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

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very good
385 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: 385 | Ratings: 629
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 Wasatch
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to ampzilla for this brew.

Pours a nice clean/clear dark golden amber color, nice carbonation, nice small foamy tannish head, nice sticky lacing follows. The nose is malty, slightly spicy, and lots of caramel. The taste is malty, slightly bitter, some spicness, and lots of caramel. Medium body. Very drinkable, a tasty ESA, glad to have had a chance to try it.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.27/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pretty clear amber copper color, it is topped by a light tan head. There is a nice dry hoppy aroma, evocative of English hops; A bit lemony, slightly grassy. Wow, I was not expecting so much hop flavor to be packed into this beer. It has a balancing malt sweetness a bit of caramel. Quite good, I am duly impressed. The hop flavor is citrusy and floral in character. The beer has a medium body, which is perfect for this beer. This is still an easy drinking beer but has enough body to balance the stellar hop flavor. I certainly wish that I had access to more of this great beer. Overall this is a very well put together beer.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured amber with a head that quickly fades to nothing. Spotty lacing. The smell is quite malty, but dry. The taste has that same dry maltiness up front, but this is followed by quite a whallop of bitter orange hops and a spicy finish. Quite tasty. Mouthfeel is a bit prickly, but it suites the hop slam. Quite a nice treat, a beautiful if hoppier than usual exampleof the style.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.45/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on November 1, 2013.

The color is mahogany brown with a little gold glistening around the edge of the glass. Moderate, lingering cream colored head.

The aroma is lovely with its full roasted caramel malts, molasses notes, yeast, butterscotch, nuttiness, and finishing off with a mild earthy hop.

The body is medium to full.

The taste has an upfront roasted malt and caramel sweetness and a wonderfully lingering dry finish. Only 7% yeah, but some Strong Ales still have a boozy feel but not this one. Geary's has hit the mark on the style. It really feels like I'm drinking it at a British pub rather than at m y computer in New Hampshire USA.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured a clear, light cranberry color with no head.

S: light with some dried grapefruit and decent maltiness.

T: malty with some light fresh woody toasted notes, and a dry floral hoppiness. The beer finished with a dried citrus hopping, and a slight toasted malting.

M: moderate with some dried citrus notes upon the tongue.

D: Overall a generally good ale, with a outdoorsy palate of dried woodiness, malt, pine and citrus making for an easy drinking ale by the fireplace.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I got this bottle in a trade with Wasatch. Thanks John!

This pours from 12oz bottle a clear medium gold with a 2 finger head of foam.

The smell is very malty and very nice. I also get a fruity nose that makes it a pleasure to sniff.

The taste has big caramel malt, dark fruit, some grain, and a surprisingly ample but not overpowering hop presence in the background that adds just the right touch to somewhat balance it out but to tell you the truth, I'm enjoying the hell out of the malt. Nice bit of bready notes here as well and the alcohol is completely hidden, asaic. Lovely drop!
It has a fairly thick mouthfeel(yeah!), the carbonation is medium light, and it finishes malty semi sweet. Again...lovely drop! Oh, and the foam hangs around like forever. I'm *really* impressed with this English Strong Ale and I'd seek it out again.

Thanks again, John!

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours a perfect median between amber and rust. No haze. Slim off-white head. Not much head.

S-I smell bananas at first whiff. A hint of floral hoppiness. A bunch of sweetness too. Unique scent. Mellow but when I hone in on the various components in the nose I enjoy what I detect. Almost smells like cognac mixed with strawberry-banana yogurt.

T-The taste and the aroma are a perfect pair. There really is a decent bouquet of different flavors in HSA. Caramel and toffee mix with the banana fruitiness. Alcohol comes into the equation but is well masked. I was worried that Geary's high ABV offering would be a bit messy, but this one is clean and surprisingly soft while being imbibed.

M-Carbonation is mellow. Feel is on the heavier side of a medium mouthfeel. Alcohol dries out the tongue only a tiny bit.

O/D-Most of my reviews depict the battle between expectation and actuality. This one beats expectations. I think this is a pretty cool beer. Hey, maybe my evading Geary Brewing Company was a bad idea. Geary's Summer, Pale Ale, are you next?

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

A 12ozer from a 6 pack of the beer that used to be "Only available while the weather sucks." I hear it is available year round now, and rightly so... Bought at Tully's in Wells, ME, (a great little shop if you find yourself in the area), and fridged since then.

When poured into an imperial pint glass, a slight head forms, which quickly dissipates. The color is a dark and malty, with a slight tinge of red to my untrained eye. A nice aroma, with an obvious alcohol odor in the offing. Taste is nice, with a slight warming present, an indication of the 7% ABV. A benefit of the brew (a nice, unexpected bite of bitterness), can also be it's downfall, knocking it's session-ability down a bit. However, on cask (Great Lost Bear) it was incredible.

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Photo of avalon07
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: When poured from a bottle to a pint glass, this beer had a rust color and a big, foamy head. Good lacing.

S: Smells of caramel, malt and some indeterminate spices. Pretty complex aroma.

T: Very malty, with some traces of hops and and caramel. It's a rich taste, with a fairly high alcohol content (more than I expected at any rate).

M: A high level of carbonation and smooth finish here. Full-bodied.

D: Overall, this is a drinkable beer - if you're into the style. It has a complex character on the whole that's a little bracing at first. Still, a solid brew.

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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 tigg924
3.67/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: clear, amber, 1/2 inch head, high carbonation

Smell: toasted malt, sugar, and spices

Taste: sweet malt, caramel, raisins, and a touch of hops on the finish

Mouthfeel: sweet, smooth, sticky, with a slightly bitter aftertaste

Drinkability: I think this one hid the alcohol fairly well. I could have a couple as I enjoy the sweetness, but not more.

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Photo of RBorsato
2.87/5  rDev -27%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Dark gold, copper with a low tan head and decent carbonation. Piney, sprucey hop aroma -- the best character of this brew. HUge malty flavor with a warming alcohol sensation. Funky fruity, yeasty flavor ... maybe that's the Ringwood yeast. Medium bodied with an unpleasant finish.

Per Maine Brewer's Guild site: Original gravity - 1070; two row English malts (pale, crystal and chocolate); Cascade, Mt. Hood and East Kent Golding hops.

Glad I only bought a single bottle.

($1.43 / 12 oz.)

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Photo of Brad007
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light amber color with a one-finger head. Smell is strong and malty upfront, much like the style implies. Taste is reminiscent of a barleywine, with a softness to it and a lot of fruity/biscuity overtones in the finish. Very tasty to me. The alcohol seems to have mellowed, creating a very drinkable ale that is far more suited for sipping than chugging. I like this very much.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear copper color with streams of carbonation surfacing at a nice clip. Thin muddy looking brown head adorns the top and dwindles down to a collaring within a minute. Lacing is spotty, but nice. The aroma is quite nice. A thick malt presence blends with some sweet fruity tones. Toffee and caramel apple. And then there's also some nuttiness, wood and a little smoke. Nice blend. Some alcohol hits my palate first. A bit of a sting, but not out of character in the context of this beer. It blends nicely with the wooden barrel character and slight smoke I find in this beer. The malts make their presence known with caramel, toffee, biscuit and a little toasted character. I like the sweet aspect of this beer. Candied apple comes to mind. Not cloying in the least. Just delicious.

I do not know if there is a bigger advocate of one beer than JohnnyP and this one. I thank my lucky stars (and JohnnyP) I had a chance to try it (and cellar one).

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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 cbutova
2.82/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Pours light red-brown with a small off-white head that has low retention. A small cloud and ring leave just a single spot of lace.

S- Very buttery caramel malt, butterscotch. Very slight earthy hops.

T- Big caramel and nutty malt. Some dark fruit and yeast bread notes. Something spicy in the finish throws me off with a stinging medicinal/fruit/herbal note. Alcohol very noticeable.

MF- Moderately thick body that is somewhat creamy. Carbonation comes in heaps before a slightly warm finish. Fairly bitter as well.

DB- I like the malt and yeast flavors but the bitter alcohol finish throws the balance off for me. Interesting but wears me down with a beastly finish. Certainly a "stronger" 7% beer.

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Photo of Gusler
4.24/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a cloudless amber color with the head impressive in size, frothy in texture and the color an off-white, the left over lace thick and clinging. The hop floral tones quite pronounced, along with the customary malt and sweet caramel. Begins quite sweet and the top middle of the road mouth feel wise, finish is has a monster hop bite and the carbonation pleasant, dry as a bone aftertaste, quite "Quaffable".

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
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 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 beer...one 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 Suds
3.87/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, deep chestnut color with a thin head. The aroma seems centered around alcohol with caramel and malt. Dry bread crust and nuts…walnut and almond? A little floral hop character as well. First taste is malty and, but quickly turns to a sharp hopiness and astringency. Finish is smooth and soft; very nice balance. As you drink it, you’d swear that it has more than it’s stated 7% ABV. However, although it’s solidly good, nothing about the beer particularly stands out.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.26/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Orange in color with a good head, looks like it will be a decent brew.It tastes slightly English if that makes any sense but it is a little too strong and I usually don’t say that. This is a decent beer but not one I will seek out again, doesn't suit my tastes.

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Photo of mynie
4.19/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

English Strong and American Old are two of the most underrated ales in the American beer scene, in my humble opinion. They share a lot of traits. Lots of intense maltiness--just as impressive, complex, and hard on the novices as intense malt profiles. We like hop bombs and things that taste like bourbon. Any other kind of intensity is not our cup of tea.

Pours limply, according to my low-malt prejudices. Maybe in another world, a world where Hello means Goodbye and Cheeri-o is a greeting, this is what a great pour looks like. Here, it's just kinda pretty but headless.

Smells like a wonderful potpourri of wood and malt and furniture polish and burny chemical yeast. Canned flowers are in there. Nice smells of synthetic nature. If Eraserhead was a beer it would smell like this.

Tastes much like it smells. Big, giantic caramel starts things off. This moves into a woodier back, generic fruit and flowers, and this swings pretty quickly back into caramel with some nuts and then a sweet aftertaste of burny alcohol.

Nice. Not everybody's cup of tea, but nice.

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Photo of Durge
3.62/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Encountered this specialty brew at The Great Lost Bear in Portland, ME. It has a dark clear copper color with a scanty white head and fair lacing. The aroma captures plenty of woodsy malt and light floral hops. The flavor declares a smooth fruity malt that harbors just a hint of wheaty alcohol. There's a touch of bubblegum and more of that floral sweetness. After the initial acclimation you pick up the dry hop aftermath. I don't feel this is very complex, there's not much to say. It's medium drinkable, not something I would rave about, OK, that's about it. Malty alcohol and some dry hop. Just not winning me over.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.89/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a dark chestnut color with decent clarity. The head is a two finger pale orange shade. The retention is quite solid, and the texture is quite creamy. Solid lacing is left behind on the glass.

S: DAT RAISINY NOSE. This starts off strongly with dark fruits, before a slight whiff of hop bitterness comes out after warming up. Caramel notes are nicely restrained but not nonexistent.

T: It starts off with a light hop bitterness redolent of tobacco. Maltiness takes over after the hops fade on the palate, with some unsweetened toffee. The finish is mildly fruity, but not as strong as the nose indicated. Sometimes I even get some wisps of chocolate. While I don't enjoy all of the flavors (COUGH CRYSTAL MALT COUGH), it's clear this is a high-quality example of the style, without a hint of alcohol anywhere.

M: This style is usually plagued by intrusive malts and a heavy lingering finish. This one is superbly clean, crisp, and there's only a slight sweetness on the back end. The carbonation is fairly mild, and yet it's still quite drinkable.

O: Normally, I'm not a fan of this style, but these guys damn near nailed this. It's super clean, drinkable, yet nicely complex and savorable. I would definitely buy this again - this is one of those 'hidden gems' that few people know about but is actually really damn good.

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Geary's Hampshire Special Ale from D.L. Geary Brewing Company
3.93 out of 5 based on 629 ratings.
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