Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Harpoon Leviathan Imperial IPA

The Harpoon Leviathan Series was first produced at the company's two breweries (Boston, MA and Windsor, VT) in the summer of 2008. The series is available in draft and 4 packs and was an attempt by the brewery to take an "exploration in brewing big beers for adventurous palates." This series is a definite step up for the brewery which has focused mostly on its award winning IPA and UFO brand.

The series takes its name from the "leviathan" a mythical sea beast that has been alluded to in everything from literature (Paradise Lost, Moby Dick), philosophy (Thomas Hobbes 1651 work the Leviathan discussed the need for a social contract to create the ideal state), and religion (both in Judaism and Christianity). What this has to do with brewing beer we could only venture to guess, however, the series's Imperial IPA comes in living up to the stature of the Leviathan in terms of big taste and alcohol per volume (10%).

What's the scenario? Trip to East Ave Wegman's always begins and ends in its above average beer section. I was looking for something I had never had before, my interest were peaked when I found an Imperial IPA with an unusual name I had heard somewhere before. The name Leviathan sparked an aisle discussion of Thomas Hobbes early work on government formation (which I knew a lot about) and its religious connotations (which my girlfriend knew a lot about). After examining the blurbs about the beer on its packaging I knew this four pack was coming home with me.

Appearance: A really smooth finish, with a really solid head that pours nicely into any pint glass. A bit lighter than I had expected for an Imperial IPA.

Smell: As with IPA's of any variety, you get a huge smell of hops right away. However, there also something a bit fruity, even tropical at the back end. The hoppy smell is due to the fact the beer is made using 4 different types of hops. I am no beer making expert, but the website informs that the beer is also dry hopped at a rate of over 1 lb a barrel. All of which accounts for the brews smell.

Alright, alright how did it taste? First I have to admit I have a bit of a bias here. I would put IPA, and particularly Imperial IPAs, at the top of my beer list. With that being said, the Leviathan Imperial IPA deliver. The brew has a larger amount of bitterness which is expected, but is still extremely smooth and easy to drink. It is a big beer, but I would not call it overpowering at all. You get the bitterness upfront, but the hop flavor continues throughout with a nice bit of citrus at the end. All and all this is very well rounded beer and the drinker can tell everything about this beer was feel thought out and produced at an even higher standard.

Rating: With "1" being never ever ever go for this beer and "10" seek this beer out no matter the costs, I would have to give this beer 8.5 Thomas Hobbeses. This is definitely up there on my list of best beers, but I do not think it is an everyday beer given its apv.

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