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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
85
very good

79 Reviews
THE BROS
88
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 79
Hads: 247
Avg: 3.79
pDev: 23.75%
Wants: 13
Gots: 40 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Greene King / Morland Brewery
United Kingdom (England) | website

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 (61) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Crafty Hen Alström Bros
Reviews: 79 | Hads: 247
Photo of WastingFreetime
3.77/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Garnet in color with excellent clarity and a collar of creamy foam that stays around for about a minute but leaves no lacing. Aroma is bready and fruity (apples, white pears) with just a hint of alcohol. Flavor was also warmly malty with fruity aspects, but had more focus on raisins and dark fruits than the aroma did. If I had to criticize something, it would be that the lightly hopped bitterness comes across as somewhat murky, unfocused, and nondescript compared to the sharply focused stellar composition of the malt bill. Has a rich mouthfeel without being heavy in texture, and is lightly carbonated. Finish is semi-dry but stubby short in duration.

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Photo of RickS95
3.62/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

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Photo of rangerred
3.72/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle into a nonic.

Pours a clear medium brownish red with a thin half finger head. No lacing at all.

Aroma is very malty with tons of caramel, toffee, and molasses.

The taste continues the characteristics in the nose with additions of dark fruit. Still toffee and molasses and quite prominent with some undertones of pipe tobacco. Bitterness is light to moderate with the mouthfeel being full and smooth.

Overall, this is wonderful if you like malty beers. I tend to love English ales and this one was not a let down. Would love to have on cask sometime.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

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Photo of metter98
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

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Photo of keithmurray
3.06/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

500ML bottle poured into a mug

Appearance - clear copper/amber color with thick, frothy white head

smell - burnt brown sugar, toffee, malts, I also think this may have skunked a little bit due to the clear bottle

taste - malt, toffee, caramel, a little bit of wood in the finish

mouthfeel - thin body to this one, low carbonation, flavors do not stay around long enough to savor

Overall - not a bad beer, but within the style, this falls flat, lacking depth of flavor that I've experienced from other old ales. Factor in what I paid for it and I can't see buying this again.

Price Point - $3.99/500ML Bottle

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.47/5  rDev -8.4%
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.

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Photo of fx20736
4/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

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Photo of Jason
3.91/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

50cl clear bottle. Some code stamped on bottle, but no freshness date.
Served in a Nonic tumbler.

It pours a bright tannish/copper color with a solid, but fast-fading off white frothy head, along with lots of lacy rings.
Smells of toasted malt are upfront. Just underneath are a lively mix of peaty malt, citrusy and tea-like hops, distant whiffs of sulfur and a dose of amber rum.
Flavors of roasted malt, toffee, strong tea and honey, maple, figs, rum and tobacco are easy to notice. Distant tastes of lime-like citrus, dark berries and an ever-so-slight metallic tang lie in the finish.
The body is full, yet not thick. It’s buttery, but not oily. There’s a bubbly carbonation, yet it’s not spritzy.
It’s a bit potent, but not overwhelming
I’m VERY impressed with this ale! It’s Old Speckled Hen’s busty and sexy mother.
Well Done!!!
Well, all except for the clear glass bottle.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

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Photo of damndirtyape
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.29/5  rDev -13.2%
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.

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Photo of Xanthros
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a pint glass. Small head that disappeared rather quickly.

Nose is mostly the earthy/toffee hops, even some grass in there. Taste starts off more or less what one would expect from the nose, with forward hops much like an English bitter. Somewhat alcoholic, golden raisin and malt flavors.

Very clear, crisp and light in the mouth.

If you are a fan of English ales and bitters, you will probably like this more than most.

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Photo of DrJay
4/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

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Photo of thierrynantes
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer bottle (50 cl.) purchased from Bières & Chopes, and tasted in 2012.

Appearance : amber color, with white foam head.
Smell : fruity and hopy aromas.
Taste & mouthfeel : malty flavours with lightly bitter finish.
Drinkability : a good beer in the English style Old Ale.

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Photo of ArrogantBastage
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 pint 0.9 fl oz, clear bottle poured into an appropriate mug

A- Pours a bright, clear, rich copper with a nice dense, creamy head. Some lacing clings to the glass as the head settles slowly and the beer is sipped. Nice cap of foam lingering for the remainder of the session.

S- Rich bready malts tinged with some raisins spiked with herbal, spicy and floral hops.

T- Intense malt starts off the experience followed swiftly by spicy hops lending smoothness to the beer. The middle is loaded with intense sweet, bready malts, rich English hops, and a subtle tartness. The finish is ever so slightly sweet but kept in check by a nice dose of hop bitterness that slowly fades between sips.

M- Medium bodied with a nice amount of carbonation leading to a creamy smoothness to the beer which accentuates the taste.

D- Absolutely enjoyable and easy to have more than one back to back.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

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Photo of MoreThanWine
3.6/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a 1.5" off-white head which appeared to exhaust the effervescence in the glass and fade fairly quickly. Body is a quite attractive clear amber, almost like a radiant varnish. Smell is quite complex with an array of malts, hops, toffee, caramel, vanilla. Taste mirrors all the smells but is much milder than expected. A fairly long bitter finish follows and I'd call that a trademark of the Hen trio of beers. All in all this is a good beer but I like the bites of both Speckled Hen and Hen's Tooth better.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.52/5  rDev -7.1%
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.

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Photo of celticfutblclub
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A - copper body with no little carbonation present. nice fluffy off white head two fingers thick. very good retention and ok lacing.

S - toffee caramel sweet malts and raisins.

T - caramel and sweet malts and raisins most present here. nice oak flavor as well. theres a pretty decent grassy hop bitterness to it (more than I expected at least). really tasty stuff.

M - moderate carbonation. unbelievably smooth with a good dry finish nice astringency and nice feel of alcohol on the tongue and throat, its subtle but its there.

O - very good brew so glad its finally made its way state side.

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Photo of wl0307
4/5  rDev +5.5%
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…?

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Photo of fullsweep
2.95/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

500 mL clear bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: clear brown beer with a thick-ish head and plenty of lacing

S: sour, mushroom/earthy, and fermented

T: alcoholic with a sweet aftertaste

M: first sip or two is actually numbing to the tongue, has a syrupy thickness to the feel/body

D: not bad, but not great either. The higher 6.5 (for English ales) makes it less appealing in some ways, BUT that is characteristic of the style.

I've only tried two old ales at this point (Old Peculiar and this one) and I definitely prefer OP over OCH.

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Photo of DerBayer
2.93/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

What a rip-off almost 3 quid for a pint sized bottle in Sainers. But it looks very good, promising almost:

A - A beautiful ruby to dark fawn colour - this must be great

S - Smells lovely also - fruit notes, hops, some malt and spiciness

T - Now it starts to disappoint it s not hideous but just a bit bland with a confused taste of a bit of everything

M - Too stale and manages to be dry also

D - I would not recommend this beer and probably not drink it again myself unless in dire need. Stick to Old Speckled Hen for a tastier AND mor affordable experience

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Old Crafty Hen from Greene King / Morland Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 79 ratings.