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

The beer poured crystal clear golden brown. The head was white and departed quickly, but laced the glass.

The aroma was malty and fruity with caramel.

The flavor was well balanced between hoppiness, hop bitterness and malt backbone. Plenty of caramel flavor and hop bite.

The finish was dry and leaves hop bitterness resonating. The body was medium full.

12 ounce bottle. A very nice, drinkable, and hoppy brew.

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Photo of cretemixer
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

At last! I'm in Boston, at Anam Cara, attending my first BA event and JohnnyP himself, hand delivers 2 bottles of HSA. Sweet!

Geary's HSA pours a clear copper-amber in color with an off-white, fine head. Fine, gentle carbonation feeds a solid collar of foam.
The aroma is malty, with a buttery caramel hint to it. A hint of fruitiness too.
The taste is very malt driven. The buttery caramel from the aroma is present in the taste, but with a nice hop bitterness and a very slight metallic tinge.
Medium body, soft mouthfeel and gentle carbonation combine to make for a very drinkable & refreshing brew.
A little taste of Maine, right here in the Midwest. A big thanks to JohnnyP for the 2 bottles.

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Photo of mikeys01
3.77/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 12oz bottle. The HSA pours into my glass crystal clear deep amber color, with a light swirling white head of nice tight bubbles. Aroma is very sweet and malty, and also quite fruity, reminiscent of apples and pears fallen from the tree in autumn. Very little hops in the nose. Taste is initially sweet and carmely, with the fruit coming in towards the middle. Finish is surprisingly hoppy and bitter, amazing how well the hops were hidden at first tast. This is a different beer, fairly well balanced but just tipping to the malty side of the scale. Body is on the high side of medium to almost full, this is a good beer for a cold night, but not quite as bold as I expected.

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Photo of Suds
3.87/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, deep chestnut color with a thin head. The aroma seems centered around alcohol with caramel and malt. Dry bread crust and nuts…walnut and almond? A little floral hop character as well. First taste is malty and, but quickly turns to a sharp hopiness and astringency. Finish is smooth and soft; very nice balance. As you drink it, you’d swear that it has more than it’s stated 7% ABV. However, although it’s solidly good, nothing about the beer particularly stands out.

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Photo of BierReise
4.07/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This 12oz bottle of ale poured a clear dark copper color with an inch of head that fizzled out in a couple minutes. Has a very nice hop aroma that is slightly floral and grassy. Chocolate malt coming through in nose also with notes of nice fresh grains. Medium bodied and smooth with a sharp carbonation at the back of the throat. Flavor is balanced between malt blends and hops with a nice English like bitterness in the finish. I also detect some sweetness in the malts. Overall a fine example of an English style, one that could be a very nice session brew. Thanks David (Bierman9) for the sample.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I have heard som much about this one I had to buy a sixer when I was in MA.
The brew pours clear amber color and a 1 cm creamy orangish white head foams up easily.
The aroma is sweet malts mixed with some grapefruity scents and a general fruity mix, maybe some mild apple.
The brew has a medium body and carbonation. The flavor is very nice. All sweet caramel and toffee up front that carries to a hint of rich chocolate in the middle and finishes with a mix of the caramel and earthy and citrus hop characters. This a very well balanced brew. I dont get a hint of the 7% abv anywhere.
Very nice winter brew!

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

Yum City. 12 oz into a Nonick pint. The aroma is slightly citrusy, almost like pines. The taste, slightly caramel, reminiscent of better imperial stouts, but with a lighter body and a slightly sour mouthfeel that is almost heavenly. The carbonation is almost ideal. I think I'm going out and getting a sixer of this tomorrow. The beer restocker guy at Whole Foods recommended this, and I later heard about the JohnnyP fan club. Still, I highly recommend this one. Good session beer. Great sour hoppy citrusy taste.

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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 ADR
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear dark bronze color, really cottony head on a hard pour, settles to 1/4 of an inch in a minute. Wide brimming lace. Bready aroma, slight lemony accents. Medium body and lower carbonation. The flavor strikes me as extremely nutty, almost Brazils and Filberts with the skins on, working with an odd dryish hop flavor. Slightly buttery but I've had worse. Finishes full, somewhat papery, with a light molasses tone. I'd drink it again, especially if they fiddled with the hop bill a little. Thanks to (who else?) JohnnyP for the beer -- its got character, alright... ;>)

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Photo of WaltTrombone
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Note to the folks at Geary's- You've got another convert, thanks to JohnnyP!!! Send him a royalty check, or at least buy him a beer at the Lost Bear...

It pours with a red body, and off-white head. Aromas are malt, grapefruit, and caramel. Tastes alternate on your tongue, first malt sweet, then medium hoppiness. Minor notes of banana, caramel, grapefruit, and leather.

Mouthfeel is smooth, with just the right touch of carbonation. Not a strong finish, just the malt and hop flavors fading gently on your happy tongue.

Thanks, JohhnyP!

Hmmm, think I'll go have another...

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Photo of ppoitras
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12ozer from a 6 pack of the beer that used to be "Only available while the weather sucks." I hear it is available year round now, and rightly so... Bought at Tully's in Wells, ME, (a great little shop if you find yourself in the area), and fridged since then.

When poured into an imperial pint glass, a slight head forms, which quickly dissipates. The color is a dark and malty, with a slight tinge of red to my untrained eye. A nice aroma, with an obvious alcohol odor in the offing. Taste is nice, with a slight warming present, an indication of the 7% ABV. A benefit of the brew (a nice, unexpected bite of bitterness), can also be it's downfall, knocking it's session-ability down a bit. However, on cask (Great Lost Bear) it was incredible.

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Photo of RBorsato
2.87/5  rDev -27%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Dark gold, copper with a low tan head and decent carbonation. Piney, sprucey hop aroma -- the best character of this brew. HUge malty flavor with a warming alcohol sensation. Funky fruity, yeasty flavor ... maybe that's the Ringwood yeast. Medium bodied with an unpleasant finish.

Per Maine Brewer's Guild site: Original gravity - 1070; two row English malts (pale, crystal and chocolate); Cascade, Mt. Hood and East Kent Golding hops.

Glad I only bought a single bottle.

($1.43 / 12 oz.)

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Photo of xgrigorix
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Twelve ounce bown twist cap bottle - no dates on bottle. Pulled from a sealed case w/ date printed on top.

Tawny copper hue, clear, with tiny streams of carbonation moving swiftly to the top. A steady cap of firm white foam sits on top. Some thin lace is left on the glass.

Notes of caramel, molasses, toasty malt, along with some indistinct but interesting fruit aromas. A pleasant hop note lurks in the background, tying it all together.

Very up front & heavy malt flavour. Caramel & molasses come through in a big way. Fruit is next - raisins / prunes & a touch of apple. A chocolate note opens up as it warms. This is followed up by a slow moving astringent hop induced bitterness, which dries it out just enough to keep it from being cloyingly sweet. Medium-full bodied, smooth, just a little bit creamy, with moderate carbonation.

Enjoy it while the weather sucks!

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Photo of beergeek279
4.37/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in the 12 oz. bottle, into a pint glass. The color is a dark amber, with a bit of white head. The smell is a nice maltiness. The taste is a very hoppy taste, a nice citrusy tanginess, and the malt base mingles well underneath this taste, and a bit of buttery aftertaste from the ringwood. Mouthfeel is very nice and creamy. As for drinkability, could have a few of these.

With the whole JohnnyP HSA thing, I thought this beer was going to be overrated, but I was wrong. This is fantastic!!! Thank you to mydeadguy for shipping this beer...if I can find it, this would be a beer I'd have again!!!

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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 beerinator
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Auburn, caramelly amber. Slightly off white head with decent retention.

Aroma: A bit sweet, with a hint of fruit. Maybe slight notes of grape right up front.

Taste: Very very dry, with bitter aftertaste. Hints of breadyness. Mouthfeel is nice, for a drinkable beer.

Notes: Not my favorite seasonal, but easily drinkable.

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

Pours a pretty clear amber copper color, it is topped by a light tan head. There is a nice dry hoppy aroma, evocative of English hops; A bit lemony, slightly grassy. Wow, I was not expecting so much hop flavor to be packed into this beer. It has a balancing malt sweetness a bit of caramel. Quite good, I am duly impressed. The hop flavor is citrusy and floral in character. The beer has a medium body, which is perfect for this beer. This is still an easy drinking beer but has enough body to balance the stellar hop flavor. I certainly wish that I had access to more of this great beer. Overall this is a very well put together beer.

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

This is a dark tawny amber brew with hints of red. The aromas are of sweet malts and spicy hops in the background (do they use saaz in this stuff?). This is not overly hopped nor overly spiced, so that makes this stuff a wonderfully easy to drink winter seasonal that still packs a bit of a warming wallop with its 7%abv. Like I said the drinkability is very good and the mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, without being too thick or cloying. I raise my glass to JohnnyP "This HSA is for you!". I guess it is nice to have this available year round and cheap up in Maine. Over here, these bottles are rarely seen. I had to beer trade for this one!

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Photo of Weissenheimer
4.36/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A vigorous pour yields a medium-sized light fawn head. Foamy with big bubbles, it quickly fades into a bubbly nebula, leaving sparse frissons of lacing on the glass. The fluid is a watery amber color. The smell is floral, hoppy, sweet, and reminiscent of a spice cake.

I take one sip and admire the wonderful spiciness. After two or three sips I pause to start a second bottle chilling. The hops are present, but they definitely take a back seat to an eye-opening and warming burst of spices, which is swept along by the fizziness of the large bubbles. Underneath all this lies a significant layer of caramel and roasted malt, with just a slight hint of woodiness. In that regard it reminds me of a spicy Pride of Milford.

This stuff tastes lovely, and is incredibly drinkable. The combination of spiciness and hops is, to my palate, just challenging enough. It's not as grandmotherly as Harpoon Winter Warmer, which showers you with wonderful pumpkin pie spices; neither is it a harsh taskmaster such as Sierra Nevada Celebration, which flogs you - in a loving way, mind you - with bitter hops. This stuff walks right down the middle; it's obviously a fantastic session beer.

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Photo of OatmattStout
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice color and a nice smell of sweet malt and toasted grain. Has a nice firm carbonation upon first sip. Great flavors that are dominated on the sweet side of butterscotch, toffe, spicy malt and dried fruits. Has a nice alchohol punch to it but by no means is is overpowering. Very rich full texture and a nice hoppy finish that tries to keep up with the malt. Like this one

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Photo of Sixpack595
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another impressive brew from Geary's. Crystal clear copper colored with very minimal head. Aroma is bready malt and fruity hops. Apples and caramel with a touch of butterscotch. Very smooth with a buttery, buiscity taste. Toffee and fruit make an appearance as before being rounded out by big oily hops. Mouthfeel may be a bit thinner than I prefer, but I sure didn't want to stop at one. So I didn't. I like strong beers, so this is *almost* like a session beer for me. Good stuff.

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Photo of Dantes
4.38/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Package: Stubby "heritage" bottle. No date info, but I gather it's now available year-round. Gold-trimmed forest-theme label. 7% ABV.

Cost: $7.50 6-Pack at Gary’s

Presentation: Pint glass at ~50º

Appearance: Rich, chestnut-colored brew with a medium-dense, bone-colored head. Head started almost 2 fingers thick and settled to a resilient ½”. Extra-fine bubbled carbonation bubbles up through the faintly hazy beer. Looks just about perfect.

Smell: The nose worried me at first, as I detected some alcohol upfront (often a bad sign), with the malt and hops following. Lots of grain and malt sweetness in the aroma. The hops were only a faint counterpoint. There were also hints of nuttiness, toast, and faint ale fruitiness.

Taste: Okay! Now I know what people are talking about. The taste is much more complex and dry than the nose would suggest. This is definitely about the malts, but the requisite bitter hops edge is apparent. The East Kent Goldings really lending that veddy British feel. The heavy maltiness and caramel sweetness are further leavened by a definitive ale fruitiness and a nutty bitterness reminiscent of almonds with their skins still on. Everything is in balance here: a hugely malty body pitched against a bitter, hoppy, dryness. The finish is full, complex, and long.

Mouthfeel: I don’t know if this is bottle-conditioned or not (no lees and only faintly cloudy), but this has the tight, smooth, long-lived carbonation reminiscent of a bottle-conditioned ale, which helps moderate the maltiness. Medium-bodied.

Drinkability: Scarily drinkable. I drained the first pint in no time, despite trying to savor and appreciate it. I was “forced” to open another one almost immediately. I guess there are worse things than “chain-drinking” HSA’s! Despite the whiff of alcohol on the nose, it is virtually undetectable and well-integrated. Beware!

Backwash: The one word (other than delicious) that really fits this beer is Balance! I realized after working my way through a few of these that it reminded me a little bit of Fuller’s 1845. BA calls both Strong/Old Ales and I can’t disagree. Few beers live up to their hype (especially from homestate chauvinists), but I was extremely impressed with this beer. As I lean more toward malty beers, this hits my sweet spot. Goes very well with hearty cheeses. JohnnyP, sign me up for the cult. I drank the Kool-Aid and I’m now an acolyte. Finestkind!

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Photo of PatandDavid
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on cask at the Great Lost Bear. Pour was slightly cloudy dark copper. The 1/2 inch head lasted till the end of the pint! I found the aroma to be of husky grain. The taste was well-rounded, and the alcohol was easily detected in this one. Very smooth and balanced: not a hop monster. I also noted a slightly nutty aftertaste. Very good, but could get you in trouble if you decided to keep knocking them back. pat

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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 HossMcGraw
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Geary's HSA is amber in color with little head or lacing. Smell is nothing special. Hops and barley. Taste is not bad, but unbalanced. Again, harsh bitter hops (in a good way), with subtle malty caramel background. Mouthfeel is okay, as is drinkability. I bet this'll get a lot better in a year or two.

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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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