Harpoon Leviathan - Saison Royale | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

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Harpoon Leviathan - Saison RoyaleHarpoon Leviathan - Saison Royale

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

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by mikey711 on 08-20-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 98 | Ratings: 119
Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: Lots of small yeast particles float around in this glowing golden beer. A monster creamy sea foam cap rushes up to the top of the tulip and fades very slowly. Nice lacing sticks all the way down the glass.

Smell: Fairly sweet for a saison. Spicy, with a strong clove presence to go along with coriander and white pepper and some nice green apple, cherry, and white grape aromas as well.

Taste: Some crackery malt kind of contrasts with the sweet green apple, unripe cherries, and white grape flavors. A blast of spicy yeast yields an overly intense clove and coriander flavor, and the finish has a light, dry white grape flavor and a light herbal finish.

Mouthfeel: Especially for a saison, the body is quite full. The carbonation is creamy and smooth. The start of the sip is sweet, but it dries out just a bit by the end, although it stays sweet. A light sour salivating sensation comes in at the end.

Overall: The sweetness is a bit overpowering, and this is not really a style I feel needs to be imperial. It was an interesting beer to try though.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.68/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This Saison pours out as a nice muddy yellow color. The head was a little fizzy and leaves some lacing but not much. The smell of the beer was pretty good, there was plenty of spices in this brew. There wasn't a whole lot of farmhouse aromas coming off of it but it was a much more bright and lively Saison. The taste has some Belgian flavored yeast and hops in there which was nice but could have used a little more of a wild yeast I think. The mouthfeel was pretty good, plenty of carbonation. Overall it's a decent brew.

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Photo of jondeelee
4.27/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Saison Royale smells like a strange hybrid of mulled wine, apple cider, and a Belgian Quad. The nose is ripe with aroma, including fresh apple cider, cinnamon and cloves, pear, white grape, orange, and lychee nut--in other words, almost everything you wouldn't expect from a beer.

On the tongue, the brew is potent and immediate, bursting with fruity esters such as berry, orange, apricot, and pumpkin, and spice notes such as coriander, cinnamon, pepper, and cloves. A thick brandy-like river of brown sugars and alcohol runs through this ester paradise, and toward the end of the mouthful the sugars peel back to reveal a rosewater and spice base, which continues into the aftertaste. There's also a fair bit of bitter hops in the brew to balance out the sugars, tasting like far more than the mere 25 IBUs would foretell. Mouthfeel is medium, and carbonation is quite high; in fact, the beer feels more like a thick champagne.

Overall, this is a good beer, and well-made for its kind, with a nice balance of spice, sugar, and hops. I suspect some might be turned off by the enormity of the spiciness, but I suspect far more will appreciate its qualities.

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Photo of secondtooth
4.52/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sat on this one for a while, aging for well over a year in my beer cabinet. Pleased that it was quite delicious still!

Poured a cloudy yellow-golden, with massive carbonation. White suds, and sparse but ornate lace.

Nose was brisk and appealing. Buttered biscuits, tart fruit. Superb.

Flavor was a burst of deliciousnes -- more tart fruit, spices, and almost a lemon pepper and clove character. Amazing and complex. I got a little hops in there among the strong malts and spices.

This is a wonderful saison with a serious wallop (9% ABV).

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.71/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

very hazy, and very cloudy dark amber color coming forward, much darker then I thought it would be for the style. Nice head, maybe two inches with some really great retention and a wonderful bit of side glass lacing. Lots of carbonation was visible streaking up from the bottom of the glass.

The aroma was a little bit light for me to be honest. Some nice notes of yeast, grain, with lots of breadiness in the middle, not nearly the funky farmhouse ale I was expecting it to be. Lots of light fruit notes with hints of peppery spice dominating on the flavor. Quick hints of pear, peach, maybe some apple, all in that general family. Nice touches of figs and light bread. Light feel on this, a little slick to be honest, but still not bad at all. Good carbonation and a nice smooth sipper.

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Photo of generallee
4.37/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: It has a hazy golden blonde body with yeast sediment floating around inside and on top of a tall frothy head. This thick head has a just off white color and a very slow fade. It hangs on well, keeping a small cap till the last sip. It also leaves some spotty lace patterns on the glass.

Smell: The aroma is full of lovely herbal hops and spicy notes wrapped around bready yeast.

Taste/Palate: It has mellow malty and yeasty character with a touch of pepper and ginger like spice notes. This slowly giving way to pleasant herbal hop notes that move across the tongue and brings a good balance of bitterness, spice and dryness to the finish. The palate is lively and easy drinking.

Notes: From the appearance to palate it all feels very well made. Overall I enjoyed it very much!!!

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Photo of ngeunit1
3.88/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear bright golden-yellow color with lots of visible carbonation and a finger and a half of frothy white head. The head fades really slowly down to a ring around the glass leaving behind lots of white lace on the sides of the glass.

S - Aroma is a blend of sweet malts and some Belgian yeast. There is also some light lemon peel aroma and some spices beneath.

T - Starts off with some light sweet malts and yeast with some lemon in the background. Through the middle some more yeast flavors come through alongside some spices (coriander). The finish is a blend of some malts, some yeast, and the spices that linger nicely.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Does not feel heavy at all without feeling watery. The finish is nice and just a touch dry.

D - Very drinkable. The 9% abv is not really noticeable. The flavors are nice and well balanced. Maybe not a true Belgian Saison, but a very nice American take on it.

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Photo of
3.8/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours brilliant gold with a bit of sediment haze and a dense white head that lingers.
Soft aromas of apple juice, spice and caramel malt, earth.
The flavour is characteristic saison, but subdued. Breadiness and soft spice without much noticeable bitterness or hops character. Extremely drinkable for a 9% ABV beer.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
3.5/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into dimpled mug. Pours hazy yellow with lots of fluffy white head. Aroma is very much saison-style, with bread and yeasty coming through the spices. Taste is earthy with a bit of lemon, bread, and some clove spicyness. Interesting beer. I can't say I was a fan of the sediments. Flavors flavors somewhat improve with more earthy and pithy fruits. Finish has some bitterness. Carbonation fairly high. Not a big fan at all.

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Photo of dogfishandi
3.84/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle a little above fridge temp poured into an ommegang chalice. no freshness date, but the harpoon website indicates this was originally released AUG 09.

pours out a cloudy, hazy yellow color with a bit of sediment. huge, huge billowy white head. took me several minutes to fully pour out the bottle and i was left with a huge foamy cap that slowly resided into the beer creating a creamy retentive foam. sticky lace covers almost every inch of the glass. lots of very fine bubbles rising to the top.

smells like a sweet tripel. sweet candied pale malts, phenolic yeast, a little earthy, some light lemon citrus and just a bit of spice. some alcohol as it warms.

again, tastes like a pretty good tripel. sweet candied pale malts and phenolic bubblegum belgian yeast at the forefront. behind that theres some lemon citrus, a bit of a peppery spice, and just a hint of herbal earthiness. alcohol evident the more it warms.

full body, fuller than most saisons. a fine, light bubbly carbonation.

one glass is enough, but i would drink this again. definatly more like a tripel, but a tasty one at that. id be interested to see how this ages.

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Photo of JamnesCameron
2.61/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured into a New Holland High Gravity Series tulip.

Pours a hazy straw color with a stark white, huge, billowy head.

Aromas of rosemary, white pepper, cardomom?, very funky. Not a fan of spiced saisons.

First sip is of a spicy melange of pepper, rosemary, yeasty funk. Carbonic bite. An odd spice note lingers on the finish. Nothing saison about this beer. Too heavily spiced for my tastes.

Mouthfeel is medium, with a bite from the high carbonation. Not at all dry.

Too heavily spiced to be enjoyable. And the spices don't work in harmony, but against each other, creating a flavor aftertaste that isn't all that great. Nice to try, but don't think I'll be coming back to this one.

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Photo of BigPlay1824
4.48/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a tulip glass

A: wow! I was honestly astounded at how well this brew poured, gorgeous hazy golden yellow in color, some nice 'floaters' are sitting at the bottom of the glass, pours with a thick white head that is quite foamy and lingers, slight amount of lacing does exist, overall I think it is a tremendous representation of the style

S: nice wheat notes that really linger in the nose , nice presence of apple like fruit notes

T: wheat is right at the front of the pallet and really lingers afterward, slight sweetness much like the apple like scent hits the pallet mid sip, very slight banana like taste as well

D/M: intense carbonation presence, very smooth on the pallet, would be great on a warm summer night I would imagine, taste makes it great to drink

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.15/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gorgeous gold with superfine yeast drifting downward and busy bubbles racing upward, creating controlled chaos in a glass. The ivory colored cap has a pillowy texture and is a little rocky as it melts. A shortage of sticky lace is the only thing keeping the score from inching up one notch.

The nose is tripel-like, with plenty of sweet golden orchard fruit and an enticing spiciness. It's actually spicier than most tripels or saisons since Harpoon added several spices that they have decided not to share with the rest of us. No alcohol is a major plus as well.

Saison Royale has held up very well since the late summer 2009 release. It's clearly big beer that packs a pretty impressive flavor punch... which is just how we big beer lovers prefer it. There's still almost no appreciable alcohol, so kudos to HB for that.

Specific flavors include sugar-crusted pears and apples soaked in pear and apple brandy, clove, coriander and a pinch of white pepper. Either the yeast is an estery humdinger or the brewers did an excellent job choosing and adding the spices. Or both.

Sweet, bitter and spicy are balanced on a razor's edge. Spicy and herbal English-German hops (East Kent Goldings and Hallertau) work very well. American citric hops would have been fine too. Hell's bells, just about anything would have worked with a bullet-proof recipe like this one. Too bad the bottle is only 12 ounces small.

The mouthfeel is a lovely combination of lightly silky creamy and energetically expansive. This much carbonation is often a given beer's downfall rather than its strong suit. Wow... impressed yet again.

Without taking the time to check the rest of my reviews from this brewery, Leviathan Saison Royale might be the cream of the Harpoon crop. If this delicious ale is never brewed again, it would be a mistake of epic proportions.

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Photo of cnally
4.22/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My intro to Harpoon come in the form of a style I've been loving lately.

A hazy, cloudy golden body in this beer, and a fizzy champagne off white head, boisterously rising up. An ungodly amount of sediment. I would have been disgusted earlier in my beer drinking career.

A most floral aroma, bready and toasty, big time malt bomb in the nose. You can really pick up on the yeasts, and they start to dominate the more you focus on it.

As for the flavor, I love it. An intensely spicy and grapefruit citrusy malt bomb. Peppery on the tongue, burning in the acidity. Hot as hell on the back of the throat, the alcohol just can't be tamed. Just a wild ride gladly taken.

As for the mouthfeel, you might be reminded of a fine dry champagne. A crisp, fizzy, caustic, astringent liquid just barely sliding over your tongue. The awesomeness of a sandpaper liquid.

Freakin' delicious. Hot and heady though, so it becomes a better decision to enjoy slowly. And I do mean, enjoy.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.18/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes. Thanks to Drew and Jen for this.

Served in a tulip glass. Pours a light golden-yellow color with a white, fizzy head that persists for a medium length of time before falling and leaving a touch of lacing here and there. The nose is quite spicy with some clove, pepper, and strong yeast. The taste is overspiced with a big of Belgian yeast character coming in. Feel and drinkability are also plagued by the spicy character of the brew. Not a big fan of this.

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Photo of BMoney575
3.65/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on 10-30-10

Pours a very light and fizzy yellow color, that becomes cloudy with the yeast. The head is huge, and lasts the whole time, leaving a hint of lacing.

Smell is light, fruity, with aromas of lemon and a little sour fermentation. Delicate, not overly complex, but pleasant.

Taste is thicker than you expect, with just a hint of the lemon in the smell. Bready in the middle, then the alcohol comes through adding a strong warming that lasts into the finish.

Mouthfeel is nice, very creamy, but the carbonation is way to high, feel like foam in your mouth.

Drinkability is not bad, the easy flavors and clean finish redeem the experience a bit.

Overall, a good effort, but not weird enough.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks goes out to garlicfire for this beer.

Pours a nice cloudy golden pale yellow color, nice carbonation, HUGE four-finger foamy white head, with tons of sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with lots of yeast, coriander, banannas, pepper. The taste is slightly sweet, malty, very yeasty, with some coriander/banannas, and some black pepper. Medium body. Drinkable, not really a fan of Saison's, and this one is alittle to spicy for me.

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Photo of Lukafer
3.82/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

When I Poped the top of the bottle there was a loud gush so I ran to my sink but alas, not a gusher.  Poured gently onto my New Belgium gold and it yielded 4 fingers of head, I then waited for it to die down a bit and emptied the rest of my 12oz. bottle into it. 

Pours a hazy golden yellow with sediment, a shit tin of carb and a white head.  Smells are cloves, yeast, maybe some pepper, and a hint of banana.  Tastes are clove at the front, yeasty, some citrus and a spicy hop finish.  Mouthfeel is medium with high carb.  I've had a few of Harpoon's Leviathan series and this is one of my favorites.  Wish I would have bought more than one bottle.  Interesting interpretation of a saison for sure.

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Photo of Lldeegan
4.26/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a golden straw color with a lively and dense white head that stays around for a while. The large head is expected from a Belgian style. It looks very bright, and promises sweet malt and a refreshing, crisp taste.
Smells initially of the yeast with some strong esters coming through, then some sweet grain. A delightful and bright aroma, that begs to be drank.
The taste is subtle but delicious and everything desired in a Saison. There is the initial influx of lively carbonation that bites the palate then gives way to floral and breadlike, pale malt qualities. There more of the fruity esters on the palate, notably lemon an banana with clove. Following the fruit is more sweet malt and a crisp, peppery dry finish that lingers like a bite of sweetbread.
This disappeared from my glass quickly and I wish I had more.
The sweet bread a herbal, floral, and fruity flavors makes it complex, yet widely appealing beer. Harpoons Saison Royale is simply sublime.

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Photo of Nordicsk8er
2.4/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Had a small draft sampling @ the Harpoon Brewery so was encouraged to buy a few bottles. The draft sample was far superior.

The appearance is a nice deep yellow/gold with some cloudiness especially if you swirl and pour the yeast @ the bottom.

The smell is full of tropical fruit and spice, especially clove. This beer has a cloying sweetness in the mouth and is dominated too much by over ripe banana and alcohol essence. That sweetness lingers way too long and isn't complimented well by the sourness and spice that manage to get through. And the alcohol is too up front and warming for my taste. More like banana liqueur than beer in some ways.

Not one of my favorites from Harpoon for sure. Lacks the balance of other saisons I've tried. I would steer someone in the direction of the classic Saison Dupont for a much more rewarding and balanced experience in that style.

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Photo of mynie
3.38/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Smells and tastes like fruit and fruit-scented candlewax, like fruit that sat around too long and instead of putrefying, becoming unpleasant, it took on the chilling dimensions of a synthesized version of itself. Not bad, but nonetheless offputting, since its feeling of the organic-turned-inorganic is, like a waxcovered corpse, startling to behold.

As I get more used to this, the taste morphs into what could be called "pleasantly medicinal." Like a riccola. This tastes like a complicated blend of not quite familiar herbs that a unthreateningly foreign man has promised will make my pain go away.

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Photo of TCHopCraver
3.45/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes on 6/22/10.

A: First off, this Leviathan has a really huge head (written with dripping sarcasm). I have about a 4 to 5 inch deep snifter and the head filled about 3 inches of the glass on first pour. I't s a fluffy and bubbly head, but a little to big for my tastes. The color of the body is a nice light gold. The lacing is clumpy and sticky and I spy tons of excited carbonation bubbles.

S: This is really a sweet smell for a Saison. There is a good amount of spice mixed in there, as well (clove, cumin, coriander), but sweet, sticky malts are the main aroma. It really almost smells like a good hard cider.

T: Sticky sweet. It's almost like a slightly spicy pear syrup. I would like this beer on pancakes. All of the characteristics of a Saison that I appreciate are evident (nice spice, crispness, spicy hop profile), but the beefed up malt bill trumps the other flavors and makes this beer just a tad too sweet for me.

M: Solid puckering spice feels good in my mouth and the sweetness of the brew helps in this category to give a solid medium feel.

D: The sweetness just detracts too much. I think a purposefully higher a.b.v. Saison can definitely drift to far into the sweetness stratosphere and is generally not the right way to go with this style. All of the best attributes of the style end up getting pushed to the background, which makes me a little sad. All in all, this is a pretty decent brew, but just a little too one-dimensional for me.

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Photo of BeerNinja007
3.5/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Single 12oz bottle, $2.89 from the Lebanon Health Food Store. Poured cold into a chilled pint glass. I've had this before but didn't review.

A: Moderate pour gives a huge bubbly head that easily overflows the glass with only half of it in there. Very volatile. It takes a few minutes for it to settle down and for me to get the rest in there. Hazy light sun yellow brew with abundant carbonation. Head is rocky and stable, eggshell white. Leaves only a few small pieces of foam on the glass.

S: Milk, yeast, soft cinnamon, bubblegum, cilantro, a touch of citrus. Smooth and mild, faint and creamy, cool.

T: A bold dose of spicy cinnamon and white pepper (probably enhanced by the 9% ABV), then a bit of honey, banana, coriander, creamy orange. If they called this an imperial hefeweizen, I'd be convinced.

M: Crisp but fizzy. A little alcohol burn is detectable.

D: Thirst-quenching, but too high on the carbonation and alcohol. The spicy alcohol burn comes to dominate way too easily.

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Photo of mothman
3.55/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into CCB snifter.

Pours over a finger of off white head. Fades down leaving some splattered lace. Color is a hazed dull golden yellow.

Aroma: Lots of spice notes. Pears, orange peel, lemon zest, pepper, Belgian yeast, coriander, and cloves.

Taste: Holy f-ing spices. Pears, orange peel, cloves, lemon zest, dry red apples, pepper, coriander. Just like the aroma, but more spices. A massive over spiced saison. Belgian yeast flavors show as well.

Mouthfeel: Dry and crisp with lots of carbonation showing. Medium bodied, but fairly large for a saison. Ends dry, but relatively clean.

Overall, a very unique saison. Very big. Overly spiced makes this beer not as drinkbale as a saison should be. Just too much. It does have a lot of flavor though.

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Photo of cbutova
2.98/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This one has been sitting in my fridge taking up precious space for some time now, finally a good time to bust it out.

A- Light yellow (eh), clear for the most part but there are some small but numerous floaties. Carbonation is seen rising rapidly under a white head that looks extremely fizzy. Surprisingly it has good retention and forms some great looking Duvel-esque pillows. Lacing is fairly thick and made of fine bubbles.

S- The classic German banana ester up front. Spices like coriander and licorice come through as well. Not a bad balance. Strength is good but part of me wants the spice to be toned down a bit.

T- Too spicy once again. The banana/ester taste is still present but in smaller amounts. The spices are those commonly associated with Belgian ales, just way too heavy. It reminds me of mortar and pestle but the high strength of the spice makes it taste artificial. I like allowing the yeast to do its job instead of adding high amounts of spice. Some citrus and lemon peel come through a bit more subtly. Light malt and bready notes mix in as well. Most of these tastes are commonly associated with Belgian ales but this one's balance is just way off. Each sip becomes harder and harder. Some Noble hop notes, as promised by the label.

MF- Fairly warm palate. High carbonation with a light, creamy body. The spice coat stings the palate with mild bitterness from the hops. The creaminess makes this probably the best thing about this beer.

DB- It is hard to make it through one glass. The spice notes just keep building up as you go on. The price for this was not bad for such a big beer. It seems like the added spices are a bit much and the yeast is not trusted to lend classic Saison flavors. I will probably finish this, but I rarely ever do waste beer. Disappointing after a good Munich Dark Ale from Harpoon.

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Harpoon Leviathan - Saison Royale from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
3.54 out of 5 based on 119 ratings.
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