bottled on February 12th, 2010. Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Clear carnelian body with rust and amber highlights on a gradient. Beige creamy head recedes slowly to a solitary finger of frosting. Thick ornate lacing, which fails to adhere for long as the bubbles slide down along with the viscous legs.

Aromatics are well balanced: caramel malt, orange, evergreen, fresh sugar cane, with hints of guava. Maybe a very slight touch of diacetyl though this could be the caramel...

Sweet and lightly toasted malt notes with a bit of toffee on the palate. This leads into a biting woodsy bitterness suggesting grapefruit and rock candy. The finish is dry, slightly bready, and still quite bitter (though not Nugget Nectar level bitter).

Good carbonation, medium-light bodied, rich but fairly refreshing. Not too sticky or hot.

Very nice middle of the road, full flavored amber ale.

Photo of bamojr
2.82/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

*notes from 2/8/10*

This is by far my least favorite in all of the Leviathan series. Pours a very mirky cloudy amber brown. This has the most propionate alcohol taste of any I have had in this series thus far and don't like it. I usually like Reds and I'm always a fan of Imperial brews, but this one has much to be desired to be able to bare the Leviathan name.

Photo of jmerloni
3.13/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A - A nice clear amber orange with lively and monstrous pillowy white head that laces like a maniac and lasts quite a while.

S - Grapefruit, pine, molasses/brown sugar, and hops.

T - Hoppy, sweet red grapefruit and some pine and citrus with a bitter afterbite. Similar to an imperial ipa. Wayyy too sweet, however. It's so sweet that it's actually kinda gross. This could have fermented for a lot longer, and it could have been one of the highest ABV ambers out there.

M - Mouthfeel is a little thicker than I expected but it makes it very smoot. Alcohol tinge is slightly noticeable but warming and nice.

D - Not too drinkable. Pretty heavy, high abv, and the hops really kill your tastebuds. Could probably only drink 2 of these. A decent overall, but it is way too sweet for my tastes to ever get again. Very strange. I am perplexed as to why Harpoon decided to make it like this. This is the downer in the very stellar leviathan series.

Photo of Tetano
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured in my Bells tulip. Nice Red amber color with a thin head. Lacing stayed on the glass through out the drink.

Smells of citrus and pine. A faint hint of malt is there. It is pleasant to the nostrils.

Taste is what I can come to expect from an imperial of this type. Bitter and citrus are the major components. This is a slight hint of malt back bone but it is over powered by the hops.

Mouthfeel is coating and resiny, however it leaves the palette just too quickly for my taste. Since it moves off so fast it is missing the multifaceted flavor profile I crave.

This is a very drinkable beer. I am downing it quickly than most. The alcohol is well hidden. This is a solid beer I would drink again in a heart beat.

Photo of dtx00
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of beerthulhu
4.11/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Against lighting reveals a dull tomato red color with a medium dense show of eye candy dancing within the rabid carbonation. The head was dense and foamy, 2 fingers high and showed great restraint. Tan in color the sturdy foam structure left a thick sheet coating with concentric circles running down the glass providing a long lasting visual appeal. The head was fully lasting, finishing off the drink with still evident coverage on top.

S: Piney needles, dry, are backed by a equally dry toasted munich malting. The strength is medium, decent, but nothing that grabbed my attention.

T: Strong piney hops with a toasty munich malting gives this a bite right from the start. Spicy citrus, grapefruit comes off dry with a spicy bite of alcohol. Dry lemon with some woodsy, dry flowery hop appeal. The finish finds fresh pine and citrus of strong proportions. Overall a very hearty backing of toasted malts with a load of dry citrusy hops gives this a good balance and equal justice of both.

M: Full, malty mouthful, warming with a spicy dry alcohol bite of citrus that sits well in the mouth. Small mentions of carbonation while a very smooth texture leaves a fine, silty feel of residual malts behind on the tongue.

D: Spicy, malty, hoppy, dry, what more could you ask for per style. Very well manageable, even at 9.2% I still feel like I could have another one. Nice to see harpoon step up their game.

Photo of Segelstrom
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of mbatta7
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of cgmees
3.08/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle, bottled on 2/12/10

A - Reddish pour with quite a bit of sediment. foamy on top

S - some fruit and hops

T - Sweet with big hops flavor followed by some caramel malt and an assertive finish. More hoppy then I like, but drinkable.

M - Moderate carbonation, some slickness but a dry finish

D - Too hoppy for my taste and not one I would repeat, but if you enjoy hops then one to definitely try.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
2.99/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada imperial pint. 9.2% ABV, Bottled on 02/12/10.

A - Mostly cloudy bronzed amber in color, the beer is towered-over by a four-finger cream head. Great retention with very sticky lace coating the glass.

S - This brew has a predictable aroma of pine and resin-rich American hops with a slight citrus character overshadowing toasted caramel, amber, and Vienna malt. A little bit of warm alcohol on the finish, but overall it's like any other amber out there.

T - Solvent alcohol cuts through the flavor even after it's been aging for just under a year. Hot boozy finish dissolves the previous pine resin hops that continue to overwhelm the malt profile.

M - Medium-bodied and a bit flat feeling, this brew finishes as a mess. Bitter pine resin hurts the teeth and a hot alcohol stings a wee bit in the throat. Far too solventy.

D - I've got half a mind to pour this brew out. The lack-luster profile of this beer needs some work. And I'm fairly surprised at how hot the alcohol continues to be with the amount of age on it. I definitely wouldn't want this fresh if it would be even more potent.

Photo of BeanBone
4.17/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: A red-orange body absolutely packed with large chunks of sediment. Up top, over two fingers of off-white head that fades slowly and leaves excellent lacing.

Aroma: A big blast of citrusy, piney, and resinous hops over a big caramel malt body. It's certainly hitting all the right notes for an Imperial Red so far.

Flavor: Up front, it's all about the hops again; they're grapefruity, piney, and nicely bitter. Underneath, there's a big and sweet caramel malt backbone to anchor everything. There's also spicy alcohol lurking in the background at all times. Everything comes together nicely, and while this is a very hoppy beer, it's not an unbalanced affair. Lots of resinous hops and a hint of booze in the finish.

Mouthfeel: A somewhat creamy medium-full body with smooth moderate carbonation and a dry finish. Slickness and a little warmth from the alcohol throughout.

Drinkability: Loaded with hops and alcohol, this is probably something you don't want to be guzzling all night. However, for hopheads, this drinks faster than its stats would suggest.

Verdict: Here's a beer right in my comfort zone; big, hoppy, and surprisingly drinkable. I've been very impressed with the Leviathan series so far, and this doesn't disappoint.

Photo of mikesgroove
3.17/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A nice light brown color with a good amount of cloudiness and haze to it. Not much in the way of a head reaching up through it at all, in fact it was rather lifeless on the first pour, though the second got a bit better. Nice side glass lacing towards then end and some moderate carbonation coming up through it.

The aroma was sweet, nice touches of caramel malts and an almost candy like sweetness that was wrapped up nicely in a bit of a grassy, earthy, hop like nose. The flavor was more of the same, but I have to admit I am not terribly impressed here at all with this. Lots of alcohol in the flavor here, a bit of a hotness that I have not seen in the rest of the series. Lots of grainy malts, touches of light caramel and a mostly understated hop flavor. Lingering taste of hot alcohol and grain left me hanging again as well as I really was expecting more from this here.

Overall I am not so sure about this one.

Photo of Bierguy5
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, 9.2% abv. Bottled on 2/12/10. Pours a rich amber color with a good amount of sediment floating about. Off white rocky head holds very well, especially considering the strength of this beer. Nice patches of lace.

Citrusy hop aroma, with other fruit notes. A strong background of darker caramel malts. Pretty simple in the nose department.

A darker malt character, which is needed to stand up to the blast of citrusy, piney flavored hops. Bitterness is strong, but not overbearing alcohol is hidden somewhat, although there is a bit of warmth.

Medium body, ample carbonation. Pretty nice.

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Harpoon Leviathan - Imperial Red Ale from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
86 out of 100 based on 153 ratings.