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 kojevergas
2.62/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with branded pressure cap acquired at Trader Joe's and served into a conical Samuel Smith's pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are average; I'm a big fan of the style and based purely on the marketing, I'm assuming this one is going to be bad. I'm judging this book by its cover. I believe this is my first beer from Harpoon. Enjoy by 05/15/13. 5.4% ABV confirmed.

Served straight from the fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a luscious beige-khaki colour head of nice cream and thickness, and great (~6+ minute) retention. Body colour is a vibrant clear translucent copper-amber. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Looks exactly as it should for the style; I'm impressed. Fair albeit thin lacing as the head slowly recedes.

Sm: Hrm. A malty sweetness up front with backgrounded toasted malt; it should be the exact opposite. No yeast or alcohol is detectable. Hopping is minimal, floral, and generic. I do like the aroma, but it isn't quite to style. Good amber malting. I can't wait to try it. A moderate strength aroma.

T: Sweet up front. Light toasted character - not enough. The malts lack richness and depth of flavour. Balance is okay. No yeast character or alcohol comes through. Simple. Lacks complexity and subtlety. Very underwhelming. This just isn't what it should be.

Mf: Way way too dry. Also too coarse. Completely wrong for the style. This isn't at all refreshing. Carbonation is good, and thickness is good, but it's severely problematic. Scratchy. Presence on the pale is horrible.

Dr: This one really misses the mark. A poor excuse for an Irish red. It's drinkable, but its problems exceed its successes. I definitely wouldn't get this again. I'm in no hurry to try Harpoon's other beers after having had this one. Hides its average ABV well.

Low C-

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Photo of mactrail
2.99/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

A lovely coppery amber color in the wine glass. Even the last pour has fine foam all down the glass. Fizzy and well carbonated. Musty aroma.

Flavor consists of a schmear of sweet malt followed by a mineral sensation. Dry and bitter to the finish. For a light beer that is not even on the low-alcohol side, this is very unrewarding. Resiny and medicinal. This and cardboardy. So attractive and well made, but so unpleasant. And Harpoon has made some very good beers.

From the 12 oz bottle bought at Trader Joe's in San Diego.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.71/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2 12 oz. bottles into a nonic, for some reason my local Trader Joe's had sixers of this, never seen Harpoon in the Southland before aside from tastings,

A: Pours an amber red with a creamy full white head, with very good retention, some nice lace.

S: Toasty biscuity red malt. Cracked bread, hint of grassy hops.

T: Lots of crystal type malt, with some roasty husky grain. Heavy dried grain finish, almost like cereal. Some good backing hops add some balance.

M: Fairly robust for its style, a solid drinking pint. Crisp carbonation, nice long aftertaste, well structured.

O: A good effort, not anything to make you go wow, but I certainly enjoyed the 24 oz. I don't know if this is some kind an anomaly, or if Harpoon is actually coming to CA, but I'd like to see more from them in the future.

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Photo of notchucknorris
3.37/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A: Pours a clear chestnut color with almost no head. Not really getting any red from this.

S: malty with a hint of fruitiness. I get some white and concord grape, grape nuts and brown sugar. Smells really sweet.

T: seems like it's going to hit upfront with a citrus hop bite, but that fades quickly into a lot of sweet bready malt. Some caramel, malt syrup and some grain. Mouthfeel is pretty watery. Not really a fan of this one.

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Photo of Act25
3.48/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

This beer has been renamed Celtic Red.

Presentation - St. Patty's Day Label.

Appearance - Lovely color that sets the expectation for the sweet, mahogany taste.
But the head settles too quickly for me.

Smell - Solid citus hops, brown sugar malts, cedary, great nose.

Taste - Floral hop with caramel-bready malts, sweet, easy, friendly, approachable. Perhaps too sweet after one.

Mouthfeel - Slightly sweet creamy, (like cream soda), mouthfeel with modest carbonation.

Drinkability - Very smooth and flavorful. Highly drinkable Irish Red. Much better than others.

Easy going. Light alcohol. Fun but sweet Irish Red.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
3.71/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Enjoy By 04/15/13

A: Pours an amber/copper color with a fingers worth of head that reduces to a cap within a couple minutes

S: Plenty of Irish malts provide a slight sweetness. Also get some light fruitiness and grains

T: Follows the nose. Irish malts dominate, lending a slight sweetness which is balanced by some fruitiness and grainy character. Definitely hearty

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Hearty

O: A nice take on the style and one that could easily be drank in either the winter or spring. I'm not the biggest fan of the style, but this one is good. Worth a shot

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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 Mora2000
3.58/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a clear, dark red color with a tan head. The aroma is heavy on the sweet malt, with some dark fruit thrown in. I get a ton of raisins and cherries in the aroma. The flavor is very similar, with a lot of sweet toffee and some light dark fruit. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. I am not a huge fan of this style of beer, but this one was better than most I have tried.

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Photo of stephenjmoore
3.55/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Medium amber body with transparency and a thin white layer of bubbles on top.

S- Rich caramel malt aroma, not much else going on.

T- Caramel malt dominates the taste with a slight hop presence to balance out the flavor.

M- Medium-light body with medium carbonation. Very drinkable.

O- Decent beer, but nothing great.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.56/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: two finger head with excellent retention on a cloudy amber body.

S: caramel malts but with a more sour/funk aroma than sweet. slight burnt toast note as well.

T: heavy maltiness with mostly sweet caramel and toasted malt that almost provides a rough texture to the beer.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: very malty so much that the beer texture is affected.

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Photo of scootny
3.51/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A lovely clear red amber ale wit a good head and nice lacing. Nose carries aromas of caramel malt light sweetness and some toasted whole grain bread. A light fruitiness blooms as it warms up and indeed this is a beer best served at cool rather than cold temperatures to allow the flavors to develop. Speaking of flavors the taste is nicely malty with lots of caramel malt and chewy breadiness. There is a mild sweetness and firm yeasty fruitiness that is a hallmark of good UK style brewing. This one gets better as it warms. Finish is clean with a touch of metal and lingering toast and grains. Feel is medium light with a smooth and lightly effervescent carbonation. This is a beer that touts itself for St. Patty's day and it is more that up to the task.

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Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, best by 5/15/2012. Pours crystal clear reddish orange color with a 1 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a nice thin cap that lingers. Some good spotty lacing on the glass as well. Aromas of caramel, raisin, prune, molasses, banana, bubblegum, clove, floral, and toasted bread. Some pretty nice aromas with good strength and balance. Taste of caramel, pepper, bread, banana, bubblegum, raisin, molasses, floral, toasted malt, and yeast spices. Light bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, molasses, dark fruit, banana, clove, and pepper on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance of flavors with good complexity. Medium carbonation and body; with a fairly creamy and slightly slick mouthfeel. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming after the finish present. Very easy and smooth to drink. Overall this is a very nice Irish red ale! Very nice amount of flavor and balance for being almost a session beer. I would have this again.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.46/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a tumbler pint, the beer is a vibrant, dark, copper-red coloring with a light, frothy, off-white head that quickly settles into an uneven film. Aromas of malt depth, with some nutty and scotch characteristics throughout. Light roasting throughout both the aroma and the palate. Strong malt backbone, with layers of nut, caramel, and toffee sweetness blended together into a smooth, rich body. There is a slight hops bitterness that cleans up the tail end of the flavor profile, leading into a light, richly sweet aftertaste. The body is light and smooth, with a sharpness for the finish. Slightly cloying, leaving a slight linger behind. Easy to drink, and some interesting and light flavors.

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Photo of JWU
3.58/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into a tumbler glass.

A- a clear amber/ruby, with a finger of white head that sticks around a bit. A little bit of lacing.

S- not much going on, some funky yeast, and toasted grains.

T- Thank goodness there's more to this beer than the smell. A really nice straightforward toasted grain/carmel malt bill with some light balancing floral hops. Tasty.

M- Slightly creamy mouthfeel to this medium bodied brew.

O- I have a soft spot for a decent Irish Red, and this certainly hit the spot.

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Photo of dogfishandi
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle at fridge temp poured into a tulip glass. best before 06/15/12.

pours out a clear deep red, bronze color. somewhat a fizzy one fingers worth of head, off white, that settles eventually to a thin ring and patchy foam.

metallic biscuity, bready malt is mostly what i get in the aroma. fruit esters as well and maybe a touch of caramel.

follows the aroma. biscuit, bread crust with slight hint of toffee and metal. just enough citric, slight herbal hops to balance. and a little fruity esters as well.

some what of a sharp, crisp finish and a high amount of slightly bitey carbonation. slightly fuller side of light bodied. very good drinkability.

nothing to really get excited over, somewhat of a bland style. i could see this appealing to macro drinkers trying to convert, exspecially those who enjoy yuengling lager, almost the same beer with an ale yeast and maybe the slightest bit more body, but tis the season...

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Photo of SuperSpy
3.56/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear and reddish-brown. Not a big head but it stays around.

The smell is a mix of bread, toast and slightly sweet malt.

The flavor has some good toasted malt, with earthy tones and banana bread. It's got a good medium body and is quite thirst quenching.

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Photo of hosehead83
3.88/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.
Clear deep copper color, with a nice two-inch head of off-white foam.
Aroma-Toasted malt
Taste-Toasted malt, faint caramel, clean finishing. Light-bodied and sessionable, plain but pleasant. A nice choice as a session ale on March 17.

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Photo of magine
3.88/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

Pours a clear dark reddish amber color. Nice creamy off white fluffy head. Lots of good carbonation and tons of tight bubbles rise to the top. Light layer of patchy lace remains. Really good lace all around the glass remains. Great looks.

Brew smells of caramel malts, sweet yeast and biscuit. Some mellow hops and spice round out the nose. Pretty good nose.

Brew is balanced; nice creaminess up front. Sweet caramel malts, crisp peppery hops in the middle and end. Finishes mellow and slighty dry. Almost a bit of sweet fruit hops here as I drink. Good and full bodied for the style as well. Lots of character and flavors going on here for a low abv brew. Real good malty brew here that is perfect to session. Great brew here.

This brew is making me want to look into this style again. A great treat here; tasty, full bodied, looks great and is very drinkable. Great stuff here.

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Photo of tdm168
3.53/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a ruby amber with a thin layer of soft, creamy, white head that fades away. There are a ton of carbonation bubbles that rise to the top when first poured. The nose has a sweet, rich, caramel malt note. The flavor is caramel malt, sweet, toasted malt, and faint butterscotch. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, crisp, and smooth.

This is a decent beer. I would definitely have a few of these with my St. Patty's celebration.

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Photo of rangerred
3.67/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance is a clear dark ruby with a one finger off-white head that is quick to fade.

Aroma is of caramel and bubblegum along with a slight bit of roast.

The flavor has the same bubblegum that was in the aroma along with a somewhat woody flavor. Caramel is there from the malt along with a light roast. Mouthfeel is pretty slick and smooth.

Overall this beer is ok but it seems like there is a little too much going on. Glad I tried it but probably wouldn't go back and have it again.

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Photo of jktedder12
4.06/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a chilled pint glass. Foamy head, about a quarter inch, dissipated to some lingering lacing. floral hop aroma with a hint of citrus. Color is golden ruby. Nice ruddy appearance for an Irish Red. Nice smooth feel in the mouth with just a bit of extra carbonation. Floral hop taste with a hint of caramel. Finishes bitter and dry. Overall very nice, solid red ale.

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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 BeerKangaroo
3/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Into a pint glass:

A: clear amber colored body with some carbonation seen rising and a creamy lasting white head, it leaves ringy foamy lacing

S: roasty malts and caramel, light hops ever so slightly in the background

T: caramel comes back and has some roastiness to it

M: medium, sessionable, smooth, no aftertaste, quick caramel finish

O: not a bad beer, but nothing to scream about, might have again ... ?

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Photo of Treyliff
3.83/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- dark amber, almost red in color with a small white fizzy head and good lacing.

S- floral hops, fruity, sweet malts, and just a bit of citrus.

T- floral hops similar to the smell, a bit of citrus fruitiness and an interesting note of bubble gum. It gives a pretty sweet taste, which transitions into a sweet malty taste, almost caramel like. Finishes moderately bitter with a nice linger.

M - medium body, medium carbonation and goes down pretty smooth. M

O- an interesting take on an Irish Red. Fruity and refreshing, yet nicely balanced by the sweet malt. Better than I was expecting.

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Photo of MoreThanWine
3.25/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a pretty 2" bright beige head of average lifespan. The body is a nice clear amber but I wouldn't really call it a red ale. It smells of toasted malt and a little hops. The taste is kind of a weak version of a Scotch ale. This beer is OK, I could drink it regularly, but it's not really a standout.

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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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