Harpoon Dark | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

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Harpoon DarkHarpoon Dark
Very Good
704 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 704 |  Reviews: 370
Photo of wcudwight
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown with a nice inch sticky head that has good retention.
Smell is a mixture of roasted malts and some fruitiness.
Taste is a nice malty mix of sweetness and roasted flavors. Some coffee and smoke mixed in. Has a mild hop finish.
Mouthfeel is fair. Nothing to get excited about.
This is a beer that has far exceeded my expectations. A very nice dark session beer.

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Photo of granger10
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Chestnut brown in color with auburn on the sides. Nice sized creamy tan head rises above the glass. Falls fast but leaves a nice pattern of lacing around the glass. Aroma is a bit weak but quite nutty from what I'm getting. A bit roasty as well. Taste is smooth with malt accents. Toasty flavors dominate with caramel and brown sugar providing the sweetness. Creamy body is enjoyable yet too thin. Carbonation is a little too much. A slight fruity flavor from the hops comes but is drowned out by the weaker mouthfeel. Ends dry with a bitter chocolate flavor. This was really enjoyable and easy to drink.

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

Appearance: Pours a nice dark brown color with ruby hues. It had a creamy 1-2 finger light tan head, and heavy lacing.

Smell: Initially a bold sweet sugar / caramel aroma filled the nose. It quickly subsided to a mild dark malt aroma with a hidden suggestion of coco.

Taste & mouthfeel: There is a very solid malt backbone aiding the creamy sensation as the beer entered my mouth. It has a sharp sugar character and a very toasted malt flavor. There is a gentle crispness around the edges. A bit of alcohol and subtle balancing hops are present as well.

Drinkability: This is an extremely drinkable beer. It is a mostly straightforward brown ale that is simply easy to put down a few. A very solid American Brown Ale. I certainly recommend trying this one. Well-done Harpoon.

Hope this is helpful.

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

Clear dark brown with ruby hues and a light, tight-bubbled head. Light, clean caramel malt aroma - a faint toastiness. Smooth roasted malt flavor - caramel, nuts, and a light lingering sweetness - moderate hoppy finish. Medium, dry mouthfeel.

This is a solid, malty beer from Harpoon. Its nothing all that remarkable but it could be very enjoyable with a meal.

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Photo of Sycodrummer
3.82/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

An aggressive pour from a half-gallon growler into a nonic yielded about one finger of white head that was quick to fade but left plenty of lacing. The beer was a dark ruby brown color with hues of darker brown throughout.

The smell was heavy on malt and caramel. Some nut and bread dough as well. Slight hint of sweetness in the nose too.

The body is sturdy with a dominating malt profile with caramel candy sweetness to start. Hints of toffee, fresh bread, and a slight nutty/flowery taste as well. Some hop presence detected, but mild at best. Slightly chewy, but a nice consistancy to the finish.

Medium firm body with a creamy finish.

Enjoyable and sessionable. A solid beer all around and great fresh from the brewery (as this was). One of my favorites from Harpoon's regular offerings.

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Photo of MrSeth
3.66/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a cream-coffee color dense head over a walnut color body. Looks the part.

Smells is straightforward, toasty malt and some hops. It's not fruity or spicey from what I can tell. It just is what it is.

Taste is very rewarding. Again it's straightforward, warm and wonderful toasty malt and a smidge of bitter at the end. A decent balance of flavors, but not complex. This is by far one of my favorite of Harpoon's offerings. It is good on tap at bars, still worth picking up a 6-pack, and would even pair well with some chocolates. This beer has a fair amount of carbonation, and it's also fairly smooth for a "dark" ale.

Drinkability: I enjoy the heck out of these. One of my favorites on tap or in a bottle.

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Photo of danielocean03
3.3/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a clear, rich dark reddish brown color reminiscent of coca-cola into a pint glass. Left a full finger off white head that slowly fell to light lacing. Aroma is sweet, rich roasty malt and caramel, along with notes of brown sugar and molasses. Taste is primarily led by sweet roasted malt, slight coffee flavor present as well. Starts off with a creamy smooth sweetness before roughing up the palette with a roasty coffee bitterness that washes the tongue well. Mouthfeel is lighter to medium bodied, lower levels of carbonation. Leaves a slight slick oily feeling along with the slightly bittersweet aftertaste. Overall, would consider this an enjoyable beer with a nice level of complexity without any frills.

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Photo of bashiba
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a nice dark brown with a huge creamy tan head.

Smell had a nice bit a sweet molasses and toffee with a slight burnt malt smell.

Taste had a nice burnt malt flavor with hints of toffee and coffee with a good mix of both sweet and bitter flavors bringing a nice balance to this.

Mouthfeel was about medium with a decent creaminess.

Overall a pretty decent drink.

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Photo of bignick
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is definitely one of the better Harpoon offerings. It pours a dark brown with a nice head. The smell is roasty with a tough of caramel. It tastes good, but I that it is not as rich as it could be...it is just a bit thin for my liking. I taste roasty coffee with hints of vanilla and toffee. Overall, it is a tasty and drinkable, if unspectacular brown ale.

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Photo of Blakaeris
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very dark brown, almost black with ruby highlights. Head is thick and leaves plenty of lacing as it disipates.

Smell is bitter coffee and roasted malt.

Taste is surprsingly hearty. Burnt grain, toffee, and hints of chocolate. Hops have a nice presense and give a very dry finish. Coffee is a constant throughout and lingers.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and chewy.

Overall this is a recommended and enjoyable brew.

Thanks Bashiba for handing this one over.

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Photo of fightingwords
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served from a bottle into a .5L seidel.

A--Very dark brown, could be mistaken for brown. Deep auburn if held to the light. The head and the cola reminded me visually of Pepsi or Coca-Cola. The head needed a bit of a rousing, light and fizzy. Less than a finger of an off-white head fell into a film with good lacing.

S--Malt all the way. From the bottle it was sweet with an alcohol zing. From the glass it was still sweet but I could draw out some toasted coffee and nutty notes.

T--Again, overwhelmingly maltly. For a beer that my palate founded malty I still found it well rounded in that initially I found the taste sweet which then moved to a toasted sweetend coffee flavor and finished with a hoppy bitterness that I liked alot. I smelled sugary alcohol from the bottle but I couldn't taste it at all. I won't call it complex but for me I found it multi-dimensional even if it's a malty brew.

M--light to medium body. Odd finish in that it coated my mouth but still finished dry. No carbonation to be felt.

O--I'm partial to these brews and this one was a good drink. Will definately revisit.

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Photo of MSchae1017
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was tasted in a pint glass from the bottle.

This beer pours a very dark almost opaque brown with a frothy tan head. There is not too much lacing but a thin frothy film stays the whole way down the beer. The smell is rather strong smell of roasted malts with strong coffee and chocolate aromas. The taste is also strong with roasted chocolate and coffee aromas but it is also balanced nicely with some bitterness from the hops. This beer is nicely thick and carbonated makeing for a pleasant mouthfeel. Overall I really do enjoy this beer. It almost reminds me of a porter with the strong roasted malt flavors. This is one of the better brown ales I have had.

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Photo of NEhophead
3.46/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Creamy, light tan head that gives way to a filmy sheet after a moment. Rustic, deep brown in color, nearly opaque with shades of dark copper and scarlet. Thin, intricate lacing plastered around the entire glass.

Light tones of dark chocolate and coffee. Semi-sweet fruity esters: grape and cherry. Rather faint aromatics.

Milk chocolate and coffee malt character. Tones of semi-sweet and creamy caramel. Very light plum, date; husky grains. Smooth finish followed by a hazlenut and unbittered coffee aftertaste.

Medium bodied; silky and creamy on the palate.

Not a bad brew, but rather tame in terms of aroma and flavor. Not one I'll remember in a few days.

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.06/5  rDev -19.5%
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.

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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 Dewey0603
3.08/5  rDev -18.9%
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.

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Photo of haggis
3/5  rDev -21.1%
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.

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Photo of steinlifter
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured the color of Coca-cola, rich tan collar which retained well.
aroma of raisins.
hop bite up front which melloed to a malty semi-dry finish, raisin and plum flavors.
light, yet malty mouthfeel.
drinkability is decent, perhaps a bit drier than I like, but nice flavor, not bad.

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Photo of daliandragon
4.19/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An attractive dark brown color with little head but a pleasant cloudiness and mild lacing to speak for it, which is something. A varied and delicious aroma, with roasted malt and fruits, perhaps banana or berry being among the most prevelant. Also a coffee and sugary tone to the nose. Very strong and nice.
A nice chocolate malt flavor with a reasonable hop balance and a bitter aftertaste. Mouthfeel is decent if a little thin. I've had this beer a few times and didn't love it but I am enjoying it quite a bit right now. If you're in the mood for a Munich style dark, you could do a lot worse.

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Photo of pretzellogic
2.14/5  rDev -43.7%
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.

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

12 oz brown standard Harpoon bottle poured into a chalice.

It pours a reddish black, with a slight head that doesn't stick around long. It's an attractive beer to look at.

Nice malty nose - with the toasted grain smell strong on the top.

The initial taste brings out a hidden dryness that you don't expect from the smell. Very nice in the mouth. As I proceed further down and warmer into the beer, the sweetness I noticed up front come thru nice and strong. It is a real winner as a finisher - nice and clean.

I do not typically like the offerings from Harpoon. They've always come across as a Sam's wannabe that overall just isn't as good. However, this is a tasty brew - which I like.

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Photo of raven3131
3.3/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear dark brown with a thin head that dissapeared quickly. Not a whole lot of diversity here, though not a totally boring beer. Mild hop and malt notes, and the nose was muted.

This beer would have benefited from some form of spicy or sharp food along with it. Alone it tends to dissapear, but I did drink it rather quickly. I was looking for a touch more hop character...

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Photo of LPorter33
3.29/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Purchased single bottle from Martignetti's

Appearance = average looking brown ale. Typical rootbeer like color with poor head and lacing.

Smell = Dark roasted malt with deep chocolate flavors. A little hoppier than expected which is pleasant.

Taste = Average tasting brown ale. Malty as expected with dark roasted coffee/chocolate flavors. Beer was incredibly flat and not full and heavy which caused a poor mouthfeel.

Edit: I'm bumping the taste and drinkability score up a bit because as the beer warmed a bit it became a lot more complex and robust and I started to enjoy flavors that certainly weren't there before. I still don't think it's much above average overall but the taste did improve significantly.

Overall = Not a fan of this one. It has average drinkability but nothing redeeming. There's many other better examples of this style and I suggest you go there first. I won't be buying this one again.

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Photo of ahking
3.27/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

One of the better Harpoon brews. Pours a nice mahogany (or even darker) color and an okay head. Taste is nice and quite smoky in my opinion. Woody, carmely flavors are also quite prominent. Quite drinkable as this beer is not too heavy in mouthfeel. Recommended.

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Photo of SupaCelt
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This has the brown ale: ruby meets brown makes weird purple colour to it. It produces a beige head that looks thick and creamy in certain spots and thin and less dense in others. Split personality headage. At any rate the thing does not remain viable for any notable length of time. It produces random little scattershot areas of lace pepperings. Through the darkness, I can see thin springs of carbonation emitting their presence.

The smell is much more subdued than I had imagined based on the darkness of the beer. I was expecting bountiful scents when in fact all I took away from the experience was a slight coffee waft with some nebulized cream and buttery nuts. It works though. A brown ale for sure.

The taste is creamy. It has elements of coffee. It has elements of buttery breadiness. It has an impression of bitter chocolate in small quantity. Hops and Munich malts. A smidge nutty to boot. Pleasant.

The mouthfeel is really quite uproarously bubbly feeling. The brown ale effect as it were. This just falls in as a tickle too light.

Drinkability is fair. Not the best of the bunch.

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Harpoon Dark from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
Beer rating: 3.8 out of 5 with 704 ratings