Harpoon Dark | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

very good
368 Reviews
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

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Reviews: 368 | Ratings: 694
Photo of Saint
4.95/5  rDev +30.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a review of likely my top favorite beer out there, and available, I would boldly concur with my previous review...

"Simply One of My Top Five Favorite Beers.

One of the most pleasant beers out there, it has a bold full flavor that is smokey and sweet. It bestows a smooth crisp mouth feel, and leaves only a little sweet aftertaste. It goes well with most meat based dishes, especially if they have a slight spice to them, and with its sweet smokey taste, it makes a wonderful warming beer for the chillier winter months."

But i would like to add a few things, I wasn't expecting it, but the greatest part came right after pouring this into an ice cold pint glass,that was the sweet aroma it bestowed me before I enjoyed it. It was delightful, I could smell complex array of coffee tones, hint of mocha, the robust sent of a bold porter, all of the above. Its be far on of the most pleasing beers to smell. I addition to the last review, I noticed on thing, I wont disagree with but would care to expand. It is a 'wonderful warming beer for the chillier winter months,' clear that was written in February 08, a very wintery month, however I discovered and first came to love this beer after having it chilled to the core, in the middle of summer, after working on a hot day. Since then it has never failed to disappoint me. I'm looking forward to the summer months and enjoying this brew all through it.

Thanks again Harpoon, continue doing great things!!!

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Photo of dupee14
4.8/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had this out of the Harpoon Six-Style Variety Pack. Definitely recommended. I tried the Brown Session Ale and really enjoyed it but when I had this, I found a similarity. They are both brown ales but this is like the father of the two. The smell is a roasted coffee flavor with a hint of caramel. It has a tan two-finger head with a decent lace that slowly fades towards the end. The drinkability of this brew is exceptional. Very very smooth. It is very balanced between the malts and hops and the aftertaste has a slight bitterness to it, not overbearing. This is definitely my favorite Harpoon brew that I have tried. Recommended to anyone who enjoys a solid brown ale as well as anyone who want to switch it up.

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Photo of Zodijackyl
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Consumed two pints on cask at Coalhouse Pizza in Stamford, CT - at their first homebrew night today, December 7, 2010.

Pours pitch black, allowing no light through but permitting a thin, white head. Aroma of vanilla, caramel/molasses, and some smooth malts. Taste is exceptionally smooth, sweetened with candy sugar that complements the malt very well, with some lighter caramel and barley malts that fit it well, but don't overpower. One of the easiest drinking dark I have had, I could drink it all night though I restrained myself. Raised my already high opinion of Harpoon beers.

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Photo of bilyboy65
4.45/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pilsner glass.

A: The color is very dark brown. On the darker side for a brown ale. Pours a with an off-white head that quickly dissipates, but is clingy. When swirled not much film is left behind on the beer, hinting to a very smooth oil free feel. There does not seem to be any impurities in the beer.

Don't be scared by the dark color it drinks like an ale and not a heavier style beer.

S: Seems the most flavorful scents come from the beer being swirled 4 times before sniffing. Scents of dark roasted malts to give an almost coffee scent. The yeasts are also prevalent in the scent. Something not uncommon to Harpoon's beers. There is a faint grain and hops smell that finishes off the sniff.

T: The flavor seems to take hold of your tastebuds. It produces a dry bitter hoppiness flavor upfront. It gives way slightly to the dark roasted malts, that almost seem spicy. The alcohol starts to appear here to give an added bite. The beer finishes off with a sweet grain taste.

M: There is only a mild carbonation to the beer giving the mouth a mild liquid to deal with. Doesn't leave an oily coating after leaving the mouth.

D: The grains, hops and roasted malts are balanced very well to give a great experience drinking this beer. By far my favorite beer Harpoon makes. This is a beer that I take my time drinking and seems to become more flavorful as it warms.

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Photo of Lauthaha
4.42/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a half-liter beer glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep mahogany; a very 'cola' colour. Almost no head within seconds after pour, but the remaining foam has a yellow-tan tint. Moderate lacing where the pour-head had receded.

Smell: Caramel malt up front, a light touch of coffee and/or dark chocolate. Just a tinge of licorice flavour to the nose. Underneath all the sweetness lies a persistent bitterness, which is redeemed by a moderate buttery scent.

Taste: Very malty, with a noticeable flavor of espresso bean. Moderate bitterness with a heavy chocolate finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium- to heavy-thickness, medium carbonation. Rinses smoothly with just a touch of oiliness which doesn't detract from the carbonation.

Drinkability: An easy drinker for the winter months. Very tasty, I could drink one by the fireplace every evening.

Could almost be a stout...absolutely amazing flavor at a reasonable price.

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Photo of reeder
4.4/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured recklessly into a pint glass. Satisfied with the resulting inch high head. Watched the head gradually settle, clinging to the walls of the glass. The head never fully disappeared and remained as an off-white layer on top of the beer.

The beer is truly dark. Almost opaque. Hints of reddish brown.

The nose is a light creamy smokey scotch.

The first taste is creamy and smooth with hints of strawberries. Swishing the sip around, it develops into a distinct smokey scotch followed by chocolate and vanilla flavors in the after-taste.

This beer is one of my favorites to keep stocked in the fridge. I first tried it at a tasting at the Harpoon brewery. It is definitely my favorite of all the Harpoon beers that I have tried.

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Photo of tchenery
4.4/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

It is definitely dark. There is not much light coming through but the light that does comes through like a faint purple or deep red color. It has no head on it whatsoever. It smells like raisins, chocolate, and roasted nuts.

It tastes like smooth milk chocolate and raisins, much like it smells. It has a very strong malt taste that must be balanced out with hops because it doesn't taste too sweet. There is a slightly bitter hop finish to the beer with aftertastes of dark chocolate and dates.

There is a 'thin carbonation' feel to the beer however that I wish was a bit smoother. If this was bottle conditioned it would be amazing. Very drinkable dark beer - that being said, I love it.

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Photo of Wamesit
4.4/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a deep brown. Slight tan head with good lacing.

S- Smells of roasted malts with a sweetness that compliments the darker hints of coffee and fruit.

T- Delicious. Deep roasted malts of coffee that give way to a caramel sweetness, all accompanying a nutty bread flavor (some yeast in there as well) with just a touch of hops to close it all out.

M- Medium. Rich.

D- I love beers of this type (e.g. Sam Adam's Black Lager) so I could drink this brew in quantity but I could see how someone not as much of a fan might find the flavor and mouthfeel to be a bit much for prolonged consumption.

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Photo of Alexmc2
4.38/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Beer pours a deep brown with some ruby tinge. A nice two finger tan head with fair retention.

S: Roasted malt, baked bread, some spice that takes a backseat to the malt smell.

T: Beautiful malt initial taste, smokey aftertaste. Delicious.

M: Smooth as anything, would love this one on cask.

D: Not overpowering, would be a great session beer.

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Photo of russpowell
4.37/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Tjis was the highligt of variety 12 pack I bought back in NC

Poured dark ruby red with a 3 fingers deep tan head. Average lacing & some head retention

S: Fruittyness followed by a hint of cinamon

T: Biscuitty with choclate notes. A slight hint of cinamon & molasess. Finishes fruitty with a slight licorice twang

MF: Medium bodied, good carbonation & balance

Drank too easy. A pretty damn good example of some of the dunkles I had in D'land

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Photo of soccerman7
4.35/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - deep mahogany with a finger of head and great lacing.

Smell - Very similar to a scotch. Toast, smoke, malt. very nice aroma.

Taste - Fantastic! very nice malt and faint smoke. balanced and full.
very complex.

Mouth - very smooth and lingers on the palate for a bit

Drinkability. An excellent beer that is increasingly harder to find. Its worth searching out and a great example of the style. a favorite.

growler from windsor.

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Photo of billybob
4.35/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a chestnut color with a two finger creamy tan head which turns rocky then to a ring on the glass with some lacing. fresh aroma of roasted malt and fresh coffee with some fruity aromas as well. taste is sweet with the roasted malt with some hop coming through at the finish. light, smooth mouthfeel, well balanced. very easy to drink.

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Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.35/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased as part of a mixed 12 pack at Market Basket. Pours a translucent dark brown with a good half inch of light tan head. Smells sweet, with chocolate and caramel malt character with banana and nut playing roles. Nut, chocolate, coffee comprise most of the flavor, hints at peatiness? Chocolate dominates the finish and aftertaste. Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation. Full-flavored with no real perceivable flaws. A solid brown ale, and another slam dunk for Harpoon!

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Photo of cracker
4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is pretty good rendition of a german dark lager (Munich dunkel). But why does this site state it's a american brown ale? Please... a pretty bad typo.

Probably a bit more on the hoppy side for this style, but great malt presence. Very crisp and easy to drink. The dark malts come through as a slight but subtle coffee/chocolate flavor. Only wish more microbrews would give a shot at this style. Just too many ales out there (perhaps the swill that is out there by the big 3 is why). But there are many, many good lagers out. Unfortunately most aren't available unless you go overseas to Germany or Pennsylvania brewing in Pittsburgh. I tip my hat off to harpoon for doing what most micros haven't done...brew a good lager.

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Photo of erosier
4.32/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one of my favorite Harpoon beers. It pours a nice dark dark brown from the bottle with a large white head that sticks to the sides of the glass. It has a really nice roasted malt aroma that has a smokey hint about it. The taste is excellent! Very dark, very roasty, a little bit smokey, but overall a very nice blend of malts and some light hops to make this a very flavorful beer. What I like best is that for how dark it is, it is a very light beer and is very drinkable. It feels good going down and I absolutely loved it. I wish that the Harpoon Booth had cracked this one open during Session 1 of the Belgian Beer Fest, but alas, they didn't. There's always next year!

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Photo of nastley3
4.32/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was very smooth and the taste had a hint of chocolate. Although I am not usually a fan of darker beers I thoroughly enjoyed this one. It had a moderately hoppy finish which I liked, and overall had a very rich taste. Although I enjoyed this out of the bottle, this is the type of beer where I would expect a large difference in taste between bottle vs on tap. I look forward to drinking this beer on tap in the future.

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Photo of ztaylor1
4.31/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- deep brown color, similar to a coke. Nice foamy head with great lacing

Smell- chocolate up front with an espresso scent. Malty.

Taste-very chocolatey with roasted malts and coffee.

Mouthfeel- smooth as silk. Very good

Drinkability- got it in a sampler... wish I had more than two!

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Photo of connecticutpoet
4.3/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was a nice dark brown brew that poured well but had very little head.

I liked the smell... rich, strong, sweet malt with hop tones that didn't conflict with the sweetness.

The taste was richly roasted yet not overpowering, and the hoppiness was not too bitter. Very well balanced.

This was a good drinking beer, without a doubt.

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Photo of tonistruth
4.3/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- chestnut brown with bronze hues sitting under 2 fingers worth of fluffy tan foam, great retent

S- toasted malts, chocolate, nutty

T- toasted and roasted malts, rich chocolate flavors, dark chocolate aftertaste, with some earthy hop flavors

M- smooth medium body with subtle carbonation

D- highly recommended brew, nice balance and wonderful aftertaste, sessionable and ridiculously tasty

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Photo of auxiliary
4.28/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance - Dark brown with a real nice head, stuck around with soem nice lace.

smell - Rich malts and molasses.

taste - Roasted malts and molasses to finish it off.

mouthfeel - Medium body

drinkability - Easy drinking beer. Nice brown ale taste.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.27/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes.

Served in a tulip glass. Pours a moderately-dark brown color with a light head and a touch of lace. Some carbonation around the edges throughout. Nose brings some chocolate, caramel, light roast, fruit, and a big dose of the Harpoon yeast, which--for whatever reason--I'm really into. Taste is malty with some light fruit and a bit of chocolate and nuttiness. Really nice feel brought on by the house yeast. Drinks really quite nice and is one of the better versions of this style that I've had.

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Photo of OKCNittany
4.27/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown body, 3/4" cream head that lasted awhile & left great lacing.

S: Rich malty aroma. Chocolaty and toasty. Very nice.

T: Strong malty flavor w/ a little chocolate present too. Somewhat reminiscent of the Scottish ales I had the day before, but much better balanced (not overly sweet).

M: Light carbonation. Very smooth - almost creamy, but not heavy.

D: Goes down easy for such a flavorful beer. The only thing that slowed me down was the desire to enjoy every sip.

This was the highlight of the mixed case.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.26/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mahogany, dark brown (bordering on black) with a full pillowy beige head, nice carbonation, and lace. Strong dark malt aroma and flavor with some burnt roasty character ... Munich Malt ? Has a touch of chocolate character. Medium bodied and smooth with a robust dry malt finish.

Tasty taste !!

Per HB website:
Style: Munchen Dunkel
OG: 14.5 P
Color: Mahogany 80 EBC
ABV 5.5%
IBU’S: 35

Bottled: 09/05/05
Tasted: 11/18/06

($7.07 / 6-pack)

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Photo of tapman
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark plum/red-brown color, chestnut, dense head of 1 finger. Looks good, head could be bigger. Also, darker than others i have had, but that doesn't necessarily deter me.

Nice, soft Saaz-like aroma, making this a hoppy example, with elements of dutch milk chocolate. Does not smell overly sweet and has a little toast in the nose.

Round and toasty, a little sweet, though not cloyingly so. Some mineral-like notes and a moderate bitterness in the finish. Not as clean as other examples I have had.

Thicker than the Hofbrau and Spaten versions, though not sticky.

A fine example of the style from an American brewery. Prosit!

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Photo of JamesS
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A wonderful Munich Dunkel, it pours a very nice deep ruby brown with some very nice initial head and a bit of nice lacing. Nice deep dark scent, malty and lager sweet. Nice thick dark taste, a wonderful bit of dark malt. Goes down very clean and easy.

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Harpoon Dark from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
3.79 out of 5 based on 694 ratings.
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