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 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 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 dee4maine
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

very under-rated English strong ale from Maine. strong malt flavors and balanced hop bitterness. does feel boozier than 7%. loved when it warmed up and the sweet caramel notes came through.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a nice amber color with a fingers worth of head that sticks around for a while

S: Ringwood yeast, some pale malts, and maybe some backing hops

T: Again with the ringwood yeast, some pale to darker malts, and backing hops to prevent sweetness. Fairly stiff, but no alcohol noticeable

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation, fairly leathery on the tongue

O: Another solid brew from Geary's. The style is done very nicely and is definitely a pure example of an English strong ale

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

This is a winter seasonal - Must Try! Deep golden bronze/amber with a tint of red. Very complex dry robust malt with a trace of sweetness. Powerfully hopped, then dry hopped for good measure. The maltiness rolls forward throughout the glass and begins to reveals a trace of berries and some smoothness. An unusual, but nice pine essence is long lasting. The alcohol is noticed, though not overly so. The creamy beige head lingers and nice lace is formed. As with all of D.L. Geary’s brews, there sort of a raw wildness, like Maine itself. It’s easy to picture a Norman Rockwell Maine coast pub scene in winter where the cheerful patrons are toasting one another with a frosty mug of Hampshire Special. Now that really warms the heart! BTW – Hampshire Special pairs really well with hearty stews. Try braising a roast with this ale in place of Burgundy wine.

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Photo of Bierman9
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This years version ('02-'03, reviewed Oct '02) has a solid copper color, with a creamy, tan head which thins down to a nice, lasting layer, with ok lace. Nose shows a lot: malt, caramel, alcohol, and a good hint o' hops. Mouthfeel? Medium-plus for both body and smoothness...goes down easy. Caramel malt and a strong hop presence inundate the palate, as well as a nice, warming dose of alcohol. This one's a keeper!

overall: 4.3
appearance: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.5

*** ***

Original notes from April 2002:
Again, thanks to Mr JohnnyP for supplying me with this sample of the golden-nectar!! Has a nice copper color, and a big, fine head from a hard pour. Nose is mostly hoppy, with some toasty notes, but mostly on the bitter side. Body is medium, and tongue is medium-plus! Semi-sweet start, a touch biscuity-malty...leads to a smooth hoppy end. Nice balance. Lovely brew....! (No score retained).


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

Beautiful copper red body, with fine rising carbonation, capped by a rapidly decaying oatmeal head which quickly becomes a very thin topper. Opening the bottle, I was hit by a burst of fresh bread aroma. Then some caramel. Taste is rich and deep, malt sweetness at the center and hop notes tingling around the edges. The ads always say "Available when the weather sucks". Today the weather sucked, and this beer is"melting" away the traffic, the closings, and the shoveling. A great winter seasonal, perfect for sipping by the fire.

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

A- Pours a deep clear copper. Not much of a head.

S-Bready, slightly sweet and fruity. Mild alcohol scent and a hint of the sour green apple.

T- Starts a little sweet and finishes with a nice hoppiness. Very well balanced.

M-Moderately carbonated, smooth and full bodied.

D- excellent, a very nice offering from Geary's.

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Photo of jtw5877
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice dark ale, not hop dominated, but good hop bitterness, nice malt flavor, hints of caramel. A very solid beer, with a good deal of alcohol. It is very drinkable. My local store has been selling me six packs since last winter, I must be the only one in town who is enjoying this stuff. A great beer.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.34/5  rDev +10.4%
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 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 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 fdrich29
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle from a 6 pack I picked up at Gordon's Wine on Main Street in Waltham, MA.

So there I was in my living room, with my parents, soon to be in laws, fiance and my friend's dad who is interviewing to be the dj at my upcoming wedding. The man has given us an incredible deal, I'm talking almost free here. My future mother in law blurts out "Well we need to hear you first before we make a decision". I quickly head to the kitchen, pretending not to hear what I just heard, and grab the first beer I could find. Luckily it was a Geary's Hampshire Special Ale. It saved me from either offing myself or my fiance's mother on the spot.

This beer is fantastic. A fantastic balance of hops and malt, one of those beers that doesn't come around every day. One taste and you know this one lives up to the term "special", if not defines it. Each sip begs another, highly drinkable and wonderfully tasty. Definitely recommended.

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

The slightest of hazes with a neutral amber color. Good head to start but dissipates quickly. Slight lace that slides down the glass.

Sweet, almost like cotton candy. Some crystal malt aromas also.

Surprisingly well balanced. Also, I enjoy the British styling on the malt notes. Far more dry than the aroma would indicate. Bitter finish. Full body with generous carbonation.

Wonderfully complicated. This is one of the nicer complex offerings.

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

This brew pours a amber color with a mild size head that last for a short period of time but leaves one hell of a sexy lace behind.

The aroma of caramel and hops fill the nose with great pleasure. My mouth is watering jsut waiting for the first sip.

The toasted caramel malts are strong to the palatte, I am really liking this one. The hops are just bitter enough, for my liking.

This one is easy drinking and goes down very smooth.


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

Pours a copper color with a brown tint in a darker light. There is a slight bit of carbonation that creates a thin lace of a white head.
Smell is really nice for an English strong ale. Normally the smell is not as pronounced for this style. However, there are good strong malts of toffee and also a strong hop hit of fresh citrus.
Taste is one of the best I have had of this style. There is an unbelievable balance of malt and hops. The hop taste starts strong with really nice citrus tastes. It balances with a good caramel and toffee malt. There is also a bit of alcohol taste that comes through, but it is a nice amount.
Mouthfeel is very nice and smooth. Great thickness, but incredibly smooth.
Drinkability is excellent on this beer. For all of the strong tastes and flavors in this beer, they all balance very nicely and compliment each other. So smooth and drinkable this is a great beer for the style, probably the best I have ever had.

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

Pours a nice amber color....Nose is very inviting....a bit of whiskey...some bing cherries...and even some leather and mustiness...body is thick and firm but easy drinking....about perfect...feels good in the mouth, like it was meant for me to drink a six-pack of this tonight (although I only have one which is a probably a good thing)...A verynice flavor to match the nose although slightly weaker than the nose.....same elements...sweet fruit/whiskey/leather...finsihes with a nice twang of hops that throws this malty badass into balance.....a very enjoyable of the more drinkable barley wines I've had...A guy could get in trouble with this....a lot of character with this beer, but a high drinkability as well....thanks to Bierman9 for providing this memorable beer..

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

ok, HSA from Geary's...this beer and i go way back...this is just the most recent experience :)

well i picked up some HSA in durham NH when i was visiting my friend at good ole' UNH. from the second i poured it from the second my glass was empty, this ale was simply fantastic. so much alcohol on my breath, so much taste - it was like an explosion in my mouth! damn, this beer kicks ass! if you want complexity, check out HSA. This is such a strong brew, this ale belongs in your fridge!


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

Pours a clear amber brown with a light tan head. On the nose it is tar like with a slight alcoholic tone to it. There is something else that is extremely prevalent that I just can’t put my finger on. Peat, maybe? On the mouth it is...whoa...sorry...was tasting and typing at the same time. Smooth and even. Strong caramel tones on the mouth. Feel is good, with a lower carbonation. Thicker with an almost syrupy feel. Definitely drinkable, but it’s definitely a strong English ale.

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

Appearance- Presented with a mild copper colored body and a finger of head that just lasted all night.

Smell- A fairly hoppy smell with some sweeter undertones.

Taste- Initially spicy with lots of hoppiness but with a definitive sweet malty under character.

Mouthfeel- Coats the entire mouth and fills the entire palate.

Drinkability-Exceptional definitely a must have!

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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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