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Geary's Hampshire Special Ale - D.L. Geary Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Geary's Hampshire Special AleGeary's Hampshire Special Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

569 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 569
Reviews: 373
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 12.72%
Wants: 30
Gots: 17 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
D.L. Geary Brewing Company visit their website
Maine, United States

Style | ABV
English Strong Ale |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Once Maine’s legendary seasonal specialty, Hampshire is now available year round. Hampshire has a huge toasted malt flavor balanced by assertive hoppiness. The finish is long and lingering with the malt and hop notes blending with alcohol warmth. Original gravity - 1070; alcohol by volume - 7%; two row English malts (pale, crystal and chocolate); Cascade, Mt. Hood and East Kent Golding hops.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-30-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 569 | Reviews: 373 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Jdiddy:
Photo of Jdiddy
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Still not too sure what to make of this one. Had it at Redbones on tap. Pours a deep copper color. Does not really taste like an ale but does have a pretty intense alcohol. Ithad a taste that I just could not put my finger on...a taste that I was not too thrilled about. Definitely got better as I kept drinking it. Heavy malt and caramel flavor. Burned caramel?? Maybe that was the taste.

Jdiddy, Feb 17, 2003
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bwst beer hands down for me while in Maine,pours a rich golden color with a slight red tint,not much head to it but what there was left some real nice lace.Rich is the word I use to describe this beer in color,aroma,and mostly flavor very malty and whiskyish and of dried fruit for a malt maven or whatever u wanna call it this to me is a perfect or near perfect beer,rich and warming a great winter beer.

oberon, Oct 30, 2003
Photo of metter98
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear dark reddish amber in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high dense beige head that gradually died down and left a large patch of bubbles that nearly covered the entire surface and a thick ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are pleasant aromas of buttery malts and fruity yeast in the nose.
T: The taste has a good amount of malty flavors along with notes of fruity yeast. There is a light amount of bitterness, which particularly stands out in the finish along with some hints of spices.
M: It feels on the high end of being medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. There is a bit of warming from the alcohol; the bitterness causes some tingling on your tongue.
O: This beer is rather easy to drink for the style and hides its alcohol well, although it’s complex enough to enjoy sipped slowly.

metter98, Apr 26, 2012
Photo of RoyalT
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – This beer is a light brown in color with a good, clingy white head.

Smell – The light, easy, English-style hops are supported by some good biscuity notes.

Taste – This is reminiscent of the English bitter style but a bit bigger. The bittering hops and biscuity malts are all understated but well done.

Mouthfeel – This is rather light for a “strong ale”, I wouldn’t even say medium-bodied, but is well balanced and has some nice, light bitterness at the end.

Drinkability – I wouldn’t put this in a taste test with Fuller’s, but it was good enough to enjoy.

RoyalT, May 16, 2005
Photo of ExtraStout
3.84/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Stunning shade of ruby, an ample head of 1.5 inches rises and falls as it clumps and hangs to the insides of a Burgundy balloon. After 5 minutes, a lace of a few millimeters covers the surface. Carbonation is so active that it makes one wonder what this beer has in store. The label makes me miss all the beauty of New Hampshire.

Smell: Nose burning, jaw-dropping amount of malted barley lends so much sweetness and richness that the nose is almost overwhelming. You can smell the malts from 5 feet away, no lie. Carmel and maple syrup. Carmelized sugars and carbs that haven't quite turned so far as to become rum, but that have the alcoholic nature to force them past simple sugars. And the lightest tickle of hops. This is COMPLEX.

Taste: Everything the smell flaunts, to a lesser extent. This has very even malt; light tastes of brown sugar and carmel meld well with a very tame dose of hops that lends the smallest amount of bitterness, but much in the way of leafy flavor. A nice balance of sweet and sharp, but surprisingly light. This smells like it could kick the piss out of Old Horizontal (at 11%) and it whimpers in with 7%. It's as if someone made the most evil barleywine on earth, and split it with water like you would whiskey.

Mouthfeel: So much lighter than the nose suggests. This is so smooth and light, so much so that it detracts from the otherwise myriad character of this beer.

Drinkability: Easy. Light and mind blowing complex. I'd be surprised to see how many of these I could have in an evening before the weight (flavorwise, not ABV-wise) got to me. I guess I could have 2 or 3. But, damn. Try it for yourself. It's something which hasn't ever not been not nothing.

ExtraStout, Sep 03, 2013
Photo of Mac19872
5/5  rDev +27.2%

Mac19872, Nov 17, 2011
Photo of lordofthewiens
4.38/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This used to be Geary's winter beer, but now it's available year-round. That's the good news; the bad news is that the present winter beer isn't as good (but that's another story). It pours a nice golden amber with a creamy head and has a spicy odor to it. It has a spicy taste with a distinctly hoppy
flavor. Feels great in the mouth, and is very drinkable. Highly recomended as a wonderful every-day beer.

lordofthewiens, Jan 08, 2006
Photo of DHFAN45
2.56/5  rDev -34.9%

DHFAN45, Today at 02:20 AM
Photo of Todd
4.38/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A balanced beer to say the least, with both a distinct malty and hoppy flavour. Very smooth, very drinkable and very alcoholic on the breath. Can't really go wrong with a beer like this, unless you can't handle a RIngwood beer -- but it's well-blended into the mix. One of my favourites and one of Geary's best beers IMO -- "special" indeed.

Todd, Feb 07, 2002
Photo of Doomcifer
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a semi-clear amber/copper color with a half-inch head that comes and goes. No lacing to speak of. Smells of sweet malts, toffee, butterscotch, fruits. Taste is of more toffee, butterscoth, cherries, pretty sweet, and finishes with a good hoppiness. Mouthfeel is not heavy but not light either, velvety, moderate carbonation. Very drinkable for the abv level. A definite pleasure to drink.

Doomcifer, Oct 25, 2006
Photo of Jason
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12oz semi-fat brown with a gold foil twisty. Winter 01-02 on bottle to denote what year it was brewed for.

Appearance: Rich copper colour with light brownish highlights, a healthy off white lace wraps the inside of the glass with ample stickiness.

Smell: Soft caramel and toasted malt biscuit and bread with a dash of buttery toffee. Honey and a currant and berry mix for fruitiness. Light twinge of ester alcohol in the nose.

Taste: Smooth upfront with a light to moderate carbonation. Certainly full in body with a vague polished buttery feeling. Large and jam-packed with malt flavours of toasted and caramel. Diacetyl is significant yet not to the point of being out of balance. The warming alcohol brings forth fruitiness and esters to round this big profile out. Hints of dark honey and light berry fruit add to the complexity. Hop bitterness drops a great leveling flavour and oily herbal character. Caramel and grain in the finish with overtones of diacetyl.

Notes: Year after year this one is a sure thing for winter seasonals, bitterness seems a step up this year which is fine considering all of the malt flavour to deal with.

Jason, Jan 29, 2002
Photo of merlin48
3.3/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle pours a clear, amber body, with lots of active carbonation. Moderate, beige head retains well, and leaves plenty of sheet and patch lace.

Aroma is malty caramel, with some biscuit, and an odd, spicy hops note.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with lots of carbonation.

Taste has an odd, spicy note that doesn't seem to belong. Hops seem floral, as well. The malt holds its own, but is more biscuit than caramel.

I wasn't a big fan of this after my first couple of bottles, but it does seem to "grow on you". An acquired taste, in my opinion. The earthy, woodiness takes some getting used to. Overall, there still seems to be something that is slightly, unbalanced with this ale.

merlin48, Jul 26, 2004
Photo of Billolick
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ouncer, with a new label motif, twist off cap. No freshness dating. Pours a nice honey/golden tone of amber, white head of tiny bubbles and leaving moderate lacing. Clear, with bubbles streaming to the top for a good long while. Nose is malty, with some vanilla, and confectionary sugar. This is a sweet, flavorful brew. Goes down very easy. Notes of vanilla, mild rum, straw, and lightly spicy finish. A bit warming. Feels and tastes slightly thin for the style. Understated and very British, ie: subtle and balanced, two fine qualities in a brew.. Pleasant wintertime sipper

Billolick, Dec 07, 2004
Photo of fdrich29
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle from a 6 pack I picked up at Gordon's Wine on Main Street in Waltham, MA.

So there I was in my living room, with my parents, soon to be in laws, fiance and my friend's dad who is interviewing to be the dj at my upcoming wedding. The man has given us an incredible deal, I'm talking almost free here. My future mother in law blurts out "Well we need to hear you first before we make a decision". I quickly head to the kitchen, pretending not to hear what I just heard, and grab the first beer I could find. Luckily it was a Geary's Hampshire Special Ale. It saved me from either offing myself or my fiance's mother on the spot.

This beer is fantastic. A fantastic balance of hops and malt, one of those beers that doesn't come around every day. One taste and you know this one lives up to the term "special", if not defines it. Each sip begs another, highly drinkable and wonderfully tasty. Definitely recommended.

fdrich29, Apr 27, 2005
Photo of henryclay_
4/5  rDev +1.8%

henryclay_, May 10, 2014
Photo of tigg924
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: clear, amber, 1/2 inch head, high carbonation

Smell: toasted malt, sugar, and spices

Taste: sweet malt, caramel, raisins, and a touch of hops on the finish

Mouthfeel: sweet, smooth, sticky, with a slightly bitter aftertaste

Drinkability: I think this one hid the alcohol fairly well. I could have a couple as I enjoy the sweetness, but not more.

tigg924, Jul 06, 2009
Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.43/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Spying this in Richmond for the first time in Richmond, I immediately thought of JohnnyP and his raves about this beer. The BA whose name is on the BA.com shirt sings the praises of this beer? How can I go wrong? A 6-pack was thus purchased...

Presentation: 12oz. squat amber bottle with a plain label and no freshness dating.

Appearance: Poured a crystal-clear deep orangish-copper in color with a thick and pasty white lace that distinctly rings the glass.

Smell: Wow...this is one complex beer. All sorts of scents tip-toe across the nose. Lots of spices, fruits, alcohol, caramel, surgary-sweetness. The neat thing with this one is that nothing dominates the profile. Very well-balanced.

Taste: Again, the emphasis is on "balanced". Complex? You betcha. But, like the smell, nothing jumps out at you. Instead, each flavor takes its turn at center-stage, standing in the spotlight for a moment then fading into the background. Malty sweetness, granny smith apples, caramelized brown sugar, a bit of alcohol, bitterness, all combine nicely to provide a great-tasting beer.

Mouthfeel: Decent carbonation. Full body. Creamy smooth on the palate.

Drinkability: JohnnyP was right. A very nice beer for the holidays. Let it snow! I have some set aside to age and can't wait to see what happens to this beer over time.

OldFrothingSlosh, Nov 18, 2003
Photo of SkinnyElvis
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I think I have reached a new BA milestone: I got this beer from a friend of my wife who was on vacation in Maine & brought me back a few bottles b/c she knows I am a beer geek! Cheers to Deb!

Pours with a slight head. Dark amber in color. Nice smell of malt. English in flavor all the way. Mouthfeel is smooth & it is a drinkable brew. I don't have much experience with English Strong Ale's but this seems to taste like a well made ESB.

Cheers.

SkinnyElvis, Sep 23, 2007
Photo of juicebox
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

juicebox, Apr 24, 2013
Photo of Thrasher
3.38/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A very violent pour is the only way to get a lasting head on this puppy. The buttery flavors of the ringwood are strongly dominant and a little bit goes a long way. Malts and hops are diminished because of it. There are some interesting fruity undercurrents, some intriguing spiciness which I think is derived from the alcohol, and the malts (if you can discern them buried underneath all the butterscotch) are sturdy, salty and delicious. I would love a bit more crispness from a more forceful hop presence. Other reviewers have mentioned a fair amount of hoppiness, but I'm not getting any of it. The sweetness and butteriness of this beer gets cloying, especially as it warms; I preferred it at a cold right-out-of-the-fridge temperature, unusual for this style of beer. This is not a bad beer but I think it is overrated. That said, it does grow on you and each bottle tastes better than the last. Perhaps a fresher bottle, or a cask-conditioned pint, or even a more wintery setting would enlighten me as to why this beer basks in universal acclaim.

Thrasher, Jun 22, 2003
Photo of far333
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Copper colored with a beige head of bubbles of assorted sizes that settle quickly, but leave a fine layer of foam across the top of the liquid. Complex aroma of malt and spice and apple and pear and cinnamon and butterscotch and cotton candy. The more I sniff, the more I notice in it. Flavor seems to be made up of small parts of malt, hops, banana, and spice, with a definite alcohol finish and lingering bitter. This is a very warming beer with a rich and satisfying flavor.

far333, Apr 03, 2004
Photo of yankeeheel
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a nice dark amber color with a thin white head which dissipated quickly. The smell is of a pleasent ale, breads and caramel malts. Some of the alcohol comes through to the nose too.

The taste is very balanced. Malts up front, some sweetmess and carbonation in the middle, and a just a tinge of hop at the end. The ABV gives it a little bigger mouthfeel than your average ale.

Very quaffable for such a high ABV. Is it the holy grail of strong ales? Not in my book, but it's pretty darn good.

yankeeheel, Sep 06, 2003
Photo of doremite
3.25/5  rDev -17.3%

doremite, Jun 21, 2013
Photo of ADR
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear dark bronze color, really cottony head on a hard pour, settles to 1/4 of an inch in a minute. Wide brimming lace. Bready aroma, slight lemony accents. Medium body and lower carbonation. The flavor strikes me as extremely nutty, almost Brazils and Filberts with the skins on, working with an odd dryish hop flavor. Slightly buttery but I've had worse. Finishes full, somewhat papery, with a light molasses tone. I'd drink it again, especially if they fiddled with the hop bill a little. Thanks to (who else?) JohnnyP for the beer -- its got character, alright... ;>)

ADR, Jan 20, 2004
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.38/5  rDev -14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appears an amber copper hue with a large off white cream head fine bubbled forms thick at least three fingers deep on the pint glass. By the way the head dwindles slowly and JohnnyP this one's for you. Lacing is left behind evenly in thin streaks between sips. Aroma contains tart fruit notes namingly some cherry and wood essence with an air of anise. Almost a cidery character to it in my opinion, again with more barrel notes. Flavors are wild with a front to back barrage of tart fruit, alcohol and wood aged caramel with anise spiced booziness. Caramelized brown sugar and strong alcohol flow together in the finish tickling the nose hairs just a bit but the body is a simple syrup texture with light carbonation that doesn't catch you until the back of the throat, really interesting definitely hard to describe. Drinkability overall this is a bit of a strange bird and it definitely screams a unique New England quality. I'm assuming that part, I've never traveled that far to the Northeast but again worth a try holds a special place in my beer memory and I saw it in Virginia had to pick up a bottle. A little bit of dust collected on the bottle but I assure you this one is still drinking prime.

WVbeergeek, Jun 05, 2008
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Geary's Hampshire Special Ale from D.L. Geary Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 569 ratings.