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: 633
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 travolta
3.36/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Apperance: Wonderful head. Rocky, thick, sticky....just right. It is not white, but not tan, right in the middle. Copper and gold in color. The lacing is also great. The lacing just slaps itself right up against the glass.

Nose: Sweet, carmel, fruity, little bit of hops. This beer smells nice, but I cannot quite get my hands on the smell. it smells sweet, fruity and a bit of caramel, but I cannot think of anything to relate it to.

Taste: Great texture, nice mouthfeel. A bit syrupy and sweet. lightly hoppy at the end with it's slight bitter aftertaste.Syrup, sweet, carmel.

Notes: The head and lacing were both something to admire. The thing that made me really enjoy this beer was it's structure. It is very balanced. Not boring, balanced.

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Photo of oldhippie247
3.36/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper hue with a slightly off-white head. Though head is nice and fluffy and lingers, no lacing is left on the glass.

Even at just below room temperature the nose is quite muted. Malty sweetness with a lightly funky earthiness is noticeable with a little effort.

Mouthfeel is nice and rich, but flavors fall a little flat. I think I was expecting something a little closer to a barleywine, while it drinks more like a slightly-above-average-strength amber.

Despite an overall non-impressive nose and a less than stellar palate, this is a good beer for those looking for something easy to drink but with a little more alcohol.

Easy to drink and well-priced are it's big attributes to me.

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Photo of Thrasher
3.37/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A very violent pour is the only way to get a lasting head on this puppy. The buttery flavors of the ringwood are strongly dominant and a little bit goes a long way. Malts and hops are diminished because of it. There are some interesting fruity undercurrents, some intriguing spiciness which I think is derived from the alcohol, and the malts (if you can discern them buried underneath all the butterscotch) are sturdy, salty and delicious. I would love a bit more crispness from a more forceful hop presence. Other reviewers have mentioned a fair amount of hoppiness, but I'm not getting any of it. The sweetness and butteriness of this beer gets cloying, especially as it warms; I preferred it at a cold right-out-of-the-fridge temperature, unusual for this style of beer. This is not a bad beer but I think it is overrated. That said, it does grow on you and each bottle tastes better than the last. Perhaps a fresher bottle, or a cask-conditioned pint, or even a more wintery setting would enlighten me as to why this beer basks in universal acclaim.

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Photo of gonzo000
3.38/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

This beer is very alcohol forward especially for a 4 abv I did not love it, but the color is brilliant nice rusty reddish brown. Fruit and alcohol on the nose. I agree with others that it could be strawberry grape or raspberry. Wholly alcohol batman! The taste is all in your face. I have tasted less alcohol in some 10 abv beers. How does this get a 3.9 overall? Strange

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.38/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Another beer from a gifted beer of the month club (thanks Simon!). If Geary's can impress me with an English-styled porter, a strong ale should be cake. From a stubby 12 ounce bottle, on to the beer:

A short head is formed above this light ruby brown beer. Dark orange hues are visible at parts. The beer smells like squeezed red grapes with a little note of grape nuts cereal. Wow, that is one grapey smelling beer! In fact, this flavor tried to convince me that I was drinking dubbel instead. The grape flavor is present and soft overall. There's an earthiness found. At the end is a sharp bitterness which is a dent to this beer.

Decent beer, though I had hoped for more.

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Photo of winomark
3.4/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Deep copper, slightly reddish hues with a small, but persistant light tan head. Nice malty tones dominate the nose. Slighty grainy with mild hops detected. Good malty sweetness, with a dry, grainy finish. Reminds me of a red ale. Flavorful and dry mouthfeel. Not too heavy. Quite nice. Very drinkable. I wish I could make this a regular brew for me, but alas, I have only been able to get 2 bottles. Definately recommended.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.42/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a twelve oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours medium amber with with good foam and some lacing. Malty smell, some fruitiness. Light bubblegum. Mellow malt with firm hop. Light lingering at the end and long finish. Some fruit at the finish too.

Kind of musty and old feeling. A little like I pulled an old bottle out of someones basement. Ok beer.

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3.42/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Honey amber reddish body hosts a two finger off white head that fades to just a skim in minutes. Nose has big floral notes with phelonic spices, creamy fruits, and candied alchol notes. Flavor profile is abrubt with shrill bitter notes and citrus rind sour tones. A balance of grapefruit like hops and rocky malts round out the taste profile. Mouthfeel is a grapefriut rich bitter and a bit of a soapy tone. This is decently drinkable but a bit scattered.

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Photo of anthony23cippy
3.42/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from Geary's bottle into a pint glass. Pours dark Amber with a slight redness it seems up to the light. Half finger of white head and more than average lacing long after. The nose is of heavy malt, bread, syrup, and strawberry or raspberry I can't quite tell. The taste is nothing of memorable quality, strong alcohol taste (almost rubbing alcohol), malt, and burnt syrup. The mouthfeel is thin and definitely minimal carbonation. Overall nothing great and nothing I would get again

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.43/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appears an amber copper hue with a large off white cream head fine bubbled forms thick at least three fingers deep on the pint glass. By the way the head dwindles slowly and JohnnyP this one's for you. Lacing is left behind evenly in thin streaks between sips. Aroma contains tart fruit notes namingly some cherry and wood essence with an air of anise. Almost a cidery character to it in my opinion, again with more barrel notes. Flavors are wild with a front to back barrage of tart fruit, alcohol and wood aged caramel with anise spiced booziness. Caramelized brown sugar and strong alcohol flow together in the finish tickling the nose hairs just a bit but the body is a simple syrup texture with light carbonation that doesn't catch you until the back of the throat, really interesting definitely hard to describe. Drinkability overall this is a bit of a strange bird and it definitely screams a unique New England quality. I'm assuming that part, I've never traveled that far to the Northeast but again worth a try holds a special place in my beer memory and I saw it in Virginia had to pick up a bottle. A little bit of dust collected on the bottle but I assure you this one is still drinking prime.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.43/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle served in a standard pint glass. No freshness dating indicated. Poured a hazy copper with a half inch off-white head that evenutally settles into a fairly consistent, thin cap. Some strands and spatters of lacing present during the tasting. Nose suggests caramel and dark fruit (perhaps fig and/or prunes). Taste consistent with nose for the most part, but there is a strange, chemical aftertaste detectable at the finish, that lingers between quaffs. Also a little bit of alcohol heat comes out in the mix. Mouthfeel falls between light-and medium-bodied, but carbonation is a little prickly and there's a lingering bitterness at the finish. Interesting, but I'm not loving it. A little too much of a chemical character to be drinkable.

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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 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 klewis
3.48/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours copper with a bubbly 2-finger head. Great retention with a bit of thick lacing that clings just above the top of the beer.

S: Pale malt and strong floral hops.

T: Taste is malty with flavors of cereal grains, caramel, and buttery notes. Lots of hop bitterness in the finish. Overall, the taste is strong, but somewhat boring.

M: Full-medium in body with moderate carbonation. Finishes dry.

D: This is my first reviewed Eng. strong ale, and I think I prefer the American versions so far. Not a bad beer, but it just isn't very interesting to me.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.49/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint, the beer is a ruby-highlighted caramel coloring with a thin, filmy, white head. Nose of apricot and mango fruit sweetness and a caramel backbone. Tangy aromas, overall. Flavors of roast initially, with a biscuit backbone, honey and fruit sweetness, and a spicy blend overlay. Light bodied, with a roasty and tangy sweet aftertaste. CLean, slightly sharp finish. Surprisingly easy to drink despite a slightly elevated ABV and heavy flavor profile.

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Photo of RoyalT
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – This beer is a light brown in color with a good, clingy white head.

Smell – The light, easy, English-style hops are supported by some good biscuity notes.

Taste – This is reminiscent of the English bitter style but a bit bigger. The bittering hops and biscuity malts are all understated but well done.

Mouthfeel – This is rather light for a “strong ale”, I wouldn’t even say medium-bodied, but is well balanced and has some nice, light bitterness at the end.

Drinkability – I wouldn’t put this in a taste test with Fuller’s, but it was good enough to enjoy.

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Photo of rastaman
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Rich barley sweetness at the start, yet quite soft and approachable. Some nice delicate spicyness, with a touch of caramel and toffee, quite a hoppy, bitter-ish finish, quite alright, this was the last of the night, perhaps it didn't benefit as much as it could have because of this very reason, still a nice tasty strong ale.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Better than I expected. Looks rusty and a bit murky. Moderately carbonated and laced well. Lacks head retention. Smells malty, slightly toasted and roasty. Mild spices come through the nose. Tastes Malty and molassas-like. Nutty, fig-ey, and caramel round out the sweetness. Balanced with bitter and flavor hops, spices, and carbonation. A chewy body again moderated by light carbonation. finishes a bit cloying and malty. Better balance and a rounder beer than I had given it credit for. Will try again.

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Photo of walleye
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
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 Infamous7100
3.51/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: pours a copper, off orange color with a great looking tan head. Nice lacing.
S: very muted, nothing leaping out at me. Faint malt, bit of grassy hops.
T: nice balance of malt and hops. Sweet and malty up front, blending with hoppy bite at the back. Picking up more bread like flavors than anything else.
M: very smooth, borderline creamy. Mild carbonation and great bite/burn at the end where you can really feel that 7% burn. Really like it.
O: expected more in the aroma and flavor. I believe I may have waited too long to try this, as after reading some reviews, my aromas and flavors seem lacking. Nice beer though and will try it again.

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Photo of Avryle
3.52/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2001-2002 bottle from The shady bevy purchased in July 2008... it'll be interesting to see how/if this held up.

A- hazy orange-brown in color. Very small cap o' foam on vigorous pour.

S- Malt & apples. Malt is much more predominant. Fortunately it does not smell like the shady bevy. (Cigarettes & dog)

T- There's some oxidation. Very malty. Surprised to get booze presence. Tea-like qualities with tannin finish.

M- Carbonation held up well. Medium to full bodied. There's a slight sticky-sweetness on the tounge.

D- Not too bad. The oxidization takes it down a notch, but the flavors are very mellow and are improving as it warms.

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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 illpass78
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear amber/copper color with a short cream head that is gone swiftly. Not much lacing.

Aroma: This beer smells like alcoholic prune juice. The nose is dominated by booze and dark fruit.

Taste: There's a lot going on here - toasted malt, a big hop presence, raisins, prune juice, molasses, and biscuit are all there. What's really there, though, is booze - and alcohol burn.

Feel: It's not heavy; this beer has the depth of an average IPA. The alcohol burn isn't unpleasant, but it's definitely present.

Overall: This seems to me a well executed beer, but it's a little harsh in a way that isn't as appealing as truly great "big" beers are harsh. It might just not be my kind of style. I lean towards imperial stouts and IPAs when I want to go big. Fans of ESAs might dig this.

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Photo of granger10
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can a beer be too balanced? I love balance but the flavors seem to mix here and almost void each other out. I can hardly get anything from the smell of this beer, maybe an alcohol spicyness. I can't really distinct the sweet from the bitter, the malt from the hop here. There's a fruity flavor that is both tart and sweet. Bittersweet caramel and earthy aspects. The finish is very strong in alcohol, esp as I let it warm. But this is an extremely drinkable beer, atleast for a couple. I liked this beer a lot, but it didn't blow my socks off.

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Geary's Hampshire Special Ale from D.L. Geary Brewing Company
3.93 out of 5 based on 633 ratings.
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