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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 368 | Ratings: 696
Photo of pretzellogic
2.14/5  rDev -43.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Labeling this as a Munich dark is an insult to the great city of Munich. I'm not sure how this is one of Harpoon's award winning beers....who judged- the CEO? Harpoon brews some solid offerings, paricullary the IPA and Weizen which I quite enjoy. Totally disapointed with this beer; being October I was in the mood for a Germanic offering. This was one of the days I wish I lived in a state that sold by six-packs;should have paid more and selected that case of Ayinger instead. Head was non-apparent, flavor was not bold as a dark should represent, particually weak on malt. Taste and moutheel can best be summed up as weak and watery. As you may have detected I'm upset that I bought a case of this beer. I've been pleased with Harpoon in the past, but am very dissapointed with this beer. Even tested a second to give the brewery another chance. Anyone interested in 22 free Munich dark bottles, they'll be at my curb tomorrow morning.

 938 characters

Photo of JMScowcroft
2.35/5  rDev -38%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Look - Sleek bottle and label artwork, German down to the bone. Pours dark brown, settles "coca-cola" in the glass. Moderately fizzy, overall decent but not impressive.

Smell - Smoky smell, hoppy and malty overtones. Again not that impressive here either.

Taste - Goes with the smell, malty and hoppy with a dark smoky aftertaste. About average for its class.

Mouthfeel - Very smoky and remnants of burnt caramel, sticks in your mouth in a bad way here.

Drinkability - Minimal, if there at all. Too thick and hearty when it comes to the added flavoring, this beer was a chore to finish.

Not one of Harpoon's finer moments.

 627 characters

Photo of karengarys
2.62/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours brown. Little head. No lacing.

unimpressive malt/hop smell.

Flavor is somewhat like a lot of hop dumped into some water with some spice and malt and alcohol and stirred. Okay, it isn't all that bad, but it isn't really impressive either.

Mouthfeel is somewhat flat. Watery. un-American.

Finish is wet, and there is a bit of a bad aftertaste.

Perhaps this is a bad batch, but per this bottle I'm not yearning for another.

 441 characters

Photo of Mitchster
2.83/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours out to a clear dark-brown with rich ruby highlights, forming a modest dark beige head with poor retention and minimal lacing. The head settles down quickly, but leaves a thin layer of clumpy bubbles which linger. The carbonation is mild to moderate. Aroma is predominatly malty, with some roasted malt, vanilla, esters akin to a common brown, tobacco, and caramelized sugar. Mouthfeel is smooth with a medium body. Taste begins with initial zing of carbonation, a brief wave of alcohol, a herbal hoppiness, nuts, amber malts, grain husk, brief metal, and finishes with more toast and a light roasted grain astringency, in that order.

Probably my least favorite of styles, this brew is simple, straighforward, and dull. This style has always seemed like a crossover between domestic swill and real craft beer...kinda like the stuff your friends drank in college to be sophisticated. (e.g-Heiny Dark, Leiny, or St.Pauli Girl Dark). Not bad, but something I'm thoroughly not interested in ever drinking again.

 1,015 characters

Photo of OWSLEY069
2.9/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep amber color, with a small off white head. Aromas of caramel malt. In the taste, chocolate and a bit malty, a tad sweet too. Aftertastes of a chocolate malt and a sweetness that lingers. A big chocolate presence and sweet, but nice for a brown ale.

 260 characters

Photo of kennyo
2.9/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

part of a mixed 12 pack, along with the ale, ipa, ufo.

clean, brown color with small beige head, good carbonation. Sweet malt//chocolate malt aroma. Taste is a little roasty, some malt, dry.some hop bitterness. Not a bad beer from this brewery, which is not one of my favorites

 280 characters

Photo of changeup45
2.92/5  rDev -23%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

10/7/2004. Looking for something to warm me up. Pours a very dark brown, almost black color with a thin tan head. Mild malts and coffee in the aroma. Some coffee, nuts and caramel flavors but wasn't really all that flavorful. Relatively smooth but a bit thin and watery. I probably won't re-visit.

 297 characters

Photo of steeltown71
2.97/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A: Bottle poured into Harpoon pint glass. Pours a dark brown-red, decent creaminess at the top.

S: Maybe I've just had too many big beers lately but I'm just not picking up much intensity here. I do like the malty-roasted aromas that are clearly in there, but I just wish there were a stronger presence.

T: Definitely one of the better regular Harpoon offerings. Solid malt taste, well-balanced, and satisfying dry finish.

D: Obviously sessionable.

For a long time I had become aggravated by Harpoon for being a brewery with resources suggesting they had significant capability to experiment and yet most of their offerings tasted both similar and unremarkable to me. Strangely, revisiting this beer after really liking some of their bigger recent offerings makes me think I had unfairly written it off. It's not outrageously complex but the flavor profile is enjoyable and clearly a solid example of the style.

 918 characters

Photo of ElGordo
3/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This one showed up in the December Beer of the Month Club shipment. Haven't really seen it in many stores here in NC, so it was a bit of a pleasant surprise. Pours a deep reddish brown hue (also translucent) with a thick, off-white foamy head. Deep malty nose, with hints of chocolate, molasses, and toffee. Rich, roasted malt flavor with a touch of sweetness. Light hop bitterness emerges mid-palate that builds into a fairly bitter finish. Unlike other dunkels I've had, perhaps because it's a top-fermented ale. Interesting, but I'm not sure I like it.

 555 characters

Photo of travolta
3/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle

Apperance: Tan frothy head, dark ruby and amber, lacing is good.

Nose: Buttered toast.

Taste: Toasted grain, frothy, a little creamy, lightly bitter. The beggining of this beer is lightly toasted almonds, and the end tastes of hops.

Notes; Not as good as some other harpoon brews. I think they let us down with this.

 342 characters

Photo of haggis
3/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Average. Plain and simple. From the label down to the pop of the cap down to the pour and taste of this beer. Average. It will merely do. But when clumped together with so many other beers that can get it done why buy this? There is a malty taste and smell you'd expect from a dark beer but it screams let'scomplytotheweakUSAdarkbeerpalateandservethemshitwhile wegetrich.

That is not always a good thing. And certainly not with this ale.

 440 characters

Photo of NittanyBeerFan
3.01/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: deep brown with garnet hues that produce a dark amber rim when held up to the light. 1 finger head that leaves thick rings of lace.

S: a light aroma of roasted and caramel malts. Not much else going on here.

T: rich caramel and toffee are overwhelming. Some dark fruity esters are also evident. There is an astringent burned flavor in the finish that just ruins it for me.

M/D: light to medium carbonation in a heavy bock-like lager texture. Not a ton of character, and the burned flavor makes this one I nearly had to choke down.

 539 characters

Photo of goodbyeohio
3.02/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

aka the contract brew 'eli's apache attack ale' at eli cannon's...

dark, subtle red spot or two shining through... nice light head with sticky lacing. some bubbly clusters on the surface. scent is unappealing, a sour mash of malta and wheat that evokes hints of vomit. not as bad as it sounds, just something odd that strikes up a sense memory perhaps. unfortunate is the right word. nice choc malt in the flavor, exuding dominance. slight coffee-tinged dopplebock notes as well. mildness pulls through in the finish and fades into a lightly-hopped drinkable ale. some vanilla left over as well in the aftertaste. just dont smell it before it hits your tongue.

 663 characters

Photo of confer
3.03/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The bottle came from a Harpoon Winter sample case. Poured a very nice medium to dark brown. A 1/2 inch head disappears quickly and leaves a glass of what looks like flat coke.
The smell was malty as was the taste. I really was expecting something different. The UFO from this pack was good, I am hoping the remaining ones are better than the Munich.

 349 characters

Photo of rajendra82
3.03/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Back in my early beer drinking days, I used to drink quite a bit of Beck's Dark. That was in Alabama in the early 90's, and I had little choice back then. I haven't looked back on Dunkels since moving on to bigger and better beers, but when Green's started selling singles, I figured I'd just pick up this one for $0.99. There was no way I was ever going to get around to buying a six pack of this, so this was the best way I guess.

The beer poured out clear, deep brown with ruby red highlights, and possessed a two finger thick head made of rough foam. The smell was mild and a little toasty. The taste was a lot less sweet than I recall Beck's Dark ever being. The roasty, charred malt character was apparent in a dry, chocolaty, and astringent flavor. The body was light and creamy but the aftertaste was a little harsh. Very little hops present as well. Not a bad beer, but I am glad I have moved on.

 906 characters

Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.06/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle

Pours a dark mahogany brown with a tan head that thins, but doesn't fade out. Some lacing on the glass.

Aroma of nutty malt and hops. Nothing special.

Some caramel and nuttiness upfront followed by an OK hop flavor and bitterness. Finishes rather clean. Pretty ordinary.

Body is average.

I can drink this easily enough, but it's just nothing special.

 379 characters

Photo of merlin48
3.08/5  rDev -18.7%
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.

 415 characters

Photo of Dewey0603
3.08/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This pours a dark,dark brown with a large two finger head.The smell is weak and just a hint of yeast and nuts.The taste is OK,but not great.There is a little malt and nuttiness,but not much.The m/f is light,but full flavored,with little flavor there is.All in all, this is a very average beer from a very average brewery.

 321 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
3.08/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served in a Gale Sayers shaker pint glass.

I'm diggin' the local Fresh Market for their mixed sixer collection, this bottle included. It pours a clear dark garnet-ruby topped by a finger of sandy ecru foam. The nose comprises light coffee, light-ish roasted malts, cocoa powder, and a touch of minor char. The taste paints a mountain of roasted malts (it's as though I'm chewing on some roasted barley, I'm tellin' ya), with a hint of coffee in the back and a strong metallic aftertaste. Yeesh, what happened here? The body is a straight medium, with a light moderate carbonation and an ever-so-slightly grainy feel. Overall, a pretty decent beer all around...except for the taste. So close, yet so very, very far away.

 720 characters

Photo of Brent
3.11/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Just not a lot going on here with this beer. Poured nice and dark with lively carbonation. Some roasted malt and slight sweetness, but not much depth to the flavor profile, rather monotone. Some light acidity at the finish to dry it up a bit. Not at all an unpleasant beer, but it did not hold my interest.

 306 characters

Photo of mobud
3.12/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into pint glass.

A- Dark caramel with almost no head, but active carbonation.

S- Real nice rich roasted malt smell.

T- This beer tastes like you toasted wheat bread and covered it with a toffee and coffee mixture. Sounds wierd, but that what stuck me on trying this beer.

M- Medium and smooth.

D- This beer is not my favorite of the style, but was not offensive either. I enjoyed the several I had, but would not rush out to get more.

 456 characters

Photo of OtherShoe2
3.12/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Received a dark brown thin-looking brew with a hint of head. No lacing.

Coffee grounds and some light cocoa aromas. Some charred elements.

Big washout. Light coffee and cocoa flavors, but so thin and watery that you drink this fast looking for more. This isn't even close to German counterparts. Some bitterness to balance the sweet malt and coffee, but it is weak.

Thin and over carbonated.

Overall, it went down quick because I wanted to gulp the flavor down. Missing alot here. Why buy this with Ayinger right in the next shelf? I'll pass next time.

 556 characters

Photo of UnionMade
3.13/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I was under the impression that this beer is actually Harpoon's Munich Dark. One of the old school bartenders at Cannon's told me this. I really don't remember Munich Dark tasting like this, though.
Arrives looking sort of an ochre brownish color, with a thick almond colored head. Nice and clear, with a semi roasty malty aroma. Some hopping is apparent, but it's mostly smelling like a brown ale, or some kind of dark ale. Flavor is malty, a little grainy, with some fruity esteriness. A touch of roasted and chocolate malt, and some plum and apple flavors. Hops lend a mild bite and dryness to the finish, very downplayed, and works well with the malting. Sort of uncomplex, simple, definitely good, but not really the most interesting beer. Flavors aren't the cleanest and don't stand out from each other. That's fine, because not all of beer's pleasures are masterpieces of a brewers art, ya know?

 904 characters

Photo of ThirstyBird
3.13/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with amber highlights. Fairly thick tan head falls to a blanket.

Smells of roasted dark malt, a hint of coffee, a bit of chocolate too.

The taste doesn't have that subtle nuance that a German Dunkel would have. This one is heavy on the roast and not much more. It has a quite dry and slightly bitter aftertaste which amplifies the Roasted malt taste.

The body is on the plus side of light, Carbonation is a bit prickly.

It's acceptable but I wouldn't seek it out by any means.

 499 characters

Photo of ebit
3.13/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Huge fluffy beige head on straight pour. Dark amber body that shines through a clear deep red when held up to the light

Munich roasted malts with quite a bit in the way of aromatic hops. A very german smelling beer.

Mellow roasted grains. A bit of dry dark chocolate. Not as much hop presence as in the nose. Flavor is so subdued you can almost taste water in the finish (yes, strangely I detect water as a flavor in the finish).

Medium light body. A bit of carbonation towards the end, but otherwise undetectable.

Drinkability/Overall Impression
A very drinkable beer. Alcohol is undetectable and overall it's just a damn smooth drinking beer with not a lot in the way of character. The beer just isn't big in any way. The malts are there, the bittering chocolate is there, but nothing ever comes out in full force. Definitely a sessionable beer but this is just too reserved of a brown ale for my tastes, Munich style or not.

 964 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Harpoon Dark from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
3.79 out of 5 based on 696 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.