Harpoon Imperial Pumpkin - Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

Not Rated.
Harpoon Imperial PumpkinHarpoon Imperial Pumpkin

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BA SCORE
83
good

234 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 234
Reviews: 42
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 14.4%
Wants: 11
Gots: 31 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BEERMILER12 on 08-16-2013)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 234 | Reviews: 42 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of NJBeer265
1/5  rDev -72.8%

Photo of R11415
1.75/5  rDev -52.4%

Photo of jordand3
2/5  rDev -45.7%

Photo of Dogleg
2.25/5  rDev -38.9%

Photo of Daddy_bone1
2.5/5  rDev -32.1%

Photo of kojevergas
2.5/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

Acquired at Whole Foods HQ. 22 fl oz brown glass bottle with appealing simple label art and branded pry-off pressure cap served into a pilsner glass in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are high. 10.5% ABV.

Served cold - straight from me fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as I pour.

Pours a half finger wide head of nice rich khaki colour; not as tan or rich as it could be, but it has a soft shiny complexion. Thickness and creaminess are a bit underplayed, but generally pretty good. Retention is poor - maybe 40 seconds at best. No lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a predictable opaque dark black; not quite a solid or jet black - the edges have a cola colour in the glass. Nontransparent/nontranslucent. No yeast particles are visible. I've seen more vibrant imperial stouts, but this one is generally appealing for the style.

Not unique or special, but there are no obvious flaws.

Sm: Pumpkin - mostly a puree, but there's a bit of gourd there. Doesn't come off as artificial as most pumpkin puree beers do. Still, real pumpkin would be preferable. Chocolate malt. Dark malts. Brown sugar. Molasses - I could do without that note. Plenty of evocative yet balanced spices: nutmeg, clove, allspice, cinnamon. I don't find any ginger. I do get some vague almond extract. Not as roasty as I'd like; it has very little roasted barley character at all. Unfortunately, I get a buried nebulous hint of anise/licorice (which I can't stand in a beer, especially when combined with molasses notes).

No hop/yeast character or alcohol is detectable.

Overall, it's an interesting aroma of moderate strength, and suggests that the flavour profile will live up to the pumpkin/imperial stout hybrid premise. I'm looking forward to trying it.

T: Hmph. Right off the first sip I can tell the spices and pumpkin clash somewhat with the dark malt/chocolate malt body. The finish (and most of the third act) is/are entirely too bitter, with troublesome anise/licorice mixing with the bitterness of the dying spices. Molasses lends an unnatural sweetness to the second act. Caramel. All the spices are packed in on the climax and in the third act, making it structurally imbalanced. I get allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. Too much nutmeg. The cinnamon also seems a bit strange, and distracts from the malts. Out-of-place green apple makes an appearance; that was a poor choice. There's an unwelcome baked brown sugar character throughout the beer which I'm none too keen on. The pumpkin itself has less presence than the spices, and isn't evocative; there's no true pumpkin or pumpkin gourd, just a vague puree/extract note that rings artificial (contrary to what the aroma suggested).

It does come off on the sweeter side, definitely. No hop character or yeast character comes through. I do notice an evident alcohol presence, which reduces the drinkability.

Depth of flavour is on the low side of average for the style, as is duration of flavour. Intensity of flavour is average for the style.

The harsh spice presence needs some real toning down. It definitely needs more pumpkin - and real pumpkin. Too sweet as well. It's an interesting stab at a pumpkin beer, but ultimately it's quite a mess. Imbalanced, with little cohesion; certainly not gestalt. Lacks any subtlety whatsoever, but it does attempt to bring the complexity - it just falls short on the execution. I wouldn't call it uninspired, it's just a failed experiment. I wouldn't say I like it per se.

Mf: Smooth and wet - too much so on both counts. Sticky. Overcarbonated. Lightly syrupy. Too thick/viscous. Has an unjustifiably overbearing presence on the palate for its lack of flavour and balance. It crosses the barrier from 'pleasant alcohol warmth' to 'unpleasant heat.' Doesn't suit the flavour profile well. It ought to be more dry and coarse, as well as a bit less thick and more approachable. Unrefreshing. Flawed execution.

Dr: While I'll finish the bottle alone, it's not the most drinkable beer - both due to its relative lack of quality and its troublesome mouthfeel. It's a deeply flawed beer, but I applaud the attempt to merge the concept of a pumpkin beer with the imperial stout style. Unfortunately, Harpoon fell well short of its aims, and we're left with a spice-dominant pumpkin-minimal beer that has none of the best attributes of its two constituent styles and many of the worst. I wouldn't get it again, nor would I recommend it to friends.

If you're going to brew a pumpkin beer, commit. Brew with real pumpkin, put in the time and effort, clean your messy tanks, and deliver. At the end of the day this beer seems like more an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of the pumpkin seasonal than a sincere attempt to satisfy drinkers.

High D+

Photo of truska
2.5/5  rDev -32.1%

Photo of whatsajessica
2.75/5  rDev -25.3%

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2.75/5  rDev -25.3%

Photo of Jslay013
2.75/5  rDev -25.3%

Photo of Jeckel
2.75/5  rDev -25.3%

Photo of lauries444
2.75/5  rDev -25.3%

Photo of jdhilt
2.8/5  rDev -23.9%

Pours a two finger light tan head that fades quickly leaving no lace. Nearly black opaque color. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Strong pumpkin pie nose and flavor is disappointing with a weird medicinal pumpkin and spicy. High ABV is hidden. Better pumpkins out there like Long Trail's. $5.99 for a 22oz bottle from Market Basket Concord, NH.

Photo of oberon
2.9/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

I have really liked the big pumpkin stouts I have had so far this season.Pours nearly jet black except for a tinge of brown when held to the light,a half finger beige head atop.Nutmeg and clove stand out most in the nose along light alcohol and molasses-like sweetness,downhill from here.Somewhat fizzy and much lighter than expected in the mouth with harsh over spiced flavors and some stinging alcohol in the finish.Wow I have to say I was expecting something much better here...might be a drain pour.

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2.96/5  rDev -19.6%

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3/5  rDev -18.5%

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3/5  rDev -18.5%

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3/5  rDev -18.5%

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3/5  rDev -18.5%

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3/5  rDev -18.5%

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3/5  rDev -18.5%

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3/5  rDev -18.5%

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3/5  rDev -18.5%

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3/5  rDev -18.5%

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3/5  rDev -18.5%

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Harpoon Imperial Pumpkin from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
83 out of 100 based on 234 ratings.