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Old Speckled Hen - Greene King / Morland Brewery

Not Rated.
Old Speckled HenOld Speckled Hen

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,767 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,767
Reviews: 861
rAvg: 3.44
pDev: 16.86%
Wants: 24
Gots: 113 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Quaffer on 10-23-2000)
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Ratings: 1,767 | Reviews: 861 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of drperm
4.53/5  rDev +31.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm always a bit apprehensive when it comes to the Clear Bottle - especially when said bottle has traversed the Atlantic. However, best I can tell this one *seems* to have fared decently in its evil-light-permitting glass home.

The beer pours quite handsomely into my trusty John Courage glass: bold English copper-pale-ale in tone, sharp and clear. True to form with many bottled brews of this ilk that I've had, the head billows up and then retreats to a lacing.

On the nose, I wonder if some light pollution may have had play. Not promiently, mind you, but there's a whiff of something flirting with unseemliness. More favorable notes follow: English floral yeasts, butterscotch, hay, summer wheat fields, white pepper.

I take my first sip and am greeted with a liquid embrace: fresh grain, grassy hops, caramel, toffee, quenchingly mild bitterness, and that wonderful English flower-fruit yeast goodness. Perfect.

As it coats the palate and continues on its way, it leaves a wonderful creaminess to linger behind, with a slight hoppy snap on the tail. I can only imagine what this is like with nitrogen.

This beer is pure delight, with plenty of that wonderful English subtlety that I love. Sometimes you just don't want an Imperial- anything. Sometimes a 5.something% ABV Pale Ale is exactly what is called for, and here's an acme of its genre. It is simple and light enough to make a wonderful session beer throughout the night, but complex enough to keep you interested in it the whole time. This is an all-around winner, provided that the clear glass bottle doesn't betray you.

Try with roast beef sandwiches, fish & chips, mild cheese and pickles, or your drinking buddy.

Photo of Jeffo
3.28/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Got this at the LCBO

From a bottle into a pint glass

APPEARANCE: Pours a one finger thinner looking fizzy white head that rapidly recedes to a thin patchy film. Perfectly clear, mahogany in color with medium carbonation that decorates the top. A small ring remains until the end but leaves no lacing. Average at best.

SMELL: Strong initial scent from the pour. Sweet caramel and toasted malt with hints of grain and toasted nuts. Perhaps a slight touch of vanilla at the back.

TASTE: Sweet caramel malt up front with some toasted malt, grain and nuts as well, much like the nose. Some pine or leafy hop notes and earthiness. A mild and lingering bitter aftertaste is a nice touch.

PALATE: Medium-thin body and a little airy on the palate. Not as creamy and smooth as hoped. Goes down fine and finishes with a touch of dryness on the palate. A little too thin and airy for my liking, but not off putting.

OVERALL: A pretty solid brew all around, though the thinner airy palate was not quite up to par. An enjoyable and drinkable brew that I'd have again, though I wouldn't go on a wile goose chase for it.

Photo of sbe1
3.5/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: cloudy amber, with a creamy head that lasts for awhile and laces the glass.

Smell: Sweet malt, caramel, light floral hop, hint of pine.

Taste: Sweet malt, caramel, hint of citrus, sweet clean finish.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium bodied, mild carbonation.

Drinkability: Pretty good. A good session beer.

Photo of garymuchow
3.88/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice malt aroma of familiar British style. Slight watery quality. Pleasant with a touch of spicy niceness.
Attractive amber. Water clear. Good size tannish head with a frothy look and a slow settling.
Soft malt flavors with a nice finishing dryness. A sneaky push to the flavor, in that it grows over time. Subtle yeasty flaovr offers a nice complexity (a bit of spiciness and yeast taste).
Moderate light feel. Enough carbonation to slow the pace of drinking.
A nice drinking ale. Should complement foods well, especially those that do well with drier beers. A drink that could be enjoyed several pours over the evening.

Photo of scottyshades
3.53/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a transparent gold color that creates a very nice, creamy looking, tightly knit, head that is eggshell colored. Retention is amazing and the lacing is pretty damn good too.

S: Sweet and toasty malts dominate the nose, lactose is present, caramel, a woody aroma, and some slight hop fragrance.

T: Similar to the nose, malts are definitely dominant along with caramel, slight molasses, a pleasant woody note and some slight hoppy twang to it. Nicely done, somewhat unbalanced but very good.

MF/D: Very nice mouthfeel, surprisingly thick, smooth woody and sweet malt finish.

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

16oz nitro can poured into a shaker pint glass.

A: Pours out a clear and dark copper with a wonderful cascading effect that when settled holds up an inch worth of tightly packed bone white head. Lacing comes in thick sheets and stays with you through the duration of the drinking session.

S: Lovely, in a word. Sweet caramel maltiness with a mild, apple and almost overripe pear fruitiness. Mild in every sense of the word with a depth of character and a balance that is second to none.

T/MF: Rich and slightly toasty caramel opening topped with a light and fruity floral and earthy hoppiness. Finishes decently chewy with a silky smooth mouthfeel owed to the nitro widget at the bottom of the can. Nutty caramel apple with a delicate fruity/earthy hop presence is what defines this beer.

D: So so easy going down, the smoothness from the nitro widget makes this incredibly quaffable, but remains something to ruminate on due to the complexity this beer displays in flavor profile. A beer worth paying attention to.

Photo of Seanstoppable
3.53/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another entry from NSLC's 'Beers of the World' wall.

Pouring into a pint glass results in a cloudy amber brown colored ale, which clears up as the bubbles rise up to give a solid white colored head.

Scent consists of some rich sweet caramel malts.

The taste is earthy in nature, but quickly fills with sweet toasted caramel malts. The sweetness fades after a few seconds, leaving a dry bitterness behind for an aftertaste.

My chicks feel slightly chalky after things have dried out, but not annoyingly so. When all is said and done, "Old Speckled Hen" is a fairly good english ale.

Photo of bigdeuce
3.65/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a oft-amber color. Scents of roasted nuts and caramel come through on the nose. Half-decent head with some lacing, but goes down quickly. Goes down rather smoothly and has just below a medium body feel. A bit unbalanced. Some fuggles hops shine on the back end. A nice session beer.

Photo of electricfields
4/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark golden red with a thick, creamy, foamy white head. Visible carbonation in the glass and good lacing. This is a really nice looking beer.

S: Sort of an earthy sweetness. Vanilla comes out the most clearly, with a little bit of spice.

T: Grass and pine hops with some nice caramel malts that give way to the pine bitterness with a lingering hint of bread.

M: Heavy and syrupy, but smooth, without much carbonation. I'm not sure I like the lack of carbonation, but overall, this is probably one of the more unusual things about this beer. Overall, though, I'd say it's not bad.

D: The lack of carbonation makes this one sort of weird and I'm not sure I'd want to drink a lot of it, but it is a pretty drinkable beer regardless, so I guess I'll go easy on it.

Photo of katan
2.78/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz into a pint

A - Pours an extremely clean, clear, filtered brown color. head formation is very light, eggshell colored. Not much for carbonation.

S - I detect a grainy, astringent note - may spawn from some DMS. Some malt sweetness in the background.

T - Starts off with only a bit of sweetness, bit it immediately turns to some bitter and astringent bite. Mid-stream shows more bitterness without any hop background. Finishes with an almost skunky malt edge, edgy grainy and husky. Almost has an adjunct lager taste to it.

M - Light body feel - carbonation bite is the most noticeable attribute. Some bitter oily filming is left on the tongue.

D - Pretty easy to drink - abv is manageable. Carbonation is pretty potent however, making it somewhat filling. Astringency is somewhat tiring to the palette.

Photo of Evocatus
3.93/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Has a nice amber color with a beautiful smooth beige head. Smells slightly of bread and malts, nothing really strong or distinct. The taste is a mix of slightly sweet bread and bitter hops, pretty god combination. Could be a little bit thicker, but I'm not really complaining, goes down real well. Good taste, not too strong, definitely an anytime beer.

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

On tap at Boulevard Tavern, Brooklyn, NY.

A: Great cascade and head. Reddish, thick lager. Thick lace. Awesome looking.

S: Sweet smell.

T: A bit sweet, almost tart like a lemon. Overall kind of lemony.

M: Okay, smooth.

D: Alright beer, more novelty than anything. The appearance is the best part.

Photo of Offa
4.03/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the nitro can, this is basically the same as it is from the nitro tap, except that I am better able to let it wamr up to my preferred temperature before drinking it instead of being at the whim of whoever is serving it (sometimes it is too cold for the character).

It is red amber with a big, creamy, off-white head that steadily settles to a lasting head before slowly thinning to a permanent, smaller, creamy head leaving nice foamy lace, fairly even. This is partly a result of the nitro, of course, but this one looks particularly good with the bright, reddish-amber colour.

The aroma, even nitrogenated, is clear and aromatic. It is very leafy and toasty with toasted grain, nuts, and hints of caramel and vanilla.

The taste is lightly caramelly toasted grain, a lot of leafiness, slightly spicey, with nuts and hints of fruit and pine, a great sweet-bitter balance and a slight spicy, leafy-nutty bitterness with faint earthiness. It has nice, light, subtle complexity. Moreover, this beer, unlike some, still has a good feel from the nitrocan, even if the underlying body is somewhat on the watery side. Not only does is have the creaminess from the creamy head, but this carries down through the beer, giving a lasting, balanced, smooth, and creamy texture, rather than leaving one with a thin, watery body under the nice head.

Photo of Shango42
3.43/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving type - nitro can poured into a mug.

A-Georgeous off-white thick chalky head with a cascade of foogy tan that leaves behind a reddish-amber body.

S-Creamy, malty, cherries, caramel, bready.

T-Crisp and creamy in the beginning with caramel and mildly sweet malt. Bitterness begins late and increases as I drink it. Pretty balanced malt with hops halfway through, but the bitterness takes over in the end and stays on the tongue. Somewhat lacking in discernable flavors.

M-Smooth, creamy, well-rounded, very little carbonation.

D-Very drinkable Pale Ale as it goes down very easy.

Photo of GJ40
3.95/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled from a 12oz bottle in a standard pint glass. Purchased at A1 Brews in Mebane, NC.

A - Copper in color and very clear and a small off-white head with some lacing.

S - Caramel, bread and biscuits with some alcohol and yeast coming through.

T - Bready and biscuit with a moderate trailing bitterness. It's semi sweet, crisp and clean. It packs quite a bit of well balanced flavor.

M - A thin consistency with a moderate carbonation.

D - Very enjoyable and easy to drink.

Photo of srrn
3.98/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Nice copper color with one finger tan head that resuces to islands and a bit of lace

S: Toffee and a bit of sharp hops not too complex

T: this is good, toffee, a bit of bitternes from the hops and a fairly long finish. Hoppy for the style. Simple but good, the bitterness lingers for quite a while.

M: a bit thin but not watery

D: I only had one of these, wanted another

Photo of mikeal1917
2.42/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I thought this classic English Ale would be one of the finer drinks of the trip, I got this at the Woodstock Arms, about 8 miles outside of Oxford in the Cotswolds of England.

Appearance: Awesome red color, similar to the Spitfire I reviewed earlier. Little to no head after 5 minutes.

Smell: just as the Spitfire, strong bitter smell, woody hints.

Taste: The higher ABV (over 5%) made this quite bitter for my tastes, and the aftertaste was sad to say, horrid. The combination of the Bitter smell and taste made this a chore to finish.

Mouthfeel: almost watery, wasn't much to the beer to really grasp feeling wise.

Drinkability: I suffered trying to finish the last bit of the pint. The saving grace was my steak and guinness Pot Pie I had.

Photo of NODAK
3.83/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This one is a little fruity on the nose, with a hint of English hops. Not distinguishable, however...nothing memorable.

There's a definite dried fruit taste to the beer...mildly sweet. Hint of toffee. I get a little bit of brown malts in there as well, with toasty notes showing up on the finish. An interesting beer. I don't really get any bitterness in this one which surprised me a bit when I remember what I thought of it last time I had it. Carbonation is certainly very low, which is to be expected out of the nitro can.

Smooth. Goes down very easily and it's kind of unique. I can dig it.

Photo of kegger22
3.8/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Reddish orange in color, it comes in a clear bottle so you get what you see. Good head that doesn't last, but leaves a collar while beer lasts. Not very aromatic. Nice clean, crisp, slightly malty with little bitterness. I like, but have an admitted preference for English pale ales. Some carbonation that leaves a little bite at the front of the tongue. Very drinkable; a bit dull, but safe beer.

Photo of photogadam
1.9/5  rDev -44.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I decided to try one of these since I own an MG and have heard good things about it.

Anyways, it was pretty plain. Almost no smell, and almost no taste. I probably should have stuck to water.

Clear, light amber body, with a decent head. There wasn't much to taste, but a slightly bitter aftertaste. I really can't think of another way to describe this except a watered down beer. There are plenty of other pale ales to try, but this one could have definitely been left on the shelf.

Photo of WakeandBake
3.23/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A clear copper color body with a small white head,leaving some jagged lacing behind, light carbonation. Aroma is caramel malt , slightly fruity,lightly spicy and a hint of bread dough. Flavor is of sweet caramel malt , butterscotch,spicy hops and ripe fruit,lightly bitter,short finish with a sweet aftertaste ,creamy mouthfeel,medium body , drinkable but nothing special enough to buy again.

Photo of Whiteweasel
3.73/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Drank this out of a bottle. My first pale ale in quite some time.

Appearance: Since I had it in a bottle instead of the usual seidel, it was hard to judge the appearance. It was a dark brown/orange-ish colour which was appealing to the eye. As I got to the bottom of the bottle, it started to leave some nice foam along the sides.

Smell: Wasn't anything special, but at least it wasnt offensive or skunky. Average

Taste: Now, I'm not someone who loves pale ales, as I've had bad experiences with over-hopped concoctions. As such, Ive shyed away from hoppy beers lately. However, the hoppy taste of this beer was in complete balance with the other flavours, and came off very palatable and not harsh and bitter. I'm unfortunately writing this post-drink so i can't think of any extremely specific tastes that I could discern. Left a very nice aftertaste in the mouth though.

Mouthfeel: Like the smell, was about average, however it was nice that there was no biting alcohol feel (although at 5.3% abv, i'm not surprised)

Drinkability: Very refreshing. While not as much so as a good wheat beer (which is certainly my favourite in the summer), it's not overly sweet, and again, everything is in balance. Pale ales usually don't have that 'drinkability' due to their bitterness, but I could definitely casually sip on this one without being shocked by the bitterness.

Overall the Old Speckled Hen was nothing mindblowing or groundbreaking, but it's still a solid beer that I would recommend if you had limited selection.

Photo of DT7
4.15/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours cloudy at first like all nitro cans, but as the bubbles cascade a beautiful dark amber reveals itself. The head is not as creamy as say Kilkenny's but creamier than any none nitro can beer none the less

S-Strong honey or maple syrup type smells, with some hints of vanilla. It really has a very sweet smell that was quite a surprise to me at first

T-Fresh on the tongue with some roasted grains, maple syrup and finishes a little bitter. But a good bitter

M-Smooth and clean, not carbonated at all goes down very well

D-Not bad, I don't think I would have more than 2 though. The bitterness does linger around for a while. You would really have to cleanse your mouth with water or someting before thinking something else.

Overall I think its a good beer, beautiful color and smell. The taste is good but for me it is a beer to have for a quick drink or maybe something with BBQ not something I would want to drink all night

Photo of seand
3.7/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a clear amber with maybe a finger or so of white head. Retention is ok, not much lacing though.

S: Mainly hops, with a hint of citrusy fruits, and maybe a little bit of caramel sweetness in the background.

T: Much like the nose, mainly a hoppy flavor, but not overly bitter, with some background sweetness.

M: Quite light, clean, and crisp - almost a little watery. Fairly light but present carbonation.

D: Tastes like it's made to drink a lot of.

Photo of donteatpoop
3.28/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear whiskey-amber color with some white head that quickly fades.

The scent is all sweet malts, carmel and honeyish.

Not the most amazing of flavors, it is just an ale. A good ale, with a definite sweetness to it, but nothing outstanding in any way. Slightly buttery, I am again reminded of a few whiskeys.

Old Speckled Hen from Greene King / Morland Brewery
79 out of 100 based on 1,767 ratings.