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
Very Good
227 Ratings
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

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-21-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 227 |  Reviews: 181
Reviews by Rchap1:
Photo of Rchap1
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a poor man's pint. Poured plenty dark, not much light getting through with a deep brown hue. The smell is pretty light, but you do get a little hint of the ocean from it. On the taste, There's some strong carbonation that really brings a lot of coffee flavor to the front. You don't get any of the oyster flavor until you've swallowed, it just kind of lingers. Very subtle, but definitely appreciated. The mouthfeel is alright, I think I was expecting something with a little more depth to it, but I guess that's to be expected from a 5.5% beer. All in all, no problem finishing the bottle, but I'm not sure I'd want to get through very many of these in a night.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.41/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I believe this is only the second oyster stout I have had,Whitstable (spelling?) oyster stout was the other.Poured a deep dark brown with a large creamy-like off white head atop,it settled into a creamy froth leaving broken layers of lace behind.Mainly big roast in the nose with a tinge of iron,flavors are deeply roasted with a linger salty and mineral note imparted from the oysters,pretty abrupt in its flavor profile.Eh its ok but really not a whole lot going on outside of the roast and weird salty-mineral finish,I wouldnt buy again I dont think.

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

Poured into an English imperial pint glass.A light brown head sits proudly on top of a beer that is the darkest shade of brown without being black. It's well executed and clean with a roasty cocoa powder aroma. The taste is also roasty with a hint of minerality and possibly the faintest touch of smoke. The mouthfeel has an unusual creaminess and the finish is dry-ish. It reminds me of a well made dry Irish Stout with just a few tweeks here and there. I can't imagine Oyster Stout tasting much cleaner than this one.

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Photo of wesbrownyeah
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Harpoon 100 Barrel Series Oyster Stout. 5.5% alcohol content. Always happy to find a special stout. Poured from 22oz. bomber.

A- Pours a nice nearly opaque black fluid with a one inch tan head that falls to a milky frothy top leaving excellent rings of lacing behind.

S- Upfront is chocolate malts and burnt wood scents followed by light expresso creams and hints of alcohol.

T-M- Taste is no frills but with a decent flavor. First is a carmel chocolate burnt malt that is smooth and balanced. Second is a almost tangy salty mineral flavor that spikes on the tongue leaving its calling card. Wood like texture mixed with creamy flavors make this a winner. Smooth and light at an excellent balance.

D- Very drinkable for a 5.5% stout that has its own flavor in distinction from others of its style.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Quite excited to try this as I've never had an oyster stout brewed with whole oysters before. Pours into my glass a nice deep black with a cappuccino head on top that lingers around. Aromas of crisp roasted malts featuring some coffee and a slightly burnt/toasted undertone. Grainy with an earthy, mineral tinged accent. Scents of the sea that may just be in my head as well.

First sip brings smooth, roasted grains upfront. Notes of coffee and cocoa intermingle as it flows down with a touch of saltiness and briny minerals. Rather dry on the back end. Smooth overall and the oysters really add an interesting, yet not overwhelming twist.

Mouthfeel is smooth with punchy carbonation. Falling on the lighter side of the spectrum for a stout, making it easier to imbibe. Overall, I found this to be a tasty and unique brew. I appreciate the brewers imagination here and the whole oysters definitely have an impact. Worth checking out!

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Photo of Outchillen
2.93/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I stopped in the brewery in Boston, I recommend anyone in the area to go visit, the staff was great, the beer was great.
ST: i have a 4 oz tester at the brewery
A: very dark brownish black, thin tan head
S: mildly roasty, almost no hop aroma
T: roastly, had a taste of salt water
M/D: Thin and a bit watery, I think it was ment for the style, a little salty or mineraly if thats a word.
Im not a huge stout drinker, was very happy trying this beer, dont know id have it again

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.2/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

In a pint glass this beer was black in color with a medium-sized tan head and a bit of lacing. It had an aroma of coffee and chocolate, with an overlay of hard water (those of you with wells in the northeast will know what I mean). The taste struck me as fishy and metallic, with the aforementioned coffee and chocolate. Medium-bodied, but the taste was a little off-putting.

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Photo of generallee
4.58/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 1 pint, 6oz bottle into a tulip glass. The label indicates that this is session 30, the ABV is 5.5%, the IBUs are 35 and it was brewed with real Oysters.

Appearance: The body has dark opaque body which is black in color. On top stands a tall tan head which is thick and looks similar to the foam on top of chocolate milkshake. It is long lasting and makes lots of sticky lacing as I drink.

Smell: The aroma is rich and roasted with toasted dark maltiness. Hints of dark chocolate, toasted bread mix with a slight mineral like edgy character from the shellfish. Some leafy hop notes are also detected here.

Taste/Palate: There is defiantly a heavy hit of dark roasted maltiness with notes of chocolate malt, dark caramel, some light ABV and a interesting almost salty mineral like thing going on in there. Leafy herbal like hops add a bit of bitterness and flavor as well. The hops are most noticeable in the finish. Its texture is firm but not too thick or viscose as to be hard to drink or cloying. It has a nice level of carbonation and drinks very well without being too thin or watery.

Notes: This one has a little bit to it and an interesting overall character.

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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 Billolick
3.73/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Typical 100 barrel series presentation, pours dark and stoutlike, with a better then moderatly retentive lighter mocha head, that slowly goes to a thicker collar with blobs of lace sticking around. Roasted malts and perhaps some minor oyster shell mineral note in the nose. Tasty enough stout, went well with some gilled chicken, but then again how many beers dont? I'm getting more dark malts, chalky chocolate and I believe a bit more of a mineraly oyster shell presence. I wish they let it be know what they actually did with the oysters/oyster shells in the creation of this stout. Anyway, not bad, nothing special, another middle of the road brew from this long lived series.

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Photo of Perkyanda
3.91/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

This stuff is black. Not dark brown, black. Ok.. the edges show a bit of caramel color where the light has a chance to get through, but for the most part this thing is dark and dangerous looking. There's very little head-- a few big creamy bubbles and some smaller froth.

It smells malty and smoky, and the scent is light. not a lot else going on, really. The taste is... really good, actually. Really different. Smoky as hell, a bit of a just-smoked-a-cigar aftertaste lingers, but in a good way. There's a bit of a mouthwatering saltiness to it, but very mild, and nothing is bitter about this beer at all. It tastes just like a nice, smoky stout. A little unusual, but nothing extremely unique in the flavor, except the smoky, briney aftertaste... or maybe I'm jsut tricking myself on the brine flavor, thinking it's there due to the label.

Mouthfeel is good. Low carbonation but nice tingle, nice full mouth taste. Not really silky or rich, but pleasant.

At 5.5 ABV, this tastes like a sipper, but will keep you sober... possibly more sober than you'd like, if your friends are drinking something higher. I like it a lot, and I would definitely pick this for a party when I don't want to get too sleepy, too early. It's a little pricier than I feel the taste and ABV deserve, but it is a novelty, and definitely worth trying one. I'd love to try some on tap.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark brown color with a tan head. The aroma is chocolate with some roasted malt and coffee notes. The flavor is roasted malt, chocolate, briney salt/oysters. You can really taste the oyster character in this beer. Medium mouthfeel and low to medium carbonation.

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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 far333
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep mahogany with ruddy edges and a low oatmeal colored head that doesn't rise up much but leaves a fine cap of foam.

Aroma of roasty malt and cocoa, hints of sea spray.

Flavors of roasted malt, hints of smoke and briney water. Faint metallic note and mild coffee flavor. Moderate bitterness.

Even mouthfeel, slightly thin body. Tasty beer, but could use more depth and fullness for my tastes.

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Photo of doremite
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance nearly pitch black but when held toward the light this dark stout has brown highlights peaking through at the edges. The head forms at lest three fingers thick with a dimpled texture rising well above the rim of my 20 ounce imperial pint. Lacing is intricate and evenly spread this is quite the sight to be had before a night out of drinking on St. Paddy's.

Aroma has deep roasted barely and slight caramel toffee nearly burnt or caramelized sugars interplaying with a slightly salty ocean breeze and mineral water note as well. Even a touch of vanilla/or toasted marshmallow hanging out there with herbal hops blending in with the dark malts.

Flavors brings dark chocolate a mild black licorice with a heaping load of mineral/rusted nail tones. That sounds worse than it actually plays out, it's more along the lines of mineral water with dark roasted malt flavors playing together. A really nice drinking experience mild in alcohol but big in flavor, between big roasts and oyster additions.

Mouthfeel is medium to fuller bodied, but it never sits heavy on the palate. Carbonation is smooth and silky, easy going all day kind of drinking beer this was an excellent drinking experience.

Drinkability overall is one of those brews that should make it into rotations somebody out there needs to make a year round oyster stout now that Love Stout is gone from the Yard's lineup, even if Love Stout is still around it's no longer an oyster stout. A very interesting and tasty brew, that I will be glad to sip on again in the future.

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Photo of glid02
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from CBX in Charleston, SC.

Pours one shade from black with a half-finger tan head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving light lacing.

Smells of lightly roasted and black malts with mild amounts of dark cocoa powder. As the beer warms the aroma sweetens a bit.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Black and roasted malt flavors up front with just a tinge of saltiness (although I may be tasting that only because I read the bottle). Midway through the sip unsweetened cocoa powder sneaks into things. Near the end of the sip very light amounts of raisins pop up before fading before a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a solid thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass withotu a problem and could have another.

Overall I thought this was a solid low ABV stout that wasn't a far cry from a good schwarzbier. I'm not really sure how much the oysters add but either way this is worth a shot.

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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 rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a snifter)
A- This beer has a jet black body with a bubbly tanish-brown head with tiny bubbles stuck to the glass.
S- This beer has a dark roasted black malt flavor that is dry with a slight char and cream notes.
T- The smooth cream note grows to a roasted char finish and a very soft fruity dark ester note to the roasted flavor. There is a slight sour note in the finish. There is a iodine note in the roasted malt flavor and a soft pepper note in the char and the coffee roasted flavor lingers.
M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with the slight watery texture with no alcohol heat. There is a fizz prick on the tongue in the finish.
D- This is a nice stout with a big a char flavor that starts smooth but doesn't have any oyster flavors.

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Photo of degerbah
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a thick black with a very small amount of head. The aroma of this beer is pure coffee. I can't really get anything else at all on the smell. The taste is a slightly thicker than I expected/ I question why someone would add oysters to a beer when they apparently don't affect the flavor in any way. It's a tolerable stout and I'm glad I got to try it, but I'm not impressed.

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

22 ounce poured into snifter.

A- Deep black body with a thin tan head and no lacing

S- Standard stout in the aroma department, roasted malts, not picking up any hops.

T- This was a surprise for me. Slight chocolate with a prevalent roasted malt. Now here's where the psychosomatic aspect comes in. If I didn't know that oysters were used in brewing this, I would say "There's something else going on here, mineral like in the finish." Knowing that oysters were used, my mind said "Yup, there it is in the finish." This stout does not taste like oysters to me, but there is a briny finish. Actually very good.

M- Medium to full bodied and slightly sweet and smooth with good carbonation.

D- This is my second favorite 100 Barrel series from Harpoon. Take the oyster aspect out of this and what you have is a solid stout, easy to drink and enjoy. Add the oyster aspect and now you have something unique and local. For what it's worth, my wife, who is a rabid hop head, said this after tasting it. "That's good, better than the other stouts you've been drinking." (Those were Péché Mortel, Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti and Cappuccino Stout. Doubles, fair enough, but you get the picture).

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Photo of TheycallmeTim
3.48/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a growler into a tulip pint.

A--Black body with brown, not red, highlights toward the bottom. Held to light it looks like coffee. Head is one finger of tan cream. Fades to skim immediately and does not lace.

S--Mainly roasted grain and toffee. Kind of a sweetish barley smell. Faint plum notes.

T--Mostly bitter chocolate, kind of cocoa powdery. Reminds me of an Irish Dry Stout. For a second I thought I could taste something mineral toward the back end, but I think it's my mind playing tricks on me. Tasting this blind I never would have guessed this was brewed with oysters, which is disappointing as this is the first of this style I've ever had. Oh well.

M&D--Mouthfeel is appropriately thin and undercarbonated. Drinkability's good because the ABV isn't through the roof, though it's possible to get the same amount and kind of flavors out of a stout of more modest strength. I'm beating on a dead horse in my reviews of small beers by American breweries--in a word, they suck at it, for the most part.

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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 GratefulBeerGuy
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This one is looking very nice, a dark, nearly black color and a 1" high, thick, lively tan colored head stays high for a while and leaves a decent amount of sticky lace.

The aroma has a flat un-sweetened chocolate aroms with dark wheat and oats. Then comes the ocean aroma's, salty water and sandy beach is obvious with hint of kelp. It's roastie malt goes along way here. There's a sharp, tangy heat-like effect way down deep. soft vanilla aroma as it warms up slightly.

The stout flavor's are all in good order, roastie malt, burnt wheat, oats and a baker's chocolate effect that dominates slightly. The balance comes from it's unique ocean flavor's, salty water and a smooth, then chalky feel goes along with the oyster addition. i like the unique qualities, and i think the balance is rather good. the complexity is a bit limited but it's right on a for a good stout with a unique twist that does not detour any of the other flavor's. The hops are very subtle and only adds an earthy, dry flavor.

you've gotta respect the work and effort put into this beer and i think it's one of the better 100 barrel series i've had.

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Photo of augustgarage
4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to ShogoKawada for giving me the chance to sample this one. Bivalves in beer? I was skeptical, but I've learned oyster stouts are actually not terribly uncommon.

Poured from a 22oz bomber into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Opaque, seal brown body with a small fluffy fawn head which lingers for quite a while before slowly thinning. Lovely, thick, even lacing which slowly unfurls leaving intricate calligraphy behind.

Shoe polish, a touch of butter, light roast coffee, roast malt, light brown sugar, and a faint brine-like quality in the nose - a really nice mix.

The flavors evolve slowly on the palate: whatever bitter/tart flavors there are start things off, slowly fading to a mix of roast malt, chocolate, and a chewy salinity (clearly they used fresh rather than smoked oysters in this brew), which persists on an almost subliminal level on into the finish. The mid-palate is appropriately sweet, with hints of coffee creamer and taffy...the roast grows into the finish which helps attenuate the sugars and mingles well with the sea notes. Subtle, curious, but enjoyable. Maybe a little diacetyl.

Medium bodied, a touch oily, adequate carbonation, no real astringency.

This meets the style guidelines pretty well, and any imperfections are not from the addition of oysters. Though I may have to go to Britain (or at least the East Coast), I hope to try more oyster stouts in the future for comparison.

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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