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Harpoon Leviathan - Imperial Rye - Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

Not Rated.
Harpoon Leviathan - Imperial RyeHarpoon Leviathan - Imperial Rye

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

78 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 78
Reviews: 41
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 13.98%
Wants: 7
Gots: 4 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Rye Beer |  8.90% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Brad007 on 07-18-2011

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 78 | Reviews: 41
Reviews by jbhollis1180:
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.91/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a rich bronze with a one finger fluffy slightly off white head atop,the head never really settled,a frothy 1/2 finger mass was there thru the duration of the glass.Sweet alcohol and some of that spicy rye in the nose,a smattering of herbal hops comes into play as well.Alcohol and sharp rye dominate the palate wich it probably should with the alcohol in this beer,the spice and hops provide spice and citric flavors and the alcohol and malt base give off sweetness.Its a solid rye ale,the rye and hops play well against the big alcohol and malty sweetness.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is a glowing burgundy when held toward the light it lets a bit more ruby through, head is cream coated light khaki shade with a even lacing coating the sides of the glass.

Hops are definitely evident I'm a bit surprised I was expecting a malt monster especially with the addition of spicy rye. Pine/herbal hops fade to the background as a ripened dark fruit note peaks through.

Flavors run with a blend of semi sweet spiced rye/caramelized bready notes. Each sip seems a bit earthier and spicier than the next, a nice drying balanced aspect from the hops. Roasted caramel sugars surrounded by a spicy rye base play out nicely with the assertive English hop profile.

Mouthfeel has a slightly syrup textured flow going on with easy moving carbonation a bit warming with alcohol doesn't quite burn or take away from anything more or less it adds to the complexity.

Overall a decent big beer from Harpoon that will be stored away to see how the rest of the three offerings mature, it seems like a nice beer to experiment and age with. Although I did enjoy this bottle fresh just fine.

Photo of chinchill
3.45/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Undated bottle served at about recommended temperature (40F) in a Unibroue snifter. Some sediment at bottom of bottle added mid-taste.

Appearance: Copper-amber color with a light haze; Nice looking light brown head is rather short-lived but leaves some sticky lacing.

Smell: Rye and other malts with a good bit of aroma like that of red wine? (better than this may sound). A bit of yeasty/bread aroma. Hint of high ABV (becomes more obvious with warming) and earthy hops.

Taste: Spicy; with good balance of sweet and bitter, and a little tartness. Has a fruity, fermented grape trait. Some grapefruit bitter in the finish and aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Near medium body seems a tad watery; medium-light carbonation; Some alcohol warming and tongue bite. Slightly dry finish.

Overall: Complex and interesting, if not terribly appealing. An unusual rye, for sure. Worth a try.

Photo of socon67
4.34/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thnaks to CTSparky for bringing this one.

A - Brownish color with red hue. Tan foam circles the glass. Visible carbonation and slight lacing.

S - Smells of earthy spices and peppry rye. Really storng smell that almost could be considered pungent. Smell of caramel malt is present.

T - Flavor is true to the scent; spicy rye taste that has a mild sweetness. Sweet finish of caramel tempers the bite of rye grain. Really yummy for rye beer lovers, which I lately seem to be.

M - Depasite the awesomeness of the flavors I found it a bit heavy-handed and not easily able to have more than one glass. The robustness made this a tough beer to balance. Harpoon kept it in a tolerable range. Rich rye beer she is!

O - A must have for rye lovers. Went great with italian food. A good beer to pair with pizza or pasta.

Photo of jmerloni
4.38/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a - dark brown/ruby red, decent size white head. Very nice looking beer.

s - malt smells heavy on this one, which worries me a little. the fresh, rye aroma is there but it is somewhat overshadowed.

t - Malt is not as high as on the nose. Brown sugar malt backbone with a sizable rye profile, well-hopped, with some notes of chocolate in there. Interesting and delicious.

m - Solid mouthfeel. Booze hardly comes through at 9%. Well carbonated, full-bodied, but not syrupy.

d - Quite drinkable. I can see myself getting this again in the near future. A very good autumn brew!

Photo of Kinsman
3.84/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark but clear copper color. Small white head forms with some fluff but faded a bit too quick.

Malty sweet bread and biscuit notes upfront. Pine resin and some floralness from the hops while the the rye seems to add a soft spice note.

Taste is well balanced between the hops and grain. Biscuity and slight hint of caramel from the malts. Rye notes add a mild warming character while the hops show of some nice piney and slightly fruity notes and a good bit of bitterness.

Crisp medium body mouthfeel with a just a bit of dryness in the finish. Overall, Imperial Rye satisfies my love for Rye beers but nothing quite stands out. Solid beer and one I'll be sure to have again.

Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a clear copper color ale with a nice huge foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of rye malt with light spicy notes and some warming alcohol is well balance and enjoyable. Taste is not the most complex but is quite enjoyable with good notes of rye malt with light sweetness and a spicy finish. Body is about average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol though some warming notes can be felt. Simple and very much enjoyable.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a rich aroma with a hint of spice comes through on the nose right away. really nice blended notes of pine resin, warm malts, a nice touch of buttery middle and a touch of rye. really well done and this carries over to the flavor perfectly. smooth, effortless feel on this one delivers a light hoppy goodness with hints f spiced rye and buttery malts. nice clean finish

Photo of rlee1390
3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Clear deep amber, well carbonated, one finger head that leaves behind near perfect lacing.

S-Rye spiceness followed by some earthy hops.

T-Starts with rye, one of the more rye forward beers I've had, some spices end with some bitterness.

M-Medium bodied but less carbonation than the appearance suggested.

O-Not as good as the SN Ruthless Rye but another solid rye beer.

Photo of weeare138
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Goodnight Irenes in Wildwood...
Appears a semi-transparent amber with a small, off white cap that slowly fades into a floating head of fluff. Tons of scattered lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of dark rye bread, ripe fruit, bing cherries, and red grapes.
Taste mimics the aromas with a punch of fruity yeast and a dryness of rye that slaps the tastebuds a few times.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, chewy, gummy, sweet, and bitter.

Photo of claspada
3.86/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From last summer's release I believe.

Pours a hazy dark red/borderline amber colored ale with glorious bright ruby highlights when held to the light. Khaki soapy/bubbly head which leaves a lot of sticky lacing, presumably from the intense amount of rye (adjuncts like oats, rye and wheat leave more head than barley typically).

Aromas begin with fruity citrus and floral hops. Once I get past the greenery I get some caramelized maltiness and light spicy rye. I am surprised I get more caramel and even pale toasty maltiness over the rye considering this is an Imperial Rye. Rye emerges more as it warms, however alleviating my initial worries, but I still honestly expected more.

The tastes begin with modestly bready and toasty maltiness balanced by decent rye graininess, though not particularly spicy or flavorful, as was the case with the aroma. Mild bite of dry caramel as well. The rye malt lingers a little on the palate and into the finish which adds a little dryness. Indiscernible hop flavors, moderately bitter.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation. Finish is lightly dry with mild amount of hops and rye in the finish but really not overwhelming or as much as I would like for the style. Not much alcohol is detectable at this point which is nice, so I am glad I waited 9+ months to consume.

Overall this is a nice attempt at an Imperial Rye ale but I have to say I prefer my Rye beers to be less ABV heavy if that makes sense. The large malt bill dilutes the quality spice and flavor profile of the rye malt. Too much sweetness, breadiness and light caramel flavors are masking the rye. Not a bad beer but not one I will revisit anytime soon, especially because they aren't making it this year.

Photo of david18
3.45/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I recently had a twelve ounce draft of this at my local bar. I like many of the Leviathan beers. Don't love any of them but I like them all. This one was another I enjoyed.

Appearance is a light copper, pretty clear for the style and a nice amount of carbonation.

Aroma was a good combination of rye, malt and hops. Very inviting and pretty much what they intended, I imagine.

Flavor was good. Some bitterness from the hops as well as some spiciness from the rye. A little hot on the alcohol but generally pretty well balanced.

I've had a number of these and will continue to enjoy them as long as they're available.

Photo of donkeyrunner
4.31/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Harpoon Widsor brewery...in an adirondack chair...in the sun. God bless Vermont.

Pristine clear copper with a thin head. Head leaves a few lacey smatterings before collaring.

Aroma is spicy whole whole wheat bread, swampy English-ish hops and mild alchol. Rye spice is a turn on.

Tastes malty, spicy, big and bready. Some baked fruit (pear?) in there as well.

Makes me thing of a rye-centric, really well done ESB. Which I like.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap 12/11/2011 at Doherty’s East Ave Irish Pub, in Pawtucket, RI served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep reddish brown color with a large foamy off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a very thick on the glass.

S: The aroma contains fruity citrus, caramelized malts and floral hops.

T: The taste starts out with sweet flavors of citrus and caramel followed by a strong rye spiciness. The malt character is hearty. The hops presence is strong but subdues and provides a good balance. The after-taste is slightly bready and slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, this is a nice flavorful strong beer to drink for a while.

Photo of jlindros
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice creamy head, very dark molasses brown color.

Nose dirty brown malts, earthy, creamy caramel, light roast and toasty malts, light spicy rye, hint of booze, some molasses.

Taste dark malts, molasses, sweet malts, caramel, touch of roast and chocolate, light rye, creamy malts, sweet and a bit bitter, hint of booze.

Mouth is med to heavier bodied, dec carb, bit of warming booze.

Overall nice, dark malts, molasses, a bit of rye although it could have used more IMO, touch of warming booze without the esters i was expecting.

Photo of OWSLEY069
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amber to orange-ish color with a tan head. In the aroma, dry fruitiness, especially apples. In the taste, dry rye, fruity, apples and spice. A small bite and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry fruitiness and small alcohol in the aftertaste. Nice rye and fruit presence, a bit boozy in the end and in the aftertaste.

Photo of smcolw
3.52/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Modest head that settles to only a ring of bubbles. Nearly no lace--just some spots near the liquid line. Darker amber with a chill haze.

Earthy and semi-sweet caramel aroma. Light rye smell. Smells closer to a Barley Wine.

Flavor matches the smell profile with a touch of hop. Overall, this runs on the sweet side, which covers the alcohol until the swallow. Light warming aftertaste. Very rich body but it also has an above average level of carbonation. Borderline extreme with little rye to show for it.

Photo of plehnus
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma: Bready, caramel and sweet malts that are followed by pepper and other spices. Piney, herbal, and citrus hops. Rye malt scent emerges last.

Appearance: Copper slight hazy body with a thin cream colored head.

Flavor: Spiciness and slight bitterness. Fruity esters. Pepper.

Mouthfeel: Medium-heavy body. Smooth and a little boozy with a long, mild, and warm finish.

Overall: Lots of aroma and a good spice malt balance. Complex and strong but very drinkable; especially as the beer warms. It is actually quite smooth and mild.

Photo of haazer
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Supposedly this was aged in Cabernet barrels? Had at the Harpoon event at Graces for PBW.

A - A dark, turbid maroon colored brew. A bit of lace left in the glass but not much.

S - A bit of Cabernet aroma, a good bit of rye and sticky caramel
Malt blend into this beast. The hops are there but subdued by the time in the barrel.

T - Heavy on the rye. The brew then rolls into a definite Cabernet flavor. There is caramel sweetness, and a bitterness rounds out the flavor. The booze is detectable on the backend. Aftertaste is very oaky.

M - This is a full bodied, medium carbonated brew. There's a sap like stickiness in the mouthfeel that leaves me smacking a lot.

O - I enjoyed this. The Cabernet added a nice touch, and mixed with the rye fairly well. The hops take a backseat at this point due to aging. Would definitely have again.

Photo of Duhast500
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Sam Adams Summer Ale stange.

The color is a somewhat hazy orange amber with a slight finger of foamy off-white head and some slight lacing left on the glass.

The smell has a nice smooth rye aroma with a slight grassy aroma. The is a candy like sweetness in the background that is teases the senses.

The taste is sweet at first, there is a lead weight that is the rye dropping down onto the taste buds and then settling back as some malty flavor comes out. There is a bit of dry pear with some brown sugar and some grainy bread like flavor.

The feel of this beer is pretty easy drinking but does give you a notice of the larger ABV as the end bites with a nice alcohal flavor at the very end. This is bigger then an average beer and is pretty complex.

This beer makes me want to have a sandwich with some turkey, Swiss cheese, and some horseradish mustard and a piece of lettuce and tomato.

Photo of jzeilinger
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1-5-12 - Update to previous review:

A - Pours a deep copper, amber red color that's crystal clear with gentle carbonation and a creamy, yet thin off white lacing ring around the top of the glass.

S - Predominantly rye and warm toasted caramel malt. I haven't encountered a Leviathan Series beer that hasn't had some moderate to strong alcohol/booze character and the Imperial Rye keeps that spirit alive. The smell is moderate to weak.

T - Mimics the nose...light rye, warm toasted caramel malt, and an aggressive grapefruit bite at the very end that lingers for a long time. What I didn't get in the nose was the floral aspect which is coming through lightly on the tongue.

M - Dry finish (it literally sucks the spit off your tongue), light carbonation on the tongue, medium body, and, especially on the first few sips, a warming alcohol presence on the way down.

O - I really enjoy the Imperial IPA the most in the Leviathan Series and the first time I tried this particular Leviathan, I didn't particularly care for it (which was last year). Whether my palette changed or I previously had a bad bottle, it's really speaking to me this time around. This is a beer I would definitely buy more of and I have a feeling it might be fun to age a few bottles to see how it changes over time. This particular review has been updated since my previous entry in 2011.

Photo of Thickfreakness
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark amber with a tinted one finger red head. Tons of cobweb lacing that lingers longer than a guy writing his screen play at Barnes and Noble.

S- A spicy punch of rye malt, caraway and black pepper. I love Rye beer! Little hints of citrus and pine. A nice yeastiness shines thru and blends very well with the alcohol. Smells like the Polish bakery that my father used to take me to when I was young. Not very complex, but makes your mouth water!

T- Sweet and spicy, a nice bitterness that lingers for a bit before the sweet candy malts really kick in! It tastes like you're eating the best Rye bread that you've ever had! Citrus and alcohol on the back end... I love the peppery bite on the tongue.

M- Decent carbonation, fresh baked bread, citrus notes that pop in your mouth! Nice little touch of alcohol on the tongue. A touch on the bitter side, but I always find that from Rye beers.

O- Really nice! It's a great change of pace from IPA's, Barleywines and darker brews that I usually drink. It has a nice candy sugar/bitter/spiciness that isn't the usual suspect. I love how Harpoon went out on a limb with this one.

Photo of Brad007
4.36/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally, a local imperial rye! Being a fan of rye beers and all, I couldn't overlook this.

Pours a sexy burgundy/garnet color with a one-finger head into my glass. Absolutely eye-catching. Brilliant.

Sweet and spicy rye upfront with just a touch of grassy hops. The hops are kept in the background in order to allow the rye malt to shine.

Wow, where to start? Strong, sweet, spicy rye dominates the mouthfeel with the touch of grassy hops. Almost too spicy for my tastes.

There is a moderate amount of alcohol heat but it doesn't distract too much from the core flavors. Barely finishes clean.

I like this. Unlike other rye-infused beers, this one seems to be all about the rye itself. I like it and you might as well. Try it.

Photo of Kendo
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a Piraat tulip/snifter-type glass. Body is an interesting color: nearly glowing copper-amber-mahogany-ruby. Small whitish head on top settles fast. Some splotchy lace.

S: Not strong in the nose, but what's there is nice: spicy rye is definitely noted, as is a bit of caramel malt.

T: Sweet, bready malt up front, with good rye spiciness towards the middle of the sip, then good hop bitterness provides balance. ABV warmth is felt in the belly.

M: Call it slightly heavier than medium in heft, slightly thick or even slick in feel. That doesn't detract at all from this kind of beer, however - it's a sipper, and a bit of extra heft and thickness reminds you to go slow.

O: Good stuff. A solid rye beer that puts the rye front and center. Bumped the overall score up b/c I was close to doing so in a couple of the categories. . ..

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

Clear and coppery amber in colour with a thick cap of beige foam. Tons of lacing - sheets and streaks at the top of the glass - and great head retention. Looks nice! Sweet, malty aroma, a bit nutty and bready, caramel, mild piney and citrusy hops, faint alcohol. Bitterness was sturdy, but not prominent, with a bit of grassy character towards the finish. Bready malts, a hint of toffee, grain and nuts, slight citrus, mild caramel sweetness, slightly sugary, warming alcohol. Decent texture, full bodied and lowish CO2 without feeling too heavy, light grainy astringency. I enjoyed it and would certainly purchase it again.

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Harpoon Leviathan - Imperial Rye from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
85 out of 100 based on 78 ratings.