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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

587 Ratings

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Ratings: 587
Reviews: 377
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 30
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: 587 | Reviews: 377
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 smcolw
4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The slightest of hazes with a neutral amber color. Good head to start but dissipates quickly. Slight lace that slides down the glass.

Sweet, almost like cotton candy. Some crystal malt aromas also.

Surprisingly well balanced. Also, I enjoy the British styling on the malt notes. Far more dry than the aroma would indicate. Bitter finish. Full body with generous carbonation.

Wonderfully complicated. This is one of the nicer complex offerings.

Photo of TheTrevor
3.6/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a dark copper color with very little head. It smells of toasted malts and a hint of sweetness. The taste is pleasant with a sweet tartness followed by a little bit of hops. This is a very easy drinking beer with a pleasant crisp mouthfeel. I expect I may be picking it up again in the future.

Photo of mmmbeer
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. stubby with no freshness date. It pours a clear, coppery amber, with high carbonation and a half-inch, light brown, fine-bubbled head that leaves decent lacing. The bouquet is big on floral hops, with toasted, caramel, and maybe buttery malts, some candy sweetness, and a touch of apple - nice, but it could be more aromatic. It has a big toasted and caramel malt flavor, with diacetyl, dark fruits, and hints of molasses and alcohol. There are also floral/perfumy and citric hops that impart a medium bitterness, and are almost abrasive at the back of the throat. Quite smooth, medium in body and carbonation, and it leaves a long finish. Good beer - English malting, but American-level hopping - kinda reminded me of a hoppier Eye of the Hawk. Tastes great, but could use some refinement.

Photo of Risser09
4.14/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a large snifter - Served at cellar temperature

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy, mostly ruby red, but also copper highlighted beer. The head is ivory and rises to about an inch. Very little laving is left on the sides of the glass.

Smell: Smells of raspberry pez, cherry, fresh cocoa, pear, hop bouquet and candi sugar sweetness. This beer is quite complex in the nose, even at a low temperature. Can't wait to try it.

Taste: Juicy plum is the main flavor. Other dark fruits like fig and raisin are there as well. Bitterness is present from the hops and a nice malt sweetness forms the middle and body of this beer. Finishing hop bitterness is drying and lingering. Pretty nice, and a change of pace from many of the beers that are too dominant in one area.

Mouthfeel: This is a medium bodied beer with plenty of drying bitterness. Alcohol is firm and pronounced. It is smoothe on the tongue and carbonation is vigorous.

Drinkability: This beer exceeded my expectations and then some. I find it to be smoothe and satisfying with dark, fruity flavors and a drying bitterness to keep me coming back. It has a lot of tastes/feels/aromas to enjoy. Highly worth trying.

Photo of jwc215
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours copper with a thin, creamy, lasting white head. Trailing lace slides down the glass.

The smell is of caramel/toffee with earthy notes. Peppery spiciness warms the nose.

The taste is caramel/toffee with woody, earthy notes. Bitter hops even out the malty sweetness. Ringwood yeast and a touch of buttery diacetyl are evident, though controlled well. Nicely balanced with warming alcohol peeking through in the finish.

Medium-bodied, and smoooth, with a good drinkabilty for the abv/noticeable alcohol. Well-made, well-balanced and true to style.

Photo of Dogbrick
3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a mostly clear reddish-brown color with a medium thick and creamy light tan head that has good retention. Patchy lacing on the glass. Equal parts toasted malt and hops in the nose. Medium, smooth body with a moderately hoppy character supported by sweet caramel and malt flavors. Mild spice and alcohol are present too. The finish is hoppy with touches of toasted malt and fruit in the aftertaste. Straightforward and easy to drink, this is a pretty good session beer.

Photo of msubulldog25
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Short-necked, twist-off-capped bottle, holding 12 ounces; poured to the Abita pint glass. No date (or much else) on the simple label. Big 'HSA' on the neck and cap. This came from Back East, a swap with AdamB84...

A: Crystal-clear honey/amber, topped with about 1-finger of pillowy, ivory-colored head. Excellent head retention, settling to a denser creaminess. A healthy level of fast-rising carbonation.

S: This one was slow to develop, starting vaguely sweet and grainy. With time and warming, more ripe fruit, orange rind and flowery spice rose. Malts become more and more sugar-laden, melding nicely with the fruit and spice.

T: Lots of ripe fruit (raisins, plums?) hit up front, with a citrus juice twist and an intriguing tart cherry. Bready malts have lots of sugariness, brown sugar and toffee. Drying hoppiness in the finish balances the malts well.

M: Some carbonation 'busy-ness' in the mouth initially, then settling to a smooth, creamy mouthfeel - seeming to thicken as the glass empties. Medium carbonation. Alcohol gives a slight warmth and malts stick a bit on the cheeks and lips.

D: Quite tasty! Intriguing flavors, something different. Easy to drink, too (mine didn't last more than 5 minutes...it was a long day at work...); 7% makes it a strong ale to 'session' but I certainly have liked another...

Photo of russpowell
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this NC late July, review based on notes

Poured copper/caramel with 2 fingers of sand colored head. Above average lacing & head retention

S: Slight breadyness & brown sugar

T: Bready with herbal hops up front. Hints of brown sugar & chocolate as this warms. Finishes with herbal & citrus hops, & dry brown sugar

MF: Rich & chewy with low carbonation & near perfect balance

Drank real easy for the ABV, a really tasty offering from one of the first Maine breweries I ever tasted (back in the 90s)

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 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 SkinnyElvis
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I think I have reached a new BA milestone: I got this beer from a friend of my wife who was on vacation in Maine & brought me back a few bottles b/c she knows I am a beer geek! Cheers to Deb!

Pours with a slight head. Dark amber in color. Nice smell of malt. English in flavor all the way. Mouthfeel is smooth & it is a drinkable brew. I don't have much experience with English Strong Ale's but this seems to taste like a well made ESB.


Photo of brentk56
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy amber color with a rocky head that deposits strands of lace around the pint glass

Smell: Caramel, stone fruit and a hints of earthy hops and butterscotch

Taste: Starts with a rather fruity combination of nectarine and caramel, with a growing presence of earthy bitter, almost medicinal tones; after the swallow, the earthy flavors build and provide a pronounced pithy but medicinal bitterness, along with growing sweet butterscotch tones, although the diacetyl does not get out of hand

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A little too sweet from my perspective, this ale offers an interestingly different approach and is worth a try

Photo of Slatetank
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Decanted cool into my Caracole glass.
A - A very eye pleasing deep amber w/ copper accents and a full 2 finger tan head w/ minimal lace.

S - A fresh yeasty, fruity ale scent. Slightly currant and light spice/raisin.

M - A crisp, tannic, lightly sweet feel -medium bodied w/ a slight tart texture and a dry warmth of alcohol. Moderate spice effect from the yeast and gentle carbonation.

T - Apple biscuit and a hop flavor start of the taste that is spicy and pine tinged. The creamy malt taste is sweet and the alcohol is slightly evident and smooth. The flavor is both fruity and spicy as I take the last sips.

D - A nice clean ale w/ a bit of strength. There is a nice English ale character that is very drinkable and full of flavor.

Photo of argock
3.84/5  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 ArrogantB
3.26/5  rDev -16.8%
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.

Photo of techdiver
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear deep reddish copper with modest head that dissipates quickly.

Toasted malt and toffee to the nose.

Wonderful malt taste with a balanced hop bite.

Very smooth, medium bodied, clean and crisp.

Great drinkability, just a pleasure to drink. My first look at this style, and it's fairly impressive.

Photo of MMansfield
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Notes from Seaport Beer Fest 08/11/07

Appearance: Poured a clear, coppery colour with an off white head. Settles down to a generous lacey ring.

Aroma: Caramel mostly with some sweet malts. A bit of spicy tea notes and floral hops.

Taste: Sweet upfront, quite butter. Medium bitter finish with some biscuits.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied, pretty refreshing.

Final Statment: It wasn't until after I took the notes I was told of the percentage. I was about to declare this a very sessionable ale until I found out it was 7%! There was no hint of alcohol warmth in this at all. Could be a dangerous beer. Definately nothing to turn down.

Photo of barknee
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

GHSA is a deep copper color with a creamy off-white foamy head.
Nose of heady honeysuckle flower with a noticeable ferric element. The malts are in main attendance here, showing nice marshmallow and tropical citric essence as well. Moderately assertive hop character balances out this brew. Tasting this beer, the hops take the forefront, much more so than the nose would lead you. Moderate hopping with generous warm honeyed malts makes for a well-made and enjoyable brew. Alcohol is virtually undetectable. Slightly viscous and nicely creamy and crisp in the mouth, this is fine ale for enjoying straight up or with your favorite meal.

Photo of EVLguy
3.16/5  rDev -19.4%
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.

Photo of macpapi
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Have always thought this was Geary's finest beer by a long shot. HSA pours a copper/dark-brown color with a half-inch white head that lingers for a good 15-20 seconds. Pretty decent lacing with little visiblity throughout the glass. The aroma is dominated by malt, biscuity elements, caramel, with a hint of toffee. There is also a bit of sweet fruit presence. A slight alcohol burn of the nostrils is worthy of mention as well. Good and somewhat complex aroma. Taste is very good. Malty and sweet with a nice caramel flavor as a welcome compliment. A complete and full presence in the mouth, with the slight hint of alcohol a bit astringent on the tongue.

On the whole, this is an eminently drinkable beer. A bit heavier and more potent than a true session beer should be. Nonetheless, cut out a couple of these from your total alotment and you would have the perfect beer to enjoy for a time while sitting and talking with friends, watching a game or enjoying any kind of celebration. A truely 'Special Ale,'

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 Georgiabeer
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured amber with a head that quickly fades to nothing. Spotty lacing. The smell is quite malty, but dry. The taste has that same dry maltiness up front, but this is followed by quite a whallop of bitter orange hops and a spicy finish. Quite tasty. Mouthfeel is a bit prickly, but it suites the hop slam. Quite a nice treat, a beautiful if hoppier than usual exampleof the style.

Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to ampzilla for this brew.

Pours a nice clean/clear dark golden amber color, nice carbonation, nice small foamy tannish head, nice sticky lacing follows. The nose is malty, slightly spicy, and lots of caramel. The taste is malty, slightly bitter, some spicness, and lots of caramel. Medium body. Very drinkable, a tasty ESA, glad to have had a chance to try it.

Photo of DavidSeanNJ
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First off, this is one classy looking bottle- excellent artwork on the label.

12 oz. bottle poured into my yankee pint glass...

Pours a orange/copper color. Lots of fluffy white head- great contrast to the bright color of the beer. The beer itself had a sweet aroma- malty- sugar- HSA tasted of grains and malts- some hops but all around a perfect blend- superb smoothness. Please note: the sweetness of the beer was not overbearing- HSA is the type of beer that could please all kinds of beer lovers-

I want to drink these all night even with a 7.00% ABV. Yum.

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Geary's Hampshire Special Ale from D.L. Geary Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 587 ratings.