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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

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BA SCORE
88
very good

581 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 581
Reviews: 375
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 29
Gots: 30 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 581 | Reviews: 375 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of babayaga
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of Darkale
4.48/5  rDev +14.3%
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.

Photo of Jason
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12oz semi-fat brown with a gold foil twisty. Winter 01-02 on bottle to denote what year it was brewed for.

Appearance: Rich copper colour with light brownish highlights, a healthy off white lace wraps the inside of the glass with ample stickiness.

Smell: Soft caramel and toasted malt biscuit and bread with a dash of buttery toffee. Honey and a currant and berry mix for fruitiness. Light twinge of ester alcohol in the nose.

Taste: Smooth upfront with a light to moderate carbonation. Certainly full in body with a vague polished buttery feeling. Large and jam-packed with malt flavours of toasted and caramel. Diacetyl is significant yet not to the point of being out of balance. The warming alcohol brings forth fruitiness and esters to round this big profile out. Hints of dark honey and light berry fruit add to the complexity. Hop bitterness drops a great leveling flavour and oily herbal character. Caramel and grain in the finish with overtones of diacetyl.

Notes: Year after year this one is a sure thing for winter seasonals, bitterness seems a step up this year which is fine considering all of the malt flavour to deal with.

Photo of caddybuyer
4.47/5  rDev +14%
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.

Photo of hyuga
4.47/5  rDev +14%
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!

Photo of jdmorgan
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This strong English ale poured an amber brown into an English pint glass.

The smell was light, with some slight malt aroma. There were some notes of fruitiness as well as some balanced hop flavor. I found the taste to begin with a sweet maltiness with a pleasant hop flavor. The two blended very well and finished with a full body and medium hop bitterness. The consistency was medium and so was the carbonation.

This ale surprised me, and I found it to be full of flavor, excellent in balance, and very drinkable. This would make a good session ale, despite it's high ABV. I'll be buying this again.

Photo of oberon
4.45/5  rDev +13.5%
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.

Photo of puboflyons
4.45/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on November 1, 2013.

The color is mahogany brown with a little gold glistening around the edge of the glass. Moderate, lingering cream colored head.

The aroma is lovely with its full roasted caramel malts, molasses notes, yeast, butterscotch, nuttiness, and finishing off with a mild earthy hop.

The body is medium to full.

The taste has an upfront roasted malt and caramel sweetness and a wonderfully lingering dry finish. Only 7% yeah, but some Strong Ales still have a boozy feel but not this one. Geary's has hit the mark on the style. It really feels like I'm drinking it at a British pub rather than at m y computer in New Hampshire USA.

Photo of MattyRobots
4.45/5  rDev +13.5%
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.

Photo of scarletfire79
4.45/5  rDev +13.5%
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.

Photo of yelterdow
4.45/5  rDev +13.5%
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.

Photo of nkersten
4.43/5  rDev +13%
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.

Photo of ghostwalker
4.43/5  rDev +13%
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.

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
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.

Photo of beyah
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
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.

Photo of BeerKangaroo
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
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.

Photo of Bitterbill
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
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!

Photo of morimech
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
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.

Photo of Dantes
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
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!

Photo of Manosbeeroffate
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

Photo of deanhead
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
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!

Photo of tastybeer
4.37/5  rDev +11.5%
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.

Photo of beergeek279
4.37/5  rDev +11.5%
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!!!

Photo of ikats
4.37/5  rDev +11.5%
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.

Photo of tvazteca
4.36/5  rDev +11.2%
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.

Geary's Hampshire Special Ale from D.L. Geary Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 581 ratings.