Geary's Hampshire Special Ale - D.L. Geary Brewing Company

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Geary's Hampshire Special AleGeary's Hampshire Special Ale

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BA SCORE
88
very good

376 Reviews
THE BROS
98
world-class

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Reviews: 376
Hads: 593
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 9.87%
Wants: 30
Gots: 36 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 376 | Hads: 593
Photo of Bcant
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice oranges hew with a small eggshell colored head. Geary's Special Ale has a malty bouquet and nose and a slightly alcoholic finish. A strong 7.0% abv but it tastes even stronger. It has a soft mouth feel and leaves a tingling sensation on the tough. Not a bad drink, better than most, however, it is not my first choice of barley wines or strong winter ales. (361 characters)

Photo of GreatPondBrewer
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2002-2003 edition.
I have only had their summer ale so I did not know what to expect from this beer, but I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised with it. The smooth pour revealed a beautiful, dark, amber hue that had a thin, white, styrofoamy head that clung to the side of my glass all the way down. The smell was very arousing with scents of a sweet caramel balanced with a salty, teriyaki like smell. The taste was very dry with deep full bodied taste. Very good winter brew! (485 characters)

Photo of paceyourself
4.23/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2002-2003 Edition. Clear bright bronze in color with a perfectly sized head for a pint glass. The aroma of maple and butterscotch misled me into thinking it would taste sweeter. Starts with a sweet bread taste then a hint of hazelnut and caramel hold for awhile until it balances out with a dry bitterness. It leaves no lace and carbonation is light but has a great mouthfeel. I think i had this from cask at the GLB after the Maine Brewers Fest but my memory of that night is foggy at best. I loved it then and still think it's a kick ass winter from the bottle. (563 characters)

Photo of Mitchster
3.72/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2002-2003 Bottling. Clear amber pour forms a rocky beige head which quickly thins. Moderate-well carbonation. Aroma is of spicy hops, crystal malt, clean american ale yeast, and a subtle peppery bite. Initial taste is of spicy hops, then makes way to a firm, but not overly malty sweetness, some very noticeable alcohol kick (not really annoying, however), and ending in a long bittersweet hop finish. Firm body with alot of carbonation that erupts on the tongue. The malt continues to hang in there for the finish, balancing with the spicy hop finale. No noticeable oxidation or diacetyl, fusel flavors. Think Sammy Boston Lager X 2...while good, it doesn't really do anything to excite me, and probably nothing I would seek out. Clean profile and well-done balancing act contribute to it's good drinkability despite it's modest ABV. (834 characters)

Photo of Brent
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice brown/bronze color. Not much head, but the beer maintained an impressive sheeting of tiny carbonation bubbles up the sides of the glass throughout. Malty with a touch of honeysuckle blossom honey. Solid bittering drops in at the finish, with a lingering, thickness at the back of the tongue. Very tasty, and thanks to Cooper for the Christmas trade. (354 characters)

Photo of kelticblood
3.74/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Geary's HSA 2002-2003

Poured a fast dissolving white foamy head that left a few traces of lace up my glass.The color was of a dark amber and copper.It offered a distinctive smell ranging from that of maple syrup to cherries.It has a full body and is somewhat thick and very malty.It has a barley-wine kind of taste to it.A truly different taste with flavors of banana,cherry,prunes,maple syrup,and a finish that tastes almost metallic like copper or iron.Goes done smooth with alot of flavor on the finish but leaves a dry feeling in the mouth,not very refreshing.A wheaty aftertaste is noted with a touch of bitter hops.At 7.0% it is very strong,but no real alcohol taste is present.Indulge in moderation with this one! (723 characters)

Photo of beernut7
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is an interesting old ale. Nice color with a thick head on the pour. The aroma is of malt and hints of nuttiness. The initial flavor is quite smooth with a push of malt. The malt grows through into a nice deep bitterness that lingers through the finish. There is a hint of nut-brown at the very end. All supported by a smooth body. (336 characters)

Photo of Gusler
4.24/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a cloudless amber color with the head impressive in size, frothy in texture and the color an off-white, the left over lace thick and clinging. The hop floral tones quite pronounced, along with the customary malt and sweet caramel. Begins quite sweet and the top middle of the road mouth feel wise, finish is has a monster hop bite and the carbonation pleasant, dry as a bone aftertaste, quite "Quaffable". (420 characters)

Photo of RonfromJersey
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful copper red body, with fine rising carbonation, capped by a rapidly decaying oatmeal head which quickly becomes a very thin topper. Opening the bottle, I was hit by a burst of fresh bread aroma. Then some caramel. Taste is rich and deep, malt sweetness at the center and hop notes tingling around the edges. The ads always say "Available when the weather sucks". Today the weather sucked, and this beer is"melting" away the traffic, the closings, and the shoveling. A great winter seasonal, perfect for sipping by the fire. (532 characters)

Photo of aaronh
4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
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. (592 characters)

Photo of CharlesRiver
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours amber in color with little to no head. The smell is all malt. Mellow and malty in taste with a nice warming as it goes down. I remember having this on tap when I was in college. I loved it then and I love it now. Others have mentioned things like fruity & watery but I don't get that at all. Please do try as this is worth every penny. (341 characters)

Photo of doerickson
3.82/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is the 2002-2003 offering. Deep amber coloring with a frothy off-white head. Malty, toasty, fruity aromas. Medium body, medium carbonation. Sweet flavors are the main storyline, with caramel and ripe dark fruit evident. There's an earthy hop presence that lends some balance, but this is a malty brew, and a big, warming one at that. Bit of a metallic twang in the finish. Nice for sipping on a cold night. (411 characters)

Photo of DarthMalt
4.23/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well, isn't this a treat! My first Maine beer, I believe. All that ribbing we give JohnnyP, but the boy seems to be onto something, I tell ya!

There are qualities to this beer that I have never encountered before. Like your Maris Otter, peat-smoked, and Munich malts; melanoidins and esters; and pacman yeast, all start to sound a familiar refrain in your favorite bloodlines of beers, Hampshire Special Ale casts an entirely new spectrum on the palette of a Beer Advocate.

This is a big-boned beer, although only a slight, doppel-like nose indicates such. A warm, very mild, banana ester wisps its way up, but this should only be considered as a hint, not a trait.

The reason I mention so much about the nose is because it totally locks the tastebuds in long before any liquid comes in contact with the tongue. It is quite a unifying experience and one I would highly recommend, as few beers exhibit such holistic qualities.

Inside, there is something so absolutely earthy and right about this beer it is hard to explain. There are no hokey toasted-malt surprises, no hop bludgeonings, and no cloying, crystal ["blue"] malt persuasions...

...Just beer....
...FABULOUS beer...
...a boy and his beer...
...How far is Maine from here?

Cheers! (1,262 characters)

Photo of mophie
4.7/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had heard good things about this beer, and I am not disappointed! It's a gorgeous beer, deep copper, with a creamy slight tan head. Smell is malty, caramel and molasses, with a touch of mild, floral hoppiness. The maltiness really comes through in the taste, again creamy, caramel, molasses, nice and smooth. Finishes with a mild hop twang, and a slight bitterness at the back of the tongue. Gentle spicy alcohol notes as well. Very, very nice. (446 characters)

Photo of bewareOFpenguin
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

They still sell it in Shaw's (local supermarket)!! I picked it up last night and brought it home. Cracked one while cooking dinner. Nice white head. I tasted those great hops with the first sip. Then the bitterness. This is the best seasonal beer. I anticipate "when the weather sucks" so I can drink it. I have been known to hold on to six packs of this into August. (367 characters)

Photo of jtw5877
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice dark ale, not hop dominated, but good hop bitterness, nice malt flavor, hints of caramel. A very solid beer, with a good deal of alcohol. It is very drinkable. My local store has been selling me six packs since last winter, I must be the only one in town who is enjoying this stuff. A great beer. (304 characters)

Photo of MaineBeerMan
4.6/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It's here and it's still good. The 2002-2003 Geary's HSA is out. Coppery brown in color with a decent light beige head that left some lacing. Sweet carmel aroma with a hint of fruitiness and hops. Taste starts out big with lots of malty sweetness and a smooth almost creamy mouthfeel.

Seems to have maybe more hops than in previous years. Finishes with a little drying hoppy bitterness and you can feel the alcohol warming you on the way down.

This beer is still one of my favorites and I wish David Geary would make it available year round. (549 characters)

Photo of Andy
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer celebrates everything I personally dislike in Northeastern beer: the Ringwood yeast strain. Deep amber color. Nose is fresh hop, diacetyl, and sweet malt mixed deep within. Mix of sweet english malt and ringwood yeast flavor/diacetyl, buttery overtones. Slightly earthy mix of hops and yeast. Very well-constructed and a solid rating even if I don't personally enjoy it. (386 characters)

Photo of Bierman9
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This years version ('02-'03, reviewed Oct '02) has a solid copper color, with a creamy, tan head which thins down to a nice, lasting layer, with ok lace. Nose shows a lot: malt, caramel, alcohol, and a good hint o' hops. Mouthfeel? Medium-plus for both body and smoothness...goes down easy. Caramel malt and a strong hop presence inundate the palate, as well as a nice, warming dose of alcohol. This one's a keeper!

overall: 4.3
appearance: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.5

*** ***

Original notes from April 2002:
Again, thanks to Mr JohnnyP for supplying me with this sample of the golden-nectar!! Has a nice copper color, and a big, fine head from a hard pour. Nose is mostly hoppy, with some toasty notes, but mostly on the bitter side. Body is medium, and tongue is medium-plus! Semi-sweet start, a touch biscuity-malty...leads to a smooth hoppy end. Nice balance. Lovely brew....! (No score retained).

118 (944 characters)

Photo of John
4.28/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clear amber liquid with nice head following a vigorous pour. Toasted caramel and semi-sweet bready aroma. Caramel and toasted malt predominate the flavor with a touch of grapefruity hop. Alcohol warms the belly nicely. Delicious. (229 characters)

Photo of Murph
4.07/5  rDev +3%
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. (365 characters)

Photo of Todd
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A balanced beer to say the least, with both a distinct malty and hoppy flavour. Very smooth, very drinkable and very alcoholic on the breath. Can't really go wrong with a beer like this, unless you can't handle a RIngwood beer -- but it's well-blended into the mix. One of my favourites and one of Geary's best beers IMO -- "special" indeed. (341 characters)

Photo of gwfrankpsu
3.11/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This is a disappointment - love the ads - brewed only while the weather sucks, or something like that. There are much better winter beers. Just not what I expected. (166 characters)

Photo of Jason
4.47/5  rDev +13.2%
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. (1,163 characters)

Photo of bcm119
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is as close to a session beer as you can get at 7% abv. Its a really nice feeling beer on the palate, and the toasty biscuit flavor is delicious. I didn't like the minerally, hard water flavors though (you can actually smell this too), and I think the hops could be more up front. Still a very good winter brew. (319 characters)

Geary's Hampshire Special Ale from D.L. Geary Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 376 ratings.