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 PDXHops
2.14/5  rDev -42.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Bomber poured into a Maudite snifter. A smallish tan head tops the deep brown body, but it's fairly tenacious and isn't shy with the lace.

Pretty tame nose for a CDA, chocolate roast with earthy undertones. A punch of earthy hop flavor somewhat ups the 'oomph' factor, but the limp finish and bland malt profile fall flat. On the positive side, there's a hefty dose of bitterness. A blast of bitterness without any other flavors really being fleshed out any other fully developed flavors doesn't have much appeal, though. I love the CDA style, but this particular example misses the mark.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
2.77/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Dark brown brew (close to porter shade) with a big head and a fair bit of lacing.

S - A bit of lemon pith, pepper and a medicinal smell.

T - Very little malt presence, almost watery tasting. There is a bit of faint citrus pith and very faint molasses. Very quickly a medicinal bitterness enters that lingers into the aftertaste. It isn't horribly unpleasant, but it isn't great.

M - Smooth, thin, a little refreshing.

D - It isn't bad. It isn't terribly good though.

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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 EtOHMD
3.63/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into pint glass

A: Pitch black for the most part with thin tan head.

S: Pine, grassy, floral, mildly smoky.

T: Roasted, chocolate, coffee, pine

M: Thin, mild carbonation, dry, some sips warmng at the end.

O: Easily drinkable. Good but not great black IPA. Smells and tastes really seem to change from sip to sip with some complex and some very plain - not sure why - would have rated higher if more consistent

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Photo of hosehead83
3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a smart-looking "bomber" bottle into a wine goblet.
Pitch black in appearance, with a nice thick head of tan foam.
Aroma-Faint coffee and chocolate, spicy, grassy hop note
Taste-Medium roast coffee, chocolate, some citrussy hops thrash about. Nothing super-complex here, but a pretty tasty offering that would pair well with some grilled fajitas or a thick cheesburger.

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Photo of yesyouam
4.53/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Harpoon Black IPA is a very dim reddish brown, almost black beer with a lumpy beige foam on top. The retention and lacing are outstanding. It has a bold, fresh aroma of pine and grapefruit with a hint of sweetness. It has a very smooth medium body with a slightly astringent finish. It's well balanced with nice grapefruit peel and pine resin bitterness along with roasted astringency and smooth, mellow, caramelly malt. It's tasty and very easy to drink.

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Photo of threeviews
4.2/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle (Best By May 15, 2012) into a 13.5oz Libbey tulip glass.

A- An aggressive pour yields an almost-black exilir (light can make its way through if tilted in the light) with a full 3 finger creamy, beige/light brown head

S- Constantly changing...at times bitter and sweet citrus, hints of flowers, spice and chocolate all come and go. As the brew warms and head dissipates, the aroma seems to get more intense with orange citrus and chocolate blending together to create a delicious aroma.

T- As the label suggests a spicy, bittersweet chocolate at the front of the tongue and finishes with a pleasant (white grapefruit) citrus bitterness on the back of the palate. As it warms a piney resin flavor makes its entrance. Much of the 70 IBU's are contributing to the brews hop flavor rather than the finish (i.e. bittering hops).

O- Based on previous reviews, I am pleasantly suprised and think this brew is deserving of higher scores. However, Harpoon 100 Barrel Series Black IPA is complex and not as immediate and some others in the style and takes a bit of time to get acquainted. Regardless, this remains a really good example of the style both in profile and drinkability...I only wish I could have sampled this sooner.

Harpoon...please brew this one again!

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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 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 david18
3.08/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I had a few of these when they were on draft at my local pub. There has been a lot of talk about this style and is one I have a little bit of a problem with. I liked this one ok but I think that the roast fights with the hops a little.

Color was dark with a very dark and prominent head. The carbonation stuck around for a while and even left a little bit of lacing.

Aroma was not hoppy enough for me. Some hops, some roast but in general not enough of anything.

Flavor, like the aroma, was not enough of anything. There is some roastiness but not enough bitterness.

A beer worth trying but not my favorite.

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Photo of mttaylor1066
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a lightly hopped IPA with a dark coffee look and taste.

This seemed a little flat-tasting for an IPA, even for a black IPA. Perhaps it is the hops the brewer chose. I drank this 6 weeks before the expiration date stamped on the neck.

Overall, it is a pleasant ale and worth drinking. But it is no "knock your socks off" representative of a new style.

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Photo of DavidST
4.2/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass, best before 5/15/12. This pours a light black color with a little red hues around the edges, along with a nice tan colored head which quickly dissipates. The smells are full of pine hops along with dark roasted malts. The feel is medium and full of bitter hop resin. The taste is pretty good, it follows the more stout ipa hybrid of this style, the hop presence is there full of that bitterness along with a nice roasted malt bitterness for extra goodness. Love it.

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Photo of troysoy2
3.8/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle, picked up at the brewery.

Two fingers of bubbly, tan head sit over a black body, with just the slightest bit of deep rust color shining through. Decent retention, but the lacing pretty much ended halfway through.

The smell is of very floral, almost fruity hops, with caramel.

Not bad, and reminds me a bit of the Leviathan Imperial IPA in its hop profile, although more balanced out by some dark, burnt malt. Citrusy and fruity, with an almost berry flavor hiding in there. Sweet, with some caramel. Mildly dry on the finish. A hint of alcohol heat peaks through. Pretty tasty, but I'd like to see some of the flavors brought out a bit more. The mouthfeel is a tad on the lighter side, but nicely carbonated. Not too prickly, but not quite creamy either.

Overall, I'm happy to have grabbed a bottle of this during my visit. A very drinkable, uniquely hopped take on the style.

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Photo of jaasen64
3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16oz serving on-tap at Harpoon's St. Patrick's day festival

A- Dark black, very slightly translucent. A little over a finger of off-white head that had a very slight yellowish hinge. About average carbonation for a beer. Looked sort of similar to your average Guinness (in terms of head and color) except slightly lighter. Left nice layered lacing around glass while drinking.

S- Not too aromatic. A little bit of hops, slightly sweet, a little bit of malts, etc..

T- Typical IPA taste, but not too hoppy or sweet. Not overly flavorful. A little bit of hops, a little bit of caramel, a little bit of a bitter aftertaste.

M- Medium bodied. Alcohol well hidden and definitely easily drinkable. Very smooth, about average carbonation.

O- I've only had a few black IPAs and this probably ranks around the middle of them. It wasn't overly flavorful, but had a typical Black IPA taste- sort of a not overly hoppy IPA with the sweet characteristic taste similar to other darker beers such as stouts. Definitely could have used a little bit more flavor (preferred if it was a little bit sweeter + maybe a little bit more hops). Not a bad beer (goes down easy), but definitely room for improvement. Would drink again, but probably wouldn't spend the money to buy a bottle.

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Photo of Onenote81
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this one on-tap with lunch today at First Street Draught House. They poured it into curved-pint glass. Dark black with a rich, creamy, tan head on top. Very thick. Leaves lots of spotty lace on the glass. Nose is sharp and hoppy. Lots of pine needles and trail-like scent.

The mouth is creamy as well, but with a crisp carbonation bite at each sip. Wonderful citrus in this one. Bitterness is moderate, but man does it keep me sipping. Mild roasted characteristics, but this is mostly bitter and citrusy-sweet. The "black" in this one, is relegated mainly to the color, rather than the flavor profile. Still, this is one I would have time and again. Good beer.

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Photo of thedoubler55
3.65/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A Dark brown in color, almost black, a nice tan head at the top that goes away very quickly, a slight lacing present.

S: Up front nothing but chocolate and coffee, slight notes of pine.

T: A bitter taste up front, nice notes of chocolate and coffee. Slight hints of honey on the tail end.

M: Full bodied, slight carbonation, goes down smooth, a nice black IPA.

O: A nice pleasant brew, I enjoyed this brew right next to the fire at the stirling hotel in NJ.

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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 Kyrgyzbrewer
3.05/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

C- Dark brown almost the color of molasses. It has a minimal head, but what is there is a dirty white.

A- The nose has a nice grapfruity aroma

MF- Good carbonation

Taste- The front end of the beer starts with a fair amount of hop flavors. It finishes with a bit of malty sweetness.

Overall- This is a fine black ipa. It lacks some of the roasted notes that make an excellent black ipa. In that way, it falls into the category of black ipa’s that are black because of their color and not as much based on flavor. If you gave me this on a blind taste test, I would not necessary think it was a black ipa. That said, I would still consider it to be a perfectly acceptable ipa. In our little mini-tour of black ipa’s over the last 3 weeks, I would consider this one a solid second, which is a fine place to be when one of the other beers is Otter Creek’s black ipa.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.94/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Had this as the 100 Barrel Series #40 in a large format bottle. An underrated black ale. Love the Harpoon Barrel Series labels. Pours opaque black with small lightly tan head. Aroma of both strong bitter pine and some light earthy roasted coffee. Flavor follows complexity in the aroma with hints of roasty malts between the pine hop bite throughout. Full bodied brew with medium carbonation. Relatively easy drinking. Pretty solid.

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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 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 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 depechemode1983
3.67/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours out very dark brown with red hues when held to the light. Head is khaki colored and has excellent retention.

S - Lots of sweet grapefruit in the nose as well as pineapple, orange, and other tropical fruits.

T - Mostly bitter grapefruit. Toasted grains are present along with a molasses sweetness Bitter and toasty.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

O - Just on ok beer. Slightly above average, gotta give it that. Nothing too special though. Worth the try but I doubt I would drop 8 dollars on the bomber again.

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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 micromaniac129
3.8/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a desently tall tan head that lingers quite awhile over a deep chestnut body.
Aroma has a nice hop bouquet of citrus and floral hops. Malts have a robust smell that balances quite well with the hops. The first thing I noticed in the taste was a heavy ash or charcoal taste. The second thing I noticed was the 67 IBU's at the finish. And in between you have the malts and hops. For as well as it smelled, the hops don't come through in the taste. The hops are lacking in flavor and what hops you do taste are muddled. Malts are present and accounted for with a hint of roastedness.
On one had the beer drinks smooth on the other there is a good amount of chalkiness, I assume is from the black patent malts. There is a quite bitter finish.
Not a bad beer, two things though: the heavy ash taste and lack of hop flavor, could use work there.

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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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