Harpoon Octoberfest Beer | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

494 Reviews
Harpoon Octoberfest BeerHarpoon Octoberfest Beer

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

Style: Märzen / Oktoberfest

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.30%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
The character and complexity of Harpoon Octoberfest comes from the malt and hops. When looking at a freshly poured Harpoon Octoberfest, you will notice the garnet-red color with a firm, creamy head. The beer’s color is from a blend of Munich, chocolate, and pale malt. The thick head results in part from wheat malt added to the grist. The hop aroma of this beer is not overpowering but it is present. Tettnang hops add a subtle spice nose that blends with the malt character. This beer is full-bodied, smooth, and malty. Willamettehops are used to provide a gentle bitterness and to balance any residual sweetness present from the malt. The finish is soft and malty with a mild bitterness.

30 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-02-2001

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Reviews: 494 | Ratings: 1,212
Photo of ordybill
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass at the World of Beer in Savannah, Georgia. The appearance is a rusty gold color with a large off-white head. the aroma is malt and some hops. The taste is malt driven with some hops. An average beer.

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Photo of kevINSIGHT
4.23/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

One of the best Oktoberfest beers I've had. Nice amber color and good malt flavor. Roasted just enough for character. Poured from a bottle into a pint glass and had a decent head that lasted fairly long.

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Photo of mvanaskie13
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a narrow pint glass: color is amber, transparent; head is off white to light tan with small bubbles and minor lacing on the glass.

Smell blends the chocolate/munich malts well; minor earthy/grass hoppiness.

Taste is sweeter than many oktoberfest beers, lean towards munich/chocolate/wheat blend, less munich prominence and more lighter caramel like flavors; hops are bitter and dry, earthy/grassy in flavors but subtle.

Mouthfeel is crisp, not overly carbonated, moderate sweetness that lingers quite long.

Overall, a sweeter oktoberfest beer with less munich malt punch or even toffee like flavors; still a tasty beer.

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Photo of YoungMtn52
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This is a nice Marzen beer with a reddish copper look and a malty robust taste with 5.3% ABV. Not too sweet but has a little bit too much carbonation...nice beer for the Fall.

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Photo of irrevjim
3.94/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

from a can to a beer tulip
look; reddish copper, not much carbonation, 1/3" head that left quickly, ok lacing
smell; a little maltier and roastier than an irish red, a little extra hops, hint of sugar/caramel
taste; that little bit of extra hops or something else gives it just a little spice push that makes it nice, a tasty oktoberfest that's not too sweet for me, the bready roasty malts are there but with just that little extra spice
feel; smooth, not too carbonated
overall; it's a very nice drinkable take on an oktoberfest

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Photo of chinchill
3.42/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

12 oz can poured into a lager glass.

Beautiful appearance with a deep copper-amber body that's topped by a thick and tall off-white head. Excellent clarity. Little visible carbonation after 'settling'.

Mild aroma, as expected, with both bready malts and spicy hops evident.
The flavor is a bit more hoppy with a solid malt base. Overalll, lightly bitter

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Photo of XsoldoutX
3.54/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Here is a pretty strong American example of the Bavarian Märzenbier style, brought to us by Boston's Harpoon Brewery. My experience with Harpoon is very limited, so to stumble upon this beer and discover such a good representation of an enjoyable ale really made me want to check out some of their other stuff. I'm pretty sure the only other Harpoon Brewery jam I've had was their UFO, and it was pretty early on during my journey on the craft beer roadway (circa 2000 or maybe 2001...I remember not being very impressed).

Certainly a noteworthy, malty backbone here with hints of toffee / caramel. I would say the appearance is a minute bit darker than some others I've recently enjoyed. I picked up a six pack for a recent band practice and my other craft beer-enjoying band mate was also relatively impressed. As a result, I'm now interested in checking out some more stuff from this brewery that I've spent the last 14 years overlooking every single time. Shame on me? Maybe, we'll see.

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Photo of drtth
3.74/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The beer pours out into a Duvel glass a clear dark reddish copper color with some barely visible carbonation and a 1/2" light tan head that gradually recedes to a thin layer and island of foam on the surface and a ring of lacing around the glass. Sipping creates small speckles and leggy lacing.

The aromas include some bready toasted malt, spicy, earthy hops and a touch of caramel.

The flavors are much as expected from the nose but in a different balance. The earthy, spicy bitterness from the hops dominates the toasted bready malt and the touch of caramel sweetness.

The mouthfeel is on the light side of medium bodied and prickly from the gentle carbonation. The finish is medium long and begins as the malt sweetness begins to fade leaving the earthy, spicy bitterness to fade into dryness.

This is OK on drinkability, but I'll not be seeking out more. Perhaps I'm spoiled by last night's Sierra Nevada collaboration O-fest and some of local versions that I both enjoyed more and thought were closer to what one would find in Germany during the festival.

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Photo of HamdenHector
3.27/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

A: crystal clear; deep bronze in color; 1 finger off white head that receded to a thin collar; no lacing;

S: sweet malt, toffee; no hop character;

T: follows the nose; a little metallic and apple from mid-palate through the finish; very mild bitterness at the end;

M: medium bodied; moderate carbonation; lightly dry finish;

O: OK, but the flavor isn't all that good;

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Photo of A_bit_of_the_Sacrament
2.91/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I've recently been drinking more of this style so I was excited to try a new offering. Poured with a pretty nice color between crimson and brown which as quite appealing. There wasn't much aroma until my nose was deep in the pint glass. Pleasant taste but no wow factor. Malty with some notes of banana when chewed. This beer needs a little nudge to be in the same class as its more traditional Euro counterparts or even higher-end American interpretations.
Slightly above average.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.71/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a crystal clear deep ruby red in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation and some faint copper highlights. The beer has a two finger tall foamy beige head that reduces to a medium to large sized patch of thin film covering a little more than half of the surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of toasted and caramel malts with light to moderate aromas of floral hops.

T: Upfront there are moderate flavors of toasted and caramel malts with just a hint of caramel sweetness. That is followed by light to moderate flavors of floral hops which imparts a light amount of bitterness which does not linger for too long.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: Easy to drink and bordering on being sessionable. Has some aspects that remind me of a Vienna lager but still a decent representation of the style.

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Photo of Burnthedevice
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I've only ever had two Marzen style beers, this, and Sam Adams Octoberfest, so I'm hardly an expert on the style. That being said: this beer is a fine fall companion; a warm and satisfying combo of malt and spices, and light caramel/toffee flavors. Sweet, but not overly so. There is some sort of spice present in the flavor that I can't quite put my finger on..nutmeg perhaps? Warming. There is a modest but respectable dose of hops here to balance everything out. Mouthfeel is creamy and soft, and in my opinion, far superior to the watery body of Sam Adams Octoberfest. Also, does not possess the cloying quality of Sam Adams Octoberfest, which caused me to stop drinking it altogether last year after several tries. I wouldn't want to drink this all the time either, but when I'm in the mood for these types of flavors, this beer hits the spot.

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Photo of tekstr1der
3.89/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Great looking, deep amber with finger of thick off-white foam which laced the entire way down. Aromas are of light bready malt, but fairly subdued. Unfortunately the taste is less remarkable. Fairly smooth, and somewhat sweet, there's just not a ton of character here. Middle of the road for the style.

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Photo of WyethBednar
3.24/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

A really boring take on a classic style.

Appearance: Good. Pretty much what you'd expect from the style. Deep amber, decent head.

Smell: Unassuming and subdued. Subtle earthiness and malt, but not much else.

Taste: Boring. Very balanced, but to the detriment of the beer. No one factor stands out, so it sort of tastes like a generic concept of "beer" to me. Not unpleasant, just uninteresting, and with a lingering malty sweetness that doesn't make you want to go back immediately.

Feel: A little thin for an Oktoberfest. Sticky finish.

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Photo of egrapplesberg
4.26/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Picked up in the variety pack. Enjoy by 11/15/15. Pours an Amber copper with a thick white two inch frothy head. Recedes slowly and leaves great lacing. Smell is sweet and bready. Taste follows, nice biscuity. Feel is creamy and smooth. Almost like its nitro. Best Oktoberfest I've had. Cheers!

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Photo of Duhast500
3.44/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Sierra Nevada pint glass.

The color is a dark reddish amber with a finger and a half of foamy tan head and some slightly webbie lacing left on the glass.

The smell is malty at first with some creamy aroma at the borders. There is a nice toffee aroma here that tickles the nose and follows the blueprint quite well so far.

The taste is more malt with a vanilla flavor holding things around it. There is hints of a bread crust flavor with some hints at some creamy edges that seem a little dull. There is a small sweetness in the flavor that comes out toward the end but there draws back quickly letting this beer end on more malt flavor.

The feel of this beer is has a smooth feel that is a bit dull but provides a good crisp finish that is level with the style of beer this is categorized in. There seems to be a missing flavor here that makes this beer feel likes its just short accomplishing the plan of making a great Marzen. It feels like a table that has all four lets but one of them is shorter then the rest.


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Photo of CycleDad
4.61/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured a beautiful dark golden color with a thin cream-colored head that dissipated within a minute. Smooth malt flavor with just a hint of hops toward the finish. Light lacing. An excellent Octoberfest.

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Photo of nasty15108
3.44/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Pilsner Urquell glass.

A - Poured a deep copper color with a slight off white head. Plenty of carbonation.

S - Malty and spicy, just the way a good Marzen should smell.

T - Bready maltiness finishing off with a nice slightly spicy hop flavor.

Overall an extremely well balanced and flavorful Oktoberfest brew. Highly recommended.

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Photo of mynie
3.96/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours like what an Ameircan marzen used to look like: ruddy and translucent with a foamy white head.

Smells bready and grainy with the distinctive yeast profile of Harpoon beers. While that finish doesn't usually work with more contemporary styles, it actually suits a marzen quite well.

Tastes like it smells. Sweet bready grain up front, bittersweet nuttiness in the middle, and then faint yeast on the back end. Well balanced and interesting throughout, but a little dull on the back end as the fizziness picks up, and it's lacking the bread and caramel oomph of really great American Marzens (like Millstream's or Jack's Abby's). I'm a bigger fan of the style than most, so I'll give this a fairly high score, but your mileage may vary.

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Photo of Cylinsier
3.99/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz.

Pours a clear copper brown, eggshell lacing for a head.

Smells of rich caramel and biscuit malts.

Tastes of buttered biscuit, caramel, and coppery barley malts.

Medium body with tingly carbonation on the roof of the mouth.

One of the better American marzens for my money. Very tasty, just the right body, and drinks very easy with food or on its own. Definitely worth trying for fans of German style lagers.

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Photo of brutalist
3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Medium brown color from tap. Can't smell much. Pleasant sweet carmel taste with a little bitterness. This pint is flat and thick. Overall,a good Marzen IMHO.

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Photo of mchegash
3.89/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - 4.5/5
Two fingers of head upon initial pour (eventually dissipates away almost totally). A deep red-orange-brown color. Extremely clear. Overall, a really excellent look for an Oktoberfest beer. Nice lacing.

Smell - 4.25/5
Sweet warm malty smell, with hints of vanilla and bourbon

Taste - 3.5/5
Sweet maltiness, again, a vanilla/bourbon-esque character, with some strong metallic flavors as well. Moderate level of sweetness overall. A decent taste overall. Not sure what my thoughts are on the metallic taste though. The first few sips were interesting, but then it becomes more 'meh'.

Mouthfeel - 4/5
Medium bodied. Light carbonation. Fairly creamy, with a nice light carbonation kick as the sip goes down. Overall a nice mouthfeel, no complaints.

Overall - 3.9/5
Overall I though this was a fairly good beer. I thought that maybe they could tone down the metallic tastes a bit, and turn up the malty taste a bit. But still, I was happy with this beer.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.61/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Comes out of the tap a dark clear mahogany with a thick pale wheat head. Aroma has strong tones of cloves and horehound. Malty flavor has notes of horehound, cloves and malt with an earthy undertone and a hint of caramel. Smooth texture has good body and fizz, if not amazing of either. A decent and enjoyable Oktoberfest. Prozit!

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Photo of Pegasus
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Clear, deep reddish amber in color with a massive, two point-five inch fine-beaded tan head, which retains superbly. Belgian-style lacing decorates the glass walls. The carbonation is slight and slow-rising.

Aroma: Caramel and toasted malt dominate the aroma, with some grassy hops.

Taste: The taste begins with abundant toasted malt and caramel. As it progresses, dark bread notes present, and some mild noble-like hops present. Late in the taste, a toasted grain note appears. Finishes with a lingering grain and mild hop note.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, quite full, little carbonation noted, very pleasing.

Drinkability/notes: A really nice, well-crafted example of the Oktoberfest style, hard to overstate. If you are fortunate enough to find it or have some on hand, this would be superb for Thanksgiving dinner.

Presentation: Packaged in a standard twelve-ounce brown glass long neck bottle, sealed with a pop-off crown, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.

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Photo of Gajo74
3.38/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A dark copper colored beer with good head retention. Aroma is malty sweet. However, I detected some vegetable odors that were slightly off putting. Taste is mostly malty, nothing so special. Low carbonation in the feel, light bodied.
Nothing too special and I can think of other Octoberfests that I like better. I generally like Harpoon but this one did not do it for me.

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Harpoon Octoberfest Beer from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
3.68 out of 5 based on 1,212 ratings.
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