1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale 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

578 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 578
Reviews: 375
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 30
Gots: 24 | 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 (10) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Geary's Hampshire Special Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 578 | Reviews: 375 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of phisig137
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep amber copper color with a two finger head. Good retention falls leaving behind a fairly heavy amount of lace.

Aroma is definitely malt driven. Well toasted grain, toffee, and nutty overtones. Quite nice.

Flavor is sweet, malty, and delicious. Toasted hazelnuts, burnt sugars, toffee, biscuit malts, and fresh bread are all backed by a mild fresh yeasty bakery note. Slightly sweet up front, with a relatively dry, slightly stale malt finish. Well balanced. This is an exercise in toasted malt usage. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth. Drinkability is pretty damn good.... This goes down quite easily for the deceptive 7% abv.

Overall, a pretty tasty beer. I begin to wonder why we only see this in my area during the summer. A damn fine english strong ale, although there are a few better strong/old ales and barley wines out there. Well worth trying, and picking up. Don't go way out of your way for it, but if you haven't tried it, pick some up. Normally, Geary's beers I find to be VERY hit or miss.... this seems to be a pretty solid offering.

Photo of NuclearRich
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A. Ruddy light brown with a red tint. A perfect, dense one finger, light tan head pours and persists solidly throughout the entire session. Lacing is thick and lovely.

S. Dark and sweet malt. citrusy, lightly floral hop stands out. Light booze.

T. Hops remain strong, and compliment the boozy sweetness.

M. Surprizingly light on the tongue, and inviting.

O. Pretty solid. I wouldn't seek it out religiously, but would buy it if I found it. Wouldnt drink too many at once, either... this heavyweight packs a punch.

Photo of AlexanderSelby
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Handsome, almost cloudy, copper color with little head. Smells like brown sugar and flowers, but heavier on the flower. Tastes like brown sugar and flowers, but heavier on the sugar. Sweet, but not cloying on the tongue. Like a nice herbal tea blended with a spoonful of honey. And 7%? Where?! Pretty well balanced and "in check," with no aggressive flavors running rampant.

Man, I love this. That's not a very objective statement to put into a review, but I think it's because this is a taste for yourself kind of beer. It is unbelievably agreeable and sensational, but the reasons why are sort of vague. There aren't huge hoppy notes, or big malty sweets. There is just a balance of all things which create a wonderfully in-tune song. I guess you just have to try it. And I am going to try it...again...and again!

Photo of scottbrew4u
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear copper to amber color with a full two finger tan head. Nice lacing on the glass as you drink.

S: Rich, sweet roasted malt aroma with toffee, caramel, ripe banana, and currants make up the sweeter aromas. The hops present themselves with some herbal and grassy notes.

T: Sweet up front with toffee, fresh bread, currants, and some sherry. Some alcohol becomes noticeable. Hops are herbal and slightly spicy. They give good balance to the malt and keep it in check.

M: Medium body with some crisp carbonation. Some alcohol warmth comes through.

D: This is an excellent example of the style, a well done brew. It is well balanced and flavorful. It has some strength so it is hard to drink it too fast so drink slowly and enjoy!!

Photo of Wisconsin
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

A - A steady pour delivers a golden, reddish brown body with a frothy off white head that is about a finger and a half thick. The body is extremely translucent with little carbonation visibly rising to the top. Good head retention, minutes after pouring there is a nice lace.

S - There is a nice combination of malts that welcome your nose initially. A deeper whiff brings on the dark fruit, plums, figs, cherries, and others. Hops seem to be toned back and combine with the alcohol to create somewhat boozy bitter smell. Nothing awful though.

T - Much like the smell. There is plenty of malts present, which I expected. Fruit notes of figs, cherries, plums and apricots show up subtly, but make it enjoyable. A sweet aspect that I did not smell has shown up, it's almost a bready honey type flavor that is excellent. Slight alcohol taste but nothing terrible.

M - Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Entering the mouth there is plenty of malts, followed by the fruit aspects (figs, apricots, plums, cherries). Carbonation enters and provides a smooth transition to the bready honey notes. They don't seem to completely mask the alcohol though, and what you are left with is slightly grainy and boozy finish.

D - This is an interesting style of beer and one that I think I could enjoy quite a bit. I like that many of the barleywine aspects are present but simply toned back. At only 7% abv I think the alcohol taste could be hidden better. Overall, though I am glad I have a six pack of this to store away for a rainy day.

Photo of scoobybrew
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

S - light citrus and herbal hop with caramel sweet malt aroma

T - sweet malt for a brief moment initially and a herbal, floral and light citrus hop flavor perhaps from a blend of European and American hops but potentially from American versions of European hops; hop bitterness on finish is firm but not harsh; malt is gentle and very supportive with caramel and slight biscuit like flavors; yeasty esters are also present and add a nice dimension

M - moderately high carbonation, full body

D - This is a very interesting beer for sure. I really think it could be marketed as an "Imperial Amber" as I find the hops don't seem to be totally true English hops as the BA classification might imply. Nonetheless, I like and think it's really well done.

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Geary's HSA pours out a clear, dark bronze color into my glass, and gives off a thick, bubbly, tan head.
Aroma is mild, soft, sweet, sensual, lightly fruity, more from malt, no hops detected at all.
Taste: bright and sharp are the first adjectives to jump to mind, followed by delicious and divine. This is a devil from the start! Juicy, thick, constant texture, considerable presence on the palate, round, full, fantastic. Rich and malty, with an increasing alcoholic presence, even at a mere 7%.
Just the sort of wickedly delightful brew that sends you into a particular bliss from which you never wish to leave! Long, tasty finish. Quite impressive. I could easily make this a favorite, if it were native to my environs. So good!

Huge thanks to marc77 and Bierman9, who both submitted samples! Prost!

Photo of Doomcifer
4.04/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a semi-clear amber/copper color with a half-inch head that comes and goes. No lacing to speak of. Smells of sweet malts, toffee, butterscotch, fruits. Taste is of more toffee, butterscoth, cherries, pretty sweet, and finishes with a good hoppiness. Mouthfeel is not heavy but not light either, velvety, moderate carbonation. Very drinkable for the abv level. A definite pleasure to drink.

Photo of Billolick
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ouncer, with a new label motif, twist off cap. No freshness dating. Pours a nice honey/golden tone of amber, white head of tiny bubbles and leaving moderate lacing. Clear, with bubbles streaming to the top for a good long while. Nose is malty, with some vanilla, and confectionary sugar. This is a sweet, flavorful brew. Goes down very easy. Notes of vanilla, mild rum, straw, and lightly spicy finish. A bit warming. Feels and tastes slightly thin for the style. Understated and very British, ie: subtle and balanced, two fine qualities in a brew.. Pleasant wintertime sipper

Photo of OatmattStout
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice color and a nice smell of sweet malt and toasted grain. Has a nice firm carbonation upon first sip. Great flavors that are dominated on the sweet side of butterscotch, toffe, spicy malt and dried fruits. Has a nice alchohol punch to it but by no means is is overpowering. Very rich full texture and a nice hoppy finish that tries to keep up with the malt. Like this one

Photo of sulldaddy
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I have heard som much about this one I had to buy a sixer when I was in MA.
The brew pours clear amber color and a 1 cm creamy orangish white head foams up easily.
The aroma is sweet malts mixed with some grapefruity scents and a general fruity mix, maybe some mild apple.
The brew has a medium body and carbonation. The flavor is very nice. All sweet caramel and toffee up front that carries to a hint of rich chocolate in the middle and finishes with a mix of the caramel and earthy and citrus hop characters. This a very well balanced brew. I dont get a hint of the 7% abv anywhere.
Very nice winter brew!

Photo of Brad007
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light amber color with a one-finger head. Smell is strong and malty upfront, much like the style implies. Taste is reminiscent of a barleywine, with a softness to it and a lot of fruity/biscuity overtones in the finish. Very tasty to me. The alcohol seems to have mellowed, creating a very drinkable ale that is far more suited for sipping than chugging. I like this very much.

Photo of VelvetExtract
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours a perfect median between amber and rust. No haze. Slim off-white head. Not much head.

S-I smell bananas at first whiff. A hint of floral hoppiness. A bunch of sweetness too. Unique scent. Mellow but when I hone in on the various components in the nose I enjoy what I detect. Almost smells like cognac mixed with strawberry-banana yogurt.

T-The taste and the aroma are a perfect pair. There really is a decent bouquet of different flavors in HSA. Caramel and toffee mix with the banana fruitiness. Alcohol comes into the equation but is well masked. I was worried that Geary's high ABV offering would be a bit messy, but this one is clean and surprisingly soft while being imbibed.

M-Carbonation is mellow. Feel is on the heavier side of a medium mouthfeel. Alcohol dries out the tongue only a tiny bit.

O/D-Most of my reviews depict the battle between expectation and actuality. This one beats expectations. I think this is a pretty cool beer. Hey, maybe my evading Geary Brewing Company was a bad idea. Geary's Summer, Pale Ale, are you next?

Photo of aaronh
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

01-02 bottling. This hazy, deep amber/pale copper colored ale pours with a thin off-white head. The beer leaves a mild lacing on the glass as you drink it. The aroma is sweet, with a touch of spice. The taste is impressive, with sweet malt, orange, honey, and spice all wrapped up in one. It is very complex, with a lot going on in every sip. The hops are present in the taste, but are not the first flavor one notices. The mouthfeel is solid, with a nice bitterness on the finish. Fine carbonation is noticable on the tongue. With the moderate ABV, this is definitely a drinkable winter ale.

Photo of Shovelbum
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an off-white head over a ruby tinged copper body. Minimal head retention and lace. Aromas of dark vinous fruit and caramel with a light citric hop presence lingering in the background. Flavor is sweet caramel malt up front giving way to more citric hop flavors and a decent bitterness by the end. A mild bitter orange flavor is detectable throughout. Medium to full bodied.

This was a college favorite back when this was only available when the “weather sucks” and was capped by gold foil. Still a tasty brew in spite of its expanded production and distribution. A high-octane session beer for discriminating barflies.

Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Whooaa! As I sit down to write this I am becoming privy to the realization that this beers drinkability is very high. Considering I am rifelring through this 7% delicacy.

App. A little uninspired, very little head retention and very little lacing. Having not had this beer before I have nothing to compare it to.

S&T Plums and esters. A slight drawback is that it's hard to taste what's going on because the alcohol is making my tongue numb.

M&D Fantastic. Losing motor functions as I type. Great beer

Photo of Murph
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice dark amber/copper with a thinnish bubbly tan head that dissipates. Great malty alcohol smell. Nice caramel maltiness and some decent balancing hop bitterness. Good slighlty creamy mouthfeel and very drinkable for the style. I've had this on draught and in the bottle, definitely much better on draught. Aging a bottle of this might be interesting.

Photo of daliandragon
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It's always nice to try a new English strong ale just because you don't see that many of them, at least not down here in Carolina. This one pours a handsome dark copper color with crystal clarity and a thin off white cap. The nose is very heavy on the caramel malt with some light fruit, maybe pears in the background.

The caramel malt carries this one but there is a little bit of balance in the sip and in the finish. There is a toasted, buttery note to this and despite the abv, not a wisp of alcohol. There are some fruit elements here as well, although it's not exactly a Belgian or a barleywine.

This has a high drinkability, especially considering the 7% factor. This might be my favorite of Geary's thusfar.

Photo of mjohn27603
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2002-2003 edition. Drank on 3/7/03. The beer was an almond/orange color in the glass with a lumpy 3/4 inch high head. Smell was wonderful with some floral notes and malty nose present. Sip gives a hint of caramel with a some hoppiness hidining the background that is present after holding in the mouth. At different times I thought I tasted some nutty flavor or some pepper. The high alcohol is sneaky but a warming sensation is noticeable after a while. I just got a six pack and am thinking of cellaring a few but there really isn't an edge to pull of this one. It is pretty drinkable as is.

Photo of BierReise
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This 12oz bottle of ale poured a clear dark copper color with an inch of head that fizzled out in a couple minutes. Has a very nice hop aroma that is slightly floral and grassy. Chocolate malt coming through in nose also with notes of nice fresh grains. Medium bodied and smooth with a sharp carbonation at the back of the throat. Flavor is balanced between malt blends and hops with a nice English like bitterness in the finish. I also detect some sweetness in the malts. Overall a fine example of an English style, one that could be a very nice session brew. Thanks David (Bierman9) for the sample.

Photo of akahn
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Returning to this beer after having much more beer experience in the last few months. A $1.80 single.

A real nice clear rosy orange color with a lasting skim.

Big and interesting aroma: major tropical fruit, especially pineapple. A good deal of definite butterscotch as part of a sweet malt thing. A bit of alcohol.

Taste is deeply malty and sweet. Mild, herbal hop flavor, tangy. Faint grainy flavor. Finishes with residual sugars, but also drying.

Fairly full body but not heavy. Surprisingly strong carbonation. I think this beer could improve if the carbonation was lighter -- it seems a bit harsh. This is a sipping beer, but a drinkable one. Yum.

Photo of jmz62565
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice two finger head with a dark coppery color.A light spice aroma thats a little weak,but not bad.This is a very bold and strong flavored beer!! A real full spiced,cinnamon,hoppy,and yeast flavor.The aftertaste is dry but nice.Very hoppy!!
This has a nice medium feel and leaves your mouth clean.
Geary's has made a great beer.Try it.

Photo of king75
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- A dark amber color with about an inch of creamy white head.

S- seems buttery and very malty, maybe a slight sweetness smell of honey.

TM- Very malty and full bodied. Finishes with a little bit of hop bitterness. Goes down real easily not too heavy just the right weight. A very well balanced brew.

D- Could definitely throw back plenty of these without a second thought. Very drinkable IMO

Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber color with a good sized head although it doesn't leave much for lacing.

Smell is pretty much all caramel malt with some muted spiciness.

Taste is a kick, strong caramel malt front, slight spiciness, a fair amount of heat coming from this beer but not enough to distract.

I've had this on-tap and in bottle form, on-tap kicks the bottles rear, but I went with a bottle review since that is how most people will get to experience HSA.

Photo of Gavage
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep amber color with a slighlty thin head. The head slowly receded to the rim of the glass along with some spotty bubbles on the surface. The aroma was sweet, but the alcohol was definitely noticable. The flavor was a great balance of sweetness, spiciness, and bitterness. Very smooth and full bodied. There is a slight malt and alcohol aftertaste. Definitely a tasty ale.

Geary's Hampshire Special Ale from D.L. Geary Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 578 ratings.