100 Barrel Series #30 - Island Creek Oyster Stout | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

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100 Barrel Series #30 - Island Creek Oyster Stout100 Barrel Series #30 - Island Creek Oyster Stout
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100 Barrel Series #30 - Island Creek Oyster Stout100 Barrel Series #30 - Island Creek Oyster Stout

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

Style: English Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed by Harpoon brewer Katie Tame, using Island Creek oyster farmer Skip Bennett’s revered Duxbury Bay oysters, this beer has a rich body and smooth mouthfeel derived in part from a combination of roasted barley and chocolate rye malts. The roasted malt notes blend beautifully with the briny, mineral flavors of the Island Creek oysters. An addition of hops adds some bitterness to balance the malt sweetness. This, the 30th installment of the Harpoon 100 Barrel Series, is best enjoyed with a plate full of Island Creek Oysters.

35 IBU

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 181 | Ratings: 227
Photo of thagr81us
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Another brew that survived my wreck! Served from bottle into New Belgium globe. Poured dark reddish brown with a one finger light tan head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, roasted malt, dark fruit, dark chocolate, and subtle brine. The flavor was of sweet malt, roasted malt, dark chocolate, earth, and very subtle brine. It had a light feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a pretty decent brew. If you handed this to me blind I doubt I would have been able to tell you it was an oyster stout if I'm honest. The brine is there in a way, but it is so subtle it is almost non-existent. The other aspects going on here were not too bad however. Definitely easy to drink and decently enjoyable.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a blackish- brown in color with streaks of ruby coming through when held up to the light. Small, thick tan head that reduces, leaving a bit of lacing. Smell is very smoky, with traces of chocolate and something else I can't quite identify. Flavor is dry with smoky notes similar to the smell. Roasted malt comes through, ending with a salty bitterness, more than likely from the oysters. Mouthfeel Is solid with balanced carbonation and velvety body. Overall, this is an interesting take on a stout. Very different but enjoyable to say the least.

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Photo of ianjsullivan
4.27/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

ST: 22oz bomber poured into a porter glass. The bottle listed both the ABV and a drink by date.

A: Dark chocolate black-brown with red tints at the bottom. It had a large finger brown fluffy head. The retention was average and the lacing was small.

S: Smoke, chocolate, earth, coffee, sweet malts, and nuts.

T: Smoke, mineral earth, creamy coffee, burnt roasted malt, with a slight bitter hop finish, which balances the beer nicely.

M: Medium and very creamy

O: My first time trying an oyster stout; I have become a fan. This beer was smooth and had wonderful balanced flavors. The roasted malt and coffee beans paired well with the earthy, flinty mineral flavors that the oysters added to the beer. The mild bitter hops in the finish balanced the beer very well.

NOTE: I made a mistake. This review should be under the number 36 session.

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Photo of BeerAndBourbon
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A. Pours black with a two and a half finger creamy large bubble tan head that dissipates leaving tons of residual lacing on the glass.

S. Smells like a dry English stout - dry mineral water, calcium carbonate, some light chocolate notes, along with the ash notes akin to what you'd find in a fire pit the morning after.

T. Ash with chocolate malt that ends with dry mineral-y calcium notes.

M. This feels akin to a robust mineral water. Ends super dry with a mix of minerals and chocolate.

D. A very dry English stout that I imagine would pair well with a number of dishes. The dry crispness would help to lift residual flavors off the tongue while complimenting meats with a nice roasty chocolate character. I like the idea of pairing this with oysters, but it would also do well with a roast, brussels sprouts, and other earthy vegetables.

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Photo of jondeelee
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Harpoon's Island Creek Oyster Stout (which is, yes, brewed with "freshly harvested Island Creek Oysters"), doesn't immediately set itself apart by the nose alone. Yes, there are huge dark malty aromas here, including chocolate malt, ash and tobacco, caramel, and a definite earthy quality, but little hint of oysters. Perhaps that's a good thing, though: a beer that smells of mollusc would most likely go straight down the kitchen sink.

On the tongue, the primary flavors are also those more commonly found in a stout: ash and tobacco, chocolate malt, hints of black malt and peat. The oyster seems to come into play right at the edges, such as when you exhale, and an ever-so-brief sea aroma dances through the nasal passages; and again after you've swallowed, when subtle hints of brine tease the tastebuds. The result is quite intriguing, lending what is already an excellent stout a hint of mystery and savoir faire. Mouthfeel is medium-light (surprisingly, given the potency of the flavors) and somewhat dry, and carbonation is medium-light.

Overall, this is great beer, and for those concerned with the idea of beer brewed with oysters, fear not: were the ingredients not listed on the bottle, you wouldn't have the slightest clue what you were drinking, and would probably just think, "hey, what an interesting stout."

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Photo of BirdsandHops
3.12/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: pours black with two fingers of tan head that recedes into a thin ring with little lacing.

S: roasted malts at first with some sweet chocolate aromas. There are some smokey aromas along with a slightly salty smell.

T: roasted malts with some bitter chocolate flavors. The same smokey, salty flavor follows along with some char and light bitterness on the aftertaste.

M: medium body with lowish carbonation, this beer feels a little watery

O: an alright beer, but nothing special. I'd like a bit creamier body and more depth of flavor.

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Photo of sethmeister
3.82/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle, marked best by 9/15/11

Body is near black in the glass with a thick tan head. Reddish light at the edges.

Scent is earthy with roasted notes and chilled coffee.

Taste is dark fruit, a meaty or nutty quality, a hint of smoke and a touch of lactic sweetness. There's a definite mineral quality to it. Bitter baking chocolate, roasted notes. Slightly tangy, slightly briney. Hard to tell if it isn't mostly my expectations, but there's something which suggests the subtle smokey and briney characteristics of a good oyster.

Mouthfeel is very slick at first and then chalky. On the thinner side of medium.

Drinkability is decent. I'd certainly buy again, though I don't think I'd want more than two in a night.

A nice English stout with some unusual characteristics. I'd love to try this with oysters.

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Photo of bishopdc0
3.62/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark black with a dark tan head
The aroma is very pleasant full of coffee and chocolate. It blends to forms an almost cappuccino smooth creaminess

The taste with a mouth full of carbonation. It builds to reveal almost fruity flavors of blackberries. The carbonation subsides and a taste becomes sweet mixed with roasted coffee and slight dark chocolate flavors

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Photo of Damian
4.17/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drank from a 1 pint, 6 fl oz bottle at Neptune Oyster, Boston, MA
Served in a pint glass

The beer poured a brown/black color with ruby accents when held to the light. A bubbly, one-finger head of saddle brown froth topped the liquid. The head was slow to fade but left no lacing.

The aroma changed considerably as the beer sat. Initially, it was dry, roasty and very minerally. Later, the nose became smoother and more well rounded. The roast was still present but it settled down and strong notes of chocolate and espresso came forth. A touch of smoke was present as well.

A dry roastiness dominated the flavor profile but, like the nose, it mellowed out with time. Dark malts came through strong on the front end. Possibly some caramel-like sweetness as well. Lots of roasty coffee in the center. The finish was dry and crisp. Smoky with a bit of char. A touch minerally. One would imagine that this mineral aspect came from the addition of Island Creek oysters to the boil.

The mouthfeel was remarkably smooth, creamy and supple for the style. Medium bodied with a fine, moderate, tongue-blanketing effervescence.

Harpoon Island Creek Oyster Stout is an excellent beer. Pairing this with a dozen bivalves at the best oyster house in Boston made it that much more enjoyable. If you ever have the opportunity, I would recommend that you treat yourself to the experience as well.

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Photo of allengarvin
4.13/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Oyster stout... one of those peculiar styles with few modern adherents. I think Marston's is the only one I've ever had, and I don't remember a thing about it. I was never sure if they were supposed to contain real oysters or not, but this one apparently does.

Poured into a NB chalice, it's a very dark beer, completely opaque, with a steady, thick, half-inch thick head. The aroma is moderately cocoa, a bit sweet, with a hint of roastedness. The flavor is surprisingly dry, with dark chocolate notes. Roasted malts give a bitterness I wasn't suspecting from a style I thought was mostly sweet. The mouthfeel is very tannic. Interesting beer!! I can't detect any oyster flavor by itself, but I'm not sure an oyster-flavored beer would work.

This would make a great food accompaniment to many dishes, in that the bitterness and dryness is not hoppy in nature. It's be a good dessert beer, offsetting the sweetness differently than a traditionally bitter beer. I'll have to set some aside for that purpose.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

dark pour, black with a large tan heading creeping up the sides of the glass. Nice touches of lacing ringing the inside of the glass and coming to head with deep spider web like lacing throughout. Aroma was interesting and not at all what I expected. Very smoked with lots of hints of peat and roasted malts. A touch of something different and my brain wants to say it was sort of fishy, but again the expectations going in could be clouding that. Light touches of chocolate start to mix in as it warms as well. Nice body here, with a good level of carbonation throughout. Rich notes of roasted and smoked malts coming through from the very first sip with a touch of something else bouncing around in there as well. This other taste is not bad at all, it's just different and gives it a bit of a kick. Nice dry finish and smooth, even flavor kept it coming throughout the rest of the session.

Overall very solid and really quite nicely done

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Photo of TheHopMonster
3.92/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark almost pitch black with a plush tan head. When I hold it up to the light I can see mahogany around the edges of the glass.

Very complex, espresso with hints of milk chocolate and deep earthy notes of moss and burnt malts.

Tastes earthy right off the bat with fresh ground coffee, and notes of dark chocolate. Nothing Oyster about it similar to Samual Adams attempt at an Oyster stout. It just tastes so right it can't be wrong. The more I let the stout warm I can taste plums and some figs along with the coffee and chocolate.

Mouth feel:
Creamy and delicious, very easy to drink surprisingly even with the intense malt and flavor characteristics.

I like this Oyster stout much better than Sam Adams Oyster stout, much more complex and exactly what a stout should taste like

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Photo of gskitt
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Really excited to try this one. Black yet not opaque, scent was of roasted malts, cant really pick up on any oyster scent? Taste was of some burnt coffee, char and not oyster per say but more like the oyster broth and the grit afterwards, I happen to like this. Mouthfeel was creamy. I so much wanted this beer to blow mw away, its good but it didn't do that.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Black body that backlights a dark ruby. Medium tan foam baseball size head.

Aroma is heavy on coffee, light on chocolate, with a whiff of the sea (or was that my imagination?).

Taste is a nice coffee/chocolate mix, but I'm not really getting the oysters (as opposed to Yards for example).

Smooth, creamy, even rich mouthfeel.

A solid enjoyable stout, worth a try.

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Photo of Heischman
2.95/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

--Harpoon Island Creek Oyster Stout (100 Barrel Series #30)--
DATE – 8 MAY 2011



APPEARANCE – Solid Black, good thick cascading head in the beginning but quickly dissipated but keeps a then sheet of very light brown foam.

NOSE – Very strong aroma of roasted malts, Had a sweet smell behind the Malts in the beginning but that quickly went away

TASTE – Has a burnt coffee taste to it with subtle hints of chocolate, which is quickly overcome again by the burnt coffee taste, funny thing is that the burn taste does not linger afterwards. As the beer warms up a bit the chocolate becomes more over powering then the coffee.

MOUTHFEEL - SMOOTH with mild carbonation

CONCLUSION – Not bad, but nothing special. Kind of the dumps about this one. I was expecting something new and this just did not do it for me. It is not bad but I am not upset that this is a 1 time brew.

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Photo of IronCitySteve
2.88/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a dark brown almost black with some reddish hues. Provides a small tan foam head with not much retention. Not much in the way of lacing.

S: Some mild hints of milk chocolate, light roasted coffee, salt water and dark chocolate. Nothing over the top.

T: Starts off with a slightly roasted coffee and sweet chocolate flavor. The salt water/oyster flavor becomes prevalent and overpowering in the middle and on the back end.

M: A medium bodied beer with ample carbonation. Leaves a slightly salty taste on the palate, like I came out of the ocean.

O: I thought I would really enjoy this but the oyster and sea water flavors were over powering really squashing the malted barley flavors.

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Photo of HardTarget
3.64/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Black glass shows some ruby edges, no head retention at all leaves it looking a bit flat.

Smell: Roasted barley like a Stout should smell, a bit of hop leaf that strikes me as more American than English. Little bit of alcohol comes through pleasantly.

Taste: Balance goes toward the sweet side, malt, bit of toffee, some molasses, but still well put together leaving the flavor rich but not sugary. A mild chalky finish.

Mouthfeel: Plenty of carbonation despite what it looks like, leaves the beer lively. Medium heavy body, slightly oily creamy texture.

Overall: Pretty much a standard stout, the oyster element doesn't go crazy, could probably go a bit more down that road. Glad I gave it a try.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.45/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes.

A: Pours very dark brown/black, kind of hard to tell. A small mocha colored head forms and dissipates rather quickly. NOt much lacing at all.

S: Lots of heavy roasted malt on the aroma. A good bit of coffee and a slight saltiness.

T: Similar to the nose in that there is a ton of roast going on here. There is some more coffee, but the salt comes through more than on the aroma. Extremely dry.

M: Medium bodied with low carbonation, pretty smooth.

O: The first oyster stout I have had in probably 4 years, so a pretty new experience. I thought the salt added an interesting touch to this beer. The dryness made it a little tough to drink though.

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Photo of ranger60
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On draft at Barcade in Jersey City, NJ.

Appearance: BLACK, but not completely opaque. Very little head (actually disappointing because other reviews mention a significant head)
Smell: Malty, sweet
Taste: A little bitter and earthy. First taste was very enjoyable, but I enjoyed it a little less as I drank it.
Mouthfeel: Fairly non-descript
Drinkability: Easily drinkable

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.47/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bomber poured into a pint glass.

A: A shade or two away from pitch black with some garnet hues at the edges of the glass. Big tan head has good retention, and a fine coat of lacing blankets the glass.

S: Roasted coffee beans, brownies, chocolate. Briny ocean-air type scent. Very assertive. Smells great.

T: Opens with sweet cola tastes. Transitions quickly to intense roasted flavors. Lots of charcoal and smoke. Burnt coffee. Milk chocolate for just an instant, and a fleeting taste of vague darkfruits. Mineral and sea salt tastes creep out from behind the roasted malts and dominate the finish. Dry, salty finish with stone-like mineral tastes and some lingering smoke.

M: Light, but full and creamy. Prickly carbonation. Maybe a bit too light.

O: A decent stout. Interesting flavors added by the oysters.

Notes: A unique beer to be sure. Smells wonderful, but the taste does not quite compare . Roasted malt flavors are perhaps a bit too intense. I would have liked to see a bit more subtlety here. Mouthfeel lacked a little in body and smoothness. I'm glad I tried it, but it will not be a frequent purchase.

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Photo of Pencible
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This poured a nearly black mahogany with moderate tan head.
S: It smelled mostly like some strange seafood odor (fish and minerals), with earthy coffee and soy and soil, and a bit of lager yeast.
T: It tasted like coffee and earthy dark chocolate, with a little fish and minerals and lager yeast. It had a bitter and wet aftertaste.
M: It was somewhat thick with moderate carbonation. Fairly slick and nice body.
D: This was a very unique beer with a scent that seems like it would go well with seafood. The oyster wasn't as pronounced in the taste, but it was still interesting. Good body and easy to drink, as long as you don't mind seafood. Worth a try.

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.28/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up in Totowa to give it a try since I haven't had any Oyster Stout in a long time. When I poured and out and tasted it, it reminded me more of a Porter because of the hue and mouthfeel, and this was probably the biggest disappointment for a beer that I've tried this year. That being said, this would have a niche but I'm not that big of an oyster person!

Dark pour to this but not quite black, with some head and practically no lacing to be seen. This was light in taste as well with a roasted, burnt tone to it and just a hint of chocolate underneath it. The salt and brine of the oysters could be felt in the aftertaste and because there wasn't much alcohol in this, this didn't pack much of a punch at all. I like my Stouts to have some body and a warming sensation to them but that just wasn't here, even at the end of my drinking session.

Speaking of session, this almost qualifies as a session beer since I ended up having something else after this. It may have been the first time that I had a Stout and didn't finish on one and if I could do it again, I'd try this with oysters. This beer would be decent for a food pairing but on its own, it left a lot to be desired.

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Photo of elgiacomo
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, Session #36. Served at cellar temperature.

Pours dark brown with a large light beige head that leaves a few spots of lacing and holds a nice creamy cap.

Aroma is roasted malts, chocolate, some coffee, as it warms the briny/salty character picks up, also some caramel, toast and bread. Good to very good strength.

Flavor is chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, caramel, toast & bread, some mineral notes at the end. Moderately sweet, low bitterness, little to no perceived alcohol.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth, somewhat creamy, low to medium carbonation.

The oyster addition really plays nicely with the base stout here, very good stuff, glad I tried it.

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Photo of ngeunit1
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a dark black color with just a hint of brown visible around the edges, and a finger of thick frothy tan head atop. The head fades slowly to a spotty layer leaving thick lacing behind.

S - Aroma if full of roasted chocolate malts and some sweet caramel. There is also a mineral aroma and some coffee.

T - Starts off with some sweet roasted milk chocolate malt flavor and some mineral flavor. Through the middle, some caramel and coffee flavors arise. The finish starts out a bit bitter with some coffee flavor and transitions into a more mineral taste that lingers.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Overall, very dry feeling, especially with the mineral finish, which feels nice.

D - Pretty drinkable. The flavors are interesting and a touch sharp, so a bit of a slow drinker, but by no means bad. Feels a little off, but interesting enough to enjoy.

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Photo of Naugros
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

And now to answer the age-old question: Is it okay to drink an oyster stout in a month with an R?

This is Session 36...Best By 9/15/11

It certainly is a nice stout to observe. I did an aggressive pour and was rewarded with a massive head. It settled down a bit so I poured more and kept building and managed to get it above the rim of the glass. Mocha-colored and rocky, settling in at 2" thick with a dense structure. Good retention and nice, but thin lacing.

Milk chocolate is the first impression and then roasted malts. Further exploration reveals a mineral presence which I take to be calcium due to the chalk-like scent.

It mostly delivers the typical roasted malt offshoots: bitter coffee and cocoa, but there are some dark fruits and that pervasive, underlying sense of minerals, but earthier on the tongue than in the nose. There is only the most minimal sense of brine and that might be mind games from the fact that I know I'm drinking something that had oysters in it.

Mouth-filling and velvety with a slight tingle on the lips.

I have to admit I was a little apprehensive about drinking an oyster stout for the first time (yes, this is my first believe it or not) and I now realize my trepidation was ill-founded. The oysters add little of the ocean into the beer and deliver more mineral and earth tones. I can drink oyster stout in months with an R.

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100 Barrel Series #30 - Island Creek Oyster Stout from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
Beer rating: 3.75 out of 5 with 227 ratings