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

very good
386 Reviews
Geary's Hampshire Special AleGeary's Hampshire Special Ale

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

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: 386 | Ratings: 631
Photo of aerozeppl
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from 2000-2001.
Geary's does hold a special place in my heart.

A: Fairly clear copper color with minimal white head. Some lacing which is nice due to the age on the bottle.

S: Very tight nose. Hints of malts and some apples.

T: This has evolved into a massive malt bomb. Little bit of oxidation creeping through but it hasen't killed the taste yet. This would be a good time to crack them all open.

M: Medium body. Low carbonation.

D: While probably past it's prime glad I tried it. Totally different fresh. Don't hold on to one for more than 3 years tops.

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Photo of hreb
3.55/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into American pint glass, served cold. Beer is a pleasant yellow and brown pale amber with a medium to thin tan head. Very sudsy looking on the sides as I move the glass. Immediately smells strongly of sweet malt.

First sip is strong and bitter with very fine carbonation. The aroma had me hoping for that English grapey barleywine flavor, but the flavor is all American and high on hops. The hops balance with the alcohol in the brew, which at 7% is both considerable and apparent in the flavor.

Laces the glass with suds that quicky fall down the glass. I like the slightly roasty flavor of the malt, but the bitterness is a little cloying and not easy on the palette, I'd say. Overall this is a reasonably interesting beer but primarily it's just strong both in bitterness and in alcohol. I suppose if your only goal is to find a beer that gets you drunk fast this is as good as any at 7%, but c'mon, why bother?

The box proudly proclaims "now available year-round" and explains that available since 1989, this brew was "only" available eight months a year. Uh, I guess. Maybe it's a Maine thing...this is a cold weather beer in my mind. (note to self: see how this compares to Double Bag...need more data!)

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Photo of Crosling
3.55/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Lightish copper. Fairly aromatic, with a unique blend of malts, creating lovely caramel, toffee and fruit aromas with a light hint of floral hops. Fluffy, creamy texture with a heavy body. Awfully bitter, unfortunately, as it seems to take away from the multi-dimensional malt flavor. Soft crystal malt character with a light hint of peated malt, providing pleasant butterscotch hints. Light apple notes and caramel are present as well. Sharp hop bitterness on the finish. Pretty nice stuff.

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Photo of ryrust5301
3.56/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Golden orange in color. Very thin but ample head with a moderate amount of lacing.

Smell - Deep sweet malt with a faint fruitiness. Besides that I couldn't really pick up much else.

Taste & Mouthfeel - Wow is this one sweet! Huge malt and honey sweetness give it a deep body. Apple accounts for some of the fruit flavor, but can't quite put my finger on the others. Very creamy and full in the mouthfeel, making it very easy to drink.

Drinkability - A little to sweet for my taste, but a very good stab at the strong ale style. Quite a nice offering.

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Photo of PatrickJR
3.57/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Slightly hazy copper, with a finger or so of off-white head. Retention is pretty short, falling to a film. Some lacing.

S - Malty, dark fruit smell, with a hint of licorice. Slight aroma of floral hops pull through.

T - Mild malt with a licorice edge. Dries out a bit with some earthy hops, though subdued. Aftertaste has some leafy hop notes. Good, but it's nothing all that interesting.

M - High carbonation, with a medium body. Unexpected, too fizzy.

D - A decent enough brew, but not what I thought it was going to be. Solid, but there's nothing outstanding about this beer.

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Photo of SixpointJMH
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

i, for one, don't see what all the hype is about here. to preface, this is not a bad all. far from it, in fact. but what is also is not is the beer to end all beers like i've heard described. it pours a sloid dark amber colour with a moderate head that just doesn't last for very long and leaves almost no lacing. the smell is of butter, toffee, malt, and, along with in the taste, but maybe moreso here in the smell, is a weird rubber tire type presence. it's just a bit off to me and that alone knocks this one out of the '4' catergory for smell and taste. other than that, it is quite nice, with malt and alcohol dominating the flavour with that nagging rubber taste in the back. this is a moderately bold brew that i'd revisit again for sure, but would have trouble having more than 2, maybe 3, in a sitting. overall, i'd recommend trying this one at least once, but i'll stick to my favourite geary's brew (and one of, if not my overall favourite of the new england brews), their standard pale ale any day over this one.

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Photo of Jdiddy
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Still not too sure what to make of this one. Had it at Redbones on tap. Pours a deep copper color. Does not really taste like an ale but does have a pretty intense alcohol. Ithad a taste that I just could not put my finger on...a taste that I was not too thrilled about. Definitely got better as I kept drinking it. Heavy malt and caramel flavor. Burned caramel?? Maybe that was the taste.

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Photo of bruachan
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

i think i failed to adequately rinse my glass, as the beer had no head whatsoever. it's a fairly nice copper color, though

it's pretty highly carbonated, and that takes away from the malt experience. brown sugar aroma, with date and raisin. more darker fruit flavors in the flavor. strong bitterness

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Photo of Naes
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is amber in color with a tall cream colored head.
Its aroma is a mix of toasted malt with a mild hop presence.
The flavor has a bit more hops than the nose with a solid malt base. It’s semi bitter near the finish, though the maltyness becomes dominant as it warms. Quite sweet.
Mouth feel is a bit oily and actively carbonated.

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Photo of tavernjef
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear copper color with a one inch ivory colored head of smooth, thick fluff that faded super fast to a thick skim and fast dripping lace. Aroma is faint of woodish dryness with touches of leafy dry hops, light caramel, and dulled citrus. Taste is mild and subdued, with lightly sweet roasty/toasty breadish malts, lightly playing hop bitterness lending a bit of leafyness and citrus. Notes of dry wood. Malts build a bit more into the finish with some light chewyness and sweet tang of fruits that are hard to distinguish, pear maybe? Feel is quite smooth and medium bodied with an easy carbonation, finishes a bit crisp with lingering malted sweetness. An OK Old Ale if there ever was one. Thanks to mydeadguy for the bottle through BIF 4.0

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Photo of nomad
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A well-polished topaz color that lightens on the edge, this beer pours out a heaven of clouds for a head. Soft puffy stain often sticks out. Smells sweet, abundantly fruity, and slightly yeasty. Taste is tart, with flavors of big malts turned funky. Sweet but thin, tasting of lemony licorice, it has an atringent dry tart finish with a roasty burnish. I often feel the warmth of the alcohol, and it doesn’t blend in well. Also, the thin mouthfeel is often bubbly and often oily. Not my cup of tea but good for the style.

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Photo of matty
3.59/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Amber colored beer with rapidly fading head.Aroma is dark fruit.Taste is dark fruit,caramel and toffee.This is one of the most aromatic beers I've had in awhile.Taste and smooth,you cannot tell this beer is 7% from just taste alone.I would recommend and purcahse again!!

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Photo of nixhecks
3.59/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This ale poured a red-brown with a small creamy white head. The nose is full of malty sweetness featuring caramel and molasses. The taste was much milder than many of the strong ales I have had and only a bit of barley-wine sweetness showed through. As soon as I thought the sweetness might be too much, the hops kicked in and balanced the whole thing out. While I wasn't overly impressed by HSA, I would recommend it as a good winter ale.

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Photo of jballeng
3.59/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark amber with a relatively small, short-lived head. A sweet, malty aroma. Dry mouthfeel with a surprisingly thin body. A complex flavor of apples, pineapple, cedar, and woodsmokes. A slightly bitter finish with little presence of the alcohol.

A delightful little ale.

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Photo of TheTrevor
3.6/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a dark copper color with very little head. It smells of toasted malts and a hint of sweetness. The taste is pleasant with a sweet tartness followed by a little bit of hops. This is a very easy drinking beer with a pleasant crisp mouthfeel. I expect I may be picking it up again in the future.

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Photo of DrMullet
3.6/5  rDev -8.4%
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.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.61/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A4.5 : Must say that this is a fine looking beer. Crystal clear amber in color. Off-white (with a touch of yellow) creamy as hell head with above average retention and tons of lacing.

3.5 S: Nose is full of sticky sweetness and a touch of graininess. No sign of hops as malts dominate. Crystal malts.

3.5 T: Way more balanced that I was expecting. There is a pleasant hop bitterness that I wasn't expecting. Buttery diacetyl accompanies lots of sweet caramel malt flavor. A touch grainy as in the nose.

4.0 M: Medium body. Good creaminess. Could use more carbonation, but carb is fine for the English style.

3.5 D: Not a bad brew, but not really my cup of tea. I'm not a big fan of English styles.

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Photo of Burnthedevice
3.61/5  rDev -8.1%
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.

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Photo of koopa
3.61/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle brought back by a buddy who went snowboarding up north.

Appearance: Pours a transparent "dark iced tea" color with a 2 finger slightly off white crown that shows good retention and lace.

Smell: Metallic macro like suck ass smell when poured cold. Notes of caramel and molasses make a tiny appearance as it warms.

Taste: Malt centric with decent fruity notes...figs dominate. A touch of bitter herbal hops in the finish as well.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, decent carbonation, and a touch syrupy.

Drinkability: The flavor profile, the 7% abv, and the syrupy quality lower the score for me.

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

Encountered this specialty brew at The Great Lost Bear in Portland, ME. It has a dark clear copper color with a scanty white head and fair lacing. The aroma captures plenty of woodsy malt and light floral hops. The flavor declares a smooth fruity malt that harbors just a hint of wheaty alcohol. There's a touch of bubblegum and more of that floral sweetness. After the initial acclimation you pick up the dry hop aftermath. I don't feel this is very complex, there's not much to say. It's medium drinkable, not something I would rave about, OK, that's about it. Malty alcohol and some dry hop. Just not winning me over.

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

None other than JohnnyP himself says that HSA is better the fresher it is, so I'm drinking this bottle within 10 days of receiving it in a trade. Thanks mikeys01.

Clear red/orange/amber, mostly orange. The head is medium tan and on the small side. It falls to a uniform, thick film and leaves small sheets of lace. The nose is interesting; malt-dominant with sweet, spiced dark fruit and hops. It's pretty complex and it's beyond my ability to pick out all of the various contributors.

The flavor follows the nose pretty closely. Sweet, toasted caramel malt, dried fruit (raisins, cherries), hard apple cider and spicy hops are the main elements. It's also a little vinous with a wee bit of evident alcohol. The finish is long and warming and the beer seems to drink higher than the stated ABV. The mouthfeel is an uncreamy medium-full and the initially exuberant carbonation settled down nicely by the second half of the bottle.

I'm not a big fan of strong ales, but this one is actually drinkable and enjoyable. Many of them are too solvent-like for my tastes. HSA is complex and tasty; too bad it doesn't have a wider distribution. I'd love to have the opportunity to try it on-tap some day.

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Photo of GuyIncognito
3.63/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Popped one of these open tonight, and poured it into a pint glass. It has a beautiful reddish-brown hue, with a light fizzy head that disappeared almost immediately. Wonderful malty aroma, and plenty of malt taste, but with a decisive bitter finish. Good solid beer, but a little flat. Geary's beer always reminds me of when beer was beer, if you know what I mean. A strong old school foundation. This is a good beer, but not really my style.

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Photo of Indybeer
3.63/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle courtesy of JohnnyP. Poured a copper/red color with a moderate head that quickly faded leaving a fine lace ring on the glass. Aroma is sweet and malty with a shot of hops. Taste starts off sweet from the malt and then you get that hop twang, and the alcohol warmth. Nicely carbonated. Thanks again JohnnyP for the chance to sample this great brew.

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Photo of PhageLab
3.63/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a chalice of power.

A - Ruby brown coloration, thin bot of froth, nice swirling effects on the top, fine lacing.

S - Roasted toffee and plum. Notes of toasted nuts and a hint of booze.

T - Rich and flavorful, dark fruits with a sufficient malty backbone. Gets a bit sweet at parts, but I can deal with it here, as this is a finely balanced brew.

M - Full bodied, nice carbonation level, and a nice aftertaste that lingers for several moments after a sip.

D - A very tasty brew, and one worth seeking out. I've yet to experience many in this field, but I must say, this has certainly sparked my interests.

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Geary's Hampshire Special Ale from D.L. Geary Brewing Company
3.93 out of 5 based on 631 ratings.
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