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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

525 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 525
Reviews: 369
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 12.41%
Wants: 28
Gots: 8 | 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: 525 | Reviews: 369 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GDMFSOB
3.85/5  rDev -2.5%
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 +1.3%
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 18, 2006
Photo of mcowgill
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
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 -33.4%
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 +3.8%
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 +2.5%
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 +4.6%
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 +4.6%
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 +12.7%
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
Photo of Manosbeeroffate
4.4/5  rDev +11.4%
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.

Manosbeeroffate, May 25, 2006
Photo of Jredner
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is mildly spicy and perfumey with caramelized sugar notes (crystal malt), caramel malt and toffee. Body is a ruddy orange with a thin white head. Fore is fruity with apple, pear and honey laden throught he middle with mild hop bitterness. Also some bready malt notes from the middle back. Doesn’t go anywhere unexpected flavor wise, but it is fairly intense and assertive and I found myself quite eagerly knocking back bigger and bigger sips. Nice brew.

Jredner, May 21, 2006
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle. Pours a thin, slightly off white head that tends to dissipate quickly. Carbination is on the high side, Dark copper color but very clean. Very sparkly and refreshing looking.

first hit is well balanced light on the palate, with a doughy, wheaty flavor's lightly sweet from good malt the sweet flavor is very rich and deep, with subtle hints of "greens". I find myself really enjoying this one, Very drinkable. Goes down really easy. this one really impressed me, one of fav's of this style! Nice work Geary!

GratefulBeerGuy, May 21, 2006
Photo of Illinick
3.1/5  rDev -21.5%
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.

Illinick, May 09, 2006
Photo of loren01
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a reddish/amber color with slight head that fades quickly. No lacing down the glass.
S: Smell is slightly sweet, of caramel/brown sugar. Also some citrusy scents maybe lemon peel. Strong alcohol scent also present.
T: Taste is bitter, alcohol is evident. Slightly sweet up front.
M: Carbonation is about right, aftertaste is dry.
Thanks to geexploitation for this very solid beer, I bet it would be awesome on cask.

loren01, May 04, 2006
Photo of Crosling
3.55/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Lightish copper. Fairly aromatic, with a unique blend of malts, creating lovely caramel, toffee and fruit aromas with a light hint of floral hops. Fluffy, creamy texture with a heavy body. Awfully bitter, unfortunately, as it seems to take away from the multi-dimensional malt flavor. Soft crystal malt character with a light hint of peated malt, providing pleasant butterscotch hints. Light apple notes and caramel are present as well. Sharp hop bitterness on the finish. Pretty nice stuff.

Crosling, Apr 01, 2006
Photo of asabreed
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been seeing this for a while and finally bought a 6-pack. Here it goes into a pint glass.

Appearance: A white foamy head atop a amber / copper / brown body with a lot of bubbles going all over the place. Head fades fairly quickly but the lacing, though a bit spotty, is pretty nice.

Smell: I get a huge amount of alcohol and citrus hops backed by some caramel, tropical fruit, and malt. Reminds me of an English barleywine a bit. I wish the alcohol presence was toned down, but this is a fairly big beer, and somehow it's not really all that obtrusive yet takes away the possibility of more complexity.

Taste: Alcohol (again, though, not obtrusive), backed by a piney and citrus hop bite, a bit of butterty diacetyl, and some fruity malt notes. Pretty complex and tasty, though I wish the balance was again a little more wide-ranged. Finishes initially sweet and then moves into some hoppy and slightly fruity dryness.

Mouthfeel: Rich and fairly full without being cloying. A good amount of carbonation to cut the possible fullness also.

Drinkability: Definitely a solid brew, and though I drank it sans meal, I imagine it would go well with all kinds of good stuff. Glad I finally picked this up. At 7% ABV you don't want to go crazy, but craving for at least a minor session certainly warrants the possibility of having this sucker around.

asabreed, Mar 30, 2006
Photo of ILiveOffHops
4.28/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Even after living in New England my whole life (other than college), and the last 3 months in New Hampshire, I still had never tried Geary's Hampshire Special Ale. Attribute it to an amazingly wide selection at my usual beer store or my ignorance. Either way I'm glad I got a chance to try this. I picked up a 6 pack from the Superette in Manchester.

Appearance: Pours a deep copper-amber color with a nice one finger head. The foam settles down to a nice sticky covering over the beer. Looks very respectable.

Smell: Wow sweet buttery diacetyl. A little one-sided.

Taste: Sweet, toasted malt. Loads of diacetyl soften everything. Buttery, toffee, caramel. Good amount of bitterness. After initially tasting this, I assumed it was low-moderate alcohol. 7% ABV!!!! Unbelievable. Slight warmth from the alcohol, but no strong solvent taste or sharp alcohol bite. Magnificently easy to drink.

Mouthfeel: Smoothy smooth smooth. Nice body.

Drinkability: Overall this is a delicious and very easy to drink brew. I've found that a lot of English-style brews have a moderate-high diacetyl flavor, which is a nice distinguishing feature.

Feels good to drink local!

ILiveOffHops, Mar 23, 2006
Photo of wedge
4.28/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours clear orange-amber with a thick, tight-bubbled head that shrinks to an off-white cap. Soft, toasted malty sweet aroma with some toffee on top. Full malt flavor - toasted caramel with a nice round fruitiness underneath. Soft, earthy hops in the finish blend flawlessly into the malts. The mouthfeel is really great - full and smooth leaving the tongue dry with lasting bitterness.

Rich, full, balanced flavor and loads of personality. Very enjoyable and highly recommended.

wedge, Mar 10, 2006
Photo of tastybeer
4.38/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

tastybeer, Feb 23, 2006
Photo of silver0rlead
3.65/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice amber with a descent beige head that recedes quickly but leaves some lace. The aroma has a nice caramel sweetness, along with some buttery diacetyl. Some berry and cherry fruits, honey and a touch floral hops and a hint of alcohol...subtle and british. The flavor starts of with some big malt; caramel, toasted bread, berries and cherries, and honey. Also a fair amount of diacetyl, as well as some esters and alcohol. The mouthfeel is big and slightly chewy with subtle carbonation and drinkability is descent. An enjoyable english strong ale, but a bit much on the diacetyl for my tastes.

silver0rlead, Feb 14, 2006
Photo of jamie2dope
3.63/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew poured a very nice red/copper color with a thick white head that died down very quickly. Smell was somewhat medicinal with toasted malt and grain along with some cherry and wine aromas surfacing as well...kind of barleyine like. The taste had a good deal of complexities to it; namely burnt grain and some biscuit in there also. Funny how the smell differed so much from the taste. Mouthfeel was very medium bodied and prickly. Although none of the flavors were overpowering, I don't think I could drink more then one or two of these beers. A very interesting offering....seemed very similar to an altbier in the taste and mouthfeel. Definetly a beer worth trying.

jamie2dope, Feb 07, 2006
Photo of PeatReek
3.2/5  rDev -19%
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.

PeatReek, Feb 03, 2006
Photo of geexploitation
4.7/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm a bit of a partisan here -- this is probably my favorite all-around beer. There are different brews that excel in different occassions, of course, but this one, to me, is a brilliant all-rounder.

This brew pours a rich, coppery tan that is crystal clear. The head is white and is best enjoyed at one finger (or perhaps just a bit more). The nose is a wonderful burst of hops; not overpowering like, for example, some IPAs, but comfortingly spicy and complex. The taste sets this beer apart: the hop aroma is backed up here by a pleasing bitterness and not a little spiciness, but the malt mixture used by Geary's complements the hops exceptionally well, and adds a hint of sweetness to go along with the hops. I find this beer to be exceptionally drinkable, especially for a brew clocking in at 7% ABV... but one does need to be respectful of that figure.

A couple of additional comments. First off, by all means, if you get an opportunity to taste this in a cask-conditioned state, go for it. I know that the Great Lost Bear in Portland, ME, has been the recipient of a few special kegs of this stuff over the years, including a cask I had the privilege of sampling at the brewery.

Finally, Geary's Hampshire Special Ale provides an opportunity for some Irish Car Bomb-type fun. Perhaps this is blasphemy on this site, I don't know, but take my advice and, sometime, drop a shot of primo bourbon into a glass of Hampshire Special. The flavors complement each other very, very well. Enjoy!

geexploitation, Jan 19, 2006
Photo of lordofthewiens
4.38/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This used to be Geary's winter beer, but now it's available year-round. That's the good news; the bad news is that the present winter beer isn't as good (but that's another story). It pours a nice golden amber with a creamy head and has a spicy odor to it. It has a spicy taste with a distinctly hoppy
flavor. Feels great in the mouth, and is very drinkable. Highly recomended as a wonderful every-day beer.

lordofthewiens, Jan 08, 2006
Photo of Naes
3.63/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is amber in color with a tall cream colored head.
Its aroma is a mix of toasted malt with a mild hop presence.
The flavor has a bit more hops than the nose with a solid malt base. It’s semi bitter near the finish, though the maltyness becomes dominant as it warms. Quite sweet.
Mouth feel is a bit oily and actively carbonated.

Naes, Jan 06, 2006
Geary's Hampshire Special Ale from D.L. Geary Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 525 ratings.