Harpoon Leviathan - Imperial IPA | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

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Harpoon Leviathan - Imperial IPAHarpoon Leviathan - Imperial IPA

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

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Harpoon Leviathan Imperial IPA will challenge your senses and your palate. As the vibrant aroma rushes out of your glass you will notice the blend of piney and tropical fruit notes. At first sip, this big beer starts with a powerful hop bitterness up front and an aggressive hop flavor and character throughout.

Leviathan Imperial IPA is brewed with tons of pale malt and just enough caramel malt to provide a sweet malt body to balance the hop intensity. We used copious amounts of a variety of hops including Chinook, Centennial, Simcoe, and Amarillo at various points during the boil to create a complex hop flavor and clean lingering bitter finish. We then fermented the beer with Harpoon’s own versatile proprietary yeast. Finally, we dry hopped at a rate of over 1 lb a barrel to produce this beer’s massive aroma.

Added by DrDogbeer on 09-07-2008

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Ratings: 1,751 |  Reviews: 721
Photo of JayQue
4.23/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good looking DIPA. Big slightly off white head over a light amber/ dark gold clear color. The head doesn't last too long but while it is displayed, this beer could be used in a print advertising layout for beer. Lacing is fairly thick

Smell is pronounced: citrus and floral hops. Very aromatic.

Taste should please the hop head and non-hop heads alike. This is a big beer with big-time hops flavor (floral with some citrus) up front. Sweet caramel malts kick in, subtly, but enough to blunt the head shrinking bitterness that turns some beer lovers off. Hops make a mini recovery at the end.

Mouthfeel is very rich, a bit crisp and slightly oily. There is a slight alcohol presence but it is warming rather than in-your-face.

Drinkability is good. I could have had a second 12 oz'er.

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Photo of Berthold
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out a clear gold (SRM5) with a thick persistent off white head supported by high carbonation comprised of fine bubbles. Some lace noted on glass. Big citrus nose with some underlying pine notes. Low/moderate sweetness from malts in aroma. Dominant citrus/grapefruit taste, moderate malt to back it up but definitely on the hoppy side. Warmth noted from alcohol. Long lasting bitterness with a full 'leather lips' finish.

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Photo of Kraken
3.55/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes. Consumed 7/30/09

Poured from a 12oz bottle into an over sized wine glass. Firm yields a 1/8 inch of off white head. Head falls quickly but leaves a very nice thin lace. Color is a deep and cloudy orange.

Nose- Roasted caramels, overripe orange, vanilla, tangerine and grape fruit rind.

Palate- Wow Hop Punch. Plenty of bitterness, perhaps too much. Orange rind, lemon zest, lots of thick caramels and tangerine. Huge bitter finish. This is really a mouth puckering sipper.

Mouthfeel- Thick, a bit syrupy, lots of carbonation.

Drinkability- This is a heavy weight, high alcohol palate crusher.

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Photo of beer2day
4.17/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours clear gold with a decent 1-finger head. Very little retention. Decent lacing.

Lots of citrus and some pine in the nose. Grapefruit/pineapple with a very nice bite to it.
Extremely crisp.

Hits ever-so-slightly sweet. That changes fast though. Intensely bitter finish. Big hop-flower bite. One of the bitterest finishes so far this year. The finish lingers, too.

Feel is just what you would expect for a DIPA. Creamy with just a touch of syrup.

This beer packs a wallop. Had one last night and tonight. Seems to hit much harder than the advertised 9.3%.

Very good DIPA and well worth seeking out.

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Photo of champ103
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear reddish/orange color. A good two finger white head forms, and recedes after a minute to a small cap. A nice coat of sticky lace is left behind.
S: Floral, citrus, and piny hops up front. Light grapefruit bitterness. Ripe apples and pears. A wonderful hop aroma with a little malty sweetness lingering in the back ground.
T: This is great. A wonderful flavor of floral, citrus, and piny hops. Not just overbearing hop bitterness. A great balance of malty sweetness as well. Caramel, toffee, and dark fruit flavors. One of the best balanced DIPA's I have ever had.
M/D: A full body and medium carbonation. Sticky and oily. The alcohol shows, but it is not overwhelming. A good beer to sip on.

Oh my God, I finally found a wonderfully balanced DIPA. Not just hop bitterness. Highly recommended.

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Photo of ExtraStout
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My bottle also lists the ABV at 9.3% not 10%. This beer pours a clear medium coppery color with a nice white foamy head. Decent lacing makes this a real nice looker. The smell is very strong with citrus hops and some bread yeast. The taste is crisp with a bitter first sip followed by citrus hop and bread yeast. The high alcohol is also mildly present making this a bitter warmer. The m/f is medium for a high octane beer with all flavors mixing well. This is a real nice beer,and one that you should give a try.

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Photo of PatrickJR
3.1/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

My bottle lists the ABV at 9.3%.

A - Light amber, quite clear, with about two fingers of white head. Retention is decent with abundant lacing.

S - Resinous, piney hops abound. Some herbal notes provide depth but ultimately Leviathan IIPA is a pine bomb. Rich caramel sweetness provides the base with some noticable alcohol.

T - While not bad, this stuff could be a lot better, certainly more complex. Pine hits first and rides atop the flavor throughout the entire sip. The initial herbal/piney burst is followed up with sweetish malt, but it can't hold up to the grapefruit peel that quickly shreds the palate with some rough, coarse bitterness. Noticable alcohol (too noticable for my tastes) cuts through any and all sweetness by the end.

M - Medium bodied that almost gets syrupy at times. Carbonation pops in and out seemingly at random settling at an average level. My first thought is to pin this beer as a little too thick and a little too flat, though I think the taste and the abundance of alcohol is the real problem. Nonetheless, the mouthfeel doesn't even begin to resolve any of these issues.

D - Meh, Leviathan IIPA just isn't for me. It's extremely bitter and there's not all kinds of layers of flavor like I'd hoped. I guess I was expecting some sort of malt bomb IIPA in the vein of DFH 90, but Leviathan was a palate shredder without much meat in the middle. Bad? Not really, but it doesn't stand out and in fact gets pushed near the bottom of my list of DIPAs with it's vicious bitterness and whacked out mouthfeel.

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Photo of NittanyBeerFan
2.74/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured into a small pilsener glass.

A: A clear golden amber more indicative of a BMC offering than what I think of when I think of a DIPA. There is certainly no characteristic head, disappointingly only offering a small thin ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass. Overall, very disappointing.

S: Thick wet sticky hops fill the nose and then hit you in the chest. Somewhat sour with citrus notes...mainly lemon.

T: Spicey taste of pepper. Funky hops. Lemony sour malts. This borders on difficult to enjoy.

M/D: Tingly and sour, thicker than it looks. This beer is slightly tough to get down. Way too sour and funky for a DIPA...this is a deviation from the style that just doesn't jive well with my tastebuds.

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Photo of jizdepski
4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

appearance is a bright amber gold with a frothy, off white collar that retains well. smells are a balance of piny and citrus hops, with noticeable malts and an alcohol presence. very layered taste, nice complexity. resinous hops right up front, with a caramelized fruit (pears are what come to mind) sweetness mingling with alcohol in the middle, nice and juicy. hops take over at the end, along with an alcohol warmth. lingering hop bitterness on finish but not overpowering. thicker mouthfeel than most ipa's i've had. i liked the balance, and enjoyed the beer immensley. i definitely felt a bit buzzy from the alcohol after 1 pint, more than 2 would be a hammer to the head. overall highly recommended.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shimmering tangerine with a bright orange ball indicating the morning sun behind the pint glass. The rich and creamy crown is darker than ivory and lighter than ecru. It has terrific texture, plentiful persistence and is beginning to blast the glass with lovely looking lace.

The ingredients list is right up my DIPA lovin' alley: primarily pale malt (with a smidgen of caramel) and hops to the tune of Chinook, Centennial, Simcoe and Amarillo. The tropical fruity nose isn't quite a gobsmacker, but it's still a pleasure to sniff and indicates good things to come.

Harpoon Leviathan Imperial IPA is a good one, no doubt about it. The barley backbone is huge and the hop load is pretty hefty as well. Attempting to assess IBUs (by one's senses at least) is a fool's errand since there are so many factors at play. Still, it's hard to believe that 122 is an accurate number. The beer is bitter, but it isn't scathingly bitter.

Caramel-coated sugar cookies hold down the bottom end, allowing pungent pine resins and grapefruit-orange zesty hops to punch their way through the top end. As is often the case with beer of this style with a double-digit ABV, the alcohol isn't completely masked. That little bit of heat is the main reason why the taste and drinkability scores aren't higher.

The mouthfeel is classic American DIPA. In other words, it's medium-full and slightly sappy, with soft and gentle carbonation. The final effect is a bit on the firm side, though, due to the bracing quality of the alcohol.

Harpoon Leviathan is aptly named. It's a beast of a beer that doesn't pussy-foot around with respect to either malt or hops. Triticus Ale (props to Todd and Jason) and the wildly underappreciated Summer Beer are still this brewery's best. Thanks to prototypic for the bottle.

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Photo of qchic
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appears color in color with 2 fingers of bone white head. The scent features tangy citrusy hops, tropical fruits and some alcohol. Not nearly as aromatic as I would like. I suppose the flavor picks up the slack. The alcohol is prominent, the hops peppery, and only a little fruitiness (melon, banana) is allowed to sneak in. The body is full, verging on syrupy, which detracts from the drinkability. Glad I tried it, and I'm moving on.

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Photo of Bierguy5
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle. Pours a rather clear, bright copper color. Filtered? Massive white rocky head holds together for quite a long time, finally leaving some great patches of white, sticky lace.

Bursting with juicy hop aroma. Some pine notes, tangerine, and grapefruit. Really wonderful in the nose. A whiff of alcohol, as well as a note of caramel malt.

Malt character is rather light, and merely serves as a balancing point. Pretty dry up front, allowing the hops to really shine. Resiny hops, with a slight citrusy edge to them. Long, lingering bitterness, but not harsh.

A hint of alcohol, but not too much. Good body and carbonation. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of ghebb
4.49/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ the Boston Brewery.

This brew is bursting with intense citrusy hop aroma and flavor. like others have said you can literally smell this stuff form across the room. Surprisingly for all the overwhelming hop flavor, it really isn't that bitter. Can't detect the 10% alcohol in the taste which makes it quite easy to drink. It would be nice if it had a slightly stronger malt backbone and fuller mouthfeel, but that's a small complaint for what's otherwise a truly excellent beer.

Simply put, a hop-heads dream brew.

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a ruby tinted gold with a gold head that died slowly. An immense piney hop burst in the aroma with mild maltiness. This beer is thick and sticky with intense citric and pine hops coming through; very dry with drying backbite which is indebted to the ABV, which helps, not hinder the beer. Some sticky sweet malt like caramel and grape flavors come through. A great DIPA that could be tweaked into one of the best; nonetheless a great beer and a must try for any hophead.

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Photo of jlindros
4.57/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottled into snifter

A: Big frothy head with clear pale golden color and slight orange hue

N: Can smell from 10 feet away, lots of piney citrus American hops and touch of sweet malty caramel

T: Taste starts with more strong piney hops and touch of sweet cirtus and caramel malt, I get a touch of biscuit, the center is very juicy like ripe fruit that makes my mouth water, theres a slight toasted malt character as well in the background

M: Juicy and slightly thick with pretty good carbonation

F: More piney American hops bear down on the tongue, its pretty dry as well as the hops build up, a slight piney and juicy citrus slowly fade for 20-30 seconds and the mouth waters for more

Final thoughts: A great IPA that I think can stand up to most West Boast hop bombs. The malt gives it a good base but is overshadowed by the huge hop. You can barely detect that its 9.3% alc. This is one of those beers that I get when I have a craving for an awesome juicy IPA.

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Photo of kwakwhore
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark gold pour from a 12 oz. bottle. White head leaves a bit of lacing on the glass.
Blast of hops on the nose with residual sweet malt.
Initial flavor impression is one of almost overwhelming honey flavored sweetness followed by a good blast of hop bitterness, but subsequent sips produce a more balanced impression with hops becoming more prominent and becoming equal partners. Definitely an example of a malt forward east coast DIPA. The finish is nicely hoppy.
Mouthfeel is really syrupy and oily, full of hop resins.
For a beer of this strength the alcohol is very well masked. I doubt I'd have more than one of these in a sitting, but for the style it holds up very well. Very reasonable pricing influences me to give this high marks for drinkability.
My first Harpoon beer in a very long time, and I really like this one. I'll be looking for this one again.

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Photo of atsprings
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Flying Saucer for the NC release party, served in a standard pint-glass a crisp bubbly orange with a decent khaki head that lasts as a thin layer and leaves beautiful lacing on the glass. Aroma is a nice balance of sweet malts and citrus and pine hops. The taste is a complex blend of burnt caramel malts and loads of pine hops dancing nicely together. The beer is somewhat heavy with very present sticky alcohol. This one is quite possibly the best Harpoon beer I've ever had.

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Photo of tpd975
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice golden orange hue with a nice tall creamy head. Good retention with nice lace.

S: Nice balance of sweet malt and citrus hops.

T: Nice and sweet up front. Lots of caramel malt with a touch of brown sugar. The hops come next. They are mostly citrus but there is a bit of sweet pine hiding beneath.

M: On the fuller side of medium, bold, smooth, and tasty.

D: Pretty good. Love these big beers that come in a 12 ounce bottle.

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Photo of CHSLBrew
4.07/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

A-Glowing, hazy amber brew. Frothy, large orange-white head rises off the pour, with ok retention, reducing down to a thin collar with a couple bubble colonies.

S-THICK with hops, resiny and piney. RIPE. With a caramel-bread maltiness poking through with a subtle sweetness.

T-Thick resiny, piney hops, slight citrus within its stickiness. Hop bitterness batters my palate into submission for the arrival of a sweet, caramel malt.

M-Moderate carbonation feels good, though it may be just a bit too much. Either way, the carbonation melds pretty nicely with this medium-full-bodied brew. Slightly warming as my drinking progressed.

D-Scrumptious and smooth. Easy for an imperial IPA, and just thick with enjoyable flavor.

Purchased at the Houston Whole Foods in NYC while visiting my sister. Thanks to my girlfriend for sneaking this one back to MN in her suitcase from NYC.

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Photo of DeathbySexyBT
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Hazy orange, off-copper. Fluffy white head that settles into a one-finger sticky white head with streaky lacing.

S: Dense wet pine trees and pineapples. Not as citrusy as I had imagined, but it is there. You will smell the caramel notes in the back of the nose.

T: Bitter piny hops are the flavor du jour with this beer. These are accented wonderfully by the citrus notes and the caramel pale malts provide the balance that so many IPAs and DIPAs lack.

M: Middle of the road on carbonation and body. Not particularly smooth, but not abrasive by any means.

D: I like this brew, but I would prefer a heartier body. This feels a bit weak at times. Definately a beer to try.

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Photo of GJ40
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on tap at Doherty's in Pawtucket, RI.

A - Golden with good clarity and a thick off white head. Good lacing.

S - A fantastic burst of floral and fruity hops. It was the best aroma of any New England beer I've ever had.

T - I had high hopes after the aroma but the taste left me a little flat. It just didn't have much to it. I expected more hop flavor based on the smell but there was little hop flavor or bitterness. It was good but not great.

M - Oily and rich with a nice low carbonation.

D - This was a good beer but in the end, not one that I'd seek out.

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Photo of jbhuxley
3.7/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear, copper/amber in color. Nearly no head, even with an aggressive pour. Nothing more than a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.

Not too fragrant. Some floral hops and tropical fruit. I think a faint pineapple/mango smell.

Nice hop bitterness. Pungent and floral. Less sweetness than I would have expected. It does balance great with the bitterness. The alcohol does show itself.

Low carbonation. Has some body, but not at all thick and syrupy. Crisp.

It's not my favorite of the style, but enjoyable none the less.

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Photo of gameface23
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review brought over from another website:

Poured a clear orange with a fluffy head that did not last. Nice nose of grapefruit hops and a malty sweetness. Taste was similar and the alcohol was hidden well. Great mouthfeel (thick, creamy, nicely carbonated).

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Photo of oberon
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Great to see this down here in my area.Poured into a nonic a rich deep golden near bronze with a bit of chill haze,a thick,tight,creamy white head atop that never completely settled.Big citric hop in the nose,deep grapefruit rind and lemon pith,as the bottle says juicy hop flavors of grapefruit and resiny pine with some caramel/tofee flavors coming thru in the finish.Its very fresh tasting and very drinkable for its size,a very nice DIPA to sip on today.

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Photo of allengarvin
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours an exceptionally beautiful medium-dark gold, with a substantial head, and lovely lacing. Good aroma, with an unusually peppery, spicy hoppiness. The flavor offers lots of hop flavor, though the bitterness is only moderate--surprising for the strength. The hop flavor is, unlike the aroma, very resin-like. I think it tastes like I imagine my melos rosin would taste like, if I were to ever lick it. It's backed by a very lightly toasty malt with a fair amount of residual sugar, though the bitterness is plenty to balance. Finish is one of the least dry double IPA's I've ever had.

Good beer. I like the emphasis on hop flavor over bitterness.

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Harpoon Leviathan - Imperial IPA from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
4.04 out of 5 based on 1,751 ratings.
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