Black Forest | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

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Black ForestBlack Forest
146 Ratings
Black ForestBlack Forest

Brewed by:
Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
Massachusetts, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.80%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
When the drivers of Harpoon Distributing Company are finished delivering brewery-fresh beer throughout the neighborhoods of Boston, they spend time moonlighting with Harpoon's brewers. In 2012, they developed a version of a chocolate cherry porter that was a favorite at our annual homebrew competition. It didn't take long for the brewing staff to work up a 10-barrel test batch and we knew we had to make more.

A hearty malt base is complemented by sweet cherry juice and cocoa nibs added during fermentation in this decadent take on a traditional porter. Notes of rich chocolate and a hint of cherry sweetness make this full-bodied porter the perfect treat to share now or to cellar until next Valentine's Day.

Added by Mikecap on 02-13-2014

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 146 |  Reviews: 32
Photo of chinchill
3.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle served in a Porter Bar goblet at about 45F. Improved with some warming.

Clear but very dark red-brown body with a rather weak head; streaks of lacing.

Aroma: soft ripe fruit, faint chocolate and fruit cake.

Flavor: Moderately sweet with some light bitterness appearing in the aftertaste. Hints of dark and milk chocolate, vanilla and cherry juice. A little bit boozy but nicely compatible with other aspects of the flavor profile. A bit sweeter than I'd prefer but no sweeter than to be expected for a beer of this specific style.

Feel: smooth, near full body with light carbonation, although it does not seem under-carbonated. The 9.8% ABV is partially hidden but mostly evident.

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Photo of Uzarnayme
4.15/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of monk2021
4.04/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of jmdrpi
3.99/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, dated 2014

Black, with some garnet in the corners with light sneeking through. Good head retention. Mild cherry smeeling mixed with milk chocolate. Taste is well balanced, neither too sweet nor too roasty. Medium body, could be thicker.

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Photo of mzingie
3.95/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pitch black with a large lasting head. Smell isn't extremely strong but I can pick out the cherries (pun intended) and a disappointingly small amount of chocolate. Taste is balanced of cherries and chocolate, some good in the aftertaste and a tartness from the cherries that stays with you. A very interesting beer, the cherry flavor certainly goes with its porter characteristics.

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Photo of Homebrew
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of bigred89
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of skrewyou82
3.34/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of KTCamm
3.77/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

3/19...pours very dark black . Virtually no foam on top - just a small patch. Light cherry cola taste, dark chocolate mixed in. Rich chocolate taste, grainy coffee mixed in, finishes smooth and sweet. Ice cream like close. Subtle cherry fruitiness.

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Photo of B967ierhunter177
4.61/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Aroma is of dark chocolate, dark cherries, and coffee. The flavor is extremely well balanced and complex beginning with coffee, chocolate, and tart cherries with a hint of vanilla. The intensity of the flavors grows as it warms. In the finish the vanilla fades while the cherry tartness and dark chocolate are bold but smooth. It's mouthfeel is full. This brew ages well, was purchased in May 2014 and enjoyed in April 2015. Highly recommended!

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Photo of metter98
3.67/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is black when viewed from afar but when held up to a light it is clear and very dark red in color. It poured with a quarter finger high beige head that died down, leaving some wisps of bubbles on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of cocoa nibs and black cherries are present in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell, but has stronger flavors of cocoa nibs and cherries along with additional hints of chocolate.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: Considering its strength, this porter is quite easy to drink because it hides its alcohol very well. It would make for a good dessert beer. With the lack of hop bitterness, this seems more like an English Porter, or an English Imperial Porter, if there was such a style.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.62/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up a while back from Whole Foods on Houston St, having never had this before. I thought that this would be a Stout or a Schwarzbier and I was a bit surprised to see that this was an American Porter. While not terribly roasted to the smell or taste, this had a strong alcoholic content to it and was full enough to resemble a Porter even thought he flavors made this feel a bit different. Strong and potent, this beer was an interesting take on a style that tended to be pretty monotonous in terms of the flavor profile.

Sure, this poured dark with a moderate tan head and a decent amount of soapy lacing left behind. Not a strong aroma here but the cherries and some bitter chocolate were present along with the strong scent of booze. This almost felt like a Fruit/Vegetable beer because of how prevalent the cherry flavor was, as opposed to the roasted nature of a Porter that wasn't terribly present here. There was some dark malt present but the chocolate was dominant here and was the base of this beer when all was said and done.

This was strong but a beer like this was able to hide it well since the alcohol fit in well with the chocolate in this case. This could have been a bit more full and had more dark bread malt in it but as a dessert beer, it fit in fine by itself. Just a bit too sweet, this would worth aging to see if it mellows out a bit and has the nibs from the cocoa emerge more. Decent beer that doesn't fit into one particular category.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.07/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pouring a cellar temp 22 oz bottle into a snifter. The beer pours a deep mahogany color with some garnet highlights on the edges that is apparent when held to the light. Fizzy tan head of 2 cm foams up and rests on the surface. The head fades to a sturdy edge layer fairly quickly after the first sip.
Aroma is chocolate malt and roasted notes with hints of brown sugar. Im not sure I get any cherry on the nose, but it is advertised as a fairly sweet and boozy beer.
First sip reveals very fine and fizzy carbonation that tingles across my palate with each sip. The body is medium thickness and has a bit of a syrupy texture, could also be described as chewy. Definitely coats my palate on each sip.
Flavor is sweet malt with chocolate, roasted malt, some brown sugar, and a little cherry candy note. THere is a hefty dose of warm peppery booze on each swallow, making this a bit of a sipping beer. Hops dont make much of a showing here and this is a fairly large beer. May be better to split with a friend, but I am enjoying it as I drain the bottle into my glass.
Worth buying if you like boozey malt brews. I like it and would buy it again.

 1,156 characters

Photo of JebBeerFish
3.01/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Cellared for 1+ years.

I got very little cherry in this, somewhat sweeter than average stout.

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Photo of CB2maltygoodness
3.39/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of flr0605
3.39/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Oldejoe
4.49/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look. Nice dark, dark mahogany look with very little head.
Smell. Slightly fresh and crisp, but not a lot happening for me.
Taste. Strong cherry, some chocolate/coffee, pleasant balance malty up front, medium dry finish.
Mouthfeel. Nice robust medium heavy feel, with more sparkle than the looks would imply.
Overall. Boy, I do like this beer!

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Photo of misternebbie
3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Kendo
3.85/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Black Forest - Harpoon

A: Ommegang tulip glass. Body is black with thin wisp of a greyish head. 3.75.

S: chocolatey malt, chocolate-covered cherries, touch of alcohol. 4

T: chocolate, cherries - booze-soaked cherries. Touch of molasses. 4

M: slightly slick; carbonation is modest. Call it medium in heft. 3.75

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Photo of kdivers
3.86/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of tabhill
3.15/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Photo of JamesBondGA
4.25/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Color poured a black with reddish highlights. Very little head and no lacing. Smells of Cocoa and cherry. Tastes of chocolate and the cherry. Not sure why people call this a dessert beer. Chocolate and cherry flavors don't have to mean dessert beer. very little carbonation. also doesn't seem thick enough to be a real porter.

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Photo of SawDog505
3.98/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of jclarkn
3.41/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Patches826
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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Black Forest from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
Beer rating: 3.65 out of 5 with 146 ratings
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