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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

(Read More)
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 nickfl
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours with one finger of light tan foam on top of a clear, amber-brown body. The head settles at a moderate pace and leaves nice lace.

S - A rich, malty aroma of caramel and toffee with just a hint of spicy hops in the background.

T - Toasty, sugary brown malt notes up front. Some caramel, toffee, red apple, and a big load of brown sugar in the middle. Finishes with some musty hop flavor, more toffee and brown sugar and moderate bitterness.

M - Medium-thick body, moderately high carbonation, and a balanced finish.

D - Actually not bad. I didn't expect much after finding this one in a local bottle shop that I rarely visit, but it turned out to be a decent example of the style. The malt character is quite nice and if finishes with balanced bitterness that makes it quite drinkable.

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Photo of metter98
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear dark reddish amber in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high dense beige head that gradually died down and left a large patch of bubbles that nearly covered the entire surface and a thick ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are pleasant aromas of buttery malts and fruity yeast in the nose.
T: The taste has a good amount of malty flavors along with notes of fruity yeast. There is a light amount of bitterness, which particularly stands out in the finish along with some hints of spices.
M: It feels on the high end of being medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. There is a bit of warming from the alcohol; the bitterness causes some tingling on your tongue.
O: This beer is rather easy to drink for the style and hides its alcohol well, although it’s complex enough to enjoy sipped slowly.

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Photo of Etan
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Libbey tall tulip. Sent to me by Valdieu2.

A: Pours a dark brownish-amber with a spongy off-white head. Nice retention and lacing.

S: Strong aroma of yeast and vinous esters. Prune, grapes, brown bread maltiness, cinnamon.

T: Almost-tart fruity esters open the taste: banana, prune, grape, raisin. An astringent, deeply earthy bitterness takes over for a brief moment before going into a big bready, yeasty, grainy finish, along with some caramel and toffee maltiness. Some fruitiness, most noticeably banana esters, return in the finish, with crisp grain, hop bitterness, and a bit of alcohol.

M: Relatively light-bodied for a strong ale, but good.

O: I definitely enjoyed this one. The esters were nicely balanced with the grain flavors. The bitterness in the middle is a bit acrid, but other than that this is a tasty ESA.

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

12oz bottle courtesy of valdieu2.

a - pours a deep transparent amber shade. formed a pinky's worth of off white foam that calmed quickly to a film. leaves a few legs of lacing behind.

s - nutty malt, grape, candied cherries, faint chocolate.

t - starts off with toffee and nutty malts then moves into notes of darker, sweeter fruits. a fairly pronounced herbal bitterness sets in and finishes on a faint alcohol spice note.

m - medium in body, slightly buttery, adequate carbonation, medium co2 profile.

o - a solid beer and seems to fit the style well. very drinkable too. it's no fuller's, but i'd buy it again if i came across it.

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Photo of sprucetip
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After many trips to Maine and an increasing appreciation for Allagash, Marshall Wharf, Maine Beer Co, and Rising Tide, I had kinda written off the old school Maine breweries as perfunctory and average. But after a few trivia nights at a bar where the HSA was the beer most to my liking, I have decided that I should not generalize quite so much.

It looks good, as if that matters. Clear, active, medium amber, decent head, some retention, and thickish lacing.

Malts and hops battle to something like a standoff. Malty sweet richness is there and noticeable, but citrusy and even a bit piny hops are stronger. Booze is noticeable too. It all works well together. Not amazing, but definitely good.

Much like the nose, some sweet malty richness is pushing and pushing, trying to be noticed and having some success. But the hoppy profile, more citrus and pine than floral, has more girth. The blend of these elements and some booze balances nicely with the medium level of hoppy bitterness..

Wel carbonated, medium bodied, and modestly bitter in the finish. It isn't dry or thick. It drinks easy.

For lack of other options in the particular environment, I drank quite a few of these and they grew on me. Probably not a trade bait type beer, but certainly a moderately complex and very well balanced one. Despite being decent sized at 7%, it drinks whacked easy. I like that there is some significant malt quality to it, and more hops than a lot of IPA's. I'll have it again.

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Photo of shand
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

I have a lot of English Strong Ales in my fridge right now, especially compared to the style's availability in the US. Let's start with the one American version I have. Pours an attractive red-amber color with a finger of head. The aroma is rather sweet, with caramel and butterscotch malts, along with some floral hops. The taste has that sweet toffee malt kinda thing going along, with a substantial floral English hop presence. Aftertaste is fairly non-existant, which is the biggest knock I have against this beer. The mouthfeel is heavier bodied for an English ale, and is very lightly carbonated. Overall, a nice strong ale. Bring the rest of them on!

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

A. Ruddy light brown with a red tint. A perfect, dense one finger, light tan head pours and persists solidly throughout the entire session. Lacing is thick and lovely.

S. Dark and sweet malt. citrusy, lightly floral hop stands out. Light booze.

T. Hops remain strong, and compliment the boozy sweetness.

M. Surprizingly light on the tongue, and inviting.

O. Pretty solid. I wouldn't seek it out religiously, but would buy it if I found it. Wouldnt drink too many at once, either... this heavyweight packs a punch.

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Photo of beyah
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a 12oz. bottle into a Britsh pint glass.

A - Deep copper color, about 1 finger of white head, excellent lacing.

S - Biscuity, Ringwood Yeast, eastery.

T - Hops bitterness, Ringwood Yeast, slight alcohol warmth, very well balanced.

M - Buttery Smooth, light carbonation, very drinkable.

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Photo of brewcrew76
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to themaniacalone for this one.

A - Ice tea colored rusty amber with a nice sized off white head and few strings of lace.

S - Earthy and fruity hops with some sweet malt, toffee and butterscotch. The malt smells like the inside of a Butterfinger.

T - Toffee and butterscotch, fruity grape flavors, light touch of alcohol, grassy and herbal hops linger on the finish. Buttery with honey notes.

M - Full body with a good amount of carbonation. Goes down easy for being full bodied. Slight warming from alcohol.

D - Solid. Was expecting it to taste a little bigger and complex but not disappointed.

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Photo of mikeyv35
4.76/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Stumbled upon this obviously hard to get and highly rated ESA in Brooklyn while browsing brew as I often do. Very excited to sample this one!

Poured a golden straw in color w/ ruby red hues. A thin cream head produced medium amounts of sticky lacing. Looks like an ESA. The nose was aromas of biscuit, herbs/spices, and fresh cut hay. Probably the only knock on this brew was the nose which was somewhat boring. The taste started off w/ flavors of herb spiceness, which lead into light caramel/toffee, and finished w/ lingering hop bitterness and basement mustiness. Medium bodied and lush. As far as drinkability goes, I could drink this all day! Will most likely sneak 1-2 bottles of this brew into the next Penguins hockey game I attend.

Overall, this brew lived up to it's high rating in the ESA category, and will be climbing after my review. Loved this brew and it is right up there on my favortites in the style list w/ Thomas Jefferson's Tavern Ale from Yards. What more can you ask for, an ESA produced in Maine that can compete w/ if not edge the legendary Fuller's 1845.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.08/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This poured out as a clear looking golden color with a fizzy white head on top. The smell of the beer was decent, nothing too exciting though. The taste of the beer had a good amount of malts and grain flavors with a dry bitterness in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel was lighter than I expected. The carbonation wasn't bad either. Overall this was an average beer in my opinion.

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Photo of hustlesworth
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- hazy copper colored with a substantial beige head. looks hoppy enough, nice lacing.

S- east kent goldings are the main aroma component along with some toasty sweet malt. earthy, herbal, lemony and slightly pungent. smells english. mild chocolate and toffee layers hang beneath. smells like wychwood beers.

T- loads of hop flavor in this toasty strong ale. herbal and resinous, pine and grapefruit pith. there's burnt biscuit and weak coffee in the background and a lemony tartness. more earthy and less sweet than the aroma with a woodsy hoppy finish. could easily pass for an IPA.

MF- zesty carbonation livens up the body a bit but the weight is hard to perceive. sticky on the lips and drying on the cheeks, alcohol is evident here.

D- not a bad brew for a stock ale, strong ale, whatever, geary's has UK style brews down solid. abundant use of goldings and lots of malt work well, but the flavor can get intense.

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Photo of BeerKangaroo
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Into a pint glass:

A: dark brown colored body with a big beautiful one inch white foamy head that wants to spill over the pint glass no matter how careful you try to pour it, decent lacing

S: dominating pale malts, hops remain in the background

T: previously mentioned flavors with darker malts coming through, slight yeastiness

M: medium to heavy, borderline sessionable, noticeable coating of the tongue, sticky malty aftertaste and finish

O: always love this one by Geary's, good for the style and good for me.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a nice amber color with a fingers worth of head that sticks around for a while

S: Ringwood yeast, some pale malts, and maybe some backing hops

T: Again with the ringwood yeast, some pale to darker malts, and backing hops to prevent sweetness. Fairly stiff, but no alcohol noticeable

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation, fairly leathery on the tongue

O: Another solid brew from Geary's. The style is done very nicely and is definitely a pure example of an English strong ale

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Photo of tvazteca
4.36/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Geary's HSA pours a beautiful dark amber, sticky-icky up the sides and a beautiful 1/4 inch head. It smells good but would probably smell better if my dishwasher didn't do such a shitty job. Sorry Geary's. The beer still tastes great. It almost tastes like an ESB despite it's strong ale label. I know the salesman told me I'd say that, and my heart wants to be contrarian, but it does taste like an ESB. Feels great going down. Excellent beer.

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Photo of philbe311
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Two fingers worth of audibly fizzy slightly rich light tan colored head with a bit of a rocky top... Decent retention and the head turns much creamier as it settles a bit... Loaded with small bubbled carbonation that starts sluggish but quickly accelerates... The color is warm light caramel... A bit of lacing clings to the glass throughout the session...

S - Toffee... Toasted malts... Some fruity notes... Hints of caramel... Perhaps just the slightest bit of booziness... A bit earthy...

T - After the nose the fairly potent hop presence takes you a bit by surprise... After a initial malty burst of light toffee, toasted malts, and fruit the hops takes center stage and shine... They are noble in nature and add wonderful depth and complexity to this offering... They linger in a very even and consistent manner...

M - On the fuller side of medium bodied... Smooth... Sleek... Moderately creamy... Sophisticated... Perhaps ever so slightly thin... A bit of a dry finish...

D - This is an exceptionally well crafted English Strong Ale... Strong in all facets... If this were available to me on a regular basis it would no doubt be in my go to rotation... I will gladly invest in a sixer of this anytime I'm passing through "DL Geary" territory and stronglys suggest that you do the same... Definitely more than the sum of its parts...

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

Poured from a twelve oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours medium amber with with good foam and some lacing. Malty smell, some fruitiness. Light bubblegum. Mellow malt with firm hop. Light lingering at the end and long finish. Some fruit at the finish too.

Kind of musty and old feeling. A little like I pulled an old bottle out of someones basement. Ok beer.

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Photo of CampusCrew
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

appearance: dark brown, amber highlights with some good head rentention and lacing

smell: caramle with earthy aromas

taste: huge caramel, nicely balanced with huge hop profile

mouthfeel: full bodied

drinkability: a great fusion of american and english ales

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

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass during my weekly online D&D game.

A: Woody amber brown with dark red/garnet notes. Poured with 1 finger of tan head. Lots of waves and whirls and webs of wacing.... I mean, lacing.

S: Sweet bready malt and a finish of grassy hops. Like standing out in a field of tall grass, holding a loaf of fresh baked brown bread, wondering how you got there and why you're holding this bread. And yet, you realize that you look damn fine in a drindl.

T: Why are you wearing a drindl? Geary's is a take on British ales. Sweet toffee and lively brown sugar notes with a backbone of toasty brown bread. Alcohol runs throughout and is about as subtle as the smell of a freshly paved highway. Bitter hop finish.

M: Surprisingly light given that this is a "big" (ish) beer. A touch grainy, with active, fizzy carbonation. Suddenly you're back in that field being tickled by dandelion seeds. And it's awesome because there aren't many things in this world that you can kick and they immediately explode, but the dandelion is one.

O: Mad ramblings aside, Geary's Hampshire Special is a great strong ale. I'd seek this one out again.

I sometimes wonder how James Joyce got away with this crap for so long.

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Photo of capeannbass36
3.62/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Had on tap at Mac's Grille in Auburn, Maine.
Arrived in a pint glass. Sort of ice tea color, one finger off white head.

S- Some sweet malt. Some fruit.

T- Flavor is similar to smell, but less intense.

M- Unfortunately this draft was pretty flat. Minimal carbonation. Huge disappointment. Slightly warm, boozy feel.

O- Didn't even bother to finish. Too flat. Temperature was fairly cold. That felt right. Flavor and carbonation did not cut it for me.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours a perfect median between amber and rust. No haze. Slim off-white head. Not much head.

S-I smell bananas at first whiff. A hint of floral hoppiness. A bunch of sweetness too. Unique scent. Mellow but when I hone in on the various components in the nose I enjoy what I detect. Almost smells like cognac mixed with strawberry-banana yogurt.

T-The taste and the aroma are a perfect pair. There really is a decent bouquet of different flavors in HSA. Caramel and toffee mix with the banana fruitiness. Alcohol comes into the equation but is well masked. I was worried that Geary's high ABV offering would be a bit messy, but this one is clean and surprisingly soft while being imbibed.

M-Carbonation is mellow. Feel is on the heavier side of a medium mouthfeel. Alcohol dries out the tongue only a tiny bit.

O/D-Most of my reviews depict the battle between expectation and actuality. This one beats expectations. I think this is a pretty cool beer. Hey, maybe my evading Geary Brewing Company was a bad idea. Geary's Summer, Pale Ale, are you next?

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