Harpoon Celtic Ale | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

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365 Reviews
Harpoon Celtic AleHarpoon Celtic Ale

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

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: 767
Photo of rlee1390
3.32/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-Clear amber, some carbonation, not much, one finger head

S-Roasty malts, caramel, little else.

T-Caramel, some roastiness, semi-sweet.

M-Medium bodied but little carbonation.

O-Another Irish Red Ale that just didn't do it for me. The mesh of flavors isn't there.

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Photo of jondeelee
3.43/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Smells thick and malty, and far more reminiscent of a good nut brown ale than an Irish Red: caramels and brown sugars dominate the nose, with strong hints of toasted grains just below.

On the tongue, sugars also win out initially, though are far less dark than the nose belies. Instead of dark malts the sugars are light: caramels, hints of maple syrup, dark honeys. Around mid-mouthful the sugars die off and reveal a complex grainy background, full of Grape Nuts cereal-like flavors, as well as biscuits and toasted wheat. Hops play a small presence here, adding just a hint of bitter fuzz. The aftertaste is a continuation of the toasted wheat flavors. Mouthfeel is light, only slightly more viscous than water.

Overall, this is a solid Irish Red, obviously made with care and good quality ingredients. It doesn't necessarily bring anything new to the style, but it is well-crafted and nicely balanced.

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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 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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Photo of tapman
4.03/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark copper and a foamy, tawny head. Very clear.

Earthy, minty hop and a lightly sweetened toast.

All the flavors of the nose with a light-moderate bitterness. An apple-like fruitiness is subtle.

Crisp and refreshing.

A good all-around irish red. Pretty close to the style, from my experience. I could have used some more hops, though not bright ones.

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Photo of Brenden
3.7/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew is about a dark orange with a bronze edge to it that shines clear in the light. The off-shite head that forms is about one finger high and retains itself fairly well but doesn't leave much lacing, but enough to prove there's some substance to it.
What's in the aroma is good but it's also light. The malts form a sturdy backbone to rest a light dose of hops for balance, while a touch of sweetness and light spiciness rounds it out.
The flavor is also good and offers a bit more, giving what it should without sacrificing depth as in the aroma. Malts are the focus though hops are not neglected, adding a light herbal bittering balance to the sweetness of caramel, a flavor most like brown sugar, and a nutmeg-like spiciness. Grains and breads come and go a bit under it all.
The body is on the lighter side of medium and a touch thinner than the malts would imply. There's nothing that either offends or makes this particularly interesting; a light cripsness is in each sip as well as a moderately smooth finish.
This really isn't a bad little red.

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

Harpoon Celtic Ale pours a nice red color with an inch of pillowy light tan head.

The smell is a little grassy. The taste is a touch sweet, but nicely balanced.

Mouthfeel is a light-bodied, easy drinking.

Overall this is nice beer. Nothing to complain about.

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

Poured into a pint glass, 2 finger head and a nice amber hue typical of an irish red. Left some lacing.

Smell is mostly malt.

Taste was pretty good overall. Malt hits you right away followed by a subtle hop flavor but its definitely there. A nice finish but the only thing I didn't care for was a mild metallic aftertaste.

Yes I would drink it again and I enjoyed it as a decent Irish Red.

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Photo of HattedClassic
3.95/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: A light tan foam that lasts and leaves some lacing. Pours out a clear, amber beer.

Smell: Sweet caramel and yeasty malts. I also get some banana notes.

Taste: The malts show up and dominate the beer but they're supplemented by a little of banana.

Mouthfeel: Really light carbonation with creamy feel.

Overall: Not a bad beer. I enjoyed it quite a bit and might buy more in the future next time they're available.

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Photo of ngeunit1
3.55/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a clear amber-orange color with a finger of tan-brown head. The head fades down to a solid ring leaving behind some lacing in the process.

S - Aroma is full of sweet roasted caramel and bread malts. There is a bit of spices and some banana in the background. Touch of brown sugar.

T - Starts off with a blend of some sweet caramel malts and some spices. There is a touch of bread in the background. Through the middle some brown sugar sweetness and a touch of yeast that come through. The finish is a bit of caramel and spices that linger.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. A touch watery but the finish feels really pleasant on the tongue, with the right amount of spice.

D - Very drinkable. The flavors could have used a touch more of a hit, though the spices were a nice addition, they weren't quite perfect and enough on their own.

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Photo of Sammy
2.66/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A rough beer tod rink. Odd malty aromas, light orange coloured body. I did not like the taste, the mouthfeel. Still a little drinkability. I have had better in the style.Not the worst Harpoon, ending with something more flavourful from the brewery.Thanks Radek.

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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 mdvatab
2.98/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz bottle into imperial pint glass.

Aroma: Honey, cinnamon, melon, and even some faint banana-like esters. Hop profile very reserved, and could not find a descriptor.

Appearance: 2 finger head settles slowly to a thin layer of off-white foam that remains. Deep amber body. Light lacing remains on the side of the glass.

Flavor: Light brown sugar, apple butter, a very faint touch of mint from the hops, and a touch of mineral at the end. Finish is bittersweet.

Mouthfeel: Medium CO2. I'd say the body is a bit on the watery side for the style.

Overall: Highly drinkable, however a bit less malt than I'd like for an Irish red to have. The beer lacks the unmistakable slightly pungent malt profile one would expect from an Irish red. I can't help but wonder whether Harpoon dialed this one back a bit to shoot for more of a "gateway"-type beer. Not bad, but could have been better IMO. (I did not review it, but remember enjoying the Hibernian Ale more a few years back.)

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Photo of kenito799
3.88/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a tall glass.

Dark reddish amber brew, tan foamy head, not much lace. Not much aroma at all, a bit of malt, blandish smell.

Crisp and light on the palate, dry, refreshing, with a nice toasted malt flavor that recalls an alt. I really like this brew, I find it very drinkable and refreshing...more flavor than your standard lager, I would like to revisit this in hot weather as I think the light dry body will go well with hot humid days, while providing a good amount of toasty flavor.

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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 Thads324
3.61/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A : pours a burnt brown with reddish orange hues. Rusty is the best way to describe it. A frothy head of light tan foam.

S : sweet smelling malty goodness. A start of apple core that has been out for a day and a blended scent of hops with a musty finish. The hop is pronounced, but seems to just be mashed up together so you can not tell the difference in them.

T : A heavy start with sweet caramel and biscuit flavors. There is a tiny hop in the middle, followed by a fruity sweetness like sugared apples. The finish is crisp with a hoppy tail.

M : solid throughout with a good level of carb and bubbles. The taste is heavy at first and finishes with good hop flavor but it isn't overbearing.

D : drinkable and easy going for the flavor profile.

Overall a pretty good beer, but nothing to go crazy over. Good flavor and well made, like most harpoon beers.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a clear red-orange with a large off-white head. Decent retention.

S: Fruity esters of pear, apple, and bubblegum. Grainy/bready malt. Grassy hops.

T: Sweet malt tastes up front. Lots of what I perceive to be crystal malt. Esters come mid-palate. Bubblegum taste is very distinct and even more prominent than it was on the nose. Cereal grains come out mid-palate and ride into the finish. Grassy and floral hops lend a light balancing bitterness. Woody taste hangs in the background. Finishes dry with grainy tastes.

M: on the lighter side of medium bodied. Carbonation is firm and crisp. the body is substantial enough to command respect, but light enough to maximize drinkability. Not watery and castrated like so many of the reds on the market today.

O: A very tasty and approachable beer. Sweeter than most reds. Will please the seasoned beer drinker as well as the neophyte.

Notes: Certainly one of the better reds on the market, and a solid spring seasonal. Sweeter than most reds, but I enjoyed it. Bubblegum esters threw me off at first, but in the end I think it really fits well.

More notes: The woody tastes seem even more apparent when this beer is served on tap. I think it throws the balance of flavors off a little bit. One of the few beers I enjoyed better out of the bottle.

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Photo of Jimmys
3.26/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: bright copper/red. fluffy white head that is actually sticking around for a little. nice carbonation.

S: little bit of toffee, little bit of caramel. cant get any hop bitterness in this one. pretty one note with the sweetness.

T: some caramel malt. tastes like a really subdued scottish ale. a little more bitterness on the palate then the nothing in the nose. pretty simple.

M: moderate carbonate carbonation on a light/medium body.

D: in my opinion just an average irish red. a good one when the time is right, but otherwise keep it moving.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.95/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Nice clear amber with a good half inch of bubbly lightly tan head.

S - Caramel and toffee malts ahoy with a bit of aggressive grain or pine hops in the smell.

T - Starts off moderately sweet then turns toward an aggressive grain and the end hits with a slight hop bitterness that sticks to the tongue a while. Not bad!

M - Light to medium body. Very drinkable.

Overall I liked it. This maybe the first Harpoon beer I did enjoy. Kind of aggressive grain profile but still very good. Would consider buying a sixer.

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Photo of aepb1
3.88/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Translucent amber/brown body with a light fluffy white head

S- Mostly caramel malty sweetness

T- Much like the nose only a bit more full. Caramel malts, a bit of hops poke through and a sweet finish

M- Medium body, moderate carbonation, feels good

D- Very easy to drink a bunch of this in a sitting and even easier to come back to

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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 ReelBigwigFish
2.48/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

a: Poured 12 oz bottle into a chimay chalice glass. It has a nice dark amber color to it, not quite red though. Poor head retention and no lacing to speak of, could be the glass though.

s: smells of caramel malts and apples with a bit of alcohol and spice in there.

t: not that great, the maltiness is there but im not picking up on the hops that others speak of, has a dry sweet finish that i find more bothersome than enjoyable.

m/o: the initial mouthfeel is fine; smooth, slightly creamy, but about 10 seconds after swallowing there is such a dryness in my throat that just ruins the experience. I suppose I could just keep pounding these down and somewhat enjoy them, but I'll inevitably have to leave this beer being annoyed and disappointed because it finishes so poorly.

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Photo of unit555
3.46/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Well made but not overly memorable beer we enjoyed on St Patrick's day. The color is closer to red than amber and the head was average. Not a lot of aroma which was disappointing. It is slightly hoppy with a prominent taste of banana both on the tongue and the finish.

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Photo of fitzy84
3.64/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

For St. Patrick's Day, I bought a six-pack of this beer. The color did have a slight amber, but it seemed a bit too watery just from looking at it. Patchy lacing also. Aromas had an unique hints of juices such as apples and even oranges within a burnt context. Taste had a bitter-sour flavor, but it washed down with a decent spice to it. I liked the mouthfeel of this beer; nice carbonation and pretty drinkable. Overall, not too bad.

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Photo of rjplumer
3.73/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an reddish brown color with average carbonation. The head is a long lasting one around a fingers worth. Has a mild hoppy taste and aroma with a bitter but dry finish. A worthy representative of this class. I'd certainly would sample this one again.

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Harpoon Celtic Ale from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
3.51 out of 5 based on 767 ratings.
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