Harpoon 100 Barrel Series #31 - Single Hop ESB | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

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Harpoon 100 Barrel Series #31 - Single Hop ESBHarpoon 100 Barrel Series #31 - Single Hop ESB

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

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
The 31st offering from the Harpoon 100 Barrel Series is the Single Hop ESB, brewed by Harpoon brewer Charlie Cummings. Already excited about crafting an Extra Special Bitter, Charlie jumped at the rare opportunity to brew this beer using one hop varietal, Delta, exclusively throughout the process.

The Delta hop is a brand new American-grown hop developed by Hopsteiner. In fact, the Harpoon Single Hop ESB is the first beer in the world to be commercially brewed using the Delta hop. A cross between Fuggle and Cascade hops, Delta hops yield an unrestrained earthy/floral aroma and taste that compliment the rich flavors of traditional British malts and yeast.

The recipe for this beer is a nod to the beloved Harpoon ESB, which was last brewed in 2002. However this version uses imported ingredients, except for the domestically grown Delta hops. Only a portion of the batch was filtered, leaving the full spectrum of flavor and aroma of this special new hop to enjoy.

38 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 04-01-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 122 | Ratings: 140
Photo of MikeyRx
4.33/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From my notes on 8/20/11:

A- Pours a dark, hazy amber/orange and forms a strong off white head that recedes minimally leaving substantial lacing. Looks excellent!

S- Aromas of sweet, light malt, hints of raisin and biscuit, and citrus and pine hop notes.

T- Sweet, lightly roasted malt with a hint of nuttiness and raisin. The orange/citrus and pine hop flavor shows off the delicious flavor of the Delta hops without overpowering. Awesome malt and hop balance.

M- Moderate body and carbonation, finishes with lasting bitterness and tacky feel.

This beer was the best of the Harpoon 100 Barrel Series I've had so far! Loved it!

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Photo of mynie
4.52/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased, expiry dateless, from Parti-Pak in Indianapolis, where they will literally repackage and sell beer that had been spilled on the floor. The earliest reviews are from April, though, so at worst this is just mildly stale.

N E How, the hops aren't very aggressive, but they don't taste really aged or muted. They take a nice center stage, actually, one variety only minimally complicated by a hint of malt tastiness. Only I was having a dilly of a time figuring out which hop this was. It's got a more or less European spiciness to it, but that's backed by a wonderful dry, spicy citrusiness that's like dried orange zest. It's not all that bitter or juicy, but still fruity. Neat.

Turns out this is a whole new variety of hop, one remarkably well suited to an ESB, and it gets backed up fantastically by the creamy, yeast-heavy back end of the beer.

This is what a single hop beer should be, and especial kudos goes to Harpoon for finding the exact right style for this hop variety. It's not Xtreme enough to garner too many glowing BA reviews, but this is an excellently brewed beer.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.12/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rich, dark amber in color with a huge, towering head of white foam that had incredible reach and retention. Literally just tons of sticky white lacing down the sides of the glass and all over the inside of it throughout. I could not have asked it to look better. Dark, rich, citrus hops now dominate everything around it. Huge notes of orange and rich pine are just elegant. Warming brings a subtle balance of biscuit, light tea leaves, hints of grain. Smooth, creamy rich body just lets the flavor explore. Smooth, biscuit flavors and rich citrus hops are near perfect in unison and the sessionability is simply out of this world.

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Photo of Arenbeer
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From Notes

22oz bottle into a snifter glass

A- Dark reddish orange with a thin 1 finger white head

S- Sweet malts with a piny/earthy hop presence and a nice citrus and fruitiness.

T- Damn that's smooth. Sweet candy caramel malts with a surprisingly not so bitter hop presence but the earthy qualities and fruitiness comes through right behind it.

M- Creamy head like medium body with moderate carbonation and the finish is only slightly bitter surprisingly.


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Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.33/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

I don't really feel that I have been properly "schooled" on British beers, though I am a National BJCP judge...so I keep trying different examples so that I can gain appreciation for these styles. I am getting there, but still have a few hundred more to go before I think that I am completely prepared. All this aside, let's see what Harpoon thinks an ESB tastes like:

Appearance: Pours a very slightly hazy burnt orange color with a small 1/8" head of off white bubbles that was fizzy and didn't stick around much at all. There is already some lace left on the glass just from swirling the beer.

Aroma: The aroma is very hops centered with very little of the typical British toasty notes to go along with it. The hops seem like they are British styled, but there is something in there that is making me think of American Pale Ales, too. There is some caramel notes in here that are getting more noticeable as the beer warms.

Taste: The flavor is a little more mild than the aroma suggested. The malt is a pretty big player in the middle and later parts of the flavor profile. The hops are playing a big role in the flavoring and aroma, but they aren't so strong in the finish, which is good, but a bit out of style. There is bittering there in the finish, and I would even say that the hops are the dominant player in the finish, but they don't have the typical interplay with the minerals in the water to further accentuate the dryness on the back of the palate. The beer is medium to light bodied with ample carbonation.

Opinion: Please note that my score is in relation to the style, not the beer itself. This is a pretty good beer, but I don't know how much it would apply to the ESB category. When I prefaced my review by saying that I am still learning ESB's, that meant that I am still learning the finer nuances...not how to tell an ESB from a Pale Ale. This is more of a Pale Ale. It is a little more toward the British Pale than the American side, but it is a bit of a mutt nonetheless. I would venture to guess that if they had just supplemented some more Gypsum in the water, that would have pushed this beer back into style. As it is, the water doesn't really compliment this style, it is too clean. All this said, I will be drinking my whole glass as this really is a pretty good beer for a clean British Pale.

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Photo of albertjr21
4.22/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass on 3.7.11.

A: This yields a deep brownish amber color that's clouded fairly heavy with floating sediments.

S: Nose carries a relatively moderate but brisk sweet malt aroma of candied caramel, toasted nut, and earthy hop.

M/T: Nice to know that the specific hop flavor I'm getting is from the Delta hops that nicely complement the sweet toasted malt.

D: This has "delicious session" written all over.

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Photo of Aiptasia
4.16/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a really solid beer all the way around, and one to be proud of. Harpoon's first single hop'd bitter uses Delta hops throughout. It's a fine beer for people looking for an introduction into craft beers or darks.

A: Pours a lovely crystal clear rich red. A great 3" tan head forms instantly and the lacing clings tenaciously throughout. Really nice, I wish more beers poured this nicely.

S: Hints of biscuity scotch and caramel on the nose.

T: Smooth and wet. Well balanced with the subtle hops flavor. Alcohol is well hidden and isn't overly fruity. Not sweet at all.

M: Rich up front with a dry finish. Carbonation is assertive although not overpowering. Dry finish with only a residual amount of hopsy-ness on the tongue.

D: Very drinkable and would pair nicely with just about any meat-based meal, or richer seafoods. A great first "dark" beer or for enjoying when you need a pallete cleanse from a dry beer that doesn't overpower a meal.

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Photo of NotACommunist
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into New Belgium globe glass from a 22 oz bomber

A: Half a finger of head which quickly dissipated but left some for the rest of the glass. Amber and clear.

S: Slight alcohol, clean roasted malt.

T: Clean, simple flavor. Not very complex and has no lingering hop flavor.

M: Thin to medium bodied mouthfeel. Might have served too cold.

D: Quite drinkable, but not very complex.


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Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: This pours a light brown color tinted with ruby, with a haze preventing light from moving through the middle of the glass. A nicely 4cm creamy off-white head forms initially, fading eventually to nothing but leaving some lace on the glass.

Smell: Earthy hops, caramel and toffee, biscuity malt, some grapefruit citrus hoppiness as well. After it warms up a little bit, the grapefruit actually comes to dominate.

Taste: A little bit of an IPA's soul in this one. It starts with some soft caramel and toffee notes. Some peat, then earthy hops, and finally a surprisingly strong grapefruit hoppy flavor. The finish is bitter.

Mouthfeel: Pretty typical for the style. Medium body and medium carbonation, with a slightly resiny feeling left behind the lips after each sip. Somewhere between creamy and bubbly feel.

Drinkability: This is all right, but I am not completely convinced Delta hops are the way of the future.

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Photo of jwc215
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from written notes from late last summer:

The "single hop" is Delta - a new American hop used in an ESB - interesting - let's see how it goes:

Pours slightly hazed orangish amber with a thin, lasting, creamy, turning bubbly head.

The smell is earthy and mildly citric with some caramelish malt... there is a slight touch of butterscotch.

The taste is nicely balanced ... spicy, citric, earthy hops upfront balanced by caramel, which becomes more dominant in the middle, then gives was to a nice spicy dryness in the finish.

The body has a smooth fuller-side of medium feel.

A unique ESB. A pleasant brew all-around!

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Photo of htomsirveaux
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle tried 14 Aug 2010. Served in the Sierra Nevada shaker pint.

Small light brown head. Well carbonated. Clear deep reddish brown in color. Aroma is of baking bread with molasses with a touch of resin and spice. Taste is earthy and drier than the aroma would suggest. Becomes a bit spicy and bitter through the middle, with a lingering caramel bready sweetness in the aftertaste. Medium creamy body. Moderate ethanol.

Delta hops are not my favorite.

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Photo of BeanBone
3.39/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A nicely hazy orange-brown body capped by about two fingers of solid, tan-tinged head that stick around nicely and leave great lacing on the way down.

Aroma: Leafy, citrusy, and earthy hops over a mild caramel malty body.

Flavor: Up front, the hops are leafy and citrusy with decent bitterness. The caramel malt underneath does well to balance everything out. Lots of cereal-grain malt and leafy hops in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and a little creamy with moderate carbonation and a drying finish.

Drinkability: An easy drinker, this bomber goes back in no time.

Verdict: Very much to style, easily drinkable, and tasty enough, this is a solid little ESB. However, it's not quite interesting enough to miss it once it's gone.

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Photo of Gavage
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a clear amber color with a short 1/2" head that breaks apart quickly.

Smell: earthy tones with some caramel sweetness is mild but easy to pull from the glass.

Taste: caramel, mild bread tones, apple sweetness, mild bitterness, and a bit of earthiness late.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Lightly crisp to start, smooth to finish. Aftertaste is very short.

Drinkability: a solid sessionable ESB, and a few of these can be consumed in a session.

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Photo of scruffwhor
4.12/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The color is standard copper amber hue with some soft bubbling lazly making its way to the top of my lightly ringed beer foam top.

Fresh harvested grains, toasted, along with some white bread dough. Then some caramel and must. The slightly musty aroma comes from the hops I believe. Through the must, comes a little citric smells on the tail ed of each whiff.

I drank this 22 oz. bomber nice and slow and let this brew warm up a bit. You get some medium toasted grains that turn into more caramel like flavors. The palate evolves from front to back. Upfront you get the spritzy pop of the carbonation, and from the middle you get lots caramel, toasted white bread, and soft syrupy, earthy hops.

This is complex for an ESB, especially since they only used one hop species. I feal this is a good English ESB with a little extra American hop-umpf.

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Photo of oberon
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a imperial nonic a clear brass color with a thinner but well sustained slight off white head.Aromas of caramle malt and slightly earthy hops,not earth sahttering but both stood out well.Malt driven with sweetish caramel malt with a bit of fruit on the palate,the hops lend a tinge of earthiness in the finish.Its not complex, but its flavors are pleasant enough.

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Photo of jjboesen
3.19/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Apparently, this beer is a limited batch with a new hop varietal called Delta, which is a Fuggles/Cascade hybrid developed by Hopsteiner (Frankenhop?) In any case, it pours a weak head that easily dissipates. It has a very dark copper color to it and retains little carbonation.

The nose detects a minor scent of plum and little else. But hey, who wants to sit around smelling beer? The initial taste makes one think that they are sucking on a piece of wet rye bread as there it offers minor maltiness with some doughy graininess in the mouthfeel; I could detect no hoppiness. Despite the hue, this beer has a light body.

I give the boys in the lab some credit for trying something different; however, I would suggest that they develop this creation a little further before releasing it into the countryside.

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Photo of rowingbrewer
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at cobblestones during a 100 barrel series debut.

appearance- a nice reddish brown color with a small amount of head

smell- fresh hoppy aroma with slight hints of pine

taste- slightly bitter, not overpowering. but I'm a hophead so don't take my word for it. a little malt character but not much. goes well with the amount of hop

mouthfeel- well rounded smooth all the way aroung

Drinkability- after i had the pint purchased for me by harpoon i had 2 more on myself. says something that i didnt switch beers.

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Photo of feelmefoam
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This looked like an interesting bottle, so I figured I'd give it a go.

Harpoon's Single Hop ESB pours a dark reddish brown color, almost like treebark or a beer-bottle color with mellow red-orange highlights. The beer puts up a little over a finger of cream-colored head that has some pretty nice retention, but not much in the way of lace, which is a little disappointing. Still, a pretty good looking beer on the pour.

This beer is supposedly crafted with only one kind of hop, the Delta. I don't really know how this is supposed to smell, but I can pick out just a bit of fruitiness sitting on top of the caramel malt backbone. Maybe a bit of nuttiness in there too? I don't know what the hops are supposed to smell like, and the beer doesn't smell bad, it just isn't a typical ESB aroma.

The flavor isn't too bad. The bottle does describe the flavor of the Delta hops, and I can definitely pick out their earthy fruitiness coming in towards the end of each swig. Up front is some more caramel malt and again just a hint of nuttiness. This isn't bitter in the least, and the hops give an interesting flavor to the beer.

The mouthfeel boasts a body that's a notch below medium with moderate carbonation and a fairly crisp, slightly dry finish.

Overall, this reminds me of a fall beer. It may not be the normal take on an ESB, what with the fruity/earthy aspect that comes in on top of the already semi-sweet caramel malt, but it's pretty good, and the bomber's going pretty quickly.
Don't know if you want to pick it up for $6 a bomber, but if the price is right it's not a bad take on the style.

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Photo of Fnord
3.97/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Transluscent orange-amber with a medium-sized off-white head.

Smell - Chocolate, molasses, grass, pine, and alcohol.

Taste - A prominent malt backbone precedes the hoppy, slightly bitter finish. The malts are balanced between sweet and dry and have a bready note that wasn't apparent in the smell.

Mouthfeel - Medium body and carbonation. The hops do a great job of drying out the roof of my mouth.

Notes - This is very balanced, a true ESB, not one of the hop-dominated American interpretations. The Delta hops mesh well with the British malts. I wonder why Delta hops aren't showcased in more beers. I recommend you try this beer before it disappears for good.

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Photo of DrewKid4
3.52/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served from a 22 oz bomber bottle:

A: Pours copper with moderate off white head.

S: Earthy and roasted malt.

T: A bit overwhelming malt taste before a disappointing low amount of bitter hop finish

M: Crisp

D: Its a drinkable brew but based off of the style I would say there are numerously better ESBs available.

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Photo of micromaniac129
3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours with an average head, tan and dense. Deep copper in color low carbo's
Some earthy hop tones and toasted malts.
Taste of hops and malts. Hops are earthy and a bit floral with malt being slightly sweet and toasted.
Balance tasting with no one taste component overpowering the other.
I myself like bitters. I have no problem driving up to the Ships inn in Milford for a growler of their cask conditioned best bitter. And sense ESB's are like the next step up I think this is a pretty good beer.
Drink well my friends

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Photo of MoreThanWine
3/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a 1" head which dissipated to 1/8". Hazy tea brown in color. Bouquet and taste remind me of any of the weaker IPAs. Certainly nothing bad or undrinkable about this beer, but yet there's nothing to stand up and shout about either. Considering this is a limited edition special brew I find that to be kind of disappointing. Bottle reports "Hoped entirely with Delta - a new American hop varietal - this Extra Special Bitter has a unique earthy/fruity hop taste and a rich malt body." - OK. Kind of cool, but if I were drinking Harpoon IPA one night and someone refilled my glass with this brew I'm not sure I'd even notice.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
3.2/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark amber red body, with some haze. Level three finger slightly off white head.

Aroma heavy with sweet caramel along with some juicy fruit.

Big sweet caramel ripples across the tongue. Plenty of cookie as well. Subtle bitterness rises to blunt all the sweetness and do some balancing. Slightly fruity.

Medium mouthfeel. Decent drinkability.

Not really extra special. Okay for draft, not noteworthy enough for $6.49/bomber.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.11/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a two finger off-white head that fades slowly leaving some lace. Crystal clear amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Slight piney hop nose. Flavor is piney hops and hints of caramel, lingering light bitter finish. $5.19 for a 22oz bottle from Beverage Warehouse Winooski, VT.

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Photo of zeff80
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, copper color with a one-finger, off-white head of foam. It left little to no lacing.

S - It smelled toasty with a mild floral hop aroma.

T - A nice, sweet maltiness comes to the forefront with a grassy bitterness from the hops. It leans toward the sweet side of the ESB spectrum.

M - It was crisp and sharp. A light to medium bodied ale with a slightly sticky finish.

D - All in all, this is a nice ESB. I think the single hop idea for an ESB could use some work, though.

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Harpoon 100 Barrel Series #31 - Single Hop ESB from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
3.67 out of 5 based on 140 ratings.
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