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

very good
638 Ratings
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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Ratings: 638 |  Reviews: 388
Photo of MattyRobots
4.45/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What a beautiful pour. With the yellow label I was not expecting the dark amber pour. head was creamy eggshell, 3/4 inch. Dissipated quickly, but not quickly enough to keep me from getting that great creamy first sip through it. Soft grass and citrus in the nose, with definite caramel maltiness. velvety mouth feel and orange peel flavor fade into a delicious fresh grass and faint alcohol on the exhale. My favorite Geary's for sure.

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Photo of bro2baseball
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What an exceptional beer. I have to admit I'm a very amateur beer drinker, and have drank more PBR than anything else.

But Geary's HSA is by far my favorite. I drink it straight from the bottle, the smell is amazing, it makes my mouth water after one sniff.

The taste is really exceptional. It's quite heavy, and it lingers in your mouth pleasantly after each sip. Drinkability is great, I love knocking a few of these back with buds, though it is a bit heavy.

Take my review with a grain of salt - I am not very experienced. But this is the best beer I've ever had.

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Photo of jgasparine
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- An aggressive pour yielded a 3/4" foamy biscuit-colored head, which slowly receded to a diffuse head with little traces of lacing. The body was a semi-opaque dark amber color with no visible signs of carbonation.

S- Smells of sweet tawny stewed malts and light fruits drizzled with honey. No hop aroma detected.

T- Starts with a bit of the stewed malt flavor, but quickly evolves to feature the light fruit esters. Midway, a touch of fusel alcohols come into play, which are met with some mild hop bitterness in the dry finish. Much dryer than anticipated.

M- Thin body, with its only texture derived from the mildly abrasive carbonation. Moderate astringency further detracts from the mouthfeel.

D- Average drinkability is affected by the evident alcohol and astringency.

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Photo of PDXHops
3.2/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle in a Duvel tulip.

Pours a deep slightly hazy amber with a finger or so of off-white head. This sticks around for a brief moment before disappearing into a skim and a bubbly collar. A few small spots of wet lacing here and there.

Pleasant, if uninspiring, caramel nose with background notes of overripe apples and fresh bread. A bit of fig newtons in there. Flavors are more lively, apple Jolly Ranchers with caramel and a hint of black pepper. Sounds weird, but works pretty well.

Overall impression: Not bad at all, but probably not something I'd revisit.

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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 Pahn
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into Duvel tulip. No bottled on or freshness date.

Appearance: Moderate pour yields a 1/3 inch white head that disappears immediately leaving no lacing. Pours a rather dark, semi-translucent copper. Leaves one or two streaks of short-lasting lacing.

Smell: Raisin bread and banana bread. Not "bready with a banana note," but the aroma of that nice, gooey, broken middle at the top of a hot, fresh loaf of banana bread. Really excellent note to find in the smell of a beer. There's also some malty sweetness, and as the beer warms some vague, scattered fruit notes come out.

Taste: Subdued herbal hops and some mild but rich bready malt, caramel, banana bread, raisin and fig. Some noticeable alcohol, and a bit more hop bitterness than one might expect, but neither are intrusive. Really good flavors, with nothing distracting or off. Great balance as well. I think these flavors could go deeper, and there could be a bit more going on, but as is this is a solid English strong ale. One particularly pleasing aspect of the flavor is that so many malty, fruity notes come up but the sweetness level is perfectly restrained; it's never sugary (or chalky), and doesn't even approach too sweet.

I strongly considered grading the flavor at least 4.5, because the balance is spot on and the flavors are, again, very good. However, i think the flavor could develop a bit more; the depths of this beer are plumbed within a few sips. I also think these (good) notes could be more distinct (as in the smell), and better. Still, not much to complain about here.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, and creamy almost to the point of chewy. Moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: Very good. No aspect of the taste builds up intolerably, nor do any of the flavors dull or become hidden. Would have no complaints throwing several of these back at a time, and intend to have it again in the future.

I'm a definite sucker for banana bread, so this beer had me from the start, really. While technically this beer suffers from the flaw of "smells better than it tastes," it tastes good enough.

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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 KarlHungus
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a murky brown color. The head is one inch in height, and recedes slowly into nice lacing. The aroma is of molasses, hints of dark chocolate, and caramel. There is no detectable hop presence. This is a rather simple aroma, yet I still find it really appealing. The taste is much like the aroma. It is very malty, but I can sense that there are some hops in there. They don't really come through in the flavor, but there add some balance to this beer. How ever small a hop presence it might be without it I would easily confuse this beer with a Wee Heavy. The mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation, and a velvety texture. Overall, this is a nice beer that I will certainly drink again. I am a big fan of IPAs that have enough malt to add complexity. I feel this beer a lot like those beers in that it is a malt bomb but with enough hops to add complexity.

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Photo of erosier
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

L: Pours a reddish amber color with a medium sized and medium bodied off white colored head that laces the glass nicely as it fades.
S: Smells of sweet roasted malts, then some caramel and toffee sweetness followed by a dark vinous fruit aroma. Slight hop aroma at the end of the nose.
T: Tastes of sweet roasted malts, some caramel flavors followed by a nice mix of vinous fruits, some alcohol flavor, and some toffee as well. Really intriguing taste.
M: Rich, somewhat sweet, a littler thicker bodied than it looks and the perfect amount of carbonation.
D: Pretty drinkable but the abv is a bit high and the alcohol has a somewhat more prevalent flavor than I would have liked, but still overall a good beer.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

"New Hampshire's alright if you like fighting." - Scissorfight

Paired with a crappy New England winter.

Dark amber color with a pristine off-white head. Thick skim retention leaves a few lacey fingers.

Intense fruity aroma: cherries and candy apple primarily. Some toasted malt seeping out from the candied sweetness. Taste has the candied fruit carryover but with and underlying swampy bitter and cherry wood polish booze. A little slick on the tongue. Buttery Ringwood aftertaste.

Cough drop--ish at times, earthy at others but consistently approachable and warming.

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Photo of Wisconsin
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

A - A steady pour delivers a golden, reddish brown body with a frothy off white head that is about a finger and a half thick. The body is extremely translucent with little carbonation visibly rising to the top. Good head retention, minutes after pouring there is a nice lace.

S - There is a nice combination of malts that welcome your nose initially. A deeper whiff brings on the dark fruit, plums, figs, cherries, and others. Hops seem to be toned back and combine with the alcohol to create somewhat boozy bitter smell. Nothing awful though.

T - Much like the smell. There is plenty of malts present, which I expected. Fruit notes of figs, cherries, plums and apricots show up subtly, but make it enjoyable. A sweet aspect that I did not smell has shown up, it's almost a bready honey type flavor that is excellent. Slight alcohol taste but nothing terrible.

M - Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Entering the mouth there is plenty of malts, followed by the fruit aspects (figs, apricots, plums, cherries). Carbonation enters and provides a smooth transition to the bready honey notes. They don't seem to completely mask the alcohol though, and what you are left with is slightly grainy and boozy finish.

D - This is an interesting style of beer and one that I think I could enjoy quite a bit. I like that many of the barleywine aspects are present but simply toned back. At only 7% abv I think the alcohol taste could be hidden better. Overall, though I am glad I have a six pack of this to store away for a rainy day.

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Photo of scottbrew4u
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear copper to amber color with a full two finger tan head. Nice lacing on the glass as you drink.

S: Rich, sweet roasted malt aroma with toffee, caramel, ripe banana, and currants make up the sweeter aromas. The hops present themselves with some herbal and grassy notes.

T: Sweet up front with toffee, fresh bread, currants, and some sherry. Some alcohol becomes noticeable. Hops are herbal and slightly spicy. They give good balance to the malt and keep it in check.

M: Medium body with some crisp carbonation. Some alcohol warmth comes through.

D: This is an excellent example of the style, a well done brew. It is well balanced and flavorful. It has some strength so it is hard to drink it too fast so drink slowly and enjoy!!

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Photo of confer
3.35/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It pours a hazy amber with an off white head.
Malty ale smell. The alcohol also is apparent in the smell.
Taste is the same as the smell. Malty/alcohol taste, with a very bitter finish.
The HSA has a very smooth creamy feel. Its a one and done beer for me.

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Photo of Popkas
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Deep copper color with nearly a finger of off white head. Leaves a touch of lacing behind as the head recedes.

S: Bready smell with a bit of spice to it.

T: Sweet caramel malts balanced a bit of a suprisingly hoppy back of the tongue. Interesting as I did not see that coming.

M: Mouthfeel typically does not "catch my eye", but this was different. First feels as though it is too fizzy filling the mouth too quickly, but it quickly turns into a pleasant much less "full" feel.

D: Enjoyed this one fairly well.

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Photo of nkersten
4.43/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Poured from a bottle into a snifter. Great color, dark orange/amber with an off white head that sticks around, decent lacing too.
S- Smell is toffee malts, bread, some spice, and a bit of fruity hops.
T- Good malt flavor, not too sweet, some clove and banana probably from the yeast and hop bitterness to back it all up. Hardly any alcohol in the taste.
M- Light carbonation and medium body, coats my mouth a little bit.
D- Very drinkable beer. I am not terribly familiar with the style, but this is easy to drink and very tasty.

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Photo of Amalak
3.46/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I had off the cask at Barcade in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
A- It had a dark orange color, opaque, with a nice head and lacing.
S- Very nice hoppy scent to it.
T- It's quite bitter, very hoppy. And dry, too. It's actually very dry. There is something of a sweet candy aftertaste to it. Honestly, this is too dry for my liking, even if it's a high quality beer.

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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 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 caddybuyer
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle with no date into a Chimay Chalice.

A-Beautiful copper color with filtered clarity. Eggshell head that settles fairly rapidly. If this could sustain a head it would be one of the most attractive beers I have sampled lately.

S-This smells nearly Belgian. Dark fruits, yeast and caramel malt, a heady aroma indeed, and it still is pretty cold from the fridge.

T-Sweet figs, plums, raisins, brown sugar and malts start the palate, which is a slightly buttery full bodied flavor with detectable alcohol present. Hops kick in mid palate, and finish with a bitter end note that lasts forever. This is an amazingly complex beer and reminds me a bit of Bittersweet Lenny's RIPA. What a brew.

M-Ample carbonation rounds out a perfect, slightly sticky mouthfeel.

D-I'd say this is a pretty drinkable beer, it tastes "bigger" than the stated ABV, and that makes it much more managable. Gee, I'm done, and I'm really wanting another.

This, hands down, is the best beer I have tried from Geary's. It reminds me of a Chimay Red combined with a Sierra Nevada wet hop ale. Just super, and a bargain to boot, for what it is.

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

This beer pours a nice golden amber color.
There's a small head that dissipates promptly.
Small nose.

The flavor was quite surprising given the precursors. It's more like many IPAs I've enjoyed rather than a mere "ale".

Lots 'O' Hops. Clean bitter start that lingers until the next sip. It could use a bit more to the flavor-- it's mostly all "bitter hops". Not necessarily a detraction, but the bitter is the most prominent flavor attribute.

This beer has a nice cordial mouthfeel-- while a robust flavor it's not tiring and therefore enjoyable.

Drinkability is heightended because of the comparatively below 10% alcohol ABV factor.

This is a nice pleasant IPA ..errr Ale.

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Photo of tigg924
3.67/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: clear, amber, 1/2 inch head, high carbonation

Smell: toasted malt, sugar, and spices

Taste: sweet malt, caramel, raisins, and a touch of hops on the finish

Mouthfeel: sweet, smooth, sticky, with a slightly bitter aftertaste

Drinkability: I think this one hid the alcohol fairly well. I could have a couple as I enjoy the sweetness, but not more.

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Photo of CheckMate
1.64/5  rDev -58.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

12 oz brown bottle obtained at Hannaford's Supermarket Derry, NH. pours a crystal clear copper liquid with barely any head, maybe a centimeter and that's pushing it. smells of woodsy-ness, hops, and raisins definitely invades the senses. definitely taste the raisins and the earthy quality of the hops. doesn't give a nice after taste, reminds me of my nail polish remover. moderate carbonation. the drink ability of this beer isn't very good.... unless you like to drink nail polish. I get the impression that the bottle of beer i purchased wasn't very fresh, so hopefully I will obtain a fresh brew of this kind and be able to give this a better score,

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Photo of Beastdog75
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this one in a Geary's sampler pack. Geary's H.S.A. was a surprising brew for me, as I was pretty much just expecting a run of the mill ale, but this one was pretty nice.

H.S.A. pours a slightly murky brownish copper color. A healthy head of foam forms and lasts for several minutes. A nice malty aroma hits the nose, with dark fruits and caramel being present. Some woody aromas and some hoppiness are smellable as well. The mouthfeel was a bit sticky with a low-moderate amount of carbonation present. As for the flavor, it is indeed a bit on the sweet side with a big malty flavor present bringing with it some dark fruit/raisin taste. The hop bitterness hit me a bit unexpectedly, and I can only describe it as woody/citric/herbal/spicy. The beer ends up feeling in a word, "warm." This hop bitterness lingers on in the aftertaste along with some of the sticky maltiness. The warming sensation from the alcohol is nice and brings the beer to a full conclusion.

I would definitely recommend this. The brew is surprisingly complex and is quite drinkable for an ale of its strength.

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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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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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Geary's Hampshire Special Ale from D.L. Geary Brewing Company
3.93 out of 5 based on 638 ratings.
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