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

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Reviews: 365 | Ratings: 768
Photo of bpw28
4.79/5  rDev +36.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Two finger a little off white creamy head, Copper (about a 16 on SRM chart), Very nice lacing

Nose: Medium Roast, Grassy, Honey, Midnight in the woods (for those who havent been, sweet woody earthy smell), Yeasty, berries, nuts like almond, spices

Taste: Medium Roast, sweet, berries, biscuit, nice light body, clean and smooth, soft woods, honey, sage, thyme, yeasty, faint hop

Final Thoughts: Wow. What a beer. I'll admit it, I'm a little tough with the irish ales and the scottish ales, so I was gonna be tough on this one. Wow. Session beer. Only guff I have about this brew is that its a seasonal and not an all year. Could be my favorite Irish red. (After just reading some reviews, it appears that this might just be a really outstanding beer to myself. I'm drinking it at about cellar temp in a modded-goblet. I don't care that others don't share my feelings as much as myself but it's suprising. Anyhow, just saying this so it doesn't appear like I'm over hyping it. It tastes like rainbows to me, but just meh to others. Try it and see where you fall.)

Food Pairing: This brew screams Lamb, potatoes, root vegetables, hearty stews, braised beef, oddly german fare would go well (jager schnitzel, spatz, red cabbage, and this brew. Tuck me in and kiss me goodnight.)

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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.

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Photo of WJVII
4.62/5  rDev +31.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass this brew has a nice clear amber color with a great thick and sticky white head that stuck to the side of the glass as it settled into a 1/4 cap. The brew has a great aroma full of sweet hops and a balance of mildly roasted malts. The taste is wonderfully balance and reminds me of my time in Ireland. There is a sweetness to it but also has that fullness, yet light in the mouth. The style really takes me back which is why I had to give it the rating I did. Back then (about 6 years ago) I was not into BA, but I did write about the types of beers I tried and this really brings back some great times!

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Photo of Ysgard
4.57/5  rDev +30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From a 24 pack sampler; This is my 2nd, and its better than the first. I've recently had the opportunity to sample several Irish red's, and I finally think I understand them.

This pours a touch lighter than I like my Reds, quickly losing head, and leaving only minimal lacing.

The aroma is nutty, caramel, and a touch of butterscotch, with fruity english hops holding it all together.

The taste confirms the slightest hint of diacetyl (butter), accentuating the caramel and nutty maltiness perfectly. A hint of chocolate, mild-moderate hop bitterness, and mild hop flavor, like East Kent Goldings, finish just dry enough to force another sip.

The mouthfeel is a balanced, carbonated silk, not so heavy as to stick, but substantial enough to satisfy.

I could drink this all night.

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Photo of Brad007
4.5/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Color: A decent reddish-amber color with one-finger head and decent carbonation.

Aroma: Very sweet and malty with some caramel essence. Smooth.

Taste: Very smooth and malty upfront. Sweet and caramel-ish. Goes down easily. Very drinkable.

Mouthfeel: Sweet with a touch of caramel. Smooth with some dryness.

Verdict: A highly drinkable Irish Red Ale. It's what I expect from Harpoon and perfect for the spring season.

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Photo of FenwaySquid
4.47/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 oz bottle, packaging date of Jan 31 06 on the bottle, poured into a pint glass. Pretty cool looking label as well.

Appearance: Deep reddish brown color, almost transparent, with rising bubbles visible when held up to light. The head formation was average, then faded quickly into a lace.

Aroma: All malt, very clean.

Taste: Toasted malts up front and throughout the middle. The finish starts off with caramel malt flavors, and ends with a slight bittering hoppy taste to it. Excellent.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, almost a little watery in the middle though. The carbonation tickes the tongue nicely.

Overall: This is one of my favorites, I'd stongly recommend it to anyone, especially those who likes Irish red ales.

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Photo of auxiliary
4.42/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Clear red amber color with a nice head from the carbination. Some lace leaft on the glass after I drank it.

Smell - Nice sweet malt smell to it. Very nice.

Taste - Sweet malty taste.

Mouthfeel - Light and carbinated here.

Drinkability - This was St. Patty's day beer along with my other choice's that I bought. I could drink a bunch of these.

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Photo of bamojr
4.37/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

*notes from 10/17/10*

I picked a six pack up on my way home from an out of state trip and was quite thrilled with what I bought. I have come to expect great beers from Harpoon and this is one of the reasons why. This one has very nice sweet smells that sets up well for what your taste buds have in store. It also have a very sweet malty flavor with some caramel hints. This would be a great desert beer for sure.

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Photo of jiggahertz
4.33/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: an agressive pour gives a two finger cappucino head that billows over the top of the glass with some great lacing early.

S: strong roasted malts up front spices follow

T: roasted malt hit the tongue first followed by a plethora of spices
And a final kick up some floral hops.

M: full bodied and low carbonation. had this beer after an hour in the fridge
Which made it warmer than usual for me and it really did this beer
Some good.

D: it's a rather full bodied beer with a lot of spice but I could go for
A few of these on a cold night.

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Photo of gentlebubbles
4.32/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

on cask at Redbone's
A totally different experience: wonderful floral aroma, crisp, clean malt. Still puts me in mind of oktoberfest.

on cask at Doyle's

Light glows through reddish copper under a low head of coarse bubbles, which die down fairly quickly. Sour hops smell.

Though served on hairy edge of too warm, the light, crisp body has exactly the tender quality I'm looking for. It tastes quite mild, both in the malt and the hops, reminding me of Sam Adams Octoberfest.

A fine session brew.

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Photo of tatoodkelt
4.27/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My first beer from Harpoon.

Bottle poured to a pint glass.

A- Kind of a orangy red, almost matches the orange parts on the label. Nice 1 finger off white head with decent retention.

S- Caramel and sugar, over all a sweet aroma.

T- Mainly roasted malt, little sweet, a little spicy and a hint of some kind of wood flavor.

M- A little watery but very smooth and crisp. About medium carbination.

D- Over all a very nice beer! I found myself at the bottom sooner than I expected. Easy session beer and I will definitely get it again!

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Photo of mempath
4.24/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

i find it surprising how folks who are reviewing brews negatively aren't giving many details as to why. and why does one person find no head or lacing...is it the way they pour the brew? not dissing, just wondering.

surprisingly exceptional appearance due to a massive ecru head that laces plenty. i poured what i thought was too much into the glass. as it foam up it rose 3/8 of an inch over the rim WITHOUT slurping over the side. impressive, spiney head!

for some reason, not getting much from the nose. some sweet maltiness, but nothing assertive.

taste comes in quick, sweet, minimal bitterness in the sweetness, candied flavors. for all that head, not alot of carbonation at first, but arrives in the finish keeping a crisp edge to the delightful sweetness. not sickly cloying like Killian's...actually, something in the finish that has a hoppish burst in it with the carbonation. really nice, but simple nonetheless.

a very drinkable iriish style lager. definitely a St. Paddy's Day session brew, though i prefer to mix it up with anything else not naturally green...

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Photo of JohnL9013
4.22/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is apparently their seasonal, but in my opinion, they should sell this year round. It's similar to their standard Ale, but much better. It's a fairly light beer, and extremely smooth and drinkable. At the same time, it really packs a lot of flavor for being so light. I had a Blue Moon and one of these on the same night and in my opinion, this is a much better beer. It's still just as light and easy to drink.

A: (kept in the bottle)

S: Nothing offensive, but nothing insane.

T: Sweet, much more peppy than your typical light ale. Creamy, and nothing offensive at all. A little bit of bitterness to round it out.

M: Light to medium mouthfeel.

D: Really, really drinkable stuff, as I've come to expect from most of Harpoon's stuff.

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Photo of Greenlabel
4.21/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is my choice for a St Patricks Day beer and for many other occasions also. Pours a very attractive reddish color with a lasting head. Has a rather sweetish aroma and the taste is semi-sweet also - but nonetheless very refreshing. A rather thin palate - roasted barley with very little hoppiness. Some hint of, say, bubblegum in the aftertaste. Much lighter overall than many of the red ales I've tasted.

I would think this would be an excellent crossover beer for folks new to the world of craft beers as well as a solid session beer for craft veterans. In many respects, I'm sorry that this is only a spring seasonal as I'd definitely prefer it as an alternative to the many summer wheat beers.

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Photo of BeerSox
4.2/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into nonic.

Crystal clear copper hue with a one finger light tan head that slowly settles to a thin cap.

Lots of toasty malts along with a little sweet caramel. The hops are very herb-like, giving a light balancing bitterness to the malts.

More toasty grains, giving a very smooth and clean finish. The hops give a little bit of bitterness, along with a little bit of tea (just like the style description). The caramel isn't as obvious in the flavor as it is in the aroma, but it's there. A slight creaminess is in the background. Full bodied with a good amount of carbonation - a little spritzy.

A really good Irish Red Ale. Very smooth and balanced as the hops do a good job of complimenting the malts. A good representation of the style. Recommended.

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Photo of superdedooperboy
4.2/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours with a fat, rocky, sticky beige head, slowly resting and sticking heavily to the sides of the glass as it disappears. Color is a beautiful deep mahogany leaning more toward the ruby end of the spectrum, and crystal clear.

In the nose are toasty, biscuity malt aromas, sweetened a bit with caramel and toffee notes and wrapped up with herbal, slightly grassy hops.

Medium-bodied with a bit of slick, buttery mouthfeel, and nicely carbonated. The brew opens up nice and sweet, with a rich caramel foreground that lies over sweetbread and a bit of graininess, surrounded on the sides by a tingly hoppy bitterness of resin and cut grass, finishing with a pleasant balance of sweet and bitter that leaves a sharp dryness.

Superbly drinkable and delicious to boot, this brew easily knocks out many Irish Reds with its wonderful balance and full-on flavor that is just complex enough to be interesting yet not so much so that it would not be suited for sessioning.

Simply put: much more than I was expecting, and an amazing surprise.

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Photo of kels
4.2/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Review poured straight from the fridge into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a lovely clear red with visible carbonation running throughout and a 3 finger foamy cream-colored head. The head fades and retains at a 1/2 finger. The lacing is wet and thin, sliding back down the glass into the head.

Smell: Subtle, but true to style. It is full of chewy, toasty, nutty malts. There's a slight metallic note that becomes more apparent as the beer warms.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Really enjoy the taste. Chewy/toasty malts, slight syrupy sweetness, and a little bite of alcohol. A little peaty, too, actually reminds me more of a scottish ale. The hops become most present in the aftertaste and remind me of crisp green apples and grapefruit. Feel is lacking a little - effervescent enough, but missing the creamy fullness I get from other irish reds I've enjoyed, leaving it a little thin. Leaves a slightly satisfyingly sticky feel in the palate afterward.

Drinkability: Super-high. Could have several of these thanks to the tastiness and low abv. Happy St. Paddy's, indeed.

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Photo of thegodfather1076
4.2/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was served out of a 12oz. bottle dispensed into a glass....

Presentation - Typical Harpoon label adjusted to the St. Patty's Day seasonal time.

Appearance - Pours a nice reddish copper color with a nice 2 finger golden foam head that sticks around. Tons of lacing!!

Smell - Smells of slight citus hops and brown sugar malts.

Taste - Floral hop tasts hints of toasted caramel-bready malts.

Mouthfeel - Slightly creamy mouthfeel with medium carbonation.

Drinkability - Very smooth and flavorful. Highly drinkable Irish Red.

I personally thought this was a very good Irish Red. Very smooth and tasty. I hope it is released again next year.

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Photo of BruMeister
4.2/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Harpoon Celtic has a reddish amber color, taste has a good malty character with a moderate hoppiness. Good head retention but the first taste almost has a little too much head for my taste. Once I get into the beer itself I am quite pleased. This ale has a medium body and is very drinkable. One of my favorites on draft at my local pub.

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Photo of kindestcut
4.18/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Harpoon Celtic Ale pours a deep red with a two-finger white head. Given my affinity for Irish red ales, I was most impressed by the appearance.

The aroma is not heavy with hints of malt and hops. While the beer does not have a strong aroma the flavor is much more prominent. The flavor is well balanced like a ll good Irish reds. There is a nice malty sweetness with a hoppy finish that is the signature of this style. Too much sweetness and this would taste like a brown ale.

The mouthfeel is very good, a product of good carbonation. This also adds to the drinkability in my book.

I would say that the Harpoon Celtic Ale is at the top of the Irish eds I have tried recently. This beer would definitely be in my fridge year round.

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Photo of BZero007
4.16/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a nice clear amber red color, with a decent head and lace formation. Smell was not overwelming and consisted of a Spicy Fruit aroma with a light hop background. Smell was light but I felt it contributed to the taste still. Taste was nice spicy and prickley fruit flavor that hits you up fromt and is supported by a malt back ground. The carbonation is not overboard but it is allot and it helps bring out the flavors allot.

I really enjoyed this beer and would drink again as a session brew.

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Photo of scruffwhor
4.16/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked up my local Jewel today. Was surprised to see this at my local supermarket.

Deep yet clear amber color with lots of awesome bubbling and a well retained thick film of foam.

Sweet toasted malt aroma overall that makes me think of biscuits and home baked white bread. Very inviting session ale smell.

Sweet toasted malt upfront, with a little dryness. The middle has some caramel to add to that toasted bread flavor. Finish is simple and mlaty sweet that makes me want to kill a six pack of this beer in a heartbeat.

Very underated Irish Red ale.

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Photo of scooter231
4.15/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Woo Irish beer. Reviewed by an Irish girl. An Irish redhead. Woo.

Pours an amberish color with hints or orange in the background, very very clear, some white head but runs away very quickly. Smell is tea-like- light, lemony tea, or iced tea. Moderate fruityness with a sweet, malty backbone and hops spread about.

Taste also reminds me of tea- kind of an iced tea/black tea hybrid with other stuff going on. That other stuff being fruity maltyness and a light amount of bitter hops in the finish. Some roasted/toasted flavors surface to give this beer a well-rounded flavor.

Mouthfeel is smooth and bubbley, bordering on creamy. Slick near the end- very nice. I'd say this is pretty darned drinkable- it's tasty and not too heavy, it won't sneak up on you (assuming it sticks to style and is around 5%) and is pleasurable to drink- a good beer.

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Photo of shamrock7
4.15/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I recently was introduced to Harpoons Hibernator by mistake and I have to say I really enjoyed it. It was presented to me as an IPA, but it was really a red ale. I was expecting an IPA and I found my first sip not only to be a surprise, but a pleasant surprise. It was really smooth and tasty. It was a nice pour with a rich foamy head. The aroma was a nice mix of fruit and caramel, but not overpowering. It went down very easily - light, tasty and very drinkable. Even though I was looking for an IPA I ended up sticking with this one for the whole time I was there. There was no aftertaste and it was easy on the pallet. I’ll be looking for this one next time.

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Photo of Dster
4.14/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass...freshness date of 05-15-11 (oops!) Regardless it still tastes and smells quite fresh.

Pours a nice burnt orange with a frothy large bubbled head that quickly dissappears.

Fruity malts ...tastes more like a bitter to me.

Very drinkable.

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Harpoon Celtic Ale from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
3.51 out of 5 based on 768 ratings.
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