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Old Speckled Hen - Greene King / Morland Brewery

Old Speckled HenOld Speckled Hen

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,522 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1522
Reviews: 836
rAvg: 3.44
pDev: 16.86%

Brewed by:
Greene King / Morland Brewery visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Pale Ale |  5.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Quaffer on 10-23-2000)
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Ratings: 1,522 | Reviews: 836 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of reebtaerG


3.63/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Twisted Victoria on 4/5/14

A-Pours dark orange with a wonderful waterfall effect with a two fingers of creamy white foam sites on top while carbonation slowly releases to meet the head.

S-Aroma of caramel and malt.

T-Taste is malty, a little sweet, a little musky and a bit of hop on the back end.

M-Palate is creamy and smooth.

O-Overall a great beer was surprised how tasty especially for breakfast.

Serving type: nitro-tap

04-20-2014 02:07:57 | More by reebtaerG
Photo of MarkoNm


3.33/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours a clean coppery color, topped with just slightly off-white foamy head of average size.
The aroma is (surprisingly) mild - malts and some biscuity note also present.
The taste starts sweet, followed by some roasted feel, not too strong, finishing with a slight bitterness that lasts not too long.
A very nice beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2014 15:23:08 | More by MarkoNm
Photo of jmbranum


4.55/5  rDev +32.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have seen this on the shelves but have normally passed it up due to its price. But since it is on sale, I thought I would give it a try.

Pours a very attractive light amber liquid, clear, with a slight head.

Aroma is grain laden and bready.

Flavor is very well-balanced, everything I imagine an English beer will be. Nothing dominates but instead it is a nice marriage of grain, a slight toastyness, some caramel, some hops and some herbal notes.

Very smooth medium-to-full mouthfeel.

I like it. I'm not sure it is worth what I sometimes see it priced at, but it is very good. I will buy it again if it is on sale.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2014 18:56:03 | More by jmbranum
Photo of BeerKangaroo


3.28/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Into a pint glass.

A: clear amber/red colored body with a one finger head that sustains for a good minute before slowly dieing to leave a clingy lacing, some carbonation is seen rising

S: English pale malts - malty sweet and could be construed as "soapy" to some

T: malty sweet all the way through; strong English malty aftertaste, quick dry finish

M: light to medium; somewhat sessionable, carbonation is mainly subdued and is good for the style and to me

O: though maybe nothing special to scream about, but hey for what its worth, I could see myself having it again with some fish n' chips.

Serving type: can

03-29-2014 05:01:39 | More by BeerKangaroo
Photo of Richardp

United Kingdom (England)

2.83/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

This is suppoed to be a special bitter, and I'm sure it used to be better. It is possible this was a bad bottle. I'm unable to find a bbe on the bottle neck, just a batch code

The appearance was not good, even in the bottle. Too golden, and slightly cloudy for a bitter.

Once poured, it did smell ok. I'd considered leaving it, as it was hard to pour, way too gassy, and cloudy without sediment. The smell of goldings and / or fuggles hops, a hint of sulphur, and dankweasel (undefined anaerobic smell). The malt seems to have gone missing?

Tastes ok, if it was a home brew, then I'd be enthusiastic, and ask the brewer to contine to refine the process. I suspect some sort of contamination?

The mouthfeel was not good, oily in the mouth, with a drying on the toungue. Not really great.

I may try another and update this, as it's dissapointing, it's a big brewery, and usually consistent. Green king IPA is a good choice if no other ale is available, even if it's not that exciting.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2014 22:03:59 | More by Richardp
Photo of JuicesFlowing


3.33/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured into an Irish pint glass.

Look: Copper, English breakfast tea. Light cream colored head recedes to a wisp, no lacing.

Aroma: Faint caramel malts, some skunk from the clear bottle.

Taste: Mostly malt sweetness, some toffee, sour hop finish, some skunkiness.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied.

Overall: The skunkiness ruins a lot of this. The canned version would be a good bet.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2014 19:31:31 | More by JuicesFlowing
Photo of mfnmbvp


3.08/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

14.9 fl oz. can, with some kind of coded canned on date on the bottom. I am assuming that this is the nitro-can version of this beer, because the can mentions something about a "fixed widget which may rattle". My first encounter with this beer and this brewery; acquired as part of a mixed six pack at the local Binny's.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Oh yeah, this was definitely a nitro-can. It hissed open, and poured a crazy looking triple layered white / khaki colored head on top of a beautiful burnt copper colored body. Lots of tiny flecks of sediment in the glass and some bubbles clinging to the side. Two to three fingers of thick creamy white head with excellent staying power. Looks pretty damn awesome.

S - The smell is comprised of English / amber malt breadiness, some cheap grainy adjuncts, and lots of raisin.

T - Taste is hardly comprised of anything at all. Cheap grainy adjuncts, bready / pilsner malt, some sticky green apple skin, and little else. Poor depth and duration of flavor.

M - The mouthfeel might be the worst thing about this beer; very contrasting. Extremely smooth and creamy from the nitro, but extremely thin and watery. Grainy and dry on the finish, with some lingering breadiness / green apple skin. Feels like a cheap adjunct lager.

Overall, this is an interesting and unique beer, but the concept is definitely greater than the finished product. Extremely conflicting though - looks great, smelled okay, taste was just not there at all. It grew on me the more I drank it, but this was very boring and one-dimensional. Glad to have had it, especially on nitro-can, but I wouldn't want this again.

Morland Old Speckled Hen ---3/5.

Serving type: nitro-can

02-17-2014 04:06:26 | More by mfnmbvp
Photo of troobie


3.18/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

My 100th beer on BeerAdvocate!!!

I just learned from the BJCP website that an English Pale Ale is also known as an ESB. I knew of the ESB style but didn't know it was an English Pale Ale. Fascinating.

A: Very underwhelming. Despite a hard pour the head disappears quickly and the lacing is almost nonexistent. All of the previous reviews I read noting a great appearance also mentioned being poured from a nitro-tap. Beer appears almost pink inside its clear bottle but is a more acceptable copper upon being poured. Neat trick that.

S: Caramel, toffee, butter, nuts, wood, toasted bread, and tea. Strong, strong alcohol coming off of this, so much so that it slightly burns my nostrils. With the addition of the alcohol in my nose this reminds me of a blended whiskey. Strange.

T: Way more flavor than expected. Starts out sweet but very quickly turns to hop bitterness. Strong hop bitterness that lasts well after swallowing. Can't find the IBU's for this but would love to know. Strong caramel, toffee, tea, and toasted bread flavors. Nutty, as in cashews. I'm even picking up some light mint. Hops only provide bitterness.

M: Strong, stinging carbonation after a solid pour. Tea like drying that lasts too long. Slightly slick.

O: "Owld Speckled Un" is probably my first true example of this style. It has so much more flavor and character than I expected. Very sessionable. I enjoyed it but won't seek it out again anytime soon.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2014 11:48:52 | More by troobie
Photo of Captain_Komamura


3.61/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - a dark amber color, with not much of a head.

Smell - a sweet caramel malt smell, with some hoppy smell to it.

Taste - a nice sweet / bitterness taste as well as a smokiness to it , with a hoppy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - a good bodied beer, perfect amount of carbonation.

Overall - a pretty decent English pale ale; I'm a huge fan of the smokiness in this beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2014 03:20:59 | More by Captain_Komamura
Photo of BucannonXC5


3.43/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Type: 440 ML (14.9 oz.) nitro can
Glass: Stone Ruination IPA pint glass
From: Cherokee Market Beer & Wine in Normal Heights (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $2.79
Purchased: Oct. 25, 2013
Consumed: Oct. 27, 2013
Misc.: A part on the can read, “This can contains a floating widget which may rattle. Please do not shake the can before opening.”

Poured an auburn clear color with three fingers of khaki cream head after settling on the top. Getting there was a treat as the foam and lacing slowly made its way up. Very nice. Healthy amount of uneven thick lacing along the sides. Tons of thick foamy retention on the top all the way down.

Smelled caramel malts, sourdough bread, cereal, honey, iced tea, rye, plum, dark cherry and old apple.

Tasted pretty close to what I thought it was going to and a lot like the smell. Got iced tea, rye notes, caramel, honey, plum, figs and warm bread.

Medium body. Creamy texture. Soft-to-flat carbonation. Abrupt finish.

A decent English Pale Ale overall. I’d probably have it again.

Serving type: nitro-can

10-28-2013 06:04:57 | More by BucannonXC5
Photo of Etan


3.26/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Nitro at The Coopers Tavern.

A: Pours a clear cherry red with a moderate light tan head.

S: Smells of bread and overripe fruit, a bit cidery and syrupy.

T: Taste brings notes of soft cherries, apricot, a bit leafy, grain.

M. Medium-bodied with light carbonation.

O. Not enjoying the hop profile on this very much. Has a bit of a syrupy taste to it.

Serving type: nitro-tap

10-08-2013 05:40:54 | More by Etan
Photo of Portertime


3.24/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: I am partaking this one in my Kronenbourg 1664 pokal. It pours a fiery rouge with the tell-tale clarity. There is only a one-finger head but it floats on top like a halo.

Smell: bread crust, herbal hops, melted caramel, nice and aromatic.

Taste: strong wheat bread overtones followed by smooth and creamy malts fading into a spicy hop finish. It is like a liquid loaf of bread!

Serving type: bottle

09-26-2013 00:49:14 | More by Portertime
Photo of StuartCarter


4.5/5  rDev +30.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 500ml bottle.

Appearance: clear copper color, thin head that quickly collapses into nothing.

Smell: beautiful grassy, earthy British hop funk.

Taste: oh, wonderful. Presents initially with a hard hop bitterness wrapped in toffee. Once it warms a little the hard bitterness fades leaving a wonderful balance of toffee-caramel Maris Otter and earthy/grassy hop funk. Aftertaste leaves a lingering hop bitterness and sweet toffee caramel.

Mouthfeel: hard edged carbonation.

Overall: a wonderful example of an English Pale Ale. Hits all of the points I expect an EPA to hit.

Serving type: bottle

09-26-2013 00:22:49 | More by StuartCarter
Photo of ThisWangsChung


2.7/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

14.9 oz nitro-can into a pint glass.

A: Well, it's a nitro-can beer, ergo it looks stunning. It pours a mostly clear copper color, capped off by a stunning one-finger white head. Retention is unbelievably good - it hasn't even faded a millimeter since I poured it a minute ago - and the head will leave behind an indestructible wall of lacing on the side of the glass.

S: Well, it's a nitro-can beer, ergo the aroma is damn mild. In fairness, it's less mild than others (looking at you, Guinness Draught...), but with only touches of butter, mild fruitiness, and some earth, there's nothing showstopping here. What's there smells perfectly fine, at least.

T: Well, it's a nitro-can beer, ergo flavors are almost negligible. What DO I pick up? Maybe some buttery tones to start, and a sweet tea-like finish. Actually, this drinks a lot like hard semi-sweet tea in general, but with a mild yet bothersome bitterness on the back end that I don't like.

M: Well, it's a nitro-can beer, ergo it feels watery and un-carbonated. It doesn't even have that spectacular drinkability most nitro-cans do, thanks to the fact it's not entirely dry on the back end. An easy drinking nature should have been it's next best trait next to how it looks in a glass - and it just isn't.

O: Well, it's a nitro-can beer, ergo it wasn't going to be plagued by the skunk you get from clear bottles. That, and it's drop dead gorgeous look, is about where my praise ends. There's nothing BAD about it...there's just not much good about it, either. It's really telling that this is far less drinkable than the 8.7% DIPA I had right before this.

Serving type: nitro-can

09-24-2013 19:50:46 | More by ThisWangsChung
Photo of JerzDevl2000

New Jersey

3.7/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had this beer years ago and decided to give it a go once again. While I didn't recall this being that great, I can appreciate it more now given how long it's been since I last had it. This is about as good an example of a session English Pale Ale as can be found and it almost felt like a forerunner to the Innis and Gunn beers, since this was that smooth and enjoyable. While nothing stood out here, there weren't any flaws to be found as well.

The pour to this was nice, as this had a dark copper hue, a good amount of head, and wonderful lacing from top to bottom. Not much of an aroma to this and the taste was a bit varied. Lots of sugar, light rum, macro-like corn filler (even though this was certainly an ale), noble hops, and some Lemon zest that kicked in later on. The alcohol was faint, but certainly present, and the bitterness that kicked in was a bit leathery. It was to be expected in an English beer such as this and the carbonation was quite strong too. This ensured that the flavors did not stick around that long during each sip and only the warming aspect of this beer endured for the duration.

This certainly felt stronger than it was in actuality and had I bought another one of these, I could have easily downed it after finishing this off. There wasn't a lot of body to the malt here and because this was so light, it wasn't heavy or even as bitter as other English beers that I've rated highly in the past. This is a no-frills Ale that's a good example of the style but at the same time, needed something to go along with it as a snack. Perhaps some fish and chips?

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2013 13:41:58 | More by JerzDevl2000
Photo of Trout


3.68/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: poured on nitro, nice cascades of off-white fine nitro bubbles settling into a beautiful and brite amber/orange beer with nearly 1" of creamy, dense foam.

Aroma: sweet bread and caramel with hints of clean stone fruit. Hops, slightly spicy with subtle fruit dominating.

Flavor: clean and dry with very minimal hop character. Malt flavors dominate with residual sweetness and a hint of roast and caramelized sugar. A touch of diacetyl in both aroma and flavor is appropriate for the style.

Mouthfeel: soft and silky on nitro. Smooth, not chewey... No carbonic sting and hop astringency minimal.

Overall: a good pale with Classic British malt character and a nice "noble" hop balance. At 5.2 this beer approaches being sessionable. The draught on nitro added to the drinkability.

Serving type: on-tap

09-23-2013 22:26:40 | More by Trout
Photo of Premo88


3.63/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 3.25

14.9 oz. nitro can poured into Guinness pint glass

(07:47 L2333 printed on bottom of can)

L: (key note: this is my first nitro can, so take it for what it's worth)

amazing pour ... the nitro can may or may not be worth the trouble, but the crazy silky creamy pour is fun to watch, and old speckled hen is a pretty brew anyway -- crystal clear red, the most red/pink brew; the head percolates almost throughout the entire column until it settles into the thickest, creamiest 1/2-inch head of offwhite foam

S: pure english pale ale notes -- malt, malt and malt ... the good light kind of sweet bread

T: follows the nose

F: to my american palette, almost a 0. the nitro can may serve a purpose, but it leaves you with water that tastes and smells like good beer -- feels flat.

O: really cool experience and there is NO question this beer tastes better out of the can than the clear-glass bottle, BUT the lack of carbonation is a hit/miss thing depending on your palette and your expectations.

it feels flat to me but tastes great. something to continue experimenting with ...

Serving type: nitro-can

09-03-2013 02:28:06 | More by Premo88
Photo of Jeffreysan


3.61/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Imperial Pint bottle poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a medium-to dark amber color with two fingers of off-white head that slowly dissolved into a nice lacing of foam that covered the entire top of the beer.

Aroma: Lots of toasted malt and sugar, like freshly baked bread and caramel. Reminds me of sweetened cereal.

Taste: Toasted malts and cereal flavors followed by sweet honey and toffee and slightly, very slightly hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth as hell, (on tap, with nitro, its actually smoother) with almost no carbination.

Overall: This is one of my favorite session beers, especially on tap. I love the malty, toffee flavor and the smooth finish.

Serving type: bottle

08-29-2013 22:14:19 | More by Jeffreysan
Photo of Libationguy


3.08/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Clear reddish-copper color. Fine cream colored thin head that remains after the beer has settled.

Metallic note, iron, cream, honey and light malt notes.

Lightly carmelized malt, metallic, hazelnuts, light malt. No real bitterness in the beer.

Light to medium bodied with a slick mouthfeel. Very mild bitterness in the aftertaste.

Rather underwhelming.

Serving type: nitro-can

08-22-2013 05:49:55 | More by Libationguy
Photo of T100Mark


3.58/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Served in an imperial pint glass, on tap (nitro), at Shakespeare Pub and Grill, in San Diego, CA.

Appearance - A light copper color. Initialy cloudy but becomes ecceptionaly clear as the head forms (must be a nitro thing). Thick, creamy head (again, the nitro).

Smell - The beer smells a bit like a cleaning agent (Pine-Sol?) Odd.

Taste - Malt. Slightly sweet. Minimal hops. Very mild.

Mouth - Buttery smooth. Fine, mild carbonation. Very pleasant on the pallet.

Overall - A similar expieriance to Guinness on nitro tap. Unlike Guinness, however, this beer is a little lacking in character. There is nothing wrong with this beer (aside from the unique aroma). The mouthfeel is cool and it sure is pretty to look at. The taste, however, is underwhelming.

Serving type: nitro-tap

07-24-2013 00:57:37 | More by T100Mark
Photo of gr0g

New Jersey

3.13/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Pours a coppery-amber in color with the requisite nitro-widget cascading head. Very nice head retention. Herbal, tea-like aroma thanks to esters and English hops. Dried fruit is also present. While demure, this fits the bill for an English bitter, and it's an aromatic profile I've come to enjoy.

A malty, fruit-laced flavor profile is let down by a disappointing (and not entirely unexpected) texture. The velvet-smooth nitro texture leads to a thin, watery consistency. With a more robust, darker, and/or higher gravity style like a stout, the flavors work better without much carbonation, but that's not the case here. What you're left with is a flat-tasting ale with notes of ripe pear and apple. Moderately dry through to a clean finish.

A promising ale let down by the draught can format. Except for some visual flair, it just doesn't work for pale ales.

Serving type: nitro-can

07-22-2013 00:10:02 | More by gr0g
Photo of recoveringmormon


3.38/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Not sure if it was the can or the nitro but somehow this beer came out with a pretty different flavor than I'm used to on the tap. Part of it is metallic can-taste, which is less enjoyable. I usually think nitro is ok to round off beers with a stronger flavor, but in this case I didn't see it doing a lot of anything, except fun to watch.

Usually though, I agree that this is a reasonably solid standby, on draft at least. I remember liking it best the first time I had it, for its hearty bready malt. Really like a freshly baked loaf of whole-grain bread in refreshing liquid form. Since then I have liked it a little less each time but still regard it as a good first beer.

Serving type: nitro-can

07-21-2013 14:58:36 | More by recoveringmormon
Photo of Samp01

New Jersey

3.25/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours a clear ruby amber with a medium slowly fading beige head. Aroma and Taste of toasted cereal, malt, yeast, slightly fruity with a bit of toffee flavor. A medium body, smooth with good carbonation on the palate. The finish is toasted caramel malt, light fruity and yeast notes ending with some sweet toffee and nutty flavors. Overall a good, refreshing session brew

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2013 01:28:35 | More by Samp01
Photo of Oakenator


3.85/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours a full brown color with a good head at pour. Some spotted lacing present on the glass.

S: Bitter hop aroma.

T: Earthy, spicy hops present throughout. Mild roasted malt flavor shows on the back.

M: Somewhat fizzy, and yet somewhat flat.

O: Still a good staple ale.

Serving type: on-tap

06-27-2013 00:04:00 | More by Oakenator
Photo of Tobiasmjh

United Kingdom (Scotland)

4.18/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Gorgeous summertime ale. Enjoyed poured from bottle on a beach in perfect sunshine! bright golden amber colour, clear as the sky I drank it under with a single centimeter of cloudlike head resting and holding for some time. Scent perhaps obscured by the saltiness of the sea but caught pleasant wiffs of apricot and berrys. distict peachy taste with slight hop bittering just like so many of the ales I like the most. 5.2% but didn't realise until part way through the fourth bottle!! Aha!

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2013 00:32:02 | More by Tobiasmjh
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Old Speckled Hen from Greene King / Morland Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 1,522 ratings.