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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

513 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 513
Reviews: 367
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 12.41%
Wants: 27
Gots: 6 | 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:
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.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-30-2001)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 513 | Reviews: 367 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Beermaine


4/5  rDev +1.3%

03-02-2013 22:30:14 | More by Beermaine
Photo of SkinnyElvis


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

I think I have reached a new BA milestone: I got this beer from a friend of my wife who was on vacation in Maine & brought me back a few bottles b/c she knows I am a beer geek! Cheers to Deb!

Pours with a slight head. Dark amber in color. Nice smell of malt. English in flavor all the way. Mouthfeel is smooth & it is a drinkable brew. I don't have much experience with English Strong Ale's but this seems to taste like a well made ESB.


Serving type: bottle

09-22-2007 23:45:50 | More by SkinnyElvis
Photo of WheelsPSU

New York

3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

08-30-2013 17:28:38 | More by WheelsPSU
Photo of steinlifter


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

This poured, a clear amber, sudsy head that left broken lace all the way through.
aroma wasrich fruits, cherries,slight floral whiff.
taste was bold , rich fruits, well balanced hops and malt, slight floral taste.
mouthfeel was slightly chewy, and fairly creamy, smooth finish.
drinkability is fine, very nice brew, that I would drink again, no complaints here.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2005 18:44:30 | More by steinlifter
Photo of fdrich29


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

12 oz bottle from a 6 pack I picked up at Gordon's Wine on Main Street in Waltham, MA.

So there I was in my living room, with my parents, soon to be in laws, fiance and my friend's dad who is interviewing to be the dj at my upcoming wedding. The man has given us an incredible deal, I'm talking almost free here. My future mother in law blurts out "Well we need to hear you first before we make a decision". I quickly head to the kitchen, pretending not to hear what I just heard, and grab the first beer I could find. Luckily it was a Geary's Hampshire Special Ale. It saved me from either offing myself or my fiance's mother on the spot.

This beer is fantastic. A fantastic balance of hops and malt, one of those beers that doesn't come around every day. One taste and you know this one lives up to the term "special", if not defines it. Each sip begs another, highly drinkable and wonderfully tasty. Definitely recommended.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2005 02:18:06 | More by fdrich29
Photo of VoodooBrew

South Carolina

3.9/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2006 07:55:06 | More by VoodooBrew
Photo of rapayn01


3.93/5  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).

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2010 23:43:21 | More by rapayn01
Photo of MistahBeah


3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours brownish amber with foamy almost tan head. Some visible carbonation. Not much retention or lacing. Somewhat hazy

Smells rich and buttery. A little sweet. Spicy/herbal

Taste follows the nose. Rich butter and bready malts. Crisp white apples and some caramel sweetness. The finish has some spicy hop bitterness with a lingering floral aftertaste. Somewhere in the middle there is a trace of alcohol that actually pairs quite nicely with the spicy finish

Feels warming and smooth. Tastes more light-bodied than you would expect

I enjoyed this beer. I would get from time to time. Well-balanced with a nice flavor profile

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2013 02:53:55 | More by MistahBeah
Photo of MMansfield

Nova Scotia (Canada)

3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Notes from Seaport Beer Fest 08/11/07

Appearance: Poured a clear, coppery colour with an off white head. Settles down to a generous lacey ring.

Aroma: Caramel mostly with some sweet malts. A bit of spicy tea notes and floral hops.

Taste: Sweet upfront, quite butter. Medium bitter finish with some biscuits.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied, pretty refreshing.

Final Statment: It wasn't until after I took the notes I was told of the percentage. I was about to declare this a very sessionable ale until I found out it was 7%! There was no hint of alcohol warmth in this at all. Could be a dangerous beer. Definately nothing to turn down.

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2007 20:19:50 | More by MMansfield
Photo of kunzbrew


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

This brew pours a amber color with a mild size head that last for a short period of time but leaves one hell of a sexy lace behind.

The aroma of caramel and hops fill the nose with great pleasure. My mouth is watering jsut waiting for the first sip.

The toasted caramel malts are strong to the palatte, I am really liking this one. The hops are just bitter enough, for my liking.

This one is easy drinking and goes down very smooth.


Serving type: on-tap

11-19-2003 16:09:27 | More by kunzbrew
Photo of Manosbeeroffate


4.4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Best of the bunch from Geary's I think. Pours golden/red color. little head. Smells malty. Taste? Nice balance of hops, malt, some sharp fruity flavor like apple. Mouthfeel is damn good. Overall I like this one a lot. I ahven't had this in a while, but it's easy to find and will get more soon.

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2006 22:52:30 | More by Manosbeeroffate
Photo of longpondbeerman


3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I took a gamble on a case of this HSA (as a 2002-2003 the store had it in the discounted out-of-date section). It poured A clear dark orangy gold with a minimal head. The initial aroma was of sharp spices and maple malts. There's also a touch bitter of hops back there somewhere as well. The mouthfeel is luscious--a medium thickness offset by modest carbonation. The taste is reasonably well balanced; there a syrupy cherry and pear sweetness at the start, but it fades quickly as the hops kick in, and the finish is rather tart. The alcohol is more evident in the taste than I expected for a 7% brew; I think it's more potent than reported.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2004 21:28:23 | More by longpondbeerman
Photo of Shovelbum


4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an off-white head over a ruby tinged copper body. Minimal head retention and lace. Aromas of dark vinous fruit and caramel with a light citric hop presence lingering in the background. Flavor is sweet caramel malt up front giving way to more citric hop flavors and a decent bitterness by the end. A mild bitter orange flavor is detectable throughout. Medium to full bodied.

This was a college favorite back when this was only available when the “weather sucks” and was capped by gold foil. Still a tasty brew in spite of its expanded production and distribution. A high-octane session beer for discriminating barflies.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2007 00:32:38 | More by Shovelbum
Photo of travolta


3.35/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Apperance: Wonderful head. Rocky, thick, sticky....just right. It is not white, but not tan, right in the middle. Copper and gold in color. The lacing is also great. The lacing just slaps itself right up against the glass.

Nose: Sweet, carmel, fruity, little bit of hops. This beer smells nice, but I cannot quite get my hands on the smell. it smells sweet, fruity and a bit of caramel, but I cannot think of anything to relate it to.

Taste: Great texture, nice mouthfeel. A bit syrupy and sweet. lightly hoppy at the end with it's slight bitter aftertaste.Syrup, sweet, carmel.

Notes: The head and lacing were both something to admire. The thing that made me really enjoy this beer was it's structure. It is very balanced. Not boring, balanced.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2004 22:28:53 | More by travolta
Photo of OatmattStout


4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice color and a nice smell of sweet malt and toasted grain. Has a nice firm carbonation upon first sip. Great flavors that are dominated on the sweet side of butterscotch, toffe, spicy malt and dried fruits. Has a nice alchohol punch to it but by no means is is overpowering. Very rich full texture and a nice hoppy finish that tries to keep up with the malt. Like this one

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2003 21:56:56 | More by OatmattStout
Photo of beerinator


3.68/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Auburn, caramelly amber. Slightly off white head with decent retention.

Aroma: A bit sweet, with a hint of fruit. Maybe slight notes of grape right up front.

Taste: Very very dry, with bitter aftertaste. Hints of breadyness. Mouthfeel is nice, for a drinkable beer.

Notes: Not my favorite seasonal, but easily drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2004 15:26:24 | More by beerinator
Photo of avylover


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

Got this one courtesy of an TinusTime heads up.
Pours out clear & deep gold with little head to speak of. Aroma has some bready burnt malts, and a decent citousy hop scent. This is one of those scents that singes the nosehairs, with some spices in there to boot. Taste is very unique. Starts off with some sweet maltiness and some spice, then a wallop of floral hops hits you, yet finishing off creamy. Good dry aftertaste. This is one of those beers that wants to breakdance in your mouth..alot going on here.. Heavy carbonation makes for a good strong mouthfeel and dry finish. Drinkability is pretty good, in part due to the creaminess of this brew

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2003 00:45:48 | More by avylover
Photo of JayNH

New Hampshire

4.38/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2008 23:53:19 | More by JayNH
Photo of chaz01


4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
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

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2010 04:27:27 | More by chaz01
Photo of mikeyv35

New York

4.8/5  rDev +21.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2011 05:31:39 | More by mikeyv35
Photo of macpapi


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

Have always thought this was Geary's finest beer by a long shot. HSA pours a copper/dark-brown color with a half-inch white head that lingers for a good 15-20 seconds. Pretty decent lacing with little visiblity throughout the glass. The aroma is dominated by malt, biscuity elements, caramel, with a hint of toffee. There is also a bit of sweet fruit presence. A slight alcohol burn of the nostrils is worthy of mention as well. Good and somewhat complex aroma. Taste is very good. Malty and sweet with a nice caramel flavor as a welcome compliment. A complete and full presence in the mouth, with the slight hint of alcohol a bit astringent on the tongue.

On the whole, this is an eminently drinkable beer. A bit heavier and more potent than a true session beer should be. Nonetheless, cut out a couple of these from your total alotment and you would have the perfect beer to enjoy for a time while sitting and talking with friends, watching a game or enjoying any kind of celebration. A truely 'Special Ale,'

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2007 14:41:47 | More by macpapi
Photo of Crumpetsnbeer


3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

05-28-2014 23:59:57 | More by Crumpetsnbeer
Photo of ism

New Jersey

3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear amber with orange hues, topped with a 1-finger taupe head that retains lightly, leaving decent lacing. Nose of caramel malt, mostly, and slight citrus hop with spices, alcohol bubbling underneath. Gentle carbonation gives way to a medium body supplied by 2-row Pale, with roasted malt flavors, biscuity and sweetly fruity with spice. Goes down smooth with a slight pine bitter. Finishes rather refreshingly.

Satisfying and not overpowering, with flavors sufficiently understated to emphasize each characteristic. Will definitely revisit this brew.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2005 01:19:39 | More by ism
Photo of dprophet

North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

01-22-2012 09:41:17 | More by dprophet
Photo of mjohn27603


4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2002-2003 edition. Drank on 3/7/03. The beer was an almond/orange color in the glass with a lumpy 3/4 inch high head. Smell was wonderful with some floral notes and malty nose present. Sip gives a hint of caramel with a some hoppiness hidining the background that is present after holding in the mouth. At different times I thought I tasted some nutty flavor or some pepper. The high alcohol is sneaky but a warming sensation is noticeable after a while. I just got a six pack and am thinking of cellaring a few but there really isn't an edge to pull of this one. It is pretty drinkable as is.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2003 19:22:23 | More by mjohn27603
Geary's Hampshire Special Ale from D.L. Geary Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 513 ratings.