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

378 Reviews

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Reviews: 378
Hads: 601
Avg: 3.93
pDev: 15.78%
Wants: 32
Gots: 44 | 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: 378 | Hads: 601
Photo of matty
3.59/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Amber colored beer with rapidly fading head.Aroma is dark fruit.Taste is dark fruit,caramel and toffee.This is one of the most aromatic beers I've had in awhile.Taste and smooth,you cannot tell this beer is 7% from just taste alone.I would recommend and purcahse again!!

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Geary's- Hampshire Special Ale

A- Deep clear amber with a huge frothy head. Good chunky lacing.
S- Sweet buttery toffee with hints of vanilla and oak?
T- Big buttery toffee malt with a creamy vanilla touch. Chewy bready malt dominates with slight earthy woodsy tones in the back half.
M- Thick and buttery. Huge malt with a slight metallic alc. tinge.

Overall- Big buttery and sweet make this a bit cloying. alc., eventually, smoothes out.

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Photo of JayNH
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a deep clear copper. Not much of a head.

S-Bready, slightly sweet and fruity. Mild alcohol scent and a hint of the sour green apple.

T- Starts a little sweet and finishes with a nice hoppiness. Very well balanced.

M-Moderately carbonated, smooth and full bodied.

D- excellent, a very nice offering from Geary's.

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Photo of BDIMike
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a copper color with a brown tint in a darker light. There is a slight bit of carbonation that creates a thin lace of a white head.
Smell is really nice for an English strong ale. Normally the smell is not as pronounced for this style. However, there are good strong malts of toffee and also a strong hop hit of fresh citrus.
Taste is one of the best I have had of this style. There is an unbelievable balance of malt and hops. The hop taste starts strong with really nice citrus tastes. It balances with a good caramel and toffee malt. There is also a bit of alcohol taste that comes through, but it is a nice amount.
Mouthfeel is very nice and smooth. Great thickness, but incredibly smooth.
Drinkability is excellent on this beer. For all of the strong tastes and flavors in this beer, they all balance very nicely and compliment each other. So smooth and drinkable this is a great beer for the style, probably the best I have ever had.

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Photo of bbothen
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper like color with a bubbly 2 finger deep off white head.

Smells of sweet malts, slight spiciness, fruity.

Smeet caramel maltiness, fruitiness, raisin, tartness, hoppy bitterness, warming alcohol.

Smooth, moderate carbonation, medium bodied.

Nice cold weather warmer. Good flavor. Enjoyable brew. Wish I had access to this & others from Geary's.

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Photo of daliandragon
4.07/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It's always nice to try a new English strong ale just because you don't see that many of them, at least not down here in Carolina. This one pours a handsome dark copper color with crystal clarity and a thin off white cap. The nose is very heavy on the caramel malt with some light fruit, maybe pears in the background.

The caramel malt carries this one but there is a little bit of balance in the sip and in the finish. There is a toasted, buttery note to this and despite the abv, not a wisp of alcohol. There are some fruit elements here as well, although it's not exactly a Belgian or a barleywine.

This has a high drinkability, especially considering the 7% factor. This might be my favorite of Geary's thusfar.

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Photo of mynie
4.19/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.86/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautifully clear reddish amber with a frothy off white head that dissipates quickly. Smells of alcohol and a bit of floral and perfume, some sweet malt in there bread and biscuit. Really great nose. Taste is sweet malt up front some toffee and caramel. With some alcohol and hop bitterness mid to finish. Some raisins or dried fruits in there too. Medium to thick body. A syrupy oily mouthfeel. Low carbonation. Great Strong ale, if not a touch sweet. Not cloying, but a little sweet.

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Photo of thryn
3.82/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This pours a very clear amber with about a finger of creamy head that settles to a couple millimeters of creamy foam atop the ale.

Smell is biscuity malt and a noticeable floral hops presence. Some alcohol, a bit of fruit -- plum, maybe, and the vaguest hint of banana? I want to dive right in.

I take a sip -- oh, hey, this has some alcohol in it! There's also that bready character, and the hops offer a bittering finish that's nice, but there's less going on here on the palate than in the nose. The alcohol is bit too dominant against flavors that are actually fairly subtle. As it warms, this improves, with the biscuity and fruity flavors emerging a bit more.

Mouthfeel is clean but not too light, with a low carbonation but not flat.

Drinkability improves, with taste, as it warms.

I expected more of this beer and while I am not usually turned off by a strong alcohol presence, it's somehow a bit too much in this beer. If I was freezing my tuchus off in Maine, I might have a different opinion ...

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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.

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Photo of Lupe
4.52/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rich copper topped with a healthy off white head. Great retention and lots of sticky lace left behind lace.

Hoppy aroma with citrus and spice. Sweetness enters the nose after the hops, adding caramel, honey, and biscuit malt.

Starts off spicy with lots of hops - herbal with some citrus and spice. Malt sweetness kicks in some caramel and toffee, honey, toasted bread, and a distinct fruitness. Alcohol does not show at all. Awesome combination of hops and malt. At times very hoppy and then bursting with malty goodness, with a seamless transition. Delicious.

Full bodied, smooth and rich. Mild carbonation fits the beer well. Great drinkability - really leaves you wanting more. A top notch beer.

Big thanks to charlesw for sending this my way in Beer Powerball.

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Photo of Bowdoinbeerboy
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Presented with a mild copper colored body and a finger of head that just lasted all night.

Smell- A fairly hoppy smell with some sweeter undertones.

Taste- Initially spicy with lots of hoppiness but with a definitive sweet malty under character.

Mouthfeel- Coats the entire mouth and fills the entire palate.

Drinkability-Exceptional definitely a must have!

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.96/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to charlesw for this one via Beer Powerball Week 4.

Pours from a 12oz bottle into a PC (Thats Presbyterian College, THE Hose) inscribed mug of sorts. Beer is a dark copper color with a beautiful, brownish-whitw head of nice density. Tons of lacing and the head is continually replesnished by the cavalcade of bubbles racing skyward.

Aroma was okay. Nothing extraordinary. A little alcohol, a little sweetness, some caramel, a touch of hops, and a solid bready aroma.

Fairly complex in the flavor. Fruity as the beverage first hits the tongue then turns slightlty alcoholic and is rounded out with a nice hop bite. Plenty of caramel and toast to go around.

Full and creamy on the tongue. A little too much carbonation or this would be a 5. A really god beer. Seems sessionable as the alcohol is pretty well hidden, but at 7%, this beer is testing the boundaries of sessionability. A good, solid beer.

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Photo of markskar
4.57/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is my "go-to" beer. It's brewed just up the road in Portland so it's always fresh around here. I'll give anyone who rates this at less than a B+ the benefit of the doubt and assume their sample may not have been as its peak freshness. Nice abv at 7.0 and very drinkable--perhaps too much so (at least that's what my wife says).

A: Clear dark amber. Nice head with consistently good lacing.

S: Oak and a complex fruitiness that I can't quite put my finger on.

T: The perfect balance of malt and hops. Not too sweet, not too bitter, and while the alcohol taste is there, it isn't overpowering. Touch of caramel, bit of toffee. As with all English-style ales, it has the standard oakiness to it, but that too is just right and doesn't overpower the other complex flavors.

M: Not too thick and not over-carbonated. Keeps me coming back for more. Day after day.

D: Already stated above, but perhaps a bit too drinkable. Some reviewers seemed to feel that it's too heavy for summer-time drinking, but I think it's refreshing any time of year.

Personal favorite, can't say enough good things about it. We're blessed with the availability of a great assortment of great beers in Portsmouth (including our hometown favorite, the illustrious Smutty!), but this one will always have a special place in my heart.

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Photo of Avryle
3.52/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2001-2002 bottle from The shady bevy purchased in July 2008... it'll be interesting to see how/if this held up.

A- hazy orange-brown in color. Very small cap o' foam on vigorous pour.

S- Malt & apples. Malt is much more predominant. Fortunately it does not smell like the shady bevy. (Cigarettes & dog)

T- There's some oxidation. Very malty. Surprised to get booze presence. Tea-like qualities with tannin finish.

M- Carbonation held up well. Medium to full bodied. There's a slight sticky-sweetness on the tounge.

D- Not too bad. The oxidization takes it down a notch, but the flavors are very mellow and are improving as it warms.

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Photo of aerozeppl
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from 2000-2001.
Geary's does hold a special place in my heart.

A: Fairly clear copper color with minimal white head. Some lacing which is nice due to the age on the bottle.

S: Very tight nose. Hints of malts and some apples.

T: This has evolved into a massive malt bomb. Little bit of oxidation creeping through but it hasen't killed the taste yet. This would be a good time to crack them all open.

M: Medium body. Low carbonation.

D: While probably past it's prime glad I tried it. Totally different fresh. Don't hold on to one for more than 3 years tops.

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Photo of avalon07
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: When poured from a bottle to a pint glass, this beer had a rust color and a big, foamy head. Good lacing.

S: Smells of caramel, malt and some indeterminate spices. Pretty complex aroma.

T: Very malty, with some traces of hops and and caramel. It's a rich taste, with a fairly high alcohol content (more than I expected at any rate).

M: A high level of carbonation and smooth finish here. Full-bodied.

D: Overall, this is a drinkable beer - if you're into the style. It has a complex character on the whole that's a little bracing at first. Still, a solid brew.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rich copper with some brownish-red hues and a small white head that dissipated fairly quick. Some lacing, but not much.

Smells of sweet malt, butter, a little caramel.

A rich beer, has that dried stone fruit element, with caramel, some buttery notes, and some hop bitterness.

This one has fair carbonation, and you notice the alcohol (not super strong, but it there on your palate).

A tasty one for sure -- I think I pulled this one in the wrong season. Hard to knock back more than one in the summertime, but I'm sure once the cooler fall weather hits I'll be stocking this a bit more. Grabbed this as a single and glad I did.

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Photo of changeup45
3.33/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled this on draft at Harlow's Pub on 1/6/2005.. Poured an amber color with a relatively thick head and quite a bit of lacing. Quite malty and sour with caramel and some bitter hops. Overall, a strong brew that tilts towards malts. I'd get it again.

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Photo of brdc
3.97/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks cookin420 for this one. Small capped bottle, poured into a pint glass.

Copper colored brew, with a decent if not big whitish head, average lacing and retention.
Aroma is a mix of fruity hoppiness, caramel maltiness and some hints of butter.
Medium bodied, good carbonation.
Taste is a bit sweeter upfront than expected, some noticeable alcohol amidst the caramel, but well balanced by a hoppy, fruity bitterness.
Not overly complex but well done.

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3.42/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Honey amber reddish body hosts a two finger off white head that fades to just a skim in minutes. Nose has big floral notes with phelonic spices, creamy fruits, and candied alchol notes. Flavor profile is abrubt with shrill bitter notes and citrus rind sour tones. A balance of grapefruit like hops and rocky malts round out the taste profile. Mouthfeel is a grapefriut rich bitter and a bit of a soapy tone. This is decently drinkable but a bit scattered.

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Photo of PatrickJR
3.57/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Slightly hazy copper, with a finger or so of off-white head. Retention is pretty short, falling to a film. Some lacing.

S - Malty, dark fruit smell, with a hint of licorice. Slight aroma of floral hops pull through.

T - Mild malt with a licorice edge. Dries out a bit with some earthy hops, though subdued. Aftertaste has some leafy hop notes. Good, but it's nothing all that interesting.

M - High carbonation, with a medium body. Unexpected, too fizzy.

D - A decent enough brew, but not what I thought it was going to be. Solid, but there's nothing outstanding about this beer.

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Photo of ckeegan04
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark copper in color with foamy off white head. Moderate retention with good lacing.

S - Toasted malts with a hint of some caramel sweetness. Also a hint of alcohol.

T - Sweet malts and alcohol. Little bit of a caramel taste to it.

M/D - Medium bodied but a little thin on the feel. Good carbonation. A very sippable brew.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.43/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appears an amber copper hue with a large off white cream head fine bubbled forms thick at least three fingers deep on the pint glass. By the way the head dwindles slowly and JohnnyP this one's for you. Lacing is left behind evenly in thin streaks between sips. Aroma contains tart fruit notes namingly some cherry and wood essence with an air of anise. Almost a cidery character to it in my opinion, again with more barrel notes. Flavors are wild with a front to back barrage of tart fruit, alcohol and wood aged caramel with anise spiced booziness. Caramelized brown sugar and strong alcohol flow together in the finish tickling the nose hairs just a bit but the body is a simple syrup texture with light carbonation that doesn't catch you until the back of the throat, really interesting definitely hard to describe. Drinkability overall this is a bit of a strange bird and it definitely screams a unique New England quality. I'm assuming that part, I've never traveled that far to the Northeast but again worth a try holds a special place in my beer memory and I saw it in Virginia had to pick up a bottle. A little bit of dust collected on the bottle but I assure you this one is still drinking prime.

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Photo of Reagan1984
2.81/5  rDev -28.5%
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.

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Geary's Hampshire Special Ale from D.L. Geary Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 378 ratings.