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

Geary's Hampshire Special AleGeary's Hampshire Special Ale
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Strong Ale - English
Ranked #6
Ranked #11,081
3.94 | pDev: 12.69%
D.L. Geary Brewing Company
Maine, United States
Very Good
Geary's Hampshire Special AleGeary's Hampshire Special Ale
Notes: 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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Reviews: 388 | Ratings: 648 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Lone_Freighter
Lone_Freighter from Vermont

4.24/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

So many times I've had this beer and so many times I've had in various drinking vessels.
Here's what I have to say about this fabulous beer:

The appearance was a murky dark amber to brown color with a finger's worth of white foamy head that slid off pretty slow. Nicely speckled lace.
The aroma had a wealthy blend of dark fruits, caramel/toffee malts, clean earthiness and a little bit of dark bread.
The flavor was moderately malty sweet scanning through the dark fruits and dark bread gently flowing into the aftertaste.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a fair sessionable to sipping sort of quality about it. Carbonation rode fairly low. ABV felt good.
Overall, an English Strong ale by an American brewer, damn right it is and always a worthy offering of coming back to.

Jun 15, 2017
Photo of HoppingMadMonk
HoppingMadMonk from New Jersey

4.24/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Mahogany color malt hop aroma. 7% abv was well incorporated was warming but not too boozy. It had an obvious hop taste but not excessively bitter and was well balanced with malt. A very enjoyable beer that I would get again if I could find it

May 21, 2017
Photo of DrMullet
DrMullet from Florida

3.6/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dense mahogany with a fair head.
Smell is malty fruits with a bit of nut.
Taste is toasted malt and mild fruits.
Not too boozy and fairly smooth.

Jan 15, 2017
Photo of direwolf00
direwolf00 from Rhode Island

4.45/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picking the the dozen or so Maine beers I've tasted in last 2 weeks, Geary Hampshire Special & Allagash Monmouth Red were the best.

Very pleasantly surprised at the uniqueness of this beer. Next time I'll buy a 6 pack.

Sep 16, 2016
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EMV from Pennsylvania

3.86/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip.

L: Pours a semi-opaque mahogany color. 1 finger of off-white head. Sticky lacing.

S: Sweet malts. Caramel and molasses.

T/F: Bready malts up front... dark sugars and caramel... but not quite sweet. Nicely balanced by the hops giving it a bitter finish. Sticky and thick on the mouthfeel. Good carbonation. A bit on the boozy side.

O: A nice take on the English strong ale. Boozy and malty but also with some solid hop presence. Almost like it's not quite sure which way to go, and that mostly works for this brew. Definitely a sipper and the flavor becomes richer as it warms.

Jul 21, 2016
Photo of dee4maine
dee4maine from Maine

4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

very under-rated English strong ale from Maine. strong malt flavors and balanced hop bitterness. does feel boozier than 7%. loved when it warmed up and the sweet caramel notes came through.

Feb 22, 2016
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Brutaltruth from Ohio

4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed from the 12 oz bottle in a snifter. This fine ale pours a clear and bright reddish amber with a very nice head of off white foam that subsides to a thick ring, thin layer, and spotty clinging lacing. Nose of chocolate, raisins,caramel, cherries, light herbal hops, and subtle grain notes. Flavors exceed the nose with light chocolate and cherry notes to the front and sides with a raisin and herbal hop blast that keeps balance to the sweetness. Very balanced and VERY English with a subtle grain note to the back of the taste with a touch of warming alcohol and a bitter hop finish. Good carbonation to keep it lively. Just an all around great brew.


Dec 22, 2015
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Back_in_the_Saddle from Vermont

3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was poured into a pint glass.
The appearance was a muddy brown color with a one finger white to off white foamy head. Lacing was fairly thick and stuck and then slid into the beer after a while.
The smell was some caramel malts, light nuts and a little bit of raisins.
The taste was mainly sweet with a slight roastiness giving way to the nuts and then the raisins come back in a sweet balance. The malty aftertaste slides into the finish nicely.
The mouthfeel was about a light to medium in body with a nice sessionable somewhat creamy sweet texture on my tongue.
Overall, as an English Strong ale, it works and I've always enjoyed this one this time of year. I'd have again.

Nov 22, 2015
Photo of Cavanaghty
Cavanaghty from Maine

3.06/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Brown with a thick beige head that lingered.

Smell: Malts mostly and some nutty notes.

Mouthfeel/Taste: Smooth medium bodied. Malt taste with a nutty aftertaste.

Overall: Not bad. I would not go out my way to have it again though.

Nov 10, 2015
Photo of Burnthedevice
Burnthedevice from Maine

3.61/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This is my first ESA, and although I can tell this style is not really my thing, I will try to review it fairly, because whether it is my cup of tea or not, I believe it's a quality brew. Very interesting, complex aroma, mainly of dark fruits, booze, and toasty malts. Unlike others, I find the hop presence satisfactory, and in my opinion, it's the best thing about this beer. Chocolatey malt flavor, which I may not personally like, is present and should be mentioned for people who do like that quality. I thought the body was good too; I don't think it's it's "thin" as others said, but again, that's only my opinion.
I'm curious to try this in cold weather.. I think I might appreciate it it more in that situation.

Sep 08, 2015
Photo of gonzo000
gonzo000 from Massachusetts

3.38/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

This beer is very alcohol forward especially for a 4 abv I did not love it, but the color is brilliant nice rusty reddish brown. Fruit and alcohol on the nose. I agree with others that it could be strawberry grape or raspberry. Wholly alcohol batman! The taste is all in your face. I have tasted less alcohol in some 10 abv beers. How does this get a 3.9 overall? Strange

Aug 20, 2015
Photo of Phillip13
Phillip13 from Massachusetts

3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

No more then average Strong ale. Slightly hoppy with a mild after taste and not much bite. Was very disappointed with beer was hoping for more hoppy flavor that was just not there.

Jul 14, 2015
Photo of Gajo74
Gajo74 from New York

4.06/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper. Strong caramel aroma. Toasted malt taste, fruity, alcohol and a modest dosage of hops for bittering. Medium to full bodied. I liked it.

Jun 22, 2015
Photo of anthony23cippy
anthony23cippy from Maine

3.42/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from Geary's bottle into a pint glass. Pours dark Amber with a slight redness it seems up to the light. Half finger of white head and more than average lacing long after. The nose is of heavy malt, bread, syrup, and strawberry or raspberry I can't quite tell. The taste is nothing of memorable quality, strong alcohol taste (almost rubbing alcohol), malt, and burnt syrup. The mouthfeel is thin and definitely minimal carbonation. Overall nothing great and nothing I would get again

Mar 09, 2015
Photo of DoubleJ
DoubleJ from Wisconsin

3.38/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Another beer from a gifted beer of the month club (thanks Simon!). If Geary's can impress me with an English-styled porter, a strong ale should be cake. From a stubby 12 ounce bottle, on to the beer:

A short head is formed above this light ruby brown beer. Dark orange hues are visible at parts. The beer smells like squeezed red grapes with a little note of grape nuts cereal. Wow, that is one grapey smelling beer! In fact, this flavor tried to convince me that I was drinking dubbel instead. The grape flavor is present and soft overall. There's an earthiness found. At the end is a sharp bitterness which is a dent to this beer.

Decent beer, though I had hoped for more.

Dec 31, 2014
Photo of tkelley
tkelley from Massachusetts

3.94/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a SAPP glass. Came in my final beer of the every other month shipment.

A - deep clear ruby body with a ring of white foam. Good lacing.

N - smells kind of vanilly I guess? Plus a very light hop character and good toasty malts.

T-- Tastes like old world malts and hops, Ringwood yeast too, and that's a plus. Also boozy for the abv.

M - solid mouthfeel (even though its a liquid... ha!). Kind of chest but not bad.

O -- I liked this quite a bit. Cheers!

Nov 30, 2014
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Kopps from Wisconsin

4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

12 oz bottle; no date.
Beer of the month offering; a birthday gift.

A: Poured a 1/2 finger head flattening quickly; clear rich dark amber color.

S: Good malt aroma with nice hops; not to overpowering.

T: Rich lingering malt flavor with a hint of the Scottish.

M: Heavier body and good carbonation.

Overall: rich and very enjoyable beer.

Nov 16, 2014
Photo of illpass78
illpass78 from Maine

3.53/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear amber/copper color with a short cream head that is gone swiftly. Not much lacing.

Aroma: This beer smells like alcoholic prune juice. The nose is dominated by booze and dark fruit.

Taste: There's a lot going on here - toasted malt, a big hop presence, raisins, prune juice, molasses, and biscuit are all there. What's really there, though, is booze - and alcohol burn.

Feel: It's not heavy; this beer has the depth of an average IPA. The alcohol burn isn't unpleasant, but it's definitely present.

Overall: This seems to me a well executed beer, but it's a little harsh in a way that isn't as appealing as truly great "big" beers are harsh. It might just not be my kind of style. I lean towards imperial stouts and IPAs when I want to go big. Fans of ESAs might dig this.

Oct 05, 2014
Photo of cjgiant
cjgiant from District of Columbia

3.9/5  rDev -1%
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.

Aug 03, 2014
Photo of crhensel
crhensel from New Jersey

3.73/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a rich amber with no head at all. Aroma is of bread and caramel with a light hint of fruit. Medium bodied on the tongue it's very upfront with the caramel sweetness of the malt but finished with a nice hop bite. The alcohol dies linger for a while but is very satisfying.

Jul 29, 2014
Photo of MaineBrewing
MaineBrewing from Maine

4.55/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a clear medium amber with ruby in the center and orange around the fringe. Head was a good two fingers of thick foam but dissipated quickly to a large bubbled froth. As always with Geary's and other similar breweries out of Portland I get no lacing, no remaining head, and a dead looking ale after a while. It ends up looking like I'm drinking iced tea. I would have to say the body/color puts it above "okay" but the liveliness or lack thereof really affects it and makes it dull.

S - Deep nutty aroma, with toffee and caramel malt notes, lots of fruity-ness as well as diacetyl, butter, biscuit, slight metallic character, and slight warming alcohol. No discernible hops, smells on par with the style and very approachable.

T - Taste is a complex deep nutty toffee malt character, loads of toasty bread and biscuit. Lots of buttery/diacetyl/ringwood yeast flavor dominates the finish, however is balanced well with the malt character and compliments it instead of overpower it. Good bite of bitter hops with lingering butter and toffee notes finish it off. To me the taste is perfect for the style.

M - Thick with low carb, a little hot at the end, slightly rough. This to me is a slow sipper, one to savor the nuances of the malt character that is deep and delicious.

O - Very English and very Portland. No matter how many newer more inventive breweries pop up in this state, the old school open fermented "Yorkshire" inspired ales with ringwood yeast in my opinion are sort of the foundation of Maine brewing, and Gear's HSA to me is some sort of the Pièce de résistance. A decadent deluge of English inspired flavor done in the old world style.

May 23, 2014
Photo of Brenden
Brenden from Ohio

4.23/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Sort of a medium brown with a red-orange flair through it, there's a thickness that seems attributable only to the darkness of color and is completely clear otherwise. Soft bubbling activity eases up the sides of the glass and continues to steady a thick, creamy and dense tan head that doesn't settle to less than one finger to begin with but, more surprisingly, at any point during the entire session. Patching remains in clumpy manner well down the glass.
Must, toast, earth, and some gently spiced dark fruits make up a particular but very nice aroma. It seems quite rustic though very much like baked sweetbreads, perhaps more of a thick dark dough. Lots of fig, currant and apple, along with honey and toffee, are balanced by all the earthiness in the hops presence off a malt lead.
More gentle bitterness comes out on the tongue than I get from the nose. The earthiness is certainly present in it, along with lots of dry leaf. Spiciness takes a stronger position as well, sweetness easing out and things generally switching order and strength from aroma to flavor. It's lightly buttery and still gently sweet, but I wouldn't have expected from smelling this beer that hops would take control like this in the taste.
Crisp with a surprising heft on the front of the tongue, this beer is nevertheless barely medium-bodied but well within range and with a nice smoothness along with the good, clean, crisp bite.

Mar 10, 2014
Photo of scotorum
scotorum from Massachusetts

3.8/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75


Last of four from the new beer club shipment. Have had this before and rated it a 4 but never did a review.

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Adams English nonick.

a: Clear copper with an inch thick offwhite head which receded to thick even surface foam and patchy lacing.

s: Primarily caramel malt.

t: Ripe plumlike fruitiness with the hefty malt presence taking a back seat, and some hop bite. Almost more like a barleywine. Sweet to somewhat bitter finish. The medium ABV is well cared for.

m: Medium, good body and heavy carbonation tingle.

o: Blindfolded I'd think this was a barleywine or some sort of holiday brew, perhaps partly because there just aren't that many American-made English Strongs. Seems fruitier (from the hop profile?) than many English style ales, although that fades with time leaving mainly caramel malt and hop bitterness. Overall close to the target for the stated style. I'm just not liking it quite as much as I did when I first tried a sample bottle a couple of years ago.

Dec 01, 2013
Photo of ThisWangsChung
ThisWangsChung from Maryland

3.89/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

Nov 25, 2013
Photo of puboflyons
puboflyons from New Hampshire

4.45/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on November 1, 2013.

The color is mahogany brown with a little gold glistening around the edge of the glass. Moderate, lingering cream colored head.

The aroma is lovely with its full roasted caramel malts, molasses notes, yeast, butterscotch, nuttiness, and finishing off with a mild earthy hop.

The body is medium to full.

The taste has an upfront roasted malt and caramel sweetness and a wonderfully lingering dry finish. Only 7% yeah, but some Strong Ales still have a boozy feel but not this one. Geary's has hit the mark on the style. It really feels like I'm drinking it at a British pub rather than at m y computer in New Hampshire USA.

Nov 01, 2013
Geary's Hampshire Special Ale from D.L. Geary Brewing Company
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 648 ratings