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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

586 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 586
Reviews: 377
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 30
Gots: 30 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-30-2001

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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 586 | Reviews: 377
Photo of purplehops
4.58/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2002 - 2003 release

Hampshire Special Ale pumped a light copper color with a firm white head that clung to the glass and your mouth and lips. The aroma was Munich and Biscuit malts with what seemed like some peat smoked malt along with fruity yeast and floral hop notes. The taste started out with a rush of malt sweetness that was quickly balanced by hop bitterness and some citrus notes. The finish was a smooth malty flavor along with caramel, orange, and spicy hop bitterness with a touch of alcohol. Aftertaste was a big malt and alcohol taste lingering long into the afternoon with a hoppy profile popping up every now and then. Mouthfeel was very very very smooth with a nice alcohol warmth to it.
Overall a "Very" Special Ale! If you thought the bottle version was good....
Once again Dave has outdone himself. IMHO this is what Maine beer is all about.

Photo of markskar
4.57/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is my "go-to" beer. It's brewed just up the road in Portland so it's always fresh around here. I'll give anyone who rates this at less than a B+ the benefit of the doubt and assume their sample may not have been as its peak freshness. Nice abv at 7.0 and very drinkable--perhaps too much so (at least that's what my wife says).

A: Clear dark amber. Nice head with consistently good lacing.

S: Oak and a complex fruitiness that I can't quite put my finger on.

T: The perfect balance of malt and hops. Not too sweet, not too bitter, and while the alcohol taste is there, it isn't overpowering. Touch of caramel, bit of toffee. As with all English-style ales, it has the standard oakiness to it, but that too is just right and doesn't overpower the other complex flavors.

M: Not too thick and not over-carbonated. Keeps me coming back for more. Day after day.

D: Already stated above, but perhaps a bit too drinkable. Some reviewers seemed to feel that it's too heavy for summer-time drinking, but I think it's refreshing any time of year.

Personal favorite, can't say enough good things about it. We're blessed with the availability of a great assortment of great beers in Portsmouth (including our hometown favorite, the illustrious Smutty!), but this one will always have a special place in my heart.

Photo of StevieW
4.56/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle. Shiny clear, copper color, rich golden tinged bubbly foam filled beige head. Fills an American pint glass perfectly with an full 2 inch head. A beauty to behold, a visually striking beer.
Rich full aromos of candied apples, carmel, and rum soaked cherries. Very fresh and seasonal. First taste combines the seasonal sweetness with a sharp bitter hop snap. Bitterness is super smooth and well matched with the fruit filled finish. Clean and crisp flavor combinations nothing lingers, except an urge to have another sip. Hints of butterscotch are noticed, but not in a negative way at all. This beer is medium bodied, lighter than I expected. I have it as a cross between a Geary's Halloween Ale, A Celebration Ale, and maybe the perfect ESB, but it is listed as a Strong/Old Ale. This beer grabs your attention and keeps it. Incredibly easy to drink, I am shocked my glass is already finished. I expected this to be along the lines of an Anchor OSA, but it is more toward a Celebration Ale in body without the fresh piney hop presence. But make no mistake this is a taste all it's own and very much worth seeking out. I need to get more of this, somebody please visit Florida with a suitcase full of it. Cheers to JohnnyP for the sample, I can see how he raves about this one. This is no mere beer, this one recieves my highest compliment...
Magic in a glass !

Photo of MaineBrewing
4.55/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a clear medium amber with ruby in the center and orange around the fringe. Head was a good two fingers of thick foam but dissipated quickly to a large bubbled froth. As always with Geary's and other similar breweries out of Portland I get no lacing, no remaining head, and a dead looking ale after a while. It ends up looking like I'm drinking iced tea. I would have to say the body/color puts it above "okay" but the liveliness or lack thereof really affects it and makes it dull.

S - Deep nutty aroma, with toffee and caramel malt notes, lots of fruity-ness as well as diacetyl, butter, biscuit, slight metallic character, and slight warming alcohol. No discernible hops, smells on par with the style and very approachable.

T - Taste is a complex deep nutty toffee malt character, loads of toasty bread and biscuit. Lots of buttery/diacetyl/ringwood yeast flavor dominates the finish, however is balanced well with the malt character and compliments it instead of overpower it. Good bite of bitter hops with lingering butter and toffee notes finish it off. To me the taste is perfect for the style.

M - Thick with low carb, a little hot at the end, slightly rough. This to me is a slow sipper, one to savor the nuances of the malt character that is deep and delicious.

O - Very English and very Portland. No matter how many newer more inventive breweries pop up in this state, the old school open fermented "Yorkshire" inspired ales with ringwood yeast in my opinion are sort of the foundation of Maine brewing, and Gear's HSA to me is some sort of the Pièce de résistance. A decadent deluge of English inspired flavor done in the old world style.

Photo of kmpitz2
4.54/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to SheepNutz for providing me this beer in a trade. It pours a deep amber to slightly deep red in color. The head starts about a finger high, but falls to just ring the top with sparse cover. What a nose. I love malt and I love hops. This give me the best of both worlds. The malt is giving me caramel with a rich toffee, almost buttery tone as well. The hops blend really well into the malt, but I get some citrusy notes from those. Very rich flavor, like a super rich caramel floods my taste buds. There is a fantastic hop bitterness dncing on my tongue after swallowing the beer. Good good and good. The beer is thick, but not as thick as I would have expected. This is a trade-off in my book, as it increases the drinkability. For the full flavor, this beer is very drinkable. Just a good beer.

Photo of Lupe
4.52/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rich copper topped with a healthy off white head. Great retention and lots of sticky lace left behind lace.

Hoppy aroma with citrus and spice. Sweetness enters the nose after the hops, adding caramel, honey, and biscuit malt.

Starts off spicy with lots of hops - herbal with some citrus and spice. Malt sweetness kicks in some caramel and toffee, honey, toasted bread, and a distinct fruitness. Alcohol does not show at all. Awesome combination of hops and malt. At times very hoppy and then bursting with malty goodness, with a seamless transition. Delicious.

Full bodied, smooth and rich. Mild carbonation fits the beer well. Great drinkability - really leaves you wanting more. A top notch beer.

Big thanks to charlesw for sending this my way in Beer Powerball.

Photo of bewareOFpenguin
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

They still sell it in Shaw's (local supermarket)!! I picked it up last night and brought it home. Cracked one while cooking dinner. Nice white head. I tasted those great hops with the first sip. Then the bitterness. This is the best seasonal beer. I anticipate "when the weather sucks" so I can drink it. I have been known to hold on to six packs of this into August.

Photo of HarryHood
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of edchicma
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mmmmmmm...Beautifully rounded brew...Hoppy and malt aromas invite you to savor this brew. A beautiful dark copper with a small head...color alone suggests rounded balance. Taste is nice and hoppy but with enough of a malt reminder to round out the mouthfeel. Slight aftertaste reminds you it is 7% ABV. Extremely drinkable...the only worry I have is that it is so rounded and smooth that I might be tempted to drink too many, but is that really a problem?

Note: I tried this off the shelf in August 2003...As it is a seasonal brew, I have to add that it certainly held its character beyond the March date mentioned on the brewer's website. By the way, there was no date on my bottle.

Photo of george42
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of SheLaLa
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of rhabdovirus
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of epoole3
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of rorjets
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of verdict603
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of Gregwa
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of dprophet
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of BeerBuilder
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear copper color with steady carbonation. It forms a creamy off-white head that leaves sheets of lacing. The aroma is of sweet caramel malts, with a honey and breadiness. It has a slight bit of alcohol is the aroma too, kinda like a bit of rum cake.

The flavor is of caramel malts and honey as well. It has a slight toastiness and breadiness too. There is slight hop spiciness, but the caramel malt play through more. It is sweet at first, but then immediately turns drying for the remainder of the sip.

It is smooth and almost creamy, but drying as well. An interesting feel. It masks the 7% well. I wish I had another....I would love to try this fresh. Very nice. Thanks Paulie.

Photo of stevecooks
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of AJ01923
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of montag30
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of Bighuge
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear copper color with streams of carbonation surfacing at a nice clip. Thin muddy looking brown head adorns the top and dwindles down to a collaring within a minute. Lacing is spotty, but nice. The aroma is quite nice. A thick malt presence blends with some sweet fruity tones. Toffee and caramel apple. And then there's also some nuttiness, wood and a little smoke. Nice blend. Some alcohol hits my palate first. A bit of a sting, but not out of character in the context of this beer. It blends nicely with the wooden barrel character and slight smoke I find in this beer. The malts make their presence known with caramel, toffee, biscuit and a little toasted character. I like the sweet aspect of this beer. Candied apple comes to mind. Not cloying in the least. Just delicious.

I do not know if there is a bigger advocate of one beer than JohnnyP and this one. I thank my lucky stars (and JohnnyP) I had a chance to try it (and cellar one).

Photo of mfigueroa713
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of PalatePilot
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of thinwhiteduke
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

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Geary's Hampshire Special Ale from D.L. Geary Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 586 ratings.