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Old Crafty Hen - Greene King / Morland Brewery

Not Rated.
Old Crafty HenOld Crafty Hen

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

175 Ratings
THE BROS
88
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 175
Reviews: 64
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 13.86%
Wants: 7
Gots: 10 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: GreenCard on 10-17-2008)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 175 | Reviews: 64 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

3.48/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle pour for the 4th Annual LA Beer Week Beer Festival at Union Station in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours a clear dark orange with a foamy bone colored head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, caramel, and a slight skunk aroma. Taste is much the same with a slight bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is drinkable but not something I would go for again.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2012 04:15:51 | More by UCLABrewN84
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metter98

New York

3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2012 01:35:17 | More by metter98
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2012 16:27:35 | More by oberon
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zeff80

Missouri

3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

03-14-2014 01:48:23 | More by zeff80
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JAHMUR

Connecticut

3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

03-23-2012 14:45:58 | More by JAHMUR
Photo of TheManiacalOne
TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2012 01:10:42 | More by TheManiacalOne
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Jason

Massachusetts

3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2012 04:12:45 | More by Jason
Photo of WVbeergeek
WVbeergeek

West Virginia

3.55/5  rDev -3.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2012 03:23:24 | More by WVbeergeek
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smcolw

Massachusetts

4.15/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thick off-white foamy head. Leaves ring of lace after each sip. Orange, light brown color with a touch of haze.

Smells like cut soured cherries. Some sweet melted sugar.

Rich, almost oily body. Lower carbonation enhances this feel. Potent, lightly toasted malt base. Some alcohol warmth on the tongue. A touch of sourness but less than the smell implies. There's a bit of hop to prevent the beer becoming cloy. Short Carmel candy aftertaste.

Seeing the other scores here, I think it might be worthwhile to find this one on tap.

Serving type: on-tap

04-06-2014 18:51:09 | More by smcolw
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BlackHaddock

United Kingdom (England)

4.47/5  rDev +21.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2008 13:32:35 | More by BlackHaddock
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wl0307

United Kingdom (England)

4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Coming in a 500ml transparent glass bottle, not bottle-conditioned; BB 08/2011, served cool in Gulden Draak’s tulip-shaped glass. Note: this ale is “brewed with a blend of the famous Old 5X, which is aged using [Greene King’s] vintage oak vat maturing method”.

A: pours a bright tawny to reddish copper hue, coming with a fast retreating fluffy beige head and rather mild carbonation.
S: the smell is lightly sweet, mixed of crystal malts, melted Demerara sugar, sweet oakiness imparted by the oak-ageing process and a light, pleasant touch of buttery diacetyl. A swirl and a closer sniff bring to mind white plum jam, semi-banana estery fruitiness, banana oil and deeply sweet honey-ish notes (along the lines of an English Barley Wine, in fact). All in all this is very different than the old Strong Suffolk Vintage (bottle-conditioned) which seems to have disappeared from the UK market (?) – this one shows much more straight-forward sweet fruitiness and much less lactic-oaky complexities, while the sweet oakiness seems to be more pronounced.
T: the lightly effervescent swallow of nice semi-sour fruitiness (marinated yellow plums, sultana, and orange jam mainly) mixed with an old/stale-ish, faintly salty feel of aged ale is underlined by the delicately oaky flavour, gristy brown malts, and a chewy & faintly spicy palate (from both hops and ageing, I believe), leading towards a pleasantly dry & bitter, somewhat herbal yet also burned-vegetable like finish, where aroma of bitter herb powder lingers subtly along with lightly toffee-ish maltiness.
M&O: the mouthfeel is mellow and smooth, the body is medium-plus and the flavour is decent though not really complex enough. I think this blend is not bad at all – I’m wondering what it might be like if bottle-conditioned…?

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2010 22:16:47 | More by wl0307
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dbrauneis

North Carolina

3.74/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a crystal clear amber in color with light amounts of active carbonation slowly rising from the bottom of the glass as well as some orange and garnet red highlights. The beer has a quarter finger tall foamy dark beige head that reduces to a mottled thin film covering the entire surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of fruity yeast (apple + pear) along with moderate flavors of toffee malts. Light notes of earthy hops as well.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of biscuity malts with some light notes of toffee sweetness. That is followed by moderate flavors of light fruity (apple, pear, and white grape) yeast and just a hint of something oak-like. Finally there is a light amount of earthy hop flavors towards the finish. Very light notes of bitterness in the finish which fades almost immediately.

M: Slightly heavier than medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: This is more of a sipping beer even though the ABV is not too high - enjoyable flavors and aromas but it seems a little bigger than it is.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2013 19:54:09 | More by dbrauneis
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jdhilt

New Hampshire

3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a two-finger cream head that fades very slowly leaving a very good lace. Crystal clear amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Earthy hops nose and flavor is caramel and hops. Light lingering bitter aftertaste. Slightly higher ABV is hidden. $4.99 for a 500ml bottle from Julio's Liquors Westborough, Ma.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2011 23:13:47 | More by jdhilt
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DrunkinYogi

Connecticut

3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

04-24-2013 17:12:21 | More by DrunkinYogi
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biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

4.15/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Say what you will about British dental hygiene but their ales are often perfectly manicured and make a stunning first impression; Old Crafty Hen is tanned, polished, and drop dead gorgeous. It has a lightly coppered auburn colour, deep tone but perfect clarity, and just a sprinkling of bubbles. Its head is fine as moss and sits on the beer like fresh dew over blades of grass.

The bouquet is an intriguing combination of toffee and hazelnut, with a hint of iodine and peat; it's vaguely scotch-like owing to the sharp maltiness, earthy hops and subtle wood spice. I can't even smell an English Old Ale like this without fantasizing about how magical it must be to drink from a fresh cask. Alas, I do not live in Britain, and that is my misfortune.

This beer is a blend of Old Speckled Hen and the allusive Old 5X (which is aged in oak vats for two to five years). The resulting flavour produces a perfect balance of wood spice, tannins, dried fruits, toffee biscuits, nut brittle, and lots of wholesome breadiness. Despite its substantial maltiness a strong sherry-like profile constantly intrudes. No issue there though.

Hence, the palate also features a lot of raisin flavour, but isn't sugary or overly sweet in the least; pungent and resinous Target hops add a taste of grassy, vegetal spice and a bitter (almost astringent) taste of spent green and black tea leaves. These resins are earthy and, owing to the oak, make for an aftertaste loosely reminiscent of moss and peat.

The Brits have a particular talent for making intricate ales without compromising their drinkability, without making them boozy, steroid-driven monsters (like the Americans do). Old Crafty Hen is as mellow and manageable as any pint of plain, but it is just that much more alluring and complex. It is a drink most refined; a perfect fireside companion.

Indeed, if Rhett Butler wanted to find somewhere there was left in life charm and grace, he should have settled in Suffolk, right next to the Morland brewery - Old Crafty Hen is nothing if not charming and graceful. English Old Ales like this one - and the Fullers Vintage Ale, which it strongly resembles - teach one how to relax, properly reflect, and appreciate life.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2013 17:51:50 | More by biegaman
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BillRoth

Maryland

3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

12-05-2013 02:59:00 | More by BillRoth
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Mebuzzard

Colorado

3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

04-23-2013 08:33:14 | More by Mebuzzard
Photo of smakawhat
smakawhat

Maryland

4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2011 03:01:34 | More by smakawhat
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Latarnik

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

05-31-2014 01:21:14 | More by Latarnik
Photo of DrJay
DrJay

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bright amber with a coppery hue topped by a fluffy beige cap. Plenty of lacing with good head retention. Fruity aroma, earthy and woody with some sugar and leafy hops. Bitterness was nicely balanced and present throughout. Sweetness was sugary, flavour was a bit citrusy and spicy, and there was a slight alcohol presence and old/stale notes. It finished with more of a plum and raisin character, slight woody astringency, and herbal hops. Medium bodied with creamy carbonation, mild dryness, nice texture. Overall, quite enjoyable with plenty of English character.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2012 00:01:55 | More by DrJay
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LiquidAmber

Washington

3.33/5  rDev -9.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2012 04:21:04 | More by LiquidAmber
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bluejacket74

Ohio

3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2012 00:43:14 | More by bluejacket74
Photo of spinrsx
spinrsx

Ontario (Canada)

3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2013 01:53:07 | More by spinrsx
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mrfrancis

Kentucky

4.01/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark burnished amber with a creamy whitish head that recedes quickly, leaving only a modest amount of lacing.

S: Aromas of leather, toffee, caramel, roasted nuts, heather, tobacco, black pepper, black tea, mild citrus, biscuit, raisin, and oak slowly reveal themselves.

T: Earthy and spicy up front with nicely layered flavors of oak, black pepper, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, black tea, moss, black currant, leather, heather, tobacco, bitter orange, and lemon. Around mid-palate malty notes of caramel, toffee, brown sugar, molasses, sweet cream, and biscuit kick in and balance the peppery, woody notes from the hops. On the finish, a delicate, complex blend of herbs, lemon, oak, pepper, tea, leather, biscuit, and toffee gives way to subtle flavors of raisin and prune.

M: Relatively full in body and dryish, though well-balanced. Carbonation is firm, but not exactly crisp. Alcohol presence is nonexistent.

O: A really nicely executed and wonderfully balanced old ale. While Old Crafty Hen is not the sort of lactic, oaky old ale for which I normally reach, it is still very appealing. All of the traits of Old Speckled Hen, The Tanner's Jack, and Hen's Tooth that I admire seem to have been amplified in this ale. I could see this beer being a wonderful introduction to the world of traditional English old ales and strong ales.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2013 16:12:42 | More by mrfrancis
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tbeckett

Ontario (Canada)

3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

01-26-2014 15:26:23 | More by tbeckett
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Old Crafty Hen from Greene King / Morland Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 175 ratings.