Old Speckled Hen - Greene King / Morland Brewery

Not Rated.
Old Speckled HenOld Speckled Hen

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1,861 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,861
Reviews: 885
rAvg: 3.44
pDev: 16.57%
Wants: 31
Gots: 174 | FT: 0
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:
Beer added by: Quaffer on 10-23-2000

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (62) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,861 | Reviews: 885
Reviews by jkanavel:
Photo of jkanavel
3.16/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have to admit up front my affection for this beer. This is a LEGENDARY session brew as far as I'm concerned. That being said...

A: Really pretty rust orange.

S: Flat Flat Flat, little malt, little hops.

T: Distinct sourness, good hop to sweetness balance. Nothing else to speak of.

M: so creamy. Its like a red guiness...but slightly less bitter. That is all.

More User Reviews:
Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, bottled on 11/30/2013. Pours crystal clear reddish copper color with a 1 finger dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with some moderate streaming carbonation. Aromas of caramel, toast, brown bread, plum, apple, honey, herbal, grass, light pepper, and yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, yeast ester, and earthy hop notes; with solid strength. Taste of caramel, toast, brown bread, plum, apple, nuttiness, light roast, herbal, grass, light pepper, and yeast earthiness. Light earthy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, brown bread, nuttiness, herbal, grass, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and robustness of dark/bready malt, earthy hops, and yeast ester flavors; with a good malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Very clean in flavor as well. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied; with a very smooth and fairly creamy/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with no warming present after the finish as expected of 5%. Overall this is a very nice English pale ale! All around good balance and robustness of dark/bready malt, earthy hops, and yeast ester flavors; and very smooth to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

Photo of oberon
3.48/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have had this a few times and always think its gonna be better each time I drink it,its not a bad beer but just seems to be missing a little something.Pours a deep copper/amber with a light head,aroma is slightly musty and malty.A pretty big pale ale nice maltiness but I would like maybe some more fruitiness to it.It is a pretty drinkable ale for the big maltiness.

Photo of brownbeer
4.15/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Classic amber color with an off-white head.

The aroma is very nice, caramel, tea leaves, and earth.

Maris otter and English yeast work well together as far as the taste goes. A touch of toasty toffee and earthy hops are there. It's malty but manages to stay dry, which is a plus.

Really drinkable, impressive English ale. I could session this every day and not complain.

Photo of wesbrownyeah
3.29/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

"Old Speckled Hen" English Pale Ale poured from a Nitro-can into a pint glass. 5.2% alcohol. 14.9 fluid oz.

A- Pours a brilliant pale orange fluid with massive and lingering off white sticky head that leaves huge fluffy lacing on glass.

S- Light scents of sweet malts and tangy hop spice. Almost an alcohol estery scent lingering as well.

T-M- Taste is off toasted sweet malts, mild flat floral hops and creamy buttered bread fininsh. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth with little to distiguish it from others of its kind.

D- Well as most nitro-can english pub ales this is a session beer in all aspects. Drink up and cheers!

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.21/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

An OK beer. Amber color with a thick white head and some lacing. It had a sweet, grainy aroma, pretty nondescript. Taste also pretty nondescript; sweet,bready, a little hops. Decent mouthfeel, and drinkable. I'm not a huge fan of most British beers, so I'm probably knocking some points off for that.

Photo of Todd
3.51/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: On draft @ The Pheonix Landing, Central Square, Cambridge, MA.

Appearance: Deep hazy amber, with a rich look to it. A creamy off-white head site a top, stays and sticks (poured through a Nitro system).

Smell: Semi-medicinal aroma with hidden sweet malts in the background.

Taste: Extremely smooth. Well rounded mouthfeel. Toasted, caramel and sweet malt flavours (likened to unfermented wort). A bit of a spicy, lemony hop flavour begins about 3/4 of the way through and dries, then balances the malt profile. Finishes sweet with a bit of medicinal flavour.

Notes: This is a fairly rich, robust and extremely drinkable Pale Ale. Makes for a great session beer as it goes down with no effort.

Photo of sponberg
3.8/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very bright dark gold with a creamy white head. The nose is butterscotch and Schlitz all the way.

Starts out with a good butterscotch base (diacetyl?) with a slight but noticeable lemon/spice hoppy bite. I noticed a slight tang, sort of an "English beer from a can" flavor halfway through that I found distracting. I've noticed this before in this beer - maybe it's a hop thing? Pours down extremely easy, with light to medium body. A nice session beer, even if there are others I'd prefer.

Photo of grynder33
3.33/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very appleish hop aroma, amber gold color, carmelly taste, the regular nitro smooth mouth feel, sweetness seems to stay but carmel taste disappears, what first seems creamy turns a little flat towards the end. Slight bitterness comes on at the end. I would drink somebody else's but would never buy a 4 pack

Photo of otoolman221
2.03/5  rDev -41%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This was an average brew at best.

Photo of generallee
3.45/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: It was poured from a clear 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. The label lists the abv at 5.2%.

Appearance: It has a light amber body with good clarity and a small quick fading white head.

Smell: The aroma is light overall. The hops are up front and offer very light mineral like notes with a slight skunked presence over a very pale thin malt.

Taste / Palate: The flavor has a nice bready maltiness up front along with some mild caramel and toffee sweetness. Hop flavor comes in quickly and adds some dryness and mellow bitterness to the finish.

Photo of Doomcifer
2.98/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

served from nitro can.

appearance - clear reddish brown, with a great frothy-nitro head. nice looking beer.

smell - honey, vanilla, sweet malts, buttery

taste - sweet maltiness, toffee, very faint hop finish, buttery, it's not bad.

mouthfeel - very full bodied yet flat...meh

drinkability - one is good enough for me.

Photo of merlin48
2.05/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

OSH was first brewed by Morlands, in Abingdon, as a 50 year tribute to MG cars, in 1979. It is supposed to be a bitter or ESB, with a prominent sweet toffee and caramel character from crystal malts and a floral hoppiness from Goldings hops. Sadly, the MG factory closed in 1980, and was later razed. OSH is now brewed elsewhere by Greene King. As an MG enthusiast, I was hoping that the Hen would be a pleasant and nostalgic British bitter. In the USA, unfortunately, in most cases it is not. I've had this in the nitro infused, widget cans, but this review is based on a pouring from a clear, 12 oz bottle.
Served into an English pint glass, this pours a clear, copper body with an initially promising boneivory head that falls into a film almost immediately.
Aroma is skunked, worse than sulfuric. No caramel or toffee from the crystal malts, and definitely no floral hops.
Mouthfeel has adequate carbonation, but is ruined by the skunkiness.
Taste is somewhat better than the aroma and mouthfeel, and some caramel is picked up near room temperature. It is claimed that this is still brewed with a Morlands yeast strain from the 19th century, and this does have a pronounced dry and dank yeastiness. The finish is dry and bitter as it should be, but not so much in the pleasing manner of a good English bitter or pale ale.
Very little here to encourage drinkability. It is actually better in the widget cans which at least lack the skunkiness. Stores in central Kentucky, stopped selling this by the bottle because of complaints similar to what I have noted here. If you can kind this from a fresh keg or cask, I would recommend trying it. By all means, avoid this in the clear bottles, unless you're certain they are fresh and have been kept away from light and extreme temperatures. The Old Hen,obviously, does not like to travel far from the coop.

Photo of tigg924
2.68/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: clear, amber, decent head

Smell: big time malt and some grass

Taste: grass, malt, and grapes--like a light white wine

Mouthfeel: watery, light, dry-start with a bitter finish

Drinkability: I personally think this tastes like Budweiser with a kick. Very light and indistinguishable for me. I would not turn this down, but will not be picking this up.

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.47/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled from a tall, clear bottle. First time I've had this bottled - usually I get it on draught or in canned form.

Poured into a nonic. Big carbonation bubbles cling to the sides of the glass. Russet-orange in colour, with a thin, soapy head, not much lacing or retention. Not that this is uncommon for the style, however, but I can't say it's visually appealing beer.

Nose is caramel, tea, toffee, leafy hops. Not bad.

Taste gets considerably better as it warms up (definitely one I'd prefer at English serving temperature). Malty, with notes of caramel, toffee and tea. Hops to the finish. I don't think the bottle has helped matters, as there is a slight sour skunk to the whole thing, but generally it's not bad. Standard big-market EPA.

Watery, slightly oily, aggressive carbonation at first which settles down near the finish.

Not bad, but certainly very different in this clear bottle from what I remember the draught version tastes like. Certainly a more manufactured feel to it here, a very run-of-the-mill English pale. Still, it's going down well and I'll probably come back to it again, just next time in another serving type.

Photo of recons54
3/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: A foamy head with a pale yellow tint, that leaves a good amount of lacing stuck to the side of the glass. It had a pretty dark orange color to it.

S: malty and spice smell

T: To my palate it had notes of coffee and finished dry/sweet. .. well balanced.

M: medium body and good amount of carbonation.

D: Overall it was good, and I enjoyed the beer, but felt a little heavy after a few of these. I had a couple of these beers with some steak for dinner and thought it really enhanced my meal!

Photo of mattster
3.68/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Opened 14.9 fl. oz Nitro can and poured into Nonic Glass.

Once beer settled, it formed a nice, firm 1" creamy tan head that seemed to retain well. Slight lacing on glass. Brew is light tea brown, mostly clear with interesting bubble formations on inside of glass.

Smells malty with a slight nuttiness. Has that traditional earthy and almost "old basement" taste to it. Drinks really easy, but bubbles seem nonexistent on palate. I could definitely have another or two.

Photo of Byeast
3.58/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance--Old Speckled Hen poured a clear , reddish copper with a head of about an inch.

Smell-- slightly malty , yeasty , a bit of buttery diacetyl.

Taste-- a firm, semisweet malty body , some diacetyl again ,dry yeasty flavors , a bit of bittering hop flavor as well. Smooth and round.

Mouthfeel-- Smooth with a dry finish and pleasant, long lingering aftertaste.

Drinkability-- Very drinkable English pale ale. I could imagine throwin back quite a few of these in an English Pub.

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
3.16/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Purchased strictly for the name (I just find a beer called "Old Speckled Hen" funny for some reason), I honestly didn't know what to expect.

I tried the nitro can version and poured according to the directions on the can. Upon pouring into the glass, an incredibly thick, merigue-like head appeared. Impossibly small bubbles formed an inch thick head that lasted the entire time, at the same time coating the entire glass. Also, there was a fair amount of sheeting action down the sides of the glass. Certainly not what I expected.

Aroma was a mixture of fruity dominance. Taste was thinner than I expected, and it was difficult to finish off the last few ounces as it got warmer. Flavor was well-balanced but nothing really impressive. Mouthfeel, due to the thick head, was good. Finished rather dry, which was surprising, given the 5.2% alcohol content.

Photo of bsp77
3.71/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from nitro-tap into Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Clear, bright amber with thick nitro head and layers of lacing.

Smell: Spicy and floral English hops, cherry & other fruit and light tea.

Taste: Light malts with some cherry, dark fruit and tea-like characteristics. Fairly strong English hops take over and carry through the finish. Slightly sour. I feel strange saying this, but it is a little unbalanced toward the hops; the malts should supply better support.

Feel: Smooth and creamy nitro body with low carbonation and a dry finish.

Drinkability: Very drinkable English Ale that is almost too hoppy considering the relatively weak malts.

Still trying to find the ideal version of this beer as nitro mutes the malts and the clear bottle is usually a little off. Guess I need to go to England for a cask beer for the real thing.

Photo of magictrokini
2.88/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dry beer. Pours hazy gold with a big white head. Straw, stale, dank aroma with a sugary metal. Somewhat sour, but not in a good, hoppy way. Has a mild flavor that is tough to pin down. Kind of like hay, but not in a bad way. It leaves you a little disappointed, but not enough to complain.

Photo of btmo
3.63/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours well, but I found the head didn't last very long.

Quite a pleasant taste, with a bit of bitterness in the finish.

Nice straw-like nose and a hint of hops.

Sorry folks - but to me, this is JAB.

"Just another beer" - ie, pleasant, but nothing special.

Photo of Bamabrew22
3.68/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at a British pub, this one did not disappoint. Great English ale!

Appearance in a nonic pint glass reminded me of jolly old England. Just a good looking ale, gold to amber in color with a slight lacing of billowy head to top it off. Smell was of malt sweetness with various fruits, maybe apricot and pear. It tasted like a consistently good old English ale. Sweetness from the malt was balanced just right with a touch of hops, probably Kent goldings. Just a glancing of fruityness along the palate. Mouthfeel was rather light; what you'd expect from an ale. Overall, this was just a great English ale. Reminded me of the old country. Could definitely make this a great session brew, if I could just get it more easily. Plus, you gotta love the name!

Photo of jsolack
3.95/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Amber in color and slightly hazy. Head is creamy off white. Looks nice.

Nutty and sweet with some dark grainy hints.

Sweet grains and candy smell that is very nice.

Semi-dry and nicely carbonated. Feels slightly heavy in the mouth.

Overall a nice flavorful beer. Goes down smooth and has a moderately bitter after taste.

Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours brilliant gold with a lacy white foam collar. A trace of sulfur in the aroma. Fruit and biscuit flavors. Exceptionally creamy with almost a nitro quality.

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Old Speckled Hen from Greene King / Morland Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 1,861 ratings.