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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

540 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 540
Reviews: 370
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 12.18%
Wants: 28
Gots: 13 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 540 | Reviews: 370 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of objectivemonkey
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Into a pint glass, pours a nice copper with pretty good head and spotty lacing. Aroma is light, sweetly malty with faint hops, of the English persuasion. Mouth is well bodied with good carbonation, and nicely warming. Taste also is sweetish, caramel malts probably, a touch dry through the middle with accompanying fruits and (acidy?) hops. Finish is long and the alcohol makes cameo about here. Overall, pretty darn good beer, thanks to hopdog for the trade

objectivemonkey, Nov 18, 2006
Photo of Hautacam
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Clear amber...pour-head disappears quickly.
Smells mostly of steely malt.
Taste is very sweet , malty...caramel ..biscuity and slightly metallic. Hops add a bitter citrus. Alcohol is well hidden.
Medium body with low carbonation.
Tasted good , but probably would be happy with just one.

Hautacam, Nov 11, 2006
Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle from Tiger Town in Gardiner. Red/amber body with about a finger of off-white head. Smells malty butterscotch, and yeasty (ringwood). Roasty malt dominates with hints of diacetyl, alcohol, and hop. Definitely a malt-forward beer. Medium-bodied. Alcohol warming creeps in after a few sips. Tasty and drinkable. One sip invites another, and one bottle invites another too! A solid ale. Worth the hype.

MrHurmateeowish, Nov 05, 2006
Photo of mnj21655
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper color with hints of amber throughout. A half finger white head quickly sinks to a swirly coating. Great smell with toasted sweet malts dominant. Also present are caramel, cherries, and some vanilla. Taste is much like the smell. Sweet malts, again, dominate but also present are molasses and cherries. Finishes with a bit of spicy hops which bring a bit of bitterness. Nice medium body with moderate carbonation. Good drinkability, nicely balanced I will definitely have this again.

mnj21655, Nov 02, 2006
Photo of BeerBuilder
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear copper color with steady carbonation. It forms a creamy off-white head that leaves sheets of lacing. The aroma is of sweet caramel malts, with a honey and breadiness. It has a slight bit of alcohol is the aroma too, kinda like a bit of rum cake.

The flavor is of caramel malts and honey as well. It has a slight toastiness and breadiness too. There is slight hop spiciness, but the caramel malt play through more. It is sweet at first, but then immediately turns drying for the remainder of the sip.

It is smooth and almost creamy, but drying as well. An interesting feel. It masks the 7% well. I wish I had another....I would love to try this fresh. Very nice. Thanks Paulie.

BeerBuilder, Oct 30, 2006
Photo of
3.95/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle. First experience with Geary

Clear amber to copper color. Small tan head.

Aroma was sweet, pears, peaches, caramel and maple syrup. Hint of floral hops. Some mint and just a whiff of alcohol.

Taste has a nice hop bite, unexpected from aroma. Grassy and pine. Big, sweet malt middle - caramel. Almost like a highly hopped barleywine, but lighter. Some pear and raisin in the taste and a bit of pepper at the finish.

Body was medium plus. Carbonation was high, and gave it a bit of zip. Texture in mouth was coating and finish was dry.

Very good beer, looking forward to more of this as it gets colder. Not something I would think of drinking more than 2 or 3 at a time.

, Oct 26, 2006
Photo of waughbrew
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

This beer is pretty magical. It is sweet with light caramel, like candy, but has the pepperiness, alcohol zip, and frim bitterness to balance it off. There are not many beer that can have full flavor, warmth, and yet retain ultimate drinkability. There is enough going on in this beer to keep me interested all night, and the finish always makes me want another. The seven percent is too high to be the best "session" beer, but the warmth is certainly appreciated in the cold months. Its looks are ok, a copper beer with a small off-white head that laces a bit but does not last for that long. The nose is oak butter with a couple golden leaves of earthy hop. The taste is strong, complex, and all good. Resiny with some alcohol heat. Medium-big bodied, but not sticky. Finishes in a sweet-candy/bitter-flower-petal warmth. Special ale indeed; I enjoy this more than the numbers show.

waughbrew, Oct 25, 2006
Photo of Doomcifer
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

Doomcifer, Oct 25, 2006
Photo of VoodooBrew
3.9/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I believe I bought this bottle in April of this year while up in MA. As it was off the singles shelf of a liquor store in a Summer-centric town (being on Cape Cod), I have no clue really how old it is. But I never fretted, on account of the sturdy 7% ABV.

It has good clarity and an amber-copper hue. Low-ish head.

The nose is immediately malty, showing also some raisin and perhaps a touch of oxidation. Hops mingle faintly in the background. Maltiness comes to the fore on the palate, with some caramel sweetness that is fairly quickly chased by a drying, moderately bitter finish. I suspect that this was an appreciably hoppier beer in its nascence. There might also be something metallic in the aftertaste.

The body is surprisingly on the light side for a beer of such fortitude, but this serves to boost drinkability and -- dare I say it? -- quenchability, rather than impart a watery feel.

I'd like to try a fresh sample a) to get a sence of how hoppy this beer really is, b) to hedge against possible oxidation and c) because it drinks pretty danged easily for a seven percenter.

VoodooBrew, Oct 18, 2006
Photo of bencharles
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

ok, HSA from Geary's...this beer and i go way back...this is just the most recent experience :)

well i picked up some HSA in durham NH when i was visiting my friend at good ole' UNH. from the second i poured it from the second my glass was empty, this ale was simply fantastic. so much alcohol on my breath, so much taste - it was like an explosion in my mouth! damn, this beer kicks ass! if you want complexity, check out HSA. This is such a strong brew, this ale belongs in your fridge!

peace...bc

bencharles, Oct 14, 2006
Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.9/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2oz. bottle

Pour a clear dark copper color with a creamy eggshell head that fades. Slight lacing on the glass.

Aroma is caramel malts with a rather bold herbal hop smell.

Taste is malty and slightly sweet upfront with a mild hop bitterness and well blended herbal hop flavor. The hops are much less powerful than in the smell. Rather nicely balanced.

Medium-full body with light carbonation.

A tasty strong ale and quite drinkable.I suspect that it will even continue to improve after a few more months in the cellar. It definitely makes me want to try more of Geary's offerings.

MaltyGoodness, Oct 14, 2006
Photo of bruachan
3.58/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

i think i failed to adequately rinse my glass, as the beer had no head whatsoever. it's a fairly nice copper color, though

it's pretty highly carbonated, and that takes away from the malt experience. brown sugar aroma, with date and raisin. more darker fruit flavors in the flavor. strong bitterness

bruachan, Oct 06, 2006
Photo of Franchise
3.68/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This offering from Geary's pours a crystal clear orange body that leaves a thin off-white lace. The aroma is sweet, citrus hops are what comes to mind, followed by some malty sweetness tough to make out though. The taste starts very sweet upfront on the palate, it leaves you with a brown sugar, caramel, feel that is quickly balanced with some english style hops not pungent at all more mellow and smooth. The finish is silent, no real, back end to this beer maybe a bit of spirit quality to it but overall very drinkable. This brew paired well with the pepperoni and mushroom flatbread pizza I was having.

Franchise, Oct 05, 2006
Photo of hreb
3.53/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into American pint glass, served cold. Beer is a pleasant yellow and brown pale amber with a medium to thin tan head. Very sudsy looking on the sides as I move the glass. Immediately smells strongly of sweet malt.

First sip is strong and bitter with very fine carbonation. The aroma had me hoping for that English grapey barleywine flavor, but the flavor is all American and high on hops. The hops balance with the alcohol in the brew, which at 7% is both considerable and apparent in the flavor.

Laces the glass with suds that quicky fall down the glass. I like the slightly roasty flavor of the malt, but the bitterness is a little cloying and not easy on the palette, I'd say. Overall this is a reasonably interesting beer but primarily it's just strong both in bitterness and in alcohol. I suppose if your only goal is to find a beer that gets you drunk fast this is as good as any at 7%, but c'mon, why bother?

The box proudly proclaims "now available year-round" and explains that available since 1989, this brew was "only" available eight months a year. Uh, I guess. Maybe it's a Maine thing...this is a cold weather beer in my mind. (note to self: see how this compares to Double Bag...need more data!)

hreb, Sep 17, 2006
Photo of Bierguy5
3.98/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, 7% ABV indicated on the label. Pours a hazy reddish/copper color, with a foamy off-white head. The head fades rather quickly. Aromas of caramel, candied fruits, alcohol, and pine forest. Flaovrs are similar, adding some spruce or juniper, apples, pears, and some zesty spices at the end. Just enough bitterness to hold things together. Perhaps some floral hops at the end. There are really a lot of flavors going on here, very nice. Big thanks to mcallister for this one!

Bierguy5, Sep 14, 2006
Photo of klewis
3.43/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours copper with a bubbly 2-finger head. Great retention with a bit of thick lacing that clings just above the top of the beer.

S: Pale malt and strong floral hops.

T: Taste is malty with flavors of cereal grains, caramel, and buttery notes. Lots of hop bitterness in the finish. Overall, the taste is strong, but somewhat boring.

M: Full-medium in body with moderate carbonation. Finishes dry.

D: This is my first reviewed Eng. strong ale, and I think I prefer the American versions so far. Not a bad beer, but it just isn't very interesting to me.

klewis, Aug 22, 2006
Photo of GDMFSOB
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

GDMFSOB, Jul 25, 2006
Photo of tgbljb
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poures a deep reddish-copper color with magnificient white puffy head that lasted throughout the glass. Smell is dark fruity and malty. Taste presents itself with a strong malty, fruity taste that is nicely balanced with a pronounced hoppiness. Finished nice a dry and beckoned for another taste. Nice drinkability for a strong ale.

tgbljb, Jul 19, 2006
Photo of mcowgill
4.33/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - clear bronze/copper with nice large bubbly head that dissipates to a thin layer.

S - Buttery, caramel malt aroma

T - Caramel/toffee like flavor and very malty. A nice bitterness is also present. This is a very complex beer.

M - Medium bodied, adequately carbonated

D - I could drink this beer all day and night....and get into serious trouble doing so. My favorite Geary's brew!

mcowgill, Jul 11, 2006
Photo of trep
2.63/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Bottle thanks to jjpm74

A burnt orange with hardly any head, even after a fierce pour. Tiny bubbles on top of the liquid are few and far between.

Sweet malt and caramel with some apple notes.

Super sweet malt with some spiciness that finishes rather quickly. Some bitter hops but this is all about the malt. I dunno this isn't really my kind of beer.

A bit sticky, like watered down maple syrup.

Shew, had trouble finishing this one, in fact I gave the rest to my girlfriend who apparently loves it.

trep, Jun 11, 2006
Photo of ColForbin
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up my first six pack of HSA recently, hard to believe I've never had this beer. Pours a copper color with a light tan head.

Aroma is a great balance of caramel malty notes and spicy hops. Taste is roasted malt and nuts, with some brown sugar sweetness and a dry hoppy finish. A perfectly balanced brew, and extremely drinkable for a stronger beer. I could easily session a few of these, and end up drunk due to the strength. Definitely lives up to its reputation.

ColForbin, Jun 11, 2006
Photo of akahn
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

akahn, Jun 08, 2006
Photo of Foxman
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a crystal clear deep amber, with touches of red throughout. A finger of tight off-white head sinks soon to fuzzy swirls. A modicum of fine lacing circles the inside of the glass.

The aroma offers a solid strain of toasted malt sweetness, with dark cherry, caramel, a touch of vanilla, and a vinous port note. A brown sugar crispness, light spiciness, and alcohol waft airily.

Upon tasting, there's a gush of roasted malt sweetness, as expected, and rich with molasses and cherry and berry. The center dries slightly to a creamy caramel and alcohol aura, before the drying completes abruptly with a hoppy spice bitterness, lingering along with a residual malt bing cherry note. A mellow yeast doughiness lays smoothly on the palate. It's quite a bright, sweet, and fruity brew, busy, but fun.

Medium bodied, the thick malt character comes off syrupy and lip-smackingly pleasant.

It's an American craft brew standard, and while that's a lot to live up to, I enjoyed it very much. It's got a fresh, fruity personality that makes it one very flavorful quaff. The ABV warms a bit, and does nothing to impede its drinkability. I have five more of these, and I expect each one to be as good and enjoyable as the first.

Foxman, Jun 02, 2006
Photo of mcallister
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Good pour into a tulip glass. A somewhat hazey penny copper color with good tight carbonation bubbles. Very small off white head was very fast to fade.

Thick juicy caramel malt aromas at the forefront. Buttered bread, almond, toffee, sweet light hops, nutmeg, and maybe some ginger in the nose.

Damn good beer. Silky smooth mouthfeel with a long long finish. As in the nose big caramel malt flavors, rich buttery toffee, some hop grain, sweet cinnamon. Easily drinkable a damn good beer.

mcallister, Jun 01, 2006
Photo of ghostwalker
4.45/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

ghostwalker, May 26, 2006
Geary's Hampshire Special Ale from D.L. Geary Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 540 ratings.