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

Geary's Hampshire Special AleGeary's Hampshire Special Ale
640 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: 640 |  Reviews: 388
Photo of Jredner
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is mildly spicy and perfumey with caramelized sugar notes (crystal malt), caramel malt and toffee. Body is a ruddy orange with a thin white head. Fore is fruity with apple, pear and honey laden throught he middle with mild hop bitterness. Also some bready malt notes from the middle back. Doesn’t go anywhere unexpected flavor wise, but it is fairly intense and assertive and I found myself quite eagerly knocking back bigger and bigger sips. Nice brew.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle. Pours a thin, slightly off white head that tends to dissipate quickly. Carbination is on the high side, Dark copper color but very clean. Very sparkly and refreshing looking.

first hit is well balanced light on the palate, with a doughy, wheaty flavor's lightly sweet from good malt the sweet flavor is very rich and deep, with subtle hints of "greens". I find myself really enjoying this one, Very drinkable. Goes down really easy. this one really impressed me, one of fav's of this style! Nice work Geary!

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Photo of Illinick
3.12/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Classic looking label that shows forest, mountains, and horizon. Dark amber in color with reddish and burnt orange hues. No head, but a slight ring and island.
S: Caramel and nut scents with sweet malt, toffee and sweet bread smell. Some slight cake and biscuit. Just plain smells sweet.
T: Follows smell with lots of malt and sweet, malty bread throughout. Caramel up front with roasted flavors near end. Some toffee and a faint hint of hops. Smooth, buttery flavors throughout.
MF: Full and buttery with a slightly dry finish.
Overall: Not my favorite style, but a decent, good brew that does nothing to wow me. Sweet and malty with a full body. Probably not one I'd try again, but glad I tried it at all.

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Photo of loren01
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a reddish/amber color with slight head that fades quickly. No lacing down the glass.
S: Smell is slightly sweet, of caramel/brown sugar. Also some citrusy scents maybe lemon peel. Strong alcohol scent also present.
T: Taste is bitter, alcohol is evident. Slightly sweet up front.
M: Carbonation is about right, aftertaste is dry.
Thanks to geexploitation for this very solid beer, I bet it would be awesome on cask.

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Photo of Crosling
3.55/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Lightish copper. Fairly aromatic, with a unique blend of malts, creating lovely caramel, toffee and fruit aromas with a light hint of floral hops. Fluffy, creamy texture with a heavy body. Awfully bitter, unfortunately, as it seems to take away from the multi-dimensional malt flavor. Soft crystal malt character with a light hint of peated malt, providing pleasant butterscotch hints. Light apple notes and caramel are present as well. Sharp hop bitterness on the finish. Pretty nice stuff.

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Photo of asabreed
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been seeing this for a while and finally bought a 6-pack. Here it goes into a pint glass.

Appearance: A white foamy head atop a amber / copper / brown body with a lot of bubbles going all over the place. Head fades fairly quickly but the lacing, though a bit spotty, is pretty nice.

Smell: I get a huge amount of alcohol and citrus hops backed by some caramel, tropical fruit, and malt. Reminds me of an English barleywine a bit. I wish the alcohol presence was toned down, but this is a fairly big beer, and somehow it's not really all that obtrusive yet takes away the possibility of more complexity.

Taste: Alcohol (again, though, not obtrusive), backed by a piney and citrus hop bite, a bit of butterty diacetyl, and some fruity malt notes. Pretty complex and tasty, though I wish the balance was again a little more wide-ranged. Finishes initially sweet and then moves into some hoppy and slightly fruity dryness.

Mouthfeel: Rich and fairly full without being cloying. A good amount of carbonation to cut the possible fullness also.

Drinkability: Definitely a solid brew, and though I drank it sans meal, I imagine it would go well with all kinds of good stuff. Glad I finally picked this up. At 7% ABV you don't want to go crazy, but craving for at least a minor session certainly warrants the possibility of having this sucker around.

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Photo of ILiveOffHops
4.23/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Even after living in New England my whole life (other than college), and the last 3 months in New Hampshire, I still had never tried Geary's Hampshire Special Ale. Attribute it to an amazingly wide selection at my usual beer store or my ignorance. Either way I'm glad I got a chance to try this. I picked up a 6 pack from the Superette in Manchester.

Appearance: Pours a deep copper-amber color with a nice one finger head. The foam settles down to a nice sticky covering over the beer. Looks very respectable.

Smell: Wow sweet buttery diacetyl. A little one-sided.

Taste: Sweet, toasted malt. Loads of diacetyl soften everything. Buttery, toffee, caramel. Good amount of bitterness. After initially tasting this, I assumed it was low-moderate alcohol. 7% ABV!!!! Unbelievable. Slight warmth from the alcohol, but no strong solvent taste or sharp alcohol bite. Magnificently easy to drink.

Mouthfeel: Smoothy smooth smooth. Nice body.

Drinkability: Overall this is a delicious and very easy to drink brew. I've found that a lot of English-style brews have a moderate-high diacetyl flavor, which is a nice distinguishing feature.

Feels good to drink local!

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Photo of wedge
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours clear orange-amber with a thick, tight-bubbled head that shrinks to an off-white cap. Soft, toasted malty sweet aroma with some toffee on top. Full malt flavor - toasted caramel with a nice round fruitiness underneath. Soft, earthy hops in the finish blend flawlessly into the malts. The mouthfeel is really great - full and smooth leaving the tongue dry with lasting bitterness.

Rich, full, balanced flavor and loads of personality. Very enjoyable and highly recommended.

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Photo of tastybeer
4.37/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clear light brown with red and amber. Kind of a warm chestnut color with a light tan head that forms a ring in not very long after the pour. Smell is sweetly mellow but very full. Maple syrup comes through strongest followed by butter, toffee, caramel, and butterscotch. Nicely malted with a bit of hops hidden within. Taste is of sweet maple syrup and subtle caramel. Definite buttery bread maltiness. Nice earthy, floral and fruit hops peak through the maple. There's a wide range of fruit tastes including fresh green grapes and juicy plums. There's kind of a second long, unexpected cherry burst as well. Hop bitterness at the finish balenced with a calming sweetness. Just the right carbonation and no drinkability problems here.

This beer it suprisingly awesome. Its nicely complex and seems to cover a lot of different tastes. Kind of like yummy controlled chaos.

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Photo of silver0rlead
3.67/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice amber with a descent beige head that recedes quickly but leaves some lace. The aroma has a nice caramel sweetness, along with some buttery diacetyl. Some berry and cherry fruits, honey and a touch floral hops and a hint of alcohol...subtle and british. The flavor starts of with some big malt; caramel, toasted bread, berries and cherries, and honey. Also a fair amount of diacetyl, as well as some esters and alcohol. The mouthfeel is big and slightly chewy with subtle carbonation and drinkability is descent. An enjoyable english strong ale, but a bit much on the diacetyl for my tastes.

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Photo of jamie2dope
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew poured a very nice red/copper color with a thick white head that died down very quickly. Smell was somewhat medicinal with toasted malt and grain along with some cherry and wine aromas surfacing as well...kind of barleyine like. The taste had a good deal of complexities to it; namely burnt grain and some biscuit in there also. Funny how the smell differed so much from the taste. Mouthfeel was very medium bodied and prickly. Although none of the flavors were overpowering, I don't think I could drink more then one or two of these beers. A very interesting offering....seemed very similar to an altbier in the taste and mouthfeel. Definetly a beer worth trying.

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Photo of PeatReek
3.2/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Nice clear amber body with a just-slightly-off white head, starting at 1/2" of chunky bubbles and thinning out pretty quickly.

Aroma: Roasty and nutty and a tad sweet.

Taste & Mouthfeel: The sweet nuttiness starts off the sip and gives way very quickly to a hot, abrasive taste and feel that seems to be party alcohol and partly hops, and is not especially pleasant. The hop bitterness is actually kind of sour, with gritty citrus notes dominating. Suddenly, all of this fades away into a nice, dry roasty finish. Hm. Carbonation is just right, though. [On edit, after trying several more bottles: after you get used to the hops, which I don't especially like, the malt profile is actually quite full & complex, so I'm bumping up the score a little.]

Drinkability: The combination of alcoholic hotness and rather overwhelming citrus hoppiness would probably keep me to just one.

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Photo of geexploitation
4.67/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm a bit of a partisan here -- this is probably my favorite all-around beer. There are different brews that excel in different occassions, of course, but this one, to me, is a brilliant all-rounder.

This brew pours a rich, coppery tan that is crystal clear. The head is white and is best enjoyed at one finger (or perhaps just a bit more). The nose is a wonderful burst of hops; not overpowering like, for example, some IPAs, but comfortingly spicy and complex. The taste sets this beer apart: the hop aroma is backed up here by a pleasing bitterness and not a little spiciness, but the malt mixture used by Geary's complements the hops exceptionally well, and adds a hint of sweetness to go along with the hops. I find this beer to be exceptionally drinkable, especially for a brew clocking in at 7% ABV... but one does need to be respectful of that figure.

A couple of additional comments. First off, by all means, if you get an opportunity to taste this in a cask-conditioned state, go for it. I know that the Great Lost Bear in Portland, ME, has been the recipient of a few special kegs of this stuff over the years, including a cask I had the privilege of sampling at the brewery.

Finally, Geary's Hampshire Special Ale provides an opportunity for some Irish Car Bomb-type fun. Perhaps this is blasphemy on this site, I don't know, but take my advice and, sometime, drop a shot of primo bourbon into a glass of Hampshire Special. The flavors complement each other very, very well. Enjoy!

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This used to be Geary's winter beer, but now it's available year-round. That's the good news; the bad news is that the present winter beer isn't as good (but that's another story). It pours a nice golden amber with a creamy head and has a spicy odor to it. It has a spicy taste with a distinctly hoppy
flavor. Feels great in the mouth, and is very drinkable. Highly recomended as a wonderful every-day beer.

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Photo of Naes
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is amber in color with a tall cream colored head.
Its aroma is a mix of toasted malt with a mild hop presence.
The flavor has a bit more hops than the nose with a solid malt base. It’s semi bitter near the finish, though the maltyness becomes dominant as it warms. Quite sweet.
Mouth feel is a bit oily and actively carbonated.

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Photo of arguemaniac
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful amber with a foamy white head that leaves a thin lace. Mostly caramel with a toasted character in the nose. Rich, creamy toffee-caramel flavor with a mild roasted note along with grain, and pale malt. And, while this brew features a great malt flavor up-front, a delicious hop bitterness (and some of that roastiness) dominate the pleasantly long finish. There’s also a very mild alcohol spice somewhere between the start and finish of this one. A smooth and creamy mouthfeel is complemented by fairly active carbonation.

It’s beers like this that highlight the downside to buying singles when trying new beers: once in a while, you come across a brew that makes you wish you had bought a six-pack, maybe two. Geary’s HSA is one of those beers and man am I kicking myself for passing up the sixer. Great malt flavor with nicely balancing hop bite. Drinkable and delicious, I highly recommend this one!

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.34/5  rDev +11%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance - an orange-amber beer with a frothy but short-lived head. Some decent beading from below.

Aroma - malty and sweet, smells nice!

Taste - very interesting taste. A malty-styled beer, there are hints of chocolate that combine with a light alcohol presence to create a near doppelbock effect. Some good hops to balance with, this beer makes a statement in several areas of the palate. The finish is roasty, warm, and slightly sweet. I'm impressed.

Mouthfeel - peppy carbonation, average body, helps the beer from being too heavy.

Drinkability - very tasty and at 7% abv, is just within session range (having disposed of 5 sixers in the past 2 months). Hey, at $4.49 per sixer, that's hard to resist.

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Photo of walleye
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

from the bottle. poured deep amber with a smal off white head. aroma, sweet berries, honey, cherries, caramel, toffee, malt and hops. flavor, didn’t let me down the flavor was just like the aroma, but the honey took a back seat to the rest of the flavors and got a nice touch of alcohol. a good beer

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Photo of ikats
4.37/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice copper color with smallish tan head that dissolves into a nice thin cover. Rich aroma. Sweet aroma. Draws you in with its caramel stickiness. Light toasty flavor. I didn't expect it to be that light. Very easy to drink. Sweetness feels the mouth and sticks to the lips, yet dry finish tingles the tongue. Alcohol is a little too apparent for my taste, but it is not bad considering that it's a relatively strong brew. This beer may make me a fan of Geary's.

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Photo of blackie
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: The thin, white head recedes immediately, leaving a ring of bubbles around the edge of the snifter. The beer is medium amber in color.

smell: A mixture of odors of light and dark fruits is provided by the malts used, and slightly floral hops back them up and provide hints of tropical fruits. Very much like a malt heavy IPA, but different in its own right, the malts slightly more evident and the hops a little more muted. Hints of pineapple, mango, and cantaloupe are present. There is a slight pecan like nuttiness. A very well balanced ale.

mouthfeel: Carbonation is on the lower end of the high range and the body is a light medium.

taste: The fruity malt is almost perfectly balanced with the bittering hops, though I would personally prefer a lower bitterness. Slightly nutty and earthy. Again, very well balanced.

drinkability: A good ale all around, and pretty drinkable too.

I was pretty surprised to find this one at my local beer store, but am glad I happened to notice it as I glanced over their selection.

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Photo of Dewey0603
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice two finger head with a dark coppery color.A light spice aroma thats a little weak,but not bad.This is a very bold and strong flavored beer!! A real full spiced,cinnamon,hoppy,and yeast flavor.The aftertaste is dry but nice.Very hoppy!!
This has a nice medium feel and leaves your mouth clean.
Geary's has made a great beer.Try it.

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Photo of HopHeadKen
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to charlesw for this trade; doubt I could find it in Indiana ! But wish I could !

Pours clear orange copper with thin cream ivory color head that quickly fades to an island of fine bubbles and a ring at the edge of hte glass.

Bottle is clean, no residual sediment in the bottom.

Smell is mild malt and hops.

Taste is sweet and malty with faint vanilla and nutty flavors swimming in the background; there is a lingering subtle hop bitterness that builds in the aftertaste to a well balanced finish.

This beer has a good mouthfeel and an alcohol warmth that goes right to your core.

A nice Ale ! Very drinkable and I think it would only take about four (4) in a row, and I would be in fine mellow condition !

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Photo of gotbeer
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had the chance to have this brew on cask today. Much more complex than the tap or bottle versions. Much deeper malty flavors and complexity. There appears to be less diacetyl, although it isn't huge in the bottle or tap versions either. Incredible maltiness and flavor. A great beer.

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Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Whooaa! As I sit down to write this I am becoming privy to the realization that this beers drinkability is very high. Considering I am rifelring through this 7% delicacy.

App. A little uninspired, very little head retention and very little lacing. Having not had this beer before I have nothing to compare it to.

S&T Plums and esters. A slight drawback is that it's hard to taste what's going on because the alcohol is making my tongue numb.

M&D Fantastic. Losing motor functions as I type. Great beer

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Photo of hyuga
4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark orange brew with a whitish head that goes down quickly to a thin ring. Leaves a small amount of lace behind.

Aroma of sweetened toast and gingerbread maltiness. Hints of caramel sweetness. Sweet, but with just enough hops to say "I'm crisp! Drink me!"

I must say, I'm very impressed with the malt character in this beer! Just perfect! Caramel maltiness with bready undertones. Definitely buttery. Spicy hops kick around to liven things up a bit. Bitterness creates an amazing crispness. Alcohol makes the tongue tingle and warms you.

Crisp, crisp, crisp! Crisp and clean mouthfeel from the great combination of malt and hop.

Wow, amazingly drinkable. I think this is my favorite of the Geary's beers. I think this would be my perfect session beer. Its maltiness is kind of reminiscent of an Oktoberfest beer's. I love it! Can't wait to get more!

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Geary's Hampshire Special Ale from D.L. Geary Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.91 out of 5 with 640 ratings
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