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 Sammy
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Chocolate dark brown, malty and a bit of chocolate aroma. Lace in glass. Mid mouth feel, an easy drink as well malted with toffee, a drop of coffee.An OK dunkel, a very good American brown, the later because of root beer like secondary tastes.Well carbonated.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a good fall beer. this is a munich style dark ale, meaning a bigger sweeter malt profile and a yeast strain with a bit of spice to it. the nose is quite roasty, with some cocoa and caramel notes, a little dusty on the malt end, but not in a stale way. i taste some lighter german pilsner malts, which makes sense. some chocolate flavors and a little residual sugar despite a dry finish. overall a rich yet drinkable brew, a good addition to the winter mix 12er, and a beer im happy to have quite a few of. full body, a little filling, but good carbonation lightens things up. overall a satisfying beer from harpoon.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.33/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This poured out as a clear looking brown color. The head is fluffy looking and light tan in color. The smell of the beer is lightly roasted and a little nutty. The flavor had a dry earthy flavor with a light amount of the nuts and roast coming in on the finish. The mouthfeel was light and carbonated pretty well. Overall it's nothing too special to me, it's a decent brew, I wouldn't seek it out unless I had too.

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Photo of metter98
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is clear dark amber in color and poured with a thin white head that faded away and left a thin ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of roasted malts in the nose along with some notes of caramel.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell having flavors of caramel, roasted malts and a light amount of malty sweetness.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is very easy to drink and goes down smoothly. It is quite sessionable.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Looks solid brown with red or amber highlights. Pours a nice viscocity with a solid tan head that held firm.

Smells malty sweet with some toastedness, light coffee, and chocolates. notice a mild bitter tone.

Tastes as malty as it smells. Lightly roasted barley, syrup, nuts, and a touch of chocolate. Firm body remains full and follows up with some balancing bitter. Finishes sweet, nutty, toasty, and a little bitter and alcoholic.

Aftertaste: sweet, lightly bitter and alcoholic. The longer it lingers, the more the bitter holds on in the back of the throat.

Impression: Could be mistaken for a light porter. A well balanced, bold beer. Can't complain.

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Photo of brentk56
4.04/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with the translucent dark brown liquid capped by an inch of foam; some strands of lacing squiggle down the pint glass

Smell: Toasted brown bread and caramel

Taste: Toasted brown bread and caramel, up front, with chocolate tones developing in the middle; chocolate builds, after the swallow, though the finish has the grainy character I often taste in lagers

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with crisp carbonation

Overall: A really fine example of the style - one that is rarely brewed by domestic breweries

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Photo of oriolesfan4
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another good, but not great, beer from Harpoon. I'm sort of confused by the name of this beer as it's an American brown ale so how is it Munich, Germany type? Oh well.. it tastes a little confusing as I'm not sure what type of beer it is supposed to be but what I do know is that it tastes delicious and is very drinkable. A big surprise in the mix pack for sure.

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Photo of zeff80
3.77/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - A poured out a dark brown color with a foamy, tan, two-finger head. Left good rings of lace.

S - It smelled of roasted malt and nut.

T - It tasted of burnt toast and had a nice nutty flavor.

M - It was soft and smooth. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a pretty good beer. It like the burnt toast flavor.

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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 oberon
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
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 jlindros
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light fluffy fizzy almost 1 finger head that fades at a med pace with bits of lacing, over dark black with the slightest hints of light sneaking through.

Nose has dark chalky malts, hint of cocoa and milk chocolate, slight earthy nutty aroma like herbal hops, a light smoked malt and hint of roasted like malt, bit of carafa and dark crystal malts, and a light lager crispness.

Taste starts with more dark malts, slight chalky dark malts, with some roasted malt that gets a bit overpowering with some tinny charred malted metallic like flavors, and hint of a smoke like flavor. Then light chocolate almost Cocoa Crispies like chocolate, some cheaper dark chocolate, powdered chocolate, plenty of caramel as well. It tries to bring a lager crispness but just gets drowned out by the malts. Bitterness starts to build a bit from the herbal earthy hops, but also from the roasted malts. The finish dries quite a bit though and gets slightly crisper, a light lager finish, with plenty of lingering bitterness that ramps, some sticky caramel, cocoa, and bit of roast, all lingering for quite a while.

Mouth is med to slight lighter bodied for what the full flavor pack it, um, packs... with decent carb.

Overall not bad, a bit overpowering with malts and hops that it kinda loses the whole lager part, but that does lighten the body, dry the finish, and make it much more drinkable than I think it would if it were a dark ale. The dark malts do add nice characters, and hops are decent, and the beer is fairly drinkable. So overall pretty good, for Harpoon especially.

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Photo of superspak
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into pilsener glass, best before 4/15/2012. Pours crystal clear reddish brown color with a small 1 finger tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Good spotty lacing clings down the glass. Aromas of big caramel, toffee, nuttiness, biscuit, chocolate, vanilla, toast, and light fruitiness. Fantastic aromas with great balance and complexity. Taste of caramel, chocolate, toffee, biscuit, nuttiness, toast, herbal, roast, and light dark fruits. Lingering notes of caramel, chocolate, herbal, toast, nuttiness, toffee, and light fruitiness. Nice balance and complexity of flavors; with no cloying sweetness at all. Medium carbonation and body; with a fairly creamy and crisp mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a great Munich Dunkel! Nice flavor balance and robustness; and very smooth to drink. Really enjoyed this, and this might be my choice for an easily available dunkel in the future.

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Photo of chinchill
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

undated 12 oz bottle served in pint glass

a very dark mahogany, but clear and not opaque. An somewhat aggressive pour provided only about 1 finger of short-lived head.

Sweet floral aroma, with a little less 'regular' toasted malt dominance than expected. Plenty of sweet malt with a trace of hops. Not quite "rich" or complex. Hops and toasted malt are more balanced in the aftertaste.

M - medium/full body with enough carbonation to tingle the tongue.

A: Munich-style session beer, this beer did indeed bring back memories of drinking this style beer in a Munich biergarten.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Although a touch chocolatey in both the aroma and flavor, Harpoon's Munich style Dark is still a fairly good representation of the style. It pours a clear deep-mahogany robe beneath its frothy, short-lived tan head. The nose is chocolatey, doughy, and hung with notes of floral hops. The mouthfeel is smooth and sublimely creamy with a medium body and delicate, fine-bubbled, moderate carbonation. The flavor focuses on malt character, and it's well balanced with just enough bitterness and grassy and floral hops to balance its dark malty edge. Soft chocolate, fudge, cocoa, brown sugar, tootsie-rolls, unsweetened chocolate cookie dough, and deeply caramelized, almost-burnt sugar all appear at some point, and there's even a bit of toastiness to it as well... yet for all of that, it's mostly restrained and focused on one chocolate-tinged malty center. Grassy and floral hops step in at late-mid palate and help the bitterness pull it away from achieving any real "chocolate" or "sweetness"; and it finishes just as clean, short, and dry as it's supposed to - leaving you ready for another sip. Drinkable! There's just enough flavor and complexity here to keep you coming back again and again without overwhelming you. Very nicely done!

 1,240 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

A: The beer is a dark brown color with a thin tan head that fades quickly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is very malty with touches of chocolate, coffee, caramel and a little bit of fruit & hops.

T: The taste is malty, creamy and a little smoky and starts out with flavors of caramel, chocolate and coffee. Then a mild hops presence comes in to provide a little balance. The after-taste is slightly bready and a little bitter.

M: Smooth with a little crispness, medium body, medium carbonation, dry finish.

D: Tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style even if it’s not the best in the style. I could drink a few, but there are definitely others that I would pick first.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark walnut brown with extensive coppery orange accents... that becomes burnt orange with bright sunshine behind the pint glass. A thick slice of golden beige foam looks good in all respects, including as scattered sheets of sudsy lace.

The aroma delivers pleasant fruity esters, which makes the decision to use an ale yeast rather than a lager yeast a good choice. There isn't much 'darkness' and a hint of hops helps.

Munich Type Dark Beer is an offering that any Englishman should enjoy. It's on the mild side compared to most American fare these days, but there's enough flavor for multiple pints in a pub to be a great way to spend a rainy afternoon.

Harpoon got the dunkel part just right. It's darker than a brown ale and not as dark as a porter. Sweet-bitter balance is spot-on as well and might lean ever so slightly toward the latter. A gentle hop nip keeps things focused throughout. Tea leaves and medium-dark fruit round out the flavor profile.

The mouthfeel is fine for a 4.6%'er. Too bad the ABV is actually 5.6%. Okay, so I have a big beer bias. It never descends into wateriness, however, and is buoyed by a perfect amount of bubbles.

Munich Type Dark Beer is a wonderful effort that just about anyone should enjoy... from BMC drinkers (if they'd give it a chance) to the biggest beer geeks on the planet (if they'd give it a chance). I hope Harpoon sells a lot of this stuff.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A new one from Harpoon, cannot wait! My father in law always sends these regulars that I won't pick up and I love it. Served cold and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 04/08/2010.

The pour was nice and dark a burnt caramel color with a nice ruby tone to it as you held it up to the light. Huge off white head that just seemed to come up out of no where and dominate the profile completely. Really nice looking and surprised me from the start. Aroma is light, caramel, earthy and grainy. Hints of light roasted notes come through as it warms and a decent stab at a smoked note as well. Clean taste. Lighter then I would have thought, but it worked for me. Great mix of smoked notes, herbal hops, touches of bready grain and just a well rounded profile overall. Smooth, classic finish with a light touch on the tongue that hit me just right. Great, easy drinking session ale.

Overall surprised by this one, Harpoon really did a great job and they should be commended. Would go for this one again any day.

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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 Jason
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
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 smcolw
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Decent beige head (one finger thick on initial pour), very little lace. The color is brown without the typical touch of ruby.

Buttery sweetness in the aroma. This blended nicely with a touch of fresh hop. Surprisingly, there is also a touch of yeast.

Very clean taste featuring the dark malts with a counter-hop for balance. I am reminded of almonds and hazelnuts. The body is relatively thin; it feels closer to a lager rather than an ale. Carbonation is good.

This is a flavorful beer for a hot day. Without the weight of typical darker ales, this is a refreshing beer that can be easily consumed repeatedly...not that I'd recommend that.

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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.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Once more into the breach of tone77's bottles! I may crack open a CAN of something later today just to stay focused.

From the bottle: "Our Munich Dark honors the classic Bavarian style. Rich color, balanced maltiness, and a moderate hop finish; a full body with a surprisingly delicate mouthfeel. Enjoy!"

My moderate pour still managed to produce a massive two-plus fingers of rocky, light-tan head with decent retention. Color was a deep mahogany-brown with NE-quality clarity and a good bit of carbonation in evidence. Nose was chocolaty, more like milk chocolate than dark chocolate, though. Mouthfeel was slightly full, thanks to all of the carbonation and the taste was of a mild chocolate, definitely not roasty. Finish was likewise pleasant and chocolaty. It was not a bad beer, but as a self-avowed hophead, I would not want more than a couple of these at a time.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Caramel amber brown coca cola like in appearance creamy tan head leaves collar of lacing down my glass. Aroma: Chocolate and toffee hints nice fruity undertones, good stuff. Taste: Very balanced blend of darker roasted malts and mild herbal German hops. Malts bring out a slightly fruit caramel tone with a nutty edge not bad. Mouthfeel: Medium to light bodied beer even carbnonation. Drinkability: Dead on for a dunkel crisp flavors easy drinking dark brew nice.

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Photo of stakem
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark amber color with a tanned head and sticky lace all around the glass. Nose is a mixture of dark malt and citrus hops. Taste is slightly bitter up front with a nice balance of malt and grain. Clean and crisp finish. Medium to light feel with moderate carb. Pretty decent all around.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal clear brown with a very strong red highlight. Muted nose with little to it. Taste is thick with what I can only describe as an oil edge to it on the start. Changes into a very long lasting flavor adventure. Over time I get hints of roasted coffee. Worth trying as much for the complexity of flavors as anything else. Definitely worth going back to again, though I’d say best in the company of fellow beer snob friends so as to go over it’s finer points of style.

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