Harpoon Octoberfest Beer | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

493 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: 493 | Ratings: 1,210
Photo of Sammy
3.66/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Looks dark like an old ale. Small head, some lace. Tongue tingle. Malty aroma. Bitterness balanced by malts. Bittersweet cocoa. Medium body. Spot of roast. Some nuttiness and decent carbonation. Interesting and some thought a marzen. Good transition beer.

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Photo of Knapp85
2.95/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer started off nicely for me. The pour was a very nice copper color just like a good Octoberfest beer should have. The head was strong and last a little while. The aromas of spices and autumn leaves were present on the nose. The taste was good in the beginning but as the beer warmed up it started getting a little funky on me. Not sure why but it was kind of gross after mid bottle. Not sure how this can happen, perhaps a bad bottle... Either way it was a bit of a disappointment to me. I would give this another try if I'm ever at a beer fest or something and they have it there.

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Photo of metter98
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is crystal clear ruby red in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high beige head that faded away, leaving some lacing on the surface and a thick ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: The are aromas of toasted malts, caramel and floral hops in the nose.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and has a light amount of bitterness. There are some hints of malty sweetness in the initial taste.
M: It feels medium-bodied and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer goes down quite easy and is rather sessionable. It sort of tastes like a hybrid between a Vienna Lager and a Märzen.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Is it just me, or do Harpoon's standard offerings seem just marginal. An opportunity to shine with an Oktoberfest even falls short. Initially shows promise with a bright golden / orange hue and a standard eggshell white. Though it laces well, the head retention flattens quickly. Nice bready, caramelly aromas with a touch of hop spiciness. Intial flavors start off reaffirming what the nose held, but quickly disolves into a water brew, allowing a serious grainy bite to control. From the midpoint on, grain husk and bite is all I taste and feel. What should be moderately rich, bready, and sweet winds up tasting like wet grain.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A notch below average for this Octoberfest, from a brewery which hasn't really let me down yet. This one is too undercarbonated and suffers from this flatness along with being a tad too thin and watery. Tastewise it is missing out on some things also I must say. I've had some worse Octoberfests but I've had much better ones too.. try out Hooker's or Brooklyn's instead if you're in the New England area.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.87/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pilsner glass.

The color is a moderate copper with a single finger of white head head that leaves some slight foam but not all that much lacing. The nose is a bit of caramel and light bread plus some light earthy and mildly-spicy hops.

The flavor brings some nice toasted malt with a bit of caramel and a bit of light leafy hopping. Nice light body with good carbonation and a really nice hop character. A really nice rendition of an American Octoberfest and one I quite enjoyed.

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Photo of oberon
3.48/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep copper color with not much of a head to speak of,a very light aroma of some toasted malt but not much there in my mind.Taste is slightly doughy and roasty but seemed a little dry for my liking would have liked some more caramel malt flavor.Not awe-inspiring by any means but a drinkable beer but wont ever seek this one out for sure.

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Photo of jlindros
3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Light fizzy 1/2 finger head fades slowly over clear reddish orange beer.

Nose light toasty malts, hints of reddish malts, light caramel, fairly sweet reddish ripe malts, and hints of faint earthy hops.

Taste has light malts, semi sweet but not as much as I expected, light toasted malt, reddish sweet like malts, caramel, light creamy malt even, hint of grassy earthy almost spicy hops. Finishes semi sweet, light ester fruit from the yeast, light lingering grassy hops, but of bitterness, light grainy malt.

Mouth is med bodied, decent carb.

Overall not bad, sweet malts, reddish caramel malts, not really toasty enough or straw for me, creamy malt taste is different, and not really any crisp clean lager taste. Hops are also a different and interesting mix.

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Photo of superspak
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, best before 12/19/2012. Pours fairly crystal clear orange copper color with a small 1 finger fairly dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass. Aromas of caramel, pear, apple, toast, toffee, biscuit, nuttiness, molasses, and herbal hops. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity; fits the style very well. Taste of caramel, toast, brown sugar, toffee, pear, apple, biscuit, light nuttiness, floral, and herbal hops. Minimal bitterness on the finish as expected; with lingering notes of caramel, light fruits, toast, biscuit, toffee, light nuttiness, and herbal on the finish for a good bit. Pretty nice flavor balance and complexity, but it was not as robust feeling as I was hoping from the aromas; zero cloying flavors present after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a lightly creamy and crisp mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with pretty much zero warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a very good Oktoberfest style. Nice flavor balance and complexity; and very smooth to drink as expected. Could have used a bit fuller flavor, but this was still a very good style representation. Definitely enjoyed this one.

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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 Kegatron
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a mug.

Pours a clear copper, with several fingers of foamy off-white head. This maintains a frothy ½ finger, leaving back thick sudsy lacing that slowly drips down the sides of the glass. The aroma smells of earthy citrus and sweet malt that gives this a rich twang, with some light floral and spicy notes that hang on the edges.

The taste is sweet and bready along the edges of the profile and into the backend, while a crisp and earthy feeling citrus presence runs down the middle. The finish is dry and lightly spicy with a touch of lingering bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a soft and creamy on the edges that gives way to more of a firm crispness on the tongue. This has a nice balanced feel in the mouth that keeps this drinkable.

This is one of the better American O-Fests that I’ve had lately. Just solid balance to the flavors and feel here that kept this interesting to drink. This is one of the few new to me ones that I’m actually glad I checked out this season.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.07/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear, deep copper/russet in color with a firm bone-white head that drops shortly but maintains a decent collar and light surface covering throughout the glass. The aroma is fairly rich with gently sweet and lightly toasted malts (Vienna & Munich) and a mild hoppiness. Very nice. The body is medium with a fine, median carbonation that's gently zesty and lightly creamy in the mouth. The flavor is malty upfront (bready and toasty), reveals some fruitiness, and then some hop flavor (grassy, resiny) and a brisk hop bitterness that lingers in a long dry finish. Well-balanced with the rich maltiness giving way to an increasing perception of hop bitterness (and flavor) throughout the glass, giving it an exceptional drinkability. Two to three of these could easily be enjoyed in one evening. Very well done with a strong nod to the Vienna-style; but also very American in it's hoppiness.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.2/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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

A: The beer is a bright reddish brown color with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malt, tea, some spice and a decent amount of hops.

T: The taste is malty but not very sweet, with flavors of caramel, spice and tea. The hops presence is mild. Overall, the taste is pretty dull and certainly earns the name “mocktoberfest”. The after-taste is bready and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: A little tasty, goes down ok, slightly filling, I’ve tried this beer at tastings a couple of times and definitely was not impressed. Having a full bottle certainly makes a difference, but this still isn’t a very good beer.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.22/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a crystal clear, medium brown body with a foamy off-white head.

Smell: The aroma delivers a nice, clean Munich malt scent.

Taste: Pleasant Munich malt taste, accentuated by a touch of breadiness and a gentle sweetness. A decent hop presence provides a bit of spiciness which lasts into the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Not really what I expect from the style, but still a tasty lil' beer none the less.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dusky harvest orange that is darker than the typical Oktoberfest, probably thanks to the use of chocolate malt. An attractive chunk of golden khaki colored foam was produced on the pour. The lid melts in fine fashion and does a good job laying down lace.

The nose is par for the style course and doesn't stand out in any way. Despite the use of chocolate malt (along with pale, Munich and wheat), no cocoa-like notes are appreciated. Nor were any expected.

Octoberfest tastes like a standard Oktoberfest as well... with one important exception. It's hoppier than most, even this far past the bottling date. One of the things that I like about beer of this style is that it tastes fine well into the following spring, when the maibocks begin to bloom.

The toasted earthy nuttiness of Munich malt is the dominant member of the flavor profile by far. The beer may be a little darker than usual (a brown ale, steely caramel-like vibe), but it's within the style guidelines. Tettnang and Willamette hops make their presence known, both in terms of flavor and bitterness, which pleases this hophead to no end.

The body/mouthfeel hangs in there in impressive fashion. It's plenty big for the ABV and has a firm creaminess that is enjoyable. The bubbles are slightly too energetic, but don't detract from the positive experience.

Harpoon is not one of those breweries that I think of when the topic turns to good-great craft beer. That said, they've done a wonderful job with Octoberfest. What a pleasant surprise on this snowy February morning.

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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 mikesgroove
4.37/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A – Poured a nice pumpkin orange amber with a decent one inch or so of a head on top. Decent retention as it hung around for a good couple of minutes before finally resting and falling down to just a thin layer across the top. The was definitely a lot of carbonation here as you could see ripples of bubbles just percolating towards the surface throughout the entire time. A slight amount of side glass lace was present after a little while. Very very clear though, almost crystal clear, with really no haze or sediment or cloudiness at all. Pretty much exactly what you would want a Marzen to look like.

S – Aroma was very spiced, lots of pumpkin like smells mixed in with a good amount of roasted malts. It had a touch of nutmeg and a definite grassy or earthy mix in it. There was definitely some depth to the aroma, as it really pulled you in. I was actually quite surprised with the strength of the smell, it really had a nice light twang to it and had a good amount of body.

T – Now this was nice. It was definitely your typical Oktoberfest taste, however there was definitely a little something extra and interesting going on here. A good amount of malt made up the backbone of it as you would expect. Once you got past that a nice bready sort of grain started to come over you, mixed in was a nice herbal, grassy sort of punch that really started to break though. It was definitely a fresh taste as it had some teeth to it. A decent hoppy expression then followed and even had a bit of a floral note to it. The finish was very long, and quite dry. A nice blend here and like I said quite interesting. It was that little bit extra, that slight hoppiness that really seemed to pull though for me here, it just gave it the slightest bit more character then I normally see and really very nice indeed.

M – Very steady, about as steady as it comes. You will always find these lighter brews seem to balance on a thin line between coming off too light and on the flip side, having too much and kind of coming off a bit oily or slick. This fit well right into the center. A good amount of carbonation kept it going and really helped to solidify the taste. The light character really helped you explore the flavors and gave it the feel that you really start to look for.

D – Fantastic, now what else would you expect here. It had the low ABV, full flavor, light feel and great carbonation. That is always going to work out to a winner and this one was no exception. Just a really high quality session brew and I could have gone on with this one forever.

Overall I was very much impressed and thought this one was really fantastic. One of the easiest drinkers I have seen and something that just really grabbed a hold, and would not expect it to. Very refreshing and light, but with enough flavor and spice to keep your interest. Really one of my more favorite of the season and something I will definitely have to turn to again next year. Really nice and very much recommended.

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Photo of Jason
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Autumn leaves distinguish the label from the others. 12oz brown bottle with no readable freshness date.

Appearance: Russet reddish copper with a healthy caked-on off-white head.

Smell: Fragrant hops with a hint of deeply toasted malt and a clean sweetness holding a very faint fruitiness.

Taste: Smooth and medium to full in body, hops are subtle yet gain ground towards the finish. Small but snappy hop bitterness with a toasted bread malt palate and a hint of unsweetened chocolate. Vague fruitiness in the middle yet finishes with a leafy hop flavour, a pinch of sweetness and remnants of chocolate malt.

Notes: A great "American" Octoberfest brew, and that seems to be what they intended to create. In all aspects for me it is one hell of a fall seasonal extremely drinkable, quite tasty and a clean beer all around. A top pick for me amongst the other American Octoberfest brews.

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Photo of smcolw
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a strong amber color (darker than a typical Marzen). Appears to be clear. Very nice head, rocky and thick. Modest ring lace given the froth.

Malty with a strong cream (slightly soured) aroma.

Drier than I expected given the smell. Still, it's a malty and thick brew. Nice finishing hop in the swallow which continues through the short-lived aftertaste. The body is rich, but has a high level of carbonation.

Overall, I'd say this is a good beer with some nice departures from the typical Octoberfest.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.11/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a Gale Sayers shaker pint glass.

Another tardy O-Fest review...sue me... It pours a clear amber-copper topped by a finger of cream-white foam. The nose comprises light buttery biscuit, light orange zest, and a few drops of honey. The taste brings in more of the same, along with some light grass. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a wet feel. Overall, this is the epitome of an average O-Fest. I don't mean that as a negative, necessarily, but this stuff doesn't endear itself to me enough for me to think purely positively of it. It's just...average...

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Photo of woodychandler
3.66/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The CANQuest (TM) unearthed this gem while on a recent Veterans Day foray to State Line Liquors! I am overjoyed to be reviewing something other than yet another pumpkin ale.

From the CAN: "Prost!"; "Roll out the barrels!"; "Love beer. Love life. Harpoon."; "Pack it in, pack it out Please recycle".

The Crack revealed a brimful CAN and the inverted Glug almost overflowed my special CAN-shaped glass until I backed off and let it settle. Color was a deep-copper (SRM = > 22, < 27) with button-bright clarity. The head settled into two fingers of dense, rocky, tawny foam with good retention. Nose had a caramel maltiness which struck me as being a bit sweeter than I like. Some nice, sticky lacing began to appear as I patiently waited. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, approaching a creaminess on the tongue. The taste seemed kind of odd for the style - slightly minty with an underlying nuttiness. It was not bad, per se, but kind of unexpected. Finish was semi-sweet and nothing like I remember most oktoberfests/marzens, but not bad.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful copper ruby tone with a nice brown ruby tan head wih nice even lacing. Slight brown sugar tint with a caramel edge and full malty tone, a bit light. Great nutty edge with malty backbone of toasted syrupy tones. Easily a session brew with a medium sized body and smooth drinkability not overly complex in any way but then again neither should be the style. This has been on of the better Oktoberfest styles I've had.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

Bottle from Harvest Market.
Clear golden color decent white head. Rich sweet bready pilsner with a hint of hop flavor. Nice enough marzen, better than some other versions I've had but still not quite as good as the German versions.

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Photo of tdm168
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - dark amber with a soft, thin, off white head that fades quickly

S - caramel, faint bread, light toast, faint hops

T - caramel, sugar, fruit, bitter finish

M - medium bodied, well carbonated

This is a solid beer. It has great drinkability. It has good flavor as well. This would have gotten a higher rating if the hops didn't overpower the malty flavors. It's worth a try.

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Photo of jwc215
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep reddish amber with nice clarity. The off-white head thins a bit, but is well-retained. Some lacing sticks along the glass.

The smell is of roasted grains and hints of caramel. It has a very fresh smell to it.

The taste is of roasted grains upfront. Earthy, almost citrusy hops enter in soon after, along with a caramel sweetness to give it balance and smoothness. Pretty basic, yet very fresh and tasty. Well-balanced.

The feel is smooth. The medium body holds up well. Just enough to make it easy to drink without becoming overwhelming. On target for style.

This is an easy drinking autumn ale. It isn't quite the same as a traditional Oktoberfest, but as an American Autumn Ale it hits the mark and then some. Easy drinking and flavorful.

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Harpoon Octoberfest Beer from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
3.68 out of 5 based on 1,210 ratings.
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