100 Barrel Series #17 - English Style Old Ale | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

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100 Barrel Series #17 - English Style Old Ale100 Barrel Series #17 - English Style Old Ale
Very Good
55 Ratings
100 Barrel Series #17 - English Style Old Ale100 Barrel Series #17 - English Style Old Ale

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

Style: English Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.90%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Harpoon Old Ale is inspired by the sustaining winter offerings of many English breweries. This complex & malty brew is marked by significant alcohol warmth, balanced bitterness, biscuit/roasted undertones, and sublime mouthfeel. Proper English yeast, traditional hop varietals, and generous malt bill create a wonderful companion for the fireside. Enjoyable for consumption now or for extended cellaring.

62 IBU

Added by Sycodrummer on 12-28-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 55 |  Reviews: 50
Reviews by JMD71:
Photo of JMD71
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled & reviewed 1/12/07:

Ap: A medium pour raises a solid finger of tight laced bubbles. Nice creamy, rocky head. Brilliant amber color & very clear. Slow carbonation rising throughout.

Ar: Solid maty aroma with slightest hint of hop in the background. Sweet honeyed toast with candied fruits.

Ta: Nice sweet, creamy flavor. Very rich & full with a hint of hops to balance. Notes of treacle & honey. Finishes with a slight bitterness. The ABV is well hidden.

Mo: Slightly viscous & syrupy. I find Old Ales tend be so was nto surprised. Finish leaves crisp feeling which warms with the alcohol.

Dr: Medium drinkability. More of a sipper to enjoy as an accompany a rich dessert. I found the dcreamy mouthfeel & sweetish flavor very easy to drink but became too much after a while.

Comments: I anjoyed this Old Ale's balance of sweet malt body with slight hop balance. Very teasty, but only have in smaller portions. The richness becomes cloying after a bit...

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More User Reviews:
Photo of lordofthewiens
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

#17 in the 100 barrel series with a date 122006 on the label. This was a copper-colored beer with a thick head and some nice lacing. Nice caramel aroma, fresh, maybe a little subdued. A great sweet, creamy, bread taste. Almost chewy. Some hops and alcohol also noticeable. This was a very smooth beer, but also quite filling. I was stuffed after the one bottle.

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Photo of BetterDarker
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22 ounce to a snifter glass.

Appearance- Beautiful clear golden amber with a white frothy head, some retention. Over all great color with small bubbles rising to the top

Smell- Immediate sweet malt then some earthy hops.

Taste- Very malty, not that bitter or acidic, slight earthy hoppiness in the finish.

Mouthfeel- A bit chewy, well carbonated for the style

Drinkability- This is a one and done for me. A tasty and enjoyable beer, but heavy on the malt side for more than one at a time.

Over all truly enjoyed this beer very much and a great representation of the style.

*edit* note on the sweetness, I stepped away from the beer for a few minutes and there was a fruit fly already doing the backstroke in my beer. Damn you warm early fall New England nights.

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Photo of IntriqKen
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It's always a pleasure to be able to try a new Old ale.
Pours a golden dark amber with lots of red hues and is topped with a massive off white head that melts to a wonderfully craggy covering leaving behind sticky lacing,.

Aromas are fruity and bready...tropical fruits and bread yeasts.

Taste follows aroma with the addition of brown sugar sweetness to the heavy tropical fruits and bready yeast flavors.

Mouthfeel and aftertaste is surprisingly clean...bright...refreshing...a hint of tropical fruits and alcohol warmth is all that I am left with.
Unfortunately a bad combination of too thin for how sweet it is ultimately. Sort of like Kool-Ade is.

Interesting Old Ale....too bad it is a limited series brew.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.62/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1PT 6 Fl Oz bottle poured into a giant mug.

AP: A totally clear brown Amber color, pretty vibrant color and very active and bubbly. 1/4 Deep, frothy and solid off-white head displays some very good retention qualities.

Smell: Buttery and creamy scented malt, touch of brown sugar and slight dark-berries like fruity whiff from the hops.

MF & Taste: Wow, very crisp and clean feeling and smooth at the end, but it lacks that nice hefty, chewy effect that some Old Ale's can have. I would say more of a medium body to full body, where as my favorite Old Ale's are totally full bodied. The taste is amazingly sweeet malts upfront, not very complex like some Old ales, caramel and brown sugar type sweetness, even my girlfriend said "UGhhhh, that's sweet then mellows nicely". There is a very nice herbal and earthy hop effect that does a good job trying to balance this out. It's a very enjoyable flavor, but clearly very "young" for an Old Ale, with flavors going in every direction except coming together. Bottom line: Buy one more and celler it for a year. The complexity might increase and meld together to form a less scattered array of flavor. This is still very good, a great Cold-weather brew.

DA: A few more months of celler time will make this much more drinkable. Still, I enjoyed it very much...but it's a bit odd for this style.

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Photo of Dewey0603
3.36/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear golden amber with a large tan foamy head. The head lasts and leaves very good lacing. The smell is very average with sweet malt and floral scents and little else. The taste is sweet with a ton of sweet malt,Belgian candy sugar,alcohol,and floral flavors. The aftertaste has some bitter hops making the flavors mix only so/so. The m/f is light and the flavors don't mix as well as other old ale's. Not bad,but some of Harpoon's other 100 Barrel Series beers are better.

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Photo of Gmann
3.33/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From the encore series. Pours a clear golden amber color with a smallish cream colored head, left a slight ring around the glass. The smell is very faint, almost non-existant; some light caramel malt. The taste is of a dry cracker and caramel malt and aged hops. There is some slight dark fruit notes in the back end. The feel is moderate with soft carbonation, has some slick qualities but finishes pretty dry. Decent flavor but probably could use some aging, the hops are still a bit too present.

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Photo of emerge077
2.86/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Brewed once, estimating that this bottle is a year old.

It poured with a nice orange jewel tone, pretty sharp in clarity. The initial foam died down to a thin ring over time. Sweet corn and malt in the nose, sharp whisky-ish alcohol. Cloying sweetness, barley & dried fruit, musty unpleasant grains. It has a far too boozy feel to it, greatly hindering drinkability. Couldn't finish my 6 oz. when so many better beers were available in front of me. Thanks to Jay23 for the sample.

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Photo of PeatReek
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Really looking forward to this as Bell's Old Ale is one of my favorite beers of all time. A somewhat rocky pour reveals the Harpoon to be crystal clear-bodied and copper-amber colored. About a half inch of head crops up and sticks around nicely, also lacing as it dies down a bit. The aroma is rich and caramel-sweet. Smells fresh & bright, perhaps just a hint of fruity hops in there. Taste: oh yeah! My favorite type of old ale, with intensely thick malt pale-malt flavors, Maerzen-like breadiness and a sweet edge nicely balanced by both a light bitterness and a noticeable alcohol bite. The body is super-thick; a brilliant beer for a cold winter's night.

Midway through the first pint (ugh, why do they only come in 22 oz bombers?), the sweetness is getting a bit cloying, which impacts the drinkability considerably. I would like to say I'll get one of these to age in the cellar, but it appears to have been filtered. Sigh.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.27/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle with a foil wrapped cap poured into several Goblets

A – Poured a nice orange tinted amber with a good amount of haziness and cloudiness to it. A nice two finger head of off white foamy lace formed on the top and gradually settled down to leave behind some nice concentric rings of lace in its wake. Very nice look with some carbonation evident from beginning to end.

S – Aroma was very sweet with a good amount of caramel in the nose that really started to come out as it warmed. Some hints of earthy tones with some grains and other bits of nuts and a touch of some grapes or pears in there as well. Some notes of oak or wood of some kind nestled way in the back.

T – The flavor was very nice. Much more mellow then most old ales I have ever had. This was really well blended and offered no hint of alcohol at all. A very nice soothing caramel flavor just washed over you with hints of fruit and earthy grains. The follow through and finish were also very nice and tight with a very well rounded grassy flavor in the end. Very nice and again mellowed down old ale. Not the hot bourbon flavored I am used to.

M – Very smooth with a nice light to medium body that held up well with the carbonation throughout the session. A very nice and creamy like feel that did not get stale or come through too overbearing. Lighter then most of the style that I am used to.

D – Really very nice. This was actually a bit above a sipper as the ABV was fairly modest and the flavor lended itself to a bit of a bigger sip. I had no issues with the bottle.

Overall this was interesting, It was a good deal lighter then any of the style I have had before and really left a very good impression on me I would not hesitate to try this one again and would love to find some more.

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Photo of AsburyParkJMH
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice looking crisp amber colour with a big frothy head that has decent retention time as well as a good amount of stickiness to it.

The aroma is somewhat sweet, somewhat rugged malt. Bread is definitely present along with a bit of fruitiness that mixes with hints of alcohol that are noticeable throughout.

The flavour is very much in line with the aroma. General sweetness mixes with the fruit flavours here. Alcohol mixes its way in and out of each sip and is always there but never really offensive. There's a bready base to this one that seems to fit the bill nicely. The only real difference from the aroma is that there's a bit of a wood presence in the mix that adds a bit more complexity. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and slightly chewy.

This one was pretty good. It wasn't great in any aspect but was clearly pretty good to good everywhere, which is fine by me. This has been a nice experimental series from Harpoon and this stop/style came out quite nicely.

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Photo of adowney523
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a pint glass. Appearance is a dark amber color, clear, with a quickly fading white head.

Smell is faintly of alcohol, estery with light tropical fruits.

Taste is very sweet upfront, particularly for an old ale. Toasted malt and dark fruits at the beginning fade to an alcoholic finish with a light hop bite.

Drinkability is above average but it is not a session beer.

Notes: I will definitely buy this beer again. Maybe a will buy a few bombers and age them....

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Photo of BuckSpin
4.28/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: warmed 22oz bottle conditioned in an oversized crystal snifter

I love old ales, but its a genre you don't see very often. Combine that with the allure of the quality of the 100 Barrel Series brewmasters and I had to try this.

Poured a beautiful, golden brassy cherry amber, just rich looking with the slowest parade of carbonation just lazily floating up from the snifter bottom. Head was a solid 2 fingers plus of agitated, mixed foam that slowly faded but never disappated, pale gold-ivory in hue that laced staccato like in patches. Visually this is a stunner, lighter & richer in hue than most old ales I've had but just a headturner.

Nose is soft, floral with honeycomb, clover, light spiciness, pear, malted, stale bread, bittersweet sugars like your grandfather's chewy caramel candies you remember from his glass dish (but never touched unless he offered).

Its light & sweet on the tongue, a honeylike quality with a bitter couterweight...nice. Very delicate, which I am surprsied by. Most Old Ales I've had have been a bit raw, brutish, but this is very refined, dare I say "posh"? Its very even and incredibly well balanced. The malts rise on the pallete as do some of those grandpa's chewies, then all dance together. This is going down very easy, smooth. A subtle richness and pleasant warming glow linger after you swallow, filling the mouth with a slightly syrupy bittersweetness that is initially a tad filmy but (clever) the high ABV cuts its with warmth and replaces the film with a nice chewy quality...how ironic given my comparison.

Damn, this is easy to drink & very enjoyable. If it was a slow session I could see this working. Its rich, very balanced, well thought out & expertly crafted. My hat is off to Brewmaster Hamp for a very well crafted & brewed interpretation of an Old Ale. I will definitely seek out more of these and cellar some to revisit this again in years to come. I highly recommend it.

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Photo of auxiliary
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance - Nice amber color and head with lace the lingered around.

smell - Biscut smell and sweet fruit smell.

taste - Malt and fruit taste with some spice. Not much biterness here.

mouthfeel - Medium body, not much carbination.

drinkability - This is a sipper had this for Easter dinner. Stuck on ice and cooled like win, served in a tulip glass. Was very nice, would buy this again.

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Photo of erosier
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a reddish brown color with a thick off-white / tan head that has nice lacing on the sides of the glass. It smells of sweet malts and alcohol. It tastes of sweet malts and a few hops. The taste is good for an old ale and the mouthfeel is good for a beer this big. The drinkability is OK, but mostlty because of the high gravity.

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up on a flyer on my last trip to Jaspers for home brew supplies. I love english barleywines and old ales and find it tough to turn down a new example of either style to try. Glad I did.

A - Clear golden with a touch of red, Good 1/2 inch white head. Dissipates moderately.

S - Nice caramel and malty undertones. A hard to nail down slighly off scent at the edges. Not quite metallic, not quite hops. Aparent but not enough to be distracting. Might just be the brew settling down in the bottle.

T - The taste continues with the caramel flavors and steps out a bit with a hint of brown sugar. While the hops don't seem apparent, its nicely balanced and not cloying.

M - medium bodied, nicely carbonated. Definitely feel the ABV on this one, warming not harsh or hot.

D - A nice brew indeed. Drank better at room temp than cellar temp. I will enjoy this one again!

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Photo of geexploitation
3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a bright amber, almost jewel-like, with a substantially lacy head for an old ale... although it fades to a collar after just a couple of minutes. Fruity aromas of peaches and a slightly graham crackery honey note. On the palate, bright carbonation and juicy acidity, with substantial balancing hop bitterness and perfect sweetness (not too much, not too little) for the style. Marshmallow sweetness comes up too. It's all got a light touch. Not heavy or syrupy (the ample carbonation helps) but still a ton of malt. I enjoyed this; it's not perfect, but it's pretty decent.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap 2/4/07 at Pitcher's Pub in Cumberland, RI, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep copper color, with a large light brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malt, brown sugar, and a little bit of alcohol.

T: The taste is malty and contains flavors of bourbon, brown sugar, caramel and a little bit of hops. There's a slight alcohol burn with each sip. The after taste is very sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easy despite the alcohol sting, only slightly filling, this one is a very good sipper, but there are other beers I would choose first.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.66/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased as a single from Julio's, Marlboro, MA. Gold foiled cap.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a frothy 1 1/4" beige head over the clear copper brew. Head holds and holds, with heavy, full-coating lacing. Aroma is sweet lightly fruity grains. Taste is the same fruity maltiness upfront, mellows in the middle, and closes lightly bitter. Mouthfeel is a bit thin for the flavor, which enhances the drinkability, so it's a wash. A bit more approachable than many in the style, this one continues the pleasant brews of the 100bbl series.

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Photo of dickieb
4.16/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poors a much clearer copper then i would expect with a big clingy head. Smells sweet and fruity with a fair amount of yeast in the backround. taste starts sweet aand yeasty, and goes into a grainy crisp finish. Fairly inoffensive, but yet a bit of warming alcohol makes its way through. I woudnt want more then the bomber of it, but still a very good beer for my tastes

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Photo of kmo1030
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

brown and coppery amber with a thin light tan head.
floral and fruity aroma, with caramel, vanilla, bubblegum, faint butter and pepper. some orange shows up with warmth.
the taste is very sweet with loads of caramel vanilla. it's got faintly oaked flavors, and some strange sort of minty peppery hops thing going on. it is in fact more bitter than it originally seems, but still very sweet. orange citrus comes out in the flavor too after it warms, almost creamsicle-like.
it's got a full creamy slick mouthfeel that suits this beer well.
drinkabilty is not bad, but suffers slightly from being a little too sweet. this is a very interesting beer, that harpoon should be proud to have put out. i think it could really benefit from some age as it seems almost too fresh.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Im sampling a 22 oz bottle of this brew at cellar temperature. Pouring the beer into a large snifter, I get a clear chestnut hued beer with some light ruby highlights. There is a large fluffy off white head that foams up 3 cm easily even with a gentle pour.
Aroma is mostly malt with some brown sugar and red grape, pear and a bit of floral hops mixing in.
First sip reveals an average body with smooth texture and very fine and spacious almost non-existent. The flavor is fairly sweet with a mixture of fruits, pears, red grape, and some toffee too. There is also some warming and peppery booze on the finish. Not a lot, jsut enough to remind you this is a fairly high octane brew.
Nice overall experience and fairly esay to drink another winner in the 100bbl series.

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Photo of Kudashov
2.91/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This was a 22.oz bomber that I opened to enjoy the Bruins game .I was going to practice my guitar playing but I thought " ahhh screw it , I'm not going to be Johnny Marr " . Have had other Harpoon products long time ago but nothing to worth remembering . " Single batch , limited edtion beer " After unwrapping the gold foil on the neck the brew poured into my pint glass a wonderful reddish brown clear liquid . Nice two finger head .The aroma is hops and some malts . The taste is very pleasing . Sweet and syrupy . The lacing is still all over the glass . Another night , another tasty brew . I will pick this up again .

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Photo of jdhilt
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a three-fingered cream head that slowly fades to a thin layer leaving a good lace. Clear amber color. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Orange rind nose. Flavor is orange rind and spices, malts and hops balance nicely. $5.49 for a 22 oz bottle from Capital Convenience Concord, NH.

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Photo of smcolw
4.28/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beers pours a dark amber color, similar to clove honey. Completely clear. The head is chaulky white with excellent stamina and superb lacing.

Very floral, malt aroma. A light touch of hop, but mostly sweetness.

Up front is a sweet touch of malt sugar. This quickly gives way to the presence of hops--still it is well-balanced. Hops predominate the swallow. The aftertaste is fading hops and strong alcoholic warmth which carries through to the belly. Very smooth mouthfeel--low carbonation and almost buttery body.

I think this is an exceptional beer. I can detect no flaws; indeed, it is complex, full-flavored, aromatic and worthy of several returns to the store.

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100 Barrel Series #17 - English Style Old Ale from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
Beer rating: 3.85 out of 5 with 55 ratings