Harpoon Celtic Ale | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

Harpoon Celtic AleHarpoon Celtic Ale
Liked This Beer
3.51 w/ 769 ratings
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.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 769 |  Reviews: 365
Photo of Dewey0603
3.7/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This pours a dark red with a smallish tan head.The smell is very malty,but not much else. The taste is clear,crisp, and malty. The flavor has some nut and brown sugar to it,but the malt rules this beer. The m/f is light and ends with a slight watery aftertaste. This is a pretty good beer from Harpoon and I'd try it again.

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

One of the better Irish Reds that I have had. Not being one of my favorite styles, I was skeptical. Has a bold toasted malt aroma with and under-riding hop scent and moderately spiced. Nice strong malt flavor that hits on toasty, dates, nuts, and a light brown sugar flavor. Hops balance out the sweetness well while lending a mild bitterness and spice flavor. Other spices such as nutmeg and ginger. The body is medium and balanced. Finishes lightly sweet with a slight bitterness and a lingering malt flavor. Pretty good stuff.

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Photo of ommegangpbr
3.75/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Not bad... pretty similar to their Octoberfest.
Black tea comes to mind in the flavor profile.
Quite dry, mild sweetness, light and pretty drinkable.
Not as bold as I would have liked.. the black tea bitterness is an acquired taste.
Really not much in the way of impact at all but would make for a decent choice whenst sampling a few at a sitting.
This is pretty good for the style, given the style description on BA for the Irish Red Ale... not really for me though.

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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 benmiliron
3.03/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This is the strangest red ale I've ever tried. Imagine was IIPA is to Pale Ale, Hibernian is to Red Ale. Somehow Harpoon isolated the "Red Beer" flavor and magnified x100. Lovely crystal clear dark burnt red, good muddy head too. Smell and taste quite overwhelming with the Irish Red Ale malts. The taste gets to you after a while and not in a good way. A nice beer to visit but I wouldn't want to drink this every day.

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Photo of ism
3.52/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours with an effervescent 1-finger tan head that quickly fizzles away. Body is a pleasing clear, copper with very subtle red highlights. There was no lacing. Nose is sweet with caramel malt and just a hint of spicey hoppage. Good carbonation up front, body is medium-full on the tongue, surprisingly not as sweet as the nose indicates, nicely balanced caramel and spicey Nugget hop. Goes down smooth, with a dry finish and lingering spicyness. Quality, but a pretty boring recipe, not interesting enough to want to pack a second into a session.

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Photo of RBorsato
3.93/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Amber color with a nice full creamy tan head, good carbonation, and decent lace. Spicy malt aroma. Spicy nutmeg-like malt flavors; fairly robust malt profile for an Irish Red. Medium bodied and smooth with a spicy dry malt finish.

Good but just not my style to stick with for more than one.

Per B.O.M. notes:
- 22 IBU
- 5.4% ABV
- Malts: 2-row Pale, Caramel, and Chocolate
- Hops: Nugget

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

07/04/05- Received from BA member Spinlock upon his return from Boston.

Presentation- 12oz bottle with no dating listed. Poured into a random pint glass.

Appearance- Dark amber pour with a 1/2 inch white head and decent lacing.

Smell- Mostly a heavy malt scent.

Taste- Mildly sweet malt, maybe a bit roasted and toasted. Definite caramel as well. Slight pine hop taste as well.

Mouthfeel- Moderate carbonation with a slick and smooth feel.

Drinkability- Perfectly adequate red ale. But nothing special really popped into my head while drinking it.

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Photo of jdm
3.66/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

this beer pours a one and a half finger, creamy off-white head that persists for a decent while. it strongly laces the sides of the glass as the ale dissappears. the brew is dead-on style copper color and a fair amount of carbonation is evident to the eye. my nose picks up sweet malt and a light floral hop smell. This beer starts mildly sweet and finishes mildly dry and bitter. this beer does everything a bit too mildly. this is really good stuff but it seems could be great with just a little more umph! in all departments.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.86/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Orange-bronze with a hint of brick red that's only appreciated with strong backlighting. The head is off-white with an orangish ecru influence and doesn't rise higher than a finger or two after the pour. It's fairly nondescript and leaves only a stunted collar of lace.

The nose is a few clicks too low on the old intens-o-meter. There isn't much to go on. In fact, I'd have had a hard time coming up with the proper style if I didn't already know it. The beer is slightly more malty than it is hoppy, which is only fitting since it isn't hoppy at all. Weak, weaker, weakest.

Hibernian Ale isn't a bad little drinker. On second swallow, while it isn't that far off the mark, it isn't an especially good version of an Irish red. It's undermalted with a mildly sweet, quasi-caramel flavor that fails to impress. My guess is that it's hopped with some British variety, like Goldings. Since the brewers were overly stingy with the hops, it's hard to tell.

The finish is nothing special and differs only in that it contains a smidgen more herbal English hoppiness and some tea-like notes. Clean and tending toward dry sums it up pretty well. The light mouthfeel aspires to light-medium... and comes up short.

Hibernian Irish Style Red Ale is a fairly lackluster offering from a brewery that is new to me (or at least to my taste buds). I know better than to judge Harpoon by one beer and will have no trouble trying other offerings as I run across them. For instance, there's an interesting little creation called Triticus, brewed by two brothers who know a thing or ten about beer, that I've been itching to try.

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Photo of tgbljb
3.8/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured a deep copper color with large off-white head. Smell is slightly sweet with a faint hint of hops. Taste is pleasant, but nothing outstanding with a slight hop bitterness at the finish. Let a mild dry taste in the mouth. Could be a decent session beer, both nothing outstanding

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Unfortunately Harpoon seems like one of those brewers that just doesn’t live up to their potential. The beers are consistent and well-made but the flavor just is not there on a lot of them. Seems to me they could easily be a GLBC or Bell’s caliber brewer if they would just decide they wanted all their beers to be less boring. Anyway this Killian’s-ish beer is clear amber with a thin ivory-colored head and minimal lacing. Caramel and malt aroma. Medium-bodied and dry with malt, caramel and light nut flavor. The finish is short and hoppy. Smooth and easy to drink, but again there should be more to this.

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Photo of AlexJ
3.27/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

$2.50/pint firetap at Flying Saucer

This Irish Red ale is delivered a clear copper red with a modest off white head. Retention is modest with no lace, maybe a dirty glass.

Aroma is predominantly malty with floral, banana, honey and bready notes. It almost smells like carmelized brown suger mixed with wildflowers.

Flavor is somewhat lesser than the nose, but displays the same qualities. The banana taste really throws it off.

Body is medium light with soda-like carbonation with a smooth and slick mouthfeel. Easy to drink, but forgettable.

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Photo of WanderingFool
3.48/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hibernian Style Ale pours a clear copper color with a thin slightly off white head that dissolves quickly to a thin ring around the surface. The faint caramel malt aroma has a hint of floral hops mixed in. Each sip of this medium bodied beer is dry with a nice malt flavor. Some notes of nuts, bubblegum and floral hops balance out the malt. It sort of reminds me of tea. A sweet malt flavor lingers on the palate when the beer is gone.

This is a quite drinkable, well balanced beer. I consider it middle of the road in regards to flavor.

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

This is a nice offering from the Harpoon Brewery. Poured from a bottle, the head fizzes out fairly quickly. There is a half-moon ring on one side of the glass. The nose is good.. well, above average anyway. A little bit fruity (black cherries), malty, nothing really jumps out at me here. But it has a clean taste and smell.. a good pub ale for sure. I like most of Harpoon's beers, and this one is a good example of why. It isn't outrageously estery, malty or hoppy. It is however true to its style.

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

This beer pours a copper color and produces a thin head. The smell is of light malt. The taste contained a bready maltiness, and had hints of cherry and banana, which yielded to bitter citrus hops in the finish. The mouthfeel was balanced. Overall, a pretty good beer, but not exactly earth-shattering.

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Photo of LPorter33
2.99/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Purchased single 12 oz bottle from Martignetti's

appearance = opaque amber not too dark or cloudy, small head, not too much carbonation

Smell = not much of a scent at all, little bit of sour hoppiness. Not impressed

Taste = A little torn on the taste here. There's a certain watery blandness that cuts through which is extremely bothersome. However, trailing that is a delicious sweet aftertaste that is very enjoyable. Not very hoppy at all, malt flavor is present but not overwhelming.

Overall = An OK beer but nothing spectacular; I'm slightly disappointed and can't really recommend it as it's not much of an improvement over Killians.

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Photo of scottum
3.48/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poors a red amber with an off-white headskie. Malty smooth, slightly sweet, and litely hopped this brew is. Drinkable, but not very special. Mouthfeel is solid. There are severial better New England reds around. Check out Rock Art's American Red as a better example of the style.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.63/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a white, one finger-head that goes quickly leaving no lace. Nice clear amber color. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Nose is slightly malty. Starts smooth with more malts than hops, some sweetness finishes quietly with no aftertaste. $7.49 for a 6-pack of 12oz bottles from Fred's Kwik Stop Concord, NH.

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Photo of Truh
3.18/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A gaggle of serpents slithered past me with this one on 3/6/2005. 16-oz. pint pour at Doyle’s in Jamaica Plain.

1-inch pillow of initial, flocular head that dies quickly, leaving little trace. Washed out copper hue with a hint of brown tinge and clear with some continuous action and very fine stick. Kind of a jumpy sweetness on nose, but can’t quite place it exactly, almost like a strawberry though I know it isn’t; light malt backing. Some sweet caramel on mouth with an inner core of Granny Smith apple tartness. Finishes pretty quickly with a fairly light body – not inspiring, but also does not offend.

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Photo of Sycodrummer
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass forming about a half-finger head that quickly went away and left little to no lacing. A light amber-brown color alla iced tea.

Smell is slightly floral and hoppy with some maltiness behind these scents.

Taste is slightly sweet malt with a bit of a bitter and dry hoopy finish. Moderate to rather light on the palate with ample carbonation.

A decent beer and easy to drink.

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Photo of kmo1030
3.48/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

coppery red with a light tan head that settles quickly. sweet malty aroma. toasted caramel, a hint of bublegum-like fruitiness. the same toasted caramel shows up in the taste, with the hint of bubblegum, and some other clean sweet flavor i can't identify, sort of a burnt sugar candied apple flavor, but that desciption doesn't quite do it justice. fairly light mouthfeel with prickly carbonation. good drinkability. a pleasant tasty beer, but nothing really stands out about it. good, but unremarkable.

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Photo of NEhophead
3.33/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz brown bottle.

Foamy off white head that's slow to settle. Condensed lacing with good strength. Clean copper with a shade of red in color.

Burnt maltiness. Hints of lemony hop aromas. Musty, earthy bread-like character as well. All very subtle aromatics.

Delicate balance of light, lemon-flavored hop profile and a rustic, earthy malt character. Light bubblegumflavor as well. Virtually no bitterness and just a touch of dryness. lemon and musty aftertaste.

A shade below medium bodied. Very light and even watery for the style.

Quite drinkable due to how light this red is. A pretty average version of the style. What I was expecting from Harpoon.

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

Has a clear reddish-orange color. Head starts off about two fingers high, but settles to a white lace around the glass.

Smells clean and malty. Has a little bit of hop in the behind the malts.

Taste every balanced. A nice amount of carbonation with a sweet malty body. There is a good amount of roasted malt with some hops in the back ground.

Has a medium mouthfeel. Feels nice on the tongue. This is a very drinkable balanced ale.

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Photo of Billolick
2.83/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours reddish(suprise) amber, slight white head, clear and no lacing. Sort of nondescript beer for my liking. This is a semi sweet brew, I also pick up a little ginger or mint. This just too dull a brew for me. No real character, nor of much interest. My wife liked it, she said "'this is much better then all that crazy strong beer you like" What can I say I like crazy strong, flavorful beer with some character. I wont buy this red ale stuff again anytime soon.

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Harpoon Celtic Ale from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
Beer rating: 34.3% out of 100 with 769 ratings
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