Harpoon 100 Barrel Series #22 - Steve Stewart's Firth Of Forth | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

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Harpoon 100 Barrel Series #22 - Steve Stewart's Firth Of ForthHarpoon 100 Barrel Series #22 - Steve Stewart's Firth Of Forth

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

Style: Scottish Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
The story of Harpoon’s Steve Stewart’s Firth of Forth Ale began at Harpoon a decade ago. Back in 1998 a young Scottish brewer named Steve Stewart crossed the big pond and came to Harpoon in Boston as part of a brewery intern exchange program. Steve apprenticed at Harpoon for a couple months then took his new-found appreciation of American craft beer back to his full-time brewing job at a large Irish brewery. After some time, Steve decided to return to his birthplace -Scotland - and open his own microbrewery.
Over the years, Steve kept in touch with the brewers at Harpoon, filling them in on his brewing progress. In April 2007 when Harpoon staff took their annual employee anniversary trip, they paid a special visit to Steve's microbrewery in Edinburgh, Scotland. Between toasting pints of Steve's award-winning cask ales the Harpoon brewers invited Steve to guest brew a 100 Barrel Series beer. He accepted with delight. For several months Steve and our brewers collaborated on the recipe, an American twist on a traditional Scottish Ale.

28 IBU

Added by Todd on 02-25-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 131 | Ratings: 143
Photo of mikereaser
3.6/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

this is several years old at this point

A - pours a deep chestnut with not alot of foam whatsoever
S - aroma now is a bit oxidized with some hints of brown sugar and sweet malts
T - brown sugar dominates along with some sweet malts, the flavor at this point is very thin, a bit of soggy cardboard indicates that its past its prime
M - medium bodied with some sweet malts shining through along with some nice citrusy hops that haven't had the thought to leave yet
D - very drinkable. It has a nice blend of funkiness.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.97/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked this beer up at Greens liquor tonight. I thought that it was an older series, and this was the last bottle, so I guess I was lucky to get this one.

Appearance: Poured pretty dark with a little bit of haze. The beer had a reddish tint to it, and poured with a small 1/4" head that dissipated quickly. There was a consistent small ring of foam that stayed as the beer was consumed.

Aroma: I get a whole bunch of sweet caramel notes like I should, and there seems to be a subtle Peat thing going on in there. Otherwise, the hops are reserved, so they aren't throwing a bunch of citrusy American hops in there to screw up a Scottish style.

Taste: The beer is very malty with a little bit of hops to balance in the finish and that is about it. That is good. There is a boat load of caramel in here, and it comes across the palate a whole lot more formidable than a 5% beer does. The body is medium with ample carbonation for the style. The finish is owned by the malt.

Opinion: Overall this is a pretty good beer and a good representation of the style. I was a bit concerned when seeing that they used American hops in a Scottish style, but they did it well so that you can't really tell if they hadn't told you. I like the flavor and balance and am glad that I got the opportunity to try this beer.

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Photo of ThaBobfather
3.8/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From notes on 07/21/08

Pours a very murky nearly brown color with mostly tan, thin head.
Smells of some caramel, maybe some sweet malt.
Tastes very smokey with some strong malt, sweet flavor.
The finish is murky and has a lot of coffee bitter in it.
Highly drinkable.

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Photo of mjd83goblue
3.29/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber.

Pours a little flat and generally looks like muddy water. Not a good start.

Not much jumping out on the nose. A bit of caramely sweetness. Taste isn't as rich as one might expect from the style, but otherwise decent. Roasted Scottish malt, a touch of
charcoal. A bit of hops at the end. Thin mouthfeel.

Nothing memorable about this one.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

G: Poured into a dimpled stein.

A: Pours a thick, cola-brown with a very decent head and plenty of carbonation on top. The beer is almost opaque in the glass. Decent lacing.

S: Contrary to other reviewers, I'm getting a pretty good (and fairly strong) smell out of this one. Deep malts and a caramel character. Slight hops (wonder if there were more when this was first released?)

T: An initial hop bitterness (reminds me ever-so-slightly of Alpha King) and then fades into darker malts. Caramel flavors are present, as well as a little bit of nut.

M: A little thinner than what I would have expected. Also, not a ton of carbonation. Slightly creamy, though actually quite watery.

D: Overall, fairly decent drinkability, but nothing great. Mouthfeel isn't quite right, and the taste isn't as strong as I would like.


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Photo of merlin48
3.78/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bomber pours a clear chestnut body with a medium sized beige head. Some delicate sheet lacing hangs on the glass.

Aroma is malty caramel mostly, with hints of earthy hops and a faint metallic note.

Mouthfeel is light medium, even slightly watery, and is the lowpoint of the beer. Low medium carbonation.

Taste has a bready maltiness that is sweet with caramel and toffee. Earthy hops provide a balancing bitterness. There might be a faint wisp of smoky malt underneath but it could be my imagination.

Very enjoyable, even sessionable. Not the best Scotch ale made in America, but better than the ratings here.

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Photo of nick76
3.37/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

The aroma is very sweet and fruity with toasted malt, ginger, fruit, chocolate, and spices. The appearance is brown with a medium head. The flavor is like the aroma with a light hoppy finish. The palate is thin. Overall it's a little strange but pretty easy to drink.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.18/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sample at Barley's Smokehouse. This brew is a clear copper color with a thin off-white head that diminishes steadily. Small patches of lacing on the glass. The aroma is malty with touches of caramel and nuts. Medium-bodied and smooth with flavors of bready malt, caramel and hops. The finish is short and sweet with a caramel aftertaste. Slightly above average overall.

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Photo of PhillyStyle
3.03/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 220z bottle:

The beer poured a clear brown with some reddish hints around the edges when held up to light. The beer had a tan-ish or light brown head that was fairly thick that was well retained. This was the best part of the beer.

The aroma was really nonexistent. A very light malt aroma to it. I expected a much bigger and robust malt aroma, but what I got was something that lacked any kind of quality what so ever.

The taste was pretty straight forward and simple, light malt. Again, I expected a heartier, robust flavor, as most Scottish Ales bring to the table. No hops to speak of and no sweetness or smokiness to it either.

The carbonation of seemed to be right, but the beer was lighter than expected. This is just an average beer and to sure, there are better Scottish Ales to be had.

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Photo of damienblack
3.57/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours kind of a stagnant amber, with a thin, kind of sickly looking head. Visually uninspiring, beer looks a little dead. Smells of tea leaves and something else, maybe caramel. Has a bit of a malt profile, but not so much as you would expect for the style. Hints of a tangy sweetness (but not the kind of sweetness you're looking for, but something tougher for me to quantify... like a tangy funk? but like a sweetened tea? it's in the background, so i digress...), and then in the aftertaste maybe some black tea. Not much of a hop presence. Someone else said it better, a bit of hop bitterness without any real hop flavor. Feels light and a bit watery on the palate, biscuity all around with a dry finish, and leaves a feeling kind of like the beer looks, flat and dead. Pretty mediocre all around, I haven't tried a lot of scotch ales but I doubt this does the genre well. Were this one to be re-released somewheres down the line, I wouldn't pursue it again. An OK session beer, but nothing to write home about.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.06/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark blood orange with brighter Sunkist edges. The beer is crowned with a rich, creamy, light brown sugar colored slice of foam that peaked at three fingers after an enthusiastic pour. Thick sheets of Swiss cheese-like lace look appealing as well.

The aroma is low on power and lacks both definition and distinctiveness. It's mid-range malty (steely caramel) and has essentially no hop presence, which is to be expected in beer of this style. Something has to change on the palate for FOFA to a worthwhile brew.

Steve Stewart's invitation to return to Harpoon to brew a Scottish ale must have seemed like a good idea at the time. Unfortunately, it didn't result in memorable beer. Two words that come to mind are 'bland' and 'boring'. Let's also add 'simple' to the list.

Brewing rule #6: beer of a malt-dominant style should always contain a sufficient amount of malt. Not in this case. Even with warming there's very little flavor. Just some watery caramel with a hint of earthiness and very little sweetness. A modest amount of hop bitterness (with no real hop flavor) ushers in the somewhat abbreviated finish.

Despite a healthy blast of CO2 on cap cracking, and the creation (and repeated recreation) of a decent head, the mouthfeel feels underbubbled. It's also on the thin side, even when style is taken into consideration.

Firth of Forth Ale isn't bad beer by any means, it's just depressingly average beer. Either bolder flavors faded with time or they were never there to begin with. Probably the latter. In any case, better Scottish ales shouldn't be too hard to come by.

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Photo of kirok1999
3.2/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark amber with a light floaty head. Slight lacing.
Woody smell, dusky and musky, not at all sweet like you would expect from a Scotch ale.
Somewhat weak flavor. A very dry finish with hints of wood, mild herbs, bread, slight hops. Very carbonated and somewhat difficult to drink. Not much like any Scotch ale I've ever had. The lack of sweetness puts me off being able to finish it.

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Photo of glid02
3.48/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got this from Green's on Ponce in Atlanta.

Pours a clear brown color with dark amber highlights. Head is one finger of white foam that dissipates quickly into a wispy layer of bubbles on top and a thin ring around the glass. Not a whole lot of lacing.

Smells of sweet caramel malt with a hint of smokiness.

Tastes good. Very sweet caramel malt up front with a very mild smokiness and even more mild chocolate flavor.

Mouthfeel is alright. It seems a bit thin, although the carbonation is at a good level and it still goes down pretty smoothly.

Drinkability is alright. I'm coming around on Scottish ales, but they still seem too sweet to me. I also prefer a bit more of a smoky character.

Overall this was a solid beer for the style but was nothing special. However, the beer was good enough to make me want to try more of the 100 series after being underwhelmed by most of Harpoon's other beers. Worth a shot.

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Photo of yossarian14
3.68/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark chestnut with amber edges as the light comes through. Good sticky spotty lacing.

S - roasted malt, caramel, ripe fruit

T - Malty, sweet, a little smoke and finishes tart

M - Carbonation is right on, its light-bodied which is my nice way of saying it is watery.

D - Very drinkable, but I'm not interested enough to need another.

Not bad for the style, but like other Harpoon 100 Barrels, not very interesting or adventurous.

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Photo of weeare138
3.77/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a transparent dark chestnut brown with an off-white head that slowly fades into a mild cap. Scattered bits of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of toasted nuts, caramel, toffee, with some smokey meat, and ripe fruit.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a blending of caramel and earthy, sauteed crimini mushrooms.
Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, smooth, zippy up front with carbon dioxide.

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Photo of Sycodrummer
3.72/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the foil capped bomber into a thistle. The beer was a mohoganny brown in color with bubbly, fluffy head and lacing that was quick to fade. Very still in the glass.

The nose is sweet malt, caramel, raisins, chocolate, and a very faint hoppiness.

Taste has sweetness that grabs the palate first with chocoloate covered raisins coming thru. Faint hop flavors grab the side of the tounge and this is balanced out with caramel and toffee flavored back by a bready chewy finish. Sweetness present throughout but not cloying.

Medium body with traces of carbonation. I thought there might be a bit more to the body (a little "chewier") especially as the beer warmed, but this didn't happen.

Overall a nice beer, I would have a liked a little heavy, sweeter beer from a scottish ale, but enjoyable nonetheless.

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Photo of scottg
4.33/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into an imperial pint.

Pours a clear mahogany color with a two finger tan cloudy head with good retention and sticky thick lacing. Aromas of caramel, raisins, and roasted malt. Up front flavor of sweet caramel, raisins and grapes with a lemon hop middle and a chocolate finish. Medium high carbonation, full body, this is a mouth cleansing beer. Great drinkability, there is just enough hop flavor to balance the very sweet malt. This is a mild, non aggresive Scotish Ale, very good.

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Photo of plaid75
3.91/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark amber hue with a one and a half finger foamy white head. There was good retention and very good lacing.

The smell featured a spicy caramel malt with some estery, musty yeast, raisin and an earthy hop.

The taste consisted of a medium weight caramel malt with overtones of estery and earthy yeast spice as well as a slightly drying hop. Very good doughy aftertaste.

The mouthfeel was toward the lighter side of the style.

Overall a tasty and rather user friendly Scottish ale.

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Photo of SLeffler27
3.71/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A brown, perhaps auburn, but definitely crisp and clear beer occupies my pint glass with a big, stylish, dense, almond hat, that knows no manners and stay around to the end.

Hmm, soapy molasses is a bummer, but there is some chocolate and leather coming through as well.

Nuts! Seriously, what kind of nuts are in this ale, and while we are at it, who would have thought to mix in some beef broth and molasses? Regardless, this is a hearty Yum.

Fills the palate with a smooth, medium body and light carbonation.

Steve has a nice offering here, easily consumable, and definitely worthy of a session.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.27/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My favorite thing about this beer was that it looked good, smelled better and tasted great - peaked in the most important category.

Beer is a medium amber color with a 1 finger tan head that is pretty creamy but fades at a quick pace.

A scotch ale with some hops in the nose?! Niiiice. Of course the malts are there, sweet and roasty. A bit smokey, hints of root beer. Smells like a light scotch ale with a nice grassy hop presence.

Taste is quite similar to the nose. This beer has an amazing ability to alternate flavors between malty sweetness and hop bitterness. Has some Euro mineral flavors in there as well. This is a very good tasting beer, I could easily finish a whole bomber or two by myself. Drinkability is high. A scotch ale on the lighter side, well done Harpoon and Steve!

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.03/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Something about the appearance of this beer does it for me. It's probably the deep burgundy color, its burnt reddish hues almost entrancing, but I also dig the creamy head. It may not be that thick, but it retains well and it's made of various-sized bubbles. Reminds of crackly puffed rice in appearance and the body continues to glow brightly.

Malty, toasty, lightly smoky nose, with a hint of sour or unripe berry and a dab of peat.

Flavor is no surprise, as it offers everything the nose hints at, but that's not to say it's not delicious. It's not a powerhouse of a Scottish Ale, flavor-wise, but it offers a variety of things to consider and the balance is excellent. Obviously a very malty thing, but its more delicate features, like crisp berry, Granny Smith apples and flowery hops, make it sing. A slightly sour finish adds to the depth.

Mouth seems a little too tingly at first, but with warming it smooths out considerably, with a slick buttery texture, full yet not at all thick.

A completely satisfying beer and worthy example of the style. Harpoon seems to brew best when they do these 100 Barrel things; after the Weizenbock and now this, I feel compelled to pick up each new 100 Barrel release before it's gone. Give this one a shot.

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Photo of kels
4.27/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at Fries Cafe in Clifton during their BeerFest 08. Not like Scottish ales I'm used to, but in good ways.

Appearance: Warm orange-tinged golden color with a very short, white head and thin, light lacing that follows it down. Very clear appearance with light carbonation bubbling around the head.

Smell: Light malts with a dry, crispy grain presence. Light fruitiness is also detectable - pears or crisp green apples.

Taste/Mouthfeel: The mouth is richly carbonated in a way that makes the beer feel light but still very full. The taste is brighter than most Scottish ales I've had with a distinct crispy, crunchy green apple presence complementing the pleasant and loud graininess. I really like the balance of the hops and the malts - neither is overpowering, but both are present in slight bitterness and warm, chewy malty sweetness. The multiple flavors are more enjoyable than distracting.

Drinkability: Not session, but pretty high.

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Photo of barefootbrewer
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: This beer poured a deep brown/amber color with an average, but quickly dissipating head.

S: The aroma was malty and subdued. Hops were noticeable, but not in the forefront.

T: This beer is malty but bitter. It is actually a little harsh - but in a good way.

M: Thin to medium - could have had a little more body.

D: This is an easy to drink scottish ale. It seems more like an average session beer than a special release.

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Photo of gabeerfanswife
3.82/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Mahogany in color; a tad bit translucent.

S: Pecans and pumpernickel bread.

T: Very tasty. Has a slight char or roast to it. Maybe a coffee roast-no smoke.

M: very fizzy and crisp.

D: If you like Scotch Ales you need to get your hands on this. Its very good.

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Photo of khiasmus
3.36/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautiful deep ruby with excellent clarity. The head is adequate, but retention is low with no lacing.
Roasted grain, raisin, a hint of yeast, just a touch of alcohol complete the nose. All of this needs to be strained for, however. the smells are all faint.
Flavour is faint smoked cheese, sweet dark malt, a finish of grain husk, and the slightest touch of resiny hops to balance. Finish is almost a grain sourness, if you will.
Mouthfeel is pretty good... adequate carbonation, medium body, lingering finish.
Drinkable, but not one to seek out. A bit disappointing, to be honest.

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Harpoon 100 Barrel Series #22 - Steve Stewart's Firth Of Forth from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
3.71 out of 5 based on 143 ratings.
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