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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
89
very good

525 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 525
Reviews: 369
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 12.41%
Wants: 28
Gots: 8 | 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: 525 | Reviews: 369 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MaineBeerMan
4.6/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It's here and it's still good. The 2002-2003 Geary's HSA is out. Coppery brown in color with a decent light beige head that left some lacing. Sweet carmel aroma with a hint of fruitiness and hops. Taste starts out big with lots of malty sweetness and a smooth almost creamy mouthfeel.

Seems to have maybe more hops than in previous years. Finishes with a little drying hoppy bitterness and you can feel the alcohol warming you on the way down.

This beer is still one of my favorites and I wish David Geary would make it available year round.

MaineBeerMan, Sep 21, 2002
Photo of MaineBrewing
4.59/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a clear medium amber with ruby in the center and orange around the fringe. Head was a good two fingers of thick foam but dissipated quickly to a large bubbled froth. As always with Geary's and other similar breweries out of Portland I get no lacing, no remaining head, and a dead looking ale after a while. It ends up looking like I'm drinking iced tea. I would have to say the body/color puts it above "okay" but the liveliness or lack thereof really affects it and makes it dull.

S - Deep nutty aroma, with toffee and caramel malt notes, lots of fruity-ness as well as diacetyl, butter, biscuit, slight metallic character, and slight warming alcohol. No discernible hops, smells on par with the style and very approachable.

T - Taste is a complex deep nutty toffee malt character, loads of toasty bread and biscuit. Lots of buttery/diacetyl/ringwood yeast flavor dominates the finish, however is balanced well with the malt character and compliments it instead of overpower it. Good bite of bitter hops with lingering butter and toffee notes finish it off. To me the taste is perfect for the style.

M - Thick with low carb, a little hot at the end, slightly rough. This to me is a slow sipper, one to savor the nuances of the malt character that is deep and delicious.

O - Very English and very Portland. No matter how many newer more inventive breweries pop up in this state, the old school open fermented "Yorkshire" inspired ales with ringwood yeast in my opinion are sort of the foundation of Maine brewing, and Gear's HSA to me is some sort of the Pièce de résistance. A decadent deluge of English inspired flavor done in the old world style.

MaineBrewing, May 23, 2014
Photo of markskar
4.58/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is my "go-to" beer. It's brewed just up the road in Portland so it's always fresh around here. I'll give anyone who rates this at less than a B+ the benefit of the doubt and assume their sample may not have been as its peak freshness. Nice abv at 7.0 and very drinkable--perhaps too much so (at least that's what my wife says).

A: Clear dark amber. Nice head with consistently good lacing.

S: Oak and a complex fruitiness that I can't quite put my finger on.

T: The perfect balance of malt and hops. Not too sweet, not too bitter, and while the alcohol taste is there, it isn't overpowering. Touch of caramel, bit of toffee. As with all English-style ales, it has the standard oakiness to it, but that too is just right and doesn't overpower the other complex flavors.

M: Not too thick and not over-carbonated. Keeps me coming back for more. Day after day.

D: Already stated above, but perhaps a bit too drinkable. Some reviewers seemed to feel that it's too heavy for summer-time drinking, but I think it's refreshing any time of year.

Personal favorite, can't say enough good things about it. We're blessed with the availability of a great assortment of great beers in Portsmouth (including our hometown favorite, the illustrious Smutty!), but this one will always have a special place in my heart.

markskar, Sep 04, 2008
Photo of Lupe
4.53/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rich copper topped with a healthy off white head. Great retention and lots of sticky lace left behind lace.

Hoppy aroma with citrus and spice. Sweetness enters the nose after the hops, adding caramel, honey, and biscuit malt.

Starts off spicy with lots of hops - herbal with some citrus and spice. Malt sweetness kicks in some caramel and toffee, honey, toasted bread, and a distinct fruitness. Alcohol does not show at all. Awesome combination of hops and malt. At times very hoppy and then bursting with malty goodness, with a seamless transition. Delicious.

Full bodied, smooth and rich. Mild carbonation fits the beer well. Great drinkability - really leaves you wanting more. A top notch beer.

Big thanks to charlesw for sending this my way in Beer Powerball.

Lupe, Oct 09, 2008
Photo of kmpitz2
4.53/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to SheepNutz for providing me this beer in a trade. It pours a deep amber to slightly deep red in color. The head starts about a finger high, but falls to just ring the top with sparse cover. What a nose. I love malt and I love hops. This give me the best of both worlds. The malt is giving me caramel with a rich toffee, almost buttery tone as well. The hops blend really well into the malt, but I get some citrusy notes from those. Very rich flavor, like a super rich caramel floods my taste buds. There is a fantastic hop bitterness dncing on my tongue after swallowing the beer. Good good and good. The beer is thick, but not as thick as I would have expected. This is a trade-off in my book, as it increases the drinkability. For the full flavor, this beer is very drinkable. Just a good beer.

kmpitz2, Aug 24, 2004
Photo of oberon
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
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.

oberon, Oct 30, 2003
Photo of bewareOFpenguin
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

They still sell it in Shaw's (local supermarket)!! I picked it up last night and brought it home. Cracked one while cooking dinner. Nice white head. I tasted those great hops with the first sip. Then the bitterness. This is the best seasonal beer. I anticipate "when the weather sucks" so I can drink it. I have been known to hold on to six packs of this into August.

bewareOFpenguin, Oct 04, 2002
Photo of HarryHood
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

HarryHood, Jan 13, 2013
Photo of edchicma
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mmmmmmm...Beautifully rounded brew...Hoppy and malt aromas invite you to savor this brew. A beautiful dark copper with a small head...color alone suggests rounded balance. Taste is nice and hoppy but with enough of a malt reminder to round out the mouthfeel. Slight aftertaste reminds you it is 7% ABV. Extremely drinkable...the only worry I have is that it is so rounded and smooth that I might be tempted to drink too many, but is that really a problem?

Note: I tried this off the shelf in August 2003...As it is a seasonal brew, I have to add that it certainly held its character beyond the March date mentioned on the brewer's website. By the way, there was no date on my bottle.

edchicma, Aug 15, 2003
Photo of george42
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

george42, Oct 31, 2012
Photo of Darkale
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
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.

Darkale, Nov 10, 2003
Photo of hyuga
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
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!

hyuga, Sep 14, 2005
Photo of SheLaLa
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

SheLaLa, Jun 04, 2013
Photo of rhabdovirus
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

rhabdovirus, May 09, 2012
Photo of epoole3
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

epoole3, Nov 15, 2013
Photo of rorjets
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

rorjets, Dec 17, 2013
Photo of verdict603
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

verdict603, Dec 27, 2011
Photo of Gregwa
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

Gregwa, Apr 15, 2012
Photo of dprophet
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

dprophet, Jan 22, 2012
Photo of BeerBuilder
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 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.

BeerBuilder, Oct 30, 2006
Photo of stevecooks
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

stevecooks, Dec 08, 2011
Photo of AJ01923
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

AJ01923, Jul 12, 2013
Photo of montag30
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

montag30, Mar 05, 2013
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).

Bighuge, Nov 05, 2003
Photo of mfigueroa713
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

mfigueroa713, May 22, 2012
Geary's Hampshire Special Ale from D.L. Geary Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 525 ratings.