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

BA SCORE
88
very good
636 Ratings
Geary's Hampshire Special AleGeary's Hampshire Special Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
D.L. Geary Brewing Company
Maine, United States
gearybrewing.com

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-30-2001

BEER STATS
Ratings:
636
Reviews:
387
Avg:
3.93
pDev:
12.47%
 
 
Wants:
35
Gots:
60
For Trade:
0
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 636 |  Reviews: 387
Photo of prototypic
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
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 RiverCityBeerGuy
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%

Photo of dreis
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%

Photo of Atlas1
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

As I pass from BA Acolyte to BA Initiate, I toast my Geary's Hampshire Special Ale to one and all!

Pours a deep copper orange color, accented by rich orange highlights when held up to the light. A fat two-finger head sits atop and leaves a bit of lace. Nice enough, to be sure, but nothing to write home about. The aroma is full of dark fruit. Dense prune and raisin scents, with some banana and pear thrown in for good measure. Malty and fruity aroma for the most part, but with some spices as well; maybe some coriander, or something akin to that, and a hint of pepper. The taste is quite pleasant. A very nice balance of fruit and spice, with the kiss of hops making themselves known in the end. Boozy, but not overwhelmingly alcoholish. At 7% ABV, this is, perhaps, to be expected. Crisp, clean mouthfeel, but still sturdy. I wouldn't call this a highly drinkable beer, but it is an entirely drinkable beer, if that makes sense. Not for the faint of heart, and not for everyone, the Geary's HSA is a tasty treat for spicy malt beer fans. A beer I won't seek out often, but one that I'll gladly have again.

 1,113 characters

Photo of mrob22278
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%

Photo of gfreed
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had on cask at Cambridge Common. Deep mahogany color that blended perfectly with the table, topped by the loosest head I've ever seen. I could have dropped a golf ball between the bubbles. At first this had an odd, Flemish-sour bend to it, but that disappeared after it warmed up a bit (relative to its initial temperature). Plenty of hops in the nose, along with vanilla, cherries and a burlappy smell that reminded me of a warm barn. Hops were mild in the taste; malt was dominant with fruit and figs, and the whole thing was very, very dry. Tasty indeed, but I have a suspicion that this might be better a bit colder from a bottle.

 634 characters

Photo of rapayn01
3.91/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My bias: I like hoppy ales. This beer has a significant maltiness.

The color is a deep amber and it makes a small head when poured. I liked the finish of the beer, but its tanginess reminded me of many German beers -- rather than British ales (as advertised).

 260 characters

Photo of TheJudge
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at David Copperfields in NYC. This poured a very nice, dark amber, with a good head. Retention not an issue, held to the side of the glass the entire way. The first note at nose is Hops. It tastes like an IPA, which I guess is its style, although I didn't know that when I ordered it. There is a definate hop presence, but is nicely balanced with the malts chosen, which provide a nice body without being too heavy. Not meaning to contradict that, it felt heavier in the mouth than it looked, and it gets you at the back of the mouth and stays there.

This is a good, strong beer, but it would be hard to drink it all night.

 638 characters

Photo of erosier
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

L: Pours a reddish amber color with a medium sized and medium bodied off white colored head that laces the glass nicely as it fades.
S: Smells of sweet roasted malts, then some caramel and toffee sweetness followed by a dark vinous fruit aroma. Slight hop aroma at the end of the nose.
T: Tastes of sweet roasted malts, some caramel flavors followed by a nice mix of vinous fruits, some alcohol flavor, and some toffee as well. Really intriguing taste.
M: Rich, somewhat sweet, a littler thicker bodied than it looks and the perfect amount of carbonation.
D: Pretty drinkable but the abv is a bit high and the alcohol has a somewhat more prevalent flavor than I would have liked, but still overall a good beer.

 710 characters

Photo of lehows
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Eastern Standard in Boston, this hearty brew poured a dark amber color with a very small off-white head. Head dissapeared completely. Strong aromas of sweet malt and alcohol hit you in the nose. Big malt flavors abound here, with a mild fruity quality and a pronounced alcohol presence. Bitter hops display themselves in the finish. Almost whiskey-like aftertaste. This is a big and malty beer to sip on a cold winter's night. Another good one from Geary's.

 467 characters

Photo of vitesse
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

served in brown 12 oz. bottle...

it's listed as an english strong ale under the current BA styles. it's very similar to an ESB. big alcohol presence, but very complex maltiness makes it nicely drinkable. biscuity flavors hit you quickly. slight sourness is there as well, which is nice. low hop bitterness. nice fruity esters. no diacetyl flavors were detected. medium-heavy mouthfeel is appropriate. nice dark brown color, creamy head.
a well-done ale. very english in spirit! not bottle-conditioned, but a very nice strong ale. i recommend this one.

 556 characters

Photo of Slatetank
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

 738 characters

Photo of palma
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Orange copper body with a light tan head.
Smell is chocolate malt, raisins, coffee, somewhat like a stout but with fruity notes.
Toasted malt flavor with a big fruity backbone. Well hopped for an engish ale I'd say, though I think its the stong alcohol taste that kinda helps the hops stand out a bit.
Finish is pretty dry and bitter but leaves a cool refreshing aftertaste that surprised me.

 398 characters

Photo of cjgiant
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

This beer pours a copper to light brown, with visible carbonation sustaining areas on the surface, including the edges, with head. The nose is caramel malt, some English toffee and hops bittering, but clean and far from overpowering.

The taste is heavier on the malts than I expected, caramel, honey, biscuit mainly, but a strange taste of apple butter hits me as well. The (presumably Cascade) american hops hit next, drying and turning the taste a bit woodsy. The final taste is the of what I often describe as copper-tasting English style bitter, but it plays in well with the other flavors. The beer is smooth; the carbonation is on point.

An enjoyable beer that seems to add the right amount of American hops to what I would assume would be a solid ESB or English-style IPA, styles that I can appreciate but rarely wow me.

 830 characters

Photo of MsNitch
3.89/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle to wine glass (that happens)

A: bright ruby red with leathery tints that has a fast falling head and no lacing

S: caramel malts with a touch of floral sweetness

T: starts mild and malty then bursts into a bitter round of hops that finish in a fantastic toasted caramel sweetness. Fantastically balanced joy ride of a palate.

M: strong with alcohol cuts that linger slightly in a mid level of carbonation.

O: A mega drinkable beer that could possibly use a touch more carbonation to pitch the strength, but has all the balls of a strong ale with the balance of a female mental structure. But if that doesn't make total sense then lets just say, it goes off with a bang but cuddles your taste buds into a sweet finish.

 743 characters

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.89/5  rDev -1%
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 wsr602
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of Bcant
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
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 CRJMellor
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal clear light mahogany with a thin white head and nor real lace.
Aroma of heavy caramel malt, burnt brown sugars and some lightly floral and perfumy hops.
Flavor of caramel, caramel and more caramel. Carapils malt is my guess. Bron sugar notes also very prevalent.
Mouthfell was smooth malt sliding easily to a spicy and slightly roasted middle and a resiny bitter finish.
Drinkability is very good. highly drinkable and enjoyable brew. Thanks to Mikeys01 for the offerring.

 492 characters

Photo of ShrLSU
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep copper with a thin white rim of foam. Settling left a slight bit of lacing around the glass. The nose is very malty. A little bit of breadiness and some hop sweetness. The taste is very malty, with some caramel sweetness. There is a definite bread taste as well. Overall this was an interesting beer and worth a shot.

 331 characters

Photo of VoodooBrew
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

 1,102 characters

Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

 594 characters

Photo of ppoitras
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12ozer from a 6 pack of the beer that used to be "Only available while the weather sucks." I hear it is available year round now, and rightly so... Bought at Tully's in Wells, ME, (a great little shop if you find yourself in the area), and fridged since then.

When poured into an imperial pint glass, a slight head forms, which quickly dissipates. The color is a dark and malty, with a slight tinge of red to my untrained eye. A nice aroma, with an obvious alcohol odor in the offing. Taste is nice, with a slight warming present, an indication of the 7% ABV. A benefit of the brew (a nice, unexpected bite of bitterness), can also be it's downfall, knocking it's session-ability down a bit. However, on cask (Great Lost Bear) it was incredible.

 750 characters

Photo of beernut7
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
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 HossMcGraw
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Geary's HSA is amber in color with little head or lacing. Smell is nothing special. Hops and barley. Taste is not bad, but unbalanced. Again, harsh bitter hops (in a good way), with subtle malty caramel background. Mouthfeel is okay, as is drinkability. I bet this'll get a lot better in a year or two.

 302 characters

Geary's Hampshire Special Ale from D.L. Geary Brewing Company
3.93 out of 5 based on 636 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe