Harpoon Leviathan - Baltic Porter | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

very good
239 Reviews
Harpoon Leviathan - Baltic PorterHarpoon Leviathan - Baltic Porter

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

Style: Baltic Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Leviathan Baltic Porter is a dark, strong beer of considerable complexity. Brewed with a highly alcohol-tolerant strain of lager yeast, it has a smooth, full flavor with dark fruit and licorice notes in the aroma. De-husked roasted malt lends a dark chocolate character without being sharp or harsh. Raw sugar and dark crystal malt give some raisin and molasses notes while East Kent Goldings hops make for a long, earthy finish.

38 IBU

Added by lpayette on 11-16-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 239 | Ratings: 364
Photo of nas5755
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My first Baltic Porter.

A- A very dark beer with a deep reddish-brown hue. The beer poured out very dark and I was surprised by the light color of the head. The head was nice and lacing remained around the rim of the glass.

S- Roasted malts, sweet dark fruits, sweet cherries, figs, raisins.

T- Roasted malts, some cocoa and coffee there are some dark fruits a crisp sorta bite that leads into a very smooth and creamy finish with some spice at the end.

M- Carbonation levels are pleasant on the medium to medium low level, pleasant for this beer.

O-I really enjoyed this beer, it reminded me alot of a big stout but in the initial flavor profile but where the stout goes right on the palate the Baltic porter goes left. The left hand turn showed me what a different style yeast can do to a different style beer and I look forward to ticking this style.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber, almost black in color with a light brown head. In the aroma, quite roasty, with a hint of coffee. In the taste, roasty malt, coffee and a hint of chocolate. A smooth and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry chocolate aftertaste. Nice balance and hides the alcohol. Quite nice.

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Photo of lou50rp
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown appearance with tan head which dissipates quickly.
Smell is fruity with dark chocolate. A smell which promises much and the taste delivers.
Taste is fruity with dark chocolate and molasses.
Mouthfeel is syrupy, but expected in this type of brew.
Drinkability is very good, but with 9.5 ABV I will not drink many.
I will keep an eye out for it,as it is definitely good for a bottle or two.

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Photo of mwa423
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark brown the color of dark chocolate with a finger of head with decent retention.

S - Less aroma than I expected, there was some malt sweetness, a hint of cocoa (which I really didn't expect) and then the usual spices that come with a Baltic Porter.

T - Very complex flavor that comes in waves, first a bitter and spicy mix, followed with a sweetness and then a mouth coating baltic porter spiciness. The end of the flavor is a very smooth and creamy lactose note.

M/D - Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy and coats the mouth. This is a very slow sipping beer to get all of the different flavors as it warms up. As the beer warms up the alcohol comes out, but it isn't overbearing. This is a top example of the style that I would certainly give a simple porter drinker to broaden their horizons.

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Photo of rtepiak
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a RIS with a baltic quality that makes it a bit hard to drink. the RIS quality is there with a slight smokey sour quality. pours a nice head that doesn't stick around. not as dense as an RIS with a 9.5 abv. i'll just be blunt and say its not an RIS. its grittier more acidic and burnt in malt quality. not necessary made to be smoother either. its a hard beer with a nice balance of sweetness. i would say on par with the good baltic porter i've had in poland.

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Photo of BrewMaven
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours what appears to be black, but is extremely dark ruby at the base of the glass. Short head that drops to a ring soon after the pour.

Coffee and chocolate scents are noticed after a swirling of the glass.

Tastes of dark chocolate, dark roast coffee with hints of dark fruit sweetness on the tip of my tongue. An occasional touch of alcohol at the somewhat dry finish.

A bit less than full bodied and finely carbonated.

Eerily similar to the excellent Okocim Porter..Too bad neither is an easy find anywhere near me.

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Photo of cbutova
3.03/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Pours pitch black with a beige head. Some brown is shown around the edges where light makes it way through. The head looks fairly creamy and has good retention at about half a finger. The head falls to a thin cloud/ring and leaves a moderate coat of fine lace.

S- Dark, roast malt up front. The strange thing is it smells like a black malt before it is mashed, reminds me of homebrew. Cocoa notes blend in decently with this very roast, grainy malt. It smells almost burnt/smoky but not overly so. Alcohol comes in a bit. The strength fades somewhat and it becomes hard to pick up.

T- Dark, burnt, roasty malt up front. Some fruit actually comes through. Grainy notes from the malts as well. The cocoa I liked in the nose is present but not as prominent. About halfway through the glass, alcohol starts to come in and mess the balance of this up. Some earthy and grassy hops help to balance the flavor but the alcohol really does bring it down, a lot. A low amount of bitterness from hops.

MF- Moderate body with a decent creaminess to it. Very, very warm on the palate from the alcohol. Too warm for the flavors at hand. A coat of flaming hot roast malt is left on the palate.

DB- I got this for free so I cannot complain. It is definitely 9.5%, but in a bad way, it needs to be hidden a lot more. Redeeming cocoa and malt qualities masked by vodka-like alcohol notes. Gotta give it some credit because its not a drain pour but can't even say it tastes average. A good of example of an Imperial Porter gone astray.

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Photo of joeland
4.14/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- A very nice black color that invites me to drink it.

Smell- a Very soft matly smell.

Taste- It has a rostaed almost like carmael taste to it. Very good i could drink this all day long.

mouthfeel- an amazing mouthfeel almost like it's melting in your mouth.

drinkability- it goes down easy dosn't feel like it is 9.5 Abv.

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Photo of jmarvin4189
4.29/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - very dark, looks black with an off white head, its a great looking beer that makes me just want to drink it.

Smell - very malty smell

taste - its so good i can't even describe it.

Mouthfeel - it is creamy and its like chocolate melting in your mouth.

Drinkability - very easy to drink and brings me lots of joy

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Photo of Naugled
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip glass.

Has a respectable light brown head, seems to be quite carbonated. Very dark brown body, almost opaque.

Dark chocolate in the nose with some cellar musty notes.

Bitter sweet dark fruit in the flavor, flavor is crisp and clean.

Strong but quick finish, a slight sharp and spiciness lingers. Probably due to the high carbonation.

Mouth feel is medium full but not thick, again, very clean.

Has good drinkability alone, but even better drinkability with spicey food. I had this with beef and broccoli and was surprised at how much more I enjoyed it with the spicey chinese food.

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Photo of brentk56
3.7/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a coffee brown color with ruby highlights; the thick tan cap retains well but only leaves a few strands

Smell: Rum-soaked prunes, dark chocolate, roasted malt and a hint of soy

Taste: Opens with a fruity chocolate character that moves in a fusel alcohol direction by mid-palate, with burnt charcoal elements appearing underneath; after the swallow, the dark fruit takes center stage, though the rougher flavors linger underneath

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation and some warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: A bit too rough around the edges to compete with some of the better Baltic Porters (think Smuttynose, for example) but still a decent enough beer

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Photo of mothman
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into CCB snifter.

Color is a dark ruby hued bronze. Pours a small layer of beige head.

Aroma: Rich dark fruits. Plums and raisins. Big malty profile. Sweet toffee and caramel. A touch of heat on the nose.

Taste: Rich and malty. Huge malt profile with dark dried fruits. Plums and raisins again are present. More toffee than caramel malt flavors here. Not to bad. Roasted malt in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, a bit crisp, and refreshing. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends malty and dry.

Overall, a decent baltic porter. Nice flavors all around, but nothing to strong. It is drinkable as well. As it warms I get a lot more roasted malt flavors. Glad I got a chance to try it.

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Photo of pmccallum86
3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to the mothman for hooking this up.

Pours a dark color with a slightly transparent body with little head.

Smell is of dark roasted malts, although it is a lighter aroma than you would expect.

Taste is smoky, light lagered flavor. Not as flavorful as most other baltic porters, but pretty damn solid. Light smoked malts dominate this beer, not much else is going on.

Mouthfeel is light and velvety, smooth medium carbonation.

Very drinkable beer, the ABV is not detectable one bit.

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Photo of Kinsman
4.07/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into tulip

Appearance is rather plain. Dark brown to black with a creamy tan head. Retention is somewhat lacking but does leave behind some lace.

Smell is invitingly sweet, a bit fruity and cocoa like. A bit complex, but oh so welcoming to the rest of the beer.

Taste is rich with a strong malt presence and a decent bitterness. As the beer warms fruitier accents come through as does the bitterness.

A rather rough full bodied beer at the start but seems to mellow out as the beer warms. Overall and enjoyable porter but not the best from the Harpoon Leviathan series.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm going into this with an open mind because I've been loving the Leviathan series but am not a huge fan of porters.

A - Pours a pitch black color with a tan one finger head and looks just like a stout. Has a nice cream colored lacing across the top of the glass.

S - Is a very strong bitter chocolate, coffee, some dark roasted malt, and a little smokiness.

T - Starts with a bittersweet chocolate taste with a warm roasted malt background. Has some dark fruit character buried far below that hits the back of the tongue right before the hops set in for the finish. Finishes very dry and literally "sucks the spit off your tongue". Leaves a lingering dry bittersweetness in the mouth. The alcohol is not very apparent in the beginning, but now, 2/3 through the glass, the ABV becomes much more noticeable on the palate and leaves a mild warming in the throat.

M - Mouthfeel is creamy smooth, very dry, heavy medium body.

D - "Dangerously high".

Not being a Porter fan, this beer gets me back into the mood to give Porters another go. This is very well brewed, like the rest of the Leviathan series of beers. Sitting here on a relaxing weekend listening to "Dark Side of the Moon" and sipping this fine beer, 'can't think of better afternoon, even with the rain outside. Definitely worth a try, nice job Harpoon.

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Photo of bobsy
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Cole's in Buffalo. I've found the Harpoon Leviathan series to be hit and miss, but this one is certainly a hit for me.

Pitch black pour with an off-white collar and a hazy film of a head. Few lace spots and okay retention. The aroma took a little while to warm up, but once it did had rich raisin and black chocolate notes, along with the slightest hint of alcohol. Likewise, the flavour has some great dark fruit mingling with the chocolate. Some treacle and a warming alcohol join the party. Medium-light mouthfeel could be slightly heavier, but also makes this one surprisingly easy to drink for its weight.

Not bad at all. Could do with an improved mouthfeel, and perhaps some time to mellow the alcohol a touch, but overall this is a very decent offering from Harpoon.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle without a freshness date. Pours a very dark brown color, nearly black with a tight-bubbled tan foam that displays very good retention and lacing. Good looking brew here.

Chocolate covered strawberries with a side of coffee is what this beer smells like. Little bit of toast and caramel in the background as well...a cornucopia of malty scents with some yeasty, alcoholic fruits displayed prominently.

Sweet and roasty malts are the main show here, but there are also some heavy coffee and alcohol flavors as well. Some tart cranberry fruit is followed by a leafy and roastily bitter finish. Body is medium and could use a tad more to compete with the big flavors and alcohol of the beer. This one might be a decent candidate for throwing in the cellar for another six months or so to let the flavors really come together a bit better.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.48/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: black, opaque, tan 1 CM head, decent retention, heavy lacing

S: molasses, booze, chocolate, light hop presence, some coffee and more roasted notes

T: the chocolate notes are very bold and robust, the alcohol presence seems to be way too prevalent for the style... finish is hot and all booze which detracts from the nice chocolate notes

MF: thinner than its appearance would suggest, high carbonation... the body seems a little off for the style

D: too boozy and unbalanced for my liking... not bad on the flavor profile but there is a lot of room for improvement

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Photo of sweemzander
3.33/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint. No bottled date.

(A)- Pours a dark black color with the slightest hint of red highlights. Produced a foamy tan head.

(S)- Bits of raisins, molasses, and a hazelnut-like coffee. Slightly smoky.

(T)- Same as the smell. Mountains of raisins in this.

(M)- A good carbonation level & balance. A nice malty sweetness & creaminess. Gets a tad chalky later on.

(D)- A good porter. Not too strong or rich. A bit one dimensional. Still a good experience from the norm.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-clear dark brown liquid with red edges. A tan colored head that is pretty thick and somewhat creamy, slightly bubbly. Retention is decent and the lace is thick and quite full

S-the nose is great but just a little light. Lots of chocolate in there with a splash of vanilla. Molasses lies lightly in the middle next to a touch of roasted coffee. A hop presence at the finish balances this with herbal and floral hops to change the pace of the aroma.

T-nice notes of roasted coffee start off, the vanilla comes in to sweeten as the dark chocolate adds more malty goodness. The floral hops and a touch of bitterness offer some balance to a well malted brew

M-full bodied and thick, almost chewy. It has a nice creaminess to it with a good bit of carbonation to give a firm finish. It coats the mouth and is just slightly dry at the finish.

D-this is a very tasty brew. It has a great malt presence with a light hop backbone. The mouthfeel is great and I enjoy this beer quite thoroughly.

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Photo of BeanBone
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A dark brown, nearly black body capped by a finger and a half of off-white head that leaves patchy lacing.

Aroma: Dark fruit and a little rumcake over a roasty malt body. Noticeable alcohol comes out as it warms.

Flavor: A mix of black coffee, bitter chocolate, anise, dark fruit, and roasty malt. There are some mildly bitter and leafy hops to keep everything relatively balanced. Lots of spice and a decent amount of booze from the alcohol. Coffee, dark malt, and dry alcohol in the finish.

Mouthfeel: A medium-full body with medium carbonation and a hint of warmth from the alcohol. Dries in the finish.

Drinkability: This drinks much faster than the ABV suggests, though it's not exactly a session favorite.

Verdict: Harpoon Baltic Porter is a solid beer--rich, tasty, and remarkably drinkable. A notch more complexity would really put it in the top ranks for the style

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Photo of alexgash
4.4/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle. Bottled on 11/13/09.

Very dark maple syrup brown. Index finger of creamy, dense, dark sandy brown head. Some lacing. Nose full of caramel, milk chocolate, roasted malts, molasses, licorice, Tootsie rolls, and almost a sweet blackberry twang.

Roasted malts and semi-sweet chocolate flavors lead things off nicely. Malted milk, charred smoky malts, and rummy dark fruit sweetness follow. Herbal, woody hop bitterness kicks in as the warming alcohol and fruit sweetness peak. Dark chocolate notes sail on through a long, bittersweet finish. Full-bodied, creamy, luxurious feel. A pleasure to drink. Very nice!

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Photo of jmerloni
4.07/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - nice opaque dark brown that pours creamy. Good head that's very sticky and lasts.

S-Exquisite, dark fruit malts with a little mocha-chocolate aroma.

T-Awesome. Smoooth smoooth smoooth toffee-mocha taste with a subtle nutty fruitiness. A bit of an unpleasant alcoholic taste on the swallow.

M - One of the best I've come across in beer. Full and so smooth. Every sip is perfectly balanced.

D - Despite the high ABV, this beer is still pretty drinkable. The alcohol taste is entirely absent and every sip is so enjoyable and pleasant. One of the best beers from Harpoon.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a nonic) bottled on 11/13/09
A- This beer has a jet black body with a thin bubbly tan film that fades to a thin ring. It is too dense to see any carbonation.
S- The roasted chocolate malt notes have a very light vinous and buttery notes with some soft coffee notes that grow as the beer warms. The finish has a flint note to the dark currant aroma.
T- The dark roasted black malt is without bitterness and has some dried fruit notes. As the beer warms there is a watery taste and and the finish has a light roasted note that lingers for just a moment.
M- his beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a clean tight fizz in the finish. No alcohol heat or astringency is noted.
D- This beer was a bit thin and it would have been nice to taste a bit more of the malt flavor or have some depth to it. Some soft alcohol warmth might have been nice too.

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Photo of augustgarage
3.66/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Courtesy of ShogoKawada - thanks! Bottled 11/13/2009.
Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Dark auburn body with faint lava highlights which glimmer when held up to a strong light. An active beige head fizzes down to a steady collar and bubbly finger-print in the center of the glass.

A deep whiff immediately draws diacetyl (brown butter) up into my nostrils. Not too strong, but unwelcome none the less. Hm. Dark malt, hay, old paper, and a hint of coffee join hands with the off-notes.

Flavors of cooked prunes and apricots, though a bit dusty. A touch of milk chocolate and an increasing depth of toasted malt mid-palate as the beer warms. The finish is bready and dry, though I don't get any spice.

Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. A touch oily but not slick. The ABV is well integrated.

All in all, diacetyl or no, this lacks the pungent full bodied assertive flavors of the best examples of the style - I wouldn't go so far as to call it wimpy, but I don't think I'd pick this up if I had the opportunity.

Thanks again to ShogoKawada - I had been curious about this beer.

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Harpoon Leviathan - Baltic Porter from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
3.98 out of 5 based on 364 ratings.
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