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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
88
very good

536 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 536
Reviews: 370
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 12.44%
Wants: 28
Gots: 11 | 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: 536 | Reviews: 370 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.98/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Spot on for the style, this beverage emmits a rich though pale malting. Medium golden coloured body with a generous, intially enormous foamy white head. Above average mouthfeel, themalting is complex and tasty, with a dryish and slightly bitter finish.

Sammy, Dec 28, 2010
Photo of t0rin0
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

t0rin0, Sep 18, 2012
Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

djrn2, Jul 08, 2014
Photo of nmann08
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

nmann08, Dec 05, 2011
Photo of metter98
4/5  rDev +1.5%
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 brentk56
3.95/5  rDev +0.3%
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

brentk56, Sep 16, 2007
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.6/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

None other than JohnnyP himself says that HSA is better the fresher it is, so I'm drinking this bottle within 10 days of receiving it in a trade. Thanks mikeys01.

Clear red/orange/amber, mostly orange. The head is medium tan and on the small side. It falls to a uniform, thick film and leaves small sheets of lace. The nose is interesting; malt-dominant with sweet, spiced dark fruit and hops. It's pretty complex and it's beyond my ability to pick out all of the various contributors.

The flavor follows the nose pretty closely. Sweet, toasted caramel malt, dried fruit (raisins, cherries), hard apple cider and spicy hops are the main elements. It's also a little vinous with a wee bit of evident alcohol. The finish is long and warming and the beer seems to drink higher than the stated ABV. The mouthfeel is an uncreamy medium-full and the initially exuberant carbonation settled down nicely by the second half of the bottle.

I'm not a big fan of strong ales, but this one is actually drinkable and enjoyable. Many of them are too solvent-like for my tastes. HSA is complex and tasty; too bad it doesn't have a wider distribution. I'd love to have the opportunity to try it on-tap some day.

BuckeyeNation, Apr 15, 2004
Photo of BEERchitect
3.53/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Better than I expected. Looks rusty and a bit murky. Moderately carbonated and laced well. Lacks head retention. Smells malty, slightly toasted and roasty. Mild spices come through the nose. Tastes Malty and molassas-like. Nutty, fig-ey, and caramel round out the sweetness. Balanced with bitter and flavor hops, spices, and carbonation. A chewy body again moderated by light carbonation. finishes a bit cloying and malty. Better balance and a rounder beer than I had given it credit for. Will try again.

BEERchitect, Jul 15, 2005
Photo of Knapp85
3.08/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This poured out as a clear looking golden color with a fizzy white head on top. The smell of the beer was decent, nothing too exciting though. The taste of the beer had a good amount of malts and grain flavors with a dry bitterness in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel was lighter than I expected. The carbonation wasn't bad either. Overall this was an average beer in my opinion.

Knapp85, Dec 17, 2011
Photo of oberon
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%
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 JAHMUR
3/5  rDev -23.9%

JAHMUR, Thursday at 04:44 PM
Photo of TMoney2591
3.3/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

Thanks to papollo for this bottle!

Now this does look like an intriguing beer, doesn't it? It pours a clear russet-ruby topped by about a finger or so of light ecru foam, which doesn't hang around to chat very long. The nose comprises vodka-soaked buttery biscuits, light rye bread, and a smidgen of orange rind. Interesting turn; let's see where it leads. The taste strips away some of the booze, which is replaced by a stronger version of the orange peel. Everything else remains fairly static from nose to tongue. (...Now, that's an image, am I right?) The body is on the heavier side of medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a slightly syrupy feel. Overall, an interesting brew, indeed, but not something I can see drinking very much of in the future.

TMoney2591, Nov 03, 2010
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.15/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2002-2003. A clear, copper colored body is capped by a thin but creamy off-white head that holds quite well but leaves little lace. The nose displays a lightly buttery caramel malt; some nice fruitiness (berries, citrus peel), and a touch of hops (Fuggles?). It's medium bodied with a fine, median carbonation that caresses the tongue - very nice! A rich maltiness that seems to derive from the Maris Otter varity dominates the flavor. It's caramelish with a mild touch of butter; fruity with light notes of orange, green raisins, plums, and cherry; and a touch of licorice that's probably created through a combination of sweetish malt and a somewhat minty hop flavor. It's rich malt is balanced by a bold bitterness; and it lays on the tongue in a long finish with malt, hops and fruit all making an appearance. Nicely complex!

NeroFiddled, Apr 11, 2003
Photo of Jason
4.47/5  rDev +13.5%
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 nickfl
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours with one finger of light tan foam on top of a clear, amber-brown body. The head settles at a moderate pace and leaves nice lace.

S - A rich, malty aroma of caramel and toffee with just a hint of spicy hops in the background.

T - Toasty, sugary brown malt notes up front. Some caramel, toffee, red apple, and a big load of brown sugar in the middle. Finishes with some musty hop flavor, more toffee and brown sugar and moderate bitterness.

M - Medium-thick body, moderately high carbonation, and a balanced finish.

D - Actually not bad. I didn't expect much after finding this one in a local bottle shop that I rarely visit, but it turned out to be a decent example of the style. The malt character is quite nice and if finishes with balanced bitterness that makes it quite drinkable.

nickfl, Jun 20, 2012
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.38/5  rDev -14.2%
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
Photo of TheManiacalOne
2.78/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler glass.

A: The beer is a light amber color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of honey, fruit and spice, with a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts with a burst of sweetness from flavors of honey, citrus, dark fruits and caramel. Then some hops bitterness and the sting of alcohol (surprising for a beer at only 7.00% ABV) come in. The malt character is on the thin side but there really doesn’t seem to be a much balance. The after-taste is bitter-sweet.

M: Crisp but not very smooth, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Not very tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, good kick, decent representation of style. I really wasn’t all that impressed with this beer and it’s not one that I’d want to drink again.

TheManiacalOne, Jan 20, 2008
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.33/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear amber brown with a light tan head. On the nose it is tar like with a slight alcoholic tone to it. There is something else that is extremely prevalent that I just can’t put my finger on. Peat, maybe? On the mouth it is...whoa...sorry...was tasting and typing at the same time. Smooth and even. Strong caramel tones on the mouth. Feel is good, with a lower carbonation. Thicker with an almost syrupy feel. Definitely drinkable, but it’s definitely a strong English ale.

RblWthACoz, Dec 30, 2007
Photo of Slatetank
3.9/5  rDev -1%
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.

Slatetank, Sep 11, 2007
Photo of russpowell
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
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)

russpowell, Oct 25, 2007
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.08/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Geary's HSA pours out a clear, dark bronze color into my glass, and gives off a thick, bubbly, tan head.
Aroma is mild, soft, sweet, sensual, lightly fruity, more from malt, no hops detected at all.
Taste: bright and sharp are the first adjectives to jump to mind, followed by delicious and divine. This is a devil from the start! Juicy, thick, constant texture, considerable presence on the palate, round, full, fantastic. Rich and malty, with an increasing alcoholic presence, even at a mere 7%.
Just the sort of wickedly delightful brew that sends you into a particular bliss from which you never wish to leave! Long, tasty finish. Quite impressive. I could easily make this a favorite, if it were native to my environs. So good!

Huge thanks to marc77 and Bierman9, who both submitted samples! Prost!

feloniousmonk, Oct 31, 2003
Photo of WesWes
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours an amber color with a 1/4" offwhite head that fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice malty scent that boasts of pale and crystal malts along with a wonderful hop aroma and warm finish. The taste is good as well. It has a warm malty flavor that is a bit dry and hoppy on the finish. It has a bit of yeast fruitiness. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good winter seasonal. It has excellent flavor and aroma; an awesome drinker.

WesWes, Nov 02, 2004
Photo of beernads
3/5  rDev -23.9%

beernads, May 24, 2013
Photo of jwc215
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours copper with a thin, creamy, lasting white head. Trailing lace slides down the glass.

The smell is of caramel/toffee with earthy notes. Peppery spiciness warms the nose.

The taste is caramel/toffee with woody, earthy notes. Bitter hops even out the malty sweetness. Ringwood yeast and a touch of buttery diacetyl are evident, though controlled well. Nicely balanced with warming alcohol peeking through in the finish.

Medium-bodied, and smoooth, with a good drinkabilty for the abv/noticeable alcohol. Well-made, well-balanced and true to style.

jwc215, Nov 04, 2007
Photo of DrunkinYogi
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

DrunkinYogi, Sep 26, 2014
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Geary's Hampshire Special Ale from D.L. Geary Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 536 ratings.