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Harpoon Black IPA - Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

Not Rated.
Harpoon Black IPAHarpoon Black IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

73 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 73
Hads: 314
Avg: 3.7
pDev: 12.97%
Wants: 8
Gots: 46 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Jason on 01-09-2012

Harpoon brewer Matt DeLuca took over the brewhouse for our 40th 100 Barrel Series offering. A newly released specialty malt from Briess called Midnight Wheat gives this beer an almost stout-like appearance without the overly roasty attributes often associated with traditional dark malts. Flaked barley is also used in the malt bill for head retention. An intense yet diverse hop addition schedule is executed during the boil that results in a well balanced offering.

On top of the Chinook, Simcoe, Cascade, and Citra hops is an ample addition of Ahtanum hops that provides a fruity aroma to complement the earthy, spicy bitterness of this dark ale.

67 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 73 | Hads: 314
Photo of ajilllau
3.44/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nice, light. Does not pack a powerful punch and you can taste that it is not high in abv. Would definitely drink again and it's a beer that you can have more than one.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Look I always do my best to track down new offerings from Harpoon, it's one of those larger regional microbreweries with multiple locations in New England. However, I find that they tend to nail a lot of styles pretty well.

Their jumpin' on one of the trends of 2013 the Cascadian Dark Ale/Black IPA in this case it pours almost pitch black in my glass with some ruby highlights when held toward the light. A nice thick khaki tan head forms thick and forms a great rocky texture with sporadic lacing on the sides of the glass.

Aroma contains a nice mix of citrus based hops, earthy/dank, mild pine hops multiple varieties listed in the description, dark roasts are mild, hints of dark chocolate not much perceived sweetness.

Flavors dark roasted malts actually blend nicely here with the dank hop components, hints of orange citrus, dark bitter chocolate, herbal/earthy/pine hop flavors at times loose the cohesion with the dark roasted malt bill.

Mouthfeel medium bodied slick mouthfeel, bitter dry finish, yet maintains that smooth crisp drinkability found in most of the Harpoon offerings. Overall nothing incredibly mind blowing but definitely a well made version of an often times poor style from most of the major brewers versions I've tried in the last year.

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Photo of u2carew
4.11/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz longneck bottle
A) Pours with a two finger, off-white head. Slowly settles leaving a sticky lacing all along the inside of the glass. Clear body that is a deep mahogany color.
S) Citrus notes with some smoked, woodsy tones.
T) Mellow hop bite from start to finish. Subtle coffee and chocolate tones.
M) Creamy. Medium body. Dry and slightly tannic in the finish.
O) A good "cascading pale ale". I'd definitely have another one.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.92/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From a found 100 Barrel Series bottle from 2012. Sampled on February 16, 2014.

This was stashed away on a dusty shelf at a small town convenience store with a bunch of other outdated or damaged beers. So I picked it up.

The pour is dark brown with a tremendous, foamy, lacing clinging tan head. Reddish hues glisten all along the side of the glass.

The aroma has a dark roasted barley malt, black licorice, acetaldehydic character. Hops are muted but the ones I get are earthy in nature. The weak hop character could be due to the age of the bottle.

The body is medium with a smooth texture.

The taste is also malty, slightly sweet and more more modestly bitter with a lingering finish. I think this aged well considering it was probably not meant to be aged.

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Photo of RyanPollock
4.43/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Excellent black IPA, one of the first i have ever tried. The taste is slightly spicy with smokey undertones and a hint of sweetness. Has a strong aftertaste with excellent hoppiness. The balance between spicy, sweet, and smokey adds a nice quality and makes this a unique beer experience. Surprisingly smooth with a nice drinkable taste. Would totally drink again.

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Photo of Diggitydustin
3.73/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Overall a really good black IPA. When I poured it into my mug I took a few minutes to just admire the look and smell of this. Poured a dark brown color with a nice, frothy, tan/khaki color head. The smell is several different aromas. Sorta citrusy, sorta earthy. The taste relatively matched that. It was a little heavy, but went down smooth nonetheless. Very enjoyable. I recommend trying it, especially if you like black IPAs. I would pay for this again, and probably will.

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Photo of jaffers
3.96/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was pleasantly surprised by this beer. After being disappointed by other black IPAs, I almost gave up on the style. Seems like not many brewers can nail the balance just right and Harpoon did that, pushing it out of the category of a porter without blasting you with hops. Great beer, highly recommended.

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Photo of stakem
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Slatetank for gifting me with a bottle of this. 12oz into a pint, the brew appears dark brown to black in color with clarity seen around the edges. A tan finger of big bubble composition fades leaving small patches of lace sticking to the glass.

The aroma includes notes of fruity alcohol and hops at first. Then a bit of roast and maple-like sweetness. It is somewhat floral in the way the hops and alcohol blend together. Not bad, as stated, it blends together nicely unlike others in the style that seem strange and disjointed.

The flavor is bitter from a 1-2 punch of hops and roasted grain. Some bitter chocolate/coffee blends into an herbal to pine-like resiny bitterness that clings. Some earth and hints of maple/caramel along with floral notes towards the finish.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. A nice black ipa that I would drink again and im not the biggest fan of this style. Well done, worth trying. Thanks again Matt.

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Photo of Eeroomnhoj
4.24/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Homemade pizza and beer. I don't have a fancy beer glass (yet) so I poured it into a juice glass.

Read the reviews and agree with tdm168 about the color and smell. Dark dark brown, almost black. We enjoyed the smell and definetely smelled citrus (can't detect chocolate yet, maybe I need to drink more beer). Overall I enjoy this beer and was surprised I found this at a Costco.

I would enjoy this in the summer or winter.

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Photo of tdm168
4.18/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - blackish brown with reddish edges; soft, brownish head that fades quickly

S - roasted malts, pine, citrus, chocolate

T - huge, intensely piny hops dominate that front end; smooth chocolate and roasted malts follow through to the end; intensely bitter; some faint citrus and sweetness throughout

M - medium bodied, well carbonated

This is a really nice black IPA. It has an amazingly forward hop character that should please any hop head. It also has a nice, well rounded malt character that balances nicely. It's also a very easy to drink beer that refreshes. It's definitely worth a try.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.86/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

i enjoyed this a few times so I figured I would take some notes on the last bottle, enjoyed chilled from the 12oz into a cervoise.

The color is the darkest brown approaching black and opaque in the middle of the vessel with thick medium tan cream with average sized bead and good retention/lace. The smell is a heavy dose of pine hop esters with an accent of grapefruity aroma with mild toffee note from the malt. The feel is good with a bit of bitter and acidic hop influence up front with mild astringency from dark grain and moderate carbonation with slight roast texture and mild warming of alcohol.

This hop taste is familiar but not quite sharp with some citrus and tropcical fruit with mostly pine taste in the first sips with some caramel in the malt coming through after the swallow and light tannic roasted almost char taste in the malt giving an acrid flavor in the finish with subtle alcohol influence. Overall a not bad example, a decent ale and has enough hop flavor to accept the bitter roasted taste, pretty drinkable in general.

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Photo of smcolw
3.81/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Taste at the Harpoon Brewery in Boston.

Dark brown, nearly black where no light shines through. Small, but lasting head. Ample lace.

Elements of darker porters start the aroma. Not burnt, more dark chocolate. Little hop.

Less bitter than most IPAs, but that may be from the stronger roasted malts. Full bodied with an above average carbonation level. Overall, less IPA and more deeply roasted Porter.

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Photo of CapH
3.84/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A- Nice dark color with a light tan head that leaves spider webbing around glass.

S- Roasty malt on the front followed by a bitter hop on the back end.

T- Similar to the smell. Initially a roasted malt enters the pallet followed by piney hops on the finish.

M- "Fizzy" high carbonation like in many Harpoon brews. Piney hop finish leads to hop "zing" around the back and side of mouth.

O- I love Black IPA's. This one is a nice example with bitterness coming from both the roasted malts as well as the hops. The body seems a bit light and may not be as balanced as others I've tried, but a nice drinking BIPA none the less.

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Photo of alexgash
4.22/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. bottle. Best by May 15, 2013.

Pours a dark cola brown. Clear, with amber maple highlights. Small finger of gauzy, light khaki-beige head. Some retention. Nice mix of roasted malts and hops on the nose, as I've come to expect from this style. Roasted barley, some coffee, licorice, and carob on the malt end. Pitchy, piney, citrusy hops break through and hold up pretty well.

Bitter roasted coffee up front. Smoother dark chocolate and roasted barley follow through. Hints of dark fruitiness. A little smoke and peat as well. Hop bitterness comes out in the latter half of the palate. Nice blend of leafy, piny, and citrus. Earthy tobacco shows up in the finish, along with some cocoa. Dries out a little. Medium-full body with a slightly syrupy feel. Nicely done!

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Photo of greenengineer
4.06/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle into Notch 0.5L glass. First beer of the Blizzard of '13

A- dark brown pour with a creamy CO2 charged head
S- Malt more than hops
T-toasted malt with a bitterness after, nice balance. Hints of burnt malt, but a lot of sweetness is retained. Hops are there, but not out front. Almost a porter. Tastes a bit like the East India Porter Pretty Things made in their historic series.
M- a little sticky and chewy, maybe a little flat
O- very drinkable for 7.0% ABV, I could have a few more. In fact I will.

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Photo of mfigueroa713
4.13/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Used a standard pint glass.

A- Black in color and pours with two fingers worth of off white head. Bubbles are medium sized and glass lacing was observed.

S - Very nice hop aromas. Floral and caramel smells emanated from head.

T- Bittering hops prevalent. Beer was more bitter than sweet which was a delightful surprise. Malty sweetness balances the beer well. Detected some roasted notes. Carbonation is good and allows for better alcohol absorption.

M- Medium body with slight tingling from carbonation.

O- Great black IPA, should try this one. The strong hop presence is what makes it stand out above other overly sweet black IPAs.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.09/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Part of the Adventure IPA mixed 12-pack
Enjoy By 04/15/13

A: Pours a dark ruby/mahogany color with a fingers worth of tan head

S: Has a dark malt/coffee overtone, with plenty of citrusy goodness underneath. The malt has its way over the hops, though

T: Mor balanced than the nose, the hops shine a little more here. Starts off with dark malts again, but the hops come in and provide a nice earthy and spicy character. Some fruitiness also come through. Finishes with a slightly ashy maltiness with a light coffee character. Bitter throughout

M: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Again, slightly ashy

O: A nice black IPA without too much roast character but enough of a dark malt presence to make it into a good ABA. After the nose, this definitely leans more towards the IPA side which is a good thing. Solid brew, glad they brought it back

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Photo of OtherShoe2
4.2/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown, near black, with a good off-white foam head. Some lace.

Some nice charred notes and a pine/hop aroma.

Charred malt is not overbearing and does not kick in bitterness that knocks this beer out of balance. A little smoky and French roast coffee. Hops come forward - with restraint - and provide another wrinkle to the flavor profile. Hops are oily and tacky and fit right with the roastiness of the malt. Nice hoppy and light coffee finish.

Medium bodied, good carbonation, a bit mouth-coating.

I am not a lover of this brewery, mainly because of too many disappointments vs. successes. So, coming from a real skeptic -- they nailed this one. Hops are perfectly balanced with the malt, and even a hop-head would feel satisfied. Malt isn't overdone with raw bitterness. Instead, the stuff you want in this style shines. Good job fellas.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.14/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Nice dark cola body. Bone-white head has nice retention and great lace.

S - Strange nose of brown sugar, damp herbal twang, mineral, and a touch of toffee.

T - Dry herbal char, thyme, bitter earthy hop.

M - Light to style. Sub-par carbonation.

O - Nice roast character and an interesting bitterness. The profile isn't common, but not necessarily complex.

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Photo of liamt07
3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

650ml bottle shared by johnsense on RB, cheers! Into a tulip.

Black body with some reddish brown hues. Beige head, good lace and a film of retention. Nose has tropical fruits, orange, a bit soapy and some darker malt notes. Taste is really roasty, dark malts, burnt bread, bitter hopping in the form of pine and some mild citrus. Roast dominates. Medium feel, medium high carbonation. A really roasty American Black Ale, hops are lost in the mix.

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Photo of Sammy
3.82/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A head of mold spore look on a black body. Subdued aromas, both the roast and the hop. Lacey. Big roast flavour (some ash sediment) with a citrus hop finish, odd but interesting that they used a German hop.Thanks for bringing John. Average for the style.

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, best by 5/15/2012. Pours crystal clear very dark brown color with a 2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Some decent lacing on the glass. Aromas of big grapefruit, orange, pine, herbal, citrus rind, roasted malt, biscuit, toast, and earthy spiciness. Very nice and well balanced aromas with good strength. Taste of big grapefruit, pine, orange, herbal, floral, grass, dark roasted malt, char, citrus rind, chocolate, and earthy spiciness. Fair amount of spicy bitterness on the the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, pine, toast, grass, roasted malt, chocolate, char, and earthy spices on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance of roasted malt with hop flavors. Medium carbonation and body; with a fairly creamy and crisp mouthfeel. Alcohol is very well hidden with hardly any warming noticed on the finish. Overall this is a really nice and quite robust Black IPA. Nice balance of citrus and piny hop flavors; with a very nice and prominent roasted malt backbone. Really well done, and very enjoyable.

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Photo of PDXHops
2.14/5  rDev -42.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Bomber poured into a Maudite snifter. A smallish tan head tops the deep brown body, but it's fairly tenacious and isn't shy with the lace.

Pretty tame nose for a CDA, chocolate roast with earthy undertones. A punch of earthy hop flavor somewhat ups the 'oomph' factor, but the limp finish and bland malt profile fall flat. On the positive side, there's a hefty dose of bitterness. A blast of bitterness without any other flavors really being fleshed out any other fully developed flavors doesn't have much appeal, though. I love the CDA style, but this particular example misses the mark.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
2.77/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Dark brown brew (close to porter shade) with a big head and a fair bit of lacing.

S - A bit of lemon pith, pepper and a medicinal smell.

T - Very little malt presence, almost watery tasting. There is a bit of faint citrus pith and very faint molasses. Very quickly a medicinal bitterness enters that lingers into the aftertaste. It isn't horribly unpleasant, but it isn't great.

M - Smooth, thin, a little refreshing.

D - It isn't bad. It isn't terribly good though.

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Photo of biegaman
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black IPA - or American Black Ale - is not the most creative name for the style but it is fairly accurate. A discriminating eye might point out the hazelnut highlights and transparency at the fringes, but a standard drinker would be content to call this black. As for head, the name says nothing about it, and this one has little of it anyhow.

Mocha, the front garden and the forest floor combine for a bouquet that has an almost mushroom-like complexity: earthy and nutty all at once. The roast, though mild, perspires coffee-like notes now and again, while the hops (which are generous) have a dry, pithy bitterness and smell of resinous pine and bark. It's a beer hard not to like immediately.

The label lists all the stats (alc/vol 7.0%, ibu 67, og 18) but Black IPA has a deliciousness that can't be encapsulated by numbers. Underlying notes of coffee are enlivened by brimming candied citrus and forest floor flavors. Each sip feels like it contains fragments of flower petals. It's very lively and effervescent, despite the roast of dark-ish malts.

As this beer showcases, Ahtanum is a fairly well rounded hop. It is largely citrusy, with the standard spotlight of grapefruit and lemon, but it is also notably earthy and floral. It also has a distinctive piney quality that is well suited to dark and crystal malts. The nuttiness combines with the earthiness to give it a complex, mushroom-like character.

Either I've come across a really good bottle or Harpoon just hasn't been given enough props for their Black IPA, because I wouldn't hesitate to call this a damn fine beer. Sure there are stronger examples that exist out there, but we could also say that about 99% of all beers. This is one of the 100 Barrel Series beers I'd suggest brewing again.

No Harpoon product I've had belonged in a higher class than the average beer drinker's table, but Black IPA is a very strong example of its style and certainly warrants as much respect as many of those higher rated than it. I would have been very upset if this bomber were only 12 ounces and even after 22 ounces I would have enjoyed a little more.

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Harpoon Black IPA from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
84 out of 100 based on 73 ratings.