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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 227 |  Reviews: 181
Photo of ATXRyan
1/5  rDev -73.3%

Photo of jneiswender
2.16/5  rDev -42.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Had on tap at the brewery. Served in a straight sided glass.

A-dark murky black body, tan head

S-smoky, chocolate, as it warms there is a distinctive raw seafood smell

T-chocolate, mineraly, smoke and seafood

M-medium and slick

D-tastes like a run of the mill stout at first. As it warms, you really get the full effect of the oysters. Just not for me. Too off putting.

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Photo of glib
2.21/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I found this beer very unenjoyable. For a stout, I found it to be very watery and thin. The "oysteriness" was impossible to miss, and was manifested by a strong, briny, salty, brackish flavor. It overwhelmed all other flavors, and lingered in on the taste buds for far too long (for my taste.)

I would not recommend.

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Photo of jbertsch
2.28/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I don't like oysters. Frankly, knowing this was brewed with oysters scares me. And, I like VERY LITTLE seafood. But, I had to give this a try out of curiosity because it seemed creative and I think Harpoon generally does very well with their 100 Barrel Series.

Appearance: Black, with a decent frothy-tan head. Lacing is non-existent.

Aroma: Some bitter chocolate up front mixes with aromas of nuts, salt, and smokiness. The label refers to a "nutty stout" that blends well with the "mineral flavor" of oysters. I think the mineral flavors they speak of are what's giving me a salty aroma.

Taste: Faintly bitter chocolate notes are followed quickly by the minerals they spoke of - I notice it now. It's not overwhelming, but it's still a little off-putting. It's briney. When ice cold, the chocolate is more apparent. When warmed a bit, the briney aftertaste is stronger and lingers.

Mouthfeel: When cold I noticed a lot of carbonation - almost seltzer-like. Those of you who say it's velvety are kidding yourselves. Just because it's a stout doesn't make it so. In fact, the warmer it got, the thinner it tasted.

It's hard to rate this one. On one hand, this is not a stout I want again - however, did they successfully brew a fair stout with oysters without making it taste offensive? Yes, I suppose they did...but was it enjoyable? Not enough for me.

Having this with some American cheese and fig cake helped a lot to get through the bottle. Yes, I happened to have fig cake on hand.... What, you don't?

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Photo of zebco
2.47/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: Poured to a very dark color. A heavy, tan colored head. I'm excited.

Smell: When I took my first quick whiff, I got a very unpleasant smell. I couldn't put my finger on it. The thought gym locker kept crawling in my head. My wife said a fart mixed with cigarette butts. It was just like a briny, pungent smell. Upon taking deeper whiffs, I smelt hints of chocolate and smoke. But I couldn't get over my initial aromas.

Taste & Mouthfeel: I thought it had good flavor. I kept getting smoke flavors. I did drink the whole thing holding my breath due to the smell I was getting.

Drinkability: I'm on the fence here. Part of me wants to try it again to see if I had a fluke. But then again, I probably won't due to the limited series. I don't want to smell that again anytime soon.

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Photo of morebeergood
2.5/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I was eagerly anticipating trying this beer, so I picked up a bottle for my wife and I for pre-Valentine's Day dinner. Poured into two stemmed beer glasses. Dark rich brown color. Thin white head. Decent lacing. Whoah, then there's the smell. Not a fan. Reminded me of rancid sea water. Smelled like high tide. Yuck. Taste was palpable, but not my favorite. Reminded me of a stout that someone added ocean salt water to. The beer had a fairly nice mouthfeel to it, as it was thick and creamy. The smell become more tolerable as the beer got to room temp, but I could not get past it. I can still feel it in my nostrils the next day. This was not a beer that I enjoyed drinking.

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Photo of cpetrone84
2.59/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-pours a clear brown colored liquid that shows hues of red in light. the head is coffee colored, thin, with little retention and a thin lace left behind.

S-the nose brings notes of sea salt and fish up front. they are really strange and throw me off, basically a raw fish from the ocean. the stout comes in behind and adds some roasted espresso and dark chocolate in the back.

T-the taste has the same salty fish taste that the nose did but less of it. more dark chocolate in the flavor at the middle than the nose offered, which is another plus. The finish adds roasted coffee to try and bring the stout characteristics back to this beer.

M-this is medium in body. it is extremely smooth and creamy on the palate with low carbonation and slick on the back of the throat.

D-this gets less offensive as it warms up and the malt flavors become more pronounced. still, the fish in beer is off putting to me and I'm not a huge fan of it.

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Photo of hoplover82
2.6/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Pours a clear black color with hints of ruby, with a small ivory colored head that has ok retention and little to no lacing.

Smells pretty good with huge roasted barley notes that give it a coffee smell it also has a slight chocolaty note to it with an oceany note in the back. Very pleasant indeed.

Then the flavor... man what a dissapointment! If the oysters werent in there, it would be great. But I guess I just couldn't handle it. And I'm into crazy beers like this too. It has a nice roasted barley characteristic, very nice stout, but when the oysters are in there, it has such a salty harshness to it, imo.

Therefore, it was so harsh and undrinkable to me that it was a drainpour! I couldn't believe it! I even gave it a chance and let it warm up to see if it would become more smooth, but I just couldn't stand it. So I had to redeem myself with a fresh Bigfoot BarleyWine Style Ale. Then I was all better.

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Photo of THECPJ
2.83/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes

Appearance: very dark brown to black with 1 finger tan/mocha head

Smell: roasted malts, chocolate, mineral-like scent

Taste: sweet, chocolate, slight burnt flavor

Mouthfeel: moderate carbonation, medium body, oily on the tongue, thin

Drinkability: not bad, thinner than expected


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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 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 Liverpool08
2.94/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ok, I'm all for differnt kinds of beers and flavors etc. I am not a fan of the smoked beers.
This one is one of those. It pours a nice dark black/brown. The aroma is smoke and chocolate with a little twinge of something else. The flavor isn't bad, again smoky with hints of coffee and chocolate. Its a very smooth mouthfeel. There is that something in there that must be the oysters. Its kind of a metalic briney thing, but its not unpleasant. For my taste I could do with less of the smoke and more of the Malts and other flavors.

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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 NYCWheatFanSC
2.96/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Big oyster fan, so saw this one and absolutely had to snag it.

A - Pours black, with ruby-brown edges when held to light. Nice fluffy tan head that falls slowly.

S - Not much at all going on here. Pretty bland roasted malts, with a hint of the sea.

T - Was really looking for something more here, indeed a little more oyster in this oyster stout. Pretty roasty up front, with some light notes of dark chocolate. Can only find the oysters in the aftertaste, and then just barely: they manifest as a sea-water like salty, briny mess. No hop profile whatsoever.

M - Very light, too light actually. A tad oily.

D - Would not seek out again. An interesting and commendable concept nonetheless!

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Photo of gfreed
2.98/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Inky black with a huge head that faded nicely into a puffy ball that stayed for a long time. For a stout, this had a rather weak aroma of the usual suspects-- coffee, roasted Stuff, some chocolate-- but there was also some... rope? hemp? maryjuhwanna? I found it appealing but some may not. The taste was... well, again, for a stout it was weak. There's a dull edge of salt, and while this beer thankfully doesn't taste like oysters you can surely detect something odd. It's not fishy, it's not sea-weedy... it's steely, perhaps. The body is a tad thin; with the low carbonation it feels flat. At the end it had that smack of hoppy bitterness that would have been so much nicer if it was not as prominent. Made me grateful for British stout and its more subtle, fruitier finish. Worth a try for the novelty, but in order for this to be a repeater for me it would need to fatten up a bit and lose some of the sourness at the finish.

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Photo of pvo
3/5  rDev -20%

Photo of Seanibus
3/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours inky black with a nice tan head. Aroma is strong but conventionally stouty - roasted, woody, with a metallic tang. Flavor is roasted and woody. Slight sharp metal zing. I don't see where those oysters are in all this - they haven't imparted any flavor and they haven't done anything for the mouthfeel, which is thin and little dry. And one of those two reasons is the whole point of the oyster thing.

This beer is Ok, nothing special. I've brewed better myself, with oysters no less.

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Photo of PorterLambic
3.01/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Arrives black with a tan head. Great lace left behind.
Smell is malt, sweetness and a slight smoke note.
Taste is burnt malt, smoke and vanilla with cigarette ashes midway through the aftertaste.
Medium bodied and smooth with a light effervescence. decent overall but the heavy ash note, an almost over-powering one, is quite off-putting. Without that I would have really loved this brew a great deal more for taste and drinkability, probably 4 or 4.5 each.

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Photo of Jparkanzky
3.07/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass.

A) Nice, fairly dense frothed milk-like head, about 2 fingers or so. Beer itself is fairly dark, but you can see the reddish-brown hues in the light.

S) I think it has a hint of stale/stagnant pond water.... I don't think this some psychological phenomena from it being an oyster - stout either, it truly gives off a smell that brings me back to my childhood when playing around the ponds in the golf-course behind my parents' house.

T) I immediately thought "Burnt Coffee" and then I see the very last reviewer shares my thoughts on this. I think the Burnt Coffee taste only reaffirms my belief that I am actually smelling pond water! Other than the hint of burnt coffee, I really don't think it tastes 'bad' but it doesn't stand out as anything overly special, and I certainly can't detect anything that makes me think of oysters.

M) Beautiful balance of carbonation and density. It's very pleasant on the tongue with just a hint of dry bite.

O) Not sure I'll be purchasing any more of this, but I do have another to cellar as part of some crazy basement-born-science project.

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Photo of Stimack
3.08/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Also gave this brew a try at Mahar's. The brew poured to a black color with a creamy medium tan head, retention was good and lace rings where present. The aroma is of roasted malt, some smokiness as well as a slight odd scent, not sure if it would have been from the oysters because I did not put the two scents together. This odd scent was not bad and overall I think this is a pretty decent smelling stout. The flavors changed as this brew warmed. While the brew was cool the flavors really impressed me, nice roasted malt with a smoke character. The feel was very creamy. As this brew warmed the flavors became less attractive, and there seemed to be more of an off flavor. So for me it would have to be a drink cold brew. Overall an interesting brew but not sure I would get it again.

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Photo of n2185
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 browncrayon
3.18/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Let me preface this by saying I've never had oysters in my life. I really enjoy seafood and shellfish, but I avoid oysters simply because of the texture. Even still, I'm a little freaked out by this beer. But you have to try everything once, right?

A: The beer pours a pitch black--I'm having a hard time getting any light to come through at all. The head is tan and tall.

S: I'm scared to take a first whiff, but I don't smell any hint of oysters or sea-life at all. Definite sweet, burnt, and chocolaty smells, MAYBE some brine coming through at the end the more I smell it, but I don't think I'd be able to pick it out if I didn't already know there were oysters in it.

T: Okay...I'm diving in. It tastes toasty! Dark, burnt malt flavors with dark chocolate tastes coming through in the front, and then the brine totally hits you on the finish. You don't notice it until the end when you feel a bit like you're breathing ocean air. I'm surprised by how well those transition into each other--it's really not too off-putting. A bit bitter and lingering, but overall not bad.

M: It's pretty carbonated, medium-bodied, and fairly dry.

D: This is where it gets bad--I've hit a wall here. I think it's fair to say that there's a big psychological factor to this beer, and it may have gotten to me. I genuinely found the taste to be pleasant, but I can't even finish my glass and admittedly feel a little bit ill. Don't underestimate your mind's power over your mouth and stomach for this one!

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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 Gosox8787
3.21/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Bomber bottle with tin foil covering poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass in two parts.

Appearance: Dark brown to black coloring. Deep ruby edges and a one figner, tan head with almost no retention. Head recedes quickly into nothing.

Aroma: Deep char and espresso are the first notes to hit in the nose. Not much in the way of sweetness. Some earthy tones emerge somewhat but don't really offer any counter to the char.

Taste: Much like the aroma, the deep burnt char flavor is the first thing to hit. There is also espresso, but these really don't balance wach other, just offer more bitter notes. There is a missing element of sweetness that could add some much needed dimension and cut the one flavor that dominates. Clean, slighty bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, but a little chewy. Not much in the way of carbonation. Feels heavier than it is.

Drinkability: Low ABV and medium flavors make for decent drinkability. Some balance and a lighter mouthfeel would make this much more sessionable.

Overall, a decent stout tha I found one dimensional. Too much char and bitterness led to no balance and a beer that desperately needed some sweetness. The char flavor profile wa snice , but it was too much and needed something to balance it.

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Photo of bilyboy65
3.21/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was an interesting mix and a daring brew to add seafood to the ingredients. I don't think it turned out very well though. Stouts which are generally very rich in taste and smell seem almost watered down by the bland oyster undertones. I know they are similar, but to me seems more like clams which just adds to the dry boringness. I like making up words. Appearance of the beer is fantastic though. Dark and rich color with a thick brown head that lasts forever. Drinks pretty well. Except for the shell fish taste I kind of prefer this over other stouts.

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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