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

376 Reviews
THE BROS
98
world-class

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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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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 376 | Hads: 593
Photo of confer
3.35/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It pours a hazy amber with an off white head.
Malty ale smell. The alcohol also is apparent in the smell.
Taste is the same as the smell. Malty/alcohol taste, with a very bitter finish.
The HSA has a very smooth creamy feel. Its a one and done beer for me. (256 characters)

Photo of Popkas
3.7/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Deep copper color with nearly a finger of off white head. Leaves a touch of lacing behind as the head recedes.

S: Bready smell with a bit of spice to it.

T: Sweet caramel malts balanced a bit of a suprisingly hoppy back of the tongue. Interesting as I did not see that coming.

M: Mouthfeel typically does not "catch my eye", but this was different. First feels as though it is too fizzy filling the mouth too quickly, but it quickly turns into a pleasant much less "full" feel.

D: Enjoyed this one fairly well. (517 characters)

Photo of nkersten
4.43/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Poured from a bottle into a snifter. Great color, dark orange/amber with an off white head that sticks around, decent lacing too.
S- Smell is toffee malts, bread, some spice, and a bit of fruity hops.
T- Good malt flavor, not too sweet, some clove and banana probably from the yeast and hop bitterness to back it all up. Hardly any alcohol in the taste.
M- Light carbonation and medium body, coats my mouth a little bit.
D- Very drinkable beer. I am not terribly familiar with the style, but this is easy to drink and very tasty. (532 characters)

Photo of Amalak
3.46/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I had off the cask at Barcade in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
A- It had a dark orange color, opaque, with a nice head and lacing.
S- Very nice hoppy scent to it.
T- It's quite bitter, very hoppy. And dry, too. It's actually very dry. There is something of a sweet candy aftertaste to it. Honestly, this is too dry for my liking, even if it's a high quality beer. (357 characters)

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.61/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A4.5 : Must say that this is a fine looking beer. Crystal clear amber in color. Off-white (with a touch of yellow) creamy as hell head with above average retention and tons of lacing.

3.5 S: Nose is full of sticky sweetness and a touch of graininess. No sign of hops as malts dominate. Crystal malts.

3.5 T: Way more balanced that I was expecting. There is a pleasant hop bitterness that I wasn't expecting. Buttery diacetyl accompanies lots of sweet caramel malt flavor. A touch grainy as in the nose.

4.0 M: Medium body. Good creaminess. Could use more carbonation, but carb is fine for the English style.

3.5 D: Not a bad brew, but not really my cup of tea. I'm not a big fan of English styles. (728 characters)

Photo of Durge
3.62/5  rDev -8.4%
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. (620 characters)

Photo of caddybuyer
4.47/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle with no date into a Chimay Chalice.

A-Beautiful copper color with filtered clarity. Eggshell head that settles fairly rapidly. If this could sustain a head it would be one of the most attractive beers I have sampled lately.

S-This smells nearly Belgian. Dark fruits, yeast and caramel malt, a heady aroma indeed, and it still is pretty cold from the fridge.

T-Sweet figs, plums, raisins, brown sugar and malts start the palate, which is a slightly buttery full bodied flavor with detectable alcohol present. Hops kick in mid palate, and finish with a bitter end note that lasts forever. This is an amazingly complex beer and reminds me a bit of Bittersweet Lenny's RIPA. What a brew.

M-Ample carbonation rounds out a perfect, slightly sticky mouthfeel.

D-I'd say this is a pretty drinkable beer, it tastes "bigger" than the stated ABV, and that makes it much more managable. Gee, I'm done, and I'm really wanting another.

This, hands down, is the best beer I have tried from Geary's. It reminds me of a Chimay Red combined with a Sierra Nevada wet hop ale. Just super, and a bargain to boot, for what it is. (1,140 characters)

Photo of gueuzeonhigh
4.23/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a nice golden amber color.
There's a small head that dissipates promptly.
Small nose.

The flavor was quite surprising given the precursors. It's more like many IPAs I've enjoyed rather than a mere "ale".

Lots 'O' Hops. Clean bitter start that lingers until the next sip. It could use a bit more to the flavor-- it's mostly all "bitter hops". Not necessarily a detraction, but the bitter is the most prominent flavor attribute.

This beer has a nice cordial mouthfeel-- while a robust flavor it's not tiring and therefore enjoyable.

Drinkability is heightended because of the comparatively below 10% alcohol ABV factor.

This is a nice pleasant IPA ..errr Ale. (683 characters)

Photo of tigg924
3.67/5  rDev -7.1%
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. (361 characters)

Photo of CheckMate
1.64/5  rDev -58.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

12 oz brown bottle obtained at Hannaford's Supermarket Derry, NH. pours a crystal clear copper liquid with barely any head, maybe a centimeter and that's pushing it. smells of woodsy-ness, hops, and raisins definitely invades the senses. definitely taste the raisins and the earthy quality of the hops. doesn't give a nice after taste, reminds me of my nail polish remover. moderate carbonation. the drink ability of this beer isn't very good.... unless you like to drink nail polish. I get the impression that the bottle of beer i purchased wasn't very fresh, so hopefully I will obtain a fresh brew of this kind and be able to give this a better score, (654 characters)

Photo of Beastdog75
3.65/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this one in a Geary's sampler pack. Geary's H.S.A. was a surprising brew for me, as I was pretty much just expecting a run of the mill ale, but this one was pretty nice.

H.S.A. pours a slightly murky brownish copper color. A healthy head of foam forms and lasts for several minutes. A nice malty aroma hits the nose, with dark fruits and caramel being present. Some woody aromas and some hoppiness are smellable as well. The mouthfeel was a bit sticky with a low-moderate amount of carbonation present. As for the flavor, it is indeed a bit on the sweet side with a big malty flavor present bringing with it some dark fruit/raisin taste. The hop bitterness hit me a bit unexpectedly, and I can only describe it as woody/citric/herbal/spicy. The beer ends up feeling in a word, "warm." This hop bitterness lingers on in the aftertaste along with some of the sticky maltiness. The warming sensation from the alcohol is nice and brings the beer to a full conclusion.

I would definitely recommend this. The brew is surprisingly complex and is quite drinkable for an ale of its strength. (1,088 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 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 wagenvolks
4.12/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to my girl Emily for bringing this back from her family vacation to Maine. 12oz bottle into a pint glass; different label than the one shown - this has a yellow back and the wording is inset within a round oval crossed by a red stripe. No freshness date.

Hampshire Special sits with an especially crisp, copper hue with bronze highlights. After an aggressive pour, a thin veil of beige-gray foam holds court and retains fairly well. Excellent aroma, very English in nature with toffee malts bursting at the seams. Hints of red cherry sweetness and a kiss of vodka linger in the background.

Flavor starts with a bit of fruity spice and caramel-toffee malts that give way to a finish of raw, bitter hop leaves and sticky booze. Occasionally I detect traces of chestnut and oak. Thankfully, the sweetness never becomes cloying, though, as I've found this to be the case with many higher-ABV English ales. Body is dead-pan medium in consistency, with an uppity carbonation level that brings out some of the milder characteristics of the malts and yeast esters towards the finish. Top notch English Strong Ale, here; if you ask me, Geary's is underrated. (1,158 characters)

Photo of Jwale73
3.43/5  rDev -13.2%
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. (750 characters)

Photo of JoKo
3.87/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into pint glass.

Appearance: Half an inch thick white head that dissipated quickly. The beer is cloudy and dark copper in color.

Smell: Piney hop smell up front, rather pleasant.

Taste: Very crisp, citrus, pine. The malt sweetness comes out more in the aftertaste. The hops are robust, but they aren't as prominent as in an IPA

Mouth feel: Bold, full-bodied, the carbonation is moderate.

Drink ability: Being full bodied, this beer probably would be very filling after 2 or more. Although it is filling, this beer is most definitely enjoyable. I thought that the balance between malts and hops was well done. (624 characters)

Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber color with a good sized head although it doesn't leave much for lacing.

Smell is pretty much all caramel malt with some muted spiciness.

Taste is a kick, strong caramel malt front, slight spiciness, a fair amount of heat coming from this beer but not enough to distract.

I've had this on-tap and in bottle form, on-tap kicks the bottles rear, but I went with a bottle review since that is how most people will get to experience HSA. (455 characters)

Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a stubby 12-ounce bottle into a Pig's Eye Pub pint glass.

A: Pours a very rich copper color with ruby and brown highlights when held to the light. Very sparse carbonation bubbles beneath the one-finger head of sudsy foam.

S: Smell is fruity, malty and not without it's hints of alcohol. A light berry and citrus aroma rises together with caramel and ethyl alcohol.

T: Taste is smooth, bitter and slightly sweet. The slightly creamy blend contains well blended, roasted caramel malts, orange peel and a bit of grape skin with an herbal hop resin to it. Of course, that ringwood lurks beneath the whole brew, hidings in its alcoholic shadows.

M: Mouthfeel is quite full and mildly creamy.

D: A very heavy brew to session, but 2 or 3 is likely the max for one session. A full array of flavors, an ABV of 7% and some mysterious ingredients make this a tasty and dangerously drinkable brew.

I had this last night and have quite the headbanger today. Must be the higher ABV, but I think that ringwood came back to bite me in the ass. Drinker's beware, when Geary's says special, they really mean "special." A very good beer. (1,136 characters)

Photo of oldhippie247
3.36/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper hue with a slightly off-white head. Though head is nice and fluffy and lingers, no lacing is left on the glass.

Even at just below room temperature the nose is quite muted. Malty sweetness with a lightly funky earthiness is noticeable with a little effort.

Mouthfeel is nice and rich, but flavors fall a little flat. I think I was expecting something a little closer to a barleywine, while it drinks more like a slightly-above-average-strength amber.

Despite an overall non-impressive nose and a less than stellar palate, this is a good beer for those looking for something easy to drink but with a little more alcohol.

Easy to drink and well-priced are it's big attributes to me. (706 characters)

Photo of Yeastcakes
3.82/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving notes: Hefe glass, cellar temp
Aroma: Dark fruit-hop-spice notes.
Appearance: Nice inch head, dissipates to quarter inch. Clear amber in color.
Mouthfeel: Nice full mouthfeel, light carbonation.
Taste: Alcohol, raisins, grapefruit (I may be reaching on that one). Nice complexity of flavors that makes swirling it around worthwhile.
Drinkability: While not a session beer, I could easily have two of these and would get this one as a beer for a cold winter night. (471 characters)

Photo of DIM
3.87/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

a: This was a slightly hazy, ruddy orange color. I couldn't coax much of a head out of this one.

s: Sweet toffee along with a little caramel. A little dark fruits like raisins perhaps and a surprising hit of floral, spicy heat.

t: That sweet toffee dominates here as well. I also got some raisins and spices (coriander?). As this warmed I got some nice warmth for such a low abv.

m: This felt under carbonated and a bit thin.

d: I'd never heard of this until a buddy handed me one. Very nice stuff. (502 characters)

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

Poured a deep copper with a thin white rim of foam. Settling left a slight bit of lacing around the glass. The nose is very malty. A little bit of breadiness and some hop sweetness. The taste is very malty, with some caramel sweetness. There is a definite bread taste as well. Overall this was an interesting beer and worth a shot. (331 characters)

Photo of ryrust5301
3.56/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Golden orange in color. Very thin but ample head with a moderate amount of lacing.

Smell - Deep sweet malt with a faint fruitiness. Besides that I couldn't really pick up much else.

Taste & Mouthfeel - Wow is this one sweet! Huge malt and honey sweetness give it a deep body. Apple accounts for some of the fruit flavor, but can't quite put my finger on the others. Very creamy and full in the mouthfeel, making it very easy to drink.

Drinkability - A little to sweet for my taste, but a very good stab at the strong ale style. Quite a nice offering. (566 characters)

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

Amber colored beer with rapidly fading head.Aroma is dark fruit.Taste is dark fruit,caramel and toffee.This is one of the most aromatic beers I've had in awhile.Taste and smooth,you cannot tell this beer is 7% from just taste alone.I would recommend and purcahse again!! (270 characters)

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.68/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Geary's- Hampshire Special Ale

A- Deep clear amber with a huge frothy head. Good chunky lacing.
S- Sweet buttery toffee with hints of vanilla and oak?
T- Big buttery toffee malt with a creamy vanilla touch. Chewy bready malt dominates with slight earthy woodsy tones in the back half.
M- Thick and buttery. Huge malt with a slight metallic alc. tinge.

Overall- Big buttery and sweet make this a bit cloying. alc., eventually, smoothes out. (441 characters)

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