Something new and interesting for imperial palates
A Review of Leviathan Imperial Rye by Harpoon Brewery
Posted on 11/16/2011 by Chops
My exploration of Harpoon Brewery's Leviathan Series continues with the Imperial Rye. I have greatly enjoyed these monster beers as they have pushed my understanding of their respective styles. Higher gravity interpretations often reside in the fringes of their particular styles and are consequently really fun to study. So going into the Leviathan Imperial Rye, and bringing my experience with the Quad and Über-Bock, I know I'm in for a rewarding experience.

In the glass, this beer has a hazy deep apricot coloration that comes across as thick and rich. On the nose, a malty boozy note takes center stage and requires a few moments to get used to. Once you can comfortably get your nose into the glass, some ripe dark fruits appear, namely plums and figs. I could also pick out a soft spicy note resting underneath, but was unable to identify it.

The first sip was properly foreshadowed and consists of a large alcohol burn, stingy hops and a strong backbone of rye malt. An herbal quality appears after several sips and takes on a pine-like flavor. I was expecting some heftiness based on appearance, but the mouthfeel is surprisingly thin. The finish is quite sharp and leaves a lasting bitterness. As the beer warms, it takes on a toasted biscuit quality that is common for the style. It ends up balancing the hop profile very well, so I would recommend letting this beer sit and warm up for a while before diving in.

Overall, Harpoon Brewery's Leviathan Imperial Rye is a very interesting brew that definitely challenged my perception of rye ales. It's not everyday that you come across an imperial rye, so formulating a long lasting opinion is quite vexing. I definitely enjoyed this beer and can recommend it to any imperial palates looking for something new and interesting. Novices should probably stay clear of this beer for obvious reasons. It seems to be more up to personal preference than stylistic certainty, so go into it with no expectations. It's a tasty beer regardless, and could very well be a diamond in the rough for anyone.

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Leviathan Imperial Rye by Harpoon Brewery
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