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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

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BA SCORE
88
very good

578 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 578
Reviews: 375
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 30
Gots: 24 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 578 | Reviews: 375 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of geexploitation
4.67/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm a bit of a partisan here -- this is probably my favorite all-around beer. There are different brews that excel in different occassions, of course, but this one, to me, is a brilliant all-rounder.

This brew pours a rich, coppery tan that is crystal clear. The head is white and is best enjoyed at one finger (or perhaps just a bit more). The nose is a wonderful burst of hops; not overpowering like, for example, some IPAs, but comfortingly spicy and complex. The taste sets this beer apart: the hop aroma is backed up here by a pleasing bitterness and not a little spiciness, but the malt mixture used by Geary's complements the hops exceptionally well, and adds a hint of sweetness to go along with the hops. I find this beer to be exceptionally drinkable, especially for a brew clocking in at 7% ABV... but one does need to be respectful of that figure.

A couple of additional comments. First off, by all means, if you get an opportunity to taste this in a cask-conditioned state, go for it. I know that the Great Lost Bear in Portland, ME, has been the recipient of a few special kegs of this stuff over the years, including a cask I had the privilege of sampling at the brewery.

Finally, Geary's Hampshire Special Ale provides an opportunity for some Irish Car Bomb-type fun. Perhaps this is blasphemy on this site, I don't know, but take my advice and, sometime, drop a shot of primo bourbon into a glass of Hampshire Special. The flavors complement each other very, very well. Enjoy!

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.35/5  rDev +11%
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.

Photo of Naes
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is amber in color with a tall cream colored head.
Its aroma is a mix of toasted malt with a mild hop presence.
The flavor has a bit more hops than the nose with a solid malt base. It’s semi bitter near the finish, though the maltyness becomes dominant as it warms. Quite sweet.
Mouth feel is a bit oily and actively carbonated.

Photo of arguemaniac
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful amber with a foamy white head that leaves a thin lace. Mostly caramel with a toasted character in the nose. Rich, creamy toffee-caramel flavor with a mild roasted note along with grain, and pale malt. And, while this brew features a great malt flavor up-front, a delicious hop bitterness (and some of that roastiness) dominate the pleasantly long finish. There’s also a very mild alcohol spice somewhere between the start and finish of this one. A smooth and creamy mouthfeel is complemented by fairly active carbonation.

It’s beers like this that highlight the downside to buying singles when trying new beers: once in a while, you come across a brew that makes you wish you had bought a six-pack, maybe two. Geary’s HSA is one of those beers and man am I kicking myself for passing up the sixer. Great malt flavor with nicely balancing hop bite. Drinkable and delicious, I highly recommend this one!

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.34/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance - an orange-amber beer with a frothy but short-lived head. Some decent beading from below.

Aroma - malty and sweet, smells nice!

Taste - very interesting taste. A malty-styled beer, there are hints of chocolate that combine with a light alcohol presence to create a near doppelbock effect. Some good hops to balance with, this beer makes a statement in several areas of the palate. The finish is roasty, warm, and slightly sweet. I'm impressed.

Mouthfeel - peppy carbonation, average body, helps the beer from being too heavy.

Drinkability - very tasty and at 7% abv, is just within session range (having disposed of 5 sixers in the past 2 months). Hey, at $4.49 per sixer, that's hard to resist.

Photo of walleye
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

from the bottle. poured deep amber with a smal off white head. aroma, sweet berries, honey, cherries, caramel, toffee, malt and hops. flavor, didn’t let me down the flavor was just like the aroma, but the honey took a back seat to the rest of the flavors and got a nice touch of alcohol. a good beer

Photo of ikats
4.37/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice copper color with smallish tan head that dissolves into a nice thin cover. Rich aroma. Sweet aroma. Draws you in with its caramel stickiness. Light toasty flavor. I didn't expect it to be that light. Very easy to drink. Sweetness feels the mouth and sticks to the lips, yet dry finish tingles the tongue. Alcohol is a little too apparent for my taste, but it is not bad considering that it's a relatively strong brew. This beer may make me a fan of Geary's.

Photo of blackie
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

Photo of jmz62565
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice two finger head with a dark coppery color.A light spice aroma thats a little weak,but not bad.This is a very bold and strong flavored beer!! A real full spiced,cinnamon,hoppy,and yeast flavor.The aftertaste is dry but nice.Very hoppy!!
This has a nice medium feel and leaves your mouth clean.
Geary's has made a great beer.Try it.

Photo of HopHeadKen
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to charlesw for this trade; doubt I could find it in Indiana ! But wish I could !

Pours clear orange copper with thin cream ivory color head that quickly fades to an island of fine bubbles and a ring at the edge of hte glass.

Bottle is clean, no residual sediment in the bottom.

Smell is mild malt and hops.

Taste is sweet and malty with faint vanilla and nutty flavors swimming in the background; there is a lingering subtle hop bitterness that builds in the aftertaste to a well balanced finish.

This beer has a good mouthfeel and an alcohol warmth that goes right to your core.

A nice Ale ! Very drinkable and I think it would only take about four (4) in a row, and I would be in fine mellow condition !

Photo of gotbeer
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had the chance to have this brew on cask today. Much more complex than the tap or bottle versions. Much deeper malty flavors and complexity. There appears to be less diacetyl, although it isn't huge in the bottle or tap versions either. Incredible maltiness and flavor. A great beer.

Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Whooaa! As I sit down to write this I am becoming privy to the realization that this beers drinkability is very high. Considering I am rifelring through this 7% delicacy.

App. A little uninspired, very little head retention and very little lacing. Having not had this beer before I have nothing to compare it to.

S&T Plums and esters. A slight drawback is that it's hard to taste what's going on because the alcohol is making my tongue numb.

M&D Fantastic. Losing motor functions as I type. Great beer

Photo of hyuga
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark orange brew with a whitish head that goes down quickly to a thin ring. Leaves a small amount of lace behind.

Aroma of sweetened toast and gingerbread maltiness. Hints of caramel sweetness. Sweet, but with just enough hops to say "I'm crisp! Drink me!"

I must say, I'm very impressed with the malt character in this beer! Just perfect! Caramel maltiness with bready undertones. Definitely buttery. Spicy hops kick around to liven things up a bit. Bitterness creates an amazing crispness. Alcohol makes the tongue tingle and warms you.

Crisp, crisp, crisp! Crisp and clean mouthfeel from the great combination of malt and hop.

Wow, amazingly drinkable. I think this is my favorite of the Geary's beers. I think this would be my perfect session beer. Its maltiness is kind of reminiscent of an Oktoberfest beer's. I love it! Can't wait to get more!

Photo of nortmand
4.75/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours rich copper red, with some white foam and moderate lacing.
Wonderful smell! Flowery and rich, while maintaining an assertive alcohol presence.
Delicious maltiness, with moderate upfront hop taste. Ends wonderfully bitter and with a slow alcoholic burn.
Smooth, somewhat subtle carbonation perfect for this beer.
Despite the assertive alcohol in this beverage, very drinkable. Would be great on a cold winter night.
A nearly perfect beer.

Photo of ichigodisaster
4/5  rDev +2%
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.

Photo of ism
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear amber with orange hues, topped with a 1-finger taupe head that retains lightly, leaving decent lacing. Nose of caramel malt, mostly, and slight citrus hop with spices, alcohol bubbling underneath. Gentle carbonation gives way to a medium body supplied by 2-row Pale, with roasted malt flavors, biscuity and sweetly fruity with spice. Goes down smooth with a slight pine bitter. Finishes rather refreshingly.

Satisfying and not overpowering, with flavors sufficiently understated to emphasize each characteristic. Will definitely revisit this brew.

Photo of rkhaze
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear light amber with a medium sized creamy off white head.

Smells malty and fruity with a citrus hop presense.

Nice rich, sweet malty flavor. Some biscuit, toffee, fruit and a pepper spiciness. Good balance with mild citrus hops in the finish.

Full bodied with a thick, rich mouthfeel and great carbonation.

Good beer. Rich and flavorful. Started out so-so and really came on.

Photo of BEERchitect
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
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.

Photo of HoorayBeer
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

Photo of Stubbie1
4.6/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A brew with a deep gold/red color and a decent off white (tan) head. The head last and give way to a sticky lace that races to the bottom of the glass.
Aroma is spice and caramel. Hints of honey and a small hint of alcohol are present.
Taste is fantastic, there is malt, and caramel, spices, honey, fruit and that hint of alcohol are all going across the tongue. It is well balanced with all the flavors going on and a well done brew. I could enjoy this beer all the time. If you see this one on the self, don’t pass it buy it is well worth the try.

Photo of Jacobob10
3.82/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap @ Penguin Pizza in Boston, MA.

This brew was on the menu as a tap offering long before it was actually available, guess there were a few problems getting it there, but if nothing else it built up some anticipation.

Pours a dark orange color with a small head. Low to moderate retention and little lacing to speak of. Subtle aroma with some roasted malts cutting thru the mix. Pretty decent taste with the malts outweighing the hops, but there's still some good balance between the two. Creamy mouthfeel and definitely drinkable for the ABV.

I expected this beer to be a litte bit bigger. It was pretty light bodied for it's style, but it's worth a try.

Photo of steinlifter
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured, a clear amber, sudsy head that left broken lace all the way through.
aroma wasrich fruits, cherries,slight floral whiff.
taste was bold , rich fruits, well balanced hops and malt, slight floral taste.
mouthfeel was slightly chewy, and fairly creamy, smooth finish.
drinkability is fine, very nice brew, that I would drink again, no complaints here.

Photo of RoyalT
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
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.

Photo of AlexJ
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

HSA presents itself a crimson bronze color wearing a tightly knit cap of eggshell colored head which retains quite well and laces even better.

The smell is a nicely balanced combination of sweet, carmelized malts and floral, spicey, and piney hops. There is a general bready aroma throughout.

The flavor is much bigger than the nose. It's bursting with sweet malt complexity, bitter orange peel, some floral notes, and a sappy, piney hop finish. Hoppier than I expected.

The body is medium with a soft, creamy texture accenuated by light and soft carbonation.

I enjoyed many HSA's on many cold New England nights, always a pleasure. It's nice to revisit some old favorites and discover that they are as good as ever!

Photo of twelvsies
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper color, and maybe I poured to slowly but there's barely any head on this thing. Smell is very fragrant, sprucy and fruity, smelling of pears, apples, and even an odd bubblegum scent in there. Solid taste. Lots of flavors, such as those listed above as well as some buttery toffee and English tea character and faint alcohol qualities. Nicely balanced, neither hops nor malt takes over, leaving the tastebuds free to explore the tastes of this beer. Slick medium mouthfeel. A pleasure to drink.

Geary's Hampshire Special Ale from D.L. Geary Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 578 ratings.