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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

540 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 540
Reviews: 370
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 12.18%
Wants: 28
Gots: 13 | 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: 540 | Reviews: 370 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RoyalT
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%
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 Durge
3.6/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Encountered this specialty brew at The Great Lost Bear in Portland, ME. It has a dark clear copper color with a scanty white head and fair lacing. The aroma captures plenty of woodsy malt and light floral hops. The flavor declares a smooth fruity malt that harbors just a hint of wheaty alcohol. There's a touch of bubblegum and more of that floral sweetness. After the initial acclimation you pick up the dry hop aftermath. I don't feel this is very complex, there's not much to say. It's medium drinkable, not something I would rave about, OK, that's about it. Malty alcohol and some dry hop. Just not winning me over.

Durge, Sep 04, 2009
Photo of RBorsato
2.8/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Dark gold, copper with a low tan head and decent carbonation. Piney, sprucey hop aroma -- the best character of this brew. HUge malty flavor with a warming alcohol sensation. Funky fruity, yeasty flavor ... maybe that's the Ringwood yeast. Medium bodied with an unpleasant finish.

Per Maine Brewer's Guild site: Original gravity - 1070; two row English malts (pale, crystal and chocolate); Cascade, Mt. Hood and East Kent Golding hops.

Glad I only bought a single bottle.

($1.43 / 12 oz.)

RBorsato, Jan 13, 2004
Photo of puboflyons
4.45/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on November 1, 2013.

The color is mahogany brown with a little gold glistening around the edge of the glass. Moderate, lingering cream colored head.

The aroma is lovely with its full roasted caramel malts, molasses notes, yeast, butterscotch, nuttiness, and finishing off with a mild earthy hop.

The body is medium to full.

The taste has an upfront roasted malt and caramel sweetness and a wonderfully lingering dry finish. Only 7% yeah, but some Strong Ales still have a boozy feel but not this one. Geary's has hit the mark on the style. It really feels like I'm drinking it at a British pub rather than at m y computer in New Hampshire USA.

puboflyons, Nov 01, 2013
Photo of Brenden
4.23/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Sort of a medium brown with a red-orange flair through it, there's a thickness that seems attributable only to the darkness of color and is completely clear otherwise. Soft bubbling activity eases up the sides of the glass and continues to steady a thick, creamy and dense tan head that doesn't settle to less than one finger to begin with but, more surprisingly, at any point during the entire session. Patching remains in clumpy manner well down the glass.
Must, toast, earth, and some gently spiced dark fruits make up a particular but very nice aroma. It seems quite rustic though very much like baked sweetbreads, perhaps more of a thick dark dough. Lots of fig, currant and apple, along with honey and toffee, are balanced by all the earthiness in the hops presence off a malt lead.
More gentle bitterness comes out on the tongue than I get from the nose. The earthiness is certainly present in it, along with lots of dry leaf. Spiciness takes a stronger position as well, sweetness easing out and things generally switching order and strength from aroma to flavor. It's lightly buttery and still gently sweet, but I wouldn't have expected from smelling this beer that hops would take control like this in the taste.
Crisp with a surprising heft on the front of the tongue, this beer is nevertheless barely medium-bodied but well within range and with a nice smoothness along with the good, clean, crisp bite.

Brenden, Mar 10, 2014
Photo of pathman
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

pathman, Jul 15, 2013
Photo of francisweizen
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a dark tawny amber brew with hints of red. The aromas are of sweet malts and spicy hops in the background (do they use saaz in this stuff?). This is not overly hopped nor overly spiced, so that makes this stuff a wonderfully easy to drink winter seasonal that still packs a bit of a warming wallop with its 7%abv. Like I said the drinkability is very good and the mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, without being too thick or cloying. I raise my glass to JohnnyP "This HSA is for you!". I guess it is nice to have this available year round and cheap up in Maine. Over here, these bottles are rarely seen. I had to beer trade for this one!

francisweizen, Dec 24, 2003
Photo of Jwale73
3.43/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle served in a standard pint glass. No freshness dating indicated. Poured a hazy copper with a half inch off-white head that evenutally settles into a fairly consistent, thin cap. Some strands and spatters of lacing present during the tasting. Nose suggests caramel and dark fruit (perhaps fig and/or prunes). Taste consistent with nose for the most part, but there is a strange, chemical aftertaste detectable at the finish, that lingers between quaffs. Also a little bit of alcohol heat comes out in the mix. Mouthfeel falls between light-and medium-bodied, but carbonation is a little prickly and there's a lingering bitterness at the finish. Interesting, but I'm not loving it. A little too much of a chemical character to be drinkable.

Jwale73, Apr 15, 2009
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.28/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 fluid ounce stubby bottle, from a 6-Pack handed to me by my new BA Brother Sir JohnnyP. The bottle has a silhouette painting of a Maine sunrise/set and has the words ‘Geary’s Hampshire Special Ale’ in gold. A smart looking gold neck label just says ‘Geary’s HSA’.

Appearance: Pours a lucid Copper color with golden-orange hues when backlit. A very smooth looking off-white head forms when poured, which slowly settles to a thin covering, but the head returns when swirled. Light lacing.

Nose: Fruity caramel overtones with an underlying straight from the oven yeasty freshly baked bread odor. Alcohol is perceptible in the latter parts of the nose along with a feint whiff of hops.

Taste: Very smooth introduction, buttery malts with some sweet biscuit caramel, a little fruit mixed with a deep malty backbone that runs throughout the beer. The ending changes with each mouthful, a mixture of Curacao oranges, dark skinned berries, fruity malts, brown sugared pears, and a whole host of other flavors I cannot recognize. Moor-ish, the alcohol sneaks through at the end after being well-hidden for a while.

Mouthfeel: Solid wholesome presence supported by the malts and fruity alcohol.

Drinkability: Easily dispatched. Knowing that I have a few bottles left suppresses the depression associated with the fact that I cannot buy this here in So.Cal. A tasty strong ale, which sits well on the desk and in the mouth, but does not last long in the fridge or glass.

Overall: Brewed in Maine – Imbibed in California.

“Ah seen the promised land” – it’s Maine!!
Praise Be to Preacher Sir JohnnyP for sending some of it to the West Coast.

TheLongBeachBum, Sep 20, 2003
Photo of ROGUE16
4/5  rDev +1.5%

ROGUE16, Dec 14, 2011
Photo of popery
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a relatively dark amber with a light beige head. The head sticks around for a medium length of time. Little lacing. The aroma is rich with deep caramel malt flavor. It's doughy and sweet. Toffee, shortbread, raisins, prunes, dates, syrup. It's a rich muddling of toasted malt sugar. There's some booze in the aroma and a bit more in the taste, but once the beer hits the proper temperature, it contributes more warmth than harshness. The taste is otherwise quite sweet, but the hops are more apparent than in the aroma and, besides providing some respite from the caramel, adds in a mineral/grassy note. The mouthfeel is full and thick for a 7% abv beer. This is an interesting beer. Before it had a chance to warm up, the booze seemed to come out in excess. At cellar to room temp, the sweetness shined and the booze blended into the beer. Good stuff.

popery, Nov 29, 2012
Photo of BGsWo22
2.25/5  rDev -42.9%

BGsWo22, Mar 23, 2013
Photo of ArrogantB
3.25/5  rDev -17.5%
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.

ArrogantB, Sep 05, 2007
Photo of blackie
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: The thin, white head recedes immediately, leaving a ring of bubbles around the edge of the snifter. The beer is medium amber in color.

smell: A mixture of odors of light and dark fruits is provided by the malts used, and slightly floral hops back them up and provide hints of tropical fruits. Very much like a malt heavy IPA, but different in its own right, the malts slightly more evident and the hops a little more muted. Hints of pineapple, mango, and cantaloupe are present. There is a slight pecan like nuttiness. A very well balanced ale.

mouthfeel: Carbonation is on the lower end of the high range and the body is a light medium.

taste: The fruity malt is almost perfectly balanced with the bittering hops, though I would personally prefer a lower bitterness. Slightly nutty and earthy. Again, very well balanced.

drinkability: A good ale all around, and pretty drinkable too.

I was pretty surprised to find this one at my local beer store, but am glad I happened to notice it as I glanced over their selection.

blackie, Oct 23, 2005
Photo of mynie
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

English Strong and American Old are two of the most underrated ales in the American beer scene, in my humble opinion. They share a lot of traits. Lots of intense maltiness--just as impressive, complex, and hard on the novices as intense malt profiles. We like hop bombs and things that taste like bourbon. Any other kind of intensity is not our cup of tea.

Pours limply, according to my low-malt prejudices. Maybe in another world, a world where Hello means Goodbye and Cheeri-o is a greeting, this is what a great pour looks like. Here, it's just kinda pretty but headless.

Smells like a wonderful potpourri of wood and malt and furniture polish and burny chemical yeast. Canned flowers are in there. Nice smells of synthetic nature. If Eraserhead was a beer it would smell like this.

Tastes much like it smells. Big, giantic caramel starts things off. This moves into a woodier back, generic fruit and flowers, and this swings pretty quickly back into caramel with some nuts and then a sweet aftertaste of burny alcohol.

Nice. Not everybody's cup of tea, but nice.

mynie, Nov 09, 2008
Photo of KarlHungus
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a murky brown color. The head is one inch in height, and recedes slowly into nice lacing. The aroma is of molasses, hints of dark chocolate, and caramel. There is no detectable hop presence. This is a rather simple aroma, yet I still find it really appealing. The taste is much like the aroma. It is very malty, but I can sense that there are some hops in there. They don't really come through in the flavor, but there add some balance to this beer. How ever small a hop presence it might be without it I would easily confuse this beer with a Wee Heavy. The mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation, and a velvety texture. Overall, this is a nice beer that I will certainly drink again. I am a big fan of IPAs that have enough malt to add complexity. I feel this beer a lot like those beers in that it is a malt bomb but with enough hops to add complexity.

KarlHungus, Mar 21, 2010
Photo of lordofthewiens
4.38/5  rDev +11.2%
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 Reagan1984
2.85/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured this bottle into a Pint glass and noted about a 2 finger thick head that was beige in color. The head did last a long time as I enjoyed the brew.

Color was deep copper and the beer was very clear.

The aroma was a little musty and I began to wonder if I encountered an older bottle.

A nice roasted malt flavor up front that faded to almost a metallic finish.

Yes, I think this bottle was not in great condition.

I consider this an average beer. I hope a fresher (perhaps non-skunked) bottle would be more enjoyable.

When finished I was excited to try a different brand.

Reagan1984, May 31, 2008
Photo of VelvetExtract
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours a perfect median between amber and rust. No haze. Slim off-white head. Not much head.

S-I smell bananas at first whiff. A hint of floral hoppiness. A bunch of sweetness too. Unique scent. Mellow but when I hone in on the various components in the nose I enjoy what I detect. Almost smells like cognac mixed with strawberry-banana yogurt.

T-The taste and the aroma are a perfect pair. There really is a decent bouquet of different flavors in HSA. Caramel and toffee mix with the banana fruitiness. Alcohol comes into the equation but is well masked. I was worried that Geary's high ABV offering would be a bit messy, but this one is clean and surprisingly soft while being imbibed.

M-Carbonation is mellow. Feel is on the heavier side of a medium mouthfeel. Alcohol dries out the tongue only a tiny bit.

O/D-Most of my reviews depict the battle between expectation and actuality. This one beats expectations. I think this is a pretty cool beer. Hey, maybe my evading Geary Brewing Company was a bad idea. Geary's Summer, Pale Ale, are you next?

VelvetExtract, Jul 22, 2011
Photo of Brent
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice brown/bronze color. Not much head, but the beer maintained an impressive sheeting of tiny carbonation bubbles up the sides of the glass throughout. Malty with a touch of honeysuckle blossom honey. Solid bittering drops in at the finish, with a lingering, thickness at the back of the tongue. Very tasty, and thanks to Cooper for the Christmas trade.

Brent, Dec 29, 2002
Photo of tigg924
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
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 Dicers
3.25/5  rDev -17.5%

Dicers, Jun 06, 2014
Photo of jfcaa193
2.5/5  rDev -36.5%

jfcaa193, Feb 19, 2012
Photo of Bierman9
4.38/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This years version ('02-'03, reviewed Oct '02) has a solid copper color, with a creamy, tan head which thins down to a nice, lasting layer, with ok lace. Nose shows a lot: malt, caramel, alcohol, and a good hint o' hops. Mouthfeel? Medium-plus for both body and smoothness...goes down easy. Caramel malt and a strong hop presence inundate the palate, as well as a nice, warming dose of alcohol. This one's a keeper!

overall: 4.3
appearance: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.5

*** ***

Original notes from April 2002:
Again, thanks to Mr JohnnyP for supplying me with this sample of the golden-nectar!! Has a nice copper color, and a big, fine head from a hard pour. Nose is mostly hoppy, with some toasty notes, but mostly on the bitter side. Body is medium, and tongue is medium-plus! Semi-sweet start, a touch biscuity-malty...leads to a smooth hoppy end. Nice balance. Lovely brew....! (No score retained).

118

Bierman9, Apr 28, 2002
Photo of Suds
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, deep chestnut color with a thin head. The aroma seems centered around alcohol with caramel and malt. Dry bread crust and nuts…walnut and almond? A little floral hop character as well. First taste is malty and, but quickly turns to a sharp hopiness and astringency. Finish is smooth and soft; very nice balance. As you drink it, you’d swear that it has more than it’s stated 7% ABV. However, although it’s solidly good, nothing about the beer particularly stands out.

Suds, Jan 31, 2004
Geary's Hampshire Special Ale from D.L. Geary Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 540 ratings.