Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

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.
very good

380 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 380
Hads: 605
Avg: 3.93
pDev: 15.78%
Wants: 32
Gots: 46 | 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: 380 | Hads: 605
Photo of DoubleJ
3.38/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Another beer from a gifted beer of the month club (thanks Simon!). If Geary's can impress me with an English-styled porter, a strong ale should be cake. From a stubby 12 ounce bottle, on to the beer:

A short head is formed above this light ruby brown beer. Dark orange hues are visible at parts. The beer smells like squeezed red grapes with a little note of grape nuts cereal. Wow, that is one grapey smelling beer! In fact, this flavor tried to convince me that I was drinking dubbel instead. The grape flavor is present and soft overall. There's an earthiness found. At the end is a sharp bitterness which is a dent to this beer.

Decent beer, though I had hoped for more.

 677 characters

Photo of Thrasher
3.37/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A very violent pour is the only way to get a lasting head on this puppy. The buttery flavors of the ringwood are strongly dominant and a little bit goes a long way. Malts and hops are diminished because of it. There are some interesting fruity undercurrents, some intriguing spiciness which I think is derived from the alcohol, and the malts (if you can discern them buried underneath all the butterscotch) are sturdy, salty and delicious. I would love a bit more crispness from a more forceful hop presence. Other reviewers have mentioned a fair amount of hoppiness, but I'm not getting any of it. The sweetness and butteriness of this beer gets cloying, especially as it warms; I preferred it at a cold right-out-of-the-fridge temperature, unusual for this style of beer. This is not a bad beer but I think it is overrated. That said, it does grow on you and each bottle tastes better than the last. Perhaps a fresher bottle, or a cask-conditioned pint, or even a more wintery setting would enlighten me as to why this beer basks in universal acclaim.

 1,053 characters

Photo of travolta
3.36/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Apperance: Wonderful head. Rocky, thick, sticky....just right. It is not white, but not tan, right in the middle. Copper and gold in color. The lacing is also great. The lacing just slaps itself right up against the glass.

Nose: Sweet, carmel, fruity, little bit of hops. This beer smells nice, but I cannot quite get my hands on the smell. it smells sweet, fruity and a bit of caramel, but I cannot think of anything to relate it to.

Taste: Great texture, nice mouthfeel. A bit syrupy and sweet. lightly hoppy at the end with it's slight bitter aftertaste.Syrup, sweet, carmel.

Notes: The head and lacing were both something to admire. The thing that made me really enjoy this beer was it's structure. It is very balanced. Not boring, balanced.

 754 characters

Photo of oldhippie247
3.36/5  rDev -14.5%
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 Duhast500
3.35/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Clown Shoes pint glass.

The color is clear dark amber with a finger of foamy off-white head and some thick lacing left on the glass.

The smell is a little buttery and some caramel aroma hits along with it. The aroma reminds of a butterfinger candy bar.

The taste is buttery with some bready flavor. There is a whole ring of caramel that is holding at the borders of this beer and comes out every so often.

The feel of this beer is pretty even and goes down with a smooth feel. Some nice aftertaste that does linger a little too long.

 571 characters

Photo of confer
3.35/5  rDev -14.8%
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 Rastacouere
3.34/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear orange, little to no head. Surprisingly intense aroma. Extremely sweet fruity apricot, pears, and orange hoppiness. This is another fruit blend (had with wachusett winter ale) that seems to work pretty well though this one is a lot hoppier. Wet juicy mango flavor with malt closing to earthy. Generous hoppiness is rather complex, something of a cascade hop, but with more depth. Perhaps a bit cloying at the end, but still pretty enjoyable.

 447 characters

Photo of merlin48
3.33/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle pours a clear, amber body, with lots of active carbonation. Moderate, beige head retains well, and leaves plenty of sheet and patch lace.

Aroma is malty caramel, with some biscuit, and an odd, spicy hops note.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with lots of carbonation.

Taste has an odd, spicy note that doesn't seem to belong. Hops seem floral, as well. The malt holds its own, but is more biscuit than caramel.

I wasn't a big fan of this after my first couple of bottles, but it does seem to "grow on you". An acquired taste, in my opinion. The earthy, woodiness takes some getting used to. Overall, there still seems to be something that is slightly, unbalanced with this ale.

 700 characters

Photo of changeup45
3.33/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled this on draft at Harlow's Pub on 1/6/2005.. Poured an amber color with a relatively thick head and quite a bit of lacing. Quite malty and sour with caramel and some bitter hops. Overall, a strong brew that tilts towards malts. I'd get it again.

 252 characters

Photo of rinhaak
3.32/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a dark brown. When held up to the light, it looks more like a deep copper/red. There is a full one finger head, but this dissipates far too quickly leaving behind only a small amount of lace.

The nose is the highlight here: very aromatic, I smell lots of banana and hops, with a few flowers in the background.

A very viscous and fairly syrupy beer, there is a slight sourness to the taste. Modestly roasted malts are present, with only a slight hint of hops in the distance. A boozy aftertaste lingers in the mouth long after its gone, and one easily tastes the alcohol.

Though not bad, this certainly isn't a beer to get excited about.

 686 characters

Photo of lackenhauser
3.31/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Nice coppery color-head last the whole way down. Decent carbonation level. OK aroma-very malty. Theres almost a metallic odor,bordering on a high alcohol level but I wouldnt think thats it at only 7%. Very malty flavor. Caramel like. Very slight earthiness to the finish. Decent body. An enjoyable beer. I havnt had this in years. Seemed to improve as it warms a little. I dont know how much Id look to have this again as it has never been a personal favorite. Worth a try though in all honesty.

 495 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
3.28/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

Thanks to papollo for this bottle!

Now this does look like an intriguing beer, doesn't it? It pours a clear russet-ruby topped by about a finger or so of light ecru foam, which doesn't hang around to chat very long. The nose comprises vodka-soaked buttery biscuits, light rye bread, and a smidgen of orange rind. Interesting turn; let's see where it leads. The taste strips away some of the booze, which is replaced by a stronger version of the orange peel. Everything else remains fairly static from nose to tongue. (...Now, that's an image, am I right?) The body is on the heavier side of medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a slightly syrupy feel. Overall, an interesting brew, indeed, but not something I can see drinking very much of in the future.

 810 characters

Photo of ArrogantB
3.26/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Orange in color with a good head, looks like it will be a decent brew.It tastes slightly English if that makes any sense but it is a little too strong and I usually don’t say that. This is a decent beer but not one I will seek out again, doesn't suit my tastes.

 262 characters

Photo of beancounter
3.23/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Amber color, minimal head. does not leave any lacing

S-Carmel and malt. Nothing else.

Taste Carmel and malt. You get the picture...

Mouthfeel. - Moderate mouthfeel. Appropriate for the style.

Drinkability-This beer is very one dimensional. All carmel and malt. if you like these flavors, you will like this beer. The carmel is not overwhelming however, so it does go down easy

 383 characters

Photo of PeatReek
3.2/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Nice clear amber body with a just-slightly-off white head, starting at 1/2" of chunky bubbles and thinning out pretty quickly.

Aroma: Roasty and nutty and a tad sweet.

Taste & Mouthfeel: The sweet nuttiness starts off the sip and gives way very quickly to a hot, abrasive taste and feel that seems to be party alcohol and partly hops, and is not especially pleasant. The hop bitterness is actually kind of sour, with gritty citrus notes dominating. Suddenly, all of this fades away into a nice, dry roasty finish. Hm. Carbonation is just right, though. [On edit, after trying several more bottles: after you get used to the hops, which I don't especially like, the malt profile is actually quite full & complex, so I'm bumping up the score a little.]

Drinkability: The combination of alcoholic hotness and rather overwhelming citrus hoppiness would probably keep me to just one.

 899 characters

Photo of PDXHops
3.2/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle in a Duvel tulip.

Pours a deep slightly hazy amber with a finger or so of off-white head. This sticks around for a brief moment before disappearing into a skim and a bubbly collar. A few small spots of wet lacing here and there.

Pleasant, if uninspiring, caramel nose with background notes of overripe apples and fresh bread. A bit of fig newtons in there. Flavors are more lively, apple Jolly Ranchers with caramel and a hint of black pepper. Sounds weird, but works pretty well.

Overall impression: Not bad at all, but probably not something I'd revisit.

 576 characters

Photo of EVLguy
3.16/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Picked this one up on a whim. I'd only had on other Geary's beer before, their pale ale, and had enjoyed it thoroughly. This however caught me off guard. I had no clue this was an english style, and was still not aware when I drank the first bottle from the six pack. This review comes from the my fourth bottle had of this beer.

Appearance: A vigorous pour gave this ale a one and half finger head which quickly disintegrated to almost nothing, a light thread of bubbles which left no lacing. Color was a deep orange, very clear, almost tea-like.

Smell: I got a light hint of caramel malt as well as tea/tobacco leaf scents. However the overall aroma was weak.

Taste: I have to admit flavours I got in this beer were interesting, even if a bit odd. The tea leaf taste was the most apparent following a coffee like taste along with other herby tangs. The hops only seem to leave an ashy taste, but that maybe interpreted as smoky the some.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly this beer did have a nice weight to it. More firm than I've been use to with all the ipa i've been drinking lately. Only a mild acidity and a smooth finish.

Drinkability: I gotta say I can't see myself drinking this beer very often. All the grassy, earthy tastes are not something I enjoy in beer. I might come back to something like this once and a while, but probably just to remind of me what those tastes are.

 1,392 characters

Photo of Illinick
3.12/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Classic looking label that shows forest, mountains, and horizon. Dark amber in color with reddish and burnt orange hues. No head, but a slight ring and island.
S: Caramel and nut scents with sweet malt, toffee and sweet bread smell. Some slight cake and biscuit. Just plain smells sweet.
T: Follows smell with lots of malt and sweet, malty bread throughout. Caramel up front with roasted flavors near end. Some toffee and a faint hint of hops. Smooth, buttery flavors throughout.
MF: Full and buttery with a slightly dry finish.
Overall: Not my favorite style, but a decent, good brew that does nothing to wow me. Sweet and malty with a full body. Probably not one I'd try again, but glad I tried it at all.

 715 characters

Photo of gwfrankpsu
3.11/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This is a disappointment - love the ads - brewed only while the weather sucks, or something like that. There are much better winter beers. Just not what I expected.

 166 characters

Photo of ATLbeerDog
3.08/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured Golden-Orange with 1/8 inch head from a 12oz twist-off bottle purchased at Peabody’s in Boone, NC.

Very fruity with a crisp after taste, mild hop smell, light lacing and light carbonation. The 7% alcohol is hidden well. A fair beer that could use a tad more hops. Fruitier than my taste, still not bad but I won’t be making any special trips to Maine for this one.

 377 characters

Photo of Knapp85
3.08/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This poured out as a clear looking golden color with a fizzy white head on top. The smell of the beer was decent, nothing too exciting though. The taste of the beer had a good amount of malts and grain flavors with a dry bitterness in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel was lighter than I expected. The carbonation wasn't bad either. Overall this was an average beer in my opinion.

 376 characters

Photo of Cavanaghty
3.06/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Brown with a thick beige head that lingered.

Smell: Malts mostly and some nutty notes.

Mouthfeel/Taste: Smooth medium bodied. Malt taste with a nutty aftertaste.

Overall: Not bad. I would not go out my way to have it again though.

 286 characters

Photo of RBorsato
2.87/5  rDev -27%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Dark gold, copper with a low tan head and decent carbonation. Piney, sprucey hop aroma -- the best character of this brew. HUge malty flavor with a warming alcohol sensation. Funky fruity, yeasty flavor ... maybe that's the Ringwood yeast. Medium bodied with an unpleasant finish.

Per Maine Brewer's Guild site: Original gravity - 1070; two row English malts (pale, crystal and chocolate); Cascade, Mt. Hood and East Kent Golding hops.

Glad I only bought a single bottle.

($1.43 / 12 oz.)

 497 characters

Photo of cbutova
2.82/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Pours light red-brown with a small off-white head that has low retention. A small cloud and ring leave just a single spot of lace.

S- Very buttery caramel malt, butterscotch. Very slight earthy hops.

T- Big caramel and nutty malt. Some dark fruit and yeast bread notes. Something spicy in the finish throws me off with a stinging medicinal/fruit/herbal note. Alcohol very noticeable.

MF- Moderately thick body that is somewhat creamy. Carbonation comes in heaps before a slightly warm finish. Fairly bitter as well.

DB- I like the malt and yeast flavors but the bitter alcohol finish throws the balance off for me. Interesting but wears me down with a beastly finish. Certainly a "stronger" 7% beer.

 706 characters

Photo of Reagan1984
2.81/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured this bottle into a Pint glass and noted about a 2 finger thick head that was beige in color. The head did last a long time as I enjoyed the brew.

Color was deep copper and the beer was very clear.

The aroma was a little musty and I began to wonder if I encountered an older bottle.

A nice roasted malt flavor up front that faded to almost a metallic finish.

Yes, I think this bottle was not in great condition.

I consider this an average beer. I hope a fresher (perhaps non-skunked) bottle would be more enjoyable.

When finished I was excited to try a different brand.

 581 characters

Geary's Hampshire Special Ale from D.L. Geary Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 380 ratings.