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Imperial IPA

Harpoon Leviathan IPA Brew Review

Harpoon Leviathan IPA

I make a pilgrimage to the local “packey” about once a month to re-stock the old fridge. It’s always tempting to pick up the usual 12-pack of Sam or Harpoon. But I also try to get at least one brew that I’ve never had before. I’ve had plenty of Harpoon IPA and enjoyed every drop of it. While talking with the manager over at Atlas Liquors in Medford about all of the new breweries and seasonal brews, he pointed out this new IPA from Harpoon. Harpoon Leviathan IPA is an Imperial IPA and is 10% alcohol with 90 IBU. Now, 10% is

strong for an IPA which is usually in the 5-7% range. This is more like a barley wine. IBU stands for International Bitterness Unit and is how brewers measure the bitterness of their creations. The bitterness in beer and ale is derived from hops. There are a wide variety of hops grown all over the world. Each variety and each location can impart their own unique flavor profile. Assessing the qualities of hops can get quite technical and often involves chemists or biologists working in a lab. But, your tongue will do a fine job of telling you what you like and what is “too hoppy”. Some people like malty beers like Oktoberfest or Marzen. I’ll take a well hopped ale any day over one of those heavy, sweet brews. But I digress Harpoon IPA has an alcohol content of 5.9% and IBU of 42. Harpoon UFO Hefeweizen is 4.8% with 19 IBU. Hefeweizen is well known to be a lighter beer and the lower IBU allows all of the floral notes to arise out of your glass and into your senses. Here is Harpoon’s description of their Imperial IPA:

This Imperial IPA is brewed with loads of pale malt and just enough caramel malt to provide a sweet malt backbone to balance the hop intensity. We used a mix of our favorite American hops including Chinook, Centennial, Simcoe, and Amarillo to create a complex hop flavor and lingering bitterness. Harpoon’s proprietary yeast lends fruity esters, while dry-hopping at the rate of over one pound per barrel produces this beer’s massive aroma.

Tasting Notes

  • Appearance: Clear, yellow/orangey in color
  • Aroma: Tropical fruit hop
  • Mouth feel: Full-bodied
  • Taste: Tropical fruit hop
  • Finish: Dry, bitter finish

– See more at:

I find this IPA to be a little too heavy for my taste. The 90 IBU needs to be balanced by the loads of malt, but I think the overall effect is too heavy for me. This is definitely not an after race beverage but more of a sipping, savory beverage for a party. After two of these you may be handing off the keys!

I’ve been drinking and reading about Stone Mountain Brewing Levitation Ale all summer. This IPA has a 4.4% alcohol content and IBU of 45. It has become one of my favorites.

I mention it here because a few bloggers mentioned how they often call the Stone Mountain Ale “Leviathan Ale”. I’m not sure if it’s the label or the inability to read it after having a few Levitation Ales. Have you tried the Leviathan IPA from Harpoon? What did you think?

Stay thirsty my friends, Andy

Originally posted October 2013 on ImaRunnerAndSoCanYou, pub-4167727599129474, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0


5 responses to “Harpoon Leviathan IPA Brew Review”

  1. sincerelylily Avatar

    i ll have to pass this review along to Mr Speedy… he loves (LOVES) IPAs! And i dont think he has tried this one since it is local to your area!

    1. imarunner2012 Avatar

      It is the heaviest IPA I’ve ever tried. The malt was a lot heavier than you would expect in an IPA.
      You don’t get Harpoon in your area?

  2. Jim Brennan Avatar

    What an excellent idea, a beer review! When I’m not into a Guinness, it’s IPA all the way. I just got a Dog Fish Head Life & Limb Rhizing Bines IPA as a present. Best IPA I ever tasted, ever! Not sure if it was a special batch or seasonal, but if you can get your hands on some, treat your taste buds.

    1. imarunner2012 Avatar

      It’s amazing the ideas you can come up with when you don’t have to schedule running into your weekend!
      I’ll have to look for that one on my next trip to the liquor store.

  3. getgoing-getrunning Avatar

    I love a good brew. I was at the Camden Brewery yesterday, drinking pints of their unfiltered ‘Hells Lager’.
    They also sell bottled beer from the American Brewery of the same name.