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

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Geary's Hampshire Special AleGeary's Hampshire Special Ale
Very Good
641 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: 641 |  Reviews: 388
Photo of CharlesRiver
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours amber in color with little to no head. The smell is all malt. Mellow and malty in taste with a nice warming as it goes down. I remember having this on tap when I was in college. I loved it then and I love it now. Others have mentioned things like fruity & watery but I don't get that at all. Please do try as this is worth every penny.

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Photo of doerickson
3.82/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is the 2002-2003 offering. Deep amber coloring with a frothy off-white head. Malty, toasty, fruity aromas. Medium body, medium carbonation. Sweet flavors are the main storyline, with caramel and ripe dark fruit evident. There's an earthy hop presence that lends some balance, but this is a malty brew, and a big, warming one at that. Bit of a metallic twang in the finish. Nice for sipping on a cold night.

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

Well, isn't this a treat! My first Maine beer, I believe. All that ribbing we give JohnnyP, but the boy seems to be onto something, I tell ya!

There are qualities to this beer that I have never encountered before. Like your Maris Otter, peat-smoked, and Munich malts; melanoidins and esters; and pacman yeast, all start to sound a familiar refrain in your favorite bloodlines of beers, Hampshire Special Ale casts an entirely new spectrum on the palette of a Beer Advocate.

This is a big-boned beer, although only a slight, doppel-like nose indicates such. A warm, very mild, banana ester wisps its way up, but this should only be considered as a hint, not a trait.

The reason I mention so much about the nose is because it totally locks the tastebuds in long before any liquid comes in contact with the tongue. It is quite a unifying experience and one I would highly recommend, as few beers exhibit such holistic qualities.

Inside, there is something so absolutely earthy and right about this beer it is hard to explain. There are no hokey toasted-malt surprises, no hop bludgeonings, and no cloying, crystal ["blue"] malt persuasions...

...Just beer....
...FABULOUS beer...
...a boy and his beer...
...How far is Maine from here?


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Photo of mophie
4.7/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had heard good things about this beer, and I am not disappointed! It's a gorgeous beer, deep copper, with a creamy slight tan head. Smell is malty, caramel and molasses, with a touch of mild, floral hoppiness. The maltiness really comes through in the taste, again creamy, caramel, molasses, nice and smooth. Finishes with a mild hop twang, and a slight bitterness at the back of the tongue. Gentle spicy alcohol notes as well. Very, very nice.

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Photo of bewareOFpenguin
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

They still sell it in Shaw's (local supermarket)!! I picked it up last night and brought it home. Cracked one while cooking dinner. Nice white head. I tasted those great hops with the first sip. Then the bitterness. This is the best seasonal beer. I anticipate "when the weather sucks" so I can drink it. I have been known to hold on to six packs of this into August.

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Photo of jtw5877
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
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 MaineBeerMan
4.6/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It's here and it's still good. The 2002-2003 Geary's HSA is out. Coppery brown in color with a decent light beige head that left some lacing. Sweet carmel aroma with a hint of fruitiness and hops. Taste starts out big with lots of malty sweetness and a smooth almost creamy mouthfeel.

Seems to have maybe more hops than in previous years. Finishes with a little drying hoppy bitterness and you can feel the alcohol warming you on the way down.

This beer is still one of my favorites and I wish David Geary would make it available year round.

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Photo of Andy
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer celebrates everything I personally dislike in Northeastern beer: the Ringwood yeast strain. Deep amber color. Nose is fresh hop, diacetyl, and sweet malt mixed deep within. Mix of sweet english malt and ringwood yeast flavor/diacetyl, buttery overtones. Slightly earthy mix of hops and yeast. Very well-constructed and a solid rating even if I don't personally enjoy it.

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Photo of Bierman9
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
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 John
4.28/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clear amber liquid with nice head following a vigorous pour. Toasted caramel and semi-sweet bready aroma. Caramel and toasted malt predominate the flavor with a touch of grapefruity hop. Alcohol warms the belly nicely. Delicious.

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

Pours a nice dark amber/copper with a thinnish bubbly tan head that dissipates. Great malty alcohol smell. Nice caramel maltiness and some decent balancing hop bitterness. Good slighlty creamy mouthfeel and very drinkable for the style. I've had this on draught and in the bottle, definitely much better on draught. Aging a bottle of this might be interesting.

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

A balanced beer to say the least, with both a distinct malty and hoppy flavour. Very smooth, very drinkable and very alcoholic on the breath. Can't really go wrong with a beer like this, unless you can't handle a RIngwood beer -- but it's well-blended into the mix. One of my favourites and one of Geary's best beers IMO -- "special" indeed.

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Photo of gwfrankpsu
3.11/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This is a disappointment - love the ads - brewed only while the weather sucks, or something like that. There are much better winter beers. Just not what I expected.

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

Presentation: 12oz semi-fat brown with a gold foil twisty. Winter 01-02 on bottle to denote what year it was brewed for.

Appearance: Rich copper colour with light brownish highlights, a healthy off white lace wraps the inside of the glass with ample stickiness.

Smell: Soft caramel and toasted malt biscuit and bread with a dash of buttery toffee. Honey and a currant and berry mix for fruitiness. Light twinge of ester alcohol in the nose.

Taste: Smooth upfront with a light to moderate carbonation. Certainly full in body with a vague polished buttery feeling. Large and jam-packed with malt flavours of toasted and caramel. Diacetyl is significant yet not to the point of being out of balance. The warming alcohol brings forth fruitiness and esters to round this big profile out. Hints of dark honey and light berry fruit add to the complexity. Hop bitterness drops a great leveling flavour and oily herbal character. Caramel and grain in the finish with overtones of diacetyl.

Notes: Year after year this one is a sure thing for winter seasonals, bitterness seems a step up this year which is fine considering all of the malt flavour to deal with.

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Photo of bcm119
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is as close to a session beer as you can get at 7% abv. Its a really nice feeling beer on the palate, and the toasty biscuit flavor is delicious. I didn't like the minerally, hard water flavors though (you can actually smell this too), and I think the hops could be more up front. Still a very good winter brew.

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Photo of hbis2gut
4.94/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

WOW, this guy does a few beers and does them well. This is the showcase beer for this brewery. A strong ale that gives off malt and hop aromas rather than booze fumes. Mouthfeel is perfect in my opinion. Too often these types of ales are sticky or too heavily bodied. Highly recommended.

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Geary's Hampshire Special Ale from D.L. Geary Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.91 out of 5 with 641 ratings