Harpoon Imperial Pumpkin - Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

Not Rated.
Harpoon Imperial PumpkinHarpoon Imperial Pumpkin

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BA SCORE
83
good

244 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 244
Reviews: 51
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 14.4%
Wants: 10
Gots: 38 | 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:
Beer added by: BEERMILER12 on 08-16-2013

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 244 | Reviews: 51
Photo of Rileythub
2.41/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2

Too strong. Bitter taste. Not for me

Photo of kojevergas
2.52/5  rDev -31.5%
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 scottbrew4u
2.62/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

This beer looked promising then I became disappointed with the smell. It smelled just like their UFO pumpkin which I do not like. The taste of this was thicker and more of a syrupy version of the UFO pumpkin.

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
2.97/5  rDev -19.3%
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.

Photo of neophilus
3.08/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours black with a brown head. Some roasted grain, spices dominated by ginger, some cinammon and nutmeg in there as well. Flavor is a bit heavy on the ginger as well.

Ok I have to be honest, I just don't like pumpkin stouts. I've tried several of them and find the roasted grain clashes with the pie spicing. I think a maltier brown base goes better with that type of flavor and the acrid taste of roasted grain doesn't compliment it as well. This also is too heavy on the ginger which I don't appreciate either. Each to their own though.

In the end I think the ginger sinks this one. It's too tangy of a flavor against the bitter roasted grain. It's a good attempt, I detect no off flavors and I can't say anything is out of balance. It's a well made beer. Pumpkin stout is a style I really want to like, pairing a dark roasty beer with the autumn flavors of pie spicing seems like a fusion begging to happen, but so far I have not found the one that works for me.

Photo of chinchill
3.1/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Shared 22 oz bottle.
Pours opaque black with ruby edges. Small head soon reduces to a thin ring.
Aroma: highly spiced and high ABV.
Flavor: over spiced and boozy. Starts sweet but finishes with an unpleasant bitterness.
Feel: good smooth full body by some alcohol harshness.

O: Disappointing.

Photo of goochpunch
3.2/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Pours out black. Brown on the edges when placed in the light. Smells like the full (sweet) spice rack. Roasted malts and fruity, estery yeast. Spices aren't as up front as I would have hoped. A good deal of burnt grain bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel could be fuller and thicker for my tastes. This isn't bad, but I've had better pumpkin stout. Underwhelming.

Photo of far333
3.21/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Dark chestnut colored with a thick beige head that rises up frothy and bubbly, then slowly settles out. Low aroma of vegetal notes and spice. Rich flavor upfront, malty with caramel notes, some toffee, then a sharp intrusion of nutmeg and clove. No cinnamon, no pumpkin. Good mouthfeel, rich and full, but it can't salvage this one for me. Way too spicy and a bit one-dimensional.

Photo of thehooksman
3.24/5  rDev -12%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Holding this up to the light, you CAN see through it. It isn't a usual stout black, but a beautiful dark red-brown. Would be a great appearance, but there was no head whatsoever.

The aroma is excellent, boasting big spice notes and dark fruit. It definitely smells like pumpkin pie baking in the oven. No real hop profile here.

The flavor is where I lose this one. It doesn't back up the aromas very well and is way too sweet. A lot of alcohol in the flavor. Take this brew in small amounts from a glass for strong ales. Don't make my mistake and pour yourself a pint.

The mouthfeel is nice: very rich and smooth, rather full body, and nice heat from the alcohol, but not over powering.

This isn't bad and I'd have it again. But I'll have it in small amounts for sipping. Otherwise it's just way too sweet.

Photo of Mfbda1daonly
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%

Very faint pumpkin taste. The spices overwhelm the pallet. Nothing special, probably won't try again.

Photo of Jwaks
3.26/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

At first pour this beer states, "We're not fucking around." Harpoon has thrown down the gauntlet declaring war when it comes to imperial pumpkin ales. This shit pours a menacing opaque brown. Frightful and perfect for halloween. I love it!

Then, like a woman, my feelings changed on a dime. Love turned to like at first sniff with this beer's reticent nose with hints of baked pumpkin, caramel, toffee and light roasted notes. And first taste, well, it was not "noteworthy." Its densely packed with pumpkin, robust malt and dark smoke tinged caramel with a touch of baking spices. Mouthfeel? It's pretty impressive. That's what she said. Carbonation is just right to keep this beer lively and drinkable.

Overall. Awesome effort Harpoon! One outstanding quality of this beer is it's massive alcohol content, it's a Ron Jeremy sized 10.5% and it goes down like a 7% beer. There's just a hint of heat on the finish as a reminder of this beers brute strength.

Try it, you'll be glad you did rather than adding one more beer to the ever growing bin of regret just outside the skeleton filled closet.

Photo of BB1313
3.3/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

22oz bottle poured into a snifter. Pours black with a small khaki head that fades very quickly and doesn't leave any lacing or retention at all, but it has nice color. The aromas are pretty subtle with hints of milk chocolate, anise, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Lots of cocoa malts. The flavors are rich and seem to be dominated by dark chocolates. This is has a nice roastiness to it. There's a subtle bitterness. I'm picking up the cinnamon and ginger in the finish for sure, but it's not an overload. Molasses is in the mix. It finishes kind of spicy. There's a subtle touch of alcohol warming, but it's barely noticeable and it's definitely not boozy. Mouthfeel is nice. It's full-bodied and fluffy; almost thin, but there's definitely body to it. It's a pretty easy drinking beer, but doesn't make a bad sipper.

This is a very solid beer. It has a nice blend of chocolates and spices. It's really nothing to write home about, but it's pretty enjoyable. This would hit the spot when it's cold outside.

Photo of founddrama
3.3/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A certain spiciness to it. But like pumpkin pie. A nice mouthfeel but almost no head or carbonation. Lovely dark color though--super brown. Boozy but only mildly (overwhelmed by the… cardamom?) Mostly meh. Pumpkin beers.

Photo of Franziskaner
3.44/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Dark black in color. Just a slight bit of light gets through this one. Not much foam on the top of this one. I do see carbonation bubbles, though. Cinnamon, pumpkin, and nutmeg are prevalent. Mouthfeel is thick and chewy. The aroma seems to say pumpkin ale and the taste is pumpkin stout. I get licorice, the bitterness of the roasted malt, and some lingering sweetness of the molasses in the aftertaste. Interesting, but a bit off.

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.45/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter.

3.0 A: Black color. Did not get much of a head to form, but it was a light brown color.

3.5 S: Pumpkin spiciness - nutmeg, ginger, clove, cinnamon - are most prominent. Next is roastiness, molasses, caramel, and chocolate underneath. It's not bad, but the aromas don't have the right proportions. It's hard to explain.

3.5 T: Pumpkin spices mentioned above with cinnamon being the most prominent. Perhaps a bit too much roastiness and not quite enough sweetness. Molasses, caramel, and chocolate. Again the flavors seem out of proportion. I wish I could make this more clear, but it seems I can't. Boozy warming on finish.

3.25 M: Heavier medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Definitely needs more creaminess, but not too detrimental.

3.5 D: It's okay, but has problems that I can't really explain. I love pumpkin beers, but I've only had a handful that are done really well.

Photo of DrDemento456
3.46/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Even though its a high octane stout I expected more than a 1/4 inch of head that fizzes out quickly to nothing. Beer is spot on pitch black very deep hue.
S - An impressive array of spices with cinnamon and strong Nutmeg, some vegital notes but little to no roast.
T - Somewhat harsh biting alcohol on this one. Somewhat vegital biting with mostly nutmeg. Not very much sweet balancing malts or stout qualities of chocolate or roast. Disappointing.
M - Quite thin with a medium body wish the stout quality was greater to hide this massive ABV,

Overall I guess I burned almost 7 bucks on this one. A pretty terrible stout and an even worse pumpkin ale. Pass on it if you can even for 5 bucks not worth it.

Photo of Getalegup
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Okay. Can definitely taste the pumpkin, molasses and spices. Better as it warms. The flavors need to be more balanced.

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

22 ounce bottle - $5.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown, near black body with a medium-tall, albeit deflating light tan-colored head. Though the head may be gone, a lasting ring of suds take its place.

Smell: Firm roastiness cut with a thin glaze of chocolate ganache and liberally dosed with gingerbread-type spices. Subdued pumpkin character, with some additional dark fruitiness.

Taste: Roasty with a growing, deep chocolate flavor as dark caramel, molasses, and cooked sugars come into play. Subtle pumpkin flavor underneath the richer maltiness, leaving it the mildest taste in the pack. The sweetness is tampered by the snap of spices featuring the usual spicespects. Roasty, spicy on the back end with the sweetness now at bay but there's a definite, accumulating alcohol warmth, with a future nap on the horizon.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation.

Overall: I'd lean back on the spices and push up the pumpkin, next time. I've said it before. There's nothing wrong with trying to mix-it-up when it comes to the prototypical pumpkin ale format. Nothing wrong with that at all.

Photo of smcolw
3.59/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served at the brewery.

Near black color where no light shines through. Small, toward the rim, head. No lace.

Spicy aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg, yet it isn't quite "pumpkin". No stout smells.

The flavor draws out the pumpkin elements. Again, this is far less stout and far more pumpkin beer. There's a notable dark toast presence. The alcohol is quite strong and warming. Relatively neutral body with a low carbonation level.

Photo of Gavage
3.67/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: pours a dark black color with a 1/4" head that falls to some big surface bubbles.

Smell: roasted malts, dark fruit sweetness, and a bit of spice comes through to the nose.

Taste: roasted malt, dark chocolates, raisins, some cinammon, and a hint of pumpkin is with a bit of alcohol warming.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy in body. Smooth from start to finish. Long lasting aftertaste.

Overall: this beer is a slow sipper and is really just a big flavored stout with some pumpkin pie spice wrapped around it. Worth a try.

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.71/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bottle pours a surprisingly near black color with a small cap of tan head. Not much for retention or lace.

Nose is heavy on the spices with nutmeg and cinnamon leading the way. There is a certain apple fruitiness mixed with some autumnal leaves that is a bit different.

Taste shows the rich chocolate of a stout with plenty of pie spice and even a little kiss of grassy hops. Bold flavors with plenty of alcohol kick. Its interesting but I cant help comparing it to SA Pumpkinator, and its not quite as good. Though it is better than expected. Mouthfeel is just a bit thin and the alcohol flavors are a little too big. I think it is worth a try, and maybe even a repeat purchase or two.

Photo of SawDog505
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into my Flying Dog tulip. Pours a really dark brown, with a two inch dark tan head, that settles rather quickly, leaving minimal lace. Smell is pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, and some light chocolate notes. Taste is massive, loads of pumpkin, nutmeg, and cinnamon up front, with molasses, dark chocolate, almond, and a hint of alcohol in the finish. Body a touch thin for me, plenty of life, not dry, and goes down very easy for its abv and I am sure it being medium thin in body helps that. I look at this like a blend of a style I love Imperial stouts and a style I don't love, pumpkin beers. Wish it was a more hearty imperial stout with some pumpkin pie flavors, not the case, huge pumpkin flavors, with the stout color. Still a solid beer at a reasonable price, and it leaves its mark. Unforgettable!

Photo of mountdew1
3.74/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured into an oversize wine glass. A nice dark brown opaque with a hint of reddish color. A very thin head that had nice cling and a bit of dirty white color. Aroma was strongly of canned pumpkin puree. Tad of burnt molasses aroma as well. Flavor was sweet, almost too sweet. Bit of spice hiding under the sweet, and finished off with a bit of bitter. Over time it mellowed out and developed the pumpkin pie flavor Felt great in the mouth, coated as it should, just a bit of tingle on the tongue. Overall it was a good stout, with a decent pumpkin flavor.

Photo of tigg924
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

Nice combination of cinnamon, clove, and pie crust with roasted malt. Very well balanced and never cloying. The alcohol is very well hidden. Might need to make this an annual pick up.

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Harpoon Imperial Pumpkin from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
83 out of 100 based on 244 ratings.