Harpoon Celtic Ale | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

365 Reviews
Harpoon Celtic AleHarpoon Celtic Ale

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

Style: Irish Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Harpoon Celtic Ale features a deep amber color. The flavor is malty and complex. Celtic Ale has a moderate hop finish that, along with the generous amounts of malt, makes for a medium bodied, smooth, rich beer. Try serving Celtic Ale with a hearty stew… the beer’s robust character will complement the bold flavors.

25 IBU

Added by barleywinebrewer on 01-16-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 365 | Ratings: 769
Photo of Bierliebhaber3
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It’s a dark red, almost mahogany, colored red ale with a thin white head and an abundance of carbonation. It has a malty smell. It has a strong malty, yeasty taste with a little bit of fruitiness and a little bitterness and a crisp dry finish despite being a fuller body than many reds. I applaud it for being a robust red ale, but the hops are little more than I’m used to in a red ale. All in all not a bad red, but nothing too special either. Some of the craft breweries in San Diego in my opinion have better examples of the style despite not really being a red ale kind of town.

 587 characters

Photo of Snowmanfs
4.04/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A solid beer that anyone should be happy having. Solid ballance. Nothing to crave but something to enjoy anytime. A mainstay of Harpoon. Glad it's available, keep pouring.

 171 characters

Photo of Gajo74
3.83/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a red and amber color, head quickly dissipates into a thin lace that dissapeared towards the end. Roasted malty aroma, dark fruits and some wood. Malty, and fruity, and a dry finish. Light to low medium bodied feel, drinkable and refreshing. A solid brew.

 261 characters

Photo of HamdenHector
3.61/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: crystal clear; reddish amber in color; 1 finger khaki head that receded slowly to a thin cap; very nice lacing;

S: toast, fresh wort, raisin, a little toffee, a little wood, a little nutty;

T: toffee, nutty; a little caramel toward the end; light bitterness on the finish;

M: medium bodied; light to moderate carbonation - a little creamy;

O: not all that complex, but easy to drink;

 390 characters

Photo of Dools9
3.75/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Might have been one of my first craft beers. Its nothing extrodinary, but given the style its no supposed to be. Easy drinking and simple. Nutty, tea like maltiness, lager like crispness.

 187 characters

Photo of seedyone
3.75/5  rDev +6.8%

04/05/13 On tap at Rattle N Hum, NYC. This is malt, malt, malt. Not shy at all. Surprisingly refreshing for something so assertive. Nice body & not sweet. Noticeable, but not in an in your face kind of way.

 207 characters

Photo of Beric
3.55/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving: Bottle, from the bottle
Served: 2 January 2014

Appearance: Looks good. Nice coloring and a solid head when pouring that didn't stick around very long.

Smell: Very malty- caramel and brown sugar seem to be pretty dominant in the nose.

Taste: Very similar in taste to the nose- caramel and brown sugar, maybe some dark pumpernickel bready characteristics too. Finishes very dry.

Mouthfeel: High carbonation. I would have preferred this one to be a bit smoother to be honest.

Overall: An okay beer, but not my favorite. Tastes similar to a doppelbock in terms of overall malt profile. Maltier than an Oktoberfest, but sweeter than a doppelbock.

 655 characters

Photo of matjack85
3.4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I picked this up at the Binny's store in Bloomingdale, IL as part of a build-your-own six pack for $9.99, making it $1.67 for a single 12oz bottle. No freshness date, but since this beer is only brewed from January to March, and this is already December, it's certainly not fresh off the assembly line, but it''s still under a year old, so it should still be OK.

The beer poured a perfectly clear red/amber color with a 1-finger off-white head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing.

The beer had a slightly sweet malty and bready smell along with a touch of alcohol.

Bready and roasted malt flavor with some caramel sweetness, as well as a touch of cherry fruitiness underneath. The finish has some mild hop bitterness to it (26 IBU's) as well as some alcohol, which I didn't expect from a 5.4% beer.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

It's OK but not spectacular. Their website lists it as a good session beer, and it should be with a 5.4% alcohol content, but I couldn't down many of these due to the noticeable alcoholic flavor.

 1,047 characters

Photo of Heavy_D
4.67/5  rDev +33%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from bottle into pint glass.

A: Pours a nice reddish color. 1 1/2 to 2 finger head. Doesn't last long, but leaves behind a lot of lacing.

S: Malty, bready.

T: Sweet, caramel malts. Some hoppy bitterness towards the end.

M: Slightly thick. Moderate carbonation. Feels just right.

O: Very nice red ale. I've been a fan of others of this style I've tried, and this is no exception. Like the malty-bready/biscuity taste.

 433 characters

Photo of ColdWaffles
3.47/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes from the Spring. Poured from a 12 oz into a standard pint.

Appearance: Very clear red ale with a little white head. Head didn't last long. 3.5/5

Smell: Not particularly strong, but mostly bready, malty. 3.25/5

Taste: Fairly sweet take on the style. Nice caramel malts. Slight alcohol on the very end of a sip, odd given the ABV. Not bad. 3.5/5

Mouthfeel: Nice, balanced carbonation level. Goes in watery, finishes slightly dry. Probably the best aspect of this. 3.75/5

I'd give this another go, but I probably wouldn't buy a six pack. 3.5/5

 565 characters

Photo of MacQ32
3.12/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

A - Pours a clear amber brown with a solid finger of dark tan colord head. Fantastic retention, nearly a quarter of an inch 10-15 minutes later. Lacing is ok.

S - Very sweet, cracker like aroma and a wee bit of sourness and spice.

T - Sweet caramel and friuts transcends into a slightly funky beady flavor. Mildly dry

M - Medium bodied, a little thick. Very smooth - really like the body.

O - Definitely on the lower end of the craft beer spectrum IMO - you could do worse however

 484 characters

Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.12/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Harpoon Celtic Red has a thick, cream-colored head, a bit of thin lacing, some streaming bubbles, and a clear, reddish-brown appearance. The aroma is faint, but bread crust, some sweetness, and a touch of sourness can be detected with deep inhalations. Taste is of the same, with a harsh and unpleasant bitterness in the mid-to-end of the sick. Mouthfeel is light and watery, and Harpoon Celtic Red finishes lager like- crisp, clean, refreshing, and mostly dry. Some alcohol shows up in the throat. Overall, this just does not taste very good. I don’t recommend it.


 573 characters

Photo of Redrover
3.89/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Harpoon Celtic on tap at the Distillery. It was served in a marked glass, the beer is a dark garnet with a sticky tan head.

It has an aroma of lightly roasted malts, biscuits and plums.

The beer leads with toasty malts and a hint of caramel. There is a touch of spice that reminds me of rye bread and some crackers.

The mouth is slightly thick with low carbonation.

It is very sessionable and easy to pair with food. Harpoon has nailed the style.

 451 characters

Photo of sajaffe1
3.77/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

A- This brew has a deep amber hue to it with an off-white head. The head disappears rather quickly. Some lacing is seen on the glass.

S- It smells like sweet caramel with a bit of hop character. I notice a small hint of a cinnamon-like smell.

T- Lots of caramel malt is noticeable. That soon balances out with the hops preventing it from being too sweet. Not bad.

M- Medium carbonation

O-Not a bad beer at all. An above average Irish-style red ale in my opinion.

 509 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
3.54/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Served on-tap at Rattle N Hum in New York, NY

A: Pours a clear deep copper to amber in color with light to moderate amounts of visible carbonation and some golden orange + red highlights. The beer has a finger tall foamy off-white head that quickly reduces to a very thin film covering about 75% of the surface of the beer and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of caramel malts with a touch of light fruit sweetness and some floral hops.

T: Upfront there are moderate flavors of toasted caramel malts with a hint of light fruit sweetness. Light amounts of earthy and floral hops towards the finish which impart a light amount of bitterness that fades rather quickly.

M: Just shy of medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly thin.

O: Pretty easy to drink and a little better than other offerings in the Irish red style. Not a favorite for me but I could easily have a couple of these in a single session.

 1,001 characters

Photo of rfgetz
3.26/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours a medium amber color, full fluffy white head, moderate retention. Scent is pale and mild with notes of caramel malts and stale grassy hops. Taste brings a bit more to the table... caramel malts still dominate with only a light touch of hoppyness, quite grassy, earthy. Lighter bodied and heavily bubbly. Really felt like I had a Vienna lager as opposed to an Irish Red. Just too light and fizzy for me.

 408 characters

Photo of TheMarkE
3.75/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Deer amber with a full head, decent lacing.

Smell: Biscuity malts and a hint of grassiness.

Taste: Sweet caramel and bready malts with just enough hops to keep it honest.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a dry finish. What little aftertaste there is disappears quickly.

The Verdict: Not bad. An above average Irish Red, it’s a good solid choice for a night of dancing and debauchery or a day of celebrating the arrival of spring. Maybe not a brew I’ll look forward to with anticipation each year, but not one I’d turn down either.

 549 characters

Photo of TeamMathis
3.07/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Deep amber.
Smell: Alcoholic and maybe a slight whiff of honey.
Taste: Malty and alcoholic.
Mouthfeel: Thick/Syrupy.

Though I'm not a huge fan of reds, this is probably one of the best that I've had thus far. The taste seems to be a combination of alcohol, which is odd considering the ABV, and malt. It's quite enjoyable as a yearly St. Pat's drink.

 363 characters

Photo of ktblue22
3.46/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear distinctive red with a slightly brown hue. Hardly any head on the pour - instantly hit with a candied-yam kind of sweet malt. The sweetness on the nose is a little over-powering but the carbonated and lightly hopped profile make for a really nice well-balanced red. The label boasts that its both a deep-winter kind of beer as well as a spring. I'm not really sure about that, but I would definitely drink this on any day paired with a boiled dinner! Having a steak au poivre right now with some wonderful sharp cheddar (anyone following me may start seeing a pattern here...)

Overall pretty nice! I would love to try a different Celtic Red style to compare.

 673 characters

Photo of ElijahRivera
3.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Less than one finger, almost white head. The beer itself is deep copper in color

S: Sweet malts, some fall honey, and caramelized sugars.

T: Sweet malt up front, which is quickly balanced by a sharp, but not too strong, hop bitter that finishes with a subtle citrus and honey flavor.

M: Medium body and carbonation, which I suspect is normal for the style.

O: I believe this to be a high quality example of the style. It is at least to my liking, although I am not a huge fan of Irish red ales or red ales in general. This brew has a solid malt backbone that carries it through a decent amount of complexity for the style. I wouldn't hesitate to pick this up the next time I get a rare hankering for an Irish red.

 721 characters

Photo of Florida9
3.87/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark copper amber in color. Forms a minimal off-white head that doesn't bother sticking around for too long. No lacing.

S: Aroma is fairly light, not much more than some creamy caramel malt and some very light hops.

T: Taste is about what you'd expect for the style: Moderate caramel malts, a slight nuttiness, lighter stewed tea hops. Finish is lightly sweet.

M: On the fuller side of medium. Mild bitterness. Medium carbonation.

O: Let's face it, this isn't the greatest or most appreciated style of beer and while it's one I used to appreciate, I've grown away from it. Never-the-less, this beer is just about spot-on for the style. Not a bad beer.

 661 characters

Photo of fx20736
4.02/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

poured from a 12 oz bottle into a nonic, served at fridge temp.

appearance: a burnt orange shade of medium amber with vigorous tiny bubbles and a creme brulee 1 finger head. decent lacing.

nose: Amazing bouquet, very fruity, candied fruit, like ginger, mango, papaya, with maybe a touch of floral hops.

mouthfeel: pretty average, a tad thin, really.

taste: crystal malt, a slight fruitiness with a kiss of spicy hops

notes: the taste cannot live up to the amazing nose but it is pretty good, easy to drink and easily the best Irish Red I've had. Actually, it reminds me of Bass Ale. I only bought a single bottle of this but this being St Patrick's Day I will go forth and buy a 6 pack of this. I could drink this all day long.

 732 characters

Photo of scottbrew4u
3.43/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: From bottle, pours a clear reddish amber color with a bubbly off white head. It settles quickly to a layer and leaves some lacing on the glass as you drink.

S: Fresh baked bread, molasses, more bread dough, and light spice from hops.

T: Light roast of malt, doughy bread, grain husks, and a herbal, grassy touch of hops that is light but not insignificant. Not a deep flavor profile at all.

M: Slick, medium body, some prickly carbonation at appropriate levels.

O: Decent beer but not that interesting overall. Malt profile could use a bit more depth. The beer is very easy to drink though.

 597 characters

Photo of Darkmagus82
3.69/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap in a pint glass

Appearance –Served a mahogany colored brew with ruby like highlights and a small off white head. The head fades rather fast to leave a persistent film on the top of the brew.

Smell – The aroma is heaviest of a sweet caramel smell mixed with notes of lightly roasted malt and a biscuit smell. Mixed with these are some aromas of a buttery toffee and a light grassy hop.

Taste – The taste begins with a lightly roasted bready flavor as well as some caramel sweetness. As the taste advances further some toffee, biscuit, and some fruit flavors a apple and a light cherry come to the tongue. The flavors remain relatively constant throughout the rest of the taste until the end where a light citrus and herbal hop flavor come to the tongue.

Mouthfeel –The body of the brew is on the medium side in terms of its thickness and creaminess with a carbonation level that is on the average to just below average side. The medium body and carbonation suit the drinkable and lightly roasted and sweeter flavors of the brew quite well. Very appropriately done.

Overall – A decent red ale. It has an easy drinking and non-complex flavor profile that has nice smoother flavors which makes a good beer to have while enjoying the company of other.

 1,277 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.68/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Enjoy by 5/15/13.

Pours a dark copper with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, caramel, slight hops, and some nutty aromas. Taste is much the same with malty and caramel flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is tasty and easy to drink.

 525 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Harpoon Celtic Ale from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
3.51 out of 5 based on 769 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.