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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

572 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 572
Reviews: 374
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 12.72%
Wants: 29
Gots: 20 | 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)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 572 | Reviews: 374 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Suds
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, deep chestnut color with a thin head. The aroma seems centered around alcohol with caramel and malt. Dry bread crust and nuts…walnut and almond? A little floral hop character as well. First taste is malty and, but quickly turns to a sharp hopiness and astringency. Finish is smooth and soft; very nice balance. As you drink it, you’d swear that it has more than it’s stated 7% ABV. However, although it’s solidly good, nothing about the beer particularly stands out.

Photo of longpondbeerman
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I took a gamble on a case of this HSA (as a 2002-2003 the store had it in the discounted out-of-date section). It poured A clear dark orangy gold with a minimal head. The initial aroma was of sharp spices and maple malts. There's also a touch bitter of hops back there somewhere as well. The mouthfeel is luscious--a medium thickness offset by modest carbonation. The taste is reasonably well balanced; there a syrupy cherry and pear sweetness at the start, but it fades quickly as the hops kick in, and the finish is rather tart. The alcohol is more evident in the taste than I expected for a 7% brew; I think it's more potent than reported.

Photo of DIM
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a dark chestnut color with decent clarity. The head is a two finger pale orange shade. The retention is quite solid, and the texture is quite creamy. Solid lacing is left behind on the glass.

S: DAT RAISINY NOSE. This starts off strongly with dark fruits, before a slight whiff of hop bitterness comes out after warming up. Caramel notes are nicely restrained but not nonexistent.

T: It starts off with a light hop bitterness redolent of tobacco. Maltiness takes over after the hops fade on the palate, with some unsweetened toffee. The finish is mildly fruity, but not as strong as the nose indicated. Sometimes I even get some wisps of chocolate. While I don't enjoy all of the flavors (COUGH CRYSTAL MALT COUGH), it's clear this is a high-quality example of the style, without a hint of alcohol anywhere.

M: This style is usually plagued by intrusive malts and a heavy lingering finish. This one is superbly clean, crisp, and there's only a slight sweetness on the back end. The carbonation is fairly mild, and yet it's still quite drinkable.

O: Normally, I'm not a fan of this style, but these guys damn near nailed this. It's super clean, drinkable, yet nicely complex and savorable. I would definitely buy this again - this is one of those 'hidden gems' that few people know about but is actually really damn good.

Photo of JoKo
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

Photo of Cheld
3.86/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of KATE12
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a great rich amber color with a thin head and a little bit of lacing.

The smell is a sweet and fruity smell with hints of hops and malt.

The taste is awesome. First you get hit with a citrus flavor and suddenly there is a sweet carmel undertone to the beer. I loved it. It has a smooth and balanced taste with a heavy (in a good way!) mouthfeel.

All in all I was very happy with this beer!

Photo of TheRowan
3.85/5  rDev -2%
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.

Photo of mooseisloose
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A recent BOTMC arrival. Looks like a buttkicker at 7%, let's give it a whirl. Popping the top I get hints of licorice, brown sugar and molasses. Pours to a deep bronze with a micro-bubble foamy head. The taste is a kicked up brown ale flavor with a nice noble hop bite. The AC is slightly evident in the lingering but smooth bitter finish. Mouthfeel is good with a nice sparky carbonation to augment the hop bite. This is a very high IBU special ale and is indeed quite tasty. A great drinker but the 7% probably sneaks up fast. I think I'll cellar the other two bottles I have and see how it tastes a year from now.

Photo of Jacobob10
3.85/5  rDev -2%
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 clvand0
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one pours an amber color with a small off-white head that doesn't stick around long and doesn't leave much lacing on the glass. The aroma is sweet malts, but the hop presence balances this well. The flavor is of brown sugar and caramel malts, but as in the aroma, it is well balanced and not as sweet as I expected it to be. This has a light mouthfeel and is slightly thin. I'd prefer it to have a thicker body. Drinkability is good.

Photo of brewcrew76
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to themaniacalone for this one.

A - Ice tea colored rusty amber with a nice sized off white head and few strings of lace.

S - Earthy and fruity hops with some sweet malt, toffee and butterscotch. The malt smells like the inside of a Butterfinger.

T - Toffee and butterscotch, fruity grape flavors, light touch of alcohol, grassy and herbal hops linger on the finish. Buttery with honey notes.

M - Full body with a good amount of carbonation. Goes down easy for being full bodied. Slight warming from alcohol.

D - Solid. Was expecting it to taste a little bigger and complex but not disappointed.

Photo of argock
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a clear pint glass

A: Copper-light brown with thin off-white head and skimpy lace.

S: Toasted malt with bread and caramel, reasonably heavy alcohol, and faint fruity aromas

T: Malty with buttery caramel flavor with fruity flavor cut by the moderate hops bitterness and warm alcohol. Very full beer for sure.

M: Light carbonation and full bodied with uncanny smoothness.

D: Tasty and smooth but very full-bodied and with heavy alcohol presence.

Photo of bbothen
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper like color with a bubbly 2 finger deep off white head.

Smells of sweet malts, slight spiciness, fruity.

Smeet caramel maltiness, fruitiness, raisin, tartness, hoppy bitterness, warming alcohol.

Smooth, moderate carbonation, medium bodied.

Nice cold weather warmer. Good flavor. Enjoyable brew. Wish I had access to this & others from Geary's.

Photo of assurbanipaul
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber with a thin frothy head and streams of microbubbles. Aroma is rich and malty with bitter hops.

Taste is again rich malt and hops with a fair amount of alcohol present up front (lost some points for that). Some buttery flavors, yeasty, hops follow the malt but not enough to offend. Light caramel or toffee flavors, some oaky whiskey flavors, a mild sweetness and maybe even slight tobacco flavors emerge as it warms a bit. That orangey hops flavor also makes itself better known but still the balance is retained.

Mouthfeel is moderately heavy, oily. Smooth, a sipping beer with the flavors seeming to fluctuate a bit on the palate...curious. Balance or just fighting for dominance? Very close to a light barleywine. Makes me wonder how this would age, especially to take an edge off that alcohol presence.

My thanks to kfoss99 for this contribution, now I know what all the fuss is about.

Photo of GDMFSOB
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of ExtraStout
3.84/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Stunning shade of ruby, an ample head of 1.5 inches rises and falls as it clumps and hangs to the insides of a Burgundy balloon. After 5 minutes, a lace of a few millimeters covers the surface. Carbonation is so active that it makes one wonder what this beer has in store. The label makes me miss all the beauty of New Hampshire.

Smell: Nose burning, jaw-dropping amount of malted barley lends so much sweetness and richness that the nose is almost overwhelming. You can smell the malts from 5 feet away, no lie. Carmel and maple syrup. Carmelized sugars and carbs that haven't quite turned so far as to become rum, but that have the alcoholic nature to force them past simple sugars. And the lightest tickle of hops. This is COMPLEX.

Taste: Everything the smell flaunts, to a lesser extent. This has very even malt; light tastes of brown sugar and carmel meld well with a very tame dose of hops that lends the smallest amount of bitterness, but much in the way of leafy flavor. A nice balance of sweet and sharp, but surprisingly light. This smells like it could kick the piss out of Old Horizontal (at 11%) and it whimpers in with 7%. It's as if someone made the most evil barleywine on earth, and split it with water like you would whiskey.

Mouthfeel: So much lighter than the nose suggests. This is so smooth and light, so much so that it detracts from the otherwise myriad character of this beer.

Drinkability: Easy. Light and mind blowing complex. I'd be surprised to see how many of these I could have in an evening before the weight (flavorwise, not ABV-wise) got to me. I guess I could have 2 or 3. But, damn. Try it for yourself. It's something which hasn't ever not been not nothing.

Photo of beerthulhu
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured a clear, light cranberry color with no head.

S: light with some dried grapefruit and decent maltiness.

T: malty with some light fresh woody toasted notes, and a dry floral hoppiness. The beer finished with a dried citrus hopping, and a slight toasted malting.

M: moderate with some dried citrus notes upon the tongue.

D: Overall a generally good ale, with a outdoorsy palate of dried woodiness, malt, pine and citrus making for an easy drinking ale by the fireplace.

Photo of LPorter33
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bought a six pack from Martignetti's . Poured a nice deep amber , minimal head. Bourbon like smell, indicative of the 7% ABV. Very tasty mix of fruit and spice, does not hide the alcohol as well as others but it's not too overpowering. Overall a great beer that I'd go back to anytime.

Photo of Liquids
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an intense rubied orange hue, with a scummy thin head despite the rousing pour into a chalice glass. No lacing. The aroma is intense and complex--a sweet intense caramel malt aroma, fruits and dark syrups, alcohol and some hop aromas, but dominated by a complex fruity sweetness. The taste is unique, malty, and intense, english style with spicy malts and a fruity sweetness--a bit alcoholic, but it's hidden in the mix and not a swash across the palate. The hops are present, oh yes, spicy and resinous flavors linger. The key word for this beer is complex, but after a few sips, you loose that complexity and taste that it's too sweet, with a hoppy compliment. Moutheel is light for this style, but not water. More body would definitely make this more enjoyable drinking, and a bit carbonated for me, but thats nothing a harder pour couldn't remedy for my preferences. Overall, I like this beer, and seeing as I don't much care for strong ales, this is a winner. I can indeed imagine it being even better than it is, but it's a solid drinker that is not hard to locate, and that's always a plus for a local good-drinking brew.

Photo of johnnnniee
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautifully clear reddish amber with a frothy off white head that dissipates quickly. Smells of alcohol and a bit of floral and perfume, some sweet malt in there bread and biscuit. Really great nose. Taste is sweet malt up front some toffee and caramel. With some alcohol and hop bitterness mid to finish. Some raisins or dried fruits in there too. Medium to thick body. A syrupy oily mouthfeel. Low carbonation. Great Strong ale, if not a touch sweet. Not cloying, but a little sweet.

Photo of Yeastcakes
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

Photo of divineaudio
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle courtesy of valdieu2.

a - pours a deep transparent amber shade. formed a pinky's worth of off white foam that calmed quickly to a film. leaves a few legs of lacing behind.

s - nutty malt, grape, candied cherries, faint chocolate.

t - starts off with toffee and nutty malts then moves into notes of darker, sweeter fruits. a fairly pronounced herbal bitterness sets in and finishes on a faint alcohol spice note.

m - medium in body, slightly buttery, adequate carbonation, medium co2 profile.

o - a solid beer and seems to fit the style well. very drinkable too. it's no fuller's, but i'd buy it again if i came across it.

Photo of j0hnc2468
3.82/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of jackndan
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hampshire Special Ale: from a stubby brown bottle. Pours a reddish brown, perfectly clear. Nice head, off white, that leaves a little covering but not much lace. The aroma is malty, but with an unmistakable whiff of alcohol as well. The taste is very nice, malty and with definite tastes of dried fruits including raisins, prunes. Sweet long lasting aftertaste, with cidery flavors. Fairly highly carbonated. Interesting brew, but the alcohol taste is notable, and would have earned this beer another half star without it.

Geary's Hampshire Special Ale from D.L. Geary Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 572 ratings.