Harpoon Black IPA | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

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Harpoon Black IPAHarpoon Black IPA

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

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Harpoon brewer Matt DeLuca took over the brewhouse for our 40th 100 Barrel Series offering. A newly released specialty malt from Briess called Midnight Wheat gives this beer an almost stout-like appearance without the overly roasty attributes often associated with traditional dark malts. Flaked barley is also used in the malt bill for head retention. An intense yet diverse hop addition schedule is executed during the boil that results in a well balanced offering.

On top of the Chinook, Simcoe, Cascade, and Citra hops is an ample addition of Ahtanum hops that provides a fruity aroma to complement the earthy, spicy bitterness of this dark ale.

67 IBU

Added by Jason on 01-09-2012

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Reviews: 76 | Ratings: 326
Photo of Sammy
3.82/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A head of mold spore look on a black body. Subdued aromas, both the roast and the hop. Lacey. Big roast flavour (some ash sediment) with a citrus hop finish, odd but interesting that they used a German hop.Thanks for bringing John. Average for the style.

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Photo of metter98
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is black when viewed from afar; upon closer inspection when held up to a bright light the bottom of the glass is clear dark red in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a half finger high light than head that died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles on the surface, a thick collar around the edge, and lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of roasted malts are present in the nose along with notes of piney hops and hints of black licorice.
T: The taste follows the smell, having flavors of roasted malts, piney hops, and licorice along with hints of earthy yeast and a moderate amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. The piney hops leave your mouth tingling in the finish.
O: This an interesting Black IPA that is relatively easy to drink. I particularly liked the combination of the black licorice and piney flavors.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, best by 5/15/2012. Pours crystal clear very dark brown color with a 2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Some decent lacing on the glass. Aromas of big grapefruit, orange, pine, herbal, citrus rind, roasted malt, biscuit, toast, and earthy spiciness. Very nice and well balanced aromas with good strength. Taste of big grapefruit, pine, orange, herbal, floral, grass, dark roasted malt, char, citrus rind, chocolate, and earthy spiciness. Fair amount of spicy bitterness on the the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, pine, toast, grass, roasted malt, chocolate, char, and earthy spices on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance of roasted malt with hop flavors. Medium carbonation and body; with a fairly creamy and crisp mouthfeel. Alcohol is very well hidden with hardly any warming noticed on the finish. Overall this is a really nice and quite robust Black IPA. Nice balance of citrus and piny hop flavors; with a very nice and prominent roasted malt backbone. Really well done, and very enjoyable.

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Photo of oberon
3.43/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into an imperial pint glass a deep dark chocolate brown color a nice tight one finger beige colored head atop that lasted in a pillow state for quite awhile.Piney hops stood nicely over top of roast and unsweetened chocolate malt notes,the flavors don't really pack any op punch honestly to me it's like a earthy porter with its light bitter chocolate and raw earthy finish,it lacks really any hop character.The beer started out promising but the lack of hop depth on the palate really brought the score down for me,it's not true to style flavor wise.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap 2/17/2012 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI served in a US tumbler pint glass.

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

S: The aroma contains grassy hops, roasted malts, some chocolate and citrus.

T: The taste starts out with a bitter bite of dark chocolate and piney hops. Then a hearty roasted malt comes in. There are background flavors of chocolate and citrus creating a decent balance. The after-taste is bitter-sweet.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry but slightly sticky.

O: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, good kick, decent representation of style, this is a solid beer but there are better options in the style.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.61/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

16 ounce pint - $6.75 at Taco Mac in Canton, Georgia.

Appearance: Nearly black, there's some ruby tints at the edges and capped by nearly an inch of ivory-hued foam.

Smell: Resiny pine notes with some generic roastiness but completely lacking any inviting, ingratiating hop or malt complexities.

Taste: Roasty gas station coffee with a fast flash of bitter chocolate enveloped into char. Nearly nil sweetness. Resinous pine sap with a modest underpinning of citrus. Moderate bitterness. Dry, bitter, resiny finish with a sliver of alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Overall: I'm not too pleased with this one. It's fairly one-note and weak in the malt and hop department, making for a beer that's actually less than the some of its part.

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Photo of smcolw
3.81/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Taste at the Harpoon Brewery in Boston.

Dark brown, nearly black where no light shines through. Small, but lasting head. Ample lace.

Elements of darker porters start the aroma. Not burnt, more dark chocolate. Little hop.

Less bitter than most IPAs, but that may be from the stronger roasted malts. Full bodied with an above average carbonation level. Overall, less IPA and more deeply roasted Porter.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.86/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

i enjoyed this a few times so I figured I would take some notes on the last bottle, enjoyed chilled from the 12oz into a cervoise.

The color is the darkest brown approaching black and opaque in the middle of the vessel with thick medium tan cream with average sized bead and good retention/lace. The smell is a heavy dose of pine hop esters with an accent of grapefruity aroma with mild toffee note from the malt. The feel is good with a bit of bitter and acidic hop influence up front with mild astringency from dark grain and moderate carbonation with slight roast texture and mild warming of alcohol.

This hop taste is familiar but not quite sharp with some citrus and tropcical fruit with mostly pine taste in the first sips with some caramel in the malt coming through after the swallow and light tannic roasted almost char taste in the malt giving an acrid flavor in the finish with subtle alcohol influence. Overall a not bad example, a decent ale and has enough hop flavor to accept the bitter roasted taste, pretty drinkable in general.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.14/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Nice dark cola body. Bone-white head has nice retention and great lace.

S - Strange nose of brown sugar, damp herbal twang, mineral, and a touch of toffee.

T - Dry herbal char, thyme, bitter earthy hop.

M - Light to style. Sub-par carbonation.

O - Nice roast character and an interesting bitterness. The profile isn't common, but not necessarily complex.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Look I always do my best to track down new offerings from Harpoon, it's one of those larger regional microbreweries with multiple locations in New England. However, I find that they tend to nail a lot of styles pretty well.

Their jumpin' on one of the trends of 2013 the Cascadian Dark Ale/Black IPA in this case it pours almost pitch black in my glass with some ruby highlights when held toward the light. A nice thick khaki tan head forms thick and forms a great rocky texture with sporadic lacing on the sides of the glass.

Aroma contains a nice mix of citrus based hops, earthy/dank, mild pine hops multiple varieties listed in the description, dark roasts are mild, hints of dark chocolate not much perceived sweetness.

Flavors dark roasted malts actually blend nicely here with the dank hop components, hints of orange citrus, dark bitter chocolate, herbal/earthy/pine hop flavors at times loose the cohesion with the dark roasted malt bill.

Mouthfeel medium bodied slick mouthfeel, bitter dry finish, yet maintains that smooth crisp drinkability found in most of the Harpoon offerings. Overall nothing incredibly mind blowing but definitely a well made version of an often times poor style from most of the major brewers versions I've tried in the last year.

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Photo of stakem
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Slatetank for gifting me with a bottle of this. 12oz into a pint, the brew appears dark brown to black in color with clarity seen around the edges. A tan finger of big bubble composition fades leaving small patches of lace sticking to the glass.

The aroma includes notes of fruity alcohol and hops at first. Then a bit of roast and maple-like sweetness. It is somewhat floral in the way the hops and alcohol blend together. Not bad, as stated, it blends together nicely unlike others in the style that seem strange and disjointed.

The flavor is bitter from a 1-2 punch of hops and roasted grain. Some bitter chocolate/coffee blends into an herbal to pine-like resiny bitterness that clings. Some earth and hints of maple/caramel along with floral notes towards the finish.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. A nice black ipa that I would drink again and im not the biggest fan of this style. Well done, worth trying. Thanks again Matt.

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Photo of tdm168
4.18/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - blackish brown with reddish edges; soft, brownish head that fades quickly

S - roasted malts, pine, citrus, chocolate

T - huge, intensely piny hops dominate that front end; smooth chocolate and roasted malts follow through to the end; intensely bitter; some faint citrus and sweetness throughout

M - medium bodied, well carbonated

This is a really nice black IPA. It has an amazingly forward hop character that should please any hop head. It also has a nice, well rounded malt character that balances nicely. It's also a very easy to drink beer that refreshes. It's definitely worth a try.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Thanks for the extra ToasterChef! Best by May 15th 2012 we are off!

Out of the bottle the head forms quite evenly. Strange color to the top, sort of a dirty light tan tobacco brown? Foamy in character. Body color is a classic dark walnut brown, to dark to see through, although a little light on the edges shows some ruby red. Pretty nice overall.

Nose has a mild mix of hop and milk chocolate. Pleasant, but very subtle, a little bit of dirt but not much.

Palate hits with a good punch, finishing with mild carbon char and porter like richness. A bit of spicy citrus grapefruit on the finish hits and melds nicely with the malts. Faint chocolate, almost arid and powdery, mixing in with hop bitter. Feel has some silky character to it slightly.

Overall quite enjoyable. Could have this again no problem.

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Photo of Billolick
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Typical Harpoon 100 BS bomber bottle.

Pours pretty much black, larger then average and lasting darker tan head, leavesa thick collar, ample low sheeting and bits and bars of sticking lace.

Earthy, grassy hopped up nose

Pleasant black ale, with hops some what on the tame side for an IPA. Tastes more like a slightly hoppy stout, with minor roasty character.

Finish is where the hops start to come into their own, however in a subtle and reserved fashion.

$6.99 for the bomber makes this a decent value.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tumbler pint, the beer is black, with ruby highlights when held up to light. A thick, frothy, foamy, one inch head that is off-white and big bubbled. The head clings all over the glass as you move the beer around a bit. Aromas are rich cedar and pine, with a slight roasting and a decent resiny presence. The beer's flavors are dry, with a hoppy blast of pine tree and earthy notes, as well as a steady tang of citrus throughout. The beer has a roasting character throughout it, and that transitions directly into the aftertaste, along with an earthy and grainy profile. The finish is quick, with only a slight linger to it. A bit astringent at the end from the hops, cleaning the palate. Good beer.

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Photo of liamt07
3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

650ml bottle shared by johnsense on RB, cheers! Into a tulip.

Black body with some reddish brown hues. Beige head, good lace and a film of retention. Nose has tropical fruits, orange, a bit soapy and some darker malt notes. Taste is really roasty, dark malts, burnt bread, bitter hopping in the form of pine and some mild citrus. Roast dominates. Medium feel, medium high carbonation. A really roasty American Black Ale, hops are lost in the mix.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.48/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Harpoon Black IPA (100 Barrel Series)

Pours a dark brown bordering black color, off white, khaki colored head and solid lacing. Aroma of roasted malt, citrusy, floral hops and pine. In the flavor, pine, grapefruit, roasted malts, coffee, chocolate and a small anise note. Mild alcohol flavor, strong bitterness. Medium bodied feel with a low carbonation, loose and creamy. Overall, a pretty decent brew, went down smooth and quickly, not too shabby.

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Photo of biegaman
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black IPA - or American Black Ale - is not the most creative name for the style but it is fairly accurate. A discriminating eye might point out the hazelnut highlights and transparency at the fringes, but a standard drinker would be content to call this black. As for head, the name says nothing about it, and this one has little of it anyhow.

Mocha, the front garden and the forest floor combine for a bouquet that has an almost mushroom-like complexity: earthy and nutty all at once. The roast, though mild, perspires coffee-like notes now and again, while the hops (which are generous) have a dry, pithy bitterness and smell of resinous pine and bark. It's a beer hard not to like immediately.

The label lists all the stats (alc/vol 7.0%, ibu 67, og 18) but Black IPA has a deliciousness that can't be encapsulated by numbers. Underlying notes of coffee are enlivened by brimming candied citrus and forest floor flavors. Each sip feels like it contains fragments of flower petals. It's very lively and effervescent, despite the roast of dark-ish malts.

As this beer showcases, Ahtanum is a fairly well rounded hop. It is largely citrusy, with the standard spotlight of grapefruit and lemon, but it is also notably earthy and floral. It also has a distinctive piney quality that is well suited to dark and crystal malts. The nuttiness combines with the earthiness to give it a complex, mushroom-like character.

Either I've come across a really good bottle or Harpoon just hasn't been given enough props for their Black IPA, because I wouldn't hesitate to call this a damn fine beer. Sure there are stronger examples that exist out there, but we could also say that about 99% of all beers. This is one of the 100 Barrel Series beers I'd suggest brewing again.

No Harpoon product I've had belonged in a higher class than the average beer drinker's table, but Black IPA is a very strong example of its style and certainly warrants as much respect as many of those higher rated than it. I would have been very upset if this bomber were only 12 ounces and even after 22 ounces I would have enjoyed a little more.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.92/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From a found 100 Barrel Series bottle from 2012. Sampled on February 16, 2014.

This was stashed away on a dusty shelf at a small town convenience store with a bunch of other outdated or damaged beers. So I picked it up.

The pour is dark brown with a tremendous, foamy, lacing clinging tan head. Reddish hues glisten all along the side of the glass.

The aroma has a dark roasted barley malt, black licorice, acetaldehydic character. Hops are muted but the ones I get are earthy in nature. The weak hop character could be due to the age of the bottle.

The body is medium with a smooth texture.

The taste is also malty, slightly sweet and more more modestly bitter with a lingering finish. I think this aged well considering it was probably not meant to be aged.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a three finger tan head that fades very slowly leaving a good lace. Black color, no highlights. Light carbonation and medium-heavy bodied. Grapefruit and grass nose, flavor is grapefruit, some malt. You notice the 67 IBUs at the finish. $5.99 for a 22oz bottle from Concord Coop Concord, NH.

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Photo of avalon07
2.89/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a cloudy consistency. There was a huge, off white, long-lasting head. Very good lacing.

S: A severely muted aroma of hops, coffee and malt.

T: Tasted of some hops (not enough in my opinion), a bit of malt, and some coffee. Flavor is extremely unbalanced and fairly bland, with an acrid quality to it.

M: A good amount of carbonation, but the acrid quality is especially noticeable in the finish. Medium-bodied.

O: This is not one of the better examples of an ABA. It does not have nearly the power or complexity of other beers of the style.

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Photo of tigg924
3.38/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had on tap at New World Tavern, Plymouth

Appearance: 1 inch head, dark brown in color, clear, moderate carbonation

Smell: charred malt and citrus hops

Taste: big chocolate and light citrus hops at the end

Mouthfeel: medium-high carbonation, light body, sweet with a slightly bitter end

Overall: This one is ok to good, but definitely finished behind Uinta in my Black Ale night. I would pick this up again as it is enjoyable, but there are others in the style I would choose first.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.41/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle purchased as a single from Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint, formed a 1/2" tan head over the clear reddish brown brew. Head dwindles slowly, with lasting sticky lacing. Aroma is minimal, balanced.

Taste is dark malts to start, moderate citrus in the middle, and comes on pine bitterness galore through to the close. Mouthfeel is pretty smooth, and drinkability is okay as well. Seems somewhat scattered, like a Black IPA with ADD, almost no aroma, then hops everywhere in my mouth? Wish it was a bit more consistent.

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Photo of DrJay
3.03/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown with clear, ruby highlights and a fluffy light brown cap. Fair head retention with sticky lacing. Powdery citrus, caramel, grassy hops and roast in the aroma. Bitterness was dominated by sweet malts up front (chocolate, toffee, and roast) and never really took charge once they started to fade towards the finish. Citrus and grassy hops mid-palate with a bit of alcohol following. Creamy carbonation with medium plus body, nice texture, slight warmth. Overall, I liked it, but didn't think it was a great example of the style. Hop bitterness was overshadowed by sweetness, which made it more balanced but neutered the beer. It kind of made me think of a slightly hopped up American Brown Ale rather than an IPA of any stripe.

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Photo of Brad007
3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Always nice to see Harpoon tackle this style. It could go anywhere at this point.

Pours a dark brownish-black with a burgundy hue and thick brown head into my glass.

Lightly hopped with a grassy feel. Otherwise, more about the malt than hops.

Sweet with grassy hops. Very chewy. Absolutely no roastiness whatsoever, which works.

Licorice and grassy hops linger at the back of the throat. Again, very basic.

A decent example that I feel is lacking in hoppiness. It's still balanced enough to where you can enjoy it.

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Harpoon Black IPA from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
3.7 out of 5 based on 326 ratings.
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