Harpoon Leviathan IPA

leviathan

What’s this?  A second review in one day?  Oh yeah, it’s all about the beer today.  And I’m keeping the good times rolling with a brew that’s pretty special to me.  It’s Harpoon’s Leviathan IPA, and a few years ago, it was my first taste of craft beer.  I suppose you could say it’s the reason why I’m even writing this.  What if my first craft beer experience had been horrible, and turned me to the path of the macro-brewed Darkside?  I shudder at the thought.  Anyway, let’s all thank the beer gods that they deemed me worthy to drink craft beer, and come with me down memory lane.  I’ll bring a six-pack.

Now, Leviathan is a Double IPA, which means that the hops should be so intense as to make pine trees jealous.  Does this deliver?  Well, after opening the bottle, I’m greeted with an insanely potent cloud of citrus and biting hops.  Pineapple, grapefruit, and our good friend Mega-Bitter McPine Tree dominate the aromas.  It’s like a bunch of hops, dressed up as hops, wearing their strongest hop aftershave.  And then double that.  But, while you’re distracted by the hoppy dominance, a sweet, malty ninja appears out of no where, adding a gentle, bready support to the bitterness, like the bass player in a rock band.

The taste is just as potent as the aroma.  Bitter and citrusy, with a hoppy pine bite that dominates the mouth and throat.  The hop notes last forever, pushing any other flavor to the side until they tell you when you’ve had enough!  Additional tastes bring out a gentle, fruit sweetness that cuts the bitterness slightly.  Not enough to change the flavor profile, but more than enough to add another layer of complexity.  Peach is the major fruit flavor, even though it is buried under the hops.  There’s even the slightest hint of ginger- just a brief showing of a spicy sweetness that rides along with the peach at the beginning before disappearing forever.

Poured out into a pint glass, the pine tree and citrus notes dominate the aroma.  They flow from the glass, reaching up and caressing your face like a naughty temptress.  Subtle malts push up from the bottom, elevating the hops even further, and adding some floral notes at the edges that compliment the hops.  It’s basically like a garden of wildflowers in the middle of a pine forest.  It pours a rich, pumpkin-amber that glows with a reddish-brown hue when held up to the light.  The head is thin, white, and vanishes quickly, cause ain’t no hoppy got time for that!

The post-pour taste is much smoother than the bottle, flowing rich over the tongue.  There is just as much piney bite, but the smoothness seems to counter the bitterness by pulling down deep into the beer’s very soul, bringing up more flavors for your enjoyment.  All of this starts the second the first drop hits your tongue.  There’s no waiting for flavors to form or show themselves.  From the beginning, there’s an explosion of hops, subtle sweetness and ninja malts, just tango-ing across your taste buds.  This is accentuated by the fact that every flavor is super expressive and vibrant.  Citrus and pine are countered by sweet, malty bread, each strengthening after the pour and pushing against each other until the flavors are literally bursting from the glass.  Additionally, a crisp, alcoholic bite shows up after a few tastes and goes to work on your mouth, giving another source of crispness for you to enjoy.  The aftertaste is both hops and bread, like you’re eating a pine tree sandwich, except it’s delicious, and not horrible like you’d think.

Overall, like the name says, this is an absolute behemoth of a beer.  Extraordinarily potent flavors and aromas arrive with enough kick to knock a mule on its ass.  Leviathan is a wonderful example of a mega hopped Double IPA.  Enjoy this beer slowly, lest your tongue dissolve out of pure, hop induced spite.  The longer you drink, the more flavors you’ll be able to uncover.  And, you’ll prolong its monumental lasting strength even more.  Unlike many craft beers, this one has a fairly reasonable price, sitting near $8 for a six-pack that should last you all week.  The only possible negative about this beer is its extreme flavor.  Some may not like how in your face this brew is.  But, if you love hops and IPAs, you’ll love this.

I suggest enjoying this beer over a slow afternoon, where you can really take your time and enjoy.  Finish everything on your To-Do list early, and then treat yourself to a bottle.  It’d also be great with some spicy dishes, where the citrus and pine can compliment the spices.  Finally, whenever you feel a slight chill in the air, grab a bottle and enjoy. You wont regret it.  Harpoon’s Leviathan IPA earns a beastly A.

Grading:

Taste: 9/10

Price: 9/10

Looks: 10/10

Lasting Strength: 10/10

Drinkability: 9/10

Overall: 9.4/10 A

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