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 DavidSeanNJ
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First off, this is one classy looking bottle- excellent artwork on the label.

12 oz. bottle poured into my yankee pint glass...

Pours a orange/copper color. Lots of fluffy white head- great contrast to the bright color of the beer. The beer itself had a sweet aroma- malty- sugar- HSA tasted of grains and malts- some hops but all around a perfect blend- superb smoothness. Please note: the sweetness of the beer was not overbearing- HSA is the type of beer that could please all kinds of beer lovers-

I want to drink these all night even with a 7.00% ABV. Yum.

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

Pours a clear amber color with a whispy half finger head that fades fairly quickly. Some lacing observed.

A somewhat subtle malty caramel aroma and hints of alcohol.

The mouth feel is medium with a carbonated characteristic and a fairly significant hoppy presence.

The flavor is good. The complexity of bitterness from the hops over the sweet caramel malt taste is interesting.

This one is a good drinker. The 7% ABV is pretty well hidden.

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Photo of scarletfire79
4.45/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

one of the most drinkable beers i've ever had. i don't want to put it down. pours dark amber brown with a frothy white head. great staying power, decent lacing. definitly picking up some fruity notes in the nose, sweet like honey. the taste is balanced, mellow, malty, hoppy, i could go on. just very nice. i'm sorry i didn't pick this up sooner. kind of like a barleywine junior. good beer.

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Photo of Atlas1
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

As I pass from BA Acolyte to BA Initiate, I toast my Geary's Hampshire Special Ale to one and all!

Pours a deep copper orange color, accented by rich orange highlights when held up to the light. A fat two-finger head sits atop and leaves a bit of lace. Nice enough, to be sure, but nothing to write home about. The aroma is full of dark fruit. Dense prune and raisin scents, with some banana and pear thrown in for good measure. Malty and fruity aroma for the most part, but with some spices as well; maybe some coriander, or something akin to that, and a hint of pepper. The taste is quite pleasant. A very nice balance of fruit and spice, with the kiss of hops making themselves known in the end. Boozy, but not overwhelmingly alcoholish. At 7% ABV, this is, perhaps, to be expected. Crisp, clean mouthfeel, but still sturdy. I wouldn't call this a highly drinkable beer, but it is an entirely drinkable beer, if that makes sense. Not for the faint of heart, and not for everyone, the Geary's HSA is a tasty treat for spicy malt beer fans. A beer I won't seek out often, but one that I'll gladly have again.

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Photo of albern
4.01/5  rDev +2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a nice copper orange with only minimal head which doesn't hang around long. Minimal lacing. The smell is very good, even right from the bottle. I detect lots of malt, caramel, wheatiness, some hops, maybe some spices. This is a pretty syrupy, full bodied beer, sort of sticky consistency with moderate carbonation. The taste is quite strong for a 7 ABV. I thought it had a higher ABV just from the alcohol tones which are present throughout. The taste is caramel, some orange, some spice, malt, and bitterish hops. This is a complex beer with lots going on, but a little on the bitter side for my tastes. There is some imbalance towards the hops and the alcohol taste is a bit too strong for this one. The aftertaste is also quite bitter and the esters of the hops do come through as well. Good but not my favorite either.

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

Received from cburian as part of Secret Bunny 07. Thanks Chris!

Clear medium amber with a thin cap of fine, whitish foam. Some stickage between sips, decent head retention for what's there. Aromas of floral hops, caramel, brown sugar, and fruity esters (pear?). Malty flavour, not overly sweet, but with a mellow caramel backbone and a solid, balanced bitterness. A little bready, toasty, estery middle, and a hint of alcohol. Medium bodied, lowish carbonation, slightly grainy texture with a bit of warmth at the end. Very nice. A well-crafted, easy drinking english strong ale. I like this one quite a bit.

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

On tap at Eastern Standard in Boston, this hearty brew poured a dark amber color with a very small off-white head. Head dissapeared completely. Strong aromas of sweet malt and alcohol hit you in the nose. Big malt flavors abound here, with a mild fruity quality and a pronounced alcohol presence. Bitter hops display themselves in the finish. Almost whiskey-like aftertaste. This is a big and malty beer to sip on a cold winter's night. Another good one from Geary's.

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Photo of sstackho
3.52/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. Pours a medium straw colour, with significant carbonation but not much head. Aroma is all malt and of a decent strength. The first taste is a bit too sparkly due to the carbonation, after which the malt flavours shine through. Some hops linger in the aftertaste. Some alcohol is noted in the nice lingering taste. A bit too sparkly for my preference, but this is rather well balanced and enjoyable.

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

A- Thin white head on a clear amber/copper body.
S- Pretty big citrus hops with tons of grapefruit and a good malt balance too.
T- Big grapefruit hop with just a hint of pine in there too. Malt helps to kind of balance it out but hops come out ahead.
M- Medium body with medium to low carbonation.
D- It is pretty good. I think it is a solid brew but not sure if I would get another any time soon just since I would prefer to try other new beers. If I found it around here though I might buy some.

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Photo of Imstillthegman
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear amber-copper color with a nice, full two finger head. The head disappears rather quickly, but a nice solid ring remains.

Nose is malty with some alcohol presence. Fruity, brown sugar, very light floral hop notes, toffee, and the alcohol.

Sweet fruits (apples mostly), buttery caramel, florals, and the warming alcohol. Starts sweet and finishes dry. Just enough hops to keep it from being over the top sweet. Quite tasty.

Medium bodied with light carbonation. Sweet, dry aftertaste. Good beer to have on a cool day as the alcohol has a nice warming effect.

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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 ATLbeerDog
3.08/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured Golden-Orange with 1/8 inch head from a 12oz twist-off bottle purchased at Peabody’s in Boone, NC.

Very fruity with a crisp after taste, mild hop smell, light lacing and light carbonation. The 7% alcohol is hidden well. A fair beer that could use a tad more hops. Fruitier than my taste, still not bad but I won’t be making any special trips to Maine for this one.

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Photo of Liquids
3.82/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an intense rubied orange hue, with a scummy thin head despite the rousing pour into a chalice glass. No lacing. The aroma is intense and complex--a sweet intense caramel malt aroma, fruits and dark syrups, alcohol and some hop aromas, but dominated by a complex fruity sweetness. The taste is unique, malty, and intense, english style with spicy malts and a fruity sweetness--a bit alcoholic, but it's hidden in the mix and not a swash across the palate. The hops are present, oh yes, spicy and resinous flavors linger. The key word for this beer is complex, but after a few sips, you loose that complexity and taste that it's too sweet, with a hoppy compliment. Moutheel is light for this style, but not water. More body would definitely make this more enjoyable drinking, and a bit carbonated for me, but thats nothing a harder pour couldn't remedy for my preferences. Overall, I like this beer, and seeing as I don't much care for strong ales, this is a winner. I can indeed imagine it being even better than it is, but it's a solid drinker that is not hard to locate, and that's always a plus for a local good-drinking brew.

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

Pours an off-white head over a ruby tinged copper body. Minimal head retention and lace. Aromas of dark vinous fruit and caramel with a light citric hop presence lingering in the background. Flavor is sweet caramel malt up front giving way to more citric hop flavors and a decent bitterness by the end. A mild bitter orange flavor is detectable throughout. Medium to full bodied.

This was a college favorite back when this was only available when the “weather sucks” and was capped by gold foil. Still a tasty brew in spite of its expanded production and distribution. A high-octane session beer for discriminating barflies.

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Photo of Chaz
4.16/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Geary's Hamphire Special Ale Winter 1997/1998
D.L. Geary Brewing Company, 38 Evergreen Drive, Portland, ME 04103

Confession time: I found this six-pack -along with a sixer each of
Brimstone Big Ale and Westmalle Tripel- at Liguor Village in Saint
Paul -- they're across from the Ford Plant in Highland Park, and a
block down from Haskell's (the Haskell's location which once housed
the best beer selection in the chain.) So now you folks know of a
couple of other places to look, but beware of Museum Pieces and
REALLY OLD, dead beer (put it this way: if you don't see it on the
shelves of other local stores and it's not a big, strong, ageworthy
beer, it's more than likely undrinkable.)

Anyway, I feel like a real idiot for cracking this one since it
still has some legs. The initial aroma is malty sweetness with
plenty of alcohol. The color is that of a Belgian Brown / Dubbel
(think Corsendonk) and the yeast? Well, there was plenty of fine
sediment here, it looked as if Larry Bell himself had dosed the
bottle: now I know what they mean on the label when they say "our
unique Hampshire yeast"! Pours with an off-white head of moderate
retention, and a fairly viscous brew. The aroma is simply
outstanding � I can literally smell it from across the room. Cloudy
and opaque to be sure . . . and it tastes absolutely f*ckin'
amazing! Amazing! Can I say that again? AMAZING! This is one of
those beers which �despite the high costs of Interstate freight and
transport, State licensing and brokerage fees and 20-30% retail
markups- is worth picking up an entire product line just to get a
crack at each year (think Hibernation Ale from Great Divide.) Near
as I can tell (they supposedly participated in Maine and New England
beer events this past summer) Geary's is still in business, but an
email I sent them went unanswered and their website has been "under
construction" for well over a year now, so who knows? When I lived
in Boston (1999-2000) they were still brewing and had also produced
a Millenium edition Hamphsire Special Ale, but had I known then
what I know now, I would certainly have stocked up on the stuff. If
I had to give this a technical rating it would be very high, but
from a purely subjective standpoint it's off the scales: do yourself
a favor and try to find some of this. If you like your ales strong
(7-8% ABV), full-bodied, full-featured, and very distinctive, this
is one for you.

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

Nice dark orange color that is extremely clear. Almost see-through. Head disappears quickly with no lace.

Sweet ale scent. Has a flowery aroma with a sweet malt character. Hint of fruit.

Sweet ale-ish flavor with a slight metallic alcohol flavor, but pleasant. Tiny hop presence. Mild citrus character, but in the malt. Slight bite at the end.

Medium-bodied, medium strength. Has a nice ale flatness. A good, solid ale. Slight alcohol bite, but with a sweet balance. Quite drinkable.

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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 tempest
4.28/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've been on a strong ale kick lately and this is one of the better ales I've sampled. Retention isn't great, but the orange-ruby red coloring is gorgeous. Smell and taste are both subtle and appropriate for the style and I'm tempted to give 4.5's, but I just can't pull enough complexity out (maybe next time). Tastes of orange, apples and sweet berries with a touch of grassy bitterness. Smooth mouthfeel and very easy drinking. No hint of alcohol, this one could be a dangerous session beer. Go try this.

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Photo of Krovtar
2.71/5  rDev -31%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A reluctant purchase @ just under $11 a six pack I can think of many others I would rather have at that price at $6 I might drink this more often but come to think of it it reminds me to much of brown ale, not that there's anything wrong with brown ale just I've had my fill.
Deep copper in color minimal head around the edge and a small island in the center no lace to speak of.
Smell- well may nose is a bit dry but I caught the malt and something citrusy
Taste- Felt the bubbles up front which reminds me of grapefruit then the malt ok but colder on this one I'm guessing would be better.
Mouthfeel- about the right consistancy bubbles tingle the front of the tongue
Drinkabliity- I'm not thinking of going back here again anytime soon it wasn't awful just not for me anymore.

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Photo of joedon
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Surprisingly good winter warmer discovery. Pretty copper color with big lace on the glass. Mild aroma of malt and spice.
Nicely complex flavor with a big up front maltiness that fades to hops, spice and sugary fruit.
Pleasant on the palate and very drinkable.
Too bad this isn't available in Minnesota where you need winter warmers for about six months of the year.

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Photo of MuenchenerKindl
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass. The liquid is a light copper and has good carbonation The head is a beige 1 finger tall and but very rich, thick and creamy. Some light lace.

The smell is lightly sweet with lots of caramel and fruity notes

The taste follows mostly but the fruity flavor tries to over whelm, could be vanilla notes as well.

The mouth feel is medium body with good carbonation.

The drinkability is ok, I just can't decide if I really like the unusual sweet fruity taste . MK

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

Clear light copper with a finely foamy light beige head.

Deep, hop-driven but still sweet nose, with grassy notes, herbs, and flowers..

Smooth in the mouth, without excessive carbonation. Iinteresting building sweetness that then turns into a lighlty bitter finish. Malt has a caramel-and-fruit profile, while hop flavors are lightly spicy. Alcohol is not apparent.

Interesting and tasty ale that doesn't seem to fit nicely into a defined style.

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Photo of objectivemonkey
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Into a pint glass, pours a nice copper with pretty good head and spotty lacing. Aroma is light, sweetly malty with faint hops, of the English persuasion. Mouth is well bodied with good carbonation, and nicely warming. Taste also is sweetish, caramel malts probably, a touch dry through the middle with accompanying fruits and (acidy?) hops. Finish is long and the alcohol makes cameo about here. Overall, pretty darn good beer, thanks to hopdog for the trade

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Photo of Hautacam
3.45/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Clear amber...pour-head disappears quickly.
Smells mostly of steely malt.
Taste is very sweet , malty...caramel ..biscuity and slightly metallic. Hops add a bitter citrus. Alcohol is well hidden.
Medium body with low carbonation.
Tasted good , but probably would be happy with just one.

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Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle from Tiger Town in Gardiner. Red/amber body with about a finger of off-white head. Smells malty butterscotch, and yeasty (ringwood). Roasty malt dominates with hints of diacetyl, alcohol, and hop. Definitely a malt-forward beer. Medium-bodied. Alcohol warming creeps in after a few sips. Tasty and drinkable. One sip invites another, and one bottle invites another too! A solid ale. Worth the hype.

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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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