Harpoon Varius
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Serve in Snifter, Tulip


on tap


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RATINGS: 3   MEAN: 3.12/5.0   WEIGHTED AVG: 2.9/5   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 195   ABV: 6.5%
Named "Harpoon Varius" because many different Harpoon brewers contributed to making this beer, which is brewed exclusively for the BeerAdvocate Extreme Beer Fest. Brewed in 10 10-gallon batches, Harpoon Varius is an experimental strong ale. Unfiltered, slightly cloudy, DANGEROUS! Rich alcohol notes mixing with earthy floral hop, thick malty sweetness in the nose. It starts off with a slight honey sweetness and transitions to a pronounced higher alcohol warmth and complex ester character. Finishes with a distinct smooth, bitter finish. Brewing with Pale Ale malt (90%), Caramel, and Victory. Hopped with Northern Brewer, East Kent Goldings, Fuggle, and Magnum. Dry-hopped with Willamette. Fermented with a Dry English Ale yeast.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
ClarkVV (5858) - Boston, Massachusetts, USA - JAN 11, 2007
Draught pint at Redbones on 12/8/06
Graham cracker colored liquid has hues of gold and light orange. White head atop is medium in size, mostly well-retained and provides moderate lacing. Medium to medium-high clarity, unfiltered it seems, but the yeast is well-dropped out having been cold-rested for a while now.
The nose seems to be the best feature. Lime skins play with light apple and cherry notes, giving way to medium-sweet orange and light grapefruit. Not at all what I was expecting. Though the fresh, aromatic, juicy hop flavor is somewhat short-lived compared to some of the best in the style, itís great while it lasts. It gives way to caramel and honey, with some toastiness mixing with the citrus to provide typical yellow fruit notes. Caramel sweetness grows, getting somewhat dominant, after warming. Alcohol is well-controlled.
Not as much of the juicy, fresh hop character seen in the nose comes through in the flavor. It gets rather citric and bitter quickly, with a then abrupt transition in to sticky, sweet caramel and pale maltiness. IBUs collect on the palate and though the brisk carbonation tries to cut things, it only marginally succeeds. It becomes too simple in the end (sticky sweet base malt and citrus) with growing alcohol warmth and biting hop acids. Some floral notes can be glimpsed but are mainly drowned out. Still, the aroma starts out very nicely and while the texture is a bit sticky and the beer too sweet ultimately, it isnt thin, washed out and predictable, as is the norm here. Look at me, Iím the high rater of a Harpoon product ;)

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
tiggmtl (4544) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - MAR 15, 2006
Like muzzlehatch, I really didnít expect much from this Frankenbeer but I was in for a surprise... Apricot and peach aromas are subdued and an herbal hop note emerges as it warms. Opaque, milky-tan coloured body is swimming with yeast or proteins in suspension and topped by a low, white, fine bubbled head that lasts well. Hop bitterness is fairly pronounced along with some grainy, cereal malt character and subdued notes of American hops (citrus, pine). Overall impression is quite sweet. Medium body with moderate carbonation. Sampled on tap at the Extreme Beer Fest 2006.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
muzzlehatch (4830) - Beloit, Wisconsin, USA - FEB 17, 2006
UPDATED: MAR 2, 2006 Sample at EBF 2006. This is the special beer brewed for the fest and...well, read the description yourself. I must admit I went in thinking that this would be a disaster, the olí "too many cooks in the kitchen" scenario; though it didnít end up as anything great, I will grant that my fears were largely unfounded. In the sample glass, itís totally opaque gold with a lasting bit of snowy head....the aroma is nonexistant at first, but syrupy peaches and apricots and a touch of pie spicing show up as it warms....sweet, mild malty body, somewhat syrupy, with light dry hops throughout....does have somewhat the "throw everything at it" character as it warms, becomes fairly bitter with citrus, fresh pine and charred hardwood hints...fruity sweetness more or less dominates. Too sweet, too messy, but somewhat interesting...weíll see if it makes a reappearance.

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