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

376 Reviews
THE BROS
98
world-class

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Reviews: 376
Hads: 594
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 9.87%
Wants: 30
Gots: 37 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 376 | Hads: 594
Photo of GDMFSOB
3.85/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I didn't really think this was anything special the first time I tried this, but it really has grown on me. Translucent, golden-copper appearance to go with a thin, off-white head isn't anything out of the ordinary. The STRONG, warming alcohol tinge to go with hints of molasses and smokey maple syrup in both the nose and the mouth make this beer a flavor-filled monster . Amost like an ultra-malty version of an American IPA. Be careful, this will pretty much kill your palette, but it's well matched with strong cheeses and rye bread. It's the perfect Winter beer even though I'm lovin' it in the Summer. (607 characters)

Photo of beancounter
3.23/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Amber color, minimal head. does not leave any lacing

S-Carmel and malt. Nothing else.

Taste Carmel and malt. You get the picture...

Mouthfeel. - Moderate mouthfeel. Appropriate for the style.

Drinkability-This beer is very one dimensional. All carmel and malt. if you like these flavors, you will like this beer. The carmel is not overwhelming however, so it does go down easy (383 characters)

Photo of HoorayBeer
4.27/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I enjoy D.L. Geary Brewing Company's beer, it is always enjoyable and delicious. This is one of their more famous brews. The Hampshire Special Ale has a nice amber red glow to it. No head when poured into a pint glass. Has some nice earthy aromas with hints of spices. Some malts come through as you inhale more. Nice first taste, hitting right on the front of your tongue. Good flavor as the spices and a slight sweet flavor cut through the malts. Slow aftertaste creeps in as the bitters end. Good overall taste. Good session beer, just dont get too far in the hole. (568 characters)

Photo of Phillip13
3.65/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

No more then average Strong ale. Slightly hoppy with a mild after taste and not much bite. Was very disappointed with beer was hoping for more hoppy flavor that was just not there. (180 characters)

Photo of sudz42
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

for the style it's exceptional--the style being winter. too many winter styles are sweet.

this is balanced, with strong hop finish, strong malt and a high abv.

have to side with the brothers' reviews in the "A" category. although they're from massachusetts they both spell "flavour." maybe they've been hanging around england. seems the letter system is new; kinda preferred the numeric rating system.

first drank this in the early 90's when it was only brewed in winter. it should stay that way because it's a winter beer. now it's year 'round and a new label. oh well change is good.

gives you an "imperial" sort of unexpected buzz. very warm. (652 characters)

Photo of markskar
4.57/5  rDev +15.7%
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. (1,311 characters)

Photo of hbis2gut
4.94/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

WOW, this guy does a few beers and does them well. This is the showcase beer for this brewery. A strong ale that gives off malt and hop aromas rather than booze fumes. Mouthfeel is perfect in my opinion. Too often these types of ales are sticky or too heavily bodied. Highly recommended. (287 characters)

Photo of alexwag
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Good ruddy amber with hint of red, partially opaque. Thin film of creamy white head, not much lacing.

S: Rich and malty, with toasted notes. Enticing but not overpowering.

T/M: Toasted and caramel malts, somewhat bready, but in a good way. Smooth and creamy without being cloying, goes down consistently well. Great balance with a little hop twang coming in at the end. Tasty beverage for the last few hours of '07.

D: Damn fine beer, could have a few and be feeling great. Rich and interesting and well balanced. Can't ask for much more. (544 characters)

Photo of Bassetdawg
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 oz bottle (with new label) poured into shaker glass

Appearance: dark amber, with cream colored head, one finger thick, with some lacing

Aroma: malty aroma with a hint of spice.

Taste and Mouth feel: a caramel and toffee malt up front, quickly balanced by hops. smooth, thick mouth feel.

Drinkability: wow – this goes down quickly and smoothly – an excellent ale, one that should have a permanent place in the refrigerator. (445 characters)

Photo of MsNitch
3.89/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle to wine glass (that happens)

A: bright ruby red with leathery tints that has a fast falling head and no lacing

S: caramel malts with a touch of floral sweetness

T: starts mild and malty then bursts into a bitter round of hops that finish in a fantastic toasted caramel sweetness. Fantastically balanced joy ride of a palate.

M: strong with alcohol cuts that linger slightly in a mid level of carbonation.

O: A mega drinkable beer that could possibly use a touch more carbonation to pitch the strength, but has all the balls of a strong ale with the balance of a female mental structure. But if that doesn't make total sense then lets just say, it goes off with a bang but cuddles your taste buds into a sweet finish. (743 characters)

Photo of BigPapaLager
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Having had this brew last year on vacation I went back to it this year. The local selection in central Maine was poor and this was a welcomed diamond in the rough. Poured a light amber with decent head and retention. Little lacing. Smelled of typical Geary's malt. A very well balanced beer, and amazingly dinkable at 7%. Kudos,
Geary's. The recycling bin near the cabin is full of your bottles. (397 characters)

Photo of jballeng
3.59/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark amber with a relatively small, short-lived head. A sweet, malty aroma. Dry mouthfeel with a surprisingly thin body. A complex flavor of apples, pineapple, cedar, and woodsmokes. A slightly bitter finish with little presence of the alcohol.

A delightful little ale. (280 characters)

Photo of tvazteca
4.36/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Geary's HSA pours a beautiful dark amber, sticky-icky up the sides and a beautiful 1/4 inch head. It smells good but would probably smell better if my dishwasher didn't do such a shitty job. Sorry Geary's. The beer still tastes great. It almost tastes like an ESB despite it's strong ale label. I know the salesman told me I'd say that, and my heart wants to be contrarian, but it does taste like an ESB. Feels great going down. Excellent beer. (448 characters)

Photo of stemcell001
4.32/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a light amber and off white head into a pint glass. Got a good whiff of some good hops. The first taste in the sip was a nice bitter hop followed by some slightly sweet and nutty smooth malts. The head left nice lacing down the pint glass. Definitely a great, quality ale. I could have a couple of these in a sitting. (324 characters)

Photo of barrettds
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful red-orange color to the beer. A fine, half inch head remains after an aggresive pour. Lacing remains in the mug all the way through the drink.

Smell is that of apples and other fruits, backed up by some pleasant grassy notes. No hint of the 7% ABV.

Taste is great for an ale of this stature. Since it doesn't really fit into any particular ale category, it is hard to compare. Starts off smooth and somewhat creamy with a tad of bitterness (without it, the beer would be much too sweet). The sweet flavor of the apple and fruit then rushes over the tongue. Again, no sign of 7% ABV. VERY smooth.

Mouthfeel is on the heavier side for an ale. Not something you'll have too many of in a sitting on accident. Light on the carbonation, big on flavor.

Drinkability is wonderful. While an ale, this could also double as a winter warmer as well. I'm not usually a fan of beers with heavy fruit notes, but this one passes in my book. Recommended. (961 characters)

Photo of TheRowan
3.85/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark Brown/ Dark Copper. Active leaky carbonation from top to bottom
S: Sweet, Nutty, Roasted, and woody.
T: Tastes like to color brown. Tobacco, nuts, Smoky, Roasted, sweet, woody, earthly sweets.
M: Deep, fills and fades in the mouth nicely. Leathery smooth. An Earthly beer!
D: Ya not to to many but a few more would be nice. I would think this would be a great beer to put out in the fall. (397 characters)

Photo of corcoranjc
3.67/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Reddish amber with a pretty strong head and decent lacing. not bad lookin,' wouldn't kick it out of bed for eating crackers.

S - caramel, and butter. some butterscotch as well. sweet and full smelling.

T - sweet buttery goodness with a slight hop bitterness in the finish. very nice, but definitely different.

M - Very full and round.

D - it depends for me. i love this beer, but there are times when one is surely enough and other times where i can drink 4 of them. the alcohol is well hidden for me, but the buttery taste from the ringwood yeast can make this a sipper. (581 characters)

Photo of KATE12
3.85/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a great rich amber color with a thin head and a little bit of lacing.

The smell is a sweet and fruity smell with hints of hops and malt.

The taste is awesome. First you get hit with a citrus flavor and suddenly there is a sweet carmel undertone to the beer. I loved it. It has a smooth and balanced taste with a heavy (in a good way!) mouthfeel.

All in all I was very happy with this beer! (410 characters)

Photo of EVLguy
3.16/5  rDev -20%
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. (1,392 characters)

Photo of ichigodisaster
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I enjoyed this more than I expected that I would. I also want to say that I've steadily enjoyed every Geary's brew that I've had very much.

Pours a dark amber color with a small head. Aroma carmelish and slightly citrusy.

Taste is slightly spicy, a bit nutty and breadish. Strangely enough it almost reminds of a sweetly spiced french bread with honey. A bit of a hoppy citrus and pine taste on the finish but not overwhelmingly so.

Overall very good! I look forward to having another. I would really like to try this on tap. (535 characters)

Photo of bencharles
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

ok, HSA from Geary's...this beer and i go way back...this is just the most recent experience :)

well i picked up some HSA in durham NH when i was visiting my friend at good ole' UNH. from the second i poured it from the second my glass was empty, this ale was simply fantastic. so much alcohol on my breath, so much taste - it was like an explosion in my mouth! damn, this beer kicks ass! if you want complexity, check out HSA. This is such a strong brew, this ale belongs in your fridge!

peace...bc (505 characters)

Photo of MattyRobots
4.45/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What a beautiful pour. With the yellow label I was not expecting the dark amber pour. head was creamy eggshell, 3/4 inch. Dissipated quickly, but not quickly enough to keep me from getting that great creamy first sip through it. Soft grass and citrus in the nose, with definite caramel maltiness. velvety mouth feel and orange peel flavor fade into a delicious fresh grass and faint alcohol on the exhale. My favorite Geary's for sure. (435 characters)

Photo of Kopps
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

12 oz bottle; no date.
Beer of the month offering; a birthday gift.

A: Poured a 1/2 finger head flattening quickly; clear rich dark amber color.

S: Good malt aroma with nice hops; not to overpowering.

T: Rich lingering malt flavor with a hint of the Scottish.

M: Heavier body and good carbonation.

Overall: rich and very enjoyable beer. (341 characters)

Photo of Krovtar
2.71/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A reluctant purchase @ just under $11 a six pack I can think of many others I would rather have at that price at $6 I might drink this more often but come to think of it it reminds me to much of brown ale, not that there's anything wrong with brown ale just I've had my fill.
Deep copper in color minimal head around the edge and a small island in the center no lace to speak of.
Smell- well may nose is a bit dry but I caught the malt and something citrusy
Taste- Felt the bubbles up front which reminds me of grapefruit then the malt ok but colder on this one I'm guessing would be better.
Mouthfeel- about the right consistancy bubbles tingle the front of the tongue
Drinkabliity- I'm not thinking of going back here again anytime soon it wasn't awful just not for me anymore. (784 characters)

Photo of bro2baseball
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What an exceptional beer. I have to admit I'm a very amateur beer drinker, and have drank more PBR than anything else.

But Geary's HSA is by far my favorite. I drink it straight from the bottle, the smell is amazing, it makes my mouth water after one sniff.

The taste is really exceptional. It's quite heavy, and it lingers in your mouth pleasantly after each sip. Drinkability is great, I love knocking a few of these back with buds, though it is a bit heavy.

Take my review with a grain of salt - I am not very experienced. But this is the best beer I've ever had. (571 characters)

Geary's Hampshire Special Ale from D.L. Geary Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 376 ratings.