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

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very good
385 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: 385 | Ratings: 630
Photo of AlexanderSelby
4.02/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Handsome, almost cloudy, copper color with little head. Smells like brown sugar and flowers, but heavier on the flower. Tastes like brown sugar and flowers, but heavier on the sugar. Sweet, but not cloying on the tongue. Like a nice herbal tea blended with a spoonful of honey. And 7%? Where?! Pretty well balanced and "in check," with no aggressive flavors running rampant.

Man, I love this. That's not a very objective statement to put into a review, but I think it's because this is a taste for yourself kind of beer. It is unbelievably agreeable and sensational, but the reasons why are sort of vague. There aren't huge hoppy notes, or big malty sweets. There is just a balance of all things which create a wonderfully in-tune song. I guess you just have to try it. And I am going to try it...again...and again!

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Photo of paceyourself
4.23/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2002-2003 Edition. Clear bright bronze in color with a perfectly sized head for a pint glass. The aroma of maple and butterscotch misled me into thinking it would taste sweeter. Starts with a sweet bread taste then a hint of hazelnut and caramel hold for awhile until it balances out with a dry bitterness. It leaves no lace and carbonation is light but has a great mouthfeel. I think i had this from cask at the GLB after the Maine Brewers Fest but my memory of that night is foggy at best. I loved it then and still think it's a kick ass winter from the bottle.

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Photo of oldhippie247
3.36/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper hue with a slightly off-white head. Though head is nice and fluffy and lingers, no lacing is left on the glass.

Even at just below room temperature the nose is quite muted. Malty sweetness with a lightly funky earthiness is noticeable with a little effort.

Mouthfeel is nice and rich, but flavors fall a little flat. I think I was expecting something a little closer to a barleywine, while it drinks more like a slightly-above-average-strength amber.

Despite an overall non-impressive nose and a less than stellar palate, this is a good beer for those looking for something easy to drink but with a little more alcohol.

Easy to drink and well-priced are it's big attributes to me.

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Photo of mydeadguy
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a reddish/orange hue with a bright clarity, and about and inch of smooth tan head.

Smells rich and malty with hint of alcoholic esters and a touch of sweet fruit.

The taste and mouth are both rich and strong. The mouth is a bit fluffy, full and round. The taste is malty up front with a nice warming alcohol middle and a slight hop finish. The bitterness sticks a bit to the palate, lingering. The taste has warm earthy overtones, the mouth just too damn smooth.

if this is a winter seasonal, I better buy up all I can, this is one fine beer.

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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 gwfrankpsu
3.11/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This is a disappointment - love the ads - brewed only while the weather sucks, or something like that. There are much better winter beers. Just not what I expected.

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Photo of bceagles39
4.14/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on draft at the Great Lost Bear in Portland, ME in May 2010.

Copper color. Not much head and no lacing.

Sweet, fruity aroma.

Sweet taste upfront and then the hoppy bitterness hits you. But a great balanced finish.

Medium bodied with average carbonation.

A solid, well balanced beer.

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Photo of BassAssassin
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Clear copper color with reddish tint. The thin white head could be a result of me pouring it incorrectly. However, head does dissipate very quickly.

S: Nutty malt aromas along with some buttery diacetyl and hints of fruit. Tea like aroma from the hops comes through loud and clear.

T: Sweet, fruity malt upfront with the buttery diacetyl that's so common in many Maine beers. I actually find it quite enjoyable. Tea like hop flavors are very well integrated. This brew leans toward the sweeter end of the spectrum. However, it remains balanced and actually finishes dry. Not terribly complex, but very tasty nonetheless.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amount of carbonation. Grainy mouthfeel, but easy drinking just the same.

D: What this beer lacks in complexity it makes up in drinkability. It can be paired with almost any food. It's also great on its own. Above average ABV helps make this a great winter time brew, as well. One of my favorites. A staple in my fridge.

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Photo of andyo
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Interesting beer. I am not all that familiar with this style, so my review will not be all that in-depth.

poured an orange/brown, with almost no head. The smell of this beer shows hints of spice and alcohol. Taste is butterscotch, brown sugar, bitterness, a little spice, and faint alcohol. Nice bold malty flavor comes through really nice.

This is a very smooth beer, and would warm me up just nice in the winter.

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Photo of GDMFSOB
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I didn't really think this was anything special the first time I tried this, but it really has grown on me. Translucent, golden-copper appearance to go with a thin, off-white head isn't anything out of the ordinary. The STRONG, warming alcohol tinge to go with hints of molasses and smokey maple syrup in both the nose and the mouth make this beer a flavor-filled monster . Amost like an ultra-malty version of an American IPA. Be careful, this will pretty much kill your palette, but it's well matched with strong cheeses and rye bread. It's the perfect Winter beer even though I'm lovin' it in the Summer.

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Photo of beancounter
3.23/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Amber color, minimal head. does not leave any lacing

S-Carmel and malt. Nothing else.

Taste Carmel and malt. You get the picture...

Mouthfeel. - Moderate mouthfeel. Appropriate for the style.

Drinkability-This beer is very one dimensional. All carmel and malt. if you like these flavors, you will like this beer. The carmel is not overwhelming however, so it does go down easy

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Photo of HoorayBeer
4.27/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I enjoy D.L. Geary Brewing Company's beer, it is always enjoyable and delicious. This is one of their more famous brews. The Hampshire Special Ale has a nice amber red glow to it. No head when poured into a pint glass. Has some nice earthy aromas with hints of spices. Some malts come through as you inhale more. Nice first taste, hitting right on the front of your tongue. Good flavor as the spices and a slight sweet flavor cut through the malts. Slow aftertaste creeps in as the bitters end. Good overall taste. Good session beer, just dont get too far in the hole.

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Photo of Phillip13
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
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.

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Photo of sudz42
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

for the style it's exceptional--the style being winter. too many winter styles are sweet.

this is balanced, with strong hop finish, strong malt and a high abv.

have to side with the brothers' reviews in the "A" category. although they're from massachusetts they both spell "flavour." maybe they've been hanging around england. seems the letter system is new; kinda preferred the numeric rating system.

first drank this in the early 90's when it was only brewed in winter. it should stay that way because it's a winter beer. now it's year 'round and a new label. oh well change is good.

gives you an "imperial" sort of unexpected buzz. very warm.

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Photo of markskar
4.57/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is my "go-to" beer. It's brewed just up the road in Portland so it's always fresh around here. I'll give anyone who rates this at less than a B+ the benefit of the doubt and assume their sample may not have been as its peak freshness. Nice abv at 7.0 and very drinkable--perhaps too much so (at least that's what my wife says).

A: Clear dark amber. Nice head with consistently good lacing.

S: Oak and a complex fruitiness that I can't quite put my finger on.

T: The perfect balance of malt and hops. Not too sweet, not too bitter, and while the alcohol taste is there, it isn't overpowering. Touch of caramel, bit of toffee. As with all English-style ales, it has the standard oakiness to it, but that too is just right and doesn't overpower the other complex flavors.

M: Not too thick and not over-carbonated. Keeps me coming back for more. Day after day.

D: Already stated above, but perhaps a bit too drinkable. Some reviewers seemed to feel that it's too heavy for summer-time drinking, but I think it's refreshing any time of year.

Personal favorite, can't say enough good things about it. We're blessed with the availability of a great assortment of great beers in Portsmouth (including our hometown favorite, the illustrious Smutty!), but this one will always have a special place in my heart.

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Photo of hbis2gut
4.94/5  rDev +25.7%
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.

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Photo of alexwag
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Good ruddy amber with hint of red, partially opaque. Thin film of creamy white head, not much lacing.

S: Rich and malty, with toasted notes. Enticing but not overpowering.

T/M: Toasted and caramel malts, somewhat bready, but in a good way. Smooth and creamy without being cloying, goes down consistently well. Great balance with a little hop twang coming in at the end. Tasty beverage for the last few hours of '07.

D: Damn fine beer, could have a few and be feeling great. Rich and interesting and well balanced. Can't ask for much more.

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Photo of Bassetdawg
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 oz bottle (with new label) poured into shaker glass

Appearance: dark amber, with cream colored head, one finger thick, with some lacing

Aroma: malty aroma with a hint of spice.

Taste and Mouth feel: a caramel and toffee malt up front, quickly balanced by hops. smooth, thick mouth feel.

Drinkability: wow – this goes down quickly and smoothly – an excellent ale, one that should have a permanent place in the refrigerator.

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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 BigPapaLager
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Having had this brew last year on vacation I went back to it this year. The local selection in central Maine was poor and this was a welcomed diamond in the rough. Poured a light amber with decent head and retention. Little lacing. Smelled of typical Geary's malt. A very well balanced beer, and amazingly dinkable at 7%. Kudos,
Geary's. The recycling bin near the cabin is full of your bottles.

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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 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 stemcell001
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a light amber and off white head into a pint glass. Got a good whiff of some good hops. The first taste in the sip was a nice bitter hop followed by some slightly sweet and nutty smooth malts. The head left nice lacing down the pint glass. Definitely a great, quality ale. I could have a couple of these in a sitting.

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Photo of barrettds
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful red-orange color to the beer. A fine, half inch head remains after an aggresive pour. Lacing remains in the mug all the way through the drink.

Smell is that of apples and other fruits, backed up by some pleasant grassy notes. No hint of the 7% ABV.

Taste is great for an ale of this stature. Since it doesn't really fit into any particular ale category, it is hard to compare. Starts off smooth and somewhat creamy with a tad of bitterness (without it, the beer would be much too sweet). The sweet flavor of the apple and fruit then rushes over the tongue. Again, no sign of 7% ABV. VERY smooth.

Mouthfeel is on the heavier side for an ale. Not something you'll have too many of in a sitting on accident. Light on the carbonation, big on flavor.

Drinkability is wonderful. While an ale, this could also double as a winter warmer as well. I'm not usually a fan of beers with heavy fruit notes, but this one passes in my book. Recommended.

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Photo of TheRowan
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark Brown/ Dark Copper. Active leaky carbonation from top to bottom
S: Sweet, Nutty, Roasted, and woody.
T: Tastes like to color brown. Tobacco, nuts, Smoky, Roasted, sweet, woody, earthly sweets.
M: Deep, fills and fades in the mouth nicely. Leathery smooth. An Earthly beer!
D: Ya not to to many but a few more would be nice. I would think this would be a great beer to put out in the fall.

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Geary's Hampshire Special Ale from D.L. Geary Brewing Company
3.93 out of 5 based on 630 ratings.
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