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 #5
Ranked #11,971
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
Reviews by TheLongBeachBum:
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TheLongBeachBum from California

4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 fluid ounce stubby bottle, from a 6-Pack handed to me by my new BA Brother Sir JohnnyP. The bottle has a silhouette painting of a Maine sunrise/set and has the words ‘Geary’s Hampshire Special Ale’ in gold. A smart looking gold neck label just says ‘Geary’s HSA’.

Appearance: Pours a lucid Copper color with golden-orange hues when backlit. A very smooth looking off-white head forms when poured, which slowly settles to a thin covering, but the head returns when swirled. Light lacing.

Nose: Fruity caramel overtones with an underlying straight from the oven yeasty freshly baked bread odor. Alcohol is perceptible in the latter parts of the nose along with a feint whiff of hops.

Taste: Very smooth introduction, buttery malts with some sweet biscuit caramel, a little fruit mixed with a deep malty backbone that runs throughout the beer. The ending changes with each mouthful, a mixture of Curacao oranges, dark skinned berries, fruity malts, brown sugared pears, and a whole host of other flavors I cannot recognize. Moor-ish, the alcohol sneaks through at the end after being well-hidden for a while.

Mouthfeel: Solid wholesome presence supported by the malts and fruity alcohol.

Drinkability: Easily dispatched. Knowing that I have a few bottles left suppresses the depression associated with the fact that I cannot buy this here in So.Cal. A tasty strong ale, which sits well on the desk and in the mouth, but does not last long in the fridge or glass.

Overall: Brewed in Maine – Imbibed in California.

“Ah seen the promised land” – it’s Maine!!
Praise Be to Preacher Sir JohnnyP for sending some of it to the West Coast.

Sep 20, 2003
More User Reviews:
Photo of metter98
metter98 from New York

4/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

Apr 26, 2012
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oberon from North Carolina

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

Bwst beer hands down for me while in Maine,pours a rich golden color with a slight red tint,not much head to it but what there was left some real nice lace.Rich is the word I use to describe this beer in color,aroma,and mostly flavor very malty and whiskyish and of dried fruit for a malt maven or whatever u wanna call it this to me is a perfect or near perfect beer,rich and warming a great winter beer.

Oct 30, 2003
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TopherBreski from New Jersey

2.59/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Nothing special but a good ale

Mar 16, 2015
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brdc from Wisconsin

3.97/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

Aug 21, 2008
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Newbiebeer from Connecticut

4.75/5  rDev +20.6%

Mar 20, 2013
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scarletfire79 from New Hampshire

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

one of the most drinkable beers i've ever had. i don't want to put it down. pours dark amber brown with a frothy white head. great staying power, decent lacing. definitly picking up some fruity notes in the nose, sweet like honey. the taste is balanced, mellow, malty, hoppy, i could go on. just very nice. i'm sorry i didn't pick this up sooner. kind of like a barleywine junior. good beer.

May 11, 2007
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batt6343 from Texas

4.24/5  rDev +7.6%

Oct 23, 2014
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Todd from California

4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A balanced beer to say the least, with both a distinct malty and hoppy flavour. Very smooth, very drinkable and very alcoholic on the breath. Can't really go wrong with a beer like this, unless you can't handle a RIngwood beer -- but it's well-blended into the mix. One of my favourites and one of Geary's best beers IMO -- "special" indeed.

Feb 07, 2002
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mnj21655 from Massachusetts

4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper color with hints of amber throughout. A half finger white head quickly sinks to a swirly coating. Great smell with toasted sweet malts dominant. Also present are caramel, cherries, and some vanilla. Taste is much like the smell. Sweet malts, again, dominate but also present are molasses and cherries. Finishes with a bit of spicy hops which bring a bit of bitterness. Nice medium body with moderate carbonation. Good drinkability, nicely balanced I will definitely have this again.

Nov 02, 2006
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dubdrop from Vermont

3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

Nov 09, 2012
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Jason from Massachusetts

4.47/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12oz semi-fat brown with a gold foil twisty. Winter 01-02 on bottle to denote what year it was brewed for.

Appearance: Rich copper colour with light brownish highlights, a healthy off white lace wraps the inside of the glass with ample stickiness.

Smell: Soft caramel and toasted malt biscuit and bread with a dash of buttery toffee. Honey and a currant and berry mix for fruitiness. Light twinge of ester alcohol in the nose.

Taste: Smooth upfront with a light to moderate carbonation. Certainly full in body with a vague polished buttery feeling. Large and jam-packed with malt flavours of toasted and caramel. Diacetyl is significant yet not to the point of being out of balance. The warming alcohol brings forth fruitiness and esters to round this big profile out. Hints of dark honey and light berry fruit add to the complexity. Hop bitterness drops a great leveling flavour and oily herbal character. Caramel and grain in the finish with overtones of diacetyl.

Notes: Year after year this one is a sure thing for winter seasonals, bitterness seems a step up this year which is fine considering all of the malt flavour to deal with.

Jan 29, 2002
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MuenchenerKindl from Germany

3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass. The liquid is a light copper and has good carbonation The head is a beige 1 finger tall and but very rich, thick and creamy. Some light lace.

The smell is lightly sweet with lots of caramel and fruity notes

The taste follows mostly but the fruity flavor tries to over whelm, could be vanilla notes as well.

The mouth feel is medium body with good carbonation.

The drinkability is ok, I just can't decide if I really like the unusual sweet fruity taste . MK

Nov 29, 2006
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
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hbis2gut from New Hampshire

4.94/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

WOW, this guy does a few beers and does them well. This is the showcase beer for this brewery. A strong ale that gives off malt and hop aromas rather than booze fumes. Mouthfeel is perfect in my opinion. Too often these types of ales are sticky or too heavily bodied. Highly recommended.

Oct 08, 2001
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GratefulBeerGuy from New Hampshire

4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle. Pours a thin, slightly off white head that tends to dissipate quickly. Carbination is on the high side, Dark copper color but very clean. Very sparkly and refreshing looking.

first hit is well balanced light on the palate, with a doughy, wheaty flavor's lightly sweet from good malt the sweet flavor is very rich and deep, with subtle hints of "greens". I find myself really enjoying this one, Very drinkable. Goes down really easy. this one really impressed me, one of fav's of this style! Nice work Geary!

May 21, 2006
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CC4IPA from Alabama

4/5  rDev +1.5%

Jul 03, 2014
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beerluvr from Canada (ON)

4.27/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Off-white cream colored head. Clear deep reddish/amber liquid. Nice fruity nose with toffee notes mingles with spicy hops. Bittersweet caramel malty/fruity flavors fill the mouth before a tremendous hoppy bitterness with slight alcohol warmth hits home. Lots of flavor packed in this one! Finishes on a big long dry hop note, better than I ever remember it tasting...damn tasty!

JohnnyP - Champion supporter of H.S.A., and all Beers Maine, this review is for you!
Thanks to doctorwu100 for the fresh bottles!

Apr 17, 2004
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BlindPig from Nevada

4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Thin white head on a clear amber/copper body.
S- Pretty big citrus hops with tons of grapefruit and a good malt balance too.
T- Big grapefruit hop with just a hint of pine in there too. Malt helps to kind of balance it out but hops come out ahead.
M- Medium body with medium to low carbonation.
D- It is pretty good. I think it is a solid brew but not sure if I would get another any time soon just since I would prefer to try other new beers. If I found it around here though I might buy some.

Apr 09, 2007
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Envelopes from Ohio

3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

Oct 26, 2012
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Murph from Arizona

4.07/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice dark amber/copper with a thinnish bubbly tan head that dissipates. Great malty alcohol smell. Nice caramel maltiness and some decent balancing hop bitterness. Good slighlty creamy mouthfeel and very drinkable for the style. I've had this on draught and in the bottle, definitely much better on draught. Aging a bottle of this might be interesting.

Feb 08, 2002
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ArrogantB from Colorado

3.26/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Orange in color with a good head, looks like it will be a decent brew.It tastes slightly English if that makes any sense but it is a little too strong and I usually don’t say that. This is a decent beer but not one I will seek out again, doesn't suit my tastes.

Sep 05, 2007
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4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

Aug 29, 2012
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bcm119 from California

4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is as close to a session beer as you can get at 7% abv. Its a really nice feeling beer on the palate, and the toasty biscuit flavor is delicious. I didn't like the minerally, hard water flavors though (you can actually smell this too), and I think the hops could be more up front. Still a very good winter brew.

Nov 21, 2001
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prototypic from Ohio

3.92/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Oct 10, 2008
Geary's Hampshire Special Ale from D.L. Geary Brewing Company
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 648 ratings