Feb 10, 2011

Harpoon Oak Aged Dunkel

Harpoon Oak Aged Dunkel label

I believe this is the first product from Harpoon Brewing’s 100 Barrel Series. It’s #34 in the run of limited releases so that means I’ve missed out on quite a few brews — this is the first time I’ve seen any of them in my area. Hopefully, it’s a sign of good things to come.

At any rate, this particular release is a traditionally brewed dunkel (made with Munich malt, Tettnang hops, and German Ale yeast) that is then moved to a “…secondary aging vessel containing oak infusion spirals.” I wasn’t entirely sure what an “oak infusion spiral1” was prior to reviewing this particular beer, but a little time with Google confirmed my suspicions that it’s a fancy method of chipping — something to do with extracting the oak character more efficiently.

In the end, the process imparts a subtle bit of woody character to a pretty tasty beer. I’d be curious to see if a traditional oak barrel aging process has a different effect on the recipe.


Mahogany in color, this dunkel looks good in the glass, capped by a full, light tan head.


Overall, the nose on this beer is fairly mild mannered. There are subtle hints of caramel, toffee, toasted malts, and wood. There’s a touch of hops in the background.


Smooth drinking and well balanced, Harpoon has a nicely crafted beer here. It’s not very direct or pronounced in it’s approach, but the beer has a well rounded and refined blend of subtle flavors. Toasted malts dominate the beer’s profile as a little bit of oak mixes in nicely as the smooth mouthfeel fades to a finish that carries a slight hop bite.


The tame oak presence is a nice compliment to the toasted, slightly sweet malts that take up the bulk of the beer’s character. Harpoon’s Oak Aged Dunkel is a smooth drinking, well round and solid brew. I’d but this one again.

Rating: 3.5/5

1. The beverage infusion spiral was invented by Russell Karasch in 2008. You can read the patent here.

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