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Harpoon IPA | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

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1,239 Reviews
Harpoon IPAHarpoon IPA

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

Style: English India Pale Ale (IPA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Harpoon IPA is an interpretation of the classic English style using hops and malt grown in the United States.

42 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-01-2000

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,239 | Ratings: 4,035
Photo of soze47
3.06/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

This is a hard one to review. This seems to be an everyday, widely available type of beer in the Boston area, but when comparing it to the style and how it holds up to others, this one simply doesn't get a high grade from me.

Appearance: Light amberish orange hue. 1 1/2 inch of pure white head that settled quickly. There are a lot of ephervescent bubbles dancing up from the bottom of the glass.

Aroma: I get biscuity malt first on smell, then slight grassy hops. This is odd and not what I would expect for the style. Although BA puts this in as an American IPA, which it is, I feel like this is closer to an English IPA from the nose.

Taste: Just like the nose, maltiness is what I get first with the hops only providing a balancing bittering quality with little appreciable flavor. It doesn't taste bad, but it certainly isn't robust or anything remarkable.

Mouthfeel: Again, middle of the road. Considering middle of the road ABV, you get a boozy heat on this one. It finishes pretty crisply without a massive aftertaste. The higher rate of carbonation also keeps the body light in the mouth.

Drinkability: Like I mentioned before, this is a fine beer to have when kicking around Boston as it is available everywhere. The bitterness is actually key to keeping this from being too malty or oppressive. It is an easy drinker, but nothing that is remarkable either.

Overall: I seem to have at least on Harpoon IPA a month living in Boston. It can often be the best beer in the room at a party or non-beer specialty bar. However, this is not one to try if you are at a place with other regional or national IPAs on hand.

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Photo of sstackho
3.06/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle. Pours fairly pale, with medium carbonation. Head fades pretty quickly, but has decent lacing. Nice, floral hoppy aroma. Taste is enjoyable, but a bit lacking, and not as full, hoppy and fruity as I was hoping from the aroma. As this beer appears to be pretty readily available in the Boston area, I would definitely choose it again when offered alongside the big brews, if no interesting micros are available.

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Photo of Lnedrive14
3.05/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

To be honest, I'm just not a fan. I don't think I can exactly pinpoint what it is, but this beer just seems to be too acidic for me. It has a helluva bite, without much reward. It's like breeding pit-bulls without keeping one to protect the house. I looove hops, but this is just plain bitter - not in the good way. There just isn't anything to balance out this brew. I get very little flavors other than hop bitterness. Perhaps a little bit of lemon. Anyway, maybe I'll give it a try in the bottle since the brothers seem to think it is better that way.

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Photo of Gmann
3.05/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a slightly hazy golden straw color with a short wispy white head that settles into a sparse cap.

The aroma is of a floral hop with some orange and apricot scents. The malt is bready with a honey sweetness. Smells more malty than hoppy.

The taste is of a sweet honey malt with some cereal grains. The hops are grassy with some citrus. A slight hint of asprin towards the end.

The feel is moderate with tingly carbonation. Pretty balanced between the sweet and the bitter; finishes slightly dry.

Definition of an average IPA. Its quite drinkable but the flavor is just ho hum.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.05/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle, says to enjoy by 02/15/2013. Poured into a Boulevard tulip.

A - Pours a clear copper color with one finger of head that disappears quickly. Steady column of bubbles rushing up to the top.

S - Malty and lightly hoppy. Smells hoppier than it actually is, if you ask me.

T - Taste is way more malty than it is hoppy, which is kind of disappointing. It is well-balanced, but I definitely wish it was more bitter and hoppy. Has a vague apple cider taste to it also, which is kind of strange.

M - A nicely bodied beer, with a nice resinous mouthfeel, and the lingering taste of green apple.

Overall, it's not a bad beer, but I like my IPA's to be ridiculously hoppy, and this beer disappoints in that arena. Nicely bodied, and tasty nonetheless, but as an example of the style it is a little bland. Solid 5.90% abv, and I got this 6 pack on sale for $5.99 so I guess I can't complain.

Harpoon IPA ---3/5.

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Photo of supercolter
3.05/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this on tap at a small restaraunt on Nantucket Island, definately the most average IPA I have tasted.
The hops just weren't what they should be. That's not to say they were non-existant, but they were along the potency of an APA and tasted poor in quality. The flavor overall was good but just not a good depiction at all of the style.

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Photo of tewaris
3.05/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

42 IBU's

12 oz. bottle with a best by of 6/15/11 poured into a Bell's tulip. Courtesy drdogbeer, thanks!

Copper golden and very clear with a creamy off white head. Good retention and lacing. Looks the part! Aroma is more bready than hoppy, and this is a very "mild" IPA it seems. Some floral notes were present initially but unimpressive overall. There's a gutter like smell too that's off putting.

Tastes equally mild, with some fruitiness and some pils like hop notes. Quite European actually; not highly hopped as it claims. Bitterness never really kicks in but lingers briefly on the palate. The finish is clean and dry, carbonation medium and the body light, but not thin. Low alcohol is a saving grace, although Masala Mama & Furious are in that ABV range and far far superior. Very very average tasting IPA. Overall an average beer that I could drink on my dime faced with limited options. I really think that if this was marketed as an APA, it'd have a better chance at ratings.

Scores: Appearance 4.5/5; Aroma 2/5; Taste 3/5; Mouthfeel 4/5; Overall 3.5/5

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Photo of chinabeergeek
3.04/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

crystal clear, pale golden amber, some head which soon fades to a thin layer. low-to-moderate lacing.

some mild hop aroma and earthiness, but not much else. maybe even metallic whiff.

hops are gentle but bitter, not much malt. again, something metallic.

watery, a bit fizzy.

what the hell? i guess it's drinkable if you consider this an english pale or bitter. but even for an english IPA, this is tame. don't even try to consider this an american IPA.

22oz bomber purchased from cooler and dated "best by" several months from now, so i really don't think i got a bad bottle.

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Photo of RoyalT
3.03/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance – This one poured a light clear orangish-yellow in color with a short but retentive head that left some pretty good lacing.

Smell – The light, leafy hops were mixed with grapefruit and a super-light malty base. I couldn’t really pick up a whole lot from this nose.

Taste – The hop flavors here were very singular in nature. They are very leafy and herbal and sorely one-dimensional. There was a little faint grain mixed in with everything but no finish to this beer.

Mouthfeel – I enjoyed the nice, bitter mouthfeel of this light to medium-bodied IPA but thought it was lacking in complexity.

Drinkability – It would be hard to keep drinking this all night. Although I live out West I can still appreciate a good East Coast IPA, but this just isn’t it.

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Photo of bashiba
3.03/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a very light amber color with very little head at all, even when poured very aggresively.

Smell has hints of floral hops and a metalic copper odor.

Taste retains the same metallic copper flavors with some light floral hop flavors.

Mouthfeel is light with a touch of slickness.

Overall a drinkable IPA, but fairly average.

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Photo of mralphabet
3.03/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into a Pilsner Glass.

A: Has a hazy orange/yellow color, 2 finger head with nice retention very nice lacing throughout.

S: Floral notes with hints of citrus.

T: Has a nice sweetness up front with a touch of citus, but finishes with a good amount of bitter hoppiness.

M: I'd say this is a medium bodied brew with good carbonation.

D: I'm not a big IPA guy but this one went down well... Nothing really stands out on this one....

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Photo of MoreThanWine
3.03/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear walnut brown with a 3/4" head which dissipates to a thin froth. Smell and taste are classic IPA but of the large production variety, not at all like a microbrew to me. Decent hops and a little lasting bitterness but overall kind of weak compared to other IPA's. I did note if you chug it instead of sip you can get a little burst of zing.

Hey for the cheap price it's a nice IPA. It's simply not the kind you slowly savor, it's more for the bulk IPA drinker.

By the way, took a while to find it among all the Harpoons listed in the Beer Advocate reviews. Does this brewery really make a bazillion kinds of beer? Guess so. Drives home the fact this really isn't a microbrew brand even though it's relatively young.

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Photo of WrathsU
3.02/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Super clear/clean gold liquid with milky white head. The lace stays around after drinking and the head retention is nice.

S - Not too much here, mediocre hint of citrus with a small note of spicy.

T - Pretty average run of the mill IPA. Not too bold or daring, yet is pronounced enough to not be boring.

M - Not light or heavy, closer to lighter than heavier though.

D - Unoffensive IPA that could be plowed through.

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Photo of gregshead
3.01/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A: Copper in color. Average amount of head, nothing special to note.

S: Pine and floral hit the strongest

T: Pine up front with floral and grass in the bitterness. Also caramel color comes through in the taste. Just like I wrote it, the taste doesn't seem to flow together.

M: Good amount of carbonation runs off the middle of my tongue. Medium thickness feel.

D: Its just ok. Can't put my finger on it completely. I feel like the flavor combinations don't blend together for for my enjoyability/drinkability.

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Photo of UnDeadly
3.01/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - A very even gold color. Good foam! I poured with moderate aggression and easily produced 1 finger, which lowered in a thin but maintained head. Moderate lacing that sticks quite evenly.

Smell - I found the smell quite boring, to be honest. Mild notes of malt, and on the floral side of hops. I detected a light note of green apple.

Taste - Simple, pleasant, but nothing special. Crisp front, interestingly the malt notes seem to come through in the middle, and then progressing in bitterness off the back and into the aftertaste. Bitterness is slightly crisp, tart, and floral.

Mouth Feel - Carbonation is well done, and foam produces a pleasant creamy mouthfeel.

Drinkability - Relatively low ABV and pleasant mouth feel make this a very drinkable and sessionable beer.

OK, so this beer was not bad. At all. But I do not think it is an IPA! Judging according to style, it was very weak and boring by IPA standards. Both the malt and hop notes were muted. But the beer was very balanced in this regard, and if it was classified as a Pale ale, I would have probably given it at least a grade higher.

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Photo of AllThingsNinja
3.01/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This draft ipa was served in a Harpoon glass with little head, and no room for one. What was there added a bit of lace to the glass, as I consumed the rose-tinted gold ale. The pungent casacade hop aroma is a fair advertisement for the initial grapefruit/sour flavors. As the beer warms, or it kills whatever taste buds were repulsed by the unbalanced and rather predictable hop assault some more interesting tea-like flavors emerge to compliment an understated malt body. It’s a passable IPA, but nothing that I’d pursue.

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Photo of Tilley4
3.01/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Was hoping for more from this one.

It looked really good. Much lighter than others of its style. Nice lacing and head as well.

Smelled pretty hoppy with a nice malty base.

Doesn't taste nearly as hoppy as the aroma would indicate. This is a bit bland and watery with a bitter aftertaste. Strange finish to this one.

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Photo of tigg924
3/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: copper in color, 1/4 inch head, moderate carbonation, clear

Smell: piney hops

Taste: piney hops with a toasted malt backbone.

Mouthfeel: smooth, medium carbonation and body, slightly bitter

Drinkability: This one is a slightly above average IPA which did not jump out to me. I could have two max.

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Photo of boelker62
3/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A pale, almost yellow shade with a 1" head. Smell is faint, at best with nothing in particular to pull from it. Really, overall, this was rather disappointing to me considering the quality of their UFO product line. The taste was a bit empty, but had a decent mouthfeel, and was just a bit too dry of a finish. The drinkability is likely the best facet of this beer. The dryness is not overpowering, luckily.

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Photo of chrisrhoppe
3/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Depressing head formation with a clear light amber hue of a body. Lightly piney, citrus nose carried by more of a grain scent. The taste is balanced but weak, the light hop bitterness coats the tongue as the malt washes over hardly leaving a trace or influence. Maybe I’ve been spoiled but I expect a bit more out of my IPAs, at least the leviathan is incredible.

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Photo of cameraman
3/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a 20 oz. pint glass, a lite golden color with hints of orange on the sides. A soft white heaed forms, which slowly goes down the glass, slight visibility of carbonation. The strong scent of flowers and citrus, mostly of grapefruit, are the dominating aromas. The taste comes in quickly with a hit of malt, then the hops take over with a citrusy bitterness. The mouhtfeel starts very lite, but it gains weight as it crosses the palate. The hops leave a dry finish on the palate at the end. Overall, this is an average IPA, it is not a hop monster, but it does give that good hop flavor that IPA's are known for. This is a solid beer for this style.

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Photo of happy4hoppybeer
3/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Having had their rather excellent Leviathan Imperial IPA, I thought I'd try this when I saw it was available on-tap at my local bar.

From notes:

Light golden orange, with moderate fluffy white head. Average retention. Very little lacing.

Some sweet smells of fruits, some very sweet malt, and some citrus. Hops are present, but under-served.

Sweet fruits, and overly sweet malt, a little citrus here, and then some hops somewhere in between. Some grains, and breadiness is apparent. Medium body, maybe a little on the thin side, high carbonation.

Rather disappointing as an IPA. The hops are not very well-served, overemphasized sweetness and grains, thus not as hoppy as it should be. And at only 5.9% ABV, it's a rather weak one.

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Photo of brewmudgeon
3/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

golden color. only a suggestion of amber. head is gone quickly. minimal lacing.
to the nose, alcohol is surprisingly assertive, then lightly toasted grain and vague orange nougat.
the taste is better than the appearance and smell suggested. fresh grainy sweetness is accompanied by citrus rind and a mild bitterness. not nearly enough hop presence for an ipa imo.
coarse carbonation, too prickly--swishing helps.
overall, tolerable but forgettable.

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Photo of apants007
3/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Note: this is a review of the can.

Poured from the can into a pint glass. Nice amber color with a thick dense head that lasts and lasts. But then it goes down from there... Smell is faintly of coastal hotel must... And the initial taste is like a good beer poured through dirty lines... Or like if you poured a shot of tap water into a lagunitas ipa... Not bad... But not great. If I had to pick between this harpoon and a dale's I'd pick this ... Good for a cookout or tubing or walking down the street with a paper bag or somewhere else you absolutely need a can... But not a beer to seek out.

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Photo of Brianmerrilyn
3/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This was my second pull at Camaradas to polish off the Harpoon suite on tap. Harpoon was one of the first breweries I started to drink when I moved over from the mass produced macro beers and was interested to see what my matured pallet thought of his old standard.

A: Poured into a pint glass to detail a clear golden accented by brown tints. The head was barely a finger from the initial pour and reduced quickly to a paper thin ring. Little to no lacing, with rings appearing with swirl but settling back to rim immediately afterward A few rising bubbles for the retention section.

S: The nose gave off a weak but balanced citrus and tangy hop profile and dashes of sweet malts but that was with my nose almost inside the beeer.

T: Unless the bar had an old keg or was not keeping in good condition, this was one of the blandest IPA's in my beer pedigree. I would presume noble hops are used which would explain the far off citrus and bitter taste I would expect frmo this style. The malts are more in charge and take away from any balance or complexity.

M: Thin and watery and rather boring.

D: An excellent session or beach beer if you not looking for much punch or flavor. Easily drinkable but then quickly forgettable. After having a Harpoon Brown prior and throughly enjoying, I was confused with what Harpoon was doing for this beer. As other reviewers have stated, the tap vs. bottle difference is quite wide and I shall look for the latter rather than the former in the future.

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Harpoon IPA from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
3.63 out of 5 based on 4,035 ratings.
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