Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

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.
BA SCORE
88
very good

377 Reviews
THE BROS
98
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 377
Hads: 599
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 9.87%
Wants: 32
Gots: 41 | 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.
View: Beers (12) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Geary's Hampshire Special Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 377 | Hads: 599
Photo of MattyRobots
4.45/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What a beautiful pour. With the yellow label I was not expecting the dark amber pour. head was creamy eggshell, 3/4 inch. Dissipated quickly, but not quickly enough to keep me from getting that great creamy first sip through it. Soft grass and citrus in the nose, with definite caramel maltiness. velvety mouth feel and orange peel flavor fade into a delicious fresh grass and faint alcohol on the exhale. My favorite Geary's for sure. (435 characters)

Photo of scarletfire79
4.45/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

one of the most drinkable beers i've ever had. i don't want to put it down. pours dark amber brown with a frothy white head. great staying power, decent lacing. definitly picking up some fruity notes in the nose, sweet like honey. the taste is balanced, mellow, malty, hoppy, i could go on. just very nice. i'm sorry i didn't pick this up sooner. kind of like a barleywine junior. good beer. (391 characters)

Photo of yelterdow
4.45/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served at just over fridge temperature in an imperial pint glass. Big thanks to Andy's in Bogota for hosting Geary's debut in NJ, this tasting was shared with EPseja the next day.

Appearance- Pours a fiery copper red, the head even carries with it an orange luminescence. A tornado effect is happening inside the glass... great action. The crown settles from about two fingers down to a finger that stays throughout. Bubbles are tightly packed, a real nice looking beer.

Smell- Wow... perfumy fruits and malts right off the bat, conceding to a sweet, bubble gum character that may be a result of the Belgian candi sugar aromas. Is it peaches, or some other tree fruit I'm getting here? It's not quite tropical, but it's luscious and full. Eric mentioned honeysuckle, and I realize that's exactly the description I was looking for.

Taste- Big fruitiness, amazing biscuity malts, and a dry hop bitterness that really dazzles... the English character with its crisp, mineraly elements does wonders for this beer. The alcohol briefly appears towards the center/back of the tongue, disappearing just in time for the swallow.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- It's tingly in the beginning, but at the same time it's soapy and slick. Great body, and the drinkability is... well, "dangerous" as Michael Jackson once said. At 7%, this is superbly crafted and round. (1,351 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 ghostwalker
4.43/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Body is copperish brown. Huge frothy head with great retention.

Nose is biscuity malt, yeasty with a touch of butteriness.

Flavor is really tasty. Much like a bitters or ESB, but with much more flavor than most. Biscuit malt forms the solid backbone. Tangy hops on the finish. The huge head, that has yet to subside, is distinctly sweet. There is even a hint, perhaps, of some citrus.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy.

Drinkability is tops. I love the British style brews, and this one is a new favorite. (515 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 BA.com 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 beyah
4.42/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a 12oz. bottle into a Britsh pint glass.

A - Deep copper color, about 1 finger of white head, excellent lacing.

S - Biscuity, Ringwood Yeast, eastery.

T - Hops bitterness, Ringwood Yeast, slight alcohol warmth, very well balanced.

M - Buttery Smooth, light carbonation, very drinkable. (296 characters)

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

Into a pint glass:

A: dark brown colored body with a big beautiful one inch white foamy head that wants to spill over the pint glass no matter how careful you try to pour it, decent lacing

S: dominating pale malts, hops remain in the background

T: previously mentioned flavors with darker malts coming through, slight yeastiness

M: medium to heavy, borderline sessionable, noticeable coating of the tongue, sticky malty aftertaste and finish

O: always love this one by Geary's, good for the style and good for me. (518 characters)

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

I got this bottle in a trade with Wasatch. Thanks John!

This pours from 12oz bottle a clear medium gold with a 2 finger head of foam.

The smell is very malty and very nice. I also get a fruity nose that makes it a pleasure to sniff.

The taste has big caramel malt, dark fruit, some grain, and a surprisingly ample but not overpowering hop presence in the background that adds just the right touch to somewhat balance it out but to tell you the truth, I'm enjoying the hell out of the malt. Nice bit of bready notes here as well and the alcohol is completely hidden, asaic. Lovely drop!
It has a fairly thick mouthfeel(yeah!), the carbonation is medium light, and it finishes malty semi sweet. Again...lovely drop! Oh, and the foam hangs around like forever. I'm *really* impressed with this English Strong Ale and I'd seek it out again.

Thanks again, John! (860 characters)

Photo of morimech
4.4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Amber copper color with one finger of rocky head that had good retention before settling to a thin cap. Quite a bit of lacing is left on the glass.

After the beer opens up a little, I was treated with dark fruit, caramel, herbal and grassy hops resulting in a rich, complex aroma.

Taste is everything I expect from an English style ale. Bready and toffee malt with the sweetness kept in check by the grassy and herbal hops. This is a beer best sampled fresh I suspect.

The only short coming of this beer is that the body does not feal as big as it should. Lacks a texture that would put this beer in the elite level.

Why did it take me so long to discover this beer? Geary's really hit it hard with this beer. Right up there with Yorkshire Stingo. (751 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 Manosbeeroffate
4.38/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Best of the bunch from Geary's I think. Pours golden/red color. little head. Smells malty. Taste? Nice balance of hops, malt, some sharp fruity flavor like apple. Mouthfeel is damn good. Overall I like this one a lot. I ahven't had this in a while, but it's easy to find and will get more soon. (294 characters)

Photo of deanhead
4.38/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have been drinking this beer for over ten years, and finally decided to take some notes on this really excellent offering from New England.

This beer poured an amber to burnt orange color with little head. The head that is present does lace nicely down the glass.

Aroma has hints of peat and scotch, as well as some buttery undertones.

Bitter and sweet tasting, but very well balanced. Warming alcohol feeling but not solventy, or fusel. The alcohol wamring feeling slowly creeps up thru my belly, and finally out my nose. Wonderful sensation. Nice lingering buttry finish, with a very slight mettalic taste.

medium bodied and highly drinkable beer. I have always ben a huge fan of this beer. It is delicious.
Try this beer if you like strong ales! (755 characters)

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

Clear light brown with red and amber. Kind of a warm chestnut color with a light tan head that forms a ring in not very long after the pour. Smell is sweetly mellow but very full. Maple syrup comes through strongest followed by butter, toffee, caramel, and butterscotch. Nicely malted with a bit of hops hidden within. Taste is of sweet maple syrup and subtle caramel. Definite buttery bread maltiness. Nice earthy, floral and fruit hops peak through the maple. There's a wide range of fruit tastes including fresh green grapes and juicy plums. There's kind of a second long, unexpected cherry burst as well. Hop bitterness at the finish balenced with a calming sweetness. Just the right carbonation and no drinkability problems here.

This beer it suprisingly awesome. Its nicely complex and seems to cover a lot of different tastes. Kind of like yummy controlled chaos. (873 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 ikats
4.37/5  rDev +10.6%
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. (462 characters)

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

The Geary's HSA pours a beautiful dark amber, sticky-icky up the sides and a beautiful 1/4 inch head. It smells good but would probably smell better if my dishwasher didn't do such a shitty job. Sorry Geary's. The beer still tastes great. It almost tastes like an ESB despite it's strong ale label. I know the salesman told me I'd say that, and my heart wants to be contrarian, but it does taste like an ESB. Feels great going down. Excellent beer. (448 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 taez555
4.36/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer poured a ruby tan/amber body with a creamy white head.

The nose was a lovely mix of biscuit malt, caramel with a sharp but mild hop spice.

The taste was medium to full bodied. A rich caramel and soft toasted malt character. Very rich and yet very smooth. Not the biggest beer around, but just simple and rich tasting. A nicely balanced citrus peel and flower hop taste with an equally big but oh so even hop bitterness compliment the big malt taste perfectly. It really takes its time to linger away.

Simply put an amazing beer. I really think this can give sierra nevada pale ale a run for it’s money. A bit darker and richer, but not as hoppy. Even at 7% alcohol this is a great session beer. I’ll have another. (734 characters)

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
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. (409 characters)

Photo of Todd
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A balanced beer to say the least, with both a distinct malty and hoppy flavour. Very smooth, very drinkable and very alcoholic on the breath. Can't really go wrong with a beer like this, unless you can't handle a RIngwood beer -- but it's well-blended into the mix. One of my favourites and one of Geary's best beers IMO -- "special" indeed. (341 characters)

Photo of techdiver
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear deep reddish copper with modest head that dissipates quickly.

Toasted malt and toffee to the nose.

Wonderful malt taste with a balanced hop bite.

Very smooth, medium bodied, clean and crisp.

Great drinkability, just a pleasure to drink. My first look at this style, and it's fairly impressive. (321 characters)

Photo of arguemaniac
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
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! (925 characters)

Photo of dsa7783
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Short, fat, stout, single 12 oz bottle purchased from Total Wine and More in Union...
After an aggressive pour, a deep, dark, amber and ruby-red hue is noticeable along with a moderate-sized head that slowly receded and left a copious amount of lacing...
My first brew from this company, and I must admit that I was very impressed by the overall quality and flavor exhibited...
Subtle, soft smell with some noticeable hops and a touch of malts present along with a tinge of vanilla...
Rich, sweet, creamy taste bursting with caramel, sugars, vanilla, bread and butter, and butterscotch...
In my opinion, another highly underrated beer that should deserve more attention and respect...
Flavor was top-of-the-line and certainly one of the best depictions of the style that I have recently come acrosss...
Rich, creamy, thick, filling mouthfeel and an equally high level of drinkability where the ABV is well-masked behind a rich conglomeration of flavors...
Excellent stuff...
Definitely recommended... (1,000 characters)

Photo of alexwag
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Good ruddy amber with hint of red, partially opaque. Thin film of creamy white head, not much lacing.

S: Rich and malty, with toasted notes. Enticing but not overpowering.

T/M: Toasted and caramel malts, somewhat bready, but in a good way. Smooth and creamy without being cloying, goes down consistently well. Great balance with a little hop twang coming in at the end. Tasty beverage for the last few hours of '07.

D: Damn fine beer, could have a few and be feeling great. Rich and interesting and well balanced. Can't ask for much more. (544 characters)

Geary's Hampshire Special Ale from D.L. Geary Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 377 ratings.