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 Imperial 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.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 146 |  Reviews: 32
Reviews by J85jam:
Photo of J85jam
3/5  rDev -17.8%

More User Reviews:
Photo of Tiernan
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Billolick
3.97/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle, "2014" version... for what its worth.

Pours near black, with a quickly departing dark mocha head. Leaves nondescript strands and bars of stickage.

Nose of milk chocolate and a hint of dark cherry.

Tasty and rich porter with waves of chocolate and more then moderate cherry adding to the mix, but not over staying its welcome. Nicely done. Nice night capper or with a chocolate dessert. Well worth a try.

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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 stereosforgeeks
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of JMS1512
3.33/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of dhmxray
3.25/5  rDev -11%

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

Photo of grahuba
3.25/5  rDev -11%

Photo of zonker17
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Hides the alcohol well. Just not super exciting.

48 characters

Photo of Kevincredible
2.5/5  rDev -31.5%

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.

 248 characters

Photo of Bouder32
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of Brutaltruth
3.93/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An excellent cherry chocolate porter from Harpoon. Pours a thick dark brown with a very large tan head that dissipates to a light lacing that clings slightly to the side of the glass. Cherries, chocolate, and dark roasted malts---pretty much as the name says, on the nose. Taste of raisins, sweet cherries, brown sugar, silky smooth roasted buttery caramel, and cola on the taste, light hops bitterness and moderately carbonated mothfeel. Very well rounded with the cherries taste muted and not overpowering, everything in a great balance. Often one could say save fruit for a famine and water for a draught, yet this one embraces everything in a nice even flavor profile. Cheers.

 680 characters

Photo of puboflyons
3.66/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

From the 650 ml. bomber. 2014 batch. Sampled on April 5, 2014.

The pour is a generally opaque brown tone with a modest light brown head that fades quickly but leaves little in the way of lacing.

The aroma tends to highlight the cherry notes more than the coffee, smoky, dark malts one often gets from a Porter. But perhaps that was the point. Vaguely boozy.

The body is thin to medium.

The taste has a solid cherry sweetness to it and it tends to become the flavor. Roasted malts fall into the background but there is a modest hop bitterness lingering at the end. I think it would mellow with 6 months of aging.

 617 characters

Photo of bluejacket74
3.63/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22 ounce bottle, 2014 vintage. Served in a DFH snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch light tan head. Head retention is good, and there's a small amount of lacing. Aroma is nice but light, the brew smells like cherries, milk and bittersweet chocolate, roasted malt and some caramel. Luckily it's stronger in flavor. Similar to the aroma, it tastes like roasted malt, tart and sweet cherries, bittersweet and milk chocolate, coffee, and some cola and caramel. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit coating with moderate carbonation. The alcohol is well hidden, it sure doesn't seem like it's almost 10% ABV. I liked this brew, I'd pick it up again in the future. $5.99 a bomber.

 697 characters

Photo of KevinGordon
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of dental
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of vwbus7
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of ZenBiscuits
3/5  rDev -17.8%

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!

 444 characters

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.01/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

On tap at the Owl House in Rochester, NY.

Pours a fairly dark brown, with a tan colored one inch head, and a little bit of creamy lacing down the glass.

Smells like chocolate, roasted malt, sweet malt, and the slightest hint of cherry.

The taste is similar. Very creamy silky chocolate taste, like Hershey's syrup, with some cocoa powder, a faint hint of chocolate covered cherries. Some alcohol is noticeable, but it's not detracting at all, it's more of a pleasant warming buzz.

Medium bodied, creamy silky mouthfeel. Basically no carbonation, with a flat mouthfeel, the only big knock on this one.

I wish the cherry was a little more pronounced here, with some additional roasted malt and a less flat mouthfeel. Despite these complaints, the beer is undeniably tasty.

 775 characters

Photo of Big_Dave
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

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