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: 633
Photo of GarthDanielson
3.49/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint, the beer is a ruby-highlighted caramel coloring with a thin, filmy, white head. Nose of apricot and mango fruit sweetness and a caramel backbone. Tangy aromas, overall. Flavors of roast initially, with a biscuit backbone, honey and fruit sweetness, and a spicy blend overlay. Light bodied, with a roasty and tangy sweet aftertaste. CLean, slightly sharp finish. Surprisingly easy to drink despite a slightly elevated ABV and heavy flavor profile.

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

Pours a relatively dark amber with a light beige head. The head sticks around for a medium length of time. Little lacing. The aroma is rich with deep caramel malt flavor. It's doughy and sweet. Toffee, shortbread, raisins, prunes, dates, syrup. It's a rich muddling of toasted malt sugar. There's some booze in the aroma and a bit more in the taste, but once the beer hits the proper temperature, it contributes more warmth than harshness. The taste is otherwise quite sweet, but the hops are more apparent than in the aroma and, besides providing some respite from the caramel, adds in a mineral/grassy note. The mouthfeel is full and thick for a 7% abv beer. This is an interesting beer. Before it had a chance to warm up, the booze seemed to come out in excess. At cellar to room temp, the sweetness shined and the booze blended into the beer. Good stuff.

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Photo of MsNitch
3.89/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle to wine glass (that happens)

A: bright ruby red with leathery tints that has a fast falling head and no lacing

S: caramel malts with a touch of floral sweetness

T: starts mild and malty then bursts into a bitter round of hops that finish in a fantastic toasted caramel sweetness. Fantastically balanced joy ride of a palate.

M: strong with alcohol cuts that linger slightly in a mid level of carbonation.

O: A mega drinkable beer that could possibly use a touch more carbonation to pitch the strength, but has all the balls of a strong ale with the balance of a female mental structure. But if that doesn't make total sense then lets just say, it goes off with a bang but cuddles your taste buds into a sweet finish.

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Photo of pixieskid
3.66/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my moeder lambic snifter/tulip hybrid.

Translucent mahogany hue with a one finger white head; lasts for a while, nice lacing on the glass.

Nose; really mild overall. A touch of caramel, candied fruits, and some herbal hops.

Taste; a blance of plums, herbal bitterness, some caramel malt, a lingering dry pistachio note (quite interesting actually, never noted any flavor like that in a beer until now) finishing with a very earthy bitterness.

Mouthfeel; pretty solid, well carbed and slightly thin, helps out with the drinkability of this "strong ale".

Overall; a unique and enjoyable beer. Quite old-school and not something I drink on a normal basis but I dig it.

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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 grittybrews
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured ruddy amber with a finger of off-white head. Aroma of caramel and dark fruit.

Moderate carbonation and a crispy, slightly sticky mouthfeel. Big malt flavors up front with caramel, bread, and some dark fruit. Some mild, spicy bitterness on the tail end.

Kind of a malt bomb but the bitter finish helps to balance. Enjoyed it more the second time.

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Photo of greybeardloon
4.14/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No evident date.

A: A really beautiful clear mohagany color with a nice head.

S: Sweet malt, fruit esters and peppery hops. Pleasant but a touch cloying.

T: Full, sweet, bready and caramel malt with banana peeking through. Peppery hops balance and longer on the finish. Alcohol cuts through nicely Many distinct flavors balance each other well.

M: Zippy carbonation keeps it from getting too thick or sticky.

O: Nicely balanced and drinkable for the style.

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Photo of AtrumAnimus
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This Special Ale pours a very rich amber that reminds me of strong Iced Tea in color. The head is thick and rick with a light tan color that is long lived and settles out slowly in about a minute leaving a nice appealing lacing down the side of the glass.

The nose is actually fairly decent as well. Malt that is subdued by the fragrant hops along with hints of coriander, nutmeg and fruit with some apples.

The beer has a very nice full mouthfeel that is rich, satisfying and filling. Not a hot day summer beer. I would prefer this one on a cool spring or fall day. But it is a rather excellent beer. The flavor is dry malt with a sharp hoppy flavor that is a very strong with a peppery undertone. The finish is bitter but pleasant and not overwhelming.

Overall this is an above average beer that is very drinkable. I would definitely buy it again were it available in my area.

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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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Geary's Hampshire Special Ale from D.L. Geary Brewing Company
3.93 out of 5 based on 633 ratings.
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