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Old Speckled Hen - Greene King / Morland Brewery

Not Rated.
Old Speckled HenOld Speckled Hen

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1,812 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,812
Reviews: 873
rAvg: 3.44
pDev: 16.86%
Wants: 28
Gots: 137 | 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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,812 | Reviews: 873 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Kulrak
3.52/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep orange brown color with very little in the way of head, but what is there is white, creamy and lacy. Smells spicy, floral & hoppy. The taste is very malty with just enough bitterness to balance it out. Very smooth. Mouthfeel is fairly heavy without much carbonation there. Overall, it's very drinkable. I don't know if I'll spend the premium price on it, but I wouldn't turn one down.

Photo of BuckSpin
4.1/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 16oz nitro draft in a classic conical pint glass

I've been looking to try this for some time, and leapt at the chance to enjoy it draft. Nose was light, sweet with warm caramel, roast malts, a little floral. Some initial faint spiciness faded, but some nice, soft vanilla tones and light citric hops emerged with some air & warmth as it settled.

A solid finger's worth of tight, condensed, thick & sticky cream colored foam lasted quite a while and laced like Feudal drapery, coating the pint's sides. The color was striking - a brilliant, warm, vibrant copper hue, almost radiating, crystal clear but with no noticeable internal bubble action.

Its nicely bittersweet, very balanced with a crushed velvety mouthfeel, creamy & smooth, resonating with burnt caramel that provides a pleasing, subtle bitterness over some dirty malts, maybe even the faintest echo of some chocolate in the background. An echo of those citrus like hops from the nose is there as well. Its very balanced, and enjoyably subtle with a leathery, tannin laced, earthy quality...very quaffable.

The overall evenness & balance carries right thru to the palate, perhaps a little sweeter with caramel, then finishes very dry, full of crackers, bread crusts, those citric hops, leaving amazing clean, uncoating & unfilmy, with an faint caramel sweetness.

That was very enjoyable, a very drinkable brew that I could have easily had many more of. It paired very well with my ubiquitous corned beef Reuben with fries, and I could see it paring with any standard pub fare or a very mild cheese. I recommend this and would definitely seek it out again.

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

Nitro can, pours with a frothy tan head, very creamy; the body's a rich mahogany. Nose is slightly metallic, sweet with dark fruits (raisins, some plums), finishes with a bready edge like saltines. Taste: opens far from the back with soft bitterness wrapped up in a grape-like sweetness; the middle is flat to me without much progression; and it closes on a very thin hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is light, as light as the style should be but still too light -- almost airy -- for my liking. Drinkable, for sure.

Photo of sleazo
3.64/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light amber colour with a thick rich head. It takes a few seconds to settle but the head remains steady. Nice lace

S-not much smell maybe a little toasted bread

T-very smooth slightly sour with a bit of that nitro taste. Very mild in taste. Roasted grains are the first thing you take but they are very mild. Then you get a mild English hop finish

M-damned near perfect. Rich and creamy. With a mild light bubbled carbonation

D-a good mild beer. This is sessionable and a great beer on a hot summer day.

Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.45/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Deep amber to sienna brew with a small head and a tiny bit of lacing.

S - Toffee and woodsy hops.

T - Coffee, toffee, malty, woddsy hops. Aftertaste is woodsy with a little bitterness.

M - Smooth, thin, a bit on the not refreshing side.

D - Pretty good. worth a try, a nice ESB.

Photo of pittvkyle7
3.62/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This looks great. Perfect amber color with a steady one inch head that stayed the whole time. No lacing.

The nose is hops and maybe a little spice.

Mostly floral hops that bite. The malts and some nut flavors comes through as it warms. Not very balanced and it leans toward the hop side.

Mouthfeel is light with the right amount of carbonation.

ok drinkability. I liked this but I wish the taste impressed me more. I'll have to have it again soon.

Photo of BrewSomerville
3.35/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thankfully I bought two bottles of this because the first one was skunked.

Aromas of vanilla, spice, and some grassiness. Some herbal aromas as well.

The colour was amber/copper with red highlights. A thumbs width of head, which was off white in colour. Poor head retention, with some lace.

Good hop flavouring, balanced with some nutty, biscuity malt flavours. It had flavours of vanilla and spice. It had a little bit of a metallic taste to it.

Mouthfeel was on the lighter side of medium bodied. The carbonation was not too aggressive.

Overall, I like it, I will drink it again...but I hate the clear bottles!!

Photo of shadow1961
3.25/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Morland Old Speckled Hen Ale pours a thin head that collapses quickly
over a clear, dark orange brew. Carbonation is steady with big fat bubbles,
and the nose is malt and sharp yeast. The flavor is light malt with an herbal hop
finish, and vanilla notes. Mouthfeel is crisp and dry. Interesting. Incidentally,
the label says the speckled hen referred to in the name of the beer is an MG
with an odd paint job, and not some barnyard fowl. Brits are wierd.

Photo of barefootbrewer
3.56/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured with a cascading effect from the widget. It settled into a deep copper/brown with a thick head. The aroma is hoppy with some malt characteristics in the background. This is a malty beer that has enough hops to keep it balanced. The mouthfeel is creamy and full. This is a smooth beer which goes down easily, making it a nice session choice.

Photo of meadhead
3.55/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

they claim a unique yeast strain
does the speckled trick
and their right
for a pale ale
there seems some yeast ester in it-
or a strange butter malt-ness
peculiar tofee like spice
very hard to describe
you'd have to taste it to decide

but seems well made nonetheless

carbonation is good
a little bittering is present
finishes semi-sweet wood

a unique offering
without a doubt for
a pale ale

Photo of bosco7
3.81/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful cascade of nitrogen bubbles that eventually settles and leaves a nice creamy head. Some lacing.

Not much aroma here.

Toasted hazelnut, caramel, popcorn, toffee flavors, backed with some floral hop character.

Creamy mouthfeel at first , later becomes quite watery. Goes down real easy. Great session beer.

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

Presentation - According to the 14.9 oz widget concealing can it is named for a vintage MG with a speckled paint job.

A - A mid range amber hued liquid that allows a pillowy white head to cascade until becoming smooth + glossy like creme brulee and placid after the nitro widget does it's trick. No bubbling action is detected thereafter.

S - A subtle fruit and cream scent with a touch of spice. A small amount of banana and orange peel is hinted at.

M - Creamy smooth fullness effect of nitrogen is felt with thin after effect. Spiced bitter textures are present in the follow up.

T - A tasty smooth pale ale taste. Sweet creaminess is counterbalanced by the slightly spicy peppery hop tinges in the finish. An excellent English bitter ale taste shines through in the draft can. A light ale with clean accent augmented by round edges and fruity undrerpinnings.

D - Easily accessible and a sessionable bitter with sweet creaminess and nice spicy hop dashes.

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

At 5.2%, this comes in almost as a session brew. The taste and texture sure reminded me of one, smooth and thin, almost no carbonation after the nitro cascading foam settled down.

The nitro head was impressive, even if artificial – massive sliding sheets of lace atop a clear oak pour. Smells of bourbon malt and barley, weird. Taste was dry, vinous and woody – along with that touch of sour mash whiskey – nice. Finished with a grassy aspect.

I would luv to try this fresh, on cask.

Photo of IntriqKen
3.78/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautiful crystal clear golden copper with a typical nitro head that stays at a minimum of 1/4 inch all the way down the glass. Head is nicely sticky, as well.
Aromas are very caramel-sweet.
Flavor reminds me of Kraft's Milk Caramels...but not sweet...something only slightly burnt to them and then a finish of slightly orange hops.
Aftertaste is slightly metallic...like tin.
Overall a very refreshing English Pale Ale.

Photo of Nipitato
3.44/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Purchased a bottle at Brookline Liquor Mart in Brighton, MA.

A: Copper. Good clarity. Thick and even off white head that dissipates to less than a 1/4 of an inch.

S: Mild malt aroma. Typical caramel notes but not strong. Initial soapy aroma - though tails off. Good solid hoppy aroma.

T: Subtle malt background too weak and unpronounced to balance an overly hoppy and bitter finish. Lingering aftertaste. Flavor is one dimensional.

MF: Medium light watery body. Good carbonation.

D: Definitely a sub par English pale ale. I think this might have to do with the age of the bottle I purchased. Primarily lacking characteristic malt presence needed for balance. Mediocre flavor doesn't get too much in the way of drinkability.

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

pours a clear whiskey color with a egg shell two finger head that holds to a quarter inch and good lacing to the finish. smell is of fresh mint and herbal aromas. taste follows the same with a hint of toffee malt and medium hop finish. mouthfeel smooth and balanced. smell and taste were unusual to me but not in a bad way. need to try again to really see about drinkability.

Photo of July2Nov
3.41/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: deep hazy amber with a little head on it.
S: hits a bit near the end with a slightly yeast smell.
T: warm,malty with a spicy/metallic undercurrent and it has a bitterly dry aftertaste.
M: leaves you with a dry almost cotton-like sensation in the cheeks.
D: 1or 2, maybe 3 in one sitting. I would come back to it again.

Footnote: looked on their website and they claim that, "In the premium bottled beer sector, Old Speckled Hen even outsells Newcastle Brown Ale!"

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

440ml nitro can. Pours with a billowing white head and the classic cascading nitro bubbles. Color is an amber/honey color. Smells very much of yeast or bread. Tastes of pale malt with metallic notes. Mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy, but unfortunately not nearly hoppy enough for my tastes. Some extra bitterness would've been nice. I suppose it's a fine example of the style, but i'd prefer something with a bit more flavour.

Photo of CJStout
2.4/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Very dissapointed. I was looking forward to a nice english ale, only to find that the import has been light struck (skunked). Why a clear bottle for export ... why? Why? WHY?

Oh well. Appearance is very attractive - crystal clear copper with a off white head. Nose is skunk. Taste is skunk. Body is silky, somewhat thin (but not watery), nice.

Would love to give this beer a second chance if I knew it wasn't tainted. It shows great potential.

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

440 mL nitro-can poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a generally clear coppery reddish-brown color. (Even after settling for a while, still slightly hazy towards the head, probably from the nitro.) Solid, creamy off-white head, typical of most nitros, which laces the glass.

Smell: Generally malty and a bit bready, with a tad bit of hops.

Taste: Again, slightly sweet malt flavors, with bread and some mildly bitter hops.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, in a creamy way. Medium-bodied, or maybe a tad lighter.

Drinkability: I think it's quite drinkable, but it gets that tiresome feel that most nitro-can beers have.

It's a nice English pale ale, but I get the feeling that it loses a lot being in a nitro can. Has a bit of a personal significance, attached to a now-deceased family friend, so I might get it again for that... but otherwise I'd probably hold off until I could get it from a cask.

Photo of tempest
2.62/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I can see this being good in a cask, but as a skunked, bland pale ale, it's not too fun to drink. The aroma is a nose-full of skunk and the taste is dull, slightly sweet malt with mellow bitter kick punctuated by more skunk. Avoid the bottles of this. I'll try it again when I'm on the proper side of the pond for this beer.

Photo of adowney523
3.59/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. A nice 1 inch white head formed and remained throughout. Appearance is amber in color and relatively clear.

Smell is of faint alcohol, bready aroma, and hints of apple juice and vinegar.

Taste is mostly of biscuity malt with faint hops in the background.

A pretty decent pale ale, would make for a great session beer.

Photo of westweasel
3.26/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The beer poured a nice, clear, amber color with a small off-white head. Heavy bubble activity gives the beer a high carbonation look.

The smell was what you might expect from an english ale - bready and toasty, with a slight, floral, noble hop background.

The mouthfeel was fairly thin with lots of carbonation and a dry finish.

The taste was all toasted bread. A little bit of noble hop bitterness is also present.

This beer is very drinkable, especially if you like your beers malty.

Photo of hero27
3.13/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

14.9 oz nitro can.
5.2% abv

Clear amber color...cascading off-white head that sets up like concrete on top of the brew. Aroma of molasses & pale malts..if a bit musty...but not bad.
Sometimes nitro tends to really kill off some of the flavors in a beer, but in this case it works alright. The pale malts show off pretty well, but there's a slight cigarette ash taste that I could have gone without. Flavor fades quickly after each sip, as the body is a little on the weak side. That being said, it is a nitro and goes down very smoothly. I'd have no hesitation about trying this on-tap if given the opportunity.

Photo of daliandragon
2.73/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I remember drinking this beer years ago, before I had learned to appreciate beer, and I thought it was horrible and could barely finish it. A few years later I had it in London and remember it being unremarkable, just another okay English draft beer you had to wade through to find the truly quality stuff (Young's, Fuller's, Shepherd Neame, York, etc). At any rate, I'm curious as to how my more mature taste buds will rate this now. Color is a deep burnt amber with tones of fire red. Head is wet and snow white but doesn't go the distance. Nose is faint but shows bitterness with dense metal tones.

Heavy Engliish hop flavors with some roasted malt balance but the aftertaste is all bitter metal. Not so good. This beer has an unidentifyable sourness to it that I just can't abide. Mouthfeel is okay and this beer slowly grows on me as I drink it but not enough to make me want to try it again. Why one of these when you could have a Royal Oak or London Pride?

Old Speckled Hen from Greene King / Morland Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 1,812 ratings.