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

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Geary's Hampshire Special AleGeary's Hampshire Special Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
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 mynie
4.19/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

English Strong and American Old are two of the most underrated ales in the American beer scene, in my humble opinion. They share a lot of traits. Lots of intense maltiness--just as impressive, complex, and hard on the novices as intense malt profiles. We like hop bombs and things that taste like bourbon. Any other kind of intensity is not our cup of tea.

Pours limply, according to my low-malt prejudices. Maybe in another world, a world where Hello means Goodbye and Cheeri-o is a greeting, this is what a great pour looks like. Here, it's just kinda pretty but headless.

Smells like a wonderful potpourri of wood and malt and furniture polish and burny chemical yeast. Canned flowers are in there. Nice smells of synthetic nature. If Eraserhead was a beer it would smell like this.

Tastes much like it smells. Big, giantic caramel starts things off. This moves into a woodier back, generic fruit and flowers, and this swings pretty quickly back into caramel with some nuts and then a sweet aftertaste of burny alcohol.

Nice. Not everybody's cup of tea, but nice. (1,070 characters)

Photo of cbutova
2.82/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Pours light red-brown with a small off-white head that has low retention. A small cloud and ring leave just a single spot of lace.

S- Very buttery caramel malt, butterscotch. Very slight earthy hops.

T- Big caramel and nutty malt. Some dark fruit and yeast bread notes. Something spicy in the finish throws me off with a stinging medicinal/fruit/herbal note. Alcohol very noticeable.

MF- Moderately thick body that is somewhat creamy. Carbonation comes in heaps before a slightly warm finish. Fairly bitter as well.

DB- I like the malt and yeast flavors but the bitter alcohol finish throws the balance off for me. Interesting but wears me down with a beastly finish. Certainly a "stronger" 7% beer. (706 characters)

Photo of francisweizen
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a dark tawny amber brew with hints of red. The aromas are of sweet malts and spicy hops in the background (do they use saaz in this stuff?). This is not overly hopped nor overly spiced, so that makes this stuff a wonderfully easy to drink winter seasonal that still packs a bit of a warming wallop with its 7%abv. Like I said the drinkability is very good and the mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, without being too thick or cloying. I raise my glass to JohnnyP "This HSA is for you!". I guess it is nice to have this available year round and cheap up in Maine. Over here, these bottles are rarely seen. I had to beer trade for this one! (643 characters)

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 fluid ounce stubby bottle, from a 6-Pack handed to me by my new BA Brother Sir JohnnyP. The bottle has a silhouette painting of a Maine sunrise/set and has the words ‘Geary’s Hampshire Special Ale’ in gold. A smart looking gold neck label just says ‘Geary’s HSA’.

Appearance: Pours a lucid Copper color with golden-orange hues when backlit. A very smooth looking off-white head forms when poured, which slowly settles to a thin covering, but the head returns when swirled. Light lacing.

Nose: Fruity caramel overtones with an underlying straight from the oven yeasty freshly baked bread odor. Alcohol is perceptible in the latter parts of the nose along with a feint whiff of hops.

Taste: Very smooth introduction, buttery malts with some sweet biscuit caramel, a little fruit mixed with a deep malty backbone that runs throughout the beer. The ending changes with each mouthful, a mixture of Curacao oranges, dark skinned berries, fruity malts, brown sugared pears, and a whole host of other flavors I cannot recognize. Moor-ish, the alcohol sneaks through at the end after being well-hidden for a while.

Mouthfeel: Solid wholesome presence supported by the malts and fruity alcohol.

Drinkability: Easily dispatched. Knowing that I have a few bottles left suppresses the depression associated with the fact that I cannot buy this here in So.Cal. A tasty strong ale, which sits well on the desk and in the mouth, but does not last long in the fridge or glass.

Overall: Brewed in Maine – Imbibed in California.

“Ah seen the promised land” – it’s Maine!!
Praise Be to Preacher Sir JohnnyP for sending some of it to the West Coast. (1,679 characters)

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

Pours a relatively dark amber with a light beige head. The head sticks around for a medium length of time. Little lacing. The aroma is rich with deep caramel malt flavor. It's doughy and sweet. Toffee, shortbread, raisins, prunes, dates, syrup. It's a rich muddling of toasted malt sugar. There's some booze in the aroma and a bit more in the taste, but once the beer hits the proper temperature, it contributes more warmth than harshness. The taste is otherwise quite sweet, but the hops are more apparent than in the aroma and, besides providing some respite from the caramel, adds in a mineral/grassy note. The mouthfeel is full and thick for a 7% abv beer. This is an interesting beer. Before it had a chance to warm up, the booze seemed to come out in excess. At cellar to room temp, the sweetness shined and the booze blended into the beer. Good stuff. (858 characters)

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

This beer pours a murky brown color. The head is one inch in height, and recedes slowly into nice lacing. The aroma is of molasses, hints of dark chocolate, and caramel. There is no detectable hop presence. This is a rather simple aroma, yet I still find it really appealing. The taste is much like the aroma. It is very malty, but I can sense that there are some hops in there. They don't really come through in the flavor, but there add some balance to this beer. How ever small a hop presence it might be without it I would easily confuse this beer with a Wee Heavy. The mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation, and a velvety texture. Overall, this is a nice beer that I will certainly drink again. I am a big fan of IPAs that have enough malt to add complexity. I feel this beer a lot like those beers in that it is a malt bomb but with enough hops to add complexity. (889 characters)

Photo of blackie
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: The thin, white head recedes immediately, leaving a ring of bubbles around the edge of the snifter. The beer is medium amber in color.

smell: A mixture of odors of light and dark fruits is provided by the malts used, and slightly floral hops back them up and provide hints of tropical fruits. Very much like a malt heavy IPA, but different in its own right, the malts slightly more evident and the hops a little more muted. Hints of pineapple, mango, and cantaloupe are present. There is a slight pecan like nuttiness. A very well balanced ale.

mouthfeel: Carbonation is on the lower end of the high range and the body is a light medium.

taste: The fruity malt is almost perfectly balanced with the bittering hops, though I would personally prefer a lower bitterness. Slightly nutty and earthy. Again, very well balanced.

drinkability: A good ale all around, and pretty drinkable too.

I was pretty surprised to find this one at my local beer store, but am glad I happened to notice it as I glanced over their selection. (1,046 characters)

Photo of Suds
3.87/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, deep chestnut color with a thin head. The aroma seems centered around alcohol with caramel and malt. Dry bread crust and nuts…walnut and almond? A little floral hop character as well. First taste is malty and, but quickly turns to a sharp hopiness and astringency. Finish is smooth and soft; very nice balance. As you drink it, you’d swear that it has more than it’s stated 7% ABV. However, although it’s solidly good, nothing about the beer particularly stands out. (485 characters)

Photo of morimech
4.4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Amber copper color with one finger of rocky head that had good retention before settling to a thin cap. Quite a bit of lacing is left on the glass.

After the beer opens up a little, I was treated with dark fruit, caramel, herbal and grassy hops resulting in a rich, complex aroma.

Taste is everything I expect from an English style ale. Bready and toffee malt with the sweetness kept in check by the grassy and herbal hops. This is a beer best sampled fresh I suspect.

The only short coming of this beer is that the body does not feal as big as it should. Lacks a texture that would put this beer in the elite level.

Why did it take me so long to discover this beer? Geary's really hit it hard with this beer. Right up there with Yorkshire Stingo. (751 characters)

Photo of Reagan1984
2.81/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured this bottle into a Pint glass and noted about a 2 finger thick head that was beige in color. The head did last a long time as I enjoyed the brew.

Color was deep copper and the beer was very clear.

The aroma was a little musty and I began to wonder if I encountered an older bottle.

A nice roasted malt flavor up front that faded to almost a metallic finish.

Yes, I think this bottle was not in great condition.

I consider this an average beer. I hope a fresher (perhaps non-skunked) bottle would be more enjoyable.

When finished I was excited to try a different brand. (581 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 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 DavoleBomb
3.61/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A4.5 : Must say that this is a fine looking beer. Crystal clear amber in color. Off-white (with a touch of yellow) creamy as hell head with above average retention and tons of lacing.

3.5 S: Nose is full of sticky sweetness and a touch of graininess. No sign of hops as malts dominate. Crystal malts.

3.5 T: Way more balanced that I was expecting. There is a pleasant hop bitterness that I wasn't expecting. Buttery diacetyl accompanies lots of sweet caramel malt flavor. A touch grainy as in the nose.

4.0 M: Medium body. Good creaminess. Could use more carbonation, but carb is fine for the English style.

3.5 D: Not a bad brew, but not really my cup of tea. I'm not a big fan of English styles. (728 characters)

Photo of prototypic
3.92/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I believe this bottle came from ampzilla. Thanks, Andrew.

Appearance: It pours a clear, darker copper color. It's topped with a vanilla colored head that stands about a finger and a half tall. It receded relatively quickly and left a decent coat of lace behind.

Smell: The nose is good, but a little lacking in strength. It's malty and sweet initially. There's a healthy bit of dark fruits in there. It smells like plum and a bit of prune. Smells like a little orange peel and perhaps some other spices are present. There's some hops in there. They're mostly floral and earthy. It's actually a little complex, but it's just a little weak. It's definitely enough to intrigue me.

Taste: The nose is surprisingly fruity and sweet. There's some apple and pear flavors initially. They're equally as strong as the plum and prune flavors that follow, if not moreso. It's definitely got a nice caramel/toffee malt base. There's some orange peel and various other spices at the secondary level. They add some depth, character, and are a nice addition to the flavor profile. Hops are earthy and floral. They're not overly strong, but add some bitter zeal to the mix. Finishes sweet and fruity.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It features a medium body and has a decent, smooth feel. Carbonation's a little and prevents it from from reaching the next level in terms of smoothness. But, it's not bad. Drinkability is pretty. This is going down pretty easy and is an enjoyable beer overall.

Geary's has come up with a pretty impressive English Strong Ale here. I actually had somewhat low expectations and walk away surprised and impressed. I think dialing down the carbonation would smooth it out and improve it to a degree. But, other than that, it's alright. Definitely worth a try. (1,770 characters)

Photo of argock
3.84/5  rDev -2.8%
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. (485 characters)

Photo of UncleJimbo
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz, brown bottle, capped. No date. Presumed 2002-2003 vintage.

This strong ale poured a clear, iced-tea brown color with creamy, off-white foam that was persistent. The carbonation was lively. The smell was citrusy floral hops and sweet malt (very nice). The taste was sweet caramel malt and strong floral hops with a little biscuit thrown in. The mouthfeel was smooth and creamy and hoppy with medium body. Very nice balance. The drinkability was very good. This was a very tasty ale that left me wanting more. (517 characters)

Photo of merlin48
3.33/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle pours a clear, amber body, with lots of active carbonation. Moderate, beige head retains well, and leaves plenty of sheet and patch lace.

Aroma is malty caramel, with some biscuit, and an odd, spicy hops note.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with lots of carbonation.

Taste has an odd, spicy note that doesn't seem to belong. Hops seem floral, as well. The malt holds its own, but is more biscuit than caramel.

I wasn't a big fan of this after my first couple of bottles, but it does seem to "grow on you". An acquired taste, in my opinion. The earthy, woodiness takes some getting used to. Overall, there still seems to be something that is slightly, unbalanced with this ale. (700 characters)

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. (332 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.89/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a dark chestnut color with decent clarity. The head is a two finger pale orange shade. The retention is quite solid, and the texture is quite creamy. Solid lacing is left behind on the glass.

S: DAT RAISINY NOSE. This starts off strongly with dark fruits, before a slight whiff of hop bitterness comes out after warming up. Caramel notes are nicely restrained but not nonexistent.

T: It starts off with a light hop bitterness redolent of tobacco. Maltiness takes over after the hops fade on the palate, with some unsweetened toffee. The finish is mildly fruity, but not as strong as the nose indicated. Sometimes I even get some wisps of chocolate. While I don't enjoy all of the flavors (COUGH CRYSTAL MALT COUGH), it's clear this is a high-quality example of the style, without a hint of alcohol anywhere.

M: This style is usually plagued by intrusive malts and a heavy lingering finish. This one is superbly clean, crisp, and there's only a slight sweetness on the back end. The carbonation is fairly mild, and yet it's still quite drinkable.

O: Normally, I'm not a fan of this style, but these guys damn near nailed this. It's super clean, drinkable, yet nicely complex and savorable. I would definitely buy this again - this is one of those 'hidden gems' that few people know about but is actually really damn good. (1,366 characters)

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.34/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance - an orange-amber beer with a frothy but short-lived head. Some decent beading from below.

Aroma - malty and sweet, smells nice!

Taste - very interesting taste. A malty-styled beer, there are hints of chocolate that combine with a light alcohol presence to create a near doppelbock effect. Some good hops to balance with, this beer makes a statement in several areas of the palate. The finish is roasty, warm, and slightly sweet. I'm impressed.

Mouthfeel - peppy carbonation, average body, helps the beer from being too heavy.

Drinkability - very tasty and at 7% abv, is just within session range (having disposed of 5 sixers in the past 2 months). Hey, at $4.49 per sixer, that's hard to resist. (719 characters)

Photo of msubulldog25
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
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... (1,327 characters)

Photo of wedge
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
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. (481 characters)

Photo of koopa
3.61/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle brought back by a buddy who went snowboarding up north.

Appearance: Pours a transparent "dark iced tea" color with a 2 finger slightly off white crown that shows good retention and lace.

Smell: Metallic macro like suck ass smell when poured cold. Notes of caramel and molasses make a tiny appearance as it warms.

Taste: Malt centric with decent fruity notes...figs dominate. A touch of bitter herbal hops in the finish as well.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, decent carbonation, and a touch syrupy.

Drinkability: The flavor profile, the 7% abv, and the syrupy quality lower the score for me. (599 characters)

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

The beer poured crystal clear golden brown. The head was white and departed quickly, but laced the glass.

The aroma was malty and fruity with caramel.

The flavor was well balanced between hoppiness, hop bitterness and malt backbone. Plenty of caramel flavor and hop bite.

The finish was dry and leaves hop bitterness resonating. The body was medium full.

12 ounce bottle. A very nice, drinkable, and hoppy brew. (423 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)

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