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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.
very good

522 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 522
Reviews: 369
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 12.41%
Wants: 28
Gots: 6 | 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: 522 | Reviews: 369 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of barrettds

New York

4.35/5  rDev +10.1%

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.

12-17-2006 04:50:51 | More by barrettds
Photo of tempest


4.28/5  rDev +8.4%

I've been on a strong ale kick lately and this is one of the better ales I've sampled. Retention isn't great, but the orange-ruby red coloring is gorgeous. Smell and taste are both subtle and appropriate for the style and I'm tempted to give 4.5's, but I just can't pull enough complexity out (maybe next time). Tastes of orange, apples and sweet berries with a touch of grassy bitterness. Smooth mouthfeel and very easy drinking. No hint of alcohol, this one could be a dangerous session beer. Go try this.

12-11-2006 20:45:26 | More by tempest
Photo of Krovtar

New York

2.68/5  rDev -32.2%

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.

12-03-2006 05:16:15 | More by Krovtar
Photo of joedon


4.13/5  rDev +4.6%

Surprisingly good winter warmer discovery. Pretty copper color with big lace on the glass. Mild aroma of malt and spice.
Nicely complex flavor with a big up front maltiness that fades to hops, spice and sugary fruit.
Pleasant on the palate and very drinkable.
Too bad this isn't available in Minnesota where you need winter warmers for about six months of the year.

12-03-2006 00:02:43 | More by joedon
Photo of MuenchenerKindl


3.8/5  rDev -3.8%

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass. The liquid is a light copper and has good carbonation The head is a beige 1 finger tall and but very rich, thick and creamy. Some light lace.

The smell is lightly sweet with lots of caramel and fruity notes

The taste follows mostly but the fruity flavor tries to over whelm, could be vanilla notes as well.

The mouth feel is medium body with good carbonation.

The drinkability is ok, I just can't decide if I really like the unusual sweet fruity taste . MK

11-29-2006 01:29:30 | More by MuenchenerKindl
Photo of tcfishler


4/5  rDev +1.3%

Clear light copper with a finely foamy light beige head.

Deep, hop-driven but still sweet nose, with grassy notes, herbs, and flowers..

Smooth in the mouth, without excessive carbonation. Iinteresting building sweetness that then turns into a lighlty bitter finish. Malt has a caramel-and-fruit profile, while hop flavors are lightly spicy. Alcohol is not apparent.

Interesting and tasty ale that doesn't seem to fit nicely into a defined style.

11-27-2006 19:12:49 | More by tcfishler
Photo of objectivemonkey


4/5  rDev +1.3%

Into a pint glass, pours a nice copper with pretty good head and spotty lacing. Aroma is light, sweetly malty with faint hops, of the English persuasion. Mouth is well bodied with good carbonation, and nicely warming. Taste also is sweetish, caramel malts probably, a touch dry through the middle with accompanying fruits and (acidy?) hops. Finish is long and the alcohol makes cameo about here. Overall, pretty darn good beer, thanks to hopdog for the trade

11-18-2006 06:26:45 | More by objectivemonkey
Photo of Hautacam


3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

Clear amber...pour-head disappears quickly.
Smells mostly of steely malt.
Taste is very sweet , malty...caramel ..biscuity and slightly metallic. Hops add a bitter citrus. Alcohol is well hidden.
Medium body with low carbonation.
Tasted good , but probably would be happy with just one.

11-11-2006 01:54:24 | More by Hautacam
Photo of MrHurmateeowish


4.13/5  rDev +4.6%

12 oz. bottle from Tiger Town in Gardiner. Red/amber body with about a finger of off-white head. Smells malty butterscotch, and yeasty (ringwood). Roasty malt dominates with hints of diacetyl, alcohol, and hop. Definitely a malt-forward beer. Medium-bodied. Alcohol warming creeps in after a few sips. Tasty and drinkable. One sip invites another, and one bottle invites another too! A solid ale. Worth the hype.

11-05-2006 01:43:40 | More by MrHurmateeowish
Photo of mnj21655


4.1/5  rDev +3.8%

Pours a clear copper color with hints of amber throughout. A half finger white head quickly sinks to a swirly coating. Great smell with toasted sweet malts dominant. Also present are caramel, cherries, and some vanilla. Taste is much like the smell. Sweet malts, again, dominate but also present are molasses and cherries. Finishes with a bit of spicy hops which bring a bit of bitterness. Nice medium body with moderate carbonation. Good drinkability, nicely balanced I will definitely have this again.

11-02-2006 01:04:20 | More by mnj21655
Photo of BeerBuilder


4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

Clear copper color with steady carbonation. It forms a creamy off-white head that leaves sheets of lacing. The aroma is of sweet caramel malts, with a honey and breadiness. It has a slight bit of alcohol is the aroma too, kinda like a bit of rum cake.

The flavor is of caramel malts and honey as well. It has a slight toastiness and breadiness too. There is slight hop spiciness, but the caramel malt play through more. It is sweet at first, but then immediately turns drying for the remainder of the sip.

It is smooth and almost creamy, but drying as well. An interesting feel. It masks the 7% well. I wish I had another....I would love to try this fresh. Very nice. Thanks Paulie.

10-30-2006 02:06:51 | More by BeerBuilder
Photo of

3.95/5  rDev 0%

12oz. bottle. First experience with Geary

Clear amber to copper color. Small tan head.

Aroma was sweet, pears, peaches, caramel and maple syrup. Hint of floral hops. Some mint and just a whiff of alcohol.

Taste has a nice hop bite, unexpected from aroma. Grassy and pine. Big, sweet malt middle - caramel. Almost like a highly hopped barleywine, but lighter. Some pear and raisin in the taste and a bit of pepper at the finish.

Body was medium plus. Carbonation was high, and gave it a bit of zip. Texture in mouth was coating and finish was dry.

Very good beer, looking forward to more of this as it gets colder. Not something I would think of drinking more than 2 or 3 at a time.

10-26-2006 16:38:59 | More by
Photo of waughbrew


4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

This beer is pretty magical. It is sweet with light caramel, like candy, but has the pepperiness, alcohol zip, and frim bitterness to balance it off. There are not many beer that can have full flavor, warmth, and yet retain ultimate drinkability. There is enough going on in this beer to keep me interested all night, and the finish always makes me want another. The seven percent is too high to be the best "session" beer, but the warmth is certainly appreciated in the cold months. Its looks are ok, a copper beer with a small off-white head that laces a bit but does not last for that long. The nose is oak butter with a couple golden leaves of earthy hop. The taste is strong, complex, and all good. Resiny with some alcohol heat. Medium-big bodied, but not sticky. Finishes in a sweet-candy/bitter-flower-petal warmth. Special ale indeed; I enjoy this more than the numbers show.

10-25-2006 22:31:19 | More by waughbrew
Photo of Doomcifer

Rhode Island

4.05/5  rDev +2.5%

Pours a semi-clear amber/copper color with a half-inch head that comes and goes. No lacing to speak of. Smells of sweet malts, toffee, butterscotch, fruits. Taste is of more toffee, butterscoth, cherries, pretty sweet, and finishes with a good hoppiness. Mouthfeel is not heavy but not light either, velvety, moderate carbonation. Very drinkable for the abv level. A definite pleasure to drink.

10-25-2006 00:18:17 | More by Doomcifer
Photo of VoodooBrew

South Carolina

3.9/5  rDev -1.3%

I believe I bought this bottle in April of this year while up in MA. As it was off the singles shelf of a liquor store in a Summer-centric town (being on Cape Cod), I have no clue really how old it is. But I never fretted, on account of the sturdy 7% ABV.

It has good clarity and an amber-copper hue. Low-ish head.

The nose is immediately malty, showing also some raisin and perhaps a touch of oxidation. Hops mingle faintly in the background. Maltiness comes to the fore on the palate, with some caramel sweetness that is fairly quickly chased by a drying, moderately bitter finish. I suspect that this was an appreciably hoppier beer in its nascence. There might also be something metallic in the aftertaste.

The body is surprisingly on the light side for a beer of such fortitude, but this serves to boost drinkability and -- dare I say it? -- quenchability, rather than impart a watery feel.

I'd like to try a fresh sample a) to get a sence of how hoppy this beer really is, b) to hedge against possible oxidation and c) because it drinks pretty danged easily for a seven percenter.

10-18-2006 07:55:06 | More by VoodooBrew
Photo of bencharles


4.3/5  rDev +8.9%

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!


10-14-2006 22:52:10 | More by bencharles
Photo of MaltyGoodness


3.9/5  rDev -1.3%

2oz. bottle

Pour a clear dark copper color with a creamy eggshell head that fades. Slight lacing on the glass.

Aroma is caramel malts with a rather bold herbal hop smell.

Taste is malty and slightly sweet upfront with a mild hop bitterness and well blended herbal hop flavor. The hops are much less powerful than in the smell. Rather nicely balanced.

Medium-full body with light carbonation.

A tasty strong ale and quite drinkable.I suspect that it will even continue to improve after a few more months in the cellar. It definitely makes me want to try more of Geary's offerings.

10-14-2006 18:47:43 | More by MaltyGoodness
Photo of bruachan

District of Columbia

3.58/5  rDev -9.4%

i think i failed to adequately rinse my glass, as the beer had no head whatsoever. it's a fairly nice copper color, though

it's pretty highly carbonated, and that takes away from the malt experience. brown sugar aroma, with date and raisin. more darker fruit flavors in the flavor. strong bitterness

10-06-2006 00:59:03 | More by bruachan
Photo of Franchise


3.68/5  rDev -6.8%

This offering from Geary's pours a crystal clear orange body that leaves a thin off-white lace. The aroma is sweet, citrus hops are what comes to mind, followed by some malty sweetness tough to make out though. The taste starts very sweet upfront on the palate, it leaves you with a brown sugar, caramel, feel that is quickly balanced with some english style hops not pungent at all more mellow and smooth. The finish is silent, no real, back end to this beer maybe a bit of spirit quality to it but overall very drinkable. This brew paired well with the pepperoni and mushroom flatbread pizza I was having.

10-05-2006 18:23:27 | More by Franchise
Photo of hreb


3.53/5  rDev -10.6%

12oz bottle poured into American pint glass, served cold. Beer is a pleasant yellow and brown pale amber with a medium to thin tan head. Very sudsy looking on the sides as I move the glass. Immediately smells strongly of sweet malt.

First sip is strong and bitter with very fine carbonation. The aroma had me hoping for that English grapey barleywine flavor, but the flavor is all American and high on hops. The hops balance with the alcohol in the brew, which at 7% is both considerable and apparent in the flavor.

Laces the glass with suds that quicky fall down the glass. I like the slightly roasty flavor of the malt, but the bitterness is a little cloying and not easy on the palette, I'd say. Overall this is a reasonably interesting beer but primarily it's just strong both in bitterness and in alcohol. I suppose if your only goal is to find a beer that gets you drunk fast this is as good as any at 7%, but c'mon, why bother?

The box proudly proclaims "now available year-round" and explains that available since 1989, this brew was "only" available eight months a year. Uh, I guess. Maybe it's a Maine thing...this is a cold weather beer in my mind. (note to self: see how this compares to Double Bag...need more data!)

09-17-2006 02:29:06 | More by hreb
Photo of Bierguy5


3.98/5  rDev +0.8%

12 oz. bottle, 7% ABV indicated on the label. Pours a hazy reddish/copper color, with a foamy off-white head. The head fades rather quickly. Aromas of caramel, candied fruits, alcohol, and pine forest. Flaovrs are similar, adding some spruce or juniper, apples, pears, and some zesty spices at the end. Just enough bitterness to hold things together. Perhaps some floral hops at the end. There are really a lot of flavors going on here, very nice. Big thanks to mcallister for this one!

09-14-2006 15:47:09 | More by Bierguy5
Photo of klewis


3.43/5  rDev -13.2%

A: Pours copper with a bubbly 2-finger head. Great retention with a bit of thick lacing that clings just above the top of the beer.

S: Pale malt and strong floral hops.

T: Taste is malty with flavors of cereal grains, caramel, and buttery notes. Lots of hop bitterness in the finish. Overall, the taste is strong, but somewhat boring.

M: Full-medium in body with moderate carbonation. Finishes dry.

D: This is my first reviewed Eng. strong ale, and I think I prefer the American versions so far. Not a bad beer, but it just isn't very interesting to me.

08-22-2006 22:52:54 | More by klewis
Photo of GDMFSOB


3.85/5  rDev -2.5%

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.

07-25-2006 03:57:51 | More by GDMFSOB
Photo of tgbljb


4/5  rDev +1.3%

Poures a deep reddish-copper color with magnificient white puffy head that lasted throughout the glass. Smell is dark fruity and malty. Taste presents itself with a strong malty, fruity taste that is nicely balanced with a pronounced hoppiness. Finished nice a dry and beckoned for another taste. Nice drinkability for a strong ale.

07-18-2006 23:12:47 | More by tgbljb
Photo of mcowgill


4.33/5  rDev +9.6%

A - clear bronze/copper with nice large bubbly head that dissipates to a thin layer.

S - Buttery, caramel malt aroma

T - Caramel/toffee like flavor and very malty. A nice bitterness is also present. This is a very complex beer.

M - Medium bodied, adequately carbonated

D - I could drink this beer all day and night....and get into serious trouble doing so. My favorite Geary's brew!

07-11-2006 00:11:22 | More by mcowgill
Geary's Hampshire Special Ale from D.L. Geary Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 522 ratings.