Old Speckled Hen - Greene King / Morland Brewery

Not Rated.
Old Speckled HenOld Speckled Hen

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1,771 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,771
Reviews: 862
rAvg: 3.44
pDev: 16.86%
Wants: 24
Gots: 116 | 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: 1,771 | Reviews: 862 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of Cresant
3.63/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured this 14.9 oz. nitro can into a British pint glass. No date. The upside down cascading head was impressive and left a creamy , huge off-white head. It eventually settled to a solid cap which remained throughout. The body was clear and light golden amber.

Smell was malty and nutty. Toffee was prominent. Vanilla notes.

Taste was light hops meets toffee maltiness, just as the aroma would indicate. Tangy apple notes. Very drinkable.

Mouthfeel was smooth but on the thin side.

Photo of u2carew
3.53/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A) Transparent. Pours with a half inch head then settles quickly. Light lacing. Copper in color.
S) Wheaty and grainy. Pilsener-esque aroma. Dry mellow earthy.
T) Caramel sweetness with hop bitterness. Maltyness in the mix. Some earthiness. The bitterness lingers heavily in the aftertaste.
M) Sharp and crisp. Mellow CO2. Rigid. Mildly refreshing. Some tannin residue left in the aftertaste.
D) Nice casual brew to kick back and relax with, but not a "wow-ing" taste.

Photo of Procrastinator
3.9/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. clear bottle poured into tulip pint glass. 6231 21:36 is printed on bottle neck. I've had this beer several times over the past decade or so and this is my first review of it.

Appearance: coppery orange tea-like colored with a fairly creamy off-white head and real nice lacing. Carbonation bubbles abound.

Smell: the scents are roasty and sweet. Mild scents of caramel and low pH water along with grassy hops.

Taste: the flavors start out slightly bitter, round out with a bit of sweetness and then finish with a hoppy bitterness. I taste tea and breadcrusts followed by a grassy hop and chalky UK water. Slight oxidation may have occured, but doesn't detract.

Mouthfeel: on the lighter side of medium body with carbonation that is gentle and complimentary. The grassy hops leave a mild and enjoyable astringency and dryness.

Drinkability: alcohol never seems to play a part in this beer. Refreshing and rather easy to drink.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.2/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle - $2.29 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a clear, deep amber body with a frothy, sudsy, whitish head.

Smell: Wafts of skunkiness before I entirely remove the cap. Out of sheer politeness, I'll go do some dishes while it blows away. Alright! So, toasted toffee and dark caramel with spicy, earthy English hops and a light fruitiness.

Taste: Sweetly malty with tastes of toffee candy and caramel and toasted bread. Some slight coinage metallic hints. Touch of apricot fruitiness. Herbal, spicy, earthy hop character with a medium-light amount of bitterness. The malts grow into a pleasant butterscotch taste in the latter half. Finishes dry with some herbaceous, earthy hop tastes.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium carbonation. Just a tad creamy.

Drinkability: Perhaps one to strictly stick to draft or possibly the nitro cans. It certainly has potential, but initial skunk and lingering metal are a real turn-off.

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

served in pint glass

a: nice appearance, light brown copper clear color, tan head, medium carbonation

s: nice malt nose, but grainy, a bit corn like

t: nice malt flavor, biscuity, late hop snap, earthy an some tanginous and sour notes, but in a good way

m: light body and crisp

d: good, but a bit bitter.

Photo of clayrock81
3.73/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a seethru light brown with a solid one-finger head that slowly dies and leaves some lace patches on top of a grassy, smokey smelling-beer with light roasted malts and some minor sweetness like honey. A pleasurable blance of a smooth, slightly creamy medium-bodied beer with a good amount of citric hops and caramelized malts with a hint of roasted and toffee malts as well. Finishes slightly dry with some herbal tea-like hop bitterness and a little bit of breadi- and woodiness. Nothing complex but an easy drinking ale that I could sip on all night.

Photo of champ103
3.03/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours an amber brown color. A two finger white head forms and leaves light lace.
S: A caramel sweetness, and not much else. A lingering hop bitterness maybe?
T: This is cloyingly sweet. Caramel malt and toffee. A grainy and cereal flavor. Just as you think the flavor is gone, a hop twang lingers on.
M/D: A medium body and carbonation. Though watered down. The cloying sweetness makes this a little hard for me to drink.

Just an average pub ale to drink if nothing else is around. I would not recommend it, but much worse could be had.

Photo of OnThenIn
2.75/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: A finger of off white head. A very clear deeper orange amber color. There is no real lacing on this beer.

Smell: Mostly, there is a biscuity malt smell. The smell is very faint on this beer.

Taste: This beer ends very dry, maybe even to dry. I am tasting some mildly off flavors. There is a great deal of malt flavor and a little hop flavor going on. The hop flavor is mostly just bitterness. There is a slight fruity flavor. Man I am just not really in love with this beer.

Mouthfeel: Light/medium bodied. There is a good amount of carbonation. This has a dry finish, which is just not appealing to me in this particular beer, but I could understand how someone might enjoy it.

Drinkability: I gave this beer a try, but I really just did not fall in love with it. Sadly enough, pale ale's are one of my variety style and this was just a let down. I wish I could say I would be okay with sessioning this beer, but with the dry finish this is not a thirst quenching beer that I could drink all day long.

Photo of msubulldog25
3.83/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another from the 'research series' of British 'pub ales', a widget-filled can poured to a pint glass. According to the label: 'a smooth, rich malty taste, perfect with Sunday roasts, cured meats and cheeses'.

A: Lovely copper glow with a cap of pure, creamy ivory. That half-finger just won't subside, a few steams of carbonation gently nudging it upward.

S: Quite metallic, yet at the same time a cracker-like buttery quality. Pretty appealing...

T: Malty sweet at times, hints of sweet fruit and toffee. Tea-like herbalness in the finish. Won't 'wow' with the flavor - look for subtle notes of spice and clove and fruit. Once you become accustomed, it's quite tasty.

M: Ultra-creamy, with a slight bite to the (extremely) dry finish. Mild, thin feel, but a coating and lasting bitterness that's wonderful.

D: Very, very easy to drink; I have no complaints whatsoever about the smoothness and balance of this Pale Ale. Would be hard to find a more balanced/drinkable English Pale...I will return.

Photo of gameface23
2.68/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours copper with a cascading effect from the nitrogen. Head is creamy and leaves an intense sheet of lacing.

S: Almost nothing. Weak notes of fruit, but not much else.

T: Weak as well. Malty, with fruity esters, finishing with bittering hops.

M: Creamy and more full because of the nitrogen, but I wasn't that impressed with it.

D: I had one at lunch and I don't think I'll ever order it again. It wasn't terrible, just not my thing.

Photo of PerzentRizen
3.4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I would consider this more along the lines of a mild personally (save for the fact that it's about 1% abv too strong). The flavor is light, malty, and unstrained. I'm not overly impressed by the brewer's use of hops in this pale ale. I know it's of English origin and style but it's way too malty even for them. I don't even really regard this beer enough to write the review in my normal format.

I will say that the taste and smell are the weak points but the mouthfeel and drinkability are just about right to nearly perfect. I would easily reach for another Old Speckled Hen on a hot day. I could make this my lawn mower beer without a problem. I won't be seeking it out but if one is offered I wouldn't turn it down. It's better than any macro - whether domestic or foreign. Overall - not bad.

Photo of minterro
3.6/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle

A: think foamy head with a pale yellow tint, that leaves a good amount of lacying stuck to the side of the glass. Dark murky orange colored beer.

S: malty and spice smell

T: well balanced... really different taste unique. notes of coffee. Finished dry and sweet.

M: medium body and good amount of carbonation.

D: It goes down easy. Overall it was good, but touch over priced for me being in college and all. But worth a try. As a side note it has a cool bottle design.

Photo of tai4ji2x
4.28/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

fourth and final day of NERAX 2009

classic amber with red tints. sudsy ring and creamy wisps. one or two splotches of lace.

yeast and fruity aroma, overripe apple and pear. hint of diacetyl. gentle grassy hop background, blending into caramel maltiness, plus more esters again.

taste: more yeasty esters and some very ripe apple, with caramel and light to moderate diacetyl, into grassy, hay-like hop with hint of resin. mild to moderate bitterness. yeast, caramel and esters in the finish again, with a metallic hint.

light and smooth, but hint of wateriness. gentle prickle from the mild to moderate carbonation.

cask is definitely the way to do this.

Photo of disastermouse
3.55/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm coming back to review an old stand-by for me.

A - Pale brown translucent - a little bit of paler brown. HUGE nitro head that sticks like crazy and holds atop the beer.

S - Nitro-metalic smell - malty underneath with very little hop smell.

T - Good balance. 'Flatter' than the color suggests and hoppier too. There's more bitter here than I first thought before I tried it. Not a heavy tasting beer at all.

MF - After the nitro fades, it's pretty watery. It's got that cool watery 'coldness' - it's hard to describe.

D - You could drink these all night - the 5.2% ABV makes it a good session beer - but the taste is pretty distinct and the watery mouthfeel would make you turn to something else. Of course, maybe that's just my ADHD - I have a hard time imagining drinking only one beer all night. Heck, as we speak, my refrigerator has 12 different types of beer!

(I just read the style blurb and I now realize it's the 'hard water' that causes the 'cold watery' mouthfeel. Review edited accordingly).

Photo of NightINgale
3.93/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a regular 500ml aluminium can. The body is of copper or mahogany colour. The head was quite creamy, though scarce. The carbonation is very visible during the first few minutes, with loads of small bubbles.

S: Biscuity malts, with notes of citrus and caramel. Mmore malty than hoppy, though you can smell some hopiness.

T: Moderately sweet and bready, with strong notes of caramel. Then goes into a dry finish, with very moderate bitterness. Overall, sweeter and less bitter than many other pale ales.

M: Medium-bodied and very smooth at first. After, as carbonation decreases, a dry finish comes through.

D: Decent. Not extremely drinkable, as it starts feeling a little heavy after a while.

Photo of PhillyStyle
3.76/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

On cask on April 25, 2009, at The Brewmaster, Leicester Square area, London, UK:

A: The beer appeared a copper-ish color with a nice white, creamy head that was not well retained, except for a thin film that lasted throughout the beer.

S: It had a nice malt/grain aroma to it, light hints of hops, barely noticeable.

T: The main flavor of the beer was the malt with some hops noticeable at the end of the drink. Not the most complex flavor, but decent.

M/D: The beer had a medium body to it, light carbonation, smooth, creamy and excellent drinkability. Good for a session.

Photo of TheHammer
2.68/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - Came in a clear glass with an octagonal label. The beer itself pours with a solid thumb of head, which retains and laces like crazy which is great. The beer itself is dark orange color, that shows good clarity. It would be perfect, if the carbonation of the beer wasn't out of control. I've seen soft drinks pour with less carbonation.

Smell - The only thing I'm getting, even after the beer has warmed up is a dry hop and yeast smell. I'm getting a slight touch of bread in the background, but that is it. It's not very strong, and not being a fan of dryness, not that appealing. Props on avoiding the skunk that normally comes with a clear bottle.

Taste - Well, it's different that is for sure, although I wouldn't say it's great. It starts with a mild malt flavor and then turns to a slightly fruity but mostly dry hop taste with a touch of yeast filled bread and mineral. The whole flavor is slightly off, which I can only assume is the unique brand of yeast the bottle advertises.

Mouthfeel - The taste probably would fare quite a bit better if they reigned in the carbonation. This stuff is very fizzy, but thankfully the dryness counters some of it. That being said, I'm not that big a fan of dry taste either. This beer also leaves a mineral and metal taste, that tastes like bad, discount mineral water.

Drinkability - Really the dryness hamstrings this one a bit for me, and the carbonation leaves this beer a bit gassy. Still it's fairly well balanced and goes down fairly smoothly. If I had the option to select 2.75 I would.

Final Thoughts - This beer is a bit off the beaten path, and it's not bad for a single sample. However, this isn't a beer you have more then once. It's a bit too expensive, it's a bit off and while it is unique, that doesn't make it good. Worth one shot, not much more. I applaud the effort, even if it isn't my cup of tea.

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

50 cl clear (?) glass bottle pulled from the back of the store's shelf, poured into a pint glass, a coppery color that almost seems a bit pink. Slight white head that quickly disappears. Bready, nutty malt aroma with a hint of floral hops, aroma improves as it warms. Flavor leans toward the malt side of the spectrum, even a little sweet without getting a heavier mouthfeel. Fruitness of the yeast becomes more prominent as it warms. Definitely sessionable, can see where this would benefit from being served from a cask. All in all a pleasant, true-to-form English Ale, most notable for a rather dry finish despite a bit of sweet malt flavor.

Photo of avalon07
3.18/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Poured from a nitro-can to a pint glass. Had a coppery color and totally clear texture. There was a big, creamy, long-lasting head - common with nitro-cans. OK lacing.

S: Had a nice malty smell, with some hops.

T: Tasted of malt and caramel up front and bitter hops going down. Not the most complex of tastes.

M: A fair amount of carbonation and a smooth, dry finish. Light-bodied.

D: This beer has some decent attributes, but it didn't wow me in any way. Not terrible, not great.

Photo of luciusgilmer
3.85/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

bottle poured in tulip glass; got from a sampler pack I won in a NCAA pool.

A: really solid, enticing color. very rich, full head.

S: It smelled hoppy and a bit grassy to me. Pleasant; not too strong.

T: I was impressed by this brew, more perhaps than others. My sample was not skunky, but fresh. A rich, hoppy taste with floral hints, not too bitter (personal preference of mine is too bitter is too much for me)

m: this beer had an excellent carbonation level and the flavor struck me all over; good to savor, good to slug down

d: I would not turn one down; it tasted different from other Pale Ales I've had, and that alone might make me buy more.

Photo of biggred1
3.4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark copper with a slight, light tan head that leaves a small amount of lace just above the head. Smells of caramel malt and toffee with some faint skunkiness (They still use a clear bottle?) and fruity hops. Mild, sweet malt and buttery toffee with toasted bread and english hoppy bitterness in the finish to balance, skunkiness fades after a few minutes. Light bodied with mild carbonation. Decent.

Old Speckled Hen from Greene King / Morland Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 1,771 ratings.