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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.
very good

581 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 581
Reviews: 375
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 29
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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Ratings: 581 | Reviews: 375 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Dogbrick
3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a mostly clear reddish-brown color with a medium thick and creamy light tan head that has good retention. Patchy lacing on the glass. Equal parts toasted malt and hops in the nose. Medium, smooth body with a moderately hoppy character supported by sweet caramel and malt flavors. Mild spice and alcohol are present too. The finish is hoppy with touches of toasted malt and fruit in the aftertaste. Straightforward and easy to drink, this is a pretty good session beer.

Photo of msubulldog25
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Short-necked, twist-off-capped bottle, holding 12 ounces; poured to the Abita pint glass. No date (or much else) on the simple label. Big 'HSA' on the neck and cap. This came from Back East, a swap with AdamB84...

A: Crystal-clear honey/amber, topped with about 1-finger of pillowy, ivory-colored head. Excellent head retention, settling to a denser creaminess. A healthy level of fast-rising carbonation.

S: This one was slow to develop, starting vaguely sweet and grainy. With time and warming, more ripe fruit, orange rind and flowery spice rose. Malts become more and more sugar-laden, melding nicely with the fruit and spice.

T: Lots of ripe fruit (raisins, plums?) hit up front, with a citrus juice twist and an intriguing tart cherry. Bready malts have lots of sugariness, brown sugar and toffee. Drying hoppiness in the finish balances the malts well.

M: Some carbonation 'busy-ness' in the mouth initially, then settling to a smooth, creamy mouthfeel - seeming to thicken as the glass empties. Medium carbonation. Alcohol gives a slight warmth and malts stick a bit on the cheeks and lips.

D: Quite tasty! Intriguing flavors, something different. Easy to drink, too (mine didn't last more than 5 minutes...it was a long day at work...); 7% makes it a strong ale to 'session' but I certainly have liked another...

Photo of russpowell
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this NC late July, review based on notes

Poured copper/caramel with 2 fingers of sand colored head. Above average lacing & head retention

S: Slight breadyness & brown sugar

T: Bready with herbal hops up front. Hints of brown sugar & chocolate as this warms. Finishes with herbal & citrus hops, & dry brown sugar

MF: Rich & chewy with low carbonation & near perfect balance

Drank real easy for the ABV, a really tasty offering from one of the first Maine breweries I ever tasted (back in the 90s)

Photo of yelterdow
4.45/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served at just over fridge temperature in an imperial pint glass. Big thanks to Andy's in Bogota for hosting Geary's debut in NJ, this tasting was shared with EPseja the next day.

Appearance- Pours a fiery copper red, the head even carries with it an orange luminescence. A tornado effect is happening inside the glass... great action. The crown settles from about two fingers down to a finger that stays throughout. Bubbles are tightly packed, a real nice looking beer.

Smell- Wow... perfumy fruits and malts right off the bat, conceding to a sweet, bubble gum character that may be a result of the Belgian candi sugar aromas. Is it peaches, or some other tree fruit I'm getting here? It's not quite tropical, but it's luscious and full. Eric mentioned honeysuckle, and I realize that's exactly the description I was looking for.

Taste- Big fruitiness, amazing biscuity malts, and a dry hop bitterness that really dazzles... the English character with its crisp, mineraly elements does wonders for this beer. The alcohol briefly appears towards the center/back of the tongue, disappearing just in time for the swallow.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- It's tingly in the beginning, but at the same time it's soapy and slick. Great body, and the drinkability is... well, "dangerous" as Michael Jackson once said. At 7%, this is superbly crafted and round.

Photo of Brad007
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light amber color with a one-finger head. Smell is strong and malty upfront, much like the style implies. Taste is reminiscent of a barleywine, with a softness to it and a lot of fruity/biscuity overtones in the finish. Very tasty to me. The alcohol seems to have mellowed, creating a very drinkable ale that is far more suited for sipping than chugging. I like this very much.

Photo of SkinnyElvis
4/5  rDev +2%
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.


Photo of brentk56
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy amber color with a rocky head that deposits strands of lace around the pint glass

Smell: Caramel, stone fruit and a hints of earthy hops and butterscotch

Taste: Starts with a rather fruity combination of nectarine and caramel, with a growing presence of earthy bitter, almost medicinal tones; after the swallow, the earthy flavors build and provide a pronounced pithy but medicinal bitterness, along with growing sweet butterscotch tones, although the diacetyl does not get out of hand

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A little too sweet from my perspective, this ale offers an interestingly different approach and is worth a try

Photo of Slatetank
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Decanted cool into my Caracole glass.
A - A very eye pleasing deep amber w/ copper accents and a full 2 finger tan head w/ minimal lace.

S - A fresh yeasty, fruity ale scent. Slightly currant and light spice/raisin.

M - A crisp, tannic, lightly sweet feel -medium bodied w/ a slight tart texture and a dry warmth of alcohol. Moderate spice effect from the yeast and gentle carbonation.

T - Apple biscuit and a hop flavor start of the taste that is spicy and pine tinged. The creamy malt taste is sweet and the alcohol is slightly evident and smooth. The flavor is both fruity and spicy as I take the last sips.

D - A nice clean ale w/ a bit of strength. There is a nice English ale character that is very drinkable and full of flavor.

Photo of argock
3.84/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a clear pint glass

A: Copper-light brown with thin off-white head and skimpy lace.

S: Toasted malt with bread and caramel, reasonably heavy alcohol, and faint fruity aromas

T: Malty with buttery caramel flavor with fruity flavor cut by the moderate hops bitterness and warm alcohol. Very full beer for sure.

M: Light carbonation and full bodied with uncanny smoothness.

D: Tasty and smooth but very full-bodied and with heavy alcohol presence.

Photo of ArrogantB
3.26/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Orange in color with a good head, looks like it will be a decent brew.It tastes slightly English if that makes any sense but it is a little too strong and I usually don’t say that. This is a decent beer but not one I will seek out again, doesn't suit my tastes.

Photo of techdiver
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear deep reddish copper with modest head that dissipates quickly.

Toasted malt and toffee to the nose.

Wonderful malt taste with a balanced hop bite.

Very smooth, medium bodied, clean and crisp.

Great drinkability, just a pleasure to drink. My first look at this style, and it's fairly impressive.

Photo of MMansfield
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Notes from Seaport Beer Fest 08/11/07

Appearance: Poured a clear, coppery colour with an off white head. Settles down to a generous lacey ring.

Aroma: Caramel mostly with some sweet malts. A bit of spicy tea notes and floral hops.

Taste: Sweet upfront, quite butter. Medium bitter finish with some biscuits.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied, pretty refreshing.

Final Statment: It wasn't until after I took the notes I was told of the percentage. I was about to declare this a very sessionable ale until I found out it was 7%! There was no hint of alcohol warmth in this at all. Could be a dangerous beer. Definately nothing to turn down.

Photo of barknee
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

GHSA is a deep copper color with a creamy off-white foamy head.
Nose of heady honeysuckle flower with a noticeable ferric element. The malts are in main attendance here, showing nice marshmallow and tropical citric essence as well. Moderately assertive hop character balances out this brew. Tasting this beer, the hops take the forefront, much more so than the nose would lead you. Moderate hopping with generous warm honeyed malts makes for a well-made and enjoyable brew. Alcohol is virtually undetectable. Slightly viscous and nicely creamy and crisp in the mouth, this is fine ale for enjoying straight up or with your favorite meal.

Photo of EVLguy
3.16/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Picked this one up on a whim. I'd only had on other Geary's beer before, their pale ale, and had enjoyed it thoroughly. This however caught me off guard. I had no clue this was an english style, and was still not aware when I drank the first bottle from the six pack. This review comes from the my fourth bottle had of this beer.

Appearance: A vigorous pour gave this ale a one and half finger head which quickly disintegrated to almost nothing, a light thread of bubbles which left no lacing. Color was a deep orange, very clear, almost tea-like.

Smell: I got a light hint of caramel malt as well as tea/tobacco leaf scents. However the overall aroma was weak.

Taste: I have to admit flavours I got in this beer were interesting, even if a bit odd. The tea leaf taste was the most apparent following a coffee like taste along with other herby tangs. The hops only seem to leave an ashy taste, but that maybe interpreted as smoky the some.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly this beer did have a nice weight to it. More firm than I've been use to with all the ipa i've been drinking lately. Only a mild acidity and a smooth finish.

Drinkability: I gotta say I can't see myself drinking this beer very often. All the grassy, earthy tastes are not something I enjoy in beer. I might come back to something like this once and a while, but probably just to remind of me what those tastes are.

Photo of macpapi
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Have always thought this was Geary's finest beer by a long shot. HSA pours a copper/dark-brown color with a half-inch white head that lingers for a good 15-20 seconds. Pretty decent lacing with little visiblity throughout the glass. The aroma is dominated by malt, biscuity elements, caramel, with a hint of toffee. There is also a bit of sweet fruit presence. A slight alcohol burn of the nostrils is worthy of mention as well. Good and somewhat complex aroma. Taste is very good. Malty and sweet with a nice caramel flavor as a welcome compliment. A complete and full presence in the mouth, with the slight hint of alcohol a bit astringent on the tongue.

On the whole, this is an eminently drinkable beer. A bit heavier and more potent than a true session beer should be. Nonetheless, cut out a couple of these from your total alotment and you would have the perfect beer to enjoy for a time while sitting and talking with friends, watching a game or enjoying any kind of celebration. A truely 'Special Ale,'

Photo of phisig137
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep amber copper color with a two finger head. Good retention falls leaving behind a fairly heavy amount of lace.

Aroma is definitely malt driven. Well toasted grain, toffee, and nutty overtones. Quite nice.

Flavor is sweet, malty, and delicious. Toasted hazelnuts, burnt sugars, toffee, biscuit malts, and fresh bread are all backed by a mild fresh yeasty bakery note. Slightly sweet up front, with a relatively dry, slightly stale malt finish. Well balanced. This is an exercise in toasted malt usage. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth. Drinkability is pretty damn good.... This goes down quite easily for the deceptive 7% abv.

Overall, a pretty tasty beer. I begin to wonder why we only see this in my area during the summer. A damn fine english strong ale, although there are a few better strong/old ales and barley wines out there. Well worth trying, and picking up. Don't go way out of your way for it, but if you haven't tried it, pick some up. Normally, Geary's beers I find to be VERY hit or miss.... this seems to be a pretty solid offering.

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured amber with a head that quickly fades to nothing. Spotty lacing. The smell is quite malty, but dry. The taste has that same dry maltiness up front, but this is followed by quite a whallop of bitter orange hops and a spicy finish. Quite tasty. Mouthfeel is a bit prickly, but it suites the hop slam. Quite a nice treat, a beautiful if hoppier than usual exampleof the style.

Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to ampzilla for this brew.

Pours a nice clean/clear dark golden amber color, nice carbonation, nice small foamy tannish head, nice sticky lacing follows. The nose is malty, slightly spicy, and lots of caramel. The taste is malty, slightly bitter, some spicness, and lots of caramel. Medium body. Very drinkable, a tasty ESA, glad to have had a chance to try it.

Photo of DavidSeanNJ
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First off, this is one classy looking bottle- excellent artwork on the label.

12 oz. bottle poured into my yankee pint glass...

Pours a orange/copper color. Lots of fluffy white head- great contrast to the bright color of the beer. The beer itself had a sweet aroma- malty- sugar- HSA tasted of grains and malts- some hops but all around a perfect blend- superb smoothness. Please note: the sweetness of the beer was not overbearing- HSA is the type of beer that could please all kinds of beer lovers-

I want to drink these all night even with a 7.00% ABV. Yum.

Photo of jjayjaye
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber color with a whispy half finger head that fades fairly quickly. Some lacing observed.

A somewhat subtle malty caramel aroma and hints of alcohol.

The mouth feel is medium with a carbonated characteristic and a fairly significant hoppy presence.

The flavor is good. The complexity of bitterness from the hops over the sweet caramel malt taste is interesting.

This one is a good drinker. The 7% ABV is pretty well hidden.

Photo of scarletfire79
4.45/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

one of the most drinkable beers i've ever had. i don't want to put it down. pours dark amber brown with a frothy white head. great staying power, decent lacing. definitly picking up some fruity notes in the nose, sweet like honey. the taste is balanced, mellow, malty, hoppy, i could go on. just very nice. i'm sorry i didn't pick this up sooner. kind of like a barleywine junior. good beer.

Photo of Atlas1
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

As I pass from BA Acolyte to BA Initiate, I toast my Geary's Hampshire Special Ale to one and all!

Pours a deep copper orange color, accented by rich orange highlights when held up to the light. A fat two-finger head sits atop and leaves a bit of lace. Nice enough, to be sure, but nothing to write home about. The aroma is full of dark fruit. Dense prune and raisin scents, with some banana and pear thrown in for good measure. Malty and fruity aroma for the most part, but with some spices as well; maybe some coriander, or something akin to that, and a hint of pepper. The taste is quite pleasant. A very nice balance of fruit and spice, with the kiss of hops making themselves known in the end. Boozy, but not overwhelmingly alcoholish. At 7% ABV, this is, perhaps, to be expected. Crisp, clean mouthfeel, but still sturdy. I wouldn't call this a highly drinkable beer, but it is an entirely drinkable beer, if that makes sense. Not for the faint of heart, and not for everyone, the Geary's HSA is a tasty treat for spicy malt beer fans. A beer I won't seek out often, but one that I'll gladly have again.

Photo of albern
4.01/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a nice copper orange with only minimal head which doesn't hang around long. Minimal lacing. The smell is very good, even right from the bottle. I detect lots of malt, caramel, wheatiness, some hops, maybe some spices. This is a pretty syrupy, full bodied beer, sort of sticky consistency with moderate carbonation. The taste is quite strong for a 7 ABV. I thought it had a higher ABV just from the alcohol tones which are present throughout. The taste is caramel, some orange, some spice, malt, and bitterish hops. This is a complex beer with lots going on, but a little on the bitter side for my tastes. There is some imbalance towards the hops and the alcohol taste is a bit too strong for this one. The aftertaste is also quite bitter and the esters of the hops do come through as well. Good but not my favorite either.

Photo of DrJay
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received from cburian as part of Secret Bunny 07. Thanks Chris!

Clear medium amber with a thin cap of fine, whitish foam. Some stickage between sips, decent head retention for what's there. Aromas of floral hops, caramel, brown sugar, and fruity esters (pear?). Malty flavour, not overly sweet, but with a mellow caramel backbone and a solid, balanced bitterness. A little bready, toasty, estery middle, and a hint of alcohol. Medium bodied, lowish carbonation, slightly grainy texture with a bit of warmth at the end. Very nice. A well-crafted, easy drinking english strong ale. I like this one quite a bit.

Photo of lehows
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Eastern Standard in Boston, this hearty brew poured a dark amber color with a very small off-white head. Head dissapeared completely. Strong aromas of sweet malt and alcohol hit you in the nose. Big malt flavors abound here, with a mild fruity quality and a pronounced alcohol presence. Bitter hops display themselves in the finish. Almost whiskey-like aftertaste. This is a big and malty beer to sip on a cold winter's night. Another good one from Geary's.

Geary's Hampshire Special Ale from D.L. Geary Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 581 ratings.