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

376 Reviews

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Reviews: 376
Hads: 593
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 9.87%
Wants: 30
Gots: 36 | 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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Reviews: 376 | Hads: 593
Photo of ppoitras
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12ozer from a 6 pack of the beer that used to be "Only available while the weather sucks." I hear it is available year round now, and rightly so... Bought at Tully's in Wells, ME, (a great little shop if you find yourself in the area), and fridged since then.

When poured into an imperial pint glass, a slight head forms, which quickly dissipates. The color is a dark and malty, with a slight tinge of red to my untrained eye. A nice aroma, with an obvious alcohol odor in the offing. Taste is nice, with a slight warming present, an indication of the 7% ABV. A benefit of the brew (a nice, unexpected bite of bitterness), can also be it's downfall, knocking it's session-ability down a bit. However, on cask (Great Lost Bear) it was incredible. (750 characters)

Photo of RBorsato
2.87/5  rDev -27.3%
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.) (497 characters)

Photo of xgrigorix
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Twelve ounce bown twist cap bottle - no dates on bottle. Pulled from a sealed case w/ date printed on top.

Tawny copper hue, clear, with tiny streams of carbonation moving swiftly to the top. A steady cap of firm white foam sits on top. Some thin lace is left on the glass.

Notes of caramel, molasses, toasty malt, along with some indistinct but interesting fruit aromas. A pleasant hop note lurks in the background, tying it all together.

Very up front & heavy malt flavour. Caramel & molasses come through in a big way. Fruit is next - raisins / prunes & a touch of apple. A chocolate note opens up as it warms. This is followed up by a slow moving astringent hop induced bitterness, which dries it out just enough to keep it from being cloyingly sweet. Medium-full bodied, smooth, just a little bit creamy, with moderate carbonation.

Enjoy it while the weather sucks! (882 characters)

Photo of beergeek279
4.37/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in the 12 oz. bottle, into a pint glass. The color is a dark amber, with a bit of white head. The smell is a nice maltiness. The taste is a very hoppy taste, a nice citrusy tanginess, and the malt base mingles well underneath this taste, and a bit of buttery aftertaste from the ringwood. Mouthfeel is very nice and creamy. As for drinkability, could have a few of these.

With the whole JohnnyP HSA thing, I thought this beer was going to be overrated, but I was wrong. This is fantastic!!! Thank you to mydeadguy for shipping this beer...if I can find it, this would be a beer I'd have again!!! (605 characters)

Photo of nomad
3.58/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A well-polished topaz color that lightens on the edge, this beer pours out a heaven of clouds for a head. Soft puffy stain often sticks out. Smells sweet, abundantly fruity, and slightly yeasty. Taste is tart, with flavors of big malts turned funky. Sweet but thin, tasting of lemony licorice, it has an atringent dry tart finish with a roasty burnish. I often feel the warmth of the alcohol, and it doesn’t blend in well. Also, the thin mouthfeel is often bubbly and often oily. Not my cup of tea but good for the style. (522 characters)

Photo of beerinator
3.68/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Auburn, caramelly amber. Slightly off white head with decent retention.

Aroma: A bit sweet, with a hint of fruit. Maybe slight notes of grape right up front.

Taste: Very very dry, with bitter aftertaste. Hints of breadyness. Mouthfeel is nice, for a drinkable beer.

Notes: Not my favorite seasonal, but easily drinkable. (341 characters)

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

Pours a pretty clear amber copper color, it is topped by a light tan head. There is a nice dry hoppy aroma, evocative of English hops; A bit lemony, slightly grassy. Wow, I was not expecting so much hop flavor to be packed into this beer. It has a balancing malt sweetness a bit of caramel. Quite good, I am duly impressed. The hop flavor is citrusy and floral in character. The beer has a medium body, which is perfect for this beer. This is still an easy drinking beer but has enough body to balance the stellar hop flavor. I certainly wish that I had access to more of this great beer. Overall this is a very well put together beer. (635 characters)

Photo of francisweizen
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
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! (643 characters)

Photo of Weissenheimer
4.36/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A vigorous pour yields a medium-sized light fawn head. Foamy with big bubbles, it quickly fades into a bubbly nebula, leaving sparse frissons of lacing on the glass. The fluid is a watery amber color. The smell is floral, hoppy, sweet, and reminiscent of a spice cake.

I take one sip and admire the wonderful spiciness. After two or three sips I pause to start a second bottle chilling. The hops are present, but they definitely take a back seat to an eye-opening and warming burst of spices, which is swept along by the fizziness of the large bubbles. Underneath all this lies a significant layer of caramel and roasted malt, with just a slight hint of woodiness. In that regard it reminds me of a spicy Pride of Milford.

This stuff tastes lovely, and is incredibly drinkable. The combination of spiciness and hops is, to my palate, just challenging enough. It's not as grandmotherly as Harpoon Winter Warmer, which showers you with wonderful pumpkin pie spices; neither is it a harsh taskmaster such as Sierra Nevada Celebration, which flogs you - in a loving way, mind you - with bitter hops. This stuff walks right down the middle; it's obviously a fantastic session beer. (1,183 characters)

Photo of OatmattStout
4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice color and a nice smell of sweet malt and toasted grain. Has a nice firm carbonation upon first sip. Great flavors that are dominated on the sweet side of butterscotch, toffe, spicy malt and dried fruits. Has a nice alchohol punch to it but by no means is is overpowering. Very rich full texture and a nice hoppy finish that tries to keep up with the malt. Like this one (374 characters)

Photo of Sixpack595
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another impressive brew from Geary's. Crystal clear copper colored with very minimal head. Aroma is bready malt and fruity hops. Apples and caramel with a touch of butterscotch. Very smooth with a buttery, buiscity taste. Toffee and fruit make an appearance as before being rounded out by big oily hops. Mouthfeel may be a bit thinner than I prefer, but I sure didn't want to stop at one. So I didn't. I like strong beers, so this is *almost* like a session beer for me. Good stuff. (482 characters)

Photo of Dantes
4.38/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Package: Stubby "heritage" bottle. No date info, but I gather it's now available year-round. Gold-trimmed forest-theme label. 7% ABV.

Cost: $7.50 6-Pack at Gary’s

Presentation: Pint glass at ~50º

Appearance: Rich, chestnut-colored brew with a medium-dense, bone-colored head. Head started almost 2 fingers thick and settled to a resilient ½”. Extra-fine bubbled carbonation bubbles up through the faintly hazy beer. Looks just about perfect.

Smell: The nose worried me at first, as I detected some alcohol upfront (often a bad sign), with the malt and hops following. Lots of grain and malt sweetness in the aroma. The hops were only a faint counterpoint. There were also hints of nuttiness, toast, and faint ale fruitiness.

Taste: Okay! Now I know what people are talking about. The taste is much more complex and dry than the nose would suggest. This is definitely about the malts, but the requisite bitter hops edge is apparent. The East Kent Goldings really lending that veddy British feel. The heavy maltiness and caramel sweetness are further leavened by a definitive ale fruitiness and a nutty bitterness reminiscent of almonds with their skins still on. Everything is in balance here: a hugely malty body pitched against a bitter, hoppy, dryness. The finish is full, complex, and long.

Mouthfeel: I don’t know if this is bottle-conditioned or not (no lees and only faintly cloudy), but this has the tight, smooth, long-lived carbonation reminiscent of a bottle-conditioned ale, which helps moderate the maltiness. Medium-bodied.

Drinkability: Scarily drinkable. I drained the first pint in no time, despite trying to savor and appreciate it. I was “forced” to open another one almost immediately. I guess there are worse things than “chain-drinking” HSA’s! Despite the whiff of alcohol on the nose, it is virtually undetectable and well-integrated. Beware!

Backwash: The one word (other than delicious) that really fits this beer is Balance! I realized after working my way through a few of these that it reminded me a little bit of Fuller’s 1845. BA calls both Strong/Old Ales and I can’t disagree. Few beers live up to their hype (especially from homestate chauvinists), but I was extremely impressed with this beer. As I lean more toward malty beers, this hits my sweet spot. Goes very well with hearty cheeses. JohnnyP, sign me up for the cult. I drank the Kool-Aid and I’m now an acolyte. Finestkind! (2,511 characters)

Photo of PatandDavid
3.78/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on cask at the Great Lost Bear. Pour was slightly cloudy dark copper. The 1/2 inch head lasted till the end of the pint! I found the aroma to be of husky grain. The taste was well-rounded, and the alcohol was easily detected in this one. Very smooth and balanced: not a hop monster. I also noted a slightly nutty aftertaste. Very good, but could get you in trouble if you decided to keep knocking them back. pat (420 characters)

Photo of tavernjef
3.58/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear copper color with a one inch ivory colored head of smooth, thick fluff that faded super fast to a thick skim and fast dripping lace. Aroma is faint of woodish dryness with touches of leafy dry hops, light caramel, and dulled citrus. Taste is mild and subdued, with lightly sweet roasty/toasty breadish malts, lightly playing hop bitterness lending a bit of leafyness and citrus. Notes of dry wood. Malts build a bit more into the finish with some light chewyness and sweet tang of fruits that are hard to distinguish, pear maybe? Feel is quite smooth and medium bodied with an easy carbonation, finishes a bit crisp with lingering malted sweetness. An OK Old Ale if there ever was one. Thanks to mydeadguy for the bottle through BIF 4.0 (742 characters)

Photo of HossMcGraw
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Geary's HSA is amber in color with little head or lacing. Smell is nothing special. Hops and barley. Taste is not bad, but unbalanced. Again, harsh bitter hops (in a good way), with subtle malty caramel background. Mouthfeel is okay, as is drinkability. I bet this'll get a lot better in a year or two. (302 characters)

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

This brew pours a amber color with a mild size head that last for a short period of time but leaves one hell of a sexy lace behind.

The aroma of caramel and hops fill the nose with great pleasure. My mouth is watering jsut waiting for the first sip.

The toasted caramel malts are strong to the palatte, I am really liking this one. The hops are just bitter enough, for my liking.

This one is easy drinking and goes down very smooth.

Prost (453 characters)

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.42/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Spying this in Richmond for the first time in Richmond, I immediately thought of JohnnyP and his raves about this beer. The BA whose name is on the shirt sings the praises of this beer? How can I go wrong? A 6-pack was thus purchased...

Presentation: 12oz. squat amber bottle with a plain label and no freshness dating.

Appearance: Poured a crystal-clear deep orangish-copper in color with a thick and pasty white lace that distinctly rings the glass.

Smell: Wow...this is one complex beer. All sorts of scents tip-toe across the nose. Lots of spices, fruits, alcohol, caramel, surgary-sweetness. The neat thing with this one is that nothing dominates the profile. Very well-balanced.

Taste: Again, the emphasis is on "balanced". Complex? You betcha. But, like the smell, nothing jumps out at you. Instead, each flavor takes its turn at center-stage, standing in the spotlight for a moment then fading into the background. Malty sweetness, granny smith apples, caramelized brown sugar, a bit of alcohol, bitterness, all combine nicely to provide a great-tasting beer.

Mouthfeel: Decent carbonation. Full body. Creamy smooth on the palate.

Drinkability: JohnnyP was right. A very nice beer for the holidays. Let it snow! I have some set aside to age and can't wait to see what happens to this beer over time. (1,332 characters)

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

I really enjoyed this one. Pours out to a bright and clear copper color in the glass with a slight head. Aroma is that of a light citrus. Taste is excellent and different than I expected. There are times you think you have a pale ale and times think think you have a barleywine. Notes of caramel and pine in the taste with such a fabulous balance that it makes this very drinkable.

It appears some Maine beers are making there way to Michigan and that is fine by me. A very good beer and one I will grab again throughout the winter. (536 characters)

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

Got this one courtesy of an TinusTime heads up.
Pours out clear & deep gold with little head to speak of. Aroma has some bready burnt malts, and a decent citousy hop scent. This is one of those scents that singes the nosehairs, with some spices in there to boot. Taste is very unique. Starts off with some sweet maltiness and some spice, then a wallop of floral hops hits you, yet finishing off creamy. Good dry aftertaste. This is one of those beers that wants to breakdance in your mouth..alot going on here.. Heavy carbonation makes for a good strong mouthfeel and dry finish. Drinkability is pretty good, in part due to the creaminess of this brew (652 characters)

Photo of Darkale
4.48/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Dark copper clear body with a thick, bone-colored head that is rocky and resilient. Very good lacing.

Yeasty and sweet mix in the aroma. Faint but pleasant.

Taste is smooth, maple syrupy, with a slight, almost English-ale-like sourness at the end. Chewy and sweet in the mouth. Delicious.

This is a very sweet, full, rich, and ungodly drinkable beer. I put away four of these on a Sunday afternoon before I knew what I was doing. A special ale, certainly, and a new favorite for me. (492 characters)

Photo of Bighuge
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
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). (948 characters)

Photo of mydeadguy
4.32/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a reddish/orange hue with a bright clarity, and about and inch of smooth tan head.

Smells rich and malty with hint of alcoholic esters and a touch of sweet fruit.

The taste and mouth are both rich and strong. The mouth is a bit fluffy, full and round. The taste is malty up front with a nice warming alcohol middle and a slight hop finish. The bitterness sticks a bit to the palate, lingering. The taste has warm earthy overtones, the mouth just too damn smooth.

if this is a winter seasonal, I better buy up all I can, this is one fine beer. (562 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.03/5  rDev +2%
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! (810 characters)

Photo of oberon
4.45/5  rDev +12.7%
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. (405 characters)

Photo of UnionMade
3.72/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer pours a dark bronze, topped with a thin, yet lasting ivory head. Some blobs of lace cling to the glass. Good clarity. Looking good.
The aroma is dominated by husky dark maltiness. Lots of specialty grain, particularly caramel and probably a good deal of victory or crystal. Some toasted malt and chocolate. An interesting carob aroma. A bit of buttery diacetyl, with noticable alcohol. Slightly phenolic esters, with hints of plum, fig, and apple. The hops are subdued, with a light herbal, hay-like quality.
The flavor starts out with plenty of malt. Slightly husky and grainy. Lots of different malt in here, with noticable caramel, toasted, and a bit of chocolate malt. The chocolate comes through more towards the middle, with an interesting carob flavor lingering throughout the remainder of the sip. Definitely ringwood yeast. Some bittersweet coffee notes, with a diacetyl buttery, nutty flavor and dark fruity esters coming through in the middle. A bit of plum, fig, apple, and a suggestion of green raisin. The malt continues to dominate, with a light hoppy tang in the finish. Mild bitterness, with an interesting herbal, citric, and grassy quality. A rich malty finish, kind of grainy, with that carob flavor really coming into it's own. Unusual. Full bodied, with light carbonation, and a smooth, easy drinking mouthfeel.
Very tasty and complex. Definitely a beer marching to the beat of it's own drum. A bit rough edged with some strange flavors that don't entirely go well together, but as a whole, it's an enjoyable pint. I can certainly notice the alcohol after a couple of these, and it's a bit palate fatiguing, so I didn't think the drinkability was all that high. (1,695 characters)

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