Harpoon Imperial Pumpkin | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

BA SCORE
85
very good
289 Ratings
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Harpoon Imperial PumpkinHarpoon Imperial Pumpkin
BEER INFO

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

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BEERMILER12 on 08-16-2013

BEER STATS
Ratings:
289
Reviews:
57
Avg:
3.77
pDev:
14.06%
 
 
Wants:
15
Gots:
52
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 289 |  Reviews: 57
Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of djrn2
3/5  rDev -20.4%

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of metter98
3.89/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a short tan head that quickly died down, leaving wispy lacing on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of pumpkins and pumpkin spices are present in the nose.
T: As in the smell, the taste has lots of flavors of pumpkins and pumpkin spices such as nutmeg along with slight hints of sweetness from the molasses. No alcohol is perceptible.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: If I was blindfolded, I never would have guessed that this beer was opaque black because it tasted like it was a pumpkin ale and not a hybrid between a pumpkin ale and a stout. I also would have never imagined that this beer was 10.5% abv because it manages to hide any traces of alcohol very well.

Serving type: bottle

 857 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.52/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

Acquired at Whole Foods HQ. 22 fl oz brown glass bottle with appealing simple label art and branded pry-off pressure cap served into a pilsner glass in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are high. 10.5% ABV.

Served cold - straight from me fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as I pour.

Pours a half finger wide head of nice rich khaki colour; not as tan or rich as it could be, but it has a soft shiny complexion. Thickness and creaminess are a bit underplayed, but generally pretty good. Retention is poor - maybe 40 seconds at best. No lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a predictable opaque dark black; not quite a solid or jet black - the edges have a cola colour in the glass. Nontransparent/nontranslucent. No yeast particles are visible. I've seen more vibrant imperial stouts, but this one is generally appealing for the style.

Not unique or special, but there are no obvious flaws.

Sm: Pumpkin - mostly a puree, but there's a bit of gourd there. Doesn't come off as artificial as most pumpkin puree beers do. Still, real pumpkin would be preferable. Chocolate malt. Dark malts. Brown sugar. Molasses - I could do without that note. Plenty of evocative yet balanced spices: nutmeg, clove, allspice, cinnamon. I don't find any ginger. I do get some vague almond extract. Not as roasty as I'd like; it has very little roasted barley character at all. Unfortunately, I get a buried nebulous hint of anise/licorice (which I can't stand in a beer, especially when combined with molasses notes).

No hop/yeast character or alcohol is detectable.

Overall, it's an interesting aroma of moderate strength, and suggests that the flavour profile will live up to the pumpkin/imperial stout hybrid premise. I'm looking forward to trying it.

T: Hmph. Right off the first sip I can tell the spices and pumpkin clash somewhat with the dark malt/chocolate malt body. The finish (and most of the third act) is/are entirely too bitter, with troublesome anise/licorice mixing with the bitterness of the dying spices. Molasses lends an unnatural sweetness to the second act. Caramel. All the spices are packed in on the climax and in the third act, making it structurally imbalanced. I get allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. Too much nutmeg. The cinnamon also seems a bit strange, and distracts from the malts. Out-of-place green apple makes an appearance; that was a poor choice. There's an unwelcome baked brown sugar character throughout the beer which I'm none too keen on. The pumpkin itself has less presence than the spices, and isn't evocative; there's no true pumpkin or pumpkin gourd, just a vague puree/extract note that rings artificial (contrary to what the aroma suggested).

It does come off on the sweeter side, definitely. No hop character or yeast character comes through. I do notice an evident alcohol presence, which reduces the drinkability.

Depth of flavour is on the low side of average for the style, as is duration of flavour. Intensity of flavour is average for the style.

The harsh spice presence needs some real toning down. It definitely needs more pumpkin - and real pumpkin. Too sweet as well. It's an interesting stab at a pumpkin beer, but ultimately it's quite a mess. Imbalanced, with little cohesion; certainly not gestalt. Lacks any subtlety whatsoever, but it does attempt to bring the complexity - it just falls short on the execution. I wouldn't call it uninspired, it's just a failed experiment. I wouldn't say I like it per se.

Mf: Smooth and wet - too much so on both counts. Sticky. Overcarbonated. Lightly syrupy. Too thick/viscous. Has an unjustifiably overbearing presence on the palate for its lack of flavour and balance. It crosses the barrier from 'pleasant alcohol warmth' to 'unpleasant heat.' Doesn't suit the flavour profile well. It ought to be more dry and coarse, as well as a bit less thick and more approachable. Unrefreshing. Flawed execution.

Dr: While I'll finish the bottle alone, it's not the most drinkable beer - both due to its relative lack of quality and its troublesome mouthfeel. It's a deeply flawed beer, but I applaud the attempt to merge the concept of a pumpkin beer with the imperial stout style. Unfortunately, Harpoon fell well short of its aims, and we're left with a spice-dominant pumpkin-minimal beer that has none of the best attributes of its two constituent styles and many of the worst. I wouldn't get it again, nor would I recommend it to friends.

If you're going to brew a pumpkin beer, commit. Brew with real pumpkin, put in the time and effort, clean your messy tanks, and deliver. At the end of the day this beer seems like more an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of the pumpkin seasonal than a sincere attempt to satisfy drinkers.

High D+

 4,957 characters

Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 7/18/2013. Pours pitch black color with a 1 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lace cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, pumpkin, cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg, toast, molasses, brown bread, and roasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of roasted/dark malt, pumpkin, and spice notes; with good strength. Taste of dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, pumpkin, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, molasses, toast, ginger, brown bread, and toasted earthiness. Lingering notes of chocolate, roasted malt, cocoa, pumpkin, cinnamon, toast, clove, nutmeg, brown sugar, and toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of roasted malt, pumpkin, and spice flavors; with great robustness and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very creamy and moderately slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an excellent imperial pumpkin stout. All around great balance and complexity of stout and pumpkin ale flavors; and very smooth to sip on for 10.5%. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,307 characters

Photo of Boone757
4/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of oberon
2.97/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

I have really liked the big pumpkin stouts I have had so far this season.Pours nearly jet black except for a tinge of brown when held to the light,a half finger beige head atop.Nutmeg and clove stand out most in the nose along light alcohol and molasses-like sweetness,downhill from here.Somewhat fizzy and much lighter than expected in the mouth with harsh over spiced flavors and some stinging alcohol in the finish.Wow I have to say I was expecting something much better here...might be a drain pour.

 503 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.1/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Shared 22 oz bottle.
Pours opaque black with ruby edges. Small head soon reduces to a thin ring.
Aroma: highly spiced and high ABV.
Flavor: over spiced and boozy. Starts sweet but finishes with an unpleasant bitterness.
Feel: good smooth full body by some alcohol harshness.

O: Disappointing.

 299 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
3.81/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a clear dark reddish brown in color with light amounts of gentle visible carbonation along the edges of the glass/surface of the beer and some cola brown highlights. The beer has a half finger tall sudsy foamy tan head that reduces to a couple of small to medium patches of thick film surrounded by a thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of pumpkin pie spices - specifically cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and ginger. That is followed by lighter aromas of roasted pumpkin and roasted malts. Very light notes of dark fruits (plum + fig) as well as hints of chocolate.

T: Upfront there is a light to moderate flavor of roasted malts and roasted pumpkin with a light amount of dark fruit (plum + fig). There are moderate flavors of pumpkin pie spices - nutmeg, clover, cinnamon, and ginger. There are light notes of bittersweet chocolate. Light amounts of bitterness lingers through the finish.

M: Medium bodied with moderate to significant amounts of carbonation. Slightly fizzier than expected for the style with some light hints of alcohol warming in the finish as well.

O: I really enjoyed the fact that this has a lot of pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice flavors without being overly sweet - there is a nice flavor profile and a pleasant roastiness to it overall. I like the fact that they chose a porter/stout base for the beer. Pretty easy to drink and overall the alcohol is well hidden considering the strength. I'd get this one again.

 1,584 characters

Photo of nathanmiller
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.55/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle - $5.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown, near black body with a medium-tall, albeit deflating light tan-colored head. Though the head may be gone, a lasting ring of suds take its place.

Smell: Firm roastiness cut with a thin glaze of chocolate ganache and liberally dosed with gingerbread-type spices. Subdued pumpkin character, with some additional dark fruitiness.

Taste: Roasty with a growing, deep chocolate flavor as dark caramel, molasses, and cooked sugars come into play. Subtle pumpkin flavor underneath the richer maltiness, leaving it the mildest taste in the pack. The sweetness is tampered by the snap of spices featuring the usual spicespects. Roasty, spicy on the back end with the sweetness now at bay but there's a definite, accumulating alcohol warmth, with a future nap on the horizon.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation.

Overall: I'd lean back on the spices and push up the pumpkin, next time. I've said it before. There's nothing wrong with trying to mix-it-up when it comes to the prototypical pumpkin ale format. Nothing wrong with that at all.

 1,148 characters

Photo of smcolw
3.59/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served at the brewery.

Near black color where no light shines through. Small, toward the rim, head. No lace.

Spicy aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg, yet it isn't quite "pumpkin". No stout smells.

The flavor draws out the pumpkin elements. Again, this is far less stout and far more pumpkin beer. There's a notable dark toast presence. The alcohol is quite strong and warming. Relatively neutral body with a low carbonation level.

 431 characters

Photo of Gagnonsux
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of ZEB89
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of woodychandler
4.06/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The blessing & curse of The CANquest (tm) is that I am given access to bottled beers that I do not get to right away. This was one such, but given its relatively high ABV, I am hopeful, plus I am planning to share with others.

From the bottle: "An amalgamation of dark brown sugar, blackstrap molasses, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, clove, and of course, fresh pumpkin, this is one big, flavorful spiced stout."; "Half imperial stout, half pumpkin ale, with aromas of of dried fruit, chocolate, and freshly baked pumpkin pie. Enjoy this black, full-bodied stout now or save it for a chilly fall evening."; "Last fall our brewers were improvising a new beer in our 10 barrel kettle; they threw in some fresh pumpkin puree, tossed in a bit of molasses, cinnamon and nutmeg, a touch of ginger, a dash of cloves, and some dark, toasty, roasty malts. It was excellent."; "This Imperial Pumpkin Stout is big, rich, and spicy. Enjoy!"

I was happy to Pop! the cap on a Bro. Woody's Pop-Up Puzzle Cafe at The Fridge this afternoon, especially with three people with whom to share it. I doled out equal shares and we stood by as the finger of thick, deep-tan/light-brown head settled back down. Nose was incredibly spicy! The cinnamon and nutmeg had really come forward in the interim, but the molasses had given it a medicinal quality. Color was Very Dark Brown to Black/Opaque (SRM = > 34, < 44) with modest light penetration at the edges. The taste was likewise spicy, with the cinnamon and nutmeg dominating the show. The finish was really dry, thanks to the spices, but the molasses gave it a medicinal aftertaste. The consensus was that its aging and subsequent lack of inherent sweetness and heat made it a much better beer than it might have been in its nascence.

 1,770 characters

Photo of Gkruszewski
3.92/5  rDev +4%

Photo of paulish
4/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of BeerForMuscle
3.69/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of ejimhof
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of Dicers
4/5  rDev +6.1%

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Harpoon Imperial Pumpkin from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
3.77 out of 5 based on 289 ratings.
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