River Brew Review: Harpoon Leviathan Imperial IPA

Location: Mad River, Vermont
Beer: Harpoon Leviathan Imperial IPA

This weekend the rivers are finally starting to look normal in Vermont. While they are still running muddy for the most part, they are no longer raging, threatening to wash me straight into Lake Champlain if I make a false move. It is time to teach my dog, Marvin, how to be a fishing dog. Since fetch is by far his favorite past time, I knew this endeavor would be difficult to say the least – an excellent brew was necessary to keep any frustrations in check. The beer of choice was Harpoon Leviathan Imperial IPA while we fished the Mad River.

Unsurprisingly Marvin tried to retrieve my first several casts, chasing mostly the back casts away from the frigid river, as I bellowed for him to stay out of the water. I eventually bribed him into sitting and waiting with the mother of all dog treats – Milk-bones. Soon he lost interest in my strike indicator and surprisingly started to act as a good fishing dog should; he was mellow, patient, and stayed close while chewing on his new favorite outside toy… a stick.

And the beer was excellent. The rich flavor soothed my potential aggravation at Marvin, even when he jumped in the water fishing for rocks, as well as my frustration at numerous wind knots later in the day. At 10% alcohol, maybe it wasn’t the best choice for a fishing beer, but damn it tasted good. This is a beer that deserved a good pour at home.

When poured the Leviathan didn’t have much of a head. The little bit of head quickly dispersed to the edges and was gone in minutes. The beer has a rich golden color with only a hint of haze.

The flavor from a glass was even better than on the river. A great hops weighted balance with some sweet malty undertones. However, this beer is an imperial, and the alcohol content quickly sneaks up on you.

Appearance:
Golden with a slight haze. What little head there is dissipates quickly.

Aroma:
Strong piney hops with some floral undertones.

Taste/Mouthfeel:
Hops weighted balance as expected from an IPA, but with some sweet malt undertones. Fairly bitter, and the bitter flavor lingers a little long. Straight from the fridge it felt a little thick, but got better as it warmed.

Overall:
Excellent, although interesting Imperial IPA. More malt than I’m used to in an Imperial IPA, but the sweetness was pleasant. The bitterness was a little lingering but for 120 IBUs that should be expected. With the high alcohol content this beer should be consumed with caution, maybe more suitable for tying flies rather than casting them.

Harpoon: Leviathan Imperial IPA

10% Alcohol

120 IBU’s

4 out of a Six Pack

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