Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

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English India Pale Ale (IPA)
Ranked #122
Ranked #40,454
3.64 | pDev: 13.19%
Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
Massachusetts, United States
Notes: We started brewing this beer as a summer seasonal in 1993. There were some great IPAs out in the Pacific Northwest, but no local IPAs on the east coast. We wanted to have a local IPA, so we brewed one. People absolutely loved it, and so did we. So we made it a year-round beer, and it’s now our bestselling beer and our flagship.

Since its introduction, Harpoon IPA has remained unique in its ability to balance hop bitterness with a strong malt backbone. Dry-hopped with Cascade hops, it has a floral hop aroma and a finish that is bitter (it is an IPA after all!) without being harsh or astringent. Combined with a malty sweetness and the fruity esters of our proprietary yeast, those hops create a beer that is wonderfully hoppy but clean and refreshing enough to enjoy a few of - and we hope you do.

42 IBU
Reviews: 1,297 | Ratings: 4,299
Photo of BDabbler
4.78/5  rDev +31.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours amber with a white head. This beer is popular in my area; so, it on tap everywhere. The more IPAs I drink, the more I'm reminded that this is a go to IPA and rivals anything else I've had. It's very smooth and balanced with floral and citrus notes. Not to strong, not too light; so, I keep going back and I'm never disappointed.

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Photo of Imsl2013
3.15/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Minimal head on mine, smell was vague and not very pronounced. Nice pale amber color. Conservative on the hops for an IPA, and that reflects in the taste -- I get a hint of hops on the back end, but otherwise nondescript. It may just be that I expect aggressive hops from an IPA and am biased in that sense, but I wasn't super impressed with this one. More than willing to give it another shot.

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Photo of Act25
3.63/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Usually a fan of New England beers, I find this one to be watery, and mid-pack at best. Shipyard and Smutty much better than Harpoon.

A: Pours a clear pale amber with half an inch head. Clear pale like a Vienna Lager, ala Sams. No retention, scant lace.

Smell: Sprouts mild floral hops, grassy, hay, a bit of caramel malt. Meager.

T: Again like Sams Vienna Lager, it starts with caramel and fruity malt sweetness. Follows smell but more full. A great base for a black and tan and closer to a pale ale. Hops come out toward the finish, but are mild, tame.

F: The body is light, fairly crisp, again like Sams. and subdued. Clean finish, good food beer, but boring?

O: An old style, NE pale ale.

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Photo of chuckakhan
4.38/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Definitely a classic go-to IPA for me. Pours a dark gold. I wouldn't mind more of an aggressive, hop-forward attack on the nose so I could really smell the hops and flowers, but the mouth and finish are nice and bitter. No juicy nonsense like so many IPAs you see (and, unfortunately, taste) now. This one is old school, and it's the one that started me on IPAs nearly a dozen years ago. Get yourself some 'Poon tonight.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
2.77/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

A darker srm than average for an ipa. Head was 1/2" off white. Aroma was almost completely devoid of hops. Shit no man, I believe you'd get your ass kicked for that.

Taste and mouthfeel are more reminiscient of an amber ale. There's more malt and roasting there than your average mass produced lager, but as for the ales, there just isn't the hopping, much less the india pale ale style. Is there brown malt in this? Bready toffee notes. Zucchini bread and shit in a bottle.

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Photo of NastyNorseman
3.84/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is not a bad IPA. Pours Amber translucent with fair head size that dissipates quickly. Smells of floral, hops, and caramel. This is an English style so it swings more malty but the balance is good. Full bodied with a slick finish.

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Photo of JacksonCR1
3.74/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Golden poor with a foamy white head with little lacing. Malt aroma with some citrus, fruit and earthy aromatics.Mild caramel/sweet taste with some bread.

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Photo of Wer34truh
3.3/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a calm light amber appearance with a small head.

Smells of flowery herbal hops, and sweet biscuity malts.

Taste is defined by sweet malts, grassy hops, and next to no bitterness. Mouthfeel is light, with moderate carbonation, and a overall sticky sensation.

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Photo of nebula1999
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The classic New England IPA of the 1990s (for me anyways). One of the first, solid, approachable, outstanding IPAs that I ever drank. Ya see, back then this was a go to beer for New England hop heads. This well rounded ale taught us micro beer fanatics and newbies what hops were all about. Though the style has changed unbelievably with all these new hop varietals and brewing techniques (that make my mouth water), I bow in respect to the one that schooled me all those years ago.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.24/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours golden amber with a frothy white foam head. Smells like sweet malt, some orange citrus, floral earthy herbs, biscuity cracker, and grassy pine. Tastes like sweet malt, mild caramely toasted biscuity cracker, some orange citrus, grapefruit rind, with floral earthy herbs and dank grassy pine. Feels medium-light bodied, creamy with moderate low carbonation. Overall a real nice IPA.

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Photo of moodenba
3.71/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Harpoon IPA bottle purchased May 2016. Served in highball glass at about 40 deg F.

Good all-around IPA, but, for me, doesn't have a distinctive character to make it stand out from the pack. It's worth a try; it could be right for you. I prefer a more well balanced (maltier) brew.

Update August, 2019. On two hot days in August, 2019, I had occasion to sample draft Harpoon IPA. I found the above review to underestimate this IPA. It follows the brewer's description and is very drinkable. It is especially refreshing that their IPA hasn't followed the citrusy, cloudy IPA style (even Stone's IPA fine print notes that they have "modernized" their IPA).

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Photo of kalosjakar
3.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Copper color with a white foamy head

Aroma: a good balance between malt and hop aroma. Faint sweet malt and faint citrus.

Taste: light fluffy mouthfeel is the first impression.
Slightly sweet (malty), floral, spicy all in one.

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Photo of Beertsipper
3.61/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep copper color with a foamy beige head. Smell is hops, pine, caramel, malts. Taste follows the nose with a hint of grapefruit pith. Good carbonation and an easy drinker. Had from a 12 ounce bottle, and prefer draft by just a bit more.

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Photo of hman43
2.68/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Look: It pours a light golden color which a white head and plenty of lacing.

Aroma: It has aromas of floral hops, and some citrus.

Taste: It has a grassy hop flavors which floral elements, citrus, and a bit of toast. The initial flavors are a bit sweet.

Feel: It has a light body close to moderate, which a mildy bitter finish.

Overall: It is a somewhat flavorable hoppy beer that doesn't have the long lasting bitter finish that is produced by most IPA's.

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Photo of KevinB
4.02/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Attractive bronze body topped with a tawny. foamy head, plenty of lacing. Nice crisp piney bite up front, the bitter settles to a smooth bready ,lightly sweet malt taste, finishes clean. Overall a nice , well balance sessionable , drinkable IPA, interesting enough to have more than just one.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Best by date of 05/15/16

Appearance - Pours clear and glows golden orange with a fluffy, eggshell white, finger width head. Great retention, eventually dissipating to a thin, consistent layer of suds across the surface. Displays great lacing, with broken sheets and spotting making up the bulk of it.

Smell - Floral and spicy hops with a hint of lemon and a strong, bready malt aroma.

Taste - Follows the nose. Balanced notes of hop and malt meet with notes of floral character, faint lemon and bready, biscuity malt sweetness. A touch of grain comes through near the finish. Lingers with a distant citrus pith bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Medium in body with moderate, soft carbonation. Velvety smoothness before turning a crisp, mostly dry finish.

Overall - This is a fine English IPA. Good, solid, drinkable brew.

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Photo of anthony23cippy
2.93/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Poured into pint glass. Pours a golden Amber with a white 1 finger head, a little lacing. Smell is mostly of corn and earthy floral hops no tropical or fruity scents. Taste is mostly the floral hops, not enough malt taste. Mouthfeel is typical of IPA, only thing it gets right. Not something I'd get again especially not a 6er. 3/5

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Photo of jkrich
3.71/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a freshness dated 12 oz. bottle: bright and clear, deep-golden hue with a sustained, foamy off-white head.

Not very distinct, lager like in some respects but still with a fresh aroma.

I tried this IPA over 15 years ago and never really thought about trying it again until I saw the new label. (I guess those things do attract buyers). This is simply a well made, easy drinking but flavorful IPA. I does receive a lot of criticism on this site, but an overload of hops doesn't always make an excellent IPA. The flavor has the classic semisweet, tropical fruit flavors with a nice burst of lemon in the aftertaste; very clean and refreshing. Well balanced with a pleasing complement of malt. As the ale warms in the glass, all of the positive flavors are sustained without any noticeable "off" flavors.

I can only ask why did it take me so long to rediscover this ale.

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Photo of yuenglingfan101
4.25/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Nice hoppy beer for those that love hoppy beers. Pretty heavy on the hops and that isnt a bad thing gives a unique taste and flavorful beer. Look forward to trying others from Harpoon

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Photo of LushessPuppy
4.16/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This IPA is a working class beer. I'm not a big fan of beers like Torpedo or hopper whackers. This is a great beer for drinkers looking for a step up, and just that. Itsa bit pricey but at 5.9 it really does the trick. I live 3 miles from the Pabst store and the coop is next store so I hada case of the shakes and couldn't ride to the store so I walked next store and got my liver Harpoon. I feel way better just wish I had some 420 lol

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Photo of Ikeithbot
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So this beer is getting some shit reviews lately. It's NOT AN AMERICAN IPA! English ipas are a different breed. Don't expect a citrusy grapefruit drink. They are closer to wee heavies. Very malty, but with more hops.

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Photo of Waggles
2.66/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Poured into a pint glass. Golden honey, transparent. Light half-inch head that dissipated quickly, with almost no lacing. Seems very carbonated. Mostly malts, and uncharacteristically earthy for an IPA. Smells almost skunky. Taste-wise, it seems a bit low on hops, but I suppose that's more typical of an English IPA (I'm more partial to American IPAs). If I hadn't read the label, I'd have guessed this was a lager. Tastes a little sweeter than I expected. Pleasant, but nothing to write a review about. Probably a nice cross-over for more traditional beer-drinkers looking to dabble in the craft-beer side, but fell a bit flat for me.

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Photo of vickersspitfire
3.64/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Light golden yellow body that’s crystal clear and filled with carbonation. The head is an off white, thick and fluffy.
Smell: plenty of citrus rinds, hops and spices; just a hint of skunkiness to it.
Taste: Hops and citrus rind all around, that tiny hint of skunkiness is there, but it not ruining the taste. It’s got a nice bitter aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: medium bodied with plenty of carbonation and a mildly dry aftertaste.
Overall: Pleasant to drink, this would make a nice sixer to keep around the house.

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Photo of Roby923
3.73/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Tasty brew Harpoon Brewery. At 41 IBUs this should be a starter IPA when doing a tasting. Found this to be well balanced from a hops and malt perspective. The English Pale Ale style varies quite a bit from the American Pale so don't expect a hop assault, just a reliable, drinkable pale ale.

Bottled from somewhere in CT.

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Photo of Hyptochrons
3.31/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

golden color, thick foamy head. mostly malts on the nose, also getting a slight skunky smell. taste is similar, mainly malt taste with a very slight bitterness. overall its relatively drinkable and would be pretty crisp/refreshing except for the slight smell and taste of skunk which I assume is not present in most cases.

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IPA from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
Beer rating: 82 out of 100 with 4299 ratings