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: 768
Photo of atucker0985
2.16/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I am usually a rather jovial fan of any beer that comes out of Boston, however, this one deserved to be bent over my knee and spanked. After first pour into a clean and crisp pilsner glass, my initial thoughts on its appearance nearly convinced me that I was going to enjoy this beer. It has an attractive reddish/amber hue and a good inch thick head on it after it settled. Christ almighty was I fooled! As I poured this facade of a brew into my eager mouth, I was immediately struck with an incredible shock to my taste buds like a spear to my gut. This beer had rudely interrupted what I thought was going to be a celestial experience. The taste was almost nonexistant...bland would be an understatement. I sensed a cripsness to it that could have been better exploited ...had the beer had better componets to it. The finish was bitter, but I will admit that the aftertaste did not linger as long as I thought it would. I truly missed the presence and aroma of the ingrediants of this brew as I have grown accustomed to smell in other reds that I have tried. Sorry Harpoon, your other brews are great, but other than the pleasant appearance, this one was a crushing failure.

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Photo of brewemstrong
3.91/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The color of this beer is fantastic. It's a great burnt orange/ruby red color that signals a Red. But, the 1 finger, white head dissapated much quicker than I was hoping.

S: Mild to medium aroma hops with caramel or scotch undertones. Nothing jumps out at me, nor drives me away.

T: Not sugary at all. The flavors are very mild and hard to distinguish. Possibly clove and/or allspice.

M: Medium to strong carbonation that eases you into the bittering hops. Mild finish with limited bite.

D: Not too heavy, not too light. Maybe hoping for a stronger all-around flavor but I would buy another bottle of this in the near future, just not a 6-pack.

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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 WVRadar
3.58/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Best by date stamped on bottle. 3/4 inch white head, clear sparkling dark amber body with ruby highlights. Initial bitter taste, with short finish. Couldn't really pin the taste of this beer down, different than any other beer I've had. Not really sure if I liked it enough to have another one.

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Photo of Erish
3.28/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I poured this 12. oz. bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A: clear, medium reddish amber color, 1-finger beige head falls into a good, thick cap with decent lacing.

S: right out of the gate I get a metallic off-note, the malt has an almost Germanic funk about it, with a decent amount of caramel, also there is some vanilla, and a light oak/earthiness.

T: the off-dry malt flavor is teamed with a strong metallic/mineral taste, there is an herbal/citrus profile in the middle, and the finish has a faint earthy hop profile.

M: light bodied, lightly silky texture, and plentiful carbonation with a crisp finish.

D: different, but better? I don't know. I'll have to try this beer again later to solidify my opinion of it.

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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 Rschis16
3.63/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pretty burnt orange hue with a solid white head that sticks around for a bit. Smell hits you right out of the gate with some light fruity scents that complement barley and malt aromas. Taste starts strong but finishes slightly disappointingly that hints of some American adjunct lagers that I dislike. Fortunately this taste is bolstered by some good hop, barley and slight malt flavors. On the front of the tongue it tastes better than in the back, on the finish. Finish is smooth and crisp with a mouthfeel that's on the creamier side. Drinkability is high with this one as it would be no problem to knock back a few of these when there's nothing better. Decent beer, just not great or unique.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.6/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle

Appearance - Clear reddish orange colour with a large size frothy and fizzy beige coloured head. There is an above average amount of carbonation showing and there is some fair lacing on the sides of the glass. The head lasted for around 5 minutes before it began to dissipate.

Smell - malts, caramel, pears, tea

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an above average amount of carbonation and it feels slightly thin on the palette. I can taste lots of malts and a caramel sweetness mixed with tea. There are also notes of pear juice and a bit of a black liquorice flavour. The beer finishes with a malty sweet aftertaste.

Drink - Not a bad beer for the style. It would come in handy with St Patrick's Day approaching. Worth a try if you happen to see it - it is also very reasonable priced.

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Photo of wvsabbath
3.85/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Dark ruby brown, redish with a minor 1/4 head, some nice lacing.

Smell - Rye, hops, sugar, malts, spices. Carmel, some brown sugar also. Even smelt some alcohol.

Taste - Very mild amber malt starts off, with carmel sugar and yeast mixed in. The alcohol pretty much non existent with each drink. Some very mild floral hop also.

Mouthfeel - Its thin, light and smooth without a dominate flavor. Nothing to work mouth over or bitter palette. I wouldnt bother drinking this beer after a stout or porter cause you wouldnt taste it.

Drinkabilty - Well, its a decent beer but too light for me. There are more solid irish ales out there but that are more flavor heavy. Its very smooth and easy to drink, so you could pound a 6-pack really easy. Good beer, but it cant touch great lakes conway imo.

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Photo of TheWhiskerReview
3.7/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The ale pours a brilliant ruby red with a nice cream colored head with decent retention, while the nose is bright with lots of floral flavors, cherries and caramel. The mouth starts malty with a juicy pink grapfruit note, moderate carbonation and a pleasant balancing hoppiness, while the finish returns to the more mouthwatering malt notes.

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Photo of pzrhsau
3.33/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Slightly sun orangeish color with notes of gold. Not the reddish that I was expecting. Small head to it.
S: Very strong caramel malt with some good acidity. Slight orangeish fruitness
T: Malty, good tangy sweetness that really expands as you drink it. Has a very non-acidic balanced aftertaste.
D/M: Crisp tight carbonation with a good balance. Very drinkable and not overpowering.

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

Poured from 12 oz bottle into dimpled mug. Pours a reddish-brown, thin head with minimal lacing. Aroma of caramel, sweet toasted malts, butter. Semi-sweet toasted malts, caramel, minor hop taste, semi-dry finish. There is also somewhat of a thick syrup taste that is especially apparent in the aftertaste - this really hurt the score. Medium carbonation and medium body, but feels a little watery. Overall a decent brew.

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Photo of TitanTake
3.98/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This was poured from a bottle into a mug.

A - Nice full head; great lacing along the rim; color a bit off; it seems almost orange, two-toned

S - excellent hops and florals; a hint of something stale however

T - hops are not overpowering; nice malty flavor throughout

M - the carbonation was surprisingly excellent; wonderful effervescence on every mouthful

D - overall I would say that this beer is not an every day, sit down at the pub, beer. However, it does have it's merits for an occasional change of pace

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Photo of Arithmeticus
3.75/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured in snifter glass, chilled

A: clear copper color; small head dissipating quickly; slight lacing
S: malty with cinnamon and molasses overtones
T: burnished red ale; twangs of cherry, pine; it approaches the flavor profile of a died Dr. Pepper; neither bitter nor sweet

This is admittedly an unusual red ale; most beer drinkers will enjoy this, but only some will want to return; those who don't will have enjoyed the visit, though.

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

I don't really know what to do with this one. So many parts of it were really enjoyable to down-right delicious, but other parts made it, well, less than I hoped for. Was there something wrong with the glass? or my palate? I looked through the other notes posted before typing this one up because I wanted to double check, but they, too, are all over the place...???

A - really beautiful copper-red; nice off-white foam that yields a bit of lacing and has moderate retention

S - clean malty nose; a little toasty malt and hints of the sweeter end of the malt spectrum; definite hop presence, but a little non-descript

T - very clean and precise/focused malt profile with a reprise of the toasty note and the sweetness; the hops are lending a hand in the flavor profile, backing up the malt; hint of band-aid? brett.?

M - has a medium body with a good edge

D - session worthy; but every time the band-aid returned...?

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Photo of FollowedMyFolly
2.21/5  rDev -37%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I am a huge fan of reds and have a huge respect for Irish beer. Most reds that I have tried are American so the Irish style reds are somewhat new to me. This beer was not in favor to my personal pallet. Harpoon I will keep trying to find the beer for me in your company. I still keep the faith.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.58/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours reddish amber with a decent off-white head and good lacing.

Toasted malt and fruit in the nose. Some caramel as well.

Nice toasted malt up front, some chewy bread crust bitterness, juicy fruit, caramel, drying to some boiled grain and a long bready finish. Simple but good.

Medium body and good carbonation.

Easy to drink, but not something I'd want many repeats of. Simple and good, one of the better Harpoon offerings.

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Photo of Franz4
3.78/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, best by 5/15/11

A- crystal clear copper color with a nice foamy head that leaves lace about a 1/4" above the cap as it settles.

S- Smell is hard for me to place, definitely floral, with a bit of cider and grapelike character that I'm picking up on.

T- Toasty malts up front balanced by some mild hops in the finish. Definitely getting a little grape-like character in the finish as well, interesting.

M- Quite a bit of carbonation, none visible in the glass but an explosion in the mouth.

D- A nice find, it would pair well with pub food on st. patty's day. Not a standout in any one dimension, but nonetheless enjoyable. You might not remember this beer, but it won't make you want to forget it.

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Photo of devinoconnor
3.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I've always liked Harpoon, but I've been trying more and more of their stuff after falling in love with their current IPA.

Celtic Red Ale is another solid performer for Harpoon.

Pours a nice maroonish brown color, redish of course.

Smells malty and hoppy, yet quite balanced between the two.

Nice drinking beer.

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

Nice almost pure red color with a half-inch-to-an-inch of off-white foam that sinks rather quickly. Malty nose with hints of sweet garden vegetables. Medium body, leaning towards the light side. Carbonation is smooth and creamy. Sweet maltiness with caramel, taffee and mild woodsiness. Clean and smooth without a lot of aftertaste. Very drinkable; easy to have more than one.

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Photo of welldigger888
3.91/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle in to my trusty iriash pub pint glass, Beautiful garnet hue with an off white head that slowly fades with ok lacing.
The aromas seem a bit muted but what does come through is of a nice grain malty caramel, little hop if any on aroma.
Very well put on brew here, the slight hop goes well with the style and the malty flavors with a slight caramel stand tallest.
Seems a touch thin on mouthfeel but good carbonation.
Could knock these back for days!

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Photo of sixerofelixir
4.05/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Best-by date clearly inked on bottle neck.

Pours an ultra-clear, dark amber-orange. A tan head recedes and patches to the glass. but a few slow carb trails. Smell is high-pitched toasted malts, some fresh greens as well. I tend to rate finish with mouthfeel, and this beer has some of the best of both. I like it when a beer makes me forget about the seperation. For taste - a light, buddy hops twists intently into an absolute blast of sweet and almost cocoa-ish roasted malts. Then the finish is dry. And bitter. Feel is carbonated and medium-bodied and hearty. Drinkability high. I'm starting to think I like these red ales..

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Photo of LuthersLager
1.18/5  rDev -66.4%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Beautiful amber color, I do wish it was a little more red.

I could only smell the alcohol, no malt, no sweetness, not hops, just alcohol.

The taste is acidic, astringent just bad.

I can't leave it in my mouth long enough to judge mouthfeel.

drinkability - i'm pouring this one out.

Reading others' reviews I think I got a bad one that spoiled... it tastes spoiled. Next time I get a chance to try this beer I'll re-review.

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

A quite respectible entry in this style category. Malt-centric, with some light fruity notes and a touch of woodyness. Body was just a bit on the lighter side than I would have liked, but, overall, an enjoyable sessionable ale that would be a fine accompanyment to a meat-and-potato meal.

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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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