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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.

1,717 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,717
Reviews: 852
rAvg: 3.44
pDev: 16.86%
Wants: 21
Gots: 94 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,717 | Reviews: 852 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jherrick
3.38/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

On tap with nitro is really the only way to enjoy this beer (in the US anyways). There are other beers that have this characteristic, but it's important with this one. A simple, fun brew to enjoy a few of. Even gets better as it warms up, but will not last too long if you enjoy it as much as I did...

jherrick, Mar 19, 2009
Photo of Riccymon
3.45/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours from the bottle a clear orangey-amber with about a finger of head that quickly dissipates to nothing. At first smell, a bit of skunk alarmed me, but perhaps it was the grassy, herbal notes and my wariness of the clear bottle playing a trick on me. Also noticeable was a milky, maltiness. I taste a lot of buttery, caramel malt, but the finish has a touch of hops, all of which leave the mouth feeling a little sticky. On the whole, a nice, affordable beer that is extremely drinkable.

Riccymon, Mar 15, 2009
Photo of almychristopher
3.53/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

this beer pours a very nice crystal clear dark gold color wihth a slightly off white head. the nitrus can was deffinitely a good call weswes. the aroma has a good bit of sweet malt and not much else maybe a hint of floral hops. the taste is a bit bland a bit of sweet malt and just a bit of hops at the end. the light body and the nitrus carbonation make it seem a little too flat, despite the head that wouldn't die. not a bad beer, I'd like to try it on tap.

almychristopher, Mar 15, 2009
Photo of tjsprague
3.7/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a very tasty beer that I like to drink when I don't want anything too heavy or thick, but a beer with good flavor.

The beer pours like a Guinness but a nice copper color instead. The nitrogen swirls and clouds the beer at first making it look milky and turbulent. One of the joys of this beer (again like a Guinness) is watching it settle and watching the creamy white and thick head form on top. The head stays with the beer through out the glass and is very thick, almost like a cappuccino.

There isn't much by the way of smell, just a light malty aroma. The beer has a medium body but a mouthfeel like velvet. Again, I think it tastes like a much lighter Guinness, although I think the OSH has a more velvety feel and thicker body than lots of the Guinness I have had in the States.

The taste is refreshing. No real hop flavors but a nice medium malty taste, very slightly sour at the end of each sip but in a very refreshing way. Almost a dryness to the beer and hint of a bread or biscuit flavor.

I like to drink this on nights when I don't feel too hoppy and just want a nice bodied beer before bed. The head and the velvety body make it a great nightcap and the lower abv helps me sleep.

A very nice rounded beer.

tjsprague, Mar 06, 2009
Photo of Beejay
2.28/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Pinkish amber, with a white head the dissipates quickly..

S: Smells of skunked beer... Trouble....

T: Tastes like skunked beer, with a little more body. Malty, slightly sour.. Me thinks this bottle is past it's prime.

M: Meh.. nothing great.. nothing bad..

D: I might try again to see if it is just this bottle, or if it is supposed to taste this way...

Beejay, Mar 02, 2009
Photo of tigg924
2.7/5  rDev -21.5%
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.

tigg924, Feb 25, 2009
Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.58/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Clear 12oz pop top with nice label...but, why oh why do we still put beer in clear bottles

Appearance: Deep burnt orange beer capped with an ivory cap which soon recedes to a thick film

Smell: Sweet caramel and biscuit malt, supported by nice fruit notes...classic English Pale Ale

Taste: Mild caramel and biscuit tones, backed with sharp, kind of metallic notes and a touch of hops at the end.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied

Drinkability: Medium

Conclusion: It's ok...nothing special...mediocre English Pale

BedetheVenerable, Feb 23, 2009
Photo of woemad
1.98/5  rDev -42.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

My first drainpour of 2009.

12oz bottle purchased at Huckleberry's in Spokane for $2.19. No freshness date on the embossed, clear bottle. I've never tried this in bottles before, but it was the first beer I'd ever had on cask at a pub in London in 2001. At the time it seemed like the cat's meow, but from what I read on BA, I expect to be sorely underwhelmed. Oh, well...

Poured a copperish amber color, with an inch of white foam perched on top. The head dropped fairly quickly, leaving streaks and spots of lace.

Unpleasant smelling. Solvent-like odor was the predominant aroma. Some apple-like fruit scents hovering in the background, but definitely second banana to what smelled a bit like paint thinner. It wasn't strong enough to be truly nasty, but it didn't bode well.

Milder in the taste than in the smell, which turned out to be a blessing, but still a pretty damn small one. . Fruit-solvent mixture taste, with a faint, bready maltiness in the background. Very mild dry zap at the swallow.

Carbonation was too low for the style, leaving a dead, leaden-like mouthfeel.

I expected to be less impressed than when I had it on cask at the George Canning, Camberwell, but I was a little unprepared for just how lame it turned out to be. Made it about halfway through the bottle before I concluded it's best use would be to pass through my apartment's plumbing. If I encounter a fresher sample on cask, I'd try this again. Otherwise, drinking this beer has been the beer equivalent to the old saying, "You can never go home again."

woemad, Feb 22, 2009
Photo of nokes
3.75/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured with a nice bubbly head into a pint glass. Most of the head died away pretty quickly, but left a nice film that stayed around for a long time. Crystal clear and copper-coloured...very nice. It certainly looks good.

I think I smell bananas. Buttery bananas. Buttery bananas dipped in malt.

Taste is nice. I like the taste. A little bit of sweetness, some tangy tartness there, too. The buttery bananas come out to play, but are slowly pushed aside by a firm bitterness that's not overbearing. It's good.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, but the weak spot seems to be that it ends up feeling a bit sticky where I'm not sure it would have to be. A bit heavy that way...best with food, I think.

And so I tried it with food (roast beef and potatoes)...and that was good. I recommend it.

Drinkable, yes, but not really for quaffing I don't think. Too sticky. Really nice with food. I'd happily drink it again, but I prefer Innis & Gunn and Fuller's.

nokes, Feb 21, 2009
Photo of BeanBone
3.48/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Rich orange-amber body with the tightly packed, creamy head one would expect from a beer equipped with a nitro-widget. The head is a finger high and features brilliant retention and lacing.

Aroma: Rather weak, with lots of banana and some caramel malt notes.

Taste: Nice earthy, mildly bitter tones from the hop department with a somewhat solid toasted brown sugar malt base. Still getting a lot of the banana here, but it's not totally unwelcome. It's just a little bit thin in the flavor department, and there are definite metallic tones every now and then. The moderate booze occasionally rises up to the surface.

Mouthfeel: Standard nitro-can creaminess and low carbonation levels, but with a somewhat watery body. The finish is slightly dry.

Drinkability: Goes down smooth and easy with just over five percent alcohol by volume, making it a good session beer.

Verdict: Old Speckled Hen is a solid, but generally unexciting beer. Nice enough flavor profile, very sessionable, and has the brilliant creaminess that you get with a nitro-can. If you're looking for something in a nitro-can besides Guinness and Boddingtons, you won't go wrong here.

BeanBone, Feb 21, 2009
Photo of DoctorStrangiato
2.28/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured a 500-ml bottle into a beer stein.

Appearance - nice amber colour with a decent surface head.

Smell - caramel and nut aromas. Barley malt below the main scent.

Taste - not so fond of this one. It starts out okay with a solid English Ale taste, with good malt flavours. But then this overwhelming evergreen berry / pine needle taste comes invading. Not my cup of tea.

Mouthfeel - the pine needle invasion bothers me, not pleasant.

Drinkability - weak. One is enough. One is enough for a long time.

DoctorStrangiato, Feb 20, 2009
Photo of Haybeerman
3.6/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Clear, bright copper/amber color. Poured a cascading head that settled to a 1 finger creamy smooth head with excellent retention. Even, thick lacing that eventually coated the glass from top to bottom.

S: Roasted nust up front then a slight mapley syrup like sweetness.

T: More roasted nuts and sweet, bready caramel malts. Bittering hops very muted in the finish.

M: Light body. Low carbonation. Very creamy and smoot despite being thin

D: Nutty flavor, overall sweetness and gentle bittering finish that let the tastes linger a bit was very enjoyable.

Haybeerman, Feb 19, 2009
Photo of ATPete
3.3/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16oz nitro can

Pours a very warm orange brown color with a tight knit half inch pure white cap. Very nice cascading effect, gotta love the show that the nitro can puts on. The nose is pretty nice, twiggy grain, hints of sugary sweetness, lots of caramel and toffee. The flavor nearly mimics its aroma, it leaves my palate wanting some more balance, i find it too sweet. The creamy mouthfeel and body add more to this balance issue, a crisp hop bite would surely change this beers character for the better. Light in overall body, low carbonation and a decent beer to have once in a while, i dont think it would ever classify as a go to for me though.

ATPete, Feb 16, 2009
Photo of Yeastcakes
3/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Serving notes: shaker glass, cool (40F), nitro
Aroma: very little. After the nitro head died down and the drink warmed, I got a little bit of light malt.
Appearance: Light amber, solid white nitro head.
Mouthfeel: light with light carbonation. Nice creaminess from the nitro.
Taste: Slight metallic note. A little harsh bitterness on the hops. Bitterness was fairly well balanced with a neutral malt flavor.
Drinkability: Nothing really excited or put me off about this beer. I like to have it every now and then but will usually go for other craft offerings.

Yeastcakes, Feb 15, 2009
Photo of Clydesdale
3.55/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A perfectly clear, bright orange-copper color with a medium-sized, densely creamy off-white head with solid retention and nice, foamy lacing.

S: Moderate toasted malt sweetness, with a mild skunk smell. Soft herbal, mineral, and vaguely woody hops are also evident. Some hints of nuttiness.

T: Toasted malts up front, with a bit of sweetness. Herbal, mineral hops provide some solid bitterness. Buttery and nutty notes, along with some fruity touches at times.

M: Medium in body. Tingly carbonation. A fading, dry bitterness into the finish.

D: This is a nice English Pale Ale. I could have done without the initial skunky aromas, but they eventually subsided into the background and left a nice, very drinkable, if somewhat sub-stellar brew.

Clydesdale, Feb 13, 2009
Photo of danielocean03
3.58/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a translucent copped-hued reddish amber color into a pint glass. Aroma is light, mostly musty grassy hops and caramel malt undertones. Taste is a nicely balanced blend of lightly bitter musty hoppiness and slightly sweet caramel maltiness. Mouthfeel is smooth, low carbonation levels and light to medium bodied Drinkability is good, nothing stands out in a major way in this ale, but it remains true to the style and is an easy drinker. Recommend trying, would purchase again.

danielocean03, Feb 09, 2009
Photo of surfer4life
2.3/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured into a pint glass from nitro tap.

A - Poured golden brown, half inch head that stayed around a long time.

S - vanilla, cinnamon, other delicious spices.

T - bitter at first with a lot of sweetness on the end. Not great though. Expected better.

M - again not so impressed, expected better from a nitro. Pretty much was flat.

D - not so much

surfer4life, Feb 07, 2009
Photo of ibbjamin
3.63/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought a six pack of 12 oz bottles from BevMo in San Jose, CA. This is the first I've tried this beer, and I am writing this review on the last beer of the pack. My bottle appears slightly different than the one pictured; it has a red 'imported' label around its neck.

Pours rather silky and creamy leaving about an inch of semi-frothy off white head after a standard pour. Highly transparent amber brown color with no visible carbonation. The head dissipates rather quickly, with minimal retention and lacing.

A light candied fruit aroma, but not overly sweet. Sweet and pale malts balance things out.

The mouth is very smooth, with a nice long finish. Minimal carbonation, light to medium bodied.

Drinkability is this beers best attribute.

Nothing extraordinary, but a unique macro brew that is certainly better than average. I think I'll get this once in a while as it is a good 'average' session brew.

ibbjamin, Feb 03, 2009
Photo of bark
3.43/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The beer pours very smoothly; the colour is brass. The finger thick head is warm off-white.

The smell is sweet with yeasty notes of caramel, tobacco (quite a lot of it), some metallic bitterness, rye bread and a fresh hint of fresh vegetables. It is a rather characteristic; I don't know any other beer with this tobacco-smell.

The taste got some lightly roasted malts (whole grain bread, crispbread), butter, some tobacco, turnips and other root crops and a light touch of smoke. The aftertaste is dry and medium bitter with caramel malt, hints of toffee, flour, yeast and a touch of alcohol.

The carbonation is medium to mild, the bubbles are small. The liquid is mid-smooth.

I like this ale... Yet the special flavours make me not want to drink it too often. A few pints a year is enough.

bark, Jan 31, 2009
Photo of wl0307
3.53/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Notes of 25/12/08) Coming in a 500ml clear bottle, BB July 09, served cool in a straight pint glass.

A: bright copper in colour, coming with a thick and frothy off-white with good retention; the fizz runs free and smooth.
S: fruity hops and hop resins abound, giving hints of sweet lemon, apples, and marinated prunes with a faint touch of caramely malts. Quite sweet overall but by no means unpleasant.
T: malt-dominated - with assertive hints of biscuity pale malts with a lighter input of caramelised sugar, followed by lots of fruity-yet-spicy hops (Styrian Goldings?), slowly-expanding herbal-to-tea-ish bitterness and, of course, a sour-yeasty twist so much like other Greene King products. An aromatic finish rounds up the drink.
M&D: quite fizzy upfront, remaining spritzy throughout the drink; med-boied, pleasant pale ale with slightly more fizz than desirable. The cask-version "was" better ("was" because now the cask version has been watered down to 4.5%abv.).

* Tasting Date: 21/11/05
Coming in a big, clear bottle (750ml), BB 25/05/06.
3.5 A: pours a black-tea hue with reddish hint, a big white beer head dissipates a bit too fast; moderately carbonated.
4 S: sweet appleish and caramel malt, brown sugary, with a deeper, sweet aroma of preserved-black dates and underlying floral hoppyness.
3.5 T: richly-malty upfront with a slightly caramel hint, also slightly sour-sweet and a lightly sticky residual mouthfeel in the end, coupled with a deeply fermented Chinese black tea's aftertaste, tannic and leafy~~
3 M&3 D: different from the cask version, the body is way too thin and doubled by the sour fruity edge. On average it's not bad but requires a richer body to round off the overall flavour and its 5.2%abv. Better on cask.

wl0307, Jan 27, 2009
Photo of TheDeuce
3.6/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Old Speckled Hen...

Appearance- dark orange amber, fluffy large head, heavy carbonation with large bubbles.

Smell-malt, spice, alcohol, some fruit, dark ester flavors.

Taste/Mouthfeel-sweet flavor, lot of malt as well, smooth and creamy with a buttery sort of aftertaste. Decent tasting.

Drinkability-malty and balanced, very drinkable.

Overall- a good decent and balanced stand-by which I really enjoyed on tap. Recommended.

TheDeuce, Jan 25, 2009
Photo of erz316
3.3/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into Old Speckled Hen pint glass

A - not quite so pale as it is a dark amber. though it is a very pleasing colour, it should be a bit lighter in my opinion. the poofy head is white, maybe a bit off. Head retention is average, and right now my cat is making it very hard to type. the lacing is omnipresent around the sides of th glass. bubbles continue to come up from the bottom of the glass. and now my cat is drinking the beer.

S - not a highly complex nose as many have come to comment, but when first opening the bottle, there is a definite whiff of malt and esters (?). it is nice in its simplicity, but in no way alluring.

T - for initial taste I cant really pick up on much, but holding the beer in my mouth reveals a slightly hoppy taste. this is the only thing to stick out noticeably, for the malts creat a very rounded and smooth baseafter the finish, but before the aftertaste, right before one opens their mouth, I distinctively taste roast goose. what I am to make of this, I have no clue; but I don't like goose, so this is not really a good thing in any respect. the after taste is a bit of bitter hops, but rather clean. I am not impressed, but nor am I repulsed. However, there is some nice quality to the beer that makes it redeemable:

MF&D - I find that the good amount of carbonation in the beer makes of for its lackluster taste, and seems to cover it up. now, in reality, that shouldn't need to happen, but in turn it does make the beer nice to drink!

erz316, Jan 22, 2009
Photo of Redrover
3.48/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this on nitro tap at the Flying Saucer in Houston.

Served in the large "happy hour" pilsner hybrid type glass, the beer is bronze with a dense creamy white head & awesome lacing.

It has a subtle nose of fruit and floral notes.

The taste is mild with plum and cracker notes. There is a bit of mild bitterness and it is slightly sweet with malts.

The mouth as expected is very creamy.

I would like to try a non-nitro version to see if the flavors pop a bit more.

This is a mild mannered, middle of the road offering.

Redrover, Jan 16, 2009
Photo of roadhouse
3.93/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I saw a nitro can of this so I decided to go for it. I wouldn't dare go with the one in the clear glass bottle. Poured from a 16 oz. can into a pint glass.

Appearance is of course lovely as the nitro cans tend to be. It's a bright orange-copper in color with a creamy one and a half inch thick off-white head. Retention is ridiculous and tons of lace is left behind.

Aroma is not very complex but is nice and pleasant with caramel malt sweetness being the lead factor. A bit of toastiness comes through as well as some pear and apple fruitiness. Hop character is minimal.

Taste begins with some caramel maltiness with some toasted character that is joined upon the swallow by some earthy and spicy hop bitterness. Fruity overall with the pear tones still present. Linger is good and hoppy.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a nice chewiness. Nitro cans seem to stop me from rating it much higher as I prefer some carbonation.

Not a bad session ale at all. I wouldn't mind getting a four pack of these some night and going to town on them. Better than Boddington's, the only other Bitter in a nitro can I've had to compare directly to.

roadhouse, Jan 13, 2009
Photo of thekanna
3.8/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at Seva in Ann Arbor, MI.

Appearance: Dark copper bordering on maroon. Clear with almost no head.

Smell: Nuttiness pokes its way through, along with a slight maple syrup-like sweetness.

Taste: Very nutty. Malts impart a largely pumpernickel bread-type quality to the brew. Sweetness shows up at the end; hops are largely undetectable.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: The creamy, nutty flavor lets this brew become pretty decently drinkable. Carbonation is toned down such that it mellows out the taste.

Overall: Decent ale. Tastes more like a brown ale than an English Pale Ale, though.

thekanna, Jan 12, 2009
Old Speckled Hen from Greene King / Morland Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 1,717 ratings.