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Old Speckled Hen | Greene King / Morland Brewery

904 Reviews
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Old Speckled HenOld Speckled Hen

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

Style: English Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Quaffer on 10-23-2000

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Reviews: 904 | Ratings: 1,998
Photo of brainwilson
3.77/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I have a soft spot in my heart for this beer. I drank 12 or so on Christmas day in 2006, having been dumped by my girlfriend on Christmas eve. Why would I have fond memories of this beer? I have no idea, so I decided to revisit it.

It's a pretty beer, clear, with a nice copper color. Smells good, sweet and of malts. Tastes much as it smells, with a touch of bitterness.

Verdict: not a bad beer, but best when you're heartbroken in the heart of winter.

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Photo of HamdenHector
3.77/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A; crystal clear; bronze in color; 1 finger off white head that receded to a wispy cap; OK lacing;

S: caramel, toffee, earthy, a bit of tobacco;

T: sweet caramel malt up front that fades into toffee; tobacco is very noticeable from the middle to the end; mild bitterness on the finish;

M: medium bodied; light to moderate carbonation; lightly dry finish;

O: easy drinking;

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Photo of mynie
3.36/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

How have I never had this before?

On nitro tap. Pours a light caramel color with neat, backwards cascading bubbles. Tight, white nitro head, which looks pretty on a stout but weirdly synthetic on a pale:

Smells like Bass and nitrogen. British pales always smell a little stale at first, til my nose adjusts to the sweetness.

Tastes... Like a fruitier Bass. Also like nitrogen. Little caramel, some overripe fruit, and then clean gas.

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Photo of johnnyd10vt
4.05/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not as brown as I had hoped, but a nice drinkable beer. Amber in color (should I say colour? :-) with thick white head. The smell is pure sweet caramel malt). The taste is a refreshing blend between a boring lager and an English brown, malty, sweet with just enough subtle hops to cut the sweetness. Not my normal type of beer, but I could easily drink these all night long.

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Photo of DrCruise
4.59/5  rDev +32.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

First time I've tried this ale. Fantastic from start to finish. Easy drinkability. I believe this will become one of my all time favorites, but there are a lot of beers I haven't tried yet. I will definitely share this with friends.
Sweet aroma on opening the bottle, smooth and very balanced. I have yet to pour it into a glass.

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Photo of illpass78
3.61/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Half a pint can poured into a nonic. Split with my dad over pub pizza.

Appearance: Pours a clear scarlet with a big cream head. Layers of foam billowing during the pour in Guinness-type fashion.

Aroma: Toast, biscuit, malts, lemon.

Taste: Follows the nose. On the EPA/ESB cusp. Bready, toasty, malty and bitter.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. Easy on palate.

Overall: Good, traditional British beer. Not fancy, but doesn't need to be. A peer of Belhaven and Smithwicks.

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Photo of kitschiguy
4.21/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured a 500ml bottle into a beer glass.

I'm very surprised at the average reviews for this beer.

I used to get tanked up on this beer in my local pub during my late teens and early 20's where it was available on cask. I've drank it a few times since. I was given this bottle by a supplier.

Nice light to medium-brown. Typical of the style. Good fluffy head. Hung around and left a bit of lacing.

Beautiful, complex nose with lots of biscuity malts, bread, caramel and toffee. Biscuit predominates.

Palate is very smooth and well balanced. Malty and complex with some hoppy fruits as well.

Mouth medium to full and quite creamy. Nice feel.

Overall a very good example of the style. Typical English bitter; complex malty and very well balanced. Great beer.

Highly recommended.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.67/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear 24 karat gold with a +1" head of foam. Some lacing.

Malty nose with fruity hop presence. Overall sweet and fruity aromas.

The taste has that discernable English hop taste that leans towards the fruity along with sweetish and bready malt notes. I'd say of the fruit, I get mostly lemon and the malt has quite a bit of caramel and some nutty notes.

Light bodied with light carbonation.

Some light toasted malt to go with this ESB. .I have to say that this tickles my fancy. Despite the fact that it comes in a clear bottle.

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Photo of RyanPoff
3.6/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: poured a clear copper color with about a finger of head with excellent retention.

S: Biscuity malts, caramel, bread, clean, understated British flavors.

T: Malts predominate, a bit of bitterness and astringency on the back end. Pretty good for a British beer.

M: a little thin, but still fresh and good to go.

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Photo of MACrist
3.66/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

APPEARANCE: Poured into pint glass from the nitro pint can. Leaves an ultra creamy 1"+ eggshell head that sticks around. Leaves incredible creamy lacing down the glass. After the cascading effect the beer is a very clear dark amber.
AROMA: Sweet toffee/caramel and a nice earthy note.
TASTE: Very mild toffee and a little mild earthy spice.
FEEL: Creamy and smooth. Quite thin body. A little slick and it dries up a little on the finish.
OVERALL: A very mild, smooth brew, in both taste and feel.

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Photo of Sazarac
4.46/5  rDev +28.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

You have to drink this beer on nitro to give it a true review. As far as English pub ales go, this one is at the top of my list. The look is beautiful bronze whith a thick, creamy head. The smell is of British grains, taste is creamy, lingering, the feel is creamy, overall, i love having this on a rainy day. Cheers!

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Photo of DuaneL
4.2/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice mild ale with a strong malty finish, reminiscent of Brr and Winter Warmer style American winter ales. another remarkable, but great for a cold winter afternoon in Buckley's of Centreville; DL 1/30/16.

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Photo of Slamabamadingdong
3.1/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

I was excited to buy this beer because I had it on nitro tap a couple times and I really enjoyed it. From nitro to bottle the beer nearly dropped a whole point for me. The style of this beer is greatly enhanced from the creamier mouth feel of a nitro tap--it tastes a lot more like your typical light beer without it. Regardless, this classic English beer boasts a nice malty, lightly roasty finish. Pours a dark yellow amber with a thin head and milky lacing, though it disappears quickly. It has a bit of a metallic mouth feel and isn't the most dynamic beer, but it has a pretty unique flavor that separates it from your typical light beer. The smell has some light fruity notes but isn't much to rave about. In a bottle I'd say this beer is above average but on nitro it's better because the creaminess, caramel notes and head and lacing are more enhanced.

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Photo of josanguapo
3.02/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3

From Carrefour. In Teku glass. Reading CPPHTP Ch17. Im getting used to these english brews or this one was better than the others. Very drinkable and with a low rancid taste

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Photo of mickwin
3.58/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

poured 500 ml bottle cold from fridge, reddish brown with frothy head which dissipates quickly. Aroma is faintly malty , flavour is rather fizzy and sweet with hints of malt and caramel. An enjoyable beer - I prefer it chilled, but nothing remarkable.

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Photo of MacMalt
3.68/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed on draught in a pub. The color was something between a dark yellow and a light amber, with a very thin, milk-white head and lacing. The head disappeared very quickly and the lacing was minimal. It primarily of malt and hops with a slight toffee sweetness. The taste really follows the nose: primarily malty with biscuit, nuts, and faint butterscotch. It is rather bland but very easy to drink given its light body, low carbonation, and low ABV. This is a classic sessionable pub ale. You can drink a lot of it without feeling it. Overall, this isn't an ale to savor but it is great to drink with friends in a pub.

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Photo of sokol_1993
3.88/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Look: Darker shade of yellow with extremely creamy white head. The head is also really creamy, which goes really well with the biscuit taste.
Taste: A lot of sweet, honey, biscuity-like taste. Not really hoppy.
Feel: more sweet, biscuity after taste, but not really that much.

On tap at The Londoner in Addison, TX. An easy drinking ale that would fit well for a lot of occasion.

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Photo of Malt_Man
3.86/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Served cool from 500ml clear bottle into straight pint glass.

L) Light copper brown, fizzy head disappears immediately. Looks very fizzy.

S) Pleasant aroma from the English bitter hops used, also hints of toffee sweetness.

T) Decent fairly deep toffee-malt flavour, with an overlay of bittering hops. Nice balance, nothing fancy but easy drinking.

F) Very fizzy. No dirty aftertastes. Very guzzlable.

O Easy drinking fizzy ale, take it for what it is.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
1.85/5  rDev -46.7%
look: 1.75 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 1.75

Ugly urine like appearance in a clear bottle. Aroma was rotting vinegar garbage, what the hell.

Taste stayed away from the acetic acid, but also stayed away from any malt sweetenings or hop bitterings. Alcohol comes out massively in the mouthfeel. Musty, rank, soggy beer.

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Photo of aleigator
2.31/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

Brown, amber color, with a decent head. Aroma of malt and sugar. Taste is way too watery, with too low carbonation. Taste is defined by malt, wood and toffee. A little too sweet, due to too much molasse. No aftertaste at all.

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Photo of bubseymour
3.44/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle. Has a strange boozy smell. I really can't describe anything else. Strange. Taste is thin and watery with a mineral taste and some sweet toffee/caramel in the background. Hop crispness/mild bitterness in the finish. Overall this beer is drinkable but not desirable. Perhaps on tap its better, who knows.

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Photo of TheBierdimpfe
4.05/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Slightly hazy brown color with a good amount of activity. Thin creamy beige half a finger head, lasting around 5 minutes, with some good leggings.

Flavors of caramel, cookies, butterscotch, toffee, faint molasses, buttery, and herbal spices. Bready, grassy, and a little earthy. Balanced sweetness with a nice sharpness.

Smooth oily creamy medium body with prickly carbonation. Medium strength finish that lingers a little, ending with bitter spices including peppercorn, and an herbal grassy hops tongue coat.

Overall good quality craft. Tasty flavors that are nicely balanced and well intensified. Slightly flat yet OK freshness. Good accessibility while a little boozy.

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Photo of hardy008
1.56/5  rDev -55%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

14.9 ounce can pours clear amber with a one finger creamy white head, which has nice retention and lacing. The aroma has an unpleasant strong yeast smell with some bread malt. No hop aroma for an English Pale Ale.

Has a bland, stale bread and biscuit malt flavor with some grain. No other tastes, and no hops. Very bland.

Light bodied, almost watery with light carbonation. There is no date on the can, just a code which does not tell me how old this beer is. Since thereis no date, I will review as if this is a fresh beer. Not impressive. Will not buy again.

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Photo of Oh_Dark_Star
3.63/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.75

I tried this a second time four or five years after the first - I always held it up in my mind as having been exceptionally creamy and incredible for the style. Years later I was less impressed, but I think that was more my change in taste than the quality of the beer. If the creamy English beers are your thing I would recommend giving this ale a try.

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Photo of ACD
4.07/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A great classic English Pale Ale much better on tap or in the nitro can than the bottle If you like the smoothness of a stout but want a lighter beer this is a great choice I really enjoy this beer

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Old Speckled Hen from Greene King / Morland Brewery
79 out of 100 based on 904 ratings.