Harpoon Dark | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

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Harpoon DarkHarpoon Dark
Very Good
708 Ratings
Harpoon DarkHarpoon Dark

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

Style: Munich Dunkel Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
A blend of specialty malts gives this beer a velvety mouthfeel with roasted notes and a hint of chocolate, balanced by a subtle hop aroma. Hard to describe but easy to drink, Harpoon Dark is rich in character and light on the palate.

35 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-24-2000

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 708 |  Reviews: 370
Reviews by RIKIM:
Photo of RIKIM
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one poured a nice brown color with some slight red highlights in there,nice malty aroma of chocolate and some slight fruity tones as well.A very appetizing brew malty sweet with some lingering fruitiness.I think the best offering from Harpoon,very nice.

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Photo of RoyalT
3.37/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance – Brown with a bit of light shining through the body. The head though was absolutely gorgeous. It came up big, showed good retention, and left some beautiful lacing.

Smell – Wonderful aroma of deep, rich malts. Can they be both roasty and toasty? I think so. There’s also a bit of cookie dough and some added sugar and molasses. This Dark Ale was an awesome nose.

Taste – The taste didn’t quite keep pace with the nose. The flavors are nice, but they didn’t deliver on the aromatic promise. The malts kind of stepped aside, leaving the sugars to pull the beer together.

Mouthfeel – There was a bit of zesty fizz to this mouth, which I didn’t particularly care for. Other than that, it was medium-bodied and sticky.

Drinkability – A nice attempt at an extremely difficult style. I haven’t had a US Dark Ale yet that’s gotten to 4.0 in my book. This one was better than most.

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Photo of SuomiHobbit
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%

Photo of Hectikart
4.67/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

One of my favorite beers...dark, but medium body. Subtle blends of mocha and coffee.

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Photo of Todd
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12oz brown bottle with some freaky ass scary lions, harpoons, double edged battle axes, shields and Harpoon flags. Bottle states "Munch Type Dark Beer" for legal reasons.

Appearance: Burnt amber with a bubbly, chunky, semi-clingy and frothy tan head.

Smell: Fresh smelling with a toasted grain and earth aroma in the nose. Pick up some faint fruity esters too, and hidden caramel.

Taste: Upfront, this beer dries the palate a bit, semi-puckering with a salty citrus rind-like hop bite. Mouthfeel is very smooth and full, with grain, earth and dark malt flavours abound. As the beer warms, a lightly toasted, caramelly, earthy, grain sweetness emerges to quell the driness. The hops become more subtle as well. Finishes slick with some residual sweetness and driness.

Notes: This is a fantastic beer. As enjoyable as it is complex. "Dark & Delicious" as the label states. Tip: Let the beer warm a bit before drinking, for the best flavour.

 964 characters

Photo of generallee
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This dark Bavarian inspired beer pours a very dark copper color with a dark ruby red hue. A big frothy tan head sits on top which hangs out for awhile and left behind delicate lacing on the glass. The aroma is sweet and bready with a light hopy and nutty character. Its flavor is full of dark sweet malts. There are burnt caramel, dark toast and chocolate notes over a moderately bitter hops. The malt sweetness lingers into the finish. It has nice medium body with good carbonation a silky smooth texture. I really enjoyed this beer and would defiantly recommend this to anyone who enjoys dark Munich style beers.

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Photo of bishopdc0
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very beautiful beer, a thick tanish head. Dark mahogany color with slight transparency when held to the light. It has a chocolate and roasted barley aroma. It starts light and sweet and finishes with the roasted chocolate taste. this taste lingers but not overwhelming. This is very drinkable a light bodied beer. A easy drinking stout for those not familiar with the munich style.

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Photo of Jason
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz brown bottle with a printed packaging date on the bottle.

Appearance: Nice lacing and good clarity off of a dark toned brown colour. Retention shows some stickiness.

Smell: Mild toasted and dark malts, faint fruitiness and alcohol. Clean aroma.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Firm and crisp mouth feel from a medium body and level carbonation. Long lasting maltiness that ranges from a plain sweetness to rolling toasted and vague roasted flavours. Balancing hop shows a little spicy flavour while at the same time the alcohol becomes slightly noticeable. Some sweetness left in the end with more toasted grain.

Drinkability & Notes: The darkest of the Harpoon brand and my favourite as well, a concrete brew in my book. A great beer to have around to drink, pair and even cook with.

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Photo of merlin48
3.08/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

My 2nd Harpoon out of a 12 bottle sampler box. Pours an almost clear dark brown with some ruby notes when held to the light. A little bit of sediment in this one. Caramel and chocolate on the nose. Mouthfeel not as rich and creamy as I expected, being somewhat light bodied. Taste is crisply balanced with a dry finish. Astringent aftertaste distracts from drinkability. Middle of the road, overall, for this style.

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Photo of Billolick
3.82/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the South Fourth in Beer meccaville, AKA Brooklyn, NY. Pours dark dark amber, with just a minimal head and minor lacing. Roasted malt sweet nose. Worthy, tasty lager thing going on here, nice roasted/toasted malts, dark caramel notes, smooth, and easily sessionable. Well worth a try if you see it on tap.

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Photo of uconnalum2
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown with a one finger tan head. The smell is roasted malt and some sweetness. The taste is surprisingly good. Mostly roasted malt but also some nuttiness and a little bitterness at the end. Very nice. Mouthfeel is smooth and refreshing. Drinkability is very good. Easily a session beer. Overall, a very nice brown ale. I expected something pretty good from Harpoon but this surpassed my expectations.

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Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.02/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. amber bottle.

Poured a dark brown in color with a 1/2-inch layer of off-white head. Spotty lacing. Aromas are a mix of cocoa powder and dark fruits. Flavor is more of the same, starting off with chocolate sweetness, mixing with some balancing hops, and finishes with a kiss of alcohol-soaked fruit. Aftertaste sees a little bit of roasted grain in it. Very, very drikable.

Notes: Up to this point, I'd always associated Harpoon with "IPA"...no more. I'll seek it out.

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Photo of jakester
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is from the Harpoon sampler case. I drank it in a goblet. Born on date clearly stamped on the case, and clearly inked on the bottle. YAY!

This beer needs to be approached by the style that it is, which is American Brown Ale. Calling this a Munich Dark beer is a disservice to the style, and the beer.

Pours a very slightly hazy dark, dark brownish red, with a one finger head of tan foam. The head falls to islands and a ring, with decent lacing on the glass.

Aroma is fruity, with notes of raisins and dates. There's also molasses/brown sugar, some nuttiness, and sweet butterscotch/diacetyl. Some herbal/spicy hops are in the background as well.

First flavor is dark fruits like above, on the dry side, followed quickly by dark brown malts, and some hop bitterness. Dry roasted nuts are present, but muted, and then a long, lingering hoppiness comes through. As an ABA, this works well.

This beer has a crisp, refreshing mouthfeel to it. It's certainly more on the dry side, with a medium carbonation bite. Finish is long and dark and bitter.

Well, as I've said before, as an American Brown Ale, this works for me. It's fruity, hoppy, nutty a little, with a good dark malt character. Just don't judge the book by its cover.

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Photo of Osiris9588
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served from a 12oz bottle. Pours a dark brown, but not opaque, as the light shining through it results in an amber glow at the bottom and on the sides of the pint glass. The tan head is nearly "rootbeer float" creamy with good retention and sticky lacing.

The smell consists of roasted caramel malts and chocolately yeast. The flavor profile follws those lines, along with some mocha and candy. The mouth is creamy and smooth. It's light, and multiple bottles could certainly be downed in a sitting. One of Harpoon's best.

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Photo of bpfrush
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of dogfishandi
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle pulled from my fridge poured into a standard pint glass. best before 2/15/11, a few days past its prime, but not a huge deal for me.

pours out a clear deep reddish, ruby, brown color with a somewhat fizzy one finger of off white head that quickly faded to some light patchy foam and a foamy ring. tiny spots of lace from swirling the glass that very quickly fall back into the beer.

in the aroma you get some lightly roasted malt, a bit of toasted grain, hints of dark fruits and just light hints of herbal hops.

tastes of lightly roasted malt with bits of chocolate, toasted grains. a bit of sharp ripe fruits as well as some dark fruits. finishs with a light herbal hop kick and a bit of lingering bitterness.

light to medium bodied. an ample fizzy carbonation. almost a bit of sharp acidity. finishs dry.

its a very easy drinker, but a little bland, i wouldnt really go for another, nor would i see myself buying this again, but i wouldnt refuse if offered.

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Photo of Thrasher
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Well my last review of Harpoon was pretty scathing, so when a (free) sample of this popped up, I was initially skeptical, and then pleasantly surprised. This, along with their Oktoberfest, is the best thing they offer (which is strange, in that it means their strong suit is brewing fake German-lager-style ales). Anyway this is a nice, roasty dark ale with definite dunkel qualities. Caramel, nuts, a vague hint of chocolate, alongside some more fruity ale characteristics. It's an unusual marriage but it just about works, especially with the additional twist of spicy hops. Those reviewers below who said to let it warm up are right on. This went nicely with ribs. I would definitely turn to this again if I was craving a German dunkel and this was all that was available. Otherwise it is a strange, but quaffable, hybrid of a dunkel and a brown ale.

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Photo of far333
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown with a beige head that rises up a half inch of thick foam and sinks quickly as many small bubbles rise up from the bottom of the glass. Aroma is dark malt, molasses and brown sugar. Mouthfeel is a bit watery, but leads to a roasty malt flavor with a bit of yeast undercurrent. There's some cocoa and caramel, ripe plum and fig, and a metallic tinge in the finish.

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Photo of ngrdms
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of doremite
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%

Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of stapleton87
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown with two finger tan head.

S: Wonderful, roasted malt upfront, citrus alongside, a hint of sourness with grassy undertones. I also detect a bit of chocolate in the malt.

T: Nice prickly carbonation up front. Well placed malt bitterness. Burnt, earthy flavors make up the brunt of this medium bodied brew. There is a slight hoppiness in the finish.

M: Being a 'lager', mouthfeel is a tad on the thin side, but the carbonation and taste factor in to make this less noticeable.

D: Very drinkable, but don't let that fool you. There is a lot of taste to ponder here.

This is one of the best dunkel lagers I've had (perhaps due to the ale yeast). Despite the yeast situation, this still feels like a lager. Smooth and complex without being too rich, this is a beer to rival bigger brews while still being easy to stomach. A near perfect example of the style, big props to Harpoon.

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Photo of williamjbauer
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of ADR
4.09/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear but very dark brown with olive highlights. Good head on the beer, 1/4 inch of persistant quality foam. Dotty, dripping laces. Aroma is nice, smells of a light cocoa and lots of fleshy ripe peach-like fruit. The main taste impression starts with chocolate, but with a smoky and roasty quality. A bit of fade in the mouthfeel mid-mouth to close, but an interesting combination of roast and bitter to wrap things up. Nice brew here, big aroma helps the overall tone of things. Thanks to Liza P. and her dad for getting it, and Ken K. for bringing it back.

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Harpoon Dark from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
Beer rating: 3.8 out of 5 with 708 ratings