Harpoon Leviathan - Imperial Rye | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

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Harpoon Leviathan - Imperial RyeHarpoon Leviathan - Imperial Rye

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

Style: Rye Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.90%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Brad007 on 07-18-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 41 | Ratings: 78
Photo of socon67
4.34/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thnaks to CTSparky for bringing this one.

A - Brownish color with red hue. Tan foam circles the glass. Visible carbonation and slight lacing.

S - Smells of earthy spices and peppry rye. Really storng smell that almost could be considered pungent. Smell of caramel malt is present.

T - Flavor is true to the scent; spicy rye taste that has a mild sweetness. Sweet finish of caramel tempers the bite of rye grain. Really yummy for rye beer lovers, which I lately seem to be.

M - Depasite the awesomeness of the flavors I found it a bit heavy-handed and not easily able to have more than one glass. The robustness made this a tough beer to balance. Harpoon kept it in a tolerable range. Rich rye beer she is!

O - A must have for rye lovers. Went great with italian food. A good beer to pair with pizza or pasta.

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Photo of maximum12
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to mnbearsfan for shoving this into my hands while standing in line at a recent release & muttering "I know you like rye...". Beer people is good people. 12 oz. bottle with no evident dating.

Pour is old-car rust with a healthy dose of carbonation. Nose is tame, with slights of rye, earth, sweets.

Leviathan Imperial Rye speaks quietly & carries a big rye. Spicy rye flays the palate, backed up by a gut-punch of bitter hops - the one-two is just beautiful. Gentle floral taste wafts through the mouth after it's been pleasantly brutalized, along with a spoonful of caramel, sweetness. Great body on this one, I'm slugging it like I'm in a Mountain Dew commercial.

Have to admit I haven't been much of a Harpoon fan, but between this & Rich & Dan's Rye IPA, well, they know how to make a fine rye beer. This is absolutely, whump-me-in-the-ass excellent. I'll take one of these any time.

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Photo of chinchill
3.45/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Undated bottle served at about recommended temperature (40F) in a Unibroue snifter. Some sediment at bottom of bottle added mid-taste.

Appearance: Copper-amber color with a light haze; Nice looking light brown head is rather short-lived but leaves some sticky lacing.

Smell: Rye and other malts with a good bit of aroma like that of red wine? (better than this may sound). A bit of yeasty/bread aroma. Hint of high ABV (becomes more obvious with warming) and earthy hops.

Taste: Spicy; with good balance of sweet and bitter, and a little tartness. Has a fruity, fermented grape trait. Some grapefruit bitter in the finish and aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Near medium body seems a tad watery; medium-light carbonation; Some alcohol warming and tongue bite. Slightly dry finish.

Overall: Complex and interesting, if not terribly appealing. An unusual rye, for sure. Worth a try.

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Photo of haazer
3.55/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Supposedly this was aged in Cabernet barrels? Had at the Harpoon event at Graces for PBW.

A - A dark, turbid maroon colored brew. A bit of lace left in the glass but not much.

S - A bit of Cabernet aroma, a good bit of rye and sticky caramel
Malt blend into this beast. The hops are there but subdued by the time in the barrel.

T - Heavy on the rye. The brew then rolls into a definite Cabernet flavor. There is caramel sweetness, and a bitterness rounds out the flavor. The booze is detectable on the backend. Aftertaste is very oaky.

M - This is a full bodied, medium carbonated brew. There's a sap like stickiness in the mouthfeel that leaves me smacking a lot.

O - I enjoyed this. The Cabernet added a nice touch, and mixed with the rye fairly well. The hops take a backseat at this point due to aging. Would definitely have again.

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Photo of DIM
3.82/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: This was a slightly hazy peachy amber color. It poured with a small head.

s: Toffee, some picy rye, and leafy hops.

t: Sweet toffee quickly muted by a nice rye bite and big, lefy bitterness at the end.

m: Big body; chewy.

o: Very nice beer, the hops and rye play off of each other very well.

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Photo of claspada
3.86/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From last summer's release I believe.

Pours a hazy dark red/borderline amber colored ale with glorious bright ruby highlights when held to the light. Khaki soapy/bubbly head which leaves a lot of sticky lacing, presumably from the intense amount of rye (adjuncts like oats, rye and wheat leave more head than barley typically).

Aromas begin with fruity citrus and floral hops. Once I get past the greenery I get some caramelized maltiness and light spicy rye. I am surprised I get more caramel and even pale toasty maltiness over the rye considering this is an Imperial Rye. Rye emerges more as it warms, however alleviating my initial worries, but I still honestly expected more.

The tastes begin with modestly bready and toasty maltiness balanced by decent rye graininess, though not particularly spicy or flavorful, as was the case with the aroma. Mild bite of dry caramel as well. The rye malt lingers a little on the palate and into the finish which adds a little dryness. Indiscernible hop flavors, moderately bitter.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation. Finish is lightly dry with mild amount of hops and rye in the finish but really not overwhelming or as much as I would like for the style. Not much alcohol is detectable at this point which is nice, so I am glad I waited 9+ months to consume.

Overall this is a nice attempt at an Imperial Rye ale but I have to say I prefer my Rye beers to be less ABV heavy if that makes sense. The large malt bill dilutes the quality spice and flavor profile of the rye malt. Too much sweetness, breadiness and light caramel flavors are masking the rye. Not a bad beer but not one I will revisit anytime soon, especially because they aren't making it this year.

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Photo of kawilliams81
4.32/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Half Acre tulip.

A- pours a dark copper with a 2" light tan head. Nices wavy lacing on the glass.

S- spicy rye, candi sugar, citrus.

T- sweet toasted malts and spicy rye. Nice citrus with slight hop bitterness. Definitely malt driven but very nice taste.

M- medium body and carbonation. Nice creaminess and very drinkable at 9%.

O- really liked this beer. Have been disappointed in the few Harpoon beers I have had so glad I gave this a chance. Will pick up more soon.

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Photo of wvsabbath
3.77/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Caramel tan/brown, creamy 1 inch head and some decent sticky lacing.

Smell - Hops, rye, malts, grapefruit, orange, pine, spices, a little farmhouse ale yeasty smell. Pretty nice and srong aroma.

Taste - Starts off very piney and grapefruit bitter, then strong bold rye kicks in. Has a bubblegum sugary feel to it. Spices add some spicy and sweet flavors, almost saision like. Finish is very hoppy and tart.

Mouthfeel - TOunge gets hit hard with hop and rye. Bittered, sweetned and spiced. Palette gets remaining hops, rye and some sugar and spice. Aftertaste is dry, hoppy and slight alcohol warmth.

Overall - Decent, but a little strange mixture of almost west coast piney hops along with the rye. Very different from other ryes out there, and thats good and bad. Dont care for the bubblegum flavor, it feels to artificial and a tad to sweet. Decent beer, worth a try atleast once.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Clear deep amber, well carbonated, one finger head that leaves behind near perfect lacing.

S-Rye spiceness followed by some earthy hops.

T-Starts with rye, one of the more rye forward beers I've had, some spices end with some bitterness.

M-Medium bodied but less carbonation than the appearance suggested.

O-Not as good as the SN Ruthless Rye but another solid rye beer.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.15/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap 12/11/2011 at Doherty’s East Ave Irish Pub, in Pawtucket, RI served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep reddish brown color with a large foamy off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a very thick on the glass.

S: The aroma contains fruity citrus, caramelized malts and floral hops.

T: The taste starts out with sweet flavors of citrus and caramel followed by a strong rye spiciness. The malt character is hearty. The hops presence is strong but subdues and provides a good balance. The after-taste is slightly bready and slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, this is a nice flavorful strong beer to drink for a while.

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Photo of plehnus
3.92/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma: Bready, caramel and sweet malts that are followed by pepper and other spices. Piney, herbal, and citrus hops. Rye malt scent emerges last.

Appearance: Copper slight hazy body with a thin cream colored head.

Flavor: Spiciness and slight bitterness. Fruity esters. Pepper.

Mouthfeel: Medium-heavy body. Smooth and a little boozy with a long, mild, and warm finish.

Overall: Lots of aroma and a good spice malt balance. Complex and strong but very drinkable; especially as the beer warms. It is actually quite smooth and mild.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a clear copper color ale with a nice huge foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of rye malt with light spicy notes and some warming alcohol is well balance and enjoyable. Taste is not the most complex but is quite enjoyable with good notes of rye malt with light sweetness and a spicy finish. Body is about average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol though some warming notes can be felt. Simple and very much enjoyable.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amber to orange-ish color with a tan head. In the aroma, dry fruitiness, especially apples. In the taste, dry rye, fruity, apples and spice. A small bite and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry fruitiness and small alcohol in the aftertaste. Nice rye and fruit presence, a bit boozy in the end and in the aftertaste.

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Photo of smcolw
3.52/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Modest head that settles to only a ring of bubbles. Nearly no lace--just some spots near the liquid line. Darker amber with a chill haze.

Earthy and semi-sweet caramel aroma. Light rye smell. Smells closer to a Barley Wine.

Flavor matches the smell profile with a touch of hop. Overall, this runs on the sweet side, which covers the alcohol until the swallow. Light warming aftertaste. Very rich body but it also has an above average level of carbonation. Borderline extreme with little rye to show for it.

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Photo of rudzud
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks tou jlindros for sharing. What this was, apparhently, was a growler of this beer that had come from a cask.

A - Poured into a pint glass a deep chocolate hue with a one finger mocha head that leaves nice side lacing and a good foamy blanket.

S - Very rich and robust malts with nice rich coffee and chocolate notes.

T - More of the same, just with a bit more chocolate flavour than there was on the nose. Very tasty.

M - Creamy, roasty malts on the tongue with a nice bitter finish.

O - This was a very tasty beer with a nice appearance and good rich, creamy texture and flavours.

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Photo of jlindros
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice creamy head, very dark molasses brown color.

Nose dirty brown malts, earthy, creamy caramel, light roast and toasty malts, light spicy rye, hint of booze, some molasses.

Taste dark malts, molasses, sweet malts, caramel, touch of roast and chocolate, light rye, creamy malts, sweet and a bit bitter, hint of booze.

Mouth is med to heavier bodied, dec carb, bit of warming booze.

Overall nice, dark malts, molasses, a bit of rye although it could have used more IMO, touch of warming booze without the esters i was expecting.

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Photo of jzeilinger
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1-5-12 - Update to previous review:

A - Pours a deep copper, amber red color that's crystal clear with gentle carbonation and a creamy, yet thin off white lacing ring around the top of the glass.

S - Predominantly rye and warm toasted caramel malt. I haven't encountered a Leviathan Series beer that hasn't had some moderate to strong alcohol/booze character and the Imperial Rye keeps that spirit alive. The smell is moderate to weak.

T - Mimics the nose...light rye, warm toasted caramel malt, and an aggressive grapefruit bite at the very end that lingers for a long time. What I didn't get in the nose was the floral aspect which is coming through lightly on the tongue.

M - Dry finish (it literally sucks the spit off your tongue), light carbonation on the tongue, medium body, and, especially on the first few sips, a warming alcohol presence on the way down.

O - I really enjoy the Imperial IPA the most in the Leviathan Series and the first time I tried this particular Leviathan, I didn't particularly care for it (which was last year). Whether my palette changed or I previously had a bad bottle, it's really speaking to me this time around. This is a beer I would definitely buy more of and I have a feeling it might be fun to age a few bottles to see how it changes over time. This particular review has been updated since my previous entry in 2011.

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Photo of BigPlay1824
3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed in a mug

A: pours a nice medium amber color that is quite hazy with a two finger head that is quite frothy and lingers nicely, leaves
S: not much in the way of a scent, slight sweetness and slight smoked woody/whiskey notes
T: alcohol and slightly smoked woody flavors in the beginning then moves into a slight sweetness and finnishes with a bit of silkiness
M: mild alcohol burn and medium carbonation tingle in the beginning, then moves into a nice smoothness in the middle and finishes with with just a whisper of whiskey
O: a bit of an angry rye, smooth in the end but aggressive in the beginning, could have one or two but prolly wouldn't buy their four pack

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.77/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Single finger head with some decent lace. Brownish amber and murky.

S: Mostly dig, caramel malt and a very light hint of dark fruit.

T: Initially there is caramel malt, molasses with some fig and nut notes which transitions to a more boozy flavor with some chocolate notes. Hops werent a big player for me.

M: medium to full body and moderate to high carbonation.

Overall: Too boozy in the finish. Otherwise a nice complex imperial rye.

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Photo of rajendra82
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The rust colored body was clear, and the head was one finger thick, and foamy. The aroma was honeyed and spicy, which I suppose was the result of the malted rye use. There was a lot of up front sweetness in the taste, with very caramelized tone mid palette. The finish was spicy, but nowhere near what it should be for a rye based beer. There was a citric hop presence, but not quite at the level one finds in IPAs. The finish was dry and on the lean side. The rye character in this beer was a bit too subdued for this to truly shine.

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Photo of Duhast500
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Sam Adams Summer Ale stange.

The color is a somewhat hazy orange amber with a slight finger of foamy off-white head and some slight lacing left on the glass.

The smell has a nice smooth rye aroma with a slight grassy aroma. The is a candy like sweetness in the background that is teases the senses.

The taste is sweet at first, there is a lead weight that is the rye dropping down onto the taste buds and then settling back as some malty flavor comes out. There is a bit of dry pear with some brown sugar and some grainy bread like flavor.

The feel of this beer is pretty easy drinking but does give you a notice of the larger ABV as the end bites with a nice alcohal flavor at the very end. This is bigger then an average beer and is pretty complex.

This beer makes me want to have a sandwich with some turkey, Swiss cheese, and some horseradish mustard and a piece of lettuce and tomato.

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Photo of Wamesit
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a deep copper with a thick tan head that gives way to serious lacing.

S - Caramel malts, grains, and alcohol.

T - Rich caramel malts are the base with a strong oily hops presence throughout. Due to high ABV % there is a warm booziness to the beer that is very welcoming and enjoyable.

M - Medium, lively.

O - A great double rye. Strong and balanced.

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Photo of soulfly1492
4.13/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Aroma: Floral hops, grains, rye, alcohol, some darker malts, a bit roasty.

Appearance: Brown with a slight red tint. Short tan head that dissipates rather quickly but leaves a thin layer of foam. Lots of lacing.

Flavor: Floral hops, rye, alcohol, caramel. I don't see any residue at the bottom of the bottle, but it tastes as if it was lightly bottle conditioned.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Oily. Has a dry taste from the piney hops, but it doesn't physically dry out the tongue. Very little carbonation.

Overall: Sweet malts, rye, and floral hops. No harshness. Perfect mouthfeel.

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Photo of oberon
3.91/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a rich bronze with a one finger fluffy slightly off white head atop,the head never really settled,a frothy 1/2 finger mass was there thru the duration of the glass.Sweet alcohol and some of that spicy rye in the nose,a smattering of herbal hops comes into play as well.Alcohol and sharp rye dominate the palate wich it probably should with the alcohol in this beer,the spice and hops provide spice and citric flavors and the alcohol and malt base give off sweetness.Its a solid rye ale,the rye and hops play well against the big alcohol and malty sweetness.

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Photo of david18
3.45/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I recently had a twelve ounce draft of this at my local bar. I like many of the Leviathan beers. Don't love any of them but I like them all. This one was another I enjoyed.

Appearance is a light copper, pretty clear for the style and a nice amount of carbonation.

Aroma was a good combination of rye, malt and hops. Very inviting and pretty much what they intended, I imagine.

Flavor was good. Some bitterness from the hops as well as some spiciness from the rye. A little hot on the alcohol but generally pretty well balanced.

I've had a number of these and will continue to enjoy them as long as they're available.

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Harpoon Leviathan - Imperial Rye from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
3.88 out of 5 based on 78 ratings.
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