Harpoon Ale | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

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Harpoon AleHarpoon Ale
407 Ratings
Harpoon AleHarpoon Ale

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

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Todd on 09-20-2001

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 407 |  Reviews: 193
Reviews by JohnL9013:
Photo of JohnL9013
3.4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is actually a fairly boring Ale. I'm surprised this is Harpoon's standard product because their other stuff is much better than this.

A: Amberish.

S: Hoppy, but not much else going on.

T: Bitterness is appropriate. Little to no sweetness. Very few other flavors involved, but nothing offensive, either.

M: Crisp.

D: It's drinkable, but I wouldn't drink it again unless there wasn't anything better around.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.65/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep amber color with a thin white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is sweet and fruity with caramel, citrus and honey. There's also a touch of hops in the background.

T: The taste also starts out sweet and fruity with flavors of honey, caramel and citrus. A mild hops bitterness comes in next to provide some balance. The malt character is hearty but a bit on the thin side for the style. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, clean finish.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, nice representation of style but it seems to me like it's more of an English Pale Ale than an American Pale Ale, it's a decent beer overall, I could drink several of these in an evening, but it would not be the first one I would pick.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.3/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.

Served in a tulip glass. Pours a golden amber color. White head without too much lacing but a decent amount of retention time. The nose is some light malt with a bit of caramel and bread. There are some light citrus and floral hops there as well. Taste is a bit bland with some bready malt, faint hops, and a bit of yeast. Decent body and carbonation. Nothing wrong with this beer, but a bit bland and I know that they can do better.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.36/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Lightly hazy Sunkist orange with amber edges. Up top is a frothyfirm head of orange-tinted vanilla that is a good color match for the beer that created it. Streamers and spatters of sea foam lace decorate the glass. A good look.

The nose is light on malt and light on hops. There's a meek fruitiness, but this is really an unimpressive aroma that does nothing to set itself apart from thousands of other strictly average craft APAs.

Likewise the flavor, although it's orange juicy enough and has enough caramel malt onboard to be considered better than average. Pale malt is the focal point and is more prominent than hops; never a good idea in a pale ale, at least as far as I'm concerned. The hops provide much more flavor than bitterness.

The mouthfeel is somewhere between light and medium, probably closer to the former, and a fine-gauged carbonation keeps things semi-perky. Thankfully, the bubbles are still present during the final few ounces.

Harpoon Ale is the original beer from this venerable New England brewery. I'm not sure if the original recipe is still being used, but a change or two would not be out of order. Bottom line: this is a harmless little APA that just doesn't deliver enough excitement for me to consider a repeat purchase.

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Photo of oberon
3.87/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice copper color with a rather light head thas left pretty quickly but leaves some nice lacing behind,an appetizing aroma on the sweeter side with mose dry biscuity tinges to it.Taste is also on malty sweet side with an underlying grassiness to it but the maltiness is the main elemant of this brew with some light bready tones in there as well.A solid beer from Harpoon a pretty easy drinker.

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Photo of RoyalT
3.8/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – Classic Pale Ale appearance. The body is clear orange and the head is nice, frothing up for a bit then settling into a nice, fluffy snow drift on top of the liquid.

Smell – The hops are floral with a light fruiting, to include an appearance by the venerable grapefruit. There’s a nice caramel malt balance as well, which is advertised on the bottle label.

Taste – The malts come out nicely at the taste. The hops are more of a compliment, but everything plays well nicely.

Mouthfeel – This is a light to medium-bodied ale with a “just right” smidgen of carbonation and wonderfully easy-going.

Drinkability – Terrific session ale that went down like water.

For overall drinkability on Pale Ales and Hefe Weizens, my emphasis is on the mouthfeel (fluffy and hugely carbonated w/the weizens and creamy smooth and easy-going for the Pales) and this one fit the bill. Some may be disappointed with the lack of “oomph”, but this is not meant to be a hop-monster full-bodied IPAish kind of beer. Apparently this is a “staple of the stable” for Harpoon. Nice job.

Comments – Thanks to OldFroth for hooking me up with this East Coast session ale.

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Photo of Todd
3.88/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask @ Redbones ...

Remember the old Harpoon IPA? Tod Mott style? Well this is close to what it used to taste like. The Ale on cask had a wonderful fruity/floral hop nose and lots of hops in the flavour. Sturdy malt backbone provided ample sweetness to match the fruity character. Sadly the beer had absolutely no idea and was a bit haze stricken. Other than that this is some good drinkin'.

Cask accounts are new(ish) to Harpoon. I just hope that it takes off and the demand keeps it alive.

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Photo of generallee
3.7/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

It has a clean clear golden color with a big off white head that fades to a thin cap that just covers the beer. The nose is light and has some herbal hops and bready malt notes. On the tongue the flavor is balanced between the hops and the malts. Carbonation is average with a light to medium body. Harpoons ale finishes crisp and clean which makes for a good overall average brew that is very drinkable.

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Photo of bishopdc0
3.52/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer has an aroma of malt and citrus. This beer is malty through out and finishes with a slight hop bitterness. This beer become slightly harsh across the tongue. It has a amber color with good lacing. I wanted more from this pale it is more of an English style pale then an American pale.

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Photo of Jason
3.83/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz brown bottle with the Harpoon logo of a silhouette of a fisherman proudly holding a harpoon. Bottle on date was printed on the glass.

Appearance: Light amber with golden hues. Semi rocky and patchy white lace which sticks a bit.

Smell: Lively fruit and a crisp malt bite hit the nose. Hops make a small presence as well as a faint caramel smell.

Taste: On the malty side, slight caramel and light fruit are the trademarks of this brews flavours which are semi layered with the level hop bitterness and flavour.

Mouthfeel: Moderate body, big crispness off of a perfect level of carbonation.

Drinkability & Notes: Harpoon's flagship brew. This ale is almost too drinkable. Carbonation is perfect; crisp and smooth. One of my backup beers for when I want a all around good drinking all that is not of the “in your face” variety.

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Photo of merlin48
3.61/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

My first Harpoon, out of a 12 bottle sampler box. Pours an attractive clear copper amber with a luscious light beige head. Very noticeable, but not overpowering, floral hop aroma with a slight malt background. Feels light bodied and fizzy hoppy in the mouth. Taste is mild hops, a hint of citrus, and some nice sweet malt creeps into the profile mid-glass. Very well balanced overall, and definitely has nice drinkability. My only complaint is that it seems a bit watered down at times, but it's a nice pale ale all things considered.

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Photo of Pat_McWilliams
3.75/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
3.33/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. amber bottle with a born-on date of 10-8-03.

Poured a bright and clear honey color. Puffy white lace persists and laces the glass in patches. Aromas are citrusy, with a bit of sweet caramel underneath. A thin layer of honey coats the otherwise fairly bitter flavor. Some malty sweetness lends support. Finishes dry, with a slightly metallic aftertaste. Decent mouthfeel, nice and creamy. Drinkable, but lacks the punch that the IPA has.

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Photo of jakester
3.23/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is from the sampler case. Born on date clearly stamped on the case, and clearly inked on the bottle. YAY!

Pours a mostly clear light copper with a 1/2 finger head of off-white foam. The head falls to just a ring, with decent lacing. Carbonation looks medium.

Aroma is clean caramel/toffee malt, fruity, and spicy/floral from hops. The smells are mellow, but pleasant. Fruits are kind of like golden raisins or figs, but faint. Would like to smell a little more.

First flavor is light caramel malt, followed by a gentle hop bitterness. Fruitiness is very muted. Hop flavor is also very muted. Aftertaste is short, with a very slight metallic tang in there somewhere.

Mouthfeel is a little thin and watery, but OK. Finish is crisp and clean. Carbonation is medium, and adds a bite this beer needs.

As today's APA's go, this is pretty tame. Not much in the way of flavor or aroma, but it's the original recipe from 1987, which says something. Not alot going on, but it's clean and refreshing. It would be a great beer for beginners, or people who don't like hops.

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Photo of WeymouthMike
3.26/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Got this bottle from a Harpoon mix pack. Pours a super clear amber with a pronounced white head which disappears quickly leaving little to head with a bit of lacing. Smells of hops and something that resembles a metal of somesort. Taste is overwhelmingly malty with little hops. Mouthfeel is light and watery with a smooth malty finish. I could drink a few of these any day of the week, a decent offering anytime of the year and always one that I can find at any store in my area as a fallback.

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Photo of Osiris9588
3/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a slighty hazy, honey color out of a 12oz bottle from a variety case. A white one-finger head, with out much froth or cream, dissipates quickly leaving practically no lacing--possibly residue in the glass.

The smell is of hops, citrus, some fruity notes, and malt. Does not differ much in aroma from the Harpoon IPA. The flavor is comprised almost entirely of hops and fruit. Bitter on the tongue, without much complexity.
Drinkability is okay, since I like hops, but overall this beer seems to be lacking personality.

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Photo of Cynic-ale
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%

Photo of Thrasher
3.1/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tawny orange, light amber with little head retention. Ho-hum aroma with some nice mustiness from yeast. Ah, a taste of this brings me back. Way, way back, to the early '90s, when I was but an underage tot, macros were just called breweries, and medium-sized intermediate "craft" breweries were micros. Actually a not-unappealing balance between the malts (sweet, caramel, restrained), the hops (lightly bitter, innocuous, vaguely nutritious), and the yeast (musty, mysterious, intoxicating). If that sounds facile in this day and age, let me say this is just a well-made, sturdy, no-surprises, tasty pale ale -- which the US macros have yet to accomplish. I will respond to some earlier reviews and say yes this is better than Bass (the American version at least) but no way as good as Sam Adams' Boston (Stock) Ale, which has a bit more character. Still, this remains a quintessential beer to drink when you don't want to think about what you're drinking. (But then, hey why drink beer at all?) Smooth, clean, crisp, refreshing, and, ultimately, forgettable.

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Photo of yankeeheel
3.6/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served from a 12oz bottle. Poured a golden copper with a small white head.

Smell: Fruity with some bread/buiscut in the background.

Taste: Very even citrus/malt across the board with a slight hop bitterness at the end.

Mouthfeel: Sits easy. Nothing to offend or blow you away.

Drinkability: A very easy beer to drink when you're having more than one. This is a solid american ale that goes well with just about anything. Not a world beater, but no dog either. Nice solid offering from Harpoon.

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Photo of doremite
3/5  rDev -14.8%

Photo of williamjbauer
3.25/5  rDev -7.7%

Photo of ADR
3.42/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear and dead-on straight amber color. Head is a little wanting, a couple of bubble sizes and about 40 seconds of life. Incomplete drips of string lace. A backbone of caramel malt to the aroma, but decided citrus qualities. Subdued flavor overall, malt is honyish with some slight buttery qualities. Balance is definitely adequate but with a strident floral hop. Similar qualities from beginning to end. Overall, there too much citron flavor at the finish, but this Ale is so balanced as to be a bit unremarkable. Thanks to Liza P. and her dad for getting it, and Ken K. for bringing it back.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.85/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Original Harpoon Ale since 1987, well let's see how one of their flagships fairs. Pours a very pleasant caramel copper tone with an off white beige cream colored head and nicely distributed trickled lace as the head dwindles. Aroma contains a nice mild floral/fruity hop aroma mixed with some sweet specialty malts to bring out some faint caramel malt tones, overall well balanced and simple yet well done. The taste mildly metallic tones of pine cone flavored hop bitterness with a buttery mild fruit flavoring, overall very nice not anything wonderful, but solid and possibly a go to. The mouthfeel is light to medium in body with a decent amount of carbonation very nice mellow beer not to mellow just not challenging my senses. The drinkability like a said is a possible go to depending what else is available, I could find my self pairing this beer with a nice pizza or any other food around the house and find myself perfectly satisfied.

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Photo of acurtis
3.25/5  rDev -7.7%

Photo of Varkias41
3.25/5  rDev -7.7%

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Harpoon Ale from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
Beer rating: 3.52 out of 5 with 407 ratings