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
143 Ratings
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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 143 |  Reviews: 131
Photo of Latarnik
4/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of BillRoth
4/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of tadmuchowski
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of EvanWilliams
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.25/5  rDev -12.2%

Photo of mdfb79
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of nmann08
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of jophish17
3/5  rDev -18.9%

Photo of rab53
4/5  rDev +8.1%

Photo of ElGallo
5/5  rDev +35.1%

Photo of bpfrush
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of mikereaser
3.6/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

 517 characters

Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.97/5  rDev +7.3%
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.

 1,307 characters

Photo of ThaBobfather
3.8/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

 268 characters

Photo of mjd83goblue
3.29/5  rDev -11.1%
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 -4.6%
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.


 826 characters

Photo of merlin48
3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

 614 characters

Photo of nick76
3.37/5  rDev -8.9%
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.

 267 characters

Photo of Dogbrick
3.18/5  rDev -14.1%
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.

 369 characters

Photo of PhillyStyle
3.03/5  rDev -18.1%
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.

 813 characters

Photo of damienblack
3.57/5  rDev -3.5%
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.

 1,015 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.06/5  rDev -17.3%
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.

 1,587 characters

Photo of kirok1999
3.2/5  rDev -13.5%
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.

 383 characters

Photo of glid02
3.48/5  rDev -5.9%
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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Harpoon 100 Barrel Series #22 - Steve Stewart's Firth Of Forth from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
Beer rating: 3.7 out of 5 with 143 ratings
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