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.

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Reviews: 365 | Ratings: 769
Photo of Outchillen
3.07/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Big fan of Harpoon, this beer was average, not a huge IRA fan

Thin off-white head, dark amber red, clear

had mellow malty aroma, not much hops

Was very dry, turned to bitter, mildly malty, had a strange mouthfeel

overall its an average beer, wouldnt buy a six pack again, but if i felt festive and saw it on draft, i would get it again

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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.

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Photo of asabreed
3.08/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had a couple pints at Coach's Corner in Savannah. I couldn't see the tap, but asked the waitress what it was. She replied, "It's called Hiberian (sic), and it's kind of like Killian's."

Appearance: Deep amber color, not much head retention, not a lot of carbonation, and little lacing sticking around.

Smell: Residual sweetness mixed with a bit of fruit and sweeter malt flavors, some grain and bread aromas with a bit of citrus.

Taste: Residual malt sweetness with some grain and bready malt flavors, slight citrus from the hops, but not much. Hopping this up would mask the mediocre malt profile I'd imagine, but as it stands this is easy going, but fairly boring with hardly anything going on at all.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a good balance and crispness.

Drinkability: The main problem with this beer is: if you told me it was Killian's I would've believed you, which isn't really a good thing, especially from someone like Harpoon, even though I have had many mediocre brews from them. That said, this is still pretty unimpressive. I think Harpoon needs to do their single barrel series and make it more widely available -- I'd like to see some experimentation. Otherwise, I'll pay two dollars less and order a pint of Killian's...

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Photo of SickGnar
3.08/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: A robust dark copper with a two finger light tan head. Clear with a few large lazy bubbles. It leaves okay splashes of lace.

S: Very clean and light. Faint malty grain with ghost hints of caramel & background sweetness. Touch of sulfur. Not really any hops. Not picking up any esters. Seems to be a lager version.

T: Steely caramel and toasted grain that turns husky. Just an edge of darker roasted malts, but with an odd sharp / burnt edge lurking around. Firmly bitter with earthy hops that get herbal in as they linger in the finish. Minimal sweetness. Faint, non-distinct esters. Some sulfur. As warms it gets a bit astringent and tart, and a bit of alcohol pushes through.

M: On the thin side with soft carbonation. Minerally and astringent drying finish.

D: Doesn’t feel well put together. In some ways it seems more like a lager version despite the “ale” in the name (clean, light, sulfur). Rather edgey and angular, doesn’t seem rounded at all. Minimal caramel and sweetness. Otherwise in style, but pushes the margins. Just barely under-average drinking.

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Photo of Amalak
3.08/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I had this beer off the tap at Boulevard Tavern in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
A- Red in color with a slight head an lacing.
S- Has kind of a bark scent to it.
T- Off the bat it had a very sour aftertaste. But once I got used to it, I noticed a slightly tart fruitiness to it. It has a very dry aftertaste. Not a bad beer, but not a fan.

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Photo of BBM
3.08/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Beer pours a golden yellow/orange with a thin white head. Decent lacing around the glass. Aroma isn't very pronounced, but has hints of caramel malts and some sourness.

Taste is also a bit on the sour side. There are hints of caramel, grain, and maybe a slight hop presence, but overall the flavor is uneven and a bit bland. Mouthfeel is nice and full. This beer is sessionable, but that sour aftertaste kind of kills your desire for more. This isn't an awful beer, just not a very good one either. Average at best.

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Photo of csmiley
3.08/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Color was medium brown with hints of red. Ended up with one and a half inches of head. Retention was average. Lacing was average.

S - Not much aromas on this one. Mostly bread followed by a little sweetness.

T - Primary flavors were bread, grain, and caramel. Nothing really stood out in front. There was a bit of alcohol and hops in the end.

M - Medium to light bodied with good carbonation.

D - This one comes across as average. Glad I got to try it. This would not be my first choice of beverage but still not too bad though.

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Photo of merlin48
3.09/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, cherrywood, brownish-red body with a small, beige head that quickly falls flat. Some sticky patches of lace are left on the glass.

Aroma is restrained, and that's putting a good spin on it. Sweet, bready malt and some herbal hops are barely noticed.

Mouthfeel is pedestrian, with moderate carbonation and a light body.

Taste is above average, but unimpressive. Caramel and bready malts dominate, with a balancing, floral/herbal hops presence that provides enough bitterness to give this decent drinkability. Not one of the better Harpoon brews I've tried, but it's not bad, just average.

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Photo of DavidSeanNJ
3.1/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Ok- so I was seeking out a beer for St. Patrick's day (besides Guinness) and did not have any options. Decided to purchase a single of this stuff for the holiday to go with my CB and Cabbage. Was not blown away to say the least. Average, but nice little beer from Harpoon.

A- Ruby red. Some brown color. Kind of monotone. Not glaring or neon but plain old ruby red. Thin head- no lace.

S- Fruity and malty.

T- Biscuity and malty with fruity undertones. Nice nuttiness in the aftertaste. Bready and grainy, once again, sweet all around. Not much hop bite if any.

M- Thin and bland. The mouthfeel felt like a Bud Light IMO minus all the carbonation.

D- Easy drinking Irish red, nothing over the top. I enjoyed it but I would not seek this out.

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Photo of RickKrumenacker
3.1/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - clear light orange with a minimal, tan head that disappears quickly...leaves a spotty film across the top of the beer...a little agitation brings back what head was there

S - faint caramel and a little bit of alcohol...after agitation, very bready

T - roasted grains, almost like a liquid, multi-grain bread...very little caramel

M - a little thin and watery...moderate carbonation...a little bit of bittering at the back of the mouth

D - nothing really offensive...nothing really outstanding...I could put a few of these back without thinking too much

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Photo of Jdiddy
3.11/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The initial color is that of Killians. A red/copper color. The taste is total malt with an overabundance of caramel sweetness. The first time I tried this I loved it. The second time I had a hard time finishing it. It is rather bland and it seems like something is not quite right in the balance. Head vanishes quickly and you are left with a glass of malty syrup it seemed.

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Photo of droomyster
3.11/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear shimmering bronze that is beautiful in the light. Has very little head but settles to a white collar that laces the top of the glass. Constant streams of very fine bubbles add to its attractiveness. Aromas are disappointingly subdued, tending towards a dull toastiness. Tastewise, light English hops balance the bready malts, but the flavors lack assertiveness and aren't very interesting. Overall, it is not a bad beer but doesn't have any remarkable qualities.

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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.


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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

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Photo of armock
3.13/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured a light amber color with a thin off white head that tried to leave spotty lacing

S - Is of sweet malt with caramel scents

T - Follows the nose with sweet malt but has a slight fruity taste

M - This beer has a thinner body with light carbonation to it

D - A fairly average beer thats ok to drink not the best beer I've drank recently but far from the worst not bad worth a shot if you like the style

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Photo of Doomcifer
3.15/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear, dark, amber red with a nice frothy head that retains pretty well. Smell is very sweet and earthy. Kind of a tang to the aroma as well. Taste is more sweet malts but rather thin in the middle and finish. Slight bitter hop finish. Slightly metallic. Mouthfeel is thinner than I would like. Good carbonation, and slightly dry finish. Fairly drinkable but was kinda let down by this one.

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Photo of IBUnit63
3.15/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

True copper color with nice carbonation.

There's an earthy hop character; heavy on the malt. Mild/sweet.

Tastes heavy but mild - malt, hops balance nicely. No alcohol character.

Gentle on the mouth - moderate finish.

Definitely a session beer but a little heavy for my taste.

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Photo of flyingspatula
3.15/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is one of the most beautiful beers I've ever seen. The head was an awesome golden reddish cream, three fingers high. It looked like what I picture a Lothlorien beer would look like (uh, maybe this should be my last beer of the night?!). Well, anyway, the smell is not promising. Reminds me of one of the worst beers I have tried, Four Horesmen's Irish red. Yeeeuckkk! Luckily the taste, although slightly similar to that aforementioned travesty of a beer, is actually really good. Although slightly minerally with a slight tartness, it goes down smoothly and makes friends with tongue, throat and stomach easily. Very drinkable beer, and I would definitely try again!

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Photo of TheBrewo
3.15/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

We pour a brew of reddish amber. It holds a one finger head of tan bubbles, showing okay retention. This recedes into light film across the top of the liquid, with large aggregates of bubbles around the edges of the glass. Lacing is left in sheets as the head departs. No haze is noted, but tiny bits of sediment are suspended throughout, while carbonation appears active. The aroma shows pale malts, with light caramels, and significant corny adjuncts. There is brassiness of yeast, with bubblegum esters, and red grape juice sweetness. Light hints of vanilla add depth, with light buttery diacetyls with warmth, off in the distance. Our first impression is that the malts really steal the show, while the feel is dry as a bone. The sip opens with adjuncty malt, steel, sweetness of caramel, and light spice of nutmeg and basic clovey phenols. The middle peaks with an airy booziness, acting to cut some of the initial sweetness of grain. The finish shows yeast, more of those same malts, fresh cherries, and more of those grapey aromatics. The aftertaste breathes of cherry sweetness, bready maltiness, chalky malts, nutmeg, black pepper, and light booziness. The body is medium, and the carbonation is medium. The mouth is initially wet and coated, but quickly dries down the tongue for a serious astringent bite. There is okay slurp, smack, and glug, but little in the way of cream or froth. The abv is appropriate, and the beer drinks easily.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this brew was the aroma, and the rich color. We were surprised to find some estery sweetness, as well as fruit and bitterness among the rich malty background. The flavoring, however, was a bit basic, and skirted on the adjuncty side, making this guy less than perfect.

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Photo of Brewman7284
3.15/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Nice looking amber almost a red ale, Very little amount of head one finger, not much lacing at all

S - Boring to me not much of anything

T - Easy to drink, goes down like water and has way to much carbination

M - Not much flavor seems like i am drinking seltzer water

O - Not one of my favorites

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Photo of changeup45
3.15/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2/16/2005. Pours an amber color with a moderate head and some lacing. The aroma is sweet and malty. Easy drinking but not quite as flavorful as I thought it might be. Could be because I was overpowered by Smuttynose Barleywine last night and this now seems watery. Either way, the flavor was sweet with some malts. Good but not a great beer.

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Photo of CrazyMacHarris99
3.15/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a bright red with a fluffy white head that leaves a nice thin layer and thick ring. Smell is mostly of bubblegum and circus peanuts. I have usually associated those with certain belgian yeast. There is a slight malt but no hops present in the nose. The taste is slight caramel with a decent hop presence. The fruity yeast aromas did not carry over much into the taste but there is a slight sweetness. The mouthfeel is a little thin and the carbonation seems excessive. Drinkability is so-so, the mouthfeel isn't great and the taste is a little off. I might be able to stomach a few of these but not going to revisit any time soon.

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Photo of Reagan1984
3.15/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

In the process of posting 4 reviews that I wrote on my blackberry in the spring and just realized I never posted them.

Pint came with no head and the beer was a clear am,ber color with no visible carbonation. No lacing to speak of.

Aroma is of caramel and slightly bready.

Everything was light in this beer, the aroma was mild as is the flavor. Some malt tones that seem monotone and slight sweetness. Nothing deep about it.

Body is light as is the carbonation. A little bit slick

I drank the pint quickly and moved on to another more interesting beer.

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Photo of feelmefoam
3.16/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, carbonated, copper color, just like a new penny. Has some lighter orange highlights when held up to the light, but this is completely see-through. Celtic put up a one finger, off-white head that had some pretty nice retention, then left a moderate amount of thin lacing on the glass.

The aroma is sweet, giving off hints of bready malts, apples, and some caramel/sugar, but the scent is a little on the weaker side, you definitely have to search for some of the different ingredients.

Like the nose, the flavor is good, but a little weak. Nice bready, slightly toasty malt character up front with caramel covered fruit falling in behind, all wrapped up by a little bit of a spicy hop character. Still, none of these stand up and say "Hey!" like I want them to. Decent.

The mouthfeel is a bit thin and watery, but the fact that it isn't overcarbonated helps a bit. Smooth, but smooth kind of like a cold glass of water. Finishes slightly crisp, but this category could be better as well.

Well, all told this beer has potential if they crank up the ingredients and the intensity a bit. I liked the flavors I found, but they were kind of hard to find. It's a drinkable Irish red, but drinkable in that it's not offensive in any way, shape or form, and you could definitely drink several without being overly impressed or overly inebriated.

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Photo of thekevlarkid
3.16/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Out of a bottle provided to me by my good friend Laura this beer was a true garnet color with ruby highlights. The head was two fingers of khaki colored foam that retained well as a thin layer and left streaks of lacing. The aroma was of caramel malt, toasted malt and a hint of hops. The flavors were misbalanced starting with bitter grains, then slightly too much of the sweet malts with not enough bittering hops to even it out. Not bad, but awkward. The mouthfeel was watery, the body medium and the carbonation was right on point for the style. A one and done for me.

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Harpoon Celtic Ale from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
3.51 out of 5 based on 769 ratings.
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