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Old Crafty Hen - Greene King / Morland Brewery

Not Rated.
Old Crafty HenOld Crafty Hen

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

216 Ratings
THE BROS
88
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 216
Reviews: 73
rAvg: 3.7
pDev: 13.78%
Wants: 8
Gots: 26 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Greene King / Morland Brewery visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: GreenCard on 10-17-2008

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (62) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 216 | Reviews: 73
Reviews by droomyster:
Photo of droomyster
3.94/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark copper body with a brief head that settles to a white collar. Big and sweet aromas of predominantly toffee, followed in strength by dark fruit (very fig-like) and a hint of vanilla. Taste carries a big toffee and biscuity blast on the front and mid-palates, with dark fruit (figs, prunes, raisins) and sherry-like notes emerging on the mid to back-palates. A lightly earthy, wet wood-like bitterness lends some balance to the finish. As far as old ales go, this isn't nearly as potent as some of the American best-sellers, but its relatively mild intensity makes it potentially more appealing to a broad audience, while the austerity of flavor profile gives the geekier beer consumer something to revel in.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this for a night cap last night.Poured into an imperial nonic a clear rich amber with a thinner white head atop that was gone pretty quickly.Sweet caramel malts and biscuit in the nose,mild yeasty fruity esters as well.Deep caramel and toffee flavors with a faint but noticable shot of drying woody/leafy hops in the finish.Lighter but pretty smooth going down,this is a full on malty English old ale,although not a big and brash it is flavorful in an English subtle way.

Photo of Jason
3.91/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

50cl clear bottle w/ no freshness date.

LOOK: Clear amber, amazing lacing

SMELL: Fresh cut grass, lemon pith, apple skin, faint alcohol, buttered biscuits

TASTE: Grassy, caramel, cotton candy, biscuity, faint buttery tone, woody hops, herbal, mild esters, ripe pears, mealy apples, yeast, orange pith

One to sit down with and let breath, a sipper to have with a sharp cheddar. Better with something than alone. Certainly worth a go.

Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.47/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 500ml clear glass bottle with a BB of March 2012. The label mentions that it is blended, and includes beer matured in oak vats.

Poured into a tulip pint glass. A clear coppery-amber with low carbonation. Produces a small off-white head that disappears after a minute or so. Aroma of rich, fruity malt with hints of plums, dried fruit, brown sugar, oak and stewed hops. A whiff of booze in the background.

Tastes of fruity malt with a sweet, woody character. Notes of brown sugar, caramel, dried fruit, raisins/prunes, oak and stewed hops. Sweet but quite dry, with a prickly alcoholic hint upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth, tingly and spicy, but perhaps a tad thin and slick for the style. Slightly astringent. Aftertaste of fruity, woody malt.

Not bad - quite tasty and rounded. A decent enough beer, although it seems a bit bland and shallow for the style. I can imagine an aged ale with more depth and intensity. Would probably benefit from bottle conditioning. Still, the woody/fruity flavours are nice. Worth trying.

Photo of dwren89
4.07/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: great clarity, surprisingly pale gold color, much lighter than most English IPA, white, sticky, fluffy head

Aroma: Strong citrus aroma of grapefruit, orange, very little to no detectable malt aroma, clean yeast

Taste: fruity, citrusy, spritzy carbonation, much more American than English, very soft pale malt backbone that is only detectable really in the body; hops flavors ring through start to finish with a mildly bitter medium finish

Mouthfeel: Spritzy, carbonation lightens the body, you can only tell its medium bodied if you hold it in your mouth for a few seconds before swallowing; very easy drinking, medium bitter, somewhat dry finish
Overall Impression: For a beer that is ranked this highly on Beeradvocate’s top beers in Britain, I honestly expected more. It is a little too light in body and malt character, and uses obviously American hops, to be considered an English IPA. When compared to the best Ameican IPAs, this would not have a prayer to make the top 50. That being said, it is quite refreshing, light on the palate, and thirst quenching.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Crystal clear deep amber copper hue with a fine off white light khaki head. Aroma has an herbal hop note with tobacco leaf notes...mild fruity caramel tones to round it out. Flavor is balanced ripened fruit sweetness with mild earthy/citrus/tobacco notes wrapped around caramel malts with an ongoing earthiness about it. Overall another generic English ale that does absolutely nothing to set itself apart, other than the higher than average 6.5% abv and labeling it a Vintage ale. I knew what I was getting into it's definitely drinkable carbonation on the mouthfeel is a little higher than I wanted but not bad as a whole.

Photo of Brenden
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Darker than amber, this Hen is almost red, with sharp, bright clarity. About half a finger is what's ultimately left after puffing up tall on the pour. It's a sturdy head, though, and it sticks around for a full session, depositing steady, even lacing as it does.
A little bit buttery, as I'm coming to expect in some cases, it's otherwise grassy with a biscuity malts backbone. Some citrus zest and a surprisingly sturdy floral and citrus hops, and fruity esters sans the big alcohol bite some Americans bring to it adds up to a good, strong beer with a nice balance. The flavor brings out a touch of caramel sweetness and a spicy bite, as well as a touch of brown sugar and more dark fruits for more underlying sweetness, but certainly not cloying.
Interestingly, the body, while on the light side of medium, has a powdery touch of dryness to it. It never gets too slick or thin, and displays a consistent crispness while still being smooth, though the crispness just nips.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
2.93/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

50cl bottle into a Cigar City snifter.

Pours a rich white head .5 finger head with low retention. Beer is a clear mahogany. Lacing is spotty and stringy with average stick but thin and oily legs that really cling to the glass. Not bad for the style.

Nose is corn, caramel, molasses, brown sugar, and an effervescent hop bitterness. Moderately aromatic. OK.

Opens sweet. Notes of caramel, toffee and brown sugar. A slightly sour hop bitterness emerges in the middle but fades quickly. End is brown sugar and nutmeg with a sweet aftertaste. Average.

Light bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth and filmy in the mouth and goes down slightly bubbly with a lightly boozy finish and a lingering, filmy aftertaste. Thin.

I always used to think that Old Ales were thick, robust and complex but this beer is demonstrating a completely different take. I don't know if that's good or bad. I only know that I prefer what I used to think what an Old Ale was.

Photo of RickS95
3.62/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ruby-orange-brown color. Mostly clear. Thin white head up top, little retention.

Huge malt smell with some welcome spices and dark fruits, raisins.

Very malt forward taste. Despite moderate alcohol, the alcohol taste is clearly present. Medicinal. Hoppy bitter finish.

Mild complexity as it starts off sweet for a note, then the alcohol shines its head, followed by a hoppy bitter, clean finish.

It's not really a bitter, but kind of. It's not really a pale ale, but kind of. Not so easy to drink, but not a bad beer, just different...not sure I've had an 'old ale' before.

Photo of puboflyons
3.7/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From the clear bottle stamped 13235 but I don't know what that entails. Sampled on March 11, 2015.

Handsome looking copper, maple color pour with a lingering off-white head. Great clarity.

English malts on the nose with a hint of raisins, grass and vegetable oil. Not too badly skunked for a clear bottle.

Medium body. Smooth.

The taste is malt forward with an assertive but clean bitterness to finish. Better than their flagship Old Speckled Hen.

Photo of bluejacket74
3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500 ml clear bottle. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours a clear orange/copper color with a half inch off-white head. Head retention and lacing are both good. Aroma is toasted malt, toffee, herbal/earthy hops, oak, and a little bit of skunk. The brew tastes like toffee, toasted and caramel malt, nuts, herbal hops, and a bit of tea and fruit. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit creamy with moderate carbonation. I thought it was a decent enough overall brew. I tend to stay away from beers that come in clear bottles, but since it was a new arrival at a local store I hoped that the brew wasn't too old yet. I think it's worth a try.

Photo of smakawhat
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Off white and tan three finger nice wonderfully forming head with a thick foamy character. Some good retention, sitting on a gorgeous shining copper red crystal body.

Nose is extremely dry and malt biscuity. Almost ripping grain but dense and dry malt character hinting of toast but more dense than powdery. Interesting, quite neat.

Taste brings rich malt density, with large biscuit and soft graham cracker chews. Cookie rich, finish almost has a fruity banana ester quality to it but doesn't detract from the rich malt body. Carbonation feel is moderate and hardly noticeable, taking nothing away from the pleasure of this beer. Moderate dry palate on the finish but almost refreshing and cleansing in feel.

Overall, solid. Really enjoying this one. Lovely, as the English might say.

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.29/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours an coppery-orange amber. Fine off-white one finger head with good retention and light lacing. Aroma of caramel malt, dark fruit and light oak, sadly mixed with light skunking. Taste is mild caramel and bready malt and dark fruit, finishes somewhat dry with a light woody earthy flavor, a little sour and a bit of hops. Subdued flavor, but pleasant. Flavors are not that well integrated. A bit more of the skunkiness in the aftertaste. Medium bodied with a hint of creaminess. A nice ale marred by off taste caused by use of clear bottles. Why do breweries work hard for a nice ale and then allow it to deteriorate in shipping, when the solution is so simple? This would have scored a point higher without the skunking. This is fairly new in the local market, so this bottle is not that old.

Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.21/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Old Crafty Hen has a very thin, off-white head, and a mostly clear, deep, brilliant, amber appearance with some bubble streams and lacing. The aroma is of of rich, sweet caramel and toffee, bread crust and maybe some raisin. Taste is of those elements, with some mellow, but distinguished bitterness at the end of the sip. Mouthfeel is medium and soft, and Old Crafty Hen finishes wet, sweet, rich, and delicious. Overall, a most excellent beer!

RJT

Photo of metter98
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is crystal clear amber in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger-high off white head that gradually died down, leaving a big patch of bubbles in the center of the glass and a ring around the edge.
S: Light to moderately strong aromas of fruity yeast and toffee are present in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of biscuit malts, fruity yeast, toffee and spices along with some hints of butter.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and a bit smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is quite easy to drink for the style but has some interesting flavors that make it pleasurable to sip.

Photo of BlackHaddock
4.47/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It is a sunny yet cold Sunday afternoon in Shropshire and I want a decent pint before my Sunday Lunch. I have choosen this beer from my stash.

The clear 500ml bottle was poured into my 'La Chouffe' tulip glass three times (to catch the aromas and force a good head out of the beer). It had almost a year left of its life, so was fairly fresh when reviewed.

The beer poured a deep rich amber and on each occasion had a well formed off-white foaming head. On each pour the head fell away to a thinner covering and some laceing on the glass.

Oak aged beers always remind me of coal fires and childhood Christmas's, the aromas in this one followed the same trend. A warm and comforting smell, a 'Sod the Credit Crunch', 'Balls to the Recession' type of richness only the well off can have. This is a boardroom of the rich beer.

The taste also brings back memories of sitting round the fire and warmth. A deep malty richness and depth of the body give this beer a really good glow and feel.

The 6.5% is well hidden within the brew and even though it is a mix of two beers (Old Speckled Hen and Old 5X), the blender has got it just about perfect. This is the best GK beer I've ever had.

One small note, 'Old 5X' isn't sold, it is a 12% Oak aged (3 years) brew that is blended into other GK beers.

Photo of tonton
4.4/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Having this beer now at Trafalgar Pub in Wanchai.

Poured from a 50cl clear bottle into an English pint. Beautiful golden ale with a gorgeous 2" white head.

Smell - nice, common pale ale smell.
Taste - Banana, walnut, malt, hops.
Mouth - Moderate to high carbonation, nice linger on the tongue.

Overall - Excellent example of a strong English Ale. Recommended!

Photo of fx20736
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a Nonic. Served cool.

Orangish amber with 2 fingers of offwhite head. Scraps of lacing.

Aroma of malts with a faint plumminess.

Mouthfeel: frothy

Taste: malt, then an oaken flavor with a touch of plums on the fade.

Notes: I've had many English 'Old Ales' before. This tastes like one of them.

I had a 2nd bottle the next day at cellar temp and it was much better' the oak was more balanced, the taste more enjoyable. My evaluation went from 'decent' to 'good'. This beer cost me one quarter of that of Yorkshire Stingo and while Stingo is a better beer, this is pretty good one. At less than $ 5 for a 500ml bottle this is a very nice beer to sip on a Sunday.

Photo of Drink_AK
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is great, beautiful amber in an ice-cold mason jar.

Smells sweet, like the inside of a brewery.

Taste is a bit too sweet for my taste, as I enjoy the bitter. But a great beer after a dinner, I'd love to try it on tap. Dessert like for my tastes.

Photo of damndirtyape
4.08/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle poured into a tulip stout glass.

Appearance: Clear and bright coppery color. Off white foam upon pouring with that typical English ale mix of bubbles and foam (some really large, most quite small). Some lacing noted, but not very persistent. Good looking beer.

Smell: Malty - toasted malt mostly with some hints of caramel thrown in.

Taste: Buttery toffee, roasted malt bitter finish. Clean, simple flavor profile, but deep and rich in those simple flavors. Back of the bottle talks about some raisin-like finishes, but I'm not getting that very much. Maybe raisins taste different in the UK? Regardless, I'm not tasting raisins much, but in spite of that, this is a very very good beer.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation, little bit chewy. Combined with the taste - felt very much like a rich English ale.

Overall: A very nice English ale. Went fantastic with fish and chips and I think it would be even better on cask. Definitely something I would pick up again. A little bit weak in aroma, but it more than made up for it in taste.

Photo of spinrsx
3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

500ml Bottle from the Ottawa LCBO part of a mixed 4 pack for $13

Appearance - Clear copper colour with an average size beige oloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for around 2-3 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, hops, pears, an earthiness

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, hops and pears/apples. There is also some caramel/toffee and a bit of a woodiness.

Overall - Another very tasty enjoyable beer from this brewer. Lots of malty flavour and some nice earthy/fruity flavours to go with it. I'd pick this up again if it was available in single bottle/can formats locally.

Photo of GbVDave
4.05/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500ml bottle into two white wine glasses. Thanks to Heidi & Tom Morris for the hook-up! Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist!

BBE OCT 09

A: Pours a clear, dark orange-brown with just a tiny bit of off-white head and, sadly, no lace. Lazily carbonated.

S: Aromas of toasty malt, white grape/raisin, and hops. Vaguely woody, as well.

T: Toasted malt, white pepper, buttery oak, toffee, raisin, earthy hops, and a pinch of mint.

M: Dry and prickly with just the right amount of stickiness from the oak and hops. Finish is tangy and coating.

D: Very enjoyable and an excellent surprise just brought back from England!

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 16.9oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a dark amber color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, honey, nuts, some hops and some fruit.

T: The taste starts out with flavors of caramel, honey, bourbon and a little bit of fruit. Then there’s a hearty but not too heavy malt character that comes in. The hops presence is mild and brings a little balance. The after-taste is sweet.

M: Smooth and a little crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, good kick, decent representation of style, it’s a decent beer but there are better beers in the style.

Photo of M_C_Hampton
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured from a 500 ml bottle into a glass, rich red amber brown colored with a large off white head, clear

S: heavy on malt, caramel, dark fruits, breast

T: malt forward, caramel and dark fruits, prune, raisin

M: heavy with lower carbonation, warming and rich

O: a nice old ale with emphasis on malt, nice at room temp

Photo of thehyperduck
3.71/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle from a 4-pack picked up at the LCBO. Other than the flagship Old Speckled Hen, this particular line of beers is pretty sparsely distributed in these parts, which makes this sampler a rather nice opportunity to sample some offerings from one of the first English brewers I ever took an interest in. Served slightly chilled.

Pours a bright, clear orange-amber colour, topped with a half-finger of dense, light tan-coloured head that quickly seeps away. A filmy cap and narrow collar remain, with minimal lacing. Malty aroma typical of paler English ales - bready malts, toffee and butterscotch, with some non-descript fruity esters. A little woody, with a very slight touch of ethanol - not bad.

Tastier than the nose lets on, though there's still nothing earth-shattering here. Malts are the area of focus here, with a mixture of bready malts, biscuits and toasted nuts comprising the backbone. Toffee is also quite noticeable, with some fruity notes of sultana raisin and fig coming through as well. The finish becomes increasingly earthy as the hops begin to take charge, culminating with a spicy, almost woody feel in the aftertaste, in addition to caramel and some faint warmth. Medium-bodied, with moderate carbonation and a slick but spritzy mouthfeel. Fairly easy to drink quickly, but this is something I'd rather sip slowly for a while.

Final Grade: 3.71, a B grade. Old Crafty Hen is a tasty strong English ale, though 'old ale' probably wouldn't have been my first guess on a blind tasting. Style aside, fans of Innis & Gunn will probably appreciate this one, as it offers a somewhat similar flavour profile with a noticeably more varied hop presence (and thus better balance IMO). A great beer to warm your bones on a cold winter's night, and something I'd consider getting again - it paired nicely with some beef stew.

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Old Crafty Hen from Greene King / Morland Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 216 ratings.