Steph’s New Brew Review: Harpoon Black Forest

Steph’s New Brew Review: Harpoon Black Forest

Harpoon Brewing Company Black Forest, 9.8% ABV, 29 IBU Imperial Cherry Chocolate Porter

Ah… Harpoon Brewery. This is the brewery that turned me into a true craft beer lover. Harpoon UFO was my first ever “favorite craft beer,” and drinking Harpoon IPA was the first time I discovered how wonderful hops can be.

It’s amazing to see how much Harpoon has grown since I started frequenting the brewery almost 10 years ago. We would stop in every time we visited Boston. One of the most memorable trips was when UFO White was first released. My dear husband, Rich, carried a case of UFO White from the brewery, onto a bus and two different trains, then another block back to our hotel in Brookline.

At first, the tasting room was a casual stop for tasting various samples, purchasing cases and 6-packs, and observing the brewing area. Eventually they added a $5 entrance fee, which included a guided tour and guided sampling. The tours quickly became popular and often sold out.

Today, the Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall is open in Boston’s Seaport District, in the same building as the original brewery. There is often a long line outside as thirsty patrons wait to enjoy samplers, drink pints, and eat delicious pretzels and other snacks. Guided tours are still only $5 and include samples, but should be reserved ahead of time. Check out Harpoon’s website to learn more about the Boston location.

This past November I also got to visit the Harpoon Brewery location in Windsor, Vermont. The Harpoon Riverbend Taps and Beer Garden, located here, offers a full line-up of Harpoon beers alongside a delicious menu. There is a large gift shop offering T-shirts, glasses, beer to go, and other goodies, and guided tours are offered on the weekends. Check out Harpoon’s website to learn more about the Windsor location.

Black Forest was first brewed in February 2014. The recipe comes from homebrewers, who are also members of the Harpoon Distributing Company. They first brewed the cherry chocolate porter recipe in 2012, and it quickly became a favorite around the breweries. The Harpoon brewers worked the recipe up a 10-barrel test batch, and now the beer has become a special release.

This imperial porter is brewed with a hearty base of chocolate, caramel, and Marris Otter malt, which is complemented by sweet cherry and cacao nibs added during the fermentation process. Clocking in at 9.8% ABV, Harpoon says this porter will leave you feeling loved inside and out.


Deep brown color with red hues, creamy tan head.


Roasted malts with hints of sweet cherry and dark chocolate.


Smooth and malty up front with dark chocolate notes and sweet cherry flavor.


Full-bodied, finished clean with lingering cherry flavor.


This beer is pretty much what I expected based on the description. While you can sense the high alcohol content a bit, it is still a very smooth and very drinkable beer. The lingering sweet cherry flavor is very pleasant, and I’m sure this would pair wonderfully with a delicious chocolate brownie or a dark chocolate bar. Perhaps I’ll get Greg Orth’s opinion!

 Check out…
this recipe for Harpoon Black Forest Brownies and listen to Episode 21 with Greg Orth from Craft Tastings, to learn about beer and chocolate pairings.

 Wanna pick this one up?
This limited release is available in 22 ounce bottles. Use Harpoon’s Beer Finder to locate Black Forest near you.

Harpoon Brewery – Boston
306 Northern Avenue
Boston, MA 02210

Harpoon Brewery – Windsor
336 Ruth Carney Drive
Windsor, VT 05089

, , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *