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

very good
382 Reviews
For Trade:
Geary's Hampshire Special AleGeary's Hampshire Special Ale

Brewed by:
D.L. Geary Brewing Company
Maine, United States | website

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

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Reviews: 382 | Ratings: 612
Photo of Infamous7100
3.51/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: pours a copper, off orange color with a great looking tan head. Nice lacing.
S: very muted, nothing leaping out at me. Faint malt, bit of grassy hops.
T: nice balance of malt and hops. Sweet and malty up front, blending with hoppy bite at the back. Picking up more bread like flavors than anything else.
M: very smooth, borderline creamy. Mild carbonation and great bite/burn at the end where you can really feel that 7% burn. Really like it.
O: expected more in the aroma and flavor. I believe I may have waited too long to try this, as after reading some reviews, my aromas and flavors seem lacking. Nice beer though and will try it again.

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Photo of PokerGod
4.24/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a stemmed tulip.

Appearance- reddish color has a very nice look with a nice head. good retention and excellent lacing.

Smell- Yowsa! Hoppy yet sweet. smells like my kind of beer. I'm excited to try this one.

Taste- Doesn't let me down at all. Delicious. Hoppy ye sweet, just like it smells. You can taste the alcohol in this 7% ABV Ale. But, I think that's a nice thing. Keeps my tongue warm.

Overall- I really like this brew. I will certainly try to get more of this. I think it's certainly a drinkable beer, just watch your quantity with that 7% ABV, it'll catch you.

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Photo of rinhaak
3.32/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a dark brown. When held up to the light, it looks more like a deep copper/red. There is a full one finger head, but this dissipates far too quickly leaving behind only a small amount of lace.

The nose is the highlight here: very aromatic, I smell lots of banana and hops, with a few flowers in the background.

A very viscous and fairly syrupy beer, there is a slight sourness to the taste. Modestly roasted malts are present, with only a slight hint of hops in the distance. A boozy aftertaste lingers in the mouth long after its gone, and one easily tastes the alcohol.

Though not bad, this certainly isn't a beer to get excited about.

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Photo of Duhast500
3.35/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Clown Shoes pint glass.

The color is clear dark amber with a finger of foamy off-white head and some thick lacing left on the glass.

The smell is a little buttery and some caramel aroma hits along with it. The aroma reminds of a butterfinger candy bar.

The taste is buttery with some bready flavor. There is a whole ring of caramel that is holding at the borders of this beer and comes out every so often.

The feel of this beer is pretty even and goes down with a smooth feel. Some nice aftertaste that does linger a little too long.

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Photo of AlexanderSelby
4.02/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Handsome, almost cloudy, copper color with little head. Smells like brown sugar and flowers, but heavier on the flower. Tastes like brown sugar and flowers, but heavier on the sugar. Sweet, but not cloying on the tongue. Like a nice herbal tea blended with a spoonful of honey. And 7%? Where?! Pretty well balanced and "in check," with no aggressive flavors running rampant.

Man, I love this. That's not a very objective statement to put into a review, but I think it's because this is a taste for yourself kind of beer. It is unbelievably agreeable and sensational, but the reasons why are sort of vague. There aren't huge hoppy notes, or big malty sweets. There is just a balance of all things which create a wonderfully in-tune song. I guess you just have to try it. And I am going to try it...again...and again!

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Photo of corcoranjc
3.67/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Reddish amber with a pretty strong head and decent lacing. not bad lookin,' wouldn't kick it out of bed for eating crackers.

S - caramel, and butter. some butterscotch as well. sweet and full smelling.

T - sweet buttery goodness with a slight hop bitterness in the finish. very nice, but definitely different.

M - Very full and round.

D - it depends for me. i love this beer, but there are times when one is surely enough and other times where i can drink 4 of them. the alcohol is well hidden for me, but the buttery taste from the ringwood yeast can make this a sipper.

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

Spot on for the style, this beverage emmits a rich though pale malting. Medium golden coloured body with a generous, intially enormous foamy white head. Above average mouthfeel, themalting is complex and tasty, with a dryish and slightly bitter finish.

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Photo of chaz01
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle from the Beer of the Month Club

A: Dark mahogany color with ruby highlights and an off-colored head.

S: Malty, caramel aroma.

T: Initially, I just picked up some peaty scotch malt flavor. But the beer really opens up as it warms, picking up some fruity grape flavors, a bit of alcohol, caramel malt and a slightly bitter finish.

M: Full bodied, light carbonation.

D: Nice malty sipping beer if not served too cold

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Photo of StaveHooks
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a clear dark amber. 1.5 finger head that sinks down to a nice ceiling.

S - Toffee malt, slight spice, alcohol vapors, fruity-mostly grapes.

T - Roasted toffee malt, nutty gingerbread spices, sharp citrus, apples, dates, and butterscotch. All this is surrounded with with quite a bit of grassy lemon hop bitterness. Finishes dry.

M - Medium to full bodied and creamy.

The rich fruity malt is masterfully balanced by the grassy hops. A very complex brew that is a joy to drink.

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Photo of morimech
4.4/5  rDev +12%
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.

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Photo of mooseisloose
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A recent BOTMC arrival. Looks like a buttkicker at 7%, let's give it a whirl. Popping the top I get hints of licorice, brown sugar and molasses. Pours to a deep bronze with a micro-bubble foamy head. The taste is a kicked up brown ale flavor with a nice noble hop bite. The AC is slightly evident in the lingering but smooth bitter finish. Mouthfeel is good with a nice sparky carbonation to augment the hop bite. This is a very high IBU special ale and is indeed quite tasty. A great drinker but the 7% probably sneaks up fast. I think I'll cellar the other two bottles I have and see how it tastes a year from now.

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Photo of scoobybrew
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

S - light citrus and herbal hop with caramel sweet malt aroma

T - sweet malt for a brief moment initially and a herbal, floral and light citrus hop flavor perhaps from a blend of European and American hops but potentially from American versions of European hops; hop bitterness on finish is firm but not harsh; malt is gentle and very supportive with caramel and slight biscuit like flavors; yeasty esters are also present and add a nice dimension

M - moderately high carbonation, full body

D - This is a very interesting beer for sure. I really think it could be marketed as an "Imperial Amber" as I find the hops don't seem to be totally true English hops as the BA classification might imply. Nonetheless, I like and think it's really well done.

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Photo of king75
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- A dark amber color with about an inch of creamy white head.

S- seems buttery and very malty, maybe a slight sweetness smell of honey.

TM- Very malty and full bodied. Finishes with a little bit of hop bitterness. Goes down real easily not too heavy just the right weight. A very well balanced brew.

D- Could definitely throw back plenty of these without a second thought. Very drinkable IMO

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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.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.28/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

Thanks to papollo for this bottle!

Now this does look like an intriguing beer, doesn't it? It pours a clear russet-ruby topped by about a finger or so of light ecru foam, which doesn't hang around to chat very long. The nose comprises vodka-soaked buttery biscuits, light rye bread, and a smidgen of orange rind. Interesting turn; let's see where it leads. The taste strips away some of the booze, which is replaced by a stronger version of the orange peel. Everything else remains fairly static from nose to tongue. (...Now, that's an image, am I right?) The body is on the heavier side of medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a slightly syrupy feel. Overall, an interesting brew, indeed, but not something I can see drinking very much of in the future.

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Photo of cbutova
2.82/5  rDev -28.2%
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.

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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).

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Photo of beancounter
3.23/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Amber color, minimal head. does not leave any lacing

S-Carmel and malt. Nothing else.

Taste Carmel and malt. You get the picture...

Mouthfeel. - Moderate mouthfeel. Appropriate for the style.

Drinkability-This beer is very one dimensional. All carmel and malt. if you like these flavors, you will like this beer. The carmel is not overwhelming however, so it does go down easy

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Photo of cdizinno
4.73/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Presentation: Poured into a pint glass from a 12oz bottle with no dates.

A: Rich copper color with moderate haziness and lacing.

S: Not much there. Some caramel and toasted maltiness. Buttery biscuit.

T&M: Nice mildly sweet maltiness that has a good hoppy kick in there. Smooth with light carbonation and a medium to full body. Honey and toffee maltiness with a fruity, citrus hop taste. Ever so mild piney hop bitterness in the background. Excellent!!

I'm originally from New England and was never a huge fan of Geary's Pale Ale, but this stuff is INCREDIBALLY GOOD!

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Photo of MattyRobots
4.45/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What a beautiful pour. With the yellow label I was not expecting the dark amber pour. head was creamy eggshell, 3/4 inch. Dissipated quickly, but not quickly enough to keep me from getting that great creamy first sip through it. Soft grass and citrus in the nose, with definite caramel maltiness. velvety mouth feel and orange peel flavor fade into a delicious fresh grass and faint alcohol on the exhale. My favorite Geary's for sure.

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Photo of bro2baseball
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What an exceptional beer. I have to admit I'm a very amateur beer drinker, and have drank more PBR than anything else.

But Geary's HSA is by far my favorite. I drink it straight from the bottle, the smell is amazing, it makes my mouth water after one sniff.

The taste is really exceptional. It's quite heavy, and it lingers in your mouth pleasantly after each sip. Drinkability is great, I love knocking a few of these back with buds, though it is a bit heavy.

Take my review with a grain of salt - I am not very experienced. But this is the best beer I've ever had.

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Photo of jgasparine
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- An aggressive pour yielded a 3/4" foamy biscuit-colored head, which slowly receded to a diffuse head with little traces of lacing. The body was a semi-opaque dark amber color with no visible signs of carbonation.

S- Smells of sweet tawny stewed malts and light fruits drizzled with honey. No hop aroma detected.

T- Starts with a bit of the stewed malt flavor, but quickly evolves to feature the light fruit esters. Midway, a touch of fusel alcohols come into play, which are met with some mild hop bitterness in the dry finish. Much dryer than anticipated.

M- Thin body, with its only texture derived from the mildly abrasive carbonation. Moderate astringency further detracts from the mouthfeel.

D- Average drinkability is affected by the evident alcohol and astringency.

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Photo of PDXHops
3.2/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle in a Duvel tulip.

Pours a deep slightly hazy amber with a finger or so of off-white head. This sticks around for a brief moment before disappearing into a skim and a bubbly collar. A few small spots of wet lacing here and there.

Pleasant, if uninspiring, caramel nose with background notes of overripe apples and fresh bread. A bit of fig newtons in there. Flavors are more lively, apple Jolly Ranchers with caramel and a hint of black pepper. Sounds weird, but works pretty well.

Overall impression: Not bad at all, but probably not something I'd revisit.

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Photo of bceagles39
4.14/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on draft at the Great Lost Bear in Portland, ME in May 2010.

Copper color. Not much head and no lacing.

Sweet, fruity aroma.

Sweet taste upfront and then the hoppy bitterness hits you. But a great balanced finish.

Medium bodied with average carbonation.

A solid, well balanced beer.

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Photo of Pahn
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into Duvel tulip. No bottled on or freshness date.

Appearance: Moderate pour yields a 1/3 inch white head that disappears immediately leaving no lacing. Pours a rather dark, semi-translucent copper. Leaves one or two streaks of short-lasting lacing.

Smell: Raisin bread and banana bread. Not "bready with a banana note," but the aroma of that nice, gooey, broken middle at the top of a hot, fresh loaf of banana bread. Really excellent note to find in the smell of a beer. There's also some malty sweetness, and as the beer warms some vague, scattered fruit notes come out.

Taste: Subdued herbal hops and some mild but rich bready malt, caramel, banana bread, raisin and fig. Some noticeable alcohol, and a bit more hop bitterness than one might expect, but neither are intrusive. Really good flavors, with nothing distracting or off. Great balance as well. I think these flavors could go deeper, and there could be a bit more going on, but as is this is a solid English strong ale. One particularly pleasing aspect of the flavor is that so many malty, fruity notes come up but the sweetness level is perfectly restrained; it's never sugary (or chalky), and doesn't even approach too sweet.

I strongly considered grading the flavor at least 4.5, because the balance is spot on and the flavors are, again, very good. However, i think the flavor could develop a bit more; the depths of this beer are plumbed within a few sips. I also think these (good) notes could be more distinct (as in the smell), and better. Still, not much to complain about here.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, and creamy almost to the point of chewy. Moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: Very good. No aspect of the taste builds up intolerably, nor do any of the flavors dull or become hidden. Would have no complaints throwing several of these back at a time, and intend to have it again in the future.

I'm a definite sucker for banana bread, so this beer had me from the start, really. While technically this beer suffers from the flaw of "smells better than it tastes," it tastes good enough.

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Geary's Hampshire Special Ale from D.L. Geary Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 382 ratings.